Meet the Press – November 21, 2021

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday: A divided nation. In Kenosha, Wisconsin —

JUROR:

We the jury discover the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not responsible.

CHUCK TODD:

— Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal in the killing of two males and the wounding of a 3rd sparks outrage —

WISCONSIN RESIDENT:

Now they’ve simply legalized sport killing. Vigilantism is sport killing.

CHUCK TODD:

— and applause.

WISCONSIN RESIDENT:

I really feel like they made the proper alternative, you understand. It was– it was easy self-protection.

CHUCK TODD:

Splitting the nation alongside political strains. Plus, extra division in Washington, the place solely two Republicans vote to censure Congressman Paul Gosar after his violent video focusing on Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ:

What is so exhausting about saying that that is mistaken?

REP. PAUL GOSAR:

If I have to be part of Alexander Hamiliton, the first particular person tried to be censured by this House, so be it.

CHUCK TODD:

I’ll discuss to Democratic Senator Jon Tester and Republican Senator Kevin Cramer. Plus —

REP. NANCY PELOSI:

The Build Back Better Bill is handed.

CHUCK TODD:

— Democrats lastly cross President Biden’s social security web invoice over unanimous Republican opposition.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY:

They did not get a mandate to rework America.

CHUCK TODD:Now, can it get by means of the Senate? My visitor this morning: the Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. And, the new Covid surge.

DR. SARA SPILSETH:

I’m nervous that persons are going to die and, and, they by no means had an opportunity at getting a mattress.

CHUCK TODD:

New circumstances nearing a mean of 100,000 a day. This as the authorities endorses Pfizer and Moderna boosters for all adults. Joining me for perception and evaluation are: NBC News Senior White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, the Reverend Al Sharpton, host of “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson and civil rights lawyer David Henderson. Welcome to Sunday. It’s Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, the longest-operating present in tv historical past. This is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. This previous week we obtained extra proof of simply how divided we have develop into as a rustic. On Friday, a Wisconsin jury discovered Kyle Rittenhouse not responsible on all counts of taking pictures three males, two fatally, at a Kenosha protest final summer time sparked by the taking pictures of a Black man by a white police officer. At the similar time in Georgia proper now, there are three males who’re on trial, charged with the unprovoked killing of a Black man, Ahmaud Arbery. And earlier in the week, simply two House Republicans joined Democrats in censuring Republican Congressman Paul Gosar and stripping him of his committee assignments after Gosar posted an animated video displaying him killing his colleague, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. All three episodes — the trials at the intersection of race, weapons and self-protection — and the GOP — at the very least the House GOP’s — close to unanimous dismissal of violent imagery towards a Democrat, are additional proof of a fraying America. Yes, the politics of division and the weaponization of grievance have helped each events elevate cash and lift the temperature on this nation. But the Republican vote in the House condoning Gosar’s actions was greater than that: It seems to be one other step in direction of embracing former President Trump’s radical conduct. The violent rhetoric that he embraces, the coddling of the January sixth rioters, the Big Lie, even attacking Republicans for merely voting for a public works invoice, all of it has helped lead us to this second. What was dismissed as harmful rhetoric from the far proper that no person was listening to is now being mainstreamed by the man who’s reshaping the Republican Party in his personal picture.

JUROR:

We, the jury, discover the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not responsible.

CHUCK TODD:

The verdict — not responsible on all counts — magnifying the divisions in a deeply polarized America.

MARK RICHARDS:

It was a case about self-protection — the proper to guard oneself.

THOMAS BINGER:

You can not declare self-protection towards a hazard you create.

CHUCK TODD:

Kyle Rittenhouse got here to Kenosha as a counter-protester, he says to guard property, following the police taking pictures of Jacob Blake final yr.

JUSTIN BLAKE:

Self-defense is anyone enters your own home they usually’re doing you mistaken. He was out on the avenue, he was a provocateur and he had these individuals come to him.

WISCONSIN RESIDENT:

You simply emboldened all of those individuals which might be stuffed with a lot hate. They at the moment are emboldened.

CHUCK TODD:

Rittenhouse was interviewed by Fox News after leaving the courtroom.

FOX NEWS HOST:

How you are feeling man?

KYLE RITTENHOUSE:

The jury reached the appropriate verdict: Self-defense isn’t unlawful.

CHUCK TODD:

Throughout the trial, Rittenhouse was praised on proper-wing media —

TUCKER CARLSON:

When reputable authority refuses to do its obligation, its sworn obligation, others will fill the vacuum.

CHUCK TODD:

— and lionized by many politicians on the proper.

J.D. VANCE:

If we do not defend this younger boy who defended his neighborhood when nobody else was doing it, it could very effectively be your child boy that they arrive for.

REP. MATT GAETZ:

Kyle Rittenhouse would most likely make a reasonably good congressional intern.

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN:

Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t responsible my associates. You have a proper to defend yourselves. Be armed, be harmful and be ethical.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

Lots of people would have been very offended on this nation if that younger man was, was in any manner convicted.

CHUCK TODD:

Already, far proper teams are calling Rittenhouse “the hero we’ve been waiting for.” Republican Missouri Senate candidate Mark McCloskey — who launched a profession in politics after pleading to responsible to waving his gun at protestors final summer time — confirmed up at the Kenosha courthouse, photographed with two males flashing white supremacist hand indicators. The verdict caps per week marked by indicators of America’s widening political divide.

