tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC December 23, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
i want to wish you happy holidays if you are a resident of the washington, d.c. area, i want to wish you a happy anthony fauci day tomorrow. it is anthony fauci's 80th birthday and the district has declared it fauci day tomorrow in his honor, which seems just right. that does it for us tonight, and now it's time for "the last word" with the great ali velshi in for lawrence o'donnell tonight. ali? >> when motivated, he works really hard. when motivated to overturn the election, he's working really hard. when motivated for these
commutations and pardons for people who worked in the tank for him, he works really hard. he just didn't work on other things like the coronavirus. we have jobs like that. you and i are lucky to be able to talk about what we want to talk about every night, but sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do, and this president has not done that. >> that's in part why i'm so worried about the prospect of a pocket veto for the covid relief bill, ali, because he hasn't wanted to work on anything due to covid at all, and in fact, if what he does is nothing on that covid bill, if he refuses to sign or veto it and just lets it sit there which is the way he's treated coronavirus for a very long time now, that will mean there is no relief for anyone, the government shuts down, there is no eviction protections, there's nothing in that bill, and all he has to do is make that happen is zip. i am worried we might be on that course. >> and people will continue to die. it is remarkable to have been so unmoved by this thing, but he has proved his ability to be unmoved. rachel, you have a great, great holiday. we look forward to seeing you on
the other side of it. >> thanks, ali. appreciate it. all right. good night. rich white crooks of america, your time has come. if you're rich, if you're white, if you're a man, if you've been convicted of a crime, and fand course if you're loyal to donald trump, you get a pardon. trump went on a pardon spree, letting off more criminal lackeys as he could. paul manafort convicted by a jury of tax and banking crimes then pleaded guilty of conspiracy against the united states and conspiracy to obstruct justice. as part of a plea deal, manafort admitted to money laundering, tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying and defrauding banks. roger stone, whose 40-month prison sentence had already been commuted by trump was convicted on seven counts of lying to
congress, witness tampering and obstructing the house investigation into possible trump campaign coordination with russia. neither manafort nor stone ever fully cooperated with robert mueller's prosecutors despite entering guilty pleas. and why would they? they had these pardons dangled in front of them for years by trump to ensure that their mouths were kept shut. >> i don't talk about that. i don't talk about that. i think the whole manafort trial is very sad when you look at what's going on there. i think it's a very sad day for our country. he worked for me for a very short period of time, but you know what, he happens to be a very good person. and i think it's very sad what they've done to paul manafort. [ inaudible ] >> well, i'll be looking at it. i think roger stone was very unfairly treated, as were other
people. >> that's just the stuff trump said on camera. just stay on long enough and i'll make sure you're taken care of. law and order. america first. this pardon was announced after trump fled to mar-a-lago for the holidays, hiding among sycophants and loyalists who surely will tell him how good he is for these acts of clemency, which also includes a pardon for the father of his son-in-law, charles kushner. jared's dad pleaded guilty in 2004 to 16 counts of tax evasion, a single count of retaliating against a federal witness and one to lying to the federal election commission. it's all bad. it's very, very bad, but the worst of what charles kushner did is arguably what led to that single count of retaliating against a federal witness. the witness he was accused of retaliating against was his brother-in-law whose wife, charles kushner's sister, was cooperating with federal officials in a campaign finance investigation into charles kushner, her own brother. charles kushner was accused of videotaping his brother-in-law with a prostitute and then
sending the tape to his sister. that's the retaliation. the case against charles kushner was prosecuted by then-u.s. attorney chris christie, the long-time trump friend and former new jersey governor. here's how christie described the crimes that charles kushner went to prison for just last year. >> i just think it was so obvious he had to be prosecuted. if a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law and videotapes it and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do i really need any more justification than that? i mean, it's one of the most loathesome, disgusting crimes that i prosecuted when i was u.s. attorney. i was u.s. attorney in new jersey, margaret, so we had some loathesome and disgusting crime going on there, but i just laid out the facts. any objective person who looks at the facts knows confronted with those facts, i had a moral and an ethical obligation to bring that prosecution.
