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James Baldwin TRANSCRIPT: 7/6/20, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams

Guests: Nahid Bhadelia, Aileen Marty, Eddie Glaude Jr., Michael Steele


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again, day 1,264 of the Trump administration, leaving 120 days roughly four months until the Presidential Election.

And coronavirus cases are still spiking across much of our country after what was a busy Fourth of July weekend.

The surgeon new cases comes as the President is working hard to downplay the virus and play up the culture war. The United States has recorded 250,000 new cases in just these first few days of July.

Tonight the U.S. is approaching the 3 million mark of confirmed cases having already surpassed 130 thousand deaths. According to The New York Times new coronavirus cases are increasing in 38 of our 50 states. 10 states are up over 100%. Florida saw its highest one day total on Saturday with over 11,000 confirmed cases. So far the state has reported over 200,000 infections. We`ll have much more on the situation in Florida in just a moment.

Amid this spike in new cases, the President is being widely criticized for making this false claim about the virus over this past weekend.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing we showcases 99% of which are totally harmless.


WILLIAMS: Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about that particular bit of fiction.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was noting the fact that the vast majority of Americans who contract coronavirus will come out on the other side of this. Of course, he takes this very seriously. Of course, no one wants to see anyone in this country contract COVID which is why the administration has fought hard to make sure that`s not the case with our historic response effort.


WILLIAMS: NBC News among other news organizations reporting the Trump administration will begin new messaging soon on the coronavirus. They plan to tell Americans they simply need to learn to live with the virus.

And the Washington Post adds this bit of reporting, "White House officials hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating deaths toll and learn to accept 10s of thousands of new cases a day."

Today Dr. Fauci said the current spike in infections is a serious situation that needs to be addressed.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are still knee deep in the first wave of this and I would say this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge or resurgence of infections, superimposed upon a baseline, Francis, that really never got down to where we wanted to go. If you look at the graphs from Europe, Europe, the European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline. Now they`re having little blips, as you might expect, is they try to reopen, we went up, never came down to baseline and now is surging back up. So it`s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.


WILLIAMS: All this as we`ve learned this coronavirus, has once again come close to the President. Top Trump campaign fundraising official Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for coronavirus right before the President`s event at Mount Rushmore on Friday. Guilfoyle is the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. New York Times reports they did not travel aboard Air Force One to the event, and we`re indeed planning to drive home from South Dakota to the East Coast.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has also tested positive for coronavirus. Her husband and one of their four children are also positive. Mayor said in a tweet today she has no symptoms, told our own Joy Reid tonight the news came as a surprise.


KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, ATLANTA MAYOR: Leave me for a loss of words because I think it really speaks to how contagious this virus is. And we`ve taken all of the precautions that you can possibly take. We wear a mask we`re very thoughtful about washing our hands. I have no idea of when and where we were exposed.


WILLIAMS: And there is growing concern tonight among experts about how contagious this virus really is. New York Times was the first to report that experts are calling on the World Health Organization to change its guidance on airborne transmission. Times tells it this way, The World Health Organization has long held that the coronavirus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that once expelled by infected people and coughs and sneezes fall quickly to the floor, but in an open letter to the WHO 239 scientists in 32 countries have outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles can infect people and are calling for the agency to revise its recommendations.

Meanwhile, the spike in cases isn`t stopping the President from moving ahead with campaign rallies. He will hold an outdoor rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Saturday. The region went heavily for him in 2016. Campaigns announcement said attendees will be provided with a face mask and are strongly encouraged to wear it. And we were reminded about this today, this moment during the President`s now famous tour of the CDC, it was exactly four months ago today.


TRUMP: Anybody right now and yesterday anybody that needs a test gets a test. They`re there. They have the tests. The tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test, but anybody that needs a test can have a test. They`re all set they have around there, but as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test, that`s the important thing.


WILLIAMS: He said it four times. It`s been four months. It wasn`t true, then it`s still not true tonight.

Here for our leadoff discussion on another busy Monday as we start a new work week. Jill Colvin, White House Reporter for The Associated Press, Phillip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize Winning White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post, who along with his co-author post Colleague, Carol Leonnig, wrote the best-selling book, A Very Stable Genius about one Donald J. Trump, and Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious diseases physician, Medical Director of the Special Pathogens Unit up at the BU School of Medicine in Boston. She worked along with the WHO during the West African Ebola epidemic and for good reason is one of our medical contributors.

