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George Floyd's death TRANSCRIPT: 6/4/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Muriel Bowser

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": Yes, that I think is the question, where you set that level particularly at a moment we`re about to go through some really brutal austerity, unfortunately, unless things change in cities and states across the country.

Redditt Hudson, it`s always great to hear your very particular insight. Thank you very much, sir.

REDDITT HUDSON: Good to see you again.

HAYES: That is "ALL IN" this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

This is what the nation`s capital looked like today. The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King towering over protests against the police killing of George Floyd. Look at that shot. It`s incredible.

It was more than 90 degrees in Washington, D.C. today, and humid. One reporter for "USA Today" said they saw people being treated for heat stroke on the walk from the White House over to the MLK Memorial. But even in those conditions, there were tons of people there anyway to protest.

People got on one knee while the names of African Americans who died in police custody were read over the loudspeaker. Today marks the tenth day of the nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd, by police in Minneapolis. Today, the police officers who were there, while he died, were arraigned in court.

Yes, huge crowds are still coming out in the major American cities, in Philly, today, in Los Angeles, in Austin, in Houston, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today, there was a huge die-in, which is very eerie and powerful way to protest.

But it wasn`t only good-sized cities today. It was all over. Look, this was Mountain Brook, Alabama, today. And more than 500 people turned out in mountain brook, Alabama today, to protest George Floyd`s killing. Mountain Brook, Alabama, is a town that is 90 percent white.

This was Grand Forks, North Dakota, today. A group of protesters, again, more than 500 people deep, chanting George Floyd`s name on their march to the courthouse in Grand Forks. This was St. Petersburg, Florida, today, about 100 people on their, lying on their stomachs in the position in which George Floyd was killed, and they`re chanting "I can`t breathe, I can`t breathe".

This was Merrick, New York, today in the suburbs of New York City. The sound track you`re hearing is car horns honking in pour as the protests in Merrick passes the local train station there.

In the nation`s largest city, in New York City, today, thousands of people held a memorial for George Floyd in a park in Brooklyn, and there`s one amazing moment that you should see.

George Floyd`s brother Terence got up to speak to the crowd, and as he came up to the lectern, he took a few moments to compose himself, breathing heavily, taking in the size of the crowd, seemed a little bit overwhelmed. And the crowd was quiet for a long time, but then somebody said, we got you, and somebody else said we love you, and then this surged up from the rear of the crowd. Like this roar, this crowd of thousands of people chanting to him, you are not alone.

After the memorial and the vigil there, they marched into Brooklyn. From Brooklyn, across the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan.

So we`re going to keep our eyes on New York this evening, America`s largest cities, in its third night of curfew. We`re keeping particular focus right now on the Bronx where we`re hearing reports right now that the police have been aggressive in this early evening, they have been making arrests among a group of peaceful protests, again, that is a scene that we are watching right now in the Bronx, we`re going to keep you updated as the situation develops there.

We are also seeing large crowds coast to coast tonight. I think we`ve got a live shot here of Seattle on the left, that`s Atlanta on the right. But for most of the day today, our eyes have been on Minneapolis, where George Floyd died. Today was the memorial service for him held in the city where he was killed by police.

In terms of the scene at the memorial, there were stickers on the ground, outside the service, marking out areas for people to stand, urging everybody who came out to practice social distancing. But the crowd was just packed. Thousands of people in the streets, people in mourning. They knelt when his hearse drove by, when his casket arrived at the memorial, Minneapolis`s police chief and police sergeant also knelt on the ground and bowed their heads. It`s a remarkable scene today outside George Floyd`s memorial in Minneapolis.

But inside, what happened during the service just knocked the wind out of you. Reverend Al Sharpton, had the honor of delivering the George Floyd eulogy, at the memorial this afternoon. And I don`t know if you had the chance it see this today. I know everybody`s daily schedules are still strange between working from home, or potentially being out at protests, or Zooming with your boss, or trying to teach your kids algebra that you don`t quite remember.

So I don`t know, you may have seen like a clip of this on Twitter, you may have caught a highlight on the 6:00 news, but you should see it for what it was in total. So I`m going to play a -- basically, I`m going to play the eulogy for you. I want to warn you there was some instance of some difficult language, but we would not be playing this for you tonight if we didn`t think this was worth watching.

