Special "2020: The Best of the ReidOut"
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It's the end of an historic turbulent and at times frightening year. A year that gave us the rise of a pandemic and the end of the Trump presidency.
Now, for the next hour, sit back and relax, we're bringing you interviews with some of the smartest, most interesting and entertaining people around.
In a moment, my conversation with the great Rachel Maddow on the American politician who has rightfully been called Trump before Trump, former Vice President Spiro Agnew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": He was pushing all of the same levers that Trump is pushing but you're right, he did it in a way that was sort of erudite and erect and correct and articulate.
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REID: Later, "Morning Joe" himself, Joe Scarborough, joins me on his new book about President Harry Truman.
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JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST, "MORNING JOE": He came from Missouri. His parents were both pro-Confederate. He had a racist background and that yet here's the guy who in 1948, election year, when he knows it's going to hurt him politically, he moves to integrate the armed services.
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REID: Also, author Michael Eric Dyson takes on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR: He is enacting some of the worst practices we have seen in the history of this nation in regard to a senator blocking the coming to fruition of legislation that could relieve the hurt and suffering of black people.
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REID: And at the end of the hour, the amazing Leslie Jones. Need I say more?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLIE JONES, COMEDIAN: I let them know that I was not going to do any interview first but yours. That's right, because I love Joy. Because joy to the world, joy to the fishes and the deep blue sea. I love Joy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: First up, though, my recent conversation with the great Rachel Maddow.
REID: Donald Trump's presidency has felt unprecedented in so many ways. Before there was a Donald Trump attacking the norms of democracy, there was a Spiro Agnew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPIRO AGNEW, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The narrow and distorted picture of America often emerges from the televised news.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media.
AGNEW: Liberalism today translates into pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of law and order.
TRUMP: The words law and order, words that Democrats don't like to use. They don't think they're politically good.
AGNEW: The conduct of high individuals in the Department of Justice is unprofessional, and malicious and outrageous.
TRUMP: Our Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their job and doing it right, and doing it now. What's happening is a disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In her new book "Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House", which details the often overlooked story of the bribery scheme then Vice President Spiro Agnew ran from inside the White House, Rachel Maddow writes that the playbook Agnew wrote, to try to save himself as left its own long legacy, for the elected official who prides himself on busting through political norms. It's a straightforward set of plays. You're saving yourself means undermining the institution of democracy, the Department of Justice and the free press for starters -- well, fire up the backhoe.
I'm joined now by the host of "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW", author of the new book and Peabody nominated podcast "Bag Man", the great Rachel Maddow.
Rachel, thank you so much for being here.
I have to start before I even get to the book by asking you, how is Susan?
MADDOW: Susan -- thank you. First of all, thank you, thank you for all of that. I have never seen the juxtaposition in tape there of Agnew and Trump. I've done it in print. I have never seen it laid out like that in tape. It's fantastic. Their delivery is actually such echoes. That was amazing.
But Susan is much better. She's got -- she's dealing with the long tail of the symptoms from COVID, which I think a lot of people deal with. That sucks. But we are not scared in the way we were and we're out of the woods, as they say.
And so, boy, we -- you know, it took us a full week to eat through the gift package that you sent. But we buckled down and we did it. So, thank you.
REID: One thing I can be counted on for food and drink. This is the thing I do. That is wonderful to hear. We're very happy to hear that.
That is the first and most important. So, I have to get to that.
But, yeah, you know, so, I have to give it up to Rachel who is also named Rachel who produced this segment. You know, producers are everything. So, she found the incredible video.
So the thing that is amazing about these two, you write in the book and say all the time, history is here to help. History is also here to freak us out because as I am reading through this book and dog-earring it and destroying it so no one else could ever get to read it, which is what I do to books, it's freaky. Spiro Agnew is basically a more articulate version of Trump, attacking the press, the racism, the anti-Semitism, saying everybody loved me until I'm in the White House now everybody hates me.
The attacks, they're so symmetrical.
MADDOW: They're so -- and it's interesting to me because a lot of times, you hear very smart people talk about what Trump is trying to do to undermine democracy right now and the way he plays very fast and loose with the authoritarian trend lines and all the stuff that he pushes.
And a lot of smart people will say, well, yeah, this is buffoonish, and this is obviously going to fail and it's easy to laugh at Trump doing these things. But what about when the slicker version of Trump comes around, the more articulate version, the less ham-fisted version of Trump comes around and tries to do these things?
