STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But of course, as we`ve learned, six months can be an eternity in politics. Heck, in this era, six minutes can be an eternity. Thank you 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. I want to start tonight, with just a small little bit of reporting from the Associated Press today, that just perfectly crystallizes the fundamental problem that we face right now as a nation. Here`s the quote from it. "Trump campaign officials have expressed worry that he could be pushing to open things too quickly, and that any resulting deaths will not be forgiven by voters in November." That`s the quote.
So, the President`s campaign advisors are trying to get the president not to go down a path that will result in thousands of people dying unnecessarily because they think it will be bad politics, that it will be bad for his campaign as they try to get him reelected. That`s reporting. It just shows the fundamental problem we`re facing now as a nation that we have been facing for months.
The reality is, we now have nearly a million cases of coronavirus. We have more than 55,000 dead Americans. And they`re not just numbers. Every day, more and more people, people that you and I know, friends of yours or loved ones or loved ones of friends. I remember, at the beginning of this, coronavirus was these this thing that we tracked, right, the numbers of, but distant we heard about it. Now it`s not.
I mean, is there anyone who does not know someone who has been sick, someone has died. This is what it looks like in the sympathy card section in supermarkets and drugstores across this nation. There`s not a single one left there. They`re completely sold out.
The grief and the trauma is creeping into every crevice of American life. And so now, the President is trying to roll out a policy based on what will look good for him politically and for his reelection chances, what will win him more votes in the fall. But here`s the thing. We all want to open the country up. We all want to go back to some kind of normal. If you look around, there are some places that are trying to do it in a thoughtful and safe way.
And take for example, the country`s two biggest carmakers, GM and Ford. They`re bringing some people back to work to build ventilators and personal protective equipment. Here`s how they are doing it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before I walked into this facility today, I had my temperature scanned. I think it`s a very important part of the protocol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the plant I`m in today, we`re wearing face masks and we`re wearing face shields.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ford`s Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the company has also installed plastic barriers between each workstation to enforce social distancing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is also wearing watches that buzz if you get within six feet of somebody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So that`s the major U.S. car manufacturers. Management and labor unions, United Auto Workers coming together for smart, safe, creative solutions to try to do work. And we`re not alone in this, right? Almost every country in the world is battling the exact same virus. It`s the same disease everywhere. It`s contagious everywhere. It is killing people everywhere.
And economies are on lockdown and standstill everywhere. And no leader wants that to be the case. And everyone has been faced with the same set of difficult choices. And it is as tough a governing problem as probably anyone has ever faced, right? Everyone is trying to solve it in their own way.
After nearly two months of lockdown, yesterday, the Prime Minister of Italy announced new guidelines for easing that country`s lockdown. It will start with reopening parks, factories, and building sites, and allowing people to visit their relatives in small numbers.
Italy, of course, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. Now they`re trying to phase in some return to some kind of normal. Now, other countries acted early and they avoided Italy`s fate and they avoided our fate. Taiwan has even managed to avoid a lockdown by putting in place measures like cell phone contact tracing, temperature checks, social distancing.
In New Zealand, the Prime Minister just announced it is stopped community transmission to the coronavirus. And starting on Tuesday, because they`ve done that, because they`ve been successful and they moved quickly, a bunch of non-essential businesses, healthcare and education activity will be able to resume.
New Zealand is one of the places that it has had the toughest level of social restrictions. Same with Australia as of Sunday, only 16 new cases were recorded there, and they are also using restrictions. The government there is for instance, introduced a new contact tracing app, which is based on the one that was used successfully in Singapore, and already a million Australians have downloaded it.
But here in the U.S., the person in charge who is tasked with this incredibly difficult moment, with assessing these complicated questions leaders around the world are wrestling with is a guy who spends his day watching TV and race tweeting. He doesn`t listen to experts. He listens to his buddies and calls them all the time like the My Pillow guy. He also appears to lack the ability to actually feel empathy and grief, or even just a basic protective duty towards the public safety the American people who he represents.
And that is why to go back to the quote, I started the show with, that is why his campaign advisors have to couch their arguments to him in political terms because the idea of lots of dead Americans for no reason might hurt your reelection is the kind of logic you might listen to. And this is how our presidents doing it.
