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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/4/21

Guests: Michael Eric Dyson, Gretchen Whitmer, Beto O`Rourke, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Charlotte Clymer


GOP punishes its own for not supporting the big lie. GOP Minority Leader Representative McCarthy on GOP Representative Liz Cheney, says `I`ve had it with her.` GOP Representative Liz Cheney is under fire for not supporting Trump`s big lie. West urges supporters to fix your bayonets. Controversial figures are now leading or running for GOP state parties. Thanks to "The New York Times" seminal 1619 Project, which traces the consequences of slavery from its inception centuries ago to its modern day implications for black Americans, there is a growing movement to reframe how American history is taught in public schools.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We talked about solitary confinement in those poems tonight. You can reach out to me on any of these platforms if you want to talk more about those issues or there are else you like you see on THE BEAT @arimelber on any social media platform.

"THE REIDOUT" starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with who`s in and who`s out and what does it mean to be a Republican in 2021. Apparently it has little to do with building a wall or overturning Obamacare or passing still more tax cuts for the rich. What we`ve learned in the nearly six months since Donald Trump stopped being president is that to be a Republican today means parroting the big lie, even if you know it isn`t true.

To be a Republican in 2021, you have to cast aside your common sense and your dignity and declare that Donald Trump did win the election that he clearly lost last November. And, yes, that means you must accept the false premise that led a violent mob to seize the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, because if you don`t support the big lie, you get stabbed in the back.

That`s what happened to the third highest ranking Republican in the House today, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who was double-crossed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy just hours ago. In remarks that were captured on a hot mic and leaked to Axios, McCarthy appeared to back a new attempt to oust Cheney from GOP leadership, telling Fox News personality Steve Ducey that what he really thinks of her. Here`s that audio, which was later obtained by Mediaite.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) (voice over): I think she`s got real problems. I`ve had it with -- I`ve had it with her. You know, I`ve lost confidence. Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.


REID: NBC News sought comment from McCarthy on that audio. However, despite the fact that he`s had all day to noodle on the story, we haven`t heard a peep. And while it was already clear that McCarthy was plotting behind Cheney`s back, his willingness to throw one of his top deputies under the bus to Steve Ducey, of all people, shows how beholden he is to the Florida retiree who is apparently also still his boss and who also hasn`t gotten over being voted out of office, and so continues to spout the big lie, including attacking Congresswoman Cheney and statement after dramatically challenge statement from Mar-A-Lago.

Meanwhile, McCarthy has engaged in an apology tour of sorts for the former president perhaps to make up for the fact that he once dared to hold Trump responsible for the mob he unleashed on the Capitol on January 6th.


MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.


REID: Well, now that they`ve kissed and made up, McCarthy has switched to defending Trump`s behavior that day. And while he and most in his party have become more beholden to the Palm Beach Norma Desmond, Cheney has been the rare Republican who has stood up to his intimidation tactics. As a spokesman said today, this is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th. Liz will not do that. That is the issue.

And according to CNN, she told an audience last night that, quote, we can`t embrace the notion that the election is stolen. It`s a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy.

It`s also clear that the effort to oust Cheney isn`t about being insufficiently conservative or even about matters of policy. In fact, Cheney voted with the former president more often than many of Trump`s most loyal and vocal defenders, more than Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, and, yes, more than Trump`s little buddy, Matt Gaetz. Because what it is about is power.

McCarthy and other beltway Republicans have essentially sold their souls to Donald Trump in the hope that his fanatical followers will return the dilettante D.C. Republicans to power. And since they don`t believe in anything except gaining and holding power, they don`t care how much they have to humiliate themselves in the short-term in order to get it. And they see accepting the big lie in an act of undying, unbridled obsequious loyalty to Trump, even if that means excusing a violent attack on the very Capitol in which they serve as their best and only path.

Joining me now is Michelle Goldberg, Columnist for The New York Times. Charlie Sykes, Editor-At-Large for The Bulwark and MSNBC Columnist, and Michael Eric Dyson, Distinguished University Professor of African-American Studies at Vanderbilt University and the author of Tears We Cannot Stop, A Sermon to White America, which is out in paperback today.

And I`m going to start with you, Dr. Dyson, and congratulations on the new -- on the paperback of your book coming out, but it seems to me that, you know, in the bible, it says that the love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself, but the love of money. But it seems to me that the love of power is also a root of evil, because it does seem to me that people like Kevin McCarthy are willing to suborn evil, suborn a siege on our Capitol, suborn anything and also humiliate themselves because he thinks -- McCarthy thinks this is going to make me speaker.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, yes. It may not be the bible, but Lord Akton said a power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. And even though they don`t wield absolute power, they absolutely want the power. So we`ve got a shade of meaning there.

