tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC September 10, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
there will be an encore presentation of "memory box" tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. that is tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts right now. good evening once again. day 234 of the biden administration. and in less than an hour, it will be september 11th. two decades since the terror attacks that changed this nation forever. president biden arrived in new york earlier this evening. tomorrow, he'll take part in ceremonies here, in pennsylvania, and at the pentagon. today, in a white house video posted on social media, he reflected on the impact of that awful day. >> we saw a national unity bend, we learned that unity is the one
thing that must never break. unity is what makes us who we are. america at its best. to me, that's the central lesson of september 11th. >> this 9/11 anniversary is being marked weeks after the end of the u.s. military presence in afghanistan, and the airlift that evacuated some 125,000 people, including thousands of americans. those evacuations continue. today, the second flight departed. and now we're battling an even deadlier adversary. the covid outbreak is affecting every corner of our country. president biden talking up his new vaccine rules that will impact some 100 million workers.
either get vaccinated or be tested weekly for covid. that has sparked a furious backlash from several republican governors who are threatening lawsuits. this morning, biden was asked about his new rules. >> what is your message to republicans who are calling these rules an overreach? >> have at it. look, i'm so disappointed that particularly some of the republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids. so cavalier with the health of their communities. this is -- this is -- we're playing for real here. >> that was this morning. late this afternoon, more defiance from one of the most outspoken gop governors.
>> when we see elected officials violate the constitution, we have a responsibility to fight back. and that's what we're doing. [ cheers and applause ] and that's what we're going to do in florida to combat what joe biden is trying to do with these unconstitutional mandates he's imposing. this won't stand. >> biden's senior advisers -- today, the white house appeared to suggest it will take further steps if necessary. >> we're always looking at more we can do to protect and save lives. we'll continue to look for ways to save more lives. >> pfizer says it will be requesting approval for covid vaccines for children as young as 5 within the next few weeks. as the president battles his
opponents on vaccine mandates, he's also working to help fellow democrats stay in office. monday, he will travel to california to campaign with gavin newsom. a survey shows roughly 60% of likely voters opposed recalling newsom. also, demonstrators expected to gather next saturday to demand what they say is justice for the hundreds of people facing charges for the january 6th insurrection. today, they announced a dozen more planned rallies to be held into october. with us, eugene daniels, peter
bergen, and jon meacham. good to see all of you tonight. so, eugene, a former aide confirmed to nbc today that on 9/11, george w. bush called joe biden from a secure location in the midwest, and joe biden advised him to get back to washington. in times of crisis, a president unifies a nation. president biden talked about unity on 9/11, it was key during his campaign.
and as we commemorate that day, what are we expecting to hear from him? >> what is really interesting about 9/11 and joe biden is that months before he became the chair of the senate foreign relations committee, that was the first moment that in a time of national tragedy, that joe biden was the voice that we've seen since then, right? the voice of compassion, the voice of we're going to get through this. he was trying to get on the senate floor. he was trying to get to the c-span cameras. i've talked to many of his aides who were with him that day, he was trying to get in the capitol so they could see that the government was back in business. he was going around, telling people we're going to be okay. he did it in front of a couple of cameras, he also went on oprah six days after and did the same thing. we're going to see the same joe biden that became, that started that day.
