tv Way Too Early With Kasie Hunt MSNBC February 26, 2021 2:00am-3:00am PST
incredibly stressful circumstances while being essentially on the precipice of giving birth, i don't know what the bonus that's appropriate for this is, but i at least get to embarrass you about it on tv. all right, that does it for us tonight. see you again tomorrow. "way too early with kasie hunt" is up next. breaking news overnight -- the u.s. launches air strikes against iranian-backed militias in syria, the first known military action of the biden administration. question is, what message is the president sending to iran? plus, democrats' hopes of including a minimum wage increase in the covid stimulus bill dashed by the senate parliamentarian. question is, what's their 2:00
a.m. friday localtime. the pentagon says the air strike was in response to recent attacks against american and coalition personnel in iraq, including an attack in erbil this month that killed a civilian contractor and wounded a u.s. service member. officials say the u.s. response targeted a transit hub used by militia fighters near the iraq/syria border and that multiple facilities were
destroyed. here's defense secretary lloyd austin speaking last night. >> we're confident that that target was being used by the same shia militia that conducted the strikes. we were very deliberate about our approach, as you would expect us to be. we allowed and encouraged the iraqis to investigate and develop intelligence, and that was very helpful to us in refining the target. >> can you say why this was important to do, mr. secretary? and was this your recommendation? >> it was my recommendation. as we said a number of times, we will respond on our timeline. >> the attack against the iranian-backed forces comes as the biden administration considers talks with tehran on re-entering the 2016 nuclear deal. analysts say the strike sends a message to iran and its proxies that the u.s. will not tolerate
attacks on u.s. personnel, even with sensitive diplomacy under way. and joining me now is nbc news tehran bureau chief ali arouzi. ali, good morning to you. can you help us explain the circumstances of this, in terms of how the biden administration is handling it, in a different way than perhaps we saw in the past and why they made this decision now? >> reporter: hi. good morning, kasie. well, that's right, it's handling it in a much more calm manner. i think if this had happened with the previous administration, everybody would be very nervous that some sort of broader conflict is about to happen, but the biden administration took their time over this. look, there have been three rocket attacks in iraq over the last week. the last one here in erbil at a u.s.-led coalition base, killing a contractor and injuring a u.s. serviceman. so, it was a proportionate attack, but it's also sending a
very clear message to iran, as you mentioned, that, yes, they want to go down the diplomatic track with iran, they want to sort out the nuclear issue, but they're also not going to tolerate any of these attacks on u.s. forces and assets or their allies in the region. so, it's a clear message to iran not to push the envelope too far, which is exactly what iran is doing right now. they are testing the waters with the biden administration. they want to see how far they can push things. and i think, kasie, there could also be a slightly veiled message from iran as well, because the biden administration has been talking about lengthening and strengthening the deal to include iran's missile program, and of course, their regional influence, which are incidents exactly like the one we are talking about. and this could also be a message from iran that they're not going to back away from their regional influence, because it's so important to them. it gives them a real tangible
power in the region, and that's what could be very complicated between these two when they come to discuss broader issues. yes, they may be able to go back to the nuclear deal quite easily, but resolving this issue is going to be a minefield to navigate because it's not something iran wants to back away from. now, obviously, they're denying any involvement in the attack this morning, but it bears all the hallmarks of an iranian militia under the patronage of iran acting under their orders, because these guys don't really do anything unless they get the green light from tehran because they're getting their money and their arms from there. >> all right, nbc news tehran bureau chief ali arouzi with a very succinct explanation of what we saw overnight in this first military action from the biden administration. thank you very much for being with us this morning. i really appreciate it. let's come back now here to politics. a ruling in the senate dealt a severe blow to democrats who are pushing to raise the federal
minimum wage to $15 an hour in the next covid-19 relief package. senate parliamentarian elizabeth mcdonah, the non-partisan arbiter of senate rules issued guidance saying she didn't believe the effort complied with the guidelines of reconciliation. that is the fast-track process that democrats are using to pass the bill with only democratic votes, if they have to. and despite the parliamentarian's decision, house speaker nancy pelosi said lawmakers in the house would not remove the provision before the vote, which is set for later today. and neera tanden's hopes of leading the office of management and budget appear all but sunk. senator chuck grassley has confirmed to nbc news that he'll vote against her nomination if it makes it to the senate floor, this as republican, moderate republican lisa murkowski seems to be leveraging her vote for concessions for her state. texas senator john cornyn said murkowski's looking for a deal. he said, quote, i think she figured out this would be a good time to have a conversation with the white house about some of
the things that are important to her and important to her constituents. i haven't been privy to those conversations, so i don't know what exactly is being said, but i know she was interested in using this as an opportunity to have that conversation. for now, the white house is sticking by the president's pick. here's press secretary jen psaki when she was pressed on tanden's past twitter remarks at yesterday's press briefing. >> when she tweeted that, quote, a vampire has more heart than ted cruz, when she compared senator mcconnell to voldemort, and when she called senator collins "the worst," did those comments meet the president's standard of treating everyone with dignity and respect? >> when neera tanden testified just a few weeks ago, she apologized for her past comments, and she would be joining an administration where as we've noted there is an expectation of a high bar of civility and engagement, whether that's on social media or in person.
