Senate acquittal exposes where GOP stands. McConnell votes for acquittal, then says, there`s no question Trump is responsible for riot. Senator Graham says, Trump is ready to move on. Pelosi says 9/11-like commission will probe insurrection. Anti-Trump GOP representative has been rejected by party and family members. Dozens of bills seek to restrict voting access in 2021. South Dakota`s Republican Governor Kristi Noem is raising all sorts of questions with her prolific travel over the last two years.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us. We will be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the constitutional crisis known as the Republican Party. Just over one month ago, a domestic terrorist mob loyal to Donald Trump and sent by him to the Capitol to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president laid siege to the building and terrorized House and Senate members and their staffs, brutalized Capitol police, defecated and urinated everywhere, leaving a disgusting mess for mainly black facilities were forced (ph) to clean up and hunted the vice president of the United States and the speaker of the House. Five people died, including police.
House Speaker Pelosi is now calling for an independent 9/11-style commission on that Capitol attack. But House and Senate Republicans, many of whom egged on the insurgency, would like for us to just please move on. Are you ready to move on? I`m not ready to move on.
Donald Trump incited that mob, you know it and I know it. And even those 43 Senate Republicans who saved Trump from facing the music once again, they know it too. They saw the videotaped evidence that that lynch mob storming into their offices pawed through their drawers and their papers. They know Trump put a target on their backs.
But, see, that`s the thing about this increasingly radicalized GOP, the truth doesn`t matter to them, even when they lived through it. And you know who gave away the game this weekend, the Republicans` the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who, moments after voting to acquit the disgraced former president, said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Trump`s actions preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.
There`s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Oh, really, Mitch? That`s where you want to go with this? I mean, there was blatant and unabashed, a craven surrender to the homegrown demagogues still leading the party. Because as Senator Lindsey Graham made clear on Sunday, it`s all about taking back power, even if they have to take it by force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): You know, he is ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party. We need to unite the party. Trump-plus is the way back in 2022. My goal is to win in 2022 to stop the most radical agenda I have seen coming out of the Democratic presidency of Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: No, Lindsey, please sit down. We are not going to move on from a violent attempted overthrow of our democracy during which five people died. We are not going to bury the hatchet after a murderous mob came within minutes, maybe even seconds of killing or kidnapping the leaders the American people elected.
And, by the way, antebellum Lindsey is lying, as he tends to do, because the Republicans aren`t moving on either. They have now gone from backing a literal insurgency to engaging in a legislative insurgency, moving to block the agenda that 80 million Americans elected President Biden to pursue. They are pushing to make it harder for you to vote with Republican state legislatures already introducing 165 bill just since January to restrict voting access is. They are trying to choke off the relief bill that you so desperately need.
43 Senate Republicans chose power over democracy and party over people, even over their own mortal lives. And now, the people who thought they could hide behind Trump while he sacked the republic have moved on to robbing you of our vote and of the relief that you deserve.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Madeleine Dean Pennsylvania, who served as a House manager on the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Her new book, Under our Roof, a Son`s Battle for Recovery, a Mother`s Battle for Her Son, comes out tomorrow. And, Congresswoman Dean, thanks for being here.
I want to get to this point about a 9/11 commission. There`s been a lot of talk that that`s something that will be needed. But my fear about a 9/11 commission is who would appoint the people on it. Ron Johnson, your fellow senator, has had some strange musings in the past. Today in a radio interview he said he didn`t think it was an armed attack. He said, this didn`t seem like an armed insurrection to me. I mean, armed? When you think, armed, don`t you think that means people had guns. I don`t see any guns. I would like to know, did anybody recover any ammunition? Did anybody recover any firearms?
If he had anything to do with that commission, it wouldn`t be a commission, it would be a circus. Do you trust a 9/11 commission that any Republicans, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, any of them, have anything to do with.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Well, Joy, thank you for having me tonight. And it`s strange you and I are celebrating Presidents` Day following the sad acquittal of the president for amassing an insurrection, an attack by Americans against Americans.
So, what I keep thinking in your beautiful opening there is have they no decency? We know that expression, but for God`s sake, have they had no decency to support this president in some, I don`t know, what you call it, lack of spine, lack of conscience? I don`t understand it.
So I want a commission, I want it to be impartial. Certainly, the people you have just talked about have fully disqualified themselves from sitting on any such commission.
