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George Floyd TRANSCRIPT: 8/4/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Connie Schultz, Leslie Odom Jr., Doris Kearns Goodwin, Megan Ranney


Hi there, Ari. 

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Thanks very much. 

This is THE BEAT. 

And, as we begin the show, the president is expected to give an update on  the pandemic. He has been doing those. And we`re keeping an eye on that. We  will bring you the news when relevant. 

The facts right now is that the United States faces a COVID crisis that is  clearly surging towards five million, with 156,000 deaths, many places  seeing signs the worst could still be to come, like these new hot spots  reported in the Midwest.

And at a time when many views are polarized, here`s something that  Democrats and Republicans agree on, almost all of them completely  dissatisfied with life in America right now. Basically, you have 80-plus  percent dissatisfied. 

We are facing basically a lot. We are inching closer. We are looking at a  reminder of the challenge that faces any incumbent president when you have  this kind of dissatisfaction, basically, almost no one satisfied with  what`s going on and an incumbent seeking reelection. 

So, where do we go from here? We would need to keep going and think about  what comes next. We have some special guests. 

But I want to tell you, a politician can only confront or deny reality like  this, when nine out of 10 people are this dissatisfied. This virus is  spreading all over the United States and it is far from under control. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think it`s under control.  I will tell you what.

JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS: How? A thousand Americans are dying a day. 

TRUMP:  They are dying. That`s true. And it is what it is. But that doesn`t  mean we aren`t doing everything we can. It`s under control, as much as you  can control it. 


MELBER:  That`s Donald Trump offering a kind of a double negative there in  this new interview, claiming the surging caseload does not mean he`s not  doing everything possible to stop the virus. 

But medical experts are stressing that, in this administration, the U.S.  did not issue uniform safety rules. It did not immediately require masks.  It did not even protect the jobs of CDC officials who were getting this  right from day one. 

Meanwhile, economic experts stress that, in the very week where Donald  Trump is claiming they`re doing everything -- you just saw that brief  excerpt -- the actual top development in Washington is that the party  controlling two branches of government has let COVID relief benefits  completely expire.

I want to bring in our experts here. 

Dr. Megan Ranney is an emergency room physician and a professor of  emergency medicine at Brown University, and Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize- winning columnist at -- and a resident at Kent State University. We should  mention her new book is "The Daughters of Erietown."

Good to see you both. 

Doctor, what is important to you when you hear a claim by a politician that  the U.S. is doing -- quote -- "everything"?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, RHODE ISLAND HOSPITAL:  So, there are two things that  strikes me about that interview. 

The first is the dismissal of the deaths. And as an emergency physician who  has sat at the bedside of people who have died from COVID-19, I can tell  you that these deaths are not meaningless to the doctors and nurses, much  less to the families who are left behind. 

The second thing is, the claim that we are doing everything is just  blatantly false. A little over a week ago, I and a number of other  physicians and public health experts signed a letter calling for the United  States to finally create a national strategy. 

I will note, we made similar pleas early in March, when this virus was just  being identified on our shores. The federal government still lacks a  comprehensive national strategy around testing, around personal protective  equipment, or around national mandates for masking or other efforts that we  know can stem the spread of this virus. 

MELBER:  Connie, we have the president, of course, planning to come back  out and do another one of these White House briefings. 

I want to kind of get into another grim part of the ongoing pandemic that  can help people have a truthful context for whatever you may hear now or  later. The U.S. leads the world in virus deaths overall. We know that. When  deaths are counted as a portion of the nation`s population, the U.S. is  still one of the very worst, the fourth highest, trailing countries that  have less money and spend less on health care.

You can see the breakdown right here. Now, for policy, that matters,  because it proves that better policies can cut the death rate, which would  save future lives, even separate from how much a country spends on all  this.

But the president views those facts as a kind of indictment, and he`s been  denying them and trying to distract people from the death rate per  population, and instead use cherry-picked numbers on deaths per case count,  which, of course, would measure testing more than deaths? 

So, for our panelists, I want to show you. Watch what happened when the  president tried that with a reporter who actually had the numbers. This  ends with Trump retreating by saying, you don`t know that, when the clip  shows the numbers do know it.


TRUMP:  The United States is lowest in numerous categories. We`re lower  than the world. 

SWAN:  Lower than the world? 

TRUMP:  We`re lower than Europe. 

SWAN:  What does that mean? In what? In what? 


TRUMP:  Take a look right there. Here is case deaths. 

SWAN:  Oh, you`re doing death as a proportion of cases. I`m talking about  death as a proportion of population. That`s where the U.S. is really bad,  much worse than South Korea, Germany, et cetera. 

Well, look at South Korea, for example, 51 million population, 300 deaths.  It`s like -- it`s crazy compared to...

TRUMP:  You don`t know that. 

SWAN:  I do. 

TRUMP:  You don`t know that. 

SWAN:  You think they`re faking their statistics, South Korea, an advanced  country? 

TRUMP:  I won`t get into that, because I have a very good relationship with  the country. 

SWAN:  Yes. 


MELBER:  Connie, what`s important thing, as America is going to be, like it  or not, in a many-months-long pandemic, where you`re going to hear all  kinds of claims?

But, there, the president was fact-checked to his face about our  regrettable American death rate. 

CONNIE SCHULTZ, KENT STATE UNIVERSITY:  Well, first of all, let`s  acknowledge what an excellent interview that was in that moment. 

It was so clear that the president is lying. The president wants to be  right. He doesn`t want to reassure the country. He doesn`t -- he isn`t  really trying to help the country at this point. His goal always is to be  right. 

And so he will lie. We know that. He was lying there. He`s misrepresenting.  "The Washington Post" reported today that six governors, including Ohio`s  governor, three Democrats, three Republicans, are forming their own  partnership to get enough testing in there and to have testing that we can  get back quickly, which, without it, there`s no point to try to do any kind  of tracing, correct, Doctor?

