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WWE essential TRANSCRIPT: 4/15/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Brian Schatz, Bharat Ramamurti, Dara Kass, Michelle Goldberg, David Zirin

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Watch "MORNING JOE" starting tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern with the special report Isolation Nation at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. And thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. The Winter Solstice is the darkest day of the year. And every day after the Winter Solstice is a little lighter, but it is still very, very dark the day after the solstice, and the day after that. And that`s where we appear to be here in the U.S. with the Coronavirus pandemic with the first wave of the virus at or near the peak, which is promising in the sense of what it means for where we might be in two weeks or four weeks or six weeks from now. But it also means that what is happening now is as bad as it gets.

More than 32,000 Americans have died. We had our highest single-day death total again today, and that devastation is going to continue. It will be dark for a while. We`re going to talk to a doctor on the frontlines of that battle in just a bit. But the other side of this, of course, is just the unprecedented and very widespread economic devastation, right?

JPMorgan Chase just predicted that unemployment will hit 20 percent. That`s great depression levels. The unemployment claims we`ve already seen are off the chart in terms of the filings. Retail sales numbers fell 8.7 percent in March, the largest monthly drop on record. And this is all we should say hitting low-income households the hardest.

A survey conducted at the end of March found that 21 percent of low-income workers have lost their jobs compared to just nine percent of high-income workers. We`ve seen seemingly endless lines of cars waiting at food banks around the country. This one in San Antonio, Texas, served over 10,000 families just that day.

Also, the health risk is more acute for people who work in low paying jobs and still have those jobs, and have to work on the frontlines, janitorial workers, grocery workers, meatpackers, who can`t leave those jobs. The President`s solution for all of this is to just pretend the virus is vanquished, declare victory and get back to work.

But what we need, what we actually need is as we battle this virus, we need an efficient, competent, comprehensive administration of federal policy that looks out for people, that has their back. Americans right now are waiting for their Coronavirus rescue bill checks. Checks they needed yesterday.

Well, it appears those are going to be delayed so that Donald Trump can get his name printed on the check. This is something that has never been done before. Never. The President reportedly pushed to have his name on the signature line even though he lamely deny that he knew anything about it. Here`s the thing, he is actually not legally allowed to sign the check. So they`re putting Donald Trump`s signature on the memo line. Like you know The line where your grandma writes Happy Birthday.

And who does the delay of a few days? Who does that impact the most, you might ask? Well, it`s going to impact the folks without bank accounts, without direct deposit, people who need the money the most. And those checks, that is just one small thing the government can do, one small thing to keep people afloat.

Now, the President is delaying it for his own personal glory. There`s of course an entire $2.2 trillion rescue package that is also designed to help, right to keep people afloat through this period while people are sheltering in place. And while it has a lot of good aspects, we covered a lot of them the expansions of unemployment insurance, we`re learning there are many problems that need to be addressed.

The Wall Street Journal reports, and this was not unexpected, the small business loan program, which people said at the time was not big enough, is expected to run out of money today. That after Republicans essentially tried to use the money running out to jam Democrats into passing a single bill to reopen punish the fund without addressing a whole bunch of other concerns.

Democrats balked at that. So now there`s no money left in that program. Who knows what happens with that? Hedge funds with billions of dollars in assets are also trying to claim small business loans, a little piece of that pie. Bloomberg points out that ironically, hedge funds are designed to employ as few people as possible, so star traders don`t have to share millions of dollars in fees.

The Washington Post reports that 80 percent of the benefits of one of the tax changes that was put into the rescue bill by Republicans will go into the pockets of people earning more than $1 million annually. And the benefit, that tax cut for wealthy people, it will cost $90 billion in 2020 alone. $90 billion stuffed in the pockets of people making over $1 million.

The New York Times found that a tax provision in the same bill could result in nearly, get this, $200 billion in savings for real estate tycoons like President Trump and his son in law, Jared Kushner, who`s now sitting on that new task force thing. Think about that. People in food lines across America, waiting for their $1,200 checks for an extra day so the President could put his name on it. And they`re stuffing tax breaks into this thing worth billions of dollars for real estate tycoons and wealthy folks.

And then there are just the different technical administrative things. I mean, the president who just loves to take shots of the Obamacare Web site crashing, which, you know, fair enough, it was bad when it came out. His own IRS website that is set up to monitor those checks being sent to Americans keeps crashing and crashing all day. I had e-mails about it all day.

