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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/12/21

Guests: Rick Wilson, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Sheila Jackson Lee, Francis Collins, Clay Jenkins, Elisabeth Rosenthal, Adam Gaffney


Rep. Dan Crenshaw is heckled for saying the election wasn`t stolen. The GOP base believes the lies told to them by their GOP leaders especially Donald Trump. The FDA is expected to approve booster shots for the immunocompromised. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins defied Gov. Abbott`s mask mandate ban and issued an emergency order for the county requiring all childcare centers, schools, and commercial entities to require universal indoor masking and to develop their own health and safety policies to combat the spread of COVID.





DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who shot Ashli Babbitt? People want to know and why.

HASAN: The ex-president disgraced but still dangerous as Trump escalates threats against the Capitol Police Officer, Nancy Pelosi urges Republicans to back the blue. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mass suck, but it`s a small sacrifice to save lives.

HASAN: Meet the local Texas official defying the governor`s anti-mask mandate. Plus --

ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: FDA is working with Pfizer and Moderna to allow boosters for these vulnerable people.

HASAN: The head of the National Institutes of Health joins me live to talk about the need for booster shots. And what`s the best way to get people to take the vaccine, the carrot or the stick? We`ll discuss when ALL IN starts right now.


HASAN (on camera): Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m Mehdi Hasan in for Chris Hayes. One of the many enduring haunting images from January 6 is this same moment before Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed. She and a group of rioters tried to break through this set of doors leading into the speaker`s lobby just outside the House chamber where members of Congress were gathered.

They demanded that the officers guarding the doorstep aside and eventually managed to smash the glass windows. Now, nearly all of the rioters you see here have been charged with crimes. For example, 39-year-old Christopher Grider pictured here in the red hat with a yellow Gadson don`t tread on me flag tied around his neck, allegedly tried to push open and kick the lobby doors. He was indicted in January on seven counts including destruction of government property, and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds.

Chad Barrett Jones age 42, who used a pole to break the windows in those lobby doors. He`s in a grey cap and red jacket here. Video footage shows him striking the windows at least 10 times. He was arrested in January and charged with assaulting a federal officer, destruction of government property, and other crimes.

And Zachary Alam, the man you see here in the fur hat also smashed those windows using a helmet. He`s been charged with assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous or deadly weapon, as well as 10 other counts. And as we know that window that Zachary Alam smashed is the one Ashli Babbitt tried to catapult herself through before she was fatally shot by Capitol Police Officer.

Babbitt was a January the sixth rioter. She was an insurrectionist who stormed the Capitol to try and overturn the election. She was part of a violent mob of people that tried to enter the speaker`s lobby, the majority of whom have been charged for their crimes.

Babbitt was a conspiracy theorist, a devout believer in Donald Trump`s election lies, a devout believer in QAnon. And it is a tragedy, a tragedy that she lost her life for those beliefs. But in the month since January the sixth, the right has been trying to make Ashli Babbitt into a noble martyr for their cause.

Republican Congressman Paul Gosar has even taken to wearing a bracelet with For Ashley written on it while he`s in the Capitol Building. But this is not just coming from the far, far right-wing of the party, the former president of the United States, the de facto leader of the whole party, has recently taken to holding her up as a martyr as well.

He released this deeply disturbing statement yesterday from his exile in Bedminster, New Jersey "I spoke to the wonderful mother and devoted husband of Ashli Babbitt who was murdered at the hand of someone who should never have pulled the trigger of his gun. We know who he is. If that happened to the other side, there would be riots all over America. And yet there are far more people represented by Ashli who truly loved America than there are on the other side. The radical left haters cannot be allowed to get away with this. There must be justice."

Donald Trump was impeached for inciting an insurrection on January the sixth. And that statement is yet more incitement to violence, to terror, both against the officer who killed Ashli Babbitt, we know who he is, and in holding up Babbitt as some type of hero. Think about that message. If you go and die for the cause, our President will promote you as a great patriot. All in the service of Donald Trump`s self-centered big lie that he actually won the election.

This is the monster that the right has created over many years. Donald Trump is in many ways, a product of it, of the anger and bigotry and conspiracism. And he took it all and he amplified it. He fed the monster with his lies, and it grew. There are almost no lines Trump was not willing to cross, almost no conspiracies, he was not willing to promote.

New reporting from Politico reveals that during Donald Trump`s final weeks in office, top justice Department officials wrangled over how the FBI should handle a particularly wacky voter fraud allegation promoted by the then-president and his allies. That wacky allegation was a video showing election workers counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Trump`s allies claimed it showed the workers secretly pulling ballots out of suitcases and using them to commit election fraud.