Good evening, and welcome to you all. Doc, I`d like to begin with you, where do you view us as a nation tonight in the arc of this coronavirus? And what is the public health effect of hearing the President say wrongly, that 99% of cases are harmless?

I thought --

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES PHYSICIAN: Sorry about that -- Yeah, we`ve been hearing --

WILLIAMS: OK, there we go. You were muted.

BHADELIA: Sorry about that. Look at that, six months into the pandemic, I still haven`t managed that. What we have accomplished though, is that we have -- what we`re hearing is a death rate. They`re very low. And that`s true. You know, let`s focus on the fact that those are pretty, pretty low and we`ve done some good advances in the last few months. We have figured out a medication that can decrease the duration of hospitalization, one that can decrease mortality rates, we`ve figured out how to take better care of these patients. And so hopefully, for any patient that gets sick, the mortality will be lower now than it was in May.

But stock -- pandemic math is not like the stock market, you don`t get to sell out and a high market, the way -- you know the way you do with the stock market, because you have to watch the rest of the numbers. And here`s what they say, hospitalizations are up, as you mentioned, and cases are up in all these states. And not only that, but in six states, you`re now seeing reversal and actually increase in the daily death rates as well. That reflects that we are looking in the long term, a situation where we will be extending our healthcare systems more. And at the current state of many of the states that are affected at the current level of disease. We`re already seeing a lot of these health care systems affected. We can`t plan on today`s numbers we have to project on tomorrow`s numbers. And what we`re seeing already coming down the pike, the impact of the house, the President saying that this is no big deal and the 99% of the people are not affected, it`s people let their guard down. And by doing that, we ensure that we`re going to get even higher numbers down the road.

Let me also remind you that if 1% of America is severely affected with this disease, that`s 3 million people. That`s not something small.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, the White House, according to your reporting, hoping the nation will grow numb to the death toll, hoping to roll out new kind of P.R. offensive that we need to learn how to live with it. Part of the genesis of this I know was a kind of friend of the court memo that Chris Christie wrote to Donald Trump, the President liked it had it distributed around his circle in the West Wing. A couple of points here, you can learn to live with it if you`re not dead and not afraid of getting it, number one. Number two, what will that message look like and Donald Trump`s hands? And frankly, how will it differ from his everyday utterances on this?

PHILIP RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Brian, I`m not sure it`s going to differ that much from what we`ve seen so far from the President who`s going about his own political life holding these rallies, traveling, going to event, trying to get the economy reopened without a whole lot of concern about the coronavirus.

He, as you noted, a few minutes ago is going to be going to New Hampshire this weekend for another rally where I guess masks are going to be distributed but not required. And so that`s an example of trying to live with it. We also saw from the President today, he wrote in all caps on Twitter that schools ought to reopen in the fall. That`s a decision that a lot of municipalities and local and state governments are grappling with at this very hour over the next few weeks to decide whether they can open their schools for the fall semester, which would begin in only a month or two. And so the President`s encouraging that. He wants to see this country back and reopen even though the coronavirus case that they`re spiking, even though people are dying, even though all the doctors say, it`s unsafe and the United States is the only country that can`t get control of it, because we`re moving too quickly to reopen and getting back to normal.

WILLIAMS: Indeed, for all those folks who missed that day in physics class, schools are locally governed in this country and the President of the United States can`t declare them open or closed. Jill Colvin, knowing the news media will keep tabs on figures as we did in Tulsa. What real steps our White House personnel taking to make sure New Hampshire is not super spreader event, handing out masks, recommending them is one thing, real practice as no one needs to remind you having covered these things is quite another?

JILL COLVIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, I mean, I think that we have to acknowledge the fact that they are going forward with another rally so quickly as an indication that they are, you know, trying to press forward, trying to let this impact the campaign as little as it practically can. But this rally is also going to look really different from the Tulsa rally. Trump`s staff, his aides, his campaign do not want a repeat performance of what they had two weeks ago when the President was enraged and furious about the turnout.

And so instead of doing this rally inside, it`s going to be held at an airport in an airport hangar. So it`ll be you know, more outside instead of just handing out masks and leaving it to that. This time, they`re encouraging people to wear them. And there`s been an acknowledgment from the campaign that if they don`t make the audience feel comfortable, and feel like at least a little bit more safe attending these events, then they`re not going to show up and the President`s going to be staring out at another half empty venue. And that`s not something that they want to happen.

