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Americans are worried TRANSCRIPT: 5/8/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Bernie Sanders, Zerlina Maxwell, Chuck Schumer, Michelle Alexander

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Marilee Shapiro Asher has survived the 1918 Spanish flu and now the Coronavirus. The Jewish telegraph Agency reports that the 107-year-old working artist was admitted to the hospital in mid- April with the coronavirus. She has now been discharged and is back home. An amazing story. Thanks for being with us. "ALL WITH" Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. From day one, the Trump administration has been attempting to create its own reality to deny what is right there in front of our faces and replace it with some story that makes Trump look as good as possible.

It started right away, right on former Press Secretary Sean Spicer`s first day when he falsely claimed that Donald Trump had the largest inauguration audience ever, and it`s continued up until now. The President has basically been parading naked in front of the public, so to speak, for the past three years while he and his lackeys are telling everyone that he isn`t the finest guard imaginable.

Here we are, efficient emperor`s new close moment. Today, we got the new jobs numbers and we got a statistical confirmation of just how bad the calamity we are in is. The unemployment rate soaring to nearly 15 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression, or the 33 million Americans who filed jobless claims. We lost more than 20 million jobs in April alone. That right there is more than 13 percent of all jobs in the entire country.

Now, the unemployment number is likely an undercount because many people are not counted or not yet actively looking for work ever having just lost their jobs. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis believes the real numbers probably around 23 or 24 percent. And that`s nearly where we were at the height of the Great Depression. Right now, things are that bad.

The guy who led us here wants you to believe it is not his fault. Here is on Trump T.V. this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unemployment rate rising From 4.4 percent to 14.7 percent. The numbers are terrible but we know why.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, it`s fully expected. There`s no surprise. Everybody knows that somebody said, oh, look at this. Well, even the Democrats aren`t blaming me for that.


HAYES: Well, I`m not quite sure about that. I mean, there are people that are blaming you. It is true that even if we had a competent president, supremely competent president, the virus, and then the subsequent public health response would still require a huge mobilization of forces, maybe essentially shutting down a huge swath of the country, but it did not mean to be this bad.

Remember, the President did not take the virus seriously from the start. He promised us all it would go away soon, cases down to zero. Its administration tried to bluff their way through, repeatedly failing to take proactive steps to mitigate the worst of what was to come. Those failures are a big part of why it has been so bad here when compared to other countries.

Now, we do have some glimmers of hope, I have to say, that suggest we may now maybe tentatively be on the backside of the first wave of the virus. We`re seeing declining case numbers and hospitalizations in many places, as well as lower percentages of people testing positive, which is a really important metric as testing goes up, but we still have thousands of people dying from the virus every single day after day after day.

And there are hotspots throughout this country with the virus is clearly exploding. And the virus remains, this is the key underlying all this, extremely transmissible.

If you want one small example of just how transmissible said virus is, yesterday, we learned the President`s personal valet tested positive for coronavirus. Today we learned of another case, Katie Miller, who was Vice President Mike Pence`s press secretary, and the wife of Trump advisor Stephen Miller confirmed to NBC News today that she had tested positive.

Now, keep in mind, as we noted in the last few days, the White House is more vigilant and aggressive about testing than anywhere else in the country right now. In fact, following yesterday`s news, we learned that they are testing everyone around the president and vice president daily.

Katie Miller tested negative yesterday, and today, she tested positive, which underscores just how important testing is. They were able to identify it within 24 hours before she even had symptoms, which helps curb transmission. Imagine she`d been going to the White House for another week.

But get this. You have to listen to this. Listen to how the President talks about Katie Miller`s positive test today. It truly seems like he may be just literally doesn`t understand how testing works.


TRUMP: So she tested positive out of the blue. This is why the whole concept of tests aren`t necessarily, right? The tests are perfect, but something good happened between the test where it`s good and then something happens and all of a sudden. She was tested very recently and tested negative, and then today, I guess for some reason she tested positive.


HAYES: First of all, she`s not a student who is like studying and getting good grades and then like had a bad test. That`s not what you`re talking about. It`s the virus. It`s the presence or absence of the virus. You can test negative and then later test positive because between those two, you`ll get the virus. That`s how the whole thing works, all of this. What do you think we`re all doing here?