and we certainly expect she would meet that bar. >> all right, joining us now, co-founder of punch bowl news, anna palmer. anna, good morning to you! always great to see you. i actually want to start our conversation with the covid relief bill, because this decision from the parliamentarian, a pretty significant one. we know that this bill can't get out of the house if they don't include the minimum wage, so they're going to move forward with that version, but in some ways, this saves democrats some headaches, because now they don't have to try and get bernie sanders and joe manchin on the same page on this minimum wage issue. perhaps easier to bring everyone together. does it speed passage, potentially, this decision? and then, how are they going to grapple with the minimum wage issue in the future? >> march 14th is quickly approaching, so i actually do think for chuck schumer, it means less of a headache here because he can blame the parliamentarian for why this provision can't move forward in the senate. to your point, this is not going to be over any time soon. i think you're going to see
minimum wage is one of the key issues that progressives push in other legislation, either by itself or to try to tack on to other packages as they move forward. >> so, anna, do you get the sense that there is any nervousness about the size of the package amongst senate democrats, like joe manchin, kyrsten sinema, that could derail this, or is the sense that the need is so great and that the bill is so popular that that's not a concern at this point? >> there's always concern among some of the moderates, like you mentioned, joe manchin, of course around the size of this bill. it's $1.9 trillion, which is a very large number for them to swallow. however, i have a hard time seeing them take the president's number one priority, particularly when it is going to be bringing money to state and local, and it is going to help get more vaccine into people's arms. so, i do think that's going to be a talking point, now that this minimum wage issue has kind
of been settled, is going to be the size of the package, but i just don't see joe manchin saying, no, i can't vote for it, we're just going to have to start from square one. >> yeah, and it's so many people out there hurting and looking at that march 14th date on their calendars and wondering how they're going to pay their bills after that point. anna palmer, thank you very much for getting up early with us. we always appreciate your insights. and still ahead here, the biden cabinet nominee who was confirmed by the senate yesterday and what it means for efforts to combat climate change. plus, a disturbing ending to an already incredibly troubling story involving allegations of sex trafficking against a former u.s. gymnastics coach. we're going to have those stories and a check on your weather when we come right back. weather when we come right back.