REID: Do you think that people like Lindsey Graham, who also tried to overturn the election, who is now under investigation in Georgia, should be barred even though the he is a member of the gang of eight from picking anyone from the commission? And should that commission investigate people like your colleagues, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz?
DEAN: I don`t know how this commission will be set up. But, certainly, I don`t think somebody like Lindsey Graham, who has spoken out of both sides of his mouth, disgracefully so, should be anywhere near this commission.
Lindsey Graham sat there, I was there. I made eye contact with the senator as we made our case. I`m very proud to have been a part of that impeachment team. And we gave the American people and the senators in the room, who were witness and victim in that very crime scene, the facts that we could, that we knew at the moment, that were overwhelming and damning and clear and certain. So, folks like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell should not sit on the commission.
You know, I was struck, because I was there for the vote. I waited and stood in the back of the chamber as each senator stands and announces his or her verdict, literally stands. Lindsey Graham barely stood, to say not guilty. Mitch McConnell stood to say not guilty.
And then what did Mitch McConnell did within minutes? He stood again in that very same spot and he said, there is no question that the president is practically and morally responsible for the insurrection for the attack on the Capitol on a co-equal branch. He said it was a disgraceful dereliction of duty. You know what rang in my mind when he said, a disgraceful dereliction of duty? I thought, Senator McConnell, yes, you are talking about the president, but aren`t you also talking about yourself?
REID: Well, then, if we are to keep someone like Mitch McConnell from having anything to do with appointing members, because I foresee people like Mitch McConnell, people like Lindsey Graham, trying to like a Jim Jordan or a Devin Nunes on such a commission to blow it up, that their only purpose would be to blow up the commission, to obfuscate and make the commission come up with a non-answer and to protect both the former president and their fellow colleagues who are also insurrectionists. This is a sort of Jim Crow-style caucus at this point.
Do you think that such a commission should be put controlled by the Justice Department, should be put together outside, with no congressional, particularly congressional Republican input?
DEAN: I think it should be a fully independent commission, perhaps with retired judges, those who would want to serve in order to collect the data, the evidence, review it against the law. And when that happens, I hope they also collect the stories and catalog the stories of the heroes.
You talked about the custodians. Think about that? After the destruction and desecration of the Capitol, where lives were lost, they came in with a sense of pride and purpose and duty and did their job cleaning up the blood-stained floors, the shattered glass, the splinters of wood and frames and mirrors.
I wish the senators had risen to the same level that the custodians have, to do their duty, to do their jobs with pride. So I hope they catalog the heroes as well as those who aided and abetted the president with the insurrection.
REID: And my final question to you, Congresswoman, should such a commission have subpoena power and should the former vice president be subpoenaed since he was one of the potential victims of this lynch mob?
DEAN: We have seen all the difficulties around subpoenas. You know that I`m on the Judiciary Committee. We are still working on the subpoena of Don McGahn, imagine that all these months later. I hope that certainly the committee would have all the power necessary to collect the facts, the data and the evidence to depose witnesses, to hear from them.
But I guess I also really hope, and maybe it`s naive of me or optimistic of me, that folks will want to come in, will want to offer testimony for the insurrection, the attack on the Capitol. Please, God, that it never happen again. We never would have thought it would happen. But I hope they come forward, I hope whatever commission is set up is independent and has the full power that they can collect all of the evidence.
REID: Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, congratulations on your book, thank you very much for spending Presidents` evening with us, thank you.
DEAN: Thank you.
REID: And joining me now is Tim Miller, Writer-at-Large at Bulwark, and Charles Blow, Columnist for The New York Times.
And, Tim, I`ll ask you the same question because, I would not mind having Adam Kinzinger be on the commission, because he is a Republican, voted with Trump, and at least he is honest about what happened, and he is now being told by his family that he is in league with the devil, his family members. He put up a tweet today where he posted that his own family members are calling him part of the devil`s army for just believing the truth about the president.
If that`s the state of the Republican Party, can you foresee a commission having any Republicans be a part of naming members to it be useful?
TIM MILLER, WRITER-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: You know, Joy, look, the answer that I have to that question is that they might have to turn to former elected officials as the only possible solution to this. And I think that if you look at the Republicans, by the way, this is not in defense of them, this is a condemnation of them, but many of them are just acting in abject fear of Donald Trump and of Donald Trump`s face.
