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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  August 17, 2020 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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i'm yasmin vossoughian. "morning joe" starts right now. we are not here to curse the darkness, we are here to light a candle. and we can have faith in the future, only if we have faith in ourselves. >> we stand at this frontier at a turning point of history. all man kind waits upon our decision. a whole world looks to see what we shall do.
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>> so we have an election this year. i heard the music and that -- so we have an election this year, mika? >> yes, we do. >> do we really? >> yes. 60 years in 60 seconds for you. the democratic national convention kicks off today and because of the coronavirus, it will be unlike any of the party conventions we've seen to date. won't look like any of those. good morning and welcome to "morning joe" it is monday, august 17th. with us we have white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan lemire -- >> wait. jonathan, this is important. jonathan, so the great thomas ricks who has a wonderful book coming out in a couple months said that what the boston red sox are doing are nothing less than a remarkable experiment. he said they decided to elevate an entire triple a pitching staff to the major leagues at the same time, of course, tom is a little off. this is single a, double a
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pitching staff the red sox have sent up. but it's just -- it's beyond words how bad the pitching staff is. i don't know if you know this or not, but the red sox won the world series a couple years ago. >> 2018, joe, feels so very far away. it is, in a word, embarrassing how this red sox team fell so far so fast. there's days the pitching staff looks like a jv group. they lost three straight to the yankees. probably lose again in the bronx today. it is so disappointing that just a short time ago not only did they win a world series but seemed like they were set up to contend for years. and now they are not just bad, they are down right impossible to watch. outside of a bright spot here or there, they're a difficult team to watch.
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and frankly, it's embarrassing that this is what the front office fielded this year two seasons after a title. >> just two seasons. and it's not on the pitchers, it's on the front office. it's unbelievable. thank god willie geist is not here today to talk about the yankees. we also have with us host of msnbc politics nation and president of the national action network, reverent al sharpton. rev, while we're passing it around, idiots in portland over the weekend once again disrupted peaceful protests. once again, undermined the legacy of people like john lewis, once again ignored people like you and the head of the naacp out in portland that keeps saying, hey, don't distract from george floyd. don't distract from black lives matter.
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don't distract from our work. and yet, they just keep doing it. >> i really am very concerned that there are not some elements there that are really being incited if not sponsored by those that don't want to see justice achieved and fairness accomplished and the work that many of us are doing. and as importantly or more so, the families who are seeking to get justice. some have trials of those that have killed their loved ones and for them to get in the way of the public and potential jurors seeing that this is not about we're trying to burn the country down, we're about making sure those that are charged with enforcing the law don't, in any way, tear us down. and they have been become the ones that have muddied the message and got in the way.
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it's frightening, but it's something that we're not going to sit by and quietly allow the hijacking of a movement or the disregard of the lives that were lost and the justice deserved for their families. >> also with us, editor at large for the nonprofit news room, the 19th and a newly minted msnbc contributor, errin haines, congratulations on many levels. the first interview with kamala harris since she was announced. you can contribute to the nonprofit news room the 19th, which is really gaining steam. how did that first interview go for you? >> you know, i think it went well, mika. thank you both so much for the warm welcome. happy to be part of the family. kamala harris and i spoke for about half an hour. it was a wide ranging interview, she addressed her historic candidacy, called her pick by
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joe biden audacious, said he was taking a risk picking a black woman to become his running mate but did it anyway. they really presented a united front and talking about their commitment to confronting systemic racism, to confronting the dual pandemics of coronavirus and inequality in this country and really stayed on message, not really responding to, for example, you know, the president raising the specter of kamala harris' s citizensh citizenship. they talked about what joe biden launched his campaign on last year, the battle for the soul of america. but i want to bring upping? reverend sharpton touched on. we saw the reckoning for race. i i remember the 2016 convention where you saw the mothers of the
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movement on stage at the convention keeping that issue front and center. i wonder if we'll see something similar at the convention or headed into the election. remembering what the folk are protesting for, much needed police reform in communities of color. >> rev? >> i think she makes an incredible point. i communicated that to the dnc we had mothers of the movement on in the '16 convention. we've seen in most convention, civil rights leaderships and those raising the issues on the program. i have not seen that on the program yet and i think that's something the dnc ought to be concerned about. we cannot miss the moment. and we can't miss what will drive many voters that would support them to the polls and that is what happened to george floyd and others.
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they cannot marginalized the moment of a movement. >> let's also bring in political correspondent, steve kornacki. steve, quickly before we launch into the news here. here we are start of the democratic convention, a different type of convention, but what is the state of play right now in this presidential race? >> well, the one thing that is typical like past conventions is we have a wave of polling coming out just as the convention gets under way. we have our brand new nbc, wall street journal national poll has joe biden leading 59 to 41 points. a significant lead in the poll. we've seen a number of other polls come out in the last 24 hours, the one getting the most attention is from our friends at cnn, theirs put trump behind just 4 points behind joe biden.
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a lot of conversation that's the best single poll i've seen for donald trump in quite some time. the context, we have a bunch of polls, 9 is the margin for biden in the nbc poll, 4 is the margin in the cnn poll. also yesterday a yougov poll has it at 10 for joe biden. so if you take the polls all conducted in a similar window just coming out in the last day or couple days, the average lead for joe biden sits at 7.5 points. i'd say it's consistent with where we were a month ago to now, probably a little bit of tightening, the biden lead is not what it was a month ago. when you average everything out there today, i think there's still clearly a biden lead in this race. >> about a 7, 8 point lead right now if you look at the polls that have been out.
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willy, as we said, is not here today. i think he's trying out for a spot in the red sox rotation. >> he's back tomorrow. >> looking forward to that. >> let's get to the developments concerning the u.s. postal service and the 2020 vote. this has been a big story brewing over the weekend. democrats are ramping up efforts to combat what many suspect to be a deliberate and ongoing attempt to cripple the agency's ability to handle the influx of mail-in ballots. house speaker nancy pelosi is cutting short summer recess, calling on house members to return to washington later this week to vote on legislation to block the postal service from making any changes ahead of the election. the house oversight committee has also scheduled an emergency hearing moving up the date from mid september to one week from today.
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postmaster general robert dejoy and inspector general have been called to testify. "morning joe" has obtained this letter of lawmakers asking if the postmaster general or board of governors committed any crimes through the changes they made to the postal service. on the state level "the washington post" reports that the attorneys general from at least six states are huddling to discuss possible lawsuits as they scramble for ways to give voters more options. the u.s. postal service is walking back its plan to remove a number of blue collection boxes around the country telling msnbc it'll wait until after election day to reevaluate the needs. the postal service reviews
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collection box density every year on a routine basis to ite dent fie redundant seldom used collection boxes as first class mail volume continues to ke cline. this process is one of many ways the postal service matches our resources to declining mail volumes. in an internal memo to usps staff last week, postmaster general luis dejoy acknowledged the, quote, uninit satended of restructuring. so how do we move that back? as we reported, dejoy has eliminated over time for hundreds of thousands of postal
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workers. removed or reassigned two dozen leaders. implemented a hiring freeze and requested early retirement authority for nonunion employees. yesterday white house chief of staff mark meadows insisted that postal employees would work overtime to make sure ballots are delivered on time and that funding would not be an issue. >> we'll have the money allocated and as the postmaster general said the other day if it's about processing ballots he's willing to spend the overtime to make sure it happens and make sure we gets ballots back as quickly as possible. >> oh, boy, come on. >> i have a quote here, jonathan lemire i'm finishing up transcribi transcribing. we spent so much time preparing for the show -- >> you're doing it right now. >> here's the deal, jonathan,
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this weekend at the beginning of the weekend donald trump basically said, i'm going to sabotage the post office. i'm not going to give them the funding so they won't have mail-in voting. you've seen dejoy try to separate himself from those words. we've seen mark meadows try to separate himself from those words saying we'll do whatever we can to make sure nobody is disenfranchised. we've seen nancy pelosi moving forward and getting congress back. they need to be back. i don't know what the hell they would be doing in their districts that would be more important than making sure millions and millions of americans are not disenfranchised. so they need to get back sooner rather than later. good thing they are. what else has happened? the attorney generals that mika just talked about are doing what they can do.
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if you are working actively to disinfranchise voters there has to be a crime involved in that, right? so they're checking to see what that crime is. all of this centers around donald trump. you just got to love these anti-r, antitru-trumpers they a writing blogs on everything under the sun, other than russian bounties on the heads of americans and donald trump trying to disinfranchise american votes saying oh, the democrats and the media are being so extreme. donald trump never said that, he's not trying to -- let me give you a quote that every american needs to hear and postmaster general dejoy needs to hear because he's part of a conspiracy to disinfranchise
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millions of voters. i don't know how that feels for him and the board members whose pictures we will be putting up the next several weeks, i don't know how that feels for him two or three months before an election. i can tell you, it's going to sting in the years that follow the elections. i know he's got this 15,000 square foot house that he calls the castle, can't hide in it. you can't hide from history. when the guy you're working for, who wants you to disinfranchise millions of voters and donald trump doesn't give a damn what people think of him, but you probably do, your wife probably does, she served honorably under george w. bush. but here's donald trump's quote, mr. dejoy, and senators ben sasse, marco rubio, mitt romney,
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corey gardner, susan collins. i know this is really going to make you sad, susan collins. i wonder if donald trump learned -- susan, do you think he learned his lesson, right? you think donald trump learned his lesson? let me read you this quote, susan and you tell me whether you think donald trump learned his lesson. if we don't make a deal, donald trump said, that means they don't get the money. that is what donald trump said. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. so sayeth donald trump. they just can't have it. jonathan, let me read it again. if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they can't have it.
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and donald trump says this at the same time the post office sends a notice to 44 states that ballots in their states may not be counted. now, i know there's some of you under a spell. i understand that. i understand you are in a political cult, a personality cult. so i'm going to read you the quote for a third time and for you anti, anti-trump bloggers keep ignoring russian bounties on u.s. soldiers' heads and ignoring the fact that donald trump is trying to disinfranchise millions of voters in a full-on attack on american democracy. here's donald trump's quote again. if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money.
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that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they just can't have it. jonathan lemire, he said the quiet part out loud. he admitted -- >> he did indeed, joe. >> -- to the world -- that was a dramatic pause i had there. he admitted to the world that he was undermining democracy. go, jonathan lemire. >> he did. first, let's say that senator collins lives in eternal hope of lesson learning that hasn't arrived just yet it would seem. but you are right, this is the president saying outloud what he has been saying privately for weeks, that he has felt that the mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud and it
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will be used to defeat him in november. let's take a half step back here and recognize what the postal service does. there was talk along the right about how the postal service has been losing money. the word is in the title, it's service, there's other branchs of the other that lose money, nobody is asking for them to be disband preponderance of the evidence there are people in america, particularly in a pandemic, who rely on the postal service, the one means of reaching a loved one, receiving a birthday card. we know there are seniors in the united states who rely on the postal service to receive their medication. and there's going to be a demand for mail-in voting this november because so many americans are nervous to go to the physical ballot box this fall because of covid-19 surges throughout the nation. and the president has -- you know, as you just said, the last 48 hours or so there's been a
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little bit of walking back from this, the white house distancing itself a little from the idea, you have seen house speaker pelo pelosi, call the house back into session, it remains to be seen whether the senate does. the argument could be made that both houses should be in session. but even if if some of the cuts are restored and reports coast-to-coast about delays in postal service well before the onslaught of mail in voting but what has happened here is that the president has sowed seeds of doubt about the result and the integrity this fall. chief of staff mark meadows in another interview this weekend was asked, was told, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and his response, i'm paraphrasing, there isn't any evidence there isn't voter fraud. you can't prove a negative that
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way. this is an attempt to muddy the water and cast down on the process, which we know it could take days if not weeks to tally the votes this fall because of the pandemic, the mail-in voting, and this is the president's attempt to undermine americans' faith in perhaps its most sacred institution. >> here's mark meadows with basically his political version of a child saying huh-uh. watch. >> now there are four states that are adding to the sending out ballots to every registered voter. i understand that's a concern you're claiming. >> when president trump and -- >> wouldn't it be a concern to you? do you realize how inaccurate the voter rolls are with people moving around, let alone dying off. but sending ballots out based on a voter role.
