NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER, who had a very late
night, starts right now.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: How did you know about that, Nicolle? Weren`t you
WALLACE: I can`t hear you, but I`m glad to see you upright.
I know you had a longer...
MELBER: Oh, no.
WALLACE: ... than me. So, nice to see you, my friend.
MELBER: Nice to see Nicolle. Thank you very much.
Sometimes, we have those audio issues. I was joking with her because she
worked a very long day.
WALLACE: I got it. I hear you now. I hear you now. You sound great.
WALLACE: They get their money`s worth out of all of us.
MELBER: I was just saying, Nicolle, I was saying, I don`t know how you
knew, because I hope and trust you were asleep by then.
WALLACE: Well I keep an eye on my -- especially my time slot neighbors. I
know. I`m watching you.
MELBER: Nothing escapes you. Well, it was an interesting, newsworthy time,
to be sure.
WALLACE: Sure was.
MELBER: So, good to be with you. I will see you soon, Nicolle.
I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.
I`m joining you on January 21, 2021, a day that marks President Biden`s
first full day in office and exactly one year since the first coronavirus
case hit the U.S., which defines President Biden`s focus today. He is
bringing the full powers of the federal government to finish the fight
against COVID, rather than sidelining science or experts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will make sure that science
and public experts -- scientists and public health experts will speak
directly to you. That`s why you`re going to be hearing a lot more from Dr.
Fauci again, not from the president, but from the real genuine experts and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is a direct statement. It`s obviously a contrast. And Dr.
Fauci spoke himself quite bluntly about what he views as a welcome contrast
in this new Biden era.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS
DISEASES: The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know,
what the evidence, what the science is, and know that`s it, let the science
speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: A liberating feeling, says the doctor who has served so many
This new administration is now doing effectively a standing jump on the
COVID issues because the prior administration left no vaccine distribution
That`s according to a new CNN report. The president countering that with
immediate executive actions, 10 separate orders that tackle COVID policy,
which include fast-tracking the vaccine rollout.
Another contrast today comes at the intersection of COVID safety and
immigration, President Biden deploying his power over immigration in order
to do something. He is immediately ending one of the previous president`s
most controversial policies, an immigration rule that was initially sold as
a ban on Muslims, which morphed into a sweeping ban on migrants from
several countries with high Muslim populations, which drew immediate and
huge protests, you may recall, in 2017.
And it did not make America safer over four years, according to many
Well, President Biden not only ended that, but he is now replacing it with
something the prior administration did not bother to do, deploying federal
powers to protect Americans from the spread of COVID by now requiring
visitors from other nations, not just in one region either, but all
nations, have to prove they recently tested negative for COVID in order to
get into the U.S. in the first place.
Now, experts stress America has much work left to contain COVID. But even
some of these seemingly basic steps, like restricting visits from people
who are COVID-positive, will help speed a mission that was often hobbled at
the highest levels.
We begin now with Dr. Natalie Azar, rheumatologist with NYU Langone
Hospital, Daniella Gibbs Leger from the center for American progress and
co-host of "The Tent" podcast and "Washington Post" reporter Libby Casey.
Good evening to all of you.
Doctor, there is much to get into, starting with the notion of confirming
that people don`t test positive, that they`re not basically having COVID or
symptomatic as they come to the U.S. Where does that fit in to this entire
new COVID plan?
And as well, I`m sure we`re all interested in your thoughts on what Dr.
DR. NATALIE AZAR, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think the travel
thing is just one piece of a very complicated puzzle. It`s not foolproof.
As you all know by now, you can test negative and then be exposed.
But I think it`s just one in a series of different defenses that are being
triggered by the Biden administration. You know, I think that some themes
that have emerged are transparency, accountability, certainly equity, and
that is making sure that communities of color and more disenfranchised
folks or people living in rural areas will have access to the vaccine.
You know, I think the overarching message is that this is really going to
be a cross-governmental, cross-sectoral approach. That is, you`re going to
have federal resources, in conjunction with industry and commercial
resources, such as commercial pharmacies, really on all-hands-on-deck
approach in order to bring the pandemic to an end.
AZAR: Specifically, on how -- now that he has been unshackled, if you will,
and is now our spokesperson? Yes, well, that`s it.
MELBER: Yes. I mean -- yes, I mean, to your...
AZAR: It is such a relief.
