tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC January 14, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PST
belly that i had as a kid to keep fighting. that does it for me. thank you for watching. keep the conversation going, like us on facebook.com/politicsnation, and follow us on twitte twitter @politicsnation. i'll see you back here next sunday. now to my colleague, alex witt. >> listening to your day what you have tomorrow i'm glad you're going to spend more time with me at noon today. >> i'll be here. >> i'm looking forward to that. we'll talk about dr. martin luther king as well as the president's colorful language and i apologize putting those two in the same sentence. we'll see you soon, rev thanks so much. good morning, i'm alex witt. 9:00 in the east, 6:00 a.m. out west. the ballistic missile attack false alarm that rattled hawaii. >> trying to get into bathrooms, i was with my two little girls who are 8 and 10, so the kids are crying, and nobody really knew what to do.
>> lessons from the incident that left residents and visitors in the 50th state panicked with fear. plus at least one prominent paper says the president should bare some responsibility for the fallout from the false missile attack. at odds, a new dispute over what president trump said in a newspaper interview about kim jong-un. has he ever spoken to him? do they have a very good relationship? plus the latest from that report donald trump's personal lawyer paid a porn star to buy her silence. all the details ahead. but we begin with the very latest on that false alarm in hawaii. residents and tourists ran to safety yesterday morning when alerts came up on their phones over television and on the radio. >> the u.s. pacific command has detected a missile threat to hawaii. missile may impact on land or sea within minutes. this is not a drill. if you are indoors, stay indoors. if you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. remain indoors well away from windows. if you are driving, pull safely
to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building or lay on the floor. we will announce when the threat has ended. >> nbc's jacob soberoff is in honolulu, kelly o'donnell near the president's mar-a-lago resort in florida. jacob, good morning. and i mean good morning, it is just after 4:00 a.m. in honolulu and a big yikes to what folks heard yesterday, including you, who were there on business. are people resting easy after getting their nerves rattled? >> reporter: well, alex, there's a certainly a huge sigh of relief on oahu and throughout the hawaiian islands. cell phone signals were jammed up with people calling their loved ones, literally to say their good-byes. people were running for cover. this all took place at a time, of course, of heightened tensions with north korea between donald trump and kim jong-un. and it had people here very, very startled. take a look. >> all personnel seek shelter
immediately. >> reporter: just after 8:00 a.m. in hawaii, pandemonium in paradise. hysteria triggered by a false alarm. the terrifying message screamed across cell phones throughout the state. ballistic missile threat inbound to hawaii, seek immediate shelter. this is not a drill. >> we've seen people starting to run. >> the hotel staff came and told my parents, seek shelter. you only have 12 minutes. >> um-hum. >> the mistake was part of an early warning system put into place amid rising tensions between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un. less than 24 hours before the false alarm, we were given an exclusive tour of the room it was triggered from, because of the push of a wrong button inside this bunker. if a nuclear missile is launched from north korea this is where you'll find out? >> that's right, these are state warning officers. they'll receive a call from pacific command on a secure line and make a decision to activate the statewide siren system. >> reporter: where is the phone? >> right here behind us. >> reporter: saturday morning,
that phone never rang and there never was a signal from the military to sound the aremember la, but the alert went out anyway. it took 38 minutes for a correction to be texted out, twice the time it would take for a missile to reach hawaii from north korea and more than enough time to terrify people across the state. the governor took responsibility. >> today is a day that most of us will never forget, and many in our community was deeply affected by this, and i'm sorry. >> reporter: an apology from officials here for a system designed to save lives, instead turning them upside down. alex, in the wake of this false alarm that happened during a shift change in the middle of a routine test the governor of the state of hawaii he is until further notice suspending the missile defense test sirens and test alerts and also said from now on there will be at least two people responsible for pushing that button that caused the pandemonium here yesterday. an unbelievable time here on the
