WWE essential TRANSCRIPT: 4/15/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests:
Brian Schatz, Bharat Ramamurti, Dara Kass, Michelle Goldberg, David Zirin
Transcript:

 

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Watch “MORNING JOE” starting tomorrow morning at 6:00

a.m. Eastern with the special report Isolation Nation at 8:00 a.m. Eastern

time. And thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up next.

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The

Winter Solstice is the darkest day of the year. And every day after the

Winter Solstice is a little lighter, but it is still very, very dark the

day after the solstice, and the day after that. And that`s where we appear

to be here in the U.S. with the Coronavirus pandemic with the first wave of

the virus at or near the peak, which is promising in the sense of what it

means for where we might be in two weeks or four weeks or six weeks from

now. But it also means that what is happening now is as bad as it gets.

 

More than 32,000 Americans have died. We had our highest single-day death

total again today, and that devastation is going to continue. It will be

dark for a while. We`re going to talk to a doctor on the frontlines of that

battle in just a bit. But the other side of this, of course, is just the

unprecedented and very widespread economic devastation, right?

 

JPMorgan Chase just predicted that unemployment will hit 20 percent. That`s

great depression levels. The unemployment claims we`ve already seen are off

the chart in terms of the filings. Retail sales numbers fell 8.7 percent in

March, the largest monthly drop on record. And this is all we should say

hitting low-income households the hardest.

 

A survey conducted at the end of March found that 21 percent of low-income

workers have lost their jobs compared to just nine percent of high-income

workers. We`ve seen seemingly endless lines of cars waiting at food banks

around the country. This one in San Antonio, Texas, served over 10,000

families just that day.

 

Also, the health risk is more acute for people who work in low paying jobs

and still have those jobs, and have to work on the frontlines, janitorial

workers, grocery workers, meatpackers, who can`t leave those jobs. The

President`s solution for all of this is to just pretend the virus is

vanquished, declare victory and get back to work.

 

But what we need, what we actually need is as we battle this virus, we need

an efficient, competent, comprehensive administration of federal policy

that looks out for people, that has their back. Americans right now are

waiting for their Coronavirus rescue bill checks. Checks they needed

yesterday.

 

Well, it appears those are going to be delayed so that Donald Trump can get

his name printed on the check. This is something that has never been done

before. Never. The President reportedly pushed to have his name on the

signature line even though he lamely deny that he knew anything about it.

Here`s the thing, he is actually not legally allowed to sign the check. So

they`re putting Donald Trump`s signature on the memo line. Like you know

The line where your grandma writes Happy Birthday.

 

And who does the delay of a few days? Who does that impact the most, you

might ask? Well, it`s going to impact the folks without bank accounts,

without direct deposit, people who need the money the most. And those

checks, that is just one small thing the government can do, one small thing

to keep people afloat.

 

Now, the President is delaying it for his own personal glory. There`s of

course an entire $2.2 trillion rescue package that is also designed to

help, right to keep people afloat through this period while people are

sheltering in place. And while it has a lot of good aspects, we covered a

lot of them the expansions of unemployment insurance, we`re learning there

are many problems that need to be addressed.

 

The Wall Street Journal reports, and this was not unexpected, the small

business loan program, which people said at the time was not big enough, is

expected to run out of money today. That after Republicans essentially

tried to use the money running out to jam Democrats into passing a single

bill to reopen punish the fund without addressing a whole bunch of other

concerns.

 

Democrats balked at that. So now there`s no money left in that program. Who

knows what happens with that? Hedge funds with billions of dollars in

assets are also trying to claim small business loans, a little piece of

that pie. Bloomberg points out that ironically, hedge funds are designed to

employ as few people as possible, so star traders don`t have to share

millions of dollars in fees.

 

The Washington Post reports that 80 percent of the benefits of one of the

tax changes that was put into the rescue bill by Republicans will go into

the pockets of people earning more than $1 million annually. And the

benefit, that tax cut for wealthy people, it will cost $90 billion in 2020

alone. $90 billion stuffed in the pockets of people making over $1 million.

 

The New York Times found that a tax provision in the same bill could result

in nearly, get this, $200 billion in savings for real estate tycoons like

President Trump and his son in law, Jared Kushner, who`s now sitting on

that new task force thing. Think about that. People in food lines across

America, waiting for their $1,200 checks for an extra day so the President

could put his name on it. And they`re stuffing tax breaks into this thing

worth billions of dollars for real estate tycoons and wealthy folks.

