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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/5/21

Guests: Ralph Godbee, Pete Buttigieg, Fernand Amandi, Angela Rye, Anthea Butler


It`s week two of Chauvin murder trial. Minnesota Police chief says, Chauvin`s actions were not part of their ethics or values. Police chief says, Chauvin should have stopped once Floyd stopped resisting. Doctor who pronounced Floyd dead testifies asphyxia was cause of death. Biden administration pushes $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan. Democratic Senator Manchin says he wants GOP buy-in. Conservatives who have attempted to cancel many aspects of American life, from Colin Kaepernick to the 2020 election results, are fuming over the corporations taking a stand against the Georgia Jim Crow voting law that`s designed to cancel black voters.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I will be back here tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. You can always find me online @arimelber on social media, @arimelber on Instagram, Twitter, et cetera.

And keep it locked right here, THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We`ve got a lot of news to get to tonight, including the latest bizarre new twist in the Matt Gaetz saga. And then in a little while, I`ll be speaking with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about fight to fix the country`s roads, trains, bridges and airports in the face of Republican opposition and moderate Democrats` demands.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a dramatic day in court at the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Last week, we heard from multiple police officers that Chauvin`s actions that day, specifically keeping his knee on Floyd`s neck for more than nine minutes, even after Floyd no longer have a pulse, violated the police department`s use of force policy. Well, today, it was the Minneapolis police chief himself making the case that almost everything Chauvin did that day was wrong.


STEVE SCHEICHLER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Do you believe that the defendant followed departmental policy 5-304 regarding de-escalation?


SCHEICHLER: Was this is a trained at Minneapolis police department defensive tactic technique?

ARRADANDO: It is not.

SCHEICHLER: Is it your belief then that this particular form of restraint, if that`s what we`ll call it, in fact, violates departmental policy?

ARRADANDO: I absolutely agree, it violates our policy.

SCHEICHLER: Is what you see in Exhibit 17, in your opinion, within Minneapolis Police Departmental policy 5-300, authorizing the use of reasonable force?

ARRADANDO: It is not.


REID: In a striking moment, the police chief spoke directly to the jury and made it clear that Chauvin did not represent his police force.


ARRADANDO: Once there was no longer any resistance and, clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.


REID: It was Arradando, who was Minneapolis`s first black police chief, who fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved in Floyd`s death just a day after the incident last May. A few weeks after that, he released a statement calling Floyd`s death a murder. Arradando wrote, Mr. Floyd`s tragic death was not due to lack of training. The training was there, Chauvin knew what he was doing, the officers knew what was happening, one intentionally caused it and the others failed to prevent it. This was murder. It wasn`t a lack of training.

With me now is Paul Butler, Georgetown Law Professor and former Federal Prosecutor, and former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee. Thank you both for being here.

And Chief Godbee, I want to start with you first, because one of the things -- sort of the many things I found extraordinary about this case is the number of police officers testifying for the prosecution, the number of fellow police officers of Derek Chauvin coming out strongly against him.

Before I let you respond to that, I just want to let you listen to one more sound bite of Chief Arradando. This was actually an interview with NBC News last June about Chauvin. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you could look and be in the same room with Derek Chauvin, what would you say to him?

ARRADANDO: I would not be in the same room with him and I refuse to mention his name.


REID: He also talked about need for police to be part of the community, to engage in the community. He talked a little bit about that today. What do you make, Chief Godbee, of just this man testifying against Chauvin and other police who have done so?

RALPH GODBEE, FORMER DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: Well, Joy, I don`t think we can underestimate the seminal (ph) moment that we`re witnessing for chief of police. Chief Arradando has set a new standard, a new bar for the expectation of police leadership. And I think his transparency, his candor and his ability to just to call balls, balls and strikes, strikes, you can`t make sense out of nonsense. And his ability to do that, that I think frees those beneath him of lower rank, to really be courageous and bold to speak against a culture that`s so entrenched in thin blue line.

REID: Yes, there is no thin blue line in this case, Paul. This is -- I mean you wrote the book on chokeholds, I don`t know if you find it as extraordinary as we do to hear police talk about other police this way.

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It is. And most prosecutions of officers, police chiefs typically don`t get involved in trials at all, or when they do, seem to support their cop. So this was really a big deal in part because it was the boss, but in part because of the extraordinary testimony.

He couldn`t actually say this time that he thinks that Chauvin is a murderer because that`s a decision that the jury has to decide but a clear inference from his testimony today, Joy, was the chief of police thinks that one of the officers he employed is guilty of the ultimate crime.

