tv Morning Joe MSNBC August 16, 2017 3:00am-6:00am PDT
>> heather heyer got -- >> excuse me, you had some very bad people in that group. but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> that's the president of the united states calling neonazi as and white supremacists who rioted in charlottesville very fine people. the president of the united states has a bully pulpit like very few other people on entire planet. in yesterday's press conference he used that to grant more equivalencies to nazis and white sigh prem cysts. -- supremacists. it seemed to do some congratulate violence not only to the institution of the presidency but also to this country. the united states -- sometimes
it been painful but we've been in a constant, long march towards equality and yesterday it's almost as if the president held up a stop sign and stopped history in its tracks. you think it's safe to say that none of us have ever since anything like what happened yesterday. >> no, it was extraordinary and it was despicable and it was something we suspected around this team yesterday and people suspected across the country, that the president's initial statement about shacharlottesvi, the one he made what was in his heart and the one that he came out of that was forced to. >> his own staff members were
lied to. they thought they were going to be talking about infrastructure. i'm sure you can look at the pictures at the chief of staff, seemingly in mourning and he just went on this wild tirade. there you is a picture of the chief of staff doing everything he can to try to bring order to a white house and to a president who refuses to take that order and it really is dispickle. that's why i think the most telling thing is the reaction. the reaction, h has been harsh across america. marco rubio calling the president out by name. john mccain, ben sass. of course not so strange is the fact that you had david duke and
or white nationalists actually praising the president of the united states yesterday for his word and why not? he has not officially become the president of the -- not on of mrk but of the national movement, david the president has chosen sides and it is very clear, not only morally -- especially morally but also politically, he has chosen the wrong side. it is now up to the rest of us to figure out why he did that exactly, is he just a bigot, issy just a reese because the one thing that does not seem to be an option for gop
legislators, donors, conservative editorial writers is indifference. granting drpt the sort of moral equivalency that donald trump granted nazis, white supremacists and klans members. >> there was an extraordinary moment on saturday when david duke was being nt viewed and he turned to the camera and said as if chastises the president of the united states, the leader of the free world, "look in the mirror, mr. president, and remember who put you in office." it looked yesterday, joe, like the president complied with that, it looked like he checked
himself without giving full condemnation to the kkk. >> a lot of people across the country are asking what the hell did i vote for? this is not what i voted for. i didn't want a clinton or a bush in the white house but i sure as health didn't want a duke in the house. >> we have big group to tack about this. mika has is here with us, former msnbc political analyst and former democrat congressman from tennessee, harold formed jr., msnbc political analyst michael steele and pulitzer prize winning historian john meacham joining us from nashville. so president trump fanned the flames of controversy in
charlotteville where white nationalists and white supremacist killed this a day after singling out the kkk, neo nazis and other hate group, the president reverted to husband original statement that multiple groups were to blame for the violence. and added many alongside were "quote, many foon people." >> i had to unlike a will the -- >> i didn't know david dook dub kbks and the stacks -- everybody sad himself statement was beautiful, if he would have made
it sooner, that would have been good. i couldn't have made it sooner because i didn't know all of the facts. frankly people still done poe what about the alt left what came charging, as you say, at the alt-right? what about the fact that they came charges with clubs in their hands? >> they have any problem? i think they do do. as far as i'm concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. wait a minute i'm not finished fake news. that was a horrible day. >> i will tell you something. i watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it and you have a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other
side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that but i'll say it right now. you had a group -- you had a group on the other i'd there were people in that rally and i looked people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee. i'm sewer in that group there were some bad ones. the following day it who supremacists, whatever you call them. but there was a lot of people in that group who were there to innocently protest and legally protest because they had a permit and the other side bnt have a negotiation.
>> nicole, i don't rahal pr and david duke was there. this isn't the first time he's lied about david duke. he's made a live ly f. >> republican activists, republican leaders, raeg doleors and how much longer can people like elean chao and steve nuchen and general kelly, who i'm going sfrrn as a white supremacist. >> well, 15 minutes?
if they don't resign unmasked this morning, that are forever tainted with a constituent of what he did yesterday. the ship has long sailed where any one of them can justify to outside audiences that they stay because the threats to our nation are so grave. you and i both know a lot of people were that rationale who make the case that if you saw what you saw, if you appreciate that i know what i'm doing, you'd understand the compromise that i make in terms of his moral and ethical lapses. i guess that was one thing when he was simply talking about grabbing women between the legs or when he was blowing up all the norms of sort of the dignity of the office of the presidency. but he's now given nazis, white supremacists, what he's done now is something you can't put back in the toothpaste tube and he has now stained all of the good and decent people, many whom are
there for the pr they never do anything. they make up some baloney about, well, tax reform would be good. but we're so far beyond that. he's owe disgreased, not on the republican party but the baseline. i was on a jetblue lynn if. and there were people exercising l free speech but he's a disgrace. >> i agree with you unfortunately. for a very long time i believe,
even if you didn't vote for this president or were discouraged i pisome moderating force or even a little bit of knowledge to the president of the united states, we're past that now. >> he's made fools of all those people. that was a noble pursuit. it was more than i could stop ache many who prn. >> will fools of everybody willing to sort of apply a green screen to the roonlon. >> kayla: and you take somebody look elaine chow who has work in p pam.
-- >> who ma loons her husband on television? >> right. who maligns her husband on television, who basically finds common cause with neonazis and tryings to say all side do it. what if you're steve newt gin, what if you're i also want to say really quick before i talk to you, john, make no -- just make no mistake of it. if you are a donor and from it day forward if you write a check to donald trump, a day dey will come where you may have to explain to your children, to your grandchildren, to your friend why you spent your money
propping up someone bsh sfwhrn while being criticized by all of our democratic allies across the globe. your money, if you write that check today and you send it into the runnin' rebelss in tansing, if john meacham at the top of the show i was talking about how it been ugly, very ugly at times. we fought a civil war over it. the man who created our founding document, the man condition burns calls the man of the millennium because he actually did break us away from the idea of a monarchy.
thomas jefferson owned slaves. yes, he did. so the father of this country that broke us away from england and helped win the war and helped create what we have had over the past two and a half centuries, george washington also owned slaves, but even from that point forward, it has been a march toward equality. america has embraced equality and it been a bumpy ride but it's always been a straight line at the end of the day. what did yesterday do to end 240 years of that? >> i think yesterday we realized that if strom thurman or george wallace had ever made it to the white house, they would actually sound like somebody from queens, not somebody from south carolina or alabama. white national ist nationalist
the white house. sometime it's a dodge because we want to take somebody's word and connect them to other forces. it's not a dodge here. he has created a climate where people carrying the symbols of the worst regime in the modern world, perhaps in all of history, the third reich, are legitimized. where a former head of the kkk denounced by bush when he tried to become governor the louisiana, a republican, back when the republicans meant something, he denounced him.
at what point do the basic jefferson values, the decency of the citizens of the republic take the stage now. the challenge for all of us now is that a republic is as good as the sum of the parts and we're the parts. so now it's our hour to stand against this. >> harold, john meacham is absolutely right about the climate created by the president. you need do nothing more than watch the vice news, mini documentary they shot over the weekend in charlottesville where they followed white supremacist groups one-on-one in hotel rooms and vans and really got to the essence of why they were there, they are energized. it's going to happen again. there's a rally in boston on saturday, a rally in burerkeley
coming up. they believe these groups have cover and a wink from the president of the united states. >> let me try and add, david duke tweeted yesterday thanking the president of the united states for his support and thanking him for defending him. the president often calls what happens in a news day fake. can you imagine if the head of the naacp said i can imagine what david duke would say about this? the president would probably say that's fake news. david duke tweeted the president has not chosen to refute or distance themselves from david duke's tweet. i would never vote for donald trump but a lot of people said i want something different, they didn't like hillary clinton,
they believed the country was moving in a different direction and i can't believe a majority of the country would want people who support nazism, the kkk to be president of the country. i would say to parents and teachers, as i said yesterday at home, people who doesn't support them who are protesting, they support equality. white supremacists believe they're superior to everyone else. superiority and equality, there's a big difference. the president ended by saying he doesn't need all rally, in-from-what happened in the awful situation in charlottesville. that mom said she didn't necessarily believe or support her -- i shouldn't say support but didn't believe and pursue
her daughter's cause, but after her daughter's death, she would pursue that cause. the president said in a moment of stress i can't believe she had that kind of power and compassion to rise to the moment. mr. president, rise to the moment. he has not risen to the moment yet. he's not risens to the moment in many situations as the moment came saturday, it happened again monday and -- >> he saw the moment and he ducked and he continues to duck. we have a situation where there's someone who has elevated the hate machines in this country to the level of the presidency and has created a think a ls equivalency nonetheless. to go to joe's open point,
another, but he is turning it on husband head. they about how we got to where we are and the journey that it took to get here. the men and women who fought along that trail, who were the freedom riders, the ones pushing back against the very same people the president can't even say i don't like them. you know? without seeming forced. without seeming yesterday was a big middle finger to the country so many times in so many ways and we now see the man for who he really is. >> did david duke ever support you as a member of the republican party? >> no. thank you. >> hallie, the comments came almost immediately from the
white house staff saying the president went rogue, this was not the plan and and. >> one of the questions we've been working on overnight, what does this mean for the people inside the west wing at this point? you just had to look to your left where john kelly was standing. in the room it was like he had done at bedminister on thursday and friday. it was he was supposed to come do you that elevator, give his visual aid, his talk about policy and say gary collins and elaine cho will take your questions.
