tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC September 1, 2020 6:00am-7:00am PDT
would bring crime and women would be in danger. that's a racist trope not from 1955 but from 1855. >> that does it for us this morning. geoff bennett picks up the coverage right now. thanks, mika. good morning. i'm geoff bennett in for stephanie ruhle. it's tuesday, september 1st. we're watching the white house where the president is set to depart this morning for kenosha, wisconsin, nine days after the police shooting of jacob blake that sparked massive protests in kenosha and across the country. he does not plan to meet with blake's family during his visit. the white house says he'll instead visit, quote, damaged areas. and on the eve of the trip, the president defended kyle rittenhouse, the 17-year-old trump supporter who is charged with fatally shooting two protesters in kenosha one week ago.
>> we're looking at all of it. that was an interesting situation. you saw the same tape as i saw. and he was trying to get away from them, i guess, it looks like, and he fell. and then they very violently attacked him. >> joe biden says that response that you just saw is unacceptable after a speech in pittsburgh yesterday where he condemned violence on all sides. biden released a statement slamming the president for giving rittenhouse a pass writing in part, quote, the president declined to rebuke violence. he is too weak, too scared of the hatred he has stirred to put an end to it. and in wisconsin, there's a standstill after republican lawmakers there convened a special session of the state legislature to address police reform. but get this, it lasted for less than 30 seconds. we'll talk to one of the lawmakers who was in the room for that very short session. i want to start with nbc's peter alexander at the white
house and shaquille brewster in kenosha, wisconsin. the president defended kyle rittenhouse who was charged with killing two protesters. and there are two lives that were cut short and i think it's important that we not overlook this. one of the victims was 26-year-old anthony huber, a wisconsin native who friends say loved to skateboard. the other victim is 36-year-old joseph rosenbaum. he moved to kenosha from texas last year. he leaves behind his fiance and young daughter. so as we mentioned, the president isn't meeting with jacob blake's family or those who actually lost their loved ones in all of this. so what then is the point of this trip? what is the white house saying the president is trying to accomplish here? >> yeah, geoff, the president is hoping to use kenosha as a backdrop for his law and order message, despite the objections of the state's governor and the city's mayor. doeths democrats. president trump is expected to visit with members of law enforcement and to tour businesses today that were damaged during last week's
rioting. the president dismissed concerns his trip could inflame tensions, that it will ignite new violence. he says it could increase enthusiasm in wisconsin. of course, wisconsin is a crucial battleground he needs to win in the upcoming election. he's also taken credit for the relative calm in kenosha since the national guard stepped in saying if he did not insist on them going into the city there would be in his words no kenosha right now. but local officials dispute that. they emphasize that it's the governor who activates the national guard. from kenosha to portland you've seen this president threaten to deploy federal forces. he's conflated peaceful protests with violent demonstrators and even defend his own armed supporters like kyle rittenhouse who crossed state lines ultimately taking matters into his own hands, geoff. >> and shaq, you've been in wisconsin for a week or more now. what's the feeling like on the ground there ahead of president
trump's visit? >> this morning, protest leaders, community leaders, religious leaders are telling me they are very nervous about the president's trip to kenosha later today. the situation still remains relatively tense here in kenosha, despite the days of peaceful protests that we've seen recently, really extending through the weekend. there is still a curfew in effect from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. businesses all across the city are still boarded up. and you still have that mobilization from the national guard. more than 1,000 guard members here on the ground again and an order coming from the governor days before the president said he was sending in the national guard. so there's concern that a presidential trip and all that comes with it could break the peace that we've been seeing for the past couple of days. what we're hearing is the blake family is doing what they're calling a day of healing. they're calling for people not to come out and protest. they're calling for people to go to a location that's been described as a location they do not expect the president to ever
show up at. and that's the location where jacob blake was shot seven times in the back. and there you'll have voter registration i'm told. there will be covid testing, food, music. they're trying to have a community vibe. also mural paintings. we know despite the efforts of the blake family, there will still be protests happening if you look at social media. people are still planning to come to kenosha. we know whenever there's a presidential visit, and we've covered them, you and i both, you have people who come to support the president and people who come to oppose the president. and that's the fear that officials here have. they say in the protests over the past week, more than half of those arrested came from out of state. that is the concern that the president will draw people in who are not from here, who don't -- who don't care about necessarily the peace that community leaders are calling for, and that is what community leaders are very nervous about this morning. geoff? >> shaquille brewster and peter alexander, thanks for your reporting and insight. joining me is wisconsin
