COVID-19 treatment TRANSCRIPT: 4/17/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re going to be –
they`re going to be buying 250. 50 from 40 to 50 billion in farm. I want to
see what`s happening with China. I want to see how they`re doing on it. Are
they fulfilling the deal, the transaction? We have a lot of discussions
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The
U.S. has had among the worst most catastrophic responses the coronavirus
among peer nations. And that is in large part because the President has
failed with every turn. And the result is unprecedented illness and misery
and death in this country. And that doesn`t include the economic
devastation that has been this President`s sole focus from the beginning as
he attempts to save his own political future.
That means the toll of this virus becomes more and more clear every single
day and can`t be happy talked away. President Trump now needs to find
someone to blame for the crisis that he helped bring about. That`s what
today has been all about for the president A day after telling nation`s
governors, you`re going to call your own shots.
He tweeted, “The states have to step up their testing.” As the Washington
Post reports, Trump`s the buck stops with the state`s posture is largely
designed to shield himself from blame should there be new outbreaks after
states reopen or for other problems according to several current and former
senior administration officials involved in response.
Think about that. They`re designing it around blame-shifting. All along,
Trump has wanted to have it both ways. He wants credit for anything that
goes well even for things that don`t really ever happen like the almost
non-existed drive through testing and Walmart and Target parking lots we
were promised. Remember that? And he wants to make sure the blame sticks to
anyone but himself. As Susan Glasser put in the New Yorker, ultimate power
and no responsibility.
In a press conference today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo summed up the
President`s cowardly “we`re here as backup it except we can take credit”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is mayhem. We need a coordinated approach
between the federal government and the states. All he`s doing is walking in
front of the parade, but he has nothing to do with the timing of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Because he can`t handle the responsibilities, today, Donald Trump
tried to steer the blame to Democratic governors launching a really
unhinged series of dangerously provocative tweets calling on people to
protect their second amendment rights and liberate states shut down by
Democratic governors. All this while armed Trump supporters are actively
protesting in these state capitals.
The reason why he is so desperate to shift the blame is because the blame
is coming because the scale of the national emergency we`re going through
is impossible to ignore. Here are some headlines from last 24 hours in
American life. The Republican governor of Iowa ordered schools close for
the rest of the year. The Republican governor of Mississippi who waited for
a while to do a shelter in place extended his shelter and place order for
The Grand Island area in Nebraska now has a COVID-19 case rate comparable
to some of the hardest-hit states in the country. In fact, CNN reports the
bumping Coronavirus cases is most pronounced in states without stay at home
orders. Oklahoma saw a 53 percent increase in cases over the past week,
South Dakota a whopping 205 percent spike.
The Lompoc federal penitentiary in California has the worst outbreak in a
prison. 69 inmates and 25 staff members infected. 25 people have died at
just one nursing home in Wayne, New Jersey. 90 percent of the people living
at the facility have symptoms and there are thousands of more who have died
in nursing homes across the country. The disease is touching every corner
of the country.
Here`s how the owner of family-run funeral home in Brooklyn, New York
explained the reality there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other big issue that we have in New York City,
Craig, is there are very few crematories. There`s really less than a
handful and the whole city of New York. And so right now, for instance, if
you want it to be cremated in Brooklyn, the next available date is mid-May.
In two cases, people asked for FaceTime, so that they could – so that they
could say goodbye to their husband, or say goodbye to their mom.
So – but it`s not – it`s not how we`re made, both as an industry as a
family-run funeral home, but not as how we were made as humans. You know,
we look for that visual, that that human contact and it`s not possible
right now. It`s not safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President`s failure has brought us this moment. It didn`t have
to be this way. The U.S. and South Korea both reported their first
confirmed cases on the very same day. Around 230 people have died from the
disease in South Korea. Over 36,000 have died here in the U.S. It`s now
everywhere in this country. It is devastating.
And there`s no more I`m going to do a song and dance about boosting the
stock market happy talk. That`s why you see the president saying today the
states have to step up testing. Even if that is an acknowledgment of the
failure, a concession of how bad things are. And that`s what fomenting all
the protests about and trying to restart Tea Party 2.0.
The President and his allies are desperate and they acknowledge it`s bad,
it`s going to be bad. And the political question for them now is can we
blame someone else, can we blame them? The worst part of this reality is
there are some things only the federal government can do. Every state and
local officials have been saying that.
Today, it was basically a declaration by the federal government of your on
your own. And not just to the States, this is key, to us, every American.
