tv Meet the Press MSNBC April 12, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PDT
eric smith's cold case unit finally made him pay. >> do you still talk to barbara? >> yes. >> did you talk to her in the courtroom that day? >> yes. >> what did you say? >> that i love her. that we miss her and that we finally got him and hopefully move on. this sunday, america and the world. my exclusive interview with secretary of state tony blinken on fighting covid. >> we're going to be the world leader on helping to make sure the entire world gets vaccinated. >> on defending taiwan from china. >> it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo. >> on russia's ambitions in ukraine. >> if russia acts recklessly or aggressively, there will be costs and consequences. >> plus, a divided country on gun safety laws. >> this is an epidemic, for god's sake. it has to stop. >> it's not going to make us any safer. it just infringes on our second
amendment rights. >> on georgia's new restrictive voting laws and mlb pulling its all-star game. >> this is what happens when you pass laws that disenfranchise people. >> they folded like a wet dish rag to the cancel culture. >> we even disagree on things we agree on like rebuilding america. >> we need to do what we need to do. we also have to define infrastructure more broadly than roads and mass transit. >> this is not an infrastructure bill. if you think this is an infrastructure bill, you probably better stay away from sharp objects. >> this morning i'll talk to republican governor asa hutchinson of arkansas who is being attacked by conservatives for not supporting a ban on medical care for transgender youth. >> i signed many bills that would be looked at as very conservative. this is one that crosses the line. >> joining me for insight and analysis are nbc news chief white house correspondent peter alexander, helene cooper, pentagon correspondent for "the new york times," ashley parker white house bureau chief for
"the washington post" and pbs "newshour" correspondent amna nawaz. welcome to sunday, it's "meet the press." >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, the longest running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning. the writer david french once said right here on "meet the press" that americans are so dug in politically that if you're 80% my friend, you're 100% my enemy. today the personal has become political. in the past few days liberals cheered major league's baseball decision to move its all-star game out of georgia because of the state's new more restrictive voting laws while conservatives have called for boycotting baseball, coca-cola and delta for opposing those measures. where you stand on vaccine passports and masks has become a marker for whom you stand with politically. washington is even arguing over the definition of the word infrastructure. it's a debate with a $4 billion price tag. now our differences no longer
stop at the water's edge. we're polarized left versus right on immigration, how to confront china, whether russia interfered in the 2016 and 2020 election and so much more. joe biden won the presidential election promising to bring us together, and the person who has worked most closely with him over the years on foreign policy is tony blinken. he's mr. biden's secretary of state, and secretary blinken joins me now. mr. secretary, welcome to "meet the press." >> thanks, chuck. great to be with you. >> before i get to all the various challenges you're facing in this job, i want to start with covid and the issue of vaccinating the world. we're miles ahead of most countries. there's vaccine inequity that is growing. what is the u.s.'s responsibility globally in your view when it comes to vaccinations? >> chuck, i think we have a significant responsibility. we're going to be the world leader on helping to make sure the entire world gets vaccinated. here is why. unless and until the vast majority of people in the world
are vaccinated, it's still going to be a problem for us. as long as the virus is replicating somewhere, it could be mutating and coming back to hit us. similarly, the world has a very strong interest in making sure we're vaccinated, because the same thing applies. if the virus is replicating here and mutating here, that's going to be a problem for the rest of the world. we've taken the leadership role already on day one, we rejoined the world health organization. we're the number one contributor to covax, the facility that makes vaccines available especially to lower and middle income countries. we worked a very important arrangement with india, japan and australia, the so-called quad countries to increase vaccine production around the world and made some loans to our nearest neighbors, mexico and canada. as we get more comfortable with where we are in vaccinating every american, we are then looking at what more we can do around the world. >> you recently named gayle smith, a longtime state department veteran, she'll be the global coordinator here. the organization she ran in
between her stints in government actually has called on the united states to start distributing 5% of our vaccine supply once we hit 20% vaccinated. that has happened. is that going to be u.s. policy? it was gayle smith's organization's idea. is that going to be u.s. policy? >> gayle is a terrific leader. as you know, she was instrumental in dealing with ebola and exerting american leadership to deal with that. we're getting more comfortable with our ability to vaccinate every american, putting in place a framework for how we will do more around the world to share vaccines with others. stay tuned for that. >> okay. i say this -- what is soon? look at our hemisphere. you talked about loaning to mexico and canada. brazil is an outbreak that's out of control. it looks like what we looked like four months ago. is this an emergency enough that you think -- look, the brazil variants show up in this country faster than a variant might show up from asia or europe.
