BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again. Day 1,195 of the Trump administration, leaving 189 days to go until our presidential election.
The President pointed out today there would be no press conference by the coronavirus task force, and he said that at the end of a press conference in the East Room. The subject was billed as the American business world, but he waded into the coronavirus nonetheless.
The big headline from today was the President saying, "This is going to go away. And whether it comes back in a modified form in the fall, we`ll be able to handle it. We`ll be able to put out spurts." He said, "The worst of the pandemic is behind us." And this, "Tremendous progress has been made, we think, on a vaccine. You always have to say `think` and then you have to test it, and that takes a period of time."
He added this caution, "It`s a bad death. It`s a bad thing." He was reminded today that he said in February after those first 15 cases famously that it would soon be down to close to zero. He said today, "At the appropriate time, it will be down to zero." Meaning the part that was left out was that it would climb to a million in between.
The President also said today, "Many good experts, very good people too, said this would never affect the United States. The spirits got it wrong. A lot of people got it wrong. A lot of people had no idea it would be this serious."
Except, of course, for that Washington Post reporting yesterday that he was briefed on it numerous times back as far as January, and they weren`t wrong. He said, we will be at 5 million tests a day very soon, and that is fiction as far as we can tell. All of our testing combined thus far equals 5.7 million.
In other news, he said, "New Jersey`s in great shape. Ivanka just spoke with the governor." In making his case to reopen schools across our country, he said, "We found out that young people do extraordinarily well. Young people do very well with this horrible scourge." He said, computer learning, as he called it, telelearning, just doesn`t measure up. "It`s not the same thing as being in the classroom of a great college or a college of any kind." Presumably he`s including their America`s subpar colleges.
Back here in the real world tonight, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. stands at more than 58,000. And with over a million confirmed cases among the 1.7% of the population that`s been tested. In fact, just today we crossed a grim threshold. The death toll from this virus now exceeds the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War over 19 years of fighting.
This afternoon, Trump was asked for an explanation in light of his earlier prediction about the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in late February, you predicted that the number of cases would go down to zero. How did we get from your prediction of zero to 1 million?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Well, it will go down to zero ultimately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The expert at the time saying that the number of cases would go up, you would have community spread.
TRUMP: Many good experts, very good people too said that this wouldn`t affect the United States. It wouldn`t affect Europe, it wouldn`t affect anything outside of China. So we were listening to experts and we always will listen to experts. But the experts got it wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: As Trump pushes to reopen our country, more states are doing a slow rollout, lifting those stay-at-home orders even with less than 2% of our nation tested.
Florida`s governor expected to announce reopening plans tomorrow while experts warn about the lack of testing there. The White House has announced a plan to help states get more people tested, but there`s concern about how it will work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some health experts say the U.S. needs 5 million tests per day by June in order to safely reopen. You unveiled a plan yesterday that will increase testing but not by that much. Why not, and can you get to that benchmark?
TRUMP: We are way ahead on testing. We are the best in the world on testing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re confident you can surpass 5 million tests per day? Is that --
TRUMP: We`re going to be there very soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Again, we have tested 5.7 million in total. Right now we`re conducting about 200,000 tests a day. Dr. Fauci, who again today said it was inevitable that we`ll have a return of this virus in the fall, also said that everyone who needs a test should be able to get one by this summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Everyone who needs a test according to the way we`re approaching the identification, isolation, contact tracing, keeping the country safe and healthy, that hopefully we should see that as we get towards the end of May, the beginning of June. That`s what I`m being told by the people who are responsible for the testing. I take them for their word. If that doesn`t happen, I`m going to go to them and say, what happened here? Why didn`t it happen, and how can we fix it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: The White House response to this pandemic is getting a less than enthusiastic review, let`s say, from one Republican senator who is a frequent target of Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MITT ROMNEY, (R) UTAH: The first phase, which is getting ready to respond, clearly we were not in a position of extraordinary strength. We didn`t have the testing as fast as we could have or should have. We did not have the personal protective equipment that we would have hoped to have. That first phase was not one that will stand out, I think, as being a great moment in American leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, governors are taking matters into their own hands on behalf of their own states. Here`s what California Governor Gavin Newsom told me earlier today about his effort to ramp up testing there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM, (D) CALIFORNIA: We just made a deal for 80 new sites and testing. The first ones went up in three of our most rural counties in the state in the last two days. All the rest of those 80 sites will be up by Monday, focusing on inner cities, focusing on rural areas, really focusing on those disparities in a meaningful and more substantive way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: We`ll have more of that conversation just ahead in our broadcast.
