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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  August 21, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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19th and for the 8500 u.s. service members in afghanistan tonight and for their families and however many more americans will join them this is a very personal sacrifice year after year after year after year after year. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. our coverage of president trump's address on his afghanistan policy continues now with lawrence o'donnell. a very big news night, rachel. we expected to hear a number and we didn't hear a number. >> that's right. >> it's supposed to be the troop strength increase speech and you have to find it between the lines. >> we heard an argument with his old self who was very, very, very much against the war in afghanistan and wanted us to be out yesterday and called it a
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waste of american lives which is a dicey thing to say. so we heard the president dismiss his previous self and explain why we need a more george w. bush approach to this war going forward. i still don't understand why he made this announcement now and i don't know what this means expect for the threat to pakistan and my worries about what is going to happen about that next. >> and it does seem on the timing that it may have been rushed or speeded up. mike pence was on a scheduled trip in south america he had to come back for in order to be in these meetings leading up to this speech. the vice president's schedule was known well in advance. if this speech was scheduled for tonight the trip could have been adjusted quite a while ago. >> you are totally right about
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pence. his trip was scheduled to go through friday and he had to come back early to go to the camp david meeting on afghanistan. but the speech comes at a weird time. not to be too, like, granular about this but the whole country spent the day staring at the sun being awed by the majesty of the solar system and at the end of that night including a white house event to highlight the fact that the be it was watching the eclipse we get this speech on afghanistan. the effect here is -- >> and he seems to have.
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>> and the main civilian position in u.s. government to focus on afghanistan and pakistan together is a person who just finished in june, wasn't replaced, they quietly closed the office the day she left and never told the staff they were closing the office until it was closed. never a press release or statement about doing that whatsoever. so if something has changed we started a new fight with pakistan. okay. who is going to follow through on that? maybe well, it was a speak like no other. trump administration sources had indicated that he would announce a 50% increase of troop presence by sending an additional 4,000 troops to afghanistan. tonight, the president announced that he will not announce an increase in troop strength.
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>> a core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. i've said it many times how counterproductive it is for the united states to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options. we will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. >> we will not talk about numbers of troops. that is new for the american presidency. at no point tonight did the president clarify anything about what would actually change militarily for the united states in afghanistan. if this speech is meant to be interpreted as an increase in troop strength in afghanistan, it's the first time a president has announced an increase in troop strength without actually announcing an increase in troop strength.
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>> as commander in chief, i have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 u.s. troops to afghanistan. after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. these are the resources that we need to seize the initiative while building the afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of afghanistan. >> and here is how president george w. bush described the military surge that he ordered in iraq. >> so uch committed more than 20,000 additional american troops to iraq. the vast majority of them, five brigades, will be deployed to baghdad. >> here's president lyndon johnson announcing deployments to vietnam. >> i have today ordered to vietnam the air mobile division which will raise our fighting strength from 75,000 to 125,000 men almost immediately.
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addition fall forces will be needed later. and they will be sent as requested. >> we, of course, lost the vietnam war, which is a piece of our history which seems to be lost to president trump. >> in every generation, we have faced down evil and we have always prevailed. we prevailed because we know who we are and what we are fighting for. >> here's the future of afghanistan that the president predicted tonight. >> with our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your families will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace. >> joining us now, evan mcmullen, co-founder of stand-up republic and also columnist for "the washington post," a visiting scholar at the carnegie for international peace. david, at the arrival of peace --
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>> well, this was the illusion of action. this was the president taking on one of the bravest things that the president can do, which is order troops into battle over oversee a war and essentially use it as a cloak for changing the political discussion in the united states. you know it was a cloak because, as you said, the announcement of numbers and in fact he talked about a strategy but there was no strategy there. he talked about a commitment but there was no commitment there. he talked about a change but there was no real change in what he was talking about and he talked about principled reason without principles or without a realistic view towards what would be necessary to achieve what he talked about, which is victory.
