Meet the Press - August 4, 2019

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CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday... Domestic terrorism in El Paso... and another mass shooting overnight. In Texas... a 21-year-old man with violent hatred of Hispanic immigrants opens fire with an assault rifle at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, on the Mexican border. Twenty dead in this act of domestic terrorism, the death toll making this among the worst mass shootings in U-S history.

WITNESS:

Then out of nowhere they started saying there was a shooting.

WITNESS:

I'm really shocked, I'm scared to be honest.

WITNESS:

All I want to do is find my mom. Somebody needs to tell me where she is.

CHUCK TODD:

The gunman posting an anti-immigrant screed online. This comes after a month of President Trump stoking racial resentment.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

We believe our country should be a sanctuary for law abiding citizens, not for criminal aliens.

CHUCK TODD:

Then, overnight in Dayton, Ohio, nine more people gunned down in the city's entertainment district.

POLICE OFFICER:

This is a very safe part of downtown, and it’s a, it’s a very popular destination for visitors.

CHUCK TODD:

We'll get the latest on both stories from the scenes. I'll talk to El Paso's Congresswoman, Veronica Escobar. We also have two Democratic presidential candidates: Julian Castro of Texas and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Joining me for insight and analysis are: NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent, Kasie Hunt… Eddie Glaude, Jr., of Princeton University… Eliana Johnson, National Political Reporter for Politico… And former Republican Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory. It's Sunday, and this is a special edition of Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News, the longest running show in television history, this is a special edition of Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome to a tough Sunday morning for America. The plague of mass shootings in the country has now reached an almost incomprehensible moment. Twice now, in less than 24 hours, we've seen massacres in two American cities with a death toll in the dozens. First, in what appears to be an act of domestic terrorism in El Paso, Texas, a majority Hispanic city on the Mexico border... a 21-year-old gunman walked into a WalMart with a military assault rifle and opened fire on shoppers... killing at least 20 and wounding more than two dozen others. As of this morning, the death toll in El Paso puts this mass shooting among the ten worst in U-S history.

Here is how witnesses described the scene:

(BEGIN TAPE)

WITNESS:

It kind of sounded like fireworks and they started coming closer together . The shots were coming together like do-do-do-do

WITNESS:

I heard a lot of yelling. There was cops with guns and they’re saying ‘get on your knees.’

WITNESS:

I helped a little girl that was full of blood and then the mother came around the corner. She was shot in the chest

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

The killer, who appears to be a white nationalist was captured and placed into custody. He posted an essay on line referring to Hispanic invaders and praised the murderer of 51 people in mosques earlier this year in Christchurch, New Zealand. It's worth noting: Last week we asked whether President Trump's racial resentment rhetoric was a political issue for Republicans.

Now we have to ask whether his harsh words are actually inspiring violence. As if that weren't enough to comprehend, we woke up this morning to the news that at least nine more people were killed and many more wounded and taken to area hospitals in a shooting overnight in Dayton, Ohio. The shooter who was wearing body armor and a mask was killed by police. Add these two horrible incidents to the shooting last week in Gilroy, California and we are looking at one of the most deadly and emotionally unsettling weeks of violence in recent American history. In fact, more Americans were killed in mass shootings in the past 24 hours than American troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2017 and 2018 combined. We've got both stories covered this morning and we're going to begin with our Justice Correspondent here at NBC News Pete Williams, who joins me now. So Pete, let me go in recent order here. We don't know much more about Dayton. This happened past midnight, beyond what we were able to just report there. Is that correct?

PETE WILLIAMS:

Right, so about 1:00 a.m. It's a popular bar in Dayton, in a section that was a popular sort of night spot. One person, heavily body armored, with a mask and an assault-style rifle with a high-capacity magazine, opens fire. But why and who he is just are not clear.

CHUCK TODD:

He certainly was planning something or had planned it. But we don't know motive beyond that.

PETE WILLIAMS:

The planning seems pretty apparent, because of how well prepared he was, what he was wearing and what he was carrying.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, let's move to El Paso. We've learned a lot more about this gunman, as well as this screed that he posted. How are authorities investigating this right now?

PETE WILLIAMS:

So several things, first of all, they're searching his house. They're looking at his social media. They're talking to friends and family. They searched the house where he was staying, apparently, the night before the shooting. It's about an eight-hour drive from -- he lived, in Allen, Texas, which is a suburb of Dallas, and then drove to El Paso, it appears, that day. And we're looking at the timeline, this essay that was posted online, on an extremist website. It appears that it was --

CHUCK TODD:

Same website, by the way, that the shooter of the synagogue, the white supremacist who did that one, and the Christchurch, all posted on this same extremist website, 8chan.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Right. There's a real commonality there. But in terms of the timing, it appears that this thing was posted 19 minutes before the first 9-1-1 call comes from the shopping center in El Paso. It does appear that at least some authorities became aware of it. But there wasn't anything they could do.

CHUCK TODD:

Aware, let me just get the timeline, aware of this posting before they knew it was leading to a shooting.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Right. The essay appears to this attack. So it seems like the person was planning an attack. But he didn’t say where. He didn't even say, El Paso. So there really wasn't anything they could do about that. But the essay itself says it's been thinking about this. This is Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspect. Many law enforcement officials say they believe he's the person who wrote this essay. And he said he'd been planning it for about a month.

