tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC July 28, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
i mean, when i heard that, i wasn't even thinking about any racial stuff. but for me, i wasn't even thinking about that, i'm there to stop them regardless. i'm not thinking what they were yelling in terms of my skin color or my race. i know i'm an american soldier, former american soldier, and police officers. i didn't take that into account when i was defending all of you guys. >> sergeant gonell gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts right now. good evening once again. i'm chris jansing in for brian williams. day 190 of the biden administration. and there's been a major breakthrough tonight on a key biden agenda item. the senate voted to begin debate on a nearly $1 trillion
bipartisan infrastructure package by a vote of 67-32, exactly one week after it failed to pass, a rare example of bipartisanship in washington. 17 republicans, including their leader, mitch mcconnell, joined all 50 democrats in advancing the bill. it's the first step in a series of votes toward final passage of the agreement. and as the country faces a surge of new covid-19 infections, the white house is expected to announce tomorrow that covid vaccinations will be required for all federal workers. those who refuse will have to undergo regular virus testing. today the cdc director posted this on social media. quote, covid-19 cases have increased over 300% nationally since june 19. the highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates and among unvaccinated people. this afternoon, during a visit to pennsylvania's lehigh valley, the president issued a plea to americans who are holding out on getting their shots.
>> we still have a lot of people not vaccinated. the pandemic we have now is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. so please, please, please, please, if you're not vaccinated, protect yourself and the children out there. >> reuters reports the white house has mandated masks in federal buildings and covid hotspots. the cdc says 67% of u.s. counties have substantial or high transmission rates, up from 63% just yesterday. and today the agency issued another change in guidance for the fully vaccinated. the cdc now recommending they get tested after exposure to someone with covid even if they don't show any symptoms. previously the cdc said fully vaccinated people did not need to be tested after exposure unless they did experience symptoms. "the washington post" is highlighting the potential political toll of this latest covid surge on the white house,
writing, quote, this new landscape and, some say, the administration's less than clear messaging, is complicating biden's efforts to show that he is still leading the country out of the pandemic. some republicans are slamming what they say are shifting messages, especially about masks for fully vaccinated. >> it's confusing. they're sending mixed messages constantly. it's contradictory. i think it sets us back in what we're trying to do with encouraging people to get vaccinated. they're not really forthcoming on a lot of data that they're using to make this change in the guidance. >> on capitol hill, republican congressman chip roy of texas lashed out after a mask mandate was reimposed for the house of representatives. >> which is it? vaccines or masks? do the vaccines work or they don't work? do the masks work or they don't work? i would like to know which it is. or are they just going to go
around poking people, saying you must take a vaccine? oh, but sorry, the vaccine doesn't work, you must wear a mask. >> congressman roy then tried to force a vote on a motion to adjourn the house, which was handily defeated. with that, phillip rucker, pulitzer prize winning senior washington correspondent for "the washington post." his new book written with his colleague carol leonnig, "i alone can fix it," has debuted at number 1 on "the new york times" bestseller list. lisa laird for "the new york times" and dr. kavita patel, great to see all of you. lisa, the president is expected to require vaccines or testing for those who won't get vaccinated for federal workers. more than a few folks have made it clear they're already angry about the cdc's new guidance on
masks for people who are vaccinated. is this where the white house thought they would be at this point in the summer? how worried are they about this surge? >> certainly not where they want to be, at least not politically or, you know, from a public health standpoint. let's not forget that earlier this month, the white house basically all but declared victory on the virus, they had that big july 4th event at the white house, and they really gave the american public a sense that things were moving forward. and now, i think there's a sense that the country is backsliding. masks are back, there's a lot of talk of mandates although that's a word we will not hear the white house use. it's something that's happening at a lot of private companies and local jurisdictions like new york. and i think there is some frustration among, you know, the american public, certainly that's a frustration that the republicans are trying to stoke, and a sense that the country, you know, is not continuing this upward trajectory of moving out of the virus. look, is this the white house's
