AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: That does it for me this hour. I`ll see you back here tomorrow morning at 10:00 Eastern and then back here on THE BEAT, 6:00 P.M. Keep it right here on MSNBC.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, I`m Joy Reid.
Well, after weeks of urging crackdowns on demonstrators in the streets protesting against racial injustice and police brutality, Donald Trump today offered his idea for police reform in America, more law and order.
At a roundtable discussion on police reform and economic disparities with pastors, law enforcement officials and small business owners at a Dallas mega church, Trump rejected calls to defund police departments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to go the opposite way. We must invest more energy and resources in police training and recruiting and community engagement. We have to respect our police. We have to take of our police. They are protecting us. And if they`re allowed to do their job, they`ll do a great job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The event was built as an opportunity to announce his administration`s plan for, quote, holistic revitalization and recovery in the wake of George Floyd`s killing by a Minneapolis police officer. Donald Trump repeatedly praised police officers and insisted that confronting bigotry will be easy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear and we`ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots. We have to get everybody together. We have to be in the same path, I think, Pastor. If we don`t do that, we have problems, and we`ll do that. We`ll do it. I think that we`re going to do it very easily and go quickly and it will go very easily.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Interesting that he read most of that.
The Dallas morning news noted that today`s event excluded the three top law enforcement officials in the county, the police chief, sheriff and district attorney, who all happen to be black. The Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown and District Attorney John Creuzot were not invited.
In terms of actual plans to address policing, Trump said that he is planning an executive order to encourage departments to follow use of force standards after he again criticized protests in Seattle.
On Twitter, he pushed a federal response to the Seattle protesters, labeling them domestic terrorists who have taken over. He told the governor and mayor there to, quote, take back your city now, threatening, quote, if you don`t do it, I will.
The widespread condemnation of Trump`s use of the military to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park in Washington last week continues to grow. Today, the nation`s top military officer, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized for his participation in Trump`s stunt. We`ll have more on that later in the hour.
And in a Washington Post op-ed, the seven House Democratic impeachment managers who tried the case against Donald Trump pointed to his exploitation of the military, arguing that he is as lawless and corrupt as ever. They write, quote, his wrongdoing has far greater consequences given the acute challenges facing the nation, the failure of those around him to curb destructive impulses and the continued unwillingness of many members of Congress to serve as a meaningful check and balance as the founders intended.
And I`m joined now by the lead impeachment manager, Congressman Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. And, Chairman Schiff, thank you so much for being here.
And I want to play back for you a clip of your impeachment closing argument, which I recommend everyone to go on YouTube and find and listen to. This is just a piece of it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Now, you may be asking, how much damage can you really do in the next several months until election? A lot, a lot of damage.
And you know, we can`t trust this president to do what`s right for this country. You can trust he will do what`s right for Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What are you the most worried about him doing between now and election day given what he has already done?
SCHIFF: Well, I guess, first of all, I`m worried that he will continue this terrible mishandling of the pandemic, of the protests in our streets, that he will further divide us. He will further leave Americans vulnerable to becoming ill and dying from the virus. But he will also continue this path of delegitimizing the votes of millions, seeking disenfranchise them, but those who do hope by absentee, seeking to discredit those votes and contesting the results of the election.
So that`s a lot I know, Joy, but, sadly, he`s given us every reason to be concerned about all of those things.
REID: You know, it was striking to hear Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walk back his participation, which shocked so many people, including so many military people that he took part in that political photo op. But Donald Trump has not backed down from what was done. As a matter of fact, he seemed to double down on this rhetoric of violence that he seems to sort of want to see committed against protesters.
This was Donald Trump praising the National Guard response to Minneapolis protests. I want you to take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are very proud of the fact that I called and I said I`m sorry we have to have them go in and they went in and it was like a knife cutting butter, right through. I`ll never forget. You saw the scene. On that road, wherever it may be, in the city, Minneapolis, they were lined up, they just walked straight.
