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DC Mayor TRANSCRIPT: 6/10/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Joe Neguse, Rashall Brackney, Keisha Lance Bottoms, LaTosha Brown


That does it for me, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. I will see you again right here at 9:00 A.M. tomorrow morning. And don`t go away. We`ve got a lot to cover tonight here on MSNBC.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, I`m Joy Reid.

Well, more than two weeks after George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, the momentum for police reform is only growing. And that momentum was on full display in Washington today.

A short time ago, Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, joined protesters outside of St. John`s Church, on newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., the same place Donald Trump held his bible photo-op last week.

This morning, testifying at the House Judiciary Committee hearing, a day after burying his brother, Floyd spoke emotionally about his brother, who, because of a witness with a cell phone, who happened to be present, was killed on camera so that the whole world would eventually witness it too. And he echoed calls for police reform across the country.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: I can`t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life, die, die begging for his mom, I`m tired. I`m tired of pain. Pain you feel when you watch something like that. I`m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.


REID: The hearing comes days after House Democrats unveiled sweeping legislation to overhaul policing. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is taking a lead for Republicans on the issue. He`s expected to release his plan later in the week. According to The New York Times, Republicans were caught off guard by public support for police reform, and, privately, Republican lawmakers and aides conceded they had few proposals ready to offer.

And of course, there`s always the forever wild card, Donald Trump. Senior administration official told NBC News that he plans to address police reform during a visit to Dallas tomorrow. Officials told NBC Trump has stressed to aides that it is important to him to keep most of the law enforcement community on board with whatever policing reforms the White House proposes.

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House is doing final edits on their plan.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is looking at various proposals, and I would say this president has done a whole lot more than Democrats had ever done when it comes to rectifying injustices.


REID: Well, meanwhile tonight in Minneapolis, one of the three former police officers who was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in Floyd`s death was released on bail. This morning the Minneapolis police chief unveiled proposed changes to the department, and announced he would end contract negotiations with the city`s police union.


CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: This work must be transformational but I must do it right.

There`s nothing more debilitating to a chief from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an officer for misconduct and you`re dealing with a third party mechanism that allows for that employee to not only be back on your department, but to be patrolling in your communities.


REID: For more, I`m joined by Colorado Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which heard from George Floyd`s brother today, and Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for the Associated Press.

And, Congressman, I want to let you first. How did it feel to hear the brother of George Floyd speak to House today and what about you -- what about that testimony do you think might change the way things are?

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): It`s good to be with you, Joy. Today was a really important day. And I would encourage every one of your viewers to watch Philonise Floyd`s testimony in full online. It was incredible powerful and we were so grateful that he was willing to join the committee and share his perspective just one day after memorializing his brother.

And I thought that his testimony was just quite moving in particular as he talked about wanting to make sure that his big brother, George Floyd`s death, was not in vain.

And so as we reflect and kind of where we are today, I will just tell you that, you know, notwithstanding the citizens with some (ph). I`m very hopeful that we`re going to enact those sweeping comprehensive reforms that you described at the top of your program. Ultimately, I think the hearing today was very important in that regard.

REID: And just to give you a few for the viewers, this is some of what is in the bill. It`s called the Justice In Policing Act. It bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants for drug cases. It would create a federal misconduct registry so that people who had committed misconduct can`t just move from place to place, from department to department, eliminates qualified immunity for law enforcement, requires local police departments to send use of force data and makes lynching a federal crime. That all seems rather logical.

Joe Biden today had an op-ed where he talked about police reform. He said that he opposes reducing federal police budgets. He says, while I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments that are violating people`s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police. The better answer is to give police officers the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.

That`s why I`m proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country. Every single police department should have the money they need to institute real reforms.

Congressman, some of these police departments are taking up already 40 percent, 30 percent of the budget that municipalities are spending. Do you agree with Joe Biden that more money should be given to them when there are already so many problems with the money that they have?

NEGUSE: Well, look, I`ve read that editorial that you mentioned as he was participating in today`s judiciary committee hearing. What I would say is from what I`ve seen, the vice president has put out a fairly bold set of reforms in terms of what he would imagine policing to be in the ways in which we can improve policing and how we address police brutality.

