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Coronavirus deaths TRANSCRIPT: 3/9/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Tiffany Cross, Richard Farley, Dennis Kelleher, Natalie Azar, Jeremy Konyndyk

MSNBC HOST: In the meantime, "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts now.

Hi there, Ari. Twice in one day. Lucky us.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Twice in one day. Good to see you both times, Katy.

TUR: You, too.

MELBER: Appreciate you.

We are, of course, keeping an eye on this looming White House Briefing Room, where we expect President Trump to join his coronavirus team for this news conference on the growing outbreak.

Indeed, you can see all the preparations that suggest this is imminent. They have moved the timing once. We will bring it to you.

The virus, want to tell you, has now been reported in 34 states, over 600 cases, and 26 deaths. And the very thing the Trump White House had said it feared, bad news leading to a market scare over all of this, well, it came in earnest today, the worst market drop in over a decade.

The decline was so steep that trading was actually frozen for about 15 minutes this morning just to calm the market panic. Americans also watched this scene unfold at an Oakland port. Passengers are being isolated there tonight. Several had tested positive for the virus.

These scenes are extra striking considering new reports that question the president and his administration`s handling of key aspects of this crisis.

Take a look at, for example, a simple headline from the AP that notes the White House overruled CDC recommendations that were designed to protect elderly people to keep them from flying on commercial planes due to the risk they face from this virus.

I want to bring in immediately Dr. Natalie Azar, who is from New York`s Langone Hospital and an analyst and expert for us, as we await this press conference.

Everyone knows how that works. We may dive into it at any time it begins.

But, bottom line, for people trying to make sense of how bad is it, and how much do they change their daily lives?

DR. NATALIE AZAR, RHEUMATOLOGIST, NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER: So, Ari, right now what is happening -- and this is straight from the surgeon general`s mouth -- is that there is a little butt of a shift what we are calling containment to what we refer to as mitigation.

So, in the containment phase, the hope is that you`re still able to halt an outbreak in its tracks by first identifying individuals who are infected, isolating them, and then contact tracing them.

You can no longer effectively do that in a widespread area once you have community spread, which is when the disease is being passed among people without obvious exposure history or without a direct link to an index case.

After -- so you can contain perhaps in clusters, but you can no longer broadly contain. What you then need to do is start to mitigate. Those examples of that include the social distancing that we have heard of now. It`s also -- and those things could be examples like, you know, staggering commuting times, staggering the work force, for example, making a guidance that older individuals with underlying medical problems no longer go to large gatherings, where there`s an increased risk of exposure and disease transmission, those kinds of things that are really disruptive to our lives, school closings, for example, but don`t necessarily mean that the people are ill.

It`s just a major prophylactic measure.

MELBER: I want to play for you what we heard from a former FDA commissioner here, because there`s been a lot of different talk about just what level of decisions and what level of magnitude people should take, particularly policy-makers. Take a look.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: No state and no city wants to be the first to basically shut down their economy, but that`s what`s going to need to happen. States and cities are going to have to act in the interest of the national interests right now to prevent a broader epidemic.

MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": Shut down their economy? You mean...

GOTTLIEB: Close businesses, close large gatherings, cancel events.

I think we need to think about, how do we provide assistance to the people in these cities who are going to be hit by hardship?


MELBER: Is that where we are?

AZAR: You know, I think even he said -- and I listened to that interview earlier today. You know, nobody likes this -- I think we get uncomfortable in this country with the idea of those draconian measures. We have used that word a lot in the last couple of days of these massive lockdowns and things like that.

But they are effective. And whether that means in a community you`re closing a few businesses and a few schools, as opposed to large swathes of the country. But I think he makes a good point that, you know, the financial ramifications of that for businesses is definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration.

It`s just not that easy for folks to just, you know, not be at work for two weeks. And if that -- that shouldn`t be the litmus test or the rate limiter here, right? The public health push is the thing that should be guiding this, not financial issues.

MELBER: Sure. And...

AZAR: Easier said than done, though. This is unprecedented.


MELBER: And financial issues are part of what rattled the markets today.

AZAR: Exactly.

MELBER: So you`re taking a hit, at least on paper either way, right?

AZAR: Right.

MELBER: The question of -- well, go ahead.

AZAR: No, I was just going to say, you know, I mean, this -- you know, to say whether or not we can do this in this country, I`m getting e-mails from my children`s school, you know, making -- how are we going to deal with this?

We`re going to do online schooling and things like that. So I think, almost in every sector, there`s been a mobilization to say, what are we going to do in the event that we have closures or this or that?

Even in the hospital, we`re having designated folks in our department who are going to be responsible for taking care of patients with COVID, so that we`re not exposing the entire work force to sick patients.

MELBER: Right.

Stay with me.

I want to bring in Jerusalem, the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance under President Obama. He helped lead the U.S. response to Ebola. He`s now at Georgetown, has joined us before.

And I`m going to tell viewers, we are actually going to be doing what we tend to do around here sometimes, which is more than one story.

It looks like the briefing may be further delayed. We have a lot of other stuff in our plans for THE BEAT tonight, including some breaking news on the 2020 race, which, of course, has been affected by the markets.

We have a lot of other stuff in our plans for THE BEAT tonight including breaking news on the 2020 race, which, of course, have been affected by the markets.

So, we have a lot of things brewing.

But I want to also bring you into the medical conversation here. Your response to what you just heard, and these criticisms of the Trump administration that they are overruling the scientific experts, at least to some degree?

