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Rachel Maddow here at MSNBC headquarters in New York, along with my close but not too close colleagues. I Nicolle Wallace, Brian Williams will join us later on tonight. Tonight is night one of what is not actually technically the Republican National Convention. The Republican Party and the White House had a number of false starts and planning for this convention. The convention site was initially chosen and announced as Charlotte, North Carolina. But from the president on in a tweet called that off after criticizing the state of North Carolina for its plan to require measures like social distancing to stop the RNC from becoming some horrific super spider covered event, because the president objected to that, he announced that they would instead move most of the RNC to Jacksonville, Florida, but then they ultimately canceled the Florida plan as well because of spiking covid numbers in Jacksonville.
Well, now, here it is. What they're doing is something in Washington, D.C., but technically, the actual convention is over. The party and the convention committee still had a contract to do this thing in Charlotte, North Carolina, the original site that they had chosen. So that is where delegates met today and went through the motions of nominating the president.
Now, that low key daytime event is over. That was the Republican convention. What we're going to see in Washington, D.C. tonight over the next four nights is something that we will call the convention. But technically, it's something different. It will look a little bit like a convention, at least a little bit like what the Democrats did. But it's not put on by the convention committee. It won't do any convention business. It's basically a campaign show, a pageant organized by the Trump campaign itself and by the Republican National Committee.
To underscore how weird this is, I should also tell you that the Republicans are also just skipping the whole party platform thing, the statement about what they stand for, what they're running on. They're not doing that at party conventions. Every four years, the parties typically draft and vote on a new party platform. Republicans this year announced that they won't do that this year. They won't have a platform. Instead, they've passed a resolution saying that they intend to reassert their strong support for President Donald Trump and his administration.
And that's pretty much it for all of that drama. When the Republican Party envisioned what the first night of this convention like event would look like, they probably did not anticipate headlines today about the attorney general of New York filing legal action against the president's personal business today for allegedly misleading financial lenders and inflating the value of its assets. We're going to have more on that coming up in just a moment. You should know that the attorney general is asking the court to compel the president's son, Eric, to testify and to force the president's business to comply with multiple subpoenas.
There will be a lot of Trump family over the next four nights. Tonight, we will hear from the president's other adult son, Donald Trump, Jr. He's still in charge of the president's company that's now being investigated by New York State. L.A. Times reported in about a week and a half ago that Don Jr. was also referred to the Justice Department, a potential prosecution for lying to the Intelligence Committee in the Russia investigation. Now, in terms of what we're going to see tonight, many of the speeches will be on tape, much like the Democratic convention.
There are a lot of speeches the Republicans are going to cram in more than we saw from the Democrats of the few live speeches that they will do tonight. In addition to Donald Trump Jr., we are expecting to hear from the president's former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, also from Senator Tim Scott, who appears to be sort of the headliner tonight as the only African-American Republican in the US Senate. Before all that gets going tonight, I'll tell you we're going to be joined here live on MSNBC by former FBI Director James Comey, which is very exciting.
It's going to be a busy and complex night, Joy and Nicole, this is going to be a different kind of week than last week.
But there's also so much going on in the news heading into it, including new sort of trouble for the Trump family at a time that they are really showcasing the president's family at this event. Yeah, look, the Washington Post broke the story with the tape of the president's sister basically describing her brother. Donald Trump, the president, is politically repugnant, and if the position is well, that doesn't matter, this White House has decided it matters very much what the family thinks of Donald Trump because there are people with the last name Trump speaking every single day.
So at a moment, the problem for Trump is what it often is, what he's trying to produce. And as you said, this is a production is contradicted by things coming out of the news. And I think it was Bob Woodward that said the truth always emerges. The challenge for Trump this week is to keep the focus where he wants it. The other sort of backdrop against which this plays out is the political reality. His own advisers, and I think I mentioned this last week, has said that the structure of the race right now is a referendum on Trump is a sure loser.
Trump plans to talk every day this week, guaranteeing that the week will be about Trump. That is not a pathway to political rebound in terms of the eyes of his political advisers.
We are we have been hearing for a while now that Trump is going to speak every week. It doesn't seem like he's going to give like an acceptance speech every night. He's just going to appear in some form. But we don't know what that is. It is unusual to plan to hear from the president every day if we've already heard from him.
