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George Floyd's death TRANSCRIPT: 6/8/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Lisa Bender, Phillip Atiba Goff, Solomon Hsiang

STATE REP. CHARLES BOOKER (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: We get that bipartisan legislation passed even in my first term, something that Mitch McConnell is not worrying about. And, you know, the reality is because of this work, I`m getting endorsed by folks all over Kentucky. Rural legislators, Matt Jones, who is one of the biggest voices in our commonwealth, many thought was going to run against -- Amy McGrath and Mitch McConnell, is endorsing me, because we`re building a coalition, that says that no matter where you`re from, what you look like, what your pronoun is, how much money, that shouldn`t matter.

And that`s the momentum. Look, we just broke a million dollars in fundraising. We raised $600,000 in the last couple of days because we`re fed up and we`re ready to win.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker of Kentucky, thanks for sharing sometime with us tonight.

That is ALL IN for this evening.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Christ. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.

It was more than 90 degrees in the great city of Houston, Texas, today, one of the hottest days of the year so far. But even with the heat, this is what Houston looked like today. Tons of people waiting in line in the hot sun to pay their respects to George Floyd.

Today was George Floyd`s public visitation at a church in Houston, which is where Mr. Floyd grew up. At one point, the line to get into that visitation, got so long, it snaked around the building and in to the parking lot. There were 200 people in line before the doors even opened.

You see those red tents there, that`s the Red Cross. It was so hot, they were handing out water to people waiting in line, because they were worried about people`s health. They were worried about heat stroke.

Mourners turned up to pay their respects today had their temperatures checked at the door. They only let small handfuls of people into the church at a time to encourage social distancing. Everybody was required to wear masks.

But, even with the heat, even with the inconvenience of the pandemic. Members of the public waited patiently in line. Donned with their mask and entered the church to pay their respects to Mr. Floyd before he is laid to rest next to his mother in Houston and that will be tomorrow afternoon.

It went on like that for six straight hours today in Houston. And honestly the stream of people that came in and out of that church today, the number of them overcome by emotion and grief, it just felt, endless.

There were health care workers there still in their scrubs. There were police officers there in uniform. A few people from the local Home Depot, fresh off their shifts. There was a group of college athletes.

The Republican governor of Texas was there. Little kids being pulled along in wagons by their mom. That was Houston today. George Floyd`s public visitation before his final memorial tomorrow, before he is laid to rest in the city where he grew up.

Right now, a candle light vigil is under way on the football field at George Floyd`s high school in Houston where his family is in attendance. It`s going to cap off what was an emotional day in George Floyd`s hometown and all over the country. It has been 14 days now, it has been two weeks since Mr. Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, and still, 14 days later, the streets of the United States look like this. This was New York, and Chicago, and L.A., and D.C., all today.

But, I mean, even with that today, did you see what happened this weekend? I mean, look at this, this was southern California yesterday. Protesters marching down, look at that, marching down Hollywood Boulevard, just an absolutely endless river of people. Police say they think 20,000 people marched in L.A. this weekend.

This was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thousands of peaceful protesters met at the steps of the Philadelphia art museum. They marched from there all the way to Philadelphia City Hall.

There`s a shot of Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., from Saturday, which is the largest protest that the city of Washington, D.C. has seen since George Floyd`s killing.

In San Francisco, the protest was so big, it briefly shut down traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. Look at that.

In Seattle, a demonstration organized by health care workers grew to thousands of people in New York. It even in the rain, they kept marching and St. Paul, Minnesota, they sat down outside the governor`s mansion. In Detroit, people were on their feet.

It was just like this all over the place this weekend. Big cities, and in more out of the way places as well. Here`s a shot of rural Alpine, Texas, this weekend. Alpine, Texas, it`s population 6,000 or so. Six thousand people in the town, right?

But the stream of people marching is going and going and going. The local reporter who shot this video said he has not seen a protest this big in Alpine, Texas, since an anti-pipeline protest a few years ago. He said this is probably bigger and probably the biggest thing that ever happened in the town.

