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Transcript: The ReidOut, September 30, 2020

Guests: Karen Bass, Chuck Schumer, Mari Manoogian, Malcolm Kenyatta


Debate commission is said to tighten rules after the chaotic presidential debate. Biden rides Amtrak to campaign events in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Biden, on debate, says Trump is a national embarrassment. Biden manages to talk policy despite Trump's disruptions. Trump tells Proud Boys to stand back and stand by. Trump urges supporters to act as poll watchers. Fox anchors praise Trump's debate performance. Trump allies express concerns about debate debacle. Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy groups. Voters react to Trump, Biden debate performances. U.S. Senate race tightens in South Carolina.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for sticking with us here on our big show on a big night after a lot of big news. We'll be back with you tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. And right now, it's THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Many of us woke up today to the emotional hangover that followed the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Though the term, debate, might not be the most accurate description, because it was more like watching Trump take a sledge hammer to the American democratic process, toss it to a dumpster, and light it on fire, then roll the flaming dumpster down the street, or screaming at the top of his lungs wear on a bedroom slippers and a robe with the presidential seal stitched on it.

In fact, the debate was so unruly on Trump's part that the Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-partisan organization announced today that it plans to alter the format for future debates. According to one source close to the committee, that includes possibly cutting off the candidate's microphone when they violate the rules.

Biden reacted to the debacle today during a campaign stop during an Amtrak swing-through battleground Ohio and Pennsylvania, that's part of his updated version of a whistle stop tour.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president of the United States conducted himself the way he did, I think it was just a national embarrassment.

I promise you if, in fact, we win this election, this president will step down. For a lot of bravado, he has no alternative. The American people will not stand for it. No agency would stand for that happening.


REID: Meanwhile, Trump's wounded Twitter finger launched a war against his opponent before he too emerged to address his inability to denounce white supremacists during the debate.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you ought to give me a definition because I really don't know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.


REID: Trump then returned to Twitter to brag about one of his favorite topics, ratings, on what he called the highest cable television ratings of all time. Certainly couldn't describe that debate, which suffered a 35 percent drop in ratings from four years ago.

And, anyway, he is missing the point. The nation isn't thinking about ratings, but the almost 208,000 deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus, a pandemic Trump has mishandled to a devastating degree.

Now, to be clear, while being disruptive was supposedly Trump strategy last night, it certainly went way off the rails because of who he is. This is not the behavior of a person who seems frankly in control of his own behavior. It's clear, in fact, that he isn't even trying to win the election any more. Instead, what we witnessed last night was a president who finally understands that he is losing.

He's lagging in the polls. He's losing ground with older voters, working class white voters and suburban women. As for people of color, well, he never had us. So instead of an exchange that benefitted the American electorate, what we got was this.


BIDEN: I'm not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he's a liar.

TRUMP: But you agree, Joe, you're the liar.

BIDEN: I want to make sure --

TRUMP: You were last in your class, not first in your class.

BIDEN: I want to make sure --

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Mr. President, can you let him finish, sir?

BIDEN: He doesn't know how to do that. He has (INAUDIBLE). Well, do you have any idea what this clown is doing, how strongly you feel. Let -- vote now. Make sure, because the question is -- would you shut up, man.


REID: And you had Biden in an almost impossible situation, still managed to pierce through the chaos and have his message heard.


BIDEN: Do you believe for a moment what he is telling you in light of all the lies he's told you about the whole issue relating to COVID.

My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem, he's overtaken it, he's fixed it, he's work on it and I'm proud of him. This is not about my family, his family, it's about your family, that American people --


REID: Joining me now is Congresswoman, Karen Bass of California, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. And in a moment, I'll talk to Steve Schmidt, former Republican Strategist and Senior Adviser to the Lincoln Project. And I'm going to start with you Congresswoman.

Donald Trump claims he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are. In the past, he claimed he didn't know who David Duke was, even though he himself had condemned David Duke for racism. So that is ridiculous. He knows exactly who the Proud Boys are. He called upon them last night. They picked up his slogan as their slogan.

So let me get right to it with this what is being called the failure to condemn white supremacists, which is also promoting and pushing them and saying, here is I what want you to do. Here he was last night.


TRUMP: Give me a name, give me name --

WALLACE: White supremacists and white --

BIDEN: Proud Boys.

TRUMP: Proud boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, somebody has got to do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem.


