All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, May 11th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: May 11, 2015
Guest: Seymour Hersh, Dave Zirin, Johnny Byrd, Johnny Byrd, Linda Haywood,
Tim Wise, Cristina Greer, Michael Steele, Robert Gibbs
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States has
conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
HAYES: Blockbuster new reporting from NBC News sheds new light on the
way the United States found and eventually killed Osama bin Laden. Andrea
Mitchell is here with the story.
Then, the NFL announces their penalty for Tom Brady and the New
England Patriots over deflategate.
Plus, why Jeb Bush admitting he would invade Iraq all over again could
shake up the Republican primary.
And in Georgia --
NANCY GORDEUK, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Look who is leaving -- all the black
HAYES: The principal under fire for comments at a graduation ceremony
is speaking to NBC News and she`s not helping herself.
GORDEUK: I didn`t say the "N" word or anything like that.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
We begin tonight with breaking news. New reporting that suggests
there`s more to the story of the killing of the most wanted man in the
world than we`ve been told. An NBC News team cites two intelligence
sources confirming that the year before the may 2011 raid that killed Osama
bin Laden, a so-called walk-in asset from Pakistani intelligence told the
CIA where bin Laden was hiding.
The story the U.S. government has told about the killing of bin Laden
has always centered around the CIA tracking bin Laden to his walled
compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by meticulously tracing his courier. NBC
News reports further citing those two sources, plus a third at the
Pakistani government knew where bin Laden was hiding all along.
NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is part
of the investigative team that has been running down this blockbuster
reporting. We`ll talk to her in just a moment.
But first, those two major assertions, the CIA learned about Osama bin
Laden`s whereabouts from a Pakistani intelligence source who approached
them, and that the Pakistani government knew where bin Laden was hiding all
along, those are two items under a very long list of claims made by
investigative reporter, Sy Hersh. In a piece published over the weekend by
"The London Review of Books", Hersh also contends among other things the
U.S. told the Pakistanis about the raid ahead of time. Hersh calls the
contention that top Pakistani military leaders were not informed of the
raid beforehand, quote, "the most blatant lie."
Hersh`s reporting has met with very strong pushback from Washington.
The Pentagon calling his piece largely fabrication and saying there are too
many inaccuracies to list each one.
Joining me now is investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh.
All right. Mr. Hersh, this piece is constructed largely around -- not
exclusively, but largely around a single unnamed source. He`s cited, of a
count of Erik Wemple, about 55 times in the piece.
And the big question I think everyone has had after this piece landed
last night is, can you hang what you have hung on him on this one guy who
we have no way of verifying whether he knew what he says he knew?
SEYMOUR HERSH, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, of course, if I did,
he Osama would probably do what he`s done to other people from the inside
have gone public, and that is prosecute him. But leaving that aside, I
think it`s more complicated than that.
In the article, I made clear that, look, in my business, somebody
comes and he tells you something. You then verify with others. If
somebody happens to be retired, it`s much of easier to quote somebody like
that than somebody who is still inside.
I was able to verify the story from people who are basically inside
the game, and, of course, that helped a lot. I`m not going to just go with
one source. I`ve been around too long to do that.
But, you know, I`ve known people over the years and some of these
people I`ve been dealing with for a long time, very dependably. It`s not
as if the word "source" is just some sort of whimsical thing. This is a
very serious person in a serious position who knows a great deal.
HAYES: But --
HERSH: I was -- let me go on. I was able to independently verify
most of the items in it. Plus, I got two big major things from inside
Pakistan. Both from Karachi and Islamabad, the capital, that verify a lot
of what I -- a lot of what I`m writing. I just -- I just can`t go around
HAYES: No, that I understand. But when you say independently verify,
there is a bunch of contentions in here, there was no burial at sea, for
instance. That the trove of documents was found in the compound was
essentially fabricated post facto.
I mean, when you say you independently verified them, what does that
HERSH: What that means is that there is a -- one of the basic things
you have to understand about the mission. Let me give the essential. The
president of the United States did authorize the raid. The SEAL Team 6,
our most elite unit, did do the raid. They did kill bin Laden. They went
in and out without trouble. That is correct.
Everything else that the government postulated the night they
announced it, which have been the night of the raid, the president went
public with the detail is simply not right.
As you saw NBC, I was very happy to learn of just about an hour ago,
as you did, I guess, that NBC has independently confirmed, there was no --
there was no -- basically we`re saying that story about the treasure -- not
so much -- the big story they put out was the couriers.
HAYES: That`s right.
HERSH: The CIA had done this wonderful work with couriers. It was
the thesis of "Zero Dark Thirty."
HAYES: That`s right.
HERSH: A movie that the Pentagon helped a lot. Well, that was hooey.
What happened is a guy walks in -- as NBC said and as obviously I
reported much earlier -- a guy walks into our station chief in Islamabad.