Just last week, he blurted out, he is going to give the commencement address at West Point in June. That was news to West Point who had sent all their cadets home and now scrambling to get them back ceremony back to their campus in New York, the epicenter of the crisis. Every president always says the toughest thing they have to do is sending young people in harm`s way. And here`s the president doing just that so he can get his photo op.
And all this has happened is "The Washington Post" reports tonight, the President was warned about this virus, this global pandemic in his president`s daily brief more than that dozen times in January, February. Joining me now is one of the reporters who broke that story, Greg Miller, Washington Post National Security Reporter. Greg, tell me what you uncovered.
GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: So what we`re reporting, Chris, is that -- is that the coronavirus references to the coronavirus were included in at least a dozen of the President`s daily brief. These are the very highly classified prestigious reports that are prepared before dawn each day specifically for the President.
So this is the most -- arguably the most important intelligence product that our spy agencies assemble every day. And they were calling attention to the threat of the coronavirus in a way that amounts to a fairly steady drumbeat throughout January and February.
HAYES: Part of the reporting indicates that one of the things they were calling attention to was the lack of reliability about what the Chinese government was reporting externally, what they were saying about the extent of transmission and whether it was under control. Is that right?
MILLER: Yes. So these reports, they start off awfully fragmentary, and they`re talking about basically, look, China has a problem. We`re not quite sure what it is, but it looks like there`s an outbreak in Wuhan. But the spy agencies, including the CIA, throw more resources at this each and every day, and they are piecing together more information about the virus. They are tracking it as it spreads to other countries and other continents. And they are trying to call that to the attention of the President on a very regular basis.
HAYES: Just to be clear, the context presidential daily briefing is sort of the most important intelligence product the Intelligence Community produces, right? And there`s, there`s a real battle about what gets into that briefing. I mean, an organizational battle, bureaucratic battle, battle between different parts of the Intelligence Community. Is showing up the briefing day after day is a way of them saying this really matters?
MILLER: Yes. I mean, this is where the U.S. intelligence analysts put their most important information. I mean, so much a remarkable amount of energy and people go into preparing this single report each and every day. And not very many people get it.
Obviously, its main customers, the President of the United States, and also goes to some cabinet secretaries, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Treasury and so forth, and a smattering of other people as well. But this is the highest priority intelligence product that exists. And so, some things that are happening that you want the President`s attention on are going to end up in the PDB.
HAYES: Do we know what the -- what the President`s reaction was to this?
MILLER: I mean, we don`t know, I have to say, Chris. And we also acknowledge this in our reporting how much of this material registered with the president because one, he doesn`t read the PDB. Unlike his predecessors, he does not sit down each day to digest this product. He doesn`t read it, doesn`t skim it. He relies almost exclusively on an oral briefing that he has curtailed to roughly two or three times a week.
So he`s getting an oral briefing from an intelligence analyst, but he skips the reading of the -- of the PDB. So it`s hard to know how much of this material actually made its way to him. We know that it`s included in the brief and that that brief is delivered to the White House each and every day. We don`t know how much it registers with him.
Across this stretch of time, of course, he is -- in January and February, the period of time we`re writing about, he`s very dismissive of the threat of this virus. As late as late February, he is still saying it`s going to go away, it`s going to magically disappear. There`s no big deal. It`s going to go down to zero, things like this.
HAYES: And this is -- I mean, as late as late February, you`ve got now -- we have evidence of multiple parts of the U.S. government, folks inside the CDC, inside the Intelligence Community, some folks in DOD. There`s been some reporting that there there`s a growing sense just even in the internal reservoir of knowledge that is the U.S. government which is an enormous undertaking that this is very serious and very pressing.
MILLER: Not only that, Chris. You have people inside the White House, including the Deputy National Security Adviser, who by early February are saying we need to go farther than just restricting travel China. It`s our - - this outbreak has already reached Europe. We are not doing our jobs unless we start restricting travel there.
And that doesn`t happen for another six weeks. And you heard the governor of New York just this past week talk about how the United States may have closed the front door on the coronavirus, but left the back door open and we now know that that the outbreak in New York is predominantly traced to the spread of this pathogen through Europe. The infection in New York comes from Europe, not from China.
HAYES: All right, Greg Miller, along with his colleague Ellen Nakashima, great reporting. Thank you very much.
MILLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on what we do to reopen America, Dr. Ashish Jha. He`s the director of the Harvard University Global Health Institute. And doctor, you know, I think Americans often we get very tunnel vision, we get very mired in American exceptionalism about how we do things here, but this really is a problem that dozens and dozens of countries are sort of confronting at the same time.
When you sort of survey the landscape, like what are the lessons to learn there about how the other people are figuring out how to solve a very difficult problem?
ASHISH JHA, GLOBAL HEALTH PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes. So Chris, thanks for having me back on. Look, the biology of this virus is the same everywhere. And the responses have differed, but we know certain things work. So we know that countries that jump out early and are aggressive basically get it under control faster and can open up sooner.
Not only is that a South Korea example, but also New Zealand, Germany. There are a whole series of countries that just took it much, much more seriously. And that means they can open up sooner. And even though they are opening up sooner, they`re still opening up very carefully. And that`s the big lesson to learn for Americans.
HAYES: One of the aspects here -- so there`s a few aspects here. One is, right, if you -- if you move earlier and you have less of an outbreak, you can probably open up a little sooner. Another is about -- is about testing which a drum we have banged on the show for four months in which public health experts have banged.
There`s a piece in Stat today about just the sort of the fact that the states don`t have the testing capacity they need and there`s, you know, gaps of 100,000 in New York, you know, 68,000 in New Jersey, 23,000 in Illinois, that they`re short of the test that they need.
Today, you`ve got the vice president sort of promising everyone they`ll have access to the testing, but it`s unclear whether that`s A going to be enough and B delivered on. What`s your sense of where we`re at in that regard?
JHA: Yes. So that Stat analysis is based on Some work that we did really trying to look at, where is every state in the country and how much more do they need. I think at this point, you know, we`ve heard so many promises from the White House. If you remember, Chris, six weeks ago, five weeks ago, they were saying millions of test kits going out next week.
At this point, I think all of us want to look at the facts on the ground. And even what they promised today, that sort of two percent of Americans getting tested every month, way too little. I mean, it would take us four years to test every American.
So I think we`re far behind. It`s nice to see the White House acknowledge that we`re not doing enough. I see that as progress. But they still don`t - - they aren`t taking the sort of enormity of the problem seriously. And until they do, we can open up. We`re just going to end up shutting back down again. And so that`s the -- that`s the concern that all of us have.
HAYES: This is the big -- I mean, this to me, the doomsday scenario here, which I don`t like to focus on, because it`s been a lot of doomsday around here for months. But the doomsday scenario is like, you know, stateless like Texas opens up and things -- you know, and they -- and they do it, you know, Texas, Governor Abbott, Republican, like to his credit, a fairly responsible plan I think in terms of what`s going to open up when and social distancing and things like that.
But, you know, a state opens up and things look like they`re going OK. If you lack the proper testing surveillance in the -- in the sort of epidemiology term, that -- we know how -- what (INAUDIBLE) and what -- how long fuse that is. And if the thing starts going, then you`re your hosed.
JHA: Yes. That is the technical term, hosed. And you`re absolutely right, right. Like this is essentially what happened the first time around. And the whole point of the shutdown was to buy ourselves time so we could do it right the second time. And there are states that I think are being very responsible.
So there are some states that will be pretty reasonable to open up. I look at Montana and Wyoming and Alaska. Small number of cases a good number of test. I`d love it if they had a little more. But Georgia, Texas, other places, like you can -- it`s not only important to have a small number of cases, it`s not only important to have a good plan for not opening up too aggressively. But if you don`t have a good amount of testing and tracing and isolation, you`re not going to be able to keep infected people away from susceptible people.
And the basic biology is the infection is going to take off again. And so unless the biology has changed, we are going to end up in the same place. And that`s I think, what we`re all worried about.
HAYES: All right, so the devil`s advocate is sort of on the other side, right? It`s like, OK, so we`ve had these enormous outbreaks in places in northern Italy, and we saw them in Wuhan, and we saw it in New York. And the worst -- the worst outbreaks we`ve seen worldwide, right, had been in essentially places that were really implementing any kind of policy, right, where -- that sort of the biological transmission rate, the (INAUDIBLE) of the disease was able to wreak havoc in this crazy way.
