Mourning in America ad TRANSCRIPT: 5/5/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And what I`ve been wondering about is, does the factory normally play
music, or was that greeting music for the president of the United States?
And if it was, who chose that?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: For the moment, he`s being shown what the mask
protects you from while he and all the men around him are not wearing masks
and pointing at each other`s faces. I mean, really?
If it was – if it was coincidence, it means there`s a god. If it was not a
coincidence, it means there`s a very smart would-be deejay in that part of
Arizona who deserves all of our thanks.
O`DONNELL: And, Rachel, there`s one other thing in the video I don`t get. I
don`t understand why he was wearing the glasses that everybody wears in
factories like that. He doesn`t obey any of those rules. He doesn`t wear
masks when you`re supposed to wear masks.
Why was he bothering to wear the glasses? I don`t get it.
MADDOW: Maybe he thinks that`s where the infection part goes.
O`DONNELL: Oh, OK. All right.
MADDOW: I don`t – or maybe he`s comfortable wearing goggles for specialty
things. I don`t – I don`t –
MADDOW: I can`t even guess. I shouldn`t speculate.
O`DONNELL: You don`t have to, Rachel. You can go home now.
MADDOW: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Good night, Rachel.
MADDOW: Good night.
O`DONNELL: She`s had a tough day.
Every one of these are tough days. And it was a tough day of sorts, but
maybe not really for Rick Wilson. Because Rick Wilson was one of the
targets of Donald Trump`s tweeted hatred today. Rick Wilson will join us at
the end of the hour to show us somewhat he did, along with Kellyanne
Conway`s husband, George Conway, to make Donald Trump so very angry at him
And Laurie Garrett is the journalist who has taught us more about
coronavirus than any other journalist, will join us tonight. She always
changes and improves my understanding of where we are in the coronavirus
pandemic. She told us that this was coming. She told us this was coming and
it was going to be bad long before New York was told it was going to be so
bad that everyone was going to have to stay home. Laurie Garrett knew all
of that was coming.
Laurie Garrett now says that no one who was thinking about or talking about
reopening businesses or schools has a strategy to guide that kind of
decision-making. Laurie Garrett will join us later in the hour.
And NYU medical school is now running human trials on a possible vaccine
for coronavirus. We`ll have an exclusive report on the NYU vaccine later in
this hour. You`ll hear a video interview of a woman who has volunteered for
the human trial of that vaccine. That will be later in the hour.
We have two stories tonight to begin with that are actually the same story.
The suppression of information about the coronavirus pandemic by Donald
Trump and his administration. That`s the one story that these two stories
One story is going to create the most important congressional hearing since
the impeachment hearings against Donald Trump. We`ll be joined later in
this hour by Congressman Peter Welch, who will be participating in that
hearing when Dr. Rick Bright testifying about his whistleblower complaint,
which was made public today.
Dr. Bright says he was removed from his job and reassigned because he was
urgently warning the Trump administration in January that this country was
not prepared for the coronavirus pandemic that was coming. Dr. Bright
warned his boss, the secretary of Health and Human Services that we were
going to face a medical supply crisis. He specified exactly what we
urgently needed to do, including a surge in funding for medical supplies
and preparations for the coronavirus pandemic and the Secretary of Health
and Human Services Alex Azar`s response to that was to block Dr. Bright
from being allowed to attend the next meeting about the coronavirus.
And then he eventually, Alex Azar, got rid of him entirely. And now, that`s
going to happen for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, going to get
rid of them, too. The White House has not denied reporting today that
Donald Trump is going to get rid of the coronavirus task force. That`s the
other story about the suppression of true information by the Trump
administration during this coronavirus pandemic.
And when he was asked today about disbanding the coronavirus task force,
Donald Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike Pence and the task force
have done a great job, but we`re looking at a little bit of a different
form, and that form is safety and opening, and we`ll have a different group
probably set up for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So that`s it. The war is over for the wartime president, as he
called himself. He apparently has defeated the coronavirus and now he needs
another task force that is not dedicated to stopping the coronavirus, it is
dedicated to putting more and more people in danger of infection by getting
them back to work without any strategy whatsoever.