I mean, and so you can`t un-die people. These numbers are growing. And he  won`t be able to undo this damage. What we can hope for is that the medical  experts and the elected officials who are willing to listen to them will  set the model for how the -- how we must all behave moving forward. 

It`s the only way to get ahead of this. 

MELBER:  Doctor?

RANNEY:  I couldn`t agree more with Connie 

I -- we need tests. We have needed tests since the beginning. We had failed  tests from the CDC. We couldn`t test the people that we thought were  infected. We slowly increased the number of available that, but that was  only because the case count went down. 

As soon as the surge started in the South of the country, we saw wait times  go up. In my home state of Rhode Island, we`re now seeing well over a week  wait for tests that are done outside of the hospital setting. That is not  OK from a public health perspective. 

I couldn`t agree more with her statements. And, yes, this damage cannot be  undone. 

MELBER:  Those are some important pieces of factual context. 

I want to thank the doctor and Connie.

We`re watching the president come to the lectern. Let`s listen in.


TRUMP:  Let me begin by sending America`s deepest sympathies to the people  of Lebanon, where reports indicate that many, many people were killed,  hundreds more were very badly wounded in a large explosion in Beirut. Our  prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States  stands ready to assist Lebanon. I have a very good relationship with the  people of Lebanon, and we will be there to help. It looks like a terrible  attack. 

I also want to provide the latest on Tropical Storm Isaias. Approximately  600,000 are without power along the East Coast, and utility companies are  working around the clock to restore service as quickly as possible. I spoke  to Governor Cooper, I spoke to Governor DeSantis, and I spoke to all of the  people at FEMA, and they`re working very hard. 

Coastal areas in the storm`s path can expect to see the storm surge and rip  currents, while inland areas could see flooding and very, very high winds.  FEMA is responding to states that have requested the assistance. We have a  list of those state. We can give them to you in a little while. And my  administration is monitoring the situation very closely. 

We have the military on guard, but we have -- FEMA is there, in all cases.  The Corps of Engineers is ready if needed -- the Army Corps of Engineers.  Very talented people. I urge everyone in the storm`s path to remain alert  and to follow the guidance of your state and local authorities. 

I now want to update you on the path forward, having to do with the China  virus. Before I do that, I want to give you some numbers, which are rather  spectacular, that just came out. The manufacturing index of the Institute  for Supply Management -- that`s ISM. Most of you know it by ISM --  increased for the third month in a row, rising nearly 2 points in July to  54.2 -- that`s fantastic -- the highest reading since March of 2019. 

This is remarkable, considering the survey was conducted throughout July  and showed significant improvement despite the Southwest, in particular,  virus hot spots. The ISM measures -- and it`s a very strong measure of new  orders. It rose 5 points in July, to 61.5, in its highest rating, that  would be, since September of 2018. That`s a big number. 

Since the April low, new orders are up over 34 points, which is the largest  increase in the history of the ISM, dating back all the way to 1948. So, 34  points -- that`s the largest since 1948. 

Similarly, the ISM`s measure of production is up 35 points from its April  low to a reading of 62.1, which is the largest 3-month gain in over 70  years. That`s some -- some number. 

These were somewhat surprising, but I`ve been saying we`re doing well, and  those numbers are really spectacular. 

Automobile sales, likewise, are a key factor in the resurgence of  manufacturing since the March low of 8.8 million units with sales and all  of the numbers that are going up, stunningly. It`s a 65 percent increase  since then, to 14.5 million units, which is a massive number. 

The great strength and great news is really for states like -- in  particular, Michigan, and Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, very good,  Florida, little bit. These are great numbers. Record-setting numbers. 

The strength in new car sales is also evident in the used car market, where  soaring demand -- literally, soaring demand -- is putting upward pressure  on the used car prices. This is a leading indicator of the motor vehicle  industry. 

The need to restock depleted shelves will further galvanize the factory  sector -- and, we think, very substantially, based on the numbers. We`re  very, very happy with these numbers. And I think most people are anywhere  from surprised to shocked by these numbers, in a very positive way. 

Economy-wide inventories crashed at a near $320 billion annualized rate  last quarter. A crash, in that case, means a good thing, not a bad thing.  That`s the largest drop ever on record -- ever. 

Homebuilder sentiment, likewise, is soaring, as our home sales sentiment is  now higher than last year. And new homes recently made a 13-year high. So  we have a 13-year high in new home -- new home construction.

New business applications are very strong. That just came out. The widely  followed Atlanta Fed GDP -- and it`s something that they have just come out  with -- now forecasts the new data point and incorporates it into quarterly  estimates. It looks like it`s showing a 20 percent annualized growth in the  current quarter. So 20 percent in the current quarter. We`ll take that all  day long. I -- let`s see if that`s right. That`s a projection. So we`ll see  if that`s right. The Atlanta Fed -- very respected. 

The virus -- back to that -- we are continuing to monitor and monitor, in  particular, hot spots across the South, Southwest, and the West. And we`re  seeing indications that our strong mitigation efforts are working very  well, actually, especially to protect those who are most at risk, which has  really been our primary focus for -- ever since we`ve gotten to understand  this horrible, horrible plague that`s been unleashed on our country by  China. 

As of yesterday, cases are declining in 70 percent of the jurisdictions,  compared to 36 percent last Monday. That`s a big, big number. Eleven out of  thirteen states with the positive rate above 10 percent have seen a decline  in daily cases since mid-July. 

In other states, the data suggests that the need for continuing vigilance  always is strong, even though the numbers are getting very good -- states  that have a test positivity rate between 5 and 10 percent. And in the  states with the lowest positivity rates, we also see slight increases in  daily cases in a couple of them. 