Recent coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants across our country underscore the importance of increasing testing capacity. Trump has just signed an executive order mandating the nation`s meat processing plants to stay open even as major plants are suspending operations due to workers getting sick and dying.
According to their union, nearly 20 workers have died. At least 5,000 have been affected. Just days ago, the Chairman of Tyson foods warned that the food supply chain is breaking. Tyson had already had to close some of its plants. It`s a big name in that industry.
The Washington Post reporting that workers in large plants, "Stand two to four feet apart. Because of the mechanical noise of industrial processing lines, workers must place their mouths within inches of supervisors` ears when they ask for bathroom breaks because they have to be replaced immediately so that work continues uninterrupted.
Also tonight, here is your Vice President, who today was the only one at the Mayo Clinic seen not wearing a mask. Touring COVID wards and testing facilities at a huge hospital, no mask. A short flight away from returning to the White House to come in contact with the most senior members of our government, no mask.
Earlier today the clinic posted that it has, "Informed the Vice President of the masking policy prior to his arrival today." That post was since taken down. Then came a statement that the masking policy had been shared with Pence`s office. Note that the CDC issued guidelines recommending masks earlier this month. Also please note Pence is the head of the coronavirus task force. Here`s how Pence responded when questioned about his decision to defy the Mayo Clinic policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, (R) UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: I`m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus. And when the CDC issued guidelines about wearing a mask, it was their recognition that people that may have the coronavirus could prevent the possibility of conveying the virus to someone else by wearing a mask. And since I don`t have the coronavirus, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: A reminder, a negative test result means you were negative when you were tested, and an hour after you take that test, that could change. As you saw right there, Mike Pence said in his own defense today that he wanted to be able to look the health care workers in the eye. And a final safety note here, if your mask obstructs your vision, you`re doing it wrong.
On that note, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on a Tuesday night. Phil Rucker, Pulitzer Prize-Winning White House Bureau Chief for the Washington Post. And a reminder for your quarantine reading he happens to be co-author along with his Post colleague Carol Leonnig of the must-read book A Very Stable Genius. Also with us, Annie Karni, White House Correspondent with The New York Times, and Sam Stein, Politics Editor over at The Daily Beast.
Good evening and welcome to you all. Annie, you were covering this story today. Task force briefing didn`t happen at the White House. Head of the task force was in the twin cities not wearing a mask, which became the story, and the instant consensus was a mask would have been seen by his boss as a sign of weakness. Your turn.
ANNIE KARNI, THE NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: The President has made clear since the day the CDC released guidelines advising Americans to wear masks that he was not a fan of a mask, that he did not intend to wear one. There were moments in the briefing room where he almost made fun of a reporter who tried to ask a question wearing a mask, saying he could barely hear him and was sort of dismissive of the thing.
Inside the West Wing, a lot of aides do not wear masks. The few National Security Council officials who do are viewed as alarmists. So Vice President Mike Pence has made it very clear throughout this administration that he follows the lead of the President, and he appears to be following his lead with mask policy.
I wrote this story today, and I have to say I heard from a really large number of emails I got from former patients at the Mayo Clinic who were really, really outraged by this. Couldn`t believe that he would put at risk the people who had saved their lives or just -- they saw it as a sign of disrespect to have gone in there without a mask.
I don`t usually get this number of reader emails, so this really struck a nerve with people who thought he was doing something unsafe, disregarding the Mayo Clinic`s own rules, even if he thinks he`s abiding by the CDC rules, and a lot of people just assumed it was because he didn`t want do -- have a photo op that the President would not approve of.