And so in addition to the virus infiltrating the White House and the staggering death tolls that just keep growing, and the worst jobs numbers since the Great Depression, the President is hard at work trying to create his own reality again, trying to just sort of deny the evidence before all of our eyes.

The Associated Press reporting the Trump administration was trying to bury a Centers for Disease Control report. Those are the extra world-renowned on how to safely reopen communities with recommendations to help people do that safely. Right, why would you want that in the public? And the recommendation said that most places likely cannot meet them.

He wants everyone to move on. He wants to convince Americans to go out and be warriors and stimulate the economy so he can be reelected. But here`s the thing. People are not buying it. By and large, they are not buying this alternate reality. They know it is still bad out there.

Many of us have watched in anguish as loved ones or friends or coworkers, people we know have had to suffer through this horrible virus, that had to suffer losses from it. More than 77,000 Americans have succumbed to it and there are tens of thousands more losses to come most likely. That fundamental truth just can`t be hand waved away.

The Polling shows that people know the reality. 71 percent of Americans are more concerned by the government lifting social distancing restrictions too quickly compared to just 29 percent said they worried restrictions are not being lifted quickly enough. An overwhelming number of people are worried about lifting social distancing restrictions too quickly.

The President cannot wave away the virus, cannot pretend that he is not overseeing economic devastation, or that the very real fear that people have about going back to work is invented, nonsensical. The real Emperor being exposed moment here. And there`s really nothing Donald Trump can do, I think to convince us to ignore the reality in front of our faces.

Here with me now, someone who`s been trying to help Americans hit hard by this pandemic, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. Senator, let me first start by asking you your assessment of the reality we are in at this moment. How do you see things right now?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Chris, it is important for us to take a very deep breath and to understand that we are in the worst moment. The worst moment in American history, maybe since the Civil War. You mentioned the official figure of 77,000 people dying of the virus. There are epidemiologists who estimate that that is significantly lower than reality, probably over 100,000. The number of 33,000 -- 33 million people who have lost their jobs in the last seven weeks probably understates that reality, as well, even more people have lost their jobs.

So we are in a terrible, terrible moment. You know, I have a large e-mail following. And we send out an e-mail to people to tell us what`s happening in your lives in the midst of this pandemic. And Chris, what we received from people by the thousands was literally so painful, I couldn`t read.

I mean, the stories are I lost my mother, I lost my job, I have no money, I can`t feed my kids. I don`t know what to do. You know, mental illness taking place, enormous anxiety. People are hurting in a way we have never ever seen in our lifetimes. And to top it all, top at all, we have somebody so irresponsible, so not understanding the current reality as President of the United States that it is just incredibly painful.

HAYES: There was a -- some reporting today from the White House which I thought was really quite striking, that the White House will not consider any further stimulus legislate legislation this month, as an as the economic impact from reopening U.S. states. That was according to economic advisor Larry Kudlow talking to reporters on Friday, adding that formal talks with Congress have paused.

I have increasingly heard from the White House and Republicans like we`ve done what we`re going to do, and this is basically it, and good luck out there. What should we be doing do you think?

SANDERS: Well, let me tell you something. That is an incredibly callous statement. I, and I know many other Senators and members of the House will fight like hell to make sure that we act and act as soon as possible because the American people are hurting. You have 20 percent of the kids in this country who are hungry, people at their wit`s end, people are worried about being evicted, about losing their homes, can`t pay their mortgages. We have got to act and we`ve got to act soon, and we`ve got to act boldly.

Now some of the areas that I am working on is to get this country to do what Europe has done in many cases, and that has guaranteed people their paycheck. I think that is the quickest, most efficient way of getting money into the hands of working people. It`s called the Paycheck Security Act. We have I think six or seven co-sponsors in the Senate. Pelosi is not unfavorably disposed to it, nor is Chuck Schumer. We`re going to fight to make sure that is in the next bill.

The other thing that I think we have to do is in the midst of this crisis, at least, while we continue to fight for Medicare for all, in the midst of this crisis, we have got to make sure that every American can go to a doctor or go to the hospital whenever they need to without having to worry about picking up the cost.

