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Transcript: The ReidOut, 1/7/22

Guests: Kurt Bardella, Mary Trump, James Clyburn, Dionne Warwick


The state of our nation one year after 1/6; Sen. Ted Cruz walks back calling January 6th a violent terrorist attack. Ted Cruz slammed by Tucker Carlson for calling January 6th a violent terrorist attack. Cruz apology over calling January 6th a terrorist attack reminiscent of reek`s subjugation on Game of Thrones. Republican downplay and deny the insurrection.


Lamb, which is a song that slaps (ph).

I wish everyone a great weekend and hope you keep it locked right here because THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? Well as an original P.E. fan, I very much appreciate that. So have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. Thank you.

MELBER: You too.

REID: Cheers.

Good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT one day after the first anniversary of January 6th insurrection with a country that`s facing a clear and present danger. Our democracy is teetering towards nonexistence because one of the two major political party`s is entirely defined by its obsequiousness to its dear leader, terrified of what will happen if they stray too far from his side.

Take Rafael Ted Cruz, an entire senator from Texas, who made the mistake of, drum roll, telling the truth about January 6th on the anniversary.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week and it`s an anniversary of a violent terror terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage.


REID: Oh, that did not sit well with the MAGA cult including Trump`s T.V. underboss Tuckums, who has made telling his elderly Fox viewers that what they want to hear that actually not a lot happened on January 6th into an entire programming mantra, coddling them by claiming including with the fake documentary that it was just a totally normal day in our nation`s Capitol with a wee self-guided tour included.

Predictably Tucker tour into Cruz on his show Wednesday night reiterating his MAGA-petting shtick that it was definitely not a violent terrorist attack, but Cruz, Cruz couldn`t handle Mango Mussolini`s base being mad at him. So he went on Fox to bend the knee and clear the air and ran straight into a hailstorm.


CRUZ: The way I phrase things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb and --

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: I don`t buy that, whoa, whoa, I don`t buy that. Look, I`ve known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You`re a Supreme Court contender. You take words as seriously as any man who`s ever served in the Senate and every word -- you repeated that phrase. I do not believe that you used that accidentally. I just don`t.

CRUZ: So, Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing it`s caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers.

I wasn`t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists.


REID: But here is the thing, Rafaelito, that mea culpa isn`t just pathetic, it is also flat-out false. Cruz has frequently referred to January 6th as a terrorist attack, including in at least three press releases issued last January, February and May. He`s also said it in multiple tweets, which Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger trolled him for today.

Now, for many people familiar with Game Of Thorns, watching poor little Cruz squirm and beg for forgiveness immediately brought to mind the subjugation of Lord Theon Greyjoy, who was forcibly relieved of his literal manhood, his identity and then his name.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your name?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your name?


REID: Ted Cruz, aka, Reek, once called Donald Trump a sniveling coward for calling his wife ugly and implying that his father murdered JFK during their fight for the 2016 nomination. But Trump has thoroughly defeated him again, because Teddy the Weak is clearly the sniveling coward.

Oh, but it`s not just a man who ran to Cancun and blamed it on his kids during an epic snowstorm, oh, no. The Republican Party is in a place if you don`t down play or straight up deny the insurrection, in other words, if you refuse to be a sniveling coward and Trump bootlicker, you are not welcome.

We`ve gone over little Kevin McCarthy`s spineless hypocrisy numerous times, going from saying Trump bears responsibility for January 6th to whining that Democrats are supposedly using the anniversary as a partisan political weapon.

On January 7th, last year Trump`s favorite caddy, Lindsey Graham, was condemning his boss man for pushing the idea that the vice president could and should disenfranchise 150 million voters. But within a matter of months, he was back to graveling too and portraying Trump as the savior of the party.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): All I can say is count me out, enough is enough.

If you`re a conservative this is the most offensive concept in the world that a single person could disenfranchise a 155 million people.


I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no.


REID: It`s like is Donald Trump going to paddle me? Let me just hurry up and change my mind. This group is so thorough, the only Republicans to show up to the House`s commemoration of January 6th yesterday, were Liz Cheney and her father, Dick, the Iraq War got to go on the dark side torture guy.

