Arizona breaks record TRANSCRIPT: 7/13/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That is ALL IN for this Monday night.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts now with Ali Velshi in Rachel.
Good evening, Ali.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Good to see you. Have yourself
a great evening and thank you at home for joining us this hour.
Rachel, as you can see, has the night off.
Officials on the Japanese island of Okinawa had thought they had the upper
hand when it came to coronavirus. For more than two months, the island had
zero new cases of coronavirus. From May 1st to July 7th, while the pandemic
was exploding in this country, Okinawa, Japan, was virus free.
And honestly, that`s no small feat given its size. The island of Okinawa
has a population roughly the same size as Dallas, Texas. But whereas Dallas
has been reporting something like 1,100 new cases a day, Okinawa has had
just 148 confirmed cases total since February.
But in less than a week all that good work has essentially been thrown out
the window. Okinawa now has nearly 100 new cases thanks to outbreaks on the
various U.S. military bases on the island. Local reports say Fourth of July
parties held on and off the bases are the cause of the huge spike.
According to those same reports hundreds if not thousands of personnel and
employees were said to have attended those events, not surprisingly, the
governor of Okinawa is angry. This weekend, he openly questioned whether
the United States was doing enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 saying
that he had, quote, serious doubts about the measures being taken by U.S.
military officials. He also requested that the military stop transferring
new troops from the United States given the unabated surge that we are
seeing in this country.
Think about this. America has now reached a point where we are posing a
threat to some of our strongest allies. And that`s just scratching the
surface really when you look at all the damage that`s being done back here
at home. Case numbers are growing in 39 states which is incredible when you
consider we only have 50 of them.
As “The Washington Post” reports, quote, deaths are trending up sharply in
almost every part of the country. Five states – Arizona, California,
Florida, Mississippi, and Texas broke records for average daily fatalities
this weekend. Florida, meanwhile, has emerged as a particularly bleak
example of how the United States has failed to get a handle on this
On Sunday, the state reported more than 15,000 new cases. That shattered
the previous one-day records that were set by California and New York, New
York, which was the epicenter of this infection. Today, the state reported
the second highest number, this is Florida, reported the second highest
number of new cases that this country has ever seen with more than 12,000
new infections reported in just the last 24 hours.
In Florida – Florida is grappling with an outbreak that`s so large, it`s
bigger than what the vast majority of nations are dealing with. Here is the
way “Reuters” summed it up. Quote: If Florida were a country, it would rank
fourth in the world for the most new cases a day behind the United States,
Brazil and India. More than 40 hospitals across Florida have maxed out
their ICU bed capacity or are close to running out of ICU beds. In Miami-
Dade County, things are especially dire in just that area. Six hospitals
have already reached capacity.
Doctors in the area are no longer mincing words when it comes to describing
the situation on the ground. In a conference call with the mayor of Miami-
Dade this morning, one local infectious disease expert actually pleaded
with the public saying, quote, we really need your help. Miami is now the
he center of the pandemic. What we were seeing in Wuhan five or six months
ago, now we are there. And yet in the midst of all of this, the state is
still struggling when it comes to basic things like testing.
In Miami today, residents began lining up overnight, some at 1:30 in the
morning, just to make sure they got tests before the site ran out of
supplies for the day. That is the position that Florida is in right now,
problems with testing. But despite that, it remains open for business.
This weekend, one of the biggest theme parks in the country, Disney World
reopened for the first time. Meanwhile, the Republican National Convention
is just six weeks away and White House officials say they plan to move
forward with holding the event in Jacksonville. Because, why not? We are
now five months into this pandemic, and yet the federal response remains as
incoherent as it was on day one. And because of that, state and local
governments are having to go it alone.
Today, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced a sweeping
rollback of the state`s reopening plans saying that he would impose new
statewide restrictions, putting an end to indoor dining and closing movie
theaters, zoos, and museums. Bars were also ordered to cease all
In California`s hardest hit counties, home to roughly 80 percent of that
state`s population, closures are even more extensive including places of
worship, certain offices, and hair salons. The decision in California today
comes as more and more state and local leaders are starting to take actions
that they deem necessary to protect their residents even if it means going
out ahead of the federal government.
