Some Republicans in the media and Congress change their tune and encourage people to get vaccinated. Today speaker Nancy Pelosi defended her decision to continue without any of the five Republicans picked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after she vetoed two of them. The State Building Commission voted five to two to approve the relocation of the Nathan Bedford Forrest`s bust to the Tennessee State Museum.
ABBY FINKENAUER, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN FROM IOWA: Liz Cheney do the same. And honestly, 10 years ago, I thought that would have been Senator Grassley. Unfortunately, it`s not anymore.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: And with that, we`re going to leave it there. Former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, thank you very much for coming to the REIDOUT.
That`s it for us tonight. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): I was ready to get the vaccine. I`ve always felt it was safe and effective.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: Please take COVID seriously.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): These vaccines are saving lives.
HAYES: After months of silence and misinformation, Republicans start promoting the COVID vaccine.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it was sort of as we Catholics say, a bit of an epiphany for them.
HAYES: Tonight, what`s really behind the sudden Republican turnaround and will it work? Then --
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a loving crowd too, by the way. There was a lot of love. I`ve heard that from everybody. Many, many people told me that was a loving crowd.
HAYES: As Republicans try to rehabilitate the violent crowd of insurrectionists --
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): When statements are ridiculous and fall into the realm of "you must be kidding," there`s no way that they`re going to be on the committee.
HAYES: Pelosi rejects the Republicans trying to (AUDIO GAP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. You`ve noticed what we`ve noticed, right? In the last few days, it seems as though someone somewhere hit a button. All of a sudden we`re seeing conservatives, Republicans coming out to finally state the obvious, COVID vaccines are saving lives, they are safe and effective, and they are a great way of protecting you, your family, and your loved ones from the scourge of COVID, an infectious respiratory virus, which has already killed more than 600,000 Americans, and at various points brought our hospitals and our broader society to its knees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Please take COVID seriously. I can`t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don`t need any more deaths.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America, we`re in this together.
HARRIS FAULKNER, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: And if you can, get the vaccine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For information on vaccines sites, visit the vaccine finder on the homepage of foxnews.com.
SCALISE: You do see about 95 to 98 percent of people in the hospital for COVID are people that aren`t vaccinated. And I just -- you know, I wanted to -- I was ready to get the vaccine. I`ve always felt it was safe and effective.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): These shots need to get in everybody`s arm as rapidly as possible or we`re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don`t yearn for that we went through last year.
DESANTIS: If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All of this is great and very welcome, but it is striking to see. I mean, it`s striking to see someone like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis getting up and saying, hey, guys, the vaccines will save your lives. It is bizarre because seeing it makes you realize just how completely absent Republicans have been for all this time.
We, of course, have covered the anti-vax or anti-pro-vax just asking questions juvenile trolling from Fox News and the irresponsible, wildly insidious way they have covered the pandemic. But it is strange how much mainstream Republicans, the big mouthpieces for Conservatism have been essentially absent on the whole question altogether. I think that is because from the beginning, huge parts of the Republican Party have seen the pandemic as fundamentally a political problem, rather than a once-in-a- lifetime health crisis.
Now, the person that set the tone for that was, of course, Donald Trump. And it flowed down because the most important thing to Donald Trump, who was the leader of the Republican Party and was President when the pandemic hit was what the pandemic was doing to the stock market, and therefore his reelection campaign.
On Monday, March 9, 2020, with the stock market expected to fall precipitously, remember, rather than do something that would actually improve the situation, Trump tried to bluff his way through tweeting, "The fake news media and their partner, the Democratic Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power, it used to be greater, to inflame the Coronavirus situation far beyond what the facts would warrant. Surgeon General, the risk is low to the average American."
The Dow fell eight percent that day. Three days later, on Thursday, it fell 10 percent for what was the worst day since the 1987 crash. And so, on Friday, to rally the market, Trump paraded a bunch of CEOs around the Rose Garden in the afternoon, made a bunch of empty promises that Google has 1700 engineers working on a Web site to facilitate COVID testing. They did not have 1700 engineers working on that. And then when the Dow finished higher that day, after a terrible week, Trump signed the stock chart and gave it to his loyal supporter Lou Dobbs of Fox Business.
That did nothing to stop COVID from spreading, right? Trump never actually cared about stopping COVID from spreading, about stopping people from getting sick. But just the week before that, he had openly admitted he did not want to let Americans infected with COVID off a cruise ship because, "I`d rather have them stay on. I don`t need the numbers to double."
Now, Trump is a special case, OK. He is a sociopath who I believe actually lacks the ability to actually appreciate human suffering and loss at a very deep level, just actually can`t do it. And because he treated the disease like a public relations issue, that did set the tone for the rest of the party. It wasn`t just Trump.