The other thing I think we have got to do is do what Canada is doing. And that is to understand that one $1,200 check, that covers on average one month`s rent in America. It isn`t enough. We need $2,000 a month. Kamala Harris, Ed Markey, and I are working on that bill as well.

And furthermore, I think it would be an economic disaster for this country if Trump succeeded in not funding the Postal Service, and our Post Office went under. That would be terrible thing for a variety of reasons. And the last point is, we have got to make sure that in the richest country in the history of the world, people do not go hungry, and they are going hungry.

So we got -- there`s a lot of work to be done. We need action. We need action now. And what the American people have got to do, because they are with us on this issue. They know the pain. They are hurting. They got to tell Mitch McConnell, they got to tell Trump, we need action now, not in a few months.

HAYES: You obviously, you ran for president in the Democratic primary and I think it`s fair to say you saw the stakes of this election extreme -- as extremely high, you know, life or death, essentially before the pandemic. But I wonder how you see it now. You`ve -- you have endorsed Joe Biden, along with everyone else that ran in that race. There`s a -- Democrats who have unified I think, at that level. Like how are you are seeing this moment and what it means to have this individual running the country at this moment and the need for change?

SANDERS: You know, all of the ugliness and inequities in American society, which many of us have understood for a long, long time, they`re becoming visible to everybody in this country right now. And here`s exactly why the stakes of this campaign is so high.

This is what Trump believes. Trump essentially says, no, we know you`re unemployed, we know you have no income, you know, you may get evicted from your home, you may not have food, we`re going to give you a choice. Either you could starve and go into economic misery, or else you can go to work and get the virus. Those are the choices that you have.

And of course, the people who are going to work now, they`re not -- those are poor people. Those are working low-income working-class people. Those are often women, they`re often black, they`re often brown. And those are the people who disproportionately are getting sick. Those are the options that this President is giving people, which to my mind and to the minds of most Americans is unacceptable.

HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders coming to us tonight from Burlington, Vermont, his home, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

SANDERS: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: I want to turn now to Zerlina Maxwell, the Senior Director of Progressive Programming for Sirius XM. And Zerlina the polling that we talked about where you see big majorities of Americans worried about easing restrictions too soon, there`s a partisan divide, but even it`s, you know, it`s 60 percent of Republicans who are more worried about the economy, which is a big split within Republicans, what was -- what was your response to that polling? I found it sort of not surprising, but kind of reassuring about where people are at and how they`re thinking about all this.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMMING, SIRIUS XM: Look, I think when it comes down to it, what we`re asking people in this room moment is are you willing to go to work and actually risk not only your life, but the life and health of everyone in your household for a paycheck. And you know, in certain cases, we`re talking about low wage jobs.

And so in a lot of ways, it`s like before the pandemic, it wasn`t right to pay a home care aide who`s taking care of the elderly and the differently- abled minimum wage, but certainly during a pandemic, to require people to go and work in these low wage professions when there is literally the risk of death. It seems like something that even a Republican voter is not going to get behind.

HAYES: Josh Holmes who used to be a flak for McConnell, he`s used to be his chief of staff and is sort of a big McConnell ally said -- he tweeted this. He said, I totally get Dems pursuing this line of attack on a Trump depression. But the data I`ve looked at suggests nobody outside of hard Ds buy it. Most Americans understand we`re an unprecedented crisis and that Trump didn`t conjure up a global pandemic in the Oval.

It is true, of course, that he did not conjure up a global pandemic. But it is interesting to me the approval of the President on the virus, his handling of the virus, 43 percent, approved of 51 percent disapprove. It is true that when you compare him to other leaders, Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Liberal and Moderate, there is a realization among the American people that this is not going well.

MAXWELL: No. I think, certainly, this is a moment in which you can see the incompetence on display. You have a pandemic; he fired the pandemic Task Force. He`s standing on a camera telling people to literally ingest disinfectant. We`re almost through the looking glass at a point where it`s not even a joke anymore. There`s no more time for spin and who up and who`s down and who`s winning and who`s losing.

People are dying, Chris, and that`s 77,000 number, yes, Bernie Sanders is right, that number is likely much higher. But when it`s people in your own family, Chris, you know, I lost four cousins during this pandemic so far. And so, this is not an intellectual argument or a question about who is, you know, hard lefties or those hard Democrats. We`re talking about people of color.

