KENDRICK SAMPSON, AMERICAN ACTOR: And I believe that that adds to the call to defund these oppressive programs, these oppressive systems, and move that towards community care and systems that actually help and heal the community, so that we don`t have to continue seeing these problems and talking about these. And we could actually get to the other issues that are important and that think people love and helping the most vulnerable and liberating (ph).
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Very important. I hope this dialogue continues. Kendrick Sampson, Joyce Vance, thank you.
That`s THE BEAT for tonight. THE REIDOUT starts now.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Deaths from the coronavirus have already reached frightening levels. But now, a new model predicts as many as 300,000 Americans could be dead by December. The economic recovery is sputtering. There is still no deal between Congress and the White House on a fresh round of relief funding. And Mitch McConnell, well, he seems casual about that. I mean, he`s tweeting things but not exactly taking action.
It`s against that backdrop that we got word tonight that Donald Trump will hold a news conference from his golf club in New Jersey in a minute now where he`s taking a nice long weekend. As NBC reports, he`s been threatening an executive action to address COVID relief but it`s unclear what he can do without congressional approval.
Millions are struggling to just pay their rent or to buy food for their families after federal unemployment benefits and rent relief expired last week. On top that, today`s disappointing July jobs report shows that whatever marginal recovery we have seen in the economy up to now has lost its momentum.
And joining me now is Jennifer Rubin, Opinion Writer for The Washington Post, Maria Hinojosa, Host of In The Thick and NPR`s Latino USA, and Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.
But I do want to start with Associated Press White House Reporter Jonathan Lemire. This was a last-minute call that Donald Trump was going to take time off the tee to talk to the nation. Do we know what is he says what he`s going to be talking about?
JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": Hi, Joy. So I`m coming to you from the president`s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, and this came as a surprise. Earlier today, the White House issued what is known as a travel photo lid to the press pool that travels with the president, meaning we would not see him today. And it`s very rare for that lid to be lifted. But that happened a short time ago. And we`re now assembled waiting for this news conference.
He tweeted a few minutes ago saying that he`s going to be talking about, quote, the China virus. He just announced very good economic numbers, the improving economy and also the catastrophe in Beirut, Lebanon. As you say, the economic numbers, in words (ph), having more mixed than the president framing. He is not saying in this tweet whether or not he will act on the stalled Congressional negotiations for COVID relief but certainly the White House and his aides have some executive orders that are being prepared. It is possible he will sign that tonight. We`ll also expect, of course, but he will be asked about the D.I. about foreign election interference.
REID: Sure, of course. And The New York Times has reported that Donald Trump has been on the sidelines, just sniping, tweeting, doing things like that, not really involved directly in the negotiations with the Congress. And you`ve seen Mitch McConnell taking weeks off and saying, we`re going to send people home. What could the White House even do in a theoretical executive order? It`s Congress that appropriates money. So do you have any idea what kind of executive order they think they could even do?
LEMIRE: They floated a few here, Joy, one, a moratorium for evictions, one on unemployment insurance, one on the payroll tax, another on student loans. Some of the legality is unclear. Some of the financial weight (INAUDIBLE) is unclear. And, again, we don`t know that`s coming tonight. But a number of the president`s top aides have suggested that he will upon this because they realize that with the congressional talks stalled and the economic recovery in peril by a lack of federal funding, that, of course, will be bad for the president`s re-election chances.
And, Joy, let me also just paint the scene for you`re here a little bit. We`re holding a ballroom adjacent to the main the ballroom where the president will be holding this press conference in a few minutes. A few moments ago, a few dozen members of the country club, many of them with drinks in hand, just descended the stairs and now appear to be the audience for this news conference.
So, again, a number of a few dozen members of the Bedminster Country Club, I will add, very few of them wearing masks and apparently in violation of the State of New Jersey guidelines right now about the number of people who can be in an indoor space at one time will be here cheering the president on will be speaking to the nation in a few minutes.
REID: Wait. I`m sorry, I`m sorry, Jonathan. I apologize. I`m going to ask you to repeat that again. Did you just say that members of the country club, meaning people who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be members of Donald Trump`s country club, are assembling to play the audience so that he can have a cheering audience for this press conference?
LEMIRE: That is what it appears. It is possible they will leave the room before the president takes the podium but that seems unlikely. They are gathered now. There`s several dozens of them standing in the back of the room. Again, a number of them have drinks in their hands, very few with masks. And I should note, as there`s been much scrutiny lately on the White House`s COVID testing system, that those temperature checks were formed on the press pool and these audience members, COVID-19 tests were not administered before this news conference.
REID: Okay. So the people who have not been tested, people who are having their cocktails in hand, we don`t know or what`s in their drinks, but you see them they`ve got drinks in hand, beverages, they`re coming in, not getting tested, and they`re not getting rapid tested, and they`re just going to saunter in and be the audience. That`s bizarre. Have you seen anything like that in presidential news conference in your career as a journalist?
