Inside Brazil TRANSCRIPT: 5/22/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Dr. Paul Farmer will join me. Then, what to expect
on this first big nationwide test or reopening across the country for the
long weekend. Plus, a report from a country running the Trump playbook to
fight coronavirus with disastrous results. Dale Neely joins us from Brazil.
And you just hate to see it. The President turning on his house cable
channel as a Trump T.V. poll shows him losing at Joe Biden across the
board. When “ALL IN” starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. As we prepare to
observe Memorial Day and pay tribute to American servicemen and
servicewomen who have died for our country and including recently, the wars
that we are still fighting to this day, we`re also likely to cross the
threshold of 100,000 documented deaths from coronavirus here in the United
We have by far the highest documented death toll in the entire world. U.S.
fatalities make up a little under a third of the global fatalities, and we
are almost certainly under counting those numbers. The President has
decided for the first time as far as we can tell, to show in any small way,
some small marking of the morning and the grief of this nation by ordering
flags to fly at half-staff starting today, through Sunset on Sunday. Flags
will be lowered again on Monday for Memorial Day.
What`s so striking about this gesture to me is how absent it`s been, how
utterly absent for the past 12 weeks that have passed, since we first got
news of the first U.S. death. In fact, often when the President talks about
the people that we`ve lost the coronavirus, he sounds like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we`ve become very
good at this. When you look at what`s happening when you look at the
numbers coming down, a lot of states are in really great shape.
I think we`ve done a great job. As you know, minimal numbers where –
minimum numbers. We`re going to be 100,000 people, minimal numbers. We`re
going to be 100,000 people and we`re going to be hopefully far below that.
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: Our numbers from million people are very, very strong. Just to be
clear here, when he says numbers, when he says our numbers, what he means
is deaths. He`s talking about deaths of our fellow Americans he`s saying
he`s very strong on. And I have to admit, I think there`s some part of me
that`s gotten a little numb to, actually. Processing it all has started to
In the early days of the pandemic, it feels like a lifetime ago, right,
when Shelter in Place Order started, the grief felt palpable and
overwhelming. I mean, people I knew were getting sick, very sick. People
working in ERs, people I knew were losing loved ones. Early in the locked
down, I lost a dear beloved uncle myself not to Coronavirus. But losing
someone in this weird section where you cannot get together to mourn
collectively or properly memorialize or hug your loved ones was awful and
kind of overwhelming.
There`s been this very ghastly, cynical play, sort of bet made by certain
elements in our politics that people will just get over it. They`ll get
numb to it. So everyday ticks by with just an unfathomable number of
deaths, yesterday it was over 1,300. You get lulled into this perverse
thinking, well, that`s better than over 1,500 a few days ago, and it`s
coming down. The trend is in the right direction. That`s still on 9/11 in
this country every two days. It still oceans and oceans of grief, and loss,
and memory and ache and pain and trauma. It is still an untellable number
And we`ve tried to take a little time every week to tell a few of those
stories just to remind us all about the real actual flesh and blood human
toll of what`s happening? like Dr. James Charlie Mahoney, he`s a
pulmonologist at University Hospital Brooklyn, a pillar of that hospital
system. And Dr. Mahoney was planning to retire. But when the pandemic hit,
he decided to keep working to help treat those in need.
As a fellow doctor described it, he was handling patients and codes every
five to 10 minutes. He was doing everything he could. Another colleague
called Dr. Mahoney one of our legends, one of our giants. His daughter,
Stephanie, described her dad`s friendly, talkative personality, which made
him a favorite among colleagues and patients.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They kind of had to put aside I think on one of the
doors in his office saying like, don`t ask Dr. Mahoney about the following
topics or else you`ll be in there for (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Dr. Mahoney died on April 27 of the Coronavirus at the age of 62.
Peggy Ndubisi was a social worker for nearly 30 years. She arrived in New
York City in 1980s, an exchange student in Nigeria, devoted her life to
helping others. Her family describes her as determined to stand on her own
even after she fell into homelessness in recent years after losing her
longtime apartment in a fire. She died to the virus late last month. She
was 59 years old. Her sister says she is heartbroken that Peggy died a very
lonely death and just wants her to be remembered.
Wilson Roosevelt Jerman – now you may have heard of him. He was one of the
longest-serving employees of the White House. He started his career in 1957
if you could believe it, as a cleaner during the Eisenhower administration.
He was promoted to Butler during the Kennedy presidency and retired as an
elevator operator for President Obama.