And history is here to remind us that actually that already happened. Agnew was pushing all the same levers that Trump is pushing. But you're right, he did it in a way that was sort of erudite and erect and correct and articulate. And he still was seen as a crook and forced from office because of it.
So, it may -- it's sort of comforting to me because there isn't anything new under the sun. But the lesson of how to deal with guys like that is not that they go away on their own, or not they can be some sort of -- or a sort of I don't know neutralized by the passage of time. He was as malignant as Trump is. But there were good people in office who put country above party, who put duty above partisanship, and they fixed it.
REID: Absolutely, and I think that is the story. And you do write in the book and then you say in the podcast that, you know, it is the story of the guys who stayed straight ahead, stared straight ahead, and did their jobs, that wind up fixing this. We have to count on there being enough of those to save our democracy.
REID: Let's talk about the scandal itself, because it's a wild story. I mean, at one point, George Herbert Walker Bush shows up. This is like -- it is like a Netflix series all in the book. But, I mean, the fact that you have this crook operating a bribery scheme that dated back to when he's governor of Maryland, the state you -- people don't realize how corrupt Maryland politics is and has been, it was sort of corrupt, as I should say it has been.
So, he's operating as this sort of corrupt figure. He gets in. There's this bribery scandal. But talk about the fact you have this happening kind of simultaneous with Watergate, but they're not connected.
MADDOW: Exactly. And that is part of what is forgotten in the history of Agnew, is that people, if they remember him at all, they think it must have been a Watergate adjacent thing, right? There's a lot of people who --
MADDOW: -- went to jail or got charged in Watergate adjacent things, and it was Nixon with the cover up, but all the other people involved in the crime, and his attorney general went to jail, and all this -- you know, you remember that there were so many -- you assume it must have been that way for Agnew, too. Nope, totally, separate, original scandal, taking bags of cash as kickbacks for government contracts.
And he started doing it as Baltimore County executive, and he did it as Maryland governor. And he kept taking the bribes, literally envelope stuffed full of cash while he was in the White House.
And so, that's what confronts Elliot Richardson, who is kind of one of the heroes of this story. One of Nixon's attorneys general, who didn't go to prison, one who Nixon, in fact, fired him for not doing his bidding.
And Richardson is like, all right, I'm getting crazy phone calls every day from Nixon. Nixon at one point in the history is in the hospital with pneumonia. The Watergate stuff is gearing up and getting bad, and Nixon is going kind of nuts.
Richardson is clear that like Nixon is holding on by a thread in terms of the presidency, but what happens if Nixon goes. Agnew goes into the Oval Office. And he knows that Agnew is taking cash bribes as vice president. He's a whole different kind of felon.
And so, that become this real -- this national security imperative, the idea that the country might collapse if a president is forced out for being a crook, immediately elevating his vice president who is then has to be forced out for being a crook. I mean, what -- what happens?
So, it really happens? So, it really put the fire, I think, under Richardson, in terms of how to deal with it. And that's one of the things there isn't a parallel with Trump because there is no way to force him out of office in exchange for facing indictment. But that's where they landed with Agnew.
REID: And, you know, the thing that's also fascinating is that you confront -- you know, this country confronted, previously, this question about whether or not you can indict a president. But there is also, that sort of OLC memo issue about whether or not you can indict a vice president. And you have Agnew and Nixon, both, asserting that you cannot, right? That they are protected, absolutely, by the office from indictment.
Talk about how that connects us to where we are now because there has been a lot of this talk about whether Donald Trump, who is also seen by a lot of people as corrupt -- maybe, criminally corrupt -- could be indicted, particularly, let's say, on something like obstruction, where he seems to have been dead to rights named in the Mueller report.
Talk about how the Agnew scandal relates to that.
MADDOW: Yeah, and I would also say, he's -- you know, you could also call him president individual-1, right? He is already named by federal prosecutors in the Michael Cohen hush money case.
MADDOW: The case for which Michael Cohen went to prison, he is named by prosecutors having been the person who directed the commission of those felonies. So, it's a live issue with Trump.
But I think this is some of the stuff that made me want to write the book, in addition to doing the podcast because we advance -- Mike Yarvitz tonight advanced the reporting on this even after the podcast, and came to what I think is sort of an unsettling revelation about that.
