Michigan Capitol TRANSCRIPT: 4/30/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: That`s a great scene there. Thank you for being
with us. And don`t miss the exclusive interview with former Vice President
Joe Biden. That is tomorrow morning 6:00 a.m. on “MORNING JOE.” 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. It is
not right what is going on in America right now. It is not right. I mean,
all of it, the public health disaster that we could have mitigated if we
had a better president and better leadership, the economic devastation, the
tens of millions of Americans are now facing, but specifically, the way
this country is now failing to honor with dignity and grace the more than
62,000 men and women we have lost.
We`ve all seen the stories about the overwhelming number of fatalities. At
one funeral home in Brooklyn, New York 50 decomposing bodies were found on
ice inside four trucks including rental trucks from U-Haul. The funeral
directors said they were put there because he had no more room in his
“I ran out of space,” he said. “Bodies are coming out of our ears.” A
cemetery worker also in Brooklyn says he is struggling to keep up with the
onslaught of bodies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes I`ll leave my work, arrives as early as 3:00
a.m. and stays late just to lessen the load for the next day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes I do 14, 15 hours a day and it`s very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: People tasked with burying the dead cannot keep up with – keep up
with the sheer number of deaths. Because the virus is so contagious and so
deadly. Many families had not been able to say goodbye to their loved ones
in person at the hospital. And they often cannot have traditional funerals
or sit shiver or otherwise come together to collectively mourn because of
physical distancing rules.
It`s just a horrible thing to go through. And then comes the cost. At a
time when many are suddenly out of work, in New Jersey where 460 deaths
recorded today, a son could not afford the funeral bills for his parents
who died three days apart.
In Chicago, the family of a nurse, a nurse, who contracted the virus had to
set up a GoFundMe page to cover her funeral expenses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She gave what we taught a human touch, a mother`s
touch, and that she did for everybody. We`re all just dumbfounded that this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Here`s the thing. It doesn`t have to be like this. There`s a very
simple thing the federal government, our government can do right now to
help. They could step in and pay for burials for those who have fallen, but
Donald Trump has not done it. He has not released the money.
Now, in the past after disasters like Hurricane Katrina in Superstorm
Sandy, the government has stepped in to cover funeral costs. After three
hurricanes in 2017, as ProPublica reports, FEMA paid out about $2,700 per
So far, we`ve lost more than 62,000 men and women to the virus. If federal
government wanted to provide that same amount of money $2,700 to each of
the families that ceased so they don`t have to go scrounging on GoFundMe to
cover funeral costs, it would cost the federal government around $170
million. That`s it. At a time we`re spending literally trillions of
dollars, $500 billion for big business, tens of billions for the airline
industry, tens of millions for the luxury hotel company that owns the Ritz
Carlton in Atlanta.
Two weeks ago, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Congresswoman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both in New York, were calling on the government
to step up and do this very, very simple, obvious thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The least we can do is help families
bury their loved ones in the most impacted communities in America. It is
the very least we can do. It is the very core basic measure of human
dignity. And in the richest country in the world, we should be able to
allow people to bury their loved ones in dignity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The least we can do. It is the least we can do, but Trump will not
do it. He doesn`t need to go through Congress. I want to be clear here. He
just needs to authorize FEMA to release the money. As former FEMA
Administrator Craig Fugate told ProPublica, FEMA does not have the
independent ability to turn on the programs at will. It has to come from
Trump. In fact, approximately 30 states and territories have requested the
funding but Trump will not free up the money.
Now the president is refusing to take this very simple action as a small,
small grace towards the citizens of this nation. It`s unconscionable. And
that small little bit of inaction, an utter cold-heartedness, it says
everything you needed about know about the way he has navigated this crisis
from the beginning.
As the bodies pile up at funeral homes and the cemetery workers become
overwhelmed and the death toll crosses that of the Vietnam War, the
President is raged tweeting in unhinged fashion in the middle of the night,
and this afternoon saying things like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t think anybody`s done
a better job with testing, with ventilators, with all of the things that
we`ve done. And our death totals, our numbers per million people are really
very, very strong. We`re very proud of the job we`ve done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He just said, the United States just said today, our deaths per
million are really very strong. More than 60,000 American is gone,
thousands more every day, day after day after day after day. He`s very
proud of the job he`s done. They just do not seem to think American is
dying in mass as the federal government looks on is that big a deal. In
fact, there`s a whole group of the President`s supporters who just come out
in say, no biggie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Many people who are dying both here
and around the world were on their last legs anyway and I don`t want to
sound callous about that.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, you`re going to get – hold on, you`re
going to get hammered for that.
