ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us, but my colleague and friend, Joy Reid, is up now. Hi, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Hey, how are you doing, Ari. Thanks so much, I really appreciated. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the evening.
MELBER: You too.
REID: All right, take care, thank you and good evening I`m Joy Reid in New York.
And you know what? Here is the cold hard reality. Despite the fact that some states like New York, where I am tonight, have faced down the crisis and have managed to bend the curve, when looked at on a national level, from 30,000 feet up, the coronavirus pandemic is objectively spiraling out of control, blowing past nearly every other modern country on earth. The U.S. has now exceeded 3 million cases, and more than 130,000 deaths.
Testing capacity is strained in the hardest hit areas of the country, where hospital beds and medical equipment are also in short supply. In other words, it`s deja vu all over again.
But Donald Trump is offering a very different message. He`s clashing with his leading experts, openly dismissing Dr. Anthony Fauci and his own CDC. And most importantly, he refuses to do anything meaningful to rein this virus in and save American lives.
Now, given all of that, if you are a parent, how comfortable do you feel sending your kids back to school during this pandemic? According to this administration, it doesn`t matter how you feel. They have made the choice for you and your school district.
As the virus rages out of control, they`re saying schools must reopen, period. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made that clear today, but left it to the schools themselves to figure out how to reopen safely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETSY DEVOS, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Ultimately, it`s not a matter of if schools should reopen, it`s simply a matter of how. They must fully open and they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Well, that comes after Trump vowed yesterday to put political pressure on states to reopen their schools. And today, he promised to cut funding to those that don`t.
But by strong-arming school districts, Trump and his administration are openly challenging the CDC`s own guidelines for opening schools safely and Trump tweeted this morning that he disagrees with the CDC on the very tough and expensive guidelines, expensive guideline for reopening schools. So in effect, the White House has pressured the CDC, a scientific institution, to bend their political -- to their political demand by relaxing their guidelines on school safety.
I`m going to speak to former Texas Congressman Beto O`Rourke, in just a moment. But, first, I`m joined by Dr. Leana Wen, an Emergency Physician and Public Health Professor at George Washington University.
And Dr. Wen, you know, as somebody who sent all of my three kids to public school, it alarms me and everyone that I know that has school-aged kids is scared to have their kids go back to school. I want to let you listen to some more what Betsy DeVos had to say, because it was so stunning as -- well, actually, no, know, well, let me go forward to that. Let me actually go to Dr. Fauci, let`s go to the expert.
This is Dr. Fauci talking about the surge in cases after reopening. And this is from a Wall Street Journal podcast today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What we were seeing is exponential growth. It went form an average of about 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. That`s doubling. Some states went too fast. Some states went according to what the timetable was. But the people in the state didn`t listen and just threw caution to the wind. I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It`s not for me to say, because each state is different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Think about state like Florida, which has an out of control surge of COVID-19 or Texas or Arizona. If you were a parent in those states, would you feel safe sending your kids to school?
DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: No, absolutely not. In many parts of these states, you have an infection rate of about 1 in 100. So if you have a school of a thousand people, that means that on day one walking in, you`re going to have ten people who have COVID-19 and unknowingly spreading it to others. That school is going to have to shut down pretty soon after reopening and that just doesn`t make sense.
I mean, I agree with the Trump administration and that our goal should be to have in-person instruction as soon as we can, but it doesn`t make sense to set an arbitrary deadline or a goal, unless you`re willing to do the hard work and make the commitment to meeting that goal.
And the single most important thing that we could be doing right now is to reduce and suppress the level of COVID-19 in the communities so that we can reopen safely in the fall. Otherwise, we are jeopardizing the health and well-being of our students, our teachers, who many of whom are older, with chronic medical conditions and their families and community members too.
REID: Right. And people forget it`s not just students who are in schools, there`re also the workers in the cafeteria, there is the janitors, there are all sorts of other people there who could be subject to infection.
What does it say to you that the prime minister of Canada won`t come here? There was a whole signing ceremony for Donald Trump, you know, slight rewrite of NAFTA where he added some paragraphs or something. And the Mexican president came, but the Canadian prime minister said he`s not coming, Justin Trudeau said no, and later it was revealed they first said it was scheduled, and then they said, no, it`s because the U.S. has not handled the pandemic properly.
