George Floyd’s Death TRANSCRIPT: 6/5/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Byron Brown, Douglas Lute


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.


And thanks at home for joining us this hour. Thanks for being with us on a

Friday night.


This was Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, today. Look at this

– hundreds of health care workers in PPE, out in the streets, protesting

the police killing of George Floyd. They held signs that said, say their

names, it could have been my son, the color of our skin is not a weapon.


Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, MRI techs, you name it, they all walked out

of their hospital, to support the protesters, and to have their own protest

today. Again, that`s St. Louis.


This was Atlanta, Georgia. Med students and nurses, and doctors at Emory

Medical School, taking a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, out on the

Quad. They called it a white coat for black lives protest.


There was another one in Salt Lake City, Utah, outside the medical school

at the University of Utah, bowing their heads in respect.


Tonight marks the 11th night of nationwide protests in response to the

police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last Monday, last week. Just

like the ten nights prior to this one, we are seeing big crowds, gathering

in some of America`s largest cities tonight, left side of your screen, that

is Louisville, Kentucky, right side of your screen, that`s Los Angeles.

You`re also seeing substantial protests under way tonight, in Denver,

Colorado, and in Phoenix, Arizona.


And again, just like the ten days prior to tonight, it has been a largely

peaceful day of demonstrations, in big cities, and in small ones. This was

Vestavia Hills, Alabama, today, which is basically a Birmingham suburb.

This was outside city hall, Vestavia Hills. This was La Miranda,

California, today. Protesters gathered outside the civic center there.


In Mansfield, Texas, today, students organized a march at their high

school, which wound its way to city hall, in Silver City, New Mexico, they

had a protest in their car, socially distant protests, people in their

cars, holding signs out their windows, honking their horns. Again, that`s

Silver City, New Mexico.


There were protests today, in Orlando, Florida, as, in Denver, Colorado, as

I mentioned, in Detroit, Michigan, in Miami, Florida. I want to show you a

shot of Brooklyn, New York, today, a huge protest, outside the Brooklyn

public library.


New York City has been home to some of the largest protests since all of

this started 11 days ago, it has also been home to some of the more chaotic

protests, thanks in large part to an aggressive and at times militaristic

response from police that usually comes toward the end of each day. We`ve

seen that day after day after day in New York.


In the Bronx, last night, right before curfew, a group of heavily-armed

officers aggressively pushed their bikes into a throng of protesters,

knocking people to the ground left and right, and they arrested people who

tried to run away, they arrested them by tackling them to the ground, as

people were trying to get away from the police.


Police reportedly started arresting legal observers who were on the scene,

if you`ve ever been on a protest, a well-organized protest of any size, you

have probably seen people in hats to distinguish themselves as legal

observers, police even started arresting them last night in the Bronx.


This is not just a New York thing. Just like having protests have stretched

our country from coast to coast, aggression from the police toward peaceful

protesters has been a nationwide hallmark of this last 11 days as well. So

I`m going to show you something, I want to give you a second to, I just

want to give you a second to warn you about what I`m going to show. This is

the next piece of tape that I`m going to show you is something that is

difficult to watch and I want to give you a second to look away, or change

the channel, if you would like now is the time that you should do that, I

will countdown, three, two, one.


OK. This was Philadelphia yesterday afternoon. A group of police officers

ramming their bicycles into peaceful protesters, shoving them violently to

the ground, eventually they just beating them mercilessly, with their



I also want to show you footage from Buffalo, New York, this week. This man

was giving an interview to the press. He had his arms in the air and that

is when the police charged at him from behind as he was giving the

interview and tackled him to the ground.


But there`s one final incident that also happened in Buffalo that I want to

show you, and it`s violent and difficult as those pieces of footage are to

watch, this next one, we`re going to show you, and that we`re going to talk

about and we`re going to speak with the mayor of Buffalo about, this next

piece of footage is particularly stomach-churning. We have become

accustomed to seeing very violent displays of police force over these past

– well, over these past years, but certainly, acutely over these past few

days in the face of these protests.


So I`m going to show you a couple of short videos, they are quite graphic,

this is your warning. But what they show is an elderly man who clearly

sustains a serious head injury, after being shoved violently to the ground

by police, while he is doing absolutely nothing violent or threatening



So if you don`t want to watch this, this is the time to not watch. Ready,

three, two, one.


