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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  July 16, 2020 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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president use the n-word and other racist slurs and anti-semitic slurs, that claim isn't actually from her book. it's just something she said in this interview. so them denouncing the book doesn't help. but still, we thank the white house for at least giving tonight. i'm now going to have like ten martinis and try to not think about this for a few hours. god bless us all. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> after rachel's extraordinary interview with mary trump, we will be joined in a discussion of what we just learned from mary trump by joy reid and tony schwartz. tony was the ghost writer of donald trump's first book. we will also be joined by dr. lance dodus, one of the psychiatrists who tributed to a book that diagnoses donald trump virtually identically to march try trump who is a trained clinical psychologist diagnoses her uncle.
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and zerlina maxwell will be swroining our discussi joining our discussion which gens with the braking news of rachel's interview that mary trump has heard donald trump use the n-word and other hateful expressions including anti-semitic expressions. >> a post quote she was saying, growing up it was normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-semitic expressions. i just wanted you to expand on that. do you mean just jen wale within the family that was an accepted thing or do you mean specifically you heard your uncle donald use that kind of language? >> just generally with the older generations as if it were perfectly commonplace and ordinary to say such things. i had the benefit of living in jamaica, not jamaica states and going to school in forest hills,
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so i didn't share their ideas about race and -- and judaism at all. but, you know, when you grow up with that being perfectly normal, then you don't really think twice about it. >> i have to press you on it a little bit just to ask if the president, if your uncle, was an exception to that in your family or if he -- if you heard -- you ever heard him express either use anti-semitic slurs or the n-word or racist slurs? do you mean this was an ambient thing in your family but you can't say you ever heard it from him or did you hear it from him, too? >> oh, yeah. of course i did. and i don't think that should surprise anybody given how virulently racist he is today. >> have you heard -- have you
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heard the president use the n-word? >> yeah. >> and anti-semitic slurs specifically? >> yes. >> leading off our discussion now joy reid an msnbc national correspondent and her new show, the reid out debuts monday at 7:00 p.m. here on msnbc. tony schwartz is with us. tony schwartz spent endless hours and days with donald trump in writing that book. joy reid, let me start with you and what you just heard of mary trump saying, ques, i've heard donald trump use the n-word. >> yeah. and first of all, you know, just to shout out to queens, when she said she lived in jamaica, not in jamaica estates meaning my husband's family lives in the next door town in jumake, jamaica queens has a lot of
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african-americans in it. if you live there, you are going to run into a lot of black and brown folks in your life. so explains why she's a little bit different from her family. i think nobody will be surprised by what she said that she heard from donald trump. this is a guy who wouldn't allow black people to move into his buildings. he only wants someone with yarmulkes watching his money, using that trope against jewish people. who according to other biographers was upset when his daughter ivanka first started dating jared kushner but then, okay, he has money so he let it go. but i have to say the thing i took away mostly from this interview is mary trump is an incredibly brave person because the hardest thing to do is, first of all, to stand up against your own family, to stand up to your family and she put a lot of herself out in this book.
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the second one is to stand up to the president of the united states with all the amassed power that he's been able to pull to himself, including this following of people who she said, you know, some of whom are angry, some of whom are armed. they worship him as if he is a demi-god. and to stand up to him is quite brave, so i want to commend her for doing that. >> tony schwartz, in writing that book with donald trump, you spend endless time with him. you have talked about that time. did you ever hear him use the n-word or use anti-semitic slurs? i guess we don't have tony schwartz. we're having some technical challenges there. joy, tony has that unique experience of basically shadowing donald trump for months on end. and so i am hoping we do get him into this discussion tonight. >> yeah. >> because he certainly knows the way donald trump thinks and, you know, the question of whether did you ever hear that particular word is something else.
