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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/15/21

Guests: Katie Benner, Mandela Barnes, Adam Serwer, Erin Banco, David Wallace-Wells


Two men were charged with assaulting multiple officers with what appeared to be some kind of bear repellent, and that includes assaulting Officer Brian Sicknick. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson received quite a backlash to his comments about how law-respecting the insurrectionists were. President Joe Biden was at the White House today kicking off a week- long push by the White House to get out into the country and talk about the American Rescue Plan the President signed last week. A focus group of vaccine-hesitant Trump voters over the weekend and found that sound medical advice rather than political messaging was actually what resonated with them.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And my friend, my pal, and colleague, Rachel Maddow, won Best Spoken Word Album for Blowout. Yes, congratulations, Rachel. That is great. That is the REIDOUT. I`m so happy. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement. If those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.

HAYES: Tonight new FBI arrests for the assault on Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and new reporting from Katie Benner of the New York Times on the Capitol pipe bomber who is still at large.

Then, as the President begins his American rescue tour, Adam Serwer on why Joe Biden chose prosperity over vengeance. Plus David Wallace-Wells on how so many wealthy Western countries got COVID so wrong. And is there any way in the world to convince vaccine skeptic Trump supporters they should get their shots, when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We`ve got big developments on two of the biggest mysteries surrounding the January 6th insurrection. What happened to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick that led to his death, and who planted pipe bombs next to the RNC and the DNC.

There is still a ton that we do not know about that day, though today, we learned a few more pieces. But before we get into that a little context, because over the last two months, there has been a concerted effort on the right to spin a counter-narrative about this violent insurrection.

You remember, you saw it happen live on TV, an attack that sought explicitly for really the first time in American history to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That was the goal. There have been people with big audiences spreading the idea that these attackers were harmless, was kind of a joke or a lark that all this stuff you`ve been told about how dangerous and violent was, was played up in the media is telling you it`s white supremacists. Show me white supremacists.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: It was not an act of racism. It was not an insurrection. It wasn`t an armed invasion by a brigade of dangerous white supremacists. It wasn`t. Those are lies.


HAYES: Well, you know, on the day of the insurrection, there was this guy walking through the Capitol building with a giant confederate flag and well, there was also this guy with a T-shirt that said camp Auschwitz staff.

Most people at the Capitol, they were not quite as explicit about their feelings, but an awful lot of them invaded the seat of American democracy, again, violently under this banner chanting America first.

Then Friday, the D.C. U.S. Attorney released these photos of Timothy Hale Cusanelli, an active sergeant in the Army Reserve, who they say and I quote them here, "Recorded videos of themselves screaming at and interfering with the United States Capitol Police officers, climbing the scaffolding to enter the United States Capitol building through doors that have been kicked open by rioters, and chanting stop the steel with other protesters."

These gentlemen, who according to interviews with his co-workers, was a well-known white supremacist. In fact, don`t take my word for it. One Navy Petty Officer stated Hale Cusanelli -- and again, I quote, "Talk constantly about Jewish people." And remember Defendant saying, Hitler should have finished the job. Hitler should have finished the job.

Well, yes, where are the white supremacist? What are you talking about? This is who at least some of these people were. And let`s remember exactly what they did. Because as apologists for the violent mob know full well, a cop is dead after that attack. Well, two more died of suicide, in fact.

The mob actually injured 140 police officers despite claiming to support police. They gouged an officer`s eye out. They beat an officer with a flagpole. They struck another with a fire extinguisher. They crushed officers indoors. They threatened to shoot a cop with his own gun while they beat him.

Today, two men were charged with assaulting multiple officers with what appeared to be some kind of bear repellent, and that includes assaulting Officer Brian Sicknick. According to the complaint, "Officers Sicknick, Edwards, and Chapman suffered injuries as a result of being sprayed in the face with an unknown substance. All three officers were incapacitated and unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered from the spray. Officer Edwards reported lasting injuries underneath her eyes including scabbing that remained on her face for weeks."

Oh, yes, what violence? What are you talking about violence, right? Officers Edwards and Chapman also described the spray to their faces` substance as strong as if not stronger than any version of pepper spray they had been exposed to during their training as law enforcement officers.

Officer Brian Sicknick lost his life a day after that encounter. Yet, despite all that, this idea that well, really were they that bad, they weren`t violent, they weren`t white supremacist, they were just patriots. That insidious, ridiculous, facially absurd notion is kind of cannon for a lot of people.

I mean, not just you know, people on TV. Republican Senator Ron Johnson came away from the attack with this remarkable takeaway.