This was Starkville, Mississippi, on Saturday this weekend, thousands of people in the streets there. There were thousands more in Wausau, Wisconsin. The mayor there saying it might be the largest political protest ever in that city.

Look at this, this was Upstate New York. This was Troy, New York, the organizers of these protests said 11,000 people turned out in Troy. There were protests this weekend in Victor, Idaho, and in Nutley, New Jersey, and in Kalispell, Montana, Palmer, Alaska, from all corners of this country, protesting George Floyd`s killing and the treatment of African-Americans at the hands of police in this country.

With those scenes playing out across the country all through this weekend and through today for a 14th day of response to that killing, today, the now former officer, the fired officer at the center of George Floyd`s case appeared before a judge for the first time. Derek Chauvin, the officer who kept his knee on George Floyd`s neck for nearly nine minutes as Mr. Floyd pled for his life and struggled to breathe, former officer Chauvin made his first appearance by video feed from the state`s maximum security prison today. He was wearing an orange jumpsuit and a face mask. He said very little during today`s proceedings.

Given the seriousness of the charges against him, charges that now include second-degree murder and manslaughter, the judge set bail for him at $1.25 million. The conditions of that bail include Chauvin remaining under court supervision, surrendering any guns that he has, and agreeing not to have any contact with the Floyd family. His next court appearance is set for June 29th, at which time he will be expected to enter a plea.

The other three officers in this case have already been arraigned on charges of aiding and abetting Chauvin in Mr. Floyd`s death. They`re currently being held on $750,000 bail each. As those officers confront charges in that case, we are seeing more law enforcement officers charged for police brutality, charged for the way they have treated people, including during this wave of protests that have taken place across the country.

I`m going to give you a warning now that I`m about to show some of these instances for which we have videotape, for which there have now been consequences for the officers involved. If you do not want to see these instances of violence, now is the chance for you to not watch them. This is me slowing down to give you that chance to get up off the couch and change your television arrangement if you need to do so. Three, two, one.

We`ll go first to Buffalo. This weekend two Buffalo, New York, police officers were arraigned on felony assault charges after video emerged of them last week knocking a 75-year-old man to the ground. That man fell backwards and cracked his head on the pavement. As he lay bleeding from his head and from his ear, officers were seen walking by without rendering aid. One officer who seemed inclined to help was pulled off by other officers.

As of today, that elderly man remains in the hospital in serious condition. Both of the officers charged in conjunction with that incident have pled not guilty. They appeared in court this weekend, on Saturday. Those officers face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

This case has already made the Buffalo Police Union rear up on its hind legs. We saw further proof of that this weekend. This weekend, the police union there arranged for people to gather outside the courthouse following the officers` hearing. As those officers emerged, they were greeted by cheers from the hundreds of people that had gathered.

We saw a similar scene in Philadelphia today. Hundreds of people turned out to support a Philadelphia police officer who had been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly beating a Temple University student with a metal baton during a protest last week. Like in Buffalo last week, that officer was cheered and greeted with salutes as he went to turn himself in. In terms of what he`s being charged for, in video that has emerged of that Philadelphia incident, that officer is seen repeatedly hitting this college student in the head with this metal baton, causing injuries that resulted in that student needing ten staples in the head.

All of this comes on top of Atlanta police officers being charged with excessive force last week after video emerged of them yanking two young people, two college students out of a car and then shooting them with stun guns.

People all over this country are calling for reforms to policing and calling for police officers to face consequences for beating and shooting people. The place where the movement is gaining the most speed, the place that`s sort of at the tip of the spear of this movement now is of course Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed.

And in a remarkable development in Minneapolis, yesterday a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council announced that they would dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. They would completely rethink public safety in their city. They would take the Minneapolis police department apart and rebuild something else in its place.

Again, that agreement was reached by and announced by nine of the city council`s 13 members. That announcement came just one day after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed out of a rally that came to his house, after he said he didn`t believe in abolishing the police department, he walked off. City council members say they have the votes to override any potential veto by Mayor Frey. They say they don`t yet know what a new public safety system would look like from Minneapolis, but they say they plan to work with the community and draw on policing reforms and restructuring that have been seen in some other cities.

