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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/2/21

Guests: Al Franken, Christina Greer, Katie Hobbs, Kurt Bardella, Jamie Raskin, William Barber


Voting rights bill faces uphill battle in Senate. Biden calls out two members of the Senate for blocking voting rights bill. Democratic Senator Sinema defends filibuster. GOP Senator McConnell vows to block Biden agenda. There is no bipartisanship in sight on voting rights. Biden taps Vice President Harris to protect voting rights. Democratic Senator Manchin will meet with NAACP leaders on voting rights. Partisan vote audit continues in Arizona. Despite the fact that COVID restrictions are being eased across the country, many in the GOP are still waging a crusade against masks and vaccinations. For weeks now, Republican governors across the country and only Republican governors have been racing one another to kick millions of Americans off of extended unemployment assistance under the American Rescue Plan, complaining the aid is a deterrent to work.



ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: An update on the Giuliani probe, The Daily Beast reporting the feds are now zeroing in on his consulting firm to determine whether or not the former mayor engaged in unregistered and illegal lobbying on behalf of foreign figures.

That does it for us. We want to give you that update. “THE REIDOUT” with Joy Reid starts now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And up -- hey Ari. And update it`s also a tease. God, I love it, have a great night my friend. Thank you very much.

MELBER: I love it.

REID: Cheers, good night. And good evening, everyone. We have a big hour ahead, including the latest on the mess in Arizona, with new warnings from election observers and Tucker Carlson`s absurd new comments about COVID vaccines that show that he doesn`t know much about science or history.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with Americas existential crisis. Latest this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring the for The People Act, the Democrat signature anti-corruption and voting rights for foreign bill to the floor for a vote. It can`t come soon enough as Republican-led legislatures across the country have introduced nearly 400 bills that limit voting access, an anti-voting way that this country has not seen since the end of reconstruction.

In his new cover piece from Mother Jones, Ari Berman writes that much of what we`re witnessing is a concerted attempt to end the second reconstruction, which began after the passing of the voting rights act in 1965. Much like the post-reconstruction era, today`s Republican Party, the party of white grievance, is rewriting the rules of American democracy to protect conservative white political power from the rising influence of new demographic groups.

And unless something is done now, the damage could be irreparable. On Tuesday, President Biden, recognizing the moment in signaling a new phase in the pressure campaign, called out two obstinate members of his own party.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: This sacred right is under assault with incredibly intensity like I`ve never seen.

With an intensity and aggressiveness we`ve not seen in a long, long time, it`s simply un-American.

I hear all of the folks on T.V. saying, why doesn`t Biden get this done? Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.


REID: In the face of this four-alarm fire, one of those unnamed senator, Arizona`s Kyrsten Sinema, doubled down on her support for the filibuster. Sinema, calling herself a happy warrior for bipartisanship, and speaking like someone who frankly has the luxury of not being personally impacted by these oppressive laws, repeated her refusal to budge on the filibuster.


SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): To those who say we must make a choice between the filibuster and X, I say, this is a false choice. The reality is, is that when you have a system that is not working effectively, and I would think that most would agree that the Senate is not a particularly well- oiled machine, right, the way to fix that is to change your behavior, not to eliminate the rules, or change the rules but to change your behavior.


REID: The other unnamed senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, continues to be a fellow Ahab for hunting the metical creature called bipartisanship. He told reporters to keep the faith in this damn Senate, we will make it, we will work out, make it bipartisan. Keep the faith in what?

Just last Friday, 35 Senate Republicans came together to kill a bipartisan bill supported by the majority of the American public, to create a commission to investigate the most violent attack on our democracy in modern American history. In simpler terms, there will never be ten senate Republicans willing to overcome a filibuster because of what their leader told us.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): 100 percent of my focus is on standing up to this administration. What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins and Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country.


REID: Okay, did you get that, 100 percent. And that leaves us frankly confused as to why Manchin and Sinema care more about the will of the Republican Party than about the will of the American people.

Joining me now is Al Franken, former Senator from the state of Minnesota and Host of the Al Franken Podcast, and Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University.

And, you know, Senator Franken, I have to go to you first, because, you know, I never worked with these people, I don`t know these people, but I frankly do not -- I can`t think of an explanation for what Manchin and Sinema are doing unless it is that they actually prefer that Republicans control the process and maybe that Republicans control the Senate. Or that they themselves don`t maybe plan to run for re-election and are looking to their next thing, which they think is going to take place in a right-wing Republican-controlled world. They`re just preparing themselves to be the smoking man on The X-Files and let the other guy win. I don`t know another explanation, do you?

