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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/23/21

Guests: Vin Gupta, Paul Butler, Elie Mystal


CDC lifts pause on J&J vaccinations; GOP Senator Johnson stokes anti-vax fears; Fauci says, avoiding death is a good reason to get vaccinated; Vaccine hesitancy risks spread of COVID variants; Study shows moms a big source of vaccine hesitancy; GOP Senator Johnson doubles down on vaccine skepticism; India experiencing massive COVID surge; Brazil health care system gripped by shortages; Chauvin trial sets new bar for police prosecutions; Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison led prosecution team; Ellison says, Chauvin verdict a first step toward justice.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with breaking news of the fight against the COVID pandemic. After federal panel recommended that the U.S. resume use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC officially lifted the pause just minutes ago. That panel is also advising the company to add a warning label about the risk of blood clots, which have been, remind you, exceedingly rare.

It comes after President Biden surpassed his goal of vaccinating 200 million Americans, reaching that milestone well before his 100th day in office, which comes next week.

But today marks the anniversary of another moment in COVID history, one that will forever define the former-president`s legacy for generations to come.

Now, it is still hard to believe that this really happened one year ago today.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it`s ultraviolet or just very powerful light.

And then, I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way.

And then I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or -- or almost a cleaning.


REID: Needless to say, anyone over the age of six, with a modicum of common sense knows that could kill you. You do not drink bleach. But Trump`s brand of thinking has prevailed among many Republicans, even after the arrival of a vaccine. Take Senator Ron Johnson, for example. No, please, take him. In a radio interview yesterday, he needlessly stoked fear of the vaccine and actively discouraged mass immunization.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI) (voice over): The science tells us that vaccines are 95 percent effective. So, if you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not? Why is this big push to make sure everybody gets the vaccine? And it -- to the point where you better impose it, you are going to shame people, you are going to -- you are going to force them to carry a card to prove that they`ve been vaccinated so they can participate in society. I am getting highly suspicious of what`s happening here.


REID: I mean, why vaccinate everybody for polio? I mean -- uh.

Well, to answer`s Ron Johnson`s frankly dumb question, the vast majority need to be vaccinated for this country to reach herd immunity, which is the only way to end the pandemic, I mean, real actual herd immunity, not the kind that Trump and his administration seemed to be pushing without overtly admitting it by exposing more and more people to COVID at their super- spreader events.

Here is how Dr. Anthony Fauci responded to Johnson today.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, there is a pretty good reason we have 567,000 people who have died, so far, in this country from this disease. That is a really, really good reason to get people vaccinated with a vaccine, that you have shown is highly efficacious and quite safe.


REID: Yet Republicans are the most vaccine resistant of any demographic group, thanks to the former president who was unwilling to promote it to his supporters. According to Politico, even Trump`s former aides believe his record on the vaccine was a failure.

It`s no coincidence that according to an analysis by The New York Times, those anti-vaxxers are most concentrated in the counties that Trump won in 2020. In fact, Republicans to date are eight-times more likely than Democrats to say they will likely never get vaccinated. That`s 43 percent of Republicans, according to a recent Monmouth poll.

Now, the vaccine-resistant Trump crowd is becoming a problem for the rest of us. That`s because the country is fast approaching a tipping point when vaccine hesitancy will become the biggest hurdle to achieving herd immunity. It raises the scary prospect that we may be stuck living alongside a bloc of the population that remains permanently vulnerable to COVID. That means the virus will still have the opportunity to spread and to mutate. And the more the virus mutates, the faster that we`ll have to roll out new vaccines to outrun the variants.

So, after a while, so-called vaccine hesitancy might be better described as reckless endangerment. And given the threat that those people represent to the community at large, when does their negligence become a liability?

Joining me now is Dr. Vin Gupta, critical care pulmonologist, and Charlie Sykes, Editor-at-Large for The Bulwark and MSNBC Columnist.

And, you know, Dr. Gupta, this is the thing that scares me, that we will be never out of the pandemic because you will have a good, you know, 25, 30, maybe even 40 percent of the population because they are of a certain ideology that refuse to get vaccinated and refuse to wear masks, refuse to do anything to stop COVID, and then COVID mutates. And then we have sort of the new alien from aliens. Is that what we are looking at?

DR. VIN GUPTA, CRITICAL CARE PULMONOLOGIST: Very possible. Good evening, Joy. Very possibly. You know, scarcity and vulnerability have been sort of the overarching messages of the last three months of the vaccination campaign and messaging. These are vaccines that are going to keep you out of the hospital to a vulnerable population. And, oh, by the way, it`s scarce, so why not the second you get it and get the first vaccine available.

