Biden campaign TRANSCRIPT: 4/29/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for being with us, and don`t go
anywhere, “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Let`s
begin tonight amidst a national conversation about reopening with two
principles I think everyone can agree on across the political spectrum. The
first principle is that total shelter in place lockdown is not a
sustainable, open-ended way to run American society.
For any number of reasons, there is only so long we can do this. I say that
as a journalist who`s in contact all day, every day with many sources, and
also as a parent with school-aged children who has been trying along with
my wife to homeschool them every day.
The current status quo cannot exist forever, OK. I think we agree on that.
That`s principle one. Principle two is we`re not going back to the pre-
coronavirus normal anytime soon. Huge parties with thousands of people
packed into a frat house on a college campus or crowded rock concerts in
giant arenas, sold-out Broadway shows, football stadiums filled with
100,000 people just packed next to each other. I think it`s pretty unlikely
any of those things are going to look how they looked before.
We`re going to stand further away from each other. We`re not going to crowd
into spaces. We`re going to wear masks. Workplaces that can do it are going
to have different people in on different shifts and try to stay basically
as empty as possible so everyone is not sitting in the same bullpen
breathing each other`s air.
And that principle two, that we`re not going back to normal, that is
something even acknowledged by people on the leading edge of opening up.
Even in places like Texas where restaurants will open on Friday, those
restaurants are only allowed to have 25 percent capacity. In Georgia,
right, Georgia, famously the most sort of out front on this, some barbers
are only allowing one customer in the store at a time, others wait outside,
six feet apart. So most people will I would say almost everyone understand
that thing needs to change.
So those are the two principles we all seem to agree on. And the question
is, what is in between those two principles, right? What is a safe
responsible way of reopening? But we like to call on this show door number
three, right? That the option that is neither an uncontrolled horrific
pandemic or an economic depression.
And I got to say, this should not be some weird culture war question
despite the effort of some to make it one in order to detract from the
manifest failures of the President or the march people out to sacrifice
themselves to the Dow. It is a difficult complicated question that the
world every world leader, every state in the union is dealing with. And
there`s actually a specific goal every society is trying to accomplish and
that is this, to keep the rate of transmission of the coronavirus down so
that each infected person infects on average, less than one other person.
OK, this is the key benchmark. If the transmission rate is less than one,
the disease is declining. If the transmission rate is more than one, the
disease is spreading. That is literally the threshold to create a society
and an economy that are working.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who happens to be a doctor of quantum
chemistry, explained just two weeks ago as that country was gearing up to
reopen parts of its economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY: (TEXT) It needs to be like this so it
doesn`t overtax our health system. We have made model observations. We`re
now at about reproduction factor 1, so one person is infecting another one.
I can only say that for one chain of infection, if one person will infect
another person, that is an average of one person infecting another one.
If we get to the point where everybody infects 1.1 people, then by October
we will reach the capacity level of our health system with the assumed
number of intensive care beds. If we get to 1.2 people, so everyone is
infecting 20 percent more, out of five people, one infects two and the rest
one, then we will reach the limit of our healthcare system in July.
And if it`s 1.3 people, then in June we will reach the limits of our health
system. So that`s where we can see how little the margin is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, first of all, just imagine for a second having a leader that
thought of the question of how to reopen society with that level of nuance.
But that`s what`s necessary. So when Germany started open up, they had the
infection transmission rate down 0.8 right, below that one threshold, but
the coronavirus started creeping back up to an infection rate of one
because this virus is so contagious, so few people have immunity.
In Singapore, which we have covered on this show, many have covered as a
success story because it has been, they are now dealing there with a second
outbreak which is essentially forcing them to enter back into shelter in
place, and the reason is because they ignored a marginal community, migrant
workers who live packed in dormitories on the outskirts of the city.
But the margins don`t stay the margins for long with this virus. Other
places like Taiwan and South Korea have been able to keep the virus
suppressed. They`ve been going through door number three, through lots of
testing and contact tracing. Our own American city Seattle, one of the
first places near an outbreak with its huge Shelter in Place Order. They
moved early. They`ve gotten their infection rate down to where they started
to lift some restrictions on things like farmers markets, outdoors, people
can buy food.