Also today, Donald Trump said that Dr. Anthony Fauci will never be allowed
to testify to the House of Representatives because it`s controlled by
Democrats but Dr. Fauci will be allowed to testify to the Senate once
because it`s controlled by Republicans.
Donald Trump didn`t kill his coronavirus task force today. He killed it the
day he said this –
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And when I see the disinfectant which knocks it out in a minute, one
minute, and is there a way we can do something like that, by injection
inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it
does a tremendous number. It will be interesting to check that. For that,
you`ll have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me. But
the whole concept of the way the light kills it in one minute, that`s
Deborah, have you ever heard of the heat and the light relative to certain
viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: Not as a
treatment. Certainly fever –
BIRX: – is a good thing when you have a fever, it helps your body respond.
But not as – I`ve not seen –
TRUMP: I think it`s a great thing to look at. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Not as a treatment. That was the best that she could do. Not as
That is the presidential campaign moment that America should never forget,
and it was a campaign moment, because Donald Trump had turned the White
House briefing room into his 2020 version of a campaign rally. Donald Trump
believed his command of television cameras in the White House briefing gave
him a huge advantage over Joe Biden.
There was no polling evidence of that. The polling indicated that Donald
Trump was making the country increasingly uncomfortable and dissatisfied
and eventually scared by his job performance. Then came the moment when
Donald Trump talked about ingesting disinfectant. He didn`t know he was
talking about suicide, because the president`s ignorance is boundless.
But once the news media made it clear, even to Donald Trump watching TV in
the White House, how foolish his comment was, even Donald Trump knew that
he could never do that again. And so, he stopped the White House briefings.
And for Donald Trump, the whole point of the coronavirus task force was to
make it a TV show. And now that the TV show is canceled, he doesn`t need
the cast hanging around anymore. You will not miss these briefings.
They were dominated by Donald Trump`s misinformation and lies. There were
occasional notes of reality, clearly inserted by Dr. Anthony Fauci. But Dr.
Deborah Birx chose another course that made her more popular with Donald
Trump. She avoided any phrasing that could ever be interpreted as a
possible direct contradiction of Donald Trump.
And she once actually told a television interviewer that Donald Trump was
so good at reading all of the briefing materials that she presented to him,
when we know that Donald Trump does not read anything. And her very, very
worst moment was the moment that you just saw, when the president turns to
her and says, have you ever heard of that? And Dr. Birx does not say,
absolutely not. That could be suicidal. No one should do anything that you
Dr. Birx`s answer to Donald Trump when he said, have you ever heard of
that, was “not as a treatment.” And so no, we will not miss Donald Trump`s
lies. We will not miss Donald Trump`s suicidal prescriptions, and we will
not miss Dr. Birx`s refusal to fulfill her duty to warn that what you just
heard was insane.
Dr. Birx had that duty as a physician and public health official, to warn
people publicly as soon as Donald Trump said that. That what they heard was
Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci will no doubt continue to do good work behind closed
doors tracking the virus. And you will continue to be fully informed by
medical experts who know everything there is to know about this subject.
And you see them on this network every day. In a serious White House, the
coronavirus task force would be delivering better information for you than
the immunologists and researchers, and physicians who appear on this
But that`s not where we live now. We live in a country now where the best
medical information you can get about what`s happening with this
coronavirus is by watching this network. This is the best information
available. And that is not what you are getting, from the Trump TV rallies
in the White House briefing room.
And that briefing room, you were never getting the job, the treatment that
the White House task force was supposed to deliver.
