Americans are worried TRANSCRIPT: 5/8/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Marilee Shapiro Asher has survived the 1918
Spanish flu and now the Coronavirus. The Jewish telegraph Agency reports
that the 107-year-old working artist was admitted to the hospital in mid-
April with the coronavirus. She has now been discharged and is back home.
An amazing story. Thanks for being with us. “ALL WITH” Chris Hayes is up
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. From
day one, the Trump administration has been attempting to create its own
reality to deny what is right there in front of our faces and replace it
with some story that makes Trump look as good as possible.
It started right away, right on former Press Secretary Sean Spicer`s first
day when he falsely claimed that Donald Trump had the largest inauguration
audience ever, and it`s continued up until now. The President has basically
been parading naked in front of the public, so to speak, for the past three
years while he and his lackeys are telling everyone that he isn`t the
finest guard imaginable.
Here we are, efficient emperor`s new close moment. Today, we got the new
jobs numbers and we got a statistical confirmation of just how bad the
calamity we are in is. The unemployment rate soaring to nearly 15 percent,
the highest level since the Great Depression, or the 33 million Americans
who filed jobless claims. We lost more than 20 million jobs in April alone.
That right there is more than 13 percent of all jobs in the entire country.
Now, the unemployment number is likely an undercount because many people
are not counted or not yet actively looking for work ever having just lost
their jobs. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
believes the real numbers probably around 23 or 24 percent. And that`s
nearly where we were at the height of the Great Depression. Right now,
things are that bad.
The guy who led us here wants you to believe it is not his fault. Here is
on Trump T.V. this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unemployment rate rising From 4.4 percent to 14.7
percent. The numbers are terrible but we know why.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, it`s fully expected.
There`s no surprise. Everybody knows that somebody said, oh, look at this.
Well, even the Democrats aren`t blaming me for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, I`m not quite sure about that. I mean, there are people that
are blaming you. It is true that even if we had a competent president,
supremely competent president, the virus, and then the subsequent public
health response would still require a huge mobilization of forces, maybe
essentially shutting down a huge swath of the country, but it did not mean
to be this bad.
Remember, the President did not take the virus seriously from the start. He
promised us all it would go away soon, cases down to zero. Its
administration tried to bluff their way through, repeatedly failing to take
proactive steps to mitigate the worst of what was to come. Those failures
are a big part of why it has been so bad here when compared to other
Now, we do have some glimmers of hope, I have to say, that suggest we may
now maybe tentatively be on the backside of the first wave of the virus.
We`re seeing declining case numbers and hospitalizations in many places, as
well as lower percentages of people testing positive, which is a really
important metric as testing goes up, but we still have thousands of people
dying from the virus every single day after day after day.
And there are hotspots throughout this country with the virus is clearly
exploding. And the virus remains, this is the key underlying all this,
If you want one small example of just how transmissible said virus is,
yesterday, we learned the President`s personal valet tested positive for
coronavirus. Today we learned of another case, Katie Miller, who was Vice
President Mike Pence`s press secretary, and the wife of Trump advisor
Stephen Miller confirmed to NBC News today that she had tested positive.
Now, keep in mind, as we noted in the last few days, the White House is
more vigilant and aggressive about testing than anywhere else in the
country right now. In fact, following yesterday`s news, we learned that
they are testing everyone around the president and vice president daily.
Katie Miller tested negative yesterday, and today, she tested positive,
which underscores just how important testing is. They were able to identify
it within 24 hours before she even had symptoms, which helps curb
transmission. Imagine she`d been going to the White House for another week.
But get this. You have to listen to this. Listen to how the President talks
about Katie Miller`s positive test today. It truly seems like he may be
just literally doesn`t understand how testing works.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So she tested positive out of the blue. This is why the whole
concept of tests aren`t necessarily, right? The tests are perfect, but
something good happened between the test where it`s good and then something
happens and all of a sudden. She was tested very recently and tested
negative, and then today, I guess for some reason she tested positive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: First of all, she`s not a student who is like studying and getting
good grades and then like had a bad test. That`s not what you`re talking
about. It`s the virus. It`s the presence or absence of the virus. You can
test negative and then later test positive because between those two,
you`ll get the virus. That`s how the whole thing works, all of this. What
do you think we`re all doing here?