That is what is so important about what Angela Merkel was saying. The
margin of error is so small because of the way exponential growth works,
what we have seen happen, right? You can find yourself back where we were
two months ago, two months ago, two months ago, February 29th, when there
was literally one confirmed death, before it spins out of control, and we
lose 60,000 lies in 60 days. There are so many deaths that one funeral home
is moving bodies in U-Haul trucks because they don`t have enough room.
The question of how and when to reopen society is a hard problem to solve.
But a worst-case scenario would be after we have lost many tens of
thousands of lives and knowingly pushed our economy to the brink of a
depression, and seen the sacrifice that the unbelievable national sacrifice
Americans have made in so many ways, after we`ve done all that, to squander
all that on some blind hope and culture war propaganda, and end up right
back in the same place a few months from now.
Joining me now as Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University`s Center
of Sustainable Development, author of the forthcoming book, The Ages of
Globalization, also has been writing about this topic, as well. Dr. Sachs,
this sort of technical question, it seems one of those moments we`re
looking out into the sort of comparative world and in some ways trying to
take it outside of the hot stove of American culture war politics seems
JEFFREY SACHS, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Chris, thank you so much for
the clearest explanation that I have heard on television or the media since
this epidemic began. We`ve heard nothing but nonsense for weeks and weeks
from the White House and we have 60,000 deaths.
And the fact of the matter is many countries have suppressed the epidemic.
China did after its initial outbreak, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan,
you have New Zealand, Australia. So it`s not purely hypothetical, and it
has nothing to do with the culture wars, as you pointed out. It has to do
with one simple idea exactly what you said, which is that each infected
person must be stopped from infecting more than one other person.
That means several things. It means early detection of every case. It means
early quarantining, or early isolation. You ask, can you be safely at home
or will you spread it to family members? If it`s too crowded at home, you
have to go to a public quarantine, which could be a hotel room, for
It means that in public, people wear face masks and respect the physical
distancing. It means that any place that does open up is monitoring
temperature, screening for symptoms. It means that we have a public health
system that contacts each case every day. How`s your temperature, Mrs.
Smith? And are there other people you know close by, your family members,
your children, your parents who you think symptoms, we need to contact
SACHS: Are there people at work that we should be contacting? What`s
contact tracing? This is straightforward. What is unbelievable in America
is we have reached 60,000 deaths and not done the basics. And those
countries that I mentioned, Chris, have death rates that are a 50th of ours
or 100 of ours. So this is not hypothetical. Our country got – well, we
have a leader who was the worst president in our history, such an idiot,
I`m sorry to say, but Americans are dying by the tens of thousands because
we`re not doing the basics.
And today, incidentally, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial about
arms zero, exactly this, but they don`t even look at their own news stories
which have the Asian successes. Let`s look at how other countries are doing
it. We`re not so stupid in America that we can learn from the others.
HAYES: You know, I thought that the Vice President visit at the Mayo Clinic
the other day which got some controversy because he`s the only person not
wearing a mask in violation of Mayo Clinic`s rules and protocols, that you
can see there. And I thought, you know, his response was, which was not a
crazy response. He basically says I`m tested on the coronavirus on a
regular basis, everyone who has around me is tested for it. So, OK, so you
test for it. And then Matt Yglesias said, what if we made it our policy
goal to do this, but for you know, everyone.
Like it was such a great illustration of the problem, right? Yes, if you
devote policy priorities the vice president so he can live a semi-normal
life, what if we just expanded out that idea, not just for Mike Pence, but
we cut it down for all of us so that we were in a similar boat?
SACHS: Chris, you know, there`s been a problem with testing because our
sentinel system, our Centers for Disease Control failed. This is another
story. America`s breaking down in so many ways because we don`t take care
of basic government functions anymore. So the testing got way behind
because our main institution for this failed.
But if you look at those other success story countries, Korea has several
private companies that immediately got successful testing going. Many other
countries even without much testing, went on the symptom basis. People
isolated, they went for quarantine, and they had public health officials
that were tracing the contacts. This is so basic, I can`t even tell you
it`s every – the first page of epidemic control is trace the contacts.
When did President Trump say one word about tracing the contacts? Not till
now, 60,000 deaths later. This is what we`re facing. It`s like it`s a
madhouse that we`re having this in this country when there is so much
knowledge and experience of what to do. But it`s true also, by the way,
cities across this country and governors, they`re debating the day to open,
not preparing the contact tracing, not following confirm cases, not
preparing the quarantine.