>> one of the most loathesome, disgusting crimes. feign shock with me again to the continued benefit that undeserving men, and they're almost all men on that list of 26 today, who committed terrible crimes are getting from this president. but let's end on a note of hope. this is the final show before christmas, we all need a little hope tonight. keep this in mind. paul manafort is not in the clear just yet. manafort's business dealings are still under legal scrutiny from the manhattan district attorney who could bring state charges that are not protected by trump's pardon. in a statement tonight, the manhattan d.a.'s office said this action underscores the urgent need to hold mr. manafort responsible for his crimes against the people of new york as alleged in our indictment, and we will continue to pursue our appellate remedies. leading off our discussion tonight, joyce vance, former u.s. attorney for the northern district of alabama and a professor at the university of alabama law school, and michael schmidt, washington correspondent for the "new york times." they are both msnbc
contributors. good evening to both of you. good to see you. michael, let's start with the news. there was some sense this was coming. obviously manafort and stone are the big names that we were expecting. it's not a big surprise. the question is, particularly with charles kushner, donald trump is getting closer and closer to family, and he's still got more than three weeks in the white house. what are the indications about what happens next? >> well, that's sort of the big question, how much further will the president go? he has now pardoned several people who wouldn't cooperate with these investigations that looked at his campaign's ties to russia. he has done this with jared kushner's father, he has done this with allies, with folks that have ingratiated themselves with the president. he's done it at a rate that no president is ever believed to have done. what i mean by that is most previous presidents gave pardons to people who went through the
justice department division to ensure they were given out fairly. in the president's case, he has sidetracked that process throughout, and has allowed this sort of other thing -- i'm not even sure how to describe it -- to pop up where you can lobby the white house, whoever you are, and you can hire anyone to do that. and the president, as a harvard law school professor, has charted, has given pardons and commutations at a rate of over 90% to people who are either close allies with him or helped him politically. going forward, how far will he go? will he take the extraordinary move of giving his family members preemptive pardons? will rudy giuliani, his personal lawyer, will he go that extra step to essentially say even though you have not been charged by the justice department, i'm clearing you of any wrongdoing
you can be accused of up until this point, sort of the extreme ultimate get out of jail free card? that's the question that we'll be looking at for the weeks to come. >> joyce, the harvard professor michael schmidt was talking about, his name is mike goldsmith. he is reported to have said of the 65 pardons and commutations that trump has granted today, they either had a personal tie to mr. trump or helped his political aims. that tabulation done by harvard professor jack goldsmith. again, this is not the spirit of what pardons are for. i remember hearing in years gone by these pardons, but i thought, what an interesting story. i didn't know the story of that person. we have seen some interests of pardons that were cronies or allies of the president. we've never seen it on this scale. >> no, usually those sorts of
pardons on the exception, not the rule, but president trump seems to be surrounded by an awful lot of people in his inner circle, close friends who are in need of a pardon, and that's really what separates this from the typical pardon process. this is a president who is offering pardons to people who possibly could have offered testimony that would have indicated that he himself had engaged in misconduct or perhaps even in criminal conduct, because when you think about it, roger stone or paul manafort, they didn't refuse to cooperate with federal prosecutors as some showing of principle, they refused to cooperate because if they testified truthfully, it would have been damaging to someone and possibly, likely damaging to the president. so that's the terrain that we have here. look, ali, some of these pardoned look like the kind of pardons that had they gone through a traditional doj pardon and vetting process, they would have been righteous sorts of pardons, people who served their
sentence and gone on to turn their lives around. the president sprinkles those sorts of pardons with i.c.e. agents, he violated civil rights or political pardons and especially these that he uses to protect himself are just a glaring violation of the process. >> it's not that there are none of those, there are just very few of them. they're a very small percentage, according to professor goldsmith. five of the 65 pardons fall into that category so far. michael cohen tweeted, what happened tonight shows how broken the whole criminal justice system is. despite me and my family being threatened by donald trump, i still cooperated with dozens of state agencies, mueller and congress, and all these criminals received pardons. this is wrong. this is not to hold michael cohen up on any pedestal, but michael cohen didn't go along with donald trump's dangles, or the idea that if you don't say anything you'll be taken care of, and michael cohen is not being taken care of.
