The Trump crisis TRANSCRIPTS: 4/27/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests:
Greg Miller, Ashish Jha, Charles Duhigg, Al Gore, Betsey Stevenson
Transcript:

 

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But of course, as

we`ve learned, six months can be an eternity in politics. Heck, in this

era, six minutes can be an eternity. Thank you 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. I

want to start tonight, with just a small little bit of reporting from the

Associated Press today, that just perfectly crystallizes the fundamental

problem that we face right now as a nation. Here`s the quote from it.

“Trump campaign officials have expressed worry that he could be pushing to

open things too quickly, and that any resulting deaths will not be forgiven

by voters in November.” That`s the quote.

 

So, the President`s campaign advisors are trying to get the president not

to go down a path that will result in thousands of people dying

unnecessarily because they think it will be bad politics, that it will be

bad for his campaign as they try to get him reelected. That`s reporting. It

just shows the fundamental problem we`re facing now as a nation that we

have been facing for months.

 

The reality is, we now have nearly a million cases of coronavirus. We have

more than 55,000 dead Americans. And they`re not just numbers. Every day,

more and more people, people that you and I know, friends of yours or loved

ones or loved ones of friends. I remember, at the beginning of this,

coronavirus was these this thing that we tracked, right, the numbers of,

but distant we heard about it. Now it`s not.

 

I mean, is there anyone who does not know someone who has been sick,

someone has died. This is what it looks like in the sympathy card section

in supermarkets and drugstores across this nation. There`s not a single one

left there. They`re completely sold out.

 

The grief and the trauma is creeping into every crevice of American life.

And so now, the President is trying to roll out a policy based on what will

look good for him politically and for his reelection chances, what will win

him more votes in the fall. But here`s the thing. We all want to open the

country up. We all want to go back to some kind of normal. If you look

around, there are some places that are trying to do it in a thoughtful and

safe way.

 

And take for example, the country`s two biggest carmakers, GM and Ford.

They`re bringing some people back to work to build ventilators and personal

protective equipment. Here`s how they are doing it.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before I walked into this facility today, I had my

temperature scanned. I think it`s a very important part of the protocol.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the plant I`m in today, we`re wearing face masks and

we`re wearing face shields.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ford`s Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the company

has also installed plastic barriers between each workstation to enforce

social distancing.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is also wearing watches that buzz if you get

within six feet of somebody else.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: So that`s the major U.S. car manufacturers. Management and labor

unions, United Auto Workers coming together for smart, safe, creative

solutions to try to do work. And we`re not alone in this, right? Almost

every country in the world is battling the exact same virus. It`s the same

disease everywhere. It`s contagious everywhere. It is killing people

everywhere.

 

And economies are on lockdown and standstill everywhere. And no leader

wants that to be the case. And everyone has been faced with the same set of

difficult choices. And it is as tough a governing problem as probably

anyone has ever faced, right? Everyone is trying to solve it in their own

way.

 

After nearly two months of lockdown, yesterday, the Prime Minister of Italy

announced new guidelines for easing that country`s lockdown. It will start

with reopening parks, factories, and building sites, and allowing people to

visit their relatives in small numbers.

 

Italy, of course, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. Now

they`re trying to phase in some return to some kind of normal. Now, other

countries acted early and they avoided Italy`s fate and they avoided our

fate. Taiwan has even managed to avoid a lockdown by putting in place

measures like cell phone contact tracing, temperature checks, social

distancing.

 

In New Zealand, the Prime Minister just announced it is stopped community

transmission to the coronavirus. And starting on Tuesday, because they`ve

done that, because they`ve been successful and they moved quickly, a bunch

of non-essential businesses, healthcare and education activity will be able

to resume.

 

New Zealand is one of the places that it has had the toughest level of

social restrictions. Same with Australia as of Sunday, only 16 new cases

were recorded there, and they are also using restrictions. The government

there is for instance, introduced a new contact tracing app, which is based

on the one that was used successfully in Singapore, and already a million

Australians have downloaded it.

 

But here in the U.S., the person in charge who is tasked with this

incredibly difficult moment, with assessing these complicated questions

leaders around the world are wrestling with is a guy who spends his day

watching TV and race tweeting. He doesn`t listen to experts. He listens to

his buddies and calls them all the time like the My Pillow guy. He also

appears to lack the ability to actually feel empathy and grief, or even

just a basic protective duty towards the public safety the American people

who he represents.

 

And that is why to go back to the quote, I started the show with, that is

why his campaign advisors have to couch their arguments to him in political

terms because the idea of lots of dead Americans for no reason might hurt

your reelection is the kind of logic you might listen to. And this is how

our presidents doing it.