The Georgia Secretary of State swiftly debunked those claims. But Donald Trump`s Attorney General Bill Barr personally directed a top DOJ official to investigate it as well. They of course came up with nothing. But it was too late. This is the monster that Trump propagated, that Trump helped build up. And we`re continuing to see the dangerous real-world consequences of it.

Election officials around the country are fearing -- are fearing, fearing for their personal safety because of the spread of these false claims about election fraud. A city clerk in Livonia, Michigan -- in Livonia, Michigan told The Washington Post "The complaints, the threats, the abuse, the magnitude of the pressure, it`s too much."

The former deputy commissioner of elections in Virginia says she knows of election officials in multiple states who`ve been forced to leave their homes because of threats against them and their families. And just last week, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors received a voicemail in which a caller threatened to kill each member and their families.

Come on. This is the kind of thing that happens in authoritarian countries in failed states. And now it`s happening in the United States of America in the year 2021. And guess what? Members of the Republican Party are now having to answer for their lies and answer to the monster of their own creation.

Look at congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas. Last year, he signed on to a legal brief in support of a Texas lawsuit that wanted the Supreme Court to overturn the election. But he ended up not voting to overturn the election results after the insurrection on January the sixth. And now, now he`s getting heckled at a fundraising event for saying the election was not stolen. And he`s being heckled by his own party supporters.


REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): Don`t kid yourself into believing that`s why we lost. It`s not.


CRENSHAW: I`ll tell you openly. I`ll tell you --


CRENSHAW: And I`m not wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you are. I have a plenty of proof. I have proof in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

CRENSHAW: You told me what they did to Maricopa. What did that turn out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And guess what, it`s going to turn out and it`s going to flip.

CRENSHAW: OK, whatever you say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You watch. We`re going to -- you`re going to see it firsthand.

CRENSHAW: It won`t. It won`t. And you`ve got to flip all the five states to make it work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know how they`re stealing the election?

CRENSHAW: All right, I`m not going to argue with this.


HASAN: Look, I`m glad Congressman Crenshaw is finally standing up to the monster and telling the truth. I respect him for doing that. But honestly, it`s too little, too late. It`s been seven months since the insurrection, more than seven months. And he made these remarks at a private event.

Unless and until every Republican member of Congress, every member of the Senate goes to the nearest microphone and shouts the truth about the election from the rooftops, we are screwed. And the monster will continue to grow and put our country, our democracy, and many of our lives in danger.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is an expert on authoritarian movements, a professor of history at New York University, and the author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present. And Rick Wilson is a former Republican Strategist, co-founder of the Lincoln Project and author of Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump and Democrats From Themselves. They both join me now.

Rick, let me start with you. You have parts of the right including the former president lionizing Ashli Babbitt as a martyr, as an innocent victim of police violence. And yet, as you argued on Twitter today, "Donald Trump killed Ashli Babbitt."

RICK WILSON, CO-FOUNDER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: Yes. Mehdi, thank you for having me, first off. But the actions that happened that day were not in a vacuum. They were not out of nowhere. They were motivated, they were directed, they were pushed, they were -- they were told where to go and what to do by Donald Trump.

They were allowed to live in this conspiracy bubble that Fox News which is their main source of information provided them which told the big lie over and over again. They lived in this Facebook environment where Facebook never moderated the fact that they were being told that lizard aliens control America, and that if they don`t do this, they`re all going to be enslaved to become Marxists. This was a toxic mix that led her and people like her to the Capitol.

Now, it is a tragedy she was killed. But let`s take -- let`s look at where the responsibility rests. It`s with the people that organize that rally like Roger Stone, it`s with Donald Trump, and it`s with the people that motivated her to do this. This was a person who was not -- was not seeing the world clearly and they exploited that and she got killed for it.

HASAN: Ruth, when some of us call Trump a fascist last year, we were told that fascists control mobs and paramilitaries and Trump doesn`t. I mean, he incited a violent mob on January the sixth. And with these latest statements, Ruth, praising Babbitt, it feels as if he wants to incite another violent mob.


RUTH BEN-GHIAT, AUTHOR, STRONGMEN: He does, because the thing about Trump is he`s really tenacious. And like all strong men, he was desperate to stay in office. I have a whole chapter about the desperate things they do, because they need immunity for prosecution. And it`s quite -- you know, he -- you can look at what -- all the things he did. He tried a military intervention. He tried the DOJ to help him. He even at the end, you know, he tried to manipulate election officials. Then he had to get his own ad hoc kind of crew army together and none of that works. So now he has to destabilize the system as much as possible.