REID: So Congresswoman, it's not as if the Proud Boys have never showed up around a place when an election is happening. I know in Broward County, there were issues of not just them but other Trump supporters in 2018 showing up and trying to intimidate people. What is the party, what are Democrats, like yourself, planning to do to protect voters in the wake of this threat from the president of the United States and the militias who love him?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): It was just absolutely a tragedy to see that performance last night. But let me just tell you that we are very active, we're active in the Congressional Black Caucus, active in all parts of the Democratic caucus to talk to voters, do the education now to make sure that people know how to vote, that they have a plan to vote and then, of course, encouraging people to vote from home, because that's the safest way to vote, but to mail their ballots in early, because the desperation has reached to the point where the president has attempted to manipulate the Post Office.

And where they are, where you do vote in person, if you don't have a choice, then we need to make sure that we're there protecting the folks that are waiting in line. We need to make sure that we're there with food and water, because we anticipate the lines being deliberately very long because we know they're reducing the polling places where people can.

REID: But, Congresswoman, you know, if people show up and vote, it's one thing because they feel more secure, in a sense, maybe some people do, because, like, at least, I know it got done. But what Trump is promising is to have his supporters meet people at the polls, and you know he's going to be targeting people that look like us, look like brown people and AAPI people, anyone who he can identify as probably not his voters, right? Voters of color will be especially vulnerable. And this is what he said last night essentially promising that he was going to have massive voter intimidation. Here he is.


TRUMP: I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it.

I am urging my people. I hope it's going to be a fair election, if it's fair, I am 100 percent on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that.


REID: Look, he's not going to see ballots. Ballots are private. What he would see is the numbers going in the other direction. And when -- if he's promising to have his supporters, if armed people who love Donald Trump show up at the polls, what are people supposed to do?

BASS: Absolutely. And, you know, this certainly isn't the first time this has happened. I mean, essentially, he's calling vigilantes out. He's calling vigilantes out to intimidate people. We had that problem years ago in Southern California. They were specifically targeting immigrants where people weren't sure if it was ICE that was showing up.

And that's where voter education is so important. We're going to have to have hotlines. We're going to have to make sure that people are there to protect folks. We're going to have to make sure that elected officials in the areas, I mean, we know that this is going to happen. And our best defense is where you can to vote early. And our best defense is to organize and to make sure that people are there, and they understand that they might be there, looking like they're going to intimidate. But we have to stand strong.

REID: Yes.

BASS: And I believe -- I mean, this is just the act of somebody who is utterly, utterly desperate.

REID: And, you know, and I'm going to thank you very much, Congresswoman Karen Bass, this is the reason why people of color not feeling like they trust police becomes a problem. Because, ordinarily, you would say, call 911. But for a lot of black people, they're afraid to do that, because they're not sure that they won't be the ones who are treated as some sort of threat and that they won't be -- so it's problem overall. Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Meanwhile, over on Earth Two, at the president's favorite news network, his allies had fawning praise for his performance.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The gladiator, warrior, fighter in Donald Trump. This energizer bunny that's ready for battle and combat.

DAN BONGINO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Trump is an apex predator, he's the lion king.

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: The kind of guy that goes into the lion's den and he comes out with a pelt over his shoulder and his tie straight.


REID: Steve Schmidt joins me now. You know, Steve, you know, there's a piece in The Daily Beast in which Donald Trump's own side called him if feral. So what is it that -- I mean, I don't understand how you disassociate your body from your soul enough to say what I just heard in that montage. Do you get it? Why even now, with Donald Trump essentially high fiving white nationalist and ultranationalist groups and encouraging them to stand back and stand by, why are these people still defending him?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What I would say, Joy, is stop trying to understand it and stop trying to analyze it. It's not important anymore. We can talk about that later. But right now, in this moment, millions of Americans are voting.

And there are two sides in this debate. There's an un-American side, and that un-American side is built on a foundation of all of the ugly virtues that you saw last night, a blustery, lying buffoon, nasty, rude, not playing by the rules. You see someone who is out of control.

And you understand perfectly that's the man sitting in the Oval Office steering this ship of state into the proverbial iceberg. It's why we have 200,000 dead Americans. It's why if we were Germany, we had a competent leader like Angela Merkel, we would have 150,000 fewer dead Americans.

But we should understand now that the propagandas, the corrupt people, the serial liars like Sarah Huckabee that you just showed a quick snapshot on Fox News, they have done tremendous damage to this country. They've been his abettors in stoking a cold civil war.

