tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 27, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PST
"morning joe" starts right now. america shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth. not being reimbursed in many cases at all. if they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price. sometimes that's also a monetary price. so we're not the suckers of the world. we're no longer the suckers, folks, and people aren't looking at us as suckers. under my administration, we're winning now. we're not playing to lose slowly, like they've been doing for 19 years. we're fighting in areas where we shouldn't be fighting and spending hundreds of billions of dollars doing it. the. >> your general understands. i just met with them. your general understands it. we want to fight for the meaningful things.
>> wow. that was the message from president trump who is now back in washington this morning. but that was his message to troops serving in an active war zone. you know, the president speak to troops in germany. and the troops were clearly glad to see him. i think every american should be grateful for that. but we should be concerned that mr. trump once again used a captive audience of american heros to push his unpopular domestic agenda. this time, the wall. ronald reagan didn't try to
undermine speaker jim wright when he was standing at the brand brandenberg gate telling mr. gore gorbachev to tear down that wall. you can bet 41 and 43 would have never treated the troops to disrespectfully. the president also lied about pushing through a huge pay raise for the troops. i don't get it. it's not true. it's not even close to being true. and of all the people in the world to know that the president of the united states was lying about a 10% pay raise that he pushed through himself and he fought back against democrats, the very people who would know that he was lying about their pay raise would be the troops themselves who were in that audience who opened their
paychec paychecks to see that they didn't get that pay raise, not a 10% pay raise. the i think more dangerous than that are his policies that will put those troops and really you and me and all americans in greater danger. you know, we used to fight isis and terrorists in syria and other places akcross the globe o we wouldn't have to fight them here at home. but donald trump, he thinks that's how suckers fight. he wants to fight here, i guess. donald trump now tells americans suckers for fighting enemies like isis abroad and dismantling their terror networks abroad so we don't have to fight them in our own schools or in our own churches or at airports. remember that?
no. things are changing under donald trump. u.s. leaders once stood up to bullying threats from tyrannical thugs. but now, it's not even close. a last week, our president caved like a coward by threats coming from turkey's leader, erdogan. donald trump bailed out on our allies and he ran off his beloved defense second all in response to a threatening phone call from the leader of turkey. are you kidding me? and this week, the president has sat silently by as russia is now threatening the united states of america and threatening us over saudi arabia, ordering donald trump not to pretty the royal family there to hold their murderous crown prince accountable for the slaughter of
a washington post columnist and a virginian resident. donald trump attacked barack obama's foreign policy approach of leading from behind for years. but now we have a weak president who is in full retreat across the globe and he has gifted to middle east, to russia, to iran and to isis. it just seems to me that we aren't the suckers after all, mr. president. you are. and you're the sucker for believing that dismantling america's most successful military operations across the globe will do anything other than help russia, isis, iran and our other geopolitical enemies, our threats. that is not going to make america great again.
it's going to make us much weaker than we've been at any time since world war ii. you know, actually, we were great long before donald trump entered the white house. and we will be great again after he leaves washington. unfortunately it's the intervening madness, including yesterday where he did something right. even in doing something right, he figures out a way to sow chaos. they'll be forced to deal with that chaos. until the day that donald j. trump exits the white house for good. with us to discuss all of. >> we have politics editor for "the daily beast" sam stein,
richard haass, aman moyheldin, eugene scott. why don't we start with the president of the council on foreign relations, richard haass. richard, you somehow clarified in 140 chakt canners or 280 characters, the state of the middle east right now and, unfortunately -- and this is really unfortunate. but unfortunately the title of your book keeps getting more relevant by the day. talk about the middle east. with donald trump and america in full retreat, what does it middle east look like right now? >> what we're seeing in the middle east, joe, is essentially a period where we used to have
more influence than anybody else and others thought about how might the united states react, what might the united states do to us if we were to do this. what's essentially happened now is we've largely taken ourselves out of the mix and others are free to do what they want without deference, without considering american actions. so we see the israelis attacking iranian sites in syria. we see the russians now, the most powerful external actors. they're the only ones who have ties to saudi arabia, to iran, they're telling us what to do with saudi arabia. they pretty much got the turks under their thumb. we see turkey about to invade syria, going after the syrian kurds who are or were our biggest partners against isis. the saudis are prosecuting a war in yemen. that is a strategic and humanitarian nightmare. iran is basically an imperial country trying to increase its
way around the region and essentially we've backed off. we said we don't need to be an essential part of it any more. what the president articulated yesterday was essentially a very narrow or pinched view of american foreign policy based almost entirely on his view that if you spend a lot of money on foreign policy, it's money thrown down the drain. so this has now become a laboratory of a post american region. and i think what we're going to see is increasing violence, no respect for humanity or for human life and the rest of the -- as bad as it will be in the middle east, which still matters because of energy and terrorist, israel and so forth, i'm worried that our friends around the world are going to look at this and they're going to say, if it could happen there, elements of this could happen here. and they also are going to begin to prepare themselves for a time when the united states is no longer reliable. and that will be a very different world. >> richard, in the coming months, we're going to learn completely or as completely as
robert mueller was able to uncover ties between donald trump, his campaign, the russian government and agents of russia. i think it's fascinating and disturbing, without knowing the full details of what robert mueller knows and what the investigators know, that for the first time since 1973, for the first time since 1973 russia has been allowed to play a key role in the middle east. and that would not have happened without donald trump's acquiescence. and now with the retreat from syria, with the very small footprint but one that most generals i spoke with said was one of the most effectsive operations we've had person for person in recent u.s. history, that just increases russia's power all the more, does it not? and now they're delivering
threats on saudi arabia, a country that has certainly been in our zone of interest for decades. >> russia has been the greatest strategic beneficiary along with iran. this began under the previous obama administration when we couldn't get involved in places like syria. russia got involved. now for putin, in some ways, he's undone. i don't know, what, 25, 30 years of post cold war history. but he has essentially figured out a way on the cheap for russia to re-enter the middle east. even like certain people spend more time traveling to syria. people are willing to act upon their interests as they see them. and, again, people are taking out. so what we're doing is
essentially forfeiting our influence and it's increasing did disarray in this part of the world. but, joe, i'm worried. don't you think the north koreans are looking at this? how soon is it before north korea will say we'll denuclearize as soon as you americans start moving your troops out of south korea. how will the europeans look at this? this is going to raise issues globally about what the united states is prepared to do. foreign policy is never just about how much capacity you have. the president spent a lot of time yesterday talking about our beautiful military and how powerful we are. and he's right, it is that powerful. but what matters in foreign policy is also your willingness to use the power and the capacity you have. and what we're increasingly seeing is a united states that is not willing to do that.
>> and it sends a message. and you're exactly right, not just across to the middle east, not just to the egyptians, not just to the jordanians and our long time allies in the middle east. it sends a message all across the globe. and you're right, the north koreans are going to tven to ba -- continue to back off. sam stein, i want to play you more from the president talking to the troops this time about domestic politics. >> i don't know if you folks are aware of what's happening. we want to have strong boarders in the united states. the democrats don't want to let us have strong boarders. he gave me an idea, just looking at this warrior group. i think i'll say i don't want the wall and then they're going to give it to me. i figured out the solution. first lady. tell nancy pelosi, i don't want the wall. oh, we want the wall and we get
the wall. when you think when it, you're fighting for boarders in other countries. and they don't want to fight, the democrats, for the border of our country. we want real offense and we have not real defense and that's what we're doing. we have secured a record increase to our military budget and we are purchasing all of this great equipment. $700 billion last year. $716 billion w, with a "b." we were fought very hard by the democrats and others, but i said we have to take care of our military. >> it's -- i really don't know where to start, sam. first of all, so much for politics ending at the water's edge. perhaps it hasn't in quite some
time, but you don't see presidents talking like that. as i said at the beginning, reagan didn't attack the democratic speaker at the brandenberg gate. ike didn't, you know, attack democrats when he was in korea. but here you have a president not only attacking democrats in a way that's unnecessary, he's also lying, talking about the border, that democrats don't care about the boarders which, again, i hate to just keep repeating the truth over and over again every day, because you would think people would get it after a while, but some actually don't. we've had a negative immigration flow going back into mexico for years. hispanic groups were angry at barack obama for eight years for being so tough on the border. the numbers have been low for quite some time. again, long before donald trump became president of the united
states. he's lying to those troops like he's lying to people that go to those rallies. but they're a captive audience. >> it's weird to see a president be that political in front of overseas gathering of troops. there have been instances where presidents have gone overseas and made distinctions about foreign policy matters with their political competitors. but in this case, you had donald trump making purely domestic political points at an overseas trip. and notably, the first time he's actually visited troops overseas which made it all the more remarkable. but what stuck out to me and i guess maybe some other people here is that he's talking
strictly about a threat, a security threats that is gathering at our border, something he's materialized himself and at the same time talking about how a security threat has been eliminated in syria. these two things don't really coexist. one, they're the exact opposite. the security threat is greatly overdrama advertised at our owner border and military personnel say he was underestimating the threat in syria. but this is what donald trump is. the one thing that i keep coming back do is that, you know, he's wildly inconsistent. he often tells lies. but on in stuff, on foreign policy he has said from the get-go that he wants to pull back, that he believes america spends way too much overseas, that we're overextendsed, we're overinvolved and he wants to pull back. for two years, he was stopped in doing that by the people that had surrounded him. one of his greatest early triumphs during the first year in office was the very limited bombing campaign he had in syria
where he took utah the runway of an airport. and that was done largely because he had people around him saying, you have to do this. but it's very evident and it's become clear as day now that he is now following his instincts on the foreign policy stage. and i'm with richard. i don't think it ends here. he has been stopped in pulling back our troop deployments in south korea. why do we go when there's no jim mattis to stop him from doing that? it's an interesting and for a lot of people scary period down the road. >> and he follows his inge r -- instincts, but those are frightening instincts. this is a man who wants to krau troo withdrawal troops from syria, but he wants to send three times as many troops to the border and keep them down there for a threat that most of our homeland
security analysts say doesn't exist. >> that's right. and i think what we've seen is a pivot moment in the trump presidency where he's jetsonning the traditional republican and foreign policy voices who thus far have been the guiding lights of his presidency on these foreign policy matters. in this criticism that trump is leveling is not one that trump himself invented. the criticism of the way that the wars in iraq and afghanistan have dragged on for decades, getting to the point where children who weren't born on 9/11 are basically old enough to be deployed in afghanistan, and many folks particularly on the left have been critical for years and years now that it's not something where we're seeing a payoff. that argument is not one that trump is pioneering. but, of course, bringing that argument into the republican party is a huge shift. and this is something that
challenges the basic bedrock of where the gop is on these core foreign policy issues. that said, of course, there are emerging pieces of evidence that trump will be able to find potentially a new demographic of people who do find this argument compelling. the center for strategic international studies released a report i believe a couple of weeks ago, maybe a couple of months ago, finding that the number of sunni militant fighters who are currently active in the middle east and in the world has quadrupled since 9/11 and that's something that the people who are sort of critical of these wars have been pointing to. that said, of course, the question of whether or not the united states should ex eithdex influence, it's an existential challenge to the way republicans think about foreign policy and more broadly about american leadership. >> more broadly about american leadership, you're exactly
right, betsy. and, unfortunately, we're seeing some republicans at least -- we'll see what the entire party does -- but we've seen republicans sell out to donald trump when it came to deficit spending, selling out the o don trump on core values time and time again. now comes the test to see if, as betsy says, republicans will adopt a position that, well, people on the far left have adopted for several years, for decades, in fact. we'll continue this discussion on the other side and i'll be asking who donald trump did not meet with yesterday and the implications of that when "morning joe" brady bunch style returns. orning joe" brady bunch returns. a lot will happen in your life. wrinkles just won't.
