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Trump reverses course TRANSCRIPT: 4/15/20, MSNBC Live: Decision 2020

Guests: Gretchen Whitmer, David Frum, Jonathan Swan, Anne Rimoin, Muriel Bowser, Karine Jean-Pierre


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Joy Reid continuing our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

The president again used his coronavirus task force briefing to lash out at the World Health Organization. It`s an effort to distract from his own failure to prepare and respond quickly and efficiently to this pandemic. Here was the president just a few moments ago.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tragically, other nations put their trust in the WHO and they didn`t do any form of ban. And you see what happened to Italy. You see what happened to Spain. You see what happened to France. WHO`s guidance had failed to control their borders at a very crucial phase, quickly unleashing the contagion around the world. That was a horrible tragic mistake or perhaps they knew. I`m sure they didn`t know the gravity of it, but perhaps they knew.


REID: As of tonight, more than 635,000 people in this country have been infected by the coronavirus, which has now killed more than 32,000 Americans. It`s a sobering reminder of what`s at stake as this president casts about for someone besides himself to blame. In defunding the WHO yesterday, Trump, accused them, of covering up the spread of the coronavirus, saying that they were too trusting of China.


TRUMP: The WHO willingly took China`s assurances to face value and they took it just at face value and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for the so-called transparency.


REID: But let`s just be clear. It was Donald Trump -- Donald Trump who praised the China`s so-called transparency in a tweet in January. There it is on the screen. Likewise, he praised the WHO for working very hard and very smart in February. And that was after -- after his China travel ban. But in his search for a scapegoat, Donald Trump would rather us forget that he defended China and the WHO and he took Chinese President Xi at his word and he denied any concerns about a cover-up.


TRUMP: I spoke with President Xi of China, and he`s working very hard on this.

China is very -- you know, very professionally run in the sense that they have everything under control. We just sent some of our best people over there, World Health Organization and a lot of them are composed of our people, They`re fantastic.

REPORTER: Are you concerned that China is covering up the full extent of coronavirus?

TRUMP: No, China is working very hard. They`re in touch with the World Health Organization. CDC also. We`re working together, but the World Health is working with them.

REPORTER: Are you still satisfied with how President Xi is handling the coronavirus?

TRUMP: I think President Xi is working very hard.


REID: Donald Trump`s decision to halt funding to the WHO has been widely rebuked. You`ll be surprised to hear. The American Medical Association warned of wide ranging ramifications.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of all people, said that the move is not in U.S.`s interests. Bill Gates said that it`s as dangerous as it sounds. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this decision is illegal and will be swiftly challenged.

Tonight, Donald Trump said, the latest data shows the country has passed the peak of the new coronavirus cases and that he will announce guidelines to reopen the economy tomorrow, while he said companies and state governors will decide how to reopen. He threatened action if he disagrees with the decision.


TRUMP: Well, I think the companies will determine that and the governors will determine that, and the federal government. And if we`re not happy, we`ll take very strong action against a state or a governor. If we`re not happy with the job that the governor is doing, we`ll let them know about it. And as you know, we have very strong action we can take, including a close-down.

We have the right to do what we want but we wouldn`t do that. But, no, we would have the right to close down what they`re doing.


REID: No. I`m joined now by Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic Governor of Michigan.

Governor, do you have any idea what he`s talking about, that Donald Trump claims -- without any constitutional authority that he has the right to, quote, close down if he doesn`t like what a governor is doing regarding the decisions they make to reopen their economies.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): You know, all I can say is that we governors, Democratic and Republican alike, are communicating with one another, sharing best practices, listening to our medical experts. That`s what`s going to drive these decisions.

The worst thing for our economy would be to just pretend like nothing had happened the day after, you know, these stay at home orders are lifted, go back to, you know, life as usual and then have a second wave, it would be devastating. And we have to be smart. We have to be data driven. We have to be making decisions that -- based in the re-engagement of our economies.

