tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC November 18, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
for public service. >> professor saule omarova gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. good evening. i'm which i say january sing in for brian williams. tonight there is breaking news on capitol hill. a very late night for the house, which was expected to vote on joe biden's sprawling $1.75 trillion domestic plan hours ago. but what we've seen so far tonight is a marathon effort to stall the vote from minority leader kevin mccarthy. he's been talking for right around the 2 1/2 hours now, periodically interrupted by jeers from the democrats. here's the sampling of what he's had to say about the president's build back better plan. >> you know what americans are going after? one half of those 1.2 million are people who earn $75,000 or
less. that's what you're trying to pay this bill from. the house is not in order, mr. speaker. [ gavel ] >> house will be in order. >> that as americans we're supposed to expect less. i can look anywhere i want, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i cannot believe the amount of control one party rule wants. they now want to dictate to a member of the floor of where i can look? >> now, this performance is largely for effect. no republicans were ever expected to cross the aisle to support the measure anyhow. this all comes just days after biden signed his infrastructure bill into law. its passage would be another hard-fought victory for the president who spent months negotiating with liberal and moderate democrats. the bill now goes to the senate
where democrats will now have to get on the same page if the build back better proposal is to become law. meanwhile, house members investigating the january 6th capitol riot a.b. appear to be losing patience with former white house chief of staff mark meadows. the panel has been trying to get meadows to comply after he defied its subpoena citing executive privilege. the committee indicated today it may be ready to ratchet up the pressure. >> we're in the final stages of what we're going to be doing for these next steps here. but mr. meadows is on notice, and he knows very well what we want, the questions we want to ask to him and there has been discussion with his legal representatives. and so he just continues to stonewall and we've shown very clear what happens when individuals stonewall. his conversations about stopping a free and fair election, about criticizing and stopping the counting of electoral votes,
about his coordination with campaign officials on private devices that were not turned over, all those issues are not privilegeworthy, and he has some explaining to do. >> the committee's other subpoena denier, trump ally steve bannon, is continuing to fight his contempt of congress charges. today his lawyers tried to get a federal judge to slow walk his case and delay his next hearing until next year. the judge basically said no deal and set the next court date for december 7th. while the two allies may be avoiding the january 6th committee, today meadows and bannon were together on bannon's podcast speculating on a new role for donald trump. >> i would love to see the gavel go from nancy pelosi to donald trump. you're talking about melting down, people would go crazy. as you know, you don't have to be an elected member of congress to be the speaker. she would go from tearing up a speech to having to having to
give the gavel to trump. she would go crazy. >> he can sort things out and step out and announce his 2024 campaign. >> ironically, the man who hopes to be the next speaker today, the man holding up biden's spending bill tonight said he's been in contact with trump as recently as this morning. >> he called up. he was on the golf course. >> did he talk about yesterday at all? >> no. >> campaign stuff? >> catching up. no, wasn't even campaign either. >> that question about yesterday refers to the censure of arizona republican paul gosar e. we'll have more on the fallout from that later in the hour. also tonight, a new report ties kimberly guilfoyle, girlfriend of don junior to efforts that were held before the january 6th insurrection. propublica reports she bragged she had raised $3 million for the rally. quote, in a series of text
messages to katrina pierson, she detailed her fundraising efforts and supported speakers for the rally. guilfoyle's text, reviewed by propublica, represent the strongest indication yet that members of the trump family circle were directly involved in the financing and organization of the rally. the january 6th committee subpoenaed katrina pierson back in september. kimberly guilfoyle says so far she has not received any official requests from congress. her attorney tells propublica she had nothing to do with fundraising or approving speakers for that january 6th rally. there are also developments in two of the most closely watched trials in the nation right now. closing arguments set for monday in the trial of the three white men accused of killing ahmaud arbery. both sides rested their cases this afternoon after a day in which one of the defendants admitted under cross-examination arbery had not shown a weapon or