His granddaughter said he was so proud to work for them so happy to see a
person of color as president. He never ever thought that in his time at the
White House, he would see something like that. According to his
granddaughter, he had no shoes as a child in North Carolina in the 30s,
walk six miles to school, had to drop out of the age of 12 to work on a
What an astonishing, what a remarkable life this man lived. What incredible
history he got to see up close and be a part of. And he died last week of
the virus at the age of 91. And that`s a ripe old age. I mean, one of the
facts about this virus is it really has disproportionately affected the
elderly. 80 percent of deaths in the U.S. have been among people 65 and
In most states, at least a third of the deaths of people in long term care
facilities. And at the edges of our discourse, and sometimes creeping away
from the edges and towards the White House is this idea, it`s not often
said, but it`s there that yes, it`s bad but, you know, mostly it`s killing
the old and the sick and the poor.
Just think about that for a second. What kind of government, what kind of
society, what kind of people says, well, it`s mostly killing the old and
the immune-compromised and the people have to work next to each other in
slaughterhouses or drive buses and subway, so Really, when you think about
it, I mean, really, when you really think about it, the risk to everyone
else is pretty low? A Georgia man interviewed by the Washington Post said
it loud and clear. “When you start seeing where the cases are coming from,
the demographics, I`m not worried.”
This pandemic is a challenge and a test of our federal government and our
local governments. The federal government has thus far failed us. But it`s
also a challenge for us, for our society, about what we value and who we
value, and how we express that we are looking out for each other. And so,
on this Memorial Day, as we pay tribute to those we`ve lost as members of
our armed forces through the years, there are also some things we can do,
things we could demand of our government so that we honor the lives of
those also lost to this pandemic.
The President is going to fly the flags at half-staff for three days, in
memory of almost 100,000 Americans we have lost the virus. Three days and
then we move on I guess? We`re living through an American catastrophe. More
people will die. So let`s continue to remember them. And let`s help those
who are trying to mourn their dead in the midst of the historic
unemployment, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The President of the United States can authorize FEMA to release money to
pay for funeral costs for those who can`t afford it to help people. We have
done it in the past, but the president of the United States has not
released those funds. So why not help Americans bury their loved ones with
dignity and grace? These are not hard things to do. It is not too much to
ask. Just because our president has failed us, does not mean that we have
to fail, does not mean that we cannot demand more.
I`m joined now by a world-famous doctor, public health official, Paul
Farmer of Harvard Medical School. He`s a MacArthur Fellow and a co-founder
of Partners in Health. He`s worked all over the world in dozens of
countries fighting all kinds of epidemics. And I`ve been wanting to talk to
him for a long time. He`s Someone I`ve admired for a very long time.
Doctor, it`s really good to have you here tonight.
Thank you, Chris. It`s an honor to be here.
HAYES: I thought about you as we were working on this opening and composing
it because you have seen the way that societies respond to infectious
disease and plague and acute illness in all kinds of societies. You`ve
worked in all kinds of places. And I`m curious to hear you talk about how
people do deal with mourning and do deal with grief and do kind of find
ways to collectively say that these lives had value and meaning to us.
PAUL FARMER, PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL HEALTH, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, you
know, I`ve never had any experience over the last 35 years of not seeing
people value not only their kin and neighbors, but you know, to mark their
passing. In many ways, taking care of the dead is the last act of
caregiving. And you know that can complicate an epidemic. I mean, it
certainly did with Ebola beginning in 2014 or maybe 2013 in West Africa.
This was a caregiver`s disease, Ebola. So, people who fell sick tend to be
either professional caregivers, doctors, nurses, or family members and
traditional healers, but they were the chief victims if you will. And so,
of course, it was marking the importance of their loved ones lives that put
them at risk. And here with COVID-19, we also see another caregiver`s
HAYES: I wonder how you react to these arguments we hear about these trade-
offs constantly. I mean, at the most abstract level, it is true right, that
when people say look, we could have – you know, we could have a speed
limit of 30 miles per hour and we would lose less people to auto
fatalities. But we don`t do that. There is some – there are some trade-
offs. There are social trade-offs we make about risk and fatality.
But there`s something about the discussion in this context that seems quite
perverse to me, even though there are trade-offs in policy. And I wonder
how they strike your ears as someone who`s thought through how societies
deal with the threat of illness and pandemic.