If the leader of a foreign country, if the leader of Canada is not safe in the United States, or doesn`t feel safe in the United States, it`s hard for me to understand how a little kid should feel safe in an elementary school sitting so close right next to their peers and their classmates.
WEN: I mean, by now, I think it`s plain for everyone to see around the world that the U.S. is the weakest link, that we have really failed in our response to COVID-19. Whereas other countries have actually, not only bent the curve but they have crushed the curve. We haven`t done that. We gave up.
And we said, okay, well, we`re just going to live with a high level of suffering and death. And I think the best that we can hope for is a slow burn of the number of infections just being at a relatively lower level. But right now what we`re having is forest fires that are happening in multiple parts of the country.
And so I think states have very difficult decisions that they must face right now, which is what is the goal here. There are more than 40 states that are seeing a rise in the number of infections, which means that they don`t meet the White House`s own criteria of reopening schools. So if the goal is actually reopening the schools in the fall, then what are we willing to do with the meantime. Are we willing to shut down indoor gatherings, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, now for the summer in order to allow even for a chance for schools to reopen in the fall?
REID: Yes, that would be rational thinking. And that`s what not really doing with that right now. Dr. Leana Wen, thanks as always. I really appreciate you being here.
Well, today, health officials in Texas announced 98 coronavirus deaths, the most ever in a single day in that state. Yesterday, for the first time, Texas reported more than 10,000 new cases, also a record. The mayors of Austin, San Antonio and Houston have warned that their hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. And the Austin Convention Center is being prepped as a field hospital for coronavirus patients.
Last week, Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, who was one of the first governors to roll back stay at home orders, reversed course and reinstated restrictions on bars and restaurants and issued a mask mandate.
I`m joined by former Congressman Beto O`Rourke, who called Abbott`s handling of the crisis pathetic and called for his resignation. And, you know, Congressman, this is a tough one, because you have kids that are baby faced as mine, your kids are young, 9, 13, you know, little kids. Do you feel safe as a parent sending your children to school in the fall?
FMR. REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D-TX): I don`t. And it`s interesting, Amy, my wife and I, have been talking about this issue this week, because we just got a letter from the El Paso Independent School District. All three of our kids are going to public schools next year in the 8th, 7th and 4th grades. And we were given a choice by the district, either we do a hybrid of in-person schooling and distance learning from home or you do 100 percent virtual distance learning.
And that second option looks like the one we`re going to choose, because, as you just reported, COVID spread is out of control in the state of Texas. Every number that you just mentioned for our state, the number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations, which are near 10,000, hospital capacity now at 100 percent in some areas, over 100 percent in the Rio Grande Valley, with no plan to test, to contact trace, to isolate, or to get through and out of this, it would be irresponsible for us to send our kids to school.
And as Dr. Wen pointed out, it`s not just the kids, it is the custodians, the cafeteria workers, the teachers, support staff, everyone, and we`ve got to be worried about and concerned for everyone right now. So this is out of control in Texas. Until we get it under control, we`ve got to stay at home.
And one thing that I think we need to stress, the governor, though he has mandated a mandatory mask order in Texas and though he`s closed bars, restaurants are still open, businesses are still open, county judges and mayors are not allowed to issue stay-at-home orders in their communities, in those same community where is they have run out of ICU beds. So that`s one important step that the governor can take right away to improve things markedly.
REID: Yes. I want to let you listen to Betsy DeVos. I wasn`t able to play this earlier, I want to play it for you now. Just as a parent, I`m very curious to hear your reaction, and this is -- actually, I`m going to read it to you. This is Betsy DeVos talking about accepting the risk of reopening schools, and this is in a call to governors yesterday. I`m just going to read what she said.
Risk is involved in everything we do, from everything, to ride a bike, to riding a rocking into space and everything in between.
What do you make of the secretary of education likening little kids like yours, that they should take the same kind of risk that astronauts take, who risk death to go to the moon?
O`ROURKE: These are the same people who want us to accept that more people, including more children, will die of gun violence this year in America than in any other developed country bar none. It`s just the price of, quote, unquote, freedom in this country.
And in some ways, they`ve almost on that fight. If you look at the gun laws that are on the books and the gun laws that should be on the books and aren`t in this country, in some way, we have tacitly accepted this historic, tragic level of gun violence in America that continues to rise. We saw that just over the weekend in many American cities. It`s that same kind of death cult mentality that asks us to accept one quarter, 25 percent of the world`s COVID cases, one quarter, 25 percent of the world`s COVID deaths, though we represent only 4 percent of the globe`s population.