JEREMY KONYNDYK, FORMER USAID OFFICIAL: Well, look, I think it`s been clear for a very long time that at least the White House`s preferences were very out of step with the public health expertise that they were being given, that the president has been out of step on very basic things like how vaccines work, the timeline it will take for us to get vaccines.

So it`s not altogether surprising, but it`s still, as a former government official, really jarring to see the White House overruling public health experts on a public health issue.

MELBER: Let me read to you "The New York Times" discussing some of the challenge here.

Mr. Trump -- quote -- "who`s at his strongest politically when he has a human enemy" -- that`s how they put it -- to attack, has seemed less certain of how to take on an invisible killer, the role of calming natural leader not one that has come easily."

Other than him getting out of the way or refraining from spreading misinformation, is there something proactive that you would like to see a leader of the country do at a time like this?

KONYNDYK: Well, I think it has to start with being honest and clear-eyed and candid about the risk we face.

And I think the White House is not only failing to level with the American people. It`s failing to level with itself. And that is hugely damaging. You can`t have an effective strategy to fight something if you won`t acknowledge what it is that you`re fighting and the risk that it poses.

MELBER: And, finally, I want to give you a chance to do something that we have had every expert do each day, because people are watching at different times, living their lives.

What is it you tell everyone to do, regardless of where they`re located in the country, to keep themselves and their families as safe as possible, if they still have to live a life and go to a job?


Well, the obvious thing that everyone needs to do is practice good hand hygiene, wash your hands, don`t touch your face. That`s the basic and that`s the most protective thing you can do. And then, beyond that, it really depends on kind of your own personal risk factors.

Are you older? Are you younger? Do you have medical complications? And everyone needs to adjust based on that.

I think the challenge right now is, they`re not getting a lot of actionable guidance from the federal government on how to do that. And that`s a gap I hope they will start filling tonight.

MELBER: What I want to do now, as promised to viewers, is tell everyone exactly what`s going to happen.

Both of our esteemed doctor experts will rejoin us. We`re told that this press conference is a little bit delayed, but still likely happening in the hour. So you have gotten the latest news. You have gotten some medical expertise. I`m going to come back to them as we follow that story.

There is a lot of other stuff going on, including a race that could literally decide who is going to run against Donald Trump as president, because we`re now hours away from the next multistate primary day.

And everyone remembers how the last one changed everything. Well, voters in six states had to these polls tomorrow, and they are going to now face this two-person race with a clear delegate front-runner.

You see right here Biden now has roughly 75 more delegates than Sanders. Tomorrow`s delegate haul, we should note, is wider than the margin that separates them, over 300 delegates at stake, the most of which are in Michigan, where a new poll shows Biden now 15 points up.

Now, later this hour, Biden will hold a Detroit rally with Senators Booker and Harris, which rounds out an interesting show of unity. This is something I can report for you tonight that we couldn`t have said even days ago.

And depending on how you`re situated, you will think it`s either a really great thing for Joe Biden or, as the Sanders campaign argues, a sign of business as usual in the Democratic Party.

But we can now tell you, every top Democratic candidate who has dropped out and endorsed anyone has now chosen Joe Biden.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Will you stand with me now for Joe Biden? Will you stand with me right now in the name of healing?


BOOKER: Will you stand with me right now in the name of light? Will you stand with me for a statesman? Will you stand with me here for a man that has shown he is with us, he is part of us, he will never look down on us? He will lift us up.


MELBER: There you have it.

I want to bring in Tiffany Cross, co-founder of The Beat D.C., also a fellow at Harvard`s Institute of Politics.

And we will be discussing 2020, with an eye on the coronavirus briefing when it commences, which I`m told will be in a little while.

First of all, good evening. Nice to see you.

TIFFANY CROSS, THE BEAT D.C.: Nice to see you, Ari. Glad to be here.

MELBER: Well, what do you think of this clear consolidation around Joe Biden by basically everyone who`s run and decided, Senator Warren being the top-tier candidate who hasn`t picked anyone?

CROSS: Well, I think people saw South Carolina as an indicator of where this race is going to go.

Look, I think Sanders, for the people who are hard-core in that wing, they don`t necessarily reflect the rising majority of America. And so, sometimes, people confuse that for this overwhelming love for Joe Biden. And I don`t know that that`s true, Ari.

I think there is some concern about Joe Biden, but they looked at these two choices and said, look, if this is a soldier we have to take to wars against Donald Trump, we`re going to go with him.

I think sometimes Sanders prioritizes economic inequality over racial inequality. And that doesn`t sit well with the base of the party. We saw in New Hampshire and Iowa that he actually wasn`t able to expand his coalition of voters.

So the whole narrative around him being able to inspire this huge coalition didn`t really come to fruition. And so it`s not that people are overwhelmingly in love with Joe Biden, but it`s a vote against Donald Trump. And people have to -- they`re fearful. They want to go to war with the best candidate, and they have clearly decided that Joe Biden is that person.

MELBER: Well, it`s interesting you mention that potential conflict or disparity between whether you`re talking about economic justice, writ large, or specifically civil rights and racial justice, which has loomed over all of this, as Jim Clyburn and a lot of voters, including in a diverse coalition, have backed Joe Biden, which is exactly something we wanted to ask you about.

You have Biden`s surge among African-American voters. They powered his comeback in South Carolina and beyond.

So, Tiffany. Stay with me, I want to mention a few things.

First of all, Bernie Sanders hasn`t fared as well in some of these other states. He did just win over, though, a pioneering civil rights activist and longtime liberal, Reverend Jesse Jackson.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: I stand with him because he`s never lost his taste for justice for the people.


JACKSON: I stand with him because he stands with you.