LEMIRE: The president has used members of this club before as backdrops strength (ph) official campaign with them (ph). But this would be a new one, particularly for a coronavirus task force. And I certainly have not seen something like this since the pandemic began with all of the federal government`s guidelines on social distancing and masks, which appear to not be in play this evening here in New Jersey.
REID: Wow, okay. Have you had a chance to speak with anybody on the White House Press Corps to get some more detail on whether or not Donald Trump is going to address the fact that Russia is, again, trying to help him remain in the presidency, to become president a second time?
LEMIRE: The White House did put out a statement earlier today from the National Security Council noting that the course that they said that they oppose all threat for an electoral interference, that they have taken measures to reduce that. And they highlight, of course, agents said to us that (INAUDIBLE) not just Russia trying to help -- potentially help President Trump by denigrating Joe Biden but also that China and Iran has expressed their efforts to defeat President Trump. So it`s sort of both candidates appear to be (INAUDIBLE) status from various foreign nations.
The Trump campaign also put out statement as well. The president himself has not weighed in. We don`t know. He has not tweeted about that yet. It`s not clear whether he will address it this evening or not, but we certainly will attempt to ask him.
REID: Yes. If you get a chance to ask a question, Jonathan Lemire, I would love for you to also ask whether or not he has anything to say about Russia taking out those bounties on American troops. We would love to get an answer to that and on what he thinks of the fact that the district attorney in Manhattan now has access to his Deutsche Bank financial records. We would love to get a question in, just if I can ringer in a question for you if you get a chance. Jonathan Lemire --
LEMIRE: Plenty of topics to get on, Joy.
REID: Absolutely. Jonathan Lemire, thank you very much, man. I`m going to let you get in there with I guess the folks who are having cocktails. Thank you very much. I really appreciate you being here.
Let`s bring in -- I believe we do have Jennifer Rubin, Maria Hinojosa. We may have Jonathan Redlener. Let`s bring everyone in now right now. So let`s go through this in order. Irwin Redlener, I do apologize for that.
Jennifer, let me go to you first. Your thoughts on the fact the president of the United States apparently has assembled a fan club of his members of his golf club. Sure it`s quite expensive to join this golf club without masks on to be the audience so he can have applause during a press conference, a presidential press conference, and he scrambled the Press Corps to do. Your thoughts, Jennifer.
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": And they wonder why they are losing an election. There are 10 percent of Americans are unemployed, 160,000 are dead and he`s going to come to us from his private country club where sitting around will be multimillionaires who is have spent, as you said, hundreds of thousands of dollars to have access to the president. This is supposed to explain how he compassionate and in touch with the American people. This seems like a terrible idea just from their own selfish standpoint.
Now, perhaps he`s going to stay something different but, frankly, the optics, as they like to say, are miserable.
REID: Yes. Maria, can you speak to what`s happening in the real world. the world apparently that Donald Trump doesn`t visit, doesn`t feel compassion toward? What`s actually happening in the terms of the plight of individual people, particularly in the Latino community, in the black community, in places like the Bronx? I know you and I have talked about this. What is actually happening on the ground in terms of COVID and the impact it`s having and also on the fact that kids are now apparently going to be going back to school in New York City, despite it?
MARIA HINOJOSA, ANCHOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, NPR LATINO USA: Here is the thing, Joy. I`m taking a week off. A week off for journalists doesn`t mean you take a week off, but I had to go to the dentist. My dentist is in New Jersey. He`s African American. And when I went to see him and he was working on my mouth, that`s when he told me, you know, Norma died. And I said, Norma, who was the receptionist who had been with him forever. African American woman, over 75, her husband died. That was on Monday.
On Tuesday, I went to the dry cleaners, also hadn`t been back since January. And I walk in, I pick up my clothes, my winter clothes and I say (INAUDIBLE). I know the tailor, the Dominican tailor, he died. Joy, that is what it`s like for those of us who are on the ground every single week. You pick up the phone, this person died. You receive a text or an email.
So, what`s amazing is to think that there are people in New Jersey, a stone`s throw from where I am right now in Harlem who are living in another world, literally another bubble where they may be know no one who has died or if someone has died, they feel like, well, it was just a worker.
I mean, obviously, at that country club, I would love to ask Jonathan Lemire to tell me who`s working at that country club right now, who is walking around and tending to those people? I would tend to think that they`re Latinos and African Americans, mostly, because this is what we know. We have, in fact, been keeping this economy sputtering but alive.
But, clearly, there`s a complete disconnect. My WhatsApp feed for my Latina journalists who are moms is on fire, having this discuss about kids going back to school and how unsafe they feel, and at the same time, wanting their children, like my grown kids, to have a sense of socialization and learning.