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john godert died by suicide after charges of criminal trafficking and sexual conduct. police found his body at a michigan rest stop after failing to surrender at a sheriff's office before his scheduled arraignment yesterday afternoon. goddert, who had ties to disgraced dr. larry nassar, led the women's u.s. gymnastics team at the 2012 summer olympics in london. some very troubling allegations against him. and tiger woods has been transferred to another hospital to continue his care and recovery after he required emergency surgery for multiple leg injuries suffered in a single-car rollover crash on tuesday. espn reports the 45-year-old golfer was moved wednesday night from harvard ucla medical center to cedar sinai medical center in los angeles. we are wishing him a speedy recovery. and finally, in what could make for the cinderella story of the century, the top four teams left out of this year's ncaa
tournaments may still get a chance to compete in march madness. under a contingency plan announced yesterday by the ncaa, the four teams that don't make the original field will serve as replacements, should a school be unable to participate because of coronavirus issues. however, the plan only applies for a short time, between the announcement of brackets and the start of games. once the tournaments begin, any team whose opponent is forced to withdraw would automatically advance to the next round. rockets are going to be pretty interesting this year. all right, time now for weather. let's go to meteorologist bill karins for a check on the weekend forecast. bill, happy friday! how's it looking? >> hey, happy friday to you, kasie. looks like a wet and kind of messy weekend. not a lot of big, huge winter storms are going to cause any problems, but it's not going to be a play outside weekend for many areas. let's start, first, with areas of the south. i mean, we are already getting soaked. we had areas of heavy rain and even hail in dallas last night. some of those thunderstorms are waking people up throughout areas of southern arkansas and
northern mississippi. this is just a soaking rain that's going to move through areas of tennessee, mississippi and alabama. and as we go throughout the weekend, we have two batches of rain, the first one today, then another heavy batch on sunday. we could see as much as 3 to 4 inches of rain there, northern mississippi through areas of tennessee, including nashville, decatur to chattanooga, and we could have flash flooding issues. let me take you through the forecast and show you what we're going to deal with. pretty nice day today in the northeast. we have a little bit of areas of florida looking nice, too. 83 in tampa, 82 in miami, some snow in the rockies. then as we go through the weekend, kind of a messy saturday from d.c. through the northeast. it's not going to be heavy rain or snow, just kind of light stuff, kind of dreary. then on sunday, that flood risk from tennessee to west virginia and then some rain late in the day arriving in d.c., philadelphia, and new york. so, kasie, it's kind of an umbrella weekend as we transition from our winter weather into a very springlike weather pattern. >> all right. well, i will take it, as much as i would prefer the sunshine. this is far better than the conversation you and i were
having last friday. so, bill karins, thank you very much. have a great weekend, my friend. we'll see you on monday. and last week's winter storm that devastated texas could prove to be the costliest disaster in state history, potentially exceeding the $125 billion in damages incurred by hurricane harvey. every region of the state was impacted by the storm that left dozens dead, millions without power, and nearly 15 million with water issues. so far, texas agencies have reported spending $41 million on storm cleanup, while local governments have spent $49 million, and that number is only expected to rise. meanwhile, the president and ceo of the electricity reliability council of texas testified yesterday in front of the business and commerce committee regarding the state's widespread blackouts during record-low temperatures. here was his response when he was asked if he would have done anything differently. >> obviously, what you did didn't work. i think that's fair to say.
>> well, sir, respectfully, i'd say it worked from keeping us going into a blackout that we'd still be in today. that's why we did it. now, it didn't work for people's lives, but it worked to preserve the integrity of the system. >> yikes. president biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to fly to houston this morning in his third trip as president outside the capitol, along with dr. jill biden. the president will visit a houston area food bank and speak at a vaccination facility, among other events. and former democratic michigan governor jennifer granholm has been confirmed as the new energy secretary by the senate yesterday. the vote was 64-35. granholm is expected to play a key role in biden's agenda to develop a green economy that will help the united states fight climate change. over the years, the newly confirmed secretary has advocated for clean energy technology and promoted electric
vehicle and battery manufacturing in the u.s. to help preserve job that will be lost as the country transfers from fossil fuels to renewable energy. all right, still ahead here, new testimony on the security failure behind the january 6th attack on the capitol and why one top official says it's still not safe to draw down the security. we'll be back in just a moment. y we'll be back in just a moment psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff, swollen, painful. tremfya® is approved to help reduce joint symptoms in adults with active psoriatic arthritis. some patients even felt less fatigued. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya® may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. tremfya®. emerge tremfyant™. janssen can help you explore cost support options.