Also crashing, state unemployment insurance sites, as people try to file for an insurance while in the system. There are clearly, to be fair here, enormous governmental challenges at play. For everyone administering these programs, the SBA, state unemployment, insurance agencies, I mean, this is hard, right? But they need to be addressed in order to save lives and to save the economy and to save people from misery. And the president united states has neither the interest or the ability to even pretend to think about managing them.

Instead of attending to any of this, these really pressing challenges, the President has just settled on some apparently some May 1st like ribbon- cutting when the economy will magically reopen. And he continues to do these long baroque, bizarre, surreal daily rallies at the White House that are supposed to be Coronavirus updates but just devolve into spectacles, boring spectacles really if that`s a possibility. I mean, even Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks that time could be used more efficiently.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The downtime that we have there is really draining. If I had been able to just make a few comments, and then go to work, that would have really been much better. It`s the downtime. It isn`t the idea of being there and answering questions, which I really think is important for the American public. It`s the amount of time per contribution you make per given question.


HAYES: Fundamentally, the president doesn`t want to deal with the virus, right? Because he sees it as a threat to re-election, he wants to get reelected, so he wants to talk about what a good job he`s doing, how important it is that we get baseball back.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In sports, we want to get our sports back so importantly, these will be some separate calls. Some will be together by the way lists and some will be separate. But we have to get our sports back. I`m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old, but I haven`t actually had too much time to watch.


HAYES: I mean, I miss sports too a ton but it is not worth dying over. Just today, we got reporting the back in March, President Trump told the Coronavirus Task Force that he wanted to host a daily two-hour talk radio show to talk and connect with Americans, but changed his mind to the thought of making Rush Limbaugh mad. I mean, we`re in the middle of a pandemic. More than 32,000 Americans have died. Thousands more are going to die.

Today, the CEO of Bank of America, who`s also a member of the President`s Advisory Committee on reopening the economy, just said the plain and obvious truth that`s clear to anyone with any common sense one. He warn the administration should stay focused on fighting the coronavirus and keeping Americans financially stable rather than immediately getting people back to business as usual.

I mean, it`s good to hear it I guess from a bank CEO, but the president, he -- well, he is focused on -- he wants to get reelected. He thinks the economy getting back on track is a key to his re-election, so he wants to get the economy back on track come hell or high water or mass infection. That is not the path.

It`s not the path to re-election either, just to be clear. The path is for the federal government to do a good job administering policy to improve the lives of Americans and keep them afloat. Not to delay checks being sent out to people in need so his name can appear in the memo line. You got to beat the virus. There`s no getting the economy back up without that.

Joining me now Senator Brian Schatz. He`s a Democrat of Hawaii. Senator, first, I want to start with where you -- where you think we are as a nation right now in terms of this battle. What your reaction is in the State of Hawaii that has been spared the worst of this about this idea of like a May 1st reopening, everyone is going to go out and, you know, start economy again.

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D-HI): Well, Hawaii has so far been successful in flattening the curve. But we have a long way to go. And I think that, you know, you hit the nail on the head in the sense that it was President Trump`s ignoring of scientific expertise that got us into the situation in which we have mass preventable deaths.

And he is going to cause additional mass preventable deaths if he ignores the expertise of the scientific community, because he`s got artificial deadlines or sort of personal or political impatience that is causing him to want to, you know, get baseball back. I`d like to watch NBA Basketball. I`d like to do a lot of things. But that`s not the main thing.

We have to beat this virus. And that`s why we introduced legislation to do this the old-fashioned way, which would be to get some experts together and to make recommendations that could be adopted on a bipartisan basis. That`s the way you get America back on track. And whether that happens in May, June, July or some later date, or an increment, I don`t think we know the answer to that question. But the one thing we know is that we should not imperil either a potential economic recovery or people, because the president is sort of losing interest in this.

HAYES: You said this about the reporting of the president delaying those stimulus checks to get his name on it. You`re getting your money late because the President thinks it is more important that his name be on the check that you were able to pay your bills on time. This is not a rhetorical flourish, the checks are delayed because Trump. Is that fair?