Dude, where is the creativity? Can we be thinking about amazing possibilities to be teaching kids that doesn`t having to be 30 in a classroom or crammed in a hallway? This is supposed to be a country of brilliant ideas. We can`t think any better than this because this man is golfing. I`m livid.
REID: Yes. Dr. Redliner, let`s talk about that. Because if you have these well-heeled members of the Trump golf club who are walking around, sipping their cocktail, sipping drinks, their beverages, not wearing masks, they are coming in to cheer Donald Trump, apparently, that is what he needs, applause, what does that do and how does that impact the people who are actually working? Because they are not getting those drinks themselves, they are not pouring their over beverages.
But what about the people who are working, the people who are cleaning, the people who are serving? And Donald Trump has frequently used people who are undocumented to do that, by the way. He didn`t have a problem with undocumented labor in his own clubs. How much risk would they be in being around people like that?
DR. IRWIN REDLENER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY NATIONAL CENTER FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Of course. So, first of all, they haven`t been tested, as you pointed out earlier. Jonathan pointed out they have not been tested. We don`t know what their status is, either the guests or workers in the resort that he`s had. But the thing -- the whole optics of this, Joy, is so demoralizing. I feel myself, personally, downhearted just hearing about what`s going on down there. And it`s beyond disconnected.
And the entire country is on the verge of having to make the most agonizing decision that we had to deal with since this began, is are we sending our children back to school. Will they be learning remotely? If they`re learning remotely, we have millions of children who live (INAUDIBLE) families who may not have internet access or the hardware or the mentors to help them to do remote learning.
So we have a tremendous challenge ahead of us. And we`re putting children back in school. We`re not ready. Parents are literally, like I said, in agony, and we have these guys making believe that they live literally in another planet. They`ve completely disconnected. You can imagine how disheartening this is for everybody who is involved in this (INAUDIBLE).
REID: Yes, it is very disheartening. And then the image of the president of the United States at a golf club, what imagery, what message other than let them eat cake, let them eat COVID is he sending by doing this?
Okay. We`re going to take in quick break because we don`t know how long it`s going to take before he decides to get up on the well-heeled podium, expensive podium that we, the taxpayers, are paying for.
So my guests are going to stay with me.
And up next on THE REIDOUT, we`re also going to talk about the fact that Putin and his pals are back. We`re going to talk about that. Trump`s own intel officials say that Russia is, once again, working to get him re- elected.
We`re going to come back after this break. Perhaps we`ll see Donald Trump talk or we`ll move on with these other topics. So stay with us through the break.
REID: All right. My guests are still here, but I want to also bring in Congressman Eric Swalwell, who is joining us now as well.
And, Congressman, first, I want to get your comment on the fact that the president of the United States is at his golf club about to give a press conference. He says on Lebanon and on emergency orders he wants to do regarding relief, et cetera, but doing it with his very wealthy, well- heeled, members of his golf club as an audience unmasked to clap for him.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Joy, the president should be at the White House. Not only are we in the midst of pandemic, an economy that continues to slow, a deal that needs to be struck. This is the author of the Art of the Deal. We just learned today from the director of National Intelligence that the Russians seek again to interfere with a preferred candidate in Donald Trump and to tear down Joe Biden. He needs to be addressing the nation, and he`s going to do that from the White House, not with his country club friends. That`s inappropriate and it shows the un-seriousness that he brings to all of these matters.
REID: Let me go through just a couple of these things one by one. Right, on the question of interference, we knew from Robert Mueller he warned that Russia was going to keep doing it. We now know they are still doing it. What do you make of the fact that there`s all this other information too about Iran and China? Do you worry that`s being included in order to get it past Donald Trump, meaning, have something in there to both sides so that people say, oh, wait, there are also countries helping Biden? That is something that sort of sprang to mind when I heard they are talking not about just about Russia but about these other countries. Am I being too paranoid about that?
SWALWELL: Now, you`re exactly right, Joy. There is only one country that has a preferred candidate that they are willing to actually help. And the assessment is that Russia is trying to help Donald Trump and to tear down Joe Biden. And for the director of National Intelligence, to conflate all of these threats, it would be like the weather forecast leading with a snowstorm in the Rockies, and a lightning strike in the Midwest, and, at the bottom of the hour, saying, oh, yes, a Category 5 hurricane is going to hit the East Coast.
SWALWELL: They are truly trying to conflate threats, I believe to protect the president.
The president should, one, condemn what Russia is doing, two, devote every resource we have to stop them, and to work with Democrats and Republicans in the Congress to put tougher sanctions on Russia until they change their behavior.
REID: And, by the way, I just want to let the audience know that, as you`re listening to Congressman Swalwell, what you`re seeing on the other side of your screen there are the members.
