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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, October 2, 2020

Guests: Peter Hotez, Jeff Mason, Hakeem Jeffries, Jeh Johnson, Dara Kass, Anand Giridharadas

Summary

President Trump has been sent to Walter Reed Medical Center after testing positive from Coronavirus. The President, First Lady, White House aide, multiple senators, and RNC chair test positive for COVID-19.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: All right, well, Michael Steele, David Plouffe, Howard Dean, thank you all very much. That's tonight's REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. I think it's fair to say we're going to remember this day for a long time. According to new figures that were published by the COVID tracking folks who chart the statistics of the pandemic in this country, there are 50,000 new COVID cases today, 835 deaths from Coronavirus, and tonight there are 30,000 plus people hospitalized with the Coronavirus and one of them, of course, is the President of the United States.

This was the scene just two hours ago the president knighted states in a mask walking out of the White House across the South Lawn to the Marine One helicopter which transported him to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment of his Coronavirus infection. The White House says he is expected to remain hospitalized for the next few days on the advice of doctors. To put simply, I think it's fair to say it's been a stunning 24 hours, as stunning as any in the Trump era around this time last night.

We learned that the President's close aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus. The President and the First Lady were then tested, and in a nearly 1:00 a.m. tweet, the President announced that they were both positive. And then after that tweet, we heard nothing from the president, nothing on Twitter. We did not see him until he left the White House to board Marine One for Walter Reed.

There was no medical information, no medical briefing from White House doctors or anything released for more than 12 hours. And then during that time, we got word, a bunch of other people in the President's orbit tested positive as well. Two people who are at the White House on Saturday for the formal nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, seen here hugging people and speaking close to them, no one in the background with masks, and also the president of the University of Notre Dame, Reverend John Jenkins, who is also in that crowd. Both of them sitting among that tightly packed crowd in the White House rose garden, as you can see there.

Now, three journalists who work at the White House, that's their workplace. They don't have control over the policies there, but they have to work there still, they also tested positive today along with a staffer who sits in the lower pressed area of the West Wing. They got word that the Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel tested positive for the virus earlier this week. She was last with the president a week ago on Friday. And the city of Cleveland reported 11 new coronavirus cases stemming from the preparations for the presidential debate held there on Tuesday.

There are now urgent and concerted contact tracing efforts to identify everyone at risk, who came in contact with the President of the United States in recent days. Joe Biden his wife, Jill, who were of course at that debate on Tuesday were tested and both are negative. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was tested after meeting with the President's treasury secretary earlier this week. She is also negative.

Another big area of concern is the President's trip to his Bedminster, New Jersey Golf Club yesterday for a fundraiser. He carried on with that trip as planned despite knowing that morning that Hope Hicks had tested positive and had been in close contact with him. And the president at that event came in contact with donors as well as the staff of Bedminster.

So, as the magnitude of this cluster of cases started to become clear today, the President was out of sight. We did not have any official word on his condition until late afternoon when his physician released this statement revealing the President have received a dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail.

Now, that's an experimental treatment. It is not yet authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Regeneron, the company that makes this drug, confirm the president received it following a "compassionate use requests from his doctors." Usually, compassionate use reserved for seriously ill patients with no other treatment options, as many people noted, a worrisome sign about the President's health.

And then just about an hour after that, the White House announced that the President would be hospitalized. They released this brief video statement shortly after the president walked over and took off in Marine One.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I go into Walter Reed Hospital. I think I'm doing very well but we're going to make sure that things work out. The First Lady is doing very well. So, thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Donald Trump is 74 years old. That is in a relatively high-risk category for this virus. And we do not actually have much reliable information about the President's overall health. We still do not know the extent of the White House cluster. And the country is in a state of deep crisis. We are, of course, just 32 days away from an election. Joe Biden offered his prayers to the president this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, let's -- I would like to start by acknowledging, which I sure all of you do as well, sending my prayers for the health and safety of the First Lady and President -- the President of the United States after they tested positive for COVID-19.

My wife, Jill, and I pray that they'll make a quick and full recovery. This is not a matter of politics. It's a brazen reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Nearly 50,000 Americans tested positive just today, 30,000-plus including the President are going to spend tonight in a hospital. Most of them are isolated from family and from loved ones, many of them and perhaps the President himself feeling nervous and alone and scared. And yes, as Joe Biden said, we have to take this virus seriously.

I want to turn now to one of the best-informed people I know about this virus, how it works in the human body, who we've been consulting with throughout this pandemic, Dr. Peter Hotez, the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Doctor, it's good to have you. I want to just start with your assessment based on the publicly available information, the actions taken by the White House, and the statement released by the presence doctor of how we should understand the President's condition.

PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes, Chris, you know, I've been saying all day today that look, he's 74 years old, he's got -- he's a man, which also puts him at greater risk for severe illness or even death. So, between age and sex, and then you get into the fact that he's overweight, he may have underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, I don't know that, but that is potentially a possibility. When you add all that up, that puts them into one of the very high-risk groups of potentially mortality rates of five to 12 percent.

So, on that basis, I've been very worried about the President's health. And the fact that he's been having fevers made me feel strongly that he needed to be monitored in a hospital setting, because patients can decompensate very quickly, they can have very low levels of oxygen. The White House clearly does not have that capacity to do that intensive level of monitoring. Things can decompensate very quickly.

That in the fact that I felt he needed some specific treatments, and I think the monoclonal antibody therapy was the right way to go, and that was a new treatment, which also is another reason, all that added up to the fact that I said repeatedly today he needs to be at Walter Reed National Medical Center where you can respond. And finally, the White House came to that conclusion as well. And also, not to do it in the middle of the night, do it at a time when there's a lot of people around, and you could do it in a controlled setting.

So, back when I used to admit patients, to hospital settings, you don't want to do it at off hours, you want to do it when the full staff is there, and you can make plans and create a patient plan. And so, in that sense, the White House medical staff made all the right chess moves today, and I hope the President does well.

HAYES: When you talked about Regeneron which is this experimental antibody treatment, there's been some encouraging data preliminarily on antibody treatments more broadly. You said that that's the right call. I mean, how -- I guess, this is not obviously -- this has not been approved for FDA use, even emergency use, so we don't have a great sense of what the kind of treatment protocols are as a sort of prophylactic treatment. But what's your sense of it and why they would choose to use that treatment?

HOTEZ: So here it is, Chris. You know, I've been working on Coronaviruses and other pathogens now for 10 years, specifically coronaviruses. And we've developed COVID-19 vaccine that's now being scaled up for production. We've developed other coronavirus vaccines. And one of the observations has been the -- one of the most important things you can do to have a successful outcome of the coronavirus infection is to have high levels of virus -- what's called virus neutralizing antibody, a type of antibody that binds to the spike protein of the virus and prevents it from binding to the host tissues.

One way to do that is through a vaccine and that's how our vaccines have worked to induce high levels of virus neutralizing antibody. After you administer the vaccine, it takes about two weeks. And clearly, that would not be -- that takes too long for something like this. The other way is to artificially give the antibodies either through high titers of convalescent plasma, but the advantage of the monoclonal antibody cocktail is its much better-defined product, it specifically targets that spike protein of the virus, and you can control the dose much better.

So, there's two experimental monoclonal antibody cocktails now in development, one out of Regeneron, the other one out of Abscelera with Lilly. I think either potentially could have sufficed, but the Regeneron one now has been given to around 300 patients, has been already shown to lower viral titers, the amount of virus that you have.

So, knowing all of that, I think it was a good call. If it were me and getting sick and going to the hospital, I would want from either myself or my family to get that kind of monoclonal antibody cocktail, even though it is still pretty early on in clinical development.

HAYES: I can't have but notice, as we show this video of the President that, you know, folks are wearing masks around him, but it does strike me that you would want to take some very serious precautions if you're traveling with the president and around the president right now. The president himself is in a mask, which he normally is not. He normally issues that but he's wearing one right now as he has COVID.

I guess my question to you is like, does that strike you as well? There's, you know, there's a real public safety issue with the White House right now and with the people that work around the president.

HOTEZ: Well, the frustration that a number of us have from the scientific and medical communities all year is the fact that there's been kind of this defiance about wearing masks and all too often we saw events around the president where individuals were not wearing masks, and it was almost as though they were doing this out of showing some form of political allegiance, which made absolutely no sense.

Without having a vaccine, fighting this epidemic is like fighting it with one hand tied behind your back. So, all you really have for a public health measure our masks and contact tracing. If you take that away, basically, you're not doing anything. So, it's so exasperating to see event after events where people were not wearing masks, knowing that they were being set up to potentially become very sick or even worse.

So, maybe now there'll be some kind of sea change in how the White House conducts business. Even if you're doing a lot of testing, this virus is so highly contagious, especially from individuals who are between the ages of 20 and 44. There was a big study coming out of India published this week in Science Magazine by my colleague Ramanan Laxminarayan. And so, you have to wear masks. So, it's a little too little too late, but at least maybe now the message.

HAYES: There are some news today that seven months into the pandemic, the White House's issued a mask mandate inside the White House for those working there. Dr. Peter Hotez, it is always such a great privilege to be able to listen to you. Thank you so much for carving out a little time for us on this very, very busy day.

HOTEZ: Thanks, Chris. Thanks for giving all the attention to this issue.

HAYES: Here with me now, two veteran reporters who understand the ins and outs of the White House and who have been reporting on this story all day, Geoff Bennett, White House Correspondent for NBC News, and Jeff Mason, White House Correspondent for Reuters traveling in Delaware with the Biden campaign.