Now, we are battling perception versus reality. And the reality here is that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is extremely effective, almost as effective as -- as Pfizer and Moderna based on how you define effectiveness, nearly 100 percent, in my view, keeps you out of hospital. But the perception here is the thing we really need to be honest about.

We know these rare-side effects afflicting maybe younger-middle aged women are exceptionally rare. But, joy, that`s not the perception out there. I have talked to young people across the country. That`s not how they think of it. They think their individual risk is far greater. So we can constantly beat a drum and say, yes, your risk is exceptionally low but they do not perceive that way, which is why I will say there is going to be some brand consumerism at play, where people recognize there is a vaccine glut, not a scarcity.

And if this is the rate-limiting step to reach people, well, I am scared about the clot and we need to pivot. We need to say, well, here is Moderna or Pfizer. An individual-level guidance to these people that are scared about this specific issue is going to be vital, understand their fears and address them head on.

REID: I mean, this is the problem. So, we now have -- Charlie, it is moms with kids who are now among sort of the biggest groups of people who are refusing to get vaccinated. That`s scary because they also have kids they are responsible for. You also have people who are not only scared people about Johnson & Johnson which, unfortunately, that`s the vaccine that is easiest to give to rural populations. It doesn`t have to be really cold. You can actually use it for younger people who may not come back for their second vaccine. So, it`s unfortunate that you have this one vaccine that now has a bad rep when it`s actually very efficacious, particularly for younger and hard-to-reach populations.

But let me play someone you know very well. This is what Ron Johnson, supposedly, a responsible-public official, did on the radio. He played -- I don`t have it to play but he basically went on the radio and said why should anybody get vaccinated? Why should -- you know, why -- why not -- why do you have to get vaccinated? Why do you care if your neighbor does? Polio vaccine, why not -- I mean, can you explain what is going on? He is still doubling down on saying that this is a good idea for him to push that kind of anti-vax idea.

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I can`t really explain it. I mean, Ron Johnson has become a Vesuvius of wrongness. And you used the term, reckless endangerment, and that`s really what it amounts to when you think about it. I mean, you have -- and it`s an interesting bookend with what happened a year ago, today, the ignorance, the recklessness, the disregard for science and the -- and the lack of human compassion.

Because you ask the question, why should you care if your neighbor gets vaccinated? Well, because in our society, we care about our neighbors. We care that our neighbors don`t get sick, that they don`t die, that they don`t infect our other neighbors. This is why we are doing this. This is how we get back to life. This is how we beat the pandemic, by getting to herd immunity.

And here, you have Ron Johnson in that whole interview putting on this tinfoil hat of conspiracy. I am very, very suspicious and I don`t want to give up freedom. What a distortion of the idea of freedom that we don`t care about the health and safety of our neighbors.

But as you point out, comments like this will simply just add to the resistance and the denialism about the vaccination. And, you know, I mean, that -- we are still having public officials behaving this way after 570,000 Americans have died is stunning to me.

REID: Yes. And this is what he said. It`s a legitimate question as to whether people at very low risk of suffering serious illness from COVID should be encouraged to take a vaccine that is being administered under emergency -- yes, it`s been fully tested, it`s been fully approved. I am going to presume he`s not an idiot.

Let me -- well, maybe I shouldn`t presume that. I just want to play for our audience just to give you -- just to -- let`s get back to reality. This is how scary COVID is. COVID in India is out of control. Sky News did a piece on it. Let`s play a little bit of it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The emergency room of one of Delhi`s biggest hospitals, they are constantly having to move out the dead to make way for more. And most of those in this room are dying and they haven`t been admitted yet to the hospital.

The doctors are simply overwhelmed, scrambling for oxygen and reduced to begging for help on social media. India set a worldwide record nobody wants. For a second day running, it topped the number of global-daily coronavirus cases.

They are shocked and ashamed at how the country`s health care system is all but breaking.


REID: This is like our dim future. I mean, in Brazil, they are running out of intubation drugs. They`re having to intubate people without sedatives, which is terrifying.

Dr. Gupta, is this what we now need to move to, to show people this horrifying potential truth if we don`t get this damn thing under control?

GUPTA: Yes, Joy. I`m glad you -- thank you for showing that clip. I don`t think people realize, because the warm weather`s here, that there is -- there could be a false illusion of normalcy by July 4th where we`re not really normal. 50 to 60 percent of the population may have received the vaccine. The rest, for whatever reason, has yet or will choose not to or is not yet eligible.

That`s a very dangerous situation, Joy. Because, you know what happens, come the fall/winter, when respiratory viruses like to spread again, they like cold, dry air, that`s when we will see what`s happening right now in India and Brazil, that`s where we could potentially see in this case, fourth, fifth surge.

That`s what we do not want to fall into a false sense of complacency with vaccines available, warm weather on the horizon, that all is well. So, absolutely, correct.

