US emergency TRANSCRIPT: 3/13/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests:
William Schaffner, Saralyn Mark, Gillian Tett, Farah Stockman, Maxine Waters, Tony Schwartz, Erick Sermon, E.J. Dionne
Transcript:

 

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now. 

 

Good evening. 

 

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much. 

 

We join you tonight as we report on a health crisis that is changing 

everything. And, tonight, we have the facts and experts to get you through 

it.

 

As the week draws to a close, consider what`s changed. When this very week 

began, coronavirus hadn`t been declared a pandemic or a national emergency 

in the U.S. And while it was straining life around the world, to be sure, 

it had not fundamentally upended American life yet. 

 

Now, tonight, we can report, as you know, all those things are changing, 

the president declaring the U.S. officially under an emergency declaration 

for the first time today. President Trump also saying he takes no 

responsibility for the failures in testing thus far, as this world reels 

from the ongoing pandemic, stocks also rebounding. 

 

Now, here are the latest facts, right now in the United States, more than 

2,100 cases, the markets coming back exactly 9.3 percent today. That`s 

after the historic crash yesterday. And 23 states are now operating under 

various forms of emergencies, emergency declarations from their governors. 

 

As for this new national one? Well, it directs $50 billion in new federal 

funding freed up to address the crisis. It will also help waive certain 

types of rules for doctors and hospitals dealing with all this. 

 

Now, this kind of crisis is always, for any country, a test of leadership. 

In the United States, everyone knows the question, the phrase, where does 

the buck stop? 

 

Well, now, walking out to address the nation to declare a national 

emergency Donald Trump made one thing very clear when questioned on that. 

Donald Trump says that buck doesn`t stop with him. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

QUESTION: Dr. Fauci said earlier this week that the lag in testing was, in 

fact, a failing. Do you take responsibility for that? 

 

And when can you guarantee that every single American who needs a test will 

be able to have a test? What`s the date of that? 

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. 

 

No, I don`t take responsibility at all, because we were given a set of 

circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications 

from a different time. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: Donald Trump also criticizing the coronavirus relief package bill 

that House Democrats have introduced.

 

We should note there was reportedly from both sides ongoing negotiations 

between Speaker Pelosi and Donald Trump`s treasury secretary, Steve 

Mnuchin. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The three most important parts of this bill are 

testing, testing, testing. 

 

This legislation facilitates free coronavirus testing for everyone who 

needs a test, including the uninsured. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: Testing is way to find out some information for yourself about 

yourself, if you`re in that situation.

 

It goes from the unknown in a medical sense to the known. But around the 

country, of course, there is much that we don`t know, and precautions are 

being taken, American life continuing to change as different communities 

try to figure out how to manage the risk of the unknown, public schools now 

in seven states just straight-up closed, Louisiana postponing Tuesday 

night`s Democratic primary. 

 

That`s a big deal. The legendary Boston Marathon, of course, a symbol of 

our strength and resilience, something that many people flocked to after it 

was attacked brutally by terrorists in 2013, well, it`s been postponed for 

the first time in 124 years. 

 

The changes are all aimed at slowing the spread of this virus, health 

officials stressing what people can do, what you can do to manage the risk 

and contain potential damage. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: When you look at the historical 

perspective of these types of outbreaks, they go along like this, then they 

start to come up, and then they take a big spike, they peak, and they come 

down, if you don`t do anything.

 

What you hope to do is to get that peak become a little bit of a hump. Now, 

that hump is going to be still a lot of people are going to get infected, 

and a lot of people are going to get sick, but, hopefully, it will be much, 

much less than the major peaks. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: I`m joined now by Dr. Saralyn Mark, a former medical adviser to 

HHS, NASA and the Obama White House, and Dr. William Schaffner, a professor 

of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt and a CDC 

adviser. 

 

Dr. Mark, what did you think of what we saw in the press conference, and 

what do Americans need to know tonight? 

 

DR. SARALYN MARK, FORMER WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL ADVISER: Well, I think it was 

reassuring the finally have the declaration of emergency.

 

I think many of us have been waiting for it. It frees up resources and 

assets. And it provides the assistance that the states so desperately need. 

 

We`re in uncharted waters. We`re dealing with a novel coronavirus. We don`t 

have a test that can actually be used in a practice setting at the moment 

by many, many physicians and nurses around the country. 

 

So we need really all hands on deck. So I think that was a good sign that 

we`re moving forward in this, and I think we have been waiting for it for a 

little while. 

 

MELBER: Dr. Schaffner, I want to play something from Minneapolis. We have 

been tracking all kinds of different parts of information, reporting, much 

of it written, when you look at the types of problems that are being 

managed and tracked. 

 

But this is something that we were hearing from people with experience in 

an E.R. Take a listen. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DR. JOHN HICK, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: There`s not a lot of room to 

accommodate a pandemic. We will do the best we can.

 

Honestly, in Italy and in China, in a lot of cases, because of how 

overwhelmed those hospitals were, they were getting the same treatments 

they would have gotten in the 1950s. We don`t want to get there. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: Your view of that and everything else from today?

 

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, DEPARTMENT OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE CHAIRMAN, 

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, actually, you know, it`s true. We don`t have a 

lot of built-in surge capacity to our hospitals. 

