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Trump grades himself TRANSCRIPT: 3/16/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Michael Osterholm, Jonathan Quick, Austan Goolsbee, Amy Klobuchar, Eric Swalwell, Vin Gupta

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, they`re going to happen. 


LAWRENCE: We know that. We just don`t know who will happen with turnout. We  don`t know what parts of the electorate might be less likely to turn out. 

MADDOW: Did you see the statement from the Ohio governor and secretary of  state in the last few minutes? 

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s -- 


O`DONNELL: OK, so Ohio is a question. 

MADDOW: It`s a question. 


MADDOW: I mean, DeWine wants for it to not happen and joins a lawsuit,  loses on court on that and he and the secretary of state say in the  statement tonight, it simply isn`t possible to hold an election tomorrow  that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans. 

So, it`s -- to me, that`s part of the drama here is what happens in Ohio  and in those other states. 

O`DONNELL: So, it`s going to be a live action scene tomorrow night. 

MADDOW: That`s right. Suspense of all sorts. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Thank you, Rachel. 

Well, House of Representatives just passed its technically corrected final  version of a bill to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Congressman Eric  Swalwell will join us later in the hour on that legislation.

Senator Amy Klobuchar will join us to explain why United States Senate led  by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has done nothing for days now while  simply waiting for the House bill to arrive. 

We`ll also get Senator Klobuchar`s reaction to last night`s Democratic  presidential debate in which Joe Biden promised to choose a woman as his  vice presidential running mate if he wins the Democratic presidential  nomination and my interview with Joe Biden a week ago included a very  strong hint from Joe Biden that he would choose a woman who was on the  presidential debate stage with him already this year. He said that he  thought it was a very important factor that the vice presidential candidate  have experience already at that level on the presidential debate stage. So  that means, Amy Klobuchar is one of the women who has that experience.  We`ll talk to her about that later in this hour. 

Today, at the White House press briefing on coronavirus pandemic, the very  first question was about the time frame Americans should anticipate for  when the situation might begin to get better in the United States and in  response to that question, Donald Trump said two words that seemed to shock  the stock market into further losses and surely came as a shock to most  Trump voters who polls show have mostly not taken the coronavirus pandemic  seriously. Those two words that changed the world for those people today  were July and August. 


REPORTER: If Americans really were band together and do what the White  House is suggesting, how quickly can this turn? 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My favorite question, I asked  it all the time. How many times, Anthony, I think I ask that question every  day and speak to Deborah, I speak to a lot of them. I get the opinions. 

So, it seems to me that if we do a really good job, we`ll not only hold the  death down to a level that is much lower than the other way had we not done  a good job, but people are talking about July, August, something like that.  So, it could be right in that period of time where I say it washes through.  Other people don`t like that term, but where it washes through. 

REPORTER: So is this the new normal until the height of the summer? 

TRUMP: We`ll see what happens but they think August could be July, could be  longer than that. I`ve asked that question many, many times. 


O`DONNELL: That is by far the most reasonable answer Donald Trump has ever  given to a question like that about the pandemic. It sent Wall Street on a  spiral of further losses in the remaining minutes of the trading day after  Donald Trump said July and August. They then ended with the worst single- day losses since the Black Monday crash of 1987 on the stock market. The  words July and August surely a came as a shock to Trump voters who get  their news from the same defective sources Donald Trump uses. 

An NBC News poll released this weekend showed that Democrats already knew  where this was going because none of them were believing what Donald Trump  had to say about it, and most Republicans had no idea where we would be  just two days after the poll was released. Seventy-nine percent of  Democrats knew days ago that the worst was yet to come and only 40 percent  of Republicans knew that because they had been listening to Donald Trump. 

The biggest reason for the Republican failure on this reality test was  their belief in the words of Donald Trump. Here`s what Donald Trump told  those unfortunate people who believed him last month. 


TRUMP: Now, the virus that we`re talking about having to do -- you know, a  lot of people goes away in April with the heat, as the heat comes in.  Typically, that will go away in April. 


O`DONNELL: April has now become July and August. And here is what the  president said, actually said this just two and a half weeks ago. 


TRUMP: When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going  to be down to close to zero. That`s a pretty good job we`ve done. 


O`DONNELL: Yes, that would have been a pretty good job. But that is not  what happened. We now have at least 4,421 reported cases and at least 84  reported deaths in the United States. And today, 2-1/2 weeks after claiming  he personally was in charge of a government defense against the coronavirus  that was going to get our cases down to zero, Donald Trump said he`s doing  a great job. 


