New York Times TRANSCRIPT: 5/18/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
You can keep going and discuss anything else you`d like to recommend in
this next hour of TV.
So Amy Klobuchar is here. I guess I`ll – I mean, what`s there to say about
the vice presidency at this point? What should I ask her about that if
anything at this point?
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: Well, I still believe that the only
real question, the most important you`d ask somebody who`s being considered
for vice president is, are you qualified and ready to take over the
presidency of the United States on zero notice? And if you can get her to
say something other than yes and elaborate on the fact that she`s ready and
how, you`ll have scored a triple – you`ll have hit at least a triple.
O`DONNELL: OK. I`ll see if I can trip her up on that one. Let`s see.
MADDOW: All right.
O`DONNELL: I`ll give it a try. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Well, the schoolteacher turned statesman in Northern Ireland, John Hum,
once summarized Irish history to me in one sentence when he said the Irish
never forget and the English never remember.
We have a story tonight about the Irish never forgetting. Charitable
contributions are pouring in from Ireland to help Native American tribes
suffering in the coronavirus pandemic and one reason that money is coming
from Ireland is pay back. Pay back of a debt incurred 173 years ago when
the Choctaw Nation sent help to starving people in Ireland during the Irish
Tonight, the Navajo Nation is suffering the highest per capita infection
rate in America, higher than New York. We`ll have that story of pay back
for you at the end of this hour.
We begin tonight with insomnia, confusion, paranoia, irritability and
hallucinations. Those are just some of the well-known and commonly
experienced side effects from the drug that the president of the United
States said he is taking today and has been taking for two weeks, but that
side effect list doesn`t help us prove that Donald Trump is actually taking
the drug since he has exhibited those characteristics for many years. He`s
a self-confessed insomniac that never had a good night`s sleep.
And for hallucinations, yes, he invited Obamagate during the period when he
claims to be taking this hallucination inducing drug, but he invented
fairytales about President Barack Obama`s birth years, years ago.
Here is the reason Donald Trump decided today is the day, today is the day
to tell reporters that he is taking hydroxychloroquine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You believe you were retaliated against because you
raised concerns about hydroxychloroquine?
DR. RICK BRIGIHT, FORMER DIRECTOR OF BIOMEDICAL ADVANCED RESEARCH &
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Yes. I do. I believe my last ditch effort to
protect Americans from that drug was the final straw that they used and
believed was essential to push me out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Dr. Rick Bright last night on “60 Minutes” with Nora
O`Donnell after he testified last week to a House committee that the Trump
administration was dangerously pushing hydroxychloroquine into widespread
use without supervision and that the Trump administration was trying to
rush onto the American market supplies of hydroxychloroquine from factories
in foreign countries like Pakistan that have never been inspected by the
FDA and certified safe enough to manufacture a drug to American standards
for the American market.
It was the source of the drug that troubled Rick Bright the most when
Donald Trump claimed today to be taking hydroxychloroquine, it came at the
end of a confused paranoid hallucination about Dr. Rick Bright that the
president performed for reporters. Donald Trump began by calling Dr.
Bright, quote, a phony whistleblower and then Donald Trump rambled through
some lies about Dr. Bright, and then to win the point on
hydroxychloroquine, Donald Trump decided to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I happen to be taking it. I
happen to be taking it.
TRUMP: I`m taking it, hydroxychloroquine.
REPORTER: When did you start taking it?
TRUMP: Right now, yes. Couple of weeks ago started taking it.
REPORTER: Why, sir?
TRUMP: Because I think it`s good. I`ve heard a lot of good stories and if
it`s not good, I`ll tell you right. I`m not going to get hurt by it. It`s
been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Note to viewers, Donald Trump is a pathological liar. I`ve been
supplying that note to viewers on this program since 2011 when Donald Trump
first started talking about President Barack Obama`s birth certificate, but
especially worth a reminder tonight because people need to be warned when
they see the president of the United States say, I`m taking this drug and I
think it`s good, people should know that it`s entirely possible that he is
not taking that drug.