Here`s a great example, Texas Senator Ted Cruz echoing the exact same cynicism exactly one year ago today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (D-TX): If it ends up that Biden wins in November, I hope he doesn`t, I don`t think he will, but if he does, I guarantee you the week after the election, suddenly all those Democratic governors, all those Democratic mayors will say, everything is magically better, go back to work, go back to school, suddenly, the problems are solved. You won`t even have to wait for Biden to be sworn in. All they`ll need is Election Day, and suddenly their willingness to just destroy people`s lives and livelihoods they will live accomplish their tasks. That`s wrong. It`s cynical and we shouldn`t be a part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, utterly, completely in every possible conceivable way wrong, just astoundingly, beautifully wrong, right? It was republicans that rushed to open up sooner even after Biden was elected. Democratic states, even the schools, right, more reticent, just completely wrong. Ted Cruz, absolutely wrong. It`s not how things shook out.
But it`s so revealing. Why did he make that mistake? Because Ted Cruz himself only views the pandemic through a political prism, and so he projects it on to everyone else. He thinks Democrats do too. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis consistently downplayed the health threats throughout this crisis. And he was applauded by Republicans for winning the pandemic.
Just last week, he started selling a bunch of anti COVID expertise, merchandise, including lockdown koozies with a quote by him saying, "How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?" And T- shirts that read "Don`t Fauchi my Florida." That`s all about political positioning. It was always about political positioning. And to be fair, there`s been a lot of political posturing around the pandemic from Democrats and liberals as well. There has been.
But the deep problem here is there`s always been this sense among Republicans and Republican politicians, not all of them, but the vast majority, that COVID is essentially an invented threat. The libs are more or less making this up. You just need to, you know, manage it and move along and not freak out.
Now, I do think there`s a complex relationship between who`s leaving the pushback to say COVID measures, particularly vaccines, and who`s following. But because most of that, you know, if you gave most Republican politicians truth serum, I think they would tell you that once the vaccines were available, the goal for Republicans was essentially to have their cake and eat it too. Meaning, let the Biden administration which I think Republicans secretly know is certainly far more competent than the Trump administration, generally wants to solve the problem, let the Biden administration handle the crisis.
Let them administer the vaccine across the country, but don`t lift a finger to aid them. Take your potshots where you can, maybe also flirt with anti- pro-vax rhetoric like Tucker Carlson. And that way, you can have your cake and eat it too, right? You get your state vaccinated, you open up businesses, not submerge your hospitals while also wiping your hands on the whole thing and maintaining good standing with the base that is radicalized against public health measures in general.
OK, now we saw this. State from Tennessee, to Missouri, and even a Florida, Ron DeSantis issued an executive order about COVID mandates right? Now, the perfect example of the inherent contradictions of this are the Republicans who refuse to say if they are vaccinated.
Tucker Carlson, for example, is using the same line to multiple reporters, comparing sharing his vaccination status to sharing his favorite sex positions. He`s used that line multiple times. It`s the kind of line that like would maybe be clever from a 12-year-old. He`s very proud of it.
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that asking her status at a press conference the other day is a HIPAA violation. It`s not. And wouldn`t you expect her to be the first person to just tell you she`s not vaccinated and be proud about it? But for some reason she didn`t want to answer it. Neither did Tucker Carlson. I wonder what their vaccination status is.
Today, Congressman Ronny Jackson asked why Democrats don`t get asked if they have been vaccinated. And the answer is because they have been and they told everyone because they want other people to get vaccinated. In fact, bunch reporters call up every member of Congress and every Democratic member of Congress said yes, I got vaccinated, you should too, because they want people to not get killed from COVID.
And I think what`s happened here, as I try to make sense of what we`re seeing the last few days, I do think that with all the propaganda and all the political posturing, a lot of Republicans convinced themselves it really is not that big a deal, that they could just get away with a hands- off approach.
But guess what? We keep relearning the same lesson over and over again, don`t we, folks? It doesn`t go anywhere. It`s the same thing. It`s out there. We may be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us. We`ve got a variant that is 60 percent more transmissible than the original virus, huge pools of unvaccinated people, and nearly all restrictions that were helping to keep the virus in check, right, on venues and businesses and social events, nightclubs, concerts are gone.