what do you view as our western hemisphere responsibility here? >> our first responsibility is to the american people. the president has been very clear about that. that's also a benefit to the world because, again, we have to make sure people are vaccinated in the united states. that's going to have an impact on whether the virus continues to replicate and mutate in other places around the world. as we're doing that. as we're getting to that point where we're confident that every american can be vaccinated, we'll be leaning in to doing more around the world. >> it's a very vague deadline. a lot of people say we're there now. we have contracts for doses for more people than we have in our population. what is soon? is soon weeks? >> look, the experts are looking at that. we have to keep a few things in mind. we have to keep in mind that we're going to have a need and hopefully soon to be able to vaccinate teenagers, ultimately vaccinate children. we have to keep in mind the possibility that people will need booster shots. these are things we don't know yet. it is being factored in.
i'm confident that we're getting the ability to vaccinate every american. as we do that, we'll put in place a framework around the world. when all is said and done, you'll see the united states as the leading country around the world in making sure everyone ak access to vaccines. >> countries like india and south africa say, you know what, intellectual property claims on anything pandemic-related, in particular vaccines, should be waived right now. where does the u.s. stand on that? >> i'll defer to some of my colleagues. we're looking at these questions. there are different ways of doing this. one of the most important things we have is this covax facility that brings countries around the world together. we're the largest contributor to that. that will have a dramatic ability on our ability to make sure more people around the world have access to vaccines. that's what this is all about, making sure that access to vaccines increases and we're covering as many people as possible around the world. >> what is our priority when it comes to deciding where we choose to have vaccine diplomacy?
do we put it all to covax essentially and let them make those decisions or are we going to favor allies first? >> look, i think you'll see a combination of things. covax is vitally important, but there are efforts that we'll undertake country to country. as i said, we've already done that in the case of our two nearest neighbors, canada and mexico, where we loaned vaccines to both. that obviously has immediate security and health implications for the united states. you're going to see a combination of things. the ultimate question that we're grappling with is how can we be most effective in increasing access around the world. that's what we're focused on. >> the origins of covid, the w.h.o. initial report settled nothing. let me ask you this: do you think china does know this answer and they're withholding it? >> hmm. very good question. here is what i think china knows. i think china knows in the early stages of covid it didn't do what it needed to do, which was in realtime give access to international experts, in realtime to share information,
in realtime to provide real transparency. one result of that failure is that the vaccine -- the virus got out of hand faster and with i think much more egregious results than it might otherwise. this speaks to what we have to do now, chuck. this speaks to what china and other countries have to do now. as we're dealing with covid-19, we also have to put in place a stronger global health security system to make sure this doesn't happen again. or, if it does happen again, we're able to mitigate it and get ahead of it. that means making a commitment to transparency, information access. strengthening the world health organization and reforming it. china has to play a part in that. >> are we going to guarantee to the world that we're going to get to the bottom of how this originated? >> i think we have to. we need to do that precisely so we fully understand what happened in order to have the best shot possible to prevent it from happening again. that's why we need to get to the bottom of this.
