tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC February 25, 2021 12:00am-1:01am PST
ruling on the minimum wage. we're expecting the potentially the intelligence community's declassified report on the murder of jamal khashoggi. there's a lot going on tonight and still ahead, too. but that does it for me tonight. i'll see you again tomorrow night. see you again tomorrow night. tonight on "all in." >> i didn't vote to overturn an election and i will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship. >> firework in the house as the republicans choose trump over the american people again. tonight how the gop is plotting to block covid relief of senator bernie sanders. then shocking new charges against a former police officer for attacking the capitol police. plus congresswoman val demings on her call today to confront white supremacist terror. >> aren't we tired? aren't we as a nation exhausted? haven't we had enough? >> and as the president pursues
his agenda under the radar, how one senator from west virginia has become the most powerful lawmaker in america. when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. as the democratic party and the biden administration is pushing forward, the republican party is stuck looking backwards. we have reached a crucial moment for the covid relief americans desperately need and want and the gop is openly trying to stop it. this friday is the first big vote, right? the house will vote on joe biden's $1.9 trillion rescue package. the senate aiming to get it to biden by march 14th and then for biden to sign it into law. the republican party is opposing this rescue package in part because they are still moans over the twice impeached loser. well, almost everyone. exceptions like republican congresswoman liz cheney who voted to impeach trump over the attack at the capitol, which led to this delightfully uncomfortable exchange today.
>> do you believe president trump should be -- or former president trump should be speaking at c-pac this weekend? >> that's up to c-pac. i have been clear about my views about president trump and the extent to which the events on january 6th. i don't believe he should be playing a role in the future of the party of our country. >> on that high note -- >> you can actually see kevin mccarthy's soul leave his body at one point in this conference. he closes it eyes. it just floats out of him. shortly thereafter jim jordan tweeted president trump is the leader of the republican party. you know what, jim? you are right and liz cheney is wrong. the vast majority of republicans
are falling over themselves to associate with this unpopular loser. we're so used to it at this point that i don't think it strikes as weird as it is. it is truly upside down. it is very weird in republican politics to see a party rally around a loser. losers tend to believe popularity and appeal with their supporters and their policy if they lose. unless your a cubs fan, lovable losers aren't really a thing in politics. there is no big push for jimmy carter in 1984. or to see george w.h. bush challenge bill clinton in 1996. not only did donald trump lose, he has consistently been unpopular since he took office. his very best when he was pretending to take the coronavirus seriously, trump could reach a 46% average approval rating. he left office push ago personal low point following his incitement of the capitol insurrection and subsequent
impeachment. not only the trump disliked but so are his major executive actions in office. this chart in the economist shows the average poll support for major bills and executive actions since 2006. the farther something is to the right on that chart, the more popular it was. the more to the left, less popular. donald trump has three items on there, the gop health care bill, the gop tax reform bill and the separation of immigrant families. they are by far the least popular items on the chart. compare all that to president biden who has cruised along at 54% approval rating his first month in office. according to the economist data, his covid rescue package is probably the most popular piece of legislation by broad bipartisan support since 2007. new morning poll out today. we all take polls with a little grain of salt, but when the numbers are this big, they're saying something. 76% of voters support the plan. 76%. that includes 60% of republicans.
you basically never see that. all right? almost everyone likes this. earlier today, more than 150 ceos, including the heads of corporations like google and golden sacks signed a letter urging biden to sign the covid relief package. republicans at the state and local level support the plan. donald trump praised for not acknowledging joe biden as president-elect says biden needs to, quote, go big on the covid aid package and not worry about the federal debt. promise of direct cash payments is clearly a huge part of how democrats won two senate seats in georgia. there was their closing message. the bill has those direct cash payments, $1,400 on top of the $600. it's got money to open school. it's got money for vaccinations, like actually funding a big vaccination program. it's on the right side of public opinion by a lot. it's good on the merits. people want it. it's got lots of stuff for
different constituencies, and it's popular. congressional republicans are just saying they don't care about public opinion. like if the shoe were on the other foot democrats would be quaking in their boots how popular this thing is, like oh, my god, what do we do? both senate minority leader mitch mcconnell and kevin mccarthy said we're sticking with the bill. nope. they're saying we are sticking with the 45% loser down in mar-a-lago. we're not doing any self-examination, not how did we lose touch with the american people, why don't people like us, why can't we reach these voters. yeah, sure, the last guy's rhetoric led to a violent attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power. yes, we're on the wrong side of the rescue bill. sure, all that's true. but we can rule from our little 45% minority. that's the play here.