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, let me play for you the President`s curious answer to a question that came out of The Washington Post reporting that warnings about coronavirus were in his daily intelligence brief numerous times going way, way back, January, February. Here`s his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you clarify what your intelligence advisers were telling you back in January and February? Were you warned about what was happening with coronavirus and the threat to this country? Should there have been stronger warnings?
TRUMP: Well, I would have to check. I would have to check. I want to look to the exact dates of warnings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, having to look back at check the date, is that an admission that he might not have been fully plugged in? Second, isn`t it a curious answer? You`d think you`d remember that kind of thing.
PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: It`s the kind of thing that would stick with you if you read it certainly. But there are a couple things that we know here. We know, thanks to the reporting of my colleague, Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima, that the President was warned about the coronavirus in the Presidents` daily brief not once, not twice, not three times, but more than a dozen times in January and February.
What we also know is that this President does not usually read the daily intelligence briefing. He prefers to get his information delivered to him orally. He doesn`t have a lot of patience for those briefings. He is not very respectful of the intelligence officers who go at length explaining everything in the briefing. He just wants the top line. He just wants the brevity. He wants graphics, videos, pictures. But he does not have patience to read the words on the page.
What we don`t have a full understanding of is how they communicated these warnings about the coronavirus to him and whether there were really alarm bells ringing in the Oval Office or not because the President is not going to spend time looking at the nuance or the detail. You really need to put it right in his face.
WILLIAMS: Sam Stein, if we consider benchmark low point the President`s floating a suggestion that an injection of disinfectant may work and insertion of UV light, does anyone in the White House press shop think they`ve turned any kind of a discernible corner in the days since then?
SAM STEIN, THE DAILY BEAST POLITICS EDITOR: I think to a degree, limiting Trump`s availability at these pressers is a moral victory. Obviously it`s not an actual one because he`s doing press availabilities in different forms. But there was obviously consternation within the press shop that these briefings, which had been cathartic for Trump, a way to let off steam, and certainly enjoyable from his vantage point, were politically disastrous by the end of it. Certainly suggesting that one inject bleach is going to be a memorable if not iconic moment of this presidency.
So limiting availability is one of those moral victories, but, you know what you`re looking for the short-term and the long-term landscape really is not really good political news for the President. The poll numbers that had briefly gone up have gone down now. The trajectory continues to go downward.
And also we`re looking at a couple months ahead in which there`s an immense amount of uncertainty over just how you open the country back up, whether there`s sufficient testing there to do it. And we`re going to get into a period of time at some point where the investigative bodies, whether it`s the IGs, whether it`s Congress, are going to start looking into the preparations, including those briefings that the President may or may not have seen, to get a sense of why the response in the early stages was so haphazard, I guess, is one word to look at it.
WILLIAMS: So, Annie, anything you`re picking up from inside the White House that will lay out the near future for us? Are they just going to TBD, ad- lib these daily briefings, at least the President`s participation in them or lack thereof?
KARNI: Yeah. I think that it`s a day-by-day calculation right now. The President doesn`t like to feel like he`s being managed by his staff. He doesn`t like to look like he`s conceding ground. So there probably will be some daily news conferences, and they`re clearly looking for other venues like they found today where he can speak. Again, there is zero chance that he will not be speaking and answering questions from reporters on a daily basis in some form or another. He will not be ceding the spotlight in anyone else in the administration to be the face of the response.
But they are trying to find creative ways to make it shorter and to have enough briefings where it doesn`t look like he had to give something up.
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, the food supply chain is a big and real issue in this country. It breaks your heart to see a potato crop rotting in the ground. It breaks your heart to see dairy farmers in Wisconsin dumping milk because they can`t get it to market. Let`s talk about these meatpacking plants. The executive order that the President signed today, is there any other motive in this aside from that food supply chain issue?
