ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That is the farthest Joe Biden has ever gone, pledging diversity in gender on the ticket if he`s a nominee. It`s a big story at a time with our many big stories.
As always, thanks for watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber. I`ll be back here at 6:00 p.m. And keep it locked on MSNBC.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York.
Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York. And seeking to stem the tide of the outbreak, the White House Coronavirus Task Force announced new and more stringent guidelines for the next 15 days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home when possible, avoid gathering in groups of more than ten people, avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and drinking in bars, restaurants and public food courts.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: No matter who you are, please stay home. If someone in your household is diagnosed with this virus, the entire household should quarantine in the house to prevent spread of the virus to others.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It isn`t an overreaction. It`s a reaction that we feel is commensurate, which is actually going on in reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And this comes as millions of Americans are hunkering down and adjusting to a new and more isolated way of life. It could go on for months.
President Trump warned that the country could be dealing with the pandemic through the summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It seems to me that if we do a really good job, well, not only hold the death down to a level that is much lower than the other way had we not done a good job. But people are talking about July, August, something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So far, more than 4,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States and 81 people have died from it. The government`s new guidelines are part of a global effort to try to blunt the force of this highly contagious virus.
France is joining Italy now implementing a countrywide lockdown. Canada closed its borders to all non-residents. Saturday, President Trump expanded the U.S. travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Earlier today, Governor Mike DeWine requested a postponement of tomorrow`s presidential primary in Ohio until at least June 2nd. Illinois, Arizona and Florida are still scheduled to hold their primaries tomorrow.
Six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area are asking their residents to shelter in place. And this morning, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a coordinated plan to block gatherings of more than 50 people and to close down casinos, gyms and theaters in their states. Bars and restaurants will only be allowed to offer takeout. Then they join several other states that have implemented similar measures to enforce social distancing.
Federal Reserve, in a surprise move, meant to boost confidence in the markets made an emergency cut in its key interest rate on Sunday, slashing it by a full percentage point. Despite that move though, stocks dropped sharply, the market`s worst day since 1987.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court postponed oral arguments for the first time in over a century.
President Trump and Vice President Pence briefed the nation`s governors on the crisis earlier today. According to The New York Times, which heard a recording of the call, the president told governors that they should not wait for the federal government to fill the growing demand for medical equipment. The president telling governors, quote, respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment, try getting it yourselves. We will try backing you, but try getting it yourselves.
For more, I am joined by the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy. Governor, thank you for joining us.
It is 7:03 Eastern, 7:04 Eastern now as I talk to you. You have recommended a curfew for your residents to begin 56 minutes from now. What are you hoping happens then?
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Steve, first of all, I miss you on the Jersey Beat. Secondly, it`s not a curfew per se. It is a strong passionate recommendation against any non-essential travel between 8:00 P.M. and 5:00 A.M. beginning tonight and for the foreseeable future. And as you already rightfully pointed out, we took an enormous amount of further aggressive steps today as it relates to social distancing with New York, Connecticut. I might add Pennsylvania has joined us. We`ve got to flatten this curve at all costs, break the back of this right now. And if we succeed in that, we`ll be able to take the pressure off the healthcare system and, God willing, save lives as a result.
KORNACKI: So you`re asking folks tonight, overnight, to do this voluntarily, to stay in place voluntarily. It sounds like no legal enforcement you`re going to try there. But in terms of these closures of businesses, what is happening on that front exactly? What is going to be closed in the State of New Jersey for the foreseeable future?
MURPHY: Yes. Largely anything that`s non-essential and they fall into a couple categories, gyms, movie theaters, theaters, generally, are closed for the foreseeable future, anything non-essential has to shut each night at 8:00 P.M. Obviously, the essential, grocery stores, pharmacies, et cetera, have the ability to stay open. We have shut effective 8:00 tonight any in establishment, dining or drinking in either restaurants or bar, that will now be takeout and delivery only. Our casinos are shutting for further notice tonight at 8:00. We announced that our public and private schools, effective at the end of the day tomorrow, will be shut for further notice.