and the thing is they might be right. that's the core truth of american politics at the moment, right? maybe they can just gerrymander themselves the majority in 2022, public opinion be damned or get backlash going to win both houses. the fundamental defining feature of american politics is that one coalition has become detached from broad public opinion from trying to achieve truly national majorities, and that's true because they are pretty confident they can gain the system. but americans constitution structures power to successfully yield power from the power of the minority. bernie sanders plays a huge role in passing this act, and he joins me now. you know, it occurred to me, senator, in your long time in politics, you have championed causes both popular and unpopular. you have been someone who, you know, spoke out for bills that didn't get a ton of votes, that weren't polling that well amongst the american public. it does seem to me the democratic party and the broad
coalition assembled truly does have the wind on their backs on this big piece of legislation. >> absolutely. i mean, for once i think we are listening to the american people in this extraordinary time of need. 2020 was probably the worst year in american history since the civil war. people are suffering. they can't feed their children. they have no income. worried about being evicted. their kids can't go to school. mental illness is at a record breaking level because of all of the anxiety and isolation that people are feeling. and we have presented a comprehensive bill, which is not perfect, but goes a long way to say to working families all over this country, you know what, we hear your pain, and we are responding. we're going to get you that $1,400 check for every working class adult that's a family of four $5,600 on top of the $600
checks they received last month. that is life and death for millions of families. we're going to extend unemployment benefits until september with a $400 bonus on top of your normal unemployment. we are going to lower -- this is an issue. we don't talk about enough, chris. childhood poverty in america is way, way up there compared to other major countries. this legislation lowers childhood poverty by 50%. we are going to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. that is why the american people support what we are doing. we're listening to their pain and responding. >> part of the reason you are a fulcrum for this, the budget committee and process is how this is going to happen. there is a technical question. i just want to set this up before i ask you about it. there is a technical question
that if you want to go through the reconciliation process, which goes around the filibuster, simple majority rule, everything then has to be germane to the budget. and there is an argument about whether raising the minimum wage is sufficiently germane to go in or out. the senate parliamentarian will rule on that. we don't know the ruling, but i want to play you some sound from ron klain about what the white house's approach will be if the senator parliamentarian cuts out the minimum wage part. >> we're all waiting on baited breath from a ruling from the senate parliamentarian at least when i walked over had not come down. her ruling will have a big impact on the future of that provision. the president believes we should have a $15 minimum wage. if it is ruled in order,
obviously that would allow it to move in this package. if it is ruled out of order, we will have to find other ways to get it done. >> what do you think, senator? >> well, i think what ron said is basically accurate. and what i want everybody to understand is what the parliamentarian is ruling has nothing to do with the merits of a $15 minimum wage which is absolutely necessary if we're going to end starvation wages in america. this is a complicated process for what the so-called bird rule and reconciliation. is this a budget issue or is it incidental? we made arguments this morning which i think were very compelling that this is consistent with the rule and the reconciliation process. so we think we got a good shot to win. the parliamentarian's ruling can't guarantee it. >> how much -- because we have already got mcconnell and mccarthy whipping against us -- if the shoe was on the other foot, democrats would be shaking
in their boots. the democrats were on the wrong side of the issue, there would be freakouts. how much cohesion is there in the caucus of democrats who will have to stick together if you don't get any republican votes? >> look, chris, i'm not going to tell you that when you have 50 people there aren't 50 different nuances of opinion, including myself. things in this bill i don't like. >> you and joe manchin don't agree on everything exactly? >> yeah. i think you could safely say that. but i think at the end of the day every member of the democratic caucus understands the unprecedented health care and economic and educational crisis that we're facing today, understands that we have to work with the president of the united states to make sure that he is successful. and at the end of the day i am confident that every member of the democratic caucus is going to support this bill and the vice president will give us the deciding vote. >> you know, on the minimum
wage, which is part of this and we will find out about the parliament tear. the minimum wage raising to $15 is very popular like the covid relief package more broadly. it cost 60% in the state of florida that donald trump won, beat joe biden in. we have seen this happen time and time again. it almost seems like republicans are cutting ads for democrats when they come out against it. i do wonder if it wasn't in this package, like, do you think you could win a floor vote on it? if you just said up or down -- >> oh, no. >> you couldn't, okay. >> no. no. no. no. you could not -- as of now, there is one republican who will support a $15 minimum wage. and what's sad -- yeah. i'm sorry. i didn't mean to interrupt. >> what you're saying, just to be clear here, if you were in a filibuster world and you needed ten votes, there is not ten republican votes to raise the wages. >> let me be very clear about
this. the only way that we are going to raise the minimum wage is through reconciliation or ending the filibuster. in my view, i do not see in the foreseeable future getting significant support from republicans. >> it is so striking, too, because i am sure you have seen this senator sanders. there has been a rhetorical shift among many republicans, including josh hawley, tom cotton who partnered with you on direct cash relief to families, ted cruz, right? there is a whole lot of talk about we're the party of the working people now. we're done with the country club and the ceos. as soon as the issue is called, do you want a higher minimum wage, the mask comes off. >> that's right.