So, creating martyrs is part of that. And the key is that he says, we have to have justice. And he knows perfectly well that this is only going to amplify this climate of threat that he created. This is someone who, you know, before he had the nomination, said that he could shoot someone. And I`ll never, you know, stop thinking about that, because that was the red flag.

And it does remind me reminds me -- it reminds me of early fascism.

HASAN: It`s so true.

BEN-GHIAT: It`s like early fascism, with the trucks then when they make these expeditions to beat up the opposition. And it`s really -- it`s really very concerning.

HASAN: Very concerning. But, Rick, let`s be honest here, the GOP with Fox, as you mentioned, created this monster. It goes back way before Trump. Republicans were helping their base go crazy during the Tea Party era, during the Sarah Palin era, all the way back to Newt Gingrich in the 1994 Republican revolution. And you were part of a lot of that, were you not?

WILSON: Absolutely.

HASAN: You must recognize that. You can`t just put this all on --

WILSON: I`ve written.

HASAN: You can`t just put this all on Trump, right? The Republican base goes back crazy a long time.

WILSON: No, look, Mehdi, I`ve written two books -- I`ve written two books talking about the role that people like me played in weaponizing the grievances and the insecurities and the cultural differences that motivated the Republican base and turn them into something that could be pushed out there based on something that wasn`t about the supposedly ideological predicates of the GOP, but about anger, but about rage.

And Trump took it to a vastly higher level. Trump was more overt about his authoritarian leanings. He was more overt about the drivers that pushed him were not about ideological choice. He wasn`t about small government or constitutional fealty or balanced budgets or anything else that we even pretended to be for. He was for personal power and he still is.

That is why, you know, we learned a painful lesson. Stuart Stevens and I both written books about this that we weaponized a system to motivate voters, and that system was taken over by people who, you know -- we learned the painful lesson that not all tools that you build are morally agnostic. It is in controlled now by people who are overtly evil and will destroy this country if we let them.

HASAN: Well, I`m glad you wrote those two books. And I`m glad you`re speaking out now. Ruth, election workers, brief last quick question, election workers living in fear of their lives. The party of the police turning on the police, the glorification of terrorism, the obsession with Hungary. What kind of America are we living in right now?

BEN-GHIAT: This is the menu of the authoritarian, you know, state. This is the authoritarian playbook where you have magical thinking and propaganda. You excuse corruption. You have the leader cult because January 6 was a leader operation. And you have a culture of threat and intimidation around elections around the political opposition. This is where we are now.

HASAN: This is where we are now, deeply depressing. Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Rick Wilson, thank you both for joining me tonight.

WILSON: Thanks, Mehdi.

HASAN: I want to bring in Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, Member of the House Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman, thanks for coming on the show this evening. Your leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement today that Donald Trump`s threat against the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt is "Only the latest in a long line of vile Republican attacks on the officers who defended the Capitol." Do you agree with the speaker? What is your reaction to that Trump`s statement?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, the speakers, right. We had a vile presidency. And so, we`re going to have a vile -- failed Presidency, failed loss as someone who has not been willing to accept the democratic process. You know, Mehdi, thank you, first of all, for having me. This requires a strong, determined and aggressive response on the part of Democrats who now remain in most parts except a few Republicans as really the standard- bearers for America.

We are the standard-bearers for the values of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, creating all of us with certain inalienable rights. The idea of the Bill of Rights, this is what Democrats have been standing on, the process of accepting democratic transition of government. And we cannot be silent. We cannot be a meek and mild as relates to stamping out the big lie.


The more we turn the pages, the more we see horrific actions like Attorney General Barr conspicuously trying to investigate the so called fraud that did not exist, forcing the FBI integrity unit, if you will, to do something that they do not do, which is investigated investigation to all that`s over and done with. And so, they will not interfere with the election, which is what he seemingly wanted to be done.

The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General and the attorney general - - Acting Attorney General Rosen and then trying to get Clark to do things that were inappropriate. There is a long tail of abuse of power and abuse of the democratic process. So, what do we need to do? We need to be bold and loud on our moment in history.

You`re right. The previous speakers were writing about the tragedy of the loss of Miss Babbitt, a veteran. We all mourn her loss. But at the same time, how dare you, President Trump, attack a first responder who did nothing more than to defend the citadel of democracy when he was seeing an attack that would ultimately wind up attacking anyone but members of Congress.