And, yes, there were some tear gas and probably some other things, and the crowd dispersed, and they went through it by the end of that evening, and it was a short evening. Everything was fine and you didn`t hear too much about that location having problems anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: First of all it was the Minneapolis police who were the ones who were accused of mistreating protesters, but like a knife through butter, it is a strange way to talk about the American military troops on the streets of an American city. He seems to almost be sort of glorifying and just the idea and just sort of imagining violence. It is odd. What do you make of it?
SCHIFF: Well, he does glorify violence. And I think from the beginning of these protests, he is really trying to egg on this kind of violence in the streets, egg on a more militaristic response by police, calling in troops.
I was glad to see the General Milley acknowledge the terrible mistake that he made and I think that it was very important that we had people like Secretary Mattis speak out, Colin Powell speak out and others. I think that`s a big reason why General Milley felt he needed to do what he did.
But as we pointed out during the trial, this president is not going to change. He has this love and fascination for autocrats around the world and models his own conduct after them. He praised the Chinese for their crackdown in Tiananmen Square. So we can`t be surprised when he now lashes out at peaceful protesters, called them terrorists, you know, brags essentially about the ability to use police and military force against them and he is not going to change.
What we really do need is people around him, people in Congress to stand up to him, speak out, do what they can to constrain him through the remaining months of his presidency. We would be a lot better off, frankly, if he went back into his bunker and waited out the rest of his presidency instead of doing more harm.
REID: Yes, it wasn`t lost on many of us that he turned around and tried to threaten governors the same way he tried to threaten the president of Ukraine using the same formula not lost on a lot of Americans. And just to note, and just to put a button on his sort of treatment of the way he thinks about the military and the way the rest of the world should treat it, he is now authorized sanctions against international court members who are probing possible Afghan war crimes by U.S. personnel. So I think that tells you what he thinks.
But I want to ask you about one other thing while I have you. The other thing, there`s been a lot of talk about looting. Looting can mean a lot of things. And I think for a lot of Americans, what feels like looting is $500 or $600 billion being squirreled away by the treasury secretary and the American people don`t get to know who got it.
Here is a headline from The Washington Post. The Trump administration won`t say who got $511 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus loans. The apparent decision to withhold loan records is the latest of several actions by the Trump administration that could shield the federal coronavirus response from public scrutiny.
The Trump administration has taken steps to undermine the independence of executive oversight bodies, declaring that the special inspector general overseeing the CARES Act funding cannot submit reports to Congress without presidential supervision.
Sir, are you going to, as a member of Congress, as a senior member of Congress, going to be able to find out for the American people who Steve Mnuchin is giving that money to, the American people`s money?
SCHIFF: We are going to find out. We`re going to keep pressing until we do. There will be accountability. But true to form, the president is resisting all of that, firing inspector generals, going to extraordinary links to try to keep from the country, for example, not just these loans that went out through the SBA, but this whole industry fund. We have very little visibility into how those funds are being used.
But what we can see in terms of the administration`s actions, this administration characterized by nepotism, corruption, cronyism, and we`re going to get to the bottom of all of the misexpenditures by this administration. And I think as we saw in the months leading up to the Senate trial, their ability to keep things secret only goes so far. The truth comes out in the end. And we just need to make sure that we can hold this person accountable in real-time and make sure that the dollars get to Americans that really need them.
REID: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for your time this evening. I really appreciate you being here.
And I`m joined now by Marq Claxton, Director of Political Affairs for the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, as well as Charlie Sykes, Editor-in-Chief of The Bulwark. And thank you both for being here.
Marq, I`m going to go to you first. Donald Trump went to a meeting of police officers to try to talk about his ideas for, quote/unquote, reform in his mind. But three main black officers in that exact county were not invited. What do you make of that?
MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR OF POLITICAL AFFAIRS, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Well, the president continues to wallow in his ignorance and it`s really shameful. He lacks curiosity. He`s the poster child for anti- intellectualism. So he doesn`t want to know the truth. He has an opinion and he has a position on policing. He`s from a by-gone era. He`s the clear and present danger to the reform movement. And so he wouldn`t necessarily want to hear expert opinion because he`s anti-intellectual. He just doesn`t have an idea or a clue about what to do. And that`s unfortunate.