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we're for the going to achieve any kind of victory in afghanistan. as it happens, trump was probably right on the campaign trail. this is not a place where we are going to succeed and he brought this up tonight and, as you say, he did so in a way that rushed pence in. we have to ask, why did he do it? he did it to change the conversation. he did it to get away from the disaster of last week. he did it in a way that brought that up. because if you listened to the first part of the speech, what did you hear? we want to fight against bigotry. we are one people. we must be tolerant. we are fighting for each other. he ignored the fact that he wants to kick lgbt troops out of the military. and he ignored the fact that the principle agitate for for divisions in the united states of america right now is the president of the united states.
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>> evan, on this point of troop numbers, as we just saw in that quick review of presidential announcements, there's always been two reasons for it. one, in a democracy it's believed that the public has a right to know how many lives are being put at risk and, two, part of this announcements have been intended to scare the enemy. they expect the enemy to be scared by this new commitment, by the new number of troops coming. if the president is afraid to mention the number, it would seem to believe he has a number that can scare anyone on the other end. >> well, unfortunately, you're right about that. and so by not naming a number, it may have been the right thing to do if you're just optimizing for impact on the ground in afghanistan vis-a-vis the enemy. but i agree, it make it is very difficult then for the american people to what a president is doing in a war than to therefore hold their leaders accountable.
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i do think that i would try not to be too cynical about this. i understand how the president certainly may have been motivated to change the topic. all of the other topics these days are pretty bad for him. the truth is, the president, whoever it is, did need to come out and make a statement on afghanistan and give some sort of direction as to where we're headed even if the details are slim. and i think the speech, while good, was scripted trump. it was very slim on details. i do support the idea that, you know, we've got to move towards a condition-based approach, not a time-based approach. i don't think it's necessary, therefore, we don't articulate the numbers that we're actually sending to afghanistan. those will become known over time whether it's a large number or if it's just a few thousand. but -- but, yeah, i think we should avoid being too cynical. there was a need for the
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president, whoever it is, to articulate some sort of direction here. >> david, in the avoidance of being cynical, let's just point out some facts here. the president did say in the end, we will win. so that's a marker for us. he said that the arrival of peace, the arrival of peace in afghanistan will be the definition of us winning and the perplexity of adding india into this speech. if you try to figure out why india is there, it might have something to do with justifying the title of the speech being about afghanistan and south asia. part of what he said about india was that he would get india to help us more with pakistan on economic development and assistance. he's going to get india to help pakistan on economic development and assistance. >> certainly if there was something big in the speech in the foreign policy sense, it was a sense that he said i'm going to bring india into it. we're going to try to get india
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involved in this stuff. obviously, as you say -- and i can see the hint of the smile there on your lips, the notion that somehow we're going to get india to help pakistan much with economic development or get india more involved with afghanistan without inflaming pakistan is ludicrous. it's made more ludicrous by the fact that they're used to be an office in the state department that dealt with this that he shut down unceremoniously. it's made more ludicrous by the fact that when he talked about economic development in this speech and political solutions, he hasn't staffed the top people in the state department who are supposed to achieve those things and he has talked about cutting back on development and other things that are necessary to achieve those things. on the one hand, he's changing foreign policy in the way that it can't and probably shouldn't be changed and he's promising to do things that he himself is the principle agitate for against in terms of cutting staff or funding.