REP. NANCY PELOSI:

We can not have a member joking about murdering one another or threatening the president of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

After House Republicans all however condoned the posting of that violent video by Congressman Paul Gosar.

REP. PAUL GOSAR:

If I have to be part of Alexander Hamilton, the first particular person tried to be censored by this home, so be it.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you consider the motion towards Paul Gosar achieved yesterday?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL:

Making the House much more bitter. But I feel you may’t let anyone threaten to kill one other colleague, even when in jest.

CHUCK TODD:

Republican chief Kevin McCarthy, who joined all House Republicans two years in the past to strip then-Congressman Steve King of his committee assignments after King’s white supremacist feedback —

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY:

That isn’t the social gathering of Lincoln and it’s undoubtedly not America.

CHUCK TODD:

— now defends Gosar.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY:

I don’t condone violence and consultant Gosar had echoed that sentiment. The video was deleted.

CHUCK TODD:

Gosar re-posted the video after his censure, earlier than taking it down once more.

CHUCK TODD:

And becoming a member of me now’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana. Senator Tester, welcome again to Meet the Press, sir.

SEN. JON TESTER:

Good to be with you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me begin with the fallout of the Rittenhouse trial. And I feel you truly can present a singular perspective. You come from a rural state. You come from one that might I feel collectively describe themselves as a pro-Second Amendment state. There are quite a lot of so-referred to as pro-Second Amendment of us who’re hailing this as a victory. Explain that divide as you see it.

SEN. JON TESTER:

So, look, I wasn’t in Kenosha, and I definitely wasn’t in the courtroom both. But we’re a nation of legal guidelines, and there was a trial, and the jury issued its verdict. I can not think about the ache that the households have gone by means of that misplaced family members on this incident. But nonetheless, I feel we have to respect what the jury has accomplished right here and respect the determination. Protest, however I’d say protest peacefully if you are going to protest.

CHUCK TODD:

What’s the challenge right here in your thoughts? Is it dangerous legal guidelines?

SEN. JON TESTER:

No. I imply, look, I feel everyone has the proper to maintain and bear arms, regulation-abiding residents. And I consider that everyone has the proper to guard themselves. I feel the debate on this entire challenge, like I stated, I wasn’t there, so I can not let you know what truly occurred. But the fact is the entire debate is: Was it self-protection or was it provocation?

CHUCK TODD:

Right. But we have additionally seen a redefining of those legal guidelines in the final 20 years. There’s two tendencies which might be throughout the nation: extra open carry legal guidelines and extra legal guidelines written basically to permit self-protection for use to defend utilizing your firearm. How a lot do these legal guidelines, do you suppose, contribute to the state of affairs that we noticed in Kenosha?

SEN. JON TESTER:

Look, Chuck, I’m in a state of affairs the place for 20 years I made my residing with a gun as a customized butcher store operator. Every day I obtained up and I used a gun as a software, which is what it’s. It must be used responsibly. If it is not used responsibly, you may see quite a lot of dangerous issues that may occur with it. And I can let you know a few of the legal guidelines which might be put out in the previous couple of years are legal guidelines that I feel allow individuals which might be criminals, not people who find themselves regulation-abiding residents. And fairly actually, as a gun proprietor, as anyone who has, you understand, fewer weapons than I would like, the truth is that we have to have legal guidelines that shield regulation-abiding residents to have the ability to have weapons. But we additionally once they’re used improperly, we have to implement the regulation. The different factor I’d say is that this. There was a background examine regulation that was put up just a few years again to maintain weapons out of criminals, and court docket-adjudicated mentally in poor health of us, and terrorists. That invoice didn’t cross, and I nonetheless cannot work out why. Because background checks are key to regulation-abiding residents having the ability to preserve their weapons.

CHUCK TODD:

Some of that is the bigger cultural divide between rural America and suburban and concrete America on the subject of the gun challenge. And it– I’m curious in case you suppose it is at the root as to why basically Democrats are bleeding rural assist. And you understand this very effectively. You can take a look at it. We noticed the Virginia outcomes. I might put up right here, I’ll present you the 2008 leads to Montana for president and the 2020 outcomes for Montana for president. You know the numbers effectively. They’ve gone from a battleground state to a 16-level edge for the Republicans. Is this going to be deadly to the Democratic Party in case you do not bridge this divide?

SEN. JON TESTER:

Well, I feel it is essential to bridge the divide. I feel it is a divide that is been put as much as divide this nation fairly actually, as many sizzling button points are. But in the finish, I feel frequent sense gun legal guidelines are essential to have the ability to implement. And I feel if Democrats obtained out and spoke about issues about enabling individuals, regulation-abiding residents to have the ability to shield their gun rights, I feel we could– I feel it could assist us win in rural America. Unfortunately, what of us in rural America hear loads about is that they wish to take away the weapons. And that is not what most Democrats need for positive. And so I feel it is an essential challenge in elections as a result of it has been made into an essential challenge.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you suppose race performs a task in the Democrats’ issues in rural America?

SEN. JON TESTER:

Look, I feel the greatest downside the Democrats have is they should go to work. And I feel getting the bipartisan infrastructure bundle is a part of it. Go to work, get a document of accomplishment, get on the market and discuss to of us about what your imaginative and prescient is and what you have accomplished.

You’ve obtained two ears, one mouth. Act accordingly. Listen and react. And I feel a part of the downside with Democrats in rural America is that we have not talked sufficient about what we stand for and what we have achieved. And we have not proven up in lots of locations. And these issues are going to be very, essential as we go into 2022.

