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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  February 17, 2021 3:00am-6:00am PST

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>> alayna treene, thank you so very much. the president today will also focus again on his covid relief bill and infrastructure. we still have hope for infrastructure week. thank you all for getting up way too early with us on this wednesday morning. "morning joe" starts right now. i'll see you there. i remember you and i talking during the campaign, and you had the former guy saying that, well, you know -- >> the former guy. >> the former guy. >> okay. the former guy, president biden's way of referring to former president trump in a town hall last night. kind of has a good ring to it. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it's wednesday, february 17th. with us, we have chief white house correspondent for "the new york times," peter baker. and member of "the new york times" editorial board mara gay joins us this morning.
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covid vaccines as the biden administration announced a sharp increase in the amount of vaccine doses is sending out to the states. >> we're increasing the vaccine supply to 13.5 million doses per week. that will go out to states. this is a 57% increase from the amount states received when the president was inaugurated. >> the administration is also upping the number of covid vaccines being sent to pharmacies. the white house says it's looking to have vaccine doses available at 40,000 local pharmacies nationwide. white house chief of staff ron klain tweeted, quote, vaccine supplies from the states up from 8.6 million doses per week when we arrived to 13.5 million per week now. up almost 60% in just four weeks. this vaccine success could be one of the reasons biden is enjoying high approval numbers.
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62% in the latest political morning consult poll. critics pointing out -- >> those actually -- >> it's very high. >> willie, those are high numbers. >> those are up there, close to the top. >> the other guy, the last guy, however you refer to the other guy -- the former guy. >> never got close. >> the former guy never got within 13 points of that. i wonder if a lot of it just has to do with the fact that he's not saying insane things every two or three seconds. >> such a relief. >> but also they have a plan, national plan for a rollout. the former guy worked as hard as he could to not take any responsibility and to constantly try to pass it down to states, whose infrastructure, again, is disjointed over 50 states. their infrastructure wasn't really prepared for this. as the other guy said early on, this was war. and he was like a war-time president. he then decided that he was
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going to push the health care equivalent of world war ii to state governors. it just didn't work. but this appears to be working extraordinarily well. >> yeah. remember president trump never cleared 50%, which is extraordinary when you stop and think about it, in his approval numbers. his ceiling was right around 49%. joe biden already up at 62 in this poll. you're right, one part of it is the quiet. we're not hearing from the president every moment of every day, we're not in a perpetual state of combat. >> the former guy. >> the other part of it is competence. the last three weeks since he took office, this white house has been single minded. they don't want to talk about impeachment or talk about the former guy, as he made clear last night at that town hall. they've been working on the health and economic pieces of this coronavirus crisis and we're seeing the results. it is true that operation warp speed started under president trump, gave them a start. and dr. fauci has said that. others have said that. when you look at the
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acceleration of the production of vaccines and the distribution of vaccines, there's no question that this white house is taking it much more seriously and been more successful. some critics pointed out last night that president biden said, quote, there was no vaccine when he took over. there was nothing in the refrigerator, figuratively and literally speaking, but elsewhere in the town hall he did correct that number. >> we came into office. there was only 50 million doses that were available. we have now, by the end of july we'll have over 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every single american. >> really, peter, they really do seem to be focusing on first things first here. that's what you expect white houses to do. certainly george w. bush's white house post 9/11 was singularly focused on that. barack obama was singularly focused on economic recovery after the economic collapse. you would have expected donald trump to become singularly focused on this health care
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crisis. he just never could do it. so, this really is a return to normalcy. joe biden doing what i think most republican and democratic presidents in our lifetime would have done, and that is almost singularly focus on getting those vaccines out there, to not only keep people healthy, but to get america's economy running again and get kids back in school. >> joe, i think that's exactly right. the only reason this is surprising or news is because it is in contrast with the last three or four years, not in contrast with every other president. republicans would have been normally responding in the same sort of way, sticking to message discipline, focusing on the most important priority that the public has, avoiding distractions to the best degree they possibly can. getting money out the door. getting vaccines out the door. this is exactly what you would expect from a president, not ideological, not partisan. just doing the main features of the job. you're right that --
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>> but, but, peter, can i ask you this all along? peter, can i ask you this? i apologize for interrupting. but with now nine months to look back on donald trump and his response to this pandemic -- i guess we're coming up on a year -- have you figured out as a guy who was reporting there every day why he didn't say publicly what he said to bob woodward a year ago in those interviews, and why at times he seemed to understand privately that this was a medical crisis that was causing an economic crisis and would lead to a political crisis. what's the best answer for why, you know, we've got almost 500,000 people dead and for, you know, the first six, seven months of the pandemic, we had a
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president who almost refused to admit its existence, refused to admit just how dangerous it was. >> well, i think that's one of the questions history is going to ask about this presidency. when we look back and try to figure out what went wrong in that last year, why was it he didn't take this more seriously? why was it he continually tried to pretend it didn't exist, tell us it was going to disappear, there wouldn't be that many casualties, the economy could reopen. one of it is that he was so focused on running in 2020 on the strength of the economy that he had in 2019, and he basically wanted to wish away the pandemic. he wanted to tell everybody, forget about it. get back out to work. forget these lockdowns. and he wanted to sort of, in effect, will it away. he had been so successful in three years at willing the political environment to be what he wanted it to be.
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the concentrated application of his, you know dominant voice did change the political environment. you cannot do that with a virus. can you not do that with a pandemic, obviously. it defied every skill that he had and had been successful for him in politics up to that point. >> and he could lie his way out of just about anything, mika. and he came up against a foe, a virus that just didn't care what lies he was telling. >> right. >> it was going to run its course regardless. he could have worked aggressively to stop it and protect americans or he could have kept lying and saying, it's only one person coming in from china. it's only 15 people coming in. soon it's going to go away. use bleach, use hydroxychlor. quin. that will make it go away. it's going to be gone by easter. it's going to be gone by memorial day. it's not coming back in the fall. one lie after another, even during the campaign at the end where it's just about over. we're almost at the end of it.
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lied repeatedly, trying to wish it away. almost 500,000 americans dead now from this disease that this president, the last president said was one person coming in from china and soon it would soon go away. >> and scientists will tell you that that number you see on the screen, 490,000 people dead, does not have to be that number. it didn't have to be this way. had the former guy actually, you know, executed in even a halfway, competent fashion, there wouldn't be so many people dead. not even close. mara gay, you received the vaccine. what was the process like? because this is going to be quite an undertaking to get the country safe. >> i received my first dose on monday. it was a pretty emotional experience. i actually went to a new york state at the javitt center.
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it was striking because the national guard is running the operation there. it was kind of sci-fi. everyone was extremely friendly, in good spirits. remember, this is formally a place where we had to set up cots. and so for the national guard to return for vaccinations, they said it was really special. a solemn occasion. fo r me it was emotional because it really felt like it was the beginning of the end of this nightmare for me personally, which has been quite a journey, but also for the city. and so it was really encouraging but, you know, the frustration is that even though i'm one of millions of americans who has an underlying condition and, therefore, qualifies for this vaccine in new york state and
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elsewhere, it's very difficult for people to get appointments. i really lucked out. i just went online sunday and happened to find an appointment at the right time. but especially for those who are older or those who don't have access to broadband, we really need to be reaching people door to door, even in a pandemic. doing appropriate, healthy, safe outreach to make sure that the communities that are hardest hit are really getting access to this vaccine. right now vaccine distribution is upside down in that way. and so we really need to turn that around. >> and, by the way, last night at that town hall in milwaukee, president biden said by the end of july, every american who wants the vaccine will be able to get the vaccine. by the end of july, he said. he also talked about schools. there has been some confusion about the policy there. he wanted schools open, he said during the campaign, during his first 100 days as office. his press secretary, jen psaki, a couple of weeks ago said if we can get them open one day a
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week, that will be a success. president biden clarified that. there was a lot of confusion around that. here is what he said at the town hall last night. >> your administration had set a goal to open the majority of schools in your first 100 days. you're now saying that means those schools may only be open for at least one day a week. >> no, that's not true. that's what was reported. that's not true. that was a mistake in the communication. but what i'm talking about is i said opening the majority of schools in k through 8th grade because they're the easiest to open, the most needed to be open in terms of the impact on children and families having to stay home. >> so when do you think that would be, k through 8th, at least five days a week? >> i think we'll be close to that at the end of the first 100 days. we have a significant percentage of being able to be opened. >> mika, to be clear about what the president said there. in the first 100 days he thinks most k through 8 schools will be
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open five days a week. that's the marker they've laid down now. >> all right. and now to a story about the former guy, donald trump, who hit back at mitch mcconnell after mcconnell blamed him for provoking the riot at the capitol. trump hurled personal insults at the minority leader while blaming him for the party's problems, including the loss of georgia's two senate seats and the senate majority. in a more than 600-word statement -- think how many tweets that would have been -- trump wrote, quote, mcconnell's dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill and personality has rapidly driven him from majority leader to minority leader. he also wrote mitch is a dower, sullen and unsmiling political hack, and if republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. he will never do what needs to
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be done, or what is right for our country. the former president vowed to back maga challengers in republican primaries, and trump also took a swipe at mcconnell's wife, former transportation secretary elaine chao, who resigned in the wake of the capitol riot, writing, quote, mcconnell has no credibility on china because of his family's substantial chinese business holdings. he does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat. trump appointed elaine chao to his capital and served there for the entire presidency. i think that's on him actually. >> i guess donald trump was fine with what he thinks that because -- >> he's just fine until he's not and everyone knows that he doesn't have much of a sense of loyalty. some republican senators are coming to trump's defense in the
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wake of mitch mcconnell's rebuke of the former president. here is what senators lindsey graham and ron johnson had to say about trumpism and the future of the republican party yesterday. >> i would say to senator mcconnell, i know trump can be a handful, but he is the most dominant figure in the republican party. we don't have a snowball's chance in hell of taking back the majority without donald trump. i'm sorry what happened on january 6th. he'll get his fair share of blame. but to my republican colleagues in the senate, let's try to work together. realize that without president trump we're never going to get back in the majority. president trump is the most consequential republican in the party. if mitch mcconnell doesn't understand that, he's missing a lot. kevin mccarthy is leader of the house republicans. he has taken a different approach to president trump. i would advise senator mcconnell to do that. >> from my standpoint, leader mcconnell speaks for himself. in this case, i don't believe he
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speaks for the conference. he needs to be careful. when i speak i take in mind how it might reflect on party. >> willie, this is just -- i can't tell you how rich this is. ron johnson, a man who -- well, he's challenged. ron is challenged. ron is giving mitch mcconnell political advice. i would be a little careful there, mitch. and then lindsey graham, i don't know what to say. i have had enough of this. and then three people chase him through an airport and he's just freaked out ever since. i love donald. so if you twoont change lindsey's mind, get three people. >> yell at him. >> follow him through the airport for three minutes and yell at him and he will turn into a tub of jell-o, exactly what he has done. you know, donald trump is -- is
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a special guy, as lindsey graham said, holds a special place in the republican party. the only republican president since herbert hoover to lose the house, lose the white house and, yes, lose the senate. this is the thing, willie. lindsey knows that republicans would be in charge of the senate right now if it were not for donald trump and how he conducted himself during the georgia runoffs. ron johnson knows that mitch mcconnell would be majority leader right now if it were not for donald trump and the way he conducted himself during the georgia runoffs. so, what these two sad, little, petrified men think they're achieving by attacking the majority leader is really, really beyond me. but they're starting a civil war. by the way, they're saying you need to be more like kevin mccarthy, said nobody ever on the face of the earth about any legislative leader. but they're starting a civil
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war, attacking their minority leader in the senate. you've got the civil war that went on with republicans in georgia, civil war going on in arizona where they're censuring everybody. it's happening in michigan. it's happening in all the swing states. democrats really have to be loving what lindsey graham is doing and what ron johnson is doing, and what those leaders in michigan, arizona and georgia are doing, in attacking the very people they need to have on board if they want to win two years from now. >> yeah. it was pretty jaw dropping to hear donald trump, who as you say lost the white house, the house and the senate, was impeached twice, called mitch mcconnell a loser. i'm not sure mitch mcconnell has ever lost an election. i'll have to look back through his history. i don't think he has. it does illustrate, though, as you say, that nothing short of complete loyalty is good enough for donald trump. remember, mitch mcconnell voted to acquit, despite all the evidence that he sat and watched last week from the house managers.