According to city council`s president, Lisa Bender, this pledge from these members of the city council this weekend is an acknowledgement that the Minneapolis Police Department doesn`t just need reform. That`s not enough. The status quo must be changed and changed fundamentally.


LISA BENDER (D), MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Our commitment is to do what`s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and to tell the truth, that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our commitment is to end our city`s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.


MADDOW: After making this bold pronouncement this weekend in Minneapolis, what happens next there?

Joining us now is Lisa Bender, who is the president of the Minneapolis City Council.

President Bender, thank you very much for being -- for being with us live tonight. I really appreciate you making the time.

BENDER: Thank you so much for having me.

MADDOW: So, Minneapolis has obviously got the eyes of the nation upon it now because of what has happened over these past two weeks and because of what this killing revealed to the country about the Minneapolis Police Department. As the country now looks at you and your colleagues on the city council saying you want to end policing in Minneapolis as we know it, that you want to essentially disband the city police department, what should the country understand about what that means in practical terms?

BENDER: I think the most important thing to understand is that this is not the first time that our community has taken to the streets to demand justice. Jamar Clark was killed by Minneapolis police, and we instituted a whole series of reforms. Justine Damond was killed by Minneapolis police, and we got a new police chief, new leadership.

So our community has been through a lot of watching us make promises and make changes, and then to see George Floyd killed in that horrific way for those almost nine minutes with four members of the department involved, it`s just too much for our community. So, we are responding to the calls that are coming from our residents for change.

MADDOW: Cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Compton, California, disbanded their police departments as well. This is not something that Minneapolis and you and your colleagues are inventing the concept of. Compton did it in 2000. Camden did it in 2013, I believe.

I wonder if you and your colleagues are thinking about those previous examples as helpful, as examples of what to do or what not to do, or if you have been essentially considering Minneapolis to be on its own here in terms of the specific challenges?

BENDER: No, absolutely. There are many models around the country, and there`s also significant work done here led by community to invest in those systems of community safety that work to look at all the reasons folks call 911 in our city and what appropriate response we compare.

But public confidence in our department is at an extraordinary low. We have institutions like the University of Minnesota and our park board and school board, major businesses and employers, arts institutions ending their relationship with our police department. So, in the urgent short term, you know, we need to get a system in place that is keeping people safe, that folks have confidence in as we build up these alternative systems for community safety.

MADDOW: I have to ask you about the police union in Minneapolis. We`ve covered a little bit of the drama around the police union and its leadership, including the head of the police union appearing at a Trump rally in a "Cops for Trump" shirt after there had been a reminder to police officers that they shouldn`t attend something like that in uniform.

We`ve also seen some pretty inflammatory comments and stances taken by the police union at times. I wonder if it -- if it seems to you and your colleagues that what you are trying to do here has a sort of sworn enemy in the police union? And if so, what your strategy is to try to work around them if you believe that they`re sort of beyond working with on this?

BENDER: I mean, they`ve shown us time and time again that they are beyond working with on reform, and even recently statements coming out of the federation are defending the actions of the officers in George Floyd`s killing. You know, it`s to the point that the former police chief, our former mayor and other community leaders are speaking out specifically against the president of the union but also the union itself -- labor leaders are calling for change and, you know, distancing themselves from this union, I think making it clear that our attempt to get around the blockades of the police union are not seen as undermining our support for organized labor in our city, which represents the majority of city employees and is a really important part of worker protections.

So, yes, that union relationship, that union position, again, you know, elected by the majority of the departments, is a huge barrier. So I think we have to get through those institutional barriers, but there is also a system within the department that needs to change. So it`s not just about changing one leader but changing the whole system.

MADDOW: Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, thank you for speaking to us tonight. Again, you guys have been under incredible pressure, and to innovate and step up in the way that you have in these past few days is a remarkable thing to see. And the whole country is going to be watching closely as you all move forward with these radical and interesting constructive ideas.

Good luck and keep us apprised. Keep us in the loop.

BENDER: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. I want to bring into the conversation, Philip Atiba Goff. Dr. Goff is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He`s a co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity. And this is something that he`s worked on as an expert for years.