Just take a minute. Pause what else you are doing. Just watch this.


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Let me ask those of you that, in the traditions of eulogies, need a scriptural reference, go to Ecclesiastes third chapter, first verse, says to everything there is a time, and a purpose, and season, under the heavens.

I`m going to leave it there. I saw somebody standing in front of a church the other day, that had been boarded up, as a result of violence. Held the bible in his hand. I`ve been preaching since I was a little boy. I`ve never seen anyone hold the bible like that, but I leave that alone.

But since he held the bible, if he`s watching us today, I would like him to open that bible, and I`d like him to read Ecclesiastes 3. To every season, there`s a time and a purpose.

And I think that it is our job to let the world know when we see what is going on in the streets of this country, and in Europe, around the world, that you need to know what time it is.

First of all, we cannot use bibles as a prop. And for those that have agendas that are not about justice, this family will not let you use George as a prop.

George Floyd`s story has been the story of black folks, because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being, is you kept your knee on our neck.

We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We could run corporations, and not hustle in the street, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do, but we couldn`t get your knee off our neck.

What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services, and in every area of American life. It`s time for us to stand up in George`s name and say, get your knee off our necks.

The reason why we`re marching all over the world is we would were like George, we couldn`t breathe, not because it was something wrong with our lungs, but that you wouldn`t take your knee off our neck. We don`t want no favors. Just get up off of us. And we can be, and do whatever we can be.

But I`m more hopeful today than ever. Why? Well, we`ll go back, Reverend Jackson always taught, stay on your text. Go back to the text of Ecclesiastes, there is a time and a season.

And when I looked this time, and saw marchers were in some cases young whites, outnumbered the blacks marching, I know that is a different time, and a different season. When I looked and saw people in Germany marching for George Floyd, it`s a different time and a different season. When they went in front of the parliament in London, England, and said it`s a different time and a different season, I`ve come to tell you, America, this is the time of dealing with accountability in the criminal justice system.

Steven, here`s the goal. I want to march. Now, I remember, young white lady, looked me right in the face, and said, nigger, go home. But when I was here last Thursday, and I was headed back to the airport, I stopped near the police station, and as I was talking to a reporter, a young white girl, she didn`t look no older than 11 years old, she tagged my suit jacket and I looked around and I braced myself, and she looked at me said, and said, no justice, no peace.

It`s a different time. It`s a different season.

And if my bible-carrying guy in front of that boarded up church, if I got him to open up the bible, I want you to remember something, you know I was late last October, to an appointment, because the time changed. And I was still, my watch was on the wrong time. And there was a year that time goes forward and if you don`t move your watch, you`re going to find yourself an hour late, not because your watch was wrong, but you had your watch on the wrong time.

Well, I come to tell you that sitting in Washington, talking about militarizing your country, thinking that you can sell Wolf tickets to people who`s had enough of abuse, I come to tell you, you can get on the TV, but you are on the wrong time.

Time is out for not holding you accountable. Time is out for you making excuses. Time is out for you trying to stall. Time is out for empty words and empty promises. Time is out for you filibustering and trying to stall the arm of justice.

This is the time. We won`t stop. We will keep going until we change the whole system of justice.

Our organizations have called this a day of mourning. NAACP, the National Urban League, Legal Defense Fund, Black Women`s Roundtable, Lawyers` Committee, all got together, said we will have a day of mourning.

But then, we are going to come out of this day of mourning, because that, experts, Sherrilyn Ifill and others that know the legal field, they`ve outlined a legal process that we must enforce, everything from residency, to dealing with police background, and not being hit. We talked to Governor Andrew Cuomo today in New York, he says we got to change 58 with the background stop of policemen, we need to find when they stop you, they can find out everything you ever did. Why don`t we know when policemen have a pattern?

We got to go back to consent decrees. Under the Obama administration, they had put certain cities with patterns and practice under consistent decrees. With Jamal Brown, in Baltimore, that they put it under constant decree, one of the first thing that happened in the next administration was they stopped the consent decrees. We have specific policies that need to happen.