And that`s very dangerous and that`s poisonous for the ongoing reform effort. He`s going to be resistant of it and those people who are loyal to him will have his back, so to speak, and continue to push back. What would they have said?
REID: What do you think that those black senior officers might have said to them? What might they have added to that conversation if you (INAUDIBLE) that you can speak for them? But what do you think as a black police officer? What would they have said?
CLAXTON: Giving him a perspective, they would have given him perhaps a history lesson. They would have given him some tough talk on the realities that black and brown folk face. They would have perhaps even shared their own personal experiences because I can pretty much guarantee that they themselves, in the positions that they have in law enforcement, these high level positions, are not exempt and are not removed from the realities that the black and brown communities face.
And those are the type of conversations that the president would be repulsed by. He wants to avoid those harsh realities, those truths that would require reform. So the type of input that they would have given would be invaluable, but he`s not interested in the truth. He has a position. He has a base that he`s going to cave into and come (INAUDIBLE). He`s going to stick and keep beating that same drum.
REID: And so speaking of that base, Charlie Sykes, Donald Trump is obviously -- he knows that it will stimulate the hardest core of his base, you know, the harshest policing, standing by police no matter what, if somebody is killed, too bad, that`s their problem, wanting to almost luxuriating in the idea of seeing violence in the streets because it`s against some people.
But this is a different time. A lot of of the people getting teargassed are white. It`s not just black people that are taking those baton blows in the streets. And I wonder if that combined with multiple general scoming out and saying, no, this isn`t right, does that influence people, in your mind, that are true believers, people who listen to right wing talk radio? Does that move them at all?
CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE BULWARK: 1968 is Donald Trump`s focal point, but 2020 is not 1968. So, look, there`s always going to be the hardcore base and they`re always going be inflamed. But what`s happening here is that Donald Trump is losing the narrative, he is losing the culture war.
Now, I think he prides himself on having an instinct of what works. And right now, he is not reading the room, and you mentioned the generals. But think about the things that have happened in the last 24 hours. You have NASCAR, which is really like -- he is like the home team of NASCAR. They announced that they are going to be banning the confederate flag, the same day the president doubles down and saying, no, we need to continue to honor defeated southern generals of confederacy. What a bizarre position that is.
The NFL continues to move away from his position. And then you have these generals who, one after another, are saying that their loyalty is to the country, the Constitution, the duty and honor.
So, Donald Trump finds himself really on a losing end of a culture war. And I think he is alienating a lot of voters who might in the past have been able to overlook what he was doing, ignore what he was doing, cutting him some slack.
This is a moment where people are paying attention, and they`re looking at the president and they`re going, look, we`re facing a pandemic, we`re facing police violence, we`re facing an economic meltdown, and you are out there pedaling baseless conspiracy theories, dividing the country, pouring kerosene on the fire, who is this guy?
So I actually do think that he`s kind of lost the narrative and he`s losing this debate.
REID: Yes. You can`t get re-elected just with QAnon-believers. Like that actually is numerically impossible, but we shall see. Thank you, Marq Claxton, thank you, Charlie Sykes, both of you.
And coming up, coronavirus cases are spiking in more than a dozen states, but Trump, well, he`s ready to move on, ready to get back to the precious, his campaign rallies.
Plus, the nation`s top military officer admits it was a mistake, and we`ve been talking about, to get sucked into Trump`s political stunt last week at St. John`s Church.
We`ve got much more to get to. Please stay with us.
REID: Welcome back.
Donald Trump haunted by cratering (ph) poll numbers and hounded by multiple crises is eager to get back on the campaign trail. According to Politico, Trump is lining up in-person fundraisers, trips to his luxury resort in New Jersey and campaign rallies. Trump allies privately worried the president has lost ground during the coronavirus outbreak.
And his thirst for adoration comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise in 20 states, including Texas, where Trump travelled to today.