instead he stood next to pb nick mulvaney. our reporting based on multiple sources is truly people were stunned. i don't know if it's strategy people were trying to distance themselves. i think the initial reaction was what just happened? you have john kelly who spent last week at bedminister trying to institute these processes and institute some structure for an administration to apparently laid down tom plans. immediately the president did instead what he wanted to do in that moment, which was come out and as one person phrased it to me, want to there was another one. it was during your show, nicole. we were listening to you and asking these questions of cone
and elaine chow. they want to talk about the agenda but the president's words are fall provides aid and comfort to white supremacists, one of those men who provide aid and help to neonazi zbrrks across the united states of mrk. there is no excuse to stand bay that time of man, no excuse whatsoever unless you were so craving for power, unless you so desperately seek status that you
are willing to ignore the fact that you are now working for a man who is either a white supremacists or a man who admires white supremacists and neonazis. what about a man look general kelly who i know i was real leefd went in to be chief of staff, a man who has given his all to this country, a man who has given his son to this country in defense of freedom, in defense of liberty. what does somebody luke john kelly do this morning? >> joe, i can only assume that general kelly is probably carrying the cloak, the same cloak of sadness that all of us here at this table feel, that millions americans feel today. this is a resilient country. we have survived, gotten up off the floor after assassinations during wars. after terrorist but what
happened yesterday was kwai different. what happened yesterday because of of the nature of the meetia and all of the tool and what will live forever? you'll see the president of the united states standing before the republic dim nashing the presidency, the country and himself. you'll see and remember the president of the united states pouring words like salt on open wounds of race, of class, of gender of income inequality. you see the president of the united states not only diminishing the office but diminishing himself by misconstruing history, which he certainly has not read and certainly does not understand. so now we talk about donald
trump as president of the united states, we talk about donald trump, what's going to happen today. wa we ought to be talking about is the country and the people who what are they going to do? paul ryan, the speaker of the house, tweeted last night without mentioning the president's name. >> put his name on it, mr. speaker. it was the president yesterday. put his name on it and do something about it. >> paul ryan, mitch mcconnell, republican leaders need to call the president out by name the way marco rubio did yesterday, the way cory gardner has done, the way other reaps no longer to
tweet a 140-character mournful tweet, you have the power in your position to bend history away from the david dukes of this world and back toward the people that you grew up respecting and the type of people who made you want to get into public service from the e arejohn, if you could for us, try to put this in historical perspective. some historical perspective. and is it like nixon in '74, a president that's this isolated? because, you know, conservative righters have been criticizing the president across the weekend.
the wall stroot journal editorial page has been deeply critical of donald trump and his actions in this area. does this president stand as alone as any president since richard nixon? >> you know, since nixon, yes. i think that nixon is the only analogy that works in the modern era because you did have really into the summer of '74 a pretty significant number think is the national ratings, but that number among republicans, which i think is still pretty high is the number to watch.
what i don't understand to go what you were just talking about is how republicans who basically the party of leaningon, the part of eisenhower, the party of reagan pb but they need to brac this. gentlemen jrm the leaders who stand up and speak out against trump now heros. >> and the president has tweeted a couple of times this morning, one about frshls -- eendorsed luther strange and another tweet going after amazon saying it's doing great damage to tax payer retailers
coming up, kristen welker live from trump power temperature and if you're watching "morning joe" we'll be right back. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ how to win at business. step one. point decisively with your glasses. abracadabra! the stage is yours. step two. choose laquinta. where you'll feel like the king of the road. check out our summer rates now
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he's so fluffy i'm gonna die! your voice is awesome. the x1 voice remote. xfinity. the future of awesome. so how do you think yesterday went? >> i'd say it was worth it. the fact that nobody died. the fact that nobody killed anybody unjustly i think is a plus for us and i think that we showed our rivals that we won't be cowed. >> but the car that struck a protester, that's unprovoked. >> the video appears to show someone striking that vehicle.
when these animals attacked him given and he saw no way to get away from them except to hit the gas. >> so you think it was justified? >> i think it's more than justified. the amount reo po shod out the the next alt-right -- >> it's tough to top but we're up to the challenge approximately. >> i mean, someone died. >> i think a lot more people are going to die before we're done here. >> so willie geist, that says it all. that's who donald trump is it's not like it's a protest to keep confederate statues up. he's talking about like they are at war and called it a victory because nobody on our side died today and it's going to get much worse. and that again, we must
underline again, which everybody knows is who the president of the united states was trying to justify morally in his conference. >> he talked about, quote fine people, the ones who marched peacefully. those people were chanting things like "jews will not replace us," hark i don't knowing back to the nazi days. these are the people the president was defending yesterday. he was defending them. >> can i ask you a question, willie? what is ivanka trump saying? what is jared kushner saying about working in an administration where the president of the united states is saying there are many fine people who were chanting "jews will not replace us, talking about blood and soil, using nazi
imagery. what is jared kushner doing still working in the white house when you have a president who is -- who is empowering neonazis and white supremacists. why is. >> how does he justify this? >> that documentary is 22 nants every american should watch. in that documentary to your point, one of those white supremacist leaders talks about jared kushner and how he stole being a jewish man and how he stole one of their women in ivanka trump. but all poou. >> he just said that we killed
no one unjustly. he said the restraint our people showed during this moment. he said a lot more people are to to die. cinch uchin and ka and said what this man just said, a lot more people will die, we showed great restraint. if a gang member in something happened to be african-american, what law enforcement would be saying this morning. not on is this disgusting, it criminal and i hope that people who work for this president, everything nicole said this morning and yesterday and people who are aligned with this president, i don't follow every american because people who voted for him because people were tricked. i've asked this question before, who are we?
and last we may kill more people and we showed great restraint in not keling more people. >> they've now promised nicole to pb protesters on the left, who hasn't been perfect, we stipulated that. but the depth came at the hands lengdly of a nazi of a white supremacist driving a vehicle into a crowd. >> a man so horrible his called 911 twice. here's the deal. this happened in realtime. pb well, the glrj he's so confused about flrmt but let's
not take our eyes off the ball here. this is a side show in a sense, in the streets in charlottesville. drpt is the deal. he governors them voice, he gives them strength, he gives them spying. >> he gives them oxygen. any hope of snuffing them out is gone after yesterday. >> coming up, kasie hunt joins us with more reaction from lawmakers. what they're saying and not saying next. >> i carry a pistol, you go to the gym all the time trying to who in the hopes that somebody does come to the rye and it. >> a will the move rasism that you could feel about race the
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the president was wrong to do that and i was clear. >> that was cory gardner calling out the president. and saying there's no moral equivalency between racism and hate treat. marco rubio did put the president's name in his statement yesterday, calling him out. cory gardner at the town halls over the last week has gone hard against the white supremacy movement. there are some voices here doing
the right thing. >> marco rubio here in six tweets calling the united states out by name, now cowering behind some general description. and no one, especially the president of the united states, should tolerate it. charlie dent a really, strong, strong statement. ileana ross leighton. shall we encourage being so grateful what they're doing? they're just doing the right thing. marco rubio can sit down, talk to his children and they will know he's doing the right thing. they will be proud of him and see that jerry moran.
as you said, cory gardner being as clear and unequivocal as the entire republican party needs to be. >> as you say, though, this is a low bar for courage. this is the easiest bar you could ever clear, condemning the ku klux klan and the nazis marching through the streets of charlottesville. this should be an easy one. kasie hunt, i can't believe there is even a calculation on this for republicans in congress, who are on home recess, what is stopping any of them there from we have been very used to talking about a divide in washington where both sides are the problem and there's gridlock in congress and this is just so farnd and i
think that is the great moral challenge for our government going forward in the wake of this. are people going to be able to get past those old both sides to tell the president there are no both sides in this particular case. paul ryan was the first speaker to come out before we went on air last night with a very strong statement against what the president said. he is somebody who, quite frankly, has turned his back quite a bit on some of the president's more controversial statements over the course of the last six months. he right out no because it has been targ and who's lives were in the mood against the remarks. i'm saying, hey, can you tell me
on the record has mitch mcconnell focused on his wife last night. >> and his becoming an prn to gd needs the president of the united states to get that done but where is the red line? where is the red line where tax reform takes a back seat to the moral core of this country. >> look, he did come out after what happened on saturday and condemned what had happened and said look this is not acceptable but again there is silence here and honestly, i can't answer your question. i don't know where, if this is not a red line for the members of congress, i don't know what is and the feeling from this kind of avalanche of criticism says to me that people in washington, the republican party believe that this is a red line that was crossed. now the question is, a, how many of them stay silent, how many don't say anything and b, what actually changes? do they actually make real material changes in response to
this, and so far, i'm not necessarily sure what it is they should step up and do, but it seems like we need to go farther than just words here. >> joe, get on a bus and see them, and say if you don't change we'll take the necessary action, mr. president, to stop this. that's what they should do, because this is a red line you can't cross. >> they're driven by other things, though. you know, you have the top line of what we're responding to, the president and all of that. they're still looking internally, and they're seeing an 80% support among republicans for the president, and so that has frozen a lot of these members in place, which is why you have not seen the far hue and cry about some of the stuff that happened over the last few weeks out of the white house because they look at where their people are. even in the cory gardner footage you heard people shouting him down when he was talking about his stance, his moral stance on not supporting this president in the position he's taken.
so this is their reality, and it's an unfortunate one and it's one that quite honestly that the republican party has created for itself because they got in this bed in 2015, played it out in 2016 and here you are for the rest of the next four years. >> joe, shouldn't this be, can't you do as a politician or a member of congress two things at once, yes, mr. president, i understand we need to work together to make the lives of my constituents better, so i'll work with you on that on policy but on this, i want to be clear, i will not stand with you and unless you clean it up and unless you do better i won't stand with you. >> amen. >> there's no doubt republican leaders can do that. members of congress can do that, members of the senate can do that. they can go to town hall meetings and say if donald trump puts out a tax reform package that's going to grow small businesses and help this economy grow, i will support that package. i will support regulatory reform. i'll support keeping our
militaries strong, but i will condemn him, and anybody in the strongest terms when they give aid and comfort to white supremacist and the nazis. you can go further and say that this president is losing his moral authority to rule this country. believe me, you can do that. i mean, i saw it firsthand for six, seven years. i saw people go after the most popular speaker of the house, newt gingrich, among republicans. he was the first, he got us to the majority for the first time in 40 years, and i could go to town hall meetings and be very critical of him on certain items, and people would understand it. you can do this, but you have to have a little bit of courage, but more importantly, you have to trust your constituents, that they understand what the right thing is.
you have to give some confidence to your constituents, and that's just not happening right now. and in that vacuum this hatred grows, festers. if you look at the vice documentary it possibly explodes and you can see the rise of white nationalism here, possibly much like what happened in the 1920s, if republican leaders don't stand up, and speak up, and more importantly if republican donors don't keep writing those checks. they have to stop writing those checks. >> yep. you know, one of the points of the presidency, one of the points of the union, the constitution that was written 230 summers ago is to unite. what we're seeing now is a, the mainstreaming of tribal politics. that's the only way i can think about this rationally.
lot of what happened the last 72 hours on trump's part is elective. he has created the rhetorical reality that we're discussing. he keeps relitigating something that most reasonable people believe is not, doesn't require litigation. they're neo-nazis, white supremacists, they are un-american, undoing the promise of the country, they are as you were alluding to trying to stop our halting journey to a more perfect union. they killed a woman, and two police officers are ked because of this and the president of the united states comes down and reopens the entire question. why? you have to ask yourself and i think the answer is that he has decided the country is tribal and not one country and he is going to be the president of a particular element, not of all of us.