As I was listening to him talk, I was thinking to myself, yes, we always do
want to lead with science. Of course, we do. And even within science, it`s
OK to have a conversation and disagreements and discourse, but at least let
it be at the level of the experts and the scientists judging the merits of
a study, rather than just making things up.
MELBER: Yes, it was striking coming from him. He has the credibility.
It`s no disrespect to the new president, Daniella, to note that Dr. Fauci
has higher public trust than both the new president, who has a higher
bipartisan trust in the numbers we get, and then the previous president,
who was very low.
Dr. Fauci has to feel pretty liberated in order to even say he is
DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes.
I pleaded that he looks at least 10 years younger today. It was striking
how freeing he was up there. And it was wonderful to just hear him speak
and know that he wasn`t being muzzled and know that he felt like he could
just actually tell the truth and tell the American people what`s going on
I know we`re only one full day into the Biden presidency, but already the
change has just been absolutely remarkable. And it`s a stark reminder that
what we went through the last four years was not normal, in terms of what
we saw from that podium, the lies, the mistruths, the hiding, the not
having any briefings from the COVID Task Force as the pandemic raged out of
control. That`s not normal.
What we`re going to be seeing over the next couple of weeks and months is
MELBER: Libby, you are a reporter who has covered more than one
administration, more than one transition. Your thoughts on all of the
above, as well as what is today this first full day of a new Biden era?
LIBBY CASEY, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I mean, seeing Dr. Fauci up there was
so striking for its normalcy.
And the fact that we hadn`t seen a briefing on this COVID crisis since
November by the Trump administration is not surprising, but it is shocking.
And just seeing the federal coordination and the Biden administration
getting ready to use FEMA, right?
This is like a no-brainer, something that people have been talking about
doing for months, to try and get these vaccination centers really set up,
working closely with the pharmacies as they`re ready to transition from
servicing the long-term care facilities, getting HHS really involved to get
more people able to get out the vaccines, right, figuring out what the best
If you`re getting people out of retirement, if you`re -- how are you
mobilizing the military, these very basic tools that it is astounding to
realize they haven`t been part of the portfolio that the Trump
administration was using.
And so, in one sense, if you were just plopped down into this, you would
think, well, this is a very reasonable, perhaps even modest game plan. But
when you contrast it with what`s come before, it is such a departure from
what we have seen.
Now, we did see President Biden pressed a little bit and Jen Psaki pressed
on this question of, are you setting too modest of a goal when it comes to
getting these 100 million vaccines out there? And they`re begging off on
that a little bit and trying to contrast themselves with what the Trump
administration was able to do.
The question is, can they do more, but is it better to set modest
expectations and then exceed those expectations, rather than looking like
you`re falling short?
Just the scattershot approach to what has been happening across the states
is shocking. And I`m sure we can all speak from the personal experience of
knowing some people in some states that have had success qualifying and
other people in other states who haven`t.
And this is not a full federal takeover, which made some governors nervous
and some Republicans nervous. This is just trying to get more of the tools
on the table, the federal tools on the table employed in this moment.
MELBER: Yes, all important points.
Dr. Azar, as always, thank you for giving us the scientific perspective off
Our other two experts stay.
And we bring into the mix professor from Morgan State University Jason
Now, Jason, I just heard Libby say it`s not a full federal takeover, but,
in a political sense, you could also argue the break`s over, and it is a
takeover, because the Democrats...
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
MELBER: ... have pressed on here through the House, the Senate and the
White House. Your thoughts.
JOHNSON: Yes, don`t call it a comeback. They have been competent for years.
They just couldn`t do it when you had Donald Trump running the country.
Ari, the most amazing thing today was not just the last of scandals but
seeing functional government again. I spent part of the afternoon watching
members of Congress debate the waiver to allow Lloyd Austin to be the
secretary of defense.
No one screamed. No one accused someone else of not being an American
citizen. It`s how government works. It`s Joe Biden coming in and firing the
general counsel of the Labor Relations Board because he really wasn`t in
favor of labor.
This is how a functioning government is supposed to look. It`s not boring.
It`s not less sexy. It`s comforting. It`s competent. And I think, for all
the promises that Joe Biden made about how he was going bring back the good
years of this government, today is a real indicator that he knows what he`s
doing by both addressing crisis and long-term domestic things that we`re
And for Jason and the entire panel, most Americans who are watching the
news today probably saw a good bit of the inauguration as it happened.