 

But virtually every institution in this country, every hospital, has a 

pandemic preparedness plan. And we have one which we have rehearsed at 

Vanderbilt. 

 

And if the load in our emergency room becomes too much, we have plans to 

actually discharge patients absolutely as quickly as we can. We might stop 

elective admissions and open up other wards. So we have ways to accommodate 

many patients with respiratory illnesses that we wouldn`t under normal 

circumstances. 

 

So we have response mechanisms. Are they perfect? No, but they are 

responsive. And we can do a good job with that. 

 

MELBER: Dr. Mark, take a listen to Dr. Fauci again, who we have all come to 

rely on over this week, as he speaks in more detail about this timeline. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

FAUCI: It will likely be anywhere from a few weeks to up to eight weeks or 

more. I hope it`s going to be in the earlier part, let`s say two, three, 

four weeks. But it`s really impossible to make an accurate prediction. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: Certainly fair to caveat how difficult this is. But what is your 

view of the timeline, as Americans try to understand, when they look at 

closures and precautions, the kind of viable timeline we`re discussing?

 

And, as well, I wanted to ask both of you, when we see the reported cases 

in the United States from yesterday to today – and, again, everyone 

understands reporting is only part of it – when we see them go up a third 

or more from yesterday to today, what does that mean? Does that give any 

insight into where we are in this timeline? 

 

MARK: Well, I think the challenge that we have had is that we just haven`t 

had a test available. 

 

There are probably many, many cases, thousands and thousands of cases that 

we just haven`t detected by a test. So we have to operate with the best 

practices that we can. I know patients have gone to facilities, they are 

symptomatic, they haven`t been able to get tested. Some hospitals have 

stated that unless you are so symptomatic that you require a 

hospitalization, we`re not going to give the test. 

 

So what we have to do is do our best practice in regard to medicine. I 

think, in regard to timelines, we look overseas to see how other countries 

have done. That gives us an indication, a window. 

 

But I really can`t stress enough that it is time now to prepare, our 

patients, our communities and certainly, as we have heard, our health care 

systems. The window is narrowing. 

 

MELBER: Dr. Schaffner? 

 

SCHAFFNER: Well, actually, Ari, it`s paradoxical. We`re finding more cases 

because we`re looking harder. The harder you look, the more you find. 

 

This means that testing is actually getting out there. And we`re beginning 

to define how widely distributed this virus is across the country. Are 

there hot spots, or is it rather uniformly distributed across the country? 

 

I hope we keep finding more cases, because that will get us closer to what 

the reality is. 

 

MELBER: Dr. Schaffner, my thanks to you too. 

 

Dr. Mark, please stay with me. 

 

We have some other experts joining us. I want to dig a little deeper into 

what`s happening with the Congress. They`re planning to vote tonight on 

this aid package, multibillion-dollar price tag, which could continue to 

evolve. A series of potential aid packages over a month is one thing under 

discussion.

 

Politico reporting all of this could actually cost – get this – more than 

those huge and controversial bank bailouts of 2008. Now, are their 

positives? Look at the Dow already gaining 2,000 points. This is actually 

the largest one-day gain since October 2008. What goes down sometimes comes 

back up, all of this after a week of wild fluctuations.

 

We wanted to show you here the worst single-day drop sense, of course, the 

Black Monday of 1987. That was yesterday. 

 

And now we have an update we have been waiting for. This is brand-new.

 

Moments ago, Speaker Pelosi announcing they have reached a formal agreement 

on this first bill to respond to the coronavirus crisis. 

 

Having gotten our medical information, we want to go to the road ahead. 

 

I`m joined by “The Financial Times”` Gillian Tett and E.J. Dionne of “The 

Washington Post.” 

 

Nice to see you both. 

 

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Good to be with you. 

 

GILLIAN TETT, “THE FINANCIAL TIMES”: Good to be with you. 

 

MELBER: Both of you are here for very specific reasons.

 

On the politics, E.J., what does it mean to discover that, under these 

terrible conditions, Congress can act swiftly, the Trump administration can 

bargain, and we have the outlines of, initially, some sort of bipartisan 

deal?

 

DIONNE: Well, I don`t know what`s in the deal, but that is one of the first 

truly reassuring things of the week. 

 

I think the other reassuring thing is whenever a medical professional 

talks, rather than President Trump. I think it was so striking that the 

market just collapsed after that speech he gave.

 

Today`s news conference, a lot of it was Dr. Fauci giving information. I 

think that it would have been awful if Congress couldn`t have reached 

agreement on some very basic things. What do they want to do? As Nancy 

Pelosi said – you had the clip earlier – free testing.

 

It`s absurd that, when you need to stop a virus, you have to have everybody 

getting tested who`s needing. That`s a big deal. Paid sick leave. We`re 

asking people to stay home from work. And if they don`t get paid, they have 

no incentive to stay home. And what kind of situation are they in?

 

And then unemployment insurance, because people pulling out of a lot of the 

activities that they would normally engage in is going to cause a lot of 

people to lose work. 

 

So I would hope that this minimal package and hopefully some food aid to 

kids who aren`t going to school could get through at a time like this. I 

hope those are all components of the deal. 

