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Trump wearing mask TRANSCRIPT: 7/14/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Ron Klain, Jena Martinez-Inzunza, Bill Nye, Garrett Dennis, John Weaver, Scott Galloway

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: But THE BEAT is starting right now.

And it`s Stephanie Ruhle, who`s sitting in for Ari.

Good evening, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Nice to see you, Charles.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Stephanie Ruhle, in for our friend Ari Melber.

And get ready. We have a big, big show for you tonight.

Joe Biden going up with TV ads in the state of Texas. We will be speaking to one of the never-Trumpers behind those very fiery Lincoln Project ads that get under President Trump`s skin.

Also, I will be speaking with the teacher who got the coronavirus during summer school.

And I will also be joined live by the famous Bill Nye, The Science Guy, talking about why masks work and the kind of masks you need.

But, first, we have got breaking news in the coronavirus pandemic, just moments ago, the Trump administration ordering hospitals to bypass the CDC with key virus data, hospitals now being told to send all COVID patient information to a central database in Washington.

Experts fear those results could be politicized. And, today, several former CDC directors writing together in "The Washington Post," saying -- quote -- "Trying to fight this pandemic, while subverting scientific expertise, is like fighting blindfolded."

Dr. Anthony Fauci saying today that it is best to stick with the advice of doctors.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: I would stick with respected medical authorities who have a track record of telling the truth.

I would say that`s the safest bet to do, to listen to the recommendations from that category of people. But it`s entirely understandable how the public can get mixed messages and then get a bit confused about what they should do.


RUHLE: Imagine that. Dr. Anthony Fauci has to instruct us to listen to people who are telling the truth, while new polling shows that a majority of Americans fear sending their children back to school; 71 percent of parents feel the risk is large or moderate, while 5.4 million Americans are losing their health insurance this year.

That`s more adults becoming uninsured because of job losses than have ever lost coverage in any single year. And as other countries begin to reopen, America is struggling to get this pandemic under control.

And I want to share what we are hearing on the front lines.


LUCADET VEDRINE, ICU NURSE, MEMORIAL WEST HOSPITAL: We are definitely seeing a surplus this month of patients coming in COVID-positive and critical care patients, unfortunately. It seems to be over capacity.

And we`re starting to get to a point where it`s -- we see it as much worse than when this first began.


RUHLE: All of this as President Trump plans to -- plans are continuing on with the RNC next month.

But many more Republicans are saying, we are not going. "Vanity Fair" out with a headline -- quote -- "Sad. No one wants to go to Trump`s COVID convention."

So President Trump decided the convention is on, but he is moving it outside in, of all places, Jacksonville, Florida, in August. Talk about that humidity, and the daily high temperature could reach a whopping 91 degrees.

Right now, the president is still speaking in the Rose Garden, talking about China, former V.P. Joe Biden and a whole lot more. If he makes any news, of course we`re going to bring that to you live.

I want to bring in now Ron Klain. He oversaw the Ebola response for the Obama administration. He`s now an adviser to the Biden campaign. Former Obama White House policy director Dr. Kavita Patel, and Scott Galloway, founder of L2, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, and podcaster extraordinaire.

Doctor, I`m not even going to say, is it a good idea to bypass the CDC with pandemic data? We know it`s not a good idea. But what could it mean? What could it do?


And what`s troubling about bypassing the CDC is not just the obvious signs, but you`re asking hospitals, especially the ones that are the most stressed right now, trying to deal with actual patient care, you`re asking them to perform an additional layer of data reporting that`s not going to the very agency that`s set up to handle the implications of that data.

So, here we have yet again another sign that the administration is pretty devoted to preserving their version of how COVID is going. And the reality on the ground is that this data, which is essential -- it`s the very reason, Stephanie, that we have been asking questions like, well, why are communities of color disproportionately affected?

What is the real ICU hospitalization rate? What is the true death rate? Those are all important elements that the American public has a right to know. The CDC, even if it`s flawed, the solution is not to go around it, but it`s to actually think about the very CDC data capacity and to strengthen it.

And what`s even more troubling, Stephanie, is that this is coming from the White House Task Force and scientists who should really be more responsible.

RUHLE: Ron, you can hide data, but you can`t change it. You cannot change the math. So what`s the actual point of controlling this information?


And, look, I think that, as Dr. Patel said, the point here is, the White House wants to try to control the message. They want to turn data into messaging, as opposed to data into science.

And I think that`s what`s lacking in this entire response, Stephanie, is a science-first approach. You mentioned at the top of the program you had four former CDC directors, both Democrats and Republicans, we should say -- this was a bipartisan message in "The Post" -- saying that the Trump administration was putting politics ahead of the CDC.