Therefore, I`m glad Martin III is here today, because on August 28, the 57th anniversary of the march on Washington, we are going to back to Washington, Martin. That`s where your father stood in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial. And said I have a dream.

Well, we`re going to back this August 28th, to restore and recommit that that dream, to stand up, because just like in one era, we had to fight slavery, another era, we had to fight Jim Crow, another era, we dealt with voting rights, this is the era to deal with policing and criminal justice, we need to go back to Washington, and stand up, black, white, Latino, Arab, in the shadows of Lincoln and tell them, this is the time to stop this.

We, Martin and I talked about this, getting the faith leaders together, Randy White, about the labor leaders, oh, no, we`re going to organize in the next couple of months, in every region. Not only for a march but for due process and it will be led by the Floyd family. And it`s going to be led by the Garner family. And it`s going to be led by those families that have suffered this, and knows the pain, and knows what it is, to be neglected.

And it is going to be getting us ready to vote, not just for who is going to be in the White House, but the state house, and the city councils, that allow these policing measures to go unquestioned. We are going to change the time. I know that years ago, we told, Reverend Jackson told us, keep hope alive. And I know that President Obama wrote a book about hope.

But I want you to know that in my life, there`s times that I lost hope. Things can happen like this that will dash your hope. But as something that is sister to hope, called faith, faith is the substance of things, hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

Faith is when you got a pile of bills and no money. But you say he will provide all of my needs. Faith is when you got no medicine in the cabinet, and you`re sick in your body but you say he`s a doctor that never lost a patient. And he`ll dry tears from my eyes.

Faith is when your friends walk out, when your loved ones turn their back, but you say I don`t believe he brought me this far to leave me now. We didn`t come this far by luck. We didn`t come this far by some faith. We come this far by faith. Leaning on the Lord, trusting in his holy word, he never, he never, he never failed me yet, from the out house to the White House, we come a long way, God will, God shall, God will, God always has, he`ll make a way for his children.

Go on home, George. Get your rest, George. You changed the world, George.

We`re going to keep marching, George. We`re going to keep fighting, George. We don`t turn the clock, George. We`re going forward, George. Time out, time out, time out.


MADDOW: You changed the world, George. A different time. A different season.

The Reverend Al Sharpton delivering a eulogy for the ages today, at the memorial service today in Minneapolis, for George Floyd.

At the end of that eulogy, what happened in that memorial is that Reverend Sharpton asked people to stand in silence, in very painful, very tearful silence, for eight minutes and 46 seconds for the length of time that the officer who has now been arrested for George Floyd`s murder had his knee on Mr. Floyd`s neck as he died.

That was what happened inside the service.

Two miles away from today`s memorial service, in Minneapolis, was another gathering at the actual intersection, the actual site where George Floyd died. The audio of today`s service and Reverend Al`s eulogy was piped in over speakers so protesters and mourners could listen in live.

That memorial service today was the first of what will be a series of events honoring George Floyd, including one in North Carolina, on Saturday, where he was born, another one a public viewing in Houston, Texas, which is where he grew up, and then there will be a private funeral the following day, we believe that former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend that.

Meanwhile, tonight, the tenth night of protests continue in cities all across the country. No sign of any of this stopping any time soon. Of course not. Why would it?



GARRETT HAAKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDETN: Today, you can see another significant federal law enforcement presence here, and what`s really been kind of a stunning militarization of city streets in Washington, D.C. These officers are federal law enforcement of some variety. I would love to tell you more but they`re not wearing any identifying badges, and insignias and nameplates. They won`t tell me where they`re from or who they`re with.


MADDOW: When other country does this, in other overseas invasions that they don`t want to call invasions, we call these little green men. People who are in military or paramilitary garb and serving that function, but nobody owns them. Nobody says who they are. Nobody admits who they are.

The protests against the killing of George Floyd have continued for another day, for a seventh straight day in D.C. It`s not just the D.C. National Guard that`s been patrolling the streets and D.C. cops. It`s not even just the National Guard troops from ten other states that aren`t dc that the White House flew in.

There is also this strange other force on the streets. Law enforcement officers maybe, at least it seems like they`re law enforcement officers. Wearing no identifying insignia for any law enforcement agency, no name badges, and in many case, even when they`re asked by protesters or the press, they will not say who they are or who pays them.