This is the tragedy or wasting our time because as you said, completely
correct, you can get the case slowed down very far. But if you just open up
again, because of exponential growth, everything shoots up again. So it`s
not a matter of the date of opening. It`s a matter of preparing the
alternative to the lockdown. The alternate is what`s called public health.
You isolate cases, you quarantine you test them, you trace contacts. Can we
do this in America still? Do we have any sense of learning the most basic
things when our lives depend on it? That`s the real issue.
HAYES: Jeffrey Sachs, thank you so much for sharing your expertise tonight.
SACHS: Well, thank you, thank you for what you`re doing. It`s so vital. We
need to get the basics out.
HAYES: I want to bring in now the president and CEO of the Center for
American Progress Neera Tanden. She was appointed to New Jersey`s Restart
and Recovery Commission yesterday by Governor Phil Murphy.
And Neera, you guys – one thing I`ve noted here that`s interesting to me
is you look at Center for American Progress, the think thank you work at
worked on a sort of reopening plan. And AEI which is a right-wing think
tank, they did their plan. The plans are not that different. Like there`s
nothing – it`s not like there`s some – we`ve got some big, you know,
abortion rights level cultural war happening among the people that know
what they`re talking about this question. There`s actually consensus, and
yet that seems so far from what the political debate has been.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes, no, I
mean, absolutely. And, you know, Jeffrey Sachs talked about the consensus.
And it`s not just a Center for American Progress and AEI, it`s really every
major university, every institution, economists have all said, we need to
do content tracing and testing and separation.
And I think the real problem is in the country that we have a leadership
people don`t trust and we have a national leadership that hasn`t been clear
and obvious about what to do. And I think the original sin here was that,
for whatever reason, we didn`t do testing right, but the president can`t
admit to that failure. He can`t admit for numerous reasons. And so he has
really moved to try to reopen at a time where people are just not prepared.
I mean, as I think you so eloquently said, and it`s so clear, you can`t –
you risk so much by reopening when you don`t have caseloads down enough and
when you don`t have the infrastructure to actually even be able to contain
the virus. And that is – that is the real danger of Texas, Georgia, and
Florida, their actions, which is, you know, it`s a gamble. That is the
problem. It is a big gamble. And that`s why I think everyone should be
working on tracing and testing. And it`s unfortunate that they`re not.
HAYES: Yes. The testing, we should just note that one of the things that
the countries that do have in common dealing with this is they test a lot
so they have low positivity rates, right? So like if you`re testing a lot,
you want to be in a situation where you`re not getting like half positives
or 30 percent positive.
Right now the U.S., we`re getting like 18 percent positive, that`s way too
high. When you look at countries like South Korea, they`re like down at
three percent. It`s just – again, that`s sort of just numerical
technocratic capacity issue that we can do. It`s America. We should be able
to figure it out.
TANDEN: Right. I mean, the most important thing, actually, is to be able to
test everyone who`s sick and really test community tests. Meaning, you`re
testing places that you haven`t seen a virus, you don`t know that there`s a
virus, and then you know, the virus isn`t there.
The problem with the United States is that our testing capacity has been so
low that people are sick can`t get tested, but we`re not testing anyone on
the frontlines who aren`t sick. And that the thing that`s incredible is
that these states are considering mandating people come back to work and
not giving them testing. I mean, that is the moral and public health
failure because that is where you get the outbreaks.
People come back to work, and then they spread it and then you`re just
dealing with it at the – at the end when we don`t even have an ability to
contain it. It is like completely shooting in the dark and hoping no one
dies. It`s really – it`s scary and no country is handling like this.
HAYES: I`m glad you`re putting – I`ve gotten e-mails from viewers in both
Iowa and Georgia who have said similar things which is basically – and the
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made this clear I think yesterday that look, if
you`re just scared of your health, and you don`t go to work because of it,
then you`ve left your job. You`re not – you don`t get unemployment, right.
The way that unemployment works in America, you get laid off and fired, you
can get unemployment. If you quit, you can`t, right? So you`ve now got a
situation quite perverse in Georgia and Iowa where if you feel like my
workplace isn`t safe, like you`re out of luck. And that`s not good for
epidemic – like that`s not good for epidemiological purposes, whatever you
think about the moral aspect of it.