We must ensure that these states do not become new flare-ups, so we`re  watching them very, very closely. Fortunately, thanks to substantial  improvements in treatment and the knowledge we have gained about the  disease itself, the recent rise in cases has not been accompanied by a  significant increase in deaths. 

Fatalities nationwide are at roughly half the level of the April peak. So  the death -- the number of deaths or fatalities are at half the level. One  is too much -- one death -- because this should have never happened to us.  It should have been stopped at -- very easily, by China, in Wuhan. 

Thanks to our major advances in treatment, we`ve seen vast improvements in  recovery rates across all age groups. Compared to April, mortality rates  are 85 percent lower among individuals aged 18 to 69, and 70 percent lower  among individuals over 70 years old. 

We`ve also made significant strides in sheltering those at highest risk,  especially the elderly. Approximately 85 percent of all current cases are  individuals under the age of 65 -- just getting some very accurate numbers  on this. And these are people who are generally at a much lower risk of  complications. 

Since the pandemic began, nearly half of all fatalities have been at  nursing homes or assisted-living centers. That`s an incredible statistic,  when you hear that number. This data, underscores that the best path  forward is an aggressive strategy focused on protecting Americans at  highest risk. 

As we race toward the development of a vaccine, we must continue to take  extraordinary precautions to shield the elderly, and we`re doing that.  We`re doing that at a level that we`ve never even dreamt possible, both  with testing and with common sense. 

And those with underlining conditions, especially the elderly with the  underlining -- whether it`s heart or diabetes -- they seem to be the two  most predominant conditions that cause tremendous problems. While allowing  those at lowest risk to carefully return to work and to school. 

Where embers flare up, we must engage immediately, and that`s what we`re  doing. This is the science-based approach, and it`s good with us. Working  very hard on that. An extended lockdown would fail to target resources at  the highest-risk populations, while inflicting massive economic pain, long- lasting damage on society and public health as a whole. 

So there won`t be lockdowns, but we watch specific areas. We`re very  careful and we`re putting out embers. We`re putting out flames. When you  look at what`s happening with Miami, and it`s going -- the numbers are  going down. But Florida is going down very significantly. Texas and  California are going down rather significantly. 

On telemedicine, as we discussed the last time, as -- and as I said  numerous times during this day, it`s an incredible thing that`s happening.  A central part of our effort to protect the elderly is to greatly expand  access to telehealth, so seniors can be treated from the safety of their  homes. 

And that`s what`s happening. The number of Medicare beneficiaries using  telehealth increased from roughly 14,000 a week to nearly 1.7 million -- so  from 14,000 to 1.7 million per week. In total, 10 million Medicare  beneficiaries have accessed telehealth services since the pandemic began.  That`s a tremendous thing that`s happened with telehealth. 

As we shelter those at high risk, we are also pouring every resource at our  disposal into the development of therapies and vaccines. Two vaccine  candidates are currently in the final stage of clinical trials, with  several more vaccine candidates entering phase three in the coming weeks.  And you`ve read and seen what`s happened today. Today`s news was very  exciting. 

Through Operation Warp Speed, we`re also mass producing all of the most  promising vaccine candidates, and we`re determined to have a vaccine very  quickly. We think we`re going to have something very soon. 

We have great companies. These are the -- among the greatest companies in  the world. But right now, they don`t like me so much because I`m forcing  them to drop drug prices -- prescription drug prices -- very massively.  Some of these companies are involved in that. Some of them aren`t. We`re  having a tremendous -- you`ll see a tremendous drop in price. We`re using  favored nations -- we`re using the rebates. We`re using everything. 

For so long, I`ve heard about how wealthy the middlemen are. They call them  the middlemen. And they are very wealthy. Nobody even knows who they are,  but they`re very wealthy people. 

And we`re doing the rebates. We`re doing purchases from other countries --  like Canada, which buys drugs for much less money than the United States is  allowed to, under a very bad system. I don`t call it archaic. I call it bad  because it`s meant, really, for drug companies to get higher prices. 

But under -- under the system of matching that we have, if Germany has a  pill for 10 cents and ours is $2, we`re allowed to say we want favored  nations, and we want the pill for the same -- the same as the lowest  country in the world. If they sell to one country lower than anybody else,  that`s the price we`re going to get. Drug companies aren`t too happy about  that -- big pharma. 

We`ve also dramatically accelerated the availability of plasma therapies,  steroid treatments, antivirals, and other therapies to treat the illness.  Today, the NIH -- we`re -- very exciting -- announced that they`re  beginning the trial of two new antibody treatments, which will take place  in 40 cities across the country. We`re going to move -- move very quickly.  Results look very good already. Incredible results. 

More than 230 clinical trials for potential treatments are underway, and  we`ve secured 500,000 courses of treatment for remdesivir -- of remdesivir.  We`re really doing a job with it, and it`s helping a lot of people. That`s  why you see the fatalities and mortality numbers looking very good --  relatively speaking, that is. But that`s for American hospitals through the  month of September. So we have remdesivir at a very high level for  hospitals through the month of September. That`s big news. 

The United States also has far and away the most robust testing capacity in  the world. Testing has been incredible, what we`ve been able to do. Nobody  is even close. Since March 12, we`ve increased daily testing by 32,000  percent. How`s that? Thirty-two thousand percent. Somebody would say, That  must be a typo. It`s not a typo. Thirty-two thousand percent. 

We now have conducted over 61 million tests nationwide, averaging over  820,000 tests per day and nearly 5 million tests per week. And now that  we`re understanding the virus, we`re understanding very much what we`re  doing with respect to who it affects, who it`s destroying, and who gets  away with it -- like young people, very young people. We`ll be having some  interesting statements having to do a testing and focus testing. I call it  focus testing. 

