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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/4/21

Guest: Chris Van Hollen, Peter Hotez, Janai Nelson, Nse Ufot�


The Republicans are blocking once again Merrick Garland`s

confirmation. Sen. Ron Johnson forces the Senate to read aloud the entire

728-page COVID Bill to delay the process. The Capitol is still on lockdown

amid fears of another attack today. COVID precautions like social

distancing and mask mandate have prevented the flu from taking hold. The

United States is now averaging two million vaccines a day. Republicans are

laser-focused on defeating the bill that House Democrats passed last night,

the For The People Act, because it would basically set national standards

for democracy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just be consistent with a message and say, hey, here we

are, get our opinion, included us. We`re part of the solution.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It doesn`t seem like that is the plan, however. But

Dr. Bernard Ashby and Dr. Ivan Melendez, thank you both for being here. I

appreciate you both. I appreciate the passion. That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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


votes in the affirmative and the motion to proceed is agreed to.

HAYES: The COVID rescue package moves forward in the Senate, and

Republicans keep their eye on the ball.

REP. ALEX MOONEY (R-WV): Let`s not attempt to steal knowledge of our

nation`s history from our children like the Grinch attempted to steal


HAYES: Tonight, the latest GOP stunt to keep Americans from getting relief.

Then why the man arrested after breaking into Nancy Pelosi his office was

just dragged kicking and screaming back to jail.

Plus, why the voting reform bill that just passed the House is crucial for


And as vaccination rates climb, Dr. Peter Hotez on why we may soon hit an

anti-vaxxer problem when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. On January

6th of this year, shortly after noon, news leaks that Merrick Garland would

be getting a huge new job.



my colleague Mike Memoli and me that President-Elect Joe Biden has selected

Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general. Merrick Garland is

someone who is widely viewed who can be a unifying force within the

Department of Justice trying to restore public faith in that institution

and restoring morale within it.


HAYES: Garland, of course, everyone knew, went through a historic snubbing

in 2016 after then-President Obama nominated him to fill Antonin Scalia`s

vacant seat on the Supreme Court. And for nearly a year, Senate Republicans

pulled an unprecedented stunt, never been done before in American history,

refusing to even meet with Garland, not to mention hold hearings or a vote

on his nomination.

But on January 6th, the redemption story began. He was going to be Joe

Biden`s choice for attorney general. And then, well, of course, just an

hour or two later, the rest of that day`s awful events unfolded,

overshadowing the potential new AG. And now, here we are nearly two months

later, Garland is still the nominee, still not confirmed, like deja vu, as

the Department of Justice remains in shambles, thanks to the Trump

ministration which desecrated it every chance it got.

And the reason the Merrick Garland is not yet the Attorney General, the

reasons that Republicans understand they have no real power right now,

except to delay and to troll and to make things difficult for the Biden

administration. There is no Republican governing agenda. They have no

affirmative goals to accomplish. They just want to hurt the new Democratic

president and the Democratic majority in Congress in any way they can.

So, enter Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, unilaterally holding up Merrick

Garland`s nomination because he didn`t like Garland`s answers to his Fox

News style questions about immigration and guns and racial equality. That

leaves Merrick Garland stonewalled for the second time in five years by

truculent Republicans who are not actually interested in the business of


Unless you think this is the first time Tom Cotton has pulled this kind of

stunt, he has a history of this, including one of the most shameful

episodes of Republican obstruction in the entire Obama administration,

which is really, really saying something.

You see back in 2015, Tom Cotton blocked the nomination of Cassandra Butts

to be the United States Ambassador to the Bahamas. Butts was a friend and

advisor and associate of President Obama. The two of them met at Harvard

Law School. Full disclosure, I knew Cassandra as well. Cotton`s hold on

Cassandra Butts` nomination, it had nothing to do with her, absolutely

nothing, literally zero.

He even admitted as much telling Butts herself that blocking her was a way

to inflict special pain on the president. And well, Tom Cotton got his

wish. He blocked Cassandra Butts until she died. That`s right. She died

after a brief illness in May of 2016. She succumbed to acute leukemia while

still waiting to be confirmed more than two years, two years after her


So, congratulations, Tom Cotton. You did it. You did hurt President Obama.

I think that probably hurt when his friend and associate nominee died

before she could take over as ambassador to Bahamas. That was a win, I

guess, for Tom Cotton. He`s tried it before. That`s the model of governing

we are seeing from Republicans, temper tantrums, and destruction, and

nonsense, focusing on priorities like Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss,

attacking Joe Biden for referring to lifting mass mandates as Neanderthal


We`re seeing a perfect example of that model on display tonight right now

as I speak to you, as the Senate moves towards a vote on the $1.9 trillion

pandemic relief bill. And Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is

making good on his promise to slow down that relief getting to Americans by

whatever ridiculous means necessary.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I don`t want to sound like a leftist, but I`m

going to resist, OK. So, the first way I`m going to resist is I`m going to

go down and object to the waving of the reading of the bill. I will make

them read their 600 or 700-page bill.