 

And then there are just the different technical administrative things. I

mean, the president who just loves to take shots of the Obamacare Web site

crashing, which, you know, fair enough, it was bad when it came out. His

own IRS website that is set up to monitor those checks being sent to

Americans keeps crashing and crashing all day. I had e-mails about it all

day.

 

Also crashing, state unemployment insurance sites, as people try to file

for an insurance while in the system. There are clearly, to be fair here,

enormous governmental challenges at play. For everyone administering these

programs, the SBA, state unemployment, insurance agencies, I mean, this is

hard, right? But they need to be addressed in order to save lives and to

save the economy and to save people from misery. And the president united

states has neither the interest or the ability to even pretend to think

about managing them.

 

Instead of attending to any of this, these really pressing challenges, the

President has just settled on some apparently some May 1st like ribbon-

cutting when the economy will magically reopen. And he continues to do

these long baroque, bizarre, surreal daily rallies at the White House that

are supposed to be Coronavirus updates but just devolve into spectacles,

boring spectacles really if that`s a possibility. I mean, even Dr. Anthony

Fauci thinks that time could be used more efficiently.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS

DISEASES: The downtime that we have there is really draining. If I had been

able to just make a few comments, and then go to work, that would have

really been much better. It`s the downtime. It isn`t the idea of being

there and answering questions, which I really think is important for the

American public. It`s the amount of time per contribution you make per

given question.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Fundamentally, the president doesn`t want to deal with the virus,

right? Because he sees it as a threat to re-election, he wants to get

reelected, so he wants to talk about what a good job he`s doing, how

important it is that we get baseball back.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In sports, we want to get our

sports back so importantly, these will be some separate calls. Some will be

together by the way lists and some will be separate. But we have to get our

sports back. I`m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old,

but I haven`t actually had too much time to watch.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: I mean, I miss sports too a ton but it is not worth dying over. Just

today, we got reporting the back in March, President Trump told the

Coronavirus Task Force that he wanted to host a daily two-hour talk radio

show to talk and connect with Americans, but changed his mind to the

thought of making Rush Limbaugh mad. I mean, we`re in the middle of a

pandemic. More than 32,000 Americans have died. Thousands more are going to

die.

 

Today, the CEO of Bank of America, who`s also a member of the President`s

Advisory Committee on reopening the economy, just said the plain and

obvious truth that`s clear to anyone with any common sense one. He warn the

administration should stay focused on fighting the coronavirus and keeping

Americans financially stable rather than immediately getting people back to

business as usual.

 

I mean, it`s good to hear it I guess from a bank CEO, but the president, he

– well, he is focused on – he wants to get reelected. He thinks the

economy getting back on track is a key to his re-election, so he wants to

get the economy back on track come hell or high water or mass infection.

That is not the path.

 

It`s not the path to re-election either, just to be clear. The path is for

the federal government to do a good job administering policy to improve the

lives of Americans and keep them afloat. Not to delay checks being sent out

to people in need so his name can appear in the memo line. You got to beat

the virus. There`s no getting the economy back up without that.

 

Joining me now Senator Brian Schatz. He`s a Democrat of Hawaii. Senator,

first, I want to start with where you – where you think we are as a nation

right now in terms of this battle. What your reaction is in the State of

Hawaii that has been spared the worst of this about this idea of like a May

1st reopening, everyone is going to go out and, you know, start economy

again.

 

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D-HI): Well, Hawaii has so far been successful in

flattening the curve. But we have a long way to go. And I think that, you

know, you hit the nail on the head in the sense that it was President

Trump`s ignoring of scientific expertise that got us into the situation in

which we have mass preventable deaths.

 

And he is going to cause additional mass preventable deaths if he ignores

the expertise of the scientific community, because he`s got artificial

deadlines or sort of personal or political impatience that is causing him

to want to, you know, get baseball back. I`d like to watch NBA Basketball.

I`d like to do a lot of things. But that`s not the main thing.

 

We have to beat this virus. And that`s why we introduced legislation to do

this the old-fashioned way, which would be to get some experts together and

to make recommendations that could be adopted on a bipartisan basis. That`s

the way you get America back on track. And whether that happens in May,

June, July or some later date, or an increment, I don`t think we know the

answer to that question. But the one thing we know is that we should not

imperil either a potential economic recovery or people, because the

president is sort of losing interest in this.

 

HAYES: You said this about the reporting of the president delaying those

stimulus checks to get his name on it. You`re getting your money late

because the President thinks it is more important that his name be on the

check that you were able to pay your bills on time. This is not a

rhetorical flourish, the checks are delayed because Trump. Is that fair?