MELBER: And while Biden`s grassroots support is key, as we have noted, there are still questions about his plans going forward, many advocating for diversity, for example, in the running mate selection.

And we want to play something that happened on MSNBC today.

Charlamagne, a radio host who interviews a lot of different candidates as part of "The Breakfast Club" radio show, was arguing that Biden also needs to now define a specific -- quote -- "black agenda."


CHARLAMAGNE, "THE BREAKFAST CLUB": I want a specific agenda, especially from somebody like Joe Biden.

Joe Biden, black people saved his life in the past couple of weeks. I mean, his campaign would be dead if it wasn`t for our O.G. Jim Clyburn in South Carolina endorsing him and all those black voters in the South going out and voted for him.

Plus, you were the vice president for the first black president. You, in particular, definitely need to have a black agenda.


MELBER: Tiffany?

CROSS: Yes, so I echo Charlamagne`s point. And I think that will happen.

But, listen, I think what people are looking to is, who is going to have a debt to owe to black voters and who will prioritize that?

And I think, for most of those people who considering that, it`s Joe Biden. Look, I don`t want to dismiss Reverend Jesse Jackson. I think the sacrifice and things that he`s done for this country are nothing to just dismiss.

But I don`t know that the -- an endorsement from Jesse Jackson carries the weight that it once did. I think, if this were the `80s, that perhaps Jesse Jackson`s endorsement would mean something.

But, remember, Jesse Jackson was chased out of Baltimore during the Freddie Gray riots. There are some people who feel like he no longer speaks for them. I`m not saying that. But, certainly, there are younger activists who feel that way.

So I don`t know what that endorsement necessarily does for him. I take your point, though. I think a lot of this is going to depend on the bottom half of this ticket? Who is going to be you`re running mate.

And I think that if Bernie Sanders wants to distinguish himself and do something stand out, he could name his running mate now. The same for Joe Biden. They really need somebody who could be the Sarah Palin to their ticket, obviously with much more deep intellectual capacity, but somebody who could incite -- or excite the base and bring people out to be excited to see them, because I don`t know that people are so excited about either of these two candidates.

And I think the policy debates are -- they only resonate with, I think, cable newsrooms. I think, when it gets out to voters and the base, they want somebody that they say, you know what, this person speaks for me, I`m going to put my weight behind this candidate.

And either candidate right now can do that. I also want to say quickly, Ari, it was a mistake for Sanders, I think, to skip Selma, to skip Mississippi that also votes tomorrow. And I just don`t think the base of the party views those things in a positive light.

So he has to make a better argument to people of how he`s going to appeal to the base of Democratic voters. And I just don`t think that happened. He has to stop the establishment talk, because that sounds dismissive towards the voters who help empower Joe Biden.

And what Joe Biden saw, every single time that he`s run from 2008 to this time, even in the `80s, he has needed a black kingmaker to crown him. So his V.P. ticket will have to be consistent with that, if he wants to secure this nomination.

MELBER: You made a string of interesting points, that Joe Biden has to dance with who brung you. Since we`re talking about the south, I will do my best Southern quote.

But that also, in your analysis, the Sanders campaign, you`re arguing, may have misfired in places, reaching for endorsements that don`t actually address what you call the younger or generational African-American concern.

And then Selma, another example where that means a lot to a lot of people. And, as you say, you notice and you`re telling us you think other people may have noticed the absence. So all really interesting nuance in a race that is a two-person race.

Tiffany Cross, always good to see you.

CROSS: Likewise, Ari.

MELBER: Thank you.

So, here`s where we go from here.

Ahead, President Trump expected to speak inside this press conference about coronavirus on a tough day for his administration, for the markets and a lot of concerns around the country.

Also tonight, we have planned a special debate in this primary race with two very different economic agendas.

And later in the show, an announcement about THE BEAT out in the field. So, stay tuned.

I`m Ari Melber.

We will be right back.


MELBER: Quick live look at the White House, where the coronavirus is expected later this hour.

But, right now, we want to get into how the fears over the virus are affecting the economy, including sending markets plummeting today, continuing a slump.


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Today, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1,192 points in one day. That`s the largest single-day point drop in the Dow ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wall Street`s worst weak since the financial crisis of 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This could sink us into a recession.

LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: The Dow losing another 357 points in a weeklong market meltdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investors fear another day of big losses on Wall Street after oil markets plunged overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of these stocks are falling because of the worries about the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Historic day for the markets. You can see the damage that`s already been done so far there.


MELBER: And the damage continued.

For many stocks, today`s plunge was the worst since the financial crash of 2008, which spurred its own economic debate over conservative free market policy vs. a more liberal government role.

And many argue the support for both Trump and Sanders involves some echoes from that crash and the response. Will these new market jitters bring people towards Sanders or add to fears about his vision for shaking up capitalism as we know it?

Well, the senator has been arguing that his Democratic socialism is fundamentally about confronting corporate power to restore economic justice.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one- 10th of 1 percent, 90 percent, own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.


MELBER: The specifics of that platform involve more targeted taxes on wealth, free public college and Medicare for all.

Now, this debate is about ideas, but also words and associations.

Sanders backer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently explained Democratic socialism, she argues, follows in a very mainstream tradition of nonprofit programs that are already quite popular, from libraries to firefighters.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Some of the most popular policies and things that we have are not capitalist, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, libraries, public schools, firefighters, infrastructure. None of these things were built because they come at a profit.

We don`t -- we have decided that some things are sacred.


MELBER: That`s the liberal side of the Democratic Party`s debate right now, while, in the center, Joe Biden stands by capitalism, offering some more moderate social programs, like community college funding, support for private insurance`s approach in Obamacare, and some taxes on the wealthy.

