hydroxychloroquine TRANSCRIPT: 5/19/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Jared Bernstein, Ezekiel Emanuel, Neal Browning, Katty Kay, Anthony Brown

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber. We have a busy show tonight.

Top Trump officials grilled on this ongoing economy, some calling it a Trump recession.

Tonight, we have a special report on how to grieve during crisis -- why President Trump has many disappointed and some are longing for President Obama right now.

Later, Dr. Zeke Emanuel is here on the reported censoring of the scientists collecting COVID-19 data.

And, tonight, an exclusive interview on THE BEAT from a volunteer from that early vaccine trial that is showing some promising results. We can all use good news like that.

But we begin with something that affects every American`s life right now, this troubled economy and a clash over where to go from here, with 36 million people without jobs.

Today, for the first time since this pandemic began, we actually saw two top Trump economic officials being pressed, testifying before Congress, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin echoing Trump, because he`s talked all about how there could be -- quote -- "permanent economic damage" unless they reopen the way that Donald Trump wants.

Well, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown was pushing back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): How many workers should give their lives to increase the GDP or Dow Jones by 1,000 points?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: No worker should give their lives to do that, Mr. Senator, and I think your characterization is unfair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: But let`s be clear. While the debate is alive, there are clearly people who are dying and dying on the job, workers getting hit from meatpacking plants all the way to Amazon warehouses.

The president says he will actually visit a Ford manufacturing plant for ventilators Thursday, not committing, though, to wearing a mask.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know. It`s -- I haven`t even thought of it. It depends. I mean in certain areas, I would.

In certain areas, I don`t. But I will certainly look at it. It depends on what situation.

Where it`s appropriate, I would do it, certainly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Meanwhile, Donald Trump has removed many attorney -- excuse me -- inspectors general.

He has blasted the World Health Organization, while China is money to it. He is holding multiple public events without masks. You know that. Fifty states now, when you count it up, have some form of reopening going on by this weekend.

But the economy, of course, is not reopened, even with these steps forward. Without dependable testing, without an actual national contact tracing method or better treatment, the questions are major.

How many people, how many Americans, even if you`re in a place that may be better than others, are you going to want to go out and eat out? Are you going feel safe? Are you going to do shopping that is elective, that you don`t have to do? Would you choose to go to a movie when there is so much Netflix without other people around?.

This is a real question. It`s not just about your individual consumer behavior and your own safety and choices. It`s also about, as a nation, when are we going to be ready to get back to work in a safe way and how does that impact all the people who need work, the people struggling for a paycheck?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM GRAY, OWNER, PRATI ITALIA: We are still operating at 90 percent below our typical revenue. So, it will be nearly impossible to gain that back.

SHARISE NANCE, BUSINESS OWNER: Are we going to have to lay everyone off? I have never had to experience laying anyone off in my seven years of running a business.

JORDAN ROBARGE, OWNER, NANCY`S REVIVAL: I`m not sure how long my cash flow can last if the government doesn`t continue to come back and provide assistance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We`re joined now by Democratic Congressman Anthony Brown of Maryland, Katty Kay, Washington anchor for BBC News, and Jared Bernstein former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, who knows all about recovery.

Congressman, when you look at this debate, there are aspects of it that are certainly legitimate, where there can be reasonable disagreement, people who say, look, with this many out of work, we want to do everything possible to get more people out, and then obviously living and feeling the economy.

What do you think was gleaned from today`s hearing? And what is important on your mind within the legitimate debate?

REP. ANTHONY BROWN (D-MD): Sure.

Look, Ari, I think all of us want to get back to work, get back to the workplace, want to get back to some sense of normalcy, where we can interact socially and out and about. But you have got to balance that with the need to protect the community, protect those workers, front-line worker, essential workers.

And we`re not there yet. Every reopening plan, whether it`s what the CDC recommends, what my governor in Maryland recommends, my county executive, in order to reopen, you have to have testing. That`s why Congress has appropriated more money for testing, contract tracing and treatment.