talking to americans about, you know, there's nothing that we can't do when we team up or we get together. we're always going to be better on the other side of really tough things. i think one of the things that is really interesting in a story that we're going to be working on how 9/11 impacted joe biden, it reinforced how he thought about foreign interventions. you have bookends of him becoming the foreign relations chairman, and him becoming the president who ended this war. while we're not expecting a big speech from him, according to jen psaki, he has so much going on that they weren't able to pin that in. but i guarantee we'll continue to hear from joe biden about 9/11, and more importantly about what it means to this nation 20
years later. >> how do you see, jon meacham, the line from the joe biden who was in the senate in 2001, to the president today? what is his role now as we look back, 20 years ago? >> i think president biden, like president bush, would rise to an occasion if need be. god forbid. president bush wanted to get back to washington as well. he was asking to do it. his father, the one conversation they had that day, as i recall, president bush senior said you need to get back to washington. they both have an intuitive understanding of what the presidency is. it goes back to a sentence that franklin roosevelt wrote, interestingly, on september 11th, 1932, he defined the
presidency as preeminently a place of moral leadership, how we are together, custom. a president is not an olympian figure, but a president does have a unifying role, both symbolically and substantively, in hours of crisis. the two men bring very different life experiences to the pinnacle of power. unquestionably, president bush had been a governor for six years at that point, of texas. and joe biden, if something happened now, he was in the senate, of course, for so long. he came into office in 1972. when richard nixon had just won re-election. and i think they have a similar view of the presidency. which is, it should be a unifying force. you make decisions, you make your best call. and you live with the
consequences no matter what people say from minute to minute. >> as much as it's been talked about, there's a lot we don't know about 9/11. and the families of victims have been pushing hard for the release of some documents from the report. some said they didn't want the president at the ceremonies tomorrow if he didn't order it. which he did. and some of those unclassified portions will be released over the coming days, months. do you think we might learn more about osama bin laden, any possible saudi culpability? what will you be looking for? >> i don't think we'll learn anything new about bin laden in those documents. my understanding is they'll investigate saudi links to 9/11. two of the hijackers lived in san diego, and they were helped by saudi officials. it's not clear if they were being helped on their own
recognizance or something more. this has gone on for a very long time. you can understand the frustration of the families. on the other hand, once we see these documents, i'm not sure there will be anything else that shows how the saudis were more involved in 9/11. after all, al qaeda's main goal was the overthrow of the saudi government. maybe some saudi officials working together, wittingly or unwittingly, to help the attackers. but pinning it all on the saudi government, i think it's highly unlikely. >> meantime, as we know, there's a very different kind of war
that the president is fighting against the coronavirus. a new poll from cnn showing a decline in approval of joe biden's handling of it. 56% now compared to 66% in april. how concerned is the administration? how much, if any, did that play into the decision to get tougher with vaccine requirements? >> i think they're always paying attention to polling. you can look at the retweets and quote tweets of the white house chief of staff, ron klain. but when it comes to the mandates or requirements of vaccines that the president announced, they're just getting frustrated and as the president said, basically fed up with the idea that people aren't getting vaccinated. there's 25% of people who have yet to get one jab. i think what we saw the president, the administration working on doing is making it tough to be unvaccinated in this
country. right? because that is in their minds the way to take this public health crisis across the finish line, to make sure we can leave homes, be in person, and be safe. that's what we're seeing the most from this administration. you talked about the polling in april, that was around the time we were all feeling good. the vaccines, most of us were starting to be able to get the vaccines. there was this promise and goal of july 4th that we were going to be out and about and having a good time. and that the summer was going to be completely different than it ended up being. now this administration with not just the delta variant but also the pushback, the extreme pushback from republicans, especially republican governors, on being -- as they put it, helpful in this fight against covid-19. they weren't expecting that, they weren't expecting people not to want to get vaccinated as much as they have been pushing
back against that right now. so they're working every single way they can to figure out how to make this happen. because they know this presidency depends on them actually getting this pandemic under control. almost nothing else matters unless people feel like they handled that well. especially as we go into the midterms. >> and it's not lost on anybody, even the governors who are pushing back hardest are those considering whether to run against joe biden. having said that, how do you see the battle against the pandemic? >> president biden is not on trial here, we are, the country is. this is a matter of common sense and fairly straightforward civic engagement. my liberty does not extend to endangering you. it doesn't extend to continuing
a pandemic, the possibilities of a pandemic, that is killing people and wrecking so much of our economic and culture life. so the president seems, to me, to be asking us to be sensible and to be good citizens. and one of the keys to a democracy is that we see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. and why wouldn't you want to do what you could, not just to protect yourself, but to protect your neighbor? it's a pretty fundamental insight, a pretty fundamental conversation that we're having. and i think the really one of the disturbing things, as we look forward politically and culturally in the country, if we can't unify around our own health, around the health of those we love, what could we unify around?