HAYES: Good for you, Senator. That`s right. In the midst of a pandemic

that`s killed 520,000 Americans, thousands every day, every day. We`re just

numb to it now. But every day continues, and it`s put millions out of work.

Ron Johnson wants to delay help getting out the American people by forcing

the Senate clerks to read aloud all 728 pages of the bill.

They have been at it for nearly five hours already. They`re expected to go

into the wee hours of the morning. Remember the last time that we had a

Democratic president in office? Remember that? Mitch McConnell said the

single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be

a one-term president. It was the overriding impulse that determined

Republicans behavior throughout the Obama administration, and we are almost

surely in for another round of that.

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland serves on the Senate Budget

and Appropriations Committee. He joins me now. Senator, you know, I always

feel like when I`m talking to a member of the U.S. Senate, you have to

describe your strange culture, strange alien culture to me. So, let`s start

on the reading of the bill thing. What`s the deal there?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Well, the deal is under our rules, a senator

can object to proceeding and demand the reading of a bill. And so, that`s

why you have this pure obstruction going on as a result, and that`s why at

2:00 a.m. in the morning, you`ll see me sitting in that chair providing --

presiding over the Senate because Ron Johnson has just decided to drag this

process out and further delay relief to the American people.

HAYES: It does strike me however as -- unlike the Cotton hold on Merrick

Garland, which I`m going to get to in a second, this is essentially an

impotent stunt.

VAN HOLLEN: No doubt about it. This is just stomping his foot. This is

taking advantage of a rule that is available. It`s not used very much. But

it`s an example of the lengths to which, you know, people like Ron Johnson

will go simply to throw a throw this big hissy fit. We will -- we will

prevail. It`s just a matter of eating up the clock. But it is an example of

Republicans, you know, kicking around in the sandbox.

HAYES: I should note, I think that Senator Johnson is in the chamber, at

least, listening to the bill being read aloud. In the broader sense of

obstruction here, Mike Lee is talking about they`re going to go through

this vote-a-rama. They`re going to push it off. But this is in the case of

the COVID Bill, it seems to me delaying the inevitable.

It does seem this caucus united. There`s an understanding that you need

every member of the caucus with the tie breaking vote for Vice President

Harris, and that you`re going to get this done in the next few days. Is

that right?

VAN HOLLEN: That`s right. You just saw the vice president as the tie

breaking vote on what`s called the motion to proceed to the bill. So, now

we`re on the build, and we`ll go to vote-o-rama, and yes, Chris, we are

going to pass this relief as the vice -- as the President has always said

he would prefer to have Republican partners in this effort, but the

imperative is to get this done for the country.

HAYES: So, on the Tom Cotton hold, I`m always confused about like what you

can and can`t do in the Senate, what you can and can`t get away with. At

some level, everything goes by unanimous consent. But that means that if

people want to be real pains, they can make the whole Senate body do that.

Most people aren`t, but then it allows people to sort of pick up that

cudgel and wield it whenever they want to, as Cotton has done here with

Merrick Garland. Why can he do this?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, he can do it, Chris, because under our rules, if you`re

talking about an executive appointment at the cabinet level, that the

Senator can delay this up to 30 hours. So, again, Merrick Garland will be

confirmed as our attorney general. In fact, I believe we`re going to get to

this nomination next week.

But what Tom Cotton can do is drag out the time and of course, there`s all

sorts of other important business that we want to get to the United States

Senate, so this is a delaying tactic. My view is when it comes to the

fundamental rules that allow senators to delay, which is the filibuster, we

need to eliminate it or radically reform it, or at the very least for now,

put the burden on the obstructionists rather than on those who want to move

the process forward.

HAYES: But we were joking this morning. We were thinking, well, is Ron

Johnson going to make them read this thing and not actually show up, and

just like, you know, go to Fox News? And again, I think this is the

ridiculous stuff, but at least he`s sitting there, right? I mean, it`s

like, if you`re going to do this, well, then you got to go sit there and

listen to this thing. You got to waste your own time.

And a filibuster that did that would be a wholly different thing than from

what you have now, which is just a pro forma invocation of a 60 vote

threshold. I mean, you know, go sit there in the chamber.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, that`s exactly right. As I say, I think we should scrap

the filibuster rule altogether. But at the very least, you should have to

go down to the Senate floor and do what most Americans remember is an old

fashioned filibuster, rather than just threaten a filibuster, and then put

the burden on the majority that wants to move forward to first file a

cloture petition, and then move forward in that way.