 

SCHATZ: Yes. I mean, it`s really shocking that he`s doing this. And look, I

mean, I know he does everything in his own interest, but it is hard for me

to believe that this is good politics for him because everybody knows or

should know someone who is waiting on those dollars to hit their bank

account, so that they can make rent, so they can buy groceries, so they can

buy prescription medicine, or they can pay their mortgage. And it is a

matter of days for lots of people to determine whether or not they fall

over the precipice.

 

So the idea that he thinks he gets upside politically for putting his name

in the memo, I think is a crazy misjudgment. And the idea that even his so-

called base won`t be irritated that they have to wait for money, I think is

showing that this guy has lost his touch for what people actually care

about.

 

When the economy is good, and people are just sort of having general

frustration with Washington, maybe he looks like the chaotic revolutionary

that everybody wants. But now that there`s a pandemic, this guy is scary,

and he very clearly doesn`t care about you.

 

HAYES: There are two provisions that have been reported on, the real estate

provision in the tax code. And then another provision that Senator Sheldon

Whitehouse sort of charged the joint committee of taxation to look into.

The Washington Post report on that. That`s the one where $90 billion

dollars just this year, most of it is going to people making over $1

million. I mean, this is just appalling to me if, I can editorialize for a

second. Do you – obviously, you supported this bill as did almost

essentially everyone, and I understand why they did. But did you realize

this was happening?

 

SCHATZ: No, no. And look, you pass the bill on a bipartisan basis because

people were struggling and suffering and hospitals would have shut down and

tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of people in Hawaii

would have suffered even worse had we not passed the CARES Act. So I`m

still standing by the yes vote. But there is some gross stuff in this last

bill.

 

And the fact that we tried to establish some oversight and the president

you know, issued a signing statement to say – to say essentially that the

President is not subject to oversight, and then he fires all of his

inspector generals, I mean, this is – there is no opportunity for graft

that they will pass up. There is no opportunity to enrich their friends

that they will ignore. And even in the midst of all of this suffering,

they`re still focused on sort of hooking up their buddies.

 

HAYES: Final question to you. That small business PPP program ran out of

money today. Republicans are saying it`s your fault. It`s Democrats in the

Senate`s fault. It`s Nancy Pelosi fault. You wouldn`t just pass unanimous

consent, you know, a replenishment bill. What`s your response to that?

 

SCHATZ: Well, I think we should replenish that fund. It`s a program that

has had a clunky rollout, no doubt, but it`s also keeping a lot of people

on the payroll, which is part of the purpose of the CARES Act. The problem

is that states and counties everywhere are about to go broke and make mass

layoffs if we don`t help them. And hospitals in particular, are already

starting layoffs across the country. And we don`t have the resources for a

massive national testing regime.

 

And so, what we said was, look, you`ve got $250 billion you want to

replenish this fun with, we could do that. Let`s also do these other things

that everybody has agreed upon, and we`ll be able to do a package on a

bipartisan basis. Instead, Mitch McConnell did what he does, which is he

sort of did a stunt on the Senate floor that was never designed to enact a

law, but rather to sort of use it as a bludgeon against Democrats. Nobody

has any patience for political stunts. People want results, and we`re ready

to do that as soon as we can.

 

HAYES: Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, thank you so much for your time

tonight, sir.

 

SCHATZ: Thank you.

 

HAYES: One of the most controversial parts of that rescue bill, right,

which is meant to keep the economy afloat while we`re all suffering through

this is $500 billion in rescue funds for big businesses. And the law

requires that a five-person panel does oversight on where that money goes

specifically and where the total $2 trillion in the entire bill is going.

 

Right now, there is just one person appointed on that panel without an

office or support staff who is trying to perform the oversight task over $2

trillion alone. Joining me now is that single oversight commissioner Bharat

Ramamurti. Mr. Ramamurti, can you first just tell us – introduce yourself

and tell us who you are and how you ended up with this, it seems to me,

difficult and challenging job?

 

BHARAT RAMAMURTI, MEMBER, CARES ACT OVERSIGHT COMMISSION: Sure. So I spent

six years working for Senator Elizabeth Warren as her top banking and

economic policy staffer, and then work for her on the campaign. And so I

have a deep background working on oversight of financial institutions, the

Fed, and companies, including Wells Fargo and Equifax, if you remember

those two scandals that the senator was deeply involved with.

 

HAYES: In terms of this bill, let`s talk for a moment about the – this

very controversial part of it, the $500 billion. It`s been described as a

slush fund, it`s been described as a needed rescue line. Just – can you

actually just explain what the deal is with that money and how it`s given

out and to whom under what conditions?