that's absolutely right. but i think on the other hand, let us be honest. polling shows and i think you have seen these polls is that in recent years, a number of working people significantly whites, latinos, some blacks have moved to the republican party. what i am fighting for, chris, which is the subject of a whole other discussion is what is the democratic party? what do we stand for? i believe our future must be and i think the president would agree with me, we must be the party of the working class of this country, white and black and latino, native american, asian american. we must have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests and do what exists in so many countries around the world. you know, provide health care to all, public colleges and universities, tuition free, have a living wage as a minimum wage, et cetera, et cetera. but we have got to stand up forcefully for the working class of this country if we're going to succeed politically. >> senator bernie sanders, chair of that budget committee, which is the site of a lot of action
these days. thank you very much for making some time for us tonight. >> thank you very much. all right. even though it is one of the most consequential and most recorded events in modern american history, amazingly there is still so much we do not know about that attack on the capitol on january 6th. but we learn more and more every day. one of the things we are learning is about current and former members of law enforcement who were there as part of the mob, including this man. that man has been identified as a retired nypd officer who faces charges for one of the most brutal attacks on police that we have seen yet. so who is he? and how did he end up doing that next? he end up doing that next
the events i witnessed on january 6th was the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that i've seen in my entire career. i witnessed insurgents beating police officers with fests, pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades and flagpoles. these criminals came prepared for war. they came with their own radio system to coordinate the attack and climbing gear and other equipment. i am sickened by what i witnessed that day. >> something striking we're learning about the january 6th attack is just how many current and former law enforcement officers were involved in assaulting capitol and
metropolitan police. so far at least four of them at least three former law enforcement officers have been charged with federal crimes. that includes thomas webster. webster is a retired nypd officer. the criminal complaint against webster says he can be seen on body cam footage waving a marine corp flag on a pole and screaming profanities at a metro police officer. then begins shoving a metal gate against the officer and raises his metal flagole. according to the complaint webster begins slamming the metal flagpole against the fence directly in front of the officer and tried to attack the officer, lunging directly at him. the officer managed to pull the pole out of webster's hands before being knocked to the ground. the fbi says webster clenched his fist and charged at the officer who was still on the ground at this point. the body cam footage shows the terror of the attack. just imagine the officer must have felt at that moment.