Look, the obsequious deference to a neo-fascist president has nearly ruined democracy. You would think that they would be able to stand up and to articulate boldly and clearly their principles as conservatives. Quote Friedrich Hayek, quote Milton Friedman, talk about Ronald Reagan, speak about the nostalgia for a time when a trickledown economy George Gilder was their bible and weighting. Instead -- and that was deeply problematic enough.

But in this era, to forsake the commitment to fundamental principles of democracy in the name of party, every bad thing they`ve said about the other side, everything they`ve said about Democrats, everything they`ve said about losers and unpatriotic people who do not adhere to principles broader than their party, they are the very embodiment of.

I hate to say it, it`s a Peewee Herman thing. Everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you, I`m rubber you`re glue. And this is the kind of adolescent churlishness that has besieged the Republican Party and Liz Cheney, with whom I share little in common ideologically and look how stunning it was that she voted for the most part with Trump against the others in terms of their records.

Having said that, she stands up tall as a person of loyalty to the nation above her own party, and for that, we should congratulate her.

REID: You know, and, Charlie, and you know, this is why we invite a public intellectual on because he will definitely correct my references and he did that very smoothly. Very smooth by Eric Dyson we love that. But you know, you`re absolutely right.

But, you know, Charlie, the thing is that it strikes me that we are in a post-policy period for the Republican Party, right? They`re up against a president who`s got some really popular policies. He`s sending checks to people. That`s the most popular thing you can do in politics. And they don`t have an answer to that.

And so, what they`re essentially doing is we`ll tell these voters, mainly white working class voters, we`ll just guarantee that you just get power back. We`ll go along with whatever wild thing you want to believe. If you think Donald Trump is a hologram and he`s the real president, fine. Because we just want power. Is there something more complicated going on here than that?

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC COLUMNIST: Well, what`s really interesting is, I mean, Kevin McCarthy is both venal and politically stupid here because he`s claiming that Liz Cheney`s big sin is that we should be talking about policy rather than personal attacks. Are you kidding me? Because, clearly, they are not talking about policy, this is all about personal attacks. The former guy down in Mar-A-Lago, on a daily basis, issues personal attacks.

But her major sin, I think, has been that she`s embarrassed these guys. Her courage highlights their cowardice. Her insistence on the truth highlights their corruption. And what`s really stupid about all of this is that -- as you pointed out, by ousting Liz Cheney, they make the belief in the big lie the litmus test, the defining moment. They could have moved on from Donald Trump.

Look, they could be talking about the excess spending, the size of the government, the growth. This should be the wheelhouse for Republicans if they actually cared about those things anymore. Instead, this not only ties them to Donald Trump and his failed record, it ties him to everything about Trump, including the lies, the paranoia, the conspiracy theories, the insurrection.

And so this is what McCarthy has done, rather than having his caucus be able to talk about debts and deficits and things that they pretended to care about, it`s -- from now on, this will be the defining issue, their willingness to be loyal, not just to Trump but to his behavior and to his lies about the election.

REID: Well, I mean, and they never cared about spending. I think that`s one of the big lies. But that`s another big lie. But, you know, Michelle, look at the people that are lining up potentially to replace, because I think that does make Charlie`s point. Elise Stefanik who`s sort of you know style herself as being sort of their version of what they think is AOC, Ann Wagner, somebody named (INAUDIBLE). I mean, they`re basically like we have to pick a woman to replace a woman. So we have to be -- we have to get the demography right, right? And they have to be somebody who`s a woman but who will sound more like Marjorie Taylor Greene and less like Liz Cheney.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right, and what`s so striking about Elise Stefanik`s record, at least until pretty recently, was much more moderate than Liz Cheney`s. You had her voting record up there, but just her record in terms of score cards by conservative organizations.

But none of that matters. None of their positions on deficits, on foreign policy, as you said, on any policy issue matters for a party whose only principle is fealty to Donald Trump. Liz Cheney said somewhere, we can`t become the party of QAnon, but they already have. That is the party.

And you know, so you see, there`s no -- there`s no move inside this party to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene. There`s no big move to get rid of Matt Gaetz, right? The person that this -- that this party cannot tolerate is Liz Cheney, just as the person who you`re seeing so much blowback to in the Senate is Mitt Romney.