By comparison, Mexico -- so we`re doing numbers that are incredible. But by  comparison, Mexico -- as you know, the President was here. He`s a great guy  -- but their -- their numbers are much different. They do about 1 million  tests. France has done 2.9 million tests. Canada is around the 4 million  mark. Australia is around the 4 million mark. 

The United States is testing more people in a single week than, in many  cases, large segments or large, well-known countries all put together. It`s  been an amazing achievement: the testing and the quality of the testing  also. And now we`re doing testing where you can have results in 5 minutes,  in 7 minutes, and 15 minutes, as opposed to waiting to come back from labs  -- for it to come back from labs. 

Over the last several weeks, HHS has opened surging testing sites in Baton  Rouge, New Orleans, Phoenix, Miami, Jacksonville, Florida, McAllen, Texas,  Bakersfield, California. And this week, we`re opening new surge sites in  Houston, Texas, Atlanta. To date, more than 130,000 tests have been  conducted at these sites. 

Last week, the FDA also authorized the first two tests that display an  estimated quantity of antibodies present in the individual`s blood, which  is a big deal, allowing us to learn more about the immune response. 

FEMA and HHS has worked with the private sector to deliver more than -- we  have new numbers -- more than 200 million N95 masks, 855 million surgical  masks, 36 million goggles and face shields, 364 million gowns and  coveralls, and 21 billion gloves -- billion. Can you believe that? Billion  gloves. 

And we distribute that to the governors, different states. And when we get  on the phone with them, they`re very happy, that I can tell you. No -- no  complaints from any of them. They`re very, very happy. What they say to you  separately maybe will change for political reasons, but they are very happy  with the job we`ve done. 

In our National Stockpile, we`ve tripled the number of N95 masks on hand to  more than 40 million, tripled the number of gowns to 15 million, and  quadrupled the number of ventilators to nearly 70,000. These numbers are  growing every day, and we`re now making thousands of ventilators -- many  thousands of ventilators a month. And we`re getting them to other countries  who are desperately in need of ventilators. They`re very hard to produce.  They`re very complicated machines. So we`re -- we`re fully stocked here,  and we`ve made sure that every state is fully stocked, but we`re getting  them to a lot of countries that need help. 

We`ll continue to work with the governors and local authorities to help  them ensure significant hospital capacity, protective equipment, supplies,  and medicine. I`m more confident than ever that we will get a vaccine very  soon and we will defeat the virus. 

And I want to thank you all for being here. We`ll take a few questions. 

Yes, please. 

QUESTION:  Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about Kodak. You had a big  announcement the other day about getting Kodak into the pharmaceutical  business, but the SEC is now investigating what happened. Can you say a  word or two whether you think that there might have been some kind of a  problem in terms of how those arrangements were made? Is there any grounds  for concern, from your perspective? 

TRUMP:  Well, I don`t know. I wasn`t involved in the deal. The concept of  the deal is good, but I will let you know. We`ll -- we`ll do a little study  on that, and we`ll find out. 


TRUMP:  If there`s -- if there is any problem, we`ll let you know about it  very quickly, but I wasn`t involved in it. 

It`s a big deal. It`s a way of bringing back a great area, too, in addition  to the pharmaceuticals. Kodak has been a great name, but obviously pretty  much in a different business. And so we`ll see what that`s all about, but  we`ll -- we`ll let you know very quickly. 

Yes, please. 

QUESTION:  I just wanted to follow up, before I ask a coronavirus question,  on Lebanon. You called this an attack. Are you confident that this was an  attack and not an accident? 

TRUMP:  Well, it would seem like it, based on the explosion. I`ve met with  some of our great generals, and they just seem to feel that it was. This  was not a -- some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event. This was  a -- seems to be, according to them -- they would know better than I would,  but they seem to think it was a attack. It was a bomb of some kind. Yes. 

QUESTION: Interesting. And, on coronavirus, you`ve talked a lot about --  when you talk about the mortality rate, the deaths as a proportion of  cases, which -- I understand that is significant when you look at how  deadly the virus is or how good a country does at keeping people alive...

TRUMP:  Right. 

QUESTION:... who get infected. But when you`re talking about the scope of  this virus, when you look at the percentage of the population that`s died,  there`s only three countries that have more deaths than the U.S. So how do  you explain that: that -- why the percentage of the population who has  died is so much higher in the U.S.? 

TRUMP:  Well, I think, actually, the numbers are lower than others. I will  get back to you on that. But we, proportionately, are lower than almost all  countries. We`re at the bottom of the list. 

And we`re -- relative to cases, also, we`re at the bottom of the list,  which is a good thing, being at the bottom of the list. But I can get back  to you. We have about four or five different lists on that. And we`re,  generally speaking, at the very bottom of the list. So, I will get back to  you. 

QUESTION:  Because when I -- when I look at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus  Resource Center on their Web site, it says the most affected countries,  when you look at deaths per 100,000 people of the population -- so how many  people in the population have died -- you have the UK, Peru, Chile, and  then the U.S. 

You know, Canada has 8,000, 9,000 deaths. Obviously, they`re smaller than  us, but that`s only 6 percent of the population. You know, that`s 6 percent  of our total cases. So why are the deaths so much higher in the U.S.? 

TRUMP:  Well, a lot of our numbers were based on the -- New York had a very  tough time, as you know. New York, New Jersey -- that area. And when you  take them out -- just as an example, take a look at Florida, relative to  New York. 

That`s not to say anything wrong with New York. It was just a very tough  place. People are close together. It`s crowded. it`s  not easy. 

But when you take that out, our numbers are among the lowest. And even with  it in -- I will get back to you, but we have among the lowest numbers.  They`ve done a fantastic job on it. 

Yes, please. Go ahead. 

QUESTION:  Yes, Mr. President. I would like to ask a question about the  election, but one thing on unemployment first. Are you considering taking  executive action to extend or, rather, reinstate the unemployment benefits  that expired last week, if Congress can`t get a deal by the end of the  week? 

