STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I am Steve Kornacki.
Two weeks after his death at the hands of the Minneapolis Police, George Floyd was paid tribute today at a funeral service in Houston. Loved ones gathered along with civil rights leaders, musicians, activists and lawmakers to celebrate Floyd`s life, the life and death that has become a catalyst for a political movement. We saw an outpouring of grief in this service and also calls for action.
In his eulogy, Reverend Al Sharpton said, racism is pervasive and that it is protected by, quote, wickedness in high places.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: We are fighting an institutional, systemic problem that has been allowed to permeate since we were brought to these shores.
Until the law is upheld and people know they will go to jail, they`re going to keep doing it because they are protected by wickedness in high places.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And in a video that was recorded for the service, former Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE: We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism. It stings at our very soul.
Now is the time for racial justice. That`s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America, and then, as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world.
May God be with you, George Floyd, and your family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And while Floyd is being laid to rest, the protests over his death and of racial justice continue. We`ll be following some of those demonstrations in New York and elsewhere tonight.
But we begin with a day of passion and mourning at George Floyd`s funeral in Houston, Texas. And the Anchor of NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt joins me from there now. Lester, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate this.
A lot of this watched this service today. We saw highlights from it, certainly. It was striking to watch. There was mourning, there was grief, there was family, there was also a message in this service too.
LESTER HOLT, MSNBC HOST: Yes, at moments, it was like going to church. I mean, certainly it had that passion and message, but also this message of just anger, of just, you know, this desire for simply an equal application of the law. I mean, that`s what we`re talking about. We`re talking about, you know, equal justice rights. That was the plea here.
There were moments, certainly, of family stories and things you hear when someone is being eulogized. But you heard Reverend Sharpton. He mentioned the president without name on a number of occasions about his trip across the street with a bible. He went after how his now reversal thinking of Colin Kaepernick and the taking of the knee. So there were a mix of emotions here.
But, listen, it comes down to this, a life that was taken too early, that was stolen from him, and a life that now serves as this icon of -- I don`t want to say this movement -- this chapter in this movement, which we`ve been going through for many, many, many years.
KORNACKI: And, Lester, yet this does seem, we mentioned, to be sort of a catalyst here for a political movement. These protests we`ve been following in the streets. There`s more taking place right now, taking place tonight.
Talk, if you will, about the possibility that was in the air there today that this might -- his death, as tragic as it is, might lead to something real in terms of change.
HOLT: Well, you`re seeing things, like you`ve seen police officers arrested and cases that were videoed of some of the protests, also things you might not have seen certainly as quickly. That is happening right now, this talk about defunding police.
So there are a lot of moving pieces right now. But what Reverend Sharpton spoke to at one point was this idea that some of the people out there making a lot of noise and being very active, they`re not going to be there at some point. He said he`ll be there after the last T.V. truck goes, I think that was his line.
But it speaks to a truth we`ve seen in so many movements that the passion can only go so far but the question is how will others pick it up and carry it? What we saw the murder of George Floyd was so graphic, there`s no walking away from it. We all bore witness to it.
KORNACKI: All right. Lester Holt, the Anchor of NBC Nightly News in Houston, Lester, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.
Meanwhile, the president, as we mentioned, began his day with an alarming tweet. Trump addressed this altercation from last Thursday in Buffalo, New York, where a 75-year-old protester was pushed by police and struck his head on the sidewalk and began to bleed from his ear. The victim is still hospitalized. He is in serious but stable condition and two officers have now been charged with felony assault from that incident.
This morning though, the president made the unsubstantiated allegation that the victim, quote, could be an Antifa provocateur. Trump claimed that he, quote, was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to blackout the equipment. And Trump suggested the incident could have been a setup, saying, quote, he fell harder than was pushed.
However, as NBC News reports, the president`s claims are rooted in a conspiracy theory that originated on an anonymous website. That claim was then featured on the right wing cable news channel, One America News Network, where it apparently seems the president heard it.
NBC News has debunked much of this claim, including the aspect of the police scanners, the claim that police scanners can block radio communications.