CHUCK TODD:

Any awareness that this was somebody on the radar already or no?

PETE WILLIAMS:

No, no.

CHUCK TODD:

I believe it was on July 23rd, Christopher Wray was asked about this issue of white nationalism, in general, and this threat of domestic terrorism. And he seemed to indicate there is a thread through many of the incidents they're investigating.

PETE WILLIAMS:

Well, a couple of things. First of all, in recent years, more people have been killed by or arrests made in connection with domestic terrorism than foreign terrorism. So there's been a real change, since 9/11. We've gone sort of in cycles. Remember, after the Oklahoma City bombing, domestic terror was the big thing. Then, we got focused on foreign terrorism. Now, it appears that domestic terrorism is at least as big a threat. And then coming back to what you say, there is a real commonality here. The internet has sort of speeded up the ability by which these people inspire each other.

CHUCK TODD:

Pete Williams, it's going to be a busy Sunday for you, a busy week. Thanks very much. And when we have more information, we will continue to share. Joining me now on the phone is the mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley. Mayor Whaley, our condolences to the city of Dayton this morning. What more can you tell us overnight?

MAYOR NAN WHALEY:

Well, I mean, I think, thank you, Chuck, for you condolences for our community. Our community has had a pretty tough year this year, already. And what we're most amazed by, for our, for this incident, was, in under a minute, the police were able to really stop the subject, the shooter from shooting. And I just really am amazed that, if they were not there, if they had not been on the site how many, I mean, we could've had deaths and injured in the hundreds. Because he had this AK-like, you know, assault rifle that he was using, with a high-capacity magazine.

CHUCK TODD:

So it is startling, then, how many -- how much carnage there was, considering he was able to be stopped in less than a minute.

MAYOR NAN WHALEY:

In less than a minute.

CHUCK TODD:

How armed and how prepared was this gunman?

MAYOR NAN WHALEY:

This gunman was -- had body armor on. He was carrying, you know, a .223-caliber, high-capacity magazine and had additional magazines, as well. So he was, he was prepared to do some serious death in our community. And, you know, obviously, with nine fatalities in under a minute and, you know, over 20 people injured, I'm just, I’m incredibly grateful to the police department that stopped this action. I mean, for us, in Dayton, we -- this is actually the second tragedy to hit our city this summer. First, we had a tornado that tore through Dayton in May. And now, we face this mass shooting. The difference is that one of these tragedies was completely preventable. And one of these tragedies has happened, now, 250 times this year, in our country. And yet, nobody can be moved to do anything about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Mayor Whaley, one last comment for elected officials in Washington. I want to give you that forum.

MAYOR NAN WHALEY:

I'm sorry, Chuck?

CHUCK TODD:

One last comment for elected officials in Washington, one last comment that you have for them about this incident.

MAYOR NAN WHALEY:

I mean, my question to them is, you know, we're city number 250. How many cities have to go through mass shootings before somebody does something to change the law?

CHUCK TODD:

Mayor Whaley, I'm going to leave it there. I know you're busy this morning. Thanks for taking a couple minutes with me on the phone. And again, our condolences. And hang in there, Dayton. Such a wonderful city.

MAYOR NAN WHALEY:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Joining me now from El Paso, it's Democratic Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. Congresswoman Escobar, welcome to Meet the Press. And you were having a town hall meeting at the time of this incident. And all of a sudden, there was this moment of frenzy a bit, law enforcement officials informing you. Tell me, quickly, more about how you learned of this incident in real time there.

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR:

So Chuck, we were having the town hall meeting. And we were in the middle of our Q&A when my staff approached me. I knew something was wrong. It felt unusual. And I was told about the active shooter and that our law enforcement agents, who were there to take care of us during the townhall and keep us safe there, they needed to rush over to the scene. And so we asked folks, we told them that it was the end of the meeting, that we needed everybody to calmly get home and stay home. And my staff and I went to our downtown office and continued to follow the news and get updates. And it just kept getting worse and worse and worse. But just like the mayor is grateful to her first responders, we are so grateful to ours and to all of the medical personnel who have been working through the night, Chuck, to keep many of the victims alive.

CHUCK TODD:

So let me ask you this. We’ve learned - we're learning more about this shooter in El Paso. We're learning about a motive with him there. Simultaneously, you heard the mayor of Dayton talk about, you know, their city 250, when it comes to having one of these massacres happen on their watch. What do you see as your responsibility, going forward, as an elected official in Washington, D.C.? How should you confront this?

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR:

My primary responsibility, right now, Chuck, is to be with the community, comfort the community, be of service to the community. And I first want to say that El Paso is one of the most compassionate, generous, kind, warm, loving communities in the country. We're standing in front of United Blood Services, where people have been pulling up to line up to give blood over an hour in advance. Yesterday, the line was wrapped around all the buildings, where donations were taking place. People had to be turned away. With the Family Reunification Center, food had to be turned away, because there was so much love and abundance. But yes, that -- so my primary responsibility is here, with my community. But as a legislator, all of us, as legislators, Chuck, we have to talk about what's really happening. And we have to speak the truth.