And if I can quickly say, this notion, I know we talk about it as vaccine passports. But I talk to -- I talk to small-business organizations all the time. They are crushed under the weight of the mitigation efforts we have in place for them right now, distancing, indoor-capacity limits. You know the quickest way to normalize their operations to 100 percent? It`s actually showing a proof of vaccinate. It`s allowing normalcy to happen through normalizing the concept of vaccine proof, just like colleges and universities, by the way.

REID: Yes, exactly. And, Charlie, you know, you and I have both been in the talk-radio business, a lot of it is performative. This woman who has this show, it`s a performance to some extent. But at a certain point, these are the people who have influence. And if this woman who has this show are inviting people on like Ron Johnson to basically lie and make up crazy- conspiracy theories, do you have an idea of how we can get to those people? Because at a certain point, they are threatening all our health and all of our lives.

SYKES: Well, see, that`s the problem, is that there is -- we have created this alternative reality silo. And you have talked to hosts like Vicki McKenna, who was the host of that show, who is pushing Ron Johnson to embrace these various conspiracy theories and you have to find a way to break through.

And so what is going to have to happen is that other trusted voices in places like Wisconsin need to step up and say, whoa, no, this is wrong. What Ron Johnson is saying is incorrect. Young people are still vulnerable. We are not through this. It is not a violation of your freedom that you have to have a certification of vaccine.

You know, has he been around parents of school-aged children, know what college they are doing? In order to go to school, any public school in the state of Wisconsin and anywhere in the country, you have to have all kinds of vaccinations. So it`s this weird -- it`s this weird tribalism that has taken place, tribalism, compounded by this recklessness.

And as I was listening to Johnson, I`m thinking, you know what, the Republican Party`s problem is no longer just Donald Trump. It`s all that he has unleashed, and this legacy of anti-silence -- anti-science recklessness, you are still hearing from people like Ron Johnson.

REID: It`s dangerous. No one has the right to give someone else COVID. COVID can kill people. You do not have the right to spread deadly disease. That is not liberty. That is reckless endangerment.

Dr. Vin Gupta, Charlie Sykes, thank you both very much. Have a great weekend.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, new momentum for police reform, Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, joins me next.

Plus --


JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: You were told that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin`s heart was too small.


REID: The remarkable work of the prosecution dream team in the Derek Chauvin murder trial and how they managed to crack the blue wall of silence.

Plus, what you might have missed in a bananas week in politics, including, Ted Cancun Cruz lying about Supreme Court packing and Josh Hawley voting against an anti-Asian hate crimes bill.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: The prosecution of Derek Chauvin was unique from the very start when Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced the county prosecutor would not take the lead in the prosecutions related to the killing of George Floyd. It was an extremely rare move. It followed a flood of criticism from those who believe the county prosecutor, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, was part of the broken system.

And so, in came Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a civil rights attorney and former congressman who has been in this fight for almost his entire career.

Now, you didn`t often see Ellison in the courtroom. You didn`t hear from him either. But there he was, most days, inside the courtroom, his fingerprints all over the prosecution, from weighing in on jury selection to preparing witnesses, even invite Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, to join the team`s daily meetings, knowing that the case wasn`t a fight just for the Floyd family but for all the black families who lost loved ones and never got a day in court.

This is what Ellison, who called the prosecution a team of all Michael Jordans, had to say about his pivotal victory.


KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would not call today`s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.


REID: Now, of course, this seemed like an open-and-shut case, with evidence that literally included a video showing the murder. But we also know that the justice system is tilted against black people, and by design. The prosecutors knew exactly what they were up against, laying out a case that will surely be studied, analyzed and emulated for decades to come.

With the very impactful and memorable Jerry Blackwell reminding jurors in his very last line that it wasn`t George Floyd`s heart that killed him; it was his killer`s.


JERRY BLACKWELL, MINNESOTA SPECIAL ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: You were told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died, that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. You heard that testimony.

And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin`s heart was too small.


REID: Joining me now is Paul Butler, Georgetown law professor and a former federal prosecutor, and Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation."

And I just want to take a moment just to talk about this team, Paul. I sort of was semi-obsessed with Mr. Blackwell, prosecutor Blackwell, who did this for free, by the way. He`s a beekeeper, which is my favorite piece of news about him.

And just a little note about him. Last June, Blackwell, who`s actually a defense attorney, won a posthumous pardon for Max Mason, a black circus worker who was wrongly convicted of rape in 1920 months after three of his colleagues were lynched as a result of the false accusations. Mason was wrongly convicted in the aftermath of the public lynching of these three African-American colleagues in Duluth, despite the lack of physical evidence and faulty I.D.