SCHATZ: Yes. I mean, it`s really shocking that he`s doing this. And look, I mean, I know he does everything in his own interest, but it is hard for me to believe that this is good politics for him because everybody knows or should know someone who is waiting on those dollars to hit their bank account, so that they can make rent, so they can buy groceries, so they can buy prescription medicine, or they can pay their mortgage. And it is a matter of days for lots of people to determine whether or not they fall over the precipice.

So the idea that he thinks he gets upside politically for putting his name in the memo, I think is a crazy misjudgment. And the idea that even his so- called base won`t be irritated that they have to wait for money, I think is showing that this guy has lost his touch for what people actually care about.

When the economy is good, and people are just sort of having general frustration with Washington, maybe he looks like the chaotic revolutionary that everybody wants. But now that there`s a pandemic, this guy is scary, and he very clearly doesn`t care about you.

HAYES: There are two provisions that have been reported on, the real estate provision in the tax code. And then another provision that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse sort of charged the joint committee of taxation to look into. The Washington Post report on that. That`s the one where $90 billion dollars just this year, most of it is going to people making over $1 million. I mean, this is just appalling to me if, I can editorialize for a second. Do you -- obviously, you supported this bill as did almost essentially everyone, and I understand why they did. But did you realize this was happening?

SCHATZ: No, no. And look, you pass the bill on a bipartisan basis because people were struggling and suffering and hospitals would have shut down and tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of people in Hawaii would have suffered even worse had we not passed the CARES Act. So I`m still standing by the yes vote. But there is some gross stuff in this last bill.

And the fact that we tried to establish some oversight and the president you know, issued a signing statement to say -- to say essentially that the President is not subject to oversight, and then he fires all of his inspector generals, I mean, this is -- there is no opportunity for graft that they will pass up. There is no opportunity to enrich their friends that they will ignore. And even in the midst of all of this suffering, they`re still focused on sort of hooking up their buddies.

HAYES: Final question to you. That small business PPP program ran out of money today. Republicans are saying it`s your fault. It`s Democrats in the Senate`s fault. It`s Nancy Pelosi fault. You wouldn`t just pass unanimous consent, you know, a replenishment bill. What`s your response to that?

SCHATZ: Well, I think we should replenish that fund. It`s a program that has had a clunky rollout, no doubt, but it`s also keeping a lot of people on the payroll, which is part of the purpose of the CARES Act. The problem is that states and counties everywhere are about to go broke and make mass layoffs if we don`t help them. And hospitals in particular, are already starting layoffs across the country. And we don`t have the resources for a massive national testing regime.

And so, what we said was, look, you`ve got $250 billion you want to replenish this fun with, we could do that. Let`s also do these other things that everybody has agreed upon, and we`ll be able to do a package on a bipartisan basis. Instead, Mitch McConnell did what he does, which is he sort of did a stunt on the Senate floor that was never designed to enact a law, but rather to sort of use it as a bludgeon against Democrats. Nobody has any patience for political stunts. People want results, and we`re ready to do that as soon as we can.

HAYES: Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, thank you so much for your time tonight, sir.

SCHATZ: Thank you.

HAYES: One of the most controversial parts of that rescue bill, right, which is meant to keep the economy afloat while we`re all suffering through this is $500 billion in rescue funds for big businesses. And the law requires that a five-person panel does oversight on where that money goes specifically and where the total $2 trillion in the entire bill is going.

Right now, there is just one person appointed on that panel without an office or support staff who is trying to perform the oversight task over $2 trillion alone. Joining me now is that single oversight commissioner Bharat Ramamurti. Mr. Ramamurti, can you first just tell us -- introduce yourself and tell us who you are and how you ended up with this, it seems to me, difficult and challenging job?

BHARAT RAMAMURTI, MEMBER, CARES ACT OVERSIGHT COMMISSION: Sure. So I spent six years working for Senator Elizabeth Warren as her top banking and economic policy staffer, and then work for her on the campaign. And so I have a deep background working on oversight of financial institutions, the Fed, and companies, including Wells Fargo and Equifax, if you remember those two scandals that the senator was deeply involved with.

HAYES: In terms of this bill, let`s talk for a moment about the -- this very controversial part of it, the $500 billion. It`s been described as a slush fund, it`s been described as a needed rescue line. Just -- can you actually just explain what the deal is with that money and how it`s given out and to whom under what conditions?

RAMAMURTI: Sure. So the $500 billion goes to the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department, in turn, works with the Federal Reserve. And the Federal Reserve uses that taxpayer money to lever up and provide an additional potentially $5 trillion or more of its own money.