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i told the generals about a year and a half ago, i said let's get out of syria. they said recently, can we have more time? i said you no, you've had enough time. the united states cannot continue to be the policemen of the world. we don't want to do that. we want to protect our country. >> do you have any plans to pull out of iraq, as well? >> no plans at all, no. in fact, we can use this as a base if we wanted to do something in syria. i think a lot of people will come around to my way of thinking. it's not fair when the burden is all of us, the united states. but it's time for us to start using our head. we don't want to be taken advantage any more by countries that use us and use our incredible military to protect
them. the they don't pay for it and they're going to have to. but the bottom line is, we're going to use our heads and wealthy conditions cannot continue to use the united states to defend them. >> i just don't know where to start on so many things he just said there. we've had troops in korea now longer than i've been alive, for over 60 years. why have troops continued to be in korea? james mattis tried to explain it to him when he was secretary of defense and the president didn't like the answer. as general mattis said, we're there, sir, to stop world war three. and it's worked pretty he effectively. the same with germany. our troops rolled into germany in 1945. we have had americans stationed in germany since 1945. during that time, american strength, american power, and
america's economy has grown to record heights. we've achieved power that's really been unprecedented since the time of the roman empire. so, you see, our investments across the globe, our stationing of troops -- i'm going to go to richard haass quickly because this is a key point. richard, our investments have been minimal compared to what we as a country have gotten back in terms of strategic importance, in terms of economic benefits, in terms of geopolitical influence which, of course, has driven economic events our direction. these rich countries he's talking about, our gdp dwarfs their economies. so i'm not exactly sure what he is talking about, but whatever it is, it is a theory that is
based completely in ignorance. >> joe, the president has a world in which he sees everything in terms of guns versus butter and assumes everything we spend on guns on our role in the world somehow comes out of our own hide and we at home are worst off which as you suggest we're better off because the world is stable, because of the trade relationships, because of the peace, the u.s. economy has grown at a pace over more decades than has ever been the case before. and what's so interesting, even now, if you add up everything the united states is spending on defense and all that, the percentage of our economy that we're devoting is roughly half what we did during the cold war. so we can afford to do what we're doing in the world. we need to do what we're doing in the world and we can still thrive at home. the problems we have at home can't be blamed on the fact that we've had 2,000 guys in syria for a couple of years.
not only as you say it kept us safe, but that's an insignificant cost to the american economy. as we learn, things like ne9/11 can be phenomenally expensive. but he is stuck there and i don't see any sign that he has budged one inch for what i think is a truly misguided and historically inkrengt view of the relationship between what we do abroad and our success here at home. >> and let's talk about that. donald trump says we are suckers since the united states of america, in the post war world, has taken control, basically become the dominant force. our economy has exploded. he talks about rich companies. our economy, our gdp is four or five times that of the germans who have a strong economy.
it's three or four times that the size of japan. five, six times that of korea. these investments we've made and the great tragedy for so many that i've spoken to is that footprint of 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 troops in syria was the first time since 9/11 that the united states has created a sustainable footprint that they can keep in the middle east for quite some time being low key but stopping iranian aggression, russian aggression and the rebirth of isis. >> yeah, joe, i think the resentment that the president harbors for his return on investment in the middle east is when you su va the middle east, it's not getting any better. and i think to richard's point area about america's involvement across the region and with the
growing number of sunni militants on the ground, at the end of the day, you can't look at any companies where the united states has had close ally and countries are becoming more authoritarian, they're becoming more lawless, they're becoming more extreme. but you also brought up an interesting point earlier keep in mind, this is a president who instinctually wanted to kill the president of steer ya. it had to be jim mattis who walked him away from that. this is a president who at one point on the campaign trail we should take iraq's oil to take back everything that we've done. you don't just go and invade countries and take their oil. and you talked about yesterday the president arriving in iraq. at a time when this current aed administration is trying to put more pressure on iran, what does
the president do? he goes and completely disrespects the prime minister of iran by not meeting with him, keeping it to a phone call at a time when you really need iraq as a part of your coalition to want to put up a little bit more pressure on iran. what happens? all the internal players of iraqi's government are saying it's pretty much hurting what he is trying to do in the region on a big picture level. so it's mind boggling that he had this opportunity to go and instead of going to meet with the leader, trying to shore up support, trying to convince the local populations why he is doing what he's doing, he turned it into the mess that we saw yesterday. >> and eugene scott, things may not be getting better where the united states has been involved, but we're seeing very quickly how much worse it can be when we're not involved. and turn the middle east over to
russia and iran and suddenly the specter of a peaceful middle east completely dissolves before our eyes. >> absolutely. and people in the military and veterans are aware of this in a way that the president himself is not and therefore, that is why many of them disapprove of how the president is approaching these issues. according to military times, only 44% of those in the military actually approve of the job that president trump is doing. that number is even lower when you control it for military members of color. when you pivot back to mattis, someone who had a different philosophy of all of these issues than the president, that number is 84%. 84% of the people in the military approve of mattis. so this is something that trump should have taken note of. this is someone who didn't have any military experience.
it's making his approach purely partisan and not considering those who have expertise in this area who could better inform him how to approach these issues. >> and let's follow up on aman's point. the united states has made one mistake after another this century when we entered into this new century. u.s. power was at an apex. we fought an unnecessary war in iraq and so many others have said that. and for eight years, george w. bush was accused of engaging in military adventurism for the next eight years. there are diplomates across the world and a lot of senators saying that barack obama's strategy of leading from behind was a failure and now you have donald trump's isolationism, which has just completely bathed in ignorance.
yet despite all of our terrible mistakes, not only over this century, but over the past 50, 60, 70 years, how bad can things get in the middle east with our departure, with the rise of russia, with the rise of iran? how quickly can things spiral out of control and where will we see that in evidence first? >> one of the basic laws of the middle east, joe, is things have to get worse before they get even worse. and cif i have to place a bet o where there would be a serious world threat, i would bet on iran. and i think that's the error. whether it's israel vis-a-vis iran or the saudis doing something, perhaps hoping to change the conversation so we don't see saudi arabia simply as the murderer of a journalist, but we see them as a necessary
partner against iran or iran will do something because of the pressure they're feeling on sanctions. but that is the space i would watch. even if i'm wrong and that doesn't happen, i think we have to imagine there would be the reconstitution of terrorism. syria will never become a normal country again, but we can see increased fighting there. and sooner or later, i think the possibilities of other countries thinking about nuclear weapons, countries like saudi arabia, egypt, turkey, i wouldn't rule that out. so, again, i don't think anyone ever lost money betting against the middle east and i would think almost all the trend lines are bad right now. having been exhausted moving towards peace or anything like that, i think you're looking at a part of the world where boarders count for very little, where there's no serious negotiations, where countries are beginning to break down from within and if you're not worried about this part of the world, you're not paying attention. and what happened there won't
stay there. it ain't las vegas. bad things when they happen in the middle east have a way of spreading around the world. >> what happens there doesn't stay there. anybody that was paying attention over the past eight years, as syria spiraled out of control, needs to understand that when the united states sat back and did nothing, the result was chaos. not just across the middle east, but across europe and across the world. that refugee crisis, that was a direct result of america standing on the sidelines. what with are the impacts going to be in the coming years for donald trump taking the united states out of the middle east? well, we'll see. but, unfortunately, i fear, like richard, the results could be tragic and that region could spiral utah of control very soon.
