LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And that New York milk story is a great example of how the supply chains get disrupted because so much of the milk supply was destined for New York City public schools, which is a very big consumer of New York state milk. They`re all closed down. Those milk producers up there don`t have contracts for delivering it elsewhere, and the governor has got to figure out how to get that milk out into the world where it can get to the people who desperately need it, can`t afford it.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Right, and there are statewide contracts like that that governors around the country need to fix. There is another imbalances that are about commercial food producers who are used to selling stuff in restaurants, and to the extent that restaurants are not operating, those contracts need to be converted into retail contracts.
There is a role to play a significant role to play for USDA and the federal government in terms of trying to fix those mismatches in supply and demand so you don`t have hungry people in one place and food being dumped in the other. USDA is pretty much asleep since the start of this crisis. But those food short takes and food dumping things, that`s a sign of it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, we can only hope they come up with a structure that is actually permanent so that it can always deliver food to people in need rather than dump it or dump it in the quantities that happen sometimes.
MADDOW: Yes, capitalism needs assist in this one and it will be something that we can really use right now and we could use in the long run. Yes, thanks, my friend.
O`DONNELL: A permanent assist. Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.
Well, not all of us have been using our time very productively during this shutdown but Max Rose has. Max Rose is a decorated combat army veteran that serve in Afghanistan and serves the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn in the United States Congress and Max Rose was deployed with the National Guard on the ground in New York City this month.
Congressman Max Rose will join us at the end of this hour to tell us what he saw and learned while he`s been deployed with the National Guard that he will be bringing back to Washington when Congress considers the next steps to repair the damage from the coronavirus pandemic in this country.
We begin tonight with the numbers. The United States now has 987,367 reported cases of coronavirus. And the United States now has 56,145 reported deaths from coronavirus. That means that tonight, in our sleep, we will officially cross the million mark.
Tomorrow, we will have over a million reported cases of coronavirus in this country, but those reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg since more than 98 percent of us have not been tested. We will probably never have an accurate count of the total number of coronavirus cases in the United States, and we will probably never have an accurate count of number of deaths caused by coronavirus since we now know that people were dying from coronavirus before we even knew that the virus had reached the United States. Thousands of people have died at home during this pandemic without ever having been tested for coronavirus before or after death, and so we`ll never know the real number.
And from the start, Donald Trump has not wanted us to know the real numbers and has not wanted us to know any of the real numbers in this story. In February, Donald Trump was trying to prevent a cruise ship from docking in San Francisco so that some infected Americans could leave the ship. He was afraid that would increase the coronavirus cases in America at that time.
When Donald Trump was trying to wish that number of cases down to zero, and the last days of February, Donald Trump actually said, when you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple days is going to be down to close to zero, that`s a pretty good job we`ve done. That sure would have been a pretty good job if they did that.
And according to breaking news, a report on "The Washington Post" tonight, at the time that Donald Trump said that and for weeks before Donald Trump said that, the presidents` daily intelligence briefing was telling Donald Trump repeatedly of the severity of the coronavirus threat to the United States of America, a threat that Donald Trump ignored even though his intelligence briefing was telling him about it every day.
"The Washington Post" reports tonight U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat according to current and former U.S. officials.
The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the presidents` daily brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president`s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats. But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president to routinely skip reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes to or through times per week.
Here is how "The Washington Post" reported Greg Miller who co-wrote that story explains the significance of the COVID-19 warnings in the presidents` daily brief to Chris Hayes earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHIGTON POST: This is where the U.S. intelligence analysts put their most important information. I mean, so much a remarkable amount of energy and people go into preparing this single report each and ever day, and not very many people get it. Obviously, its main customer is the president of the United States. He doesn`t read the PDB unlike his predecessors. He does not sit down each day to digest this. He doesn`t read it, doesn`t skim it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So the presidents` daily brief may turn out to be the best proof of the presidents` daily failure to confront the threat to American lives posed by the spreading coronavirus in January and February, and this is a rerun of another Republican president`s failure to mobilize after receiving a daily warning in the presidential daily brief, a deadly warning in the daily brief, and that was a month before 9/11. The presidential daily brief told President Bush that Osama bin Laden was, quote, determined to strike in the U.S., end quote.