RUCKER: Well, clearly, Brian, I think the President`s reacting to alarms raised earlier this week, including by Tyson, that large company warning that there could be problems in the food supply, the protein supply. He doesn`t want America to run out of beef or pork or chicken. That would be a real serious problem. But the problem here is that this order is much more complicated. The reason those plants were closed is because they`re not safe for their workers. And the President`s order today faced immediate backlash from labor leaders and other leaders who were representing the interests of the workers at these plants, who say you cannot force them to go to work in a condition as you laid out at the top of this program that is simply unsafe and unsanitary given the situation going on here.
So it`s a real dilemma for the government to figure out what their role is here. And we should point out, by the way, that there are other issues here in terms of food security that we`ve actually not seen the administration act on. For example, those food banks where we`ve seen footage of people waiting in lines for two hours, three hours in traffic to try to get food to feed their families. These are people out of work who are not able to get food at grocery stores and going to the food banks, and we don`t really hear that issue rise to the top of the President`s attention.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Sam, states are going begging for money. Their cash outlays have been extraordinary. They have no idea how they`re going to make ends meet. The President was asked about that today. I`m going to play you the exchange. We`ll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The problem with the states is we`re not looking to recover 25 years of bad management and to give them the money that they lost. That`s unfair to other states. Now, if it`s COVID-related, I guess we can talk about it. But we`d want certain things also, including sanctuary city adjustments because we have so many people in sanctuary cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So what you just heard there, the President casually picked up the name-your-price tool and named his price for aid to these states, and that`s sanctuary cities, something that has always bothered him.
STEIN: Yeah. I mean if you remember back towards the tail end of the impeachment process, some of the constitutional professors brought us a hypothetical situation that could give us a comparable to the Ukraine situation with a domestic parallel.
And one of the things they talked about is dangling aid to a state in order for the President to have some sort of preferential policy put in place. And this is exactly what he just did today. I mean it was a remarkable sort of admission that it was just off the cuff and we didn`t really notice it except, you know, it was very jarring. That said, you know, you`re starting to see some of the biggest advocates for -- sorry -- biggest opponents of state money back off of their position.
Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who initially started this by floating the idea of forcing states into bankruptcy, has since sort of backtracked a little bit. And you have to imagine that in this fourth phase, phase-four bill that they`re going to produce, there will be aid to states. It`s not because they have mismanaged their finances, although some states have, but maybe you`ve noticed there is a severe economic downturn affecting the bottom lines of basically everybody. And so states are facing those crunches too. I have to imagine there will be some relief for them in this final bill.
WILLIAMS: Three friends of this broadcast, Annie Karni, Phil Rucker, Sam Stein, our thanks on a Tuesday night for helping us out.
And coming up, as our country begins to reopen, a cautionary tale, a warning for us from our friends in Germany.
And later, he`s one of the few Democrats Trump regularly praises. California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has clearly figured out this President responds to thanks and praise, tells us the next steps for his state as The 11th Hour is just getting started on this Tuesday evening.
WILLIAMS: We mentioned this during the break. The head of Germany Infectious Diseases Institute urging people to stay home there because the spread of COVID-19 is now accelerating.
With that in mind, we want to welcome back to our broadcast Dr. Stephen Sample. He`s an E.R. Doc at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper, Indiana.
And, Doctor, far from Germany, there is Fox News, and I want to play you this clip and have you explain what it is they`re talking about on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve seen 1,227 deaths in the state of California with a possible incidence or prevalence of 4.7 million. That means you have a 0.03 chance of dying from COVID-19 in the State of California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More informed debate is exactly what we need to make wise decisions going forward. Unfortunately for all of us, informed debate is exactly what the authorities don`t want. They want unquestioned obedience, so they`re cracking down on free expression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So, Doctor, if you`ve been watching this broadcast or any Fox News in prime time, you know that the angle here is their view that COVID- 19 is less lethal than advertised. This is kind of a part survivalist, part libertarian, part straight-up air support for the President`s position to reopen the country. How would you fill in the gaps here? What should people know about this argument?