still ahead on "morning joe," russia sees an opening with saudi arabia. of course they do because russia sees an opening with the entire middle east for the first time in five decades and they don't want the united states to get involved. plus, the president was asked if he had any concerns about flying into a war zone. his answer was, quote, absolutely. how he described his trip to the war zone with the back drop of new reporting about his nonservice in vietnam. and it's not a pretty picture, especially when you stack his personal story next to that of robert mueller. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. yoreu' watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪ ♪
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look, i had concerns for the institution of the presidency. i had concerns for my first lady. but if you would have seen what we had to go through with the darkened plane, with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever anywhere, pitch black, i've never seen it. i've been in many airplanes, all types and shapes and sizes. i've never seen anything like it. >> i just don't know what to say. the president of the united states goes over and he visits troops in a war zone. in a country that has been a long, hard slog for well over a decade. and he tells reporters, you just wouldn't believe what we had to go through. they actually had to turn the lights off in the cabin of air force one.
i really don't know how the president endured that. keep that sound bite in mind when we tell you this next story. there are new claims about president trump's mysterious 1968 diagnosis of bone spurs. now, of course, those bone spurs got him out of military service during the vietnam war. the family of a now deceased foot doctor who rented his office in queens from fred trump is telling the "new york times" that he often told the story of coming to donald trump's aid. the pediatrist died in 2007, but his daughters say that their father often told them the story of how they came to the aid of a young mr. trump during the vietnam war as a favor to donald trump's father. no paper evidence has been found
described by the events of the two daughters who are democrats and who dislike donald trump. and he also suggested there was involved by a second pediatrist that moved into the donald trump apartment the same year the future president was diagnosed with his bone spurs. >> why did you not serve in the vietnam war? >> because i was going to college, i had student deferments and ultimately had a medical deferment because of my feet. i had a bone spur. >> which foot did you have auto bone spur in? >> you'll look it up in the records. i don't know. it's in the records. >> two years before being diagnosed with those bone spurs,
selective service records show that donald trump had undergone a physical exam and, get this, he had been declared available for service. trump's deferments at the time were foss college. during chmt which time he playe tennis and squash with those bone spurs. the white house has not commented. robert mueller had a different experience. as wire magazine reported earlier this year, director mueller underwent his physical at the philadelphia naval shipyard. his years of intense athletics, including hockey and lacrosse had left him with a banged up injured knee. the military declared that it would need to heal before he
would be allowed to deploy to vietnam. well, once his knee did heal, after years of rehab, mueller went back to the military doctors. in 1967, just before donald trump received his own medical deferment for heel spurs, mueller started officer candidate school at quantico, virginia. and the rest is, as they say, sam stein, history. he was awarded i think it was the navy cross for valor at a time when most american in america are trying to avoid service. >> yeah, i know. trump was not the only one who used his privilege and access to wealth to get out of conscription. this was a common theme,
obviously, throughout the vietnam war. but mueller, having recuperated and healed himself to go into the draft was a pretty remarkable thing. but yeah, this is donald trump's story. i'm not surprised that he found a family friend to give him that diagnosis. we know fred trump, his father, gave him huge benefits. the schemes are indicative of a person who was handed basically everything on a silver platter and then said he hit a home run. this imagine that he's created of this self-made man is not true. >> no, it's nonsense. he got about $200 million from his data and then went bankrupt and had to figure out how to
borrow money. what should we be expecting over the next month or so from mueller's investigation. they've got quiet, obviously, over the holidays. should we expect a lot of activity as we turn to 2019? >>2019? >> my understanding is mueller's team is putting together their major report they plan to issue to the attorney general once the investigation is concluded and then very much an open question as the to what will happen to that final product. the report, according to the regulations that govern the special counsel only has to be issued to attorney general. the attorney general is likely eater to be matthew whitaker who famously said definitively more than a year ago that the president did not collude with russia. so either matthew whitaker will be able to decide whether or not that report sees the light of day or potentially bill barr who trump said he'll nominate to be his next attorney general. it's unlikely trump picked barr
for that post without making a deep cement how barr will handle that key decision. the there's other hurdles. mueller's report will include classified material and any of that material to be redacted. that process could be arduous. it's possible mueller's report will include material that could potentially arguably according to the white house be covered by executive privilege. we can expect a protracted legal battle over the extent to which the american public and congress actually gets to see the information and the conclusion that mueller and his team has come to. >> thank you very much. speaking of matthew whitaker, there's new reporting that the acting attorney general made a falls claim on his resume about academic honors he didn't receive. that story is straight ahead on "morning joe". one aspect of the conflict
. gene scott, i would love to get your insights on the government shutdown. it's entering into its sixth day. what have you learned from your reporting, any movement whatsoever or do we expect this to go all the way to january 3rd when nancy pelosi becomes the next speaker of the house >> we certainly should expect this to go into the new year because the democrats have no incentive to negotiate as trump wants them to and the reality is we see polling showing most voters is blaming trump for the shutdown. most voters want democrats to do what they said they want hem to do which is campaign against
using taxpayer money to fund this wall, that no research, no supporters have said will actually do what trump argued it will do. >> eugene, thank you so much. we appreciate it. we'll have a lot more reporting on the government shutdown just ahead as congress returns and the president continues to dig in as nancy pelosi gets prepared to take over the speaker's gavel. and it took hear week but the secretary of homeland security is finally answering a key question that many believe she should have been able to answer while on capitol hill but last thursday she couldn't do it. we'll also bring in bob woodward and walter isaacson. "morning joe" back in a moment.
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(girl) nooooo... (vo) quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker, and is two times more absorbent than the leading ordinary brand. (man and pirate girl) ahoy! (laughing) (vo) bounty, the quicker picker upper. as i said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when i'm in front of the boy scouts, right? by the way, just a question. did president obama ever come to a jamboree? under the trump administration you'll be saying merry christmas again when you go shopping, believe me. merry christmas. >> oh, my lord. you remember last year when president trump figured out a
way to inject politics into a boy scout jamboree? well, i think i remember him doing the same thing when the air force football team came to the white house. he's done it at graduations. he's -- it's so inappropriate and he doesn't even get it how bad it makes him look. all that taken into account i guess his partisan comments yesterday to american troops serving in iraq shouldn't have surprised anyone. welcome back to "morning joe". it's thursday, december 27th. still with us we have politics editor for the "daily beast," sam stein. the president council on foreign relations, richard haass. and joining the conversation white house correspondent for the pbs news hour. also associate editor of the "washington post" and author of
"fear" bob woodward. professor of history at tulane university, walter asoisaacson. walter, let's begin with you. how many norms of decorum of president of the united states did the president breach yesterday? i lost count. but it really is so unbecoming. it puts those troops that are serving in harm's way, many let's say who support donald trump, just puts them in a terrible position. >> it's not breaching of norms. it's about him. his fear of flying into a war zone. what he's saying to the boy scouts. i think there's been a deep corrosion for the past two years on the type of norms, types of civility, type of humility and dedication you see in bob mueller has been wiped away by donald trump. whatever his policies are,
whatever you think about withdrawing troops from syria is not just the policies it's how he did it, how crass he was communicating it and the fact that he violated norms that keep our society stable. >> well, yeah. keeping our society stable is exactly what conservatives like russell kirk used to always write about. they would talk about custom and duty and character and societal norms, which, of course, bob woodward, this -- i guess this generation of trump republicans have just cast aside and, of course, you look at what happened yesterday in iraq, you look at what's happened over the past week with the dismissal of general mattis, secretary of defense and oh, my gosh i guess we should have predicted this by just reading your book. it seems to come straight from
the pages of "fear." >> well, the importance of mattis to the trump administration cannot be overstated and it is a sad moment for the country, and for trump that mattis is gone. this is somebody who had the experience, had the clout at least for a while with trump, but, joe, if i may interject here, there's a new category of people to talk to about the trump administration. you referenced old line republicans. there are people on lists because there are so many vacancies or about to become vacancies in the white house and at the cabinet level, you start talking to people who are on these lists and it's absolutely
fascinating. there's a core theme, and that is these people worry a, that trump won't deal with facts. he just disposes of facts as his own facts. and the second issue is that trump will not listen to anyone. he will not take advice. and i guess you could say a third element here is there aren't the kind of hash it out meetings that a president needs. bring in the advisers. what do you think? let's not make these decisions on impulse, and impulse, trump's personal impulse are driving this. so you have a group of people who might come in to the administration who just shake their heads and say i don't want any part of it. so who is going to be the new
secretary of defense? anybody who is really thinking rationally will say no. >> well let's bring in hans nicole of the white house and ask him that question. hans, there have been republicans that have stood by donald trump's side, despite his breaching of constitutional norms, despite the fact he's tried to undermine an independent judiciary, despite the fact he's done things that would have horrified conservatives in the past. it does seem this past week for many conservatives the decision to pull out of iraq and leave it to or pull out of syria and leave it to the iranians, the russians and maybe a rebuilt isis has been a bridge too far, a crossing of the rubicon. will it make it more difficult for donald trump to find a mainstream political figure to fill the vacancy that's coming the secretary of defense leaving
>> it aedes another layer of scrutiny on capitol hill. senator lindsey graham is a country lawyer, he can contort himself with a lot of arguments but when you look at his response to the syria withdrawal and his response to the mattis resignation, that's indication that whoever the next secretary of defense will be might have to make some public pronouncements on capitol hill about just what they think about say the importance of allies, the importance of nato. should nato exist. a whole host of issues. we'll see whether or not they get a proper grilling in the senate when their name gets sent up. one way for the president to short circuit that keep shanahan acting. >> do you see that happening? >> yesterday when you look at what the president said it almost seemed like a pretty clear tell, pretty clear hint when the president said shanahan will be there for a long time and in no rush to name a permanent replacemen although he
said he has a lot of good candidates. shanahan is a black hole. we don't know a whole lot. we know virtually nothing about his world view. he came up through boeing. he knows a lot about the dreamliner and this 787. unclear if patrick shanahan has theories on how to counter iranian or russian influence from ukraine to afghanistan all across the globe. i think that's one of the big questions in the next two years, how does the defense department react to what everyone at this point acknowledges and that is an unconventional president. >> patrick shanahan was brought in by mattis, is that correct, to run the organization the of the pentagon. >> shanahan wasn't mattis first pick. shanahan basically, there's a personal connection. mattis had been the j.d. manager
on his basketball team. a friend that recommended a boeing executive who was at boeing as well. he ends up giving this shanahan reference. shanahan wasn't political. he was thought of as a technocrat. a very smart guy. he has an engineer's approach to a lot of world's problems. there's nothing wong with that. shanahan will tell you he hasn't spent a lot of time in his career thinking about global challenges. he spent a lot of time thinking about supply change and how you make deadlines but not how you counter troop posture where aircraft carriers should be deployed all things people in dod have spent their careers in meetings on. >> all right. hans nicole at the pentagon, thank you very much. greatly appreciate it. walter, i can't help but think hearing hans talking about an engineer who was more interested in supply chains than foreign
policy, thinking of jfk's secretary of defense, rocket mcnamara. >> right, exactly. i was just reading a book about richard holbrooke and it's all about the macmcnamara mentality, the best and brightest that come in. that said i don't know shanahan, but he seems like a very smart person, and if he is somebody who can figure out not just supply chains, but exactly how to do the pentagon in the 21st century, how to do procurement, how to bring in an innovation age, how to take it out of the mindset of aircraft carriers being built and being judged on how many aircraft carriers we have, he may be good, but what we actually need at this moment is not just that but somebody that can provide some safety around donald trump, somebody who has some vision of the role of our allies in the world.