All right. Set this up for you. This happened yesterday evening, Buffalo,

New York. Just minutes after that city`s 8:00 p.m. curfew went into effect.

We`re going to show you a 75-year-old protester, Martin Gugino. He`s seen

approaching members of the police department`s emergency response team

during a demonstration in that city, and like that, he is knocked to the

ground by officers, hitting his head on the concrete.


So here he is, walking up to the police, that sounds like the officers yell

“move”, and they push him back, one officer shoves him arm into the man`s

chest, another extends his baton toward him, Mr. Gugino then falls backward

and cracks his head on the sidewalk. Almost immediately, he starts bleeding

quite considerably, from his ear, one officer does lean down to look at him

closely, only to be pulled away before he could offer any aid.


A bunch of officers then walk right by, without checking on him, as he lays

motionless on the ground. He had been holding something in his right hand -

- a pad of paper, a pencil or something. You can see his hand loosen up as

he loses, apparently loses consciousness.


Considerably later in the video, eventually, you see a man in fatigues who

steps in to render aid, to this man, who was seriously hurt. The video

itself is shocking enough. What is just frankly as baffling is the fact

that shortly after this took place, the Buffalo Police Department said in a

statement, that Mr. Gugino had quote tripped and fell, which you have now

seen enough to know is a lie, directly and blatantly contradicted by video



And it`s not just from that one angle. Here is a second angle of the

incident that was shot from across the street, making it just as clear as

the first. Once again, you see Mr. Gugino walking up to the officers, he

has then pushed, which leads him to fall to the ground, he hits his head on

the pavement.


This is obviously not someone who tripped and fell, and none of the

officers who all saw that happened and none of the bystanders who saw that

happen, and none of the video account would lend any credence to anybody

who claimed that is what happened there.


Now, the mayor of Buffalo said earlier today that that inaccurate statement

about him tripping and falling was an error, and that the record was later



Mr. Gugino has been identified as a long-time activist, within the Buffalo

area. After sustaining that injury yesterday, he was taken to a nearby

hospital. He`s been described as stable but serious condition. A hospital

spokesperson said today he was alert and oriented.


The department officials say there is now a full internal affairs

investigation into this matter. The Erie County district attorney`s office

says prosecutors are also investigating the incident. The police

commissioner has ordered that the two officers directly involved in this

incident should be suspended without pay.


And honestly, that`s, you know, the least that you would expect at this

point, given that footage. But get a load of this next part. Earlier today,

the members of the Buffalo Police Department who were working on that

special unit, that emergency response team, that was seen responding to

yesterday`s demonstration, who had this altercation with Mr. Gugino that

resulted in him and this head injury, all of the officers on that team

today resigned from that unit en masse, all 57 of them.


They didn`t resign from the police department. They resigned from the

emergency response unit. Their union president telling NBC`s local

affiliate that, quote, 57 resigned in disgust because of the treatment of

two of their members, who were simply executing orders.


The head of the police officer`s association told “The Buffalo News”,

quote, our position is that these officers were simply following orders,

from the deputy police commissioner to – from the deputy police

commissioner to clear the square. It doesn`t specify to clear the square of

men 50 and under, or age 15 to 40. They were simply doing their job. I

don`t know how much contact. He did slip in my estimation. He fell



Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has said that he was deeply disturbed by this



Earlier today, he issued a statement addressing the mass resignation,

saying, quote: The City of Buffalo is aware of developments related to the

work assignments of certain members of the Buffalo police force. At this

time, we can confirm that contingency plans are in place to maintain police

services and ensure public safety within our community.


I mean, putting basic police services aside, is it fair to ask where the

city goes from here? I mean, how does it even – how do you begin to get on

the same page, when it doesn`t appear that you`re reading from the same

book, or potentially that you can even read the same language.


Joining us now is the man in a very difficult position tonight, Buffalo,

New York`s mayor, Byron Brown.


Mayor Brown, thank you for making time for us this evening. I know this is

an incredibly fraught time for you and your city.