HASAN: Congresswoman --

LEE: I think what we should be doing is being bold in our response to all of this.

HASAN: When you say we should be bold, what does that mean in practice? When we read in Politico about a former AG bill Barr directing the DOJ to investigate a debunked crazy conspiracy theory about election fraud in Georgia, shouldn`t there be criminal consequences for that? Shouldn`t Bill Barr have to answer for that somewhere?

LEE: Well, I think the first line of defense, if you will, or offense is that the House Judiciary Committee should be able to investigate all of these allegations. There were some initial hearings in the Senate, but obviously the House Judiciary Committee can now put the final acts to it, if you will, which is to subpoena persons to broaden the investigation to determine why this fraudulent behavior occurred.

And this is singularly the House Judiciary committee`s jurisdiction, and it should not be limited. It should not be stopped from doing its job. And there are many committees -- we should not stop. We can do two things at once. We can pass the infrastructure bill, we can pass the budget reconciliation bill, we can do all of that. But we need to clean out the cancer that is attacking democracy.

And that means we need to be heard. Once we investigate, once the IG investigates, then Mehdi, it will be the appropriate direction of the criminal justice system. But I think the House of Representatives should be investigating so that America can see what is going on. We have to be at the forefront of stamping out the big lie.

And let me just say this. You know what else the big lie is doing? It`s killing people. COVID-19 and people fighting against vaccinations are now turning into a crisis in two states led by Trumpites --

HASAN: It is horrific.

LEE: And that`s where we are. And I believe we`ve got to stop that right now.

HASAN: It`s truly horrific the completely unnecessary deaths that are happening right now. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

LEE: Thank you for having me.

HASAN: With COVID surging across the country, a couple of big questions are popping up. Is it time for a third shot for the vaccinated? And is it time to tax the unvaccinated until they join the fight? We`ll be covering both of those questions, those debates ahead. And we`ll talk to the director of the National Institutes of Health right after this.



Tens of millions of Americans have yet to have a first shot of the vaccine. But tens of millions of other Americans are starting to wonder when can we get our third shot? Today, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that the Food and Drug Administration is working with Pfizer and Moderna on booster shots, but only for those with compromised immune systems which might not have responded as well to the first two doses.


WALENSKY" FDA is working with Pfizer and Moderna to allow boosters for these vulnerable people. An additional dose could help increase protection for these individuals, which is especially important as the Delta variant spread. This action is about ensuring our most vulnerable who may need an additional dose to enhance their biological responses to the vaccines are better protected against COVID-19.


HASAN: For everyone else though, the vaccines are continuing to work, we`re told, but their effectiveness will wane with time. So, when will it be the right time for every American to get their COVID vaccine booster shot? Who better to ask than one of the country`s top scientists, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, the primary agency responsible for biomedical and public health research in America.

Dr. Collins, thanks for joining me this evening. Who exactly are the people eligible now for these third shots? Dr. Walensky from the CDC mentioned people with organ transplants, cancer patients. How specific, how clearly delineated is this group?

FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Well, there is a meeting tomorrow of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that CDC runs and they may get a little bit more specific that way. But you`ve named the right group. People with organ transplants, people with cancer who are taking chemotherapy that suppresses their immune response, and some people with autoimmune diseases who are taking immunosuppressives, basically people whose immune system has been so tamped down by their illness or their transplant that the vaccine doesn`t generate a very vigorous response.

And the third dose, if you had Moderna or Pfizer, and you had those first two, might and maybe as many as half of those people, push them back up into a protective zone. And so, everybody agrees, it`s time to make that possible. But that`s only about three percent of the population. These are not -- not just everybody.

HASAN: So, you`ve said in the past that booster shots for everyone else is an evolving question. Dr. Fauci said today that there will be boosters but not right now for everyone. Give us a rough timeline. When are we roughly talking about that the other 97 percent of Americans get their third shot?

COLLINS: You know, Mehdi, I don`t entirely know the answer to that. It depends on watching closely the data in the coming weeks. Because the big wrinkle in our plans is called Delta. We knew that the vaccine antibody levels were going to gradually drop over time. They`ve been doing that but slowly. And right now, we`re still fine. If you got full immunization from Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J, you`re covered.

But now, Delta comes along and Delta is a little harder to deal with. So, as we look sort of week after week since Delta has kind of taken over the country, we`re going to figure out what that timing is. Not yet, but it could well be sometime later this fall or early next year.


