George Floyd TRANSCRIPT: 5/27/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And, of course, Governor Cuomo wore a mask as he was entering the White
House today. Something Donald Trump refuses to do.
And Senator Chuck Schumer, senior senator from New York, of course, and the
Democratic leader in the Senate, is going to join us in this hour. He will
no doubt echo –
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: Very nice.
O`DONNELL: – some of Andrew Cuomo`s public complaints about the federal
government`s response to the coronavirus pandemic but also, he really wants
to make the point, Rachel and I really want to give him the time to talk
about exactly what Mitch McConnell was doing to the federal judiciary and
what he has been able to do to the federal judiciary with President Trump.
It`s the only reason the Senate is in session now. It`s not to help anyone.
It`s not to legislate anything. It`s just to confirm the judges who are
really chosen by Mitch McConnell, not by Donald Trump, and that is – it`s
been an amazing group of judges that really test the lower end of the
qualifications scale for Senate confirmation.
MADDOW: It has become the entire purpose of the Republican Party in
Washington to pretend – or excuse me, to protect the president for any of
his various scandals including impeachment and get those judges onto the
court for life appointments come hell or high water. That`s it. That`s full
stop of everything they`re doing.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and I`m glad Chuck Schumer is here to bring our attention
to that. I`m really glad about that.
Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We have arrived at a point that we saw coming weeks ago. We
knew we would get here. In the last few days, we knew it could be any day
now. But knowing that, knowing this day was coming doesn`t make this day
any easier for this country.
And so we begin tonight with a moment of silence for the 100,000 confirmed
deaths in this country from coronavirus.
At this hour, the United States has 1,705,714 confirmed cases of
coronavirus and at this hour, this country has suffered at least 100,715
confirmed deaths from coronavirus. The president of the United States had
nothing to say about this grim moment in our history, the 100,000 moment.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is five months away from possibly
being elected the next president of the United States addressed the nation
today in a way that a president should and spoke directly to the people who
have lost a loved one to the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My fellow Americans, there are
moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they`re forever
fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments,
100,000 lives have now been lost to this virus here in the United States
alone. Each one leaving behind a family that will never again be whole.
I think I know what you`re feeling. You feel like you`re being sucked into
a black hole in the middle of your chest. It`s suffocating. Your heart is
broken. There is nothing but a feeling of emptiness right now.
For most of you, you weren`t able to be there when you lost your beloved
family member or best friend. For most of you, you weren`t able to be there
when they died alone. With the pain, the anger, and the frustration, you
will wonder whether or not you`ll ever be able to get anywhere from here.
It`s made all the worse by knowing this is a fateful milestone we should
have never reached.
It could have been avoided, according to a study done by Columbia
University. If administration had acted just one week earlier to implement
social distancing and do what it had to do, just one week sooner, as many
as 36,000 of these deaths might have been averted.
To all of you who are hurting so badly, I`m so sorry for your loss. I know
there`s nothing I or anyone else can say or do to dull the sharpness of the
pain you feel right now. But I can promise you from experience, the day
will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips
before it brings a tear to your eyes.
My prayer for all of you is that they will come sooner rather than later,
but I promise you it will come and when it does, you know you can make it.
God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you
lost. This nation grieves with you. Take some solace from the fact we all
grieve with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We all grieve with you, the words Donald Trump should have said
today but of course, didn`t.
Donald Trump went to Florida today to watch a rocket launching that was
cancelled due to weather. He, of course, did not wear a mask when he got
off air force one though some officials on the ground in Florida were
wearing masks when the president arrived.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force,
discussed the importance of wearing a mask today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS
DISEASES: I wear it for the reason that I believe it is effective. It`s
not 100 percent effective. I mean, it`s sort of respect for another person
and have that other person respect you. You wear a mask, they wear a mask,
you protect each other.