But I mean, a place that has now come out of this and is reopening with the awareness of social distancing, and all these kind of new rules, like we would expect, right, that that will mean that outbreaks won`t take the same shape, right, a veer if they were to get another one.
JHA: So it`s not that they won`t be as severe, it will take longer to build up. So there`s this term that we talked about, RT, which is the real-time, like at that moment, what is the reproduction factor? And if the natural reproduction of this virus is around three, one infected person infects three more people, in a more kind of staged opening, you can imagine it could be two. And that means you`ll still get exponential growth but will take longer.
JHA: But none of that prevents -- I mean, at two, you`re still going to have health systems getting overwhelmed. You`re still going to get into trouble you`re still going to get a lot of sick people and a lot of people were going to end up dying.
HAYES: Right, so it`s not enough. I mean, the point being that like, it`s just not enough partly because of the transmissibility of this and the fact that we have a largely naive population that doesn`t have antibodies and not immune, is that even if you bring that three down to two, which is -- which is, you know, an accomplishment, you`ve got to have both aspects. You`ve got to have the testing and the surveillance as well as some kind of social distancing.
JHA: Yes. So the basic -- the basic, basic point here is we got to keep infected people away from susceptible people. And the way you do that is through some social distancing, or testing and isolation. Those are your only two strategies. And if you want to give people confidence about going back to work, you kind of tell them that if you`re going to go to the coffee shop and pick up a cup of coffee, they`re not going to get infected.
And it`s a little bit of social distancing. Don`t go hug the guy giving you the coffee, but it`s also testing in isolation so that if the guy was infected, you know that he`d get a test and he`d be out of there, and he`d have somebody uninfected giving you the coffee. That`s what you got to know.
HAYES: Dr. Ashish Jha, always -- I always learned a lot from these conversations, so come back again soon. Thank you very much.
JHA: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, the tale of two outbreaks. How Seattle managed to get ahead of the spread while New York City became what appears to be the worst outbreak in the world. What Seattle did differently after this.
HAYES: Right now, it looks like the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world based on the numbers that states and other places have reported, countries as well, which themselves are not picture perfect at all. But based on the data we have, the worst outbreak appears to be in New York City.
Listen to this statistic. At least one out of every 500 New Yorkers has died from this virus. And while there are a lot of reasons for that, from the failure of federal leadership to implement testing, to particular features of New York City, a new New Yorker article argues that part of the reason for the severity of the outbreak was a failure of local policy.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote that New Yorker piece Charles Duhigg joins me now. Charles, I was -- I was really gripped and persuaded by the reporting that you present in the article. What`s the basic case here?
CHARLES DUHIGG, JOURNALIST: The basic case is that at the beginning of a pandemic, we have a very unique opportunity, a window, when if the leader say the right things, and particularly if they`ve got the scientists front and center, we can convince people to stay home.
And in Seattle, they did that very ably. In New York, it was much more muddied and complicated. And as a result, during this Communication crisis, which is what a pandemic really is as much as a medical health crisis, New York failed. And as a result, we saw cases explode.
HAYES: I think when -- I`m going to play some of the things that the mayor said and again, stipulated, as we have throughout all the coverage, even the first block about the president. This is hard. All this stuff is hard. But it was fairly clear the mayor`s view of this early on even in the first two weeks of March was not like ring the alarm, this is the time to shut it all down at all. Take a listen to some of the things he had to say during that period.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do we stand right now from New York and then from what you know about what`s happening in cities around the world?
BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: You know, Franklin Roosevelt, the famous quote, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
For the vast majority of New Yorkers, life is going on pretty normally right now. And we want to encourage that.
If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now.
Some places are closing schools on mass. We think that`s a mistake
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: St. Patrick`s Day parade in Dublin, in Boston, in Denver had been canceled. What is the status of New York City?
DE BLASIO: It`s not a slam dunk to say this is something that should be instantly canceled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It is a slam dunk by March 11th to cancel the St. Patty`s Day Parade. And that to me was such an indicator that the mayor did not have his eyes on the scale of this. What is your reporting say about that?
DUHIGG: Well, Dr. Tom Frieden who used to be the Commissioner of Public Health here in New York, and was also the head of the CDC, he estimates that it De Blasio and Cuomo had shut down in New York 10 days earlier, we would have seen 50 to 80 percent fewer deaths in the state.