so perhaps shanahan can rise to that challenge. he seems like a smart person with many, many skills that we need in the pentagon for 21st century military. maybe he can bring in a deputy secretary. michele flournoy that notion she was going to be deputy secretary that was that wonderful dream at the beginning of this administration that maybe it would govern as an independent administration and even bring in some democrats in. >> yeah. no, i agree with walter here. we have this romanticized view. in trump's case he's kind of disposed of that within a year and a half. we have people who will be running the department of defense, essentially the epa, acting attorney general, jared kushner given like 20 different mega responsibilities, mick mulvaney handing three important different jobs. the universe of advisors that
trump has surrounded him with is both smaller, and they are more likely to be people who share his world view. part of the problem, this is something i want to throw richard. part of the problem is there's simply not a universe of republican seasoned operatives but officials who shares trump's world view that key pick from. that's a big issue to me. people don't necessarily want to work with trump because they don't agree with the policies he's pursuing so that's why you have to find a dod secretary who is a businessman. that's why you have to find an attorney general who wrote memos criticizing the mueller probe. >> the republican party has been split three ways on foreign policy now for decades pup have the realists like the former president 41 who just died. you had the neo-cons closer to 43. trump is out of the buchanan wing of the republican party and that's not the foreign policy mainstream and there's not that
many to choose from. plus as you said you've now got this whole overlay. jared kushner and his being off line. you have national security adviser who doesn't convene national security meetings. there's virtually no process in this administration. you have diplomacy by twitter. also look at 2018. we lost secretary of state, secretary of defense and national security guy. >> if you're wanting to work in dod and you look at how james mattis, who was going to, you know, play it out and do his best he could and stay there for the good of the country he couldn't last two years. what does that say to you this, is an uncontrollable environment? i shouldn't be part of it? >> public service at this level is attractive. but public service in this administration can be dangerous to your health. turning to bob woodward. bob has thought more about administrations more than anybody else in washington. is there any historical parallel, bob, that comes to
mind here? do you see anything here when you look back over the what six, eight presidents you've watched up close do you see anything that echos or is this really something different? >> the theory of the case to the extent that trump has one and he expressed it interestingly yesterday that he thinks we're suckers, he uses that word, i quote him at meetings in the last two years talking about we're suckers because we have these international military agreements like nato and he thinks we're paying for the military for other countries and, of course, mattis and the generals would say to him, no, no, those are bargains. that is for our security. richard, no one knows better than you how this old
international order -- sorry to use the term, how it worked. it prevented major wars for 70 years. it was mattis who took trump over to the pentagon, his first year, and tried to educate him and say look we have these security agreements, we have the trade agreements, we have the top secret intelligence partnerships. this works. yes, you want to change some things but trump sat there and said it's all b.s. and got angry. what you have here is the nonfunctioning of the national security apparatus in a way that couldn't be more dangerous, quite frankly. >> when bob talks about how donald trump considers us suckers and talks about the
international order as working, and as preventing global wars, the thing that donald trump overlooks because he's quite actually ignorant of history and ignorant of foreign policy and actually ignorant, believe it or not of global finance, because he had a mom and pop operation without the mom as we say here all the time, his dad gave him $200 million he somehow squandered that and got $9 billion in debt. for anyone who knows global finance, works in global finance day in and day out they will also tell you this order that america has led, this international order not only prevents global wars but it has allowed the united states of america to grow into the strongest economic engine in the history of mankind. we have a gdp of almost $20 trillion and we quote suckers as
american taxpayers are paying 3% of our budget to not only stop world war iii but to also protect and promote american economic interests across the globe that have an impact in the day in and day out lives of american workers. and that's something that donald trump will never understand and certainly it's something that those around him will never understand. sam stein was talking about how his advisers, it's one of the smallest group of advisors around any president. bob woodward said they don't call regular meetings at the national security council. may be one of the smallest and most isolated but one of the least -- i won't say one of, it is the least experienced foreign policy team in modern american history. this would be like you or me going to get brain surgery from
a doctor who had never performed that surgery before and say go at it. that's who is running our foreign policy right now, neo-fights. >> i think you could say that president trump doesn't even have an a-team or b-team or c-team. he's on d and e right now. president trump is not, unfortunately, taken seriously by many of the people who would want to work at the white house and at other times republicans around the country who are wary going into a white house where donald trump will be doing basically whatever he wants to do at the end of the day. so i think you have that going on. then you also have the idea this isn't just his foreign policy, this is an issue that seeps into his communication team, an issue that seeps into his legal team. you have someone that became president and in his mind i promised we would get out of syria, i need to do it right away no matter what the people closest to me say. i visited all across the country
at my rallies, i did what i said i would do. you have that. add to that the fact that when you look at his comments to troops you have a highly political speech he gave to the troops. talk about nancy pelosi, saying that he wants the wall still. talking about fact tour figyou' fighting for borders here but democrats don't want borders in our country. so it was a political rally held in iraq. >> political rally held in iraq and you bring up a great point. we're talking about inexperienced and incompetent people running the president's foreign policy, being in charge of middle east policy, but you talk about his legal team as well. he's had an incompetent legal team for some time which is goingd up costing him greatly in the end. but what about matthew whitaker? a guy that many of my friends from washington say day in and day out of all of the scandals
that have unfolded during donald trump's almost two years in the white house, having a guy like that as your acting attorney general may be the greatest, that he is woefully ill equipped to be the top law enforcement officer in this country. >> i think that's the idea that one, president trump can't get people to work with him because there are people that i've talked to, lawyers that we talked to at pbs who literally said the white house tried hire us and we said no because we understand that the client isn't going to listen to us. there's this idea that donald trump while he's president, he's also his own chief of staff, his own communications director, his own secretary of defense. he's thinking as long as i can say we're winning and as long as i can make it took as though it's a great smooth transition in this white house, a smooth operation then maybe people will believe that. .
what we're seeing is obviously things are not running smoothly and the president is trying his best to put on a good face when there are all sorts of small mini cry sees. when i say mini more like sectored off crises happening in the white house. >> as we talk about crises let's talk about global crises but specifically let's focus on the middle east. with donald trump retreating from syria, with vladimir putin not only expanding his influence there but also in saudi arabia, what does the future of the middle east look like with a war in yemen, with rising tensions between saudi arabia and iran, with assad and putin and erdogan and the mullahs of iran cutting up, balkanizing sir area what does the future look like?
>> not very optimistic. very grim. you can throw a dart on the middle east and not likely to hit anywhere to show any signs of improvement. even in our closest allies, israel going to early election, the political upheaval that has been triggered by the effects in the region are being felt. when you look at a country from libya that's lawless. yemen a humanitarian disaster. the situation in syria isn't any better. the lack of any democratic process. many of these countries within themselves having rivalries. saudi arabia at odds with qatar. you have regional players like iran and russia that are now trying to shape the outcome of so many of these interstate conflicts. iran is continuing to try to quote richard here, hezbollahize
syria, to create a proxy in syria to pose a threat to syria. syria won't stand by and they have been carrying out military strikes inside syria. the region is being pushed more and more to the brink of direct confrontation beyond the war zones we've seen over the last ten years in yemen, syria and these other arab spring countries. i'll say we're not in any upward trajectory, we're in a downward spiral across the region for the most part, joe. >> i want to talk to richard haass and bob woodward next about the unraveling of the middle east. it's interesting that it's come 40 years after the camp david accords. we celebrated the 40th anniversary of that this past september. and there hasn't been a ground war in the middle east since, a significant one, obviously, between israel or their arab enemies in the past. what's the future look like? we're going to be talk again to
bob woodward, richard haass and others but i want to thank you for being with us. still ahead, the stock market makes a come back with the dow surging more than 1,000 points yesterday. it was the largest single point day gain ever. we got brian sullivan coming in to talk to us about that. plus, matthew whitaker. we spoke about him a moment ago. his resume says he was an academic all american. official records say no he wasn't. the latest on the acting ag's bio. you're watching "morning joe". we shall return. g "morning joe". weha sll return. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ the greatest wish of all is one that brings us together. the final days of wish list are here.