democratic state senator latonya johnson. senator, first, it's good to see you. so much has been said about your state, about your city, about the people you represent. but how are you feeling? how are the folks that you represent feeling about the president's visit to kenosha today? >> we are all extremely tense because any time the president makes a cameo anywhere, there's always counter protests. and kenosha is at a state where the emotions are still heightened. so everyone is bracing themselves for what's to come. no one knows. we've all made plans with the family to have a day of healing, community cleanup, community projects, but there's always going to be individuals who show up who is not expected, who maybe doesn't have the same agenda at heart. and that's what makes us nervous
for kenosha. >> yesterday the president, as we've been talking about, he defended the 17-year-old supporter of his who is charged with killing two protesters. what's your reaction when you saw that? >> just anger. just absolute anger. he set aside all of the other aspects of this, like the fact that this kid crossed state lines with an ar-15, a gun that he was too young to carry in the state of wisconsin by himself. he shot one protester and then when others were trying to apprehend him for police, he shot two more protesters. another one of which died and one that's injured. there was no remorse for those families. there was no remorse for the family of jacob blake, but just,
you know, unfortunate incidents -- that just encouraged more people to do the same. if he didn't have all of the facts and things were still under investigation, it was okay for him to say absolutely nothing or that, you know, this was an unfortunate incident. but he didn't. he chose to defend the shooter. and that is the type of nonsense that makes us so afraid for kenosha and what might happen today. >> while we have you, i want to ask about what happened yesterday with that legislative session. you and your colleagues met to discuss policing reform. but the session only lasted 30 seconds. so take us inside that room. help us understand what happened. >> i would love to take you inside the room and let you know what happened, but the black caucus had a press conference
yesterday about the special session and about what we wanted to see in terms of legislative reform. we got to the doors at 12:00. the doors were locked. we had to wait to be let in. we were actually inside no later than 12:01, and it had already been gavelled in and gavelled out. it took less than 30 seconds. no republicans showed for this procedure. it was actually done by our chief clerk's office. so that just goes to show the lack of importance that they feel surrounds this issue. you know, the fact that jacob blake was shot seven times in the back, the fact that we had three protesters shot, two of which died, and the republicans still don't see a need or sense of urgency to change reforms around use of force. last year, he had 32
police-involved shootings in wisconsin. and the hardest part for me is to get my republican colleagues to care or to even give a damn and do their jobs. they are so far removed from this process. and that's extremely unfortunate, but it mirrors the attitude of our president. the republicans just have no sense of concern for people who are on the ground, everyday people who are actually living these lives in realtime. >> and in the time that we have left, i want to ask you a question about your state because it's a pivotal battleground state. you mentioned the republicans in your state who are aligned with president trump. do you think president trump's message, him trying to fashion himself as this law and order candidate, do you think that could resonate with folks in wisconsin? >> you know, i think it could resonate with.
but the majority, no. because of all of the turmoil that we've seen. just in the state as a result of our president, him fanning the flames of racial bigotry, individuals of color here in the state of wisconsin, have seen decades of disparities, whether that's economic disparities, health disparities. so we know that racism exists in this state. but then to hear it come from top officials like our president just makes it unsafe for everybody. so now people in the state are starting to see what happens when people of color are backed into a corner and they feel just left out and forgotten about. i think the allies that stand with people of color, especially the black and brown communities, are so strong, they've been so supportive. and i don't think really many
people support this. you're always going to have your republican trump supporters no matter what, but i think a lot of the people are starting to wake up and realize that trump is not good for this country. he's not good for wisconsin. and he's most definitely not good for people who want to just live in peace. we'll never have that with him as a president. >> latonya johnson, i appreciate your perspectives this morning. thank you. after the break, president trump says he wants to investigate, quote, left wing civil unrest. i'll ask former secretary of homeland security jeh johnson what actions the president could take. plus, we're digging into the strategy of so-called herd immunity in the fight against the coronavirus. what it means as doctors are beginning to see people reinfected with the disease.