TANDEN: I mean, the big problem with this virus is that essentially,
everybody – every single person is at risk, right? So when individuals are
forced to make decisions, if a person who`s not feeling well is forced to
make the decision to go to work for their livelihood, then any single
person can be a super spreader.
So when you`re telling people that they should go to work when they feel
sick, or that they`re going to be at work with other people who could be
sick, then you`re inviting, yeah, a real possibility of contagion. And you
know, it`s really almost the opposite of what we should be doing from a
public health perspective.
HAYES: All right, Neera Tanden, thank you so much for making time tonight.
TANDEN: And from an economic recovery perspective. I mean, just to make
this point – thank you.
HAYES: Sorry. Thank you, Neera. I appreciate it.
TANDEN: Sorry. It`s the miracle of Skype that I thought I was good.
HAYES: We`ll talk to you soon. Thank you very much. Coming up, new data
from the CDC suggests that we are significantly undercounting the deaths
from Coronavirus. Our ongoing debunking of Coronavirus truthers, next.
HAYES: The Coronavirus truthers, as we call them, have taken up this line
about the virus that oh, actually, you know, I know that the obituary pages
are full and no one could buy a sympathy card but it`s not that definitely
dangerous. Even as the death toll in America continues to climb past
60,000, 2,000 new deaths a day and day after day after day. And every day
brings new evidence of how absurd those very claims are.
So the New York Times citing CDC data now reports that the U.S. death toll
is actually far higher than what`s been reported. Now, people of course, in
America and everywhere they die of all sorts of things every day in this
country. Flue, to cancer, or heart attacks, homicides, driving accidents,
suicide, and states and cities collect all that data called all-cause
mortality, right, to calculate the total number of deaths.
So one way is – one way we can get a sense of how hard states have been
hit by deaths from the Coronavirus is just by looking at those current
overall mortality tolls and comparing it to the same period of time, say
last year. That`s exactly what the Times did. And lo and behold, they found
excess deaths everywhere they looked.
Now some of them were positively reported Coronavirus deaths and others,
many others were not, though they were likely due to the virus, but each
state they looked at has a huge spike. And crucially, it is even bigger
than what you would see if you just took into account the reported
Coronavirus deaths, right.
So look at New York City, those gray lines at the bottom are total deaths
in the previous five years. The red line is this year, the overall death
rate just shot up so dramatically. If you were looking at that chart, and
it wasn`t even labeled, you`d say what happened there in March. And just
about every chart shows the same thing. Here`s New Jersey, and Michigan,
and Massachusetts, and Illinois. They all have this huge spike that red
line in deaths, again, represented there when you compare this year to
And guess what, the evidence from across the world tells the exact same
story. The Financial Times using the same approach right, all-cause
mortality found that global Coronavirus deaths could be 60 percent higher
than reported. The death rate in Belgium for instance, is 60 percent higher
than the historical average this time of year. In Spain, it is more than 50
percent higher than average this time of the year. In hard-hit Italy, the
death rate is 90 percent higher than in years past.
We are seeing this everywhere and it`s good illustration of why Coronavirus
truther-ism is not just so dangerous but also so deranged. I`m joined now
by Dr. George Q. Daley, the Dean of Harvard Medical School who co-wrote an
opinion piece in The Washington Post urging Americans to beware of studies
claiming COVID-19 death rates are smaller than expected.
And maybe we can start, Doctor, sort of in the broadest possible way, which
is in terms of two months ago, how scientists were dealing with this new
virus and how deadly they thought this was, and two months later, after the
ravages, how do those sort of expectations and the data lineup?
GEORGE Q. DALEY, DEAN, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, I think based on what
we knew two months ago, we knew that this was a highly contagious virus.
And the early results out of China suggested that a shockingly large
percentage of infected patients were dying, maybe as much as three percent,
maybe six percent. And now, two months later, we realize that some of the
hotspots, Italy, New York City, and beyond, have suffered just astounding
burden of death.
Now, we don`t know the underlying complete percentage of individuals who`ve
seen the virus. And that`s why these recent surveys, these antibody surveys
are allowing us to reassess the actual case mortality rate. But even as
we`ve reassessed it down, because we appreciate that many more people are
actually have seen the virus that are being counted, the rates are still
quite staggering. The burden is very great.
HAYES: This point is a really crucial one. So this sort of sets up this
debate right now, and it sort of mixes together a good-faith debate among
experts and the data and sort of bad faith attempt, I think, to do some
sort of bait and switch.