Our station chief is a wonderful company guy named Jonathan Bank and blabs,
he wants the $25 million. He got a lot of it in various chunks.
And out of that begins a project. We`re going to go take a look at
what`s going on. Is he really there? The president is very skeptical.
So, on begins a narration.
HAYES: Can I ask you?
HAYES: Let me ask you this one item which has been raised about that
treasure trove of documents, right? I mean, there`s a number of things in
your piece that you say are essentially fabricated post facto as a means of
trying to sort of create a story other than the actual story, whether
that`s out of concern for the politics of how it went down or protecting
One of them is that those documents that were found were essentially
invented. But we do have, as someone at Carnegie Endowment pointed out,
Zawahiri himself essentially vouching for the documents found at
Abbottabad, quoting them as legitimate, which makes it seem a lot more
difficult to think those are forgeries.
HERSH: The issue is, did the SEALs on that mission who were on the
mission, take out what the government said initially? And you have to
understand what this stems from.
This stuff stems from the president`s speech -- the whole premise of
the whole operation -- the whole premise was we needed -- at some point, we
need the Pakistanis in. They obviously enraged us by not telling us they
had bin Laden. They had him since `06, which is what the walk-in said.
The guy who came to us was a retired senior Pakistani intelligence
agent who actually was monitoring the hideaway, the prison, if you will, in
Abbottabad, for bin Laden. He was actually sort of charged, or directly
responsible, for some of the security there. He walks in and tells us this
We`re madder than hell. The president is skeptical. How are we going
to know? How are we sure it`s bin Laden?
We eventually go to the two leading generals, General Kayani, who`s
head of the military, General Pasha, who`s the head of the intelligence
service, they`re counterpart to our CIA, with whom we work very closely.
We say, OK, you sons of bitches, whatever we said, what`s going on here?
And we told them in no unmistakable terms, we were going to cut off
money, we`re going to cut off the above the board and the under the table
money that a lot of people in Pakistan like that`s not in our budget. Slow
down the delivery of airplanes. We promised some F-16s. You`ve got to
So they decided to help us. And they did help us for four or five
months. And the whole game was to protect the Pakistanis. We weren`t
going to announce it the day of the raid. The SEALs were going to go in,
kill the guy, put him in a body bag, take him back -- let me finish.
HERSH: And the president was going to announce it -- we were going to
announce seven to ten days later. This was the operational plan. This was
the plan that was worked out.
Seven to ten days later, he was going to announce a drone raid had
killed bin Laden. We hit a drone raid, we checked on the building that we
bombed, and saw this tall guy that looked like bin Laden. We took his
picture, we took his DNA. My God, we got him.
That was the way it was supposed to go down. Instead, the president
the night of the raid changed his mind, whatever he did, and went public
with it, leaving the two generals hanging.
HAYES: So, the two generals` involvement in this, and the degree of
Pakistani cooperation in the raid itself is probably one of the more
bombshell assertions made in this piece. I mean, is there some party view
that worries about the ramifications of this, if it doesn`t actually cash
out this is how things went down?
HERSH: Well, I don`t know what you mean. Is there some part of me
that worries that, you know, 2 and 2 is 22 instead of 4? Is that what you
HAYES: Well, OK. If you`re that sure of it --
HERSH: Sure. Every reporter worries about that. Every good one I
Look, you have to understand, the president went public with a speech
that was prepared by the political people in the White House. Why did he
go public? Because he`s got an election coming the next year and he`s not
running so well. That`s my reasonable assumption. Certainly, it was the
assumption of the people in the operational community who was very angry he
broke the rules, because suddenly you`re confronted with a new scenario.
In his speech that was done politically and not cleared with the
national security establishment, what does he say? There was a firefight.
Bin Laden resisted. You don`t want to say they just went and murdered the
We captured a treasure trove of documents that are going to inform us
like never before. He talks about the body was appropriately buried.
Nobody was worried about a body in the original scenario, because that was
all going to take place 10 -- seven, 10 days later. They were supposed to
take the body out of there, because the Pakistanis wanted it out of there.
So, it`s a totally -- once the president made the speech, the
community then had to gear around almost overnight into a new scenario.
And that`s why if you remember in the first couple days, there were all
these stories later retracted about bin Laden had an AK-47.
HAYES: There was a lot of assertions made about how bin Laden died
that were later changed by the White House, quite frankly, and explicitly.
Sy Hersh -- yes? Please?
HERSH: Go ahead.
It was written off as the fog of war, but it wasn`t a fog of war. It
was a desperate attempt to try and make sure everything the president said
was covered. There were papers, certainly, in the Abbottabad. There was
no computer traffic, there was no computer there that we all -- that`s been
said many times. No Internet.
There were no couriers. He was not running al Qaeda. Al Qaeda was
It`s just all done to protect the president, which makes sense to me.
HAYES: Sy Hersh, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.
HERSH: Got it. Bye-bye.