>> are we prepared to defend taiwan militarily? >> so, chuck, what we've seen and what is a real concern to us is increasingly aggressive actions by the government in beijing directed at taiwan, raising tensions. we have a commitment under the taiwan relations act, a bipartisan commitment that's existed for many, many years, to make sure taiwan has the ability to defend itself and to ensure that we're sustaining peace and security in the western pacific. we stand behind those commitments. it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force. >> i understand that. it does sound like you're saying, look, we have commitments, and if china does try something in taiwan we will militarily respond? >> i'm not going to get into hypotheticals. all i can tell you is we have a serious commitment to taiwan being able to defend itself. we have a serious commitment to peace and security in the western pacific, and in that
context it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force. >> why -- do you understand if china looks at what our reaction was to crimea and russia and think those commitments are not as rock solid as you just outlined them as? >> i don't think that's true. in the case of crimea and the case of the donbass, the united states led a very significant -- international effort to impose real costs and sanctions on russia for its aggression in crimea, in the donbass. >> how has that worked out? in fairness, it hasn't worked out -- >> what we don't know is what has deterred russia from doing more. as we speak right now, we have real concerns about russia's actions on the borders of ukraine. there's more amassed on the borders since any time since russia first invaded. that's why we're in very close contact and close coordination
with our allies and partners in europe. all of us share that concern. president biden has been very clear about this. if russia acts recklessly or aggressively, there will be costs, there will be consequences. he's equally clear-eyed about the proposition when it comes to russia, there are areas where our tri interests align or certainly overlap and we have an interest in working together, for example, in arms control and extending the start agreement. the president has been clear there will be costs and consequences. >> what you just outlined on russia sounds like the same that the obama/biden administration had on this. that has not positioned russia to be better actors. that policy, arguably, didn't work. we're not saying trump's policy worked either. what do you say to that? >> first of all, we can't go back to four years ago or six years ago or eight years ago. pick your year. we have to deal with the world as it is now and as we anticipate it will be.
what i can tell you is this, the president before he was elected made clear that, again, when it comes to russia's actions, there will be costs and consequences if it acts recklessly and aggressively. you can hold him to that word, >> you said i believe during your confirmation hearing, that china's treatment of the uighurs was an effort to commit genocide. i have to ask it this way. how do you justify doing business with china or any country that you believe is committing genocide? >> when it comes to what we're seeing from the government in beijing, including with regard to the uighurs and the actions in xinjiang, yes, that's the write description. we need to be able to do a few things. we need to be able to bring the world together and speaking with one voice in condemning what has taken place and what continues to take place. we need to take concrete actions to make sure, for example, none of our companies are providing china with things that they can use to repress populations
including the uyghur population. we need to be looking at products made in that part of china to make sure they're not coming here. but we also have to make sure that we're dealing with all of our interests and what is the best way to effectively advance our interests and our values. when it comes to china, we have to be able to deal with china on areas where those interests are implicated and require working with china even as we stand resolutely against egregious violations of human rights or in this case acts of genocide. >> some people think a proper punishment is to not participate in the 2022 winter olympics. is that on the table among western allies or not? >> chuck, we're not there yet. this is a year or so before the olympics. we're not focused on a boycott. what we are focused on is talking, consulting closely with our allies and partners, listening to them, listening to concerns.
that's premature. >> i've got to ask you about afghanistan. the president made clear, we're not going to be there a year from now, whether it's this may, june. i will cede you this sort of timeline here. how are we leaving any differently that the russians, the soviets did in '79 in this respect: they left, there was no real transition in place. the version of the taliban, a civil war, they take over. we know what happens. how do we not think the same thing is going to happen again? >> chuck, two things here. first, the president is committed to ending this war, bringing our troops home and making sure, as we do that, to the best of our ability, that afghanistan never again becomes a haven for terrorism and particularly for terrorism that targets the united states. that's why we went there in the first place. that's what brought us there. look, ultimately, any peace that is going to be lasting and that
is going to be just has to be afghan-led. what we're doing now is energizing our diplomacy to try to bring the parties together, the taliban, the government of afghanistan, other key players, but also countries in the region that have interest and influence in afghanistan, to try to move in that direction. i don't think anyone in afghanistan, whether the taliban, the government and certainly not the people, have an interest in that country falling back into civil war. they've been in conflict for 40 years. if the taliban, for example, wants recognition, if they want international support, if they're part of some new government going forward in afghanistan, that can't happen. that support won't be there. we'll see how the parties calculate their interests. i think other countries, also, have to step up and help move afghanistan in a positive direction. >> final question is this. congresswoman elissa slotkin, former cia officer, has asked the state department to oversee
overwhees white supremacist groups, to designate them as foreign terrorist organizations. is that something you're looking at? >> we're looking across the board at the increasing danger posed by white supremacist groups around the world. this is a growing problem and a growing challenge. it's something we're looking at, and we'll have to decide how we can be most effective for our part in dealing with the problem. >> secretary tony blinken, we got through a lot. i appreciate the time you spent. there's a lot more we didn't get to. hopefully that will be for another time you make it here on "meet the press." >> my pleasure. thanks for having me, chuck. when we come back, why democrats may find passing bills even more difficult than they thought. the panel is next. the panel is .