So, the good faith version of this is, we know how many cases there are
that are confirmed. We don`t know how many people have been infected, which
is a much larger number. And if the multiple is big enough, if it`s
actually 100 times what we know of the actual case is, then actually the
disease is not as deadly as we thought.
You`re arguing that the idea, the bullish case that like everybody`s had
it, and it`s 100 times, it`s just not really being borne out by what we
know. Is that sort of the argument here?
DALEY: Yes. This is what I am deeply, deeply and profoundly concerned
about, is the over-interpretation that some of these early studies that
suggest that maybe tenfold or even in some – in some reports, at fold as
many people have actually seen the virus, that this is being used to
suggest, oh, this is not a devastatingly fatal or virulent disease.
But let`s, let`s anchor it on what we see. In the major cities that have
been hit, whether it`s in the north of Italy, or Wuhan, China, or New York
City, our intensive care units has been overwhelmed with virus. Even in the
worst flu years, we don`t see this rapidity of death. We don`t see the
bodies piling up in morgues that can`t handle them.
This is far worse than flu. And we have to be careful as we interpret these
early assessments of the percent of people in our communities that have
seen the virus. We have to be careful that we don`t reopen the economy too
early because we will provoke a second wave of epidemic. We will provoke an
increased number of infections. And behind it, we will see that deaths
start to mount.
HAYES: Yes. That is the big fear, the one that we`re all trying to avoid.
Dr. George Q. Daley, thank you so much for making time tonight and
explaining that. I really appreciate it. Still ahead in the midst of a
pandemic, how is it that the healthcare industry is crashing? We`ll talk
about what`s breaking our healthcare systems economics and why right after
HAYES: Nothing quite captures the perverse business incentives of the
American health care system like the fact that in the midst of this
pandemic, right, as we all celebrate front line health care workers in
hospitals, that some of those same hospitals are hemorrhaging money and
teetering on bankruptcy, and more broadly that the health care sector of
the economy, again, amidst the worst pandemic in 100 years, is the leading
source of economic contraction in the first quarter of the year, knocking
2.3 percentage points domestic product.
How is this possible? To help answer that question I`m joined by Ron
Berwick, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services
under President Barack Obama, president emeritus and senior fellow of the
Institute for Health Care Improvement, who knows this field as well as
So, let`s just start with the basics here. I talked to someone I know at a
New York City hospital that`s been doing a ton of COVID patients who talked
about them losing half a billion a month, and this is hospitals all over
the country hemorrhaging money. Why are they losing so much money?
RON BERWICK, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT:
Well, they`re getting squeezed two ways. Their costs have gone up. They
have to invest capital, hire more staff. They`re converting bed spaces that
have not beds before, all of that takes a lot of money, and meanwhile their
revenues are down, because the normal businesses they depend on for revenue
– the elective surgeries, the work of their own emergency rooms for non-
COVID conditions, that`s how hospitals get by financially, and that revenue
The other part of the problem is under-insurance. We have a frail and
chaotic insurance system in this country. We`re trying to put patches on it
in the COVID epidemic, but it`s coming home to roost that we – a lot of
people don`t have coverage. All of that means that they are losing tons of
And I`ve talked to hospital leaders that gave me the same numbers you just
HAYES: I want to talk about what we call elective surgery, because it
sounds like you`re talking about like cosmetic surgery, right, but this is
a huge category of things. And my understanding is that when we say that
they are a big part of the bottom line of hospitals, it`s like elective
surgeries are like alcohol in a restaurant, like they are the margin,
basically. Is that – I mean, they`re a huge part of how the finances of a
BERWICK: Yeah, elective doesn`t mean cosmetic. it means non-emergency. A
lot of surgery that`s needed, even cancer surgery you don`t have to do the
day it occurs as you do for a trauma victim. Hospitals call that elective
procedures; they can be scheduled. But we are in a fee for service based
health care system where the way hospitals or doctors make money is to do
more things. The more they do, the more they make and that`s what pays the
Right now those patients aren`t coming in. And so the normal business
models of the hospitals are simply in shambles. They are not working. And
we`ll see whether they`re able to dig out after the COVID epidemic, god
willing, and get back to something like square one.