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reaching its largest one point gain in history jumping more than 1,000 points or nearly 5%. with us now brian sullivan. the celebration may not last long with futures pointing for a steep drop today when markets open later. my gosh, yesterday was at least, i got to believe, a lot of americans with 401(k) accounts had to be happy yesterday to see it go up because we've been seeing these 5% drops and losses over the past month or so. >> yeah open walking outside at "30 rock" last night heading to the 5:00 p.m. show on cnbc, guy walking on the street, how is the market doing? i say we're up over 1,000. thank goodness, and moved on his way. you're right. it's been a rough month. yesterday was amazing. record breaking point rally. here's thing. we're still on pace for the worst december for the dow since 1931. i mean yesterday made it a
little less worse than it was, but it's still a very, very difficult month. a lot of people are not going to want to open up those retirement statements. people keep asking me why did the market go up 1,000 points. ultimately the market will know but i'll say this. you tread book "all is quiet on the western front." all was quiet politically yesterday and many people i talked to said that may have something to do with it. the president made the trip office, no tweets. mnuchkin didn't send out any surprise emails. the federal reserve stayed quiet. the market did what it wanted to do. no talk of border walls or government shutdowns. just leave it alone and maybe we'll see what happens. >> all quiet on the western front. it would be good for the markets if the president could remain at least a bit muted for a day or two, allow wall street to recover. walter, i wanted to get back to
you about the president and his general attitude not just about the markets, somebody must-win, somebody must lose if things are going badly i must fire the fed chairman even if i can't fire the fed chairman. but matt lewis had this great column on christmas and he talked about how trump's world view is so different from evangelical's world view. trump came from -- he had this theory of scarcity. i win, you lose. which an ungracious viewpoint which means if a refugee comes into the united states and they can save their children then that must mean we're losing. well that's his attitude on foreign policy, when he talks about suckers. he says the united states, we're suckers because we're actually helping other countries. he can't look past the fact that, yes, we're helping other country but actually we're helping ourselves even more not just because of who we are but,
again, for economic reasons. >> i think you put your finger on the most essential quality about trump is that he's the type of person who says that in order for me to win, others have to lose. he can't find the win-win situation. he doesn't have the empathy or sort of the feeling for other people to say let's figure out how we can make it work. that's bad internationally, economically. because in order to win against china you do not want to hurt the chinese economy, otherwise soybean exporters here in louisiana are going to go down to zero soybean exports. like wi likewise when you're dealing with congress and you want border security you have to say how do we make it a win-win for both. that's not in his dna. he's a deeply unkind person who wants to ma s ts to make others
losers. we get to our allies in europe, we don't want to be suckers. know the nato alliance was a win-win for the past 60 years. he's got to get a mindset in which he says i don't have the destroy other people in order for me to succeed and you're not seeing that in trade, you're not seeing that in foreign policy, you're not seeing that when it comes to the economy or to domestic things like immigration. >> well, you know, walter, you talk about the president being deeply unkind person. it also just means he's a terrible deal maker and how ironic this is the guy that wrote "the art of the deal." anyone that's ever run a mediation, which i have, anyone who has ever been in a mediation knows your goal is to have everybody leave not happy with what they have, but at least feeling like they won. that's always my goal. whenever i've gone into any
negotiation, i talk to people around me we'll go in and give them hell. no, no. figure out what do they want? when we lead the offense why will they think boy, we got the best of them. that's how you negotiate. yet it's just not in donald trump's psyche at all. talk about again, go back to nato. talk about all the other treaties that we've signed in the past. it always, we wanted to be a win-win, just so, again, we're not day traders but we're in it for the long run with these diplomatic alliances. >> i think it has to be ingrained in the personality that you don't want to see people be forced to admit that they are losers. you want to see people who say i like dealing with this country. i can trust this country. the country doesn't lie, the country is honest, you can count on this country's commitments.
we're going to find something where we consider it a win-win. and even if you're successful in negotiation and the other side is unsuccessful on trade deal or whatever you don't need to for that country to be called a loser. i just think that this is a deep seeded think in the personality of donald trump and if you do read "the art of the deal" you know it's about humiliating other people not making long term alliances. >> which is why bob woodward, donald trump could never get a bank to allow him to borrow money, why people stopped doing deals with him in new york city because they knew they couldn't do deals with him. it reminded me a conversation i had with rudy giuliani before he jumped on the trump train, when he was still a trump skeptic. he said i never met anybody like
donald before. everybody else when i go into rooms and negotiate deals everybody leaves okay you get this, i get that and we try to figure out how everybody leaves happy. he said donald trump and he told me this early 2016, the only person he's ever met where when he goes into negotiate a deal he has to leave feeling like he won and the other side lost. >> yeah. this is an important point, and there's a subsidiary point to the one walter is making. i always think these things hinge on specifics and the first three weeks of the trump administration, so it's february 8th, 2017 he has a dinner at the white house with mattis, the new secretary of defense, mattis is going to europe to meet with nato and, you know, what's the policy? and trump, of course, is saying no, nato, we're spending all of
this money, it's in a way for trump these things are about cash flow, and mattis finally says to him no, mr. president, if nato didn't exist we would have to invent it and as long as nato exists there's no way russia can win a war in europe and asia. and trump finally says to him, okay, jim, mattis, you go talk to nato about this but you have to be the rent collector. now, for trump this is about money and there's a long term agreement, the members of nato have that every member will contribute at least 2% of their gdp to defense, but by the year 2024. so he sends the secretary of
defense off to try to get more money from these countries when it's not yet 2024, and puts mattis in this box and so he kind of goes there and he says, okay, everyone needs to chip in more money. well, these relationships are not about cash flow. but trump brings that mentality from new york real estate and, you know, this is one of the other boxes we're in. >> and i think what bob woodward, joe, is make is an incredibly important point. the president would not like this characterization because of his success in business but he's at heart a small business person. he's always competed against bigger companies. in hotels he competed against marriott and hyatt and casinos. he's a small family run operation and so to bob's point every small business owner
thinks about one thing. cash flow. you need positive cash flow and it's really interesting to hear that kind of diagnosis about the way that he operates. i think it's extremely apt and important in calculating how he may negotiate deals because what he's looking for from the federal reserve is cash flow. he wants lower interest rates. that's why he goes after the federal reserve chairman. he thinks that way as a balance sheet. and as you know, joe, politics is not a balance sheet. it's not a dual entry ledger. there's not assets and liabilities matching up. >> also it shows a complete ignorance on his part on how nato works. as bob woodward said the goal is not 2% by 2018 and also donald trump shows every day when he talks about this that he's ignorant. he believes there's a gigantic pot of money at nato
headquarters that leprechauns guard and germany will come and write a $200 billion check and give it to the leprechaun who will put in this giant pot at nato headquarters. that does not exist. the goal is 2% of their own defers budget as bob said in 2024. we'll continue talk being about this and much more. we got bob woodward, walter isaacson and also richard haass. we'll be right back with more "morning joe" minus the leprechauns. leprechauns. it's time for our lowest prices of the season on
richard haass, i always think about the marshal plan. i know a lot of americans do when we try to think of something that america did, a give for other countries that paid us back 100 fold, 1,000 fold, in that case, yes, we helped rebuild western europe, but we kept western europe free, which, of course, aligned with our principles of mattisian and
jeffersonians. we kept free markets there for u.s. businesses to make billions and billions of dollars over the decades. can you give me an example of where you saw the united states make a give, but what they got in return was so much more than what they gave? >> well, one is directly anna la analogous to what you're saying. south korea. u.s. kept troops there for nearly 70 years. in the interest of maintaining peace and stability on that peninsula which is crucial, not just for stability there but in terms of china, japan and the entire region. or any time looking at something like the middle east. you give to various sides. so, for example, you try to get some package where you have constraints on israel settlement building but don't give the palestinians an unlimited right to return to what is now israel. you got to put together a trade
off. any negotiation has two phases. let me take a step back. one is at the table. the other is after the negotiation is over. each side has to go back and sell the outcome to its constituency. everybody is in politics in a negotiation. you got to work in it these various phases. you have to be willing to give in order to get. i think that's essentially true of any negotiation around the world and it's essentially true with any relationships. allies are not a transactional undertake. allies we think about just not tomorrow but the day after tomorrow. it's a relationship. so we don't want to squeeze them in some narrow way. we want a good relationship. that means acsepgt and recognizing their political needs as well as our own. >> many of our relationships across the globe right now are strained especially with elected
democratic leaders, but, when we see congress return in early, early january the president is going to be surrounded by strained relationships, not only with the democrats thart running the house of representatives, but a lot of republicans, can you talk about the unease that republicans feel on the hill about what donald trump has done in syria, ceding it to russia and iran and also the possibility, what happens if donald trump tries to do the same thing in korea? >> well, the key question and really the key moment has always been whether or not republicans in the senate and possibly in the house were ever going to turn on president trump and really start pushing back on president trump and acting like an equally elected part of the country. and part of the government. what we see now are republicans who, as you said, are used to back president trump you think of lindsey graham and openly saying syria is the red line for
us. this is where we draw the line. senator toomey told this network or on nbc we don't report to president trump that republicans need to remember that they were also elected and they don't work for president trump, which in many cases has been the case because republicans have been worried that they shared some of the same voters that put trump in office and as a result they didn't want to push him too much. think about senator corker, senator flake, these are senators who openly challenged the president. now they are gone. but i imagine there will be new senators like mitt romney who will come in and fill the space of a senator yom wjohn mccain w also is not with us. when president trump talks about cash flow and treatmenting foreign relations as they are transactions. i have one word or two words, jamal khashoggi. the president in front of troops was bragging the about saudi
arabia's role in the world and talking about they made such an investment in development around the world. we have to remember this is a president who still not challenging saudi arabia who measured a journalist, who was someone who worked for "the washington post. we need to remember that as we talk about the president's take on foreign policy and also on the congress that he's going to face when he gets into office or continues office in 2019. >> no doubt about it. a quick final thoughts from walter asacson and bab woodward, walter. >> i do think we are entering a year in which we will have to see if a divided congress can fine some way either with trump or without trump to figure out how do we get the fess things done and prevent a true disaster from happening. it's not that hard to find