At the same time, you know, we`ve got the Vice President who is intending to resume his campaign activities, you`re going to see him back on the trail, doing his bus tours, doing diner style events, they want to continue to press forward as much as they can.

WILLIAMS: Doctor, because you raised this figuring of the fatality rate, and because the following reasoning is being used in the pro-reopening argument across this country. I want to play for you now some of Kayleigh McEnany this afternoon, and on the other side asked you to fact check and explain it.


MCENANY: The President isn`t downplaying the severity of the virus, what the President`s noting is that at the height of this pandemic, we were at 2500 deaths per day. We are now at a place, we`re on July 4th, there were 254, that`s a tenfold decrease in mortality on July 5, 209 individuals down 23% from last Sunday and the lowest Sunday since March 28.


WILLIAMS: So, Doctor, first of all that, she made two points there, the President is downplaying the virus, but go to her math, please.

BHADELIA: So first of all the numbers that Kayleigh McEnany is reporting are weekend numbers, and traditionally those numbers reflect under reporting because we haven`t yet seen the reporting from the weekend. The trouble though, is not the current number. What we`re seeing is hospitalizations, generally are followed by deaths from a from a CDC surveillance from the end of May what we know is that of the people that were diagnosed 14% get hospitalized 5% die, and maybe that`s half of that. Now hopefully we`ve done better. That`s still a lot people have the number that we`re seeing hospitalized, they`re going to then follow unfortunately and may pass away.

And so we are at a good point but as Dr. Fauci has said, the numbers of cases are going up. Every day we`re seeing those exponentially rise. And so a percentage of those will still result in deaths. And so the point is not do we have the numbers low right now, the point is, it looks like our numbers will go up, and how are we adjusting our behavior? And the President`s recommendation that we just live with it and not change our lifestyle is going to impact all of those numbers.

WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker reporting of your newspaper, this is about the PPP payments that came out. Data released Monday by the Small Business Administration shows that businesses owned by members of Congress and the law practice that represented President Trump were among the hundreds of thousands of firms that received aid from the agency, the data which was released after weeks of pressure from media outlets and lawmakers, paints a picture of a haphazard first come, first serve program that was not designed to evaluate the relative need of the recipients. Phil Rucker, also associates of Jared Kushner, as we mentioned the President`s law firm. How is that fair if all of that is true?

RUCKER: Well, what this data show, Brian, is that a number of firms with a close connection to either the Trump administration or other power brokers in Washington, were able to get that federal funding much more easily than other businesses that around the country without this sort of connection. It`s kind of a classic game in Washington where those who have a hook, those who have a link or connection to the powerful in the in this country and this government and get favors from the government much more easily than others. The problem is, and the reason why there`s so much outcry today over this revelation is that there are a lot of businesses out there across the country who are really hurting, who either didn`t receive funding from this program or didn`t receive enough funding from this program to help them.

And then there`s also not been any act by Congress yet to try to do additional stimulus spending. You know, it`s been four or five months now since the pandemic set in and a lot of these businesses had to scale back their operations and layoff a lot of their workers. And there has not yet been a more recent spate of federal stimulus to help these companies and, you know, Congress is about to set off on the campaign trail here pretty soon so they really only have a few weeks left to add.

WILLIAMS: Jill Colvin, President has a busy day on social media. There were so many shiny objects you had to wear sunglasses for most of it today. He tweeted out his, at least, de facto support, not criticism of the confederate flag and sports teams named the Redskins and Indians. And then tonight on Fox News, we got this from Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff.


MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: In fact, he`s the only thing that stands between a mob and the American people, you know, first, it`s the statutes, then it`s the businesses, then it`s their homes, you know, sadly, we have a loss of life. And yet this President is willing and not only willing but has already put for federal resources to make sure that we can restore law and order.


WILLIAMS: So Jill Colvin, we`ve established, Lord knows, I`m not a doctor, nor am I Beschloss or Meachem but I have read a lot and I do know that the tactic of saying they`re coming for you. They`re coming for your stuff. They`re coming for your family has been used throughout our history by various candidates.

  COLVIN: Yeah, and that`s what you`re seeing here from the White House, from the President, from his senior staff, you know, he spent the weekend as we are seeing these numbers rise across so many states of this country as hospitals are reporting that they are getting more and more patients, potentially too many patients for them to treat.