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>> every previous president has understood that the mission is to prevent them from going to war against each other. let's listen to what david you said about the president before the campaign. let's listen to some of that. >> i know more about isis than the generals do. so a general gets on appointed by obama and says mr. trump doesn't understand. he knows nothing about defense. i know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand. believe me. believe me. >> evan mcmullen, he didn't sound like someone who knows more about offense and defense militarily than the generals. >> well, no. instead, he looks like he's taking his generals' advice and that's a good thing. i think we should be pleased that he's doing that rather than coming up with his own plan,
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which, in my view, would have been disastrous and i agree that we're not looking at anything here that seems like a happy victory any time soon but an abrupt withdrawal from afghanistan would put us at risk. al qaeda is still there planning and plotting more than they've controlled in years. i wouldn't advocate for a wholesale occupation of afghanistan, something that large scale but we've got to have a presence there that is pushing back against the rise of international terrorist groups who are still plotting against our country and our allies. >> did the president threaten an abrupt withdrawal from afghanistan when he said to afghanistan tonight our commitment is not unlimited, our patience is not unlimited? >> well, he said that could happen at any time. in fact, he said it's
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condition-based and if the conditions turn bad, trump might cut and run and that's traditional for trump. i think it's striking and picking up on what evan said, the generals had a different view from trump but he didn't exactly take the advice of the generals. he said we may increase. we may not increase. we may be there for a while. we may not be there for a while. he didn't actually embrace anything in this speech except the notion that we will continue to be in this situation that he said we wouldn't be in any more. >> the second stage of reporting on this, which i'm sure will start late tonight or tomorrow, it will be leaks from inside the trump administration what exactly the troop increase will be and when it's going to be. it will all have to come through leaks because it wasn't in the president's speech. thank you both tonight. >> thank you. coming up, tonight's announcement just might help president trump move past his disastrous week last week.
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america will work with the afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. however, our commitment is not unlimited and our support is not a blank check. the government of afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political and economic burden.
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the american people expect to see real reforms, real progress and real results. >> or what? what if they don't see real results? it might be impossible to pick a day in the trump presidency when a speech like the one he gave tonight would not be changing the subject from a crisis in the trump presidency created by what republican senator bob corker calls donald trump's lack of stability and competence. we are always in the midst of a trump crisis of some sort caused by donald trump. and so speeches like this will always be suspect as devices for changing the subject. it does seem the scheduling for this speech was speeded up when mike pence came back from a scheduled trip in south america to participate in the discussions leading up to this speech and last week the president got rave reviews from former ku klux klan david duke
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for his comments about a white supremacist rally in charlottesville in which heather heyer was killed by white nationalist. another group failed to show the strength they were hoping for when they could muster just a tiny group of about 20 nazi white supremacists in the middle of boston common where they were surrounded by 40,000 people protesting against nazi white supremacists. the president of the united states got a look at those 40,000 people on television, protesting for goodness over evil and he immediately said this about them on twitter. looks like many anti-police agitators in boston. police are looking tough and smart.
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thank you. the president lied, of course. he didn't see anti-police agitators in boston. the new white house chief of staff general john kelly, who is from boston, obviously seized control of the rest of the president's tweeting. the president then tweeted, i want to applaud the many protesters in boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. our country will soon come together as one. there is no word yet tonight on how many of general john kelly's relatives and friends might have participated in saturday's protest. but this time, at least none of the protesters are being blamed for violence by the president. >> i do think there's blame, yes. i think there's blame on both sides. you look at both sides, i think there's blame on both sides. and i have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either.
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>> joining us now, former chief of staff to vice president joe biden and al gore and betsy woodroof, a politics reporter from "the daily beast." ron, to that question of, was the timing of this designed to change the subject but as i said at the outset, there's always a subject to change in the trump administration. >> yeah. i have no doubt, lawrence, they sped this up to try to change the subject. more days of the president talking about the moral equivalency between protesters and white supremacists were doing him no favor. but i also think that tonight's speech may turn out in the long run to do him more harm than what he did last week about charlottesville. he made three huge mistakes tonight. he said we have an unlimited number of troops in afghanistan. they'd be there for an unlimited period and with an uncertain objective.