If you want to be the obstructionist, you should have to have your 40

votes, not just Senator Johnson on the floor, but you should have to have

your 40 votes.

HAYES: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: They are present on the Senate floor to have to block it rather

than just do it from, you know, the back door -- the back corner.

HAYES: Let`s talk about the substantive stakes here. I mean, I think the --

I haven`t actually heard, to be honest, a ton of arguments from Republicans

on this bill. It`s -- they`ve been talking about other things. To the

extent they`ve argued about it, they say, well, only some of it is really

COVID direct related and a lot of other Democratic priorities in there. And

also, we spent a lot of money so far. Like, what are you counting on for

this bill to deliver for the people that you represent in Maryland?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, we`re counting on a number of things. Number one, this is

essential to the continued production and distribution of the vaccines.

Number two, it`s essential to provide help to our schools, and educators.

We all want our kids back in school as soon as possible and as safe as

possible. It`s one thing just to say it, but we want to be able to do it.

And this bill will help with that.

And of course, it provides important relief to people who were still

unemployed through no fault of their own. It apply -- it provides rental

assistance, so we don`t have a tsunami of evictions when the moratorium

ends, food assistance, and, of course, the individual payments and other

very important provisions.

And finally, Chris, we know from the Congressional Budget Office and other

economists, if we don`t do something big like this, we`re going to live

with these higher levels of unemployment into the year 2025. That`s just


HAYES: That to me is, you know, the big lesson of the last time a

Democratic administration, along with a Democratic House and Democratic

Senate had to dig out of the catastrophe, generational catastrophe that the

previous Republican administration had turned over to them, which was just

12 years ago.

That was the big lesson. The floodgates didn`t open enough, and we

undershot. We undershot on the recovery, too many people were out of work

for too long. There was too much austerity. We were too tight with the

rains. Has that -- it seems to me like that lesson above all else has sunk

through at least among the President of the United States and the Democrats

in the Senate Caucus.

VAN HOLLEN: That`s exactly right. And that is the lesson to be learned. I

remember being in the House of Representatives at the time. I was screaming

because, you know, the Senate Democrats were negotiating with the Senate

Republicans, which was fine to start with. But then it went on and on, and

the overall amount of the relief got chipped away, that chipped away at.

And then when it finally came to the house, not a single Republican voted

for it even after all of that. And then, Chris, as you just mentioned,

Republicans spent the next five, six years talking about why the recovery

was too slow.


VAN HOLLEN: And it`s largely because they refused to provide that relief,

and that we allowed it to get negotiated down. That`s not going to happen


HAYES: This is one of these places, and I think I`ve seen this in hearing -

- speaking to members of both houses, as we do on this program every night.

The politics and the substance are aligned. Like, let`s get money into this

economy. Let`s support a rocket ship recovery. And it`s good for everybody.

It`s good for the Democrats, and it`s good for the American people if like

things are to quote Jared Kushner a year ago, rocking in this economy, you

know, five, six months from now.

VAN HOLLEN: That`s -- look, people are going to measure this by how it

impacts their lives. And that`s why you see majorities around the country,

large majority supporting the whole package and elements of it. And you

can`t measure bipartisanship by the fact that you don`t have Republican

senators that voting for it at this point when they want to be

obstructionist rather than listen to their own constituents back home.

HAYES: Senator Chris Van Hollen of the state of Maryland, thank you so much

for making little time with us tonight.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you. Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right, one of the most famous insurrectionists, you probably

recognize him. It`s this guy. This image infamous instantly, right, seen

kicking back with his feet up on the desk in Nancy Pelosi`s office. Well,

today, he was dragged kicking and screaming out of court, very unhappy

about how he`s going to be spending the next few months. That`s next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you get it?


it. (INAUDIBLE) and I couldn`t (BLEEP) see. And so, I figured well, I`m in

her office. I got blood in her office. I`ll put a corner on her desk even

though she (BLEEP) worth it. And I left her a note on her desk that says

Nancy, Bigo was here, you (BLEEP).


HAYES: After starting the Capitol, Richard Barnett, that man, boasted on

camera that he`d taken an envelope from Speaker Pelosi`s office and left

her a note. This is him infamously inside Pelosi`s office that day with his

feet up on the desk and some kind of stun gun strapped to his hip.

Two days later, Barnett surrendered to the FBI in Northwestern Arkansas.

He`s been in jail ever since and faces several federal charges including

obstructing an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted

building, and theft of government property.

At a virtual court hearing today, Barnett found out he would remain in jail

until his next court date in May and he lost it. Yelling at the judge and

his own lawyers that it wasn`t fair that he was still in jail shouting,

they`re letting everybody else out.