verbally threatened him, said he hadn't spoken at all before being gunned down. in kenosha, wisconsin, jurors in the recipient rittenhouse trial appear to be focusing on the charges. the panel deliberated for a third day with no verdict. late today the judge agreed to a request from one juror to take those instructions home. sources tell nbc news the fda may be just hours away from signing off on pfizer and moderna vaccine boosters for all adults in the u.s. that decision expected to come as soon as tomorrow. with that, let's bring in our lead-off guests this thursday night. philip rucker, correspondent with "the washington post." coauthor of "i alone can fix it." jackie alemany, political reporter for "the washington post" and the author of the paper's morning newsletter, the early 2020, and barbra mcquade, federal prosecutor and former attorney for the eastern
district of michigan who worked with the doj during a biden transition and is a professor at university of michigan's law school. she cohosts the podcast "sisters in law." good to have all of you tonight. phil, before we get to what we're seeing, still going on right now on the floor of the house, how big a deal is this for joe biden getting this through the house? >> you know, chris, it's a significant incremental development, but it's not the end of the game for joe biden in terms of passing this massive spending bill, which of course is key to his domestic agenda. it pays for so many social programs that democrats have been clamoring for. as we know, we've seen it play out day by day over the last several months. democrats have been arguing over the scale that have bill and over which measures would be included and how to pay for it. there have been disputes between progressive members and more conservative, moderate members
of the democratic party. the passage tonight, the expected passage tonight in the house with democratic support is an indication that the progressives have come together with the more moderate democrats, but it's not over because it then heads to the senate when senator joe manchin remains something of an out liar. he has not decided to get behind this bill. there will be weeks of negotiations to come on the senate side, although senate leader schumer has indicated he hopes to bring the bill to the floor for passage sometime before christmas. keep in mind that biden very much wants this piece of legislation to pass and be signed into law by the end of the year because he is aware that next year it's all politics, and the democrats in both parties and both houses are going to be focused on the midterm campaigns. so it's really a narrow window of opportunity here to get this
measure passed and signed into law. >> well, speaking of politics, jackie, we see kevin mccarthy continuing to talk at various times. democrats sitting there have responded from the gallery. ron klain, the white house chief of staff texted this, tweeted this. it's a sandberg quote. if the facts are against you, argue the law. if the law is against you, argue the facts. if the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell. what do you make of this long speech from kevin mccarthy? >> chris, we are above the entrance. we're all sitting and watching kevin mccarthy on almost the third hour of his remarks that are designed to delay the vote to get the build back better.
but the disdain for kevin mccarthy the democrats have is palpable right now in the chamber. democrats are answering phone calls, typing away on their cell phones and carrying on conversations and not so hot voices. you know, he keeps hopping from extemporaneous anecdotes, talking little about republican policies, making it hard to follow his remarks. the most notable moment of his remarks so far have actually been the point where there's been tension between democrats. you had people like alexandria ocasio-cortez andtime ryan interrupt leader mccarthy. tim ryan, we've seen him keep on
talking. mccarthy has tried to drive home some daggers from the republican party about inflation, that this was going to be the most expensive thanksgiving that voters have ever had. but again, you know, i think the resounding message here has been one of he's here to stay. he's laying down the marker for this run for speaker next year if republicans take back the house. so it has less to do with build back better and more with the state of the the republican party. >> real quick, jackie. how many people are in the gallery? we can't see from this shot we're looking at. does anybody have any idea how long he's going to talk? >> we do not have an idea. unfortunately, we can't bring cameras to where we are in the gallery. but there are around 20 to 30
reporters watching, looking at the body language. some members nodding off, again, texting, a lot of tension. everyone taking really good notes for once he finishes. >> we'll keep an eye on that. in the meantime, tonight, barbara, more wrangling on the republican side in court. i wonder what you make of the judge's decision on the pace of moving forward in the bannon case. clearly his lawyers would have liked to slow-walked it a lot more than the judge was willing to do. >> chris, it was interesting. in fact, it was one of those deals where bannon's lawyers said, your honor, for your benefit and the public's benefit, we ought to delay this so you can handle all the january 6th defendants on your docket. and the judge said, you know, i can do both. i can handle this case and i can handle those cases too. you don't need to worry about me. when can you be ready? bannon's lawyers proposed a january next date in court and the judge pushed it back to
