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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 5, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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i'll see you tomorrow morning on today, right now "andrea mitchell reports." and right now on "andrea mitchell reports," taking aim. hurricane dorian regaining strength overnight. now hitting the carolina coast, bringing life threatening wind, rain and storm surge to low lying areas after decimating the bahamas. >> i thought i was going to die. >> it was scary but i'm glad we're alive. >> deteriorating really fast, mentally, emotionally, physically. there's a lot of people that are missing. >> it is devastating to not hear from your mother in four days.
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it's taking a toll on me. outside the lines. questions swirl around president trump's altered hurricane map, was it a bungled attempt to prove his false statements about alabama being in the storm's path. >> that map that you showed us today looked like it had a sharpy. >> i don't know. i don't know. i don't know. and comic relief. joe biden brushes off questions about his gaffes on steven colbert. >> have you have asked michelle for advice? >> only to be my vice president. i'm only joking. michelle, i'm joking. that was a joke. good day, everyone, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. as hurricane dorian rips across the carolina coast today, a dangerous mix of wind, rain and storm surge. putting tens of thousands of people and of course their homes in harm's way.
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we're seeing flooding today in south carolina along stretches of coastline from charleston up to myrtle beach. with hurricane force wind gusts pushing more water on shore. the storm is moving toward north carolina now. local crews are preparing for the system spotting a tornado near the coast just north of wilmington. state leaders this morning pleading with residents in and around the outer banks to get to safety ahead of a potential landfall. >> hurricane dorian is ready to unleash its fury on our state. the message this morning is this, get to safety and stay there. don't let your guard down. this won't be a brush by. whether it comes ashore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause extensive damage in north carolina. >> joining me now, nbc's cathy park in charleston, nbc's simone boyce in myrtle beach and al roker. first to cathy park, let's talk
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about what's going on in charleston in the low country that's so vulnerable right now. >> reporter: andrea, good afternoon to you. we have embedded with the emergency unit with the medical university of south carolina. we are actually doing this ride along and getting better perspective of what we're seeing on the ground. i want to bring in brian wood. how bad is the situation right now? >> this is our main thorough fare, our main point of egress and ingress out of charles. it's been shut down due to flooding in multiple areas. >> reporter: we've seen a lot of folks driving through the conditions. what should they know? >> turn around, don't drown. do not go out on the roads right now. this is a very serious storm. we're in a storm surge warning. if you do not have to be outside, please stay inside.
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>> reporter: how concerned are you with the high tide? it's supposed to come in at 2:00 this afternoon? >> high tide on a normal day in charleston is always in concern for us, especially the king tide. we're susceptible to coastal flooding. particularly with this storm with a hurricane off our coast, we're paying very very careful attention. >> reporter: have you responded to any rescues today? >> thank god no. >> reporter: how does hurricane irma compare to this one? >> hurricane irma we saw more storm surge flooding within the peninsula of charleston. we've been very lucky, knock on wood. storm surge was predicted to be at a very high level and we're not out of the woods with this storm. >> reporter: what are you going to be doing today? what's the game plan? >> our game plan is to work with our partners at the city emergency management, national weather service partners who have been doing a fantastic job. we rely on them for that
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critical information. we want to keep our lines of communication open. we're going to insure we have continuity of operations and we're going to make sure to stay safe. >> reporter: you're going to have a long several days, hopefully everyone stays safe. >> that's our job, that's what we're out there to do. try to make everybody safe. >> reporter: thank you. we're going to be tagging along with them to get a sense of what's happening on the ground. we're seeing these intense wind gusts, heavy rain showers. it's leading to flash flooding like this throughout downtown charleston. >> thanks to you and those emergency teams in charleston. let's go to myrtle beach, south carolina. >> reporter: i don't know if you can see behind me, but this water continues to rise. we were out here just a couple of hours ago. and this was all sand. it's now been completely engulfed in ocean water.
