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Trump downplays virus TRANSCRIPT: 7/6/20, MTP Daily

Guests: Donna Edwards, Lanhee Chen, Alison Haddock, Jennifer Nuzzo, Levar Stoney, Jessica Gold


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic patients has gone up. I am making 20 phone calls a day to call patients and tell them that their tests were positive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 20 and 30-year-olds though can get infected and end up potentially in ICU, they are more likely to come out of that than folks that are in their 70s and 80s. That`s still the case. We are just seeing more of those young people being hospitalized as compared to a month ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s the tragedy in all of this. That people can make decisions that could decimate entire families whether they realize it or not. Because you might not get infected if you get exposed but how can you be sure that you won`t. You might be healthy and survive it without complications, but you might not. This virus doesn`t care what you believe. It`s not a political issue.


KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: And we begin this hour with voices from medical workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Welcome to Monday. It is MEET THE PRESS DAILY. I`m Katy Tur in for Chuck Todd. Virus cases in this country continue to soar. Hospitalizations are rising and the outlook in many areas, especially the south is worsening.

Meanwhile the president and the White House seem desperate to down play the crisis and focus instead on divisive, cultural and political issues that usually rile up the base. Today the president attacked NASCAR for its decision to ban confederate flags, and he bizarrely suggest that the sports only black driver, Bubba Wallace should apologize for the noose found in his garage. And then he attack Washington D.C. football team and Cleveland`s baseball team for considering changing the names of their franchises.

This comes after the president delivered some divisive July Fourth holiday speeches, that didn`t just fought social distancing guidelines. As one Washington Post headline read, in Trump`s new version of American carnage, the threat is not immigrants or foreign nations, it`s other Americans.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of you are founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Make no mistake this left wing Cultural Revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.

The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets and cities that are run by liberal Democrats in every case is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias and education, journalism and other cultural institutions. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.


TUR: Those weren`t campaign rallies. Those were official White House events over the Fourth of July weekend. And I know we are living in wonky times, but usually there is a difference between a campaign speech and a speech from the White House. At least with different presidents. And this all comes as the country is still reeling from a pandemic that has killed more than 130,000 Americans so far.

Also the president baselessly claimed that 99 percent of the infections are totally harmless. The White House is urging the country to reopen even though more than 20 states right now have paused or began rolling back reopening. But hospitals across the south are racing for even more patients. There is not enough testing in the hardest hits states. And public health officials are warning that the death toll is going to hit disturbing levels if people continue to ignore safety guidelines.

Back with me now from the White House is my NBC news colleague, Carol Lee, also Lee -- also with us is Jonathan Lemire, White House reporter for the Associated Press and an MSNBC political analyst, also Donna Edwards, former Democratic Congresswoman from Maryland, and Lanhee Chen former adviser to Mitt Romney and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.

So, Carol, I want to start with you. Is it -- am I right to say that the message from the White House is the virus is here, let`s just move on?

CAROL LEE, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yep, that`s exactly right, Katy. That was what officials told me and some of my colleagues at NBC, that was going to be the way that the White House started to frame this message -- the message about coronavirus this week. We`ve now -- we are seeing the president do that although he took it to a different level by saying that 99 percent of cases are harmless. That`s not exactly what his aides at how would they describe it.

But the gist of it is --the message is essentially the virus is here, it`s not going anywhere and so we need to figure out how to live with it. That means by that they mean get on with our lives. Keep the economy open and so a part of the message is to really emphasize to the majority of Americans that they are United Nations --- they are likely to survive this virus if they contract it, and they are trying to take the fear out of the Americans contracting the virus.

As I said, the president took that to a level that I think even some of the president`s own allies would not agree with, but we`ve heard from the White House, particularly the press secretary and chief of staff defending the president`s comments and really pointing to the fact that the likelihood that somebody dies from this particularly under 65 years old, who does not have preconditions is relatively low. That`s the message. And I think you are also going to see them point to therapeutics.