And what`s going on here is sort of two things. First, is if you`ll remember, De Blasio has gotten a lot of applause in the past, particularly with the Ebola outbreak, for being very aggressive about saying, don`t panic, don`t overreact. We need to keep New York going even if we have a couple of situations of illness. Obviously, it`s very different here.
But the second thing, according to my reporting, is that De Blasio has a long history of tension with his agencies, particularly with the Department of Health. And so as experts, his fantastic public health officers were coming to him and saying shut things down, he was resisting his staff, was fighting with them. In fact, two of them had to threaten to resign in order to get the city hall to shut down the schools and restaurant.
HAYES: Yes. You report this that there`s two people, the city`s Assistant Commissioner of Communicable Diseases, Dr. Marcelle Layton, and the Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis who indicated to staff that they were -- they were going to publicly resign unless the mayor finally took action. I think it was the schools, right, and other things on that sort of fateful Monday when New York was one of the later places to do it.
DUHIGG: That`s exactly right. And I should make clear, neither of those physicians spoke to me, right. They`re both very -- they`re great public health officers. And in fact, Marcy Layton in particular, Dr. Layton is revered around the nation. She`s actually a graduate of something called the Epidemic Intelligence Service, which is a part of the center -- the CDC.
And there`s about 3,000 EIS alone across the nation who are kind of the front lines, the shock troops for responding to this and other pandemics an epidemics. And one of the things that the EIS training really stresses is when you are communicating it is critical at the beginning of a pandemic, that you say what you know, and don`t know, that you maintain trust, and that most importantly, you say the same thing over and over, that you don`t muddy the message by saying one thing and doing another. And De Blasio and Cuomo have both increase sights for that.
If you`ll remember, De Blasio, on the day that the gyms were closing down in New York City, he asked his driver to take him from Gracie Mansion where he lives to the Park Slope Wide so he can get in one last workout. And even his consultants and advisors said that was a terrible, terrible, perhaps an ethical idea.
HAYES: What finally is a lesson here about what Seattle did in terms of the messaging they gave, the consistency of it, and also sort of not moving too quickly, but moving in a -- in a very specific way towards what ended up being a sort of full shutdown?
DUHIGG: What Seattle did is exactly what the CDC and the Epidemic Intelligence Service says you`re supposed to do, which is that they put the science at spreads and center. There`s this real risk that if a politician is the head of communications, when you`re talking about a pandemic, that you`ll politicize the communication. That some people ask the people perhaps won`t do what they`re being told simply because they don`t trust the politician.
So what Seattle did is they put the scientists front and center and they moved very aggressively to shut things down. In fact, Dr. Jeff Duchin, who is the head of public health for Seattle King County, he went to one of the top politicians and he said, Look, we need to shut things down immediately. And I know we can`t do that today. But we need to start saying things today, so that the population will be ready for a shutdown in two or three days from now.
And one of the things that Dow Constantine, that politician did is he called Microsoft, which is, of course, based in an area near Seattle and said, look, we don`t have any cases yet. We only have one -- a handful of fatalities across the country, but will you tell all your workers to work from home? Amazon did the same thing, because they knew that by emptying the streets of all these computers, 100,000 employees, everyone would get the message. This is really serious. Something is going on. When the government says stay home, we should stay home.
HAYES: All right, Charles Duhigg, thank you so much for sharing that great reporting.
DUHIGG: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Ahead, new concerns that Mitch McConnell risks sending the country into a depression with his resistance to providing states crucial federal aid. That`s next.
HAYES: Some republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed ready to punish states whose budgets are going to be decimated by this pandemic. Here is Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: It`s unfair to the taxpayers of Florida. We sit here and we live within our means and then New York and Illinois and California and other states don`t, and we`re supposed to bail them out. That`s not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Nope. That is not the way our union works.
For instance, when a hurricane devastates Florida, we as U.S. citizens from all over the country gladly pay the billions of dollars it takes to help our fellow Americans who happen to live in Florida.
Additionally, it is worth keeping in mind that just the math of what Scott is saying is wrong. States like New York are sending more federal tax dollars to the federal government than they get back in services and states like Rick Scott`s Florida get back more money from the federal government they give.