That is absolutely unacceptable. And everything that you just read from her is absolutely ridiculous and on its face stupid. We should be outraged and angered and demanding more from our leaders. And that`s why I took the step within the last couple of days of asking Governor Abbott to resign. He`s clearly not up to this moment, and does not have the well-being and the safety of our families and our kids. 2,900 of our fellow Texans are now dead because of his incompetence.
This was preventable, but when he denied the science, the truth, the facts, the CDC guidelines that you`ve been pointing to, it was totally predictable. And yet he has still failed to reverse course and begin to shut some parts of the state down to save lives. Betsy DeVos is in that same vein.
REID: I have to ask you this because you`ve been so vocal on issues of this multicultural state you live in and defending the value of it. And part of the sort of core of Trumpism is anti-immigrant sentiment, is saying drive out immigrants, particularly non-white immigrants.
What do you make of that -- Harvard University has decided it`s not safe enough to have $50,000 a year tuitions students come back to Harvard. So only the freshmen are going to come back. The rest are going to learn on distance learning, all of these students paying all that money. They`re not they`re not going refund anybody, by the way. And yet you now have the Department of Homeland Security and ICE telling international students that if their schools don`t open for physical learning, in-person learning, they have to leave the country.
I don`t know if you have time. Can we play Ken Cuccinelli? Let`s see if we can play Ken Cuccinelli, who is the Acting Homeland Security Director defending that. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: So you`re basically forcing universities to reopen, even if they have personally determined that they shouldn`t be doing that for public health reasons?
KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTIN HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Well, we`re not forcing universities to reopen. However, if a university, let`s just take your version of it, if they don`t reopen this semester, there isn`t a reason for a person holding a student visa to be present in the country. They should go home, and then they can return when the school opens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What is that? Do you understand that?
O`ROURKE: I do, and I think you hit the nail right on the head when you introduced it. This is part and parcel of the Trump administration`s war on immigrants. And, really, their animus against anyone who does not look like the majority in this country.
Here at the University of Texas at El Paso, you have around 6,000 students who are Mexican nationals, who, in large part, we recruited to come to UTEP, because we know that not only will the education here be good for them, it would be fantastic for our community, for our state, for our country. UTEP graduates more Latino and Latina engineers than any institution in the country. We want them to stay here and add to the intellectual capital of our communities and our country.
But this is also part of something much more pernicious. You have these migrant camps in (INAUDIBLE), Matamoros, in Tijuana, as they have now, through executive order, turned away every single human being seeking asylum and refuge in this country, including thousands of kids.
You also probably saw the order that came from a judge in San Diego within the last couple of weeks mandating that ICE release families who have been detained for months right now, no later than next Friday. You have the Trump administration trying to challenge that. Their cruelty towards immigrants and asylum seekers, and especially children, knows no bounds.
REID: Yes, it is something to behold. And wait until they find out that international students actually pay full fare and they`re propping up a lot of universities with their money. That should be an interesting experiment.
Former Congressman Beto O`Rourke, thank you, as always, I really appreciate it and all the best to you and your family.
Coming up, less than four months to Election Day, a new projection shows Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win the presidency.
Plus, millions of dollars meant to help small businesses survive. Well, instead they went to family businesses of people like Mitch McConnell, Jared Kushner and Kanye West.
And she`s the most powerful woman in America. Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins me to discuss Trump`s lack of leadership on the coronavirus.
We`ve got so much more to get to tonight. Stay with us.
REID: Welcome back.
Well, bad news for the Trump campaign today, Politico reported officially giving Joe Biden a majority in their Electoral College ratings. The report predicts that Biden can win 279 electoral votes by winning states that they say are currently solid, like all leaning Democratic. That`s nine more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
The states that are solid and leaning Republican only give Trump 188 electoral votes, which means he has to win every toss-up state, which the report lists as Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, plus 11 electoral votes from states the report currently has as leaning Democratic, such as Pennsylvania or Michigan.
I`m joined by Cornell Belcher, Democratic Pollster and Strategist, and former Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo.