he tried to ripoff the officer's mask, choking him with his chin strap. i want to bring in ryan riley, senior justice reporter, been reporting on the identity of many of the insurrectionists since january 6th. this individual identified as webster was someone very prominent in the videotape and law enforcement had been looking for some time, right? >> yeah, he was on that fbi most wanted list. he was one of those now over 300 people wanted in connection with this attack. his photos were sort of plastered all over. it's sort of astonishing it took this long by someone clearly known by so many members of law enforcement having retired not all that long ago to have shown up and been tipped off about the situation. you imagine his face, he couldn't have changed that much since he retired, right? his face could have shown up in some facial recognition
software. there's a number of ways you would think this would be able to turn up, but it took a little longer than expected. >> he'd been assigned after retirement to guarding city hall, is that correct? >> that's right, yeah. and, you know, i think you have to -- if you step back for a minute and think about this idea of police officers attacking police officers and what the motivations for that might be. because you have a situation where these people honestly believe the election was stolen. so in their minds their the patriots. in their minds they're the people fighting against what's wrong. they're still standing up for the rule of law in their minds. they are fighting against people who they think are protecting people who are sort of this secret cabal of take over of the u.s. government. i mean if you actually think that people stole the election, you have to sort of follow that up. what is your next action going to be? are you just going to sort of protest and say you lost, let's go home? if you honestly actually believe these conspiracy theories that the election was stolen of course you're going to use
force, of course you're going to try to break in? these people thought they were patriots, they were fighting. they thought this was 1776 and they thought they're still standing up and protecting the rule of law in their minds. >> it's such a good point if you believe it this is a moment in which the curtain of tyranny has ascended on the country and you're the one thing standing between it, a massively fraud stolen election. what is so ironic or crazy to get your head around, of course, is that we live through this year with it most large scale protests against police violence and brutality in recent memory. millions of people when all was said and done in the streets. and the fear on the right was that you would have mobs descending on cops to beat them on the ground. and this is the place that it happened. like, this moment with the thin blue line flags and the maga
flags and with police officers doing the beating. >> right. and it's also a matter of the lack of preparation here because they didn't consider this group as much of a threat because they presented themselves in this way. and you could write a book on the dynamics between policing, protests against the police or policing protests essentially are against another epty, right? police are much more protective and much more defensive if they're the ones -- and they also have that gut visceral reaction if their the ones being protested against, right? you don't like those people. of course you're not going to like that, right? but in this situation this wasn't a group actually caring about the police and targeting the police. their end goal was congress. that's the dynamic here that is responsible i think for a lot of it reason why we weren't as prepared as normally. because if there was a group coming to the capitol that was specifically targeting the
capitol police, i mean that would be a much different scenario. and i think those warning signs would have went up a lot quicker. but that's a completely different dynamic here what we've seen in the protesters over the summer. >> we saw multiple moments saying we're on your side, when everyone abandoned you, sort of talking them into we're on the same team here. there's also reporting about investigations that have not been carried out on actual capitol police officers. there was a lot of video and rumor and sort of deep contextualized accusations they had sided with the rioters. at some point we probably will i imagine, right? >> yeah, i mean ironically as much as we talk about this idea of transparency in policing, you can look at the capitol police as an agency that's not transparent at all and really needs to step it up in terms of what they should be able to produce and should be forced by congress to turn over more
information. one moment that really sticks with me during this attack is you had this situation where i was watching this video where one of these individuals in the crowd came up and said, was telling a capitol police officer you'll keep your job, you'll keep your job. they captures the dynamic right there, they thought they were going to take this over and everything would move on. and that after trump was installed as president, oh, everyone will keep their job. so they're trying to inform them just cooperate with us, and that was a big component of this. initially they were trying to get the capitol police to cooperate with them and stand aside. >> doing just indispensable reporting on this. you have been an incredible resource for all of us, so thank you and stay on this beat. i appreciate it. >> thanks so much. next congresswoman val demings. her call to confront right wing violence like what we saw on january 6th. g violence like what we saw on january 6th.
it was donald trump who was planting the idea, aided and abetted by disruptive changes proposed by a new postmaster general and a compliant board of governors that actually eroded public confidence in the ability to vote by mail. that wasn't a democratic narrative. that was a republican narrative by the president of the united states and his enablers. i didn't vote to overturn an election, and i will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship. >> democratic congressman jerry connolly of virginia blasted his republican colleagues at a hearing at the postal service today in response to comments by the republican congressman from ohio and georgia. he was addressing the elephant in the room, right? congress is back. they have committees. they do their thing. but there is no apologies or resolution or anything after the majority members of congress voted to overturn a democratic
election in order to install the loser over the winner. and in so doing, they rallied around a cause that led to a violent insurrection. what we saw on january 6th is just one part of a broader radicalization happening at the extreme right of american politics. that was the focus of a house judiciary committee hearing today. >> on january 6th former president trump directed his followers to attack the capitol and congress at a time when we were fulfilling our sacred constitutional duty in certifying electors. there are no both sides in this debate. we must not be misled by efforts to divert the accountability for these acts of right wing violence and terror. >> aren't we tired? aren't we as a nation exhausted? haven't we had enough?