MAYOR BYRON BROWN (D-NY), BUFFALO: Yes, it is. It is a difficult time for

the city of Buffalo. It`s a difficult time for cities all across the



But we have a good community, we have a strong community. We`re listening

to people who are in our community protesting against police brutality,

protesting against racial injustice, and we will work with those

protesters, that social movement, to bring real change and reform to our



MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, the way that I just described what happened in Buffalo,

let me give you a chance to tell me if I got any of that wrong. But also to

give us any further updates, if anything has happened, in this situation,

either with Mr. Gugino, specifically, with the two officers who are –

whose conduct is being reviewed, or with this mass resignation from that

unit of the police department.


Have there been any further developments?


BROWN: No further developments. The matter is under investigation. When

that video was sent to the Buffalo police commissioner, he immediately

suspended both officers without pay. The investigation is ongoing.


I`ve asked for the investigation to be fast tracked in the department. And

the management of the department has moved that investigation forward.


MADDOW: In terms of potential charges here, I was struck by the fact that

New York`s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said today, that the city should pursue

firing these officers, the district attorney should consider possibly

bringing criminal charges.


Because those were public remarks, made by an elected official, made by the

governor of the state, I have to ask you, as the highest-ranking elected

public official in Buffalo, do you agree with the governor about that?


BROWN: I believe that the officers should have due process. As you

mentioned, I was very disturbed, and immediately concerned with the health

of the gentleman that fell backwards and struck his head. I was concerned

that he was pushed. And the concern was shared by the police commissioner

who suspended those officers immediately, without pay.


I think it is critically important to make sure that those officers` due

process works are protected. We don`t tolerate police misconduct. I think

police misconduct has to be taken very seriously.


That is a specialized team. The team is trained to deal with mass

demonstrations, mass protest situations, and advanced to clear an area.

There are medics that are imbedded with that team, people who have first

aid training. The team is trained to continue to move forward, and the

medics, that are imbedded with the team are trained to render first aid, to

police officers, to the public, if they need it.


And in this case, first aid was immediately rendered to Mr. Gugino by

medics that were in that back team who helped get him into the ambulance

where he was taken to ECMC.


It is my understanding that he is conscious. He is alert. And certainly, I

am praying for his full and complete recovery.


MADDOW: You say that medical attention was immediately rendered, I think

that part of what is so stomach-churning and upsetting to people about

seeing those videos, is that while the medic does eventually arrive on the

scene, the officers who continue – who look at him, recognized, it

appears, the seriousness of what happened. Including one officer who

appears to move toward him, essentially potentially to assess him, or at

least take a closer look at what is going on, is yanked off of him, and

those officers walked by.


And this is a man who is lying their long enough that we can see blood

pouring out of his ear. We can see blood pooling and starting to run out of

the back of his head. He`s obviously an older man. And while ultimately

first aid is rendered there, whatever training those police officers have

received surely doesn`t allow for them to continue to walk away from a man

who is bleeding out because of what they just did to them.


I mean, they`re not even acting to continue – to move to protect them

after they caused him this injury. It just doesn`t seem like this is the

way training for your police should play out.


BROWN: This protection is from the medics. Those officers are trained to

advance, to keep moving, not to break their line. There are medics that are

imbedded with those units, for that exact reason. Those medics are trained

to render first aid. It was seconds, and in seconds, first aid was rendered

to Mr. Gugino.


Am I happy with the situation? Absolutely not. Was it very disturbing, very

distressing to watch that gentleman pushed and fall backwards and hit his

head? It absolutely was very distressing.


We are working hard to provide the best training for our officers. This has

been a very difficult situation, where we have police officers that are

working around the clock, they are working long hours, they are very tired,

they are near exhaustion – it`s no excuse, no excuse for misconduct, no

excuse for not following proper procedure, and in that particular case,

proper procedure was not to push that gentleman to the ground.


So, we are very concerned about it. We`re taking it very seriously. And it

hurts our efforts to bring healing to this community.


It hurts our ability to gain the continued trust of the community, to

negotiate with protesters, to listen to the demands of protesters, and then

to collectively, as a community, bring solutions to some of the problems,

the issues, and concerns around police brutality, police misconduct, and

racial injustice and equity that we have in the city of Buffalo, as exists

all across the country, in every single sector of our society.