And so in addition to the virus infiltrating the White House and the
staggering death tolls that just keep growing, and the worst jobs numbers
since the Great Depression, the President is hard at work trying to create
his own reality again, trying to just sort of deny the evidence before all
of our eyes.
The Associated Press reporting the Trump administration was trying to bury
a Centers for Disease Control report. Those are the extra world-renowned on
how to safely reopen communities with recommendations to help people do
that safely. Right, why would you want that in the public? And the
recommendation said that most places likely cannot meet them.
He wants everyone to move on. He wants to convince Americans to go out and
be warriors and stimulate the economy so he can be reelected. But here`s
the thing. People are not buying it. By and large, they are not buying this
alternate reality. They know it is still bad out there.
Many of us have watched in anguish as loved ones or friends or coworkers,
people we know have had to suffer through this horrible virus, that had to
suffer losses from it. More than 77,000 Americans have succumbed to it and
there are tens of thousands more losses to come most likely. That
fundamental truth just can`t be hand waved away.
The Polling shows that people know the reality. 71 percent of Americans are
more concerned by the government lifting social distancing restrictions too
quickly compared to just 29 percent said they worried restrictions are not
being lifted quickly enough. An overwhelming number of people are worried
about lifting social distancing restrictions too quickly.
The President cannot wave away the virus, cannot pretend that he is not
overseeing economic devastation, or that the very real fear that people
have about going back to work is invented, nonsensical. The real Emperor
being exposed moment here. And there`s really nothing Donald Trump can do,
I think to convince us to ignore the reality in front of our faces.
Here with me now, someone who`s been trying to help Americans hit hard by
this pandemic, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. Senator, let
me first start by asking you your assessment of the reality we are in at
this moment. How do you see things right now?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Chris, it is important for us to take a very
deep breath and to understand that we are in the worst moment. The worst
moment in American history, maybe since the Civil War. You mentioned the
official figure of 77,000 people dying of the virus. There are
epidemiologists who estimate that that is significantly lower than reality,
probably over 100,000. The number of 33,000 – 33 million people who have
lost their jobs in the last seven weeks probably understates that reality,
as well, even more people have lost their jobs.
So we are in a terrible, terrible moment. You know, I have a large e-mail
following. And we send out an e-mail to people to tell us what`s happening
in your lives in the midst of this pandemic. And Chris, what we received
from people by the thousands was literally so painful, I couldn`t read.
I mean, the stories are I lost my mother, I lost my job, I have no money, I
can`t feed my kids. I don`t know what to do. You know, mental illness
taking place, enormous anxiety. People are hurting in a way we have never
ever seen in our lifetimes. And to top it all, top at all, we have somebody
so irresponsible, so not understanding the current reality as President of
the United States that it is just incredibly painful.
HAYES: There was a – some reporting today from the White House which I
thought was really quite striking, that the White House will not consider
any further stimulus legislate legislation this month, as an as the
economic impact from reopening U.S. states. That was according to economic
advisor Larry Kudlow talking to reporters on Friday, adding that formal
talks with Congress have paused.
I have increasingly heard from the White House and Republicans like we`ve
done what we`re going to do, and this is basically it, and good luck out
there. What should we be doing do you think?
SANDERS: Well, let me tell you something. That is an incredibly callous
statement. I, and I know many other Senators and members of the House will
fight like hell to make sure that we act and act as soon as possible
because the American people are hurting. You have 20 percent of the kids in
this country who are hungry, people at their wit`s end, people are worried
about being evicted, about losing their homes, can`t pay their mortgages.
We have got to act and we`ve got to act soon, and we`ve got to act boldly.
Now some of the areas that I am working on is to get this country to do
what Europe has done in many cases, and that has guaranteed people their
paycheck. I think that is the quickest, most efficient way of getting money
into the hands of working people. It`s called the Paycheck Security Act. We
have I think six or seven co-sponsors in the Senate. Pelosi is not
unfavorably disposed to it, nor is Chuck Schumer. We`re going to fight to
make sure that is in the next bill.
The other thing that I think we have to do is in the midst of this crisis,
at least, while we continue to fight for Medicare for all, in the midst of
this crisis, we have got to make sure that every American can go to a
doctor or go to the hospital whenever they need to without having to worry
about picking up the cost.
The other thing I think we have got to do is do what Canada is doing. And
that is to understand that one $1,200 check, that covers on average one
month`s rent in America. It isn`t enough. We need $2,000 a month. Kamala
Harris, Ed Markey, and I are working on that bill as well.