JOHNSON: I`m also criticized because I`ve made the comment that on January 6th I never felt threatened, because I didn`t. And mainly because I knew that even though those thousands of people, there were marching the Capitol, were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they want me to vote, I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law, and so I wasn`t concern.

Now, had the tables been turned, Joe, this could mean trouble. Had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election, and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.


HAYES: This will get me in trouble. He knew what he was saying. Oh, yes, then why would -- you know, they would never break the law, except they all broke the law. And I didn`t feel bad or scared. I mean, these guys, you know, there goes the Auschwitz T-shirt guy and the Confederate flag guy, and there`s the guy with a Hitler mustache, but not coming from me.

Senator Ron Johnson still says that the people who marched on the Capitol, who broke into it, who violently injured police officers, they love America. They respect the police. The only thing that would have made him scared is if those people were black or anti-fascist.

We`ve been paying special attention to the story of just what happened to Officer Sicknick. There are still so many unanswered questions around. But today`s charges begin to shed new light on that. Katie Benner covers the Justice Department for the New York Times, and she joins me now.

Katie, you`ve been doing an incredible job on this beat, so thank you for taking a little time to talk to us tonight. What do we learn from these filings?

KATIE BENNER, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. What we learned is that we`re two people who are caught on video, you know, on the body-worn cameras by one of the officers on surveillance video and other crowdsource video that these two men they talked about attacking officers, they were seen spraying officers down, one of them being Officer Sicknick. And it seemed to be in many ways, a premeditated attack.

One gentleman said to the other, you know, give me the bear spray. The other person said no, not yet. But the first person instead spray down the officers anyway. So, what we saw was an attack on officers. What that prosecutors were not able to do is link the spraying down of the officers with officer Sicknick`s death. So, what they did instead is they charged the assailant with, you know, attacking police officers, with violence on Capitol grounds. And with other sorts of charges that all combined could lead up to a very hefty prison sentence, but are not murder.

HAYES: That`s right. We don`t have homicide charges. And it does seem that there is just this still unanswered direct causal question about what was the direct cause of officer Sicknick`s death. What does seem clear from at least the facts entered in these filings and from the affidavits of the fellow officers, there was some extremely powerful toxic substance that was used by these individuals, allegedly, on them. And I was struck by the scars under the eyes. Like whatever this was, was pretty brutal.

BENNER: I mean, yes, you`re right. What we saw is what we`ve said again, and again, what multiple news outlets have reported. This was the most violent day for law enforcement since 9/11. It was an extremely brutal attack on police officers. We have all seen the images. And this really underscores and very, very graphic detail the assault on these three officers, one of whom did die.

And you`re right, we might not know whether or not what officers Sicknick sprayed with ultimately led to his death, if it complicated his health. We know he went back to the office afterwards before getting extremely ill and being taken to hospital or who died the next day.

HAYES: There`s also some reporting, I understand, that you`ve been pursuing and I wanted to sort of check in on this. Because to me, the two -- the two biggest mysteries of that day remain who assaulted Officer Sicknick and what led to his death and the mysterious pipe bomber.

I mean, you know, these are arguably the two most sort of serious things that happened on that day. I mean, if those pipe bombs had gone off, we`d be dealing with a different situation. What are we -- what is your reporting indicate about where that pipe bomber investigation is given that we now have more and more surveillance video that`s been put out to the public?

BENNER: Yes. So, I think that the pipe bomb case is something that the public is going to have to reset expectations for. The pipe bombs themselves were discovered very quickly on the afternoon of January 6th. They were -- you know, they were found, they did not detonate. But in terms of who actually planted the bombs, that`s something that law enforcement is going to be investigating for a while.

You know, we`ve spoken to people working on the investigation. We also just know historically, these cases are incredibly hard to crack. When you look back at the Atlanta Olympics bombing, the very, you know, famous Richard Jewell case, that took years. And it was only after the actual bomber slipped up and was spotted detonating a bomb at a women`s health care center that law enforcement was able to put together the pieces.

I think we may see something similar here mostly because these sorts of bombs are made with materials easily found even in someone`s garage, galvanized steel pipe, timers you can buy at Walmart. So, even though the FBI is currently using all the tools at its disposal, including, you know, data operations where they`re examining things like receipts from hardware stores, it`s going to be very difficult to pinpoint who bought eight-inch steel galvanized pipe.

So, this is an investigation that while incredibly important, because it could point to some sort of premeditated attack on the Capitol, some lawmakers and law enforcement have said this could be a premeditated attack meant to distract from the actual Capitol building, we probably will not know for a while.