And we have to make the judgment on the ground. That`s in the purview of the governors. We stepped in and issued the stay at home orders because they were necessary. We`re the best one and the only ones with the authority to determine when it`s right to lift them.

REID: I want to play for you -- probably, I mean there`s been a lot of options to choose from, but one of the most outrageous thing we`ve heard this president say regarding his believes and what he thinks is his authorities. This was Donald Trump talking about federalism and what he thinks it means. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We`re letting the governors do in their states pretty much what they want.

We have a thing called the constitution, which I cherish, number one. And as you know, I want the governors to be running things.

They can`t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States.

When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that`s the way it`s got to be.

REPORTER: Your authority is total.

TRUMP: Total.


REID: Governor, he says we are letting the governors pretty much do what they want. He says the governors need to be running things through him. He says the governors can`t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States. And says that his authority is total. That is not an old clip of Hugo Chavez, that is Donald Trump. What do you make of his belief that he is essentially your boss?

WHITMER: Listen, believes, hopes, you know, desires, they don`t mean anything right now. What is important is science and facts and understanding that this is a global pandemic. We need to stop pitting one another against each other, whether it`s the WHO or it is the nation`s governors or it is the president of another country.

Right now, all of our energy needs to be focused on fighting COVID-19 as the United States of America, on behalf of every American in this country no matter what state they live in, that`s the kind of leadership that we need. That`s the kind of leadership that I think we`re seeing at the state level across the country. We governors have incredible authority, incredible responsibility and we are the ones who are going to determine when it is right to open up economies within our states.

And let me tell you this. Every one of us is eager to do just that. But we have to be smart. We can`t put people`s lives in danger by going too fast or not making decisions based on our ability to test, which is still not where it needs to be, our ability to trace people with COVID-19, our ability to ensure that our households have the PPE that we need.

The federal government has an important role to be sure. They can be helpful on all of these metrics to put us in the position where we can start to think about responsibly and safely re-engaging our economies.

REID: Yes. I want to show you some video from today. This was a protest on a Michigan street. I believe it happened earlier today. And these were people who are protesting the stay-at-home order that you as governor, with the authority to do to that, issued in your state. And hopefully we can show that on screen now. Some of these people were flying not just Trump mega flags but also confederate flags.

Here is what Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote about that. We`re just waiting to get that video to roll. But once -- we`ll roll it as soon as we have it. And what Nikole posted is, ask yourself what do confederate flags have to do -- there it is. There`s the video. What do confederate flags have to do with protesting a stay-at-home order and why did do the same people who fly the Trump flags also fly flags that honoring the side that fought to preserve slavery? We know Michigan has a complex history regarding what former slave holders where -- it was one of the places they went to after the civil war was over. But what do you make of the fact that people flying confederate flags on your streets to protest a stay-at-home order that`s meant to save their lives?

WHITMER: Well, it was certainly not the stay-at-home order at all. It was essentially a political rally, a political statement that flies in the face of all of the science, all of the best practices and the stay-at-home order that was issued. You know this was -- looks like a lot of people and it felt like a lot of people. But in the bigger scheme of things, Michigan`s a state of 10 million people, the vast majority of whom are doing the right thing. Our hospitals had stepped up, our nurses, our doctors, the average citizen who is staying home or contributing in some way to help people on the front line. That`s the story of really of what`s going on here.

This group, the small group of people that came together without masks on, were passing out candy and with bare hands to children, who were congregating together, who were brandishing their weapons, who were having posters of being anti-choice. This was a political rally. It was a political rally that is going to endanger people`s lives because this is precisely how COVID-19 spreads.

And let me just add one more thing. The cars were blocking one of our hospitals, so an ambulance literally wasn`t able to get into the bay for ten minutes. This is the kind of behavior that extends the need for a stay- at-home order, that spreads COVID-19, that overruns communities and this is precisely the worst thing that could have happened today.

I`m all for people having a difference of opinion. If people are angry, and I know there`s a lot of angst and people are feeling it and they want to direct it at me, that`s fine. I can take it. But showing up and being this irresponsible is not just endangering their own lives, it`s endangering all of our first responders and our abilities to meet the needs of the people of this state who are all trying to do the right thing.