CHUCK TODD:

You’re going to be — the Senate now has the president’s Build Back Better. It’s now as much as you guys. Is this a cross something that may get 50 votes? I imply, is that the place we’re at at this level? Or there’s some, “Hey, I’m only going to support this. You know, if this gets taken out, I can’t support this bill”? Where is your head on this, and the place are the Democrats’ heads?

SEN. JON TESTER:

Well, yeah, look, I feel we now have an important alternative right here to do some nice issues in childcare, and inexpensive housing, and in local weather, in reducing prescription drug prices and well being care prices general. And I feel we are able to do it. I do not suppose there’s any doubt about that. I feel individuals should be open to compromise. And I feel if we compromise like we did in the bipartisan infrastructure bundle the place we had 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans that, you understand, argued, and fought, and got here to a invoice that might work, I feel it is the similar factor inside the 50 Democrats, too. We do not all see the world the similar manner. So let’s negotiate and let’s give you a invoice that lowers prices for households, and cuts taxes, and will get issues accomplished to assist transfer this financial system ahead so we are able to keep the premier energy in the world. China desires to supplant us. If we do not are likely to enterprise right here, they effectively might try this. So this Build Back Better is a crucial piece of laws.

CHUCK TODD:

So it appears like you are going to be a supporter of it, no matter what it appears to be like like in the particulars?

SEN. JON TESTER:

Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. It’s going to return over the House. There are going to be some adjustments. I’m going to match it to what Montana needs–

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

SEN. JON TESTER:

— and that is going to be the place I deal with. But, look, we’re coping with cheap individuals right here. I feel we are able to give you a bill–

CHUCK TODD:

Alright.

SEN. JON TESTER:

— that may be a very, superb invoice that works for states like Montana and different states in the union.

CHUCK TODD:

Very rapidly, in September you expressed assist for the president to reappoint Jay Powell as Fed chair. Lots of your colleagues wish to see a brand new Fed chair. If the president goes a distinct route, do you suppose that places the present financial state of affairs at peril in any respect?

SEN. JON TESTER:

Yeah, I feel it could be a mistake. I feel Jerome Powell has a confirmed monitor document and Chairman Powell ought to get reappointed. I feel we have points that revolve round inflation that he cannot do a lot about so long as he isn’t confirmed. He must be appointed. We want to verify him. I feel he can be confirmed by a big margin if the president appointed him. And then he can get to work as chairman of the Fed and do a great job, as he is accomplished in the previous. I feel he deserves reappointment.

CHUCK TODD:

All proper. Senator Jon Tester, Democrat from Montana, respect you approaching, sharing your views with us this morning. Thank you, sir.

SEN. JON TESTER:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

And take pleasure in turkey week. Joining me now from the different aspect of the aisle is Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. Senator Cramer, welcome again to Meet the Press.

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

Good to be with you. Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me begin with the Rittenhouse verdict. It’s fairly divisive on this nation. In some methods, you and I feel Senator Tester share comparable constituencies. And so I feel you’ve gotten a way of perhaps serving to to elucidate the divide, city and suburban America. But what was your response to the verdict, and why is he being hailed as a hero on the proper?

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

Well, Chuck, I don’t know that he’s — he is most likely being hailed as a hero by some. I feel largely what he is being hailed as is an harmless particular person concerned on this case. The symbolism that surrounded it I feel isn’t reflective of the details on the floor. I feel frankly Jon Tester defined it fairly effectively. I imply, justice has been accomplished by a jury of his friends. I feel frankly that if you take a look at the videotape, the movies and issues that turned extra obvious later in the trial, you discover a child that was in the mistaken place at the mistaken time, mustn’t have had a gun most likely with him, however he did not provoke what was taking place to him. He responded in self-protection. I feel it ought to, individuals ought to be reminded that the those that he shot have been additionally violent criminals, and armed at that. It’s not like he simply snuck up on some guys. So the downside is I feel justice was accomplished, however the rhetoric surrounding it most likely on either side is inappropriate to the precise occasion itself.

CHUCK TODD:

I wish to learn you one thing from conservative author David French. And this is what he wrote about the incident earlier this week. He stated, “A political movement that turns a deadly and ineffective vigilante into a role model is a movement that is courting more violence and encouraging more young men to recklessly brandish weapons in dangerous places, and that will spill more blood in America’s streets.” He’s not the just one involved about this. Do you’ve gotten concern that some individuals will get the mistaken message from this verdict?

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

Well, what I get involved about is a political motion that devalues law enforcement officials, that then cuts their funding, that makes them into the dangerous guys in retaining our streets protected and our communities protected. That type of rhetoric, I’m afraid, results in the exact same violence that we’re speaking about. Now, lots of people discuss having a dialogue. The very first public occasion I had after I obtained to Congress was having a dialogue round weapons that included a lot of individuals, together with individuals of religion, individuals from colleges, practitioners, pastors. And we do not try this anymore. And I agree. I feel that we have to have that dialogue. But either side must wish to have that dialogue, not simply use it for their very own political acquire.

CHUCK TODD:

The rise in open carry legal guidelines and in “stand your ground” legal guidelines, is it sending the mistaken message of virtually encouraging of us to make use of their weapon in public locations?

SEN.KEVIN CRAMER:

No, I feel it sends the message that you’ve a proper to defend your self towards rising violence. And, once more, let’s get again to supporting our law enforcement officials. Let’s get again to supporting stable legal guidelines that shield harmless individuals in order that harmless individuals do not feel like they should all the time shield themselves. That stated, they do have the proper to defend themselves, particularly in their very own houses, which is basically what a few of the legal guidelines you are speaking about are about, notably “stand your ground.”