HASAN: Later this fall or early this year. Many of our viewers I`m sure are marking their diaries right now. Dr. Collins, ABC News is reporting that according to a leaked CDC report, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one million people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine have gone back for an unauthorized third booster shot. These are people walking into their pharmacies just pretending it`s their first but really, it`s their third. Are there any known safety concerns with people doing that, with people going out and getting a third shot right now?

COLLINS: Well, that`s a good question, isn`t it? And I certainly wouldn`t recommend that in the absence of better data. You know, Pfizer has run a trial on a third dose, and they`ve submitted that data to FDA. FDA is looking at it. But we don`t know exactly what the safety issues might be.

I suspect they won`t be serious. But you know, if right now, the full immunization is good enough, I would not encourage people to jump the line and try to get out there and be even ahead of what the recommendations are if we don`t need it. And if even there`s a small chance that that third dose might make you in some way a little less healthy, why do it now? Wait, and let`s see what the evidence looks like.

You know, come on America, we`re supposed to be people driven by evidence and data. Let`s not be making stuff up.

HASAN: So, let`s talk -- let`s talk about evidence. And let`s talk about Delta, which you`ve mentioned. A lot of kids are getting sick from Delta in a way we haven`t seen before. One week ago, the president of the American Association of Pediatrics sent a letter to the FDA saying, "I right to urge FDA to continue working aggressively towards authorizing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 12 as soon as possible.

Obviously, you don`t run the FDA, but I wonder from your vantage point, do you know of any movement on this at all? A lot of epidemiologist people out there, doctors are saying the FDA could move faster on this. We`re ready for under 12 to get the shot. Why isn`t the FDA listening to the AAP and moving faster on this especially with Delta cases surging among younger children?

COLLINS: Well, Mehdi, this is a complicated situation. Again, we don`t want to be in a situation of giving children a vaccine without being absolutely sure that we`ve got the dose right. And we understand that there are side effects. And basically, the companies that have developed the vaccines have been running those trials, but they haven`t yet submitted their data to the FDA on a large enough number of kids for us to be absolutely sure.

That data will get submitted next month in September. I am sure FDA will work quickly on it at that point. But again, it`s just benefit risk. Kids are not just you know, downscaled adults. There are things about kids you want to be sure you`ve really collected the evidence. And that`s just going to take a little longer.

And I know people are frustrated about that, especially with school starting. But it`s the safest way that we can proceed. And by the way, that means wearing those masks in school for kids under 12 is going to be the best way to protect them. And I sure hope that`s something that we can get done.

HASAN: So, later on the show tonight, Dr. Collins, we`re going to be debating whether or not there should be fines or any other kinds of financial penalties like higher insurance rates for those who refuse to get vaccinated. More and more people are calling for this, including scientists, economists and others. Are you opposed to that idea? Because we`ve tried carrots, are you in favor of sticks?

COLLINS: Well, I`d be in favor of something that might work. You know, this is such a heartbreak. I`m not a political person. I`m a scientist. I`m a doctor. I`ve seen the way in which these vaccines have been proven over and over again to be safe and effective. And yet we have 90 million people who have yet to roll up their sleeves. And they are putting themselves at risk and others around them.

This is a pandemic of those unvaccinated people. So, if there`s a way to encourage them by whatever carrots or sticks as long as it`s fair and just, then let`s look at that.

HASAN: Dr. Francis Collins, we`ll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time and your insights tonight. I appreciate it.

COLLINS: Glad to be with you. I`m glad to come back anytime.

HASAN: There are now more than 10,000 people hospitalized with COVID in Texas, the most in six months. But the governor of Texas is still holding out on any government attempt to slow the spread.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): In Texas, there will not be any government imposed shutdowns or mask mandates. Everyone already knows what to do. Everyone can voluntarily implement the mandates that are safest for them, for their families, and for their businesses.



HASAN: One local official in Texas who is defying the governor`s masked mandate ban. He joins me next.


HASAN: COVID cases are soaring in Texas. In Dallas County alone today, there are over 1000 new cases and two deaths, which is why the top county official is defying the governor with a new mask mandate that went into effect today.

Governor Greg Abbott banned such mandates with an executive order. The Dallas County CEO or Judge Clay Jenkins got a temporary restraining order against the ban and issued an emergency order for the county requiring all childcare centers, schools, and commercial entities to require universal indoor masking and to develop their own health and safety policies to combat the spread of COVID.