REID: Yes, indeed. Well, hopefully they will catch on and begin to care about those things. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, thank you so much, stay safe. I really appreciate your time tonight.

WHITMER: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

And joining me now is Anne Rimoin, Field Epidemiologist at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Jonathan Swan, National Political Reporter at Axios, and David Frum, Senior Editor for The Atlantic and former Speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

I`ll just go in reverse order, you work for president, David. The idea of this president -- there are a lot of us who had severe challenges with the extensions of authority after 9/11, these questions about civil liberties were really of the moment at the time after 9/11. But I cannot imagine having a president just come right out and say that essentially governors have to contact the White House and get his permission to either have stay at home orders or undo them. But essentially the governors work at the behest of the president of the United States. That does not sound like a democratically elected president. That sounds like a dictator. What do you make of the way that Donald Trump is speaking in this moment?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, in the year after 9/11, the Bush presidency did become very controversial. But in the year after 9/11, one of the things that President Bush really had very much in mind was to create symbolic demonstrations of national unity to deal with economic issues and to work with the states.

New York has suffered so terribly and that strike was so constrained in really a few blocks from Manhattan. Like Washington suffered too with the Pentagon and the State of Pennsylvania, but New York was at the center. And to demonstrate solidarity at the State of New York is such a priority, for the president.

And, Donald -- the thing that`s so strange about about of these words of Donald Trump is they`re just words. He`s actually not going to go doing anything about it. So he gets all the odium of looking tyrannical, looking menacing but nothing actually happens. And his main interest, of course, is always in deflecting blame, looking tough but deflecting blame.

REID: But isn`t it indeed also -- this is the Dick Cheney -- I`ll make sure I pronounce it the Chris Matthews way -- this is the unitary executive that even after 9/11, President George W. Bush did not even strive for. But this is it, this is the unitary executive. This is the thing that Bill Barr, that Dick Cheney, this is what they believe in, no?

FRUM: Well, no advocate of unitary executive, things that the president -- the unitary executive theory argue within the federal executive branch, there is one executive, there are not multiple executives. But no one ever thought that the president subsumes all the 50 other executives at the 50 other sovereignties of the states and of the territories. So this is -- from a theoretical point of view, it`s an attack on traditional conservative ideas, authority of the states is concurrent with the federal authorities.

But, again, it`s blowhardism. Because if the governors are accountable to the state -- sorry, if the governors are accountable to the president and the failings that are happening at the state level are the president`s fault, it can`t be both be true that everything bad that happens is the governor`s fault and the president has no control over that. But what he feels like that he can intercede. It raises the question, if you feel so strongly, and you have so much control over the governors, why aren`t you testing at the states.

REID: Jonathan Swan, can I ask you, in your reporting, do you know of a single governor, maybe some of the red state governors that are willing to call Donald Trump, call the White House and ask for permission, whether they`re going to close or open their states? Is that actually a thing that governors are doing, that they`re going to actually ask Donald Trump`s permission before they make decision about what they`re going to do with their state`s populations?

JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: No, there aren`t. But, again, I think it`s the wrong way to think about it. I think that what is going to happen sooner rather than later and potentially sets up quite a dangerous clash is you`re going to have President Trump tell people, it`s time, we have been closed long enough, we can`t be closed forever and we need to open up. And in whatever formulation that he releases it, whether it`s staggered, you know, geographically or whatever.

And there are going to be some governors who, like the governor you just spoke to, who do not agree with his general thrust, you then get a situation where it`s not about powers, it`s about the power of the bully pulpit and President Trump`s rhetorical power. And there will be a lot of people in each of the states who listen to every word that President Trump says and they will be out on the streets protesting in the ways you`re seeing now.

But you multiply that by when President Trump actually turns the corner and starts to push for reopening. You could see some very troubling scenes in some of these states because he does have tremendous rhetorical power. And I think we get too bogged down in the legal argument, which is sort of irrelevant, I think. It`s much more about him and his audience and what they`re going to do.

