BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: A vacant Times Square tonight, not quite the crossroads of the world with much of the world hunkering indoors while a virus is killing people around our planet.
Good evening on this day 1,188 of the Trump administration. That leaves exactly 196 days until our presidential election.
The headline today belonged to the director of the CDC. In an interview with The Washington Post, he warned a possible second wave of coronavirus this coming winter could be deadlier than what we are living through right now.
So with that in mind, the question came up at today`s White House briefing, should Georgia really be allowing hairstylists, tattoo artists, and massage therapists to go back to business considering those three occupations, for starters, depend on close proximity, human-to-human contact?
Dr. Birx when asked about it took a pass. She said she didn`t want to pre- judge. The President said he presumes customers will be tested on their way in, and of course the truth is our nation has nothing close to that capacity.
Dr. Birx said she doesn`t know if a second wave could be deadlier than this because, "She thinks this has been pretty bad." For his part, our President said he sees, "A lot of light at the end of the tunnel, and it`s getting brighter and brighter every day." He said again today, not everyone wants to do significant testing. He said in some cases, it`s not good. He said he really believes, "We`ll be able to put out the fires if this disease pops up again," because he said, we`ve gotten really good at this.
Elsewhere during the briefing, he wished Kim Jong-un well, and as he does every day, he reminded us of the death toll projections had he chosen to do nothing.
In the real world tonight, the United States death toll stands at over 44,000 with between 1% and 2% of our total population tested. We know of at least more than 803,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. Worldwide, the number of confirmed corona cases north of 2.5 million now.
As we mentioned the director of the CDC is warning this second wave of coronavirus this winter will likely be worse because, "We`re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
This evening President Trump and Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx insisted the federal government will be well prepared should that happen.
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DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I believe that we`ll have early warning signals both from our surveillance. We`re going to continue that surveillance from now all the way through the fall to be able to give us that early warning signal.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: If they do come back -- and they could come back together with heavy on the flu and much lighter on -- because I really believe we`ll be able to put out the fires. You know, it`s like fires, and we`ve learned a lot. You know, we`ve become very good at this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Dr. Redfield of the CDC, the man who issued the warning, notably not at today`s briefing. That is the backdrop against which the President is publicly urging states to ease those stay-at-home restrictions.
There are growing concerns some governors are moving much too rapidly. White House guidelines recommend states have more robust testing for COVID, plus tracing programs already in place before those restrictions are allowed to be eased.
In Georgia, whereas we mentioned hair salons, massage therapists, tattoo artists will be allowed to reopen in a few days, fewer than 1% of that state`s population has been tested for this virus. The state also does not have a 14-day trajectory of a decline in cases, which the White House also of course recommends. Today Trump was asked about that.
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TRUMP: We have to build back our country, and I`m going to make our country bigger and better and stronger, and we have to get started. There`s a big difference, though, because people have really been through a lot, and they understand what to do now. Before nobody had ever heard of a thing like this, wouldn`t you say? I mean nobody ever heard of a thing like this. Distancing, social distancing, what does that mean? Washing your hand every 15 minutes, what does that mean? I mean people had never seen or heard anything like this. Now they really are, they`ve not only have they done it, but they`ve done a good job of it. But you have people, you can`t break the country. At some point you have to go back.
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WILLIAMS: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has insisted his state needs more help from the federal government before it can even consider reopening. Today the Governor traveled to Washington to meet with the President.
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TRUMP: I had a very productive meeting with Governor Cuomo as you probably saw to discuss his statewide testing strategy and how we can work together to help expand it with the goal of doubling testing in the next few weeks.
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: Commitment is to attempt and make all efforts to double the number of tests that the state is taking from 20,000 to 40,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a commitment from President Trump to try to get to 40,000 antibody tests per day and --
CUOMO: 40,000 diagnostic and antibody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Combined?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And Trump has picked up an assist in his campaign to reopen the country from his compliant and helpful and loyal attorney General Bill Barr, has publicly questioned stay at home orders before. In a radio interview today Barr went a lot further and indicated the Justice Department is now monitoring what states are trying to do to save lives.