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but there was mary trump and it was very, very clear what she had gathered about not just her uncle donald but that whole world over there in jamaica states and queens where donald trump and his family and where donald trump grew up. >> yeah. and, you know, this is very much like, you know, there is a guy called justin frank. i interviewed him about his book "trump on the couch" where he diagnosed almost the exact same things you are hearing from maray trump who's also a clinician. they go through the same thing, a father who is cruel and demands perfection. you never say no. you have to fight. you have to hit back harder when someone hits you. the cult of the power of positive thinking feeds into who donald trump is, the cruelty, the inability to feel emotion, to feel other people's pain, to empathize. all of that is like a known quantity right now of donald trump, right? it explains why he can't solve
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this coronavirus crisis. because you have to have empathy in order to make the kinds of change that a president should be able to make. you can imagine almost any other president empathizing with the people who are suffering, the people who are dying and saying let me do everything possible to save them. donald trump can only focus on himself and tony has talked about this. he only sees himself in this globe surrounded by friends here, enemies here. if you are not praising him, if you are not devoted to him, you are an enemy. that's it. he doesn't see anyone else. this is consistent across every biographer, so this isn't surprising at all. >> mary trump answered the question of why now, why she's telling us a all of this now when she could have told us this four years ago. rachel asked her about that and in her answer she introduced a psychological concept about the trump family that explains a lot. i think she talked about learned helplessness, that phrase, joy, that we heard her use. the belief that no one in the
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family has the power to stop the horrors they witnessed in that family. so let's listen to mary trump's answer, the full version of her answer about why she's telling her story now instead of four years ago. >> there has been quite an evolution. and i think we need to start with the fact that the concept of learned helplessness is something that runs very deep in my family, and i think there are examples in the book that point to that. so in 2016 literally all i would have had was my own experience and my own voice. and i -- there was no reason for me to believe that either one of those would have mattered. i thought about it, but first of all, in the context of all the other things that were going on that donald was getting away with from his attacks on a gold star family, the khans and serge kopaleski and a reporter at "the
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new york times" and of course culminating in the access hollywood tape, i just didn't think anybody would take me seriously. i had a lot of reasons to believe that i would be dismissed as a disgruntled disinherited niece who had been out of the family to all intents and purposes for almost 20 years. and part of it, too, was thinking that donald was the problem, right? and of course, after the inauguration, he would be surrounded by more competent people who understood how government worked and they would protect him and us from his worst impulses. clearly i was wrong to make that assumption. so it wasn't just the speed with which he started upending norms, which he had started doing during the campaign. it was the number of people who
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lined up to help him in that endeavor, which has only grown longer and more egregious has time as gone on. i can't say that there was a last straw because there had been so many straws, but certainly the horrors at the border, you know, the separating of children from their parents, the torture, the kidnapping and the incarceration of them in cages was unthinkable, unbearable. and when an opportunity presented itself to me to do something, i needed to take a leap. >> joy reid, your reaction to that explanation of why now
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instead of four years ago. >> i peen the sad thing about it is, lawrence, if she had come out and gibbon this information in 2016 she's right, probably a lot of people wouldn't have believed her. there was such an irrational hatred of hillary clinton among a certain part of this country who no matter what anyone said about donald trump, look everyone found out before donald trump was elected he wouldn't allow black people to rent in his buildings. everyone knew he had quotes like a well educated black was better than a well educated white. there was knowledge already he cheated people, he didn't pay people, he was cruel to people. all of this was known information and people were determined to elect him anyway, and the republican party laid down so quickly. you know you think about what lindsey graham said about donald trump and now he couldn't be a bigger si bigger sycophant. you think what he did to ted cruz's wife, to his father and bend the knee and think donald trump is the greatest. look what he did to marco rubio,
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humiliated him. he's still a sycophant. and watching the party fall at his feet and letting him get away with all these cruelties, how could she believe she could stop people from giving trump that room to destroy everything in this country. she was right. >> tony schwartz, i believe we have our audio connection to you. i want to go back to our first question and that is did you in all the time you spent with donald trump hear him use the n-word or anti-semitic expressions? >> well, i'm wondering if joy got that comment about i want jews handling my money from something he said to me because he did say that to me. and almost four years ago to the day or to the evening that joy and i met on bill meyer and i had just come out and done essentially what mary trump has done today. and, you know, it feels a little bit like a homecoming, lawrence, because you by that point were
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speaking out. joy was speaking out. but most people weren't. and i know that it wouldn't have made any difference because i did exactly that. i said almost exactly the same things that mary trump did. and honestly, i spent more time with donald trump by far than mary trump. when she came ironically to be his second gos writhost writer cowriter she never got an interview with him. he literally wouldn't talk to her. so all these things we said four years ago the good news is that i believe that the coalescence of so many events that demonstrate this guy's total incompetence and malfeasance and malevolence have finally come home to roost, and we are watching him on the one hand destroy himself, which i am happy to see happen.