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these massive waves keep rolling in and breaking closer and closer to the shore. this is why this is a flash flooding zone. we're starting to see flash flooding in parts of myrtle beach. we're starting to see levels of two feet. those could continue to rise as we see these rainfall levels from anywhere for 10 to 15 inches. that's what people in this area should expect today. in addition to flash flooding and storm surge concerns, isolated tornados are something that we've seen first-hand here. we woke up this morning to a serious of emergency alerts telling us that there might have been a waterspout over this ocean right here. and we have seen other footage of possible tornados touching down in this area. absolutely wreaking havoc on homes here, turning over massive trees and ripping off roofs. in addition to the tornados, we
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know several thousand residents in this area are without power. crews are working to restore power now. but the thing is, this is why. you see this water coming in. this is exactly why people were told to evacuate from the areas along the waterfront. they haven't evacuated by now, the emergency crews, the rescue crews, these conditions are not safe for them to exit and go help people out yet. i've been in touch with the national guard, they're on standby and they'll be responding to requests later on today. these conditions are worsening, andrea. i can tell you i've been up and down the florida coast before coming to south carolina. what we're seeing here in south carolina is already much worse than damage we saw in florida. >> that is worrying, thank you so much. be safe there. al roker, of course, back with us today. for more about the dangers of this hurricane for the carolinas in the next few hours and days
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ahead. as you saw overnight, the strengthening of the storm and now it's heading right towards the carolina barrier islands on the coast. >> that's right. it has weakened a little bit. that does not lessen the danger. even though it's a category 2 storm, we are looking at a widespread swath about 190 miles from the center. we've got tropical force winds. and we're in a tornado watch for parts of south carolina and north carolina as well. all the way to cape hatteras. almost to raleigh and back to myrtle beach. we'll be watching that closely. winds at tropical force strength from cape hatteras, wilmington, myrtle beach and charleston as well. charleston we saw a 69 mile per hour wind gust a little bit earlier. here's the latest. it is a category 2 storm now. 45 miles east southeast of charleston, south carolina. 115 mile per hour winds moving north northwest -- i'm sorry
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category 3 storm. moving north northeast at eight miles per hour. again, to that tornado threat from wilmington to cape hatteras, it is -- we have an enhanced risk for severe weather. we also have tornado warnings stretching from the georgia border along with south carolina. all the way to the north carolina virginia border and then tropical storm warnings up to ocean city maryland. norfolk is included in that as well. now we're watching and waiting as it moves along. here is what we look for for the impacts. tonight and friday morning for wilmington, winds of 60 to 95 miles per hour. a storm surge of 4 to 7 feet. rainfall 6 to 12 inches of rain. then we get to cape hatteras, we're looking at more heavy rain, storm surge is going to be a big issue there. this continues out. we have a tropical storm watch for parts of new england.
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the northeast, for the example the eastern half of long island, cape cod, winds of 35 to 55 miles per hour. brief periods of heavy rain. minor coastal flooding. you can see the area of red, those are the hurricane force winds which are 60 miles out. tropical force winds 195 miles out. and again this system, even though by the time it gets to moorhead city and cape hatteras it will be a 2, it will still be causing problems as it continues to move out. friday night into saturday, just crossing nantucket bringing those issues. the storm surge, again, we can't stress this enough. on top of high tides that are going to be happening this afternoon, between 2:00 and 1:00 from wilmington, myrtle beach, virginia beach and cape hatteras, you put another 6 to 9 feet of water, less as you
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move further north. and almost 6:00 for boston. and rainfall. heavy rainfall. anywhere from 6 to 10 inches of rain generally. we can't rule out rainfall amounts of up to 15 inches and the power outages. you heard simone talk about power outages in south carolina. we can expect them moving into north carolina, virginia and even delaware and parts of maryland. especially right along the coast. as you can see, with winds that extend out 195 miles from the center, we could see a lot of power outages inland. raleigh, fayetteville, charlotte, columbia and richmond. a whole combination of problems that are still existing between tornados, storm surge, heavy rain, wind damage. all those are still on the cards -- on the table i should say from savannah, georgia, cape
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hatteras, as far north as salisbury, maryland. >> just as you were speaking, according to the weather service and our own weather team, this thing has ticked back up to a category 3. >> it's now back up to a 3. >> so stay with us, al. we're going to be talking about the weather and the maps. the altered reality in the next block. president trump showing off a hurricane map doctored with a sharpy shar sharpiy. how did that happen? he claimed alabama was in the path of the hurricane when it wasn't. we'll have why this all matters for the sake of the safety of the americans. al roker is staying with us on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. y. ( ♪ ) romo mode. (beep) (bang) good luck with that one. yes! that's why i wear skechers slip-ons. they're effortless. just slip them right on and off. skechers slip-ons, with air-cooled memory foam.