And I would love for Jonathan Lemire or one of the other reporters to turn around and ask some of these members how much they paid, how much it costs them to be members of the Trump Golf Club. They are they are. Some of them have on masks, the wiser ones. Others do not.
They`re standing and festooned in the back in their cargo shorts and looking like they`re having grand old time. They`re going to watch the president`s speech. I don`t know that you needed an audience to do a press conference like this.
I want to keep you here, Congressman Swalwell.
But I have got to get Maria for a moment, just a moment.
Maria, I just want to hear your thoughts, looking at this, please.
HINOJOSA: Well, you saw what just happened. Somebody walked out and started giving out masks, because there were so many people who were not wearing masks.
So, he, I think, brought them -- brought them out on a tray, those paper masks. And that`s when people started putting them on. And now most of the people are wearing them.
I was horrified to see a child, an unmasked child in that group. And it`s just like, how could you expose a child to that? It`s all very, very strange. It`s also very -- we can see it. It`s very white. It`s very much men.
Now I don`t golf, Joy. I don`t -- I know that you and I have never had a meeting on a golf course, because I don`t know how you and I would feel kind of hanging around in this particular golf course. I mean, I think we might stick out like a sore thumb. What do you think?
REID: I think we would not -- we would not fit in.
Congressman Swalwell, I want to bring you back in here, because I have to get your thoughts on this, as somebody who is answerable to the United -- to the people, to constituents in this country.
This is shocking to me. This is not a press conference. This is not the president of the United States holding a press conference to talk to the American people.
What I see right here is a rich, entitled person showing off his golf club, festooning it with his members, who paid a lot of money to sit there with him, and having what he`s saying as a press conference, and making the White House press corps stand there and pretend they`re in a press conference with him, when this looks like it`s just another rally with press attending.
I`m sorry. I don`t mean to rant. I want to let you talk about what you`re seeing here and what you think, as somebody who is a servant of the people.
SWALWELL: There are a lot of people struggling tonight, as you and I talk and as the president addresses the country, Joy, but they`re not in that room.
Earlier this week, I -- in my congressional district in Hayward, California, passed out meals at a drive-through food bank. And the faces I saw are people who are hungry. They`re about to be evicted. They`re out of work. And they need a president who understands that.
And the president isn`t going to learn a damn thing from anyone who is at his country club right now. He needs to be concerned about evictions. He needs to be concerned about the deal that he needs to strike on the HEROES Act that Speaker Pelosi, who`s at the Capitol right now, by the way, Joy -- Speaker Pelosi is at the Capitol trying to get a deal to help millions of Americans who are hungry, out of work and about to lose their home.
And the president is addressing the country club, country club crowd.
REID: Yes, it`s shocking.
I mean, people are literally not able to pay their rent. We are past the 1st of the month. People have not gotten rent relief. People have run out of the extra unemployment benefit, that extra little $600 that Lindsey Graham and others are complaining about it`s too much money, it`s going to make them lazy.
People are suffering. And they`re in a country club. I don`t know what to say.
Please stay with us, Congressman Swalwell. I want to keep you here, please, if I could, and bring in Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence.
With all of that happening, Frank -- and, by the way, just for the audience, we`re going to come off of that, whatever that was. That`s not a press conference. If he does a real press conference, we`d be happy to take it. But that`s not a press conference. We don`t know what that is.
So, we`re just going to stay with our guests here right now.
Frank, we know that Russia is doing it again. They`re trying to add China and Iran. Do you take it seriously, this -- the other two countries being added to it, in order to balance it out? Or do you think we still need to be focused on Russia?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: The answer is, yes, all of the above. We need to take China and Iran very seriously.
Let me -- let me assure you of one thing. If China actually decided to act maliciously in the election, they would make Russia look like the junior varsity.
But we also need to focus on Russia, because they have a track record of actually being willing to break our laws and interfere and meddle in our democratic election process.
So, as the president tonight is at his country club on a Friday night, America is actually under assault. Everyone I`m talking to in the intelligence and counterintelligence community tells me that they are almost in a warlike posture. This is almost a post-9/11 response, where they were playing, if you recall, Whac-A-Mole in the intelligence community with al Qaeda Web sites, chat rooms, and blogs.
Do you take -- and then the dilemma of what you do. You`re damned if you do and damned if you don`t. If you take down the sites you think are attributable to a country, you lose insight into that attribution, and you don`t wrap up an entire cell or network, some of whom might be operating here in this country.
If you come out and say, look, look at this tweet, this is a Chinese intelligence service tweet, you might get it wrong, because, you know what, Iran is posing as China, and China is posing as Russia, and so on and so on. It gets very complicated.
But I know this. We need more transparency. We need to get weekly briefings. And, by the way, my intelligence professional friends are telling me, the pros, the career professionals are saying they want to issue weekly briefings, much as like we have started to see, so that Americans become far more informed.