islands of hawaii. lots of scared people, but thank goodness there was nothing. >> the point of your story that got to me t took 38 minutes to make the correction, twice the amount of time, you point out, that it would take for a missile to reach hawaii, were it to have been launched from north korea. what concerns me and i imagine you heard people also saying this, what about the next time, the adage the boy who cries wolf. are people going to say i wonder if it's false, if it could be real? >> reporter: it's raised a lot of important questions, alex. none more important than who should be in charge of pushing that button. yesterday while we were covering it live as it was unfolding on msnbc, i talked with brian schatz, one of the two senators from hawaii. i asked him that question, are you comfortable with the state government having control over that button, given this catastrophic failure of the system, the idea that the people of hawaii were basically left
hanging for twice as long as it would take for a missile to get from north korea to here to the hawaiian islands is frankly inexcusable in the eyes of that senator at least. he wasn't ready to make the commitment to take that power away from the state government and give it to pacom, u.s. pacific command, that is supposed to alert for the call of the sirens to be sent out. i'm sure that's one of the issued addressed in the days ahead. >> jacob soboroff thanks so much. kelly is in florida near mar-a-lago. we heard from the president already via twitter. why have we yet to hear from him on the hawaiian missile scare? >> reporter: it is an opportunity for the president if he wants to speak on this issue. we know how easy it is for him to communicate through twitter. he has not done so yesterday or today as of late. if we look back over sort of the tweeting history of the president, we have seen other
examples where there was an event, it might be criminal, natural disaster, some kind of a crisis, and in this case, of course, the crisis was about the fear, not the actual event. the president does not tweet about these issue answer uses his twitter feed for his own more than personal concerns, sometimes grievances, policy ideas or promoting things that he thinks he needs more credit for. that's what we're seeing in the tweets today, talking about the economy, criticizing democrats, talking about daca, the program for certain young immigrants to have legal status in the united states, despite being brought here without proper documentation. those kinds of things. also complaints about his allegation that he was misquoted by the "wall street journal" in an interview. those are the things the president has been using twitter for. he often talks about how it's a means for him to speak directly to the american people, so he's choosing to use those topics instead of talking about this. having covered a number of presidents, and different
approaches to this sort of communication, there are times when, at the federal level, the white house would not want to comment on a state issue until all the facts are known, wanting to be careful to not make it worse. there are those sorts of situations where you might consider, is this a state concern, not the appropriate place for the white house? but that's looking back at history. we see the president typically will talk about whatever he chooses to, and so far today, he is not discussing this. we know he was briefed on the issue with you but so far no co about what happened or the concerns raised by what happened. >> the fact he's talking about the "wall street journal" report, what, three days after the story came out, why today? why the delay? >> reporter: well, i don't know the exact timing except sometimes we believe these things percolate with the president. the original quote suggested he was speaking in the present tense about having a good relationship with kim jong-un of north korea.
we don't have any evidence he's had any correct contadirect con north korean leader. he's had lots of communication with other leaders in asia. we don't know why right now. we can say that at the same time the "wall street journal" is also reported on a different issue that is very critical of the president, relating to alleged payments made during the campaign to a person who was formerly an adult film star. is there a connection? simply don't know, but we know the president likes to critique the media and that's part of what he's been doing today. >> kelly o'donnell who gets an "a" from me. thank you appreciate that. joining me is heidi pryzbla and paul singer, washington correspondent also for "usa today." good morning to you both. i want to start with the false alarm in hawaii. heidi, if mr. trump had not been tweeting about kim jong-un and the threat from north korea do you think the reaction from hawaii might be different? did the president create a
scenario where the possibility of a threat is more possible? when i first phoned yesterday as this story was unfolding, we had breaking news, i phoned a family friend who talked about the message that had been sent to her. she immediately interpreted and acontributed it to mistakenly north korea. i mean that's what was in her head. >> well, certainly the president could have used his platform to maybe try and calm people, if he had that information, was able to put it out. we don't know how that came through to him, and what we do know is that a lot of those people who were panicking were getting that through text messages that had come through the warning system in hawaii, and that it wasn't until they got those text messages then clarifying that people started to calm down, but the point is taken about how the president is using his platform and whether he could be using it in situations like this to also bring the decibel down to reassure people when we do have