first, nick saban led his team in a march for change yesterday. it ended at the stadium known for the stand in the schoolhouse incident. george wallace stood in the build aeg doorway trying to block two students from registering for classes. the football program tweeted one word. equality. equality book two separate qualifying stays and earn a free night. the open road is open again. and wherever you're headed, choice hotels is there. book direct at choicehotels.com. stand up to moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and take. it. on... ...with rinvoq. rinvoq a once-daily pill... ...can dramatically improve symptoms... rinvoq helps tame pain, stiffness, swelling. and for some... rinvoq can even significantly reduce ra fatigue.
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police in portland, oregon, are calling a new round of protests there overnight a riot. they marched to the home of mayor ted wheeler last night calling on him to resign. some in the crowd lit fires. others set off firework s and broke windows. it was the 95th consecutive night of protests in the city since the killing of george floyd by police on may 25th. at the same time, president trump is trying to seize on it to unleash his own criticism of the portland mayor. during a news conference at the white house. while the president announced plans to investigate the recent violence there. >> the department of homeland security and the department of justice are announcing a joint operation center to investigate the violent left-wing civil unrest and to get in portland alone, the federal government has already taken care of and arrested 100 rioters. just in that one city.
>> let's go live to portland and nbc's erin mclaughlin. we just got word the acting dhs secretary sent a letter to mayor ted wheeler. so what's he saying here? >> yeah, he sent the letter yesterday dated august 31st. he just tweeted out a copy of it. let me just read you a portion of the letter. he says he's responding to a letter sent by ted wheeler on the 28th of august to president trump. he says he's responding on the president's behalf. a portion of it reading, i urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in portland. we are standing by to support portland. at the same time, president trump has made it abundantly clear there will come a point when states and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence. the federal government will have no choice but to protect our
american citizens adding no further detail in terms of what exactly that means having no choice but to protect our american citizens. it's the latest in a war of words between the president and the mayor of portland, exchanging insults. also blaming each other for the violence. and we saw violence again here as you were just describing there last night in portland. a group of protesters, a couple hundred or so by individuals on the ground in terms of their estimates approached ted wheeler's residence. a condominium building in the pearl district of the city. they set a fire outside of the building. they also broke into the building and set a small fire inside the building. it was at that point that police responded. clashing with the protesters. 19 arrests were made. it's the 96th consecutive night of protests and violence here in
portland. >> nbc's erin mclaughlin, thanks for that. joining us now is the former secretary of homeland security in the obama administration, jeh johnson. it's good to see you, sir. and for folks, i think folks should know that you were the secretary of homeland security during the unrest in ferguson, missouri, in 2014 after the police killing of michael brown and a year later during the unrest in baltimore following the death of freddie gray. so talk to us about how you handled that. i think it could be instructive. it's a useful point of comparison for people. >> the goal in any situation like this, geoff, by the way, i can't help but note this is morehouse man interviewing morehouse man. it's to tamp down the tension. tamp down the violence. defuse the situation. i'm afraid that what our president is doing right now is anything but. he appears to be in an election year to play to his base, simply throwing logs on the fire, but
in baltimore, in ferguson, in other situations we faced in the last administration, the goal has to be tamp down the situation. first and foremost, you rely upon the mayor and the governor to address public safety in their own communities. and if they need assistance, they call upon the national guard under the control of the governors to address the situation if local law enforcement cannot handle it. frankly, right now in my judgment, a better use of this president's time would be to make a call to his own most fervent supporters who are taking up arms going into places like kenosha only adding to the tension and possibly violence in those situations. if i were the president, i'd be calling upon those people to simply stay home. >> yeah. and what do you make of the president's announcement about dhs and doj. he says joining forces to investigate what he calls left wing civil unrest.
