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Transcript: The ReidOut, 3/18/21

Guests: Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sam Parks, Michelle Kim, Kurt Bardella, Jen Psaki


New details on victims of Atlanta mass shootings. Authorities still trying to locate some victims next of kin. Baker says, shooting suspect was having a really bad day. President Biden provided some very good news, ahead of tomorrow`s expected milestone with more than 40 days to spare: the president also advised Americans that now is not the time to let down our guard.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: If you have thoughts about this generational challenge ahead, you can always reach out to me @arimelber on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter @arimelber, and we can talk through what the generations can do together.

THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the mass shootings at three Atlanta area spas that left eight people dead, including six Asian women, and what we know and just as importantly what we don`t know when it comes to the victims.

Now, by now, you know about the suspect, his ties to the Southern Baptist Congregation, his so-called sex addiction, which was apparently his source of shame and his apparent predilection for targeting Asian women and businesses which he apparently told police is not racial. But as of tonight, we know very little about most of the victims.

Now, information is still trickling in, but we still don`t know literally anything about the victims in Atlanta, beyond the fact that four Asian women were killed. Today, the Atlanta deputy police chief said that they were still in the process of notifying next of kin, fair enough. They also said that nothing is off the table in the investigation, including whether the murders were indeed a hate crime.

Now, we do know more about the four victims in the Cherokee County shooting, about an hour north of Atlanta. They are Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33, Paul Andre Michels, age 54, Xiaojie Tan, who was 49, and Daoyou Feng, who was 44. We also know that Elcias Hernandez Ortiz was injured and is hospitalized in intensive care.

Out of all the victims, we know the most about Delaina Yaun. Yaun was visiting the spa with her husband who was in a separate room and wasn`t injured. She had multiple children including a baby born just last summer.

Michels was a handyman at Youngs Asian massage, according to an interview his brother did with The Guardian. That was the first place the gunman struck.

And Xiaojie Tan was listed as the owner of a limited liability corporation associated with Youngs Asian massage. Tan, immigrated to the United States from China many years ago, according to a friend who spoke with USA Today.

But take a look at this graphic again, the ones who appear as blank silhouettes that we know so little about these Asian victims exposes once again the differences in communities based on things like race and citizenship status or what people do for a living.

Now, of course, there are plenty of reasons why victims` families may not be sharing details with the press. Not everybody trusts the press people, you know, knocking on their door. The same goes for why the police could go taking so long to contact next of kin. The next of kin may reside in or out of the country, who knows.

But what we do know is that Asian people, people of color, women, immigrants, and those who do labor that is stigmatized or criminalized are often left faceless and nameless, even as victims of an atrocious crime, a symptom one can blame on, say, language barriers.

But still, that isn`t on the victims. That`s on us. This is a moment when we, in this business, need to take a hard look, frankly, at the lack of racial and linguistic diversity within the media and in police departments. Are there enough people on staff at newspapers or T.V. stations and networks and at police departments who can perform the basic function of interviewing people in their language at a time when it`s critically necessary to do so, so that once again, certain communities don`t get excluded from policies, conversations, investigations and media coverage to the point where we don`t even know their names.

Sorry, it`s just odd and, frankly, disturbing, and outrageous how little we know about these victims, especially while seeing the great lengths that some in media and police will go to humanize a spree killer, to the point where a Georgia sheriff`s spokesperson who, by the way, promoting Trumpy anti-Asian T-shirts on his Facebook page in March, described the killer`s actions like this.


CAPT. JAY BAKER, SHERIFF SPOKEPERSON, CHEROKEE COUNTY, GEORGIA: He understood the gravity of it, and he was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.


REID: No, no, Captain Baker. You know who had a very bad day, the eight innocent people whose lives were violently taken by a killer and their families. That`s who had a bad day.

Joining me now is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. And thank you so much for being here, Madam Mayor. And you were at that press conference. And I know that this person is not in your police department. I want to make that clear, this is a different county`s sheriff`s office, but when you heard that sheriff`s spokesman say, he had a bad day, he had a sexual addiction, you were standing in that press conference. What did you think?

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA), ATLANTA: Well, you know, Joy, we had been in the back, and I had gotten a pre-briefing, so what I thought that he was relaying was what the shooter had relayed to him.

Now, clearly, he could have done a better job in making sure that people understood that. But more importantly, people were still hurt by what they perceived to be the insensitivity of it. And, you know, standing there, and even with what I knew then, I obviously had not seen the Facebook post, so that in and of itself is disturbing.

But, you know, this is a dark day in our city yesterday. Cherokee County I believe had one murder all of last year and then they had a mass shooting yesterday, so these clearly aren`t people who are used to speaking about murders publicly. And, certainly, the sensitivities and the diversity that we`re used to speaking about when we speak in Atlanta, obviously, was lost in that moment.

