ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Now, as we finish the hour, the number has jumped to 18,000, a grim reminder of what we face.
That does it for me tonight. I want you to stay informed, stay safe and stay sane. We`ll be back at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Monday night. Keep it right here on MSNBC.
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Katy Tur in New York.
States and cities across the country are shutting down as the federal government grapples with the unfolding coronavirus crisis. Escalating their response over the last 24 hours, the governors of California, New York and Illinois are taking drastic action to keep people in their homes, ordering all residents to effectively stay in place.
Those states include the three largest population centers in the country, Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago, all of which are grinding to a halt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This is a moment we need to make tough decisions. This is a moment where we need some straight talk and we need to tell people the truth. We need to bend the curve in the State of California.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We`re going to close the valve, all right, because the rate of increase in the number of cases portends a total overwhelming of our hospital system.
We need everyone to be safe, otherwise, no one can be safe.
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): The easy thing to say today is that soon everything will go back to the way it was. But I want to be honest with you about that too. We don`t know yet all the steps we are going to have to take to get this virus under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: As of tonight, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of 223 Americans, with the number of confirmed cases in this country reaching nearly 18,000. That`s more than double the total of just two days ago.
The world also marked a grim new milestone as the mounting death toll from the virus exceeded 10,000. Yet as millions of Americans put their lives on hold, Dr. Anthony Fauci today suggested that social distancing could go on for the foreseeable future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long do you think that Americans need to be in this posture of staying at home and avoiding other people for it to work?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Obviously, that`s obviously the question that everyone is asking. If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas, it`s at least going to be several weeks. I cannot see that all of a sudden next week or two weeks from now, it`s going to be over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: In his briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force today, President Trump made a series of announcements, including agreement to restrict non- essential travel across the Mexican border. He said the Education Department would suspend testing requirements and stop collecting interest on federal student loans. And he said the Treasury Department would give taxpayers three months more to file their returns, moving the April deadline to July 15.
Late tonight, the White House announced that a person in the vice president`s office tested positive for coronavirus. We`re also learning that the confirmed cases in New York City alone exceeded 5,000. That accounts for one-third of all the cases in the entire country, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said his city is now the epicenter of the outbreak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): I hate to say this, but it`s true. We are now the epicenter of this crisis right here in the nation`s largest city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: I am joined by Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York, and epidemiologist, Dr. Joseph Fair. So, Dr. Fair, how long is this reasonably going to last? People are asking questions and Fauci today certainly didn`t give them a feeling that they`re going to be able to go back to their daily lives anytime soon.
DR. JOSEPH FAIR, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: That is directly dependent on when everyone puts the standard, social distancing measures that we Are seeing for California, Illinois and New York, every state, and, frankly, with the absence of federal leadership on the issue, I think the Association of Governors have to make a uniform decision. Because unless we all do it and we all do it at the same time, and I emphasize at the same time, it`s just going to go on longer and longer and longer and the derivative effects on the economy and everything else are going to continue to get worse.
TUR: So let me ask you this though. I mean, is it necessary for governors of states that don`t have big population centers like New York or Chicago or Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, do those places need to go on the same lockdowns we are experiencing here in New York City even though it`s not being called a lockdown? Do you need to put those drastic measures in places where there aren`t as many people?
FAIR: We`ve seen spread in all 50 states. So that indicates that those states are not immune to this, just like no other place is as well. And as far as lockdown, I don`t think, is the right term to use for it. We`re talking about shutdown of all non-essential services. And being a waiter myself in college, depending on tips every single night, I know what that means.
And so we`re going to have to have federal help to those people immediately. But the longer this goes on without uniform social distancing across the nation and mandated to do so, we`re going to keep seeing scenes like beaches in Florida packed with people. And we wish everyone would do the right thing, but that`s just not happening.
TUR: So when do you think we`re going to start to see whether any of this is working? So if we all get together and we all say, we`re all going to stay at home, we`re not going to go to the beach or if you see pictures out of D.C. today, go see the cherry blossoms blooming, or we`re going to stay away from each other when go to the supermarket, only go to the market when it`s absolutely necessary. How long before or what is the milestone we need to see in order to believe that we can come out again?