Dr. Erik Blutinger is an emergency physician at Mt. Sinai Queens Hospital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ERIK BLUTINGER, MOUNT SINAI QUEENS HOSPITAL EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: I
never imagined going into the medical profession thinking that on a given
shift I could receive a diagnosis or a medical illness that could
eventually kill me and harbor itself internally, so insidiously and
quietly. But that is the new battle that we`re facing in coronavirus.
I was crushed emotionally that our hospital system was doing a phenomenal
job trying to mobilize resources, and in checking with all of us
individually to make sure that we mentally were prepared for the onslaught
that was to come. There was really no end in sight at the beginning of
this. And that made it much more difficult to see the light at the end of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Dr. Ashish Jha, the director
of the Harvard Global Health Institute, and John Heilemann, national
affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He is the co-host of Showtime`s
“The Circus” and the editor in chief of “The Recount”.
And, Dr. Jha, I want to get your sense of where we are tonight. It seems
like New York is on a down slope, but is it – is it, in fact, the case
that the rest of the country, when you look at the country as a whole,
we`re at a plateau, we are not actually moving downward?
DR. ASHISH JHA, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE DIRECTOR: So, thanks for
having me on, Lawrence. What we have is a tale of two countries. We have
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, parts of other places where the cases
are declining – Ohio, California, where if you put them in aggregate, the
number of cases is declining.
And then you have the rest of the country, the second half of the story,
where it`s not just flat, it`s actually rising. Well, not everywhere. Some
places it is flat, some places it`s low. But aggregate, the rest of the
country is increasing. And so, this whole idea that, you know, and that`s
why on average it comes out flat, but this whole idea that the country is
ready to open up really does not comply with the facts and data on the
O`DONNELL: Doctor, what about regions of the country? Governor Cuomo is
talking about possible upstate regions of New York state being allowed more
kinds of public activities than the down state region and New York City.
JHA: So, look, I think we can have very localized policies. I don`t think
that`s unreasonable if some parts of upstate New York have few or no cases
or substantially declining cases. But I think they`re going to have to
worry about things like, so what happens when parts of the state open up
and people from New York City drive up there? Because people move, and
people with instinct.
So, I am – I`m not opposed to regional focused policies that are driven by
data and science. I just think we have to be careful about how far we push
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, the White House Coronavirus Task Force seems to
be disbanded. We will not be subject to those end-of-day two-hour
performances anymore, until, I guess, Donald Trump gets too bored and
decides to try something else on television.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, Lawrence.
And I think – so I appreciated your opening to the show tonight. It`s
grim, and I think appropriately grim given where we are and given the
extraordinary back-to-back nature of the last few days where we learn about
on the one side projections and models and forecasts within the
administration that suggests that May and June could be extraordinarily
ugly in the United States when it comes to coronavirus and the very next
day, the White House announces that it`s shutting down the coronavirus task
I agree with you. I think the task force and it`s public relations
orientation has been close to useless in terms of getting anything done.
And yet, on the political side, to see Donald Trump at this moment having
what can only be described as a mission accomplished moment, if that is in
fact where we`re going, shutting down the coronavirus task force, basically
saying a lot of people are going to get hurt going forward, but we must
reopen this economy. The economy is key to him politically.
And at this point, he seems to be essentially saying, I don`t care about
public health to the extent I ever cared about it. We`re moving from that.
We`re in a renewed phase. I think it`s dangerous for the country but also I
think extraordinarily reckless politically for the president if his hope is
to get re-elected.
O`DONNELL: John, I think one of the last numbers that Donald Trump in his
own imaginary projections offered in the White House briefing room was
50,000. He was saying that he thought they might hold total American deaths
Is it just that Donald Trump doesn`t want to go into that room anymore when
the numbers are going up and up, and his administration has some
projections that indicate that the death rate could be doubling in June and
they could be announcing 3,000 per day?
HEILEMANN: Yes. I think – I think, you know, Lawrence, we talked about
various strategies or tactics that President Trump has tried in the course
of 2020 in respect to COVID-19. The first was down playing.