Dr. Goff, thanks very much for making time to be here tonight. I`m happy to have you here.


MADDOW: So I know that you`re not only an expert on these things more broadly, but you specifically consulted with Minneapolis on some of its policing problems and on public safety. Are you going to work with the city on this new goal of dismantling the police department, re-imagining public safety in Minneapolis? What do you make of what`s happened so far, and do you expect you`d be involved in it?

GOFF: Yeah, I mean, so, there`s the example of Compton before and Camden before, but this is still unprecedented, in part because there`s a chance that this sets the tone for what`s happening nationally on police reform. So, Lisa and I got a chance to speak shortly before this. We`ve been involved in Minneapolis. We will be willing to continue to be involved and help wherever we can to help make communities safer and provide them with the resources so they don`t have to call the police in the first place.

This shouldn`t, by the way, be controversial. People want to live in communities where no one has to call the police, especially the police. And we think that there are ways that we can do that responsibly, but everything is so new that it`s just new. We don`t know what tomorrow`s going to look like.

MADDOW: When people around the country look at what`s happening in Minneapolis, this announcement from the super majority on the city council and they hear these demands about defunding police, can you explain in sort of layman`s terms the difference between reforming the police and these types of transformational approaches that we saw in Camden and we saw in Compton and that we now appear to be aiming at, at least in Minneapolis? What`s the qualitative difference?

GOFF: So there really is a range, and it`s not discrete one way or the other. So, on one side of it, you have people who believe there should be no law enforcement at all. Communities manage all violations of the social contract. If there`s violence, communities can manage that.

On the other side what you have is kind of tinkering around the edges. People saying let`s change this policy, let`s change this training, and some people way overselling that where they imagine one small change can make (VIDEO GAP) really what we`re seeing now is people moving toward the side of abolition. But it`s actually not about having no police, but making sure again that communities have the resources so that you can have less of a footprint of police, right?

So I give you an example. Lots of people have been asking me for the last couple days, if we defund the police, what happens when you call 911? And what I say back is, well, if something`s on fire, what number do you call? You call 911. Who shows up? It`s the ambulance -- I`m sorry. It`s the fire truck.

And if somebody`s having a heart attack, you call 911, and the EMT shows up.

So we already have 911 giving lots of different emergency services. Imagine what would happen if when someone was overdosing or when a couple was having a disagreement they didn`t know how to resolve, or when a kid wasn`t feeling safe, right, if could you call mental health resources, child protective resources, substance abuse resources. If the resources folks needed so they didn`t need to rely on law enforcement were there, all right, if 911 had more options, communities would feel safer, and you wouldn`t be introducing a badge and a gun to situations that law enforcement can never be trained to manage in the first place and that they have been calling to get out of the business of for years.

That`s what the majority of protesters and activists I talk to say that they want. They want more options for 911. They want more resources for communities so communities make the decision about when something has gotten violent enough that a badge and a gun is appropriate.

MADDOW: You know, it`s fascinating in terms of the way these things evolve politically. I feel like one of the key insights for me in terms of thinking about national security -- like transformational thinking around national security was realizing that people in the military, particularly very well-experienced people in the military, were themselves among the most articulate defenders of the idea that the military should not be used for everything.

And what you`re describing about how police themselves are among the most authoritative and at time articulate spokespeople for the idea that police are not the right solution to every problem that we`ve got and that we apply policing resources to, it`s an interesting -- it`s an interesting thing in terms of the way these things go as political fights. It also potentially sets up some strange bedfellows in terms of who are allies and who lines up on which side of these fights.

What do you anticipate is going to happen now in Minneapolis now that the city council has come out with this goal? The mayor at least seems to be in a slightly different position from it. The community is up in arms. The community is also mobilized like nothing we`ve seen in a generation.

How do you think this is going to play out in terms of trying to make these changes?

GOFF: I can say definitively and authoritatively I have no earthly idea. I can tell you that the pressures that are going to be on this community are enormous. The eyes of the nation are on and have been on Minneapolis, and so, it may be the case that what we end up with is something that will feel to abolitionists more like tinkering around the edges. It may be the case that something way more profound. It may work to reduce crime and improve public trust. It certainly will come up with bumps and obstacles.