Geoff Bennett, maybe I will start with you. I mean, we should say that the White House obviously is the people's house. It is where the President both lives and work and it is also a workplace for many people, yourself included. There are White House staff, there are people that work in the kitchen. That -- give us what you have learned about what efforts are being made to run down the tracing chains here so that they can ensure people are tested and safe.

GEOFF BENNETT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Well, the White House, Chris, says that they are in the process of what has to be a Herculean effort to contact race the great many people with whom President Trump has been in contact this past week starting on Saturday in the Rose Garden when he announced Amy Coney Barrett as his choice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

And of course, you see row upon row of Trump supporter and Republican, elected Republican on the South Lawn, shaking hands, hugging each other, no social distancing, no mask wearing. And that continued straight up until Thursday night, we're told, when the President had that private fundraiser in Bedminster.

And so, what you see is his own reckless approach to this disease replicated within the West Wing, replicated on the campaign trail. The president having put at-risk people who work for him, people who support him, people like us who cover him, and then the people who protect him.

In your conversation with Dr. Hotez, I was really struck by watching those Secret Service agents who only had an N-95 mass protecting them as President Trump had a cotton mask as they were transporting him from the White House to Walter Reed.

And so here we have it. President Trump with his positive COVID diagnosis, really facing the most serious threat facing a sitting president since the non-lethal shooting of Ronald Reagan back in 1981, Chris, and it was all avoidable. The president falling for his own false narrative about this virus, now becoming one of 7.3 million Americans who are now battling this virus along with him.

HAYES: Jeff Mason, you -- I know you had served in the White House Correspondents Association, and that association putting out word today that three members of the White House Press Corps have tested positive. Again, they don't have a choice. They don't make the rules for what the policies are.

And I want to play this exchange that you have with the president, which I think indicates some of the tensions that have been in that workplace around safety procedures, when you ask them a question about masks. I'm going to play this clip and then -- and then get you to sort of describe what the situation has been there policy wise. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: The issue of what happened when you were in France --

TRUMP: You're going to have to take that off please. Just -- you can take it off. Your health -- how many feet are you away?

MASON: I'll speak a lot louder.

TRUMP: Well, if you don't take it off, you're very muffled. So, if you would take it off would be a lot easier.

MASON: I'll just speak a lot louder. Is that better?

TRUMP: It's better. Yes, it's better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

That was a notable moment for me, Jeff Mason. And I wonder, like, do you feel there have been adequate precautions in the White House, and if you felt pressure to not comply with CDC recommendations like mask-wearing?

MASON: Well, the answer to your first question is no, Chris. I mean, there have definitely not been adequate precautions. And that's one reason why I think we can say completely neutrally, that the White House is in the position that it is in today. If everyone within the White House staff had been wearing masks, had been paying attention to social distancing measures that the CDC and other members of the White House Task Force had been recommending, then no doubt it would have helped the situation.

As far as pressure is concerned, I mean, you can sort of answer that question by watching the president in that clip that you played, and in another moment that he had with me earlier during the pandemic. But I think the point of that is more than it's illustrative of an ethos that the President set with his staff, and more generally, with his supporters, suggesting for whatever reason, that not wearing a mask or that wearing a mask rather, was not macho or not cool and just not encouraging or setting an example.

And as a result, that has become a very political -- very political thing and unfortunately led, at least in part, to the situation that the White House finds itself in now.

HAYES: I should note, we just got some breaking news. A statement put out, Geoff Bennett, by incumbent Republican North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who is also up for election 32 days, that he has tested positive. We believe that he was also at that event, again on the South Lawn, the event in celebration with Amy Coney Barrett.

There's additional reporting that there were indoor events around that day, indoor receptions, people going around. But Geoff, I mean, again, this is now two United States senators. This is -- I mean, with Thom, you know, Thom Tillis is not a young man. These are -- there are serious repercussions that continued to emanate out here.

BENNETT: That's right. And we should say that Trump's staffers, the Trump officials today who tested negative and their -- and they almost sort of touted their negative diagnosis, that's a snapshot in time, right? I mean, it's a good indicator, but it's not a final indicator. And what we know is that these folks who were in close proximity, either at the event that preceded that Rose Garden event for Judge Amy, Cody Barrett, they're going to have to get tested day after day after day to make sure that they don't come down as being positive themselves.

HAYES: We should note, the CDC guidelines would be actually quarantine for people that are exposed for extended period time precisely because of the incubation period, Geoff Bennett, you're mentioning. Jeff Mason, let me -- let me end on you because you are on the bus with the Biden campaign. There was, I have to say, this year has been so unremittingly awful in its news that I definitely went several hours this morning in a doom spiral convinced that Vice President Biden would also end up testing positive. He and his wife announcing they tested negative doing an event in Michigan. What is the perspective from that campaign right now?