REPORTER: On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your response to  this crisis? 

TRUMP: I`d rate it at ten. 


O`DONNELL: It`s important to remember that no other president in history  would have answered a question like that that way. Every previous president  would have recognized that the question was a test of his humility and his  competence at the same time. And so, every previous president would have  found a way of defending his competence in the crisis but would have humbly  refused to give himself a grade. That is the minimally decent way for any  human being to handle a question like that but Donald Trump does not have  minimal decency, which is why once again, today, Donald Trump did not speak  one word of sorrow over the loss of life. Donald Trump did not say one word  of sympathy to the people who have lost their loved ones to this pandemic.

As usual, there wasn`t a trace of feeling exhibited by Donald Trump today  for the pain and tragedy that this pandemic has brought to the people of  the United States and the world. In his briefing yesterday, Donald Trump  did very clearly express a feeling and he expressed it very convincingly,  and it was the very first thing he said yesterday. He was so excited about  it and the feeling that Donald Trump expressed in response to a pandemic  that is killing Americans and is on its way to making thousands and  thousands of people sick in this country with a possible ultimate death  toll in the millions around the world, the feelings Donald Trump felt in  the face of all of that yesterday was happy. 


TRUMP: Beautiful day outside. I think we have some great things to talk  about. I`ll start by discussing the Federal Reserve, as you know, it just  happened ten minutes ago but to me, it makes me very happy and I want to  congratulate the Federal Reserve. For starters, they`ve lowered the Fed  rate from what it was from 1 to 1.25 and it`s been lowered down to zero to  0.25 or .25. So it`s 0 to 0.25. That`s a big difference. That`s quite a  bit, about a point. 


O`DONNELL: Happy. A briefing on the deadly pandemic and he was happy. 

And he didn`t mind telling you he was happy because interest on his  personal debts went down even lower yesterday. And it now as low as it can  possibly go, interest cannot go lower than that, and so, the president is  happy. He didn`t realize that lowering the rate to zero was a desperate  move by the Fed as the economy flipping head over hills into a recession  that could, depending on how long this continues, become a depression. 

The stock market correctly perceived the Feds` move for what it was, utter  desperation so when the stock market opened it pretty much instantly  crashed and trading had to be stopped. Happy was the only emotion the  president expressed yesterday, the only feeling. He did not publicly share  his feelings if he had any about the dead and the dying and the sick and  the doctors and the nurses trying to save those lives and the family  members trying to save their own lives while they watch loved ones slip  away. 

There is not a trace of feeling in this president of the United States for  any of the pain that America and the world are feeling tonight and there  was a apparently no expression of such feelings by the president on a  conference call with governors today where he told them not to expect much  from the federal government. 

"The New York Times" listened to a recording of the call in which the  president told the governors, respirators, ventilators, all the equipment,  try getting it yourselves, Mr. Trump told the governors during the  conference call, a recording of which was shared with the "New York Times."  We will be backing you but try getting it yourselves, point of sales much  better and much more direct if you can get it yourself. The suggestion  surprised some governors who have been scrambling to contain the outbreak  and increasingly looking to the federal government with help with  equipment, personnel and financial aid. 

After that conference call that the president had with the governors, one  of those governors, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said this. 


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: This is a national problem and we need  federal leadership. You look at the countries who have handled this. I  don`t care if it China, South Korea, if it`s Italy. They were handled by  national leadership. This is a national problem. 

It cannot be done in a piecemeal method. You need federal parameters to  stop the national patch work of city reduction closings. 


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight are Dr. Jonathan Quick,  professor at the Duke Global Health Institute and author of "The End of  Epidemics". He`s a former director of the World Health Organization. 

And Dr. Michael Osterholm, he`s the director of the Centers for Disease  Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He`s the author of  "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs." 

Dr. Quick, what was your reaction to July and August as the possible first  turning in the right direction here? 

DR. JONATHAN QUICK, FORMER DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Well, it  depends on what we do now. I mean, we have to -- we have the chance to slow  this down as we say, flatten the curve as Korea has done and China has  done, get down to zero cases. But we got to move quickly and aggressively,  and we won`t be able to know when it`s going to start coming down until it  hits that point. It depends on what we do, what the government does and  what the virus does. 

O`DONNELL: In your view, Dr. Quick, what do we have to do in order to get  that to the point where it would turn in July or August? 