>> yeah, michael cohen went to prison for three years. i think it's important to understand the context of what happened here. it's that the president, through his public statements and through his personal lawyer john o'dowd, and through his other allies made it clear that if you were not going to -- if you were not going to cooperate against the president, if you were to keep your mouth shut, he was in line with you. he supported that, he encouraged it publicly, and some people went along with that. paul manafort one of them, roger stone the other. as joyce was pointing out, that meant that mueller's investigators were never able to get a full picture of what the two people who they were probably most suspicious about, stone and manafort, about their ties to russia. they never got full accounts from them about their contacts during the campaign. so that means that the investigators were inhibited or obstructed from doing everything that they needed to do to get to the bottom of it.
nevertheless, robert mueller's investigation made no determination about whether the president broke the law or not. mueller said he could not do that. fast-forward two years later. now the president is pardoning those individuals, the president still has not been accused by robert mueller or the justice department or any federal authority of breaking the law, and the president is, you know, less than four weeks away from the i understand of his presidency. so there's been an investigation of him. we were not able to find out because this prosecutor, mr. mueller, was not able to determine whether the president broke the law. that was a judgment mr. mueller said. and now the president has pardoned the people who did not cooperate with that investigation. that leads many people to believe that the president has been able to live above the law, a belief that not just democrats have but many legal experts, and that's really the legacy tonight
that we see of the mueller investigation. >> but, joyce, the interesting thing about that is that the president gets political cover on this. i want to play for you what lindsey graham said about pardoning paul manafort on march 13th of 2019, almost two years ago. let's listen to what lindsey graham said. >> would you advise the president against pardoning paul manafort? >> yeah. i mean, the point is that pardoning manafort would be seen as a political disaster for the president. there may come a day down the road after the politics have changed that you would want to consider an application for him like everybody else, but now it would be a disaster. >> you know, my producers can tell me if we've got a statement from lindsey graham right now, but lindsey graham is fully in donald trump's tank at the moment. so the president is not even getting pushback from republicans on this.
>> no, there's absolutely no pushback coming on this. and ultimately what's going to have to happen is people will really need to think about this and view it not as a political issue but as a rule of law issue. this notion that today it was donald trump, but do we want to set this precedent down the road where if we should happen to have another president who engages in this kind of behavior, another richard nixon, that they will feel free to protect themselves from legal consequences. i love mike's phrase, living above the law, because it reflects so much so well what trump tried to set himself up to do. the question for the american people is, are we going to tolerate that or do we need to hold the president accountable to the standard the founding fathers meant to live within the law? >> that is the conversation that we have to have moving forward. this is no longer a piece of history. we expected this to happen. but how we got to this point is the question that we all need to think about and address.
thanks to both of you for a very thoughtful conversation, joyce vance and michael schmidt. we appreciate you being with us tonight. coming up next, one of the impeachment managers who made the case to remove president trump from office joins us next to react to the president's abuse of his pardoning powers. congressman and veteran jason crow joins us next. n jason crow joins us next the same is true for building a business. black-owned businesses are an integral part of america's foundation. they lay the groundwork for other black businesses like mine - that turns concrete into something beautiful. i'm kimberley robles, and i'm the owner and founder of robles concrete design. the citi foundation is helping our community partners facilitate more loans to black-owned businesses. cenbut they pack a punch.l, with over 20 essential vitamins and minerals they are the most complete mini multivitamin. so you can focus on punching above your weight. no matter how high you set the bar. try centrum minis.