Now, as my friend and colleague, Ayman Mohyeldin, tweeted, just imagine for a moment, if Republicans had decided to skip all of the commemorations on the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks, what message would that have sent?

I am joined now by Mary Trump, Donald Trump`s niece and host of the new podcast, The Mary Trump Show, and Kurt Bardella, Adviser to the DNC and the DCCC.

Listen, we`re going to have a lot of fun with Reek Cruz, but it`s not just him. Let me put in Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham, who`s also called the insurrectionists terrorists, I wonder how long it`s going to take him to have to run on Tuckums` show and beg for forgiveness too. Here`s Lindsey.


GRAHAM: The first thing that stands out to me is how embarrassed and disgusted I am that the United States Capitol could be taken over by domestic terrorists, that a band of people, who are terrorists, not patriots, literally occupied the floor of the House, drove the Senate out of its chamber. And the question for the country is how could that happen 20 years after 9/11?


REID: And, Kurt, you know, the thing that`s so amazing is that Lindsey Graham with that moment of clarity, that was on January 7th, and his moment of clarity on January 6th, was the only time I have ever seen Lindsey Graham be sort of an independent human being. I mean, he`s clearly a follower and he went right back to the bootlicking after that. What happens to a person -- where is your soul have to go, I wonder, for somebody to go from speaking the obvious truth about an insurrection to turning into a sniveling coward, to use Rafael`s phrase?

KURT BARDELLA, DNC AND DCCC ADVISOR: I think much like Theon Greyjoy, who turned into Reek, these men have become dominated, they have become broken, they have become shadows of the men they once held themselves up to be. It is embarrassing the lengths which they are going right now tripping over themselves asking for forgiveness for making the mistake of telling the truth. And I tell you, Joy, that just tells you how far gone things are. Telling the truth right now is a mortal sin in the Republican Party.

What we saw from President Biden on January 6th yesterday, and I saw a lot of headlines that said, Biden blames Trump, Biden takes on Trump, that`s not what happened here, Joy. We had a president of the United States tell the truth about what happened on January 6th period, full stop, that`s it, truth telling. And that`s really what is at stake right now. We have one party that has voluntarily divorced itself from reality, who has withdrawn from democracy and we have another that is determined to keep truth and fact and democracy at the heart of its political future.

And that`s the choice that voters are going to have make going forward, because we are now in the ninth inning here, Joy. This isn`t early games, this isn`t early times, this is the bottom of the ninth, as we`re coming up on. And if Republicans are allowed to take any part of control back, they will run out the clock on democracy and we will not have much left after that.

REID: You know, and, Mary Trump, the challenge, right, I sort of am against sort of the deification of presidents anyway, right? But the Republicans are not taking the knee to an Abraham Lincoln, who saved the union, or Dwight David Eisenhower, who was a War Hero. They`re not. It`s to Donald Trump. Your uncle who written an extensive book about, this is not a great man. He`s not a learned man. He isn`t of a lucid man half the time. What he is is a mean man. Let`s play some of the times that he has gone after Reek Cruz. Here that is.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: One of the problems with Ted Cruz is everybody hates him. I mean, he`s such a nasty guy. Everybody hates him.

He`s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him.

Lying Ted comes in and he holds the bible up and holds it high, right? He holds it high and then he lies. He lies.

He`s an anchor baby. No. He`s an anchor baby. Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada.

His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous.


REID: You know, Mary, the Theon Greyjoy was he literally sheered of his manhood. It feels that Reek is the right name of the character for Ted Cruz because he has -- how does your uncle manage to strip grown men of their manhood that easily? What is it does he have over these people?

MARY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S NIECE: Those clips were astonishing because they`re an incredible mixture of truth telling, projection, racism and mendacity, like we have all of it there, you know?


And, honestly, I don`t necessarily think it`s a hold so much as the Republican Party made a calculation, as they have in the past, that they could use this person to advance their agenda, right? And then they lose control. And then they have no choice but to accommodate the monster.