REID: Yes, and he made it clear, this wasn`t our training, this wasn`t policy. He was very clear.

Let`s play a little part of the defense attempting sort to undercut him. So he tries to refute the chief`s testimony by trying to, I guess, make what Chauvin did sound like some sort of weird form of de-escalation. Here is that.


JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Was your leading theory then for the cause of Mr. Floyd`s cardiac arrest oxygen deficiency?

DR. BRADFORD WANKHEDE LANGENFELD, E.R. PHYSICIAN WHO ATTENDED TO GEORGE FLOYD: That was one of the more likely possibilities. I felt it at the time based on the information I had, it was more likely than the other possibilities.

BLACKWELL: And, Doctor, is there another name for death by oxygen deficiency?

LANGENFELD: Asphyxia is commonly understood term.


REID: That actually was Dr. Bradford Langenfeld on the cause of death. We`re now going to play -- so we`re going to come back to that in a second. Now, this is the chief reacting to the defense trying to sort of make this look like de-escalation, what Chauvin did. Take a look.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sometimes de-escalation, again, includes the use of force, right? The use of force can be a de-escalation tactic.

ARRADANDO: I was always thinking of your example of displaying your weapon. And so I don`t have a lot of knowledge in terms of physical force being used to actually deescalate a situation, but a threatening use of force or threatening verbally, I`m more familiar with that.


REID: Chief Godbee, how long have you been a cop? May I ask you how long - - what`s your number of years of experience?

GODBEE: Well, I started in `19. I just left policing last year, so over 35 years in law enforcement.

REID: Have you --

GODBEE: And I must say, Joy.

REID: Yes.

GODBEE: If I could, position was asphyxia, I`m sure Professor Butler can attest to this, absent three people on your back, and one individual on your throat, for the past 20-25 years of policing, we have been very, very sensitive, positional asphyxia. If you were just laying on stomach with his hands cuff behinds him, he was still subject to die in that circumstance. What Chauvin did exacerbated it, and I`m just so proud of Chief Arradando for not buying into the nonsensical arguments of the defense.

REID: Yes, absolutely, you anticipated my question and answered it.

And, Paul, you know we watch the Eric Gardner case played out very differently. The defense, in order to get those police out of that situation, were able to sort of portray him still thrashing, still struggling and sort of make it somehow sort of magically try to make him into some sort of a threat. In this case, there has been testimony that this man was probably already dead. You know, he cannot be a threat to you if he`s dead.

I wonder if you think the defense is getting anywhere with the kind of arguments, including trying to undercut the experience of the Chief Arradando and of Officer Zimmerman, Lieutenant Zimmerman.

BUTLER: The defense is not doing a good job poking holes in the prosecution`s strong case. The chief testified today that Chauvin should never have put his knee on Floyd`s neck because that`s deadly force, which Chauvin was never entitled to use because Floyd never threatened anybody`s life.

And in any event when Chauvin lay stomach down in handcuffs saying 22 times he can`t breathe, the chief testified that the force should have stopped immediately. Joy, this testimony, I think, will profoundly impact the jury.

REID: Let`s take a step back just a minute, Chief Godbee. If you have problem officers on your force, let`s just say in theory, on your force, what difference would it make if they knew from a case like this that it`s possible to go to prison for doing this? Does that actually have the potential, in your professional view, of changing behavior?

Because up to now, I feel like because officers know you almost never go to jail, you just do the magic words, I thought I saw a gun, I feared for my life, and he get away with it, do you think that if somehow, and I`m not anticipating it will happen, but if there was a conviction, would that help police chiefs to get officers to behave in a different way, in your view?

GODBEE: In a perfect world, I would like to think so, Joy, but the culture is so deeply entrenched. I mean, going back to slave patrols was the first organized policing force in the United States of America, I think this is a victory if there is a conviction and we should celebrate that. But that is far from a panacea for -- I mean, just the broken criminal justice system that we have.

So it would be a tremendous start, it would be a disincentive to some, however, I don`t want us to get a sugar high and think his conviction alone is going to change the landscape of policing in the United States.

REID: Very wise words. And, you know, Paul, I guess the question is what should we start to anticipate next. We kind of see where the defense is trying to go. They want to blame -- he wants to blame the crowd, he wants to say they crowd was inciting, he wants to blame pretty much everybody but Chauvin. This case, the prosecution`s case might wrap this week, what are you anticipate we`re going to be in for when the defense start their case and chief?