and do a digestion of what we heard from secretary blinken. i want to start on his comments about taiwan. what is the pentagon doing right now as they prepare to deal with whatever it is china is thinking about doing with taiwan? >> hey, chuck. they're doing a lot of talking. i think the administration, as administrations in the past have done, really wants to make sure that they don't have to actually do anything. it's very similar to what you see, the same role that the u.s. has adopted in the south china sea and in the east china sea with china's incursions into these disputed islands. the united states is going to talk a very strong game and they're going to hope very much they're not broad -- that they're not -- their backs
aren't put to the wall because there isn't really a plan in place. the pentagon has many, many plans, of course, and they have options for everything. nobody wants any military conflict with china. that's the last thing that the u.s. would like right now. >> amna, a larger picture here, when you think about the various challenges internationally, the administration seems on russia and afghanistan not to have new thinking here. we can say it's a little more developed when it comes to how to handle china. they seem to have a point of view. on the russia front, they seem to be at square one on how to have a constructive relationship with putin. >> it's so interesting -- >> they do a bit. >> i found secretary blinken's answer to your question about russia and ukraine to be fascinating. we very much were going back to 2015 and 2016 and 2013 and the
crimea invasion. ukraine is not in nato. so there is no treaty obligation to protect ukraine from a russian incursion. beyond that, this is, again, another case of hoping it doesn't happen. >> amna, weigh in here. >> absolutely. i agree with what helene is saying here. there hasn't been a lot of specific change we've seen in terms of that overall policy. i think they're still very much figuring out how that works. the challenges for this administration are very different. talking about how to weigh those relationships with china and russia in the middle of a global pandemic given all those other geopolitical interests and worries right now. that has to be considered. certainly the approach to china, the biden administration has taken so far is different than the one the trump administration took which is different than the one in the obama administration took before them as well. in the midst of a global
pandemic, people exerting in cluns in different parts of the world in different way, all of that with will inform how the biden administration moves forward. with so much uncertainty around the pandemic right now, i don't think they know exactly how to move forward with it yet. >> peter alexander, the crisis at the border is something that, should the state department have more involvement, there doesn't seem interest in the biden administration of doing that yet, that instead this is still a problem that's more dhs, hhs, but it does seem as if this white house doesn't want to bring a lot of high profile attention to the issue right now. >> you're exactly right. there was news on this late on friday when they announced that the former ambassador to mexico, roberta jacobson, the border czar, as they described her, would not be staying on past 100 days. that's something the white house insists was the plan all along. what it does, it intensifies this pressure on vice president kamala harris. vice president aides say all
along the strategy was for her to be in charge of migration and the root causes in the northern triangle nations of el salvador, honduras and guatemala. she hasn't made trips to that region yet. she's focused on other issues such as california, connecticut, focusing on jobs. i'm told by a senior white house official that she won't travel to those northern triangle nations for at least the next two months. you can anticipate this issue is only going to grow and the pressure will grow on her to do more. >> i'm sure it will become a talking point on the right, why won't the vice president go. i've already heard a little of that on talk radio. let me pivot the conversation, ashley. i'm going to put up a sentence here. never have two sentences, frankly, gotten a lot of people in washington to try to figure out what they mean. maybe if you play joe manchin backwards, you'll hear what it means. here is what he wrote. senate democrats must avoid the temptation to abandon our republican colleagues on important national issues. republicans, however, have a
responsibility to stop saying no and participate in finding real compromise with democrats. just what did joe manchin accomplish with his op-ed other than reminding all of us that basically he's a guy that says yes or no to this agenda. >> that's exactly right. he again elevated himself as sort of the key senator. he's a moderate democratic from west virginia who the biden administration really has to negotiate with and placate with to get anything done, any of their legislative priorities even through this budgetary process of reconciliation that only requires 50 democratic votes. he is often that 50th vote and the decisive vote. you mentioned sort of the confusion. in talking to a manchin ally recently, they explained that one of the challenges sometimes in understanding and parsing exactly what he's saying is he is often not looking at sort of the holistic picture and he will answer the question in front of him. again, this is an op-ed where he had a chance to step back and take a moment to try to explain
