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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  July 30, 2020 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT

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our live coverage of the funeral of john lewis will continue the brian williams and nicolle wallace. guys, take it away. >> good day, brian williams here with you on this somber and urgent thursday afternoon. 3:00 p.m. here on the east coast. 12 noon out west. our friend nicolle wallace will be with us moments from now. this day has thus far been a living example of both poles of our politics. in many ways that means our recent past, as well as our present, as recently as today. we've been watching the moving scenes from atlanta, georgia as the nation says farewell to a giant, congressman john lewis. the funeral was held at ebenezer
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baptist church, church where his mentor dr. martin luther king jr. presided. the dignitaries at today's service included former presidents from both parties. he was eulogized by former president barack obama who looked to lewis as a hero. after his inauguration in '90 he signed lewis' program with the words because of you john. he talked about what john meant to him and our country. >> john lewis was in so many ways exceptional. he vindicated the faith in our founding, redeemed that faith. that most american of ideas, the idea that any of us, ordinary
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people without rank, or wealth, or title, or fame can somehow point out the imperfections of this nation and come together and challenge the status quo and decide that it is in our power to remake this country that we love until it more closely aligns with our highest ideals. >> buried alongside his wife lillian who died in 2012. today's celebration marks the end of six days that honors the life of lewis as he makes his journ journey. it included one final crossing of the edmund pettus bridge
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where in 1975 he led hundreds of people across the bridge in a march to demand voting rights for african-americans only to be attacked by alabama state troop troopers in what became known as bloody sunday. he was afforded the rare honor of lying in state in the capitol rotunda. back to atlanta, the city he represented in congress for more than 33 years where he never received less than 69% of the vote. now we're joined by my friend and colleague nicolle wallace. nicolle, what a day of contrasts especially given the utterance of our current president earlier today, especially given the fact we're in the midst of a pandemic that is chewing up real estate and people across our country. >> you know, i think everyone has this desperate need to be
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filled up. i think that what john lewis did in his own words in an op-ed he penned to be published on this day, the day of his funeral, went a long way towards filling us up. i'm a student of former president obama's speeches. this one today was about john lewis, but it was also a challenge to us. who do you want to be, america? do you want to be a country in the image of john lewis or do you want to be something very, very starkly and darkly different on the other side? it cheers me endlessly that president george w. bush had the opportunity to honor and pay tribute to this american hero in john lewis. there's something extremely comforting in these times in seeing three former presidents from the two political parties
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honor an american. joining our conversation former maryland democratic congresswoman donna edwards and jon meacham, professor of vanderbilt university. donna, your thoughts? >> well, you know, today when i was watching, first of all, it was such a real celebration and a fitting home going for a faithful servant. you know, i think about my colleagues along both sides from whom i served and learned. i thought about so many speakers who came into the pulpit. i thought how humble a man john lewis was and that he could fill your spirit and he did that with such joy in the democratic
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caucus when we really needed to be united. it was always john lewis' voice and in that caucus that would unite us on pilgrimage to selma, to learn our history, it was john lewis' voice calling us there. this morning when i read that "new york times" op-ed and i thought, i have no right to be tired because the work really does go on. i think all of us should be as he said called to the wind. >> jon meacham, it's undeniable that the work and legacy as described by three former presidents and in congressman lewis' own words is work that runs contrary to the -- what we can decipher as the stated mission of the current president which today includes possibly delaying the u.s. election.
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>> could not be a sharper contrast than the day congressman lewis' soul was commended to god at ebenezer church, one of the most famous places in the world, the prospect -- the threat that the fundamental democratic processes would be overturned for the convenience of a single man. what today remind us of and presidents clinton, bush and obama's words -- ms. clayton stole the show by telling us how john and lillian got together -- they all lead us to the place where we have to ask ourselves in an urgent way which side of history do we want to be on? no one today is talking about
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honoring bull connor, jim clark or george wallace or the people who look like me from my native region who enabled those people in that era and who are enabling this president in this era. we have to confront anew. this is what congressman lewis would want us to do. he was not a stain glass christian. he was not an ivory tower statesman. he was a man of the arena. he believed fundamentally that the kingdom of god could be brought to bear and into being within time and space. it's a remarkable and revolutionary thought. it begins -- all of us don't have to ascribe to that or be saints.