HAYES: Joining me now, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent
Andrea, can you tell me what you guys have reported tonight and sort
of where it aligns and then stops aligning with this report in "The London
Review of Books" which has precipitated a tremendous amount of discussion,
pushback in Washington today.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Our
reporting is that two intelligence sources tell us, and we have known for a
while, that a year before the raid, there was a walk-in. A Pakistani
intelligence officer who came in, and did inform the CIA where Osama bin
That said, it`s not clear at all that that contradicts the existence
of the courier. In fact, we don`t think it does contradict the existence
of the courier. Nor do we think that it in any way necessarily contradicts
the White House version. All we`re saying is that there was a walk-in.
The walk-in could be parallel with the courier. I do believe the officials
who tell us there was the courier operation.
And the White House points out that other things that Sy, who has a
long and stellar career, we know, going all the way back. But, you know,
there have been some issues along the way. The fact is that there are --
to believe Sy Hersh`s version of this today, you have to believe that Mike
Morrell, the acting CIA director, who contradicted it strongly today, and
said that he was sent to Pakistan because the Pakistanis were furious. He
had to mollify them.
Leon Panetta in interviews with me and in his book said the Pakistanis
did not know -- they did not tell the Pakistanis, because they leaked.
That every time they told the Pakistanis anything, it got out. It was a
tip that would then blow the source. So, they did not tell them.
I absolutely believe all of the multiple sources we have had all these
years that the high-level Pakistani officials, the Pakistani government did
What we don`t know from our reporting is how high up that information
about Abbottabad went. Nor do we have any verification of what Sy says
that Osama bin Laden was in any way under house arrest.
So, that`s what -- I mean, we have always assumed at some level
Pakistani military, because of the existence a mile away of their version
of West Point, needed, you know -- certainly knew that Osama bin Laden was
But I do not believe in any fashion that Pasha and Kayani knew this
raid was taking place. We knew contemporaneously that night that they did
scramble their jets but the other direction because they thought it was
India violating their air space, their, you know, longtime adversary.
So, it is very clear to me from all of my reporting at the time and
since that Pakistan did not know about that -- those Blackhawks and that
SEAL team 6 operation was indeed a secret operation to go under the radar.
One other thing: I have no way of knowing this firsthand. But there
are two SEAL Team 6 officers and others who have said publicly and have
written that there was no dumping of the body of Osama bin Laden. I cannot
imagine that any way they would have dumped that body. The operational
security, the need for the DNA, and all of the other cultural sensitivities
MITCHELL: -- dictated an Islamic burial at sea. You would have to
believe that the USS Vinson and its commanders absolutely lied. I know
what Sy has written about the ship`s logs. But it`s understandable that
McRaven would have had those logs turned over to the CIA to try to
forestall FOIA and other attempts to get at the actual information.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, the key here, I think, Andrea, two things in
terms of sort of digesting all this. The presence of the walk-in does seem
very significant and newsworthy insofar as that`s a new piece of
information. It I think complicates a story we have been told which was
again mythologized in --
MITCHELL: But, except, Chris, they always protect human assets.
HAYES: Of course. Yes.
MITCHELL: They would never have confirmed, then, now, or in the
future, that they had a human asset inside Pakistan --
MITCHELL: -- whose safety was very much at stake.
HAYES: And then the biggest thing here is just what our relationship
was with the Pakistanis at the time. And there is a tremendous amount of
reporting accrued, you and other people, to say it was bad, there were a
lot of leaks, to say that we weren`t cooperating. In fact, that the
relationship was tremendously strained, that it was strained afterwards.
You know, the contention in Hersh`s story, is that essentially this
was all pretty much an elaborate ruse, which I suppose is possible. But we
would just say, would stand in contrast to quite a bit of accrued reporting
among a variety of sources about that nature of that relationship.
MITCHELL: And it defies credulity that this White House and its
operational secrecy would have confided in anything in the Pakistanis of
this nature involving bin Laden. The prime target going back to 9/11 of
We have at the time of those interviews that were done by NBC News
with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, saying that
neither of them shared the information with their spouses. And one of the
spouses was the former president of the United States who still was getting
intelligence briefings if he wanted them.
HAYES: All right. Andrea Mitchell, thank you. Always a pleasure,
MITCHELL: You bet.
HAYES: All right. Still ahead, why Jeb Bush says he would have
Plus, Tom Brady gets suspended over deflategate.
And a Georgia principal who says she`s not racist but the devil made
her say a racist comment. It`s all coming up.
HAYES: Tonight, breaking news: the NFL reaches a decision on
deflategate, and New England faces the suspension of their beloved Tom
Brady. How big of a punishment is it? Dave Zirin here to break it all
HAYES: Breaking news out of the NFL tonight as the league announced
that New England Patriots` quarterback Tom Brady is suspended without pay
for the first four games of the 2015 regular season. In addition to
Brady`s suspension, the Patriots will also lose a first round draft pick in
2016, a fourth round draft pick in 2017, and will be fined $1 million.