 

MELBER: You mentioned that the president`s national address did not calm 

the markets. And according to many, it didn`t calm parts of the public. 

 

Well, he was back at it today. Take a look at this back and forth about 

policy and vacancies in the federal government. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, “PBS NEWSHOUR”: My first question is, you said that you 

don`t take responsibility, but you did disband the White House pandemic 

office, and the officials that were working in that office left this 

administration abruptly. 

 

So what responsibility do you take to that? And the officials that worked 

in that office said that you – that the White House lost valuable time 

because that office was disbanded. What do you make of that? 

 

TRUMP: Well, I just think it`s a nasty question because what we`ve done is 

– and Tony has said numerous times that we`ve saved thousands of lives.

 

And when you say me, I didn`t do it. We have a group of people. I could…

 

ALCINDOR: It`s your administration. 

 

TRUMP: I could ask perhaps - my administration. But I could perhaps ask 

Tony about that, because I don`t know anything about it. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: E.J., do anything about it? 

 

DIONNE: That was really shocking, but not surprising. That`s what the 

president often is.

 

His administration did shut down an office in the National Security Council 

and a center at DHS whose jobs involved monitoring viruses, getting ready -

- getting us ready for situations like this, and he did shut them down. 

 

And I thought – and you played it earlier – the quote that will be the 

epitaph for this administration, if it doesn`t get out of this mess, is, “I 

don`t take responsibility at all.”

 

MELBER: At all. 

 

DIONNE: I heard that. And I wondered, how many ads are the Democrats going 

to run? 

 

One of the pictures in their ads, they are going to run with the words, “I 

don`t take responsibility at all.” And that answer was an example of that. 

 

MELBER: Yes, E.J., stay with us. 

 

I have got Gillian Tett here in our newsroom. 

 

We don`t, frankly, follow the markets day to day. There`s a whole other set 

of financial…

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

TETT:  Yes, it`s kind of hard not to this week. 

 

MELBER: Right. 

 

There`s a whole set of other financial media that does just that. 

 

TETT: Yes. 

 

MELBER: But I think our viewers understand we look at it when it gets this 

big. 

 

We turn to you as an expert on that.

 

Just walk us through big picture, not even just today, but this week. What 

happened?

 

TETT: This week was nuts. 

 

If you go back to 1924 and look at the table of the top 20 days with the 

biggest movements in share prices, three out of the five days this week 

were in that table. You have had incredible swings down 10 percent, swings 

back up 10 percent. 

 

And, frankly, I don`t think that volatility is going to go away anytime 

soon, because the timing of what happened today with the president was very 

important. Stocks went down dramatically yesterday, and then came back a 

bit in the morning.

 

When the president stood up and started to speak, they initially started 

falling again. And the moment when they started rallying dramatically, just 

before the markets closed, was actually when the CEOs and his health 

officials started speaking. 

 

And people said, yes, at least they have a plan. They`re working with 

businesses to try and get these testing kits out. And that was certainly 

very good news. 

 

But it`s quite striking that, after the markets closed – and the press 

conference took place just before the market closed – then came the news 

that in fact Pelosi has not got a deal with the White House yet to get this 

all-important bill out for how people are going to get covered, 

financially, if they need to get the test. 

 

MELBER: You`re saying that`s what the markets were looking at before this 

evening, where now she says she has it.

 

TETT: Exactly. 

 

And now she says she hasn`t got it.

 

MELBER: Has got it. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TETT: Well, there`s a lot of confusion about what`s actually happening. 

 

MELBER: Well, I can help with that. 

 

I have got a letter from Speaker Pelosi. That was the news we`re reporting 

tonight, where she says: “The coronavirus crisis presents this grave 

threat. We have done this today. The House has taken the next steps.”

 

And she outlines, she says, an agreement on economic security, food 

security, and health security. And that`s just – just now.

 

TETT: If that deal has come through, that will certainly help support 

sentiment. 

 

But the thing that the markets are really reacting to right now is a 

realization that, if we`re looking at four weeks, several months of 

closures, of measures, that`s going to really seriously damage the economy. 

 

It`s going to tip it into recession. You`re already seeing big companies 

like Delta and United essentially saying, we`re going to use some kind of 

government support. A host of companies are tapping out their banks 

desperately.

 

MELBER: So to two things on that while I have you as our expert on this.

 

TETT: Yes. 

 

MELBER: Number one, how much of that is about the real economy now? I mean, 

everyone can see in their own communities people going out less, all the 

real stuff. 

 

And how much of that is the market pricing in the uncertainty and the risk 

of, as we just heard the doctors say, could be weeks, could be longer, we 

don`t know what we`re up against?

 

TETT: It`s a combination of markets hating uncertainty in general, and 

having had a very nasty psychological shock, because they didn`t see this 

one coming. 

 

And so they`re reeling from this. 

 

MELBER: OK. 

 

And the other question I have for you, because you mentioned what the 

experts are saying – and we never shoot the messenger around here. So 

you`re not saying it, but I will ask you the question. 