We got to our numbers guy, first, Cornell. Part of the reason that Joe Biden is in a good place is -- well, first of all, he`s not a woman. Second of all, he is -- he`s not a woman seeking power. I mean, this is America. But, also, he doesn`t have the headwinds Hillary faced with some voters who just had something in their spirit against Hillary Clinton. And I mean voters on the left.
Here is a "New York Times"/Siena College poll that talks about Biden`s support among Bernie Sanders supporters and Elizabeth Warren supporters. And this is interesting.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders, 87 percent of them say they will vote for Joe Biden. Only 4 percent say they will vote for Trump. Elizabeth Warren`s supporters, 96 percent say they will vote for Biden. Not a single one, they couldn`t find a single one who said they would vote for Trump who is a Warren supporter.
That`s very different from Bernie Sanders supporters in 2016, 12 percent of whom voted for Trump.
So, what do you make of that?
CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first I don`t want to blame Hillary`s defeat on Sanders supporters, because if you look at -- if you look across the battleground states, one, he didn`t -- Trump didn`t do that much greatly different than what you saw Mitt Romney do a couple years before.
His margin wasn`t that far off in most of these battleground states than that. But -- so I don`t want to blame Bernie supporters.
But, look, the third-party vote of many once upon a time Obama voters was very problematic. And, look, in Hillary`s negatives -- and, look, women do face an uphill battle for power in a way that men don`t.
But her favorables were far more deep than Joe Biden`s was. And, look, Joe Biden right now at this point has favorables -- ratings that are higher than Donald Trump. At this point in 2016, Hillary and Donald Trump were basically joined in their unfavorable rating.
So the dynamics are a little different. But it is good to see that at least the left -- coalition on the left is coalescing around Biden now than Hillary Clinton. But I also think some of that has to do, Joy, with the fact that Trump is just flat-out a racist now that you can`t deny.
And he`s hurting this country in ways that we couldn`t have imagined in 2016.
REID: Yes, absolutely.
BELCHER: I think that`s also part of it.
REID: No, absolutely.
So, Carlos, let`s go over to your side, to the Republicans. Republicans are doing everything they can to attack mail-in voting. That actually is maybe not a good idea. I remember doing politics -- political campaigns in Florida. It was Republicans who voted by mail, not Democrats.
Now there is a report in "The Washington Post" that says that: "Trump`s relentless attacks on the security of mail-in voting are driving suspicion among GOP voters toward absentee ballots, a dynamic alarming Republican strategists, who say it could undercut their own candidates, including Trump himself.
"In several primaries this spring, Democratic voters have embraced mail-in ballots in far larger numbers than Republicans. And when they urge their supporters to vote by mail, GOP campaigns around the country are hearing from more and more Republican voters who say they do not trust absentee ballots, according to multiple strategists."
What will Republicans do if the party that votes more by mail decides that voting by mail is fraud?
CARLOS CURBELO (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Joy, you know Florida, and that`s absolutely right.
In Florida, it`s Republicans who, in a way, taught their voters to vote by mail, convinced a lot of their supporters to vote by mail. It`s Republicans who oftentimes have a significant vote-by-mail lead when you start looking at results in Florida.
And this is akin to shooting yourself in the foot, because now you have a lot of Florida Republicans, especially seniors, who are insecure about voting by mail, they`re worried about it. They think their votes may not count, because the president has attacked this form of voting relentlessly over the last few months.
And if these people, because of their legitimate concerns about COVID-19, don`t show up to the polls and don`t mail in their ballots, that spells disaster for the president`s campaign here in Florida and for a lot of down-ballot Republicans who rely on those high-quality Republican voters that show up election after election.
This is a major problem that`s brewing for the Trump campaign here in the states.
REID: Yes, it`s kind of an oopsie.
I got to play this ad. This is the new Lincoln Project ad. It`s pretty epic, as many of these ads are. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Some day soon, the time of Trump will pass. This circus of incompetence, corruption and cruelty will end.
When it does, the men and women in Trump`s Republican Party will come to you, telling you they can repair the damage he`s done. They will beg you to forget their votes to exonerate Trump from his crimes.
Learn their names. Remember their actions. And never, ever trust them again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Cornell, it seems to me that if Joe Biden actually does have legs across these states, that means that the Senate is looking pretty good for the Democrats. How do you read it?
BELCHER: Well, two things.
One is, I`m really jealous of the representative`s background he`s got going there in Miami.
REID: I know. I am, too. I am, too.