REID: Well, and you know, Cherokee County, I want to just note, that they did issue an apology, the sheriff`s office, did issue an apology for those who were taken aback and indeed offended by what was said. But, you know, what it raises a question about the capabilities that law enforcement have in dealing with these situations.

We still don`t know anything about the Atlanta victims. Is this in part a lack of resources, meaning in language resources, people who can go and interview family and friends, people who were in those establishments, in their own language, people with enough sensitivity, frankly, to understand the gravity of this for the community. Is that also a problem among Atlanta Police?

LANCE BOTTOMS: Well, what`s happening here, I mean, there are several things that are at play. One, we have to make sure that we positively identify them, and, again, this is in Fulton County, where we have a number of bodies in Fulton County in our morgue. And, secondly, we have to make sure we reach the next of kin because if we have not reached the next of kin, we certainly don`t want to release their name.

But we understand that the language barriers are real. I don`t believe that is an issue under with this case. But, certainly, it`s something that we`re always sensitive to.

REID: And let`s talk about security. Have there been any changes in the security posture of Atlanta Police regarding Asian communities and Asian- American communities due to the uptick in violence that we have seen around the country, and after this, will there be?

LANCE BOTTOMS: Yes, we have increased patrols in areas that we know have several Asian-owned businesses. We have also reached out, we spent the past day or so reaching out to several leaders across our city just to make sure that we are aware of threats that may not have come to our attention. We have been in touch with our legislators, so we`re doing all that we can to make sure that our communities feel safe and protected.

And what I said yesterday, Joy, was that when there`s violence against any community, it`s violence against us all. Eight people were murdered on yesterday and (INAUDIBLE) before yesterday.

REID: Let me finally ask you, we know that the president and vice president are coming to town, of course, the vice president is probably the most prominent Asian-American woman in the country. What are the plans -- you know, there`s a lot of nerves -- a lot of nervousness about any kind of a visit like this, particularly in this climate. Has the security posture changed in terms of Atlanta security for their arrival?

LANCE BOTTOMS: Well, we`re always on heightened security any time we have the president visiting and to have the president and vice president, certainly, we`re on heightened security. But even their plans have changed for their visit on tomorrow. There was a planned rally. They are not having the rally, being sensitive and respectful to what we just endured as a city, and they will spend time with leaders in the Asian-American community, hosting a listening session.

And so, I think it`s appropriate, and I`m glad that they are coming. It`s an opportunity for us to hear first-hand that hurt and that pain that we know the Asian-American community has been experiencing since the last guy left the White House.

REID: Yes. Indeed. It`s such a timely visit. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, I always appreciate you. Thank you for your time.

LANCE BOTTOMS: Thank you Joy.

REID: And joining me now is Georgia State Representative -- cheers -- Georgia State Representative Sam Park and Michelle Kim, Co-founder and CEO of Awaken.

And I`ll start with you, Representative Park. You just heard the mayor talk about security and sort of the posture there. I want to play for you, this is cut four from my producers, just some members of the AAPI community, just talking about these shootings and how it`s made folks feel in the community. Take a listen.


KAVI VU, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: It feels like in all fronts, we are afraid. We`re afraid for our lives, for our businesses, for our community.

CHING HSIA, LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER: I feel angry and also scared at the same time. Me, myself, and my mom and my sister, we`re here managing the restaurant. And we`re Asian minority. It could happen to anyone. This is my home. And this shouldn`t happen to anybody.


REID: Representative Park, is there enough security in your view in these communities particularly after what just happened?

STATE REP. SAM PARK (D-GA): So, I know in Gwinnett County, they increased police patrols around a lot of Asian-American businesses and, of course, Gwinnett is where the vast majority of Asian-American call home. I know, our new chairwoman, Nicole Hendrickson, used to do a phenomenal job and she`s going to be doing everything that she possibly can to make sure our Asian-American businesses and individuals feel safe.

REID: You know, and, Michelle, that`s a two-edged sword, right? Because if there are increased patrols but there`s a sense police aren`t actually sensitive to the community, as we just heard with that sheriff, who is not, again, from Atlanta, but he said what he said and had the T-shirts that he had on his Facebook page, just talk about that balance a little bit.

MICHELLE KIM, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, AWAKEN: Yes. I think that`s a really good point, Joy. I think our community -- and we need to listen to the communities and the most marginalized communities within the AAPI umbrella. And when we think about folks who are feeling unsafe with the presence of police, it actually includes people who are killed, people who are working low wage jobs, people who may be undocumented, people who may be in occupations that are not protected and are often criminalized like, right, sex work or massage parlors.