 

Why is it that these industries – you mentioned airline, travel – that 

are hit, they get hit for a week or two, and they immediately want a 

government bailout, they want government funds

 

What about all the people across the country who have student debt crisis, 

people who have health care-related bankruptcies? What about them right 

now? 

 

TETT: I think that`s a very good question, indeed. And you`re going to see 

a lot of pain. It`s almost always the most vulnerable who get hit in crises 

like that.

 

You`re going to hear some heartrending stories. And you`re also going to 

hear about other parts of the world which are extending aid pretty rapidly 

to the vulnerable population. I mean, in Germany right now, they`re 

spending a lot of government money to try and help vulnerable people and 

vulnerable small companies are getting hit. 

 

So there`s going to be a lot more arguing in Congress about what could or 

should be done to help protect the vulnerable. But the key thing people 

need to understand is that, at the start of the year, there was huge 

optimism in the stock markets and among CEOs that America was going to have 

a another strong year of growth. 

 

People were saying, would it be 1 percent, 2 percent? But it was going to 

be strong. Now a majority people in the markets are expecting a recession. 

And that changes things. 

 

And although Donald Trump keeps tweeting that the Federal Reserve has to 

cut rates again, and although the Fed is having a crucial meeting next 

week, when it probably will cut rates again, maybe even to almost zero, 

which, by the way, is extraordinary, there`s a growing number of people in 

the markets who don`t think that`s going to help much. 

 

MELBER: We`re over on time. 

 

E.J. Dionne, 20 seconds. 

 

If you listen to Gillian here, it sounds like everything just changed for 

President Trump. 

 

DIONNE: I think that`s absolutely right. 

 

I think two big things changed. It looks like Joe Biden is going to be the 

nominee. He makes Trump very nervous. And President Trump has been below 50 

percent approval with a good economy. It`s very hard to see what his 

numbers are going to look like, except that they`re going to go down, given 

what is likely to happen to this economy this year. 

 

I hope it won`t, for the sake of the economy, but I think it`s going to 

change the election. 

 

MELBER: A lot of interesting and important insights here, both from our two 

doctors who joined us, as well as Gillian Tett and E.J. Dionne.

 

E.J.`s book, by the way, “Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can 

Unite to Save Our Country.”

 

We have a lot more in this broadcast tonight, including the testing crisis, 

states having drive-throughs, others with all kinds of shortages. We have a 

reporter who says this is downright Kafkaesque, also how our nation`s 

institutions can respond.

 

And leading by example? Donald Trump, well, he was out with these 

officials, but shaking hands. Given all the precautions we have heard, that 

was an odd one. Speaker Pelosi taking it a different way, you see right 

there, with the elbow bump.

 

And, tonight, a newsworthy interview. Maxine Waters, chair of the Financial 

Services Committee, is here.

 

I`m Ari Melber. And you`re watching a special edition of THE BEAT on MSNBC. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP: We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very 

safely, quickly, and conveniently, but we don`t want people to take a test 

if we feel that they shouldn`t be doing it, and we don`t want everyone 

running out and taking it, only if you have certain symptoms.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: President Trump discussing the major failing that everyone has 

heard about in the U.S. Trump administration coronavirus response thus far, 

the testing.

 

The U.S. has been lagging far behind many other nations, including South 

Korea. Donald Trump very clearly not taking responsibility and going 

further to say it`s not his fault. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

QUESTION: Dr. Fauci said earlier this week that the lag in testing was, in 

fact, a failing. Do you take responsibility for that? 

 

And when can you guarantee that every single American who needs a test will 

be able to have a test? What`s the date of that? 

 

TRUMP: Yes. 

 

No, I don`t take responsibility at all, because we were given a set of 

circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications 

from a different time. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: Now, a few states have opened drive-through testing centers. 

Demand, though, far outstrips supply, “The New York Times” has reported. 

 

Meanwhile, many people across the country who are sick or symptomatic are 

being denied the test – quote – “even though they have been in proximity 

to someone who tested positive and even though they had fevers and hacking 

coughs and lived in cities with growing outbreaks.”

 

We`re joined now by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and “New York Times” 

reporter Farah Stockman, who wrote that very article.

 

You are busy. Thanks for making some time. 

 

What should viewers know about what you were finding in your reporting? 

 

FARAH STOCKMAN, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, the biggest takeaway was that 

we`re only testing a very small number of people. 

 

So you have to be very sick to get a test in most places. And so, if you 

consider that 80 percent of people who have the new coronavirus have only 

mild symptoms, there`s a little lot of people walking around out there who 

have it and don`t know they have it and may never know they have it. And 

they`re spreading it, which is why we`re seeing school closings and all of 

that. 

 

MELBER: Let me play something.

 

Again, we have been mixing our data and our public health reporting with 

the qualitative reporting. This is a woman in Seattle. We had the mayor 

from there yesterday, obviously, one of the most hard-hit areas, discussing 

basically contracting it from a small gathering.

 

Take a listen. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

ELIZABETH SCHNEIDER, RECOVERING FROM CORONAVIRUS: Several of us friends 

went to the doctor, and they were refused coronavirus tests because they 

also didn`t have a cough. 

 

So we enrolled in a research study, the Seattle flu study. Then, the last 

couple of weeks, due to the public health emergency, especially emerging 

here in the Seattle area, they started testing for COVID-19. 