See, I look at it this way. The hard Democrats that I think about are the black and brown people that are being harmed first and worst by this pandemic. They are the first people to be impacted, because they are in those low wage working-class professions that were laid off in mass. And they are hit worse because they have underlying conditions and also socio- economic factors and yes, racism that impact their health outcomes.

And so, we`re hit first and worse and so we`re under no illusions and so I just -- I think I sit in a different perspective than perhaps Josh does.

HAYES: Zerlina Maxwell from Newport News, Virginia. I`m very sorry to hear about family members of yours tonight. I want to offer you and your family our condolences here.

MAXWELL: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, we are seeing historic levels of unemployment, so why is the stock market doing so well? Stephanie Ruhle explains what`s happening right after this.


HAYES: In the wake of today`s depression level jobs report, here`s what it looks like in America right now. People lined up at food pantries across the country as we face the worst unemployment rates since the Great Depression. But on Wall Street, the major U.S. stock markets had their, get this, best month since 1987. What?

It has never been more clear. The stock market is not the real economy and at the root of this is the question how bad will it get and crucially, how quickly it will reverse? I think the conventional wisdom on Wall Street, certainly, the behavior of traders in the equity markets tend to think that we are going to have what they keep calling a V-shaped recovery. Basically, a sharp decline followed by a quick bounce back.

But if you look around at what consumers, firms, small businesses, local governments are doing and what they`re planning, to your humble cable news host, does it not -- it does not seem that likely. Here to talk about that disconnect, MSNBC Senior Business Correspondent Stephanie Ruhle.

Stephanie, is that -- is your read that -- I mean, in defense of Wall Street for a moment, right, the argument here is that equities markets tend to be very future-looking, that they were crashing before things got really bad in the real economy because they were foreseeing what was going to happen. And the fact of doing that well now while the real economy is doing terrible is about a sort of forwarding thinking belief we`re going to recover. Do you think that`s the argument for why the stock market`s doing so well amidst this misery?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And remember, the Fed has taken extraordinary actions to support all the market technicals. And what you`ve seen in terms of, you know, corporate bailouts or -- you know, it`s clear that from the Fed, from Secretary Mnuchin, they`re going to do everything they can to support those biggest businesses, I.E. the biggest employers.

But also, we should remember, the market is saying the market is the same as the economy. It`s other people who are saying it. So Wall Street investors aren`t saying no, the economy is doing fine and dandy, they`re saying, their investments are. And you also have to remember, we`ve already been on this trend for years, right?

The Amazon effect was already putting mom and shop businesses out of business. It was hurting the American shopping mall. What this has done is supercharged that. I`m not saying that`s good for the country. I`m saying it`s good for those companies. Those are two very, very different things.

HAYES: Yes, that that point about -- right, exactly. The point that the investments are doing OK, and also the Fed has basically said, look, we`re going to backstop these markets until kingdom come, which is -- which has been huge for how those markets have functioned.

I thought this quote in the New York Magazine was good that capitalists haven`t lost touch with reality, equity values simply no longer depend on the functioning of society. Their dependence on a function federal state has never been more apparent or acute. That this is essentially the Jerome Powell Fed thing that we will do whatever it takes for you, Wall Street, investors, big businesses, like you said. And that`s translating to folks that that are participating those markets where that same kind of like blank check we`re going to take care of you is not happening for regular folks.

RUHLE: Well, here`s what makes especially no sense there. Because they look at many of these industries and they say, well, we must step in, because look what an enormous employer they are. Well, what did our government do? They created a bespoke bailout specifically for the airline industry with a de facto czar that is Secretary Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Now let`s look at the restaurant industry that`s responsible for a trillion dollars a year. Well, in the last month, we saw 5.5 million people in the restaurant and beverage industry lose their jobs. There is no special bailout or federal government program for the independent restaurant industry. And we also know that the PPP program, which in theory is designed for small businesses, is absolutely not helping restaurants.

And even though PPP in the second round hasn`t run out of money, restaurants has stopped applying for it because the terms of the loan are written in a way that it doesn`t help restaurants. So when you try to say, well, they`re really going to -- they want to try to save those biggest businesses, because of all those people they employ. Well, then you can simply point to restaurants and say, well, then why aren`t you helping them?