Take these guys in helmets and tactical vests, a reporter asked who they were with, they would say only the Department of Justice, which is not really an answer. It`s not like there is a generic department of justice police force that explains that.

Another reporter asked this group of gentlemen, in riot gear, if they were with the Bureau of Prisons, which is one of the federal agencies that has deployed some officers in Washington. They responded to that question with one word. Quote. Maybe.

Maybe we`re with the Bureau of Prisons. That`s cute.

I mean, how do we know that these people are who they say they are at all? If they`ll say anything at all. We just take their word for it that they`re with the Department of Justice or maybe the Bureau of Prisons?

And why are these guys wearing no badges, nameplates, no insignias? How does that help them in what they`re doing in the streets? I mean, there is a reason a police officer who has the power to stop you, detain you, use physical force against you, there is a reason that a police officer has a badge number and name in plain sight.

The only reason an officer would take those identifying markings off is to avoid accountability for what they`re doing, right? If they do anything wrong, it makes it a deniable offense, not just by them personally, if you can pick them out of a lineup, but also by anybody who might potentially be held accountable for having ordered that offensive or injurious or illegal action against you.

If these are just randomly unidentifiable people with no names, and no agencies associated with them, what do you do if they violate your right or hurt you? How do you know who did it? How do you know who issued their orders?

But the other and honestly darker prospect here, even darker than apparently federal law enforcement, being deployed in this fashion, against Americans in American streets, even darker prospect here is this. I mean, who is to say these guys are law enforcement?

What`s to distinguish these unidentified supposedly federal forces from random self motivated guys with guns who wants to come down to these protests and play civil war as private citizens, or just hang out in D.C. with their military style weaponry and their off the shelf tactical gear? I mean, especially in the middle of a big rowdy protest, how are you going to tell the difference between unidentified, unnamed badged federal officers and say this guy, who showed up at a protest in Coeur d`Alene, Idaho, today, with a gun bigger than him and two more strapped to his back and his side.

Or how about this guy who decided to have heavily armed traffic control at a protest in Casper, Wyoming. Just his own say-so, just an average guy with a gun stopping you in the street.

Or how about these rambos who showed up at a rally in New Mexico, in their words, to, quote, protect people. I mean, one of these guys shoot you, we`re supposed to fall back on well, hey, maybe he was a cop? Maybe he was a soldier? Maybe he was but who knows maybe he was some random self motivated P.E. teacher with a Reddit account and a big weird gun collection, just submit to their authority, try not to get shot by them, and if you do?

I mean, this week, one public official in an absolutely uniquely difficult position to deal with this kind of bizarre mystery use of force and show of force against American civilians is the mayor of our nation`s capital, who has had to contend with large protests, lots of mayors have. But she`s also, on top of that, had to contend with a growing and increasingly inexplicable federal security presence in her city streets while also being the target herself of White House vitriol.

Joining us now is the mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser.

Madam Mayor, thank you so much for making time tonight. I know you have a million things on your plate.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. I appreciate it.

MADDOW: Let me ask you about what I just described in terms of the federal forces in the streets of D.C. and what strikes me as strange and worrying about them. I have to ask if you have a different perspective on them, if you and your team in D.C. city government have more of a sense of who these armed men are, and why they`re not wearing any identifying information?

BOWSER: No, we have the same reaction as you do. And many Americans might wonder how it is that this could be happening in America.

And when you look at the nation`s capital, know we are very unique. We are the nation`s capital, a federal district and not a state. We`re 700,000 people that pay taxes. Yet we don`t have two senators or full autonomy.

And so, because of our lack of statehood, the federal government can encroach on -- on our city streets in the name of protecting federal assets. And so, that`s -- that`s what`s been done here. I think it`s unprecedented that states troopers from other states have been brought into the district, and these unnamed other federal police officers.

And you make a very good point. We know some of the agencies who are here, we don`t know why they don`t have any identifying marks, and none of them should be armed.