And meanwhile, you had the President at a pair of July 4 events that Mount Rushmore, and then at the White House, I really digging in on the country`s divisions, you know, exacerbating racial concerns, and then these conversations that, you know, people are having across the country right now. And you saw just today, you talking about the confederate flag, talking about Bubba Wallace, suggesting that he should apologize, after finding his staff found that noose in his stall.

You know, again, and again, trying to seize on these cultural wars. And it`s one of these situations where a lot of people around the President who are looking at his poll numbers are trying to convince him this is not a strategy that is working for him. It`s not a strategy. That`s going to win over undecided voters that`s going to win back suburban women, other people who may be on the fence now about his rhetoric and yet as you`ve seen again today, it`s something the President continues to dig in on really speaking to his base yet again.

WILLIAMS: Our thanks to our starting big three tonight, all three of whom have tough jobs these days. Jill Colvin, Philip Rucker, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, thank you very much.

Coming up for us, Florida`s hospitals struggling to stop the state`s surging coronavirus cases. We`ll ask a Florida doctor who helped write her city`s reopening rules. What do you do about now?

And later politics in black and white, a speech so very Trump that one Fox News host said it was the best one this President has ever given. The 11th Hour is just getting underway on this back to work Monday night.



GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: This thing has been circulating for longer in our country than we initially thought kind of at the beginning of March, had you had a broader testing criteria, you would have picked up more cases at that time. There`s no need to really be fearful about it. I mean, we can talk about the different steps that that individuals can take, you know, that we`re going to take statewide. But at the end of the day, you know, this is something that`s been around for quite some time.


WILLIAMS: You heard the governor, the ardent Trump follower Ron DeSantis, telling Floridians, no one need be fearful despite the new records being sent in that state daily.

Miami Herald points out, "It took three months from early March to June 22 for Florida to cross 100,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. It took less than two weeks for the state to go from 100,000 to 200,000 cases. According to Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gilbert, things aren`t looking great.


DAN GILBERT, MIAMI BEACH MAYOR: We don`t have a handle on at all. I think it`s got a handle on us. Two weeks ago there were 60 COVID patients on ventilators. There are 160 in our county. Two weeks ago, there are 121 patients in ICU, or they`re not fringing 30, which is the highest. I don`t think it`s a good idea now to tell people this is just sort of normal.


WILLIAMS: For more we welcome to our broadcast Dr. Aileen Marty, she happens to be a Professor of Infectious Diseases at Florida International University down in Miami. She also works with the WHO. And in the past has worked with teams responding to outbreaks across the globe.

Doctor, I know I try to keep all of our physicians away from politics. But what do you think the governor is talking about there that people need not be fearful, and that in effect, this has hung around longer than people thought?

DR. AILEEN MARTY, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROFESSOR: I can`t get into his head. And try and guess what he`s talking about. But what I can say is that the situation in Miami Dade is very serious. And we had several emergency meetings about what to do about how serious it is in our hospitals. And it doesn`t match what you just communicated.

WILLIAMS: When you go out on the streets, how does your view of reality the people, you see the activities going on? How does that differ from what you know, should be the case?

MARTY: Oh, there`s no question that there are a portion of our population that are flaunting the rules especially among the most, the young people in our communities that are having these parties and get togethers where the disease is spreading. There`s a lack of an understanding of how serious the virus is. And it comes because we have this disconnect among some of our leaders in how they`re expressing the problem to the population, and some of our media as well.

WILLIAMS: Let`s talk about the young people. In many cases, they are asymptomatic carriers, in many cases they are super spreaders. I need not remind you there are many multi-generational households in your state. So the governor keeps saying how young the median age is, of those testing positive. Who`s in the hospital, though, what age group is that generally?

MARTY: In our hospitals, we`re seeing a largest portion of our hospitals patients are in their 30s and younger, so we`re not seeing a lot of older individuals coming to the hospital now. We`ve more or less got a handle on what was going on in the nursing homes of which we have the highest in our county. So it -- first of all, you said they`re asymptomatic carriers. They`re asymptomatic, as far as they can tell but when we do chest x-rays on these people 67% show lung damage. So they may feel great, but they`re not great. And the truth is, they`re having scar tissue forming in their lungs that may have implications for their future. So even the young people, even the children, when you do films, we see the damage. These are people we don`t hospitalize.