Then we had blame shifting. And now more recently, we`ve been in the moment
of goal post shifting, where that 50,000 projection that he gave that one
day in the White House was – we got to 50,000 that week. It was like a
Monday that he said it might only be 50,000 deaths and we crossed over the
50,000 threshold within four days when he said that.
And I think, you know, we`ve now seen him ratchet that – that goal post,
push that goal post further and further down the field. It`s now apparently
he`s setting 100,000 as the marker. But I think even Donald Trump, who
never tires of mendacity, never tires of lying, never tires of
innumerateness, I think even Donald Trump who never tires of goal post
shifting, I think his arms are getting tired and he`s starting to realize
that it`s getting to the point where even by his standards, it`s too
ludicrous to continue with this effort and it`s not only ludicrous but
O`DONNELL: And, Dr. Jha, let me get your reaction to the apparent closing
down of the White House task force. They will continue to do their work
behind doors. Is it going to matter they don`t have that public display
JHA: So, Lawrence, I agree with you a lot of what was shared in those two-
hour long events was not very useful, but some of it was, especially when
Dr. Fauci spoke and Dr. Birx spoke. That was useful information. And the
signal to the country of, you know, we`re not doing that anymore I think is
The way I described this is we are – to use a baseball analogy, we are in
the second or third inning of a baseball game. And what it feels like is
the manager has decided to leave. And that`s a problem. We need our manager
to get us through the game.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Ashish Jha, John Heilemann, thank you both for starting us
off tonight. We really appreciate it.
And when we come back, global pandemic expert and journalist Laurie Garrett
has been one of the indispensable voices in our coronavirus coverage. She
will join us next on what she says is the most important question not being
asked, and it affects everything – testing, tracing, reopening. Laurie
Garrett will give us what we should thinking of, next.
O`DONNELL: In his last “New York Times” column, Frank Rooney wrote this
about Laurie Garrett. She predicted the coronavirus. What does she foresee
As the global response focuses on testing, contact tracing and safe
reopenings, Laurie Garrett now says that the people in government who are
trying to make those decisions about reopening certain businesses and
schools and recreational activities are not talking about the most
important issue, which is the strategic goal. Is the goal to stop COVID-19
in your city? Is it to stop COVID-19 in your state? Is it to stop COVID-19
in the United States? The world?
We`re hearing a lot of discussion of tactics but no discussion of goals.
Joining us now is Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
covering global pandemics. She`s a former senior fellow for global health
at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Laurie, you make this point about the distinction between tactics and
goals. Tactics and what is your ultimate strategy. And it`s the ultimate
strategy that you`re not hearing.
LAURIE GARRETT, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Well, anybody who has
ever been in the military knows the difference between strategy and
tactics. Most people in sports know the difference between strategy and
tactics. But somehow, when it comes to national policy, we have completely
eliminated that distinction.
So all of the arguments, the discussions, the debates we hear across
America, whether it`s angrily storming your state capitol to protest
lockdowns or its demands for test, test, test, test. These are all just
tactics. They`re not what is your long-term strategy? What is your
And we don`t have a national strategic goal. We have a president`s goal,
get re-elected. We have a Wall Street goal, get the economy going again. We
have, you know, certain public health institution goals of control the
epidemic in my community or in my region.
But the real only goal that matters, the only goal that gets us anywhere as
a planet and as individuals is, let`s get rid of this virus. And if the
goal is let`s get rid of the virus so it doesn`t become a new permanent
feature threatening humanity as HIV did, as Ebola has, as other viruses
have emerged in the last 30 years have successfully done, then we need a
coordinated, global strategy. And the United States needs a national
And instead, we`re going precisely in the opposite direction, where all the
burden for strategic planning and for judging which tactics best feed which
strategic goals is placed on the shoulders of mayors and governors who are
weighed down by strapped budgets, by years of inadequate hiring in their
public health ranks, by the tremendous hysteria in cities that are
overwhelmed, by patient burden. They`re not in the best position to come up
with an international strategy or a national or perhaps even a regional
And so, we`re blindly, you know, testing over here, test, test, test. What
kind of test? Tests for what? What are we looking for?