 

RAMAMURTI: Sure. So the $500 billion goes to the Treasury Department. The

Treasury Department, in turn, works with the Federal Reserve. And the

Federal Reserve uses that taxpayer money to lever up and provide an

additional potentially $5 trillion or more of its own money.

 

So over the course of the next few weeks, you could see north of $5

trillion in lending going out through the Federal Reserve, a lot of it

taxpayer-backed, going to companies. And as of today, and I sent a letter

about this earlier, we don`t – we don`t even know the identity of the

companies that are going to receive the lending through this taxpayer back

facility.

 

What we do know is that the money that`s going to big businesses does not

come with any strings attached. So you could have company that gets

taxpayer support, lays off its workforce, provides full executive

compensation, does stock buybacks and issues dividends, and I think the

public has to wonder, is that a good use of our money.

 

HAYES: So that`s – there`s a distinction, right, because the small

business part of this, which is being administered through this SBA, the

Payroll Protection Program, which we were just speaking about, that

requires the small businesses to retain a certain amount of payroll. What

you`re saying is the big business part of this, which is being run for the

Fed, and you wrote a letter about this today, you don`t have to keep anyone

on – like to qualify for this money as a loan, you don`t have to keep

anyone on payroll or do anything?

 

RAMAMURTI: No, absolutely not. And so, we`re in this strange situation

where the limitations on smaller businesses are actually more onerous than

they are for big businesses. And I think it`s particularly disturbing

because we`ve seen over the last eight or 10 years that corporate America

tends to look out for shareholders and executives first.

 

We`ve seen an incredible amount of money go into stock buybacks and

dividends. And at the same time, we`ve seen wages for workers basically

stagnate. So I don`t think we`re in a position where we can just trust

corporations to do the right thing with this money.

 

HAYES: You wrote this letter that the public deserves to know which

companies are receiving taxpayer back lending for the fed on what terms and

be able to monitor what those companies do after receiving taxpayer

support.

 

Let me – let me sort of play devil`s advocate for a moment at least, which

is to say, given the scale of the crisis, better to err going too big –

and I think there`s a lot of people who think the Fed chair has actually

done a very good job. He`s learned lessons from the last financial crisis

and has gotten very big, has been very aggressive, has been very bold. And

it`s better to err on that side than being too reluctant or stringent,

given the fact that you could just see a whole bunch of stuff just go out

of business.

 

RAMAMURTI: Sure, and I have no problem with the amount of money that`s

going to be delivered through these facilities. What I am worried about is

what the money is used for? Again, the question is what is the public value

in pumping $5 trillion into corporations, if they`re going to use that

money to make sure that multi-million executive – multi-million dollar

executive bonuses are delivered again this year, and that they can continue

to spend billions of dollars on dividends, but they continue to lay off the

workforce, lay off their workers, fellow workers.

 

I think it`s not a good use of taxpayer money to do it in that way. And I

think that what we saw, for example, with the airlines was that the

Congress directed the money to go to support the payroll. So it kept

hundreds of thousands of airline workers employed. And if there`s

limitations on what the executives could do for compensation and buybacks,

I think that`s a pretty good model for what the Fed and the Treasury should

be doing with this other $500 billion pot of money.

 

HAYES: All right, Bharat Ramamurti, I`d love to check back in with you

throughout this as this plays out. Thank you for making some time tonight.

 

RAMAMURTI: Sure thing.

 

HAYES: Next, the view from the frontlines as the U.S. approaches or endures

the peak of the Coronavirus crisis, at least the first wave. Dr. Dara Kass

on what it looks like in her emergency room after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s totally crazy right now. Every room is filled with

positive on these hallways. All you hear is oxygen.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walked in and they said everybody`s intubated.

(INAUDIBLE)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of our beds are taken up by intubated patients,

meaning patients who can`t breathe on their own and who are on a

ventilator. Almost everybody is on oxygen and almost everybody is a COVID

patient.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m here with my crew right now because I have a

really sick patient, cancer patient, young, with a fever of 103. He`s a

young gentleman whose wife is at home with her toddler and his toddler. She

can`t even be here with him. It`s been really difficult to have these kinds

of conversations on the phone. This man is not doing well, and I had to

talk to her on the phone and tell her that which is heartbreaking.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: Right now, the U.S. appears to be at or nearing the peak of

fatalities, at least daily fatalities in the human toll of this virus, we

hope. Just today we have 2,492 new deaths today from the virus which is the

most recorded in a day so far. It means, right now we are in the worst

period hopefully, hopefully, the worst of the worst, it won`t get worse.

 

But many of us are taking that as a sign to start looking to the future.

