tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC August 20, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
thank you for being with us tonight. like i said, it has been a heavy week in the news. but the weight of it doesn't mean we can walk away from it. thanks for being with us tonight, thanks for being with us all week. i'll see you monday. now it's time for "the last word" with jonathan capehart filling in. >> welcome back from your well-earned vacation. >> thank you, my friend. god bless. >> have a good weekend. breaking news tonight, the pfizer vaccine could be fully fda-approved as soon as monday. millions of people have received the two-dose pfizer vaccine under emergency use
authorization. the moderna vaccine is expected to be fully approved in the fall. experts believe full approval will make a difference in convincing some people to get vaccinated. but perhaps more importantly, it could lead to a surge in vaccine mandates. today, the cdc reported 135,494 new cases of coronavirus today in the united states. across the nation, the weekly average for covid hospitalizations is 11,521. that's an increase of 14.2% from the week before. in six states, alabama, florida, louisiana, mississippi, oregon, and washington, new admissions of patients with coronavirus are currently at their highest level since the start of the pandemic. hospitalization and infection rates for children are also on the rise. nbc news reporting as of wednesday, u.s. hospitals were tending to an average of more than 1,200 children a day, twice
the number from the end of july. alabama admitted nearly 260 kids between august 10 and 16, an average of 37 per day and an increase of more than 300% from the previous week. florida leads the nation in children hospitalized with covid-19, averaging 54 new admissions a day over the past week, according to the cdc. of course florida's republican governor, along with a number of other republican governors across the country, are still banning mask mandates in schools. but parents and school boards, they're fighting back. millions of students in florida, texas, and arizona are now required to wear masks in class as school boards in mostly democratic areas have defied their republican governors and made face coverings mandatory. the south remains the epicenter of the delta surge. but cases are also ticking up in places with higher vaccination
rates. "the baltimore sun" reports that across maryland, where 60% of people are fully vaccinated, 204 of the 271 staffed pediatric beds are occupied. and nearly all of the 61 pediatric icu beds are taken. covid-19 and other respiratory viruses are largely to blame. as schools reopen with mask requirements that vary from county to county, the situation could escalate and cripple the health care system, hospital officials and medical professionals say. leading off our discussion tonight is dr. jason custer, the director of the pediatric intensive care unit at the university of maryland children's hospital, and the founding director of boston university's center for emerging infectious diseases, policy, and research. she is also an msnbc contributor. thank you both very much for being here.
i want to start with you, dr. bedelia. i noted in the intro that the fda approval of pfizer could lead to a wave of vaccine mandates. is that what we're about to see? >> that's right, jonathan. i should start by saying for all of us in medicine, the safety data has already been there. in some ways this is sort of an additional step that for some people who are hesitant, a survey in june said one-third of those not vaccinated said if it was fully approved, they would take the vaccine. so you may see some of the stragglers more likely to get vaccinated. as you mentioned, more likely to get hospitals and universities, which is, by the way, another group that's going to have congregate living as colleges start again in the fall, that vaccination is going to important. that's going to allow a lot more of those to take the steps to mandate vaccination. nine states, jonathan, by the beginning of this month had
passed bans against vaccine mandates and one-third of those are particularly around emergency use authorization vaccines. so hopefully with this full approval those kind of legislative efforts will also be -- will not affect the ability of some of these institutions to mandate vaccinations. >> dr. custer, one of the things i find interesting is that we see a wave of increases in coronavirus infection because of the delta variant across the south. but then when we look at states like washington, oregon, and your state of maryland, we're seeing worrisome headlines out of those states. what does that tell us? should we read anything into that? >> thanks, jonathan. i think what it is telling us is a couple of things. in our state, thankfully, we have a high vaccination rate for those that are eligible. we're also seeing an increase in respiratory stilial virus at the
same time as we're seeing coronavirus. that unique combination is causing hospitalizations to surge across the state. we're in preparatory stages to understand what that means, to understand what our icu capability is and what our hospitalization capability is for pediatrics, collaborating across the state and across the region so best understand that. i think it's the combination of those two things plus now on the heels of going back to school, that really has our attention with significant planning. >> dr. custer, speaking of children going back to school, is the uptick in respiratory viruses in young children and covid, are they connected? >> well, here's what's really interesting. so last winter, we did not see these typical respiratory virus surges as we would have because of a lot of the mitigation strategies that we had in place. so we had children virtually learning.