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all of us. >> a long way to go. that was president biden yesterday speaking about when everyone will receive a vaccine as the u.s. hit 50 million administered shots. now to an update that should dramatically speed up the vaccine rollout. the food and drug administration has now approved the pfizer vaccine to be stored at standard freezing temperatures instead of arctic levels. this comes after pfizer and biontech asked regulators to relax requirements for its vaccine last week to allow it to be stored in less regulated conditions. the pfizer vaccine can now be stored at standard freezing temperatures for up to two weeks and will, hopefully, precede the news of johnson & johnson's emergency use authorization this weekend. that is great news. that will let so many more facilities use this vaccine. and doctors are seeing a bright spot amid the covid-19 pandemic. february, usually the peak of
flu season, but not this year. influenza is way down across the country, creating a lack of a flu season that doctors say is unprecedented. medical experts are attributing the change to the covid-related precautions that many have been taking, especially mask-wearing, social distancing, and careful hand-washing. makes sense, frankly. all right, coming up here, we have a packed half hour ahead. politico's sam stein joins the conversation. plus, republican strategist susan del percio on the gop infighting over donald trump, and cnn's kayla tausche on the fight over the minimum wage. but before we go to break, we want to know, why are you awake? email us your reasons for being up and watching with us on this friday to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop me a tweet @kasie. use #way too early, and we will read our favorite answers coming up later on in the show. ad our g up later on in the show. honey honey? new nyquil severe honey is maximum strength cold and flu medicine with soothing honey-licious taste.
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♪♪ welcome back to "way too early." it's just before 5:30 here on the east coast, 2:30 out west. i'm kasie hunt. the acting chief of the u.s. capitol police testified yesterday on the intelligence failure leading up to the january 6th riot. chief yogananda pittman addressed the controversy surrounding an fbi report received by the department one day before the insurrection. it warned that militia groups were, quote, preparing for war and targeting congress. >> it was shared with task force agents that are embedded from
capitol police with the fbi. they, in turn, sent that email that they received to a lieutenant within the protective and intelligence operations side of the house. that information was not then forwarded any further up the chain, so that is a lesson learned for u.s. capitol police. >> while pittman wasn't in charge of the department on the day of the riot, her disclosure is in contrast to former capitol police chief steven sund, whose testimony earlier this week said the report had only reached a sergeant. and acting chief pittman also said that the enhanced level of security around the capitol will remain in place at least through president biden's first official address to congress. here she is explaining why. >> we know that the insurrectionists that attacked the capitol weren't only interested in attacking members of congress and officers. they wanted to send a symbolic
message to the nation as who was in charge of that legislative process. we know that members of the militia groups that were present on january 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the state of the union, which we know that date has not been identified. so, based on that information, we think that it's prudent that capitol police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward. >> pretty scary stuff. and house speaker nancy pelosi criticized senate minority leader mitch mcconnell yesterday for calling the creation of a 9/11-style commission to probe the deadly attack on the u.s. capitol as, quote, partisan by design. >> and i'm disappointed in what
i heard the minority leader yesterday, mcconnell, say on the floor of the senate. it was really quite stunning, because in my brief conversation with him on this subject, i had the impression that he wanted to have a january 6th, similar to 9/11, commission. but what he said on the floor was really a departure from that. it seemed when he spoke that he was taking a page out of the book of senator johnson. >> pelosi also indicated she's open to negotiating an evenly divided makeup of the independent commission but says that both parties need to agree on the scope of the probe first. joining us now, white house editor for politico, sam stein. sam, good morning. always great to see you. >> good morning. >> i want to talk about this commission here first, because i
think that one of the things that people aren't saying out loud about this is the concern that the republican appointees to this commission would be people who would engage in conspiracy theories about what actually happened on january 6th. i mean, ron johnson, we saw him at a hearing this week spouting theories that are simply not true about who was there, how it happened, and that could threaten to derail a commission that, frankly, would investigate threats to all of these people's lives. i mean, they were chanting, these rioters, "hang mike pence," "where's nancy." it's not like they were just after leaders from one party and not the other. what do you make of the partisan bickering over the creation of this commission? >> well, there's that fear that they can use this to advance conspiracy theories that say, like, antifa had embedded some of the insurrectionists on january 6th. the other fear is that they use the commission to just sort of make it a general study of