these moments of potential false alarms. >> and so paul, what is this? is this the real life impact of the president's tweets? >> to some degree, sure. you guys had, looks like you can jacob soboroff doing a story on the warning system before this happened, which suggests that you knew this was an issue that had been sort of inspired by the tension between the united states and north korea. we have to say that the alert that went out, the false alert that went out yesterday was linked to the president's rising the temperature of the relationship with north korea, even though obviously there's no way to blame the president for this alert going out. i think the reason the president hasn't tweeted about this event since then is there's no upside for him to tweet about it. he's got nothing to say. it doesn't look good for him. there's no way to make it a good news for trump story so he's just going to let it go. >> i want to stay on this topic of north korea for a moment, because the white house is
disputing the accuracy of a comment that the president made to the "wall street journal." you saw that tweet from the president, in which he made reference to a recorded conversation. i want to play that portion. here it is. >> as you know, i have a great relationship with prime minister abe, japan, and i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un of north korea. >> okay. let's play this again more focused, one more time. here it is. >> and i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un of north korea. >> heidi, the "wall street journal" certainly standing by their reporting. so this could go either way. the president is taking issue with whether this was present tense saying i have a good relationship or i would have a good relationship, i apostrophe
d. michael bender said ultimately it doesn't change the overall point of what he was trying to make, does it? >> i don't think it does change the overall point. he was trying to leave out the impression there that he would at some point have a good relationship, whether it is right now or in the future with kim jong-un, which is a huge shift from the type of rhetoric that we've been seeing from this president from the taunts that we've seen on twitter and from the warnings that he's issued to his own secretary of state about even engaging in diplomatic talks. now what we're seeing is this, you know, first time in decades now north korea engaging with south korea in talks, and leaving the united states at the curb. we see a shift not in north korea strategy but in our strategy here with the president now going from this absolutist approach of not talking with north korea until they unilaterally disarm or give up their nuclear weapons program to
say we could talk leaving open the question of whether he has talked with him. >> um-hum. yeah, and to that last point, paul, the president was rather cagey. he refused to say whether or not he has actually spoken with kim jong-un. i mean, interpret that. why doesn't he clarify? >> because again, there's nothing in it for donald trump to clarify. donald trump, like kim jong-un, operates in this world where a certain strategic ambiguity is good for them. if people are constantly guessing what they're thinking, that's good. we had a story earlier in the week i think last week where nicky hailey had gone on television shows to say donald trump's unpredictability is a good thing, keeps the world on their toes. for the trump did i, did i not, i will have, i do have, it's all nonsense. donald trump is trying to maintain this level of unpredictability and in this case he wanted to pick on the "wall street journal" today, because the "wall street journal" had said something bad about him two days ago.
it's just sort of the game he plays. >> but it's the "wall street journal," heidi. are you surprised by the white house calling "the journal" fake news. rupert murdoch owns that paper. >> it is a level of vitriol you don't see typically for a rupert murdoch-owned enterprise. the president is upset not only the headline this is particular comment got. when the "wall street journal" came out of the interview the shift on north korea got a lot of attention but then you have to wonder, why didn't they immediately contest it and wait several days and in the interim you have the "wall street journal" coming back to this story about the adult porn star, and that was very embarrassing for the president, because you had the president's lawyer, personal lawyer, michael cohen, releasing a screen shot of the woman allegedly under her screen name, denying that this had happened, but the woman, when we
as well, "usa today" reached out to her, declined to comment. so this is another embarrassing story for the president and if you just look at the time line, if he was really upset about the north korea aspect, and thought that he was misquoted, he waited quite a long time to contest that. >> all right, heidi great to see you. 38 terrifying minutes made worse by a scary voice with a frightening warning. would finding cover indoors really help? we have a closer look next. >> it's hard to stay calm when you don't know what's happening. we kept looking out the window in case we saw something. we had faith in our government and thought we'd be safe either way. i accept i don't conquer