When I test, am I imagining that every single employee walking into my
factory will have been tested before entering the door? Am I going to do
that every single day, every third day, every fifth day?
You don`t have to go very far before you realize this is chaos. This is not
get rid of the virus. This is short-term, come up with a tactic that lets
me reopen a school or reopen a business.
But the virus will still be out there, and it will still be coming back in
wave after wave in the future. Are you going to shut down and reopen and
shut down and reopen and shut down and reopen forever?
O`DONNELL: Laurie, what does the strategy of getting rid of the virus look
GARRETT: Well, there`s really only one way to do that. That`s have an
effective vaccine that is specifically designed not for use in wealthy
countries, but for use in the whole world, which, you know, in my book
means one dose, because the complication of tracking everybody down a
second time for a booster dose is overwhelming.
In my book, it means it can`t require refrigeration, because a whole lot of
the planet doesn`t have electricity, and refrigerated vaccines go bad.
It requires creating a profit motive scheme of some sort that brings the
industry to the table without imagining the kind of profit returns they
usually want from pharmaceuticals. And that means coming up with agreements
with the World Trade Organization and with the trade related intellectual
property agreements, and all sorts of instruments of international law.
And then finally, it means mobilizing a global response, internationally
led and internationally supported, getting into some of the toughest places
on earth, getting the Taliban on board, allowing vaccination in Afghanistan
and Pakistan, getting Islamist groups on board in the Middle East, getting
all sorts of insurgent groups on board in central America. I mean, you`ve
got to have an all-out political and social and legal and business
commitment that is led from the highest levels in order to achieve this.
And we can`t even get the darn Security Council to hold a meeting about
O`DONNELL: Now we know how far off we are from the right strategy.
Laurie Garrett, thank you once again for joining us once again. I`ve been
taking notes during everything you were just saying, as usual. I learn
every time you join us. Thank you, Laurie.
GARRETT: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
And when we come back, Dr. Rick Bright`s written complaint takes us inside
what it was like for him trying to tell the truth inside the Trump
administration about the Coronavirus pandemic and why he lost his job in
the process. That will be the subject of a hearing next week in the House
of Representatives, the most important hearing since the impeachment
O`DONNELL: Next Thursday we`re going to see the most important
congressional hearing since the impeachment hearings against Donald Trump.
Our next guest Congressman Peter Welch will be at that hearing when Dr.
Rick Bright testifies about his whistleblower complaint that was made
public today which accuses the Trump administration of government
wrongdoing including violation of law, rule of regulation, abuse of
authority, censorship related to scientific research.
The whistleblower complaint alleges that all of those violations led to
substantial and specific danger to public safety. Dr. Bright says he was
removed from his job and reassigned because he warned Health and Human
Services Secretary Alex Azar and Assistant Secretary Robert Kadlec in
January that the administration was not ready to fight the Coronavirus.
The complaint says, anticipating the urgency and magnitude of the threat
and knowing the lead times needed to develop new drugs, diagnostics, and
vaccines. Dr. Bright pressed for urgent access to funding personnel and
clinical specimens, including viruses, which he emphasized were all
critically necessary to begin development of life saving medicines needed
in the likely event that the virus spread outside of Southeast Asia.
Secretary Azar and Dr. Kadlec responded with surprise at Dr. Bright`s dire
predictions and urgency and asserted that the United States would be able
to contain the virus and keep it out of the United States.
Dr. Bright was later told that, his request for urgent funding at the
meeting on January 23rd set off quite a crap storm after the meeting.
During our discussion now is Democratic Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont.
He`s a member of the Intelligence Oversight Energy and Commerce Committee,
which called for an inspector general, the inspector general, to
investigate Dr. Bright`s ouster last month.