political violence and then they start going way back into things that democratic lawmakers said that were contextually different than anything that trump said on that day or that was said prior to january 6th, and it suddenly becomes this mushy report on whether rhetoric in politics is too heated. what they really need to do is find out what happened in the lead-up to january 6th, the security failures, what was said that maybe inspired these people, what were the communications on that day, what was going on in the white house, which is a huge -- we simply just don't know what trump was up to on the day to this point. so, there are legitimate fears that this commission could be hijacked. the question, is how do you get it streamlined? and i think that's what pelosi's trying to do right here. she's trying to negotiate some way with republicans to say, look, the scope is what matters here, not the composition, the scope. and until they get that, i don't see how they go forward. >> and i mean, sam, we've seen,
you know, mitch mcconnell did an interview yesterday where he seemed to say he would support donald trump as the nominee in 2024. their office has kind of pushed back against that. but the politics around this are obviously changing very quickly and getting real answers, i think, as you point out, it relies on figuring out what president trump was doing and saying during those critical hours and why he didn't, you know, issue a specific stand down earlier when he was getting these phone calls. there are a lot of members of congress that likely have some information. we know he calls people all the time. we know he spoke to kevin mccarthy. you saw jamie herrera beutler come out at the end of the impeachment process to say, hey, i've got information. i'm willing to say this under oath. if the politics of this move, though, as quickly toward donald trump as they seem to be, is there any chance we'll actually learn the truth? >> well, that's the big question, right? i mean, it's almost remarkable
in a way that all we know about where president trump was on the day, what he was doing, is basically from contemporaneous news reports. we went through an impeachment trial where we did not get really much light shed on this. we know through the other end of a couple phone calls what he was saying. but beyond that, nothing. and so, this commission could theoretically benefit if it had the right composition and if it had members who were willing to probe, if it had subpoena power, if it understood that its scope was to figure out questions like that, that were directly pertinent to january 6th. the question is, will they have that type of subpoena power? will they have the right composition of members? will they have a defined scope? and i think you've kind of hit the nail on the head here, which is, is the republican party getting to a place where it's uncomfortable with those types of things? mitch mcconnell's comments notwithstanding, because as you noted, his office pushed back on it. we are clearly in a place where the republican party is getting
more comfortable -- let's just put it that way -- with the idea that trump could be a continued presence in it. we saw the divergence with liz cheney and kevin mccarthy, but that was a lone -- or a semi-lone case, where a member standing up, saying i don't want him to be -- it's far more often than the other direction. >> yeah, we're going to talk a little bit about that later on in the show, too. i've just got to say, like, i never -- i've watched congress give up a lot of its authority over the years that i have covered the place as they've ceded it to the executive branch for a variety of reasons. i never thought they would decide, oh, yes, you can attack our building, invade our hallways, threaten our lives, and we will cede to the overarching politics as we try and investigate it. but it seems like we may be on that track. >> pretty much. >> let's hope they can figure it out! politico's sam stein, thank you very much. really appreciate you being up early with us. still ahead here, something completely different involving a rebrand for an iconic toy. "way too early" is back in just
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potato puns and it is most definitely way too early for me to try and attempt anything along those lines. all right, this story is really horrible. lady gaga offering $500,000 for the return of her two french bulldogs, koji and gustav, that were stolen after someone shot her dog walker wednesday night in hollywood. two men were captured on home security camera footage getting out of a white vehicle and confronting the dog walker. the men can be heard saying "give it up" as they attack the walker, who screams for help. a struggle ensues, until a shot is heard and the men take two dogs into the car and speed away. police recovered the third dog left behind at the scene. sources close to gaga have confirmed the dog walker is alive and recovering well, thank god. police are still searching for the shooter who they say used a semiautomatic gun. how awful. all right, still ahead here,
cnbc's kayla tausche joins us to break down the economic implications of president biden's massive stimulus bill. "way too early" is coming right back. stimusul bill. "way too early" is coming right back s deep, sprinting past every leak in our softest, smoothest fabric. she's confident, protected, her strength respected. depend. the only thing stronger than us, is you. depend. it only takes a second for an everyday item to become dangerous. tide pods child-guard pack helps keep your laundry pacs in a safe place and your child safer. to close, twist until it clicks. tide pods child-guard packaging. psst! psst! allergies don't have to be scary. spraying flonase daily stops your body from overreacting to allergens all season long. psst! psst! you're good. nicorette® knows, quitting smoking is hard. you get advice like: try hypnosis... or... quit cold turkey
welcome back. the biden administration expanded unemployment insurance eligibility to include workers who refused job offers at unsafe work sites. the move makes good on a pledge to reduce the pressure on people who say they've been forced to choose between staying healthy or receiving a paycheck. the new guidance to states followed a request by president biden last month for the department to consider clarifying that workers have a federally guaranteed right to decline employment that would jeopardize their health and still qualify for unemployment insurance. the change in eligibility goes into effect immediately, but officials caution that it could take at least a month, if not longer, for workers' claims to be approved, given the significant delays that have plagued state unemployment agencies.