It is entirely possible that he is claiming to take the drug as a political
defense against a scientist who has lodged professional complaints about
what the Trump administration tried to do with that drug, that the
president wants to insist is safe for everyone, everyone.
If the president started losing weight, that could add some credibility to
his claim that he is taking the drug because loss of appetite and weight
loss along with diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain are also side effects
of this drug and hydroxychloroquine can cause real problems, deadly
problems for people with heart issues. It does interact with cholesterol
reducing drugs and hydroxychloroquine goes straight into breast milk, so
it`s not for everyone.
You know, the Trump White House is feeling pressure when they put out a
written statement after the president says something ultra strange on TV
and tonight, the physician to the president put out a rare public statement
under the subject heading hydroxychloroquine. And that statement does not
say that the White House physician prescribed the drug to the president and
the statement does not say that the president is actually taking the drug.
It just says after numerous discussions, he and I had regarding the
evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the
potential benefit from treatment out weighed the relative risks.
OK. That`s what you concluded and so what? Did you then prescribe the drug?
If you did prescribe the drug, in what dose did you prescribe the drug?
None of that information is there.
That leaves Nancy Pelosi worried about Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: As far as the president is
concerned, he`s our president and I would rather he not be taking something
that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group
and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese they say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The stock market had a good day today, not because of anything
the president said. It was considered a good day for the stock market in
the middle of the economic depression America and the world are
experiencing and that good day was provoked by the market`s reaction to a
development on the vaccine front.
“The New York Times” reported the news this way. The first coronavirus
vaccine to be tested in people appears to be safe and able to stimulate an
immune response against the infection, the manufacturer Moderna announced
on Monday offering a glint of hope to a world desperate for ways to stop
the pandemic, a glint of hope.
It`s easy in these times to overreact to a glint of hope, a glint of hope
is a tiny amount of hope but it is hope. And this glint of hope comes from
a tiny number of people who have received this experimental vaccine eight
people, exactly eight people have shown a positive response to this
The company developing this vaccine is now proceeding to a second phase of
tests involving 600 people, and then a third phase in July involving
thousands of people. “The Times” reports, if those trials go well, some
doses of the vaccine could become available for widespread use by the end
of this year or early 2021, Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna`s chief medical officer,
said in an interview. We`re doing our best to make it as many millions as
As of tonight, there are now 1,518,041 confirmed cases of coronavirus and
as of tonight, this country has suffered at least, 91,172 confirmed deaths
And leading off our discussion tonight is Dr. Harvey Feinberg, the former
president of the National Academy of Medicine. He is the chair of the
Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases which is requested by
the White House in response to the coronavirus. Nicholas Kristof is with
us. He`s Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for “The New York Times”. And
John Heilemann, national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He`s
editor in chief of “The Recount.”
And, Dr. Feinberg, let`s start with the glint of hope about this vaccine.
What is your reading of the report?
DR. HARVEY FINEBERG, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE:
Lawrence, that`s apt care causation, it is a glint of hope. It`s the very
first stage of testing a vaccine and the demonstration that there is a dose
that is both effective in neutralizing antibodies and safe for the few
individuals who have taken it provides a glint of hope that this could be a
vaccine that ultimately will prove to be effective.
O`DONNELL: And, Dr. Feinberg, I assume when you`re dealing with a sample
of eight that those people are chosen at this stage because they are
perfectly healthy people. They wouldn`t have any kind of cardiac issues or
any – you wouldn`t have anyone pregnant taking that vaccine at this level
of the test. And so, I assume these eight people are not representative of
a cross-section of the larger population that has all sorts of
complications that they might bring interactively to a vaccine?
FINEBERG: That`s absolutely correct. And this very first phase of early
testing, the individuals involved are typically young, healthy individuals
with no known illness that could be affected by an unknown vaccine. These
are very special subgroup of our population, not yet at all representative
of those who would be the ultimate recipients of a vaccine.