CHUCK TODD:

Right. But the public areas, do you suppose there is a level the place this goes too far? “Stand your ground” at dwelling I feel is one factor. “Stand your ground” anyplace else in the neighborhood, it appears that evidently expansiveness is what’s obtained some of us troubled.

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

I do not know, Chuck. There are an terrible lot of tales about people who find themselves grateful that the particular person subsequent to them at a public area was carrying when there wasn’t anyone else there to guard them towards one other violent legal. I do not suppose that is a lot about weapons as it’s about the coronary heart of individuals. There is not any query that we live at a time in our nation the place the Congress that you simply see that seems very divided is mostly a reflection of our communities which might be very divided. So all of us have a task to play on this —

CHUCK TODD:

You are appropriate about that.

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

It’s not simply high-down or simply backside-up. We all have a task, and we ought to make use of our platforms to try this.

CHUCK TODD:

No, I say Congress is a mirror to society and other people must see that. Speaking of assaults —

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

That’s proper.

CHUCK TODD:

— you have been the topic of assaults from the former president for merely supporting a public works invoice. On November seventh, the former president wrote, “All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves.” On November ninth, he stated, “Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat socialist infrastructure plan and induced others in his party to do likewise.” And then lastly on the thirteenth, “RINO sellouts and known losers” — that is what saving America begins, must do by saving the GOP from. Would you’ve gotten supported this invoice if the vote had been in November as a substitute of August?

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

Oh, I’d’ve. Chuck, I occur to be the rating member of the Transportation Infrastructure Subcommittee. So I helped write a great a part of this invoice. I used to be advocating for it lengthy earlier than Mitch McConnell introduced his assist for it. So he did not induce me in any manner. President Trump and I had a reasonably wholesome dialog about it after a earlier nationwide tv look the place I talked about the deserves of the invoice. Yes, I’d have. I do not make my determination on laws based mostly on whether or not it hurts or helps Donald Trump or whether or not it hurts or helps Joe Biden. Unfortunately proper now, quite a lot of the rhetoric is centered round, as a lot as something, “This gave Joe Biden a victory.” Whether he will get a victory or not, I occur to consider that there are — that each transaction in Washington, not each transaction in Washington requires a loser. And when North Dakotans can win, if Joe Biden appears to be like good in the course of, I’m extra involved about the North Dakotans.

CHUCK TODD:

Where are we headed in case you do find yourself, if — I imply, you see what is going on on in the House. They need retribution —

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

— for those that voted for this invoice. What occurs to governing in America if basically every social gathering punishes anyone who votes with the different aspect?

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

Yes. No, what occurs is you are going to have a complete bunch of reconciliation payments if the similar social gathering has the White House, the House and the Senate. And our founders created a unbelievable, distinctive system of self-governance that works actually, very well till it would not. So I do fear about that, Chuck. Frankly, I feel that we have to suppose extra strategically. Obviously political adversaries are a way as a result of our founders, once more, created these three co-equal branches, a bicameral legislature on function. They didn’t need a king. They did not need one social gathering or one philosophy governing this nation. So I do fear about that. I feel the Senate has been fairly distinctive for the most half.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

But now, we’re getting compelled with this loopy large authorities socialist agenda driving up inflation and, you understand, driving up our debt and deficit coming at us by the Democratic Party that is gotten very comfy with antisemitism and socialism. And that is an issue. We all must get collectively once more and have this dialog about what’s good for America, not what’s good for our tweets tomorrow.

CHUCK TODD:

I see what you are nervous about on the left. On the proper although, I feel there are some of us which might be nervous that what you’re seeing — the indisputable fact that Paul Gosar, that Republicans did not condemn it the manner simply two years in the past, Steve King would have been condemned. That appeared — it appears to be like as if it is being condoned. Bad search for the social gathering?

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER:

I do not know. I feel, Chuck, the downside is — I do not suppose that was proper. I don’t — what Paul did most likely wasn’t proper. I’ve by no means seen the meme myself. You know, as you understand, I did an op-ed criticizing Marjorie Taylor Greene. I’ve by no means met the girl, however her rhetoric early on, I simply wish to be sure that the social gathering was distanced from that. But that stated, at the similar time, Ilhan Omar spews this gross antisemitic language and she or he will get, barely will get a slap on the wrist of that. Again, we now have polarizing events, at the very least elements of our events which might be so polarizing. And I feel that there is a tendency to run to these corners fairly than stand in the hole, and have a greater dialog, and use our affect each methods. You know, if you’re sitting in a chair like I’m sitting, you are able to do one among two issues. You can both yield to that or you should use your affect each methods. I attempt to pay attention as a lot as I can, interact individuals as a lot as I can, come on Meet the Press when others are afraid to, after which, however then additionally, you understand, facilitate dialogue.

CHUCK TODD:

Kevin Cramer, Republican from North Dakota, you do certainly settle for our invites. I respect it. Thank you for approaching and sharing your perspective.

SENATOR KEVIN CRAMER:

My pleasure. Thanks.

CHUCK TODD:

You obtained it.

SENATOR KEVIN CRAMER:

Thank you. Have a cheerful Thanksgiving.