 

Just last week, he blurted out, he is going to give the commencement

address at West Point in June. That was news to West Point who had sent all

their cadets home and now scrambling to get them back ceremony back to

their campus in New York, the epicenter of the crisis. Every president

always says the toughest thing they have to do is sending young people in

harm`s way. And here`s the president doing just that so he can get his

photo op.

 

And all this has happened is “The Washington Post” reports tonight, the

President was warned about this virus, this global pandemic in his

president`s daily brief more than that dozen times in January, February.

Joining me now is one of the reporters who broke that story, Greg Miller,

Washington Post National Security Reporter. Greg, tell me what you

uncovered.

 

GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: So what we`re

reporting, Chris, is that – is that the coronavirus references to the

coronavirus were included in at least a dozen of the President`s daily

brief. These are the very highly classified prestigious reports that are

prepared before dawn each day specifically for the President.

 

So this is the most – arguably the most important intelligence product

that our spy agencies assemble every day. And they were calling attention

to the threat of the coronavirus in a way that amounts to a fairly steady

drumbeat throughout January and February.

 

HAYES: Part of the reporting indicates that one of the things they were

calling attention to was the lack of reliability about what the Chinese

government was reporting externally, what they were saying about the extent

of transmission and whether it was under control. Is that right?

 

MILLER: Yes. So these reports, they start off awfully fragmentary, and

they`re talking about basically, look, China has a problem. We`re not quite

sure what it is, but it looks like there`s an outbreak in Wuhan. But the

spy agencies, including the CIA, throw more resources at this each and

every day, and they are piecing together more information about the virus.

They are tracking it as it spreads to other countries and other continents.

And they are trying to call that to the attention of the President on a

very regular basis.

 

HAYES: Just to be clear, the context presidential daily briefing is sort of

the most important intelligence product the Intelligence Community

produces, right? And there`s, there`s a real battle about what gets into

that briefing. I mean, an organizational battle, bureaucratic battle,

battle between different parts of the Intelligence Community. Is showing up

the briefing day after day is a way of them saying this really matters?

 

MILLER: Yes. I mean, this is where the U.S. intelligence analysts put their

most important information. I mean, so much a remarkable amount of energy

and people go into preparing this single report each and every day. And not

very many people get it.

 

Obviously, its main customers, the President of the United States, and also

goes to some cabinet secretaries, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of

Treasury and so forth, and a smattering of other people as well. But this

is the highest priority intelligence product that exists. And so, some

things that are happening that you want the President`s attention on are

going to end up in the PDB.

 

HAYES: Do we know what the – what the President`s reaction was to this?

 

MILLER: I mean, we don`t know, I have to say, Chris. And we also

acknowledge this in our reporting how much of this material registered with

the president because one, he doesn`t read the PDB. Unlike his

predecessors, he does not sit down each day to digest this product. He

doesn`t read it, doesn`t skim it. He relies almost exclusively on an oral

briefing that he has curtailed to roughly two or three times a week.

 

So he`s getting an oral briefing from an intelligence analyst, but he skips

the reading of the – of the PDB. So it`s hard to know how much of this

material actually made its way to him. We know that it`s included in the

brief and that that brief is delivered to the White House each and every

day. We don`t know how much it registers with him.

 

Across this stretch of time, of course, he is – in January and February,

the period of time we`re writing about, he`s very dismissive of the threat

of this virus. As late as late February, he is still saying it`s going to

go away, it`s going to magically disappear. There`s no big deal. It`s going

to go down to zero, things like this.

 

HAYES: And this is – I mean, as late as late February, you`ve got now –

we have evidence of multiple parts of the U.S. government, folks inside the

CDC, inside the Intelligence Community, some folks in DOD. There`s been

some reporting that there there`s a growing sense just even in the internal

reservoir of knowledge that is the U.S. government which is an enormous

undertaking that this is very serious and very pressing.

 

MILLER: Not only that, Chris. You have people inside the White House,

including the Deputy National Security Adviser, who by early February are

saying we need to go farther than just restricting travel China. It`s our -

- this outbreak has already reached Europe. We are not doing our jobs

unless we start restricting travel there.

 

And that doesn`t happen for another six weeks. And you heard the governor

of New York just this past week talk about how the United States may have

closed the front door on the coronavirus, but left the back door open and

we now know that that the outbreak in New York is predominantly traced to

the spread of this pathogen through Europe. The infection in New York comes

from Europe, not from China.