And the fact that he is calling out that we need to invest in other areas to address some of the substantial inequities that still exist in our country, in terms of teacher diversity, investing in African-American entrepreneurship, addressing the home ownership gap and issues that you and I both care deeply about, I think that`s important.

In terms of the, you know, the debate with respect of funding, and I would just say that I think our focus should be on reforms and the reforms that we`re taking up in Congress right now. Obviously, local jurisdiction, municipal governments are having the debate that you`re describing in terms of the investments that they want to make in core public services.

But I will just tell you from my perspective, given the conversation today, I think there`s strong bipartisan consensus to enact those sweeping reforms that you described. And it`s hard to overstate just how impactful some of those reforms, such as eliminating the chokehold and the national registry to prevent officers who are committing misconduct from being hired by other agencies, pattern in practice, investigation with the DOJ finally being initiated. Those are really important reforms, the reforms of a generation. And so I think that`s where our focus is going to be.

REID: Okay. Well, let me hold you for this second. I want to go -- I want to bring in the Police Chief of Charlottesville, Virginia, Rashall Brackney.

And Chief Brackney, let me ask you about this reforms and the possibility of reform. Police unions are actually quite powerful. And you`ve now had the Minneapolis mayor say he`s suspending negotiations. It can be very difficult for municipalities, for mayors to actually get any changes at all, because of the power of those unions. Do you believe that federal -- that a federal law is needed in order to give, including yourself, chiefs, the power to, for instance, get rid of officers who have serial misconduct on their records?

CHIEF RASHALL BRACKNEY, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: So thank you, Joy, for having me. I really appreciate it.

I think that this is much more nuanced than what we`re saying. So when the police says, he`s says, he`s no longer going to negotiate, what we haven`t parsed is that he doesn`t have the authority not to negotiate. Minnesota is a binding arbitration state in which their state has said that there are these essential employees who are designated as essential, that cannot strike, and that you must enter negotiations with them.

So, ultimately, it`s for the legislator to change the binding arbitration concept so that you can renegotiate a social contract with your policing agencies and not necessarily a formal contract.

REID: But let me ask you this. Just, you know, the way from the police point of view, given the power that police have, given the fact that they essentially have the ability to kill and at least for the Supreme Court can walk away from that, right, that there`s not a lot that the public can do about it. They`re often not even found guilty when that misconduct winds up as a court case. Given the amount of power that police have, do police understand that power has to come with oversight, that they should be scrutinized?

BRACKNEY: So, absolutely. And not only should they understand that, they should understand that their power and authority actually comes from the people. It`s not just legislated, it comes from the people. And that gives us our ultimate authority.

What we also need to really just address is the stigma that our police culture has when you have officers who have been engaged in misconduct or when there has been police violence, police brutality, police murders, public executions of individuals, is that our culture ostracizes those individuals who would speak up against those types of behaviors.

There`s a lot of power that we wield, the power literally of life and death. And this should be a profession that is highly scrutinized and also highly supported if this is the type of policing entity that we want here in the United States.

REID: Yes. Well, let me bring in Jonathan Lemire, because I think that does bring us to Donald Trump. I want to play -- this is some video that a lot of people have seen out there. This is Donald Trump speaking to police and what the way he thinks they should behave.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said please don`t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you`re protecting their head, you know, that when you put your hand, like don`t hit their head and they`ve just killed somebody, don`t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?


REID: That was back in 2017. You can hear police smirking and laughing. And you can see them laughing and smiling behind him. You just had in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Donald Trump will do his first speech back out on the road, in Tulsa, where the Tulsa Massacre took place. And he`ll do that on June 10th(ph), a very significant day to every African-American. That`s the day that he`s going to go to Tulsa and give a speech on whatever he`s going to talk about.

Here is a major -- a police major named Travis Yates on police shootings of black people. And this is what he was quoted as saying. This is Mr. Yates on a radio or show. You get this meme of blacks are shot 2 times, two and half times more, and everybody just goes oh, yes, they`re not making sense here. You have to come into contact with law enforcement for that to occur.