MASON: Well, I tell you what. It is interesting for somebody who normally is hanging out with my friend and colleague, Jeff Bennett, at the White House to spend a little bit of time with the Biden campaign. It's a much different ethos to bring in the word in the conversation we were having earlier. People do wear masks, both in the press corps, which we do with the white house but also amongst the staff.

The candidate, of course, Vice President Biden, former Vice President Biden wearing a mask when he got on his plane, when he got off the plane, when he held his event, so there is a much different sort of general attitude about mask-wearing. And of course, that ties in with the overall criticism that Vice President Biden has directed at President Trump with regard to his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He did, of course, have more generous words today for the current President and the First Lady saying that he and his wife Jill were praying for them and wishing them a speedy recovery. But there was also an undercurrent in his remarks in Michigan where we just came from in which she said mask-wearing is not about being macho or not macho, this is about following the science. And this underscores the test that the President announced earlier today that he was positive, underscores how important it is to take this virus seriously.

HAYES: All right, Geoff Bennett, Jeff Mason, two fantastic reporters on that White House beat. And thank you both for sharing your reporting tonight, gentlemen. I really appreciate it.

BENNETT: Sure.

MASON: Thank you.

HAYES: Joining me now congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat in New York, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, which puts him fifth in line the House Democratic leadership. Congressman, first, I just want to gauge your reaction and the reaction of your colleagues to this news and how it's being processed on Capitol Hill and among Democratic leadership.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the president, the First Lady, and in fact, every single American who has been infected by the Coronavirus and is struggling to battle this deadly disease. It underscores the point COVID-19 can touch anyone. Whether you're black or white or Latino or Asian or Native American, it doesn't matter. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter. Whether you are an everyday American or the President of the United States, it doesn't matter, which is why we need to continue to do everything humanly possible to crush this virus.

HAYES: The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi testing negative today. She's been in negotiations with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin about a possible rescue package. I'm going to ask about that in a moment. But there was -- there was a notable reporting today that the Speaker has not heard anything from the White House one way or the other. And, you know, there's some continuity of government questions before us, and no one wants to talk about the worst-case scenarios and no one wants to morbidly linger on them, there are contingencies for a reason.

The Speaker of the House, of course, being the third in line to the presidency after the vice president, this is a brutal and contagious disease. Are there conversations being had about the contingencies for the continuity and for the government and how we make sure that if the absolute worst things happen, that things are taken care of?

JEFFRIES: Well, there haven't been any conversations that I've been party to. But I think it's a positive development that the vice president has tested negative, of course, that the speaker has tested negative, and that Joe Biden has tested negative, notwithstanding the fact that he was on the same stage with Donald Trump a few days ago.

But transparency is going to be important as relates to the President's health and well-being and his condition moving forward. It's in the best interest of the presidency, of our republic, of the American people, that the White House provide us with a level of information that they are not accustomed to providing and that it be accurate.

Now is not the time to play political games, but to try to project some level of manliness that has gotten us into the situation that we are in right now. The Trump administration is a toxic combination of arrogance and ignorance. And hopefully, they can see past that dynamic in this moment of crisis right now.

HAYES: You talk about this moment of crisis. We have layered crises the country is in. The President of the United States is currently at this moment hospitalized. We are hoping for a speedy recovery for him. He was able to walk to the helicopter under his own power, which of course is a good sign. There are 50,000 new coronavirus cases today. There are 31,000 Americans who are hospitalized. There's more than 800 who died today.

And today we also got a jobs report that shows unmistakably that the recovery from the nadir of the sort of plunge from the Coronavirus shutdown, that recovery has slowed, that we're still 10 million jobs blow where we were, and a lot of people leaving the labor force. What is the proper policy response to the fact that there is a lot of pain and a lot of economic misery out there, and tonight's jobs -- today's jobs numbers highlighted that?

JEFFRIES: Well, this is a case shaped recovery to the extent that there is a recovery and that the rich have gotten richer over the last several months. And everyday Americans, middle-class Americans, those who aspire to be part of the middle class, the poor, the sick, and the afflicted, continue to suffer.

That is why House Democrats acted just yesterday with passage of a $2.2 trillion Heroes package designed to provide our state and local governments with the assistance necessary to continue to provide public services to the American people. We authorize another round of direct stimulus payments, set aside tens of billions of dollars for assistance to tenants who are struggling, increased food assistance, have $75 billion for testing, tracing, and treatment to deal with the public health aspects of this pandemic.

And Chris, it's just shocking that our Republican colleagues continue to act like it's business as usual and nothing is wrong. We are urging them to come to the negotiating table in a serious way, so we can enact a meaningful and transformative response that is justified by the circumstances that we are in right now.