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i want to be forthcoming. we have had some response from a republican to donald trump's pardons. senator ben sasse of nebraska has put out a statement on the pardons. it reads, this is ross ttten to core. that's the entire statement. this is rotten to the core. adam schiff was appalled when we spoke to him last night about this first round of lame duck pardons of donald trump. tonight he's even more outraged. here he is with rachel tonight. >> he's pardoning people who lie and have no compunction about
it. he's pardoning people he can relate to because they're like him. i think, of course, as you indicated, there is more of that. >> joining us now, democratic congressman jason crow of colorado. he's a member of the armed services committee. he was one of the seven house impeachment managers in the impeachment of donald trump. he's also a former army ranger that served in iraq. a number of these matters are relevant to your experience. congressman, good to see you. thank you for joining us. your response, first of all. not a major surprise. i guess the surprise is the degree to which these are now no longer the standouts. these are unusual pardons for people who stuck by donald trump. they are the mainstay of the end of term pardons. >> good to see you, ali. we shouldn't be surprised at all this is what's happening. the president told us long ago who he was. we have known for years that he is somebody that is loyal only
to himself. loyalty within the trump administration, by waithe way, just a one-way street. these folks are being pardoned for a specific reason. i think they're being pardoned because they can deliver something to donald trump, and we have to ask ourselves what exactly that is going forward. the larger story for me here is the silence of so many people. that is so much the story of the trump era. folks like ben sasse is in a class of his own right now. >> yeah, and by the way, that silence can apply to these pardons, it can apply to the continued efforts the president is making to overturn the election, it can be applied to the fact the president vetoed the national defense authorization act in part because he didn't want to go along with the renaming of confederate bases. you are a man who put your life on the line for this country. his view of what veterans and what the military does is
skewed. >> well, let's just look at what's playing out today. the story of the trump administration has played out in the last ten hours. here you have a nation that's under attack right now. i think this has to be made very clear, everybody, that our nation is under the largest cyberattack we have ever seen in our nation's history. we have government systems that are compromised, we have a huge adversary in russia that actually has access to some of our very important national security systems, we have men and women, hundreds and thousands of whom are serving our freedom and democracy while we talk and trying to do the right thing. in the middle of all that happening, you have donald trump sitting in the white house vetoing a defense bill that's meant to give a 3% pay raise to those troops, that is meant to bolster our cyber offenses and respond to the very attack we're under right now, and he's sitting here giving pardons to
his political friends and cronies and those who have shown no contrition and who have proven only their loyalty to donald trump. so that's what's happening. it's the story of donald trump and it's playing out on december 23rd. >> almost exactly a year ago, donald trump pardoned the navy s.e.a.l. eddie gallagher. military people at the time told us that while the president is the commander in chief and you want him supporting military people, when you support people that do really bad things, ilt' bad for the military. the president has now pardoned four blackwater contractors, not members of the american military but contracted to the american military for crimes they committed in 2007 in iraq. the murders they are accused of are heinous. >> yeah, they are. the commander in chief is supposed to set the tone for our military. it starts from the top. i learned this as an army ranger in iraq and afghanistan that the foundation of leadership is
leadership by example. he set the tone and the tenor. we have men and women around the world right now who are executing u.s. foreign policy defending our nation on the tip of the sphere of our national security, and we're telling them to abide by international laws and norms, to abide by u.s. laws, to execute their duties with morality and with ethics, and you have a commander in chief who is sending the exact opposite message. that if you abuse those things, if you disregard international law and norms and ethics, that in his eyes and his world, that's okay. it's an exceptionally dangerous message, and it's one that we're going to have to embark on a repair job over the next couple of years to have better leadership at every level within the military to say this is not okay. we're going to have to have a reset on january 20th to kind of rebuild some of our norms and traditions that are so critical to defending our nation. >> yeah, and it's mixed messages.