BUTLER: So, the next phase in the trial is the battle of experts on the cause of Floyd`s death. The prosecution experts will testify that the drugs in Floyd`s system were not enough to kill him in part because Mr. Floyd has developed a high tolerance level. And they`re also testify that what the jurors see on the video, Mr. Floyd pleading for his life, calling for his mom, saying goodbye to his children, those acts are not consistent with how people respond when they`re about to die of a drug overdose.

And, Joy, the defense has one star witness, the medical examiner, whose reports say that Mr. Floyd did not die of asphyxia, he died of heart failure. But even that official autopsy says that Chauvin`s actions were a cause of the heart failure. That`s why the official cause of death includes homicide. It`s a medical term, not a legal term, but it still implicates Chauvin.

The prosecution doesn`t have to prove that Mr. Floyd died only based on Chauvin`s actions just as Chauvin`s actions were a substantial contributing thing.

REID: This is a fascinating trial. I`ve never seen anything like it, honestly, just this many police testifying against the police, that`s not normal. We haven`t seen that before.

Paul Butler, Ralph Godbee, thank you both. I really appreciate you guys` expertise this evening.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, the Senate parliamentarian gave Democrats a major boost today, signing off on their plan to use reconciliation to pass President Biden`s ambitious infrastructure agenda with a simple majority. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins me next.

And Congressman Matt Gaetz says there`s no way he`s resigning as the investigation into alleged sex crimes rolls on.

Plus, we could find reasons to crown Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the absolute worst on daily basis. A new reporting on how he rewarded his wealthy donors with special vaccines access certainly makes him bad. He`s bad. But believe it or not, he`s not tonight`s absolute worst. You want a hint of who it is? They`re friendsies.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: Last week, President Biden unveiled his bold vision for the future, a sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 80 percent of Americans support the idea of a government overhaul of roadways, railroads, bridges and forts. In fact, pretty much everything in the bill has wide support. And yet Republicans have made their opposition very clear.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It is described as an infrastructure bill, but as I listen to it and looked at what was being advocated here, it was another round of massive spending.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): This is not an infrastructure bill. It`s also outrageously expensive. There is no free lunch, you don`t get one now.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): This bill is a Trojan horse for major tax hikes on American workers and families. It spends more money on things like electric vehicles than it does on roads, and bridges, ports and airports.


REID: And then there`s West Virginia Prime Minister or, I mean, Senator Joe Manchin. Earlier today, he made clear what he wants from the bill.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV) (voice over): This bill will not be in the form you see introduced or see people talking about it. And if I don`t vote to get on it, it`s not going anywhere. So we`re going to have some leverage here. And that`s more than just me, Hoppy, there`s six of seven other Democrats that feel very strongly about this.


REID: And while he wants Republican buy-in, he warned that Republicans can`t just oppose everything.

Meanwhile economists at Georgetown University have estimated that $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment could create roughly 15 million jobs and could put the United States on par with countries around the globe that shuttle their citizens from town to town on high-speed trains, the autobahn, and wide bike lanes.

Some Biden administration officials are leading by example. Take a look at Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who left a recent White House meeting on his bike, security detail in tow.

Joining me now is Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. First of all, nice bike. I tried riding my bike after pulling in out the storage after about a year. You definitely looked better doing that than I did. I wobbled around a little bit, but congrats on doing the biking.

Let`s talk about -- first of all, let`s start with the Democrats. Joe Manchin, who we sort of labeled of the prime minister here, because he does seem to believe he`s in charge of the United States Senate. He says he`s got about half-a-dozen people with him on not being happy with the bill.

Have you had a direct conversation with him? And do you believe that, right now, you could get the votes if this went through on reconciliation?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Well, there are 100 senators with 100 views about exactly how they think it should be done.

But, broadly, I`m seeing a lot of energy and excitement for the bill. I will be catching up with Senator Manchin soon. I have been speaking with Republicans and Democrats on both -- in both houses, the House and the Senate.

And what I`m hearing is a lot of energy and a lot of excitement for the idea of infrastructure investment, a little bit more challenge when it comes to deciding exactly how to pay for it.

But the president has put forward a vision that has support from the American people, Republicans and Democrats, a lot of mayors from both parties.

And so, of course, we`re going to dig into the details, talk with senators and House members, and see if they have other ideas or refinements.

But let`s be clear. This is a vision that does what it takes to create millions of jobs, to put America back in first place, instead of 13th place, which is where we are right now.