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he voted to acquit donald trump of charges of insurrection, of inciting an insurrection. but then he went out and made that speech on the floor of the senate where he laid out all the ways that donald trump, in fact, did incite an insurrection. so, nothing short of complete loyalty is good enough for donald trump. and i think that's probably why you hear ron johnson, who you say in fairness does have an element to him. but lindsey graham, who obviously was on the floor on january 6th saying enough is enough, i'm out. i'm out. we've got to move on from this immediately now has run and become president trump's chief defender, former president trump's chief defender out in public. >> unbelievable. so, peter baker, we have talked about the republican civil war in georgia. we've seen it in arizona. we're seeing it now in michigan. but very interesting that you're actually starting to see republicans attack mitch mcconnell in the senate.
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also dangerous for them because mitch mcconnell is going to be there every day. donald trump is not. how wide do you think the divide is between mcconnell, the establishment wing, and people like josh hawley, lindsey graham, and ron johnson? >> it's a pretty open wound right now, obviously. i was struck by that statement, among other things, with how much donald trump agrees with democrats. the critique that he laid out of mcconnell is what you hear mostly from democrats all the time. that he's a cynical hack, that he only cares about, you know, power, not really committed to this issue or that issue. that's what you hear all the time from the chuck schumers of the world. here you have donald trump echoing that. not surprising. not surprising he would strike back. it is a little surprising, by the way, it took him three days to do it. he's not quite the same dominant voice that he was in the past. he might get back to that point. the lack of twitter as an
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outlet, as a media outlet means he's playing catch-up three days after the fact. it's easy to watch a 15-vote senate republican caucus splintered this way. any single republican senator f going to cost that conference dearly. and that's why this rift matters. that's why seeing mcconnell at odds with some of his senators is important. now i wouldn't bet against mitch mcconnell to save my life. he has managed to pull out so many, you know, tough votes when it came down to it, to keep people in line when necessary. he understands where his conference is at most times. and i think to write him off at this point would be dangerous. and to willie's point, by the way, you're right about this. these senate republicans and house republicans did better in last year's election than donald trump did. right? putting aside the fact that donald trump lost, if you go to it state by state, they picked
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up seats in the house and they held the senate caucus almost to even. they only lost the majority because of those two senate runoff races in georgia, which most people say was the consequence of donald trump's election fraud machinations there. >> what lindsey is saying makes absolutely no political sense because you look and see how the house republicans did. you look and see how senate republican candidates did. they outperformed donald trump. the house republicans won 25 out of 25 contested races. they didn't lose a single incumbent seat. donald trump lost and he lost the house in 2018. lost the senate by himself really in 2020. and, mika, he also -- if you look at that statement where, again, donald trump siding more with chuck schumer, time and
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time again on polishes than mitch mcconnell, he blamed the loss in georgia, which he has completely responsible for, he blamed it on mitch mcconnell refusing to send out $2,000 covid checks and instead supporting $600 covid checks. so, he actually -- he's taking the chuck schumer, nancy pelosi, aoc, bernie sanders position on that issue as well. donald trump is. it's very interesting. i guess ron johnson and lindsey graham are with aoc and bernie now. >> or drump has something on them. meanwhile in an interview with npr's morning edition, senator ben sasse, one of seven republicans to vote to convict trump had this to say about the future of the republican party. >> is this still donald trump's party? >> i mean, if you look at
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polling in the short term, it surely appears that way. but i think the longer term question is what we really need to look at. we need to distinguish between conservatism and short termism if you will. i think it's important to give a frank assessment of where the party of lincoln and reagan is right now. and in just one term the republican party has lost the white house, the house of representatives and the senate. that hasn't happened since herbert hoover got shellacked in 1932. so i think there's a whole bunch of stuff the party of lincoln and reagan needs to do to persuade people we have a 2030 agenda, not a 30-minute twitter agenda. >> mara gay, the challenge is to get those guys who can't quit trump, even though he's in the rear view mirror and has given them a long legacy of losing and yet they cling so tightly. >> it's pretty amazing. if you look at not just what ben sasse has up against him, but also what congressman kinzinger
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has struggled to do. i mean, he was just totally beyond criticism isn't even the word. bullied for his vote the other day. and i just -- you have to wonder at what point americans will quit donald trump. the problem is that donald trump's spent four years spoking a reality world, creating this reality world for his voters. it's going to take a lot of time and effort to put that genie back into the bottle. and, you know, frankly, you need a larger caucus of members who are willing to do that. it's not going to be enough just for a few members. it's a lonely crusade. going to require really somebody like mitch mcconnell to do more than he has been, to really be the adult in the room. and lindsey graham, i don't think, can be counted upon at this point. but it does require personal character. and that's something else that you see that's missing. you would hope that if the
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situation were in reverse, if it were the democrats that were in this position, you would see, you know, some personal character, people rise to the occasion. what we've seen is that most of these republicans are more interested in power and in party than in democracy. and as long as that's the case, they will continue to get the lowest of the electorate, they're going to lie to their constituents. they're lying about the virus. they're lying about donald trump. they're lying about what our democracy should look like. and and the fact that it's time to share democracy with people who don't look or pray like we do. until they treat these voters like adults, this will continue. >> and, you know, the lying, it continues really at a daily clip, just like it did before the election, but we all have been focusing as a country on the lies that led up to the trump terrorist attack and the
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abusing of police officers by -- with american flags and brutalizing them and beating them to a point where they were sure they were going to die. jamming police officers' heads inside of doors and causing them excruciating pain. we've been focusing as a country on the lies that led to that. but you see it every day. and you see a lot of the same people, a lot of the same prop gandists. mika, the big lie, the medium-sized lie -- we'll call it medium-sized lie that has been spread is that somehow it's the new green energy deal that's causing people to freeze to death in texas, that's caused the infrastructure of texas to
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completely shut down. it's this radical, radical experimentation with wind mills. by the way, you better be careful if you're a media company and you're blaming certain windmill makers, because you're going to get your ass sued just like you did on the voting machines. so the fact is, of course, almost 90%, almost 90% of the energy in that state is run on coal, is run on oil, is run on basic power. and coal is frozen. the nuclear -- everything. everything is an absolute wreck in texas because greg abbott and other republicans have been gutting investment on infrastructure for the energy grid for years now. >> yeah. >> for the energy infrastructure. here, this extraordinary state that lies at the center of america's economic engine when it comes to energy.
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they've elected governors who keep gutting their own infrastructure so they can give tax cuts to the richest energy traders, speculators, oil barrens. that's what they're doing right now. guess what, because they've undervalued investment in their energy infrastructure, people are dying right now. and they're blaming it on the new green deal. which doesn't exist, by the way. it's not passed, is not -- sure as hell not in texas. >> we'll explain that just ahead and update you on the freezing south and ongoing power outages in much of texas and how it relates to senator ted cruz saying he has no defense for one
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all right. 34 past the hour. live look at times square in new york city. little traffic actually. >> i was going to say a few more cs on the street this morning. >> that's kind of refreshing. record-breaking cold temperatures have left millions without power and claimed more lives yesterday. at least 30 deaths have been reported from car crashes to carbon monoxide poisoning mainly throughout the south and southeast. texas has seen the most fatalities as 2 million homes and businesses there are still without power, in subfreezing temperatures.
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>> oh, my god, that's horrible. >> a house fire killed a family of four in houston, as they appeared to be using a fireplace to keep warm. frozen wind turbines have caused conservative politicians to criticize the state's reliance on renewable energy. but the wind power only makes up a portion of the lost energy in texas. yesterday an official with the electric reliability council of texas said 16 gigawatts of renewable energy generation, mostly wind generation, was off line. nearly double that, 30 gigawatts have been lost from thermal sources, including gas, coal and nuclear energy. major outages in the power grid came from thermal sources such as natural gas and coal, not
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renewable sources. >> so, willie, i know this will come as a shock to nobody, but greg abbott's lying through his teeth when he's blaming renewables for the grid going down. the facts in his own state by the texas government, by people who follow this show he's just lies through his teeth. he can't blame aoc. he can't blame the new green deal or renewable. it's all his fault and all the fault of the texas lawmakers who continued to underfund their energy infrastructure. >> what a strange instinct, people dying in the state of texas because they don't have any power, any heat, to rush on to hannity and blame a congresswoman from new york for the green new deal which doesn't exist. the governor of that state, not pundit or radio show host. governor of the state, who theoretically is managing the
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crisis, rushes out to blame somebody else. ted cruz, texas senator, repeatedly has mocked power outages in california, now being criticized as texas grapples with winter storms that have caused many to lose power. as we said, after being called out by the hill, senator cruz owned up to his old tweet, tweeting, i've got no defense. a blizzard strikes texas and our state shuts down. not good. >> well, good for him for owning up to that. >> yeah, he did anyway. >> sorry. >> texas governor abbott corrected criticism of the state's power intake monday, tweeting that natural gas and coal generators were also responsible for the freeze. this, though, was before appearing on fox news. >> oh, no. >> to blame the outages, as i said, on the green new deal. >> this shows how the green new deal would be a deadly deal for the united states of america. texas is blessed with multiple sources of energy, such as natural gas and oil, and nuclear, as well as solar and
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wind. but you saw from what tray said and that is our wind and solar got shut down and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid. it just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of texas as well as other states, to make sure that we will be able to heat our homes in the wintertime and cool our homes in the summertime. >> wow, just a breathtaking lie. again, the official from the electric reliability council of texas, which runs the power plant, said most of the power knocked offline came from thermal sources, particularly natural gas. most of the energy there, joe, is from natural gas. the truth of the matter is, they're not ready for temperatures. their production facilities are not ready for temperatures like this, this kind of extreme weather. perhaps they should have been, which is another conversation. but the idea that frozen wind tur biens blamed on alexandria ocasio-cortez, caused this is a
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preposterous lie. >> it is a preposterous lie. they could have prepared for it, chose not to prepare for it which, of course, is really galling. do you know what is also so -- it's just galling. and i'm just thinking back to another republican governor. jeb bush. when we would have terrible hurricanes coming through our state, you would never see jeb bush. >> gosh, no. >> on fox news or cnn, or msnbc. no. when there was a crisis and people's lives were in danger, that was the only thing that jeb bush was focused on. >> right. >> and if he were to get on, he wouldn't be assigning blame. he would say stay in your homes. you can go to middle school x to get food here. he was constantly worried about the crisis on the ground. here, peter baker, you have a governor in the middle of one of
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texas' greatest crises in quite some time, where people are dying, and millions are without heat in subfreezing weather. he's going on a show to make ideological arguments? this looks like an extension of donald trump's government by gesture. if you can't govern, then just make gestures and attack, you know, set up strong men and knock them down. >> well, i think it's a tenor of the times, joe. you're right about jeb bush and governors of other parties who normally in situations like this are focused on messaging to their public about what they should be doing to get through the crisis, not engaging in an out-of-state congresswoman. it's a remarkable thing, of course. it's just like what president trump would do. it's the kind of thing that he liked to do. turn a crisis situation into an argument or at least his side of an argument over something that may or may not really be
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related. we saw him again and again with puerto rico, for instance, attacking the leadership of puerto rico, when they had been through two hurricanes rather than focus on helping the people of puerto rico, who couldn't care about the politics of the situation, just trying to get through a crisis, like texas is right now. >> you look at puerto rico, you're exactly right. of course, we have talked about it. look at the covid crisis. time and again he had the opportunity to do the right thing. time and again he kept picking fights with people, tried to blame it on somebody else when, of course, he was president of the united states. it's just like governor abbott. again, trying to blame something that actually has nothing to do. >> just a lie. >> nothing to do. and we've read the statements already, with the grid collapsing. the grids collapsed because -- again, i will say this.