In Houston, where we`ve now seen countless headlines of hospitals at or
near capacity, local leaders are demanding a shutdown including the city`s
mayor, Sylvester Turner, who today tweeted, quote, I do believe we need a
two-week shutdown at the minimum of two weeks, and I have proposed this to
the governor so we can help blunt COVID-19 progression. The head of the
county`s governing body, Judge Lina Hidalgo, echoed those calls during a
press conference this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: Since we last spoke, what we
feared would happen is coming to pass. At the end of May, there were 15
percent of patients in the ICU. Today, we are at 45 – 48 percent. And the
number keeps rising.
We are crossing or approaching hospital surge capacity day after day as a
matter of course. What this means is reports of people having to wait for
an ICU bed when they need it. ICU beds becoming more and more scarce,
having to import doctors and nurses to keep up with the demand.
Hospitalizations continue to rise. If it wasn`t clear before, it`s obvious
now that having so much still open from restaurants to all sized indoor
events, to water parks is not going to turn this thing around, which is why
I continue to call for an enforceable stay home order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Joining us now is Judge Lina Hidalgo, head of Harris County`s
Judge hidalgo, thank you for being with us tonight. It is fascinate to go
watch this unfold and sad this unfold in Harris County. You have within
your county boundaries, the largest hospital complex in America, one of the
largest and best in the entire world.
And your hospitals are filling up. Your ICUs are diverting people to other
HIDALGO: That`s right, Ali. We have the largest medical center here in
Harris County, which is home to Houston and 33 other cities, what we are
learning the hard way is that this strategy of seeing how far we can
stretch our hospital beds and trying to fill them up while also not making
aggressive public policy is not a good strategy.
It is wrong morally. It is not adequate public health policy. It is not
adequate economic policy. And it`s simply not working.
Those beds are continuing to fill, and the halfway measures we`ve had so
far are simply not cutting it. Today, that`s the saddest part is you could
go to a water park, you could go to a restaurant.
Yes, some things are happening. But until we take strong action, we`re not
going to see the curve turn around. We`re not going to see the curve
flatten or we`re now going to see it come down.
VELSHI: Judge, tell me how you solve this problem, because you and Mayor
Sylvester Turner and others, just like we`re seeing in Arizona, there are
municipal leaders who are asking their governors to do something. Your
governor has said, according to a local news report today, he said there
are rumors out there that there will be an imminent shut down.
That is not the case. He`s not really hearing you on this.
HIDALGO: Look, we`ve got to look at the data here. We have to be honest
with ourselves, and we have to hear the cries of the community, the folks
who are hurting economically, who have loved ones in the hospital and
recognize that it`s no time for politics. It is time for evidence based
And we see communities not just around the country, but around the world.
Those who didn`t just flatten the curve but crushed it, brought it all the
way down and began reopening in a slow, measured fashion, are the ones
And so, if we want to look at the economic angle, we need to set up the
economy for long-term success and the only way we do that is by controlling
those cases, testing, of course from a health care standpoint, that`s the
right thing to do. I`ve tried everything we can here.
A few weeks ago, we put our community on red alert. That means stay home.
Everybody got a notification to their cell phones today. We had broadcasts
and radio broadcasts as well with notifications. I`m constantly trying to
But look, I continue to plead for that tool. That`s why I`ve continued to
ask the governor for him to give me that authority or for him to do it
himself. I used to have that authority. That`s how we brought down the
curve in March. And now, we`ve got to do it again and we`ve got to do it
better, because back then we opened before the curve came down. We simply
flattened it and then, you know, we gave up too early and we can`t afford
to do that again.
VELSHI: So, Judge, explain what this means, you had the authority and you
don`t have it now. Right now, the issue is that you are asking for an
enforceable stay-at-home order, not a recommended stay-at-home order.
What`s changed in your ability to enforce an order?
HIDALGO: So, legally, as the county executive I had the authority to issue
this order, orders to wear face coverings and so on and so forth. Now when
the governor began reopening the state, his reopening orders included a
provision that basically undid my ability, or removed that authority to
issue those kinds of orders. So, now, all I can do is recommend and can I
do whatever authority he positively grants me.
And so, right now, we`re at the point where we`ve seen that a strategy of
incrementalist restrictions doesn`t work. The virus is very difficult.
There are many things we don`t understand.
But what we do know is that to control the spread, we`ve got to have a stay
home order. We`ve got to keep it in place until the curve comes down. We
can`t give ourselves arbitrary deadlines. And that will set us up to
succeed for the long haul.