himself. he often says things that seem very contradictory because he's answering one question or another and not necessarily answering the broader thing. he wants bipartisanship and also wants infrastructure. what happens if republicans won't play ball on infrastructure? >> amna, bottom line. do democrats think joe manchin will be there for them or not? >> i think the answer is they certainly hope so. being the key vote in the 50/50 senate is the place to be. he's different from kerstin synema in a couple of ways, he can block or push back on the democratic caucus agenda and he's willing to. for all the rhetoric about bipartisanship and both sides needing to come together, i'm sure if you asked him to name those ten republican senators that will cross the aisle, he'd be hard-pressed to name them. specifically about the filibuster, he said he doesn't want to undermine and weaken. look at where rubber meets the
road. look at the efforts in georgia to add the restrictions to voting laws that will disproportionately affect black and brown people. democrats need laws to push back against that. joe manchin doesn't have a black voting base that he's accountable to. it's not something that ideologically or politically hits home for him. he will exert influence on things that matter to him. >> i'm up against a break. very quickly, how did the white house absorb manchin? >> what's notable we're seeing is how different the tone is as we speak about infrastructure than it was about covid relief. on covid relief, they basically brought republicans in and stuck to the dollar figure and stuck to their deadline. on infrastructure, joe biden himself has said he's wide open on how big it would be, what the corporate tax rate would be. manchin saying it should be 25%, they said they thought that was a good starting point in the conversations they have. the deadline is by august recess. four months. we're going to be talking about this for a while. >> that's interesting.
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transgender youths, the house and senate overrode his veto. by substantial margins. he wrote, i'm being attacked by some of my republican colleagues for not being pure enough on social issues and vetoing a bill that limited access for health care for transgender youth. governor hutchinson joins me now. welcome back to "meet the press." i'm curious. this was the third bill targeting transgender youth in some form, and the issue in some form that passed the legislature. did you veto this third bill because of the specifics of the bill, or how much of it was enough already with these bills that seem to be in search of a problem that didn't exist? >> well, each bill has to stand on its own. i signed two that i thought made sense. one was girls in sports, trying to protect women's sports.
the other one was supporting medical conscience, that doctors can claim a conscience reason if they want to deny a particular procedure, but they have to do emergency care. so those are two bills that i signed. the third one was not well done. it did not protect the youth. it interfered with the government getting into the lives of transgender youth as well as their parents and the decisions that doctors make. to me, it's about compassion. but it is also about making -- having the laws make sense and a limited role of government. that's the case that i made in "the washington post" column that, as republicans, we need to get back and ask the question, is this the appropriate role of government? are we restraining ourselves? >> your state legislature is not the only one like this. you have quite a few of what i think would be described as
loosely culture war bills, what i'm going to describe as culture war bills. a bill that got withdrawn that wanted to ban anything that had to do with the 1619 project, you couldn't teach it in schools, another one that would tie school funding in case you did this stuff. i'm curious. what do you think there's so much focus among some members of the legislature among issues, you well me, is this really bubbling up in arkansas schools? >> well, it's not, but the fear is about the future, and the fear is, also, that we're losing our culture, and the case i make, though, is just because you want to keep things as they have been perhaps, you don't need to use the instrument of the law. you don't need to use the state to accomplish that purpose in every instance. there is the church. there is society. there is your community, and that's where the culture is impacted or reflected in the future. so again there's too much.