And we have had this horrible spectacle of White House aides attacking the president`s chief infectious disease adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci. And so I assume the reason they want this data to come to the White House, so the White House can put some kind of political veneer on the data.

The fact of the matter is, in the end, the truth comes out. And the saddest truth of all is an increasing death toll, again, from COVID, the number of deaths each day coming up. There`s nothing that can suppress that number.

And that is really the final verdict on this administration`s mismanagement of this COVID response.

RUHLE: Scott, you live in the state of Florida. You taking the family to Jacksonville for the RNC next month?

SCOTT GALLOWAY, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: You know, coming from Florida, Stephanie, you`re struck by what a dis-United States we have in Florida, record infections, and yet some people masking, many not.

And then I was in the great state of Montana last week, where there were 20 or 30 infections a day, and you`re out on a hike, and you see people masking. So we have been talking a lot about the economy, but the silver bullet, our secret weapon, our superpower to restore this economy comes down to one word: mask.

And it`s discouraging to see different levels of citizenship around the nation. And, to be honest, as a Floridian, this isn`t our best moment.

RUHLE: Doctor, the RNC is going to hold this event. They`re going to hold it outside. If people are wearing masks, can they stay safe?

PATEL: I think the key here Stephanie is, it`s not just the masks, but all of a combination of things that so far Florida has not been able to demonstrate.

It`s masks, physical distancing, accommodations, even outside, is still a risk, and having that testing, infrastructure tracing. And just Florida has been breaking record numbers every single day, 15,000 new cases. How -- in 24 hours.

I have yet to see any objective scientific proof that they can have a large gathering, which, again, indoors or outdoors, is, by definition, one of the highest-risk events by the CDC itself. So I have zero faith that something that is the highest risk can be handled safely, and would strongly encourage my own patients not to go.

And then, on top of that, the Jacksonville, Florida, hospital systems are terrified, because they`re already under so much duress. And why do this when it`s unnecessary, and it`s just purely for political messaging, not for the betterment of Floridians?

RUHLE: Then talk politics with us, Ron. How does any of this political messaging work? Who does it work for?

KLAIN: In terms of Trump and this convention?

Look, I think that the president`s shown throughout that he`s just stubborn, and he`s determined, and he`s determined to try to make the virus disappear. I mean, the one time -- that`s been his strategy all along, which is to tell us that it was going away, 15 cases down to zero soon, it would disappear in April, it would disappear magically.

And now, basically, if he can`t tweet it away, he`s going to go to Jacksonville, Florida, and persuade his supporters to just wish it away or will it away. And that`s the problem. That strategy hasn`t worked.

The things that would work, science, medicine, masking, distancing, more PPE, testing, tracing, those are the things the president should do. Instead, it`s spectacles and spin. That`s not going to get this virus under control.

RUHLE: Scott, a few weeks ago, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, we`re under no circumstance, absolutely not, shutting down our economy again. Makes no sense. We can`t afford to do it.

And now here we are. In California, we`re seeing massive business shutdowns, as per the governor. We`re seeing it in other states as well. How crippling is this economically? You can`t separate the health and the economics.

GALLOWAY: Yes, but I think if we -- one thing we have learned, Stephanie, is that we couldn`t afford to not shut down properly.

And that is, at some point, we`re going to have to recognize that the short-term pain of distancing and masking and some of the protocols that Dr. Patel outlined, if we don`t do this, sooner, rather than later, we have this drip, drip, drip, we`re all firing different caliber size of squirt guns at a raging forest fire, vs. taking the requisite medicine and doing what many other countries have done, whether it`s South Korea, whether it`s Germany, whether it`s Czechoslovakia, and not only flatten this curve, but crushed it.

So, the notion that we can`t afford to shut down the economy, well, quite frankly, we can`t afford to not shut it down correctly for an extended period of time and put this thing, put a nail in the coffin, or at least flatten the curve here, because the benchmark of Sweden of deciding not to distance, deciding to try and maintain the economy, what we found is that infection rates and mortalities were 4-to-12-X what they were in neighboring countries, and they received no economic benefit.

The GDP of Sweden has declined at the same pace as the countries that did a more effective job with the protocols that Dr. Patel was discussing. So we can`t afford to not close this economy more effectively. That`s how we get back to a robust economy.

RUHLE: Doctor, how worried are you from a health perspective? With millions of Americans having lost their jobs, we have now got a record number in a single year who have lost their insurance.

With so many people without insurance, does it concern you they`re not going to seek medical treatment, they`re not going to go get tested, they just can`t afford to?