 

HAYES: All right, Greg Miller, along with his colleague Ellen Nakashima,

great reporting. Thank you very much.

 

MILLER: Thank you.

 

HAYES: Joining me now for more on what we do to reopen America, Dr. Ashish

Jha. He`s the director of the Harvard University Global Health Institute.

And doctor, you know, I think Americans often we get very tunnel vision, we

get very mired in American exceptionalism about how we do things here, but

this really is a problem that dozens and dozens of countries are sort of

confronting at the same time.

 

When you sort of survey the landscape, like what are the lessons to learn

there about how the other people are figuring out how to solve a very

difficult problem?

 

ASHISH JHA, GLOBAL HEALTH PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes. So Chris,

thanks for having me back on. Look, the biology of this virus is the same

everywhere. And the responses have differed, but we know certain things

work. So we know that countries that jump out early and are aggressive

basically get it under control faster and can open up sooner.

 

Not only is that a South Korea example, but also New Zealand, Germany.

There are a whole series of countries that just took it much, much more

seriously. And that means they can open up sooner. And even though they are

opening up sooner, they`re still opening up very carefully. And that`s the

big lesson to learn for Americans.

 

HAYES: One of the aspects here – so there`s a few aspects here. One is,

right, if you – if you move earlier and you have less of an outbreak, you

can probably open up a little sooner. Another is about – is about testing

which a drum we have banged on the show for four months in which public

health experts have banged.

 

There`s a piece in Stat today about just the sort of the fact that the

states don`t have the testing capacity they need and there`s, you know,

gaps of 100,000 in New York, you know, 68,000 in New Jersey, 23,000 in

Illinois, that they`re short of the test that they need.

 

Today, you`ve got the vice president sort of promising everyone they`ll

have access to the testing, but it`s unclear whether that`s A going to be

enough and B delivered on. What`s your sense of where we`re at in that

regard?

 

JHA: Yes. So that Stat analysis is based on Some work that we did really

trying to look at, where is every state in the country and how much more do

they need. I think at this point, you know, we`ve heard so many promises

from the White House. If you remember, Chris, six weeks ago, five weeks

ago, they were saying millions of test kits going out next week.

 

At this point, I think all of us want to look at the facts on the ground.

And even what they promised today, that sort of two percent of Americans

getting tested every month, way too little. I mean, it would take us four

years to test every American.

 

So I think we`re far behind. It`s nice to see the White House acknowledge

that we`re not doing enough. I see that as progress. But they still don`t -

- they aren`t taking the sort of enormity of the problem seriously. And

until they do, we can open up. We`re just going to end up shutting back

down again. And so that`s the – that`s the concern that all of us have.

 

HAYES: This is the big – I mean, this to me, the doomsday scenario here,

which I don`t like to focus on, because it`s been a lot of doomsday around

here for months. But the doomsday scenario is like, you know, stateless

like Texas opens up and things – you know, and they – and they do it, you

know, Texas, Governor Abbott, Republican, like to his credit, a fairly

responsible plan I think in terms of what`s going to open up when and

social distancing and things like that.

 

But, you know, a state opens up and things look like they`re going OK. If

you lack the proper testing surveillance in the – in the sort of

epidemiology term, that – we know how – what (INAUDIBLE) and what – how

long fuse that is. And if the thing starts going, then you`re your hosed.

 

JHA: Yes. That is the technical term, hosed. And you`re absolutely right,

right. Like this is essentially what happened the first time around. And

the whole point of the shutdown was to buy ourselves time so we could do it

right the second time. And there are states that I think are being very

responsible.

 

So there are some states that will be pretty reasonable to open up. I look

at Montana and Wyoming and Alaska. Small number of cases a good number of

test. I`d love it if they had a little more. But Georgia, Texas, other

places, like you can – it`s not only important to have a small number of

cases, it`s not only important to have a good plan for not opening up too

aggressively. But if you don`t have a good amount of testing and tracing

and isolation, you`re not going to be able to keep infected people away

from susceptible people.

 

And the basic biology is the infection is going to take off again. And so

unless the biology has changed, we are going to end up in the same place.

And that`s I think, what we`re all worried about.

 

HAYES: All right, so the devil`s advocate is sort of on the other side,

right? It`s like, OK, so we`ve had these enormous outbreaks in places in

northern Italy, and we saw them in Wuhan, and we saw it in New York. And

the worst – the worst outbreaks we`ve seen worldwide, right, had been in

essentially places that were really implementing any kind of policy, right,

where – that sort of the biological transmission rate, the (INAUDIBLE) of

the disease was able to wreak havoc in this crazy way.