I mean, he spent almost an hour ranting today. I mean, he's not going to let himself be forgotten right. In this whatever this is. And thank you for explaining that. I think for a lot of people, the opening with the nomination, even for me, what it was weird, right? It was out of order.
But it as you said, that's over convention. Technically, it's over. This is another thing. It's another thing.
And you know, what I've been thinking about today is the difference between a democracy and a constitutional monarchy. In a constitutional monarchy, there are perfunctory votes, but the monarchy is still the monarchy. The king is still the king. The royal family is the royal family. There's nothing you can do about that. And if the royal family has done misdeeds and if courts want to dig into potential illegality, well, it doesn't matter. They are the royal family and the Trumps come across as if they do believe that America has a royal family and it is them.
And so it's interesting to watch them create a pageantry about the Trumps, but not about the Trumps. The way that last week was a was about the Bidens, last week was about the family, the cohesion, the loss, the things they've suffered, the way they've come together, the way they were brought together. The same thing with Kamala Harris, her family, the blended family. It was about them as human beings. This isn't about the Trump says, like people with friends and family and loved ones.
It's about them as our American monarchical entity that you cannot eliminate that Donald Trump came out and said, say, 12 more years. That's exactly what Putin's given himself, 12 more years. He's sort of it's almost as if the election doesn't matter anymore, because as far as Donald Trump and his family are concerned, they've established themselves as monarchs. And if they have to keep power the way monarchs do it, they'll do it.
Well, I mean, we'll see tonight in the way they present Don Jr.. I mean, one of the things that was for me, I remember covering the twenty sixteen RNC Donald Donald Trump Jr. got up and gave a speech that was a totally sort of normal Republican speech. If they were setting him up as the inheritor of the political legacy of the Trump in a very normal way. I remember thinking like, oh, he can deliver a normal speech.
This is interesting. It will be interesting tonight to see if he's still giving normal Republican styles.
But at some level, what they say means less than who they are. Four years ago, Paul Manafort was the chairman of the Enterprise in a Republican led Senate committee. He was a Russian asset. Mike Flynn led lock her up, you know, almost got locked up. Don Junior is like the one of the last remaining redacted sections because either lied to Mueller, took the fifth. Eric Trump has been subpoenaed by the New York AG. Ivanka has got high tech questions.
I mean, they are different people than they were. And what they say is an open question about this convention is, is it just the the that of them? Right. Like like the that is that they will all show up this week or or are voters the ones that voted for him last time, interested in what has transpired in the last three and a half years or they just frozen in time?
Well, as we've been talking about, the president's adult children are all expected to speak during the convention, including the two who continue to run the president's business, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, which means they are in the news today in a way that is inconvenient given the timing of this convention, like tonight. The attorney general of New York, Letitia James, has now announced that she's investigating the Trump family business for misleading financial lenders, allegedly by inflating the value of the businesses assets.
This investigation into the Trump organization has been has been plodding along for more than a year since the president's longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, told Congress that the president's business routinely lied about the value of its assets to. Their taxes are to get bank loans are insurance policies. It appears, though, that that investigation has come to an interesting point, because a legal filing that became public today shows the attorney general asking a judge to force the Trump business, the Trump Organization, to turn over documents to respond to subpoenas.
And she's also asking a judge to order the president's son, Eric, to answer questions under oath about the family business. So far, we learned today Eric Trump has refused to answer questions from the AG's office about the investigation. Investigators say hundreds of documents have been withheld by the Trump organization in the course of this. And not just that makes it awkward that the two people in charge of the Trump family business are preparing for their primetime address to the nation this week at their dad's presidential nominating convention.
Joining us now for more on this. Help us understand where this is at. In the process is Andrew Weissman, former chief of the fraud section at the Justice Department, former senior member of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Currently, he is a professor at NYU Law. Andrew Weissman, thank you so much for being here tonight. Nice to see you.
Nice to see you, Rachel.
So we are used to hearing about a lot of overlapping investigations of the president's and his businesses when it comes to the New York attorney general's office. We have seen the New York attorney general's office bring a fraud suit against Trump University, shut it down and a twenty five million dollars settlement was paid. We've seen the New York attorney general's office bring a fraud suit against the president's charity, shut it down. And the president had to pay two million dollars in damages there.
Now, the attorney general's office is engaged in some sort of civil suit involving the president's business. How serious is it and why did it come into public view the way it did today?