fault? not exactly, right? this is how pandemics can go, particularly when vaccination rates haven't gotten as high as the white house would like them to be. we know that a large percentage of unvaccinated people do lean republican, so the white house doesn't carry the same sort of weight, potentially convincing those voters, as they do with other voters. there is some concern among allies of the white house that there could be backlash or frustration if biden can't deliver on the central promise of his campaign which is to move the country out of this pandemic. >> yeah, and it's reopening old wounds, phil rucker, the house minority leader kevin mccarthy tweeting this last night. make no mistake, the threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science but conjured up by liberal government officials who want to live in a perpetual pandemic
state. then today speaker pelosi and mccarthy had this back and forget. >> the mask mandate, any response to the backlash? >> that's the purview of the capitol physician, the official capacity, a mandate from him, i have nothing to say about that except we honor it. >> reporter: leader mccarthy says it's against the science. >> he's such a moron. >> we're vaccinated, not a hotspot, but they're forcing us to wear a mask? this is all about control. >> oh, phil rucker. does it seem we're even more at risk now than a year ago, allowing the politics of all this to keep us from actually doing what needs to get done to stop the spread? how ugly is this going to get? >> well, chris, it's already pretty ugly, as the video you just showed makes clear. and this is a very political
issue right now. you know, the covid response and especially the issue of whether to require people to wear masks has been political from day one because president trump last year when he was in office made it political. and of course tried to convince his supporters that they didn't have to wear a mask. and now you fast forward to the moment we're in right now. and the data are very clear, the data show that one of the reasons why we're seeing this surge in covid infections is because so many people in republican-leaning states have been reluctant and resistant to getting the vaccine. that's according to the cdc officials, and to the data they're analyzing. so the biden administration as well as state and local jurisdictions all around the country are grappling with how to deal with this outbreak of covid infections and how to keep people safe if all of the american citizens are not going out and getting vaccinated, which is the reality that we're in right now. and it's going to be a political
football, i think, for these politicians. and, you know, we should also keep in mind that one of the reasons why pelosi is so adamant about these restrictions inside the house is because so many of those house members are coming to washington from their districts. those districts are hotspots, many of them are. and some of those house members have been reluctant and resistant to follow the guidelines in their own communities. and when they're convening in the congress with so many people who are at an advanced age, it certainly brings a risk to the lawmakers and elected officials there. >> and lisa, so tomorrow the president is going to make this coronavirus mandate announcement. today, as you know, he was pushing infrastructure in pennsylvania. what does tonight's vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill many for this white house? >> certainly the white house is heralding this as a big victory. this was something president biden talked a lot about on the campaign trail, his ability to bring people together in congress and pass bipartisan
legislation and remind people of how things used to be when he was in the senate and members of congress were sometimes, occasionally, or at all, able to work touting and pass things. there's still a long way to go. he's going to have to keep his caucus in line and keep democrats on board. many of them were hoping this bipartisan bill would be bigger. they want to be sure the things they want to see in this bill that are not in there get in that reconciliation package. but the moderates in the party of course are concerned that the reconciliation package could be too large. so there's still this balancing act he'll have to do within his own party, particularly in the house where he really can't lose that many democrats. and then of course this is not the final vote at all on this package, so there's a long road to go with keeping these ten republicans on board as well. i think tonight at least the white house is feeling pretty good. >> and so dr. patel, while they're moving from the white house perspective in the right direction on infrastructure, not so much on this surge.
how concerned are you about where we are? while the vaccinated wait for the unvaccinated to get their shots, whenever that might be, is one part of the answer what pfizer is saying, that a third dose of its covid-19 vaccine can strongly boost protection against the delta variant? >> chris, to that point, pfizer had some data that they released during their earnings report, not the full data, suggesting that that third dose could really just amplify the immunity that people who have had doses one and two have. that's very nice for a talking point, but to be candid, the entire country hasn't had pfizer. there are 13 million people who got johnson & johnson who feel like they're left in a corner. and as you mentioned, a white house that's trying to literally kind of put one foot on the dock and the other on the boat and probably another foot somewhere else. so it's incredibly complex. one thing i've seen is that the cdc's messaging, they're trying to communicate nuance. substantial high transmission, wearing a mask in certain situations, k-12.