Presidents, including Donald Trump, do have a get-out-of-jail-free card from the Justice Department because there's this office of legal counsel policy that a president can't be indicted. Where that comes from is the Agnew scandal and specifically, where it comes from is Nixon and Agnew hating each other, and Nixon and Agnew having these separate scandals at the same time.
At one point, Agnew goes to the Democratic speaker of the House and says, basically, I'd like you to impeach me. And the speaker of the House is like, no, I don't -- I don't want to do that.
But he thought if he got impeached, that would keep him from getting indicted. They go to -- his lawyers are arguing, no, no, he can't be indicted. He can only be impeached. They go to the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department and say, will you settle this once and for all?
And what the Office of Legal Counsel comes up with, they check with Nixon to find out the way Nixon wants it to come out, right? And what they come up with is the vice president can be indicted and the president cannot. And that was specifically because Nixon didn't want the impeachment machinery to start for Agnew, because he thought that would throw him out. But he didn't -- if Agnew was going to get indicted, he didn't want to get indicted, himself.
That was Nixon just trying to save himself in the face of gangster vice president getting thrown out of office. That's -- it wasn't like some Founding Fathers on a tablet given to Moses sort of thing in the Constitution. The get-out-of-jail-free card that is keeping Donald Trump from getting indicted by Mueller and by SDNY derives from this ridiculous, craven fight between these two felons.
REID: It is amazing. This era has been so toxic. But like, the '60s and '70s keep coming like, hold my beer. You think it's crazy now? We're going to show it to you. We're going to show it to you.
You're great, Rachel. What an incredible book. Congratulations on "Bag Man." It is awesome.
No one can borrow my copy because I destroyed it with yellow mark and things and dog-earing it. But still read it.
REID: Still ahead on our REIDOUT holiday special, more of my most interesting, enlightening and hilarious interviews of 2020. Joe Scarborough joins me next.
Stay right there.
REID: In his new book "Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization", Joe Scarborough details the way that the Truman doctrine has shaped the foreign policy and America's role in the world for the last seven decades.
He notes that in contrast, while Trump's America first theme initially struck a nerve with voters, his ignorance of history and lack of diplomatic skill prevented his administration from making any significant foreign policy issue over four years.
Back with me is Joe Scarborough, host of "MORNING JOE" and author of "Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization," which I am in the midst of reading, Joe, and I'm enjoying it a lot.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
REID: You know I actually am really intrigued by Harry Truman. I'm a history buff, anyway. But he's an interesting figure to me because he's this guy -- he's this, you know, sort of racist senator from Missouri who writes his wife, you know, little note to her about N words and China men, and then comes in and does more to actually advance the cause of racial equality for black Americans than FDR did, you know, de -- allowing black people to actually get into the military and the federal work force. Actually, does a lot and ended up changing.
How do you -- how do you think he also changed our foreign policy?
SCARBOROUGH: I want to talk about that first, because it's fascinating to see how much he grew. He came from Missouri. His parents were both pro-Confederate. He had a racist background.
And yet here's a guy who in 1948, election year, when he knows it's going to hurt him politically, he moves to integrate the armed services, and sure enough, Strom Thurmond breaks out.
SCARBOROUGH: They walked out of the convention in '48. And so, he's getting attacked by Wallace on the left, Henry Wallace on the left and Strom Thurmond on the right and Dewey, the Republican. And he just -- frankly he didn't give a damn, as Clark Gable might say.
He thought it was a right thing to do given the service that black Americans gave during World War II and he thought it had to be done. And it's another example of how Harry Truman grew in his life. This was a guy that was mocked and ridiculed when he came to Washington, D.C. He was called a rube by "The New York Times." "Time Magazine" called him a mousey little man from Missouri.
And yet after he got elected president of the United -- or after he became president of the United States, after FDR's sudden death, he had to guide this country not only through the end of World War II, but also into a very turbulent peace time when Americans and especially Republicans were isolationists. They didn't want to be bothered by Europe. They didn't want to be bothered by the rest of the world. They'd just gotten past defeating Hitler.
And yet Joe Stalin, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union actually posed a great risk to freedom not only in Central Europe but Western Europe and across the world. And Truman marshaled the resources and the support from Republicans and Democrats alike to actually stand up and contain the Soviet Union spread and to ensure freedom in Europe and created really more than any other president over the past 75 years, created the world that we live in today.