Because, you know, I`m not -- the one thing I would -- I`m not sure I agree with Charlie about, is I`m not sure if this is politically stupid, because voters don`t care about deficits. Voters don`t care about small government. The one thing that seems to get their voters riled up is telling them that, you know, white kids are being made to feel guilty about their race in school and people have stolen this election from Donald Trump and Democrats are witches and pedophiles, right? That`s what moves people.

And in a system in which they needed to get a majority of the votes, maybe they would reconsider after having lost the popular vote for presidency four times in a row. But in a system like ours, where the majority -- where majority rule is increasingly endangered and where the minority kind of increasingly exercise power without winning most of the votes, the way to get more power is to exercise your base and pass restrictions on the franchise of the people that you hate.

And so it`s a cynical strategy, it`s an ugly strategy, but I`m not sure it`s a losing strategy.

REID: Very quickly, Charlie, since you were called on here, it is like a freak parade. But, I mean, I think to Michelle`s point, the people going on tour, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, who`s being accused of having sex with a 17-year-old, they`re like, we love Matt Gaetz. The state party chair is Allen West, Kelly Ward, who asked Republicans if they`re willing to die for Trump, South Carolina Republican Party Chair Candidate Lin Wood.

Can we play Allen West real quick? This is Allen West, maybe we don`t have time to play it all. Let`s play Allen West. This was him back in 2009.


FORMER REP. ALLEN WEST (R-FL): You`re here to stand up, to get your musket, to fix your bayonet and to charge into the ranks, you are my brother and sister in this fight. You need to leave here understanding one simple word. That word is bayonets.


REID: Bayonets. It`s going to be freaks versus checks in 2022. And Tim Miller wrote for The Bulwark, where you also are, that it`s going to be a question of do people care more about checks? Is it checks or freaks, which wins?

SYKES: No, that`s exactly right. And I`m not sure what the answer to that is. So I don`t completely disagree with Michelle. My point was that, you know, that going this way means that the Republican Party is going to be held hostage or make itself hostage again to Donald Trump, and, you know, he`s been toxic. I mean, they lost the presidency, they lost the Senate, they lost the House of Representatives.

But politics has changed, and it really is this question. Do the American people care about all of this? But you know, I think there`s a very real chance that Kevin McCarthy will still be the -- will win in the midterm elections, you know, out of power parties do. He could be the next speaker. But long-term, is this freak show really the winning formula for the Republican Party, because they are doubling down on the freak and the crazy.

REID: Yes. Michael Eric Dyson, if they are successful, it will be more because of redistricting there will be because of ideas, right? The freaks can win if a lot of people don`t vote and they redistricting in. You write in your book about the sort of long conversation that we`re having on race in the country. Isn`t this kind of almost inevitable given the way we saw people completely lose it over a black president getting elected that you were eventually going to get to a part of the other side that says, we`re losing this country, we`ll do anything to keep it, including go for the freak show.

DYSON: Well, absolutely. Let me appeal to the bible. Let me be very clear, Joy Reid. I was your second reader. You know that in the black church. I was your second reader. I wasn`t correcting you on the bible, I was just adding on Lord Akton. Sorry, I just want to be clear on that. Ain`t no correction. It was just annexing, an annexing of a phrase.

But here`s the point. There is no question that, you know, according to bible, if you kick out a demon and you don`t put anything in its place, seven worse than the demon you kicked out are going to come in. And so what we`re seeing is the storming of the House by the lunatic fringe, if we can use a classic phrase from Drawn from Politics.

We are seeing the despotic will of the uninformed, the belligerently ignorant, the proudly unenlightened taking hold. They beat up Obama for a tan suit and tan skin and they beat him up because of his Harvard Elite pedigree.

So let me get it right, you tell black people you`re stupid and dumb, you tell women that you are uninterested in politics and reason, and then when they go get education, then they`re overdoing it. Then they`re -- in a one sense, they`re defecting from the larger circle of American privilege, which means that you`re not a regular citizen, you`re disloyal, because now you`re a pointy-head intellectual. No matter what you do, as a woman, as a person of color, you can`t win.

And so the reality is that, yes, this president, who is Barack Obama, created such insanity in the larger circle of American privilege among white brothers and sisters, to quote DMX, you`re going to make me lose my mind up in here.

REID: Up in here, up in here. Michelle Goldberg, Charlie Sykes, Michael Eric Dyson, congrats on the book. You all check it out.

Still ahead on THE REIDOUT, President Biden`s ambitious new goal for vaccinations as states prepare to fully reopen this summer. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joins me on how her state has weathered the recent surge there.