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you change your driver's license -- >> but there's no evidence of widespread voter fraud. >> there's no -- there's no evidence that there's not either. that's the definition of fraud, jake. >> that's the dumbest -- there's also no evidence -- by the way, you cannot prove that mark meadows is not smuggling billy goats from peru. >> yep. >> into the united states and then worshipping them on an altar behind the white house. you cannot prove that. >> can't. >> can't be proven. seriously, that's one of the dumbest things i've ever heard in my life on a sunday talk show. i've heard a lot of dumb things on a sunday talk show. you can prove that by the fact that there just aren't -- there are hardly any cases that have been brought suggesting what donald trump has been suggesting for some time, and going on a sunday show with a response that's like a child going
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huh-uh, you can't prove it's not. sorry, that's not justification for disenfranchising millions of voters and i don't know if you heard this or not, but this is what donald trump said, if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they just can't have it. at the same time donald trump is saying that, the post office, of course, undergoing this restructuring. sowing chaos throughout the entire system and telling 44 states they may not be able to get their mail-in ballots in time. rev, here's the thing about trump and dejoy. they talk about how lousy the united states postal service is, how horrible the institution is. survey sometime ago did a survey of americans and guess what they found, the united states post office is the most respected,
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the most favorably viewed institution in all of government. 91% of americans have a favorable view of the united states post office. and that was just from this year at the end of march. and so -- so again, yes, this is very frightening and the president is trying to disenfranchise millions of people because he believes he's going to lose. but this is also a stupid political move. you have susan collins supporting a president trying to gut an institution with a 91% approval rehabilitaating. you have corey gardner supporting a president who is trying to gut an institution with a 91% approval rating with
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the american public. you have thom tillis, marco rubio doing the same thing. will ben sasse speak out, mitt romney speak out? they need to because nine out of ten americans have a favorable viewing of the post office. trump doesn't like it because he wants to privatize it and turn it over to people who he's given billion dollar tax breaks to and use it to punish amazon and do everything he can to stir doubt in the results of an election he thinks he's going to lose. why does the republicans stand behind him as he attacks the most popular institution in the united states government? >> it is absolutely outrageous. it is not only the politics of it, joe, it is also a very serious voter and civil rights issue which the democrats ought
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to fight it politically and in a time we're undermining john lewis' loss he's undermining voter rights because he's trying to neutralize people's rights to vote by using mail-in in the middle of a pandemic. no clearer violation than that. but his politics is to sow seeds hoping people get disgusted saying my vote won't count, they won't go vote. and if they do go vote, he's already written the script, i was robbed by a fraudulent mail-in system, so he's trying to do two or three things at the same time all serving the personal interest of donald trump, not preserving democracy, not preserving people's rights to vote and not respecting the will of people to choose their elected president. >> so we have one guy who spoke out, joe, and that's mitt romney. let's take a listen.
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wasn't hard. >> i don't know of any evidence that voting by mail would increase voter fraud. my biggest concern, frankly, with regards to voting fraud has been that there would be some kind of hacking of our voting electronics system and voting machines would be hacked by an american or foreign entity. in the case of voting by mail, the good news is if there were some accusation of impropriety, you could get the ballots and see if the person matched the voters, whether the person was still alive, so forth, whether people voted on a multiple basis, these kind of actions could be evaluated, it could take some time but you could do that analysis. >> steve kornacki, for so many reasons for mitt romney talk about the basics here, but as the president has already made
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changes in the postal service and dejoy has reducing overtime and making changes to make it harder for mail to get to people, the other almost criminal aspect of this, or corrupt, absolutely destructive would be the fact that we are in a pandemic. america is in a pandemic and at this moment we need basic things to get to people, and that is what the postal service does. you would think in a pandemic that actually washington would work to shore up the post office. >> you know, this is one of the issues when we look at how the election is going to play out in november in all the concerns are you going to get a result in a reasonably quick period of time there, this is one of the things that comes into play because you see two different messages being sent out about mail-in voting and some of the polling out there already in terms of
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democratic voters being more enthusiastic about mail-in voting than republicans, if you have, say, democrats aggressively voting by mail and republicans not doing that because the president and the leaders of their party have not been enthusiastic about it, is that affecting the way the returns look? do you get the votes cast first on election day? do those come in first and then there's a slow trickle of mail-in votes and do they look different? i think when we talk about the potential for confusion on the days, maybe weeks, after election night that's where you see the possibility for it, you have a group of voters that vote this way, another group that votes that way and the two piles aren't necessarily counted at the same time. >> and you know republicans usually do well in mail-in voting. it's interesting in the state of florida, hillary clinton was
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ahead 2.4% going into election day if you take out the early voting, mail-in voting, clinton was ahead 2.4% on election day in florida. and then on election day when the voting came in, the actual date, that's when donald trump surged ahead. it's quite possible that trump remembering that wants to be able to be declared winner on election night and then say, you know, say that all the vote counts that comes after that, if it takes a little while are going to be illegal or improper. and in the weeks that may follow on the vote counting because it's going to be massive because of the pandemic, he spends that time just stirring doubt in the post office and just stirring doubt in these mail-in votes. >> yeah, and i -- this is part of the president's kind of ongoing strategy in the
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uncertainty that there's already looming over the country because of the pandemic to create more uncertainty around this election. and this is why you see, you know, surrogates on the democratic side continuing to say not only do they need to win in november but they need a mandate. they need to run up the score so that this is an election result that cannot be challenged by the president who has already said, you know, not really answered unequivocally about whether he will leave office or challenge the results of the election depending on the outcome, depending on how close things are. what we are seeing is the reality while this president is not necessarily responding to surges in coronavirus cases calling those small fires that are popping up around the counted, he is concerned about the potential surge in absentee voting and what voting right advocates are saying despite the efforts being made in congress
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or the efforts being made through legal channels. they are saying don't listen to what this president is saying, watch what he and other members of his administration are doing is ordering their own mail-in ballots right now. if voter suppression is a tactic in effect, they're saying -- kamala harris said to me on friday, people are going to have to jump over obstacles to, you know, voting in november if they are going to cast their ballot in this pandemic with voter suppression and depression tactics in full effect. so i think, you know, encouraging folks to get their ballots early. they don't have to necessarily mail them back in, taking them physically to a drop off location, you know, other ways of participating in this election are what are also being encouraged, even as you're seeing a push back to efforts to, you know, curtail the post office or otherwise suppress the
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vote. >> mika, erin brings up a great point, donald trump votes by mail. his wife votes by mail. >> most of the people on his staff. >> ivanka has voted by mail. most of the people on donald trump's staff vote by mail. they vote by mail, which is good for them i guess, they just don't think it's good for the rest of america. >> i know we have to go, but doesn't more need -- it looks like they're trying to stop the president -- doesn't it sound like a lot of damage has been done to the usps and it needs to be insured up. >> they need funding is what they need. >> asap. >> and congress needs to get back as quickly as possible to specifically figure out what exactly has happened with the reorganization. i know there's an investigation, an internal investigation going on inside the post office to look at the changes.
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changes that obviously could have been done after the election. dejoy doing this before the election obviously is going to stir chaos. he knows that. he knows that in the middle -- if he's any kind of manager at all, you bring up a great point. we're in the middle of a pandemic, there are senior citizens, there are rural voters, there are veterans -- >> they're not getting their meds. >> -- who need the united states post office to deliver more now than ever before. they need their medicine, for our soldiers overseas they need their care packages. for rural farmers they need equipment, they need -- i mean, this is how people communicate, especially in rural america. they're not going out fed exing things all over the country as much as say in more urban areas. so to do this in the middle of a pandemic and then also to be disruptive and do this before an
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election where he knows, dejoy knows that causing chaos will disenfranchise millions of americans and undermine america's democratic process is extraordinarily reckless. and he has a president who has said quiet deliberately, if we don't make a deal that means they don't get money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they just can't have it. so you have dejoy, who is a part of this conspiracy now, to undermine american democracy. to stop people from being able to vote by mail. and in the middle of a pandemic that's killed how many, 170,000 people? >> we're getting there, yes. >> probably close to 200,000 by the time of the election. to have that as your legacy that in the middle of a pandemic you undermine the united states post
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office's ability to deliver life-saving medicine, to deliver packages for vets, to help people in rural communities stay in touch with their loved ones and their business partners across the country and across the globe to stop people from voting in the election, that's your legacy? that's a very dangerous game to play if you're dejoy just because you want to be liked by donald trump. and it'll look far uglier, again, three months on the other side of the election than maybe dejoy feels like it looks right now. >> he could check out the twitter feed of nbc's geoff bennett, who pointed out in his reporting, that a lot of vets aren't getting the things that they need, including medicines, medications, i thought this
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administration was all about the vets. >> i think everybody knows, mika, this administration is all about donald trump. and what dejoy is going to find out is what everybody else who has served donald trump has found out, that he's going to get them to compromise their values, he's going to get them to try to push up against the boundaries of what's legal, maybe even get them to break the law, you look at all the people that have been arrested around donald trump, all the campaign managers, all the national security advisers, all the deputy campaign managers, political advisers, it doesn't end well. they get arrested, they get convicted of a felony -- >> but he doesn't. >> -- and then he throws them under the bus. but donald trump doesn't. >> he's got immunity. >> no. he's got immunity. i wonder if dejoy really wants to be that guy because make no
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mistake, right now he's that guy who's helping donald trump keep medicine from senior citizens, keep letters from veterans and keep millions and millions of americans from voting. >> still to come, new reporting on the coronavirus. as the president pushes for schools to reopen, the cdc warns that covid rates are steadily increasing in children. the president says children don't get it. but again, they do. plus the president seems to be eyeing another unproven treatment. first it was hydroxychloroquine. now we'll explain the new one ahead on "morning joe." >> gummy bears? >> gummy bears
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so steve kornacki, we just got another poll that has crossed and it is apparent that the cnn poll was simply a poll of trump family members. an abc news washington post poll -- he's down 4 in the cnn poll. an abc news "the washington post" poll has joe biden up 12 points, 53 to 41%, this means nothing, blah, blah, blah as we're supposed to say at this point but what it means is what you said before, there's probably a 7 or 8 point lead, the cnn poll appears to be an outlier. we had "the washington post" poll in double digits the cbs poll in double digits and the nbc news, wall street journal poll at 9%.