They don`t want to get letters from their cousin, like Adam Kinzinger did. They don`t want to be hollered at in the airport, like Lindsey Graham did, when he said the right thing for like two hours, one day, and got shouted down at Reagan National. That`s what -- they are acting in fear.
So if you go to former Republicans that maybe a lot of folks on the left don`t like on policy matters but who no longer have anything to lose, who are not planning on getting back into politics, that might be a solution. And Tom Kean was a former Republican in the 9/11 commission. That`s the type of figure that I`d look and point to, because the ones that are currently in office, I totally agree, I don`t know how they can be on a commission in good faith when they are all too afraid to admit the truth, when, you know, it`s just saying the truth puts you in this very elite tiny category of Adam Kinzingers and the Bill Cassidys of the world.
REID: You know, but, Charles, what they are not afraid of is voters of color. Because, at the moment, they are on a campaign to make it harder and harder and harder for voters of color, for young voters, they are essentially attempting to -- you know, I have called it a legislative insurrection. They are trying to wall off the vote from the people who voted for Joe Biden for the next several cycles because it`s a census year. They are not afraid of that.
CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: (INAUDIBLE). I mean, there are two routes to victory for any party, including the Republican Party right now. One is to simply win the most votes in your state, in your district, or what have you. The second way is to reduce the number of people who can vote against you in your state, your district or what have you.
Republicans have essentially given up on the prospect that as America becomes more diverse that they could win an outright majority of the people who are eligible to vote. So their tactic now, instead of trying to broaden that base, is they are trying to appeal to more people, instead of trying to have a slate of policies that respect, that represents more of the American public, they are simply trying to winnow down the number of people who have access to the ballot.
That is a short-term measure. You can`t do it forever. But until they come out of this kind of slumber of thinking that they can just overpower the American people, that is the path that they have chosen.
REID: Well, and to stay with you for just a moment, at the same time, they seem to be winnowing down potentially their own base. I mean, they used to be the blue lives matter policy. You have a piece out today about that. Police officers were killed and they are just non-entities on the issue of police officers being beaten over the head with flag poles.
There are a lot of working class, non-white and even white police officers who are probably thinking, where is the party that was supposed to be on my side. That doesn`t seem to be a good strategy for growing your base or even holding it.
BLOW: Well, the fear that was running through blue lives matter, and, in fact, runs through much of the Republican Party is always planting a fear of the other, meaning other than white, other than cis male. And, therefore, if you are an immigrant, you are scary. If you are a black person not quiet about your oppression, you are scary. If you are one of the liberals who helped to -- marched against police brutality over the summer, you are scary to them. If you are transgender, you are scary to them.
And so part of that whole concept is around who do I want to be afraid of. It is not that they are abandoning the police. In fact, they want to use the police as a tool against these people of whom they are afraid. It is just that they did not believe even for a second that that force that they wanted to use against the black and brown people would ever be used against them.
REID: Well, and, you know, Tim, I think about, you know, for the politics of the Republican Party right now, that fear that Charles just described is everything, right? It`s much more important than taxes and policy. The base isn`t voting on that. They are voting on that kind of demographic fear. So I don`t see a way out, to be honest with you, for the Republican Party. If they are just going to be the representatives of people who were terrified of modernity and change and Hollywoodness, they are just that.
And then I worry that they are going say, well, you know what, if we can`t win that way, we`ll just seize power. Now we know we can use paramilitaries to do it.
MILLER: I think that`s a fair worry. I mean, add to fear grievance, right? And I think that for a lot of folks, this is a grievance-based party now. And it`s less about an aspirational ideal about policy agenda than about airing grievances against, as Charles said, the other and punishing those they feel aggrieved by.
Their answer, to kind of add on to what Charles, was saying, it is that they can structure this democracy in a way that benefits the existing Republican coalition, right? If you look at the way that the Senate is broken down, if you look at the way the Electoral College is broken down, the Republicans think they can double down on maximizing that advantage, continuing to increase their numbers in areas where the current system benefits them. That way, they don`t have to try to get a majority.
And so, I think those right now are the, quote, unquote, good Republicans, right? The scary ones are the paramilitary ones. But I think even the predominant majority feeling in the party is we cannot get to a majority but we don`t have to. Because if you look at what happened just last time, we may have lost by 7 millions vote, but if you change 90,000 votes to the right places, we would have won everything. And so that is the mindset of the Republican establishment right now.