HAYES: And there`s -- and there`s another issue here. I mean, I don`t want to ask you to play forecaster but part of what`s really difficult, I think, for everyone to sort of get their head around this, when you say look, these numbers aren`t surprising, which is the presence defense, he`s right in a way. Like, we put the economy on ice. Obviously, there`s going to be huge unemployment and dislocation.

The question is, are we prompting everyone in the cascade of decision making to make contractionary decisions that are going to extend the economic pain past the period of shelter in place or have we sort of kept them afloat enough? And it seems to me like it`s much more the former. That we haven`t given people the tools they need not to start doing all kinds of crazy belt-tightening that`s going to extend the economic pain.

RUHLE: Well, listen, we are going to move into a saver mode, even you -- take all the people who are on unemployment and put them in one category. Then you have at least 10 million more people who are eligible for unemployment, but they haven`t been able to file because the systems are backed up. And now let`s take a third category, or you`ve got one in every four Americans who do have a job, have taken a pay cut.

So the United States economy is a service-based economy. Without consumer spending, we`ve got no dance party, right? The one percent needs the 99 percent. And look at all that`s happening right now. You`re not going to see spending return with any great gusto. And without that, there is no V- shaped recovery anywhere in sight.

HAYES: That -- I think that is a very succinctly well said and captures my thinking on this. I really do hope that we`re both wrong. But right now, I just -- I cannot see how this turns around as quickly as I`ve expected to. Stephanie Ruhle who of course anchors MSNBC Live weekdays at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, has been doing incredible reporting on this beat during the crisis, thank you.

RUHLE: Chris, thank you. I told you via text, this was hard for me to be here tonight. Moments before I sat down, I was watching Napoleon Dynamite with my children. And as much as I love seeing you, tearing away from that dancing was a tough move. It was a tough move.

HAYES: Well, I`m truly honored. I`m honored, Stephanie. Thank you very much. Still ahead, the danger of having the police enforce physical distancing in public spaces, the disproportion effects it`s already having after this.


HAYES: Conservatives run crazy about this video. I saw a bunch of them posting about it. West Texas. Of the local sheriff sending an armored vehicle and SWAT team, look at that thing, to raid a bar that stayed open in defiance of the stay at home orders.

Police arrested six men at the bar who they say have loaded AR-15 type weapons, which may be the reason for the long guns and the armored vehicle, but I think just in the aggregate the show of force is probably not necessary.

It was an overwhelming reaction. And conservatives I think were right to look at the video and say are we really doing this? This is nuts.

And there was a bunch more of these. There`s the woman in the playground who got arrested. There`s the nail salon opener who was arrested, the hair salon owner who was arrested.

Unfortunately, the kind of overreaction you see on that video there happens every day in America, particularly to marginalized people. There are entire books about this. That`s the issue at the heart of using the police as the tool of enforcement for stay at home orders and physical distancing, because if you use law enforcement you are going to, I guarantee you, extend, exacerbate, and replicate all of the existing inequalities in our already broken criminal justice system.

Here is video from last weekend of New York City cops violently throwing a black man to the ground in an incident that started with them enforcing physical distancing.

The data backs it up. NYPD today said that 81 percent of Coronavirus- related summons since the middle of March have been black or Hispanic residents. In Brooklyn, 35 out of the 40 people who were arrested on social distancing violations were black.

ProPublica found in some of Ohio`s most popular areas, black people were at least four times as likely to be charged with stay at home violations as whites. The enforcement has obviously be highly disproportionate.

And as we go back out into this new normal, whatever it is, I think the point is to establish physical distancing, mask wearing, and all sorts of precautions that we collectively engage in together as a kind of act of bottom up solidarity, a newly constructed social norm. And if governments, or social workers, or community elders, or public health workers want to try to use moral persuasion and conversation to get people to adhere to those norms, I think that`s a great idea.

I think people with guns and handcuffs going around telling people to stand further apart is going to be a disaster. The American justice system has enough to worry about, as we`ve seen in just the last 24 hours. We will talk about that after this.