FARMER: We know the trade-off that we keep hearing about in the news is
between the economy and public health, which again, doesn`t make any sense
to me. These are two sides of the same coin. All of us want to get back to
whatever normal may be, but at the same time, we know that the way that we
can limit the damage prior to having effective therapeutics and a vaccine
is social distancing and the other measures that are being taken.
And unfortunately, many of them too late, but I think a lot of lives have
been saved by not giving into this idea that it`s a trade-off between the
economy and a public health approach. These are the same matters, same
social matters. And so, we should not pit them one against the other.
HAYES: There has been something remarkable to me in many ways about the
American response in this respect, which is, for all the failures, I think,
at the federal level and particularly at testing early on, people really
did do what they needed to do. I mean, there they were – if you said to
someone in January, you know, three months from now, the entire nation will
not be going to work, will be in their homes and homeschooling their kids.
And, you know, you would have said, That`s obviously crazy.
You know, there is part of this, and I wonder if you could speak to it from
your experience, that people do step up and do remarkable things when faced
with a threat of this magnitude.
FARMER: Well, I`m one of those people Chris, who you know, hope – I hope I
didn`t say too often, but I had the last place that I went in as the
epidemic or pandemic was being born as a pandemic were being recognized as
pandemic was Rwanda. And I was there in February. And I was amazed as I
often am by their level of organization, and their commitment to stopping
But, you know, a couple people asked me, what do you think, you know, would
the – you know, what about in the United States? Will people like, adhere
to social distancing regimes, you know, disappear into their homes? I`m not
sure I don`t think I got it right. I`ve been very impressed by the degree
to which Americans have been willing to abide by a series of strictures
that they`ve never seen before.
I mean, none of us have seen this before. I`ve been doing this work for
over 30 years and I`ve never seen anything like this in my life. Whether
thinking about Ebola Zika, cholera, AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, I`ve
never seen like it. And I`ve been impressed by the extent to which the
American people have been willing to make extreme sacrifices in order to
protect themselves and their loved ones.
HAYES: Dr. Paul Farmer, cofounder of Partners in Health, one of the great
sort of public health voices of our time and a personal hero of mine, it`s
really an honor to have you on the program. Thank you.
FARMER: Thank you, Chris. I look forward to joining you again.
HAYES: All right, still ahead, it is the first real big nationwide test,
the real big policies across America. Are you ready for Memorial Day
weekend? Caitlin Rivers of Johns Hopkins on how she views the risk this
HAYES: All 50 states are in some stage of reopening as we head into this
holiday weekend, and people will be outside likely in large numbers.
Beaches in Miami will remain closed this weekend though on places like
Delray Beach Florida, New York, New Jersey Shore, Los Angeles beaches are
cautiously opening along with parks throughout the country.
We`re seeing data from those early opening states that just because the
doors get thrown open, does not mean people are going to rush through them.
Despite Georgia Governor Brian Kemp reopening his stay at the end of April,
data from reservation site OpenTable shows the visits to Georgia
restaurants on Thursday were down 83 percent from the same day last year,
just barely nudging up since the states reopening. And that makes a lot of
Scenes like this from a socially distance concert in Arkansas show just how
different a reopened America will be. Some states and localities are trying
to get close to normal as we approach summer, but this weekend will be a
For more on what this weekend`s activities will mean for the spread of
COVID, I`m joined by someone who has been studying the implications of
reopening policy, Dr. Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins
Center for Health Security, someone that I`ve been really relying on
throughout the pandemic.
So, Doctor, let`s start with your assessment of as we sort of enter the
kind of unofficial beginning of summer, people are going to be, you know,
at the beach or in parks or having barbecues. Like, where things stand,
what you`re optimistic about, what you`re cautious about?
CAITLIN RIVERS, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JOHN HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: We
have made a lot of progress in controlling our epidemic, but we are still
registering around 20,000 new cases a day, that`s down from over 30,000
cases a day. So again, we`ve made progress, but the virus is still out
And so I do think we all need to continue to be vigilant as we
reincorporate more activities in the community. We still need to be careful
about keeping our distance, wearing masks, washing hands, and really
protecting ourselves and our communities from infection.
HAYES: So here`s my question for you. So I think for a long time, I have –
I`ve heard from people that do your job and others right, that the optimal
situation here is a robust testing regimen and a kind of contact trace and
quarantine situation. You`re trying to suppress the virus, you`re finding
positive cases very quickly, and then you`re dealing with them.