So this seems very serious. First, though, it's important to note this is a civil fraud case. It's not a criminal fraud case, although as the attorney general said, it could become that. And if you look at the allegations in the filing, they could not be more serious. This is not just sort of hiding income.
There are allegations that Eric Trump and the Trump Organization were responsible for not reporting a hundred million dollars in income and inflating deductions to the tune of forty six million dollars in properties in Westchester, in Chicago, in Los Angeles, across the country.
So could not be more serious in terms of what it is that the attorney general is looking at.
And there is also a criminal case involving the president's business filed by the New York D.A. that's also in process with a federal judge ruling last week that a subpoena for the president's financial information and tax information was basically greenlit. The president has appealed that to the 2nd Circuit and everybody's sort of expecting that the Supreme Court might ultimately be ruling on that, might be considering whether he needs to respond to that subpoena in very short order potentially this week during the RNC. What should we understand about that timing and whether or not these things should be viewed as two separate problems for the president or whether they might come together as one threat?
So I think they're coming together. You can see it in the filing today, Eric Trump is notable in the filing today that he refused to testify in the New York attorney general suit, saying that he was very concerned about whether his testimony would be used in the New York criminal case. The attorney general said, no, we're not coordinating with them, but clearly by his refusing to what he said cutely was not testify under the Constitution. That's code for.
As he clearly is worried about what it is that the New York district attorney, the criminal side is doing, so you have somebody who's going to be giving apparently a speech tonight in a convention who is refusing to testify either in the state criminal case, presumably, and also the state civil case.
Enter Weissman, former senior member of the special counsel, Robert Mueller's team, former FBI general counsel. Andrew, thank you for helping us understand this. I really appreciate it. It is rare when you've got a incumbent president up for reelection heading into his convention and one of the things you have to do is get former prosecutors on the air to explain today's news in potential criminal and civil liability for the president and his family. And timing is crazy. The timing is crazy.
And it's also increasingly the problems that the Trump family face are out of the reach of the things he can do to save himself, his company and his kids, because we're now not talking about something that William Barr can stop. We're starting to edge out of the territory where Donald Trump can rescue these these guys, because these are these are state matters. That's our federal the state of New York has does not have to listen to Donald Trump and does not care about Donald Trump's pardons.
He cannot pardon his way out of it. So I wonder if the I wonder of the level of urgency of getting re-elected and what Donald Trump might do. You know, this is what I think this is what keeps me up at night is what might he do to save himself from having to reveal his taxes, from having to reveal the extent to which they weren't being paid, to have to reveal the extent to which his company had committed crimes. What might he do to keep power in that case?
Well, that's I mean, part of the financial records and tax records thing is up through the Second Circuit and heading toward the Supreme Court fast. That potentially could all be we could be faced with all of that at the same time that he's accepting the nomination of.
And to your point, his friend will acknowledge that one of the driving I mean, to win again is he's been asked by very friendly people in the media what his second term agenda is. And it's clear now that there isn't one. I think he trotted out something about going to space today. But the the motivation privately is, one, to avoid the shame of losing and to to avoid criminal legal exposure.
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We're just going to jump in here for a second in terms of some of the president's claims, they're mostly about covid, but also about the Postal Service. The president talking about his caring about the postal service, caring for postal workers and wanting to take care of them. The reason that's in the news and that's in this Republican show tonight is because of presidents, President Trump's postmaster general recently having instituted changes to the post office that have created real problems, not just threats, but material delays for for the mail service all over this country in terms of people not being able to get their medications on time, live animals that usually get shipped through the mail ending up dead and postal sorting facilities inside mail packages that didn't get shipped in time.
Those changes to delay mail delivery times are things that have happened during the Trump administration for them to be bragging about taking care of the postal service. And it's the Democrats who are out to get it is is is backwards.
And the new the information has come from within the Postal Service. Whistleblowers inside the Postal Service are letting people know are crying out and saying, look at this, the package is piling up all over this country. People are suffering, particularly in rural areas. People are desperate to get their Social Security checks, their paycheck, their Medicare. We are. Not trying to do a live analysis as this is rolling out, but we do feel a responsibility to make sure that we are not unquestioningly broadcasting things that are both that are false, that are deliberately false and that are potentially dangerously false.