So, what do you think all three of those things add up to? Well, you get an outbreak precisely like Dr. Peter Hotez said would happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER HOTEZ, VACCINE SCIENTIST, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND TEXAS CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL IN HOUSTON: Remember, at this time last year, we were looking pretty good, and then we had that enormous acceleration after the July 4th holiday. July, August, September was terrible in this part of the country. And we have to assume that Mother Nature is telling us that that same thing is going to happen again. So, I`m really holding my breath about the South as what happens over the summer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Dr. Hotez is not a politician. Just because he`s an expert, it doesn`t mean he`s infallible, certainly, but he doesn`t have a dog in the fight from a political standpoint. I mean, that that`s his best assessment. And here`s Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Fox News with Laura Ingraham laughing at him talking about how liberals are just addicted to scaremongering. And here`s where Florida cases are now. This is what the graph looks like. Look at that spike at the end.
So, thank you, Governor DeSantis for telling people to get vaccinated. But we really could have used this much sooner. I`m glad you`re doing it. Let`s keep it up. Maybe instead of selling t shirts and koozies, we can talk about how the vaccine has saved people`s lives. And this is not about people with a certain political persuasion, getting the virus, or dying of it. I don`t care. No one cares, really, I think. It`s really not about politics.
Everything is about politics at some level, but this shouldn`t be, or shouldn`t be about politics and the way it has become. I hope this is a final moment to change that model of thinking among everyone alike that this is fundamentally a political problem to solve, particularly the Republican Party that views it that way. Let`s get everyone vaccinated. Let`s save as many lives as possible. And then we could just fight about all the other stuff later, OK.
Ron Nehring is a Republican Strategist who served as national spokesperson for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, joins -- worked with another bunch of other Republican candidates as well. And he joins me now.
You know, Ron, I wanted to talk to you because you have been someone who`s -- you know, you`re very conservative. I don`t think we really see it much politically. But you`ve been quite outspoken about vaccinations, about the benefits of them, and about the need for folks to get vaccinated. And I wonder, as someone who works in Republican politics, what do you -- what do you think has happened in the last few days?
RON NEHRING, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think clearly something has happened back in Washington, but I don`t work in Washington. I live here in California where the Republicans who I work with every day on our recall campaign to replace Gray Davis are all vaccinated and have encouraged people to get vaccinated.
I got vaccinated on the very first day I possibly could, even though I got it -- the only appointment I got was three hours away from home. I have to drive three hours to get it. I got my Moderna shot. I got the second shot, you know, two weeks thereafter. And I feel much better for it. And I think it`s incumbent upon opinion leaders of all backgrounds to encourage people who are able to get the vaccine to do so, so that we can put this pandemic away. Because if we fail to do so, and this becomes endemic, we`re going to be dealing with this and our children are going to be dealing with this forever.
And we have an opportunity to get rid of this vaccine -- to get rid of this disease now, but the only way to do that is by getting 80, 90 percent of Americans vaccinated. And that means people from all different backgrounds who have influenced should be encouraging people who follow them, opinion leaders, to do so and share their story if they`ve been vaccinated. You know, what happened? I had a little bit of soreness on my arm and so on. The risk of COVID is so much greater than any kind of risk from the vaccine.
HAYES: Yes. I think -- you mentioned, by the way, the recall of Gray Davis, which was the last recall to Gavin Newsom, but I understand why you would say Gray Davis because Republicans did succeed that time around. We`ll see what happens this time.
NEHRING: We did.
HAYES: I want to play you -- I want to play you this clip that I -- that has been going around from CBS News which it just shows that like there is this machinery and I think it`s largely on the right, not exclusively, I`ve encountered people on the left who are anti-vaxxer. But there has been this machinery largely on the right, messaging folks, that there`s some nefarious thing to be skeptical of. And this is an individual who got COVID and was hospitalized for it explaining why he will not get vaccinated even after this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here I am recovering, getting out of here probably tomorrow. Am I going to get a vaccine? No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because there`s too many issues with these vaccines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This father, former baseball coach, small business owner, and hunter caught COVID, and then he developed pneumonia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before you got sick, if you would have had a chance to get the vaccine and prevent this, would you have taken the vaccine?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you`d have gone through this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve gone through this. Yes, sir. Don`t shove it down my throat. That`s what`s local, state, federal administration is trying to do is shove it down your throat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are they shoving, the science?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they`re shoving the fact that that`s their agenda. The agenda is to get you vaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ron, I thought that was a fascinating clip, because the there`s not really a substantive objection. It`s the fact that those people are trying to make you, which has been the focus of a lot of the Republican conservative line about the vaccines.
NEHRING: Yes. So, you know, I live in San Diego, home of Jonas Salk who develop the polio vaccine. And clearly vaccines are something that have been the greatest medical advancement of the 20th century. And it`s incredible that we were able to develop a vaccine for COVID so quickly.