Some places are going to have that other places aren`t. So here`s my
question for you. Can the virus stay non-explosive with an R of one say,
right, every infected person giving it to one person, if we just do
physical distancing, ban large gatherings, we do kind of like the 80
percent solution. Like can we – basically, can we get something like
normal or control under those terms?
RIVERS: I think we can stay more or less where we are. I think what will
happen in many communities is that people will keep doing what they should
be doing to protect themselves and their communities. Again, they will be
doing that physical distancing, and that hand hygiene, and I think all of
us taking those measures together will help to control the epidemic spread.
But it`s not the ideal solution of using that diagnostic testing, that
contact tracing and that quarantine, which would have allowed us a little
more flexibility to relax a little bit. Unfortunately, most communities
have not fully transitioned to managing their outbreaks in that way. And so
we do still need to be vigilant.
HAYES: Oh, that`s interesting. So you – there`s sort of a kind of a trade-
off there, right? Like if you have the testing and contact tracing in
place, and you have a sort of robust suppression effort, you really drive
cases down. That matters for how people are assessing the risk and what
they have to do in terms of how close they can get to each other and things
like that is what you`re saying?
RIVERS: It does. This virus likes to spread and so, I think until we have a
vaccine, we will all still need to be thoughtful. But places that have used
diagnostic testing, contact tracing, and quarantine to control their
outbreak have done that very successfully. This is Singapore, Germany,
South Korea. These countries have been very successful. And so I think they
are in a better position than we are right now of still having to be very
observant of these measures.
HAYES: So when you look at – I don`t know if you can see a screen there. I
don`t know if you have what we call return in the business, but we`re
showing images of various beaches, various outdoor places where people are
gathered mostly outside, but there`s a lot of people, and like they`re kind
of keeping space kind of not.
And as an epidemiologist, like I don`t know what to make of these. There`s
some part of me that thinks look, people have been cooped up in their
houses and outside is better than the inside. And there is some sense in
which people are keeping distance, although a lot of people not wearing
masks. What do you – what`s your assessment, as you see these pictures
coming in that will be more and more, you know, common of folks outdoors in
fairly large numbers?
RIVERS: I think there are ways to be outside safely. And I think that`s
great for our physical health and great for our mental health. The pictures
of the beaches I think are stretching it. I think if you have that many
people around you, particularly if you`re not wearing masks, that`s not
going to be as safe as it could be. But that doesn`t mean that we can`t
spend time outside. It just means we need to keep space, we need to avoid
shared spaces like the bathrooms and the concession stands and just be
thoughtful. Don`t give this virus and opportunity to spread.
HAYES: There was a new study out from Imperial College of London, and
they`ve done some disease modeling that has been quite famous or infamous,
I guess, right? They produced a model. I think that that convinced the
Boris Johnson government, the U.K. that you can`t just like, let her rip
and go for herd immunity.
Similarly, I think it helped the White House get its act together because,
you know, it projected these insane fatalities, a million Americans dying.
This is about this is about this again this R.T., right, this number of
what is the – if one person is giving it to one other person, that`s you
know, equilibrium. You stay around the same. If it`s less than that you`re
suppressing. If it`s more than that, you`re growing.
This shows a lot of states very – it`s very unlikely that they`re
suppressing the virus. It`s very unlikely that they have R.T. below zero.
In states like Texas, particularly, Illinois. Is that a concern for you?
RIVERS: It`s a concern in that again, we have not fully transitioned to
tightly managing our outbreak. We still have 20,000 cases a day. And so,
what we don`t want to do is recreate the conditions that led to us all
staying home. But those R.T. estimates as helpful as they are for
understanding how we are progressing through our outbreak can change at any
So just because your state looks like it`s doing well, right now does not
mean that things could not change.
HAYES: What are the factors that are going to drive that? I mean, I keep –
I keep wondering how much of this is policy and how much is random?
RIVERS: It`s a little bit of both. I think that at this point, it really
needs to be about our collective behaviors. At public health and public
health policy is about creating the conditions that allow people to make
those choices successfully. To have the conditions right to be able to make
And so again, I returned to the physical distancing, the masks, the hand
hygiene. That is what we will all need to be doing in order to continue to
control this virus.
HAYES: All right, Dr. Caitlin Rivers of Johns Hopkins University, thank you
so much for making time on this Friday night.
RIVERS: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, there is one other country in the world using the Donald
Trump playbook to respond to coronavirus. Next, Bill Neely reports live
from Sao Paulo, Brazil where the pandemic is getting out of control.