>> hold the thoughts, people champing the at the bit to get at this. the president up and tweeting. no reaction to the backlash after his defiant nod to neo-nazis and white supremacists. nbc's tom brokaw, kristen welker and joy reid and "the washington post" bob costa. "morning joe" is back in a moment. match guarantee too. and if that's not enough... we should move. our home team will help you every step of the way. still not enough? it's smaller than i'd like. we'll help you finance your dream home. it's perfect. oh, was this built on an ancient burial ground? okay... then we'll have her cleanse you house of evil spirits. we'll do anything, (spiritual chatter) seriously anything to help you get your home. ally. do it right. choicehotels.com. badda book. that's it?. he means book direct at choicehotels.com
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mr. president are you putting the alt left and the white supremacists on the same moral plane? >> i'm not putting anybody on a moral plane. i'm saying you had a group on one side and the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible to watch. there was a group on this side, you can call them the left, you've just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. so you can say what you want but that's the way it is. >> no, that's not the way it. that's the president of the united states once again lying to the american people using a press conference to do that. the press conference was filled with so many half truths, misstatements, lies, outward lies that it's hard to sort through it. one thing not hard to sort through the president of the united states used his bully pulpit for the better part of two centuries has been used to
push this country forward in what john meachem said a jagged march toward a more perfect union and instead used the bully pulpit yesterday to divide and to embrace white supremacists, neo-nazis, and klansmen. in fact while the president was being condemned by the free world, being condemned by democratic leaders across this nation and across the world, by republicans, while he was doing that, getting those condemnations, willie, he got praise from none other than david duke, and i think the question that we've been asking over the past hour, that you've been eloquently asking over the last hour, when donald trump is getting praised from david duke, "thank you president tlump for your honesty and courage to tell
the truth about charlottesville," when it gets to the point that his major most well-known supporter now is a klansman, a white supremacist, you just wonder how much longer will republican donors put up with this. if republican donors want to contribute to people with courage they should contribute to marco rubio, charlie dent, jerry moran, corey gardner, john mccain. there are people that actually did the right thing yesterday, and have been doing the right thing for some time, that boy, i just don't know how republicans remain silent over this. i don't know how they work with this president until he backs off of this, and i don't think he will ever back off of this, because it's what he believes in his heart, and i don't know how republican donors keep writing checks to donald trump, unless they want to be remembered as people who backed a white supremacist.
i don't know how ceos continue working on his councils unless their companies want to be associated with a man who champions white supremacists and defends neo-nazis. >> a lot of the ceos have dropped off that council. yesterday the president of the afl-cio dropped off the council, he could no longer stand by a president who supports white supremacy. joe, he had a chance on saturday immediately in real time to respond and help the country through an ugly moment in its history, and he failed that test when he said there's hate and violence on many sides. he came back on monday in a press conference in a moment where he looked like he was shoved into a corner and forced to say okay, fine, i condemn everybody who was involved in that. yesterday it was supposed to be a statement, and then he was going to turn it over to other people to talk about infrastructure but against the wishes reportedly of the orders of his staff he opened it up to
questions. why did he do that? he knew he was going to get questions about charlottesville and about his comments about charlottesville. did he do that because he wanted to reiterate how forcefully and harshly he wanted to condemn the ku klux klan and the nazis? no. he opened it back up to reiterate his original sentiment from saturday, not the one from monday but saturday where he said there was violence on both sides suggesting somehow the nino nazis and the cue kux clan were what provoked into killing heather heyer saturday. >> he wanted to make sure people across america knew some of the neo-nazis were good people and that's what the new york post is putting on the front of their newspaper today, and in so doing, there's no logical political reason for doing this.
"new york post" some white nationalists are very fine people, they're not all neo-nazis." why is he doing this? there's a reason why his approval rating is in the 30s and is going low per. armorall and walmart are distancing themselves from him, other corporations are doing the same. this is a know win proposition so the question we need to start asking is, why is donald trump doing it? because it is not for political gain because this will not help him in the long run. it will destroy him in the long run. >> that's a pretty easy question to answer, joe, if you think about it. i mean donald trump yesterday refuted what he said on monday, because he felt forced to make that statement on monday, and he resented having to make that
statement on monday, because it made him look weak, but donald trump is a strong man, and he's going to stick to his beliefs, so he stood up there yesterday and spoke from his own sense of inner strength. that's what he gave the country, enormous division, enormous ability for the right wing nazis, cku kluk klan and republican donors forget them. this is about three things that begin with c, character, courage and country. it's not about politics now. it's about the country. i mean, every president we've had has been by definition of being a human being has had flaws. no president has ever had flaws that so divide the country that we live in. it's our country. not his.
>> well and the question, willie, is, we talk about republican legislators. what about elaine chao standing behind him while he is providing aid and comfort to nazis. what about elaine chao, gary cohn, how much longer do they stand behind him and apologize for him? do they think their careers begin anded when donald trump? because if they stand behind him much longer their careers will end with donald trump. that's not a hard call. they can't keep standing behind him while he makes common cause with david duke. >> or somebody like general kelly who has given his life and given his son to this country, how long can he be associated with that. i was thinking about gary cohn. he has jewish centers in his name across this country.
there's one in ohio of his home state through his generosity. he is very connected to his jewish faith. what did he think over the last four days about the president of the united states seeming to share common cause and to give comfort and cover to nazis? president trump yesterday went back to blaming others for violence at a gathering of racist groups in virginia, a week understand that began with hundreds of people carrying torches marching through charlottesville chanting nazi and anti-semitic slogans. on saturday a woman was killed and nearly two dozen injured when a car allegedly driven by the white nationalist marchers plowed into counter protesters. the president initially blamed "many sides" for the violence and relented to call out the kkk, neo-nazis and other hate groups on monday. the president reverted to his original statement yesterday that multiple sides were to blame for the violence. he explained his delay in condemning those groups specifically while adding "those
marching alongside them included many fine people." >> do you think what you call the alt left is the same as neo-nazis? >> those people, all of those people -- >> that's my question. >> excuse me, i've condemned neo-nazis. i've condemned many different groups but not all of those people were neo-nazi, believe me. not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, robert e. lee. so excuse me, and you take a look at some of the groups and you see and you know it, if you were honest reporters which in many cases you're not but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee. so this week it's robert e. lee. i notice that stonewall jackson's coming down. i wonder, is it george washington next week and is it thomas jefferson the week after? you know, you really do have to
ask yourself where does it stop. but they were there to protest, excuse me, you take a look the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee. >> from both sides sir, you said there was hatred and violence. >> i do think there's blame, yes, i think there's blame on both sides. you look at both sides, i think there's blame on both sides, and i have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it either. and -- >> only the nazis -- >> and if you reported it accurately, you would say. >> the neo-nazis started the thing, showed up in charlottesville -- >> excuse me -- >> to protest the statue -- >> excuse me, you have some very bad people in that group but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. >> along with mike barnicle, kasie hunt, michael steele and joe joining us from philadelphia
director of african studies at lehigh university, dr. james peterson. thank you for being with us this morning. just want to get your initial reaction to what we saw yesterday where the president was much more exercised about defending the protesters than he was about the woman who was killed in that crowd. >> it's atrocious. i'm listening to you and everybody on the panel this morning and hearing the disgust and some of the anger but i don't hear a lot of surprise, and i think many of us are not surprised by this particular moment. this is more of a culmination of the donald trump that we've seen unfolding over the years from the birther obama debacle into his campaign, the way in which he launched his campaign was steeped in the kind of rhetoric that speaks to the community of white supremacy and white nationalists. when you look at some of his policies, willie, the muslim ban, the department of justice that he's presiding over, there
are things that smack of the kind of racism that we see seething beneath the surface of the neo-nazi movement and of white supremacists and white nationalists so i don't hear much surprise. it's sickening but i don't hear much surprise because i think for many of us who have been paying attention to this, this is more of a culmination of the donald trump we've seen engage in the racialized antics over the last several years, not something that seems to be inconsistent with where he's been policy wise or as a political campaigner. it's in some ways kind of the end of dog whistle politics. we talked about the southern strategy, supposed to be a subtle referaging of race or political discourses or the ways in which people would engage in dog whistle politics but this is the end of that, right, because now we have the president of the united states endorsing fringe groups that are engaged in racist ideology, and doing so forcefully, doing so -- the way that he's engaging media there,
he's rejecting the legitimacy of the media for even raising the question of him trying to see two different side of the issue. >> harrold ford, that's exactly what he's been doing for quite some time, of course attacking the media, calling them fake news, all while he's lying and spreading false information. i think you as much as anybody understands racial politics and sort of the dog whistle element of racial politics that were used against you in i think it was the 2006 campaign, which a lot of people were shocked by, and yet we've gone from that to where we are today, and as the professor said, we're well beyond dog whistle politics. this is just the president of the united states out and out