Now, there were a few Republican senators today who publicly took issue with the president`s tweet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I saw the tweet. It was a shocking thing to say. And I won`t dignify it with any further comment.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I think it would be best if the president would not comment on issues that are before the courts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Others though handled it differently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just saw the tweet and I know nothing of the episode, so I don`t know. I`m not as fixated, I guess, as some people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t see it. And I didn`t -- you know, I saw that, you know, that he had fallen.
REPORTER: Senator Shelby, What did you think of the president`s tweet?
What do you make of the president`s tweet this morning, and does the president need to be more cautious.
SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): So no real response to it but I don`t think it should be surprising, in general, because he tweets a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And I`m joined now by Jonathan Swan, National Political Reporter with Axios, and Susan Page is Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today. Thanks to both of you for being here.
Jonathan, let me start with you. Judging by some of the reaction that I saw, not necessarily from lawmakers, but from the sort of conservative voices in the media, it seemed to me there might be a stronger reaction to this particular tweet from Trump than from some of his others, and he`s had some inflammatory ones in the past. I`m curious, what are you hearing behind the scenes in the White House? Is there any reaction to the president making this claim?
JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yes. So, my phone was blowing up this morning with White House aides, people who work for the campaign, and other advisers on the outside who just kind of beside themselves. They had tried to construct this week around getting the president back into the conversation about police reform.
As you recall, and as we`ve reported, he`s at a low point in the polls right now. They`re very concerned about his standing with independents and with women, suburban women. And part of that, they believe, Trump`s political team, believes is to do with his tone and the way he`s addressed these matters.
So, this week was supposed to be all about this nuanced outreach hearing/listening sessions, like he had yesterday with law enforcement. You know, his staff going down to the Hill, as Jared Kushner did today with Mark Meadows to talk to Tim Scott about reforms to policing around the country and hearing the concerns of African-Americans. And then for the president to drop this bomb in the middle of it was not helpful, to say the least.
KORNACKI: Susan, in terms of the reaction we showed some of it there from Republicans, a few of them, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have certainly been a little bit more critical lately of the president than some of their colleagues, perhaps. They were speaking out. Others perhaps not so much.
I`m curious what you`re hearing on the Republican side of this. Jonathan mentions the president`s poll numbers in the last week or two have started to take a hit here. His leadership on this current crisis, the matter of policing doesn`t seem to be being reviewed well by the public. Is the patience of Republicans in Washington for this type of tweet, this sort of behavior from the president, is it wearing thin at all here?
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: Well, I think the least favorite question you can ask a Republican on Capitol Hill these days are, can you comment on the president`s tweet that guarantees that most of them try to run for the hills. And there is, I think, angst about it. I think there`s a feeling that it`s very unhelpful, that his help with the Senate controlled -- Republican-controlled Senate at risk in November, but there is not any kind of wholesale public departure because Donald Trump now controls and defines the Republican Party.
So I think it`s surprising that when the president puts out tweet like this that is, number one, false, is libelous and is completely tone-deaf on the day that George Floyd is laid to rest. I think it`s surprising -- although we should no longer be surprised by this -- that there isn`t more outrage on the part of Republicans.
KORNACKI: So then there is the question beyond this tweet, which took everybody by surprise this morning. What Jonathan was saying, the question of what is to come of this current moment in terms of from this presidency and from Congress, Perhaps, NBC News, on that front is reporting that the president could unveil a set of proposals on police reform as early as Thursday. The administration is weighing measures, quote, to track police officers with multiple instances of misconduct as well as other changes to policing tactics.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who has his own legislative proposal, met today with the White House officials, including Jared Kushner. And this comes after House Democrats released their own plan, which includes a ban on chokeholds and that limits the immunity that officers can receive from civil lawsuits. That is where the president draws the line.
According to NBC, Trump won`t support the Democratic bill. There`s also no consensus in the White House on banning chokeholds.
Jonathan, let me go back to you on this. We`ve seen what the Democrats Laid out. We are hearing rumblings of something on the Republican side, a will, perhaps, to do something. Is there some potential common ground here at all?
