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Rapper Jeezy TRANSCRIPT: 4/3/20, MSNBC Live: Decision 2020

Guests: Dara Kass, Donna Shalala, Kavita Patel, Michelle Goldberg, Anand Parekh, Jay Wayne Jenkins, Jeezy


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening. I`m Ari Melber. And thanks for joining us as our continuing coverage of this coronavirus pandemic goes on tonight. The number of U.S. cases has now surged to over 273,000, almost 7,000 dying.

At the briefing that was just going on, the president announcing this new guidance, this is from the CDC, that urges you and all Americans in hot spots to wear basically a type of cloth mask when you go out in public and there are going to be people around. They also note that this is not necessarily meaning that you should use a medical grade mask, which are, of course, supposed to be prioritized to front line workers.

Now, and what does this mean for your requirements? Well, this is not something that you have to do whether you`re in a hot spot or not. This is in real-time, what we`re seeing as the government and CDC and the experts try to take a look at what`s working, to figure out where the problems are and to give people voluntary guidance. It`s just that. You don`t have to do it under any law.

But there`s already controversy, as with so many other things that have been put out by the federal government and the CDC, because of things that the president said. The president saying, going out of his way to say he didn`t have to say, that he himself simply will not be following the voluntary guidelines.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So it`s voluntary, you don`t have to do it. But they suggest it for a period of time. But this is voluntary. I don`t think I`m going to be doing it.

The masks, it`s going to be really voluntary thing. You can do it. You don`t have to do it. I`m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it and that`s okay. It may be good, probably will. They are making a recommendation. It`s only a recommendation. It`s voluntary.


MELBER:  That`s the president. You can assess for yourself whether what he is saying meets the basic goal and purpose of this, yes, voluntary guidelines, which is to encourage more people to wear the darn masks.

Now, by contrast, take a look at what Dr. Fauci said also today, his strong endorsement of people wearing masks, if they can.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES:  Putting a mask on yourself is more to prevent you from infecting someone else. And if everybody does that, we`re each protecting each other because the data is it`s more efficient to prevent transmitting to others than it is to prevent transmission to yourself.


MELBER:  -- policy, most Americans are still under stay at home guidance or orders, people, and nine states are still able to move around without operating under such a request. Dr. Fauci last night, saying there should though be a national order.


FAUCI:  I don`t understand why that`s not happening. As you said, the tension between federal-mandated versus states` rights to do what they want, it is something I don`t want to get into. But if you look at what`s going on in this country, I just don`t understand why we`re not doing that. We really should be.


MELBER:  That is a crisp statement of what Dr. Fauci thinks would be medically prudent. The president responded to that as well, saying he is going to leave the decisions up to governors.

There`s also new reports on the hot spots that are they`re going around the nation. In Florida, the number of cases jumping to over 10,000, they just moved there to issue a new stay at home order, as we`ve been reporting. New York meanwhile still the epicenter of this crisis. 2,900 have died there. The state recording its largest single increase yesterday. New York has now over 100,000 confirmed cases.

Let`s get into it with our experts. Florida Congresswoman Donna Shalala, who formerly run a Health and Human Services Department, Dr. Kavita Patel, Physician Fellow at The Brooking Institute, and from Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Dara Kass, who herself contracted coronavirus.

Let`s start there. Dr. Kass, how has it been going for you and what is your assessment of what we`ve heard tonight from that White House briefing?

DR. DARA KASS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, ASSOC. PROF. EMERGENCY MEDICINE:  So, for me, it`s going very well. I`m very lucky to have been recovered from coronavirus and now getting ready to go back and see patients. I have seen the courses in many of my friends not be as fortunate, be admitted to the hospital and even the ICU. So I am very fortunate to have been recovered well.

I can`t say as much optimistic tone for the president of the United States and how he conducted himself in the briefing today.

MELBER:  Meaning?

KASS:  Meaning that to give an advisory and then to contradict it immediately and say I`m not going to do it, is not, in my opinion, very good leadership. I have had coronavirus. I believe that I recovered from it and might be immune and I walk around in New York City in mask to be an example of other people. I`m not at risk of getting it, I`m not at risk of giving it and I`m still wearing a mask. To me, that should be the same for the president of the United States.

MELBER:  Dr. Kass, do you think the president undermined what the CDC was trying to get out or do you think that he was merely leaning into what also is technically part of the description that it`s not required?

KASS:  That`s why in the article it said that it should be mandatory. Because the optionality is what creates the gaps in the coverage and, honestly, the opportunity for those who choose to not abide by best practices not to do it. So, yes, of course, it`s technically voluntary and you have the option to not do it. But that`s not best practice, as put forward by the surgeon general today of the United States.