If you don`t have that in place, with also PPE where it needs to be, then you have got to be careful. You cannot reopen faster than public health officials recommend.

MELBER: If we take that at face value, then, though, what you`re saying implicates not only the president, but most governors and most parties.

BROWN: Absolutely.

Listen, in Maryland, there`s a lot of pressure on our Republican governor. I think Governor Hogan did a good job early on, made a decision to close schools, one of the first to do so, put restrictions on businesses.

But I don`t necessarily think I agree with his approach. He`s looking to open up Maryland. He`s delegating to county executives, essentially punting the decision whether to open in the most -- in those counties where you have a higher infection rates.

And I think it`s the wrong approach. So governors need to be careful. The president needs to be -- take a better approach. County executives need to be careful. There`s a lot of pressure to open up the economy.

You want to get from revenues back to state and local government. But that`s why it`s so important that Congress passes the HEROES Act. We`re putting in $1 trillion for state and local government. We`re putting more money into testing, more money for unemployment insurance benefits and for small businesses, because we are far from out of the woods.

MELBER: Right.

Well, you mentioned Hogan, a pretty independent-minded Republican governor.

Katty, when you ask folks about how different officials are handling the coronavirus response, it`s interesting. Hogan there doing very well. We have pointed this out before. You`re talking about a Republican governor in a blue state with 85 percent approval. You see at the lower end, on the right of the screen, you have Governor Kemp there 43 percent.

He was the most bullish, if you will, about getting out there with what we`d call Trump 1.0, before Trump undercut him for doing it. And then the president also at 43 percent on the virus.

I`m curious what you think this says, Katty, because, on the one hand, we`re polarized politically, but, on the other hand, it is certainly notable to see those kind of larger majorities around certain approaches.

KATTY KAY, BBC: Yes, I mean, I think the polarization of American politics is its own worst enemy generally, and the politicization and polarization around this virus is hurting the country in particular.

But I think what you`re seeing from Georgia is that people don`t want to be political footballs. If they sense that their leadership is acting in a way that they are doing just for political gain, for their own political gain, then they`re not going to feel safe.

Then they -- and people feel this, right? They`re not stupid. They realize whether they can trust their leadership to act in their own best interests, in the own best interests of their own security, or whether they`re doing it for either political gain or economic gain or whatever it is, but that it`s not to do with the safety of people.

And I think what we have seen here is that -- is this desire not to be political footballs, the American public, and they`re not going to go back if they don`t feel safe. And that`s the point that was being made by senators, I think, today to Steve Mnuchin and Jay Powell, is, you can open up all you want, but if you`re not opening up in a way that workers feel, they`re not going to go back, and, therefore, there`s not going to be money spent.

MELBER: Jared?

JARED BERNSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST TO VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Yes.

One of the things I was just thinking is Katty was speaking -- and I think her points are extremely well-taken -- has to do with unemployment insurance. There are a number of states that are essentially making workers choose between continuing to draw their unemployment insurance checks, which are absolutely essential for workers in the bottom half of the income scale -- they have no savings to fall back on. They have no paid leave.

They lose their job. They have got eviction threats. They have got nutritional threats. Anyway, they may not want to go back to work because their job is unsafe.

But the Trump Labor Department is trying to push them back. They`re kind of conspiring with some states, not every state. There are good actors out there -- and I`m happy to name them -- conspiring with some bad states in this space, who are saying, report your workers who refuse to go back to work and we will take them off the unemployment insurance rolls.

That`s putting these vulnerable people in a choice that they have to either go back to work and compromise their and their family`s safety or go Brooke. And that is an untenable choice. And it`s in the spirit of what Sherrod Brown was harassing, I think appropriately, Secretary Mnuchin about today.

MELBER: Yes, I mean, that exchange, we wanted to highlight, because the trade-offs are real. And so you have to talk about them openly. There`s a risk factor.