DR. STEPHEN SAMPLE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN IN JASPER, INDIANA: So this argument -- I got this article sent to me probably 30 times in the first hour and a half that it got released. And it was very interesting, I got it sent to me by non-medical people who said, haha, look at this. And then I got it sent to me by other physicians who said, who the hell are these guys, and what are they doing to us?
Because from the jump, these guys started with a premise, and then they massaged statistics to make their results meet their desired outcome. You know, Mark Twain used to talk about lies, damn lies, and statistics. Statistics can be manipulated, and this was a really egregious example of that to the point where our colleges of emergency medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine got together and have already condemned these guys by name. And in the medical world, that`s a big deal. That doesn`t happen. I`ve never seen it happen in 15 years of practicing medicine.
WILLIAMS: So when you hear what`s going on in Germany, you sit up and pay attention because all the reviews have been that Germany has been very methodical and very smart about this thus far?
SAMPLE: For sure. Germany has been a country that we have looked to with good results, and we know that when we open up and we start peeking our heads back out, we know that we`re going to see a rise in cases. The question really is going to come down to how are we prepared to handle that rise of cases, and what are we going to do about it when it actually happens? It`s coming for all of us, everybody.
WILLIAMS: When you and I had our first discussions on television, the wave had really yet to hit your State of Indiana. Tell us what it`s like there now.
SAMPLE: Sure. So for us down here in my corner of southwest Indiana, it hasn`t really changed a terrible amount. Our little sector of the state shut down very early when it started to pop off in Chicago land and Indianapolis, and geographically we`re very separated from the rest of those people.
So I looked at the numbers this morning. I`m going to look to the side, I apologize. So my hospital serves about eight counties in Indiana, plus or minus. And as of this morning, we had 166 positives. We had 19 total deaths and about 1,212 tests done across the eight counties of our catchment area. So we are flat just the way we hoped we would be.
WILLIAMS: How do we keep it that way?
SAMPLE: Well, it`s not going to stay this way forever. I don`t think that it can. And, you know, there are so many people screaming at us right now to open. And we have been blessed by our geography and blessed by our population density. But at some point we are going to start popping our heads out of the sand, and it is so important for us that we have a real plan set up in place. We have got to increase our testing locally dramatically. I just got a notification today that Indiana is opening up 50 new testing facilities statewide starting next week. One of them will be here in my hometown. And anybody with symptoms can get tested. And that is such a change from what we`ve seen so far because right now we`re really only testing people who are sick enough to come into the hospital. So we`re going to have a much better idea of what our situation really is because right now we`re really still flying blind.
WILLIAMS: Well, we`ll celebrate that development with you. Thank you for your expertise and candor always. Dr. Stephen Sample with us tonight. Our thanks.
Coming up for us, the challenge of convincing an outdoor state of 40 million people, a beautiful place, to stay indoors. My interview with Governor Gavin Newsom of the Great State of California when we come back.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: 46,000 Californians have tested positive for coronavirus. The illness blamed for more than 1,800 deaths there. California implemented their stay-at-home order for 40 million people exactly 40 days ago. But this past weekend, as you might have seen, some of them had enough. Warm weather drove large crowds out to the beaches in Orange County despite the stay-at-home order.
The governor quickly called it an example of what not to do. So today I asked Governor Gavin Newsom about those crowds, about the challenges of keeping people in his state safe.
Talk about what you`ve learned about reteaching human nature. California is built on going outside. It`s human nature. But you`ve had to reteach human nature to stay in and stay away until it`s safe.
GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM, (D) CALIFORNIA: It`s a wonderful question, Brian. And look, I live in a state, 27% of the state is foreign born. We talk in terms of it being a nation state, 40 million people. World`s fifth largest economy. 58 different counties, 26 of them that went for Donald Trump in the last election, 480-plus cities. And so one size definitely does not fit all.
And so the reality at the end of the day is trying to create a sense of commonwealth, to connect people to a common cause bigger than themselves, geography, or certainly political identity or ideology. But you`re absolutely right. The one great attraction of this state, the reason Horace Greeley in 1850 said, go west, young man, go west, was its pioneering spirit and natural beauty that is California, 800 plus mile coastline in some of the world`s most magnificent beaches. On a beautiful and sunny day after months of being home, people felt -- and I understand why -- that it was sort of time to test the possible.