REID: To that very point, let me quickly play Trey Hollingsworth. He`s a Congressman, represents actually human being, constituents from Indiana. Here he is talking about which thing is more important, getting the money back flowing or human lives?


REP. TREY HOLLINGSWORTH (R-IN): It is always the American government`s position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life of American lives, we have to always choose the latter.

It it is policymakers` decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say, this is the lesser of these two evils and it is not zero evil, but it`s a lesser of these two evils and we intend to move forward that direction.


REID: If Ayn Rand was still alive, she would probably say exactly the same thing. Anne Rimoin, the actual -- in the real world, isn`t the way that this is supposed to work is that we have a robust enough regime of testing so that we know who is at risk, who has actually had it, who has antibodies for the virus and who is safe to send back to work and who is not. Isn`t that the way it really should work? And if that`s the case, we don`t have enough testing.

ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY: Well, Joy, exactly. Here is the thing, we are not where we need to be with testing. We are not where we need to be with PPE. We are not where we need to be with the equipment that we need. We are not where we need to be being able to identify people who are sick, be able to trace their contacts and to be able to make sure we have available to us what we need to do to reduce spread of this virus.

We`ve learned over time here, as many of us who are epidemiologists working in this field have known, that pandemic preparedness has been very, very poorly funded, underfunded, for a very long time, and now we`re paying the price. This is not just an issue of economics. This is, of course, an issue of human life.

And politics -- as somebody who has spent my entire career working in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where I have been for more than 20 years, running studies on Ebola and other epidemic diseases, you know, epidemics and politics are unfortunately, inextricably bound and intertwined and politics often get in the way of epidemic response. And we`ve seen it in other countries, we`re seeing it here now. So this is a very unfortunate truth.

But what we do know is that we have to put American lives first. And one of the things that is very concerning to me is this whole -- is this idea of defunding the World Health Organization, speaking of putting lives first.

If we defund the World Health Organization, we are going to be doing significant damage, not only globally, but right here. As we have learned, we are as safe as any other place in the world. We are all interconnected.

REID: Yes.

RIMOIN: And we must have the World Health Organization being able to manage this epidemic in other places.

REID: Yes. Well said.

Anne Rimoin, thank you very much. And thank you for saying that.

Jonathan Swan, David Frum are staying with me for a little bit longer.

And coming up, the primary focus right now at the White House is not the pandemic. It`s Donald Trump`s political future, of course.

Stay with us.


REID: Welcome back.

Donald Trump reportedly sees the push to reopen the economy as central to his political fortunes.

According to "The Washington Post," despite the president`s push for a May 1 reopening, Trump`s advisers are trying to shield the president from political accountability should his move to reopen the economy prove premature and result in lost lives, adding: "They are trying to mobilize business executives, economists and other prominent figures to buy into the eventual White House plan, so that, if it does not work, the blame can be shared broadly."

While Trump and his team don`t want to attach his name to a premature reopening of the country, like he does to his buildings and hotels and golf courses, "The Post" was first to report that the Treasury Department -- get this -- has ordered Trump`s name to be printed on stimulus checks the IRS is waiting rushing to send to tens of millions of Americans, a process that could slow their delivery by a few days, according to IRS officials.

According to NBC News, the extraordinary move breaks with precedent when it comes to such payments and indicates that Trump wants Americans to associate him with the cash transfers, which were passed by Congress, as he gears up for reelection this fall.

Moments ago, Trump denied the checks were delayed because his name was affixed to them.

Jonathan Swan and David Frum are back with me.

Jonathan Swan, the idea that people have to wait longer to get the money that some people are desperate for because Donald Trump wants his name on them is so vulgar, but it appears to be the case. And now he`s saying, I don`t know about that.

Does he know about that? What`s your reporting on it?

SWAN: Well, Treasury denies it.