And now, at an hour where the president intimates political violence, should there be an election which repudiates him, which we're on the verge of having, they say nothing. When we have a president who gives essentially a lock and load order to heavily arm paramilitary white supremacist militias, tells them to be ready, tells them to be ready to act, who sets the boundaries of the elections as essentially, if I win, there will be a peaceful transition of power, but if I lose and I'm repudiating, there will be chaos. And the definition of an illegitimate election is an election in which I lose.

Where is the outrage from the Susan Collins and the Cory Gardners and the Marco Rubios, and from all of these people? Where is it? Where is it?

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: We saw a president of the United States threaten violence against the country last night in no uncertain terms.

And there's only one line left to cross now, Joy, only one. We saw someone who was losing last night, threatening violence in the context of losing. Soon, he will ask his supporters, soon, those propagandists you saw on Fox will say to those supporters to cross the last and previously unimaginable line in American life.

He will ask them to act seditiously, to stand in a movement to deny the popular and sovereign will of the American people, to retain the loser of an American election in power. We see Donald Trump intimating to the American people that, yes, I, Donald Trump have violence on my side. That's what the threat is.

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: And what I would say to the American people that the question you asked Karen Bass, is you cannot be afraid. You cannot flinch. You cannot back up. You have to do your duty as a citizen and you have to show courage. Do not be intimidated. You must vote. We will vote.

And we will vote Donald Trump and his despicable family that has stained 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for four years, we will vote them back home to Trump Tower in New York City where they can face the consequences before God and the judgment of the American people for the profound damage that they have done to this country, and for the lives lost that didn't have to be.

REID: And, you know, Steve, I do not trust any of these Republicans. You have Tim Scott making excuses for Donald Trump today. You have Susan Collins trying to both sides what happened last night. The problem is, is that there's no way to have confidence in any member of the House of Representatives, in members of the state legislatures of these state parties, to stand up for their constitutional role and their constitutional duty.

If Donald Trump clearly loses the election, let's say, in Pennsylvania, how do we even trust that the Pennsylvania legislature, which is a Republican-dominated legislature, won't just say I don't care, we don't care, we're giving him the election? Why shouldn't we assume the House of Representatives will do it as well? What can we do as citizens to ensure that they don't try to do that?

SCHMIDT: We should not trust them. I don't know that they won't try to do that. But there will be no Trump coup in this country, Joy. And the vice president is right. The legitimately elected president of the United States will be sworn into office on January 20th.

But we have to talk about what happened last night, the blustering, the disgrace, the humiliation that we all feel as Americans watching this, none of that matters. The only thing that matters about that debate is what happened at the end. Donald Trump gave a lock and load order to heavily armed, paramilitary, white supremacist militia organizations. Tim Scott knows that's exactly what he did. The white supremacist organizations are reveling in the support of the president today. They're celebrating it.

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: We know, we know that Donald Trump has said that an election where he does not win is an illegitimate election. We know that he has intimated that there will be violence if he loses, so there's no trip wire now between where we are and the edge of the cliff.

The last thing that Donald Trump will ask his principalist factotum in the United States Senate and the United States House to do with him is to stand shoulder to shoulder and to deny the legitimacy of a vote and the popular and sovereign will of the American people. He will ask them to cross the line and act as enablers for an autocratic regime. He will ask them to end the American experiment.

And every one of these people should not be trusted because we're at the last line.

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: If Tim Scott, an African-American Republican United States Senator, cannot plainly and clearly, that what Donald Trump said last night and denounce it unequivocally, the party is lost. If Susan Collins looks at that debate and the analysis says, well, they were rude on both sides. Are you kidding me?

Not one of these people, not one of them, not one time to the floor of the Senate went to the Oval Office, did anything when they knew Trump was lying to the country about COVID. They knew how dangerous it was.

And now to stand idly by in complicit silence as Donald Trump threatens the foundations of American democracy, the right to vote? It is shameful, it is despicable. And soon they will be asked to cross the Rubicon, a place from where there is no return.

And we are in for it in this country over the next 40 days. Prepare for chaos. But we, the American people, will not surrender our sovereignty to the Trump family and his Senate enablers, no way, no how. And that's what we do about it.

REID: Yes, absolutely. Vote, vote, vote, make it clear who the people have chosen. Steve Schmidt, as always, thank you very much, my friend. I really appreciate it.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump takes his COVID denial to the debate stage.