MADDOW: Was there anything going on in the City of Buffalo, in terms of

civil unrest in terms of protests, in terms of threats to the public order,

threats to people, threats to property, that necessitated, that made it

appropriate for a military style unit of officers trained to leave those

who they injured, laying pleading behind them, as they move on, as the

police force that was operating in your city in that moment? Did conditions

actually warrant having those types of tactics deployed in your streets?


We can see what`s going on in the immediate vicinity there, and it doesn`t

feel like the war is under way for that kind of a militarized unit to be

moving in that kind of a formation.


BROWN: (AUDIO GAP) agree with that characterization that officers moved on.

As I mentioned, medics are imbedded with that team, and it is the role of

the medics that are behind the advancing officers to render aid to a police

officer who needs it, to render aid to a citizen who needs it, and that is

what the medics that were part of that unit immediately did, within seconds

of Mr. Gugino`s injury.


And, yes, we were seeing that when protests lasted into night, when it got

dark, in the city of Buffalo, we saw violence, we saw vandalism, we saw

fires set. We saw looting. We saw rioting.


And I imposed a curfew for 8:00 to prevent that kind of violence,

vandalism, and danger to our community.


Our priority is to protect the residents of our community, to protect the

businesses in our community, and to protect the right of peaceful

protesters to be able to protest in our city.


The curfew is set. People who were violating the curfew were given multiple

requests to leave that area. The folks that were still in that area did not

heed the request of law enforcement to leave the area, and law enforcement

moved in to clear the area for the safety and protection of the community.


Unfortunately, in Mr. Gugino`s case, that did not occur. We are very

saddened that it did not occur in that case. What happened to Mr. Gugino

shouldn`t have – have happened, and certainly, we are working to make sure

that we protect residents, we protect our businesses, and we protect

peaceful protests in our community so people can exercise their First

Amendment rights to express their freedom of speech.


MADDOW: The video of what happened in Buffalo is indelible for this

country, and as you face police – the Police Benevolent leader who says

that he slipped and as you face this pushback from the police as you try to

figure out what`s going to happen with those officers and with your

community, I – you have a mountain to climb, Mr. Mayor.


Mayor Byron Brown of Buffalo, New York, good luck to you, sir. This is –

this is a very difficult circumstance you`re in.


BROWN: (AUDIO GAP) is on the wrong side of history. They are wrong. They

essentially threatened those officers without support for the PBA if they

continued to work in that unit.


That is absolutely wrong. This union has been on the wrong side of history

for a very long period of time. And they have been a real barrier to reform

of policing in the city of Buffalo.


MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, Byron Brown, of Buffalo, New York – sir, thank you for

being with us tonight. I appreciate your time.


Let me give you some geographic context here. Buffalo, New York, is on the

very western edge of New York state. You can see it over there towards

Niagara Falls. Buffalo, New York, is a good six and a half hour drive from

New York City, the largest city in the state obviously, and in the country.

And in New York City tonight, they are under yet another night of curfew

that started at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and that curfew will continue through the



Just like all of the other nights this week, protesters are disregarding

that mandatory curfew, and are in the streets tonight, anyway, to protest

George Floyd`s killing. In the nation`s capital, last night, in Washington,

D.C., the mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, actually lifted the curfew on her

city. Protesters marched peacefully in the middle of a gigantic lightning

and thunderstorm, chanting “hands up, don`t shoot”.


There are demonstrations once again continuing tonight in Washington, D.C.,

also peaceful this time, with clearer sky. The protests in D.C., of course,

have been marked by this overwhelming, militarized presence of the mystery

federal law enforcement officers sent in by the president, and overseen

apparently by Attorney General Bill Barr, maybe, to counter what had been

largely peaceful protests in the district.


Today, D.C.`s mayor, Muriel Bowser, called on President Trump to remove

those federal officers from her city. She called on the removal of the

National Guard, the Bureau of Prisons officers, all of them. She said they

were inflaming the peaceful demonstrations in D.C. tonight. She started

contacting the governors of individual states whose National Guardsmen and

women have been sent to D.C., asking those governors to recall their

national guard troops back home and get them out of the streets of



These were strong forceful demands from the D.C. mayor, as demands that are

escalating, but perhaps you may have seen there was something else that

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser did today that spoke louder or spoke bigger than

anything she could have put in a letter to the president. Starting at 3:00

a.m., Mayor Bowser of Washington, D.C. sent a group of volunteers to 16th

Street, and the White House address is 1600 Pennsylvania, 1600, as in 16th

Street she sent volunteers to 16th Street in Washington, D.C. in front the

White House with buckets of yellow low paint and paint rollers and in huge

giant larger than life 50 foot letters they painted a new mural on the

length of 16th street, they painted black lives matter, big enough to see

in the highest buildings in Washington, D.C., big enough for the president

to see out his window, you could practically see it from space. It takes up

almost two full city blocks.