But Democratic voters have been rushing towards Biden, towards that alternative, which powers his delegate lead. And while politicos obsess sometimes over electability, many people are focused on how this now stark choice could impact their lives, their health care, their savings, their kids` college plans.

While we keep score of the delegates, let`s be clear. This is not a game with a score for most people.

In a political system that does often exaggerate even small differences, let`s be clear, this primary is now down to two completely different choices.

And here we are on primary eve.

And we want to bring in an important discussion these substantive issues.

I`m joined by a Wall Street lawyer and the author of the book "Wall Street Wars," Richard Farley, who has taken a position against much of what Bernie Sanders stands for, and Dennis Kelleher, the president of Better Markets, a nonpartisan and nonprofit group that promotes economic security, but is much more supportive of government regulation and what is often called liberal economics.

I will mention neither of you are formal surrogates for any particular candidate, but you have different views.

Thanks for doing this conversation.


MELBER: Richard, I hope you don`t mind me calling you a Wall Street lawyer.

RICHARD FARLEY, WALL STREET ATTORNEY: By all means. I think that`s accurate.

MELBER: It`s very accurate.


MELBER: And you look the part.

What`s wrong with democratic socialism?

FARLEY: Well, again, I think you need to be careful on your definitions.

Obviously, public libraries, I think we can all argue, is a good use of the government dollar. The question is, we need to draw the lines and what is going to be most effective in our system for the best good to the greatest number of people.

MELBER: When you look at the market troubles today, do you think that helps or hurts what Sanders wants to do?

FARLEY: Yes. I think it`s too early to tell.

The election is in one day, right? And if you want to talk about the primaries, I think, frankly, the Democratic Party has made it choice. And it`s going to be Joe Biden.

MELBER: We saw a report today from Axios, thinly sourced, that claimed among potential treasury secretaries for Joe Biden would be J.P. Morgan Chase big Wall Street bank CEO Jamie Dimon.

FARLEY: Well, I hope he`s...


MELBER: The Biden camp -- Biden folks say it`s too early to get into that, although that was floated. They sort of tamped it down.

Is that a good choice?

FARLEY: I think it would be.

Now, he`s had some health issues recently. So whether he would want to take on that job is for him to decide.

MELBER: But putting a banker in charge of the Treasury Department?

FARLEY: I think that would be a very good choice, yes.

MELBER: Dennis?

KELLEHER: Well, I mean, look, let`s face it.

Hank Paulson, who was the CEO of Goldman Sachs, did such a fantastic job in the years before 2008. And I can`t remember if there`s a big event in September of 2008 that happened on his watch, after years of massive deregulation and the misguided ideology that what was best for Wall Street was good for Main Street.

And, of course, the 2008 crash was the worst crash since 1929. And it gave us the worst economy since the Great Depression. And, in fact, many of the bad ripple effects of that economy, we`re living with today and explain a lot to do with both Trump and Sanders and the debate we`re having.

MELBER: What do you say to voters? And we have heard this from Democratic voters, self-described liberals, who will say they are fearful of how much change democratic socialism would force on the economy or their lives.

KELLEHER: Well, anybody who gets elected really needs three plans, A, B, and C.

A is, if you have supermajorities in the Congress and you win the White House. Plan B is if you have the White House, and the opposition party has the Congress. And plan C is if you have the White House, one party has what the House, one party has the Senate.

The truth is, if Bernie Sanders gets elected, democratic socialism is not sweeping the country and like-minded people are not getting elected to take over the House and the Congress. And, therefore, he`s going to have to deal with a political reality of people who do not agree with him.

They may Republicans in the majority in one or both houses or not. But that`s not going to change things.

What he is focused on...


MELBER: Let`s me bring in Richard. And then I`m get you guys going.


MELBER: I will bring in Richard.

Dennis is sort of making the argument that, instead of good cop/bad cop, you have socialist cop and capitalist cop, and it`s a little more liberal at the White House. What is wrong with that?


FARLEY: I think you don`t vote for someone on the basis of their policies not being enacted.

I think you have to -- I think you have to assume that they`re going to fight tooth and nail to get their policies enacted. I would agree with him that the nation would be much better off if there was a check on Bernie Sanders. I think that`s called Joe Biden.

We don`t have to worry about who controls the House and the Senate. But I would also go back to say, I think we were pretty lucky in 2008 that we had Bernanke and Paulson and Geithner, because I think their handling of that - - and, frankly, that we had Barney Frank in the House and Chris Dodd in the Senate -- because I think the way that crisis was handled, in many ways, was a textbook for how you handle a financial crisis.

MELBER: Dennis?


MELBER: Let me go to Dennis and then back to you, Dennis and then you.

KELLEHER: Well, as somebody who was a Wall Street lawyer for almost 20 years and a senior Senate staffer for about eight years, including during the financial -- the lead-up to the crash, during the crash, and during Dodd-Frank, I`m going to reserve my judgments on how lucky we were or were not to have a bunch of bankers running the administration, whichever administration it was.

I think that we leave labels aside and leave candidates aside for a minute. What we have to focus on is that we have 90 percent of the American people are economically worse off today than they were in 2007.

There are statistics all over the place that show that. We also have a financial system that`s supposed to support the real economy. But what we have is a financial system that`s largely a wealth extraction system for the few, rather than a wealth creation system for the many.


KELLEHER: And that`s what Joe Biden and Sanders have to focus.


FARLEY: I don`t disagree with that.

MELBER: The other piece I want to get you both on, of course, is the endless tax debate.