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>> yes. you're see the abc washington post poll is a slight drop in biden's lead, you see 12 in the new abc washington post poll. the last time they took it it was 15. they had one that's been spitting out the biggest biden lead we've seen in polls so it's still a biden lead, not as big as it was. in our poll we have it at 9 down from 11. but if you average them altogether, it's still a sizable lead for joe biden and still you keep looking at the comparisons, if you look at the polling now versus the polling we saw in 2016, it's true back in 2016 hillary clinton was leading that race consistently basically wire-to-wire from the spring on in 2016. the but the size of the biden lead also right now is consistently higher than the size of that clinton lead we were seeing. there was a few times the
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clinton lead would get up, it would fall back to 5, 4 points, 3 points even. this lead has been high single digits and hitting that double digit mark for a couple months now. it can change but it is a bigger lead right now and for a longer period of time than hillary clinton enjoyed in 2016. >> there has been a remarkably consistency over the past three to six months here. we should say, in case you fell off a turnip truck and haven't been following the election this year and stumbled inside and just saw this poll, understand the national polls don't matter as much but again taken collectively, they certainly suggest that joe biden is maintaining a steady lead and what that is translated to has been four, five, six point leads in most swing states that we've been covering. >> well, president trump is scheduled to visit wisconsin later today and ahead of that
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trip, the dnc is out with a new television add entitled "connect the dots," which calls out the president for ignoring the advice of medical experts and holding what it calls a political stunt that put people at risk of coronavirus infection. here's a first look at the ad. >> connect the dots that's what the tulsa health department director said weeks after trump held a rally in their city, a rally that likely contributed to record numbers in their city. for months trump has down played the virus. now trump is coming to wisconsin for a political stunt that puts you at risk. just connect the dots. >> i'm joe biden and i approve this message. joining us is the chair of the democratic national committee, tom perez, good to have you on the show this
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morning. >> always great to be with you. >> the dots are not that difficult to connect. this is something we've been talking about for weeks and months no you. that tulsa rally, i don't know how people decided to defy science and squish next to each other for hours and i think it is fair to say that the virus could easily have been spread there. is the focus of the biden campaign and democrats who are fighting for biden to quinn win to be that president trump endangered the lives of american people? >> our focus is going to be on the fact that he's been incompetent and as a result we've had a loss of lives that's unbelievable. we have 4% of the world's population, 25% almost of the coronavirus cases going on 170,000 deaths. this is preventable.
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and this is why we need leadership that is competent, that is joe biden. and that's what we'll be talking about all of this week. our goal here is to eunite not just the democratic party, it's to unite america and it's to demonstrate this week through all of our speakers, culminating with joe biden and kamala harris, that we need leadership that can build back a better america. a leadership that understands that science matters. leadership that understands that you don't travel and put people in harm's way to massage your ego and what people are going to see this week is a responsibility democratic party talking about the real issues. we desperately need competent leadership in this country, leadership that can rebuild our economy, get us out of this pandemic, leadership that can get us out of the civil rights pandemic, leadership that doesn't add gasoline to the
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fire. that's why i'm excited about joe biden and kamala harris. >> let's talk about joe biden and the party of joe biden, republicans -- republican organizations, the trump campaign are saying that the democratic party of joe biden is the party of bernie sanders, elizabeth warren and aoc. what do you say to those republicans? >> watch the convention this week. we have a remarkable array of speakers because i'm so proud of all the people that you've mentioned and then some. this is a convention, joe, that's not simply for people who voted democratic in the past. this is a convention for all of america. we're uniting america and the way to yunite america is to mak sure we welcome america. our message is clear to every voter, you are welcome at the democratic party table. the democratic party is the party of inclusion. if you voted in the past for donald trump, come to us, because you now have seen that
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he has broken his promises. and look at the array of speakers from john kasich to bernie sanders tonight to, you know, people this week got a few more surprises there, and we are going to demonstrate that we are indeed that big tent party that is all united by the fact that we need bold, competent leadership, leadership that will bring america together. and then we're going to get people out to vote. i have to say something because i ran the civil rights division i watched what you said with everyone else and you were spot on. as someone who led the civil rights division and i hear meadows say you can't prove it's not happening, you can do it and i did it when i led the civil rights division. we know that voter fraud is virtually nonexist tent. we did it in court cases. here's a twist in what they're up to, it's going to help us in
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our litigation. we have to prove, for instance, in wisconsin that the judge has to make a really important switch in the deadline. in april we were able to persuade a judge that as long as the ballots were postmarked by election day, they would count. that enfranchised 90,000 voters. every day this administration does what it does by playing politics with the postal service they are making our record for us. we have ongoing litigation in wisconsin we'll get a decision from the trial judge in the next week or two, and you know what the president is making the case for us. because there's no doubt for that same remedy in november. >> what a great point. i've been reading this quote all morning. judges are going to be hearing it from attorneys, donald trump, once again, and i guarantee you
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republican lawyers know this. donald trump is making the democratic party's case for them in court on one election challenge after another by saying if we don't make a deal that means they don't get the money, that means they don't have universal mail-in voting. they can't have it. and reverend al, one more example of donald trump shooting the republican party in the foot. not only attacking an institution that vets, rural voters and senior citizens rely on and have a 90% approval rating but also playing right into the democratic party's hands on any challenge of voter suppression. >> absolutely. and this is why -- and i'm glad tom perez, who was the head of the civil rights division in the justice department, is really going forward on this, because this is not a political issue. this is not a partisan issue, this speaks to voter rights
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violations, speaks to civil rights violations. errin and i talked earlier we wished civil rights leaders and families were involved in speaking at the convention but you can't miss the point that we are talking about in the time that we're mourning john lewis that there is a real direct attempt to undermine people's right to vote and to try in some way cast doubt on people and so they will not vote. and i hope that that becomes part of the theme of the convention this week. >> well, it will, reverend sharpton because it must. we are not panicking. we are putting every tool in the tool box -- using every tool in the tool box, litigation i mentioned, organizing, look at florida and arizona we are talking to voters. here's what we're saying to voters there and across the country. make a plan, make a plan early, go to i will vote dot com.
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find out your election status. that website gives you the tools you need. you can request an absentee ballot. in florida you can see we have an advantage, we've been out hustling the other side getting people to vote by mail, same in north carolina and elsewhere. do a plan, make it early, get registered and get your ballot early and get ten friends who are eligible to do the same thing, make a plan, make a plan, make a plan. we can do this and we're using litigation, we're organizing, educating people, working with local authorities to build capacity. we are doing what governments should do. the roll of the executive branch is to make government work they want it to fail we 'not going to
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let it happen. we're doing it together. and that's a theme of our convention, we need joe biden because we need to restore competence in government. we need to restore confidence as well as competence and that's what joe biden and kamala harris will do. >> tom perez thank you very much for being on this morning. we'll be watching the convention. and another thing that polls have been showing over the weekend and this morning, steve kornacki, is that there's been pretty good reaction to the choice of kamala harris as his running mate -- joe biden's running mate. you wrote a piece looking at the significance of that for four years from now. tell us about it. >> yeah, i think that sort of hovers here, joe biden is 77 years old, look, maybe he gets elected and if elected, decides four years from now to seek a second term at 81 years old but when age comes into the picture
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it raises a possibility that if he wins he serves a single term and that makes it a significant vice presidential pick. the modern track record of vice presidents who turn around and seek the party's nomination, to win the good is good. walter mondale was carter's vice president, got if nomination, wasn't able to become president. george bush senior got the republican nomination after being vice president. al gore was able to get the democratic nomination. now we see joe biden, a former vice president he's able to get the nomination really on the strength of having been vice president. you have four in the last several decades that have been able to win the nomination. it sets it up if biden wins november, harris becomes vice president, the modern historical track record says she has a good chance of getting a democratic
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presidential nomination in the future there. in the future, when you have a potentially a 77, 78-year-old president, the future could be a lot sooner than we've seen with other recent vice presidents. >> steve kornacki thank you very much. and jonathan lemire, of course, the president went back to birtherism in talking about kamala harris. i guess that was his big one, two punch. but i'm assuming the campaign is just throwing the kitchen sink. they're ready to go to try to sort of paint a bad picture of her, right. tell us what they're doing. >> well, to this point, mika, they have sort of struggled to land some initial blows on joe biden's vp pick. you're right, the president again he sort of danced around let's call it the racist lie of birtherism last week suggesting the vice president is not eljail to serve and she is. we saw members of his
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administration back away from that this weekend. since the harris pick, and it comes as a surprise to some observers because she was the favorite throughout, they struggled to define her, painting her on one hand as too tough on law enforcement, suggesting she's a cop leaning into her attorney general credentials. on the other hand saying she's one of the more radical members of the left wing socialists. and they have struggled to, much like joe biden, they're not able to paint her necessarily as a tool -- as a member of the radical left so they're trying to suggest she is's a tool of the radical left, it is the aocs of the world calling the shots here. to this point they haven't landed on anything. they're still efforting a push here to try to define her. we are seeing programming this week, you mentioned the president today going to wisconsin, stopping in minnesota, trips to arizona and
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pennsylvania this week as well. we've seen him tout the number of boat parades in favor of the president in the recent days which is an unreasonable metric. >> what's the plan in wisconsin? is it a rally? are they getting people together? are they doing that again? >> no, he doesn't h later this week as it will be ae some sort of crowd in front of him that he can try to feed off of it. and we see the contrast with joe biden largely remaining in delaware, while the president and his aides they want to see him travel, they want to see him across the country and that includes thursday, hours before joe biden's acceptance speech, the president will be in joe biden's old home down of scranton in what can be considered a troll move. >> i hope he wears a mask in a factory. remember in maine he went to the testing facility and they had to throw away the tests because he
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didn't wear a mask. it's terrible. he needs to wear a mask. it is the top of the hour, reverend al sharpton is still with us. and joining the conversation we have host of kasie dc on msnbc, kasie hunt. chief white house correspondent for the "new york times," peter baker. "new york times" reporter jeremy peter. and historian john meacham, his new biography ofext week. so let's get to the fast moving vote. democrats are ramping up efforts to combat what many suspect to be a deliberate and ongoing attempt to cripple the agency's ability to handle the influx of mail-in ballots and also the president said it himself. house speaker nancy pelosi is cutting short the summer recess calling on members to return to washington later this week to
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vote on legislation to block the postal service from manafort and gatesing a-- making any changes ahead of the election. and the house committee is setting a hearing to one week from today, the postmaster general and chairman robert duncan have been called to testify on the recent cuts. congressman ted lou and hakeem jeffries are also sending a criminal referral to the fbi. "morning joe" obtained this letter of lawmakers asking whether the postmaster general or any member of the board of governors committed any crimes through the changes they made to the postal service and the state level, "the washington post" reports that attorney generals from six states are huddling to discuss possible lawsuits as they scramble for ways to give voters more options. we'll speak to one of those in this hour, actually.