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first i would encourage everyone not to draw the wrong conclusion. secondly from a dhs perspective we're working with state and locals to ensure not only that the messaging is clear but what to do next is clear as well, how we can best support them and work with them, as you know they're on the first lines and they're the first responders. unfortunate situation but we're working together to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> homeland security secretary on yesterday's false alarm in hawaii. my next guest summed up the incident in this tweet yesterday "false alarm, real fear." kevin baron is a pentagon reporter and executive editor at defense one. i want to thank you for phoning in as soon as we got word and you helped us through our breaking news coverage yesterday. how much did the prevailing high nuclear anxiety feed into the
fear and panic caused by this false alarm? >> i think we've heard that from the citizens who believed it, the images that we're seeing, that's the first indication. had this happened a year ago or any other context in the 10 or 20 years nobody would have the instinct. we've paid attention to the news and know what's happening. hearing the military is doing more to protect us and watching kim jong-un's missiles get closer and closer to the mainland and to reach places like hawaii, and so i think people believe that we are at a real crisis point both nuclear tensions where a missile strike on a state is likely, is possible. >> so this message goes out on tv over radio, it's got that deep and kind of scary voice telling people stay indoors, if you're outdoors, go indoors. here is the congresswoman describing the scene say hort time ago. >> hawaii has just started a few months ago these monthly nuclear
attack sirens as a test, and telling people hey, you've got, you hear this siren, you've got 15 minutes to seek shelter. so when the people of hawaii got this message yesterday, they're literally going through this feeling of i've got minutes to find my loved ones to say my last good-byes, to figure out where could i possibly find shelter that would protect them from a nuclear attack. >> kevin, if this were a real attack, would going indoors really have helped at all? i want to add to that the conversation i had with a family friend who phoned in at the very start of the chaos here, and she said i asked her that question and she says i have no recourse. i live in a home that i see the water, there are windows. where is she going to go? >> that's a good point. there's been some reporting what to do. you're supposed to go indoors to a concrete fortified preferably
basement, or mid rise or one of the towers of the hotels in w k waikiki, get closer to the inside. barry mccaffrey was saying trying to hide from a nuclear explosion is the last possible version of defense for hawaii. for pentagon reporters we've tracked admiral harry harris, the top commander in the pacific who has been asking congress to speed up any types of plans to provide better missile defenses for hawaii. on the east coast, there are bases in california and alaska the military says could hit one of the missiles. if there are several icbms that's a problem. hawaii is too far out down the line. lot of people have been calling back into last year, since donald trump came to office to speed that up and get better
defense of hawaii to knock down the missiles to people like your friend don't have to worry about rushing for cover. >> kevin, can you explain why it took 38 minutes to issue the retraction where it would take half the time for a missile launch to get from north korea to hawaii. >> people are out of practice and separate out the local authorities, who put out the first message to begin with, and we're in the middle of this shift change drill, whatever they're calling it, versus what i cover as a pentagon reporter. i immediately went to pacific command of honolulu, strategic command that tracks the nuclear weapons in nebraska and omaha, and norad and north com, those are the people tracking the missiles. reporters called them. probably 15 minutes into it, we were already hearing back that officials, the u.s. military was not tracking anything.
we never saw an alert out of japan and south korea. that's usually the first wave anybody hears anything, the japanese and south reen korean it out before the pentagon. reporters had a sense, wait a minute, i don't think this is a real drill -- a real thing, but you're right, it took 38 minutes for the public to know it and that's just one of many, many things that officials are going to have to get right all the way down to the local level. >> got to work on that. kevin baron, thank you very much for the conversation. >> my pleasure, happy sunday. breaking bannon, he's set to testify before house intelligence committee. might this leave the president at risk? and the wolf huffed and puffed...