Every family member worried about a loved one in a long-term care facility,
or in a prison, or driving a bus for a living, or working in a meatpacking
plant. You are on your own. Figure it out.
The President`s transparent blame-shifting has not been lost on some
traditionally conservative folks. James Pethokoukis of the American
Enterprise Institute tweeted, “So Trump tells the governors they`re calling
the shots, at the same time, he`s encouraging resistance against those
shots being called. What now?” And Jim Pethokoukis joins me now.
You have been a Trump skeptic though a conservative, Jim. But you`ve been
writing about just the sort of – when you step back and take a scale and
look at where we are right now, stipulated, this virus is nasty and
difficult and the policy challenges are real and the best government in the
world would screw up. But the overall picture right now is really bad. And
I feel like there`s a little bit of denial about that.
JAMES PETHOKOUKIS, DEWITT WALLACE FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: It
is bad. Listen, I think this was a poor response, especially given the fact
that people like to call this a black swan. But the black swan has appeared
like every few years, you know, since about 2005. So I don`t have a lot of
patience for the “we never saw this coming, how did we know?” Clearly, our
response could be better.
I think every voter in America, every citizen should expect a lot more from
their government. But sort of, here we are, what are we going to do going
forward? I`m sure there`s going to be some sort of commission in the
future, but what do we do right now.
And the last thing the president should be doing is telling people like
resist your governors, don`t listen to your governors. What we need is have
this reopening process to go as smoothly as possible so we don`t have – so
we don`t have a second wave of outbreaks, and that this terrible economy
right now doesn`t last beyond June.
Because if we get a second wave of outbreak, then we`re going to have 25
percent unemployment in the third quarter and 25 percent unemployment in
the fourth quarter. That can be avoided, but we need to do things now.
HAYES: This is the part of this that has been so maddening to me from the
moment – from late February. The incentives should be aligned. The
incentives for the President should be to manage this as well as possible
so that as few people get sick, as few people die, and the economy rebounds
as quickly as possible.
If you do a good job, you should be rewarded by voters and, and likewise,
if you do a bad job. And yet, instead, it`s being managed to get through
the next news cycle to plausibly be able to blame the governor of Michigan
for the lockdown in your state, but that`s not good – that`s a that`s a
very short-sighted strategy.
PETHOKOUKIS: You can`t worry about the news cycle. You sort of have to
accept that you`re going to go through a period here, where the where the
market is going to be down by a lot, that the economy is going to be down
by a lot, the employments going to go up. And you need to get through this
period so we can control this virus, and then prepare for the recovery,
prepare for when the shutdown is over and hopefully get a sharp rebound.
But if you don`t have that initial pain, then you`re not going to have the
gain on the other end. And it`s going to be – I mean, the election is
really the least of it, but you know, he won`t get reelected if we have a
third-quarter where the economy is down another 50 percent annualized.
HAYES: Right, because here what you`re saying here, and I think this is
really important right, is that if you screw up the “reopening,” if you
promise a reopening and people go back to work, and then in places that do
this, you see massive outbreaks and they are forced to essentially shudder
and retreat. I`ve already seen Wall Street desperately wants to bid up
prices because they definitely wants to believe there`s a V-shape here, but
they will get spooked yeah like crazy if that happens and you will see a
PETHOKOUKIS: All right, Chris, every forecast that has, you know, the
economy falling, you know, by a huge amount now, but then roaring back in
the, you know, in the third quarter and fourth quarter assumes that we`ve
sort of seen the worst of it at this point, that there won`t be a second
wave. If that happens, sort of all bets are off.
HAYES: What do you think about this sort of the weird interplay between the
sort of the fact on one day he announces a plan – the plan itself is
defensible, the 18-page plan phase one, phase two, phase three delegate
states authorities, and the next day is sort of inciting protests against
people that are essentially more or less following the plan that his own
government laid out the day before.
PETHOKOUKIS: Right. So not – so not only they need to follow that plan,
but then they also have – a lot of plan is sort of vague in spots. They
don`t really define enough things. So you really are counting on these
governors do a fantastic job – you know – you know, we`re not – we`re
probably never going to have the amount of testing we want, so we have to
make sure that we have the amount of social distancing, that they re-open
places in a logical manner.
So they need to ace it. And if they do well, then the president will do
well, but you have to – you cannot worry about what`s happening in the
next 46 hours or if there`s protests in Michigan or Minnesota. You may love
– those people may be wearing your Trump hats, but you need to be thinking
about what`s going to happen in August, September, October, November.