He also is licensed in multiple states and in front of Supreme Court. Like, this was a great guy. But he was just one of many. These were all really incredible prosecutors who know how to tell a story, to be simple.

I mean, did you -- tell -- give me your assessment of this team.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Joy, this prosecution will be studied as a playbook for how to convict a police officer.

They responded to the concern that some jurors might have had about compliance, that, if Mr. Floyd had just gotten into the squad car, he would still be alive. They answered that with eyewitnesses and videotape. It certainly helped that they sponsored a parade of good cops to contrast with the bad cop who was on trial.

REID: Yes.

And, Elie, and you`re a defense attorney, so -- but this is a chance for you to, rarely maybe, praise prosecutors in this case, because what you had was this combination of really good prosecutors, really good witnesses -- I mean, the witnesses were excellent. They were properly prepared, they were compelling -- but also cops, because you don`t see cops testify against other cops.

There -- I`m thinking about this Buffalo police officer who tried to intervene when one of the fellow officers committed police brutality, and she ended up losing our pension. She just got it back. That`s normally the attitude that you think police have, is don`t get involved.

What do you make of the police involvement in terms of this conviction?

ELIE MYSTAL, "THE NATION": Well, it goes to the whole playbook, right?

And this is why -- this is my problem with how this trial went down. It was a great victory. But this playbook is not repeatable, right?

REID: Yes.

MYSTAL: Like, justice requires repetition.

I got -- we talk about -- you were talking about my kids online. Like, my kid knows that, if he misses his bath, there`s going to be justice, in that that Switch is not coming in 20 minutes. Like, he knows that. It happens every night.

With this situation, we had to bring -- we had to bring so much to bear to get this one cop convicted of this one murder. I don`t know that what Ellison put together is repeatable, because let`s give Ellison all credit here. It`s like Ellison looked at like Marcia Clark and Chris Darden and was like, I ain`t going out like that, right?


MYSTAL: He just -- he just was not.

That`s not how -- he brought the A team, the B team, the C team. As you pointed out, he brought in defense attorneys. He had Neal Katyal, who was a former acting solicitor general of the United States...

REID: Yes.

MYSTAL: ... to like be working on appeals issues. So, like they brought everything to bear.

Are they going to do that for Daunte Wright? Is that what`s going to happen with Ma`Khia Bryant`s case? Is it going to happen over and over and over again? Does it need to happen over and over and over again to have -- bring these cops accountable? Because if we -- if this is what it takes, if this is the mountain that we have to climb to get one level of accountability, I just don`t know how repeatable that is.

REID: And, Paul, it`s an excellent question, because I wonder -- I mean, you even had Gwen Carr. Is that going to happen even for the other three cops, right?

So, now you have another prosecution. There`s a sentencing that`s going to happen in June. Then those cops got to make some decisions. If they decided to go to trial in August, can this even be repeated for them, for their trials?

BUTLER: So, Joy, Chauvin`s defense went old-school. They tried to put the victim, George Floyd, on trial. That was an epic fail. The prosecutors were proactive.

So we saw a video of Mr. Floyd joking around in the store, and they put on eyewitnesses who testified very emotionally about Mr. Floyd`s agonizing death. They had Mr. Floyd`s partner talk about their shared struggle with addiction in a way that really evoked sympathy.

It`s a shame that, in 2021, black victims of police violence still have to be humanized. But that`s what it takes to hold officers accountable. And I think that`s a lesson that will apply in many other prosecutions.

REID: Well, it will.

But I think, Elie, you make a very good point that it`s likely that the result won`t be this, right? Because the other cases, they could theoretically plead out. And these other cases that you`re talking about, Ma`Khia Bryant, et cetera, are cases of split-second decision, which jurors normally like to side with cops on.

MYSTAL: Absolutely.

I mean, the reality is that George Floyd, unfortunately, died over an agonizing long period of time, way -- much -- so long, that people could really kind of get into his brain and get into his agony.

What happens to most of us, what happens most of the times when cops kill black people is that that agony happens too quickly for the camera to pick it up. And I think that`s -- when you when you think about Daunte Wright, we didn`t get to see his face for 10 minutes as he cried out in pain and hoping that he would somehow live.

We didn`t get to see that because it happened so quick. And that -- when you don`t have -- I hate to say it like this, but it`s like, when you don`t have black pain on display, when they haven`t ripped it out of us like that, then it`s easier for the criminal justice system, the predominantly white criminal justice system, to just ignore it.

REID: And...

MYSTAL: And that`s what I fear will happen.

REID: Yes, Jason Johnson made this point. And I think it is one that we have to grapple with, Paul, that it`s easy to throw Derek Chauvin overboard and say, that`s the bad cop, all the rest of them are good cops, and just sort of brush off all these other cases.