One administration official told The Daily Beast, the president seems to think the hardest part of the pandemic is over. Over? There are now more than two million Americans who have tested positive for coronavirus, and more than 114,000 Americans have died. This is the most coronavirus deaths reported by any nation, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
And yet, yesterday, Trump announced that he would hold big rallies in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina, because his need is just so intense.
And, this evening, the Trump campaign gave details about a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week. It included this disclaimer: "By clicking to register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President Incorporated liable for any illness or injury."
That`s the disclaimer.
For more, I`m joined now by Anita Kumar, White House correspondent with Politico, and Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, associated professor -- associate professor of infectious diseases at Boston University Medical School.
Wow, that is quite a disclaimer, Anita.
Does the White House understand that, or are they are they acknowledging even behind the scenes, that people showing up to his precious rallies might get sick? I mean, they`re acknowledging they might get sick and die. And they`re willing to accept that risk?
ANITA KUMAR, POLITICO: Well, I think they`re doing what a lot of businesses are doing, which is, they are opening, but they don`t want to have people - - they want people to realize what those risks are.
Remember, he still wants his convention to go on for the Republican National Convention this summer, which he`s embroiled in a dispute about that. So, he is anxious to get back on the campaign trail. And he thinks that people that want to come will understand those risks. And they will see what happens.
REID: But they`re not doing what regular businesses are doing.
Regular businesses are reopening because their economic survival depends on reopening. Businesses are reopening because they need to pay the rent.
Donald Trump does not need to pay the rent by having rallies. He`s doing it because he wants to, right? Like, this isn`t something they need to do. It`s something he wants.
KUMAR: Right. Right. Exactly right.
REID: Let me get Dr...
KUMAR: He`s very anxious, as you know, to get...
REID: Go on.
KUMAR: Oh, no, as you know, as you said, he`s very anxious to get back on the campaign trail.
And I will just tell you that they had talked about doing this in September, after Labor Day. Then they talked about it August. Then they talked about after July 4. And all of a sudden they decided to do it a little bit earlier. And it`s because he`s so anxious to get back to campaigning. So you`re exactly right.
REID: We have NBC News reporting that data from 15 million phones show that some Americans are gathering at pre-pandemic levels.
The data suggests people are moving around at a level that`s up to two- thirds of what it was before shutdown rules were implemented.
I want to let Dr. Bhadelia listen to Dr. Birx talking about her concerns about COVID spikes which are tied to the protests that we have seen over the last couple of weeks.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We did not see a large surge for Memorial Day weekend.
I want to really thank you all for getting to your citizens about social distancing and wearing masks. We are, however, concerned about the large metros that we`re already having trouble with stability in their case numbers, whether it be L.A. or Chicago or Washington, D.C., having already instability and then the level of protests, the close-packedness of the protestees, and the fact that not all of them wore masks.
This can be -- result in a spike over the next two weeks.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: This has been a concern. This has been a concern, Dr. Bhadelia, as people -- as we have all watched these protests play out all over the country, watched church services take place. Some people are wearing masks, not a ton of social distancing going on.
And to add now rallies to that, here`s -- let`s show the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence. He deleted this image, but it`s still out there in the archives of him visiting the Virginia campaign. And he`s standing there surrounded by all of their campaign people, no masks, no social distancing.
Is this a concern? Because on -- the protesters are angry about a very specific issue. They`re just choosing to do this because this is their politics to not wear masks and to not social distance.
DR. NAHID BHADELIA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Joy, as you brought up with the Trump campaign e-mail, right, that they`re -- we have to make people aware of the fact that any of these gatherings have a potential for risking more transmission of disease and more cases.
But the rises that we`re seeing in states right now, in some states, it`s actually too early for it to be related to protests. In some cosmopolitan areas, it might be, like California and some of the areas, you might start seeing that.
The three elements of successful opening of a society, or partial opening of society in the middle of a pandemic, which is what we`re still in -- it hasn`t gone away. It doesn`t magically disappear.
It`s ensuring that our public health system is in place, so we can test and contact trace, so our hospitals are ready, and that the public understands what the risks are and what their responsibilities are.