So, I think it`s more than a double-edged sword. I think it`s actually a grave threat and danger to our communities and most marginalized among us are not actually feeling safe with the presence of police.

REID: Yes, that`s the double-edged sword. I want to -- then there`s the issue of representation and just existence. We have this graphic up where the people who are in Atlanta, we just don`t even know their names. I want to let you listen to -- this is a friend of one of the people we do know. Her name was Delaina Ashley Yaun. And this is a friend of hers named Chetori Watson talking about her. Take a listen.


CHETORI, WATSON, FRIEND OF DELAINA ASHLEY YAUN: Always had a big smile on her face. She liked to talk about her family, her kids. She liked to make others laugh. She had her regulars. She had her coworkers. She had a lot of people who loved her. And for her to die this way is truly unspeakable.

Delaina, we loved you. We still love you. And we still wish you were here with us.


REID: I mean, we -- you know, God bless all of these families, but for the people who are still anonymous here, do you think it is important for us to be able to see that kind of outpouring for them? And do you have more information as an elected official about how it`s going in trying to identify these Asian victims?

PARK: So, unfortunately, I don`t have any additional information that`s not publicly made available. Of course, we are very much concerned. There have been some Korean American newspapers saying that the victims were of Korean descent, but, of course, we want to be sensitive and respectful to the victims and their families.

To the earlier point as well, in terms of the balance that we have to strike in terms of increased law enforcement, it takes me to the point, especially Gwinnett, in which elections matter. Previously, we had 287-G in place under a Republican sheriff in which a lot of immigrant communities were very scared to reach out to law enforcement. That`s changed. We now have a Democratic sheriff who immediately repealed 287-G in part with the support of Asian-American voters who brought the political change necessary to ensure that these communities can come out of hiding and be treated with equal dignity.

REID: And that`s a really important point, Michelle, because, you know, it`s frustrating for us, that for me as a journalist, to not be able to tell people who these victims are and to be able to give them that dignity on television because we just don`t know. But we know that we`re also in a medium where there aren`t a lot of in-language speakers. There aren`t necessarily people who can communicate in the language that people might speak or be converse enough with the community to know how to make the approach. Just talk to us about what can we do differently? Give us advice here just from a journalistic point of view, what should we be doing better?

KIM: Yes. And you kind of alluded to it earlier in terms of having the right representation of people who are working in the systems who are reporting in the newsrooms who can speak their language, who can understand the community. And I think the broader point about trust is also important for us to understand in terms of how people view the relationship that they have and how authentic and honest they can be in sharing their stories.

But there is actual ongoing interest and understanding the stories of Asian-Americans and Asian people in this community, because I am actually getting a lot more information from Korean news outlets in Atlanta. And they are speaking to the victims` families and witnesses in Korean language. They`re sharing information that`s not being shared on mass media.

So, I do think that there needs to be much longer term commitment to building that relationship and trust, to understand the needs of the community more deeply.

REID: The producer who produced this segment and the rest of our team, we were talking about the exact same thing and she said the exact same thing. It is a problem. We need to fix it.

Georgia State Representative Sam Park and Michelle Kim, thank you both so much. I really appreciate your time tonight.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki joins me on voting rights, the filibuster and how novel it must be to work for a president who is actually standing up to Vladimir Putin instead of trying to be snuggled by him.

Plus, guess who is back, Scott Atlas, the man with no infectious disease experience who advised the previous president to just let everyone get COVID to build up herd immunity, which, of course, would have killed millions of people.

Now, Dr. Atlas has found another sucker to give his deadly advice to, a person who has come so close, so close to being our absolute worst on several occasions by lifting restrictions early and reserving vaccines for his rich donor friends among other terrible thing. But that person has finally made it to being tonight`s absolute worst.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): It is a contradiction to say we must protect minority rights in the Senate, while refusing to protect minority rights in the society. Colleagues, no Senate rule should overrule the integrity of our democracy.

And we must find a way to pass voting rights, whether we get rid of the filibuster or not.


REID: That was Senator and Reverend Raphael Warnock during his inaugural Senate floor speech Wednesday, urging passage of the For the People Act, a federal voting reform and anti-corruption bill.

The senator`s call to action comes amid a wave of anti -- of draconian anti-voting legislation being pushed by Republicans in statehouses across the country.

And, yesterday, a day after the heinous shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia, Republican -- Georgia Republicans introduced a new giant voting omnibus bill that would, among other things, ban people from giving food and water to voters waiting in line, limit early voting days for larger counties, and add I.D. requirements for absentee ballots.