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BILL BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These are unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now. You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest. I`m not saying it wasn`t justified, but it`s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood. We`re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place. And if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them. And if they`re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statement of interest and side with the plaintiffs.
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WILLIAMS: Tonight we also learned more about Trump`s coming executive order restricting immigration into our country, which he says is all about protecting American workers.
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TRUMP: In order to protect American workers, I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States.
This pause will be in effect for 60 days. This order will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency. In other words, those receiving green cards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: One other development that caught our eye and we weren`t alone, The New York Times was first to report Trump`s signature hotel in D.C. is looking for a break from the government. The pandemic has pretty much wiped out the hotel`s business, and the next month`s rent is coming due. Trump organization owns and operates the hotel but it`s in a federally owned building, the old post office building. Rent goes to the GSA, the General Services Administration.
Eric Trump, the President`s son, tells The Times the company has asked about possible changes to the terms of the lease, which could include adjustments to future monthly payments. That all creates an interesting situation since the GSA, of course, is part of the administration.
With that, let`s bring in our leadoff discussion guests on a Tuesday night. With that, we welcome to the broadcast Jonathan Karl, who hasn`t been on before because he happens to be Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News and the current President of the White House Correspondents Association even though the President predicted he`d never make it. He was in today`s White House briefing as he is most days. He`s the author of a new book you should add to your quarantine reading list as we have, Front Row at the Trump Show.
Also with us tonight, Kimberly Atkins, Senior Correspondent for WBUR Boston`s NPR News Station. And Dr. Kavita Patel is back with us. She served as a Senior Aid to Valerie Jarrett in the Obama White House, advising on health reform, financial regulatory reform, economic recovery issues. She`s also a clinical physician and among our medical contributors.
So good evening and welcome to you all. And, Doctor, with medicine top of mind, can you clear something up for us? These predictions certainly in the realm of possible and the realm of the feared that we could be looking at a second wave, a second curve when the weather turns cold. Is allowing or preventing that up to us in terms of relaxing social distancing too early, these stating opening that may in retrospect be too early, or is this an organically-occurring second wave that we fear?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, FORMER AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Well, it`s not clear, Brian. There is an element of an organically- occurring second wave certainly because there are a lot of us, thankfully because of social distancing, that have not developed immunity, and we actually don`t know if those of us who have been infected have immunity that will last months although we think that`s probably true, Brian.
So it is possible that this is not just, not just the second wave, but this is also a result, as you mention, of kind of hot spots that are going to continue to be, as described, kind of a slow burn. If you think about the analogy of a fire, if you`ve got a series of slow-burning fires, they eventually do form kind of an incredibly difficult-to-control wildfire. So it`s likely an element of both, but it is a disturbing trend that even the Trump administration is acknowledging.
WILLIAMS: John Karl, I know psychiatrist is not among your credentials although you may feel you earned an honorary degree in it while covering and studying this guy. These briefings increasingly are becoming about the pandemic coverage and less about the pandemic, the numbers each day take on a sad kind of sameness. Do you get the sense that he is struggling with this, especially the decision to reopen states, or is it an Olympic act of cognitive dissonance?
JOHNATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, look, I think one thing that`s been consistent throughout all these briefings is an effort to pat himself on the back, to pat the administration on the back, to talk about the great job they have done, and there has been heroic work done. There`s no question by elements of the federal government. But I asked him today about this question of testing because the one thing that he has boasted about more than just about anything is the federal government`s ramping up of testing, and it`s also been one of the glaring failures here. And I went back, Brian -- I`m sure you remember March 9th, Vice President Pence standing at that podium right there, said that by the end of that week, they would be sending out 4 million tests.
And we still now -- that was March 9th. So we are now a month and a half later throughout all of this, and we still haven`t seen 4 million tests in the United States yet.