if you're a man or woman who wears the uniform of the united states or you're a veteran, the president at various times has called people losers and wondered what their motivation is for going to fight on the part of the country. so he's not coming out on the right side of either side of this with the military and yet he fancies himself a champion of the military. >> yeah, he does. i mean, again that's the story of donald trump. he is incapable of loyalty to anything other than himself, whether it's our servicemen and women, whether it's the way he's embarked on these pardoned, wheth whether it's using hundreds of millions of dollars to help him win a political campaign. over and over it's all about donald trump. i'm glad it's going to end on january 20th, but the message that he sent and the danger of this stuff becoming normal is a very real danger. i think we have to send a message to the american people that none of this is okay. this is not okay. it wasn't okay prior to 2016,
and it's not okay right now. we have to make sure we're getting folks in place that can actually push back on this and reset those norms to where they have been prior to 2016 in the trump era so we can actually engage in this rebuilding of our country. >> well, on this day before christmas eve, let's at least remember and thank those servicemembers who are out there around the world keeping america safe regardless of the politics going on at home. congressman, good to see you. thank you for being with us. congressman jason crow of colorado was a former army ranger. up next, speaker pelosi versus donald trump. while americans are hiding from the president's veto threat on covid relief, pelosi is running circles around trump and republicans. can she actually turn the trump-created chaos into more money for americans who actually need it? that's next. next. #1 for psoriasis symptom relief*
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there is a chaos on capitol hill tonight. millions of americans will not now get economic relief of which they are so desperate, or at least they will not be sent out next week because there is no amount as to what they should be. at the 11th hour last night, trump threatened to blow up the coronavirus relief package that took months to craft, calling for $2,000 per person in direct payment checks to people who qualify. to be clear, that's a substantially better amount of money than the paltry $600 they all agreed to, but $600 is all republicans would agree to, so that's what got passed by both chambers of congress. what caused this last-minute change, you ask? trump decided to play president for a night and insert himself into delegative legislative negotiations. he had delegated steven mnuchin to do it, and now he wants to weigh in after months of
silence. chaos is not always a bad thing. speaker nancy pelosi is trying to call his bluff. he committed to passing the $2,000 checks by unanimous consent on christmas eve tomorrow if republicans go along with it. pelosi made it clear the gop is now responsible saying, quote, if the president truly wants to join us in $2,000 payments, he should call on leader mccarthy to agree to our unanimous consent request, end quote. feign shock with me, if you will, but republicans in congress has been silent on this. they have not offered any response. this vote is supposed to be tomorrow and they haven't got anything to say about this. calling trump's bluff means that the gop is officially between a rock and a hard place, because do you side with trump and pelosi and give far more to americans than you ever wanted to give, or do you side against them and risk americans getting no check whatsoever? you would think the answer would
be pretty self-explanatory for republicans, but doing good for people in need is not the gop's strong suit today. so what's it going to be? decisions, decisions. leading off our discussion tonight, ambassador wendy sherman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs. she's now advising the biden transition team. she's no longer an msnbc contributor, and david jolly of florida who left the republican party in 2018, he is an msnbc political analyst. welcome to both of you tonight. sherman, this is nancy pelosi's sweet spot. she knows how to count votes. she understands that democrats have been asking for a much larger check for americans for a long time. they actually passed a bill on october 1st that was several times the size of this one, and now donald trump has walked into this thing and said, we want $2,000, she says, we'll give you $2,000. call a vote. tell your people to get on our side with this thing. what happens next? >> i think one thing donald
trump should have learned by now is to never count nancy pelosi out. she is a master of the house, as david jolly knows quite well, and indeed, what she tweeted tonight was, mr. president, sign the bill so that the government can function. because as you pointed out, ali, this bill is both covid relief and the final budget legislation that makes the government function, and you can't get those checks out whether they're $600 or $2,000 if there is no government funded and no government functioning. so they said sign the bill and then call leader mccarthy, call majority leader mcconnell and tell them to join the democrats' unanimous consent for $2,000. we can get it done by noon on christmas eve. very smart politics, and i think she understands that president trump doesn't mean a thing by this. he got on the plane to mar-a-lago. has he called senator mcconnell? has he called mr. mccarthy,
