'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, July 25th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: July 25, 2015
Guest: Amy Holmes, Evan McMorris Santoro, Manu Raju, Gary Gensler
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": Presidential family
reunion, the mind of the movie theater shooting and what has Donald Trump
done now? We`ve got a lot to cover this morning. Let`s get started.
All right. Good morning, thanks forgetting UP with us on what is a busy
Saturday morning, a lot of news, a lot politics to juggle these next two
hours. President Obama is in Nairobi, Kenya, at this hour, his first visit
to his father`s homeland since becoming President of the United States.
More on that in just a few minutes.
We`re also learning more this morning about the shooter who opened fire in
a Louisiana movie theater. Those details are straight ahead.
But we begin this hour in Des Moines, Iowa, the capital city of Iowa, the
dateline today for Donald Trump, the mogul who would be president is once
again making waves this time by banning reporters who work for a newspaper
that`s been critical of his run for president. The Trump campaign denied
the "Des Moines Register" press credentials after the paper`s editorial
board called for Trump to drop out of the race. That paper released a
statement that says, quote, "We are disappointed that Mr. Trump`s campaign
has taken the unusual step of excluding registered reporters from covering
his campaign event in Iowa on Saturday because he was displeased with our
editorial. As we previously said, the editorial has no bearing on our news
We work hard to provide Iowans with coverage of all the candidates when
they spend time in Iowa, and this is obviously impeding our ability to do
so. We hope Mr. Trump`s campaign will revisit its decision instead of
making punitive decisions because we wrote something critical of him.
Let`s bring in this morning`s panel who we have with us today. We have
MSNBC contributor Victoria Defrancesco-Soto, fellow at the Center for
Politics and governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the
University of Texas. Amy Holmes, anchor at the Blaze.com`s "Hot List" and
Evan McMorris Santoro, White House correspondent with BuzzFeed.
Donald Trump`s love this, huh? This is another fight with the media.
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO-SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I kind of like it. You know
how I feel about Iowa. I think it gets way too much importance. So, this
is the one thing I kind of support Trump on, that he`s rebuffing Iowa.
KORNACKI: You really have it in for Iowa.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: I do. I do.
AMY HOLMES, BLAZE.COM, "HOT LIST": Well, I mean, in the past two
presidential elections, actually Iowa has not decided the GOP candidate as
we know. So, it is good for Trump to get these headlines. Scott Walker is
nine points ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa. This isn`t good for him.
KORNACKI: But this is what Trump does, he goes to war with the press now.
EVAN MCMORRIS SANTORO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT WITH BUZZFEED: I mean,
Trump is out there talking about how serious he is about running for
president. Consistently talking, I`m really serious about doing this. I
put my financial records out, I applied to do, I`m really doing it. Don`t
par the press from the biggest paper in the state that you need to win the
Iowa caucuses. I think it`s a slap in the face. Of course you shouldn`t
bar reporters from events. You should let reporters in.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: But you know what?
SANTORO: No, but -- it would be a beautiful golden rope, golden velvet
rope. It would be beautiful, yes.
HOLMES: It will be a lasso of truth here. But I mean, let`s look at Iowa
and the point that you make. That John McCain lost Iowa, Mitt Romney lost
Iowa. Iowa does not decide the GOP nominee.
KORNACKI: But it does play -- it plays a key role, especially when you`re
talking about a race of 16 candidates of winnowing the field. If you`re
not -- if John McCain end up being competitive in 2008, Mitt Romney came,
what, eight votes away from winning in 2012. So, you still -- maybe you
haven`t got the pass the point where you can completely right it off and
you can`t survive. But the thing about Trump that I see is, this is a guy
right now who is embracing the war with the media. You saw him at this
press conference the other day. I think it was Jose --
HOLMES: Oh, it was Jose.
KORNACKI: Yes, it was Jose who tried to ask him a question and he cut him
off. This is what the press always. As you can see the crowds rallying
behind him. So, when a see the major newspaper in Iowa editorializing
against Trump and now Trump fighting back like this. This is something --
Trump likes this fight.
SANTORO: Well, part of the deal is, Trump is running a reality show-style
campaign. You have to have a new storyline every episode. He has to have
a new war every week. Right? So, he`s had the war -- you know, first the
war with Jeb when he first came out, then he went to recently -- we caught
him a war with Lindsey Graham, publishing his phone number on national
television. He`s talked over about Rick Perry now. And now the "Des
Moines Register." Next, it will be something else. He has to have this
target because that`s how you get the coverage for Trump. It`s always have
to be -- this is the thing, this is the truth I`m telling, the war that I`m
HOLMES: Also remember his constituency and that`s GOP voters. And you
know what? The media is not very popular with those voters. And so, I
think Donald Trump is actually picking a very ripe target when it comes to
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: And he has no substance. So, he has to pick these
fights. He has to make the headlines this way because he`s not going to
make the headlines like, look at that foreign policy that Trump has. That
is really interesting stuff he`s putting out there with regards to tax
HOLMES: What are you talking about? Mexico is going to pay for that wall.
SANTORO: I mean, look at the facts, look at the other candidates. I mean,
the more Trump talks about the border -- I mean, now they`re talking about
the border less and more about Lindsey Graham`s phone number or Rick
Perry`s glasses or the Des Moines register reporters. Other candidates in
the race are happy. When he`s talking about the border, that`s when we saw
the other candidates in the race be kind of upset and worried about trying
to not, you know, tick off the voters that he`s reaching out to with his
border comments. So, actually, the key, I mean, he doesn`t have a lot of
substance. But when he really gets into this border issue, it does seems
to sort of shake up the other candidates that are trying --
KORNACKI: I mean, he`s also -- but he`s also picking up -- I mean, yes,
he`s not saying anything -- he`s not saying anything specific about -- I
mean, his foreign policy I guess is, hey, America is the best, don`t mess
HOLMES: Also China.
KORNACKI: Yes. But he still does business with China too. But what he`s
picking up on, too, is he is following the anger of it that`s been out
there for so long towards the political system to its logical extreme.
That`s sort of what I read it where, you know, everybody has always says,
they`re angry with Washington, they`re frustrated with Congress. But
everybody in politics draws the line at personally attacking members of
Congress, members of your own party. He says, no, you know, what? We
don`t want politics, we don`t like politicians, I don`t like Lindsey
Graham, I don`t like John McCain. He goes out there, he names names and he
says things that probably within the Republican Party, a lot of the voters
in the Republican Party feel.
HOLMES: Well, look who is following his lead, Ted Cruz on the Senate floor
attacking Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. There`s speculation
that this is Ted Cruz who is trying to tap into that anti-establishment
Donald Trump mania that Donald Trump has been able to, you know, to use to
great effect. But I think going back to Donald Trump`s strategy, the
question is, is he looking for more celebrity or is he really looking to
get the GOP nomination?
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Celebrity. My vote goes with celebrity. It`s like
keeping up with the Kardashians. It`s keeping up with Trump. I think
we`re going to see 15 months of this because he loves --
KORNACKI: Can he keep this up for 15 months?
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Because I think he`s going to run third party. That`s
what I am seeing going forward.
KORNACKI: Well, I mean, at a certain point I feel like this is the guy who
sprints all out -- I tried to run a marathon once. The first mile, you
know, record time. I said, wait, I`ve got 25 more to go.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: How long has "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" been on
TV? How long?
SANTORO: Five years, I`m guessing.
KORNACKI: I don`t know.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: That`s my point.
SANTORO: I mean, the fight are smaller and smaller scale, the first one
was President Obama`s birth certificate in taking in the President directly
in 2012. And now we`re down two, you know, I mean, a regional paper in
Iowa. So, like I mean, the fact is, if he keeps going like this, he`ll be
going like, you know, like attacking an individual business owner in South
Carolina at some point at the end.
Exactly right. Like you know, you didn`t get my doughnut the right size or
something like that. Yes.
KORNACKI: Yes. We`ll have more on Trump later. But again, so he is
actually, he is in Iowa today. I guess the "Des Moines Register" excuse
me, is still going to try to cover that event. We`ll see what happens. A
little bit of adventure for them coming up later and we`ll update you on
that as we learn more.
Meanwhile though, more than 8,000 miles east of Des Moines, President
Obama`s visit to Kenya now under way. He`s not only the first American
president to visit Kenya while in office, the trip is also full of
symbolism for the President. Earlier this morning at a business summit he
acknowledged the personal nature of his trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Obviously this is personal for me.
There`s a reason why my name is Barack Hussein Obama.
My father came from these parts. I have family and relatives here. And in
my visits over the years walking the streets of Nairobi, I`ve come to know
the warmth and the spirit of the Kenyan people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And NBC News senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing is with the
President in Kenya. Chris, this trip obviously a mix of personal and
business for the President. I heard he met with his family earlier last
night. How did that go?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first let
me say I didn`t actually think of Nairobi as being 8,000 miles east of Des
Moines. So, I`m looking at where I am in a whole different way. Obviously
part of the reason that this trip is getting so much attention is because
of the personal resonance it has for this president. Of course, he wrote
about it so movingly in his memoir. And last night the dinner seemed like
it was a pretty raucous affair. Sitting on one side of them was the woman
he calls mamma Sarah, that is his step grandmother. On the other side, his
half-sister Alma, somebody who he has seen quite a bit over the last
several years when he took a trip to Germany. She has come to Washington,
And even though he said coming in here, look, it`s very different coming
here as President of the United States and it is as a private citizen and
it means he can`t move around as easily, it`s very important to him, these
familial ties here. And he also hopes to leverage the personal popularity
he has here. They don`t consider him an African-American. They consider
him a Kenyan-American. And he has some strong disagreements with the
government here on things like human rights, gay rights, that he hopes his
80 percent popularity rating with the Kenyan people will help him with.