SWAN: Well, I can share some details about what the Republicans in the Senate are looking at. I`ve spoken to two sources who are familiar with the working group. What they`re looking at doing is conditioning federal grants, federal money that goes to the states on requirements of the states to provide more information about police officers and their use of force. That`s the key. That`s the core part of this bill.
They`re also looking at doing the same thing for no-knock warrants. And the other thing they`re looking at is making lynching a federal crime and then creating some review bodies for misconduct.
So there is potential for bipartisanship on those proposals, but I think where it gets pretty sticky is for President Trump`s own instincts. He has, for years and years and years, come from this -- from the point of view that we`re too politically correct about policing and that police officers should be unleashed to be rougher. If you recall during the `16 campaign, he talked about how he would paid people`s bills if they roughed up some of the protesters during his crowds. So, you know, it doesn`t surprise me he`s very reluctant to do something like banning chokeholds.
KORNACKI: Susan, does the apparent will here, the apparent desire, at least, of the White House, of the president, to move in this direction, does that tell us anything? Does that signal anything about how they`re looking at the public`s response to this issue and to the president`s leadership on it in the last week?
PAGE: You know, I think there are people around the president who are extremely concerned about where he is on this issue, where he`s going. This has been a real defining moment, George Floyd`s death, the demonstration and the movement of the demonstrators last Monday and today`s tweet. The president is in a place that is at odds with majority of American public opinion on those.
But, you know, good luck getting the president to go along with whatever carefully crafted nuanced proposal the White House might be willing to back when it comes to this issue.
And the problem with getting too, I think a bipartisan issue, even on the Hill, where there`d be more sentiment, is the Republicans, I think, are unlikely to go as far as the Democrats who will demand that they go, and then you got the president there as a provocateur.
So I think I am -- count me as pessimistic that something actually gets through this year.
KORNACKI: All right. On that pessimistic note, then, Susan Page and Jonathan Swan, thank you both for being here. I appreciate that.
Coming up, defund the police. Activists are chanting it. Joe Biden says he`s against it. And some cities say they`re already doing it. Also, not everyone is talking about the same thing here.
We are going to get into the debate over defunding the police. That is next.
Plus, as Trump faces some of the worst poll numbers he`s seen, he announces plans to resume his rallies as early as next week.
We`ve got much more to get to. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALICIA GARZA, BLACK LIVES MATTER CO-FOUNDER: When we talk about defunding the police, what we`re saying is invest in the resources that are (INAUDIBLE). So much of (INAUDIBLE) is generated and directed towards quality of life (INAUDIBLE), homelessness, drug addiction, domestic violence.
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: What it would look like is we would have an increase in vigilantism and you would have increase in chaos in the city. And that`s why doing things that prevent us from having a strong effective police force are counterproductive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
Defund the police has become the rallying cry heard among many people protesting the death of George Floyd. It seems to mean different things to different people though, including those who say they support it.
For instance, in Minneapolis, a majority of the members of the city council say they are committed to, quote, dismantling the city`s police department and pursuing, quote, a police-free future. The president of the city council is calling this aspirational but says it is the goal they`re working toward.
For others, defunding the police means shrinking police budgets and reinvesting that money into things like healthcare and education, programs for marginalized communities.
But while a recent poll found that Americans largely support some police reforms, like outfitting officers with body cameras and banning neck restraints, only 16 percent say they support the idea of cutting funding to police departments.
For more, I am joined by Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, and Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review. Thanks to both of you for being here.
Christina, let me start with you. Take maybe, if we will, the sort of maximal definition of defund the police that`s out there. I guess that`s Minneapolis right now saying they want to dismantle the police department and they want a future that is, in their words, police-free. Is that a vision you subscribe to?
CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: I think that there`s a lot of wiggle room in between.
But I think that we have to have a radical reimagination, especially during this era of COVID. Clearly, whatever structures and systems we have had set up just have not been working for a large percentage of Americans, but it`s specifically for black Americans.