And one other thing I want to mention. That Georgetown study that you mentioned has something else really important and interesting in it. The majority of the jobs that they estimated would be created don`t require a college degree. At a time when we`re really worried about blue-collar jobs in places like where I come from in the Midwest, the fact that we are going to create so many jobs, many of which, again, don`t require a college degree, I think is incredibly important.

REID: You know, it`s interesting, you say that, because, right, you`re a former mayor, and so you know potholes are politics, right?

People want to see their roads fixed. They want to see the potholes dug in.

BUTTIGIEG: That`s right.

REID: They want the trains to run on time. Like, that`s actually kind of politics 101.

Even Steve Bannon, when he wasn`t doing warmed-over white nationalism, was telling Trump, do infrastructure. It`s something Republicans and Democrats both like, because you can see your tax money actually -- you can see it, right? It`s actually taxed when you can see working.

When you`re talking to people who are against this, what is their objection? Because I can`t think of anyone who doesn`t want roads and bridges and things in their -- in their district or in their state?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, I mean, the biggest things I`m hearing are some different views on how to pay for it.

But the president`s view is clear, which is that no one making less than $400,000 should pay anything more in taxes for this, especially when you have got corporations out there, some of which paid zero on billions of dollars in profits.

REID: Yes.

BUTTIGIEG: So, what we`re going to do in the president`s plan is a fair corporate tax rate that, by the way, still lower than it`s been for most of our lifetimes, but enough to get the job done.

The other objection I hear is kind of semantic or philosophical. They`re saying, is this infrastructure or is that infrastructure? I have even heard some Republicans, oddly, suggesting that water pipes and wastewater pipes aren`t infrastructure.

I don`t understand that view. But, in any case, I don`t really care which label you apply to which part of the plan. Every part of the plan is popular and good as far as I can tell, in terms of what it`s going to do to create jobs.

REID: Yes.

BUTTIGIEG: At the end of the day, it`s a jobs plan.

REID: Speaking of water and infrastructure, let me play you the governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, whose state capital has a severe problem.

Jackson, Mississippi, is having a severe problem with water, and they need infrastructure. But here he was on the weekend objecting to the plan.


GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): There`s no doubt that Mississippi could use our fair share of $100 billion.

The problem with this particular plan, though, is, although the Biden administration is calling it an infrastructure plan, it looks more like a $2 trillion tax hike plan to me.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Well, how do you pay for it, then?

REEVES: Well, I think you pay for it in a number of different ways.

One way you pay for it is by seeing significant improved economic growth.


REID: Yes, tax cuts, tax cuts. That`s what they`re always saying.

OK, let`s go back to how you get this actually through. What are you willing to give up in terms of the White House`s negotiation here? Is it going to be to make that reduction in the corporate income tax what Joe Manchin wants? What is it going to take? Because this looks like it`s going to have to be another reconciliation bill.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, we have to get it done. But we want to get it done in a way that is bipartisan and that takes a lot of ideas on board.

So, what the president laid out was a clear vision. But I think we will -- you will always find that he`s open to ideas. And now we`re hearing those both from members in our party and from across the aisle. That`s fine. We can take on a lot of those ideas, discuss them.

We have already had conversations in the Oval Office with both sides of the aisle. I`m sure that will continue. Bottom line, we have got to get something done. And the president is hoping to see major action from Congress, major progress before Memorial Day.

I`d love to be celebrating in the summer that we actually got this done and beginning to work.

REID: I`m tempted always to call you Mayor Pete.

But, Secretary Pete, I am obsessed with infrastructure, by the way. So, you are right...

BUTTIGIEG: You and me both.

REID: ... doing the thing that`s up my alley.

So, come back and talk about this again. I`m sorry we don`t have more time, but I`m going to let you go on and do your other interviews, but come back and talk more about this plan. Thank you.

All right, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thank you.

And if you thought that you were exempt from the Florida man`s money- grubbing scheme just because you`re a Trump supporter, think again.

Tonight`s absolute worst is next. Stay with us.


REID: There`s yet another spotlight set on Governor Ron DeSantis over his vaccine distribution strategy in Florida.

Now, we already know that, under Ron, the wealthiest communities got priority access long before lower-income residents. But there`s new scrutiny of his decision to privatize the vaccine rollout, granting exclusive rights to Publix supermarkets to administer the vaccine.

That`s because DeSantis` decision came just weeks after Publix donated $100,000 to his political action committee.

Now CBS` "60 Minutes" is raising concerns about a potential pay-to-play scheme. And they point out that, for some of the poorest residents of Palm Beach County, reaching the nearest Publix took more than two hours round- trip on the bus.