And so, that`s where we are legally. Look, we are seeing something crushing
in our minority communities even that just shows you this strategy ends up
hurting real people. Hispanics in our population are 65 percent, sometimes
50 percent, of the hospitalizations, whereas, there`s only 44 percent of
the population. We`ve got zip codes. The majority Hispanic zip codes,
they`re seeing incredibly high positivity rates, up to 50 percent.
This is terrible not just for that community. Eventually, this catches up
to all of us, and so you can`t be so callous as to have a strategy how much
we can extend the hospital beds and cross our fingers and hope it works. So
we continue to plead with the community to stay home but, of course, it`s
so much stronger if we have an order and we know that it works because when
we did it in March people buckled down. They got together. They flattened
Of course, then, you know, the state decided to reopen before we had a
chance to really bring things under control. But we`re going to keep
fighting, fighting with our public health tools, fighting with the
communication tools we have. But, frankly, this is really sad to watch this
is what`s happening in our hospitals and at the same time I can go have any
size indoor event as long as it`s indoors and I can go to a restaurant and
sit on a crowded patio right now in my community while people are dying and
filling up our hospitals.
VELSHI: Judge Hidalgo, thank you for joining us tonight. Judge Lina Hidalgo
is head of Harris County`s governing body – we appreciate your time.
With cases surging all over the country, the White House has decided to
focus its efforts on discrediting the nation`s top infectious disease
expert because of his blunt warnings about the coronavirus. An
administration official on Sunday sent NBC News and other main media
outlets a list of Dr. Anthony Fauci`s past statements on the coronavirus,
saying, quote, several White House officials are concerned about the number
of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.
In many ways, the document resembled campaign opposition research as
opposed to an official White House document. It comes as Fauci has been
essentially sidelined by the administration. According to “The Washington
Post”, Fauci no longer briefs Donald Trump and is never in the oval office
anymore. He reportedly last spoke to the president during the first week in
June. Certainly not the best time to be discrediting and pushing away one
of the most respected scientific voices in the country.
Joining me now Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former health care adviser to President
Obama, now an MSNBC`s medical contributor and author of “Which Country Has
the World`s Best Health Care?”
Zeke, good to see you again. Thank you for being with us.
I`m really puzzled by the Fauci thing. If you don`t like somebody who is
doing a job for the administration, Donald Trump has had no hesitation
generally speaking in getting rid of them. This is weird, the degree to
which they are undermining Fauci.
Peter Navarro was on with me over a week ago and started by undermining and
discrediting Fauci. What do you think is going on here?
ZEKE EMANUEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they want to character
assassination attempt here. It`s reckless, it`s cruel, it`s wrong, and it`s
Nobody in this whole pandemic has gotten everything right because it`s
brand-new, lots of uncertainty and you`re trying to make predictions and
projections in the midst of that kind of uncertainty and you makes in human
behavior. Will people follow stay-at-home orders or not.
But Dr. Fauci has gotten it right a long and, most importantly, I was going
to say, when he`s wrong, he`s very up front about it. One of the things Dr.
Fauci does is he always qualifies what he`s going to say as to what he
really knows and what he is guessing at and what he`s making an estimation
And correcting errors is part of science. We all make projections and try
to estimate things.
VELSHI: He`s thoughtful and deliberate in the way he`s done things. But –
and this is calling for you to speculate. Fauci`s useful to the country
right now. Is it less useful that he`s not got access to the president,
that they`re not letting him speak freely? Could he be doing something
EMANUEL: In the country? He could be doing a lot of things. But I do think
it`s an important thing to contrast how often he`s been wrong with the
president who said the virus was going to disappear in the warm weather,
who said hydroxychloroquine was going to work, who recommended maybe we
should take bleach or put light in our bodies.
This is not the way to run a public health emergency, to take your best
scientist, one who has proven over almost four decades now that he has real
knowledge of infectious disease, real knowledge how to combat it, real
knowledge how to actually save lives and to sideline him. It is
And the president needs good advisers who really know the science, and what
he`s doing is running with people who like what he has to say and won`t
push back when he is wrong. And that`s just – you know, the whole country
is suffering because of it.
VELSHI: One of the things Dr. Fauci did say is we might get to a point
where we have 100,000 cases a day. If you recall, Zeke, you and I were on
TV one night talking about when the president said we weren`t going to get
to 100,000 cases at all, certainly not 100,000 deaths. We`re way down past
But let`s take a look at the record on Friday. We have topped 70,000 new
cases on Friday. Talk to me about what we need to do now, Zeke, because
you`ve never been – you know, like a lot of Americans, think people want
to get out. People want to get back to work. People have to earn income.