So, one of the things that surprised me, because that doesn`t, because I think that`s been true since, say, the tea party, if not, earlier. But what does surprise me is that Donald is the weakest person I`ve ever met in my life and yet he has been able to find people even weaker than he is, whom he is able to bend to his will and considering, as you said, he`s not smart, he`s not strong, he`s not anything one with aspire to be, they still do see him as a means to an end. And, you know in the case of Cruz and Graham, for example, I think they are arrogant enough to think they can have it both ways but debased enough not to mind when they have to demean themselves to somebody as weak as Donald Trump.

REID: It is astonishing to watch, Kurt, you know, because the Republican Party has sort of predicated itself, people like Josh Hawley, which actually makes me laugh whenever I say that and the word, manliness, in the same sentence, because, you know, he`s like the (INAUDIBLE) wonder, but they sort of like sort of grounded themselves in this particular idea of what manhood is supposed to be like, right?

But every one of them is the opposite of it. They all kneel to Trump. They couldn`t even manage to show up at the commemoration of an event that was violence against themselves, against their own staff. They were running from these terrorists that day. They weren`t like shaking hands with them except for one. Kevin McCarthy`s staffer, Ryan O`Toole, has said yesterday that there was one congressman who was cheering the insurrectionists on that day. Listen to this.


RYAN O`TOOLE, FORMER STAFFER FOR REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: But you did have some members express a different view. One member, Mo Brooks, for example, was glad, he was cheering on the fact that the 117th Congress had started this way, and that was much the dismay of others in the room and certainly I think does not carry a sentiment that the day has today.


REID: And you know Kurt, I note to that cheering them on while still running away, Mo Brooks didn`t go out there and meet these people out and join them. He didn`t have the courage to do that. But he was cheering them on while fleeing. Your thoughts?

BARDELLA: And that`s one of the things. We have spend a lot of time and we will be spending a lot of time talking about the minutes, minute movements of Donald Trump during all of these, but what about people like Mo Brooks or Paul Gosar or Jim Jordan or Josh Hawley? What were they all doing during this whole situation? Because we saw the picture of them before, Hawley holding up his arm cheering them on, but during, they nowhere to be seen, they were hiding. They were praying to God that the Capitol Police force that was there will be able to hold the line.

It is such a paradigm here. It`s always do as I say, not as I do. It`s always, yes, we love these insurrectionist, these patriot, if they come within three feet of me, I`m running the other way around the door hiding, barricading as much as I can. They are terrified of their own voters.

And the fact that going back to Donald Trump, he is the useful idiot. He is not someone to be feared. He is not someone that can hold power over you. He is a useful idiot, the instrument that the Republican Party has decided to make their mascot so they can actually get through the radical, racist extreme agenda.

REID: And it`s interesting because now -- let me just play this is what the Republican Party now stands for full stop and this is what is frightening for us for democracy. Because we can giggle at them and they are bit wimpy and weird but this is the danger. Let`s play a little of their denialism of the fact of the 2020 election result.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement would never do, I think, to break a law.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): If you didn`t know the T.V. footage was a video from January 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The question of whether or not the FBI animated some of the criminal conduct is one that is far more grave.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): The people who breached the Capitol on January 6th are being abused.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): We have in this city political prisoners held hostage by their own government.


REID: We could throw in Lauren Boebert who tweeted that morning today as 1776. Your thoughts on the danger of this comical crew of losers in any other forum, except in the Republican Party`s, that`s the leadership.

M. TRUMP: Yes. well, I think it was Rep. Swalwell who said that if these hadn`t been members of Congress, they would have been on the other side of the doors trying to break in and overturn our government from without.


So, I actually don`t think it`s funny anymore, I actually don`t think it`s funny anymore. I don`t they`re laughable anymore. We mock them at our peril because, as undeserving and grotesque as they may be, they are the mainstream of the Republican Party right now and they have, sadly, to say legitimate power within the Republican Party. And that is dangerous, that is something we have to guard against and that is something we need to take very, very, very seriously, because as Kurt said earlier, the clock is ticking. You know, we are not at the beginning of this game. We`re at the end of it and it may very well end in November 2022 unless we pull out all of the stops to prevent it.

REID: Yes, and this is absolutely true, Kurt, because you advice the DCCC, the reality is that cast of characters that I just played a montage of, that will be the leadership of our government if the Republicans take over the House and Senate, full stop, period, that`s the leadership. And I wonder if the party is worried enough about that, the Democrats I mean.