CURBELO: It`s real, too. It`s not virtual.
REID: He`s just trying to win Room Rater. And he`s cheating, because that`s not how you win Room Rater.
CURBELO: It`s really humid, though.
BELCHER: And -- but the other part of this is, I`m happy that I actually -- Joy, I don`t give money to political organizations.
I have given money to the Lincoln Project because of ads like this. It`s smart, because if you look at Trump`s job approval sort of tanking in a lot of these key battleground states, but also expanding into some more of these more traditional red states, it makes those other -- those Republican senators, it makes it a lot more difficult to get over top, because, in 2018, what we saw is, the Republican statewide candidates didn`t do very much better than what Donald Trump`s job approval was in that state.
So, all of a sudden, with Trump continuing to tank, Mitch McConnell has to get nervous. And I think it`s smart what -- that the Lincoln Project is doing, because now they`re beginning to sort of pivot and connect down- ballot to Trump, in a way that I think is going to be -- which should make a lot of Republican senators nervous.
And, Cornell Belcher, the time -- the timekeeper is telling me that I`m out of time, so you get the last word, because Carlos Curbelo wins Room Rater, and he wins it in a walk, because he`s got the most fabulous outdoor room.
We`re all envious. Envy, envy, envy. Thank you both for being here.
CURBELO: Thank you, Joy.
REID: Have a great weekend -- rest of the week.
And still ahead: Taxpayer dollars intended to help small business owners weather this crisis went instead, guess who, to lobbyists, lawyers and billionaires. So, where`s the oversight that House Democrats demanded?
Well, we will talk about that after this.
REID: Welcome back.
Remember how, last weekend, Kanye West set off a Twitter frenzy, tweeting that he`s running for president this year? Well, he`s not. He`s not really running. He still hasn`t filed any paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, which is a requirement to run for president.
But he has been up to something. This week, the Small Business Administration disclosed that Kanye`s clothing company, Yeezy LLC, borrowed somewhere between $2 million and $5 million under the government`s Paycheck Protection Program, yes, the same program designed to bail out struggling small businesses during the pandemic.
The government-backed loan program has paid out 521 billion -- with a B -- dollars as of June 30. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeatedly pushed to keep the names and amounts of the loans under wraps, calling it confidential information.
And now we`re starting to find out why. The list put out Monday included only a fraction of the borrowers, less than 15 percent of the almost five million small companies and organizations that received assistance.
Surprise, surprise, it`s not just Kanye. Lots of other multimillionaires and billionaires and country clubs and private jet companies were feeding at the government trough, while small businesses went bankrupt.
And the reverse Robin Hood list reads like a political dossier. For example, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who, of course, is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a shipping business started by her family received between $350,000 and $1 million.
Or how about conservative Grover Norquist`s anti-tax group? It took in as much as $350,000. Same with the Ayn Rand Institute and Citizens Against Government Waste.
The AP notes that relief funds also went to companies with ties to at least a dozen members of Congress of both parties, including a California hotel partially owned by the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, car dealerships owned by at least three Republican House members, and two wineries tied to Congressman Devin Nunes. And an Iowa farm run by his family received loans worth at least $2 million.
According to the AP, 40 lobbyists with ties to Trump helped -- helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid, among them five former administration officials whose work potentially violates Trump`s own ethics policy? Didn`t know he had one. So much for draining the swamp.
And then there`s Jared Kushner. Businesses connected to the Kushner family raked in millions under the program. Observer Holdings, the media company run by his brother-in-law, received up to $1 million. An entity owned by his mother, brother and sister got anywhere from $1 million to $2 million. And up to $1 million went to another entity that owns land in New Jersey where a hotel his family owns is located.
You`re welcome, America.
Since all these rich people who didn`t need this help were lining their pockets with money intended to help struggling small businesses, it`s no wonder the Trump administration tried so hard to keep Congress from knowing where all that money was going.
Stick with us.
REID: Welcome back.
What is the definition of a looter? During the Black Lives Matter protests, we saw Republicans fulminate about looting, which Merriam-Webster defines as taking valuable goods as the spoils of war, or legally appropriating them by force, or elicit gains of public officials. Hmm.
Which brings us to what actually looting looks like in Donald Trump`s America, or maybe just in America as currently constructed.