But what is the great concern in the intel community? That their political masters will be twisting, shaping and constraining the message. And that`s the fear.
The equivalency, the false equivalency that China likes Biden, therefore, it`s all balanced out, is a very, very troubling, misleading, dangerous presumption, because Russia is actually destroying and intervening and hacking and sending out social media propaganda, whereas it appears China is merely saying, we really think Trump might need to go.
REID: Right, saying he`s unstable. They`re making statements saying that he`s unstable and things like that. Well, no kidding. Like, there are a lot of Americans who believe Donald Trump is unstable.
And to stay with you for just a moment, Frank, I mean, at this point, we have people staying home and spending a lot of time on social media, a lot of time on these platforms, maybe more time than they would normally be spending.
And so people, in a sense, are more vulnerable, because what else are you doing, right? You`re home and you`re on these platforms.
We did see Facebook have to take down some platforms where people were pretending to be black people who opposed Biden. And you have all of this sort of fakery that we did see happening in 2016 again.
Is there anything that people can do to protect themselves, to protect the younger voters in their family from this propaganda, I guess you would call it, that`s being created by foreign countries, but pretending to be Americans?
FIGLIUZZI: More than ever before, we need to limit our time on social media, number one.
Number two, you need to limit what you`re viewing to only the trusted sources that have been the go-to sources for you. If something in your gut feels badly about the credibility of a source, you`re probably right.
And then you need to understand that everything possible is being done secretly, in the C.I. world and the intel world, and more than ever before, there`s a dialogue with the Silicon Valley platform providers. You`re seeing sites being taken down because there is that interaction occurring, like never before, where the government is saying, look over here, this looks Russian, this looks Iranian, this looks North Korean.
And you`re seeing the sites come down. So things are happening behind the scenes. We`re getting some public briefings. We need more transparency. And we need to push back when we see political masters, like the attorney general or the DNI, trying to protect the president.
Let the pros do their job. And we`re going to -- we`re going to elect our own president. If we get it wrong, someone else is going to make that choice for us.
REID: This is terrifying, as if we didn`t have enough to deal with, with all of the death and all of the poverty and the fear, everything.
Congressman Eric Swalwell, Frank Figliuzzi, Dr. Irwin Redlener, and, Maria Hinojosa, thank you all very much. I really appreciate you all spending some time with us tonight.
Jennifer Rubin is staying with me.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is, in fact, ahead of time, as a matter of fact.
Notice, most vice-presidential nominees aren`t announced until a day, two or three before the convention. And so I have gone through it. It has been very orderly. There`s a -- every one of the women I have -- we have interviewed is qualified, and I have narrowed it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: It is the biggest question being asked right now in this year`s presidential contest: Who is Joe Biden going to pick as his running mate, and, maybe just as important, what`s the holdup?
At one point, Biden said that he`d make his decision by the end of this week, but here we are going into the weekend still in suspense.
He, of course, has a powerful bench to pick from. And with each passing day, there are new headlines speculating about who that choice might be.
Adding fuel to the fire, "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Susan Rice has sold a significant amount of stock in Netflix, where she sits on the board of directors.
And, as "The New York Times" points out, as the process has stretched out, each day has also brought intensive lobbying, uncertainty for the contenders, and increasingly visible factions.
For more. I`m joined by Democratic strategist James Carville, former RNC chair Michael Steele, and, back with me is Jennifer Rubin from "The Washington Post."
James Carville, you have been through this ringer before. Have you ever seen anything like this, the oppo research being dumped out...
JAMES CARVILLE, MSNBC ELECTION ANALYST: Sure. Yes, it always...
REID: ... the backbiting, the behind-the-scenes drama? Have you ever seen anything like this?
CARVILLE: Yes, it`s politics.
REID: In a veep search, yes
CARVILLE: This is going to happen.
And I`m -- look, I`m taking my guidance from Congressman Clyburn. Anybody he picks, I`m for.
CARVILLE: I mean, he`s got any number of tremendously qualified people. He`s earned the right to make his quick.
And, by the way, if he wants to take another week, I don`t care. I mean, Reagan didn`t pick Bush until the night before the Republican Convention. I mean, I`m not at all...
CARVILLE: Yes, those guys that work for -- people that work with these various candidates are leaking and sending this up.
That`s the nature of politics. You can`t take the politics out of politics. It`s just what it is. But he will make a -- I agree with Jim Clyburn. He will make a wise, he will make a judicious choice. And it will be somebody he will be comfortable with. And it`ll be somebody that I will be 100 percent behind.
That`s his right to make that choice.
REID: But do you think that it`s been problematic for people like Chris Dodd to be out there, what -- at least it looks like, sort of trashing one of the candidate choices who a lot of people really like and would like to see on the ticket, and sort of sniping at her it, to the point where you had Valerie Jarrett put out a tweet this morning, basically in solidarity, saying that we`re going to stand behind these women, essentially pitting these black women against each other, at a time when Biden needs to have the kind of African American turnout that Barack Obama had in order to win the election?