And former Congressman Beto O`Rourke will be here to talk about what`s going on down the Lone Star State from reuniting migrant families to Republicans` ongoing push to restrict voting rights.

Plus, conservatives have found some new cultural issues to be outraged about because that`s what you do when you have no actual policies to put forward. We`ll cover that and more in tonight`s absolute worst.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be absolutely clear. You do need to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated not only protects you. It also reduces the risk that you give the virus to somebody else.

It could save your life or the lives of people you love.

This is your choice. It`s life and death. We need you. We need you to bring it home. Get vaccinated.

In two months, let`s celebrate our independence as a nation and our independence of this virus. We can do this. We will do this.


REID: President Biden made an emotional plea today for Americans to get vaccinated.

And he set a goal for 70 percent of adults to receive their first dose by July 4. Currently, 56 percent have gotten their first shot. He also set a goal of 160 million fully vaccinated Americans by July 4. And that number right now is 106 million. The rate of vaccinations has been slowing in recent days. Biden also announced new efforts to reach Americans who are hesitant to get vaccinated or who struggle to access appointments.

They include a new Web site and a number that people can text to find appointments, a push to send doses directly to thousands of rural health clinics, requiring all pharmacies to offer walk-in appointments, and moving quickly on vaccinating children once the FDA approves the Pfizer dose for 12-to-15 year olds.

And joining me now is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

I`m excited to be able to talk with you, Governor.

I feel like you have faced maybe the most difficult situation in the country in terms of trying to get your arms around this vaccine. The fight against you from the very beginning has been vicious.

So, I want to find out how things are going. I know cases are going down. There was a spike earlier in the year. How are things going right now in the state?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): The trajectory is good.

And, Joy, we are so pleased to see that we`re rolling on vaccines; 50.6 percent of our population has gotten at least one shot. Almost 40 percent is fully vaccinated. We`re ahead of the national curve on that. We do see things slowing. We -- our modeling always projected that that would be the case.

And that`s why I`m thrilled to see the White House and the president continue to underpromise and overdeliver, getting past the 100 million shots, 200 million shots in the first 100 days. And now to set this goal for Fourth of July to get 70 percent of our nation vaccinated is a lot like what we have been shooting for here in Michigan. And we`re grateful to see the whole nation focusing on the same goal.

REID: I`m wondering, if I can ask you, sorry, about the -- kind of the pressures that you have faced, because I know other states have faced it too. There are restaurant associations, industries that want to get back open that I`m sure put lots of pressure on governors, saying, we want to open.

And we saw that look pretty violent and kind of, honestly, terrifying in your state at times with people with guns demanding reopening. Right now, as you said, 50.6 percent of Michiganders are vaccinated. You have set a goal that at 55 percent plus two weeks, you can have in person work. You have got another, 60 percent plus two weeks, you do indoor capacity at stadiums, and then it rolls on from there, banquet halls, gyms, restaurant at 65 percent. Indoor capacity limits would be lifted.

Gatherings and face mask orders would be lifted at 70 percent. To get to that, though, you have to get past a lot of anti-vaxxers and people who`ve made it into politics to be against vaccines and masking.

A, how much pressure did you feel from industries inside of your state to do this reopening plan and to get more fully open? And how worried are you that you`re going to have anti-vaxxers undercut your efforts?

WHITMER: Well, I think everyone`s worried about that, frankly.

There -- there is a segment of our population that has questions, and we want to answer those questions and make sure they have got confidence. There`s another segment that, for political reasons or other, they`re not interested in getting vaccinated.

I think that`s why it`s so important to have these goals and have these metrics, so that we`re all focused on reaching them, so we can get what we call back to normal. I know it`s a little corny, but we want -- that`s what we all crave, right? We want to be able to celebrate and get together with our families, maybe even get to a football game this fall.

And so setting these goals, I know we have taken a unique approach. And I`m glad that people like Dr. Jha have weighed in and said, this makes a lot of sense. We think so, too, because we have all got to be in this. It`s got to be business and government. It`s got to be Democrats and Republicans.

If we`re going to get to that 70 percent number, where we are safe, it`s going to take all of us to make that effort and to educate the public and encourage them to get vaccinated.

REID: And I think everyone kind of remembers, unfortunately, something you probably don`t want to remember, these men who are accused of plotting to actually kidnap you, to harm you.

They have had now increasing charges added, weapons of mass destruction charge added. They tested bombs. It was really scary.

So, I wonder, number one, if you have a comment on the additional charges. And, also, do -- how do you message to the people who are politically -- you`re a woman governor. You`re a Democrat. And so, for a lot of people, they say, I don`t want to hear anything that Gretchen Whitmer has to say.