december. the defendant has a right to a speedy trial within 70 days to protect the interests of the defendant from wallowing in prison or having a the cloud hanging over their head while they've been charged but not had yet their day in court. here we see steve bannon wanting to extend that date even longer. that's part of the game for him, not having to testify and preventing congress from getting the remedy that could be used as a stick to coerce others to testify. but i think the fact that he has been indicted is enough of an incentive for anyone who is interested in preserving the rule of law to get before congress and also preserving their own hyde to get in there and testify. >> phil, we see that kevin mccarthy is continuing to talk. you mentioned that the real fight is going to come in the senate, and you outlined the reasons why. but how prepared is the white house for this fight and how confident are they? >> well, chris, i think the fact that the bill is passing through the house tonight or expected to pass through the house tonight
is a sign of at least some moderate confidence on the part of the president and his team at the white house. remember, they're more aware of the exact position that senator manchin as well as senator sinema from arizona have on this, these negotiations have largely been playing out in private with president biden and some of the top aides at the white house. you know, i don't think that pelosi would be moving forward in the house and i don't think the white house would be expressing as much public confidence if they didn't think that they were likely to get to the right place with manchin and sinema over on the senate side. that being said, you know, they can't be too confident because, remember, this has been going on for months now, and without a resolution, and i think there was some hope that after the virginia -- the poor election results in virginia a couple weeks ago for democrats, that that would light a fire under
some of these democratic senators who've been holding out and that doesn't quite seem to have been the case. but i do think there's some confidence tonight on the part of the president and his team because they're hoping the senate can get this done in the period in december when they return after thanksgiving and before christmas. >> watching this tonight, jackie, the general mood is what we would expect, i think, in what we have been seeing on the hill, which is this huge divide. but tell us a little bit more about how it was or was not impacted by yesterday's censure. and if the white house is going to be able to navigate that as it tries to do other things like dealing with the looming shutdown, things that have to be done next month. >> december is certainly going to be a tough month for democrats. there are many things on their plate, including primarily convincing joe manchin who is still undecided on the bill. a key part of biden's campaign platform and economic agenda is
convincing him to get on board and incipient. -- support it. they want to discuss it through the house if they get through thanksgiving break and get home next week and get to temporarily tout that they passed it, that they signed it, this is a good for democrats, especially the month they had in terms of the party wrangling. but it's going to be short lived and joe manchin has no problem throwing water over the economic plans, especially as we're seeing from today, it doesn't seem to be a problem for house democrats, that it causes more of a deficit than originally intended, and that the $1.75 billion parameters that
manchin and sinema agreed to. so there are a fair share of issues, not to mention to several provisions that democrats are bracing to get left out of. we reported that senate majority leader chuck schumer told the congressional progressive caucus last week that he doubted that paid family leave was ultimately going to make it over the line in the senate version of the bill. that's also going to further expose intraparty tensions as they act that utilize. however, republicans are going through the same tensions right now over issues not related to policy. >> so barbara, let me go back for a second to those text from kimberly guilfoyle. are you surprised she's not been called yet for it january 6th committee? >> i am. i think that it could be that this information was not previously known about her. but i think by bragging that she raised $3 million for this rally, she has invited herself
to appear before that committee and testify, because i think it's a legitimate question to ask what on earth was $3 million going to pay for? and i think that to the extent there is some belief that some of the people who stormed the capitol that day may have been part of an organized effort, may have been part of the stop the steal effort, tying that into trump's immediate family and inner circle can be a really important development. be careful what you brag about because it could earn you a subpoena. >> barbara mcquade, philip rucker, and jackie alemany, appreciate all of you tonight. coming up, the senate could soon take up the president's nearly $2 trillion build back better bill. our political experts assess its chances in that chamber. and later, giving thanks and getting covid? why health officials are worried about this season of giving. we'll ask one of our top doctors about the wisdom of rolling back
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we're still waiting for that house vote on president biden's build back better plan. kevin mccarthy has been holding the floor for more than 2 1/2 hours now, speaking in opposition to the bill. whatever the outcome, it will eventually need approval from the u.s. senate. majority leader chuck schumer has said he wants a vote by christmas, but of course passage will depend on support from all 50 democrats, and joe manchin for one still isn't saying if he's in favor.