So, you know, I asked the President about that today, and he repeated a talking point he has repeated many, many times, which is that the United States has done more testing than other countries. Of course that`s not really the question. We are a big country, and we are a big country that has been hit very badly by this disease, and we have only even at this point, only a fraction of the testing that we need to have to begin to consider reopening.
WILLIAMS: John, on that very point, I was watching today. Have you guys ever gotten a question in successfully when he said, as he put it today, he said it five times just today, we lead the world in testing, but as a percentage of our population, it`s minuscule. Has that ever been shoehorned in to one of these briefings?
KARL: It has, but not in a way that you can get him to acknowledge the point and respond to the point. But, you know, on your larger question of where his psychology is on this right now, I did notice a clear difference in tone today on this question of hydroxychloroquine, which he has portrayed as potentially a miracle drug, a miracle cure. And that was another thing I asked him about because we had a new study. It`s a limited study but coming from the Veterans Affairs Administration of a little over 300 veterans that showed that actually it has not worked and, in fact, it - - you know, those that took this drug actually were more likely to die than those who didn`t.
So it was a mixed study. It also showed that those who took it were less likely to have to go on ventilators, but it certainly showed no positive result. There was also a panel of experts by the National Institutes of Health that said that the combination of hydroxychloroquine and a Z-Pak, which is another thing he`s talked about over and over and over again from that podium, was something that they do not recommend and in fact could be dangerous.
And what was different about this issue today is that he did not repeat his claims that this is some kind of a miracle cure. So this is something he had been holding out for without any real evidence, and it seems he is no longer touting the miracle effects of that drug.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Kimberly, the President stopping immigration. I heard our former colleague John Harwood last night say that to him, it felt like a President sitting in the residence, watching his press coverage go south at 10:00 on a Monday night, wanted a distraction. We came on the air at 11:00 Eastern. I called it half actual policy and half shiny object for the base. Do you think that mix is about right?
KIMBERLY ATKINS, WBUR SENIOR NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think so. I mean reporters today were in a familiar situation where we were trying to get information about a policy that the President announced via Twitter that no one else in his administration seemed to know anything about because he made this tweet clearly without consulting with those inside the White House, without consulting with immigration officials and immigration agencies. And so the flurry -- the rush today was to try to figure out this order, try to actually draft it. The President himself at today`s press briefing said that this order was still being drafted, and this is not the first time we`ve seen this. We`ve seen this when he first initially announced his travel ban. We`ve seen this when he announced this ban in Europe.
If you recall, there was the travel ban in 2017 that left people stranded all over the world because no one was prepared for it. This is something -- the cracking down on immigration is something that he sees as an evergreen, popular approach to his base, and so that was something he was looking to do. And recall that this is a President who since the campaign trail has wanted not only to crack down on illegal immigration but also legal immigration. So he sees this as a winning tool.
No one in my reporting up to now on COVID-19 has said that immigration policy was the problem. We are long past that point where there is -- the spread is happening in the United States. The spread here is greater than anywhere else in the world right now. So it clearly does look indeed like a shiny object.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Doctor, final question for you, John Karl indeed led the questioning on the hydroxychloroquine today. If you take that out of the equation, are you seeing or reading of any good therapies out there that would give patients hope and their doctors right about now?
PATEL: Oh, absolutely, Brian. The good news is there are actually dozens and dozens of investigational treatments. So let me emphasize that the data is still very early. But there are much stronger kind of not just treatments, but I`ll call them supportive treatments, Brian, where we know, for example, that perhaps not intubating people but using nasal cannula, the little tubes through your noses might be a better intervention and doing things like actually putting people pronated, which means putting them on their stomach, would actually help them. So believe it or not, Brian, if there is a silver lining, it`s that you`ve got scientists and doctors who actually know what they`re talking about follow the evidence, and we`re seeing results, which does give us hope for that fall wave.
WILLIAMS: Hear, hear. Jonathan Karl, Kimberly Atkins, Dr. Kavita Patel, our thanks.