HAYES: I want you to respond to an argument I've heard from some Republican staffers on the Hill and others that at this point that Democrats don't actually want a deal. They want to look like they want a deal, but don't actually want one. And that when the White House or Secretary Mnuchin comes up from the number they had before, that Speaker Pelosi or House leadership is finding ways to scotch that. What do you say to people saying that?

JEFFRIES: Well, we passed the heralds act initially on May 15th. That's over 130 or so days ago. And that was a $3.4 trillion intervention that we believe was merited under the circumstances because we knew that the virus and the economic conditions weren't getting better, they were only getting worse. We've come down from that offer in good faith, as the Speaker has indicated, and she continues to express a desire to find common ground.

It's shocking that in the midst of a recession, wherein some parts of the country, there are depression, like conditions, and all the pain and suffering and death being experienced by the American people, they continue to find different ways to disagree with our willingness to meet them halfway. At some point, they should just take yes for an answer, do something meaningful for the American people, and we can all find ourselves in a better circumstance.

HAYES: Yes, I have to say, as someone who's covered this very closely and been in contact with people in various parts in negotiations, the biggest obstacle is the fact that Mitch McConnell and the White House basically can't get on the same page negotiate against, which is why we are here amidst all this suffering with nothing passed so far. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you for making time on this very busy day.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Coming up, there are a lot of unanswered questions right now, not just about the health of the President, but about what this means for the country. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is here to talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: We don't actually know all that much about the President's condition right now. The President is at Walter Reed Hospital. We know that. But the White House has not been particularly forthcoming about his symptoms or his vitals often other than to say this afternoon that they are quote mild, a fever, fatigue, of course, he is hospitalized now.

The President release a video upon leaving at the hospital saying he thinks he's doing very well but was being hospitalized to make sure things "workout." The whole situation, the President's hospitalization, the lack of clarity all day around it, only adds to what is already an incredibly uncertain volatile moment between the ongoing destruction of the pandemic 50,000 new cases a day, the economic crisis, 10 million people out of a job, the efforts to undermine legitimacy of the election by the President and his party. It's a moment of profound crisis for this country.

I'm joined now by the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama Jeh Johnson. I guess, first, your assessment of where things stand right now. Obviously, everyone is hoping the president a speedy recovery, as well as all of the people who may have been exposed in that cluster, including members of the staff at the White House in Bedminster. But are you confident that we have all the protocols in place, you know, to deal with exigencies?

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Chris, thanks for having me on. First, I have to say this. I was a patient of the White House docs for three years when I was Secretary of Homeland Security. It is a first-rate team of military doctors. I've been an inpatient at Walter Reed Hospital overnight. It is a first-rate hospital. The president is receiving the absolute best of care.

So, people have asked me today what's -- what are the national security implications of the current environment? What are -- what are the things we should be worried about? In my judgment, right now, in this environment, the greatest threat we face is frankly misinformation hysteria. In this kind of environment, frankly, social media is not our friend. I would encourage people to get their information about what's going on from reputable, responsible news sources, this network included. Because we have to be careful not to buy into conspiracy theories, misinformation, that is probably circulating as we speak about what is happening to the President's health and what is happening to the election and so forth.

We have a -- the President's in the hospital. So far as we know, he is alert. He is able to issue directions, make decisions, and so forth. The chief of staff is with him. We have a Secretary of Defense, who is as far as I know, on the job. We have a Department of Defense, we have Secretary of State, we have a CIA director, we have a national security adviser who is healthy. He's gotten over COVID. So, the apparatus of government, so far as I can see, continues to function.

I do have this to say, however, I would call upon those in the presidential line of succession, particularly the top six or so, the Vice President, the speaker, the president pro tem of the Senate, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, Defense, the A.G. to consider, in this current environment, some form of quarantine for themselves, because they are in such sensitive positions right now with the person at the top in the hospital.

And then, big picture, Chris, this really is a wake-up call for all Americans to remind us that we are still very much in the clutches of this invisible enemy, and we have yet to get out. And if the most secure person in America comes down with COVID, none of us are safe.

HAYES: Yes, your point about quarantining people in the line of succession, I have to say, you know, we've seen this phrase a lot today, including for the White House out of an abundance of caution, comma -- you know, out of an abundance of caution, these staff members have been tested. Out of abundance of caution, we're going to Walter Reed Hospital where we're going to monitor the President of the United States and I think that makes a lot of sense.

But then this statement of the Vice President's office and Mike Pence's doctor that under the guidelines of the CDC, the Vice President is not considered a close contact with any individuals who tested positive for COVID, including President Donald J. Trump. Vice Chairman Mike Pence does not need to quarantine. Of course, he got a negative test, he and his wife Karen Pence. But it does seem like this is -- I don't know, it seems like kind of an abundance of caution moment given where we are.