And so this is not the first time a president has failed to defend the United States against a looming threat that the president was warned about. But this is the first time that the president has become a threat himself. This is the first time that a president`s own words amount to a deadly threat to Americans. Donald Trump spent weeks illegally prescribing prescription drugs on television to America at a White House microphone.
Anti-malaria drugs he was sure would work to stop COVID-19, and if it didn`t, he repeatedly said, what have you got to lose? The answer was your life. The anti-malaria drugs can set off deadly coronary reactions in some people and that is something doctors have always known. And when a survey of Veterans Administration patients showed that the death rate was higher among patients who followed Donald Trump`s advice than the patients who did not, then Donald Trump stopped talking about those anti-malaria drugs that may have already killed thousands of people who thought they had nothing to lose by using those drugs to fight COVID-19.
And then, on Thursday, Donald Trump suggested something that could kill any of us, no matter how healthy we are, no matter how old we are, after he was told something that day that the rest of us already knew that disinfectant is a good way to clean your kitchen counter or your doorknobs in the era of coronavirus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. It would be interesting to check that so you have to use medical doctors but it sounds interesting to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: None of the medical experts in the room at the time jumped up to say this is deadly and you could die if you do anything that Donald Trump just suggested. They failed that moment, the medical experts in the room.
Lysol immediately had to issue a life-saving emergency saying we must be clear under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body. For three straight days after Donald Trump live in fear of reporters` questions. At the next White House briefing on Friday, Donald Trump didn`t take questions and then America had its most restful weekend yet in the era of coronavirus because no one had to deal with the tension of King George III level madness being spread by the president at a White House briefing.
Donald Trump gave the country a weekend off duty. A full weekend where no one had to watch Donald Trump saying crazy and dangerous and indescribably stupid things and the only people who could have been disappointed that Donald Trump spent the weekend silently cowering in fear of reporters were the people working on the Biden for president campaign who so far have every right to believe that the White House briefings are the best thing that has happened to the Biden campaign since Joe Biden secured endorsements from all of his Democratic rivals.
A new "USA Today"/Suffolk University poll shows Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump outside of the margin of error 50-40. In that same poll, 64 percent say Donald Trump is not honest and trustworthy. Of the minority who find Donald Trump trustworthy, we can only hope they found Lysol`s statement about drinking their product more trustworthy than Donald Trump`s suggestion that Lysol might be the perfect medicine for coronavirus.
Today, the chaotic Trump White House went from no briefing on their schedule to having a White House briefing on the schedule to then cancelling the White House briefing from the schedule before then restoring the White House briefing to the schedule. Donald Trump knew he was going to get a question about disinfectant, but also knew he could just cut the reporter short and not answer the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLI)
REPORTER: Now that other states, Governor Larry Hogan said they seen a spike in people using disinfectant after your comments last week. I know you said they were sarcastic.
TRUMP: I can`t imagine why. I can`t imagine why.
REPORTER: Do you take any responsibility --
TRUMP: No, I don`t. I can`t imagine -- I can`t imagine that.
Go ahead, please.
REPORTER: Mr. President, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that we need --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was it. No responsibility. Takes no responsibility and once again, Donald Trump was able to count on the White House press corps` tendency to not back each other up and change the subject when Donald Trump wants to change the subject and so, that`s what happened. Change the subject. No other questions about it, about the single most insane thing ever spoken publicly by a president of the United States. No more questions.
Dr. Najy Masri of Louisiana State University Hospital has been keeping a video diary for us of life and death in New Orleans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. NAJY MASRI, LSU DIRECTOR HOSPITALIST SERVICES OCHSNER MEDICAL CENTER; Soon we`re going to catch up and exceed the number of deaths that we saw in our city of New Orleans from hurricane Katrina. It`s an interesting parallel between COVID-19 and hurricane Katrina. I lived through both.
Katrina came and went. It was quick. We dealt with the aftermath the whole time. But people could physically see the damage from Hurricane Katrina in their homes, outside in their community, on TV.
COVID-19 is different. It`s a silent killer. People are stuck at home. They don`t necessarily see the damage unless they have a family member or friend afflicted with the virus or they`re a front line health care worker.