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i'm saying this not just because it's related to texas. this is related to a lot of republican governors and state legislators across the country. they've been gutting budgets and cutting budgets and slashing budgets year after year after year after year. and when you do that, things like this happen. so, when things like this happen, i guess abbott thinks i'm just -- he's just thinking he's going to lie through his teeth and not going to get caught. that's just not the case. all the newspapers and the states are calling him out for these lies. the very people who run the grid are calling him out for his lies. this had nothing to do with renewable energy. it had everything to do with coal and fossil fuels that he's talking about. >> so, let's bring in meteorologist bill karins to see how long this is going to last and where it's all going.
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bill, you've got a very active weather map this morning. what's going on? >> joe, mika, i'll add the wind tur bi turbines work just fine in the winter, sweden, alps, antarctica all have wind turbines. in texas they didn't get the carbon blades or the heated blades. that's where the mistake was made and that's where the investigation needs to start, find out why they made those decisions. as for the storm starting right now, number two is on the ground. we have ice that is on the way from austin all the way through houston. if it wasn't even for the cold blast that brought the coldest temperatures in 100 years to oklahoma and dallas, this would be a big deal all by itself to telling everyone off the roads this morning from san antonio to austin. snow is moving through areas like louisiana, mississippi, tennessee. 122 million people. that's one in every three americans is affected by this next storm.
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the snow swath is going to be from today from dallas all the way through boston by thursday night into friday. 1600 miles of snow. but it's really the ice that's going to cause the most problems during the day today from san antonio through louisiana and then watch out for our friends around roanoke, rally, asheville. you're going to get a big ice storm come tomorrow. how long will this cold last for? today it will be freezing once again. we have 3 million people in texas without power, one out of every ten people in texas are still in the dark. today only 29 degrees in dallas. still very cold to be in your home with no heat. finally this weekend, guys, it's not until saturday or sunday that temperatures return back to normal in the 40s and 50s. >> so, bill, i twoont underline what you said. governor abbott and so many other people that are trying to apologize for this colossal failure by the republican governor, they're blaming wind
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turbines and you're saying wind turbines work fine in canada, on the northern plains. the reason they're not working in texas is because they didn't buy the right kind of wind turbines that could handle this type of weather, right? >> yeah. they didn't purchase the upgrade, right? they didn't get the ones that can exist in these really harsh climates. you know, this is a once in maybe a generation, once in a lifetime cold outbreak, but it has happened before in texas. it's not like they haven't seen really cold temperatures and snow. so their calculations were flawed. >> all right. thank you so much, bill. >> thanks, bill. coming up if you didn't like this year's impeachment trial, just wait until next year's. "new york times" mark liebich joins us why impeachments, electoral college standoffs and supreme court nomination blockades could become annual events. "morning joe" will be right
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the trial record was a complete joke. hearsay upon hearsay. and we've pandora's box to futu presidents. and if you use this model, i don't know how kamala harris doesn't get impeached at the republicans take over the house because she bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody's head open. >> so that was lindsey graham, house impeachment manager in bill clinton's mag, guy running around talking about impeachment every second of everyday. and what was it '98, '99? i remember. i was there. and boy, he loved impeachment when he was getting to go after bill clinton. i find that to be -- >> meant so much to him.
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joining us now chief national correspondent for the new york times magazine, mark leibovich whose latest piece is entitled, quote, don't care for this impeachment, wait until next year. also with us, white house editor for politico, sam stein joins us. good to have you both. mark leibovich, is this an annual ritual? >> yeah. wait until next year, right? no. i think what i wrote about here is essentially the idea that the republicans are starting to throw out there quite absurdly in some ways that this is going to be an annual occurrence. the pandora's box that senator graham referred to is that, oh, well, like if republicans are going to -- if democrats are going to impeach a republican president twice in 14 months, just wait until what we got in store next year. he threw something out about kamala harris tweeting something in support for a bail fund during the riots last summer or during the protests last summer and he mentioned it was bailing
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rioters out of prison and she would be impeached. any way, it's basically doing something of a piece of what governor abbott was doing in texas which is changing the subject rather than focussing on the substance of what's going on on the ground, what's and who is being held accountable and what for, we're going to turn this into an argument about what the opposition is doing, how frivolous it is and therefore we're going to take this extreme and make this about the debate. >> mark, as you say, they equated this equivalence, lindsey graham between january 6th, a police officer was kill and thousands of people overran the united states capitol and kamala harris tweeting support last june for a bail fund in minnesota, saying those are both worthy of impeachment. if you think donald trump should be impeached, lindsey graham is saying any way she should be impeached for that tweet. is this real? is this bluster? is this talk on cable news? or are there senators who believe this retribution is the way they should go? >> here is the thing, i mean, the real and the bluster has
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sort of merged in some ways, especially in the trump era, right? when you sort of talk about -- when you make like your entire platform and you make your entire sort of intellectual core about something that is essentially not going to happen, whether it's mexico is going to pay for a wall or we're going to, you know, impeach kamala harris for this or something, it becomes the emotional flash point of the entire party, consumes the entire debate. the media landscape especially around social media does get consumed with this and the base becomes very consumed with this and it becomes something that becomes -- doesn't become self fulfilling because i think the institutions are still somewhat strong enough to prevent it from happening but it does have the effect of taking over a huge part of the conversation and really in the case of much of donald trump's sort of republican party, consume a lot of whatever the agenda is or
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whatever the thing they go out and talk about is. >> and it is, again, as much guest called it government by gesture. we're going to build a wall. and mexico is going to pay for it. we're going to be invaded by a caravan of people carrying diseases that are going to flood into the united states. we're going to send troops down to the border to repel them and shoot them in the knees to stop them from getting -- and then, of course, it just doesn't happen. even from the beginning of 2016, donald trump was talking about hordes of illegal immigrants crossing the border. as we said on this show now for five years, it's the perfect example of government by gesture, where you make up a conspiracy theory and you feed into that conspiracy theory and
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you feed it to your base because you don't have any program. you don't have any agenda other than these lies. of course when donald trump took office and barack obama was leaving office, illegal border crossings from mexico were at a 50-year low. and they spiked during donald trump's term. they were at a 50-year low. they went up. they went down. there's a lot of back and forth on that, but sam stein, it's this government by gesture. again f you're a governor of the state of texas and you're sitting on more energy than just about any other state around, other than maybe alaska, i don't know, and you bought the wrong wind turbines, you screwed up the power grid terribly, what do you do? you blame the new green deal. something that nancy pelosi
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herself mocked in a 16 minutes interview and said it was never going to pass. >> yeah. it's a way to deflect blame, obviously. but it also self fulfilling, right. what marco is getting at is if you float the idea that joe biden or kamala harris in this case should be impeached it becomes a measuring stick for your fidelity to republican party virtues. if you're a republican, you have to match lindsey graham and suddenly you have a bunch of elected officials who do know better or should know better who have to say do i support impeachment of kamala harris. it's very similar in some respects to -- draws me back to this whole repeal and replace obamacare campaign where a bunch of lawmakers latched on to the idea knowing full well that it likely wouldn't be able to pass and they kept feeding it to their constituencies something they would do as soon as they got into office and eventually when they got into office reality struck.
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so when your base gets fed this -- so it's not a consequence free. when your base gets fed this stuff day after day, when republicans do take power and they will eventually at some point, do they have to -- is the base going to expect them to fulfill things like what lindsey graham is talk about which is an absurd idea for an impeachment. >> and sam, politico has some polls this morning, especially looking on getting kids back to school. what are the results? >> pretty interesting results. lot of faith and trust more so than maybe some people would have expected for local officials to make the determination on reopening schools. people put a lot of trust in your local school administrators. obviously in parents. local school, board of educations, local teachers unions. obviously there's a great deal of frustration by the current state of school reopenings or lack thereof. it's clear that the biden white house is very sensitive to this issue.
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we saw last night in the town hall that we see in the briefings all the time where they want to assure people that they are in tune with realities. thak the case of the covid relief bills gets tens of millions of dollars to school retro fitting but these polls show there's more patience for local administrators and teachers to continue to make these decisions, even after all this intensely frustrating fits and starts for the past year. >> all right. sam stein, thank you very much. mark leibovich, thank you as well. and still ahead, president biden hits the road to promote his coronavirus relief plan as his administration ramps up vaccine supply to states across the country. white house principle deputy press secretary kareen jean pierre will join us on the administration's efforts to tackle the pandemic. "morning joe" is coming right back. tack tlehe pandemic.
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>> well, i'll tell you what, if he doesn't get repeal and replace done and if he doesn't get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn't get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn't get them done, then you can ask me that question.