I think there are many reasons why Ms. Gorman was such a standout moment,
how much she packed into what was actually just five minutes out of the
whole day and how it echoes. We have been tracking metrics in a number of
ways. Her books have shot to the top of the entire Amazon national
bestseller list, even though poetry books are rarely in the top 20.
And so, I did want to play a bit of that for everyone as we reflect on this
today. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA GORMAN, FIRST NATIONAL YOUTH POET LAUREATE: Somehow, we have
weathered and witnessed a nation that isn`t broken, but simply unfinished.
While democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Starting with Jason, what did it mean to you, and why did it
resonate so immediately with so many?
JOHNSON: I love that she said that democracy is unfinished, right?
It`s the idea that you can try to have a restorative administration, but
the promise of this country to provide equal opportunity for all the
citizens here has not just been accomplished. I thought it was amazing.
And, also, I will say this. The first inauguration I ever went to was Maya
Angelou in `92. I was a kid. We had school off. We were all able to go and
And to see another African American woman who was wearing a brooch that she
was given by Oprah which had a caged bird from Maya Angelou delivering a
speech, it was almost sort of a full circle of restorative presidencies
And that was Bill Clinton in 1992. As much as people may criticize him, it
was still restorative after Bush. And to see this with Biden, it was a
fantastic speech symbolically and substantively.
MELBER: Well, was it not Maya Angelou who said, I know why the caged bird
sings, but I don`t know why Lady Gaga`s bird is so oversized?
JOHNSON: It was pure...
MELBER: I don`t if anybody saw. It was...
JOHNSON: That`s pretty much what it was.
MELBER: OK, the Lady Gaga bird -- I`m not an expert on fashion, but it was
-- what do they call it, a brooch? Is it a brooch? Anybody know?
JOHNSON: I thought it was mockingjay.
MELBER: Brooch for 100? A pin? A pin?
MELBER: Whatever it was, it was a huge bird.
MELBER: Is it? OK.
JOHNSON: It was a lot, yes.
MELBER: Daniella, you don`t have to trifle with my dad jokes on a day as
important as today, but your thoughts on all of the above.
GIBBS LEGER: Lady Gaga does nothing in small measure, and we should all
know that by now, OK?
GIBBS LEGER: I thought that poem -- that poem was so amazing.
And it just -- again, it reminded me of everything that we have been
through for the last four years and how cathartic it was to see Joe Biden
and Kamala Harris become president, and a reminder, like Jason said, that
democracy isn`t finished.
And I questioned many times over the last four years whether the bones of
our democracy were strong enough to withstand the weight of Donald Trump.
And the jury is still out. We will see. But I left that inauguration with
her poem feeling more hope and joy and optimism than I had felt in years.
She`s just phenomenal.
MELBER: Libby, your thoughts on what it meant and why it was important and
clearly a deliberate part of what the Biden administration wanted to do in
this ceremony to hear from this young woman at a time where it`s 2021, it`s
the first time we have ever had a woman in this high of a line to become
And in party politics, if you`re a vice president in good standing, you are
generally the heir apparent to run when it`s your turn, so, really, the
first time one can credibly argue that there is a real path for a woman all
the way to the top in the context of that poem.
CASEY: Yes, just seeing this 22-year-old strong, beautiful, artistic,
brilliant young woman delivering this poem, an African-American 22-year-old
on this day when we were seeing the first black Asian woman vice president
sworn in, it was just like that moment when we saw Kamala Harris give that
fist bump to former President Obama and have a moment with Michelle Obama,
this acknowledgment of history in the making, a history that for a lot of
Americans feels long overdue, but is finally here.
Amanda Gorman, she acknowledged pain and the difficult past of America, but
she did talk of optimism. This line, she was saying, there is always light,
if only we`re brave enough to see it.
And what we saw in the Trump administration was, at the very end, with the
1776 Commission they had, essentially a denial of history and a desire to
paper over America`s complicated and very painful past.
CASEY: And so we`re turning a page to acknowledgment of what America`s been
through, in the past two weeks, even, in the past four years, but also in
the past 400 years.
MELBER: Right. Yes.
All very important context.
I have a little bit of something else for you, Jason. It`s hard to go from
a high-arcing poet to something a little more petty, and who knows why I
picked you to respond to it. Maybe it`s just random. Maybe it was just your
turn. No one really knows.