FAIR: With the absence of testing, it`s hard to say with data-wise. But just from historical precedent and other outbreaks of both respiratory disease, Ebola and all other epidemics, just because we tried to do the same thing, you should start seeing the results within a week and more so immediately. And definitely, by 14 to 15 days, you should see significant decrease in the number of reported cases. Now, that`s including -- assuming rather that we have tests in place.
TUR: Congressman Meeks, New York City now the epicenter, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, are we getting what we need?
REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): No. We need substantially more equipment. I mean, the mayor at the same time said we need over 3 million masks, we need 50 million surgical masks, we need 15,000 ventilators. We need over 25 million face masks and surgical Gowns, and coverall and gloves. There`s a lot more we need.
I know that the Senate is currently working on the third phase of the stimulus package, but we really need a lot more so that we can start to deal with the medical necessities that our hospitals have.
TUR: So on the subject of tests, the president, Dr. Fauci today addressed the difficulty of meeting demand for those tests. Let`s listen to what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: There are Americans though who say that they have symptoms and they can`t get tests. What do you say to the Americans who are --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not hearing any.
FAUCI: I get the same calls that many of you get that someone goes into a place who has a symptom and wants to get a test and for one reason or other, multiple logistic, technical, what have you, they can`t get it. That is the reality that is happening now. Is it the same as it was a few weeks ago? absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: So he is saying it`s getting better when it comes to tests. And we just heard from the governor of New Jersey a couple hours ago saying their drive-thru testing was a success today. I think they got 600 people tested there and they`re opening more sites. But when it comes to what the hospitals need right now, be it gowns or masks or ventilators, the personal protective equipment, is hearing them talk about tests and the tests on their way only something of a consolation prize right now, Congressman Meeks?
MEEK: Yes. I mean, I check with my hospitals on a daily basis. I have about four hospitals that I know my constituents utilize. And when I talk to the heads of these hospitals, they are crying for the items that they need. they are short a number of items of which some I`ve just articulated.
They are concerned about the number of beds that they have. They are concerned about making sure they`re able to take care of the increasing number of individuals who once tested have been found positive and may need hospitalization. And so wo we`ve got to be prepared in advance, not wait until the devastation takes place. But we`ve got to be prepared.
One of the reasons why we are where we are now, we started out too late. And so we cannot be too late with getting these hospitals with what they need because if you see the trends, the trends are rising. And so we`ve got to be prepared for that in advance.
And so I know our governor in the State of New York is trying to do just the opposite of what the president did in preparing the state for a crisis that is still escalating and he`s not trying to hide it, say this is something that`s going to go away, he is saying that this is something that`s going to be worse before it gets better and we`ve got to be prepared for it.
TUR: Doctor Fair, is there a way for us to catch up at this point if we all start practice social distancing, will there be relief for the hospitals if that happens?
FAIR: If we all start practicing social distancing right now, and I mean uniformly across the nation, because even if we`re talking about locking, and again, I won`t use that word, but stopping all commercial and non- essential activities in, say, California and New York, if people are coming from New Jersey that are not doing the same thing, then it`s not going to work. So it`s essential we do it all at the same time. We have no choice but to catch up on this.
We talk about banks being too big to fail, we reacted immediately when that happened. The American people are too big to fail.
And so, immediately, we have to put all these actions in place. And, frankly, if China is reaching out, offering help now and their manufacturing sector is coming back online, we should be placing orders for them for the 3M mask -- sorry, not the 3M mask but N95 mask and the personal protective equipment that the frontline healthcare workers need and desperately need.
TUR: And maybe not antagonizing them by calling it the Chinese virus.
FAIR: That would be a good start.
TUR: Dr. Joseph Fair, thank you very much. And thank you, Congressman Gregory Meeks as well. We appreciate it. Stay safe.
And despite the actions taken by New York, California and now, Illinois, the president said today that a national lockdown isn`t necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What Governor Cuomo has done in New York, is there any more consideration to a national lockdown to keep people in their homes?