But you have still got to get 70 percent of your people vaccinated. How do you even do that messaging?


WHITMER: That`s right.

Well, we`re going to continue to focus on the facts and the data and enlist as many allies as we can. We have seen people step up. The business community is really encouraging their work force to get vaccinated. Some are -- have incentive programs. I mean, this has to be all hands on deck.

And I know we`re not going to reach everyone. I get that. But I`m not going to stop trying, because this really is about our economy. This really is about our individual health. It`s about our families. It`s about the strength of our state.

I love the state of Michigan. I love the people of Michigan. And that`s what drives every action that we have taken to keep people safe and to get us back to normal. And that will continue to be the case. There`s going to be ugliness. It`s unfortunate. It`s a part of the moment that we`re all living in.

I hope that it decreasingly becomes a regular part of conversation and society that we live in, because these are -- it`s not appropriate. It`s dangerous. It undermines our republic. And we saw that on January 6. We saw it a lot earlier here in Michigan.

And I`m just going to stay focused on doing my job and doing as much outreach as I can, because there are a lot of good people that are curious, a lot of good people who have questions. And I want to make sure that they get they get the answers, so that they can be safe and get the vaccine.

REID: Governor Gretchen Whitmer from the great state of Michigan.

I love Michigan, love, love Detroit. God bless Flint. And you do have a great state. So, I wish you all the luck in the world. Thank you very much for being here.

And still ahead: Beto O`Rourke on the strides being made by the Biden administration as it tries to undo the damage done by Trump`s immigration policies and the growing, ongoing push by Republicans to make it harder for Texans to vote.

All that and more next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: The Biden administration has begun undoing the single most evil policy enacted by the previous administration.

This week, the administration will reunite four migrant families separated under the previous administration`s child separation policy. At least one child was just 3 years old when separated from their parent.

According to the White House, there are still more than 1,000 families that remain separated. More than 5,500 children were separated from their families under the previous administration`s zero tolerance immigration policy.

Jacob Soboroff recently spoke to one young migrant who is expected to be reunited with his mother this week after more than three years.

Bryan is now 18 years old.


BRYAN, SEPARATED FROM FAMILY: It`s just a really cruel experience that I just hope no one has to go through.

They`re doing a good job on protecting the kids, but I think they`re, like, putting too much attention on protecting them physically. But what about, like, emotionally and everything that, like, they`re feeling and that they go through by separating them from their parents?

Yes, they`re -- you`re protecting them from whatever they`re escaping from, their countries or whatever they had to go through, but you`re putting them into even more pain by separating them from their families.


REID: The border remains a faux talking point for Republicans.

You may remember, in March, when a group of GOP senators put their border demagoguery stagecraft into full effect in Texas, with Ted "Crocodile" Cruz leading the way, complete with patrol boats and machine guns.

They spread lies about migrants pouring into our country. It`s the same kind of baseless claims about communities of color that Texas Republicans are now using as they race to enact draconian voter suppression laws in the Lone Star State.

I`m joined now by Beto O`Rourke, former Texas congressman.

And I guess I will start from where we started in the beginning of that setup, is on reuniting children at the border. I know that you`re in touch with lots of community groups that are part of this sort of activism.

Can you give us a sense, from your point of view, of how -- how that is going and how complicated it`s going to be to reunite these families, some of them came through the Texas border?

FMR. REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D-TX): Well, this is a good start.

You mentioned four families will be reunited. There are at least 1,000 more, we think. We don`t know, because the Trump administration did such a poor job of keeping records and tracking these families once they were separated.

But just as important as reuniting these families is making sure that they have help and support going forward. I mean, imagine a 5-year-old boy, an 8-year-old girl who has not seen their parents for years, has been living with strangers.

The ability to reconnect with that family member whom they associate with so much pain that they have just suffered, that`s going to take a lot of work to get through. And we should be there to make sure that the United States is doing it, since this country, under our previous president, caused it.

So, I`m glad to see the president starting this process. I hope they dedicate the resources and focus to it to make sure that every single one of those families is reunited and, once reunited, are helped to restore that family after some serious damage.

REID: And you have seen and we talked about Ted Cruz a little bit in the start of this segment demagoguing the issue of the border still.

And I wonder if the kind of demagoguery, the fact the fact that they`re being used, these families and these children in a lot of cases who are alone in this country somewhere, or their parents or somewhere back in Honduras or Guatemala or wherever, if the demagoguery is making it harder for people to come forward and making people fearful.