When I watched that footage, of course, I`m thankful that this gentleman did not succumb to the disease like 600,000 other Americans and countless others around the world. But I don`t think a television reporter is going to be the right person to persuade him. It`s going to take peers, people who he does listen to, opinion leaders, and so on.
And look, anti-vaccine activism did not begin with COVID, it did not begin with Republicans. Here in California, we were dealing with outbreaks, if you recall, at Disney of -- that began at Disney of measles, and we have a whooping cough epidemic here, resurgence of whooping cough. And those -- we had pockets of that occurring in places which were more left leaning because people like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Jenny McCarthy, these other anti-vaccine activists on the left are having an effect there.
So, it`s not a left or right thing, but it`s going to take the broad spectrum of opinion leaders to weigh in and do what we can. But we have to be persuasive to people. We can`t shame anybody. We can`t parade anybody. We can`t say, you know, it`s about time you finally came around to our point of view, because the point is to save lives, and we do so by making sure that people understand that the virus is the fire and people are the fuel, and we have to separate the two.
And the way we insulate ourselves from that fire is through vaccination. And it`s safe, it`s effective. It`s incredibly effective. And that`s why the resurgence of COVID we`re seeing right now is only happening among people who not yet have gotten the vaccine and they need to get it.
HAYES: Yes, I think -- I think you`re right. There`s a really interesting sort of ideological mix in the anti-vax movement going back a while. I think we`ve actually seen a little bit of realignment where it has moved further to the right. In fact, it`s brought people into the right, interestingly enough. We have seen that, I think, throughout the pandemic. We actually seen it across the world in other countries where there`s been a sort of interesting alignment there.
But I think, look, I`m on board with you 100 percent. Whatever it takes, whoever the messenger is, whoever`s talking, I just hope that people stay on this. It`s not just a one-way thing. Ron Nehring, thanks so much for making time tonight.
NEHRING: You see, we do agree on something. Thank you.
HAYES: Yes, vaccines, the great uniter. Please don`t let yourself get a bad case of COVID if you can avoid it.
Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi put it out into the Republican effort to disrupt the work of the Select Committee on January 6. Today, there`s new reporting the Speaker is adding even more Republicans to the already bipartisan investigation. Mehdi Hasan and Katie Hill are here to talk about it all next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You had hundreds of thousands of people. I would venture to say I think it was the largest crowd I`ve ever spoken before. It went from that point which is almost at the White House to beyond the Washington Monument. It was -- and wide. And --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But if you could have waived you wand --
TRUMP: And it was a loving crowd too, by the way. There was a lot of love. I`ve heard that from everybody. Many, many people told me that was a loving crowd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was, of course, former President Donald Trump talking to Washington Post reporters, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker about the "loving crowd" at the January 6 rally just before the insurrection. Now, more than 500 people from the said loving crowd who marched to the Capitol and started a riot have been arrested. And as a massive investigation into what happened that day continues, the House Select Committee is now moving forward.
Today speaker Nancy Pelosi defended her decision to continue without any of the five Republicans picked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after she vetoed two of them and he pulled the remaining three.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: The Select Committee is bipartisan and it has a quorum, and it will do the job it sets out to do. It`s my responsibility as Speaker of the House to make sure we get to the truth on this. And we will not let their antics stand in the way of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, one Republican, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, remains on the committee. And there have reportedly been discussions about Speaker Pelosi potentially adding others like Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Mehdi Hasan is the host of the "MEHDI HASAN SHOW" on MSNBC and Peacock. Katie Hill is a former Democratic Congresswoman from California, now the founder of the political action group Her Time and author of She Will Rise: Becoming A Warrior In The Battle For True Equality.
Katie, let me start with you as someone who knows Nancy Pelosi, served in that body, what you -- what you think of the move she made here whether it surprised you, because it surprised me a little bit actually.
KATIE HILL, FOUNDER, HER TIME: Oh, it didn`t surprise me that she took -- that she took Jordan and Banks off. I mean, it`s -- having those two on there would be like having one of Bin Laden`s lieutenant serve on the commission investigating 9/11. I mean, it sounds may be extreme, but Jim Jordan and his colleagues, so many of his Republican colleagues played a role in what happened on January 6. And to pretend otherwise is completely disingenuous. And she`s too smart for that.
I mean, he is -- I sat on oversight with him. He is going to do everything -- would do everything that he possibly could to derail, distract, just completely undermine the commission itself. And I think saying, forget it, we`re not going to be -- we`re not going to be part of this circus is the right move.
HAYES: Yes, Mehdi, I think one of the things I think that came through yesterday was the Republicans didn`t want a bipartisan commission because they didn`t want something with gravitas and they didn`t want something that they couldn`t run down as partisan. They were always going to say the Select Committee as partisan. So, if they`re going to do that anyways, why -- basically what Katie said, like, why give these guys a big platform to just throw, you know, dust in the air?
MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly. And we -- you know, there`s certain objective truths here. It is bipartisan because Liz Cheney is on the committee whether, you know, whatever you think of Liz Cheney, she`s on it. Another objective truth is that they would have complained anyway, they already were complaining.
And the third objective truth is this, is the credibility of this committee is now increased not decreased. Too many people, Chris, in our profession, "neutral journalists" are saying stuff like, oh, this will affect the credibility of the committee. No, only if you let it. If you actually report what`s going on, which is Jim Jordan was removed from the committee, someone who was there to destroy it from within. Jim Banks, who said that was his goal. He was going to go on and talk about Antifa and the left. Jim Jordan who, as Liz Cheney put it, is a potential material witness.
I mean, Katie talked about the involvement of these people in the attack. Jim Jordan was at a Stop the Steal rally on November the fifth in Pennsylvania, two days after the election. He spoke at a Stop the Steal rally on December the 12th in Georgia. He was in the White House conspiring with Donald Trump about plans for January the sixth on December the 21st.
So, I would like the committee to investigate all those things. I don`t want Jim Jordan investigating himself. I don`t want a 9/11 truther investigating 9/11. I don`t want people who are pro insurrection investigating an insurrection.
HAYES: And this -- I mean, all of that is very well said. Banks, we should also say, was on this Republican Study Committee trip to the border where there was apparently someone I think who was inside the Capitol on the -- on the day of the riot who was along with them that the pictures were taken. So, this is -- this is fairly fresh, I think, in people`s minds.
But it also, to Mehdi`s point, Katie, it points to the difficulty that I`m watching, whether you look at corporate America with its donations, or the sort of beltway press or whatever, it`s hard for people to maintain the line that was erected about that vote, and the violation and taboo of the vote to not seat the electors and, and resist the pull of getting back to normal and maintain that day after day.
HILL: Yes. I mean, that`s exactly what the Republicans who are perpetuating this lie and who are who are rewriting the narrative of what happened on January 6 are counting on. They know that the more that it`s normalized, the more that they continue acting like it was a regular day of tourism, or it was simply a failed security thing, all of that is part of the actual intention behind it.
And you know, we -- they had their opportunity to do a bipartisan commission. They had the chance to do that, and they came up with these ridiculous reasons that they couldn`t do it then or they wouldn`t do it then. So, let`s not pretend that this is anything except for them trying to prohibit us from finding the truth.
We are -- we have to get to the bottom of it. And if it means that Democrats are doing it on their own with the very few Republicans that are willing to stand up to their party into this craziness that is taking hold of it, you know, the Republican Party is not a legitimate party anymore. And I don`t think that anyone who`s rational at this point can say otherwise.
HAYES: Yes. And I think there`s -- you know, there`s just talk now, Mehdi, about Adam Kinzinger who`s also -- who also voted for impeachment, who has been incredibly critical of the insurrection and of Trump maybe being added by Pelosi.
And I think, you know, I think you and I have the same feeling about the full portfolio of Liz Cheney`s both views, politics, and record in public life. The big two thumbs down, other than this. But it does strike me as important to sort of to keep this line as a dividing line the same way like, you know, on vaccinations, we just did a block with a Republican I don`t agree with. Like, you know, I it strikes me that it wouldn`t be the worst thing in the world to put another Republican on who again, who you could trust to work in good faith to figure out what happened here.
HASAN: I think we have to be clear, Chris. What`s the -- what is the purpose? What`s the goal? And look, yes, it tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party, as Katie mentioned, how legitimate they are, that the sane wing of the Republican Party is now Liz Cheney, promoter of the Iraq War, defender of CIA torture. That tells you everything about the Republican Party today.
Adding Adam Kinzinger, fine. Add him, don`t add him, frankly, he`s -- neither Kinzinger nor Cheney are going to convince any of the Republican base sadly, and that`s the problem we`re in Chris right now is that there is no real solution to deal with that base. 55 percent of Trump voters told a CBS poll this week that they believe the attack on the Capitol was a defense of freedom. That is bonkers.
I don`t know how you deal with that. I don`t know the solution to that is. You know, we know where that`s coming from. It`s coming from our friends on another channel right now. And it`s a real, real problem because next time around, and there will be a next time, the Republican voters will be encouraging an insurrection, not just defending it or lying about it, but encouraging it.
HAYES: Yes, and you`re right that Kinzinger does not solve that problem, which is the big problem. Mehdi Hasan, Katie Hill, thank you both. I appreciate it.