They are going to point to some new study that is expected to come out this week in that space and really just all again to make the case that the virus is here. It doesn`t mean we have to stop our lives, we can move forward and layout the sort of blueprint for how to do that.

TUR: There are 130,000 roughly Americans dead. There are warnings from Dr. Fauci that we could see as many as 100,000 cases per day in this country. If you do get the virus and you survive it and it isn`t a mild case, you still might be suffering for weeks on end. God forbid you go to the hospital and you come out with hospital bills.

So, John Lemire, let me ask you this, I mean, the president is acting as if this is just another political hoax that the Democrats or his adversaries are using to try and stop him from winning reelection, as he asks the American public to ignore the evidence right in front of him, the evidence of their eyes once again as he has done so many times in the past?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST, A.P. WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, to underscore the point that you and Carol were making, Katy, I mean, the White House has really is indeed shifted their message a little bit here and they are trying to focus on the mortality rate, suggesting that, yes, that it`s a -- you know, small percentage of people who contract this and die particularly if you are not an elderly person.

But that is as you say grossly over simplifies how terrible this disease is for many people who get it. People who are laid up in the hospitals for weeks or months. Friends of mine who have had it who, you know, months ago, who thankfully turned the corner and are expected -- will survive, but they are still like nowhere near feeling themselves.

And I think that the White House is asking a lot for the American public to take that message. But that`s what they are doing, because the president is so desperate to sort of turn the page on this. To move forward. Just point and blamed China for its origin, but then to say that look, what we need to do now is focus on the reopening the economy and reopening the American society as we know it.

And that is you know, yet another example where he is trying to shift focus, turn to culture wars, to talk -- to go engage in race-baiting which he has done repeatedly in the last few days, and right now in any way, if the polls are to be believed, it`s not working. The American public is not buying it. And we have seen this crisis, the pandemic when combined with the protests in the streets, are testing how the president can handle things and so far the American public doesn`t think it`s working.

TUR: Well, let`s talk about that, because the president had wanted to run on the economy, and the campaign still believes the economy if it turns around as the best bet for re-election, although the concede that the economy is not good right now and the outlook is not great either. Now he`s going as John just said to the cultural wars, today Lanhee, the White House press secretary couldn`t say where the president stood on the confederate flag. The president might have think -- might think that worked for him, these culture wars in 2016. Could it work for him again in 2020? What does the Republican Party want right now?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER ROMNEY ADVISER: Well, look, I think you have seen a number of Republicans today basically try to distance themselves from the president seeming to embrace some of these confederate imagery. You are right, I think the culture wars were an advantage for the president in 2016. I don`t see them playing in the same way, at least in the way that the president is using those culture wars in a 2020 election.

He seems to be appealing to a smaller and smaller constituency when really at this phase of the campaign he needs to be thinking about how to broaden his appeal and particularly with those who live in the suburbs, I can`t imagine this messaging is all that palatable. So, it is interesting, the president is going to a place where he`s comfortable. He`s going to a place where he knows he understands the message, but it`s not clear to me that`s going to be the way he wins this campaign or turns this election around.

TUR: If the president was watching this or one of his supporters was watching, they might say to you, you said the same thing in 2016 and, boy, were you wrong and the polls all said he was going to lose in 2016, and boy, were you wrong. What makes this different, Lanhee?

CHEN: Well, first of all, he has a different opponent. I think Joe Biden is going to be much harder to put in the same box than Hillary Clinton was in 2016. I mean, you have already seen that the sleepy Joe moniker, doesn`t seem to be sticking as much. So, they are having to change course there. So, I think the opponent is one difference.

But the other issue really I think is the degree to which the president is not even seeking to triangulate with this message. I think, in 2016 you will recall, because you covered that campaign, as we got towards the campaign`s end the particularly as we got toward the fall, the president was able to focus in a little bit more on some core messages that we are going to be appealing to a broader segment of the population.

So, not to say he can`t do that now, but at this phase of the campaign, if he continues along this route, continues along this strategy, it is not one that is going to allow him to expand his appeal perhaps in the way he did four years ago.