has unreason and a polarization that has affected our lives to much in the last 10, 15 years, is it reaching a point where we're honestly willing to die for a political belief that is about a partisan election and scoring points? it's a really fundamental question. >> and as you well know, peter, in the middle has been this debate about afghanistan, the withdrawal, and particularly some of the people who were left behind. and they're still trying to evacuate. we saw the second plane going out today. here's condoleezza rice earlier this evening. >> i do worry, with the taliban back in power, and with their well-known integration or collaboration with al qaeda, that al qaeda could rebuild. we're going to have to work awfully hard with no eyes and
ears on the ground, no intelligence assets on the ground, we're going to have to work awfully hard that that doesn't happen again. >> peter, you write in your book on bin laden, killing bin laden didn't kill his ideas. his ideas lived on. so what do you make of where we are now with afghanistan? have we set the stage for a new threat? >> i think we have. i mean, the question is one of scale. i think it speaks for itself, the new minister of the interior in afghanistan is according to the united nations, the leader of al qaeda. you have this astonishing -- for the first time in history, the leader of al qaeda is a senior member of the taliban cabinet,
in control of an entire country. to say that's a surprising outcome doesn't really quite cover it. it's not if we had this conversation a year ago, it would have seemed extremely improbable. if bin laden were alive today, i'm sure he would be thrilled by this development. what does it mean for u.s. national security? we're still well defended. our intelligence budget has tripled. there was no tsa, no department of homeland security. we're a much harder target. but if al qaeda has two or three years to regroup in in afghanistan with a friendly government, they can inspire people, too. if you look at the isis attacks in the united states, they're carried out by people not trained by isis but inspired by isis. i think, you know, the taliban
will declare its emirate. it will not be dissimilar to the caliphate declared in iraq. it's a problem. >> some sobering thoughts on this eve of 9/11. thanks to all of you gentlemen. coming up, one of our favorite doctors is here to break down all the covid headlines. and the president is calling for national unity. we'll talk to michael beschloss on the likelihood of that. "the 11th hour," just getting under way on a friday night. get under way on a friday night. people with moderate to severe psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis, are rethinking the choices they make like the splash they create the way they exaggerate the surprises they initiate.
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looking at cases over the past two months, when the delta variant was the predominant variant circulaing in this country, those who were unvaccinated were about 4 1/2 times more likely to get covid-19, 10 times likely to get hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die from the disease. >> the cdc is out with a series of new studies that underscore the biden administration's main message, vaccines work. and americans absolutely have the scientific tools to finally
turn the corner on this pandemic. doctor, good to see you. you told us you would like to shout those statistics at the top of your lungs. vaccines, five times less likely to get infected, ten times less likely to get hospitalized, 11 times less likely to die. and zero outbreaks in the city schools in san francisco since teachers and students went back in person. but the department says 90% of kids 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated. what more will it take to convince people that vaccines work, they're worth it? >> i want to flip that number a little bit. because there's another depressing number with pediatric cases. last week, over 251,000 cases,
the most ever pediatric cases in a week since the pandemic started. and the majority of those cases are, you won't be surprised to hear this, in states with high community transmission and low vaccination. and you're seeing hospitalizations also be on the increase for pediatrics. and the tough part is, when you look at states like florida or texas, many of those pediatric cases are related to school outbreaks. you have to ask this, what is the cognitive dissonance? jon meacham said this, what will it take to have us come together if not keeping our children safe? >> it makes this poll even more interesting, finding that unvaccinated americans are
driven by mistrust of the government, and 83% say they won't get it. how risky is it if there's nothing anybody can do to get these people vaccinated? will we be living with covid forever? >> i think the only way to get to the other side of it, when you hear the term that this virus may get endemic, it means it will stick around for a while. and for a longer period of time, we'll all have potentially have the chance to come across it, whether you're vaccinated or not. we talk often about the unvaccinated, they're carrying the greatest burden. 90% of the hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. but i want to talk for the vaccinated. the majority of americans are vaccinated. 75% have gotten one dose. you hear this question, why do the vaccinated care if people
are unvaccinated? because that remaining population has an impact on us, directly and indirectly. if you live in a community with more people who are unvaccinated, the rates of infection are higher. everything you do, breakthrough infection rates are higher, everything is riskier, your unvaccinated kids are more likely to get vaccinated. and everybody with a burst appendix or a motor vehicle accident gets care delayed. and there was a study last week that said overwhelmed hospitals saw an increase in infections, which means that overwhelmed hospitals, it's harder for them to take care of any of us. so that's why we care, because