O`REILLY: I don`t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A simple man tell the truth, last legs anyway. On Sunday, the
Washington Post published a story breaking down what Trump had said in 13
hours of his Coronavirus briefings. And while he spent 45 minutes of that
praising himself and his administration, he spent only four and a half
minutes, four and a half minutes at a 13 hours expressing condolences for
the victims of the virus.
What is happening right now in America is a catastrophe. It`s a nightmare.
It is caused for mass grief and for national mourning, for flags to be
flown at half-mast. Yet the families of the victims watch their federal
government fail them. They have suffered this horrible loss often without
being able to say goodbye or properly mourn.
And now amidst the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression,
they are being deprived of the money many need to give some last bit of
dignity to their loved ones. And that is not right. For more on the lack of
action from the Trump administration on this, I`m joined by Elizabeth
Zimmerman, former FEMA Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery.
Elizabeth, can you – can you tell me about this program that FEMA
administers, one that I was actually not that aware of until recently?
ELIZABETH ZIMMERMAN, FORMER ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR RESPONSE AND
RECOVERY, FEMA: Sure. FEMA has an individual assistance program. And within
that, there are several different things that can be provided to disaster
survivors and those families of the victims that have fallen. So this
program offers everything from housing assistance, rental assistance,
disaster case management, crisis counseling, funeral benefits, medical
benefits, when individual assistance is declared by the President.
HAYES: And the President can – again, just to make sure I have my facts
straight on this, the President can declare this amidst an emergency, and
FEMA has been authorized to sort of release that money including funeral
assistance for folks if the president were to authorize it.
ZIMMERMAN: That`s correct. So this is one of the programs when he declares
a major disaster declaration of which all 50 states and all the territories
in Washington DC have.
HAYES: This the article from 2012 is actually FEMA`s press release from
December. Disaster assistance for New Yorkers, this is in the wake of
Sandy, which helps eligible applicants with funeral expenses caused by the
disaster. I imagine that for folks coping with disaster, this is before
this virus, just other disasters. This is a pressing need and problem for
surviving family members of people who have died in a disaster.
ZIMMERMAN: So yes. So this is offered up. Obviously, if people have
insurance or other means to pay for this, FEMA is not the first step to pay
for it, but they are – they do offer with the assistance for disaster
surviving families to be able to cover those costs. It is a program that is
cost shared with the state. And the amount of assistance that can be
provided to an individual family is determined by the states in their
administrative plans for this program.
HAYES: It just seems to me that given the fact of what we`re all going
through, given how difficult this has been on families that have lost loved
ones, often and I`ve talked to many of them having to Face Time their
goodbyes if that. And given the trillions of dollars we`re spending right
now, this is a drop in the bucket and just a simple action for the federal
government to take. Like, why on earth would we not do this?
ZIMMERMAN: So these are, as you`ve noted, Chris, I mean, these are
unprecedented times with all of the states under the same situation looking
at what the other resources are that can be brought to bear with all of the
different appropriations that have been made. But this is a program that
once turned on is pretty simple to be able to administer on behalf of the
HAYES: One of the things that has more broadly happened I feel like with
FEMA here is that many of the existing infrastructure for disaster crisis
response in the U.S. government have not actually been fully utilized.
There`s all sorts of institutions throughout the U.S. federal government
that spend all day, 365 days a year, when there isn`t a crisis or an
emergency, planning for it, thinking about it creating protocols. Is it a
fair assessment to say that institutional knowledge has largely not been
fully utilized by this administration?
ZIMMERMAN: So, for this event, being the pandemic, typically FEMA and
through the Stafford Act, it goes for natural disasters. Those things that
are the hurricanes, the tornadoes, that also have a lot of this individual
assistance provided to them. This being a pandemic is something that`s
different and does fall outside of the bounds of the Stafford Act, but not
saying that the public health and safety is the measure here.