Back when 2012, we lost, when I helped write the autopsy, the (INAUDIBLE) no, let`s bring in the voters of color, let`s bring in women. That mindset is totally gone. They`re throwing that in the waste basket. They are not even trying to become a majority party anymore.
REID: Yes, or Q will somehow come back and deliver them back into power. Like that`s probably like a legitimate thing, some of them think, that is where we are.
Tim Miller, Charles Blow, thank you all very much. I really appreciate it.
And up next on THE REIDOUT, acquitted by his pals in the Senate, the former president is still in serious legal jeopardy that could cost him his money and maybe even his freedom.
And, guess who tweeted this photo today on Presidents` Day? Well, that is not even the absolute worst thing out of South Dakota. That would be the roaming gnome, the Trump-loving governor who has been crisscrossing the country attending political events and sticking taxpayers with the bill, according to a new report.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: When it comes to a president`s involvement in possible criminality, there seems to be a limit on what this country is willing to do to hold them accountable.
Among the few former presidents who committed truly horrible acts, none have ever served prison time. In fact, none have ever even been indicted. And yet we have a twice-impeached ex-president now living freely in Palm Beach who fomented an insurrection that very nearly killed his own vice president, among others.
While Republicans were unwilling to convict him during the impeachment trial, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all but encouraged prosecutors to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, didn`t get away with anything yet -- yet.
We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: We know that the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia hasn`t ruled out federal charges for the former president. Likewise, D.C.`s attorney general is also weighing a misdemeanor charge under district law.
Meanwhile, the commission set to investigate the events of January 6 could further expose Trump`s wrongdoing. The scrutiny comes on top of the legal exposure that Trump already faces, including investigations into his company, his finances, two defamation suits, and a probe into his effort to overturn the results in Georgia.
Joining me now, Andrew Weissmann, former FBI general counsel and former senior member of the Mueller probe, and Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney.
And thank you both for being here.
And, Andrew, you tweeted today that there is an appeal that`s been sitting in the Supreme Court about Donald Trump`s attempt to block Cyrus Vance and his probe into him. It feels like the sort of system is kind of gummed up when it comes to Trump.
We know that, in the past, there have been indictments of vice presidents, former U.S. attorneys general, never of a president. Do you think that the idea of an indicting a president, is that some -- is that -- do you think that`s gumming up the works?
ANDREW WEISSMANN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this country has not had a history of that, although other so-called Western democracies have had the experience of bringing their leaders to account.
And this -- your first -- your first guest tonight, Congresswoman Dean, said something I think particularly relevant to this discussion. She closed by saying, if we do not deal with our past, it`s going to be our future.
And that applies to Donald Trump and to any future president. If we are a nation of laws, it means that our president and now former president should be held to account. And that`s true whether it`s going to be a Democrat or Republican who commits a crime. The rule of law is supposed to apply in this country.
It is fortunate that we have not usually seen this issue arise, where we don`t actually have a debate about the president. But, unfortunately, we do. And I don`t think that the answer is to say move on and sweep it under the rug. You cannot sweep Trumpism under the rug. You cannot just sweep racism under the rug.
If the country doesn`t deal with it, we`re just going to continue having this problem over and over again. So, I think that there`s an important role for state prosecutors and the federal Department of Justice to be looking at all criminality that would otherwise be prosecutable for any other individual, because either the president is de facto above the law or he is not.
REID: Well, I mean, and, Joyce, that -- so, there`s the pragmatic issue of, how would you actually do an indictment, right? If you`re going to indict Donald Trump, let`s say, in the state of Georgia -- we have had this conversation with a former A.G. down there -- does he get subpoenaed and hauled down into Georgia court?
If he`s convicted, does he have to go into a Georgia jail? Where does the Secret Service stay, right? Does he wound up -- does he wind up doing, if he`s convicted, his time in Mar-a-Lago under house arrest, which doesn`t really sound like incarceration?
Like, there are the pragmatic questions about what you do with an ex- president. And then, I think, to Andrew`s point, there is the bigger picture. If you don`t do it, then why shouldn`t any future president say being president means I can send a mob into the Capitol, I can cheat in elections, I can try to overturn states` elections? Like, you kind of opened the door.
So, can you talk a little bit about, though, the pragmatic sort of obstructions to trying to indict or try a president?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Andrew is absolutely right about this, Joy. You can`t put a Band-Aid on cancer and expect it to heal. And that`s what happens if we don`t hold the former president accountable for insurrection.