MELBER:  Right. let me take the same question to Dr. Patel. Viewers will see on the bottom of our screen, we don`t report only what different politicians say, we try to make sure we are keeping an eye what the experts say. The doctor mentioned the surgeon general on the screen. For people who want to know what the surgeon general says, wear a mask when you`re around other people as of tonight. And when we get new information, we put it out there. This is apparently what the experts are saying. Doctor, your view?


MELBER:  I`m sorry, Dr. Patel.

PATEL:  Ari, the sad part about this is that this isn`t some sort of new knowledge. The knowledge that other countries, as well as potentially having a policy on top of stay at home, hand washing, physical distancing does work. Unfortunately, we haven`t even had effective leadership to do the basics, as Dr. Fauci has mentioned.

So I think that -- what I also see, Ari, is unfortunately a muzzling of what I would say are the scientific and health experts that are in the CDC and who actually have seen this data over the decades. So I`m very concerned about the mix messages and also the fact we still have no clear, articulate guidance and the country is confused. You still have states and governors who is are keeping business as usual or at least not even being clear about how to protect yourself and others from getting coronavirus.

MELBER:  Congresswoman?

REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL):  You know, I don`t know why people run for office if they`re not prepared to make tough decisions. And in this case, we`re not getting consistent leadership from the president. I don`t -- he`s denying the scientific evidence and he`s been doing that right along and it`s very dangerous. this president is dangerous to our health.

And millions of Americans are going to be confused by this mixed message. When we put out the scientific evidence, our behavior has to be what they have recommended and we can`t have leaders that aren`t willing to do that and it`s really tragic. This is very serious that the president is sending out mixed messages on something that will save lives, and that`s what this is all about.

MELBER:  Well, Congresswoman, a follow up on that. You laid it out and that`s what undercuts or undergirds, I should say, the potential reticence the president showed, that somehow, being the leader who ushers in this era is somehow concerning or distasteful to him. I can`t predict -- I don`t know what the overall blow back would be. I mean, you could imagine a world where people say great, let`s do everything necessary. You can imagine a world in his mind where somehow he associates bringing on all the masks as a weird different or risky thing when, in fact, put the politics aside, it`s not, according to expert, risky to us, it`s supposed to help us as a community.

So with that point that you make, Congressman, take a listen to something we put together, which was more of this federal messaging on the masks. Here it is.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENRAL:  What the World Health Organization and CDC have reaffirmed in the last few days is that they do not recommend the general public wear masks.

Wearing a mask improperly can actually increase your risk.

DR. FAUCI:  But that part of valor is that when you`re out and you can`t maintain that six-foot distance to wear some sort of facial covering.

This is an addendum and an addition to the physical separation, not as a substitute for it.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR:  And don`t get a false sense of security that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected.

This worries us and that`s why the debate is continuing about the mask.

TRUMP:  If people wanted to wear, they can.

They can pretty much decide for themselves.


MELBER:  Congresswoman, do you think that is, as of this week, an acceptable level of messaging and consistency from the White House?

SHALALA:  It`s not. We need clarity. Once the scientists have given us -- the scientists, physicians have given us the recommendation, we need to take that recommendation not because it`s perfect. They have taken the evidence and said, this is an additional step we can take to save lives. It`s not just to save us, it`s to save other people`s lives. We ought to be following very clear messages. We`re not getting them out of the White House but I`ll follow Tony Fauci any place.

MELBER:  Yes, always bet on Fauci.

Dr. Kass, I want to dig in to this further because for viewers watching this, there is the White House briefing and then there`s the distilled CDC and medical guidance. And if we can provide that tonight accurately, we hope to be, in small way, assisting the CDC in that public service, which is different, as we just documented from some of what we heard from the president.

So, Dr. Kass, digging further into this, walk us through why something that was not necessarily the standard CDC guidance, say, three months ago or two months ago, is now, and why from a medical perspective that doesn`t that people should say, well, this is new, I don`t have to listen to it. And I`m thinking, as I sometimes do, of mnemonic devices to remember this, because as of tonight, the CDC says if you`re going out in public around people, in addition to distancing, wear a mask.

Dr. Kass, I may be older than you but I don`t know if you remember the great Fugees from the early `90s? Do you remember that?

KASS:  I do.

MELBER:  If you remember -- well, I don`t want to mean to comment one way or the other, other than I can only date myself. But if you remember The Score, which was their classic debut album, they had that song on there, The Mask. M to the A to the S to the K, put the mask on your face to make it to the next day. And I can`t help but think that`s newly relevant as decent CDC advise. Walk us through your analysis.