And so we know that activists have been working on thinking through what policing looks like in cities and towns across the country. We have to be honest about sort of the infiltration of white nationalists within our police departments. We have to be honest about the level of artillery that our police departments have been given.
We don`t need tanks in Ferguson. We can debate as to whether or not we need them in Fallujah, but we definitely don`t need this type of artillery being used on American citizens.
I think it makes me think of Thomas Jefferson writing in 1820, when he talks about having the wolf behind the ears, the whole conversation about whether or not we could abolish us chattel slavery, which subjugated black Americans for generations.
And so many people said that it couldn`t be done. It was this conversation of justice vs. self-preservation. And we have to think about our police departments in the same way. There`s so many people who are quick to say that we cannot reimagine taking money away or taking resources away or taking their weaponry.
I mean, look at these tanks that you have in your visuals. We have to think about justice for all citizens. And the way so many of our police departments have been set up, it`s just completely inequitable for black men, black women and black children.
We should not be raising people to fear the police. And part of the de- escalation of some of the uprisings that we have seen and some of the damage that we have seen is because of this police state, because peaceful protests have turned into these antagonistic endeavors because of police officers actually escalating some of these protests.
So, I think that, if we`re going to have a conversation about it, I don`t think anybody wants an underfunded police department where corruption is rampant and individuals fear that they`re going to be shaken down by the citizens that are sworn to serve and protect.
But I do think that, if we can figure out how to put a man on the moon, I think that we can figure out a way that we can find a police department that can treat black citizens equally, and they do not need tanks, AK-47s, bayonets, and all have different listening devices that spy on black activists and black journalists.
KORNACKI: Well, Rich, what do you think about the points Christina is making?
RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I think if you take defund the police literally, it is an insanely radical and impractical proposal.
Minneapolis, no matter what its new police force is going to be, it`s definitely going to be some sort of police force. A lot of people have pointed to the experience of Camden, New Jersey, as an example of defunding the police.
Camden did disband its existing police force and then created a new one. But this was basically a union-busting measure to get around the obstacles that the police union represented to reform and a better force.
And my understanding is, at the end of the day, Camden actually had more police than it did at the start of this process. So, clearly, we should look at accountability, transparency, look at union rules that make no sense that protect bad officers.
I think those kind of things, you can get bipartisan buy-in.
And last point, Steve, a lot of this is going to involve debates within cities in blue states. So, sort of the different factions and the divisions among Democrats are probably more important when the rubber hits the road than the division between Republicans and Democrats on this in many ways.
KORNACKI: Christina, you were talking a minute ago about the idea of reimagining things.
Maybe a basic question here to ask both of you -- I`ll start with you, Christina -- is what do you envision the role of policing to be going forward?
GREER: Well, I think that there are a lot of small steps that we can take where we could see some real results very quickly.
I mean, keep in mind, as I said before, there have been activists and organizers in Atlanta and Chicago working on this for years. But if we just get rid of no-knock warrants, the type of warrant that killed Breonna Taylor in her own bed, that is something that could have extreme results across cities across all 50 states.
If we think about the fact that so many police departments get contracts to essentially get a lot of the weaponry that we have used overseas, essentially arming our police departments with toys that they use on the American public, I mean, when you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.
And, sadly, black and Latinx citizens start to look like nails for a lot of these police departments. If you don`t have this type of weaponry, we can take that away and not giving them the opportunity to purchase it, that`s another step.
But I -- when Rich said that -- when we use Camden as the example and really thinking about restructuring union contracts, I think that there is something to be said about that, because, yes, we do have a lot of Democratic mayors who are trying to negotiate with police unions across the across the country.
But there are so many unions that are able to protect and harbor police officers who should not be on the force. And if we are going to dismantle the police and essentially rebuild it next door, that`s one way to think about, getting rid of people who should not be pulling a pension or a paycheck that taxpayers are paying for.
We have to think about Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who strangled Eric Garner, put him in the illegal choke hold, still pulled a check for five additional years after the death of an American citizen, a black man on camera.
