Inside Brazil TRANSCRIPT: 5/22/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Paul Farmer, Caitlin Rivers, Sam Seder, Zerlina Maxwell, Laura McGann


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.




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.





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.




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

feel impossible.


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

of stories.


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.




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).




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.



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

this epidemic.


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

weekend next.




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

big test.


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?



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

those choices.


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.



because most of people is around 40 years old.


NEELY: 40?




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

us tonight.


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?




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

little off.


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

after this.




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.





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

ain`t black…


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.




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

album Lemonade.


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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