And furthermore, I think it would be an economic disaster for this country
if Trump succeeded in not funding the Postal Service, and our Post Office
went under. That would be terrible thing for a variety of reasons. And the
last point is, we have got to make sure that in the richest country in the
history of the world, people do not go hungry, and they are going hungry.
So we got – there`s a lot of work to be done. We need action. We need
action now. And what the American people have got to do, because they are
with us on this issue. They know the pain. They are hurting. They got to
tell Mitch McConnell, they got to tell Trump, we need action now, not in a
HAYES: You obviously, you ran for president in the Democratic primary and I
think it`s fair to say you saw the stakes of this election extreme – as
extremely high, you know, life or death, essentially before the pandemic.
But I wonder how you see it now. You`ve – you have endorsed Joe Biden,
along with everyone else that ran in that race. There`s a – Democrats who
have unified I think, at that level. Like how are you are seeing this
moment and what it means to have this individual running the country at
this moment and the need for change?
SANDERS: You know, all of the ugliness and inequities in American society,
which many of us have understood for a long, long time, they`re becoming
visible to everybody in this country right now. And here`s exactly why the
stakes of this campaign is so high.
This is what Trump believes. Trump essentially says, no, we know you`re
unemployed, we know you have no income, you know, you may get evicted from
your home, you may not have food, we`re going to give you a choice. Either
you could starve and go into economic misery, or else you can go to work
and get the virus. Those are the choices that you have.
And of course, the people who are going to work now, they`re not – those
are poor people. Those are working low-income working-class people. Those
are often women, they`re often black, they`re often brown. And those are
the people who disproportionately are getting sick. Those are the options
that this President is giving people, which to my mind and to the minds of
most Americans is unacceptable.
HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders coming to us tonight from Burlington,
Vermont, his home, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
SANDERS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: I want to turn now to Zerlina Maxwell, the Senior Director of
Progressive Programming for Sirius XM. And Zerlina the polling that we
talked about where you see big majorities of Americans worried about easing
restrictions too soon, there`s a partisan divide, but even it`s, you know,
it`s 60 percent of Republicans who are more worried about the economy,
which is a big split within Republicans, what was – what was your response
to that polling? I found it sort of not surprising, but kind of reassuring
about where people are at and how they`re thinking about all this.
ZERLINA MAXWELL, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMMING, SIRIUS XM:
Look, I think when it comes down to it, what we`re asking people in this
room moment is are you willing to go to work and actually risk not only
your life, but the life and health of everyone in your household for a
paycheck. And you know, in certain cases, we`re talking about low wage
And so in a lot of ways, it`s like before the pandemic, it wasn`t right to
pay a home care aide who`s taking care of the elderly and the differently-
abled minimum wage, but certainly during a pandemic, to require people to
go and work in these low wage professions when there is literally the risk
of death. It seems like something that even a Republican voter is not going
to get behind.
HAYES: Josh Holmes who used to be a flak for McConnell, he`s used to be his
chief of staff and is sort of a big McConnell ally said – he tweeted this.
He said, I totally get Dems pursuing this line of attack on a Trump
depression. But the data I`ve looked at suggests nobody outside of hard Ds
buy it. Most Americans understand we`re an unprecedented crisis and that
Trump didn`t conjure up a global pandemic in the Oval.
It is true, of course, that he did not conjure up a global pandemic. But it
is interesting to me the approval of the President on the virus, his
handling of the virus, 43 percent, approved of 51 percent disapprove. It is
true that when you compare him to other leaders, Democrat, Republican,
Conservative, Liberal and Moderate, there is a realization among the
American people that this is not going well.
MAXWELL: No. I think, certainly, this is a moment in which you can see the
incompetence on display. You have a pandemic; he fired the pandemic Task
Force. He`s standing on a camera telling people to literally ingest
disinfectant. We`re almost through the looking glass at a point where it`s
not even a joke anymore. There`s no more time for spin and who up and who`s
down and who`s winning and who`s losing.
People are dying, Chris, and that`s 77,000 number, yes, Bernie Sanders is
right, that number is likely much higher. But when it`s people in your own
family, Chris, you know, I lost four cousins during this pandemic so far.