HAYES: You`re someone who pays a lot of attention to macroeconomic trends
to both fiscal monetary policy. I think you and I have sort of different
views on some of that stuff, but I think that you very clearly want to make
sure as I do. My big fear is this becomes a ripple effect that then like a
snowball rolling down a mountain gathers a kind of steam as an economic
contraction that when the virus goes away, it can`t be unwound, right? What
do you see is the crucial steps to make sure we don`t end up with that?
PETHOKOUKIS: I think by far, the most crucial step is trying to keep things
sort of intact. Yes, you want people to have money so they can pay their
bills and you know, pay their rent, but you have to make sure there`s an
economy to come back to, which is why this whole small business support has
been so important.
It`s gotten off to kind of a slow start. They ran through the SBA so it end
up being a little bit more bureaucratic. They should have you know – they
should have allotted three, four, five times as much money from the very
beginning. So now – so now, they`re sort of run out of money and they have
to pass new bill.
But now there`s a debate between Democrats and Republicans. That hunk,
particularly of the economic support plan, really needs to work well. It
needs to start working better. And it needs to start working better
Because if you have a continued disintegration of American business
particularly small business, you know, companies with 500 employees or
less, then I think you really are looking toward a very long miserable
recovery. You may not technically qualifies the depression but it sure
going to feel like it.
HAYES: Yes. Keeping those folks in business and afloat is key. Jim
Pethokoukis, someone I always make sure to read –
HAYES: Thank you very much.
PETHOKOUKIS: Thank you, Chris Hayes.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on the President`s attempt to pass the blame
on to the states, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington.
And congresswoman, you know, I suppose the silver lining of the president
wanting to essentially delegate in blame is that at the very least, he`s
not like ordering states back into business or things like that.
He`s at the very least gotten out of the way enough that states that have
managed it well like the state of Washington, your state, and I know you`ve
been in a lot of contact with local leaders about this, have been able to
do what they needed to do. I suppose that`s the one upside. What is the
cost of this kind of backseat approach the president is taking?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, Chris, I mean, I think that first of
all, what we really need to do is liberate ourselves from this president
because he has not been helpful in coordinating a federal response. Now,
some of the people on his team have been. We have been able to work closely
with some of those people including Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, even the vice
But you know, I think in order for us to beat this virus which is the
central question, it is not about opening up the economy. If we`re going to
open up the economy, we have to beat the virus. And that is I think central
to this. And if the federal government had a coordinated response to how we
were actually going to put in place the ability to have testing, the
ability to have contact tracing, that is what we need, a steady supply of
the equipment, the tests, all of those things.
But tied to that, and this your previous guest was speaking to this, in the
meantime, we have to make sure we`re dealing with the economic devastation
that we have already seen. 22 million people who have filed new
unemployment claims in the last month. This is going to be a quick downward
spiral unless we quickly have a bold solution. And that is why I introduced
my Paycheck Guarantee Act last week. The Senate also just introduced
something very similar.
What this would do is ensure that we keep people on paychecks, we stanch
the flow of unemployment which is what other countries in Europe have done,
Germany, France, Denmark and we ensure that paychecks and benefits continue
for workers by directing that money to businesses to put into that payroll
What it also does from a public health perspective is it gives incentives
for people to stay home, for businesses to stay closed, and workers to stay
home for as long as public health dictates. And that when we ramp up, it is
not going to be turning on light switches, it`s going to be a slow ramp up,
that if we need to reach other as you were talking about, which is really a
very real possibility when 90 to 95 percent –
HAYES: Yes. Fauci talks about it all the time.
JAYAPAL: Yes, will be uninfected. That`s a very real possibility. So we
would need to be (INAUDIBLE). And my proposal would allow for us to scale.
So if a business is losing 70 percent of its revenue, it would get 70
percent of the amount. And it would automatically renew based on economic
triggers that we would have to meet so that we know that the crisis is
HAYES: I wonder about – you know, there`s sort of two things, right?
There`s the virus and the economic devastation and we have to sort of do
both. And managing that economic devastation is the thing that will
facilitate the conditions to allow us to do what we have to do to beat back
the virus. Do you think there is enough urgency right now among your
colleagues, among – I talked to Hakeem Jeffries and Speaker Pelosi this
week, to get a fourth bill passed?
I mean, clearly, there wasn`t enough money there just in the Payroll
Protection Act which is designed and precisely the way you say, right, the
loans are forgivable to keep people on payroll. Is there enough urgency?
