tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC December 5, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST
>> give rest, o christ, to your servant with your saints. >> where sorrow and pain are no more. neither sigh but life everlasting. >> you only are immortal. the creator and maker of mankind and we are mortal. formed of the earth and to earth shall we return. for so did you ordain when you made me saying you are dust and to dust shall you return. all of us go down to the dust
yet at the grave we make our song hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. >> rest in christ your servant with your saints. where sorrow and pain are no more. the sign of life thus. >> in your hands, oh merciful saver your, we commend your servant george. we acknowledge you a sheep of your own fold. a lamb of your own flock. a sinner of your own redeeming. receive george into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace. and into the glorious company of the saints in light. amen. >> now may the god of peace who brought again from the dead our lord jesus christ the great
shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect to do his will, working in you that which is well pleased in his sight and the blessing of god almighty the father, the son and the holy spirit. beyond you and remain with you in this world in which we live. this day and forevermore. amen. >> let us go forth in the name of christ. thanks be to god. ♪ ♪
>> we await the departure of the 41st president and his family inside that hearse. the man for whom these bells toll after that emotional service. on a bitter cold day. 36-degree temperature. but the winds push the windchill well below freezing. as the sun is trying to come out on national cathedral on this hillside in northwest washington. we will stay with these pictures and watch along with you. please know that helping us in our coverage is the former republican party chairman michael steele, our own chris matthews and nicole wallace who in the months it's been since you joined our broadcast team
and became an anchor of a broadcast every afternoon, we have a tendency to treat you as just a part of our broadcast team. one, of course, you are not. of course, for you, this was your former boss and long-time friend talking today. and this family is a family you know well, this politically dynastic, prominent american family. so, with that in mind, my friend who is not like all the others here, your views on today? >> you know, i watched a cathedral full of tend r tender-hearted giants. i watched the former president of the world watching was a president but he was a broken hearted son. i watched the former secretary of state jim baker who when the 41st president's pastor from houston talked about how jim baker rubbed the feet of
president george h.w. bush as he slipped away, broke down and cried. so for me, as a, you know, i was a 29-year-old press staffer when i met or started working in the white house. i was younger than. i worked for jeb bush when i met the 41st president and barbara bush. but to see everyone stripped down to their bare naked unashamed love and devotion to the 41st president was incredibly moving and i don't think you had to know them to choke up when george w. bush choked up. i don't think you had to, you know, be anything other than an observer of american politic it is see that these friendships were real. i think you also heard some of the funny -- 41 was not a stiff. he was -- he could be, you know, he could be mischievous, a goof ball. driving the boat too fast and
recklessly. allen simpson gave a eulogy of how george h.w. bush at the peak of his political popularity lifted him up at the depths of his own so i think it was a story about an american president but also a beloved father, a beloved friend and someone who will be missed. >> chris matthews? >> well, this is an away game for me in terms of the family because unlike nicole i don't know them well but i had to tell my experiences with george herbert walker bush matched completely up with the testimonies we heard today. he invited our family to the white house for a movie and dinner. the attention to my parents, all measured up. the letter writing, the noters back and forth over the years. i mean, it's -- for somebody who worked on the other side of politics is attention and respect. it was always there. as a former speechwriter, it was
4 for 4 today, brian. starting with john meecham, perfect, every word was caught. it was a statement of its own and then to have, of course, rooney -- i didn't know how close that relationship was, endured all those years after they left office. and then allen simpson with a -- earthiness to his message. and then to have to match all that, the son had to come on and bring them all home. was an amazing piece of work, just emotionally. i realize i'd never seen him so overwrought and should have been based on the words spoken. that was the right ending, tears. i thought -- i never have been to a service, a funeral like this where everything was -- had integrity and everything matched up. and i even liked the fact that rooney -- brian, i think you said had to recoup with the
world war heroism and realized always scares you to death in a public speech situation is someone before you said your best stuff and you have to figure it out. >> michael steele, same question. >> soaring. amazing. personal. those words struck me over and over again. starting with john meecham's speech which was so grounding in many respects where you got a sense of the young pilot, the young father, the young president when just sort of came into his own at those very critical moments in his life. and how we are all touched by that. i envy nicole for being in that bubble and witness history in a very personal way and i got a sense of that today. i got a real sense of that today