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but on the other hand to destroy the country in the process. >> there's one other very important thing i think mary trump explained tonight. she explained why the united states is doing literally the worst job in the world of fighting the coronavirus, and it's because of that twisted psyche of donald trump that was shaped by his father that does not allow donald trump to admit a mistake. mary trump says that admitting a mistake is like the death penalty for donald trump. let's listen to this. >> even at the time i was writing we were i think in new york we were past the worst of it, but it was clear that the rest of the country was not doing what it needed to do. i want people to understand what a failure of leadership this is, and the reason he's failing at it is because he's incapable of succeeding at it.
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it would have required taking responsibility which would in his mind have meant admitting a mistake, which in this mind would be admitting weakness, which in my family was essentially punished with the death penalty, symbolically or otherwise. >> tony schwartz, your reaction to that. >> well, she talks about something in the book that she calls toxic positivity, and that's what this is -- this whole approach to the covid virus is an expression of that. that because trump feels it's an enormous danger, he hasn't been conscious of this at this point, but he feels it's an enormous danger to admit any weakness, he has reverted as his father did in this several generations of traumatized trumps to -- he's
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reverted to form. he -- he cannot acknowledge that anything's wrong so he continues under pressure because all he does under pressure every time and mary trump says this, too, is double down on what he's already doing. so he continues to say it's good. i mean, he made a statement today that had three or four lies in it about how things were going not one of which 98% of americans would for one moment believe. >> can i just say really quickly, you know, donald trump -- my first real introduction to donald trump is when he wanted five, 14 and 15-year-old kids to be given the dedeath penalty for a rape they did not commit. when they were finally freed from being incarcerated he still won't admit he was wrong. he still won't apologize to the
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central park five. that is who donald trump is. >> and that is decades ago. thank you, tony, very much for joining us and joy reid, thank you for joining us. once again joy reid's new show, "the reid out" starts 7:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. that's joy reid on msnbc at 7:00 p.m. every night forever. i am so excited about your now show, joy, i'm not just going to watch on monday night. i begged your bookers to allow me to be one of your guests on your first show on monday, so i will see you on monday, joy. >> that required no begging. i jump at the opportunity. you asked us before we could call you because you know now i'm closer to you in time i can bug you even more. i felt bad on the weekends but now it's like come on over a couple hours early. you've been such a great friend and it's going to be exciting to be part of the prime time feed. >> can't wait.
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see you monday, joy. and when we come back we'll be joined by psychiatrist dr. lance dodus to get his analysis of what rachel called the single weirdest story in mary trump's book. that's next. story in mary trums book that's next. [indistinct radio chatter] (mom) come on, hurry up! all systems go?