The Democrats` current legislation would expand access to voting, outlaw voter purging, and restore the Voting Rights Act. The Senate filibuster makes the prospect of passage unlikely.

Today, Politico was reporting that White House officials are discussing whether the administration could reform or eliminate the filibuster on only certain issues, including on a major voting rights bill.

South Carolina Senator and number one Trump fanboy Lindsey Graham is having absolutely none of that. Here`s what he told a fellow Trump sycophant.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Here`s what Biden needs to understand.

If you go to the talking filibuster, we will take the floor to stop H.R.1. I would talk until I fell over to make sure that we don`t go to ballot harvesting and voting by mail without voter I.D. I would talk until I fell over to make sure that the Equality Act doesn`t become law, destroying the difference between a man and woman in our law.


REID: Joining me now is White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Thank you for being here, Jen. It`s great to see you.


REID: Well, I`m going to give you a chance to respond to old Lindsey Graham, who has decided to take the hard Dixiecrat line on voting reform.

What`s -- what are your thoughts?

PSAKI: Well, first Joy, I think that it -- anyone who wants to make it harder to vote, make it less accessible, make it more difficult, and less likely for more people to vote maybe should take a close look at whether they have bad ideas, and people just don`t want to support them.

It should be easier. We should want more people to vote. We should, of course, pass laws to make it easier to vote. We should work with states to make it easier to vote. And so there are a lot of channels and a lot of efforts that we`re going to support.

And I think -- I think it may be time for Senator Graham to take a close look at his ideas and why he wants to make it more difficult.

REID: But when you hear somebody like Lindsey Graham, who`s made it very clear that he`s dead set against allowing people to vote, he`s got very particular Trumpy ideas about democracy, why should Democrats not just overrule him by getting rid of the filibuster and not empower people like him?

Have you -- has the White House had conversations with the Joe Manchins of the world of the Kyrsten Sinemas of the world to say, you can`t work with someone like Lindsey Graham, and we can`t overcome someone like Lindsey Graham, who has vowed to stop voting rights at all costs?

He doesn`t mind being haunted by the ghost of John Lewis. He will do whatever it takes to stop voting rights. Shouldn`t...

PSAKI: Well...

REID: ... the White House get behind just ending the filibuster?

PSAKI: Well, it`s not a White House rule or a law even. As you know, Joy, it`s a Senate rule. It`s a Senate process.

REID: Sure. Mm-hmm.

PSAKI: The president has certainly -- he`s watching closely. There`s a lot of interesting ideas out there. I`m sure he`s happy to listen to people and talk to them about their ideas to make changes.

He talked just earlier this week about whether it should be harder, and not easier, to block legislation, return to the talking filibuster, which is an idea that has been put out there. It shouldn`t be so easy to do it.

His preference is not to make changes, because he wants Democrats and Republicans to work together. He wants to find a way forward. He thinks that voting rights is something that there should be support for, and he`s going to keep working at that.

But he`s happy to hear ideas.

REID: Let me...

PSAKI: And he certainly is not going to allow for obstruction of important things like making it easier to vote.

REID: Well, that`s the question I guess I have.

Is bipartisanship, in and of itself, more important than passing voting rights, immigration reform, and structurally changing things like the minimum wage? Is just bipartisanship, in and of itself, more important than those things?

PSAKI: Well, we don`t see it exactly a choice like that.

Obviously, he is not going to allow political games in Washington to hold his agenda hostage or prevent work being done on behalf of the American people.

Reconciliation was, of course, used, as you know, for the American Rescue Plan, which delivers aid and assistance to people across the country. But he also believes that there should be an opportunity and the door should be open to bipartisanship. And we got to keep working at that, even if we haven`t reached that at this point in time.

REID: And I know that the president and vice president will be talking with Stacey Abrams when -- that you all get to Atlanta, which I think is going to be an interesting conversation.

But let`s talk about judges for just one moment.

Ketanji Brown`s name has been floating around as somebody who might soon be on the court. Do you expect Stephen Breyer -- do you -- is there any inkling that he might be willing -- be stepping down, and that this might be a thing that`s happening soon?

PSAKI: I don`t have any insight into that. I know there are many reporters looking into, what`s the future there?

I will say that the president remains committed to, when there`s an opening, whenever that may be, of course, naming the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court. And that`s something he stands by. And he`s looking forward to judges, naming judges that represent the diversity of views and experiences in this country, including when he has an opportunity -- maybe he will, maybe he won`t -- at some point to nominate a Supreme Court justice.

So, judges is certainly on his mind.

REID: And is Ketanji Brown top of that list? Is -- is that the reason she`s being looked at for -- to replace Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit?

PSAKI: Well, she has a great reputation, great record, incredibly impressive judge and legal expert.