WILLIAMS: I mean, that`s an important point. And thank you for making it and I`ll try to strike the word asymptomatic from my vocabulary wherever it comes up, because as you point out, it`s not always the case.

The education commissioner in Florida wants to reopen K through 12 schools starting in August. Is that really a good idea right about now?

MARTY: So what came out from the State of Florida to all the counties was that, they wanted schools to reopen. However, in the actual document, they are allowing not just brick and mortar openings, but all kinds of other creative ways of having openings, distance learning, synchronous and asynchronous, which jives with what we were planning here for the Miami Dade public schools and for our universities.

And also it`s important to know that local health officials and our mayor has an influence on whether or not the brick and mortar schools actually open depending on our health condition.

WILLIAMS: Another good point to make. Thank you for your expertise. Thank you for your candor. Dr. Aileen Marty has been our guest tonight.

Coming up how the White House Press Secretary attempts to defend her boss. Not easy on a day like the one we have and it showed.



TRUMP: Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, to fame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.

Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders to face our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Those who want us to be ashamed of who we are, are not interested in justice or in healing. Their goal is demolition.

Their goal is not a better America. Their goal is to end America.


WILLIAMS: So as we established earlier, after a busy weekend spent stoking culture wars, the President had a busy day for himself on Twitter, including this attack on the only black driver in NASCAR`s premier bracket. And we quote, has Bubba Wallace apologize to all those great NASCAR drivers and officials, who came to his aid stood by his side and were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another hoax. That and flag decision has caused lowest ratings ever.

To be clear here for a second Bubba Wallace owes an apology to no one. He did not find and never saw the object in question. It was a rope used to lower a garage door unmistakably tied as a noose. The FBI investigated and found the rope predated this year`s race.

Bubba Wallace has single handedly already changed the culture of NASCAR. And the family of drivers and teams and the sport has rallied around him. Oh, and the NASCAR ratings this weekend were up close to 40 percent over the same race last year. But these are the times we are living in the America of the year 2020.

And with us to talk about it here tonight, Professor Eddie Glaude Jr., the chairman of the Center of African American Studies at Princeton University also happens to be the author of a new book Begin Again: James Baldwin`s America, and It`s Urgent Lessons for Our Own" that discussions still fourth coming tonight.

Also with us is Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of the great state of Maryland these days host of the Michael Steele Podcast, gentlemen, welcome to you both.

And Michael, I always try to bring you something when you come on to thank you for your presence tonight. Tonight, I give you and we`ll discuss it at the conclusion. Tucker Carlson from Fox News.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Friday, his address at Mount Rushmore was probably the best the single best speech Donald Trump has ever given. It was a roadmap for his reelection message. But more than that, it was a roadmap for the country itself a quality, decency, pride in our nation.


WILLIAMS: Michael Steele, your thoughts?

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. CHAIRMAN OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, clearly, we heard two different things. And I would not ascribe any of those characteristics to the speech that the President gave and that`s just the reality of it.

Look, we the reporting out there about the relationship between the President and Tucker Carlson, what else do you expect Tucker Carlson to say, I mean, he`s in the President`s ear. The President listens to him and the president clearly is taking his advice.

One report I read said if you want to get a sense of what the President is going to say next watch Tucker Carlson the day before, so let`s discount all of that not give it the level of energy or credence that it deserves. The reality of it is what we have right now. And what we saw this past weekend was the description of to America`s the one that President Trump wants to lead and has tried to lead where men and women of color communities are put under pressure. The economy is stagnating, and his view of it is it`ll get better when your answer to coronavirus is well, let`s just move along.

That`s should tell you about the two types of America`s that Donald Trump has in front of them. And we know which one that he`s been leading from. So I don`t put too much credence in any of that, you know, high falutin words about what this speech was and what it wasn`t. The reality of it is the American people have to decide what kind of country they want, and what kind of man or woman they want to lead it going forward.

WILLIAMS: Not to leave out the professor, I brought something for you to Eddie, and here is the press secretary from today. Kayleigh McEnany, the subject the Confederate flag.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he believe NASCAR should fly Confederate flag and why don`t they fly here?

MCENANY: The whole point of the tweet was to notes. The incident the alleged hate crime that in fact was not a hate crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the President`s position? Does he think NASCAR made a mistake by banning the Confederate flag?

MCENANY: So he said he -- I spoke to him this morning about this and he said he was not making a judgment one way or the other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is the president even suggesting that Mr. Wallace apologize?