enough people in the middle in the senate and house and new house of representatives that can miss immigration. trump keeps getting in the way. we have a new year come income which perhaps congress will realize it's got to take the lead. >> bob woodward, final thoughts. >> well, the, first of all, the jamal khashoggi matter, which obviously is central in lots of emotional thinking at the washington post, if you go back to it was deep atchison whose memoir was present in the creation. always look at the beginning of things. it was the first months of the trump presidency when jared kushner went in to all the senior officials at a meeting in the situation room and said we have to reach out to saudi
arabia, the new expected crown prince, he was only the deputy crown prince at that time mbs and everyone, hr mcmaster, national security adviser said, no, we can't do this. mattis said, no, we can't do this. secretary of state tillerson said, oh my god, you have to be careful with the saudis. but they plowed ahead. they thought it was a big win and looked at the loss as walter points out, other point outside, they've not faced the deal they made with the saudis. it's corrupt. >> it's a corrupt tale. they also will not face history. they have been contemptuous of diplomatic history and international history and it continues to cost americans every day. thank you so much for being with
us. thank you all. coming up, we are learning more about the changes happening on the southern border after the death of a second migrant child in u.s. custody that death coming, of course, tragically on christmas day. we will talk to one of the leading reporters on that story. nbc news' jacob soberoff next on "morning joe." b soberoff next on "morning joe." gentle means everything, so we improved everything. we used 50% fewer ingredients added one handed pumps and beat the top safety standards
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the best experience possible, by being on time everytime. and if we are ever late, we'll give you a automatic twenty dollar credit. my name is antonio and i'm a technician at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. you do not know how many human beings have died while in the custody of the department that you lead and you in preparation for today's hearing, you didn't ascertain that number, but you don't know it today? >> i don't have an exact figure for you. >> do you have a rough idea? >> sir, what i can tell you is -- >> i'm talking about people who are died in your custody, you don't have the number. >> i will get back to you with the number. >> now a week later, dhs secretary keir sten nielsen says there have been six migrant
deaths in 2016 which ended september 30th. she said the two deaths this month were the first time children have died in custody in more than a decade, with us now msnbc correspondent jacob soberoff. sam stein has the first question. >> jacob, first of all, you have done tremendous reporting on this, dhs is saying in the wake of a second confirmed death of a young minor, they will be providing what they call secondary medical checks. i think it's important to know. one of the big problems with the influx of migrant children and migrants in the border, we don't have the personnel and infrastructure. we know they have not been given access to these people, jacob, what are they doing now? now that they say they have secondary medical checks. what does that mean? do they have the resources and
person in el to do the checks to probably possibly prevent these deaths from happening in the future. >> so your question what does that mean? in why now? because have you two migrant deaths in custody over the course of the last three weeks a alone and they do not have the personnel the coast guard will go down there. dhs the cdc is getting involved. why did it take the deaths of two little kids in order for customs and border protection to decide they want to have better medical care in the border control stations? where we have loan for a very long time by the way the conditions are not good down there. this is not new. what is new about it, donald trump's immigration policies making things far worse than we have seen them before resulting in children being in facilities like this one or the several
that this thung u young boy was in before he ultimately passed away. >> all right. thank you so much. we greatly appreciate all your work. still ahead, president trump is in iraq to visit troops. his speech to u.s. forces sounded more like a campaign rally, he bashed democrats for not funding the border wall. plus, russia warns against interfering amid continuing pressure over the murder of jamal khashoggi. richard haase will weigh in on that next. "morning joe" is coming right back. that next. "morning joe" is coming right back improved everything. we used 50% fewer ingredients added one handed pumps and beat the top safety standards the new johnson's® choose gentle
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choose gentle america shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth. not being reimbursed in many cases at all. if they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price and sometimes that's also a monetary price. so we're not the suckers of the world. we're no longer the suckers, folks. and people aren't looking at us as suckers. under my administration, we're winning now, we're not playing to lose slowly like they have been doing for 19 years. we're fighting in areas where we shouldn't be fighting and spending hundreds of billions of dollars doing it. we want to fight where it's meaningful. i just met with them. your general understands it.
we want to fight for the meaningful things. >> wow. >> that was a message from president trump who's now back in washington this morning, but that was his message while visiting american troops serving in an active war zone for the first time as commander-in-chief. you know, the president's trip to iraq and germany, they were very good and valuable uses of the president's time over the christmas holidays and the troops he visited there were clearly happy to see him, i think every american should be grateful for that but we should also be concerned that mr. trump, once again, used a captive audience of american heroes to push his unpopular domestic agenda. this time the wall. you know, churchill didn't attack aptly at yalta. i didn't blast democrats when he
was in korea. ronald reagan didn't try to undermine speaker jim wright when he was standing at the brandon burg get a telling mr. gorbachev to tear down that wall. it's all unbecoming and very bush league. you can bet 41 and 43 would have never treated the troops so disrespectful disrespectfully. the president also lied about pushing through a huge pay raise for the troops. i don't get it. because it's not true. it's not even close to being true. and of all the people in the world that know the president of the united states was lying about a 10% pay raise that he pushed through, himself, and he fought back against democrats and he got this huge pay raise, the very people that would know he was lying about their pay raise would be the troops, themselves, who were in that
audience who opened their paychecks to see that they didn't get that pay raise, into the 10% pay raise, you know worse than the president's bizarre ticks, where he lies for absolutely no reason at all. i think more dangerous than that are his policies that will put those troops and really you and me and all americans in greater danger. you know, we use to fight isis and terrorists in syria and other places across the globe, so we wouldn't have to fight them here at home or in soldier's hometown. donald trump, he thinks that's how suckers fight. he wants to fight here, i guess. donald trump now calls american suckers for fighting enemies like isis abroad and dismantling their terror networks abroad, so we don't have to fight them in our own schools or in our own
churches or airports. remember that, remember airports? no, things are changing under donald trump. u.s. leaders once stood up to bullying threats from tyrannical thugs from turkey or russia, but now it's not even close. last week it's sad to say our president cave ed d to turkish leader erdogan. donald trump bailed out on our allies, he ran off his beloved defense secretary all in response to a threatening phone call from the leader of turkey. are you kidding me? and this week the president sat silently by as russia is now threatening the united states of america. threatening us over saudi arabia, ordering donald trump not to press a royal family there to hold their murderous
crown prince accountable for the slaughter of a washington columnist and a virginia resident. donald trump attacked barack obama's foreign policy approach from leading behind for years. but now we have a weak president who fears russia and fears turkey and he's in full retreat across the globe and he has gifted this christmas season the middle east to russia to iran annual to isis. now, it seems to me we aren't the suckers after all, mr. president. you are. you are the sucker tore believing dismantling the most successful military operations across the globe will do anything other than help russia, isis, iran and our other geopolitical enemies, or thre s
threats. that's not going to make america greater again. it will make us much weaker than we have been at any time since world war ii. you know, actually, we were great long before donald trump entered the white house. we will be great again after he leaves washington. unfortunately, it's just an intervening madness, including yesterday, when he did something right. even in doing something right, he figures out a way to serve chaos. in so doing, that creates more crises for our troops and for our diplomats and for our allies and they'll be forced to deal with that chaos until the day that donald j. trump exits the white house for good. with us to discuss all this, we have politics editor sam stein
and the author of the book a world in disarray richard haase, "morning joe" first look eamon mujahadeen and reporter for "the washington post, eugene scott. why don't we start with richard haase, you have somehow clarified in 280 characters the state of the middle east right now and unfortunately and this is unfortunate, i would not say this for most authors. unfortunately the title of your book keeps getting more relevant by the day. talk about the middle east with donald trump and america in full retreat. what does the middle east look like right now? >> what we're seeing in the middle east is essentially the post-american period. i'm not suggesting everything was perfect in the past, but we
had more influence than anybody else and others before they made big decisions or did things thought about. what might the united states do if we do this? we have essentially taken ourselves out of the mix. others are free without deference or considering american interests or actions. we see the israelis attacking iranian sites in syria. we see the russians now, the most powerful external actor. they're the only ones with ties to saudi arabia and iran. they pretty much got the turks under their thumb. we see turkey about to invade syria going after the syrian kurds against isis. >> that is a strategic and humanitarian nightmare.
iran is basically an imperial country trying to increase its way around the region. essentially, we've backed off. we said, we don't need to be a central part of it anymore. but the president articulated yesterday was essentially a very narrow or pinched view based almost on entirely if you spend a lot of money on foreign policy, it's money thrown do under the drain. this has become a laboratory of a post-american region. we will see increasing violence, no respect for humanity or human life. as bad as it will be in the middle east, which matters because of energy, terrorists, israel and so forth. i'm worried our friends around the world will look at this and say if it happens there, elements can happen here. they will begin to prepare themselves for a time when the united states is no longer reliable. >> that will be a very different
world. >> richard, in the coming months, we will learn completely as robert mueller was able to uncover, ties between donald trump, his campaign, the russian government and agents of russia. i think it's fascinating and disturbing without knowing the full details of what robert mueller knows and the investigators know that for the first time since 1973, for the first time since 1973, russia has been allowed to play a key roll in the middle east. and that would not have happened without donald trump's acquiescence. now with a retreat from syria, with a small foot print. one most generals says was the most effective we've had person
for person, that increases russia's power all the more, does it not? now they're delivering our zone of interest for decades. >> along with iran, this began under the obama administration. russia got involved and now for putin, this is in some ways, he's undone. i don't know, what, 25 or 30 years of post-cold war history. one could say going back longer. he has essentially figured out a way on the chief for terror re-enter the middle east. even people like netanyahu. spechd more time than going to washington. he understands, you may not like what the russians are doing. but they are willing to act upon their interests as they see them and again, people are taking
out. so what we are forcing our influence, i'm worried. don't you think the north koreans are looking at this? how soon will they say, we'll de-nuclearize or do something on nuclear weapons, as soon as you americans move troops out of south korea. how do the europeans look at this? this is going to raise issues globally about what the united states is prepared to do. foreign policy is not about how much capacity you have. the president spent time talking about our beautiful military, how powerful we are. you are right. what matters in foreign policy is your willingness to use the power and the capacity you have. what we are increasingly seeing is the united states that's not willing to do that.