TRUMP:  Yes. 

QUESTION:  And, as a general point, what rate, then, would you want in  there -- a percentage or a flat rate? 

TRUMP:  We are looking at it. We`re also looking at various other things  that I`m allowed to do under the system, and -- such as the payroll tax  suspension. And so we`re allowed to do things. 

We`re talking with the Democrats. They seem to be much more interested in  solving the problems of some of the Democrat-run states and cities that  have suffered greatly through bad management. I mean, really bad  management. So, that seems to be where they -- they`re looking for a  trillion dollars to help out with cities that are run by Democrats -- in  some cases, radical-left Democrats that have not done a good job. 

I appreciate -- today, the Wall Street Journal said very good things --  that we did a great job in Portland by having our people go in. Homeland  Security, Chad Wolf, and the folks -- we went into Portland, and we`ve done  a great job. And they had that in an editorial, that we -- that we really  won that situation. 

But we want the whole -- we did save the courthouse. The courthouse was  going to be burned down or knocked down. It was in tremendous danger. We  went in. We took care of it. And we appreciated what the Wall Street  Journal said. 

As far as the various things that I may or may not sign:  I may not have to  sign. I mean, progress is being made, as you know very well, on the Hill.  We`ll see what happens. But I have the right -- including the payroll tax  suspension. We may do some things. 

We want to take care of the eviction problem. People are being evicted very  unfairly. It`s not their fault. It`s China`s fault, it`s not their fault.  And people are being evicted, and we can do that with an executive order.  So if we don`t get -- and we want to do it relatively quickly. 

I mean, even from the standpoint of COVID, people get evicted, and then  they go into shelters, and there are thousands of people in the shelters.  And this is not a time -- you never want to be in a shelter, but this is  not a time to be in a shelter with the COVID. They catch it, they get it,  and it`s no good. 

So, I may have to do something on evictions, too, because the Democrats,  amazingly, don`t want to do it. We offered them short-term deals, and we  offered them lots of alternatives. But so far, the only thing they really  want to do is bail out states that have been poorly managed by Democrats. 

OK. Please, go ahead. 

QUESTION:  And if I could, on the election, sir -- can I...

QUESTION:  President Trump, on the sale of TikTok, you`re basically arguing  that the U.S. government is going to collect a cut from a -- of a  transaction including two companies, in which it doesn`t hold a stake in. 

That`s unprecedented. That`s never happened in U.S. history before, and the  administration has offered very little explanation about how that`s going  to work. Can you back your statement up and provide specifics about how  that would work? 

TRUMP:  Did you say, That`s impressive? Did you actually use that term? 

QUESTION:  I said it`s unprecedented. 

TRUMP:  Oh, well, it`s almost the same thing. Not quite. I like I`m 


TRUMP:  I like impressive. I like impressive much better. Not quite, but  close. 

So, TikTok -- TikTok is very successful. It does tremendous business in the  United States. People are riveted by it. I mean, I have many friends --  when they saw that announcement, they`re calling. And I think their kids  love it. They don`t. Because they don`t get to see their kids anymore, but  they are -- it`s an amazing thing, whatever it may be. 

And I told Microsoft -- and, frankly, others -- if they want to do it, if  they make a deal for TikTok -- whether it`s the 30 percent in the United  States or the whole company, I say, It`s OK. But if you do that, we`re  really making it possible because we`re letting you operate here. 

So the United States Treasury would have to benefit also, not just the --  not just the sellers. And I said, Inform......

QUESTION:  (OFF-MIKE) through a tax, or how? 

TRUMP:  Very simple. I mean we have -- we have all the cards because,  without us, you can`t come into the United States. It`s like if you`re a  landlord, and you have a tenant. The tenant`s business needs a rent. 

It needs a lease. And so what I said to them is, Whatever the price is, a  very big proportion of that price would have to go to the Treasury of the  United States. 

And they understood that. And actually, they agreed with me. I mean, I  think they agreed with me very much. 

Yes, please. In the back. 

QUESTION:  Thank -- thank you, sir. 

TRUMP:  So that deal may or may not happen. We`ve give -- -- given them  until September 15 or so, and we`ll see. 

If we can have it and there can be great security -- meaning, the obvious  security -- Microsoft would be a company that would be good in that  respect. They`re approved in that respect at many levels, including working  with the Department of Defense. And they`re very high-level approvals. So  it would be good, but there are other companies also. 

Yes, please. 

QUESTION:  Thank you, sir. Have you or the -- anyone in the administration  reached out to other companies, aside from Microsoft, to see if they`re  interested in...

TRUMP:  No, we`ve had other companies call us, and Microsoft called me  directly. And we`ve had other companies call. I don`t know where they are.  It sounds like Microsoft is along the way of doing something. I don`t blame  them. It`d be -- you know, it`s great company. It`s really a great company. 

But we cannot take the security risks of any of those companies --  including Huawei, which as you know, we put a halt to. But we can`t take  the security risk. 

I think our attitude on China has changed greatly since the China virus hit  us. I think it changed greatly. It hit the world, and it shouldn`t have.  They should have been able to stop it. So, we feel differently. I just  don`t know. When you lose...

QUESTION:  Can you say what other companies? 

TRUMP:... when you lose so many thousands of people, and -- you know,  ultimately, it`ll be millions of people around the world. It`s a terrible  thing that happened to the United States and Europe and the entire world.  Really a terrible thing. 

Yes, please. Go ahead. 

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. President. I have two quick questions: one on  the virus and one on policing. On the virus, you said recently that there  can be too much testing. Can you explain what the downside would be from  testing too many Americans for the virus, and why you haven`t provided a  date by which all Americans might have the same kind of testing that we  have here at the White House? 