we had people masked. and that respiratory virus didn't circulate in our communities. as we have eased restrictions and gotten people back out into the world, we see those viruses start to come online, and then they circulate within children within day-cares and with schools. so the important thing to understand is that if you're eligible for vaccination, please get vaccinated. and wearing masks indoors is a great mitigating strategy to keep not only covid at bay but the rest of these respiratory viruses. >> dr. bedelia, the big news at the beginning of this week was the announcement from the administration that eight months after vaccination, people should get their booster shot. how does fda approval of the pfizer vaccine as we expect it to happen on monday, will that have any impact on the timeline of boosters?
>> one thing the fda full approval does, jonathan, is that it allows some physicians to now be able to give those boosters off-label use, that means an fda approved product, a physician can make an individual judgment. you may see some physicians prescribe a booster to those patients they think are high risk that potentially don't have -- they're not immunocompromised, the group that already had that eua to use that booster. that's one way you could see that change. i do want to mention one thing to dr. custer's point, it's important to note the south opened up earlier and you saw rsv cases going up there. now you're seeing the changes in behavior, new york city, new york state actually, had a similar rsv advisory in the last week or so. and the concern that we have for adults is very similar to what we saw with kids, is that the flu last year was low because our mitigation strategies were
helping with that and the concern is that this fall, with adults as well, the respiratory viruses, influenza, may be more severe. when you combine that with covid, it may be even more severe. a study from the uk last fall said if you get both the flu or covid your chances of passing away are twice as high. so get vaccinated and use those masks indoors, as dr. custer said. >> and dr. custer, real quickly, there in maryland, have you seen an uptick in vaccinations? i know 60% of the population is vaccinated, but that's 40% that still needs to get vaccinated. any uptick? >> absolutely. so -- and i do agree with you that full fda approval should help us on the vaccination front. the eligible people in maryland, i think it's greater than 70%, which is excellent. but remember, if you're less than 12, you're not eligible for vaccination at this time. we're working very hard to get approval for vaccine for that
younger population. so it is incumbent on all of us as adults and those of us that have children greater than 12 to get out there and get vaccinated. that is what we can do to help protect the most vulnerable and that younger population. so i do expect hopefully this news to get people out and get vaccinated. it's very available. the science says it is extremely safe. and this is a very serious virus and downplaying the seriousness of the virus could be a mistake. so we want to make sure that we use all of our mitigation strategies, vaccination, hand hygiene, masking, and most of all, if you're sick or have symptoms, don't go out and don't send your children to school with symptoms. that will help reduce the spread. >> real quickly, is there a timeline for vaccines for kids? >> jonathan, a huge part of that depends on when recruitment for the pediatric trials ends. and we have not heard whether
both moderna and pfizer's recruitment has ended. one of the reasons why it's taking longer is because the fda decided to recruit more kids, they wanted to get a bigger group of people to make sure there's no rare safety signals in that bigger group. that's why it's taking a bit longer. >> got it. doctors, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. before we go, a quick update. on wednesday, "the last word" reported this story about top donor to florida governor ron desantis being invested in regeneron, the company that makes the monoclonal antibody treatment for coronavirus patients. the company says, quote, we believe people should be vaccinated. we also believe sick people should be treated. regen-cov is not a substitute for vaccination. coming up, we were all moved bit harrowing pictures of personal stories coming out of afghanistan. today, president biden is in the
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today president biden renewed his commitment to evacuate americans and american allies from afghanistan and he leveled with the public. >> let me be clear. any american who wants to come home, we will get you home. make no mistake. this evacuation mission is dangerous. it involves risks to our armed forces and it's being conducted under difficult circumstances. i cannot promise what the final outcome will be. or that it will be without risk of loss. but as commander in chief, i can assure you that i will mobilize every resource necessary. >> since july, the united states has evacuated more than 18,000
americans and american allies. and today the biden administration partnered with more than a dozen countries to receive evacuees and shelter them temporarily while their cases are processed. for days, tens of thousands of afghans have crowded the kabul airport, desperate to flee. this video shows a father handing his infant to a u.s. marine over barbed wire. that baby received medical attention and has been reunited with their father. >> the past week has been heartbreaking. we've seen gut-wrenching images of panicked people acting out of sheer desperation. i don't think any one of us can see these pictures and not feel that pain on a human level. >> joining us now is david rothkopf. he is the host of the deep state radio podcast. thank you very much for coming to "the last word."