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he's rock ribbed kentucky leader. he's been a leader for a long time. there's nobody tougher. there's nobody smarter. he refused to cave to the radical democrat's shameful campaign of political and personal destruction. he stared down -- tough cookie. i know tough people, he's tough. he's kentucky tough. >> nobody tougher. nobody tougher, donald trump said of mitch mcconnell. >> right. >> nobody smarter. donald trump said of mitch mcconnell. why, he's even kentucky tough. >> oh, that's especially tough. that's some of donald trump's changing relationship with mitch mcconnell over the years. this morning, he's not even pretending to like him. welcome back to "morning joe." it's wednesday, february 17th. with us we have white house reporter for the associated
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press, jonathan lemire, editor in chief of the atlantic magazine, jeffrey goldberg is with us. msnbc contributor mike barnicle joins us and former u.s. senator now an nbc news and msnbc political analyst claire mccaskill joins us. great to you on board. >> great to have everybody on board here. claire, i want to start with you, just sort of playing speaking claire mccaskill from missouri. i'm curious what you think about greg abbott, south of you. and the republicans in the legislature for years not funding the energy grid, not funding energy infrastructure in texas, not buying wind turbines that they buy in northern states or in canada not taking basic
quote
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steps and lying and trying to blame their mismanagement on the green new deal, trying to blame it -- "the wall street journal" editorial page tried to do this yesterday morning, texas should be a warning to all of us about moving away from fossil fuels. well, texas authorities say that this grid is funded -- is fueled overwhelmingly by those fossil fuels. so, in a crisis, the middle of a crisis, where other governors, respectable governors, would be getting out, trying to help citizens who are suffering, what does this guy do? he's going on a cable news show, spreading lies about the green new deal. is that about as low as it gets for a governor? talk about dereliction of duty. >> it's the new norm for the republican party when you have screwed up figure out a way to
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blame the liberals. and it's okay if you lie. we now have the gold standard for the republican party is donald trump who made lying an essential part of his leadership. and so lying is now no big deal. now, it's interesting to me that fossil fuels are 90% of the power source in texas and they want to try to get away with this. i am told by my friends in texas there's also another issue besides not buying the right wind turbines, there's an issue of deregulation for winterization that texas basically blew past regulations that require you to be able to winterize your grid in a way that with stands this kind of cold snap. and because it's all about deregulation, texas said never mind. so i do think there's going to be a lot of facts come out that
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will be hard for abbott to get by, but you know, look at what they've gotten by with over the last four years. it is the new normal. when you're going to look bad, just lie and blame it on somebody else. >> and you know, again, it's part of a new republican game plan in the age of trump. jeffrey goldberg, it's government by gesture. you have donald trump in his campaign talking about building a wall and having mexico pay for it because of the invasion of mexicans when, of course, as we have said for five years, illegal border crossing from mexicans was at a 50-year low under barack obama. then two years later, during the 201 campaign, donald trump started lying about caravans coming to america filled with disease and leprosy.
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and then -- and you have now -- well, of course, covid. we could talk about that all morning the lies he spread about covid, but here you now have texas governor with people freezing to death, families dying in fires because they're trying to keep warm. trying to blame it on a green new deal that not only never passed congress but is openly mocked by nancy pelosi. >> yeah. well, blaming a policy -- theoretical policy from the future for your problems today is a bit of time distortion, obviously. you know, you used the word gesture. it's interesting. gestures and slogans are obviously part of this. and you know, yeah. leprosy caravan sounds pretty bad. nobody wants that, right? it's more than just gestures and rhetorical devices. it is reality distortion. i mean, that's what we're talking about. i was thinking in the opening,
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you had trump talking about infrastructure. the distortion, the fundamental distortion is that many republicans today act as if they want to govern, but so many of them in elected office right now don't believe in government. it's sort of -- it gets as basic of that in a kind of way. it's hard to run a good electrical grid, it's hard to regulate if you don't believe there's a role for governments in making sure people's lives are okay and in other words, people who together -- people who separately couldn't possibly provide themselves with electricity or heat, you need larger bodies for the collective government response to do its. and you have an ideologic opposition to that. that's what's going on here to some degree. >> we'll come back to this story. the latest developments with the covid vaccines as the biden administration announces a sharp
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increase vaccine doses it is now sending out to states. >> we're increasing the vaccine supply to 13.5 million doses per week that will go out to states. this is a 57% increase from the amount states received when the president was inaugurated. >> the white house also reports it is looking to have vaccine doses available at 40,000 local pharmacies across the country. white house chief of staff ron klain tweeted, quote, vaccine supplies to the states up from 8.6 million doses per week when we arrived to 13.5 million per week now up almost 60% in just four weeks. here is what president biden said about when all americans will be able to get the covid vaccine at a town hall last night in milwaukee. >> when is every american who wants it going to be able to get a vaccine? >> by the end of july of this year. we have -- we came into office. there was only 50 million doses that were available.
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we have now by the end of july we'll have over 600 million doses. enough to vaccinate every single american. >> so, jonathan lemire, the president was pretty clear last night on a bunch of issues at that town hall. talked about schools yes, in my first 100 days to be clear i want k through 8 open five days a week, not the one day a week that had been floated in the briefing room. also saying by the end of july f you want a vaccine in america, anybody, including healthy americans, regardless of age or condition, you can get it by the end of july laying down that marker. >> yeah. it's an aggressive timeline and one we have seen shift a few times now. the president has changed dates a few times, so has dr. fauci last week thought the vaccine could be available to everyone by the end of april. they had to back off that in part because of the amount of supply that the new johnson & johnson vaccine will have on hand when it's approved an hits the market.
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there's the issue of distribution. 600 million doses that means those will be developed and on hand but they have to get into the arms of americans. and you're right, willie, that wasn't the only thing where the president made news last night. he talked about his immigration plan, suggesting he would be willing to do a piecemeal, wouldn't have to be one large overwhelming bill at once. he certainly talked about the need to pass the $1.9 trillion covid relief bill, right now despite white house efforts to get republican support look like it's going to move on party lines, just on democrats alone through the process known as reconciliation on the hill. it was striking last night as this is the first week of his official travel, he heads to michigan later this week to tour the pfizer plant there, just how at ease he was in the town hall setting. let's remember, joe biden, this is what he does best. he's a retail politician. he's really eager for that sort of human connection, the face to face interaction with voters. sensation that frankly he was deprived of for most of the
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campaign because of the pandemic. leading to republicans to make fun of his basement campaign, of course it ended up being a very successful one. he was after all elected president. but he is -- this is something he wants to do. he wants to be out there. in fact, the white house moved up their timetable. they didn't think he was going to really start traveling until next month. they moved that up. we saw that beginning last night with the town hall in wisconsin. and reflects two things, first of all, the president's need or want to get out in front of voters to make his case directly to americans. but also the urgency of getting this bill done and that is their strategy at the moments. though, republicans are saying no, they're appealing directly to the people and pointing to polling that suggests the big bill has widespread bipartisan vote, maybe not among republican lawmakers but among republicans themselves, voters across america. >> so here is the president defending his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. >> now is the time we should be spending. now is the time to go big.
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we can come back. we can come roaring back. it is estimated that if you -- we pass this bill alone, we'll create 7 million jobs this year. i think bigger and the vast majority of the serious people say bigger is better now. not spending less. >> mike barnicle your thoughts? is there any value in leaving some room for negotiation with that number? >> sure, of course there is. and that's the way it's going to have to play out. the interesting thing about last night i think to me and perhaps other people, jonathan just referred to it, is how at ease president biden appeared to be. but the flip side of that how at ease the people in wisconsin who were questioning him, who had questions for him, how at ease they were, how relatable joe
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biden is. people would step up to the microphone, hey, how are you? how are you doing? and it's nice to watch and it's nice to see. it's nice to observe especially when you have in the opposite end of the political dial the -- we have been talking about it all morning, the lying about things like you're freezing to death in houston, the whys that are being put out and the fear that is being injected into people's lives by basically several elements of the republican party. and is this their future to campaign on fear in the face of an opponent, the president of the united states, president biden who appears to be so relatable to people, so aware of what their lives are all about, so intent on helping their lives as individuals in this country. i don't know. that's quite a contrast going forward, mika. >> no question about it, mike. claire, you have been in the fights in the united states senate on these massive packages. how do you see this playing out?
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$1.9 trillion won't be the end dollars. how close will he get to what he wants the $15 minimum wage hike. where do you see this ending up having been there before? >> well, i think joe biden is going to get his package, you know, not exactly the way he wants it, but enough where he can declare victory. now, the $15 minimum wage, that's going to be a little tricky because the paliamentarian becomes the key player here. i won't go into all the boring rules around budget reconciliation bill, but the bottom line is that it's not supposed to contain policy. it's only supposed to contain things directly relate to the budget. so, if the paliamentarian rules the $15 minimum wage does not belong in there, that's called the bird rule. joe manchin made it very clear that he will not vote to overrule the paliamentarian on
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that specific decision. meanwhile, bernie sanders is working very hard behind the scenes to try to get the paliamentarian to agree that it belongs in a budget reconciliation bill. so, i'm not -- i think you'll get some kind of increase in minimum wage out of the senate over the next few months. whether it's in this bill and whether it's $15 right off the bat, i think is still a work in progress. but, i thought the president did a great job defending, as he should, the $15 million minimum wage bill last night. >> well, we talked about the republican civil war playing out since the election in arizona and georgia. and now "the new york times" is reporting on the gop's civil war in battleground michigan. two of the ten house republicans who voted to impeach trump came from michigan. the times writes, quote, with loyalty to mr. trump as the all encompassing point of dispute republicans are struggling with
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the idea of the proverbial big tent and politicians are at the forefront of the conflict. one former exec ti director of the michigan republican party tells the times that the state party is, quote, more trumpy today than it was before the election. adding, quote, when you make a deal with the devil, the story usually ends with the devil collecting your soul. you don't get it back. >> well, and jeffrey goldberg, of course the problem here is there are republicans who would be very appealing to sburban voters. the type of republicans like my parents who received suburban voters for years. former democrats became republicans, moved to the suburbans voted republicans their entire life. now we saw the gutting of that in the state where i was born, georgia, during the senate campaign and the presidential
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campaign. and republicans instead of learning from those losses are doubling down. civil war in georgia that cost them control of the united states senate. a civil war in arizona where they're going after cindy mccain and other republican leaders out there. and now, of course, it's happening in michigan. and my god, this is happening in all states but here these are three swing states that are going to be absolutely critical for republicans to get their act together if they want to get the white house back in 2024. >> you know, i would call it a small tent strategy except there's not really a strategy per se. there are impulses or emotions that are driving this rather than a strategy. but what i mean by a small tent strategy is that i feel like we're watching an experiment conducted by state leaders of the republican party to see just
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how small their hard core base is. you know, it's almost as if they're trying to work themselves down to 33, 35%. and it's almost has -- almost has a kind of ritualistic purification quality to it. you know, there is this -- you had seven senators who voted for conviction. people thought, oh, there is a split in the republican party. there's really not that much of a split right now among elected officials in state parties. it's all going one direction. so, i think we're going to see in the coming months, you know, in some ways just how small or how hard that core is and how big it is. >> you know, jeffrey, the question is your party going to go out -- are you going to search for people that you can accuse of being witches? are you going to go out and look for converts? and it's interesting that you talked about that 33% number.