This isn`t helpful.
CARVILLE: Yes, you know, maybe Senator Dodd could have been more judicious in his remarks. But I think we can blow this up too much.
And, by the way, some of these women are leaking on each other. That`s politics. I mean, everybody`s mixing it up a little bit. And I don`t think -- I think Joe Biden`s been around American politics for a few years, and he probably understands this.
But I -- look, we`re getting all away from, I think, the central point of what`s going on in this country. And, like I say, he will have a fine pick, and it`ll be somebody we can all get excited about. And I will be following Jim Clyburn right through Election Day.
REID: All right, but we`re going to just veer off just a tiny bit. We don`t want to do too much Trump talk.
But my producers are just telling me that Donald Trump just walked out to "Hail to the Chief" at his golf club, where his golf members -- and I`d love to know how much it costs to join this particular golf club in New Jersey -- cheered for him.
That`s the optics that they have put forward.
Michael Steele, if you were still RNC chair, would it be Maalox at this point or a cocktail, a very strong cocktail? Which one would you be reaching for?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Child, they would have fired my behind six months ago by this...
STEELE: I wouldn`t have even been in the room for this conversation.
REID: You think they wouldn`t have kept the black guy? Are you kidding?
STEELE: Oh, geez. Oh, my gosh.
Look, it is what it is. This is what Trump is going to be doing.
STEELE: There`s more of this to come, people. Come on. Just put the cartoon face on and move on. This is just what it is. This is reality TV presidential politics being played out every night at this hour.
It`s staged. It`s not real. The audience is sort of trucked in. They know what they`re supposed to do. They`re going to do it. Trump`s going to stand there. He`s going to feel good after this. That`s what this is all about, making him feel good.
Why? Because everything else makes him feel bad, the COVID numbers, the number of deaths, the number of infections, the reality of the economy. Yes, today was a good day for a lot of folks who got jobs, but still 10 percent unemployment, the civil unrest that`s rife across the country, where a lot of people that Donald Trump would stand -- thought would stand with him, Joy, are standing against him and the position he`s taken on the death of George Floyd, the response to the civil unrest, all of that.
So, yes, let the boy have his moment.
STEELE: Let him have his time with his friends. Let him just sort of feel all Chuck E. Cheesey and move on.
The rest of us will move on.
REID: You sound like a kindly day care center owner...
REID: ... talking about a toddler who is having a tantrum. That`s who you sound like.
STEELE: Yes, because that`s what this is. That`s what this is.
REID: Jennifer Rubin, on the very serious note, Joe Biden is -- he`s in this fulcrum now, where you have, as Michael Steele just described, the circus that`s happening in New Jersey right now and in Washington, chaos in D.C., where they cannot reach a deal.
Mitch McConnell doesn`t seem to really care. And Joe Biden, for all his little hiccups and gaffes, is the person people are clinging to as like a life raft to the isle of sanity.
REID: And so I wonder if you think that the semi-chaos around the V.P. pick detracts from that sense that he`s the warm, fuzzy blanket that we can throw over ourselves, over our heads for the next four years.
RUBIN: I think people around Biden have done him no favors.
I`m going to differ with James on this. And that is that they are playing and replaying this same trope that really hits women, that they are too ambitious, that they have offended men, that only a certain type of woman can be chosen for an important position.
And that is going to stick in the craw of a lot of women. Now, these women are probably going to wind up voting for him. But he really should, I think, have the presence of mind to tell these people to shut the heck up.
And you have seen some effort from the campaign. You also saw a letter from a whole slew of prominent women, women`s groups, basically saying to the media, you guys are part of the problem here. You`re fanning this same atmosphere of really taking what would be an attribute for a man and making this into a negative for a woman.
In terms of Biden, he should just set up a camera there and use this footage for his next ad. I`m sure the Lincoln Project folks will, because this is so terrible. It`s such a picture of exclusion.
Are there any women at these clubs? I saw one gentleman of color, but that was about it. And these kinds of paunchy, middle-aged man, mostly white, all very rich, in their golf shorts sitting around, yukking it up, what is he thinking?
I mean, Biden is going to have a field day with this. And I do think it conveys something else, which is, I`m not sure that Trump is trying to still win the presidency. I think this is now about self-care and making himself feel bigger and better.
I cannot imagine that anybody on that campaign would have encouraged this or would have thought this is a good idea. And Republicans should be scared silly, because, as he goes down the tube and blithely throws away women, throws away minorities, throws away young people, the Senate is going to collapse on them.
And down the ticket, whether it`s Senate, House races, it`s all going to cascade down. And the fact that this guy is behaving like the multimillionaire -- we don`t really know how much he is worth -- but playing the part of a multimillionaire, is not only going to affect him.