KASS:  So I think a lot of what we`re finding out about coronavirus is evolving. And so we didn`t have information two months ago that we have now. The idea of wearing masks originally was we were worried about taking it away from healthcare providers. We have had a shortage of PPE since this started. That`s why this guidance is very clear. So don`t take an N95 or even a surgical mask but use a homemade or a cloth covering.

So I think the reason why this is evolving is we`re learning more about this virus, more about its asymptomatic period, about its transmissibility and, honestly, about the cultural change we need to see amongst our citizens. People aren`t listening to advice. They are not staying home. They are not social distancing and maybe if they wear a mask, they will act a little bit differently. Playing a game of baseball in a field with masks on is very different than not. And I think it`s really good advice.

MELBER:  Let me go to Dr. Patel, final word from you and you can get involved in the Fugees or not. That`s really your call.

PATEL:  I love it, Ari. It`s a reference I well know. Look, there was a time when we didn`t think that we needed to mandate seatbelts in cars. So, absolutely. As we kind of go through this process, we`re going to learn more and more. And I think that great leadership requires making tough decisions and being accountable for them.

So, unfortunately, we have got our country suffering because of a lack of this accountability at the top. And I just hope your viewers will take the message, stay home, stay safe. If you`re going to go out, wear a mask.

MELBER:  Well, doctor, you really make a good point on the new guidance should not be in any way undercounted because it`s new. So when they made the seat belt requirement or they added air bags, or if you go back far enough, when doctors started washing their hands because, initially, they weren`t using soap because that was a type of technology, if you go back far enough. We really have to keep our minds open, all of us as country right now, because there are lives in the balance.

So I really appreciate both of our doctors and our former health secretary and congresswoman, Donna Shalala. Thank you all.

Coming up, the White House rewriting the purpose of the Strategic National Stockpile in real-time, saying, maybe it`s not for the states regardless of demand.


DR. MAUREEN MUECKE, ALABAMA:  We have limited PPE, no ventilators and staff that have been here forever that are used to taking care of patients on the floor but not patients that need ventilators. So we`ll just see how it goes and we`ll keep our fingers crossed and keep doing the best we can for the community.



MELBER:  President Donald Trump`s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has recently been enlisted to help manage this pandemic response. Kushner, who obviously has no background in medicine, whatsoever, quote, has the full confidence of President Trump, which whom he confers multiple times a day.

Trump meanwhile expressing frustration with other leaders of health agencies who, of course, are independent and actually professional have experience in these issues.

Kushner also facing criticism yesterday for this statement yesterday about the Strategic National Stockpile.


JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT:  The notion of the federal stockpile is it`s supposed to be our stockpile. It`s not supposes to be states` stockpiles that they then use. So we are encouraging the states to make sure they are assessing the needs, they`re getting the data from their local situations and then trying to fill it with the supplies that we have given them.


MELBER:  That is false. The common (ph) demeanor there belies the fact that he didn`t know what he was talking about. And you can go to the public health emergency page here, which is, of course, part of the Trump administration`s federal oversight of the government, which states flatly when state, local, tribal and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts. The stockpile ensures the right medicines and supplies go to those who need them.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration then going ahead and trying to change the language on that website after it was pointed out by a journalist. That is literally upside down, topsy-turvy, to try to make Jared Kushner look like he didn`t make a boo boo at his big press conference appearance.

Meanwhile, an HHS official tells NBC they had been trying to update the website. Washington Post though noting message inconsistency has been a feature throughout Trump`s presidency. Another former official is saying that the entire handling of this pandemic at this point look, quote, schizophrenic.

Let`s get right into it with The New York Times Writer Michelle Goldberg and Dr. Anand Parekh, Chief Medical Adviser for the Bipartisan Policy Center and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS.

Michelle, you have also been writing about in The Times where you say, quote, putting Jared Kushner in charge is utter madness. What is important for people to understand about the intersection of nepotism and incompetence in this particular moment?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, "THE NEW YORK TIMES":  I think there`s two things.

I mean, the first is that Jared Kushner obviously has no medical background, has no disaster management background, has no background in anything relevant to this crisis. And he also has a history of being supremely overconfident about things that he doesn`t know.

When you talk to people who -- I spoke to someone who wrote a really superb book about the Trump and Kushner families, and that was something that people said to her over and over again who had done deals with Kushner, who had worked with him in real estate or when he owned "The New York Observer," that he believes that he knows things that the experts don`t, that he believes he can walk into any situation and master it, no matter how wrong he might be about that.

So, we have put this person in charge of this existential rescue effort for the United States in this once-in-a-lifetime crisis who has no experience, who has a history of kind of unearned overconfidence.