I already saw the "yeah, but"s with when it was Ma`Khia Bryant. The "yeah, but"s were already there with Daunte Wright. The same people who sort of pretended that they were just so aggrieved for George Floyd were very quick to say, yeah, but them other black people deserved to die.

So I do worry that this will become the case that is sort of the exception that reintroduces the rule that 99 percent of police are just going to get away with killing black people going forward.

BUTLER: Yes, I think that`s right, Joy.

But I think that the forthcoming prosecution of the three officers for aiding and abetting Chauvin could impact policing even more than Chauvin`s conviction. Too often, when officers see another officer crossing the line, they don`t stop him. Cops enforce the law against black and brown people, but not against their fellow officers.

If these three officers are convicted, they face the same 40-year sentence as Chauvin. That would send a strong message to other officers about the duty to intervene when they see a cop abusing his or her badge.

REID: Yes, that would be a big deal. We will definitely keep an eye on it.

Paul Butler, Elie Mystal.

See, I wasn`t going to ask you anything about your kids, but you brought them up, so I`m going to tweet about that later, because that -- it`s my favorite thing about you. Your stories about your kids are amazing.

Have a great weekend, guys.

All right, still ahead: Grieving mothers are generating momentum in the push for police accountability. And we will talk with one of them next.

Stay with us.


REID: The first time I met Gwen Carr, it was in Baltimore at an event Reverend Al Sharpton held supporting the family of Freddie Gray, who was killed by police, who tossed him unshackled into the back of a police van after he committed the crime of looking at cops the wrong way.

Carr, who has become a senior member of a sorority that no one ever wanted to join, these mothers of the dead black children, the Mothers of the Movement, most of whose sons and daughters died at the hands of police or wannabes, well, Carr is the mother of Eric Garner, whose final desperate words before police choked him to death in Staten Island New York on July 17, 2014, were also the last desperate words of George Floyd in Minnesota last -- on May 24: "I can`t breathe."

So, she has been there for George Floyd`s family, too.

Now, I have spent a lot of my time as a journalist talking to grieving mothers who become known in a sort of journalistic shorthand as the mother of, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the mother of Tamir Rice, the mother of Walter Scott, the mother of Michael Brown, or Ramarley Graham, or Sandra Bland, or Breonna Taylor, the mother of Daunte Wright.

And people ask me sometimes if we black journalists take these stories personally. And the answer is, yes, we do, because each of us knows that, at any time, our husbands our sons, our daughters, could be the next Black Lives Matter hashtag just for running into the wrong cop on the wrong day in a car the cop thinks is too nice for a black person to be driving, or the tint is too dark, or really just for nothing at all.

So, yes, it`s personal.

When those guilty verdicts were read out by the judge against Derek Chauvin, something I haven`t heard in more than a decade of doing this job, it was a profound moment, a fundamental change in more than a century of unrighted, officially sanctioned wrongs against black people.

When George Floyd was dying, he called out for his momma, who, like George Floyd, is dead and gone. But the mommas left behind are speaking and crying out for justice.

And joining me now is Gwen Carr.

And, Ms. Carr, it`s always a privilege to talk to you.

And I just want to give you an opportunity, because you have been so supportive of George Floyd`s family, to tell me how it felt when you heard the words guilty against Derek Chauvin.

GWEN CARR, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER: Well, thank you, Joy, for having me.

But when I first heard it, I was home and watching the judge open the envelope. And when he started reading the charges, when he read the most severe of the charges first, and it was guilty, I was just so elated. I was relieved, because we never know how these cases are going to turn out.

We have had so many disappointments. So, I was just on edge, although we`d all seen blatantly that George Floyd was murdered, he was suffering. The knee was on his neck for over nine minutes.

But look at my son`s death. They seen them choking him to death. And he was hollering "I can`t breathe" 11 times, and the disconcerned officers still decided to take his life, just like with George Floyd. He decided to take George`s life, even though George begged for his life and pleaded for his mother.

REID: Yes.

CARR: So, I was really, really pleased. It was like mixed emotions, really.

REID: Yes, I`m sure.

And just the connections that you have had to these tragedies, as you said, your son cried out, "I can`t breathe," as you said, 11 times, and there was no justice for you. You have a relationship to Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who knew Eric Garner, knew your son.

And then he gets pulled over and harassed and is now traumatized for what happened to him in Virginia?

CARR: Yes.

REID: How do you -- I mean, I know I have talked with you and Kadijatou Diallo, Amadou Diallo`s mom. And we have talked together about this.

But share with us, how do you as a mom deal with the re-traumatization of each of these deaths at the hands of police?

CARR: You know, Joy, it`s hard, because every time you hear of another death, it just puts another hole in your heart. It`s just like re-trauma traumatizing you again.