There is a major disaster declaration, as I said, for everybody that`s been
made. So that does open up the avenue to be able to use the programs within
FEMA to be able to help alleviate these situations.
HAYES: All right, Elizabeth Zimmerman, thank you so much for your time.
ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: For more on the President`s actions in the face of this crisis, I
want to bring in Democratic Congressman Max Rose of New York. And
Congressman, obviously, New York has been hit particularly hard by this and
I personally know a lot of folks who have been hit by this in the city. I`m
sure many of your constituents have.
It does seem to me that this, what your colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
and Chuck Schumer have called for, this just seems like a very obvious and
simple thing the government should be doing here.
REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): You`re absolutely right. Look, FEMA, and it`s not
often acknowledged is an incredibly flexible vehicle by which the federal
government can reimburse states to execute and address a whole host of
things that happens in a natural disaster. About a month ago, I wrote a
letter to FEMA calling on them to basically follow up on these requests for
FEMA can also reimburse for unemployment assistance, FEMA can reimburse for
housing, and certainly FEMA can reimburse for funeral costs. So this begs
the question, why aren`t they doing it? I mean, they didn`t even respond to
my letter, so why aren`t they doing it?
One can only imagine that they`re not doing it because they don`t know what
the costs will be. They`re worried about managerial expenses or this or
that. Well, then come back to us. Tell Congress what you need, because I am
certain at least I hope that they are not OK with New Yorkers or other
Americans dying and then being left in the street.
They can`t be OK with this. So tell us what you need, and I promise you, we
will give it to you. And if we don`t, then you will see me very loudly
turning on Democrats or Republicans that won`t fund you accordingly.
HAYES: You and I have spoken before about your experience in Afghanistan
when you served in the armed forces and about experience with loss in that
context. And I`m just curious your thoughts – I mean, it strikes me right
now that there is a kind of absence from the – from the top particularly
of any expression of collective grief, collective mourning, collective
honor frankly for people and compassion and empathy for people that have
struggled through this. At this moment when we are facing this, it really
is essentially unprecedented situation.
ROSE: Look, we know need moral leadership right now. We need the President
of the United States to be not only the commander in chief, but the uniter
in chief and someone who we can see express the incredible grief that we
are all feeling. There is not one New Yorker who has in some way, shape or
form, experienced this crisis in truly and utterly tragic ways.
And beyond that, and this is one of the evils of this crisis, we are forced
to grieve within the confines of our own home. We can`t even go through the
normal traditions associated with losing a loved one. And especially right
now, we need our leader to actually say something about that. We need the
president to say something about that. That is, in my mind, just as
important as allocating these resources that we just refer to.
HAYES: I want to ask you about a scene that played out today, not in New
York, in the state of Michigan, not dissimilar from the scenes we`ve seen
another state capitals, relatively – again, a relatively small group of
people quite unrepresentative of national political and public opinion,
given all the polling we`ve seen and quite marginal, but a striking scene.
This was – these were protesters in Michigan, which it is their American,
right, of course, to freely assemble, but armed, armed to the teeth. You
know, sometimes banging on doors, yelling at guards inside the Michigan
State House, obviously not physically distancing at all. You know, what do
you make of protest with weapons like that in an American Statehouse?
ROSE: Those are scary images. I say that as someone who spends a good
portion of my time in Congress considering this issue of domestic terrorism
and the rise of a far-right organized movement that is actually global in
nature often connected to people who have significant military training and
weapons training and who are equipped accordingly.
But we have to note this, OK. We are seeing numbers right now in New York
that are starting slowly, not fast enough, slowly to go down. And that is
not – that wasn`t inevitable, OK. It`s not like the projections were
wrong. No, we changed the reality of the projections. And we did that by
all of us banding together and changing our social behavior.
And we`re not out of the woods yet. We will all – there will continue to
be a deep interdependence to this crisis. So of course, we have to know the
economic pain that people are going to. It would be naive and even cold to
just disregard that.
But with that being said, though, we can`t just forget about the reality of
this virus, which is that if we disregard the advice of medical
professionals, then we will go right back to where we were seeing an
ungodly surge of new positive cases and death.