Are you moving quickly enough? Is enough being done to kind of keep people
JAYAPAL: Well, I think the problem is we`ve tried to use existing systems
to deliver relief. But those systems are not designed to deliver this kind
of relief in this day and age. So, you know, we`ve used unemployment
insurance, that`s great, but we can`t have 22 million new people joining
unemployment insurance and expect to be able to process that quickly.
The Paycheck Protection Program was a good set of principles, and as you
point out, similar to what I`m doing. But number one, it is incredibly
inefficient in how it`s delivered. We`re using a network of banks in the
Small Business Administration when we could go straight from Treasury to a
On top of that it`s only for you know companies that have less than 500 –
businesses that have less than 500 workers. Small businesses are incredibly
important and so are the large businesses. Small businesses have much less
relationship to banks so they are disadvantaged in getting the PPP.
And large businesses that have laid off 1,200 workers, we also need to
address the issues of how we keep those workers on paychecks. Because at
the end of the day, if we prevent this enormous mass unemployment that is
here, our economy will continue to go into a downward spiral. We won`t be
able to stimulate consumer demand. We will lose too many businesses.
And it can`t be alone even a forgivable loan. Mine would be a grant that
would be made directly to the business. It would be very simple, very
streamline, and we would keep the economy going even through partial
recovery so that we can continue to at least hold a level of stasis in the
economy rather than trending down.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Pramila Jayapal, thank you so much.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Ahead, the deadly games from some of the President`s most vocal
supporters are playing downplaying the human cost of the pandemic in order
to get back to business as usual, set the record straight next.
HAYES: At this point in the worst global pandemic of our lifetimes, it
should not be necessary for me to do what I`m about to do, to state the
clear facts about how uniquely devastating and deadly this disease is. But
nevertheless, it is necessary because there is a loud propaganda arm of the
president`s supporters or insistent on pumping people full of
misinformation and what about-ism when it comes to this virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BENNETT, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Now, they say 60,000 people will die.
61,000 is what we lost to the flu in 2017 and 2018. The flu.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: In 2018, 61,000 Americans died of the
annual flu. That same year, more than 67,000 died from drug overdoses.
Nearly 50,000 died from suicide.
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: Hundreds of thousands of Americans die
every year from horrific things, viruses, pneumonia, obviously old age,
CARLSON: You know what kills more people every year than coronavirus, a lot
more? Poverty. Poverty kills people in massive numbers. We should remember
PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, DR. PHIL: Look, the fact of the matter is we have people
dying. 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480, 000 from
cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools, but we don`t shut the
country down for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I remember those people running around after 9/11 saying actually,
you know, the flu kills 60,000 people a year or I mean – no, of course
not. Coronavirus is not the flu. It`s not cigarettes. It`s not automobile
accidents. It`s not swimming pools. They`re using these arguments that it
is not that dangerous to say that unbalanced, we should open the economy
back up and just accept those deaths.
But what would that look like if they were – got their way, if we just
said screw it, we`re Americans, were braving the virus? Well, look at the
NYPD. They, of course, had to keep officers out on the streets, couldn`t
shelter in place. They ended up with 20 percent of the work – uniform
workforce out sick.
Or perhaps the purest example of just maintaining the status quo, a meat
processing facility in South Dakota which kept up production, employees
working shoulder to shoulder day-in-day-out, it is now the single biggest
hotspot of coronavirus cases in the country. Or you can look outside the
U.S. in Sweden where they did not lockdown. Schools remain open, and now
their death toll is significantly higher than their neighbors.
In fact, look at this graph of coronavirus deaths in European countries.
That purple line, the one going straight up, yes that is Sweden. This virus
is deadly and it is really gross and disingenuous and heartless and
dangerous to portray it any differently.
Look at this chart, all right. These are average weekly fatalities in the
U.S. from different causes. This line in blue is what flu season look like
over 2017-2018 season. That`s a bad fatalities, right? it kills a lot of
people. Now, in yellow, here is flu plus pneumonia over the same period of
time. Again, that kills a lot of folks. Obviously, very deadly and
Now, let`s add heart disease up at the top there in orange, much more
deadly, OK. One of the top killers in our country. Here is cancer in green.
Again, almost as deadly. Now, here`s what the coronavirus looks like in
red. Yes, in just a matter of weeks, it has become almost the leading cause
of death among Americans, and it is shooting straight up because it is
Swimming pools are not contagious, nor are auto accidents. It`s not the
flu. It`s not smoking. It`s not auto accidents. It`s not swimming pools.
And not just here. Look at this data from England and Wales follows the
exact same pattern. In blue, you see the spectrum of mortality from all
causes for each week since 2010. And the red line in 2020, what is that?