CHUCK TODD:

And what is that truth?

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR:

It's not politicizing an event. To call - that truth is we have not just a gun epidemic in this country, but we have a hate epidemic in this country.

CHUCK TODD:

Veronica Escobar, congresswoman from El Paso, I know it's been an incredibly rough 24 hours for you and your community. Hang in there. We're all, we’re all with you.

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR:

Thank you. Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me from San Antonio is Democratic presidential candidate, former San Antonio mayor and former Housing Secretary, Julián Castro. Secretary Castro, welcome back to Meet the Press. Before I -- we get into policy prescription or anything like that, I know you have a lot of contacts in Texas government. What more can you tell us about what you've learned overnight?

JULIÁN CASTRO:

Well, I think that, you know, most of the facts that we know at this point have been released. You know, that there were about 20 individuals who were killed, that this gunman was in his early 20s, a white male. And of course there's a tremendous amount of grief and sadness. And all of us are thinking about the families there in El Paso who have been victimized.

CHUCK TODD:

This is going to spark a couple of conversations. One is on domestic terrorism, and one is on our gun culture. How do you -- what do you see here as sort of -- what we need to start tackling?

JULIÁN CASTRO:

We need to tackle both of these things. And unfortunately, as we've seen time after time, they're related. On the one hand, it's clear what we can do to cut down on the number of these incidents. We need common sense gun reform. This happened in Texas, a state that has one of the highest rates of gun ownership. It has concealed carry. It has open carry. The shooter knew that he would be walking into a store where a lot of people would be carrying a gun. That did not deter him. The answer is not more people with guns. The answer is to make sure that especially these semiautomatic weapons, these weapons of war, not out on the street, and that we do things like universal background checks and red flag laws so that people who shouldn't have their hands on weapons don't get them in the first place. At the same time, there is a toxic brew right now in the United States. And this is just one more example of that, of white nationalism. The manifesto that apparently this shooter wrote that says that Hispanics are taking over the state of Texas and changing the country, this echoes the kind of language that our president encourages, talking about "invaders." And there are, you know, others who talk about "people bringing disease" and "changing the culture," this idea of replacement. There is this very toxic brew of white nationalism that is arising. And I know that doesn't reflect by any means, by any means the vast, vast majority of Americans. But unfortunately, what we see is an increasing number of these incidents, these mass shooting incidents. And so we need to pay attention to this, and we need to do something about this. The FBI has identified this. The FBI director has said that this is a particular problem right now in the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

The president of the United States --

JULIÁN CASTRO:

And that needs to be addressed --

CHUCK TODD:

-- has not.

JULIÁN CASTRO:

-- in addition to --

CHUCK TODD:

Right. The president, the president of the United States --

JULIÁN CASTRO:

-- shootings.

CHUCK TODD:

-- has not, right? We’ve had, the director of the FBI has acknowledged that there is a rise in white nationalism that's tied to domestic terrorism. The president has not. Is there any role, constructive role, he can play? Or because of how often he uses the language of racial resentment, does he just not have the credibility to do anything to fix this problem?

JULIÁN CASTRO:

This president started his campaign in 2016 on a path of racial resentment and fanning the flames of bigotry. That's how he believes he won in 2016. That's how he thinks he's going to win in 2020. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any credibility anymore. You know, when he didn't step up right away and condemn the neo-Nazis after Charlottesville, allowing that crowd for 13 seconds to chant, "Send her back," a couple of weeks ago, he doesn't have any credibility.

But you know what, Chuck? Like all Americans, I hope, I still hope that this president will do what most presidents have done throughout our history, which is to realize that we have to do everything that we can to try and unite Americans instead of fanning the flames of bigotry.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you worry that --

JULIÁN CASTRO:

He has to be a big enough man, a big enough person in these moments to do that.

CHUCK TODD:

George P. Bush called this white terrorism. Not many other Republicans have used that language. Do you think others need to in order to get the president to see this problem?

JULIÁN CASTRO:

I wish they would call it out, that they would be honest about what's happening here. Because you know very well, and I know very well, that if this had been somebody of the Muslim faith that had committed this kind of act, immediately they would go to this idea that -- as the president has, this bogus idea that we have to keep all Muslims out of the country, which is absolutely ridiculous. I think instead what we need to do is address the issue with common sense gun reform and also address this toxic white supremacy that is brewing in the country.

CHUCK TODD:

Julián Castro, I know it's a tough day for Texas, tough day for America. More people dying in the last 24 hours than we had troops in Afghanistan die in the last two years. Anyway, it's been a rough, rough weekend. Thanks for coming on and sharing your view, sir.

JULIÁN CASTRO:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

And a programming note, Lester Holt will anchor NBC Weekend Nighty News tonight from El Paso. Still to come: I'll get the Trump administration's perspective from White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. But next up: Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker. Stick around

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Joining me now is Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Senator Booker, welcome back to Meet the Press. And I know, on the issue of guns, I think nobody has a, I think, a more aggressive plan to try to tackle it than you. But I want to set the policy prescriptions aside for a minute, and just simply, how do you assess what we're going through in the last 24 hours, what we've seen, particularly in El Paso, sir?