congressman mccarthy? has he called speaker pelosi? has he done anything to lift a finger not only to keep the government functioning so it can send out checks but to get people the desperate need that they have, get them any check and then get to that $2,000. >> we just heard from kevin mccarthy now, the house republican leader who has said that they are not going to join democrats in a unanimous consent motion to get this $2,000 done. it's a dear colleague letter. david jolly, help me with this one. long after the bill was passed in congress october 1st, mitch mcconnell kept saying, without naming names, he said, i've got people in my republican congress and senate who will not go for a lot of money for americans, either because they don't want to encourage the laziness, i
suppose, the signal that sends o they don't want to run up the debt. not the problem they had with the tax cuts. what's happening now? what has happened here? because mcconnell and trump have been in lockstep for the better part of four years, and now they're entirely on opposite sides of the situation. >> look, for mitch mcconnell it's been a marriage of necessity, not one of respect, and i think what you're seeing is mitch mcconnell knows what the rest of the country knows, which donald trump is on his way out the door and mitch mcconnell will remain majority leader. ali, there is a statement in the senate that presidents come and go but senators stay forever. that's largely mitch mcconnell's thinking right now. if we go to what happens next on this, and you mentioned mccarthy is just out with a statement, and it's an interesting statement in the way mccarthy actually dismisses both pelosi and trump to show that he's been totally left out of conversations with the white house. mccarthy is saying, not only are we going to vote no on the $2,000 a month stimulus
payments, but what trump really meant, speaker pelosi, is that he wants us to reduce foreign aid. so house republicans apparently are going to offer an alternative motion to reduce foreign aid and that apparently is going to address the needs of the american people in the pandemic. i don't think the votes are there in the senate for $2,000 a month payments. they will be there for house democrats but not republicans. what donald trump is doing is going out as he came in, this neanderthal populism, skpeand h saying, i tried to do more than nancy pelosi or mitch mcconnell or joe biden tried to do. >> it's definitely different than what passed the house on october 1st. it's convenient he put this statement out. maybe he knew you were going to be on shoethe show with me beca this is your wheelhouse. he said they conveniently ignored the concerns expressed by the president, as mr. jolly
jufs saying, and shared by our constituents that we ought to reexamine how our tax dollars are spent overseas while so many of our neighbors at home are struggling to make ends meet. thus republicans will offer a unanimous consent request to revisit the state and foreign operations title of the omnibus so we can fully address the concerns at hand. david, i'm glad you brought that up. master sherman, how did this come about? how did this get into the discussion? >> i think this golt int into t discussion because he thought it would pull on the chain for the populism david jolly just spoke to. foreign assistance is really assistance that helps the taxpayers of the united states of america and it's less than 1%, 1% of what we spend in all of our budget. it's very little money. i know americans think it's a great deal more, and we do it to help americans abroad. we do it to help businesses get
into markets and sell american products. we do it so that american farmers can sell wheat abroad. we do it so that americans who are traveling have support when they get stuck or when they may be in another country and can't get home because of covid. yes, we do it to help developing countries at times, but we do that because we want to make sure that democracy grows around the world, because when there is a middle class, then they buy american goods. so at the end of the day, what we spend overseas is to help americans at home, and it's also to support our military, as you were just talking with congressman crow in that terrific discussion you had with him. we want to support our military overseas and that's covering our americans. >> it was a paltry $600, but
they were counting on it, and now there are small businesses and people out of work in america wondering how they make it to the end of the year, the night before christmas eve, and this is what we're doing. ambassador wendy sherman, thank you. thank you for joining us, david jolly. we're going to have conversations about covid, the pandemic and your overall health. this year has been an extreme challenge for millions. tammy duckworth talking about what you need to do as the pandemic rages. d to do as the pandemic rages (senior) helping seniors.