BARDELLA: Well, you know, Joy, for the first time I`ll say that I think so. And I base that on Joe Biden`s speech yesterday. This is the first time we`ve seen President Biden take that posture, that tone, being that direct and confrontational with the anti Democratic forces that have over on the Republican Party.

Like all political parties, we take our queues from the top. President Biden made it clear what the stakes are right now. He made it very clear what needs to happen going forward. In order to heal this country, we need to first confront the truth of what is going on right now and who is fueling these crazy conspiracy theories, these lies that have turned into violence.

And so taking our queue from President Biden after the speech that he delivered and the speech that Vice President Harris delivered yesterday, I think Democrats do realize the gravity of what is ahead and how important it is that we do everything that we humanly can to ensure that we are able to maintain the balance of power because if we surrender today, the Republicans will never give it back ever again.

REID: That`s right, absolutely. There`s a term called kakistocracy, government by the worst possible people. That`s what we will have as well as a heavy heap of fascism, should they take over. Be afraid. Scaring is caring. Mary Trump, Kurt Bardella, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn joins me as the White House gets ready to make a push to pass voting rights legislation.

Also it looks like the six right wing Supreme Court justices believe freedom, includes the freedom to get sick with COVID and the freedom to spread it to other people

Plus --


DIONNE WARWICK, AMERICAN SINGER: Such a gentleman, a true gentleman. And kind and he loved to laugh.


REID: My conversation with Musical Icon Dionne Warwick about the passing of giant, Sydney Poitier, the first black man to win a Best Actor Oscar.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: It is not just the Republican Party that can`t handle the truth about nonexistent voter fraud.

The Cyber Ninjas, the firm behind Arizona`s bogus election fraudit, is now shutting its doors. Now, you remember they reviewed millions of ballots at the request of Arizona State Republicans in an effort to find fraudulent votes that did not exist in Arizona`s biggest and most racially diverse county, Maricopa.

This week, county officials released a point-by-point takedown of the Cyber Ninjas` claims, finding nearly everyone to be misleading, inaccurate or false. Arizona was ground zero for efforts to push the big lie and remains so. The biggest loser is headed there for a rally next week on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.`s actual birthday, as the man who won the 2020 election, President Biden, makes a full-throated call to action on voting rights, raising the stakes in his remarks on the January 6 anniversary.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, in state after state, new laws are being written, not to protect the vote, but to deny it, not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert it, not to strengthen or protect our democracy, but because the former president lost.

It`s wrong. It`s undemocratic. And, frankly, it`s un-American.


REID: The president and Vice President Harris will travel to Atlanta next week to call for the passage of two bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

The Senate could advance the Freedom to Vote Act as early as next week ahead of an MLK Day deadline for a vote to change Senate filibuster rules in the face of Republican obstruction.

And joining me now is House Majority Whip Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

Happy new year, Whip Clyburn.

Let`s talk about this. You wrote an op-ed. And it was talking about what you call the tyranny threatening America.

And you write: "Fifty Republicans in the United States Senate, aided and abetted by two Democrats, are blocking votes on two critical voting rights bills. I`m not a fan of the filibuster, but if holding on to that tradition is important to most of the Senate, I maintain that exceptions and constitutional issues like voting should apply."

We know that no less than Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and many, many other celebrities have tried to talk to Joe Manchin. He`s been inundated with people coming to him. Tim Kaine likened the effort to his 27-hour drive to Washington earlier this week after the snowstorm, "slow progress toward a goal, like my commute."

Nothing is working. So what do we do if Manchin won`t budge and if Sinema won`t budge?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, first of all, happy new year to you as well. And thank you very much for having me.

Well, I think all of us are aware that the Senate is pretty high on tradition. I have no problem with that. Joe Biden has been a large part of that for a long time.


He and Joe Manchin are very good friends. I`m suspecting that they`re are in communication. At least, I hope that they are.

I do believe that Joe Manchin is very proud of his record in West Virginia and in the country. And I don`t believe he would like to see that record sullied by going down in history as one who, out of tradition, set out to deny basic rights to American people.

Now, we have had that to happen in the past. Strom Thurmond back in 1957 set the filibuster record against a civil rights bill which was not even a bill. It was just a statement of policy.