One more item before we go to a break tonight. A bipartisan investigation from the Senate Intel Committee has confirmed that January 2017 assessment that Russia, in fact, interfered in our 2016 election.
The committee found the initial intelligence assessment was accurate, thorough, unaffected by political bias. Just in case after all those pages of witness testimony and reports and hearings and indictments and convictions there was any remaining doubt.
OK. Coming up, we`ve asked Jonathan Karl to stick around. We`ll talk about what`s in his book about this President.
And later, a foreign correspondent, the type who doesn`t scare easily, goes to the front lines of America`s coronavirus crisis. What she finds and will show us is stunning as The 11th Hour is just getting started on a Tuesday night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The argument is that you bought yourself some time and you didn`t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn`t use it to ramp up testing. Right now, nearly 20 million people are unemployed.
TRUMP: You`re so disgraceful. It`s so disgraceful the way you say that. How many cases were in the United States when I did my ban? How many people had died in the United States?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do you acknowledge that you didn`t think --
TRUMP: Keep your voice down, please. Keep your voice down. How many --
KARL: You asked when she was appointed. I told you when she was appointed.
TRUMP: You`re a third-rate reporter. Thank you very much, John. Thank you very much. You will never make it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: A few of the President`s exchanges with some of his closest friends during recent coronavirus briefings. The author of the new book Front Row at the Trump Show explains the title this way. "I call it the Trump show because that is the way President Trump sees it. He tracks the ratings and the crowds. He follows the reviews. He slams the critics but craves their approval. Donald Trump is the creator, chief publicist, executive producer, and star of the Trump show. That author, ABC`s John Karl, remains with us for a few more questions about this book.
Jonathan, between us, you and I have at some point been around a long time. And I know in New York you go back to your newspaper days, and you`ve been around this guy a lot. You know that his image in New York was funny guy, small gatherings, bombastic. He was never allowed to sit at the cool kids table at the big gatherings, the hedge fund guys, the big bankers, the big CEOs, but at heart he loved an audience, and I say it absent pejorative. He saw himself as an entertaining guy. What`s the arc you`ve seen of the guy with the title now?
KARL: Well, that`s exactly the guy that I saw in the early 1990s. And, Brian, I did a story the first time I ever met him. I literally cold-called him. I looked in the phone book for the number for the Trump organization, and I called and asked for Donald Trump. And within an hour, I was on the phone with him, and he was inviting me to Trump Tower to do a story. It was a crazy story. It was Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis, had just married Michael Jackson secretly, and they were staying at Trump Tower. So my pitch was a simple one. I didn`t know him, but I think I knew what would appeal to him. I said, why would the most famous newlyweds want to stay at Trump Tower? And he said, come on up. Come on over.
And I have a photo from that day. It`s in the book. It`s a photo that was in a box of old photographs for many years, and I brought it out when he became President. But I look at this photo from 1994, and the guy hasn`t really changed. I mean it`s the same tie, the red tie that`s a little too long, the same grin that he has in all those photos you now see with him with people behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office, and the same effort to try to be the middle of the story.
Now, back then, he was trying to be the center of attention on that given day of the biggest pop story in the world, the biggest pop culture story. Now, you know, he`s President of the United States. It`s not as big an effort. He just has to walk into that briefing room. But, you know, I see so many of the same characteristics, but, you know, when I go in now and he`s called me into the Oval Office to complain about stories I`ve done or to talk about things, I -- it`s -- it just -- he seems like the same guy. It`s just the stakes are entirely different.
WILLIAMS: By the way, John, about the other guy in that picture, Luke Wilson called and wants his look back. I have a similar story. I looked it up. I first interviewed him April 2nd, 1990 at the opening. I was a local reporter of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. I was rewarded with a black and white glossy signed in the mail that I hadn`t requested after our first meeting. I was amazed when Nicolle Wallace asked you for your recall of the insults you have received from him, that you have a top-to-bottom memory of all the things he has called you over the years.