CHUCK TODD:

You too. When we come again, what the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict tells us about weapons, self-protection claims on this divided nation that you simply heard each senators discuss. Panel is subsequent.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome again. Panel is with us: NBC News Senior White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell; civil rights lawyer and former prosecutor David Henderson; the Reverend Al Sharpton, president, in fact, of the National Action Network and host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC; and Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson. I wish to begin to discuss the Rittenhouse verdict, starting with statements from each President Biden and Vice President Harris. Take a pay attention.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:

I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works and we now have to abide by it.

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS:

As lots of you understand, I’ve spent a majority of my profession working to make the legal justice system extra equitable. And clearly, there’s much more work to do.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Reverend Sharpton, I heard two very statements there. They weren’t essentially as in sync as I assumed they may be.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON:

Well, I feel that if you cope with the indisputable fact that, as Vice President Harris stated, she has handled legal justice circumstances straight, whereas President Biden did not. I feel that they’ve completely different views that converge at the similar place. He’s respecting the determination of the jury. I feel the jury needed to cope with dangerous regulation. And I feel you can query the prosecution and positively the decide, who sounded in lots of circumstances like he was a part of the protection group. But however that, I feel that she has a background that has handled quite a lot of this. When I used to be listening to the senators, each senators this morning, I feel we’re forgetting that the entire context of Rittenhouse coming there was round a protest of a police brutality state of affairs. And this was not like a man was defending himself at his home. He got here to confront a state of affairs of protest. And these type of protests, I feel Vice President Harris is conversant in. And I feel that many people that do protest, as you stated, I head National Action Network, are involved that you simply ship a sign now that folks can come right into a protest and exacerbate a state of affairs or become involved in a state of affairs and kill individuals and say, “I was just defending myself.” That’s very horrifying.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Kristen, that is a part of this divide. Is this a problem about weapons, or is that this a problem about social justice?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON:

It is usually a little little bit of all of these issues. I feel it is also a problem of the place persons are getting their info. This is a part of why you are going to see such division on this nation over this case, as a result of relying on the place you get your information, there are some Americans who suppose everyone who attacked Kyle Rittenhouse that evening was armed. And it is the case that the first man who got here at him was throwing a plastic bag at him. On the different hand, there are lots of people who would by no means have recognized from the protection they watch, that that man was not there protesting police brutality in Kenosha. He was not there calling for reform of the police. He was throwing racial slurs at the protesters earlier than he obtained into his confrontation with Kyle Rittenhouse. Two Americas are listening to two solely completely different tales about this case, and neither of them is the full view that that jury obtained over the days and weeks of that trial.

CHUCK TODD:

Kelly, I’ve simply observed the White House has not wished to get so concerned in any of those circumstances proper now, whether or not it is the president or the vp.

KELLY O’DONNELL:

Well, I used to be there asking the president for his response. And what was additionally notable is he was very cautious and cautious about honoring the jury system. And then later, there was a written assertion that got here out underneath his title that went a bit of additional and stated that, “Many Americans felt fear and concern and anger, myself included,” which means the president felt that as effectively. He did not say that to us on digital camera in particular person. And then he went on in that written assertion to, once more, discuss desirous to tone down the divisions in the nation. And that is actually what he leaned closely into there. So the White House clearly felt that they wanted the president to, at the very least, echo a few of the anxieties in the neighborhood and in the nation about that, which the president himself didn’t do at the moment. They wish to flip down a few of the divisions. And on circumstances like this, the president isn’t going to be the first one to step into the fray. And if you discuss to advisors about it, they are saying, “It really is about his predecessor having been someone who would stoke some of these things.” They need him to take a distinct place.

CHUCK TODD:

David, if you and I have been speaking on Friday in the speedy aftermath, we have been speaking about form of what is going on to be the fallout from this. And you pointed at, look, there have been quite a lot of new legal guidelines which were written. And I wish to level this out. Stand your floor legal guidelines, not a single state had a statute, if you’ll, on the books earlier than 2005 for the stand your floor regulation. Now, we now have 30 states which have it. There have been some that had court docket-ordered, form of, stand your floor sort of initiatives. And the, there are 32 states which have added open carry this century. So the mixture of open carry, stand your floor, you appear to suppose that perhaps the debate about weapons ought to show into public security. Explain.

DAVID HENDERSON:

Well, Chuck, I imply, initially, there’s an inherent battle when you’ve gotten stand your floor legal guidelines and open carry states the place you have obtained political division. And as Reverend Sharpton has identified earlier than, the fashionable way forward for civil rights is voting rights and it is police reform. Both of which aren’t going to have any progress with out activism. And now you understand that when you’ve gotten activism, you are going to have individuals displaying up with weapons underneath conditions which might be unstable sufficient for individuals to start firing. What stands out to me initially isn’t the existence of those legal guidelines, a lot as the truth that folks essentially don’t perceive them. When I hear the commentary about the Rittenhouse verdict, it demonstrates for me that folks essentially don’t perceive the regulation because it pertains to self-protection. This was a winnable trial. With a distinct jury, you’d’ve had a really completely different final result.

CHUCK TODD:

You suppose it was a winnable trial?

DAVID HENDERSON:

It was a winnable trial.

CHUCK TODD:

I feel some take a look at the manner the regulation’s written and say, “Maybe it just wasn’t winnable.”