To that end, we also want to bring in our colleague, Trymaine Lee, MSNBC correspondent, the host of the Into America podcast. Trymaine, I wanted to ask you about a claim that we just heard again from Mark and Patty McClosky. They want to talk about Democrats. They are not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities. They want to abolish the suburbs altogether. The idea that the Democratic Party wants to abolish the suburbs. What is the accusation there that they are actually making?
And what is what is the reality? So as the McCluskey's mentioned, they said Donald Trump had repealed laws that would allow multifamily dwellings in the suburbs, which were an effort decades long to try to desegregate the suburbs because as we know, like a deed of covenants and all these kind of things that were put in place in housing policy to make sure to maintain segregation. So the accusation is that, you know, Joe Biden, the Democrats will come in and once again desegregate the suburbs.
And I will go back to one other thing the McCluskey's mentioned. They painted this picture of the Democrats wanting to allow criminals and ne'er do wells to run the streets. They actually benefited from Kim Gardner, the circuit attorney, a reformist policy. And so because they were convicted of a felony under many other circumstances, they would have been ordered to surrender for arrest. But they were now eligible for diversion program because so many times and in cities like St. Louis and across the country, they say you're a nonviolent first time offender, you shouldn't do time.
So everything we heard are painting this dystopian picture of Democrats hoping to usher in the end to the suburbs, which means the end of the dream, the end of the white dream, ushering in black and brown and poor people to end the dream as we know it. Where criminals will run amuck, meanwhile, are the most cynical among us might say. Of course, the Trump administration, perhaps the first in history, would have speakers under indictment speak at the opening night of the convention.
But this is a different world we live in.
I would like to have a long conversation with you about these private streets in places like St. Louis with restrictive covenants where black people are not allowed to live. But we can we're going to move on and go back to the the presentation on bcuz. I remember that you and our good friend Stephanie Cargill did a whole piece on bcuz this claim that Donald Trump rescued bcuz is made a lot, it's made as their target to black voters.
Walk us through the reality of that. I know that there isn't a piece of legislation called the Futures Act that passed and Donald Trump signed it in December of twenty nineteen but I didn't write it. He signed it was a bipartisan bill, Democrats and Republicans. But beyond signing the Futures Act, which gave a lot of money for STEM to bcuz and about eighty five million of it went to you specifically, what what is Donald Trump done for you?
Is that so special that makes him the savior in his mind? There really hasn't been much in the way of saving or rescuing bcuz there's long been this relationship from the beginning of the reconstruction era when many of these historically black colleges and universities were established, this relationship. Howard University is actually has more of a binding relationship with the federal government than many others. But there isn't much special when you think about, you know, his kind of support, not unlike many other presidents for ABC News.
And then the first step back, which was actually enacted. Will the Obama administration attempted to get through, but it was blocked through Congress signing that bill, which allowed some prisoners early release and the ABC, that's the go to favorite from many black Republicans, especially, but many others who say here he is risking black, he's not the enemy, when, in fact, there isn't anything necessarily remarkable about his record with bcuz in particular.
And just very quickly, he has made this statement over and over again. But before he signed that bill, the Futures Act is we're going to go out as if he's one hundred plus year organized institutions. We're going to go out of business. Is it true that ABC News would have gone literally out of business were it not for Donald Trump? Because that's what he's claiming. That is without question, not true, but with a bit of a caveat, there are all HBC issues are not on equal footing in terms of the funding they get from private donorship, their relationship with the federal government.
There have been some youths who have long struggled, really storied institutions, but the Kookmin and so many others who have struggled. But the idea that without the signing of his signature on that paper, that the collapse of these storied institutions like Howard and Spellman and my wife, Southern University, Morehouse, would have just gone crumbling into the ether is just the falsity. Thank you, gentlemen.
It's good to have you with us. Or let's begin with what we have just witnessed and let's begin with our friends remaining with us in our New York studios to react to what we've just seen. Rachel Maddow, Nicole Wallace, Joy Reid. Rachel, you first.
Oh, Brian, this is in some ways, actually, if you look at this on paper, if you kind of looked at this is a television production, it's more similar to the Republican to the Democratic event from last week than we thought. For example, there were very few live events, even though the Republicans have produced this from a central hub. So everybody standing at the same podium, speaking from the same place. Almost everything that you just saw tonight, with a few exceptions, was recorded basically live to tape, or they had people pre-recorded their speeches and they rolled them in a way that made people think they were alive there.