REID: You know, and it's interesting because there's some ambivalence about him, too, right? There's the Hiroshima and Nagasaki which, you know, one might argue, you know, was incredibly cruel to have done and we've the only country that's used nuclear weapons. But he also is somebody who did grow as president.
Contrast that with the current guy, because he's not growing.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, it's hard to contrast it with the current guy because Truman believed in plain speaking. He said the buck stopped here. He actually liked making difficult decisions and slept better at night after he did what he thought was the right thing to do.
SCARBOROUGH: He didn't blame other people for his mistakes. He took responsibility and I believe at the end. He changed the world for the better.
REID: He was an adult.
Joe Scarborough --
SCARBOROUGH: He was an adult, yes.
REID: It helps. Author of "Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization", y'all pick it up.
REID: Still ahead, Michael Eric Dyson says he has proof that America's real religion is whiteness. We'll be right back.
REID: In the opening of his new book, Michael Eric Dyson writes directly to Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old black man who died last year in Colorado police custody.
Quote: Dear Elijah, we are about to see if it is true that we are one, to see if your death and those of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Hadiya Pendleton, Sandra Bland, Clementa Pinckney and untold others are viewed as worthy of the moral revulsion and from there the change of practice and belief that would prove a real reckoning is taking place.
Congress has not yet passed comprehensive police reform, and not because the House hasn't tried. Such reforms have met their untimely deaths in Grim Reaper Mitch McConnell's Senate.
And I'm joined now by Michael Eric Dyson, distinguished professor of African American and Diaspora studies at Vanderbilt University, and the author of "Long Time Coming: Reckoning With Race in America."
Michael, my friend, it is good to see you.
We're going to talk about the book. But I want to very quickly ask you what you make of this attempt by Mitch McConnell to rebrand himself in part by touting police reform, having signed a police reform bill. We know he blocked the one during President Obama's tenure.
And the House had passed a much more comprehensive one with chokehold bans and banning no knock warrants and getting rid of qualified immunity. They passed a weaker version in the Senate and shoved Tim Scott out front to be the face man for it.
Do you think there's a way that McConnell can launder his reputation based on that?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR, "LONG TIME COMING": No. It's utterly ridiculous. First of all, this is revision history before our eyes.
Usually, people wait a couple years to try to tell the story again, of what they did and did not do. And yet McConnell is caught in the very vice grip of a revisionist that says we're just going to paint everything like we did it great back then like we're doing it great right now. He wasn't as great back then and isn't as great as he thinks he is right now.
And to stand in the way of the making sure that a comprehensive piece of legislation passes after one of the most rancorous and horrible summers that we've endured in the long trek toward transformation of race in this country suggests that Mitch McConnell is tone deaf but he is color blind in the worst sense of the fashion, in the worst sense of the word. He refuses to acknowledge the persistence of the color in this culture.
He refuses to acknowledge that black continues to be a thing that generates such deep and profound opposition. That a policeman can put his knee on the neck of a black man lying on the pavement as his pallet and asphyxiate him before our eyes.
Mitch McConnell is one sense unwitting, but in another sense, a conscious accomplice in refusing racial progress in nation, and now to paint himself, to portray himself as Martin Luther McConnell is deeply and profoundly problematic.
REID: And, you know, your new book you talk about reckoning with race in America. And, you know, I think about Mitch McConnell centrality in the story of races in the last ten years, his blanket opposition in filibustering, using that good old fashion Southern technique. This is a man originally from Alabama --
REID: -- who used the filibuster prodigiously against President Obama, said, you can't put anybody on the federal court. You don't have the right. You're not a real president.
And then to try to tout his deputy becoming general attorney of Kentucky, and then for that black man to lie about the grand jury proceedings so that he can let white officers off for killing Breonna Taylor, I feel like Mitch McConnell is just as center to the sort of-- you know, diminution of black life that we've seen over the last 10 years as Trump.
DYSON: There is no question about that. That on the one hand -- you know, I talk about fast terror and slow terror. Fast terror is when bombs drop and lynch black people and heard this very explicitly by the police who hurt and harm and kill us. Slow terror is kicking kids out of school, denying them opportunity to be fed both mentally and physically.