And I think, when you talk to experts, they say that even if Jared Kushner were the most competent person in world, which he`s not, just putting an outside person into these structures that have people train for their entire careers to know how to slot into these structures to manage crises, and bringing in outside people, not just Jared, but a bunch of his cronies...

MELBER:  Sure.

GOLDBERG:  ... is sure to kind of gum up the works.

MELBER:  Well, and as you write in "The New York Times," he is not there for any other reason than that he married the president`s daughter.

It`s actually chilling.


MELBER:  And I want to read one more for viewers.

Michelle, I want to read one more part of your piece, and then go ahead.


MELBER:  But I just want to get in, because you write here, within New York, which we have been covering -- I think everyone`s seen the bodies and the freezer trucks full of dead bodies. I mean, this is real.

And you write that, amidst that, Governor Cuomo said the state would need 30,000 ventilators when they hit the apex and that -- quote -- "Kushner decided Cuomo was wrong." And he said -- quote -- "I`m doing my own projections. And I have gotten smarter about this. New York doesn`t need the ventilators."

You write that Fauci and other experts agreed with those projections.

What does it mean, Michelle, when Jared Kushner says he has his own projections.


And that was a quote from "Vanity Fair" that, when that story came out, it almost seemed -- I mean, I believe it, because it`s an excellent reporter, but it almost seemed hard to believe that even Jared Kushner could be that arrogant.

But then you saw him at the press conference say just the other day that these governors are making requests based on incorrect assumptions and that he somehow knows better. And, again, Cuomo has said that, we will need these ventilators at the apex of the crisis.

Fauci has said he believes in Cuomo`s estimates. Then you have Jared Kushner and Donald Trump saying, nah, we know better.

And people in New York are dying. I mean, it`s been obvious for over three years that Donald Trump does not have the expertise to run the federal government, that he`s been slowly hollowing out many of the agencies that used to do the sort of boring executive work that keeps us safe and that we don`t really even know is there until something goes wrong.

But now we`re really seeing the consequences. We have basically -- I have used this analogy before, that it`s like a game of Jenga, and, for years, they have just been pulling out the pieces and pulling out the pieces. The structure still stands, until it doesn`t start.

MELBER:  Dr. Parekh?

DR. ANAND PAREKH, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER:  Well, I think back to the quote there about the Strategic National Stockpile.

It has had a storied career, over 20 years in our country, used by both Democratic, as well as Republican administrations, a federal asset to support states and localities, critical medical material, as well as medications, going there in the event of a public health emergency.

I mean, if this is not for states and localities, who is it for? And you`re hearing governors, both Democrat, as well as Republican, saying, we have exhausted our supplies, and we need the assets from the Strategic National Stockpile.

MELBER:  Well, let`s -- Doctor, I`m going to jump in and let you continue.

But, Doctor, we are not -- at least in this broadcast, we are not debating the potential argumentative veracity of Mr. Kushner`s, as I put it earlier, booboo, which is the nicest way I can put it. He doesn`t know what he`s talking about. He doesn`t have federal disaster response history or tenure.

He doesn`t have medical tenure. So, he has no expertise here. So, when he says that, it`s just misinformation.

I guess the real question going forward is, how much does it concern you medically that the administration then puts effort into doubling down on his mistake? We gave one example I will play briefly for your fact-checking the president today. Take a listen.


QUESTION:  What did he mean by our?

TRUMP:  I mean, what are you asking? I mean...

QUESTION:  And given the fact that taxpayers from every state pays for it.

TRUMP:  What is that? A gotcha. I got you.

QUESTION:  No, it`s not a gotcha. What did he mean by that?

TRUMP:  He used the word our.

Our -- you know what our means? United States of America. It`s such a basic, simple question, and you try and make it sound so bad.

QUESTION:  It`s not bad.


TRUMP:  You ought to be ashamed -- you ought to be ashamed of yourself.



TRUMP:  You know what? You ought to be ashamed.

QUESTION:  By the way, Secretary Azar..

TRUMP:  It`s such a simple question. He said our. And our means for the country. And our means for the states, because the states are a part of the country.

Don`t make it sound bad.


MELBER:  You see there the reflexive defense of his family member, which is a reminder why doctors typically don`t operate on family members, because the -- is the country at a disservice if incompetence is harder to remove because it`s -- the person in charge is related to the president?

PAREKH:  Yes, Ari, in these times, we need steady leadership in this crisis.

And I think what you`re hearing is really conflicting and confusing messaging. And we can`t be second-guessing governors on the front lines who exactly know what they mean.

So, I think this is really unfortunate, the statements, not helpful.

Ari, right now, we need to be laser-focused on the response, laser-focus on social distancing, testing and getting this material and personal protective equipment to the front lines. And I think that`s where the White House needs to be focusing on, not these debates about federalism.