 

So I submitted a nasal swab sample. And then, this past Saturday, I got a 

call from the research coordinator saying my sample had tested positive. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: How does one story like that relate to what you have been finding 

in your reporting? 

 

STOCKMAN: Well, when I started reporting this maybe two weeks ago, most of 

the people that I talked to, I thought, all these people are probably the 

worried well. These people are probably OK. They have a cold and they`re 

hypochondriacs, or they`re a little bit nervous about this virus. 

 

But, man, in the last two weeks, we have seen community transmission. We 

have seen cases like this, where they weren`t actually so sick that they 

should be hospitalized. Some of them would not meet the criteria for a test 

here in Boston. 

 

And yet they were positive, and they only found out they were positive 

because of the Seattle flu study. That – it`s a scandal. It`s crazy. 

 

We actually – the truth is, we just don`t know how many people have this, 

because we`re not testing enough. And the more that – the more people I 

talk to, the more I realized that this is out there, and people are – even 

in the best of times, it`s very hard to know navigate the U.S. health care 

system. 

 

But right now, it`s just almost impossible for somebody who hasn`t been to 

Wuhan, China ,and isn`t just on death`s doorstep to get a test in a lot of 

cities.

 

MELBER: As you say, people are navigating a complete health care maze, 

often with dead ends, even when they get through parts of it. I appreciate 

your context on the numbers. 

 

We have been trying to be very clear with people on what we know and don`t 

know. And this is a scary time, but does not need to be a panic time. 

 

STOCKMAN: Sure.

 

MELBER: On the screen, we have the case count, which, as you emphasize, for 

the reasons you stated, is a floor, not a ceiling. 

 

STOCKMAN: Yes. 

 

MELBER: With that in mind, a final question to you would be, how should 

people understand that case count? It`s gone up over 30 percent since 

yesterday, to what people see here, over 2,100 U.S. reported. 

 

STOCKMAN: We are just catching up to this. 

 

And so that is the – that is a tiny percentage of the people in the United 

States who have the virus. It just is, because most of the people who have 

it will not have symptoms that will – that will meet the criteria for 

getting tested. 

 

And so that`s why things like social distancing, washing your hands, is 

really important. And if you look at a country like South Korea, they have 

tested, I think, 240,000 people. One out of every 250 people in South Korea 

have been tested. It`s free. It`s easy. They go through a drive-through and 

they get a text message in the morning. 

 

We`re so far away from that. But we – epidemiologists will say, we need to 

be testing a lot of people so that we know how prevalent this is in the 

community, and we know whether things that we`re doing are working.

 

So, when we close the school, is it working? We don`t – we have no data, 

so we don`t even know that. We`re kind of flying blind here. 

 

MELBER: Well, your report helps us fly a slightly little bit less blind. 

So, shout-out to investigative reporting and storytelling, as we go 

forward.

 

Farah Stockman, thank you so much. 

 

STOCKMAN: Thank you. 

 

MELBER: Appreciate it. 

 

We`re going to turn to the emergency coronavirus aid deal, breaking news 

tonight. 

 

We have the chair of the Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, when 

we`re back in 30 seconds. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MELBER: Breaking news on this busy Friday night.

 

Late today, Speaker Pelosi has now for the first time announced the 

reaching of a formal deal with the Trump White House on the first emergency 

coronavirus bill. 

 

This includes, according to these initial summaries, a type of free 

testing, including the uninsured, paid sick leave measures and other things 

that add up to a price tag of – get this – over $8 billion. 

 

Let`s get right into it with really one of the most perfect guests you 

could ask for, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial 

Services Committee. 

 

I know it`s a busy working Friday night. Thank you for joining me on THE 

BEAT. 

 

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): You`re so welcome. I`m delighted to be with you 

and to try and share information and help people to understand what we`re 

trying to do, and help to keep some calm, but have people know that this is 

serious. We have an emergency. 

 

MELBER: So, in that vein, what are the broad outlines, as you understand 

it, of the deal coming out? What will it do? 

 

WATERS: Well, this is going to be focused a lot on testing. 

 

We have a real serious problem with testing. First of all, we have so many 

people who need testing who can`t get testing. I have a friend that I 

happened to call today. And she had gone to UCLA after having symptoms, 

real symptoms. 

 

They gave her a test for influenza, and then told her she didn`t have 

influenza. And she said, what about the coronavirus test? And they said 

they were not giving that test. 

 

And she called a friend who has great influence. And they told her to stay 

there, don`t leave. And this friend with great influence at UCLA forced 

them to give her the test. So they gave her the test, but they couldn`t 

give her the results in any short period of time. 

 

So they sent her home. So when I talked to her at home, she was in great 

pain, had terrific headaches, coughing, and a fever. And she was waiting on 

the results from the test that they had been forced to give her at UCLA. 

 

And I don`t know what`s happening. I got to check back to see if she ever 

got the results of that test. But I do know this. She and her daughter are 

basically alone. And I had to inquire about, did she have food in the 

house? What was going on? 

 

She said someone was going to bring some food and leave it on the 

doorsteps. But this is a situation, I think, that is typical of what is 

happening in this country. Unfortunately, we were not prepared. 