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about what rachel called the single weirdest thing in mary trump's book. it is on page 163 in the book if you are one of the million people who is lucky enough to have it at home tonight. and it was the time that donald trump introduced mary trump to the person who would become donald trump's third wife melania. donald trump lied about mary trump while he was introducing mary trump to melania. he said that mary trump had survived a terrible drug problem, and mary trump immediately corrected him saying i've never done drugs in my life. but donald trump kept pushing
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that lie. it seemed, as rachel said, when she introduced the subject in her interview that donald trump experiences pleasure and was experiencing pleasure in that lying which would certainly be one important reason he can't stop doing it. it might be the only pleasure left in his life at this point. mary trump agreed with rachel's analysis that lying is a perverse pleasure for donald trump and mary trump added another psychological motivation for donald trump's lying and why he must be surrounded by people in the white house who never challenge his lying. >> yeah. it's also a power play. one that fits into his favorite narrative, you know? the comeback is much more impressive if you are coming back from a really awful place in the gutter like being a drug addict instead of just like
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having a tough time in life. it is framing the narrative in a way he prefers. it also makes him the savior because, remember, that story is told in the context of, and then i gave her a job. so he's sort of taking a responsibility for my reclamation, if you will. but more than that, it really is a power play. the difference between that and other things i see happening is most of the times people don't correct him. which just completely plays in -- i'm sorry. >> no, you go ahead. >> which completely plays into his hand because then he's -- he can do it with impunity. >> impunity. joining us now is dr. lance dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry
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at harvard medical school. he contributed to the book "the dangerous case of donald trump" 27 psychiatrists and mental health eshperts assess a president. in the newest edition of that the number is over 30. dr. dodes, thank you for joining us tonight. what is your reaction to what we just heard mary trump saying about what donald trump experiences in his lying? >> i think that's absolutely right. there is a name for that. it's called sadism, which is defined by having pleasure from suffering of others, from their pain or from their humiliation. and if you are the one causing that suffering, there is all the more pleasure in it. so the fact that donald trump is a sadist is completely consistent with everything else we know about him, and it is consistent with his being a psycho path. it is one of the kind of
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monstrous things about being a psycho path is that there is enjoyment at being vindictive. if you are as paranoid as he is, almost everybody is your enemy unless the person is worshipping you. >> i want to get your view of something she was explaining about why she said she didn't come forward four years ago. she called about the concept of learned helplessness. he said it is something that runs very deep in my family. >> you know, i'm sure that's true. from what she had described, trump's father was also a cruel, sadistic, racist, probably psychopathic man. so growing up with such a person, you learn to either be a victim or you learn to be a victimizer. and trump, unlike his brother, i gather, trump became the
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victimizer. trump followed in his father's footsteps and became the same cruel person that his father was. so it is the kind of response to helplessness. if your choices are you have to be the victim or you have to be the victimizer, you chose the victimizer if you are that sort of person, a person without morals. >> there is another line i'd like your view of where mary trump said that what donald trump and his brother learned from their father is that admitting a mistake would be admitting weakness, which in my family was essentially punished with the death penalty symbolically or otherwise. your reaction to that. >> i think that's exactly right also. there is a term in my field called soul murder which describes the name kind of death. you can destroy somebody,
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especially a small child, by treating him or her with a humiliating disdain or physically abusing them. and that is who donald trump is. it's how he treats everyone. the point that was made earlier that he can't admit mistakes is absolutely true. but is it even deeper than that is that in order to be able to admit your mistakes, you have to care about the results of what you have done, of the mistake. but he doesn't care. the deaths of tens of thousands of americans, the highest number i understand today and it's a new record, it really doesn't matter to him. it is hard to believe that, but it's absolutely true. so if you don't care, then there is even less reason to admit a mistake because what difference does it make to you? it doesn't hurt you. >> let's listen to mary trump's answer to what was rachel's last question, do you feel safe?