i want to put up this picture that the u.s. marine corps released showing a soldier holding an infant at the kabul airport. what do you think of how president biden is contextualizing these harrowing images with the challenging process of leaving an unwinnable war? >> i think he's doing the best he can. the best way to contextualize them is to do what he's done, to send in the troops to get people out, to work with our allies to do that. you've just posted the numbers. it's kind of a remarkable achievement, especially what's happened in the course of the past week, i think 13,000 people have come out in the past week. the president is naturally a compassionate leader that's always been his brand. he has his heart on his sleeve. and i think he's tormented by this. i also think he's made a very clear case that staying in
afghanistan would have worse consequences than leaving afghanistan, whether it be continued conflict, whether it be distraction of our own resources and inability to deal with other threats and priorities around the world. it's very tough to tell the american people that 20 years of war have not turned out so well for us, that we did not win that 20-year war. >> you know, david, you wrote a fabulous column in the daily beast where you are wagging your finger at columnists and commentators. i want to put up something, a quote from your piece, what you say. we are likely to come to see the events of the past week not only very differently but in the opposite light of that depicted by many commentators. talk that through. >> i think a lot of commentators have focused, naturally, on the week, naturally, on the images. they've been harrowing images, heartbreaking images. and we've gotten caught up in the moment.
but i think when we have a few months or a few years on this, we're going to recognize that something else has happened here. the president has decided to end the post-9/11 era. the president has decided to shift our priorities finally towards the priorities of the century ahead, towards competitiveness, towards investing in ourselves instead of investing in war, towards achieving goals that benefit all americans as opposed to having unachievable goals like the goals that were set for this war a long, long time ago. and i think that when we do have the benefit of history, we're going to realize that this was the right thing to do. it's too late. the right time to leave afghanistan was a dozen years ago, may have been 15 years ago, could have been ten years ago or eight years ago. we shouldn't be leaving now. but it's a good thing that we are. and it's a good thing that this president has had the courage to
take this on, because i know that he knew that it was going to be a traumatic experience for all involved. >> you know, a lot of the criticism against the president has been that what's happening in kabul right now is only going to make america weaker. you have an incredible paragraph in that daily beast column. you write, the biden team view is based on the idea that becoming bogged down in a 20-year war with an unclear mission that drained our resources and distracted us from our priorities made us weaker, that entering iraq without justification made us weaker, that retreat in the wake of the calamities of bush foreign policy made us weaker. the gross failure of leadership in managing covid made us weaker. a president inciting an attempted coup made us much, much weaker. >> that's the case. and i understand why people say
this has damaged our standing. but if they think this is the thing that has damaged our standing the most, they're not paying attention. the trump years were a litany of self-inflicted wounds from the president, whether he was blowing up alliances or undermining our status as a democracy in the world. staying in this war a long time, the illegal, wrong war in iraq. guantanamo. we could make a long, long list of things that have happened in the past 20 years that have damaged us grievously. getting out of afghanistan, moving forward, putting those things behind us, is actually the only possible first step toward healing. >> you know, david, something the president said in the east room today, we don't have time to play it, but i want to get your reaction to what he said, when he was asked, he said, what
interest do we have in afghanistan at this point with al qaeda gone, we went to afghanistan with the express purpose of getting rid of al qaeda in afghanistan as well as getting osama bin laden and we did. to those people who say, yeah, al qaeda is gone now, but once the united states leaves, it's going to come back and the situation is only going to get worse, are those people not being -- are they not realistic? >> look, i think it's a natural thing to fear al qaeda will return. i think al qaeda will return to some degree. we have enormous capabilities, again, as the president has said, to identify those threats and to respond to those threats. it doesn't take a permanent military presence on the ground to go after those who are responsible for a threat against the united states. we have manifold over the horizon technologies, strong intelligence resources. and i think it's important to remember that we went into