SEN. CORY BOOKER:

Obviously, we all are grieving for the victims, for their families, and for the people who are going to have very painful, long roads of recovery from gun violence. I just want to speak with moral clarity right now. Because I worry that we're having conversations that don't just focus on an understanding that we are all responsible to each other in this country. We have moral bonds and fabric of our country. We have a president of the United States who is particularly responsible. My faith has this idea that you reap what you sow. And he is sowing seeds of hatred in our country. And this harvest of hate violence that we're seeing right now lies at his feet. When you have the president, from the highest moral office in our land, talking about invasions and infestations and shithole countries, the kinds of things that come out of his mouth that so harm the moral fabric of our nation, he is responsible. He's responsible, when he has taken no action whatsoever to even condemn white supremacy, even when his own FBI is talking about this being sourcing major parts of our problem. So we have a president who is responsible, who is not taking that responsibility, and is doing nothing to address the deepening crisis in our country of this kind of violence.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay, what can he do? You have outlined where he might not have the credibility, with many Americans, to do this. And obviously, we're not going to get into whether he has the history of being able to, somehow, admit if he's wrong. I don't want to get into that. Is there anything he can do, in your mind, that would at least begin a healing process here?

SEN. CORY BOOKER:

So Chuck, it's not that he doesn't have the credibility. Please understand what I'm saying. I'm saying the president is contributing to what is going on right now.

CHUCK TODD:

No, I understand.

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SEN. CORY BOOKER:

He is sowing seeds of hatred. Yeah, and so what can he do? There are two things that must be done. One is we need to deal with this issue of guns in our community, ease of access, the fact that you can be on the terrorist no-fly list, and you can go in and fill a trunk full of weapons at a gun show, from a casual seller. We have a uniquely American problem, because of the uniquely American phenomenon that anyone who wants to kill somebody can easily use a loophole to go out and find a weapon. As you've said, I have the boldest plan. But my plan is actually based upon evidence. If you need a license to drive a car in this country, you should have a license to buy a gun and possess it. And we know that states that have done that have dropped -- have dramatically dropped the levels of violence. But the problem is, we have a patchwork of these laws in our country. So as we saw in Gilroy, someone who can't get a gun in California, just shoot over to another state that has lax gun laws. Buy your weapons. Come in and do the carnage. So there are specific things we should be doing that are common sense. And again, the moral fabric of our nation, we have a country right now that is, that is boiling over in hate. We have seen this before. My parents grew up in a generation that was trying to overcome lynchings and violence against African Americans, bombings of churches, of little girls. And we came together, black and white, Christian, Jewish, and did something about this. But we have a president that is not only incapable of showing that kind of love, but he is stoking, through his language, hate. He is responsible for the crisis in our country and is doing nothing to actually solve it. It's unacceptable.

CHUCK TODD:

There is one Republican that I know of calling this white terrorism. It's George P. Bush, who is a statewide officeholder in the state of Texas. If the president doesn't, doesn’t accept the responsibility that you believe he has, what is your -- what would you like the other elected Republicans to do?

CORY BOOKER:

Well, to me, Martin Luther King said it so eloquently. What we have to repent for is not just the vitriolic words and violent actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence and inaction of the good people. There is a complicity in the president's hatred that undermines the goodness and the decency of Americans, regardless of what party. To say nothing in a time of rising hatred, it's not enough to say that, "I'm not a hate monger, myself." If you are not actively working against hate, calling it out, you are complicit in what is going on. And so this is a moral moment in America, like we have seen before, where demagogues and fearmongers, hatemongers, have risen. We need moral clarity and healing and love in our nation. We need leaders that are capable of doing that.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Cory Booker, obviously, we had booked you before these incidents. We were going to have a longer conversation about the campaign, in general. But I appreciate you coming on and sharing your views on this, sir. Thanks very much.

CORY BOOKER:

Thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

When we come back, after the break, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the panel will join on this and the rest of this week's events. Stay with us.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. I'm joined now by the White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. Mr. Mulvaney, welcome back to Meet the Press. Oh, okay, it looks like we lost our satellite connection there with Mr. Mulvaney. Let me bring in today's panel that we have with us. We have Kasie Hunt, our Chief White House Correspondent; Eddie Glaude, Jr., from Princeton University; Pat McCrory, the former North Carolina governor; Eliana Johnson of Politico. Welcome. This is one of those mornings, a lot of breaking news, a lot of moving parts here. Kasie Hunt, Capitol Hill, the immediate response here, politically, has been extraordinarily uneven, Democrats believing there is an easy way to explain what's going on here. As Cory Booker said, "It's time to speak with moral clarity." And really only George P. Bush being the lone sort of Republican out there calling this what it is, white nationalism.

KASIE HUNT:

So Chuck, one thing that I think we absolutely have to consider here is, you know, Republicans fundamentally lack diversity on Capitol Here and here, in the capital. And when you consider what the El Paso shooter wrote about, heading into this, and you consider George P. Bush, his mother, Hispanic American, he is somebody who has a deep understanding of that community and clearly was, you know, personally identified in that document that that shooter called out.