 

But I mean, a place that has now come out of this and is reopening with the

awareness of social distancing, and all these kind of new rules, like we

would expect, right, that that will mean that outbreaks won`t take the same

shape, right, a veer if they were to get another one.

 

JHA: So it`s not that they won`t be as severe, it will take longer to build

up. So there`s this term that we talked about, RT, which is the real-time,

like at that moment, what is the reproduction factor? And if the natural

reproduction of this virus is around three, one infected person infects

three more people, in a more kind of staged opening, you can imagine it

could be two. And that means you`ll still get exponential growth but will

take longer.

 

HAYES: Right.

 

JHA: But none of that prevents – I mean, at two, you`re still going to

have health systems getting overwhelmed. You`re still going to get into

trouble you`re still going to get a lot of sick people and a lot of people

were going to end up dying.

 

HAYES: Right, so it`s not enough. I mean, the point being that like, it`s

just not enough partly because of the transmissibility of this and the fact

that we have a largely naive population that doesn`t have antibodies and

not immune, is that even if you bring that three down to two, which is –

which is, you know, an accomplishment, you`ve got to have both aspects.

You`ve got to have the testing and the surveillance as well as some kind of

social distancing.

 

JHA: Yes. So the basic – the basic, basic point here is we got to keep

infected people away from susceptible people. And the way you do that is

through some social distancing, or testing and isolation. Those are your

only two strategies. And if you want to give people confidence about going

back to work, you kind of tell them that if you`re going to go to the

coffee shop and pick up a cup of coffee, they`re not going to get infected.

 

And it`s a little bit of social distancing. Don`t go hug the guy giving you

the coffee, but it`s also testing in isolation so that if the guy was

infected, you know that he`d get a test and he`d be out of there, and he`d

have somebody uninfected giving you the coffee. That`s what you got to

know.

 

HAYES: Dr. Ashish Jha, always – I always learned a lot from these

conversations, so come back again soon. Thank you very much.

 

JHA: Thanks, Chris.

 

HAYES: Next, the tale of two outbreaks. How Seattle managed to get ahead of

the spread while New York City became what appears to be the worst outbreak

in the world. What Seattle did differently after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES: Right now, it looks like the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world

based on the numbers that states and other places have reported, countries

as well, which themselves are not picture perfect at all. But based on the

data we have, the worst outbreak appears to be in New York City.

 

Listen to this statistic. At least one out of every 500 New Yorkers has

died from this virus. And while there are a lot of reasons for that, from

the failure of federal leadership to implement testing, to particular

features of New York City, a new New Yorker article argues that part of the

reason for the severity of the outbreak was a failure of local policy.

 

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote that New Yorker piece Charles

Duhigg joins me now. Charles, I was – I was really gripped and persuaded

by the reporting that you present in the article. What`s the basic case

here?

 

CHARLES DUHIGG, JOURNALIST: The basic case is that at the beginning of a

pandemic, we have a very unique opportunity, a window, when if the leader

say the right things, and particularly if they`ve got the scientists front

and center, we can convince people to stay home.

 

And in Seattle, they did that very ably. In New York, it was much more

muddied and complicated. And as a result, during this Communication crisis,

which is what a pandemic really is as much as a medical health crisis, New

York failed. And as a result, we saw cases explode.

 

HAYES: I think when – I`m going to play some of the things that the mayor

said and again, stipulated, as we have throughout all the coverage, even

the first block about the president. This is hard. All this stuff is hard.

But it was fairly clear the mayor`s view of this early on even in the first

two weeks of March was not like ring the alarm, this is the time to shut it

all down at all. Take a listen to some of the things he had to say during

that period.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do we stand right now from New York and then from

what you know about what`s happening in cities around the world?

 

BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: You know, Franklin

Roosevelt, the famous quote, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

 

For the vast majority of New Yorkers, life is going on pretty normally

right now. And we want to encourage that.

 

If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now.

 

Some places are closing schools on mass. We think that`s a mistake

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: St. Patrick`s Day parade in Dublin, in Boston, in Denver

had been canceled. What is the status of New York City?

 

DE BLASIO: It`s not a slam dunk to say this is something that should be

instantly canceled.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES: It is a slam dunk by March 11th to cancel the St. Patty`s Day

Parade. And that to me was such an indicator that the mayor did not have

his eyes on the scale of this. What is your reporting say about that?