So when you look at law enforcement contact, a certain group is committing more crimes or violent crimes and law enforcement having to come to -- into more contact with them, then that number is going to be higher. Who in the world in their right mind would think that our shootings would be right along in the U.S. census lines?

All of the research says we`re shooting African-Americans about 24 percent less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed.

So the attitude of police, which I think black folks are kind of used to at this point, what does it mean when the president of the United States encourages that kind of attitude? What do you expect out of that speech in Tulsa, sir?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, first of all, I`ll note, Joy, it`s more than just a speech, that`s a rally. That would be the president`s first campaign rally since he had to put them on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic. And we know how - he often can go. So I think that`s going to be a night where we all watch as you`ve laid the stakes out very plainly and powerfully there for when he`s in town.

In terms of tomorrow, he is going to be in Dallas. And he`s expected to be having a fundraiser and now they`ve added this roundtable with law enforcement officers, community leaders, faith leaders to talk about law enforcement and also inequality in American culture.

Now, to this point, of course, the president has largely steered clear of the racism debate. He is one who has, time and again, aligned himself with law enforcement. In fact, one of his senior advisers, Larry Kudlow, today, repeatedly said he did not believe that America had a systematic problem with racism in law enforcement or in society.

The president, to this point has focused on, as we know, keeping order on the streets, projecting American might, focusing on the small percentage of protesters who have engaged in violence. There`s been a debate within the west wing in the last week or so whether or not he should give a speech about sort of race in America, but more advisers than not, and the president himself opted against, saying that they don`t feel like that you would any good, they don`t think it would really change the equation at all.

So, tomorrow, in a less formal event, he will speak about it. It`s not clear what he`ll propose. There`s talk of executive order on race, there`s talk of perhaps supporting what the Republicans in the Senate are trying to put together on police reform. But at least right now, the expectation that it will be modest at most.

There`s not expected -- the president is not expected to lend a lot of support to sweeping reform of the police department who, as you noted, he is enjoyed their support and he wants to continue to have their support going into November`s election.

REID: Yes, he used to think of Giuliani time that people used to talk about in New York. Donald Trump is so much like Rudy Giuliani. He run the United States in much the way Rudy ran New York in that same attitude.

I want to ask the Chief, fairly quickly, does that translate to down to officers when they know they have the absolute unvarnished support of Donald Trump, and he`s actually encouraging as much brutality as they can get in because these are others that they are policing? Does that actually make a difference in the way that police behave?

BRACKNEY: So, absolutely. As a matter of fact, in an email exchange I had with the national president of the ICP in March of this year prior to these incidents, I challenged him as to why we weren`t vocal pushing back against an administration who encourages basically barbaric and brutal behaviors.

And I think what it is we now are having a reckoning where the public is saying, we are going to dismantle a barbaric and brutally efficient criminal processing enterprise, which we currently brand as a criminal justice system. And it pushes down when people hear that from the highest levels that it is sanctioned and it is okay.

And when it is then signed off by a Department of Justice who says we will take a hands off approach. As a matter of fact, undue consent decrees for those agencies who`ve had patterns and practices of abuse, it definitely signals it`s okay to continue with the way in which you engage communities, because there`s no value to their lives.

REID: Yes. Go back and Google what the Giuliani era was like for black people in New York vis-a-vis the police. This will -- it will seem very, very familiar with what you`re seeing now. Congressman Joe Neguse, Jonathan Lemire and Chief Rashall Brackney, thank you all very much.

Coming up, by now we all know that Donald Trump has a problem with powerful women, especially women who stand up to him. Well, one of his recent targets, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., recently painted Black Lives Matter in big, bold letters on the street leading to the White House and renamed the street leading to Trump`s front door Black Lives Matter Plaza. Mayor Bowser joins me next.

Plus, Georgia`s election catastrophe, broken machines, people waiting in line for hours to cast their ballots. How much of this is negligence, and how much is voter suppression? The Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms joins me.

We have so much more to get to. Stay with us.



MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA): We saw the American military moved around our country like toy soldiers to intimidate Americans in Washington, D.C.