MADDOW: Do you know what the command structure is? There has been open source reporting and William Barr, the attorney general, commented on it a little bit at his press conference at the Department of Justice, saying that the president had asked him to be in charge of these sort of policing and/or paramilitary forces, including some of them that he fully admitted were outside the Justice Department and outside any of the subsequent -- any of its subsidiary agencies.

Do you know what the command structure is in terms of who these forces answer to?

BOWSER: Well, I think that there is -- there may be some confusion among the federal agencies. We think that Attorney General Barr has been designated by the president to -- to be the leader of the federal forces in Washington. But let me also be clear, we -- I don`t want them to be confused with our police department, the Metropolitan Police Department, 4,000 strong, that reports to Chief Newsham, who reports directly to me.

So, we are policing our city streets. The feds are focused on their federal assets, except they grow and they have grown. And they`re moving around in these ominous outfits, and vehicles, including helicopters and Humvees.

MADDOW: I know that tonight is your first night in several days without a curfew in place in D.C.


MADDOW: Madam Mayor, can you just tell us -- you`ve been through so much in your tenure as mayor, and you know the history of D.C. I know you`re the fourth or fifth generation D.C. yourself in terms of your family.


MADDOW: How serious do you think the crisis is right now in Washington? Both in terms of the protest, but in terms of the response to them and the way the federal government is treating your city right now. How different - - how much more serious is this than the kinds of things that D.C. is used to having to cope with?

BOWSER: Well, we have to suffer the indignity of not having two senators every day in Washington, D.C. and what that means is we don`t have two people fighting for resources for us, and we`ve seen the effects of that during COVID. No one can remember, however, when even our limited home role has been challenged by the federal government, especially with something so important as policing. And that`s what we`ve experienced over the last week.

And while that is a concern for us, certainly, and we`re fighting back at every level, Rachel, it should be a concern for every American, because they`re moving on us hard and strong right now. But I think -- and he`s even said that this is practice. So who is next?

So we need to watch these tactics and make sure that he`s pushing down on us now, and we`re pushing back hard, and every American needs to be concerned about that, and be with us because who`s to say that it won`t be -- it won`t be another state next.

MADDOW: Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C. -- Madam Mayor, again, you have so much on your plate right now. Thank you for helping us understand what`s going on in your great city. Thank you.

BOWSER: Thank you. Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead here tonight. Do stay with us.



NBC NEWS REPORTER: What the president did, the peaceful protesters that were disbursed with tear gas, he then walked across the street to the church, was that the right thing to do?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I didn`t really see it.

NBC NEWS REPORTER: Senator Portman, do you think what we saw last night at the White House --

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): I`m late for lunch --

NBC NEWS REPORTER: Senator McConnell, was what the president did last night the right thing to do?

Was clearing the protesters an abuse of power? I`m sorry?

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): I don`t have any comment. Thank you.


MADDOW: Walk away. Late for lunch. No comment. Thank you.

Raise hands. Shake head. Look down.

Today, we saw the same dynamic play out with a new question to Republican senators, apparently this one just as much of a stumper. Today, the question was about the rebuke of President Trump`s recent actions from former military leaders, most notably a respected former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and that was the cue of course for everyone to look busy, quick come up with something not to say. Let`s roll tape.


NBC NEWS REPORTER: General Mattis, he talked about a threat to the Constitution. Do you agree?

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): I haven`t -- I haven`t seen it.

NBC NEWS REPORTER: General Mattis has said that the president is a threat to the Constitution.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-N): Can I get you on the way out?

NBC NEWS REPORTER: The president and General Mattis --

SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): I can`t. I`ve got a phone call I`ve got to get to.


SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): I`m focused on issues of real freedom, like China`s human rights violations, and Hong Kong, and their concentration camps, full of Uyghur Muslims.

NBC NEWS REPORTER: Can you comment as a member of a critical committee, can you comment about General Mattis?

General Mattis has some really harsh --

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): I haven`t read it yet. So I wouldn`t be helpful in answering it.


MADDOW: Haven`t read it. Got a phone call to get to. Couldn`t possibly be helpful. You want to talk about China?

Republican lawmakers doing literally anything to avoid discussing what transpired in the nation`s capital this week and the horrified reaction to it, including from top military leaders.