TRUMP: When needed, I wear masks.

WALLACE: Okay, let me ask --

TRUMP: I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from anyone. He shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.


REID: Senate Democratic Chuck Schumer joins me on that, and whether Congress has a plan to handle a president who might refuse to surrender power, Steve and I just discuss.

Plus, the Proud Boys hate group and their walk and nod alliance with the Trump campaign. Why is Trump so hesitant to call them out?

And yet another stunning new poll in Lindsey Graham's home state that's got to have the White House rattled tonight. Graham's opponent, Jaime Harrison joins me.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: Yesterday, on the same day, Trump was on stage in Cleveland ranting like a petulant child, 777 Americans died.

A total of more than seven million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus. More than 200,000 of them have died. Cases in North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Iowa are surging. Wisconsin is in a full-blown state of crisis. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Trump will hold one of his super-spreader rally events on Saturday, hospitals are dangerously close to maximum capacity.

And when asked about the pandemic, Trump called his handling of the success -- I mean, of this mess a success.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Far fewer people are dying. We've done a great job.

The only thing I haven't done a good job -- and that's because of the fake news. No matter what you say to them, they give you bad press on it. It's just fake news.


REID: Joe Biden had a different opinion.


JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's too weak to beat the pandemic, costing more than 200,000 American lives, that's upended every part of our lives, hit working people particularly hard.

Your businesses are closed and schools aren't back to normal because Donald Trump hasn't done his job.


REID: Joining me now, Senate majority -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

And, Senator, thank you so much for being here.

You have a president...

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Thank you, Joy.

REID: Thank you very much.

We have a president here who will not acknowledge the number of dead, the number of sick, who wants to take away the Affordable Care Act for the now seven million people who have a preexisting condition from coronavirus, whose administration blocked the CDC from grounding cruise ships because it was more important for cruise ships to sail than for people to survive.

If Donald Trump were to somehow cling to power and get four more years, what's the outlook for the American people, for our health, for our economy?

SCHUMER: Atrocious.

This man is an inveterate liar. You saw his debate performance. I thought it was summed up well by Shakespeare. Four hundred years ago, he summed up Donald Trump.

He said that he's a -- it's -- let me just get the exact words right -- a tale -- this -- his -- this is his debate performance, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Donald Trump just lies at will. I have never seen any person I have met who lies so easily, with no conscience qualms, with no honor, with no values. He will say whatever pops into his head that he thinks makes him look good.

And on COVID, Joy, I called him on January 26, and said, this is a national crisis, declare a national emergency. It took him a month to do that. I called on him on March 6 to invoke the Defense Production Act, so we could get testing out there, like Korea and so many other countries had done successfully. Nothing there.

He said it would go away. He ignored it. And, of course, there would be many, many fewer deaths, many, many fewer illnesses, the economy would be better, more people would have jobs, more small businesses would have stayed open, if not for one thing, Donald Trump.

REID: Well -- and the problem, I think, Senator, is that Donald Trump's party, the members of his party aren't much better, I hate to say.

SCHUMER: They're -- you are so right. You are so...

REID: They're not much better.

One second.

SCHUMER: The most appalling thing to me is, I just have to -- is, he is so bad, and all the Republican senators just march in lockstep...

REID: Correct.

SCHUMER: ... to this man.

And that is as bad, if not worse, almost, than Donald Trump.


REID: Absolutely. Of course.

No, no problem at all, because I was just going to go through a couple of instances. You have this gentleman John Ratcliffe, who's now running our intelligence services, peddling Russian propaganda directly to Lindsey Graham, not even having Dianne Feinstein, who is the ranking member, involved.

He just peddles it directly into the veins of Lindsey Graham. Graham goes along with that. And I guess he's forgotten that John McCain ever existed.

You have got the Republicans refusing to put a relief bill on the table to save Americans' businesses. Twenty percent of American small businesses are closed. There's still no deal. People have lost their extended unemployment insurance.

I don't understand how it's even possible to negotiate with these people anymore.

SCHUMER: Well, it's...

REID: Is there a single Republican with any -- acting with any integrity?

SCHUMER: You know, we're searching for one. It's like Diogenes, to go back to these references, these literary references, searching for an honest man or woman. It's hard to find.