I mean, I do it when I`m in the public for the reasons that A, I want to
protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a
symbol for people to see that that`s the kind of thing you should be doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, Ron Klain, a former senior
former aide to President Obama and Vice President Biden, he served as the
head of the Ebola task force during the Obama administration. John
Heilemann is with us. He`s a national affairs analyst for NBC News and
MSNBC and he`s editor-in-chief of “The Recount.”
Ron Klain, I want your thoughts with your experience running that task
force on Ebola and everything you`ve seen coming. We knew this day, this
100,000-death day was coming. There`s nothing really that prepares you for
it, that knowledge that it`s coming doesn`t make it easier.
What are your thoughts as we reach this point in this pandemic in this
RON KLAIN, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION EBOLA CZAR: Lawrence, as you said, it was
coming. As Vice President Biden said, it was avoidable. The administration
taken the steps it should have. The death toll would be lower like other
This is a global pandemic but ours is the only country on earth that lost
100,000 lives, and that`s just a terrible, terrible fact that we have to
live with. And, you know, I think it`s sometimes hard to imagine the scope
of that loss, the size of that number. But as you`re scrolling that front
page of the “New York Times”, we saw those names go past, it`s worth
remembering if we read – if we spent three seconds rereading each name, it
would take every one of your broadcast for the next four months, every hour
of it to read all 100,000 names. That`s how many Americans have died as a
result of this epidemic.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, the difference between Donald Trump and Joe
Biden could not have been more stark today. There`s Donald Trump getting
off Air Force One, no mask on the same day Anthony Fauci is saying you must
wear a mask and you should be wearing it as a role model, especially if
you`re in a position like his.
We see Andrew Cuomo wearing a mask walking into the Trump White House and
then there is Vice President Biden addressing the nation, saying that we
all grieve, talking directly to the people who have lost loved ones, lost
friends, lost co-workers to this pandemic. Speaking the way a president is
supposed to speak on a day like today.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right. And, Lawrence, you
know, obviously, it`s a terrible day that as you say we saw coming and also
no less terrible for the fact that we saw it coming. I am reminded of the
fact that back at the beginning of this, the public perception of this
pandemic was upon us in the second week or so in March when Donald Trump
did his Oval Office address talking about coronavirus, the same night that
Tom Hanks announced that he had coronavirus, the same night that the NBA
cancelled it season, the president did that Oval Office address, was
roundly criticized for it, for his performance there, and then Joe Biden
did an event in Delaware that I went to where he purposefully tried to
model sort of what a president – what he would look like if he were
president under these circumstances.
And this is when the pandemic was upon us, but nothing like this death toll
had unfolded and we had no idea how bad it would get. Now we`re here and
it`s two plus months, three months later now and you see again the
starkness of the contrast you`re talking about. To me, that is a large part
of what the campaign is going to be politically speaking. It`s going to be
the contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Joe Biden having multiple
opportunities to try to show the country what a presidency under Joe Biden
would look like and how different it would be from the presidency that
we`ve seen for nearly four years of Donald Trump.
And in particular, this thing that we see – Biden is not a perfect
candidate. Ron who worked for Joe Biden and still works for the campaign
knows Joe Biden isn`t a perfect candidate. One thing that nobody can deny,
Joe Biden has enormous empathy and that is a central part of his character
is maybe the brightest, starkest contrast of Donald Trump who has no
empathy whatsoever in this moment. It seems to me that`s an enormous
political asset that Joe Biden has and we saw it very much on display today
in how he performed versus how the president performed.
O`DONNELL: Obviously, coronavirus is not going away. The latest projection
is by the time we get to the beginning of August, we`ll be up to 132,000
deaths. We have a Fox poll saying more people trust Joe Biden to handle the
coronavirus than Donald Trump, 46-37. Seventy-four percent in another poll,
74 percent find that they support the use of masks.
Ron Klain, pro-mask and anti-mask, the 74 percent position is the Anthony
Fauci position and Donald Trump very much wants to be on the wrong side of
that 74 percent, in the middle of a presidential campaign.