>> so you haven't made a decision on whether to vote for the bill. >> no, no, i'm still looking at everything, absolutely. >> back with us, don callaway, democratic strategist and founder of the national voter protection action fund, and susan del percio, msnbc political analyst and veteran political strategist. great to see both of you. don, i'm told that kevin mccarthy just spent six minutes describing the painting "washington crossing the delaware." what do you make of what's going on on capitol hill right now? >> kevin mccarthy is kind of a fraud. he doesn't send mean tweets and he's a clean-cut guy, but he's just as pernicious in terms of blocking action on major progressive items that are frankly good for all people. so the build back better agenda contains, as we know, a lot of the human infrastructure provisions like broadband, like -- [ distortion ]
-- the bipartisan infrastructure ibm and kevin mccarthy is pitting on political theater right now with this whole filibuster using a tool that's available to him add minority leader but is not generally available to house members. what he's doing is irrelevant. it's a piece of showmanship, but it's good to know that he can talk because he didn't have a lot to say when paul gosar was censured yesterday. >> i want to play an exchange from the house floor earlier. take a listen. >> what hogwash from the other side to say that this bill helps the children with the child tax credit. your child tax credit is for one year, but you're -- you're -- you're tax break for millionaires is for ten? >> this is a wonderful place. i got to tell you, our child tax credit is one year more than your child tax credit. we did one this year. we're going to do one next year, and we're going to keep going. >> susan, would democrats as a
whole be better off if they sold this build back better plan in terms as rebranding it as a significant help for american families? >> it would be great, but we're too far down that road at this point. i think the best that they can do is keep going to specific examples of where and how this helps people. say that a middle class family earning $75,000 will get this tax credit and will also be able to save x amount of dollars for pre-k. you have to make it real. i feel in discussing the build back better plan the democrats are telling the public that we're giving you what we think you need versus acting as of we've heard you and you asked and we are delivering for you. >> dorngs do you agree with susan? inning there are a lot of democrats who don't like the way
the this messaging has come out. but we know when you look at the individual components of this and you look at the polls, people are in favor of it. >> yeah, absolutely. well, once upon a time -- affordable care act -- derailed against obamacare. build back better is not up there with the great american slogans of all time such as a new deal or great society. so obviously, you know, this is not our best work in terms of branding and marketing. but if you look at what's in the substance of the bill, it's something that generally people agree with regardless of what our former missouri house colleague, jason smith, has to say about it. imagine dealing with him every day ten years ago on the smallest days. it was not pleasant. >> susan, if you were a betting woman and christmas is not that far away, how far would you say the biden administration is from getting the votes it needs in the senate? >> that's a tough call. maybe by the end of the year, but i don't hold out a lot of hope, which is also part of the
messaging issue that the democrats have. the democrats right now in the house are saying look at our great success, we're passing this piece of legislation. except they're not passing it. they're only passing it in the house. it has to go through the senate. and we're going to see the same arguing democrat-on-democrat arguments in the media that we did for the last three months when it comes to this bill. and, you know, just -- i don't know what chuck schumer is thinking. i guess he didn't ask joe manchin what joe manchin was doing before he made that comment before the end of the year. >> don and susan have agreed to stay with us. rushing back paul gosar when the house censured him when "the 11th hour" continues.
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yesterday was a very sad day in the congress of the united states because we had to censure one of our members for promoting violence against another member. you see the behavior on the floor says they shouldn't have a gavel near them ever. but no, we would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future. >> a day after the censure vote punishing paul gosar for a violent video depicting the killing of a fellow congress member, republican leaders are doubling down in his defense. the top republican in the house today suggested he would reward members of his party who've been
stripped of their committee assignments if the gop wins back control of the house. >> do you plan to give marjorie taylor greene and paul gosar their committee assignments back if you take the majority. >> they'll have committees. the committee assignment they have now, they may are have other committee assignments. >> gosar received an endorsement from the former president today. "the washington post" subject up republican reaction this way. trump and mccarthy's remarks underscore that the firsting distrust among members of congress after the january 6th attack on the capitol is only likely to worsen in the lead-up to next year's midterm elections. still with us, don callaway and susan del percio. don, given what we heard from the house minority leader today, how worried are you that republicans will, in fact, not just take the house in 2022, but but will exact retribution from democrats? >> there's a very good chance they'll take the house, as fortunate as that prospect may seem. not only will they take the
house, but as we saw, kevin mccarthy plans to reward, plans to elevate members of congress who have done the most absurdist things possible, including advocating for the killing of -- january 6th was not on this calendar year. it's a next-level abdication of the dismantling of leadership. you know, i'm worried that they'll get the house, but i've been around d.c. a long time. this thing lives and combs and goes. but i'm worried about worried the worst elements being validated with people outside who listen to these people, who still consider them -- what behaviors might they emulate having affiliated these worst behaviors. >> would it be naive to think distrust and reaction can't get any worse? >> oh, it can get worse.