But I don`t have anything to announce -- announce for you here today. I have learned enough not to get ahead of the president on that kind of thing.


All right, let`s talk about Vladimir Putin for just a moment.

PSAKI: Sure.

REID: He had a sort a "I know you are, but what am I" response to the president essentially calling him a killer.

And his response had to do with sort of, who is America to talk, when we have had things like slavery and dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? He had sort of a historical critique. But we know that he also has a longstanding, let`s say, adversarial attitude toward the United States.


REID: What do you say to that, because he`s using that tack now?

PSAKI: Well, first, we can be self-reflective here in the United States and recognize that we need to do much more to address racial injustice and become a better country.

We`re working on that. The president is committed to that. The vice president is committed to that. We all are.

And, at the same time, we`re not going to sit by and tolerate and look the other way when the Russian government is getting involved in our elections, when they are putting bounties on our troops, something we`re looking into, when they are taking malign actions against our country.

And so what the president -- the president is going to be straightforward. He`s going to take action when it`s warranted. And he`s not going to mince words or hold back when they need to be said.

At the same time, how diplomacy works, when it`s functioning, which is a difference from the last four years, is that you don`t hold back, you`re straightforward, you raise concerns where you have them, and you look for opportunities to work together.

And there are opportunities with Russia on nuclear proliferation. We just signed an extension of the START treaty. So, we will look for that too.

My bet is that President Putin has a much tougher skin than maybe his staff is giving him credit for.

REID: Do you think that the language from the White House has been tougher, for instance, on Putin than it has been on the Saudi prince who was involved in killing Khashoggi? The language seems to be a bit tougher on Putin.

PSAKI: Well, I think the president talked about making him a pariah during the campaign just a year ago or a little over a year ago.

I think what we look at this through, the prism of, Joy, is, what`s in the national interests of the United States? And we are going to -- we have not held back either when it -- as it relates to Saudi Arabia and taking action to ensure that a number of individuals are held accountable, to recalibrate our relationship, to put pressure on them as it relates to human rights abuses and abuses of journalists and dissidents.

And we have seen some actions and some changes. More needs to be done. We`re going to continue to hold them accountable. We`re also going to take -- we`re also going to make sure that Russian -- the Russian government pays the price.

So, that`s our approach to global foreign policy and diplomacy. It can be multilayered, it can be complicated, but we want to do what`s in the interests of the United States. And that`s what our focus is through any -- for any of these relationships.

REID: I have a whole `nother round of questions on immigration, but I`m being told I`m out of time.

So, I`m going to ask you to please come back, Jen Psaki. Thank you very much for being here this evening.

PSAKI: I would love to. Thanks, Joy.

REID: Hopefully, you will come back.

PSAKI: Absolutely.

REID: OK, great. Thank you very much. And appreciate it.

And don`t miss tomorrow night`s REIDOUT. Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, the aforementioned, will be here.

And still ahead: It is a shame that we can only have one absolute worst, because, trust me, trust me, the congressman was definitely in the running tonight.

There are lots of people in the running, Ted Cruz, all sorts of people, other people, for the congressman who is in the running tonight for some shocking remarks that he made during a House hearing on anti-Asian violence.

And we will talk about that we come back.



SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Blaming the AAPI community for a public health crisis is racist and wrong.

REP. DORIS MATSUI (D-CA): Those people use racist slurs, like China virus, to spread xenophobia and cast blame on innocent communities.

REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): Asian Americans have been terrified by the alarming surge in anti-industry bigotry and violence we have witnessed across our nation.


REID: With anti-Asian racism on the rise in this country, a House Judiciary subcommittee today held a hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans. It`s the first of its kind in more than 30 years.

But, unfortunately, much of it was overshadowed by some absurd comments by Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas. Roy attacked the whole premise of the hearing, which is bad enough, but it gets worse. Listen to what else he said.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): The victims of race-based violence and their families deserve justice.

I would also suggest that the victims of cartels moving illegal aliens deserve justice. The victims of rioting and looting in the streets last week, businesses closed, burned -- I`m sorry -- last summer -- deserve justice. We believe in justice, right?

There`s old sayings in Texas about find the all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That`s what we believe.


REID: So, who exactly this Congressman "doesn`t know how to wear a mask like an adult" Roy think received justice from being strung up from oak trees in Texas, also known as lynching?

Historically speaking, the people he`s referring to as "the bad guys" were actually the victims of these very American extrajudicial murders. And they were overwhelmingly black Americans and other people of color.

In fact, one of the largest mass lynchings in U.S. history was committed against Chinese Americans in Los Angeles in 1871, when a mob of about 500 white men entered Old Chinatown and a black -- called Calle de los Negros, Negro Alley, a police officer was injured and a civilian helping to respond to a dispute between rival groups was killed.