of who this man was. he was always so kind to me, whether a state chairman, lieutenant governor or national chairman. the bush family, they were always -- made me feel a part of their family in that sense. and i think the country walked away from this service feeling a closeness and a connection that they probably had never realized before. >> nicole, as you may know, beschloss and i like to joke it's been two weeks since a meacham book. >> everyone e-mails each other. has everyone checked on them? gene -- jean becker, the chief of staff since the '90s and she for all of the precision and all of the humanity and all of the
splendor of today, i don't know if anyone deserved more credit than jean. jon was going up to the capitol to spend time with 41 to get the head in the right place and the overriding this concern this week is with doing right by this man who he has written so much about and spent so much time talking to. george bush 41 loved meacham. he came up and read sections of the book he'd written about him to him. and it was a real friendship and in the same way that maureen dowd wrote about covering him and becoming his friend. i don't know that reporter would have pulled their punches. i don't think any of them but they also knew him as a human being, as meacham certainly did. >> andy card is standing by to talk to us after the service. obviously, former chief of staff to george w. bush 43. andy, what did you make of what we just witnessed? >> well, first of all, this was
a wonderful thing for the world to witness. it showed the decency of a true citizen of the united states who's a citizen of the world and this is a demonstration on how to live a life and how to invite people to be part of the solutions in america. and solutions to problems around the world. so this is a remarkable experience. this is a celebration. it's not a mourning. it is not a sad thing. this is really a compliment to a life well lived, an example given for us all and i just think it's been a remarkable day. you know, this was a remarkable man who was so unselfish and it was never about him. he didn't practice brogueadocia. he would have said today was too much. it was a wonderful service. >> andy, what did you think of your former boss, the president? >> oh, brought tears to my eyes. you know? most people think because i was
george w. bush's chief of staff that i was really close to george w. bush. i was much closer to his parents. and i felt as if george w. bush was a close acquaintance but his parents were kind of like my surrogate parents. i first met george h.w. bush in 1973 and our relationship has gone from little red chevy chevette to experiences i never would have dreamed i would have and he inculcated everyone with a sense of public service and of all the people i have known he is by far the most noble public servant. >> mr. secretary, thank you very much for joining us. andy card, former chief of staff to the president george w. bush 43. back here with our group as we watch the various motorcades
splinter out around town. nicole, for those who don't want this to be an end of an era, who's the flame carrier to come out of this event? >> you know, the bushes have not spent this much time in the limelight in -- since george w. bush was president. so to see so much of them and to see how they're received, you know, i think it says a lot about hungering something different, for the way things were, partisanship. both partisans and civility. i think that what you saw today was george w. bush picking up the flame, becoming the patriarch of this family and i don't think that he will be the p patriarch in the same way 41 was. i think he is his own man but in the way he greeted michelle obama, handed her a piece of candy walking down the aisle. that breaks -- >> two of them thigh's a thing, a friendship. something to grab on to what feels like really difficult
moments in our politics. george w. bush also you can just see the bond between his wife laura bush. him grabbing the arm and holding on to her. that marriage i think will move into the limelight the way the marriage and the love affair between george w. bush and barbara bush did for so many years. >> i think although we can argue about all the questions we have to argue about for two years i think joe biden reflect it. talking to republicans they say, if we have to have a democratic president, yeah, biden will be okay. i think he does -- really does p personify that idea of friendship across the aisle and moderation in government. >> the play is still in the game. you're absolutely right. he is -- he is the exclamation point of that generation of that type of leader who, yeah, they can be partisan, go to toe with you but they know where the water's edge is and lost with today's leaders when you reflect
on the man we honor today and his legacy. you do ask yourself, who is the next one to step into that spotlight. you're wanting there. i believe that. there are moments in this service where, you know, i know the directive from the family was, okay, we're going to play this clean. this is not a moment to smack anyone. but you could not help as an american having lived through the last three and a half years or three years, two years especially, to apply words to moments. over last two years and go, wow. wouldn't it have been nice and different if. >> nicole, just from the coverage, from social media, from communication with people watching, there was a presence in the front row that needs to be discussed and that was the current president. whose job today was to show up, to attend. he did not have a speaking role and to be respectful. >> even his presence said more about the 41st president and the
bush family than it did about him. he was a good guest. and i think that's all we need to say about him right now. but it became uncomfortable when every one of the people who eulogized the 41st president talked about civility, talked about generosity. you could feel the -- it was a contrast. it was -- i don't think it was quite a rebuke but it was such an obvious, an obvious contrast to what we see now in the oval office. >> i think -- felt more comfortable in new guinea than this president felt here today. >> michael? you're not going to get out of this round of questioning. >> look. i agree. i agree with both chris and nicole here. i believe that, again, there were those moments during those eulogies that spoke about the character of not just a man but a president. who leads a country.