It is clear, though, that this is going to be a titanic battle over financial aid to states. Joining me now is Betsey Stevenson, professor of economics at the University of Michigan`s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She formerly served as a chief economist at the Department of Labor.
So, Betsey, Mitch McConnell in an interview with Hugh Hewitt sort of floated this idea of allowing states, who we know all of the states` finances are going to be wrecked, that if they have a problem they can declare bankruptcy, which I think they`re not allowed to do currently under law. But what would be the economic effects of just saying to the states too bad?
BETSEY STEVENSON, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Well, I think as you pointed out, it`s a little bit ironic that the states that traditionally contribute the most to the federal spending, that send in more than they give are being told that they shouldn`t ask for handouts right now.
The reality is, though, every state is going to suffer under COVID, because when you don`t have people working as much, when we have unemployment when we have, you know, the economy under performing, states are bringing in less revenue. They are going to bring in less revenue from households, from businesses, from conferences, from conventions, from all the types of ways in which -- from sales tax.
And because many states actually have balanced budget requirements, they have to immediately make things work. In fact, by the middle of March we had barely started to see the economy to suffer, but yet we were already actually seeing a reduction in local government employment.
So the reality is that if we don`t -- as a federal government doesn`t step up and help state and local governments out, by the time we`re ready to send our kids back to school, there is not going to be that many teachers left there to teach them.
HAYES: This was a headline from The Washington Post, which I thought put it in stark terms, that McConnell`s rejection of federal aid to states risks causing a depression, analysts say. For precisely the sort of dynamic you`re talking about, you start cutting state budgets all over the place, you`re going to cut back on employment and cut back on demand, you have a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy and spiral down.
But the other aspect of this is McConnell clearly tried to get out ahead of this by calling them blue state bailouts. And it`s clear he`s sort of retreating today. And I think the reason he is retreating is it`s not just blue states, like every state is going to be in very, very rough shape. And there`s going to be pressure on the senators on the Republican side for help for their states, right?
STEVENSON: Yeah, I think that that`s absolutely right. This is going to hit every state.
We saw in 2008 something we had never seen before, which was the reduction in employment and spending by state and local governments worsened the recession. Normally, we have government employment at all levels helping to support the economy and support employment in a recession. We failed to help the states out in the last recession, it contributed to the severity and the last recession.
At its worst point, there were 250,000 fewer teachers working in the United States, because of that. And that`s exactly the kind of situation that we`re going to face.
But I think it`s going to be worse this time, because I think that what we`re really need in order for the economy to recover is to preserve as many relationships between employers and workers as possible. And it`s going to be really hard for people to find brand-new jobs, make connections with new employers. There is going to be a lot of distancing and distrust out there. And so cutting loose a bunch of government workers who are competing with people who are working in the private sector who lost jobs when we`re going to see, I think, very long unemployment spells, it`s just a mistake that will make the entire situation worse.
HAYES: This idea of sort of repeating the mistakes, I mean, is what is so terrifying for me, because it really was brutal and extended misery for a lot of people. It does seem that the politics of this are a little different in so far as McConnell has had to back away already in a few days. And so there looks like this is going to be a fight, like Democrats are focused on this. This will be one of the big fights in the next piece of legislation, do you think?
STEVENSON: It absolutely will be one of the big fights. You`re looking at states are -- estimates I`ve seen are that states are going to face $500 billion short fall over a couple of years, states like Michigan 12 to 14 percent hole in their budget. These are really big holes.
It`s a also time where if we get the economy going again, we actually need the people who work for the state and local government, people like our teachers, our hospital workers, our firefighters, our emergency personnel. If we`re laying all those folks off, that`s going to make people even more skittish that they can go back to work. They are going to know that there is not support there in the community. All of this is going to compound.
HAYES: All right. Betsey Stevenson, thanks you so much.
STEVENSON: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, former Vice President Al Gore on the federal response to the COVID crisis. The environmental implications of the nationwide shut down and the potential of an oil industry bailout that some people started to float. He joins me just ahead.
HAYES: April 7 was a shameful low point for our democracy in the state of Wisconsin when Republicans forced the state to hold an in person primary election in the middle of a pandemic. And now, the state is back at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those in the seventh congressional district are preparing to do it all over again. As of now, the Wisconsin elections commission says nothing has changed for the May special election.