And in that "Post" report, they have a denial up pretty high from Treasury. They cite IRS officials as saying it could delay it. So I don`t know where -- I don`t have my own reporting on that story.

But I do know that Trump wanted to actually have his signature on the checks himself, and that this was a compromise that they came up with to print his name under the memo line. He actually wanted to have his signature on the check, so that there could be no mistaking for when someone gets them in the mail that it was Donald J. Trump sending the checks to them.

REID: What -- does he think people are going to frame it? People are going to -- people are going to cash it. No one`s -- anyway.

The idea that he`s going to recess Congress. Whether it`s Russia, Russia, Russia, or whether it`s impeachment hoax -- this is a sound bite -- he`s going on and on and on about adjourning Congress.

Is this something he`s actually going to do or is he just talking, Jonathan?

SWAN: Good question. I don`t know that he`s going to do it. It would be a very extreme move. It`s never been done before in American history.

It`s in the Constitution, but I think he would run into real trouble with Mitch McConnell, who I don`t think would green-light something like this. But I`m told it`s something he`s considering from White House (AUDIO GAP)

REID: Yes. We don`t know if Mitch McConnell takes orders or gives orders. It`s not really clear who tells you what to do.

Let`s talk about this other story that I found extraordinary, David Frum, that Donald Trump, per "The New York Times," said he envisioned having a two-hour radio show. He wants to have his own radio show every day.

And were it not for the fact that he didn`t want to compete with Rush Limbaugh, he didn`t want to cut into his time slot and encroach in his territory, he would have done it.

There was somebody who tweeted this earlier, and I noted that somebody pointed out that this is something that Hugo Chavez did, that Hugo Chavez actually launched his own radio show back in 2010. Here`s a little bit of the story.

"Chavez relishes talking to Venezuelans" -- this is from 2010 -- "on television and radio. And he frequently seizes the airwaves several times a day to expound his views. He already makes frequent use of the law allowing him to force private television and radio stations to broadcast his marathon speeches."

Has Donald Trump -- is that what Donald Trump is going for? Does he want to be an entertainer, or does he want to be like Chavez?

FRUM: I interpret the stories you just mentioned in a slightly different way. I see them as signs of a person who is jittery and losing his grip.

That two-hour-a-day radio story with the Rush -- contained a slap at Rush Limbaugh for -- that Trump, in musing about hosting radio show, could not forbear saying to one of his most important media allies, by the way, I`m a bigger star than you.

Rush Limbaugh is as much an egomaniac as Donald Trump. He`s not going to take that well.

The same -- with the check signing, that`s a sign of a broken White House political process. Somebody there should have said, Mr. President, in your own evil terms, in your own crass terms, remember, 80 million Americans are having these checks put directly into their accounts.

It is only people who have not set up direct deposit. And that`s some tens -- that`s tens of millions of people. But it`s not anything like as many as who do get direct deposit. You`re going to delay them?

Those tend to be older people. Those tend to be rural people. Those tend disproportionately to be your people. You`re going to delay their checks. And you`re going to have all the odium. You`re not going to get much credit from the 80 million people who are never going to see it. You`re going to have all the odium.

So, just think, in your own terms, does this make sense? The same thing with this business about adjournment. It`s not going to happen. The House and Senate would have to disagree about the date of adjournment. And they don`t.

So why do you get Mitch McConnell`s back up. And all of this is like a player bubbling a ball because his nerve is lost. Donald Trump does not have that many political moves.

And they used to sort of work for him. And now they have stopped.

REID: It is -- it is remarkable.

Last question to you, Jonathan Swan.

It is pretty remarkable. And he should have bought those things through, but he doesn`t have anyone who tells him the truth.

Donald Trump apparently announced that six -- that he was going to have this economic revival council. And it was going to be amazing. And everyone was going to get together and figure out how to bring the economy back.

At least six of the CEOs he announced as part of it were unaware of their participation and did not agree to participate.

Your thoughts, Jonathan?

SWAN: Well, I think I`m the poor guy who`s been trying to cover this story.