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but there's a different question we are being asked now. are you going to remain open? even when your doors are closed? open. that's how we show who we are. and there's another way to be open, to pull together - or push, depending on the door. and we are making it work and we will continue to make it work together. because open we stand. this is an important week. in addition to us ringing in the ebb end of the year, it's a deep religious experience for many, and for those of us not religious, it's a time for friends and family. but it was never likely the pandemic would abate by summer and be over by labor day. when that didn't happen, some
thought thanksgiving would be safe for relatives, but it wasn't. now christmas will pass by so many. these are challenging times. people we know are getting sick, some are dying, and the people we love have been able to escape the wrath so far, we live in constant fear of being infected. but know this, all this stuff you're feeling, all these fears, you're not alone if you're feeling d pressed or anxious or unmoored. you're not alone in not seeing the people you love and you're not alone in the thought that the darker days of the pandemic are still to come. more people have traveled in the last five days than all those who traveled around the thanksgiving holiday. today joe biden's pick for cdc director, dr. rochelle walensky, told us what to expect as a result of this. >> i think we'll have more death and more surge after the
christmas holidays, and all of those are going to manifest around the end of january. >> as we face this grim reality, it is crucial to practice self-care and to find glimmers of hope. here's one of those glimmers. more than a million people in the united states have now received the coronavirus vaccine. pfizer agreed today to supply the united states with 100 mi million more doses of vaccine by the end of july, averting a potential shortfall in the spring and summer months. with luck, we won't be spending next christmas talking about this, or at least we'll be talk about it in the rearview mirror. angie duckworth has dedicated her career to mental health, to be able to find things deep within yourself to face things you never expected to face. she had to do that herself this year. she lost her 87-year-old father to covid-19 in april, in the early days of this pandemic. joining me now is angela du
duckworth. she is the professor of psychology at the university of pennsylvania and founder of the character lab. she is the author of "grit: the power of performance." if you haven't read it, this is the year to do it. professor duckworth, thank you for being with us. there are times when someone with your level of education comes on the show and people say, this is not the experience most people have. except in this particular case, in terms of dealing with the grief and the pressures of coronavirus, it has been your experience kind of from the beginning. your father passed in april. >> yeah, i think my father was one of the early victims passing in early april. although i should say at the age of 87, there has certainly been more tragic cases during the pandemic. my 85-year-old mother is still with us. but, yeah, i've had my story. i will tell you, i hope 2020 is the year of empathy because if
anything, this teaches us that each of us really does carry our own burden. >> let's talk about dealing with these things. your mother is dealing with the loss of your father. you wrote there was no funeral, but she could paint and she could plant a tree. the dedication reads babylonica weeping willow in memory of kyung lee in 2020. let's talk about dealing with this. it feels a lot like grief even if you're not dealing with the death of a person because everything you know about life has changed. for others it's anxiety and mental anguish. what can we do in these moments? we know the end of this is coming, but it may be many months. >> i went to school to get a phd in psychology, but sometimes i think i could have just sat and watched my mom and she probably would have taught me everything i need to know. my mom's story with losing my dad, they lived in the same,
like, senior retirement home. she was in independent lif undn he was in the highest care at home. i think she probably logged miles a day from her independent section to his. then when he passed, which happens sometimes very suddenly from covid, if i just take a page out of her playbook, like how did my mother deal with that grief, you know, there was certainly the shock, there was certainly, you know, the sadness, but i have to say, my mother's attention went very quickly to, you know, how this was a blessing that , that my f had been in a lot of pain in his final months and years. she thought of good memories, and she did, she got out her paintbrushes, and the painting she made, actually, in honor of my dad is a peacock feather which is kind of an inside joke because my dad was a bit of a
peacock, and she planted a tree. she planted a tree she thought he would like. so i think ilt's not to deny tht we are sad and we are lost, but i think to the fact gets us out of the whole -- >> we describe these things, people who do that, as strong. and worry about people who can't as weak. but your book speaks to the fact that we all have this in us. >> do i think people are stronger than we think. and talking about not feeling alone. michelle obama said, it was a couple of months ago, oh, gosh, this is getting to me. i feel a little depressed. a lot of people's shoulders softened and said, it's not just me. at the same time, we need to realize that we do have inner
strength. and the vast majority of people are resilient. it's the norm, not the exception. >> how do you deal with the idea that you can't dodge these feelings? after nine months of this, you can't dodge it, avoid it, pretend it's not there. you have to own the feeling, and know that in 20 years, you'll be able to talk about what 2020 was like. >> you think about, what will the story i will tell? i think it's very helpful. one of the things that helps people manage negative emotions is temporal perspective. basically, when we have some distance in time from what we're experiencing, we can manage the emotions better.