The other side of the curve, reopening, think about getting back to

something that looks more like normal. Hospitals and healthcare workers are

every minute of every day right now battling to keep patients alive.

 

The sirens are still howling through New York. We`re getting more and more

really unsettling data about just how incomprehensibly devastating the toll

has been at the heart of this epidemic. To talk about what it is like right

now on the frontlines in New York City, I`m joined by someone who not only

treats coronavirus, patience but also had the virus herself. She just

recently test negative for it, was reunited with their family after one

month apart, Dr. Dara Kass, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at

Columbia University Medical Center.

 

Dara, let`s start on that note. We`ve checked in with you a few times about

both your work from the ER and your own sort of trajectory through the

virus. I know that you have immunocompromised people in your family who you

want to protect and love. What was it like to be reunited after a month?

 

DARA KASS, ASSISTANT CLINICAL PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL

CENTER: So it was remarkable, I think. I`d waited till I tested both the

negative even though I had the antibodies, and I came home. And in a lot of

ways it was exactly what we had expected, which was like a very safe,

loving and excited for union. My son who had a liver transplant when he was

two years old, ran up to me and was like mommy, you`re home.

 

And the reality is that it was exactly what we had hoped for, which was

that he was safe the entire time. I had gotten the infection and I`ve

recovered. And I knew that by – I could hug him and kiss him as opposed to

just being in the same house and saying no, no, please stay back. I don`t

know if I`m going to get you sick.

 

HAYES: So you`re back at work right now, and I know we spoke, you know,

weeks ago, at the beginning of this as this was sort of starting. You`re

starting to see it appear in the E.R. You actually – obviously had to

leave for weeks while you were treating yourself. What is it like right now

in the E.R.?

 

KASS: So I think that the E.R. – the images you just showed are very

reflective of the ERs in New York City, where a huge number of patients in

the E.R. intubated or critically ill. We are seeing less patients come in

every single day, over the past few days. But what we`re not seeing in

those E.R. pictures is the capacities of our hospitals, which is that our

hospitals are at 100 percent capacity, and we`ve increased that capacity

over time because patients that get admitted for coronavirus stay in the

hospital for very long periods of time while we take care of them.

 

And so we have to remember that even if we`re having a decrease in the

number of admissions, everybody that comes in is very sick, a lot of them

go to the ICU, and they stay for long periods of time. So our hospital

system is still at its highest capacity, even with the decreased number of

people coming in every day.

 

HAYES: You know, one of the most disturbing things in New York City

yesterday sort of adding to the fatality rate, suspected coronavirus

fatalities which was about 3,400 New Yorkers was that those folks largely

died in hospitals, and had never had tested positive, and a lot of them in

emergency rooms. Essentially, there was no space for them, and that`s why

they ended up – sorry, 3,778 people, that`s why they ended up in that

situation.

 

KASS: So I think that we forget that people come in critically ill, and a

lot of times they pass away before the test can be done or even before the

results can come back especially in the beginning of this illness. This

illness is devastating. And so patients were passing away at home and not

getting tested, and they were coming to the E.R.

 

We were doing the best we could right away, but if patients were only there

for two hours or four hours, and we were busy resuscitating them, we may

not have even gotten to the point we could have tested them if we had the

capacity to test.

 

The other thing is a lot of patients were coming in for unrelated

complaints, and were found to be coronavirus, positive. Heart attacks,

strokes, other respiratory illnesses, you know. And so I think the reason

that we changed the marking and the tracking in New York City was that we

realized that so many patients that were unexpectedly dying, the

overwhelming increase of the number of patients passing away in New York

City was a reflection of the toll that this virus is taking on our city.

 

HAYES: I`ve heard that from a few doctors about these sort of cardiac

presentations and how common those have been, which you know, people think

of it as lung issues and pulmonary and there`s been a lot of cardiac

presentations. I guess the final question to you is, you have this sort of

time-lapse experience of that E.R. like, what is the morale, the emotional

life people on your team like having been – going through this day after

day?

 

KASS:  So, I think that a lot of us are exhausted, but we do see the work

of the people around us, the citizens of our city. You know, decreasing the

numbers that are coming in every day, which has allowed us to take care of

the people in front of us. We`re starting to be able to give each other

breaks, which is good, and also get the testing for ourselves that we

weren`t getting at the beginning.

 

So, one of the things we`re starting to understand now is were actually

exposed through antibody testing and be able to test asymptomatic health

care workers, which wasn`t happening before. We`re taking care of each

other. You know that`s what – emergency medicine, ICU medicine, hospital

doctors, nurses, health care staff, we have been there for each other the

whole time, and it`s wonderful to see cities like New York and other states

around the country be there for us, as well, and we feel that support.