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victory, a win, an enduring result. they thought changing the topic would help him but i don't think what he laid out tonight is going to wear well over time when the american people see how the president's words aren't really matched by results in afghanistan. >> betsy, one of the things that the president obviously provoked tonight was another round of leaking in his administration, which will now be leaking about, okay, what is going to happen to the troop strength? what are the real numbers? >> right. exactly. that said, of course, there's one less alleged leaker, steve bannon. i thought the biggest takeaway from tonight was a very specific undercurrent of the speech was steve bannon doesn't work here anymore. you'll notice over the course of that entire address he read from the teleprompter and didn't once use the phrase radical islamic terrorism even though whenever he had a chance to on the campaign trail, he said, unless you use those three magic words, the terrorists will win. he didn't use those three words tonight. instead, he spoke in a tone that sounded a lot more like mattis and a lot more like mcmaster than it sounded like bannon and steven miller.
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of course, he was reading off the teleprompter and whoever writes those words has a lot of sway. that said, though, i could feel bannon's absence in this speech. it remains to be seen how that plays out over the coming months. that's an important shift that has come through. >> betsy, that's an important point about radical islamist. and this approach to afghanistan is something, if it is a troop increase, which it probably is, it's something that steve bannon opposed. >> yeah. look, tonight i think this speech was written for him by kelly and mcmaster and mattis. tomorrow he's going to arizona to talk about the wall and possibly give a pardon to joe arpaio. i don't think we're seeing a new president. i think this pivot nonsense needs to be put to rest. donald trump will read what his military advisers put on a teleprompter but tomorrow
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morning he'll still be donald j. trump. >> let's listen to something that he said tonight which is a different tone that what we heard last week. it's about patriotism and bigotry and intolerance. let's listen to this. >> when we open our hearts to patriotism, there's is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate. we cannot remain a force for peace in the world. we are not at peace with each other. >> betsy, unless that's in a teleprompter for him tomorrow in arizona, we may be hearing something very, very different there. >> right. exactly. this is a president who isn't always at peace with his own white house senior staff.
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this is a president who has been very comfortable having a bell bellicose tone. previously on twitter, you might have heard him criticizing jeff flake. and showing very little restraint and going after an incumbent republican who voted for his effort. you never know what he's going to say when he's in a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic fans and feels comfortable ignoring the teleprompter and potentially reverting to full trump. >> betsy, thank you. ron, we'll talk to you in another segment. coming up, steve bannon's breitbart says that it is ready to rally votes for donald trump's impeachment if the president defects from the steve bannon policy playbook.
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my original instinct was to pull out and historically i like following my instincts. but all my life, i've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. in other words, when you're president of the united states.
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>> and the first review from the right wing is in. here's the headline on breitbart tonight. "trump reverses course. will send more troops to afghanistan. defends flip-flop in somber speech." >> we are prepared to help paul ryan rally votes for impeachment. that was not said by nancy pelosi or any other democrat. that was said by a high-level unnamed staffer at breitbart, the right-wing hate spewing website ran by steve bannon before he joined the trump campaign and now once again officially run by steve bannon now that he's been fired by the white house by president trump. everyone in the white house, of course, assumed bannon was running breitbart while he was working in the white house so it's not that big of a change. but the part that we're prepared to rally votes to impeach president trump, that is new. steve bannon also fought with jared kushner over the direction of the trump presidency and one
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bannon ally told "vanity fair," "he said jared is a dope." if he continues to find himself on losing arguments, will he really lead the impeachment from the right wing of the republican party? joining me is david jolly from florida and with us, ron klain. david, how do you suppose the president's speech will be received by republicans? it did not mention a specific troop number. that might be something that john mccain and lindsey graham will want to hear more about. what's your general assessment about how it is received by fellow republicans? >> it's a rather forgettable and bizarre moment, to be honest, if you're a mainstream american, a president. you nailed it from the opening of the show tonight. past presidents would have spoken from the oval office and announced specific troop increases.