we've seen now time and time again, chris, we can't do nuance, because we're all reacting from this very emotional base. that's where we're all at now. those who are vaccinated are waiting for the unvaccinated. you're seeing it, it's getting kind of ugly. vaccinated people, including myself at times, we're angry at what's happening. and that's everything that's playing out, you know, in our communities and nationally, and internationally. so i hope that we can get this communication simpler. chris, i hope we can remind people that wearing masks is not a sign of lack of confidence in the vaccines but it's what we have to do to drive down these cases until we can get the rest of the country vaccinated and then work on the rest of the world. don't lose sight, chris, this isn't over until we can get the majority of the globe vaccinated. >> yeah, and we can point out, as we always have, this is no longer an access issue.
this is no longer us getting on the phone for four hours hoping to get an appointment. there are these questions that have been raised about what's happening in great britain, because that country was a mess, and now "the washington post" reports that maybe britain has reached an immunity threshold because more than 70% of adults here are fully vaccinated, but 88% have had a first dose, one of the best vaccine uptakes in the world. so i'm wondering, as you look at the numbers from the uk, if there's something we can be learning from them. >> yeah, chris, we can always learn. look, one note of -- when the uk decided to do that first dose and delay the second dose, a number of people, including myself, were concerned and critical of that approach because we knew we had enough vaccine to give two doses at the scheduled times according to the trials. with a you're pointing out, chris, is there's something about that one dose that gave them this opportunity to have a huge amount of uptake. but chris, honestly, they also
went through their struggles with delta, with alpha, and had it weeks before us. and what they did do was pretty restrictive. they actually restricted movement and did a lot of things that i think we're right now not even close to doing. limiting indoor capacity. so you have to take into consideration that, yes, what we can learn from them is that if you can get a first dose in as many people as possible, that creates some wall of immunity, but it's not the only one and to your point, you really do need to have two doses and you have to ask, there's a dinners -- difference between having a country that has a national health system, a centralized way of trying to understand where your gaps are. we don't have that in the united states. we might be seeing the repercussions of it. >> as politics continues to sort of go over everything that's happening with covid, phil rucker, your colleagues at "the post" report that donald trump
relentlessly pressured his acting attorney general jeffrey rosen, called him almost daily, about investigating those false 2020 election fraud claims. i'm going to quote from the story. the personal pressure campaign, which has not been previously reported, involved repeated phone calls in which trump raised various allegations he had heard and asked what the justice department was doing about the issue. there are notes of some of the calls that were written by a top aide to rosen, richard donohue. the note could be turned over to congress in a matter of days. the phone calls came in late 2020 and early 2021 which trump and his aides were furiously pressing for officials at all levels of government to intervene in the election results. phil, you cover those final weeks in your book. what was going on in the administration and do you expect these notes might end up in the hands of the january 6 commission? >> chris, i think it's really telling that these notes exist
and that they could end up in congress in the coming days. i think that's important. and we should keep an eye on that. but in terms of the broader context here, ever since the november 3 election, trump was pressuring bill barr, the attorney general, to do just what you described with rosen, calling him every day and pestering him about whatever conspiracies he heard from rudy giuliani or from sidney powell, the lawyer, are or from mike lindell, the pillow guy, or on fox news. anything he heard that he thought could lead to evidence to overturn the election, he wanted his attorney investigating it. it reached a point at the beginning of december where barr had had enough and he told trump and said to the public, actually, that there was no evidence of enough fraud to overturn the election. barr ended up resigning from office in mid-december and jeffrey rosen succeeded him as the acting attorney general. and the new information that my colleagues at "the post" are reporting tonight is that trump continued that pressure campaign almost immediately with rosen,
and it was a daily series of pressure tactics, phone calls and other outreach from trump and people in the white house up until joe biden became inaugurated as the president, to try to find the evidence to support these conspiratorial and baseless claims of election fraud. of course the evidence did not exist. >> stay tuned, a lot more to come on that. phil rucker, not just bestselling author but number one "new york times" as of tonight, congratulations. we're not worthy, but we appreciate you being with us. lisa lerer, dr. kavita patel, thank you for being with us. up next, we'll talk to a doctor who says the infection rate is so high, contracting covid in texas is inevitable if you haven't been vaccinated. later, republicans finally urging vaccinations. but is anybody listening? "the 11th hour" just getting under way on a wednesday night. (struggling vehicle sounds)