Are you worried that the demagoguing will make it harder to reunite the families?

O`ROURKE: Let`s take them at their word, if they`re truly concerned about these children and the plight of these asylum seekers and refugees at our border, and let`s work, Democrats and Republicans together, to ensure that these families can come to the United States and meet their children here and get the support that they need.

We should also acknowledge that Ted Cruz and many others who are blaming President Biden for overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities, over the last month, you have seen an 80 percent drop in children detained at Border Patrol facilities, going from something like 5,800 kids to 790.

And that`s after Donald Trump had dismantled much of the infrastructure at the border to help these families. So, it`s a lot in a very short period of time, a lot more work to do, including, of course, getting at the underlying conditions that would cause these families to flee.

And I know that the vice president, Kamala Harris, is doing extraordinary work right now with regional leaders to address that. But that has to remain our priority the United States, if we`re not going to have this same challenge a year, five years, 10 years from now.

REID: You know, we can`t talk Texas without talking voting, because the other thing that people of color are being used to demagogue is the issue of voting.

And the other side, the Republican Party, uses this specter of people who are undocumented suddenly rushing the polls and voting, which is not something that we have seen a phenomenon of, but they pretend it is. And in a state like Texas, it`s fairly easy to do.

And so they`re enacting this just sweeping series of laws that Texas Republicans are looking at passing. There`s one called SB-7 that`s in committee. there`s an HB-6. There`s all of these laws that will make it very difficult, criminalize sending in mail-in applications, protecting partisan poll watchers, which you could use for intimidation, creating new rules for people who are assisting voters. Some voters need assistance with language.

Limiting polling places in large urban counties, restricting early voting, et cetera, et cetera, I mean, even allowing poll watchers to film people. Organizations like True the Vote can`t wait to get in there. And they`re not going to film people who look like -- like you, with all due respect. They`re going to film people who look like me or people who are Latino.

What can be done about that? What are organizations doing about it? And are you worried that free and fair elections could become a thing of the past in a state like Texas?

O`ROURKE: We just learned within the last hour that the Texas House is going to vote on a bill similar to the one passed by the Texas Senate this Thursday.

If that passes, and they can work out the differences in committee, it`ll go to Governor Abbott for his signature, and all these voter suppression tactics that you have just described will become law in a state that is already the hardest in the country to vote, no online voter registration, 750 polling place closures over the last eight years, racial gerrymander, voter I.D.

You name it, we have got it in Texas. It`s about to get even worse. But there is still time. It has not yet passed. It has not been voted on. If those from Texas watching this right now can call their state reps before the Thursday vote, I hope that they can compel them to do the right thing.

Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, every eligible voter should be able to participate. That`s going to be a lot harder if these bills pass.

REID: I have to say -- and I`m sure you probably get sick of being asked this, but there are very few, it seems to me, Texas Democrats who have the stature statewide to be able to even be viable statewide.

Have you thought about whether or not you would want to try to run against Greg Abbott? Would you want to run for governor? Is that something that you have considered?

O`ROURKE: I`m going to think about where I can do the most good.

And, right now, I`m finishing a semester teaching at Texas State University of Texas. We`re also running an organization called Powered By People that`s registering voters across the state of Texas, in the face of this voter suppression.

So I`m going to continue to do this work and continue to think about where I can be most effective.

REID: Well, I`m sure you probably wouldn`t flee for Mexico during an ice storm, so maybe a rematch with Ted Cruz might be something in the offing. I`m sure he would not enjoy that.

Beto O`Rourke, former Congressman Beto O`Rourke, thank you very much. Appreciate you being here this evening.

OK, up next: Tales told by idiots full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, that about sums up conservatives` latest culture wars, which brings us to tonight`s absolute worst.

And that is next. Don`t go anywhere.


REID: The Republican Party looks a lot different than it did just 12 years ago, but one distinct feature remains, that seething, foaming at the mouth conservative rage led by a nascent Tea Party movement enraged over healthcare and by healthcare and by healthcare, I mean, a black president.

Fast forward to now, Obamacare remains but the tea party got what it wanted, a far right galvanized by the fear of a black president and of a future where white, straight Christian men are not the masters of the universe. And that conservative outrage machine, you see it churning every day on the House floor or in commentaries by Tuckems and his friends at Fox News because keeping their base angry is far more important than actually governing, even if the boogeyman is literally a child.

Enter their latest fixation, trans youth who are threatening to take over fourth grade volleyball with a vengeance and by that, I mean they`re not. It`s a make-believe crisis, the Republicans` favorite kind.