TRUMP:  Well, we do more testing than anybody in the world, as I explained  -- and I don`t mean just a little bit. If you look at India, they`re at  about 11 million, and we`re at 61 million. And there comes a point when you  just -- you want to focus your testing in a different way. And we`ll be  announcing some -- what we`ve done is incredible with the testing. Not only  the testing...

QUESTION:  Is there a downside though? 

TRUMP:... not only the number of tests, but also, very importantly, the  quality of the test and the machinery itself to do the testing. 

Nobody thought it would be possible to get a 5-minute and a 15-minute  result that`s a very accurate result, and we do, with Abbott. Abbott  Laboratories has done a great job. Many of these companies have done an  incredible job. 

So we`re looking at that very strongly. And we`re looking at doing  something that if we do -- if we do it -- look, right now, what the testing  is doing is helpful, but we`re spending massive amounts of money, and we  want to have it -- we want to have it channeled very accurately. We want to  be able to help the most people we can. 

But we are testing at a level that no country in the world -- and I`ve  spoken to the leaders of the world, and they`ll ask me about it -- no  country in the world thought it would be -- it`s even believable that we`re  able to test so much. Sixty-one million versus -- you know, most countries  don`t even test. You know when they test? When somebody is feeling badly.  If somebody is feeling badly, they`re symptomatic, that`s when they test.  And that`s a big difference. 

With us, we go around and -- looking, because if we find -- we find spots.  We find hot spots. One problem is, from the standpoint of the media, we end  up with far more cases than we would normally show. So it`s -- you know, as  I called it the other day in a statement, I said it`s called media gold.  You know, for the media, it`s gold. 

But the truth is, it`s -- we`ve done an incredible job on testing. Nobody  in the world has done the job. Other leaders have told me the same thing,  they can`t believe we`re able to do it. 


TRUMP:  and we will continue, but we want to really be able to test, very  specifically, the people that are in most danger, most in need. 

All right. Please, go ahead. 

QUESTION:  And, on policing, sir...

QUESTION:  Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to ask you first  about what you tweeted out earlier today, in regards to Florida, and your  comfortableness, as it relates to mail-in ballots...

TRUMP:  Yes. 

QUESTION:... for Florida. What...

TRUMP:  OK, I`m glad you`re asking. 

QUESTION:  Why does that apply to Florida and it doesn`t apply to mail-in  balloting across the country? 

TRUMP:  So Florida has got a great Republican governor, and it had a great  Republican governor. It`s got Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott -- two great  governors. And over a long period of time, they`ve been able to get the  absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from  other states. 

I mean, in Nevada, where you have a governor -- he said, Let`s just send  out millions of ballots, and the post office cannot be prepared. I haven`t  spoken to the post office about it, but I don`t know how they could  possibly be prepared. 

Florida has been working on this for years. And they have a very good  system of mail-in -- and that would be absentee or even beyond absentee.  So, in the case of Florida, there aren`t too many people that would  qualify. 

They`re so well-run. Florida is a very well-run state:  low taxes, low  everything. They`ve done a great job, really a great job. And the two  governors, between the both of them, they`ve really got a great system of  absentee ballots and even the -- even in the case of mail-in ballots, the  postal services have built up their -- you know, it takes a long time. 

When you look at the Carolyn Maloney election, I think they -- and I will  give you the story:  I think you have to do that election over. That  election is no good. You have to take a look. 

In New York, they have thousands of ballots. They don`t know what happened  to them. Is there fraud? Is there -- it`s a disaster. And that`s only for a  relatively small number of ballots. But I think they have to do the  election in New York over. 

The Times wrote a big story about it yesterday. Front page story. It`s a  disaster. It`s a mess. And they have to do that -- I think they have to do  that election over. Nobody can know what the election result is. 

So, in the case of Florida, they`ve done a great job and they`ve had  tremendous success with it. But they`ve been doing this over many years,  and they`ve made it really terrific. 

So, for Florida, you can mail in your ballots. You don`t have to go. In  maybe a couple of other states, they`ve worked out a system, but this took  years to do. This doesn`t take weeks or months. 

In the case of Nevada, they`re going to be voting in a matter of weeks. And  you can`t do that. I can`t imagine the post office could do it. All of  sudden, they`re supposed to be dealing in millions of ballots? 

But Florida has done a great job, and we have total confidence that if you  mail in your ballot in Florida, it`s going to matter. 

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. 

QUESTION:  Mr. President...


QUESTION:  What about in other states? Would you encourage voters in other  states to request ballots, mail-in ballots?

MELBER:  We have been listening to President Trump on one of these daily  briefings. 

I`m Ari Melber back with you. 

We cut into our broadcast to hear that. We gave you a fact-check at the top  of the program that actually arose during this very discussion. 

And so I want to bring back in Dr. Megan Ranney and Pulitzer Prize-winning  columnist Connie Schultz.

Doctor, this is the story of the day, clearly. It is grim. Anyone watching  moments before that press conference would have gotten our presentation the  death rate. That seemed to come up again. Your thoughts? 

RANNEY:  So, the number of deaths is an undeniable statistic. You can fudge  testing, right? 

We have had an insufficient number of tests for the total number of  population. So, our deaths per cases look good. But you cannot fudge a  rising number of hospitalizations and deaths across the country. 

Ultimately, the number that we need to stand by is the deaths per 100,000  people. And as you and as the reporter during that press conference pointed  out, we are among the bottom four, or top four, depending on how you look  at it, countries in terms of our death rate.

That is not defensible...

MELBER:  Right. 

RANNEY:... not with the health care system that we have. 

MELBER:  Well, Doctor, as it`s sometimes said, big facts, because you`re  giving us the facts we need. 

And while the underlying situation is very serious, there is this political  overtone of the clash. And, as you mentioned, both in the White House  Briefing Room, we just saw it happen again, and in that one-on-one  interview, you did have a reporter call out the president on that. 