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i can invite you, alex, to come talk to me if i'm a prosecutor, or i can compel you to come talk to me if i'm a prosecutor. in the first case you can say no thank you. in the second case, i've compelled you with the grand jury subpoena and it's no longer your decision. you have to show up and you have to testify. >> so will president trump be invited or compelled to talk to special counsel robert mueller and the russia investigation? nbc reports that initial talks have begun between the president's legal team and fbi investigators for mueller to
interview the president. joining me with more, msnbc legal analyst katie fang. great to see you. the white house has not given reason to think the president would not answer mueller's questions or he might invoke the fifth amendment but could the president decline to respond to a subpoena from mueller? >> no. so when the subpoena is issued, he has to respond. the only circumstances under what conditions. could he testify from the white house? bill clinton did that previously when he had to testify. you and i know president president will want to go toe to toe with robert mueller so number one i doubt that he would decline that voluntary interview and number two, there's a lot of prep that has to be done if you're going to prepare somebody like donald trump to face somebody like robert mueller and his team of federal investigators because if you make false statements to federal investigators just like, martha
stewart, could you get conviyoud for that crime. >> is there a benefit to someone testifying in person versus teleconference from the oval office, as you mention bill clinton did? >> sure, it's the circumstances surrounding the questioning. think about how much more high pressure it is when it's directly face to face, maybe just a few feet across the table from that investigator, from robert mueller himself. if i'm mueller i want to question donald trump. it's different, versus answering questions by writing. that has happened before with prior sitting presidents. there have only been presidents of the united states deposed under oath previously so there's not a lot of precedent for this. at the end of the day a grand jury subpoena cannot be ignored whether you're the president or joe citizen. >> we know it's a big week ahead for steve bannon. sources telling nbc news he will be testifying before the house intelligence committee tuesday. nbc also learned bannon hired bill burke to represent him during his testimony, the same lawyer also representing don
mcgan and reince priebus. sources say bannon's testimony does not have any connection with the mueller investigation, but is there a conflict of interest here? >> oh no. so the house intelligence committee obviously looking into the russian investigation. there have been parallel lines of investigation that have been going on, in addition to the mueller investigation itself. so bannon, as a scorned lover per se, do you trash talk or do you keep your mouth shut and do demurery say nothing at all. my mama told me if you don't have anything nice to say you don't say anything at all but in bannon's situation who knows? he has his own self on the line. his self-preservation instinct may kick in and he may tell everything he needs to tell to protect himself befout it doesn mean he won't be questioned by robert mueller and bill burke is only representing bannon in the context of the house intelligence committee
investigating and not with the mueller investigation. >> for the record my mother told me the same thing, don't say anything if you can't say anything nice about folks. katie, always good to see you. 38 minutes of fear, is president trump partly to blame for making that false alarm in hawaii so believable? that's ahead. come up, congresswoman maxine waters, who probably has a thing or two to say about the president's alleged comments in that white house meeting. ♪ i'm jimmy, this is my definition of fresh since 1983. ♪
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i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. the death toll from mudslides in southern california has risen by one to 19. search crews yesterday recovered the body of a 25-year-old woman. five people remain missing six days after the mudslides in montecito. residents forced out of evacuation zones are finally being allowed to pick up vital supplies, but it may be months before they can move back into their damaged homes. and aviation investigators in turkey are trying to find out why a passenger plane skidded off a runway and then went over a cliff. look at that. you can see it there resting on an embankment. that is understandable chaos on board as all 162 passengers and crew evacuated safely, despite the footage which also showed smoke billowing from the cabin. new questions how the trump presidency may be fueling fears of nuclear conflict after the
false alarm in hawaii. new editorial from the "new york times" said the scenario made tangible the growing fears that after decades of leaders trying to more safely control the world's nuclear arsenals, president trump has increased the possibility of those weapons being used. we bring in a republican strategist and senior adviser to the democratic party. ladies first here, noelle. is the president saber rattling? is that partly to blame for the dramatic reaction to yesterday's alarm? >> yes and no. the reason i say that is because it was the fault of the shift changer, but people are on high alert because there's tension between kim jong-un and our president by the twitter feed, and "rocket man" and so forth, and they've had since for the past "x" amount of years i think
2017 there have been 24 missile launch tests, which is beefed up more than any other time in the last i think eight years. they've had the most ever. it's been 17, and 2017 alone has had th 24 tests which is a little scary, it means they're beefing it up. when the warning signal went off, people actually believed it. they didn't think for a second chance that it wasn't real, because of all the tension and it's been escalating. >> basel, people believed it, and the friend with whom i spoke who lives in hawaii, moments after the chaos began, she said, we got a text talking about a ballistic missile incoming from north korea. she was mistaken, we went over the emergency alert but in her mind and the mind of those of whom she was talking, it was coming from north korea. >> right, and to noelle's point and she's right, we have seen