Coming up, we have big updates on two stories we`ve been covering here and ALL IN. First, in Tennessee, where a monument to a founder the KKK is finally about to be removed from the statehouse.
And some remarkable new reporting about the kidnapping plot of Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and the role that law enforcement played. The reporter who broke the story joins me ahead.
HAYES: Nathan Bedford Forrest is one of the greatest villains of American history and you may not know too much about him depending on what you learned in school. So, quick recap. He`s a plantation owner and a slave trader who joined the Confederate army at the start of the Civil War and quickly became a general.
His most infamous act in that position in the war came at the Battle of Fort Pillow. That`s in 1864 when Nathan Bedford Forrest soldiers slaughtered hundreds of Union troops, many of them Black, and many of whom were attempting to surrender. It was an atrocity. It was recognized as such at the time.
This is an article from the New York Herald on April 14, 1864 telling of a horrific massacre, the dead and wounded burned by Confederate forces. It reverberated throughout the country as one of the most vile, despicable crimes of the Civil War. But Nathan Bedford Forrest wasn`t done yet.
After the Confederacy was defeated, Forrest managed to escape justice. He was not imprisoned nor executed. He went back to civilian life and became an early member of the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, he was the first and most notorious Grand Wizard of the KKK. In 1978, over 100 years after Forrest`s death, the Tennessee State Capitol installed a bust in his honor.
The bust, as you might imagine, immediately draw position in protest as well as support from well, the KKK who are pictured here holding a press conference in front of it in 1980. They of course would love to see one of their former members represented in the state capitol wouldn`t they?
A whole lot of people have been trying to get rid of Nathan Bedford Forrest bust ever since it was installed. Their efforts were continuously met with resistance. Regular protests have been going on since 2015. Tennessee State Representative London Lamar was part of that fight. Earlier this year, she told us why removing the bust was so important to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LONDON LAMAR, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE: Every day, I have to walk in to make legislation for all people of Tennessee. I have to walk past a Klansmen before I go into the people`s house. Our state capitol is recognizing and supporting the first Grand Wizard of the KKK in a building that should be a building where all people can feel that we are entering these chambers to represent them and make their lives better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, today, finally, we got word the bust will be removed. The State Building Commission voted five to two to approve the relocation of the Forrest bust to the Tennessee State Museum. Those two no votes were from Republican House Speaker and Lieutenant Governor. This afternoon, crews began preparing for the move.
Again, Nathan Bedford Forrest is not some on the bubble figure like oh, you`re projecting back, your modern sensibilities, you had a complicated legacy. He was one of the most controversial and loathed man in the country in his time. He was a despicable war criminal. And it is about time this monument to him and the evil he stood for comes down.
HAYES: Three months before the January 6 insurrection, there was another group that had been talking about storming a state capitol and instigating a civil war. According to the FBI, they were also hatching a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI said the men spied on her vacation home, want to blow up a bridge to distract authorities, indicated they had wanted to take the governor hostage before the November election. And according to the criminal complaint, take her to a secure location in Wisconsin for a "trial."
The six men were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which can carry a life sentence. Governor Whitmer at the time tied the plot to Donald Trump and his criticism of her and her state over COVID protocols. You`ll remember, in April of last year, while Michigan was in lockdown because of the virus, Trump tweeted liberate Michigan. Two weeks later, protesters opposed to the lockdown entered the Michigan senate gallery and tried to force their way into the House chambers. Some of those folks were armed. In fact, now, when you look at those scenes, they look pretty familiar, pretty predictive of what happened on January 6.
Now, a big investigative reporter in BuzzFeed News has revealed a bunch of new details and particularly about the role that FBI informants played in the plot and breaking it up. Jessica Garrison is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and the coauthor of that investigation. And she joins me now.
Jessica, first of all, it`s a great, great piece of reporting. The big revelation in your piece is that a number of people involved in this plot, involved in this group, involved in organizing it were themselves FBI informants. Tell us more about that.
JESSICA GARRISON, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE EDITOR, BUZZFEED: So, I mean, I think it`s true that -- you know, we always knew even from the moment the case was announced that there was at least one informant, in fact, at least two, and that they had sort of been in the plot. The great revelation, you know, of our reporting and also what`s come out in the court documents and in other media, including the Detroit Free Press, which has done a great job on this, is that there were as many as 12 informants, and that those informants played a much larger and, you know, more active role.
One of the informants actually rose to become the second in command of the Wolverine Watchmen. And he was an Iraq war vet. He had training. He actually trained the Watchman. Another informant invited people to a bunch of meetings, one in Ohio, one in Delaware. So, the informants were, you know, not just passively sitting there wearing wires, they were actively involved with the group.