The focus needs to be on saving lives.

MELBER:  Understood loud and clear.

Doctor Parekh, who knows his way around these issues, and Michelle Goldberg, who has been meticulously reporting them for "The New York Times" and writing about them, thanks to both of you.

When we come back, we`re going to look at how small business owners are trying to deal with this looming recession and a loan program that many are concerned is not being executed effectively, as they fight to keep from literally going out of business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Our profit center if you will, where we make most of our margin, has dropped -- that revenue source has dropped by 92 percent.



MELBER:  How bad has this week been?

There are many ways to obviously measure it. But, for the first time in a decade, our monthly jobs report is now in the red, the March report showing a loss of over 700,000 jobs, meanwhile, unemployment rising all the way to 4.4 percent.

These numbers do not include, however, those drastic job losses from the second half of the month from the pandemic. In fact, economists are now saying the unemployment rate has probably reached 10 percent. That would put it on par with -- get this -- the worst month of the Great Recession.

All of this comes the same day small businesses can now begin applying for a piece of that massive $350 billion loan program just made available by the congressional package. Most of the big banks, though, still warning, a lack of guidance from the Trump administration means they can`t give out a lot of the key loans right now.

For more, we`re going to get into it with someone that you know knows all of this best, NBC News senior business correspondent and MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle.

Good evening.

These are hard times in so many ways, Stephanie. I want to dig into it. We have been doing a lot, obviously, on the health.

Digging into the business, though, with you, which does affect so many people`s lives, what do we need to know tonight?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT:  So, tonight, we can start on these business -- these small business loans that became available today.

There`s been a lot of commotion around it, because small business -- 30 million small businesses we have in the United States, and as part of the CARES Act, there`s a $350 billion program of forgivable loans, contingent upon keeping your employees.

So this is good for employment and this is good for the small businesses, because what we don`t want to see happen is millions of Americans go on unemployment, while we see our beloved American businesses go under, because we know they don`t have more than two months of liquidity.

Well, today was the day the loan program started. And it wasn`t a surprise there were going to be some hiccups, but they were rather extraordinary.

Now, all of the banks participating didn`t get the language they needed until last night. So the majority of banks couldn`t even participate. And I would say one of the biggest issues that`s popped up is there`s concern around the spirit of this loan.

When it was first crafted, the idea was, this is for all of the businesses hardest-hit. So, the rule was, you need to have lost 50 percent or more of your revenue based on where you were last year vs. where you are now, right? That was going to hit all the kind of businesses we`re talking about, gyms, nail salons, stores, shops. You know what I`m talking about.

MELBER:  Sure.

RUHLE:  They then changed it -- I spoke to Marco Rubio today -- with the idea that that didn`t include enough businesses.

So they said any small business with 500 people or less that is going to be economically impacted by the coronavirus. Now, that`s very vague. And here`s the problem with it being so vague; 500 people or less, you know who could end up in there? Money managers, hedge funds, law firms, D.C. lobbying firms, you name it.

And so there`s a very big risk here that you could see those who have professional tax consultants and lawyers to shimmy them to the front of this list, because it`s $350 billion. And when it runs out, we don`t know if there`s anyone after. This thing is first come first serve.

MELBER:  Right.

RUHLE:  So now that this thing is in play, there`s a lot of risks that it could get gamed. And imagine if it didn`t get to those businesses in need.

MELBER:  Right.

RUHLE:  You and I both know there are businesses hurting.

MELBER:  Sure.

Well, Stephanie, you have been doing some of the fact-checking as well. Every day, there`s so much flying at everyone. It`s hard to keep track. This was technically yesterday`s briefing.

But I know you have been separating the spin from the fact. So take a quick look at Steve Mnuchin, so you can tell us what`s true. Here we go.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY:  I encourage all small businesses that have 500 or fewer people, please contact your lenders.

Any FDIC institution will be able to do this, any credit union, existing SBA lenders, and fintech lenders. You get the money. You will get it the same day.


MELBER:  Stephanie?

RUHLE:  I`m going to go with a no of that.

First of all, let`s start with this. He said any business that`s 500 -- a small business, 500 people or less, call any FDIC bank. I`m going to start with a no. You can`t just call any bank.

Banks are highly regulated, OK? You know this. They`re filled with lawyers, compliance departments, right? Anti-money laundering rules, know your client rules are huge.

And there are no bad actors here. Congress, Treasury, these banks, they all want to try to help people. But if banks are suddenly processing loans for people they know nothing about, that they haven`t done their due diligence on, then the Treasury isn`t going to make them whole.