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welcome back. president trump today digging in on his false claims that alabama was in the path of hurricane dorian. firing off a tweet storm again today insisting alabama was going to be hit or grazed. over the weekend the president first issued an erroneous forecast warning that alabama would be hit. that was immediately knocked down by the national weather service, correcting the president. still, the president refused to up to his mistake. it took a bizarre turn after he made a show of the hurricane update he was receiving from officials and held up a map of the latest projection that was altered with a sharpie to
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include alabama. a reporter pressed him on how that happened later in the day. >> i know that alabama was in the original forecast. they thought it would get it as a piece of it. it was supposed to go -- we have a better map than that. we had many lines going -- many models, each line being a model. they're going directly through. all cases, alabama was hit. if not lightly in some cases, pretty hard. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't know. i don't know. i don't know. >> well, and who would be using a sharpie in the oval office? joining me now me, the white house correspondent for pbs news hour. craig fugate, and al roker is still with us. first of all, explain if you can what was going on there. the president first said this at the fema briefing, and was
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countered by the national weather service, trickling down again today he's still at it saying alabama was in the path of the storm when it never was. >> this fits a pattern of the president putting out misleading information. then in the face of being presented information that it's correct, he then doubled down again and then you have white house aides really trying to help the president even bolster his point of view. in this case, it's pretty clear that the president was wrong. the national weather service had to rebuke him and say that the birmingham office said there's no chance hurricane dorian is going to affect alabama. this is important. as someone like myself who is from florida. there are people who watch closely what the national weather service is saying because they're collecting supply and preparing themselves. this could be causing panic and chaos. what you have is the president continuing to share misleading information. he's someone who hasn't felt the consequences of his actions in
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that way, his supporters, republicans have at times backed him on a number of different subjects. what you see the president doing what he often does, spreading misinformation. >> craig what are the terms of public awareness of saying falsely that alabama was in the path of dorian. >> i think emergency managers discount it. we use the national hurricane center official track with no additions to that product. and it's again why we're cautious to remind people to listen to your local officials for the information about what may be happening. you know, if you're going to misstate something, that happens. you should correct it and let it go. but it is i think a distraction from what we should be focused on, as dorian is not over. and we still have a lot of storm to go, plus we have a significant search and rescue operation in response to the bahamas right now.
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>> al roker, i know meteorologists really take this seriously. everyone can make a mistake. to not correct it, there's even a federal statute, there's a law that says you cannot misstate a weather forecast. >> look, here's the deal -- first in full disclosure, i am not a meteorologist. i don't have a degree in meteorolo meteorology, i have a seal of approval. the fact of the matter is we all make mistakes. when we've blown forecasts, whether it's a winter forecast or a severe weather forecast, we own up to it and say, hey, this is why we made the mistake. this is what happened. to craig's point i think folks know who to depend on. and no disrespect to the president of the united states, he's not in the business of doing forecasts. so i could see how he could look at earlier spaghetti plots, but the fact is the national hurricane center is the
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record -- the agency of record. they're the ones who put out these reports. that's as craig said, all emergency managers, other local officials go by that. that's what we go by. again, the good news is alabama was never in the line of fire. they didn't have to worry. it was quickly reported and people could make their main focus on where the areas of danger where and are. that's where we are. this is a bit of a distraction. it could have been easily tamped down, but it wasn't. now let's move on. >> the problem of course is that most of us would have moved on and had moved on, but then he keeps tweeting about it. now unusual is it for the national weather service to issue a statement as they did on sunday after the president's comments? >> i have never seen the national weather service correct the president in any administration until now.