JOHNSON: I`m ready for it.
MELBER: Take a look at a different type of poetry from a well-known Trump
critic, of course, Stephen Colbert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Take him away.
We here at "The Late Show" have been counting down to this day for four
Tonight, the number on the dome has counted down to one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Look, the level of joy that this country has that -- I won`t even
say his name -- that the previous president and his entire family is
basically gone and gone into exile into Florida is a joy that people will
be experiencing for years.
Stephen Colbert is not going to be the last one. Like, there is just --
there is -- it`s a scene out of "The Wiz," just brand-new day, people just
dancing in the streets, that we not just have a new president, but that the
old one is gone.
And you hear that sound? It`s nothing. Nothing on Twitter. It`s just peace.
And Colbert is all of us in this particular moment.
MELBER: A great and interesting way to kick off tonight`s special edition
of THE BEAT.
Jason, Daniella, and Libby, thank you.
We have our shortest break, just 30 seconds.
On tonight`s program, we have Michael Moore, Biden`s 100-day list, and why
the Democratic majority may be larger than you know.
But, first, Frank Rich -- in 30 seconds.
MELBER: Of the many observations that are relevant right now with
Washington changing, there is one that`s quite simple, but is somehow often
In many elections, America is far more blue than red for a very long time.
More Americans voted for the candidate running against Donald Trump than
for him twice, and some of the mood, the euphoria -- and we heard it from
even some of our guests a moment ago, and we saw it in the streets the
moment this all went down that Saturday when the race was called -- that
elation, not just on the left, but in many parts of the country, is a piece
It was a long uphill fight. But, for many structural reasons, Republicans
have benefited politically from an electoral advantage that is larger than
their actual numbers. Think about the total vote in, say, the past eight
The Republican candidate got more votes in 2004. OK, you see that. But then
the Democrat got more votes in 2020 with Biden, but also in 2016 and in
2012, plus 2008, also back in 2000, or 1996, or also 1992.
It`s quite a list when you look at recent elections. In seven of the last
eight, Democratic candidates have won more votes from Americans. And that`s
come in times good and bad, recession or not, foreign policy crisis or not.
It`s a reminder that Joe Biden is riding a larger crest of what is often a
very blue country, even if structural reasons sometimes make that hard to
For a special conversation now on this first full day of the Biden era, we
turn to the Emmy Award-winning writer and journalist Frank Rich, writer at
large with "New York Magazine," executive producer of HBO`s "Veep,"
currently executive producer of HBO`s "Succession," which I rewatched in
quarantine, and, of course, a longtime writer for "The New York Times" back
in the day.
We wanted something special here on this first day, and you obliged. Thank
you for making time, Frank.
FRANK RICH, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": Well, thank you, Ari.
That put a lot of pressure on me. I don`t have a poem, for instance.
But I am -- I have to say, I share completely in the previous guests`
enthusiasm about the inauguration. I thought it was the only one, I think,
in my lifetime that I have seen as a cognizant person that really spoke to
me and really moved me. And I say this even though at the center of it is
Joe Biden, who is not particularly poetic or someone that people get
He is a kind of nuts-and-bolts legislator and politician. But it`s an
incredible opportunity now before him to -- I hate to use the word
historic, but he has this kind of FDR moment, where he can prove the
Democratic theory that government can work and actually benefit people, and
at a time of enormous crises that we don`t have to reiterate, but starting,
obviously, with the pandemic and the economic distress that`s going on
MELBER: Do you think it`s important that Democrats really lean into the
mandate I mentioned, that there are all sorts of complexities to elections
in the United States, but the overwhelming sweep has been this blue
RICH: Yes, I think they should lean into it.
I think that one of the things that I liked about what Biden did in the
inauguration, and, frankly, since the election is project confidence and
actual belief in core principles of his party, at a time when they`re
really needed and at a time, of course, also when democracy has been so
betrayed by the previous administration.
And I think they have to lean in. I think the Democrats should lean into
it, not only as a political matter, but also as a patriotic matter, because
the fact is, there is a terrorist white supremacist movement in this
country. It has a hold in the other political party.
It actually has representatives on the floor of Congress. And so it`s an
urgent matter that they lean in, just as you said.