O`DONNELL: And, Dr. Feinberg, let me get your reaction to what the
president said for about two weeks he claims now he claims that he is
FINEBERG: If he`s taking hydroxychloroquine, it is not based upon any
clinical evidence of effectiveness. The clinical studies so far that have
examined hydroxychloroquine in patients with advanced disease have not been
at all promising. It is possible that this drug could be an effective drug
if used early or perhaps even as a preventive, but that`s rather
challenging to demonstrate and to presume that it is effective is really
Vitamin D may be effective. Vitamin C may be effective. Statins that we
take for cholesterol may be effective. There are a lot of possibilities.
And this particular drug has no more reason for confidence than any others,
and it is not yet established at all that it`s safe and effective as a
preventive. In fact, from the 40 years experience using this drug, we can
predict that if enough people who have no reason to take it do take it,
there will be side effects. There will be complications due to the drug
that could have been avoided.
O`DONNELL: Nick Kristof, I imagine in your travels in malaria zones, you
have taken anti-malaria pills. It`s generally a short course. You start a
couple of days before you went to malaria zone. You take it throughout that
time and take it about a week after you leave that zone. But this notion of
just taking this pill every day indefinitely is something no one has ever
heard before because no one has done it, and here`s the president
announcing, let`s all do it.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That`s right. And, I mean, when
President Trump says that people have been taking chloroquine or
hydroxychloroquine for 40 years, you know, it`s true many people took
chloroquine, I took chloroquine but people moved to other anti-malarials in
more recent years.
And, you know, as the FDA warned, it is associated with heart arrhythmia
and when you get an obese 70-year-old president with high LDL cholesterol,
then it`s not an obvious thing to do. And it`s certainly not the behavior
to model for the country. The president should be modeling wearing masks,
not modeling taking hydroxychloroquine.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, Rick Bright`s complaints all surround not all
but most of them surround hydroxychloroquine and so there he is on “60
Minutes” last night getting pretty big audience, as “60 Minutes” usually
does, and the next day, that`s when Donald Trump decides, I`m going to tell
everyone that I take it so I`m the living proof that it`s great.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I mean, he was
watching last night. He was tweeting about “60 Minutes” in close to real-
I mean, I was on with Nicolle earlier today when the news broke and my gut
at that moment is stronger now than it was then, he`s not taking the drug.
I mean, I don`t think we`ll ever know, but the president, as you pointed
out for years now, pathological liar, lies about everything, lies about
things for no reason.
Here, he has a good reason to lie about this. He`s made a fool of himself
talking about medicine throughout this pandemic. Every time he`s opened his
mouth about anything medical, the reality, the truth, the fact, the
science, the medical community has come out and slapped him around.
Sometimes he made a giant fool of himself talking about disinfectants and
putting lights inside our bodies.
Other times, in this case, he was rebuked by people when he said this thing
was legit at the outset and he`s been rebuked by the data ever since. And
now, on “60 Minutes”, something he pays attention to because the TV ratings
are high, he`s – this is about his reputation. This is about him telling
the most obvious lie and the fact that his doctor has written this letter
that doesn`t actually say that he is under this prescription and taking it.
And in fact, dances around it with the kind of language that you read is
just, I think, more powerful circumstantial on top of the instinct evidence
that he`s just talking about this, he`s not taking the drug and doing it to
salvage what is left of, which is almost nothing, of his reputation on this
And, Nick Kristof, the White House press office is putting out the word to
reporters that, oh, yes, the doctor did prescribe it and Donald Trump is
taking it, but the doctor had a chance to put that in writing and he
didn`t. And so, this question of, is he really taking this drug, which
would be inconceivable with any previous president revealing their on a
prescription drug is kind of – it`s unsolvable, like we`ll really never
know is he really taking this pill?