in good times and difficult times. and if you have paid attention at all in the last of the events of two years you could not help but have that moment of contrast and say to yourself, i mean, even, even, brian, to the arrival of the president with four other presidents sitting there, it was -- it was stark the difference when he arrived. they all, all the other presidents -- they just turned and looked straight ahead. no acknowledgement. >> no greeting. >> no greeting. >> yeah. >> that's, again, it is just a contrast. >> and again, i mean, i think the bushels, they show. they don't tell. i think they showed -- george w. bush talking about the relationship between bill clinton and his father as part of the eulogy. george w. bush, you know, walking down the aisle having the candy in the left hand. shook with the right hands and then put the handy in the right hand. there's such thoughtfulness toward the obamas who came after
him. the clintons who came before him and after his father that it just -- it just lays it all out there for everyone to see. >> but we knew this before. we knew all this, the rules for years. you don't make fun of someone's look. you don't make up terrible nicknames. >> make fun of a disanaled roertd. this was a president -- >> ethnic slurs because of their birth. we know this and will know it afterwards. and that's life. >> well, they have been rolling while we have been talking some of the video from that front row starting with the arrival of the 45th president today. they were all, all of the presidents in that front row with first ladies and then behind them some of the vice presidents of this past several decades. dane quayle dan quayle on the left. dick cheney, joe biden, mike
pence. cabinet secretaries and unbelievable section of political american. >> it is just an unbelievable tribute and it's something that the 41st president would have said was too much but he would have loved this. i think, you know, when we talked about jean becker, there was enough time, you know, 2012, in november of 2012, george h.w. bush was in the hospital in texas with pneumonia or bronchitis and i don't know if they went to plan a funeral and he was very sick and hospitalized and so the families have a lot of time to think about what this day would look like, what these moments would look like. but what may have developed since that fall of 2012 is the intensity of the relationships with the former presidents. those friendships are more organic. >> are you watching president carter and hillary clinton? like he is next to the cliffs of moor.
he would fall over if he moved an inch to the right. >> this is the next place that our focus will be on and that is andrews air force base. old timers among us always call it andrews air force base. >> i was born there. >> instead of the -- is that right? >> i was born there, yeah. >> brian, why did they change the name? >> i don't know. it's a move toward clunkier language i think. >> they consolidated. this happened when i was lieutenant governor. when the whole reorganization, they started to consolidate not just the facilities but the missions and so they became this joint base fill in the blank. >> yeah. it doesn't work. >> sort of like unsubstantiation. >> a new word. >> a while back we started to call newsrooms content centers. it's the equivalent of joint base andrews. >> there you go. >> beautiful image. >> for me it's always andrews air force base. >> until we're gone it's
newsrooms and andrews air force base. michael steele, can't thank you enough. >> my honor. >> not lost on us that you represent a good chunk of the modern republican party history. whether republican party will return to that history -- >> working on it. >> brian, is it the proper title, former chairman of the former republican party? >> if i slip that word in i'm sorry. >> you know what they say about this town? one of the best titles you can have is former. >> that's true. just a moment here, we want to go back to the portion toward the end, yes, that portion, of the eulogy by 43 of 41. >> and his address the 41st president of the united states said this. we cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. we must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a
citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it. what do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? that we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had better? state a moment to trade friendship. dad, we remember you for exactly that and much more. and we're going to miss you. your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever. so through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man. the best father a son or daughter could have. and in our grief by this smile knowing that dad is hugging robin and holding mom's hand again. >> and with the departure of 41