But there`s also business going on this morning, a very busy morning.
He was co-host of The Global Entrepreneur Summit, he talked a lot about
emerging technologies. This is a place that has been successful with sort
of cutting edge cellphone technology. And he brought along a number of
successful American entrepreneurs with him, Steve Case from AOL, one of the
co-founders of Airbnb. And he also took a tour of programs that are
designed to bring more electricity to Kenya. That has been a point of
contention here. Two years ago, he launched this program to bring
electricity to double the amount of electricity in five years. It`s been
very slow getting off the ground. So, one of the things that he hopes to
do here is move on some of the programs that he began particularly in
earnest about a year ago when he had an African Summit in Washington, D.C.
But coming in here, I talked to people both who are close to him and who
analyze African affairs. And one of the things they said to me, Steve is,
this is really a chance for him to move forward on his legacy as it relates
to his African -- the African continent, so important, of course, because
of his familial ties here -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, NBC`s Chris Jansing in Nairobi. They call that the
Des Moines of Africa. No, I have no idea. Eight thousand miles away. We
did learned that today. By the way, the President will be having a press
conference in the next hour about an hour and a half from now with the
president of Kenya. We will cover that for you live when it happens. So,
stay tuned for that.
But right now, we`ll going to turn to Lafayette, Louisiana, that`s where
we`re learning more about the gunman who opened fire in a movie theater on
Thursday. Authorities say, John Russell Houser was a drifter. They found
disguises stashed in his nearby motel room which suggests that he`d planned
to try and escape. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Houser
tried to flee by blending in with the crowd. But once he saw police
officer approach, turned back into the theater where he took his own life.
Investigators are still looking for the motive of the attack in which two
people were killed, nine more were injured. They say that Houser had a
record of, quote, "extreme erratic behavior," with his family even asking
for a protective order against him back in 2008.
MSNBC`s Craig Melvin is live in Lafayette. So, Craig, obviously, a lot of
puzzle pieces to put together here. What is the latest?
CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The latest right now, we can tell
you, based on a news conference that was held here last evening that law
enforcement officials believe that the folks who remain in the hospital
will be released at some point. The thinking at this point is that there
should not be any more victims. There was a vigil here in Lafayette last
night held at the college, U of L, just a stone`s throw from this theater.
In fact, a number of the students who attended that vigil said that they
would come here on Thursday nights. They would walk through this theater
when they had free time in college.
Many of them vowed to return to this theater when it reopened as well. As
for the shooter that you just mentioned, Steve, he has a history of mental
illness, his wife in a divorce filing said at that one point he was
supposed to be taking medication every day. He was not. He was supposed
to be eating meals on a regular basis. He would not always do that which
exacerbated his condition. But beyond the mental illness there`s a
component of this story that we discovered in the past 24 hours which is
quite troubling to a lot of folks. The online rants and postings, anti-
government, anti-gay, ant anti-Semitic as well.
This was a guy who ran for public office at one point in Columbus, Georgia.
His associate, a business associate who is a mayor of a particular town in
Georgia told me yesterday during an interview that he had a short fuse. He
was one of those guys that you were sometimes afraid to disagree with. In
addition to that, there had been some question yesterday about precisely
how he obtained the gun. We learned that he did get the gun legally. He
bought it at a pawnshop in Alabama, bought it a pawnshop back in 2014,
bought that 40 caliber handgun legally -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Craig Melvin in Lafayette, Louisiana. I appreciate
the time this morning. Thank you.
Still ahead, the Obama administration gets grilled by Congress on its
nuclear deal with Iran. We`ll going to take a look at what lies ahead for
winning approval for that deal. Can the White House pull that off?
But first, Hillary Clinton gave a big economic speech yesterday. And all
anyone could talk about was her e-mails. We`ll be putting that story into
context. That is next.
KORNACKI: What you know right now about the latest questions over Hillary
Clinton`s use of a private e-mail account as secretary of state probably
depends on when you were hearing or reading about the story in the first
place, because events have rapidly evolved over the past 36 hours since
this latest eruption came to the surface, and the essential facts, though,
are these. Two inspectors general, the independent watchdogs for
government agencies have asked the Justice Department to investigate
whether anyone mishandled sensitive government information related to
Clinton`s e-mail account.
This is a report that set off a firestorm when "The New York Times" first
published it on Thursday night. But since then, some more information has
trickled out, making it difficult to know exactly what to make of all of
this. First "The Times" issued a correction to the story stressing that it
was unclear who the target of the investigation is. In other words, it may
not be Hillary Clinton herself as the headline in the story initially
seemed to suggest. And later, the two inspectors general released a joint
statement to say that four classified e-mails, four that were part of a
small sample taken out of tens of thousands, four classified e-mails were
sent from Clinton`s account.
But they said those e-mails did not contain classification markings even
though they added classified information should never have been transmitted
via an unclassified personal system. And they stressed what the Clinton
campaign has been saying all along, that this was not a referral asking for
a criminal investigation, again, despite the headline in "The New York
Times" initially. It was made simply for counterintelligence purposes.
Hillary Clinton has always maintained she never did anything wrong with her
personal e-mail account as secretary of state. And yesterday in the wake
of this new flap she once again denied any wrongdoing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe the heat is getting to
everybody. I have said repeatedly that I will answer questions before the
House Committee. We are all accountable to the American people to get the
facts right, and I will do my part. But I`m also going to stay focused on
the issues, particularly the big issues that really matter to American
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. So, let`s try to figure this out with the panel
here. I mean, this story does look very different now. But when I first
read the "New York Times" story yesterday morning, two things jumped out at
me. One was the suggestion that this was about Hillary Clinton personally,
that this was an investigation of Hillary Clinton. And the second one was
the implication and the statement that this was criminal in nature. Now,
it is not a criminal investigation, it is not directly involving Hillary
Clinton. So that seems to take at least when it comes to this particular
story, seems to take some of the bite out of it.
HOLMES: WELL, that was Hillary Clinton`s campaign`s hope when they
contacted the "New York Times" to try to change that headline, but it
involves her personal e-mail. Did she write it? Did her assistant write
it? To me this is classic textbook Clinton, which is to throw up dust, try
to obfuscate, try to get us all into the weeds. You know, the basic core
of this that Hillary Clinton used her personal e-mail account to conduct
state department business against Obama White House regulations actually.
She claimed that she never trafficked in classified information which of
course is very hard to believe if that`s the only e-mail address that she
used as secretary of state. Give me a break.
KORNACKI: But the question is, what new are we learning from this because
we have known the basics, look, they`ve set up the private server in -- the
Obama administration has said, we don`t want you doing this. They went and
did it anyway. She`ll turned over, she`ll say I turned over 55,000 e-mails
or 55,000 pages of e-mails, I forget which ones is this.
HOLMES: At her direction.
KORNACKI: Right. She will not turn over the server. So, we`ve known
those basics for a while. And that`s exposed the Clintons to plenty of
attacks. But in terms of this new story here, I`m struggling to figure out
exactly what they`re telling us here.
HOLMES: Look, at the very least I think what we`ve learned is that this
personal private e-mail system that, you know -- appears to have been
legal, wreaked a lot of havoc inside the system, now that it`s known about,
people have to investigate it. People have to look into it. So, that
seems to be part of the, you know, that`s kind of a problem in terms of all
the -- sort of the havoc it`s created and chaos it`s created. However,
when you have a situation in which the original story is so different than
the corrected story -- I mean, this is a story throughout this campaign so
far. I mean, "The New York Times" did a story about Rubio. And the Rubio
campaign was able to say, look at how these stories aren`t exactly right.
And that got rid of that story line. I mean, if you`re going to do a story
like this, you`ve got to accuse somebody of that stuff, you`ve got to be
right about it.
KORNACKI: Is that the headline that comes out of here? I was on one of
the shows yesterday afternoon here and a Clinton campaign spokesman was on.
And he was saying, look, "The New York Times" got taken for a ride here by
-- he was a political opponents on the Benghazi committee. That`s what the
Clinton campaign was saying.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Well, I think the bigger picture, here, two points.
First of all, hindsight is 20/20. She shouldn`t have had a personal
server. She should have done, you know, like everybody else at the State
Department. You can`t go back in time. The second point is she is a
front-runner. Yes there`s Bernie Sanders, yes, there`s O`Malley. But she
is going to be in the spotlight and she`s just going to have to deal with
this pretty much until September of next year. So, that`s when you get
when you`re the front-runner when the Republicans are fighting amongst
themselves, so I expect to see another couple months of this.
HOLMES: Look, the controversy here though is Hillary Clinton set up this
private e-mail account out of her house on purpose, and she went around the
Obama administration`s own instructions in order to do this to keep control
of these e-mails. And we`re taking her word for it when she says, I`ve
turned overall these e-mails and my lawyers have gone through it and we`ve
given you what we think is appropriate. We`re taking her word for it and
that simply won`t do it.