Barnett is one of the roughly 250 people who`ve been federally charged in

connection with the Capitol riot. There`s an open question about the

reverberations of January 6th and whether the threats still persist.

This was the scene in Washington D.C. today where two months after the

attempted insurrection, the area around the Capitol is still on lockdown,

because of worries over postings on QAnon forums about a plot for another

violent attack today, March 4th. Thankfully, nothing happened.

Here to explain the significance of the date and where the movement stands,

Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins who cover the QAnon movement and online

extremism for NBC News. Great to have you both.

Brandy, maybe you can just start with what the concerns were about March

4th and why that date had any significance?

BRANDY ZADROZNY, MSNBC REPORTER: Yes, well, apparently, there were two

tiers of concerns. One was that there was some vague threat that the

Capitol Police had seen or found from QAnon forums. And the second one, and

this was from the federal law enforcement, found that there was some

aspirational threat based on QAnon forums. So, doesn`t that sound like a

great idea? We should do something like this on March 4th.

Now, March 4th is a weird one, so hang on with me. But -- and I will say

that media coverage of how silly this all is made it seemingly less

palatable for QAnon people over the last week. But basically, QAnon

believers and some general Trump supporters believed that this was the day

that Donald Trump would be sworn back into office.

This new date was on sort of loan from a different anti-government

conspiracy theory movement called the Sovereign Citizens Movement. And it`s

that`s full of people who believe that laws don`t apply to them. They don`t

have to have social security cards or pay taxes or whatever.

The QAnon people were saying that some law passed in the 1800s allegedly

made the United States a corporation instead of a government. The thinking

went no laws have been real since that time, so the presidential election

wasn`t real.

So, Trump could come and this was the day that he could save us all and

become the 19th president. Oh, and while he was at it, you know, execute a

bunch of Democrats and movie stars while he was at it.

This one also invoked the Pope and the Queen of England and Biden as a body

double. It`s a lot, Chris. It always is with these people. Luckily, they

stayed behind a computer.

HAYES: So, here`s my question, Ben, as we zoom out. There are two ways I

can imagine the trajectory of a lot of sort of right-wing extremism post-

Trump, right. One is that there`s an intensification of the tendency in


So, we remember, you know, I remember under Bill Clinton that that`s when

you had this very powerful militia movement. You of course, had Oklahoma

City bombing. Like, there was a way in which this Democratic power made

people feel, certain people, drove them to more extremism, and they -- and

then they radicalized against it.

The other way you can see this is that Donald Trump himself was this kind

of stoker and messianic figure who was kind of pumping this up the whole

time. And in his absence, while he`s silently golfing, the thing kind of

deflates a little bit. And I`m curious which of those two we`re seeing so

far, Ben?

BEN COLLINS, MSNBC REPORTER: Yes, Chris, it`s both. You know, I think they

are less inclined to talk about this publicly, because a lot of these QAnon

followers really thought that they would -- they were going to be met --

you know, basically, I don`t want to say this phrase, but as liberators in

the Capitol.

They thought that they were going to go in there and Donald Trump would

bring his military and they would just be the first wave of an insurgency.

They really did believe that. And they don`t believe that anymore. You

know, they do believe that the military is not on their side now. They do

understand that there -- you know, a lot of these people do understand

that, you know, the Biden administration does not want these people around,

that the military and the police are not with them. They are fighting

against them. They are insurgency again.

So, that`s one part of it, but it doesn`t go away. It doesn`t just end

because Donald Trump isn`t there anymore. It morphs. It evolves. You know,

the QAnon movement over the last few weeks has taken the branding off

itself, and embedded itself into different kinds of American culture.

You know, a big part of that is American churches. We`ve seen this over and

over again, all throughout the country. People are saying my church group

is going through this. You know, it`s sort of -- you know, my church group

succumb to this. My entire church succumbed to this. And I didn`t even know

it was QAnon until I went and look it up these names that, you know,

General Flynn was secretly controlling all this stuff.

So, it will evolve. In will -- it will sort of sink its talons into the

parts of culture that allow it to -- or allow for that to happen.

HAYES: There`s also an aspect to this, Brandy, which I think goes along

with a theme that I`ve seen on the right we`ve been discussing which is

like at a certain level, this almost becomes something more, for lack of a

better word, like religious than political in any recognizable sense that,

you know, this is -- I mean, compared to the Tea Party, right.

So, when the Tea Party happened in 2010, it was like, we must kill this

bill. The ACA is bad. We`re having rallies. And like, that was -- I thought

they were wrong. I thought they were unhinged. I thought it had all sorts

of extremist and like, crypto racist elements, but it was recognizably

political, OK. This does not -- this becomes harder and harder for me to

read in a recognizably ostensively political fashion. What do you think?