So, how do you, as the state of Georgia, deal with becoming the first jurisdiction to actually prosecute a president? There`s no doubt that it`s difficult, and it`s compounded by the fact that this is the type of statute where typically someone committing a first offense might not receive a sentence of imprisonment.
On the other hand, Georgia is a part of the Deep South, where we have, quite frankly, a history of not wanting to prosecute certain kinds of cases, because they were inconvenient. So, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, happens in 1963. The first prosecution doesn`t happen until 1977.
It would have been possible to investigate in 1963. It was deemed inconvenient or perhaps difficult to get a jury to convict white men accused of killing black young girls. And so it`s not until 2001 and 2002 that the remaining living people involved in that bombing are finally brought to justice.
We can`t afford to have that kind of a process here. And so prosecutors in Georgia, just like prosecutors in the District of Columbia and New York, need to focus on something that prosecutors are very good at doing, focus on the facts and the law, deal with the process issues, whether that`s how you get Trump into the state of Georgia, or what incarceration, if that`s what a judge ends up ordering, if there is a conviction, what that looks like.
Take each of those problems in turn, but don`t fail to do your job just because of concern that this is the first time and that it`s unusual and difficult to do.
REID: I think that`s a really good point.
And, Andrew Weissmann, I then take it back to -- let`s talk about the federal system for just a moment. I mean, if Merrick Garland, they finally get around to that doing the hearings and having him sworn in, then the pressure will turn on the Justice Department, because this was an invasion of the United States Capitol.
And it feels like there has to be some repercussion for that. And if Don -- but there`s also going to be -- I don`t care what Mitch McConnell said in his little speech after he acquitted Trump. He will then turn around immediately and try to accuse Merrick Garland, if he`s finally confirmed, of politicizing the Justice Department.
And they will use any sort of prosecution of Trump for their politics and try to shame them into not doing it. It`ll become political. So, I wonder if you can sort of look forward and kind of think, how would a Justice Department deal with that kind of what will definitely be a political attack, if they decide to go after this?
And will they -- do you foresee them maybe backing down because of that?
WEISSMANN: Well, I do think that it helps that Merrick Garland comes from being a judge for decades. So, he is not aligned with one party or another. So, that makes it harder.
I do think that Mitch McConnell`s speech, as cynical as I think we all are about that speech, makes it harder for him to then claim politicization.
I also think that Merrick Garland and his incoming deputy, who -- Lisa Monaco, who are steeped in domestic terrorism experience, have to be taking something like this seriously. The idea that you`re going to prosecute the low-level people who carry out the directions of a leader, but you`re not going to investigate the leader, yes, I just -- I think is the kind of thing that, as I know Joyce and I, as former prosecutors, that does not sit well as something to do you.
The idea that you`re not going after the top person, but you`re just going after the lower-level people, does not sound like justice. And I think all of that will weigh on them very seriously. I do think politicization is an issue in a normal case. You don`t want to end up like Ukraine, where you get accused of what Trump did, which is, you`re going after your political enemy.
WEISSMANN: But here, the issue is, would you be going after that person no matter who they were?
Now, that -- and, here, that is answered, because the government is going after the people who entered Congress, who attacked Congress. So, you -- the question of, like, is this a crime that you would normally prosecute is one that has already been answered. And you certainly don`t hear the Republicans griping about why you`re prosecuting them.
So, if the facts do prove, after a federal investigation, that Donald Trump is the one who incited this and they`re satisfied, it`s very hard, then, I think for the Republicans to legitimately complain. Of course, they will complain.
REID: Yes. Yes.
WEISSMANN: But it makes it harder for them to do so.
REID: Last point to you, Joyce.
I wonder -- now, I think about Al Capone, for some reason, when I think about Donald Trump. And I wonder if, in the end, despite all of the outrageous things that he did, and the fact that everyone knows he incited that violence at the Capitol that got people killed, including police officers, if, in the end, he -- his fate really is the Al Capone faith, that the financial crimes are what finally get him, that the tax avoidance crime, that the defamation suits, that he ultimately pays financially, and maybe even with his freedom for that kind of thing, for financial crimes.
And it`s harder to get him on incitement.
VANCE: Well, look, however accountability comes, it will be important. We can`t be a country where the president is above the law.
So, it`s important for the legal system to function and hold the president, the former president, accountable for anything the evidence suggests he should be accountable for.