In fact, abundance of caution has been, one could argue, sorely lacking in American COVID policy. And this seems like maybe that would be a time for it.

JOHNSON: Chris, the normal rules that would apply to you and me don't apply and shouldn't apply to the President of the United States or the person first in line of succession to the President of the United States, and possibly even the second and third and fourth. And so, out of an abundance of caution, we should call upon those in these very, very important positions to take care of themselves.

And the normal rules, the normal rules for quarantining and not quarantining and so forth don't -- should not apply in this circumstance to these people.

HAYES: You know, you said something about the wake-up call here. And I think if there's any hope for a good come out of this, aside from the speedy and safe recovery of everyone involved, it is a wakeup call. And it strikes me, and you were -- you're Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, it's an agency that was created in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack on American soil that killed 3,000 Americans. And we think about national security in these terms, foreign attacks.

I mean, we've lost 210,000 Americans. We lost 800 today, and we lose 800 to 1000, a day, day after day after day after day after day after day after day. You know, it just strikes me that this is the national security problem. This is -- this is the threat. It's not what will foreign adversaries do in this moment, the virus is.

JOHNSON: Chris, that is absolutely correct. Anything that can kill 210,000 Americans in seven months is a national security crisis that touches every corner of our nation. And what I mean when I say wake up call, I watch with great despair as regions of this country now are seeing spikes in COVID though, since mid-April, we have known what it takes to flatten the curve.

We have known that this little $0.10 device can save lives. Yet it has become a matter of, in some corners, political correctness or real men don't wear a mask and so forth. My hope is now that the most visible person in this country has come down with COVID, all of us will recognize that there are certain ways we protect ourselves and others that are very simple and it's not a matter of politics to wear a mask.

HAYES: Jeh Johnson who served as the general counsel at the Department of Defense before becoming Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us tonight.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

HAYES: Tonight, the President of the United States is hospitalized less than 24 hours after testing positive from the Coronavirus. Our coverage continues next. Do not go anywhere.

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HAYES: In the last few hours, the President was helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment of his Coronavirus. The President and First Lady have access, of course, to the best health care in the world. Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina both have good insurance, same with Trump -- top Trump aide Hope Hicks.

And all this to say that one cannot help but note as we think of the health of all those people and hope they have speedy recoveries, the event that brought some of them together where some of this transmission appears to have taken place, was an event to nominate a Supreme Court justice to put on the court and make sure she was on the court in time to hear the case a week after the election in which this administration and Republican attorneys general and the Department of Justice are trying to destroy the entire structure of health care protection in this country.

Right now, the Affordable Care Act, which protects people with pre-existing conditions among a whole bunch of other really important regulations is being targeted by the White House in the midst of a pandemic that has sickened 7.3 million people. And if this administration gets its way, if they are victorious in court, it would lead to millions losing their coverage outright, including protections for pre-existing conditions which will be overturned in a country in which there are millions now with a pre-existing condition because they had COVID.

I mean, even without the Justice Department trying to get the ACA in court as they are, the uninsured rate has gone up under Trump. And that's because of policies they've chosen. And because of the pandemic, also, several million people are already losing their health insurance, losing their jobs. I mean, never ever has it been more apparent that everyone, every single American deserves access to good quality health care, a guarantee of that, that in the midst of an infectious disease that is working its way through our entire society.

With me now is Dara Kass, he's Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Dara treated COVID patients in New York and the worst parts of the pandemic and emergency room. She also had COVID herself. It's great to have you, Dara. I would start first with your reaction to what information we've gotten about the president and his condition.

Honestly, the information we're getting from the White House is very incomplete. We're hearing that he is feeling fatigued, he may have a fever. This is also really early in his course of illness that we know about. It's only been 24 hours since he's either been symptomatic or positive. We trust the information coming from the White House. That is a very rapid course of illness to now have him be in the hospital for what would be either experimental or supplemental treatments.

HAYES: What has been your experience of learning the trajectory of this illness? I mean, one of the things I think that has been confounding is it can accelerate very, very quickly in patients and people find themselves thinking they're recovering to being admitted to the E.R. very quickly.

KASS: Right. So, we know the patients have about a 10-day course of illness if they are mild, but symptomatic, similar to what I had. And in fact, we see that there's usually a period of a couple of days in the middle, you may not feel so well, the flu like symptoms, and then you usually feel better.

And then around somewhere between day six and eight, a lot of patients get much worse. And in fact, that's when a lot of them get admitted to the hospital. That's what happened to a lot of the friends that I had when we were sick in March. The patients that get admitted early on tend to have a little bit more of an aggressive course.

And so, I think that we're definitely not looking at a shorter course than 10 to 14 days for somebody that's already been hospitalized, but I think there's a lot of premature conversation about what the President is going to do at the end of this disease. It is much more important to think about him getting aggressive and appropriate treatment, resting, and not being overstimulated, because he is an elderly obese patient and he is at high risk.