ZADROZNY: I think that that`s definitely true. You have a literal Messiah

complex with a lot of these people who are literally, you know, they`re

saying that Trump is their God. And that`s not just the QAnon and not just

the church and not just, you know, far-right Christian extremists, but

that`s just the regular MAGA people who are now, you know, rebranding

themselves as the Patriot party, even though specifically Trump said that

he didn`t want that.

I think what we saw in the last year has been a sort of cross-fertilization

of just the craziest conspiracy theories all mixed together with violent

extremists. So, you know, that`s QAnon, white supremacist, Proud Boys,

Boogaloo, etcetera, etcetera. So, you know, I think that what we`re

expecting at this point, like you said, is -- I`ve been talking to

extremist researchers a lot, and what we always say, and I hate to be so

glib about it, but you know, I`m a parent, I know you`re a parent, and the

times that we really, really worry is when everything gets quiet, right?

Like, that`s when that unsettling feeling comes in. And that`s what the

people that I talked to have now, you know. They`re expecting -- we can go

back to 2020. We`re going to see what we saw in 2020, which is, you know,

attacks, kidnappings, killings, planned in private spaces, as well as

Facebook and terrorism planned and executed on smaller scales. All eyes

were on the Capitol today, really, but that`s not the big worry from here

on out.

HAYES: Yes, that worry, Ben -- I mean, I think there are sort of diff

distinctions here in sort of the categories of folks we`re talking about.

But that worry, which again, is not -- I mean, we live -- I live through

Oklahoma City bombing and the militia movement and like, actual concerted

attacks by right-wing violent extremists in America.

That seems to be the real penetrating concern that you`re seeing among

various levels of government right now.

COLLINS: Yes, look, I don`t want to say we were -- it was easier to do this

job over the last few years because there was a direct funnel from the

president talking points about really -- they came from a central node, and

it`s kind of, you know, found their way out from there. The President

really centralized talking points, centralized worry. So did Fox News,

things like the caravan.

You know, that was a -- that was a way to create primary drivers of

agitation in those spaces. Right now, they`re regrouping. They`re trying to

find new spaces. They`re traveling the new talking points that work. And

they`re not -- frankly, these extremist spaces, they`re not talking about

the Dr. Seuss stuff that you`re hearing on Fox News. They`re not getting

riled up about that sort of thing. They need these big existential threats.

And when the next -- when the next one comes along, they`ll rally behind

that message. They`ll rally behind that next caravan. And that`s when you

start to get worried.

HAYES: Brandy Zadrozny, Ben Collins who as always, you`re doing great

reporting on these huge, wonderful colleagues and resources for us here at

NBC, thank you both.

Ahead, as more people who want to get the vaccine are able to get it, the

next battle becomes how to message the people who will refuse. Dr. Peter

Hotez on what needs to be done and coming up.


HAYES: By the end of last April, COVID-19 had already ravaged the New York

metropolitan area. The virus has still only been the United States for a

few months, and there were a lot of experts -- there was a lot experts did

not know.

CDC Director Robert Redfield told The Washington Post,"There`s a

possibility the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will

actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through. We`re

going to have the flu epidemic and the Coronavirus epidemic at the same


And it was a totally reasonable concern at the time, and for months after

that there were no experts publicly disagreeing with him. The CDC estimated

that the flu season that was just ending had been associated with "38

million illnesses, 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and

22,000 deaths."

The idea that a flu season like that would combine with the devastation

seen in a place like New York to create unimaginable misery was a real

threat. And because of COVID-19, well, Redfield was right. This past winter

was a nightmare all across the country, the worst and deadliest in our


But the flu had nothing to do with it because there was no flu in the U.S.

this winter basically. By this point last year, there were over 174,000

confirmed cases of flu. This flu season, look at that, has only 1,499

confirmed cases. That is less than one percent of the total this time last

year. The number of flu associated pediatric deaths usually ranges between

about 150 to 200 deaths per flu season. This year, that number is one.

There has been one confirmed pediatric death due to the flu this flu


Wild, right? I mean, think to yourself, how often have you gotten sick,

COVID aside? If you gotten a cold, gotten a flu, have gotten bugs over the

last year? Not a lot of it, right? It seems like there are least two things

we can learn from this. One is that definitively, and we know this already,

Coronavirus has not the flu no matter what certain people have said.



was it. This one is different, much different. This is a flu. This is like

a flu.


HAYES: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. COVID is not like the flu. It is

much more transmissible, much more insidious. The lack of flu season proves

that. I mean, with social distancing of mass and other measures, we were

collectively able to complete -- almost completely suppressed the flu. No

flu. Not the Coronavirus though. Coronavirus, kicked our butts.