We need to keep in mind the fact that this is a silent killer, the fact that it`s still out there in our community, understanding that we need to come back to a new normal. Katrina changed the way we live in New Orleans. COVID-19 is going to change the way we live in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight are: Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to President Obama. He`s also an MSNBC political analyst.
John Heilemann is with us, a former national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He`s also the co-host of Showtime`s "The Circus", and the editor in chief of "The Recount".
Ben, you handled the presidents` daily brief in the Obama White House. How did President Obama handle the presidents` daily brief?
BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, you know, I got over 1,000 PDBs, and what President Obama would do is every morning, he would get a written briefing he would read in his residence and those of us who are in the morning meeting with him would get the same briefing and then we would all meet with the director of national intelligence in the Oval Office.
The reason this is relevant, I learned about the Ebola outbreak from the PBD. President Obama learned about the Ebola outbreak from the PBD. He gotten reports in deaths in Africa, he had reports about an outbreak of the new former Ebola.
What he did with the information is set up a government process. Let`s put together an agency group, people from different relevant agencies, the NIH, the CDC, and also the State Department involved in national security agencies, and get them working on it.
And that PDB led to that government process which led to the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to West Africa who could facilitate the flow of tens of thousands of health care workers to West Africa to stand out that Ebola outbreak which killed two people in the United States.
The PDB is the warning to the president in the United States about the most dangerous threats in the world. President Trump ignored those warnings. He paid no attention to them, and what he clearly did is try to down play the virus so that the stock market would somehow not tank, even though the reality is that the virus itself was going to tank the stock market and he tried to keep the numbers down instead of ramping up testing which is what he should have done in February, he and keep the reporting of the numbers down.
So, this is someone who ignored the information that could have saved, Lawrence, thousands if not tens of thousands of American lives. It`s impossible to oversee the severity of his dereliction of duty as commander in chief.
O`DONNELL: Ben, when President Obama saw the first reference to Ebola in the presidents` daily brief, how quickly did he take action? Did he have to see it several times in the brief by your memory? Was it the first time he saw it that he said we got to do something about this?
RHODES: To be honest, what I remember is that there were reports of deaths from an Ebola outbreak and that`s kind of get your attention. He said something like, we got to keep our eye on this, right?
And then as you see this is not something that`s going away, it`s something that is building, that is when he says to us, he has some familiarity with both the potential of Ebola but also the lack of public health infrastructure in West Africa, we better set up a process to deal with this and get the best expert in the room to deal with this before anybody else heard of it.
That`s what the PDB gives you the opportunity to do, Lawrence. It gives you the opportunity to deal with something before everybody else heard of it because our intelligence community is out there paying attention to this stuff and on this show, I think, we probably talked about how President Trump has disdained his intelligence community by saying you know, they are fake news and don`t know what they are talking about and they`re wrong about Russia.
They may have seemed like a reality show at the time. That`s what leads to people dying in this country because we have a president who didn`t pay attention to warnings because he refused to listen to his intelligence community, because he doesn`t take his briefings, because he wants to be briefed in pictures and not words.
We are living with the consequences of this.
It`s impossible to overstate the severity of a president ignoring what his own intelligence community was trying to warn him about throughout January and February.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, a new poll today, almost 2/3 of America thinks Donald Trump is not trustworthy. Joe Biden opens up ten-point lead outside margin of error.
Is that a reaction to the White House press briefings?
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I think to a large extent. I think it`s a reaction, Lawrence, to a lot of things, certainly to fundamentally the pandemic itself.
And in the first order, fact there are a lot of scared Americans who are focused in a way on their own health, on the health of their families, on their well-being in a kind of laser-like way as we go through this extraordinary period. In moments like that, rare in American life when people are as focused as they are now on this kind of imminent threat, they then look to the one person that they naturally instinctively look to for leadership, before candor, for honesty, for guidance, for sympathy, for all kinds of things that Americans look for their president, and they got none of that from Donald Trump. Not just the stuff Ben was just talking about. Obviously, all of that is correct but almost every quality that Americans left and right, Republican and Democrat traditionally assume they will see in a president of the United States, they`ve seen none of it from Donald Trump in this crisis.