A lot of Democrats feel that Republicans are constantly running on cutting taxes, whether they do it or not, or fairly or not, and Democrats seem to always be splitting the difference, except for this democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, who has been quite open about the fact that rich people`s taxes are going to go up a lot and other people`s taxes may go up a bit.

Is that a good and sustainable economic policy argument, Dennis and then Richard?

KELLEHER: Running -- tax cuts and deregulation aren`t a policy. They`re actually sound bites that substitute for policy.

The question is, what is your objective? And how is it going to achieve the outcome you want? If what you want is a Main Street economy that lifts everybody up that has broad-based prosperity and opportunity, tax cuts aren`t going to get you there. Neither is deregulation.

So what you need, what both Biden and Sanders need are policies that actually are going to have broad-based prosperity, rather than what you have now, which is massive transfer of wealth from almost everybody to the top. That`s not sustainable.

MELBER: What you`re talking, and what you`re saying in plain English is corruption.

This, Richard, is the argument. The people who have the ability to get the loopholes...


MELBER: ... it`s corrupt, and it`s unfair, and that why, if you actually had a harsher system, it would be more fair.

I want to play a little Sanders for you, where -- people credit him for being very clear about what he wants to do. But he says, look, if it was the rates in the Eisenhower era, what`s so bad about that? Take a look.


QUESTION: How high would you go? You have said before you would go above 50 percent. How high?

SANDERS: We haven`t come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90 percent.

But it will be...


SANDERS: I`m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower.


FARLEY: Well, the truth of the matter, Ari, is, the rates were 90, but nobody paid it, because you had a system ridden with loopholes, and everyone -- every person out there went out and bought a L.P. interest and an oil well and got depletion allowances.

If you look at the effective rate, what people actually paid, it was obviously much lower than that for the overwhelming majority of people.

But let`s put the tax issue off to one side and say, what is the government going to do to stimulate growth, create high-paying jobs and get the sort of economy that Dennis and I both want?

We have the 10-year Treasury note at less than 75 basis points. It was as low as 50. Now is the time for the government to go out and borrow for an infrastructure program, issue 30-year bonds, issue 100-year bonds, and take that money and make the investments in infrastructure that we -- that both parties agree have to get done.


FARLEY: It`s the cheapest financing in the history of the...


MELBER: Hold on. Hold on. You think doing that, though, with just straight- up higher taxes on the rich is not the way to fund that?

FARLEY: No, not when the borrowing costs are so cheap right now.

MELBER: Dennis, I want to read to you something...

FARLEY: We want to stimulate this economy, not choke it off with more taxes.

MELBER: Well, I feel stimulated just by the conversation.


MELBER: Dennis, I want to read you something on the other side.

I was pressing over here a little bit. I want to press you, Dennis, on the costs here. It`s not just Sanders, of course. He just happens to be the more liberal choice.

But there were several candidates that were talking about things that were expensive this cycle. This is dangers of Medicare for all, according to one "New York Times" opinion columnist, saying, look, it could cost -- quote -- "$32 trillion in its first decade, more than double all currently projected, federal individual and corporate income tax collections."

Bottom line, are voters looking at a plan in the Sanders side that is just not fundable? Or is this just like the Iraq War and every other thing that comes along, which is the budget will follow what the priorities are?

KELLEHER: Well, let me first reiterate, I`m not here on behalf of Bernie Sanders. Better Markets doesn`t endorse candidates.

MELBER: Sure. I said that.

KELLEHER: What we want are candidates to focus on the financial system in the economy and making it work for the vast majority of Americans.

And so I think getting into a debate, which you can have, about what Medicare for all costs and what it doesn`t cost is largely a sideshow.

And one of the things I`d say, Ari...


MELBER: Well, let me press you on that, though.

Is it a sideshow because you`re saying 32 T is affordable or not affordable?

KELLEHER: I think it`s better to focus on another crazy leftist candidate that used to be in the race called Michael Bloomberg.

Michael Bloomberg had plans to raise taxes very substantially. He had one of the most comprehensive financial reform, Wall Street reform plans of any candidate ever, nine single-spaced pages. He probably knows what he`s talking about a lot more than anybody else who`s talking about these issues.

He also had a pretty robust social policy plan. No matter who ends up in the White House, whether it`s Biden or Sanders, they are going to have very broad-based plans targeted to helping the middle class.

Worrying about tax cuts, as Richard does, is not going to be productive and not going to be helpful. What we need is an economy that actually -- or financial system that supports the real economy.

And that needs a plan. Neither Biden -- well, Sanders more than Biden, but Biden doesn`t even have a plan that addresses Wall Street or financial reform. Mike Bloomberg had that.

So, Mike -- Biden needs to catch up on the fundamentals for policies, because, if he`s elected, he needs to actually do something.

And Richard said earlier voters are entitled to know where these candidates stand. It`s past time for Joe Biden to get a financial reform Wall Street plan out at least as good as Mike Bloomberg`s.

MELBER: Well, as promised, I have to pivot a little bit to coronavirus.

But I have time for a brief joke, if you both have time.


MELBER: I want to apologize to Richard.

In America, Wall Street usually gets the last word. But we are out of time.

FARLEY: Oh, well.

MELBER: What did you think of that?


FARLEY: It takes a lot to make me cry.


MELBER: Richard Farley and Dennis Kelleher...

KELLEHER: Thanks a lot, Ari.

MELBER: A substantive conversation. I want to thank both of you.

For those watching the corner of your screen, you`re seeing the preparations. This briefing has not yet begun. It is 6:33 p.m. in Washington, but everyone is in place.