HAYES: I`m curious, actually, you`re interestingly situated here both
politically, geographically. I mean, you represent part – Staten Island,
parts of Brooklyn. You`re in a district that was previously held by a
Republican. It`s a district that voted for Trump in 2016. I am curious to
hear what do your – what do your constituents think about all this there?
These are not this is not a liberal district necessarily at all. It`s also
a district that is seeing firsthand the effects of this. What do you hear
from the folks that you represent?
ROSE: It`s not a liberal district, it`s not a conservative district, it`s a
patriotic district. And what I hear from people in my community is very
simple. This is not the time to play games. This is not the time to be
unnecessarily divisive. This is a time when we have to assume an attitude
that one would assume during Total War, which is to address the threat at
hand and utilize all the resources that we have to save people`s lives
because people`s lives are absolutely on the line.
Now, that doesn`t mean that you don`t hold people accountable. That doesn`t
mean that you don`t exercise oversight. That`s my job. And that certainly
doesn`t mean that you call – that you don`t call someone out when they
tell New Yorkers to drop dead as Mitch McConnell and now his lackey, Rick
Scott, recently have.
I have no problem and they have no problem openly saying that that is
wrong. It`s ignorant, it`s naive, it`s cold, and it`s economically stupid.
But what they do not want to see is anyone getting in the way of us saving
lives, getting in the way of putting people back safely to work. That`s
what they deserve.
HAYES: Yes. Congressman Max Rose, thank you so much for making some time
ROSE: Thanks again.
HAYES: Up next, I`ll talk to the lead investigator running trials on
Remdesivir, the drug that`s showing the most promising treatment of COVID-
19. What his team is learning after this.
HAYES: Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci often viewed as the most credible voice
on the Trump Coronavirus Task Force was very positive about a study of an
experimental drug to treat Coronavirus called Remdesivir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS
DISEASES: The data shows that Remdesivir via has a clear cut significant
positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery. If you look at the
time to recovery, being shorter in the Remdesivir arm, it was 11 days
compared to 15 days. Although with 31 percent improvement, doesn`t seem
like a knockout 100 percent, it is a very important proof of concept
because what it is proven, is that a drug can block this virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, that announcement occasioned a big debate among all sorts of
folks that I read and I`m in contact with, medical folks, public health
experts, clinicians about what exactly the study shows and how encouraging
it really is, so I wanted to get to the bottom of that.
And here to talk that through is Dr. Aneesh Mehta. He`s the lead
investigator at Emory University for this Remdesivir trial. He`s also an
associate professor of infectious diseases at the Emory University School
So Doctor, first, can you just take us through what the clinical trial was?
What did you guys do and try to test?
ANEESH MEHTA, LEAD INVESTIGATOR, EMORY UNIVERSITY REMDESIVIR TRIAL: Thank
you, Chris. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about the trial that we
have been working on. This is called the NIH adaptive COVID-19 trial of
therapeutics or AC-Trial, as we like to call it. And as we knew in
February, there were no good medication that was available to treat COVID-
And so, the scientific leaders at the NIH looked through a catalog of
potential medications and found that Remdesivir which had been tested for
Ebola seem to have very good activity against coronaviruses. And so, they
put together this large international study in an adaptive clinical trial
model to examine whether Remdesivir seemed to – would help patients with
We were fortunate at Emory to be one of the initial sites along with our
colleagues on the NIH tech network. And we were able to initiate the study
in very early of March. We very quickly enrolled much more quickly than we
thought. And therefore, we have answers as that was released by Dr. Fauci
yesterday. They`re preliminary data but important data.
HAYES: So you`ve got – you`ve got – presumably you got a control group
and a variable and group. The control group not on the treatment, the
variable group is getting – is getting the treatment. Can you – can you
describe the folks that are getting the treatment? How sick are they and
how is the drug administered? And what does it do?
MEHTA: So those are excellent questions, Chris. So this drug is
administered IV through the – through the vein. And so it can only be
delivered to patients in the hospital. And the trial is designed as a
double-blind placebo-controlled trial. So half the patients received the
medicine, half the people receive intravenous fluids, but the
investigators, the doctors, the nurses, and the patients and their families
do not know which ones they`re getting and will not know until the they`ve
completed the study.