as a republican party, it's the principles of limited government and it's pushing freedom and choice in the free market. that's what the party is about. we've got to apply those principles even when it comes to the social war. >> i'm curious if you're now -- the voters inside the republican party don't agree with what you said. i want to put up something jonathan last from the bulwark wrote. he said republican voters no longer have any concrete outcomes they want from government. what they have instead is a lifestyle brand. if you want to move up the ladder within a brand network, you don't do it by governing or making policy. you do it by getting attention. a lot of these issues seem to be designed to get attention, rather than maybe solve a long-term problem of governance. >> i think they're well intentioned. it's just that they're taking us in the wrong direction. again, restraint is the word.
i don't want to criticize my republican legislators that i know their heart. they believe in this, but i think what i did and have said in my veto hopefully is a reminder to republicans all across the country as we look at particular issues and organizations trying to get us involved to pass laws to solve different problems. ask the fundamental question, is this the right role of government? is there a better way to do it? is this reflecting the best of the republican party? and is it reflecting compassion? i think those are important questions that i tried to ask in the bill i vetoed. i think the message is an important one across the country. >> let me ask you this about government interference. you've made a strong case on limited government when it came to these decisions between a parent, a child, their doctor. somebody is going to hear that and say, how come you don't have the same view when it comes to abortion.
>> absolutely. that's an appropriate question. as you know, there's a big difference in the case of abortion -- and i've signed a multitude of pro life bills. i believe in protecting the life of the unborn. the distinction is that medical science is clear as to the life of the unborn, and so science -- we're reflecting that in the laws that we passed. in this case when we're talking about transgender youth, parents are involved in decision making. the science is not as clear, and you have a physician that's involved. so you can't apply each of those to each other. this is a separate issue. you have to evaluate them separately. in this case, clearly i don't believe that this is something the government should be telling the youth, you cannot have this treatment that your parent and the doctor recommends even
though everybody's heart probably is in the right place and looking after the youth, it's not an appropriate role of government. compassion says -- particularly one of the reasons i vetoed it was there was not a grandfather clause, it interrupted treatment they were having at the time. >> let me ask you a larger question about the future of the republican party. in november you were on "meet the press," and you said you thought there would be a significant debate as to exactly the direction of the republican party. that was before january 6th, before all this other stuff happened. have your expectations now changed? you really expect to see a debate or did donald trump temporarily win the debate? >> no. i think it will continue. whenever you look at president trump, as i've said, he has a voice and he's utilizing that voice, but there's going to be many other voices. >> is it a helpful voice?
>> well, i don't think his most recent comments about senator mcconnell were helpful, if they were reported accurately. to me you've got to engage in the fight that we have in 2022. right now we've got some important fights in washington about a big government solution to every problem that we have, and the republican voice is important. let's don't undermine that voice and the leadership we have that's really the finger in the dike right now. >> very quickly, a covid question. in the bottom -- lowest rates of vaccination, arkansas is the top ten of lowest rates of vaccination right now. what do you attribute that to? there is a red-blue divide, not as stark as it was two months ago, but it's still there. are you having trouble convincing some conservatives to get the vaccine? >> well, it's not necessarily conservatives. i believe it is rural arkansas. the fact in arkansas our cases
are low, our hospitalizations are low. there's a sense that the emergency is not there. my job is to remind everyone that we're in a critical time and we have to get those vaccinations into arms because, what we see happening in other states and across the ocean, could come here even to arkansas. so we've got to get those shots out. we're working very hard to accomplish that, and we're taking our allocation. we're increasing every day. everybody over 16 can get the shot. we want them to. >> governor asa hutchinson, remind people, people can drive from michigan to arkansas. michigan is a trouble spot. governor hutchinson, thank you for coming on and sharing your perspective. >> thank you, chuck. great to be with you today. when we come back, the rise of right wing violence in the u.s. as told by members in and out of extremist groups. this is a story you really won't want to miss. want to miss you 'e working. new febreze fade defy plug works differently.