If you ask people to go take a trucking job without a seat belt, that`s different than putting them out there with the safety precautions. And we`re in that situation.

I also, Jared, want to get your take, because you have literally done this work, as we remind people, inside of government during a recession and a recovery, "Washington Post" describing the levels of stimulus money that has been appropriated by Congress that`s unspent.

The Treasury Department has spent -- quote -- "very little" from a $500 billion fund created by that March bill to help businesses and governments, even though many of these entities have asked for immediate help.

Jared, a very serious problem. I will give you the very basic and somewhat lighthearted question. If you remember the "Saturday Night Live" skit, what`s up with that?

I mean, how are they sitting on 500-B two months later?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, this point cannot be overemphasized.

It is one thing to pass a relief bill. And I applaud the initial urgency that congressmen, including Representative Brown, went at to pass those initial measures. And they were substantive, and they were large. Now, that urgency has faded among Republicans, and that`s really problematic.

But getting back to your point, it`s one thing to pass it and a whole `nother thing to implement it, to execute it. And on the implementation, on the execution, we have really seen this administration massively drop the ball.

MELBER: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: And it`s not just the $500 billion fund, though that was in the spotlight today. It`s also unemployment insurance.

We know that many states have yet to stand up their unemployment insurance programs.

MELBER: Right, which...

BERNSTEIN: And, again, as I said in my other comments, that income is make or break for many families.

MELBER: Right, which is huge for people`s lives, given that it`s money Congress appropriated.

Congressman and then Katty, your response on this issue, on getting it actually out there?

BROWN: Yes, let me say this.

I think not only is a lack of urgency, but I think, for many in the administration, frankly, many Republicans, who believe that, by getting assistance out, you somehow disincentivize governors and the private sector to return to normal, to open up their businesses, to open up government.

And I think that`s a wrongheaded approach. The money`s been appropriated. We need to use it to support the economy and, most importantly, the public health effort, so that consumers, workers have the confidence to come outside of their homes, get the economy going, return to some semblance of normalcy.

MELBER: I`m going to say Katty gets the final word in this panel.

And then, afterward, I have a little bit of one-on-one business with Jared that I`m not going to bother everyone else with.

So, Katty is the final word for the group.

KAY: Yes, Ari, there is an example here of how to do this much better than the United States has done. And that`s Europe, that Europe did a heck a lot wrong when it came to the coronavirus.

But on this issue of keeping people on payroll, and making sure that you didn`t have massive unemployment, and, therefore, huge amounts of financial hurt to ordinary families, they have done it so much better, basically, because governments came up with the idea that they were going to keep people on payroll up to about 75 percent of payroll, some cases up to 87 percent of payroll.

And that means that, whilst you had this terrible health devastation, as we come out of this, most people in Europe have not lost their incomes have not actually lost their jobs, because, as a result, the unemployment rate has ticked up a tiny bit, but nothing compared to the United States.

It turns out, I think, that that will prove to have been a much better model. Jared, I`m sure, can figure in on that later. But it seems that you`re getting much less economic hurt there than you are here.

MELBER: What`s a great point, Katty, and it`s a reminder that we don`t usually have this type of situation, tragic as it is, where there are these different real-time tests, both on health and economic approaches, because so many countries obviously dealing with similar things.

As always, we appreciate Katty Kay.

And, Congressman, as a member of the United States Congress, I`m just not going to make you be a part of what I`m about to do with Jared.

BROWN: OK, Ari. Thank you.

BERNSTEIN: I hate the way this sounds.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Stay safe.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: Thanks. Thanks to both of you.

Jared Bernstein stays with me.

Jared, you have endeared yourself in the hearts of so many on THE BEAT team and I think some of our viewers with your endlessly nerdy economics dad jokes. I assume it comes from the teaching side of you.

And we had a -- we get to do some special stuff sometimes. We had a great opportunity, because you have told multiple dad jokes about 50 Cent. He was then on the program. We played some of your best or, some would say, worst, material.