Most of them were not live. We it is it is distracting to have a lot of false information broadcast. I think it's distracting to us as broadcasters doing this because we feel a responsibility to correct stuff. And it is awkward to have to interrupt and it makes us make hard decisions about what we're not showing so that we can clean some stuff up that was otherwise said that people might otherwise believe is factually true. I will just say personally, I feel like there's no clean, easy and perfect way to do it, but we do our best.
And my priority at least is to make sure that we broadcast as little false medical information as possible. And we had a bunch of that tonight around covid, not only lying about the president's record, I don't know what Don Junior meant when he said the president has delivered P and E to our brave frontline workers. It's just PBH. But that didn't get delivered in a hurry. The president making some false claims about therapeutics and immunity, other things about covid.
That just makes me it's it's it's really bad on a night with this many people watching to still be broadcasting false information to a country where we've lost one hundred and seventy six thousand Americans already in. The last thing we need is more lies and misinformation about what this virus is, how it works, and how you can or can't protect yourself from it. So I'm I get I feel that acutely. But technically, they did.
They did. They did pull it off, you know, with Joy.
Reed. Go ahead, Nicole. I'm sorry.
I didn't know, you know, you were all I was going to add. First of all, Rachel, we didn't know exactly where the lies would come. And so it is sort of this on the fly, I think. But for me, my political team, why do they lie in this case? And like I said, that's why the lies and why the sugar coating of the pendent. Because if they really thought.
The one hundred and seventy seven thousand Americans was the best America could do. There wouldn't be all these distractions. They would have just gone to the heart of it and this whole night would have been covered night if they really thought that they could run on their response to the pandemic. And again, since since since we were anchoring the hour together, Brian, every day as the numbers ticked up, an alarming and heartbreaking ways.
The case that the president has to make to his base, every single one of them needs to still be alive and vote for him is this was the best we could do? Nobody thinks that this was the best we could do. Not one person. So so it's not just that they lied and that it was awkward and we had to pull out. We had to get Dr. Gupta out of whatever he was doing in saving a life or something.
It's why the lies and the lies are there, because nobody thinks that the best that America can do is one hundred and seventy seven thousand dead people. Except that the latest polling showing that while 10 percent of Democrats say they think it's acceptable, they maybe not the best we could do. But yes. Sixty seven percent of Republicans in the latest polling saying they think it's acceptable that one hundred and eighty hundred eighty thousand people are dead. A number that I choke on and I'm sure we all do, trying to get it out every night.
I mean, to call when you do the piece at the end where you talk about the people who died, I literally have to not have I want to cry and listen to it. It's so hard to see those faces. And one hundred eighty thousand sixty seven percent of Republicans think that that's acceptable. That shocks me in a way that I can't get over. And I've no piece of data for twenty four hours. I'm not over it. But the why they laughing it, I mean, why say that Donald Trump saved ABC News?
That isn't true. I mean, I was literally Googling it on my phone. You can find it in like two seconds. It just isn't true. But there this was a it's not a convention. I'm so glad that Rachel pointed that at the beginning because it made it makes so much sense what I found this morning about a convention. It was passionate about a convention, but it was also a pageant, about a convention versus a candidate who doesn't exist.
They could have done this. They should have produced this like two months ago because it could it doesn't matter who the Democrat is, because this person is a communist who wants to destroy the Bible and burn it, who wants to, I guess, make us into Cuba, who is not standing up to our enemies. And somehow Donald Trump and Donald Trump. Junior warned that whoever this person is will also destroy the rule of law, will destroy the rule of law.
And look at his history, which is amazing coming from it's bizarre.
And then they ended with the least unpleasant person currently working in Republican politics, Tim Scott, who's a nice enough guy. But nothing they're saying about what this the reality of Trump ism is, is true. Nikki Haley piecing through which black lives matter. Thanks, Nikki. I really needed to know which of our lives matter. And I really appreciate you pointing out that it's everyone except people killed by police appreciated that. Herschel Walker, who touts Donald Trump's, you know, being involved in the US, Donald Trump destroyed the NFL.
OK, take it from an old fanatical football fan. As a kid, Donald Trump destroyed the NFL. Like everyone who knows about the US history knows it. So everything that they portrayed was a pageant about things that just a made up reality and does a pageant. It wasn't it didn't even have the vibrancy that you saw last week. We just saw the people just pounding at that same podium. People seemed quite angry when they're in power. I didn't get it.