from the american scene, the departure of a member of a finite list of presidents of war. that book title brings us to its author, the presidential historian michael beschloss who was present for that. michael, was it as tough to sit through the moments like that as it appeared to be on television? >> it was. it was just hugely moving as i'm sure you found it. to see president bush 43 talk about his father that way and there's been so much written about that relationship. there will be a lot more in that moment we saw will be one moment that a lot of historians and biographers will write about. you know, brian, if you knew something about president bush 41, george w. bush by the end of that service you would have known an awful lot about who the man was. the fact that he had brought those five presidents together, the fact that this was so inclusive. clerics of every religion, his
old adversaries. for instance, the family of the late geraldine ferraro who ran against him. he made the point that they should be there, too. >> and, michael, they're assembled as three quarters of the last american century of politics. >> that's exactly right. and if you think about it, you know, that's george h.w. bush's story. it goes all the way back. the president whom he enlisted under 1942 to become a pacific navy hero was franklin roosevelt and goes all the way up to barack obama and donald trump and all that was in that cathedral today. >> michael, what -- let's talk about the passing of the torch, not only locally within the bush family, but the feeling, the political philosophy, the party represented in that sanctuary
today. where does it go? where does it rest? >> well, it certainly is not what it was at the time of george bushel's presidency in the early 1990s. the moderate wing of the republican party is almost gone. that way of practicing politics which is nonconfrontation, that began to go away after george bush left in the early 1990s when newt gingrich's republican party came in control of the house and others in the senate in the mid-1990s. so the question is, brian, whether an event like this today that celebrates the george h.w. bush way of practicing politics, whether that will have an influence in showing people that that is not a bad alternative, especially through the era, you know, we as well mention the name of donald trump. >> michael, our thanks after attending this memorial service to come out and join us live on television. we appreciate it as always.
>> thank you. >> we are joined here high above national cathedral by nancy gibbs who was with us earlier. she co-authors the book "the president's club: inside the world's most excleesive fraternity." she happens to be the former managing editor of "time" magazine and written more cover stories of that publication than anyone else on the planet. nancy, there was that exclusive fraternity. five of them, and of course, everyone was kind of talking about and feeling the presence of the current president. >> one thing that it reminded us all sitting there is any club they don't get to pick that you are members. we do. and so you see in the enormous variety of personalities and ideologies between jimmy carter and bill clinton and barack obama and, of course, donald
trump, that the range and then throw in the presidents bush we were being reminded of, this is a very, very different group of people. and yet, we have decided to bring them together in this thi. something changes about how they relate to each other and you sart of s sort of saw a that. >> what did you make of the dynamic? >> one thing was tricky is if there's a mission of that group, it's to protect the institution of the presidency. we have seen this through history. you saw it when gerald ford recommended that bill clinton be censured rather than impeached. when you have a member of the club who has take an blow torch to the institution and not by
accident. it's the promise he made when he ran. that makes for a complicated dynamic. what was interesting was the intent to which we don't often see he was abiding by those protocols in everything about this service and in being there. what was unusual was that unlike the past presidential funerals, this is the first time in a long time the sitting president didn't speak. bill clinton spoke at richard nixon's funeral. ordinarily the sitting president would be one of the speakers and in this case, obviously, no presidents were invited to speak. the president who spoke was speaking as a son. s >> you think social security going to get worse? >> it's possible.