HAYES: Unfortunately, there is a new worse response to COVID contender on
the international scene. You`ve probably seen the charts that track the
cumulative growth of Coronavirus cases as a kind of metric how well various
countries have been handling the pandemic, how bad their outbreaks have
been. And the U.S. there at the top has been bad, right? It`s at the top.
But look what is coming up the hill, Brazil, which right now has one of the
worst outbreaks in the world. Here`s NBC News chief global correspondent
Bill Neely in Brazil.
BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS: On Brazil`s front line, the casualties are mounting
horrifically. Tens of thousands of new cases every day. This intensive care
unit, like most, full.
What is striking is how young people are in here.
DR. ROSANA RICHTMANN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Yeah, it`s incredible,
because most of people is around 40 years old.
NEELY: And some are in their 30s?
RICHTMANN: Yes, yes.
NEELY: The death toll is doubling so fast they can`t dig the graves quickly
enough. These are the most vulnerable living in Latin America`s most
densely populated area, their poverty turbo charging Brazil`s death toll.
People live here sometimes six or seven to a room, so social distancing is
impossible. And if they don`t go out to work, they don`t eat.
You`re worried, it`s difficult.
And they`re scared. Most people don`t wear masks. They can`t get them.
They`ve lost jobs so they are fed by aid groups.
In the center of Brazil`s richest city, the newly jobless line up for food.
Their president announced billions in aid, but he wants lockdowns to end
and Brazil to get back to work.
At a soccer stadium, a new field hospital ready for the next wave. Brazil
say experts still weeks away from its peak of infections.
HAYES: And Bill Neely has been doing great reporting on this and joins me
live tonight from Sao Paulo.
Bill, there is a bunch of things in your reporting that you show that
people`s poverty, the fact that it`s very difficult for them to not work,
particularly if they have jobs that require their physical presence, the
fact that people are living close together, but I wondered if you can talk
a little bit about Bolsonaro`s approach to this, which has been to say the
least distinct from other world leaders in terms of how he`s approached it.
NEELY: Absolutely, Chris, completely defiant and unrepentant. You may
remember that when Brazil passed 5,000 deaths, he was asked about that and
said so what? What do you want me to do? When it passed 10,000 deaths, he
took a trip on a jet ski and said to some people at a barbecue look, 70
percent of the population are going to get this. There is nothing we can
do. Now it`s past 20,000. You might expect some presidents or heads of
state to give a somber speech, no. President Bolsonaro simply doubled down
on the call for the lockdowns to end.
And Chris, just within the last few minutes, Johns Hopkins University
figures show that Brazil is now the second country in the world for cases.
And again, just a few minutes ago, another 1,000 deaths were announced
So there is a crisis here, but as far as President Bolsonaro is concerned,
he`s simply looking the other way.
HAYES: You just mentioned something I`ve been sort of following in this
story that had some echoes here in the U.S., which is obviously there is a
sort of federal system there. There are states and there are mayors that
there are local elected leaders who have been attempting lockdowns, have
been very serious about trying to get people to stay indoors and fight the
virus. And Bolsonaro has been at war with them, essentially. I mean, there
is sort of this battle happening between local leaders and the federal
government, is that right?
NEELY: There is a battle. And probably the two dozen state governors are
actually united in opposition to the president. So he is still calling for
the lock-downs to end. He doesn`t believe in social distancing.
I spoke to the governor of Sao Paolo just a while ago, and he said there
are two viruses in Brazil: one is Coronavirus and the other is Bolsonaro
virus. So, yes, I mean, there is a – and that`s the problem for ordinary
people. You know, in this city there are 20 million people. And as a doctor
said to me today, 10 million people are in lock-down, but 10 million are
out on the streets, so 10 million people potentially are spreading the
infection further and people genuinely don`t know who to listen to.
And in a slum like the one you saw me in, I mean, people were saying to me,
look, I need to go out to work to feed my family, but if I go out to work,
my family might not survive, because I may bring the virus in and infect
them. So, people are really caught and there is no leadership from the top
or at least no united national strategy whatsoever, Chris.
HAYES: Story out of Brazil, it really is one of the most distressing
stories in the world right now what`s happening there. And Bill Neely,
you`ve been doing remarkable reporting on it. Thank you so much for joining
Still ahead, if you are wondering why the president spent another day rage
tweeting at Trump TV, the new polling they just dropped may give you a
clue. We`ll talk about what is an eventful day for both candidates ahead.