saying that there's a moral equivalency between racists and people who are protesting against racists and racism in america. >> you and four of the five here and kasie will have the distinction of not this but the other, we're fathers. what kind of father listens to people talk about his daughter and grandkids and treats them as being inferior to other people, takes the side of those making that case versus those who are protesting that characterization, and that beneath the word, and beneath the line characterization? it's just, it's beyond me. i agree with everything the doctor said, everything that's been said this morning and what you've said, and it's hard to believe how gary, how steve, how secretary chao and others stand behind this guy, and others who support him. again i think a lot of the country was tricked. i've been criticized for saying that. i don't think people realize they were getting this kind of
president. so i can only hope that we can either this behavior changes on his part or people begin to walk away from him. >> willie geist, it bears repeating as we said right after the election that donald trump got elected president of the united states, won the electoral college even though he lost the popular vote because people in wisconsin and michigan and ohio and pennsylvania, because part of them who voted for barack obama eight yeermz and made history, we became the first majority white country to put a black man in the presidency, those same people voted for donald trump. they didn't vote for donald trump because they were racist, because they wanted this. they voted for donald trump because they were desperate for change. they wake up this morning, and they've seen this coming a long time, but maybe they thought that he was just saying it. maybe they thought he wasn't
going to follow through on it, even though he gave him plenty of reasons to, by denying who david duke was in february of 2016 or talking about the muslim ban in 2015, but they're waking up this morning. there can be no mistake, donald trump is who donald trump said he was throughout the campaign. >> i talked to a couple of friends yesterday after this, who were trump voters in pennsylvania, they voted for him, they voted for barack obama twice but they voted for donald trump this time. they basically took a flyer on him. they didn't like hillary clinton particularly. they wanted washington to change. they believe it had been rigid in the same place for generations and thought he would shake it up somehow and i think you're right. i think they thought his words were just words, he was saying what he had to say to get elected. we've learned over the last seven months and particularly in the last four days they were more than words, that they were of his belief and that if he's speaking to the small group,
michael steele, that he believes makes up the core of his support, or maybe the subcore of his support and he is afraid of them, he's afraid of alienating those people who helped put him into office, so much so that as harold said he's willing to support a group of people who went on tv over the weekend and railed against his son-in-law for marrying the president's daughter and having her convert to judaism, he's defending them against the people who are protesting that kind of thought. >> he is, and i don't think it's because he's afraid of them. i think that's not what this is. i think donald trump is emboldened by them. he feeds off of them and he feeds them. this is a symbiotic relationship that's formed as a result of the campaign itself. going back to something joe just said, to paraphrase maya angelou, if donald trump is telling us who he is why won't we stop and believe him.
okay now we know what we're dealing with here and the country has to make a decision how do we move forward with this type of president who is so far outside the core values of this country, i don't care what stripe you walk in life. that's the dividing line right now, and so it's like a kid on the playground, like the bully on the playground. who is he afraid of? and more importantly who does he respond to? does he respond to the teachers? is he concerned about the teachers coming in, the media, in this case, in the case of trump, the political parties coming after him, and pushing back on him? no. what he's concerned about is the other kids in the playground, those he gets to bully and those who egg him on. >> there's an added element to it, too, i would suggest and i'm not smart enough to fully explain it, but it goes like this. that donald trump basically doesn't understand what he calls his base, his core constituenco. he doesn't understand that it's
made up of people who suffered a sense of loss along the way, whether they lost a son or a daughter in a 16-year long war, whether they lost a house or income in 2008 and 2009. they suffered a loss. so they voted for donald trump. they're good people. but now we are in i would suggest a watershed moment, and the watershed moment is for the country. do we do something about what is happening to our country because the president of the united states doesn't know the country, doesn't really understand this great good, broad expansive country? does he not understand the country? i would suggest he does not. so could we do something about it? a watershed moment here, and in terms of -- >> what do you do, mike? what does that mean? >> i don't know, i'm not smart enough to figure that out. given the accelerated pace of our culture and tweeting and instagraming, is this moment lost? do we move on to something else
or focus on what happened yesterday and what is happening to the presidency? >> let's talk for a second about that simple speaking out part, which we've obviously seen many republicans do, many people who have sided with the president. >> they don't use his name. >> i want to bring up, too, joe mentioned elaine chao, the wife of mitch mcconnell, standing next to the president and she is somebody who has been the target of very direct racism over the course of her long time in public life both as a political spouse and in her own right, and every time she has been directly attacked, she's been called, referred to as a chinese wife, one person ran a campaign saying they needed an all-american family in kentucky, that's coded language if i ever heard it and every time that's happened, mitch mcconnell has jumped to her defense, these are racial slurs, this is not acceptable. he hasn't done that yet, and elaine chao still a member of president trump's cabinet. what actions could those people take to move this forward? again we may not be smart enough
to say at this point, but i think there's going to be some imperative there is. >> i tell you what, at least going back to the only thing i have for my life experience, i can tell you there was a time back when something had happened, willie, in congress, and a group of us just said we were going to stop. we were going to stop passing any legislation, we were going to stop passing any voting to pass any rules. we were going to basically stop everything that happened in congress until leadership sat down and talked to us, and we did. they called their bluff, and we voted no, and everything ground to a halt. that was over some matter that was so much smaller than what we're deal with now, but there is nothing that is stopping mitch mcconnell and paul ryan
from coming out today, holding a joint press conference saying we were offended by what the president of the united states said yesterday and until the president of the united states comes to us, has a conversation with us, and convinces us that he regrets what he said yesterday, and understands the errs of his way and going to work for a more inclusive america, we're not going to pass any of his legislation, and nothing will get done. they need to do that. they can do that. they have the power to do that. read the constitution. the house of representatives itself holds the checkbook. nothing gets done without the house and the senate okaying it, willie, and at this point, if this doesn't force them to do it, to come out and show courage, then absolutely nothing will, because mike's right. donald trump not ohm doesn't
understand america, not only doesn't understand america, he doesn't understand the people that elected him president of the you state. he's focusing on a small group of bigots, neo-nazis white supremacists. the people who voted for him a lot of working class americans that have seen their paychecks dwindle year after year over the last 30 years and donald trump promised that he could make washington work. donald trump promised that health care would be easy. donald trump promised them i'm going to give you better health care coverage at less cost. donald trump promised i'm going to cut your taxes. i'm going to make this country work again. donald trump promised i'm going to make your wages higher. i'm going to make your life better. that's the promise he made them, not that he would embrace david duke, the ku klux klan, white supremacists. he doesn't understand who
elected him, and that, willie, is why he's sitting at 32%, 34%, and why he has shamed himself and has shamed the office of the presidency, and everybody who works for him. >> the problem, dr. peterson, with mitch mcconnell and paul ryan approaching the president of the united states and asking him to say in no uncertain terms he regrets what he said is that he doesn't regret what he said. he had a chance to clean it up. he said it on saturday, he spoke from his heart on saturday when he ad libbed the line about many sides. he tried to clean it up on monday, when he was pushed into a corner, and yesterday he revealed to the country and the world what his true feeling on this matter was, so a conversation asking him to go out publicly and clean it up hold no water anymore. it's meaningless. >> it doesn't. the back-and-forth diminished the capacity for cleanup in terms of a political statement and i agree with joe, seems like it would be a bit of courage on the part of some leaders in
congress to step forward and try to salvage what's left of the republican party in the trump era, but i think we will be remiss if we don't acknowledge the fact that this kind of presidency degrades the american political project. it downgrades what we can expect from politics, it downgrades the american people's capacity to trust in political thinking, in political discussions, and so in that kind of context, it's difficult to see how a statement from ryan announcing the president's name or how any statement from mitch mcconnell is going to somehow recover what's been diminished in this particular moment. but i want to say something else about what's dangerous about the president's statements. if you study white supremacist groups and you look at how they operate, this idea that there's some boogeyman on the left, there's people out to get them, the fact that he's validating that, that is really, really dangerous, because in that world, the kind of sort of hyper announcement around the
enemy ultimately does lead to vie let outcomes so my sense is that this is very, very difficult to recover from, given where we are in this particular political moment. >> as we said earlier the president yesterday was more exercised and more animated when he was talking about how bad the counter protesters were than he was talking about the people who killed heather heyer. dr. james peterson, appreciate having your eloquent voice in this conversation this morning. thank you. still ahead joy reid and "the washington post" bob costa. what did the president do after defending those at the white nationalist rally? he plugged the trump winer why i in virginia. >> does anyone know i own a house in charlottesville? >> where is it? >> it's going to be -- it's in charlottesville. you'll see. >> is it the winery? >> it is the winery. i mean i know a lot about charlottesville. charlottesville is a great place that's been very badly hurt over the last couple of days. i own actually one of the largest wineries in the united states, it's in charlottesville.