all right, joining us now, washington correspondent for cnbc, kayla tausche. kayla, good morning. thank you so much for being here on this we important day -- >> good morning. >> -- for the president's covid relief package, as it moves through the house of representatives. and that bill is going to include this $15 minimum wage, but of course, it's not going to live in the senate because of the ruling that we just got yesterday about how this process is going to work. talk to us a little bit about what that means politically in terms of getting support for the package, and what do you see as the next potential hurdle in trying to get this done? >> well, kasie, this package was already only going to pass with democratic support, but even all democrats weren't on board with that $15 minimum wage, so perhaps that's another reason why, even if they tried to keep it in, in the senate, it simply wouldn't pass there. and the white house has been under the impression for weeks that this would have to move in a separate vehicle, and it simply would not survive in this package. that being said, the effort by
the house to try to keep it in there, to try to, essentially, jam this through, has irked several republicans who note privately some parallels to the way the obama administration handled the recovery act back in 2009, where they solicited republican input, or seemed to do so, but then didn't take any of those suggestions and then got no republican votes in the house. they did get a few in the senate, which president biden has mentioned often, but republicans warn that that poisoned the well for all future initiatives. it led to years of legislative gridlock, multiple government shutdowns, fiscal cliffs. we all remember covering those things. and i asked the white house whether they think that's a risk here, whether the path that they're pursuing will create a similar type situation. and anita dunn, a senior adviser to president biden, told me the past is not prologue. this particular situation is unprecedented. and they simply believe the popularity of the package will win the day, kasie. but we'll see if that remains to be true. >> yeah. let's talk a little bit about
the economic conversation, the macroeconomic conversation here. this is a $1.9 trillion package. we know it's projected to grow the budget deficit to $3.8 trillion and put the government on path to spend more in this one year than we have in centuries beforehand, and there are some concerns that people like larry summers have voiced about inflation. the market seems to be reacting to that little bit. what is the sense of how this might impact the economy more broadly? >> reporter: well, there is that fear of inflation, which is why the markets sold off yesterday. i reached out to the white house as to whether they believe that that is a real risk, and so far, they haven't commented, but they've said in the past that they don't believe it is. jared bernstein, one of president biden's top economists, said if they learned anything during the trump years, they learned that the economy and the labor market can run a little bit hotter than maybe it has in the past without presenting that risk of inflation. so far, the federal reserve, the white house, the treasury
department, sort of this trifecta, have all said that, essentially, if you don't pass a package this big, that the economy will not grow the way that it needs to, that people will not get back to work and create full employment, and that will create less revenue for the government overall, and so, we'll be in an even bigger hole. so, interestingly, they're borrowing an argument from the trump administration there, which during its tax reform said that because so many companies will move back to the u.s., even if there's a lower tax rate, they'll be paying more in taxes, growth, essentially, will lift all boats here. and that's what the biden administration is seeming to say. but kasie, it's hard to deny that they're creating quite a payment plan for future generations. >> it's going to be very interesting to see which side of that wins out in the long term. i guess we're about to find out. cnbc's kayla tausche, thank you very much for being up early with us and sharing your insights and reporting. we really appreciate it. and earlier on in the show, we asked all of you, why are you awake? mary tweeted this.