SANTORO: This is my point, there is a story here. But the point is, when
there is a story here and the story that comes out is the wrong story, then
you have a perfect tinder and flint for a huge media firestorm in which
people who want the story to be really, really right and bad about Hillary
Clinton go crazy. And people who want Hillary Clinton`s story to be, you
know, to be good to go crazy as well. Because they`re like, look, "The New
York Times" is wrong, and then you know, the people who don`t like her say
Hillary was wrong. I mean, this is the thing --
People have to do it. But the reporting has to be right the first time
before you start saying criminal investigation. That`s a big, big deal. I
mean, so, if you were happy for the 40 minutes that that story was up
before they changed it and then they changed it now, you`re happy now, I
mean, look, Hillary has a lot of questions to answer about this and we`ll
continue to answer the question about it.
HOLMES: Certainly. Yes.
SANTORO: No question about that. But when we`re seeing this repeated
pattern of reporting coming out of this Benghazi committee and out of this,
frankly, the republican oversight --
HOLMES: This is out of "The New York Times" saying that they referred this
to the --
SANTORO: Right. But we report it over and over and over and over.
KORNACKI: The Clinton campaign is saying this is coming out of the
Benghazi committee, this is coming out of Trey Gowdy`s committee.
SANTORO: Right. We`re not really sure about that.
KORNACKI: We don`t know that. But the Clinton campaign is basically
saying, look, these committee, the Republicans in this committee are
leaking this out. The Times got taken for a ride. They put this really,
you know, sort of negative headline on it. They had to take it back. "The
Times" looks bad here. But it does feel like this is something that
proceeds almost on two tracks. We`re at a point where any story that comes
out, this is going to happen a lot, as you say if the next -- any story
that comes out that involves the word Clinton and e-mail and server, there
is a baseline of suspicion that`s out there now because people look at --
HOLMES: That she created by her own actions.
KORNACKI: But as Evan says, the story ultimately has to be right. And
this one, I`m still confused if we actually learned anything new from this.
But anyway, still ahead, Hillary Clinton`s bold new stand on raising the
minimum wage, that even Boulder demands her democratic challengers are
making of her.
And next, we`ll going to go live to Illinois where Sandra Bland, that was
the woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell will be laid to rest
KORNACKI: Today, family and friends will pay their last respects to Sandra
Bland, the woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell earlier this
month. Her funeral be held in a Chicago suburb near her home. The 28-
year-old was found hanging in a jail cell three days after her arrest for
allegedly assaulting a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The
medical examiner ruled her death to be a suicide. Prosecutors are looking
to determine if the state trooper who arrested Bland may have violated any
laws. Dash cam video released by the Texas Department of Public Safety
shows the trooper issuing what he called a lawful order for her to exit the
vehicle. The trooper then pulls what appears to be a stun gun. The
episode lasted about 15 minutes.
MSNBC`s Joy Reid joins us love from Lisle, Illinois. So, Joy, what can you
tell us about what`s going on up there today?
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Steve. As you
said, Sandra Bland will be laid to rest. There will be a wake and a
funeral here at DuPage AME Church which is Sandra Bland`s home church. Her
family has been members of this church for more than 20 years according to
their attorney. And as you mentioned, meanwhile, as this funeral is taking
place bringing closure to the family, in Texas three separate
investigations continuing to go on. The Texas rangers and the FBI as well
as state authorities are looking into the death of Sandra Bland which,
while it has been ruled a suicide, that doesn`t end the investigation into
the procedures at the Warren County jail and how it could be that she could
wind up hanging herself in her cell. Meanwhile, trooper Brian Encinia
facing a separate investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety,
he`s already been determined to have violated policies in that traffic stop
KORNACKI: All right. Joy Reid in Lisle, Illinois. Thank you for that
And still ahead, underdog all born and raised on the streets of New York
are shaping the race for the White House. And next, the debate over the
Obama administration`s Iran deal shifts into high gear.
KORNACKI: The Obama administration launched a multi-front campaign this
week making the tough sell for what they hope will be the President`s
signature second term foreign policy achievement, that nuclear deal with
Iran. President Obama meeting with House Democrats in the situation room
for an hour and a half on Thursday before flying off to Africa. Secretary
of State John Kerry heading to his old stomping grounds on Capitol Hill for
a hearing at which his former senate colleagues voiced some concerns about
the deal early and often.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I`m sorry.
Not unlike a hotel guest that leaves only with a hotel bathrobe on his
back, I believe we`ve been fleeced.
SEN. JIM RISCH (R), IDAHO: To be able to walk away from this and say that
this is a good deal is ludicrous. With all due respect, you guys have been
SECRETARY JOHN KERRY, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Under no circumstances will
they be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. And in fact, I think Ash Carter
reiterated publicly very specifically on thing --
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: No, no, no, please. I`m sorry. I
have limited time. You`ve been with the Iranians two years. I have seven
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This deal is your deal with Iran, I mean
yours meaning this administration. And the next president is under no
legal or moral obligation to live up to it. The Iranian regime in the
world should know that the majority of members of this Congress do not
support this deal and that the deal could go away on the day that President
Obama leaves office.
KERRY: I am confident that the next president of the United States will
have enough common sense that this is being applied properly, if it`s being
implemented fully, they won`t arbitrarily end it. Now, if you think the
Ayatollah is going to come back and negotiate again with an American,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And that is probably just the beginning of the skepticism with
54 more days to go now for Congress to review this deal. So, is the
nuclear agreement with Iran in danger and who in the Senate is still on the
Joining me now to break it all down is Manu Raju, senior Congressional
reporter at Politico. Manu, so many interesting plots and sub plots in
that video were just showing. Let me ask you about a couple, let me start
with Bob Corker, the top republican there. Now, it was interesting because
I was talking to people just a week ago who is supporting this deal saying,
hey, look, Corker has actually been quiet on this. If there`s one
republican out there who the White House maybe, maybe could have a chance
of picking off in this deal, it`s Bob Corker. That`s not the Bob Corker we
saw at this hearing.
MANU RAJU, POLITICO SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: No, it`s not. And I
talked to Corker several times about this in the run-up to the Iran deal
coming up. And he wanted to showcase a more pragmatic view. He didn`t
want to come up throwing bombs (audio gap) and that`s kind of his style to
be a more pragmatic member who could work with the administration. But,
you know, he`s ratcheting up the drum beat. He`s certainly going to oppose
this deal. And I think that`s a worrying sign for the administration, that
they will not get probably any republican support.
So their focus right now, the administration`s focus right now is ensuring
that they have enough democratic support to sustain a veto. That means
that`s very important for the White House right now. That`s why you`re
seeing that lobbying drive really target some of those swing Democrats
because eventually, at the end of the day, they`ll be the ones who are
going to critical in ensuring this deal goes through.
KORNACKI: We had on this show last weekend, we had Chuck Schumer, the
senator from New York, who probably is key to that question of how many
democratic defections are there going to be. When we talked to Schumer
last week, he said I`m going spend the weekend reading this deal, I`m going
to make, you know, phone calls on this. Any indication now where Schumer
is going to come down on this. And I guess, the other question is Schumer
too is not just where he comes down with it, but how hard does he come down
with this? But if he goes against this, does he really go against this or
does he do it quietly?
RAJU: Yes. He`s very key of course. As you know, the next democratic
leader, someone who is a very hawk with lots of Jewish donors and Jewish
supporters. A lot of folks who are very skeptical of this deal but also as
very loyal to the administration. So, he`s in a bind politically. Schumer
is not saying what he`s going to do yet. He continues to say he`s
reviewing this deal. The question is going to be not just for Schumer, but
also those 18 Jewish Democrats in the House, who are very important in
making sure -- deciding which way this deal goes. The question is going to
be what happens over the August recess. I mean, there`s going to be a
month time frame when the opponents of this deal hope to ratchet up the
opposition, hope to put pressure on particularly those Jewish Democrats
like Schumer and hope that they can turn them against the administration.
They believe that they can replicate that tactic over the health care fight
in 2009 when the town halls really shaped the final aspects of the debate.
I`m not sure if it will work this time. But clearly that`s the hope and
clearly people like Schumer will be in the crosshairs.
KORNACKI: Now, there was a very interesting and there`s a bit of a mystery
surrounding this. But a story that came out in the "Wall Street Journal"
late yesterday that may be connected to the politics of this. But there
was a report in the "Wall Street Journal" that Jonathan Pollard, he`s the
Israeli spy who was convicted back in the 1980s of espionage, he`s been
serving time in the United States since then. His cause the idea of
freeing Jonathan Pollard to the pro-Israel crowd. This has been a key part
of their cause for decades now. There was a report that say that the U.S.
is preparing to release him. DOJ now is saying, look, we want him to serve
his full sentence. He`d be eligible for parole I believe this November,
that a full 30-year sentence, he`d be eligible for parole starting this
November. So, some mixed signals here. But Manu, obviously if this
administration were to release Jonathan Pollard at this political moment,
that would clearly be seen as an effort to win over some of these pro-
Israel skeptics in the Senate.
RAJU: Yes, I mean, and it could give those Democrats we were just talking
about some cover saying that, you know, hey, look, this is something that`s
good, positive for those pro-Israeli folks, people have been pushing very
hard for his release, even if they turn around and they vote for a deal
that actually could anger some of those same supporters. So, potentially
there could be some connection there, although the administration certainly
denies that it`s the case.
KORNACKI: Okay. Politico`s Manu Raju, thanks for your time this morning.
I appreciate that. And still ahead, could Donald Trump play the spoiler by
going independent? We`ll get into that a little bit ahead.