The GOP governor is trying to stop that emergency order. As of right now, it still remains in effect, but for how much longer? Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins joins me now. Welcome to the show tonight. Thanks so much for taking time out. I understand there are 200 people protesting outside your house right now. Number one, do you feel safe? Number two, how does that affect your ability to enforce the mask mandate?


CLAY JENKINS, JUDGE, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS: It doesn`t affect my ability to enforce the mass mandate and I do feel safe. My daughter has been upset because adults are standing in her swing on her tree near my private yard. But the police are doing what they can to push people off the property.

And I just got a call from the chief here that says that the crowd is dwindling, so that`s, you know, good. It`s just one of those things that you have to put up with in an emergency. There are going to be people that are afraid and that are defiant that don`t listen to science.

HASAN: Well, sadly, you shouldn`t have to put up with it. It`s a public health emergency and you shouldn`t have people protesting against attempts to try and protect their health. There is a charge nurse in Dallas Parkland Hospital who told the Dallas Morning News, "It`s hard to look at a patient gasping for air and say no, we can`t give you the vaccine right now. It`s too late."

People are dying right now in your state whose deaths were almost all preventable with the use of masks and vaccines. So, I have to ask you straight up. Does Governor Abbott who`s resisting all of these mandates, does he have blood on his hands?

JENKINS: Well, if he does not immediately listen to the doctors, he will because right now we have zero ICU beds for children in the 19 county area, not just Dallas, but in counties as far away as 70 miles from here. We have no beds for anyone. This is a combined metro area, no ICU beds for any child, combined metro area of 7.8 million people.

It`s not much better for adults. The situation where we`re in now with hospitals because Governor Abbott pull the contracts for temporary staffing that supplemented our hospitals. And then headhunters pull some of our people out of our hospitals to work in other states and still had that program and others retired. Our numbers now, patient to doctor and nurse are worse than they`ve ever been.

And so, we`re all should be on team public health. You, me, your viewers, Governor Abbott, they all need to be on team public health. And the captains of team public health are the scientists who trained their entire adult lives to advise us in this moment. Unfortunately, that`s not happening in Texas, but we`re going to do what we can to make it happen.

HASAN: Yes. You`ve said this isn`t about "parents versus Governor Abbott or Clay Jenkins versus Governor Abbott, or the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. This is all of us. We are all team public health, as you just said, and the enemy is the virus. I wonder, do you really think that message is getting through in this polarized political climate where masks have been turned into a culture wars issue not a public health measure by the Republican Party, by Fox News?

JENKINS: You know, I think it gets through to some people. It`s very unfortunate and harmful that we cannot focus on the science. This is a battle that we are now losing. And the two tools that we have to turn the tide and win the battle are vaccinations and mask. And yet we`ve got a group of people out there in elected office looking at polls and saying what the people in their polls want them to say, which is the opposite of what the doctors tell us will help us to win this war.

HASAN: We mentioned the people outside your house. One last question, in Tennessee, after school board voted in favor of a mass mandate for elementary schools, angry parents gathered outside the building and shouted threats of public health officials. I wonder what steps are you take in Dallas County to protect your local officials from these increasingly deranged crowds of people?

JENKINS: So, we do have protection, you know, for our people. We take the safety of our employees very seriously. And they will be safe. And you know, majority of the people in North Texas are courageous people. They`re wearing their masks. They`re doing what they can. But you know, it`s hard to -- hard to get the message out through all this clutter that`s happening, but we`re going to do what we can to follow the science and save lives.

HASAN: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, thank you so much for your time tonight. Please do stay safe.

JENKINS: Thank you.

HASAN: Coming up, what is the best way to persuade people to get the vaccine? Do rewards work better than penalties? We`ll debate that ahead.



HASAN: A few months ago, the FBI said that the QAnon conspiracists, the people who believe that the world is run by Satan-worshipping pedophiles could engage in real world violence against perceived members of the cabal.

Yesterday, a father from California who is a follower of QAnon was charged with killing his 2-year-old son and his 10-month-old daughter in Mexico. A criminal complaint alleges that he told the FBI that he killed his children because he believed they were going to grow into monsters, and that conspiracy theories led him to believe that his wife had passed down her serpent DNA to the children. Horrific.

As a QAnon follower, that man charged with murdering his two young children believed the conspiracy that former President Donald Trump would bring this liberal Satan-worshipping child sex-trafficking ring to justice. So, if there is one person who could probably persuade these people that their beliefs are wild, irrational, and the furthest thing from reality, it is former President Trump. Instead, he always plays coy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the pandemic, the QAnon movement has been -- appears to be gaining a lot of followers. Can you talk about what you think about that and what you have to say to people who are following this movement right now?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don`t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much which I appreciate. But I don`t know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity, so I don`t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.