Well, that obviously is coronavirus.
Keep them in mind, in the U.S. and U.K., these are countries that are
basically fully locked down and that`s what it`s doing. And in the
epicenter in New York City, the place where the virus has spread the most
and the fastest, well, it`s killed about one out of every 700 New Yorkers.
On a typical day in April, about 150 New Yorkers died. On the worst day,
April 7th, 519 New Yorkers die. More New Yorkers died that week, the week
before Easter than on 9/11. The people on Trump T.V. don`t really seem to
care that much about a week in 9/11 when there`s an economy to get running.
And whatever certain people want to do with the facts themselves however
sociopathically heartless and cruel they want to be, however much they want
to admit that they just don`t care that much about this devastating,
overwhelming loss, let`s be clear about the magnitude of what is actually
HAYES: Part of what is so brutal and confounding about this virus is that
there is just no straightforward treatment protocol. I`ve been talking to
doctors who say it`s just really frustrating to encounter an illness that
doesn`t respond to treatment the way they expect.
The New York Times recently compiled some first person stories from
emergency room doctors basically at their wits end with treating
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CAMERON KYLE-SIDELL, ER/ICU MAIMONIDES MEDICAL CENTER: On a normal day
in an ICU you have very sick patients, patients are dying, but this is
different, it just you have a disease we don`t understand that is very
deadly with patients that are scared and staff that are scared, and on top
of that, it does not appear that we have a good treatment strategy other
than a ventilator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We talk a lot about testing and contact tracing and a vaccine,
ultimately, as ways to get back to normal, but if we did have a mass safe
and effective treatment that would really change the toll of this virus,
and that`s why there is so much focus on it in so many quarters including,
obviously from the White House, and so many stories in the press about this
or that promising new treatment, which can get very confusing. I feel
So here to survey where the current state of the art is, Dr. James Cutrell.
He`s an infectious disease expert at the University of Texas at the
Southwestern Medical Center. He literally just co-authored a review of
treatments for the Coronavirus in the Journal of American Medical
So doctor, I guess, maybe first an overview of what do we know right now?
Do we have a treatment right now?
DR. JAMES CUTRELL, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Yeah, thanks so much, Chris for the
invitation to come on. And although as we review in our paper there`s been
a lot of research and investigation and a lot of different drugs that have
been proposed, to date we don`t have the type of high quality evidence to
really establish an effective treatment at this time.
And so one of the main messages in our review was just that we need to
continue to pursue that type of high quality clinical trials to really
inform what treatments are going to be effective for this.
HAYES: So there was a lot of news yesterday about a drug made by Gilead and
a study trial in Chicago that showed promise. You, in your survey, say of
all the things that you have surveyed, the most encouraging data so far,
though far, far, far from, you know, the final word is this drug.
Describe what it is and why there is some encouraging signs early.
CUTRELL: Yeah. So the drug you`re referring to is an IV medication called
Remdesivir. It`s a medication that blocks the virus` machinery that helps
make copy of itself. And based on the pre-clinical information and studies
in animals, it seems to be one of the more promising drugs, but we still do
not have the human data to establish and prove that it`s effective and
safe. And so, while certainly those reports got a lot of attention, I think
those of us in medical community are waiting for the hard evidence to
establish whether or not this is going to be an effective treatment for
this so that definitely is not established yet.
HAYES: The other drug that has gotten so much attention, of course, is
hydroxychloroquine. It`s used for the folks who have Lupus, it is used to
I want to just show, like, if you try to follow this, even Google News
alert, you will get like contrasting headlines every hour in your in-box –
you know, like, oh, super promising, oh, someone had to be taken off the
study because they had heart complications.
How could you summarize the state of research on this drug?
CUTRELL: I would summarize, you know, as with all the other treatments,
hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, are certainly being investigated in
large clinical trials, but we don`t yet have the definitive evidence to
show they`re effective.
And so really we`re not recommending that those drugs are widespread
adoption until we have that level of evidence. And I would say also, as you
referred to, there are increasing reports highlighting some of the risk, or
some of the safety issues that we would have to consider with those
medications, as well, which need to be taken into account.
HAYES: You know, part of what`s happening here I think a little bit is like
a mismatch between the standards of proof and science and in journalism, or
just the way that if a study is published, and a lot of things are rushed
to publication for understandable reasons, clinical trials being done on
sort of small sample sizes again for sort of understandable reasons that if
a published – if a study is published it`s like, well, this study says X,
but, you know, why should we not be sort of running after every study in
terms of the replicability and the threshold that you folks in the medical
field have to actually declare a drug safe and effective?