HAYES: Yes, that point about the motivation has always stuck with me about what that day would have unfolded like if two pipe bombs had gone off at the headquarters of both major parties and what that police response might have looked like and how that might have changed what happened at the Capitol that day. It`s part of that complex picture.

Katie Benner who has been doing just phenomenal reporting on all this, thank you for your reporting and thank you for making time with us.

All right, Wisconsin, Senator Ron Johnson has seen understandably quite a backlash to his comments about how law respecting the insurrectionists were. And given multiple opportunities to check those statements, he is not. The state`s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, called Johnson`s words racist, and he joins me now.

Lieutenant Governor, there was a sort of back and forth today. Ron Johnson hemming and hawing a bit essentially doubling down on what he had to say about the January 6th insurrection. What`s your takeaway?

MANDELA BARNES, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, WISCONSIN: This all he does is hem in haw. He`s trying to fill a void that`s been left by Donald Trump. He`s trying to appeal to this very extreme wing of his own party, and that is the wing that infiltrated the U.S. Capitol. We`re talking about the insurrectionists. They are -- those Ron Johnson`s people and he`s been very clear about that. He has not tried to run away from it, because he won`t, because that is him.

HAYES: It`s striking, you know, Ron Johnson is a Republican statewide elected official. The other senator in your state is Tammy Baldwin. You are serving in administration, a Democratic administration that won statewide. You know, Wisconsin is not -- it`s not a Trump plus 20 state. It`s not a -- you know, it`s probably a state where if I imagine if you polled Wisconsinites across political spectrum, what do you think of January 6th, you get thumbs down. I mean, this does seem to be pretty far from where the median Wisconsin voter is.

BARNES: Oh, absolutely. The views of Ron Johnson are so out of line with the mainstream here in the state of Wisconsin. Republican outlets have called for him to step down because of just reprehensible things that he said, calling Joe Biden`s presidency into question. I mean, the list goes on.

I remember back in 2016 when he was running for reelection, he was talking about this is going to be the Ronald in the Donald. And since the Donald is gone, we`re only left with the Ronald. And he is going to be as ridiculous as he possibly can in the absence of Donald Trump.

HAYES: Does he embody though what your state`s Republican Party increasingly looks like? Because it has been one of the most -- it`s been one of the Trump year parties, I would say, as a political party even though it`s a very divided state.

BARNES: Yes. The Republican Party here in Wisconsin, I mean, they are as extreme as they get as well. And that`s because of gerrymandering. They have had the luxury of gerrymandering where we have seen some very regressive legislation coming out in the last 10 years. They have completely ignored the will of the people when it comes to Medicaid expansion, which has been one of the biggest parts of our budget this year and two years ago, overwhelmingly supported by the public, marijuana legalization overwhelmingly supported by the public, fully funding our public schools.

This is the work that we`re trying to do right now. We`re met with Republican obstructionism. And this is part and parcel of how they have chosen to operate and how they choose to govern. Ron Johnson is not an outlier by any means. He just wanted to say it out loud.

HAYES: When I saw those comments, I thought this is -- this will probably blow up. This is pretty offensive. I mean, first of all, it`s factually preposterous, just not true, but it`s also offensive thing to say. Has it blown up in your state?

BARNES: I mean, look, we know who`s been the -- who was the president for the last four years. So many things should have blown up but they didn`t. These things continue to get swept under the rug. And people with hateful views, people with bigoted views, people who are openly racist and make openly racist statements have gotten away with doing this for too long. Why would it stop? You know, what`s the point of, you know, a few people, you know, get mad, people get all up in arms, people who are of sound mind and sound judgment, cast aspersions on what`s going on rightfully so.

But they have seen what happened in the nation`s highest office without consequence. And so many of them are just going to replicate that behavior, because if the President can get away with it, they`ll assume they can as well.

HAYES: Final question for you. I mean, given your state, obviously, we saw what happened in Kenosha this summer, and then the aftermath of the apprehension of the young man that came from Illinois and shot and killed two people in Kenosha after police shooting.

I mean, when you see the Senator from your state refer to people that that essentially undertook the largest assault on law enforcement in a day since 9/11 and call them law-abiding, what does that say to you about how he understands all this?

BARNES: It`s honestly -- you know, the way that he understands the world is just completely off. And it is -- honestly, it feels like an invitation for more of it to happen. I`ve never seen a person who seems to get a thrill from this sort of behavior who sort of wants this to continue to happen. I mean, if he said that he wasn`t afraid, and he didn`t feel any level of discomfort, he will be totally fine with that happening again.

And that`s where the people of Wisconsin have the biggest problem with Ron Johnson because he doesn`t represent us. He never has represented us. He`s always been this way. But now he feels that he has some sort of point to prove, but we`re not buying it.