Punishment comes less than a week after independent investigator Ted
Wells, who is hired by the NFL to investigate the deflating of footballs
before the AFC championship game back in January, released a report that
said in part and, I`m quoting, "Based on the evidence, it is more probable
than not that Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate
activities involving the release of air from Patriots` game balls."
In announcing his suspension, the NFL sent Tom Brady a letter,
released today that reads in part, quote, "Your actions as set forth
clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public
confidence in the game of professional football. Each player no matter how
accomplished and otherwise respected has an obligation to comply with the
Joining me now, Dave Zirin, sports editor at "The Nation", host of
"Edge of Sports Radio" for Sirius XM.
Dave, your response, your reaction? What do you think?
DAVE ZIRIN, THE NATION: Oh, my goodness. Did Tom Brady get off easy
here? I mean, this was not even Capone for tax evasion at this level.
You know what should be happening right now? First of all, all the
kids on Jackie Robinson west on the south side of Chicago should be
picketing the NFL offices and say, they took our title?
HAYES: They`re in a different league, Dave.
ZIRIN: It doesn`t matter.
HAYES: NFL has no control over Jackie Robinson.
ZIRIN: Cheating is cheating. We need a sports czar in Washington to
say cheating is cheating.
Second issue: The people in Seattle right now on Broadway, not New
York Broadway, Seattle Broadway, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Macklemore, the Blues
Scholars, everybody should be getting together for the Super Bowl parade as
Seattle, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson say, hey, we won this. You
know why? Because the Patriots cheated.
HAYES: Wait a second.
ZIRIN: They`re habitual cheaters and they should be able to give up
HAYES: OK. First of all, I disagree with that.
But here`s my feeling, OK? What I think is crazy here isn`t
necessarily infraction itself. It`s the self-righteousness denial of it.
I mean, if they had just said, look, Tom likes the footballs a certain way,
he tried really hard to get that line as close to what was legally
permissible as possible. We -- you know, maybe we went over a little bit.
You know, it`s a few little like gradients of a pressure per square inch.
Like, I think that would be fine. It`s the cover-up and then the how
dare you question us kind of thing. This is the statement, by the way,
from Tom Brady`s agent --
HAYES: -- Don Yee. Let me just read this.
ZIRIN: Oh, please.
HAYES: He says, "The discipline is ridiculous. It has no legitimate
basis. NFL has a well documented history of making poor disciplinary
decisions that often are overturned. Sadly, today`s decision diminishes
the NFL and tells its fans, players and coaches the games in the field
don`t count as much as the games played on Park Avenue."
ZIRIN: My God, Don Yee would have a lot more credibility if he had
something to say about the NFL`s cover-ups of head injuries, violence
against women and all the assorted scandals over the years.
HAYES: Although he sort of points to that, right?
ZIRIN: He does.
HAYES: To me, this line about making poor disciplinary decisions is a
nod at the Ray Rice suspension for two games, half as much as Tom Brady is
going to get over deflated footballs. And we`re going to hear that from
them, I guarantee you.
ZIRIN: Absolutely. But make no mistake about it, this will not end
up being a four-game suspension. This will be appealed, because guess who
the New England Patriots play in week four of the NFL season? The Dallas
If you think there is any way that Tom Brady won`t be playing in that
game, then you don`t know Roger Goodell and you don`t know what makes Roger
Goodell tick. So, this is a four-game suspension. It will end up being a
three or two-game suspension, so Brady will be hooked up for the big game,
which gives the NFL what it wants more than anything else -- and that is
that sweet, sweet cash that comes out of our pockets.
HAYES: So, you think is the opening bid to get them whittled down.
ZIRIN: Absolutely, positively.
And, you know, the only thing about this punishment that really
stings, Chris, at the end of the day, is that after that Super Bowl win,
Tom Brady was in the discussion for the informal, ethereal, ephemeral title
of greatest quarterback ever with Joe Montana. That is now hardened around
Joe Montana, and Tom Brady will never be part of that discussion again.
HAYES: All right. Dave Zirin, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.
ZIRIN: Thank you.
HAYES: School principal in Georgia makes racist remarks at a
graduation ceremony. One of the graduating students who was there joins me
HAYES: Friday night was graduation night for 48 students and their
family at TNT Academy, small private school in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The evening was winding down when principal and founder of the school,
Nancy Gordeuk, mistakenly dismissed parents and students before the class
valedictorian could give a speech.
She then attempted to get the audience`s attention. Here`s how she
went about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GORDEUK, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: You people are being so rude to not
listen to this speech. It was my fault that we missed it in this program.
Look who is leaving -- all the black people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That prompted a reaction. And then apology from Ms. Gordeuk
where she blamed her outburst in part on Satan. "The devil was in the
house and came out to my mouth" she wrote in a letter to TNT Academy
parents. "I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope forgiveness is
in your hearts."