and i predict it will get worse, a lot worse, especially during the primary season with house candidates and potentially senate candidates as well, republican primaries, i should say, because you're going to see the most extreme trump ack adoodles out there. they used to be shunned by leadership and that's all changing. don says this comes in cycles, and i agree with him there, but we've never seen in a cycle the most extreme of a party dictate the leadership of the party. and that's what scares me to death. you look at what nancy pelosi said. sure, i had policy disagreements with her many, many times, but she said she will not let -- doing the right thing -- she'll make sure the right thing gets done no matter what threats the republicans may make. she's not going to stop doing
her job. kevin mccarthy needs to start doing his job and be a responsible governing partner. but he can't do that because all he cares about right now is auditioning for donald trump because he wants to make sure he holds on if the republicans take back the house that he does become majority leader. >> if you look at how gerrymandering, there are places where the republicans are redrawing the districts to their advantage. but again, given where we are right now, what are some of those 2022 primary fights going to look like on the republican side? >> they'll look like they look in texas where a candidate can call themselves conservative, and it's a battle to be who can say and do the craziest things in service of the pursuit of landing a trump endorsement or landing the endorsement of the most furthest right, furthest crazy. i mean, these are things that we would not have even considered acceptable to discuss in polite
company just five, six, and certainly even ten years ago, and you will see these elements, the worst elements being celebrated and elevated in republican primaries. we're in for some really, really scary times, particularly in those districts where a democrat won't be competitive so [ distortion ] >> the messaging, susan, has been clear, when you hear kevin mccarthy, if you're taylor greene, paul gosar, not only can we stabbed behind you as a party, but you could get plumb committee assignments out of it. >> it's funny how he said that just a day after donald trump said kevin mccarthy is not doing enough to stand behind marjorie taylor greene. so this is just an automatic knee-jerk reaction. i mean, at this point biden will need to see covid decline, the
economy kick up, and for democrats to have any prayer of holding on to the house, you need to see these extremists win primaries in swing districts. so that way maybe they don't lose as many swing seats as potentially could in a wave because they have such trump extremists on the republican side. >> susan del percio, don callaway, thank you both. appreciate it. coming up, dr. vin gupta is here to cut through the confusion on boosters and break down what you need to know about rising cases ahead of thanksgiving when "the 11th hour" continues.