And so, this is not an intellectual argument or a question about who is,
you know, hard lefties or those hard Democrats. We`re talking about people
See, I look at it this way. The hard Democrats that I think about are the
black and brown people that are being harmed first and worst by this
pandemic. They are the first people to be impacted, because they are in
those low wage working-class professions that were laid off in mass. And
they are hit worse because they have underlying conditions and also socio-
economic factors and yes, racism that impact their health outcomes.
And so, we`re hit first and worse and so we`re under no illusions and so I
just – I think I sit in a different perspective than perhaps Josh does.
HAYES: Zerlina Maxwell from Newport News, Virginia. I`m very sorry to hear
about family members of yours tonight. I want to offer you and your family
our condolences here.
MAXWELL: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, we are seeing historic levels of unemployment, so why is the
stock market doing so well? Stephanie Ruhle explains what`s happening right
HAYES: In the wake of today`s depression level jobs report, here`s what it
looks like in America right now. People lined up at food pantries across
the country as we face the worst unemployment rates since the Great
Depression. But on Wall Street, the major U.S. stock markets had their, get
this, best month since 1987. What?
It has never been more clear. The stock market is not the real economy and
at the root of this is the question how bad will it get and crucially, how
quickly it will reverse? I think the conventional wisdom on Wall Street,
certainly, the behavior of traders in the equity markets tend to think that
we are going to have what they keep calling a V-shaped recovery. Basically,
a sharp decline followed by a quick bounce back.
But if you look around at what consumers, firms, small businesses, local
governments are doing and what they`re planning, to your humble cable news
host, does it not – it does not seem that likely. Here to talk about that
disconnect, MSNBC Senior Business Correspondent Stephanie Ruhle.
Stephanie, is that – is your read that – I mean, in defense of Wall
Street for a moment, right, the argument here is that equities markets tend
to be very future-looking, that they were crashing before things got really
bad in the real economy because they were foreseeing what was going to
happen. And the fact of doing that well now while the real economy is doing
terrible is about a sort of forwarding thinking belief we`re going to
recover. Do you think that`s the argument for why the stock market`s doing
so well amidst this misery?
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And remember, the Fed
has taken extraordinary actions to support all the market technicals. And
what you`ve seen in terms of, you know, corporate bailouts or – you know,
it`s clear that from the Fed, from Secretary Mnuchin, they`re going to do
everything they can to support those biggest businesses, I.E. the biggest
But also, we should remember, the market is saying the market is the same
as the economy. It`s other people who are saying it. So Wall Street
investors aren`t saying no, the economy is doing fine and dandy, they`re
saying, their investments are. And you also have to remember, we`ve already
been on this trend for years, right?
The Amazon effect was already putting mom and shop businesses out of
business. It was hurting the American shopping mall. What this has done is
supercharged that. I`m not saying that`s good for the country. I`m saying
it`s good for those companies. Those are two very, very different things.
HAYES: Yes, that that point about – right, exactly. The point that the
investments are doing OK, and also the Fed has basically said, look, we`re
going to backstop these markets until kingdom come, which is – which has
been huge for how those markets have functioned.
I thought this quote in the New York Magazine was good that capitalists
haven`t lost touch with reality, equity values simply no longer depend on
the functioning of society. Their dependence on a function federal state
has never been more apparent or acute. That this is essentially the Jerome
Powell Fed thing that we will do whatever it takes for you, Wall Street,
investors, big businesses, like you said. And that`s translating to folks
that that are participating those markets where that same kind of like
blank check we`re going to take care of you is not happening for regular
RUHLE: Well, here`s what makes especially no sense there. Because they look
at many of these industries and they say, well, we must step in, because
look what an enormous employer they are. Well, what did our government do?
They created a bespoke bailout specifically for the airline industry with a
de facto czar that is Secretary Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Now let`s look at the restaurant industry that`s responsible for a trillion
dollars a year. Well, in the last month, we saw 5.5 million people in the
restaurant and beverage industry lose their jobs. There is no special
bailout or federal government program for the independent restaurant
industry. And we also know that the PPP program, which in theory is
designed for small businesses, is absolutely not helping restaurants.
And even though PPP in the second round hasn`t run out of money,
restaurants has stopped applying for it because the terms of the loan are
written in a way that it doesn`t help restaurants. So when you try to say,
well, they`re really going to – they want to try to save those biggest
businesses, because of all those people they employ. Well, then you can
simply point to restaurants and say, well, then why aren`t you helping
HAYES: And there`s – and there`s another issue here. I mean, I don`t want
to ask you to play forecaster but part of what`s really difficult, I think,
for everyone to sort of get their head around this, when you say look,
these numbers aren`t surprising, which is the presence defense, he`s right
in a way. Like, we put the economy on ice. Obviously, there`s going to be
huge unemployment and dislocation.