And he has a response. And we wanted you to see it. This is 50 Cent on Jared Bernstein`s 50 Cent jokes. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CURTIS JAMES JACKSON III, "50 CENT": That`s cool, man.

It fell into -- that was a good name selection. Look at how I was able to be put into the economy.

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: It`s probably not his musical choice. But he is cool enough that he knew.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Jared, 50 says it`s cool that you knew.

BERNSTEIN: Yes, no, I think maybe 50 and I should go out on the road together. And he can do his thing. And then I will come up and put up some graphs, and we will talk about the interest rate and recovery and the execution and what`s going on in Europe and here, and mix it up a little bit.

So, 50, I`m -- if you want to join up, I`m right here, my man.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: All right, 50 can holler at you.

My only thought, from going to concerts -- and, someday, hopefully, we will have concerts again -- sometimes, you have the opener. I feel like he could go first. And you could be the closer. Like, after all the music, you go up there with your charts and kind of cool it down.

BERNSTEIN: No, no. That won`t work.

That won`t work, because if I go second, everybody will leave. So, I have to go first.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: You have to go first.

You`re a good sport. I loved bringing you guys together. We will see you again.

Jared Bernstein, thanks to you and our whole panel. We had to get that in there.

We have a lot more in tonight`s show. So, I want everyone to stay with us.

Coming up, we have a very special report on what critics call Trump`s empathy gap and why many experts say it`s a time they miss not only President Obama, but many other past presidents.

Also tonight, serious questions about whether states are fiddling with virus data to try to support a political agenda of a certain approach to reopening. There`s a scientist in Florida with new details. We`re going to bring you that important story. It may affect you and your state.

Also tonight, an exclusive interview with a volunteer in the very first vaccine trial, which everyone hopes could help whip this pandemic eventually.

I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Now we turn to an important, difficult challenge right now, confronting death, grief and mourning.

This is a sad topic. But it`s not only sad. It`s necessary, because avoiding the reality and impact of America`s growing death toll right now wouldn`t honor the people we have lost, nor advance healing, nor the unity we need.

So, as America faces this death toll, which literally rivals entire wars we have fought put together, we want to turn with you right now to some lessons from history, how past presidents have confronted national tragedies, and led our nation, not only on the tangible part, issuing a policy response, paying for remedies, but how people have also stepped up to the intangible, consoling, grieving, praying.

Consider how President Reagan talked about the lives lost when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, which so many Americans saw live on television.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye, and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Whatever people think of Reagan`s ideology, it was an address America needed, comfort during tragedy.

Many other leaders have stepped up to the horrific task of addressing a traumatized nation after all kinds of terrible, terrible things that you don`t want to happen, including a period in our history where we had more than one assassination.

Lyndon Johnson had a notoriously frosty relationship with the president he served, but he found the words to address a country that really seemed to stand still after the president was shot in broad daylight in a scene that would replay on air for years.

Here it was just days after John F. Kennedy was murdered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, John Fitzgerald Kennedy lives on in the immortal words and works that he left behind.

He lives on in the mind and memories of mankind. He lives on in the heart of his countrymen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: He lives on. Many people could feel that.

And that was, obviously, historians tell us, when we go back and read, it was a tough and violent time. It was just five years later that President Kennedy`s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, was running for president himself when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

And in that era, obviously, a time without the Internet or all the instant updates that are so normal today, it literally fell to Robert Kennedy to break the news to a crowd.

And Kennedy offered his earnest, vulnerable feelings while also trying in that very moment to be a leader who could credibly, morally, ethically urge calm, when so many people were feeling anything but.

And to do that, he invoked King`s belief in prayer and love.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight.

So, I ask you tonight to return home to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King -- yes, it`s true -- but, more importantly, to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love, a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Each of those incidents involved the sudden death of prominent Americans, a contrast to where we`re living now, current grinding march of everyday Americans dying, few of them well-known in the way of those individuals.