HAYES: The last 24 hours in American justice, as with pretty much every 24 hours, have offered up a perfect example of its fundamental inequities. On the one hand, there`s Michael Flynn who pretty clearly broke the law, taking money from Turkish interests without disclosing it as the law requires, and also lying to the FBI, which he admitted to.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice took the extraordinary and rare step of just dropping the charges against Michael Flynn after his guilty plea. The reason is because Flynn has the right aisle in the White House where he used to be the National Security Adviser. The president likes him. And he was able to get his case heard by the Department of Justice`s head William Barr.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, a 25-year-old black man out jogging in his neighborhood is killed by two white men in a pickup truck, and it takes two months, several different district attorneys and a huge national outcry for those men to even be arrested.

We`ve seen these fundamental injustices all around us before COVID, they`ve just deepened in this era. And author and thinker who has devoted her career and work to documenting this is Michelle Alexander, visiting professor of social justice at Union Theological Seminary, author of The New York Times classic best-selling book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness, which is part of the modern canon on this topic.

Michelle, it is great to have you. I suppose I wanted to start with sort of a broad question about as someone who has thought deeply about the criminal justice system and its inequities, what you see happening at this particular moment in this crisis with that system.

MICHELLE ALEXANDER, UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINAR: Well, you know, as you indicated earlier what we`re witnessing right now is egregious, but it`s nothing new. What we`re talking about here is the persistent devaluation of black life and black suffering.

I hope by now we can see the patterns, the repeating patterns. I hope we can see the parallels between Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery. I hope we can see the similarities between drug law enforcement and social distancing enforcement.

You know, as the drug war was kicking off, we were told that mass arrests of impoverished black people were necessary, because illegal drugs were so harmful, so harmful to our people and our communities that police must throw us in cages if we`re caught with them. And then upon release, discriminate against us for the rest of our lives. This was the answer to drug addiction in black communities.

Meanwhile, white kids who were using and abusing illegal drugs, often at higher rates, were heading off to college.

Now we`re being told that because the government is so incredibly worried about us dying from COVID-19 that they`re going to arrest those without masks -- not all of us, but some of us, throw us in cages where we`re far more likely to contract the virus and potentially die, meanwhile there are videos of the police handing out face masks to white people sunbathing in groups on the lawn in city parks in clear violation of social distancing rules.

So, we`re in a moment in which it`s glaringly clear yet again that black lies don`t really matter.

But of course, black people aren`t the only ones who are suffering in these times. And so the question is whether we are willing, collectively, to develop a politics of deep solidarity and stand up for one another across the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation and class and raise our voices to defend the most vulnerable in these times.

You know, I think these politics of solidarity must include support for our essential workers as well as for black people wrestled to the ground for failing to wear a mask. It must include support for the millions who are now unemployed because of this crisis as well as those who didn`t have a job before the crisis began.

So, I hope that we will vow now, to ourselves, that we will do everything in our power, to leave behind attitudes, belief systems and politics that lead to the recent death of Ahmaud Arbery and the brutal arrest for black people for violating social distancing rules.

HAYES: You know, this question of how we -- you know, the sort of ethos of solidarity -- I`ve been thinking about this a lot -- in the context of these sort of social distancing or physical distancing guidelines, right, which is it just seems to me obviously it`s a disaster to have the police to be the means that you bring this norm about. It`s just not -- it`s not the right -- it`s not the right tool to solve the problem, it`s also going to, you know -- like you said it`s going to lead to people being arrested and the sort of prevalence of this system.

And it`s so striking to me that we just have such a hard time thinking outside of that framework for problem solving, right. And that was the case with drugs, like, drugs can be -- drug addiction can be an incredibly destructive force in people`s lives. There`s different ways we can think about solving it. The way we chose to solve it was criminal justice system in the same way we have a public health problem.

There are ways to think about solving it that are not the criminal justice system.

ALEXANDER: That`s absolutely right. You know, there`s the saying if all you`ve got is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. But the reality is we`ve long had more tools at our disposal. And, you know, just as this - - as the recent news regarding the racially disparate enforcement of social distancing laws reveals is that some tools are used in some communities and other tools are used in other communities.

And so it`s not that we don`t know how to respond to problems like drug addiction and drug abuse with care, compassion, and concern. We know how to make drug treatment available on demand, but we choose not to, or we choose to offer it to those who can afford it, or to people living in more privileged communities, and we deny it to those in others, and instead give them cages and lifelong discrimination.