people who experience breakthrough infections with delta are actually more able to transmit the infection to others compared to people who had breakthrough infections with other versions of covid-19 like the alpha variant. i know we don't want to go back to wearing masks again. but these masks are a layer of protection that will help us prevent spread at a time where we're seeing cases rise. >> following the cdc's revised guidance on masks, nevada will reinstate a statewide indoor
mask requirement on friday in counties with high transmission. the associated press reports 12 counties will be affected, including clark county, home to las vegas. new infections in nevada have surged. the state reported the highest one-day increase since january. the number of people hospitalized has also spiked. "the las vegas review journal" showed that data showed 1,143 people with either confirmed or suspected cases of covid-19 were hospitalized in the state, unchanged from tuesday's report. hospitalizations also have been climbing since reaching a recent low of 209 on june 12. for more we welcome to the broadcast dr. luis medina garcia, an infectious disease specialist at university medical center of southern nevada in las vegas. doctor, thank you for being with us tonight. i note you're wearing your mask. describe what's going on in
nevada. >> unfortunately we've seen significant increase in the cases in our community. we're labeled as one of those communities that have high transmission by the cdc. it's multifactorial for us. on one hand, the low amount of vaccinated people that we have in the state, and then adding to that, the tourism aspect of it, the decrease in mask wearing mandates across the businesses, and just overall increased exposure. that's what is driving the current surge. >> and is it going to get worse before it gets better? do you foresee the spike in hospitalizations continuing? you said something i had not heard from anybody before. you said if you weren't vaccinated, getting covid is inevitable. it should scare people. >> and so i'm not trying to scare people, it's just a matter of time, right? it's statistics. if you are in a vulnerable state and you have an increased rate of transmission of a highly infectious disease, chances are
you will get infected at some time. now we have the ability to prevent these infections. even if you get a breakthrough case of covid, the vaccines prevent you from being hospitalized and prevent you from dying. it's a marked improvement from last year. it allows us to remind people that you have the ability to do something about it. last year we were helpless. now we have tools we didn't have before. >> so you've got the tools, so doctor, what are unvaccinated patients telling you? why don't they get the shot? >> a variety of reasons, some out of fear, some out of distrust. we have to meet people where they are. you have to spend the time to talk to them and understand where their hesitance is coming from and point them to reputable sources of information. and i have seen success in having patients then becoming vaccinated after that. >> i know you don't want people
to get vaccinated out of fear although it can be a powerful tool. i wonder if where you are, as far as you can tell, has the delta variant helped at all to convince people to get more people to get their covid shots? >> absolutely. this new variant is much more infectious than the previous ones. this is the result of an evolution the virus. the virus' mission is to survive and it finds ways around the roadblocks we place for it. people see the death toll, people see the burden of disease. i try to convince them that getting vaccinated is a matter of love, not just for your personal love but those who you care for. so by taking care of yourself, preventing infection in yourself, you're protecting your loved ones as well. >> clark county, as we mentioned, is going to fall under the indoor mask mandate reimposed by the state. are you worried that folks won't wear a mask anyway? and you kind of touched on this at the top, but you have a
unique situation with las vegas, it's huge numbers of people coming in from elsewhere. >> and it is an inconvenience for people, and i understand how back-pedaling to the previous guidance can make people distrust. remember, science doesn't change, it's just the new knowledge you acquire from science. there's something that this virus has taught us, which is to be humble, what we think we know with what we actually know when you apply science and give it enough time. it's a minor burden. there's been some studies published out of spain where they did concerts with upwards of 5,000 people, all of them were tested, all of them wore masks, and there was minimal transmission of the disease. we want to keep our businesses open. this is the lifeblood of the state's economy. we need your help. we need your help to keep that going. >> it does feel like deja vu all over again, not just where you are but unfortunately in so many places around the country. how are you doing, how are the