KRISTOF: Yes, I mean, I`m agnostic on that question. But, you know, look,
“The Washington Post” says that Trump so far has made 18,000 false or
misleading statements, 18,000. So this may be 18,001. As you say, we`ll
What ultimately is important is the fact that whether he`s taking it or
not, he`s modeling behavior to the rest of the country that is dangerous,
that can get other people in trouble rather than modeling behavior like
mask wearing that could actually save lives.
O`DONNELL: And, John Heilemann, we saw a Trump supporter at one of these
public protests around the country about the way things are shut down kind
of chasing a television reporter who wanted to stay socially distant from
the protesters and the protester kept saying, I`m taking
hydroxychloroquine, I`m taking hydroxychloroquine.
Apparently, in that protester`s mind believing he was there for immune and
couldn`t possibly be infected and therefore, the reporter had nothing to
worry about. So, it`s more than just mirroring Trump behavior out there,
it`s taking it and taking it even further in public places than Donald
HEILEMANN: Of course. You know, and the – this is one of the many
unintended consequences of the president`s idiocy and irresponsibility on
this is stuff like that and as this entire pandemic has taken on this all
too depressing and all familiar red/blue culture war kind of quality to it,
the notion that people who are Trump devotees out there in the country,
they are now not just not wearing masks because Trump doesn`t wear a mask,
they`re taking this notion that not wearing a mask is a political statement
and that if you wear a mask, that you`re a liberal mini (ph) who is falling
for this kind of great hoax in the same way as this kind of
hydroxychloroquine thing is now going to become an article of faith this is
the miracle drug and it`s going to – we`ll see all kinds of behaviors
flowing out of this that have this kind of culture war character.
There is discussion now down in Texas about having the state Republican
convention and banning masks at it. Not just saying you don`t have to wear
a mask but banning masks at the state Republican convention. It`s that
thing that comes out of this behavior by the president.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Fineberg, quickly before we go, what would you say to
Americans tonight who are thinking about taking hydroxychloroquine as a
preventive? What are the risks they could face?
FINEBERG: I would say wait for the results of the clinical trials that are
underway. At present, if you take this drug, you`re taking an untested,
unproved drug that does have side effects that could harm you. That`s what
I would tell them.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Harvey Fineberg, Nick Kristof, John Heilemann, thank you
all for starting us out tonight. Really appreciate it.
HEILEMANN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Republicans and Democrats are demanding
more information into the announced planned firing of the State Department
inspector general who was reportedly investigating why the Trump
administration bypassed Congress to sell billions of dollars in weapons to
Saudi Arabia last year. Former NSA inspector general Joel Brenner will join
O`DONNELL: Fridays are take-out-the-trash day in the White House
historically. Friday nights are when White Houses often put out news that
they don`t want people paying much attention to as they drift into the
weekend where they might avoid news coverage.
And so, late Friday night, President Trump notified Congress of his
intention to fire State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. The law
requires a 30-day notification of the firing of an inspector general.
Today, NBC News learned Steve Linick was conducting an investigation into
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo`s decision, quote, to green light billions
of dollars to armed sales to Saudi Arabia against the will of Congress.
That is in addition to an investigation underway by the inspector general
into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife`s use of State Department
personnel for personal errands.
Inspector General Steve Linick is the fourth inspector general to be fired
or replaced by Donald Trump in the last six weeks. Needless to say, that is
a record. T
Democratic leaders say there is a pattern of politically motivated firing
of inspectors general.
Today, Donald Trump says he knows nothing, he knows nothing about the
person he wants to fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t know anything about it. So, I don`t know him. Never heard
of him. But they asked me to terminate him.
I have the absolute right as president to terminate. I said, who appointed
him? And they said, President Obama. I said, look, I`ll terminate him.
I don`t know what`s going on other than that but you`d have to ask Mike
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Never heard of him, but I`m firing him, because he was
appointed by President Obama, even though as inspector general, he issued
an extremely negative report on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s
failure to use the proper State Department email system while she was
secretary of state.