And what we haven`t done a good job of, what our national leadership hasn`t done a good job of, with perfect example of V.P. Pence`s photo there, is to role-model, is to show how important these individual -- individual responsibility-taking is to stopping cases. This is how we stay open.
We stay open by following physical distancing and by wearing these masks, and by staying home when we`re sick. There`s no magic bullet to this. Nobody`s coming to rescue us. We do this.
REID: But, Dr. Bhadelia, is part of the problem here that wearing a mask or not has now become a political marker, right? Wearing a mask is now -- is being sort of shuffled off by people that follow Donald Trump as being political correctness, rather than lifesaving.
BHADELIA: That`s right. And what a way to shoot yourself in the foot, because here you are, you want to keep -- all of us want to keep the economy open.
And Dr. -- and President Trump has sort of expressed his desire to have economy be successful. And to do that is to ensure that people can keep going out there, and they`re not risking their life while they`re engaging in commerce.
And if you then are going around telling people, oh, don`t worry about the mask, how does that make sense? How does that even sort of add up?
BHADELIA: It`s almost telling people, don`t worry, COVID doesn`t exist. And, clearly, it does.
REID: And very quickly, before we let you go, Anita Kumar, any word, any reporting on whether or not they`re going to require masks at these rallies, or even offer them?
KUMAR: No, I mean, I -- yes, I don`t know. But there`s talk about making -- or, if they don`t have one, creating a Trump-Pence mask.
The president hasn`t worn the mask, as you just said. So it`s kind of like, if he`s not wearing the mask, why are these other people going to wear the mask? So there hasn`t been talk.
KUMAR: I have heard lots of little things about how many -- how they were talking about spacing them out, and families could sit together.
KUMAR: But then, when you see the invitation, or this registration, none of those things are there.
KUMAR: And, as you know, 10,000, 20,000 people come to these events, and thousands are outside as well very close together.
So they`re going to have a difficult time doing that, no matter what they do at this point.
REID: And two weeks later, we will have you all back on, and we can discuss how that plays out.
Anita Kumar, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, thank you both very much.
And up next: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff breaks with Donald Trump and says he regrets participating in Trump`s tear-gas-enabled church photo-op last week.
We`re back after this. Stay with us.
REID: Welcome back.
The breach between the White House and the United States military is deepening today, after the country`s top military commander publicly broke with Donald Trump.
Apologizing for his role in Trump`s photo-op last week at St. John`s Church, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said publicly today that it was a mistake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I should not have been there.
My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: NBC News is reporting tonight that Milley`s apology comes after he discussed resigning over the episode.
Trump, on the other hand, is still defending the use of the National Guard on those peaceful protesters to make way for his photo-op, today boasting that those troops -- quote -- "could not believe how easy it was to clear Lafayette Park," and warbling about the protesters, agitators, anarchists, and his favorite boogeyman, Antifa, all in the same tweet.
Also in that tweet, Trump referred to the U.S. Secret Service as the S.S., an abbreviation that`s never used to refer to that agency, and for very good reason.
We now also know that Trump actually wanted to order active-duty troops to the streets of D.C., and that he almost fired his defense secretary for opposing that move.
I`m joined now by retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who I will note also admonished Donald Trump this week for his misuse of the military.
What do you make of that last bit, Colonel Wilkerson -- and thank you for being here -- that Donald Trump wanted to put active-duty military troops on the streets of American cities?
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON (RET.), FORMER COLIN POWELL CHIEF OF STAFF: I think that`s a very dangerous move by the president under any circumstances, particularly under circumstances where, as I see the protests all across the country -- and I have been watching them fairly closely -- are basically peaceful.
Yes, there are some thug elements to them, but, basically, they`re peaceful, whether it`s San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, where they could be quite different, if people really got angry.
And so using the National Guard perhaps around the rims, as it were, maybe that might be called for, but certainly not active forces.
