On the show today: New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, both of whom are among the many Democratic presidential candidates; Dayton OH Mayor Nan Whaley; El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar; and Mick Mulvaney, the acting Chief of Staff.
Here's Nan Whaley, on her city being hit with multiple tragedies this year:
I mean, for us in Dayton, we - this is actually the second tragedy to hit our city this summer. First, we had a tornado that tore through Dayton in May. And now, we face this mass shooting. The difference is that one of these tragedies was completely preventable. And one of these tragedies has happened, now, 250 times this year, in our country, And yet, nobody can be moved to do anything about it.This is Escobar responding to Chuck Todd's question on what she sees as her responsibility, as an elected official in DC:
My primary responsibility, right now, Chuck, is to be with the community, comfort the community, be of service to the community... so my primary responsibility is here, with my community. But as a legislator, all of us, as legislators, Chuck, we have to talk about what's really happening and we have to speak the truth. It's not politicizing an event.. that truth is we have not just a gun epidemic in this country, but we have a hate epidemic in this country.Here's Booker, after stating the the president is "responsible" and "contributing to what's going on right now" responding to the question "If the president doesn't, doesn't accept the responsibility that you believe he has, what is your - what would you like the other elected Republicans to do?"
Well, to me, Martin Luther King said it so eloquently. What we have to repent for is not just the vitriolic words and violent actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence and inaction of the good people. There is complicity in the president's hatred that undermines the goodness and the decency of Americans regardless of what party.
To say nothing in a time of rising hatred, it's not enough to say that, "I'm not a hatemonger, myself." If you are not actively working against hate, calling it out, you are complicit in what is going on. And so this is a moral moment in America, like we have seen before, where demagogues and fear mongers, hatemongers, have risen. We need moral clarity and healing and love in our nation. We need leaders that are capable of doing that.Castro, in response to the question of what he sees as what we need to start tackling, said this after talking about "common sense gun reform"
There is this very toxic brew of white nationalism that is arising. And I know that it doesn't reflect by any means, by any means the vast, vast majority of Americans. But unfortunately, what we see is an increasing number of these incidents, these mass shooting incidents. And so we need to pay attention to this, and we need to do something about this...The FBI Director has said that this is a particular problem right now in the United States.Todd wondered if the president can lay "any role, constructive role" or "because of how often he uses the language of racial resentment, does he just not have the credibility to do anything to fix this problem?" Here's Castro's response:
This president started his campaign in 2016 on a path of racial resentment and fanning the flames of bigotry. That's how he believes he won in 2016. That's how he thinks he's going to win in 2020. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any credibility anymore. You know, when he didn't step up right away and condemn the neo-Nazis after Charlottesville, (and) allowing that crowd for 13 seconds to chant, "send her back" a couple of weeks ago, he doesn't have any credibility.
But you know what, Chuck? Like all Americans, I hope, I still hope that this president will do what most presidents have done throughout our history, which is to realize that we have to do everything that we can do to try and unite Americans instead of fanning the flames of bigotry. He has to be a big enough man, a big enough person in these moments to do that.Mulvaney was asked this question: "...in fairness, Mr. Mulvaney, the President has spent the last month on Twitter stoking racial resentment in different ways and you can, you can try to rationalize that he was speaking about specific incidents, but taken together these sick people as you're describing, they hear what they want to hear. Does the president not have a responsibility to speak with a higher moral clarity when it comes to violence, a higher moral clarity when it comes to refugees?"
Here's how he responded.
Right, Chuck, let me put it to you this way. Even if he did speak the way that you want him to speak, and I get the fact that some people don't approve of the verbiage the president uses, I get that, alright? But even if they did, your point that you just made is absolutely right. People are going to hear what they want to hear. My guess is this guy is in that parking lot in El Paso Texas in that Walmart doing this even if Hillary Clinton is president. In fact, he'd probably go out and blame Hillary Clinton for doing it.
These are crazy people, sick people, and until we figure out why we are creating this many people like this in this culture, why we are giving them such wide audiences on social media, why we are making weapons available to them when they probably shouldn't get them. Let's talk about background checks, something we have worked on tin this administration. Those are the conversations to have. Not giving Cory Booker a chance to run for president this morning by blaming Donald Trump. That is really disappointing.There was some additional back and forth on politics, and on policy, and on the president's "dehumanizing rhetoric", and then the question, "Is he not the president of all Americans here? It does seem as if he's always more worried about how his base is going to react to something than how the American, you know, moral fabric is protected.?
He absolutely is the president of all Americans, alright...Listen, we're going to have policy discussions, but my guess is, you show me how you feel about the president, and I'll show you who you think was responsible for the shooting.Todd did not drop it there, adding "well, unfortunately, it does appear this was a political motive of this domestic terrorist." And here was Mulvaney's final thought.
This was a political motive by a crazy person with a gun. How do we stop crazy people from getting guns? That's a - -if we can't agree on that, if we can't figure out a way to prevent that from happening, there's very little hope for this nation. Let's try and fix what allows sick people to get these types of weapons.Lots to digest here.
Oh - one more thing: Mexico is most unhappy with us; at least six of those killed and several of the injured in El Paso were Mexican nationals. Our neighbors to the south are thinking that we should be doing more to protect their citizens.
See you around campus.