CUTRELL: Yeah, I think that`s a great point. And, you know, whenever you`re
bringing a new medicine to market or to using in your patients, the two
most important questions really are is it going to be effective and is it
going to be safe? And the only ways really to establish that with treatment
is to have these more rigorous trials where you have a control arm so that
you can make a comparison between those patients who got the treatment and
those who didn`t so that you really can establish effectiveness and the
And so many of the studies that have gotten attention have lacked some of
those key elements to really to be able to establish their effectiveness
HAYES: Meaning that they don`t have controls or they don`t have a large
enough sample or what do you mean by that?
CUTRELL: Yeah, all of the above.
Some of the studies, initial studies that got attention didn`t have control
arms or appropriately chosen arms. Some may have been too small. There may
have been other limitations or biases in those studies.
Now, there are a larger controlled studies that are ongoing, but those
results haven`t been reported on yet.
HAYES: Sometimes the sort of – oftentimes, I find myself in reporting on
this virus the unsatisfying truth is that like we don`t really know, but
that is what it is. So we shouldn`t pretend that we do.
Dr. James Cutrell, thank you so much for sharing all that. I really, really
CUTRELL: Thank you, Chris. And just want to say a shout-out to my
colleagues at UT Southwestern and my co-authors Dr. Sanders, Dr. Minogue
(ph) and Dr. Yalosky (ph) on this effort. And thanks again for speaking
HAYES: You bet.
Coming up, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth on the president`s leadership
in the age of Coronavirus, and what veterans and veteran homes are facing
as the pandemic spreads.
HAYES: Today, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Coronavirus task
force held a call with Senate Democrats. It appears it did in the go well.
Maine`s independent, usually mild-manned senator, Angus King, reportedly
told the vice president on the call “I have never been so mad about a phone
call in my life,” that`s according to Politico. He also called what the
president is doing a dereliction of duty.
Joining me is Senator Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat of Illinois. Senator
Duckworth, combat war veteran of the Iraq War, was recently appointed to
the bi-partisan task force advising the White House on how to reopen the
And senator, I know you`re traveling around Illinois today, so were not on
that phone call, but my sense from the reporting is that there is a lot of
frustration with the failure of the White House to take a proactive lead on
testing, particularly. Is that sort of where you`re at?
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D) ILLINOIS: That is exactly where I`m at. You know,
really the numbers that they`ve been giving us on how many test kits are
available and how many are going to be getting out to the states it just
never been consistent and they delivered on anything.
Look, bottom line, if you are a parent right now with a 5-year-old child
like I`ve got, you know, you just want your kid to be safe. You want your
children to be safe. If you`re jobless, you know, like I was, like my dad
was when I was a teenager, if you were hungry like I was when my dad didn`t
have a job and I was relying on food stamps. If you`re sick and you need a
ventilator, all you want is effective leadership. You want someone who is
going to provide you with the help that you need and not someone who is
just going to be out there trying to spread blame, which is what this
president is doing.
And I think you called it just right on your show earlier today.
HAYES: You served in very senior levels at the VA before you were a U.S.
senator. And there`s been some stories about the VA, whether it has
adequate levels of PPE. There is some concern that there is not enough
adequate PPE for those service providers in the VA. And obviously it`s also
its own system.
Are you satisfied that the VA is properly prepared in addressing the
DUCKWORTH: Well, most people don`t realize that the VA has a secondary
mission. And In addition for caring for our nation`s veterans, the VA is
the backstop. They are the health care system that will step in to help out
civilian health care system when it gets to a point where, you know, it can
no longer provide the services to our population.
I am satisfied that the VA does have, as far as I know, all the equipment
that it needs. I think what happened in some of the VAs was that they were
preemptively trying to ration some of the equipment thinking that, you
know, we don`t – we`re afraid we won`t have enough PPE in the long-term.
I have called every one of the VA facilities in Illinois, and they
reassured me that they have everything that they need.
HAYES: There`s another aspect to this crisis, which is anyone in any kind
of sort of confined environment, long-term care facilities, nursing homes
are hardest hit, folks in immigration detention, incarcerated, but also in
veterans homes, are at an elevated risk. These are places – naval ships,
for instance. These are places where the disease spreads.
There`s been some awful stories coming out of veterans homes specifically.
Are there – should there be national leadership right now on these sorts
of facilities, some sort of directed effort to be targeting these places
with PPE and testing and a kind of coordinated plan?