But you just heard my conversation with the chief executive from Harris
County in Texas. This is what happens when we don`t follow rules.
EMANUEL: Look, if you look at all of the countries, and I think I said this
with you, Ali, four months ago in March, all the other countries it goes up
for four weeks and then it comes down four weeks. It`s a pretty symmetric
curve or goes up four weeks and come down for five, six weeks. That`s the
time period we have. We have to be disciplined for that time period.
We`re talking about eight to ten weeks where we have to be disciplined. And
then you can bring the curve down. You can bring the transmission rate
below one. You can see this work.
You know how we know? Look at New York. Today, no cases of transmission.
EMANUEL: Washington, D.C., four straight days, no cases. You can do this –
EMANUEL: – with discipline. You just need leadership and consistent
messaging and consistent embodiment of that messaging by your leader,
instead of trying to sow this disharmony, suspicion of the virus and what
it can actually do and the damage it can cause.
VELSHI: But the sowing of suspicion – go ahead, Zeke. Yes?
EMANUEL: We had the governor of Florida who sort of, you know, dismissed
all of this early March, April, May. Not going to happen here.
And, sure enough, it was as clear as day, anyone who has studied
epidemiology knows you have those parties on the beaches, you open indoor
restaurants, you open bars, you open all these amusement facilities, you`re
going to have the spread. It is inevitable. And it`s come home to roost in
a state that has a huge population of elderly people who all at very high
VELSHI: I`m trying to get my head around from a public health perspective
where the president is getting his advice from. There was a story in “The
Daily Beast” today describing the fact Donald Trump re-tweeted the former
game show host Chuck Woolery whom I didn`t know was the conspiracy
theorist, but the tweet that he re-tweeted said the most outrageous lies
are the ones about COVID-19.
Everybody is lying. The CDC, media, Democrats, our doctors – not all, but
most – that we are told to trust. I think it`s all about the election and
keeping the economy from coming back which is about the election. I`m sick
So, Chuck Woolery tweets it out. The president re-tweets this. But this
attack on science, this attack on truth, and now this attack on doctors and
an attack on public health efforts, I just didn`t know this could happen,
but the president is fully at the front of this train.
EMANUEL: Look, one of the things have political scientists who study this
phenomenon, study populism, is that one of the victims of this is
expertise. The fact that people actually know something and what they know
is valuable to actually addressing a problem.
And we have had an attack on expertise more than 20 years in this country
as the populism of the Republican Party has gone up. And that is what
you`re seeing. You don`t like the facts, attack the messenger. That is not
a good way to actually survive, and we know that biology, you can`t
bamboozle it. You can`t just through rhetoric and we`re great and our
response is fantastic, you`re not going to beat this virus.
The virus can withstand all of that because it doesn`t really care about
the rhetoric. It cares about science and it behaves by biological laws. We
know how to beat that. We`ve seen around the world countries that have
Look at Italy. Italy has had its challenges. But over ten weeks brought the
virus down and now you can open up safely once it`s down a few cases pop
up, you can actually suppress them. But if you got 10,000, 12,000 cases a
day, you cannot suppress it. And you will not beat that virus.
VELSHI: Zeke, always good to see you, my friend. Thank you.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is the vice provost for the University of
Pennsylvania`s global initiatives. He`s a former health care adviser to
President Obama. Thank you for your time, sir.
All right. Coming up next, the president kept his longtime adviser Roger
Stone out of prison by commuting his sentence on Friday. It`s a stunning
development as of Friday night news dump goes.
In a broader context, it turns out that there`s actually more here to see.
I`ll have that story after this.
VELSHI: Call it a tale of three books, three books about the president of
the United States. See if you can spot which of these is being treated
differently by the White House. In the midst of the fire hose of news at
the end of last week, Donald Trump`s lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sent back
to prison after having been released to home detention earlier this year.
And you may or may not care all that much about where Mr. Cohen is serving
out his sentence for tax fraud and lying to Congress, but here is what
quickly became concerning about Michael Cohen suddenly being locked up
again. Cohen`s lawyers say he was sent back to prison because he did not
want to sign paperwork that would have blocked him from talking to the
media or publishing the book he`s been working on. In other words, keep
silent or go back behind bars.