The finest military in the world should never be used in that way. And Americans across the country should be scared about that.


REID: Welcome back.

That was Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has emerged as a vocal critic of Donald Trump`s use of military against protesters in her city.

In a show of defiance last week, Bowser renamed the street leading to the White House Black Lives Matter Plaza and had the words "Black Lives Matter" painted in bright yellow letters on the street, so Trump could see it and dream about it.

When Trump threatened that vicious dogs and ominous weapons awaited protesters behind the White House gates, she accused him of hiding behind his fence, afraid, and alone.

No surprise that she`s now receiving a flood of national coverage, even after Trump ordered the withdrawal of National Guard troops from her city.

Here`s what Ms. -- Mayor Bowser said about being on the receiving end of Trump`s attacks yesterday:


QUESTION: How does it feel to be targeted by the president of the United States?

BOWSER: You know, this is going to sound strange to you, but it`s kind of unfortunate for him.

And this is why. Because any time the president of the United States is in a Twitter battle with a little old mayor, he`s losing.


BOWSER: He`s losing.


BOWSER: He should be in Twitter battles with heads of state, not me.


REID: All right, I am joined now -- I`m joined now by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

And, Mayor Bowser, thank you so much for being here. I do believe we have you.

Let`s talk first about the removal of the National Guard from Washington, D.C. There was a piece in Politico that talked about the struggle that some of those Guardsmen have been having in terms of being a part of controlling those protests. when they were there.

Let me read a little bit of that.

"Many Guardsmen said that they felt uncomfortable with the way that they were used to handle the unrest."

"As a military officer, what I saw," one officer said, "was more or less really F-ed up." This is one Guardsman who was deployed to Lafayette Square last Monday. "I believe I saw civil rights being violated in order for a photo-op."

Now that those troops are gone, what do you have to say to the president and the way that he used the individual Guardsmen, not just what he did to the protesters?

Oh, OK. All right, we`re going to take a quick break. We actually do not have the mayor yet. We have a little bit of technical difficulty.

We`re going to take a quick break, and we will be right back.


REID: OK, now we are back with the Washington, D.C., mayor, Muriel Bowser.

We have got you back.

And, Madam Mayor, thank you so much for being here.

BOWSER: Thank you, Joy.

REID: Before the break, I was reading through a little bit of a Politico piece -- of course -- that talked about some of the personal struggles that Guardsmen have been having about really feeling used by the president...


REID: ... when they were called into clear protesters. Even some of them were tear-gassed themselves because they didn`t have their masks on.

There`s now been more than 1,250 former Justice Department workers who`ve called for an internal watchdog to actually probe William Barr, Attorney General Barr`s use of federal agents and federal employees to clear those demonstrators.

Do you believe that there should be an investigation into that day, into what happened?


And I think Americans are going to demand it. We saw with our own eyes peaceful protesters cleared from in front of the White House for what appeared to be only the president`s trip across the street.

And what we also need to know and be very clear about is how and whose orders those federal police officers were following. And we need to know that so that it never happens again, not in our city or not in a state or any city in the United States of America.

REID: And the troops have been removed from Washington, D.C. Do you think that, to be blunt, the president was shook by your demand that they -- that those troops be removed?

BOWSER: Well, I think that his stunt backfired.

I think they made very clear. I think you showed a tweet from him early on where he threatened to release vicious dogs on the people of the United States and Washington, D.C. I think they made up their mind then that they were going to use Washington, D.C., as a theater to put on a show for the rest of the United States, so that other American mayors and governors would fall in line.

And what happened instead was, the American people said, no way, not today, not ever. And now we are going to join the protests to send a very clear message that, in the United States of America, you have the right to peacefully protest.

REID: And can I just show you that -- we`re going to see some video here. I hope that you can see it.

This is the walls that have been built in front of the White House.


REID: We know that Donald Trump utilized the bunker. We know that he was certainly, I guess, afraid of the protesters, and so had hid at one point.

But this is the fence that`s up in front of the White House. For you, as a black woman, to hear the president of the United States threaten to sic vicious dogs on Americans, sort of Bull Connor-, George Wallace-style...