Rapper Kanye West and Jared Kushner are not small business owners. However, they are among the super rich Trumpers who are connected to federally backed loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to help small business owners during the pandemic.
Last month, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow backed up Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in calling for the recipients of the PPP loans to remain secret from you, the taxpayer.
Today, he was asked about some of those billionaires who raked in federal dollars intended for your local mom-and-pop stores.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: You play by the rules in these things.
I think the PPP program was phenomenally good. It affected about 85 percent of those working in small businesses. And, as you know, qualify, you need 500 or less workers. And some of these, let`s say, well-to-do operations qualified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
I`m joined now by Democratic Congress -- Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton of Virginia, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, and Stephanie Ruhle, MSNBC anchor and senior business correspondent.
And, Steph, I have to go to you first, my friend. And I normally would go to the congresswoman, so I`m going to apologize to the congresswoman, but I got to go to you, Stephanie.
You have been following this and tweeting about it. I learned about it listening to you on "LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" last night.
This is gross, OK? I know Larry Kudlow. You and I both know him. I used to be on this show. I know that this is what he believes in. But how is it possible that loans intended for small businesses and these struggling restaurants and bars that can`t open or are opening and closing ended up going to Kanye and Jared? This is gross to me.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK, it`s gross. But here`s the thing, Joy. It was legal.
And we can`t just say, oh, it`s the Republicans that did this. If you want to say, this famous rich person shouldn`t have taken the money, you`re right. Kanye West shouldn`t. Neither should Reese Witherspoon, one of the highest paid female actresses who owns a fashion label called Draper James.
They took up to a million bucks. Susie Lee is a Democratic congresswoman in Nevada whose husband runs a publicly traded casino company. They took $5 million.
So, yes, a disproportionate amount of Republicans looted this system.
But, Joy, you and I both know this should come as a surprise to no one. Did you actually think that this administration wouldn`t take advantage of a system if they could? But it was both Democrats and Republicans that signed the CARES Act.
The intention of this program was not simply to say, any business with under 500 people, we`re going to cover this for you. The intention was, if your business revenue is down 50 percent or more from where it was last year, if you were shut down or your business was impaired because of COVID, we`re going to cover your payroll and some of your overhead costs, because we want to keep your business afloat, and we don`t want you to lay those employees off.
Now, unfortunately, that was the idea. But when it came to writing this into law, they got rid of that language, because they wanted to get the loans out quickly. They wanted to get the money to people.
But by doing that and getting rid of that language, it became a free-for- all. And you had businesses -- you can take less issue with a wealthy hotel owner, a wealthy restauranteur who took the money, because, in their case, their businesses were shut down.
Where you really should take issue is the hedge funds, the money managers, the insurance -- the venture capital firms, the law firms, who can clearly work from home.
You`ve got companies who received government contracts, OK? A medical device company with $40 million in sales last year, took PPP. A week later got an $80 million contract from the contract to make syringes.
The biggest issue here is businesses that were thriving took the money and they`re pocketing it.
RUHLE: This should be for businesses that are suffering.
REID: Well, absolutely. And this is why people are so skeptical of government, Congresswoman.
I mean, not just these businesses and, you know, people -- people who make Yeezies and sell Yeezies getting the money. Big-time church groups tied to Donald Trump. Paula White-Cain, one of a Florida church associated with her got a bunch of money. The First Baptist in Dallas led by Trump ally Robert Jeffress got money. Everyone is raking in money, friends of Trump, as you said. You know, it is gross.
How did that happen and is this -- do Americans now -- is this revealing the fact that this country is built for the rich, it`s built for the rich to take our money, to get all the money and everybody can just go to hell?
REP. JENNIFER WEXTON (D-VA): Well, I agree with you that this is gross. This was not the intent of the legislation. But remember, this was legislation that was drafted as a compromise between the Senate and the House. And the Senate is held by Republicans, the House by Democrats. We would have loved to have seen a bunch of other things in there that didn`t up in the final legislation, and ultimately, it`s the administration that sets up the guidance by which the money is distributed.
But, obviously, we should have done better to make sure hedge fund owned businesses, publicly traded businesses, that private equity owned businesses were not eligible. And that was the failing, and we should have done better on the front end.
But, you know, I`ve seen it with my constituents. I spent a lot of time on the phone with small business owners in my district, and one gentleman banked at Wells Fargo, called them on Thursday afternoon.