MELBER: I`m curious to get your views as well on how we`re already seeing
this new era play out, with such high stakes that you just alluded to.
It`s revealing to see how Republicans are dealing. Take a look at Senator
Everyone knows, on January 6, after the insurrection, he was leading the
charge to overthrow the election, objecting to Pennsylvania`s electors,
which, among other things, would disenfranchise that state`s voters.
Now Cruz is attacking a reason to reenter a climate agreement, saying it
shows Joe Biden cares more about, guess what, Paris than Pittsburgh,
although it was Cruz trying to disenfranchise Pittsburgh and then some in
Or House Leader McCarthy. He also voted to overthrow the race, trying to
eliminate Biden`s electors. Here he is today calling Biden divisive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Those executive orders he are sign -- is
signing are partisan. That`s dividing. And I`m afraid that, looking at this
administration, if this is the start, what more is there to come?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RICH: These guys are seditionists. They tried to overthrow a fair and
honest democratic election.
For them now to talk about division, political division, or to call for
unity, another track they have been on since January 6, it`s so bogus on
its face, and it`s also noise that I think should be tuned out and I think
is being tuned out by the Biden administration.
If McCarthy and Cruz and Josh Hawley are in a sort of death march to take
over the Trump base of the Republican Party, I think that`s the Republican
Party`s problem, not the Democrats` problem, as they actually try to
govern. And just let these people -- because the Republican Party, it`s
And they have got a problem. And they have got a problem with some of their
donors, which is important to them. And they have got ideological
divisions, as much as they want to talk about Democrat ideological
divisions, which have been, at least for the moment, somewhat papered over.
So, I would say just ignore them and full speed ahead on 100 days of some
kind of neo-New Deal, if you will, for the Biden government.
MELBER: And given how much writing you have done as a journalist about
truth and power, and then what`s also so interesting to people who are --
who like your other work, the work you have contributed to on "Veep" and
"Succession," and just how sort of propaganda and oratory works or bends or
breaks human psyches, if you will, your thought on how direct the current
government, the new administration should try to embrace what it can do as
being more trustworthy?
Not that we give any fealty to the word of the government automatically.
That`s not really the Constitution`s vision, with a muscular fourth estate,
but that there should be common facts.
How important is that do you think in this project? Because it`s something
Biden and his new press secretary have clearly emphasized yesterday and
RICH: Yes, they have emphasized it. I think that`s great. I hope they keep
I don`t think there has ever been a president of the United States who`s
not -- who`s incapable of spin. There will be times when they won`t be
completely truthful, I suspect. But I think, on the things that matter,
they have to be, and particularly things like science and our relationship
with Russia, across the board.
And they`re fortunate, in that they`re taking over from the most dishonest,
almost Stalinist propaganda machine in the history at least of modern
American government. There has been nothing like it. And I include things
like the incredible Bush WMD push and the mission accomplished. Those were
brilliant propaganda moves.
But they were pikers compared to the Trump people. And I get the sense the
Biden people want to be honest, they want to deal in facts. I`m sure they
will sway occasionally, and we have to call them out on it. But I`m hoping
that that remains the goal. And they -- and I don`t see any reason to
believe that they don`t want to fulfill it.
MELBER: All really interesting perspective, which is why we wanted to come
to you on this truly big day.
Frank Rich, nice to see you. Thank you, sir.
RICH: Good to see you, Ari. Thank you.
MELBER: Thanks, Frank.
Coming up: accountability. The FBI now arresting new key figures regarding
the Capitol insurrection.
While Democrats want to go big as Biden takes power, we have another
special guest on this first full day of a new era.
MELBER: Tonight, the FBI making new arrests in the insurrection, an ever-
widening and sometimes eclectic array of suspects.
A leader of the Proud Boys group now arrested in Florida. The feds note he
and others were -- quote -- "wearing a earpiece" or some other
communication device, suggesting a very high level of criminal conspiracy.
Also, a doctor who is part of a fringe group pushing false COVID claims
arrested. She also met with Vice President Pence in July. Today, a federal
judge also releasing a woman suspected of stealing Pelosi`s laptop. She has
been sent home to be with her mother.
House Democrats, meanwhile, asking the FBI to probe whether and how right-
wing social media apps like Parler have been involved.
The speaker gave this warning as well to any lawmakers who may have crossed
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): There is no question that there were members in
this body who gave aid and comfort to those with the idea that they were
embracing a lie, a lie perpetrated by the president of the United States.