And what`s different about this coronavirus briefing than the others that we have kept an eye on, on many weekdays is the president, who is awaiting -- where everyone`s awaiting him entering this room. You can see the varied task force and other experts.

The president participating in this. So we will go into the room, as promised, as soon as the president makes his entrance.

I want to bring back Dr. -- oh. Well, I was going to bring a doctor in. But I see the president walking in, making his way to the lectern.

Our experts will be with us on the other side, but let`s listen in to President Trump at the White House.


We just attended a very important task force meeting on the virus that everybody is talking about all over the world, no matter where you go. That`s what`s on people`s minds. And we are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy.

We are going to be asking tomorrow - -- we`re seeing the Senate. We`re going to be meeting with House Republicans, Mitch McConnell, everybody, and discussing a possible payroll tax cut or relief substantial relief, very substantial relief, that`s a big number. We`re also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position where they`re not going to ever miss a paycheck, be it working with companies and small companies, large companies, a lot of companies, so that they don`t get penalized for something that`s not their fault.

It`s not their fault, it`s not our country`s fault. This was something that we were thrown into and we`re going to handle it and we have been handling it very well. The big decision was early when we shut down our borders. We`re the first ones ever to do that. We`ve never done that in our country before. We would have a situation that would be a lot more dire.

Also, we`re going to be seeing small business administration and creating loans for small businesses. We`re also working with the industries, including the airline industry, the cruise ship industry, which obviously will be hit. We`re working with them very, very strongly. We want them to travel. We want people to travel to certain locations and not to other locations at this moment. Hopefully that will straighten out sooner rather than later, but we`re working with the industries and in particular those two industries.

We`re also talking to the hotel industry and some places actually will do well and some places probably won`t do well at all but we`re working also with the hotel industry. But the main thing is that we`re taking care of the American public and we will be taking care of the American public.

And I really appreciate the professionals behind me and the professionals actually behind them in a different room. We have a tremendous team and it`s headed up by our great Vice President, Mike Pence, and I want to thank Mike because he`s been working 24 hours a day just about. He has been working very, very hard, very diligently and very professionally and I want to thank him.

I want to thank the team.

And I will have Mike say a few words.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. President. We just completed the day`s meeting of the White House coronavirus task force. We had the opportunity to brief the president today on a broad range of issues.

And, once again, because of the unprecedented action that President Trump took in January, suspending all travel from China, establishing travel advisories for portions of South Korea and Italy, establishing screening of all direct flights, all passengers from all airports, Italy and South Korea, we have bought a considerable amount of time, according to all the health experts, to deal with the coronavirus here in the United States.

As I stand before you today, the risk of contracting the coronavirus to the American public remains low and the risk of serious disease among the American public also remains low. That being said, the president did deploy not just a whole of government approach, but also a whole of America approach and last week at the president`s direction we met with leaders in industries from nursing homes to airlines, pharmaceutical companies, commercial labs and it`s had great, great impact.

Pharmaceutical companies are already working literally around the clock on the development of therapeutics that will be medicines that can bring relief to people that contract the coronavirus. And I know how pleased the president was to learn that the commercial labs in this country led by companies like LabCorp and Quest have already brought a test forward and are taking that to market effective today.

This week, at the president`s direction, we`ll be meeting with hospital CEOs, health insurance CEOs and all building on top of what the president will be announcing tomorrow with regard to economic relief for working Americans.

We also met today in a conference call with 47 of America`s governors. We were able to brief them on the latest, the progress that we`ve made. We were able to confirm with them that testing is now available in all state labs in every state in the country. Over a million tests have been distributed before the end of this week. Another 4 million tests will be distributed. But as I said before, with the deployment of the commercial labs, we literally are going to see a dramatic increase in the available - -- availability of testing and that`s all a direct result of the president`s leadership.

Today, in a few moments, we will outline community guidance that Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci will be publishing.

The president`s direction, we`re going to providing guidance about how to keep your home safe, how to keep your business safe, how to keep safe and healthy at your school, and we`ll be publishing that information and speaking about that.

A brief word about the Grand Princess. The Grand Princess has docked this afternoon in Oakland, California, at a commercial dock. 25 children, we were happy to learn through the screening over the last two days, 25 children on the ship are all healthy. Of the people that have contracted the coronavirus, 21 in all, they`re being dealt with in proper isolation, working with health authorities in California.

We hope before the end of today to begin to disembark California residents to Travis Air Force Base and Miramar. We`ve made arrangements with Canada and the U. K. to take their passengers back. They will be transported directly to the tarmac, charter flights home. And tomorrow, the remaining passengers will be transported again through very, very carefully controlled environments, buses, out to the tarmac and flown to military bases in Georgia and Texas.

All the passengers will be tested, isolated as appropriate, quarantined as appropriate. And I want to express appreciation to the governor of California and his administration, the governor of Georgia, the governor of Texas, for their strong cooperation with us in resolving the issues around the Grand Princess.

It has been a partnership which the president directed us from the very beginning and the process that Bob Kadlec will detail in any questions in a few moments continues to work and move forward.

The remaining people on the ship, the crew itself, will push off from the dock and they will be quarantined and observed and treated ship board. But the president made the priority to get the Americans ashore and we`re in the process of doing that as well as returning foreign nationals.

Let me just say one other point as the president has spoken today with the congressional leadership. One of the things that I informed the president that I had been hearing from governors is the concern about hourly wage earners in this country feeling that they had to go to work even if they were ill.

And the president has tasked this economic team and is working already with leaders in the Congress to make sure that anyone is not - -- feels that they are at risk of losing their job or losing a paycheck because they may contract the coronavirus.