KLAIN: Yes, it`s a vexing thing, Lawrence. It`s not only that the
president doesn`t wear a mask, which is bad enough, models bad behavior. He
attacks and belittles people who do the right thing. He did this with a
reporter in the Rose Garden yesterday. His White House press secretary said
she found it peculiar that Vice President Biden wore a mask to lay a wreath
at the memorial – for Memorial Day.
Well, it`s not peculiar that Vice President Biden did it. That`s Dr.
Fauci`s recommendation. The White House`s own surgeon general, the U.S.
surgeon general put out a video on Memorial Day weekend that said everyone
that goes out in public should wear a mask.
If you want to know why we`re in the mess we`re in, it`s because the White
House thinks it`s peculiar people are taking advice of its own health care
experts. In addition to the decency gap that John mentioned between Trump
and Biden, it`s a basic competency gap that`s shown along here.
And last thing I`ll say about this is Trump`s position on masks makes no
sense because if he wants to reopen the economy, he should be doing things
to encourage people to feel safer about going out and buying things,
shopping, going to stores and encouraging people to wear masks to lower
risks. It`s just common sense.
O`DONNELL: Nancy Pelosi today spoke about the possibility of a Republican
convention which Donald Trump is urging. He wants Charlotte, North
Carolina, to host a standard convention with 20,000 people inside an arena,
elbow to elbow.
Here is what Nancy Pelosi said about that possibility today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We all want the country to
open up, but science tells us that there is a path, a healthy path to open
up in a healthy way. I don`t think there`s anyone who would say at this
point that tens of thousands of people should come together for a political
convention no matter how great an ego trip it is for somebody, it`s
dangerous for so many.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, we don`t know what`s going to happen but by the
end of August, we are likely to be up around 140,000 dead around the time
of the currently scheduled Republican Convention that Donald Trump really
wants to have in Charlotte and maybe some other state, if he can move it.
What are the chances of us actually seeing a Republican convention this
HEILEMANN: I think the chance of us seeing a Republican Convention and
Democratic convention, Lawrence, of some kind are very high. I think both
parties now are trying to figure out how to do a convention that`s part
virtual and part physical that`s part, you know, that has some aspects of
in-person – in-person element in some part that`s going to take place more
electronically. I think the difference between the parties is on the
Democratic side, you have much greater caution, you have convention-goers
who are not interested in going into quite sanely interested, not
interested in piling into arena in Milwaukee standing cheek by jaw in a
sweaty, well – not well-ventilated room.
Whereas I think – apparently, given the way that this thing – this
pandemic has broken along cultural political lines, there are more
Republicans interested in doing that and it`s definitely the case Donald
Trump`s risk tolerance seems to be higher than any other, any sane persons,
than Joe Biden`s.
So, I think he`s going to press it. Whether it happens in Charlotte or not
with the Democratic governor in that state and very strong Democratic mayor
in that city, I think that`s the real question. And I think Trump is going
to force this issue more likely than not we`ll see maybe Republican
convention of some kind not in North Carolina.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann and Ron Klain, thank you both for starting us
off tonight. Really appreciate it.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
We have much more coming up in this hour. As I told Rachel, the Senate
Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is going to join us. Also with us tonight,
Congresswoman Katie Porter.
And we will be joined tonight by George Floyd`s sister Bridget Floyd as a
second night of protest is underway in Minneapolis over the death of George
Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. There are also
protests in Los Angeles tonight.
O`DONNELL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has had the Senate
working not to legislate more economic relief for a country staggering
under the burdens of the coronavirus pandemic, he`s not even trying to
legislate anything right now for his home state of Kentucky.