HAYES: Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, thank you so much for coming on.

BARNES: Thank you.

HAYES: Back in 2018, you might remember that Adam Serwer at the Atlantic memorably wrote this essay, right, in which he said that the cruelty of the Trump administration was the point. The cruelty was the point. It became this kind of, you know, phrase that rung throughout the years. And the Trump`s policies and his words his delight in sticking it to liberals that it binds his most ardent supporters to him and share and scorn for those they hate and fear.

But if the cruelty was the point in the Trump administration, the Biden administration is kind of flipping that on its head. They`re trying to overwhelm supporters and non-supporters by just helping them improve their lives. As Adam Serwer writes today, Biden is choosing prosperity over vengeance to defeat Trumpism. Adam Serwer joins me next.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Shots and arms and money in pockets. That`s important. The American rescue plan is already doing what it was designed to do. It will help hundreds of thousands of small businesses keep their doors open, which makes a gigantic difference in neighborhoods and communities. If you have a drugstore, if you have a beauty shop, or hardware store, it`s the center of small communities. And it gets our schools and resources they need to open safely.


HAYES: President Joe Biden was at the White House today kicking off a week- long push by the White House to get out into the country and tell the American rescue plan the President signed last week. First Lady Dr. Joe Biden was at a Burlington New Jersey school today amplifying the President`s message, the rescue plan`s help for families along with efforts to reopen school safely while Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband were in Las Vegas visiting a Coronavirus vaccination site and talking up plans of economic benefits.

This public campaign which includes vaccination advocacy is like just about all the rhetoric of the Biden presidency so far, frankly, a stark contrast with the previous administration. President Biden seems intent on attempting at least to reach out to the tens of millions of voters who did not vote for him.

As Adam Serwer points out in his latest piece in Atlantic, the Democrats are no saints but they`ve come to believe that both the viability of their party and the sustainability of American democracy depend on their capacity to broaden their appeal to right-leaning voters. Trump wanted to punish his enemies. Biden must convince Trump supporters that he is not their enemy. Defeating Trump was but a battle, defeating Trumpism the war.

Here to discuss the campaign the White House waging, Adam Serwer staff writer at the Atlantic joins me now. Adam, I love this piece because it sort of crystallized a bunch of things that I had kind of been trying to put words to. You know, this idea that purely you take any sort of like moral enlightenment away, right, the underweight that Biden and the Democrats understand their political self-interest and who they have to appeal to versus the way Trump did his striking to me in the piece. What -- how do you see the difference there?

ADAM SERWER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I think obviously, there are strong ideological differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party about how the country should be run, what`s good for the country, and that`s expected in a democracy. What`s different is that the Republican Party can win power, thanks to the structural bias of the Senate and the Electoral College without appealing to a majority of voters.

Democrats can lose power even as they appeal to the majority of voters, which means that they have to be able to broaden their appeal to people who think that Trump wasn`t so bad or even thought he was pretty good. And that means showing them that he can govern on their behalf, even if he -- if they disagree with him, even if they think that he`s too liberal.

And Trump exemplified the sort of Republican aid in the sense that he knew that he didn`t have to appeal to Democratic voters. He could win without them. And so, you know, he expressed this kind of contempt for them, you know, which was a contempt that was felt by a large portion of the Republican base. He was a venue for that.

But the Democrats, because of the structural bias of the country towards the Republican Party simply cannot govern that.

HAYES: Yes. It was always so striking to me how much Trump explicitly sort of put himself out as the president of the Republican Party. He would say, like, tweet out a poll like 90 percent approval in the Republican Party, and he would attack the city of Baltimore, he would attack huge swaths of the country in ways that, you know, it`s like when he attacked the city of Baltimore over, you know, Elijah Cummings is like, well, you represent Baltimore too. Like, you`re the president of Baltimore.

SERWER: Yes, you are the president of Baltimore.

HAYES: Right. You`re the president of Baltimore. And I do think that like, what you`re seeing with the Biden administration isn`t just a recognition that vaccination centers and checks, like that crosses all party lines and all geography. They want to get those two things to as many people as possible.

SERWER: That`s right. I mean, look, you can look back at the way that Trump talked about the Coronavirus -- when he talks about the death toll, he said, oh, well, that`s happening in blue states and blue cities, as if there aren`t millions of Trump voters in California, or millions of Biden voters in Texas, for that matter.

It was just a -- he saw as my colleague Ron Brownstein puts it, Trump saw himself as a wartime president leading Red America against Blue America. And Biden doesn`t see himself that way. He doesn`t see himself that way for ideological reasons, but also because politically, the Democratic Party cannot afford to govern as if they are only responsible for Blue America. They have to govern for the whole country because the party is simply non- viable under any other circumstances.