PATEL: Yes, absolutely, Stephanie, not only record-breaking five million- plus people who lost health insurance, largest numbers we have seen in a year, but, on top of that, we have just an erosion of -- we have so many patients who get these surprise bills, who are not able to even pay some of the deductibles.

So, we have proof as of now that patients have avoided care. And that`s resulted in some people suffering needlessly. So, as a physician, it`s incredibly important to think about these losses, health insurance, economic mobility, and it`s exactly to the point that we have all been saying.

In order to recover as an economy, we need to feel healthy. A basic fundamental principle of that health is access to health care that`s affordable. And we`re seeing zero discussion of that, Stephanie. And the Trump administration continues to fight that. They`re taking this to the Supreme Court, where they want to strip out what little protection there is available to people through the Affordable Care Act.

So, it`s incredibly distressing. And I would just say that, even if we found a treatment and a vaccine that was foolproof, your point is right. People could be barred from accessing lifesaving treatments or a vaccine simply because of the fact that they lost their health insurance.

RUHLE: Ron, I think it`s fair to say that we don`t have a functioning or a coordinated response to the coronavirus right now.

What would a functioning White House -- you ran the Ebola response in the Obama administration -- what would it look like today?

KLAIN: Well, I mean, I think it starts with a lot of things we have been talking about here.

First of all, there would be a national testing coordinator and we would be really ramping up the testing capacity dramatically. President said, hey, it`s up to states to figure this out. It`s up to each locality figure it out. They don`t have the access to the equipment. They don`t have the access to the chemicals. You need national leadership on that.

We`d have a contact tracing corps, national corps, of 100,000, 200,000 people to take those test results and run down chains of transmission, isolate cases, and get this virus under control. That`s what`s worked in Europe. It could work here too.

And we`d have a national supply chain coordinator making sure that hospital are getting the gear they need. We`re starting to see now in these new flash point states, Florida, Texas, Arizona, a repeat of what we were seeing earlier on the East Coast, doctors and nurses telling us they don`t have enough masks, they don`t have gowns, they don`t have enough gloves, enough gear, and protective face shields, all those kinds of things.

And we`re going to see health care workers start to get sick at higher and higher numbers again. In some ways, I think that`s the biggest tragedy of this whole thing, when you see the men and women who we count on to take care of us getting sick from this virus from taking care of us because we don`t protect them.

That`s, I think, probably among -- probably the saddest thing about this whole mess.

RUHLE: Scott, every day we`re hearing about more small businesses that are saying, I simply can`t weather this storm. And they`re shutting down.

How concerned are you, especially when you look at the public markets and how well massive companies are doing? How concerned are you that, a year from now, our only options are going to be chain restaurants and big box stores, and we`re going to lose Main Street USA, based on how we`re addressing the economic recovery?

GALLOWAY: Yes, we have talked about this, Stephanie.

I think one of the most damaging metrics in the world is the Nasdaq, which, if you look at, it gives you this false narrative that the economy is just fine. And what we`re seeing in the Nasdaq is that 10 companies are responsible for 99 percent of the recovery.

And those companies are one of two things. They`re either tech monopolies or companies that are too big to fail. In the S&P 500, the top 10 companies, are up 18 percent, and the bottom 50 by market capitalization are down 38 percent. So who`s getting hurt in this pandemic? Small companies, which is terrible for the economy, because they`re generally the job creators and the innovators.

We have moved to a false head fake that the notion that the markets are any indication of the mainstream economy. They have totally separated from the mainstream economy. And the engine of global equality, of prosperity, American small business, is being left out in the cold here.

So the Nasdaq is a proxy on how the top 10 percent income-earning households are doing. And spoiler alert, they`re doing really well. It`s the other 90 percent and small businesses that are getting punched in the gut repeatedly here.

RUHLE: It`s the other 90 percent, small businesses, which employ 47 percent of America. It`s the heart and soul of our country.

Ron, Scott, thank you both for joining us.

Dr. Patel, please stay with me. You and I have more to cover this hour.

Coming up, we`re going to go behind the Lincoln Project, those ads that seem to be driving the Trump world crazy.

And I will be speaking to a Jacksonville City Council member who says that holding the GOP Convention there is absolutely irresponsible.

And we have got a live interview with a teacher, a teacher who contracted coronavirus while teaching summer school.

All that, plus the one and only Bill Nye, The Science Guy, on why masks keep us safe.

I`m Stephanie Ruhle, in for Ari Melber. And you know what you`re watching, THE BEAT on MSNBC.


RUHLE: Let`s talk TV, because, today, former V.P. Joe Biden launching his first television ad in several important swing states, including Texas, yes, Texas, where Democrats have not won a statewide election in 26 years.


JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m thinking of all of you today across Texas.

I know the rise in case numbers is causing fear and apprehension. People are frightened. They`re especially worried about their parents, their grandparents, loved ones who are most at risk.

This virus is tough, but Texas is tougher.


RUHLE: V.P. Biden is leading President Trump by five in Texas.

The ads are also running in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, all states with surging coronavirus cases.

But Biden is also getting a boost -- get this -- from Republicans. The Lincoln Project group is led by GOP strategists who want one thing, Trump out. And they are producing blistering anti-Trump ads trolling the president and urging fellow Republicans to abandon the president.

John Weaver is part of this effort. He oversaw John McCain`s 2000 presidential bid and also worked on George H.W. Bush`s camp presidential campaigns. In launching the group, Weaver warned the GOP that Trump -- quote -- "and his enablers have replaced conservatism with an empty faith led by a bogus prophet."

The ads go a whole lot further.


NARRATOR: Something`s wrong with Donald Trump. He is shaky, weak, trouble speaking, trouble walking.

You have probably heard this before, but it was smaller than we expected. It sure wasn`t as big as you promised. With so many leaks, you probably think it could be anyone. So many leaks. Donald, it`s everyone. It`s everyone.

NARRATOR: With so many losing their jobs, isn`t it time Donald Trump lost his?


RUHLE: Is this campaign working on Republicans?

Well, John Weaver is with me live in 30 seconds. Don`t go anywhere.


RUHLE: With me now, the man himself, John Weaver, co-founder of The Lincoln Project and former senior adviser to Senator McCain.

John, I haven`t seen you in quite some time, but, of course, I have seen your handiwork. These ads are something else.


RUHLE: What is the reaction from Republicans? I mean, Republicans you have known, you have been friends with for decades, what are they telling you?

WEAVER: Well, from average rank-and-file Republican voters, they`re having a reaction.

We see, in Wisconsin, the president`s numbers among Republicans have dropped 10 points. At the same time, Vice President Biden`s lead in Wisconsin has gone from three to nine. And so that`s really our mission.

Now, if you look at elected Republicans, they`re not too happy. U.S. senators are running around acting like scalded apes because of these ads that we`re running against the president, in some cases against them.

But that`s neither here nor there for us. When we announced what we were doing, we said we`re going after Trump and Trumpism. And that`s what we intend to keep doing.

RUHLE: To that point, I want to actually look at a bit of a new ad you have that`s targeting GOP senators who embrace President Trump.

Watch this.


NARRATOR: The men and women in Trump`s Republican Party will come to you, telling you they can repair the damage he`s done. They will beg you to forget their votes to exonerate Trump from his crimes.

Learn their names. Remember their actions. And never, ever trust them again.


RUHLE: I get it, John. Those should be embarrassing. They should be damaging.

But let`s get real. Over the last three years, with the exception of Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, who`s no longer in office, and a couple others, other members of the GOP get right in line with the president basically no matter what he does.

WEAVER: No, that`s exactly right. They have self-subjugated themselves, either because of careerism or cowardice, to the president. Are they afraid of being tweeted at or given a nickname?

I mean, what`s their concern? They have their own oath of office that they provided when they assumed their Senate seat, and they have shirked that responsibility. And whether it`s the hollowing out of our military, adding trillions of dollars in debt on the backs of our children, the president attacking races of people, women, a former POW colleague of these senators, they have either been silent or they have acquiesced it.

And the names should be remembered.

RUHLE: OK, but, John...


RUHLE: The reason they`re silent is because they want to be reelected. What does that tell us about Republican voters, that all the things you just went through and all the things that the president has done, those Republican voters see it, and they`re down with it?

WEAVER: Well, are they really down with it?

The Republican Party is at its smallest size since 1974. Millions of people have left the Republican Party with their feet and either become Democrats or independents. Nancy Pelosi is speaker today because millions of Republicans left and voted for Democratic candidates for the House two years ago.

And the same thing is happening now. So while there is high approval rating for the president among the Republican Party right now, it`s the smallest size it`s ever been. We will be successful at The Lincoln Project and in a grand coalition with other people if we can move a very small percentage of disaffected Republicans and Republican-acting independents away from Trump and away from his enablers in these key Senate states.

And so far, we have done that. But it`s really aspirational at this point. And we`re not going to -- we`re not going to stop until Election Day or thereafter, assuming the president tries to muddy up what happens on Election Day.

RUHLE: John, I want you to stay with me. I actually want you to turn up the volume.

We`re going to turn to the president.