DeSantis` management of the COVID crisis is terrible, but he`s not today`s absolute worst, believe it or not. That distinction goes to another Florida resident, one of the -- one on the swanky side of Palm Beach County, the former president, whose treatment of his own supporters shows what he really thinks of them.

In the past, Trump has boasted about using other people`s money to finance his most ill-conceived ventures.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s called OPM. I do that all the time in business, called other people`s money. There`s nothing like doing things with other people`s money.


REID: Yes, in fact scamming people out of their money has been his life`s work.

Just ask the stockholders of Atlantic City casinos or the students of Trump University or anyone who donated to his now-defunct charitable foundation.

So, it should come as no surprise that the Trump campaign duped unsuspecting donors into making recurring contributions, sometimes without their knowledge.

According to "The New York Times," the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors for every week until the election. For instance, one donor fighting cancer in hospice care thought he was making a one-time contribution of $500. But he soon discovered $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days.

"The Times" reports that Trump supporters had to claim fraud to get their money back, and not voter fraud, actual fraud. The campaign and Republican committees had to issue over half-a-million refunds in the last two-and-a- half months of the election, returning more than $64 million to online donors.

That`s 10 times more than the Biden campaign in the same period. And yet, despite those refunds, Trump still benefited from the scam. Much like a Ponzi scheme, the cash from subsequent Trump donors, some egged on by his big lie on the election, that money was used to help cover the refunds that he owed.

In other words, the money that Trump eventually had to refund amounted to an interest-free loan from unwitting supporters.

It`s almost as if we should have been warned.


TRUMP: My whole life, I have been greedy, greedy, greedy. I have grabbed all the money I could get. I`m so greedy.


REID: Former, disgraced, twice-impeached ex-President Donald Trump, for treating your own supporters as marks and using the dangerous big lie as part of the scam, you are the absolute worst.

We will be right back.


REID: Despite being the subject of a federal sex crimes investigation, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz says he is absolutely not resigning.

Instead, he seems to be taking the advice of Roger Stone, who advised him over the weekend to go on the offense. Gaetz is now defending himself and an op-ed in the conservative "Washington Examiner," saying, among other things, that he`s being targeted because he`s happily engaged to a human woman.

Gaetz complained that: "My political opponents want to sensationalize and criminalize my prior sex life just as I`m getting engaged to the best person I have ever known."

Please stop saying sex life, please, sir.

He even suggested that the federal probe was retaliation for his decision to campaign against fellow Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who voted to impeach the former president.

Today, an ex-Gaetz staffer who said that he had been interviewed by the FBI held a bizarre press conference to defend his former boss. But even he conceded that he actually has no evidence that Gaetz -- that might actually exonerate Gaetz.


QUESTION: What of the investigation do you know that can lead you to -- would lead you to discredit the investigation?

NATHAN NELSON, FORMER AIDE TO CONGRESSMAN MATT GAETZ: I don`t have any specific knowledge on the investigation or any of the facts that are involved with the investigation.



REID: Privately, Republican lawmakers tell "The Hill" that Gaetz`s days in Congress are numbered. And one congressman is even donating the contributions that he`s received from Gaetz to victims of abuse.

Joining me now is Fernand Amandi, Democratic pollster and strategist, and Angela Rye, former executive director and counsel of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Thank you both for being here.

Let`s start with some of the -- a little bit more into these allegations. Fernand, you know Florida. You know this character very well.

"The Washington Post" reports that Gaetz is said to have boasted of his access to women provided by the very friend who`s now charged in the sex trafficking case. Three people involved in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign of Ron DeSantis said that Gaetz, an adviser who later helped lead DeSantis` transition team, repeatedly suggested that events be scheduled in a way that would end the night in a college town.

So, there`s the three amigos, DeSantis, Gaetz, and perhaps this friend that`s now being charged with sex trafficking.

What the hell is going on in Florida, Fernand?


FERNAND AMANDI, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER AND STRATEGIST: Joy, you remember that 80s movie "Gremlins"?

REID: Yes.

AMANDI: Well, Florida is what happens when you feed the Trump Republican leaders after midnight. I mean, it`s just a chaotic, untenable situation.

And to explain Matt Gaetz, I mean, you kind of said the answer there yourself. He knows that he is just one of many Florida men, and we have the scandal du jour happen here. And when you`re competing with the likes in the state of Florida like Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, and the Trump family, who now lives here, I mean, he`s trying to hide between the shadows of the scandal and just try and live and fight another day in the classic Roger Stone style, as you saw.