 

The greatest country in the world was not prepared for this pandemic. And 

it`s unfortunate.

 

MELBER: Well, on that, let me ask you…

 

WATERS: Yes. 

 

MELBER: … as a member of Congress, when you see the president come out 

and declare a national emergency, and then say he takes “no responsibility 

at all” – end quote – your response? 

 

WATERS: Well, one of the problems that we have is that there`s not a lot of 

trust from the average American in the president of the United States. 

 

Unfortunately, he has been documented to have lied so many times, to 

distort, to change the story. And so one of the things we look for in a 

leader, and particularly the president of the United States, is the kind of 

leadership where people can trust you because of the way you have conducted 

yourself as you have led this presidency, as you have been in the 

presidency. 

 

And so that starts out being a problem. 

 

So, he started out being a problem and giving misinformation, and talking 

about it was going to disappear and all of that. And now he`s doing 

cleanup.

 

And that`s OK. And I don`t want to blame him for that. I want him to roll 

out with some real facts and some real information. But then he steps on 

his own attempt to get credibility by saying he takes no responsibility for 

the lack of testing that we have had going on in this country. 

 

So, we have just got to do everything that we can, elected officials. Nancy 

Pelosi has been negotiating with Mnuchin all day. And we`re trying to come 

to an agreement. I think we`re there at this point. But we have to keep 

pushing and pushing very hard. 

 

We have got to make sure that private companies who can develop the test 

are not held up from doing it. They can`t get caught up in bureaucracy. If 

they`re capable of developing the test, then we should be capable of 

expediting their ability to do it. 

 

So, those are the kind of problems. But I want to tell you, also, I am 

worried about people with low income, with minimum wages that are going to 

be stopped from work, they`re not going to have jobs, they`re going to be 

fired, they`re going – the business is going to close down, and they don`t 

have anywhere to go. 

 

So we have got to make sure that, for those who do have unemployment 

insurance, that we expand that. And that is what is being looked at. And 

that is being – I hope, still in the deal that is being negotiated. 

 

MELBER: Right. 

 

WATERS: We have got to make sure that we give additional support to 

Medicaid.

 

MELBER: Right. 

 

WATERS: And that was being proposed. I want to make sure that that is still 

in the bill. And so we have got a lot of work to do.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MELBER: It`s useful for us to hear where you are at, especially as such an 

influential leader of the Financial Services Committee. 

 

You are telling us about your friends and constituents, which I know you 

care about and all the humanity of this, as well as the policy of making 

sure that there are long-term options for people, the people hit hardest. 

 

I appreciate you making time. I hope we can speak to you again, 

Congresswoman Waters. 

 

WATERS: It`s not just about my constituents. It`s about all Americans, all 

of the people in this country.

 

We have got to take care of them. And we have got to make sure that the 

greatest country in the world meets this emergency the best that we 

possibly can, because, so far, we`re not looking too good. 

 

MELBER: I hear you on that, yes, ma`am. And thank you. 

 

We`re going to fit in a break on our special coverage. 

 

When we come back: How do you use information and facts to counter the 

risks without going into a panic?

 

We have a very special discussion and experts on that when we come back. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

 

MELBER: This is the weak America learned it was in a true public health 

crisis. And we`re seeing some intense reactions to the news. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From uncertainty to panic. Investors react to Wall 

Street`s worst day since Black Monday more than 30 years ago. 

 

JIM CRAMER, HOST, “MAD MONEY”: I do not even feel like pressing the 

buttons. Oh, Jesus.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to a supermarket yesterday. And for some reason, 

they had a pallet of toilet paper in the back. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You took it.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did. And I held it dearly, and I`m not really sure 

why. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: There`s a suburb of New York, New Rochelle, that has a major 

outbreak. And they now have a one-mile-radius containment zone. You can see 

the workers in hazmat suits setting up a drive-through testing facility in 

what was a normal parking lot.

 

And those images, obviously, ricochet. New Rochelle residents say they have 

a weariness hitting them and a deep sense of anxiety throughout the 

community. 

 

Or take a look at a half-mile line to get into one California Costco, a 

familiar scene around the nation.

 

Now, taking these precautions, getting food and supplies is a perfectly 

good thing. But, as these challenges multiply, how do you balance urgency 

with the stress and maintaining vigilance, instead of panic?

 

We turn now to Tony Schwartz, co-author of “The Art of the Deal” and 

founder of The Energy Project, as organization that advises major 

companies. This week, he`s actually presented to 15 chief medical officers 

in the U.S. about how to help people manage their stress and energy. 

 

Good to see you. 

 

TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR, “TRUMP: THE ART OF THE DEAL”: Good to see you, 

sir. 

 

MELBER: The difference between the feeling, the fear that can turn to panic 

and the actions that you should be focused on? 

 

SCHWARTZ: Well, as soon as you feel panic, as soon as you start to 

catastrophize, your capacity gets diminished dramatically. 

 

We know that when people feel those kinds of emotions, they – their vision 

narrows, their ability to think clearly goes away. Either their anger or 

their frustration or their impatience grows.

 

So, really, the big issue is, how do you take care of yourself? How do you 

take care of the part of yourself that is most frightened? 