WILLIAMS: You`re going to be testing the possible when they go back out. Some of your counties match the definition we`ve heard from the President of wide open spaces with small populations. The problem, as no one needs to tell you, the virus doesn`t respect county lines. It doesn`t respect boundaries at all.
NEWSOM: No, nor does it respect state lines, and that`s why we have these regional cooperatives. We just announced Colorado and Nevada joining Oregon and Washington and California to try to go together in some semblance of sharing of best practices because of the jurisdictions, because of the economic and ultimately the nature of the virus and its spread and the fact that it knows no boundaries, no wall, no divide.
And so we have to have a framework that connects us to that common cause but also at the local level. That`s why these regional variant variants, there`s deep pressure many of our governors are facing all across the country to create exceptions for certain regions within our states. But we have to do that as equally cautiously as we are more broadly across state jurisdictions.
WILLIAMS: Out east today, Governor Cuomo said knowing what we know now about these initial cases and just how far back the coronavirus has been traced, he was wondering today where was the sound of the bugle, where were the various agencies and municipalities. What would you have done differently if you`d had an earlier heads-up that this was coming?
NEWSOM: Well, we had the earliest heads-up, as early as middle of January. We started working with the federal government, CDC, HHS early on this in process through repatriation flights six from Mainland China.
California was one of the few if only states that actually brought those flights back in. Many states didn`t want those flights in their jurisdictions. We also started working on that cruise line, the Grand Princess. It`s really started to socialize a framework of understanding engagement of understanding how serious this disease was early. As a consequence, it wasn`t a surprise to us that the bay area counties in northern California disproportionately impacted both by repatriation of those flights and by the repatriation of passengers from the Grand Princess were the first to move with the stay-at-home order.
So, look, I`m not here to point fingers. I`m here just to acknowledge we have to build partnerships and capacity. We still have a lot of work to do, but at least the State of California was early in this endeavor, and the in consequence of that, the first state to do a stay-at-home order.
WILLIAMS: Let`s talk about testing. I`ve been contending that by and large, heretofore in this country your ability to get tested depends on your zip code and your income. You`ve been dealing with the problem of testing deserts as they`re called, especially in L.A. County. How much headway have you been able to make surging supplies and personnel?
NEWSOM: It`s the right point. I mean testing, we so often talk about testing in the aggregate but none of us live in the aggregate. As you say, there`s a socioeconomic frame here. It`s not just in their cities a black and brown issue, but it`s also a rural issue all across this country.
Those folks that were in line for those first tests, many of them were able to go on websites and download their information. Many were proximate to major urban centers. Many were able to get in their cars, take a day off early in this process of work to the extent they had it and get front of line, and so many of our communities were left behind.
So the answer to your question was we just made a deal for 80 new sites and testing. First ones went up in three of our most rural counties in the state in the last two days. All the rest of those 80 sites will be up by Monday, focusing on inner cities, focusing on rural areas, really focusing on those disparities in a meaningful and more substantive way.
WILLIAMS: Final question, and that is how often do you have to reflect on the fact that as Governor of California, your job one each day it to wake up and ask about a rolling and growing death toll?
NEWSOM: Yeah, look, it`s the most heartbreaking. I -- every time we put out the numbers, I say these aren`t numbers. It`s not a statistic. It`s family. It`s a life torn asunder, a life that is lost to this virus. And, you know, people can`t even congregate for a funeral, can`t even do the things you and I so often we take for granted. And that grieving the rest of this crisis, those families that have lost their jobs, not just a loved one.
So it`s the hardest part about this and it`s why we have to be so vigilant moving forward, sober about data, statistics, health, not pressure, not political pressure, not protests. We`ll be driven as it relates to the modification of our stay-at-home orders by those death tolls, by those families and the lives lost and those with can save by practicing physical distancing, not going out in droves to the beaches, not assuming that this virus is taking the weak end off or is somehow in remission. It still is as virulent as it`s ever been.