They're either -- they either go along with Trump -- look, on the COVID bill, there are 20 Republican senators who don't want to spend one nickel. The greatest economic crisis since the Depression 75 years ago, the greatest health care crisis since the Spanish Flu 100 years ago, and they don't want to spend a nickel, because their right-wing finance -- financiers don't want to pay any taxes, don't want any government regulation.

And we're putting on the floor tomorrow -- I managed -- we're fighting this Supreme Court nomination with the tools that we have. McConnell has limited those tools, when he so defiled the Senate and changed all the rules.

But, tomorrow, I managed to go on the floor when there was no Republican there, ask to put on the floor a proposal that said, we will spend no money to fight to repeal the ACA in the court case coming up August 10. We will see where the Republicans stand.

They all say, oh, yes, I'm for protecting preexisting conditions. They will have a chance to show it tomorrow. Let's see what they do.

REID: We know that Senator John Thune, who is the Republican conference chair, has threatened your caucus and has said that, if Democrats attempt to delay the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, he says, if they use dilatory tactics to try to keep this nominee from moving forward, it won't come without a price.

That sounds like a threat.

What do you think he's threatening to do? And what are -- what are Democrats prepared to do back?

SCHUMER: Well, the reason they're in such a tizzy is, they know that Amy Coney Barrett is so far away from where the Americans -- American people are.

She wants to get rid of the ACA, 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions gone. A mother or a father who has a daughter or son with cancer has to watch them suffer, and they can't get insurance; 40 million senior citizens will pay a lot more for prescription drugs, 20 million Americans who will lose their health care.

They don't want to admit that. So they try all these kinds of threats and everything else. They have ruined the Senate. We are using all the tactics we can to slow the thing down, as I said.

REID: Would that include adding, if the Senate becomes a Democratic majority, adding D.C. and Puerto Rico as states and ending the filibuster?

SCHUMER: I would -- believe me, on D.C. and Puerto Rico, particularly if Puerto Rico, votes for it -- D.C. already has voted for it and wanted -- love to make them states.


SCHUMER: And, as for the filibuster, I didn't -- I'm not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing.

We are going to get a whole lot done. And, as I have said, everything, everything is on the table.

REID: Thank you so much, Senator Chuck Schumer...

SCHUMER: Thank you, Joy.

REID: ... Senate minority leader. Thank you very much. Appreciate your time tonight.

SCHUMER: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

SCHUMER: Great. Bye.

REID: Still ahead: The far right nationalist Proud Boys are reportedly tickled pink about Trump's alarming shout-out to them last night.

So, who are they? And why is Trump telling them to stand by before an election?

That is next on THE REIDOUT. Stay with us.



TRUMP: Give me a name. Give me a name. Go ahead.

CHRIS WALLACE, MODERATOR: White supremacists and ...

BIDEN: White supremacists ...

TRUMP: Well, who would like me condemn?

WALLACE: White supremacists and...

BIDEN: The Proud Boys.


WALLACE: ... right-wing militia.

TRUMP: Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.

BIDEN: My message to the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist group is, cease and desist. That's not who we are. This is not who we are as Americans.


REID: Could Donald Trump have been any clearer?

Forget Trump's inability to call out white supremacists and militia groups. He is now promoting them, while the president and his supporters twist themselves into knots to try to clean up what he said.

Trump's message is being celebrated by the right-wing extremist group as a call to arms. The Proud Boys, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, have already added Trump's words, "Stand back and stand by," to their logo, as if it's their new rallying cry.

Joining me now is NBC News reporter Ben Collins, who covers the intersection of extremism and technology for us here at the shop.

And thank you so much for being here, Ben.

I saw you on TV earlier, and immediately plotted to steal you for our show tonight, because I thought your explanation was so clear. And a lot of people just hear these terms thrown around.

I know that Proud Boys have been arrested for things like gang riot. There was a case in New York, which we're going to show a little bit of V.O. over. But can you explain who they are?

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS REPORTER: They describe themselves as a Western chauvinist organization.

So, what does that mean to them? They want things to remain the same in terms of a white power structure and a male-dominated power structure, in fact, go back in time a little bit. That's their game plan.

They're named after a Disney movie. It sounds really cute, right? The Proud Boys, sounds very adorable. That's not what's going on. This is a violence-based gang. They call themselves a gang. They might be a militia.

And what they do is, they find protests throughout the country, and they go and they try to stir up stuff at those protests. And then, once they're at those protests, stirring stuff up, they say, hey, look at the violent left. That's the point.