But other presidents have confronted mass death tolls and also focused on addressing the countless, basically unknown, but forever changed and impacted families.

It was President Clinton after the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And to all the members of the families here present who have suffered loss, know we share your grief. Your pain is unimaginable. And we know that.

Those who are lost now belong to God. Someday, we will be with them. But, until that happens, their legacy must be our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: President Obama, who was known to avoid much public emotion, shared his own grief, choking up when speaking about another violent attack during his tenure, a mass shooting of first graders at Newtown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First graders.

And from every family who -- who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And then there was September 11.

President Bush`s foreign policy response, we all know, widely debated by Americans, the Republican Party leadership, ultimately opposing the Iraq war that Bush said it must spawn, so we don`t erase that part of the reaction.

But history also shows there was wide agreement the President Bush stepped up to comfort the victims and work on leading the country during the tragedy towards attempted unity, immediately visiting a mosque to advocate tolerance, and sharing grief with the whole nation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are here in the middle our of our grief.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: You probably remember those months, those years after 9/11, the many different ways we all grieved and remembered the dead in local acts, in national ceremonies, in the anniversaries and the ongoing charity events.

And today`s pandemic death toll is now 30 times the number of Americans we lost on 9/11.

We haven`t had enough time, anything like an actual amount of enough time, to devote any of that level of attention proportionately we did to each of those losses. And this thing isn`t even close to over.

But when you listen to these past presidents from both parties, there is more than a history lesson here, more than just a reminder of the way things were.

Just looking at this when we were putting it together, and now, as you`re watching it, I think it does something else. It unavoidably, obviously, provides a bipartisan contrast to how the current president approaches this part of the job during this mounting death toll.

How do you counsel and grieve with a nation that sorely needs it? Well, President Trump largely avoids any words of public condolence at all.

That`s unprecedented in history. And it`s all the more striking, because Trump has been talking more in public than most presidents did about most of the tragedies we just showed you. Indeed, the numbers here are the factual context. They will eventually also become history.

In a month of virus briefings, Donald Trump spoke for a total cumulative of 13 hours, discussing the virus and the government response, two hours attacking his critics, 45 minutes praising his administration, but just under five minutes total expressing any condolence for victims or grieving.

That`s according to a count by "The Washington Post."

Today, the U.S. death toll surges over 90,000. And President Trump is talking about never forgetting the dead, a sentiment that he still immediately mixed with blaming the -- quote -- "people that caused the problem."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We can never forget all of the people that have been left behind, that have died, for some reason that should have never happened, should have never happened. You know that. I know that.

And the people that caused the problem, they know that too. It`s too bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It`s too bad. They know that too.

The sound you hear is the sound of the president of the United States darkly suggesting someone else did this, and they know they have some guilty failure of awareness. That`s while claiming to pay tribute to the dead.

This is a total contrast to other presidents, to other past American leaders in both parties. And while this is not the only thing going on right now, if you do find yourself at home thinking, this is not normal, we should not act like this is normal, you`re right. It`s not.

The archive shows that.

And many of the moments you just saw were, of course, from different tragedies across time, with different nuances and all the caveats and all the different things that go when you make any comparison.

But we checked, because this is still the news, as we look at history, and the facts show there`s also a sharp contrast between how this president discusses this infectious disease and how the last one, the last situation like this to create a major square -- a scare, I should say, swine flu, how that played out.

Here are how two consecutive presidents addressed the nation about deaths from these public health crises, where there is, of course, grief, plus the obligation for elected government leaders to provide safety information.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Overnight, we also received confirmation that an infant in Texas has died as a result of this virus.

TRUMP: Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight. She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s.

OBAMA: My thoughts and prayers, deepest condolences go out to the family, as well as those who are ill and recovering from this flu.

TRUMP: Additional cases in the United States are likely. But healthy individuals should be able to fully recover.

OBAMA: This is obviously a serious situation, serious enough to take the utmost precautions.