So, there are minor steps that I think -- obviously, this is America. Everything`s based on compromise, and a lot of Democratic mayors are dealing within constraints on the statewide level. But I refuse to think that we should get distracted from the semantics of defund, de-escalate, where we really have to think about the larger conversation is, black lives matter.
Black lives aren`t asking to be put ahead of anyone. They`re not asking to be sort of given anything special. Black Lives Matter, when it comes to thinking about it in situated with the police, it`s purely to be considered as human beings and citizens who have the full protections of the law, all entities of the law, and not be killed by the state and not be killed by the vigilantes who have the protection of the state.
That is a simple, basic premise. And the fact that this country really struggles with sort of these anti-racist principles, to say that black people can even be considered as equal, lets us know that we have a lot of work to do.
KORNACKI: Rich, I -- the same question to you. I mean, how do you think about the role of policing going forward?
LOWRY: Well, I think we should look at transparency and accountability.
But I think just taking an axe to police department budgets or defunding the police is -- defunding the police is a distraction. And it gives fodder for Republicans and conservatives, frankly. The Trump campaign would be delighted to have Joe Biden endorse defund the police.
Now, since Joe Biden has been around the block a few times and is actually a clever politician, there`s no way in a million years he`s going to endorse defunding the police. In fact, his campaign says he wants to spend more on police to make the departments better.
So, I think, fundamentally, law enforcement is a local issue. This is for cities to decide and to debate. And, again, if you have concrete measures that would strip away some of the union protections that give police -- bad cops protections that they shouldn`t have, I don`t think you would have much debate about that.
But if you are going to have a debate about defund the police, yes, you are going to have a huge ideological clash. And it`s going to be one that`s going to put Democrats on their back feet.
KORNACKI: Well, on this subject, during a roundtable with law enforcement officials yesterday, President Trump said that he strongly oppose the idea of defunding the police.
And on this issue, former Vice President Joe Biden appears to agree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: You have seen the "Black Lives Matter" painted on that street just outside the White House. Some demonstrators added "equals defund the police."
Do you support defunding the police?
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don`t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, Christina, on that basic question of defunding the police, that term that`s out there, both Trump and Biden say they oppose it.
I`m just curious. I -- we put the polling number up here a minute ago. It`s so stark when you put those reform proposals in front of people, banning neck restraints, outfitting all officers with body cameras, massive, overwhelming, really bipartisan support there.
When you say cut funding, not eliminate, just cut funding for police departments, it`s just 16 percent. That`s Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly say no to that idea of cutting police departments.
How do you think about this issue in the context of public opinion being there?
GREER: Well, I mean, because I think a lot of Democrats do worry about if they call a police officer for whatever it is, they think of defunding, as completely abolishing anyone who`s on the other end of 911.
We have to think about why we call the police, whether it`s domestic violence, whether it`s a fire, whether or not you`re having some sort of medical condition. We have seen time and time again, especially when it comes to black communities, police escalate a situation, as opposed to de- escalate a situation.
And I think that part of Joe Biden`s response is that he understands that moderate Democrats feel uneasy about this framing and this phrasing, but we also have to keep our eye on the prize, which is November 3, because, if nothing else, if Joe Biden is elected, we know that he will actually appoint an attorney general that understands the issues that are presented to black Americans and will have a very different point of view than Attorney General Barr.
And so it`s not just about this political moment. It`s not just about the protests and the uprisings in this moment. I`m hoping that a lot of people who are very passionate about defunding the police and having real change understand that the activism and the organizing that will need to happen will need to be a consistent and present basis, so that the next attorney general can actually really put it into action across all 50 states.
KORNACKI: All right, Christina Greer...
LOWRY: But the reason, Steve, there`s just...
KORNACKI: Go ahead, Rich. Go ahead, yes.
The reason there`s just 16 percent support for defunding the police is, everyone, black, white, whatever, understands that, if someone invades your home, if someone assaults you on the street, you need to call someone to help you.
And, yes, everyone should be treated equally by the police. There shouldn`t be racial bias. Bad cops should be punished. But we need a police force. And if Democrats are going to embrace the idea that we don`t, Joe Biden, that`s a major losing issue.