I don`t think Joe Manchin would want to see that for himself. So, I am holding onto hope that these two men will get together and, in the final analysis, will find a way for us to go forward with this legislation.

REID: You know...

CLYBURN: We know that exceptions have been made for the budget.

We call it reconciliation. Reconciliation is a term more applied to constitutional issues than the budget. So, I think, in the name of reconciliation, we`re going to get to where we need to be.

REID: Well, and hope is good. But hope and strategy are two different things.

I mean, there are groups in Georgia, voting rights groups who are saying to the president and vice president, don`t come down here without a plan. You are good friends with the president of the United States Senator Harris very well.

Do you know of a plan that we aren`t aware of that they have to actually make this happen? Because that`s what the voting groups in Georgia are saying. Don`t even come down here without an actual plan.

CLYBURN: Well, the problem is, to who do you submit the plan?

Yes, there are plans. I have talked with Joe Manchin. And I do know that we have talked about these issues. Now, I do believe that it is important to allow people room, space, as we like to call it, allow them to be able to deal with their own colleagues.

The Senate, there`s 100 people sitting there. And what we`re trying to do is get to 50 percent, plus one. So let them have the space. I do believe there`s a plan. In fact, I know of the plan. And, hopefully, he will accept it. He hasn`t yet, but, hopefully, he will.

REID: You say that you have spoken with Joe Manchin.

What evidence has he provided you that he actually cares about voting rights more than he cares about the filibuster?

CLYBURN: Well, the first evidence was the fact that he took the For the People Act, H.R.1. He reworked it, and came up with an approach that he thought would bring at least 10 Republicans to the table.

That did not work. Now, it seems to me that he demonstrated good faith when he put forth that bill. And when they put it on the floor, 10 Republicans did not come along, in order to bring it to a vote.

So, to me, that shows good faith. I think he will get to the point where he will see that they are, in fact, insulting him by saying they`re for it, and, when he laid it out there, they didn`t vote for it.

REID: Right.

CLYBURN: So I think that`s what Schumer has in mind.

REID: Last question to you.

The King holiday is coming up. If, in fact, Joe Manchin does not budge and continues to stand by the filibuster and wrap his arms around that more than voting rights, is it not time for civil rights groups like the NAACP, for the groups that are -- that he`s going to be looking to convene with on MLK Day to do the annual thing that politicians like to do, is it time for civil rights groups and organizations to be -- to condemn him as being akin to a modern-day Strom Thurmond?

CLYBURN: Oh, absolutely, no question about that.

Look, I have a long history here in South Carolina. I knew Strom Thurmond very well. His sister Gertrude used to have desks next to each other when we worked in state government together.

And so that didn`t stop me from saying to Strom Thurmond: "I think you are off-base, and you need to reckon with the truth."

I`m going to say the same thing here. I will join with my colleagues in the NAACP and every other civil rights organization doing what is necessary to call these people out.


REID: Congressman Jim Clyburn, thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate your time tonight. Have a wonderful evening.

And still ahead: Is living with COVID the new normal? Experts disagree. But if it is the new normal, what does that look like for you and your kids?

We will be right back.


REID: From Cancun Cruz to disappearing DeSantis, the Republicans sure do like to go AWOL during times of crisis.

The Florida governor has since returned after vanishing for two weeks while Omicron ravaged his state. But he continues to show no remorse for his vanishing act, even as Florida set a new daily record today, with more than 76,000 COVID cases.

And now, the same week that he blamed the federal court government for a shortage of tests, the Grim Reaper of the South has confirmed that 800,000 to one million COVID test kits in the state stockpile recently expired without being used as lines, for tests stretched for miles.


Unless you`re living under a rock, you know that COVID test these days are getting price-gouged up two $80 per test. They`re like the pandemic version of my precious. And not everyone gets to have one.

But according to baby MAGA, no one even wanted them.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Having a stockpile was the right thing to do. I mean, if we had done the opposite, we would have run out and then had to order as people had done it. We just had a lack of demand that happened in September, October, November. Nobody was requesting them.

They would have been used, I think, had we had Omicron then.