Joining our discussion is Joel Brenner, who served as inspector general of
the National Security Agency under President George W. Bush. He was the
head of the U.S. counterintelligence in the Office of Director of
Intelligence from 2006 to 2009. He is a senior research fellow at MIT
Center for International Studies.
Thank you very much for joining us once again tonight on another inspector
general story. We`ve really never seen anything like this. This sequence of
just firing every inspector general that takes any kind of step in Donald
Trump`s way. But this response by the president we haven`t seen, which is I
have no idea who this is. I never heard of him.
What is your reaction to the reporting on this intent to fire?
JOEL BRENNER, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL: What
fairytales are coming out of the White House now? You know, it`s not only
that in each of these cases the inspector general has done exactly what he
or she was supposed to do, which was to serve in a non-partisan way and to
report honestly about shenanigans going on in the executive branch.
What your listeners really need to understand here, Lawrence, is that the
president is not just attacking several I.G.s. He`s attacking the entire
institution of inspectors general. He is attacking the idea that the
Congress has the power under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to
enact laws necessary and proper to see that the laws are carried out. That
important clause not only applies to the Congress` ability to see that it`s
own functions are carried out but also see that the functions all across
the government are properly carried out.
And that`s why the statute, which is now 42 years old, provides for persons
that are without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of
integrity and demonstrated ability and certain relevant fields.
What the president obviously believes and said on other occasions is that
everybody in the government owes him personal loyalty. Personal loyalty is
not one of those requirements that the statute sets forth, quite the
contrary. And the president is really saying to the Congress, you can`t put
somebody in the executive branch who I can`t completely control and will
tell you anything that I don`t want you to know about.
And that`s why people, regardless of whether they like this president,
regardless of whether they are Republicans or Democrats ought to be
concerned about this because whoever`s ox is being gored now, will be the
other guy`s ox who is at risk later on.
Do you want a government that operates to the rule of law or don`t you? And
if you do, you need to be concerned about what`s going on right now.
Because it`s – we`ve never seen this before and it`s bad.
O`DONNELL: And needless to say, if there is a new president inaugurated on
January 20th, if Joe Biden is the next president, these things are going to
be investigated. If Mike Pompeo thinks he`ll get away with whatever he was
being investigated for, it`s not – 12 months from now, you could be
getting an inspector general report that is full and complete on exactly
what these matters are about and very condemning of Secretary Pompeo.
BRENNER: Yeah, when you fire an I.G., you don`t bury an issue, you put a
spotlight on it. You would have thought Secretary Pompeo would have
This issue of what looks like - yes, we haven`t seen the evidence yet, but
as reported by the Post may be a new version of Iran-Contra.
If we see something like that again, it`s not going to disappear by firing
the IG. Not only is the evidence going to continue to get compiled by the
IG`s office, but there will be a Congressional investigation for sure.
So this issue isn`t going to go away. But what - that`s why I say, it`s not
just a question of the particular issue that`s involved here, Lawrence,
it`s the status of this institution, which was put in place after Watergate
because we were at that time in the `70s dealing with a President who
thought that if he thought something was legal, President Nixon, that it
had to be legal.
And we saw the results of that. Congress didn`t want it - it wasn`t just
Democrats who wanted it, it was the whole Congress wanted it regardless of
what party they were, and that`s what`s at stake right now and it`s quite
But I don`t think, if you look at - put it a different way - we have the
Congress` institutional prerogatives at stake here and we have a Senate
majority that is unwilling to stick up for its institutional prerogatives.
I`ve said before, I mean, the Senate majority are acting like lap dogs
asleep underneath the President`s sofa.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, I guess I got to say, at least Mitt
Romney has objected to it, at least there is one Republican. Former
Inspector General Joel Brenner, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
We want to hear from you again on this. We really appreciate your time
tonight. Thank you.