And, again, Joe Biden is not stupid enough to endorse that.
KORNACKI: All right, that will be the last word for now.
Rich Lowry, Christina Greer, though, thank you both for joining us. I appreciate that.
And up next, we`re going to head over to the Big Board.
There is still a pandemic raging right now. Where is it on the rise? Where is it falling? Where is it stable? We`re going to take a look at the latest COVID numbers, break them all down, right after this.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: In a period of four months, it has devastated the world, I mean, 110 (sic) deaths in the United States, deaths and millions and millions of infections worldwide.
And it isn`t over yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Yes, 110,000 deaths right now from the coronavirus here in the United States.
This thing, as Anthony Fauci just said there, it`s still here, it`s still happening. It`s still playing out.
But the numbers on this are changing a bit. And that`s what we want to show you. This is sort of -- this is a look at the whole country here. You know New York, New Jersey, the New York metro area. That has been the hardest- hit. That`s been the epicenter here.
It has certainly impacted other parts of this country as well. But the geography of this might be changing a bit. And there are some alarming numbers in some parts of the country.
So, let`s take a look here. First of all, the overall picture for the country here, it is an encouraging picture. Just in the last two weeks here, the number of new cases per day down 5 percent in the last two weeks.
Tests -- remember, we always talk about trying to get more and more testing out there -- it`s up 15 percent. So, the number of new cases is down, testing is up. That`s good. That means that formula there, that means the positivity rate is going to start coming down. That`s the percent of all tests that are taken that come back positive.
You want to see that under 10 percent. basically. Here, it`s sitting at 5 percent. Was 6 percent a couple weeks ago. That`s another good sign. And the number of hospitalizations, that`s also down 44 percent. So those are encouraging numbers nationally.
However, a big reason for these numbers nationally, it`s simply this, New York. New York, as we say, the epicenter of it here in the country, new cases are down 37 percent. Testing is way up, 53 percent. The positive rate all the way down to 2 percent the last two weeks, and hospitalizations down.
If you took the New York metro area out of the equation, we would actually be flat nationally. And there are some states, in fact, where it`s rising. Take a look at Arizona, the number of new cases way up over the last two weeks. Testing is up. That`s part of it, but number of new cases is way up.
The positive rate, this is the thing. We say 10 percent. It`s double digits in Arizona. It`s 11 percent. It was 7. Hospitalizations up as well there. So, some alarming numbers there out of Arizona.
And you take a look at Texas, new cases also up there in Texas. Testing is up too a little bit. Testing accounts for a little bit. The positive rate in Texas, it`s 7. It`s up, but from 6 to 7. It`s still under 10. So, it`s concerning perhaps in Texas, but that`s not quite on the scale of what we just showed you in Arizona. Hospitalizations there, we don`t have that statistic, unfortunately.
California, in fact, a similar picture to Texas in a way, plus-36 percent in new cases, testing up as well. The positive rate is up one point. It`s still under 10 percent. Hospitalizations, we also don`t have the number there for California.
But this is part of what we said too. As these states lessen these restrictions, start to reopen, all the experts we have been talking to have said, you can expect to see these numbers start to climb. It`s a question of how high and how quickly. That`s what we`re starting to see in these individual state stories.
Still ahead: After a rough month, Donald Trump is looking to get back -- get his campaign back on track. Guess what he`s bringing back? He`s bringing back the rallies. Is it going to make a difference?
We`re back after this.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
President Trump is looking to get back on the campaign trail and to restart his rallies. This morning, he tweeted this: Big demand starting up again soon. Maybe next week.
Two officials familiar with the planning told NBC News that his re-election campaign is preparing to present the president with options to resume rallies this month. According to those officials, quote: Over the last week, Trump has been asking advisors why he can`t hold mass rallies when thousands of people are gathering in the streets to protest the death of George Floyd.
The move to resume campaigning follows a series of national and key battleground state polls that shows Trump trailing presumptive Democratic nomine Joe Biden. It also comes as the White House is reportedly struggling to come up with a message on race and policing after more than two weeks of protests over Floyd`s death.