But first, a top Wall Street regulator, he is now banking on Hillary
Clinton. Gary Gensler from the Clinton campaign joins us, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I agree with New York`s
proposal this week to raise wages for fast food workers to $15 an hour.
The national minimum wage is a floor, and it needs to be raised. But let`s
also remember that the cost of living in Manhattan is different than in
Little Rock and many other places. So New York or Los Angeles or Seattle
are right to go higher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Hillary Clinton throwing her support behind New York
State`s move this week to dramatically raise wages for fast food workers
all across the empire state over the next six years. This is a victory for
low-wage workers who first took to the streets of New York City three years
ago making what seemed then to be an improbable demand. But Clinton has
not gone as far as her fellow democratic candidates, Bernie Sanders and
Martin O`Malley. Both of them are calling for a national minimum wage of
$15 an hour. On Wednesday, Senator Sanders introducing legislation in the
U.S. Senate to more than double the federal minimum wage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of our workers from
coast to coast need at least 15 bucks an hour. Seattle did it, Los Angeles
did it, New York City has done it. And it`s time for the federal
government to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And joining me now is Hillary for America chief financial
officer Gary Gensler, a former Wall Street regulator who worked to
implement the Dodd-Frank regulations. Gary, thanks for being here.
GARY GENSLER, HILLARY FOR AMERICA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Great to be
with you, Steve.
KORNACKI: Well, so, let me ask you about this. So, Hillary Clinton makes
some news here. So, New York State, they have said now this week, that if
you work in the fast food industry, fast-food workers now over the next few
years, they`ll going to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, just for
fast-food workers, just in New York. And Hillary Clinton says, she
supports that and she`s for that. Bernie Sanders is out there saying, why
not $15 at a minimum for every worker in America. What do you say to that?
GENSLER: Hillary Clinton, the central thing of her campaign is ensuring
that this economy works for all Americans. She`s supported the New York
increase in the minimum wage. She supports a federal increase in minimum
wage as well. It`s critical for the fairness of our economy.
KORNACKI: She supports the federal raise to $10.10 an hour. Is that
GENSLER: Well, she supports lifting up the federal --
KORNACKI: Is there a number she specifically wants to get --
GENSLER: I`m going to let Hillary speak to a specific number.
KORNACKI: So why not 15 nationally? I mean, as we`ve said now, fast-food
workers in New York State, $15 an hour. Sanders says everyone in the
country, $15 an hour. Why not?
GENSLER: No, no, I understand that. But she believes that we have to lift
up this economy and ensure the central problem is that our economy is not
working for everybody. We have to grow it faster, but we also have to make
sure it`s fair. And to make sure it`s fair, just like here in New York,
just like in Seattle and Los Angeles, there`s going to be places where it
goes beyond the federal limit, but the federal minimum wage needs to go up
and it needs to be a floor where a other regions can even go further.
KORNACKI: I mean, so you think $15 as a flat rate nationally, there are
parts of this country where that`s too high.
GENSLER: No, there`s parts of this country that she supports getting to
that level. Obviously there are different costs of living in different
places. But it`s important to raise the minimum wage across this country
ensuring that the economy works for all Americans. You know, we`ve gone
decades now, and middle income Americans have not participated in this
great growth and innovation of their economy.
KORNACKI: Well, I mean, and I take the point, and we have in the clip --
different parts of the country -- everybody is not Manhattan. But look at
New York State, and New York State actually it`s pretty big. I mean,
geographically, you have some very rural areas, you have some very poor
areas in New York State.
GENSLER: Absolutely. Hillary knows as well. She represented the state
KORNACKI: Sure. So, the rule here is not just applying to Manhattan.
This is not just New York City. This is all of New York State. This is
rural areas. This is, you know, impoverished areas of the state, it`s also
going to be $15 an hour. So, again, I`m just sort of try to figure out why
that isn`t okay nationally. Because there`s a lot of sort of economic
diversity within New York State too.
GENSLER: Look, Hillary Clinton is going to have a lot to say about the
economy, and we have to make sure the economy grows faster but it`s also
fair. She supports increasing the minimum wage nationally, have a federal
floor, but she also supports where states go further and cities go further
as New York has proposed.
KORNACKI: And does it make sense? The other part of this New York -- the
new rules in New York, it`s fast food only. And I`m wondering about that
because if you`re working at McDonald`s, it`s now going to be $15 an hour.
If you`re working across the street at, you know, I don`t know, the gap or
something, it could still be, you know, $10 an hour, $9 an hour. Something
like that. Does that make sense?
GENSLER: No, we have to focus on ensuring that this economy works for all
Americans. So, it make sense to ensure that it works for all Americans.
This proposal is one that she supports, and I think as she said, she
supports it in other cities and localities as well.
KORNACKI: Okay. Gary Gensler with the Hillary campaign, thanks for
joining us this morning. I appreciate it.
All right. And still ahead on this show, why Donald Trump could give
Republicans an even bigger headache if he bolts the party, drops out of the
race for the nomination and does what somebody else did 24 years ago.
We`ll talk about that.
And next, why did the alligator cross the road? That is the question still
stumping New York City police. This is an interesting story. Stay with
KORNACKI: There`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get caught up with
some of the other headlines making news with this morning`s panel. Let`s
go to -- let`s see where this ones from. Oh, look at this, MSNBC, where
else? Headline, William Shatner, Ted Cruz calling Kirk a republican is
silly. So, this is interesting. "The New York Times" magazine this week
asked self-professed Star Trek nerd Ted Cruz to speculate about the
political affiliation of the leading character some Star Trek. And one of
the characters that Cruz talked about was Captain Kirk, William Shatner`s
old character on a star trek TV series. In a few movies, he said, Cruz
said, I think it`s quite likely Kirk is a republican and Picard, that`s the
next generation, you know, is a democrat. And Shatner who played Captain
Kirk responded on Twitter, Star Trek wasn`t political. I`m not political.
I can`t even vote in the U.S. So to put a geocentric label on interstellar
characters is silly.
SANTORO: Okay. Now, I don`t want to come up with somebody who knows a lot
about star trek but in Star Trek IV, the woman asked Kirk if he has any
money. They`ve gone back in time to the 1980s. And Kirk says, you know,
where I come from there`s no money. Now, where Kirk lives in the 23rd
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Are you really doing this --
KORNACKI: Keep going.
SANTORO: In the 21st century where Kirk lives, there`s no money. That
era, it`s almost like a pure communist economy. There`s no money, there`s
no social stratification. So, the idea that he would have fall into the
normal political lines doesn`t make any sense. And the other thing is,
look, Picard is a diplomat, that`s true, where Kirk wasn`t as much as much
as a diplomat.
HOLMES: They had a prime directive, you know this, that they couldn`t
interfere with cultures that they went to visit. I actually love Sci-Fi
and I think Star Trek was political particularly when it comes to
interracial relationships, enter alien relationships. And if you look at
the Bourque, the Bourque are clearly socialist. Clearly.
KORNACKI: You have more to say about this than I ever expected.
SANTORO: I mean, I`m just saying, as a person that watched a little bit of
Star Trek in my life, I`m just saying, I consider ridiculous argue.
KORNACKI: Are you sure --
SANTORO: Of course, I`m sure, it`s political by the way. I mean, that`s
KORNACKI: If they didn`t have money, maybe they had gold, maybe they`re
Ron Paul supporters.
SANTORO: No, they had gold-pressed latinum as we know from Deep Space Nine
KORNACKI: Well, this was the `60s. So it`s settled.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Captain Kirk was quite the womanizer in --
KORNACKI: Captain Kirk was a member of the working family`s party. I
think -- let`s see what else we have here. This is from, okay, we`ve got
three stories here, but when you get three together, it`s a trend. So,
we`ll going to go through all three of these. This is three of the most
interesting animal stories you`ll going to hear on this Saturday morning.
First from "The Daily News," a feisty alligator, look at this, an alligator
on the streets of New York City. This is in New York City. This was
yesterday. Police took this picture of an alligator, a two-foot long
alligator who is wandering the streets. It later died, I don`t know
exactly how. Experts say the gator was likely a pet. I want to know who
these people are who keep alligators are as pets. I know they`re small and
they`re cute but you know, they`re going to turn into something that kills
people. Please. Anyway, what else do we have?
SANTORO: I thought your whole sewer system is full of alligators. Isn`t
KORNACKI: That`s what they say, I mean --
HOLMES: They come out of the sink.
SANTORO: And there`s Ninja Turtles down there and all that.
KORNACKI: I`ve heard the story, and it scares me --
HOLMES: I mean, that was a plot line in the "Spiderman" film. I don`t
KORNACKI: We`re going through all the Sci-Fi films.
Here`s number two from the -- now, look at this one, this is from "The New
York Times," national park visitors can`t resist bison despite warnings.
Did you see this one? A woman was injured at Yellowstone National Park
when she turned her back on the bison to take a selfie with the bison, the
bison then lifted the woman up and threw her. Some readers of "The Times"
responded by tweeting their own selfies with bison. And speaking of ill-
advised selfies, from the "Daily News" as well, a California man was bitten
while trying to take a selfie with a rattle snake and it ended up instead
of a selfie getting a $153,000 hospital bill to San Diego man lucky to be
alive after picking up the snake in some brush is saying, "Boy, would it be
great if I would get my camera and took a picture of me and this snake?"
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Who are these people?
KORNACKI: This is our country.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: Is it because we have so little contact with animals? I
mean, I grew up kind of small town rural areas where you would see rattle
snakes and you would go the other way. You saw the cows and you said, you
know what, they may look cute but you don`t go cow tipping. You see them
on TV and maybe they look cute and cuddly.