 

DUHIGG: Well, Dr. Tom Frieden who used to be the Commissioner of Public

Health here in New York, and was also the head of the CDC, he estimates

that it De Blasio and Cuomo had shut down in New York 10 days earlier, we

would have seen 50 to 80 percent fewer deaths in the state.

 

And what`s going on here is sort of two things. First, is if you`ll

remember, De Blasio has gotten a lot of applause in the past, particularly

with the Ebola outbreak, for being very aggressive about saying, don`t

panic, don`t overreact. We need to keep New York going even if we have a

couple of situations of illness. Obviously, it`s very different here.

 

But the second thing, according to my reporting, is that De Blasio has a

long history of tension with his agencies, particularly with the Department

of Health. And so as experts, his fantastic public health officers were

coming to him and saying shut things down, he was resisting his staff, was

fighting with them. In fact, two of them had to threaten to resign in order

to get the city hall to shut down the schools and restaurant.

 

HAYES: Yes. You report this that there`s two people, the city`s Assistant

Commissioner of Communicable Diseases, Dr. Marcelle Layton, and the Deputy

Health Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis who indicated to staff that they

were – they were going to publicly resign unless the mayor finally took

action. I think it was the schools, right, and other things on that sort of

fateful Monday when New York was one of the later places to do it.

 

DUHIGG: That`s exactly right. And I should make clear, neither of those

physicians spoke to me, right. They`re both very – they`re great public

health officers. And in fact, Marcy Layton in particular, Dr. Layton is

revered around the nation. She`s actually a graduate of something called

the Epidemic Intelligence Service, which is a part of the center – the

CDC.

 

And there`s about 3,000 EIS alone across the nation who are kind of the

front lines, the shock troops for responding to this and other pandemics an

epidemics. And one of the things that the EIS training really stresses is

when you are communicating it is critical at the beginning of a pandemic,

that you say what you know, and don`t know, that you maintain trust, and

that most importantly, you say the same thing over and over, that you don`t

muddy the message by saying one thing and doing another. And De Blasio and

Cuomo have both increase sights for that.

 

If you`ll remember, De Blasio, on the day that the gyms were closing down

in New York City, he asked his driver to take him from Gracie Mansion where

he lives to the Park Slope Wide so he can get in one last workout. And even

his consultants and advisors said that was a terrible, terrible, perhaps an

ethical idea.

 

HAYES: What finally is a lesson here about what Seattle did in terms of the

messaging they gave, the consistency of it, and also sort of not moving too

quickly, but moving in a – in a very specific way towards what ended up

being a sort of full shutdown?

 

DUHIGG: What Seattle did is exactly what the CDC and the Epidemic

Intelligence Service says you`re supposed to do, which is that they put the

science at spreads and center. There`s this real risk that if a politician

is the head of communications, when you`re talking about a pandemic, that

you`ll politicize the communication. That some people ask the people

perhaps won`t do what they`re being told simply because they don`t trust

the politician.

 

So what Seattle did is they put the scientists front and center and they

moved very aggressively to shut things down. In fact, Dr. Jeff Duchin, who

is the head of public health for Seattle King County, he went to one of the

top politicians and he said, Look, we need to shut things down immediately.

And I know we can`t do that today. But we need to start saying things

today, so that the population will be ready for a shutdown in two or three

days from now.

 

And one of the things that Dow Constantine, that politician did is he

called Microsoft, which is, of course, based in an area near Seattle and

said, look, we don`t have any cases yet. We only have one – a handful of

fatalities across the country, but will you tell all your workers to work

from home? Amazon did the same thing, because they knew that by emptying

the streets of all these computers, 100,000 employees, everyone would get

the message. This is really serious. Something is going on. When the

government says stay home, we should stay home.

 

HAYES: All right, Charles Duhigg, thank you so much for sharing that great

reporting.

 

DUHIGG: Thanks for having me.

 

HAYES: Ahead, new concerns that Mitch McConnell risks sending the country

into a depression with his resistance to providing states crucial federal

aid. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Some republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

seemed ready to punish states whose budgets are going to be decimated by

this pandemic. Here is Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA:  It`s unfair to the taxpayers of Florida. We

sit here and we live within our means and then New York and Illinois and

California and other states don`t, and we`re

supposed to bail them out. That`s not right.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Nope. That is not the way our union works.

 

For instance, when a hurricane devastates Florida, we as U.S. citizens from

all over the country gladly pay the billions of dollars it takes to help

our fellow Americans who happen to live in Florida.

 

Additionally, it is worth keeping in mind that just the math of what Scott

is saying is wrong. States like New York are sending more federal tax

dollars to the federal government than they get back in services and states

like Rick Scott`s Florida get back more money from the federal government

they give.