HAYES: And what does the – what is this – what does it do? I mean, what
is – what is the drug doing and what are the results showing that Dr.
Fauci seemed to find promising?
MEHTA: So Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine. So, when a virus infects the
human body, it gets into the cells and hijacks the cells machinery to try
to make more of itself. And when it makes enough, it breaks out of that
cell and tries – in several copies try to infect other cells of the human
So the goal of this type of antiviral medicine is to block the virus`
ability to create more of itself in our own cells. So that process takes a
little bit of time to start working. So we don`t see this being an
immediate change in patient with COVID-19, but it`s a more slow process to
block that virus from making more of itself.
So again, not a magic bullet as Dr. Fauci mentioned, but it is something
that seems to be helping patients get better, more rapidly.
HAYES: I saw someone compare it to Tamiflu which is – which is obviously
very different because it`s not it administered intravenously, and it`s for
the flu. But the idea behind Tamiflu, if people have had experience with
this flu, is that it`s not a magic bullet against the flu, but if you take
it early enough, it really can improve the course, it could shorten the
duration that you`re knocked out by the flu. Is that – is that a
reasonable thing for people to think as they`re trying to sort of conceive
of what this drug means?
MEHTA: Yes, Chris, I think that is a reasonable analogy to make. Also,
Tamivir, the medication in Tamiflu shortens the length of illness of
influenza. This is similar to the primary finding that the NIH released
yesterday about this medication. The Remdesivir seems to shorten the time
compared to patients on placebo, so 15 days versus 11 days on average, 11
days for the patients on Remdesivir.
So we`re getting patients home potentially more rapidly to their families.
We`re also by getting them home more rapidly are able to prevent some of
the complications of a more prolonged illness and a prolonged hospital
stay. And then also, importantly, as our healthcare systems prepare for
even more patients, the more rapidly we can get patients home, we open up
more beds that we can make that available to future patients.
HAYES: Final question for you here, Doctor. I mean, one of the things that
has struck me in both reporting on this and my own interactions with
various clinicians who have dealt with COVID is this sort of maddening
frustration of having this thing is presenting and not having an
established treatment protocol. A feeling like at your wit`s end, that you
zig, and the virus zags and being sort of wrong-footed by it. What does it
mean to just start creating some genuinely double-blind clinically tested
treatment protocols to deal with this?
MEHTA: So Chris, I`ve been taking care of patients with my colleagues here
at Emory and in – with colleagues around the country and around the world
for the last two months and more, and it has been a fascinating and
frustrating endeavor. We have patients that seemingly look like they`re
going to get better and then quickly get worse.
Fortunately, through the amazing care of our ICU colleagues and multiple
other teams in the hospital, many of them are getting better. But we really
would like to have something that will help us get these patients better
faster, maybe prevent them from leaving needing to go to the ICU. And so
with this trial, we are getting some data that Remdesivir may help with
But this is not the final answer. We need to continue to do more research
to see which patients Remdesivir really helps in and if there are other
medications either with combination with Remdesivir, or by themselves, may
additionally help patience get home to their families.
HAYES: Dr. Aneesh Mehta, who is doing amazing work and gave one of the
clearest clinical trial explanations I`ve ever heard on television anywhere
else. Thank you so much, doctor.
MEHTA: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right, still ahead, what`s the deal with Sweden? Their hands off
approach to dealing with Coronavirus is drawing attention for the
Coronavirus truthers. Is it working? We`ll discuss right after this.
HAYES: The Coronavirus truthers have been desperately searching for a
little contrarian data points that they can use to say the virus is not a
big deal, end the lock-down now, get back to work you trolls.
Last week it was two urgent care doctors from Bakersfield, California who
argued Coronavirus is just like the flu, although that was widely debunked.
This week it is the country of Sweden, which has taken a genuinely unique
approach to Coronavirus, as you can see from these pictures of night life
in Stockholm, which look unlike other places in the world. They have also
faced a death rate approximately three to six times as much as their
But Sweden`s approach to keep almost everything open has resulted in
Coronavirus truthers pinning their hopes on Sweden like, look, let`s be
like them. And in fact one Trump super fan even pressed the president on
Twitter asking why he didn`t follow the Swedish model, and the president
responding, “really? Have you looked at the numbers lately?”