HOLMES: Right. These are morons. It reminds me of the people who go to
the zoo and hop over the railing to go pet the lions and the bears. We
used to call it thinning of the herd, the human herd. You know --
KORNACKI: Well, there`s you know --
SANTORO: Think about how good a selfie that would be with a rattle snake.
I suggest more people do this.
KORNACKI: You know, it would probably get a hundred Instagram hits.
SANTORO: I mean, I`m telling you, you could go viral with this.
KORNACKI: Everybody is looking to go viral these days. And it leads them
to do -- there was a story too out of Texas a few weeks ago, a guy at a
lake and there were signs all over the place that said, you know, don`t
jump in, there are alligators. I read the story. Supposedly he said f-ing
alligators and he jumped in and he was killed. It`s a terrible story. But
it`s also, I mean, it`s mind-boggling, these animal stories. Anyway, we
saw three of them. We had to share them.
DEFRANCESCO-SOTO: It`s not the animal`s fault.
HOLMES: No, it is not.
KORNACKI: No, not in these cases.
HOLMES: But you know what happens, oftentimes these animals are put down
because of human idiocy.
KORNACKI: That might have happen here. And another full hour of news and
politics is ahead. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: A presidential press conference, and also, could Donald Trump
play the ultimate spoiler?
KORNACKI: All right. Thanks for staying with us as we continue on this
We are awaiting a press conference from President Obama as he makes his
first visit, the first visit ever by a sitting American president to Kenya.
We`re also learning more this morning about the shooter in the Louisiana
movie theater massacre. Why did his family fear him and how did he get the
And we`re awaiting a press conference from President Obama and the
president of Kenya. That is due to begin sometime this hour. We`ll bring
it to you live when this happens.
NBC senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing is with us now.
So, Chris, what can we expect at this press conference later this hour?
JANSING: Well, I think we`re going to get some hard questions, because
we`ve already heard over the course of the 12 hours or so that President
Obama has been here about the things he agrees on with President Kenyatta,
things like fighting terrorists. I mean, he was laying the wreath at the
site of the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Islamic extremists
blamed for that. That`s still obviously a problem in this part of the
world. And these two countries have worked together on that.
They spent the morning talking about entrepreneur ship and how to move
forward to build the economy here and make it more available to those at
the lower rung of the economic ladder.
But what we haven`t heard about are the things that have caused tension
between these two countries, largely human rights, gay rights, questions
about policies across the African continent that in many countries make it
illegal to be a homosexual, that have harsh punishments and really some of
the snide remarks that have been made by leaders here in Africa about
President Obama and the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage and his
support of gay marriage.
So, I think we can expect to hear about that and other ways in which these
two countries are expected to move forward under what are sometimes awkward
KORNACKI: All right. Thank you, Chris Jansing, live in Kenya.
And, meanwhile, turning to domestic politics back here at home. As we`ve
been reporting Donald Trump will be in Iowa today for a rally and for a
picnic. This is his second straight weekend of campaigning in the Hawkeye
State, a state in which just 32 percent of voters have a favorable view of
Trump, 57 percent meanwhile seeing him unfavorably, this according to a new
Quinnipiac poll. That is the worst favorability rating of any of the
Republican candidates in that state.
Now, today`s visit by Trump also comes just a few days after the "Des
Moines Register`s" editorial board called on him to drop out of the race,
describing his campaign as, quote, "a bloviating side show."
As a result of that editorial, the Trump campaign has denied the paper
press credentials and is trying to keep it from covering today`s event.
NBC`s Katy Tur is live in Oskaloosa, Iowa. That is where Trump will appear
So, Katy, I guess, drama we`ve come to expect with Donald Trump and any
appearance he has. He`s trying to shut out the largest newspaper in Iowa.
Is he going to be able to do that? What are we expecting at this event
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he can. I think if you`re a
writer for the "Des Moines Register," you can pretty much walk in.
Security at these things has never been very tight. If you don`t have a
press credential, you can walk in and pretend you`re a member of the crowd
and cover it.
I think there are two really interesting things here -- by banning them,
he`s sort of sending a message to the rest of the press saying if you don`t
say what we want you to say or say what we`d like you to say, then we`re
not going to let you cover our events. We`ve certainly been threatened
with that over the course of the campaign so far.
But, secondly, the more interesting thing and the bigger picture of this,
if you noticed, every single event that he`s been at, something big or
something ground -- not ground making, news making, controversial has come
out of each one of those events. He had the McCain gaffe, he had reading
Lindsey Graham`s cell phone at the next one, then covering the border down
in Texas. He`s talking about running for a third party down there.
And up here where he had not been making more news because it`s a Saturday,
he`s decided to ban the "Des Moines Register." It`s a reason to get people
talking about his campaign on what would otherwise be just a normal
campaign stop that wouldn`t necessarily make news.
KORNACKI: That`s a really interesting way of looking at it. I mean, this
is a guy who has a nose for how to get publicity and how to get attention.
Katy Tur live in Oskaloosa, Alabama, interesting to see what happens in the
event today. I know you`ll be keeping an eye on it. Thanks for your time
this morning. Appreciate it.
And Donald Trump leads the Republican field in several recent national
polls, including an 11-point advantage in a new "Washington Post"/ABC News
poll, nearly doubling up the second place candidate there, Scott Walker.
It would be an understatement to say Trump has ruffled a few feathers
within the Republican Party.
But the businessman could give the GOP an even bigger headache if he
doesn`t win the Republican nomination, telling "The Hill" newspaper this
week that in that case, he would consider running as a third party
candidate if he doesn`t feel he`s been treated fairly by the Republican
And the thought of that, the thought of a big third party candidacy might
take you back to the year 1992 -- it certainly does for me -- when Ross
Perot, another business mogul with no political experience ran for
president. Perot garnered 19 percent of the vote in that race.
It was enough, if you ask many Republicans, they will say in many cases
that it cost George H.W. Bush his re-election bid and sent Bill Clinton to
the White House. I think that`s a myth for a couple reasons. One, exit
polls found that just 38 percent of Perot supporters said that Bush was
their second choice. The same number said Clinton was their second choice,
which means that Perot`s campaign seems to have hurt Clinton and Bush
Now, consider what would happen if Trump were to run as a third party
candidate in 2016. According to the most recent "Washington Post"/ABC News
poll, Hillary Clinton would beat Jeb Bush, considered the GOP establishment
front-runner by six points if they`re matched together in a two-way race.
Then, if you add Trump to the mix, you may get a three-way race. Look at
that. Clinton`s lead explodes to 16 points, a six-point lead in a two-way
race, a 16-point lead in a three-way race. That is clear evidence that
Donald Trump would have a very negative effect on the Republicans as an
So, let`s talk more about that possibility that Trump is dangling out there
of a third party bid with E.J. Dionne, an MSNBC contributor and columnist
with "The Washington Post." He`s joining this morning`s panel: MSNBC
contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Amy Holmes with "The Blaze", and
Evan McMorris Santoro of "BuzzFeed".
So, E.J., I know, I wrote a little bit this week about the myth of Ross
Perot in 1992, the story gets repeated all the time, it`s just casually
thrown out there, oh, yes, he cost George Bush, Sr. the election.
A lot of the stories I went back and read for that, for the thing I wrote
this week are your stories covering that campaign in 1992. So, I wonder,
when you look back at the Perot phenomenon, and you look at what Donald
Trump is threatening to do right now, what are the similarities and
differences that you see?
E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think the biggest difference is the one
you just showed on the screen which is that Trump, particularly now he`s
running in the Republican primary. Perot didn`t run in any party`s
primary. And so, Trump is clearly winning mainly conservative support.
And so, Hillary Clinton`s lead goes from six to 16 when you put Trump in
Perot, on the other hand, was somebody with a real mix of views. Some of
his views, particularly on social issues, were quite liberal, and some of
his other views were fairly conservative. He was against free trade,
against NAFTA, which kind of cuts little bit into both parties. That`s why
it wasn`t surprising that he took equally from both candidates.
We actually went back at the time and tried to look state by state. And
the only state Trump might have flipped to Clinton from Bush was Ohio.
Even if you count that, Clinton still wins. So, you`re right in the piece
you wrote, it is a myth.
But there are a couple things they have in common. One, obviously a
business guy, I can get things done. And the other is to speak for a broad
and quite general anger that`s in the electorate about Washington, about
Congress, about things not getting done.
The last difference is Perot was very specific on a lot of issues. Trump
just seems to like to call people losers and morons.
KORNACKI: Let me ask the panel. I mean, this is the dreaded scenario
right now, Amy, for Republicans. I mean, I don`t think the Perot thing
cost Bush. But you look at those numbers, that`s clear evidence -- Trump
doing what he`s doing right now, hurts Republicans if he runs third party.
HOLMES,]: Well, if he runs third party. And that`s a big if. Does Donald
Trump want to reach into his own pocket to fund a multimillion dollar
presidential campaign? That still has to be decided.
But we`re looking at this national polls, we should look at the state
polls. So, looking at Iowa, Trump is having a good time, creating
controversy with the "Des Moines Register." But, in fact, he`s far behind
Scott Walker in Iowa. It`s not expected at this point, it`s very early
stages, that he would Iowa.
Again, Jeb Bush, for example, is up in Florida. John Kasich, the governor
of Ohio, he`s up in Ohio.