KARL: It`s been a lot of things. Some of them you can`t say on television. But, you know, but, look, the insults are beside the point. He does that. He does that in the briefing room for a variety of reasons, but it`s often simply to detract. He does it because he knows that his supporters love it when he beats up on the press. But, you know, he never actually seems to mean it. I think that one of the fakest things around are his attacks on fake news because while he attacks reporters like Maggie Haberman of The New York Times is a favorite, you know, target of his attacks, he respects Maggie Haberman. He talks to Maggie Haberman. He knows it`s important what she writes and what she thinks.
I`ve covered four different Presidents. They all complained about press coverage. Donald Trump`s complaints are turned up to 11. I mean they`re beyond the other three, but it`s the same basic thing. They don`t think -- no president thinks that the press gives them enough credit for their accomplishments in their administrations. They all think that we focus on things that don`t matter.
But the difference with Donald Trump is he actually watches all this stuff. I mean he consumes more news than you and I do. He told me at one point that the greatest invention in the world was TiVo, the early DVR because he can watch all the different stories. He called me and George Stephanopoulos two days before his inauguration in 2017 at about 10:00 in the morning because he had just, I guess, gotten through his DVR of Good Morning America that day, and he complaining about something that I said. He was about to be sworn in as President of the United States, and he`s taking time, you know, to get everybody on the phone and say, you know -- and talk about the morning`s coverage. It`s really remarkable.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, you`re so right. The news can`t be fake because it means way too much for him to be fake. The book again is called Front Row at the Trump Show. Jonathan Karl, the person rating people`s home rooms on Twitter, is going to give you a huge review. We especially like the modest placement of the Emmys up on the shelf. We miss nothing around here. Good luck to you with the book. We`ll be watching you in the briefing. Thanks very much for coming on tonight.
KARL: Thank you, Brian. I love The 11th Hour. Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Thank you. Back at you.
Coming up, a closer look at the emotional toll that three long months of battling this microscopic killer can take out of you when you`re on the front lines of the fight.
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CATHY HOPKINS, FAMILY NURSE PRACTITIONER, ST. JOSEPH`S MEDICAL CENTER: I always trusted our government to be able to provide the stuff we need. I`m sorry, you know? And then when you hear the difference in the government and people speaking for the government, it doesn`t make sense. We need nursing staff. We need physicians. We need PPE.
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BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Headline in "Vanity Fair" reads, "It is harrowing. It is daunting. It is overwhelming. The mental toll of coronavirus is crushing medical workers". New documentary by our U.K.-based colleagues at Sky News explores this very subject. In it, U.S. Correspondent Cordelia Lynch exposes the crippling impact of this pandemic across the country. We have for you now a scene from St. Joseph`s Medical Center in Yonkers, New York.
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DR. ANTHONY LENO, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR, ST. JOSEPH`S MEDICAL CENTER: We`ve never seen anything like this. Personally in one 12-hour shift I pronounced six people dead. Just me, and that didn`t include the other physicians who had deaths as well.
DARYL ROTA, NURSE, ST. JOSEPH`S MEDICAL CENTER: When you feel like you`re just stretched so thin, where it feels like there`s no way that you could take care of the patients that are here in the way that you`re trained to do so. That`s really the hardest part.
WILLIAMS: Back with us again tonight, Sky News U.S. Correspondent Cordelia Lynch. Her new documentary called "Coronavirus: America`s Reckoning." Cordelia, I try to never venture into politics with you, but we do tend to discuss it from time to time on this broadcast. When you hear public attitudes and people with good intentions start thinking these days, well, we`re over the peak, so the workload in hospitals is easing. When you hear the President say as he now says regularly, no one who has needed a ventilator has gone without a ventilator, how do you react to that?
CORDELIA LYNCH, U.S. CORRESPONDENT, SKY NEWS: Well, I have to say, frankly, it is not the sentiment that we heard inside hospitals and outside them too. There is still a lot of anxiety about what the PPE situation is currently, what it`s going to be in the weeks and the months to come. Fear about that second wave as well.