so much of what the president says is oftentimes divorced from reality and devoid of facts. is there anything that he could realistically do to that end? >> well, the two cabinet level departments have the largest collection of federal law enforcement officers, without a doubt. to me, the call sounds a lot like election year politics. the president seems to be playing to his base. it's a replay of the 1968 richard nixon law and order card except this president is the incumbent. this is happening on his watch, and he is responsible for this. and so, again, i come back with this. i think the goal of any president right now at the national level is to tamp down and defuse the situation and not amp it up. and i'm worried that this president's words and his actions may be unduly provocative. >> while we have you, we just
learned this morning of another arrest of someone tied to the far right bugaloo group. we don't hear president trump denouncing these far right extremist groups. instead, he continues to focus on antifa and what he calls left wing violence. what do you make of the domestic terror threat posed by right-wing fringe groups, white nationalist groups and these white supremacist groups, many of whom support president trump? >> well, geoff, we saw a tangible real-life tragic example of what happens when someone, a private citizen in that case, a 17-year-old with an assault weapon, feels emboldened and encouraged to go into tense communities and try to take matters into their own hands. this is a dangerous, dangerous situation. and i'm very concerned that unless this president discourages and denounces private citizens who feel
emboldened to act as a self-appointed militia, we're going to have a dangerous situation on our hands. and i see this going in the wrong direction at the moment. >> jeh johnson, former dhs secretary and the pride of morehouse college, great to see you, sir. >> thank you, geoff. coming up next -- coronavirus cases are spiking in the midwest and some college football teams are getting ready to welcome thousands of fans. an infectious disease expert weighs in on what should be happening on college campuses. uh uh, no way come on, no no n-n-n-no-no only discover has no annual fee on any card.
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now to the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. here are the facts at this hour. politico is reporting the department of health and human services is bidding out more than $250 million to a communications firm as it seeks to, quote, defeat despair and inspire hope about the coronavirus pandemic. as part of a massive public relations campaign. nationwide, the total number of cases continues to climb past 6 million. the death toll is closing in on 185,000. and one of president trump's pandemic advisers is pushing back against a "washington post" report that says he's promoting a herd immunity strategy to combat the coronavirus. the post reports scott atlas was urging the administration to adopt the model that sweden has used. atlas denies the report calling it a, quote, overt lie.
let's go to atlanta and blayne alexander. on this first day of september, college students across the country are adjusting to life on campus with this pandemic raging. so what are schools doing to contain the spread? >> well, geoff, good morning to you. we know what it is looking like when college students head back to campuses across the country as more students fill the campuses. we're seeing the number of covid cases go up in many situations. now the question is really shifting to, what are the schools doing to help contain the spread of the virus? so in many places, what we're seeing on campus is schools have set aside areas for students to isolate. whether it's a dorm or a house. they are setting aside isolation areas and also a number of campuses that have testing sites right there on campus. here in atlanta, georgia tech actually has five free testing sites on campus, and they are urging students to get tested every week. but some schools are seeing
cases rise so quickly that they're actually sending students back home either for two weeks or for longer saying they want to put a pause on in-person classes. but that's raising some concern among health experts who worry that students going from those environments back into their homes could possibly accelerate the spread of the virus there and cause them to spread it possibly among family members if they're going back. the third thing we're seeing with schools and after we've seen all of those images of students packing together in parties in many cases, schools are really cracking down. they are saying, one, there will be strict disciplinary actions for those who are found to be in violation of their social distancing guidelines. and then some schools, like ohio state university, are going even a step further. they just recently suspended all student organizations from holding any sort of gatherings. i have to say to give it a little context, though, as i've been reporting on this issue for the last few weeks or so, i've spoken with a number of officials, and i had a conversation with the president of tulane. he told me, listen, we're a city. just essentially a small city
that's coming back together. and just like with any city, covid is not skipping those areas. so when you expect to get 10,000, 15,000 or so people back together, you'd expect to see a number of cases. officials are being realistic in that area. they're not saying these areas will be covid-free but their focus is on what they're doing to contain the spread, geoff. >> blayne alexander, brilliant reporting as always. joining us now is dr. bedalia, an infectious disease physician and medical director of the special pathogens unit at boston medical center. so let's start with this controversy over herd immunity this morning. the white house coronavirus adviser, dr. scott atlas, is denying this "washington post" report that he's urging the administration to adopt a herd immunity strategy. first, we should explain what herd immunity is, and then second, what's your take on this as a strategy to combat the coronavirus.