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and usually -- i think a lot of us have always recognized that in every party there's a hard core 33%, at least i've noticed it over the past 20 years or so. you can usually count on a hard core 33, 30 to 33% on both sides saying whatever about the other president. but in this case it's having a real impact on joe biden's approval ratings. we've been showing this number since we got the poll yesterday just again to give people proper perspective, the joe biden is sitting -- if we could put that poll up. joe biden is sitting at 62%. 62% approval rating. that's a number we haven't seen in a very long time. and look at that disapproval number. it's the 33% that you were talking about. all of this noise, all of this sound and furry signifying
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nothing. that's the sound of 33% of americans that have boiled the republican party down to its most hard core, consperitorial group imaginable. >> right. and joe biden has a hard job with the republican party right now making it easier. that's the way i would put it, i think. >> yeah. he certainly is. and it's really interesting, willie, throughout the entire transition we obviously all of us have been looking at what donald trump has been doing and what he's been saying and the conspiracy theories and all of the lies and staying in front of the cameras nonstop and putting people like giuliani out and putting mr. pillow out and putting all -- >> so tiring. >> all those people are now all being sued, putting them out in front of the television set but not only was that spreading a
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lie that led to the insurrection, that also was providing cover for joe biden because usually as you know transitions are usually tough for incumbents or for incoming presidents. those first two or three weeks can be crucial and often new presidents stumble. it's a terrible transition. but donald trump has been taking up all of the oxygen in the media culture on capitol hill everywhere and he has provided extraordinary cover for joe biden. >> yeah. joe biden was inaugurated four weeks ago. it feels like a minute ago, but it's been a full month now since joe biden took office. while the country has been consumed by impeachment, he and his administration have quietly been going about getting vaccines out to people, crafting this package to get relief out to people on the economic side of this crisis. so, yeah, he spent the last month quietly -- it was
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interesting to watch him at the town hall last night when he was asked about donald trump. he said i don't want to talk about that guy anymore. a lot of people in the country said amen to that. people watching a lot of democrats but i would argue a lot of other people, too. let's turn the coroner and start thinking about the challenges in front of us. they are mighty challenges in front of us. and let's stop obsessing over this guy. let's move forward and talk about, as he said the problems of the people sitting out in that audience. and not the daily churn of donald trump news. all right, jeffly goldberg before you go, all month we've been asking our guests to highlight someone for black history month. and you've chosen someone that you've written about in i believe the latest issue. who is it? >> her name -- thank you for doing this. her name is charlotte forten. she's an abolitionist, 1850s, 1860s. black woman, philadelphia.
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and a remarkable figure, remarkable figure in the atlantic magazine history because she's the first black woman to ever right for the atlantic magazine in 1862, 1863. she went south with the union army to teach in the sea islands, south carolina, to teach newly liberated black children how to read. and her first piece is in the atlantic, the first piece by a black woman in the atlantic were about her work during the civil war, still during the civil war. among the newly liberated and she is totally fascinating. largely forgotten. people know her name but not the way more famous abolitionists are known. and so it's a pleasure to have that association for us quite obviously. >> jeffrey goldberg, thank you so much. still ahead on "morning joe," president biden says he's tired of talking about donald
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trump now that impeachment is over, he's making sure the focus is squarely on coronavirus relief. we'll talk to white house principle deputy press secretary karine jean-pierre next on "morning joe." we'll be right back. >> i remember you and i talking during the campaign and you had the former guy -- i'm tired of talking about donald trump. don't want to talk about him anymore. for four years all that's been in the news is trump. the next four years i want to make sure all the news is the american people. i'm tired of talking about trump. i mean, who doesn't love obsessing over network security? all our techs are pros. they know exactly which parking lots have the strongest signal. i just don't have the bandwidth for more business. seriously, i don't have the bandwidth. glitchy video calls with regional offices? yeah, that's my thing. with at&t business, you do the things you love. our people and network will help do the things you don't. let's take care of business.
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if you look back over the last 40 years, as minimum wage has increased, people haven't -- the end result of net employment hasn't changed. here is the deal, it's about doing it gradually. we're at $7.25 an hour. no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty. no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty, but
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it's totally legitimate for small business owners to be concerned about how that changes. >> president biden at last night's town hall indicating he's open to negotiations on the proposed minimum wage increase to $15 an hour that's currently in the democrat's covid relief bill. meanwhile, republican senators mitt romney and tom cotton are working on a separate bill to increase the minimum wage while, quote, ensuring businesses cannot hire illegal immigrants. the proposal also includes a provision for the minimum wage to increase automatically with inflation. joining us now from the white house principle deputy press secretary for president joe biden karine jean-pierre. great to see you. >> good to see you, mika. >> how much room is there for negotiation or for give to republicans in this massive
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stimulus bill? and is the minimum wage where it's going to end up? >> so as you heard we just played it, mika, the president is very committed to increasing the minimum wage. this is why he put it in this legislative package, american rescue plan, and he understands how critical it is especially for ront line workers who are putting their lives on the line as he just explained and they can't afford to put food on the table. they're living in the poverty line, that should be not be acceptable. he understands the process. he understands there's parliamentary process and that there's going to be conversations and discussions about this, but he still stands firm in making sure that we increase the minimum wage. >> mike barnicle. >> karine, last night the president of the united states spoke to people, spoke to the nation. and he mentioned the 100 day mark of his administration that
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schools would be open. the 100 day mark will be april 21st. can you tell us on april 21st, i believe he referenced it in terms of k through 8 schools, are we talking about full-time, fully opened schools in person attendance and schools on april 21st? >> hey, mike. let me first say that last night the president took pride -- he takes pride and joy talking and speaking directly to the american people. you saw that. and it wasn't just about republicans and democrats. it was all americans. he has said that. he's a president not just for people who voted for him but also for the people who didn't. that is clear. he wanted to speak directly and send his message directly to the american people about what they're dealing with right now, the challenges, the economic talking about how the american rescue plan is going to bring economic relief. how the american rescue plan is going to hopefully open up the schools as you just laid out. there's $130 billion in this plan for schools.
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and it's focussed on the immediate relief but also long-term relief like summer school and learning gap. and so, it is important to also think about the ppe and the testing that's going to be needed to make sure that we have a ventilation system that's going to be needed and so the president was really clear. he said his goal is five days a week in 100 days. that is the goal. that is the marker that he has set for himself. so he will do everything that he can and we will do everything that we can to make that happen, but we got to get this american rescue plan passed. and one more thing that needs to happen, we have to confirm the secretary of education, which is secretary cardona. he has to get confirmed so he can work directly with the schools and districts across the country to make sure this happens. >> karene, it's jonathan lemire. good morning. great to see you. >> good morning. >> we have been talking about the situation in texas with this terrible winter storm. millions of customers without
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power. some really dangerous conditions and dozens of people already lost their lives. can you just sort of detail to us what the federal response is, as far as we're seeing right now the blame game and republican politicians, governor in particular, suggesting erroneously the source of the power outages there. what's the federal government doing now? what sort of resources are being deployed? how is the president monitoring the situation. >> yeah. so the president is certainly monitoring the situation, talking to governors. over the weekend we heard from governor abbott asking for some federal relief help. alicia randal connected with him and his office to make sure that we provided that. and we've also -- she's been in conversation with other governors been in this path of this storm. so we are keeping an eye on this. we are sending our prayers to the families out there who are suffering through this time but we as a government are doing everything we can to provide
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federal relief to the folks who are in need. >> karine, it's willie. i want to ask you about something else president biden said in milwaukee, july, the date any american who wanted to get the vaccine would be able to get it. that's very encouraging to folks figuring out the fall in terms of going back to work and school and theetically everyone is vaccinated or most people by july that would make those things possible. so he sort of moved up his timeline a little bit. it's an aggressive timeline. what's that july date based upon? >> so, we're trying to do this, willie, as fast as possible, right. as quickly as possible making sure that we're getting doses into people's arms. that is how we're going to get back to normal. and the president understands that. and so, we have set goals for ourselves. the president has set goals for us. we're going to try to exceed those goals. and here is the thing. we have to make sure, yes, we have vaccines. we have to make sure that it gets into people's arms.
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so we have to get more places. we got to make sure we have, you know, more supplies. we have to make sure that we get out there and work in close partnership with the state and local federal governments that we've been doing. we just announced an increase of 57% to state and local government because we have to get this done. we need to make sure that we can get back to normal as soon as possible, which is why joe biden made that. he actually made that announcement last week and talked about it yesterday in the town hall. so it's critical. it's critical. as we're talking about schools, as we're talking about relief, as we're talking about what the challenges of the american people they're going through, this is part of it. you know, having -- making sure that people get vaccinated in so critical. so we got to get vaccinators out there. we got to get those mobile units. we got to get to places where people can get vaccines. that's why we have the pharmacy program as well that we just announced last week. so, this is all part of the plan.
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we're trying to get this done as quickly as possible. give folks, give american people closer to having some sort of normalcy in their lives. >> so let's hope that that's right, that by july everyone who wants a vaccine has the vaccine. does that then mean that would include teachers obviously come fall that schools k through 12 in the united states would be open, that school is back to normal come fall? >> yeah. well, the president has been very clear about that. he believes that teachers getting vaccinated is a priority. and it's critical and important. look, here is the thing, willie, the president understands the challenges that parents are going through right now. everyday, every week they're not in school they fall behind. and this is an unprecedented situation. so, we are trying to be part of the solution. we're trying to make sure we adhere and listen to what the american people need. that's why he went out to wisconsin. that's why he heard from them directly their challenges and what they've been going through,
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this pandemic. look, what we're seeing right now, you know, people dying, kids not in school, the economic strife that folks are feeling, it should not be the status quo. that's unacceptable for that to be the status quo. when we talk about the american rescue plan, we talk about the bigness of it, but it has to meet this moment. it's not just about covid. it's covid, the economy, schools reopening. and so all of that is tied in together. and the other thing, too, willie, is that we're seeing bipartisan support out there from republicans, from democrats, from independents. that include people who voted for donald trump. so this is all critical which is why he went out there to take it directly to the american people. >> and karine, before you go, we're asking all our guests to choose someone to highlight for black history month. who do you choose? >> oh, this is a fun one. thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. dr. kizmikia corbett.
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she is this amazing young scientist who is basically going to be part of a group of scientists that's going to go down in history for helping to end the pandemic. she is a leading scientist at n.i.h. she was part of the team that helped find or help create the moderna vaccine. just last week the president was at nih. she led a tour and he said in his remarks, her work and the work of her team is going to be critical and really important to really deal with future diseases. and so she has used the other thing i love about her is she has used her platform also to talk to communities of color about the importance of taking the vaccine and how safe it is. and so, this is someone i'm proud to just lift up during this black history month as we celebrate black history month. >> principle deputy press
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secretary for president joe biden, karine jean-pierre, always good to have you. >> thank you so much, mika. >> thank you. coming up, more on the dire situation in texas. the texas tribune just posted this headline a short time ago, quote, more people could lose electricity and heat as crisis persists. we'll give you the very latest reporting on the major power outage crisis. that's next on "morning joe." that's next "onmorning joe.