They were supposed to open up the first tranche of PPP loans on Friday. He had everything lined up. They said we`re not going to be ready to go Friday. He called back Monday morning and they had already doled out all their money over the weekend, presumably to concierges and bigger business clients. That is not what was intended.
WEXTON: And, remember, you know, when we did the second tranche, the congressional Democrats insisted on having that $60 billion set aside for community based and minority based lenders to make sure that it actually got out to businesses that needed it most.
REID: Yeah, it`s rough.
RUHLE: But, Joy, something can be done.
RUHLE: Something can be done. Remember, this program, PPP are loans that turn into grants.
RUHLE: The government right now can take a look at all of these loans they just gave out and said, good, boys and girls, you got the money, these business are going to have to repay them if we treat them like low interest loans.
RUHLE: And it`s incumbent on Congress right now to make that next move.
REID: Well, I have exactly the right person to talk to about this.
I want to thank Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and Stephanie Ruhle, thank you both.
And right now, Speaker Pelosi joins us next, and we`re going to ask her about that and how those fixes can be made.
So stay right there.
REID: Welcome back.
And as promised, joining me now is the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Speaker Pelosi, thank you so much for being here. We`re glad that you made it.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: My pleasure. Thank you.
REID: And I don`t -- I don`t know how much of that last block you were able to listen to, but there`s a lot of outrage out there about the fact that the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program --
REID: -- you know, Steve Mnuchin refused to say who got the money.
Now, the information is trickling out.
PELOSI: That`s right.
REID: I don`t know how people got around him.
But, you know, finding out that Kanye West got money. That Jared Kushner`s company got money. That, you know, big-time pastors close to Donald Trump got money.
I know your team put out a statement about your husband being a passive investor in a firm.
PELOSI: That`s true.
REID: How did that happen and how can it be prevented in the next program?
PELOSI: Well, first, let me just say that the issues that we have right now, much of it will be ameliorated in the CARE -- in the HEROES Act, and that`s what we`re pushing for now.
When the -- when the CARES Act, which was again an initiative on the Republican side, on the Senate side, and we weighed in to improve it, we turned it from a corporate down -- trickle-down bill to a bubble-up. Tens of millions of jobs have been saved through the PPP. Millions of loans have been made.
But the premise, it was supposed to be predicated on the idea that your business could not be sustained unless you had this assistance, and you had to attest to that.
We had a hard time getting information from the Treasury, as to who was getting one loan or another. Now we`ve gotten some of it, as you say, trickling out.
But what we saw in the first tranche was very bothersome to us. That`s why Maxine Waters and Nydia Velaz -- Maxine Waters chairs the Financial Services Committee, Nydia Velazquez chairs the Small Business Committee -- insisted that in the next tranche that we would have a set aside $60 billion for low -- well, women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, Native American-owned businesses.
We still aren`t pleased with the results of that. But it took us into a better direction.
Nydia Velazquez, long-time chair or ranking member of the Small Business Committee, has been insistent on us getting the facts, so we can see where this -- all of this is.
And the -- when you ask -- I`ll just go to my husband. He`s -- 20 years ago, investor, small, under 10 percent investor, has nothing to do with running the company, A, or B, knowledge of it asking for a loan.
But if that company could not attest that their sustainability wasn`t -- didn`t necessitate, that they shouldn`t have asked for the loan.
But it`s a hospitality industry. And as you know, the hospitality industry has taken a very big hit in all of this.
REID: Yeah. And -- but --
PELOSI: But these big -- the big -- what I think -- I think it`s interesting to subject every dollar we spent to the most -- the harshest scrutiny.
PELOSI: But there is other big money that Mr. Mnuchin has that we don`t know how he`s allocating it out and the rest of that. That`s where we want transparency, too. Big -- I`m talking about big money.
These -- 80 percent of these loans went to small businesses. There are big businesses that you point out that perhaps -- that should not have gotten this, and they should give it back if they cannot attest to the fact that the jobs would have been lost, their business would not have been sustained without this.
REID: And --
PELOSI: But the bigger chunk of money is still sitting there with Secretary Mnuchin with no accountability at this time, and he promises he`s going to give us the accountability. We`re still waiting.
But as we do the HEROES Act, we can clean some of this up.
PELOSI: There is collateral benefit, there`s no question. We talk about collateral damage happening when some good intentions go awry. There is some collateral benefit, but there -- it shouldn`t be.