He`s now taking questions in the Rose Garden, and I`m going to guess there`s a good chance you`re going to find some content for your next Lincoln Project ad.

Let`s listen in.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... She`s actually giving me some good rulings. OK? So, you know that, right? People were surprised.

No, I wish her the absolute best.


QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

So, you were mentioning the travel bans. And I wondered, when do you plan to review that? Because the European continent in -- the situation is under control, much better place than the U.S. And there is ban for other hot spots like Russia and India.

So, what will be the criteria to change that? And I -- another question...

TRUMP: Well, you know, we banned for Europe, and, at some point, that`ll come off. And we`re dealing with them all the time.

The relationship`s very good. They just don`t treat us very well on trade. They are -- they have been very unfair to us over many, many decades.

And we`re doing that. It`s very easy to solve. I was all set to solve it, actually, and then we got hit with the plague. But we have a travel ban on various countries, and that travel ban remains until such time as we say it doesn`t remain.



TRUMP: We want our country safe.

We don`t -- unlike Biden, we don`t want to have criminals pouring into our country. We don`t want to have open borders. We`re not going to have that. And we want to take care of our police. We want to actually fund our police, not defund them. And we`re not going to abolish our police. And we`re not going to make our military small and weak, because, probably or at least at top of the level, we need our military right now.

Yes, go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Mr. -- so, how do you think an America-first policy can work during a pandemic? Aren`t you concerned that this could actually damage the U.S. and make China more influence around the world?

TRUMP: OK, look, my policy`s America first.

We`ve lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year with China and many other countries. And what we`re doing is just handing everybody everything. It`s just sad. I`ve watched it. I`ve looked at it. We did the U.S.-Mexico. You saw that, USMCA.

We made a very fair deal on trade. We had the worst deal ever, right? You know that. We had the worst deal ever. And it replaced that. It replaced that horrible NAFTA deal that was one of the worst trade deals ever made.

I will tell you, the only deal that might be worse is the WTO, World Trade Organization. Maybe worse.

OAN, please.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

Your administration has taken tangible steps to ensure that Chinese companies are not taking advantage of our U.S. stock markets...

TRUMP: It`s true.

QUESTION: ... our -- our trade.

Last week, your administration sent a letter to the Railroad Retirement Board, asking them to reconsider investments in Chinese defense fund -- firms.

TRUMP: Meaning not to invest?

QUESTION: Correct.

TRUMP: That`s correct.

QUESTION: So, where is that request now? And are you taking tangible actions to ensure that U.S. investments don`t continue to fund...


QUESTION: ... defense firms in China?

RUHLE: All right, we are going to leave it there as the president is speaking to a reporter from OAN.

John, the president didn`t give us anything much there or nothing that we haven`t heard before. So, I want to get back to our previous conversation.

The state of Texas, you know this state well.


RUHLE: Joe Biden putting up ads there, what do you think about that?

WEAVER: Well, it`s about time.

I have been saying Texas is in play for months. And, look, the COVID crisis has hit terribly hard here because the governor, Governor Abbott, worshiped at the MAGA altar and didn`t do the right thing, like DeSantis didn`t do the right thing in Florida.

So we have death and destruction at a very high level in Texas. It`s been trending toward purple status for some time. I think this might put it over the edge, along with all the other problems that Trump brings to the table.

And, look, my advice to the Democrats is, stop worrying about losing, and stop acting like you`re going to win. Be more competitive. Push the envelope. The worst thing that could happen here is that Trump will have to spend time and treasure and energy in Florida and Georgia and Texas and North Carolina, and pulling resources out of the Great Lakes states.

They have already basically given up on Michigan, the Trump campaign. They`re not advertising there, et cetera. I think they`re in a world of hurt over in the Trump campaign. And I would press the advantage if I were the Democrats here in Texas, because if you don`t try, you`re not going to win.

And they may have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put a grand coalition together that changes the body politic in America for a long, long time.

RUHLE: You don`t think that Democrats who are getting overenthused right now about the potential of this blue tsunami could get ahead of themselves?

WEAVER: Well, a blue tsunami is aspirational, right? You have to work for it.

At The Lincoln Project, we try to move the polls. We try to lead the polls. We don`t follow the polls. And so the effort that the Democrats need to do is, stop worrying about a consensus around here and start getting on the move and on the march and be very aggressive about it.

Good things will happen when you`re aggressive. And when you play defense, bad things will happen.

And, look, I think they have a real opportunity here. And even if they just get close in Texas, they have a chance to take over the Texas Statehouse ahead of redistricting. They have a chance to really elect another two to three U.S. House members.