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>> it is the fact that this president, for whatever reason, like many of us correct ourselves for either a false statement or something we didn't understand, wooeek make corrections all the time. polls we got wrong in the last election the most obvious example. he does not seem to be able to say he's made a mistake. that is part of his personality. >> part of his personality, part of his character is doubling down even when he's wrong. he's not someone who apologizes. he's not someone who backs away. he counterpunches. he's made it about the media and he's claiming that reporters are badgering him because he was looking at old maps when in reality he was doubling down on something that was not true to begin with. i think this goes back to this larger idea of who president trump is. he's been able to succeed and be able to weather a lot of storms and a lot of controversies by
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doubling down. eventually people often get tired and move on. which is likely what's going to happen here. we'll keep talking about this for a couple days, a couple hours, but the most important thing is the fact that hurricane dorian is still going on, as al said. there's an idea that people are still panicked and still having to protect themselves and having to get ready for the storm. the people of the bahamas are now dealing with the catastrophic aftermath of this hurricane. there's so many more important things to be going on. but the president continues to make these false claims. it's important to point them out when they happen. but the president is again going to benefit from the idea that hurricane is still here, and people have other things to cover. we're going to have to move on while the president, again, will suffer no consequences from repeating a false claim. >> thanks so much. coming up we'll have more about hurricane dorian, which is hitting the carolina coast and heading north. a live report from the bahamas also where the death toll has
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been rising as search and rescue teams finally get in to find survivors in the rubble. complete devastation there. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. if you have moderate to thsevere rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection.
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major rescue efforts are underway in the bahamas as aid workers make their way to grand bahama and abaco island. 20 deaths now confirmed. officials are still working to reach everyone impacted. nbc's kerry sanders went to abaco and spoke with survivors from some of the hardest hit areas. >> i thought i was going to die. hour and a half, two hours in that rubble at 185. i crawled out. i had a pair of blue jeans on. i felt my legs, i got my legs, i recollect get out of here. >> it felt like hell. it's not the first one i've stayed here for, but that was something totally different. >> it was scary but i'm glad we're still alive and we're safe. >> reporter: were you afraid you might not survive? >> yeah. >> reporter: what did you say to your mom and dad? >> i love you. >> wow, i'm joined by mariana
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atensio. >> reporter: to hear their stories, it's heart breaking. this is day four of this relief effort out of the airport in nasa to take t nass nassau. just to put it in perspective for our audience, nassau is a 45 minute flight from abaco and from grand bahama. and we have heard from the prime minister -- i just interviewed members of the cost guard, not only the hospitals but also the airports there are completely decimated. so every hour or so, one of these big aircrafts takes off from here to take water, to take medical supplies to these places and to bring back medical evacuees. i want to take time to bring in the woman who was behind this coordinated effort. this is dr. hannah, the director for the national emergency
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medical services. can you tell us what's happening behind these ambulances? we see personnel going in and out all the time. >> yes what we have set up is a triage area. persons who are medivac'd who were affected particularly bahama and abaco are being brought in by chopper. they're being triaged, assessed. we have had to resuscitate some of them because they were very dehydrated. then they're being taken to our hospital, the princess margaret. some of them who are walking wounded were taken to our community clinics. >> reporter: you've had to resuscitate people because they're coming in in that dire of a situation. you have all the supplies that you need? >> this is very, very taxing on our healthcare system. as you can imagine, we have never experienced anything like this. the world has not experienced anything like this.