So I don`t know exactly what it`s going to look like. What I can say is we learned from Camden and we`ve learned from Compton that there are more and less responsible way and more and less likely ways to be successful at this.

So, I`ll give you an example. If you defund the police department and take away 50 percent of the personnel, right, which I`m hearing people say. Like just slash it 50 percent out. There is no union contract in the United States that says anything other than, last in also first out. That means if you`re trying to cut it, you`re actually getting rid of the youngest officer who are also the most progressive, who are also the most interested in culture change. That`s not the department that protesters are asking for, right?

So, if you don`t end up following a roadmap and looking for ways to cut the right officers and cut the right programs, you`re going to end up with tragedy in black communities, and I can`t overstate this point. For generations, we have had politicians say, you know what? Black communities, they can fend for themselves. They need to be taking care of themselves.

So those mental health resources that other places have, we`re going to privatize them. We`re going to take the public ones and throw them away, right? The grocery stores that give you fresh vegetables, take them, throw them out, right? The marriage counseling, job training, take it, throw it out.

And the only public system that receives any public funding is law enforcement. And in some of these communities, police cars are more likely to take you to the hospital when you`re sick than ambulances because police cars get the funding.

So if all we do is take money out of policing and we don`t reinvest it either before or at exactly the same time we take it out of policing into black communities, we`re making it worse. And this is part of the point I hope everybody gets tonight about Minneapolis and what we`ve been seeing across the nation. This is not just a policing issue.

And if we want to have solutions that are proportional to this moment and all we do -- even if we radically reform policing, if that`s all we do, we have missed the moment because what I am hearing and seeing and feeling is that this is a moment which is a past-due notice on the unpaid debts owed to black people for 400 years. If we don`t understand that all of the disinvestment in black communities is now past due and we`re paying for it right now, right -- just the interest right now -- then I`m scared that we`re going to come up with solutions that are not worthy of how big this is and feels for our identity as a democracy and for our hope of ever making good on the American creed, particularly for the sons and daughters of (AUDIO GAP)

MADDOW: Phillip Atiba Goff, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- Dr. Goff, it is great to have you here to talk with us about this tonight, both specifically in terms of what`s going on in Minneapolis but why the eyes of the nation should be upon this potential change. Thanks for being here. It`s great to have you here.

GOFF: Thanks for the conversation.

MADDOW: All right. Much more to get to tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: The head of the Arizona state health department just sent out this letter to all the hospitals in the state of Arizona telling them to fully activate their facility emergency plans for coronavirus in the state of Arizona.

Quote: Your facilities and staff are on the front line of this response, and your continued ability to care for your patients in a safe manner is critical in Arizona`s success in overcoming COVID-19. For those reasons, I urge you to fully activate your facility emergency plan. Make determinations for moving your facility from conventional care to contingency care and prepare for crisis care.

Identify additional ICU and inpatient beds to meet a 50 percent additional bed increase. Identify mechanisms to activate medical volunteers and integrate them into your facility. Refine your hospital admission criteria to allow management of patients in alternate care settings within the community rather than within your facility.

On that last point, that`s basically the top health official in the state of Arizona telling the hospitals in that state that they need to change the grounds on which they usually admit patients to their hospitals because coronavirus is now taking all the bed space. So, some people who might otherwise be admitted into the hospital should no longer be admitted to the hospital. There isn`t enough room.

In Maricopa County, which is Phoenix and the surrounding area, ICU capacity is now full. The hospital system there has said it has no more ICU beds in the Phoenix area. Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona.

In the second largest city in Arizona, which is Tucson, the hospitals there say that their ICU capacity is basically full as well. It`s at least right on the brink in Tucson, full up in Phoenix, on the brink of full in Tucson.

This weekend the major hospital system in the state said that it had also reached capacity for something called -- I think you say ECMO, is what you say, it`s E-C-M-O, it stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine. It`s basically an external lung.