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we had a fireplace and i burnt up all the wood we had. there's just -- this is sad. this is a sad state of affairs. i wish it were better, but somebody has to do some planning after all this is over and make sure there's an alternative source of energy. >> that's one of the millions of texans in the cold and dark after massive power outages across the state as texas struggles through sub zero temperatures, some on the right are blaming frozen wind
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turbines, but the wind power only makes up a portion of the lost energy. joining us now multimedia reporter for the texas tribune, alana roacha. senator claire mccaskill has the first question for you. claire? >> i noticed first governor abbott outlining on national tv about what the real problem was and then i noticed there was a small town texas mayor that called his residents lazy because they were complaining about not having power. how common is it for elected officials in texas right now to be trying to deflect the blame on this being a liberal plot as opposed to what the reality is on the ground? >> of course, there is a lot of finger pointing happening right now and some trying to take responsibility. the governor did call yesterday the reform of the electric
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reliability council text the power grid that covers about 90% of the state to be an emergency item. lawmakers are meeting right now, about a month into session. we only meet here every other year for about 140 days, so the fact it's an emergency item allows lawmakers to take up that issue within the first 60 days. you already saw leaders from the house and senate talk about calling committee hearings to look at this, but yeah. you saw outrage from the top three here in the state among other lawmakers and saw many of the city managers and the major metropolitan areas which lean on the other side of the aisle democratic, calling out republicans who have had control in this state for both chambers and the governorship for more than two decades easily. and so, they're pointing fingers back at them saying you had control of this issue and have continued to punt and not winterize and spend the money to
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bring our system up to snuff. >> it's willie geist. great to have you on this morning as we have been saying this immediately was spit through the political filter which must be incredibly frustrating for the millions of people without power to watch the governor go on hannity and blame a congresswoman in new york for the problems of texas. so let's take the politics out of it and you are covering this story closely. what exactly happened here? it's a complicated question, but fundamentally, what happened with this failure? >> yeah. basically it's that this weather is not typical for us. here i haven't left my home in a few days because the city streets aren't plowed. the infrastructure just isn't there. when it comes to the pipelines and the equipment and many of these power plants around the state, nuclear coal, natural gas, the investment hasn't been made to winterize them. and so, texas doesn't typically have a lot of reserves of natural gas because of course we have the base in another rich reserves normally just below the
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ground. but the fact that much of that infrastructure has frozen, that gas can't make it to the surface and make it to customer's homes. so about 80% of the state's power grid is fueled by nuclear coal and natural energy, only about 7% are wind turbines and renewables of that nature. and those two, yes, have frozen but they can be winterized to be ready for this type of weather. >> alanarocha, thank you for your reporting this morning. still ahead, even after a second impeachment trial, top senate republicans are coming to donald trump's defense after he was rebuked by mitch mcconnell. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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nbc news has learned that legislation for the proposed 9 9/11 style commission will start this week. they say congress's only chance at a coprehensive and accurate report is to keep partisan ship out of it. but kevin mccarthy released a statement that suggests partisan ship will be hard to avoid. it reads republicans put together a proposal for a fact finding mission one month ago. it is our understanding to understand the security and intelligence breakdowns that led to the riot on january 6th so we could better protect this institution and the men and women working inside it. his statement implies limiting
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the scope of the investigation to security and intelligence breakdowns. while a pelosi investigation will look into the factors leading into the attack, including right wing extremism. they will investigate the security breaches at the capitol. that will be held next tuesday. if this commission, you know, if the scope of what they're looking at is broad and more in terms of what nancy pelosi is looking at, this may be a better forum for accountability in some ways. >> yeah, it would be, miikka, if you had a truly bipartisan commission. it's going to be very difficult. where do they get republicans to
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participate? this has been a search for something missing in this country for four years. it is called truth. including right wing white nationalists has to be part of it. we do need accountability, but i think it will be very difficult to achieve. >> jonathan lemire, this also in addition to all the major news we have been covering this morning, national holiday. it is national pitchers and catchers report day. the cardinals opened camp today. tomorrow the boston red sox. how excited are you to see corey kluber in yankee pinstripes today. and, two, are the red socks planning on fielding a team here? >> i was going to say. i was going to comment on their
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strategy this year. it is -- i know winter weather is everywhere, but it is a sign of spring. pitchers and catchers, myself, my boys. mike barnacle, reassuring words on the boston red sox. are we going to be able to compete for some sort of playoff run this year? >> yes, yes. >> hello! hello. >> miikka, they will win 90 games. >> come on. first of all, i wore my baseball stitches sweater this morning as an to imagine to pitchers and
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catchers day. >> we'll leave it there. still ahead, former president hits back at trump mcconnell as both men jockey for leadership of the republican party. what their feud means for the future of the g.o.p. "morning show" is back in a moment. show" is back in a moment 's a photo of your mommy and then there's a picture of me. but before our story it goes way, way, way back with your great, great, great grandparents. see this handsome man, his name is william. william fell in love with rose and they had a kid. his name was charles and charles met martha... isn't she pretty? yeah. my husband and i have never eaten healthier. shingles doesn't care. i logged 10,000 steps today. shingles doesn't care. i get as much fresh air as possible. good for you, but shingles doesn't care. because 1 in 3 people will get shingles, you need protection.
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>> the former guy. >> okay. >> the former guy, president biden's way of referring to former president trump in a town hall last month. kind of has a good ring to it. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is wednesday, february 17th. with us we have peter baker. a member of the new york times editorial board mara gay joins us this morning. we begin with the latest developments of the biden vaccine. >> we're increasing the vaccine supply to 13.5 million doses per week. that will go out to states. this is a 57% increase from the amount states received when the president was inaugurated. >> the administration is also upping the number of covid vaccines being sent to pharmacies. the white house says it is
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looking to have vaccine doses available at 30,000 local pharmacies nationwide. ron klain tweeted, quote, vaccine supplies from the state up from 1.6 million doses a week when we arrived to 13.5 million per week now. up almost 60% in just four weeks. this vaccine's success could be one of the reasons biden is enjoying high approval numbers. >> that does actually -- >> very high. >> willie, those are high numbers. >> close to the top. >> that the last guy or the former guy never got within 14 points of that. i wonder if a lot of it has to do with the fact that he's not
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saying insane things every two seconds. but they have a plan. they have a national plan for a roll-out. the former guy worked as hard as he could to not take responsibility and to constantly try to pass it down to states with infrastructure. again, disjointed over 50 states. their infrastructure really wasn't prepared for this. as other guy said this on, early on, this is war. he was like a wartime president. he then decided that she was going to push the health care equivalent of world war ii to state governors. it just didn't work. but this appears to be working extremely well. >> yeah. remember, president trump never cleared 50%. his ceiling was right around 40%. joe biden up at 62 in this poll. one part of it is the quiet. we're not hearing from the president every moment of every
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day. >> former guy. >> the other part is the competence, which is to say over the last three weeks since he took office, this white house has been single minded. they don't want to talk about impeachment. they don't want to talk about the former guy. they have been working on the health and the economic pieces of this coronavirus crisis, and we're seeing the results. it is true that operation warp speed started under president trump, gave them a start. and dr. fauci has said that. others have said that. but when you look at the production of vaccines, there is no question this white house is taking it more successfully and been more successful. president biden said there was, quote, no vaccine when he took over. there was nothing in the refrigerator figuratively and literally speaking. but elsewhere in the town hall, he did correct that number. >> we came into office there was only 50 million doses that are available. we have now at the end of july
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we have over 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every single person. >> they really do seem to be focussing on first things first here. that's what you expect white houses to do. certainly george w. bush's white house focussed on that. barack obama was focussed on economic recovery after the economic collapse. you would have expected donald trump to become singularly focussed on this health care crisis. he just never could do it. this is a return to normality. joe biden doing what i think most presidents in our lifetime would have done, and that is almost singularly focus on getting these vaccines out there tonight, not only to keep people healthy but to get america's economy going again and to get kids back in school. >> the only reason this is surprising or news is because it
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is in contrast to the last four years, not in contrast with every other president. sticking to message discipline, focussing on the most important priorities the public has, you know, avoiding distractions to the best possible degree they can. getting money out the door, getting vaccines out the door. this is exactly what you would expect from presidents. it is just doing the main features of the job. >> peter, can i ask you this again? just i apologize for interrupting. but with now nine months to look back on donald trump and his response to this pandemics, ten months. i guess we're coming up on a year. have you figured out as a guy who is reporting there every day why he didn't say publically
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what he said about woodward a year ago in those interviews and why at times he seemed to understand privately that this was a medical crisis that was causing an economic crisis and would lead to a political crisis. what's the best answer for why, you know, we've got almost 500,000 people dead and for, you know, the first six, seven months of the pandemic, we had a president who almost refused to admit its existence, refused to admit just how dangerous it was. >> well, i think it is one of the questions history is going to ask about this presidency. when we look back and try to figure out what went wrong, why was it he didn't take this seriously, why was it he continually tried to pretend it didn't exist, you know, there wouldn't be that many casualties, the economy would
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reopen, you know, i think one of it was he's so focussed on running in 2020 on the strength of the economy that he had in 2018 that he wanted to wish away the pandemic and tell everybody, forget about it. get back to work. forget these lockdowns and he wanted to sort of in effect will it away. he had been so successful at willing the political environment to being what he wanted it to be. he learned that the concentrated, you know, application of, you know, dominant voice did change the political environment. you cannot do that with a virus. you cannot do that with a pandemic, obviously. and it denied every skill that he had and had been successful for him at that point. >> and he can lie his way out of just about everything, miikka. and he came up against a foe, a virus -- >> right. >> -- that just didn't care what
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lies he was telling. it was going to run its course regardless. he could have worked aggressively to stop it. or he could have said, it's only 15 people. soon it will be go away. use nosebleeds. use hydroxychloroquine. that will make it go away. it will be gone by easter. it's not coming back in the fall. one lie after another. even during the campaign at the end where it's just about over. we're almost at the end of it. lied repeatedly trying to wish it away. almost 500,000 americans dead now. the last president said it was one person coming in from china and it will soon go away. >> scientists will tell you that number on your screen, 490,000 people dead does not have to be that number. it didn't have to be this way had the former guy actually, you know, executed in even a halfway
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competent fashion, there wouldn't be so many people did. not even close. you have received the vaccine. what was the process like? because this is going to be quite an undertaking to get the country safe. >> i received my first dose on monday. it was pretty emotional experience. i actually went to a new york state site, and it was really striking because the national guard is running the operation there. so it was almost like a sci-fi movie in some sense. once you got inside, everybody was friendly and in good spirits. to have the national guard return there to actually keep people well was something that they said was really special to those who were posted there. yeah.