 

So, we`re doing OK for now, and we just need to keep ahead of all of this.

 

HAYES:  All right, Dr. Dara Kass, I`m so glad you`re able to get back with

your family and come back and give us an update. Thank you so much.

 

KASS:  Thanks for having me.

 

HAYES:  Coming up, why did Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declare pro

wrestling an essential business? The unbelievable details of that story

next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Tonight in California, there is news that the mayor of Los Angeles,

Eric Garcetti, has told city officials that large gatherings such as

concerts or sporting events may not be approved in Los Angeles for at least

a year. L.A. is a city with at least 10 professional sports franchises, not

to mention two huge college football programs and the Rose Bowl.

 

In California, they are taking the threat of further spread of the virus

seriously.

 

And there is Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis, under fire for being so

slow to act in his state, has decided that professional wrestling is an

essential service and therefore exempt from stay-at home orders.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA:  Obviously, WWE there is no crowd or

anything, so it`s a very small number of people, so we just kind of look at

it on a case by case basis.

 

I think people have been starved for content. I mean, we haven`t had a lot

of new content since the beginning of March.

 

If you think about it, we`ve never had a period like this in modern

American history where you`ve had such little new content, particularly in

the sporting realm. I mean, people are watching like reruns from like, you

know, the early 2000s.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  So you see definitive by saying there is no crowd, which is true,

and that people are starved for new sports content, which again, we get it.

I, too, am starved for new sports content.

 

So on Monday night, the WWE did in fact broadcast wrestling. There was no

crowd. But there was obviously – it`s wrestling – no social distancing

among the performers.

 

But also there`s a lot more to this story in terms of who is backing it and

how they might have gotten in the governor`s ear for this dispensation.

 

Here to explain, David Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, who has been

covering this story closely and the risks it carries for those involved.

 

So, Dave, tell – walk me through how this exemption came about?

 

DAVID ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION:  Yeah, this stinks to high heaven,

Chris, and it stinks with the words quid pro quo.

 

Let me me walk you through what happened, on April 9, Governor DeSantis

declares WWE wrestlers essential workers in the state, that same day on

April 9, Minda McMahon, who is the co-founder of WWE, along with her

husband Vince McMahon, and a former member of Donald Trump`s cabinet, she

announces that her super PAC is going to be dropping $18.5 million into the

state of Florida the same day.

 

Now why is that important? Because on April 10, that`s the day Vince

McMahon decided to resume live programming. Why is that important? Because

by showing live programming, he is not in violation of his contract with

either Fox Sports or the USA Network. These contracts are worth hundreds of

millions of dollars, and and he`s only allowed three non-live shows per

year, and yet now he`s not in violation of that contract, because of this

dispensation from…

 

HAYES:  Wait a second, wait a second, wait a second, wait a second, I want

to make sure that I have the – I want to make sure that I have the timing

right here. So what you`re saying is that the declaration, of them as

essential workers – oh, I think maybe we lost – did we lose his audio?

You`re saying the declaration of them as essential workers by DeSantis

happens before they announced they`re going to actually be doing this?

 

ZIRIN:  No, it`s the same day that – and it`s announced that they are

dropping $18.5 million into the state of Florida.

 

Now on April 10, that`s when Vince McMahon says we`re going to continue

with live programming, which is critical to his TV deals. On April 13, this

is really bizarre, this is when Governor DeSantis produces the declaration,

that claims that wrestlers were essential workers. No one saw this

declaration on April 9, it wasn`t posted to any websites, it wasn`t

announced, it was only announced on April 13 when there was all these

questions.

 

And these questions were coming up because a member of the WWE`s performing

team has the Coronavirus. And so there is this question that then arises of

how are you having live events, how are you having people not social

distancing? How are you letting business go on as usual if somebody has the

Coronavirus? But it is going on as usual. And then today, April 15, just to

top it off – sorry, go

ahead.

 

HAYES:  Well, just we should note here that sort of player safety issue is

really, I mean, you have got the crowds and then the player safety issue.

What happened to the NBA, of course, was they were going to kind of keep

going and then a major star tests positive before a game. They canceled the

game. And then there is no more NBA, because you can`t have a bunch of

people playing basketball against each other infecting each other with

Coronavirus. Clearly there is an analog here.

 

ZIRIN:  Absolutely.

 

And then today on April 15, they announced tons of layoffs from WWE, let a

lot of people go, fired a lot of performers, while also announcing that

their stock price had reached a good high, was on the up, and that they had

$500 million in cash reserves.