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confusion surrounding booster shots. the fda is expected to approve expanding access to all adults by tomorrow. with hospitals jam packed and infections sharply revising, a growing list of states, including connecticut, have already broadened eligibility ahead of the fed's final okay. the national rate of new infections has soared by 20% in the past few weeks and the virus is still killing 1,000 americans every day. that's all before tens of millions of people start traveling and gathering for thanksgiving a week from tonight. back with us, dr. vin gupta, critical care pulmonologist in seattle. he's also ant faculty at the university of washington institute for health metrics and evaluation. always good to see you. look, we heard the criticism from connecticut's governor about confusing messages on booster shots. we're seeing more breakthrough cases right now before the holiday. so here's the key question. do all adults need a booster
shot or not? >> yes, chris. good evening. great to see you. they do, but the degree of need depends on who you are. unfortunately, we've lost the ability to have any nuance in our public health messaging. that's just a sad reality and we need to be able to have some nuance because i believe that actually builds trust and minimizes confusion. if you have an underlying condition, that's a must for you to get the booster shot if you haven't already before you travel for the holidays. if you're healthy, less than 65 without serious medical conditions like i just mentioned, it's a nice to have. we know the booster shot at six months will likely mitigate the chance you will ever test positive for covid and have a mild breakthrough infection, zero out your risk of
transmission. but the nuance is important for who needs it more and who needs it less, and that distinction is important because we want the unvaccinated vaccinated and rationalizing this discussion is important for them. >> to that point, tens of millions of americans are expected to travel and gather, right? new york city plans to allow fully vaccinated crowds to gather for the macy's parade in times square for the ball drop on new year's eve. but how good an idea is any of that at this point? >> i think we need to start normalizing protocols. i'm in favor of gathering as we did with guardrails. if everybody is vaccinated, as they will be in times square, if they're taking proper precautions, staying home if they're symptomatic and using common sense, we should let
people gather. this is vital because if we don't start doing that as public health messengers, as people that are helping to shape some of this policy, we will lose credibility. if you're fully vaccinated, otherwise healthy without symptoms, you should be able to gather because the risk of delta to you is minimal. the risk of transmission is also quite low. >> let me ask you about a question that is on a lot of people's minds, and that's hospitalizations among those who are fully vaccinated but have not gotten a booster shot. what do we know? >> i essentially directly, quote, cdc director dr. walensky who said we're seeing an uptick in the non-boosted, fully vaccinated elderly crowd ending up in the hospital. but that's where that signal is arising from the elderly, fully vaccinated, but nonboosted, which is not surprising, chris. that's exactly the group, the
elderly, 60 and over, or if you have a high risk condition that we're worried about. hence why we message so strongly on that group needing a booster shot. that's exactly who's ending up in the hospital at higher rates with these breakthrough illnesses. makes complete sense. shouldn't surprise any of us, which is why when we to double down on clear messaging. >> an infectious disease expert said on this network last month. take a listen. >> we're a bit of a victim of our success, unlike new jersey and new york that had pretty high percentages of their citizens who got infected, something like 3% of vermonters got infected. that means there are few people who have infection-induced immunity to add to the ranks of those who are safely protected with vaccines. >> 72% of vermont's population is fully vaccinated. how does low infection-induced immunity contribute to the rise in infections?
is this likely a problem in some communities, other places as well? >> you know, vermont has an excellent fully vaccinated rate. i think the comments from that physician are confusing for all your viewers out there. it is really clear now based on studies published in major journals, chris, over the last few weeks that natural immunity -- say you recovered from covid, you have antibodies in your bloodstream versus the antibodies from the v that that natural immunity is 20% as effective as keeping you out of the hospital, preventing serious illness, creation. that's really important to understand. natural immunity, while it may play a role, it's not nearly as effective as vaccine-induced immunity. >> we've only got a minute left, but i want to ask you about going back to work. tim cook from apple moved back their start date to february 1st. considering the pandemic's unpredictability, is there a month where return to office
would be safe, where things could be under control? are we still in that gray area that nobody really knows? >> you know, the apple decision is perplexing to me and i'm sure to their workers as well. i would not advocate any private sector company, public sector company to return to the office in the depths of winter when we'll have cold, flu, weekly covid deaths 10,000 weekly deaths week over week. it doesn't make sense to bring people back to work. i would say april 1st at the earliest, chris. probably late spring is going to be the better strategy to prevent whiplash. we have cold and flu season that's going to be unpredictable. look at the university of of michigan, outbreak of flu amongst the unvaccinated. we need to be sensible here about what return to work looks like for those who have the luxury of still staying home is
to prevent whiplash and build trust. consistency is key that's why i think april/may is going to be the best strategy. >> dr. vin gupta, thank you so much. coming up, see if this sounds familiar. he became a darling of the far right for his often controversial statements. and now expedite never held office, he may be running for president. yet he's not who you think. we'll explain when "the 11th hour" continues. you have always loved vicks vapors.