>> i for one am really glad dr. atlas is taking this back. herd immunity is the concept that enough people have become immune to a particular infection through a vaccine or through getting the infection so the disease doesn't have any place to propagate. if you haven't had it, those around you can't transmit it to you because they've already had it. the trouble with pursuing herd immunity, particularly with coronavirus, is multyfold. we now know there are certain number of people that can get reinfected. we don't know how big that number is. probably pretty small but as we get farther away from this pandemic, the more we may discover there are a sizable number of people who may get reinfected and even though people who get reinfected get a milder disease, most likely. we don't yet know that either. they can still carry the virus which means we don't know whether or not they'll be successful in trying to transmit that. let me do some back of the envelope, even if that wasn't true, there were no reinfections. back of the envelope calculations. 6 million cases.
the cdc let's say is right and ten times as many people have had this infection. that means 270 million americans are still vulnerable to these infections. to get to 60% of people to go through that infections which is what is thought to be necessary to achieve potentially herd immunity, that means 166 million would have to get the disease. 0.5% mortality. that's 180,000 people dying. this administration, if they were to pursue a herd immunity through infection, they are pushing the strategy that would say 180,000 americans would have to die to get there. and that's just deaths, not even talking about the hospitalizations or impact on health care systems. i'm livid because mart of this is irresponsible. if you talk about this in march, it would be different. we've seen herd immunity play out and fail miserably in sweden. they have widespread access to health care, socialist medicine as well as good public health systems and we're lacking that in a lot of our areas here in
the united states. the brunt of that, if what's been happening has been true so far, the brunt of that would be carried by essential workers and people of color. it's not a strategy. it's abdication of responsibility if the administration were to pursue that strategy. >> thank you for explaining that. i had a lot of questions about herd immunity. you just answered all of them. i have another question. the midwest is getting hit hard right now by coronavirus, especially in iowa where they are dealing with high positivity rates. iowa state university is set to welcome some 25,000 students for the school's first football game this season. of course, the pandemic is raging. your reaction to that. should any colleges be having any sort of in-person gatherings in-person classes, in-person games right now? >> geoff, i think the huge part of what colleges can get away with on campus completely depends on community transmission. the midwest is becoming the hot spot in this pandemic and so
it's particularly irresponsible to allow activities on campus that require physical contact. close physical contact. and so unless you're hoping that your student athletes are putting on full personal protective equipment while doing their games, you're putting them at risk. so most -- even in areas in massachusetts where test positivity is less than 1%, class sizes are very limited. there's remote learning as well as some in-person learning. people are getting tested and most campuses here in boston, people are getting tested two times a week. so, you know, even in a low prevalence setting you need a lot of hard work to make this safe. it's completely irresponsible for iowa to pursue this strategy right now. >> dr. naheed medalia, i learned a lot speaking to you these last four or five minutes. joe biden is on the campaign trail stepping up his attacks against president trump. eddie glaude and robert costa join us next. next
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do you really feel safer under donald trump? mr. trump, want to talk about fear? you know what people are afraid of in america? they're afraid they're going to get covid. they're afraid they're going to get sick and die, and that is in no small part because of you. >> that was joe biden yesterday taking aim at president trump's coronavirus response and accusing him of stoking the violence we've seen in some parts of the country. in his first speech in months away from the wilmington, delaware, area, the democratic nominee hit back at trump's claims that he would be soft on crime. nbc news headline gets straight to the point. now out of the so-called basement as trump has been claiming, biden came out swinging in pittsburgh. ali vitaly has been keeping tabs on the biden campaign.
trump even claimed that biden was tolerant of anarchists, thugs and agitators in the last 48 hours, a tweet there. that's not true. but how does the campaign defuse and neutralize the outright lies while still staying on a message of hope and healing that we heard from biden yesterday? >> well, that's always been the balancing act for whoever trump's opponent is. it's a question of how do you combat the biggest political megaphone the president has and especially a president who is willing to paint in attacks that aren't necessarily fact-based and he paints with broad brush strokes. how do you combat that while also bringing your own message into the force that you're not just responding to the president but instead offering your own kind of countermessage. and we've seen the biden/harris ticket do a really good job of that. focusing almost exclusively on their message.