And what I heard inside St. Joseph`s Medical Center in Yonkers, though, was a lot of kind of candid reflections both on the psychological toll of coronavirus but also that political perspectives too. It`s not something they want to discuss, but they are worried. They don`t want to be involved in the blame game. They`re experienced professionals. They know hard work. They`ve experienced death but nothing like this that they`re having to endure now.
They told me stories of how a husband and a wife had come in together inside a ward. So too had a brother and sister. Both had been separated. Both tragically had died as well. And that`s having a very enduring impact on these people.
Many of whom, Brian, are working seven days a week. And, look, I`m just a guest and an outsider in this country. I`m very fortunate to be here. Britain too have suffered with a lot of similar issues. But what we wanted to look at was why did the world`s superpower in the space of just a week - - why was it telling nurses and doctors you may have to make your own PPE? It seemed like the extremes of this, the growth, inequity and the politics was quite distinct to America at some times.
WILLIAMS: And what did you learn about disparities, race, and income, and how this virus only explodes from that basis?
LYNCH: Well, we went to Louisiana and we saw firsthand the disparities that we`re seeing there. African-Americans disproportionately suffering. They amount to 70 percent of the dead as a result of coronavirus yet represent only 32 percent of the population.
I met the Franklin family, Jacqueline and her son, Anthony. They have lost four members of their family to coronavirus in just 12 days. They were all on the same ward. It was very distressing to hear that story. They decided to speak to us because they are still seeing people not wearing masks, not protecting themselves, and they`re alarmed at that. They want to try and encourage people to take the necessary precautions.
But contrasting that, Brian, with what I saw in Baton Rouge just about -- church, in the life Tabernacle Church being led by a defiant pastor, Anthony Spell. He is still holding services. We were there on Easter Sunday. Inside, around 1,200 people. He says it is their right, it is their duty to pray together. Two very different experiences.
WILLIAMS: Cordelia Lynch, thank you for your work. Thanks for always being willing to come on this broadcast and talk about it.
Coming up for us, Congress moves one step closer to giving more much needed relief to the backbone of the American economy, but will it be enough this time? More on that when we come back.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER, KENTUCKY: My view was that we needed obviously to work together on a bipartisan basis as close as we could to try to develop a rescue package that would make sense for the country.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER, NEW YORK: So the bill we passed was greatly improved. Leader McConnell simply tried to steamroll us, and we`ve tried to tell him it`s much better to talk with us than steamroll us. And because we had input into the bill, it`s a much better bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Another wave of coronavirus relief will soon be on its way to hospitals and small businesses. After a round of delays, the Senate approved the $484 billion package today. House is set to vote Thursday, and the President says he`ll sign it when it arrives.
Back with us again tonight, Donna Edwards, former Democratic Member of Congress from Maryland, now a Washington Post Columnist. And John Heilemann, National Affairs Analyst, Co-Host of "The Circus" on Showtime and Editor-in-Chief of "The Recount". Good evening and welcome to two friends of this broadcast. Donna, is it enough and in your view what doesn`t it do?
DONNA EDWARDS (D), FMR. U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN, MARYLAND: Well, it`s enough for now. I think one of the things that Governor Cuomo pointed out is that there still is not relief, and we`ve heard this from my Governor, Governor Hogan as well. There is still not enough relief for states to deal with the contact tracing that they`re going to have to ramp up with the increased testing and with the recovery of their state`s economies. And so I think that this is an important package for now, and I agree with Chuck Schumer that Democrats, you know, holding their ground and negotiating resulted in a much stronger piece of legislation this go-round for the needs that are out there, especially for small businesses.
But I don`t think that this is the end, Brian. I mean, you know, we`re in a long haul here both to recover the economy and also to get a handle on this testing, especially for what we might see is a larger second wave as we move forward. And so this is a good next step, but there`s going to be another step.