The tax case sitting in New York City is interesting, as you point out Capone. A lot of people are wondering why the Supreme Court hasn`t ruled and given the Manhattan district attorney access to the paperwork that he`s been litigating for.
But there`s a deadline coming up on March 8. That would be the last possible day that Trump could file and ask the Supreme Court to hear his case. Perhaps the court is waiting for that, and we will finally get an answer soon.
We will keep on paying attention to it. And thank you both for being here and giving us your expert and wonderful opinions.
Andrew Weissmann, Joyce Vance, you guys are great. Thank you.
And still ahead: new CDC guidelines for getting children back to school, but, as of right now, almost no district in the country actually meets those guidelines. So, what happens next? I will ask the president of the country`s largest teachers union next.
And later in the show, I will tell you what`s the absolute worst.
Stay right there.
REID: With the Senate trial of the former president now over, President Biden, his administration and congressional Democrats are eager to start getting things done.
First up is passage of the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue package, which would inject some much needed cash into the economy. The package arrive -- the package carves out $130 billion to help schools pay for things like COVID testing, upgrading ventilation systems and hiring staff.
Polls show that the package has significant support among the American people, pressure to open schools is growing and reports of mental health disorders, growing learning gaps, and lost income by parents.
However, reopening remains a challenge, with newer, more contagious variants of the coronavirus out there.
Last week, the CDC issued guidelines on how schools can reopen safely. On the Sunday talk shows, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky addressed some of those recommendations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We have more flexibility in opening schools as our disease rates come down.
So, I would say this is everybody`s responsibility to do their part in the community to get disease rates down, so we can get our schools opened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I`m joined now by Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association and a middle school science teacher.
Thank you so much for being here, Ms. Pringle. Appreciate your time.
So, let`s first talk about these CDC guidelines for teachers, because the teachers I know are nervous, very nervous, about having in person classes again, because of fear of, obviously, catching COVID.
Do you think the CDC guidelines are clear enough, and do they make you feel comfortable with the idea of teachers going back?
BECKY PRINGLE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: First of all, Joy, it is so good to be with you. A little late to the party saying congratulations.
REID: Thank you.
PRINGLE: But thank you for bringing voice to those issues that are so important to Americans.
REID: Thank you.
PRINGLE: We are very encouraged by the CDC guidelines, because they make clearer what we have been saying for the better part of a year.
And you could probably recite it with me, Joy -- I bet you could -- that we need to wear masks.
PRINGLE: And they`re very clear about that. They`re not giving any room for whether you should or shouldn`t or how you should wear them.
You heard Dr. Walensky say they should be required. That`s very different than what it`s been before, and, of course, socially distancing. And she also was very clear about this, Joy, especially in those communities where the rate is high. It should be at least six feet, and, of course, disinfecting and making sure we can test and trace, and making sure we can isolate.
All of those things, they are much clearer about. So, there just really is no excuse why our schools, our students...
PRINGLE: ... our educators aren`t getting what they need.
REID: Well, and one of the things that I would think, that people might need, I mean, I went to school in Denver, Colorado, we had a brand newish building where my kids went to school in Florida was a pretty new buildings, but I know in places like New York, you know, you go to a place like the Bronx, places in Brooklyn, the schools are like really old buildings.
They`re in buildings that don`t have maybe the most modern, you know, HIPAA systems and to retrofit those schools where a lot of children of color are going to school, it`s going to cost money.
Do you feel comfortable that there`s enough money coming for those older buildings to be safe enough in terms of ventilation?
PRINGLE: Yeah, of course, there`s not enough money. Joy, I went to the Philadelphia public schools and started teaching there. And we know, we have seen pictures of their idea of ventilation being fans, and in so many of our schools --
PRINGLE: -- windows that don`t even open. So, where we putting fans to have that ventilation that we need? So, you are absolutely right.
And you know, Joy, you know this. We have been talking about school infrastructure for how long? Decades. Decades. We already have sick buildings that we are making especially black and brown students sick before the coronavirus. And now, we are asking them to go back in to those buildings without getting the proper resources in place.
So, we are encouraged, Joy, we are encouraged by the recovery plan. But here`s the thing, the CDC has laid out the guidelines and now, it`s time to take action. It`s time for Congress to act. We have been waiting for 11 months, still no money.
REID: Yeah. And there`s, you know, what is happening of course, the politics creep in and for a lot of Republicans, the teachers unions are like the boogie man, right? You guys are their favorite target. They are sort of trying to portray the teacher`s union as being the thing that`s standing between these students and being able to get back to school. And they are trying to use it as a wedge issue.