REID: Yes, OK. Yes, those words might have meant something in some alternate universe, where the Florida governor prioritized Floridians` lives, and wasn`t turning his state into a COVID oasis to integrate donors -- to ingratiate himself to donors and the death cult base.

But, sadly, that is not the universe that we occupy. And because of Death- Santis and his weird surgeon general, who`s advocating for slowing down and even stopping testing, we`re even deeper in this mess, forcing other leaders and scientists to up the ante on our COVID response.

That`s what we`re seeing in France, where President Emmanuel Macron is doubling down on his vowed to piss off the unvaccinated. And in an extraordinary move, former members of Biden`s advisory board of health experts during his transition have published articles in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" calling for him to adopt a new domestic pandemic strategy centered on the new normal of living with the virus indefinitely.

In addition, they point out that achieving 90 percent population vaccination coverage will require mandates. This comes as President Biden`s COVID vaccine mandates go to the Supreme Court.

And up next, we will discuss what the conservative majority heard and what they seem poised to do to us next.



REID: As new COVID infections are hitting record highs nationwide, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments today challenging two Biden administration vaccine and testing mandates aimed at large employers, as well as some health care providers.

The two requirements would affect around 100 million workers. At issue is whether agencies like OSHA and HHS have the legal authority to impose such mandates. While the conservative justices expressed skepticism, liberal justices like Sonia Sotomayor argued that it was well within the government`s purview.


SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: What`s the difference between this and telling employers, where sparks are flying in the workplace, your workers have to be -- wear a mask?

SCOTT KELLER, ATTORNEY: When sparks are flying in the workplace, that`s presumably because there`s a machine that`s unique to that workplace. That is the...

SOTOMAYOR: Why is the human being not like a machine if it`s spewing a virus, blood-borne viruses?


REID: And, by the way, one of the people arguing against the vaccine mandates did so remotely, because he had COVID.

Joining me now is Melissa Murray, law professor at NYU and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who I believe -- thank you very much for being here. Melissa.

I believe that Sotomayor is emerging as the justice, as the Notorious RBG used to be. She`s like the sort of voice of the people.

What do you make of her argument there that a person who`s spewing a virus that`s airborne is like a machine that`s dangerous in the workplace?

MELISSA MURRAY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think she`s making the very important point that COVID is very much like the dangerous machines that OSHA regularly regulates, and no one really bats an eye about it.

It is worth noting that, not only was Benjamin Flowers, the solicitor general Ohio, Elizabeth Murrill, the solicitor general of Louisiana, arguing remotely because they tested positive for COVID. Justice Sotomayor decided to participate remotely as well. Nobody knows why.

But I thought it was very interesting that Neil Gorsuch, who sits right beside her on the bench, chose to enter the oral argument without wearing a mask today as well. And so perhaps this little colloquy was more pointed than we even appreciated at the time.

REID: It`s so on brand, isn`t it?

Let`s listen to -- speaking of on brand, here`s Justice Samuel Alito floating the idea of an administrative stay to the federal mandates. Here he is.


SAMUEL ALITO, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: I just want to ask you a question on this issue of the commencement of enforcement and the issuance of a stay.

This ETS was issued a couple of months ago. It hasn`t been enforced during that period. These cases arrived at this court just a short time ago. They present lots of difficult, complicated issues. We have hundreds of pages of briefing.

We`re receiving very helpful arguments this morning. Does the federal government object to our taking a couple of days maybe to think about this, to digest the arguments before people start losing jobs?


REID: I`m not a lawyer, Melissa, but this reminds me of sort of the weaselish way that they went at the Texas law where you could put bounties on women. They`re like, yes, we will just let you get the bounties for a while and let it sort of work its course through the world, right?

This sounds like a weaselly way of killing the mandates. Or am I wrong about that?

MURRAY: Well, I actually thought, when we heard this from him, there were a number of eyebrows raised among those of us who follow the court, because an administrative stay, if it was issued in the S.B.8 case, would have stopped the Texas law from going into effect and would have allowed people in Texas to continue enjoying the same constitutional rights that we enjoy elsewhere in the country.

And so it seemed pretty rich for Justice Alito to be staking out the position that an administrative stay was fine in this context, where there were important issues to be decided, but was not appropriate in that situation where there were unusual substantive and procedural issues to be determined.