All right, so what exactly is going on in Sweden? Is it a counterpoint, a
different way of approaching this?
Joining me now someone I really trust to walk me through this kind of
thing, Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University`s
TH Chan School of Public Health.
And Mark, I want to start by saying that I think unlike – you know, there
is always areas of good faith disagreement and kind of bad faith crankery,
like, the Sweden question seems to me in the category of good faith
disagreement, like we`re learning things about the virus in response. What
is your conclusion about both Sweden`s approach and how effective it has or
has not been?
MARC LIPSITCH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, I think the first thing to say is
what you just said is that they have a higher death rate than their
neighbors, and that`s clearly attributable to in part their choice of
response. And when we look around at places that have done very early and
effective social distancing, like, say, Austria, which is now getting to
very low case numbers, you can see the difference. One is continuing to
experience high cases and high deaths and the other is – has it really
under control. And it`s different policies.
So what`s remarkable about Sweden, I think, is that despite a relatively
open policy, they have not yet had the problems of intensive care overload
that we`d experienced in New York and that other places have experienced,
and on the other hand, they are – they – as I understand it, doubled
their capacity and are now having about one-third of their beds empty,
which is they are over capacity. They just doubled it.
LIPSITCH: So, I think there`s something to be learned.
LIPSITCH: …to be learned but it`s not the end of the story. Yeah.
HAYES: So I want to share that graphic again, just to compare them to their
neighbors. I mean, they really do have a death total, you know, per capita
that is considerably higher than their other neighbors – Norway, Finland,
and Denmark – you can see that.
Although, when you compare them to other countries that have been very hard
hit, Marc, to your point when you compare to the U.S., they have a higher
death rate than that, but a lower one than the UK or Italy or Spain.
I guess the question is, two-fold. One is a lot of people say they are sort
of features of Sweden that make it possible to do this, huge percentage of
Swedes live alone, so they`re not transmitting in their homes, that there
are huge kind of high degrees of social – trust and trust in authorities
to sort of take seriously the social distancing measures they do have.
What do you think about the idea of the applicability here – particularly
as people talk about things like reopening.
LIPSITCH: Yeah, well, I think we were having a discussion among our
research group about what is going on in Sweden and because it is an
interesting history how they have escaped the absolute worst while still,
obviously, having their economy largely open. And several people said,
well, my friend in Sweden says that they are social distancing, and someone
else said well my friend is social distancing. And my first response was,
well, yeah, but we know people who are academics or students or whatever
who can afford it, and what about all the people who can`t afford it?
And then I thought, well, it is Sweden. And maybe one of the secrets of
their success, such as it is, and it`s not complete success, is that they
have invested in their health system and in having a more equal society
where there aren`t enormous concentrations of people in tight living
quarters with low paying jobs that they have to go to and co-morbidities.
So, I would be very curious to what extent that is part of the reason that
they have been able to weather this, albeit with a high death rate.
HAYES: You know, this sort of leads to another question that has been
bedeviling me. And I`ve been talking to folks, experts about this, which
is, you know, we look at these comparisons across countries, across
regions, and it`s clear that how quickly you move and policies and social
distancing have effects, but I guess I wonder like how much of this is
random, you know, stochastic essentially, like, when the virus sort of
first got there secret and undetected, and how bad the initial outbreak was
and what chain it followed and how much and how much is under our control
in terms of policy?
LIPSITCH: Yeah, I think that`s a really important point. And one of the
first things we did as a research and sort of public health assistance
project when this epidemic started getting underway was to make a little
simulation of introductions, because public health departments around the
country were saying how many cases do you think we might have?
And one of the things we found when we did that simulation was that two
places that have no difference in how they respond, but just either
different numbers of imported cases or different luck in which of those
imported cases happens to spur additional cases can have very, very
Exponential growth is this process that gets – once it gets going, it can
really make a lot of cases, but if it doesn`t get going for an extra week
or two, that puts you in a better position at least for those couple of
So there is no doubt a stochastic element, a random element, that some
places do better because of good luck.