So, when you look at a state-by-state basis, this poll is a bit misleading.
And on this network, yesterday on MSNBC, I had a chance to talk with Mr.
Trump and I asked him why he said in the past that he identified more as a
Democrat and he believed that the economy did better under Democrats.
Well, he gave an answer that right now has conservative bloggers up in
arms, pulling out their hair, saying that Donald Trump is not a
conservative and he actually does not represent Republican values.
KORNACKI: Well, this goes this is part of the story that`s been out there
for a while now. Trump has said many, many things in the past that would
paint him as not in line with today`s conservatives. So, it`s a question
of the and when it catches up with him.
But the other question there, Trump is basically saying to Republicans,
look, there`s a threat of the third party candidacy saying you`ve got to
treat me with respect. So, if Republicans have this -- if you want to take
him at his word, Republicans have a fine line to walk.
Can they use the kind of ammunition against Trump that Amy was just talking
about without angering Trump so much that he bolts?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, it seems to me so far what they`ve done is tried
to sort of ride that line, right? When Trump said what he said about
McCain, which I don`t think was a gaffe. It`s something he said a bunch of
times. Fifteen years ago, he said he didn`t think McCain was a war hero
because of being captured.
You know, the GOP jumped all over him. The RNC said you can`t say this
kind of thing, it`s terrible, we don`t like it. When it comes to debates,
they`re saying, look, if you qualify for the debates and you`re running as
Republican, you get to go.
I mean, so far, they seem to be trying to keep that balance going which is
that, when it comes to some of the more outlandish things, they`ll go after
him. But when it comes to letting him run a campaign, they`re going to let
him do that.
DEFRANCESCO SOTO: You know what I found interesting aside from the hat
itself, the message on the hat, what was it? "Make America great again."
And the first thing that came to my mind was "Morning in America", was
Ronald Reagan, 1984, let`s make America prouder, stronger, better.
So, I also find it interesting, you know, he is this guy who likes to use
the anger, but we`re also seeing him try to infuse some optimism and
saying: I`m your savior. All right, things are all mucked up under this
Democratic president, look to me. I`m the tough guy. I can get things
done. I`m tea business guy, but I`m also going to bring you back to that
morning in America.
And there`s that subliminal Ronald Reagan message. In the Republican
Party, he`s the saint.
KORNACKI: E.J., so, the message -- the Trump message and who it`s
resonating with, Victoria talks about there`s a little nostalgia for the
Reagan era. Maybe people of Trump`s age, who were a little younger during
the Reagan years, and they look back, those are the best years, we want to
go back to those.
But there`s also this combination of all the immigration stuff, lots of
nativism in his message. You listen to him on the economic issues. He`s
more -- he sounds a little bit more like a populist on economic issues. He
talks about national health care, he talks about taking care of the less
Somebody said to me that the best description I heard -- Pat Buchanan with
a much bigger wallet.
DIONNE: There`s some of that. First of all, that point on Reagan is a
great point because "make America great again" was one of Ronald Reagan`s
slogans. That is taken directly from Reagan.
And the whole Trump appeal is about American greatness. I`ll be tougher
with China. I`ll be tougher with everybody.
And so, I think that is very Reaganesque. What I think he primarily speaks
to, though, is this broad and general anger that America`s on the wrong
track. That appeals to very conservative traditional people, Pat
Buchanan`s people who think we took a wrong turn not eight years ago, but
maybe 30 years ago or longer, and it appeals to other kinds of people who
are frustrated with the way politicians talk.
And I think his use of sort of straight out insult which you look at and
say what is that about, it`s because he doesn`t sound like any other
politician out there. No politician talks in that bombastic way.
And lastly, he talks about being rich. Most politicians -- as Bill Clinton
once said, most politicians come out and say I was born in a log cabin that
I built by myself. Whereas Trump is saying, yeah, I`m rich, you want to be
rich, join me. It`s like the Republican prosperity gospel.
KORNACKI: Yes, the populist billionaire, if you imagine such a thing. But
that`s sort of the appeal there.
Anyway, E.J. Dionne with "The Washington Post", going to be sticking with
We turn now to Louisiana, where there will be more vigils and memorials
held in honor of the victims of Thursday`s night movie theater shooting.
Students at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette organized this vigil last
night. Two people died in Thursday night shooting, nine others were hurt.
Five victims are still in the hospital.
MSNBC`s Craig Melvin is live in Lafayette.
And, Craig, what is the latest there?
MELVIN: Let`s start with the folks still in the hospital that you just
mentioned there, Steve. We were told yesterday that one of them who had
been in critical condition is going into some surgery, the police chief
saying yesterday they were all optimistic, that that person would be
released from the hospital eventually as well.
So, the thinking right now is there should not be anymore fatalities as a
result of what happened here on Thursday. In terms of the investigation,
we can tell you that right now police, law enforcement, they tell us they
are continuing to talk to folks who knew the shooter, talked to folks who
had perhaps interactions with him over the past few days.
As you know, one of the big story lines in the past 24 hours, these
postings, these online rants that have emerged, anti-gay at times,
antigovernment. This is a guy who ran for political office in Georgia at
He was a small business owner, but we know that in recent months he had
fallen on hard times financially. He had borrowed some money from his
mother. His mom loaned him his money and he said he was going to get his
life back on track. He was living at a Motel 6 nearby, described by police
as a drifter.
The question right now, though -- one of the questions at least -- is why
did he drift here? Why Lafayette? We don`t know of any strong family ties
to the area, no friends in the area. For the first time during the news
conference yesterday, it sounded as if, based on law enforcement`s
assessment, it sounded as if he spent time in the area essentially casing
Lafayette, casing this movie theater.
We know he had gone in before Thursday -- he had gone in a few other times
as well. So the gun -- a big question is how did he get this gun? Here is
a guy that -- you know, there was an arson case back in the late `90s where
he had been charged with hiring a third party to set a lawyer`s office on
There was a criminal domestic violence complaint. He was denied a
concealed carry permit in 2006. How was he able to buy this gun at a
pawnshop in Alabama? That`s a question many are starting to ask right now,
KORNACKI: All right. Thanks to Craig Melvin in Lafayette, Louisiana.
And coming up, President Obama to address members of the press in Nairobi.
We`re keeping an eye out for that news conference, expected to start any
minute now. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: I`m curious as to what you think about
potentially not having a place in the debates. We had a pretty interesting
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it sucks.
GRAHAM: I think it sucks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The countdown continues. Only 12 days now to go until the first
official debate between the 2016 Republican presidential candidates, or at
least some of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. That means
there are only ten days left to find out who those candidates are going to
be to make it onto the debate stage.
The rules, of course, ten slots to be filled by the top ten finishers in
the five most recent national polls before that debate. Now, it is unclear
how many polls are going to be released between now and between the
deadline for the polls. A lot of confusing dates here and deadlines.
But when we checked with the polls last week, former Texas Governor Rick
Perry had just fallen out of the top ten in favor of former Pennsylvania
Senator Rick Santorum. Did that hold this week? One national poll
released this week?
Let`s take a look to see how it affected the top ten. This is our top ten,
this is inexact. Nobody quite knows what the exact formula FOX News is
going to use besides FOX News.
So, we`re guessing here. The top ten based on the five most recent polls
that we tracked shows that Rick Perry this week jumped back up into the top
ten in the final spot. You see him there at number ten. Rick Perry under
our calculation, he would now get the final ticket to that first debate.
Chris Christie also sort of on the edge there, he`d be in as well.
That means who is out, we`ll take a look at this. These candidates would
not, by our calculation right now, be on that stage. You see the first one
out is Rick Santorum.
How about this? John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, he announced his
presidential candidacy this week. The first debate is going to be in his
home state in Cleveland. Right now, by our calculations, he would not be
on the stage for that debate in his home state. Neither would these other
We always say we do this NCAA tournament style. We look at the bubble,
last ones in, first ones out, the ones going to the NIT if you want to keep
the analogy going.
So, here you go. Look at the poll, look, how tight this is. Rick Perry is
averaging 2.2 percent. In our calculations that`s a slight uptick, .2
percent since last week. Rick Santorum dropping .4 of 1 percent last week.
And the difference then is Perry gets in, Santorum gets out.
Now, again, this is based on one poll, one poll coming out in the last week
being thrown into that average of the five most recent. This is the
effect. So, a couple things to keep an eye on here as we approach that
August 6th deadline.
Number one, as I just said, is John Kasich. Is he going to get a bounce
this week? He got a fair amount of press attention, nothing like the press
attention that Donald Trump has been getting. But it`s a fair amount of
Is it enough to get another point or two in the average? If it does, that
could be critical. That could be put him up into this top ten.
If he gets into the top ten, knocks one of these candidates out? So, which
one of them is going to be unlucky there?
The key is this: the deadline for polls that FOX has said is next Tuesday.
So, we`re expecting, we`re not sure about this, but we`re expecting we`re
going to see a bunch of these polls dumped at the end of this week, early
next week, all the pollsters trying to get into the top five.
We`ll keep a close eye on it and give you the latest numbers next week.
We`re awaiting a press conference from President Obama with the president
NBC senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing is joining us now live
So, Christi, they`re just getting ready to start over there. Set the scene
for us, if you will.
JANSING: Well, they`re coming to this out of a place where there`s some
tension between these two countries, but the president has been working
very hard to try to move this forward. You`ve seen President Kenyatta
basically sticking by him since the moment he landed. They`re going to be
talking about security situation here.