 

It is clear, though, that this is going to be a titanic battle over

financial aid to states. Joining me now is Betsey Stevenson, professor of

economics at the University of Michigan`s Gerald R. Ford School of Public

Policy. She formerly served as a chief economist at the Department of

Labor.

 

So, Betsey, Mitch McConnell in an interview with Hugh Hewitt sort of

floated this idea of allowing states, who we know all of the states`

finances are going to be wrecked, that if they have a problem they can

declare bankruptcy, which I think they`re not allowed to do currently under

law. But what would be the economic effects of just saying to the states

too bad?

 

BETSEY STEVENSON, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN:  Well, I think as you pointed

out, it`s a little bit ironic that the states that traditionally contribute

the most to the federal spending, that send in more than they give are

being told that they shouldn`t ask for handouts right now.

 

The reality is, though, every state is going to suffer under COVID, because

when you don`t have people working as much, when we have unemployment when

we have, you know, the economy under performing, states are bringing in

less revenue. They are going to bring in less revenue from households, from

businesses, from conferences, from conventions, from all the types of ways

in which – from sales tax.

 

And because many states actually have balanced budget requirements, they

have to immediately make things work. In fact, by the middle of March we

had barely started to see the economy to suffer, but yet we were already

actually seeing a reduction in local government employment.

 

So the reality is that if we don`t – as a federal government doesn`t step

up and help state and local governments out, by the time we`re ready to

send our kids back to school, there is not going to be that many teachers

left there to teach them.

 

HAYES:  This was a headline from The Washington Post, which I thought put

it in stark terms, that McConnell`s rejection of federal aid to states

risks causing a depression, analysts say. For precisely the sort of dynamic

you`re talking about, you start cutting state budgets all over the place,

you`re going to cut back on employment and cut back on demand, you have a

kind of self-fulfilling prophesy and spiral down.

 

But the other aspect of this is McConnell clearly tried to get out ahead of

this by calling them blue state bailouts. And it`s clear he`s sort of

retreating today. And I think the reason he is retreating is it`s not just

blue states, like every state is going to be in very, very rough shape. And

there`s going to be pressure on the senators on the Republican side for

help for their states, right?

 

STEVENSON:  Yeah, I think that that`s absolutely right. This is going to

hit every state.

 

We saw in 2008 something we had never seen before, which was the reduction

in employment and spending by state and local governments worsened the

recession. Normally, we have government employment at all levels helping to

support the economy and support employment in a recession. We failed to

help the states out in the last recession, it contributed to the severity

and the last recession.

 

At its worst point, there were 250,000 fewer teachers working in the United

States, because of

that. And that`s exactly the kind of situation that we`re going to face.

 

But I think it`s going to be worse this time, because I think that what

we`re really need in order for the economy to recover is to preserve as

many relationships between employers and workers as possible. And it`s

going to be really hard for people to find brand-new jobs, make connections

with new employers. There is going to be a lot of distancing and distrust

out there. And so cutting loose a bunch of government workers who are

competing with people who are working in the private sector who lost jobs

when we`re going to see, I think, very long unemployment spells, it`s just

a mistake that will make the entire situation worse.

 

HAYES:  This idea of sort of repeating the mistakes, I mean, is what is so

terrifying for me, because it really was brutal and extended misery for a

lot of people. It does seem that the politics of this are a little

different in so far as McConnell has had to back away already in a few

days. And so there looks like this is going to be a fight, like Democrats

are focused on this. This will be one of the big fights in the next piece

of legislation, do you think?

 

STEVENSON:  It absolutely will be one of the big fights. You`re looking at

states are – estimates I`ve seen are that states are going to face $500

billion short fall over a couple of years, states like Michigan 12 to 14

percent hole in their budget. These are really big holes.

 

It`s a also time where if we get the economy going again, we actually need

the people who work for the state and local government, people like our

teachers, our hospital workers, our firefighters, our emergency personnel.

If we`re laying all those folks off, that`s going to make people even more

skittish that they can go back to work. They are going to know that there

is not support there in the community. All of this is going to compound.

 

HAYES:  All right. Betsey Stevenson, thanks you so much.