TRUMP: I don`t think so. Essentially, you`ve done that in California, you`ve done that in New York. Those are really two hot beds. Those are probably the two hottest of them all in terms of hot spots. I don`t think so. Because you go out to the Midwest, you go out to other locations and they`re watching it on television, but they don`t have the same problems. They don`t have by any means the same problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: I`m joined now by the governor of Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly. Governor, thank you very much.
So is it not a problem in the Midwest?
GOV. LAURA KELLY (D-KS): Well, it is a problem of a different scale just because of our population. But we are seeing an increase in the number of positive tests on a daily basis. I think we had ten more today. And half of our positive tests are located in one of our more populous areas, bordering Kansas City, Missouri.
So we`re seeing some of that. We have taken some actions in anticipation of making social distancing happen. As you know, we closed down our school buildings and will reopen the education process in a couple of weeks, but we won`t be bringing kids necessarily back into the buildings themselves. We`re going to do it all by distance learning or sort of academics to go.
I did issue an order to make sure that crowds of more than 50 are not getting together. And we also are sending all of our state employees who are not absolutely essential will be working from home or at home on administrative leave for the next two weeks.
So we are taking steps to lockdown the number of folks who are wandering around, in and out of stores, and making contact with one another.
TUR: You have 45 cases of coronavirus reported in your state. Are you getting enough testing? Are you fearful that that number is higher or are you confident that that`s the number of people that have it within the state?
KELLY: Well, we`re doing the testing that we have the capability of doing. I fully expect that when we get more test kits and we are doing more testing, we will see an increase in the number of positives.
We have had a little bit of a difficulty getting the tests in. I think we just received a shipment. It`s enough to get us through the weekend, but then we are going to need more, and a lot more.
TUR: I don`t know if you just heard the conversation that I was having with Dr. Joseph Fair, but he was saying that this is not something that we`re going to be able to stop unless everybody acts together in a uniform way. The president is not mandating anything across the board for states but he`s calling on governors to get together and enact the same measures. Say, if it`s going to be not a lockdown but social distancing rules, everyone has got to do it in order to really flatten the curve. Because if one place gets it, he says, it`s going to spill over to everything else.
Do you agree with that? Are there conversations being had amongst governors to try and figure out how to do this if it is not on a federal scale with cooperation amongst all 50 governors?
KELLY: Well, the approach that we have taken here in Kansas is really very closely following the guidelines that CDC has come out with. That`s how we established the no more than 50 assembly, why we shut down the school buildings, because we do want to adhere to those guidelines and we are looking towards the CDC to give us those.
TUR: So you`re looking to the federal government still, Governor Laura Kelly?
KELLY: Right. And then if there are some things Kansas-specific, we are acting on our autonomously. But I think when it comes to issues like establishing a lockdown, we`re addressing it what we`re seeing here in Kansas. But if the CDC were to issue guidelines to require it, we would follow those guidelines.
TUR: Well, let`s hope your cases do not rise that much more. Thank you, Governor Laura Kelly. We appreciate it.
And coming up, hospitals struggle to get supplies as they need to fight the coronavirus. American Medical Association is calling on the White House to do much more. Dr. Patrice Harris, President of the AMA, joins me next.
Plus, the pandemic presidency deflecting blames, delivering misinformation, attacking the press and presenting half-baked ideas as if they`re concrete plans.
We`ve got much more, so stay with us.
TUR: Welcome back.
With the surging number of coronavirus cases, healthcare workers across the country are in desperate need of equipment. A global shortage of surgical masks and respirators has forced many healthcare professionals to improvise. A New York City doctor told The Atlantic that it`s like going to war with a butter knife.
Hospital workers in Washington State have been making protective medical gear out of office supplies and other materials. The Illinois Health and Hospital Association made a public plea for donations of masks from construction companies and others.
Yesterday, President Trump said there was no immediate plan to address medical equipment shortages by activating the Defense Production Act. Today, the president said something different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: You just said that you haven`t had to require companies to up their production of medical supplies, but you said Last night you invoked the DPA.