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meanwhile, the u.s. postal service is walking back its plan to remove a number of blue collection boxes around the country. telling nbc news it will wait until after election day to reevaluate its needs. in an internal memo to usps staff last week, the postmaster general acknowledged the, quote, unintended consequences of his restructuring, which he said, quote, impacted our overall service needs. >> wait. unintended? unintended. >> no, you intended this. >> that's like walking through a house with gasoline and spreading it through the house -- >> he eliminated overtime. >> -- and lighting a match and said the unintended consequences, there was a good stereo system in there when it burned down. no, if you're in a pandemic, moving toward election day where more people are going to vote by
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mail than ever before because of the pandemic and then you decide, hey, i got a great idea a couple months before that time in the middle of a pandemic that's killed 170,000 people where millions and millions of americans are locked in their house and need the united states postal service to get their medicine, to get letters to vets, to get care packages to kids -- you name it. this is a time where a lot of people, especially senior citizens and rural voters can't get out, can't travel around the country because of the coronavirus. and you're going to pick that time to dramatic restructure the united states post office? sorry, that doesn't pass the sniff test. you can't play dumb here, dejoy. you just can't do it. especially when you're working for a guy who wants you to
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subvert democracy. who wants you to disenfranchise millions of voters. he wants your legacy as you sit in the castle. he wants your legacy to be, as his partner for disenfranchising millions of voters, and undermining american democracy in a way that hasn't been undermined since black voters were systematically disenfranchised years ago. and it continues. and you know what is so surprising, john meacham, is that people continue to do this. i think they're starting to back off a little bit because they understand that, actually, there may be a crime involved if you're part of a conspiracy to disenfrance chi
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d disenfranchise millions of voters and dejoy works for a man who doesn't know how to keep the quiet part inside his head. donald trump said, if we don't make a deal, that means they can't get the money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they just can't have it. at the same time that goes out, dejoy's post office sends notice to 44 states that they may not be able to handle the high volume of voting that comes by mail this november. i would ask you, have you ever seen anything like this on a national level? i know that answer, the answer is no. no president has ever blatantly tried to undermine american democracy and elections this way. but is this reminiscent of what we may have seen in the old south as it pertained to one scheme after another for white elected leaders stopping black
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voters from being able to go to the polls and impact elections? >> sure. we're only 55 years or so into dismantling, in our common region, structural legal obstacles to the suffrage based on people's skin color and the 1965 voting rights act is one of the great founding pieces of modern america, our america. but until 55 years ago, we had structural apartheid in the united states, particularly in the american south. this is a broad gauged attack on taking structural obstacles from a regional color base to a national partisan one. and it's -- one hopes that as
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jeremy once said that publicity is the soul of justice, that the attention on this will prove to be a check and a balance, but it's blatant, it's not complicated, sometimes these things are hard to explain or possibly there are different mow tif -- motives, not here we got it, man, tv, person, camera, we got it whatever that was. mailbox, stolen election. >> right. >> and i think that everybody is rightfully bringing this up. i think speaker pelosi is doing a great job, the united states senate as ever over the last couple of years is disturbingly silent on this. i think aaron burr said if a demagogue is ever to be stopped he will finally be stopped on
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the floor of the united states senate. no, not here. he'll keep moving. >> yeah. where are the republicans? i just wonder where the president that they're sporting says if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money, that means they can't have universal mail-in voting, they just can't have it. peter baker, the president admitted outloud his scheme. he's going to try to gut the united states post office, an institution that seniors and rural voters and veterans depend on the most. he's going to try to gut the post office, not give them the money that they say they need to stop this voting. i wonder, have you seen any movement over the weekend from the administration away from what the president said at the end of last week to actually fund voting so americans aren't disenfranchised by the millions? >> i think there was a --
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somewhat on saturday evening when the president had his 5:30 p.m. news conference, not a lot of people paying attention on a saturday evening but he likes to get out there and make his presence known at this point. he said at that news conference he supports more resources for the post and they need it, but he tried to bring it to the democrats for not coming to the table on an overall relief deal that's important for a lot of issues, including those who are unemployed, money for education to reopen schools safely. so he tried to switch gears a little bit at that point and not say the quiet thing outloud as you put it but we don't know if it'll translate to actual action at the bargaining table at the moment there seems there is no bargaining. obviously nancy pelosi is coming back to town and bringing the
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house back to town. this is important to republicans too. they are being quiet in the senate but they have a lot at stake in this. you hear, i think quietly, a lot of republicans express it because their voters use mail-in voting as well and some of them i think are quite upset at the idea that they are discouraging their own voters from participating, in effect. polls show that republican voters and trump voters are likelier to vote in person but that doesn't mean the mail-in voting isn't important particularly in some of the close senate races around the country right now. so they're stuck between a president assailing the system and a system they're trying to use to win elections. >> and joe, you know, you asked the question, have we seen this before? yes, we have, actually, in this presidency. i mean, who in the world would impose pain on the american people for political gain? and in this case slowing down meds getting to vets and people
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in rural america and medical devices being sent slowing down the mail system for political purposes and saying it out loud. he did it with testing. testing allows for contract tracing, which can slow down the spread of the virus, can mitigate it and the president said outloud, i want my guys to slow down the testing. you get more testing, you get more numbers. and for political purposes he didn't want those numbers up so he tried very hard, and has succeeded by not effectively getting testing to the american people in keeping those numbers down but the deaths keep. -- going up. and only trump would do something like this that hurts the american people, his people. his people get the coronavirus and die from it. and now his people, if trump gets what he wants, won't get their mail, won't get their meds. and i just don't understand.
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i don't understand the continued support, the pattern is clear and basic. >> a lot of republicans as peter baker said, do not understand him talking mail-in voting when so many republicans have relied on that for so long. >> to win. >> to win their elections. makes no sense, they need to start speaking out loud, especially now that the president that they are supporting politically has said we want to defund the post office so they can't have mail-in voting. so kasie hunt, on that front, what's happening with the united states senate? i understand the house is coming back for hearings but republicans in the snenate, doesn't take too many republicans in the senate to have majority to pass funding that guarantees that republicans can vote by mail, democrats can vote by mail, independents can vote by mail. you need three.
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where are they? >> well, joe. you talk about republicans speaking out against the president on the mail, there is a very easy and effective way for republicans to make their voices heard and that is with their votes in in the senate, as you point out. that is an option they have available to them that every day americans do not have. and the question that i have and i've been working on reporting out and we've heard early concerns from susan collins of maine, of course, and also lisa murkowski of alaska has been a defender of the u.s. postal service. think about states with republican representatives who have so many of these people who are what they call last mile deliveries. who's going to drive down that country road to deliver mail at probably not a business profit. it's not these big companies looking to make a profit. it's the united states postal service which is paid for in
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part by taxpayer money. so my question is how much pressure is coming to bear on mitch mcconnell. and this is going to be affected by the same dynamic driving everything which is if these republicans speak out against donald trump, they're going to lose support from republicans in their home state because he's likely to attack them. but if they don't speak out against him, in this case as you point out, they likely are losing voters who would otherwise mail in their ballots, who are too concerned about coronavirus to go out to the polls. so this is a bind and this is a situation where what we've talked about over and over and over again on the show about republicans and the president, this is something that actually is going to impact day-to-day americans' everyday lives ability to get those services, medications, other things they need from the mail. so i think the political sort of dynamics here have gotten to the
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point something may change but we'll have to see. >> i think so. but mika, take a state like montana. do you think montana relies on the united states post office? do you think their voters rely on that? could donald trump -- this is like a huge in-kind check donald trump is giving to steve bullock. what about maine, another rural state that depends so much on the united states post office. how much more could donald trump be hurting susan collins' campaign by stiffing rural voters. you know, whether you're talking about montana or north carolina or maine or colorado or arizona, the post office is critical for rural voters, vets, and seniors. and trump is under mining the post office's means to deliver medicine for seen areas, supplies for farmers and people in the rural community.
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and mika, letters to vets that just don't arrive. >> this will hurt republicans in their races. this will hurt them, but it won't hurt trump because what he wants to do is just undermine the sanctity of the election. he wants to undermine the results. he wants to muddy the waters and he will hurt his own people, eventual republicans in washington, in order to do it. which is why i don't understand why mitt romney stands alone, maybe one or two other guys who might say something about this. lindsey graham did say that it should -- >> lindsey said something. >> but is something going to happen to shore up the post office because we need to see that because at this point things aren't going well for the post office. >> lindsey graham now that you mentioned that, i remember lindsey graham did actually say, the post office needs its funding. >> but it's got to get it. >> is martha mcsally going to say that? where is corey gardner in
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colorado? what about thom tillis in north carolina, is he going to be quiet while rural voters in north carolina get screwed by donald trump and his efforts to undermine the post office? hard to say. we'll see. >> a number of new polls out this weekend. the latest nbc news wall street journal poll has joe biden with a lead over donald trump 50 to 41%. in 11 combined states, biden is ahead of trump by 7 points, 49 to 42%. biden leads on the issue of handling the coronavirus, 49 to 33. handling race relations 53 to 29. trump leads on handling the economy, 48 to 38. biden holds a 10 point national lead over the president in the new cbs news yougov poll 52 to
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42%. the latest cnn ssrs poll has biden up only 4, 50 to 46%. but the cnn poll seems to be an outlier. the latest washington postnational weather service news poll finds biden and harris leading trump and pence, 53 to 41% among adults. >> jeremy peters the argument in 2016, an argument we made as well is that there were hidden trump voters, people that weren't telling pollsters that they were going to vote for donald trump. question a lot of democrats have four years later, and we said there were hidden vote -- we thought there would be hidden trump voters four years ago, i don't think that's the case now. but you went out and looked to see. what did you find? >> right. so i think, actually, this is a really good parallel to what we were talking about with the postal service and trump's
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inability to deal with the problem at hand here. the problem is low standing in the polls, his popularity. he attacks the polls. he attacks the systems. says the system is to blame instead of going out and trying to launch a robust absentee ballot program he attacks the mail-in voting system. with the hidden voters what i found is talking to pollsters and voters out there, this is a comforting narrative for trump supporters. in the 2016 election, the media got an awful long wrong about donald trump's levels of supports. but by and large, the polls were correct on a national level, right. they showed trump losing the p po popular vote, that's what happened. you look at that and now combined with the political climate, people across the spectrum, left, right, center,
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are more reluctant to express political opinions for fear of offending someone embarrassing themselves, it's left a lot of supporters and pollsters to ask whether or not the polls are missing people, people are not being straightforward with the pollsters. what i found is while there are people who are reluctant to talk about their political views, that doesn't mean they're lying to pollsters. to the extent that that is happening, joe, it's probably a pretty small, small sliver of the vote that's getting recorded as undecided or for joe biden. i mean, think about it, the idea that somebody is going to tell a pollster, i'm voting for joe biden but i'm supporting donald trump. probably aren't that many people like that out there. >> yeah. >> and again, four years ago i think things were quite different, you don't see -- we certainly don't hear as much of
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it four years later. but reverend al, the question that is on a lot of people's minds, again talking about four years ago versus now is whether kamala harris' selection is going to help turn out black voters, hispanic voters, the voters that didn't come out as much four years ago as usual. as you know better than anybody, the black vote was down for the first time in 20 years in 2016. what does 2020 look like? >> i think that the selection of kamala harris as a vice presidential candidate and her going forward in the way she has, in terms of the last two or three days since she's had that, will, in many ways, reap high dividends in terms of black votes. one because i think she's taken on those issues and so has joe
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biden. and i hope they continue to. and they've done it without excludeing other americans. the fact is most americans want to see these issues now dealt with, like criminal justice reform and others. she came out in her first interviews with errin so she's going to where the media outlets that were neglected in '16, that have credibility and trust in the black community. and if they continue in this way, i think they will be the ones that will be the beneficiaries of a victory. i might remind you, joe, that hillary clinton lost michigan by 12,000 votes. two megachurches in the black community could have given her those votes, they didn't go in. i think that was a mishandling by her campaign people. i think hillary knew better, she was guided by her campaign people.