We will have an after-action review. There will be prosecution if they
aided and abetted an insurrection in which people died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: This is an ongoing and important process, one that we have reported
on and informed you will take a long time to do right.
We just showed you a little bit of the updates on the law enforcement
arrests, as well as the tricky question of what to do if -- if -- there is
evidence that supports the idea that people in the government committed any
potential crime or coordination.
There is also a reckoning for the much larger group of individuals who may
sympathize with lies, but, of course, we`re not suggesting automatically
have done any crime by virtue of their beliefs.
There are new signs today of shock, disillusionment, and even despair that
Donald Trump is not president today, because, apparently, people believed
him when he said he would be.
A Trump supporter showing up at what he thought would be a major protest at
the New York state Capitol, as you can see here, finding himself
essentially alone. Members of the fringe conspiracy group QAnon saying
online -- quote -- "It`s obvious now we have been had. No plan, no Q,
It is a different type of reckoning, a factual one.
I`m going fit in a break.
But we have a lot more in the program, including why Senator Sanders went
viral for some very funny reasons at the inaugural, memes we think you do
need to see tonight, and what some are calling a stunning return to
normalcy of the Biden administration, and how progressives are gearing up
to do things that could help your family pocketbook.
Michael Moore is back live on THE BEAT next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Our national strategy is comprehensive. It`s based on science, not
politics. It`s based on truth, not denial, and it`s detailed.
Our goal of administering 100 million shots in our first 100 days in
office. We`re on day one. I`m committed to getting it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: President Biden speaking about his priorities in these 100 days to
kick off the administration, including dealing with the pandemic and the
I`m joined now by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker and well-known
political activist Michael Moore. He is the host of the podcast "Rumble
with Michael Moore" and was an ardent supporter of Joe Biden once he won
Good to see you, sir.
MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Good to see you.
And thank you so much for having me on to take a look back at the Biden
years and how it went so far. It`s...
MELBER: Are you making -- are you doing chronological humor, Michael?
MOORE: No. No.
MOORE: But wouldn`t that be great?
I like -- I was communicating with Bill Maher last night, and I wrote to
him. I said: "Man, it`s been 12 hours and no comedy."
MOORE: It`s just like, we`re going to have to get used to this. I`d rather
have it without the comedy, frankly. So, don`t get me wrong.
MELBER: That`s fair.
MOORE: But, no, I think that...
MELBER: Yes, there may be many things that have to be traded.
Let me -- Michael, let me ask it this way, though.
MOORE: Yes. Yes, yes.
MELBER: When you look at what the president just said there, and the twin
crucibles of the pandemic and the recession and so many issues you have
worked on, what`s on your mind on those policies and the challenge?
MOORE: Well, I`m going download and print out the 198-page book that he was
holding up there, the one with the blue cover.
I`m going to figure out -- I`m low on blue ink, frankly, in my printer. So,
like, that`s really going to take up most of the blue.
But I want to read -- seriously I want to read this. This is the first
thing he has do. If he succeeds at this, if he succeeds in getting
everybody vaccinated, as Dr. Fauci hoped for, as he said today, by the end
of the summer, and if we have mandated masks and social distancing -- now,
I know he says it`s only on federal properties.
But the number one employer in the United States of America is the federal
government. And when you count all federal employees, plus postal
employees, plus the military, you have got something like 25 million
That`s a lot. If just that is done, if just 25 million have to wear masks,
and if you enter the federal buildings, you`re on federal property, you to
wear masks, that`s a great thing.
We will have a fighting chance to be done with this pandemic this year if
he is able to -- and I mean he really has to sort of FDR, General Patton
this thing to pull this off, because this is what New Zealand did. This is
what -- the countries that got rid of the problem for the most part, this
is how they had to handle it.
And we`re going to have to all join in together, all of us. That`s the
unity he is talking about, all of us. We want to stop the dying.
MELBER: And let me -- let me -- that`s very interesting points you make,
particularly what that muscular leadership can do.
Let me take to it another issue you care about in the context of how less
potential chaos in the federal government allows, in many tangible ways,
more focus on what people are going through. And, boy, have people been
through the ringer.
MOORE: That`s right.