You don't really have that here, in Washington. I mean, the only black Republican in the House announced that he's retiring, Will Hurd, obviously, of Texas, down in that area. And I think, you know, this is a morning when we are all struggling to find the right words to grapple with this.

And you know, we've had so many conversations in this country, recently, tragic conversations about, how do we keep assault weapons out of the hands of psychopaths? And that's a great conversation to have. But this conversation is so much bigger.

CHUCK TODD:

Eliana Johnson, does the White House accept, which is pretty much now a universal, that we have a white nationalism problem in this country that's leading to domestic terrorism? George P. Bush sees it. Christopher Wray sees it. I don't think we have evidence yet that the White House publicly sees this yet.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

I think some people in the White House, certainly, would accept that. I don't think the president, himself, accepts that. But what I think is undeniable, apart from what the White House believes, you know, normally, I'm loath to blame politicians for the acts that people take on their behalf.

I don't think it was Bernie Sanders' fault that one of his supporters shot up Republican lawmakers. and I typically wouldn't say it's Donald Trump's fault that anybody, acting on his behalf, did something awful. But I do think the president has sort of changed the way that people think it's acceptable to treat their political opponents. Just Friday, he tweeted, seeming to celebrate a robbery of a congressman's house--

CHUCK TODD:

Elijah Cummings

ELIANA JOHNSON:

-- Elijah Cummings, saying, "Too bad!" So I do think he bears some responsibility or makes it easy to blame him for acts like this, given statements like that, even though he did tweet something seemingly appropriate today. And I do think that Trump has sort of brought on increasing sort of brutality toward our political opponents that is, generally, unwelcome.

CHUCK TODD:

Pat McCrory, can you defend any of this --

PAT MCCRORY:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

-- on the president's words and statements and his -- do you believe he's contributed to this toxic brew, as it was described?

PAT MCCRORY:

I disagree with Cory Booker. I don’t, I agree with the comment made that I don't think you blame a politician. You blame the person who did it. You know, I blamed Oswald. I blamed Brenner. I blamed James Earl Ray. I blamed Hinkley. I blamed a haunting Charles Whitman, who, when I was a small kid in elementary school, went to a tower and shot students from a tower in Austin, Texas. I didn't blame Lyndon Baines Johnson at the time. But there is no doubt that the president has to come out with a strong statement against, listen, there are some white nationalist, nuts and dangerous people out there, including in my state, that need to be called out, radicals, and by the way, Antifa nuts that attacked my car just blocks from here, in a taxicab, during the inauguration, and jumped on my hood with hoods on them. We have to call out radical, left-wing groups and not give them any credibility whatsoever.

CHUCK TODD:

Eddie, I want to give you a moment here. Because you've been on the forefront of talking about this white nationalism issue before, I think, in a good way, making people uncomfortable, when you would talk about it in a way, it's like, it's time to address it. We do seem to have shifted the conversation a bit.

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

Yes. So it's one thing for people to recognize that we have a white nationalist problem. That's important.

CHUCK TODD:

We weren't there a year ago.

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

We weren't there a year ago.

CHUCK TODD:

That’s right.

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

We weren't there a couple of months ago. So this is important. But it's also important for us to understand the kind of continuity, the line, the connection. What does it mean to have a discourse in which people are dehumanized, where you use a phrase like illegal immigrant, where the phrase, itself, places that person outside of a certain kind of empathy and decency? What happens--

CHUCK TODD:

Otherizing.

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

Otheriz-- What happens, when we use language, like infestation, children, you used this, Governor, children carrying, perhaps, disease across the border? What happens? You set the stage for people who are even more on the extreme to act violently. We are in a cold civil war. We are in a cold civil war. And there are some people who bear the burden of it, Chuck. There are some of us who bear the burden. You could not blame anyone other than Oswald. My parents had to worry about other folk, because we grew up in Mississippi. You had the luxury not to worry about the context. But we had to live, we had to grow up in it. So here, we have children. I'm sorry to go on and on. We have children in El Paso, right now, right, who just witnessed their family members, their friends, shot down, because somebody thinks there's a Hispanic invasion of the country, which is almost the exact same language of the president of the United States. Governor, if you can't condemn that without making the equivalency move.

PAT MCCRORY:

Well, I'm not going to condemn people who use the illegal immigrant term, including me.

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

Of course! Why not?

PAT MCCRORY:

No, in this free--

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

Why not?

PAT MCCRORY:

Let me speak. We have a series-- laws on the book against illegal immigration. If we get rid of those laws, why don't we just open up--

EDDIE GLAUDE, JR.:

No human being is illegal.

PAT MCCRORY:

Excuse me.

KASIE HUNT:

With all due respect, that's not what we're talking about.

PAT MCCRORY:

He just brought it up.

KASIE HUNT:

That's not the conversation we're having.

PAT MCCRORY:

Good, good.