REID: Am I wrong in assuming that this 6-3 court, given who they are, are going to overturn these mandates and free COVID to work its way through the federal work force?

MURRAY: Well, there were two mandates at issue here.

One was the vaccination and testing mandate that OSHA promulgated. The other was the HHS mandate. I think it`s more likely that the HHS mandate might get an easier time with this court. They seemed to be more amenable to that.

But this OSHA mandate definitely got rough sledding. And I can`t underscore enough the irony of that. This was an institution who conducted oral arguments with strict COVID protocols that required vaccination and testing, so it could protect its workers, including the nine justices.

REID: Yes.

MURRAY: And they were debating whether or not the federal government can prescribe the same precautions for the rest of us.

REID: Ah, but they`re very important princes, and they can`t have the same rules as the rest of us.

Let`s go quickly to the Ahmad Arbery murder trial. So, we now have sentences. The McMichaels, Travis and Gregory McMichael, got life without the possibility of parole. Roddie Bryan, William "Roddie" Bryan, is probably really regretting not copping a plea here, gets life with the possibility of parole.

But because the way -- of the way Georgia law is written, parole cannot be considered for 30 years. Brian is 52 years old, which means that`s essentially life for him as well.

Your thoughts on that sentence?

MURRAY: Well, I think the sentencing here really spoke to the importance and indeed the effect of victim impact statements.

I cannot underscore enough how moving and visceral the testimony of Ahmaud Arbery`s family members were today, especially his mother, who spoke not only of the loss that she had suffered, but the further indignity of having her son vilified by the defense during the course of that closing argument.

REID: Yes, indeed.

OK. Well, let`s take a quick turn here, because, today, sadly, we say goodbye to one of the nation`s most dedicated civil rights lawyers and brightest scholars, Lani Guinier. Ms. Guinier near became the first woman of color tenured at Harvard Law School.

As our friend Elie Mystal wrote, there were few clearer voices about how to protect the rights of people of color in this country.

Melissa, I wanted to give you a chance to just give us your thoughts on Lani Guinier and her impact in this world.

MURRAY: Well, this is an incalculable loss.

I did not have the privilege of learning from Professor Guinier. But like every other black woman who came after her, we know that we walked a path that she blazed, and she was truly an amazing scholar and researcher.

And she showed us that even professional setbacks, when she was, for example, withdrawn as a nominee for a civil rights office in the Clinton administration, she used that setback to advance another academic theory about what democratic participation should look like.

And, again, she was a model for all of us. This is a terrible, terrible loss.

REID: Yes, indeed. She was an incredible woman.

I did get a chance to meet her once. And she was just such a smart, sort of an interesting character who could explain the law in, like, very straightforward, simple terms that you could really understand, and a huge advocate for voting rights.

Just very quickly, I want to get you to also comment. Given the fact that we are right now fighting again for voting rights, that loss, to me, feels deeper. I know Sherrilyn Ifill was tweeting about it today. Does it to you?

MURRAY: Well, I mean, it does feel -- sort of the pregnancy of the moment is like her loss at a time when voting rights are under siege.

She spent her entire career thinking about what it would mean for minorities to participate fully in the democratic process. And at a time when more and more states are thinking about ways to make it harder for communities that are already marginalized to participate in the democratic process, her voice will be sorely missed.

REID: Yes, indeed. She was a truly, truly, truly great woman.

Thank you very much, Melissa Murray. We really appreciate you being here this evening. Thank you very much.

And coming up, legendary singer, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and Twitter superstar Dionne Warwick joins us to share her memories of her dear friend and colleague the late, great Sidney Poitier.

Stay with us.



REID: Sidney Poitier, a towering figure who demanded respect both on screen and off, died today at the age of 94.

He once said that, as an actor, his primary goal was to portray black men of refinement, education and accomplishment. And, boy, did he do just that. He became the first black man to win an Academy Award for best actor for his role in "Lilies of the Field," in which he plays an itinerant worker who encounters a group of East German nuns who believe he`s been sent by God to build them a new chapel.


SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: Because it is a long journey to this moment, I am naturally indebted to countless numbers of people.