The second thing we can learn is that all these common-sense public health

practices that we can all recite by memory now that we`ve been told by

responsible leaders over and over to follow, that they really do reduce the

spread of infectious diseases.

I mean, despite the fact that people like the former president and people

on Fox News and all sorts of right-wing cranks have been lying to people

for a year, they don`t. Here it is in black and white. This is the

evidence. We`ve known this for like over a century. Germs travel in

predictable ways. When you take steps to make it harder for them travel to

person or person, guess what, you suppress infectious diseases.

And yet these folks have been lying to people about that for a year and

contributing directly to getting more people sick in the process.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Here`s what you need to know and

what they`re not going to tell you. There is as of tonight, precisely no

evidence that the lockdowns in America save lives anywhere. In fact, it`s

possible that mass quarantines killed people.


HAYES: Just -- I mean nonsense. You could say, well, the trade-offs were

worth it, the cost. If people stop interacting with each other, they can`t

spread their germs to each other. And that reduces the vectors of infection

as we have seen with the flu.

So, maybe the way to respond to this is possible those measures save

countless lives. It basically allowed us to skip an entire flu season

during the pandemic. Keeping people apart stops viruses from spreading. Can

we all please agree on that now? Can we really just reach consensus on the

germ theory of disease here in 2021?

OK, so another thing we have learned, and again, all this is early,

provisional, but the COVID vaccines work, OK. Now, the big challenge is

getting as many shots into as many arms as quickly as possible, including

in the arms of people who`ve been fed lies about the virus for a year by

the right. How to manage that, next.


HAYES: All right, we are now averaging two million vaccinations a day, OK.

That`s a big deal. That`s double the amount of doses from a month and a

half ago, right, when the Joe Biden was sworn in. It puts us to the point

where 75 percent of the shots delivered to states are getting into people`s

arms, which again, that`s incredible.

That`s the first part of this story. It`s been the first part, supply and

logistics, getting manufacturers to make enough vaccine, shipping it

throughout the country, getting it to distribution sites. And because

that`s gotten really quite good really fast particularly in say a metro

area like here in New York, we are now going to enter phase two. We`re

going to start seeing a supply-demand tipping point.

The problem is going to switch from demand outstripping supply, more people

want the vaccine that can get it, to having the supply and not enough

demand. We`ve got vaccines sitting around and no one to give it to. That

problem, in a lot of ways is actually a trickier one to solve. It`s not a

logistics or manufacturing problem, it`s a human problem. It`s about human

beings, and trust, and society, and knowledge and belief. And the hardest

people to reach just might be supporters in the forum President.

Axios published a poll this week showing that nearly 60 percent of white

Republicans are unsure if they`ll get vaccinated. Trump getting vaccine in

public could have gotten a huge, huge, long way for dispelling some of the

doubts. But instead, he and the former first lady got their shots in secret

last month while still at the White House.

Someone with a lot of expertise in countering vaccine skeptics, Dr. Peter

Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College,

the co-director of the Texas Children`s Hospital Center for Vaccine

Development, the author of the brand new book, Preventing The Next

Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science.

So, let`s start, Doctor, with this idea that we`re coming up on this sort

of tipping point. And I want to stress that this is very different in

different parts of the country. I know people who can`t get an appointment

for three week. Meanwhile, this is a tweet from a New York City vaccination

bots saying hundreds of slots are available. This was I think, just

yesterday. So, do you agree that we`re going to get to that point fairly



DEVELOPMENT: Well, not soon enough, Chris, because we still have this U.K.

variant to be 117 accelerating, and we still don`t have enough vaccine

supply. But the President assured us a couple of days ago that we may reach

that point starting in June, where we will have sufficient vaccine so that

any American wants to get vaccinated can get vaccinated.

So, that`s exciting. And it`s especially exciting because there`s new data

coming out of Israel now that was published in the New England Journal of

Medicine last week showing that two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, I

think the others will do it as well, is actually dramatically reducing

asymptomatic transmission.

Remember, we were always talking about it stopped symptomatic transmission.

Now, we know it stops asymptomatic transmission. So, that means potentially

we could vaccinate our way out of this epidemic later in the summer. So,

this is why it`s so important to get everybody vaccinated.

HAYES: But I`m seeing -- I`m -- we`re seeing in the data and I`m seeing

just in anecdotally a mismatch, right, which is that people with high

levels of social capital, high levels of sort of connections and facility

with booking appointments very driven to get the vaccine which is a certain

population are getting the vaccine even though, you know, in some places

like 40, 50 percent of the population might be eligible when you -- when

you look at the comorbidities.