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HAYES: There`s a special election in Wisconsin with in-person voting in just two weeks. It`s utter madness, given what happened the last time around. Here is a chart of the confirmed Coronavirus cases in Wisconsin, which has seen an up-tick in new cases over the past week. There is some evidence that suggestions the last round of voting may have accelerated the spread, at least 36 voters and poll workers tested positive for Coronavirus after the primary vote and that figure is likely to grow in the coming weeks.
And while allowed minority of Wisconsin voters spurred on by the president and other right wing interest groups want to quote, unquote reopen the state, that`s them there standing next to each other protesting, a poll last week found that only 23 percent of Wisconsinites think social distancing measures should be relaxed, an overwhelming majority thinks the state is doing the right thing, or that more aggressive measures are needed.
The situation in Wisconsin illustrates why no excuse, universal absentee voting is vital and also so popular. 60 percent of Americans support allowing people to vote by main-in ballot without having to give a reason, including a plurality of Republicans, but many elected Republicans, including the president, are trying to block it.
And time is now running out, industry leaders and election experts say that expanding voting by mail for November could require making commitments in the next few weeks. Congress must act now to fund such voting. And states need to do whatever it takes to make it happen, because people should not have to choose between their health and participating in democracy.
HAYES: In this moment of crisis, a lot of rules have gone out the window in terms of what kind of policy is and is not feasible, which will make for an encouraging moment in some ways when you think about the possibility of really bold and ambitious climate policy, but also the fear that this Coronavirus crisis will lead to a kind of doubling down on, say, fossil fuels. In fact, there is already talk of a bailout for the oil industry.
And joining me now to talk about this and the moment we find ourselves in more broadly, someone who has been advocating on climate policy for over 30 years, who spent eight years as vice president of the United States amidst of several global crisis, former Vice President Al Gore.
Mr. Vice President, let me start on this question of where you think the U.S. is right now at this moment, in terms of how it has dealt with the crisis.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh boy, Chris, it`s so hard to know where to begin. You know, there is no more important role for a president than to lead a nation through a crisis, and that means unifying people and leading not only your political base, but reaching out to others with whom you disagreed.
And Donald Trump has made this all about himself. He has ignored repeated warnings, news reports this evening, showing yet more warnings that were ignored. He ignored the science, as he has done with the climate crisis as well. He has engaged in a kind of a magical thinking. He`s pushed dangerous and potentially deadly snake oil type remedies. He`s lashed out at people who have been asking length legitimate questions and who have pleaded with him to try to mobilize the federal government`s resources.
And now luckily, there have been others that have stepped up -- governors, Democratic and Republican governors, in many cases; Dr. Fauci, over scientific and medical experts, so this has brought a lot of good out in the American people.
But this is a dangerous time for our country, Chris. This is -- you know, when people all around the world are just dropping their jaws in amazement at the things he says, that`s not good for anybody in this country.
And we`ve got to get through this in spite of Donald Trump, but it has been an irresponsible, incompetent, and in many ways disgraceful performance.
HAYES: You know, you have such an interesting perspective, Mr. Vice President, because you served as a senator for years and you were obviously vice president, and are very familiar with what the actual confines of the American political system with all of its choke points can be, and also have worked so much on climate where generally radical steps are probably necessary for us to avoid catastrophe, and in the balance between those two, I wonder where you think are at this moment, because there it seem to be expanded horizons as we watch all kinds of new policies being floated to try to get us through this, if that gives you some kind of hope about where we are and what the future is?
GORE: Well, as someone has said, we`re in a kind of chrysalis. We are continuing to navigate according to the coordinates of a world that has radically changed, and it`s a challenge to ascertain what the world to come is going to look like.
No doubt, there will be many similarities, but you know mentioned the oil bailout proposal at the beginning of your comments. This climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are linked in some ways. The preconditions that raise the death rate from COVID-19, a great many of them are accentuated, made worse, by the fossil fuel pollution, not the CO2, which causes the climate crisis, but the particulates, the soot. And of course, President Trump is trying to use this crisis as an opportunity to turn the valves wide open for more pollution.