It was supposed to be -- there`s been like 100 different versions of this task force. We are briefed on different names. It was supposed to meet physically. Then they`re not meeting physically. And then it turns out that the whole thing comprises just of a series of phone calls to businesspeople.

So that`s the latest I have been told on this task force. It`s been the bane of my existence for the last three days. But it doesn`t actually exist. It is just a series of phone calls.

REID: This is "The Muppet Show."

This isn`t even real. It`s unbelievable.

David Frum, Jonathan Swan.

Well, actually, "The Muppet Show" was delightful. I shouldn`t have thrown "The Muppet Show" in there.

Thank you guys very much for being here. Really appreciate it.

Up next: Washington, D.C., is known for its first-rate health care system, and the city is still weeks away from its expected peak. I will ask the city`s mayor how well they`re prepared for what comes next.


REID: Welcome back.

As New York continues to make progress flattening the curve, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is warning her city that more work needs to be done to flatten its curve.

The District of Columbia has more than 2,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with more than 70 deaths. Three-quarters of those deaths are African- Americans.

Mayor Bowser warns that the city`s outbreak isn`t set to peak until late May or even early June. And, today, she extended the public health emergency until May 15.

And Mayor Bowser joins me now.

Mayor Bowser, thank you so much for being here.

And I want to start by playing for you one of the issues that you have raised repeatedly, which is the funding that D.C. has, that you have available to try to flatten the curve and do what you need to do for your city.

Here was Donald Trump being asked about the fact that your city -- that the District is shortchanged, in your view, on the funding it gets. Take a listen.


QUESTION: The District of Columbia argues that they were shortchanged in the most recent funding bill, because they were treated as a territory, instead of as a state.

Will that be made right in phase four?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we`re looking at that certainly. I heard that complaint, but the mayor seems to be very happy with everything we have done.


REID: Are you happy with everything that`s been done?

My understanding is that, while each state gets $1.25 billion of direct aid, D.C. only gets $500 million, despite having (AUDIO GAP) population than Vermont and Wyoming. Are you happy? Donald Trump says you`re very happy with things.

MURIEL BOWSER (D), MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: No, I`m certainly not.

And I have spoken directly to the president, the vice president, and members of the task force. We still want to talk to Secretary Mnuchin, because we think that the White House can make the district whole with funding.

And we know that the White House and the Congress can get together, can fix in the next bill this reference to D.C. as a territory. And we want to make perfectly clear that residents of Washington, D.C., are unique in the American system, but we are taxpayers, federal taxpayers, just like every state.

So, when we talk about our response to COVID-19, we should be treated with federal funding just like we are with everything else, from education, to Medicaid, to housing, you name it. We`re treated as a state.

REID: Yes.

And I mean, the District is 46 percent African-American. So, just like nationwide there`s a disproportionate amount of death within the black community, that is also the case in the District as well.

Have you been able to get the kind of metrics -- we know that the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, they put out this idea of when things are peaking. You get a lot of data. Do you have anything on the table that you have received that helps you to mitigate against that, what really is a racialized crisis?

BOWSER: Well, it is. It really is.

And I knew early on, when I saw some of the underlying conditions, including diabetes, that African-Americans would be hit very hard in our city and across the country.

Today, in my mayor`s order, I charged one of our agencies, our Health Care Finance agency, which runs our Medicaid program, to be more proactive to reaching out to Washingtonians who have underlying conditions that participate in one of our programs.

So, we`re going to try to flood them with information, make sure they`re connected to care and, more than that, make sure that they`re getting tested and the people around them know that they have conditions that would make them more susceptible to this virus.

REID: Yes.

We know that there was some objection, Rand Paul and others not happy with the idea of Howard University Hospital getting a certain amount of money in the last bill.

What do you need, what does the District actually need in terms of funding? Where does that funding need to go? What do you want to see in that fourth bill specifically for the District?

BOWSER: Specifically, we want to be made whole, so that we need to be treated as a state in federal funding, just like we are treated for everything else, education, housing, you name it.