"The Washington Post" reports this, quote: The president and his aides are deliberating ways to more directly address the issue of race to help soothe tensions while mitigating potential political damage in election year. It goes on to add this, quote: The discussions have centered on a presidential address that come as soon as later this week.
President Trump has responded to the protests by calling for a restoration of, quote, law and order in a Monday. He said that the thinks the vast majority of police are doing a fine job. But a new poll shows the president is out of step with an increasing number of American people when it comes to the protests and what is behind them. And that is coming up next.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
President Trump is hoping to get back on the campaign trail soon against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the large scale protests over race and policing that have gripped the country these past two weeks.
According to the "Washington Post," the president is seeking to turn the protests into a debate over law and order, a term he has been tweeting out frequently over the last week. According to a new "Washington Post" poll, 69 percent of Americans said that George Floyd`s killing represents a broader problem within law enforcement and 29 percent said it`s an isolated incident, and nearly 3/4 said they support the protest over Floyd`s killing. As to President Trump`s response to the protest, 61 percent say they disapprove.
For more, I am joined by Ayesha Rascoe, White House reporter for NPR. And Eli Stokols, White House reporter for "The Los Angeles Times".
Thanks to both of you for being with us.
Ayesha, let me start with you. We mentioned this in the last block. Two things -- it seems, coming out from folks around the president here. The idea of kind of wrapping himself in this law and order message, which we`ve seen him doing in public, but, also, this idea that would he deliver? Would he try to deliver some kind of message on race, on unity?
Is that something that is in the works here? Is there a way to square these two?
AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, NPR: It seems like that`s what they`re trying to do. I think the polling you pointed out is part of the reason why they`re even taking any action. The president`s instinct is to go law and order. That`s what we`ve heard over and over again but it seems like in this moment, that`s not enough. So right now, you see -- you saw White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on the Hill today along with Ja`Ron Smith, who`s a top aide at the White House, talking to Senator Tim Scott about what they can do on criminal justice reform, what they can do on policing reforms.
So I think I would say keep an eye out on what Senator Scott is looking for because he definitely has the ear of the White House and he`s calling for a civil rights commission and he`s also calling for more reporting by the police when the shootings happen.
KORNACKI: Eli, it occurs to me we showed earlier in the program, I think everybody woke up this morning and started going about their day and saw the president decided he would tweet out this claim about this protester in Buffalo who is still apparently hospitalized that the police have been charged in that case -- the president just deciding after seeing something on the OAN network it was something he wanted to bring out in advance.
I guess the question I`m asking here is, there`s all the discussions -- there`s so much reporting about they`re considering doing this and that. Maybe he`ll try to give a speech on this. But it just seems that whatever decision is made here, president`s Twitter feed is going to drive everything.
ELI STOKOLS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Yeah, that`s right. That`s what we`ve seen for more than three years now, Steve. This is the president whose impulses often undercut what his campaign staff and what his White House staff are trying to do to put him on a firmer footing.
The campaign has been trying to come up with some sort of reboot here. Law and order may be an answer, obviously, given the polling you`ve put up, seems a bit out of step with where 3/4 of the country actually are on the issue of the protests now. But for the president to go further and to -- I mean, everybody saw the video of the man in Buffalo pushed back ward, his head hit the pavement, saw him bleeding there on the ground.
The officers have been suspended and are facing charges, and the president tweets out this conspiracy theory. I mean, this is a president whose campaign now basically rests on hoping the economy returns. They got good news on Friday, the president took a big victory lap in the Rose Garden touting a better jobs report for May than most were expecting.
And then a couple days later, here we are, and he`s doing something outlandish. It`s just another example of why he is where he is in the polls right now and why the efforts of staff are often futile when it comes to fixing that.
KORNACKI: And, Ayesha, we mentioned too the president eager to get back to these rallies. Apparently, we can expect those sometime in the near future.
What is the advantage the president believes those give him? And is there any sense in the White House that his recent struggles in the polls are related to that at all?