They`ve been plagued by horrible terror attacks by Shabaab, the Somali-
based arm of al Qaeda. They`ve really been pushing hard on the economy.
This is a country where the economy is on the move, but there had been some
real problem with disparity between the rich and the poor, something like
40 percent of the country living below what we would consider to be the
And this is a typical press conference in these kinds of situation. We
call them a two and two. The two presidents get two questions each from
each of their press. You`re going to start with the Kenyan press asking a
question and then we will go to the U.S. press.
KORNACKI: All right. Chris Jansing in Nairobi. Again, we`re standing by,
waiting for that press conference to begin. The first ever visit by an
American president in the nation of Kenya. That`s going to start any
second. We`ll bring it to you as soon as it does.
The press conference is straight ahead. So is much more. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: We are awaiting a press conference with President Obama and
Kenyan President Kenyatta.
As we said, NBC`s Chris Jansing is over there. She`s keeping an eye on
things. We`re told this press conference is expected to begin a couple
minutes from now. We`ll bring it to you as it does, as we get ready for
Let`s talk a little bit with the panel back here in New York.
So, Evan, this is -- the president said this is his first trip as president
to Kenya. This is the first ever trip by any American president to Kenya.
But this one obviously, the fact that it`s this president, given his ties
to Kenya, is particularly significant.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Yes, I mean, just to say how thrilled I am at this
historic moment that when the president is in Kenya, I get to be here on
KORNACKI: I really appreciate it.
HOLMES: You have doughnuts.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Yes, true. There are free doughnuts. Chris is doing a
great job down there.
This is a big part of Obama`s legacy. He`s done a lot of discussion about
Africa trying to create economic there, trying to reach out and create new
diplomatic ties there, doing a lot of counterterrorism stuff in Africa.
This is the legacy era of the Obama presidency. These kind of appearances
and things he`s doing now are the kind of things you want to see when you
visit potential libraries and things like that.
This is a key part of Obama`s sort of story line, is his connection to this
country, his connection to that part of the world. And see how it all
plays out. It`s been quite interesting to see how this is playing out near
the end of the presidency.
HOLMES: But this has more to do with Obama and his personal story. He`s
the first president to go to Kenya, but he`s certainly not the first
president to go to Africa. In point of fact, George W. Bush is very
popular in Africa because of all the work he did on global HIV/AIDS and
funding -- addressing that problem in Africa.
So, of course we like to see an American president making these
connections, but I don`t think we should forget that Obama is not the first
American president to visit the continent --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I think George Bush set a certain standard in terms of
how to work with Africa. But Bill Clinton spent a lot of time with Africa.
HOLMES: Right. Bill Clinton gives George Bush credit for the global
HIV/AIDS bill. With President Obama, I see a lot of talk and
personalizing, but where is the policy?
KORNACKI: Yes. But this is -- you think back to the 2008 campaign and
just the idea of Barack Obama sort of political rise in the United States
and how much curiosity and fascination that sparked around the world. I
think a lot people around the world -- there are a lot of people in United
States who felt this way, too.
But a lot of people in Kenya around the world looked at the United States
and said, no, they`re never going to elect Barack Obama as president of the
United States. A lot of people in Kenya said this guy with Kenyan roots,
he`s not going to be like the president. So, I imagine in Kenya today,
obviously they`ve absorbed the fact that he`s president by now.
But to see him there coming to the country as president of the United
States, that`s got to be a pretty big moment in Kenya.
SOTO: Very big moment. And I think Chris Jansing pointed this out. That
it`s going to be challenging. It`s not President Obama saying, hey, I`m
recognizing my roots, but no, he`s going to hold their feet to the fire.
He`s saying there are a lot of things here that we do not agree with as a
democracy over in the United States, human rights violations, for example.
This isn`t just a touchy feely.
KORNACKI: How is that going to sound in Kenya?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The thing about Obama, one of his foreign policy focuses
has been sort of being Obama, right? I mean, when he got elected foreign
support -- across the world there was a lot of support for him.
SOTO: Nobel Peace prize.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Some of that changed after spying on everybody`s
presidents and other foreign policy mishaps that have happened. But still,
places like Kenya, the president of the United States, particularly Obama,
has a big, big voice in places like that and just sort of being Obama is a
big deal there. So you find --
HOLMES: But in fact, we`ve actually already seen that Kenyans are saying
they don`t want to be lectured by President Obama when it comes to domestic
KORNACKI: Where are you seeing that?
HOLMES: I was reading reports yesterday, there were protesters there, if
you start to discuss these touchy social policy issues with the Kenyans,
they`re not going to like it.
Again, President Obama, this is a historic moment for the Kenyan people,
President Obama as a Kenyan. But, again, back in 2008 -- I was born in
Africa. I`m half African. I think there was this exotic mystery about
President Obama that the media did not investigate.
There are a lot of us actually out there half African and half white.
President Obama is not the only one.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: He`s president, though, that`s kind of a big deal.
HOLMES: His biography was sort of framed as if it was this unique
combination when, in fact, it`s much more common than people think.
KORNACKI: Well, he is our first African-American president. We can
certainly say that.
KORNACKI: He is going to be speaking with the president of Kenya again any
minute now. There`s a live shot you`re looking at from Nairobi, Kenya.
We`re told that`s going to be under way shortly. We`ll squeeze a break in.
We`ll, of course, bring it to you live as soon as it happens.
We`ll be back right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. As we`ve been saying, we`re awaiting that press
conference to start any minute now with President Obama and Kenyan
President Kenyatta. We`ll bring it to you live as soon as it happens, keep
a close eye on what`s happening over there.
But while we keep an eye on that, we are going to shift gears back to some
domestic politics here in United States. Events with same-sex marriage
have moved so quickly, it`s easy to forget how national equality on the
issue seemed all but impossible. The same election that saw Barack Obama
elected president in 2008 when he collected well over 60 percent of the
voters in California also saw the passage of proposition 8, 52 percent
supporting the measure to ban same-sex marriage in California, nullifying a
state court`s order.
At the same time, same-sex marriage was available in only two states, just
two states back then.
Fast forward and the Supreme Court has not only overturned Proposition 8,
it`s made gay marriage the law of the land. At the time of last month`s
landmark ruling, same-sex marriage was legal in 37 states, representing a
remarkable rate of change. Many Americans appear to be questioning whether
we`re headed in the right direction on social issues.
A new poll showing a large percentage of Americans, 63 percent of them,
even in the wake of this court ruling, say that are uncomfortable with the
country`s overall direction on social issues.
"The Washington Post"/ABC News poll finding 52 percent of voters say they
do support the Supreme Court`s ruling that legalized gay marriage
nationally. The nation is also closely divided over bans on the
Confederate flag, those who support banning the flag from government
property barely edge out those who think the flag should be able to fly.
Let`s talk with our panel about some interesting findings here, because the
trajectory -- gay marriage is the big one we talk about, but this has been
a big month for social change. I mean, the gay marriage ruling, the flag
came down in South Carolina. These debates have taken center stage. In a
lot of ways, there`s been a -- the progressive side has won in terms of
what`s happening on the ground. But you`re looking at these polls and it
seems like there`s a fair number of Americans looking at think saying we
want to hit the brakes.
SOTO: Steve, I`m your resident Texan. Speaking from a very red state, I`m
not surprised in the least.
Big chunks of America are still very conservative socially and fiscally.
And more so, I think that when we see this rapid change, the Supreme Court
decisions, conservatives dig in their heels a bit more. So, we`re seeing a
backlash saying we feel even more conservative in light of these
So, I think we`re going to be seeing this bleed over into the 2016 election
as a result of these court rulings.
KORNACKI: And I think if we can put some numbers on this, it shows
Democrats, Republicans, independents. Their response on this question, are
you uncomfortable with the rate of social change? You can see what
Victoria is talking about. 82 percent of Republicans saying they`re
uncomfortable. But even Democrats, that`s still nearly half of all
Democrats looking around saying this is too fast.
HOLMES: Right. If you`re having upwards of 68 percent of independents,
that`s far larger than the number considered self identified conservatives.
I think there is -- you know, you can have sort of ambivalence. On the one
hand, Americans who would say, legally, yes, I think this ought to be
permissible, but morally, I`m uncomfortable with it or where this is going
to lead our country socially I`m uncomfortable with it. I think people can
have both these thoughts in their head at the same time.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: You know, I`m going to go with the (INAUDIBLE) narrative
on this, which is that -- I mean, I think the poll is a poll. The poll got
the results that it got. But if you look at politics, what`s actually
happening in politics these days, I`m not sure that I buy this.
I mean, one of the things happening in Washington right now and I`ve been
covering it a lot, is this criminal justice reform push, where you`re
seeing Republicans, very conservative Republicans, the Koch brothers among
others and very liberal Democrats, President Obama among them, working
together to make these big sweeping fundamental changes to the way the
criminal justice system works, that essentially sort of dial back the war
on drugs, let people out of prison, change the way that we care about
crime, with a huge impact potentially on minority communities, huge impact
on specifically young black men.
Now, and -- you have a big political constituency that`s for this and
pushing for it.
So, if we`re seeing a pushback after all the social change, I haven`t seen
it in Washington right now. I mean, you`re seeing it. This is a big deal.
SOTO: It is a big deal but you`re not tapping those hot button issues of
gay marriage, of health care, of abortion. I just don`t see the same
KORNACKI: Yes, and the lines have been drawn, especially on abortion, we
or talking 40 years here at this point, the lines are so deeply drawn.