TUR: Donna, what is the best strategy for Joe Biden right now? I have spoken to some in the campaign who say Joe Biden not being out on the campaign trail has made it really difficult for them to run against Joe Biden the way that they ran against Hillary Clinton, to try and run against him the same way?

FMR REP. DONNA EDWARDS, (D-MD): Well, I mean, I think that Joe Biden is running exactly the campaign that he needs to run right now. He has messages on how he would handle the coronavirus. His messages around race and race relations. His messages around recovering economy and building it for the future, and he has an opponent that continues to fail.

I mean, Donald Trump failures at this point are epic. Only 37 percent of the American public actually believes that he has handled the coronavirus pandemic responsibly. Fewer than 40 percent of Americans believe that he has a strong approval -- that is his disapproval number. I mean, it really is an epic failure on the part of the president.

And now these culture wars that the president is embarking on, he`s running a 1920s campaign and in 2020 it just not going to work. He was a novelty in some ways in 2016 but he`s not a novelty now, and we have come to know him. We`ve come to know him for his racist and inflammatory rhetoric and that was evident over the Fourth of July holiday.

TUR: Carol, is it -- it was in the White House and the campaign, is it still a feeling of let Trump be Trump? Or are those who are trying to get him on some sort of message that isn`t a culture war message, a message of empathy towards Americans who are struggling from the coronavirus, either from the health effects or the economic effects or those who are struggling with racial inequity in this country, what is the feeling from the advisors and the staffers and allies that you have been talking to?

LEE: Well, when you would talk to people around the president early on when there were protests in the street and the country was really in the height of civil unrest, right after George Floyd`s death, they were people trying to get the president to moderate his tone, to embrace police reforms, they were trying to out a policies in front of him and we had from our own reporting that that was very difficult. He would say things like these aren`t my voters, talking about protesters in the streets.

And there was another camp trying to get the president`s ear to say no, go full bore on the culture wars. And now we`ve seen that that was he`s chosen to do. It really suggest however that the president is -- does not want to run on his record. He`s an incumbent this time. That`s different as you were saying that the president`s opponent, Joe Biden, is very different from Hillary Clinton. They really struggle to find him. His favorability`s are far higher than Hillary Clinton`s were. So, you`ve seen a number of people around the president who have been egging him on to embrace this culture war and now he has.

TUR: John, I want to ask you a question because you covered the campaign and you`ve been covering the White House, and I was speaking to someone today who for the first time in many years didn`t feel so bullish on the president`s re-election prospects, and that was the first time that I had heard something like that from somebody so close to the campaign and the president. Are you hearing the confidence that you heard in 2016 or throughout this administration, or have things -- has the tone changed for your conversations?

LEMIRE: It has changed somewhat. Look, to a person involved in the White House and the campaign, they point that there`s still a lot of time left and they are right about that, there is still four months to go. They do believe that things can change whether the economy team is to pick back up. They liked the last two jobs report numbers. You know, that they believe there are twists and turns we can`t possibly foresee going forward.

They also think that Joe Biden, you know, the campaign of him largely being off stage right now is very beneficial to the Democrats and that could change. That at a certain point, maybe it`s not to the fall the former vice president is going to have to be out there more and they feel like that would be good for the Donald Trump. That`s set. There`s no doubt, there`s far more private worry right now that there has been at any time since I have been covering Donald Trump and certainly since he took office.

There is a sense they were comforting themselves, even up until a week or two ago. Though the national polls (inaudible) but the margins to the battleground states weren`t that bad. That the president was down, but only by a few points, and sometimes within the margin of error or just outside it in those states he has to win. The Florida`s, the Wisconsin`s the Pennsylvania`s, we know the list.

However, what happened now in the last 10 days is those margins have grown. That he is down in places like Arizona, by seven or eight points. He`s down in Michigan to the point where some of the campaign are almost willing to write that state off. He`s down in Florida, by five or six a state, but he simply cannot win without.