BRENNER: You`re welcome.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, as Rachel and I discussed, Senator Amy
Klobuchar will join us, and I`m going to try that question that Rachel
suggested about the Vice Presidency. We`ll see if we can trip up Senator
Klobuchar on that tough question. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): The Senate had their opportunity during the
impeachment trial to hold Donald Trump accountable and perhaps avoid a lot
of that - what we`re seeing right now. But they either didn`t have the
political will, the courage or the backbone to hold him accountable, and so
here we are. Yet another watchdog has been fired for doing his job,
faithfully performing and executing the duties of his job, which is simply
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Congressman Val Demings with Ari Melber earlier this
evening. And joining our discussion now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar
from Minnesota. Senator Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to this announced intent to fire the
State Department Inspector General.
KLOBUCHAR: It literally made me sick to my stomach, because - and furious.
Lawrence, you have a situation, whereas your last guest and former
Inspector General pointed out, he`s now done this, this is the fourth
The Inspector General for Health and Human Services, for the intelligence
agency, the person who should have been the Inspector of General for all of
the pandemic work, and now of all things, the State Department right at the
time when he is doing a critical investigation regarding the arms sales to
Saudi Arabia, something for which there was strong bipartisan support
And so, to me, this is the rule of law and I cannot divorce what`s
happening with the pandemic, with the basic idea that there is simply a
bigger spotlight on Donald Trump`s flaunting of the rule of law. That is
what`s happening. That`s what the Congresswoman was referring to.
And I think it is on all of us, not just the Democrats in the Senate, and
I`m glad that we saw Mitt Romney speak out, and recently Chuck Grassley.
But we need to see more and there must be an investigation, as Elliott
Angel and Bob Menendez have called for. There must be an investigation of
this. This cannot continue. He cannot continue to flaunt the rule of law.
O`DONNELL: Well, certainly the House would be able to conduct some kind of
investigation, but with the Republicans controlling the Committees and the
Senate, it`s not clear what`s going to happen there.
If Mitt Romney had enough seniority to be Chairman of Foreign Relations, I
think we would see an investigation, because here is what he said about it.
This was as quickly he got this out on Saturday saying the firings of
multiple Inspector General is unprecedented. Doing so without good cause
chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to
accountable Democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power.
It`s hard to believe, Senator Klobuchar, that there aren`t dozens more such
statements from Republican Senators, but that`s the world we now live in.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, exactly. They cannot go around carrying copies of the
constitution and talking about the rule of law and their respect for the
rule of law, if they allow another Friday night massacre.
They cannot allow this to continue. And we just keep pushing them, and I
think it`s an argument for this coming election why it`s not only important
to make sure we have someone of decency in Joe Biden in the White House,
but why it is important to take back the Senate so that the Senate is an
oversight body that it`s supposed to be, so that we do our jobs instead of,
as Mitch McConnell had us do this week, vote on judges and judges only.
Are we taking on the package that we just saw from the House? No, we`re
not. Are we doing something about helping the state, so they don`t go into
bankruptcy as the President has suggested? No, we`re not.
In fact, the Head of the Judiciary Committee has suggested that he`s going
to have a hearing on the relationship between President Obama`s
administration and Russia. President Obama, that is what they`re doing. And
so, this lack of competence and this lack of compassion isn`t just in the
White House right now. It`s come over and poisoned the United States
O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, could you please stay with us across a
commercial break, because I have a really tough question about - I`m not
going to tell you what it`s about, but Rachel suggested it to me at the
beginning of this hour.
KLOBUCHAR: You think I maybe didn`t hear what that was? I might.
KLOBUCHAR: I mean, it was on it - but that`s okay.
O`DONNELL: All right. OK, well, you have some time to think about it.
KLOBUCHAR: I`ll pretend I didn`t hear it.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back with Senator Klobuchar after this break.