 

MELBER: And doesn`t that also go to who`s making the decision? If we do it 

right, we have to listen to experts, but in so doing, we have less control.

 

I want to play for you just some other sound we have of people finding out 

they have to move or go or deal with this and the reactions. Take a look. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was kind of panic, because the airline had no idea 

what to do, what to say. They didn`t even – they didn`t even know to tell 

us to get on the plane, not get on the plane. So most of us made the 

decision to stay back.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you guys are moving out. What are you taking with 

you? 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whole dorm.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did you hear about it?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the first load.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard about it. Was this a surprise? 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a lot of fear around, and no one is really sure 

what to do. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

SCHWARTZ: Well, there`s nothing more traumatizing for human beings than to 

feel out of control, than to feel helpless. That`s why children are so 

vulnerable. 

 

But we have a child within us as well. And that`s what`s getting triggered. 

The adult part of ourselves, the most mature, the calmest part of ourselves 

is the one we need to be in charge. 

 

And it needs to be providing comfort to that part of ourselves that feels 

so vulnerable. But, instead, we end up reacting. We go into anger or we 

disappear, we go numb. We either overstate the problem, or we understate 

the problem. 

 

There is a part of us – and you need to make a distinction between these 

three aspects of ourselves, these three parts of ourselves, the part that 

is overwhelmed. That`s a very young part of us. The part that is the 

survival self that tries to take care – poorly – tries to take care of 

that overwhelmed child, and then the adult, which gets lost in the mix when 

the survival self starts taking over.

 

MELBER: Forty seconds left, which is the perfect amount of time for the 

question. 

 

What happens to those…

 

SCHWARTZ: I was told it was going to be an hour. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MELBER: That`s the whole show.

 

What happens to those mechanisms when people don`t trust authority? 

 

SCHWARTZ: They need to – I`m going to put it positively. 

 

MELBER: OK.

 

SCHWARTZ: They need to turn to themselves. 

 

Trump ultimately is irrelevant in this. The guy knows nothing about what`s 

going on. And he`s never going to say anything true. We need to turn to our 

own resources. We can`t be in victim mode, because, when you`re in victim 

mode, though it feels good to push away that responsibility, you lose all 

capacity to take action. 

 

MELBER: That`s so important. And that`s where the precautions also meet the 

politics. We have a cycle of blame, and many politicians deserve some of 

the blame. 

 

And yet the solutions here are not in that cycle. 

 

I`m going to fit in a break. You`re staying on the show for something 

special. 

 

I`m also going to do, if you would, one of those. 

 

SCHWARTZ: Elbow bump.

 

MELBER: OK? That`s how we do it. 

 

SCHWARTZ: Elbow bump.

 

MELBER: When we come back, Tony stays.

 

We add another very special guest. We are going to talk about at the end of 

this tough week our culture and, where do we go from here?

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

 

MELBER: Quite a week.

 

You can probably feel life changing before your eyes. This public health 

crisis is reshaping our daily lives, we don`t know for how long. And that 

means reshaping culture, which is something we want to get into right now, 

the way people live, whether you get to go to the theater, sports concerts 

and more. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH”: All everybody`s 

talking about is the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT”: As you may 

have noticed, none of you are here right now. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NBA made the stunning decision to suspend the 

season indefinitely because of the coronavirus. 

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: The NCAA is indeed now canceling its men`s and women`s 

basketball tournaments over coronavirus fears.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Broadway shows will now close. So will The Met opera and 

The Met museums of art.

 

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW”: Disney World announced that 

they`re closing on Sunday. Disneyland is doing so as well. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are frantically buying up supplies. And prices 

are also skyrocketing online. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MELBER: When it comes to going out right now, you could say you got`s to 

chill.

 

And we are joined, appropriately, by hip-hop pioneer rapper and producer 

Erick Sermon. He is, of course, from the legendary rap group EPMD, 

performing with Parrish Smith. He`s also been a fixture in East Coast hip-

hop, basically for three decades.

 

And back with me, another member in that East-West Coast divide, hailing 

from the East, Tony Schwartz, former “New York Times” journalist, of 

course, the author of five books, including the one people know in 

politics, “The Art of the Deal.” 

 

Great to have you both here. 

 

SCHWARTZ: Thank you.

 

MELBER: Erick, I`m a longtime fan.

 

And this is a conversation we often do at the end of the week, but here we 

are thinking about the culture being affected.

 

With regard to our usual question, what needs to fall back, and you look at 

public health crisis, what needs to fall back in your mind? 

 

ERICK SERMON, HIP-HOP ARTIST: I think that it`s a hoax need to fall back. 

 

I think that once that the NBA stepped up, and then, of course, Tom Hanks 

and his wife getting the virus, it made it really real.

 

Me and Tony were talking about that just recently, that it`s a real deal. 

So, enough with the hoax. It`s real. Take it seriously. 

 

MELBER: And so people basically not being serious. We saw at least an 

athlete, NBA player, for example, was saying…

 

SERMON: Yes. 

 

MELBER: … oh, joking around about it, and ended up getting it.

 

SERMON: Right, and then giving it to his teammate. 

 

MELBER: Tony?