MELBER: You have been advocating for different types of debt relief for
people who followed the rules, went to school, and now are going through a
pandemic, where the arguments for something fair are even stronger.
Let`s take a brief look at that for your reaction, as Biden talks up the
issue. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The pandemic has also increased the
hardship on millions of Americans who owe federal student loans.
In response, the president asks the Department of Education to extend the
pause on student loan payments and interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You see on one side of the screen the pause is a start.
MELBER: On the other, there are many both nonpartisan experts, as well as
liberals, if you want to talk politics, saying to do even more for these
Your thoughts on all of that?
MOORE: So, you`re going to drag me into talking about politics. OK, fine.
MELBER: It happens.
MOORE: I have to say, I have felt so good these last 24 hours. It`s -- am I
on some pink cloud, some kind of high?
I mean, look, remember, I supported Bernie, and I traveled. A year ago this
week, I was on the road with Bernie.
MELBER: Wait. Wait a minute.
MOORE: And then we all got behind Joe.
MELBER: Michael, real quick.
MELBER: Do people who watch MSNBC know this about you? Or are you making
news? Is this a known thing?
MOORE: Well, you brought up politics, and I`m thinking, well, OK, maybe I
MOORE: I -- first of all, the woman who stole Nancy Pelosi`s laptop, or
allegedly stole it, what does she think is on there?
Trust me, the only thing that`s on Pelosi`s laptop is -- she`s the one that
probably started the memes on Bernie with the mittens and everything.
That`s about -- that`s all I`m going to give her on that, but...
MELBER: Well, it`s a great meme.
Let me focus you.
MOORE: It`s a -- yes.
MELBER: I`m going give you the mic back, but let me focus you.
You said it`s politics. And everything`s got to get done through a
political world. But, really, I`m asking you about people. Biden says he
cares about these people and helping student debt. I have no reason to
MOORE: Yes, I believe he does. Yes.
MELBER: And then Schumer -- and Schumer and Warren are pushing further.
But it`s about what should be done for people who, especially through no
fault of their own in this pandemic, have crippling debt.
MOORE: Nobody should be evicted. Nobody should be foreclosed on during this
They should receive help from the federal government. We need to -- we have
-- we learned -- one thing we learned at the beginning of the pandemic is
that we have the money to do whatever we want to do, and we should be doing
it to help people.
And if it were me, I would forgive these student loans and get out of the
student loan business. He`s already said that he supports public colleges
being -- of tuition being free. So, let`s push toward that.
Let`s have a health care system. Everybody should be covered. We`re in a
pandemic. Announce universal health care. We will sort out how we`re going
continue it when we get through this pandemic.
But, for now, nobody should worry about going to the doctor or being in
huge trouble. I saw this one hospital chain that is suing people who have
been in the hospital for COVID? No, wrong message.
And that`s not who we are. So, yes, we should be doing all these things
right now, fighting for these things. And I honestly believe this about
Biden. You know, my parents were like him. They went to mass every morning.
And it`s something I -- of course, I never did. But people like that, I
know him. I don`t know him personally, but I know that he wants to start
his day in a place of moral fortitude, where he will live that day doing
what he believes is the right and just thing.
This is a good thing for the rest of us. And it`s why I believe that -- OK,
so let`s say he doesn`t support Medicare for all or whatever, which they
shouldn`t call it that anymore anyways. It should be called Canadian health
care or what would Jesus do health care or something like that.
But any bill that comes across his desk that`s going to help people, that`s
going to improve their wages, get them their jobs back, any of this stuff,
he`s going to sign it.
So, Schumer and Nancy need to do their job to get these things through, and
we have to eliminate the filibuster. The filibuster does not exist in any
country that calls itself a democracy. That has to stop.
It`s -- there is a vote, and the winner is 50 percent plus one. That`s a
democracy. They have to get rid of that, and they cannot let the
Republicans stop any of this.
Everything Frank Rich said, I agree. And these are seditionists. They have
a sedition caucus. They have to be brought up, and they have to answer for
what they did. But they have got to start right now by taking the head off
the snake. And that was Donald J. Trump.
He has to answer for his actions, or we will see more insurrections in the
years to come, because they will say, well, look at what happened. Nothing.
MOORE: Something has to happen to all the Republicans who participated in
MOORE: And I just -- I think that, if the Democrats will be strong, and if
this -- their idea of reaching across the aisle, the only reaching -- we`re
the victims of Trump, this whole -- our whole society.