And the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo who was in Washington today is
outraged by Mitch McConnell`s refusal to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: There is a financial equation that is the
federal government and you want – if you want to ask, what states give
money to other states and what states take money from other states? That`s
a question that Senator McConnell and Senator Scott and Mr. Laffer don`t
want to ask because the truth is the totally opposite of what they`re
You look at the states that give more money to the federal government than
they get back. You know, the top what they call donor state, you know what
one state pays in more to the pot than they take out of the federal pot
than any other state in the United States? It`s the state of New York. New
York pays more every year, $29 billion more than they take back.
You know the second state? New Jersey. Massachusetts. Connecticut.
California. Every year, they contribute more to the federal pot.
You know who takes out more than they put in from that pot? You know whose
hand goes in deeper and takes out more than they put in? Virginia,
Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida. Those are the facts. Those are the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Kentucky`s Mitch McConnell has had the Senate working mostly
just to confirm Republican federal judges. Those are all presidential
appointments that must be confirmed by the Senate but Donald Trump made it
clear during the presidential campaign he would let Mitch McConnell
basically pick the judges and confirm them using a system that Republicans
have been using for decades.
That system was exposed today by New York Senior Senator Chuck Schumer, the
Democratic leader of the Senate. Senator Schumer, along with other
Democratic senators, issued a report showing how a system funded by some
anonymous Republican donors and some well-known Republican donors like the
Koch brothers, has delivered, quote, 200 new life-tenured federal judges to
aggressively remake the federal courts and rewrite the Constitution.
Senator Schumer`s report points out, quote, under Chief Justice Roberts,
the courts Republican appointed five justice majority handed down 80
partisan 5-4 decisions joined by no Democratic appointee.
Joining our discussion now is the Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer of
Senator Schumer, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
And I`m so glad you`re focusing on these judicial appointments because in
the crash of everything else we`re covering, it`s very hard to get
attention to something like this. But this is an unprecedented wave of
judicial confirmations that Mitch McConnell is pushing through.
What have you found in your study of this and this process?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Well, we have found that a
very small group of powerful, wealthy, hard right donors have sent millions
and millions of dollars of dark money to influence the process and they had
The Federalist Society, which is one of the specific agencies that does
this and benefits from so much of this money, chooses the judges – and let
me say, the judges are against the interest of the American people. These
are not judges the American people would choose. They`re against the
interest of working people. They want to repeal Roe v. Wade, which the vast
majority of Americans do not.
They side with big money classes. They were the group that put in Citizens
United, which allowed this dark money to cascade in to begin with. They`re
trying to undo labor unions in this country.
It`s a huge, huge machine, and they start on the law school campuses. They
set up think tanks which come up with these ridiculous theories that they
then portray through the right wing media as real theories.
And as the report points out – and I want to give huge credit to Sheldon
Whitehouse who has done fabulous work, as well as Senator Stabenow – what
they show is that the idea that the courts are now down the middle is
fading away. They have been politicized, influenced by this dark money,
which chooses people of only a particular point of view. Not people who,
quote, call balls and strikes anymore, but rather who seem to have set
The judge that McConnell just pushed through to go to the Second Circuit
Court of the D.C. Circuit, which is one of – the second most powerful
court in the land, had virtually no experience. And here`s what he said –
he criticized Chief Justice Roberts because he wanted to keep Obamacare.
This is somebody they`re putting on the bench because they can`t repeal
Obamacare in the legislature, in the Congress.
This is – this is the beginning of a bunch of reports that Senator
Whitehouse, myself, and the Democratic Caucus are going to show how dark
money, undisclosed money, sinister money is jaundicing the decision-making
fairness of the courts.
O`DONNELL: Senator, what I found so striking about the report is that some
of us had just kind of an impressionistic notion of how this has been
working and we know about the Federalist Society. But you`re tracking it
starting in 1982 in this report when the Federalist Society is formed. And
they – they have delivered a kind of judge that we haven`t seen before and
they`ve really tested, as you just mentioned, just how – just what kind of
a lack of qualifications are Republicans willing to accept in the Senate,
and we have seen confirmations in this past year that never would have
gotten through in, say, as recently as the 1990s or even earlier in the
SCHUMER: So many of them, Lawrence, are young because they want them on
the courts forever. There is a lifetime appointment.