But the only thing that you can do is try to comfort these mothers, try to embrace and empower these mothers. And that`s part of the therapy to try to get the mothers from doing something that could hurt themselves or doing something desperate.

We, as mothers, have to come together, and we have got to fight this thing. We have to get law and legislations on this.

REID: Yes.

CARR: And I say, even when we get law, because I have had laws passed, but it`s no good unless the laws are enforced.

REID: And you were part of the prosecution team, and you were helping out. What did you do? What was your role in the George Floyd murder -- I mean, the Chauvin trial?

CARR: Oh, well, I have been there. We were actually in the courtroom, myself, Reverend Sharpton, Ray McGuire, who`s running for mayor in New York.

We were actually -- and, oh, yes, we had Governor Paterson there also. And we were there. We were analyzing what was going on at the time, looking at the witnesses that was up there understand, talking to the family, listening to what they had to say. And they had mixed emotions. Sometimes, they were OK. And, sometimes, some of the family would just break down, just break down and cry.

REID: Yes.

And I have seen you comfort other families, including Freddie Gray`s family.

And I just want to play for you -- Blayne Alexander, one of our reporters, spoke with some HBCU students about how this trial has, and the verdict, impacted them. Take a look at that for just a moment, please.


BLAYNE ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So, you were, what, 13 years old...

CAMERON NOLAND, COLLEGE STUDENT: Right around 13, 12, yes.

ALEXANDER: ... when Trayvon Martin was killed?

Yes, so you have been watching a number of these trials, almost in rapid succession, your entire childhood,

NOLAND: I`m identifying that, because he looks like me. And then you keep going on. And, as I age, so do the victims. You get Mike Brown, Eric Garner. And, as I get older, so do the victims.

And, again, it`s the cycle of, when am I next?

JADEN CODY, COLLEGE STUDENT: We have to deal with the fact that, after one killer is brought to what people will call justice, there is another police officer who murders a 15-year-old young girl that same day.


REID: Well, they sound like my kids.

And, Ms. Carr, it is so unfortunate, because you did not choose to be in this sorority of women, these Mothers of the Movement. And yet here you are. And because people do look to you because you have been so strong and so vocal, what should we say to our children about what the Derek Chauvin verdict means? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to our kids?

CARR: Well, it means that they made a just decision this time.

But there are so many others out there who never got justice, who never got a day in court. And we have to stay -- we still have to stay focused. We have to stay alert. We can`t say that just because we got one guilty verdict, it`s time to rest.

There`s no time to rest. We still have to stay on our P`s and Q`s. And, as we speak now, myself and members from the Arc of Justice is on our way to North Carolina for the other murder from the son and the father in the car.

Myself and Kirsten John Foy is on our way down there now to comfort of family.

REID: Gwen Carr, you are a great lady. You really, truly are.

And I thank you. I feel very blessed that Rev. Sharpton introduced me to you back in the -- back a few years. And God bless you. God bless you, ma`am. Have a wonderful weekend.

CARR: So, yes, thank you.

REID: Thank you very much.

All right, Gwen Carr is wonderful.

We will be back in a moment.


REID: Ted Cruz, perennial readout absolute worst candidate and occasionally senator from Texas, when he`s not running off to Cancun to abandon his constituents in their time of need, has apparently taken another vacation from reality.

In his ongoing quest to revise history, like, when he pretended Donald Trump with his friend, despite Trump calling his wife ugly and saying his father killed JFK, well, he had the temerity to say this about proposals from some Democratic lawmakers to expand the Supreme Court:


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): You didn`t see Republicans when we had control of the Senate try to rig the game. You didn`t see us try to pack the court.


REID: Except that we totally did see you rig the game, crocodile Cruz. Remember 2016?

Republicans infamously refused to even consider Barack Obama`s, President Barack Obama`s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. And Cruz himself proposed blocking any potential Hillary Clinton nominees indefinitely if she became president for years, saying there was a long historical precedent for court with fewer than nine justices.

Of course, lying Ted only said that when he thought the guy who gave him that nickname was going to lose. But, wait, there`s more. The senator who apparently every other member of Congress hates, according to John Boehner, also led the charge to put Amy Coney Barrett on the court in an election year, literally weeks before the election, despite arguing the actual opposite in 2016.

He also argued it was necessary to confirm her to resolve any cases involving the election.

With me now are Juanita Tolliver, Democratic strategist and MSNBC political analyst, and Tiffany Cross, host of MSNBC`s "THE CROSS CONNECTION."

Juanita, first to you.

Do you think of Ted Cruz`s reasoning? I put that in scare quotes.

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, Joy, it`s what my middle-school teachers would call a bold-faced lie.