How unusual is an ultimatum like that? CNN spoke to several defensive
attorneys and legal experts, none of whom had ever seen anything like
Cohen`s media and book publishing ban.
Ryan Goodman at Just Security reached out to several leading First
Amendment scholars. They looked at the prohibition and described it with
phrases like, quote, patently unconstitutional, a profound affront to the
First Amendment, indefensible.
And so, again, whether you view Michael Cohen as a sympathetic character or
not, what it looks like is happening here is pretty chilling. The Trump
administration gave Michael Cohen a choice, sign this paper saying you
won`t write a book, or go back to prison. Silence or prison, your choice.
Then there`s the book by Donald Trump`s niece slated for publication
tomorrow. Donald Trump and his family have been in court up through today
trying to block the book from being published and block Mary Trump from
saying anything about the book. Which feels ridiculous because you probably
feel you`ve already read it since just about every media outlet on the
planet has gotten a copy and dissected it already.
Well, this evening, Donald Trump and his family lost that court fight. A
New York state Supreme Court judge rejected the attempt to block the book,
ruling that, quote, the potential enormous cost and logistical nightmare of
stopping the publication, recalling and removing hundreds of thousands of
books from all types of booksellers, brick and mortar and virtual,
libraries and private citizens, is an insurmountable task at this time.
The judge then quotes a different judge in another case Donald Trump lost
when he tried to block the publication of his former national security
adviser John Bolton`s book. Quote, by the looks of it, the horse is not
just out of the barn, it is out of the country.
Mary Trump`s book can go forward and also, Mary Trump is now free to speak
publicly about it, which should be interesting.
So, Michael Cohen`s book, Mary Trump`s book, the president, his family, his
White House doing everything they can to prevent them from coming out up to
and including sending Michael Cohen back to prison.
But today, we learned about a third book. Today, the Justice Department
released the actual executive order commuting the prison sentence of Roger
Stone. You see the president`s unmistakable sharpie signature there.
The president commuted his old friend`s sentence on Friday night. But it`s
not clear how broad the commutation was. The judge in Stone`s case demanded
to see the actual order to determine whether it covered just Stone`s prison
time or his probation as well.
Well, now we now that the president took care of everything, prison time,
supervised release, $20,000 fine, all of it, poof, gone. And today, Roger
Stone announced that he`s celebrating by writing a book. That`s right.
So if you testify unflatteringly about the president and you try to write a
book, you go back it to prison. If you withhold information from Congress
and prosecutors to protect the president, you get your prison sentence
erased and you can accomplish to your heart`s content.
Joining us now Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern
District of Michigan.
Barbara, good to see you. Thank you for joining us tonight.
Talk to me about this. We`ve heard in certain extreme cases about convicted
felons not able to profit from their crimes, typically in the case of
murders and things like that, but how unusual is this – is this
development to you?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN: I`ve
never heard of anything like it and, in fact, Ali, I`ve been talking with
colleagues to ask them if they`ve ever seen anything like this, and I
haven`t found d anybody who has.
You know, after the son of Sam killings, many states passed these laws
called Son of Sam laws that prevented people from profiting from their
crimes. And so, the idea was if an offender wrote a book about his crime,
it could be the case that those profits could be disgorged and returned to
victims of crimes. And that`s true in the federal rules as well.
But there`s no law that says a person can`t even write a book. In fact, the
Supreme Court has held that such a rule would be unconstitutional.
So, I think if Michael Cohen were to challenge this condition, he would
VELSHI: It is interesting, though, that the president did something
completely contrary to that with the erasure of Roger Stone`s conviction,
or at least, you know, vacating the things he had to do with that
conviction. It dos seem a little bit stark.
MCQUADE: If I were cynical, Ali, I would suggest that perhaps President
Trump is trying to control who writes stories about him, who tells their
story, people who have unflattering things to say are hit with lawsuits and
efforts are made to stop them and to suppress them and keep those stories
from being told.
People who have flattering things to say about President Trump are released
from prison so they get a chance to tell those stories. I don`t know that
President Trump will be able to stop the unflattering stories forever. He
also files lawsuits against journalists for things that he alleges are
defamatory, that I don`t think are going to be held up.