You know, what do you say to those that think, that maybe the teacher`s unions are standing in the way of my kid going back to school?
PRINGLE: A couple of things that I want to say about that, Joy, first of all. Teacher unions are made up of educators and not just teachers, by the way. We have bus drivers and paraprofessionals and nurses and counselors, all of those adult adults who are making sure that the students are learning every -- and being safe every day, that`s -- they make up the teacher`s union. They make up the union of educators and I want to share this with you, you may know it too, Joy, that a recent poll by both "Huffington Post" and by Education Next, said that the confidence in teacher unions is growing, has grown over the pandemic and you know why? Because they are looking to us not only to get information, Joy, but also to advocate for our students.
And most especially and, Joy, you know this, you know this is true and it`s always the case. So, our black and brown and indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and all the -- that it has spawned and now here we are, now we are in the schools that you just described, Joy. We have the least amount of capability of actually having resources to put in place for these mitigation strategies, the CDC says must be in place.
We absolutely need Congress to act so that we can provide our children with what they need. The question is, Joy, it`s not about if the countries that wealth. It`s about whether this countries has will to take care of all of our babies.
REID: Yes, indeed. Well, my mother was a teacher. She was a college professor. So, I totally understand you on that. Absolutely.
Becky Pringle, thank you so much for being here. Hopefully, you will come back.
And coming up, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been jetting back and forth to right wing political events, and the absolute worst thing, new reports said she did on the taxpayer`s dime, of course. That`s next.
REID: You know what`s the absolute worst tonight? Governor Kristi Noem, you know, the one who welcomed orange Julius Caesar to Mt. Rushmore last summer for an Independence Day event in the middle of a pandemic. But only after taking his lead and leaving social distancing and masks optional despite the virus because freedom!
Well, according to financial disclosures last month, Noem gave, you know who, a thousand dollar bust, depicting him on the stone memorial, because that`s what he wanted to receive. According to her office, that gift was paid for by private donations but Noem has found herself under scrutiny over her other acts of supplication to the MAGA cult leader and his minions, all the travel she did on behalf of the lead singer of new sedition and other Republicans, and what it might have caused taxpayers.
Noem made 19 trips last year on behalf of Trump or as a surrogate for other Grand Old Partiers, quite the roaming gnome, if you will. Do you see what I did there?
That prompted South Dakota lawmakers to pursue a bill making the cost of her security detail while traveling public. But the measure was killed by, wait for it, Republicans. Other aspects of her national travel fixation are also raising eyebrows, including her request for $5 million to upgrade her state`s aircraft fleet.
And according to a new report from journalist Daniel Newhauser publishing Raw Story, newly unearthed flight logs shown Noem used the state airplane to travel to right wing political events around the country, a possible violation of state law. Those trips include out of state events hosted by groups such as the National Rifle Association, Turning Point USA, and an organization affiliated with the late GOP mega donor, Sheldon Adelson.
According to the analysis, the flight logs appear to have nothing to do with her Trump campaign related travel, instead, this travel all occurred in 2019. Noem`s office claimed that all of her 2020 campaign trial took place on commercial aircraft or on planes paid for by other campaigns, but the flight records were no secret and that her 2019 speaking engagements were in her official capacity as an ambassador for the state of South Dakota.
In the true fashion of the man she claims not to want to succeed in 2024, the statement also dismissed the reporter and lawmakers who sought to scrutinize her travel as basically a left wing cabal.
The journalist who broke the story, Daniel Newhauser, who she says is part of that cabal, and one of the lawmakers who`s been looking into the roaming gnome will join me after the break.
REID: South Dakota`s Republican Governor Kristi Noem is raising all sorts of questions with her prolific travel over the last two years.
I`m joined now by Daniel Newhauser, freelance reporter whose investigation to Governor Noem`s travel was published by "Raw Story" tonight. And Democratic State Senator Reynold Nesiba of South Dakota.
Thank you both for being here.
Daniel, get us in to these flight logs. Do they show -- do they sort of prove that Kristi Noem was using the state plane as like a personal aircraft or is it vague? What are you seeing in those logs?
DANIEL NEWHAUSER, FREELANCE REPORTER: I wouldn`t say that. It`s certain -- it`s certain that the aircraft was used to pick her up when she was living at a residence different from the governor`s mansion and in one case picked her up from her daughter`s wedding at a state park far on one corner of the state. To then go do business around the state and come back.