doesn't this issue deserves more than a political debate, a lackluster and half hearted response? and if any colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to keep score, you will lose. >> democratic congresswoman val demings of florida is vice chair on crime, terrorism and homeland security. you just heard her speaking on domestic terrorism today and she signs me now. it is great to have you. what have you learned today? >> well, chris, what i have learned today is domestic terrorism, white supremacy since the founding of our country and that we still are dealing with white supremacists and domestic terrorism and that there are those who will continue to defend are those who are directly responsible. you know, we talk about insurrection day. we know that that was the direct
result of the actions of the former president who helped to incite the attack against the capitol. but unfortunately, many of my colleagues on this subcommittee and across the aisle in general have done everything within their power to continue to carry the big lie and the false narrative and not address the problems in this country that we have faced way too long and that is again domestic terrorism, white supremacy and extreme domestic individuals. >> i want to give you the argument that conservatives have been making on this so you could respond to it which broadly goes like this. they say, look, this is essentially a means for democrats to sort of use the tools of the state to target all conservatives and to lump us all in together with the worst and most extreme elements so that we could have the government target
them on political grounds. what is your response to that? >> chris, you know what i say? we know them by the fruits that they bear. you talked about it earlier. the majority of persons in the republican party in the house of representatives voted to overturn the election. when president trump and his enablers were standing at the podium saying go down to the capitol and fight like hell, prepare for war, prepare for combat, the same republicans did absolutely nothing to stop it. as a matter of fact, after the capitol was attacked and we reconvened, they went back to carrying the big lie. i hear what they're saying. no, we're not talking about everybody in the party but those who have participated by omission or comission deserve to be held accountable. >> your background is in law enforcement, and i wonder both how that informs how you think ant this and also just your
thoughts on what we were talking about the lost block which is the fact that more than a dozen police officers, law enforcement officials have been either arrested or suspected of participating in this, which ends up being probably the most sustained attack on law enforcement in recent memory. >> yeah, chris. i was there that day, as you know, in the house gallery. when i heard there was a breach of the capitol, i'm knew that the fight that the capitol police were engaged in outside, that we were losing that battle, that the rioters, the violent offenders have gone through every layer of security and when i certainly have heard the reports that there were former law enforcement officers and some current law enforcement officers and others, members of the military in the crowd, all i can say is this, chris, they deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. they have taken an oath that they would protect and defend the constitution and yet they
chose to come to the capitol and basically beat the capitol police down with flag poles, use barricades, bicycles racks and as deadly missiles. they beat them with pipes and any other thing they could get their hands on. i don't care what profession they were in before, they deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. and if there is anything that i can do to help in that process as a former law enforcement officer, i am prepared and ready to do that. >> there is a lot of rhetoric that has been coming from many quarters. i mean, i think that it's been a very rough year in american life. it's been the deadliest year in american life. it's been very difficult in many
ways. our politics are polarized and frayed. but there is a vain i have seen from the right largely about civil war, cataclysm, warnings of violence, celebration and the fetishization of guns as a sort of tool of political messaging. i wonder what effect do you think that has on the extremists and the folks who are, you know, thinking about doing bad things. >> well, you know, you think that the attack on the capitol on january 6th, it didn't just start that day. it was a culmination of vicious, hateful, violent rhetoric coming from the former president of the united states and others who were, you know, using the same language all over our nation. and it culminated into that vicious attack. look, people are listening and they are paying attention to their leaders. and that's why i am so gravely concerned about persons in leadership position, those who are elected to congress who are
not here to unify our country, not here to heal old wednesday and deal with the past ghosts in the room like racism and some of the injustices that we face. chris, i believe they want a modern day civil war. and those of us who don't want that, those of us who want just the opposite of that have to use our voices in a bold and powerful way to speak up and speak out against those within congress, in the house of representatives, in the senate, those at our communities, those at local and state levels. there were some state officials that were here on january 6th filming their illegal actions. so we have to use our voice in a more powerful and bold way to fight against the evils that are really trying to take hold of this nation. >> congresswoman val demings of florida, thank you so much for making time for us. >> thank you. in a rare sit-down interview, the vice president today spoke with reverend al sharpton about the desperate