So over the course of the next few weeks, you could see north of $5 trillion in lending going out through the Federal Reserve, a lot of it taxpayer-backed, going to companies. And as of today, and I sent a letter about this earlier, we don`t -- we don`t even know the identity of the companies that are going to receive the lending through this taxpayer back facility.

What we do know is that the money that`s going to big businesses does not come with any strings attached. So you could have company that gets taxpayer support, lays off its workforce, provides full executive compensation, does stock buybacks and issues dividends, and I think the public has to wonder, is that a good use of our money.

HAYES: So that`s -- there`s a distinction, right, because the small business part of this, which is being administered through this SBA, the Payroll Protection Program, which we were just speaking about, that requires the small businesses to retain a certain amount of payroll. What you`re saying is the big business part of this, which is being run for the Fed, and you wrote a letter about this today, you don`t have to keep anyone on -- like to qualify for this money as a loan, you don`t have to keep anyone on payroll or do anything?

RAMAMURTI: No, absolutely not. And so, we`re in this strange situation where the limitations on smaller businesses are actually more onerous than they are for big businesses. And I think it`s particularly disturbing because we`ve seen over the last eight or 10 years that corporate America tends to look out for shareholders and executives first.

We`ve seen an incredible amount of money go into stock buybacks and dividends. And at the same time, we`ve seen wages for workers basically stagnate. So I don`t think we`re in a position where we can just trust corporations to do the right thing with this money.

HAYES: You wrote this letter that the public deserves to know which companies are receiving taxpayer back lending for the fed on what terms and be able to monitor what those companies do after receiving taxpayer support.

Let me -- let me sort of play devil`s advocate for a moment at least, which is to say, given the scale of the crisis, better to err going too big -- and I think there`s a lot of people who think the Fed chair has actually done a very good job. He`s learned lessons from the last financial crisis and has gotten very big, has been very aggressive, has been very bold. And it`s better to err on that side than being too reluctant or stringent, given the fact that you could just see a whole bunch of stuff just go out of business.

RAMAMURTI: Sure, and I have no problem with the amount of money that`s going to be delivered through these facilities. What I am worried about is what the money is used for? Again, the question is what is the public value in pumping $5 trillion into corporations, if they`re going to use that money to make sure that multi-million executive -- multi-million dollar executive bonuses are delivered again this year, and that they can continue to spend billions of dollars on dividends, but they continue to lay off the workforce, lay off their workers, fellow workers.

I think it`s not a good use of taxpayer money to do it in that way. And I think that what we saw, for example, with the airlines was that the Congress directed the money to go to support the payroll. So it kept hundreds of thousands of airline workers employed. And if there`s limitations on what the executives could do for compensation and buybacks, I think that`s a pretty good model for what the Fed and the Treasury should be doing with this other $500 billion pot of money.

HAYES: All right, Bharat Ramamurti, I`d love to check back in with you throughout this as this plays out. Thank you for making some time tonight.

RAMAMURTI: Sure thing.

HAYES: Next, the view from the frontlines as the U.S. approaches or endures the peak of the Coronavirus crisis, at least the first wave. Dr. Dara Kass on what it looks like in her emergency room after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s totally crazy right now. Every room is filled with positive on these hallways. All you hear is oxygen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walked in and they said everybody`s intubated. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of our beds are taken up by intubated patients, meaning patients who can`t breathe on their own and who are on a ventilator. Almost everybody is on oxygen and almost everybody is a COVID patient.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m here with my crew right now because I have a really sick patient, cancer patient, young, with a fever of 103. He`s a young gentleman whose wife is at home with her toddler and his toddler. She can`t even be here with him. It`s been really difficult to have these kinds of conversations on the phone. This man is not doing well, and I had to talk to her on the phone and tell her that which is heartbreaking.


HAYES: Right now, the U.S. appears to be at or nearing the peak of fatalities, at least daily fatalities in the human toll of this virus, we hope. Just today we have 2,492 new deaths today from the virus which is the most recorded in a day so far. It means, right now we are in the worst period hopefully, hopefully, the worst of the worst, it won`t get worse.

But many of us are taking that as a sign to start looking to the future. The other side of the curve, reopening, think about getting back to something that looks more like normal. Hospitals and healthcare workers are every minute of every day right now battling to keep patients alive.