TRUMP: When we need something, because of the act, when we need something, we order something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: The Trump administration`s often confusing and rosy outlook ignores the reality on the ground. Healthcare workers have taken to social media to plead for more personal protective equipment.
In a statement today, the American Medical Association wrote, we urge our leaders to pull every lever at their disposal to ramp up test kit availability and to equip physicians and the health care work force to fight the virus. Anything less is unacceptable at this critical juncture."
For more, I`m joined by the president of the AMA, Dr. Patrice Harris.
Dr. Harris, thank you so much.
So, you`re calling on the president to get you the supplies you need.
DR. PATRICE HARRIS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Yes.
And thank you for having me tonight.
Yes, physicians and other health care workers are on the front lines in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. And we`re facing dire shortages of personal protective equipment, the supplies needed to do the tests, the test kits, but also the chemical reagents.
And, just as you said, it is absolutely unacceptable that physicians are reusing and cleaning masks that they have been using all day. It is unacceptable that we are having health care staff making protective equipment.
And so we really are calling on the government to have an all-hands-on-deck approach, a Marshall Plan, if you will, a Manhattan Project-type effort, because we really have to get the equipment, the mask on the faces, the gowns on the bodies of physicians and other health care workers in this country.
TUR: Do you understand what the president is doing right now? Do you understand his mixed messages?
HARRIS: Here`s what...
TUR: Are they mixed?
HARRIS: Here`s what we need to know. And it`s about results.
We appreciate everyone doing all that they can. But the AMA will continue to raise the alarms until we see the results, until we see masks and hospitals and on the faces of physicians and other health care workers, until we have the ability to do all the tests that we need to do whatever we can to flatten the curve -- you have heard that before -- of this pandemic.
TUR: Well, I wonder given that you -- you`re asking for this over and over again, and there`s there`s nurses and doctors pleading on social media, the president`s being asked about this in these briefings every single day. I know Dr. Fauci is getting calls about it.
I wonder if you think he understands, the president understands the urgency, this administration understands the urgency of what is needed and what is happening right now at hospitals across America?
HARRIS: Well, I`m not sure,but that`s why you will hear us say over and over again about the need for this and over and over again to call for an all-hands-on-deck approach.
And we will not stop until results are available.
TUR: Well, yesterday as Congress announced a new cash injection into the economy -- excuse me -- the economy.
NBC News reported that there still has been no direct funding to hospitals for personal protective equipment and medical infrastructure, despite the past two legislative packages.
The American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, in a letter to Congress, requested direct cash infusions, writing: "Congress should allocate $100 billion to front-line health care personnel and providers and direct the federal agencies to begin to infuse those funds immediately."
So this is a plea that`s coming from across health care organizations to the federal government: Give us the money we need.
If you get that money. What are you going to do with it?
HARRIS: Well, I will tell you, we did, along with our colleagues at AHA and ANA, call for $100 billion.
And that would go for PPE. That would go for the testing. But you know what? That would also go perhaps to practices. Many folks don`t realize that`s physicians in small and medium-sized practices are small businesses. And as they ramp down, appropriately, as we social distance, there will be consequences there.
We also need funding for telehealth services. Again, as we see fewer folks in our offices, there is great opportunity for telehealth. And so for these and other reasons again, small business loans, direct grants, perhaps -- we have asked, as you said, for $100 billion to aid us to make sure that we can keep practices open, to make sure that hospitals have the equipment they need, and nurses and doctors, again, get equipped to address this epidemic.
We all go into this as health professionals. And we accept a certain degree of risk. But there should be an all-hands-on-deck approach to mitigate and minimize any risk, as we, doctors, nurses, other health professions, are on the front lines of this pandemic.
TUR: So what`s happening in Italy right now is that there are doctors treating the sick, but then becoming infected themselves, doctors and nurses becoming patients, and they`re finding themselves in desperate need of people, doctors to help treat the patients that they`re -- that they`re getting.
Do we have enough doctors in this country to meet the demand, the patient demand, that we`re going to see those who have fallen ill to COVID-19?