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from france was supposed to be speaking in london tomorrow ahead of what is expected to be a run for president next year. but his appearance was canceled after event planners took a closer look at just who would be speaking. he is currently on trial for inciting hatred after controversial comments about unaccompanied migrant children.
as we hear from nbc correspondent matt bradley, the story should sound very familiar. >> reporter: he's been called racist, sexist, and anti-semitic. he's also been called the french donald trump. he's a comparison he seems to savor as he plans to run for france's president next year. >> translator: i was very impressed by trump in 2016. i appreciated the technique that donald trump had with the media. do not step rhetoric the media imposes. >> reporter: he's never won an election nor held public office. instead he made his mark as a television pundit, railing each night against france's woke political elites, the immigrants he says are destroying french civilization, and recalling a time when france was great and how it could be made great again. >> he doesn't turn around the words. he says the words. that can be shocking because we're not used to that.
in our time where everything has to be nice and cool and not -- not bullying anybody. >> reporter: the rhetoric seems to be working. his show is watched by millions. his books are best sellers. and he's surging in the polls before he's even declared his candidacy. this might look like a campaign rally, but officially it's a book signing. france has always had a far right, but with him, it's going mainstream. he's far from universally loved of the just last month a protest against his visit to the western city turned violent. but his popularity has surged past far-right stall warts like le pen. he's defended a nazi regime calling migrants thieves, killers, and rapists, and even
promised to outlaw giving french children muslim names. yet he himself is the child of north african jewish immigrants, an irony not lost on leaders. >> translator: what he said concerning jews is less important as to what he says about muslims. speaking of muslims, he speaks like hitler. he has a beastly vision of society in what he says is either them or us. >> reporter: he says he's not against immigrants per se, but he demands that immigrants assimilate, that they become french the way his jewish algierian parents did. like trump, one of his new gripes is wokism, that does it notally american export. >> translator: i think this is a serious ideology, dangerous, that we have to fight against without restrictions and without hesitation. >> reporter: but he's the first to acknowledge the limits to his likeness to trump. he styles himself an intellectual, he writes scholarly works on french history.
>> translator: you see, it's not the same world. trump is very american and i'm very french, almost to the point of being a caricature. >> reporter: both larger than life personas who use division as a path to power. matt bradley, nbc news, leon, france. coming up, the latest controversy out of the mouth of the oxford-educated senator from louisiana when "the 11th hour" continues. kevin? kevin. oh nice. kevin, where are you? kevin?!?!? hey, what's going on? i'm right here! i was busy cashbacking for the holidays with chase freedom unlimited. i'm gonna cashback on a gingerbread house! oooh, it's got little people inside! and a snowglobe. oh, i wished i lived in there. you know i can't believe you lost another kevin. it's a holiday tradition! that it is! earn big time with chase freedom unlimited. how do you cashback? chase. make more of what's yours. do you take aspirin? plain aspirin could be hurting your stomach.
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♪ i love finding out things that other people don't want me to know. mm-hmm. [beep] i just wanted to say... ♪ find yourself in these situations and see who you are. and that's just part of the bargain. ♪ the last thing before we go tonight, a shocking moment in a senate hearing today when republican senator john kennedy of louisiana suggested that biden's pick for top banking regulator may have communist loyalties. here is part of his exchange with saule optimism rove who was born in kazakhstan. >> i don't know whether to call you professor or comrade. >> senator, i'm not a communist.
i do not subscribe to that ideology. i could not choose where i was born. i did not -- i do not remember joining any facebook group that subscribes to that ideology. i would never knowingly join any such group. there is no record of me actually participating in any marxist or communist discussions of any kind. my family suffered under the communist regime. i grew up without knowing half of my family. my grandmother herself escaped death twice under the stalin regime. this is what's seared in my mind. that's who i am. i remember that history. i came to this country. i'm proud to be an american. >> our own nicolle wallace reacted to kennedy's comments
earlier this afternoon. >> this is a disgrace, not just to the country, it's a disgrace not just to the united states senate, it's a disgrace to the party of ronald reagan who described the united states of america as a shining city on the hill because it was a beacon for people like this biden report from port of newcastle. it's the largest cold port, it's in australia, about 20 billion dollars worth of cold get shipped through that one port every year. that's more than any other place on earth. and yesterday, all operations at the port of newcastle in australia, were brought to a complete halt. because of something that port had never before had to