There`s a real opportunity in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida to make a difference for the long term.

RUHLE: Before we go, John, I just have to ask you, did you ever think five years ago, 10 years ago that you would be having this conversation right now and talking Democratic strategy?


I mean, if you had asked me 20 years ago, 10 years ago, even four years ago, we wouldn`t do that. In fact, at The Lincoln Project, we kept waiting for someone else of some standing, a senator or a governor, to do this.

For us to do would be like bail bondsmen coming to the rescue of the rule of law, right? We didn`t want to do this. But we didn`t really have a choice, right? At some point, you got to get in the marketplace and fight for what you believe in.

RUHLE: And you`re doing it.

John, always good to see you. I haven`t seen you in quite some time. John Weaver, thank you for joining me.

WEAVER: Thanks, Steph.

RUHLE: If you haven`t seen an ad from The Lincoln Project yet, you`re in for a treat. They are something else.

I want to turn now back to the developing story tonight. Republicans are rethinking their convention plans in Jacksonville, Florida. The event is supposed to take place in Jacksonville at the end of August. Officials are now planning to move the convention outdoors to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The mayor there describing what it would take for him to call off the convention.


LENNY CURRY, MAYOR OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: If we have widespread community spread and ICUs are full and hospitals can`t handle it.

I saw news cycles that -- I believe it was Houston to pull their statewide convention. OK, yes, they pulled it a week out. They monitored the situation up until the point where they could make a decision.

We are monitoring the situation.


RUHLE: Monitoring, and, at the same time, a whole lot of folks are having second thoughts about attending.

"The New York Times" reporting many Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach or they`re skipping it altogether.

Joining us now, Jacksonville City Council member Democrat Garrett Dennis, who has called the RNC -- quote -- "irresponsible."

Councilman, if they do move this outside, and they respect social distancing guidelines, why are you opposed?

GARRETT DENNIS (D), JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, thank you, Stephanie, for having to me.

For a lot of reasons why I`m opposed to this. If you look at the CDC guidelines, they don`t differentiate between indoor or an outdoor event. When you have people coming into your town that`s not from your city, it puts you at a higher risk.

And this is from the CDC guidelines. And so I think it`s very irresponsible to bring people in from out of town, where we`re already having a spike in the corona testing.

RUHLE: Did you feel that way about protest marches?

DENNIS: Absolutely.

And, as you know, I participated in one. And we did social distancing. But, during that time, we didn`t have a spike in COVID testing. We were very flat. We actually started to open our city back.

After that, the positive rate in our city has ballooned. I mean, we are the next epicenter. And if the RNC is here in Jacksonville, Jacksonville will be the epicenter here in this country.

And so I`m adamantly opposed to it.

RUHLE: Jacksonville`s mayor said the city is not locking down again, but will remain vigilant.

Here`s what he said.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Just go back to school. We can do that. And you can social distance. You can get your temperature taken. You can be tested. You can have distancing.

Come on. It`s not that hard.


RUHLE: That is not the Jacksonville mayor. That was White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who is saying, it`s not that hard to stay open. He`s saying, everyone can just head back to school.

So, given that you speak to constituents all day every day, tell us, as someone who is in a hot spot, what are people there telling you?

DENNIS: They`re in arms about it.

Every public opinion poll and what was done just recently by the university here is adamantly opposed to the RNC coming, for additional spread.

I have heard just recently where the teachers union down in South Florida, they are having all of their teachers to start filling out wills to make sure that they have a life plan, just in case they pass because of this.

I have a young child that`s in school. I`m very concerned. And right now, we`re having talks if she`s going back, based on -- at full capacity. I think that our school system had a plan, where it was part full-time, part virtual.

And so I think we`re -- I think we`re moving too fast. And we`re not following the CDC guidelines. I`m very appalled. And it`s irresponsible and reckless.

RUHLE: All right, thank you so much for joining me this evening, City Councilman Garrett Dennis. I appreciate it.

Still ahead: a very special guest on how masks slow the coronavirus spread and how important it is to wear them.

But, first, tragedy in Arizona -- President Trump pushing to open schools there after a teacher who was teaching summer school dies from coronavirus.

One of her colleagues joins us next.


RUHLE: The Trump administration is pushing all schools to reopen, as coronavirus cases are surging across the country, while a teacher in Arizona recently died because of COVID after she went back to work.

Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, she was just 61. She was teaching summer school in a classroom with two colleagues who are now recovering from the virus; 71 percent of Americans are fearing reopening schools and saying it would be a significant health risk.

President Trump was asked about this Arizona tragedy, and specifically school safety. Here`s what he said.