The question is, are we prompting everyone in the cascade of decision
making to make contractionary decisions that are going to extend the
economic pain past the period of shelter in place or have we sort of kept
them afloat enough? And it seems to me like it`s much more the former. That
we haven`t given people the tools they need not to start doing all kinds of
crazy belt-tightening that`s going to extend the economic pain.
RUHLE: Well, listen, we are going to move into a saver mode, even you –
take all the people who are on unemployment and put them in one category.
Then you have at least 10 million more people who are eligible for
unemployment, but they haven`t been able to file because the systems are
backed up. And now let`s take a third category, or you`ve got one in every
four Americans who do have a job, have taken a pay cut.
So the United States economy is a service-based economy. Without consumer
spending, we`ve got no dance party, right? The one percent needs the 99
percent. And look at all that`s happening right now. You`re not going to
see spending return with any great gusto. And without that, there is no V-
shaped recovery anywhere in sight.
HAYES: That – I think that is a very succinctly well said and captures my
thinking on this. I really do hope that we`re both wrong. But right now, I
just – I cannot see how this turns around as quickly as I`ve expected to.
Stephanie Ruhle who of course anchors MSNBC Live weekdays at 8:00 a.m.
Eastern, has been doing incredible reporting on this beat during the
crisis, thank you.
RUHLE: Chris, thank you. I told you via text, this was hard for me to be
here tonight. Moments before I sat down, I was watching Napoleon Dynamite
with my children. And as much as I love seeing you, tearing away from that
dancing was a tough move. It was a tough move.
HAYES: Well, I`m truly honored. I`m honored, Stephanie. Thank you very
much. Still ahead, the danger of having the police enforce physical
distancing in public spaces, the disproportion effects it`s already having
HAYES: Conservatives run crazy about this video. I saw a bunch of them
posting about it. West Texas. Of the local sheriff sending an armored
vehicle and SWAT team, look at that thing, to raid a bar that stayed open
in defiance of the stay at home orders.
Police arrested six men at the bar who they say have loaded AR-15 type
weapons, which may be the reason for the long guns and the armored vehicle,
but I think just in the aggregate the show of force is probably not
It was an overwhelming reaction. And conservatives I think were right to
look at the video and say are we really doing this? This is nuts.
And there was a bunch more of these. There`s the woman in the playground
who got arrested. There`s the nail salon opener who was arrested, the hair
salon owner who was arrested.
Unfortunately, the kind of overreaction you see on that video there happens
every day in America, particularly to marginalized people. There are entire
books about this. That`s the issue at the heart of using the police as the
tool of enforcement for stay at home orders and physical distancing,
because if you use law enforcement you are going to, I guarantee you,
extend, exacerbate, and replicate all of the existing inequalities in our
already broken criminal justice system.
Here is video from last weekend of New York City cops violently throwing a
black man to the ground in an incident that started with them enforcing
The data backs it up. NYPD today said that 81 percent of Coronavirus-
related summons since the middle of March have been black or Hispanic
residents. In Brooklyn, 35 out of the 40 people who were arrested on social
distancing violations were black.
ProPublica found in some of Ohio`s most popular areas, black people were at
least four times as likely to be charged with stay at home violations as
whites. The enforcement has obviously be highly disproportionate.
And as we go back out into this new normal, whatever it is, I think the
point is to establish physical distancing, mask wearing, and all sorts of
precautions that we collectively engage in together as a kind of act of
bottom up solidarity, a newly constructed social norm. And if governments,
or social workers, or community elders, or public health workers want to
try to use moral persuasion and conversation to get people to adhere to
those norms, I think that`s a great idea.
I think people with guns and handcuffs going around telling people to stand
further apart is going to be a disaster. The American justice system has
enough to worry about, as we`ve seen in just the last 24 hours. We will
talk about that after this.
HAYES: The last 24 hours in American justice, as with pretty much every 24
hours, have offered up a perfect example of its fundamental inequities. On
the one hand, there`s Michael Flynn who pretty clearly broke the law,
taking money from Turkish interests without disclosing it as the law
requires, and also lying to the FBI, which he admitted to.