>> not willingness the cowardice he has shown, it sends a message, are you exactly right. not just across the middle east or the saudi, not just to the egyptians or the jordanians and our long-time allies in the middle east, it sends a message all across the globe and you are right the north koreans are going to continue to back off on a deal that really hasn't been given the chance to succeed and sam stein, i want to play you more from the president yesterday talking to the troops, this time about domestic politics. >> i don't know if you folks are aware of what's happening, we want to have strong borders in the united states. the democrats don't want us to have strong borders. it gave me an idea looking at this warrior group, i think i will say, i don't want the wall, they will give it to me. i have figured out the solution.
first lady, tell nancy ploerks i don't want the wall. oh, we want the wall and we get the wall. when you think about it, you're fighting for borders in other countries. and they don't want to fight the democrats for the border of our country. we want real offense and real defense and that's what we're doing. we have secured record increase to our military budget and we are purchasing all of this great equipment. $700 billion last year. $716 billion with a b, with a b. we were fought very hard by the democrats and others. but i said, we have to take care of our military. >> it's, i really don't know where to start, sam. first of all so much for
politics ending at the water's edge. programs it hasn't in quite some time? you don't see presidents talking like that, as i said at the beginning? reagan didn't attack the democratic speaker at the brandon bu brandonburg gate. ike didn't attack korea. you have a democrat also lying talking about the border, that nobody, democrats don't care about the borders when again, i hate to keep repeating the truth, over and over again every day, because you would think that people would get it after a while. some actually don't. we've had a negative immigration flow going back to mexico for years. hispanic groups were angry at barack obama for eight years for being so tough on the border. the numbers have been low for quite some time, again, long
before donald trump became president of the united states, he's lying to those troops like he's lying to people that go to his rallies. but they're a captive audience. >> right. >> they have to be there. how unbecomeing? >> yeah, first of all, let me pause and thank richard for that uplifting synopsis of american policy. er with crying going through all this. secondly, there was a wired dichotomy here. first of all, you are right, joe, it's weird to see a president become that political in a gathering of overseas troops, there have been instances presidents have made distinction about foreign policy matters with their political competitors, but in this case you had donald trump making purely domestic political points at an overseas trip and notably, it made it all the more remarkable. what struck me is that he's
talking specifically a security threat that he's gathering at our southern borders. suddenly, he's materialized himself at the same time he is talking how a security threat has been eliminated in syria and these two things don't reallyco exist. one, in fact they're the exact opposite. it's greatly over dramatize om on our southern border and military personnel say he is underestimating the threat in syria. this is what donald trump is. you know, he's wildly inconsistent. he often tells lies. on this stuff, on foreign policy, he said from the get-go he wants to pull back. >> that he believes america spends way too much overseas, we're overextended, we're over involved and over dependent open our allies, he wants to pull back. two years, he stopped those.
his triumphs was a limited bombing campaign he had in syria, he took out the runway of an airport. that was done largely because people around him told him he had to do this. it's evident now he is following his instinct on the foreign policy stake i'm with richard, i don't think it end here. he has been stopped in pulling black from our jim mattis in korea? >> betsy, he follows his instinct, but for most in the washington foreign policy community and across the west, those are frightening instinct. this is a man who wants to withdraw troops from syria, because he doesn't see isis or iran as a threat any longer there, or russia. but he wants to send three times
as many troops down there for a threat that most of our homeland security analysts say does not exist. >> i think what we are seeing is a pivotal moment in the trump presidency where he's very much jettisoning the traditional republican and your pentagon foreign policy voices who, thus far, have been the guiding lights of his presidency on these foreign policy matters, this criticism is not one that trump, himself, invented. the criticism of the way that the wars in iraq and afghanistan have dragged on for decades, getting to the point where children born on 9/11 are old enough to be deployed in afghanistan. they've had extraordinary costs, many folks, particularly on the left have been critical. it's not something where we are seeing a payoff.
bringing that argument into the republican party is a huge shift. this is something that challenges the basic bedrock of where the gop is on these tore foreign policy issues. >> that said, there are major or emerging pieces of evidence trump will find new demographic of people who do find this argument compelling. they released a report a couple weeks ago, months ago, finding fighters currently active in the middle east and the world has quadrupled since 9/11, that's something people critical always have been pointing to. >> that said, of course the question of whether or not the united states should exert its influence in a muscular way in the middle east is one simple for republicans going back decades and trump is turning that on its head is an existential challenge to the way republicans think about foreign policy and more broadly about
american leadership. still ahead, we will bring in eamon, top officials in iraq exclude one key person. the head of that country. we will break down the optics versus the actual policy. you are watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. e watching . we'll be right back. complicated relationship with milk? pour on the lactaid, 100% real milk, just without that annoying lactose. mmm, that's good. ♪ ♪ this holiday season, families near you need your help. visit redcross.org now to donate. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
i have told the gems about a year-and-a-half ago, i said, let's get out of syria. they said, sir, can we have some more time? i said, yep, you got another six months, let's get out of syria. they said again recently. can we have more time? i said, nope, you had enough time. we knocked them out, we knocked them silly. the united states cannot continue to be the policemen of the world. we don't want to do that. we want to protect our country. t we want to protect our country . >> do you have full plans to pull forces out of iraq as well? >> no plans as well. in fact, we can use this as a
base if we want to do something in syria. i think a lot of people will come around to my way of thinking. it's not fair when the burden is on us the united states. but it's time for us to start using our head. we don't want to be taken advantage of anymore by countries na use us sunday use our incredible military to protect them. they don't pay for it. and they're going to have to. but the bottom line is, we're going to use our heads and wealthy countries cannot continue to use the united states to defend them. >> i just don't know where to start on so many things, he just said there. we had troops in korea now longer than i have been alive. over 60 years. why have troops continued to be in korea? james mattis explained it to him. the president didn't like the answer. as general mattis said, we're there, sir, to stop world war
iii. and it's worked pretty effectively. the same with germany, our troops rolled into germany in 1945. we've had americans stationed in germany since 1945. during that time, american strength, american power, and america's economy has grown to record heights. we have achieved power, it's been unprecedented since the time of the roman empire. so you see, our investments across the globe, our stationing of temperatures, let's go to richard haase quickly. this is a key point. richard, our investments have been minimal compared to what we as a country have gotten back in terms of strategic importance? in terms of economic benefits,
in terms of geopolitical influence, which, obviously, has driven economic events our direction. these rich countries he's talking about, our gdp dwarfs their economies. so i'm not exactly sure what he's talking about, but whatever it is, it is a theory that is based completely in ignorance. >> the president has a world, you are exactly right. he sees everything in terms of guns versus butter. assumes everything we spend on guns somehow comes out of our own hyde and we at home are worse off. as you suggest we're better off, ba us the world is stable, because of the trade relationships, because of the peace. the u.s. economy has grown at a pace over more decades than has ever been the case before and what's so interesting, even know, if you add up everything the united states is spending on defense and all that, the
percentage of our gdp of our economy that we're devoting is roughly half what we did during the cold war. so we can afford to do what we're doing in the world. we need to do what we're doing in the world. we the still thrive at home. the problems can't be blamed on the fact we've had 2,000 guys in syria for a couple of years, not only you say it kept us safe. that's an insignificant cost to the american economy. as we learned things like 9/11 can be phenomenally expensive. the president's world view simply has the calculations wrong, it has the math wrong. but he is stuck there. i don't see any sign that he has budged one inch, for what i think is a truly misguided and historically incorrect view of the relationship between what we do abroad and our success here at home. >> yeah,ee eamon, let's talk
about that donald trump says we are suckers. since the united nations of america in the post world war, he talks about rich companies, our economy, our gdp is four or five times that of the germans who have a strange economy. it's three or four times that the size of japan, five, six times the size of korea. these investments that we have made have worked extraordinarily well and the great tragedy for so many generals that i've spoken to is, that that footprint of 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 troops in syria actually was the first time since 9/11 that the united states has created a sustainable footprint that they can keep in the middle east for quite some time, being low key, but stopping iranian aggression,
russian aggression and the rebirth of isis. >> i think the resentment the president harbor for his return on investment in the middle east is when you survey the middle east, it's not getting better to richard's point about american involvement across the region, the growing number of sunni extremists and militants on the ground, at the end of the day, you can't look at countries where the u.s. had close reasons saying these countries are making improvements on their own, that is what is making situations even worse. countries are becoming more authoritarian, more lawless, more extreme. i think that's giving the president what are we saying in return. you were talking about the mr. president and his instinct. it's one thing to make the point that the president has instinct and they're right. he wanted to kill the president of syria. it had to be jim mattis who walked him afraid of that this
is a campaign at one point on the campaign trail said we should take call of iraq's oil to pay for instinct we've done. people said you don't invade countries and take their oil. you talked about yesterday the president arrive income iraq, at a time when this current administration is trying to put more pressure on iran, what does the president do? he goes and completely disrespects the prime minister of iran, not leaving the base to see him. keeping it to a simple phone call at a time when you need iraq as a part of your coalition to want to put up pressure, a little bit more pressure on iran. what happens? all of the earn interestal players of iraqi politics pretty much condemned the president's visit saying it was a violation of iraqi sovereignty. it's the president's own instinct that are to some extent hurt whack he is trying to do in the region on a big picture level. it's mind-boggling he had this
opportunity to go. instead of going to meet with the leader, shore up support, convince the local population why he is doing what he is doing, he turned it into the mess we saw yesterday. still ahead, we mentioned richard's book, "a world of disarray." we will be asking him on the map, which place on the map is the most precarious head ined i the new year. that's coming up next on "morning joe." [ music playing ] coming up nexn "morning joe." [ music playing 25% of your mouth. listerine® cleans virtually 100%. helping to prevent gum disease and bad breath. never settle for 25%. always go for 100. bring out the bold™
. welcome back to "morning joe." as richard haase has been saying for some time now the world is in disarray. as we head into 2019, how do you see things playing out overseas? >> one of the basic laws of the middle east is things have to get worse before they get even worse. i think we're going to see that. if i were going to place a bet on 2019, where this could well be a serious new war in the world, it wouldn't be north korea, it wouldn't be the south china sea. you never know what mr. putin will do in ukraine. i would bet on iran, whether it's the saudis doing something, perhaps hoping to change the
conversation so we don't see saudi arabia simply as the murder of a journalist and a necessary partner against iran or iran will do something because of the pressure they're feeling on sanctions. >> that is the space i would watch. even if i'm wrong, i think over the next couple years, we have to imagine there will be the reconstitution of terrorism. syria will never become a normal country again. we could see increased fighting there. sooner or later, i think the possibility of other countries thinking of nuclear weapons, saudi arabia, egypt, turkey, i wouldn't rule that out. so again, i don't think anyone lost money betting against the middle east. i would think that almost all the trend lines are bad right now so rather than seeing the middle east somehow, having been exhausted moving towards peace or anything like that. i think you are looking at a part of the world, where borders count for very little. where there is no serious negotiations. where countries are beginning to break down from within and if
you are fought worried about this part of the world, you are fought paying attention, what happens there won't say there. it ain't los vegas. the bad things when they happen in the middle east have a way of spreading around the world. >> coming up on "morning joe," bone spurs and bull market knees. the first condition reportedly kept donald trump out of vietnam. while the second couldn't stop bob mueller from enlisting and serving hess country. in an unpopular war. we'll talk about that next on "morning joe." war. we'll talk about that next on "morning joe."