TRUMP: So, healthy people, if you`re healthy, you will probably go through a process, and you will be fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That didn`t prove to be true long after the public information for the president and his team on notice that it wouldn`t be true.

We have reported out the grim numbers every night.

Each tragedy is different. Each president chooses how to address what happens on their watch. But each president also takes an oath to faithfully preserve and protect the nation through their constitutional leadership.

In crisis, what presidents do or fail to do dictates how the nation is or is not protected. In a democracy, citizens can take stock of the results. You make up your own mind.

In this polarized and traumatized time, we do look to history, because it can add a larger context in how you make up your mind, whether it`s looking at these decades-old pieces of information, of tragedy that may feel sometimes like a bygone era, or even recent history that may remind people, you`re not dreaming.

It was not always this way. In fact, it was just five years ago when America faced a horrific time for grieving, the Charleston church shooting, when people cried together and a president tried to do some small bit of justice to the memory of the people who just died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA (singing): Amazing grace.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA (singing): How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: We`re back with former RNC chairman Michael Steele.

He watched some of that, the different leaders. It can give you chills. I wonder your reaction, Michael.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that was a very powerful segment, Ari, first off.

And I think folks should not look -- lose sight of that contrast that you very well put in front of us.

I focused on five words that you said: this part of the job. That`s the hardest part of being president is this part of the job, when you have to break down from the traditions and the formalities and be human and connect to the American people at a time of tragedy, a time of difficulty, in a way that you don`t when you`re talking foreign policy and you`re talking about the economy, and you`re talking about jobs, you`re talking about Wall Street.

We look for our leaders, particularly our president, in these moments to speak to us in a language that a family member would share with us, a close friend, someone who you feel understands the difficulty you`re going through.

It`s not about sympathy. It`s about empathy. It`s about a compassion that rises above what we typically expect from a leader. And most of our presidents, I would dare say all of them, to some extent, at difficult times stepped into that role of leadership, that part of the job.

And that is -- has been the most difficult thing for Donald Trump, because that part of the job, he does not understand, nor does he feel in a way that he can communicate back to us, as you just illustrated in that last clip, talking about the passing of someone and then just jumping on to, oh, yes, well, healthy people, you will be OK. You will go through some stuff, but you will be OK.

I feel a lot -- I feel a lot of warm fuzzies from something like that when I hear a president says it, right? You don`t. That`s the connection.

MELBER: Yes.

And Michael Gerson, who, like you, served in the Republican Party, was writing about this in April and saying, this is a total failure in presidential leadership, in what you need from a president.

Quote: "Empathy is the manner by which a nation`s suffering is given purpose, a method of assuring the vulnerable they won`t be forgotten. If the president can`t feel it, he needs to fake it."

Fake being a strong word. Other words would be that leaders step up to meet other people where they are, even if they`re not there that day, the presidency being the ultimate demands on that.

And so I`m curious if you see that as something where this president`s constitutionally incapable. And what is the cost of that. We have measured so many things, but what is the cost of that during this time?

STEELE: Numbness. It`s numbness.

We become numb to others in a certain way. And we tend to focus more on self. And that`s been reinforced by this president, who tweets out liberate this state or liberate that state, playing to people`s lowest common denominator of passion and concern that`s misplaced and misguided, that is infused with selfishness.

Selfish individuals are very good at promoting selfishness. And I think you see that a lot with this president. And so this idea of faking it until you make it is not something that`s going to happen with Trump. We need to just realize that`s not going to happen, nor is he going to put someone out there who could fake it for him, like Vice President Pence, who is a compassionate man.

And we saw that in the very beginning, when he would talk in these daily briefings, and then the president just took them over. And so even then, in that moment, the president wouldn`t allow a voice within his administration that could carry forward that kind of passion or compassion to take hold, and the American people could hold onto that, because it wasn`t coming from Trump.

Again, that selfishness was more of a dominant feeling than some compassion for how the American people were feeling.