When we tell people if you`re sick, stay home, and the president has tasked the team with developing economic policies that will make it very, very clear that we`re going to stand by those hardworking Americans, stand by those businesses, large and small, and make it possible for us, as the president said from the very beginning, put the health of America first.

We`ll be available to take any questions on any of these topics, but, Mr. President, I didn`t know if you wanted to speak.

TRUMP: Well, I think what we will be doing is having a news conference tomorrow to talk about various things that we`re doing economically.

They`ll be very major, including obviously the payroll tax cut. And so we`ll be meeting again tomorrow afternoon. We`ll be coming back from the Senate. We have a lot of very important meetings set up. And we`ll have a press conference sometime after that and we`ll explain what we`re doing on an economic standpoint and from an economic standpoint but they will be very dramatic.

And we have a great economy. We have a very strong economy but this came - -- this blindsided the world. And I think we`ve handled it very, very well. I think they`ve done a great job. The people behind me have done a great job.

So I will be here tomorrow afternoon to let you know about some of the economic steps we`re taking which, will be major.

Thank you very much.


MELBER: We have been listening there to the president`s appearance inside what has been a new daily tradition at the White House, a White House, by the way, that often does not use the press Briefing Room for daily presentations of any kind.

Mike Pence taking questions. Let`s go ahead and listen in a little bit and see if there`s any news made.

QUESTION: ... in proximity to somebody who had the virus.

PENCE: Let me be sure to get you an answer.

I honestly don`t know the answer to the question but we`ll refer that question and we will get you an answer from the White House physician very quickly.

Let me -- let me ask Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to come to the podium.

You all and the American public will have at their fingertips, very quickly, guidance and this is for every American.

We`re working with communities like the Seattle area or like portions of California, New York, and Florida that have what we call community spread, a concentration of coronavirus cases, but we directed our team to come up with helpful recommendations for every American, every American family, every American business and school, and if Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci step forward, they can outline that for you.


Good evening.

We`ve been -- it was good getting out last week meeting with communities. We know that the real solutions to this is every American has a role in stopping the spread of the virus and so we wanted to really put out guidance for every American and every community that was practical and common sense but detailed in a way that everyone would know precisely what to do.

The guidance will be around how to keep workplaces safe, how to keep schools safe, how to keep the homes safe, and how to keep commercial businesses safe where people would eat or be present.

The importance about this is we believe that communities are at the center of this. I came from a field where it was the communities that really solved our issues around HIV prevention, and so we`re very much speaking to the communities and the American people about what can be done.

All of this information came from a paper that Dr. Fauci provided from the Australians, first author Dalton.

So, you can actually look up the scientific evidence that informed each of these guidelines, but we will be providing that this evening in great detail so that every mother, father, child, son, daughter, caregiver will know precisely what to do and what to ask for.

PENCE: Dr. Fauci?


Just to reiterate with what Dr. Birx said, it was just -- it`s simple as that. We have been speaking about the kinds of things that would keep our citizens safe in a variety of environments. We`ve been speaking about on telephone calls. We`ve been speaking about conferences. The CDC has been talking about this for a long time, as has Dr. Birx and I.

So, we thought we would put it together in a neat form way that would be available to the general public.

What Dr. Birx mentioned is that just the other day, I got one of many, many e-mails where some of my colleagues that I know from Australia actually decided they were going to write a paper on it and make a number of boxes which was exactly saying what we had been talking about.

So, we came up with the idea, it would be very good for clarity. So why don`t we put it together, edit it a little and put it in a way that people can look, what about the home, what about the school, what about the workplace?

These are really simple low-tech things. There`s nothing in there that`s complicated. But it`s just stated in a way that`s clear, that people can understand.

PENCE: I might ask the surgeon general anything about the guidance you want to reflect on.

DR. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, one thing I want folks to know, is that we have been looking at the data from around the world, and we now know more than we ever have about who is at risk. Who is at risk -- and I hope you will help us communicate this to the American people -- are people over the age of 60.

They`re much more likely to develop complications from the coronavirus and to be hospitalized from the coronavirus. The average age of death is age 80.

Now, what we also want communities to know is that if you are a child or young adult, you are much more -- you`re more likely to die from the flu if you get it than you are to die from coronavirus.

So, there`s something about being young that is protective. We want people to be reassured by that. We want people to know that we are really focusing in on those groups that are at highest risk for complications and helping them understand how to be safe, and this new advice that`s going to be coming out tomorrow is designed to keep our communities safe, to help keep the most vulnerable safe.

And it`s important to understand that even though young people aren`t at risk for dying from coronavirus, they can potentially spread that to older people in the communities and people with chronic diseases. So, it`s important we all take precaution -- washing our hands, covering our cough, keeping our distance from people who are sick and taking the steps that will be coming out in this new guidance to help make sure we`re doing everything we know possible to keep our most vulnerable protected.

PENCE: Well done. Thank you.

MELBER: We have been listening to the ongoing coronavirus briefing at the White House.

As mentioned, the president spoke. Mike Pence spoke. Dr. Birx and the surgeon general all spoke, basically making a small amount of news regarding government guidance, and also just giving the general updates as we have come to expect here, a grim reality of this coronavirus crisis.

Back with me is Dr. Natalie Azar. And Jeremy Konyndyk, also a doctor, is with us.

Dr. Natalie, I will go to you first. You were kicking us off this hour.

AZAR: Yes.

MELBER: A basic question is, from the government perspective, what more do we know now, having completed that briefing?

AZAR: What we know now is that, in their eyes, they are saying that cost shouldn`t be a barrier to getting this epidemic, or pandemic, if you will, under control.