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john lewis was. saints don't have to be perfect. they just have to be better than the rest of us. this is about the theology of america. are we devoted to the commandment to love one another as best we can as we love ourselves or are we entirely about the selfishness and the greed and the cruelty that created essentially a total state? we can't let that wall be built back up. >> jon, because your talent is the ability to fill in the tableau, things we're all watching in real time, think of what today showed off. it reminded us of a day before an out of control pandemic in
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our country. it reminded us to nicolle's point of a day when our presidents, regardless of party, used to come together. finally it reminded us of a time before presidents led with the topic of self in their remarks. >> yeah. i think what president bush said, we've had offer disagreements, but the america we both believed in understood that disagreement is the oxygen of democracy. it's the essential element in the republican, lower case r, system. it's okay for people to feel strongly about one party or the other. that's why we're here. if it were all one system, that would be absolutism. from the very beginning, 25% of us didn't want to rebel against
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britain. jefferson and hamilton were at each other's throats. hamilton was shot. we have always been divided. where we have been at our best, though, is when those divisions are strongest, we have just often enough managed to agree that the world john lewis envisioned was worth the compromise, was worth the giving up of something from yourself. let's not play the harps here and the trumpets. the civil rights be which jim lawson today, one of the most important americans of our time, who taught dr. king, who taught john lewis, who taught ghandi and nonviolence, he spent a couple years in prison because
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he was an objector during the korean war. he goes to india. he meets ghandi's lieutenants. then in his interaction of christianity and the ghandi methods come together at a college in ohio and meets martin luther king jr. he says we need someone like you in the south. that's why jim lawson was in nashville. they were in the basement of clark memorial church and that's where they learned how to do the things that have led us to this conversation today. to go to a point president obama made, it's a vivid, powerful expression of a fundamentally american evnlightenment idea.
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the individual has agency and our individual voices, if enough of us raise them, can create a chorus that lifts us to a better place. >> congressman, to jon's superbly crafted point today, offered a tableau of the history of the past few decades in our country. i thought one of the most indelible points made by president obama was to readjust our thinking for the modern era and identify one john lewis as among our founding fathers. >> well, i thought that was a very poignant point that president obama made. you know, when the fullest history of our nation is written, john lewis' name will be etched in that history as the story of one of our founding fathers who made our union more
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perfect. our job is to take up that mantle and perfect it even more. there was an important call to action in john lewis' op-ed piece calling on us to vote. i thought it was a really important call to action from president obama saying that our work is not done. he laid out in the most clear terms the work that is still to be done to make this a more perfect union. it really does begin with a vote. i think, you know, he wasn't just saying what kind of america do you want to be. he was telling us very clearly we can either be the america of john lewis' hopes and dreams and aspirations or we can be the america of the darkness of george wallace and the current occupant of the white house. i think that choice is really clear. i think if we're going to do john lewis' legacy justice, then each of us has an obligation to
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take up. we may not be able to take up the whole mantle. each of us has an obligation to take up even the tiniest piece of it to make ourselves into a more perfect union. >> thanks to two friends of ours on an emotional day. you see atlanta's fire department paying tribute to john lewis. former congresswoman donna edwards and jon meacham. a break for us. when we return, the coronavirus pandemic, which let's not forget was a back drop to all of today, the news today that former presidential candidate herman cain has died from covid-19. the daily death toll like we were tracking back in the month
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of may. the president's response to the spiraling pandemic? he's now suggesting delaying the november election, something he lacks the power to do. steve schmidt will weigh in on all of it and where we are in history after this. re in history after this like screening for colon cancer. because when caught in early stages, it's more treatable. cologuard is noninvasive and detects altered dna in your stool... find 92% of colon cancers... ...even in early stages. it's for people 45 plus at average risk for colon cancer, not high risk. false positive and negative results may occur. so, don't wait to screen. ask your prescriber or an online prescriber if cologuard is right for you. did you know liberty mutual customizes your car insurance ta-da! so you only pay for what you need? i should get a quote. do it. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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president trump continuing to struggle in the polls against joe biden and today the president of the united states floated the idea of delaying november's election, something that he legally cannot do. he did so in a tweet. the president yet again without evidence attacked the integrity of mail-in voting which is how he voted in the last election. he wrote in part, delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote. as the constitution tells us, only congress has the authority to postpone an election.