QUICK: Well, first of all, we do need one plan, one team. This does have to  be a whole as society, whole a country effort. You cannot fight a virus  that moves around the country with scattered teams and scattered plans. We  tried that in 1918 when there was no plan and it was a four fold difference  among the mortality in different cities. So, we need a unified plan and we  need unified messaging. 

We can`t confuse the public on something where people are feeling scared  and confused already. They need clear, consistent messages that are aligned  with what our public health officials are saying. We have a great public  health team in charge. They need to lead on the messages. 

O`DONNELL: Dr. Osterholm, messages that came out this weekend, there were  two messages that came out from two Republican office holders, both of  these were raised to the president today in the briefing. One was  Republican Congressman Devin Nunes encouraging people in his California  congressional district, which is a largely farming district to go ahead and  go out and go to any restaurants they want, Governor of Oklahoma did the  same thing. The governor of Oklahoma tweeted a picture of himself out in  public with his children in a public dining area. 

Today, the president was asked about that after it had already been said  that nationally, everywhere in the country, no one should assemble in  groups of more than ten and people should not be going to restaurants, and  the president refused to say that there was anything wrong with what the  governor of Oklahoma was suggesting and to go back to Dr. Quick`s point  about speaking with one voice, the governor of Oklahoma is speaking with a  completely different voice from virtually everyone else we`re hearing from  on this. 

What would you say to the people of Oklahoma? 

DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY:  Well, first of all, we have to realize that this virus will impact all 50  states and it will have a significant impact. So what everyone does today  doesn`t dictate whether the virus will go away or stay. It`s here. 

The second point in follow-up to the previous question is I`d like to add,  you know, this virus, if you look in China arrived in mid-November even  with the most suppressive human movement activities everywhere people  really were almost in jail in their homes. This virus is still being  transmitted there, some five months later and once they lift the movement,  restrictions on these people and they go back to work, I think they`re  going to see a resurgence in China. That`s a lesson for us.

I think that this virus clearly has legs that will take it for many, many  months and the only way that that wouldn`t happen is if, suddenly, all of  us got it and finally we all became immune from that or died. So I think  any time we`re talking about what we`re going to do in this country, we  have to realize, this is not a Minneapolis blizzard we`re getting ready  for. This is a coronavirus winter that`s going to last for many, many  months. 

So, when you say many, many months, where do you see July and August in  this? 

OSTERHOLM: I think it will blow right past them. First of all, remember if  we`re successful at blunting this as we just heard flattening the curve,  that means it extends it out and one of the things that we want to do is we  want to use the kind of public health activities that we believe can really  blunt this and pull down the number of cases but that`s very different than  saying we`ll prevent cases. With this kind of transmission where it`s  spread basically through the air, people have contact with each other as we  see with influenza and get infected, I think this thing is going to infect  anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of the U.S. population between now and the  end of the year. Anybody who thinks this is going to be over with by the  end of the summer I think will be sorely surprised. 

O`DONNELL: Dr. Quick, to go back to this question of July and August having  heard what he says, what is your view of where we`re headed there and I  don`t think the statement today at the White House meant to say that it  would be over with by July and August, but just July and August will be the  first time we make a turn in an improved direction. 

QUICK: Well, again, I think it -- I think it tough -- I agree with him this  is here to stay and it is going to keep moving, and whether or not the  dates really depend on how good we are at the social isolation and slowing  down the transmission but it will continue. It unlikely we`ll see it, it  doesn`t seem -- we don`t know whether this will go away or reduce in the  summer months and we can`t count on that, at all. So, we need to be  thinking and expect a rough time really until we get a vaccine. 

O`DONNELL: Dr. Osterholm, are there any parts of the United States that can  ignore these recommendations and just feel safe? 

OSTERHOLM: No, and I think one of the very important lessons we have to  learn here and we`ve seen this in other countries around the world since  the emerging of this virus in China is that we`ll have rolling outbreaks.  There will be areas of the country such as we see now in the Seattle area,  I believe it`s emerging in New York. There will be states right now that  are going to be ahead of the rest of us. 

We see this with seasonal flu, for example, and may be bad for several  months and others will feel like they were spared, only to have those  spared areas get hit. So that when you look at the cumulative number of  cases, there will be a contribution of many epidemics going on throughout  the country. So, no one will be spared and some will get it sooner, some  will get it letter, but we`re all going to get it. 

O`DONNELL: Michael Osterholm and Dr. Jonathan Quick, thank you both for  starting us off tonight. Appreciate it. 

OSTERHOLM: Thank you. 