Or, even worse two years from now, when the regulators come in, and they say, OK, Bank of America and Chase, I`m going to need you to detail all of these people that you have sent these loans to. Who were they? Were their businesses real?

These banks would get major fines. They could lose their licenses. But the problem is, Secretary Mnuchin, while he may have the best of intentions, is standing up there like Oprah Winfrey, you get a car, you get a car.


RUHLE:  And that is giving these small businesses a tremendous amount of false hope, when they`re in a state of panic.

MELBER:  Yes, because you get a car is way less exciting if, in the end, you don`t get a car.

RUHLE:  Correct.

You get a car isn`t, you`re going to need to call your existing bank, and then you`re going to need to show your payroll receipts. And, technically, you can`t actually spend the money on anything. It needs to go to X, Y, or Z.

So we need to be up front, because, right now, transparency and security is everything.

MELBER:  Right.

RUHLE:  People are scared. Their businesses are their livelihood.

MELBER:  Yes. You lay it out. And...

RUHLE:  And I ask you, Ari.

MELBER:  Go ahead. Sure.

RUHLE:  When Secretary Mnuchin says -- I want to ask you.

When Secretary Mnuchin says, any business with 500 people or less call an FDIC-insured bank, do you not think that is an invitation for fraud? You`re going to see lots of businesses that haven`t really been affected, or don`t really need the money say, sure, we`re giving out free money, I`m on board.

That`s not the intention of this.

MELBER:  Well, you put it -- Stephanie, you put it -- you put it so clearly, because this is where that tendency, which comes from the top, from the president on down, to try to say anything and spin anything to sound better than it is, rather than give people the precise information they need, whether it`s for their health or keeping a small business afloat, or the rest.

So, you put it well. That is why we -- even though this was technically yesterday`s briefing, we wanted to get your fact-check in.

I`m running out of time.

I will tell you, you remember Young Jeezy, Jeezy. He`s on later this hour. I will tell him you said hi, if you want.

RUHLE:  Send him my best.

MELBER:  I will.

RUHLE:  I mean, you had Charlamagne on last night. That`s my fav, but my best to Young Jeezy.

MELBER:  Charlamagne is incredible. And he was on with Dr. Emanuel.

And he said he`s religious. He said he believes in GOD, but he`s listening to CDC.



Charlamagne, he`s a Jersey guy, just like me.

MELBER:  Shout-out to New Jersey.

Stephanie Ruhle, thank you, As always, we will be calling on you again soon.

RUHLE:  Always

MELBER:  I`m going to fit in a break.

But when we come back, a New York City hospital that has found ways to stay ahead of these problems.

We`re going to show you that story, while doctors and nurses around the nation continue to brace for what comes next.


DR. ERIC SNYDER, LOS ANGELES:  We are feeling a sense of trepidation at this time.

My colleagues are with me in the hospital. We are preparing. And we feel anxiously ready.



MELBER:  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says, today, that state saw its largest single-day increase in deaths from the coronavirus.

As of Friday, more than 1,800 have died in New York City alone. It is now - - when it comes to America, it is the epicenter of this crisis here. The governor also warning the surge of cases is overwhelming hospitals. That`s something many had projected.

Our own colleague NBC`s Cynthia McFadden has new and exclusive reporting inside one of the city`s actually most prestigious hospitals. Bellevue is one of 10 medical centers in the entire country that is designated as a special pathogens hospital. That means it has the requisite experience to handle these exact infectious disease outbreaks.

But here`s why you need to see this tonight, the hospital`s chief medical officer saying they are still only barely a step ahead of this tidal wave.


CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, NBC NEWS SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  There are signs everywhere that New York City is the U.S. epicenter of this pandemic.

The city`s medical examiner setting up a massive makeshift morgue next to the city`s most famous public hospital, Bellevue.

DR. NATE LINK, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, BELLEVUE HOSPITAL:  We have to stay ahead of the wave. We have to keep sprinting, so that it doesn`t catch up with us, because, if it catches up with us, we will drown.

MCFADDEN:  This is the first video from inside Bellevue shot for us by the hospital.

The scene here a stark contrast to much of what we have seen from other hospitals in New York. If they are drowning, Bellevue is still afloat.

(on camera):  Is there sufficient PPE?

LINK:  Oh, yes, absolutely.

MCFADDEN (voice-over):  Dr. Nate Link is Bellevue`s chief medical officer.

LINK:  So this entire floor has become basically a COVID-19 intensive care unit.

MCFADDEN (on camera):  Everyone who needs an N95 mask at your hospital at this moment has one?

LINK:  Absolutely, without question.