the remaining folks are not just hurting ourselves, they're having an impact on our community. >> and the fda is urging parents not to look to get their kids under 12 vaccinated until the agency gives the all-clear. what is the concern of having young children take vaccines before they're approved? >> a big part of the pediatric trials is because they're testing the dosage. looking at the efficacy, and testing dosage. they want to increase the number of people they're following to put minds at ease. and recruitment has ended. they're looking at primary data. they're going to submit it in a couple of weeks. so i would advise parents to not try to do off-label vaccination of kids under 12. that data is coming soon, and it
should be available soon. >> doctor, thank you so much. coming up, see you in court. joe biden tells republican governors fighting his vaccine mandate to have at it. a deeper look at pandemic politics, when "the 11th hour" continues. and ask your doctor about biktarvy. biktarvy is a complete, one-pill, once-a-day treatment used for h-i-v in certain adults. it's not a cure, but with one small pill, biktarvy fights h-i-v to help you get to and stay undetectable. that's when the amount of virus is so low it cannot be measured by a lab test. research shows people who take h-i-v treatment every day and get to and stay undetectable can no longer transmit h-i-v through sex. serious side effects can occur, including kidney problems and kidney failure. rare, life-threatening side effects include a buildup of lactic acid and liver problems. do not take biktarvy if you take dofetilide or rifampin. tell your doctor about all the medicines and supplements you take,
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scientist out there in this field that doesn't think it makes considerable sense to do the six things i've suggested. >> president biden remaining defiant, even as republican governors threaten to sue over sweeping new vaccine requirements. as john allen put it this week, biden's six-prong strategy amounts to a two-part bet, that vaccination mandates will wrangle the pandemic, and that americans will follow his authority. good to see both of you. mike murphy, these republican governors are not letting up. and i want to play this for you from former florida congressman david jolly. >> republicans want this fight. and rightly or wrongly, and they
could be very wrong with the politics, but they believe this will help them going into november of '22. one said, biden just handed republicans the house next november, if they didn't have it already. and we're going to be looking for a whole lot more. we want this fight. >> mike, i wonder if you're hearing the same. if you are, do you think they might be right or are they a little bit delusional? >> well, both parties want the fight. they come at it from different voter coalitions. among democrats, 90% approval of what biden is doing. among independents, it's split. and they're betting more people in the country want a tougher line on vaccines, and the number of people saying no vaccination at all has been slowly but steadily declining. the republicans are always
tangled up in party-based primary politics. a lot of these governors, all they have to worry about is their nomination primary. and a couple of them are trying to run for president, trying to out-trump donald trump. the midterm election part of this, i don't think david jolly was talking about some republicans said this will deliver the house. the house is probably already delivered. the republicans have a lot of advantages. the bigger problem is the senate. where biden's move will -- net/net, states are different, is a plus for a democratic picking up of a few seats. so i think the politics are a little more complicated. but no doubt, both sides want the fight, each see a win. and i think biden has the better hand. >> and the calculation on the republican side is that joe biden is overplaying his hand,
and the democrats who support him are as well. back off. this is not where you should be as the government. what do you think the impact is, this guy that is quoted, biden just handed republicans the house? >> look, i completely agree that republicans have a lot of structural advantages going into the midterms with regards to the house. but what biden is doing is making sure that he's delivering on his promise to get this pandemic under control. and by taking the fight directly to republicans, directly to the unvaccinated individuals who qualify for the vaccine right now. he's making sure, knowing that he has years and years of federal precedent on his side, and polling shows voters overwhelmingly support this. and 75% of americans have already received one dose. biden has a lot to play here, and this back and forth debate will not end well for
republicans, who ultimately are using this harmful, inhumane approach to drive a political narrative. when their supporters are dying as a result, right? hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in this pandemic. and hundreds of thousands more stand to lose their lives if this pandemic isn't brought under control. so what biden is doing is, he's getting the republican governors out of the way, they can scream and holler all they want. what matters here is that this requirement will save people's lives. >> many of the people who told me they were not going to get vaccinated are the same people who said during the election, remember, it was operation warp speed. remember, it was operation warp speed. and that was donald trump. look, there's also a disconnect with what a lot of republican governors are saying. i want to play what two of them said about vaccines very recently. >> it's time for us to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks.