HAYES: You know, the other contradiction when you talk -- or juxtaposition when you talked about a bit in the pieces that`s really striking to me is just the centrality of ego and attention as a sort of defining feature of the presidency. You know, Joe Biden has been in public life for 50 years, and Joe Biden, and I can tell you this from firsthand experience with him and from people that work for him, has had for much of that time, an enormous ego and a colossal, colossal ego.

This is someone who really likes to hear himself talk, can talk for hours on end. You know, he has been a senator or vice versa for most of his life. It is striking to me how relatively low ego his approach to the presidency has been so far, and how that contrast to Trump as well.

SERWER: Look, I mean, no one -- you know, when you look at the men and women who make up the United States Senate, no one would accuse them of having low opinions of themselves. And certainly, Biden is no exception in that regard.

But he also spent, you know, a good eight years being, you know, essentially the sidekick to the most popular figure in the Democratic Party up until now. And so I think, to a certain extent, he has learned how to sublimate those impulses, particularly when it is in his political interest to do so.

And the administration understands, I think, that Trump`s insistence on making it about himself, and some way polarize the country against him right. Now, he almost won anyway, because of the ideal geographic distribution of his support and the Electoral College, but he made the majority of the country dislike him by some -- you know, by a margin of some seven million votes.

You know, Biden cannot do that. He cannot afford to make himself the same kind of lightning rod and still get reelected, or still hope to help Democrats, you know, survive the midterms, which are typically brutal for the party that is in office in the White House.

HAYES: Final question for you. You know, the bet here, right, is that substance will matter. Like, particularly on -- you know, on the rescue package and vaccinations, two very -- you know, they`re talking about now in the first 100 days 100 shots in arms which they`ve already hit, 100 million payments out the door.

You know, these are just very tangible, concrete things. You get a shot or you didn`t, you get a check or you didn`t. There`s no, like, interpretation of politics. I guess the question to you is like, do you think they`re right? Like, they`re betting that this can do something with those voters, and what do you think?

SERWER: I don`t know if it will, but I think it`s the right thing to do anyway. You know, this -- the recession has fallen tremendously unevenly on people on low -- particularly on low-wage workers. The people in the country who are the least secure are the ones who have had to bear the brunt of the economic decline as a result of the Coronavirus. And those are people who are -- you know, have beliefs across the political spectrum.

So, aside -- completely aside from whether this is politically effective, it is the right thing to do. And even if it wasn`t politically effective, they should do it anyway.

HAYES: I agree with that. Adam Serwer, great piece in the Atlantic. People should check it out. Thank you so much.

SERWER: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: When nearly half of all Trump voters are refusing to get vaccinated or at least saying they`ll refuse, who can possibly change their minds? Surprising new data shows it is not who you would think. That`s next.


HAYES: I`ve got to say, after the year we`ve had, I do like coming on here to give some good news. And there has been a lot of good news about the fight against the virus. Daily cases continue to drop and vaccinations have been rising at a really astonishing pace. That said, the pandemic is in no way over.

I mean, last week we averaged more than 50,000 new cases per day in the U.S. As of Friday, the U.S. death rate was still in nearly 1,500 people every single day. But Republican officials in Texas are acting as though it`s completely done. The battle is already been won. And effective last Wednesday, as you may have seen we covered on the program, Governor Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate and decreed that all businesses and facilities, all of them can operate at 100 percent capacity.

Maskless Spring Breakers are now descending on the state. Now, hopefully, they will keep all that frolicking outside, with many acting as though COVID is already thing of the past. Even though Texas is still seeing thousands of new cases per day, some local jurisdictions say that Abbott is moving too fast, not a crazy thing to think.

Public officials in both Austin and Travis County have vowed to keep their mask mandates in effect. Again, mask mandates don`t like close the business down, right? These just get people to wear face masks. And they want to keep them in effect until the situation improves.

Their stance prompted a lawsuit from the Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton who is trying to force the counties to drop mask mandates. And that situation has left many Texas businesses in an impossible position.

If they want to protect their employees and their other customers mandate masks, they now have to deal with non-compliant citizens who can say that statewide elected Republicans have their back.

One day after the governor lifted his mandate, this woman was arrested in Galveston after she refused to put on a mask in a Bank of America or leave the premises. In San Antonio, the noodle tree restaurant was vandalized with racist anti-mask graffiti after the owner who is immunocompromised took a stand in favor of wearing masks.