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and so we really need a lot of help. >> reporter: what kind of help do you need specifically, just to wrap? >> my particular role i'm the director of emergency medical services. that's the ambulance service under the public system. we have an ambulance team both in grand bahama as well as in abaco. these persons have been working, even though they've lost everything. some of my staff have lost everything. and they're working and still doing the best they can. and so we know that we've gotten a number of persons who have offered medical relief. we appreciate that. what we need right now, we need ambulances. all but one of the ambulances on grand bahama was destroyed. >> thank you so much, doctor, for your time. i know you have critical work to do. the plea, andrea, they only have one ambulance in grand bahama. the thiplea is to get things as basic as ambulances down here. you hear that from the minister
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of health to the doctors here on the ground. andrea? >> thanks. thanks, dr. hannah and her whole team there. before we go, here's a look at a car underwater in myrtle beach, south carolina, as hurricane dorian is whipping the coast. we'll continue to bring you the latest, of course, throughout the hour. up next, call sign chaos. former defense secretary james mattis is here to discuss his new book on leadership and critical foreign policy issues facing the nation. stay with us, you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. great riches will find you when liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. wow. thanks, zoltar. how can i ever repay you? maybe you could free zoltar? thanks, lady. taxi! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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welcome back. could a pending peace deal between the united states and the taliban be in jeopardy today now that the terror group is claiming responsibility for another deadly suicide bombing attack in kabul overnight, the second in the last three days. an american service member was killed, along with another member of the nato force and more than 40 people were injured when a car bomb exploded in central kabul near the u.s. embassy. the taliban said in a statement it had targeted a convoy of foreigners. officials already reluctant to sign onto the agreement are raising serious doubts about the peace plan that would have thousands of u.s. troops leaving within a year. joining me now to discuss foreign policy, general james mattis, former secretary of defense and author of call sign
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chaos. learning to lead. a book on leadership and a lot more. philosophy. the importance of reading, which as a former english literature major, i love to see. thank you very much. >> it's good to be here, thank you. >> thank you. let's talk first about afghanistan. could this agreement be in jeopardy with the taliban now again attacking, it's the second attack in just three days. we've negotiated this deal with the taliban, how can we trust them? >> well, it's a great question. how can we trust them. i would point out that this is a signature of the taliban. this is a group that hates ballots and loves bullets and bombs. this is the way they do business. the challenge for our diplomats and trying to end the violence that's gone on way too long in that country, remember that battlefield is also a humanitarian field. it's enormous for our folks trying to find a way to end this. >> no question it's our longest
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war, you know better than anyone the impact on our troops, on their families back home on the country. so what is the way out? >> well, the challenge we face, andrea, is that terrorism is going to be an ambient threat. it's going to be out there. we're going to have to work with allies and we're going to have to work with like minded nations. sometimes even non-like minded nations as we deal with this threat to innocent life. we're going to have to do that and accept the reality as much as we want to end that war. >> in your book you talk about your frustrations with the obama administration and president obama and frankly the vice president, joe biden over decisions regarding syria, the withdrawal decision -- not the withdrawal decision, but the red line decision. iran. the decision not to retaliate against a threatened bomb attack
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here in central washington, in georgetown. iraq, the withdrawal that did take place which you thought was precipitous. you write in 2010 i argued against pulling our troops out of iraq. in 2011 i urged retaliation against iran for plotting to blow up a restaurant in our nation's capital. in 2012 i argued for retaining a small but capable contingent of troops in afghanistan. you described leaving a region of flame and disarray. our friends confused. aren't we at risk of making the same mistake if we withdraw from afghanistan as the president has ordered by the end of what he says the first term? >> we've been in what i've called a near strategy free environment for a number of years, for probably 15, 20 years. so this is not a statement about one administration, one political party. it cuts across. what it is we think is our role in the world. what it is we stand for and just as importantly what we'll not
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stand for in this world. we're going to have to come up with a strategic focus, a historically informed approach to deal with these problems. because as we continue to deal with them and each immediate manifestation we don't have larger strategy guiding us. we expect a lot of attention by young military on the battlefield. we need to expect that same level of attention from our policy makers and strategists whz we enter into these situations. >> certainly the suggestion, of what we're experiencing is we're not getting that kind of attention. you write history is compelling, nationwis nations with allies thrive, those without wither. that was essentially your r resignation later? >> it was. when this town and new york was attacked in 9/11, i found myself within the dust bowl of