HAYES: There are images, and I don't know if we have this video cued up, but we've been playing of folks in that Rose Garden ceremony on Saturday. And we now have, you know, multiple people who are -- who are at that event. Senator Mike Lee and Senator Thom Tillis and the President and I believe Hope Hicks I think was there who have tested positive. And we have, you know, footage of them hugging, handshaking, people being close to each other. We know there are other indoor receptions for VIPs around that event.

What do you think? I mean, what should be -- what should the smart play be here from a public health treatment perspective in terms of all the people who possibly were exposed?

KASS: You said earlier, abundance of caution. We now know that at least six people at this event are positive for the coronavirus, likely all getting infected at the same time at an unmasked event with no social distancing and indoor events. It would make sense that every single person including unfortunately the Justice's children, should be isolated and quarantined for 14 days from their most recent exposure.

If anybody at the event was positive and re-expose somebody else which may be the Senate Judiciary Committee who may have convened after the event and then, you know, Senator Mike Lee is now positive, this would be a consideration to increase the timing of that quarantine for 14 days from the most recent exposure.

HAYES: That's right. We should say that Mike Lee, even though he was feeling slightly symptomatic, I think by his own -- by his own account, went to an in-person judiciary hearing, committee meeting -- Judiciary Committee meeting, and we also have the president who was at these various events, people noticing his fatigue, which means he was -- he was symptomatic as well earlier in the week.

We've also got, you know, reporting about the debate in Cleveland. it now appears that there are folks in Cleveland who are testing positive. We know that the President's family refused to wear masks, they were offered masks, and they declined them, even though that was the mandatory policy of the Cleveland Clinic.

I mean, you know, I think everyone over the past seven months has had moments where they've slipped or they've gotten close to people, or they've, you know, they haven't worn a mask. But it does strike me this is a reminder of how important vigilance is.

KASS: It also remind us that our decisions we make before were positive matter, remembering that if the administration and its allies had been wearing masks regularly, when they had been together and testing negative, then we would be in a very different position right now. all these people would not have to be at risk for either being infected or having to quarantine. And there would be a lot fewer decisions and a lot easier, honestly, contact tracing.

HAYES: Final question for you, just about the sort of latency here. You know, we know that it can take a few days for the short gestation of the virus, for the viral load to reach a point that is detected by PCR swab tests. My understanding and correct me wrong is that all these folks should be getting tested daily, right? I mean, obviously, Vice President Biden and Joe Biden, anyone that was at that debate, and anyone at that event with Amy Coney Barrett and all of those folks should be getting more than just one test.

KASS: Yes, I think that, you know, the CDC guidelines actually don't include testing regularly as part of a quarantine period, mostly because of the availability of testing to regular Americans. But if there is available testing, it's not a downside. you would see an early case and you would know to pivot from the quarantine period of 14 days to the isolation period of 10 days.

So yes, I think regular testing if available is not a bad idea. But it's very important for everyone to understand that a negative test does not negate the quarantine period. So, it doesn't matter how many times somebody at risk test negative, they would still need to quarantine for the full two weeks from exposure because of the risk of transmitting the virus to other people, not the rest of themselves.

HAYES: Yes, this is really important. These are the CDC guidelines you're enunciating about quarantine after exposure. This is the way that countries around the world has suppressed this virus. These are the CDC's own guidelines. We're talking about some of the most influential, important people on the planet right now. They should probably listen to them. Dara Kass, as always, thank you for making time tonight.

KASS: They were effective.

HAYES: All right, three days ago, the President was mocking former Vice President Biden during a debate for Vice President Biden's diligent mask-wearing during this pandemic. Today, the President has postponed all campaign events, of course, rightly. He is hospitalized right now after announcing that both he and the First Lady tested positive for Coronavirus around one 1:00 this morning.

Right now, the president is at Walter Reed Medical Center. He was choppered there by Marine One earlier this evening. Now, earlier in the day, former Vice President announced both he and his wife tested negative for the virus and stressed the need for both mask-wearing and social distancing.

Just a few hours ago, Biden arrived in Michigan attending an outdoor event with the state's largest food and retail union where he expressed his well wishes for the president and stress the importance of following the science wearing masks and social distancing.

To talk about where this country stands in the wake of today's explosive news, I'm joined by Anand Giridharadas, publisher of The.Ink, authors of Winners Take All and Zerlina Maxwell who's joining the NBC family for her new show Zelina, which debuts Monday 6:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC streaming service Peacock's new channel, The Choice. She's also an MSNBC Political Analyst. Congrats on that, Zerlina.