Mayor Bowser`s office saying today that since the president dispatched law

enforcement officers to lurk all over D.C., there`s been a dispute over who

the streets of D.C. belong to. The mayor`s office saying today she wanted

to make it abundantly clear whose street it is, it is D.C.`s streets and

honor the peaceful protests that had been assembling in her city day after



Mayor Bowser had that portion in 16th Street in D.C. smack in front of the

White House, officially renamed today, as well. Look at the street sign

there. It is now Black Lives Matter Plaza. They hung the new street sign

early this morning.


Lots to get to tonight. Stay with us.




MADDOW: Big Bloomberg News obtained a document called domestic unrest,

Washington, D.C. overview. The document was reportedly prepared for the

Joint Chiefs of Staff in the military and while the document is not

classified, it also doesn`t seem like it was prepared for public

consumption. It describes the makeup of the otherwise mysterious force of

federal agents of some kind that appeared to be maybe under the command of

Attorney General William Barr, in the streets of D.C., but really, who



These guys in T-shirts, and tactical vests with no insignia, may be random

want to be militia dudes who are pretending this is the civil war they

always wanted but they might also be federal officers or maybe, could be,

how do we know. I mean without name badges and without identifying

markings, how do we tell?


But they are apparently from the U.S. Marshall Service, the DEA, the FBI,

the Park Police, according to this document, prepared for the Joint Chiefs,

it is basically the list of all federal agencies that have forces like

this, so it could be all of them. Could be any one, really. Use your

imagine nation, how many federal agencies you can name off the top of your



I mean, at least according to leaked document, the public is only seeing

thanks to someone surreptitiously showing them to reporters, there are

thousands of these agents who have deployed to the streets of Washington,

D.C. under some sort of cryptic mysterious command structure we`re not

allowed to know about. But even that document spelling out which agencies

these guys apparently come from, even that document doesn`t say bupkis why

they`re not wearing badges or identifying what agencies they are from or

who they are, which is really a banana republic kind of thing, right? I

mean, random pseudo-military, armed, unidentified man roaming around the

vicinity of the president, apparently answerable to him and his

administration but nobody is really sure.


Are you supposed to obey these people if they point guns at you? What if it

turns out they are just random citizens? Who are they working for? I mean,

this is not a very American look. This is kind of Libya, right? This is –

this is weird. This is not how law enforcement is supposed to work around

the White House.


That said, even as these guys were told to take off their insignia and name

badges by someone, no one will admit to giving that order, eventually, you

put these guys out in public, then enough people will post enough close-up

images of them online that people are going to start recognizing something

about them eventually.


A WTOP reporter named Alejandra Alvarez posted some close-up photos of some

of these guys and specifically, some of the T-shirts that they were wearing

with otherwise unmarked gear. After Alvarez posted these photos for WTOP,

some reporters in Texas at the “Dallas Morning News” were able to confirm

that yes, at least some of these guys deployed, like Gadhafi`s body guards

but in the streets around Washington, and streets around the White House,

they were able to confirm that at least some of them were from two federal

prisons in Texas, the federal correctional institution at Three Rivers,

Three Rivers, Texas, about halfway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi,

and another federal prison complex in Beaumont, Texas, as well.


Apparently, they sent officers to go patrol protests, in Washington,

without insignia, except some of them kept on t-shirts or other little bits

of gear that gave telltale – gave away telltale signs of where they work

in their day jobs.


I mean, ultimately, you can`t stay anonymous forever, even if the attorney

general wants you to be for some reason. The Bureau of Prisons sending

corrections officers from federal prisons in Texas to walk the streets of

Washington carrying guns and answering maybe to the attorney general while

not wearing uniforms or telling anybody who they are, that is unsettling

enough, right? That was not even on my apocalyptic bingo card of where I

thought we would be in the Trump administration. That I did not get.