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i do not think that kamala harris and joe biden will make that mistake. i don't think the people around them will make that mistake. not only will they go in, i think they'll go in saying the right things, touching the right issues and having a track record to back it up. i think if donald trump thinks he's going to get 20% of the black vote as he predicted, he needs to take some of that stuff he says will cure coronavirus because that's just as much of a fact of cleaning up coronavirus as it is for him getting the 20% of the black vote this year. >> yeah. the polls that we're looking at show maybe 8%, 9% of black voters are saying they'll support donald trump right now. peter baker it doesn't feel like it but it's convention week for the democrats. what are you following this week? >> it's an interesting week, obviously. we've never seen any conventions quite like this. this weekend, next week are
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going to test our politics how much are people going to pay attention to the virtual reality. it's a shame for anybody who enjoys politics because the conventions themselves are this extraordinary moment in our american life, in both republican and democrats. journalists, anybody interested in politics can gather in one place and sort of share this moment of democracy. tonight i think you'll see a fascinating lineup that ranges from bernie sanders on the left to john kasich on the right. i'm writing about john kasich right now, a republican, former government of ohio, has not switched parties but has endorsed joe biden. tom perez was on your show earlier saying we welcome everybody but not every democrat feels that way, a number are quite upset that john kasich will be given a prominent spot
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at their convention. they say aoc should be given more time not john kasich who doesn't represent the values they represent. so how do you stand up for your principles will be on display tonight. but joe biden wants everybody to vote for him, he's not running to advance a particular policy or agenda so much as he's running to end the trump presidency and he's saying to people i'll welcome anybody, including people like john kasich on board if they want to becausi because this is a larger issue than any set of agenda items. >> that's always a difficult balancing act. i know george w. bush would invite democrats to the white house when he first got there. ted kennedy spent a lot of time there. he was constantly working democrats in his administration before 9/11, which led to republicans griping about the fact they were fighting against him the whole time and there he
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was trying to embrace it. but again, that's what parties do when they try to expand their electorate. john meacham, it seems like a long time since a convention mattered. 1976, of course, reagan and ford. 1960, jfk, through the brute handling of his younger brother bobby, get lbj on the ticket. 1944, the democrats push henry wallace off the ticket, a guy accused of being a fellow travel traveler. a bit soft on stalin, the soviet union. and the difference between what his presidency would have looked like and harry trumans, one of the great turning points in modern american history. so conventions can matter.
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of course this one, i wonder if most americans will know that we're having a convention this week. >> i think a lot of americans will, because with all respect to peter's point, yes, we'll sort of miss the crowd sourcing but most people encounter this on their screens and so this is a programmed piece of democratic dialogue that will come to people where they are. and so, to some extent, i think that's an interesting experiment. as you say, the last time one was decisive in terms of the nomination buzz kanswas kansas '76 where president ford graciously calls government reagan down to speak after his acceptance speech and everybody recognizes we nominated the
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wrong guy. but the last convention speech that mattered was 1988, george herbert walker bush went into new orleans having been in public life for a long time but a lot of people didn't have a sense of him, he was forced into using the first person pronoun, which he hated and talked about i am that man. for years he was upset that he had actually done that. even though it was very effective. i remember late in life he said he didn't like i am that man stuff. 1992, there was that very successful reintroduction of bill and hillary clinton at madison square garden and that was important. but by and large, all these are wonderful stories but they're analog stories. we're in a country where a pandemic is killing us, wrecking our economy and we have a president devoted, apparently, to defying and denying facts.
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he thinks if you don't test you don't have cases of a virus. he thinks if you don't count the votes he won't lose. and so it's just a different time. i'd argue the closest thing we have would be "32 and '68. and maybe that seems hyper bobo but i don't think it is. it's a fundamental turning point election, right. a let of elections, we've talked about this, a lot of elections when you look back, they were ferocious and money got spent, blood, sweat and tiears but did it matter we had the twebetweene 30 yard lines. in the campaign year saying kennedy versus nixon doesn't
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make any difference. that was the kennedy campaign doesn't make a difference. the answer as it turned out was yeah, but this one, nobody is posing the question about whether joe biden or the incumbent president makes a difference. it's an enormous difference. this is one of the greatest tests of citizenship we'll see for having to be constantly vigila vigilant. >> 1932, 1980, 2020, and that quote that george h.w. bush said that night, i think it really moved people because he had been mocked for not being an articulate man on the campaign trail he said i am a quiet man but i hear the quiet people that others don't. it was a moment that helped him go from a double digit deficit to actually moving ahead. >> john meacham thank you very
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much. he'll be speaking at the dnc on thursday night. we look forward to that. peter baker and jeremy peters, thank you both for your reporting. still ahead on "morning joe," more on the dnc, one of the 17 rising stars slated to speak, the former mayor of south bend, indiana, pete buttigieg is standing by. he joins the conversation next. and the question is whether a virtual party gathering will bring ability the kind of moments that joe and meacham were discussing that we've seen in the past on the convention flow. we have this report. >>. >> covid is affecting everything in america including the tradition that every four years political enthusists will gather to choose a candidate for
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president of the united states. not this year. for decades political conventions were a forum for history making surprises. 1968, chicago, outside the convention hall rage against the democratic machine. a war against the war. pitch battles between cops and young protesters. inside the democrats went after each other. >> and with george mcgovern as president of the united states, we wouldn't have to have these tactics in the streets of chicago. >> mr. daily is not pleased. >> the party was deeply wounded. 1980, democrats divided again. jimmy carter was the incumbent, but ted kennedy tried to unseat him. kennedy lost the nomination but won the night. >> and the dream shall never die. >> the crowd electrified chanted for him not to leave the stage.
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carter, however, was determined to protect a united front. kennedy did leave the stage but not before stopping to shake hands with a young bill clinton. carter lost to ronald reagan. reagan kept his party guessing. we may have a ticket, ronald reagan and gerald ford reported out of this 1980 republican national convention. a night of suspension and then cooler heads prevailed. reagan chose george h.w. bush as his running mate. >> i am recommending to this convention that tomorrow when the session reconvenes that george bush be nominated -- >> when his turn came in 1988, bush made a fatal error in his acceptance speech. >> read my lips. no new taxes. >> as president he had to raise
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taxes and deal with a third party maverick, ross perot. just when both parties nearly succeeded in making the conventions as predictable as possible along came covid and our new virtual reality. stand by and stay tuned. >> i've said it in the past and i'll say it again, that's the best job in american broadcasting is to be a floor consider. so dent at a national convention. >> tom brokaw, nbc news. >> tom brokaw, nbc news i'm looking for my client. i'm his accountant.
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that they need to be safe. we need to support schools and childcare programs so parents, if and when they can return to work, are confident that their children will be safe and cared for. and finally, we need to protect the populations most at risk: our seniors, vulnerable populations with pre-existing conditions. we need real plans, real guidelines, with uniform nationwide standards. it's a simple proposition folks, we're all in this together. we gotta fight this together. we'll emerge from this stronger because we did it together. i'm joe biden and i approve this message. i thought it had to be thick to protect. but new always discreet is made differently. with ultra-thin layers that turn liquid to gel
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joining us now former presidential candidate and former mayor of south bend, indiana, pete buttigieg. great to have you back on the show. >> mayor pete, i'm going to talk
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about admiral mcraven here. he has an op-ed in "the washington post" and i'm sure you've seen it. he writes donald trump has planted the seeds of doubt in the minds of americans, if the president doesn't trust the court, the military, the supreme court, medical professionals, election officials and postal workers and why should we? if the americans stop believing in the systems of institutions, what is left by chaos? what message should the democrats be delivering this week as we have a president who has, in fact, committed a full out assault on all of these institutions? >> well, democrats believe in america, we believe in american democracy, and we believe that our institutions should always be improved, always be reformed but never be dismantled.
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when we look at other countries, developing countries around the world or sizing up the state of the u.s. say 200 years ago, what are the basic things you'd look at, can they run an election? how do they do it handling disease? do they have a functioning postal service? these are the basic yardsticks of civilization and we are falling back on all of them. i think the admiral is right. the president seems to have a project of undermining the confidence of the american people in our own institutions in a way that undercuts democracy itself. and at this point, you know, the president is losing. if nothing changes he will lose big in november. we the public need to be prepared for the president to attack the democratic system itself after the fact to attack the legitimacy of the election that will have unseated him. i don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves we have a lot of work to do to make sure the election rights are the right
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results, that's part of what's happening today with the democratic national convention. but we have to be ready on the back end to resist any effort to under mine the american democracy itself. >> kasie hunt is with us and has a question for you. >> you are one of the rising stars at the convention this week as we mentioned earlier. and i -- obviously your presidential campaign earned a lot of notice and accolades, your performance in iowa that sets you up for your own political future so you may not want to answer a direct question about whether you would take a job in a possibly biden administration, if you won't do that and i would ask you to, what kind of work do you want to be doing in the next four years if, in fact, joe biden and kamala harris win this next election? >> what i know is that i will do everything i can to support the success of a biden/harris administration. to answer your question, i would love a chance to return to
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public service if that makes sense and that's what the new president decides. >> thank you. i appreciate that. that honesty. >> public service is the most rewarding experience of my life. it may or may not make sense in the near future but i know i'll do everything i can to support this incoming administration just as right now i'm doing everything i can to make sure there, in fact, is a biden/harris administration. and i'm looking forward to continuing to work on the issues that were such a big part of the campaign, whether it's service and the need to create more opportunities for national service, civilian as well as military for americans, whether it's dealing with issues like mental health. i've never seen a bigger gap between how often i got asked about issues by a reporter and how much i got asked about an issue from voters, which was
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mental health, it came up over and over again. i remain interested in america's credibility around the world. and finally there are so many issues that need attention from all of us. who knows exactly what shape that will take but i know between now and november i have to do everything in my power to take back the white house and with my organization win the era we're backing a lot of other fantastic candidates. we must not make the mistake of treating the presidency like the only office that matters. republicans were smart about this starting a generation ago building up majorities, building up power in our american system that puts so much power in those local and state offices. we have to make sure we're paying attention to that too. we have amazing candidates not just the leaders known national liv but phenomenal leaders of the democratic party running for the state and local seats.