And, by the way, General Milley`s move today was very much called for, a very brave move, I think prompted by a lot of people and a lot of pressure and a lot of other generals talking to him, not just those who came public, but others who were talking to him in private.
And it took a lot of courage to do that. It should have been done. It should have been done. His statement that that was a political act was absolutely correct. It was a political act by the president of the United States, just like when he dispatched troops to the border in the past. That was a political act too.
And you do not use the armed forces of the United States for political purposes in that sense.
REID: And the reporting within NBC News and without that the -- that part of the reason that Milley went along with it, that others went along with that photo-op is that they were trying to prevent Donald Trump from actually using the Insurrection Act, and tried to sort of appease him.
There`s a "New York Times" report that says aggressive tactics by the National Guard were ordered to appease Donald Trump, but that they also wounded members of the military. The National Guard is now engaged for the time in an investigation of the havoc a week ago Monday.
"D.C. Guard members say that they feel demoralized and exhausted. More than 60 percent are people of color. And one soldier said he and some fellow troops were so ashamed in taking part against the protest that they have kept it from family members."
What -- at a certain point, Donald Trump seems to be counting on the idea that he can use the military like toys, that they`re just his little chess pieces to move around, like they`re Army men that my brother used to play with, and that they will go along.
What I`m starting to see is that the military maybe won`t go along. What do you make of the fortitude of military members to resist Trump`s increasing pushes toward autocracy? Will they be used in that way?
WILKERSON: Joy, I think all presidents, especially in the last 20 years of constant war -- Joy, I have students now who have never lived in a country that wasn`t at war.
All presidents use the military. It`s a great prop. It makes them look good.
This president, however, has used the military in really bad and dangerous ways. And he`s used it at the same time that, in the military, everyone knows he`s the bone spur president. And that doesn`t go over very big in the military.
WILKERSON: So, it`s a very dangerous thing for him to be doing, for any president.
Let me play you the way that he also seems to think about military generals. He hired a bunch of them. They have all since gone. But here`s how -- here`s Donald Trump over the time -- over time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see my generals. Those generals are going to keep us so safe.
And I have generals. It`s called the military industrial complex. They`re great people. They`re warriors.
And what I do is, I authorize my military.
The first order I gave to my generals.
My Washington generals.
Some of my great generals are in the back. These are tough cookies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You know, Joe Biden -- former Vice President Joe Biden was on "The Daily Show" last night, and he said that he fears that Donald Trump will try to steal the election, but that if he tries to stay -- and lots and lots and lots of people are having this conversation now about what happens if Donald Trump decides he doesn`t accept the results of the election, if he were to lose, and decides he ain`t going.
And Joe Biden addressed that, and he said that he is absolutely convinced that the military, the United States military, will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.
Are you confident that, if Donald Trump tries something strange -- well, not strange in the world, right? It happens in other countries all the time -- but tries not to go, that the military will stand against him?
WILKERSON: I belong to a group called the National Task Force for Election Crises.
And since last summer, last summer, we have been studying this, and we have been postulating these various crisis scenarios, and coming up with recommendations for action.
One of the very scenarios we have been looking at involves a, shall we say, unwise deployment of military forces, either militia, National Guard, or the active-duty forces. And, yes, we have a lot to say about that. And your question brings to light the fact that other Americans now probably weren`t thinking at all about this last summer, are thinking about it.
REID: Yes, it makes me a bit nervous and scared that you`re thinking about it, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson.
But it`s always such a pleasure to talk to you. Please come back. Thank you so much.
And still ahead, Senator Cory Booker joins us to talk about the Trump-Biden matchup and Trump`s alarming choice of where and when to hold his first post-pandemic -- well, actually, still currently pandemic campaign rally.
Stay with us.
REID: Welcome back.
Well, this morning, Donald Trump attempted to attack Joe Biden by claiming via tweet that the vice president refuses to leave his basement sanctuary, perhaps a Freudian slap at the infamous White House bunker where Trump hid from protestors in the nation`s capital.
Biden has indeed held virtual campaign events from his basement. As much as many of us anchors are broadcasting from ours, in order to observe social distancing advice during the ongoing pandemic.