Congressman Welch, thank you very much for joining us tonight. It is a
stunning day when we get this full whistleblower complaint just page upon
page upon page of damning indictment of the Trump administration.
REP. PETER WELCH (D_VT): Well, it is. I want to step back for a minute.
This virus is incredibly powerful. It`s a threat to all of us. We`ve lost
more lives in America than we`ve lost in the Vietnam War. And that`s in two
But there`s two approaches to leadership on this. And one, we`re seeing
with many of our governors, some Republicans, some Democrats tell people
what they need to know and what we all need to do.
The other, which we`re seeing from President Trump is tell people what they
want to hear. And that`s where you have the President acting as a
pharmacist, telling us what a cure is, telling us that it`s no big deal.
And what happened with Dr. Bright is that he is in the camp of let`s be
real. Let`s tell facts. Let`s deal with the truth. That`s very inconvenient
when you have a President whose view is, I want to tell people what they
want to hear and what President Trump understands about human nature. All
of us are terrified about this virus. So, if he goes into the White House
podium with the presidential seal and tells us hydro - hydrocholorine. I`m
getting the name wrong.
But Dr. Trump apparently gets it right. People want to hear it. And it`s
very inconvenient for the President when a very respected person like Dr.
Bright says, wait a minute, that`s not right.
O`DONNELL: Yes, the hydroxychloroquine, the antimalaria drug that Dr.
Bright was warning about, one of his concerns was that the Trump
administration was literally trying to flood New Jersey and New York with
this drug after importing it from manufacturers in Pakistan and India that
the FDA had never checked in any way. Never been to any of those factories.
And so, he was very concerned about the - basically to begin with the
quality control and then the fact that he did not believe this should be
generally prescribed. He only thought it should be prescribed in rare
instances in hospitals by doctors and hospitals.
WELCH: Well, that`s exactly right. And what the President is doing is he`s
giving false hope because we want to have a cure. But the President is not
doing is what all of us know, all of the public health folks know and he`s
done. We have to have testing that should be led by the federal government.
We can`t have 50 states and 50 governors coming up with their test. We have
to have contact tracing. And that requires that we have like AmeriCorps
VISTA, the core of 100,000 people who, if I test positive, those folks
contact anybody I`ve been in contact with and they`re tested.
And then we have to have a capacity to isolate people. That`s why it`s been
so successful in suppressing this disease in places like Taiwan and South
Korea and Singapore. That`s what the President can do. But he`d prefer to
come up with a hocus pocus cure. And then anyone who raises the question of
dedicated public servants like Dr. Bright, they`re out. And that`s the
pattern, of course, of President Trump.
If you`re an inspector general, you`re gone.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, do you expect partial attendance at the hearing
next week, you expect it to be just the members who can maybe reach
Washington by car?
WELCH: Well, my hope is that they`ll be personal attendants. But also, it`s
about time for us to get into the modern age and to do a virtual presence
as well. They`re starting to do that in the Senate. So, we`ve got to
modernize to the modern situation. But this hearing is extremely important.
It is important because the governor is out there and there`s a lot of
Republican governors, they`re playing it straight.
They`re treating their constituents like adults. And by the way, our
governor - Republican Governor Scott in Vermont is doing that. It`s just
the facts. And when people know that you`re leveling with not hocus pocus,
then they`re going to cooperate and we`re going to get on top of this. But
it`s going to be tough.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Peter Welch, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. We really appreciate it.
WELCH: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we have some exclusively reported details
on the human trial of a Coronavirus vaccine that has begun in New York
City. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Tom Costello got an exclusive interview today with a woman
who has volunteered for a human trial of a Coronavirus vaccine at New York
University`s medical school. Here`s Tom Costello`s report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Researchers at NYU have now started
clinical trials on a never before tried genetic vaccine candidate developed
by Pfizer, along with a German partner.
Rather than trying to manipulate the live virus itself, this vaccine
attempts to reprogram the viruses genetic code. Melissa Honkanen, whose
husband is a doctor at NYU, is among the first 12 healthy Americans to
receive the injection.