The sirens are still howling through New York. We`re getting more and more really unsettling data about just how incomprehensibly devastating the toll has been at the heart of this epidemic. To talk about what it is like right now on the frontlines in New York City, I`m joined by someone who not only treats coronavirus, patience but also had the virus herself. She just recently test negative for it, was reunited with their family after one month apart, Dr. Dara Kass, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dara, let`s start on that note. We`ve checked in with you a few times about both your work from the ER and your own sort of trajectory through the virus. I know that you have immunocompromised people in your family who you want to protect and love. What was it like to be reunited after a month?

DARA KASS, ASSISTANT CLINICAL PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: So it was remarkable, I think. I`d waited till I tested both the negative even though I had the antibodies, and I came home. And in a lot of ways it was exactly what we had expected, which was like a very safe, loving and excited for union. My son who had a liver transplant when he was two years old, ran up to me and was like mommy, you`re home.

And the reality is that it was exactly what we had hoped for, which was that he was safe the entire time. I had gotten the infection and I`ve recovered. And I knew that by -- I could hug him and kiss him as opposed to just being in the same house and saying no, no, please stay back. I don`t know if I`m going to get you sick.

HAYES: So you`re back at work right now, and I know we spoke, you know, weeks ago, at the beginning of this as this was sort of starting. You`re starting to see it appear in the E.R. You actually -- obviously had to leave for weeks while you were treating yourself. What is it like right now in the E.R.?

KASS: So I think that the E.R. -- the images you just showed are very reflective of the ERs in New York City, where a huge number of patients in the E.R. intubated or critically ill. We are seeing less patients come in every single day, over the past few days. But what we`re not seeing in those E.R. pictures is the capacities of our hospitals, which is that our hospitals are at 100 percent capacity, and we`ve increased that capacity over time because patients that get admitted for coronavirus stay in the hospital for very long periods of time while we take care of them.

And so we have to remember that even if we`re having a decrease in the number of admissions, everybody that comes in is very sick, a lot of them go to the ICU, and they stay for long periods of time. So our hospital system is still at its highest capacity, even with the decreased number of people coming in every day.

HAYES: You know, one of the most disturbing things in New York City yesterday sort of adding to the fatality rate, suspected coronavirus fatalities which was about 3,400 New Yorkers was that those folks largely died in hospitals, and had never had tested positive, and a lot of them in emergency rooms. Essentially, there was no space for them, and that`s why they ended up -- sorry, 3,778 people, that`s why they ended up in that situation.

KASS: So I think that we forget that people come in critically ill, and a lot of times they pass away before the test can be done or even before the results can come back especially in the beginning of this illness. This illness is devastating. And so patients were passing away at home and not getting tested, and they were coming to the E.R.

We were doing the best we could right away, but if patients were only there for two hours or four hours, and we were busy resuscitating them, we may not have even gotten to the point we could have tested them if we had the capacity to test.

The other thing is a lot of patients were coming in for unrelated complaints, and were found to be coronavirus, positive. Heart attacks, strokes, other respiratory illnesses, you know. And so I think the reason that we changed the marking and the tracking in New York City was that we realized that so many patients that were unexpectedly dying, the overwhelming increase of the number of patients passing away in New York City was a reflection of the toll that this virus is taking on our city.

HAYES: I`ve heard that from a few doctors about these sort of cardiac presentations and how common those have been, which you know, people think of it as lung issues and pulmonary and there`s been a lot of cardiac presentations. I guess the final question to you is, you have this sort of time-lapse experience of that E.R. like, what is the morale, the emotional life people on your team like having been -- going through this day after day?

KASS:  So, I think that a lot of us are exhausted, but we do see the work of the people around us, the citizens of our city. You know, decreasing the numbers that are coming in every day, which has allowed us to take care of the people in front of us. We`re starting to be able to give each other breaks, which is good, and also get the testing for ourselves that we weren`t getting at the beginning.

So, one of the things we`re starting to understand now is were actually exposed through antibody testing and be able to test asymptomatic health care workers, which wasn`t happening before. We`re taking care of each other. You know that`s what -- emergency medicine, ICU medicine, hospital doctors, nurses, health care staff, we have been there for each other the whole time, and it`s wonderful to see cities like New York and other states around the country be there for us, as well, and we feel that support.

So, we`re doing OK for now, and we just need to keep ahead of all of this.