Again, we are strongly asking, pleading folks to stay home. This social distancing is the one most important and most powerful weapon we have to be able to crack the back of this, and that`s what we`re pursuing aggressively.
KORNACKI: When you say, the foreseeable future, just the folks you`re talking to, the experts you`re talking to, the federal government, do you have a sense what that means? Are we talking weeks? Are we talking months? What could that be?
MURPHY: I`m not sure I`m smart enough to know, but it certainly is at least weeks and it may be many months. And that`s probably the big ask at this point. We`re hoping for the best but we`re preparing for the worst, and that`s the way we`ll continue to be.
We have been on this since January. I established a whole of government task force, I think, on February 2nd. We have been at every step of the way, whether it`s testing, whether it`s social distancing. We`ve been trying to stay out ahead of this at every step of the way, and that will continue to be our M.O.
KORNACKI: What is your sense? I mean, what you`re describing here, obviously, in your state and around the country, I mean, this is just extraordinary, the kinds of steps we`re talking about here. Closing down restaurants, closing down bars, non-essential businesses, asking people to stay in place overnight. Not just sort of in terms of economic numbers but in terms of jobs, in terms of people`s ability to make mortgage payments, to make rent payments, people going without paychecks, who would be working as waiters, waitresses, what have you, what`s this going to be like? How is this going to impact life in New Jersey, is there anything you, as the governor of New Jersey, can do to mitigate that?
MURPHY: It`s going to be tough as nails. There`s no question about it. You mention the call with the governors, with the president and vice president today. We have been in regular contact. I spoke to Vice President Pence on Friday night and our asks have consistently been personal protective equipment, and we need a lot more of that. Secondly, boots on the ground, good news there. FEMA has picked New Jersey as one of its initial 12 states to help us do drive-thru testing.
I`ve called up the National Guard effective today. I think in combination between the Guard and federal boots on the ground, we`ll be able to be much more aggressive on testing, delivering food to kids who only get their best meal of the day from school, maybe reopening wings of hospital if need be or repurposing buildings.
And the third request is financial. There`s no amount of money any state. Governor Cuomo said this about New York the other day. It`s certainly is true for New Jersey. We`ll do everything we can for our workers, for our small businesses, for anybody impacted by this. And, by the way, our healthcare workers are heroes. But there`s no amount of money that any one state has.
So we`re going to need an enormous amount of help and support from the federal government in the intermediate to long term, and we`ll continue to ask for that and stand tall for that.
KORNACKI: All right. Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey, thank you for taking a few minutes. I appreciate it.
MURPHY: Thanks for having me, Steve.
KORNACKI: Okay. And President Trump was asked today by a reporter to rate his own handling of the coronavirus crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`d rate it a ten. I think we`ve done a great job. I would rate it at a very, very -- I would rate ourselves and the professionals, I think the professionals have done a fantastic job.
As far as the testing, you heard the admiral. I think the testing we have done, we took over an obsolete system or put it maybe in a different way, a system that wasn`t meant to do anything like this, we took it over and we`re doing something that`s never been done in this country. And I think that we are doing very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And I am joined now by Janet Napolitano, the President of the University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration. Thank you for joining us.
Let me ask you, what we just heard from the governor of New Jersey about the steps being taken in his state, and we`re seeing this in some other states as well, he is asking residents, stay at home overnight, 8:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. It`s voluntary, but asking them to stay home, closing down casinos, telling the restaurants takeout only, non-essential businesses, all these restrictions. Is this something you think has to happen at the national level too?
JANET NAPOLITANO, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I do, because this epidemic is happening at the national level. I live in the Bay Area in California and the 6.7 million of us who live here have just been ordered to shelter at home until April the 7th. So activity in this area is going to cease.
At the University of California, which is the nation`s largest public research university, we began several weeks ago by converting campuses to remote learning, shutting down dormitories, dining facilities. Obviously, we`re concerned about our workforce, particularly our lowest paid employees. And we`re trying to help them out through this crisis.
But like Governor Murphy, we don`t have a good understanding of how long this is going to go on. That`s one of the great big unknowns that we have.
KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, the unknown here in time, the unknown here just in terms of talking about bending this curve, you keep hearing that expression exactly how bad this is going to get in the coming days and the coming weeks. You have been in an administration before dealing with sort of the national scope of these things, obviously not something quite like this, but what steps does the federal government, what steps does the administration need to be taking right now?
NAPOLITANO: It needs an all of government approach. It needs to be dealing with a number of issues simultaneously. It needs to be dealing with the testing issue and the availability of diagnostic testing. It needs to be dealing with the supply chain for personal protective equipment. It needs to be constantly reminding people that they can help themselves by coughing in their elbow, not handshaking, washing their hands regularly and sing a song like happy birthday while you do it so that you make sure it`s a thorough wash. Those simple steps add up if everyone does them.
KORNACKI: You mentioned the testing too. What is your sense of where that stands and what can be done there to speed that up and to get that volume of tests that are needed to meet demand and the potential demand? What can be done to get that in place quickly?
NAPOLITANO: One thing that can be done is to speed the approval of different types of test, be they emanating from the private sector or be it emanating from our nation`s universities. The University of California, for example, at our hospitals, they have developed new tests that we are currently being able to deploy to patients in the hospitals, so enlarging the source of supply. That`s the number one thing.
KORNACKI: What is your sense too, I`m just curious, this is unprecedented, what people are increasingly being asked to do here. It seems in crises in the past in this country, there`s this sort of can-do spirit, and there`s this instinct that people have, okay, let me get up, let me pitch in, let me do something. And it seems the do something that people are being asked of here is essentially nothing. It`s stay home. It`s don`t go out. It`s don`t be among people. It`s don`t take action. That seems like a particular challenge and unique from a leadership standpoint to try sell people on.
NAPOLITANO: Well, it is but it`s a fairly straightforward message. It`s that people can do a lot to help themselves and their communities if they reduce their social interactions, or in the case of some areas of the country, basically eliminate those social interactions until, as you say, we bend that curve.
And it`s the curve that`s so worrisome because if we continue on the same slant that we`re on right now, we are going to overwhelm our healthcare system, and that is the biggest risk that we face.
KORNACKI: All right. Janet Napolitano, the former Homeland Security secretary, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.
NAPOLITANO: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. And coming up, mixed messages sent over the weekend amidst all the warnings to stay home as much as possible. Some lawmakers suggested it`s okay to go out to bars and restaurants. But are leaders now adopting a more unified front when it comes to social distancing?
Plus, the big picture questions everyone is asking, right now, questions like, will our country have enough tests to go around, and the personal questions, like what do I do if I think I have symptoms. We`ve got some of the most informed experts here and will take us through all of it and more.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you considering instituting a nationwide lockdown, a nationwide quarantine? The NSC knocked that down, but there are still some questions about how --
TRUMP: At this point, not nationwide. But there are some places in our nation that are not very affected at all. But we may look at certain areas, certain hot spots, as they call them, we`ll be looking at that. But at this moment, no, we`re not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
That was President Trump earlier today saying he is not considering instituting a national lockdown at this point. Experts have urged that people practice social distancing, the idea of avoiding large groups of people, and staying home as much as possible. Of course, that`s been easier said than done, especially for people flying back this weekend to crowded airports or to people lining up to buy groceries.
And some people spent their weekends crowding bars and restaurants like nothing was out of the ordinary. Well, cities like New Orleans, having to send police out to disband large gatherings. Others took advantage of places like Disneyworld`s Magic Kingdom that were still open until today.
I`m joined now by Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and Public Health Professor at George Washington University, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former Obama White House health policy adviser and vice provost of Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, and Richard Serino, former deputy administrator of FEMA and former chief of Boston EMS.
Thank you all for being with us. I appreciate it.
Dr. Wen, let me start with you.
The idea of a lockdown, we heard the president asked about it there. This is something now happening in other countries. There are pockets of this country, as the president said, where people are being told to shelter in place.
Realistically, do you think the American people should be expecting the possibility at some point in the next few weeks that becomes a national order?