But it seems that he is at least trying to keep the dam from bursting
before the election. If he can keep the bad things from being out in the
public before the election, then perhaps he can control that narrative
before his ability to affect the outcome of the election. But I don`t think
he`s going to be successful. You know, prior restraints, which is any
ruling, any order, any law that prohibits someone from sharing information
are highly disfavored. And so, you know, you can work out money damages
later in these lawsuits but the idea of surprising someone`s information is
VELSHI: So the normalization of these characters in the Trump
administration is worth study. The list of commutations and the list of
pardons is interesting, because some of it are people that President Trump
wants to pardon, some of them, he`s softening us up for. But between those
and the tweets about who has been witch-hunted or unfairly treated, the
president has normalized the idea that he does this sort of thing. It
wasn`t a surprise he commuted the sentence of Roger Stone.
But Robert Mueller in his op-ed for “The Washington Post” wanted to
underscore the point. He writes a jury determined that Stone repeatedly
lied to members of Congress.
He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about
the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by
denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of
WikiLeaks` releases. He, in fact, updated senior campaign officials
repeatedly about WikiLeaks, and he tampered with a witness imploring him to
Mueller is trying to make the point as normal as Trump wants to make this
feel, Roger Stone`s a convicted felon.
MCQUADE: Yeah, I was so gratified to see Robert Mueller come out with this
op-ed. You know, he is a stoic marine who does not complain, does not speak
up. And for him to write this, even in its fairly subdued tones, is the
equivalent of screaming for anybody else. And so, I think he is trying to
say this is not normal.
You know, President Trump has granted pardons and clemency for people like
Rod Blagojevich and Bernard Kerik. Others who have committed crimes of
corruption, perhaps trying to say corruption is no big deal. But what`s
different about this one is, it`s not just corruption, it relates
specifically to Trump himself. It is an effort to cover up his crimes.
As Judge Jackson said herself at Stone`s sentencing, Roger Stone was not
standing up for President Trump, Roger Stone was covering up for President
Trump. And so, this clemency really seems like an abuse of the pardon
VELSHI: Barbara, good to see you as always. Thank you for joining me.
Barbara McQuade is a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of
Michigan. Thank you for your time tonight.
Still ahead, if you ignore, fumble and botch the response to a crisis as
serious as a global pandemic, you can expect political consequences for
that. We`ll have the latest snapshot on red state races that are now
surprisingly in play, after this break.
VELSHI: Explosion of new coronavirus cases in Texas is translating into
immediate political pain for Donald Trump. A new “Dallas Morning News” poll
finds that just 38 percent of Texas voters are pleased with the president`s
handling of the virus, while an overall majority, 52 percent, disapprove.
And while those numbers may or may not concern the president, the top line
number from that same poll almost certainly will.
Trump currently trails Joe Biden by five points in Texas. It`s not a
national poll. This is not a swing state poll. In the headline, it calls it
Red Texas. This latest poll is not an outlier, by the way.
The Real Clear Politics of all Texas polls currently has Biden and Trump
tied. At the national level, the president`s historically weak standing at
this point in the race has some strategists urging Biden to go big and try
to expand the map in states like Georgia, Ohio and Texas.
What`s more? The president`s bungling of the virus response has Republican
senators avoiding any mention of him in their campaign ads, while his drop
in the polls has Democrats salivating about their chances of taking back
the upper chamber. Asked today whether Republicans would hang on to the
Senate Senator Mitch McConnell could muster only that he was hopeful that
Now, tomorrow, voters in Texas, Maine, and Alabama head to the polls for
primary contests with direct implications for control of the Senate in
Let`s start in Texas, Democrats are going to select a Senate challenger to
take on the Republican incumbent John Cornyn. While Cornyn ultimately
remains favored to hold his seat, his recent comments about not knowing
whether children can catch the coronavirus at the same time that his state
reported over 500 kids have tested positive isn`t helping him.
In Alabama, another red state that has seen a recent surge in coronavirus
cases, Republicans will choose between former football – college football
coach and Trump endorsed candidate Tommy Tuberville on the left, and
Trump`s former attorney general turned foe Jeff Sessions. The winner is
going to take on the Democrats` most vulnerable incumbent Doug Jones who
pulled off a shocking victory in 2017.
In Maine, Democrats will choose a Senate candidate to take on vulnerable
incumbent Susan Collins. The current front-runner in the Democratic
primary, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, currently leads Collins in public
polling. And seeming vulnerable this early, Susan Collins has company.
Polls show Republican senators are also facing tough races in Colorado,
Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, and Montana.
Trump won Montana by 20 points four years ago. In the Montana Senate race,
a new poll finds the popular governor and Democratic challenger leading the
incumbent by two points.