afghanistan to get osama bin laden and he ended up being in pakistan and we ended up having to go into there to get him. so we will protect ourselves. there is no question about that. but we do ourselves a lot of damage if we ignore other threats, whether those threats are domestic extremists who pose a much greater threat at the moment than foreign extremists. or climate change or the rise of other great powers like china. i think the president is saying, we have to prioritize threats and we have to prepare for all of them and we shouldn't put all our chips in one battle as we have done in the greater middle east for 20 years now. >> and as you note in your piece, haiti, devastated by that earthquake, is also dealing with a lot right now. dave rothkopf, thank you so much for joining us tonight. coming up, democrats in congress now have federal legislation to stop partisan
republican interference in our election process. texas congressman colin allred introduced that bill and will join us next to explain what it will do and its chances of passing. hide my skin? not me. by hitting eczema where it counts, dupixent helps heal your skin from within, keeping you one step ahead of eczema. and that means long-lasting clearer skin... and fast itch relief for adults. hide my skin? not me. by helping to control eczema with dupixent, you can show more with less eczema. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor. when you help heal your skin from within,
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texas statehouse democrats' standoff with state republicans on voting rights he wanted last night when three democrats returned to the house floor, giving the chamber the quorum needed for the gop to move ahead with passing their voter restrictions. texas republicans have set a committee hearing on the senate-passed version of the bill for monday morning. today, more than 30 texas democrats expressed their disappointment with the development but said, quote, our resolve is strong and this fight is not over. texas democrats always knew they would face an uphill battle. but their six-week-long fight brought national attention to republicans' efforts to erode
democracy. they managed to get some of the most egregious restrictions removed from the bill. and they put intense pressure on congress to pass federal voting protections. now congressional democrats are responding to that pressure. on tuesday, house democrats introduced the john lewis voting rights advancement act to restore key provisions of the 1965 voting rights act weakened by the supreme court over the last decade. and today, democratic congressman colin allred introduced a new bill aimed specifically at blocking republican attempts to interfere with and take over elections. joining us now are democratic congressman colin allred from texas. he's a voting rights attorney. and texas democratic state representative gina hinojosa. thank you both for coming to "the last word." representative hinojosa, what do you expect to happen next week with the republicans when you come back into session now that
quorum has been reestablished? >> well, let me first make clear for the record that quorum has not lawfully been established. there weren't a sufficient number of members on the floor, and they were probably 12 to 15 members shy of reaching the constitutionally required quorum. notwithstanding, they declared it and have proceeded with business, unlawfully and illegitimately. >> oh. >> yes, absolutely. absolutely. >> wait. i think we need to throw out the breaking news banners here. representative hinojosa, what you've just announced to us is that despite what the texas republicans are saying, there is no quorum, no quorum has been met, 12 to 15 -- they're 12 to 15 members shy of meeting a
quorum? >> that's correct. they did not have the sufficient numbers present on the floor of the house to conduct business. they ignored that constitutional requirement. they declared quorum present. and they have proceeded with business illegitimately, unlawfully. so at this point, it is clear that we are now dealing with a whole new ball game here. these republicans had tried to rig our elections by passing these voter suppression bills. now they're rigging the system on the floor of the texas house to try to push through their agenda and hold on to power at all costs. >> okay. so then representative hinojosa, what recourse do you have? if this is being done unlawfully, can't you lawfully stop them? >> well, we could be present to call for verification. but that would add to quorum. so it's somewhat of a catch-22.