So, it`s not that we lack imagination about how to respond with more care and concern. In fact, if we were going to ask ourselves how would we respond if it was our own lives, our own childrens` lives at stake, suddenly we would have much more creative range of ideas and solutions about how to respond rather than, you know, wrestling people to the ground, arresting them and locking them in cages.

It`s only because we have so devalued the lives of poor people and people of color in this nation that our imagination has been so limited with respect to them. And this has consequences for all of us, our refusal to grant universal health care to all is now resulting in health care crisis that affects us all, much more severely than it would have if we had a much more robust health care system in the first place.

HAYES: Michelle Alexander it is such a great treat to have you on the program. Please come back anytime. Thank you so much.

ALEXANDER: Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

HAYES: Up next, why have Senate Republicans all but abandoned the Coronavirus recovery efforts? The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, joins me next.


HAYES: With the Senate back in session, Republicans are increasingly sending the signal in a kind of unified way that basically we`ve done our part. Get back to work America. We wash our hands of this.

As Jim Newell writes in Slate, quote, in terms of additional legislation that might support a shattered nation, the Senate Republican caucus is on a self-described pause right now that is set to expire on, well, no one can really say.

That is not how Democrats are dealing with this pandemic. They`ve got tons of plans for a new round of legislation, and here to talk with me about those plans, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer.

Senator, I wanted to start with something that one of your Republican colleagues said today about the prospect of another kind of rescue package, a new CARES Act. And this is Senator John Kennedy, a witty guy, in the Republican caucus from Louisiana. He was asked about another round of stimulus checks. He said, well, people in hell want ice water, too. Like, eh, like cry me a river.

What do you make of that?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): These guys are just appalling, Chris. We have 30 million people unemployed. We have people every day losing their jobs. Small businesses going out of business. People can`t feed their children and themselves. And these guys said pause.

You know who they remind me of? Herbert Hoover. When we were on the edge of a potential depression, Herbert Hoover said let`s do nothing. That`s what these guys are saying. And doing nothing could well create the second Great Depression.

We need help and help quickly. We Democrats in the House and Senate are working on a big, bold, strong package that will deal with so many of the problems we face.

I mean, you know, Mitch McConnell comes up with this idea that we should let state and local governments go bankrupt. This is not an abstract concept, Mitch, these are firefighters who protect us, bus drivers who drive the busses, people who work in health care, food safety inspectors, these are the people who would be thrown out of work through no fault of their own, in fact a million people in state and local governments lost their job.

We need money to help them keep working. We need money to provide food for people so they don`t have to watch their children go hungry.

We need money to get our schools going again. We need so many different things. We need heroes pay for those on the front lines who are undergoing so many extra expenses and are asked to sacrifice so much.

This idea that we should do nothing and wait and see, well I`d like Mitch McConnell and his Republican friends, Mr. Kennedy, to go tell a mom who can`t feed her kids let`s wait and see what happens in a few weeks, to tell a small business person who has spent 10 years building up that restaurant or that nail salon or that small manufacturing business and is ready to go out of business and desperately needs help, let`s wait and see what happens.

It is utterly appalling. It is like Herbert Hoover. We Democrats are going to force those Republicans, like we did last time when they didn`t want to do much, to take big, bold action because the nation needs it and the people demand it.

HAYES: How much do you think it`s a negotiating position, that they`re essentially bluffing, because they want to essentially sort of anchor the negotiations in nothing and then the -- you know, there will be some horse trading, whereas if they come out and they say, yeah, we want to big stuff, too, then they give away leverage. And how much do you think they really do think...

SCHUMER: Don`t underestimate...

HAYES: ...we can do.

SCHUMER: Yeah, Chris, don`t underestimate the hold that these hard right ideologues, these very, very wealth people, who are doing just fine, by the way -- stock market is going up, because they make sure, you know, that the Federal Reserve bolsters the markets. But don`t underestimate the hold that these very wealth people who control a lot of the Republican Party, if not all of it these days, have on these senators.

They want -- they don`t want any government spending. They don`t give a hoot about what happens to average people. It hurts -- it`s going to hurt them, but they`re so blinded by their ideology, both the benefactors of the Republican Party, and the Republicans senators themselves, that they can`t get away from it.