MCENANY: Well, The FBI, as I noted, concluded that this was not a hate crime, and he believes it go a long way if Bubba came out and acknowledged that as well.


WILLIAMS: Professor is not taking a stance on the Confederate flag taking a stance on the Confederate flag?

PROF. EDDIE GLAUDE JR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Absolutely. As the President of the United States, you cannot choose the American flag over the Confederate flag. You cannot state unequivocally that the Confederate flag, the battle flag, the stars and bars, however you want to describe whichever flag you`re talking about, represents a moment of treason is the symbol of traders. You can`t say that out loud. It actually speaks volumes about what President Trump is committed to and who he`s speaking to in those moments, right. And we saw this all weekend.

WILLIAMS: Michael Steele, let`s talk about your fellow Republicans. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa had her chance to put some space between her and the president this weekend. You`ll forgive the phrase she chose to stand by her man. As this potentially gets worse, the people with an R after their names who are down ballot from this president, do you expect any courage to break out between now and November 120 days?

STEELE: I think that`s the operative question for the moment to sort of track. Not maybe right now, but certainly in the next few weeks how you see any slippage breakage between the President and U.S. senators, congressmen and women, governors and others as they get closer to the convention for sure but certainly once you get into September.

Look, it`s where these, a lot of these folks are. They -- They`re so tethered at this point. It is much more difficult for them to make the kind of break at this stage because they need that base turnout. They`re going to need that turnout in their states. And they figure at some point there`ll be enough momentum from the presidential campaign and maybe other events that are going on that they`ll make up the difference, if you will.

I wouldn`t bet on that. I think the country is very much making up his mind a lot sooner than later in this in this upcoming campaign, Brian, and if I`m a Joni Ernst, if, you know, if I`m any of these folks were on the bubble, in the Senate, which is now in play, by the way, you have to think twice whether or not you`re ready to go home for good or if you want to come back to Washington and what is going to take for you to do that.

WILLIAMS: Michael Steele, thank you. It`s a pleasure as always, and I`m thanking you because Professor Glaude has been asked to return for one more segment to discuss his work as an author and the powerful subject, that man right there of his new biography.



JAMES BALDWIN, AFRICAN-AMERICAN AUTHOR: For Black Americans, for Black inhabitants of this country, the Statue of Liberty is simply a very bitter joke meaning nothing to us.


WILLIAMS: The unmistakable and essential James Baldwin was a lot of things. Born in Harlem died in France, genuine intellectual, writer, author, playwright, occasional polemicist, activist in the early so called gay liberation movement, activist for civil rights. He gave us titles like Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Fire Next Time, Notes of a Native Son, and if Beale Street Could Talk.

Our friend and frequent contributor Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. is a lot of things as well. He`s a proud Morehouse man who earned a PhD from Princeton, where his name is now on the door, he chairs the African-American Studies Department. And now he has given us a new title as the author of begin, again, James Baldwin`s America, and It`s Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

Professor, it is a pleasure to discuss this work with you. And I`m going to begin where we should on a night like this, what would your subject make of this time, right here and right now and the three words, Black Lives Matter?

GLAUDE: The fact that we would have to say that again, the fact that my son is having to declare those three words, again, in the face of the country`s betrayal, you know, I think they`re -- there`s this line that the Jimmy used in the White Man`s Guilt published in MIT (ph), where he says people who imagine that history flatters them are impaled on their history like a butterfly on a pin.

So he would, I think he might even be stunned. Not shocked, but stunned at the brazenness of it all. But the fact that another generation, Brian, has to assert their worth, has to assert their value. And can you imagine in this moment, someone is actually saying that, for me to say Black Lives Matter is actually to say something hateful. I mean, just think about that formulation for a minute. So as much as America says it`s changed -- it`s changing, as Jimmy would say, America never really, really changes.

WILLIAMS: Indeed, we have a vice president and the president unable to -- unwilling to say the words publicly, a president who has you know, has connected Black Lives Matter with the word hate. Would Baldwin agree with those that say we`re witnessing a new certainly not a moment, a new movement afoot?

GLAUDE: Well, I think, you know, I think I`m often hesitant to speak for him because I think his words that he wrote in his time are relevant to our own. But what I do know, what I want to say is that this current moment suggests that we`re on the precipice of possible change, that we`re at an inflection point that November is in some ways, Brian a more reckoning.