HAYES: The final question for you is just about sort of go back to Sweden
is – I want to note the fact that the idea that – and this relates to
something we said last night, the idea that like Sweden is totally normal,
they`ve banned all gatherings over 50 people. They are not doing big sports
– I mean, there is a whole category of things that we think of as normal
life that even Sweden, which is a sort of most laissez faire on this, has
gotten rid of. And it feels like that is an important thing for everyone to
keep in mind as we think about policies moving forward. What do you think?
LIPSITCH: Yeah, I think the comparisons between countries and between
states as different states begin to reopen will help us to understand what
activities really are dangerous. And I think that is one of the lessons of
Sweden is that the package of things they are doing is clearly less
effective than the full package, and more effective than nothing.
So, if we can begin to make more comparisons across different combinations,
we`ll get a better
HAYES: Marc Lipsitch, a voice I really trust on all of this. Thank you so
much for your time tonight.
LIPSITCH: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, between his disastrous pandemic response, his lagging
President Trump is desperate to change the project. His latest scapegoating
HAYES: Donald Trump is going to try to pretend that all is well, but more
than 60,000 have died, 30 million Americans are unemployed after six weeks
of the Coronavirus pandemic. And the president of the United States wants
to talk about something, anything, please, anything else.
There was a story that I read in The Washington Post that in some ways was
very similar to a 1,000 other articles you may have read during the Trump
years, because it involved the president getting mad at the person who
brings him bad news.
The Post reporting that Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale showed
President Trump polling that had him trailing Joe Biden, that he was
slipping in a bunch of swing states, and the president dropped a bunch of
obscenities and said he didn`t believe it, and according to this reporting
he threatened to sue his own campaign manager, perhaps jokingly.
And none of this is new. I mean, you`ve read stories like this dozens,
hundreds, of times. This is exactly the person that we`ve come to know over
the last several years.
But here`s the thing, take that exact mindset and now apply it to the worst
pandemic in 100 years. It explains everything about Trump`s reaction to the
Coronavirus. He didn`t want to hear the bad news. He got mad at the people
who brought it to him. And so he wished it away and pretended it wasn`t
there and now we`re in the midst of this crisis that can`t be washed away
and it can`t be denied, and the president is desperately searching for some
escape or some scapegoat, or some change of news, some change of topic,
some way out.
He`s tweeting at cable news all the time, and his allies on Trump TV are
trying to desperately rub two sticks together to start a fire under the
Michael Flynn story. Michael Flynn, yeah.
Today The New York Times reports pushed our intelligence agencies to,
quote, hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a
government laboratory in Wuhan, China was
the origin of the Coronavirus outbreak.
So, obviously, if you can push that intelligence so they can blame the
China, they can blame them for what`s gone wrong, but there is no way out.
He is locked in the room with the virus and we`re all locked in there with
him. And rather than try to solve the problem, all the president can do,
all he`s able to do, wants to do, is try to change the subject.
But it`s not working. We`ll talk about that next.
HAYES: The president is incapable of getting it, right? We have more than
30 million Americans out of work, more than 60,000 dead, perhaps the worst
challenge this country has faced since World War II. And yet today when he
was asked about pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn,
who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, Trump whined to a CNN reporter
about their coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What I really hoped, because CNN tormented him, in all fairness – I
really hoped to see, because they haven`t been doing it – and I appreciate
your question – I hoped to see that CNN will, not even apologize, which
they should, but just cover it fairly, because he`s in the process of being
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, please, we need more Michael Flynn coverage at this moment
amidst the Coronavirus pandemic in the worst situation since the Great
Depression and the worst pandemic in 100 years, Michael Flynn news, please.
The president desperate to talk about anything about the catastrophe that
is in front of him.
Joining me now is Asawin Suebsaeng, White House reporter at the daily
beast, co-author of
“Sinking in the Swamp.”
And Asawin, you reported a lot about the White House. You`ve reported a lot
on the sort of tendencies and dysfunctions there. And I feel the kind of
headline here has just been all of the pathologies and dysfunctions that
we`ve seen throughout the years often brought to bear on relatively trivial
things are now being brought to bear on the most important governing
challenge the president has faced in maybe, you know, 70 years.
ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, DAILY BEAST: I mean, it is weird to see this particular
commander-in-chief railing for a good stretch of time about quote-unquote
lying Brian Williams, in the context of bodies piling up on the grown,
hundreds of thousands of Americans dead, a global pandemic, and a cratering
It really does go to show what Donald Trump has exhibited during every
crisis of his presidency, and every major scandal, he tries to work the
refs, he tries to go out to the media as much as he can. He would much
rather change the subject, and turn this into a tiff between him and late
night hosts, comedians, and/or cage news hosts than actually deal with the
problem at hand. It is just that usually when he is doing this it is a
creation of his own making or it`s significantly more small ball
than, as we were both saying earlier, a global pandemic.
So all of this is really doing is just showing who Donald Trump really is,
and what his priorities are, during his policy making, his actions, and his
rhetoric, it`s just that he`s doing it when it feels like the world is
imploding in very dramatic, almost unprecedented sort of way.
HAYES: You know, one of our segment producers made the point to me today,
which I thought was right on the money, of like his – both his mental
model of an election, being 2016, which is very different in many way, and
also frustration with it not being 2016, and that this time around, it`s
he`s the president with the record, and there`s not, it`s not like some,
you know, wild, crazy, bomb throwing outsider, it`s you. You`re the
president. And you know, three months ago, they thought they were going to
run a campaign on GDP growth at 4 percent, and maybe people don`t like him,
but we could get enough voters that we can get over the hump. And it`s all
And you can palpably feel the morning and grief he has for that, not for
the people that we`ve
lost, but for that.
SUEBSAENG: Right, absolutely. And in terms of his precious economy, and how
he wants to change the subject now to an economic conversation as opposed
to say a massive death toll, the problem is he is not very good at changing
the conversation, even to the terms that he wishes to wage the 2020
campaign on right now.
When he keeps trying to talk about quote-unquote reopening the country and
all of the public/private work that his administration is doing, or
allegedly doing nowadays, he will do things like a couple of weeks or a
week and a half ago, where he tried to convene that large economic council
of various business leaders, and as we reported at The Daily Beast when he
convened that for a day of marathon conference calls, so many people who
were listed as, oh, they`re going to be on this great panel that`s
dedicated to figuring out the best and safest ways to open up the U.S.
economy this summer, many of them, including close Trump allies had no idea
they were going to be named to the panel.
He`s just grafting all of the omni-shambles of his administration and his
personal management style onto the management of the economy and the
pandemic response right now. And sometimes it`s darkly humorous, and other
times it`s a little more terrifying.
HAYES: It also strikes me that he – and this has been a lot of reporting
has come out – that, you know, it is very clear that after he was unable
to do rallies, he wanted to do the daily briefings, because those became
his version of rallies and he could – he didn`t have an adoring crowd
there, but he had these reporters he could fight with and kind of he
controlled the mic, he controlled the space, he controlled the air time.
And, you know, there`s all this reporting that he wants to do rallies as
soon as possible, that he loved doing the briefings.
These are the things – the reason he became president, the reason he ran
for president is to do those things, and he can`t do those things. What he
has to do is try to manage a horrible and very hard governing challenge.
SUEBSAENG: Right. And even with the briefings, he`s sort of stuck between
these dual impulses, where part of him, according to people I have spoken
to who work in the administration who talk to him almost every day, he did
become aware, it did dawn on him late last week, when his advisers have
been telling him for weeks, you might want to consider curtailing your
appearances at these daily briefings, because it does – the data does seem
to suggest that they`re helping Joe Biden, and they`re putting you at
greater risk for failing to get re-elected.
And come about Thursday or Friday of last week, it did start to sink in a
little bit. And he had started to be indicating to senior aides that okay,
I`m going to back away from it. But then he started seeing coverage of how
he was starting to back down from it, maybe, and how aides were starting to
get through to him. So this week, he`s kind of entered this weird footsie
period of maybe disengaging, but also commanding the cameras as much as he
can, which really gets at the sopopology (ph) in his personality, but so
much of this to him is just performing how he thinks he would look good,
and look like he`s commanding the crisis well, rather than actually getting
it down and doing the work.
HAYES: Yes, the performance of crisis management has been obviously front
and center from the beginning as opposed to actual crisis management.
Asawin Suebsaeng, who is one of the best reporters in the White House beat,
your time tonight.
SUEBSAENG: Thank you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right
now. Of course, 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