Anyway, as we`ve been telling you, we`re awaiting the press conference with
President Obama and Kenyan President Kenyatta. Again, that`s expected to
start in any minute now. They might be running a little late over in
Nairobi. But we`ll bring it to you as soon as it begins. And we`re going
to squeeze in a quick break right now.
Please stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re awaiting that press conference from President
Obama, Kenyan President Kenyatta. Actually they`re about to start right
now. Let`s go right over there.
UHURU KENYATTA, KENYAN PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me begin by saying that we have had an excellent afternoon where we`ve
had very frank, and indeed very fruitful discussions with President Obama,
on a variety of issues of mutual interest both to Kenya and the United
This follows the signing of agreements covering areas of mutual interest,
such as security, vis-a-vis reciprocity, and development and cooperation
amongst other things. Our discussions affirm that Kenya and the United
States share deep values, in many areas of critical interest. And
naturally, therefore, people and governments speak the same language on
Kenya is an open democratic society under pinned by embrace of democracy.
We are deepening that democracy, while fighting global terrorists who seek
to destroy our way of life. Left undefeated, they will redraw the
international system, and make room for violent extremism and tyranny.
We agree together that we can build a future in which our people of all
faiths, cultures, live peacefully together, with the rights of individuals
and minorities protected, and those in power hold -- held to account by
strong and inclusive institutions. I also expressed to President Obama
that without building shared prosperity, our vision of a secure Africa, and
indeed a stable world, will remain a fragile dream.
For this reason, that Kenya, an increasingly dynamic country, is
continuously opening new trade and investment frontiers across the world.
I convey the hope that during his tenure in office, the United States would
look to develop a strong strategic partnership with Africa, build on shared
values and interests. I also express the hope that his visit will allow
him and the people of the United States, to gain an even deeper insight on
Africa`s challenges. And this will enable them to see these challenges as
an expression of great opportunities that are available here.
The United States is a country of entrepreneurs, with the unique capacity
to build transformative businesses, and I hope these entrepreneurs and
investors will recognize and act on the immense opportunities Kenya and
Africa present. And in this regard, I also express my appreciation of his
leadership in shepherding the renewal of AGOA.
Beyond shared values, we are proper brothers and sisters, fellow travelers
in a struggle for a better world for all, and we, therefore, need to
upscale our partnerships in agriculture, infrastructure, and affordable
energy. I also expressed my own commitment to ensuring that on our part,
we will continue to take the steps that provide the proper conditions for a
vibrant ecosystem for investors and entrepreneurs.
We agree to continue to engage one another, so that we can strengthen what
is already a robust relationship and indeed I look forward to hosting
President Obama later this evening and, indeed, also seeing him at the
sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
President Obama, once again, on my own behalf, on behalf of my government
and the people of Kenya, let me thank you for your support as evidenced by
the various agreements signed between our two governments and, indeed, your
willingness to engage Kenya in the true spirit of partnership.
It`s now my pleasure to introduce the president to make some brief remarks
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Kenyatta, let me
just reiterate what I said at the summit earlier to you and to people of
Kenya, thank you for the extraordinary welcome you have given me and for
the same kindness you have shown me since my first visit to Kenya nearly 30
years ago. I`m proud to return as the first U.S. president to ever visit
Kenya while still in office. I need to give a special acknowledgment to
everybody in Alago (ph) and Kogelo and Kisumu.
I`m well aware that the enthusiasm we are seeing today from my visit is a
reflection of something bigger. That`s the desire among the Kenyan people
for a deeper partnership with America. That`s why I`m here.
My work with President Kenyatta today has been rooted in our shared
recognition that the interests of both our nations and the lives of both
our peoples can be advanced if our countries deepen and expand our
cooperation. That`s what we have agreed to today.
First, I want to salute the Kenyan people for their hard won progress in
strengthening their democracy. Millions voted for the new Constitution,
one of the most progressive in Africa, with its strong protections for
freedom of expression, assembly, and the press, and its emphasis on
equality and against discrimination.
The election two years ago was competitive and largely peaceful. Kenya has
a determined, active, feisty press as we see here today. And as I have
said elsewhere, a free press helps make a nation stronger and more
successful. It makes us leaders more effective because it demands greater
Kenya has a vibrant civil society which is essential for any democracy. I
look forward to meeting tomorrow with representatives from civil society
who stand up for the dignity and rights of all Kenyans.
Dignity begins, of course, with the ability to provide a decent life for
our families and we want to expand the economic partnerships between our
peoples that can provide broad based prosperity.
We will extend student and business visas for up to five years for Kenyans
traveling to the United States and Americans traveling to Kenya, to make it
easier for university students to complete their studies and businesses to
make long-term plans. Our governments are also working to launch direct
flights between Kenya and the United States as soon as possible. As part
of our young African leaders initiative, we`ll also continue to support
promising Kenyan youth as they work to become future leaders in business,
civil society, and government.
Now that we`ve renewed the African Growth and Opportunity Act or AGOA for
another ten years, I discussed with President Kenyatta how to expand
economic cooperation. We are especially focused on infrastructure and
energy, two keys to economic growth.
Our Power Africa Initiative is supporting the goal of achieving its
national energy needs, electricity for Kenyans, by 2030. This includes
bringing pour to rural Kenyans who are off the grid as I saw earlier today
at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
I also want to commend Kenya, a leader in clean energy, for announcing its
post 20 target to limit carbon emissions as part of our fight against
Together, we are confronting insidious threats to Kenya`s prosperity.
President Kenyatta, I want to commend you on your announced commitment to
rooting out corruption. With the joint commitment we have agreed to today
the United States will offer advice and technical assistance to support
Kenya as it takes steps to increase transparency, and accountability and to
strengthen institutions that fight corruption. So, we are making important
commitments and now we need to work together to fulfill them, because if
Kenya can put in place the habits and institutions of good governance, it
can help unleash even greater growth and investment and prosperity for the
Kenyan people. And that will be good for everybody.
Our countries are also close partners in the fight against poachers and
traffickers that threaten Kenya`s world famous wildlife. The United States
has a ban already on the commercial import of elephant ivory.
I can announce that we are proposing a new rule that bans the sale of
virtually all ivory across our state lines which will eliminate the market
for illegal ivory in the United States. On security, the United States and
Kenya are already strong partners. And today, we reaffirm that we stand
united in the face of terrorism.
Earlier, I had the opportunity to meet with survivors and families of
victims of the bombing of our U.S. embassy in 1998. In the face of
despicable violence such as the attack on Garissa University College, and
the Westgate Mall, the Kenyan people have shown incredible resolve and
I also want to pay tribute to the sacrifices of Kenyan forces who serve in
the African Union-led mission against al Shabaab in Somalia and to thank
Kenya for hosting so many Somali refugees who are victims of al Shabaab.
Today, we discussed deepening our security cooperation as part of the
security governance initiative. Our governments signed an action plan to
support Kenya`s efforts to strengthen its judiciary, police and border
security. We also discussed broader efforts to counter extremism here and
around the world, efforts that are advanced when there is rule of law,
respect for human rights, a space for civil society and peaceful dissent
and when we welcome all communities as our partners. All our nations are
going to have to work together in order for us to be successful.
We also had the opportunity to discuss regional security issues. We
focused in particular on the terrible conflict in South Sudan which has
taken so many lives that cause unbearable suffering for the South Sudanese
The situation is dire. We agree that the best way to stop the fighting is
for South Sudanese leaders to put their country first with a peace
agreement that ends the fighting. We also discussed Burundi where the
recent elections were not credible. We are calling on the government and
opposition to come together in a dialogue that leads to a political
solution to the crisis and avoids the loss of more innocent life.
And finally, we are going to keep investing in the health and well-being of
our people. Our feed the future initiative is focused on reducing hunger,
malnutrition and poverty. We are working together to ensure that girls
have access to education and that women are protected from violence.
Today, I can announce that Kenya will be part of our Dreams Initiative to
help keep adolescent girls safe and AIDS-free. And across Africa, Kenya
and the United States will keep working to strengthen public health systems
and deal with outbreaks and diseases before they become epidemics.
Together, we can save lives.
So, President Kenyatta, thank you for the progress and new commitments that
we have made today. I know that Kenya faces persistent challenges as does
the United States.
But I will tell you that every time I come here, I`m struck by the
determination and talent of the Kenyan people. I look forward to the
opportunity to speak to the people of Kenya tomorrow about the future we
can build together.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
You want me start? OK.
Mr. Jeff Mason (ph)?
REPORTER: Thank you very much.
Mr. President, I would like to ask about two topics.
First of all, what more specifically can the U.S. do to help Kenya in the
fight against al Shabaab? Do you see still Somalia as a counterterrorism
model? And are you concerned about authorities using counterterrorism as
an excuse to commit human rights violations?
Secondly, can you comment on the state of gay and lesbian -- the treatment
of gay and lesbians in Kenya which rights groups called dismal, and
President Kenyatta has called a nonissue?
For you, sir, President Kenyatta, on the same themes -- what more do you
need from the United States to help al Shabaab and are you getting it? And
can you please also respond to the criticism about the state of gay rights
in your country?
OBAMA: Well, this was an extensive topic of conversation, and concrete
action that we`re now taking. There has been extensive and effective
counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and Kenya, dealing
with primarily threats from al Shabaab. In part because of the actions we
have taken not just with Kenya but with Africa.
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