DAVID HENDERSON:

The regulation isn’t the downside, a lot as the system is the downside. And that is why we discuss systemic injustice. The system is the downside with the manner this case was dealt with. Now, as we talk about the regulation, let me acknowledge full outright. This was a really tough case to win. And I stated that from the starting. Based on these details, this was a tough case to win. But let’s suppose by means of what occurred right here with the regulation of self-protection, okay? People perceive fists for some purpose higher than they perceive weapons. If I simply stated, “Someone was running at me aggressively.” And you requested me, “So what did you do?” “Well, I punched him as hard as I could.” “And then what happened after that?” “Well, I beat him to death. What other choice did I have?” That’s mainly what the Rittenhouse protection was. At the finish of the day, you simply have somebody who was operating at you aggressively, 5’3″, never physically touches you, never physically touches your gun, which is strapped to your body, by the way. And also, the law of self-defense and stand your ground in Wisconsin actually allows the jury to consider, when you’re assessing whether or not what Rittenhouse did was reasonable, the law the jury is given allows you to consider whether or not he should have backed down.

CHUCK TODD:

So Rev., what does this mean for your movement? What should you be fighting for when it comes to the specific issue of preventing vigilantism if this is your concern?

REVEREND AL SHARPTON:

I think you’ve got to deal with the law. I think you need federal laws that would supersede a lot of these state laws. I think that, you know, in a few months, we’re going to be facing ten years since Trayvon Martin when the stand your ground laws became a national issue. And we never really dealt with it. We never really legislated it on a federal level. I think we must, as a movement, make the Congress and the Senate deal with new laws here because we are, right now looking at the fact, we just had ministers do a big rally and prayer vigil in Georgia — Brunswick, Georgia — around the case of Ahmaud Arbery. Now, I would be concerned this week of having a prayer vigil, would somebody come there saying, “I’m coming to defend one thing.” And if they get in an altercation with somebody on the side, a verbal altercation, could take out a gun, an AR-15 at that, and shoot somebody. We’re under real threat so we have, in my opinion, we are mandated to try to make laws to protect people that are very clear.

CHUCK TODD:

Kristen, it does feel as if gun rights supporters have shifted the conversation to the right, even amongst their movement, right? Gun Owners of America in some ways has pulled the NRA to the right. How did this become so further?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON:

Well, I think in this environment today, you are unlikely to see, at least in any state where Republicans hold any of the levers of power, a winding back of any of these laws. And that’s because when you ask voters, do they feel more concerned about crime, do they feel more concerned about their own personal safety, the answer is yes. After big shootings, after big crises, you see sales of guns go up. And so this– two years ago, we had talks of bipartisan criminal justice reform and these sorts of things. And we are a long ways away from where we were two years ago.

CHUCK TODD:

I’m going to assume that in about a month, we’re going to all hear about gun sales and what happens after this verdict. And I have a feeling we all know which way the arrow is going to point. Let me pause here. When we come back, Covid cases back on the rise. Has the government done enough to combat disinformation about mandates, vaccines? That’ll be among the questions I have for the Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg. He joins me next.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. The government announced on Friday that Americans 18 and older, all Americans 18 and older, are now eligible to receive a Pfizer or Moderna Covid booster shot. The announcement comes as Covid cases are again on the rise. The seven-day average is now approaching 100,000 a day, and appears to still be going up. The other big news on Friday was House Democrats finally passed the president’s social safety net bill known as Build Back Better. It now goes to the Senate where, as they say here in Washington, it faces an uncertain future. But you heard the optimism there from Senator Jon Tester, one of the moderates in the caucus there. So joining me now is President Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Secretary Buttigieg, welcome back to the show.

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Good morning. Good to be back.

CHUCK TODD:

Look, I do want to talk with you about the president’s agenda. But the mandate for vaccines for federal workers goes into effect tomorrow. I know that TSA, while a part of our transportation infrastructure, is technically under Homeland Security. But there have been some concerns that we’re not going to have enough TSA agents meeting the vaccine requirement — kicks in tomorrow. I know there’s reassurances about travel this week, but how concerned are you about a low rate of vaccinations among TSA agents?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

I have seen no indication that vaccine requirements are going to impact travel in any way, certainly in terms of our ability as a federal administration to provide the services that are needed. I can tell you in my agency, we’ve seen numbers approaching 99% of people have gotten in their information per the requirements. Either they’re vaccinated, they’re in the process of it, or they’ve put in a request for an exemption. I expect the numbers are similar across the board. Look, let’s remember what this is about fundamentally, which is ending the pandemic. All of us are ready to be done with this pandemic, to be done not just with the death and the hospitalization and the grim headlines, but also to be done with the restrictions and the requirements, and the masks. Putting all of that behind us means getting everybody vaccinated. That’s what these requirements are about. And from a federal perspective, you know, the deadline tomorrow, that’s not a cliff. People aren’t getting immediately pulled off their posts. It’s part of a process to make sure that everyone in the federal workforce is safe.

CHUCK TODD:

There is not a vaccine requirement for air travel. Why not?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Well, there is when it comes to international travel. When it comes to domestic travel, we found other strategies are highly effective, including masks and those protections. Meanwhile, of course, we have employers both inside the travel agency, the travel industry and just across the country advancing vaccines. And that is creating a very safe travel environment for Americans.

CHUCK TODD:

So it sounds like you don’t want to implement a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel. I guess, why not? Other than you’re nervous about doing something that’s politically divisive, I guess. But if we’re trying to get to the end of this pandemic, continuing to have sort of loopholes to avoid a vaccine seems to elongate this pandemic.