REID: ... to put up a fence in front of the people`s house, just viscerally, for you, how does that -- how does that read to you, when you hear it?

BOWSER: Well, viscerally, for me, the statement about the vicious dogs was intentional.

I think that it was meant to send a message to many, many Americans, many people that I represent, my family and friends, who lived through those days. And it was a triggering moment, I think, for them, and as -- me, as a person who wasn`t even alive during those days, but I know my history.

I recently did the pilgrimage with John Lewis, where I had to re-walk those steps that so many of our civil rights leader walked.

And to hear in 2020 the threat of vicious dogs being released on Washingtonians shook me to my core. And they claim that they brought in the military because of unrest, but they decided that day that they were going to bring in the military as a show of force, in my view, in my opinion.

REID: Yes.

I want to let you listen to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. And he had some specific accusations about you and what he says is a double standard during the pandemic about being out of doors.

Take a listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Here in the District of Columbia, the mayor celebrates massive street protests. She actually joins them herself.

But, on her command, churches and houses of worship remain shut. Apparently, while protests are now permissible, prayer is still too dangerous.



REID: Well, I will just let you comment on that.

BOWSER: Well, I think the senator is very familiar with the White House`s reopening plan. It`s a phased reopening plan. It follows data and science.

The president was there when it was presented by Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci. And we are following a phased reopening plan in Washington, D.C.,

And we are in phase one. We`re reopening our city safely and according to the science.

Now, First Amendment protests and large gatherings are not the same. And that`s why we don`t see our cities opened up to all of the mass of events.

REID: Right. And very quickly...

BOWSER: Now, in the United States of America, people can protest.

REID: Yes.

But, very quickly, before I let you go, the D.C. City Council has toughened policies on officer hiring and discipline. This is part of the police reforms that we`re seeing going across the country, the emergency legislation, which includes a ban on the use of chemical irritants or rubber bullets on peaceful protesters.

It passed with a veto-proof majority yesterday, despite a stern letter, apparently, from you, Madam Mayor, urging lawmakers to slow down and hold public hearings.

Do you support those reforms?

BOWSER: I will sign the emergency legislation that our council passed.

And I will ask them to make sure that my agencies and the public have time to weigh in on other measures that are included in the emergency before the permanent takes place.

REID: OK, Mayor Muriel Bowser, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here tonight.

BOWSER: Thank you.

REID: And apologies for the technical difficulties.

Thank you.

And up next: the primary election catastrophe in Georgia.


REID: Welcome back.

Well, it was utter chaos for Georgia voters in yesterday`s primary election, as "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" summed it up today on its front page: "Complete Meltdown."

One local official told reporters, everything that could happen or go wrong has gone wrong so far. That includes new voting machines that were either missing or not working, polling sites failing to open on time, and running out of backup ballots, and fewer polling places and a shortage of all workers because of the pandemic.

All of that led to massive lines, with people waiting for up to six hours to cast their vote, especially in largely African-American communities.

Despite all of that, people were willing to wait it out, even in the heat and pouring rain.


QUESTION: You have been here about three hours.


QUESTION: You`re not leaving.




QUESTION: Why are you so intent upon staying here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s important. It`s important for me. It`s important for my son.


REID: Even though the polling sites were meant to close at 7:00 p.m., there were still people in line as late as midnight to cast their votes.

And it`s not like this is just the first time that Georgia has faced voting issues in counties with large African-American populations. In the 2018 midterm elections, there were widespread accusations of voter suppression.

And, for more, I`m joined now by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Madam Mayor, I`m going to go to you first.

This "New York Times" piece that is titled as follows: "Georgia knew its voting machines had problems. One of the company`s lobbyists had deep ties to the governor."

Here is a little piece of it: "One of Dominion Voting Systems lobbyists, Jared Samuel Thomas, has deep connections to Governor Brian Kemp. Mr. Thomas served as Mr. Kemp`s campaign manager in his 2002 state Senate race and as chief of staff to Mr. Camp when he was secretary of state."

Should we be talking, when we talk about the Georgia election, of incompetence or corruption?

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I think we have to look at it all, Joy, because the reality is that yesterday was indeed a disaster. And it even extended beyond yesterday.