I have to be honest. I'm just saying it's television.
But the anger piece is interesting because there was a reason to be angry. Four years ago. They were running really against the elites in both sides. Donald Trump had vanquished sixteen Republicans from most of them from the establishment. And then and then he was out to vanquish Hillary Clinton from a dynastic American political family. And so the anger four years ago added up. There is no rationale for the anger. Now he's in charge, right. So whatever the indictment is of life in America today, this is America today.
He's the boss. He's in charge. So the anger didn't have a threat. I think that if you can sort of pull away from that, which doesn't add up to us and again, we were not the audience, to be frank. We're just trying to understand what it means about how they see the race. What it means about how they see the race is that they do not have their base locked up.
That's why some of those speakers oh, that's an interesting point, that they aren't this wasn't targeted toward people who aren't already Trump fans just to please people who already like Trump.
I think this, Anderson, they may evolve the week may, Brian, as we've grown accustomed to doing, we may there may be adjustments, but but tonight was about the the charming older Cuban gentleman. I mean, he's there and it's almost like a Republican convention in nineteen in the eighties.
Right. I mean, if you don't have that generation's Cuban vote in Florida locked up today, you're worried about Florida and the older Cuban vote. I mean, just your. Your convention program reveals where you think the race is today and where I saw them feeling like the races is that they don't have the Trump 20 16 coalition locked up yet. Can I just say the one thing, Brian, that in that speech that they're talking about, the very emotional speech from the American man from Florida talking about his upbringing when he said that he once heard Fidel Castro, asked if he was a communist and he said, no, I'm a Roman Catholic.
It was a he was saying, in effect, Joe Biden tells you he's a Roman Catholic. We all know what that means. Like as a Catholic, I have to say like that for me was a little bit of a kind of like I'm not sure I can take this kind of a moment, actually. You could just say a Roman Catholic and it could mean you're Roman Catholic doesn't mean you're actually Fidel Castro and secretly trying to draw communism.
But that was thought be litigative this in 1960. Yeah, but can we talk for a second?
The McClosky? Can we just have a moment about that? I mean, that was one of the strangest choices I've seen made in a political convention. They're facing charges for menacing, for waving guns at peaceful protesters who were marching for Black Lives Matter against the killing of black bodies by police. And so they're sort of hailed and given this honorific to stand there and talk about the Biden campaign is to eliminate the suburbs. And that was strange. I'm really glad we had Trymaine Lee to come on and talk about.
I mean, the suburb they live in has a covenant, a restrictive covenant in it. It's behind iron gates. They have a private road that 30 years ago I wouldn't have been able to walk in that street because it's a private road. And black people, you know, it's very difficult to even be allowed to buy a home in that community. So when they're saying Biden is going to eliminate the suburbs, what does that even mean? You know, it was a strange message.
And on the lies thing, again, lie about little things. Why pretend that Ronna Romney McDaniel is is a housewife.
It's just an ordinary housewife, is the most powerful Republican woman not in office.
And this gets into a whole sort of hornet's nest of complicated gender questions.
But she chose and I think is on the first speakers to describe herself that way, not to plant a flag of pride around that, but to attack Eva Longoria. Again, a campaign that's on the attack and on the defensive and defensive around these issues is not a confident campaign, Brian.
Yeah. Hi, everyone, it's Joy Reid I'm so excited to tell you about my new MSNBC show, the Read Out every weeknight, I'm talking with the biggest newsmakers about the most pressing issues of our time, like Joe Biden, the words of president matter and so is President United States.
The first thing I'm going to do is stand up and talk sense and be honest with the American people. Level with them.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. We need as many voices as we can have as possible sounding the alarm, encouraging people to wear masks and to take all precautions and to follow the science and the data. Senator Kamala Harris, we send folks into a war wearing camouflage. So what is going on here when you send camouflage uniformed officers into a city and many more?
You can listen to the readout as a podcast by searching for the readout. That's r e i o u t one word wherever you're listening right now and subscribing for free. Thanks for listening. I was just going to raise and I'm glad Rachel talked about the production elements. This was really a collection of speeches at a podium and I guess Mellon Auditorium, which is close to the Trump Hotel in Washington in an empty room. I found particularly interesting the prerecorded bits from inside the White House with the president that I've always made to our co-workers is to remind everybody Donald Trump became a TV star in our building over 14 seasons and in most of the rooms he's occupied in his life, he was the quickest and the funniest guy.