we can even do this yourself, not by removing yourself from 2020 right now truly, but removing yourself from 2020 mentally, and saying in 2040, when i look back, what will be the story i tell? what will i be proud to say about how i managed things? >> that's exactly what i've done this year. i've thought about the fact that this will be the year we talk about for the next 50 years. i like to spin a bit of a yarn. what will the yarn be, what is the information we'll tell people who didn't live through it? angela, thank you, and our condolences to your family. your father was a great man, and a lot of people with shiny cars have him to thank for it, because of the invention making car paint better. so thank you. >> and can i tell you how happy he would be that you said that and that he's being remembered. so thank you so much, ali.
>> you stay safe. we'll talk again. angela duckworth, thank you. when we come back, a special "last word" from lawrence. lawrence (kids laughing) ♪ upbeat tempo ♪ sanctuary music it's the final days of the wish list sales event sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment. and a complimentary do you struggle with dull, dry skin, and find yourself reapplying moisturizer throughout the day? try olay ultra rich. olay's luxurious moisturizer melts into the skin. it's formulated with vitamin b3 plus peptides and shea butter, providing lasting hydration, for up to 24 hours. there's no need to reapply, and no greasy residue. and, for enhanced hydration, try olay serum.
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before we go, a plea for help. we're not the only nation ravages by covid-19. the consequences are far and wide. in malawi, 7.7 million school age children were at home for more than seven months due to the pandemic. but you can help. here's a special alast word fro lawrence about how the k.i.n.d. fund is helping students maintain social distancing in classrooms. >> for ten years, viewers of this program have been supporting kids in need of desk, which provides desks to schools in malawi, and scholarships for
girls to high school. victoria is a student in a primary school, where the students are learning lessons they're bringing home to their families about how to stop the spread of covid-19. >> you can go to lastworddesks.msnbc.com to support. no contribution is too small. elizabeth, the head teacher at
the primary school, told us the new desks are more important than ever because without them, it would be very difficult to maintain social distance in the classroom. >> it would be very difficult, because these learners, we're just being packed in a room. it would be a difficult thing for them to have a one-meter spacing. it would be a difficult thing for them. >> your continued generous support of the k.i.n.d. fund has made this very difficult year a little bit easier for thousands of students and teachers in malawi, who always express their gratitude in song. ♪
good evening once again. day 1,434 of the trump administration. 28 days to go until the inauguration of joe biden as our 46th president. meanwhile, the outgoing president is issuing another slew of pardons. granting clemency for a total of 29 people. and let's be clear, some of the pardons tonight are going to straight-up criminals. some reward corruption and cooperation with russian intelligence. we heard the news just after trump landed in florida tonight, this was another stunning rebuke of the mueller investigation, while doling out rewards for allies, especially those who stayed quiet. paul manafort, roger stone, convicted of lying to