So many of them have little experience. It was said about this new judge
that McConnell – McConnell`s protege, he knows him through Kentucky, that
he had more experience as a television commentator than in the courtroom.
And it`s had dramatically very bad effects on this country.
And so, we`re going to keep exposing this. It is reported that one person
gave two contributions of $17.5 million each, in one case I believe it was,
to make sure that McConnell was backed up when he wouldn`t let Merrick
Garland get a hearing and second to bring these two new justices to the
And they do television. They do Twitter. They have these – run these think
tanks which come out with these outlandish legal theories.
I mean, to me at least, the idea that the First Amendment prohibits us from
regulating how much money and dark money people can put into the judicial
system is just an appalling way to read the law. We never had that before.
The First Amendment doesn`t – every amendment is a balancing test, but
when they want to do something, they say they don`t. And many people feel
they want to make America right to our country and get rid of unions all
together, as the Janus case may have been a preview (ph) for.
These are not down-the-middle decisions. These are not decisions that rely
on a great deal of precedent. They rely on hard-right thinking and the
Federalist – by the way, President Trump said in his campaign he would
only choose people who the Federalist Society, this hard right group that
is so far away from the mainstream of America, approved. And they put
together a list and he`s chosen judges from that list.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Senator. That seemed to me to be a really important
turning point in the Trump presidential campaign. That`s when the
Republican Party really got comfortable with Donald Trump when he said, I
will deliver the judges you want. And he has delivered.
Is it your sense that Republican politics is much more aware of the urgency
of getting control of Supreme Court appointments and that the Democratic
side of the politics pays much less attention to that and much more
attention to other issues?
SCHUMER: There`s been – there`s been a belief among Democrats and among
the general public and the press, oh, none of this is political. But it`s
become highly political, and the people who are behind these groups are not
judicial experts, but many of them who give the money are just hard, hard
right ideologues whose views, they`re not even with the mainstream of the
Republican Party. They are further over.
But they have a lot of money and a lot of weight and a lot of power. And
we`ve seen the Koch brothers, how much power they have had over the
Republican Party and influencing elections, that they get something done.
And I – I think that Democrats are going to have to realize this and the
best thing we can do is we don`t want to – we don`t want to do the kinds
of things they do. But we should be exposing this and showing the American
people how they`re trying to throw the courts away from the notion of the
Founding Fathers, somebody who enforces the law rather than imposes their
view of the law.
And this report is the first attempt but it`s not going to be the last. We
have a whole bunch of things to come out with, and I hope people will pay
attention and try to rectify the situation.
O`DONNELL: The senior senator from New York, the Democratic Leader of the
Senate, Chuck Schumer – thank you very, very much for joining us tonight
on this important issue. Really appreciate it.
SCHUMER: Thank you. Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Thank you. Coming up, they murdered my brother, that is how George Floyd`s
sister describes what happened to her brother after being detained by
Minneapolis Police and after having police officer`s knee on his neck for
seven minutes. Bridgett Floyd will be our next guest.
These are live shots of protestors gathering in Los Angeles tonight,
protesting the death of George Floyd.
O`DONNELL: George Floyd died on Monday night in Minneapolis, after being
detained by police with a police knee on his neck for over seven minutes,
while he repeatedly said I can`t breathe.
The four Minneapolis police officers involved in that incident were fired
yesterday after video recorded by citizen bystanders at the scene showed
George Floyd being held down and saying I can`t breathe.
Today, the Mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey said if he had treated George
Floyd that way, he would be in jail tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB FREY, MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR: If you had done it, or I had done it, we
would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to
that question, and so I`m calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman
to act on the evidence before him, I`m calling on him to charge the
arresting officer in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We will now show you about ten seconds of video captured by one
of the citizens who witnessed this event. There is something painfully
familiar about this disturbing video, because George Floyd is saying
exactly what Eric Garner said on Staten Island six years ago, when an NYPD
officer held him in a chokehold, I can`t breathe.