But instead of red meat or plastic potatoes, this war has real consequences. Transgender girls who already feel unsafe in schools are now facing an onslaught of state legislation targeting them from participating in sports and the justification for kicking these kids off the team.

Caitlyn Jenner sums it up.


CAITLYN JENNER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This is a question of fairness. That`s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls sports in school. It just isn`t fair. And we have to protect girls sports in our country.

REPORTER: But if someone transitions and now identifies as a girl, isn`t it delegitimizing their identity to prevent them --

JENNER: Have a good day.


REID: Well, have a good day.

OK, of course, Caitlyn Jenner, the Republican candidate for California governor who wants to lead that state, does not speak for the trans community. But she is a long-time Republican who`s also a vehement Trump supporter and we know the Republican M.O. all too well. We know that they don`t actually care about fairness in girls sports, just like they don`t actually care about unborn fetuses because if they did care, they would also care about kids locked in cages and that America`s babies need affordable healthcare too.

The war against abortion, just like their war against marriage equality, it`s what we`re seeing in this war against trans kids. It`s about forcing the other to exist in their shadow so that they can continue living in a country where their status is protected against all else.

And that is why the GOP selling rage over actual policy is the absolute worst.

And up next, the conservative fixation on a whitewashed candy-coated version of American history. And the new curriculum at the heart of that fight? The creator of the 1619 Project joins me next.


REID: Thanks to "The New York Times" seminal 1619 Project which traces the consequences of slavery from its inception centuries ago to its modern day implications for black Americans, we`ve seen a growing movement to reframe how American history is taught in public schools.

Well, some parents are opposed to critical race theory as new curriculum aren`t too pleased.


UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just because I do not want critical race theory taught to my children in school does not mean that I`m a racist, damn it.


REID: It actually does. It`s just another example of Republicans turning kids into a wedge issue, just like their politically motivated attacks on transgender youth who just want to play sports.

Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize winner and creator of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones of "The New York Times Magazine", and Charlotte Clymer, transgender activist and former press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign.

Two of my favorite follows on Twitter brought to life.

Nikole, I have to go to you first because you have been firing them up, throwing WBD, the boys down, you know, like firecrackers all over Twitter.

I`m going to allow you to respond to Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader, who said 1619 is not an important date in history. Dates like 1776, the Declaration of Independence, 1787, the Constitution, Civil War, that`s the sort of things that are important, not that. He`s also said that he`s attacking President Biden`s anti-racism focus, and he`s said it`s divisive and he`s joining in the protests against teaching systemic racism, saying it would give students a slanted story.

Your thoughts?

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: Well, one, I don`t know how you teach about 1865 without acknowledging that 1619 was an important year being that 1865 occurs began we began slavery in 1619. But also clearly slavery -- 1619 was an important date for Mitch McConnell`s own family because his own family left Virginia, came to Alabama to start cotton forced labor plantations, owned dozens of other human beings and his own wealth and status was acquired because of the legacy of slavery.

So, one, we know that when he`s saying that, no one can argue that 1619 was not a foundational date in American history. It nearly led to the demise of our entire nation in 1865, but also it was personally important for Mitch McConnell himself.

So when you hear people like him saying that teaching the actual facts of American history are divisive, maybe that`s because we have a divisive history in this country. So he`s not arguing that we shouldn`t teach the truth. He`s just saying that the truth is too difficult for apparently our nation to bear and that we`re far too fragile to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the truth.

REID: Thank you first because now we understand why he doesn`t want it taught because I don`t want you to learn about me. Tom Cotton had the same issue.

It strikes me, Charlotte, you know, Nikole was tweeting earlier today that Du Bois wrote -- and I think this is so brilliant, that people should read more Du Bois. That the facts of American history have been in the last half century been falsified because the nation was ashamed but also that history has one of two purposes, either to inform you and make you know it, make you understand the past or to assuage your need to feel heroic.

And American history has, up until now, really been taught as a bomb to make Americans feel patriotic and feel good about the country, not as a way to inform people. Most Americans don`t know very much about American history.

It strikes me that the trans kids attacks sort of almost cut against this need for Americans to feel heroic. Trans kids might be the biggest sort of ease to victimize children. There`s not a lot of trans kids. They`re easy to victimize.

One would think that what we would want for our stories to feel heroic toward them -- they`re children. Why do you think the opposite is happening and trans kids have become like the, you know, sort of the sexy wedge issue for Republican politicians?

CHARLOTTE CLYMER, TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST: I think you and Nikole said it perfectly. By the way, Nikole, I love the 1619 Project. I learned so much reading it. I would encourage everyone to read it.