MELBER: Right.

You really lay it out. You have the experience. And, again, as emphasized deliberately, we`re discussing something that`s not normal and that is not about ideology or politics. You`re speaking as a former party chair of the GOP.

The Republicans we showed did this. It is something much more aberrant. And I think part of dealing with it is confronting it and making sure everyone understands how aberrant it is, as well as the inspiration we can take from some of those other leaders, because they`re -- those words are timeless.

Michael Steele, thank you, sir.

STEELE: You got it, bud.

MELBER: Thank you.

Up ahead, Dr. Zeke Emanuel joins us on what to do if your state isn`t telling the truth about how to reopen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: New questions about how Trump`s allies may be shielding coronavirus data from the public, as a kind of a disinformation campaign while dealing with the reopening debates.

In Florida, the virus data chief was actually removed from the job after being told, reportedly, to censor information. That individual, Rebekah Jones, says she was ordered to censor some data -- quote -- "but refused to manually change it to drum up support for the plan to reopen."

On our last day, she also sent an e-mail to the office warning -- quote -- "As a word caution, I wouldn`t expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months," adding, "My commitment to it largely, arguably, entirely, is the reason I`m no longer managing it."

Translation? She`s saying she was fired for being accurate.

Let`s get right to it with Dr. Zeke Emanuel. He was a former Obama White House health policy adviser.

Good to see you. And I`m curious what you think of these kinds of stories.

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER: Look, it`s really worrisome.

It`s hard to find a pandemic if you don`t have accurate data. It`s hard for the public to know what to do if they don`t have accurate data. And Florida`s only one of the states that has confronted this. Georgia`s the other one.

And this is awful. The public deserves the right to know. The public deserves the facts. And these are not an attempt to educate the public. This is an attempt to confuse the public.

MELBER: Yes.

And this is -- look, it`s a bit like, in law, used car sales allow for some exaggeration. It`s not defined as fraud. And it`s called puffery, and it`s allowed. So, you could say it`s the fastest car on the lot, but you can`t say that a Chrysler is a Porsche.

There seems to be something here where people do expect and are, sadly or not, accustomed to all sorts of political figures exaggerating things. But there seems to be, both legally, ethically and medically, which you have worked in all of those intersections, a higher burden here, because we`re talking about life-and-death decisions that each person and family member has to make.

I want to show you, in Florida, Doctor, just a graph of these cases, in the last three days, as all this is going on, you can see, jumping up. At the right-hand side of your chart, they`re jumping back up, jumping back up to 854 cases.

And so that is a framework for what I`m about to play, which is the way the president is misleading on this, for your fact-check on the other side. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We`re going to safely reopen our country and our economy. And it`s happening very rapidly. And it`s happening, interestingly, when numbers are actually going down.

You look at Florida, the state of Florida, a great job. You look at Georgia, you look at others. They`re open. And some are doing extremely well, far beyond what people thought. And the numbers are going down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Doctor, so, again, walk us through this. I`m doing a truth sandwich.

The president says, look at Florida. Yes, look at Florida. Walk us through what that says to you, when it`s going back up.

EMANUEL: Well, we know that the downward trajectory here is a result of the public health measures that were taken, the social distancing, the banning the large gatherings, the beginning to wear face masks, the suspension of nonessential businesses.

And then, when you reopen, you know that one of the consequences is you expect the transmission rate and the number of cases, therefore, to be going up.

And the real question and the real worry is, how far up do they go? If you`re a public health official, you want to spot that increase, so you can jump on those cases and try to prevent a real further resurgence and outbreak. And if you don`t know where those cases are, or you`re not looking for those cases, or you`re hiding it from the public, they can`t assess whether the policies are working one way or another.

So, if you want to communicate to people, oh, the opening up is having no consequences in terms of larger cases, the larger number of cases, you just don`t produce a larger number of cases or you somehow make it hard for people to see those data.