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this president really said nothing. the mainstream republicans will say, good, we have a plan. let's disrupt terror. but it's the breitbart republicans that you were just talking about that will be enraged because donald trump tonight just gave barack obama a big hug on afghan policy. i know there's nuances but the bottom line is, donald trump said i was wrong in my campaign promises, i lied to my supporters. we will not be engaged in nation building but we'll go after terrorists and stay in afghanistan. that was barack obama's policy as well. we're not going to pursue nation building. we're going to catch terrorists like osama bin laden. donald trump tonight recognized he cannot honor the promises he made on the campaign trail. the breitbart world will be enraged by this but it's the reality we face. the problem is, we still have a president with no credibility and we cannot believe the delivery don't. >> steve bannon's website is sending it is a send more troops to afghanistan policy even
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though the president refused to specifically do that. bannon called it a flip-flop. and so this is really our first moment, our first full day of business, white house business in which steve bannon's running breitbart and right away flip-flop by president trump. >> most american also sleep better tonight knowing steve bannon is not in the white house, not at the right hand of the man with the nuclear button but donald trump may sleep worse. he has this person who was his confidant, his closest adviser for the first several months of his presidency now out on the outside with a powerful media weapon and a lot of venom and that will be aimed at him. but i don't think in the end he's going to be joining with paul ryan to impeach donald trump because mostly i don't think paul ryan will ever impeach donald trump. i think we're stuck with the trump presidency for the foreseeable future.
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>> we have a tweet from john mccain with his reaction, a statement saying, "i commend president trump for taking a big step in the right direction with the new strategy for afghanistan." so david jolly, apparently john mccain heard something in there that i'm not sure what exactly it was. maybe he'll be getting more information during senate hearings. >> i think what john mccain probably heard tonight -- and there was a nuance in the change of policy and it was this. he would change the rules of engagement to allow our service members to offensively go after terror. but i don't know that that's so much of a change. when president obama knew there was a threat, he authorized the use of force against terrorists. we also have to recognize, at the height of the afghan war, we had 100,000 troops. we're talking about moving from 8,000 to maybe 12,000. he didn't indicate an exact number tonight.
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we need to root out terror cells wherever they are. afghanistan is not different than the horn of africa or syria or other hot spots. he plays to optics and did burn the breitbart crowd pretty hard and he did burn steve bannon pretty hard with this. >> ron klain, also from breitbart tonight, they're using the phrase unlimited war, saying that this policy announcement is an announcement of unlimited war. >> i do think that what john mccain agrees with, with all due respect to john mccain, in 2008 we had an election and john mccain said he would leave troops in afghanistan for an unlimited period of time. president obama said we would bring the troops home. and now donald trump is embracing that mccain position. he said they would be there with
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no time limit, with no limit on the number of troops and senator mccain may support that but i don't think most americans, republicans or democrats, because after 16 years of war, we want to fight the terrorists, limit our commitment and get our troops home. >> david, what do you make of where bannon stands tonight in regards to this presidency? i mean, here's their first real night of covering a major trump event. >> his comments about impeachment and paul ryan are truly bizarre, lawrence. maybe he's trying to get more leadership for breitbart now that he's back there talking about impeaching trump and people like myself might actually read it. there's no redemption to donald trump because steve bannon is gone. who hired steve bannon? donald trump. who listened to him on the paris accord? donald trump. who said he was going to weaponize, donald trump. i'll tell you this, there are no undecided voters that read breitbart.
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i was a republican for 20 plus years. i got elected to congress. i've never read breitbart nor will i. he's not speaking to undecided voters. he speaking to the trump base and may steal that base from the president in the next year. >> i want to clarify. it wasn't steve bannon who is quoted as saying that they would round up votes for impeachment but it was a steve bannon lieutenant, a high-placed staffer unnamed saying that they would round up votes for impeachment for paul ryan, as if paul ryan was eager to do that at some point. ron, david, thank you both. >> thanks, lawrence. good to be with you. coming up, elected republicans don't seem to think that the trump problem is going to be solved by the firing of steve bannon. i was playing golf days ago...