QUESTION: What do you tell parents who look at this, who look at Arizona, where a schoolteacher recently died teaching summer school, parents who are worried about the safety of their children in public schools?

TRUMP: Yes. The schools should be opened. Schools should be opened.

Kids want to go to school. You`re losing a lot of lives by keeping things closed.

I think there`s a lot of politics going along. I think they think they will do better if they can keep the schools closed in the election.


RUHLE: There wasn`t a lot of politics for these teachers.

I want to bring one in.

Joining us now, Jena Martinez-Inzunza. She was one of those teachers who survived coronavirus. And back with us, Dr. Kavita Patel.

Jena, first, tell us how you`re feeling. How`s your health?

JENA MARTINEZ-INZUNZA, ARIZONA TEACHER: I`m getting stronger. I`m feeling stronger today.

I still have residual symptoms that I continue to battle. I understand it`s probably going to take time for me to get back to feeling 100 percent. But I`m doing the best I can, and definitely a lot better than I was weeks ago.

RUHLE: Tell us about your work environment.

You and Kim were teaching together in the same classroom with another teacher. Were you being required to follow any of the social distancing or masks wearing protocols?

MARTINEZ-INZUNZA: Most definitely.

As you know, CDC guidelines were put out. And we were meant to follow those. Excuse me. We were meant to follow those. But, more importantly, our school went above and beyond and actually mandated them, mandated protocol to us.

So we followed those protocols. We were not allowed on campus without a mask. We had to take our temperature. We had to wear our mask, wipe everything down. We had gloves. We had staggered times that we could be on campus.

And we proceeded as such.

RUHLE: But, still, you got sick. And your friend and colleague for over 30 years, Kim, lost her life.

What do you want people to know about her?

MARTINEZ-INZUNZA: Kim, she was a master teacher. She was highly trained. She had been an Arizona turnaround coach, which meant she was going into schools to help them improve in their curriculum.

As a teacher, though, that is where you saw her shine in her own classroom with her own kids, because that is where even her person -- her personality came out. She was a beautiful person. She was loving. She was crying. She was compassionate. She was carrying.

And all those qualities were things that you saw within her teaching style and her classroom environment. And so, what she was at school is who she was as a person. She wasn`t different at work and different at home.

She was how she was everywhere she went.

RUHLE: What is going to happen now in your school, in your school district?

Because Arizona, while Kim lost her life, while the state is seeing spiking cases, you`re actually scheduled to reopen schools August 17.


I know that Superintendent Hoffman has communicated that, that we`re looking at August 17. Our school is actually scheduled to begin on August 3 that week. But -- and that was, again, opening the doors, opening the campus and running as normal.

We know we can`t do that. We`re not in a position in our community or even surrounding communities to do that right now. And then, with the events that occurred with Ms. Byrd, Ms. Skillings and myself, it devastated our community. It devastated our students.

It became real. And we know that we just are not ready yet to open. It is not safe. And we will stand by our conviction and protect our kids, protect our family, and our community in every way possible, and support our students with the -- our school is already looking into Wi-Fi.

They`re looking into iPads for everybody. We have had to pull parents and find out, who does not have Wi-Fi accessible at the home? Who needs devices? How can we better serve? What else are we going to do?

We continue to feed students in our community, along with students from other schools. We are still continuing to serve and try to provide as many services as we can for our students.

RUHLE: Dr. Patel, Jena`s school took all the precautions. She got sick. Kim lost her life.

And we have got schools across this country readying themselves to reopen. Can they really do it safely?

PATEL: Well, it`s very hard when most of the country`s going through so many spikes and surges.

It`s just -- it`s really impossible to actually have a low-risk environment, even with taking all the precautions. And I`m just so sad at kind of the generational loss that`s happening with teachers and school workers, who are essential workers themselves. And they`re doing all the things that they have been told to do, as you said, Jena, even going beyond the CDC guidelines, but not -- none of this is foolproof, as I think that their kind of sad case shows.

I think, Stephanie, if you`re asking kind of what do we need to do to be safe, we need a period of time where we have actually seen a decline in cases. And in most of the country, we don`t have that.

And then we`re still in most of -- especially in Arizona, we`re still waiting days to get test results.

And then, finally, most of the schools that I have talked to, they don`t even have resources to think about how to monitor temperature for hundreds of children. And what happens when you do have a child that`s positive?

There`s no space to isolate them. And it feels like the very issues that we have been talking about for months are going to be reproduced in schools. And I fear that we are getting into another kind of continuation of a spike in the first wave from the schools reopening, without thinking about all those precautions.

RUHLE: Days to get test results, making it pretty much almost impossible to have contact tracing.