In the violent frenzy that ensued, after rumors spread that the Chinese were killing white people, the lynch mob created a makeshift gallows and hanged or shot up to 20 Chinese immigrants.

Lynchings are a very real and very ugly part of American history. So, for Congressman Roy to glorify them as well, it is clarifying. And Roy did more than that. He used a hearing about anti-Asian racism to single out China, in true Trump style.


ROY: So, now we`re talking about whether talking about China, the Chicoms, the Chinese Communist Party, whatever phrasing we want to use, and if some people are saying, hey, we think those guys are the bad guys, for whatever reason -- and let me just say, clearly, I do.


REID: Mr. Mask Beard`s comments earned him an emotional rebuke from Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York.


REP. GRACE MENG (D-NY): I want to go back to something that Mr. Roy said earlier.

Your president and your party and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don`t have to do it by putting a bullseye on the back of Asian Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids.

This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community and to find solutions, and we will not let you take our voice away from us.


REID: Joining me now is Kurt Bardella, a former House Oversight Committee spokesman.

And, Kurt, you would think that hearing a fellow member of Congress weeping -- it`s her family that`s in danger because of the stupid things that people like Chip Roy say -- and, by the way, he`s the former chief of staff to Ted Cruz, which won`t surprise anyone.

Here was his response. He didn`t apologize. He said, I said what I said.

he said: "Apparently, some folks are freaking out that I use an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree. I meant it. We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like Chinese communists who seek destroy us."

Blop, bloop, bloop, no apologies.

Your thoughts?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SPOKESMAN: When someone reveals themselves to you, it`s best to believe them, Joy.

Chip Roy is a racist. He is a bigot. He is part of the problem that we are facing in this country with racism turned to violence against people of color, against Asian Americans. It is that type of attitude, that type of thinking, that type of rhetoric that has us in this situation in the first place.

People like Chip Roy think that people like you and I aren`t good enough, aren`t equal to him, because we`re not white, that our lives matter less than his. And he sat there today on the dais during a committee hearing about violence and hate crimes against minorities, and had the audacity to bring up something that you and I know all too well has overt racist connotations.

He might as well have taken out a poster and said, hey, it`s OK to lynch Asian Americans in this country. He`s OK with that. And the fact that, afterwards, when confronted about it, he doubled down on it tells you he`s not sorry. He meant what he said. Those are his words.

And what`s going to happen? More violence, more targeting of Asian Americans, more discrimination, more of what we have been seeing. Since 2020, we have had a 150 percent increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

And those are the ones that we know of. You and I both know that most hate crimes in this country go underreported. Why? Because law enforcement is not something that you and I can trust. We saw that yesterday with that press conference and that sheriff, who, oh, surprise, it turns out the person that he called the victim, the perpetrator of these crimes, turns out that the sheriff has a history of posting racist things against Asian Americans.

These are the Chip Roys of the world. And these are the people that we need to be worrying about.

REID: You know, I think about the Republican Party, that it`s called the party of Lincoln, but it`s completely flipped on its head.

It`s sort of absorbed the old Dixiecrat line. You got Cindy Hyde-Smith, who`s a United States senator who got reelected after saying she`d be front row at a hanging. The number three guy in the -- on the Republican side in the House called himself -- nobody else called him that -- he called himself David Duke without the baggage, and it was like, you should be in leadership, put him in leadership.


REID: I mean, we now have a dozen Republicans who voted against giving the Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol Police because they didn`t like the lynch mob who showed up to hang Mike Pence called a mob. They don`t like the fact they were called an insurrectionist mob.

Can we show some of the video of the new FBI video of the Capitol, of what the Capitol police had and what they were dealing with? These guys, who Ron Johnson said love America. I mean, it`s almost as if they`re sort of deciding to be the, I don`t know, the 1950s Dixiecrats instead of Republicans.

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SPOKESPERSON: I mean, I think it was also Ron Johnson who said that he looked out at that mob and he wasn`t afraid, but had that been Black Lives Matter protesters, he would have been afraid. Again, they`re saying the quiet part out loud now, Joy. They`re not even trying to hide it. They`re not trying to mask their racism with coded words and coded language. They are outright being racist.

And I think it`s time that when we talk about them and when the media reports on them, they identify them as such. These aren`t, quote/unquote, conservative positions. These are racist positions.

These aren`t people that are saying there are both sides and equality that needs to be there, these are white nationalists and the rest of us who believe that racism is wrong. And the Republican Party --

REID: Can I --

BARDELLA: -- if you`re a racist, it`s cause for promotion. For everybody else, that tells you --


REID: It`s bizarre.