north korea engage in these missile tests so it should give everyone pause, not just americans, not just hawaiians but everyone around the world, rightfully so. the challenge that we are facing right now our president is that he is engaged as you said in saber rattling. he has ratcheted up the rhetoric. it's one thing to be tough, but it's another thing to sort of, in my view, recklessly talk about increasing your nuclear weaponry. when you're engaged in a dialogue sort of a child, playground dialogue like a child talking about whose button is bigger, you increase the risk and the tension of something happening, or of people coming to false conclusions. so it is a challenging time, and i think our president needs to be more of a calming figure and not making these inflammatory
remarks. >> noelle, i want to talk about the president's reaction here. for his part, he has yet to comment on the missile scare but he has been active on twitter calling the author of "fire & fury" mentally deranged in one tweet. what do you make of the fact that that is where his head is, after residents of the 50th state of our communal union here were going through sheer panic? >> well, you know, this makes me wonder if he's not taking some advice from his chief of staff, general kelly, on this, because his reaction to this could be a very telling sign, and you have to be very careful, even though he's loose y-goosy with his twitter feed, somebody is talking to him, more than likely military or somebody extremely close to him that he respects about not responding right away to what happened in hawaii, and with that said, i think the only
good thing that came out of this mishap was the, was to look at how, you know, hawaii, who is in harm's way, guam and hawaii and there are certain, you know, places that are within the reach that north korea has the capability, they're saying, to go to, and one of the good things that came out of this, alex, is the fact that i don't really think, you know, when you saw the instructions, it had a missile picture and then it had a big explosion, and it really didn't give a lot of americans security of how they could be protected. so the only good thing that came out of this mishap is that we can see that hawaii and maybe guam, certain areas that are closer to within range need to have a better safety program, you know, ready to rock 'n' roll, so if anything, we could look at this as a near miss, but an opportunity to correct it,
because i didn't like that diagram with a, b, c, there you go. it really was just kind of -- >> i want to take it a step further with you, basel, because there was no need for a military response in this case, but the scenario does raise further questions about what would the response be if an attack took place? according to a politico report, president donald trump's cabinet has yet to test formal plans for how to respond to a domestic missile attack, but this event could put plans to conduct a test back on the agenda. as a democrat, are you comfortable with that? >> that's an interesting question. i don't know how comfortable i am with it quite frankly, but i would say this. i do think that the president, somehow the president has to be -- you touched on this earlier or noelle did, who is the president talking to at moments like this and how is the president being prepared to deal with these types of emergencies if he's just going to sort of brush it off, not respond to the american people, who are
noticeably very, very upset. if there's no sort of plan, which there was back in i believe 1997 and again in 2006 to update the system so there is some national standardization, even if states have individual ways of tackling this, what is the president prepared to do, through his bureaucracy to make sure that this does not happen again? as a democrat, i am very concerned that our president seems to be dithering on this issue. >> thanks, guys. good to see you both. in just a moment, one of two republican senators don't recall what president trump said in the daca meeting in the white house but now one of them is changing his tune. history. went to ancestry, i put in the names of my grandparents first. i got a leaf right away. a leaf is a hint that is connected to each person in your family tree. i learned that my ten times great grandmother is george washington's aunt.
. let's get back to the fallout over the alleged comments the president made about immigrants from haiti, el salvador and africa. there's new reaction from two people who were in that room. department of homeland security secretary kirsten nielsen and republican senator david perdue. here it is. >> i don't recall him saying that exact phrase. he has been clear and i would say undoubtedly the president will use, continue to use strong language when it comes to this
issue because he feels very passionate about it. >> it is pretty shocking language, and to say "i don't recall" seems implausible. if the president of the united states used the word blank-hole, talking about countries in the oval office, or didn't say it, i would know. >> i understand the question. it was an impassioned conversation. i don't recall that specific phrase being used. that's all i can say about that. >> this is about a gross misrepresentation. >> are you saying the president did not use the word that has been so widely reported? >> i'm telling you he did not use that word. >> let's bring in dr. james peterson, msnbc contributor and author of "prison industrial complex for beginners" and joe wat watkins, author of the new book "the new pc: practical consideration. "good morning to you both. we'll get into it here starting with you, joe. your reaction there, there's one that says i don't recall and one that says he did not say it at all.