My question is, before you get to people that are anti-vax or think it`s

bad, the middle chunk of folks that just wouldn`t get it but there`s too

much hassle, like, what do we do about that because I think that`s probably

tens of millions of Americans?

HOTEZ: Yes, I mean, one of the problems -- there was a few problems. One,

we`re just now expanding our vaccination sites. Remember, the way it was

initially constructed, it was going to rely exclusively on the pharmacy

chains and hospital chains. And it`s not that the pharmacy chains are doing

a bad job, it`s just that they don`t have the bandwidth needed, and same

with the hospital chain.

So, a big part of the first weeks of the Biden administration were to

dramatically expand vaccination hubs. And we did that here in Houston with

Mayor Turner and the county judge, Lina Hidalgo, creating a lot of sites

especially in some of the low-income neighborhoods which are pharmacy

deserts. So, that part is happening.

The other thing that had to happen, I personally felt that some of the

guidelines, the I-A, I-B, I-C guidelines were pretty fussy and difficult to

understand and follow in and complicated given the fact that we`ve learned

in 2020 that our health system cannot tolerate a lot of complexity. We have

to keep it very simple. And I think sometimes that confused a lot of people

as well.

HAYES: So, I saw this example the other day, an epidemiologist who`s

tweeting about in Philly. This is public health workers. He said, today,

Philly vaccinated 1000 people in my mom`s huge apartment building. Teams

went door to door to administer shots. Folks sat in halls outside their

apartments to wait. Do you envision us having to take even more proactive

steps and what we have now as we get further into this?

HOTEZ: Well, you know, we do have this terrible problem that some people

call vaccine hesitancy or vaccine refusal. And as you pointed out in what

you just said that there`s two major groups that we`ve identified, and we

did a study. I`m not a social scientist. I`m a vaccine scientist. We

partner with a group of social scientists at Texas led by a colleague Tim

Callahan. And what was interesting is the findings were almost identical to

what the Kaiser Family Foundation found in their study using different


And the two most vaccine-hesitant, vaccine refusing groups are the African

American community, African American populations. And number one was what

we call Trump voters, what they call Republicans. And you might say, well,

gee, that`s two very different diametrically different types of groups. And

they come for two very different reasons which we can discuss the origins

of that.

HAYES: Well, I guess, there`s been a lot of talk about penetrating African

American community and I know there`s a lot that`s being done on. That less

has been spoken about the other group, which when you look at the polling,

African American hesitancy has gone down over time, whereas white

Republicans has not. What is being -- like, how do you -- are there

strategies being devised for getting that group on board?

HOTEZ: Well, you know, I`ve been reaching out to conservative news outlets,

in the last few weeks have reached out to a number of conservative groups

to hear their concerns. But this actually was predicted and predictable

because Chris, what happened was the anti-vaccine movement which started

with vaccine -- alleging that vaccines cause autism, that`s never gone


And -- but I -- you know, I wrote this book Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel`s

Autism, about my daughter and that put made me public enemy number one with

the anti-vaccine group. And then, you know, Robert F. Kennedy started

publicly calling me on his Instagram, the O.G. Villain, which I had to look

up what that -- what that meant. So, you`re talking to the O.G. Villain


But then what happened in 2014, 2015, it took a pivot. It took a pivot to

the political extremism on the far-right linked with the tea party and they

formed political action committees, far-right-wing political action

committees like Texans for vaccine choice, Oklahomans for vaccine choice, a

lot of it down here where I live, and that`s what we`re seeing now.

Then, they started in 2020 glomming on protests against masks and social

distancing. So, it`s a full-on anti-science movement coming out of -- out

of the political right.

HAYES: Dr. Peter Hotez, as always, it`s great to hear your thoughts on

this. Thank you.

HOTEZ: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, while the Democrats have a slim majority in the House and the

slimmest possible majority of the Senate, Republicans have been hard at

work trying to stack the deck so it`ll be easier for them to win again. The

voting reforms just passed to stop that from happening after this.


HAYES: Republicans have been spending a lot of time talking about Dr. Seuss

and Mr. Potato Head instead of legislating, but they are laser-focused on

defeating the bill that House Democrats passed last night H.R.1 or the For

The People Act because it would basically set national standards for

democracy. Nothing threatens republicans quite like that.

You can see the reaction, just the sheer number of statewide bills that

would restrict voting access 253 restrictive bills as of late last month

according to the Brennan Center. And H.R.1 is such a threat that Donald

Trump who is not exactly in the weeds of legislative action painted a

target on it when he went before CPAC and got a huge raucous response.

And House Republican whip Steve Scalise who you remember, tried to overturn

the presidential election along with the majority of Republicans, tweeted

against the bill just after it passed. Republicans understand the stakes

here and Democrats also understand what`s at stake, preserving a level

playing field in free and fair elections.