Mitch McConnell in this sense if Trump is the fast terrorists and a fast racist, then McConnell is taking a slower train towards racial revulsion. He is enacting some of the worst practices we have seen in the history of this nation. In regard to senator blocking the coming to fruition of legislation that could relieve the hurt and suffering of black people.
And to proudly stand up and say he wanted to make Obama a one term president, this shows us that the real religion in America is whiteness. The real politics in McConnell's orbit are whiteness, the worship of whiteness at the altar of whiteness, genuflecting before the god of whiteness. And therefore, Donald Trump is a product of a womb that has generated this disfigured first person in terms of politics.
But McConnell is part of that womb. Mitch McConnell gives life and breath to the very denunciation of blackness that Donald Trump has been so vehemently denounced for.
And look, he then puts forward a black face representation literally in Daniel Cameron, so that there's a ventriloquism going on. Daniel Cameron's mouth is moving, McConnell's thoughts are coming through his tongue. This is the worst japito (ph) we've ever seen, and pulling those strings is one of the worst white supremacists' enactments that we've seen in the last 15 years in American politics.
REID: You know, you're writing about reckoning with race. Talk to me about how we do that when somebody like this guy can start off at the march on Washington at 20 years old and get all the way here, right? Get all the way to the place where he's denying a black president's humanity, and right to even occupy the office.
If he can fall that far, I mean, this guy was against -- he was for having sanctions on South Africa. That's an actual true thing.
REID: For him to have devolved into whatever this is Mitch McConnell is now, blocking the John Lewis bill on voting rights from getting to the floor, blocking people from getting rent relief, people are hungry, people are standing in food lines. People are suffering, and he doesn't give a damn.
If people can devolve that much, I don't know how we reckon with race in America. Do you have an answer for that in this book?
DYSON: Well, this is what is true. First of all, he was mistakenly there. He happened to be there. He was accidentally there.
He did not deliberately go to attend the march. He even admitted that he couldn't hear the words, Martin Luther King Jr., uttered that day.
And this many years later, he still cannot hear the resounding echo of an edifying sonic appeal from a majestic trumpet of conscience like Martin Luther King Jr. He still is tone deaf, still incapable of listening to calls and cries of black people who say, what will be done in the Senate to at least acknowledge the centrality of race and the degree to which black people continue to be punished by legislation and practices on the street.
So, Mitch McConnell isn't never been there for real to begin with, and even now, yes, how we reckon with it because black folks know this isn't the first time, we done seen this. We have seen this from get-go. We have seen this from the very beginning -- white people who pretend to be our friends and then stab us in the back.
And what we understand is that Mitch McConnell is showing us that diversity by itself without equity, without justice, means nothing. Think about it. The police people who killed George Floyd, two white men, a black man, an Asian man, that's diversity, but diversity toward an unjust goal. That's diversity but without equity being embraced.
So, Mitch McConnell is articulating the noble ideals and words, but he is falling short on their follow through. Black people have always been dealing with this from the very beginning. This isn't the first time.
DYSON: (AUDIO GAP) god who will overcome, we believe in people who transcend barriers and we know that --
DYSON: -- black people will survive (AUDIO GAP).
REID: The book is "Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America", another must-read book from Michael Eric Dyson. My friend, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here tonight.
REID: Don't go anywhere. My interview with comedian Leslie Jones is up next. You do not want to miss it.
Stay with us.
REID: The pandemic has upended all of our lives. The past ten months have been a stream of unrelenting pain and agony quite frankly. Trump's abysmal performance in the face of the pandemic has only added insult to injury.
But rest assured, all is not lost. There are glimmers of hope and joy out there.
Take, for example, comedian Leslie Jones, formally of "Saturday Night Live" and the current host of ABC's "Supermarket Sweep", who has made her cable news commentary a favorite spectator sport.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLIE JONES, COMEDIAN: I came just so I could see you again, Katie. Fire is what I think when I see you, Katie.
He's a Trump impersonator. How disgustingly sad.
Yo, this is what I want to know. Georgia, what part of Georgia is this?
Mitch McConnell crying is like the devil weeping over not being able to kill 50 more people.
Hey, yo, guys, is that Geraldo Rivera? Wait a minute, Geraldo Rivera is a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Trumper?
You're up there with a chart that you can't even read. He can't even read this chart.