>> well, i'm sorry that people are saying that, because there were others that heard him say it. senator durbin heard him say it and others said that they heard him say it as well. well, and lindsay graham apparently also made comments and was brave enough to speak out in the media and say, mr. president, this is not right. so those are not strong comments, and to characterize them as strong comments is a mischaracterization of the comments. they are offensive comments. i am an african-american that comes from an immigrant family, and those comments are offensive to me and in my community and immigrants who hail from countries of color. those were very offensive remarks. the alleged remarks were very offensive and certainly senator durbin and gram and others seem
to have heard those things said. >> james, what did you hear in the responses? >> the white house didn't even deny they made the comments. there are a couple senators on record and folks at the meeting on record that said he made those comments and they are backtracking because of the backlash and they felt it would play to their base, and i don't think they understood the fallout. these are racist comments. they are ironic, because they are talking about nations that have been systematically under developed and tampered with by european countries and the united states. these countries do have challenges but they didn't get that way by themselves, they got that way through various policies and historical legacies that have been racist. >> i want to play what a republican congresswoman said this morning. >> i can't defend the
indefensible. there are countries that do struggle out there, but their people are good people and they are part of us. we are americans. you have to understand my parents came from haiti, and they worked hard. they paid their taxes. when they pledged their allegiance to the american flag and became u.s. citizens, they meant every word of it and they did everything they could to take on not just the benefits but the responsibilities of what it meant to be an american citizen. you have to understand i am a product of that. i am the american dream. we had a lot of people supporting the president and the vice president. my mom and dad actually spoke to vice president mike pence and told him they were praying for him and doing everything they can to support him, and so this was very heartbreaking for them. one of the things we need to do is get people like me in the room. there are so many people that, frankly, i want to make sure that everybody knows that i
don't know if those comments were made if i was actually in the room. >> joe, is she right? is it a matter of being at the table when these conversations when taking place, or is that giving too much credit to the president. >> if nobody of color was at the table, those comments should have have been made, and they should not have been made whether there was people of color at the table. it shows a lack of diversity to senior members of the white house. the white house needs to be representative of americans and there needs to be people of color, african-americans to tell the president what the community thinks and whether it's unfavorable or favorable, the president needs to hear that from senior african-americans on the staff, and she's right it should not have been said
whether there were people of color or not in that room. >> how do you see it, james? it's not like president trump doesn't have black supporters, and i am thinking about former ohio secretary of state, ken blackwell, he spoke with me yesterday on the air about this. >> just because you have people of color supporting a racist president or racist comments doesn't mean they are not racist, and the reality is you can always find somebody to support something. at the end of the day, there may be issues around diversity with the administration, but the idea that you have to have a black person at the table to silence racist comments, that doesn't make any sense. if the president is racist, he's racist whether or not he watches what he says is not as important as the policies he enacts. we can look at the policies, look at the muslim and look how he attacks daca, and look how he spoke about mexican immigrants. there's a range of examples that underscore the ways in which
this president thinks about race in the 21st century. >> joe, as a republican, do you understand people of color being in the room or perhaps not as much in the room as you were pointing out relative to that one phaemeeting, but being in t room on friday, and do you understand why they are there despite the behavior of the president and the things he says? >> james is right. you can always get somebody of color to show up. it's who you get. you didn't see anybody from the king family there, and you didn't see any of the great civil rights icons there, john lewis was not there, and those that shed their blood or were beaten during that movement were not there at that signing yesterday. rather there were people that were in the administration and people who had been past supporters who happen to be african-americans, but who are not necessarily people who are in the civil rights movement.
but right now i will give special props to by dear friend, joy reid. >> when they pledged their allegiance to the u.s. flag and became citizens, they meant every word of it. they took on the responsibilities of what it meant to be an american citizen. you have to understand, i am a product of that. i am the american dream. that's who we are. i still think he should apologize. i think there are people looking for an apology, and i think that would show real leadership. >> good morning, and welcome to "am joy." the first ever haitian american,