He`s out here lying through his teeth, trying to revise the reality that the GOP invented the playbook for packing the courts. And now they`re trying to backtrack on that? And I think everybody sees through that for what it is, because he got trolled online for it. And that`s not going to stop.

What else is out here right now, though, is the fact that Democrats are being called upon to match the same energy that the GOP had back in 2016, back in 2020, when they were limiting the court, obstructing nominees, and then rushing nominees.

And so I think we`re going to see more progressive push for Democrats to match that energy to expand the course, especially with the decisions that they`re making. We know these decisions will have generations-long impact. And I think seeing the decision today about allowing minors to be subjected to life imprisonment without parole, one could argue that decision only came down because Coney Barrett and because Kavanaugh are on the court.

REID: Yes.

TOLLIVER: And so I think you`re going to see pressure mount for Democrats to respond to that.

REID: And how ironic that Kavanaugh, who wanted people to not judge what he was doing in high school, which allegedly was involving sexually harassing, and maybe worse, a fellow student.

Tiffany, speaking of senators who are terrible, Josh Hawley decided that the anti-Asian hate crimes bill was no bueno.

Your thoughts? But he was the only one.


TIFFANY CROSS, HOST, "THE CROSS CONNECTION": Yes, exactly. Sadly, he was the only, the sole no-vote on this anti-hate bill.

And let me just say, Joy, we`re going to be talking to Senator Mazie Hirono tomorrow on "THE CROSS CONNECTION." So, I`m really excited to hear her thoughts.

But it`s really interesting that this violent insurrectionist sympathizer does not think that this bill rises to the occasion to protect the AAPI community from the rise in hate crimes that we have seen.

I just want to really quickly say, though, about the Supreme Court, it`s important to remember that the Mexican vacation spot expert Ted Cruz only weighed in on this because Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced a bill to expand the courts.

And that`s really important, Joy, as you know, because think about how many cases could be landing in the Supreme Court. We have got voting rights. We have got policing issues, the ability for presidents to be able to block people on Twitter.

REID: Yes.

CROSS: So, all of these things matter happening on Capitol Hill right now.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

Let`s move along to LeBron James, who -- he got Donald Trump to come out of hiding and attack him, trying to say that the LeBron James is being racist and divisive, which is funny coming from the man that LeBron famously called you bum, because he tweeted about people being killed by police.

He, like every other human being, particularly African-Americans, in the country feel like maybe that shouldn`t be done.

What do you make of the attempts to try to come for LeBron, who has actually become heroic in terms of voting rights, et cetera?

Juanita, your thoughts?

TOLLIVER: Who cares what Trump has to say?

REID: Yes.

TOLLIVER: He is a nonfactor in all of this.

And, honestly, what LeBron was reflecting was the deep pain, the deep frustration, the anger that a lot of people are experiencing right now, especially when black people are being killed by police every day.

So, continue to dismiss Trump as the bum that he is, because that`s all that`s happening, is just noise. That doesn`t need any attention.

REID: Speaking of bums, Matt Gaetz begging for money. He says he wants to run some ads to try to help himself.

There`s an interesting piece in ProPublica that talks about the fact that all of these far right figures, like Matt Gaetz, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, et cetera. Josh Hawley, they all sort of go out and sort of make it seem like, every time there`s a controversy, they`re raising tons of money.

But it`s not really clear that that`s happening. These organizations that are gleaning money from -- sometimes in small donations from Republican donors, a lot of the time, they`re keeping most of the money, and the fund- raising isn`t really real. It`s kind of smoke and mirrors.

Do you think that we in the media -- you wrote a great book, "Say It Louder," Tiffany Cross, about the media. Do we need to maybe take a step back before touting the fact that everything crazy they do is causing major fund-raising, because, sometimes, it`s really not true?

CROSS: Yes, I completely agree, Joy.

I mean, this is something where we have a responsibility to peel away the headline and get to the substance of what`s happening.

And let me just say about this whole Matt Gaetz thing, number one, every time I get the opportunity to remind people of how you dragged him all across the "A.M. JOY" set way back in the day over his stance on the NRA -- people should Google it. It is worth the watch.

But, also, we have to remember that he is being accused of sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl. And so, when you`re asking for people to contribute to your defense for such a heinous crime, it makes you wonder, what kind of weird, creepy white guy party is this where they defend accused pedophiles like Roy Moore, where they defend accused wife beaters like some of the speechwriters from the Trump administration, and racists like Marjorie Taylor Greene?

It`s a weird thing happening in the GOP. And, honestly, it`s been the only Republican Party I have known. I think it`s just more public now.

REID: Well, let`s not forget Trump himself, who still has a case coming at him for alleged sexual assault inside of a department store.