Yesterday, the Department of Justice took the extraordinary and rare step
of just dropping the charges against Michael Flynn after his guilty plea.
The reason is because Flynn has the right aisle in the White House where he
used to be the National Security Adviser. The president likes him. And he
was able to get his case heard by the Department of Justice`s head William
Meanwhile, in Georgia, a 25-year-old black man out jogging in his
neighborhood is killed by two white men in a pickup truck, and it takes two
months, several different district attorneys and a huge national outcry for
those men to even be arrested.
We`ve seen these fundamental injustices all around us before COVID, they`ve
just deepened in this era. And author and thinker who has devoted her
career and work to documenting this is Michelle Alexander, visiting
professor of social justice at Union Theological Seminary, author of The
New York Times classic best-selling book, The New Jim Crow: Mass
Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness, which is part of the modern
canon on this topic.
Michelle, it is great to have you. I suppose I wanted to start with sort of
a broad question about as someone who has thought deeply about the criminal
justice system and its inequities, what you see happening at this
particular moment in this crisis with that system.
MICHELLE ALEXANDER, UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINAR: Well, you know, as you
indicated earlier what we`re witnessing right now is egregious, but it`s
nothing new. What we`re talking about here is the persistent devaluation of
black life and black suffering.
I hope by now we can see the patterns, the repeating patterns. I hope we
can see the parallels between Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery. I hope we
can see the similarities between drug law enforcement and social distancing
You know, as the drug war was kicking off, we were told that mass arrests
of impoverished black people were necessary, because illegal drugs were so
harmful, so harmful to our people and our communities that police must
throw us in cages if we`re caught with them. And then upon release,
discriminate against us for the rest of our lives. This was the answer to
drug addiction in black communities.
Meanwhile, white kids who were using and abusing illegal drugs, often at
higher rates, were heading off to college.
Now we`re being told that because the government is so incredibly worried
about us dying from COVID-19 that they`re going to arrest those without
masks – not all of us, but some of us, throw us in cages where we`re far
more likely to contract the virus and potentially die, meanwhile there are
videos of the police handing out face masks to white people sunbathing in
groups on the lawn in city parks in clear violation of social distancing
So, we`re in a moment in which it`s glaringly clear yet again that black
lies don`t really matter.
But of course, black people aren`t the only ones who are suffering in these
times. And so the question is whether we are willing, collectively, to
develop a politics of deep solidarity and stand up for one another across
the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, sexual
orientation and class and raise our voices to defend the most vulnerable in
You know, I think these politics of solidarity must include support for our
essential workers as well as for black people wrestled to the ground for
failing to wear a mask. It must include support for the millions who are
now unemployed because of this crisis as well as those who didn`t have a
job before the crisis began.
So, I hope that we will vow now, to ourselves, that we will do everything
in our power, to leave behind attitudes, belief systems and politics that
lead to the recent death of Ahmaud Arbery and the brutal arrest for black
people for violating social distancing rules.
HAYES: You know, this question of how we – you know, the sort of ethos of
solidarity – I`ve been thinking about this a lot – in the context of
these sort of social distancing or physical distancing guidelines, right,
which is it just seems to me obviously it`s a disaster to have the police
to be the means that you bring this norm about. It`s just not – it`s not
the right – it`s not the right tool to solve the problem, it`s also going
to, you know – like you said it`s going to lead to people being arrested
and the sort of prevalence of this system.
And it`s so striking to me that we just have such a hard time thinking
outside of that framework for problem solving, right. And that was the case
with drugs, like, drugs can be – drug addiction can be an incredibly
destructive force in people`s lives. There`s different ways we can think
about solving it. The way we chose to solve it was criminal justice system
in the same way we have a public health problem.
There are ways to think about solving it that are not the criminal justice
ALEXANDER: That`s absolutely right. You know, there`s the saying if all
you`ve got is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. But the reality
is we`ve long had more tools at our disposal. And, you know, just as this -
- as the recent news regarding the racially disparate enforcement of social
distancing laws reveals is that some tools are used in some communities and
other tools are used in other communities.
And so it`s not that we don`t know how to respond to problems like drug
addiction and drug abuse with care, compassion, and concern. We know how to
make drug treatment available on demand, but we choose not to, or we choose
to offer it to those who can afford it, or to people living in more
privileged communities, and we deny it to those in others, and instead give
them cages and lifelong discrimination.