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>> mayor pete, i have seen as the lineup when you're speaking and others, it shows some of the progress we've seen. i remember when i ran for president, 2004, the party was struggling with same-sex marriage issues. i've seen you well received everywhere from dining with me in harlem to south carolina people mobbing you. so we brought the country a long way there, kamala harris on the ticket, i remember as a kid shirley couldn't get there. the progress we made, though, is at risk and i think part of what i would ask you, are you, during the campaign going to talk about the progress made but also that it's under attack if this present administration is reelected, who has made no secret about they are against many of the things we fought to achieve in this country from various aspects of the population. >> that's right. because our progress has been so
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extraordinary and powerful in so many ways as a congress. there's a danger of assuming it's permanent. it's not. we can move backwards in any number of these areas. and part of what i'm hoping to speak to is the progress that has been made. look at lgbtq equality, it was less than a decade ago and joe biden was ahead of the democratic party when he came out and said that marriage equality should be the law of the land. the change have been swift and if you look at the change between 2010 and 2020, none of that is secured or guaranteed, especially when you have an administration that is committed to dismantling a lot of these rights and protections. the other side is the positive side, what joe biden and kamala harris and their administration could deliver. if we've seen this kind of change between 2000 and 2020, imagine the kind of change we can see between 2020 and 2030 or
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2040 if we have the right kind of leadership. >> right. i'm just curious, given your run for the presidency and being so super young and i just wonder what you learned along the way? what was your biggest take away as you build your future, hopefully, in politics? >> i'm still processing some of what i learned on the campaign trail because it's an out of body experience. you feel like you're in the whole country at the same time because you're moving around so much. the biggest things i take away have to do with the desire for belonging that you feel in so many ways and so many communities. people have been excluded, people have been seeking ways to connect with fellow americans and to me that also creates a huge opportunity to really realign the coalition of democrats right now. the number of times i'd give what i thought was a pretty
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progressive speech and somebody would come up to me afterwards and say i'm a republican but i'm going to support you this year i think, part of me is thinking that's something if you think about the policies i'm pushing forward on. it's because it's not just about ideology, it's about a sense our country can move forward. i see that sense animating the party right now. i know from getting to note them upclose that joe biden and kamala harris believe in that project of knitting together and unifying the american people and that's what we need more of, because we don't have to take what's given that we're going to be locked into these tribal partisan lines forever. american majority is out ahead of what you see in washington today. and 2020 for the darkness and difficulty, it could go down in history as the year we began to shift toward a new openness and a new sense of belonging in this country. >> pete buttigieg thank you so much. it's great to see you. thanks for being on the show
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this morning. >> you're welcome. coming up, at least a dozen states are preparing to mount a legal defense against interference with the postal service ahead of the fall election. joining us now, connecticut's attorney general, william tong, he's working with attorneys general across the country to ensure the usps is equipped to handle mail in voting. my first question for you is, any action that you take as a group legally, will it be carried out in time to actually have an impact on this election and on what already has happened to the postal service in. >> yes, good morning, mika. thank you for having me this morning. attorneys general across the country from connecticut to washington state have mobilized already. i've been on calls nonstop since the president stated his intention to interfere with this
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election and undermine service. we're considering every possible legal claim and action, and we're going to do what it takes to protect this election and country and democracy. >> legal action often takes time to carry through. we've got a certain amount of time between now and the election. and there are already things that have happened inside the postal service that are impacting service. so, i guess my question is, is what you're doing legally going to be able to be done in time to impact the postal service in a positive way so the election can be carried out fairly? >> absolutely. i'm not going to give away our whole strategy, but we have a plan to address the service breakdowns that have already occurred under this postmaster general and this president. sxoo we're focused like a laser on making sure this election is fair, transparent and accurate.
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what the president's trying to do is undermine confidence in this election and people should know they should vote, vote by mail if they have the opportunity to do so and they should vote confidently. we are going to do everything in time, quickly, the swiftly, to make sure all of that is done. >> kasie hunt, jump in. >> so, mr. attorney general, i'm curious, what have you become aware of in your capacity as attorney general, what issues have been brought to your attention in connecticut with the postal service, what is actually happening on the ground? >> i put out an announcement encouraging people in connecticut to report to my office with what's happening with their mail. i'm aware many complaints, our emails and phone lines are flooded with complaints. a voter in connecticut requested a vote-in ballot on august 4th. our primary was august 11th. he didn't get it until august
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13th, two days until after the primary. we're seeing not just this with absentee ballots but medicine, bills, invoices, school reopening notices, things that we all really depend on not just for our lives but life, in many circumstances. >> and what have you identified as the source of these problems, just really quickly, the machines, the overtime? what is it? >> so, it's all of those things. and it's the intentional undermining of the postal service and the dismantling, frankly, of a system. it's the postal service, right, not the postal business. and for years when i was growing up, we could depend on the postal service to deliver no matter what. snow, sleet, dark of night. that's no longer what's happening. and they're unwilling to go the extra mile and we're very concerned about this, which is why state attorneys general have mobilized. >> william tong, thank you very, very much for being on. we'll be following this.
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and an update now on the coronavirus. the u.s. has surpassed 170,000 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide, according to an nbc news tally. the united states has at least 5.4 million confirmed cases in total of the novel coronavirus, the highest in the world. and likely an undercount as the country still has not ramped up testing to recommended levels. this as public health officials remain concerned about a possible fall resurgence. according to "the new york times," 200,000 more people have died than usual since march, according to analysis of estimates from the centers for disease control and prevention. that's about 60,000 higher than the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus, and suggests that the official death counts may be substantially underestimating the overall effects of the virus. >> and let's just repeat again.
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mika touched on it, but we've been saying it since march. public health officials have been saying it since march. if you look at history, if you look at the 1918-1919 pandemic, fall was the worst time when you had a combination of flu season and spanish flu pandemic at the same time. that's what health officials have been concerned about and urgently warning us about since the spring. >> schools opening. >> that's what we have to prepare for this fall. let's hope that it's not as bad as history and medicine and science suggest it will be. but we have to be prepared, and it would help if the president of the united states understood that and started telling people the truth about a pandemic that's killed 170,000 people. >> exactly. now back to the post office.
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we'll tell you what house democrats are going to be doing to try to preserve and protect the post office after a quick break. >> if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. just can't have it. n voting just can't have it some companies still have hr stuck between employees and their data.
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we are not here to curse the darkness, we are here to light a kajz. and we can have faith in the future, only if we have faith in ourselves.
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we stand at a turning point of history. a whole world looks to see what we shall do. >> so we had an election this year. heard the music. so, we have an election this year, mika? >> yes, we do. >> that was 60 years and 60 seconds for you, the democratic national convention kicks off today, and because of the coronavirus, it will be unlike any of the party conventions we've seen to date. let's get to the fast-moving developments concerning the u.s. postal service and the 2020 vote. wow. this has really been a big story brewing over the weekend. democrats are ramping up efforts to combat many suspect to be a
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deliberate and ongoing attempt to cripple the agency's ability to handle the unflux of mail-in ballots. house speaker nancy pelosi is cutting short summer recess, calling on house members to return to washington later this week to vote on legislation to block the postal service from making any changes ahead of the election. the house oversight committee has also scheduled an emergency hearing moving up the date from mid-september to one week from today. postmaster general and board of governors chairman robert duncan has been called to testify on the recent cuts. congressman ted lew and hakeem jeffries have sent this letter asking if the postmaster general or any members of the board of governors committed any crimes through the changes they've made to the postal service.
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and on the state level, "the washington post" reports that that the toeattorneys general f at least six states are huddling to think of possible lawsuits as they scramble to give voters more options. meanwhile the u.s. postal service is walking back its plan to remove a number of blue collection boxes around the country, telling nbc news it will wait until after election day to re-evaluate its needs. according to a usps spokesperson, the postal service reviews to identify redundant or seldom used collection boxes as first-class mail volume continues to decline. based on the density testing, boxes are identified for potential removal and notices are placed on boxes to give customers an opportunity to comment before the removal decision is made. this process is one of the many ways the postal service makes
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adjustments to our infrastructure to match our resources to declining mail volumes. in an internal memo to usps staff last week, postmaster general acknowledged the quote of unintended consequences of his restructuring which he said, quote, impacted our overall service needs. how do we change that back? what's the damage that's been done? as we've reported, dejoy has eliminated overtime for postal workers, removed postal leaders, implemented a hiring freeze and implemented early retiring authority for nonunion employees. yesterday white house chief of staff mark meadows insisted that postal employees would work overtime to make sure ballots are delivered on time and that funding would not be an issue.
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>> we'll have the money allocated. as postmaster general dejoy said the other day, if it's about processing ballots, he's willing to spend overtime to make sure it happens and make sure we get ballots back as quickly as possible. >> so, i've got a quote here, jonathan lemire, i'm finishing up transcribing. you know we spend so much time preparing. here's the deal, jonathan, this weekend at the beginning of the weekend, donald trump basically said i'm going to sabotage, i'm going to sabotage the post office. i'm not going to give them the funding so they won't have mail-in voting. we've seen dejoy try to separate himself from those words. we've seen mark meadows trying
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to separate themselves from those words saying we'll do whatever we can to make sure nobody is disenfranchised. we've seen nancy pelosi moving forward and getting congress back. they need to be back. i don't know what the hell they would be doing in their districts that would be more important than making sure millions and millions of americans are not disenfranchised. so they need to get back sooner rather than later. good thing they are. let's see, what else has happened? the attorney generals mika just talked about are doing what they can do. yes, i've got to believe, if you were working actively to disenfranchise voters, there has to be a crime involved in that, right? they're checking to see what that crime is. all of this centers around donald trump. you've just got to love these anti-trumpers. they are literally writing blogs
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on everything under the sun. everything under the sun other than russian bounties on the heads of americans and donald trump trying to disenfranchise millions of votes. oh, the democrats, the media, are being so extreme. donald trump never said that. he's not trying -- let me give you a quote, jonathan, that every american needs to hear, if we don't make a deal, donald trump said, that means they don't get the money. that is what donald trump said. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. so sayeth donald trump. they just can't have it. jonathan, let me read it again. if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting.
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they can't have it. and donald trump says this at the same time the post office sends a notice to 44 states, that ballots in their states may not be counted. now, i know there are some of you under a spell. i understand that. i understand you're in a political cult, a personality cult. so i'm going to read donald trump's quote a third time. and for you anti , anti-trump bloggers, why don't you keep ignoring russian bounties on u.s. soldiers' heads and forget the fact that donald trump is trying to disenfranchise millions and millions of voters. in a full-on attack on american democracy. here's donald trump's quote, again. if we don't make a deal, that means we don't get the money.
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that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they just can't have it. jonathan lemire, he said the quiet part out loud. he admitted to the world -- wait, wait. that was a dramatic pause i had there. he admitted to the world that he was undermining democracy. go, jonathan lemire. >> he did. first let's say senator collins lives an internal hope of lessons learning that has not arrived yet, it seems. you are precisely right. this is the president saying out loud what he has been saying privately for weeks, that he has felt the mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud
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and will be used to defeat him in november. let's take a second to recognize what the postal service has done. there was talk on the right how the postal service has been losing money. the word is in the title, service. there are people in a pandemic rely on the postal service, perhaps aid loved one receiving a birthday card when they can't have a birthday card. there are those in america, seniors, who rely on the postal service to receive their medication. yes, of course, there's going to be unprecedented demand for mail-in voting because so many americans are going to be nervous to go to the ballot box this ball because of covid-19 surges throughout the nation. and the president has -- you know, as you just said, last 48 hours or so there's been a
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little walking back from this. the white house distancing itself a little from this idea, you have seen house speaker pelosi call the house back into session. it remains to be seen whether republican senate does and argument both houses should be in session as a coronavirus relief bill still hasn't been settled. right now even if some of these cuts are restored and across the nation, reports from coast to coast about delays in postal service already well before the onslaught of mail-in voting, that even if some of this is restored, what has happened here, according to our reporting, that the president has soewed seeds about the integrity this faults. mark meadows in another interview this weekend was asked, he was pressed, was told, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. the chief of staff's response, i'm paraphrasing, there isn't any evidence there isn't widespread voting fraud. >> yes, there is. >> this is an attempt to muddy the water.