So, there is concern, there is a sense of a course corrections needed. The debate is now do you go full bore on the culture war, which at least for the last week, the president has done. Or do you try to find some other message, also look for them try desperately to drive up Joe Biden`s negatives, they are going to revive the China attack, but to this point, that has not worked.

TUR: Also as a candidate he is not able to go Pennsylvania and hold a big rally, a state that he needs to win again. He`s not able to go to Michigan to hold a big rally and other state that he needs to win again. He would need the approval from both those Democratic governors and it doesn`t seem like right now they`d be willing to give it, given what`s happening with the pandemic.

Donna, I want to ask you one more question. John was just saying what campaign officials have told him was there is still a lot of time left. There is still a lot of time left. We are in July and the election is in November. What do you foresee -- what are the challenges that you foresee for Joe Biden as we head towards November?

EDWARDS: Well, I mean, look, I don`t think that the Biden camp and certainly not Democrats should take anything for granted. We saw what happened in 2016. And I think it`s going to be really important to continue to galvanize voters to keep them energized coming out of 2018 and coming out of the primary season to make sure that they show up to vote.

I think it`s actually going to be important for Democrats to pay attention to what`s happening at polling places, what is happening with systems like mail-in ballots to make sure that every voter that wants to vote can cast their ballot in a way that they want to. And I think for Joe Biden, not to let up on Donald Trump, to continue to try as were as possible to step up attacks on him for his handling of the coronavirus, to step up attacks on him on his dealing with race relations, and a broad swath of the American public believes that Biden has the upper hand.

And to lay out an agenda for the future that is not built on dividing the American public against one another. And I think that Joe Biden is demonstrating that kind of character and he`s got to get out of the box. And we know that that`s going to happen over the next four months.

TUR: Donna Edwards, Lanhee Chen, Jonathan Lemire and Carol Lee, and everyone thank you for starting us off this hour.

Coming up ahead, new coronavirus questions and concerns. Could it be more contagious than we initially thought? And could it be more airborne than we initially thought? We have a couple experts to answer those questions, next.

And later, a monumental clash as American recons with its past and its present racism. Places like Richmond, Virginia are taking down confederates statues while President Trump is vowing to protect them.


TUR: Welcome back. At least 35 states are seeing increases in their daily coronavirus cases. At least 18 saw record cases or record hospitalizations over the holiday weekend. And governors in many of those states are pausing or reversing plans to reopen. One of the new epicenters is Texas.

Moments ago that state reported that nearly 8,700 people are now hospitalized, a new record, that is more than double what it was just two weeks ago. Officials in two of the state`s largest cities, Austin and Houston are warning their hospitals could be overwhelmed within weeks or even days. This as more than 200 scientists from dozens of other countries urge the World Health Organization to recognize the virus as airborne. Meaning smaller particles could be infectious and they can linger longer in the air.

I am joined now by Houston-based emergency room physician, Dr. Alison Haddock, and Jennifer Nuzzo, epidemiologist and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center Health Security. Ladies, thank you very for being here. Doctor Haddock, first to you. The case numbers in Texas are continuing to rise or breaking records nearly by the day. Is the governor there doing enough to stop the spread and flatten this curve?

DR. ALISON HADDOCK, HOUSTON-BASED EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: I was really glad to see the mandatory mask order that went into place last week and I think that`s an important step towards making sure that we are flattening the curve. The county judge in Harris County where Houston is located, Judge Hidalgo has also mandated or at least suggested that everyone should avoid nonessential activities. We all got a text message on our phone basically saying to avoid going out as much as we can. It`s a good first step, but I think especially if the disease is spreading via aerosol, we are going to need more to really stem this.

TUR: Abbott has not limited the number of indoor gatherings or limited the size of indoor gatherings beyond just 50 percent capacity. Is that enough?