But, fundamentally, what this is going to come down to is his alienation of so many other Republican members of Congress. The knives are privately out for Matt Gaetz. And I think he will be out of Congress by the end of this calendar month.

REID: Yes, speaking of Washington and alienating fellow Republicans, Angie, let`s talk about Liz Cheney.

Which Republican did not get censured or thrown under by her party for going against Trump? Liz Cheney. She`s from a pretty powerful family.

Here`s Matt Gaetz thinking he`s going to come for her in her state of Wyoming.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Liz Cheney calls herself a leader in Washington but to me being a leader does not mean winning election amongst a bunch of politicians. Being a leader doesn`t even mean that you`ve lived a flawless personal life. I can tell you, I sure haven`t.


REID: Yeah, clearly, you haven`t.

Is Liz Cheney saying let Matt Gaetz know it was me?


ANGELA RYE, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & COUNSEL, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Or maybe she`s just saying look at these chickens coming home to roost, right? This is that kind of a thing. What`s fascinating about this, Roger Stone`s tactics and strategies have often proved to work, surprisingly, only thing to contribute it to is white privilege but in this instance it`s continuing to backfire.

One thing that I noticed today, Joy, about the press conference from Nathan Nelson, who is a former Gaetz staffer, he happened to mention he offers free services around military advisory work while he`s in the private sector. I don`t know if they`ve never heard of congressional ethics but may be concerned citizens out there who want to call to report an inappropriate gift, right?

There are these kind of things happening. So sometimes when you find yourself trying to clean up a mess, you create more mess. The fact that he was in Florida state legislature opposing revenge porn while showing off videos of naked women on his phone, also problematic.

And he`s talking about he`s not a monk. Sir, we know, just trying to figure out if you have any moral fiber in your being.

REID: Yeah, just try to get him to stop using word "sex," like if you would just stop saying that over and over, we don`t ever want to hear him saying that. Stop saying that.

Let`s just show a picture. He`s a little selfie with Stone, Gaetz and Greenberg in 2017.

It is interesting, Fernand, how Florida has become the kind of chokepoint for this certain kind of politician, including Donald Trump, now crowned king of Palm Beach, the king of Florida. And all the scandals seem to be interconnected. Kind of guy Ron DeSantis is, only the rich can get vaccines first, rest of you plebs can get it later, you know, that kind of politics.

I don`t know how Florida keeps breeding that, but DeSantis is seen as next big thing for the Republican Party. There`s something they like about that kind of politics, I don`t get it.

FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, Joy, part of the problem here and it`s a little ominous, it`s a little frightening to contemplate, Florida is a laboratory for what the Republican Party or GQP would look like if Donald Trump was able to win a second term or if the Republicans capture the nation again in 2024.

They`re trying to create a quasi autocracy that all of the conditions that exist in the state. They have to total control of the legislature. They have control of the courts. We`re seeing now an environmental catastrophe happening in Manatee County where because of total deregulation, which has been the currency of the realm here for the Republican Party last generation or so, there is just basically just infrastructural calamity taking place.

When you add to that, though, there`s also a sense of impunity for a lot of these folks here. And my fear and concern is as Florida begins to continue to become this state that is fortified as a Republican state and model for the future, you`re going to see them start to export this and copy some of the worst practices like we`re seeing them do in copying the Georgia voter law, that`s already in place here. They`re going to try to do more like that.

It`s very scary for the future. And that`s why while we joke about Florida man and #becauseFlorida, it is a very dangerous place because it`s front line for Republican autocracy in the future right now.

REID: Well, and also, Angela, you know, we`re also seeing the Republican Party sort of devolve into one big grift, right? I mean, it`s just been that way, we`re only now noticing it. I mean, the fact that the big lie that produced, you know, five dead police officers, dozens of police officers injured, you know, all the calamity and disgrace of the United States around the world, we now know was also part of the grift to get those people to give more money to pay back the previous people Donald Trump he grifted.

I wonder at some point, do you think that this sort of management of people`s Democratic panic, get money out of them? Does it run out of gas at some point? Do people say, you know what, I`m tired of brown scare and black scare and giving you money because of it?

RYE: You know, Joy, what I hope happens is that people stop running towards that because it makes them feel better and run towards the truth, even if it hurts. So, for example, today, the Heritage Foundation has this tweet about Joe Biden, scary tax plan, biggest ever. And you forgot to talk about the biggest tax cuts ever, at some point this has to balance out.