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let's listen to this. >> yeah. >> i wonder if you feel safe. >> i'm not scared. i'm taking appropriate precautions certainly because i am not diluted about potential scenarios. he is in a position of great power. i know my family to be quite vindictive and donald has a rather passionate following. but all of that aside, i -- i needed to do this. i felt it was my responsibility. i felt it was my obligation. and whatever the consequences are, i'm prepared to deal with them as best i can. >> doctor, since we have been watching donald trump and donald trump's sons for the last few years, it's so strange for me to hear someone from the trump
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family say things like i felt like it was my obligation. i felt it was my responsibility. she seems -- because she grew up apparently outside of the rest of the victims of these intergenerational pathologies, that seems to be, for her, the lucky outcome that allows her to do this. >> absolutely. to have been out of that horrible chaotic, emotionally cay cayotic situation, i agree with you. whatever the legal findings where about whether the trump organization is a criminal
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organization, i don't know. but whatever they are going to find out just with the way it's dealt with inside the family, which is a corrupt and deeply ill set of relationships. >> doctor, i'd like to get your evaluation of what you're getting from mary trump. she is a trained clinical psychologist, and she doesn't have your experience as being on the harvard medical school faculty, but as you see her presenting what are basically her findings, there is a part of this that feels like a family member telling you something about a family member. but for me there is a part of this that feels like a professional clinician delivering her findings on a patient, and it seems to me her approach to the patient is actually filled with empathy. she's always looking for the explanation for why these -- why we witness these horrors every day from this man. >> i completely agree. she is a clinician. she is a psychologist and she is obviously well-trained.
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i think she's doing us all a service by providing this background. unfortunately donald trump can never benefit from any insight because he's incapable. so it won't do him or the country any good. but it helps us at least to have some understanding of where this kind of terrible situation, terrible person has come from. >> dr. lance dodes, thank you for joining us again tonight. we always appreciate it. >> sure. >> thank you. and when we come back zerlina maxwell will join us. we'll get her reaction to the breaking news of the night that mary trump said she has heard donald trump use the n-word. zerlina's new book is entitled "the end of white politics, how to heal our liberal divide." we'll take a look at the poll numbers surely part of donald trump's decision to fire his
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on a night with every poll showing joe biden in a commanding lead and the latest nbc poll showing joe biden 11 points ahead of donald trump, mary trump told rachel why she still lives in fear of a second trump term in office. you write about that in the book as if you are genuinely fearful that a second term could be qualitatively more dangerous for the country than his first term was. >> yeah. and i want to -- i want to make something really clear. this is beyond partisanship. this is so beyond party. we need to be thinking about this as americans. we need to be thinking about who we want to be as a people going forward. i hear people say all the time, this is not who we are. this is exactly who we are right now.
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so continuing along this path, which is exactly what would happen if donald were to be elected in 2020 would, i absolutely believe, be the end of the american experiment. i do not believe there is any coming back from this. there are too many enablers who are for whatever reason continuing to enable him. bill barr has gutted the justice department. mike pompeo has gutted the state department. we are in serious, serious danger here. and unfortunately, that is no longer hyperbolic. that's just the way it is. >> joining our discussion, a veteran of the hillary clinton campaign that won more votes than donald trump but still came in second in the electoral college. she is the author of the new book "the end of white politics,
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how to heal our liberal divide." zerlina, let me begin with the breaking news of the night that mary trump told rachel maddow she has heard donald trump use the n-word as well as anti-semitic slurs. >> it's the least surprising news of the day. but i do think it is important because i think what mary trump's book -- and i'm almost all the way through it. it's fantastic. and her perspective particularly as a clinical psychologist is interesting and puts it apart from the other books about trump and the inner workings of the white house and perhaps parts of his family and the reason why is because it's really a validation of many of the things that we're watching from the outside, right? the news he has used racial slurs in private should be the least surprising news because of how he speaks in public about those same groups of people. and so i think what it does is it validates what many of us in the media and analysts like
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myself have been saying from the beginning. donald trump is racist, and he behaves like a racist and he talks like a racist, and he most importantly implements policies that deeply hurt communities of color. and that is the danger in it all. >> zerlina, we just heard mary trump use the phrase "beyond party," that this election should be beyond party because we just heard her lay out the danger of a second trump term filled with trump enablers, and doesn't what mary trump just laid out, doesn't that alone heal the liberal divide at least for one day on election day? >> look, i think that the coalition that will hopefully lead to a joe biden presidency is made up of common sense and like minded people who want to protect and preserve this american experiment as she said and want to preserve those