Kurt, you used to be a Republican. I`m sorry to cut you off. You used to be a Republican. You`re a politico like me, because if there was a strategy in it, you would think it`s wicked but at least there`s a reason for it.

We`re living in a country where demographically, this screen here is the future. We`re becoming more diverse. You used to be a Republican. Republicans actually used to do pretty well with Asian-Americans. Now, Asian-Americans vote roughly like African-Americans. You`re starting to see communities that used to be open to Republicans, Muslim-Americans used to - - Republicans used to do well with some of these communities. It`s like they`re trying to drive them all to the Democrats.

You had Ted Cruz saying, oh, they only want to do immigration reform because they want more brown people to vote for them. You`re a brown person, Ted Cruz, Rafael.

So, do you -- can you explain to me what you think the strategy is of becoming hard core white interests party for the Republicans? What could be the strategy here?

BARDELLA: I mean, it just seems that they have decided to give in to the most radical and extreme elements of their base rather than try to change and make the moves toward progress. I remember that famous autopsy that the Republican Party did after getting shellacked in the one of the elections in the earlier part of last decade, and it talked about the need to have a big tent party. It talked about the need to reach out and make inroads with minorities and Hispanics and Latinos and African-Americans, and here we are a decade later, and they`re doing the exact opposite.

They`re putting everyone in a position to choose between white nationalism and anything but that. And you look at even what`s going on in Georgia, part of the reason why Georgia flipped, both the Senate race as well as some very competitive House races, the Asian American community, their vote more than doubled in this election cycle in some of these races. They were the difference between winning and losing.

And when you have people like Chip Roy putting on that performance today of racism, you`re just sending the message to Asian Americans that there is no place for us in the Republican Party.

REID: Yeah, and I apologize I didn`t get to t but you have President George W. Bush declaring himself disgusted to describe the January 6th massacre. George W. Bush is further toward my politics at this point, which is shocking for anyone who knows my previous relationship with George Bush. But, yeah, he was right. It was disgusting.

Kurt Bardella, thank you very much for being here, my friend. I appreciate you.

And next up, it`s tonight`s absolute worst.

By the way, this try hard has been in the running for weeks. But tonight, he`s finally made it. He`s the absolute worst.

We`ll be right back.


REID: Do you remember this guy? Dr. Scott Atlas. He became Donald Trump`s consigliere on all things COVID despite the fact he has no experience in public health or infectious disease.

He`s a neuro-radiologist by training, which is a fine profession, but not the person you think to turn to in a global pandemic, especially when you have experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci at your disposal.

But as we all learned, it didn`t matter what experience you had. Just put crazy things you were willing to say publicly that countered the science and fell in line with the talking points of the dear leader.


DR. SCOTT ATLAS, HOOVER INSTITUTION: There`s no reason for a lockdown when we have something happening that we have no problem with. We`re doing very well with this.

It doesn`t matter if children get the disease. They don`t get sick from this.

Schools must be in-person, no masks, no spacing, because children are not at risk.

There`s no real good science on general population widespread in all circumstances wearing masks.


REID: And what we thought he had hung up his stethoscope last December and giving his, dare you say, advice to our elected leaders, Dr. Atlas is back at it in exactly where you might have expected him to pop up.

This morning, he appeared with none other than wannabe professional hopeful and professional Donald Trump impersonator, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There they were at a public health roundtable, maskless, of course, on the state`s COVID-19 response, covering topics like the state`s no-lockdown policy, the return of students to public schools, and mask policies, all things that you just heard Atlas discuss, weirdly.

Now, you might be asking, what in the world is the governor doing listening to him? Let`s not forget, this is the same governor who`s doled out vaccines to VIP communities full of wealthy donors, and as we speak is allowing spring breakers to just go wild in his state. You get some COVID, you get some COVID. You get some COVID. Now get yourself on a plane and take it back to Sheboygan to your grandma, yay.

And so, while Dr. Scott Atlas and his so-called advice is the worst, the title of absolute worst goes to Governor Ron DeSantis who has sought out that advice, and trust me, this has been a long-time coming.



JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m proud to announce that, tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. That`s weeks ahead of schedule.


REID: President Biden provided some very good news, ahead of tomorrow`s expected milestone with more than 40 days to spare. The president, also, advised Americans that now is not the time to let down our guard. It comes, as we see a rise in new coronavirus cases, in 16 states, and the District of Columbia, over the past two weeks.

More states have been easing restrictions, and this morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that we could face another surge like what`s happening in Europe, if we`re not careful.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR: Well, I think, it`s pretty clear that, there are some states, now, that are pulling back, I believe, a bit more prematurely than they should on the public-health measures. There is the risk that you are going to rebound.