HASAN: Even without the presidential bully pulpit, Donald Trump, with the snap of his fingers, could say or do the right thing to keep people out of harm`s way, his people. He could have done that with QAnon. But of course, he didn`t.

Just today, he`s sending out threats against a police officer who protected the Capitol from Ashli Babbitt, as we talked about earlier. And so now, with the Delta variant ravaging states where people overwhelmingly voted for him, Trump could yell from every right-wing TV outlet in America about the importance of getting vaccinated. He could hold vaccination drives in those hardest-hit states.

In fact, the Daily Beast is reporting that some of his closest allies are begging him to mount some sort of pro-vaccine campaign. But the former president has shown little interest in tying his name to broader efforts to get people inoculated, which really should not be surprising.

Trump`s callous inaction as president at the beginning of the pandemic led to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths. The Washington Post writes that had the Trump administration simply implemented mitigation guidelines, by March the ninth, approximately 60 percent of American COVID deaths could have been avoided.

During the pandemic, he held a number of super spreader events. He contracted COVID himself when he decided he wanted to take a joy ride in the presidential vehicle and wave in his adoring fans. It turns out, during his presidency, nearly 900 of his Secret Service agents got infected with COVID. So why then, after some 17 months should we expect him to all of a sudden care about the well-being of others even his own base.

Trump has always been guided less by ideology and more by sociopathy. He`s never given a damn. So, let`s stop asking him to do the right thing. He never will. The rest of us, however, must. And we need to figure out ways to get as many people vaccinated as possible. One provocative suggestion is to tax the unvaccinated to make them pay in some way or another. We`ll have a debate on the pros and cons of that idea next. Do not go away.



HASAN: America`s vaccination rate needs to get much better and fast. Right now, nearly 70 percent of the eligible population has at least one dose while nearly 60 percent are fully vaccinated. But the hospitals that are overwhelmed are mostly from unvaccinated people who got COVID. And while we`ve seen vaccination rates increase in some of the country`s hardest hit areas, there are still huge numbers of people who for whatever reason, remain unvaccinated. So, what do we do about them?

A recent op-ed in the New York Times suggested higher insurance premiums for them in the same way that smokers also pay higher rates, in effect a tax on the unvaccinated because, "The logic behind the policies is that the offender`s behavior can hurt others and cost society a lot of money. But Will that work and is it fair?

Elisabeth Rosenthal is the co-author of that provocative op-ed. She`s the editor in chief of Kaiser Health News and a former emergency room doctor. And Adam Gaffney is a critical care doctor and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. And they both join me now.

Elisabeth, let me start with you. Briefly make the case for why vaccine resistors and the vaccine-hesitant should be forced to pay in higher insurance costs for not getting vaccinated. Why is that not draconian?

ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, EDITOR IN CHIEF, KAISER HEALTH NEWS: Well, I think we`ve tried all the carrots we can. You know, the million-dollar lotteries, the free beers, and you know, do it for your grandmother, do it for your friends, and it hasn`t worked. We`re stuck at the 60 percent level.

You know, just yesterday, we had more than 500 people die of what is now a vaccine-preventable illness, 70,000 hospitalizations. We have got to move this needle. And so, I think at this point, we have to say, OK, you are putting others in harm`s way. You`re putting my kids in harm`s way if they`re at their school, there`s not a mask mandate. And it costs a lot. It costs society a lot. So, it`s time to lose the six.

HASAN: OK, so Adam, we already have Affordable Care Act which allows insurers to charge smokers, higher rates, higher premiums. People who were not vaccinated are causing similar harm to others that the same way that smokers with secondhand smoke caused others. So, why not do the same with the unvaccinated? What`s wrong with that argument?

ADAM GAFFNEY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, obviously, I share the goal of vaccinate better and everyone. There`s several things wrong with that argument. Number one, first of all, not being vaccinated already carries the risk of death. Do we really think that adding a parking ticket is going to make the big difference?

You mentioned the smoking penalty. That has been studied. And you know what they found? They found that all the smoking penalty did in the ACA was actually push some people out of getting health coverage, and it didn`t improve smoking cessation rates.