WILLIAMS: John Heilemann, I thought of you when I read that Wisconsin has traced seven cases of coronavirus back to in-person voting during their primary. With opinion polls in this country running basically 70-30 in favor of the ability to vote by mail, what are the chances we`ll see it not just this upcoming presidential election but in our adult lifetimes, and what are the politics of it?
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, Brian, you know, there`s already millions of people who vote by mail. There were, I believe, 50 million ballots cast by mail in the 2016 presidential election, which is one of the many reasons that Donald Trump`s opposition to it is full- throated claim that essentially all voting by mail is inherently suspect and fraudulent -- that`s one reason why it`s absurd. We already have millions of people who do it. Another reason, of course, it`s absurd is the fact that he himself did it in 2018, voted absentee and voted by mail in the state of Florida.
You know, the reality is that there is -- in this bill, Donna was talking about, you guys were just talking what`s not in this bill, what`s not in this bill, the most recent bill that just got passed by Senate. Is not any money, any additional money on top of the original $300 million or $400 million they had in the last bill to work toward a greater -- and expansion of vote by mail to the states that don`t have it. There`s a widespread consensus among Democrats, there needs to be more vote by mail, that the states don`t have it now, should have it and that they should have no excuse absentee balloting in those states.
There`s a widespread opposition to it by Republicans led by the President. It`s going to be -- it`s going to require more money if it`s going to be happen, and it`s going to be a giant fight I think over the course of the next few months when we come back for the next stage of this bill. Democrats are going to be looking for that money. President Trump is going to fight it really hard.
Whether we get what we need, there will be more vote by mail this November than there has been in the past. Whether there will be enough, especially in the face if there`s a second wave of this virus in the fall, whether there will be enough, that is a much more difficult question to answer and a much -- and makes it a much more dubious prospect, I think, given the Republican opposition to it.
WILLIAMS: The very thought of it is chilling indeed. Our guests have both agreed to stay with us. We`ll continue our conversation.
Coming up, they`re both New Yorkers in positions of power, and the similarities between the two guys just might end there.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Fauci said earlier this week that the lag in testing was, in fact, a failing. Do you take responsibility for that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don`t take responsibility at all.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I accept full responsibility. If someone is unhappy and somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me.
TRUMP: I want them to appreciate the incredible job we`re doing. We are doing a job the likes of which has never been done before.
CUOMO: If you don`t want to take the political heat, you shouldn`t be in the political kitchen, which is called being an elected official in the state of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Think of it. Two native New Yorkers, both men born in the borough of Queens in the city of New York. Two very different approaches to leadership amid this global pandemic.
Still with us, Congresswoman Donna Edwards and John Heilemann. Hey, John, Jonathan Karl is hardly the first person to say it but he said it again tonight. The President craves approval. The President was playing clips of what the Governor of New York said about him in the briefing room in the last several days. Governor used the word phenomenal about the federal response.
WILLIAMS: The President at one point was angry that the clip stopped too early. There was another compliment that we in the audience missed. Cuomo says he was looking for the meeting. Tell us about the relationship between these two guys, and does it mean that Cuomo has figured this out?
HEILEMANN: Yes. Brian, you know, holding press conferences in a wartime setting and playing video of a political -- a member of the oppositional political party, it sounds Churchillian, right? That`s kind of the thing that Churchill did that, right, in World War II?
You know, look, they are -- they could not be more different, and I think - - look, here are the few ways in which they`re the same. You know, they have been the dominant figures of this coronavirus crisis. They have both in their various ways been dominant by being on television on a daily basis, by attracting large numbers of people who watch them for different reasons and obviously of different kind of political persuasions. In every other way they`re completely different.
And I think the thing about Cuomo, he`s a guy who, as you know well, has not been the most popular New York Governor we`ve ever seen. He`s been someone who has sometimes come across as being a brusque, kind of difficult guy to deal with. Not always the subtlest political figure in the world, but in this crisis has really risen to the moment and risen to it because he suddenly found reserves of humanity and reserves, in addition to what he always had, which was a lot of competence and a lot of factual dominance, factual grasps of the situation. He found kind of empathy, and he`s also been such a straight shooter with the people of New York.