Here to explain these stakes, Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of

NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Nse Ufot who is the founder of The New South

Super PAC and CEO of the New Georgia Project which works to register


Janai, I wonder -- you know, last night, I had Adam Schiff on and we talked

about the gerrymandering aspect of this, that H.R.1 would require these

sort of independent non-partisan gerrymandering commissions. What are the

other parts of this bill that matter, that have stakes for voter access?


this is an incredibly comprehensive law. In addition to reining in

partisanship and our redistricting processes, as you mentioned, it

increases transparency in our campaign finance system. It sets stricter

standards for lobbyists.

But perhaps most important, it provides a wide range of uniform measures in

federal elections that will increase access to the ballot box. That

includes expanded voter registration opportunities like automatic voter

registration, same-day registration, online registration, and critically

important, the restoration of voting rights to formerly incarcerated

persons who we know are disproportionately black and Latin X.

It provides for expanded now in voting and two weeks of early voting. It

also has expanded election security measures like voter-verified paper

trail systems. And it addresses the issue of disinformation in our

elections. It prohibits the provision of false information about election

processes that might discourage voting and other deceptive voting


So, it`s incredibly comprehensive. It addresses many of the vulnerabilities

and weaknesses in our democracy that we`ve seen revealed over the past

decade or more through voter suppression efforts. And this is something

that is sorely needed in light of the attack that we see happening at the

state level on voting rights with the 253 pending bills that threaten to

shrink our access to the ballot.

HAYES: You know, Nse, elections in America are so federalized that it

didn`t even occur to me, I think, to think about how weird it is, right?

So, you know, in other countries, when France has an election, it`s not

like one region down the south of France, like they get to start voting on

this day, and then a few days later, they start voting -- like, it just

like the election. The election is basically playing by the same rules.

I mean, so, just the basic thing that Janai said, these minimum standards,

right. So, things on early voting, like we would set a minimum floor for

states that you have to do this. How would that affect your work in Georgia

where you`ve been working on, you know, these sort of push and pull fights

about voting access?

NSE UFOT, CEO, NEW GEORGIA PROJECT: Yes, I think it would have a

fundamental shift on how we do our work. The reason that the New Georgia

Project has registered half a million people of color to vote in all 159 of

George`s counties is because we don`t have measures like automatic voter

registration, right.

The reason that we do such intense voter education is because there`s a lot

of misinformation and disinformation based off of the partisan makeup of

the people who run our elections from county to county, right. Georgia,

surprisingly, enough, had no-fault absentee balloting and have been --

they`ve been voting this way. We`ve been voting this way for 15 years.

And now we are seeing these attacks on it because the Republicans were

embarrassed by the outcomes of the November general election, and by the

January runoff. And so, the idea is to take the partisan politics out of

it, that participation in our democracy is so important that we should have

federal standards for how people should have access to the franchise, and

how people should participate.

And so, I think that it would allow us to shift those resources because --

allows us use those resources to voter education, and tons of other things,

as opposed to just the basics of getting people registered, and making sure

that they stay on the voter rolls.

HAYES: Janai, there are arguments about federalism here which I think are

less pressing than the sort of tangible stakes about democracy. But people

have pointed out that look, the actual -- the weird, you know, balkanized

nature of American election administration meant that it`s hard -- it was

hard to sort of coordinate a steal, right? That like, individual states

have different rules, individual bodies, and they luckily stood up with

integrity against the President`s attempt to essentially overturn the

election. Do you have concerns about this sort of federalizing things this


UFOT: I think that there`s tons --

NELSON: I`m not -- I`m not concerned. I found that our most important

moments of safeguarding our democracy have occurred when there`s been

federal legislation, like the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which we`re

celebrating in the -- in the -- with the anniversary of Bloody Sunday

coming up this weekend, and the passage of the National Voter Registration

Act and the Help America Vote Act.

It has often taken federal legislation to rein in the excesses and efforts

to suppress the vote that happens at the state level. This is a regulation

that Congress has pure authority to engage in through the time, place, and

manners clause of the Constitution. And it allows Congress to set standards

for the time, place, and manner of elections of federal elections.

Now of course, we expect that states would, in all likelihood, adopt many

of these democracy expanding measures because they`re good, because they`re

good for our democracy and they`re healthy and they invite a more inclusive

electorate. And that is exactly what this federal legislation is pushing

for and what we hope states will eventually come around to accepting and


But federal -- it has no violation of state rights and it is perfectly

constitutional given the broad congressional authority that exists in the

Constitution to regulate federal elections.

HAYES: Janai Nelson and Nse Ufot, thank you both. That is ALL IN on this

Thursday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening,





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