HAYES: So I feel like I have two twin contradictory impulses here, so I`ll
talk about the first and then the second. So, the first is this makes no
sense and we have to deal with the situation as it exists, the system that
we have, the hospitals we have. These hospitals really have done remarkable
work on the front lines of this and how do we – basically, what should we
be doing at a first order triage, if you will, policy to make sure that
we`re not seeing huge bankruptcies or layoffs of essential personnel like
nurses and others in hospitals?
BERWICK: You`re exactly right. There is a short-term issue, which is they
just don`t have the money. They are running out of money and we need
something like a bailout like we`re doing with airlines and other
industries. The hospitals just need the cash, and that`s the short term
solution. I don`t know of another possible one.
In the long term, this does reflect a basic set of defects in the way we`re
funding health care in America. One is that it`s all fee for service, or
most of it is now. We`re trying to move towards paying hospitals just to
kind of be there to take about populations instead of getting paid for
everything they do. That would have helped if we were there sooner. The
second is the problem of a broken American health care insurance system in
which essentially everyone has to run ragged in order to stay in place and
the payment is all chaotic and it drives costs up and really leaves to a
lot of vulnerability for hospitals.
So, there is a short term fix, bail them out, and a long-term fix to think
differently how to fund
health care in the first place.
HAYES: Yeah, it`s the second one. So, the first one there has been money
for hospitals in the last two bills. The Democrats had to push for it.
Originally, Mitch McConnell did not want it in the last bill. Democrats
have pushed for that. But my conflict here is a little bit of this, which
is that hospitals have been as a kind of lobbying force, often quite
reactionary force in the politics of American health care, because they
want to keep the fees flowing in. And the fees are their bottom line
sources of revenue and when you try to talk about creating a country that
isn`t going to have 17 percent of its GPD spent on health care, the
hospitals are one of the big obstacle. There is something a little perverse
about this moment of, well, here`s money to bail you out. Here`s money to
make you whole, and then I guess next year you`re going to go back to like
stopping up to trying to keep health care costs down.
BERWICK: Yeah, until the next pandemic.
Of course, they`re scared of change. We`ve hooked ourselves on this gerbil
cage of do more, get paid more; do more, get paid more. Now, people aren`t
plotting to do unnecessary things, but the dynamics, the economics are just
– they`re not favorable. That`s how we set it up. If we want to switch to
something it would be far smarter, global payments for hospitals to take
care of populations, for heath systems to take care of populations,
everyone has to face those changes.
I think the changes are warranted. I think they`re needed. I think we`re
going to go bankrupt as a country if we`re not careful in the longer run,
because of health care costs. But we can have all the care we want and
need, we just can`t have it the way we`re paying for it right now, and that
is going to involve changes, and which means political dialog here. We`re
going to have to fight our way through to a better health care payment
HAYES: Don Berwick, who is humble enough not to mention that he is one of
the sort of foremost leaders in precisely how to think about that and
implementing it both at IHI and when he was at the Center for Medicare and
Medicaid services. Thank you, Don. I really appreciate it.
BERWICK: My pleasure.
HAYES: Up next, why the government rescue of America`s businesses should
never be a jump ball between your local dry cleaner and the L.A. Lakers.
The way to fix the PPP program next.
HAYES: Do you remember the food stamps surfer dude who ate lobster? Back
in 2013, Fox News tried to make him a government grifting star.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have ah, salmon, eel, yellow tail with rice and
avocado. And then they had lobster on special. $200 a month and you just,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for shopping with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please remove your bags.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All paid for by our wonderful tax dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was part of a whole gross war that Fox waged against food
stamps and food stamp recipients, and motivated by the idea that someone,
somewhere, was getting over and buying food they shouldn`t be. It`s one of
the most animating reactionary forces in all of American life regarding the
welfare state that when we try to have the government do something, in this
case feed people, someone must be taking advantage, someone is getting
over, the wrong people are getting the money.
And we are seeing that right now with the Payroll Protection Program
designed for small businesses and their workers. There have been a lot of
surfer on food stamps eating lobster eating headlines from that program,
and I will admit they`ve made me mad, too.
The L.A. Lakers an NBA franchise worth over $4 billion, was given a PPP
loan before they gave it back. The massive restaurant chain, Shake Shack,
got $10 million before giving it back. The Ritz Carlton of Atlanta, one of
several luxury hotels using the Paycheck Protection Program to stay afloat.