And so we want our viewers to have those facts. 

Looking beyond any one politician, Connie, I want to play something from  the governor of New York. We just heard from the president. People can hear  all the politicians and make up their own minds, but Governor Cuomo being  quite strong in his view of where we`re at. Take a look. 


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Six months later, these states still don`t have  testing and contact tracing. How can it be? You had six months. How did you  not set up a testing operation? How did you not expand the capacity of your  hospital system? 

How did you not locate additional staff? How did you not locate additional  PPE? You had six months? 

The reason they didn`t, because they were listening to the president. 


MELBER:  Governor Cuomo being quite blunt there about something that he  says he`s lived through and cares about, and New York hit hard. 

But that`s as far as he`s gone, Connie, in basically saying, in his view,  he argues that, because of politics and blind MAGA loyalty, Republican  governors let more citizens die. Your response to his view?

rMD+IT_rMD-IT_SCHULTZ: I`m sitting here kind of stunned after watching  Trump. I shouldn`t be. I should absolutely be past this. 

He talked about the automotive industry surging in Ohio. And I`m sitting  here thinking, how dare you not first acknowledge that we are on a  statewide mandate again for masks? The governor has just said that children  K-12, if they`re going to be in school, are going to be wearing masks. 

I hear every day, every day -- this is not an overstatement -- from  families who can`t get testing. I know a family right now. Their 4-year-old  boy was tested Saturday morning. They are still waiting for test results at  the end of Tuesday.

To pretend that these things are not happening -- so, yes, the governors --  we need the -- we got -- this president is not going to save us. This  president is not going to help us. We need the governors. We need the  senators. 

As you know, I`m married to a Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown. I cannot  tell you how many times...

MELBER:  Connie, I have heard about that. 


SCHULTZ:  Thank you for letting me be the one to mention it. 

MELBER:  Well, you brought it up, yes.


SCHULTZ:  Just three weeks ago -- well, I feel like I have to, for full  disclosure here. 


SCHULTZ:  And three weeks ago, a Republican senator approached him on the  floor not wearing a mask. 

And Sherrod said, "You need to step away." And who Sherrod is looking out  for that moment, while he wears a mask -- most of the Democrats are, by the  way, but most of them still aren`t wearing them giving speeches. And you  know who`s at risk? 

The stenographers who have to stand just a few feet away from them, who  thank the ones who wear them.

MELBER:  People who work there.

SCHULTZ:  And the family members and the staff members who could be exposed  if they`re exposed.

There is such a lack of leadership at such a basic level. Wear your mask.

MELBER:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  The president, every time he walks in that Briefing Room, should  be wearing a mask, and take it off for the briefing. 

MELBER:  Yes. 

Well, look, I...

SCHULTZ:  And, Doctor, am I overreacting? 

RANNEY:  Not in the least, Connie. 


RANNEY:  I am completely -- yes.

Go ahead, Ari.

MELBER:  I appreciate both of yours -- both of your contributions and  clarity. 

And we have benefited from you here before and after the press conference. 

And I`m going to bring one of our favorites, historian Doris Kearns  Goodwin, next. So I`m going to get to her.

Dr. Ranney and Connie, thanks to both of you.

SCHULTZ:  Thank you. 

MELBER:  Our special guest on one of the biggest political stories in the  country right now, which is Joe Biden`s search for a running mate. 


JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And I commit that I will, in  fact, appoint a -- pick a woman to be vice president. 

And, among them, there are four black women. 

You have to have someone who you know. 


MELBER:  We are joined by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin,  author of "The New York Times" bestseller "Leadership in Turbulent Times." 

Great to see you. 


MELBER:  We are very fortunate that we got to you, because we have been  juggling different news events. 

I know that you give a lot of thought not only to any particular category,  whether someone is in this party or this gender, but the particular role of  these people who, in our system, are a heartbeat from the presidency.

Your view of history`s lessons for this big decision that Joe Biden says  could be very soon?

GOODWIN:  The most important thing, when you look at the course of our  history, is that, in the early days, the vice presidency seemed so  unimportant. The most insignificant office in the nature of man, says John  Adams, only worth a bucket of warm spit, says Jack Garner. 

But it obviously has become increasingly important. Not only have nine of  our presidents become -- vice presidents become president, but, in recent  times, the office of the presidency is so big, that they have shared big  responsibilities with their vice presidents. 

And I think, in a time of crisis, the most important thing we look for in  our leaders, president or vice president, are the temperamental and  character qualities that make up the family of leadership that I studied in  all of my guys. 

And that`s humility, the ability to acknowledge errors and learn from your  mistakes, empathy, to see other people`s points of view, resilience through  adversity, trust in your word, and probably most important, an ambition for  self that becomes something larger. 

So I think we`re looking. Obviously, there`s a need to mobilize votes.  There`s probably -- there`s already a choice of gender. But the most  important thing -- and it always sounds so idealistic -- is, what kind of a  president could that vice president become and what kind of a partner can  that person be to the sitting president? 


And, candidly, this might sound like a little much, except Joe Biden has  said it himself, which is, candidly, the generational qualities with an  older person running, who may be an older president, who may, he says  himself, not even pursue a second term, because of age, not because of any  other reason. 

I want to play a brief bit of Joe Biden as he spoke about that. And you  will notice, in this clip, of course, you have behind him people who might  even be in the running for this. Take a look. 


BIDEN:  I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else. There`s an entire  generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this  country. 


MELBER:  Kamala Harris, among others, was, as he references there, right  behind him as he spoke, and he is looking at people who would be able to  take this passing of the proverbial torch. 

Does history show that adding that aspect complicates this and is difficult  or is fine, because there`s always going to be the idea of, who does the  party go to next? 

GOODWIN:  Well, the party is always looking nowadays at the vice president.