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afghanistan fighting. there on the ground i was joined by troops from canada and the united kingdom, norway and germany, jordan and turkey, australia, and new zealand. none of their towns were attacked. they were there because our shared values were attacked. and nations that want to keep alive these experiments that you and i call democracies are going to have to band together and deal with these assaults on sie civilizations. >> are our alliances weaker now than they were when you took office? >> i don't want to quantify that. >> in the last two and a half years, you've seen our alliances weakened in nato. certainly in asia and in europe. >> you know, if you take a look at current events you can see the tensions because that's what grabs your attention because the tensions in those alliances. however, right now you see a nato -- i think we're into the
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fifth straight year of the nations, almost all of them increasing their defense budget. nato is actually stronger today. there are political tensions. those tensions have always been there in nato where the american presidents -- i remember all the way back to president clinton when i became aware of this issue -- president clinton, president bush, president obama all saying the same thing president trump is. you've got to pay more. the way i carried the message to nato when i first went there as the secretary of defense was i've sat in this room and you've heard this message before. but the american people are saying they will not care more about your children's future than you care. you've got to pay your fair share. >> in your resignation letter, returning to that, you clearly were making this message you didn't want to abandon allies. >> that's true. >> the allies on the ground in syria. the brits were there, they were blindsided by that decision in december. i know that for a fact. as you know, better than i do.
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importantly, the troops that we were training, the syrian defense forces, and now there's an inspector general report, the most recent report, it's a devastating pentagon independent inspector general's report saying that isis is resurging in syria, in iraq. the president says isis is 100% defeated. and we only see a hole in that enormous refugee camp. we don't even have the troops left to secure that refugee camp where recruitment is underway. >> well, i think secretary of state mpompeo has come out witha statement of how we're looking at the threat and it's characterized in the same terms you've just given. but you're right about the syrian democratic forces. we have lost around a dozen troops killed fighting isis. we, the americans in syria. the syrian democratic forces have lost over 11,000 killed and 23,000 wounded.
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we're fighting this enemy by with and through allies. we've got to keep faith with those allies. you've simply got to keep faith. you have to include them. i know it's hard. i understand it's hard. but winston churchill once said the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without allies. you've got to hold them close. >> our reporting is that 127 military projects that were supposed to be underway and also including daycare centers are having the money that was appropriated by congress taken away to, quote, build the war. how is that appropriate? i mean, it's taking money away from military families. people that whose service you know and admire and treasure. >> well, the military exists to defend the country. that's the primary mission. what i learned and i tried to lay out in the book whether it be military, political or
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business or they're running a school district in their hometown. first spend time deciding on what the problem is. it takes a while. einstein was asked how would you save the world if you had one hour. i'd spend 55 minutes defining the problem and save the world in five minutes. i think we spend too little time, even in this town agreeing on what is the problem, trying to solve it. when you come up with solutions, nobody agrees. >> aren't you creating a new problem when you spend billions of dollars to build a wall that arguably isn't needed today fulfill a campaign promise and take money away from daycare for military families. >> andrea, having left the administration and laid out in writing and straightforward manner with the president, before i left that i was leaving on policy differences. i believe in a old french saying. >> i know you care about the troops and their families. >> we all care about the troops. i think that's true about
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democrats, that's true about the white house and legislative branch. what we need to do is recognize the trust whenever you're in a leadership position. you build trust with talking with one another and coming up with beneficial solutions. we spent so long in this country dividing into different camps that it's almost as if we can't take a true crisis situation on the border. look at the pictures on your network that come back from the border. we've not agreed on how to solve it. it's as if we're staying in the divide and conquer role of elections i would call it. instead of the governing role where we unify once an election is over, about how are we going to solve the problems. >> let me talk about leadership. i wanted to share with you and remind you -- it was striking to me when i looked at the first cabinet meeting. let's take a look at what happened when the president went around the world and was soliciting praise from his cabinets secretaries.