KASIE HUNT:

Lyndon Baines Johnson was not out there, when Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy, talking about race and giving all kinds of incentives. And I mean, what do you expect the president of the United States to say after something like this happens and leading up to it? I mean, there are clips of him, in Florida, where somebody yelled, at his rally, "Shoot them. Shoot the immigrants." And he said, "Well, maybe you could only get away with that here." I mean, that is a conversation that we are having.

PAT MCCRORY:

I agree 100% with your comment right there, that we have to lower the rhetoric everywhere, including the president of the United States, including some of the presidential candidates, including cable TV, including the internet, which has exploded with this type of rhetoric.

CHUCK TODD:

But governor, I think the frustration here is that, in the attempt to defend the president, there's always this, "Let me bring in other." And I think politically, some of us understand why Republicans are doing that right now. Because they're afraid of crossing this president publicly. But that's what this looks like. I mean, how do you get him to confront what he's doing, if there is almost, sort of, an apolog-- rationalizing of it?

PAT MCCRORY:

Well, first of all, I've said negative things about the president before.

CHUCK TODD:

I know you have. I know you have.

PAT MCCRORY:

And some people say that's why I'm not in the administration. But at the same time, I'm not going to blame the president.

CHUCK TODD:

And I want to not just talk about you but the entire mindset of what has been elected Republicans, we have one elected Republican willing to call this what, apparently, it is, white nationalism.

PAT MCCRORY:

Well, I'll call it right now, as a Republican, white nationalism. And I've seen some white nationalism. Now, I don't think it's as big as what the national media portrays it, even in my own state.

CHUCK TODD:

We've had a shooting in Pittsburgh, anti-Semitic, by a white nationalist. And now, we've had this. That's not a small thing.

PAT MCCRORY:

The danger is huge. The amount of people involved, but with the weapons they have, with the rhetoric, is extremely dangerous.

CHUCK TODD:

I hope you're right, that it's a small number of people.

PAT MCCRORY:

I hope I am, too.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay, in fairness, I don't know if we know that.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

I think the gap here--

PAT MCCRORY:

I hope I am, too.

CHUCK TODD:

I hope you're right about that.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

--and this is Charlottesville, and this is now, is the president's not coming forward and saying, people, in Charlottesville, it was people flying Trump/Pence banners, the President's saying, "I don't accept those people as my supporters." This person didn't explicitly mention Trump. But this president's saying, "If this person thought he was acting on my behalf, I don't accept that support." It happened with David Duke, during the campaign. And that's what we haven't seen the president do. I think that's what a lot of Republicans would like to see him do. But he seems to be unwilling to do that, either because he agrees with what they're saying, or because he doesn't want to lose the political support of people he believes are some of his most enthusiastic supporters.

PAT MCCRORY:

That's a foolish reason not to do it.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I'm going to quick pause here. We're going to see if we can get the Chief of Staff back. We'll be right back.

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back, I'm joined now by the White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. Mr. Mulvaney, welcome back to Meet the Press sir.

MICK MULVANEY:

Chuck, good morning.

CHUCK TODD:

Good morning. I know this is a tough morning for all Americans. I want to, I want to start with something, George P. Bush, who is a statewide elected office holder in Texas, what he tweeted earlier: There have been -- now been multiple attacks from self declared white terrorists here in the United States in the last several months. This is a real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat. Do you, do you accept George P. Bush's declaration there that we have a white terrorism problem in this country?

MICK MULVANEY:

Chuck before I answer that, let me say this because I've been sitting here listening to this show. I heard the tail end of Booker's thing, I heard most of the panel and I, I know this is a political show, but the level of rhetoric in the last twenty minutes, I hope someone else is bothered by it other than me. I mean, we've moved straight past any sympathy at all for the victims, straight past going into what caused this and trying to figure out who's to blame. So I'll ask this question. Was Bernie Sanders responsible for, for when my friends got shot playing baseball? I don't think that he was. Was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responsible when someone drove up to a DHS facility with a homemade bomb and an AR15 and tried to blow the place up calling it a concentration camp, the same rhetoric that she used, was she responsible? I don't think that she was. If a person, if a member of this administration who someone on your panel, I couldn't see their faces, called out today as a white national -- if that person gets injured today, is the person on your panel responsible? I am really really disappointed at the level of rhetoric. Do we have problems in this nation? Absolutely we do. Do we have white supremacists who are crazy and nuts and dangerous? Yes we do. By my goodness, gracious --

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't really accept --

MICK MULVANEY:

-- I’m really stunned how quickly we've moved to politics this morning

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't accept the fact the President's rhetoric has been a contributing factor at all?

MICK MULVANEY:

I blame the people who pulled the trigger Chuck. Goodness gracious, is someone really blaming the President? These people are sick and until we address why people think this way, this young man and by the way, let's say this, to be clear, we know nothing about the shooter in Dayton, so we're talking about the shooter in El Paso.

CHUCK TODD:

We are talking about the El Paso shooter sir.