DR. LEANA WEN, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Well, we have seen a dramatic shift, even in the last couple weeks, where, two weeks ago, it seemed unimaginable to be banning gatherings of more than 10, 50 people.
We were canceling large events. And that seemed to be the big event of the day. Now that message of social distancing, I think, is getting through. But people aren`t voluntarily complying with it, which is why I think we see more and more restrictions being placed.
So, I really hope that the American people will take this time now to heed the warning of public health experts, to know that we have a very small window that`s closing, where we can make a big difference in stopping this rapid spread of COVID-19.
And, ideally, if we heed these warnings and do things voluntarily, and stop going to big gatherings, then we don`t need a national lockdown. Let`s hope that people will do it on their own, and see it as a chance to help each other and our neighbors.
KORNACKI: So, Ezekiel Emanuel, I have a two-part question for you. And it picks up just where Dr. Wen left off, the idea that there is this limited window right now to take these actions, these drastic actions.
And you keep hearing this term bend the curve, the idea, we keep seeing the case reports go up, to try to stabilize that number, and to bring that number down.
Take me through, first of all -- the first part of this question is, what would that achieve? If you bend the curve in the next few weeks, what specifically would be achieved by that?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER: Well, so, if we just let this virus go, we`re likely to see something like 10 million cases at the peak -- but you would have to build up to the peak -- and one million deaths.
If, before April 1, we`re really able to get this social distancing in place, we`re able to prevent people from congregating, we really do that effectively, the modeling suggests that we can take that, the total peak number of cases, down below a million, maybe as low as 600,000, 700,000, and the total number of deaths down below 100,000, maybe as low as 60,000.
Now, that`s a huge difference. First of all, lots of suffering doesn`t happen. Lots of people who would have otherwise died stay alive. And, second and most importantly, from the standpoint of the whole of the population, we actually end up not overtaxing the health care system and not making it break down.
What does breakdown look like? It looks like no elective surgery. It looks like people with myocardial infarctions can`t get into the hospital. It looks like we have to choose between people in the intensive care unit, who gets that respirator and who doesn`t?
And that is what is one of the things which is so critical. So there`s the human cost in suffering, and there is the medical system and keeping it functioning. And those, I think -- that is why acting so fast is so important.
And why is it difficult to act fast? Well, lots of people don`t feel sick. And even people who have the virus don`t feel sick. And so it`s hard to tell them, you have to take this action, even though you`re feeling perfectly fine.
KORNACKI: So let me get to part two of the question then...
KORNACKI: ... because I think you set it up well there.
I think it makes perfect sense to me and I`m sure everybody who listens to this, the idea that you do this sort of dramatic social distancing right now, you`re not going to flood the hospitals, it`s going to give everybody a chance to take stock of this, you`re not going to have that explosion that maybe otherwise we would have.
OK. So, we do that for a few weeks. We do that for a few months. The bars are closed, the restaurants are closed, the schools are out of session, everybody is staying home.
At some point, we have to start returning to something resembling normal life. We`re human beings, right? At some point, you can`t be cooped up in your house forever.
At that point, if there`s no vaccine, which they`re telling us is a year or two away, if there`s no credible treatment for this thing, isn`t everything you have just described going to happen then?
EMANUEL: It is going to happen again. You will release the social distancing, and then you will have a recrudescence of the virus, but it`ll be at a much lower level.
And, remember, you will have given the health care system time to sort things out. So you will have lower virus spread, fewer people suffering, health care system still functioning.
And so by doing this over and over again, you can actually coast through the worst parts.
KORNACKI: So, Rich Serino, this message, then, that`s being put out there to stay home, to do social distancing, all these sorts of things, we talked about over the weekend, I think folks who are watching cable news, social media, you saw these images from New Orleans.
You saw crowded bars, crowded restaurants. My sense -- and I`m curious what yours is -- my sense is, there was a backlash to that took -- that sort of took hold over the weekend. And maybe that message is resonating a little bit more with folks, maybe a lot more with folks, Monday than it was Friday.