HAYES: Today we got news that the attorney for Tara Reade, the former
senate aide to Joe Biden, who has accused him of sexual assault, has
decided to no longer work with her as a client. In a statement that lawyer
said that his decision, quote, is by no means a reflection on whether then
Senator Biden sexual assaulted Ms. Reade.
Joe Biden has vehemently denied Tara Reade`s allegations, as have others
who worked for him during her tenure there. The decision by that attorney
to part ways with Reade comes amid a state of news reports that have
examined her credibility. As someone who has been reporting the details of
the story very closely, as Laura McGann of Vox who has reported on both
workplace sexual harassment and who has been talking to and reporting on
Tara Reade`s story specifically for more than a year.
Earlier this month, she published a great piece entitled “The Agonizing
Story of Tara Reade.”
And Laura, maybe I – I would start with just asking you to sort of take us
through your experience in talking to her, because you sort of document how
her story has changed quite considerably over the course of time you`ve
been in touch with her?
LAURA MCGANN, VOX: Right.
About a year ago, I first spoke with Tara Reade was sort of – I`m thinking
about it, April 2019. And at the time she called me with a really specific
story, a story to me that seemed quite credible. She said that she was
working in Joe Biden`s senate office in 1993 and when she was in meetings
and other situations in the office that Joe Biden would put his hand on her
shoulders or her neck or her hair and it wasn`t that these actions felt
like sexual misconduct to her, she actually told me that she didn`t think
of it as sexual misconduct, but it made her uncomfortable. And so she
complained up the chain. And when she did, she started to sense retaliation
in the office and sort of being frozen out and she felt she was eventually
pushed out from her position in the office.
So that`s the story I started looking into a year ago. And now a year
later, she`s back and she has this new allegation that you just eluded to,
that in addition to the experience in the office, that she`s now also
saying that Joe Biden sexual assaulted her when she was working in the
And the key distinction there is that there`s one version of that story
that might sound like she left out a detail and added a new one, a
significant as it is to say in addition I was sexually assaulted. The key
piece of this story I wanted to tell is the piece that I wrote is that a
year ago she was quite adamant that she had not experienced any kind of
sexual misconduct, that her story was really about office harassment and
retaliation by people who would rather push out a young woman from her
position than have to say to a senator, hey, please stop touching her
shoulder, it makes her uncomfortable.
HAYES: Yeah. And there`s – I mean, there is some contemporaneous
reporting, or at least there are some facts in the record that there was
some means by which she left that office not on the best of terms. This
particular allegation, though, is a very, very different thing than what
she told you. And right now there has been a lot of reporting on her
general credibility, not even pertaining to this, about her past, about her
I wonder how you are interpreting – I mean, it seems to me there is sort
of two issues here, right? One is in any news story, someone`s credibility
is relevant and germane particularly if they say something that is
incredibly important, right, an allegation. there is also sort of all of
this awful history of women who have come forward with allegations being
essentially dragged through the mud, and those two things are kind of
living side by side right now in the case of Tara Reade, and particularly
because I do there is pretty good evidence that she hasn`t been
particularly forthcoming or truthful on a number of things other than this
as a sort of general matter.
MCGANN: Here is what I would say. If tomorrow a document surfaced that
showed Joe Biden paid Tara Reade money to settle a dispute and say you may
never speak of this sexual assault, she`s not saying it exists, I`m not
saying it exists, but as a hypothetical, if that existed no one would care
about her, you know, could she make her rent? Did she bounce a check in the
`90s? Does she write weird poetry about Vladimir Putin? It would be
The issue is that the story doesn`t have that kind of corroborating
evidence. What we have is her word and the word of some of her friends, or
people – a neighbor and a friend of hers and her brother and over the
course of the last year, her story has shifted and their story has shifted.
And what I – the reason I find this story so agonizing is that`s all we
have. And it`s not that – to me, it`s not that someone isn`t telling the
truth if I can`t corroborate their story, but it`s sort of function of
being a journalist that we have to get more than one person`s word to be
able to tell something so serious.
HAYES: And that point about – I mean, the brother has sort of said that he
had been told about this, and the neighbor who we have talked about in our
reporting, and it is important to note, as you do, that those stories have
changed around the edges and sometimes substantially, as well, right. It`s
not just Tara Reade`s story, but also like to the extent there were sort of
something akin to contemporaneous corroboration, that has shifted, as well.