Thank you both for joining.

And we should remind our audience, the teachers union put out an estimate. In order to reconfigure schools to reopen them safely, it would cost about $116 billion. Thus far, the federal government has allotted $13.5 billion to K-12 schools, leaving them $100 billion short.

Thank you both so much for joining.

Jena, I am wishing you good health. And, again, I`m so, so sorry to hear about your friend and colleague Kim.


RUHLE: We`re going to leave it there.

Straight ahead, Bill Nye is here with some potentially lifesaving lessons. We`re talking masks next.



JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": For the first time, President Trump wore a mask in public.

Years from now, that mask will be in the Smithsonian, and none of us will be able to see it because we will still be in lockdown.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Wow. Only four months too late. What`s he going to do next? Drag his Christmas tree out to the curb?


RUHLE: Late-night hosts talking about President Trump, who wore a mask for the first time in public, after months of refusing to do so.

Tonight, a new poll shows a deep gender divide when it comes to wearing a mask; 54 percent of women report always wearing a mask in public, compared to only 34 percent of men.

Come on, boys. The science is clear. Wearing a mask works.

And Bill Nye, The Science Guy, went on TikTok, of all places, to help explain why some face coverings work better than others.


BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: It can block the movement of hair, but only to a certain extent.

This is a homemade face mask. It has just two layers of cloth with a pipe cleaner sewn in to help it fit against the bridge of your nose, and it blocks the movement of air very effectively.


RUHLE: Joining me now, our very special guest, Bill Nye, The Science Guy, host of the "Science Rules!" podcast.

Bill, this makes no sense to me. We`re in the middle of a pandemic. It`s common sense. Why did you feel that you needed to make a TikTok video? You`re not making one for seat belts, bike helmets or condoms. I`m glad you`re not.


NYE: Well, I have done, actually, a bicycle safety video, and I have done a seat belt video. This is back in the 20th century.

But now we have this extra ordinary problem, where everybody`s personal action affects everybody else. That`s the nature of these medical masks. Now, this -- the thing is, people have this perception that it`s a personal choice, that it`s a matter of personal freedom.

I could disagree more, but I don`t see how. In other words, we have all agreed that you`re not allowed to blow secondhand cigarette smoke into other people`s faces or workplaces or restaurant areas.

And so, in the same way, I think we should agree that we`re not allowed to blow potentially coronaviral particles into other people`s faces or workplaces or spaces.

Now, this is not an extraordinary idea. It just may seem a little bit uncomfortable. But so is, not to be -- well, it`s just -- when you get very sick with this, it`s very troublesome and very uncomfortable.

And it`s hard not to get, if I may, arms akimbo about this, because it seems, to your point, like common sense. Like, why wouldn`t everybody do it? But it`s this perception that we have rights that are not taking into account other people`s rights.

It`s selfish. It`s weird.

RUHLE: You`re the Science Guy, so that`s why I`m turning to you.


RUHLE: But I want to ask you about other voices of influence that have huge platforms.

FOX News host Tucker Carlson said there is no evidence that masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus. I`d like you to watch this.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: This is what happens when science intersects with politics. Both lose. And the country loses most of all, keeping kids out of school, keeping the elderly inside, forcing everyone to wear a mask, when there`s no evidence that helps.


RUHLE: No evidence that helps.

That message, those words are making their way to millions of homes every night of the week. What`s your reaction?

NYE: Well, Mr. Carlson and I have butted heads a few times. I could disagree with him more, but I don`t see how.

And I -- as far as his extraordinary claim that science and politics have nothing to do with each other, in the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, it refers to the progress of science and useful arts.

And I remind everybody that the understanding of viral particles and the shape of the coronavirus, which is -- has these -- this crown of thorns on it, is a result of electron microscopy, which you would not have without science.

Vaccines are a couple-century-old technology that`s very well understood. And masks work. His extraordinary claim that they don`t work, I don`t think is based on facts. I think it`s him just telling people what they might want to hear, his audience might want to hear.

But my question always, if you want to talk about Mr. Carlson, is, what does he want for the future? What do his four children want for the future? Do they want a future where everybody is allowed to run stop signs and go through red lights?

And I`m not being silly. I`m just saying, are we going to have rules to protect each other, or not? It`s really a weird -- a kind of weird claim that he made.

RUHLE: well, for his children, for mine, for all children, I certainly hope we all want the future to be better, smarter, and stronger.

Bill, always great to see you. I appreciate you sharing some of your expertise with us this evening.

Thank you so much for watching. That does it for me.

My dear friend and colleague Steve Kornacki picks up coverage right on the other side of the break.