A longer version of this video is available online, but again I caution you
this video is very disturbing to watch, and here is about ten seconds of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE FLOYD: I can`t breathe, please, the knee on my neck. I can`t
POLICE OFFICER: Bro, get up and get in the car man.
G. FLOYD: I will.
POLICE OFFICER: Get up and get in the car.
G. FLOYD: I can`t move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The first official statement issued by the Minneapolis Police
Department was entitled, man dies after medical incident during police
interaction. That statement said, “He physically resisted officers.”
It`s very important that the official statement did not say that the
officers involved say that he physically resisted them. The statement did
not attribute it to the officers as a claim being made by the officers. The
Minneapolis Police Department took it as an official fact, they made it an
official fact of their own by saying, “He physically resisted officers.”
New video has emerged. This video from a nearby surveillance camera that
shows some of what happened before George Floyd was pinned to the ground
under a police knew, and that video appears to show George Floyd complying
with police after being handcuffed.
Tonight, protesters in Minneapolis were confronted by police, who again
used tear gas to control the protests, as they did last night. Protesters
have also gathered in Los Angeles tonight. This is a live shot from Los
George Floyd`s brother Rodney told NBC`s Craig Melvin earlier today that he
is not surprised by the protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: I mean that was - that he was
murdered in the streets, and I mean you hear him crying, and I mean
everyone heard that. I`m not surprised, because they - I grew up in a
ghetto environment and the police do not - and I mean do not listen to the
people. Someone is surprised the protesters heard his voice and heard his
anger, they thought he`s faking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Bridgett Floyd, George Floyd`s
sister. Also with her is Benjamin Crump who is an attorney for the Floyd
family. Bridgett, first of all, I`m very, very sorry for your loss and I`m
sorry we are meeting this way to discuss this.
What can you tell us about your brother and about what you know about him?
And when you see this video of him apparently complying while handcuffed,
and then you see - you`ve seen the other video, the painful video, with
that knee on his neck, what can you tell us about your brother and what you
would expect of him, if he was being detained or approached by the police?
What would you expect your brother`s conduct to be?
BRIDGETT FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S SISTER: My brother`s conduct would be the
person that he is, which is very humble, which is very - he followed
directions. He followed directions, he`s very good at that. I have not
watched the video yet. I don`t know when I will be able to watch the video.
But now I know for a fact that I cannot take that. My brother was a very,
very good guy. You could meet him and it`s like you knew him forever. He
never met a stranger. When he walked in the room, he filled the room with
just his presence.
Those guys had no kind of remorse in their heart, in their body, in their
bones, whatsoever. I don`t know, because I was not there, but hearing the
stories of what happened, he gave y`all no reason to do what y`all did to
him. He gave y`all no reason.
He wouldn`t dare try to fight the police. He wouldn`t dare try to knuckle
up with the police. He`s been down that road before. He learned from his
mistakes. So that was just plain out bullying. They murdered my brother and
they`re going to pay through the courts.
O`DONNELL: Bridget, you have four young sons of your own. What have you
told them? What have your discussions with them been like about this?
B. FLOYD: Very limited. And I say limited because kids have feelings, too.
I can`t just go to them and tell them, oh, your uncle got killed by the
police and this and that. It`s a way that you approach situations. And I
approached the situation the best way I knew how without scaring them.
I keep it real with them, but I also let them know that it`s okay to be
afraid sometimes. But when it comes to defending yourself, you have all
rights to step up to the plate regardless of the situation, especially when
you`re not in the wrong.
O`DONNELL: Benjamin Crump, are you satisfied with the speed of the city`s
reaction so far? Clearly, the Mayor agrees with Bridgett and the family
that he believes that what he saw there was a crime and the officer with
his knee on the neck really should be in jail right now.