Early voting was just as bad. I know of someone who stood in line for almost eight hours too early-vote. Another person was in line until 2:30 a.m. So there were layers to this. They were -- there was a consolidation of voted precincts in response to COVID, when we probably should have expanded the precincts in Georgia, so that people wouldn`t be on top of each other.

People didn`t know how to work the voting machines. People were purged from the voting roll. I talked with my cousin today, who`s voted for the last 37 years. He showed up to vote on yesterday, and was told that he was no longer on the voter roll because he was a convicted felon, which is not true.

And even I requested an absentee ballot, my husband and I did, and we never received it.

So, there are so many layers to this dysfunction that played out on yesterday. And in addition to that, many people couldn`t even pull the appropriate ballot. They were given nonpartisan ballots.

REID: You know, when that...

BOTTOMS: And so I hope that this is not a preview for November.

REID: I think that is what people fear. That`s exactly what people fear, particularly with two Senate seats up, Madam Mayor.

And it`s hard, I think, for a lot of people who are looking at Georgia this morning to believe that that is all coincidental. Georgia, the state of Georgia, knew that there was an election coming for quite a long time.

And so the fact that this happened mostly in or more often than not in majority black districts, do you have any evidence, as an elected official, that the secretary of state`s office, that the governor`s office, that this was somehow planned, that this was somehow the way that it was supposed to work?

BOTTOMS: Well, the interesting thing, Joy, not only did we know when the election was coming. This election was put off twice.

There was a March 24 primary. Then we were gone -- then we were pushed back to May 9, and then to -- or May 19, and now to June 9. So we had plenty of time to get it right.

But what I found interesting, even in our suburban areas, and areas across the state, even in those suburban areas, there were still issues in African-American voting precincts and throughout the city of Atlanta.

So, with this situation, I don`t believe in coincidences.

REID: Yes.

LaTosha Brown, let me bring you in. I mean, I consider you the foremost, you know, voter outreach person in the country. And even you were talking about and, you know, saying that even you were having challenges in terms of making sure that, you know, as you looked at that vote, it did not look like it was going along -- or either it was planned to be wrong, or it was just not being done right.

You tweeted about your own voting experience. LeBron James responded to it. Let me first read LeBron`s tweet.

Everyone is talking about how do we fix this? They say go out and vote. What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?

And the tweet that he was responding to was by you, LaTosha, that says three hours to vote today in Georgia. And then drove over to predominantly white vote polling site at ATL suburbs. I came over to this side of town, white folks are strolling in. On my side of the town, we brought stadium chairs.

What is going on in Georgia in your view?

LATOSHA BROWN, BLACK VOTER MATTER FUND CO-FOUNDER:  It was so clear to me. I was actually shocked to be honest. We were meeting another voter in Alpharetta (ph), and I was shocked at what I saw. You know, there were no tents, there were no water, there was no preparation, because there seemed like there was no concern that they would have problems there.

However, on the south side, what we saw is many advocacy groups, because we knew that there would be problems. To the extent which they were, we had no idea it would be a colossal failure, particularly in light that we had a pandemic.

So I think that there`s something really awkward about what is happening right now. And there`s something that there is an intentionality around it. That the state spent $102 million on purchasing new machines, yet we heard the same old problems. We heard problems that there weren`t enough machines. There were problems that we started receiving around -- people didn`t have -- there were reports that some of the machines ran out of paper, that the scanner that you were putting your ballot in was not working.

So, here it is, this kind of investment for the state, and the machines not only didn`t get better, but it was actually worse.

We were at the poll, we actually went in and a group of advocacy organizations that at 12:00 -- the last voter was at 12:37 a.m. -- technically, that`s Wednesday. It took almost a day to vote.

And so, what was really interesting, you know, is here is a process, what - - that the secretary of state had complete authority over oversight. He has one job. His responsibility is to make sure there are effective and efficient elections. He failed miserably.

So to have the audacity to say he`s going to launch an investigation and blame it as if it is the fault of the poll workers, when who really calmed us down were the poll workers who were trying their best to really be able to accommodate us.