You know, at some point, folks have to stop voting their dreams and voting their interests. There is a distinction. I know you all probably want to be rich and be partying out here with Matt Gaetz but there are consequences for that, right? And on top of that, you have to understand that you may have more in alignment with poor black or brown person or somebody that is in the South and you`re in the Midwest or in Joe Manchin`s state, right?

So, that means you have to vote in alignment with what is in your best interest, not what they`re telling you. The stuff they`re telling you is not even true. Shame on Heritage Foundation for the tweet today, and I hope that people start focusing on what is true and right rather than scaring people. The fearmongering in politics has turned dangerous, and it`s been that way for some time, but we`re also seeing -- we`re only going to see it increase if folks don`t start walking in full knowledge of the truth.

REID: I think, Mississippi, a state starving for infrastructure and governor there is just like cut taxes. They already have their taxes cut to the bone, they have Jackson, the capital, they don`t have water.

I mean, he doesn`t want that, you don`t want -- you just want to cut taxes.

Very quickly, Fernand, I don`t understand from political science point of view, because at certain point don`t you want water, don`t you want rail to work, don`t you want infrastructure? I don`t understand the Republican position on saying no to that.

AMANDI: Well, that`s what I was saying earlier, it`s untenable but it`s a cash grab, it`s a grift. It`s a Ponzi scheme, a pyramid scheme here, where they`re just trying to do as much as possible in short time and then the consequences be damned later.

But keep in mind, hope for the future, Florida continues to be competitive state, even though the presidential results weren`t as close as some thought, in midterms, we saw Andrew Gillum also lost the governorship by about 30,000 votes, Bill Nelson also lose by about 15,000 votes. If the Democrats do not give up on Florida and make a real play, they can turn things around.

But if not, Joy, you got to look at this as cradle of the Republican Party of the future, because all the major candidates are coming out of this state for the Republicans.

REID: All right. We got to debate that one, they`ve got to find the right candidates, it`s very hard to win in Florida.

Fernand Amandi, Angela Rye, but you`re the pollster, not me, so I`m gong to go with your wisdom on that. Thank you both very much.

Up next, America`s white evangelical movement`s cult-like adoration of Donald Trump presents a dangerous converge with a White House nationalism and QAnon level conspiracy theories that we`re seeing out there. More on that next.


REID: Conservatives who have attempted to cancel many aspects of American life, from Colin Kaepernick to the 2020 election results, are fuming over the corporations taking a stand against the Georgia Jim Crow voting law that`s designed to cancel black voters.

Take former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, no, really take him, who by the way is also a Southern Baptist minister who tweeted on the day before Easter: I decided to identify as Chinese, Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my values, and I probably get shoes from Nike and tickets to MLB games. ain`t America great, exclamation point.

Meanwhile, trigger happy Congresswoman Lauren Boebert managed to uncancel Jesus on Twitter.

While Senator Raphael Warnock, who is also a reverend for Atlanta`s famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, was accused of actual heresy for a since deleted Easter tweet about helping others, God forbid, this on the 53rd anniversary of MLK`s assassination. Perfect.

I mean, the pretty sums up what Christian right Twitter looked like Easter weekend. Anti-Asian racism, accusations of heresy straight out of the inquisition era, and firearm Jesus rising from the ashes of burnt Dr. Seuss books.

Joining me is Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of the new book, "White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America."

It`s good to see you, Anthea. Long time to no see, let`s jump right in this.

You know, a lot of people sort -- it`s counterintuitive, but strongest adherence to Trumpism are white evangelicals. These people who see themselves as Bible-believing Christians who go to church every week, white evangelical Christians voted 76 percent for Trump, only 24 percent for Biden. That`s consistent. There are 28 percent of voters.

Can you explain that?

ANTHEA BUTLER, AUTHOR, "WHITE EVANGELICAL RACISM": Yes, they love Donald Trump. He is their guy, he is King Cyrus.

Moreover, Donald Trump did exactly what he wanted them to do, he gave them judges, he gave them Supreme Court judges, and moreover, they didn`t care whether he had been married three times, didn`t care about any of that stuff, because here`s the interesting thing, morality is a shield for evangelicals to get power. And this is what I think we haven`t understood before, but now it`s time to say this.

All the things that happened over Easter weekend were not about Jesus, it was about how can we continue to be front and center in the media scrum, and not only that, how can we take down the senator we want to come against when we have a special election in 2022? So, I think it`s disingenuous for all these evangelicals to pretend like they care about theology or morality, when what they really care about is power.