This is exactly what we supposed to be doing. Just like he said, the government is supposed to look like what America looks like. Man, I'm loving it, Biden and Kamala!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Ms. Jones is putting her talents to good use. She just wrapped up an Instagram live event with Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff.
And Leslie Jones joins me now.
OK. Ms. Leslie Jones, I have to tell you, this is proof that God changes things, because I was like, please, can we just try to get booked Leslie Jones?
Because your commentary about politics is my favorite thing in the entire world. I pretty much only want to listen to you talk about politics.
How did this begin? How did you start on this journey of commenting on everything that happens in politics on MSNBC?
JONES: OK. First of all, Joy, I let them know that I was not going to do any interview first but yours. That's right.
I love Joy. Joy to the world. Joy to the fishes and the deep blue sea. I love Joy.
REID: I love you too. I got a chance to see -- uh-huh?
JONES: No, it started when I saw you one day. I saw you and I was like oh, my God. And I started watching.
And I think at the time Steve was at the board and I was like, who is this guy? He is absolutely thorough and awesome. Who is he? He looks concerned. I need him in my life.
And that's how we started.
REID: So let me quickly play a little montage for our audience who has not heard some of your commentary about all those on MSNBC. Here it is.
JONES: Oh my God!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: They are brother and sister, seriously, because they have both the sarcasticness and the passive aggressiveness that we need when we are getting some (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off of our chest.
This is Lawrence? Is this guy (INAUDIBLE) Lawrence? I like that guy. He is very common.
Brian -- Brian is petty. I love him.
I bow at the altar of the magnificence, of the geometrical. It's just -- he's not even moving.
When Nicky puts her glasses on that means that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that needs to be read. I'm only for Nicky -- for Nicky today.
Maybe he has a whole bunch of these pants. I don't know, but he's my hero. He's my hero right now.
Joy, Joy, do you see him, Joy? Joy, do you see that purple suit? Joy, do you know you're talking to Morris Day?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Morris Day -- OK, I fell on the floor. I mean, literally, I watched that about 400 times, because he really did put that purple suit on. He meant it.
JONES: It's not purple, it's blue. It's blue, Leslie, I promise.
REID: He really truly -- he did it with authority.
But when you look at politics today, I -- I had the blessing of seeing you do comedy live. And you are obviously hysterically funny.
But how do you find your ability to laugh at the way the things have gone over the last four years? How have you preserved that just for yourself?
JONES: Because I'm 53 years old, Joy. I've been -- I've been through a lot of presidencies. You know what I'm saying? You know, I was around with Reagan and I have been around a long time.
And I have a great sense of humor and you have to have a great sense of humor in life, because either you're going to cry all night or you're going to laugh. I'd rather laugh, you know.
JONES: It's -- you know, my favorite thing to do is to do crowd work and the person that I'm talking about, make them laugh the most. I just -- I find joy in doing -- Joy, Joy -- I find joy in doing it. It's so fun. And it makes everybody happy.
And, look, Joy, people who didn't know each other before now know each other. Like all of these people that are coming, I don't know them.
JONES: Madeleine Albright, somebody told me, I was like, oh, I didn't know she was somebody. I was just talking to a duo walking on a jacket. You know what I'm saying?
Like, you know, James Carville, oh my God. I couldn't believe it. Like I love it. I love that they love it.
REID: You're making people love politics. So, I have to ask you. You were just in Georgia. You did an event for -- not in Georgia, but you were doing an event for Jon Ossoff.
I don't know if you got a chance to watch this debate that took place this past week. But let me play just a little bit of it for those who didn't see it.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Our senator has been absent, is absent. Doesn't think he needs to be here answering questions. Doesn't think he needs to be in Washington passing relief for the people.
RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: When you received the private briefing regarding the coronavirus pandemic, you dumped millions of dollars of stock in order to protect your own investments. And then weeks later, when there came an opportunity to give ordinary Georgians an extra $600 of relief, you said you saw no need and called it counterproductive.
Why do you think it's counterproductive to help ordinary Georgians in the middle of a pandemic?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What do you make of this -- of this race, and what do you think the stakes are for the country?
JONES: Well, I think everybody needs to know that the people that are in Senate now that need their place taken are not taking care of this country. That's what we need to look at.
I mean, it's very obvious. We have people who have died. We have people who are unemployed. We have people who are hungry and losing their jobs and losing their businesses.