We`re also following very closely what the city governments, in terms of housing responses, for example. We know that HUD is going to have quite a lot of money.

And we think that recovery should also focus on the disproportionate impact this virus has had on many groups. And we know that housing is a condition that has -- that makes the health outcomes of African-Americans less than our white counterparts in our city and across the country.

So, that`s one thing to do.

We`re also, on the immediate response, working hand in hand with FEMA on the supplies we need. And just like other jurisdictions, we continue to need PPE and testing, so that we can get our city back open as well.

And we know that the federal government plays a special role in how jurisdictions, states -- and I want to remind everybody, when you talk about these 50 states, always say "and Washington, D.C."

REID: Yes.

BOWSER: So having 50 states and Washington, D.C. can get back open because we`re all very concerned about that.

I extended our public health emergency today to May 15th. We`re actually seeing -- we have less infection in our city today than our models suggested that we would. So that that sacrifices that our residents and businesses are making is helping us flatten the curve.

And I`m really hopeful by mid-May to late May that we`re going to be seeing our levels of infection come down.

REID: Absolutely. I know plenty of people who live in that -- in the district, and thank you for what you`re doing. Really appreciate it. Folks are staying home.

Thank you so much, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

BOWSWER: Thank you.

REID: Really appreciate you being here. Stay safe.

And up next, Joe Biden is racking up the big name endorsements now that he`s the apparent Democratic nominee. Can he unify the party enough to beat Donald Trump?

We are back after this.



SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): We can`t afford to let Donald Trump continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of every American, and that`s why I`m proud to endorse Joe Biden as president of the United States. Joe Biden is a selfless public servant. He is committed to the fight for social, racial and economic justice. Joe Biden will lead a government that works for the American people.


REID: Welcome back. That was Senator Elizabeth Warren this morning announcing her endorsement of Joe Biden. It follows a string of big-name endorsements starting with Bernie Sanders on Monday. And yesterday, former President Barack Obama had these words to share about his vice president of eight years.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made and he became a close friend, and I believe Joe has all of the qualities we need in a president right now. Through all his trials, he`s never once forgotten the values or moral fiber that his parents passed on to him. Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery.


REID: For more, I`m joined by Karine Jean Pierre, chief public affairs officer for

And, Karine, thank you for being here this evening.

It`s clear that Elizabeth Warren went to the Barack Obama school of beautiful backgrounds behind her, as she spoke, as did you yourself.


REID: So, what is it -- were you -- did you have it on your bingo card that Elizabeth Warren would be the last one in the door to endorse Joe Biden after Bernie Sanders and President Obama?

JEAN-PIERRE: I did not have it on my bingo card but earlier this week after clearly after Bernie, after Obama I was like Elizabeth Warren might be next.

Look, you have to give it to the Biden campaign. This was a well- orchestrated rollout of back-to-back endorsements. We`re talking about Bernie, with Obama, Warren. And what it shows is it shows the unity. It shows the momentum that the Biden campaign can roll with moving forward.

And also it allowed Biden to break through just a little bit in the media this week which he hasn`t really been able to do. Look, Joy, the last time we saw the Democratic Party so unified besides 2012 when Obama was running unopposed because of his re-election was in 2004. And something else that happened this week that shows where Democrats are which is Wisconsin.

I mean, those results that we saw from Wisconsin this week where you saw Democrats were incredibly motivated. We have to remember, last Tuesday, when folks went out to vote in Wisconsin, it was in the middle of a pandemic. A middle of a crisis and it was with Republicans doing their voter suppression like they normally do, like they have been for some time now. And they came out and they voted and they showed they were ready to beat Donald Trump. And so, I think that this is -- this is a good place for Biden to be headed into the general election.

REID: Yes. You said 2004 and I had -- I got a mini-migraine because I worked for American coming together on that campaign. Didn`t go so well for the Democrats. But, yes, they were unified early.


REID: Migraine come out of it.