HARRIS: Well, certainly, in some areas, there is a baseline shortage of physicians. And the AMA has been raising that and doing what we can to encourage our ability to train more physicians in this country.
But, as you say, right now, we have to be prepared for increased cases and for a surge that may happen. And any physician, any nurse, any other health professional that is ill, that cannot treat a patient because they have tested positive results in fewer physicians and out there results in certainly work force issues.
And, again, I hate -- well, actually I don`t hate to -- I am happy to continue to sound the alarm that we need to do whatever we can to reduce that risk, to reduce the risk of physicians and nurses becoming infected, and we start with making sure that there is adequate PPE.
And another suggestion that we have made is, we should be tracking these supplies. We need to know who has what, and who has the greatest need. And so we also called on the administration to consider some sort of national tracking system, so we can keep tabs and make sure we get equipment and testing supplies to the areas that need it most.
TUR: And just very quickly, the DOD is going to provide five million N95 masks, a million of them immediately, including 2000 ventilators, as part of the DOD stockpile. Is that enough?
HARRIS: That will not be enough.
Certainly, we need everyone to do whatever they can. But we really need to look at the supply chain, manufacture and distribution. So, no, that won`t be enough. We will take that. But that is not nearly enough, which is again while we called on the administration to look at have a Marshall Plan, a Manhattan, whatever analogy is...
HARRIS: An all hands on deck to get ventilators. We haven`t talked about that, but we need to make sure we have enough ventilators.
So we need to have everyone engaged in addressing all of these equipment needs.
TUR: Well, the president says the governors are left up to that task, because the federal government and he himself is not a shipping clerk.
Thank you, Dr. Patrice Harris. We appreciate it.
Up next: How is President Trump handling this crisis? So far, his response has been full of inaccurate and misleading statements, plus attacks on the media and blaming his predecessor.
We`re back after this.
TUR: Welcome back.
As President Trump attempts to explain what his administration is doing to deal with the pandemic, his remarks often don`t reflect reality. Bloomberg News highlights just a few, including a hospital ship that can`t yet sail, a drug that`s not approved for coronavirus, a windfall of masks that`s not due until next year.
At the White House today, Dr. Anthony Fauci threw cold water on one of the president`s pronouncements, an anti-malaria drug that President Trump touted yesterday as a potential treatment. Fauci said, any evidence of its effectiveness is only anecdotal.
My colleague NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander asked the president about his many inaccurate statements and empty promises. And then he followed up with a simple question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Is it possible -- it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of...
TRUMP: No, I don`t think so.
ALEXANDER: ... hope and misrepresenting the preparedness right now?
TRUMP: No. No, I don`t think so. I think that -- I think it`s gotten...
ALEXANDER: The ship is not yet ready to sail, the not-yet-approved drug?
TRUMP: Such a lovely question.
Look, it may work and it may not work. And I agree with the doctor, what he said. It may work, it may not work.
I feel good about it. That`s all it is. Just a feeling. You know, I`m a smart guy.
ALEXANDER: What do you say to Americans who are scared, though? I guess, nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions, as you witness, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?
TRUMP: I say that you`re a terrible reporter. That`s what I say. Go ahead.
ALEXANDER: Mr. President, the units that were just declared...
TRUMP: I think it`s a very nasty question, and I think it`s a very bad signal that you`re putting out to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: I`m joined now by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York and Jonathan Lemire, White House reporter for the Associated Press.
So, Jonathan, today, the president, instead of answering that question, lashed out at Peter Alexander. When Peter asked Vice President Pence that very same question, he responded directly and told the American people not to be scared.
JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: That`s right.
He said, stay vigilant, but don`t be afraid, or words to that effect, which is a very different message than the president gave.
This -- we have seen sort of a deterioration of the president`s tone and approach as the week has gone on. You might recall that some in the media praised his tone on Monday, Tuesday, suggested that he had made a real sea change, he was taking things more seriously. He was more somber about how things had gone.
And we have seen that slowly slip away. And, today, he was downright combative with the media. He is -- and it`s one thing to spar with the press. He does that often. That`s part of his brand.