O`DONNELL: And Senator Amy Klobuchar is back with us. And Senator
Klobuchar, as we all know, Joe Biden has said he`s going to choose a woman
as his running mate. We all assume you`re on the shortlist, and Rachel
suggested that I ask you this very difficult question, which is, would you
be ready to take over the Presidency if called upon instantaneously?
KLOBUCHAR: I think many people would be ready to do that. But the person
that I want to see as President is Joe Biden. And Rachel, in fact, was
involved in the debate itself, where she asked me many, many questions. I
think I did ten national debates. I made my case.
But the person who came out of that primary with my support in the end was
Joe Biden. And I think what we should be asking ourselves, Lawrence, is how
will he be different than Donald Trump, and how will he take on the
challenges of the country in a much more compassionate and competent way?
The first thing is he loves people. He loves this country. He`s going to
care what happens to those nurses on the frontline and to the grocery store
workers and to the truck drivers who are out there and the first
He`s going to have a plan, not just for the short term, which we`re trying
to push right now to help the states and to get our businesses open in a
smart way, but also for the long term. Listen to what Jerome Powell today
said or this weekend, the head of the Federal Reserve, he said that it`s
going to take a long time to get ourselves back.
And we know that, so we need leadership that thinks for the long term and
someone that actually is willing to take on those issues of job training
and making sure we`ve got a national service plan and making sure our non-
profit sector and our businesses and our people are back to work and a
national testing strategy.
That`s not just something you do in a day. That`s something you do with a
cabinet, that`s something you do with a team, and that`s something that you
do immediately that you get into office, and he can hit the ground running
in those first 100 days that are going to be so critical. So, see, I had a
long time to think of the answer to your question.
O`DONNELL: Yes, you did. So Chairman Powell, and it`s so striking what he
said because he`s a conservative Chairman of the Federal Reserve said
something we`ve never heard from a Fed Chair, and he is saying that already
the government, Congress, and Fed has pumped more money into the economy
than ever in history, you`ve delivered more money to workers to companies
than ever in history.
But he`s saying it might not be enough and you are going to have to do
more, and his bottom line was this very simple three-word sentence that
you`ve never heard from a Fed Chair, keep families solvent, keep money
going to families. How do you do that?
KLOBUCHAR: What he suggested was bold action, because he`s basically saying
they have done what they can do and will continue to do that at the Fed.
But they have limited powers and it`s our job to make sure, number one,
that unemployment remains strong and that we understand the states can`t do
That number two, we keep supporting our businesses, particularly our small
businesses going into this. That number three, I will say that an
interesting pair of Bernie Sanders and Mark Warner are leading a bill, I`m
one of the co-sponsors, to make sure that we are helping people and paying
people so that they keep working at their jobs, so that they keep being
part of the work force in those jobs and in those workplaces.
So there is so much more we can do in terms of making sure that our economy
just gradually comes back in the right way, but that also making sure that
people just don`t go bankrupt all over the place.
We`re already seeing some of it, but we can`t let everyone in the country
go bankrupt and we can`t let our states go bankrupt. So, we have a job to
do here. And instead, as I said, what`s Mitch McConnell doing? Four judges
this week. Where is the pandemic bill? They passed it in the House, why
aren`t we starting hearings on it? Because, he`s too busy with his own
O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar. Thank you very much for joining us
tonight. We really appreciate it.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you, Lawrence. It`s great to be on.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back, we`ll get a report on the
Navajo Nation, which now has the highest - the highest per capita rate of
coronavirus infection in America, higher than New York. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: On a walk in Northern Ireland years ago, the great statesman and
peacemaker, John Hume summarized Irish history for me in one sentence, when
he told me, the Irish never forget and the English never remember.
The long memory of the Irish people is at work once again tonight, as
contributions have been pouring in from Ireland to the Navajo & Hopi
Families COVID-19 Relief Fund. Many of the Irish donors specifically
mentioned the donation made by the Choctaw Nation to a similar fund in 1847
that was set up to help feed the starving people of Ireland in the midst of
what was called the Great Famine.