 

And let`s remember that the person who has been behind all these

machinations, all this quid pro quo, all this money being dropped into the

state of Florida, all these machinations by Ron DeSantis, this is Vince

McMahon who has just named that he is going to be on the council that`s

going to decide when to reopen our economy. He`s on that council. Donald

Trump called him the great Vince McMahon in yesterday`s press conference.

 

And so this person who is putting his own wrestlers at risk, because

someone on his staff has the Coronavirus, is going to decide when it`s safe

for the rest of us.

 

HAYES:  That is really, really, really wild.

 

And so just to go back to the final point about the contracts, you know,

the contracts are an enormous deal for everyone right now, right? So, there

are all these contracts that are essentially being violated, because no one

is broadcasting live sports, so this is crucially important for McMahon`s

bottom line for him to be able to have events that essentially allow him to

uphold his end of the contract and get paid.

 

ZIRIN:  Exactly. He could have done bulk tapings, which other wrestling

federations are doing, basically tape six, seven shows and then have

content for the next seven weeks, but it`s specifically that language about

live programming, which is worth literally hundreds of millions of dollars

with his contracts with USA and Fox, and now he`s able to fulfill the aims

of those contracts in a way that`s very shady.

 

And I got to say, it`s hard to imagine a state other than Florida where he

could have gotten something like this done. It is a rancid case of quid pro

quo. And I think if they were operating on all rails, they would be subject

to investigation for this behavior.

 

HAYES:  Wow. Great job sifting through that, Dave Zirin, thanks so much.

Great to hear from you.

 

ZIRIN:  Thank down, Chris.

 

HAYES:  Up next, some truly inspiring stories of solidarity and compassion

and ingenuity in this time of crisis. And be sure to check out Morning Joe

tomorrow morning which will feature special guests including Lady Gaga in a

special report “Isolation Nation” starting at 8:00 a.m. We`ll be right

back.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  I`ve been at home with my family during all this. I`ve been

rereading this phenomenal book by Rebecca Solnit that`s called “A Paradise

Built in Hell.” And it`s all about how humans respond to disasters and

catastrophes and it brings out this incredible solidarity and compassion

and ingenuity in people amidst all the sorrow and tragedy. And we`ve seen

examples of that all around us during this pandemic, small acts of kindness

by people like newspaper delivery man Greg Dailey in New Jersey who has

just been picking up groceries and supplies for all the elderly people on

his route.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

GREG DAILEY, NEWSPAPER DELIVERY MAN:  You know, I thought to myself, well,

if Mrs. Ross (ph) can`t get the paper at her sidewalk which is probably 20

feet, how is she getting groceries?

 

They are amazing people and you get a chance to help them, you help them.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  There have also been these impressive acts of ingenuity from people

who are rushing in to solve all the problems the virus has caused, in that

federal government and other leaders have failed to fix, like the husband

and wife who just a month ago came up with a new system between the two of

them to decontaminate N95 masks.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

KEVIN HOMMEMA, INVESTED NEW SYSTEM TO DECONTAMINATE MASKS:  Each one can

handle about 80,000 masks a day.

 

LAURIE HOMMEMA, INVENTED NEW SYSTEM TO DECONTAMINATE MASKS:  I mean, that`s

an entire hospital`s work over a few days.

 

It started with an after dinner conversation, drawing it out on a piece of

paper.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  And there is a team at MIT that came up with a face shield for

health care workers made from cheap and accessible materials.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MARTY CULPAPPER, PROFESSOR, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY:  It`s

fabricated flat. And the reason for that is we can make things flat very

quickly and very low cost. And then after you fold it up, it turns into

this.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  You don`t have to be an engineer to make a difference or

contribute, there are so many stories of people helping in all kinds of

ways, however they can be. The Yale School of Drama employees whoa re now

making masks for local hospitals.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MARY ZIHAL, YALE SCHOOL OF DRAMA SENIOR DRAPER:  I`m making masks, all of

us in the shop jumped at it. It a pleated mask, cloth, three layers of

fabric, and on the backside it has a pocket.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Those are very stylish.

 

In the midst of this national trauma that we confront, the horror and the

grieving brought on by this terrible virus, so many of our fellow Americans

are rising to the occasion, their words and their deeds serving as a

reminder in this time of stress and catastrophe, we really are all in this

together.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed Joe Biden, and

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signaled her support in an interview

with Politico.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORKI:  I would love to see the vice

president clarify and deepen his policy stances on certain issues, but

aside from that, you know, I think it`s incredibly important that we

support the Democratic nominee in November.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  The once historically large and diverse field of Democratic

competitors, in a primary that seemed to go on forever, and seemed so

uncertain, and at times in flux, has just ended with incredible speed, in

the most bizarre circumstances, setting up a general election unlike

anything that any candidate was really prepared to wage.