The same thing happened in Georgia, where they had different counties color-coded by how many cases they have. And, suddenly, they changed the threshold for changing to red, which was a high number of cases, so that fewer counties were red, not because the cases actually went down, but because they decided that they wanted fewer red case -- red counties, and so that they made the threshold for getting red higher.

That`s like changing the goalposts in the middle of the game. This is just purely a way of deceiving the public and making it hard for people to understand the impact of various policies.

All of us want to open the economy, but you can`t do it on the basis of false data, and then claims that it`s having no adverse impact on the number of cases, the number of people hospitalized or the number of deaths.

And you can only drive if you have the information necessary for actually addressing serious problems that arise. And I`m really fearful that this is going to make it hard for anyone to assess the real impact of what these governors are doing.

MELBER: Very -- all very important. We wanted to shine a light on it.

And, Dr. Emanuel, you have given us a lot of context. Appreciate it, sir.

EMANUEL: Thank you. Take care.

MELBER: Absolutely.

The race for the vaccine is on, one trial that began two months ago. And here are some encouraging developments.

We have an exclusive interview with a volunteer from that first vaccine trial. That`s next.

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MELBER: Welcome back.

And now to the good news, an early phase testing of a vaccine for COVID showing positive results. The first trial with this vaccine actually began in March. A group of volunteers in Washington state received this experimental vaccine. That was phase one of the trial.

Two more phases to go, though, before you would see final results.

Neal Browning is a father of three. And he decided to step up and volunteer to test the vaccine, and joins me now for this exclusive update.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for being one of the many people playing a role, because it helps.

And walk us through what you have been through and what you know.

NEAL BROWNING, VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: Sure thing.

So, this all started back in late February, when I was in touch with the Research Institute. They pulled me in, did a background check, made sure I was healthy, blood draws.

Got my first dose of the vaccine on March 16. I had a booster shot 28 days later. And they have been tracking my blood and monitoring me ever since.

MELBER: What made you want to do this?

BROWNING: I mean, I live close to the facility. I`m very healthy. I was in the right age group. And I would like to think that anybody else that was in my shoes would have done the same thing to try and help mankind.

MELBER: Yes.

And we`re seeing now, along this process, which I have mentioned, with the caveats, we`re not done, but we`re already seeing some good results because of all the people, from you, to we have seen people who`ve developed antibodies through this synthetic process, to all of the other health care workers, first responders do it.

So how do you feel seeing that, collectively, we`re being told that there are good signs towards an eventual vaccine?

BROWNING: With the release of the news yesterday, it was just like a weight had been taken off. It felt like we`re really making progress.

Being able to see that we have gotten the right results, and in such a short amount of time, moving on through phase two and three, and ramping this up, should really help people a lot faster.

MELBER: Yes.

I want to play Dr. Fauci on the context of all of this. You have been inside it because you`re part of the trials. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: You might recall, when we first started, I said, it would be two to three months.

And if we did that, that would be the fastest we have ever gone from obtaining the sequence to being able to do a phase one trial. This has been now 65 days, which I believe is the record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Congrats on being a collective part of this record.

What do you say to people who are out there, and they`re afraid or they`re like, gosh, why step up and do something like this, stay out of the way, shelter at home is safer? What do you say?

BROWNING: It`s still really important for us to not go out and celebrate in the streets because things look really well.

It`s still a long road ahead. It`s going to take a long time to produce the vaccine in the volumes that the world needs. And there`s still a couple more phases to go through this. So, there`s definitely light at the end of the tunnel. We have a lot of hope. But let`s not count all our chickens before they hatch.

MELBER: All makes sense.

Neal Browning, thanks for what you`re doing. And, as you said, when it`s all said and done, hopefully, we can celebrate again on THE BEAT or on Zoom, until it`s safer to do it other ways.

Thank you, sir.

BROWNING: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: You got it.

And we will be right back.

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MELBER: That`s our show. Keep it right here on MSNBC.

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