It`s different, though, when it becomes the point where he`s giving misinformation, where he`s not giving the American public, who are home, so many of them, frightened and unsure of what happens next, their day-to-day routines completely upended, when he`s giving them false information or false hope.
As you mentioned, Dr. Fauci had to correct him on the potential effectiveness of these drugs to combat the virus. But more than that, the president has overpromised on a number of parts of the administration`s response.
And when asked today about that, he didn`t want to hear it. It`s very clear, not just from the media, but, according to our reporting, he also doesn`t want to hear it from aides when they don`t deliver him good news.
When he`s having -- when they have to break it to him that this is going to be a challenge and going to be for a long time, he doesn`t want to hear it. And that was evident today. It`s one thing that, in a situation or a meeting, to snap at an aide. It`s different to snap at a reporter in front of the American public, when they`re just looking for you to be calm and reassuring.
TUR: There`s a difference between talking about politics and partisanship and not agreeing with the president on policy or not agreeing with his politics.
But, Congressman, this is a crisis that we`re in, and now the conversation has to go to, what`s happening with this leadership? And is this the most effective leadership we can have in the midst of an event that nobody in America has ever experienced before, and when millions of Americans, millions are not just worried about their health, but worried about their paychecks and worried about whether they`re going to be able to feed themselves or their families or stay in their homes in the coming weeks and months, if this lasts that long.
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Right?
Well, I`m talking to you from a state that has almost half of the corona cases in the United States. New York City itself has about a third. So the proof is going to be when enough supplies show up for the hospitals in this state and in New York City, when there are enough masks, enough gowns, enough protective equipment, and when we have taken the steps necessary to hospitalize all the people who will need care.
Those are actions that right now depend on whether the president knows what he`s doing, and whether he`s listening to the risks and problems and he`s asking, what`s in the way, what`s missing, how do we get this done?
And all due respect, I don`t care what he says to reporters, I don`t care what he says, to puff his own, his own reputation. The truth will come out in the end. But what matters now is rushing supplies and materials to people on the front lines, our health care workers, who need to be kept safe.
And we need to make sure the vulnerable people who show up in real need to get a ventilator and can get a hospital bed. And what we do right now is going to determine that. And that`s where our focus has to be.
TUR: Do you have evidence that that is happening?
Yesterday, he said he wasn`t a shipping clerk for the rest of the country and told governors to deal with it themselves. He`s signed the Defense Production Act, but he is so far not using it. It`s not clear what exactly is happening. He gave contrary statements on that today.
What can you see is -- what`s actually happening right now, congressman? Is he is he doing anything that would make this response better?
MALONEY: It`s not enough. It is not enough.
If you listen to the mayor of New York as recently as an hour ago, he laid out pretty clearly what the gap is. He has not seen that action yet from the federal government. Ask the governor of New York, I speak to him pretty regularly.
He will tell you we are not going to be able to house in appropriate hospital facilities, with the right equipment needed to save lives, all of the people who may yet fall seriously ill with the coronavirus.
So what the president needs to do is, he needs to put everything else aside and let the people who have the capacity, the authorities, the resources to do that, get the job done, and he needs to stop making excuses and take responsibility for it.
And when he sends that signal from the top, the people around him will understand that what matters is the results, not the praise they heap on him, not the way this will look in the media, but what actually happens on the ground.
We`re talking about people`s lives.
MALONEY: This is not a game. It`s not some poll. It`s not a political question to be kicked around on cable news. This is about what shows up in terms of supplies and hospital capacity in places like New York.
And it`s not happening fast enough.
TUR: When you`re talking about deflecting blame, listen to this.
The president, who has been in the office for over three years, wrapped up today`s press conference by blaming previous administrations for his slow response to this pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Just for the probably hundredth time: I, this administration, inherited an obsolete, broken, old system that wasn`t meant for this.
We inherited a broken, old -- frankly, a terrible system. We fixed it and we`ve done a great job. And we haven`t been given the credit that we deserve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Compare that to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo`s explanation today of his decision to effectively shut down his entire state to curb the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And just so we`re all clear, this is a statewide order. It`s not what your county executive is doing. It`s not what your mayor is doing. It`s not what anyone else but me is doing.