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this is an attempt to muddy the water and, again, cast doubt on the process, which we know could take days if not weeks to tally all the votes this fall because of the pandemic, because of the mail-in voting. this is the president's attempt to undermine americans' faith in, perhaps, it's most sacred institution. >> still ahead on "morning joe," white house chief of staff mark meadows reaches far for an excuse to defend the administration's actions on mail-in voting. we'll play his puzzling remarks. you're watching "morning joe." as a dependent! because it's inanimate! people ask me what sort of a person should become a celebrity accountant. and, i tell them, "nobody should." hey, buddy. what's the damage? i bought it! the waterfall? nope! a new volkswagen. a volkswagen?
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with a powerful and reliable internet and voice solution at a great price. call or go online today. now there are four states that are adding to the sending out ballots to every registered voter. i understand that's a concern you're claiming. >> isn't that a concern to you, jake? wouldn't that be a concern to
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you? do you realize how inaccurate the voter rolls are with just people moving around, not alone the people dying off, but sending ballots out just based on a voter roll registration? any time you move, you change your driver's license but you don't call up and say, by the way, i'm -- >> there's no evidence of widespread voter fraud? >> there's no evidence there's not either. that's the definition of fraud, jake. >> that is so -- >> there's also evidence -- by the way, you cannot prove, you cannot prove that mark meadows is not smuggling billy goats from peru into the united states and then worshipping them on an altar behind the white house. you cannot prove that. >> can't. >> can't be proven. that's one of the dumbest things i've ever heard in my life on a sunday talk show, and i've heard a lot of dumb things on sunday talk shows. but you can't -- yes, you
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actually can prove that. you can prove that by the fact there just aren't hardly -- there are hardly any cases that have been brought suggesting what donald trump has been suggesting for some time, and going on a sunday show with a response basically like a child going, huh-uh, you can't prove it's not. sorry, not justification for disenfranchising millions and millions of voters. i don't know if you heard this or not, but this is what donald trump said. if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. that means they can't have universal mail-in voting. they just can't have it. at the same time donald trump is saying that, the post office undergoing this restructuring, sowing chaos throughout the entire system and telling 44 states they may not be able to get their mail-in ballots in time. rev, here's the thing about trump and dejoy, they keep talking about how lousy the united states postal service is,
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they keep talking about how horrible the institution is. pew survey some time ago did a survey of americans and guess what they found. the united states post office is the most respected, the most favorably viewed institution in all of government. 91% of americans have a favorable view of the united states post office. and that was just from this year at the end of march. so again, yes, this is frightening and the president is trying to disenfrance chiz millions and millions of people because he believes he's going to lose but this is a stupid political move. you have susan collins, who is supporting a president, who is trying to get an institution with a 91% approval rating.
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you have march that mcsally trying gut an institution that has 91% approval rating. cory gardner supporting a president who is trying to gut an institution that has a 91% approval rating with the public. you have thom tillis doing the same thing, marco rubio doing it the same thing. will ben sasse speak out? will mitt romney speak out? they need to because 9 out of 10 americans have a favorable impression of the united states post office. trump doesn't like it. trump doesn't like it because he wants to privatize it and turn it over to people he's given billion dollar tax breaks to and wants to use it to punish amazon. and he also wants to do everything he can to stir doubt and the results of an election he's going to lose. why do republicans stand by as he attacks the most popular institution in the united states
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government? >> it is absolutely outrageous. it's not only the politics of it, joe, it is also a very serious voter rights and civil rights issue, which the democrats ought to fight it politically and fight the fact that in the time that he with are still mourning john lewis' loss, he's undermining voter rights because he is, in effect, trying to neutralize people's right to vote by using mail-in in the middle of a pandemic. there's no clearer voter rights violation than that. but his politics of this is exactly to sow seeds, hoping people will be disgusted saying, my vote won't count, they won't go out and vote. if they do go out and vote and he loses, he's already written a script that i was robbed by a fraudulent mail-in system. he's trying to do two or three things at the time serving the
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interest of donald trump. not preserving democracy, not preserving people's right to vote and not respecting the will of people to choose their elected president. up next, it's not just here in the u.s., the far right political movement seems to be unraveling across the world. anne applebaum, david frum and george will join us for that conversation. we're back in a moment. a moment
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the problem with mail-in voting, you're never going to know when the election is over. we're going to have an election that takes place on a beautiful day, november 3rd. usually at the end of the evening, they say donald trump has won the election. donald trump is your new president. whatever they say, you know what, you're not going to know this, possibly if you really did it right, for months or for years because these ballots are all going to be lost, they're going to be gone. >> if you were a paid agent of a foreign country, he could be -- he could not be more effective and undermining the institutions of american democracy. and in an op-ed for "the
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washington post" titled trump is actively working to undermine the postal service and every major u.s. institution, retired navy admiral william mccraven, former commander of special u.s. operation command, the ones who hunted down and killed bin laden rights in part this, today we struggle with social upheaval, soaring debt, record unemployment, a runaway pandemic and rising threats from china and russia. president trump is actively working to undermine every major institution in this country. he has planted the seeds of doubt in the minds of many americans that our institutions aren't functioning properly. and if the president doesn't trust the intelligence community, law enforcement, the press, the military, the supreme court, the medical professionals, elected officials and the postal workers, then why should we? and if americans stop believing
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in the system of institutions, then what is left but chaos, and who can bring order out of chaos? only trump. it is the theme of every autocrat who ever seized power or tried to hold onto it. let's bring in right now staff writers for the atlantic magazine, david frum and anne applebaum. anne's latest book is "twilight of democracy," and also with us, columnist for washington post, george will. anne, as you write about it in your book, there was a time not so long ago we would be considered right of center conservatives, you know, economic conservatives who believed in liberal -- traditionally liberal views of the economy, of free trade, of
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smaller government, and, of course, i think most of us were defined by the cold war and our belief in the superiority of our system over the old soviet system. but you saw what william mccraven said today, and suddenly the word conservative not only in this country, but as you describe in countries across the globe, is far different than what it was a few years ago. >> yes, that's correct. look, the conservative movement as it was in the 1980s or 1990s was really a coalition and it was held together by dislike of the soviet union, by anti-communism, but actually people who were members of it were motivated by many different things. some were free marketeers, some were christians, some were in favor -- they opposed the soviet
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geopolitics. when the cold war broke up, it sook some time, but that coalition broke up, too. many members found in the post cold war era they didn't have much in common with them anymore. what we're seeing in a lot of countries is the breakup of what they call conservative movement into different groups. very often into a radical, you know, often authoritarian or anti-democratic group and others who see themselves as still part of -- still part of a democratic mainstream who believe in conservative ideas about economics and about how governments should run. >> george will, i grew up reading your columns, reading your books as a conservative. and i know you find yourself and david finds himself in the same
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position anne writes about regarding friends that she's had for decades that no longer consider themselves friends because of politics. and she said, we found ourselves on opposite sides of a profound divide, one that runs through not only what used to be the polish right, the spanish right, and some british right and the american right, too. this is not just about donald trump, is it? >> no, it's not. what makes anne's book such a bracing read is this. anne is a transatlantic figure. she's moved from poland to london to washington. she knows the conservative movement and its many manifestations. what she is writing about and what i think we're experiencing today is the europeanization of american conservativism. european conservativism has a history of thrown an altar,
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blood and tribalism. american conservativism quite different, welcome the individualism and american capitalism. donald trump setting out to make america great again set out to make america more european in the sense it has injected this tribalism and made it normal in our politics. this is coincided with the fact that a lot of american conservatives are shocked because they are christians and the society is increasingly secular. third, american conservatives have bought into the consult of vichlization. they like to feel they are put upon by academics, hollywood, the media and all the rest and they are an embattled minority in their own country. this makes for a very toxic group. >> david frum, first time i met you, 1994, i just arrived in
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washington. it's fascinating. i went up to you and said, hey, i bought dead right which was considered this great right-wing track. it just me minds me in '94, i was considered too conservative, and newt beginning rigin gingri conservative for the party to support in 1994. your book was considered in many circles being far too right wing, and i remember jeb bush, campaigning with jeb bush in '94, and he was seen as the crazy bush. again, far too right. and now here we find ourselves in 2020, and what is defined as being conservative, what is being defined as being far too right doesn't even register on the scale of how -- you know, what we believe conservativism was our entire lives.
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>> if donald trump loses and his enables in the senate experience the education that comes from pain, we have a chance to renew a center right party worthy of the name. i'm speaking to you this morning from the canadian province of ontario with an approval rating of over 66%. much higher than the national liberals of justin trudeau. why? because they handled the pandemic competently. not perfectly but competently and demonstrating they have concern ask care for the people who are sick and suffering. it can -- you can have a normal conservative party again. we are seeing the consequences of bad choices and the way we get out of this is through good choices. so i think we're going to rediscover in the next few years why right side of parties are necessary and how we build them but that begins by moving out of this dead end of trumpism, which is not only un-american but also so manifestly incompetent and
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driven this country into such extraordinary crisis. >> you know, anne, there are times where over the past several years i've convinced myself that donald trump is simply ignorant. and i think one of the bracing things about your book, one of the frightening things about your book is that what donald trump is doing here, you describe happening in poland in 2015. you've described what's been happening in hungary for quite some time. that is, first, you go after the courts, then you go after the media, then you go after the state. and there's one line that's particularly chilling given what donald trump has said about the post office. in your introduction you say there was very little pretense about any of this. he's just doing it out in the open. they're just doing it out in the open. as you explain, they don't have
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the constitutional means to do it, so they just redefine the political arguments. >> yes, i mean, look, there are patterns that other governments have followed. if you are elected to office, of course you have the right to rule. you have the right to make laws. you have the right to make your arguments. what you don't have the right to do is undo the system and to make it impossible or make it difficult for your opposition ever to beat you again. we could include venezuela, turkey, other -- a number of other countries where people are elected to power and then they begin to dismantle the system that creates a level playing field that makes another election possible. what we've seen donald trump do, very openly, as you say. he's never hidden it nor denied it, nor the people leading the
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republican party. what we're watching him do is essentially cheat. he's trying to change the rules. he's trying -- the reason he wants to undermine the media is so the media can't report on his disruption and incompetence. the reason he wants to harm the post office is so americans won't be able to vote easily. the reason republicans talk about endlessly about, you know, voter deception that doesn't exist is to undermine people's faith in the voting system. the reason why republican governors and mayors in some states have made it more difficult for people in black or underprivileged neighborhoods to vote is so they lower the bar. these are old tools and used in a lot of different places to make sure there isn't an evening playing field so the opposition can't compete easily.