verification would say everybody has to sit at your desk and it's a roll call. but you have to be seen on the floor of the house. and so -- but if we're there to call it, then we could establish quorum. that's the challenge. but they know they don't have the numbers. reporters were there. they saw. members were there. they saw. staff was in the gallery, they counted, they saw. everybody knows this, and they're proceeding with business as usual to try to pass the voter suppression bill and silence voters, to hold on to power at all costs. >> all right. congressman allred, i swear i'm going to come to you, but representative hinojosa, one last question. what does that mean for monday? does that mean we're going to see another walkout by texas democrats to deny a lawful quorum? >> well, we're actively in conversation with one another
right now, because now circumstances have changed and seemingly, whether or not we're present, it does not matter to the republican majority. it's a whole new ball game and we're trying to figure out how to fight in this new fight. and so we're planning our plan of attack as we speak. >> i'm going to be paying attention to that. congressman allred, to you, finally, thank you for your patience. so you've introduced a bill to basically stop votes from being nullified. talk about the bill that you introduced. >> thanks, jonathan. it sounds like you do have some breaking news on your hands here. i'll just say we've seen a wildfire of voter suppression bills. of course, as gina knows in the state of texas, maybe the worst aspect of those has been the targeting of the ability to
subvert our elections and to try and have methods to overturn the will of the voters, either through intimidating election officials or trying to lower the threshold for how a court would overturn an election. we've seen that across the country. and so what our bill is trying to do is to expand the protections to election administrators that exist for voters from intimidation and threatening, to strengthen protections for federal election records, if you've been following, as i know y'all have been covering, these looking at the ballots in pennsylvania and arizona, they call them audits, they're not audits, that's something else, they're not professionals doing it. that shouldn't be happening. and to provide for judicial review of election records so we can have some kind of compliance and require compliance with our election laws. to me, this is one of the most dangerous things we've seen as part of the big lie is this idea that we can subvert the will of the people, that we can substitute with partisan actors
deciding who won an election. we can't allow that to happen in this country. >> congressman allred, so you introduced the preventing election subversion act back in june. how is this, what you've just introduced, different from that bill? and then, i'm sure it will pass the house, but the prospects in the senate, how are you going to help get it through the senate? >> both of these are aimed at these post-election high jinx that we've seen, whether it's preventing election officials or trying to prevent some of the attempts they're making to subvert the will of the people, that's what these two bills do. but at the senate level, these are bicameral bills, they'll be introduced by our senate democratic colleagues. at the senate level this will be rolled into one single bill which will probably be s. 1,
whatever they'll call it, it will include hr 1, it will also include the john lewis voting rights advancement act. we likely will only have one shot at this, jonathan, so they'll have to roll that in but they need us to pass it in the house and send to them. >> colin allread and gina hinojosa with the big breaking news, in my mind, of what's happening in texas. thank you for joining us tonight. coming up, the cyber ninjas prepare to dump the results of their so-called audit in arizona next week. the state's top election official, arizona's secretary of state katy hobbs, joins us. at iy fresh for weeks? now they can! downy unstopables in-wash scent boosters keep your laundry smelling fresh way longer than detergent alone. pour a cap of downy unstopables into your washing machine
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a fake audit of the 2020 election results in maricopa county will release the final report on their work. ahead of that, arizona's top two election officials have released prebuttal reports showing just how fake and fraudulent that gop audit is. and their claims are backed up with evidence. the same can't be said for what we've seen so far from cyber ninjas, the group conducting that fake audit. maricopa county recorder stephen rickert, who is a republican, wrote in his report, quote, i believe in the simple, straightforward data-backed explanation that trump lost many republican voters in affluent areas. accordingly i know joe biden won maricopa county. and arizona secretary of state katy hobbs, a democrat, wrote in her report, quote, this exercise has been a partisan political review of the 2020 general election for president and u.s. senator in maricopa county.