They're not even from those places, by the way. They don't live in those cities. They go into those cities. You saw that -- that clip was in New York City from last year.

But this is -- now they're in the Pacific Northwest teaming up with other militias. And, basically, the best way of putting it, they are foot soldiers, very willing foot soldiers, for Donald Trump's culture war.

REID: And I sort of refer to them as sort of hipster gangsterism, right? They're -- it's sort of these guys who are -- this is their calling, like the Boogaloo Boys and other groups that are similar.

When Donald Trump did what he did last night and told them to stand back and stand by, the reaction to that was pretty instant. A lot of them have been banned off Twitter, but it was picked up that they were celebrating it on these other alternate social media things that the far right and sort of neo-Nazis and other groups have gone on to.

What did that do in terms of Donald Trump seeming to celebrate them?

COLLINS: Man, they have never been this excited.

And it's really unfortunate how excited they got, because they started making T-shirts saying, "Stand back and stand by" on it. They took this as a recruiting tool. And that's the danger in this thing.

It's hard to know when to report on the explicit stuff they say, because you're giving them attention, right? We're giving them attention by talking about them right now. And only 200 people showed up to their rally a couple weekends ago.

REID: Yes.

COLLINS: So, this isn't an enormous group. The problem is, there are people who support them, that support their ideology on the Internet who aren't willing to show up and do all the physical stuff these people do.

So, we're -- we have to be -- we have to have like a fine line here..

REID: Yes.

COLLINS: What exactly do we report?

Do we report on the fact that they were literally howling back at the TV screen and posted a video of it when Donald Trump had this call to arms for them? I think we have to report that. I think we have to say, like, these people really view this -- this is a guy who's giving them marching orders.

REID: Yes.

COLLINS: But how frequently do we bring up their ideology? It's hard to know.

REID: It's a very good point.

He's not the only one, Donald Trump. Matt Gaetz has done some things that make him seem like a fan. He's been at least photographed happily with Proud Boys members and has defended other members of the organization at other times.

What is their association to the Republican Party, if any?

COLLINS: Well, they hang out with Roger Stone and people like that.

They're around the fringes of what I would call like the extremely online far right Internet. This is a very online movement that started in 2016 by a guy who created VICE and has since gone extremely far right, and calls it his gang.

He was -- he said today, like, Donald Trump, you don't get to tell them what to do. I get to tell them what to do.

This is a guy who is like a -- he's like a master at manipulating the media. So, that's where this comes from. This is from a very online portion of the right that is extraordinarily dangerous.

REID: Yes, it is. It is a strange world. And I'm glad that you're keeping an eye on it for us.

Ben Collins, you're great. Thank you very much. Really appreciate your time tonight.

And up next: So, how is the horror show that we saw last night playing to voters across the country?

Stay with us.


REID: It might have been hard to remember during the chaos of last night, but presidential debates are usually meant to give voters a sense of what the candidates think about issues that are important to them.

Pollster Frank Luntz talked to a focus group of independent voters after the debate. Here's how they described Biden's performance: Better than expected, competent, coherent, nice guy but lacking vision, humanity and integrity, presidential. All right.

Their descriptions of Trump were different: horrid, chaotic, unpolished, here's my favorite, crackhead, unhinged, classic Trump, forceful, bully, arrogant, un-American.

He called him a crackhead.

I'm joined now by two Biden surrogates who contributed to the DNC's keynote speech this year. Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Michigan State Representative Mari Manoogian.

I'm going to give both of you -- I'm going to go lady's first. Representative Manoogian, your turn. One word, I want one word from each of you to describe it last night, and I'm going to note that crackhead is taken. Go.


REID: OK. OK. I'll take that, I'll take that.

And Representative Kenyatta?


REID: I think that that's fair. I'm going to stay with you just one moment, because Donald Trump last night also attacked your city, the city of Philadelphia. Here he is doing that.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, there was a big problem. In Philadelphia, they went into watch, they are called poll watchers. They're a very safe and very nice thing. They were thrown out, they weren't allowed to watch.

You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things.


REID: You thoughts on this statement about Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell is, in addition to him talking about his poll watchers, who we now know he intends to include the Proud Boys.

KENYATTA: No, absolutely, Joy. And thank you for having me back.

He says Philadelphia is a bad place, because he knows that people are going to come out in force to vote against his administration. You know, he delivered a performance yesterday that only the Proud Boys would be proud of.