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Well, what we’re doing right now is working to make air travel safe. Again, it’s a little bit of a different picture, of course, when you have international travel because different countries have different standards, which is why, as part of opening our travel again for international travelers, something I was delighted to see happen earlier this month, we did include those vaccine requirements. But look, between the masking and the other mitigations, we’re very confident in the safety of air travel and travel generally in this country.

CHUCK TODD:

We’re all used to things taking time to be implemented. And we have the new infrastructure bill. I’ve heard you and others say, “Hey, that is going to unclog the provide chain. This goes to assist to decrease inflation.” It just doesn’t come across as realistic for something like this to have an impact in the next three to six months. I mean, how is it that the bill right now that just got passed is going to untangle the supply chain in the next three months?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Well, here’s the way I would explain it. We have to take a look at the big picture and the long term, and we have to take short-term steps. Now, you know, when we’re talking about something that’ll make a difference next week, I’m more interested in things like the 24/7 ops at Long Beach and L.A., or the sweeper ships that are picking up empty containers that are having an effect. But it’s also true that the sooner we can make investments in and around our ports, the sooner that’s going to make a difference. For example, in Georgia, the Port of Savannah is getting a lot of pressure, a lot of demand, a lot of containers. So we are supporting a process to create what are called pop-up container yards. The idea is you take those containers that are taking up that precious real estate on the port, you push them inland, and you sort them out there and get them onto the rail cars and the trucks further inland where there’s a little bit more space and things flow a little more smoothly. So we are supporting short-term action. But you’re right, this isn’t a stimulus like we had in 2009. This is about making sure that America is competitive for the rest of this century. We are, you know, funding repairs that could begin almost immediately that mayors and states have been wanting to do for a long time. But also, we’re building cathedrals here in terms of some of the bridge replacements or major projects of national significance, or airport terminals or other things that are going to happen over the years, thanks to this generational investment.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you believe is going to be the heaviest lift in the Senate for the Senate version of Build Back Better?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Look, that’s, you know, that’s ultimately down to the Senate and the process between the Senate and the House. What I will say is that you can tell that the vast majority of this legislation is cooked. And what it amounts to, even as details get resolved and negotiations continue, is a historic investment in making it easier and more affordable to be a family with kids in this country. It will go down in history, this turning point that we’re about to create thanks to Build Back Better —

CHUCK TODD:

Even if paid family leave is not in it?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

— to have, for example, childcare costs cut in half —

CHUCK TODD:

If paid family leave’s not in it —

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

We’re talking about —

CHUCK TODD:

— are you still going to be able to make that claim?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Of course. I mean, cutting childcare costs in half, delivering free pre-kindergarten education for three and four-year-olds, that is an absolutely historic achievement, even if there are more things that we would like to do and will continue to try to do. There is no question that the framework that the president put out that we’re confident will pass the Senate as well as the House represents a historic achievement. And, of course, worth mentioning, given the news of the day, that it is also going to be very helpful in the long run, and the not-so-long run, in cutting the costs that are impacting families who are facing inflation.

CHUCK TODD:

Every time something’s written about Vice President Kamala Harris’ political standing, your name seems to be in every one of those articles. Has it at all impacted your relationship with the vice president, that it seems as if there’s this narrative of a rivalry developing between the two of you?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

No, because she and I are part of a team that is disciplined and doesn’t focus on what’s obsessing the commentators. We’re too busy with a job to do. She, as the leader in this administration, her leadership role, and I and the president and everybody else in the Cabinet and across the administration, are laser-focused on getting the job done. That would be demanding in any administration. But in one like this, where we have been assigned by the president to take on literally projects and legislation of generational significance, there’s no room to get caught up in the parlor games. And I’m proud to be part of the Biden/Harris team.

CHUCK TODD:

I know — I’m not asking you this as the secretary of Transportation, I’m asking this as a person who ran for president. What was your reaction to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict?

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Look, there’s a lot of pain in this country. And that pain and that frustration was aroused by the entire case, including the verdict. And for a lot of us, there’s a lot to be upset about and a lot to be concerned about. But, you know, we’ll move forward as a country. The president continues to believe, and this administration continues to believe in America. And we’ve got to continue working to bring Americans together.

CHUCK TODD:

Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation. I know we got to all of different topics there. I appreciate you coming on and sharing the administration’s and your perspective.

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thank you. Have a good Thanksgiving, by the way. When we come back, why where you live–

SEC. PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

–and how you vote says a lot about how much high gas prices impact you. Stay with us.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Data Download time, and a closer look at those rising gas prices. You might think of them as something that actually impacts every American. But if you look closely, you can see that Democrats and Republicans are experiencing this year’s pain at the pump a bit differently. This is a real-life, unintentional impact of the self-sorting that has come to define modern American politics. And it’ll explain why the two parties seem to be focusing on the issue with different urgency. As we tell you, the average gas price is up. It’s $3.38. This is the highest it’s been going back to 2013. So this is real, what we’re seeing. But people are experiencing this pain at the pump differently. Check this out. This is most vehicle miles traveled per capita by state. Top ten states — eight of the top ten are Trump states. The only two blue states, this is the one rural state the Democrats still carry, New Mexico if you will, and then there’s Georgia. Have you ever driven in and around Atlanta? Yes, you have a lot of vehicle miles traveled. But as you could see, Republicans, traveling more miles, buying more gas. How about the type of vehicle that Republicans are more likely to have? Well, guess what? New pickup truck sales — the top ten states of new pickup truck sales per capita, all red states, agricultural-based states. The pickup truck, a necessity to do work. So add all this up: the type of vehicle you need, the miles traveled, and you can see why the issue of gas prices really is right now more of a Republican issue than a Democratic issue, which may explain why the White House urgency on this has been a bit less, and the Republican urgency has been a bit more. When we come back, the growing speculation over whether Vice President Harris or Pete Buttigieg will end up running for president in 2024. Stick with us.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Reverend Sharpton, I want to start with the issue of the vice president here a little bit. I’ll be honest, I’m mildly surprised she didn’t do your show this weekend, we didn’t see her this weekend. And this goes — after all these little stories and there’s this, whatever you want to call it, a whisper campaign. I know you were quoted in that CNN piece that got a wide fare there. Are you surprised not to see her today?