And I think the briefings, the daily briefings, those many hours that Donald Trump has sucked up the air time that he sucked up, all of it to his political disadvantage because for a lot of Americans who have various expectations of a president, Donald Trump has fulfilled none of them, not only his duties as commander in chief and as the chief executive of the country, but on all of the other metrics, I think Americans increasingly find him wanting and that`s what those polls, not just that poll, but many other polls now across the battleground states nationally are showing.
O`DONNELL: And, John, at today`s White House briefing, the president trotted out what seems to be his favorite version of it, which is a bunch of high powered business executives, people running companies like Walmart and the giant pharmacy chains around the country, but once again, making some statements about what they might be able to achieve in the future on testing after they`ve already failed to do what some of these same people said they would do on testing in the past.
HEILEMANN: Right. I think, you know, that it`s -- we`ve seen the show before that we saw today and I`m not going to ever be in a position to demean or denigrate the efforts of the private sector. I think there are a lot of companies across America doing heroic work, and some of them are trying to do heroic work. I think they are being put and right to be there in some sense, they are trying to do what they can in the service, not of the president but in the service of the country.
But I do think that we have seen that parade of CEOs up there before and the record the president has to run on the record that I think, you know, we`re talked about this on the show before and I`ll keep beating this drum for the next nine months, this election now is almost inevitably going to be a referendum on Donald Trump`s leadership and the particularly this leadership in these three or four months, and early verdict, it`s not the final verdict by any metric, by any measure, but the early verdict is pretty conclusive that Americans think that Donald Trump has failed at the most significant test of leadership that he`s faced so far.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, thank you for starting us off tonight.
And, Ben Rhodes, I want to thank you for joining us tonight and give you a belated thank you for the work you did, along with others in the Obama administration to contain Ebola, the story that is always worth retelling with what we`re going through now. Thank you, Ben. Really appreciate you joining us tonight.
And when we come back, we`ll be joined by President Obama`s former FDA commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg. We`ll get her view of where we stand on the country`s progress on testing and the possibility of a vaccine. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATASHA CACCIATORE, CRITICAL CARE NURSE, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN`S HOSPITAL: I want you to understand that it can be you no matter what your age is, no matter what your history is. We`ve seen patients in their 20s. We`ve seen patients in their 90s and everything in between and all of them have been sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: "New York Magazine" is reporting, quote, we still don`t know how the coronavirus is killing us. The disease has proved mercurial at the clinical level with doctors revising their understanding of COVID-19`s basic pattern and weaponry. The clinical shape of the disease, long presumed to be a relatively predictable respiratory infection is getting less clear by the week.
"The Washington Post" reports many doctors have, quote, seen how COVID-19 attacks not only the lungs but also the kidneys, heart, intestines, liver and brain.
Until today, the CDC listed only three official symptoms of coronavirus, cough, fever and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Today, the CDC added six symptoms to that list, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and a new loss of taste or smell. The World Health Organization today warned countries against issuing immunity certificates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, HEAD, W.H.O. EMERGING DISEASES AND ZOONOSES UNIT: We expect people that are infected with COVID-19 to develop a response that has some level of protection. What we don`t know right now is how strong that protection is and if that is seen in everybody that`s infected and for how long that lasts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion is dr. Margaret Hamburg, former FDA commissioner under President Obama and the former New York City health commissioner. She`s the foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Hamburg, what is your assessment of where we are nationally on what we have to be doing about testing? I listened to what they`re talking about at the White House briefing today and it didn`t sound like any more real concrete steps to getting testing out there, just more hopes of what might happen in testing.
DR. MARGARET HAMBURG, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Well, we began unfortunately behind in terms of our testing capabilities and we remain far behind where we need to be in terms of testing. We are clearly up against a very complex and ferocious foe in this novel coronavirus and the disease COVID-19 that it causes.
We need to be able to test so that we can understand how this epidemic is unfolding, the contours, how it`s penetrated our communities and across the country. We need also to be able to test very importantly so that we can identify those who are infected, make sure that they are isolated from spreading the disease to others and importantly getting care that they need and then, of course, we need to use testing to guide our responses to ease restrictions and open up but if we don`t know where we are in the epidemic and who is at risk and who is infected, we will not be successful in those efforts.
O`DONNELL: I want to take your back to your old job as New York City health commissioner and take us what you would be saying to the mayor and city officials today what you would need to reopen New York City public schools and I asked that because so much else in the economy is dependent on the schools opening.