HAYES:  All right, Dr. Dara Kass, I`m so glad you`re able to get back with your family and come back and give us an update. Thank you so much.

KASS:  Thanks for having me.

HAYES:  Coming up, why did Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declare pro wrestling an essential business? The unbelievable details of that story next.


HAYES:  Tonight in California, there is news that the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has told city officials that large gatherings such as concerts or sporting events may not be approved in Los Angeles for at least a year. L.A. is a city with at least 10 professional sports franchises, not to mention two huge college football programs and the Rose Bowl.

In California, they are taking the threat of further spread of the virus seriously.

And there is Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis, under fire for being so slow to act in his state, has decided that professional wrestling is an essential service and therefore exempt from stay-at home orders.


GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA:  Obviously, WWE there is no crowd or anything, so it`s a very small number of people, so we just kind of look at it on a case by case basis.

I think people have been starved for content. I mean, we haven`t had a lot of new content since the beginning of March.

If you think about it, we`ve never had a period like this in modern American history where you`ve had such little new content, particularly in the sporting realm. I mean, people are watching like reruns from like, you know, the early 2000s.


HAYES:  So you see definitive by saying there is no crowd, which is true, and that people are starved for new sports content, which again, we get it. I, too, am starved for new sports content.

So on Monday night, the WWE did in fact broadcast wrestling. There was no crowd. But there was obviously -- it`s wrestling -- no social distancing among the performers.

But also there`s a lot more to this story in terms of who is backing it and how they might have gotten in the governor`s ear for this dispensation.

Here to explain, David Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, who has been covering this story closely and the risks it carries for those involved.

So, Dave, tell -- walk me through how this exemption came about?

DAVID ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION:  Yeah, this stinks to high heaven, Chris, and it stinks with the words quid pro quo.

Let me me walk you through what happened, on April 9, Governor DeSantis declares WWE wrestlers essential workers in the state, that same day on April 9, Minda McMahon, who is the co-founder of WWE, along with her husband Vince McMahon, and a former member of Donald Trump`s cabinet, she announces that her super PAC is going to be dropping $18.5 million into the state of Florida the same day.

Now why is that important? Because on April 10, that`s the day Vince McMahon decided to resume live programming. Why is that important? Because by showing live programming, he is not in violation of his contract with either Fox Sports or the USA Network. These contracts are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and and he`s only allowed three non-live shows per year, and yet now he`s not in violation of that contract, because of this dispensation from...

HAYES:  Wait a second, wait a second, wait a second, wait a second, I want to make sure that I have the -- I want to make sure that I have the timing right here. So what you`re saying is that the declaration, of them as essential workers -- oh, I think maybe we lost -- did we lose his audio? You`re saying the declaration of them as essential workers by DeSantis happens before they announced they`re going to actually be doing this?

ZIRIN:  No, it`s the same day that -- and it`s announced that they are dropping $18.5 million into the state of Florida.

Now on April 10, that`s when Vince McMahon says we`re going to continue with live programming, which is critical to his TV deals. On April 13, this is really bizarre, this is when Governor DeSantis produces the declaration, that claims that wrestlers were essential workers. No one saw this declaration on April 9, it wasn`t posted to any websites, it wasn`t announced, it was only announced on April 13 when there was all these questions.

And these questions were coming up because a member of the WWE`s performing team has the Coronavirus. And so there is this question that then arises of how are you having live events, how are you having people not social distancing? How are you letting business go on as usual if somebody has the Coronavirus? But it is going on as usual. And then today, April 15, just to top it off -- sorry, go ahead.

HAYES:  Well, just we should note here that sort of player safety issue is really, I mean, you have got the crowds and then the player safety issue. What happened to the NBA, of course, was they were going to kind of keep going and then a major star tests positive before a game. They canceled the game. And then there is no more NBA, because you can`t have a bunch of people playing basketball against each other infecting each other with Coronavirus. Clearly there is an analog here.

ZIRIN:  Absolutely.

And then today on April 15, they announced tons of layoffs from WWE, let a lot of people go, fired a lot of performers, while also announcing that their stock price had reached a good high, was on the up, and that they had $500 million in cash reserves.

And let`s remember that the person who has been behind all these machinations, all this quid pro quo, all this money being dropped into the state of Florida, all these machinations by Ron DeSantis, this is Vince McMahon who has just named that he is going to be on the council that`s going to decide when to reopen our economy. He`s on that council. Donald Trump called him the great Vince McMahon in yesterday`s press conference.