HAYES: Now, one of the informers, you talk about -- the sort of origin story of him being an informant is pretty fascinating because he sort of starts out as Iraq war vet, wants to kind of stay in fighting shape while he`s working at a Post Office, kind of joins this group, has a line, you know, politics, libertarian, doesn`t like COVID locked down, but then gets like, real freaked out by what he sees and basically goes to law enforcement and says like, I don`t like this.
GARRISON: Yes. I mean -- and he`s -- you know, he`s actually testified in court. And yes, that`s exactly right. He sort of wants to train with, you know, militia groups and he wants to keep himself in kind of fighting shape. And he goes to Facebook, and starts looking. And Facebook suggests to him this group called the Watchmen, and he goes through it. And, you know, he fills out a little survey. And he`s been invited to fill out another little survey. And before he knows it, he`s on an encrypted chat on an app called Wire where people are talking about killing police officers.
And this guy is like, wait a minute, like, I want to run around in the woods, shooting guns. I don`t want to kill police officers. So, he goes to a friend who is a local police officer that shows him his phone, and the friend connects them with the FBI. And he goes to the FBI, and he`s basically like, you know, I just think you should know this. And he kind of figures we`re done here. The FBI has got it.
But the FBI says, well, we`d like you to rejoin the group. But this time, with us kind of sitting on your shoulder, watching and advising. Which he does and before too long, you know, because he is a trained soldier, everyone is like, oh, you`re great, you can really help us. And so, he becomes the second in command, and then brings this group in Michigan, kind of, you know, plays -- you know, is there when they connect with groups around the country, including a man from Michigan who later is identified as the kind of ring leader of the plot to kidnap the governor.
HAYES: So, the sort of -- both the subject and some of the text here, of course, is that people who are in this plot allegedly have claimed essentially, they were entrapped, that that this sort of FBI agents crawling all over them, pushing them to do things they wouldn`t have otherwise done. This was kind of like idle chatter, that it was the informants, the one pushing it forward.
And of course, there`s some precedent for this in a lot of war on terror cases. Once I`ve covered -- there`s infamously a guy who had someone asked him to sell him a surface to air missile, and then someone offered him a surface to air missile. And both of those people were FBI informants, and then he ended up, you know, being prosecuted by Chris Christie, actually, when he was U.S. attorney.
So, what I learned from your story was it didn`t seem that egregious at all. But it does seem like it`s a complicated question of what side is on what -- of the line between good policing and entrapment?
GARRISON: I think that`s a really good question. And, you know, I think that certainly some of the stuff that happened in the war on terror, you know, can make you go, wait a minute, right? You know, I think this one is really interesting because it`s very nuanced. I mean, you know, the idea of being angry at Gretchen Whitmer, and the idea of, you know, going to the Capitol with guns, those were ideas that the FBI did not plant those ideas in the -- in the minds of these people.
You know, they were actively engaged and actively talking about a lot of stuff that, you know, I think most people would consider, like, quite horrifying and shocking. And, you know, I think as a general rule, often if the evidence against you in this case, it`s like 400,000 text messages, hundreds of hours of wiretaps, you know, I`m not sure there are many other defenses available besides entrapment, because there`s a lot of evidence.
You know, that said, I think that, you know, for someone who doesn`t, you know, follow these cases and these kinds of cases closely, you know, the role of the FBI in helping to, you know, really work with these people, befriend these people, text these people at all hours of the day at night be with the role the time is quite huge.
HAYES: Yes. And the question that sort of lingers over your reporting, which again, everyone should check out is like, but for those informants, does this plot come together? But then again, but for those informants, do you not catch people who would have done something really, really, really grisly without it?
It`s a -- it`s a great piece of reporting. Jessica Garrison, thank you so much for making time tonight.
GARRISON: Thank you so much. Have a great night.
HAYES: Still ahead, should health care workers be required to get the COVID vaccine? The date -- debate over vaccine requirements in health care settings after this.
HAYES: The National Institutes of Health is the primary government agency for biomedical and public health research is huge, annual budget of $42 billion, 20,000 employees. Last night, the head of that agency, Dr. Francis Collins was on the show. And I asked him about vaccine requirements. And well his answer kind of threw me for a loop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I run a hospital. The National Institutes of Health has the largest Research Hospital in the world. I would like very much to be sure that all the people who interact with immunocompromised patients are immunized against COVID-19.
Right now, I can`t require it because this is still emergency use. But I sure as heck of exhorting people to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You catch that? The largest research hospital on the planet does not yet have the authority to require vaccines among its employees, even though more and more local hospitals are doing just that.