 

But if there`s one advantage Democrats have, new polling shows that they

are more united than they were this time four years ago. According to the

Reuters/Ipsos poll, 70 percent of Democrats said they were certain to vote

in the upcoming presidential election, 9 percentage points higher than the

first quarter of 2016.

 

Joining me now to talk about all of this, Michelle Goldberg, columnist for

The New York Times.

 

Michelle, it`s been so strange, right, like everyone was covering – you

and I, we were both covering the primary for so long, but a global pandemic

came, it overshadowed that primary. The primary has now effectively ended

with a whimper, but I don`t even know what to make of it. Like, what is

your – how do you think about what we experienced over the last 15 or 16

months?

 

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, look, I mean in a way, we sort of

experienced nothing, right? Because this is sort of what people thought was

going to happen when Joe Biden first entered the race, and then there was a

lot of sound and fury and a lot of ups and downs and a lot of moments when

I assumed that his campaign was dead, and a lot of other people.

 

But actually, if you had told people, when Joe Biden first entered the race

that this is how it`s going to turn out, they wouldn`t be that surprised.

You know, what surprised, is both how quickly the dominoes fell once they

did, and now this bizarre and anti-climactic nomination, or presumptive

nomination, unlike anything we`ve ever seen before.

 

HAYES:  I also do think – I think the existence of the pandemic, and the

just abject mismanagement and failures by Trump and the administration have

focused the mind quite a bit. I mean it does seem to me that there is

genuine unity, the way that Bernie Sanders endorsed, the way that he had

so, been so sort of forthright about it and Elizabeth Warren, there really

does feel a kind of like, you know, unity on the Democrats that is

different than 2016.

 

GOLDBERG:  Well, yes, I mean I think that, you know, although there are

some – there are a few Bernie divenders (ph) obviously, even if Bernie is

not among them, but I think the pandemic, and this incredibly disastrous

response drives home that the space between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden,

which is pretty large, is much smaller than the space between any of the

Democrats and Donald Trump, right?

 

I mean remember, Hillary Clinton said at one point in her campaign, I`m the

only thing standing between you and the apocalypse. And she was right. And

now, we`re here.

 

And so I think you saw a taste of it in Wisconsin recently, when you

literally had Democrats forced by this outrageous judicial ruling to risk

their lives to go out and vote against Republicans, and they did it.

 

HAYES:  I also think there`s this, you know, the intensification of this,

of the stakes, and the politics of this moment, which we`re now seeing play

out, like, no one knew that the 2020 election would be about a global

pandemic six months ago, and now it likely will been that, and this crash

and you`re seeing this sort of weird resurgent kind of version of pro-Trump

Tea Party protests in Michigan and Ohio, that clearly Trump is trying to

set up a story to his base, that like the bad liberals and the bad media

and the bad public access experts are the ones who shut down your state and

caused your economic misery, but it just seems very hard for me for the

incumbent president to escape the blame for that.

 

GOLDBERG:  Well, I think that his base will be with him no matter what, but

his base just isn`t big enough. And one of the things that`s happened for

most of the Trump administration is that the

disasters have been a little bit out of sight. They were Puerto Rico. They

were in the Kurdish region, they were the Kurdish region of Syria, so these

various debacles – there was corruption in government, but now it really

is hitting people, right. If you are applying for one of these PPP loans

and you see up close, just what a disaster it is.

 

HAYES:  I think the last thing I think about in terms of this election, and

no one knows what to make – I mean I don`t even know how to conceive of it

now, but my sort of basic feeling is, look, this was always going to be a

referendum on Donald Trump, because re-election campaigns are referendum,

but now it is really a referendum on Donald Trump, like inescapably, in

every deep way, that is the election.

 

GOLDBERG:  I was just reading something about the election between Hoover

and FDR. And it was a historian talking about how, at the time, FDR was

seen as campaigning in kind of pleasant generalities because it was all

focused on what a disastrous president Herbert Hoover was, and I don`t

think anyone at the time could have predicted the sort of president that

FDR was going to turn out to be.

 

And so in a way there`s, right, we`ve seen this is the second election just

in our adult careers where it has been primarily about the kind of utter

disastrous wreckage left by the Republican incumbent.

 

HAYES:  Yes, yes, it is really wild that that is the case. And we just had

one of these, not that many years ago.

 

Michelle Goldberg, it`s great to see your face. I hope you and the family

are healthy and safe, and thanks for joining us tonight.

 

That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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