And so this person who is putting his own wrestlers at risk, because someone on his staff has the Coronavirus, is going to decide when it`s safe for the rest of us.

HAYES:  That is really, really, really wild.

And so just to go back to the final point about the contracts, you know, the contracts are an enormous deal for everyone right now, right? So, there are all these contracts that are essentially being violated, because no one is broadcasting live sports, so this is crucially important for McMahon`s bottom line for him to be able to have events that essentially allow him to uphold his end of the contract and get paid.

ZIRIN:  Exactly. He could have done bulk tapings, which other wrestling federations are doing, basically tape six, seven shows and then have content for the next seven weeks, but it`s specifically that language about live programming, which is worth literally hundreds of millions of dollars with his contracts with USA and Fox, and now he`s able to fulfill the aims of those contracts in a way that`s very shady.

And I got to say, it`s hard to imagine a state other than Florida where he could have gotten something like this done. It is a rancid case of quid pro quo. And I think if they were operating on all rails, they would be subject to investigation for this behavior.

HAYES:  Wow. Great job sifting through that, Dave Zirin, thanks so much. Great to hear from you.

ZIRIN:  Thank down, Chris.

HAYES:  Up next, some truly inspiring stories of solidarity and compassion and ingenuity in this time of crisis. And be sure to check out Morning Joe tomorrow morning which will feature special guests including Lady Gaga in a special report "Isolation Nation" starting at 8:00 a.m. We`ll be right back.


HAYES:  I`ve been at home with my family during all this. I`ve been rereading this phenomenal book by Rebecca Solnit that`s called "A Paradise Built in Hell." And it`s all about how humans respond to disasters and catastrophes and it brings out this incredible solidarity and compassion and ingenuity in people amidst all the sorrow and tragedy. And we`ve seen examples of that all around us during this pandemic, small acts of kindness by people like newspaper delivery man Greg Dailey in New Jersey who has just been picking up groceries and supplies for all the elderly people on his route.


GREG DAILEY, NEWSPAPER DELIVERY MAN:  You know, I thought to myself, well, if Mrs. Ross (ph) can`t get the paper at her sidewalk which is probably 20 feet, how is she getting groceries?

They are amazing people and you get a chance to help them, you help them.


HAYES:  There have also been these impressive acts of ingenuity from people who are rushing in to solve all the problems the virus has caused, in that federal government and other leaders have failed to fix, like the husband and wife who just a month ago came up with a new system between the two of them to decontaminate N95 masks.


KEVIN HOMMEMA, INVESTED NEW SYSTEM TO DECONTAMINATE MASKS:  Each one can handle about 80,000 masks a day.

LAURIE HOMMEMA, INVENTED NEW SYSTEM TO DECONTAMINATE MASKS:  I mean, that`s an entire hospital`s work over a few days.

It started with an after dinner conversation, drawing it out on a piece of paper.


HAYES:  And there is a team at MIT that came up with a face shield for health care workers made from cheap and accessible materials.


MARTY CULPAPPER, PROFESSOR, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY:  It`s fabricated flat. And the reason for that is we can make things flat very quickly and very low cost. And then after you fold it up, it turns into this.


HAYES:  You don`t have to be an engineer to make a difference or contribute, there are so many stories of people helping in all kinds of ways, however they can be. The Yale School of Drama employees whoa re now making masks for local hospitals.


MARY ZIHAL, YALE SCHOOL OF DRAMA SENIOR DRAPER:  I`m making masks, all of us in the shop jumped at it. It a pleated mask, cloth, three layers of fabric, and on the backside it has a pocket.


HAYES:  Those are very stylish.

In the midst of this national trauma that we confront, the horror and the grieving brought on by this terrible virus, so many of our fellow Americans are rising to the occasion, their words and their deeds serving as a reminder in this time of stress and catastrophe, we really are all in this together.


HAYES:  Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed Joe Biden, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signaled her support in an interview with Politico.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D) NEW YORKI:  I would love to see the vice president clarify and deepen his policy stances on certain issues, but aside from that, you know, I think it`s incredibly important that we support the Democratic nominee in November.