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institutions like the state department and the justice department. and the things that make america what it is. but also, you know, to my -- to the point i'm trying to make in my book is that the coalition that joe biden needs is very much a coalition that needs to be intentionally engaged by the campaign going from today into election day because many of those voters stayed home in 2016 who had turned out in 2012. in fact, more, many more, a million of those voters stayed home versus the 77,000 who gave trump the victory. and i think that's where the focus and the benefit and the opportunity is for the joe biden campaign. >> so put on your veteran of political campaigning authority for this question, and that is what does it mean to joe biden's campaign that in effect tonight the democrats have canceled the convention saying that delegates should not come to the
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convention, that it should all be basically held virtually? we don't have a model for this. we've never seen it before. but given where this campaign is and donald trump still hoping to have a version of a convention in florida where the coronavirus is raging. what is the convention effect going to be in this campaign? >> you know, i don't know what the number of effects on the votes is going to be, but i do know this moment requires an unconventional strategy. you're not going to be abling to do the things you could do before. you cannot go and speak to voters person to person, and that's really where much of the persuasion happens so you're going to have to go with it, go with the reality, and that also creates an opportunity. so while the contrast could not be clearer, donald trump is willingly putting his supporters into harms way and anybody who they come into contact with, frankly, and joe biden is not
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willing to do that because he's listening to the scientists. so it shows the contrast in leadership but provides biden an opportunity to communicate with voters in an organic fashion using social media and social platforms. they've had dj events and so more of things like that are ways i think joe biden and his campaign writ large can communicate with voters he needs to turn out because that's where this election is going to be win or lost. and mary trump made a very critical point at the end of that interview which is that in order for donald trump to basically slink away in defeat he needs to be resoundly defeated, and that is an important point. that means we have to focus on mail-in voting access right now, make sure that funding is there to scaleup mail-in voting in the states where it is not accessible so that joe biden's voters can access the ballot. because if you can't access it,
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is it really a right? >> zerlina, there's a lot of polling information we can talk about tonight but i'm wondering if we're at the point in this campaign where the numbers we need to watch that can tell us the result is going to be basically the coronavirus numbers. if you look into, say, the stunning number that came out of florida where they tested high school age kids or younger and they found 31% of them testing positive for coronavirus, with numbers like that coming out while one candidate is saying all those kids should go back into classrooms and sit shoulder to shoulder in those classrooms, it seems those numbers are pointing to who's going to win this campaign just as strongly as the polling numbers are. >> that's exactly right. and one person believes and listens to the scientists, and the other person has told people to inject disinfectant. that's a thing that happened. i think i say it in every
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segment now because i think it is the moment where we should have snapped out of it. we cannot be gas lit to our death. and that's what donald trump is doing every single day when he comes out and pretends this is not happening. it is happening. people are dying. people in my family have died. i am afraid for everyone i know because -- and i think everybody feels that sense of urgency because, you know, the stakes are very, very high in this election. it's always important to participate in your democracy, but this is a life and death question that are being asked of voters in this country. and i think the answers are pretty simple. you're either going to go with the scientists who are going to ensure that joe biden has the right information and that he can distribute that vaccine to the american people, and then you have donald trump, and we see how he handles a crisis. >> zerlina maxwell's book is entitled "the end of white politics, how to heal our liberal divide." the healer zerlina maxwell,
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thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. thanks, zerlina. and when we come back donald trump wants every school in america to open on schedule with every student sitting at every desk as if it were 2019. that would, of course, kill people especially with over 30% of the kids tested in florida already having coronavirus. but donald trump will never admit he's wrong about that because as mary trump told us tonight admitting he made a mistake feels like the death penalty to donald trump. that's next. s like the death penalty to donald trump. that's next. ♪ don't just think about where you're headed this summer. think about how you'll get there. and now that you can lease or buy a new lincoln remotely or in person... discovering that feeling has never been more effortless.