O`DONNELL: When we come back, Donald Trump says he`s doing a great job of  crisis management. Two veterans of the Obama administration disagree. Ben  Rhodes and Austan Goolsbee will join us next.



REPORTER: On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your response to  this crisis? 

TRUMP: I`d rate it at ten. 


O`DONNELL: Sorry to put you through that again, but it`s worth hearing  Donald Trump say that one more time so we keep in mind the depths of the  provision of his egomania which controls everything he does and everything  thinks about everything and it leaves him oblivious to how he sounds to  people who value decency and competence and realism and truth. There was  more. 


REPORTER: Mr. President, does the buck stop with you? 

TRUMP: Normally but this has never been done before this this country. If  you look back, take a look at some of the things that took place in `09 or  `11 or whatever it may have been. 


O`DONNELL: Stop, we`ve got to stop that video because he just rambles on  incoherently and ends up off in the forest somewhere. Does the buck stop  with you normally? Normally, he says. You heard him say that on this one,  the coronavirus, the pandemic, the buck does not stop with him, that`s what  he`s saying. The buck does not stop with him. 

He refuses to accept Harry Truman`s old saying the buck stops here meaning  in the Oval Office, meaning the president is responsible. Harry Truman  meant the president is always responsible. 


REPORTER: The stock market took another hit today. Is the U.S. economy  heading into a recession? 

TRUMP: Well, it may be. 


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the  Council of Economic Advisors for President Obama, he`s now a professor of  economics at University of Chicago. And Ben Rhodes is with us, he`s the  former deputy national security adviser to President Obama. He is an MSNBC  political analyst. 

Austan, let`s start on that last line. Are we headed into a recession and  the president of the United States simply says, well, it may be. 

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Look, I  don`t know how you can deny what`s happening in the economy. It`s shutting  down. And so much of our economy is driven by services which are exactly  the things that shut down when we withdraw. I think the deeper issue is --  and I welcomed the president`s tone today, it was a marked difference from  his tone in all previous -- in all previous weeks which in those previous  weeks, he`s been trying to play down the importance of this saying no, no,  it`s going away. It nothing you can go to work. We only have 14 cases. It  will soon be zero. 

And the problem is like my old dear friend Paul Volcker used to say during  the financial crisis, in a crisis the only asset you have is your  credibility. And we have spent so much time destroying our credibility that  I`m really afraid for the president and for us that it might be too late to  now try to turn it around. Whether you like the president or don`t like  him, we need him to succeed here. We need him to rise to the job and he`s  not been doing that. 

O`DONNELL: Well, we can welcome the change today but this president mislead  Republicans into not taking this seriously and so, we have a right to  believe tonight that there are people infected tonight, there are people  who are dying tonight because they listened to Donald Trump. 

Let`s listen to Donald Trump comparing this tone change. Let`s listen to  what he said about the governor whose state at that time had the most  coronavirus reported cases, Jay Inslee, governor of Washington. This is  just ten days ago. Let`s listen to this. 


TRUMP: I told Mike not to be complementary to the governor because that  governor is a snake. 


O`DONNELL: That governor is a snake. Now, let listen`s listen to what Trump  said about the governors today. 


TRUMP: We had a great talk with the governors today. I think it was a  really great talk. There is a tremendous coordination. There is a  tremendous spirit that we have together with the governors and that`s  pretty much for the most part bipartisan. 


O`DONNELL: Ben Rhodes, is that a welcome change of tone or a madman whose  meds might be working today? 

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think, Lawrence, it`s a  president that finally realized reality caught up to him. What he`s been  doing throughout this crisis is tending to short term political interest.  So, for a time, you`ll remember he was trying to calm markets with tweets  saying this would go away. He was trying to keep the numbers down literally  of cases in this country by not letting a cruise ship dock in California,  perhaps not by moving heaven and earth to get tests out when needed. 

But the reality is we have to face the fact as a country we`re going into  the crisis without a president acting like we would normally expect a  president to act. You would expect a president to show empathy for people  who are suffering because of this disease or lost loved ones. He talks  about himself instead. You would expect a president to be establishing a  national baseline for how we`re responding, for how we`re testing, for how  we`re surging health capacity. 

Instead, what we have a patch work response of 50 different states and  localities making their own decisions without that kind of leadership. You  would expect a president to be also leading the world and right now  frankly, this president is so not respected around the world that nobody is  really looking to the American presidency to set a tone for how we`ll deal  with the pandemic crisis and recession coming. 