And these -- all these people pay taxes. We were looking for America to take care of us. That's the first thing.
JONES: Second of all, what's at stake is our democracy. And, you know, how can you not look at these two candidates and not want them to represent your state?
I tell you, Jon Ossoff, what? What a man, what a man, what a man, what a majestic (ph) man.
JONES: Gosh. Gosh. That's what we want our Senate to look like. We want our Senate to look like that.
And, let me ask you this, because, you know, I like to say, I've gotten to see you in clubs, in comedy clubs. And there are so many performers that are hurting right now who really depended on live performances, in nightclubs, on the places where you have done so much work to get to where you are today.
REID: Does it frustrate you and enrage you that it's so hard to get our representatives to just pass a bill that could help folks like that, the people who are suffering that way.
JONES: I'm -- you know what I'm more about that? I'm not as mad as them as I'm mad at us as the people for not making them do it. Do you understand what I'm saying?
JONES: How are we divided right now? That makes no sense.
JONES: How we made this pandemic a political thing, it makes me absolutely enraged. And it makes me go --
JONES: -- OK, is half our country is selfish? Are you all selfish? Are you not really taking -- like are you really not taking this seriously? You have seen 300,000 people and just the sight of seeing bodies in a freezer truck, Joy.
How does that not break your --
JONES: -- break whatever it is? Even if you don't believe it and I'm not going to wear a mask just because I don't want to be a part of the bad stuff that's going on. Come on, you guys.
JONES: When are you going to start thinking about each other instead of our own agendas?
REID: Absolutely, amen to that.
OK, I have to ask you a question about "Supermarket Sweep". I would -- I'd be remiss if I did not ask.
REID: OK. So, you need to give some advice. Now, if -- I was, let's say, on "Supermarket Sweep", would it make more sense logically to go for the big mega pack of diapers or to go for the ham? Because I feel like go for the ham is the way people want to go. But which way should go?
JONES: Well, the hams -- I think the hams are priced at $65. And the diapers are priced at something like $47. So, it's always good to go for the meat first. The meat, meat.
JONES: And then, plus, we have a lot of items that are marked with the gold -- with the gold sticker so you know that it is over $100. So, it's always good --
JONES: -- to go for the meat, because they got $300 meat over there. They got $60 for all the steaks (ph) are $65. It's always good to go for the meat first.
I understand that diapers cost a lot but --
REID: I love you.
REID: Amen. Leslie Jones, I love you and there is nothing you can do about it. I adore you. Thank you so much for being here.
REID: You made my year. I'm retiring now, though. I'm retiring now because you came on my show.
Before we take a quick break, take a look at some of our favorite moments from the first six months of THE REIDOUT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Good evening, I'm Joy Reid, and welcome to THE REIDOUT.
My first guest is the man who will face Donald Trump in November, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Senator Kamala Harris of California.
Joining me now, Stacey Abrams. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Liza Garza and Patrisse Cullors, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Breaking news tonight from the Department of Justice, streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where protests are continuing after another police shooting of a black man.
The most volatile, postelection transition period in modern, American history.
We have some breaking news that we have to report to you. Unfortunately, that news is that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, has died apparently.
A short time ago, Donald Trump left the White House and was flown to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It was described as a precautionary measure, after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
There are moments in this job when you realize that you're witnessing some of the great horrors of history. This is a president, who was just hospitalized for an intensely contagious disease. He is still highly contagious. Highly contagious.
He took off his mask. A highly infectious person, standing there, surrounded by many, other people.
I am joined by Ja'Ron Smith, former deputy assistant to the president in the Trump administration.
Do you accept and believe that Joe Biden is the president-elect of the United States?
JA'RON SMITH, FORMER DEPUTY TRUMP AIDE: Well, I think we should just let the -- the nation kind of run its course on the investigations and lawsuits.
REID: What -- what investigation, specifically?
SMITH: Well, I mean, there's a number of lawsuits that we filed that --
REID: Give me a specific one. Name -- name me one. Name me one that has not already been thrown out.
SMITH: I'm not going to get specific. I'm just saying, very generally, on the --
REID: But you're the one who said it. But hold on. You said that you think it should run its course in all the investigations. So, you ought to know what investigations you mean and what you are alleging happened.
SMITH: I -- I wasn't being specific. I was meaning that, generally.