It`s going to reflect on the whole party, which people already believe is the party of rich white men. And listen to what they`re doing at a time where the Republicans say, $600 is too much, these people are too lazy.
Lazy might be staying at a country club and playing golf all day. But that doesn`t register with them. These people are so afraid of and I think completely out of touch with the American people that it doesn`t dawn on them that this is going to be heavily offensive...
RUBIN: ... at a time people are looking at evictions. State and local employees are facing layoffs without aid.
And we have 160,000 dead Americans. And these guys are sitting there yukking it up. Is it any wonder that he isn`t succeeding as president? He doesn`t get it. He doesn`t realize that he is president of this country of 350 million people. And most of them don`t look and don`t act and don`t have the bank account that his buddies do.
Well, he`s the president of that country club. And I guess we should just be glad that Bill Stepien didn`t close the bridges on the way into New Jersey, his campaign manager. We do remember he was from Bridgegate.
STEELE: Oh, Joy.
REID: Anyhoo, my guests are staying with me. I mean it. It`s just true.
We will be back after a quick break.
REID: James Carville, Michael Steele and Jennifer Rubin are back with me.
The news so far from the president`s country club event, Trump says unemployment benefits will be extended to the end of the year, and he will -- he will defer student loan payments.
I want to throw that out to you guys. And I don`t know if any of you know whether or not our president even has the power to do any of all that. And that`s to anybody who has the answer.
RUBIN: He doesn`t. He doesn`t.
RUBIN: This is, again, the...
RUBIN: This is, again, the power of Congress to appropriate money. I don`t know what he thinks he`s doing or where he thinks he`s getting the money from.
This is why Congress has been negotiating. And, frankly, if he could do this, why did he have people go off unemployment, the unemployment subsidy in the first place, if he could do this all along?
This is just posturing and nuts and leading people on, in the most cynical fashion. And when the money doesn`t come, who are they going to blame? It`s not going to be the Democrats. It`s going to be Trump.
REID: And, James, the obsession that Donald Trump has had with gutting the payroll tax, which, of course, funds Social Security, his base is a lot of people who are seniors. What is this about? And why does he think -- I don`t understand how he thinks that`s even good politics.
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, it`s not very good policy.
In other words, you are paying the payroll tax, it means you`re on a payroll, OK? We have all kinds of people in this country that would like to be on a payroll, and they`re not.
I mean, it`s just, from a standpoint -- I`m not a policy person. But people are hurting out there. We have over 10 percent unemployment in this country. People are cooped up in houses. They`re being evicted.
And he has no idea of what he`s talking about. He has no idea of policy. And the fact that he`s playing golf is like the 100th most offensive thing he`s done since he`s been president. But he doesn`t even know if he`s out there in Yosemite or Thigh-land or wherever, in 2 Corinthians, or wherever he goes.
We got to just stop acting like this is a serious human being, because he`s not. He doesn`t know what he`s doing. He really doesn`t.
I mean, I`m sorry.
REID: I think that`s clear. I think -- no, I think that`s clear, yes. I think that`s very clear.
REID: Michael Steele, please psychoanalyze the Republicans for me here.
Mitch McConnell has to get reelected. He`s up either 13 or five over his opponent in Kentucky. We don`t know which, right? But the reality is, is, the appearance to the -- from the outside looking in, is that Republicans don`t give a damn whether people are starving and getting evicted and whether they`re hungry. They don`t seem to care.
They`re complaining that the poors might get an extra $600 because they`re so greedy. They want 600 more dollars. These people have $6 million. I don`t know how they think this gets Cory Gardner reelected. I don`t understand the strategy on the Republican side. Do you?
STEELE: Well, I -- no. And I don`t think a lot of people do. And that`s frustrating for those who have been trying to meet -- trying to bring elements of political common sense to the narrative to sort of help folks understand what the numbers are really saying.
What American -- what the American people are really telling Republicans right now is, this is not just any longer about Donald Trump. This is also about you and your leadership and your governance of this country, your fundamental inability to understand what you just described, that 600 -- people who are taking $600 a week are barely making it.
And, yes, for some people, that may be more than they made before this, but do you really think that people are going to -- are believing that this is going to be their income going forward?
I mean, there`s nobody who had a job who doesn`t want to go back to work because, oh, I`m getting $600 a week from the government. The fact that you insult the intelligence of the American people with that line of reasoning, when you give you -- the government -- and you authorize a $750 million paycheck to Kodak, and, within 24 hours, the CEO is making $200 million.
And you`re whining about the fact that a citizen of the country just took a $600 check from the government? So, this is the problem.
And I told you a week ago, Joe -- I`m blanking -- I`m sorry.