It would help at least a little bit of Texas was leading the way on vaccinations. But no, despite Governor Abbott claiming Texas as a national model for the vaccine rollout, the state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the whole country. 19 percent of Texans have now receive at least their first dose. That`s worse than all but three states. They are doing a bad job there.

The good news is that we are now getting more than 2.3 million shots into arms every day. And vaccine resistance, I mean, people`s resistance to it, their hesitancy, not lack of supply is increasingly going to become the big story. One of the most vaccine-hesitant groups, not surprising, Trump voters. A whopping 47 percent of them say they will not get vaccinated thanks at least in part to the mixed messaging from the former president. The good news according to one focus group, minds can be changed with the right pro-vaccine message.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I think my opinion has changed. Before I would have said, I was in the middle of events on whether or not I would get the vaccination, and now I`m leaning a little more towards getting the vaccination.


HAYES: What changes minds and what does not, after this?


HAYES: We are coming off the best weekend yet for vaccinations. Six million Americans receiving a dose over the course of just two days. If we can sustain that average three million doses a day, man, we will be way ahead of schedule. And we should note, we`re already way ahead of the rest of the world in total doses administered. That`s up to 109 million per capita. We`re ahead of almost everyone except for Israel and U.K.

So, we are doing a really good job, really good job of getting vaccines out the door. I know it`s weird to say that we`re doing something well with COVID, but we are. Pretty soon we are going to face the next problem, which is convincing people who just don`t want to get vaccinated or have questions or hesitancy about it.

Now, there is encouraging news on that front. The number of Americans saying they would not get a vaccine has come down quite a bit falling from 49% in September of last year to 30 percent last month, according to Pew polling. But that`s still quite a bit of lingering resistance, and it`s particularly prevalent in groups like White Republican Trump voters. The question is how to reach those people.

Long-time Republican pollster Frank Luntz convened a focus group of vaccine-hesitant Trump voters over the weekend and found that sound medical advice rather than political messaging was actually what resonated with them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say I was 50-50 when we started. I`m maybe 75 in favor now of getting it. Only if it means I can get into the nursing home to see my mother, that would probably push me a lot quicker. I like the doctors. I like the medical situation when they give us the facts and talk to us without any politics involved. I think that helps me see that my bias was probably with the political side of it getting involved in just separating the medical side of it.

If I can look just at the medical and health side of it, I`m much better off than when they mix politics in with it.


HAYES: Erin Banco is a health care reporter at Politico where she`s been covering the vaccine rollout and the Biden administration`s plan campaign to convince vaccine skeptics to get the shot. Erin, I know from my own reporting that they`re very aware, particularly because they have so much supply secured, that they`re going to reach a point where supply is not the limiting factor, it`s getting it to people. What are -- what are they talking about? How are they strategizing about this inside the White House?

ERIN BANCO, HEALTH CARE REPORTER, POLITICO: This has been something that health officials in the Trump administration and now in the Biden administration had been worrying about for months. And so, what the discussions looked like now inside the White House is how do we go about rolling out what they`re calling a vaccine confidence campaign to convince large swathes of the country to go ahead and get vaccinated.

Now, each population that is showing some signs of vaccine hesitancy, they`re going to require different strategies. But the next big step for White House officials and house health officials inside the Biden administration is actually go ahead and roll this new campaign out which will rely a lot on advertisement, both on social media and on television network, and will include interviews with health officials and doctors from across the country going on radio shows, particularly a group (AUDIO GAP) sort of spread the message about vaccine efficacy.

HAYES: One of the findings of that -- again, it`s not scientific, but that focus group, is that, you know, you might think, well, if you get validators who are big -- you know, have political affiliations with groups, that will be helpful, cultural affiliations.

But largely, what was found there, and I think this is important is you just got to persuade people grounded in the data. I mean, you got to go to people and say, look, they ran these experiments. They`re really big. We`ve been -- you know, this is what the data says about its safety and its efficacy. And that which sounds the most straightforward and in some ways, kind of the most boring, might actually be the most important way to do this.

BANCO: What`s interesting about that Chris, is this has been the strategy all along since the vaccine first came out under the Trump administration. Health officials under the Trump administration knew from the very beginning that we were going to need doctors Scientists out there to the public about the efficacy about the safety.

Dr. Fauci raised this, you know, throughout the fall and into the winter saying, this is what we need to do. If you`re at that point, the initial rollout in December was that there are large portions of our health care workers that we`re not signing up to get the shot, where we`re hesitant about getting the shot.