Today, Ms. Gordeuk described the evening`s events to reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDEUK: And I said, "You`re being rude. And disrespectful to in
young man." And I looked left and the light, as you know, lights in an
auditorium. You look left, all I saw were black people getting up and
leaving. And I said, oh, look, who is leaving -- all the black people.
So I made a statement. It wasn`t a racist remark. Anybody that knows
me knows my heart is with these kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Linda Haywood, her son Johnny Byrd. Johnny
graduated from TNT on Friday night. Both he and his mom were in the room
when the principal Nancy Gordeuk made her remarks.
Welcome to you both.
Johnny, let me start with you. First of all, congratulations on your
graduation. I understand you`re joining the Army soon.
JOHNNY BYRD, TNT ACADEMY GRADUATE: Yes, I am.
HAYES: All right. So what was your feeling about principal Gordeuk
before this ceremony this evening?
BYRD: We had a close relationship. She helped me through the school
and everything, you know? So I really didn`t feel that that was coming at
all. So --
HAYES: Were you --
BYRD: She`s -- changed.
HAYES: Were you surprised when you heard her say that?
BYRD: Yes, I was. I was shocked, you know. I was very shocked. I
don`t know what happened. I thought she was off of drugs or something like
that. Because for her to have an attitude like that, that was just kind of
HAYES: Ms. Haywood, what did you make of that? How did you feel
about the school, about the principal, and then what was your reaction when
you heard her say that?
HAYWOOD: Knowing Nancy since he`s been enrolled at TNT Academy, she`s
been a pleasant person to talk to. I`ve never had any issues with her. So
to see that happen on Friday afternoon, it was a great shock. I didn`t
know where it was coming from. It really shocked me.
HAYES: The room seemed to kind of erupt at that moment. What was the
HAYWOOD: Yes, it was chaotic. Me and my family at that point, we had
already started walking towards the door before she made the statement.
And shortly after that, before we could reach the door is when we heard the
statement and, of course, everyone turned around and yelling and screaming
and, of course, trying to figure out exactly where that came from, why did
she say something like that.
HAYES: And then what ensued? Was there a back and forth? Was she
trying to defend herself? What happened?
HAYWOOD: After that, I think everyone -- it was so chaotic and so
loud, I don`t know if she said anything after that. By that time, me and
my family were outside of the church, trying to figure out exactly what
HAYES: Johnny, when you think about this comment, which is now --
she`s kind of apologized for it, kind of not, is now a national news story.
When you look back at your time at that school, how do you think about it
BYRD: Well, at the school, I believe -- the school is okay. Just her
-- I don`t believe she cares at all right now. Such as what I`ve been
seeing on social media.
HAYES: Wait, what`s that?
BYRD: I said I believe she doesn`t care at all. And I`ve been saying
on social media.
HAYES: So you think you now feel, having heard that, that sort of
revealed something about her character that makes you question the way you
felt about her before.
BYRD: Exactly. Because before she was very kind and sweet lady. But
after that, it just shows her real character after that.
HAYES: And Ms. Haywood, how do you feel?
HAYWOOD: Same way. I believe she showed her true colors. I heard
through some clips that she said something about -- at least I didn`t call
them the "n" word. So, I mean, wow! Why would you say something like
that? That really is a shocker, and that shows who truly she is.
HAYES: All right. Linda Haywood and Johnny Byrd, great, thanks for
your time tonight. Congratulations, Johnny.
HAYWOOD: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Up next, a closer look at Principal Gordeuk and
her repeated claim she is not racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GORDEUK, TNT ACADEMY PRINCIPAL: People always think the worst,
you know, that, oh, you say the word black, you know -- was I supposed to
say African-American? Were they all born in Africa? No, they`re
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORDEUK: I`m not a racist. I didn`t know black people was a racist
term. I didn`t say the "n" word or anything like that, because that`s not
in my vocabulary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As principal and founder of TNT Academy Nancy Gordeuk,
defending remarks she made at a graduation ceremony Friday.
Joining me now to discuss those remarks and what it means to say "I`m
not a racist," Tim Wise, author of "Dear White America: Letter to a New
Minority." And Cristina Greer, professor of Political Science at Fordham
University. Welcome to both.
Christina, let me start with you. I`m going to play devil`s advocate
for a second.
CRISTINA GREER, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Sure.
HAYES: So, we live in the era of the omnipresent cell phone video.
And everyone`s worst moment is captured, right? So those worst moments can
be all kinds of things that we see posted on our Facebook page. This was a
bad moment for her. Something really ugly was said. But, you know, it`s
one bad moment. Why are we all ganging up on her?
GREER: As the principal of a high school that serves predominantly
African-American students and it`s their graduation. That is the moment
that you have chosen the devil to speak through you -- and also, which
story is it, right? Is it that the devil sort of took hold of you and said
all these sort of harsh things, or she also argues that she didn`t say
anything wrong, right? At least she didn`t say the "n" word. Well, if
it`s not in your vocabulary, you clearly know about it. Right? All
racists start with "I`m not a racist."