Now, it is outrageous that it appears to be a choice between, say, the
beloved grocery store or laundromat on the block and those folks at the
Ritz Carlton. And that they are the ones benefiting – but, but, but, I
think that`s a false way to thinking about it, and it`s created by the
flawed design and appropriations for this program, PPP.
The point of the program is not to choose which are the best and more
worthy and deserving businesses, the point is to offer a blanket protection
for all small businesses under a certain size who meet the criteria to
retain their workers with pay and basically put the economy on ice so it
while we`re fighting the pandemic.
The problem is there`s way more demand than there is money appropriated,
and so because of the funds are claimed almost within minutes every time
they open it up, the architects of PPP have unleashed a Hobbsian war of all
against all for deservingness leaving mom and pop businesses squeezed out,
which is unjust.
So here is the solution: make the criteria clear and make the
appropriation open-ended, like unemployment insurance: if you qualify, you
get the amount of money you qualify for and that`s it. That way there is no
rush or fight over who is deserving. Because if you`re asking me should we
bailout the Ritz Charlton of Atlanta during normal times I would say no, we
should not, but right now they don`t have customers, and they`re a business
with employees that we should probably keep from getting laid off.
And the best part of this, the most classic American reactionary politics
bait and switch is that while we are all focused on who is getting the $1
million or $2 million loans, the big boys program for the major, large
corporations worth $500 billion is being run through the Fed with far less
transparency and zero, zero strings attached in terms of whether they have
to retain workers.
So how about small businesses and their employees all get rescued, and we
put some requirements on the nearly unlimited credit spigot that`s been
opened up for the largest corporations.
HAYES: How humans respond to disasters and catastrophe brings out this
incredible solidarity and compassion and ingenuity in people amidst all the
sorrow and tragedy. We`ve seen examples of that all around us during this
pandemic. In the midst of this national trauma. So many of our fellow
Americans are rising to the occasion, their words and their deeds serving
as a crucial reminder that in this time of stress, and catastrophe, we
really are all in this together.
Throughout the entire #metoo era there have been moments I think for many
of us, all of us, when we have heard about accusations against someone that
we find ourselves desperately wanting not to believe, whether that is
because we have some personal admiration for the individual or their work,
or political admiration, someone on our quote, unquote side, part of the
difficult lesson of the #metoo era is not that every accusation is true,
and everything should be believed on its face, but that you do have to
fight yourself when you feel that impulse. You have to do that in order to
take seriously what is being alleged and what the evidence is, and to
And that is the case with the accusations by a woman names Tara Reade
against Joe Biden. Reade briefly worked as a Senate aide in Biden`s office
in the early 90s. Last year, she told a California newspaper that in 1993
Joe Biden, quote, “touched her several times making her feel
Now at that time, Reade was one of several women who came forward around
that moment with accusations against the former vice president of
inappropriate sort of over-physicalness – touching, kissing or hugging –
that they say made them feel uncomfortable.
Then last month, she made a much more serious allegation, telling first a
podcast and later The New York Times that in 1993, Joe Biden pinned her to
a wall in the Senate building, reached under the clothing and penetrated
her with his fingers. And Reade told The Times that she filed a complaint
with the Senate that same year about what happened with Biden, quote, “she
said she did not have a copy of it, and such paperwork has not been
Now Reade also said she complained to Biden`s executive assistant as well
as to two top aides about harassment by Mr. Biden not mentioning the
All three of those people who were interviewed by The Times deny having
memory of a complaint. A spokeswoman for Joe Biden says the allegation is
false. And they have strongly denied it.
This week, there was also a new development in the story, and that is that
Tara Reade`s former neighbor at the time went on the record, with her name,
telling Business Insider, that in 1995, or 1996, a few years after this,
that Reade, told her she had been assaulted by Biden.
NBC News reached out to Reade`s neighbor who later confirmed by text
message the story. And this, on the record reporting, from a neighbor,
roughly contemporaneous, relaying of the story, has rightly occasioned a
new round of scrutiny, while also creating some serious tension within the
progressive coalition about how the Biden camp should or is responding.
For more on that, I`m joined by Rebecca Traister, writer at-large from the
New York magazine who just published this piece about the allegations
titled the Biden trap.
Rebecca, first maybe take me through how you have tracked this story over
its development, and your sort of evaluation of it.
REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, I`ve been watching it and
reading about it with, I mean obviously intense interest. It had sort of a
reverse course from some of the #metoo reporting that broke through in the
fall of 2017, the reporting done by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and Ronan
Farrow, on Harvey Weinstein, in that it didn`t start out as a massive
investigative report. It actually, Tara Reade first made the full
accusation of assault in a podcast interview with Katie Halper.
So initially, it didn`t have the sort of full, we`ve talked to 100 people.
We`ve gone through these documents, and that sort happened in reverse in
And so I have been reading with great interest as sort of different
portions of the story have either been denied, or seemingly confirmed. And
I it`s one of those cases where there`s going to be more reporting and
we`re going to learn more about what we think of these claims with every
story that`s done. And I bet there are a lot of reporters – I know there
are a lot of reporters out there working on it right now.
HAYES: In terms of the sort of, you know, I think one of the things that
happened in the #metoo era was thinking about how to evaluate claims like
this, and what evidence is sort of corroborative and what`s dispositive.
And the fact that in almost all cases it is extremely difficult to arrive
at some definitive accounting, in the sort of evidentiary record.
I will say that in following, this one of the things that happened in
#metoo, and a piece of evidence that has risen in how I evaluate these
stories is a somewhat contemporaneous disclosure to a trusted person who
then tells a reporter about it. That is what has happened here. And to me,
that has been, in terms of what the evidentiary record is, has raised it a
bit in terms of my own view of this.
TRAISTER: I feel the same way. I actually thought that the Times
reporting, which was very inconclusive on the assault claim, made –
corroborated for me something, which was her claim that she had claimed,
that she had complained about harassment, and then suffered a professional
consequence while working in Biden`s office.
The New York Times on this story actually backed that up for me, a couple
of weeks ago, because it found a couple of interns who she had supervised,
who remembered her suddenly being taken off of – you know, having suddenly
and without explanation no longer supervising them. That was pretty
persuasive for me on that count.
The assault claim – you know, obviously, I`m waiting for more reporting on
it. But as reporters, and as readers, this is what we look for, you know,
for a journalistic corroboration, as you say, a contemporaneous – somebody
who is willing to go on the record. The other thing about the neighbor,
Lynda LaCasse, who was Reade`s former neighbor, is that she says she is a
Biden supporter and she makes – and that she still intends to vote for Joe
TRAISTER: So that sort of addresses the question of, is there a political
motivation here, for her, making, for her recalling this. And yes, I think
it`s a very strong piece of corroborating evidence. And you know, it was
persuasive for me, too.
HAYES: This point about, obviously, what hangs over this, is that Joe
Biden appears to be presumptively the nominee for the Democratic Party,
that he will be running against a president who has been – who has bragged
about sexual assault, who has been accused of sexual assault by a dozen and
a half women. He is – right now there is a woman, E Jean Carroll, who has
accused him on the record of raping her in Bergdorf Goodman, and has two
people on the record contemporaneously saying she told them the story at
the time, one urged her to go to the police.
She`s currently suing him, because he dismissed the story. And of course,
that is not exculpatory for whatever the facts may be with Joe Biden, but
in the political context of how progressive and feminist and liberals think
about this, it is inescapable and also sort of impossible. Your thoughts,
TRAISTER: And in addition to the claims made against Donald Trump, the
person, there is also Donald Trump`s record of, and promises around
governance. He is going to be in a position, if he is re-elected, to
appoint people to the Supreme Court. He already has – that is a
generations worth of law making in this country that is going to, if Donald
Trump makes those appointments going to be terrible for women, and
especially women, particularly in vulnerable communities.
What he is – you know, his record on the environment, enfranchisement, you
know, the democracy is imperiled and women, and particularly vulnerable
women, are especially imperiled, so progressive feminist women have every
reason to support his opponent; however, what this is creating is a kind of
a perfect storm where the women who are being asked to support his opponent
are now being asked to answer for these charges, in part because of the
vacuum created by Joe Biden who is not yet really directly answering these
questions. And certainly not doing what I wish he would, which is to say,
please direct your questions about these allegations to me, and not the
women that are out there offering their support to my candidacy.
HAYES: Yeah, the man in question, the nominee, the former vice president,
is going to have to address them, and not have Stacey Abrams or anyone
else, or Kirsten Gillibrand be the ones to do that.
Rebecca Traister, your piece was fantastic. And thank you so much for
making some time tonight.
TRAISTER: Thanks so much.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
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