It used to be that it was a path to oblivion. But now a vice presidential  person, because of the publicity, the access to fund-raising, and the  responsibilities that they`re given, is a natural at least to try and run  for the presidency. 

But I think it depends on the partnership that you`re able to shape with  the president. And I think, because Biden`s been a vice president, and he  knows that partnership he had with the president, that`s going to matter to  him a lot. 

He`s got to share that office. The office is huge. And at a time of crisis,  you need a team around you that can argue with you and question your  assumptions. You need a team you can trust. You need a team.

I mean, I think one of the things that I remember Biden said that was good  -- Obama said about Joe Biden was, he`s a contrarian. That`s the most  important thing, because he was able to offer alternative points of view. 

Eleanor Roosevelt played for FDR -- she was, as he said, a welcome thorn in  his side, always willing to argue with you. You need not just a sounding  board. You need not somebody who can trust, but you need somebody who will  have their own opinions, bring that new generational opinion along, and  give you a broader perspective when you`re there.

In times of crisis, that team is absolutely essential. Nobody can do it  alone. 

MELBER:  Doris Kearns Goodwin, I`m glad, even on a busy night, that we had  time to get you in. Always learn something from you. Thank you. 

GOODWIN:  You are welcome. 


MELBER:  Thanks. 

Do you remember when President Obama was reminiscing about the very first  time he heard the opening of the hit show "Hamilton"? Take a look from this  at a White House event. 


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  They were going to  perform a song from a hip-hop album about the life of somebody who embodies  hip-hop, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. 


OBAMA:  And so we all started laughing. Who`s laughing now? 



MELBER:  Who`s laughing now? And why is that back in the news? We will  explain. There`s a very good answer. 

That`s next. 


MELBER:  Newly released police video showing more disturbing scenes from  the fatal arrest of George Floyd. 

As we reported last night, these videos reaffirm how Floyd was unarmed in  this entire encounter and pleading with officers in the arrest that ended  in his killing and then murder charges. 

This was, of course, the catalyst for these nationwide protests, demanding  reforms of everything from systemic racism, to replacing Confederate  statues, to addressing how history is taught and understood in today`s  America. 

These are, of course, long-running debates, from Mark Twain last century,  to the current hit musical "Hamilton, " which just debuted as a streaming  play starring Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom  Jr., who just sat down with us. 

Odom originated that show`s rendition of Burr, adapted from the famous Ron  Chernow biography, and he talks about how, in just a few years, the show`s  arguments about reimagining history, including casting black founding  fathers, is sparking new conversations and critiques as people rethink who  should be history`s heroes. 

And here is his answer airing right now for the first time.


LESLIE ODOM JR., ACTOR: And what is really fascinating now -- and I  welcome it and I`m so grateful for it -- now that the show is out in this  America, four years later, having very different conversations than we were  in 2016. 

They`re looking at Hamilton, even, with different eyes. The next step  really, is de-center white men on all of these stories we`re telling.

MELBER:  Right. 

ODOM:  There`s been one version of the story that`s been very adamantly  standing in the center of the room and making sure that it was all centered  on these statues that are all over the world that people are tearing down  in the streets. 

Has anybody else in America than anything worth erecting a statue to?  That`s what we`re talking about. So, eventually, that`s we`re going to get.


MELBER: "Hamilton" breaks ground in many ways, profiling an obscure  founding father who was never president, urging today`s audiences to care  about a historical debate over economics, then narrating those stories  through a hip-hop musical, and casting these black actors in the star roles  of founding fathers.

Odom says a play could work with all kinds of casting, but this vision here  was deliberately different. 


ODOM:  Had this show been written for a cast of white actors and actresses,  which it could have been -- I don`t know if Lin would have taken six years  of his life to write it, but someone absolutely could have -- I just -- I  think the music would sound different. 

You asked earlier, what happens when...

MELBER:  When the culture embraces the counterculture.

ODOM:  Right. Right. 

Some of the edges of what Lin made have gotten smoothed off because the  show is so ubiquitous and is so successful. But having seen that very first  reading, I never want to let people forget the protest that was in that to  even create it. That was radical to have Daveed play Thomas Jefferson.

MELBER:  Yes. 

ODOM:  What that means to strike out and write this thing in the way that  he did, this is a story you want us to believe. You want us to parrot,  right? 

This is the story that you have told us again and again. OK, fine, so it  belongs to all of us? Well, then we`re going to tell it in our language  then. 


MELBER:  That`s what "Hamilton" does, remixing the substance and style of  American history, to great effect, selling out Broadway, and now available  in a way most plays never are, streaming on Disney+.

We also had an interesting exchange about an early decision Leslie made in  his career. Take a look. 


ODOM:  I signed a contract with NBC. I tried to get comfortable with the  money. But, like, I knew I couldn`t give up "Hamilton." 

MELBER:  Did they look at you like you were crazy, or were they impressed? 

ODOM:  Oh, yes. 


ODOM:  Are you kidding me? 


ODOM:  You want to do -- it`s what you said. You -- oh, you want to leave  our TV show to go do an off-Broadway show, a hip-hop musical about the  founding fathers? OK, get the -- call security.

Like, this...


ODOM:  He`s obviously out of his mind. 


MELBER:  Odom and I also discussed protests, theater in this time of COVID,  and his new Sam Cooke project. So, there`s a lot in here. 

This is one of the first socially distanced in-person interviews that we  here have done in this new normal. And it`s all part of some of the culture  that we want to prioritize, which is why, right now, I invite you to go to 

And you can see the whole thing. I just showed you a little bit airing for  the first time, but you could see the whole interview and find our other  installments of this exclusive digital series. That`s "Mavericks With Ari  Melber" at 

I hope you will check it out. We had such an interesting time doing it. 

Now, that does it for our broadcast tonight. You can always see us here on  THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER every night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Don`t go anywhere right now, though, because "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is  up next.