But the “Dallas Morning News” today, notes one other very specific

implication of these officers from the specific Texas federal prisons where

they are turning up police protests in D.C. without their name badges on,

and that weirdly specific implication, at least in Beaumont, they have had

a bunch of corrections officers test positive for coronavirus there. And

we`ve all seen huge outbreaks in American prisons and jails just like we`ve

seen them in meatpacking facilities and on one particular nuclear powered

aircraft carrier.


When it comes to federal prisoners in Texas, they are not exactly testing

up a storm, but so far, the Bureau of Prisons has posted information about

corrections officers being diagnosed with the virus, and some of them from

Beaumont, and Beaumont is one of the prisons from which the BOP apparently

secretly drafted officers to be brought all the way across the country to

police these protests.


And no, almost none of these unbadged random officers were wearing masks

while they police these protests. So, thank you, Bureau of Prisons. Thank

you, William Barr, and anything else you would like to deliver to the kind

people of D.C.?


The president today said we are, quote, largely through the coronavirus

epidemic. That was his phrase. He said we`re largely through with

coronavirus. And we`ve done very well.


Meanwhile, here on earth one, this was the headline at “The New York Times”

tonight. Quote, U.S. cases are still rising by more than 20,000 cases

daily. The daily average of new coronavirus cases in the United States is

actually starting to rise again. We`re still seeing about a thousand

Americans every day die from coronavirus.


In terms of where it`s getting worse, there are more states that saw an

increase in new cases over the next two weeks than states that saw a

decline in new cases. That`s bad. Last night`s show, we reported on the

state epidemiologist in Utah, sort of pulling the fire alarm in that state,

describing a state-wide spike in cases in Utah, that is not explained by

increased testing or by some localized outbreak somewhere in the state. It

is a big surge statewide that they can`t explain and that they are worried



The Utah state epidemiologist yesterday sounding this alarm specifically

saying there`s now reason to take action to stop Utah`s hospitals from

being overwhelmed because that is where it is heading if the case numbers

keep rising like that. That was Utah last night. Tonight, the alarm is

being sounded in the great state of Arizona.


Now, the local press in Arizona has been reporting pretty furiously over

the course of the past week, on things looking like they`re really heading

in a bad direction in terms of the metrics in that state. When the state

ended the stay-at-home order and opened up on May 15th, the state was

having an average of 378 new cases a day at that point. Well now, now that

they`re opened up, they`re averaging 519 new cases a day, and it seems to

be a sustained rise. They`re getting record numbers of new cases, and

record numbers of hospitalizations. The state`s hospitalization numbers are

just soaring.


We`ve already reported in recent days on the situation specifically in

Yuma, Arizona, where they have overtopped their hospital capacity with

COVID-19 patients and have been shipping critical patients to other

hospitals around the state because they are full-up in Yuma. Well, now,

today, an alarm of a different magnitude, because today, Banner Health

System, which is the largest health care provider in the whole state of

Arizona, today Banner Health System held a press conference to announce

that Arizona is in that kind of trouble statewide.





some trends that are making me concerned and we have several key concerns

that we`re going to share with you here. You will see what looks like an

exponential increase of cases. More concerning for us, is the increase

requiring ICU care. While the cases are concerning, we are seeing increase

of these very sick patient in these ICUs on violators.


We do have very high volume currently. And we are ensuring 125 percent

stretch capacity which is what was required by an executive order to make

sure we have a 25 percent increase ability. However, if the increasing

trend continues of what you`re seeing up here, we will exceed our capacity.


As we all know, the stay-at-home order that was placed was to flatten the

curve, so that hospital capacity would not be exceeded. That curve was

flattened. We did not have exponential growth, although we did have growth.

When that was lifted, of course, our social distancing was decreased.


So, of course, we started to see increasing cases, and we`re starting to

see even more increase, look at all of the way to the right of that curve,

the increase and the pace of the increase is concerning, when we start to

see this increasing hospitalization capacity, it`s time for us to change

our behaviors.


The purpose of my message here today is to show you that COVID is

increasing. It`s increasing, Banner Health is increasing in the Maricopa

County where most of the beds that we have are located. And we need to

change behaviors now so we don`t exceed hospital capacity.