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>> i can't thank you enough for the privileges you've given me that you've shown. >> mr. president, thank you for the honor to serve the country, it's a great privilege you've given me. >> i want to thank you for getting this country moving again. and also working again. >> on behalf of the entire senior staff surrounding mr. president, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda. >> it's an honor to represent the men and women of the department of defense and we're grateful for the sacrifices our people are making. >> you stood out, mr. secretary, because you spoke about the troops. you stood out from that whole group of people that were praising the great leader. what was going through your mind that day? >> well, the defense department has been an apolitical organization. it ranks highest in the
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american's people's confidence as far as the institutions of government. institutions even beyond government. i think a large part of that is that we stay true to the constitution and the constitution has a way we elect a president. republican or democrat when they come in i wanted to represent this national treasure we have that we call the u.s. military that stays obedient to the civilian leadership and civilian control. it is a godsend to us to have this defending our experiment in democracy. so i wanted to just highlight that that day. that's why i came back into government when i was asked. and that's all i was representing that day. there was nothing deeper to it than what you saw there. >> how did you feel speaking again of leadership, how did you feel when your cabinet ally and colleague, rex tillerson was fired on twitter? >> well, i won't get into the
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political assessments -- >> just your human reaction. >> well, you know, rex tillerson is as patriotic and as competent and as committed and devoted american and public servant as there was anywhere. at the same time we serve at the pleasure of the president of the united states. and i've now left two different times, once at a four star officer and once as a secretary under two different political parties. i bear them no rancor when you no longer serve at their pleasure. those words have to mean something even when it's displeasure. it's the way it is. i don't take it personally. i'm confident the secretary of state didn't take it personally. simply washington, d.c. business as usual. >> well, being fired on twitter is not business as usual for a secretary of state. but moving on to leadership and leading. you have an entire appendix
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devoted today your reading list. you write compellingly when you were at the war college, and you know, you really absorb the importance of reading. reading doesn't give you all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead. your personal library has thousands, thousands, 7,000 books in it. what does it say about a chief executive who does not read? i'm just speaking pipe th hypothetically. >> andrea, i'm going to frustrate you here. >> no. i'm not asking you about him but the importance of reading for a ceo, a commander. >> i think any time you have a leadership team and that's what the president and his cabinet are, or in a corporation the ceo and the board of directors, you have to have people with strengths and weaknesses. i know i'm not strong in all areas. the reason i read is to buttress my weak areas frankly. you've done reviews of literature in your life and you know the value. not everyone has turned out the same as myself.
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this is what worked for me. this is what i learned along the way. plus the marine corps at every rank when you get promoted gives you a new reading list. sergeants get a reading list. majors get a reading list when you make major. when you make general you are handed a new list of books to go read. >> maybe someone should give one to a commander-in-chief but i'll move on and ask you about whether you slow walked some of the decisions. >> no. no. that's always been a little bit of an irritant to me. the way i work for someone is i'm right up front with them. that's the way i do it. i had lunches most weeks with the president, myself, and him, or maybe the secretary of state or the chief of staff, but i was always very up front with him, what i was doing. there was nothing i was doing that he was not aware of. you know, the president is a straight forward person in terms of the way he comes out and i'm pretty straight forward as well so the lunches were very open. >> open and frank?