REID: You know, I think the fact that, you know, the Baptists convention, the Southern Baptist convention, didn`t say anything when Major League Baseball was segregated, let people play. Didn`t defend Dr. King.

But here is Dr. King. Let me play a little bit of this. This is the speech that Dr. King gave that mentions Coca-Cola. This is his final speech in Memphis, Tennessee. Take a listen.


REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: We`re asking you tonight to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis.


RIEID: So, he was saying boycott because Coca-Cola wasn`t going to hire black people. So, we was like then, we should not buy Coca-Cola. And King with the Poor People`s Campaign, to me, that is the gospel, at least the gospel I grew up with, is that you`re supposed to mind the poor, the immigrant, the suffering who Jesus loved.

They say no, we don`t want to hear any of that. Just put Christians first, give us all the judges, and what? What is it that they seem to want, white Evangelical, at least this movement, not all of them, but this movement?

BUTLER: I think this movement wants power for themselves, first of all. They want favor for themselves. They have forgotten that Jesus said to mend the poor and brokenhearted. They don`t care about anyone else except themselves, so they won`t get vaccinated, they won`t do anything that helps their fellow man.

I think they have forgotten the golden rule. And as I point out in my book, I think what`s really important for us to understand is that this is 200- year history of evangelicals have done. It`s not about Donald Trump, it`s about everything that`s led up to Donald Trump.

So, whether we`re talking about slavery, whether we`re talking about, you know, the ways in which Billy Graham didn`t want the civil rights movement and was cool about King after a while, to all the things that happened from the `70s on forward, what we have to understand is game that evangelicals are playing today is same they`ve always played. There is morality for you, not for me. And that`s what`s important. I think we need to understand that.

REID: Bishop was saying, evangelical is bringing good news to the poor, what you`re supposed to talk about. This thing you just mentioned on the vaccine, this is now going to be a public health problem. White evangelical resistance is now an obstacle for "The New York Times" to the vaccination effort.

As you just mentioned, millions of white evangelical adults in the U.S. do not intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19, mistrust of science, mistrust of et cetera, and also their politics.

Now, this is a public health issue. What can be done if in their churches, they`re preaching against the vaccine? Because that means, I don`t know how we get to herd immunity without 28 percent of the population.

BUTLER: We`re not going to get there, first of all. And secondarily, we`re going to have a lot of funerals in those churches where they refuse to wear masks and everything else because they believe Jesus is going to save them or it`s just my time.

But again, this is about the selfishness in where evangelicals have gone. It`s really quite a shame. There have been things good about the movement but this anti-science sentiment and the ways in which they`re digging heels in promises to be an absolute debacle for them.

When you put this top of the racism, where they`re calling coronavirus a Chinese virus and all these other things that, you know, their lord and savior Donald Trump said, you have to wonder what is wrong with these people that they continue to go against the best interests of not just themselves but the rest of the society in order to be recalcitrant.

There`s nothing about this, absolutely noting that says anything about what Jesus Christ taught. It is -- it is a movement stuck on itself and not on the person who is supposed to be the center of it.

REID: And can you tell us then, is there a liberal evangelicalism that is counter to that and is it of significant size to sort of counter what you`re seeing in that right-wing evangelicalism?

BUTLER: Yeah, I think there is, part of what is happening now is that you see a lot younger people, and people who have been disgusted with the movement, disgusted with the racism, disgusted with the homophobia and everything else, who are leaving in droves. We start to see the numbers going down.

So, I think what we`re seeing is -- I never want to say that religious right or evangelicals are going away, what I think we`re seeing is an attrition that is based on where they are right now in terms of their recalcitrance, first of all, and secondarily, I don`t think they can expect anybody to want to join the Baptist Church when Beth Moore has left and the last Southern Baptist in the news shot eight people in Atlanta because he had a supposed sex addiction.

REID: And what does it mean that they do have control of the Supreme Court? That is one place where they are 6-3 ahead.

BUTLER: Yeah, I mean, this is going to be issue for us. This is one of the things that the Biden administration will have to think about, whether or not they want to expand the court, what happens with the court, what will the court do if they get a Roe versus Wade case up there, because abortion is not only thing evangelicals want.

REID: Yes.

BUTLER: Evangelicals want to be in power, and that`s the bottom line.

REID: Indeed, indeed.

Anthea Butler, great to see you. Thank you so much for being here this evening. Best of luck with the book.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.