MICK MULVANEY:

That's exactly right. This was a sick person. You can go and read the things that the person wrote, by the way now available to the world on social media, making the person famous. By the way if you do read that, what you said, hes felt this way for a long time from -- even before President bush -- excuse me President Trump got elected. So -- but again, why aren't we trying to figure out a way to bring the nation together this morning as opposed to saying, you know what, it’s the president’s fault --

CHUCK TODD:

Well that's my question for you, what is the President doing -- but in fairness, Mr. Mulvaney, the President has spent the last month on Twitter stocking racial resentment in different ways and you can, you can try to rationalize that he was speaking about specific incidents but taking together these sick people as you're describing, they hear what they want to hear. Does the president not have a responsibility to speak with a higher moral clarity when it comes to violence. A higher moral clarity when it comes to refugees.

MICK MULVANEY:

Right, Chuck , let me put it to you this way. Even if he did speak the way that you want him to speak, and I get the fact that some people don’t approve of the verbiage the president uses, I get that, alright, but even if they did, your point that you just made is absolutely right. People are going to hear what they want to hear. My guess is this guy is in that parking lot in El Paso, Texas in that Walmart doing this even if Hillary Clinton is president. In fact, he probably go out and blame Hillary Clinton for doing it. These are crazy people, sick people, and until we figure out why we are creating this many people like this in this culture, why we are giving them such wide sort of audiences on social media, why we are making weapons available to them when they probably shouldn’t get them. Let’s talk about background checks, something we have worked on in this administration. Those are the conversations to have. Not giving Cory Booker a chance to run for president this morning by blaming Donald Trump. That is really disappointing.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask -- go back to this issue of White Nationalism. This administration wanted to deemphasize a focus on this issue. Christopher Wray has said this is a rising problem. Let me go back to this, do you accept that – I think you accept it. Does the president accept that this is a rising problem?

MICK MULVANEY:

Let me answer it this way. I talked the president yesterday afternoon, right after El Paso, Texas was made known to us in the white house. I pick up the phone, I call him. The first phone call he makes is to Bill Barr, the attorney general. Now he ultimately called the governor of Texas, very early this morning talked to the governor of Ohio, but his very first phone call was to Bill Barr to find out how we could stop this stuff from happening in the first place. So, yes he feels the same way that you do, he feels the same way that everybody watching the show, apparently with the exception of Cory Booker and some people on your panel, which is saddened and angry. And that’s where we are this morning as a country and that’s what we should be talking about. Not whether or not it gives one party or another a leg up in the next election.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s not about whether there’s a leg up in the next election, I think there’s a concern --

MICK MULVANEY:

No Chuck, that’s what the entire Cory Booker interview was about. He’s looking --

CHUCK TODD:

Look, I don’t want to get into his motivation, I’m just -- there is other concerns here beyond politics and that is that this seems to -- the president uses dehumanizing rhetoric and this person used invasion -- you sort of put it on, saying some people don’t like his rhetoric. Does the president not have a responsibility to heal this nation? Is he not president of all Americans here? It does seem as if he’s always more worried about how his base is going to react to something than how the American, you know, moral fabric is protected.

MICK MULVANEY:

He absolutely is the president of all Americans, alright. But I also heard the panel discussion just now about illegal immigration, using the term illegal immigrants, somehow contributed to what happened in El Paso, Texas. That’s a policy discussion about, about border policies, about immigration policies, the President actually supports legal immigration, something that didn’t come up. Listen, we’re going to have policy discussions, but my guess is you show me how you feel about the President and I’ll show you who you think was responsible for the shooting.

CHUCK TODD:

You brought up a background check issue and that is not something you have voluntarily brought up in the past. Is this a president that is suddenly willing to basically get rid of the gun show loophole, pass Manchin/Toomey. Is this what you’re telling me here?

MICK MULVANEY:

Chuck, I’m starting to hope this doesn’t get edited out, but of course you know we signed bipartisan background check legislation last year, you know that right?

CHUCK TODD:

Well not on the -- not on what people were trying to get when it came to the gun show loophole

MICK MULVANEY:

No, no, no. We passed a bi -- Congress passed a bipartisan legislation to help fix the background check, something that I know a lot about. The shooter in Charlestown, South Carolina who shot my friend from the South Carolina Senate, Dylann Roof, bought the gun because the background check system was broken. We fixed that. Automatic weapons are illegal in this country, but there was a device that turned semi-automatics into automatics. We banned that. The president does care about this topic. I just can’t believe we’re immediately today, five hours after the shooting, moving to these, these types of discussions

CHUCK TODD:

Well, unfortunately, it does appear this was a political motive of this domestic terrorist.

MICK MULVANEY:

This was a political motive by a crazy person with a gun. How do we stop crazy people from getting guns? That’s a -- if we can’t agree on that, if we can’t figure out a way to prevent that from happening, there’s very little hope for this nation. Let’s try and fix what allows sick people to get these types of weapons.

CHUCK TODD:

Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff for the president this morning joining us, thanks for your time and for sharing your views. I appreciate it sir. And we’ll be right back with the panel.

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with the panel. And we had a unique situation here in that Mick Mulvaney ended up hearing a panel discussion that he actually might not have heard had our satellite worked on time that time. But he clearly, Eddie Glaude, was reacting to you in particular in that interview.

EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR.:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

What did you hear from him?

EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR.:

First of all, I can give less than a damn what Mick Mulvaney thinks about what I say to be honest with you. He can't even acknowledge that it was a domestic terrorist act. How many times did you use the phrase and he wouldn't acknowledge it? What did he say? He said it was "a person who was crazy," "a nut with guns," right? And that's always the case, right? If it was a Muslim, it would have been a terrorist act. Donald Trump would have already been on television. Not a tweet. He would have already done a press conference, right? But when it's white men engaging in this sort of action, we get this sort of account, right, that we want to go to their mental health. "Let's just stipulate that they're crazy. Let's stipulate that they're crazy."

CHUCK TODD:

Everybody who kills people are crazy.

EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR.:

Something's wrong. Let's stipulate --

CHUCK TODD:

All right, stop.

EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR.:

-- to that. But there's an ideology the work here. When you use the same language that we've heard, the same language that we heard in the clip. And let me say this. For a lot of folk in this country who are black and brown, for a lot of folk in this country who are not white men, it feels as if some white men have lost their damned minds, Chuck. And we have to bear the burden of it.

CHUCK TODD:

Look, probably the biggest back-and-forth he and I got into was the issue of whether the president's language matters here or not. I do want to put together a mash here of what the president has said about immigration just in the last few months.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We have to end human smuggling, stop human trafficking, shut down sanctuary cities, deport criminal aliens. When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that's an invasion. I was badly criticized for using the word "invasion." It's an invasion. Look at the people they put into these lotteries. It's a disgrace.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Pat McCrory, look, the tweets that he does on this are sometimes much worse, but this is just the language at the rallies. Again, is it fair to hold the president's words-- hold him responsible for some of his words and whether or not he's contributing to this?

PAT MCCRORY:

Not those words. Absolutely not. I disagree with my friend who-- we're going to have a golf match sometime in the near future. No, I think using the term "illegal immigration," and Mick is totally right on that, the chief of staff. The term "illegal immigrant--"

CHUCK TODD:

How about "invasion"? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's talk about "invasion" and things like that.

PAT MCCRORY:

If you look at the numbers of people coming across the border-- and, by the way, this is not just true with the United States and Mexico. And, by the way, it's invasion from Central America. But Venezuela is having a similar issue. We've had parts of this problem in Europe. When you have tens of thousands of people --

CHUCK TODD:

Is it an invasion? Why can't it be a refugee -- I don't mean to say here, "Words matter." But the argument could be that words matter. Why can't it be a "refugee crisis"?

PAT MCCRORY:

Again, we're getting into PC, political correctness. And if that's the big debate, about what tenor or what word we're going to use, you’re right, we're in trouble --

KASIE HUNT:

An "invasion" is --

PAT MCCRORY:

-- as a country.

KASIE HUNT:

-- hostile and a "refugee crisis" is not.

PAT MCCRORY:

Well, to the Border Patrol people who feel their life is threatened and they're trying to do everything they can to protect our border. If this was happening at the customs at New York airport or at Charlotte Douglas International, at O'Hare, and all of a sudden people were rushing the customs, we would say this is a serious problem.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

Well, what I really take issue with with what Mulvaney said was the first thing he spoke of, when he said, "This is a crazy person with a gun." I think when a particular group is targeted by a mass murderer, whether it's Jews in Pittsburgh or whether it's Hispanics in El Paso, I think the president of the United States needs to acknowledge that because I think Hispanics feel afraid right now. Jews felt great pain--

CHUCK TODD:

He seems to be comfortable --

ELIANA JOHNSON:

-- at the Pittsburgh--

CHUCK TODD:

He did finally get comfortable pointing out the rise in anti-Semitism. Now, he's tried to somehow make it as if it's only one side that has created this rise of anti-Semitism. But he won't on this.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

But I think it would behoove the president to acknowledge that aspect of this crime right now and to say, you know, "All Americans are with this country's Hispanic community right now." And that's what he's failed to do at many points after these sort of incidents.

CHUCK TODD:

What you just said there, Kasie Hunt, can you imagine him even tweeting, "We stand with the Hispanic Americans today"?

KASIE HUNT:

It is very hard to conceive of that. You know, I'm interested to see if the president takes this opportunity to step up or not. I mean, and so far I think, you know, clearly we are all saddened by what happened and we are all concerned about these communities. That is absolutely true. But, I mean, it is rather astonishing to me that they want to blow straight through this conversation that we're having about the rhetoric and what it means and talk about things that are related to gun control, which normally they would never want to bring up.

CHUCK TODD:

The fact that their preference was to talk about-- he almost was hoping it would be a gun control conversation and not --

PAT MCCRORY:

But we can't quit talking about such things as human trafficking and drugs. As a mayor and a governor, I've seen the impact of that. And we cannot deny that language in a total debate.

EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR.:

At the end of the day, we are at a moment, an inflection point. We have to decide who we're going to be, Chuck. And that's a moral question, not just a political question.

CHUCK TODD:

I think that's what we're going to be talking about quite a bit this week. That's all we have for today. I know it's been a tough Sunday. Thank you for watching. Thanks for sticking with us. We'll be back next week. Because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.