need to vaccinate vulnerable communities as quickly as possible. >> as we continue fighting on other things, voting and all of that, the first thing we have to do is be here and be alive. >> let's not let covid get us. let's get the vaccine instead, right? let's not let this thing get us. we know black people are disproportion natalie likely to contract the virus and die from it. we know when you look at who the front line workers are, who have been most at risk, disproportionately we are talking about people of color. when you look at the fact that black small businesses, as many as i have seen 40% are going out of business or have gone out of business, it is disproportionately affecting us. and if we want to get control of
this virus that is harming us at a disproportionate way, part of it is to get vaccinated. more of that interview with kamala harris will air tomorrow "morning joe." you don't really see the vice president or the president out, about or talking to the media that much. they have been keeping a pretty low profile while focussed on the first 100 days. ahead, why that could be a smart strategy. plus, the one senator, the one man who could determine the fate of the president's agenda coming up. enda coming up. or just a little get-together with close friends. if you are walking into that big job interview or just walking outside. life is full of moments that matter. moments that make you smile. and you want your smile to be as memorable as those moments. that's where smileactives can help. smileactives is a game-changing, teeth-whitening breakthrough that has helped over a million people get whiter teeth and a brighter healthier smile. spencer my smile is brighter and people are noticing! strangers, and loved ones. announcer in fact smileactives will make your teeth
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and relatively in the white house is a pretty clear specific tactical choice and one that so far i think has worked pretty well. president teddy roosevelt was the one that first coined toterm bully pulpit. at the time bully just meant, great, excellent. and the phrase described the unique platform the president had to control the nation's attention. 110 years after that a central feature of the u.s. presidency has been essentially commanding attention, directing peoples focus to issues to get your message out in totally unrivalled ways. the apotheosis of that was donald trump, the guy you could never escape who was just constantly in your face about everything. and there's pretty good evidence it didn't actually help him. he was both the most omny present and least popular president in modern times. and those two probably have something to do with each other. political scientist george edwards analyzed hundreds of
opinion polls and found, quote, presidents typically cannot change public opinion. even quote-unquote great communicators usually fail to obtain support for their high priority initiatives. think about how the trump administration polarized say the science around covid, making some people less open to hearing messages about the pandemic? in very politically polarized times it can actually be easier to build consensus when presidents are not directing attention, when they're just sort of quiet about things. joe biden might just end up having the very first post-bully pulpit presidency. the u.s. president trying to lay low on the biggest issues of the day so he doesn't essentially end up feeding more fodder into the assembly line of polarization that is running 24/7 in the background. the big test for this restraint will be weather he holds his own caucus together to deliver the $1.9 trillion covid relief bill. and that all comes down to most
appears to be all set for confirmation thanks to the support of this guy. >> that's me shooting the cap and trade bill because it was bad for west virginia. hey, i haven't changed. i might be a few years older, but i'll still take on anyone who messes with west virginia. >> joe manchin has never been anyone's conception of a liberal democrat. now folks seem to be hanging on his every word. there was a big question whether or not manchin will support deb holland's nomination to be the next secretary of the interior. she's a progressive democrat, supporter of the green new deal, and would be the first native-american cabinet secretary. manchin who chairs the senate energy committee has a vested interest in the cabinet position and he could tank her nomination with a no vote, but senator manchin said in a statement, while we do not agree on every issue, i believe deb haaland will be the secretary of interior for everyone and will
vote to confirm her. >> every day seems to be a new joe manchin news cycle. in a 50/50 senate he's basically the 50th vote and how he votes means whether people get confirmed or a bill gets passed. manchin occupies a rare space in a state donald trump won by nearly 40 points. two people who know a little bit about what makes him tick are robin kincaid and our expert on all things, harry reid welcome to you both. robin let me start with you. this is someone who basically if you were looking at them from like the perspective of a drafting a fantasy politician league, is outperforming almost any democrat in the country, right? he's managing to get reelected in a state that donald trump