 

SCHWARTZ: What to fall back on.

 

I think taking anything for granted. You see, as soon as we are – can`t – 

there`s no food on the shelves, and people aren`t – can`t go to the 

theater and can`t go to concerts and all of this stuff, how much we take 

for granted in our lives. 

 

This is a chance to actually step back and appreciate that you`re not 

automatically entitled to all these things. And your gratitude for what you 

do have ought to be bigger than it is. 

 

MELBER: And that is interesting, because so much of this has been, wow, 

people are scared. We talked about that.

 

You`re speaking to the idea, Tony, that, as we reflect on this, it`s a time 

to think about sacrifice and perspective as well. 

 

SCHWARTZ: Hundred percent, from – I have said it in various forms on the 

show, but that movement from me to we, we`re – we can`t do this alone. 

 

And this is this rare experience where you can`t get away from being 

influenced by this. You can`t get away from being affected. And the best 

way to manage your energy through this is through our version of the energy 

to serenity prayer. Invest your energy in what you have the power to 

influence.

 

Don`t squander your energy on what you can`t influence, and have the wisdom 

to know the difference. That changes everything, because it means you don`t 

waste all that time on things you`re not going to be able to change. 

 

MELBER: I have another thing I wanted to flag when we were looking at that 

press conference today, and it`s not the most important thing, but we have 

footage here of – you could see people who are literally presenting to the 

nation, setting the example. 

 

And then, when it`s time to greet each other – I think we have this – you 

will see at today`s press conference the handshakes, the handshake again. 

 

SERMON: Yes. 

 

MELBER: There was also – I want to give credit. There was some elbow 

dapping.

 

SERMON: Yes. 

 

MELBER: But, right there, you saw several handshakes in a row. 

 

I mean, Erick, the people that are supposed to set the example.

 

SERMON: Well, he shouldn`t be doing that. He`s over 70. It`s dangerous.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MELBER: Right. 

 

SCHWARTZ: Danger to himself?

 

SERMON: To himself, yes. He shouldn`t be doing that at all. 

 

SCHWARTZ: Yes.

 

SERMON: But, again, at the end of the day, people, you have to really take 

this seriously. You have to.

 

You see that it`s really affecting people all over the world. So don`t just 

look at it as being something small. It`s something big. 

 

MELBER: Right. 

 

SERMON: And it`s going to get worse before it get better. 

 

MELBER: And I also want to ask you. We were pointing this out in the big 

picture, canceled gatherings, limited sports. 

 

You had a tour, and that`s over. 

 

SERMON: Yes. 

 

I was supposed to be leaving April 1 to go to Germany and then parts of 

London. But it got canceled because of the fact that you can`t have the 

venues over 500 people now. Ours was 5,000 people. You know what I`m 

saying?

 

So, at the end of the day, they was canceling – they were shutting down 

the cities, shutting down the countries, from flying, coming in and leaving 

out. So that didn`t happen. 

 

So I`m glad it didn`t happen, because…

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MELBER: Yes. That`s the question. How do you feel about it?

 

SERMON: My little tour, against the NBA or baseball or whatever, I had to 

cancel, because, if the rest of the world is doing it, the NCAA, this is 

big.

 

MELBER: But you feel good about it? You basically – I mean, part of you 

wants to perform, but you understand that, wait, this has got to happen?

 

SERMON: Oh, no, because I know, in this game, the fans don`t care if I got 

hit by truck. 

 

If I can get up in grab the microphone, then I`m good enough to perform. 

 

MELBER: Yes.

 

SERMON: That`s how fans are, especially in Europe. They don`t care about 

that. So for them to understand that, oh, the virus is stopping you from 

coming, they believe it now, because they see that as really serious. 

 

MELBER: Interesting. 

 

What about you, Tony? Are you still going on tour? 

 

SCHWARTZ: I have canceled my tour. I have canceled my tour. I was supposed 

to…

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

SERMON: Don`t do a talk and try to shake hands.

 

You got to shake hands and kiss babies. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

SCHWARTZ: I have got – yes, I`m not doing any big rallies. 

 

MELBER: OK. Yes. 

 

SCHWARTZ: I like the energy of the big rallies. 

 

But I have decided, no, in the interest of the greater good, I won`t. 

 

MELBER: The last thing I wanted to flag, what do you think about the price 

gouging? We`re seeing the sanitizer goes up 10 times. 

 

SCHWARTZ: I think it`s utterly and completely predictable.

 

But I also think this is an opportunity to recognize that, actually, these 

differences that we think we have aren`t such big differences when all this 

stuff goes away. 

 

And so I am hopeful that what will come out of this is something positive. 

For all the pain that it might cause in the short term, I think it could 

shake things up for people in a way that serves us well. 

 

MELBER: I got to turn it over. 

 

I appreciate the legend from EPMD, Erick Sermon.

 

SERMON: Yes, of course.

 

MELBER: And, of course, Tony Schwartz, as always. Thanks to both of you. 

 

Thanks for everyone watching THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber. Appreciate you 

always tuning in. Stay safe, and stay informed. 

 

I will see you back here 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday.

 

And keep it right here, right now on MSNBC. 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY 

BE UPDATED.

END    

 

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