Here in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, we believe that every voter and every vote should be counted. And that is what he is afraid of. He has been the most unprepared president in modern history. And he's a completely unserious person for deeply serious times.

And I think that that is his challenge, and it's why yesterday, he did nothing but throw a carnival show, because he was not able to address any of the issues that is really driving the election here in Pennsylvania. He said nothing about the farms that have been closed because of the trade wars, nothing about the 8,000-plus Pennsylvanians that have lost their lives to COVID-19, and nothing about the fact that Pennsylvania has been ground zero for the unemployment crisis because of his complete and utter mismanagement of this pandemic.

REID: Yeah, and I want to note that the poll watchers that Donald Trump was talking about were not approved to be at the location. You're not allowed to just throw people out there, and they weren't just approved. So, that's why they were removed.

And the corona deaths in Pennsylvania right now, 164,140 cases, 8,200-plus deaths, 10 percent unemployment rates. That's the situation in the state of Pennsylvania.

Let's go to Michigan, and, Representative Manoogian, you tweeted last night, because Donald Trump's other big theme is that he's the law enforcement guy, which is hard to swallow I think for a lot of people that law enforcement in any way would support him.

But you tweeted out that a lot of law enforcement officers support Joe Biden. What is your assessment of what you heard last night and the sort of calls to violence and trying to associate that with police?

MANOOGIAN: It's just completely unacceptable, Joy. And thanks again for having me back on to talk about such an important topic right now. You know, it's completely unacceptable to have the president of the United States basically calling for vigilantism should the election not go his way and saying that law enforcement is on his side if people are peacefully protesting.

This is a completely unhinged conversation. We saw last night, one person on that stage who was acting presidential, and it's not the person who currently holds that title. Joe Biden was an incredibly serious man last night for incredibly serious times, as Malcolm said. He spoke directly to the American people about how we need to come together as a country to get through this pandemic. What we saw from the other side was a total clown show.

REID: The coronavirus cases, I'll do the same thing for Michigan, 138,000 plus cases of coronavirus, 7,000 deaths, 9 percent unemployment rate. When you're talking, particularly with younger voters, maybe even first-time voters, I'll ask each of you, what is it that they actually want to hear? These are two much older candidates, but they have to speak across generations in order to have a chance.

So, I'll start with you, Representative Kenyatta, what do people -- what do your voters, particularly the younger voters want to hear?

KENYATTA: Well, you know what? The constant reality show that is Donald Trump really leads a lot of people to feel apathetic. But what I often say to folk is, when I hear people say, you know, I don't do politics, I say, well, politics does you.

And I think what they need to hear and what I hope folks understand is that on November 3rd, we are going to elect a president. We can either elect someone like Donald Trump that for four years has no clue what he's doing, for somebody that's going to address the concerns that people in my age bracket and younger have, concerns about climate, concerns about student debt, concerns about the deep poverty that has ravaged communities for generations.

And that is the type of bold vision that Vice President Biden laid out yesterday. And I was so happy that multiple times he just completely ignored Donald Trump and talked to the American people, because they need to hear from a leader.

REID: Quickly, your turn. We have a little bit more time, but I want to let you have the last word in, Representative Manoogian.

MANOOGIAN: Yeah, absolutely. Well, here in the state of Michigan, since the president took office, we've lost more than 57,000 manufacturing jobs, including in the auto industry. So folks in my district, they want to hear exactly how we're going to bring jobs back to the state of Michigan. And Joe Biden spoke directly to the American people how to do exactly just that.

REID: Absolutely. I'm going to put the polls before we go. Biden is winning in both states. He has about 50 percent in Michigan, about 50 percent in Pennsylvania. So he's looking pretty strong in both of those states.

State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and State Representative Mari Manoogian, we love having you guys on. You're part of our new focus group we're going to keep putting on.

Up next, today's stunning new poll from South Carolina, we just like them. Lindsey Graham's challenger, Jaime Harrison, joins me next on THE REIDOUT.

Don't go anywhere.


REID: There is a new battleground state emerging in this election, South Carolina. Yeah, South Carolina.

A new Quinnipiac poll out today shows incumbent Lindsey Graham tied with his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison 48-48. It also shows Donald Trump holding a one-point lead over Joe Biden, 48-47, well within the margin of error in a state Trump won by 14 points last time.

Jaime Harrison joins me now.

And, you know, the South, I keep saying it, is the hotness right now. This is now the third poll that either shows you tied or ahead with Mr. Graham.