The reality is we want smokers and we want the unvaccinated to go to their doctors. We want them to hear about the dangers of smoking and the dangers of not smoking and the dangers of not being vaccinated. So, those are two very good reasons why I don`t think this is the right way to do it. And we haven`t maximized all the other things we can do to get people vaccinated. We should have more creative approaches including teams going home to home, vaccination clinics at camps, at parks, at schools, at churches, at barbecues, and at museums, and we can do a lot more. So I think there`s better ways to approach this issue.


HASAN: Elisabeth, some vaccine resistors like to cast their position as one of personal choice. You know, they`re very ideological, but others just have a hard time getting the vaccine, especially people of color. Recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, for example, in California, 30 percent of vaccinations have gone to Hispanic people, while they account for 63 percent of cases, 48 percent of death, and 40 percent of the total population.

According to other data, people with lower incomes make up a larger share of the unvaccinated. So, if you go down the road you`re suggesting, aren`t you going to end up disproportionately hitting lower-income people of color?

ROSENTHAL: Well, I think there has been incredible outreach around this vaccine. And you know, doctors have spoken endlessly about it. And the people who are not afraid of COVID, who don`t believe in COVID, I don`t know that they`re convertible by the health message.

They may be convertible by saying you`re going to pay a whole lot more. And they should really be remembering right now, during the height of the pandemic, before there was a vaccine, ensures waived co-pays and deductibles. Once there was a vaccine, they somewhat reasonably said, you`re going to pay these things. And that can be thousands of dollars, even for a visit to the emergency room for COVID, let alone a half-million dollar hospital stay.

So, if you`re not worried about your health, worry about your wallet. And I think we have to go that route. I don`t love that principle but what`s our choice right now?

HASAN: I understand the argument you`re making as well. I`m just saying, are you OK with the consequences of that if the people who end up with the higher insurance costs are people of color and low-income Americans if they get hit the hardest? You`re OK with that?

ROSENTHAL: Well, of course not that I`m not OK with that. But I don`t think that`s the inevitable outcome. I think we -- you know, we see vaccine resistors of all stripes. For some people, it may be about convenience. But you know, we have seen vaccine clinics set up in low-income neighborhoods, and then a whole day 10 people come, 10. So, I think we have to use different kinds of arguments. You know, I`m at wit`s end. You know, I`m willing to try anything at this point.

HASAN: Adam, we`re in a desperate place. Elisabeth wants to try anything she says not inevitable that low income and people of color get hit hardest. Why not try this? We`ve tried everything else.

GAFFNEY: Because of the reasons you said. It is inequitable. It hits the uninsured hardest. It hits low-income people the hardest. I mean, 25 percent of people in America don`t even have a primary care doctor. This is not the right way to do it. If anything, we should be moving towards a better health care system. Give those 25 percent primary health care doctors so they can talk about the benefits of vaccination.

Let`s move on to Medicare for all system that covers everyone. And let`s think of more creative, more robust ways that we can get the message out there without sticking tax or premium surcharge on some very disadvantaged people.


HASAN: I don`t know. I have to ask this question. I get what you`re saying. I just want to do a quick follow up before I come to you Elisabeth before we run out of time. I get what you`re saying, but a lot of people watching you say, we are fed up with coddling these people who have a vaccine, a miracle cure that`s free that could save everyone. There has to be something -- there has to be some stick not just carrot. You don`t -- you think there should be any stick at all?

GAFFNEY: No, I mean, I think there`s a lot of -- as I said, there`s other good policies. I`m in favor of mandates at occupational settings. I think healthcare settings are no-brainer, that everyone should be vaccinated. I think schools, I think for police officers, I think there`s many occupational mandates that would be totally reasonable. And we can talk about other approaches that I haven`t -- like others better any ideas.

I just think that slapping a parking ticket on people who are not getting vaccinated, similar to the smoking surcharge in the Affordable Care Act is the wrong way to go. I don`t think conceptually we should charge more people more for health care, because they have higher health care needs. I don`t agree with that from a conceptual basis whether it`s cancer or vaccines.

HASAN: We are running -- we are running out of time, but I want to bring Elisabeth back in here. Elisabeth, if we had universal health care like Canada, like the U.K., would we have similar higher vaccination rates that Canada and the U.K. have?

ROSENTHAL: I don`t know because many of the objectors have doctors. They just don`t listen to them. And I`m hallelujah for universal health care, but I don`t think it will solve the problem of disinformation, and that`s what we`re facing here. And so, I think we cannot let this -- the pandemic get out of hand. We just can`t.

HASAN: We`ll have to leave it there. Fascinating debate. Elisabeth Rosenthal, Adam Gaffney, thank you both for making the time tonight.

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