And I accept full responsibility. If someone is unhappy, if somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: The president said he inherited a bad system.
But, Jonathan, he fired the pandemic response team in 2018.
LEMIRE: That`s right.
I wrote a story today contrasting the different approaches between Governor Cuomo and President Trump. And there`s no question we have -- from day one of this administration, not just on this crisis, the president doesn`t take responsibility very often.
And he often -- he tries to blame his predecessor for most things, even when it`s a complete stretch. And you`re right. There were tabletop exercises his administration conducted. It could have been prepared for this. They weren`t. He fired that team, as you just said.
We heard a week-and-a-half ago in the Rose Garden he was directly asked if he shared any blame, if he took on any personal responsibility for the lack of testing Americans have for this disease, which, mind you, is still an issue, and he said no.
And now he`s going to be judged in these next couple of weeks whether he can get ventilators, masks and other equipment to the hospitals in this country that are about to be overrun with patients.
TUR: It`s the president`s job to act and get that -- those supplies and equipment or make it easier to get those supplies and those -- that equipment to hospitals across the country and to states that need it.
But it`s also the president`s responsibility to lead and to calm people`s nerves in a time of crisis. And that`s not political. That`s just the way things work.
Thank you, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and Jonathan Lemire.
Or the way things should work, at least.
Up next: Some members of Congress are accused of dumping stock just ahead of the outbreak, while publicly downplaying the threat.
We`re right back after this.
TUR: Welcome back.
Four senators are coming under fire for reportedly selling off millions of dollars in stocks in the lead-up to the outbreak. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold between $600,000 at $1.7 million worth of stock, including in hotel chains.
California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband sold off between $1.5 million to $6 million worth of stock in a biotech company.
Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and her husband, who is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold up to $3.1 million in stocks, while also purchasing shares of a teleconferencing company.
And Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe sold about $400,000 in stocks. The stock sales took place after senators were given a closed-door briefing on the coronavirus by top health officials on January 24.
Feinstein and Inhofe say they were not in attendance.
Burr, as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, was receiving regular coronavirus briefings. All of the senators are defending themselves against questions about insider information.
In a statement, Senator Burr writes that he relied solely on public news reports to guide his investment decisions and has called for the Senate Ethics Committee to open a review.
Senator Feinstein writes that all of her assets are in a blind trust and that the stock sales in question were made by her husband.
Inhofe and Loeffler both say they have no control over their investments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): When I became the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I divested myself of all stocks, because I thought someday that may come up.
Mine was actually in a blind trust. So I didn`t know what was in there.
SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): Well, certainly I`m not involved in the decisions around buying and selling. There`s a range of different decisions made every day with regard to my savings and 401(k) portfolios that I`m not involved in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: While the senators were selling off those stocks, some of them were publicly telling the public not to worry about the coronavirus and that the economy was strong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOEFFLER: The good news is, the consumer is strong, the economy is strong, jobs are growing. Our president has done a fantastic job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Welcome back.
That was Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia 10 days ago publicly downplaying the risks of coronavirus, especially on the economy.
What we did not know at the time was that Loeffler and other senators had unloaded millions of dollars in stock.
Just six days before Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina sold between $600,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock, Burr co-wrote an op-ed for FOX News that stated: "The United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats like the coronavirus."
While Senator Burr`s February 7 op-ed made it seem like the coronavirus situation was under control, last month, he warned a small group of well- connected constituents and donors to prepare for dire economic and societal effects from the virus, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR.
For more, I`m joined by Robert Faturechi, who covers money in politics for ProPublica, which originally broke this story, and Eugene Robinson, columnist for "The Washington Post."
So, I do want to start with you, Robert.
The trades in question don`t smell good, to put it mildly. Are they illegal?
ROBERT FATURECHI, PROPUBLICA: So, it is certainly illegal for members of Congress to partake in insider trading. Proving that is very difficult, and that`s why it`s so rare to see these kinds of cases.