 

STEVENSON:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  Ahead, former Vice President Al Gore on the federal response to the

COVID crisis. The environmental implications of the nationwide shut down

and the potential of an oil industry bailout that some people started to

float. He joins me just ahead.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  April 7 was a shameful low point for our democracy in the state of

Wisconsin when Republicans forced the state to hold an in person primary

election in the middle of a pandemic. And now, the state is back at it.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Those in the seventh congressional district are

preparing to do it all over again. As of now, the Wisconsin elections

commission says nothing has changed for the May special election.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  There`s a special election in Wisconsin with in-person voting in

just two weeks. It`s utter madness, given what happened the last time

around. Here is a chart of the confirmed Coronavirus cases in Wisconsin,

which has seen an up-tick in new cases over the past week. There is some

evidence that suggestions the last round of voting may have accelerated the

spread, at least 36 voters and poll workers tested positive for Coronavirus

after the primary vote and that figure is likely to grow in the coming

weeks.

 

And while allowed minority of Wisconsin voters spurred on by the president

and other right wing interest groups want to quote, unquote reopen the

state, that`s them there standing next to each other protesting, a poll

last week found that only 23 percent of Wisconsinites think social

distancing measures should be relaxed, an overwhelming majority thinks the

state is doing the right thing, or that more aggressive measures are

needed.

 

The situation in Wisconsin illustrates why no excuse, universal absentee

voting is vital and also so popular. 60 percent of Americans support

allowing people to vote by main-in ballot without having to give a reason,

including a plurality of Republicans, but many elected Republicans,

including the president, are trying to block it.

 

And time is now running out, industry leaders and election experts say that

expanding voting by mail for November could require making commitments in

the next few weeks. Congress must act now to fund such voting. And states

need to do whatever it takes to make it happen, because people should not

have to choose between their health and participating in democracy.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  In this moment of crisis, a lot of rules have gone out the window

in terms of what kind of policy is and is not feasible, which will make for

an encouraging moment in some ways when you think about the possibility of

really bold and ambitious climate policy, but also the fear that this

Coronavirus crisis will lead to a kind of doubling down on, say, fossil

fuels. In fact, there is already talk of a bailout for the oil industry.

 

And joining me now to talk about this and the moment we find ourselves in

more broadly, someone who has been advocating on climate policy for over 30

years, who spent eight years as vice president of the United States amidst

of several global crisis, former Vice President Al Gore.

 

Mr. Vice President, let me start on this question of where you think the

U.S. is right now at this moment, in terms of how it has dealt with the

crisis.

 

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Oh boy, Chris, it`s

so hard to know where to begin. You know, there is no more important role

for a president than to lead a nation through a crisis, and that means

unifying people and leading not only your political base, but reaching out

to others with whom you disagreed.

 

And Donald Trump has made this all about himself. He has ignored repeated

warnings, news reports this evening, showing yet more warnings that were

ignored. He ignored the science, as he has done with the climate crisis as

well. He has engaged in a kind of a magical thinking. He`s pushed dangerous

and potentially deadly snake oil type remedies. He`s lashed out at people

who have been asking length legitimate questions and who have pleaded with

him to try to mobilize the federal government`s resources.

 

And now luckily, there have been others that have stepped up – governors,

Democratic and Republican governors, in many cases; Dr. Fauci, over

scientific and medical experts, so this has brought a lot of good out in

the American people.

 

But this is a dangerous time for our country, Chris. This is – you know,

when people all around the world are just dropping their jaws in amazement

at the things he says, that`s not good for anybody in this country.

 

And we`ve got to get through this in spite of Donald Trump, but it has been

an irresponsible, incompetent, and in many ways disgraceful performance.

 

HAYES:  You know, you have such an interesting perspective, Mr. Vice

President, because you served as a senator for years and you were obviously

vice president, and are very familiar with what the actual confines of the

American political system with all of its choke points can be, and also

have worked so much on climate where generally radical steps are probably

necessary for us to avoid catastrophe, and in the balance between those

two, I wonder where you think are at this moment, because there it seem to

be expanded horizons as we watch all kinds of new policies being floated to

try to get us through this, if that gives you some kind of hope about where

we are and what the future is?

 

GORE:  Well, as someone has said, we`re in a kind of chrysalis. We are

continuing to navigate according to the coordinates of a world that has

radically changed, and it`s a challenge to ascertain what the world to come

is going to look like.

 

No doubt, there will be many similarities, but you know mentioned the oil

bailout proposal at the beginning of your comments. This climate crisis and

the COVID-19 pandemic are linked in some ways. The preconditions that raise

the death rate from COVID-19, a great many of them are accentuated, made

worse, by the fossil fuel pollution, not the CO2, which causes the climate

crisis, but the particulates, the soot. And of course, President Trump is

trying to use this crisis as an opportunity to turn the valves wide open

for more pollution.