They fired the next day, which is something that it took six years in New
York City - for New York City to fire the officer who put the chokehold on
Eric Garner, who was the first to be seen on video saying I can`t breathe,
the echo of which we now have in this case. What is your sense of the legal
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY, GEORGE FLOYD`S FAMILY: Well, we are relieved that
the Mayor did terminate officers, but we only felt any effective leader
would have done that.
The legal process unfortunately is going slower than we would think it
would be with such clear and convincing evidence of a crime. He was on the
ground face down handcuffed and the police had his knee on his neck for
between seven to nine minutes, while he pleaded for air. He pleaded with
them that I can`t breathe.
Larry, to illustrate it properly, can you imagine if you took your cell
phone and you literally hit the stopwatch for seven to nine minutes, and
you just let the time pass and you imagine that somebody was on your neck
with their knee and you couldn`t breathe, and you were begging them to take
their knee off your neck so you can breathe, but they wouldn`t do it, they
wouldn`t offer you any humanity, and so you end up suffocating to death.
That is the tragic last minutes of George Floyd on this earth and it is
O`DONNELL: Bridgett Floyd, we have seen so many of these cases. I wrote a
book about police use of deadly force decades ago. You have lived this
story. You`ve seen it when it happened to Eric Garner, you`ve seen it when
it happened to other people around the country. What was it like for you
when you got the phone call and you realized now it`s happening to you,
it`s your brother, what was that moment like?
B. FLOYD: It`s like everything just stopped for a minute, everything
stopped. I had to gather my thoughts, and I had to really listen to the
other person on the other end of the line to make sure that they were
saying what they were saying.
That is a phone call that I wouldn`t wish on nobody. I`ve always watched
everybody else and their families go through this same type of situation,
but I never, never, never thought that I would be the one to get a call
just like those other ones did.
It`s a pain that is undescribable, especially when you know the type of
person that he was. He wouldn`t hurt a fly. Not on purpose, not to just be
starting things, not to be a bully. He didn`t tolerate things like that. He
didn`t like things like that. He spoke out about negative things. They took
something very special to me.
O`DONNELL: Bridgett Floyd, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I am
very, very sorry for your loss. We really appreciate you letting us know
what this is like and letting America know what this is like. We really
appreciate you being here. Very, very sorry for your loss and for your
family`s loss. And Benjamin Crump, thank you, thank you very much.
B. FLOYD: Thank you.
CRUMP: Thank you, Larry.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: It was an historic day in the House of Representatives today.
The oldest committee in the Congress, the House Ways and Means Committee,
which was created on July 24, 1789, held its first virtual hearing today,
with members participating from home.
And even more important today, for the first time in its history, the House
of Representatives allowed members to vote on the House floor without
actually being present in the chamber. Congressman Katie Porter is one of
the members of the House who voted from home today by giving her proxy to
Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, who then was allowed to cast Katie Porter`s
vote for her on the House floor.
Joining us now, Congresswoman Katie Porter. She is a Democrat representing
the 45th district of California and is a member of the Oversight and
Financial Services Committees. Well, Congresswoman Porter, there are many
ways to make history and today it was literally the method of voting.
Does this mean that we`re going to see more of this in the House of
Representatives, and of course for reasons that I can`t quite comprehend
Republicans opposed this safe voting process during this pandemic?
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, during this pandemic, we have asked so many
different entities, schools, businesses, non-profits, retailers, we`ve
asked them to change how they do business to keep the public safe, and
that`s exactly what we did today in Congress.
Those of us who would have had to make long travels and have contact with
hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of people, multiple airplanes
today, we adapted using technology so that we could keep essential workers
in our communities safe.
O`DONNELL: And going forward, do you think the hearing process obviously
will now be conducted mostly virtually?