it was unnecessary and has undermined public confidence in accurate and secure elections that were conducted in 2020. to be clear, no audit or lawsuit will ever change the results of the 2020 presidential election. joe biden won the state of arizona fair and square. joining us now is arizona secretary of state katy hobbs. she is also running for governor of arizona. secretary hobbs, thank you very much for coming to "the last word." your office had observers watching the audit. what do you expect to be in the report? >> well, i mean, nothing good is going to be in the report in terms of actual validating of the election results. we know that based on the observations that were made and all of the information that we compiled to put together our report that shows what a circus this really was. and it's characterized by security lapses, lack of
transparency, and just overall poor planning and no use of any best practices that you would see in a close election audit. >> stephen rickert's report shows there's at least one reasonable republican in a leadership position in arizona. do you think most republicans buy into the big lie or are they just staying silent? >> well, i think that for the most part, they are either on the side of the big lie or they're staying silent because they have too often seen the political consequences. and that's really unfortunate because i think it really is our democracy at stake here. and that's one of the reasons that i'm running for governor, is because we need real leaders who are going to stand up for what's right regardless of the political consequences. we need to put the partisanship aside and work on real issues. rehashing the 2020 election isn't one of those issues. >> compounding the travesty of
the fake audit, the cyber ninjas destroyed many of the counting machines. can you recoup the costs for those? >> at the end of the day, it will be arizona taxpayers that foot the bill for this, whether it's the county or the arizona senate. we know there's been private dollars raised for this endeavor, one of the criticisms is they seem to be grifting off this exercise. we don't even where the money is coming from, how much it is or who is profiting off of it. that's where the costs should come from to replace the equipment but i don't know at the end of the day if that's what's going to happen. >> one more question for you, and that is this. how damaging really has this fake audit, this fraudulent audit, been for arizona voters? do you believe that lasting damage has been done to the legitimacy of the vote in
arizona, in maricopa county? >> there is absolutely lasting damage that has been done. this is a group of folks who are being misled to continue to believe that the election was fraudulent and that joe biden isn't the actual winner. and as long as these folks continue to promote that mistruth, these folks are going to believe it. and that in the long run is harmful to not only arizona voters but we're seeing this across the country. >> and as we just saw in the graphic there, president joe biden won arizona by 45,109 votes, maricopa county, you see it right there. arizona secretary of state katy hobbs, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, there is a lot of bad news in the world right now, and sometimes it can be hard to appreciate when things are moving in the right direction. something happened this week that was not a cable news talker or the subject of conservative
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transportation secretary pete buttigieg, the first out cabinet member confirmed by the senate, announced he and his husband have become parents, making the first high profile in american politics to welcome a child. the announcement was also significant for what didn't happen when it was made. there is almost zero conservative outrage, the rnc didn't condemn the news, republicans didn't say it was
the end of parenthood as we know. it to be clear, there are a lot of intolerant conservatives who don't want others to have the same rights as them, and last year, tennessee's bigoted republican governor signed legislation that affirmed adoption agencies that discriminated against lbgtq couples, will still get state funding. but fewer republicans seem to be embracing those moves. some have even expressed support for lbgtq individuals. "politico" noted this week that the rnc chair woman's celebration of pride month elicited almost no shock for outrage from republicans. again we don't overstate the case, but that is quite a progression from the 2004 presidential election when george w. bush campaigned on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. >> the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society. i support the protection of marriage against activist
judges. >> banning same-sex marriage wasn't just part of the republican party platform. it was the party platform. and it is a progression from even a decade ago, when zac walls, then a 19-year-old college student, spoke eloquently about his two mothers as he condemned an iowa bill that aimed to end civil unions in the state. >> i'm not really so different from any of your children. my family isn't really so different from yours. after all, your family doesn't derive its sense of worth from being told by the state you're married, congratulations. the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other, to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones. it comes from the love that binds us. that's what makes a family. so what you're voting here isn't to change us. it's not to change our family. it's to change how the law views
us. to change how the law treats us. >> a beautiful remarkable moment. ten years later, it is remarkable how unremarkable same-sex marriage is for the overwhelming majority of americans and it's remarkable how little the right seem to care about the buttigieg announcement. the pair had been trying to adopt for a year without success. the post reports, quote, sometimes about what they will tell their future child. we tried so hard for you. we waited so long for you. he fantasizes about taking a little one to michigan, where they could cast fishing lines and spend time with grandpa. they won't have to fantasize much longer. zac walls is joining us. thank you for being here. i would like to talk about the evolution you've seen from how your mothers were treated ten years ago. >> geerch. it is great to be with you to celebrate such an historic
moment for the community and to your point, it is certainly is a sea change of what we've seen over the last ten years, even though as you pointed out, we still have many, many battles that are being waged, when it comes to some of the struggles that we're seeing yet today. it is good to know that when it comes to family, we are seeing nontraditional families, two moms, two dads, certainly no longer being the political wedge that they used to be. watching that speech from president bush in 2004 certainly brought back memories watching that speech myself and how scared and how isolating it felt at that time watching those words being said, and it's good to know that secretary and chasten's child won't have to grow up with that same type of fear mongering about their family. >> senator wahls, do you see any evolution in the republican stance on lbgtq issues? i mean of course, there are republicans out there who support lbgtq equality.