You know, the Republican Party has run out of ideas. They have nothing left. They weren`t able to offer solutions to health care for people`s economic woes, for our national security. Under, you know, Donald Trump`s watch, 500,000 people died in nine months last year. They have no idea.

So what are they going to do? They`re going to resort to pandering to people`s fear and striking hearts -- in the hearts of people who don`t know a lot about marginalized communities. And trans children are so easy for them to attack because most Americans don`t know a lot about trans people and trans health care.

So they`re just -- they`re bullying young trans kids. And by the way, when they go to attack trans kids online, they`re not showing pictures of white trans kids. They`re showing pictures of young black trans women in high school next to young white girls, sis white girls, and we know the message they`re trying to send there.

They`re trying to send the message that this is who your young white daughter is competing against, this person. Your safety or their safety is threatened and their future is threatened by having to compete against them. We know what they`re trying to do here.

REID: I`m glad you said because there is that intersectional argument because, Nikole, the thing is the easiest sort of tick to go to is fear of black bodies. We do all these stories about policing and you made another good point that the media needs to absorb. This isn`t like a political story, right? It`s a story about what we`re going to call ourselves as a country, and you really can`t extricate enslavement from any of it, including policing.

So, you know, talk to us a little bit about how can we talk about this in a more holistic way because even the policing story is so rooted in enslavement that you cannot separate the two. And what charlotte just said is the black body is the easy go-to even when the real issue you want to play around with is trans kids in sports.

HANNAH-JONES: Absolutely. I mean the entire argument of the 1619 Project is that slavery pre-dates almost every other American institution. That means that it is foundational and embedded in our culture.

We don`t even have to know how we`ve learned to think about black people as more criminal, as more scary, or in the case of trans kids as more muscular and so automatically be frightening to these little white girls. We don`t even have to know how we learned that. It is embedded in our culture.

And I think what is so important is understanding that intersectionality, you know, the term coined by Kimberly Crenshaw, which shows what black people have always known. Marginalized people have to fight for the rights of all marginalized people because it never stops at marginalizing one group. All of us suffer when we allow other people to be marginalized.

And so, of course, our fates are intertwined. You don`t see Republicans being so concerned about protecting girls sports, offering for girls sports to be funded at the same rate at They only care about these issues if they can use them as a wedge. They`re not actually fighting for equality.

REID: Absolutely. And you`re right. The intersectional argument is why we people of color are all just as mad at Rick Santorum as people who are indigenous are about what he said about indigenous people, Iroquois convention, look it up, Rick Santorum.

I hate to have to make you answer this question, Charlotte. Caitlyn Jenner is a strange figure because she was for Donald Trump, and he was, you know, a directly anti-trans president. And now she is running for governor and has now decided she too is against trans girls playing sports. I don`t understand it.

CLYMER: That`s right.

REID: Within the community, what are people saying and thinking about this?

CLYMER: Listen, every marginalized community has members that work against the equality of that community. It`s -- you know, every community has that. For trans folks, Caitlyn Jenner is Phyllis Schlafly of the trans community. That`s who she is.

She has always worked against LGBTQ equality. She has always worked against our interests. So when we saw her throw trans children under the bus and directly attack trans children in that interview, we were not surprised. This is who she is.

And, by the way, she`s a hypocrite. Just last year, she told trans journalist Dawn Ennis on her podcast that she had problem with trans kids playing on teams that align with their gender identity. Caitlyn Jenner has played in women`s golf tournaments for God`s sake.

This is someone who panders. She is a hypocrite, and she is a hateful person who has no problem attacking trans people to build her brand.

REID: I -- very well said.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose 1619 Project I just sent out to all of my students that you actually spoke to at Howard University. Thank you so much for speaking to my class. They all got copies of the 1619 Project because people need to learn it.

Charlotte Clymer, great to have you on. Thank you so much. Welcome to THE REIDOUT family.

OK. There is some news tonight regarding former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Today, Chauvin`s lawyer filed a motion asking the court to throw out last month`s guilty verdicts in the killing -- the murder of George Floyd and to schedule a new trial. The motion cites jury misconduct and jury intimidation as well as a failure to provide a change of venue for the trial among its reasons.

Of course, this appeal is no surprise, and it`s been expected since Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts. He`s still expected to face sentencing next month.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Be sure to tune in tomorrow. I will be joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren on Joe Biden -- President Biden`s bold agenda and her new book, which is called "Persist." You don`t want to miss it.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now, and May the 4th be with you.