You know, it`s really interesting, because it reminds me of this Republican strategy they continue to use, where they deflect. They don`t take responsibility to their failures. They deflect the blame and say that it`s someone else, when squarely, he has one responsibility, and that is to oversee and to make sure that there is an efficient and effective election process. And he failed miserably.

REID:  And, you know, this sounds exactly like the experience in Florida, where the governor turns around, the secretary of state says well, it`s the fault of the local Democratic elected officials. We`ll replace them. We`ll blame them.

BROWN:  That`s right.

REID:  It is just eerily similar to Florida.

The Brennan Center released a report last week that found the 2018 -- in 2018, voters of color waited longer to vote than white voters. Latino voters waited almost 46 percent longer than white voters, and black voters waited 45 percent.

I`m just going to leave that there and I want each of you to comment on Donald Trump. This is a bit of a turn here, but I want to ask you both because as women who come from the South, I`m curious to see what your response is to Trump`s tweet that he will not allow the changing of Confederate names of U.S. Army bases.

He tweeted: My administration will not even consider the renaming of these -- he called them magnificent and fabled military installations, our history, blah, blah, blah. I don`t have to read the rest of it.

Your thoughts? We`ll start with you, LaTosha.

BROWN:  I`ll just say a couple of things. One, he has all of -- he has -- he has all of the -- what points to be in a fascist. Secondly, it`s not his -- his -- his days are numbered. So I think ultimately, his days are numbered.

And it speaks to how he does not respect citizens (ph). It will speak to how racist he is. It speaks to how he`s insensitive to what is happening in this country. There`s a conversation where there are uprisings in 50 states in this country, and yet he comes up with this kind of rhetoric. But his days are numbered.

REID:  Very quickly, Keisha Lance Bottoms, we are running out of time. But I want to ask -- let you remind to that as well as a mayor of a southern city.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA:  This was an easy one. This was an opportunity for him to signal to the nation that he has one ounce of compassion and concern for where we are. And again, he does not care. He`s shown us time and time again that he doesn`t care.

So, we just need to show up in record numbers in November so we don`t have a room for error and fill out our census form so we could get true representation in Congress.

REID:  Indeed, please everybody, fill out the census. Please.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, LaTosha Brown, thank you both very much.

And up next, Donald Trump is eager to resume holding his MAGA rallies, this as hospitalizations are still rising in some states. What could possibly go wrong?


REID:  Welcome back.

According to data from "The New York Times," new cases of the coronavirus are increasing in 20 states. More alarming, however, is that according to "The Washington Post," quote, "hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day, with a handful of states also nearing bed capacity."

This comes as the total number of Americans who have tested positive has now surpassed 2 million. And yet, as "Politico" points out, the White House has gone silent amid this ongoing crisis.

The Coronavirus Task Force has scaled back its once daily internal meetings and is now gathering only twice per week.

I`m joined now by Dr. Joseph Fair, an epidemiologist and NBC science contributor.

And, Dr. Fair, great to see you. Very relieved to see you.


REID:  I need to ask first how you`re doing. I know you`re also recovering from COVID-19. So let me ask you how you`re doing.

FAIR:  I`m doing well. You know, I`m three weeks out. The first week, I -- you know, it was kind of rough. It was so hard to get air. I was still very, very tired from the experience.

But three weeks out, I`m more or less back to normal. I have been very lucky. I have been out exercising and testing my lung capacity, and I seem to be okay.

REID:  Yeah. You might actually be the $6 million man because you have already been through Ebola and dealt with Ebola and this. You -- we`re going to have to look into that and see if you might be that guy.

Does it worry you when you look at all of these scenes of protests, of the church services. There have been three for George Floyd, and you see all these people gathered, some with masks, some without. Do you worry that this could become another, you know, two weeks from now we`ll talk about more people experiencing what you did?

FAIR:  Absolutely. We always see two weeks later, right? That`s where we see timing-wise when everyone was exposed and what happens. So I think, you know, two weeks later is when we`ll know, obviously, if we`re going to see more cases.