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i really believe we only live once, and so you need to take an idea that you have and go for it. you have the opportunity to say, "i've been part of the creation of over 27,000 units of housing," and to replicate this across the entire african continent. our troops will fight to win. we will fight to win. from now on, victory will have a clear definition. attacking our enemies, object literating isis, crushing al qaeda, preventing the taliban from taking over afghanistan and stopping mass terror attacks against america before they emerge. >> judging by john mccain's positive reaction to the speech tonight, it may well be that most republicans are supportive of the president's comments tonight, but not enough republicans are supportive of
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the president himself at this point and possibly not enough republicans supportive of the president's re-election campaign. no democratic member of the house or senate was ever asked if they would support president barack obama for renomination for president in his re-election campaign. no one was asked that because it was inconceivable that any democrat would challenge president obama for the nomination in his re-election campaign and no democrat did. just as no republican challenged george w. bush for his not renomination and his re-election campaign. that's the way it's supposed to be. already there is talk in republican circles of a republican challenge to donald trump in the primaries for his part donald trump is already campaigning for re-election. that's what he's going to be doing tomorrow night in a rally in phoenix. that was maybe some of what he was doing tonight. the president is already eagerly
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raising money for his re-election campaign. it should also be noted that money raised for re-election campaign can be used to pay his criminal defense lawyers who are representing him in this special prosecutor's investigation. in maine today, hallie jackson asked senator susan collins about the president's re-election campaign. >> he's already running for re-election. what happens next? >> well, it's far too early to tell now. there's a long race between now and that point. >> do you think he will end up the party's nominee in 2020? >> it's too difficult to say. >> in 2009, if you asked do you think president obama will end up as the nominee, 100% would have given you a one-word answer, yes. senator collins is one of the republicans who would be eager to find someone else to support for the republican nomination. she went out of her way today to remind maine and america that she did not vote for donald trump for president. >> i didn't support the president when he was our party's nominee.
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that was a very difficult position for me to take. i'd never taken it before. instead, i wrote in the name of paul ryan. and that was very hard for me to do as a lifelong republican. >> jonathan allen said he sent a note to senator corker's office asking if he would support a renomination in 2020. the response was, i don't have anything to add to the senator's comments yesterday. and here is another look at those comments, at what senator bob corker said on thursday that provoked jonathan allen's question on friday. >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. >> senator corker is up for re-election next year. he won his last campaign with
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two-thirds of the vote in tennessee. if he does that again, senator corker will be perfectly positioned to challenge donald trump in the presidential primaries and he would be the perfect champion for anti-trump republicans. bob corker has the universal respect of thoughtful republicans and conservatives. if he lost, he would still have four more years in the senate. donald trump should worry about senators like bob corker who have nothing to lose in running for president and senators who are worried about the president's stability and competence and the president should be worried about ohio governor john kasich. >> does a republican need to step forward to challenge president trump in three years? >> well, jake, as you said, i don't have any plans to do anything like that. i'm rooting for him to get it together. we all are. we're only seven months into this presidency. >> i don't have any plans. no, you did not hear john kasich say a simple no. he will not challenge donald trump for the nomination. our own willie geist reported last week, sources close to john kasich tell me after charlottesville there is growing should be worried about ohio governor john kasich. >> does a republican need to step forward to challenge president trump in three years? >> well, jake, as you said, i don't have any plans to do anything like that. i'm rooting for him to get it together. we all are. we're only seven months into this presidency.