I can tell you that I have looked at hundreds, probably thousands of these forms as part of my job as an investigative reporter. And when I looked at this one, I was immediately struck. It was 33 separate transactions in one day, all of them sales, no purchases.
And the total dollar amount was whopping. It was almost -- or up to $1.7 million. And Senator Burr is wealthy compared to most Americans, but, as far as, you know, compared to other members of Congress, he`s not.
So this is a pretty significant fraction of his net worth.
TUR: His office today released a statement -- or maybe it was yesterday night -- released a statement saying that he made all these trades before the market started to fluctuate.
Does that mean they`re OK.
FATURECHI: So that was -- that was sort of an odd comment, right? Usually, you get a defense from a spokesperson. And that was -- that was sort of the point of the story, right?
The point of the story was that he did a massive sell-off before the market drop began. So, to be honest, I was confused by that defense, because it wasn`t really a defense. It was sort of proving the case.
Now, today, Senator Burr came out and gave a different defense, which was that he used no non-public information, none of the information that he was briefed on as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Instead, he said he was watching CNBC.
TUR: That`s interesting.
North Carolina`s other senator, Thom Tillis, tweeted the Burr owes North Carolinians and explanation and that his self-referral to the Ethics Committee for their review is appropriate.
Tucker Carlson took it a step further, Eugene, saying that he needs to prove that this was not untoward or not illegal, and, if he can`t do that, then he needs to resign and face prosecution.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
I mean, of the of the four senators we have mentioned in the intro whose transactions are being looked at, Senator Burr really, really sticks out? I mean, the number one, the others can make some claim, at least, that their investments are in a blind trust, that they`re not managing them, at least actively, that -- whether that`s strictly true or not, they can make a pretty credible claim, I think, of not having done what it looks like they might did -- might have done.
But Senator Burr is the chair of the Intelligence Committee. He was regularly briefed on the coronavirus situation. He was -- while writing that op-ed, he made it sound as if we were all ready for it. He talked to high -- big-dollar contributor insiders in a private talk, told them that it`s going to be really bad.
And he made these 33 transactions, these 33 sales of stocks that he could have reasonably concluded would crash, would tumble as the situation got worse.
I think he has -- he has said -- he has said he welcomes an investigation by the Ethics Committee. That certainly should take place. And, as Robert pointed out, insider trading is illegal.
That first statement from Burr was inculpatory, not exculpatory. Like, oh, I did it before anybody knew that it was going to crash.
That`s not exculpatory. That`s -- that gets you deeper in trouble. And so we will have to see where this leads.
But it -- that really smells bad.
TUR: Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein, Inhofe, three Republicans and one Democrat. Doesn`t look good, at the least.
Thank you, Robert Faturechi and Eugene Robinson. We appreciate it. Stay safe out there, guys.
And up next: saying goodbye to a dear friend, one of the more than 200 Americans who`ve now lost their lives to coronavirus.
Stay with us.
TUR: Before we go tonight, I want to say goodbye to a friend.
Larry Edgeworth was a field audio tech around here, which means he was the guy with a 20-pound sound pack around his waist, miking you up as -- so miking all of us up, so we -- so you could hear everything we were saying.
In my eight years at MSNBC and NBC, I think I have worked with Larry more than any other crew guy.
I said this earlier, but I think it bears repeating. When you`re living on the road, your co-workers become family. Larry was my family, my big brother, though he`d probably laugh at me for saying that: "I`m old enough to be your dad, kid."
I wish I had a singular story to sum up how great he was. But all I can think of right now are the little details, the orange if I was hungry, the stiff-arm if I was in trouble, the chair if we were on a stakeout.
In 2016, camped outside of Trump Tower, those details were daily, and the chair was often a bunch of camera cases stacked up on top of each other.
Larry was gruff, but he was never stingy with a smile. He was a big bear of a man with a big bear of a heart. And that might sound cliche, but coming from a girl with Bear as her middle name, there really is no higher compliment.
Larry had underlying health issues. COVID-19 exploited those and stole him away from us way too soon.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, and hundreds of NBC colleagues, who are now worse off with him.
Thanks for being with us tonight.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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