doctors and nurses and everybody who works at university medical center doing as they continue to see this upswing, this surge going on? >> it's very difficult. people hear about burnout. one of the doctors that i admire, he calls it a moral injury. essentially it's your inability to be able to do good for your patient. this disease is something we haven't been able to conquer. the best fight is the one you choose not to get into. and so by getting vaccinated, you can help us not have to take care of you in dire situations. last year, we were called heroes because we had to. and now you can help us, put your cape on and help prevent a tragedy. >> a.m. eminently reasonable request. let's hope people are listening. thank you so much for what you and all the folks there do. we appreciate your time, luis
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outweigh the costs. i'm so confident in it, if they told me, kennedy, with the booster, you had to take a shot in your eyeball, i would probably do it, because that stuff will kill you. >> with covid cases surging and fears growing over the delta variant, gop lawmakers are now out there pushing vaccines. it's a relatively new stance for most, after more than a year of downplaying the virus. regarding the gop's evolving relationship with the vaccine, one of our next guests writes this. republican politicians and right wing commentators have shamelessly and disgracefully sought for months to score points against the biden administration by portraying vaccination as some kind of threat to individual freedom rather than what it really is, a path toward our collective freedom. now with cases and hospitalizations rising sharply in red states, these officials and talking heads are
temporizing, trying to have it both ways. back with us tonight, eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist for "the washington post," and matthew dowd. gene, you wrote that. is what we're seeing an act of self-preservation, a low learning curve, what? >> probably all of the above. and i think in part for some it's an act of preservation, they were trying to score political points with a kind of, you know, vaccine agnostic or vaccine skeptical stance that they were taking. but they realized that, you know, putting your constituents in the hospital and killing them is not good politics. it's not a good idea. and they saw these rising infection rates and realized
that's going to mean that even in red states, governors are going to have to impose mask mandates and lockdowns and things like that that people really don't like if these caseloads keep rising. so, you know, but i welcome whatever the motive. i agree with senator john kennedy for once. >> you'll get it in the eyeball? >> i'll take it in the eyeball. preferably not, to tell you the truth, but i'll certainly take it in the arm. >> so matthew dowd, to what do you attribute this republican shift in tone? and if you haven't already gotten a shot, i mean, at this point, what influence does some politician have? i was thinking maybe it's a little bit of chicken little in reverse. the sky isn't falling, wait, yes it is. >> i'll add a third option to the options of reasons why. i think it's a multiple choice.
a third option is, leaders in this country are supposed to confront their constituents when their constituents are involved in a mistake of facts or a conspiracy theory. but what the republicans have done now for a couple of years is reflect back to -- instead of leading and telling, confronting with truth, they've reflected back the same conspiracy theories and fact set. and what's happened now is, it's led to this massive problem. it's not only a problem as we're talking about public health, but it's a problem in democracy in total, in a common set of facts that we need. but i think that what leaders should do is be telling their constituents the truth as opposed to accepting the crazy conspiracy theories and lies that the constituents are trading in. senator kennedy could have led for months. he did not. he reflected his constituents until they got themselves in a ditch and now they're like, let's call a tow truck, as opposed to for the last six
months telling everybody we don't need a tow truck. that's the situation we're in. >> and i guess the question then becomes, do they listen to them, what do they do? in arkansas they were giving away big screen tvs, they still couldn't get the high school kids to come in in any real numbers. you suggested, gene, if you want to go to a football game, you want to throw a party, i'm quoting you here, for the love of vince lombardy, get a shot. if it was a requirement in football-crazy places like texas, like arkansas, where you see vaccination rates are low, you have to get vaccinated to go see your kid play. maybe that would work. >> absolutely that would work with a lot of people, i think. >> of course it's been going to happen, the governors aren't going to do it. >> yeah, but let's call them what they are, they're mandates. a lot of employers are putting
in mandates for their employees to get vaccinated. we're going to have, you know, a mandate for federal workers to either get vaccinated or tested, apparently, i've seen reports of mandates for military, branches of the military, for everybody to get vaccinated. and i think, you know, if you want to go to an alabama football game in tuscaloosa and you should see what the tailgating is like there, it's a huge party, it's a lot of fun. if you want to do that, you should have to be vaccinated. that would probably work, have a big impact on that lowest in the nation vaccination rate in alabama. >> and there's this, matthew, from politico today. quote, many people are turning down covid vaccines because they are angry that president donald trump lost the election and sick of democrats thinking they know what's best. is it a fair criticism that people say, look, we were told