STEELE: I told you a week ago, Joy -- I was about to say, Joy -- Joy, I told you a week ago where Republicans were, under Donald Trump`s left cheek.
REID: Yes. Yes.
STEELE: And they`re still there, because they don`t see what`s going on around the country at the moment. And that`s the unfortunate part, not for the country, because we know what we`re going to do it November.
It`s for them. And they don`t see it.
REID: They don`t see it.
And, James, this -- it almost seems like fate put Joe Biden in this position at this moment, right? It would have to be the guy that rode the Amtrak home, so he could be home in Delaware, rather than living in D.C. as a United States senator, and somebody who can actually relate to people who ride in on Amtrak, and who maybe don`t sit in first class.
And he actually seems to have hit a fortuitous time, because even his gaffes don`t seem to matter, because people are just like, he`s not that. He`s not this. He won`t be in a country club with $200,000 members having him applaud for him.
Is that sort of the -- is that the bottom line here for Biden?
CARVILLE: He`s led a life. He`s had real tragedy, real experience in his life. He`s lived in his community. All right? He`s a very experienced, humane, humble person, which is exactly what we need now.
And, by the way, his gaffes are not very -- every politician says dumb things, all right? His gaffes, I don`t even think are very gaffey, to tell you the truth.
I mean, if -- you got Trump sitting now with Jonathan Swan looking at him, and he will read a chart talking about, "It is what it is," couldn`t answer a question.
If Biden says something to Hispanic and black journalists and makes an observation that there are cultural distinctions, I don`t know, maybe -- I mean, everybody goes -- everybody covers that.
I mean, I think he`s doing just fine. He`s got the right kind of experience. He`s just got a hold to, and he will get this vice presidential thing done. He will do fine. He just -- he wants to be comfortable with the person. He is making a big decision. There`s no reason for him to hurry the decision.
We in the press can wait a few more days. It`s not going to kill us.
REID: What might kill us is stress, though, because watching all of this stuff happen is something else.
James Carville, Michael Steele, Jennifer Rubin, thank you all. I really appreciate you guys tonight.
And up next: the racial injustice of the old South still rearing its head in Louisiana in 2020.
Stay with us.
REID: After watching tonight`s display of ostentatious wealth at Donald Trump`s golf club in New Jersey, a thought.
There`s been a lot of conservative agita directed toward the 1619 Project, "The New York Times Magazine" historical insert that won journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones a Pulitzer Prize.
The beef has been that the project unfairly centered slavery and the horrors that went with it as the touchstones of American history.
But here`s the thing. The rot from slavery and its aftermath are still with us in 1,000 different ways. Take Louisiana, where slavery was established and maintained by European colonizers, first the French, then the Spanish, and, after that, after the vast Louisiana Purchase by slaveholder Thomas Jefferson, by the Americans.
After slavery all across the American South, laws were put in place to try to control the movement of the former property. These included so-called Pig Laws, which imposed barbaric sentences for what amounted to poverty crimes, petty theft of food or crops or stealing pigs or cattle, by people who emerge from slavery oftentimes completely impoverished, landless, homeless, and hungry.
As "The Washington Post" points out, much like the black codes before them, the Pig Laws allowed states to sentence people to forced labor. And under these laws, the black prison population in the Deep South exploded starting in the 1870s.
Blacks were incarcerated in places like the giant notorious former Louisiana plantation called Angola, which, due to its use as a source of prison labor, is essentially the largest working plantation in America today, taking advantage of a loophole in the 13th Amendment, which banned slave labor, except for those who are incarcerated, as Ava DuVernay`s incredible film" 13th" points out.
Fast-forward to January 5, 1997. Fair Wayne Bryant was arrested by police in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was accused of stealing a pair of hedge clippers from a carport storeroom. He was convicted and sentenced to life at Angola Prison. He was 38 years old.
Mr. Bryant filed appeals, which this week wound up in the Louisiana Supreme Court, which upheld his life sentence by a vote of 6-1. All six justices who ruled against Mr. Bryant are white.
The lone black judge, the state`s first black chief justice, Bernette Johnson, in a stinging dissent, called Bryant`s life sentence a modern manifestation of the Pig Laws that were largely designed to reenslave African Americans.
She noted that those same laws evolved into Louisiana`s habitual offender laws, which allow prosecutors to seek harsher sentences for lesser crimes if a defendant has previous convictions.
More than eight in 10 people incarcerated under these habitual offender laws are black. As the judge pointed out, Mr. Bryant was -- has already spent nearly 23 years in prison and is now over 60 years old. If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost $1 million to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers.
That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
And before we can go, I want to note that early voting is already under way in Florida. And this Sunday is Souls to the Polls in that state, a major effort to get voters to turn in their mail-in ballots or get to the in- person voting locations to drop them off.
And no matter which state you`re in, please make sure that you register and vote.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
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