And so, Dr. Fauci, in particular, and other health officials were concerned about how do we get the American public to sit down or to understand that this vaccine is safe, it will prevent severe disease, it is very, you know, efficacious. And so, the problem that we`re running into now is not going to have -- be able to have, you know, thousands and thousands of focus groups like the one we just thought where people can spend an hour and sit down and learn the science and learn what`s been going on.

We`re going to need to -- the government is going to need to put out advertisements across the country and continue to just talk about this issue over and over and over again, because not everyone has the time to sort of sit down and read a study.

HAYES: Yes, it`s a very good point. I mean, part of the problem here, too, is this -- is the craziness of the signaling from the ex-president who had he wanted to, could have done what a lot of people done, just get it on camera, make a big deal about it. In fact, take a big victory lap, right. He could -- look, Operation Warp Speed, this -- I leave this as my gift to you, America, from you know --

He did get vaccine in private and we`ve got polling out that shows that the public -- only 15 percent of Republicans who say they`ve seen, read, or heard a lot about Donald and Melania Trump getting vaccinated like, that was the choice he made, and it has consequences.

BANCO: Yes, exactly. I mean, it`s sort of interesting. You would think that after a big accomplishment with Operation Warp Speed that the President and his officials would want to sort of go out there and promote the fact that they were signing up to get the vaccine. They -- if you remember, there was a plan for a big vaccine rollout that sort of got hindered there for a bit with a congressional investigation.

But even so, I would have assumed that Trump himself would have wanted to go and show the country, you know, that these vaccines that he helped create and fast track was safe and efficient.

HAYES: Erin Banco who has been doing great reporting on this, thanks so much for making a little time with us.

BANCO: Thanks.

HAYES: Up next, a fascinating deep dive into one of the most inexplicable things about this pandemic. How basically all of the richest countries in the world in the West just failed on COVID when other countries did not. What happens? That`s next.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to all be great. We`re going to be so good. We`re going to do -- what`s happened with the Fed is phenomenal news. Relax. We`re doing great. It all will pass.


HAYES: Relax. What`s the big deal? Exactly one year ago today, then- President Trump congratulated the Federal Reserve Bank for cutting interest rates which wasn`t going to move, and then told everyone that we had nothing to worry about when it came to this new weird virus.

And while it`s easy to blame much of the nation`s inept, feckless, deadly response to the virus on the former president and correctly so, there`s one problem with blaming Trump exclusively, and that`s you lose sight of the fact that our initial response to the virus was actually very similar to a whole bunch of other countries, especially in Europe.

Perhaps the most significant factor in stopping the spread of the virus back then, it wasn`t competence per se, but speed. That`s the advice The World Health Organization gave just two days before Trump told everyone to relax.


MIKE RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HEALTH EMERGENCIES, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: You need to react quickly. You need to go after the virus. You need to start to change the transmission. Be fast, have no regrets. You must be the first mover. The virus will always get you if you don`t move quickly. If you need to be right before you move, you will never win.


HAYES: Man, does that hit different now. The fascinating new piece in New York Magazine writer David Wallace-Wells argues that this lack of quick and decisive action doomed much of the U.S. and Europe. "Even after the disease arrive in Europe, nearly every Western nation chose to play wait and see, hoping they wouldn`t have to intrude on lies their citizens and economies and trusting that if they needed to, they could simply play catch up." And David Wallace-Wells joins me now.

It`s a great piece, David. And one of the big questions to wrestle with in the wake of all this, why did all of these relatively -- quite wealthy countries do so poorly at combating this? What`s the main takeaway? Is it just speed?

DAVID WALLACE-WELLS, DEPUTY EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I think speed is the main driver when you`re dealing with an exponential growth system like this. You need to move fast, you need to move early, and you need to move aggressively. And even those countries where there was this kind of significant initial outbreak, say South Korea, when they really, really responded aggressively, they managed to snuff it out.

In the U.S. and across Europe, and really, throughout the Americas too, nobody even tried to snuff out this disease. We heard a lot about flattening the curve. We didn`t hear about eliminating COVID. And that`s a failure not just at the highest levels of leadership. You know, Donald Trump, obvious, you can imagine a worst leader for this time. But really through down through the governors and mayors and throughout our culture where we just first of all, discounted the idea that what had happened in China could happen here as kind of a patronizing idea about the level of development in China.

And then we thought if it did happen here, well, we could just sort of ramp up our medical capacity to deal with it in an instant. And instead, we did effectively nothing. You know, we ended up in a long term lockdown on various levels across the country. But even then, we weren`t building out our testing capacity, we weren`t doing significant contact tracing, we weren`t doing supported quarantine like they were doing in Asia.