Is that your sense? Has this dramatically changed the culture of the country in the course of a weekend?
RICHARD SERINO, FORMER FEMA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR: I think it has.
I think a lot of people in the country have realized that they can make a huge difference, that individuals can actually be the heroes in this. They can actually look and see how they can make a difference, that they can save -- help save their neighbors` lives in simple things, like we -- if we look at what happened in 1918, for example, Philadelphia decided to hold a parade.
And they did. And then Saint Louis at the same time decided they were not going to hold the parade. And we saw the big difference in the deaths in the people that got sick. In Philadelphia, it spiked. In Saint Louis, it was down.
So I think there`s a big difference if people can social distance, stay home, as much as they can. That`s going to have a long-term impact. It`s going to decrease, as we say, flatten the curve. And that`s going to help save lives.
And I think that that`s important, is how we can look at what the individual can do. Individual is a huge -- this is not a -- just a whole- of-government, a whole-of-community approach. It`s individuals. It`s government. It`s the business community. It`s the faith-based community.
And it`s the public at large, how we can all come together and help each other out through this, because that`s what`s going to get us through this.
KORNACKI: Yes, I was saying bending the curve. It`s flatten the curve. I have heard it a million times, and I still got it wrong.
KORNACKI: But, yes, flatten the curve, that`s the expression we`re hearing out there. That is the goal here, clearly, folks have in mind.
My guests are staying with me. Quick break here.
But still ahead: The public has a lot of questions about what`s happening, about what happens next. And we have got these public health experts sticking around to join us to answer questions that may be on your mind.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: How many ventilators and how many ICU beds do we have right now? And will it be enough?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can get back to you with that number. We`ve ordered a lot. We have quite a few, but it may not be enough. And if it`s not enough, we will have it by the time we need it. Hopefully, we won`t need them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
That was President Trump addressing concerns that hospitals might not have enough lifesaving equipment to respond to this growing pandemic.
And even with the far-reaching restrictions that states are putting in place, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today, it might not be enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The wave is going to break on the hospital system.
We`re doing everything we can to flatten the curve. I believe we have taken more dramatic actions than any state in the United States. I believe we have had the most effective response of any state in the United States.
I don`t believe we`re going to be able to flatten the curve enough to meet the capacity of the health care system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Back with me are Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and Richard Serino.
Ezekiel Emanuel, let me just start with you on what Governor Cuomo was saying there. That was a very ominous remark...
KORNACKI: ... saying, the wave is going to crash on the health care system.
We were just talking in the last segment about having a window of opportunity to avoid that. He`s saying, we`re not going to.
Does he have a point?
EMANUEL: He may have a point, and there may be a point in different parts of the country where the number of cases does overwhelm the health care system.
President Trump couldn`t give you the numbers, but the numbers are that we have just under 70,000 intensive care unit beds for adults, separate from the NICU beds for infants and the pediatric ICU beds. That is not a lot of beds for 325 million Americans.
Some areas have more and some areas don`t have enough. And it`s -- I think he`s worried about the combination of a big COVID-19 outbreak and areas that may not have sufficient elastic capacity and excess capacity.
In addition, we don`t have that many full-fledged ventilators. There are about 95,000 in the country, including the Strategic Reserve. We have a lot of other ventilators that are not fully -- not full-fledged.
So there is also a shortage of ventilators. And, by the way, there`s also human resources, nurse -- nurses, as well as respiratory therapists. And that is another area that I think we have to rapidly train up people to be able to service the ventilators.
KORNACKI: So, Dr. Wen, I`m curious here.
You have got the concern here about whether the health care system is equipped to handle this. You have got folks who are doing their best to stay at home, who are doing their best to stay out of public settings. They certainly know that, if they go to the hospital or any kind of medical facility, perhaps the chance of exposure to something like this might be even greater there, just given the clientele in a moment like this.
What is the practical advice for somebody sitting at home watching this right now who wakes up tomorrow and says, geez, I feel a little feverish? It`s 99.2. Maybe I`m feeling a little bit of a cough. What do you do?
WEN: Don`t go to the E.R. That`s the most important thing.