If your lungs are so damaged that even being on a ventilator is not enough, they put you on one of these ECMO machines as basically a last-ditch way to keep you alive using a mechanical external lung so your body can hopefully fight its way back from the brink while that machine does the breathing for you.

Except in Arizona right now, there`s no more of those. The largest hospital system in the state has now run out of those machines because they are all in use because of coronavirus.

Arizona dropped its stay-at-home order after a visit to the state by President Trump on May 15th, earlier than the state had otherwise been set to reopen. They earlied it up, opened up on May 15th.

Now we`re three-ish weeks later, and the state is hitting a record number of new cases, a record high percentage of the tests the state are doing are positive, and they`re now maxing out hospital and ICU and medical equipment capacity not just in out of the way places in Arizona like in Yuma, which overtopped its hospitals first in that state. Now, they are overtopping their hospital and ICU capacity in the state of Arizona`s two largest cities, including the state capital.

So, things in Arizona should probably be getting more national attention than they are.

We`ve also been keeping an eye on the neighboring state of Utah. Last week, midweek, the state epidemiologist gave a public press conference to announce that the state was experiencing in her words a sharp spike in new cases and that this was not due to there being just more testing or one localized outbreak somewhere, the state epidemiologist in Utah announced that this was a statewide surge in cases and unless it turned around, hospitals in Utah might not be able to cope.

That warning from the state epidemiologist in Utah was last Wednesday. Two days later on Friday, the state hospital association wrote a letter to the people of Utah pleading with Utah residents to please recognize the severity of what is going on in their state and the risk to hospital capacity if people do not start wearing masks and doing social distancing. Nevertheless, that day, Utah hit another new record number of cases on Friday, and then the day after that, on Saturday, Utah broke that record from Friday and set an even higher new record for daily case numbers.

This is happening in a bunch of states now. Nearly half the states in the country are now seeing their daily numbers of new coronavirus cases going up, not down. But in states like Arizona and Utah, where the numbers are terrible, and in the state of North Carolina, this is the curve in North Carolina, daily new cases. This is now getting to be a consequential thing for these states.

Here, for example is the state health director from North Carolina speaking today to North Carolina residents, trying to make clear to them how serious this is in their state as well.


DR. MANDY COHEN, SECRETARY OF NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: That it takes about two weeks to see the impact of a change in policy on an outbreak from an event. And that`s because of that incubation period from the virus, meaning the time from when a person was first exposed to COVID-19 to when they become sick. It`s about 14 days. And that`s important because if you remember, about two weeks ago on May 22nd, we moved into phase two.

On Saturday, we reported our highest number of new laboratory-confirmed cases in one day. At the same time, our other key metrics have moved into the wrong direction. COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing. The percent of tests that are positive is now among the highest in the nation.

I am concerned. These trends moving in the wrong direction is a signal we need to take very seriously. The trends of these numbers, it`s going the wrong way.


MADDOW: It`s going the wrong way. North Carolina`s state health director there. North Carolina, as she said, opened up a couple of weeks ago, and then a couple of weeks after the reopening, they hit their highest ever number of new cases in one day, on Saturday, this past weekend. Today they hit their highest number yet of hospitalizations in North Carolina.

And this is -- this is happening in lots of states. Mississippi hit its highest number yet of new cases today. In Florida over the past week, new cases have been rising an average of 46 percent per day. Florida.

But we are now in a phase of this epidemic nationwide where despite all of that happening, all of those alarms being sounded in red states and blue states in the Southwest and Southeast, in different parts of the country, despite all of that, the government of the United States is sort of just pretending this isn`t happening now.

"The Wall Street Journal" reporting that the president and his advisers have made a strategic decision to -- a strategic decision to just move on and not talk about this anymore. They are counting on roughly 1,000 Americans dying every day from this communicable disease being something we`re just going to get used to, or maybe they`re counting on it being something we don`t really believe.

It was one month ago today that President Trump said the total number of Americans killed by coronavirus wouldn`t top more than 110,000 of us dead.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ll be at 100,000, 110,000, the lower level of what was projected if we did the shutdown.