HADDOCK: I`m concerned about restaurant in particular. A lot of my favorite restaurants in the area are seeing COVID cases in their employees and I think, you know, we know that masks protect those who are around the person wearing the masks, not the necessarily the person wearing the masks unless those are higher qualities n95 masks. And so restaurant workers might be wearing masks, but if diners in the restaurants are not wearing the masks then they can exposing the restaurant workers. So, they are a group that I am particularly concerned about right now.

TUR: Doctor Nuzzo, let`s talk about whether this virus is airborne. There are a number of countries that I said a moment ago that are urging the WHO to classify it as airborne. What do we know right now?

JENNIFER NUZZO, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Yes, I don`t think there`s anything really new, so much as there`s -- what you are hearing is really a debate about words and how we think about this virus. I mean, what essentially they are saying is that people who are next to each other and talking or singing and doing some kind of activities may be able to produce finer particles of the virus that may stay in the air longer than droplets which tend to fall to the ground.

That`s actually the average person that doesn`t really change much. The idea of being in close contact with somebody particular in indoor environments and having sort of extended contacts is risky nonetheless. I don`t really think that we have learned anything new about the virus. I think we are just we are looking for some clarity about how we talk about, what kinds of transmissions occurs.

Some people I think are raising whether we need different kinds of personal protective equipment to respond to this. But you know, at the part of the clinical folks who you know, make this decisions in hospitals and you know, I think there`s some debate in clinical environments as to whether the higher quality masks that may protect people are truly needed. We haven`t heard that that`s the case for most people. It really doesn`t tackle the epidemiology of this.

TUR: I`m so sorry to interrupt you. The delays can be excruciating on our end. I apologize. I want to ask you specifically about -- not just that transmissibility but the symptoms. And how do you know when somebody might be carrying this virus? There has been a study that`s come out about autopsies of the coronavirus victims, showing that it`s not just a virus that attacks the lungs, it`s a vascular virus, meaning that it attacks the blood vessels and it can affect blood clotting. What does that mean for those who might be -- might have signs and symptoms of this disease and how hard it is to differentiate between those who are just sick or achy or sore or might have a heart condition, and those who might be struggling with COVID?

NUZZO: Right, so for most people when you think about symptoms it`s still the kind of cold symptoms that we talk about, the sore throat and other things. But what you are referring to is in clinical environments we are learning that this virus can cause a spectrum of illness that manifest in different ways in different patients. And so when I hear comments about, you know, most people who get this don`t die, that may be true but it also kind of glosses over the fact that some people do get quite ill from this virus regardless and it can have long-term consequences. Bottom line for people, that if you are concerned you should absolutely speak to a health care professional. We can`t really know if you have this virus until you get tested and that`s why expanded access to testing is absolutely so important.

TUR: And just because you don`t have those classic symptoms like a fever or a cough, it doesn`t that mean you do not have the virus. Doctor Haddock, last one to you. You are in Houston. Two weeks ago the caseload wasn`t as high as it is now. What are your expectations for what it`s going to look like in hospitals two weeks from now?

HADDOCK: I am pretty worried about what our hospitals are going to look like, particularly our intensive care units. One thing that we know about COVID patients is they don`t tend to be patients who in the ICU for just one day or two days. They might be in the ICU for 10 days, 14 days, three weeks, and that`s not altogether unusual. So, we`re going to still have this influx of patients that we have been seeing over the past few weeks in our hospitals as we are continuing to see new patients.

So it`s really going to be important for all of our hospitals to be working together and doing what we can to increase capacity not only in terms of beds but also in terms of nurses and doctors and everyone else, environmental services workers, all the humans that we need to take care of those patients and beds.

TUR: Dr. Haddock, one more question about testing. What we saw in Los Angeles today was that there was a giant testing site that was shut down for the holiday. Los Angeles is having a hard time giving everybody who wants a test. We talked to somebody at Arizona last hour, who told us that in Arizona it could take many days, multiple days, to get the results of testing, which has made it very difficult to contact trace if they were even going to be able to successfully do it in the first place.


TUR: The testing situation in Houston right now, where is it?