MADDOW: That is the clinical director at Banner Health, which is the

largest health care delivery system in Arizona. Maricopa County is where

most of Arizona`s population is located. That`s where most of the beds are

for Banner Health.


They`re saying this is not isolated in one part of Arizona. This is all

over Arizona. This is in Maricopa County. They`re saying their ICU beds

have been expanded to 125 percent capacity. That is now at risk of being

over topped.


But if the increase can trend continues of what you`re seeing up here, we

will exceed our capacity and they are already into their surge 125 percent

capacity. And we`re seeing Arizona make new record numbers of coronavirus

cases, and new record numbers of hospitalization numbers every day now.


This was the headline today in “The Wall Street Journal.” Trump`s focus

shifts away from coronavirus. Quote: U.S. coronavirus deaths surpassed

100,000 and health experts say the pandemic remains a serious concern, but

Mr. Trump and his advisers have made a strategic decision to shift focus,

to issues they believe will animate the president`s conservative base ahead

of the election, while projecting confidence.


Over 109,000 Americans dead. As of tonight, a thousand Americans dying

every day, 20,000 new cases every day. Those things are not getting any

better. Multiple states have cases spiking. Multiple states are now warning

their hospitals are not equipped to handle how bad it is right now. Let

alone some feared second wave in the fall.


We`re not going to get to a second wave if the first wave never crests. I

know why the president doesn`t want to talk about this and he`d rather play

civil war. But this is bad. And not talking about it and not doing anything

about it doesn`t keep a thousand Americans alive every day, and it isn`t

making it any better for coming weeks.




MADDOW: It started this week, when audio emerged of the defense secretary

on a call with the nation`s governors, and with President Trump, referring

to America`s streets as a battle space, that the U.S. military needed to

dominate. Former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, four star

General Tony Thomas responded, quote, the battle space of America? Not what

America needs to hear, ever.


It`s almost unheard of for high-ranking general, even retired ones to

criticize the current leadership of the military. But just a couple of

hours later on Monday, as peaceful protesters were violently cleared from

the front of the White House to make way for the president to go pose for

photos, with the defense secretary and the chairman of joint chiefs at his

side, that evening, it was former chairman of the joint chiefs, General

Martin Dempsey, rebuking the White House, quote, America is not a

battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy.


The next day, it was his predecessor, chairman of the joint chief, Admiral

Mike Mullen, published this article, quote: I cannot remain silent. Our

fellow citizens are not the enemy and must never become so.


Former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, four star General John

Allen, wrote that Monday`s events outside the White House, quote, may well

signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment, talking about

this the potential start of the end of American democracy.


And, of course, Trump`s own former defense secretary, James Mattis, who had

been studiously unwilling to say anything critical of President Trump since

resigning in protest a year and a half ago, he broke his silence as well,

he told, he said that the president made a, quote, mockery of our

Constitution. He compared Trump`s efforts to divide Americas against each

other, to the divide and conquer strategy used by the Nazis against us in

world War.


Then, Trump`s own former chief of staff, himself a retired four star

general, John Kelly, said today that he disagrees with Jim Mattis and his

criticism of the president.


This flood of criticism from retired generals is extraordinary because they

are generally a tight-lipped bunch. They are obviously strenuously

nonpolitical. It`s a requirement of the job. Most of them served across

multiple administrations of both parties.


Take somebody like retired three-star general, Douglas Lute. He rose to the

military ranks for 35 years. He served under seven presidents. A Republican

President George W. Bush brought him to the White House to be his

coordinator for Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. Then George W. Bush`s

Democratic successor, Barack Obama, kept General Lute on, his national

security counsel and ultimately made him his ambassador to NATO.


Well, today, General Lute tells “The New York Times”, quote, there is a

thin line between the military`s tolerance of questionable partisan moves

over the past three years and the point where this becomes intolerable for

an apolitical military. Relatively minor episodes have accumulated

imperceptibly, but we`re now at a point of where real damage is being done.


General Lute joins us live here next.




MADDOW: Quote, there is a thin line between the military`s tolerance for

questionable partisan moves over the past three years and the point where

this become intolerable for an apolitical military. Relatively minor

episodes have accumulated imperceptibility, but we`re now at a point where

real damage is being done.