What is it that you think is going to be the difference to get one of you to 49, to 50?

JAIME HARRISON (D), SOUTH CAROLINA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Joy, the energy and momentum is on my side or are on my side. I mean, listen, you go around the state of South Carolina, and you can't -- you will see this big round head everywhere. The signs are all over the place. Billboards are up. People are excited because they feel the winds of change blowing in South Carolina.

And they understand that Lindsey has been in Washington, D.C. for 25 years, and he has stopped representing them. It is far time for the people in South Carolina to have someone who's going to be a workhorse for them, who's going to fight for them each and every day, instead of somebody that is actually fighting against them and telling them untruths.

And, so, there is so much energy right now, I just think that the next day or so, or the next week or so, we'll start to see more polls with us ahead of Lindsey Graham because people are hungry for change right here in this state.

REID: I'm going to play this clip because I kind of enjoy it. Here it is Lindsey Graham begging for money.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I am being killed financially. This money is because they hate my guts. I am getting overwhelmed., help me. They're killing me money-wise. Help me, you did last week. Help me again.


REID: So, there's a little arms of the angel ad that was made by the Lincoln Project off of that. It is -- it is quite funny.

You know, Lindsey Graham as a sitting United States senator is the guy who received this incredibly scary Russian propaganda through John Ratcliffe, the department of -- the head of our national intelligence services, who's a political, you know, hack of Trumpian origin. He is the guy who is going to be running front on trying to get the Supreme Court nomination jammed through against the wishes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Are you getting asked questions about things like what would you do on the court? What would you do on national security? Or is this really about COVID-19 has destroyed this state, has destroyed people's lives? Is it -- what is the issue? What are the issues that are driving this campaign?

HARRISON: Well, Joy, my focus, and I've been focused like a laser because, you know, Lindsey hasn't done his job here representing the people of South Carolina. So, because he has failed at his job, I have to do it.

And I'm going to focus like a laser on the issue of COVID. It has -- it has ravaged the state of South Carolina. We have had over 3,000 people who have died, and a hundred -- over 100,000 or so who have been infected.

And so, we need a senator. Hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. Many of our businesses are shuttered. And, so, we need a senator that's going to work and do things to address this issue and Lindsey has failed to do so.

And he's so rushing on the judicial nominee. Joy, he took vacation in August, did not pass a relief bill. He said over his dead body will he allow federal unemployment benefit to be extended, but he can get this done before the election and he couldn't get a relief bill for the people in South Carolina?

This goes to show you that Lindsey cares more about Washington, D.C. than he does to people at home. That's why this movement is building. Folks go to

And, you know, Joy, I'll tell you this -- my mom called me and she said, Jaime, I thought I taught you better than that. I said, what are you talking about, momma? She said, why do you have Lindsey Graham on Fox News crying?


REID: He was. Like, please send me money.

I mean, you know -- yes, I'm sure your mom did an excellent, excellent, excellent job with you.

This race is going in and I'm sure there is a surge of African-American interest. This is a state with about, what, 30 percent, close to 30 percent African-Americans. But you do also have to crossover.

What are the issues that you are able to reach? Because, you know, one of the things that Joe Biden is doing is he actually is doing better and performing better with white working class voter. White rural voters are a little harder to reach.

How are you trying to broaden your base?

HARRISON: Well, Joy, I have actually ruled out a rural hope agenda, how we rebuild and revitalize rural communities across South Carolina, because the one thing that we know in South Carolina, rural doesn't just mean white voters, but it also means African-Americans and others as well. And so, these are communities that have been left out for generations and I'm focused on bringing hope back to those communities. That's the real thing.

Lindsey hasn't worked for those folks in a very, very long time. I'm trying to do my very best to address the issues that they're dealing with right now.

REID: Yeah, and the third parties that always run and don't seem to really like Lindsey Graham, how do those impact your race? Very quickly.

HARRISON: Well, you know, at the end of the day, you know, my grandma always told me, she said, Jaime, you control the things that you can control.

REID: Sure.

HARRISON: I'm just focused on my race and, you know, there are a lot of roots that will come in for him and me and all, but, you know, I can't control any of them. I'm just going to be clear and focused on our message about bringing hope back to South Carolina.

REID: Sounds like a plan. And you are getting text messages, so you better get those.


REID: Thank you so much, South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, get your texts. Appreciate you, man.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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