But the attack on Biden is even more demonstrably cynical and false since unlike the current occupant of the White House, Biden has actually tried to address the anger and outrage that George Floyd`s murder and other police killings have reignited. At the beginning of the month, he met with community leaders at a black church in Delaware.
Biden travelled to Houston earlier this week to meet with George Floyd`s family which unlike the call Trump chaired with Mr. Floyd`s brother did not include barely listening and today he held a round table on the economy in Philadelphia. Trump`s attempt to bunker Biden comes amid an onslaught of negative headlines for Trump over the past few weeks.
In a piece out today titled "Trump`s re-election is approaching the danger zone," NBC`s own Steve Kornacki says that by any measure Donald Trump is in a perilous position, besides the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Trump`s approval rating at 42 percent, as low as it`s been since last year, and has Trump trailing Biden by an average of eight points.
According to a recent reports from NBC News, some of Trump`s advisers fear that without a course direction and quickly, Donald Trump could lose the 2020 presidential election. And Trump`s plan so far includes choosing a quite problematic position and date to hold his first campaign rally since March.
I`ll talk about that and more with Senator Cory Booker, next.
REID: Welcome back.
Donald Trump has been hit with a bitter backlash over his decision to hold the campaign rally next week, on Juneteenth, a day celebrated by black Americans marking the end of slavery and for doing so of all places in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of the deadliest race riot in American history in 1921, when the prosperous black Wall Street section of Tulsa was burned, bombed and destroyed by white supremacists just because they could.
I`m joined now by New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker.
Senator, thank you for being here.
What do you make of Donald Trump`s decision on the date and on the place of holding this -- his rally?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Well, it speaks not only his profound ignorance and callous disregard for American history, but even people around him, this is painful.
I went to Tulsa, and to this black Wall Street, and I admit as an African- American who knows my story, I always thought that this was a bombing of a street, of a section, but this was an entire community. Thousands of homes, businesses flattened.
The last structure standing being burned, AME Church, where the pastor there is doing an amazing job of trying to work with others to make sure that this history is never forgotten, aerial bombing before Pearl Harbor on our soil, to kill and destroy African-American lives and livelihoods.
So for him not to recognize this, but not only to go there to do a rally where you -- where we are sure to see signs of many of the supporters who do believe in white supremacy`s failure to actually condemn those elements of -- those narrow elements of his base, but for him to do it on Juneteenth which he should be recognizing as the president of the United States is just all the more disrespectful and painful but not -- not surprising.
REID: Yeah. I mean, I guess it`s hard to know if it`s worse that he doesn`t understand or if he does, right? Or if he really understands it and that maybe a motivation to keep -- to go, anyway.
Here`s Joe Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden. He was on "The Daily Show" last night. He talked a lot about Donald Trump and the issue of racism.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, Donald Trump didn`t invent racism but he sure has promoted it and a systemic -- it`s been real, the disparities of the country, especially in the economy right now, the combination, there`s a -- there`s just an awful combination, COVID-19, unemployment, systemic racism, and what`s happening in terms of the way in which the George Floyd`s death took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And, you know, now you had Donald Trump go down to Dallas County and not talk to any of the top -- not invite the three top black police -- members of the police force down there. They were not invited to this event today. And during the event he said the answer for policing is to spend more money, give police more money and that everything is fine.
What do you make of that? I mean, Joe Biden has also said give police more money. What is the difference between those two ideas -- those two ideas?
BOOKER: Well, I just want to challenge the idea in and of itself. When we say public safety in America, unfortunately, we are too narrowly seeing it as law enforcement. I was a mayor of a city. I got elected during time of rising crime, had a conversation with the head of the FBI talking about just gang issues and violence and sharing with me the intelligence the FBI had, I looked at him, I just wanted to see his response and said, how do we solve this?
And he made the right response. He said to me, we don`t solve this problem. In other words, law enforcement is not the solution to these problems. We`re treating the symptoms of them.