MELISSA HONKANEN, NYU VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: So many people are being
affected by this pandemic. And I figured it would be a great thing to do to
help during an unprecedented time.
COSTELLO: Here`s what makes this unique. The vaccine carries the genetic
code known as messenger RNA that instructs the cells to make the proteins
associated with the Coronavirus, but without making someone sick. The hope
is that the immune system then kicks in to create the antibodies to fight
off COVID-19. And Pfizer has four genetic vaccine candidates. Dr. Mark
Mulligan is running the NYU trial.
DR. MARK MULLIGAN, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND
IMMUNOLOGY, NYU: It really is a natural thing because this messenger RNA is
something the body produces on its own normally. So, it`s kind of a new
thing, but it`s really not anything that`s too different than what the body
does for itself.
COSTELLO: Because it`s natural. It`s also believed to be safe. But experts
point out it`s still experimental and vaccines normally take years to
DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We don`t yet have a licensed
vaccine for RNA or DNA vaccines, because in the past, they`ve worked very
well in laboratory animals. But those immune responses have not translated
into human, human immune responses.
COSTELLO: Worldwide, there are now roughly 100 vaccine candidates under
review. Researchers at Pfizer believe this genetic code vaccine could be
available as soon as September. Melissa Honkanen, a yoga instructor went
home hours after receiving the first shot on Monday.
How are you feeling?
HONKANEN: I feel fine. My arms a little sore. I don`t have any headaches. I
feel like myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Dr. Oliver Brooks, President of the National
Medical Association. He is the former President of the California
Immunization Coalition and Chairman of Immunize LA Families. Dr. Brooks,
thanks for joining us once again tonight. What`s your reaction to running
this human trial at this point at NYU.
DR. OLIVER BROOKS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: I think it`s
excellent. Do note that there are somewhere between 100 or so vaccine
trials now ongoing. This is messenger RNA. If this actually comes to
market, this will be the first widely distributed messenger RNA vaccine
ever. So, it`s very important.
I think it`s important to know that there are all these other trials
ongoing. So, it`s a good thing. Laurie Garrett say, we need a strategic
plan. So, you look at testing and public health things like wash your
hands, social distance and then you look at treatments anywhere from
And now, we have vaccines. So, vaccines are very important. So, whatever
comes out of this for good or for bad as it relates to the actual outcomes,
it comes to market. It still will give us excellent information in terms of
where we are going with vaccines. Ultimately, vaccines are going to be the
one thing that really pulls us out of Coronavirus.
O`DONNELL: And what does the final test that tells you that a vaccine
BROOKS: That`s a very good question. So, the real test is people that got
vaccinated don`t get sick. So, what will happen with this vaccine is
they`re doing the phase one and two studies now that 200 people and Germany
360 here. And then later on in the year, they`re looking at maybe July,
September around that time. 8000 in the phase three.
What they`ll look for is antibody levels. So, what we want to see is
antibody levels that imply protection. So that is generally how you measure
it by the antibody levels that the vaccine stimulates.
The question is, we don`t really know what that is in terms of the antibody
levels. So, it`ll be ongoing. And once the vaccine comes out, we will then
have - I would position it as a phased utilization of the vaccine and then
study it as it is given to others.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Oliver Brooks, thank you for joining us once again tonight.
We really appreciate it.