they want to focus on trump's mishandling of the pandemic, for example, and then ignoring a lot of the other side shows that he's tried to bring into this conversation. i think specifically when he tried to delve in to birtherism claims once again. the biden/harris ticket responded briefly but really glanced off and got back to focusing on their own message. but something yesterday that joe biden did that really struck me is that he sought to fact-check donald trump in realtime. you mentioned that trump has been painting him as soft on crime and radical. biden leaning on this national brand that he's honed for decades and saying to people, look at me. do i really look like someone who supports rioters and someone who is sympathetic to radicals? so trying to lean on that national brand of his while also trying to talk about the plans he has for this country. and i think, geoff, you know this president. you've covered him for a long time, too. he's quick to attack. quick to deflect.
and every operative that i've spoken to over the course of the last five years of covering the president has said it's hard to figure out the right way, the right balance to temper what he's saying attackwise and make sure that your message is the one that wins the day. at least for yesterday, the biden ticket figured out a way to do that. >> ali vitali, thanks for your time. for more, i want to bring in "washington post" national political reporter and msnbc political analyst robert costa and we also have professor eddie glaude, the chair of the african-american studies department at princeton university and an msnbc contributor. eddie, i want to start with you and ask you to do the thing that you do better than anyone. and that's distill this moment for us. the extraordinary specttacle ofa president who tradition dictates should call for calm at a time of civic unrest. instead justifies violence by his supporters and all but excuses a pro-trump vigilante
who allegedly killed two protesters. the president is going to wisconsin to survey damage, he says, but he's not acknowledging the damage that has befallen the families of jacob blake, joseph roensbalm or anthony huber. >> well, geoff, i think at the end of the day, what donald trump represents, at least to me is a caricature of an old kind of politics. and what do i mean by that? we have seen since the 1960s an exploitation of white grievance and white fear and white resentment as the kind of ground for certain kinds of political efforts. so there's always been this question around law and order. there's always been this kind of appeal to the so-called forgotten american or silent majority driving american politics in interesting sorts of ways and problematic sorts of ways. what donald trump has done is made it all explicit. we all know he says the quiet parts out loud. so he's making these explicit appeals, not dog whistles but explicit appeals to drive his
base and in some ways to try to expand his base. what we're seeing is not something that is distinct and unique to donald trump. what we're seeing is just simply a caricature or bad execution of an old form of race-baiting. an old form of american politics. so on the one hand, geoff, we don't -- let's not exceptionalize donald trump or make him unique. he's doing something we ought to be familiar with. but at the same time, we need to say he's doing it very badly if that makes sense. >> got it. and bob, one of the hallmarks of the trump administration is the near unanimous silence. the public silence from republicans. i wonder, what are your republican sources telling you about president trump's head first dive into these tensions? what are they telling you about his political standing, too, as we reach the final stretch of this campaign. >> they're trying to echo him actually in some respect when it comes to the law and order message. this is not a party that is
running away from president trump in any way. that never trump coalition has cracked off in some respects to vice president biden's campaign. those core republicans are standing with president trump and they see his message of grievance, those appeals to voters in the suburbs as central to their own re-election chances this fall. and the republican convention they tell me is an illumination of where they all are with the president. >> eddie, the president's attempts to move the election fight to what he believes is better ground for him. it kind of shows what he would do in a second term if he gets a second term. you've got the dni announcing he's not going to brief lawmakers in person. there's the ongoing dismantling of the u.s. postal service, the concerns the fda and cdc are putting politics over public health. what are your thoughts about the potential of a second trump term and what that would mean for this country? >> well, i think, you know, we
need to be very clear there's a serious potential for a second term. that he would represent, i think, a fundamental threat to the foundation of democratic norms and institutions in this country. in some ways, and this sounds hyperbollic. i think donald trump and those who are his enablers represent an existential threat to american democracy. this is why it's so important for vice president biden to be strong in his response but also needs to reject the frame. he has to walk a delicate balance. in your conversation with ali, geoff, i want to emphasize this. you can't come out and say i'm not going to ban fracking. what is that going to do to the left wing of the democratic party? you can't just buy into the frame of being soft and hard on crime. you have to change the discourse, the frame of the debate. we just can't go back to what was because donald trump represents a threat. we need to really respond at the scale of the threat. and that means we need to do something very, very bold and different, i think.