So my hope is yes, this is a change in tone but we have to face the reality  as a country that we`re really relying on ourselves as citizens to engage  in social distancing as governors and mayors and community leaders  conveying this message and hopefully, this president can catch up to the  leadership that we`re seeing in state houses and cities around the country  instead of trying to deny the very reality that his country is dealing  with. 

O`DONNELL: Austan, Kevin Hassett who was President Trump`s chair of the  Council of Economic Advisors earlier in the administration said today that  he believes 100 percent chance, he gives it a 100 percent chance for a  global recession, not just a recession of the United States. 

GOOLSBEE: Yes, look, how could you not think that? How could you not look  what happened in China or what`s happening in Italy now or France or Spain,  where they put their economies on lockdown and shut down wide masses of  their economic output. I think there is a global recession. The question  is, can we reduce the fear?

The one thing about contagion virus -- contagion-like financial crisis is  it`s all about this fear and if you don`t have credibility, you can`t tamp  down that fear. Because your statements, if you sent out your economic  advisers to week after saying the market is down there is a buying  opportunity by Friday it is going to be back up and you`ve been disproven  again and again on health or on economic grounds.

Now if you try to change the tone and follow what the Governors are doing  or follow what somebody else is doing, there will be a whole bunch of  people who say if they say there`s nothing wrong, then it means there is  something wrong. If they say it`s going away, then it means it not going  away and when you get into that paradox, it`s tough to get out of that.

O`DONNELL: Ben Rhodes, how does a President offer leadership in a situation  in which the fear is legitimate. The fear is earned. The fear is real,  which is what we`re living with now?

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think first and foremost, you  have to meet people where they are and acknowledge the fear that they are  having and you have to acknowledge the concerns that they are having. You  have to demonstrate that you`re listening to the best experts in the world  who are available to him as President to inform the decisions you`re making  and what you are saying.

And I just want to draw back on my own experience with the financial crisis  because I was sitting literally down the hall from Austan when we were  still on the campaign in 2008 and the financial crisis broke out and  Austan, I remember, sitting with me as we remark for the future President  put the currency on can we make sure that everything that we say is  accurate?

Because if we can establish ourselves as a trusted voice, financial markets  will listen to us, citizens will listen to us, small business owners will  listen to us and so people knew even if they didn`t agree with him, that  President Obama was telling them the truth and that he was making decisions  based on what experts were telling him.

That`s what President Trump has not done yet. And I think that the one way  to salvage something of this and we`re going to be in this for a long time  is if he can demonstrate if everything he says has frankly been given to  him by someone like Tony Fauci sitting next to him.

It`s not anymore about his Twitter feed, about his political interest, it  is about how he can serve as a communicator for those experts because  clearly, he doesn`t have that credibility himself and so we need to relay  on people who do.

O`DONNELL: Ben Rhodes and Austin Goolsbee thank you for joining us we  really appreciate it. And when we come back, the House just passed its  final version of a bill dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. That bill  now goes to the Senate, Senator Amy Klobuchar will join us next and we`ll  get her reaction to Joe Biden saying last night that he will choose a woman  as his Vice Presidential running mate, if he wins the Democratic  Presidential Nomination. 


O`DONNELL: Here is the United States Senate at work today.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): We`re just playing games. Three days we wasted  and wasting another day. When a situation changes this quick people are  scared at home and people are looking for leadership. Leader McConnell,  President Trump failed the people they serve. We need to get help to people  today, let`s immediately get to work in the next round of support.


O`DONNELL: That is Sherrod Brown of Ohio. It`s been three days since  Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives passed an $8.3  billion Coronavirus Relief Package making testing for the virus free and  dealing with some of economic impacts of the virus three full days and the  Senate has not even begun to work on any version of that bill.

Instead, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell recessed the Senate for  the weekend. Senator McConnell returned to Kentucky. The decision by Mitch  McConnell to recess the Senate for the weekend didn`t just delay passage of  the bill but it has added unnecessary health risks to Senators and their  staffs who could have been on recess this week and staying away from their  offices, which would be the best thing that they could do for their own  health at this point.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She is a  member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator thank you very much for  joining us tonight.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, Lawrence. And I share its frustration.  It outrageous this didn`t get done last week.

O`DONNELL: Well, this is another one of those challenging night. Could you  please explain the United States Senate to America and what is going on  there?