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the president has to totally condemn this. this is not about winning an argument. now the folks are apparently going to go other places and think they had some sort of a victory. there is no moral equivalency between the kkk, the neo-nazis and anybody else. these folks went there to disrupt. >> amazing that has to be said out loud but there it is from governor john kasich of ohio, the man who ran against president trump in the primary. joining us steve kornacki, the host of "a.m. joy" joy reed and msnbc political analyst bob costa, moderator of "washington week" on pbs. welcome to you all.
joy the president retweeted a tweet from someone else who suggested the mainstream media is obsessed with the issue and the clearly has clearly and repeatedly condemned the bigotry and violence in charlottesville, basically move on, turn the page, lay off the president. just your reaction to what we saw at trump tower yesterday? >> it's interesting that he says that the media is obsessed with this issue and won't let it go. he extemporaneously relitigated the issue himself. he was obviously so unhappy that he was forced to make the sort of more normal presidential statement about nazis and white nationalists that he broke out from his talking points, shocked his aides who i thought the most telling thing in that "new york times" story was aides who heard him talk like this in private were shocked to hear him speak this way in public, so donald trump seemed really eager to relitigate the issue so he prompted the media to do so. i think others on the panel who have said where is elaine chao? she's not the only one, in this
administration are african americans. where is ben carson, where is omar manigold, people of color working in the administration do they have anything to say? they're verbal and vocal in support of donald trump, where is steve mnuchin, where is gary cohn, where are jewish members of this administration. >> where are jared and ivanka. >> this is a moral test, a moment of moral clarity and you're going to want to be able to answer the question, where were you, which side were you on when the president of the united states condoned and sanctioned naziism in america, and so far these folks are not coming up to to well. >> bob costa we heard almost immediately and i'm sure you heard the same thing from people inside the white house who said the president went rogue today, that this "was not the plan." it sounded like the white house staff was shaken by this, but we've not heard from them publicly or on the record yet about what the president has said or hasn't said over the last four or five days. >> i think some of them, willie,
who i've spoken to, were dismayed but i think i wouldn't lean into the surprise notion here. most of the senior officials in the white house, those who worked on the campaign and those who have not know the president at times of crisis or times of intense criticism, tends to revert to his instincts to a tight inner circle of people who reinforce those instincts, and so it was not actually that surprising to people who know president trump. >> but it's one thing to be dismayed, but what's the breaking point from your reporting for any of these people, any of the names that joy just listed off, gary cohn, steve mnuchin, elaine chao, jared and ivanka are family of course but we're talking about the ku klux klan and nazis and there are african-americans in this administration who watched what happened on saturday with ku klux klansmen marching through the streets of charlottesville, virginia. there are jewish americans in the administration who watched
nazis march through the streets, just on a human visceral level, how could they not have some reaction to that? >> i'll give you just reporting on all of this, you see the line in terms of the moral line is in very different places for different people in this administration. some stay because they want to achieve x goal on policy or y goal on policy. others say they think it's better for them to be there, they're a more stabilizing force than their colleagues. others say they don't want to see someone only lasted six months in an administration after leaving a big job or coming in and they think some of them do grapple day in, day out, with whether they should stay, but there's also an interesting element of fear, a lot of them do fear the idea that if they have some kind of stand against president trump, that he will go to war with them rhetorically, on twitter, and a lot of them at this point quietly slip away. >> they're scared of the
president on twitter and so they won't stand up against the klan and nazis? how pathetic is that? >> well, willie, we're watching it unfold in real time, and this is one of the factors i'm hearing behind the scenes. i'm not passing judgment on it. i'm saying it does raise questions though about why -- it does show the power this president has over a lot of his staff. it's not just he's not some random person in a room just kind of tweeting away. he's someone who really instills both i'd say command and fear of people who work with him, people with a lot of different backgrounds say they don't want to endure a public tet e-tet with president trump. >> any word on how john kelly stood there and watched? video of him watching arms folded head down, read into that what will you as he listened to the president speak and entertain questions for 25 minutes or so at trump tower. where is he right now?
>> he came into this job knowing he could not change the chief. he could not change the president, so he's been trying to manage the staff. i am told he's getting a lot of feedback about yesterday from some top officials who were unhappy with how it went. he's a 45-year marine and hasn't shown much reaction. people tell me he's hard to read about how this is all playing out because he hasn't been at the white house. lot of people in this west wing are on vacation. he has been working out of bedminster and now new york city, so it's just been president trump and kelly together alone as this unit, not a lot of people coming in that circle. >> so steve kornacki there was something else going on last night as we were hashing through this, the primary race, the republican primary in the state and democratic primary in the state of alabama for the seat left vacant by jeff sessions. the president endorsed luther strange. mitch mcconnell his pack that supported mitch mcconnell the
president put out a robo call for luther strange and he lost, he came in second by seven points and advance to the runoff the president tweeting this morning that there was exciting race and he congrate lated roy moore and luther strange. what is the significance? what do we need to know about that race? >> it is an odd political marriage, donald trump and luther strange. the source of donald trump's power and politics in general is populist grassroots, the republican base. luther strange is the face of the republican party establishment here. he's the appointed incumbent. he's running with a strong backing financial and otherwise of mitch mcconnell. also his status as a senator is the product of a political appointment. he was attorney general in the state, the governor who was about to resign in disgrace appointed hum a few months ago. there seems to be donald trump the face of anti-establishment republican politics was trying to sell an establishment candidate to his voters. it looks like the voters said thanks but no thanks we're not
buying that. >> that was roy moore's message, take out the establishment luther strange and that included donald trump as well. there will be a runoff in september. steve, joy, stay with us. bob costa, thank you very much. coming up we'll ask a key member of the president's diversity council if he plans to stay after yesterday's remarks. "morning joe" is back in a moment. with at&t you can get your entertainment right here. right now, when you get the incredible iphone 7 from at&t you can get unlimited data and live tv. the channels you love. your favorite shows and movies. making your iphone into more of a... oh my tv is ringing. hey...i'm in the middle of a...a second iphone from at&t? okay! right now when you buy a new iphone 7 from at&t
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a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to xfinitymobile.com. look, i like mr. bennett. he's a friend of mine, but mr. bannon came on very late. i went through 17 senators, governors, and i won all the primaries. mr. bannon came on very much later on that, and i like him. he's a good man. he is not a racist, i can tell you that. he's a good person. he actually gets a very unfair press in that regard, but we'll see what happens with mr. bannon, but he's a good person, and i think the press treats him frankly very unfairly. >> not exactly a vote of confidence. we'll see what happens with mr. bannon. joining us from dallas, president and ceo of the united states hispanic chamber of commer commerce, javier palomarez. this morning in a scathing statement his group is calling for steve bannon to be fired.
javier, great to see you. thanks for being with us. my first question to you, will you remain on the president's national diversity council after what you heard over the last several days? >> you know, let me start willie by saying that a clear unequivocal denunciation of white supremacy was the order of the day, the moment was upon the president, he failed it miserably, the administration, this was a monumental failure on behalf of all of them. these are the moments that define a presidency, and that define a president. i will be staying on the council as of right now. this is not about serving a president. this is about serving the 4.2 million hispanic owned firms that collectively contribute over $668 billion to our american economy. this is about serving the american people, the job creators, the business owners, who put me in this post, our job is not done yet. >> javier, there are a number of
ceos as you know well who have stepped away from the president's manufacturing council, merck, under armour, the president of the afl-cio rim aud trumka stepped away. do you know why it may have been in the interest to help their businesses they for moral reasons did not want to be aligned with a man who has come out and equivocated about the white supremacy you just talked about. shouldn't you do the same thing? >> i completely understand their position. i support and commend them for taking a a thumbs up to a middle finger very quickly and perhaps rightly so. that is their opinion, they have a right to it. as far as i am concerned in our association, again, i serve at the pleasure of the american small business owners, the job creators, the taxpayers who put me in this role. our job and my focus is on immigration reform, on health care reform, on tax reform. those are the issues that i want
to get back to. do i commend what's happened here? do i support, i do endorse in any way? absolutely not. this is deplorable. it should have been a defining moment for this president. he failed it, again, the presidency and this president will be defined by this moment forever. >> did you -- >> but the fact remains there's work to be done. >> did you debate internally at the chamber of commerce or just with yourself whether or not you should step aside from this council? >> willie, i'm debating it right now. my phone is ringing off the hook. you know, we represent again 4.2 million hispanic owned firms. we're supported by over 270 american corporations. we take no government funding of any sort. we refuse to. i serve that constituency, and they're calling on me right now at some point we may decide to step off, but right now, the focus is on getting back to business. once again, business has taken a back seat to bigotry with this
administration. we need to if he kofocus on the hand. >> joy reed has a question. >> i wonder what you think you can accomplish for your membership with a president who has endorsed the views of bigotry, who has endorsed essentially and excused naziism and even before that called judge kuriel who is an american a mexican incapable of doing his job. given these are his views, why do you think there's some business that can be done with him, and do you think that it's moral to put the idea of doing business ahead of that? >> you know, again, this isn't about serving any one president. my job is to ensure that my constituency has a place at the table, has a voice in the dialogue regardless of who is in the president's seat. that is our role. i don't support what this president has said or done in the past. i think it's deplorable, but the fact is that we have a job to
do, regardless of whether that is a male, a female, a republican, a democrat, whoever is in the white house. >> his views have already been made clear. why would you think we would even want to do anything with these hispanic businesses given his views? that's the point. >> again, i understand your perspective, but the fact of the matter is, there are people around him like ivanka, like secretary mnuchin and secretary perdue and like secretary perry who have given us an audience who are working with us to ensure american small business has a place at the table. those are the people i'm focused on and that is the task that i'm focused on. do i support what has happened here? absolutely not. i denounce it. again, this will define this president for time and memorial, but the fact of the matter is, if i walk away, if i give up in frustration, the only people who win are the steve bannons and the steve millers of this world. they would love to have one less hispanic with free access to the white house, to the president, to ivanka trump and several of
the secretaries. >> mr. president, with all due respect, it's donald trump who employs them. he says steve miller and steve bannon, that bannon can stay on. at what point do you not recognize what joy is saying, that it's the boss that's keeping these people in. you've called for bannon to be fired because you said he disparages diversity and exclusivity. what do you think about the president after what not only he said yesterday but all the instances that were raised by joy? how do you justify that? i hear you and i hope you're right, but how do you justify that with yourself and your membership? >> again, this isn't about justifying what the president has done. let me be very clear. the president is in the wrong here. he has failed this moment. we're not trying to justify the president nor do we serve at the pleasure of this president. i serve at the pleasure of american small business. those are the people who put hee in this role, and until they call on me to quit, i'm not going to quit. i'm not a quitter. i know times are tough right now
about you this is precisely when we need to stand strong. we need to look these people in the eye and we need to debate the issues. we need to move the real agenda forward. again, business has taken a back seat to bigotry. we need to stay the course. >> andcourse. >> before i let you go, do you leave open the possibility that you could step off the council if you see more from the president? >> absolutely. >> all right. president ceo of the u.s. hispanic chamber of commerce. he says he leaves open the possibility of stepping away. we appreciate you being with us. thank you. >> republicans in koch have been quick to call out hatred and bigotry. many have been careful not to focus on the president himself. who will speak truth to power? "morning joe" is back after this. >> the president has frequently called mitch mcconnell a roadblock to his agenda. do you agree with the president's assessment?