He's never met a line of script that wasn't made better by an ad lib. So you saw so many Telx in that little sequence, he was told to call it covid. He always stops himself, reminds us how many names there are for it. Later in the bit, he switched to calling it the China virus. He mentioned hydroxy chloroquine and got laughs from his assembled guests, which remained inexplicably in the tape piece aired grievances about governors while his mystified guests looked on.
And of course, because we're a blue and red America, people saw it differently in mask wearing communities. Nobody was wearing one in either of the White House pre-recorded pieces.
And as Joy noted, that shooting that in the White House has I mean, not to be a stickler for these things, but has ethics implications. I mean, that's the White House is not the president's House. The White House is the people's house and it's federal property. And using federal property, especially the White House, for partisan purposes, for the purpose of advancing political campaign is something that you can't prosecute the president for doing that under the Hatch Act.
But no federal employee and no federal resources are supposed to be used to promote a campaign or a candidate. And maybe that's old fashioned. Apparently, it's fashionable within the Trump administration, even at the highest levels, to make a joke out of that. But that's that's an anti corruption law that we've had in this country for a long time. And this is not just breaking it. It was sort of gleefully stomping on it while talking about that, the nameless Democrats as being the ones who are about corruption and self-serving policies.
And did did it not strike you all? This is my theory that they are a bit monarchist, right? This idea that I think he thinks it is his house, like they treat it as their own house.
You know, I've been obsessing about the Rose Garden, and I know it's not the most important thing in the world, but there's a sense of I can Rayno, this this is my place.
Well, we're all going to see we are going to see three I think it's three speeches tonight that aren't going to three speeches over the course of the week that aren't going to be from the Mellon Auditorium. And they are the president, the first lady and the president's eldest daughter, Ivanka. So they'll all be speaking from different White House settings while everybody else is in what is also federal property. Also, the Mellon auditoria also shouldn't be used for partisan purposes because it is also federal property.
But this is what we're doing. I have been told we have a guest hanging out with us who was in the news today, known to all of us, Michael Steele, former chairman of this party years ago and in a different time, who today has thrown his support and effort behind the Lincoln project. Michael, first of all, I'd love to hear you out on your decision. You know, you may be tweeted about now.
Now, Bryan. And for me and look, it's it's a very hard, tough decision. But at the end of the day, I think it's a decision we all have to confront. It's about our country. It's about the communities we live in. Look, I can do the party thing better than anyone. I'm still a Republican. I call myself a motel. Six Republicans has got to keep the lights on. Right. I've said that to you.
But the reality of it is we're we're at an inflection point, not just in a political cycle cycle, but in the country's definition of itself. Do we really think it's OK to put kids in cages? Do we really believe it's OK to look at? One hundred and seventy thousand dead Americans died, died because of miscalculations and and bad bad policy decisions and say, well, it is what it is. At some point, we as a citizen have to confront our own truth about ourselves and the kind of leaders who ostensibly, Brian, we put out there as an extension of ourselves.
Well, Donald Trump is not an extension of my value system, is not an extension of who I see myself as an American citizen. And I want to stand with my country on that principle right through this November election. And while I'm at it, get your behind up, folks, get your absentee ballot and start voting, because that's where this thing will come to its head. Michael, there's a number of quotes they wanted to emerge from tonight, one of the speakers thanked the president for having sacrificed the life that he built.
Another speaker, as well documented, already called him the guardian of Western civilization. Still another called him a patient advocate on the medical side of the ledger. I want to play for you a bit of what the Democratic state lawmaker from Georgia had to say tonight. You may be wondering why is a lifelong Democrat speaking at the Republican National Convention, and that's a fair question. And here's your answer. The Democratic Party does not want black people to leave their mental plantation.
We've been forced to be there for decades and generations. But I have news for Joe Biden. We are free we are free people with free minds. And I'm part of a large and growing segment of the black community who are independent thinkers. And we believe that Donald Trump is the president, that America needs to lead us forward. Michael, please go first and then I imagine our colleagues may want to follow. Yeah, well, you know, OK, that's one view of the world.