Within the people that -- that have endorsed Donald Trump, there are a lot of his potential VP picks that are mixed up in there. I want to let me put up the people that had been talked about as far as potential running mates. Of course, Elizabeth Warren has been talked about, Amy Klobuchar has been talked about. Kamala Harris -- I know a lot of people early on were thinking a Biden/Harris ticket would be great. Gretchen Whitmer, the governor that we spoke with earlier, of Michigan.


REID: Stacey Abrams who gets a lot, a lot of buzz. There`s a piece out right now rolling around about her being the best pick. Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, Sally Yates.


REID: Is there a strategery that makes the most sense to you having come off that winning campaign for the first black president? What makes the most sense to you?

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. I`ve got to tell you, this is a tough one. I mean, the one thing that Democrats can say is when you`re looking at the choices for a woman as VP, it is a very strong bench that the Democrats have.

Look, it depends what Biden wants to do, right? Because here`s the thing, when people ask me what does Biden need to do now, basically he has to figure out how to expand the map and he has a much -- many paths to 270 than Donald Trump has.

And so, when you look at the wonderful, amazing candidates t women he can choose from, how does he do that? Which one will help him get to that 270, get that base invigorated, get that coalition going.

You remember black women, as we talk about all the time, they are a force to be reckoned with so you have to think about that. You have to think about young people. You got have to think about educated women.

You got to think about the coalition and for Biden what we saw in the primary it was older voters, it was black voters. It was the suburban women and so he was building that coalition. Now how does he make that even stronger going into the general election knowing once again you have to get to 270?

Another thing too that we`re seeing is in North Carolina, he`s up in North Carolina. He`s up in Arizona, which is very good for him. Of the two states going into play this is a much different race than 2016.

REID: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: So, that`s kind of how they have to think about this, is how do they get to 270, how to expand that map?

REID: Indeed, and think about the South -- South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia has two Senate seats open. You have to think Southern as well.

JEAN-PIERRE: Exactly, Georgia.

REID: Karine Jean-Pierre, and she didn`t you didn`t tell us -- I meant Georgia. I meant Georgia.

You didn`t tell us who he is going to pick, though. Next time, next time.

Up next, health care workers across America grapple with their grim new reality.


REID: Welcome back.

Across the country, health care workers are adjusting to new routines as they try to combat the coronavirus.

Kaitlin Gilliam, an ICU nurse in St. Louis, shared her story.


KAITLIN GILLIAM, ST. LUKE`S HOSPITAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: I am getting ready to go get screened, which is also part of the new normal. We have to get screened to enter the building, our temperatures taken, questions answered to make sure that we are not exposing our patients to anything from the outside world.

I knew going into nursing, going into being an ICU nurse, that I was going to take care of the sickest of the sickest patients.

Did I know I was going to be a nurse during a pandemic? I don`t think anything could have prepared me for that, but I have seen some of the most amazing things in these last few weeks. We have come together for a support system because nobody knows how to navigate this and we`re just taking it shift by shift and day by day, trying to get overwhelm.

One of the things that`s really hard for us is, as ICU nurses, we`re used to having access to our patients. We have very sick patients and we`re used to going in there and assessing and reassessing them. But now, we have to really cluster our care to try to cut down exposure time in the room.

But at the end of the day, the most rewarding part of this job is to be able to take a breathing tube out of a patient and we`ve started doing that. Patients are getting better. They`re still incredibly sick but they`re getting better.

We know we`re going to get through this. It`s a tough road and at the end of the day, none of my co-workers regret this. None of my co-workers regret being a nurse, regret being a respiratory therapist, a doctor. We are here to help patients.

Pandemic or not, we`re here and we will always be here.


REID: That is inspiring. We`ll be right back.


REID: Tomorrow, join Joe, Mika and Willie for a "MORNING JOE" special report. Their guests include Joe and Jill Biden, former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and Lady Gaga, all tomorrow morning. Watch "MORNING JOE" starting tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. Eastern, with a special report, "Isolation Nation" at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

And thanks for being with us.