And again, if you cannot attest that this is about the sustainability of your business -- and I`ve heard the secretary say that -- so I don`t know why they did not implement that.
PELOSI: But there`s a lot of good that did come out of PPP. I`m not saying it would have been our choice to go down that path, but tens of millions of jobs have been saved and millions of loans have been made.
My problem with it, if you want to know what my problem is that why are the banks making all this money on these loans?
PELOSI: Or they`re grants if you -- if you live up to the standard, the criteria that are set forth.
PELOSI: And that`s why in our second bill, we had Nydia and Max -- madam chair and madam chair -- insisted in their wisdom from their committees that there`d be funding given to community development financial institutions who have knowledge of the community, of small business and underserved communities. So it`s not just big banks giving to their friends because that`s who they know.
PELOSI: But where that money goes and is lent from is as important -- is as important as that consideration. And that has to be part of whatever we do. And we have to hold the Treasury Department accountable for that.
REID: Sure. And I want to play you, you know, Mitch McConnell obviously negotiated with him, can`t be easy because he`s made it clear what his priorities are, judges and --
REID: -- you know, helping the very wealthy. Here he is talking about the House bill that you just talked about that the House is putting together --
REID: -- for the next round.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: And they did come back a couple of days and throw together a $3 trillion unserious package that would have doubled what we`ve already done. I can tell you, confidently, it won`t be $3 trillion. That bill is not going anywhere.
I predict the next effort will be more contentious than the last one. We`re four months closer to the election. There`s a lot more elbowing going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That man`s wife took in a considerable PPP loan for his family. You also have the fact that he and Lindsey Graham and others are refusing to extend or resisting the idea of extending the plussed up unemployment insurance for the regular guy, for the little person that`s unemployed.
Can you negotiate with somebody like him or would the Democratic caucus be better off holding a bill until after the election, depending on how the election goes?
PELOSI: Well, we can`t hold the bill. We`re going to have to insist.
Now, Mitch -- Moscow Mitch is too busy protecting the president from any statements that have been made about the president`s "all roads lead to Putin", Moscow Mitch, there you have it. And he doesn`t like it when I say that, but I`m saying it anyway.
Here`s the thing, on June 30th, state and local governments across the country had to balance their budgets. We developed the HEROES Act, called "heroes" because that`s who they pay -- health care workers, transit workers, teachers, sanitation workers, food suppliers and there`s (ph) -- that`s who they pay.
And that date has gone by, but we hope to make in our bill retroactive so that states -- and think of all the -- there are like a million public employees have been fired because of the coronavirus.
And this money, to the states and the localities, tribes and territories, this money, you go to speaker.gov/heroesact and see any place you may have lived, gone to school, have friends and family, and see how much money goes to them to do two things: offset any expenses they had from the coronavirus and, secondly, make up for lost revenue because of all the shutdowns from the coronavirus.
PELOSI: And then think of this, all that money -- it`s a lot of money -- all that money is one-half of what the Republicans put in their tax scam in 2017, giving 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent. And you know what? Adding $2 trillion to the debt, no stimulus for the economy.
So, let`s understand who -- we`re dealing with him. For him to squawk about $600 when he`s giving $2 trillion away, all that money is -- I think it`s just an excuse. They don`t like unemployment insurance.
So, I said 30th of June.
PELOSI: The 26th of July, the unemployment checks will stop going out.
REID: Right, yeah.
PELOSI: And we have to have this money by then.
So who is he going to take it from? The unemployment checks? The direct payments to people who need help? State and local governments which hire our bureaus --
PELOSI: -- and meet the needs of the people?
PELOSI: Who is he going to take it from so he can give it to the highest top 1 percent -
REID: Indeed, it is --
PELOSI: -- again and again?
REID: It is quite a good question.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we truly appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
PELOSI: Thank you.
REID: Be well.
We`ll be right back.
PELOSI: Thank you.
REID: Well, tomorrow, we expect to get the Supreme Court`s pivotal ruling on whether Donald Trump`s financial records have to been turned over to congressional and New York investigators. This will be one of the blockbuster decisions of their Supreme Court term, setting a critical precedent about the limits of presidential power.
I`ll be back here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern to tell you all about it.
And that does it for me. Do not go anywhere because you know what`s coming next?
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES".
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