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>> george will, anne starts the book at her friend's new year's eve heater she had at the end of the century, the end of the millennium, and talks about these people that they don't communicate with anymore, that that's been this huge division on the right, not just in poland but across the country. i'm just curious, the thing i have the most trouble with are those colleagues that i came to congress with in 1994 and we were fighting for conservativism, for balanced budgets, for -- to hold china and russia and others accountable when it came to human rights. you could go down the list because you reported on us. yet so many of those same people are remaining silent as donald
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trump -- well, donald trump this weekend said we're not going to fund an approval rating of 90 prsz of people then people will be able to vote by mail. and silence on the republican party side. how have you come to grips with this, how have you come to terms with this? >> well, silence would be an improvement for some people. leaving that aside, the bad news and the sort of good news are linked. the bad news is, is that when people have, as the congressional republicans have done, shed so many principles so fast, so thoroughly over 3 1/2 years, you begin to wonder if they know what it is to be principled at all. on the other hand, they have shown such, shall we say, conviction in the last few years. having shed so many principles
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when donald trump disappears, as i expect him to do soon, they're going to look around and acquire the rhetorical professionals, that is so take, they've proven themselves to be malleable. that's the good news and potentially the bad news. going back to 2010 with the tea party movement, conservatives, self-proclaimed conservatives, fought for balanced budgets, fought for all the things that donald trump is not. donald trump, even before the pandemic gave us the largest deficits ever, the largest federal debt ever, the biggest explosion in domestic spending, the biggest defense spending ever. every single thing these people
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fought for over 20 years get tossed aside overnight when donald trump won the nomination. >> and yet i think george will is absolutely right. for the past two years i've had at the top of my twitter feed a prediction, which all of this is over, nobody will ever minute having been for any of it. it's going to disappear down the memory hole. then we are going to face the wreckage donald trump left behind and your important choices and politics will resume. we'll have enormous debt left over from the pandemic response. what do we do about it? how does the country meet its obligations. how do we restore the world free trading system that donald trump has badly damaged. a world in which so many people have lost faith in the united states in which china is objectively so much stronger than it was when donald trump came to power. there is going to be work to do. and so i think all of us who are watching this program, we need to get through what has to be done as rapidly as possible because there's going to be real
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politics, returning to america soon. we're not going to be as anne warns, dealing with challenges to the system, we hope. if only donald trump can be sent on his way to mar-a-lago or whatever federal institution he's going to, if he can be sent on his way, you can get back to normal politics in which people disagree in a way people constructively do to reach good for the country as a whole. >> anne, in "twilight of democracy," and by the way, i'm glad i don't have to pay royalties every time i mention your book, i would be paying for an addition on your home. you bring up a great point. you say trump supporters do not fit the lazy stereotypes that even they put on themselves and that the press puts on themselves. they are not all poor and rural, they are not all impoverished, not all high school dropouts.
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in fact, some are quite healthy, doing quite well, went to the best schools in america and across the world and are using those gifts, those blessings actually to help authoritarians across the globe. >> i've always disliked from the very beginning this idea that trump is -- you know, or the brexit vote in england were somehow the product of, as the cliche has it, the white working class. the fact is in the united states, the poorest americans did not vote for donald trump, that economics does not fully explain what's going on. it's a part of the explanation but not all of it. and a lot of the people who work around trump and for trump just like they work around with authoritarians in other countries are extremely well educated. they understand the world very well, they are the product of, as you say, the best schools and
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the best universities, and they are using their skills and talents to promote him and to promote their own interest and their own benefit. we've kind of closed our eyes to the fact -- to the millionaires and billionaires who work for donald trump and to the very well off, you know, well off people in suburbs and in cities as well who have also supported him. in order to understand what they're doing, you know, need a more sophisticated frame of reference than the one that many have used. stereotypes don't explain it. you need also to look at the cultural despair and anger that a lot of conservatives feel about america and this sense of victimization they've explained so much. this is also an important part of the story. >> george will, as one who not only reported on ronald reagan but spent enough time around ronald reagan to know him, what would president reagan be saying
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about the erosion of democracy not only in america but also in poland and hungary, what's going on in belarus right now? >> i think he'd say, first of all, lighten up and be more cheerful. this is not a fragile country. it was not made by fragile people. he also would say this, the left at one point had to police its excesses. that is, those who became fellow travelers of foreign despots, l lenin, stalin or castro. there is a faxes in american conservativism that thinks mr. orban in hungary is very cool. he's not. he's a garden variety authoritarian and people who flirt with him should be forever ruled out of the conversation on the american right. and anne's book, by the way, is particularly salient in dealing
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with orbahn and the per verse appeal he has. >> david, i know you've seen that as well. it's shocking. again, people i know, people whose views on conservativism i probably agreed with, the overwhelming of time throughout my life, are fan boys of orbahn. there's no explaining that away other than these same people. >> i think the thing that made reagan such an inspiring figure in the 1980s was his incredible confidence in america, what america stood for not only to americans but to people elsewhere. donald trump has always spoken negatively, spoken
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pessimistically. that mood of despair has spread to many of the people who followed him. for those who reach a certain age, our personal futures, decline leading to ultimate extinction. it's very natural for us to assume that's true for countries as a whole. if we're being more decrepit, the country must be becoming more decrepit. donald trump has never offered hope. he doesn't know that language. his most important supporters, they offer the opposite. they offer gloom and fair and terror and decline and a message that touches people of a certain age, that repulses everybody else, and that isn't true. we have the ability as ronald reagan kept promising to restore and renew the country. and when we do, we're going to discover the ideas of 1989 that anne so eloquently talks about, the ideas that brought you into congress in 1994, they can be
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repurposed for a new era. first we have to get to a point where we all agree that the way you compete is by competing for votes. not by competing for ways to stop people from voting. >> anne, you talked about the future of nostalgia. you know, george will and david frum talking about the despair and the victimization that trump and people who -- certain people on the right have embraced. you talk about it, about men who were mentors in your life early on. you know, just talking about a lost england and almost driving them to madness in their political views. >> that's to do -- specifically to do with britain. we see this everywhere as well, that people who dislike the president or who are uncomfortable with what their countries have become, very often again to look to previous eras. they look back to different
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times and romanticize them and seek to bring them back. not in a pathetic way or by repurposing the idea, but literally to bring them back. this is what many nationalist projects were founded on. we want to bring back the time when we were young or when our grandparents were young or we remember the country being a certain way. you can see that in trumpism as well, a cartoon version of the 1950s when men were men and women were at home and there were no people of other races visible in public life. that's the view, that's the image that they want to bring back. that's the moment when they say, make america great again. that's what they mean. they mean when it was run according to a certain way. and this is the way of denying the presence and denying all of the good things that have happened in america over the last, you know, two, three, four, five decades. and denying the diverse nature
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of the country and the incredible potential that it has. i agree with david. it's also -- it's a form of self-centered pessimism. i'm pessimistic because things aren't the way i remember them. and that really leaves no space for young people, for new ideas, for refreshing visions of what the country can become. >> right. which, of course, leads to donald trump tweeting about great news, housewives in suburbia. it's almost like he's in chevy chase in 1957. anyway, anne applebaum, thank you so much, david frum and george will, appreciate you being here. it means so much. coming up next, we have the mayor of washington, d.c., muriel bowser. she will be speaking at the democratic convention tonight and we'll be right back with more "morning joe." as a caricature artist,
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okay. so we've reached the point in the election where the simpsons are now getting involved. last week trump campaign senior legal adviser jenna ellis tweeted that joe biden's running mate kamala harris sounds like the character marge simpson. she does? the show's twitter account posted a video of marge's reaction. >> i usually don't get into politics but the president's senior adviser jenna ellis just said kamala harris sounds like me. lisa says she doesn't mean it as a compliment. if that's so, as an ordinary suburban housewife, i'm starting to feel a little disrespected. i teach my children not to name call, jenna. i was going to say, i'm pissed off, but i'm afraid they'd bleep it. >> cute. i like it when she goes mmm.
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joining us is the mayor of washington, d.c., democrat muriel bowser. she's scheduled to speak tonight at the democratic national convention as part of the program that addresses the nationwide calls for racial justice reform. it's great to see you. i absolutely adore black lives matter plaza. you're going to go down in history for that, and it's amazing on many levels. so preview for us, if you could, what you plan to talk about, what you hope to touch upon or at the very least, not to give it all away, what's the impact of the message you hope that voters will receive from your talk tonight. >> well, mika, what i will address is what everyone is talking about all across america. and that is why it's so important that we have a new president that recognizes that fanning the flames of racist systems will not make our country better.
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and we are having a racial reckoning in our country, and it's so important that all of us on every level, those who are elected and everyone else, is focused on how we make our country more fair and more just. >> a lot of people really felt like a breaking point, what was what happened in lafayette square. and when protesters were pepper sprayed or gassed or, i guess there's been now an act passed by the d.c. council prohibiting using the word chemical irritants to dismiss first amendment rights. what is it, tear gas? can we make it clear? >> there are a lot of different definitions for these irritants, and our law spells out what's prohibited during a lawful protest. and it's so important, i think, that we have taken steps in
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washington, d.c., cities around the country and the congress has a bill around policing as well. we are all very clear here. we need good constitutional policing to keep neighborhoods safe. but our residents also have to be assured that they are treated justly and fairly in our systems. we have a lot of work to do in our country, and we stand ready to do that work. and i think that part of our message tonight is that black lives matter and wonderful black lives matter plaza is important, but it's a start. it's a start to a conversation but also a start to action. and i think that's what joe biden and kamala harris mean for our country. they get it. they recognize that we have systems to improve and some systems to tear down and they're
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competent, experienced leaders who will do that. and the selection of kamala harris as his running mate says a lot to me about who joe biden is and how he sees america and how he knows that this -- this ticket that reflects our country will just make all of us very excited to go out and vote. because we're going to have some obstacles to overcome on election day. >> just touching on that in terms of the message that you want to send to people who want to peacefully protest, who may have been treated badly at certain stages during this whole time since george floyd's death. if you look at what's happening in portland, also last thursday in washington, d.c., 40 people were arrested. what is your message to protesters in terms of how they need to carry out their protests
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and how that can get muddled and things can turn ugly real quick. >> we know, sadly, that there are some people that are not really there to protest or demand racial justice but to create havoc. and sometimes destruction. and there is no place in america that's going to allow their city or their town to be torn down or to allow fires and the like. and so people who are not following the law will be subject to arrest to keep everybody else safe. and that's what we saw in washington. so we want people to be peaceful, to follow the laws, but not to destroy our town. >> we'll be watching you tonight. mayor muriel bowser, thank you so much for being on the show with us this morning. and that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now.
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hi there. i'm stephanie ruhle. it's monday, august 17th, the start of a very unconventional democratic national convention week. the big event kicks off this evening, but it will be mostly virtual without the big crowds we're used to seeing. all the big names will appear because it will be remotely and the events and speeches have been cut way down. tonight's featured speakers will be bernie sanders and michelle obama. of course, all of this is remote due to the coronavirus pandemic. we are up to 5.4 million cases across the united states. along with nearly 171,000 deaths in america. however, according to "the new york times," we are seeing some moves. cases are

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