welcome back. the january 6th assault on the capitol focused the nation's attention like never before on violent political extremism, especially from the far right. in fact, far right wing attacks have accounted for the majority of terrorist-related events and plots in this country since 1994. that according to the center for strategic and international studies. nbc news correspondent morgan radford and producer aaron franco have been reporting on this issue for years. they have a must-see story on our streaming show "meet the press reports," which is
available all the time on peacock. among the many people they met was chester doles running for a county commissioner seat in northern georgia. doles is a former kkk member who says he's done with the far right. as you'll see in this clip from "meet the press reports," that is not necessarily the case. >> i know you've come out and denounced racism, but when i was looking at social media, you put the picture saying jodi vow was coming to speak at one of your rallies. this is him, the racist, and this is a nazi hand gesture. then he posted here, get in we're hunting judah. he's talking about jews. that's him in your platform. do you think that's someone that's a white supremacist? >> i wouldn't call him a white supremacist. i know he's got some issues. >> that was posted before you invited him? when you invited him, he had already posted those things.
>> i wasn't aware of any of his other street activism. >> on your social media, these are the people following you with swastikas and white power signs. why are these people attracted to you and your platform? >> i don't know. maybe they're good people as far as being good american citizens. >> can you be a good american citizen with a swastika and white power? >> i don't look into people's personal -- what they're all about. >> i saw you posted recently, posting about valentine's day stickers and you showed 1488. >> oh, god forbid. >> what does that mean? >> i don't know. >> you don't know what 1488 means? >> no. >> all that time in the klan -- >> didn't take. >> it is a coincidence that it's white supremacist? >> it must be. >> he knows exactly what it means. >> jonathan greenblatt is an extremism expert. with the anti-defamation league.
>> 14 is what they describe as the 14 words, a white supremacist maxim. 88 refers to the letter h, it's the eighth letter of the alphabet. hh means heil hitler. >> you can see morgan radford's complete report on "meet the press reports." streaming on peacock. you'll meet somebody who escaped the movement and you'll meet some folks on the left. this week's episode was part of our network wide look at american extremism 100 days after the capitol riot. we hope you'll find "meet the press reports." all this spring as we take a look in depth at one issue each week. when we come back, the pilgrimage republicans made to florida this week and the man they all came to see. d the man they all came to see taking ali. align contains a quality probiotic to naturally help soothe digestive upsets 24/7. try align, the pros in digestive health.
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with the tools and resources they need to be ready for anything. i hope you're ready. 'cause we are. welcome back. if proximity welcome back. if proximity equals power, then this simple geography of how the republican party spent the weekend tells you who is in charge of this party. ashley parker, it is donald trump, the rnc having its meeting in palm beach county and having a mar-a-lago event. it's the remarks he mentioned about mitch mcconnell that even governor hutchinson brought up. let me put up these remarks, and we have confirmed them here at nbc. if that were schumer instead of this dumb son of a blank mitch mcconnell, they never would allow it to happen. i hired his wife. did he ever say thank you. ashley, mitch mcconnell has been trying to go out of his way to sort of embrace some of the
trump world's complaints about election security and things like that with his stance in georgia, and i guess this is the payback. >> that's exactly right. president trump also down there continued to perpetuate the lie that the election was stolen and criticized his own vice president, mike pence, for not having the courage to refuse to certify the results of a free and fair election. therein lies the challenge for the republican party. if there's any leader for the party right now, it is donald trump, the former president, but he does not view himself as the leader of a traditional republican party. he views himself as the leader of a maga movement, a movement of trump supporters and the interest between former president trump and the republican party and republican party leadership are frequently not aligned, to the point where donald trump will criticize and equate stark terms, the leader
of senate republicans and no one quite knows how to handle this. >> by the way, helene, the pentagon provided more information about january 6th and former vice president mike pence begging for help, clear the capitol. do you think we'll know the full story of what happened inside the pentagon that day? >> i think we will. i think that -- i think we already know a lot of what happened. we've been reporting for some time, and including on january 6th as it happened, that it was vice president pence at the time and not donald trump who was the one giving -- asking for the national guard. trump didn't want to see the national guard going there against people who he thought were his supporters initially. i think as these details continue to dribble out, they'll paint a fuller picture, yes, but i think we all know the bottom line of the story which is very much of a military and a