The reason we`ve not seen the kind of transmission is because of our good behavior. So let`s not run the 90 yard dash. Let`s continue to do what we`ve done and let`s make the modifications led always by health and data, not ideological. Open argument, interested in evidence.
WILLIAMS: Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. Governor, thank you very much for spending some time with us today.
NEWSOM: Honor to be with you. Thanks, Brian.
WILLIAMS: And coming up for us tonight, the senior most elected Democrat in our country today wondered why Republicans won`t take back their own party. We`ll ask someone who worked with both the Reagan and Bush administrations about that very thing when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA HOUSE SPEAKER: I don`t know why some other Republicans in the country, in the establishment -- you know them all -- you know many of them well -- are not speaking out and saying, this is not the Republican party. I can just imagine what John McCain would be saying now. That great American patriot who was treated so disrespectfully by this President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: There was the senior ranking elected Democrat in our country, the highest Democrat on the presidential line of succession, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, which given our time somehow nicely gets us into our conversation with Bill Kristol, a Veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations and editor at large of The Bulwark.
And Bill, of all things I want to begin with something seemingly superficial that I think you`ll agree was much more important because it gave lie to the Mayo Clinic`s own policy, and that was the Vice President today refusing to put on a mask while touring the COVID ward and the testing ward. It was such an easy chance to put the public in public health, to lead by example, just to throw on a mask, and he did not. And I`m curious to get your thoughts on it.
BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I knew Mike Pence reasonably well when he was a congressman in the last decade. He was a pretty easy going guy and the kind of guy who went to a hospital and they said, hey, the protocol here is for safety or health reasons that everyone wears a mask, he would have been the way to say absolutely, I don`t want any special treatment or to do anything to discourage other people from behaving responsible.
Yet there he comes today. His staff -- secret service -- and he isn`t. And why isn`t he? Because he knows that Donald Trump doesn`t want to wear a mask and Trump might think ill of Pence if Pence were to wear a mask because that would put more pressure on Trump. It`s a wonderful little -- as you say, it`s not a big deal in a way. Hopefully Pence isn`t transmitting a virus or contracting the virus, but it`s a wonderful little vignette of the trumpification of the Republican Party.
The Vice President of the United States, the head of the task force that is calling on people to wear a mask, certainly calling on people to obey the rules of hospitals they enter as visitors, think of it, right? Isn`t that kind of a basic thing you do if there`s a contagious virus going around and the hospital asks you to do this? The Vice President of the United States, who`s head of that task force, doesn`t do it because he knows deep down that Trump doesn`t want him to do it. And that`s really sad, I think.
WILLIAMS: Where do you think senior elected Republicans are after what most agree to have been the low point of this, the President floating out the suggestion of injectable disinfectants or insertable UV lights? Where`s a Susan Collins these days? Where a where`s a Portman who happens to represent a state in the Senate who is now run by a governor who has chosen to socially distance himself from the President of the United States? Where`s a Senator Blunt from Missouri? If you pin them down and asked them how they`re feeling right about now?
KRISTOL: They`re in hiding, I think, and you don`t see them saying very much. The governors, you know, are governors. They have actual constituents. They have more dependents that the President. The degree to which all the officials in the House and the Senate, all the federal Republicans, are just -- they won`t criticize him. They may not sound quite like him. Some of them do want to sound quite like him. But it`s sad again, and I`ve given up on -- you know, they had a chance at impeachment to at least say something even if they wouldn`t vote to hold him accountable. They didn`t do that. And they`re not holding him accountable now. We`ll see what happens in some of these votes on the actual -- for example the election funds to make sure the states can run safe and secure elections in November. You think that would be a bipartisan thing.
Mike DeWine, the Governor of Ohio wants to do that. Will Rob Portman, as you said, the Republican senator from Ohio take the lead on that. Rob Portman, I worked with Rob Portman in the First Bush White House. He`s a sober guy. He wants there to be a safe and secure election, I believe. But, you know, Trump has said he doesn`t like vote by mail. It somehow disadvantages Republicans. And Portman has utterly silent. I know many groups have been trying to get to him to say why don`t you be a lead sponsor on this? And it`s true in other areas as well, not just with Portman. So, yes, I think putting any hope on the Republicans in Washington is -- it`s not going to happen.