So, it`s not that we lack imagination about how to respond with more care
and concern. In fact, if we were going to ask ourselves how would we
respond if it was our own lives, our own childrens` lives at stake,
suddenly we would have much more creative range of ideas and solutions
about how to respond rather than, you know, wrestling people to the ground,
arresting them and locking them in cages.
It`s only because we have so devalued the lives of poor people and people
of color in this nation that our imagination has been so limited with
respect to them. And this has consequences for all of us, our refusal to
grant universal health care to all is now resulting in health care crisis
that affects us all, much more severely than it would have if we had a much
more robust health care system in the first place.
HAYES: Michelle Alexander it is such a great treat to have you on the
program. Please come back anytime. Thank you so much.
ALEXANDER: Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.
HAYES: Up next, why have Senate Republicans all but abandoned the
Coronavirus recovery efforts? The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck
Schumer, joins me next.
HAYES: With the Senate back in session, Republicans are increasingly
sending the signal in a kind of unified way that basically we`ve done our
part. Get back to work America. We wash our hands of this.
As Jim Newell writes in Slate, quote, in terms of additional legislation
that might support a shattered nation, the Senate Republican caucus is on a
self-described pause right now that is set to expire on, well, no one can
That is not how Democrats are dealing with this pandemic. They`ve got tons
of plans for a new round of legislation, and here to talk with me about
those plans, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer.
Senator, I wanted to start with something that one of your Republican
colleagues said today about the prospect of another kind of rescue package,
a new CARES Act. And this is Senator John Kennedy, a witty guy, in the
Republican caucus from Louisiana. He was asked about another round of
stimulus checks. He said, well, people in hell want ice water, too. Like,
eh, like cry me a river.
What do you make of that?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): These guys are just appalling, Chris. We have 30
million people unemployed. We have people every day losing their jobs.
Small businesses going out of business. People can`t feed their children
and themselves. And these guys said pause.
You know who they remind me of? Herbert Hoover. When we were on the edge of
a potential depression, Herbert Hoover said let`s do nothing. That`s what
these guys are saying. And doing nothing could well create the second Great
We need help and help quickly. We Democrats in the House and Senate are
working on a big, bold, strong package that will deal with so many of the
problems we face.
I mean, you know, Mitch McConnell comes up with this idea that we should
let state and local governments go bankrupt. This is not an abstract
concept, Mitch, these are firefighters who protect us, bus drivers who
drive the busses, people who work in health care, food safety inspectors,
these are the people who would be thrown out of work through no fault of
their own, in fact a million people in state and local governments lost
We need money to help them keep working. We need money to provide food for
people so they don`t have to watch their children go hungry.
We need money to get our schools going again. We need so many different
things. We need heroes pay for those on the front lines who are undergoing
so many extra expenses and are asked to sacrifice so much.
This idea that we should do nothing and wait and see, well I`d like Mitch
McConnell and his Republican friends, Mr. Kennedy, to go tell a mom who
can`t feed her kids let`s wait and see what happens in a few weeks, to tell
a small business person who has spent 10 years building up that restaurant
or that nail salon or that small manufacturing business and is ready to go
out of business and desperately needs help, let`s wait and see what
It is utterly appalling. It is like Herbert Hoover. We Democrats are going
to force those Republicans, like we did last time when they didn`t want to
do much, to take big, bold action because the nation needs it and the
people demand it.
HAYES: How much do you think it`s a negotiating position, that they`re
essentially bluffing, because they want to essentially sort of anchor the
negotiations in nothing and then the – you know, there will be some horse
trading, whereas if they come out and they say, yeah, we want to big stuff,
too, then they give away leverage. And how much do you think they really do
SCHUMER: Don`t underestimate…
HAYES: …we can do.
SCHUMER: Yeah, Chris, don`t underestimate the hold that these hard right
ideologues, these very, very wealth people, who are doing just fine, by the
way – stock market is going up, because they make sure, you know, that the
Federal Reserve bolsters the markets. But don`t underestimate the hold that
these very wealth people who control a lot of the Republican Party, if not
all of it these days, have on these senators.
They want – they don`t want any government spending. They don`t give a
hoot about what happens to average people. It hurts – it`s going to hurt
them, but they`re so blinded by their ideology, both the benefactors of the
Republican Party, and the Republicans senators themselves, that they can`t
get away from it.