if you want to get rid of the masks, get vaccinated, but now the message is sometimes even if you're vaccinated, you have to wear a mask. >> when i hear that, it's like the guy that points a gun at his own head and says you better stop doing that or i'm going to shoot. that's basically what they're doing, and of course they're endangering their own lives and their friends' lives. i think we're in an amazing situation where we can't adopt policy as facts change on the ground. anybody that's been involved or studied battlefields, if the battlefield changes, you have to change your plan and adapt to the environment. we're in a public health war in the midst of this. and the other thing about mandates, i'll add about mandates, i think of it like being on a passenger liner and you read about the tales of passenger liners. and sometimes people on passenger liners, when they're in rough weather, or it might sink, they freak out. and what happens a lot is people are told to put on a life
preserver and sometimes they're physically put in a lifeboat not only to protect that individual person, to protect the other passengers that may be interfered with in this. that's the situation we're in. we have to insist people wear a life preserver, a mask. and weo insist they get a vaccine, a lifeboat. because otherwise, they're not only endangering themselves, which i want to protect anybody, i don't care what political party you are, but they're endangering every single community in our country and at some point the common good is more important than the eye that people only seem to be focused on. >> to state the obvious, if you see anyone who is really sick with covid, you would not want to wish it on your worst enemy. our guests are staying with us. coming up, maybe it is infrastructure week. progress on the long-awaited infrastructure proposal. it's a win for democrats. a look at the tough road still ahead for the president's agenda
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despite the popularity of it and the need for it, washington hasn't been able to get it done. this time we're going to get it done. >> the senate is indeed a step closer to passing that trillion dollar infrastructure bill. 17 republicans joining with democrats tonight in advancing the legislation. it's feat the former president never did accomplish. but he still is weighing in, saying this in a statement ahead of tonight's vote. quote, it is a loser for the usa, a terrible deal, and makes the republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb. he goes on to say, don't do it republicans -- patriots will never forget. if this deal happens, lots of primaries will be coming your way. still with me, eugene robinson and matthew dowd. matthew dowd, he's threatening members of his own party again.
his political analysis seems to be if you give biden this win, it will be heavily used by democratic candidates in 2022, so, i don't know, is that threat enough to scare republicans who know how popular this is with their constituents? >> i was taken by the serious substantive argument that he made in that text. >> what in particular, matthew? was there one part of it that really struck you? >> the whole thing struck me as completely unserious and nonsubstantive. but anyway, the president doesn't like to lose, right? and he's now suffering a series of losses. he can't even admit they're losses. the fact that he watched joe biden do this, is watching joe biden get this deal done including republican senators, which anybody that's been on a plane, train, or automobile in the last six months knows that we absolutely have to do something on infrastructure in this country. it's a pandemic problem of its own that we have to fix. so he can't face that, and then
he sided with the wrong person this week, yesterday, in the texas special election in the dallas area. he lost that race. >> we'll get back to that. >> the president's just grasping for relevance. but seeing something good happen under somebody else's watch is never something the president, the former president, enjoys. >> and speaking of the current president, eugene robinson, the i's still need to be dotted, the t's crossed are -- crossed, but how big a win this for the biden administration? >> joe biden's theory of the case is that it is possible, even today, even in this polarized atmosphere, to do something constructive with bipartisan support and to put together a bipartisan coalition
to get legislation through, even through the u.s. senate, which has been in a state of paralysis, of gridlock. and so the fact that it looks like it's happened, it looks like he's got it through, is a huge win for him, which is really what's driving the former president crazy, that, you know, joe biden is getting a win that he never got. but yes, it's a big deal for the biden administration. >> wait a minute. you're suggesting -- i want to make sure i've got this right, gene. you're actually suggesting this was not an act of patriotism, this statement, but it was an be at of jealousy? >> chris, i don't know what came over me, where would i get that idea? yeah, purely so. and the pique in it, the primaries are coming your way, i mean, it's ridiculous. he is grasping for relevance.