And that what we need to do is kind of mind the rumbling ruins of our pasts to kind of gather up resources to really face what the moment calls from us. And I think Where Baldwin always insisted that we must be mindful that as human beings we are at once miracles and disasters, that we can, in fact be miraculous and how we act in the world. But we can also be dastardly, right, in our in our pettiness and in our cruelty.

So the moment that we`re in is a moment of possible change, but there`s no guarantee. We have to find some kind of way to muster the energy to imagine ourselves otherwise. And this is why I wrote the book that we have to in some ways, begin again, not abdicate our responsibility but step up to this moment and perhaps succeed this time in imagining America a new.

WILLIAMS: What a life he led. Certainly not all of it fun, but if memory serves, he hung out with both Simone and Sart (ph) and Angelou for good measure, and I can`t wait to read it. I can`t wait to see it. Take its rightful place on the shelf of heroes behind you. There it is begin again. The author Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. thank you very much my friend for coming on. Good luck with it. We`ll talk about it some more. I`m quite sure.

Coming up for us, another deadly threat suddenly on the rise in our cities during our summer of discontent.


WILLIAMS: This may well be a long hot summer. It was a dangerous and deadly weekend in some of our cities due to gun violence. New York City alone, 64 people were shot. In the state of Georgia, the governor is calling out the Guard. Our report on all of it tonight from NBC News Ron Allen.


RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPNDENT (voice-over): A holiday weekend full of blood shed and tears across the country, dozens of victims including innocent children. In Atlanta, eight-year-old Secoriea Turner shot and killed while riding in a car with her mother when police say for still unknown reasons, gunman open fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say Black Lives Matter. Kitchen home.

ALLEN: Tonight Georgia`s governor declaring a state of emergency activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops after weeks of vandalism and now gun violence.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: It has to stop. You can`t blame this on a police officer. You can`t say that we this is about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an eight-year old baby in the car.

ALLEN: Violence erupting as the nation emerges from months of COVID-19 stay at home orders struggling with economic misery and calls to defund the police. New York`s deadly weekend follows an alarming spike in crime. Police say shootings Rose 130 percent last month.

Officials blamed factors including court closures and prisoner releases due to COVID as well as what some see as an anti-police environment.

TERENCE MONAHAN, NEW YORK POLICE CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT: But absolutely out detectives are out there each and every day working on these shootings, making an arrest.

ALLEN (on camera): Do you think things will get better or worse through the summer?

BILL BRATTON, FMR. NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: I think going to get worse during the summer because I see nothing that`s going to reverse the trend.

ALLEN: In Chicago, 70-year-old Natalie Wallace with a July Fourth celebration with family when police say gunman pulled up outside the house and open fire, a bullet striking her forehead.

CHIEF FRED WALLER, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Chicago`s heart gets broken again. We got to be tired of it because damn it I`m tired of it.

ALLEN: Ron Allen, NBC News, New York.


WILLIAMS: And coming up for us proof that if this July Fourth felt different out there, it really was.


WILLIAMS:  Last thing before we go tonight, it sure seemed like there were more shall we say homegrown fireworks than usual on the fourth with upwards of 80 percent of municipal firework shows cancelled this year. It seemed like everybody chose to freelance so many people took fireworks into their own hands from what we could see. We can only hope that all those hands are still attached to arms.

Aerial pictures of Southern California show the stunning number of fireworks just going on in streets and backyards. As far as the eye can see, hundreds of fires were set across the state, all from illegal fireworks, including 100 acre fire in Santa Clarita. And if you were wondering fireworks are measurable in our air, it`s trackable across the country. The folks who measure aerosolized particulates in our air put together this graphic to show the one day spike in Washington D.C. every year on the Fourth, and it`s spiked way high this year.

On officially July 4th is also the most feared Night of the calendar year in the dog community. It`s bad enough that for many of us, this is thunderstorm season, but our dog friends have a lot to live through in terms of sky booms this past weekend. In one case in Franklin, Tennessee, a very good dog a three-year-old Belgian Malinois named Ru (ph) alerted a family to a house fire next door that was caused by illegal fireworks. Everybody got out safely answering on that night the eternal question, who`s a good dog and clearly the answer is Ru (ph).

That is our broadcast on this Monday night as we stagger back to work and begin a new week. My thanks to Ali Velshi and Steve Kornacki for allowing me some valuable Jersey Shore time. Thank you so much for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.                                                                                                     END