GREER: That`s just the playbook. And so for someone who is the
leader of this school to choose this moment to identify a particular group
of people in the way she did. And sometimes it`s not always what you say,
it`s also how you say it. Right? Keep in mind, she has now stolen
something from these children that they can actually never get back and
their families. Anyone who knows sort of the black community knows that a
graduation is actually more important than a wedding and a funeral, right?
This is the promise of something.
HAYES: Particularly these are kids, you know, the school is designed
to serve kids that have maybe dropped out or kind of marginal students who
through graduating from this have kind of -- it`s a sign they have kind of
gotten their act together. They have come back from some kind of precipice
of being marginal or being lost. And so it`s a big deal.
GREER: It`s always a big deal. And for this particular population.
So when she says, now, look who is leaving, it`s all the black people.
Right? So this is when -- grandparents and parents and siblings are
turning around. And it turns into pandemonium. But the thing is also,
don`t double down on your racism. Right?
HAYES: Right. Right.
GREER: If you say something inappropriate, apologize, move on. And
try -- and try and actually think about why someone would be upset, right?
Now she`s the victim, if you will.
GREER: So I think that`s the piece where it`s like, stop talking and
actually listen to why people are upset.
HAYES: Tim, the thing about this video that struck me, aside from the
sort of immediate reaction is the upsetting thought, which I think you just
heard from Johnny and his mother a little bit, which is, here`s a woman who
is working at the school, this is her job. And the upsetting idea to
contemplate that actually this is kind of how she thinks about the folks
that she works for. With. The students that she is, you know,
administering school to. And that this just was the mask falling, as
opposed to one thoughtless moment.
TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "DEAR WHITE AMERICA": Well, there are two issues.
One is about her. One is about the larger system. For her, first of all,
if you believe that the devil speaks through your mouth, you are not really
qualified to be an educator. You`re qualified for early retirement.
That`s number one. The systemic issue is much bigger. And that is how do
we live in a society where a person can become the head of a school that
serves mostly working-class folks of color, and have these kinds of subtle
implicit and apparently now explicit biases against them. Well, you know,
the answer to that is the same reason that police officers can be policing
in communities for which they have contempt, which they look at as places
that need to be controlled and monitored, where they look at the people
there as the enemy.
So, in fact, what we need to have a conversation about in this country
is how social workers, teachers, cops, et cetera, can be allowed to work in
communities, not their own, when they clearly do not have the requisite
sensitivity. That is the bigger systemic issue. And that is what should
not be allowed. These communities and these families need to be able to
decide who is going to teach their children, who is going to police their
streets, who is going to provide social services to them. And if it`s
people who clearly have these kinds of biases who use the term "black
people" not as a generic descriptor, but in anger which is what she did,
they are no longer qualified to work in that community, period.
HAYES: And that point about the broader context of this, about the
amount of people that are working in communities of color, who are
themselves white, right, and like this idea, like, what are they really
thinking? Like what attitudes are they harboring? We saw in this San
Francisco Police Department these insanely unbelievably vial, violent
racist texts from police officers in that community.
GREER: Right. Right. Or these Facebook posts or anonymous sites
where police officers can talk about their communities. And teachers have
it too. Right?
GREER: And so I mean, think what we`re saying --
HAYES: Yes, I don`t want to just limit it to police officers.
GREER: No, it`s just not police officers --
HAYES: And social workers. And like defense attorneys. I mean --
GREER: And I think what you said before, she works for these kids in
a lot of ways. Yes, she works with them. But, you know, she`s providing a
service to them. And so this is the fear that many parents have, because
their children, especially young children. And we know that there are
certain teachers, not all, and I`ve said this before, view black boys ages
third grade and up as the enemy. Already. And that`s when they start
getting tracked out. That`s when they start getting put in special ed,
even though they`re incredibly bright. Right? All of a sudden, their
energy is violent energy and it`s not just what boys do. Right? They`re
not allowed to explore and sort of be children. So we know that educators
do the same thing that cops and social providers do, as well. Which is
really dangerous, because so many communities, and Baltimore has been
saying this. Like, we have been telling you this.
GREER: Right? You just haven`t been listening. We have been saying
that we`re not getting the same treatment by all of these different people
in our community. And no one has actually believed them.
HAYES: So we know from the literature that people have unconscious
bias. You know, people, black and white, actually have anti-black racial
bias. White people much more than black people, but black people too in
laboratory experiments. Is there a solution that`s, you know, broader than
the fate of this principal?
WISE: Well, I think we know from the research on subconscious bias
that one of the best ways to get at it is first of all to acknowledge it
openly and then to build in processes and procedures within our hiring,
within our admissions to colleges, within our search committees for college
faculty. Whenever you have a deliberative body that is being asked to look
at a situation where subconscious bias might come into play, having the
individuals whose job it is to do the evaluation actually review that,
actually helped them get at unconscious bias.