KLOBUCHAR: Okay, right. So instead of getting it done immediately after the  House passed it, we`re now considering it, I hope tomorrow. I don`t think  we should wait another day. This is important bill involving sick leave for  American workers and then also longer period where they get at least two- thirds pay. The two weeks would be fully paid if a longer period of time.

That`s very important but as you`ve heard, it doesn`t cover all workers. So  once we pass that bill, which Speaker Pelosi valiantly got done what she  could with the administration, then we have to start working on further  relief for the people of this country.

This is not just a health crisis and it is not just a testing crisis, which  I am personally obsessed about because I know there are some tests being  developed, blood test that can tell us not only do you have it now but you  have it already, do you have immunity so you can go back and be a health  care worker and can you maybe give your blood to help other people, but it  is also an economic crisis.

So all of these things must get done immediately and that`s why we are  here, why I am back in Washington to get these things done.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I have the sense that the way this pandemic is moving  and the way it`s changing and the way our understanding of its dimensioning  change and expand every week that the Congress, the House and Senate will  be coming back to this multiple times by the time you get a bill passed,  you will have discovered another issue that needs to be dealt with.

KLOBUCHAR: Well and that is what Austan and Ben were just talking about? To  have leadership, it`s got to start. The buck has got to stop in the White  House. It`s got to start there and then we work together on really  responding to every economic crisis and health crisis that we`re going to  see but we do have immediate triage here.

We have to get those tests out for people so they know if they`re sick or  not. We have to get some immediate economic help to the workers and then we  also have to make sure that we`re working on some of the things that you`ve  been talking about on your show like making sure our democracy is working  and people can vote.

So I think we can do several things at once. I just want people to believe  in the science and to get the facts straight. I thought that was the most  important thing you said in the last hour. The President has to be honest  and truthful with the American people and from there, we can start working  on solutions.

The American people are a tough group but they need a leader who is  straightforward with them and tells them the truth.

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, I think we all remember that dramatic day  when you dropped out of the Presidential Race, the day before Super  Tuesday. You immediately endorsed Joe Biden and in the process the next day  on Super Tuesday delivered the State of Minnesota to him, which he won  because you stepped out of the way.

You were leading in Minnesota if you had stayed in the race, that would not  have been a Biden state and here he was last night and last night`s  Presidential Debate suddenly saying he`s committing to choosing a woman for  Vice President if he wins the Democratic Nomination.

I had an interview with him earlier in the week in which he came very close  to saying he thought it should be one of the women who was on the  Presidential Debate Stage with him this year, which really narrows it down.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I`m not going to engage in these hypothetical`s Lawrence.  One thing I know about the Vice President. He was a good Vice President. He  was a great Vice President. He did it for eight years and he`s going to  make his own decision on who he thinks his running mate should be and who  he thinks - who the person is who is best for the country.

That`s going to be his decision. But I think one of the things, the big  takeaways besides that one from the debate was this, one, Senator Sanders  and Vice President Biden were very clear in their commitment that they  would unify behind a candidate and I think that was a tribute to both of  them.

And the second thing was the Vice President`s leadership that he showed  when he talked about Coronavirus and his plans and what he would do about  testing. I thought that shown through in the debate to the American people.

O`DONNELL: Senator, let me just get your reaction to that commitment by Joe  Biden to choose a woman as his running mate on this ticket if he gets the  nomination, just leaving the possibility of you aside just your reaction as  a voter, as an American, when you heard that last night?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think for all of us, every woman in the country, we know  very well there is no game you can play called name your favorite woman  President or your favorite woman Vice President because there`s never been  one.

And so this is going to be a seat change and I think it`s a tribute to him  that he made that announcement and I think it is going to be his decision  who he picks. But I think right now the reason I`m here and I went on your  show, I promise Lawrence and you know this is to talk about this crisis  that we`re in now and what we need to do tomorrow in the U.S. Senate but  also what we need to do as we hear what`s going on in Ohio today that we  need to make sure that people can vote and Ron, DeWine and I are putting  forward a bill tomorrow that`s going to have a lot of support that expands  voting by mail.

So that when we come upon the fall, that every single person in this  country should be able to vote by mail, of course, we`ll still have polling  but we need to make it easier for people to vote. We need the funding for  it. We need poll workers, of course especially for some of our seniors, it  dangerous for them to do that in certain states and in certain situations.

And then we also need to make sure that voting is open 20 days before in  every state. That`s what we`re trying to do. Right now 16 states Lawrence  you have got to give a big reason for why you need to vote by mail. We  should eliminate that and make it easier for everyone.