DUCKWORTH: Well, of course if we had effective leadership in the White
House, we would certainly have it, and we certainly have the capability
within the Department of Defense. In fact, today as I was traveling around
Illinois, along with us was the commander of the Army National Guard and he
was speaking specifically to the fact that in some parts of the country, we
actually have the National Guard stepping in to help alleviate some of the
conditions and some of our jails, for example, where both inmates and
officers are getting sick. And so the National Guard has been stepping in.
If you were a true leader, you understood how the DOD worked and the
capacity that there is in the National Guard and the skillsets that are
there, you would actually be able to mobilize that. But then again, this
president has failed multiple times. He still really hasn`t implemented the
Defense Production Act that would actually allow us to take control of the,
you know, the medical supply system, the logistical supply system the way
the Obama/Biden administration did when we activated it to fight Ebola. It
can be done. It has been done. And this president simply is failing in his
role as commander-in-chief and not even providing effective leadership in
the civilian capacity.
HAYES: As I noted in the introduction, you were named to this task force
about reopening the economy, which is enormous in terms of names. Is that a
real thing? Like what is the task force?
DUCKWORTH: So can I tell you that I wasn`t even asked. I was – I literally
found out the day before that maybe there was going to be this task force
and they thought my name was on the list and then later on in the evening
on Wednesday evening, I was told, oh, no, no, actually you`re not on the
list and then Thursday morning we got an email from someone in the White
House, some, you know, assistant to assistant to an assistant somewhere who
said OK you`re on the list, the phone call is at this time. And I called
in. And the whole time the president kept like saying things that you know
were not true. He said we have plenty of test kits. We do not have enough t
est kids. He said we have done more tests in this country than any country
in the world. That is not a true statement.
Listen, I think that there is bipartisan support on the task force with my
colleagues on the other side of the aisle that we can move forward. And
there are a few things I am insisting that we do.
One, we need more widespread testing. We need to make sure that we know who
is getting back into the economy, whether those people are safe or whether,
you know, whether or not they have the virus or whether or not if we have
the antibody test, whether or not they`ve had the virus, and then we need
contact tracing to make sure that we know where folks are who have been in
contact with others, with the virus.
We need more money for small businesses. If you`re a small business and you
have been banking with a small credit union, or a co-op or something like
that, you missed out on this money that went out for small businesses.
I want to make sure that if we are going to move the economy forward, we do
it in a methodical way and we don`t do it in such a way that in two weeks
or a month we`ll have to shut everything back down again. That will do so
much more harm to the economy than if we were to move forward in a very
And of course, we have to get help to the health care providers, our
HAYES: Yes. And I know that`s been a big Democratic priority in this next
round of negotiations. Senator Tammy Duckworth coming to us from Chicago,
Illinois. Thank you so much.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, what will restaurants look like, the whole industry,
when doors are safe to reopen? How many won`t be able to make it that far.
Chef and restaurant owner Tom Colicchio tells us what he is learning, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUGLAS BUXBAUM, RESTAURANT OWNER: When Ocean City decided to, you know,
close up restaurants with the exception of carry-out, we had to do it
quick, pivot, and just decide to go with the carry-out for a few days a
week. It`s like we are lucky to be doing 10, 15 percent of what we were
doing. And that`s being optimistic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We keep saying on the show that one of the things I fantasize about
when all of this is over is going out to eat at one my favorite
There is a question of whether my or your favorite restaurant will even
survive. A new survey from the James Beard Foundation found that only one
in five restaurant owners in cities that are shut down are certain they
will be able to stay in business until things get back to normal. People
inside the industry are raising the alarm about a kind of restaurant
apocalypse we may be witnessing.
One of those people is Tom Colicchio, award-winning restaurateur, the head
judge and executive producer of “Top Chef” and he joins me now.
And Tom, everyone I have talked to in the food industry, cannot overstate
how bad things are right now. What are you hearing? What are you seeing?
TOM COLICCHIO, RESTAURANT OWNER: You know, I think things are bad. There`s
a dire situation out there in our industry. I`m on a conference call every
morning with several chefs, several hundred chefs, across the country. And
at first, we were somewhat optimistic, because we thought that the
government was going to respond to our needs, and PPP was rolled out, and
reality set in, so many restaurants are just not going to make it.
HAYES: What do you mean by that? Is that because the money ran out too
quickly? Because the sort of first come, first serve, other folks were able
to get to that needed cash?
COLICCHIO: That`s part of it. But actually if you have cash, if you
actually got your loan, the mechanics of PPP doesn`t work for restaurants.