military leadership that, because they overresponded to the black lives matter protests in june, because general milley walked across lafayette square with president trump, because they tried so hard to stop him from invoking the insurrection act and putting active duty troops on the streets against american citizens, they were as a consequence underprepared for what happened when the tables turned and then you had right wing protesters on january 6th storming the capitol. they had been saying so long we're not going to put soldiers on the streets against americans, that when the time came they needed to, they weren't ready to do so. >> amna, you want to chime in. >> absolutely. everything helene is saying is absolutely correct. there was reluctance on the day to respond in realtime. you also have to look at the heart of the issue, which was the reluctance before that event to see all these forces as a real threat. morgan's reporting on this goes
to the core of all of this, which has been this rising trend of white supremacist inspired extremism and domestic terrorism in america. white supremacy is a story as old as america. we're just waking up to it as the leading domestic terror threat. it's the biggest domestic terrorism threat since the civil war in fact. you have to see the way the national security bodies are responding with the biden administration. they are just now beginning to catch up to it. at the same time, i've got to go back to something you mentioned earlier in your interview with secretary blinken, the foreign threat has not gone away. when you look at the way we're leaving afghanistan, asking the them to stop attacking americans, cut ties with al qaeda. we don't know they're doing that. there are thousands of citizens dead. by the way, a u.s. hostage still on the ground. mark, it's not clear to his family when he'll come back. the u.s. government, the national security bodies, have to now have to handle both, the potential for foreign threats
really long focused and this new morn important threat here at home. the republican party, peter alexander, doesn't seem to be interested at least publicly to disassociate themselves with these folks. we saw the circular firing squad in the party. trump goes after these corporations. then mitch mcconnell -- he actually tried to go after corporations and then had to end up walking it back. let me play some of that sound. >> my warning, if you will, to corporate america is to stay out of politics. it's not what you're designed for. >> i didn't say that very artfully yesterday. they're certainly entitled to be involved in politics. they are. my principle complaint is they didn't read the darn bill. >> now, already making the rounds on twitter. somebody saying does mitch mcconnell need to express that donald trump shouldn't be commenting about politics. but they're all just attacking each other, right?
all these different constituency groups. this party seems to get more fragmented the more it doesn't seem to figure out how to distance itself from donald trump. >> you want to talk about new terrain. it's having republicans attack corporate america. the republican chairwoman even saying in effect she was going to boycott baseball. it's hard to fathom only a matter of years ago you'd hear words like that. i think this is why you're seeing this culture war, the coming culture war right now where they're fighting on issues as we've talked in recent weeks, issues like what was going on with major league baseball in recent weeks. that is one issue that really does unify the republican party at large. it's an issue that they're passionate about. it energizes donors, energizes the base more broadly. i think it's a place you will see the conversation continue. republicans are on the outside as it relates to american's views on the economy. covid relief was popular. republicans across the board opposed it. some democrats are warning that this can be an effective
strategy. dan pfeiffer, a name that was familiar, one of president obama's top advisers was critical of it. he said this ship does pack a political punch and said the democrats have to have a plan to fight back. >> ashley, you're the final comment on here. it does look like the party -- you heard governor hutchinson, there's a lot of people that want trump out of the party, but they don't want to seem to do anything about it, and now it looks like they can't. >> there's even more people who want him out of the party privately. as of now, that's not going to happen. the challenge they're grappling with is how do they harness some of that enthusiasm and populism and what he tapped into with the republican base while eliminating the more controversial aspects of trumpism. >> they've been trying to solve that problem for seven years, i'd argue, and they still haven't. >> excellent panel. thank you. that's all we have for today. thank you all for watching. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." sunday, it's he ress."
protests erupt just outside of minneapolis after police shoot an unarmed black man during a traffic stop who later died. with derek chauvin on trial just a few miles away, the question is how tense will it get in minnesota? plus new details on the capitol riot, including what top officials inside the building during the attack were doing in realtime. the question is how will the new accounts factor into the investigation? and the tension within the gop on full display as former president donald trump headlines the rnc retreat with