but enough about -- for the biden administration, this is a big deal, because he can reassure democrats and say, no, really, we can do this stuff, we don't have to get rid of the filibuster, we don't have to do everything with reconciliation, which is the alternative, and which is clearly not a place he prefers to go. so he wants to do it this way, and it looks like he's going to get a win. >> a couple of things from your state. you touched on this, matthew, that trump endorsed a candidate in the texas house special election who lost yesterday. but then also, there's another example, this week trump endorsed george p. bush's opponent ken paxton in the attorney general's race. so it's interesting, here's what bush had to say about the former president today. >> i continue to be a supporter of the president and america first policies, and i'll
continue to fight for that as land commissioner, and hopefully as attorney general, but the reality is here that ken misled the president. >> do you wish the president, former president, would not get involved in primaries? >> no, it's certainly within his right. i certainly courted that, and i will continue to reach out to his supporters and support his policies wherever i can as land commissioner. >> ke misled the president. matthew, is there a lesson to be learned in all this? >> yes, george p. bush should learn the lesson that's been learned over and over, with donald trump, loyalty is a one-way street and kissing his boots will not get you what you want. the fascinating race may be that it may not be either of those candidates that wins. there is a woman, a republican, a supreme court justice, who may
end up winning that primary. what was learned in this special election yesterday is that when two basically trump republicans are running against each other who have similar issues, that special election was never a never trump person running against a trump person, they had exact same stands on issues, they were very trumpist on the border wall, on guns, on abortion, very much the same. but it shows you when two people adopt the same viewpoint, the same trump viewpoint, trump doesn't help any in the primary. trump doesn't help you any. it is a reflection about what the republican primary has become. take donald trump out of it, every single person, whether they get trump's endorsement are not, are becoming trump-like. >> our thanks to matthew dowd and gene robinson, great to see you, gentlemen, appreciate it. we'll be right back.
with defending champion simone biles sitting out the individual all-around competition getting under way in just a few hours in tokyo, all eyes are now on an 18-year-old gymnast, suni lee. now she is team usa's top hope for gymnastics gold. what a story she has, a history of facing high pressure situations and soaring. our report tonight from nbc news correspondent kate snow. >> reporter: sunisa lee, suni, knows a lot about how to handle life's twists and turns. >> i mean, it's just so fun, flying from one bar to the other bar. >> reporter: do you feel like you're flying? >> yes, you're literally flying. >> reporter: she grew up in st. paul, minnesota, surrounded by siblings and a large extend family. her parents moved here from laos, she's the first lao
american to compete for team usa with a huge family cheering her on. >> we're all family, we're all related somehow. >> reporter: her olympic dreams started young and she found a partner in her dad, john. >> my dad is like my best friend. he's been through the whole journey with me. he would give me pep talks and make me feel better about myself. >> reporter: but two years ago he was about to drive suni to nationals when he fell head first off a ladder. >> his foot slipped and he landed head first on the ground. he was paralyzed from the waist down. >> reporter: suddenly, competing felt impossible. >> i saw my dad right before i was about to leave. and i was like, i don't even want to go to championships anymore, my dad comes first. >> reporter: but john urged her to go. >> i told her, you worked so hard for this, just go. i'll be okay. >> reporter: she thought about him the whole time. >> i was like, he's probably watching right now, and i know
he would be so proud. >> reporter: suni shocked everyone, finishing second. >> we know that she was nervous and on top of that she had me to worry about. it was amazing. >> i hung all my medals on the shelf that my dad made me. >> reporter: she was coming into her own. then the pandemic shut her gym down. her parents contracted covid. and he lost an aunt and uncle to the virus. >> it was hard. but i feel like when i come into the gym, it kind of helps me forget about everything, because the gym is like my safe place. >> reporter: what have you learned about yourself in the last year? >> i'm a pretty strong person. >> sunisa lee! >> reporter: kate snow, nbc news. team usa swimmer caeleb dressel won his first olympic gold medal. olympic record in the men's 100 meter freestyle.
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way as it would actually keep the rain off during an event in soggy staffordshire, britain. even prince charles appears amused as the bumbershoot refused news day again today against all odds, a landmark bipartisan infrastructure package has advanced tonight in the united states senate. we'll be talking to senator jon tester, one of the senators who helped negotiate that deal in just a moment, and hopefully he can walk us through exactl