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i have concerns for the first lady, i will tell you. but if you would have seen what we had to go through with the darkened plane with all windows closed. with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere, pitch black. i never seen that. i have been in many airplane, all types of shapes and sizes. i never seen anything like it. >> i just don't know what to say. the president of the united states goes over and he visits troops in a war zone in a country that has been a long, hard slog, for well over a decade and he tells reporters you just wouldn't believe what we had to go through they actually had to turn the lights off in the cabin of air force one. i really don't know how the president endured that. that had to be horrifying for him. well, keep that sound byte in
mind when we tell you this next story. there are new claims about president trump's mysterious 1968 diagnosis of bone spurs. now, of course, those bone spurs got him out of military service during the vietnam war. the family of a now deceased foot doctor who rented an office in queens from the president's father, fred trump, is telling the "new york times" that he often told the story of coming to donald trump's aid. the podiatrist $larry practice unstein died in 2007. but his fathers say their father often told them the story of how they came to the aid of a young mr. trump during the vietnam war as a favor to his father. no paper evidence has been found to help corroborate the version of the events described by the two braunstein daughters who are
democrats and dislike donald trump and who also suggested there was involvement by a second podiatrist democrat. manny winestein who died if 1995 and moved into a trump-owned apartment the same year the future president was diagnosed with his bone spurs. trump told the "new york times" in 2016 a doctor provided a very strong letter about the bone spurs in his heels, but he couldn't remember the doctor's name. nor could he recall which foot it was in. >> why did you not serve in the vietnam war? >> because i was going to college, i had student deferments and ultimately a medical deferment because of my feet. i had a bone spur. >> which foot did you have the bone spur in? >> i don't know, can you look it up in the records. >> selective service records showed that donald trump had
undergone a physical exam and get this, he had been declared available for service. trump's deferments at the time were for college during which time he played football with those bone spurs, tennis with those bone spurs and, of course, squash, with those bone spurs. the white house has not commented. now, opener, robert mueller who like donald trump was a wealthy ivy league student in the 1960s and had a little different experience. they reported earlier amid 1966, director mueller underwent his military physical at the philadelphia naval shipyard. his years of intense athletics, including hockey and lacrosse, had left him with a banged up injured knee. the military declared that it would need to heal before he would be allowed to deploy to
vietnam. well, once his knee did heal, after years of rehab, mueller went back to the military doctors in 1967 just before donald trump received his own medical deferment for heel spurs, mueller started officer candidate school at quantico, virginia. coming up on "morning joe," okay. okay. it's not quite this bad. but there's always been an element of violence in america's political system. we're going to be talking to one historian, whose new bock looks at over 200 years of literal fighting at the u.s. congress. i promised. i checked the index. i'm not in the book. that's coming up next on "morning joe." book. that's coming up next on "morning joe." complicated relationship with milk? pour on the lactaid, 100% real milk, just without that annoying lactose. mmm, that's good.
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only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol® joining us now is professor of history and american studies at yale university and co-host of the podcast back story, joann freeman. the author of "the field of blood." very good to have you. >> thanks for having me. >> we've heard the stories of canings on the house floor, of violence in congress, but this is actually more prev lebs than we even were taught in school. talk about that, the violence and what warnings it provides
for us today. >> there was a lot more violence. everyone knows about the caning of charles sumner. kind of hidden in the congressional record, i found about 70 physically violent incidents, mostly the house and senate chamber. often strategic. sometimes just people losing their temper when discussing things like slavery. often they were strategic. if they were attempts to use threats and intimidation, very often by southerners, to get northerners to back down on slavery. they were making use of nasty language, humiliating people in front of an audience, anything that they could really corral and use to get someone to back down and perhaps not even to stand up. >> are there instances where that actually worked as a
legislative tactic? >> sometimes it did. you know, committee rooms. the same thing went on in committee rooms as went on, on the floor. instances which people withdrew from committees because they were threatened. >> how much of what you found relates in any way to what we're seeing today in our politics? >> it's interesting, it took me a long time to write the book. it took me 17 years. when i started, we had a very different political climate. it wasn't as similar to our current climate as it is now. you know, it's a book about extreme polarization, about americans losing faith in national institutions of government. about the press spinning conspiracy theories. it's actually, it's remarkably similar in some ways which doesn't mean i'm saying we're on
the cusp of a civil war, but what it does show is how this kind of polarized climate can build on itself so people don't realize i think sometimes that it's a mix of things that are pushing them to have certain kinds of emotions. it's hard to see when you're in the middle of this kind of a moment that there are things happening outside of it and it isn't all embracing or doesn't have to be. >> talking about your book, you just referred to the use of -- years ago prior to the civil war and even before that, the use of nasty language and humiliating people in front of public audiences. that's also a definition of today's trump rallies. during the course of working on this book today, now that we have nuclear weaponization of hate with words. words are weapons. always have been. always will be. what go through your mind in reflecting upon the era you
brought about and the transfearance to today with this hyp hyperability to torture people? >> it's really true. we're talking about the 1850s. they talk about dangerous words. they use the word missiles. they say don't throw missiles. what they're talking it is what we're seeing now. it's bad enough when rhetoric gets nasty. add on top of that when it's before a national audience. when it's intended to be humiliating. it has a big impact. the kind of language people use to rouse emotions during campaigns. when you're not campaigning, it's an interesting and dangerous thing to try and rile people up. with the people in my book would have called missiles. >> i've been really excited for
this book because i feel like it's so applicable this moment of political rancor. what you're writing about and the road to the civil war, political rhetoric. leaders then were more cognizant of the power of their words? was there more of a social stigma to using missiles as you say they referenced them? or we're making too much of this, this should be ignored? but i argue words do matter. >> i think they were cognizant of the power of words in this period. this is still an age of dueling and dueling culture and worrying about your reputation and kind of a ritualized way. they were conscience of it and saying -- there's an amazing document i found, an anonymous southern congressman wrote to the speaker and he uses the word missiles. he says, look, my side of the house, if you throw missiles,
southerners are going to get violent. can you talk to your friends so they don't throw any miv missiln your side? they're predicting violence as the outcome. they're quite aware of the power of threats and humiliation before an audience. it sounds kind of trivial but it isn't. >> one of the things is you had a wonderful series of diaries. especially one in depth diary. i learned some things -- because we all know about preston brooks, the south carolina guy. but what i learned was not only did that happen but after it happened, both men were made heroes in their states. it seemed to amplify the violence and anger. which comb parts with what we see today. where social media amplifies violence, anger. >> that's true.
people at the time understood if they were a certain kind of fighter. in this period, sometimes it was meant literally. often their constituents re-elected them. they were fighting for their rights. one particular virginia congressman who behaved badly on a consistent level. and at a certain point someone in congress said "we ought to throw you out of this place." he said go ahead. they'll put me right back in here. i'm defending your rights. he was re-elected six times. >> the book is "the field of blood." joann freeman, thank you. that does it for us this morning. hallie jackson picks up the coverage. >> good morning. i'm hallie jackson in for stephanie ruhle. in the combat zone. president trump defends his decision to pull u.s. forces out of syria. while on that surprise secret
trip to iraq. and he sends a message. america cannot be the policemen of the world. >> so we're not the suckers of the world. we're no longer the suckers, folks. and people aren't looking at us as suckers. >> holding pattern. the president pushing his border wall and showing no signs of giving in with the government shutdown about to close out its first full week. >> you're fighting for borders in other countries. and they don't want to fight. the democrats for the border of our country. >> wild ride. the markets getting ready to open after a sweet holiday president on wall street. the biggest one day point gain ever. can it last? >> it was the biggest post-christmas rally for stocks ever. >> the market is primed to give back a lot of what it gained yesterday. >> our team is set up and ready to go on