MCFADDEN:  You do hear some people who sound panicked. I`m talking about doctors. I`m talking about seasoned nurses who say that they are just being hit by a tidal wave. That doesn`t seem to be the experience that you`re relating.

LINK:  Three weeks ago, we were a normal hospital. Then the first patient hit the hospital, and it feels like, ever since then, we have been sprinting to stay ahead of the wave.

MCFADDEN (voice-over):  Dr. Link takes us inside the Bellevue ICU.

LINK:  Every single cubicle has a COVID patient.

MCFADDEN:  He`s not wearing a mask in the ICU hallway because, over the last two weeks, it has been transformed.

LINK:  Our engineers and carpenters go into each space to turn it into a negative pressure room, which is the safest possible for patient care. As each room got opened up, literally a COVID-19 patient filled that space behind. It was almost a race to the finish line, until just a couple days ago, they finished the 54th room, and we filled it with a patient.

MCFADDEN (on camera):  So what happens when the next 54 and the next 54 and the next 54 show up at the hospital?

LINK:  I think I have got the next three steps in mind. Our next space is where they do colonoscopies. Then we`re moving down to the operating rooms. That will give us 60 more.

MCFADDEN (voice-over):  If that`s still not enough and more beds are needed, Dr. Link says they will double up on patients in the ICU.

LINK:  And that will take us up to 200.

So, I think, eventually, we might have cots in the cafeteria or a big circus tent outside.

MCFADDEN:  The question, why has Bellevue seemingly been able to do what so many other hospitals apparently have not?

Some of it, Dr. Link says, is in Bellevue`s DNA.

LINK:  We have always taken care of the patients that nobody else wanted really, from yellow fever and smallpox, typhus and tuberculosis, and then AIDS in the `80s, to take care of infectious diseases and pandemics. It`s really what Bellevue has been about.


MELBER:  Thanks to NBC`s Cynthia McFadden for the reporting.

Up next, we do something really special, isolating together, music and culture in these hard times with the one and only Jeezy.


MELBER:  Welcome back, and a good Friday evening to you.

This pandemic is changing how Americans live. Many are finding safe ways to carry on our traditions, from using FaceTime for dinners at a distance, to those home parties at quarantine clubs with famous deejays.

And artists haven`t only been entertaining with these free livestreams. Many of pressing ahead and releasing new music.

Take Grammy-nominated rapper Jeezy, known as Young Jeezy. The Atlanta rapper has topped the charts with three number one Billboard albums. And he had talked about taking some time off of music before he released an album last summer.

But now, this week, he just released this new album, "Twenty/20 Pyrex Vision," with that simple cover. And it`s delighting many quarantining fans with something new to hear.

It is a reminder that many parts of life do continue to go on. So, we have been talking about how today the CDC advised Americans to wear a mask when you go outside and there are people around.

That`s something that Jeezy was recently showing fans, sharing this video of him irreverently shopping while wearing a mask and getting some groceries and even doing some dancing.

He`s also posted a tribute to health care workers like his sister, who is a nurse.

The Grammy-nominated, chart-topping Jeezy joins us right now.

Thanks for being here.

JAY WAYNE "JEEZY" JENKINS, MUSICIAN:  How you feeling? How you feeling? Thanks for having me.

MELBER:  I`m feeling OK.

You know I`m a fan of yours, because we have corresponded. So I appreciate you joining us.

JENKINS:  Yes. Yes.

MELBER:  Yes, man.

Let me -- let me start with the big question that anyone, whether -- many people know you and your work and your music. But whether they do or not, what made you want to go ahead and plow forward, putting new music out right now?

JENKINS:  I mean, I have always been a leader.

For me, I just understand motivation is key. Inspiration is a must at times like this. And my music has done that for a lot of people. So, I just went in my archives and just started putting music together.

And I just plan to put music out, use my words, do motivational posts. Just the other day, I went to a couple of nursing homes and delivered meals for some people that can`t get out themselves, but just spread the message about staying in the house and staying safe, but, most of all, using this time to stay inspired, and not, like, bring yourself down because of the tough times.

And that`s what my music is about. It`s being inspirational, motivational. And I feel like, when times get tough, that`s when the leaders come out, you know?

MELBER:  Mm-hmm. Yes.


MELBER:  I mean, a tough time. And this is hard for the whole nation, the whole world.


MELBER:  Or, as we know, a tough -- a tough experience, a tough neighborhood can test what people are made.

Talk to us a little bit about that. I mean, music that is about adversity, that is about hustling, as people put it...


MELBER:  ... that always comes out of challenge.

JENKINS:  Yes, actually, I wrote one of my best albums during the recession of `08, when I did the "My President Is Black" song.