carried by 40 points. like, there's something he's doing right in west virginia politics. what is the secret? >> essentially chris, and like senator manchin says it's a great day to be a west virginian. i think it would be a little greater if he would do a little bit more, but in essence he has taken complete control of the democratic party. in the course of that, he's also rendered the rest of the democratic party entirely -- but it's become a cult of personality of joe manchin and he manages somehow to bring enough republicans along that the other part of it is that a lot of people, progressives like me realize that no matter how bad on any given day of the week that joe manchin is that if some republican were to replace him, that republican would make joe manchin look like bernie sanders. >> yes, that's precisely right. the republican who would win in west virginia would almost certainly be way, way far to joe manchin's right, so there's
another part of this too which is manchin has a kind of way to deal with west virginians to get reelected. there's also a specific role he plays in the caucus. i'm curious your interpretation of these -- the different notes he's been making. so deb haaland gets a yes, he's maybe not on board the minimum wage. he just appeared to tank neera tanden's nomination to omb. i know you worked with neera at american progress. what do you make of this? >> well, this frustration that we all have with joe manchin is while he's a good politician, yes he deserves credit for winning west virginia, a very difficult state, is that the demand of the caucus should be make west virginia constituents happy. understand his politics, and even when you deliver on that, chris, it may not be enough. you take minimum wage, direct payments, if you were doing things that you know are popular with west virginia, then why is joe manchin concerned in fighting against that? it has something more going on. it's more about carving his initials in things, being in the middle of action, sometimes wanting the attention and the limelight for you to say that he's one of the most powerful senators in america, he likes those kinds of things right?
i think that's what makes the struggle when you're trying to conduct politics as a team sport. he said recently, he said something like i'm going to protect the bird rule. do you think any west virginians know anything about the bird rule, probably they think it's pheasant hunting season. what does that have to do with anything involving west virginians, that's where i think he crosses the line of being a senator from west virginia and now playing the role of senate majority leader or president of the united states. >> bird is famous, bird is one of the most famous west virginians ever, but i agree that the rule itself, but i do think -- so i want to ask about this, and i'm going to come back to you in a second, but on this neera tanden thing, this sort of ridiculous thing he's going to withdraw his support for an omb nominee because her tweets, which in the spectrum of tweets was -- they're not particularly bad tweets. i think it's preposterous in the era of donald trump. be the idea that like that gives him some symbolic distance from the democratic party so that he can vote for the $1.9 trillion package. like is that -- do you think
it's that strategic? faz? >> oh, for me, do i think it's strategic. it's hard to assess what is smart politics for joe manchin because when you think you're addressing his politics, he will move the ball and shift the ball. i don't tend to think that like tanking the nomination, i think what we all want is joe biden to be a successful president. in order for that to succeed you need 50 democratic votes. you hate having somebody on the team who is occasionally rooting for the team to lose or might want us to win by a smaller margin. jon tester from montana could certainly be saying the same thing every single day. it may not work for montana, but he understands we play politics as a team sport. if joe biden is to succeed we all have to vote. joe manchin is the rare exception which says my own brand, my own initials, my own carving on things needs to be adhered to. why does he fight kamala harris on being west virginia tv.
she's the vice president of the united states. >> robin, quickly, do you think the covid relief pressure coming prom the republican governor helps on that yes vote on the big covid relief package? >> i hope that it does because when you've got a governor who actually tells the people of we've that the covid vaccine will not cause people to grow antlers and he's more ahead of things than the senator from west virginia is, you've got -- you've got to hope that that's going to drive senator manchin further toward the bill. if i may really quickly, though, let's understand that joe manchin has a woman problem, okay? 1996 he shanked the west virginia democratic party because the nominee was a woman. and it comes forward in this business with neera tanden. and at the same time he supports jeff sessions, a racist? and it's inexplicable, chris.
>> lots of anger at him for that double standard. thank you for making time tonight. that's all in on this wednesday night. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. much appreciated. here is a change i did not see coming. you here is a change i did not see coming. you might remember that one of the classy things about the transition from the last president to this one -- and i mean classy with a "k" in this context -- one of the real nice things about that transition is that the transition didn't really happen. everywhere from the pentagon to the parts of the government dealing with the vaccine rollout, the outgoing trump administration just refused to do normal transition things that would have allowed the incoming administration to understand what they were walking into, you know, how the trump people were leaving things, what remained to be done and needed to be picked up immediately on day one by the new team. the trump folks just had no interest in helping keep the government going by helping the