So, let me back up for a moment, because you`re talking about both a supply and demand issue. And the supply and demand are of health care services. So, hospitals at this time need to ramp up as much as they possibly can.
They need to be freeing up capacity, doing telemedicine, opening up new bed spaces when possible. Maybe the military needs to become involved to open new beds, so that we can have more supply of services.
But we`re trying to flatten the curve, so that we can reduce the demand of services. One concern that I`m hearing from my emergency medicine colleagues all around the country is that patients are flooding the E.R.s now.
So, we don`t even have COVID-19 in many of our communities yet, but patients are coming in saying that they`re worried about coronavirus, which I understand why they`re worried.
But the E.R. is not the place that you go if you are the worried well. You should only go to the E.R. if you need E.R. services, because, otherwise, you could be infected yourself. You could transmit disease to other people. And, frankly, you`re taking up space that somebody else needs in order to get acute care.
Also, E.R.s don`t have enough tests, for all the reasons that we talked about. So, if you`re not feeling so great, call your doctor. Ask your doctor about what you should do. Most likely, we don`t have enough tests and you`re not going to get a test.
But if you do need to go to the E.R., the doctor will contact the E.R. directly or give you some explicit instructions, so that, when you go, you can also avoid infecting other people and protect yourself. So, stay out of the E.R.
And, very importantly, hunker down at home. Social distancing is going to protect you and your family, and also really reduce the demand for those services, so that we can all protect our communities.
KORNACKI: Well, Rich Serino, Dr Wen is pointing to a -- I`d say a troubling category that`s kind of emerged here. A lot of this is anecdotal, but I think we`re all hearing these accounts.
You`re seeing them reported here and there of folks who you wouldn`t classify them as the worried well, who just fear this sort of in an abstract sense, folks who are running fevers, folks who are getting 100.3 when they put the thermometer in their mouth, maybe have a cough, maybe have a fever, this sort of thing, and are going to their doctor and are being told, you`re not a candidate for testing. We don`t have the tests. There isn`t anything I can do for you.
What`s the practical advice for folks who fall into that category?
SERINO: Well, I think the folks who fall into that category are people who, if they have a fever above 100.4, they have a dry cough, it`s been going on for five days, four to five days, contact your doctor, and then the doctor can then recommend whether or not to go to the hospital, if that -- if that`s necessary at that point.
The other part of this I think that`s important is, we have to be honest with the people, and as we`re honest with the people with trusted, real, good information, and have empathy for those who become sick, because I think a lot of people we have heard who just had the sniffles or a little bit of a cold, they`re being treated like, oh, no, I can`t even go near you.
But I think we have to have empathy for the people who are ill. We also have to, for the people who can stay home, stay home and be -- be conscious of your actions, and that, as a community, we`re going to be able to get through this.
KORNACKI: All right, Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rich Serino.
KORNACKI: Sorry. We`re out of time here.
I appreciate having you there.
KORNACKI: I really appreciate the insight there, and hope you will come back.
Obviously, this is not going away, unfortunately, any time soon.
Up next: a closer look at the economic impact of this outbreak. Will tried- and-true economic remedies work in the face of what is essentially a medical crisis?
We`re back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to say that people shouldn`t go out. We`re going to be all great. We`re going to be so good, we`re going to do -- what`s happened with the Fed is phenomenal news. What`s happening with all of these incredible companies is phenomenal news.
But you don`t have to buy so much, take it easy, just relax. Relax. We`re doing great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
That was the president`s message yesterday as Americans faced long lines and empty shelves at grocery restores. Among other things, the president yesterday touted the Federal Reserve`s emergency decision over the weekend to cut interest rates to nearly zero percent. That is the lowest they have been since the 2008 financial crisis.
And yet, even that dramatic measure couldn`t avert a massive selloff today, another one. The Dow plunging so quickly this morning that it triggered a halt in trading, another one, within seconds of opening bell.
By market close, the Dow was down almost 3,000 points, marking the worst loss since 1987, with a decline of nearly 13 percent for the day.