>> bob, i want to play some of president trump's interview last night on fox news. he said something that raised a lot of eyebrows. let's take a look. >> who do you think is pulling biden's strings? is it former obama officials? >> people you've never heard of. people in the dark shadows. >> what does that mean? that sounds like conspiracy theory. >> no, people you haven't heard of. there are people that are on the streets. there are people that are controlling the streets. >> so my colleague ben collins was able to trace that claim back to a viral facebook rumor that popped up back in june. the president appeared to have been parrotting that. borks i'm not going to ask you to weigh in on that, but i am interested in your thoughts, what you're hearing from your sources about this campaign approach of trying to paint -- republicans trying to paint joe biden as an empty vessel. he tried to defuse that yesterday but they think it's going to be an effective approach. >> the challenge for vice president biden is that the
president of the united states is not the only person who is plucking different conspiracy theories from social media, from facebook. many of his own supporters are living on those social platforms and digesting information in that way. and we've seen not only a shattering of norms in terms of the executive office of the presidency but how people process information. and while many americans welcome the opportunity to get news that fits more of their own character, you are seeing now the gates in terms of what's allowed in in terms of solid information and what's not. it's free flowing now. information that's inaccurate is flowing alongside information that's accurate. and all of these social channels. and it's creating a whole torrent of disinformation for many voters. and some of that disinformation is rising to the level of being articulated by the president of the united states. >> yeah, yeah. brilliant insights from you
congressman joe kennedy is looking to unseat senator ed markey, who still running as a bold insurgent after first being elected to congress 44 years ago. markey is favored to win re-election by capturing the progressive youth vote. and the support of older affluent white democrats in the state. markey never lost an election in his 47 years of public service. quite a track record. and if kennedy loses, he would become the first in his family to lose a race in massachusetts. nbc's garrett haake has been following both campaigns in boston for us. garrett, you're wrapping up these frequent flier miles in a pandemic no less. good to see you, brother. you talked to both candidates last night, what did they tell you? >> reporter: well, jeff, this race has been fascinating. you mentioned markey trying to corner the market on the progressive vote, he's done that thanks to a couple of big endorsements he got, from his fellow bay stater elizabeth warren and second and most importantly from aoc with whom
he worked on the green new deal. he has made her support fundamental to his candidacy and he uses that and his work on the green new deal to try to hold off what is joseph kennedy's primary argument there needs to be new blood in the senate, that markey has been around too long, he has been essentially someone who is not addressed the needs of some of the people, particularly in working class neighborhoods like dorchester, where i am right now. and you see the two essentially squaring off in that space. i heard about -- from both of them from senator markey last night and talked to joseph kennedy this morning. here is what they told me about how they see this playing out. >> i'm running, challenging the notion that we can do better against a man who i respect, but has been in office for nearly 50 years, and somebody said it has been 50 years and this is what we have. it is time to try to find something new. >> in this race, when it comes to ideas, i'm the youngest guy in the race. i think i'm getting that response all across the state of
massachusetts. >> reporter: here's one other strange wrinkle to this race, jeff. more than 900,000 ballots have already been cast in massachusetts by mail. if you look at the primary race history here in massachusetts, that probably means somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the vote we expect to get in this race has already been cast. that makes kennedy's job in particular, if you believe the polls he's trailing, that much harder to make up ground today when so many votes are already in the bank, jeff. >> nbc's garrett haake, garrett, thanks for that. that wraps up this hour of msnbc. i'm jeff bennett in for stephanie ruhle. hallie jackson picks it up next. stephae niruhle. hallie jackson picks it up next. book two separate qualifying stays and earn a free night. the open road is open again. and wherever you're headed, choice hotels is there. book direct at choicehotels.com.
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defiant, divisive and doubling down. that's president trump just a few minutes away from heading out on the controversial trip to kenosha, wisconsin, planning to thank and meet with police officers, but not with jacob blake's family. he refuses to condemn the teen charged with killing two protesters and overnight he compared police shootings to missing a golf putt. >> they choked, like in a golf tournament. i'm saying people choke. >> while the president argue his kenosha visit could increase enthusiasm, leaders in kenosha worry it could escalate tensions instead. they're planning to try to keep things calm. i'm hallie jackson in washington. we have a lot to get to. to start us off is monica alba with gabe