HADDOCK: You know, we have seen a lot of improvements in our testing since this outbreak first started in March. But I still feel like we are not where I would like us to be in terms of testing. I think testing should be extremely widely available for our patients in all situations.

And one challenge that we have, particularly in Houston because we have an expanded Medicaid, is that we have a high population of the uninsured. About 20 percent of our population is uninsured. That means they might have greater difficulty accessing testing. They don`t have a primary care doctor. They don`t have other locations to go.

So, I think we need to continue to ramp up that testing to make sure that we are capturing everyone who has the coronavirus in this area.

TUR: Is the testing -- are you getting results fast enough?

HADDOCK: It depends on which location is doing the testing. There are a lot of places that have faster results now than we did in March but there are still places that have a multiday turnaround time in our area.

TUR: Dr. Alison Haddock, thank you very much. Jennifer Nuzzo, thank you as well. And ahead, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia on removing reminders of the confederacy from his city, also his response to the culture clash that President Trump is waging.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. The American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them.


TUR: Welcome back. President Trump issued that warning Friday night in front of Mt. Rushmore as cities and states across the country re-examine confederate statues and monuments placed in their communities. That includes Richmond, Virginia, the one-time capital of the confederacy which took down the statue of Stonewall Jackson two days before the president`s speech.

With me now is the mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney. Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for being here. The president described angry mobs tearing down the statues. Is that how you describe the movement?

MAYOR LEVAR STONEY, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA: That`s not how I would describe it. You know, we took down a few statues this past week. July 1, we had the opportunity to start taking control of our destiny and what we want to do with the monuments, statues of confederacy. And on July 1, I invoke my emergency powers because we are in a state of emergency at the moment and out of abundance of caution and also a matter of public safety.

I started removing monuments here in the city of Richmond, and we will complete that task next week. But also, I would say this. It is past time that we remove those monuments. These are symbols of oppression and hate. And for the president to classify this as the culture of America and the culture of my city, I think he`s absolutely wrong.

I wouldn`t expect anything less from the divider in chief in a time when he should be bringing our country together because we are at our most vulnerable. He once again has gone back to that playbook to divide, divide, and divide.

TUR: The president is making this a partisan issue. Are you finding it to be a partisan issue among the people in your city?

STONEY: No, not at all. This actually is a unifying issue here in the city of Richmond. We are no longer to see where we were 100 plus years ago. We were -- when we are done with all this and we complete the removal of these monuments this week, we will officially be the former capital of the confederacy.

Now, we can embrace our role as the capital of compassion and the capital of equity. We can design the future that we choose to. I know that I speak for a number of Richmonders that it`s time for us to move forth past a lost cause and embrace the righteous cause.

TUR: What about the statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee? What is happening with that?

STONEY: Well, the Robert E. Lee status is owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia. At least that`s what we believe. And currently, there`s an injunction in place that halts the removal. And so we are still waiting for the courts to do their part to ensure that the governor can make the move and remove the Robert E. Lee statue.

It is obviously the granddaddy of them all. It`s six-story high. It is certainly a statue that was definitely erected to put black and brown people in their place. It is definitely a show of intimidation.

TUR: There`s another issue that is getting attention and that is the name of Washington`s football team. Governor Northam of Virginia has said that he thinks they should change that name. They play in Virginia. They got a practice facility in Richmond. Where do you fall on that issue?

STONEY: I absolutely agree with the governor. I think it`s a time for the Washington football team to change their name. It is offensive. But I am not the only one who shares that. You look at FedEx and a number of merchandisers as well. They share the same belief that it is time for us to move on.

I am glad to see that NFL finally step up after some missteps and some shortcomings around Colin Kaepernick and his silent peaceful protest. If the NFL is the head of the Washington football team, it`s time for the Washington football team to catch up.

TUR: What do you make of the president trying to get involved in this and saying they shouldn`t change their name? Who is the president trying to persuade or -- not that. Who is he speaking to when he says that?