This is exactly what happened in Europe. They`re generally three or four weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of their outbreak. And they saw the same thing. They plateaued. And then, they started to take off.

And we are seeing that in a few of the states.


REID: Joining me now is Dr. Kavita Patel. Former Obama White House health policy director and MSNBC medical contributor.

Thank you for being here, Dr. Patel.

And this is my fear, that we`re never going to get out of this. We have got states like Florida, that are like, come on down. Get COVID, it`s fine, go on our beaches.

You got states like Texas, Mississippi. All these states opening up their state completely as if it`s over when it`s not over.

And then, let me listen to Senator Rand Paul, also, allegedly, a doctor, in theory, having an exchange with Dr. Fauci about masks. Take a listen.


FAUCI: It`s not --

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): The vaccine and you are wearing two masks. Isn`t that theater?

FAUCI: No, it`s not. Here we go again with the theater. Let`s get down to the facts.

When you talk about reinfection and you don`t keep in the concept of variants, that`s an entirely different ball game. That`s a good reason for a mask.


REID: Dr. Patel, are you worried that we are about to have another major outbreak?

DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: I am, Joy. I -- I will say, though, the news you started with. With 100 million vaccinations is the only thing that`s keeping me somewhat calm, these days, because as Dr. Fauci mentioned, and you covered the numbers. We are seeing variants, particularly in places like Manhattan, where there is a New York-based variant, B1526 which is now causing, in the last-three weeks, about 65 percent of infections, likely more transmissible.

So, I am very worried that we will -- I -- I think America should brace for an increase in cases -- a plateau, and then an increase. The only thing that I think can hold us back from this surge is the fact that we`re opening up vaccinations the way we are.

REID: But I mean, also -- but also, hoping up states. I mean, do you think that the momentum toward back to normal is so, sort of, overwhelming, at this point. And people are so spun up and just ready to go back to their normal lives and sick of wearing masks and distancing and doing everything, that it`s almost impossible to stop. That`s, I guess, what worries me the most.

PATEL: Yeah. And you should be worried. And I think you`re seeing a degree of people -- you, myself, a number of us, who are kind of sitting put, because we know that`s the safest thing to do. Maybe, gathering with other vaccinated people or trying to stay safe. But you are seeing the images just as much as I.

And people -- it`s not just the people on beaches because where do they go after they are done with the beach? They`re packing restaurants, bars, indoor places. And they are age group that is likely to not be vaccinated but most likely to carry the virus to other people as well.

So, you are absolutely right. I do think, however, this is, you know, the train`s left the station. And what I`m trying to do is convey, to people, you -- the states can do what they want. The mayors can do what they want. You, as an individual, have a role to play.

Staying safe, by wearing a mask. And then, I want to be optimistic. These vaccines save lives, so it`s your turn, get your vaccine. And then, do your part to keep other people safe but that takes time.

REID: Can -- can we talk about the, when you get it? Because one of the frustrating things, that every state has their own rules. I was tweeting today about Maryland is one of the hardest places to get the vaccine. Good luck getting it, if you are in the state. Some states, seems to be pretty easy. Friends of mine. It`s pretty fairly simple to get it.

It seems like the states are so vary, should there just be a uniform-CDC guideline, on give it to this group of people, first. Then, this person. Then, this group. Then, this group. To make at least the possibility of uniformity, nationwide?

PATEL: I do, yes. I wish that had happened from the beginning, as you and I have spoken about. This happened with previous administration having no responsibility in this.

The CDC has put out responsible guidelines. They have just been implemented not even at the state level. I`m in Maryland. At the county level. At the zip-code level. It`s crazy.

So, you are absolutely right. I actually think that`s where Biden saying May 1st, that was almost his way of saying we are going to make everyone eligible. And guess what? It`s working because, now, Maryland has said by April 27th, everybody is eligible. Lo and behold.

But you`re right. And I do think it`s important to say what you said because this is not going to go away. We might need to do another round of COVID shots, right? So, we should learn the lesson. And just get it -- keep it simple, stupid. That`s what we learned, and we need to do that.

REID: And really quickly, out of time. Is there a vaccine that`s better than the others? Because people are worried about Johnson & Johnson. They are worried about AstraZeneca. Is one better than the other?

PATEL: No. The -- the -- the one that`s the -- the one that`s better is the one that you can get first. That`s the one that`s better. All three and future ones prevent death, prevent severe hospitalization -- full stop, said and done.

REID: Best one is one you can get. Get what you can, especially if you are in Maryland. Good luck.

Thank you, Dr. Kavita Patel.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.