REID: I am joined now by Cori Bush, the Democratic primary winner in Missouri's first district.
You are a working-class woman. Do you think that that's what's missing in Congress? So many of those people are millionaires and multimillionaires, so many of them are disconnected from the idea that $600 in your unemployment check could make all the difference in the world. That's something they can't relate to.
Do you think the fact that you can relate to those kinds of struggles, do you think that will make you a different kind of congresswoman? And in what way would you be different?
CORI BUSH (D-MO), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Yes, it will make me a different congressperson. For me, being someone who has lived out of my car. You know, let me tell you, that pain of the struggle that I've been through. I can still feel that pain right now. So, that pain is walking with me into the doors of -- into the doors of Congress. And -- and that's what's going to feed me. That's what's going to fuel everything I do.
REID: I am joined now by Jacob Blake's father. I want to talk to you just a little bit about how Jacob is doing. How are his spirits? And what is his prognosis for recovery?
JACOB BLAKE, SR., JACOB BLAKE'S FATHER: He's heavily sedated. So, he's in and out of consciousness. And we just -- you know, he's hanging on, Joy. And he's hanging on so tough that they can't write him off. He's a tough, young -- he's a tough guy.
REID: If he is paralyzed, shackling him makes no sense, right? He's not going anywhere.
BLAKE: Well, it made no sense, Joy, for the seven shots in his back. That made no sense.
REID: Right. And he's talking --
BLAKE: None of this makes sense to me.
REID: 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.
For a lot of black women in America today, this is the ultimate affirmation. 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.
Vote for all the people who were denied for centuries this basic right of citizenship, the enslaved and their descendants, who still had to fight for the vote 100 years after the 13th Amendment. Women who went to jail for demanding suffrage and only got it on the 19th out of 27 amendments to the Constitution.
Vote because our rights matter. Our lives matter. Our planet matters and because you matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: There is more to come on our REIDOUT holiday special. Don't go anywhere.
REID: 2020, what a year it has been. Despite the virus and the horrors that have come out of this White House, we managed to launch this very show from our home six months ago now. Now you see me here each night, but this show wouldn't come together without my wonderful staff and crew.
Executive producer Tina Urbanski.
Senior producers, Robert Zeliger, Lorena Ruiz, Pete Fall.
Line producer, Robert Lyon.
Segment producers, Tiffany Mullon, Valerie McCabe, Kai Ma, Will Rabbe, Jonathan Helman and Rachel Witkin.
Our booking producers, Bridget Mulcany, Kiir Knight.
Associate producers, Adam Garnett, Lauren Raposa, Henry "Hank" Butler.
Digital producer, Geet Jeswani.
Production assistant, Noa Halffe.
News associate, Esohe Osabuohien.
And 2020 interns, Samuel Cronin, Jacob Imber, and Jessica Torres.
Our directors are Sterling Brown, Darin Devivo.
Our technical production manager is Chris Wan.
Our technical directors, Bob Barton, Emily Groh, Leisel Kober, and Dane Wilson.
Our audio engineers, Rob Alexander and Daniel Demyanovich.
Stage managers, Louisa Abreu, Thomas Franco, and Jaclyn Palefsky.
Steadi cam operators, Kareem McKelvey, Daniel Swaratsingh, Matthew Zeidman.
Robotic cameras run by Katie Abline, Mark Schmidt, Michael Young.
Video and lighting, Rachel Finn and Douglas Youmans.
Graphics playback, Lindsey Hargrave, Rebecca Schumann, Deirdre Rogliano.
Our video playback, Mary K Makanjuola.
Our teleprompter is Marquise Hansford and Jesse Zingman.
And our editors, Evan Caligor, Caroline Garnes, Katie Hakucsa, Jim Jenkin, Kim Mayhorn, Annette Perretta, Nicholas Savino, Steve Thornton, Andrew Trattler.
Our art directors, Markus Frei and Matt Nieroda.
Our graphics coordinator Alex Sweeney.
Our graphic artists, Mia Arroni, Dan Brock, Antonio Franqueira, Teddy Hahn, and Art Mkrtchyan.
A special thanks to MSNBC president, Phil Griffin. And thank you to everyone involved in the making of THE REIDOUT. All hands, large and small.
And thanks to you at home for watching. Happy holidays to you and your family and let 2021 bring better days.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END
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