REID: In 1967, he played a doctor engaged to a white woman who introduces him to her parents for the first time in "Guess Who`s Coming to Dinner."

The film was considered radical at the time for its portrayal of an interracial romance and marked the first time a white actress and a black actor kissed on screen. Some movie theaters in the South refused to show it.

This is one of the most memorable scenes from the film, in which he and his character`s father diverge.


POITIER: But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.


REID: Poitier starred in roughly 30 films, including "The Defiant Ones, "A Raisin in the Sun," and "To Sir, with Love," and many more.

Poitier`s starring roles helped reshape America`s image of a powerful leading man, and his work helped open doors for black actors who followed.

And yet his most powerful role was as a civil rights activist. He was one of several celebrities who took part in the March on Washington in 1960s. In 2009, President Obama awarded Poitier the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


The proud Bahamian`s death was confirmed by the island`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And joining me now is award-winning singer, television host, activist and friend of the late Sidney Poitier Dionne Warwick.

Ms. Dionne, it`s always a pleasure to talk with you.

You tweeted out today a really wonderful story about meeting Mr. Poitier and asking for his autograph.


REID: Please tell -- but, first of all, the idea of you wanting to get anyone`s autograph, because you`re so incredible.

But please tell us that story.

DIONNE WARWICK, SINGER, TELEVISION HOST, AND ACTIVIST: I was just leaving my recording session and walking up Broadway to get to my car.

And I spotted Sidney Poitier walking across the way. So, I basically stalked him. I did.

And then, finally, he stopped long enough to catch me. And he turned around. He says: "Little girl, what is it that you want?"

And I said, "I, dabba, dabba, doo." You know, it was like, my God, speaking to the -- he was one of my very special people in my life.

REID: What was he like as a person? I never got the privilege to meet him. He was one of my mom`s on-screen boyfriends, by the way. He and Harry Belafonte were like the two people she had the biggest crushes on, and Muhammad Ali.

What was he like as a person?

WARWICK: Oh, he was such a gentleman, a true gentleman, and kind.

And he loved to laugh. He was -- I don`t know. He was a complete man.

REID: I love the way you say that, because I mean, at the time, when he was doing these groundbreaking films, it was still a struggle for black men to not only not be -- to be a leading man. That was sort of unheard of until he and Mr. B came along, but also to be to be treated as men, as human beings in this country. We still have some issues with that now.

But what do you think that the importance of him standing in that space was?

WARWICK: Oh, what a role model, I mean, to see someone of his stature and being, as Denzel recognized.

He epitomized what I think every female in the world would want to have at her side. And he was just perfect. That is the only word that comes to mind.

REID: No, he was beautiful. I mean, he was such a handsome man.


REID: And he was also such a great civil rights activist, and he cared so much about the community.

Talk a little bit about how important it was for people of his stature to step out during the 1960s, when it was risky for one`s career to take those kinds of stands.


But when people realized he -- very much like when E.F. Hutton speaks, when Sidney Poitier spoke. I mean, he was revered, was trusted, which was very important. And he dotted his I`s and crossed his T`s.

REID: Yes.

And your -- the story about meeting him for the first time really is wonderful, but is -- did you have a favorite memory of Mr. Poitier?

WARWICK: Oh, my. Oh, so many.


WARWICK: The one thing I do remember vividly is the fact that, whenever -- I don`t care where it was or what we were there for -- my greeting was not: "Hi, Dionne." It was: "Hey, little girl. You want my autograph?"


WARWICK: That`s how he greeted me.

REID: I absolutely love that. Yes.



REID: I absolutely love that.

Condolences on the loss of your dear friend. And you`re an icon, so I`m just appreciative of you giving us a few minutes of your time, the great Dionne Warwick. Thank you so much.

WARWICK: All right, and you know I love you, Joy. I really do. Any time.

REID: Don`t make me cry. OK.


REID: I will talk to you soon. Thank you very much.

Hopefully. I`m just acting, oh, I will just call you and talk to you later.

Thank you so much, Ms. Dionne Warwick. Appreciate you.

WARWICK: My pleasure.

REID: And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.


And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.





SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.


HAYES: Senator Ted Cruz canceled for observing reality.


CRUZ: The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was, frankly, dumb.