MADDOW: That was a month ago today. The president said we`ll have a total death toll in this country of 100,000, 110,000 deaths. We are over 110,000 American deaths already as of this weekend, and we`re still losing 1,000 more Americans on average every day.

But that fact hasn`t stopped the president from repeatedly, confidently pronouncing to the American people that it`s definitely, definitely not going to be as bad as it definitely is.


TRUMP: Now, we`re going toward 50,000 -- I`m hearing, or 60,000 people.

We`re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000. It`s far too many. One person is too many for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That number has changed, Mr. President.

TRUMP: It`s going up. No, it`s going up. I used to say 65,000, and now I`m saying 80,000 or 90,000, and it goes up, and it goes up rapidly.

Look, we`re going to lose anywhere from 75,000, 80,000, to 100,000 people. That`s horrible (ph).


MADDOW: We`ll be at 100,000, 110,000.

Now we`re up over 110,000 deaths already, and -- I mean, a certain number of people, when you have case numbers rising, you`re going to have the number of people dying rising. You`re going to have that -- as the number of cases gets larger, you`re going to have the number of people dying increase at a more and more rapid rate, right?

I mean, we still -- the basics of this, I feel like, still are escaping the general discussion here. We still don`t have a cure or a vaccine or even any effective treatment. So when a lot of people get infected, a lot of people are going to die. And what we`re seeing in a lot of states right now is a lot of people getting infected, incredibly steep graphs in terms of how fast the case numbers are rising each day now, including in really big states like Florida.

I mean, right now, in terms of the number of people killed by this thing, we have by far the worst outbreak in the world. After U.S., it`s the U.K. After the U.K., it`s Brazil. This weekend the far-right president of Brazil ordered that that country is going to stop reporting its total case numbers and its total deaths. The president of Brazil already fired his first health minister, who had said that Brazil was going to need to do social distancing. He then ousted the next health minister because that one wouldn`t go along with his Trumpian claims that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine would be miracle cures for this thing.

Now, the president of Brazil has just installed a guy in charge of the health ministry who is just a random guy from the military, who has no health background whatsoever. And he is shutting down the national reporting in Brazil of how many people have it and how many people are dead. He`s just not letting those numbers out anymore.

With our government and what our government is doing right now, just giving up, not talking about it, pretending it`s not happening, Brazil making that decision over the weekend, you can almost see the thought bubble over the White House, right? Brazil did what? Can we do that here? We can just make the numbers go away?

A lot going on right now, I know, but watch this space. It is not getting any better.


MADDOW: Today the American city hardest hit by coronavirus began its first phase of reopening. New York City`s long, drastic lockdown succeeded in flattening the coronavirus growth curve there, ultimately pushing that curve downward.

But how do you quantify how many people aren`t infected today because of the measures that were taken? Not just in New York but across the country and across the world, how can you tell how effective these policies to stop the spread of the virus are?

Well, a group of researchers at the University of California at Berkeley set out to answer exactly that question, and they came up with some stunning results. I`ll tell you upfront, the bottom-line finding their new study is that all the restrictions that were implemented to slow the spread of the virus, all the social distancing rules, the closures and the lockdowns all in all may have prevented over 500 million coronavirus infections across just six countries, just looking at China, the U.S., France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, 500 infections.

Measures in the U.S. may have prevented 60 million cases in this country alone. The researchers compiled through their own legwork over 1,700 coronavirus containment policies implemented in six different countries, travel bans, school closures, social distancing mandates, stay-at-home orders. They mapped the timeline of the implementation of those policies onto the increase in coronavirus cases in all of those places where those things were put into effect. As you can see, they did a lot of math here.

But the bottom line is that in the U.S., for instance, on the right here, that shows the rate at which cases would have increased in the month of March if case numbers had remained on the growth trajectory they were on before containment policies were implemented. On the left is the actual rate at which cases increased because we had containment policies.

There should have been over 5 million confirmed cases by early April. Instead because of Americans staying home and doing social distancing, there were less than 400,000 cases.