it's the unvaccinated folks who are letting us down. >> how difficult is this for us to understand? why in the world do we have to come up with these crazy ideas that the vaccines have something in it, and it's tracing people wherever they go? and the same people who are saying that are carrying cell phones around. i mean, come on. >> does that play to the republican base, pro-vaccine, but anti-mandate? >> yes, i think there is something there for republicans. 8 of 10 democrats support a harder line on the vaccine. which is what biden is doing. and i think that will go to 9. 6 of 10 republicans oppose it. biden is uniting his side, and dividing the other side. if it's a 2-1 fight in the republican party, with one-third pro-vaccination, they're going
to be with biden. the other thing is, we have to remember, biden is in political trouble. he has three big problems, afghanistan, people wanted to leave, but not the way we left. he has the threat of the economy slowing down, which is real problem for a president in the president's party. and he knows the old strategy of declaring victory over covid on july 4th is out the window. he owns it. so he's doubling down and turning it into a fight to draw the republicans out to engage him. >> juanita, let me give you the final 30 on that. >> this is a big moment for biden. this is something he can look back to and say, i changed the course of this pandemic. i stopped the delta variant by going hard against it. and going hard against republicans. and that's the case that democrats are going to be able to make. and that will serve them well in the midterms.
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terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of america. >> george w. bush on the evening of september 11th, 2001. back with us tonight, michael beschloss, his latest work "presidents of war," and his new show premiered tonight. michael, so much i want to talk about tonight. but our own mark murray compared nbc news polling. he found that after 9/11, 72% said the country was headed in the right direction. as of august, only 29% say the country is headed in the right direction. was it an illusion to think that in times of crisis americans always come together? or have we as a people really
changed that much since 9/11? >> i think our system has basically broken down in the last 20 years in a way that no longer do we, are we in a position to depend on the kind of unity we saw at pearl harbor with roosevelt in 1941. look at 20 years ago, as you remember, all those members of congress of both parties singing god bless america. al gore, who lost this bitter election to george w. bush by a little over 500 votes in florida, gets up and makes a speech. george bush is my president and i support him. now, if that were to happen nowadays, if, god forbid, we had another 9/11, would donald trump get up and say joe biden is my president and i support him? i don't think so. we're in a very bitterly divided
country after two wars that did not work out as planned, a great recession in 2008 that brought people a lot of misery, and in which the people on wall street who were responsible were never punished. >> and we honored those who died, the brave firefighters who rushed in to the building, the united 93 passengers and crew, the volunteers who joined the military to defend our country. but as you point out, in the aftermath, there was war, torture, and there's a complexity of the picture in its totality. >> you have to begin to ask, were those lives of americans who others who sacrificed given in vain?
i would answer, they were absolutely not given in vain. but our government owes us is to protect us. they didn't do that on 9/11, and it didn't do it sufficiently in the wars in iraq and afghanistan, which most americans now look at as exercises that did not succeed. the job of not only government but the american president is to protect us as much as possible. and you have to look at last year. did donald trump protect us at the time of a terrible pandemic? it reminded me of woodrow wilson in 1918 with the influenza pandemic, he made not a single speech telling americans what to do, because he was worried it would make him unpopular. >> you have your new series, "fireside history." and you were reviewing the 9/11 attacks as the president and congress wrestled with a response. what did you discover?