MCGANN: Right. I spoke to kind of her core lady, best friend from the `90s
who she said she had spoken to in 1993 about this and I called her and I
spoke to her a year ago, and she told me a very similar story to Tara`s
story, which was this is not about sexual misconduct. And she actually said
to me I went back through my notes from a year ago and I had remembered her
saying something to me. And I went back and looked at it and I called her
up and I said you said to me Joe Biden never tried to kiss her, that Joe
Biden never tried to touch her in that way, in a way that crossed a line,
it was always kind of, oh, did you take it that way? A little bit – a
And she said that specifically what she found creepy was that Joe Biden did
that kind of stuff, which we all know he has done on camera and that type
of behavior and I personally think that is inappropriate, but that was the
variety she was talking about. And I asked her then so why would you say –
why would you exonerate Joe Biden? I understand leaving a detail out, but
why did you tell me a story where you really led me to believe that these
things never happened to your friend and how is a friend, you know, that`s
hard to imagine as a friend to imagine telling a reporter this powerful man
did not do these things to my friend. And that to me is very different than
saying, you know, I didn`t want to tell a friend`s whole story.
I really pushed her on it. You know, we had a back and forth about it and I
think a theme of article I wrote, somebody told me she felt uncomfortable
reading the whole thing. And I said yeah, that`s about right. The whole
thing is uncomfortable and it`s – it is.
And I had this uncomfortable conversation with this person. And she said, I
don`t know why I said that, it just came out naturally. And there is just
no – there is no resolution to that, you know. She`s saying I`m telling
the truth. And I can`t – I can`t give her truth serum. We can`t find old
video of what really happened, we just don`t have that.
HAYES: Lauren McGann who wrote that piece for Vox, which you should
definitely check out and read the whole thing, even if it is sort of
uncomfortable at points. Thank you, Laura.
MCGANN: You`re welcome, thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next up, could President Trump cost Republicans the Senate in 2020?
The polling out of Arizona and Georgia that should have the GOP worried
HAYES: Recent polls show Donald Trump`s plan for re-election not going
great. After a Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday found Biden leading
Trump by 11 points, a Fox News poll showed Biden leading Trump by eight
points, prompting the president to tweet Fox News should fire their fake
And Trump`s struggles also seem to be pulling down GOP candidates in
traditionally Republican states, including Senator Martha McSally in
Arizona and Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia.
Joining me now for more on the state of the 2020 race are Sam Seder, host
of the Majority Report with Sam Seder, and Zerlina Maxwell, co-host of the
show Signal Boost.
Let`s just start with the sort of general state of things. Zerlina, I`ll
start with you, which is I do feel like – I said this the other day on the
show – that the basics here are as straightforward as can be, which is
right now the equilibrium is the country is in terrible shape and the
incumbent president is not doing particularly well in polling, that`s
basically where things stand.
ZERLINA MAXWEELL, CO-HOST, SIGNAL BOOST: Yes, I mean it`s not a surprise to
anybody who`s watching the president`s news conferences every day, that the
Republican Party, who continues to defend that conduct, is going to see
their poll numbers go down.
What I think, though, the Democrats, and really Americans who want to see a
change in November, in the Senate and the White House, what they need to
think about, though, is not how much support or what percentage of support
Donald Trump has, I don`t think that is going to change, what will change
is the amount of people in that portion of the electorate.
So, you know, his base has pretty much remained stagnant, but I think there
are fewer and fewer Americans in that percentage of the overall American
electorate, and what I think going forward will be interesting to see is
the Democratic strategy in these states.
In a state like Georgia, for example, you already saw Stacey Abrams run
against Brian Kemp, narrowly defeated, among a lot of controversy, but one
of the most important things about that coalition that she was able to
build is that it was multi-racial and it was the highest turnout in the
history of mid-term elections.
And so we can do that again, you just have to go to the base of the
Democratic Party, just like Trump goes to the base of his party all the
time, and try to get those people to lead the House, because some people
voted for Trump, but more people stayed home.
HAYES: Sam, there`s been this back and forth about sort of Biden and the
strategy here. And I have – I think I have come around to the view that it
is inescapably a referendum on the president, it is particularly
inescapably a referendum on the president in the midst of a historical
cataclysm that has cost 100,000 Americans their lives. And that just lean
into that, like I really do think that that is the best political strategy
at this moment. What do you think?