Meanwhile, the latest Senate poll out of Arizona shows the Democratic
challenger Mark Kelly beating Republican incumbent Martha McSally by four
points, which might not be surprising considering the Republican-led state
has continued to set all the wrong records for coronavirus.
The latest from the crisis in Arizona is right after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. FRANK LOVECCHIO, ER PHYSICIAN, PHOENIX, AZ: These last couple of days
have been kind of hectic. Right now when I left, we were holding
approximately ten patients for the intensive care unit. Obviously, the
intensive care unit is full, to place for them to go. Some patients in
their ER beds were being doubled up. We had makeshift sort of curtains to
kind of separate beds to take one spot and make it into two.
There`s no place to put people. We`ve been on diversion for much of the
night. Diversion means an ambulance wants to come to your place and we say
we can`t accept it, we`re saturated.
Unfortunately, if the next closest hospital is also on diversion you kind
of share it and you`re forced to go back on and accept patients after a few
hours. So, we`ve been playing that game all night where we`ve been on
diversion, the next hospital a few miles away is on diversion and we`re
still receiving patients. The majority are still COVID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: That ER doctor in hard-hit Phoenix, Arizona, saying his hospital is
full up. Got no room for patients. But they keep their doors open because
the next closest hospital is full of COVID patients, too.
According to “The New York Times”, there are 39 states seeing an increase
in new coronavirus infections plus D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands. The COVID outbreak is growing in the majority of the country right
now, but there`s one state that sticks out, you can see it, it clearly
stands out in the stack of charts from “The Times”.
Take a look at Arizona. New coronavirus infections have been on a meteoric
rise for weeks now since the state`s Republican governor began one of the
earliest reopenings in the country to appease Trump. This weekend, the
number of ICU beds and ventilators being used by coronavirus patients hit
an all-time high in Arizona. That`s the hard data behind the experience of
that Phoenix ER doctor was just describing.
But with all the numbers still trending up, the governor of Arizona Doug
Ducey has not enacted any significant new restrictions to slow the spread,
has not closed businesses, has no statewide mask requirement. And so, with
more people in Arizona getting sick than the hospitals can keep up with,
officials on the local level are pushing on the governor to change his
mind. This weekend, the mayors from five of Arizona`s biggest cities sent a
governor of Arizona this letter asking the governor to enact a statewide
mask requirement, to increase testing and contact tracing, to ask
Arizonians to stay home.
But also for the governor to step up and enact statewide strategy to stop
the coronavirus from ripping through the state, because the mayors are
tired of trying to solve a public health crisis all on their own, quote, as
Arizona mayors, we are deeply concerned about the current response to the
COVID-19 pandemic in our state. Any further actions to curb the spread must
provide statewide direction.
COVID-19 does not stop at city or county limits. We need statewide action
to effectively combat this public health crisis. That letter, which is
basically a public SOS letter to the governor is signed by the mayors of
Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tolleson and Tempe.
Joining me now, Will Humble. He`s the former director of the Arizona
Department of Health Services and now the executive director of the Arizona
Public Health Association.
Will, good to see you.
You and I talked two weeks ago, and you described something to me about
something called care standards. You said your hospitals were starting to
use care standards which I think in common parlance is some version of
triage determining who gets what treatment. That was two weeks ago. Now
what you got what this E.R. doctor describes as diversion, actually turning
WILL HUMBLE, ARIZONA PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes,
that`s what he was describing. Doctor (INAUDIBLE) who I know, was
describing crisis standards of care in operation. And that`s – that`s what
it means. He talked about repurposing emergency department rooms because
they were unable to go to intensive care beds, and out of necessity because
they don`t have the staff within their hospital and then they check the
surge line and were unable to find a similar hospital to treat those
patients, so they`re doing the best they can.
And, the terrible thing here is that there is no end in sight. I mean, the
number of cases continues to rise, the policy decisions have not been
adjusted to make the situation any better. And, further, there are
administrative things that could be done like improving the turn-around
time with testing, using CARES Act money, by the way. It is not state funds
that are needed. They could do it now.
So there are several of these things that could make a real difference. But
as you mentioned, it takes some leadership to really turn the tide.
VELSHI: Yeah. The thing, though, Will, about the human mind is our ability
to learn from things and try not to repeat mistakes or not habitually
repeat mistakes. But, in fact, we have seen exactly what`s happening in
Arizona happen elsewhere and we thought we wouldn`t have to go through this
again. We were hoping.