BROOKS: Great. Thank you very much, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Our next guest is the man who Donald Trump today
called crazed Rick Wilson.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has been enraged at our next guest, Rick Wilson,
since this TV commercial interrupted the President`s evening of watching
Fox last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s mourning in America. Today, more than 60,000
Americans have died from a deadly virus Donald Trump ignored. With the
economy in shambles, more than 26 million Americans are out of work. The
worst economy in decades. Trump bailed out Wall Street, but not Main
This afternoon, millions of Americans will apply for unemployment and with
their savings run out, many are giving up hope. Millions worry that a loved
one won`t survive COVID-19. There`s mourning in America. And under the
leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker and sicker and poor. And
now Americans are asking if we have another four years like this. Will
there even be an America?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lincoln project, which is responsible for the content
of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That commercial so infuriated Donald Trump that he put his crack
research team on the case to find out who was responsible for it. And then
he tweeted his attacks on those people, including Kellyanne Conway`s
husband, George Conway, and our next guest, who Donald Trump called crazed
Joining us now. Rick, you`ll forgive me from just using the Trump
introduction. Now I`m going to throw in the title of your book. OK. In
addition to crazed Rick Wilson, he`s a contributor to The Daily Beast and
he is the author of Running Against the Devil, A Plot to Save America from
Trump and Democrats from Themselves. Rick, I guess all I can say is
RICK WILSON, AUTHOR “EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES”: Well, you know,
thanks, Lawrence. I will say this. You know, we have known all along what a
weak man Donald Trump is, and how mentally infirm he is and how easily he
could be set off.
And, you know, now that we found his weak spot, he demonstrated for 12
straight hours in a row that he could be compared to Ronald Reagan, had the
truth told about him, and he would absolutely lose his damn mind. And so,
we expected this ad to hit. We did not expect him to behave in the
completely maniacal way he behaved all day today. But here we are.
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s take a look at some of his reaction. Here`s some of
what Donald Trump had to say about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I guess they don`t like
me, but let me just tell you, these are losers from day one. Guys like Bill
Kristol. He`s 0 and 32. George Conway, you take a look at him, just take a
look at that guy. The man`s a stone-cold loser. So, they should not call it
the Lincoln project. It`s not fair to Abraham Lincoln, a great president.
They should call it the losers project.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: For the record, Bill Kristol wasn`t involved, but he tweeted his
praise of your work, Rick. And it`s really - Donald Trump, does he just not
comprehend that he got so much more attention to your commercial by his
public reactions today?
WILSON: The group of us in the Lincoln project, myself, Steve Schmidt, John
Weaver, Rich Galen, Jennifer Horn, and others. Well, for years in politics,
behind the curtain, we didn`t want our names out there for years and years.
But now Donald Trump has decided he`s going to make us front and center
because he thinks like a lot of other people, that he used to know where
Republicans he`s run into. That we`re going to be intimidated or we`re
going to shut up or we`re going to go away or we`re going to stop.
He is entirely mistaken. We will take this fight to him every day. And the
more it rattles him, the half, here I am. And it`s rattled him terribly,
Lawrence. He has done shook, as they say.
O`DONNELL: And you seem, and George Conway seems to know kind of the map of
traps, a mind in term it seems like you guys have your hands right on the
buttons to press his buttons, to drive him crazy this way.
WILSON: Well, look, I mean, this took a classic Republican adage, a classic
trope of the Republican Party that captured the optimistic uplift in
society in 1983 and used it as a great electoral lever for Ronald Reagan.
And what we have done is captured the same moment in this country, only its
mirror image. And we`re in that mirror image world right now because Donald
Trump denied and delayed and deceived the American people about what was
coming with COVID-19.
He didn`t prepare us on the medical front. He didn`t prepare us on the
economic front. We are here because of him. We have hung this rotten corpse
around his neck. And he`s going to drag it around for a few months.
O`DONNELL: Now, George Conway tweeted that if Donald Trump didn`t like this
one, he`s really going to hate the next one even more. So, any clues you
want to give us about the next one?
WILSON: You know, I think, Lawrence, that I`ll use my old Defense
Department phrase. I have nothing for you on that at this time, but I can
assure you, it will not be greeted well in the White House. He`ll be up
late again rage tweeting.
O`DONNELL: We cannot wait. Rick Wilson, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. And crazed is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you, Rick.
WILSON: Thanks, Lawrence. Have a great day.
O`DONNELL: Rick Wilson gets tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian
Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
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