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>> i don't have any plans. no, you did not hear john kasich say a simple no. he will not challenge donald trump for the nomination. our own willie geist reported last week, sources close to john kasich tell me after charlottesville there is growing sense of moral imperative to primary trump in 2020. it seems the question is not will the republican challenge donald trump for the nomination, the question is how many republicans will challenge donald trump for the nomination. we'll be right back. i'm so frustrated. i just want to find a used car without getting ripped off. you could start your search at the all-new that might help. show me the carfax. now the car you want and the history you need are easy to find. show me used trucks with one owner. pretty cool. [laughs] ah... ahem... show me the carfax. start your used car search and get free carfax reports
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>> what are we doing there? these people hate us. as soon as we leave it's all going to blowup anyway. what are we doing there we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on trillions of dollars on this nonsense. what are we doing. we don't have money. we're a debtor nation. we can't build our own schools. yet we build schools in afghanistan. i'll tell our think something so far off. it just shows the leadership of this country -- i mean we just don't have it. >> joining us now tim obrion executive editor of bloomberg view and the author of trump nation, the art of being the donald and tim we always want a tim biography here we we get to the big moments. that was donald trump of 2012. imagine if donald trump were a private citizen today listening to this presidential speech tonight. >> he would be criticizing himself of course because he has done this epic flip flop.
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i think you know as we've seen with the president his past sometimes rolls up to him like a freight train. i think we're seeing that ton. he repeatedly criticized obama for the very policies he seems to be adopting. although in the speech tonight it was long on absolutes and short on specifics. we saw him saying he would go in and win. he is going to forgery a new relationship with pakistan. he is going to insert the united states in between india and pakistan. getting us into a region that's bee deviled every great power for hundreds of years without any real specific bona fide to back it up what's the time frame being, the troop commitment, he has people from the right and left laura ingram wantsed to know about the costs and commitments. i think right now what you have is somebody who is has never been a student of foreign policy
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and i don't think that he could probably eight or nine months ago located afghanistan on a map. now trying to i think use this moment to recapture all of the momentum and good will that he has blown out the door the last seven months. >> i wonder if trump voters will see this as a flip flop that they care about if they see it as flip flop? it's hard to believe that there were many trump voters when he was up there saying i know more than the generals actually thought he knew more. >> right or deeply cared. i never know how much foreign policy from any party matters to average voters. i think that's what's interesting in the whole debate around whether or not people are trying to sidestep him within the gop for 2020. i don't think we'll really know whether any of that stuff will get traction until the 2018 returns come in that will be the litmus test on what's happened with the base until then it's noise.
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>> talk about tomorrow night in phoenix when we goes there presumably in a rally environment he will be off teleprompter if he gets locked on a prompter i stays with it seems the next time he speaks he can't wait to be free of the teleprompt zbloer letting himself let trump be trump. i think the real danger in tomorrow night is that he revisits some of the racially charged sentiment that is aren't showmanship with him. trump has been a race baiter for decades. you know this is the same man who took out full page ads against black and latino teenagers in the late 1980 during the state patrol park jogger case inserted z himself into a midst of racially charged event because he could get publicity from it. also because he is used to foemting these kinds of divisions. the risk he runs tomorrow night after everything he has done in the last few day he revisits some of the problems that refirsted in the wake of charlottesville.
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lease the e300 for $569 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. dig gregory took his last breath this weekend at age 84. surrounded by his loved ones and family. dick gregory was the greatest comedienne of his era before he joined the civil rights movement with dr. martin luther king jr. dick gregory explained to joy rhead how the civil rights movement helped many more people than most people realize let's
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listen to what he said then. >> we took on the mightiest nation in the world in the history of the planet and we won not with guns, not with being nasty. we won with a spirit of nonviolence. we brought it to its knees. and firstly let me say before the civil rights movement a white woman couldn't be on nothing on the plane but a stewardess she had to look like something out the of play boy magazine that meant woman a couldn't be a firefighter, a woman couldn't be a cop. and today all of those have changed. that comes out of not our military. it comes out of a handful of humble people that was willing to die and not kill.
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>> the great dick gregory gets tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now.word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. the breaking news covering tonights donald trump admitting decisions look different when you're the president, lays out his afghanistan plans but without discussing the number of troops or the calendar. he did invoke other countries, he called terrorists losers and promised to win as he becomes the latest american president to take on america's longest war. and then come tomorrow night an entirely different message a political rally in arizona with thousands of demonstrators streaming into town. we have all of it tonight as the monday edition of "the 11th hour" gets under way. as we start a new week good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york.