REVEREND AL SHARPTON:

I would’ve liked to see her today because I think that there’s no one, in my opinion, more qualified to address these times than the vice president, as a woman, first woman vice president, as a Black and a minority, and as one who has a criminal justice background. I think that — when she walks in the door, she is the example of why we need to bring the country together, and who has overcome great odds to get where she’s gotten. The down side that she has to look at is that if she pushes too far ahead, then does the media, the same media that’s saying, “Where is she,” will say, “Oh, you are getting forward of the president.” So she’s almost damned if she does. She’s damned if she doesn’t. You want her to be the vice president, be in a supportive role, so you say, “Oh, try this.” But if she’s more assertive, than many of us want 00 she spoke at the 30th anniversary of National Action Network three weeks ago. The crowd was roaring. Three or four standing ovations. But if she keeps doing that, you’ll say, “Stay in your house. You do not know the way to be vp.” And I think it’s that kind of real problem of getting her to walk that line because she’s not going to be able to satisfy everybody. If it was up to me, she’d be on every day. But then people on the other side would be saying, “See? She would not know the way to be vp. That’s what you get if you put a girl there or a Black there.”

CHUCK TODD:

Kelly O’Donnell, you see this up close. Are the stories about the vice president over-hyped, or are they revealing something that a lot of people have been whispering about, and it just finally went on the record?

KELLY O’DONNELL:

There was a tension there. It’s a tightrope, as you were talking about. In some ways, when you talk to people in her circle, they say she hears this chatter, she knows that there are these concerns. She’s trying to avoid that noise and focus on the work. They point to her trip to France. They talk about her hosting world leaders, doing speeches and working on behalf of some of the legislative things. At the same time, we often hear President Biden talk about how Barack Obama chose him to be the front man on the Recovery Act years ago, and how pivotal that was. Well, he didn’t choose the vice president to do that for infrastructure. Pete Buttigieg is a part of that. Mitch Landrieu has been brought in, other cabinet officials. He did give her volatile topics, like immigration and voting rights, which right now, don’t have the votes to move in legislative ways. So those are also magnets for more criticism from the right. So she has a portfolio that makes her perhaps drag in more criticism. And she’s trying to not outshine the president. And at the same time, she is struggling with that noise. They say she’s going to focus on working. She’s going to focus on a good relationship with President Biden. Could he do more to help her? Perhaps he could.

CHUCK TODD:

David, you seemed to imply earlier when we were talking off-camera, in many ways, i think — you think it’s harder to be a candidate of color today running for office than maybe even ten years ago?

DAVID HENDERSON:

Absolutely, Chuck, for the reasons that we’re talking about right now. Look at the statements that were released from the White House about the Rittenhouse verdict. I think it’s very difficult to say something meaningful, and at the same time not set yourself up for fire from the other side. And, I mean, this really opens it up. You asked me about public safety earlier. And let’s just stop and think here. I would’ve loved to have heard more from her because I think she has a message to deliver that only a prosecutor who’s a person of color could deliver. And that is, “Folks, let’s be cheap about retaining one another protected.” And I think she can say, “I respect the jury’s verdict, though we have an extended strategy to go.” But I’ve heard several statements from elected officials that are celebrating the loss of life. And elected officials should never do that, regardless of how they feel about the circumstances.

CHUCK TODD:

Kristen, Kamala Harris is in some ways a favorite of the right to beat up on. And I think there are some that think that maybe that enthusiasm on the right is what makes her more cautious. What makes her more of a magnet to attack than President Biden? Is it just race?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON:

Take a look at the portfolio that she’s been handed. So, for instance, an issue like the border. That is an issue that conservatives are very fired up about, very frustrated about. And so when this becomes an issue that’s in her portfolio, it only adds more fuel to the fire. But I also think another reason why there’s so much focus on her is our president of the United States, I believe he turned 79 years old yesterday.

CHUCK TODD:

Yesterday, yeah.

KELLY O’DONNELL:

He did.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON:

Happy birthday, Mr. President. There’s a lot of talk about what are Republicans going to do in 2024? If it’s not Joe Biden, is she the next one? They’re already focused on 2024.

CHUCK TODD:

Rev., how much should the party be just rallying around Biden right now, or thinking about an alternative?

REVEREND AL SHARPTON:

I think they should rally around Biden. I would take Biden at 79 any day before I would take Trump at 75 or 76.

KELLY O’DONNELL:

He says he’s running.

CHUCK TODD:

He did. Yes, he did. That’s all we now have for at present. It was a busy present, as you may see. I respect you watching. Have a cheerful, protected, and please, a wholesome Thanksgiving. We’ll be again subsequent week as a result of if it is Sunday, even after the leftovers, Meet the Press.



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