WILLIAMS: We repeated Rob Portman, Republican Senator of Ohio, has a standing invitation to come on and talk about any or all of this with us as Bill Kristol as tonight. Bill, same goes to you. The thing is you usually accept. Thank you very much for coming on. Good to see you again.
And coming up for us, a sneak pick at life post quarantine when the 11th Hour continue.
WILLIAMS: In plain English, and should there be any other kind during a pandemic? In plain English, it`s anybody`s guess. Some folks insist this virus is going to change our lives forever in ways both big and small. For starters, will we ever look at certain surfaces or handshakes or large gatherings or intimate gatherings for that matter the same way ever again? We can predict, because so many companies depend on it for their business, the way we travel and where we stay. That`s going to look very different. Our report on that front tonight from NBC News Correspondent Tom Costello.
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS: While airlines report a 95% drop in passenger levels, the middle seat very often open, some flights do have passengers going with and without masks. The President today suggested boarding procedures could soon change.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We`re also setting up a system where we do some testing, and we`re working with the airlines on that.
Testing on the plane, getting on the planes.
COSTELLO: While airlines are deep-cleaning their plains, most, not all, require crew members to wear face masks. JetBlue today said it will require passengers to wear masks starting Monday. American says it`s considering it. Delta and United recommend passenger masks but don`t require them. Southwest doesn`t require them of passengers or crew.
Several airlines tell NBC News they don`t think they can legally require passengers to wear masks though some aviation attorneys say airlines could easily change their own rules to make it a requirement. Canada already does.
ANDREW KOTHLOW, FLIGHT ATTENDANT: At what point does my health and safety play a role in this too so that I can come home from an airplane and quarantine for a bit so I feel safe to go back out?
COSTELLO: Meanwhile the nation`s hotels are also promising changes. Fewer buffets, more grab-and-go meals, and changes at check-in.
ARNE SORENSON, MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL CEO: It will be a greater use of digital check-ins so that you use your phone to open your door and you can bypass the front desk.
COSTELLO: Medical travel experts say every airline, every hotel will have to change.
DR. ROBERT QUIGLEY, INTERNATIONAL SOS SR. VP: They have to learn it`s more than just industrial hygienic cleaning protocols and procedures. It`s all about continuing to practice social distancing, universal precautions.
COSTELLO: Hilton and Airbnb also announcing new cleaning policies to certify that rooms, restaurants, and gyms are safe, hoping to provide peace of mind to travel wary customers.
WILLIAMS: So just a peek at our future. Our thanks to Tom Costello for that.
And coming up for us, it`s the thought that counts, remember. It was intended as a thank-you, but it went by at 400 miles an hour.
WILLIAMS: There they are. Last thing before we go tonight, for aviation buffs and air show fans, it was like a marvel movie in the skies over the northeast today. The two archrivals of the sky, though friendly at that, the navy blue angels, the air force thunderbirds, F-18s versus F-16s, the ultimate battle of the bands. Parallel perfection in the air. A spectacular thank you to the doctors and nurses and first responders in the corona fight.
Their workday started in Florida. They got refueled en route north. They posted their route prior to flight from New York south over Jersey to Philly. And made clear because they have to fly a certain number of hours to maintain their proficiency every month, there was no increased cost incurred today.
This is part of a special two-week air tour of the city`s hardest hit by the coronavirus. These are the tightest and most squared away air force pilots and naval aviators in the flying business. See them if you can. But, of course, as some of us heard so often growing up, this is why we can`t have nice things. No sooner had the jets raced across the sky, the photos came out on social media of people crowded together to see the flyover in an era of social distancing, though a good number of them were wearing masks. Let`s call it the cost of good intentions.
That`s our broadcast for this Tuesday night. On behalf of all of my colleagues at 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