And what is notable about the study beyond these head-turning top line numbers is that if you do this math, if you are able to map the effects of all these hundreds of different policies across different cities and different regions and different countries, you eventually start to gain enough data in terms of the impact of these policies that you start to build a pretty good library. You start to gain potentially a really good international understanding of which policies reduced infection rates and how much, which tells us what we ought to do next.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: This is the headline in "The San Francisco Chronicle" today. UC- Berkeley study says COVID-19 prevention measures prevented 500 million infections. That`s the finding of this new big study of six countries hit hardest by coronavirus, including the U.S.

By drilling down on what countries did to try to slow the spread of the virus and when they did it and what the effect was of those policies, a big study like this can help us see not only what we`ve just been through but what policies are sort of most worth the time and effort even moving forward from here.

Joining us now is Solomon Hsiang. He`s chancellor`s professor of public policy at UC-Berkeley, lead author of this new study.

Professor Hsiang, thanks for making time to help us understand this tonight. Appreciate you being here.


MADDOW: Let me just first ask if I have described the basics of your study correctly or if I got anything wrong in the way I tried to sort of top line it there.

HSIANG: No, absolutely. You got the substance of the study. You nailed it very well. I think the thing to what you`ve said is how we think about the results of the study.

You know, we`ve been going through a really rough 2020. People have been working very hard trying to just stay afloat. There`s been tremendous economic hardship across the country.

Unemployment has been going up, and those costs are very real. People are suffering. They`re very salient, and it`s been really hard to figure out what are we getting in return for all of that sacrifice.

What we were trying to do in this study is really understand what were the benefits of all these policies. We don`t actually see the lives that are saved. We don`t see the infections that don`t occur.

So what we have to do is try to measure them and construct them and help us understand what those benefits are so that as we make decisions about whether, you know, we keep certain policies in place, we`re making an educated tradeoff between the health benefits and the economic costs. Sort of looking back, I think, what these results tell us -- oh.

MADDOW: I`m sorry. Debt lay makes it awkward. I`m going to ask you what I think you were going to anyway but tell me if I`m wrong. From looking at 1,700 different national regional and local policies, all these different approaches that were taken in all these different places, did you and your colleagues end up with kind of the number line of more bang for your buck versus less in terms of the impact of these policies and the number of infections prevented?

HSIANG: Yeah, that was a primary goal of the study is to figure out how can we get the most health benefit for the lowest cost. What we see is around the world, different policies have different impacts, and I think that makes a lot of sense because cultures are different. Governments are implementing policies in different ways.

In the United States, what we see is that business closure, people working from home, people staying in their homes, those have very large health benefits. There`s other policies, transportation restrictions, for example, that don`t have as clear effects.

And there`s other policies still. So, for example, one interesting policy is school closures. So it`s been really hard for children to stay home all the time, both on the families and the kids. And we don`t want to say that it doesn`t matter, but we don`t see really clear evidence that it`s having big benefits in the data.

MADDOW: One of the things that you said in announcing the results of the study is a bottom line that sort of stunned me and one of the things maybe I want to talk to you tonight. You said, I don`t think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There`s been huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show each day made a profound difference.

Do you mean that literally, that this might have been a collective human endeavor that saved more lives than anything else we`ve ever done?

HSIANG: Absolutely. I think this is an incredible achievement. I mean, the ability to coordinate millions of people to stay home when they don`t want to, to take on these tremendous hardships to save other people`s lives, it`s incredible. It`s -- I don`t think it`s ever happened before, and not just in this country, in countries around the world.

I think, you know, it`s been a really difficult year, and it`s a little inspiring to think back and realize what it is that we achieved together by coordinating, cooperating, using science. We did something that`s never been done in human history, and we should be proud of that. But it`s not over, you know. It`s still going on.

The roof was falling. We came together. We caught it, and we`re at this moment just sort of still holding it up.

MADDOW: Solomon Hsiang, chancellor`s professor of public policy at UC- Berkeley -- sir, thank you for your time. Thank you and your colleagues for this hard work. Thanks for helping us understand.

HSIANG: Thanks for having me.

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


MADDOW: It`s been good to have you with us here tonight. That`s going to do it for me for now. I will see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.                                                                                                                 THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END