Despite parallels to the 2008 financial crisis, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow this morning reiterated his belief that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: We`ve been assured in recent weeks that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.
LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Yes, yes.
REPORTER: Do you still believe that?
KUDLOW: I believe so. Important point, so does the president. Fundamentals of the economy are strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Late this afternoon, the president adopted a markedly different tone on the subject of Wall Street and where the economy may be heading.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Is the U.S. economy heading into a recession?
TRUMP: Well, it may be. We`re not thinking in terms of recession. We`re thinking in terms of the virus.
Once this goes away, once it goes through, and we`re done with it, I think you`re going ot see a tremendous -- a tremendous surge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And this comes as a Republican senator is calling on the president to take a, quote, step back from his public statements on the outbreak. That`s coming up next.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
When it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump has not consistently been on message with the government health experts of his own administration. Now, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is telling him to take a back seat to the professionals.
In a statement to NBC News, she said this, quote: I would like the president to step back and appoint one of our public health officials to be the spokesman as we go through dealing with this novel virus.
We`re joined now by Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for "The New York Times", and Elise Jordan is a former White House aide in the George W. Bush administration.
Thanks to you both for being with us.
Peter, we played a little of the president on Sunday, but I noticed late this afternoon when he and other administration officials spoke, there did seem to be a markedly different tone the president was taking. It seemed as if perhaps last week he had been trying to coax the markets with his words into some measure of stability and now, after seeing yet another plunge today, he was offering a message of, hey, maybe there will be a recession. I think the line he used to paraphrase was the markets will ultimately be OK but you have to take care of coronavirus first.
Has there been a shift along those lines in terms of his thinking and his administration`s approach?
PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I think you did see a different tone today, saw a president willing to admit this is a serious situation, one in fact that will last until July or August. Remember, just a few days ago he was telling us this would burn off by April or May and that this would miraculously go away, under control. He admitted today it is not under control.
Now, there are still Trumpian flourishes. He still gave himself a ten when asked to rate his performance on a one to 10. He denied he said it was tremendously under control, even though he just said it yesterday.
But broadly speaking, I think it was a sober tone, more serious tone. He didn`t even take the bait to go after Cuomo as much as I would have expected him to under other circumstances.
I think that the collapse of the market today after the Fed cut the rate to nearly zero had to be sobering. He put so much stock in the Fed rate as a solution to all things economic and it didn`t work. So, he looked at this, said he had to come out, present a different tone.
KORNACKI: Yes, Elise, I did think it was striking, we played it there, when he was asked about possibility of recession, he didn`t -- he didn`t wave the question off, he said it is possible.
ELISE JORDAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE & STATE DEPARTMENT AIDE: Today was positive in the sense it seems like the president understands that this is a serious threat to the whole society, that he isn`t going to be able to talk away through magical marketing, that he is actually going to have to be sober with the American public about what`s ahead.
And I`m reminded of the Iraq war years when so often it was dismissed as a communications problem, not a policy problem with how we were executing the war. And so many times this is true where Congress bears the brunt of blame when problem at the end of the day, it`s a policy problem, and there has to be a shift and I hope we`re starting to see that shift with the Trump administration now taking seriously through concrete measures to ensure public safety.
KORNACKI: The other question there, too, Peter, in terms of policy, in terms of proposals, is if the president is now looking at this and if his administration is now looking at this as it is possible there`s going to be some kind of a recession here and certainly just given the limited economic activity we`re going to be seeing because of these social distancing measures, is there a policy agenda that is taking shape here?
I started a Mitt Romney Republican senator from Utah put out this idea of give every American a check for $1,000 right now, try to get some kind of stimulus and security for Americans. Is there a policy agenda that the administration is sort of cooking up here against this public recognition of potentially a recession is on the horizon?
BAKER: Well, there is and it`s basically combination of stimulus and bailout. Two words you won`t hear the Trump administration use because they`re associated with the last two presidents, things that might have been unpopular with some of their voters. And, in fact, that`s what they`re talking about.