But as you noted, we`ve seen increasing cases in 20 states, and that`s just 20 now. But as the country continues to open up around different parts of the country and we relax social distancing, we`ve got protests, as you mentioned, church services, we`ve got all these people coming together. We don`t see any decline in the virus so far. So we haven`t seen that seasonal dip we had hoped for at least as of yet.

So right now we`re seeing at least a steady rise and then we`re going to see more I think with these mask gatherings.

REID:  We already know that per NBC News in Washington, D.C., the D.C. based National Guard members who were forced to go out and respond to the protests, some of them have now tested positive for COVID-19. We have even Donald Trump`s own task force report that the number of -- they warned governors of COVID spikes that are tied to the protests. So that is definitely concerning.

FAIR:  Yes.

REID:  What can people do if they are taking advantage of these protests that they`re not dying down? What should people be doing?

FAIR:  You know, well, first of all, if you are going to go physically out to the protests yourselves, rather than participating on the online platforms, make sure you are doing the masks and doing everything that we talked about. Obviously, you know, looking at the scene you are playing right now, there`s no social distancing there. But at least protect yourself as much as you can, if you are going to choose to be out there.

But know by choosing to be out there, you are at a much greater risk than you would be if you were social distancing, really, staying six feet or more away and doing the things we talked about previously.

REID:  There is a story out, NBC News reports that detained migrants say they were forced to clean COVID-infected ICE facility in Arizona. So, the kind of abuse that`s now being tied to it. You have the meat packing workers who were forced to go in.

You know, what do -- what do you make of those kinds of stories?

FAIR:  You know, honestly, globally, that is the pattern with what we see with these kind of emerging infectious disease. They`re almost always tied to socio-economic status. Poor people always get infected more because they have to do the hard jobs. They have to do the jobs that nobody else wants to do.

When people have, you know, honestly, the privilege of staying at home and working from home, these people were still going to work, they were still cutting your meat, they were still cleaning, you know, the facilities and to forth. So that being said, it is always the poorer that are going to suffer more from infectious disease.

REID:  Yeah. Yeah. And it doesn`t help if people are being abused as they are migrants who are detained and don`t have a choice.

FAIR:  Not at all.

REID:  Dr. Joseph Fair, it`s so great to see you. I`m very glad that you are back.

FAIR:  Likewise, Joy. Yes, very good to see you.

REID:  And up next -- thank you so much.

And up next, some good news courtesy of my favorite dictionary. Stay with us.


REID:  One last note for tonight. You know, we`re all getting used to hearing nothing but bad, bad and terrible news. But let`s end tonight with some good news, courtesy of one of my favorite, favorite entities in the world, Merriam-Webster, the dictionary of dictionaries as far I`m concerned.

Webster`s will change their definition of racism due to the actions of one black woman. Kennedy Mitchum of St. Louis, Missouri, said that she had a series of disagreements in the wake of George Floyd`s murder on the definition of racism, including people quoting the dictionary definition at her to try and talk her down.

In a Facebook post, Mitchum wrote: It`s not just disliking someone because of their race. This current fight we are in is evidence of that. Lives are at stake because of the systems of oppression that go hand-in-hand with racism.

Webster`s current definition of racism is, quote, a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Mitchum found that to be inadequate, so she e-mailed Merriam-Webster. And you know what? The editors e-mailed her back.

And after some back and forth, they have agreed to update the definition and to add that racism isn`t just ugly feelings or feelings of superiority, it is a doctrine designed to put those beliefs into policy and practice with the intent of oppressing a group of people.

Lots of Americans, frankly, lots of white Americans are having discussions that they never thought they`d have to have about race and racism, and whether and how they have played a part in a 400-year system of white supremacy in this country. That includes a reflexive use of the police to control and, yes, to oppress black and brown people, to keep white Americans from feeling afraid.

It`s an issue that there is a lot more agreement about across racial lines today, and there is also more agreement that there has been certainly in my lifetime that this is indeed a crisis and that that tipping point was reached, thanks to an unintentional martyr named George Floyd.

To hear from Kennedy Mitchum, the 22-year-old who helped make this change possible, you can tune into THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thanks so much for being with us. Don`t go anywhere.