People like me who come from New York were hoping that Arizona and Texas
and Florida would not have to go through this. And, in fact, they did not
have to go through this.
HUMBLE: Well, that`s right. And we didn`t have to go through it either, by
the way. I mean, the playbook was written in the Northeast part of the
country where they had a responsible playbook, really, for how to emerge
from the stay-at-home order and preserve the sacrifices made by the folks
at your state. And we didn`t follow that playbook.
And we basically, I think what we did is adopt the Swedish model, really,
to implement that. I was on Chris Hayes` show a few days ago. I said, look,
I hope the other states out there recognize whatnot to do. Don`t follow the
Arizona example because this is a bad experiment. It is not working out
If you come out of a stay-at-home order, come out of it in a responsible
way with performance measures that you can document and get compliance with
some of these CDC mitigation efforts and make sure you have the testing
capacity that will help you with your contact tracing, on all of these
marks that we`re on.
VELSHI: In fact, when you look at the three things they ask for in the
mayor`s letter to the governor, it is those three things. When you look at
Japan or South Korea or Taiwan or New Zealand, the CDC mitigation matters,
they`re simple. We`re not asking for a treatment or cure or vaccine. That
will come later. We`re just asking for basic stuff that has been shown to
mitigate the spread of this infection.
HUMBLE: Right, all these things are layers, you know? The testing capacity
leads into contact tracing, which that contact tracing is a layer.
Complying with the CDC mitigation measures in retail stores, bars,
restaurants, et cetera, that`s a mitigation measure.
We need to have all the layers in place, which, by the way, are manageable
things. We`re not talking about another stay at home order. We`re talking
about in policy decisions and administrative action that if taken can stem
the tide, move the needle and get us to the vaccine so that we don`t have
to do another stay-at-home order which has tremendous collateral damage in
public health and otherwise.
VELSHI: Will, good to see you again. Thank you for being with us. I`m sorry
that we have to talk as frequently as we do, but we appreciate the time
that you take to keep us up to speed. Will Humble is the former director of
the Arizona Department of Human Services. He`s now the executive director
of the Arizona Public Health Association.
All right. Coming up, state officials managed to push back on Trump
administration policies by taking the president to court. Today, the states
are trying again in a fight for big implications for all of us. We`ll tell
you about that, next.
VELSHI: When Donald Trump first ran for president, he said a lot of racist
and homophobic things about immigrants and how he was going to build a wall
to keep many of them out. He also said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want people to come into
our country legally. I want to have a big, fat, beautiful open door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: A big, fat, beautiful open door for legal immigrants. That`s how
Donald Trump tried to convince the American people and the voters that it
wasn`t really about hating immigrants. It was just about the rule of law,
getting the so-called bad hombres out if you recall.
Donald Trump has done many things, both during that election and in the
four years since that made it really clear that he really is prejudice
against immigrants of all stripes or maybe of most stripes, and doesn`t
care much about the rule of law either. But some level of welcome for
immigrants, some level of acknowledgments that immigration is important to
America`s economy, if not its values and traditions was mainstream
Republican consensus at the time.
As recently as last year, administration officials were still telling
reporters Trump actually wanted to increase the number of visas for highly
skilled workers. But here`s the thing, Donald Trump has repeatedly and
emphatically slammed his big, fat, beautiful door in the faces of those
same immigrants that his party once tried to make exceptions for.
The latest example is the Trump administration`s announcement of a new
policy for international students who study at an American college and
whose studies have moved online during the pandemic. The Trump
administration essentially told those students to go back to where they
came from, revoking their right to stay in the United States.
The decision doesn`t just upend the lives of those international students,
it`s another discouragement of them to study and potentially build their
lives in America. We`re shutting the door on some of the world`s best and
brightest minds, giving up on their contributions to American business, to
research, innovation and society now and down the road.
Harvard law school professor writes that the effect of pushing these
students away will, quote, likely be an exodus of academic talent to
schools in Europe or elsewhere, an intellectual catastrophe of historic
proportions with long-term economic ramifications.
There is so much at stake in this move by the president, for the students,
for the universities and for all of us that today the attorneys general of
16 states and D.C. joined the A.G. of Massachusetts in suing the
administration to try and stop the policy. They`re asking a federal court
in Boston to block the policy as the case moves forward.
No word yet. But as Rachel says, watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, my friend.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the