PORTER: Nobody can say for certain how this pandemic will unfold, because
we have to put the public health first and foremost. But I participated in
a remote hearing yesterday and I was allowed to question the witness with
my normal five minutes. I could use a prop, a whiteboard, just like I do in
And in fact, because we were in a remote setting, because there wasn`t all
the usual bustle of Washington, I think I was able to even better listen to
the witness, listen to my colleagues, and engage the witness than maybe I
am even able to do sometimes in the craziness of Washington, D.C.
O`DONNELL: The Senate of course is literally doing nothing. Mitch McConnell
has decided the Senate will do nothing to respond to any of the new
developments that we`re discovering in the coronavirus pandemic, including
some of the economic effects.
One of the economic effects that has not been specifically addressed is the
life of the single mother in America and what has changed in terms of both
employment and then the possibility of even working at home while trying to
manage children at the same time.
PORTER: Well, this pandemic has definitely fallen harder on women workers.
They`ve disproportionately lost their jobs, and that is even more sharp -
it`s even sharper effect when you look at single mothers.
The number of single moms without jobs compared to a year ago today`s down
22%, and that`s compared to a change of 9% for other workers with young
children. So single mothers are disproportionately losing jobs during this
pandemic. And because they only have one income to meet their family`s
needs, they don`t have much of a safety net to take care of their kids
during this time.
O`DONNELL: What is on your agenda now going forward? What does your
district need? What do you think the country needs?
PORTER: Well, I think the most important thing we can do is try to preserve
jobs to keep people in their current jobs tethered to their benefits,
connected to their insurance. We don`t want to have massive labor market
disruption. We have people who are trained for these jobs, that live near
these jobs, and we want to try to keep them in it, and that`s why I support
the Paycheck Recovery Act, which is supported by my colleagues,
Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Schiff. I think this is the best way
to make sure that we don`t see even more unemployment than we already have.
O`DONNELL: You represent a formerly Republican district. You flipped it in
the last election. What is the reaction in your district to California`s
restrictions, and what do you see as the compliance level where you are?
How many people do you sense are fighting against the guidance?
PORTER: Well, Irvine where I live is a very, very community and family-
focused place. So I see everyone really trying to do their best. They are
challenges to maintaining these guidelines. It`s gotten warmer outside.
People are getting tired. I`m speaking personally here, but people are
getting tired of being cooped up alone with their small children all day.
So it is a challenge.
But I`m also seeing people try to support each other, and try to make this
as easy as we can on each other, to be understanding, to reach out and help
each other, and to put the public health first because that`s the best way
we can ultimately protect lives and reopen our economy.
O`DONNELL: This is the day California went over 100,000 in total cases.
It`s the day the country went over 100,000 in total deaths. What is your
reaction to where we are now and the way these numbers have added up?
PORTER: Well, these lost lives are going to take a real toll on our mental
health and our mental well-being. So one of the things that I did today,
because I was not traveling to Washington, is I engaged in a round table
with the mental health caucus with two of my colleagues, Representative
Judy Chu and Representative Grace Napolitano, talking with California`s
mental health czar about what are best practices that we can use to address
what may be an upcoming pandemic in terms of mental health care, whether
that`s brought about by grief or by isolation of this pandemic, by anxiety?
This is a real challenge for our community, and we should try to plan ahead
to meet that public health crisis just like we`re trying to make sure we`re
meeting the health crisis caused by the virus itself.
O`DONNELL: You`ve also been paying attention to what the health insurance
companies are doing. What are the issues we should keep an eye on?
PORTER: Well, one of the things I`m really concerned about is reports that
some of the nation`s largest insurers, specifically UnitedHealth, is asking
our providers, our doctors and our other providers, to take reimbursement
pay cuts or else UnitedHealth will yank them out of being a network - a
covered network provider.
And this is terrible for these providers who are already facing a loss of
revenue, but it`s really terrible for patients who may lose an in-network
provider, who may be more likely to face a surprise bill during this time.
So this is a time for UnitedHealthcare to put patients ahead of profits.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank for joining us tonight. That
is the Last Word.
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 content.>
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