And when you look at the American response, you say, how can any technocrat, how can anyone put in charge of this looking at that incredible Mike Ryan speech that you just showed, how could they not be moving more quickly. And yet, as you say, you know, the U.S. is -- has done no worse. In fact, has done a little bit better in terms of deaths per capita than the U.K. and Belgium than the Czech Republic.

We`ve done a little worse than the E.U. average, but we`re all within the same ballpark, somewhere between say 600 and 1,500 deaths per million. When you compare that to what`s happened in Asia, where you have New Zealand with five deaths per million, and Taiwan with 0.36 deaths per million, you really start to see this as an entirely different pandemic.


WALLACE-WELLS: That the countries that we know of is the West, it`s an antiquated term, but the countries we know of is the West have suffered most, have died most. Countries in Asia really beat the disease pretty quickly. And in the global south is kind of third experience where there have been relatively high peace loads, but low death totals.

And this is one of the real lasting legacies, I think, of the pandemic, which is that all of these countries have thought to themselves most through wealth and medical technology most capable of defeating a threat like this, because they were so sure that they couldn`t do that, didn`t do any of the things they needed to do it.

And that`s the main reason why we`re here today. Although, you know, you can point to a lot of particular small-scale policy changes too that we might have handled -- we could have handled things differently and done better if we had.

HAYES: This point I think is so -- two things that`s really key from your piece to me, the idea that suppressing, snuffing it out, right. If you think about it as a fire that`s burning and then starts to grow exponentially, like, putting the fire out entirely was never a goal explicitly at almost any level of U.S. policy, and explicitly was the goal throughout Asia, right?

So, you know, you say this in China that the disease was dismissed as a culturally backward outgrowth of wet markets, exotic animal cuisine. And the shutdown was seen not as a demonstration of extreme seriousness, but a sign of the reflexive authoritarianism of the Chinese regime. And yet, what you see in Asia is across all types of governments and institutions, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, China, all these places, they speak different languages, they have different governing styles. The one thing they did was they said, we`re going to suppress it, we`re going to actually extinguish the fire.

And we just never did that over here. And so we lived with the worst of both worlds for a year which was kind of shut down, and the virus raging like crazy.

WALLACE-WELLS: Yes. You know, the vaccine is still a bit of a different story. The American experience with vaccines is quite different. And, in fact, it`s sort of interesting that the countries that did most poorly throughout the pandemic seem to be doing the best in terms of delivering vaccines, U.S. and the U.K.

But, you know, we really needed to move incredibly aggressively in February and March. And during that time, again, it wasn`t just Donald Trump, you had Dr. Fauci saying the disease was a low risk disease. He called it a miniscule risk. You had Andrew Cuomo talking about the need to socialize, the need for response and lockdown rather than just sort of pushing his state into a more restricted sort of set of behaviors to protect the population.

At every level and at everywhere you look, there was just this kind of delay. And we thought, well, maybe it`s -- you know, maybe it`s too expensive, maybe it`s too difficult, maybe it`s too disruptive to really be taking the kinds of measures that people in Asia took in order to snuff out the disease. And yet, when you look at what they did, it meant that their pain was really only six or eight weeks long. And here, we`ve been living with it for a year.

HAYES: That`s what`s so crazy is that they both had fewer deaths, and they had more net freedom. They got liberty out of it as well. Because in being completely psychos about the lockdowns and the -- and the attack, it meant that -- when that was lifted, people got -- I got a video from a friend in Thailand where he was like at a karaoke bar a few months ago. And it`s no one in New York -- everyone in New York is locked down and in Thailand, it`s like, yes, we got rid of it.

WALLACE-WELLS: Yes. I mean, they were having a huge maskless indoor New Year`s Parties all across Asia. And that`s just New Year`s. I mean, but they have this under control by the late spring, early summer. Some of these countries haven`t even had a single reported COVID death. And I think it`s easy for us to forget in the U.S. especially so preoccupied we were with how bad Donald Trump was handling the disease, it`s easy for us to forget, you know, that this is not a global phenomenon.

Not everyone in the world is suffering in the same way that countries in Europe and the Americas are. And I think we`re going to be studying the reasons for that beyond speed, the cultural reasons for why we move so slowly for a very long time. And I`m -- you know, I wonder if it may be a sort of a decline of the West narrative. I`m not sure it`s that simple, but it`s hard to look at the outcomes here and not be a little bit alarmed.

HAYES: Yes, I agree. Although I do also think SARS probably helped. And I think the next time there`s a respiratory pandemic, we`re going to be much better. And that will probably happen. David Wallace-Wells, it`s a great piece. People should check it out. Thanks for making time tonight.

That is ALL IN on this Monday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.