HAYES:  The once historically large and diverse field of Democratic competitors, in a primary that seemed to go on forever, and seemed so uncertain, and at times in flux, has just ended with incredible speed, in the most bizarre circumstances, setting up a general election unlike anything that any candidate was really prepared to wage.

But if there`s one advantage Democrats have, new polling shows that they are more united than they were this time four years ago. According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, 70 percent of Democrats said they were certain to vote in the upcoming presidential election, 9 percentage points higher than the first quarter of 2016.

Joining me now to talk about all of this, Michelle Goldberg, columnist for The New York Times.

Michelle, it`s been so strange, right, like everyone was covering -- you and I, we were both covering the primary for so long, but a global pandemic came, it overshadowed that primary. The primary has now effectively ended with a whimper, but I don`t even know what to make of it. Like, what is your -- how do you think about what we experienced over the last 15 or 16 months?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, look, I mean in a way, we sort of experienced nothing, right? Because this is sort of what people thought was going to happen when Joe Biden first entered the race, and then there was a lot of sound and fury and a lot of ups and downs and a lot of moments when I assumed that his campaign was dead, and a lot of other people.

But actually, if you had told people, when Joe Biden first entered the race that this is how it`s going to turn out, they wouldn`t be that surprised. You know, what surprised, is both how quickly the dominoes fell once they did, and now this bizarre and anti-climactic nomination, or presumptive nomination, unlike anything we`ve ever seen before.

HAYES:  I also do think -- I think the existence of the pandemic, and the just abject mismanagement and failures by Trump and the administration have focused the mind quite a bit. I mean it does seem to me that there is genuine unity, the way that Bernie Sanders endorsed, the way that he had so, been so sort of forthright about it and Elizabeth Warren, there really does feel a kind of like, you know, unity on the Democrats that is different than 2016.

GOLDBERG:  Well, yes, I mean I think that, you know, although there are some -- there are a few Bernie divenders (ph) obviously, even if Bernie is not among them, but I think the pandemic, and this incredibly disastrous response drives home that the space between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, which is pretty large, is much smaller than the space between any of the Democrats and Donald Trump, right?

I mean remember, Hillary Clinton said at one point in her campaign, I`m the only thing standing between you and the apocalypse. And she was right. And now, we`re here.

And so I think you saw a taste of it in Wisconsin recently, when you literally had Democrats forced by this outrageous judicial ruling to risk their lives to go out and vote against Republicans, and they did it.

HAYES:  I also think there`s this, you know, the intensification of this, of the stakes, and the politics of this moment, which we`re now seeing play out, like, no one knew that the 2020 election would be about a global pandemic six months ago, and now it likely will been that, and this crash and you`re seeing this sort of weird resurgent kind of version of pro-Trump Tea Party protests in Michigan and Ohio, that clearly Trump is trying to set up a story to his base, that like the bad liberals and the bad media and the bad public access experts are the ones who shut down your state and caused your economic misery, but it just seems very hard for me for the incumbent president to escape the blame for that.

GOLDBERG:  Well, I think that his base will be with him no matter what, but his base just isn`t big enough. And one of the things that`s happened for most of the Trump administration is that the disasters have been a little bit out of sight. They were Puerto Rico. They were in the Kurdish region, they were the Kurdish region of Syria, so these various debacles -- there was corruption in government, but now it really is hitting people, right. If you are applying for one of these PPP loans and you see up close, just what a disaster it is.

HAYES:  I think the last thing I think about in terms of this election, and no one knows what to make -- I mean I don`t even know how to conceive of it now, but my sort of basic feeling is, look, this was always going to be a referendum on Donald Trump, because re-election campaigns are referendum, but now it is really a referendum on Donald Trump, like inescapably, in every deep way, that is the election.

GOLDBERG:  I was just reading something about the election between Hoover and FDR. And it was a historian talking about how, at the time, FDR was seen as campaigning in kind of pleasant generalities because it was all focused on what a disastrous president Herbert Hoover was, and I don`t think anyone at the time could have predicted the sort of president that FDR was going to turn out to be.

And so in a way there`s, right, we`ve seen this is the second election just in our adult careers where it has been primarily about the kind of utter disastrous wreckage left by the Republican incumbent.

HAYES:  Yes, yes, it is really wild that that is the case. And we just had one of these, not that many years ago.

Michelle Goldberg, it`s great to see your face. I hope you and the family are healthy and safe, and thanks for joining us tonight.

That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.