Would you need for example the ability to test all students or test all faculty members whenever necessary?
HAMBURG: Well, we need to still learn about the nature of this virus and the risk for spread and how to contain it. We have come to understand that children are less at risk in terms of symptomatic disease and the many complications that come with infection. But we now understand they can be asymptomatic carriers. What we don`t know is how much they are bringing that disease home to others in the household or spreading it in the community.
So, we need to continue to deepen our understanding so we have to look at the experiences of other countries and places that are starting to open up their schools and also return to other kinds of larger scale gathering settings and continue to learn, we can`t give an answer tomorrow whether the school should open up in the fall. We don`t know enough. But we need to have more testing. We need to make sure that we had the systems with public health to follow up, to be able -- after we test and identify those who are infected, to isolate them, to do contact tracing and quarantine of those who`ve been exposed to make sure that they aren`t sick.
And we need to be thinking about how we will reconfigure certain of our settings like schools in terms of are there ways to make them less dense to maintain social distancing to some degree or another. And I think you know it`s going to be very, very hard at the younger ages to maintain social distancing. It`s sort of the opposite of what school is all about. And it`s probably a false hope that kids will wear their masks and wash their hands enough and everything. But we have to start building in those new behaviors.
Going back to school for college age, I think, it`s going to be a bit easier, because much of it can still be done online and you can distance in classrooms et cetera. But these are complex questions and I don`t envy my colleagues working at the local level in terms of public health. But I think it also goes to the fact that we need more guidance at the federal level working with state and local health departments so we can have much clearer guidelines and more consistency of message.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Margaret Hamburg great to have you back on the show. We need you to come back to expand on all of those points you were just making. Really appreciate you being here tonight.
HAMBURG: Pleasure to be with you. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back Mitch McConnell told New York State to just go bankrupt in the face of its funding difficulties with this pandemic. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told Mitch McConnell exactly what he could do with that idea. That is next.
O`DONNELL: In the 1980s New York`s senior Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan started issuing an annual report about how much more money New York State contributed to the federal government than it got back from the federal government in federal spending. Senator Moynihan could never get any media attention through that annual report. He once joked to me that maybe he should label it top secret and somehow leak it to the press and then maybe he`d get their attention.
But now New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has the country`s attention every day and Mitch McConnell made the mistake of giving Andrew Cuomo exactly what he needed in order to make people understand how much New York state contributes to the federal government and to other states like Mitch McConnell`s Kentucky which takes much more money from the federal government than Kentucky contributes to the federal government.
Mitch McConnell suggested that the way for the states to handle their current funding crisis in the face of this pandemic is to simply declare bankruptcy. Q Andrew Cuomo--
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): --if you want to go to who`s getting bailed out and who paid what, nobody would be bailing out New York State. New York State has been bailing them out every year for decades. If you want to do an analysis of who is a giver and who is a taker, we are the number one giver. And if you want to look at who happened to be the donor states - who were the giver states, they are same states that they`re talking about now. Who were the taker states Kentucky--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now Senator Chris Van Hollen who is a Democrat from Maryland. He`s a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees. Senator Van Hollen, one of the things I think is exhibited by Mitch McConnell`s comment is the bankruptcy of Mitch McConnell and Republican ideas about what to do about how to help this country in this unprecedented situation.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Well that`s right, Lawrence. Look, I disagree with a lot of things Senator McConnell says, but this goes down as one of the dumber things he`s ever said. If you look at his proposal, it would drag our economy down faster and further if you really were going to say to all these states that have been hit hard by the coronavirus just declare bankruptcy.
And as Governor Cuomo has pointed out, those are the very states that have been the engines of federal revenue. Revenue that states like Kentucky have used to help support the people in the State of Kentucky. So McConnell really stepped in on these remarks and it looks like now he`s trying to backtrack.
O`DONNELL: Senator what are you looking for next? The Senate is going to reconvene, I think, in about a week. What do you think should be the next steps that the Senate considers in how the country fights this pandemic?