O`DONNELL: Senator, we have a breaking news situation right now as we speak  with Ohio because the Governor DeWine has now said that he`s asking  basically his health commissioner there to order the polls closed as a  health emergency tomorrow. He then says in a tweet while the polls will be  closed tomorrow, the Secretary of State will seek a remedy through the  courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will  be granted that opportunity.

So this is a highly confusing situation in which it doesn`t seem that he`s  cancelling the actual election. He`s just saying the polls will be closed.  So you`ll have to find a way to vote other than going to the polls  tomorrow.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, so he can`t cancel their election and what he is saying, I  believe, is that he`s going to make it much longer period of time for  people to be able to vote in Ohio. I think he`s got to also extend that  deadline for getting absentee ballots. That`s got to be a big piece of  this.

And as you know, I think it`s really important for your viewers to know  that the voting is still happening tomorrow in Arizona, in Florida and in  Illinois. Those are big, big states and those primaries are going forward.

And so the idea here is to make sure that the voters of Ohio are allowed to  vote and that they have as much ability as anyone else by voting by mail  and maybe ultimately in the polls but that has gone back and forth all day  with the courts and with the Governor about what is happening but you`re  right, that`s where it just ended up in the last half an hour.

O`DONNELL: And Senator, just quickly, do you have any sense of whether that  is legal according to Ohio law?

KLOBUCHAR: No, I don`t. I just know that because this announcement was made  early this morning, a lot of the poll workers then decided not to go and so  you would have that issue, as well, would there be poll workers? And what  we want to make is people vote. We all know it can`t be more important than  any other time in our history right now.

People have to vote. And I want to make clear those major states of Arizona  and Florida and Illinois, people can go and vote tomorrow and they should.

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us  tonight. We really appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: All right, it`s great to be on thank you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And joining our discussion now is Democratic Congressman Eric  Swalwell from California. He is the Member of the Intelligence and  Judiciary Committees and Congressman Swalwell, I want to get your reaction  first of all to Governor DeWine of Ohio in effect finding another way  tonight within the hour of trying to cancel voting tomorrow in Ohio.

He says that his health commissioner will order the polls closed as a  health emergency in Ohio tomorrow. And while the polls will be closed  tomorrow, Secretary of State will seek a remedy through the courts to  extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted  that opportunity.

What is your reaction to this latest in a series of attempts by the  Governor today to stop voting at the polls tomorrow in Ohio?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Good evening, Lawrence. With the agility during  these tough times by our leaders but this is not agility. This is just  saying we`re not going to conduct an election. While we need physical  distancing, we do not need Democratic distancing.

I would propose maybe having a longer voting window extended through the  end of the weekend so that you can separate folks, have them vote in waves  and even see this as a stimulus for people who have lost work or have lost  hours to allow them to come in as poll workers to make sure that people  have access to the polls but, you know, democracy dies in darkness as we`re  always told and not having an election, doesn`t get darker than that.

O`DONNELL: Congressman in California, in fact some of your district, I  believe, includes the area that - where there is an order for a number of  counties for people basically to stay home, to - is it an order, is it a  recommendation? What is the situation there?

SWALWELL: People are told to shelter in place, Lawrence, unless you`re  going to the doctor or unless you`re going to the pharmacy, unless you`re  going to get gas, unless you`re going to get groceries or if you work in a  job that is essential to conducting what I just said right there.

I have two brothers who are police officers in Alameda County and they are  working hard to make sure that people get the services they need but the  best thing we can do is to be a little bit uncomfortable right now but to  share with me and leaders in our country how this is affecting your health,  your livelihood and your financial stability so that when we have a future  stimulus, we understand what the need is and Lawrence, that for me is  personal when it comes to students. 

I know personally what student loan debt can do to a family and I fear that  there are so many students who are going to be homeless or without food  security or have loans but not get the credits they need.

So we`re assembling the stories right now so that in a future stimulus, I  can work with our Chairman Bobby Scott of the Education Committee to make  sure that we address this.

O`DONNELL: So you`ve got the bill through the House tonight with some  technical corrections, the Senate now officially has it. What do you expect  the Senate to do and then what does the House do because the situation  keeps changing around you even as you past this legislation?

SWALWELL: We need the Senate to move a hell of a lot faster than they are  Lawrence and frankly, right now, we feel like in the House, we are the  responsive government. We have a President who is not been truthful, an  administration that continues to mischaracterize the problem and a Senate  that didn`t want to work over the weekend to take up the House legislation  they we passed.