But even as any Republicans clip clop in the other direction, a few voices are starting to speak out from inside the party and maybe those voices are getting a little bit louder? Maybe?

Joining us now is a former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt who I must tell you has been absolutely incandescent in his criticism of the president.

Steve, thank you for making time to be here tonight. I feel like I really need to hear you on this. I have been wanting to hear where you are at on all of this stuff.

So thanks for making time to be here.

STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good evening. Good to be with you, Rachel.

The --

MADDOW: General John Allen --


MADDOW: I`m sorry, go ahead.

SCHMIDT: I think it is an astonishing scene of political cowardice at the Senate lunch, each one coming by, I don`t know, I don`t know, I don`t know, the former secretary of defense, in a legendary retired Marine Corps four- star general, said that the president of the United States is a threat to the American Constitution, what prompted him to speak out.

Well, what happened is that there was a group of Americans in front of the north lawn of the White House, on the street, peacefully protesting, exercising their rights, under the first amendment to the constitution of the United States, to peacefully assemble, to petition their government, and to speak. And what was loosed against them was state-sanctioned violence.

Those peaceful protesters were assaulted by law enforcement, so Donald Trump could walk across the street, and commit an act of sacrilege holding a bible upside down to look strong in front of the church of presidents because he felt humiliated from his cowardice and allowing himself to be evacuated from the Oval Office to the bunker, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. So this is a low moment and a dangerous hour in this country.

And for your previous segment, Rachel, we don`t have secret police in the United States of America. These protests are about racial justice, and about the fact that too many of us are not equally treated under the law. But now, an essential part of this story is understanding who are these men.

We don`t have secret police. These men need badges. They need identification. The American people have a right to know who is funding them, their chain of command and who they report to.

And this idea that the attorney general of the United States has suddenly become an interior minister, and a thugocracy with a private militia of some type that reports to him is antithetical to every precept of American democracy and that`s before we get to the threats of the president threatening the American people with the deployment of most lethal combat force in world history, to the streets of the nation that they swear to protect.

Military in this country serves the nation, not a man.

MADDOW: Steve, on the issue of the use of active duty U.S. troops against Americans, in American streets, we`ve seen a couple of interesting dynamic. We have seen General Mattis, General John Allen, Admiral Mike Mullen, apparently General Dempsey, former general of the joint chiefs who are going to speak out tomorrow in an interview on NPR`s "Morning Edition" in the morning, we have seen all of these senior retired military officials, including some who serve very recently in the highest levels of the Trump administration, speak out, and say the president shouldn`t be doing this.

At the same time, you`ve got the current defense secretary, Mark Esper, apparently completely flummoxed by the functioning of his own mouth, having no idea that he was participating in these political acts with the president, that he was putting the Defense Department`s imprimatur on what the president was doing with what you just described in terms of that walk to St. John`s Church, and there`s been a reversal and then a reversal, and then another reversal in terms of whether or not these troops from Ft. Bragg are actually deploying into the streets of D.C., I feel very concerned by the distance from the sort of principled stance being taken by former military leaders, and this chaos and dithering and confusion that we`re seeing from people who are actually in control who ought to be telling the president "no" when he asks them to do these things.

SCHMIDT: You should be concerned. And we shouldn`t underestimate the importance of all of these former four-star officers speaking out. These four-star officers, by custom and tradition, are loathed to speak out on political matters. They don`t want to get involved. And they consider it part of their duty even in retirement to maintain the apolitical nature of the U.S. military.

And there is very significant peer pressure, for example, when a retired general like Michael Flynn goes out and as political as he was, he is rebuked by a lot of those colleagues.

Now, they`re speaking out because they feel honor-bound to protect the integrity and the honor of the United States military for Donald Trump. The secretary of defense has badly bumbled and stumbled his way through this. And he compromised, through his complicit appearance, with the president, saying, hey, I didn`t know where I was going.

Bottom line is, this is a man who is in charge of the most powerful military in the world. And we shouldn`t hold him to a standard that we wouldn`t allow for a 19-year-old infantry private, if he lost his rifle, or said to his sergeant, I didn`t know where I was going. It`s just unacceptable.