First off, you have to hire your staff back by June 30. And we`re not going
to be open by June 30. And so we`re probably not going to be open by August
30. So, if we bring our staff back two months that money will run out and
we`ll be right back on unemployment.
What we need to do is change that date of origin back to when we actually
open the restaurant, and then if we had two months of payroll being paid
and rent being paid, and utilities being paid, then we may have a shot.
Actually we probably four to six months, then we may have a shot. But as it
is written right now, I`m going have to hire my staff back, if they want to
come back because that they are going to be laid off in two months, and
quite frankly right now unemployment is a pretty good deal, and so they`re
not going to take a risk of coming back only to be laid off two months from
now. It just doesn`t make sense.
HAYES: OK, so I think I`ve just understood something. So there is a sort of
one size fits all date that is the qualifying date to kind of get that loan
forgiven and what you`re saying is it just doesn`t work for your industry,
because obviously restaurants are going to be one of the things that comes
back much later than other sorts of small businesses.
COLICCHIO: Exactly. PPP it works if you`re open right now. Let`s just say
if you have a pharmacy, maybe 50 percent of sales are depressed because of
COVID-19 and your payroll is being taken care of or your rent is being
taken care of, that`s great.
We`re not open. In fact, we were mandated to shut down. And I have to say,
Chris, when we were asked to shut down, no one complained. We knew we had
to do our part, because we knew we had to actually stop the virus or we
were never going to have a business in our industry, so we all did it, and
we were happy to do it.
But we`re in a very different situation than most businesses right now. You
know, when you think about the amount of people that we employ. Independent
restaurants employ over 11 million people in this country. That`s directly.
Indirectly, when you think of farmers and fishermen and wine makers and
cheese makers and all of the people that we actually employ in our total
universe, it is probably closer to 20 million people. And so we`re not only
talking about our jobs that are disappearing, I`m hearing from cheese
makers that they`re selling – they`re hurting, because 70 percent of their
sales go to restaurants and that is cut off.
I mean you`re reading about dairy farmers just dumping milk and farmers
plowing fields under. Why? Because they don`t have restaurants to service
any more. And so there is a lot more than 11 million jobs at stake. And I
got to tell you, what we don`t want to do is maybe get to the point where
we can open up and then a month later, we`re shut down, because even when
we open up, we`re looking at, what, maybe 30 percent of our business is
going to come back. And so we need to plan, once we get open, to actually
sustain us for a period of time as well.
HAYES: You know, it`s interesting, as you talk about this, what`s sort of
coming to my mind is that there was the rescue package and there was a
specific part of the package for the airline industry. And I thought in
some ways that made sense, it just the airline industry is unique. It has
unique challenges. It`s down 98 percent. There`s a huge amount of fixed
capital that can`t come back. You know, you have all of these planes, you
have got to have an airline industry.
What I`m hearing from you is that it makes me think that there actually
needs to be something specifically about the parts of the economy that are
going to be the ones that, like yours, that are going to be coming back the
latest, in terms of how we think about rescue.
COLICCHIO: That`s absolutely right. In terms of the airline industry, one
thing the government does is they have warrants (ph). So, they are going to
actually make money just like the government made money on TARP, and so
that`s not going to happen. They don`t want warrants (ph) in our
But you`re absolutely right, we need a plan after – if we fix PPP to
change the date of origin. And we get at least four months of payroll
protection and rent protection, then we need something further than that.
And we`re going to need another plan to actually get us open, because I
have to take care of my accounts payable before delivery starts coming my
way again. And so it costs a good amount of money just to get the doors
back open again. And we`re going to need protection for that.
And then we`re also need some protection, because we`re not going to be at
nearly 100 percent – it`s actually mandated that we`re not at 100 percent.
Gavin Newsom yesterday at his press conference said that restaurants, if
they did open – when they opened, they are going to have to go do town at
least 50 percent.
HAYES: Yeah, David Chang, you know, a well known chef of Mogo Fuko (ph) and
other places had this great thread where he`s asking folks in places like
South Korea and Taiwan, that have reopened, like what restaurant scenes
look like. And yeah, it`s 25 percent, 50 percent, it`s huge placards in
between people. It`s not going to be normal for a very long time and
whatever rescue package has to take care of that as well.
Tom Colicchio, always – finish up.
COLICCHIO: The question isn`t when can we open up, the question is when the
public feels safe enough to gather in great numbers again. That is the big
challenge right now. And that`s when we get a vaccine.
HAYES: And that is going to be a while.
Tom Colicchio, always great to talk to you. Thank you so much.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the