The Irish Times reports Cassandra Begay, a member of the Navajo Nation and
one of the team organizing the fundraiser, burst into tears as she told The
Irish Times of seeing the donations flood in.
“We noticed that we were getting a lot of donations from Ireland, so we
were wondering why. Sorry, I get emotional talking about this part,” Ms.
Begay broke off. “And I learned about what the Choctaw did for the Irish
people, and it was so beautiful.”
The Navajo Nation, which has one of the strictest stay-at-home orders, now
has surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per capita infection
rate in America. There are now 4,071 confirmed coronavirus cases and 142
confirmed coronavirus deaths in the Navajo Nation, which has a population
of 173,000 people and includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
The total land area of the Navajo Nation is about the size of West
Virginia. The international group Doctors Without Borders has sent a team
of nine medical professionals to the Navajo Nation.
The first Congressional district in Arizona is a huge landmass that
includes some of the Navajo Nation and is represented by Irish-American
Congressman Tom O`Halleran. In the last week`s hearing, when whistleblower
Dr. Rick Bright testified about the Trump administration`s failures in
dealing with the coronavirus, Congressman O`Halleran said this about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TOM O`HALLERAN (D-AZ): This fallacy that only urban areas are impacted
is - and that it can`t spread very fast, 16 people died yesterday. And in
fact, on a per capita basis, this currently has more cases than any state
in the country, and yet this hotspot is still not being addressed in the
appropriate way. More resources are needed, and they`re needed now, and
they were needed more than a month ago, when we started trying to get this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Bleu Adams, a Navajo business
owner. She`s the co-founder of the volunteer group Protect Native Elders,
which is distributing relief to native communities. Tell us what the
situation is that you are finding, as you tour these reservations and the
places where this suffering is occurring.
BLEU ADAMS, CO-FOUNDER, PROTECT NATIVE ELDERS: First of all, thank you for
inviting me to the program. I would like to speak on behalf, but not
necessarily for my community. What we`re finding is just a terrible need
for support and advocacy among our communities.
What we really want people to understand is the reason why Covid is
spreading at an alarming rate and the death rates are so high is just the
lack of infrastructure regarding access to electricity, access to water,
and also broadband internet. We`re having a hard time disseminating
information, because the cell service isn`t the greatest, and I think
broadband saturation is only at 8%.
O`DONNELL: And what about communicating all the necessary precautions?
Without broadband, I imagine that just getting the proper precautions
described to enough people is a challenge.
ADAMS: Absolutely, absolutely. But we are trying to come up with innovative
solutions. Recently, we partnered with Navajo Nation Shopping Centers,
which has the leases for most of the grocery stores, and that`s one of the
biggest hubs for communities. And us partnering with them allows us to hand
out small bags with hand sanitizer, fabric masks, and also include
information on how to keep themselves safe and healthy, and how to use the
O`DONNELL: What are your biggest needs now?
ADAMS: Really, my group is really focused on the hand sanitizer. Because we
have a lot of community members that don`t have running water, it makes it
extremely difficult to wash hands repeatedly, when they`re already
rationing their water. So hand sanitizer is one of our largest needs. It`s
really hard to come by, and it`s getting very expensive.
And then, advocacy of course, allies at the federal level that can help
maybe with the water rights. We have issues with our water rights, so
advocacy, education, you can educate yourself. There are so many grassroots
organizations on the ground working to help combat the coronavirus, but
really access to water and hand sanitizer are our greatest needs at this
O`DONNELL: Bleu Adams, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We`d
like to have you come back and tell us what progress you`re making. Thank
you very much.
ADAMS: Absolutely, and thank you.
O`DONNELL: Bleu Adams gets tonight`s last word on behalf of the Navajo
Nation. “The 11th Hour” with Brian Williams starts now.
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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