So they need to stay pace with us but our bill included paid sick leave. It  included an extension of unemployment insurance. It increases the resources  that will go to hospitals and also to make sure that anyone, you know, who  needs the personal protective equipment is able to get it.

That again, this is just step one. There`s going to be future phases. But  we need the Senate to keep up.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much for joining us  tonight. We appreciate it.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And coming up, there`s no such thing as being too  careful these days. If you think you`re overreacting to the Coronavirus,  you are not. So says our highest authority on the subject, Dr. Anthony  Fauci. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: Just over two weeks ago, Donald Trump called the Coronavirus a  hoax. That was his word, "hoax." The President of the United States accused  the news media of overreacting to the Coronavirus. Today, standing on the  White House Press Briefing Room Stage with the President of the United  States, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS  DISEASES: When you`re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases  outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are if you think that  today reflects where you really are. Therefore, it will always seem that  the best way to address it would to be doing something that looks like it  might be an overreaction. It isn`t an overreaction. It`s a reaction that we  feel is commensurate, which is actually going on in reality.


O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Dr. Vin Gupta, a Pulmonologist and  Global Health Policy Expert. He is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the  University of Washington Medical Center. Dr. Gupta, your reaction to what  Dr. Fauci said there, that there is really no such thing as overreacting  here.

DR. VIN GUPTA, PULMONOLOGIST: I think he`s spot on. Dr. Fauci is our  leader. He`s our appointed leader in public health. What I would say just  to emphasize is in any pandemic, it`s especially if recent history is  illustrative, we`re reacting. We`re not great at preventing pandemics.

Our pandemic preparedness efforts have had fits and starts. So we`re  definitely reacting to this we`re responding as the threat evolves, and I  think as evidence of that, we don`t even have testing at scale. So he`s  spot on, on that.

O`DONNELL: And what other equipment - there`s been a lot of concentration  on testing, but if we are ever to get to the right level of testing,  wouldn`t that then suggest that there`s a lot of other equipment,  ventilators for example, that then become the next challenge?

GUPTA: Yes, spot on. Right now we have a capability Johns Hopkins estimated  it at 160,000 ventilators for the country at maximum capacity, assuming we  don`t mobilize the military. 160,000 a moderate outbreak, the estimates are  saying that we need 200,000 ventilators.

If the Spanish flu happened again today, we`d need over 700,000. So we are  grossly unprepared from an ICU level standpoint. I can say that as an  Intensivist. We need more. We need more of that sophisticated capability.

I will say President Trump saying that states should be responsible for  purchasing respirators, that`s a heavy ask. Respirators cost between 4 and  $40,000. That`s a huge ask to expect states to really foot the bill on  that. And so we have a lot of ways to go in terms of true preparedness for  a respiratory pandemic like this.

O`DONNELL: But also with the respirators, where do you put them? I mean if  you suddenly need to double, triple the number of respirators in this  country, where do they go?

GUPTA: To me, storage of medical equipment should be the least of our  concerns. I can say this as a former military doc, we used to be--

O`DONNELL: Hold that dual doc, I don`t mean storage. I mean is there space  in hospital facilities now to add that kind of equipment?

GUPTA: Short answer, no. We don`t have enough ICU beds. This is where we`re  going to have to build out triaging beds. We`re going to have to build out  - there`s some talk about National Guard and mobilizing the military to  create temporary hospitals in college dormitories or on military bases.

I think that`s the direction we have to go. Governor Cuomo, I think, is  ahead of the curve on this, activating National Guard, really focusing on  that capability that I believe President Trump has yet to utilize to the  full effect.

O`DONNELL: And how do we maintain the health and safety of our health care  workers who are involved in this?

GUPTA: That`s such a good question. I have to say myself, speaking for so  many people in our health care community, we were spooked last night when  we got word that two E.D. doctors are critically ill, one here not far from  Seattle, one in New Jersey.

And a lot of that comes down to public health education that who should and  should not be purchasing personal protective wear, like face masks. We need  to preserve that for our frontline health care workers, nurses, doctors, in  ERs and in ICUs especially. 

My wife is a pediatrician right now working in a pediatric clinic in --. I  want her to have a surgical face mask. We have to have that capability we  have to have that equipment. Some experts are saying we need over a billion  and 95. So we have over 10 million right now. So there`s a gross lack of  capabilities both in terms of equipment and PPE.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Vin Gupta, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.  We really appreciate it.

GUPTA: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams  starts now. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again.