Larry Kudlow in that driveway interview with a few of us that showed earlier talked about the proposals the president has already put out, combined with aid to workers in the House bill would add up to about $400 billion. He said he didn`t want to use the word stimulus, he said financial aid.
He says if you add the payroll tax holiday the Trump administration would like to do, it would get up to $800 billion. On top of that, of course, you`re talking about assistance to the airline industry or perhaps $50 billion. So, all these things are coming together in the combination of discussions that the White House right now and on Capitol Hill.
It`s very inchoate. We don`t know where it`s going to end up. But you`re right, the government basically is trying to figure out how it can juice the economy to at least keep it sustained until this virus works it way through its course.
KORNACKI: And meanwhile, as all of us were absorbing all of this over the weekend, the two remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, faced off last night in an unusual debate setting. Given the risks of the virus, there was no audience in the auditorium, the podiums were set six feet apart.
Here`s a bit of what we saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re spending so much money and yet, we`re not even prepared for this pandemic.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have a single-payer system in Italy. It doesn`t work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare-for-All.
SANDERS: We got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide health care to all people.
BIDEN: This is a crisis. We`re at war with a virus. We`re at war with a virus. It has nothing to do with co-pays or anything. We just passed the law saying that you do not have to pay for any of this, period.
SANDERS: Bottom line is, we need a simple system which exists in Canada, exists in countries all over the world.
BIDEN: This idea that this is his only answer is a mistake in notion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Of course, there are four more Democratic primaries scheduled tomorrow.
I should mention, there is a little news. The governor of Ohio earlier today had moved to postpone his state`s primary for tomorrow. A court just ruled in the last hour, though, against that, so there will be as of right now a primary in Ohio tomorrow and three other states.
Look, Elise Jordan, Bernie Sanders was behind going into the debate last night. He`s lost most of the recent contest and fallen behind in the delegate count. Obviously, we will get some results it looks like from the states tomorrow to see if anything changed there.
I`m just curious, given everything around us right now in terms of this outbreak and in terms of what that`s doing to Americans` lives, how do you see this Democratic campaign looking after tomorrow night?
JORDAN: The wind just really seems to be going in the opposite direction of Bernie Sanders and certainly, Steve, I would never talk numbers when you`re hosting the show because you can break it down infinitely better than I can but I just don`t see where, barring some extraordinary event, Bernie Sanders has any fighting chance, and last night was a last stand was really, you know, an ideological last stand of sorts.
And I was surprised that Biden did as well as he did in the moment. Bernie Sanders kept bringing it back to Medicaid for all and Joe Biden focused on the urgency of the moment, and that was appropriate for these crazy times that we live in.
KORNACKI: All right. Elise Jordan and Peter Baker, thank you both for joining us and we`re back right after this.
KORNACKI: Well, as we just discussed, the presidential race goes on sort of. Debates in empty studios, no more rallies for a very long time and now, maybe not even many more primaries. There are states that are holding presidential primaries tomorrow, but after that, who knows?
Georgia was set to go next week but now, they postponed their primary until at least May. Louisiana`s primary was scheduled for early April, now it`s been postponed at least two and a half months. Kentucky pushed its back today, too. This is probably going to happen in a lot more states, as well.
The only thing I can remember like this is back on 9/11 when the World Trade Center was hit that awful morning, the primary election for New York City mayor was underway, votes were being cast, but it was immediately cancelled when the attacked happened. And three weeks later, they tried it all over again. Votes that have been cast on 9/11 weren`t counted, it was a complete do-over and it worked fine. The campaign proceeded, New York ended up with a new mayor and a steady process of returning to normal or something like normal continued apace.
The situation now feels a little bit different, though. We were stunned on 9/11 and saddened beyond belief, but we`re also filled with a resolve to get back own our feet, to get our country moving again and we did. The return to elections and politics was part of that.
Now, though, now it`s about waiting, sitting still, being patient, keeping distance. We`re humans. Everything inside of us says get going again.
But we can`t. Not now. Not for awhile. That includes elections. We had pauses before in our country but never one quite like this.
Thanks for being with us. Don`t go anywhere.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END