STONEY: You know, I think there are some people who will still hold on to these beliefs, who don`t understand what tolerance means sometimes. I think that`s what he`s speaking to in terms of this election. But I don`t think it can be a winning strategy. You can`t win the presidency just by dividing people.

This is a time to bring people together. And we are at our most vulnerable. We have a pandemic. We have economic downturn. We have social unrest in our streets.

You would think that the president of the United States, the commander-in- chief would hear the outcry from the peaceful protesters who walked and marched in a number of cities like mine across this country, and instead it has landed on deaf ears.

It is my hope that come this November, we will have a president who listens and actually move us forward in a progressive way.

TUR: So interestingly, Mississippi is changing its flag. There are a number of Republican lawmakers who are in agreement about some of the confederate symbolism. There are Republican lawmakers who agree that changing the names of a number of military bases would be a good idea.

There is a sustained urgency or at least we have seen a few weeks or couple months of sustained urgency around this issue. Do you think it is something that is going to maintain that momentum, that sense of urgency through the summer and into the fall up to the election?

STONEY: I do believe so. I think we are at critical flash point in America`s history. And, you know, I think Richmond is at the center of that. You know, I look at the removal of our monuments and that`s a great first step.

But I think leaders like myself and all across this country, we have to take the extra mile to ensure that not only do we remove the monuments but we also remove the systemic racism that we find in our structures throughout this country, whether it is in our government, in our legal system, our criminal justice system, our health care system.

I have always said the removal of monuments, the removal of the confederate flag. It is like the Berlin Wall fall. When the Berlin Wall fell, so is the system fell, as well. Now, we have to do our part, working alongside our communities to ensure that systemic racism falls, as well.

TUR: Mayor Levar Stoney, thank you so much for coming on today and lending us some of your insight. We appreciate it, sir.

STONEY: Thank you, Katy.

TUR: And this weekend, Formula 1 returned to the track after a three-month pandemic hiatus. Before the start of the Austrian Grand Prix, 14 of the 20 drivers took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter. The only black Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton, led the demonstration. While not everybody chose to kneel, all drivers wore t-shirts that read "end racism."

Still ahead, how the confluence of the pandemic, the economic downturn, and racial injustice are intensifying mental health crisis in America. We will be right back.


TUR: Welcome back. It was a violent holiday weekend in cities across the country. We got some pretty grim numbers to report. In Chicago, 17 people are dead and 72 others are injured after a spate of shootings. A 7-year-old is among the dead, one of multiple children who were shot.

In New York City, the NYPD recorded 44 shooting incidents with 63 victims in a barrage of weekend violence. Shootings there have doubled every week for the last three weeks.

And in Philadelphia, 17 shootings took the lives of seven people and left 21 others hurt. Detroit, Memphis, Cleveland, Indianapolis all had multiple shootings this weekend, as well. In Washington, D.C., an 11-year-old boy was killed. He was the son of a violence interrupter who had helped his mother earlier in the day at an anti-violence event.

In Atlanta, 26 people were killed between Friday and Sunday, among them 8- year-old Secoriea Turner. She was shot and killed near the Wendy`s where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police officers just a few weeks ago. Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is pleading for the violence to end.


MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Enough is enough. We`re fighting the enemy within, when we are shooting each other up on our streets in the city. You shot and killed a baby. And it wasn`t one shooter. There were at least two shooters.

An 8-year-old baby. You can`t blame this on a police officer. You can`t say that we -- this is about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby in the car. We got to stop this.


TUR: Geez. Atlanta`s mayor will talk with Joey Reid about this weekend`s crisis of violence and the coronavirus. That is coming up at 6:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC. We`ll be right back.



MEAGAN EBY, NURSE: I don`t think as nurses, you`re less immune to being scared and terrified of it like the general population. So, yeah, we`re all scared. We are all just trying to do our part.

MELODY NUNGARAY-ORTIZ, NURSE: You can only traumatize a person so much. Emotionally, you can only give them so much a burden before people break. Every day that we`re here, the person ends up crying. We`re humans. We feel these things. We feel the exhaustion. We feel the stress. And it`s getting bad.