but the party writ large, has it evolved as much as the nation? >> no, certainly not. and what you're seeing of course is republican leaders responding to where the american public is. they know that the american people support marriage equality, that the polling is extraordinarily clear on this, and that's because advocates were able to make the case successfully, and to defend families like mine. however, the war is far from over. right here in iowa, we saw 15 anti-lbgtq bills introduced in the most recent legislative session. 13 of them targeting the transgender community. tied for third most in the united states. even though we've seen good progress when it comes to marriage equality, we have a long ways to go with lbgtq equality overall. and we know that the republicans are leaning into the culture war, whether it is lbgtq rights issue, whether it's voting rights, where we're continuing to see attacks right here in iowa and across the country on these issues. we know that we have a long ways to go when it comes to
protecting all families. and if any of the viewers would like to learn more, they can follow me on twitter or visit my web site, zach wahls.com to see what is happening here in iowa and how they can get involved. >> senator, as i consider and think about the speech, the clip of the speech we just showed of you, and here we are in 2021, what would you say to zach wahls who's 19, 18, 17, who's watching right now, who is, might have two parents of the same gender, who might be worried about their feature, of the future of their family. what words do you have for them? >> the same thing that i would have said to the eighth grade zach watching in 2004 which is that it gets better but it doesn't get better on its own. it only gets better because brave people stand up and are willing to fight for their values. and define their families. that's happened in the arena of lbgtq rights for generations.
and i certainly today am standing on the shoulders of giants and people who came before. and so even though it is difficult and even though there are moments where people feel isolated and alone, know it does get better and it gets better when we work together to make that change happen. and to that 19-year-old zach, there's a lot of work ahead of you, and you're just getting started. >> do you think, given the culture wars that we are in, and the fact that you are an elected official, how confident are you that those of us who believe in the fact that, you know, equal justice under law and equality for all should apply to all of us, that we will be victorious in this war? >> it's not going to be a war that wins itself. i don't want to sound like a broken record, but the only way we're going to win these struggles, whether it's for affirming the inherent worth and
dignity of all families including pete and chasten, whether it's protecting the transgender kids who are being targeted in schools across america, it's only going to be by coming together. i'm a democrat because i believe that we all do better when we all do better, and i know that there are so many people in this country who share that vision for a more fair and prosperous america for all of us. but these things are all connected. right here in iowa, we've seen a tax on vote -- attacks on voting rights. we know there is a threat against iowa's model redistricting certain and the partisan gerrymandering is very much a threat here in our state. we have a lot of work to do. we have to keep our shoulders to the boulder. and we have to remember that these fights have to be won every generation, the work continues, even though we may be winning this battle, the war goes on. >> zach wahls, iowa state senator, thank you very much for joining us. congratulations, chasten and pete. that is tonight's "last word."
don't forget to catch me on sunday's show, every sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on msnbc. "the 11th hour," with brian williams, starts right now. well, good evening once again. day 213 of the biden administration and we will indeed have a full look of the news of this day in just a moment. but first, we are tracking tropical storm henri, which has millions of americans and probably a title as a hurricane in its future. so let's start off here for a moment with late live update, for that our meteorologist bill karen standing by with the latest and i've seen models bringing this through the mouth of new york harbor and other models bringing it through the guts of new england, neither place is used to hurricanes, neither is a good solution. >> brian, just seconds ago, looking at this with you for the first time, the new update