HOLLEN: Well, I think at the top of the list has to be assistance to state and local governments. So, essentially, what Mitch McConnell was saying the other day was to our first responders, to our firefighters, to our police, to those on the front lines you know, we`re not we`re not going to be there for you. We the federal government we`re going to be there for big corporations, we`re going to be there for the airline industry. But we`re not going to be there for those who are on the front lines.
Congress has got to do that. We`ve got to come together. These states are losing revenue for the same reason businesses are losing revenue. People aren`t walking in the door and that`s not - it`s generating less revenue. This is the time the federal government needs to help those who are on the front line. So that needs to be a big part of it.
We also need to really get serious about creating a national supply chain and production of testing equipment. Today, the President came out and unveiled this so-called testing regime. All it was contracting the challenge out to the states. It was just more sort of hocus pocus. What we really need is for the federal government to invest in production capacity to get these supplies. So those are two things that really need to be in the next round.
O`DONNELL: And what about oversight of what the Congress has already done. We`re hearing stories about the small business program that are just outrageous.
HOLLEN: Yes, I`m glad you raised that, because we did make some important changes in this most recent bill that passed last week. You`ll remember, Mitch McConnell tried to rush through a replenishment of that fund without any additional reforms or strings attached. Fortunately, we said no we will replenish these funds, but we need to direct a lot more funds through local lenders, community lenders to really help the moms and pops who were left out of round one.
So we`re hoping that that will be helpful. There are some other reforms that should have been made as part of this recent bill that were rejected by the Trump administration and Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin. So we`re going to have to go back to that because otherwise we may continue to see stories about how the well-connected - those who have connections to the biggest banks are first in line, when in fact we need to make sure this money gets to where it`s needed most.
O`DONNELL: Senator Hollen--
HOLLEN: I think that`s an important part of what`s going forward.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much, Senator. Thank you for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you. And when we come back, last week on this program you heard from Pete Vegas about how easy it was for him to get a small business loan for his legitimate small business, but he decided he didn`t feel right about accepting that loan and his experience with it made him think that the small business program amounted to legalized fraud.
After this break we`ll tell you what Pete Vegas decided to do with his loan money. And we`ll be joined by MSNBC Stephanie Ruhle with some of what she`s been finding in that so-called Paycheck Protection Program.
O`DONNELL: The Los Angeles Lakers franchise is valued at $3.7 billion, which does not fit most people`s definition of a small business. But Los Angeles Lakers applied for and received a $4.6 million loan in the first round of the new Paycheck Protection Program designed to help small businesses keep people on their payrolls.
The Lakers organization now says that they will return the money, but that`s only because the organization`s disgraceful grab of that money was made public. One of the people who helped expose the problems with the small business loans Pete Vegas joined us on this program last week after writing an op-ed in "The Wall Street Journal" where he said his experience with the loan program made it appear to be a fraud.
After his appearance on this program last week, Pete Vegas decided to repay these $3.4 million loan that his company - his small business legitimately obtained from that small business program and we should all think business operators like Pete Vegas who tell the truth about how this has worked for them. And in Pete Vegas`s case he had the honorable sense of duty that made him return that money and we commend him for that.
Joining us now is Stephanie Ruhle Senior Business Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. And Stephanie it`s not an accident. We know what small business is, but Republicans define small business in legislative language to include $3.7 billion companies like the Los Angeles Lakers. It`s not an accident. It`s the way they write the law.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It`s the way they write the law. But what`s so puzzling to me is how in the last week lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who signed off on this legislation are now furious and angry and shaming businesses and saying how dare you take that money.
Businesses, that we`d like them to all operate with better angels on their shoulders, they`re all suffering right now. With the exception of very few industries they`re all suffering. So when new legislation is out and money is available to them there`s a really good chance they`re going to apply for it.
But we turn to our government to set the rules to make sure the money goes to the appropriate party. So when you have lawmakers - when you have Steve Mnuchin say these businesses who shouldn`t have taken the money, they should expect the harshest of consequences. Newsflash, the consequences will be nothing besides public shaming, because technically they haven`t broken the law, they haven`t violated any of the rules.
The lawmakers set these rules. So when the lawmakers say, well, we leave it to the banks. The banks better get this thing done. We`re disappointed in them. What do you expect unless? You make it really clear what you want and there`s punishment on the other side, they`re going to do what they`re going to do.