Let`s talk about Tucker Carlson. I want both of you to get the chance to weigh in on this, because the thing that`s happened that the Republican Party has done that I think is sort of helpful is just -- let`s just be open.

You have Tucker Carlson, who now has embraced replacement theory. He didn`t literally say, Jews will not replace us, which is what the replacement theory folks said in Charlottesville, but he did say, you`re trying to replace us. He said that very openly on his show.

Question to both of you. Ignore it? Deal with it? How do we deal with the fact that this is becoming open, because Ron Johnson, who is an elected official, also reflected that same idea?

Juanita and then Tiffany.

TOLLIVER: I think the first response -- I think the first response, Joy, is call it out, have advocates call it out, and put as much pressure as possible on FOX News to get someone like him off of the air for spreading these lies and disgusting conspiracy theories.

And he has no place in media. He should not have a megaphone to spread these things. And so I think it`s important to call it out and be on the record calling it out and confront it directly.

REID: Tiffany?

CROSS: Yes, I -- so I agree with my sister Juanita Tolliver definitely.

But I would say, all three of us on this screen know what it`s like when something happens in our community, and then all the talking points are, where are their fathers, and the community has to rally around and teach these kids how to act.

Guess what, MAGA? That`s your problem. You call out these half-witted idiots who want to follow around this guy who lacks an intellect and makes up for it in racism. You all call out his behavior. You all are the ones who need -- I don`t know how to un-racist a racist. That`s a problem for somebody else.

And I just really have no interest in engaging those people. I don`t have this call to make people see the light. I`m not trying to educate the uninformed and the willfully ignorant. I`m trying to inform and inspire the uninspired.

So, I think that`s their problem. And I could just care less about that trash channel, that trash man, or that trash party.


REID: Amen.

Listen, they said, we are not going to raise people who`ve already been raised by somebody. Somebody raised them.

Juanita and Tiffany Cross are sticking around, because they are clearly all warmed up to play "Who Won the Week?"

And that is next. Stay with us.


REID: It`s Friday. Thank you, Jesus.

We made it, which means it`s time to play our favorite game, "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me are Juanita Tolliver and Tiffany Cross.

Juanita Tolliver, who won the week?

TOLLIVER: Our queen Stacey Abrams won the week for me, right.

The way she read Senator John Kennedy for filth at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week was everything. And it was the most delicate of reads, because what he tried to do, in setting her up for a gotcha, was completely crass, like she wouldn`t have a numerated list of all the ways the Georgia voter suppression bill was racist? Like she would show up as unprepared as he would for a hearing?

So, I give Stacey Abrams her flowers today and every day.

REID: He tucked his dignity, and when it was over, and he said, let me just take my dignity. Just go ahead and put this in...


REID: He took his dignity and had to go home.

She stole his -- she snatched his soul out of his body. And he was just sitting there like, well, I don`t have a soul at this moment. So I`m going to go ahead and throw it back to you, to the chairman. Go ahead and take over.

Tiffany Cross, can you beat that? Who won the week?


CROSS: I think I can. I think I can.

Look, we lost a giant in the hip-hop industry. Shock G won the week for me.


CROSS: He was such a -- the one who put the satin on your undergarments. He produced for Prince, Dr. Dre and others.

I love this man. He is the one who introduced us to Tupac. He was the first one to give us Tupac. I still know all the lyrics to same songs.

And I just -- I`m so sorry to see him go. My brother and I were just reminiscing about him earlier before I was on the show. And I just -- Humpty Hump, man, "The Humpty Dance" is like the soundtrack to my adult -- or my childhood and teenage years. So, Shock G..


REID: I feel like my whole college -- my whole life is like -- it was so sad. Stop what you`re doing, and I`m about to ruin the image and the sound that you`re used to.


CROSS: I`m about to ruin the image and the sound that you`re used to.

I look funny.

REID: You all are making money. See? I hope you`re ready for me.

Oh, my God, I loved him so much. I -- that was a really sad one today.

So, my "Who Won the Week?" is actually sort of, kind of obvious, just from what I have been talking about today. I had to say that the Floyd family won the week.

It is so hard to get justice when it comes to police killing any one of us. It never happens, you all. You know this. I know this. I have been doing this going back to 2006.

I have never seen that extent of a verdict against a police officer for killing anybody black. It never happens. So, I had to say that the Floyd family won the week.

God bless them. Wishing them peace. His little daughter, Gianna, there`s an interview with her this weekend that`s going to air.


REID: Beautiful little girl.

So, God bless them. They won the week.

Juanita Tolliver, Tiffany Cross.

Don`t forget to watch Tiffany`s show, "THE CROSS CONNECTION," tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Her guests will include Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge. Auntie Marcia Fudge will be here. Do not miss it.