And we also see it with the horrendous differential mortality rates among African-Americans and to some extent, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, as well.
This crisis has exposed some long-standing weaknesses in our president, but some long-standing weaknesses in our country. If we -- just to pick one example that existed before this began, the death rate for African-American children from asthma is 10 times the death rate for Caucasian children from asthma. You see the big increase in death rates from COVID-19.
And there are many factors that cause it, and you know them, Chris, you wrote that book, "A Colony in a Country, and you spelled this out -- inadequate access to health care, unequal economics, poor housing, and environmental injustice, because communities of color, because they`ve had a legacy of being deprived of the same political and economic power to defend themselves, are way more likely to be downwind from the smoke stacks and breathe that pollution in, downstream from the hazardous waste flows adjacent to the coal ash and hazard chemical waste sights, and this is now being manifested in these horrendous death rates.
But we can get through this. And on the other side of it, we can build a new energy system, a new transportation system, a new approach to health care, and habitat and housing.
You know, this happens at a time when the oil industry and the fossil fuel industry as a whole is kind of on the ropes anyway. If you look at all of the new electricity generation built last year in the world, 72 percent was renewable, mostly wind and solar. And we`re seeing it cheaper as a source of electricity in two-third of the world than fossil fuel, and soon, in a few years, in 100 percent of the world. EVs are taking off. Within two years, they are going to be significantly cheaper than internal combustion engines. Regenerative agriculture -- and I won`t go through the whole list, but the opportunities are very large.
HAYES: Well, it`s striking when you look at those, we`ve shown these photos in the show about, you know, what happens when you just take the internal combustion away from, you know, from major cities around the world, whether it`s in Shanghai or it`s in Los Angeles, or -- and people are seeing air that they`ve never seen. That omnipresence of air pollution, both in terms of its health effects and the visual effects and the fact that, you know, jogging in certain places is harder. It`s sort of this underlying atmospheric part of what we`ve just come to kind of acclimate to, that doesn`t have to be that way is one of the big lessons I`ve taken from this.
GORE: Yeah, and the similarities between COVID-19, the pandemic on the one hand and the climate crisis on the other have been discussed, both illustrate the extreme danger of ignoring the scientific warnings until it`s almost too late.
But there are some differences. Instead of lasting for six months, eight months, a year, two years, the climate crisis will have impacts that last for centuries.
Now, here`s another big difference. We have seen policies that essentially shut down large areas of the economy, as Paul Krugman said, to put it in kind of a medically induced coma, until we can conquer this virus, and that`s hurt economic activity a lot. But where the climate crisis is concerned, it`s the greatest opportunity for creating new jobs and sustainable economic growth that the world has ever seen.
So on the way out of this crisis -- and of course, all hands on deck now, to solve this crisis, in spite of President Trump, but when this is over, we need to rebuild in a way that keeps the air cleaner, and keeps the water cleaner, and stops trapping all of this extra heat that is destabilizing the climate system, and disrupting the water cycle, and causing these horrendous consequences that the scientists have been shouting from the rooftops warning us against.
HAYES: A final question, last minute we have here, you know, the degree to which these, the sort of parallels between these two crises, the last thing I think about is just the way that ultimately, even though the effects are disproportionate, it is also something that we all share, right, like we all have a human body that`s susceptible to the virus, we all breathe the air, we are all in the climate, that there is going to be needed global coordination to battle this, and also the climate.
GORE: Right, we share the same atmosphere. We live on the same Earth. We just had the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. And we share the same future. And so yes. And we have to recognize that in spite of the rise of China and the beginnings of serious growth in India, and improvement in their quality of life, still, we`re in a period of history where the United States remains the only nation that can organize and coordinate and lead a global effort.
And I mentioned at the beginning that we`re in real trouble.
If I could say one thing to republicans who are listening, look, this election coming up is one where I hope that a lot of people will put the country first, and try, even in this time of extreme partisanship, to try to set that aside, and look at what is at stake here. I mean seriously, we`re really in trouble with the kind of performance in the Oval Office we`ve had. We`ve got change that, Chris.
I know that sounds partisan, but it`s more than that, it`s way more than that.
HAYES: Former Vice President Al Gore, it`s always great to talk to you. Thank you for making time tonight.
GORE: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now on this Monday.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END