 

And we also see it with the horrendous differential mortality rates among

African-Americans and to some extent, Hispanic Americans and Native

Americans, as well.

 

This crisis has exposed some long-standing weaknesses in our president, but

some long-standing weaknesses in our country. If we – just to pick one

example that existed before this began, the death rate for African-American

children from asthma is 10 times the death rate for Caucasian children from

asthma. You see the big increase in death rates from COVID-19.

 

And there are many factors that cause it, and you know them, Chris, you

wrote that book, “A Colony in a Country, and you spelled this out –

inadequate access to health care, unequal economics, poor housing, and

environmental injustice, because communities of color, because they`ve had

a legacy of being deprived of the same political and economic power to

defend themselves, are way more likely to be downwind from the smoke stacks

and breathe that pollution in, downstream from the hazardous waste flows

adjacent to the coal ash and hazard chemical waste sights, and this is now

being manifested in these horrendous death rates.

 

But we can get through this. And on the other side of it, we can build a

new energy system, a new transportation system, a new approach to health

care, and habitat and housing.

 

You know, this happens at a time when the oil industry and the fossil fuel

industry as a whole is kind of on the ropes anyway. If you look at all of

the new electricity generation built last year in the world, 72 percent was

renewable, mostly wind and solar. And we`re seeing it cheaper as a source

of electricity in two-third of the world than fossil fuel, and soon, in a

few years, in 100 percent of the world. EVs are taking off. Within two

years, they are going to be significantly cheaper than internal combustion

engines. Regenerative agriculture – and I won`t go through the whole list,

but the opportunities are very large.

 

HAYES:  Well, it`s striking when you look at those, we`ve shown these

photos in the show about, you know, what happens when you just take the

internal combustion away from, you know, from major cities around the

world, whether it`s in Shanghai or it`s in Los Angeles, or – and people

are seeing air that they`ve never seen. That omnipresence of air pollution,

both in terms of its health effects and the visual effects and the fact

that, you know, jogging in certain places is harder. It`s sort of this

underlying atmospheric part of what we`ve just come to kind of acclimate

to, that doesn`t have to be that way is one of the big lessons I`ve taken

from this.

 

GORE:  Yeah, and the similarities between COVID-19, the pandemic on the one

hand and the climate crisis on the other have been discussed, both

illustrate the extreme danger of ignoring the scientific warnings until

it`s almost too late.

 

But there are some differences. Instead of lasting for six months, eight

months, a year, two years, the climate crisis will have impacts that last

for centuries.

 

Now, here`s another big difference. We have seen policies that essentially

shut down large areas of the economy, as Paul Krugman said, to put it in

kind of a medically induced coma, until we can conquer this virus, and

that`s hurt economic activity a lot. But where the climate crisis is

concerned, it`s the greatest opportunity for creating new jobs and

sustainable economic growth that the world has ever seen.

 

So on the way out of this crisis – and of course, all hands on deck now,

to solve this crisis, in spite of President Trump, but when this is over,

we need to rebuild in a way that keeps the air cleaner, and keeps the water

cleaner, and stops trapping all of this extra heat that is destabilizing

the climate system, and disrupting the water cycle, and causing these

horrendous consequences that the scientists have been shouting from the

rooftops warning us against.

 

HAYES:  A final question, last minute we have here, you know, the degree to

which these, the sort of parallels between these two crises, the last thing

I think about is just the way that ultimately, even though the effects are

disproportionate, it is also something that we all share, right, like we

all have a human body that`s susceptible to the virus, we all breathe the

air, we are all in the climate, that there is going to be needed global

coordination to battle this, and also the climate.

 

GORE:  Right, we share the same atmosphere. We live on the same Earth. We

just had the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. And we share the same future.

And so yes. And we have to recognize that in spite of the rise of China and

the beginnings of serious growth in India, and improvement in their quality

of life, still, we`re in a period of history where the United States

remains the only nation that can organize and coordinate and lead a global

effort.

 

And I mentioned at the beginning that we`re in real trouble.

 

If I could say one thing to republicans who are listening, look, this

election coming up is one where I hope that a lot of people will put the

country first, and try, even in this time of extreme partisanship, to try

to set that aside, and look at what is at stake here. I mean seriously,

we`re really in trouble with the kind of performance in the Oval Office

we`ve had. We`ve got change that, Chris.

 

I know that sounds partisan, but it`s more than that, it`s way more than

that.

 

HAYES:  Former Vice President Al Gore, it`s always great to talk to you.

Thank you for making time tonight.

 

GORE:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts

right now on this Monday.

 

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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