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hundreds of people separated appropriately and a solemn occasion. for me it was emotional because it really felt like it was the beginning of the end of this nightmare for me personally, which has been quite a journey, but also for the city. so it was really encouraging. but, you know, the frustration is that even though i'm one of millions of americans who has an underlying condition and qualifies for this vaccine in new york state and elsewhere, it is really difficult to get appointments. i lucked out. i just happened to find an appointment at the right time, but especially for those who are older or don't have access to broad band, we need to be reaching people door to door, even in a pandemic, getting appropriate, safety, outreach to make sure that the communities that are hardest hit are really getting access to this vaccine. right now vaccine distribution
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is upside down in that way. so we really need to turn that around. >> still ahead, donald trump blames mitch mcconnell for the problems facing the republican party right now. we'll have his blistering statement. and can you guess whose side lindsey graham and ron johnson are on? you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. my nunormal: fewer asthma attacks.
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and now to a story about the former guy, donald trump, who hit back at mitch mcconnell after mcconnell blamed him for provoking the riot at the capitol. trump hurled personal insults at the minority leader while blaming him for the party's problems, including the loss of georgia's two senate seats and the senate majority.
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in a more than 600 word statement, think how many tweets that would have been, trump wrote mcconnell's dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wiz come, skill and personally has let him to a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack and if republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. he will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our country. the former president vowed to back maga challengers in republican primaries. and trump also took a swipe at mcconnell's wife, elaine chow writing, quote, mcconnell has no credibility on china because of his family's substantial chinese business holdings.
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he does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat. we'll note that trump appointed lynn chow to his cabinet and she served there for the entire presidency. so that's all him, actually. >> i guess donald trump was fine with what he thinks that the cause -- >> he's just fine until he's not and everyone knows that he doesn't have much of a sense of loyalty. >> some republican senators are coming to trump's defense in the wake of mitch mcconnell's rebuke of the former president. here's what senators lindsey graham and ron johnson had to say about trumpism and the future of the republican party yesterday. >> what i would say to senator mcconnell, i know trump can be a handful, but he is the most dominant figure in the republican party. we don't have a snowball's chance in hell without donald trump. i'm sorry for what happened on january 6th.
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he'll get his fair share of blame. but to my republican colleagues in the senate, let's try to work together and realize without president trump we're never going to get back in the majority. president trump is the most consequential republican in the party. if mitch mcconnell doesn't understand it, he's missing a lot. kevin mccarthy is the leader of the house republicans. he's taken a different approach to president trump. i would advice senator mcconnell to do that. >> from my standpoint leader mcconnell speaks for himself. in this case, i don't think he speaks for the conference. when i speak, i do try to keep in mind how it might reflect on the party. >> i can't tell you how rich this is, that ron johnson, a man who -- well, he's challenged. ron is challenged. ron is giving mitch mcconnell political advice. i would be a little careful there, mitch.
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and then lindsey graham, i don't know what to say. see, i have had enough of this. and then three people chase you through an airport and he's just freaked out ever since. so if you want to change lindsey's mind, just get three people and follow him through the airport for five minutes and yell at him, and lindsey will turn into a tub of jell-o, which is exactly what he's done. but, you know, donald trump is a special guy, as lindsey graham said, holds a special place in the republican party. he's the only republican president since herbert hoover to lose the white house. yes, to lose the senate. this iswillie, he knows they would be in charge right now if it were not for donald trump and how he conducted himself during the georgia run-offs.
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rich mcconnell would be majority leader right now if not for donald trump and the way he conducted himself during the georgia run-off. what these two sad little petrified men think they're achieving by attacking the majority leader is really beyond me. but they're starting a civil war. by the way, you need to be more like kevin mccarthy, said nobody ever on the face of the earth about any legislative leader. >> coming up, more than three million people in texas without power amid sub zero temperatures right now. the state's governor goes on television to rail against the green new deal, which at this point is nothing more than an idea. we'll dig into that next on "morning joe."
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sfx: [sounds of everyday life events, seen and heard in reverse] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ sfx: [sounds of fedex planes and vehicles engines] ♪♪ sfx: [sounds of children laughing and running, life moving forward] if you smell gas, you're too close. leave the structure, call 911, keep people away, and call pg&e right after so we can both respond out and keep the public safe. covid's still a threat. and on reopening schools, we know what happens when we don't put safety first.
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ignore proper ventilation or rates of community spread, and the virus worsens. fail to provide masks or class sizes that allow for social distancing, and classrooms close back down. a successful reopening requires real safety and accountability measures. including prioritizing vaccines for educators. parents and educators agree: reopen schools. putting safety first. if you see wires down, treat them all as if they're hot and energized. stay away from any downed wire, call 911, and call pg&e right after so we can both respond out and keep the public safe. record breaking cold temperatures have left millions without power and claimed more lives yesterday. at least 30 deaths have been reported from car cashes to carbon monoxide poisoning mainly
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throughout the south and southeast. texas has seen the most fatalities as two million homes and businesses there are still without power in sub freezing temperatures. a house fire killed a family of four in houston as they appeared to be using a fireplace to keep worm. as texas struggles, frozen wind turbines have caused conservative politicians to criticize the state's reliance on renewable energy. but the wind power only makes up a portion of the lost energy in texas. yesterday an official said that 16 gigs was offline. however, nearly double that, 30 had been lost from internal sources like gas, coal and
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nuclear energy. the major outages came from thermal sources, such as natural gas and coal, not renewable sources. >> i know this will come as a shock to nobody. but greg abbott is lying through his teeth when he's blaming the grid. the facts in his own state by the texas government, by people who follow this show, he's just lying through his teeth. he can't blame aoc. he can't blame the green new deal. it is all his fault and all the fault of the texas lawmakers who continues to underfund their energy infrastructure. >> and what a change, change intint to in the middle of this crisis with four million people out of power as miikka just read people dying in the state of texas to rush on to hannity and blame a congresswoman from new
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york for the green new deal which wasn't exist. the governor of the state who is theoretically manages the crisis rushing out to blame somebody else. ted cruz, a texas senator, repeatedly mocked power outages in california. now being criticized as texas grapples with winter storms as many lose power. after being called out by the hill, senator cruz tweeted, i got no defense. a blizzard strikes texas and our state shuts down. not good. >> good for him for owning up to that. >> yeah. he did, anyway. and governor abbott corrected criticism tweeting that natural gas and coal generators also were responsible for the freeze. this was before appearing on fox news to blame the outages on the
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green new deal. >> texas is blessed with multiple sources of energy such as natural gas and oil and nuclear as well as solar and wind. but you saw from what trace said, and that is our wind and our solar got shut down and they were collectively more than 10 prs of our power grid. it just shows that fossil fuel is necessary to make sure we will be able to heat our homes in the winter home and cool our homes in the summertime. >> wow. just a breathtaking lie. an official from the electric reliability council of texas said most of the power knocked offline came from thermal sources, particularly natural gas. most of the energy there, joe, is from natural gas. the truth of the matter is they're not ready for temperatures. their production facilities are not ready for temperatures like
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this. perhaps they should have been. but the idea that frozen wind turbines blamed on all sand dree you ocasio-cortez caused this is an outrageous lie. >> experts warn of another wave of coronavirus if the u.s. can't control the variants spreading across the country right now. dr. zeke emanuel joins us to discuss that coming up in the show. up in the show to support a strong immune system, your body needs routine. centrum helps your immune defenses every day, with vitamin c, d and zinc.
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dominic, we know that those pictures are going to look a lot different three months from now, four months from now. still now we're clawing our way out of a pandemic, and, yet, wall street has never had it so good. what are you looking at today? >> so it is crazy because even with a record stock market, that's not getting all the attention these days. everyone has their eyes on the hyper sensitive stocks, gamestop and whatnot. check out what's happening with bitcoin. $51,715. that's the eye popping price for how high a single bitcoin got in trading today. we're up 75% in this early part of 2021. it is up, believe it or not, 1,100% since last year. back then it was trading close to $4,000. those moves come over the last couple of weeks because a lot of companies are signals wider
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adoption. you have tesla and micro strategy that made purchases of billions of dollars worth of bitcoin. other companies like papal, mastercard, they said they will look into adding those platforms in the coming months. buyer beware because the massive volatility could lower upsides. >> can i ask you about that? >> yes. >> let's just stop there for a second because it seemed obvious that when people were getting their stock tips of redditt that was going to be plus. obviously problems with gamestop, problems with amc. bitcoin is something i have never really understood, something i have never really paid close attention to because it seemed so dangerous. and, yet, you are right. you're now saying paypal and elon musk, other people starting
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to invest in it. how dangerous is that for the companies? and why would you invest in bitcoin instead of hard american currency? >> so, first of all, hard american currency right now, the value of the value has been going down steadily for a while, and that's been a concern for some others out there. we have policies in the states right now and europe and japan have been depreciating their currencies. so the dollars are worth less. the case for bitcoins right now and other krip toecurrencies are about a youth scenario. it is about whether or not there is a future for digital currency beyond what they have been. there is a growing movement out there, and it is not large by any means compared to the world, but there is a growing movement saying this is the future because it will not be as controlled by government. it will not be controlled by
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certain types of entities out there. it will be a more democratic way to trance act value between people. the reason why these bitcoin prices are higher is because if there is a use case, joe, if people can go out there and buy a slice of pizza or in elon musk's case, pay for a at the scene tesla, then it generates real interest. but the fact there is enough interest from customers and giants that companies like mastercard and bank of new york melon are saying we have to look into it because our customers are demanding it, that's a real thing. whether or not prices will go higher, joe, we know prices don't go up in a straight line forever. >> no, they don't. and i just got breaking news across my phone from "the wall street journal" said shoppers boosted spending by 5.3% in january, the first increase in
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four months driven by recent virus-related stimulus payments. here we have, again, spending going up 5.3%. we've had projections that the economy was going to grow this year by 3.75%, even if there are no additional stimulus payments. how much of a concern is there out there? we talk about that every day on this show. but most people brush it aside. are there any inflationary concerns on wall street about a $2 trillion package or are most people discounting it and just saying, you know what, people like scarborough and you name it, whoever else had been warning about deficits and inflation for 25 years never matters, not gonna matter now. let's just spin, spin, spin. >> so there are a lot of schools of thought. you bring up a huge number of cross currents here. first of all, there is a wall street mentality right now.