Donald Trump the absolute opposite. In the sense that Cuomo has been elevated by this crisis, Trump has in a lot of ways been diminished by it because we`ve seen the kind of worst aspects of Trump`s personality and his leadership style if you want to call it that magnified by the crisis. In all those respects, I think they`ve been kind of -- they are both kind of object lessons of what to do in a crisis on one side and what not to do in a crisis on the other.
WILLIAMS: Donna Edwards, I have something to play for you that speaks to this current movement to whip off our masks, go out into society, resume our lives and bring an AR-15 if you have one. This is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas last night on Fox News talking to Tucker Carlson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: There are more important things than living, and that`s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us. And I don`t want to die. Nobody wants to die. But, man, we got to take some risk and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So, Donna, I know it is an argument you`ve heard before. I know you`re cognizant that it`s out there. This is the put the American way of life ahead of individual American lives argument. Just tonight I looked at a headline in "The Hill." Kentucky sees highest spike in coronavirus cases after protests against the lockdown. How risky are you feeling, and what do you make of it?
EDWARDS: Well, I mean this is one of the show shake your head moments because you have governors on the one hand saying, I`m going to open up my state and haven`t met the metrics that the Centers for Disease Control set. And on the other hand, you have other -- have individuals going out, putting themselves in danger, not wearing masks and then bringing it back home to the rest of us.
I think this is really risky business, and I think one of the things that we`re all going to be looking for over the coming weeks is those spikes like the one that you see -- may be seeing in Kentucky and these other states that open up maybe earlier than they should. And opening up businesses like in Georgia that have -- I mean, you can`t even figure out what they have to do with, you know, sort of essential kinds of services. And so, you know, we are really in a moment here where we`re going to see the contrast between those who are doing it right and those who are putting the rest of us in danger.
WILLIAMS: To our friends, Donna Edwards, John Heilemann, our thanks for hanging out with us and having us into your homes.
Coming up, a demonstration on the danger of airborne coronavirus that may stay with you, and it probably should.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, actually a couple of things. First off, the nurses the President correctly calls warriors in this frontline fight against the coronavirus. They took their complaints up the chain of command today to the very top. A protest in Lafayette Park right across from the White House, where if you`re loud enough, you can be heard inside the White House. They read off the names of their fellow nurses who have died from this. They want more backup, more protective equipment.
To the north in New York, nurses lined the halls of NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island where a special patient went home today. She is COVID survivor number 750 just at that hospital. Think of that. Think of how many COVID patients they have treated. Think of those that weren`t so lucky. If this is their 750th healthy survivor in just a matter of weeks. She thanked the docs and nurses for their great care today, and she celebrated in a great way.
And finally, a demonstration of the danger out there that we hope you will find helpful. Correspondent Kerry Sanders went to a lab at Florida Atlantic University where they`re using a simulator and vapor and a laser to show the infectious range of the human cough. And here is part of that demonstration.
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The simulation shows the projection. Three feet traveled in less than two seconds. Within 12 seconds --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s 6 feet.
SANDERS (voice-over): And in 41 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go, 9 feet. And that was a cough, would you say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a heavy cough.
SANDERS (voice-over): In some tests, we saw the cough travel up to 12 feet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, this is a slight cough.
SANDERS (voice-over): The scientists say naturally a lighter cough doesn`t travel as far. In every simulation, we observed what the naked eye cannot see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m standing at the six-foot mark. We have a heavy cough. Smoke comes. Lights out. And there you can see it coming towards me. And boom, within seconds, it`s already reached me. And now it`s going past me.
WILLIAMS: Gets your attention, and hopefully that will stay with you as it did me and safely guide you through this distant life we are living while wearing masks when we`re outside the house for good reason.
That is our broadcast for this Tuesday night. Thank you so much for being here with us. On behalf of all of my colleagues on the networks of NBC News, good night from our temporary field headquarters.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END