RASCOE: Well, what the rallies do is they give the president something where he is -- that`s where he`s most comfortable and it energizes the president. He gets to also do something where he tries out different messages, and he gets that instantaneous response, whether it`s, you know, whether the crowd is cheering and going crazy. And he said that he sees when the crowd is going crazy, and he knows that he should say that over and over again. So he gets that feedback.
Of course, the problem right now is that he`s taking a big risk, if he holds these big rallies in an area, and then you see coronavirus cases spike, does he really want to have the perception that he put his own supporters at risk to hold a rally? But that is what he and this White House and -- well, he and the campaign are committed to doing.
KORNACKI: Eli, what`s the expectation when it comes to Joe Biden? If the president is restarting rallies and having traditional campaign events, does that put any pressure on Biden to do the same? Do you have any sense what the thinking is there?
STOKOLS: A little bit. I`m pretty busy covering the White House, not 100 percent sure what the internal Biden campaign thinking is. I just saw he is heading to Philadelphia for a public event on Thursday. So that gives you a sense that Biden is getting out there a little more and we will see something that looks a little more like a regular campaign rather than a candidate doing Zoom calls from his basement going forward, how frequent that is I guess remains to be seen.
But Biden, based on the polling, is in the driver`s seat. It`s the president who has to, you know, find some way to regain the support that he`s lost. I mean, it`s not just an erosion, you know, the numbers with women are bad. But people close to the campaign have told me their internal polls show that they have lost support even from white men. That`s the bedrock of their base.
And so, the rallies may go some way to helping the president juice that base, get some of those supporters maybe back in the fold. But as far as expanding and really cutting into Biden`s lead, you know, this is going to come down to where the economy is, whether they`re able to sort of take Biden down some pegs with some negative advertising. And the enthusiasm they generate in rallies. Will that be enough?
Because when you talk to the Trump campaign, the Trump campaign, those are the three things that their comeback rests on. Obviously, all of those things are looking less than guaranteed at this point.
KORNACKI: All right. Eli Stokols and Ayesha Rascoe, thank you both for joining us. I appreciate that.
And up next, we`re going to take a look back at the tough on crime approach of the 1990s and how the politics around that have changed.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: The conversation in this country right now is about law enforcement and how to reform it, and it`s building for a number of years. The polling shows some major changes in how Americans think about it.
A CBS poll this week found that a clear majority, 57 percent, majority of Americans now say the police in most communities treat white people better than black people. Fewer than 40 percent now think that both are treated equally.
This is a massive shift and it`s likely to have major ramifications in the days ahead when it comes to whether reforms will pass Congress and state capitals, and also when it comes to the presidential campaign. It also marks a real change from where things were a generation ago. So much of the conversation now is about rethinking how things have been done in the past -- the so-called tough on crime approach that defined policy for a long time in this country.
The 1994 crime bill came up a lot during the Democratic primaries. Joe Biden was the author of it, one of the most famous pieces of legislation from that tough on crime era.
But today`s activist on the left decried the crime bill for ushering in an era of what they call mass incarceration. This didn`t stop Biden from winning the Democratic nomination but he did back away from parts of the crime bill and he did issue an apology. And now he talks about taking on systemic racism.
The change in Biden`s posture reflects how the politics of law enforcement have changed in this country. That probably -- excuse me, reflects how much the facts on the ground have changed. It`s hard to remember now, but when the crime bill was enacted, it was much more violent crime in this country. In 1993, there were 747 reported violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the country. In many major cities, murder was far more common than it is today.
New York City recorded over 2,000 homicides a year for eight straight years in the late `80s and early `90s. When the crime bill passed in 1949, our own NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll found that Americans considered the number one issue in the country to be crime.
The statistics are very different today, though. The violent crime rate has been cut in half. Instead of 2,000 murders a year, New York City recorded a total of 318 last year. And that was actually up slightly from the year before.
Voters aren`t telling pollsters that crime is their top concern anymore. What they are beginning to tell pollsters is that policing, and policing reform are on their minds. That is a big change that could have a big impact on our politics now and in the future.
That is going to do it for us tonight. Thank you for being with us.
But don`t go anywhere because "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END