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and even one from jay powell saying that we're going to let things run until we see that there is inflation out there. right now no matter what, we pumped trillions of dollars of money into the system. banks around the world and it hasn't done anything to increase the prices. now, the reason why i say that is because you and i both know that if you go to the store right now, food prices are on the rise. if you and i go to a store right now, energy. i commute every day. i pay more for fuel now than i have in the last six to nine months. prices are on the rise for certain every day things. what is going up in value right now are asset prices like stocks and bitcoins and those types of things. whether or not that will impact the main street consumer remains to be seen. right now, with everything that we have done, joe, you would think that inflation would be running hotter than it is, but
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it is just not in those key measures that some people watch, that's the reason why some people are concerned right now. >> all right. dominic, thank you. and back now to the effort to reopen schools. here is vice president kamala harris in an exclusive interview last hour on the today show. >> can you reassure teachers that are listening right now that it is safe to go back to school if these measures like distancing and masks are being implemented. >> first of all, teachers should be a priority. let me tell you something. i love teachers. my first grade teacher attended my law school graduation. teachers are critical to our parents development. they should be able to teach in a safe place and expand the minds of our children. they should be a priority along
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with other front line workers, and we will make them a priority. >> let's bring in dr. ezekiel. he was a member of the former obama adviser for white house policy. he's from the university of pennsylvania and a senior medical contributor. that's all we have time for. >> zeke! thank you so much for being with us. we didn't get the end of that answer, so i don't know exactly how she answered that question. we did hear about her first grade teacher, which is great. but i'm going to ask you that question. social distancing with masks, is it safe for teachers, even if they weren't vaccinated, to go in and teach classes for k through 8 classes? >> well, all the data we have suggests that schools are safer than being out in the public and being at home. and, so, it stands to reason. they're regulated environments. people are, you know, required
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to wear masks, required to be socially distanced, required to wash their hands. even if it's not perfect, it is better than outside where it is less regulated and the rules are less enforced. the data shows overwhelmingly that schools are safer in terms of low transmission. there is good studies out of north carolina and other places that you can keep schools open and you can keep the infection rate down. now, if the virus is raging, you know, then you want to pause. but in many, many places in this country where we have low numbers of cases per hundred thousand, oregon, washington, north dakota, yes, you can open schools and, yes, you should open schools because the risks are lower and the benefits to students are enormous in terms of mental health, food and all the other things we talk about. >> dr. emanuel, everything you said is true.
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and we've seen that in new york city. we have seen that across the country. we want the teachers to be in there safely. i guess the question is why aren't we opening the schools? and why has the biden administration for a couple of weeks now been couching this? the head of the cdc came out and said teachers don't need to be vaccinating as long as there is masking and distancing and all the other precautions. the white house walked that back with push and pull before the cdc put out its official guidelines last friday. if everything you said is true about the safety of schools, why aren't they open? >> look, i think people are naturally nervous. i'm naturally nervous, and i have very good masks, and i know what the rules are and i know how to fit it. i think that's all true. i do agree with vice president harris, and i think something she said should really be emphasized. we should put teachers at the top of the next traunche of
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vaccines. we're rolling out 1.7 million vaccines. you can get those millions of teachers around the country vaccinated and take this all off the table and put our children first. >> yeah. >> getting schools working so parents can go back to work is critical to the country and critical to getting the economy rolling. >> totally agree with that. zeke, let's talk about the new covid variants that continue to emerge nationwide. cases of the more contagious south african strain have now been detected in massachusetts and connecticut. and while the u.k. variant is likely to be the dominant strain in the u.s. by the end of next month, according to the cdc, i guess that leads us to the new op-ed that you co-wrote. you write in part, when it comes to the vaccines, time is the most important factor. every day that passes without getting vaccinated is a day where you have a higher risk of
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getting infected, becoming seriously ill and dying. whatever benefit you think you might get from waiting for the best vaccine isn't worth the risk you take on while waiting. the best thing you can do is get vaccinated as soon as you are able with whichever vaccine is available to you first. i mean, that's the issue, is the vaccine being able to people. and you talk about teachers, zeke. i agree they should be like front line workers. that would totally kill theish you of teachers and unions being concerned about school starting. isn't the issue at this point getting vaccines to everybody? i think there is a good number of americans who would like to have it? >> i agree. i'd love to have it. you know, we should -- four weeks ago the biden administration book over. we were not quite at a million. we're now at 1.7 million, almost
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double within four weeks. we could get up to three million. it does depend upon johnson & johnson authorized and therefore having more capacity. it is really important to wrap that up. and i know that they're working on everything they can think of. and it's vitally important. i'd say the other vitally important element, besides vaccines, which we stress, is we need to adhere to masking, social distancing, and we should not rush to open up indoor dining and restaurants and other things where we know spread increases. i'm very concerned by, for example, new york opening up indoor dining, even in the limited degree, because of these new variants, which are more contagious. so we need to balance as we're ramping up more vaccine supply. we need to balance that with not rushing to take down some of the
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important public health issues that we have had like not having a lot of crowds, not doing a lot of activity indoors with people who are outside our pod. >> dr. emanuel, just filling a few gaps on the vice president's interview just now, we know that cdc guidelines suggests that some schools could reopen now. the vice president dodged around that one and didn't weigh in one war 'the other. she did say that the administration believes that teachers should be near the front of the line, but didn't commit to exactly what that means in terms of where teachers should be with the vaccines. like should they be the very next priority, which a lot of teachers unions believe they should be and want to not let their teachers go back into the classrooms until that occurs. also, if you could talk a little more about the dip in numbers we're seeing right now with the infections.
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we are seeing what seems to be an encouraging lull and the vaccine is being further distributed into the community. tell me, though, with these new variants, what does that race look like? should we be bracing ourselves that in the vehicles ahead we could see those cases start to climb again with those new variants being potentially even deadlier. >> you always ask great questions, so let's start with the teacher priority. i have maintained for a long time now about six months that teachers ought to be at the top of the priority list because i think schools are so integral, for children, for families, and i do think it is quite important to put that at ease. having said that, we do have to recognize that the data suggests teachers are very safe even if we don't have them vaccinated because we don't have sufficient vaccine around the country. and, so, i think it's both things. the one thing i would say about
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schools, to emphasize something the cdc did put out is that sports, especially things like wrestling where we know we have had a lot of outbreaks, those should put on hold until we can do them in a socially distanced way outdoors like baseball, like cross country running, which i used to take part in. we should make in class education the primary thing we get and put sports down the line for when we can do it outside in a distanced manner. the second question is, we are seeing this dramatic drop. and partly that does heavily correlate with surveys that show that more americans are masking regularly, that we are limiting the crowds. what i worry about is that, because we're dropped, we're now -- we were at a high of about 250,000 new cases a day in january. we're now down to about 80,000. we're breathing a sigh of relief
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and we're not looking at the answer constitute numbers. there are, you know, several things on the horizon which make us on the advisory board very, very nervous. one is, as you point out, the new very bad. and second is easing up of the public health restrictions which makes people very nervous because it brings people gt to. that, both of those things, make us worth it.
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we have to work through these measures to get through these areas and get the vaccine out there. >> doctor, thank you very much. "which country has the world's best health care." and we want to mention the planyourvaccine.com campaign from nbc universal. the goal is how and where to go your covid-19 vaccine. you can go to planyourvaccine.com. track who is currently eligible for the vaccine. track distribution timelines and find the closest vaccination locations. up next, the army times calls it one of the last places you would expect to find a revolution centered on women's rights. that remarkable story is next on "morning joe." [music: “you're the best” by joe esposito]
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"daughters of ka bani: stories of rebellion and justice," which tells the true story of the all-female militia that worked with the american soldiers to liberate kobane forces from isis. let's read a little. she worried for weeks while they planned the offensive, crossing the water complicated just about everything. the boats couldn't carry heavy weapons. her forces would be visible to isis fighters, who with have the high ground on the other side to easily pick them up. they would also be vulnerable to the weather. if a surprise storm arose, they would have to figure out how to rescue air forces from the watery darkness and their supplies could topple into the river, never to be recovered. so much could go wrong, she thought to herself, have we planned for all of it? could we? and we ask that question to you, gail, how you came upon this
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incredible story. >> i'm so glad to be here. i will tell you, as service member, one of the women in this book, ashley's war, which told the story of an all-woman special operation team. she was in syria. she said you have to see this, not only are women leaving men in battle but they have the respect of the men they fight alongside, who i think are just in awe with enormous respect for their will and heart and courage and bravery. and who wouldn't want to tell the story of the david versus goliath? the women who thought to hand isis its first battlefield to beat. >> and you dnds hundreds of hours of interviews. i wanted to get a sense of how you did your reporting.
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the women gathered in order to plan their goals. >> this is the interesting thing, i had seven trips to northeast syria, a lot of hours on the ground. of course, none of these women thought they did anything extraordinary but they were all happy to talk about their friends' courage and valor and that stayed with me. the truth was, one story, adzima, one of the women we meet in this book is a swashbuckling character and kobane at this stand is the last stand against isis. isis 2014 had no battlefield losses. then they come up against this woman and these women in this militia, who are just like, listen, we're not going to let this stand. a world in which men by and sell women should not exist. in 2013, they form this all-women's militia both to stop men of the islamic state and also because they told me, we just didn't want men taking credit for our work.
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>> hey, gayle, it's willie geist. congratulations on the book. we get the impression of the reasons you laid out, islamic state enslaved women, tortured and raped women and they just women got together and, as you said, we have to take a stand against this. what was it like in the early days to take an extraordinary step to form a group and rush into battle? >> i think it was a beginning. these women were like so many women you know, willie, and folks who are just determined to protect their families, determined to protect their neighborhoods. they never thought they would get catapulted onto the global stage by isis. what turns out to happen is the united states needs them, they need somebody who is going to bring the fight to isis. and they see this group of people who are in this town of kobane in 2014 and they were standing up to isis. one of the women we meet in la rouge is the commander of the
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all women's forces. she realizes they don't have nearly enough women or ammunition or weapons, but what they have is spirit. she gets on the radio and says, these men think you have no value. they think you're worth nothing. show them what you're capable of, not just for yourselves but all women. i wanted readers to get to know them. >> it gayle, congrats on the work. remarkable details here. sketch out a little bit now what life looks like. what is the present and future for these remarkable women? >> i will joke, and you will appreciate this, jonathan, there's much more hope in northeastern syria that northeastern washington. with the setbacks they built victories and turned them into governing leadership. the world looks different when women have power and women lead. in every town they run, there are women and men leading and corunning every town, there are
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women in security forces. for them, this is really about the next generation and they're fighting every day in this very fragile moment to keep this rickedy stability that against all odds they've been able to build as america's partner on the ground while still keeping the pressure on the islamic slate. >> the new book is "daughters of kk 0 bani: daughters of courage and justice." gayle, thank you very much. i appreciate you being on and this book. jonathan lemire, in our final moments on "morning joe," what are you looking at today? >> spring training mostly. but after that, president biden last night concluded his first official trip to wisconsin. he's got another plan tomorrow to michigan to salute those working on the vaccine but today is important too. even though he will be in washington, he's meeting with business leaders and elected officials to push not only
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potentially for his infrastructure plan and the immediate need for the massive covid-19 relief bill and the economy that is so battered by the pandemic. that's on biden's agenda today. >> all right. thank you very much, that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. hi, there, i'm stephanie ruhle. it's wednesday, february 17th, and here's what's happening now. this morning, new promises but few details coming from the white house as president joe biden attempted to answer the questions on every single american's mind -- when will we be back to normal? >> by next christmas i think we will be in a very different circumstance, god willing, then we are today. i don't want to overpromise anything here. i told you when i ran and when i got elected, i will always level with you. >> that was at a town hall in milwaukee last night where

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