shakespeare would say it has to get worse before it gets better. i think there's something very healthy what we saw of just being reminded not just that it's been bad before and gotten better and there are cycles in our history but that things do bring us together and then values that are shared are abiding. >> do you think it's like the world war i scene at christmastime where french and germans got together and sang christmas carols together and then went back to killing each other. >> i hate to think we're in a world war kind of moment. it feels that way sometimes. i also think the values that were being talked about today. the values of service and sacrifice and humility and of being willing to admit to your errors as well as exhalting your successes, all of those principles are deeply american
principles. they are ones across the political spectrum honor. whether they agreed with the policies and be presidency of president bush or not, you cannot help but be moved by the reminder. they carried through president obama came from the senate. there was an institution that he revered that the current occupant doesn't hold in very high regard. the president whose death we celebrated was in all the institutions. regularly maligned by the occupant of the white house. they are all philanthropists, the former presidents. they have been targets of his attacks on twitter and elsewhere. we can dance around the dynamic that was on display but what was on display were former presidents who have celebrate
and come from institutions that are now under constant attack by the current president. >> a short drive across the river lies the place that can be as cold as a roof top on a cold day like today. that is andrews air force base where parked on the tarmac is the tail number 29000 air force one which looking at it, nicole, it strikes me, the first president to fly that aircraft was george herbert walker bush and it will be the aircraft that takes him on his last flight home. >> all presidents love air force one. they love the honor of being the president of this country that they all love. all presidents love this airplane. it's fitting that george h.w. bush's last trip on an aircraft will be on air force one. >> you know, you think about
departures and it's been often commented on this weekend that when george herbert walker bush was defeated for re-election in '92, that he was basically run out of the white house. told to pack up. barbara, let's get together. we got to get out of here. they told us to leave. then to have this kind of celebration today. i thought the former prime minister of canada said it well. the way it took all those years from '92 when he was defeated all the way through to about a decade later to restore his sense of happiness. >> absolutely. >> nancy -- >> it was a tough road for him. >> we should be honest that the media, we're tough in those closing years of the bush presidency. the widely told story, not quite accurate that the president didn't understand a super market
scanner. you knew what i was going to say before i said it. the blistering cover of newsweek magazine that went off like a thermo nuclear device when they said the wind factor. those were tough days. >> the father never mentioned the son chewed me out for, although i had nothing to do with it. after the gulf war when it was obvious that president bush would be the person of the year for time that year, the photograph was a double exposure. it was presented as the two presidents bush. someone whose foreign policy had been so successful but whose domestic policy had not lived up to the policy. they still get mad about that. yes, certainly. although i then will say that the courtesy reminded us.
this was a complex relationship. you get the sense they understood they have a job to do. we have a job to do. we all try to do the job the best way we can. i'm sure a lot of coverage made them crazy. certainly president bush talked about how he felt the press corps was rooting for bill clinton's victory. >> they liked the press. they still liked the press. 41 still consumes the news and watches the news. that generation, 41 and his white house staff must more engaged, more interested in engaging with the press. >> we realize that not everybody gets to sit in sub freezing wind chill. we don't just ask anyone to do it. with that, our thanks to the journalists and author and expert on this matter, nancy
gibbs. thank you very much. it's great to see you again. hans is out at the base they insist be called joint base andrews. it's always going to be andrews air force base. >> reporter: it's the base that president george herbert walker left on so many foreign trips. behind me you see what's commonly known as air force one. for this special mission, 41, special air lift mission 41. members of the motorcade have arrived here. we have seen some members come out. there's an air force band here. they will be doing their part to send off the president. you think of a symbol of american power but also the engagement in the world. this will be his final flight
home. tomorrow the navy will be doing their own special salute. one of them will head straight up to heaven. >> they will be part of the jolly rogers air wing doing that tomorrow. that's going to be an emotional moment as this president goes home to texas. his adopted second home. thank you for that. retired four star u.s. general barry mccaffrey has rejoined our merry band. what did you think? >> i thought it was a joy for the country to participate in this. it was a moment where we paused
in the anger. i think all americans have been reminded. the other thing is to underscore how fortunate we were that president bush wasn't lost at sea, missing in action in 1944. very unusual contribution. >> take a moment and since we have seen today so many young members of the military. the military district of washington. talk about the young soldier, sailors, marines that we have been watching all day today. >> i'm sure it was matter of pride. sometimes we have to remind ourselves the armed forces of the united states are the most respected institution in our society. they are enormous. 2.1 million men and women in active guard and reserves. they were on display today and it's such a professional and young force. i