General Douglas Lute speaking with “The New York Times” today joining a

flood of former high ranking military officials who are criticizing the

president this week in stark terms. General Lute is the former ambassador

to NATO. He`s now chair of the Department of Social Sciences at West Point.

He`s a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Ambassador Lute, thank you so much for your time tonight. It`s an honor to

have you here, sir.



you, Rachel.


MADDOW: Something has clearly shifted in recent days among high ranking

military officials, including yourself. Not just the willingness to

criticize the president and be heard making that type of criticism, but

also giving us stark warnings about how bad things are. Why did you reach

this point this week?


LUTE: Well, this week needs to be placed in a broader context. As the quote

that you mentioned, I think there have been a number of incremental steady

erosions of the military`s relationship with the president or civil

relations writ-large over the Trump administration.


I mean, this began early, in the first week of the Trump administration,

when he went to the place in the Pentagon which is designated for

commemorating Medal of Honor winners and it was there he chose to sign the

immigration ban against Muslims. He has repeatedly used troop visits, which

all presidents do, but he`s used troop visits as campaign rallies. He has

diverted troops and funding from the Pentagon to his border wall project.


And these are all indicators that the norms between presidential leadership

and the way that the military sees itself as an apolitical institution in

America has been steadily encroached upon.


This week, however, is different. That is simply because we saw the

prospect or the hint that active duty soldiers might be brought into the

streets of America and confront American citizens peacefully protesting but

posed as more of a combat situation. And for military leaders that is

unacceptable. That is why you see a long list of impressive former military

leaders now stepping forward to include Jim Mattis, Marty Dempsey, John

Allen and so forth.


MADDOW: There has been a push me, pull you that has been evident from

looking from the outside in terms of what happened with the president`s

desire to use troops. He went to the White House and he gave the remarks

and crowed how heavily armed these active duty troops he was dispatching in

his words to Washington, D.C.


We then saw the Pentagon, Secretary Esper apparently changed his mind and

reverse course a few different times as to whether or not troops were

coming from Fort Bragg to be deployed in the streets of Washington D.C.

There was a fight about that internally.


Do we, the American people, have a right to know about those internal

fights, if the military – civilian leadership of the military or military

themselves are being given orders that are in their view wrong or

potentially illegal, is the right thing for them to do to tell us about

them, or is there something you do within – within the power structure,

within the chain of command that we may not ever see as a public?


LUTE: Well, I think there are internal deliberations in the Oval Office and

the White House Situation Room that we should not – we should not expect

to know about. Those are held in confidence inside the administration.


But actions often, Rachel, speak much louder than words. When you have the

national security team in tow behind the president walking across Lafayette

Square just across the street from the White House after that square had

been heavy-handedly dispersed or dismissed of peaceful protesters, in that

scene, they stepped across the line. So that action, whatever the

deliberations behind closed-doors, that action spoke louder than words.


Now, to be fair, both General Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs, and

Secretary of Defense Esper in the days after that walk across Lafayette

Park with the president have sort of corrected the record or attempted to

correct the record with public statements and messages to the military

about the rightful place of the American military serving the Constitution

and reminding everyone under their command of responsibility.


But I think the damage that was done on Monday sparked this outflow of

responses from retired military.


MADDOW: Lieutenant General, Retired Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, former

ambassador to NATO, National Security Council official in the Bush and

Obama administrations – Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for your time

tonight, and thanks for being willing to talk about these things publicly.

I know it is not an easy decision, sir.


LUTE: Thanks.


MADDOW: All right. We will be right back. Stay with us.




MADDOW: One last thing to tell you tonight. You heard them screaming, go

Johnny, go Johnny. Johnny is Johnny Johnson. He`s father of seven.


Today, Johnny Johnson was discharged from Jacobi Medical Center in the

Bronx, and the nurses and doctors gave him round after round of applause,

in part, because Mr. Johnson has been at the hospital fighting COVID-19 for

76 days. 21 days on the ventilator. Today he went home to his wife and

their kids. He told us his first order of business was going to it be a

really long bath.


Mr. Johnson, I hope you got the bath and a big welcome home from all of us.


That`s going to do it for us for now. Our coverage continues now on “THE

LAST WORD”, where Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence tonight.


Good evening, Ali. I`m sorry, I went into your hour there.







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