someone is feeling the warmer weather and decided to wake up early for football practice! oh, we have a bird! very cute. pete writes, i'm up way too early because it's going to be 50 degrees today in the metro detroit area and i'm going to do the most midwestern thing i can mid-western thing i can do, grill around melting snow. my family is from michigan. i hear you on that. another one writes i'm up making breakfast for me and my wife. no potato puns on friday-day? that works better in print than if i had just said it outloud. thank you for the contribution. republican house leaders remain at odds whether donald trump should be speaking at cpac this weekend. >> and congressman tim ryan is looking into reports that
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>> well, there's a lot to happen between stkphou '24. i have four members who are planning on running, and governors and others. it should be a wide open race and fun for you all to cover. >> if the president was the nominee, would you support him? >> the nominee of the party? absolutely. >> senate minority leader mitch mcconnell said he will support donald trump or seems to say that if he wins the republican nomination for president again in 2024. it comes weeks after he voted to acquit trump while still criticizing trump for his role when supporters stormed the capitol. we should note there has been some behind the scenes push back from republican aides that suggest mcconnell may have been talking about the nominee generally and didn't realize it was about donald trump. noteworthy, nonetheless.
kevin mccarthy is not backing away from his criticism of republican conference chair liz cheney. congressman doubled down in an interview on fox news yesterday calling her comments cancel culture. >> look, i can't believe in cancel culture, whether republican or democrat. the idea that a republican to join cancel conference i just think is wrong. i think it is just having a difference in opinion. >> it comes one day between a public disagreement whether trump should be allowed to speak at cpac this weekend. susan, thank you so much for being up with us early as always. let's start with kevin mccarthy and this cancel culture thing. this is not an idea where somebody says something. there was an insurrection at the capitol that i'm trying to pull up mccarthy's quote exactly here what he said a couple weeks later. he says the -- a week later.
the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress. he should have immediately denounced the mob. there was never immediate action. instead, he goes down there to do a photo-op with donald trump. you can see the tension between mccarthy and liz cheney. they literally walk in other directions. what is your take on all of this? i mean, cheney seemed determined to say, no, we have to reject this. we actively have to reject this. . >> congress. congresswoman cheney is acting on principle. it used to be something we had, valued it, and put in policies based on principles. kevin mccarthy is thinking of political survivorship. he's trying to think of ways to raise money. he's putting all his cards in with donald trump and hoping
that is going to be the answer. because he knows the only way he can keep his speaker position or hope to be speaker position or his leadership position is to basically get enough trump type supporters or candidates elected come 2022. >> they are on a collision course, liz cheney and kevin mccarthy. it is going to be something to watch, i think. let's talk about mcconnell for a second. like i said before, there's a little bit of behind the scenes confusion about what he thought he was saying there. he is careful when he wants to make news. that is not news he was interested in making. but at the same time there is this growing sense in trump speech, cpac planned for this weekend, that they are not rejecting the person that lost them the white house because that's not really an option for
them. there doesn't seem to be anybody out there that can beat him right now. >> what's worse, they will take a straw poll before donald trump speaks. it will have donald trump winning. because if you remember in 2016, he didn't even show up to cpac. and in 2017, his adviser kelly an conway started taulg calling it tpac. when i listen to mcconnell's comments my reaction is, of course, he is going to support the republican nominee. then again, i'm kind of on the constitutional side. there are definitely ways to parse that. >> well, and also quickly, mcconnell has been preaching unity. that's about the fact that democrats control government. and if he can get his conference to hang together, that's what is
going to give success in the midterm elections. and it has less to do with trump. . >> absolutely right, kasie. all he is trying to do is figure out how to get to 51. he has a few seats in play. he's watching those. there could be some wide unity of republicans maybe that can get him where he needs to go. >> he has tough states where they need suburban voters. and donald trump would be a large problem for mitch mcconnell. susan, thank you, as always, for your insights. really appreciate it. as we program up today and on this week, i want to send support to a colleague of mine on capitol hill. she is a "washington post" reporter. seung min kim. she is one of the most respected reporters on our beat and she
has been the subject of racist and sexist threats. she is one of the fairest and toughest competitors. i look forward to continuing to compete with her as she performs her job at the very highest level. so we here at "way too early" are sending our support to you seung min. don't go anywhere. "morning joe" starts right now. >> don johnson. . >> ron. >> was it ron? senator johnson. not miami vice or anything like that? ron johnson seems to be taking the lead on what the scope would be of how we look at protecting our country from domestic terrorism.