HAYES: Tim Wise, Cristina Greer. Great. Thanks.
GREER: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Still ahead, why Jeb Bush says even now, knowing
what we know, he would have invaded Iraq.
HAYES: This Thursday in New York City, I`ll be having a conversation
with Ta-Nehisi Coates at the CUNY J-School about this show and cable news
more broadly. It`s free and open to the public. You can find details on
our Facebook page. Facebook.com/onwithChris and tomorrow on same Facebook
page, I`ll be answering your questions. Just head over to our Facebook
page at noon eastern. Ask me anything. While you`re there, go ahead, hit
the like button. We love it when you do that.
HAYES: If you had to do it all over again, Jeb Bush would do it all
over again. In an interview over the weekend, when FOX News` Megyn Kelly
likely 2016 candidate said he would have authorized the war in Iraq if he
had been in his brother`s shoes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Knowing what we know now, would you have
authorized the invasion?
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I would have. And so would
have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody and so would have almost
everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.
KELLY: You don`t think it was a mistake.
BUSH: In retrospect, the intelligence that everybody saw, that the
world saw, not just the United States, was faulty. And in retrospect, once
we invaded and took out Saddam Hussein, we didn`t focus on security first.
And the Iraqis in this incredibly insecure environment turned on the United
States` military, because there was no security for themselves and their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Okay. So it`s a little hard to quite make sense of the tense
of that answer. Hillary Clinton, of course, then the junior senator from
New York did support the Iraq war authorization back in 2002. Though she
since repudiated that position, writing in a memoir last year, "I wasn`t
alone in getting it wrong but I still got it wrong, period, plain and
simple, period." Jeb`s declaration comes less than a week after he told a
group of Manhattan financiers at a private meeting that George W. Bush is
one of his top advisers on Israel and Middle East policy, according to the
And whether Jeb`s stance reflects genuinely held belief, cynical
recognition and GOP primary politics or just a nice gesture to his brother,
the fact is the electorate is now decidedly more spooked about foreign
threats than in the last presidential election. According to the latest
NBC News "Wall Street Journal" poll, 21 percent of respondents said
National Security and terrorism should be the government`s top priority
compared to just six percent in 2012. That jumps to 27 percent among
republican primary voters with security now beating up the deficit and
government`s spending as issue number one among republican primary voters.
The shift was on full display at a republican cattle call in South Carolina
this weekend, where a slew of potential 2016 candidates seemed to be
competing for the most aggressive foreign policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I think it`s time we have
a president that honors and supports the American military.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: When given the choice between free speech
and the political correctness of refusing to acknowledge radical Islamic
terrorism, it is a time for choosing where we stand.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Radical Islamic terrorism is a
threat to us all!
FMR. GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: We subscribe to what I refer to as
reality-based thinking. Where terrorist armies must be defeated by
strength, not words. Where radical nations should not be appeased. They
have got to be opposed.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: And people ask, what should our
strategy be on global jihadists and terrorists, I refer them to the movie
"Taken." Have you seen the movie "Taken," Liam Neeson? We will look for
you, we will find you, and we will kill you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The task for these candidates, is whether they can come up
with a strong foreign agenda that does not of course repeat the mistakes of
the past. Twelve years after the invasion of Iraq, Rand Paul is by our
account the only one who has actually called it a mistake. And that seems
to be a risky place for the Republican Party to be when the public, as
hawkish as it may be at the moment, still holds extremely negative views of
the Iraq war and its value. With 71 percent saying, it wasn`t worth it in
the most recent poll back in June 2014. Coming up, why a conservative
radio host agrees with me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Gotta turn the page here. We cannot
stay in this relitigating the Bush years again. You just can`t. You have
to have someone who says, look, I`m a republican, but I`m not an idiot.
I`m not stupid. I am a conservative. And I learn from the past, and I
improve myself. I don`t bring in the same people who made the same stupid
decisions in the 2000s to get us into the 21st Century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Laura Ingraham, responding to Jeb Bush`s interview in
which he appeared to say he would basically go invade Iraq again.