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this represents for the people of this country. we are determined to take our country back. we're going to fulfill the promises of donald trump. that's what we believed in. that's what we voted for donald trump because he said he's going to take our country back. and that's what we got to do. >> when someone has so recently endorsed naziism, it is
inconceivable that such a person can legitimately aspire to leadership in a leadership role in a free society. >> that's president george h.w. bush talking about david duke in 1991. we were talking about david duke on saturday in charlottesville wagging his finger at the president of the united states and saying look in the mirror and don't forget who put you into office. and for all the world that looked yesterday, like the president come plied with what he heard on saturday. >> exactly. this person that republicans are terrified will tweet at him doesn't have the dputs to stand up to david duke? donald trump is not parroting or pandering to these views. these are his views. george h.w. bush didn't condone certain attacks. there have been lots of politicians that have trucked with racism. we've had openly racist presidents. listen to some of the tapes of
richard nixon. l.b.j. grew up in lost texas who when the office came into his hands, even when he was in the senate, he refused to sign the southern manifesto. he grew in the office. george h.w. bush fought in world war ii. he was never going to go that far. we've had flawed, racist men in the office. donald trump short of only maybe woodrow wilson and andrew jackson is being himself more than any other previous president will disgraceful racial views. that's the truth. he's not pandering to people. these are his views. he's being himself. >> still ahead on "morning joe," new reporting from glen thrush to the new york times who tweeted gary cohen ne kre chair who is jewish was disgusted and upset by trump's comments on white nationalists. we talk about that and more when "morning joe" comes right back.
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to protest. >> excuse me. you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> that's the president of the united states calling nazis and white supremacists who rioted in charlottesville very fine people. the president of the united states has a bully pulpit like few other people on the entire planet, and yesterday's frantic press conference he obviously used that to grant moral equivalencies to nazis and white supremacists. and that's why what happened yesterday for so many people across this country in america seemed to do such grave violence not only to the institution of the presidency but also, of course, to this country. the united states is -- sometimes it's been painful, but we've been in a constant long march toward equality.
and yesterday it's almost as if the president held up a stop sign and stopped history in it tracks. i think it's safe to say that none of us have ever seen anything like what happened yesterday. >> no. it was extraordinary, and it was despicable, and it was something that we suspect around this table yesterday, and people suspected across the country for the last several days, that the president's initial statement on saturday about charlottesville, what it was actually in his heart when he said many sides were to blame and there's hate on many sides and that the statement he put out and made on monday was one he was forced into and pressured into. and yesterday when he was unleashed, and he was allowed to take questions, he repeated what he actually meant, joe. >> and it's really important for people to understand that are just waking up this morning that may not have seen everything that happened. his own staff members were lied to yesterday as they went down there. they thought they were going to be talking about infrastructure. i'm sure you can look at the pictures of the chief of staff
seeming to be in mourning thinking that he'd been lied to, elaine chow had been lied to, everybody. and he just went on this wild tirade, and there you have a picture of the chief of staff who is doing everything he can to try to bring order to a white house and to a president who refuses to take that order. and it's -- it really is despicable, and that's why -- and i think the most telling thing is the reaction. the reaction has been harsh from not only across america but across the world. you've had people like marco rubio calling the president out by name. cory gardener calling the president out by name. a lot of republican congressmen have been doing is same thing. john mccabe, ben sass. of course, not so strange is the fact that david duke and other white nationalists are praising the president of the united
states yesterday for his words, and why not? he has now officially become the president of the white nationalist -- not only of america but also of the white nationalist movement. david duke saying thank you mr. president for your courage to tell the truth about charlottesville. david duke, nazis, white supremacists, plan members, they stand on one side, and apparently the rest of america and the world stands on the other, willie. the president has chosen sides, and it is very clear. not only morally, especially morally, but also politically. he has chosen the wrong side. it is now up to the rest of the us to figure out why he did that exactly. is he just a bigot or racist? and what we're going to do about it. i can tell you the one thing that does not seem to be an option for gop legislators, gop donors, conservative editorial
writers, is indifference. are granting donald trump the moral equivalency that donald trump granted nazis, white supremacists and klan members. it's unbelievable. >> there was an extraordinary moment in saturday in charlottesville when david duke was being interviewed. he turned to the camera and side to the leader of the free world, look in the mirror, mr. president, and remember who put you in office. that was david duke, the former grand wizard of the klu klux klan reminding the president and pressuring the president. i have to say it looked yesterday like the president complied with that. like he remembered who put him in office and checked himself out giving full condemnation to the kkk of all groups. >> a lot of people voted for him that aren't nazis or white nationalists. there are a lot of people across the country that are asking what
the hell did i vote for? this is not what i voted for. i didn't want a clinton or a bush in the white house, but i sure as hell didn't want a duke in the white house, and that's what they've got. >> we got a big group here the talk about this on this wednesday, august 16th. mika has the morning off. she'll be back tomorrow. we have the host of deadline white house at 4:00 here on msnbc, nicole wallace. veteran columnist mike barnicle. hallie jackson, political analyst and professor at the university of michigan school of public policy and former democrat and congressman from tennessee, harold joford junior the former chairman of the republican national committee michael steel, and john meechum joining us from nashville. president trump fans the flames in charlottesville where white supremacists and other groups
marched this weekend chanting nazi slogans. a woman was killed and nearly two dozen injured when a car allegedly driven by one of the white nationalist marchers plowed into marchers. the president reverted to the original statement that multiple sides were to blame for the violence. he explained his delay in condemning those groups while adding those marching alongside them included, quote, many fine people. >> there was no way of making a correct statement that early. i had to see the facts unlike a lot of reporters -- unlike a lot of reporters. i didn't know david duke was there. i wanted to see the facts. and the facts as they started coming out were very well stated. in fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful. if he would have made it sooner, that would have been good. i couldn't, because i didn't
know all of the facts. frankly, people still don't know all the facts. the first statement was made without knowing much other than what we were seeing. the second statement was made after -- with greatnolo knowled. >> what about the alt-left who came charging at the alt-right? do they have any semblance of guilt? what about the fact that they came charging swinging clubs? do they have any problem? i think they do. as far as i'm concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. wait a minute. i'm not finished. i'm not finished, fake news. that was a horrible day. >> sir, do you put protesters on the same level as neo-nazis -- >> i watch those closely, more closely than you people watched it, and you have -- you had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. and nobody wants to say that. but i'll say it right now.
you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent. there were people in that rally, and i looked the night before. if you look, they were people protesting very quietly. the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee. i'm sure in that group there was some bad ones. the following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people. neo-nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. but you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because i don't know if you know, they had a permit. the other didn't have a permit. so i only tell you this, there are two sides to a story. >> so, nicole, i don't really know where to start with that. there were so many misstatements, half truths, and lies there. you can even start with, of
course, the fact that he didn't know that david duke was there. of course he did. he watch tv all the time. but this isn't the first time he's lied about david duke. he's made a livelihood over the past year and a half of lying about david duke. tell me, what do republican activists, republican leaders, republican donors, people who have been in the republican party their entire life do at this point? and what -- how much longer can people like elaine chow and steve mnuchin and general kelly who i'm grateful is in there, but how much longer can they stand by a man in good conscious without being branded as an enabler of a white supremacist? >> well, 15 minutes. i mean, if they don't resign this morning, they're forever tainted with the stinch of what he did yesterday.
the ship has long sailed where any one of them can justify to outside audiences that they stay because the threats to our nation are so grave. you and i both know a lot of people with that rationale who make the case that if you saw what i saw, if you appreciate that i know what i'm doing, you'd understand the compromise that i make in terms of his moral and ethical lapses. i guess that was one thing when he was simply talking about grabbing women between the legs or when he was blowing up all the norms of sort of the dignity of the office of the presidency, but he's now given safe harbor to nazis, white supremacists. what he's done now is something you can't put back in the tooth paste tube. he has stained all the good and decent people, many of whom are there for the right reasons. i think they're past the point where they get out without doing any harm to their personal reputations, and i think that
what do republicans do? they never do anything. they tweet their outrage 140 characters at a time, and then they make up some bologna about tax reform would be good. we're so far beyond that. he's so disgraced not just the republican party but the country. people with kids can't watch tv with their kids anymore. i was on a plane, my son said why did they drive into a crowd full of people. i said sometimes good people get hurt fighting the villians. there's not two sides. they're hideous, hateful enemies of america, enemies of freedom, and there were people exercising their free speech, but he's a disgrace. >> the pressure is on republican lawmakers. call out the president by name instead of just giving bland statements on twitter. first, inside a spell minding vice documentary of what happened in charlottesville, and the people cheering the president's comments this morning. we're back in just a moment. and packages. and it's also a story about people.