The reality of it is you then have to look at how that is played out in the black community. You have to look at how it's played out across America. Donald Trump got eight percent of the black vote in twenty sixteen. He's now significantly below that going into this cycle. I don't know what that means for for every black person in the country, but it says to me that you haven't made a case well enough over the last four years.
But there's also the point about that is that is true. But our politics is that politics can put you in sort of a a mindset where you only see one side of it or only see one thing. So I appreciate the brother coming out and standing on the Republican stage, and I'm sure a lot of Republicans are applauding him. So I think you should applaud me as I stand on the other side of the stage to say I'm a free thinker as well.
So and that's the right free thinking only applies when you agree with me. Well, that's not free thinking and that's not American.
Michael Steele, I want to ask you a question about Nikki Haley's speech, and I have time to unpack the whole what Nikki Haley there. But I want to ask you, she was talking about the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church and she said this After that horrific tragedy, we didn't turn against each other. We came together black and white, Democrat and Republican. Together, we made the hard choices needed to heal and removed a divisive symbol peacefully and respectfully.
Did I miss something? Isn't Donald Trump's one of his pillars of his candidacy, the preservation of our heritage, including the Confederate flags and the on the attack against NASCAR for banning it?
That's the Darney the. That you see on that stage, you have someone like Governor Haley who who did the stand up thing, rallied the state around her, got the legislator legislature to act, to take down those symbols of hatred that were offensive to not just her community, but to communities across the country. And yet tonight she stands on the stage supporting a man who sees those very same individuals as good people or those symbols. Don't touch them. So I don't know how you how you traverse that logic.
I don't know how you say in a sentence in a speech like that that this is what I did. And Donald Trump stands with. No, he doesn't. No, he doesn't. Because his words and his actions are one hundred and eighty degrees from the actions in the words that you made back then. So that tonight and I think someone already mentioned this, it may have been Rachel. So the way this is playing out is that you see these conflicting moments in your head is going, wait a minute, you're kind of playing tennis because what the speakers are saying one thing, but reality is telling you something else or Donald Trump is doing something else.
And that's going to be the difficulty of coming out of this convention, going to the American people and having them already made up their mind that this is a referendum on the last four years, because I've got all this data now to choose from.
Can I ask really quickly, Michael, because, you know, you made a really concerted effort when you were RNC chairman to try to bring more African-Americans into the Republican Party. And it was an effort based on policy ideas and saying here's some policy ideas that you should be open to. We know that a lot of black people are culturally conservative. And on the religious and conservatives, you saw an opening there.
What do you make of what I saw is that there were at least four African-American speakers tonight, including Herschel Walker, Kim Classic of Baltimore, Vernon Jones, who we just showed.
What did you make of the substance of the pitch here? Because, you know, people with both of us know that are still looking at working on the campaign and working, and they know that Donald Trump is trying to go for 15 percent of African-American black men. What did you hear tonight and what do you make of it?
Yes, well, to your first point in twenty ten, in fact, I was very, very happy and proud to see two of the candidates that I supported and got elected in 2010, then Congressman Tim Scott and Governor Nikki Haley. And they were representative of the field of candidates that we wanted to put up before the country. They talked about our values, that talked about the things that mattered, certainly to Republicans, but more importantly and more broadly to every citizen.
You didn't really hear that tonight. It was it was almost this sense of, you know, sort of talking about how bad it was and well, you know, it's that bad and therefore, you need to come over to us. Well, tell me what you're going to do to to transform my community. How what policy are you are you looking to put on the table? You can talk about, you know, opportunity zones and things like that.
But you should know also that the black community has other things in the economic piece in mind. They want to know seriously how you're going to approach policing. They were. No, seriously, how are you going to approach redlining? That would have been a nice topic to talk about the the gentrification of black neighborhoods, for example. What do you talk about? The how how do you help a family, a black family that's been in the neighborhood from for 70 years, stay there.
So then you begin to open up the avenues in which you can have that conversation, which is what we tried to do 10 years ago, which unfortunately, I think given the politics of trying to segment the black vote, give us black men, because black men let the whole machismo thing that works until they talk to the black female in their household who reminds them exactly how they're going to vote.
That is to right now that Israel with thanks to all of our friends, especially to Michael, for leaving us with some vivid imagery gaps like Rachel, Nicole, Joy Ray, Michael Steele.
Thank you. We get to do this again tomorrow night.