O`DONNELL: Stephanie Ruhle, thank you very much for joining us tonight, and thank you for covering this as closely as you have. We really appreciate it.
RUHLE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back we`ll be joined by New York Democratic Congressman Max Rose. Congressman Rose is also a Captain in the New York National Guard and has spent this month helping to build a hospital on Staten Island which is now treating coronavirus patients. We`ll talk with Max Rose about that next.
O`DONNELL: Here is Captain Max Rose after the National Guard used a psychiatric center to set up a COVID-19 hospital on Staten Island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): To our medical professionals, look, I - you all are the soldiers in this war and it`s just truly, truly unbelievable. Look, this is the first COVID only hospital to be established in the entire country. So for the rest of your lives, this is just an unbelievable, unbelievable achievement.
And like Dr. Ardolic said, your team has just been unbelievable. You guys came in here five days ago and we stood up a hospital. So this has been just an honor of my life to work with each and every one of you.
On behalf of all of Staten Island and all of New York, just thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are saving lives, and you`re going to continue at this facility. So god bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Captain Rose is also Congressman Rose who represents Staten Island and some of Brooklyn and joining us now is Congressman Max Rose of New York. Congressman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. What have you learned in your weeks of deployment with the National Guard in New York working on Staten Island that you want to bring back to members of Congress when you reconvene?
ROSE: Thanks for having me. It`s good to see you. Look, what I learned and what I experienced was also something quite frankly that we all knew and we`re seeing well before, which is that we have heroes on the front lines now.
Our medical professionals, our nurses, our doctors, our physician`s assistants, and so many others are risking their lives each and every day to keep us safe and they`re going home and dealing with incredible stress as well, worried that they`re getting their family sick, sometimes isolating themselves from their family. And we`ve had this discussion for weeks now about ways that we have got to be there for them, but this crisis will continue to go on and their service continues to go on - all the people that you saw in that video.
Look, I didn`t do anything. I was there for a couple of weeks. But they`re still out there and we`ve got to figure out a way to put the division aside. There`s Blue State versus Red State rhetoric that is bubbling up now. We have to think about them who each and every day are putting the country first.
O`DONNELL: Congressman this is the same place that had to rebuild that survived Hurricane Sandy, rebuild after Hurricane Sandy and I was out there a lot after that and saw a spirit on Staten Island that is very, very special and it`s special to that place. Talk about what it`s like when Staten Island comes together like this.
ROSE: Well, first of all, you know, we call them essential workers now. But the folks living on Staten Island, and also in the South Brooklyn portion of my congressional district as well, these are the people who serve New York City. Cops, the firemen, the nurses, the teachers, First Responders, sanitation workers, they`re the reason why the lives of New York City go on. They are the folks who are putting their lives on the line each and every day.
Who, we have said openly, you can`t stay at home. You can`t isolate like the rest of us. No, we need you. And it is a community filled with heroes. Heroes who we only seldom recognize, but heroes who put their lives on the line and serve this city for their entire career. And they don`t do it, because they`re looking for any thanks.
They don`t do it because they`re looking for any outward forms of gratitude. They do it because they love this country and because they are true experts at their craft and we should be thanking not only them each and every day, but thanking them with real wages and real protections. That`s also what they`re deserving of, not just our thanks.
O`DONNELL: And it seems that New York is past its peak or perhaps past what might be its first peak, what do you say to people who are wondering how much longer they`re going to have to observe these rules - Governor Cuomo`s rules about this, when it seems to them like perhaps we`re past the worst of it.
ROSE: Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge the deep economic pain that people are going through. It`s not - this is not just a health crisis. This is an economic crisis and you`re seeing - I see each and every day in my community and I speak to small business owners who have given their entire life to their business, their entire life to the restaurant or their bar.
Doctors, who have given their entire life to their practice and they are seeing it slowly, slowly die before their eyes. And we have got to tell them that there is a plan in place for them to regain their livelihood.
But the last thing that we want - the last thing that we want is for them to just to open up and then have to return back. We can`t afford for that to happen. So we have to get the resources in from the federal government for testing. We certainly have to maintain the solidarity that we`ve maintained to date.
And we`re going to get this economy going again. This is the greatest country in the history of the world and we`re going to stay United.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Max Rose gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you for your National Guard service and thank you for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
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