They are -- they are caught in a knot. The days of a moderate, thoughtful, compromising Republican in the Senate are just about over. Look what they do to Mitt Romney when he once and awhile breaks from them, you know.

HAYES: One of the priorities I think for the benefactors of the party and Mitch McConnell and others is this idea of some kind of liability indemnification, right, that employers should be statutorily shielded from any civil suits if they, say, you open up a factory or they open up a workplace and people come and get sick. What do you think of that? It seems to me that McConnell is already setting that up as like a must have for him in the negotiation that you and he I think will ultimately have.

SCHUMER: Right. Well, the bottom line is very simple. They want to say if an employer, a boss, says to a worker you`ve got to sit next to someone who has COVID, or has all the signs of COVID, without any protective equipment and you`re absolved from any liability? Bull. That should not happen, and it will not happen.

McConnell got stuck. He first said let the states and localities go bankrupt, so he knew that was wrong, but he still doesn`t want to really help them, so he tries to put this thing out there which helps the big corporate bosses and nobody else. It`s not going to stand.

Just like last time when he said, oh, we will only do these two things in the first COVID bill, or he said we`re only going to do PPP and not help minorities and not help unbanked people in the second one.

He`s going to have to fold. And you know why? Because the country is on our side. This idea that the Republicans have -- let the private sector solve the problem -- is terribly out of date. And when Democrats propose big, bold action by the federal government -- we`re backed up by most of the people.

HAYES: There are questions now about voting this fall, particularly brought into relief by what we`ve seen happen in other places, in Wisconsin. The last CARES Act, not the 3.5 one, the sort of supplemental for the PPP, but the act before that, the big one, it had, you know, money for mail-in voting, but there`s no sort of federal requirement that states prepare themselves. It`s a very spotty system. Is that a must-have for Democrats? Is that something that is a kind of bright line for Democrats, it is a priority to make sure we can have a safe and healthy election.

SCHUMER: It is really important. I don`t underestimate the desire of Republicans to use the COVID crisis to prevent people from voting, particularly poor people, people of color. They`ve done that all along.

Here`s a good one, in Alabama if you want to vote by absentee ballot, you have to have a notary public sign that you did it. Now, who can afford a notary public? Not a poor dirt farmer in Alabama, not an inner city resident in Alabama, it`s aimed at stopping people of color and poor people from voting.

We feel extremely strongly that every one should be able to vote, that the COVID crisis should not stand in the way of what is the hallmark, the well spring of America, which is free, fair, and open elections. And that will be a very important part of the legislation that we`re going to put forward. And we`re going to fight like the devil for it.

HAYES: I`ve got two more things I want to get to. First is Justin Walker who is the McConnell/Kavanaugh protege who was -- I get your reaction.

SCHUMER: You are marching to a parade of horribles.

HAYES: Well, I cover the news...

SCHUMER: You`re right, they`re horribles and we should expose them.

HAYES: A remarkable situation of McConnell wanting this guy who -- he`s 37. He was rated not qualified for the district court position that he was appointed to. He is rated qualified for the appellate position, which makes sense because he wasn`t -- didn`t practice trial law. He did clerk for Kavanaugh and a bunch of prominent judges.

But the priorities here are pretty striking in terms of this being -- McConnell being back to kind of like the judges agenda.

SCHUMER: Exactly. Here we have the COVID crisis raging. We Democrats have demanded strong, tough hearings where we bring a Fauci, we bring a Mnuchin, we bring a Powell, we bring a Birx before these committees and they can ask them real, tough questions. And what does McConnell do? Brings in a crony of his, who is a hard right guy, and so out of touch with the times. This guy is for the repeal, the repeal of the ACA. At a time when people are desperate for health care, McConnell doesn`t do anything about COVID this first week we`re back and instead focuses on trying to get someone who wants to repeal the ACA on the second most important court in the land.

It is so out of touch with what the American people need. And it shows again that Mitch McConnell goes by his ideological supporters and just about nobody else. It`s like an ostrich. The country is burning. The country is burning and they`re fiddling. They`re fiddling. Nero. But I think Hoover is the best analogy.

HAYES: An ostrich named Nero Hoover. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer from his home in Brooklyn. And I thank you for making some time tonight, sir. Thank you.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.