Banner Health, the largest private employer in Arizona says its workforce must be vaccinated by November 1st. Houston Methodist in Texas said its workforce had to be vaccinated by June 7th. Over 150 healthcare workers refused and either resigned or were fired as a result.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is mandating that workers in city- run hospitals and health clinic get vaccinated or else get tested on a weekly basis. Right now, only around 60 percent of that workforce is vaccinated. A recent opinion piece in Stat News pointed out that all health care workers pledged their highest duty is to promote the best interest of their patients. A vaccine mandate simply puts it into effect health care workers promise to patients and the community.
Pat Kane is a registered nurse, Executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association, and she joins me now. Pat, thanks so much for having me on. First of all, are you vaccinated yourself?
PAT KANE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION: Yes, Chris. I was vaccinated back in January. And I also volunteered at city-run vaccination center.
What are the -- in your membership of nurses in New York, do you have a sense of what the numbers are in terms of vaccination of the folks in your membership?
KANE: I would say among our members, we`re at least over 70 percent right now.
HAYES: Now, my understanding is there`s talk about a vaccine mandate in New York and your union as opposed to it, which I found somewhat surprising, although I could kind of understand the logic of it. Explain to me your opposition to a vaccine requirement.
KANE: Thanks a lot, Chris. And thanks for having me on. Our opposition to a mandate is really that in the face of employers fighting us on having proper infection control, fighting compensation claims of healthcare workers, fighting OSHA citations, we don`t think that it`s appropriate for them to be mandating vaccination until they meet our demands and do the things that we`ve been asking them to do, really since before COVID hit this country.
HAYES: But that just makes it sound like you`re using the vaccination requirement as a kind of bargaining chip in a negotiation, even though it seems plainly the case that it would make everyone in that hospital safer if all the health care workers were vaccinated.
KANE: Well, actually, vaccination isn`t enough. And I think we`ve seen that recently. You know, it`s no surprise that the spike that we`re seeing, and the surge that we`re seeing in cases is happening right after mask mandates and social distancing were lifted. So, vaccination alone isn`t the only thing that`s going to keep people safe.
And our patients in our hospitals, if we just vaccinate the health care workers but we`re not implementing proper infection control standards, recognizing finally airborne transmission, our patients are not going to be safe in the hospital. It`s just the workers that are vaccinated.
HAYES: Well, right. But that`s -- but I`m just confused because it sounds like, you know, it`s not sufficient. But it does seem like it`s better -- like, I agree with you that that vaccination itself, particularly in a hospital setting, right, it`s not that the beginning and the end of the question of infection control, but it is the beginning when there`s the safe and available vaccine.
I mean, just at the sense of population-level risk, like, clearly there will be lower population level risk of infection amongst a vaccinated workforce than one that`s 70 percent vaccinated or 50 percent or whatever.
KANE: As long as we`re doing the other things that we need to do, proper source control, and proper infection control, then it would agree to you. Look, I`m not arguing at all that -- I want all of my nurses to be vaccinated. I do not want to lose another nurse to this disease or have them infecting family member. We`re absolutely encouraging our members to get vaccinated, encouraging them to talk to each other.
Our objection really is, you know, we`re nurses. And whenever we talk to patients, we know that when force comes into the equation, we lose their trust. And right now, we believe that the priority is to win back the trust of health care workers, and really help them heal from the trauma they`ve been through.
I mean, I think it`s just incredible to be questioning the dedication of health care workers right now when we`ve seen them time and time and again really put their lives at risk to go in there and care for these patients.
HAYES: Well, no, it`s -- I just want to be clear. I`m not questioning the dedication. I think -- I think actually, I`m really just trying to understand because precisely for the reasons you`ve talked about, we`ve talked to so many healthcare workers on the show over the past 18 months. We`ve seen the trauma in their eyes, the stories of unbelievable amounts of grief and exhaustion that has come from this, that I think it`s surprising to a lot of people, and I`ve seen stats from healthcare systems that had 50 percent of workers vaccinated, 55 percent, that after that experience, there would be so many folks inside a hospital setting, a hotbed for the transmission of infection who don`t want to get vaccinated. I think it`s just something I`m trying to get my head around.
KANE: I get that. You know, is it really though surprising to anyone that health care workers are not trusting the system right now? This is the same system that fought them on proper infection control, on giving them new N- 95 whenever they needed one and is still doing that. It really shouldn`t surprise anyone that there`s a lot of -- that we`ve really suffered a breach of trust among healthcare workers.
HAYES: Yes, trust I guess is the theme of our era in many ways. Pat Kane, thank you so much for making time tonight. I really appreciate it.
KANE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Thursday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.