The only thing that should be done is by the Republicans reaching across.
If they want unity, here is a way to have unity.
MELBER: Well, that`s a point to pause on.
MOORE: Seventeen Republicans join with the Democrats and convict Donald
MELBER: That`s a point to pause on, Michael, because I have got to -- and I
-- and, boy, did I -- I listened.
But I have to cut in, because they`re telling me we have got other time
before we will go to Joy Reid.
Yes. No, no, I`m so grateful you had me on here on this first day-and-a-
MELBER: It`s a big day.
MOORE: It`s a big day. And it`s a great moment for all of us.
And let`s build on it. Build back better.
And it`s interesting hearing you both speaking to what you see as the moral
fiber of President Biden, who you supported, as well, as you put it, unity
with strength, which is being open to unity, but if you know you`re right,
telling people to come join you, if you have the votes to back it up.
Michael Moore, we will be seeing you again. Thanks for being here today.
MOORE: Thank you. Thanks so much, Ari.
MELBER: We heard Michael mention -- thank you.
We heard Michael mention how Bernie Sanders and the mittens went viral.
This is one you got to see to believe. We have that and another important
political update coming up.
MELBER: Now it`s time. It is time.
Let`s talk about it, Bernie Sanders absolutely breaking the Internet with
his drip, his inauguration chic, his fashion look.
Now, here`s how it started. Sanders was spotted at the inauguration rocking
these very understandably cozy mittens -- it`s cold -- and a big winter
coat. And he was just hanging out, beautiful mittens, sitting there amidst
a sea of dark suits.
So, while many people would go unnoticed, something about this and the
whole physical distancing made people take notice and even made the rounds
on late night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLBERT: The Vermont is strong with this one, in a parka and giant woolen
But notice the one part of his body that`s not covered? Bernie, what are
you thinking? Don`t you know that 99 percent of your body heat escapes out
the top 1 percent?
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": It looks like he`s about to scatter
bread at a bunch of pigeons at the park.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": He showed up holding a manila
envelope, as if he had an appointment at the DMV.
Sadly, Senator Sanders had to duck out early when his neighbor Larry called
to say he found his hat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: All right, I don`t always see these in advance. Some of the things,
I look at in advance. But that`s really funny.
Now, the picture of Sanders just sitting there -- I mean, really. I get it.
He was minding his own. But it took off online. Everyone`s been having fun
And because the Internet`s creative, people went to town, reimagining
Bernie in different situations, first channeling how some feel when office
meetings could have literally been an e-mail. Now, that`s just the
Then, someone poked fun at Bernie`s busy schedule, joking that Joe`s
inauguration was a stop on his way to the post office with, of course, that
And then people took it farther, Bernie in the iconic photograph of lunch
atop a skyscraper. You see him there. He`s warm enough. He`s chilling.
Bernie hitting the road with Guy Fieri. "Not me. Us."
Maybe, if you like to get a little more religious, Bernie with a fellow Jew
at the Last Supper.
Or -- it had to happen -- Bernie all the way out in space. "One small meme
for man, one giant leap for memekind." We love a good pun around here.
Or, if you`re more GOT, he stopped right into Winterfell. "Undefeated."
What might be one of our favorites here at THE BEAT, Bernie as Patrick
Swayze in "Ghost" making pottery with Demi.
So, what does Bernie Sanders think about all this hubbub?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): In Vermont, we dress warm. We know something
about the cold. And we`re not so concerned about good fashion. We want to
And that`s what I did today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Not so concerned with good fashion.
I mean, the jokes write themselves, because the late-night -- the late-
night satire of this is literally what Senator Sanders said. He is nothing
if not on brand.
There were more memes that we even had time to show you tonight, so you can
always find us online @AriMelber across social media. We will be sharing
more of our favorites, including a bar mitzvah one.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FALLON: ... you just lost 280 pounds?
COLBERT: Today felt like a return to normalcy.
KIMMEL: I don`t know about America yet, but I feel great again.
FALLON: It feels like the country is back.
Sure, the GPS took us on some crazy backroads for the last four years, but
now we`re back on Main Street. And we can tell people we were lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Tonight, the comics get the last word.
As always, thanks for spending time with us here on THE BEAT WITH ARI
MELBER. I will see you tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
"THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts now.
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