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even despite crises like wars and economic turmoil, never in our history has our nation delayed an election. the president's tweet came 16 minutes after new numbers from the commerce which shown the biggest drop in the gdp, 32.9%. put another way we've lost a third of our services produced in our country. grown office holders have signed over their seats, names and reputations to donald trump. mitch mcconnell, mccarthy and graham came out against the idea the president floated today. we welcome back steve schmidt.
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senior strategist to the mccain effort in '08, a co-founder of the lincoln project, republicans devoted to defeating donald trump and trumpism. steve, let's start with a tweet. there's no barrier to entry. no standard for authorship, even the best are forgotten seconds later. in many ways, this was just a tweet by the president, but in the deeper way what did this moment reveal? >> this moment revealed donald trump's fetish for totalitarianism in full. never has an american president talked about delaying a presidential election.
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he is across the rubicon. we should be gratified that at long last the supine republicans in the senate and in the house have finally at long last said, no, we will have an election. we will vote. the american people in this country, we pick our leaders. so trump's question, his assertion, his probing, the perimeter of what he can get away with, fundamentally the right to vote isn't something for donald trump to give or take away. this is our american inheritance. it has been bequeathed to us through the blood and sacrifice of american martyrs and heros, including the blood of the american hero buried today with the tributes of three american presidents. in this country we tell the government what to do, not the other way aaron. the point is, though, if donald trump could end the election, stop the election, if donald
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trump had the power to remain in office we know for sure he would exercise it. he's being crushed politically. we received the worst economic news in the history of the country today. we are in a pandemic that will kill more americans than the japanese, germans and italians during the second world war. we know the school openings are going to be a disaster. as we move into september, we're going to see a mortgage and eviction crisis begin in this country that will be three times what it was at the height of great recession. we have dark and trouble days ahead. we see a president testing the boundaries of american democracy which he's done for three and a half years. what i'll say today i said four years ago. fascism didn't grow and thrive
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in the '30s because it was strong. it grew because democracy was weak. we have a sick and ailing democracy in this country where there's too many of our leaders that have infidelity to small r democracy and it's a real problem and a real crisis. >> steve, on that problem and on that crisis specifically, every democratic guardrail has been steam rolled by donald trump. why do you think an election and a transfer of power will be different? >> well, i think that it will be different in the sense that when donald trump loses the election, i doubt very much we'll see the symbolism of the peaceful transition of power. there won't be coffee at the white house. we won't see donald trump on the dais. someone pointed out in a
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democracy it requires one side being willing to lose. the loser cedes to the winner. trump is ceding the ground that the election will be illegitimate. he'll never recognize the legitimacy of it should he lose the election. 35% of the country won't recognize the legitimacy of the election, which means we're in dangerous territory. at the end donald trump can't stop anybody from voting. only the american people can stop themselves from voting. he can do a lot of things to make it more difficult. look at the strategy, the point's been made over and over. trump doesn't have a strategy to win the election.
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he has a strategy to get it close so he's able to steal it in the end. we should all be vigilant about that. if he can steal it, he'll steal it. he has no fidelity to the american ideals. it's a strange and foreign thought for him that the country was founded by people like george washington who voluntarily walked away from power when he otherwise could have been a king or emperor. >> thanks to steve hschmidt. when we return the latest headlines on the pandemic. it's getting worse in so many places as one of the president's allies falls victim to the virus.
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