And I just -- I saw it. And for me, I have always been the type of person, if it`s chaos, I`m the calmest person in the room. And I always try to see through the other side and plan for that, because now it`s time for us to be forward thinkers.

Like you was mentioning about the Internet parties and people using social media to stay connected, that`s all a part of what the culture does. And that`s what we need right now. We need to stick together and spread the information, because we are the people, and we the ones that got to survive this together.

It`s not -- it`s not an Atlanta thing. It`s not a California thing. It`s a world thing.

MELBER:  Right.

JENKINS:  So, we`re all in this together. So everybody counts. Everybody`s information or everybody`s outlook counts at this point in time, because this is real.

And I`m not even concerned about the virus as much -- pardon me -- like, people are passing, but that`s the war we got to fight. We got to still fight a battle at the end of this, which is getting our economy back.

MELBER:  Sure.

JENKINS:  So, we got to band together on this on both sides, you know?

MELBER:  Yes, definitely.

I mean, well, you mentioned "My President Is Black." That`s where a lot of our viewers will recall, I mean, that was a big political anthem.


MELBER:  That was before Obama`s election. A lot of people remember.

JENKINS:  I predicted that. I predicted that, by the way.

MELBER:  You called it.

JENKINS:  I predicted that. Yes.

MELBER:  I`m going to show you. "New York Times" -- Jeezy, "New York Times" wrote about this, saying: "`my President Is Black,` Young Jeezy expanding on that theme, musing on his role models or a dream ticket, which could be Tupac and Obama."


MELBER:  So I got to ask you. I got to ask you here on national news, Friday night heading into the weekend, how it felt when...


MELBER:  I`m going to play it for everyone who forgot. The president himself gave you a little bit of a shout-out. Let`s take a look.



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  So, allow me to close with a quick preview of the secret agenda you can expect in a second Obama administration.

In my first term, I sang Al Green. In my second term, I`m going with Young Jeezy.



MELBER:  What did that mean to you?


JENKINS:  Everything, man. Coming from where I came from, my trials and trils, my humble beginnings, but not only because of who he is, but the way he did it.

And that let me know that -- at one of those Correspondents Dinner. And that let me know he heard my message, because I did a lot as far as my city for the Obama campaign just as far as getting people out to vote, using my voice.

And one thing that I respect about him, other than being the president, he`s always been a true leader, from what I have seen. And in times of crisis, he`s kept people together. He`s just never tried to divide people. And that`s what I love about him.

So I feel honored, really.

MELBER:  A hundred percent.

I mean, a lot of people are thinking about the contrast of the way he led to the president right now during this crisis.

JENKINS:  Yes, right.


JENKINS:  Oh, man.

For me, I have seen those type of people in my life. And, I mean, Trump is -- he`s one of a kind, man, because it takes a different type of leader to make things about him.

And I just feel like, a lot of times, you see his ego. And right now, it`s about the people. And to me, he`s talking make America great. We`re going to make America greater than it`s ever been with or without him.

He got to understand that.

MELBER:  Mm-hmm.

JENKINS:  We are the people. You`re one person. And we get it, but this is not about you right now. We all in this together, all of us.

So, we got make this about us and about you.

MELBER:  I hear that.


MELBER:  I hear that, 100 percent, whether, like you -- like we mentioned earlier, whether that`s nurses like your sister, people, as you mentioned, in Atlanta around the country, about the people, the bigger thing.

JENKINS:  Yes. Yes. Yes.

MELBER:  I got to fit in a break.

I`m so glad to end the week with you, Jeezy. And we`re all isolating, but I hope to meet you in person someday, sir.


JENKINS:  Hey, man, thank you for having me, man. And you all keep preaching the word out there and keep these people safe, man. Stay inside, baby.

MELBER:  Stay inside.

JENKINS:  We`re going to beat this, just like everything else. There it is.

MELBER:  You got it. We`re going to beat it.


MELBER:  Jeezy, again, thank you. Congrats on the new music.

We`re going to fit in a quick break here on MSNBC. And when we come back, one more special thing to end the week.


MELBER:  Navy Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command yesterday.

This was a -- basically grew out of this letter that he wrote to the Navy that was leaked, where he pleaded for the resources that would be required to fight coronavirus, sounding the alarm of an outbreak on board the very ship he was leading.

Now, yesterday, sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt gave their captain a special send-off after he was dismissed for, as many put it, basically having their backs.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now, that`s how you send off one of the greatest captains you ever had.


UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SAILORS:  Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier! Captain Crozier!  


MELBER:  As you can see there, quite an organic show of support.

Another member of the ship`s crew uploaded the video about it and wrote -- quote -- "Wrongfully relieved of command, but did right by the sailors."

That is our last word tonight.