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hallie, you were in the room yesterday when the president was giving those remarks. the reporting and the comments came almost immediately out of the west wing staff that said the president went rogue. this was not the plan. the quotes went on and on. the white house staff it seemed immediately trying to distance itself from this. do you see people as nicole suggested, walking out today? >> that's one of the questions we've been working on. what does this mean for people inside the west wing? you didn't have to go far to figure out people had issues with it. you just had to look to your left where john kelly was standing. in the room it was as wild as it looked on television. we have seen the president in these kinds of settings before. i think there was a sense that perhaps he would come down and take questions like he did on thursday and friday when he sort of went back and forth with reporters. i don't think anybody expected this. he was supposed to come down that elevator, come out, take out the piece of paper about
infrastructure, give his talk about policy, and then essentially kind of say gary cohn and elaine chow will take your question. instead he wrought up nick mulvaney flanking him for 25 minutes as he took questions from reporters. our reporting based on people close to the administration is truly that people were stunned. i don't know that it was strategy of trying to distance themselves. if people were thinking to that level. i think the initial reaction was what just happened? you have john kelly who was trying to institute processes, trying to put in place structure for this administration who had apparently laid out this plan to say go downstairs, do this, do x, do y and immediately the president did, instead, what he wanted to do this that moment which was come out and as one person phrased it, explain or relitigate what his comments were about on saturday, wanted
to express to to people. you talk about the people with him. i asked gary cohn when he took questions, because after that news conference, there was another one. it was during your show, nicole. we were sort of listening to you and also trying to turn to ask these questions of gary cohn and elaine chow. gary cohn did not respond when asked do the president's words hurt his agenda. the president's words are stalling it. i said what about the comments with mitch mcconnell, your husband. she said i stand by my man, both of them. >> joe? >> well, one of those men mike barnicle, though, provides aid and comfort to white supremacists. one of those men provides aid and comfort to neo-nazis, to klans members. one of the men she's proudly standing by this morning gets raise from david duke and criticism from other democratically elected leaders across the united states of
america. there is no excuse to stand by that type of man. no excuse whatsoever, unless you were so craven for power, unless you so desperately seek status that you are willing to ignore the fact that you are now working for a man who is either a white supremacist or a man who admires white supremacists and neo-nazis. the question is, though, what and an honorable man like general kelly, a man that i know i was relieved went in to be chief of staff. a man who has given his all to this country. a man who has given his son to this country in defense of freedom and in defense of liberty. what does somebody like john kelly do this morning? >> joe, i can only assume that general kelly is probably carrying the cloak, the same cloak of sadness that all of us here at this table feel. that millions of americans feel
today. this is a resilient country. we have survived, gotten up off the floor after assassinations during wars, after terrorist attacks, after natural disasters, but what happened yesterday was quite different. what happened yesterday, because of the nature of the media and all of the tools we have available to us today will live forever. and what will live forever? what will you see? you'll see the president of the united states standing before the republic diminishing the presidency, the country, and himself. you'll see and remember the president of the united states pouring words like salt on open wounds of race, of class, of gender, of income inequality. you'll see the presidency, the president of the united states,
not only diminishing the office, but diminishing himself by misconstruing history which he certainly has not read and certainly does not understand, and so now we talk about donald trump as president of the united states. we talk about donald trump, what's going to happen today. what we ought to be talking about is the country. and the people who represent the country in washington d.c. because now it's up to them. what are they going to do? paul ryan, the speaker of the house, tweeted last night without mentioning the president's name. put his name on it, mr. speaker. it was the president yesterday. put his name on it. >> call -- >> and do something about it. >> coming up on "morning joe," white house staff stunned. we'll get the latest reporting from glen thrush to the new york times of how a news conference on infrastructure went so far astray, and as we go to break,
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went? >> i'd say it was worth it. we knew that we were going to meet a lot of resistance. the fact that nobody on our side died, i'd go ahead and call that points for us. the fact that none of our people killed anybody unjustly, i think is a blplus for us, and i think that we showed our rivals that we won't be cowed. >> did the car that struck a protester, that's unprovoked? >> the video appears to show someone striking that vehicle. when these animals attacked him again, and he saw no way to get away from them except to hit the gas. >> you think it was justified? >> i think it was more than justified. the amount of restraint that our people showed out there, i think was astound what do you think this means for the next alt-right protest? >> i say it's going to be really tough to top, but we're up to the challenge.
>> why? tough to top? someone died. >> i think a lot more people are going to die before we're done here. >> so, willie geist, that says it all. that's who donald trump is aligning himself with. somebody that actually talks about this not like it's a protest to keep confederate statues up. he's talking about like, they are at war, and called it a victory because nobody on our side cdied today and it's going to get much worse, and that, again, we must underline again, which everybody knows is who the president of the united states was trying to justify morally yesterday in his press conference at trump tower. >> called many of them, quote, fine people. fine people. like the ones you saw there and he talked about friday night, the ones who marched peacefully. these people were chanting things like "jews will not replace us".
they talked about "blood and soil". these are the people the president of the united states was defebdinding yesterday. >> what is ivanka saying? he's converted to judaism? what is jared kushner saying? jared kushner, what is jared kushner saying about a working in an administration where the president of the united states is saying there were many fine people chanting "jews will not replace it" talking about blood and soil, using nazi imagery. what is jared kushner doing still working in the white house j when you have a president who is -- who is empowering neo-nazis and white supremacists? why is jared kushner still there? how does he justify this?
how does he sleep at night? >> joe, that documentary is 22 minutes that every american should watch, especially right now, and in that documentary, to your point, one of those white supremacist leaders talks about jared kushner and how he stole being a jewish man, how he stole one of their women in ivanka trump. he goes after him with visit recall. jared kushner ought to watch it and see what they're saying. it's disgusting and repulsive. it's all there. it's vice news. i know you saw some of it, harold. >> he said we killed no one unjustly. the restraint repraised, he said the restraint our people showed during this moment. he said a lot more people are to die. steve mnuchin and gary cohn stood behind the president of the united states, people talked about by this guy.
can you imagine if an african american sat in a documentary and said what this man said, we showed great restraint, no one joined unjustly. if a gang member in chicago happened to be african american, what law enforcement would be saying this morning? not only is this disgusting. it's criminal. and i hope that people who work for this president, and people who are aligned with this president, i don't -- people who voted for him were tricked. not only that d who are we, but more importantly, where is law enforcement? because i got to tell you, if that person was a different color, that would be a lot different reaction this morning, him saying we may kill more people and we showed great restraint in not killing more people. >> they've now promised to be out in force again because of the way this went down, because of the way they just saw the president of the united states yesterday say, well, it was also those mean protesters on the left who haven't been perfect. we've said that. we stipulated that. but the death on saturday in
charlottesville, virginia, came at the hands allegedly of a nazi, of a white supremacist driving a vehicle into a crowd. >> a man so horrible his own mother called 9-1-1 because of his violent tendencies. this happened in realtime, and we all watched. donald trump called the media very bad people. there's one group of very bad people. they're the white supremacists, not the journalists who cover it or the people protesting neo-naziism. the fact that he's so confused a about who the good guys are. some things are complicated, and he's new to this, but this is easy. >> amid the consternation about what happened in charlottesville, the president's first tweet of the morning target amazon. brian sullivan joins us to talk about why. ♪
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weekend following the horrendous scenes that we saw in charlottesville, i absolutely an who are the racism and violence that we've seen portrayed by this group. the united kingdom has taken action to ban far right groups. and there's no equivalence, i see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who -- i think it's the responsibility of all those in positions of -- >> that's the british prime minister speaking this morning in great britain talking about the events in charlottesville over the weekend. joining us now onset, editor of commentary magazine john padoritz. brian sullivan, and author of how the right lost its mind, charlie psychs. also glen thrush. a senior white house official
says president trump was not supposed to answer any questions at all yesterday, and glen, you're reporting, quote, members of the president's staff stunned and disheartened say they never expected to hear such the opinions the president has long expressed in private. you go further with the reporting this morning that gary cohn was particularly disgusted. where's the line between saying you're disdpgusted and leaving e white house? >> that's the question. for all the churn we've seen in the white house, we have not seen anybody resign in protest, and i would point out that this is not the first controversial offensive thing that the president has said. there have been many lines crossed, and so far nobody has left. it did feel in my conversation with the white house staff and people around the president that some rline was crossed yesterda.