So the secretary of defense has compromised the integrity of the U.S. military, whether it`s an act of omission -- a sin of omission, or a sin of commission, it doesn`t matter. He needs to be prepared to resign to maintain the independence of the United States military from the political machinations of the White House. There is no earthly reason why the world`s deadliest combat troops should be deployed to American streets.

That`s why these retired officers are speaking out. This is an ill-liberal exercise by the president of the United States, who has had this jonesing since the moment he came into office to show that he is a tough guy and a strong man. But these are the tactics of Putin and Erdogan.

Again, the military serves the nation. It doesn`t serve Trump. This is the province of law enforcement, and of the National Guard.

Active duty combat units of the active forces of the United States have no business being put into a domestic law enforcement situation. It`s not their purpose. It will undermine the strength of the military and the American citizens moral connection to the most admired institution in the country.

MADDOW: Former senior Republican strategist Steve Schmidt -- Steve, my friend, thank you. It has been too long since you`ve been here on this program and since I`ve seen you. Thanks for making time to be here tonight.

All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Also, there is a lag in the numbers, remember. Some people protesting last night will get infected. You don`t find out today, you don`t find out tomorrow, you don`t find out the next day.

It can be four or five days before until any symptoms show. Symptoms may never show, right? Asymptomatic transfer.

So if you had a viral spread through these protests, we`re not going to see it in the numbers for a while. And in the meantime, we are making all of these decisions on reopening. So it`s important that people act responsibly for themselves. You went to a protest, get a test.


MADDOW: You went to a protest, get a test. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking today.

The delayed reaction he`s talking about, the lag before you get the numbers that show when everyone got infected, and then the lag after infection, before people get sick and turn up in the hospital, that lag time, that sequencing also drove a stark warning, kind of pull the fire alarm moment today in the great state of Utah.

For context here, this is what is going on in Utah right now. This is their daily newly confirmed coronavirus case numbers right now, which as you can see are skyrocketing.

Well, here`s Utah`s state epidemiologist today saying this graph is not a typo, this is not because of just increased testing or something. She`s saying in Utah, we are in trouble.


DR. ANGELA DUNN, UTAH STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: This past week, we`ve had a sharp spike in cases. And it`s not explained easily by a single outbreak or increase in testing. This is a statewide trend.

We started loosening restrictions about three to four weeks ago, and we knew that this would likely increase cases in Utah. So we can expect that this increase in cases will result in an increase of hospitalizations in about a week. So it`s really important for us to see the leading metric in cases and take action accordingly to prevent overwhelming our hospitals.


MADDOW: Utah`s state epidemiologist today warning that that state`s case numbers are shooting up statewide so rapidly right now after they opened up the state a few weeks ago that the state needs to act now to stop the state`s hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Again, this is the Utah case numbers graph right now. And there are a number of states that look like that right now.

Today in Congress, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified that he`s, quote, "very concerned that the American people don`t seem to be heeding the CDC`s warnings about how serious this is." He specifically singled out how he doesn`t see nearly enough people in masks when he comes to work in the Trump administration in D.C.

Huh. Yeah, I wonder why that is, what the leadership is that`s leading to that.

But as a country our case numbers are still stuck at something like 20,000 new cases a day. Our national daily death toll is actually rising back up again after having come down. Our most populous states, California and Texas, have case number graphs that look like near sides of the Matterhorn right now.

Florida today just had its new record of the largest number of new cases reported in a single day. States like Utah, also states like Arizona are pulling the fire alarm in terms of how rapidly their case numbers are rising right now and how rapidly their hospitals are filling.

In the American south, take a gander across the south. Look at the Carolinas, Arkansas, Mississippi, this is not good, what`s going on right now. And the White House of course does not want to talk about the epidemic and the fact that they are basically walking away from the botched coronavirus federal response as if this is over and it`s all fixed.

But what`s really happening right now with the epidemic is not good. We really are at 108,000 Americans dead as of tonight and counting. And it`s getting rapidly worse in a whole bunch of states all at once. The federal government not working on it anymore isn`t going to turn that around, no matter how much they don`t want to talk about it.


MADDOW: As we keep eyes on multiple ongoing protests across the country tonight, that`s going to do it for this hour. But our ongoing live coverage continues.

We`re going to hand it over to "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.

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