TUR: Welcome back. Health care workers have spoken out about the heavy mental toll of caring for COVID patients. And while they are seeing the effects of the virus up close, many people from COVID patients to those just stuck at home are experiencing the mental health impacts of living in a pandemic.

Joining me now to talk about this is Dr. Jessica Gold. She is a practicing psychiatrist and an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis at the St. Louis School of Medicine. Thank you so much for being here.

This is affecting a lot of people from all different walks of life who are at home or going to work or on the frontlines. You name it. What do you say to people who are struggling mentally right now?

JESSICA GOLD, PSYCHIATRIST: Yeah. If you just watched that video, it`s hard not to feel for everybody that is going through this. I think that you see it exactly.

What they say is their feelings are normal, that there are no wrong feelings, that this is a really hard thing for everyone, that anything you can possibly be feeling, from sadness to anger, from anxiety to fear is normal. If you feel it, you are entitled to that feeling.

TUR: There are those that are feeling it more intensely than others, and there have been reports of suicides going up. How do loved ones recognize the signs of somebody who might be having a very difficult time dealing with all the uncertainty around us?

GOLD: Yeah. I mean, I think there are definitely feels of worsening of health issues (ph). They should (ph) pay attention to (INAUDIBLE) and eating. Are people eating and socializing? Are they hibernating (ph)? Are they interacting? I feel (ph) like they were. I think it is hard to say that in a pandemic because there are definitely ways that our lives have substantially changed.

But it is easier to see that somebody is interacting with you in the same way that they were. Are they still wanting to be around you and your family? Are they still wanting to do things at work that they were?

I think the longer that goes on, if it`s more than a day, maybe that`s OK. If it is more than a day, that might be more worrisome. And the longer and longer that goes, then you might want to speak (INAUDIBLE) always available. I think that is the thing that we always have (ph) to say and always be aware of.

TUR: Is there something that we can do in our everyday lives to make ourselves feel better? I mean, is it as simple as going outside for a walk?

GOLD: Yeah, you know, I think being outside is great. Exercise is great. I mean, wear a mask. I`m going to say that right now. You saw those health care workers. Part of the reason why they`re so distraught is a lot of this is preventable. If we had worn a mask, maybe our rate in Arizona wouldn`t be so high.

It`s really hard to go through what they`re going through. I think, you know, wear a mask, go outside, spend time socially distancing with friends and family. We can still do that. It is possible to still do things that you enjoy. It is possible to still do coping things that give you pleasure without, you know, just being inside all day.

TUR: While it does and can affect everybody to some degree, there are some segments of our population that are experiencing the mental health issues of this a little more acutely than others.

And studies have shown that on the younger side, the people who might not react as poorly to contracting the disease are reacting worse to the mental health implications.

Eighteen to 29-year-olds are feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression because they aren`t able to see their friends, they can`t see their families, or they`re worried about infecting their parents or their grandparents.

GOLD: You know, I think the younger population gets a bad rap. We tend to blame them for a lot of things. We tend to say, look, they`re just out enjoying themselves because the bars are open (INAUDIBLE) and they`re just selfish.

But, really, if bars are open and they`re sad, what do you expect? I think that they are just trying to do things to feel better. It doesn`t surprise me that they`re doing that. That`s the population that I see.

I think that it makes sense to me that they`re looking for ways to see their friends and socialize and be around each other. We know social media is really helpful. That is a good way to reach out. We`re lucky that we have that. We`re lucky that we have video chat.

TUR: One of the positive effects of social media. Dr. Jessica Gold --

GOLD: Thank you.

TUR: -- thanks so much for spotlighting this with us today. We appreciate it. And if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there are free resources available at the National Suicide Prevention lifeline. That number is 1800-273-8255.

That is all for tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. MSNBC`s coverage continues now with Joy Reid in the moment. And Joy will have the Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who just moments ago tweeted that COVID-19 has hit home for her. She just tested positive. She joins Joy right after this break. Don`t go anywhere.