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if your financial situation has changed, we may be able to help. the united states of america set a record today by reporting 72,494 new cases of coronavirus. that is the new largest number of coronavirus cases in one day
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in the united states breaking our previous record set six days ago. and that is not just a record for the united states. that is a record for the world. no other country in the world has come close to reporting that many new coronavirus cases in one day. and so as of tonight the united states remains the world leader in coronavirus cases reported with 3,573,987 reported confirmed cases. and this country remains the world leader in reported deaths from coronavirus with 139,027 reported deaths from coronavirus in this country. 41 states reported an increase in coronavirus cases today. and because donald trump is a sociopath as described and
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diagno diagnosed by his niece, mary trump who's a clinical psychologist and because donald trump is surrounded by what mary trump describes as enablers in the white house one of his enablers today actually said this. >> the president has said unmistakably he wants schools to open and i was just in the oval talking to him about that, and when he says open he means open in full, kids each and every being able to attend at their school. the science should not stand in the way of this. >> the science should not stand in the way of this. of course the science should stand in the way of this if the science says that people will die if you do this, which is exactly what the science says. today dr. anthony fauci said it's impossible for every kid in america to go back to every school in america as if nothing had happened. he said that some schools in some areas with very, very low
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infection rates might be able to reopen almost as normal, but most schools, he said, will face very serious challenges. >> paramount to drive it is the safety and the health of the children as well as the safety and health of the teachers. so you really got to make sure that's a driving force in your decision. >> the white house is reporting tonight that the white house coronavirus task force -- "the washington post," i'm sorry, is reporting tonight the white house coronavirus task force has written a 350-page report that has not been made public. that report recommends that specific states including georgia mandate masks statewide. the republican governor of georgia brian kemp has banned all local government from mandating masks, and the biggest local government in georgia, the city of atlanta is still mandating masks per order of
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mayor keisha lance bottoms. and so tonight the governor of georgia is now suing the city of atlanta for doing what donald trump's coronavirus task force says the entire state of georgia should do, mandate masks. in california where coronavirus cases are increasing the two largest school districts, los angeles and san diego, have announced that they will not be able to bring students back into classrooms for the coming -- at the beginning of the coming academic year. they will continue to offer classes online. we'll be joined by the superintendent of one of the largest school districts in the country who has decided it is too dangerous to reopen schools. that's next. s too dangerous to reopen schools. that's next. feeling stressed?
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stream live tv, on demand shows and movies even your dvr recordings. download the xfinity stream app today to stream the entertainment you love. xfinity. the future of awesome. joining us now is cindy martin, the superintendent of the san diego unified school district, the second largest school district in california after los angeles. superintendent martin, thank you for joining us tonight. how did you make the decision
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that you would not be able to welcome students back into the classroom at the beginning of this academic year? >> good evening. thank you. -- just got lost. can you say that again? >> i'm sorry. i'm not sure -- you couldn't hear what i said? how did you make the decision about the fact that you could not welcome students safely back into classrooms? >> well, quite frankly the virus is out of control, and it's so important that we understand what we're fighting for here, defending public education and making sure that our schools are safe. we want to reopen, and we [ inaudible ]. -- in march, that we needed -- virus is out of control.
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we need this virus to be under control so that the conditions are safe for our students and our staff. public education matters, and this is a fight for public education. >> it seems so simple when you say it. when you see the argument about this happening around the country, what is your reaction to it? >> we have to focus on what public education means to our students across this country. the heart of our country and the success of our students in the future is about our schools being open. and the debate about is it safe or not, we know how to deliver education. i say to every single teacher and superintendent that believes in public education, we're going to make this work because our kids are counting on it. san diego unified is the second largest district in the state with thousands of immigrant
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families, and we just need to make sure we're providing what they need and fight for their future. this is not -- schools are not a day care. schools are about educating our students, and it's about our future, and we're not cramming a bunch of students into a classroom that's not safe to do so. >> cindy martin gets tonight's last word. thank you very much for joining >> cindy martin gets tonight's last word. thank you for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. well, good evening once again. day 1,274 of the trump administration. 110 days to go until the presidential election. the president's niece making news tonight as we knew she would because of what she is saying, what she saw inside the house, inside the family. we have more on all of it in just a moment. now to the largest public health crisis in the modern era of the united states. tonight our country continues to lead the world in coronavirus.

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