there was a visceral response from people in the white house, particularly those folks who either work for jewish staffers or were jewish themselves. and i didn't talk with any african american staffers in the white house, because, frankly, there are not that many of those folks over there to talk to. and i just feel at the moment the next thing that we need to keep our eye on is whether or not any of these people who are grousing off the record and have their staffs reaching out to us to tell us they are upset really plan to do anything in order to challenge their own president on this. >> what's thing a cue lus? let's take gary cohn, as we look at the picture yesterday of president trump standing at the podium and behind him with gary cohn, steve mnuchin and elaine chao being props. gary cohn probably has $700 million. was the president of goldman
sacs. what's in it for him to stand by the president? >> gary cohn is somebody who is in the administration because he wants to pass a tax reform package. it's my sense that he will remain in the administration as long as that is a viable opportunity. you know, willie, i was struck. i was with the president for the g-20 trip a month before last. last month, rather, and i was with him in warsaw when he gave a speech to a crowd essentially commemorating the rising of polish christians at the end of the war, and the president did not visit or particularly go out of his way to acknowledge what occurred to jews in the warsaw ghetto. it was a last minute add on to the schedule, ivanka trump who converted to judaism, went to a jewish museum. the point i'm hearing from
people is the illusion that trump in private was somehow different and that people like steve bannon were acting to push him in this direction, i think, has been lost. i think people now realize that this strain of white nationalism in the white house is, in fact, something that is more closely associated with the president himself, i think, than they were willing to accept prior to yesterday. >> brian sullivan, you cover gary cohn for a long time, know these guys, what do you think is going through their mind? >> i've spoken to people close to gary cohn. they said he's frustrated with a lot of things in the administration. i think glen is right. gary cohn is there for tax reform. number one, if gary cohn should decide he is too frustrated and step down, let's say he does, we don't know. or rex tillerson. who is going to fill their spot? who are they going to get to come into that spot to address
and progress the agenda? that's going to be very difficult. number two, think about tax reform. if you are a paul ryan, if you are a member of the gop on the hill, remember, congress passes laws, willie, how are you going to get tax reform done, theoretically? how are you going to get tax reform or any pro business agenda done when instead of talking about pro business ajen kas and tax reform, you're having to denounce the president's comments and white supremacists. congress is getting further away from getting anything on the gop side done, michael steele. you know this. than they were a week ago. they're going backwards. >> paul ryan has been out the august recess tweeting about we're not paying attention to this nonsense. we're trying to do tax reform. it's starting to sound like he's making no impact all by himself. >> there's no agenda. it's all focussed on what's happening inside the west wing. it is a great frustration for the legislators who want to legislate, because they know
that's how they pivot. that's how they've always pivoted in the past, and they don't have that off ramp away from crazy, because now they're sort of stuck in this lane that's taking them down this road they don't want to go. >> isn't there a point at which who cares about tax cuts? when there's a moral crisis when the president of the united states does not have the moral authority to lead the nation, when he's condoning naziism and calling people who call the confederate flag good people? who cares -- i find it so incredible that people could prioritize getting their economic agenda through over the moral life of the country. this is a foundational question. is the president or is he not a person who condones naziism and reveres the confederacy? that's much more important. republicans need more moral compass. >> trump's horrifying take three on charlottesville. you say yesterday such words
could emerge from the mouth of the president of the united states is one of the most disheartening facts of my lifetime. >> what we learned is i don't think trump is a white nationalist in his heart. he's revealed through his words that he believes there is a crew of people, the alt-right, not nazis, let's say, because he's happy to say he doesn't like nazis and the klan, maybe not that happy, but he says it. what he means is the alt-right, the friday night demonstrators, not the mean saturday demonstrators, they're just concerned about history. right? so basically what he believes is that they form or constitute a part of his base. he is saying it for 40 years, republicans who talked about affirmative action and quotas and the dangers of racial division by counting by race have had to fight against the
perception and the arguments of democrats and liberals that this view was racist. we were like no, it's not. we are not racists, we believe in a different understanding of how to organize society on these grounds, and donald trump just took that and threw it in the garbage. he's like no, these guys are okay. they're very white conscious. they believe the white race is in trouble, and they're good people. there are a lot of good people in that crowd, and all they care about the is statue. we leave the statue alone. >> and john, the alleged nice ones from friday night were also chanting "jews will not replace us" and "blood and soil". >> and the other thing is that -- there's a poster. the poster, the unite the right rally had a poster online to get people to come to charlottesville. it said march on charlottesville. there were seven names on the poster.
can i just, mike e noch, hosts a show called the daily showa. augustus invictus, one who said i was prophesied for years that if i did not witness the coming of the second american world, i would begin it myself, and four other guys and not david duke. that's why they came to charlottesville. they weren't members of the local society. >> we talked about how supportive and emboldened white supremacists have been by the events of charlottesville and the tone of the president since then. listening to conservative talk radio as well, and i leave you out of that group this morning, charlie, i heard cheering too. i heard support not for the klan, explicitly or the nazis,
but for the tone of the president. >> absolutely. look, i think you're going to see fully on display, today over the next 24 hours, the degree to which the conservative media has been corrupted by trumpism. they'll easily make the pivot from defending rationalizing what the president has said to anti-trumpism. and look, anyone who listened to talk radio for five minutes yesterday understood that donald trump was speaking to his base and the base is going to be much more supportive than i think a lot of us would like to believe. the intellectual rot runs deep. the other question i ask about members of the cabinet and republicans in congress is what were they expecting? are they really shocked to find out that they have a megalo maniac who is enabling and empowering the alt-right in the white house? everything that has happened, i think was predictable if you were paying attention to donald trump in 2016.
everything you saw play out over the last three days could have been gleaned from watching the way he treated the alt-right during the campaign, the number of times he winked at them. the number of times he refused to disassociate himself with them. i think that it may be a little bit naive to think that suddenly people in washington are going to go wow, we had no idea this was the guy that we made president. >> amen. >> this is who he is. >> charlie, help us understand around this table how conservative talk radio and others supporting donald trump are walking that line this morning and were yesterday as they listened to the comments between saying i don't share his views in support or defense in this case of the protesters of the marchers, excuse me, in charlottesville, the white supremacists, but i'm still with him. how can you do both at once? >> well, first of all, part of it is this personality we've created on the right, the alternative reality.
the safe place for conservative talk radio is to say no matter what donald trump said or should have done, the media and the left is always worse. it is this binary choice. so they will have no problem basically saying well, he's right, isn't he? weren't there extreme leftists throwing bottles and doing things. let's look at the other side of this. there may be some people saying donald trump should have said this or tactically this was a mistake. but they will easily pivot into attacking the media and the left wing, and i think they're already seeing that. and all you have to do is turn on some of these shows and you realize the degree to which trumpism has thoroughly corrupted what used to be the intellectual infrastructure of the movement. >> thank you all. steve bannon once called
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you'll always be absolutely...clear. it's your retirement. know where you stand. welcome back to "morning joe." joining us now from baltimore, author and contributing writer for "the new york times" magazine will hilton and his cover story in the upcoming issue, he profiles the editor of breitbart news, alex marlow. in the piece he writes this
about that controversial website. take a quick survey of your friends and see how many checked breitbart this week or can name two articles that appeared on the site last month. then ask the same people what they think of breitbart's influence on the election and watch how loud the room becomes. it's startling the way breitbart has become iconagraphic to a mass of opinions for which they received credit or blame. we're certain they're spewing a fountain of bigotry that few of us devote much time to observing it for ourselves. as a result, we haven't done a great job figuring out exactly what it is or what steve bannon meant when he described the company as a platform for the alt-right. will, good morning, glad to have you here. >> good to see you. i'm happy to talk to another willie. >> are you a willie too? >> i always was as a child. >> let me ask you about the link between -- the current link between breitbart and the white house. in some cases it's probably
overstated, but steve bannon is seated there. is he still in connection with breitbart? is he still feeding them stories and helping them control the narrative? >> he's very much in connection with the staff at breitbart. they are not shy about telling you they receive text messages from steve or that he was asking about specific things, but in terms of what actually comes from steve in the form of direction, they're much more vague. in fact sort of secretive about it. i think both for his sake and for their own. at breitbart, there's also, i think, a little bit of a mixup in the public perception. the website itself is so devoted to many of the same ideas that steve bannon has that in a lot of cases they don't need the direction from steve bannon. for example, bannon is butting heads with mcmaster, but breitbart was pretty late to the game on the far right in attacking mcmaster. that whole ecosystem of thought was already steered against
mcmaster before it became clear that bannon was personally butting heads. >> so, willie, down in baltimore as opposed to willie here, what would alex marlow say if he were asked a question, define the alt-right? >> so alex said to me when i mentioned the famous steve bannon quote about breitbart being a platform for the alt-right, alex said that he did not at all understand what bannon meant and that he absolutely separates himself from and denounces the alt-right. this gets to, i think, an important issue that we have to contend with in the center and on the left, which is that for a long time now we've been talking about breitbart and using the term breitbart to mean a lot of different things, as willie mentioned in the part of the story that he quoted. but this is also true of the alt-right. i think we've used this term in a lot of different ways. in the wake of the kind of horrific explosion of hatred and
violence in charlottesville, i think it's important for us to start drilling down a little bit in that term and figure out what it is beneath it. there are a lot of different groups within the alt-right and they function in different ways and serve different roles. i would say, and this is my opinion, not alex marlow's, but i would say breitbart has been more an enabler of the alt-right in the sense of the alt-right having a white nationalist, bigoted perspective. breitbart has been more of an enabler than an espouser of those views. even during bannon's tenure when breitbart was much more vitriolic and incendiary and deliberately so, even if you look at that time, there's a relatively small proportion of hysterical headlines and shouty articles spewing craziness. there's a relatively moderate tone compared to sites like daily stormer or v-dare. so what breitbart functioned as was sort of a bridge mechanism
for the alt-right to come gather in the comments rather than a voice of the alt-right in the articles themselves. >> john. >> quickly, just to throw a brush-back pitch at you -- >> sure. >> breitbart employed milo who is a key figure on the alt-right and breitbart may not have been dominated by articles by the alt-right but websites, news websites in particular are manifest by the articles that spike and the personalities that pop. and i think all of those in the last two years have been figures leaning -- at least leaning toward the alt-right and white nationalism. >> i couldn't agree more. i think that the term you used, bridge, is exactly the term that i used. i think there's no question that breitbart has published a significant number of odious
repugnant articles, especially those by milo who is far out there in the realm of the deranged. but i also think it's important to understand the role that breitbart has played overall and for us to sort of figure out how the alt-right is functioning and how there are the more extreme and less extreme factions. there are those who openly espouse bigotry and those who allow bigotry to sort of fester in their lower quarters, such as the comments. and i think that if we decline to draw these distinctions, then we fail the conversation and fail political discourse overall. >> interesting piece. will hilton, thank you very much. we'll be reading your cover story in "new york times" magazine. kasie, we've got a few seconds left here. what do you expect to see today, if anything, out of republicans on the hill? >> well, i think the question is going to be, a, does the chorus get louder. b, what does mitch mcconnell do? we still haven't heard from him and obviously he and his wife, who is a cabinet secretary in the trump administration,
playing central roles here. then i think we have to see if anybody is actually willing to stand up and do anything. does anybody leave the white house? are there republicans that say, hey, i've got to get out of this completely. i'm not sure we know what that might look like. >> you hear gary cohn disgruntled privately. that you all very much. that does it for us on "morning joe." stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage. hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle. president trump blaming protesters and counterprotesters for the awful violence in charlottesville. >> i think there's blame on both sides, and i have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either. >> you know who disagrees? president trump's own party out in force telling him he's wrong. >> there is no moral equivalency between the kkk, the neo-nazis and anybody else. >> and republicans call it a moral reckoning for the party