We need to expand our views of public safety in this country, to not see it in terms of police but see it in terms of health care and mental health care, drug treatment and helping those who are economically insecure. We need to stop defunding public education and more.
And it`s shameful the way that Donald Trump seems to see this problem to think that we should become a police state and that`s how we make this a safer country. No, that`s how we make this an authoritarian society.
And the last thing I`ll say is, look, 58-plus million people who voted for Donald Trump, our brothers and our sisters, they are -- we are one nation. They are not our enemy.
And what I`m really pleased to see happening this week -- especially after what he did last week in Lafayette Park -- is more and more people are willing to come out and speak to the issues. Even if they`re not abandoning Donald Trump or their belief that a Republican should be the next president, they`re willing to start to say, clearly, with clarity, that what this president is doing is trampling our constitutional ideals. He`s acting like an authoritarian leader. He`s threatening our principles.
And the fear you see right now of many people begin to speak out about the worries that for the first time in American history, from George Washington until now, that we might actually have a president that does not support the peaceful transition of power. All these things are stress tests and warning signs, and we are one nation who should show out of love and respect for our traditions a deeper critique of this president and his actions.
REID: Well, I want to ask you what you think that Donald Trump, the things -- a couple pins in, right? You had Donald Trump lauding the Confederate. This is the commander-in-chief of the United States, lauding the confederacy and saying, we should honor statues of basically a rogue set of traders that went to war against the United States. That`s one piece.
You have police that he`s giving the message: be rougher, be tougher. There was a situation in Oklahoma where police officers were told, "I can`t breathe" by yet another man, and said, "I don`t care". He wound up dying.
You have in New Jersey. You have a man who was in obvious mental distress also killed, shot six times.
You now have in Chicago, Bobby Rush, who already went through the Fred Hampton slaying by Chicago police, he survived, but he experienced that as a lieutenant to him. Chicago police this week made popcorn and coffee in his office while nearby businesses were being looted. He gave a news conference where he talked about.
Police are getting a message from Donald Trump that everyone are not their brothers and sisters, that they have to act in a very different way toward other Americans.
What do you make of that?
BOOKER: Yes, Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep alive a -- the rusty, jagged, dangerous machinery of what has been the mainstream of much of our distraught past -- in other words, a type of policing written about in the Kerner report that we saw Martin Luther King speak explicitly about on police brutality in -- on the march on Washington, the type of policing that led to explosions of rebellions and riots in cities like mine.
And he is still trying to preach the same, tired, rusty, broken, dangerous ideals that we heard from Nixon, law and order. So, this presents a stark contrast for Americans.
Yeah. I`m sorry. Go ahead.
REID: But given that, should police department -- should give (ph) police departments that are -- that have now been so influenced get more in the budgets of American cities or should mayors -- you used to be a mayor -- have more flexibility to say, you know, we`re going to reduce your funding and put more money into mental health services, so they respond to mental health crises, not the police?
BOOKER: I don`t think that`s a question. I think it`s an obvious answer. We are a nation that has not put money in the resources that we know -- heck, I posted about this on my Instagram account today. There are proven low cost efforts for American taxpayers that elevate human dignity, that secure our communities far greater than resources for police can.
This is no longer a question. It is so proven to be bankrupt, this ideal that the way you create more public safety is simply by putting more police on the streets. We have underfunded drug treatment, health care, mental health care. We criminalized poverty and race.
So this is to me not even a debatable topic anymore. We now know from study after study from demonstration project after demonstration project that we can lower our reliance on prisons, elevate human potential by having policies that help her people, that empower well-being and give us true safety and security in our country.
REID: Senator Cory Booker, I kept you a little over. Thank you very much. I appreciate your patience. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it.
And we`ll be right back.
BOOKER: Thank you.
REID: That is our show for tonight. Join me right back here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Among my guests, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. You will not want to miss it.
Thanks so much for being with us. Don`t go anywhere.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next, and he is including in one of his -- among his guests will be Bobby Rush, Congressman Bobby Rush who we just talked about a short while ago. So you do want to stay there for that.
Thanks for being here.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END