And they`re doing that from the point of making sure that there`s a payroll tax cut, that they spoke about hourly wage earners not missing a paycheck. So, from that perspective, they don`t want cost to be a barrier to say, listen, we need to close down this business, we need to close down the school, parents need to stay home and take care of their kids. That`s what needs to get done.

I like the fact that -- I wasn`t even aware that the LabCorp and Quest, the commercial labs, were being deployed today. That`s fantastic news. My question is, will the insurance companies be required to cover that cost?

Will they -- will the insurance be required to cover the cost of the doctor`s visit or an E.D. visit, or even a hospitalization? That`s also imperative, if cost is not going to be a barrier to testing.

And I`m really, really happy about the testing issue. We have been talking about that now for a long time, not only because we need to have a good understanding of what the real background rate is, but also that`s really the first step in what`s called source control.

If you can identify and diagnose somebody early, then you have already -- you have already committed that first step in that process that I mentioned of identifying, isolation and contact tracing.

Without being able to test people, you just -- you`re basically stopping it at step one.

MELBER: Jeremy, I`m curious. Same question to you.

And I should mention you led Ebola response for the government, not technically a doctor. Sorry for the inadvertent promotion.

But same question to you.

KONYNDYK: Well, what strikes me with what we just saw is, first, they spent the first half of that discussion talking about the economy.

And it felt more like a press conference on the economy than a press conference on a pandemic. And I`m just stunned by that. You cannot fix the economic reaction without addressing the underlying problem.

And we`re still not hearing a comprehensive plan to protect the country from the virus. We`re hearing these piecemeal things.

MELBER: Let`s pause on that, because I had a thought -- that thought as well, but I just didn`t know whether it was of any relevance, because I don`t have the medical expertise and the scientific expertise that you both bring to this.

You`re saying that the government coming out and immediately discussing the market anxiety and the economic issues, while real for those workers, as we were just discussing, to you seems a little off the priority matrix?

KONYNDYK: Well, they`re clearly reacting to what happened in the markets today. But the markets are reacting to uncertainty and they`re reacting to the lack of a plan.

And we`re not seeing a comprehensive plan. We`re watching hospitals go down in Italy. We`re watching care getting rationed. We saw similar things in Wuhan. We shouldn`t flatter ourselves to think that can`t happen here. They didn`t say a single word about any of that.

We`re getting instead some guidance that I`m sure will be useful and helpful. And I have confidence in Drs. Fauci and Birx, some guidance on micro-level measures around how you protect yourself at home and in the workplace. But what about the big picture?

We`re canceling conferences. Should cities be canceling basketball tournaments? Those are the super-spreading events that we know from the 1918 pandemic had the ability to really supercharge this. Not a word on that.


And what did you think of Dr. Birx, who is someone who, as you mentioned, you have a good view of? And a lot of people have confidence in her. She joined this Trump-Pence team specifically to handle coronavirus.

She has prior experience with an ambassador title at the State Department and handling HIV/AIDS issues for the Obama administration.

KONYNDYK: I think everyone in -- everyone in the public health community thinks extraordinarily highly of her.

I think it remains to be seen how much she is, as kind of one new person within this fairly dysfunctional process so far, how much change she can make.

And at the end of the day, if what the president is focused on is more addressing the economic issues than a strategy to actually stop this virus, then there`s only so much she can do.

AZAR: Do you want me to respond to that?

MELBER: Mm-hmm.

AZAR: Yes.

I mean, I think I interpreted it a little bit differently. I -- what concerns me -- let me just -- in my role as a doctor, I need to be able to see a patient and at my discretion be able to test, which became easier in the last week, for sure, because the number of tests were in increasing, at least in New York state.

Governor Cuomo was basically assuring us that either CDC or the public health labs would cover the cost, and he was going to try to require commercial insurance companies to pay for testing and that Medicaid would pay for testing also.

So, anything that makes my job easier at the front lines, when I have a suspicion for a patient, to test them immediately, isolate them immediately, I think is a good thing.

And, again, regarding the business incentives, if you`re telling a community that you have to close schools and close businesses, you have to give them some financial support, or that`s not going to happen. And that will still work.

MELBER: Right.

AZAR: That will still work to contain within a cluster, rather than having people just willy-nilly going to work and using public transportation and whatnot.

MELBER: And in both of your perspectives, we`re hearing some of the difference of a primary care perspective and the urgency of that, as well as what is the larger policy, and what was left perhaps, in Jeremy`s view, missing from that presentation.

AZAR: Right.

MELBER: Really appreciate the expertise, Dr. Azar and Jeremy Konyndyk. Thank you both.

We are, by the way, heading back into the field to speak with you and voters.

I`m going to explain that announcement when we come back tonight.


MELBER: A new announcement following up on the field reporting that we have been doing with voters this cycle all around the nation.

We are going back out to hear from voters this week. And if you live in or near Queens, New York, you could join us this Wednesday morning for a free event to discuss this 2020 race and the choice between democratic socialism and progressive capitalism, the two visions now up for debate in the Sanders-Biden clash.

We will hear from Queens voters about their ideas, concerns and questions by having coffee at this neighborhood favorite, the historic Bel Aire Diner in Astoria.

Now, admission is free at 8:30 a.m. this Wednesday, but you must RSVP in advance. Just go right now to That`s

And if you`re in or near New York, you can reserve a spot and get a lot more details.

Now, if you`re like most Americans who don`t happen to live in Queens, I admit it, then we urge you to go ahead and DVR THE BEAT this week to make sure you don`t miss that special report with voters and the rest of our shows this week. We have a lot cooking.

That does it for me. Thanks, as always.

Keep it right here on MSNBC.