Joining me now MSNBC political analyst, former RNC Chair Michael
Steele. Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Michael, let me start with you. This is a real question. A non-
trolling question. Among -- I was looking at some polling data on this
today. But among sort of the professional political class of republicans,
the consultant class, is it a generally accepted idea that even knowing
what we know now, the Iraq war was not a mistake? Is that like -- I just
wonder how prevalent that attitude is.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: I don`t think it`s as prevalent
as a lot of people pretend it is. I think that there has been for quite
some time a very strong undercurrent. Yes, spoken in hushed terms, because
people don`t want to deal with the noise of disagreeing with those who
think that, you know, we should have been all hell and fire and brimstone
going into Iraq, that who don`t think that that was a sane policy in the
end. I think Laura Ingraham framed it exactly right. You know, as
conservatives, you do learn from those mistakes, and the real test for a
lot of these gentlemen and lady -- in Carly Fiorina who will stand on the
stage come August in the first debate, is to clearly define what does this
future look like for us in the face, in the afterglow of Iraq, and what
does that mean for us in terms of your foreign policy. And I think that`s
going to be an important question. I suspect there will be some walking
back from this by the Bush campaign such as it is. Because I just cannot
believe that that is exactly -- after knowing what we know, that we would
do it exactly the same way again.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, Robert, it does seem to me that the no-brainer -
- the lay-up here politically is just to say of course knowing what we know
now we wouldn`t do it again. It was a mistake. And you know, you don`t
even have to sell out, you know, you can do the thing you did where
everyone saw the same intelligence and everyone made the same mistake
together and Hillary Clinton. But just to think yes, obviously, clearly,
the Laura Ingraham, I`m not an idiot. Right? Isn`t that just the
politically smart approach to this question?
ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It probably is the
politically smart approach. I`m not sure it`s the best approach if you`re
going to have thanksgiving with your brother or Christmas with your brother
at some point.
HAYES: Yes, it`s true.
GIBBS: And I think, look, I think these are hard questions. I think
Hillary Clinton will get some questions about whether she now agrees with
some things that the Clinton administration did in the `90s. You saw it
already with incarceration. But I think there is definitely -- this
obviously is something that is much, much closer to the surface. It drove
our politics for probably a good portion of almost ten years.
GIBBS: And I think this one is harder probably for Jeb to walk away
from. I absolutely don`t disagree. I think it`s -- it would have been
better to say the way you phrased the question, knowing what we know now,
we could do things differently in the Middle East. We would have made
different changes. I think it puts him in a tough light. It also -- I
mean, I agree with what Laura Ingraham says. One of the things, it is not
easy in campaigns to be contemplative, to have -- to have thought through
your positions and then to give different ones based on what you know now.
This would have been probably a good place for Jeb to start doing that,
HAYES: Yes. I mean, what you said about Hillary Clinton, I think
that`s true. She is going to get asked about a lot of Clinton era
policies. And it seems to me that in some ways it`s the same advice. Yes,
when the facts change, I change my mind, what do you do. That`s the line
about this, right? Like, yes, the crime deal maybe looked good in 1994, it
doesn`t look good now. That doesn`t seem -- why is that so hard? Why
can`t people just say yes?
GIBBS: Well, I think the reason it`s hard is because there`s
obviously an army that says here`s what you said, here`s what you`re doing
now. And you`re flip-flopping. I will say this. I think most people
watching at home, most people listening at home, are -- they don`t think
about it like that, their lives are not governed by always believing today
what they believed ten years ago. And I think for people that are
listening to the campaign at this point, they`re going to look at this and
say, boy, really? Even what we know now? He was very clever, I will say,
in lumping Hillary Clinton in there very quickly. I don`t think she would
have answered that question.
GIBBS: The way he did.
HAYES: Yes. He`s also very clever in playing what that tense was,
whether we were in the conditional or not. But Michael, part of the issue
here strikes me also is donors. I mean, my experience in reporting on
politics has always been that donors tend to have stronger views on foreign
policy, more sort of convicted -- conviction-driven views or intense
ideological views on foreign policy than your kind of median voter. It`s
closer to the surface in donor politics and donor maintenance. And I think
that`s driving part of what we`re seeing on the republican side, don`t you?
STEELE: No, no, I don`t think so at all. To be quite honest with
you. I think that a lot of the donors -- at least the ones that I had --
privilege of working with as chairman, would probably side with Laura
Ingraham`s comment. And I think that on a number of fronts, the donor
class tends to be a slight nudge or hedge, you know, a head. They`re a
little bit more progressive than some of these things and some of these
issues, and they tend to look at it much more holistically and more
broadly. They`re looking at a longer term play than typical grassroots
activists who are kind of in that moment and seizing it. So, yes, I would
suspect that -- this is not something that the donor class pushing him to
say or to think. I think this is -- it`s probably his conviction. Maybe
he didn`t quite understand or just sort of expressed his thinking on this a
little bit differently than it otherwise would have been. I don`t think
it`s pushing from donors at all, though.
HAYES: Robert, it seems to me that there was a period where we said,
oh, Jeb Bush can`t be president, he`s a Bush. And then it was he was going
to get in the race and it`s going to be fine. But I feel that, you know,
we haven`t quite, like, digested that first thing. This is going to be a
big deal for him.
GIBBS: Yes, well, I think he`s going to get a decent number of these
questions. And it`s going to be hard, because obviously there are family
relationships. We certainly know, and he said this. And I think most
people will take him at his word. He`s obviously his own person. He`s a
very accomplished leader. But, you know, I think this is just the first of
many questions that he`s going to get that are going to be tough on this.
HAYES: Michael Steele, Robert Gibbs, thank you both.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW" starts right
now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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