>> i discovered that george w. bush with the best of intentions rushed into a war with afghanistan, which was the right thing to punish al qaeda and to deprive them of a safe harbor that they could use to wage another large-scale attack against the united states. within a couple of years, it grew into nation-building, and an effort to build afghanistan into a democracy. it was never going to be one. and over 20 years, we spent trillions of dollars, americans and others' lives were lost, and americans now look at it and say, should we ever get involved wars at all, even if it's a noble war like world war ii to defend the country and the world against hitler and the imperial japanese? that's not great for our country. >> michael, please stay with us. coming up, what we're hearing from family members of one of the heroes of united flight 93,
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you're both fathers now. what will you tell their children about their grandmother. >> my oldest son loves to visit her statue. he goes, that's my grandma. she's a hero. >> c.c. ross lyles was a flight attendant on flight 93. it was on that flight where heroic passengers ensured the hijackers never reached their destination. still with us, michael beschloss. michael, i think there's a beautiful simplicity to that statue. and we as a country are good at
memorials, all along the mall in washington, ground zero, pentagon, shanksville. we're a country that honors fallen heroes. every year, the reading of the names from 9/11. what is the importance of marking these moments of history, of preserving these stories? and frankly, bringing people together around them? >> because all of us should be able to unite around the idea that we're saving our democracy. that's what those heroes were doing on flight 93 and elsewhere 20 years ago tomorrow. our democracy tonight is as much in danger, i think, as it was in 1860 and in 1940. the right to vote is being taken away from people in various states. the legitimacy of elections is being undermined. we could be in a situation where the congressional election next year, in which certain people are elected to congress who are
deprived of taking office, and the same thing even when a president is elected in 2024. that's enormously dangerous. we need to follow in the footsteps of those heroes. >> what should we take away from tomorrow? just about everybody i run into is now again talking about where you were. anybody of a certain age. it's so seared in our collective consciousness, where we were, what we did, how we reacted. can there be some sort of coming together tomorrow, which is now just six minutes away? >> there should be. we all have some kind of ptsd from going through 9/11 that we will never get over. in normal times, the country should be able to unite with that kind of common experience. what you have instead is people who profit from dividing the
country and pitting one group against another. you had a great talk about the politicizing of the vaccine against the covid pandemic. who in history ever could have imagined that something that horrible could have taken place in our beloved country? >> michael beschloss, what a pleasure. thank you, and congratulations on the new program. we're back with more of "the 11th hour" after a quick break. k - your mom's got to go! - she's family. she's using my old spice moisturize with shea butter and she's wearing my robe.
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♪♪ lower manhattan. a couple of programming notes. be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for msnbc's special coverage marking 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. it starts at 5:00 a.m. eastern, we'll be live from ground zero. brian williams and nicolle wallace will pick up the coverage at 8:00 a.m. eastern. among their guests, condoleezza rice. and coming up next, an msnbc special presentation, the first night. nbc news coverage as it happened the night of september 11th, 2001. meantime, that is our broadcast for this friday night.
with our thanks for being with us. our hearts are with the families of those we lost. and we leave you with that sight of new york city. a reminder, perhaps, of the possibility of a country >> attack on america. a special edition of nbc nightly news. terrorist declare war on the united states, hijacking jetliners crashing them into new york's word trade tower. another airliner in the pentagon, threatening the seat of national power. thousands likely dead, downtown new york in chaos. america wondering, what's next? >> midtown manhattan, tonight americas at war