They are – they are caught in a knot. The days of a moderate, thoughtful,
compromising Republican in the Senate are just about over. Look what they
do to Mitt Romney when he once and awhile breaks from them, you know.
HAYES: One of the priorities I think for the benefactors of the party and
Mitch McConnell and others is this idea of some kind of liability
indemnification, right, that employers should be statutorily shielded from
any civil suits if they, say, you open up a factory or they open up a
workplace and people come and get sick. What do you think of that? It seems
to me that McConnell is already setting that up as like a must have for him
in the negotiation that you and he I think will ultimately have.
SCHUMER: Right. Well, the bottom line is very simple. They want to say if
an employer, a boss, says to a worker you`ve got to sit next to someone who
has COVID, or has all the signs of COVID, without any protective equipment
and you`re absolved from any liability? Bull. That should not happen, and
it will not happen.
McConnell got stuck. He first said let the states and localities go
bankrupt, so he knew that was wrong, but he still doesn`t want to really
help them, so he tries to put this thing out there which helps the big
corporate bosses and nobody else. It`s not going to stand.
Just like last time when he said, oh, we will only do these two things in
the first COVID bill, or he said we`re only going to do PPP and not help
minorities and not help unbanked people in the second one.
He`s going to have to fold. And you know why? Because the country is on our
side. This idea that the Republicans have – let the private sector solve
the problem – is terribly out of date. And when Democrats propose big,
bold action by the federal government – we`re backed up by most of the
HAYES: There are questions now about voting this fall, particularly brought
into relief by what we`ve seen happen in other places, in Wisconsin. The
last CARES Act, not the 3.5 one, the sort of supplemental for the PPP, but
the act before that, the big one, it had, you know, money for mail-in
voting, but there`s no sort of federal requirement that states prepare
themselves. It`s a very spotty system. Is that a must-have for Democrats?
Is that something that is a kind of bright line for Democrats, it is a
priority to make sure we can have a safe and healthy election.
SCHUMER: It is really important. I don`t underestimate the desire of
Republicans to use the COVID crisis to prevent people from voting,
particularly poor people, people of color. They`ve done that all along.
Here`s a good one, in Alabama if you want to vote by absentee ballot, you
have to have a notary public sign that you did it. Now, who can afford a
notary public? Not a poor dirt farmer in Alabama, not an inner city
resident in Alabama, it`s aimed at stopping people of color and poor people
We feel extremely strongly that every one should be able to vote, that the
COVID crisis should not stand in the way of what is the hallmark, the well
spring of America, which is free, fair, and open elections. And that will
be a very important part of the legislation that we`re going to put
forward. And we`re going to fight like the devil for it.
HAYES: I`ve got two more things I want to get to. First is Justin Walker
who is the McConnell/Kavanaugh protege who was – I get your reaction.
SCHUMER: You are marching to a parade of horribles.
HAYES: Well, I cover the news…
SCHUMER: You`re right, they`re horribles and we should expose them.
HAYES: A remarkable situation of McConnell wanting this guy who – he`s 37.
He was rated not qualified for the district court position that he was
appointed to. He is rated qualified for the appellate position, which makes
sense because he wasn`t – didn`t practice trial law. He did clerk for
Kavanaugh and a bunch of prominent judges.
But the priorities here are pretty striking in terms of this being –
McConnell being back to kind of like the judges agenda.
SCHUMER: Exactly. Here we have the COVID crisis raging. We Democrats have
demanded strong, tough hearings where we bring a Fauci, we bring a Mnuchin,
we bring a Powell, we bring a Birx before these committees and they can ask
them real, tough questions. And what does McConnell do? Brings in a crony
of his, who is a hard right guy, and so out of touch with the times. This
guy is for the repeal, the repeal of the ACA. At a time when people are
desperate for health care, McConnell doesn`t do anything about COVID this
first week we`re back and instead focuses on trying to get someone who
wants to repeal the ACA on the second most important court in the land.
It is so out of touch with what the American people need. And it shows
again that Mitch McConnell goes by his ideological supporters and just
about nobody else. It`s like an ostrich. The country is burning. The
country is burning and they`re fiddling. They`re fiddling. Nero. But I
think Hoover is the best analogy.
HAYES: An ostrich named Nero Hoover. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
from his home in Brooklyn. And I thank you for making some time tonight,
sir. Thank you.
SCHUMER: Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right
now. Good evening, Rachel.
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prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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