So, it`s not as if the plane was shuttling her back and forth to the capitol or anything like that. But, reasonable people could ask questions about how much extra it cost taxpayers for her to be living somewhere else. And then, there`s of course the things that you mentioned before, seeing the NRA, flying to talk to Turning Point USA, speaking to a group of Republican Jewish coalition with, coincidentally, some very big GOP donors in there.
Again, reasonable people can ask questions about whether the state`s needs were served by these trips?
REID: And, Representative Nesiba, isn`t there a law in the state of South Dakota against the governor using the plane essentially as personal aircraft?
STATE SEN. REYNOLD NESIBA (D), SOUTH DAKOTA: Yes, there is, Joy, and thank you for have are me on tonight.
Fifteen years ago, so back in 2006, there was an initiated measure, number 5, that said we want to limit the use of the state airplane to state business because then Governor Rounds now Senator Rounds was using our state airplane for, yeah, his own personal purposes and political purposes. When we put it before the people of South Dakota they voted 55 percent to 45 percent in favor of limiting the use of the state airplane to the state business.
REID: And it`s state senator. I always give people, have to give people their honorific. So, I apologize for that.
So, then, just to stay with you for just a moment, State Senator. Then why did -- does it seem that legislatively, Republicans have defeated attempts to put some more restrictions on, you know, your governor`s travel?
NESIBA: Well, I think that after that law past back in 2006, I think then Governor Rounds was just more careful about using the state airplane and Governor Dennis Daugaard always wanted to keep himself beyond reproach. So, he didn`t use it for personal or political travel as far as I know it.
But this governor uses the airplane a lot more and travels a lot more and doesn`t seem to be embarrassed by it at all.
REID: And she -- right, you know, Mr. Newhauser, it seems more aggressive. If -- you know, the governor knows that, presumably knows what the state law is. Her office essentially just insists that all of these are for state business. All of the trips are for state business.
Is she filing some sort of reports to try to account for this travel?
NEWHAUSER: Not that I know of. And you know, maybe that`s where, with respect to the state senator, the law might be a little deficient here. Who`s to say what state business and what`s not? If she says that an NRA conference is state business because one of the first laws actually that they she signed into law was a concealed carry bill that she`s promoting the state`s interest, then, you know, there`s not really a venue that I know of to prove that otherwise. But again, I mean, it is in disputable that most of these questionable tricks that I wrote about in my story were for right-wing organizations, Republican partisan organization ones.
And so, again, if it`s state business that is partisan in nature, well, then so be it. But, again, you can ask questions about whether the state`s needs are served by these trips.
REID: And, Senator Nesiba, is there, you know, we are having this big debate about whether the former president needs to be held accountable by the law if indeed he broke the law, could we be seeing the same kind of questions begin to be asked in the state of South Dakota about the governor?
NESIBA: Right, I think we could and there`s at least a couple of bills that are still alive in the state senate. One is a bill that would basically require quarterly reporting about the use of our state airplane and that would be a report that would come back to the appropriations committee, so there would at least be some legislative oversight. I mean, that`s what`s legislature is supposed to do. We are supposed to be a check and balance on the executive branch.
But that has not been happening and then there`s a second bill that I have coming up on Wednesday, that, even when the governor does travel and I think she should always have security with her, but I do think we should know what it costs if the taxpayers are paying for her to be campaigning in Maine or in Georgia, I think the taxpayers should find out what it`s been costing us to provide security for our governor?
REID: Do you -- I will start with you on this Daniel Newhauser, do you have reporting that the travel is related to maybe her preparing for a presidential run? Do you think she is doing it to prepare herself to run for president?
NEWHAUSER: I think it would be too far to say it for certain. What I will say, this is not an uncommon situation, especially for governors. You know, it`s a high profile position, there`s a natural tension between maybe a state wanting to be a littler bit more guardful and mindful about how money is spent and somebody looking to raise his or her profile.
We`ve seen the same stories about many, many governors of both parties, California, New York, Oklahoma, and I think it`s always worthy of at least asking the question, especially if, and I don`t think it`s going to be the case here, that she wants to seek higher office --
NEWHAUSER: -- but if she does, how exactly are they spending time in their current office?
Daniel Newhauser, and State Senator Reynold Nesiba, thank you both for being here.
That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
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