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>> very. >> climate change. when you went in to government -- to this office you made a clear point about climate change, the danger, and the national security threat to our bases, to our troops. now, recently, since you've left the navy has rolled back an obama era climate commission task force on climate for the military. how do you feel about that? >> yeah. i've not read the details of what was happening and what was rolled back, so i don't want to comment on something i'm not privy to. however, i will say, that climate change, i believe, is a reality. we are dealing with open waters where it used to be ice fields. and i think that the way -- let me just talk for a moment to those who are skeptical of climate change. wouldn't you -- even if you're skeptical, wouldn't you want to take out an insurance policy just in case it was right? i mean, i'm not going to talk to the people who believe in
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climate change right now but for those who are adamant there is no climate change, you look at the receding sea ice and have different explanations, why wouldn't we take out an insurance policy and do prudent steps to make certain the generation that's coming up is not going to be caught flat footed by this? it's a national security issue because when people have to leave, devastated areas, and move elsewhere, the refugee flows, all of the humanitarian effort that goes into it, the willingness of some people to take advantage of those people, terrorists in particular, and recruit from them because they feel a loss of hope, it's a reality we'll have to deal with. >> and finally, you're taking some criticism because you're so critical of president obama and his decisions, joe biden's decisions, george w. bush, in fact, in iraq and elsewhere, that you are reluctant to deal with what happened in this --
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what is happening in this administration. do you fear you might be normalizing the decisions of this president because you are so critical of his predecessors? >> yeah. i don't think one person can normalize anything. right now i've got a lot of faith in the american people to draw their own conclusions. remember that i signed the contract to write a book about military leadership in 2013. i was not the secretary of defense. i never aspired to be the secretary of defense. joe biden was not running for president. it's a book written about policy and strategy. i don't even in this book get into political assessments of who the american people elected. >> now can't you speak more publicly about your assessments? >> the u.s. military, since the time of george washington, during abraham lincoln's time, has dealt with this. george marshall, general bradley said when generals retire their uniform they should make sure they retire their tongue about politics. i stay with the military traditional the way through and
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the current political discussions are not something i want the u.s. military to be engaged in. by the way, my predecessor, secretary carter, under the obama administration, also steeled himself to say he would not engage in the same sorts of discussions, so this is a military, department of defense tradition, that we maintain the military's apolitical role obedient to the elected leadership and the american people have good judgment. they will make the right decisions. i believe very strongly in our constitution and our form of government. >> a great privilege. james mattis, retired general, former secretary, thank you very much. and the book is "call sign chaos." thank you. more on hurricane dorian. we'll be right back. (mom vo) we fit a lot of life into our subaru forester. (dad) it's good to be back. (mom) it sure is. (mom vo) over the years, we trusted it to carry and protect the things that were most important to us.
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that's the show. thanks for being with us and remember, follow the show online on facebook and twitter @mitchellreports. here is stephanie ruhle for "velshi and ruhle." thank you so much. good afternoon. i am stephanie ruhle. here at minnesosnbc headquarter new york we are tracking hurricane dorian up and down the east coast. my friend and partner ali velshi in south carolina while i am tracking the big headlines in new york. ali, are you there? >> reporter: yeah. i'm here, stephanie.
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>> how's it going down there? when you and i spoke a few hours ago you were dealing with the triple threat, the rain, the winds, and you were worried about a storm surge. what's changed in the last few hours? >> reporter: let me show you what we've got. we have all those three things happening right now. this is actually our high tide. we're probably about a little less than an hour to the highest of the tide so you see that this surf has come up quite a bit on to, you know, this pier we're on is stone so it is very secure. that pier over there is wood. take a look at the waves right underneath that pier. we are just about getting to the highest of this right now. this is a storm surge that's coming in from the northeast into charleston bay. this is all charleston bay. those people familiar with charleston know there is a great bridge over there. if you look straight over there it's for t it's fort sumter. that is the storm. it is right off the coast right now. we're right next to the storm so this is about the height of our winds and our storm. charleston has


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