First of all, let me go to you, Zerlina. You know, people have been working through all this reaction since 1:00 a.m. A lot of people up all night, I think there was a lot of skepticism in the beginning because information for the White House on this virus particularly has been so unreliable. I think it's fairly clear now that like this was not made up. I think that's quite established.

How do you think -- how are you thinking about this moment in the broader context of the country and the politics, frankly, of a campaign that is obviously still happening in an election 32 days away?

ZERLINA MAXELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, one of the things that I have had to do in this particular moment as a political analyst is be quiet and listen to the scientist and defer to their expertise in terms of how to keep myself safe, how to advise my family members and my friends and really just try to provide the accurate information on the radio show and in upcoming --the upcoming Peacock show Zerlina. But I think that the most important thing that I've been mulling over all day long, and really all year long, is the science checks out, Chris.

So, if you don't believe it, even if you don't believe in the science, even if you don't believe in the virus, even if you believe President Trump, you don't think you were it needs to wear a mask because President Trump doesn't wear a mask. You think you're tough enough, and you're healthy enough, and you're young enough? Well, it turns out the scientists were right all along.

And the most critical piece of advice I think that we all should heed in this moment, is that we need to continue to follow their advice, because eventually the science catches up with you. And if you don't follow it, you put yourself at risk to exposure. And that's what happened here with what I'm calling today, the White House cluster, essentially. We need to contact trace so many people to figure out how many people have come down with this horrible virus.

HAYES: You know, Anand, it really does -- it does feel like a very perilous moment for the country even before the last 24 hours. But it feels -- it feels quite low for the country right now because we are amidst so many sort of ongoing catastrophes. But this -- you know, the President of the United States is being hospitalized with this virus. It feels in some ways a kind of microcosm of the entire way that we have approached combating this pandemic.

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS, PRODUCER, THE.INK: Well, you know, there's been, as you know, this discussion today about norms of politeness and, you know, a lot of people saying, you got to -- you got to wish him well even if you don't like him, and other people saying, no, I don't have to wish them well. But I think what's lost in that debate is that since this pandemic struck the world and this country, he has not wished us well. And he has almost willfully, it seems to me, made choices that would result in the death of people.

It is -- it has been a policy consistently from the mask-wearing to the bleach advertising, so on and so forth, a policy that whose inevitable consequence was kind of manslaughter at giant scale. And so, it's this very bizarre moment when it comes around to him.

And I think your point that you made very briefly, just to expand on for a second, it is wonderful for him, you and me and Zerlina are paying some of the money we earn for him to take that helicopter and get the best care he can. And I don't think any of the three of us are anybody watching this resent -- maybe some people resent it a little, but we all pay and we're hoping he gets the care he needs. And we're paying for the tests and we're paying for the ventilators if he's going to need a ventilator.

But he, in so many recent years, as was recently revealed, refused to pay those taxes for you and me and Zerlina to have care in case we were to need it one day, in case 300 million other people would need it one day. This moment is not just a moment, frankly, of one man's health. His behavior has made that an impossibility. This is a moment in which we have to ask if someone who was so unable to care for the American people that he got ensnared and was unable to care for himself, what chance does he have to take care of anybody for four more years?

HAYES: Yes, I mean, that point there, I think is such a profound important one. Like, I want the president to get better because I want people to not be sick, and I want them to be healthy. And I feel that way about every single person who's been stricken by this virus and then extend that logic outwards early, Zerlina, right?

Like, we should all look out for each other and we should all care for each other. And this pandemic should be an opportunity for us to do that. And there have been incredible examples of it from care workers, to people clapping, to people volunteering and people helping each other out. But like, when you institutionalize and operationalize that principle as governance, what it means is we have social insurance. And we have -- we should have guaranteed health care for everyone. And we should make sure that people are taking care of. And that to me is like the operating principle that has been absent horrendously from the beginning of this.

MAXWELL: Well, not just absent, but they are in court trying to get rid of the ACA that protects so many millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions in the middle of a pandemic which if you catch it, it's a pre-existing condition. So I think it's even worse than saying they've sort of been neutral on this. They've been the opposite. They've been the worst side of the corner.

And I think that this moment is a reality check and a wake-up call for anybody out there who uses terms like I don't believe in Coronavirus or I don't believe this virus is that serious or I believe President Trump when he says it's a hoax. Again, it doesn't matter what you believe. The science will check out.

And the scientists have been on this studying this virus and we will be smart to heed their advice as we head into the fall when it collides with flu season. Because they've been warning us for many months that that's what to be a get-real moment here in the United States, and so we need to wear our masks and stay socially distance until the scientists say we need to cease that behavior. We listen to them until it's time to stop listening to them.

HAYES: Zerlina Maxwell who's new show is on Peacock very soon, very exciting, Anand Giridharadas, great to have you both. Thank you both.

GIRIDHARADAS: Thank you.

MAXWELL: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this week. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END

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