SAM SEDER, CO-HOST, MAJORITY REPORT: I think it is the best political
strategy for Joe Biden. I`m not sure that would be the case, you know, a
myriad of, several of the other candidates but for Joe Biden, I would say
yes. And in this context, this context of Coronavirus, I think that – I
think it`s a good fit, for Joe Biden.
I mean I think one of the things that we`ve been seeing is that the
Republicans seem to have trouble finding some type of toehold to suppress
enthusiasm for Joe Biden. I mean, you know, Obama-gate does not feel like
they have figured that out. I mean that is not – the idea that they`re
talking about Barack Obama in May of 2020, in a million years I would have
never guessed that that would be the strategy, or at least what they`re
putting forward to try and run against the Democratic nominee. That`s –
it`s bizarre. And I think it`s a function of their inability to get a toe-
hold against Joe Biden.
HAYES: Yeah, I agree. And today was the sort of perfect example that. So I
want to play this interview that he did with Breakfast Club host
Charlamagne tha God, which got – which is of the news cycle campaign
stories that we`re used to, I will play you the exchange and then get your
thoughts. Zerlina, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD, BREAKFAST CLUB HOST: It`s a long way to November. We
got more questions.
JOE BIDEN, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You got more questions. I tell you,
if you have a problem figuring out whether you`re for me or Trump and you
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: It doesn`t have anything to do with Trump, it has to
do with the fact that I want something for my community. I would love to
BIDEN: Take a look at my record, man. I extended the Voting Rights Act 25
years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me
every time I`ve run. I mean, come on. Take a look at the record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, extremely classic 200-proof Biden there, and a bunch of
different ways. I found that, you know, that`s a cringe inducing thing to
say. Your thoughts on that exchange, Zerlina.
MAXWELL: Look, I feel a lot of empathy for the staffers today that have to
work – to clean that up, because I do think it revealed a weakness in his
candidacy, which is that he`s gaffe-prone. And on certain issues you just
don`t have any room for that.
On the issue of race, you really can`t make a lot of mistakes. I remember
an incident in 2016 where Hillary went on the same show with Charlamagne
the God, the Breakfast Club, and talked about…
HAYES: I remember, too.
MAXWELL: …and talked about (inaudible), which was a line from the Beyonce
Now, it was a fact that Hillary Clinton loves hot sauce and literally had a
bottle in her bag. I saw it there during the interview. And still, it
became this thing where, oh, Hillary is pandering to black people by
talking about hot sauce and referencing this cultural touchstone of being
And so I think there is this narrow line you have to walk. This is
different. This was a gaffe he shouldn`t have said it. I`m glad he
apologized. But I do think the Biden campaign has some weakness here. Can i
think that`s why in my opinion they should pick a black woman as vice
president. I think that would help to have somebody in the tent who can
help you with your cultural competency issues when you`re gaffe-prone.
HAYES: Well, but see here`s – to Zerlina`s point, Sam – yeah, go ahead.
BIDEN: Well, you know, what I was also struck was by Charlamagne`s follow-
up, which is I want something material to bring back to my community. And
Joe Biden had no answer for that. I mean, he said, you know, I`ve
authorized the Voting Rights Act.
Well, I mean let`s be honest, every single senator in 2006 or `07, I mean,
except for maybe four, and so I`m including the vast majority of
Republicans also authorized the Voting Rights Act. That`s not a terribly –
that should be a baseline, never mind for a Democratic senator, any
senator, for that matter. And so the fact that he couldn`t respond with,
well, I`m glad – you know, I know you want stuff for your community, and
here`s some of the ideas that I have to bring you some material benefits.
So I mean i agree with Zerlina, I think we should have a vice president, a
woman of color, but I would also like to see that vice president woman of
color offer and bring to the ticket some plans and some proactive measures
to bring material benefit to people.
And I think that is hugely important. And I think that`s got overshadowed
at the end of his question.
HAYES: The one thing about my one take on this in terms of just sort of the
surface politics of it, Zerlina, your point there I think it encapsulates
to me what is fascinating and in some ways I think maddening in retrospect
about the difference in 2016 and 2020. Hot sauce in the bag will become a
meme and attached to Hillary Clinton, and that toe-hold you were talking
about, Sam, was everything she said got that, and right now the Trump
people are looking at Biden being like it doesn`t work, it doesn`t work.
This is not going to be a meme – like it doesn`t work. And there`s a whole
book to be written about why that is the case with Joe Biden in 2020, and
it was the case with Hillary Clinton 2016.
Sam Seder and Zerlina Maxwell, thank you both.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the