FORMER SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): I don`t read their minds but this is different. This is an existential threat. This is a threat to our democracy, what the Republicans passed nationwide. But just look at Arizona, where not only are they suppressing votes, which is something they traditionally do to try to get people they don`t want to vote. What they`re actually doing is trying to give the authority to Republican officials to overturn elections.

In Arizona, they`ve given the authority to determine who won the election, they change it from the secretary of state to the attorney general in this legislation, and that expires in January of `23, because they don`t know who`s going to win, the attorney general, and who`s going to win the secretary of state.

This is different. This is not whether, you know, to cover orthodontry (ph) in the ACA. This is democracy. And I would make the case to Joe Manchin, and especially on this bill, because I hear Sinema is for it, but also on the filibuster, obviously, that we either need to get -- Joe said he won`t get rid of it, Sinema said she won`t get rid of it. (INAUDIBLE) have been working on a modification that I think would work in stopping this. And I`ll let the professor weigh in here so I don`t, you know, talk too much.

REID: No, we want you to talk. We want you to talk. I mean, the thing is, Christina Greer, Kyrsten Sinema knows everything that Al Franken just said. She understands what`s happening in her own state. I can only conclude that she supports what they`re doing and wants it to proceed. Because she says she`s on the bill, she a co-sponsor, that`s real convenient to let her show about black churches on MLK day so she can cover herself that way. But I cannot conclude other than that what she sees happening that Republicans are doing, she`s for it because she`s not for changing it. She`s not for stopping it. I don`t know what else to conclude.

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AND AMERICAN STUDIES, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, two words, Joy, Primaries matter. Because just as you said, you know she will be more than happy to show up in particular communities when the primary season comes around to talk about certain legislation that she mealy-mouthed supported. But on really important questions of our democracy, as Senator Franken has pointed out, she has been an adversary to the Democratic Party.

And we know that there is great ideological diversity within the Democratic Party. We talk about this with black politics all the time. We are the welcoming tent. There are several shades of blue. We understand that. But we cannot have senators, Democratic senators, who are actively working against the American people.

And that is what we`re seeing with Sinema and Manchin when they refuse to support their colleague, their Democratic colleagues when it comes to really assessing what the filibuster has done, and how it prevents, especially with Mitch McConnell and his caucus, how it prevents the American public from moving forward in a real substantive way.

The fact that they`re voting against the January 6th commission should be proof enough alone to let us know that these individuals are not interested in the health, and wealth and continuation of this American democracy.

REID: Yes. And, Senator Franken, look, there apparently the new strategy, you know, you have Vice President Harris is going to be leading the administration`s efforts. They`re putting here on the field You`ve got the NAACP preparing to go and meet with Manchin. They`re basically throwing the full African-American coalition at Manchin. Because right now, it`s Senator Cory Booker that is out there, it`s Reverend Warnock out there meeting with him.

They`re throwing -- I don`t see how that moves him. He doesn`t need African-American votes to win. It`s a 7 percent black state. Does that work? I don`t see how that works, but you tell me if you think it differently.

FRANKEN: Let me describe what Norm and I have been work on for 12 years now, and we`ve modified the modification. This is what it would be. Right now, if you look at that vote on the January 6th commission, they only got 35 to stop it but they didn`t need 35. They didn`t need any. They need one, I guess. They needed someone to show up.

REID: Yes.

FRANKEN: But we needed 60. This modification is they have to show up. And there have to be 41 votes. They have to keep the filibuster going. But not just that, they have to stay there. And it has to be a talking filibuster, and they have to stay there. And they can stay there a day. They can stay there two days. There`s 41 -- there`s 50 of them. 41 have to be there at some point, all day, all night. By my math, each of them would get five hours off.

You do that for two or three days, Chuck Grassley gets a little tired of that. Mitch McConnell gets a little tired of that. Plus, the American people get to hear them debate. And they get to hear the Republicans take the pro side on why it should be a crime to give someone a glass of water or give them water in a line. I want to see that debate. I want to have the American people see that debate.

And I want to make Jim Inhofe and Mitch McConnell stay there. I want to -- believe me, I`ve been in this body. They don`t want to stay there, and that they`re not going to. And this -- you know, before filibusters were people like Strom Thurmond, were for the exact opposite reason, for bad reasons. This is about our democracy.

And if we lose this one, if we allow this to overturn elections, elected officials, elected Republican officials to overturn elections, our democracy goes away. It wouldn`t be Hitler, it wouldn`t be Tojo, wouldn`t been the confederacy, it would be Mitch McConnell who ended our democracy.

REID: Yes. Well, and Mitch -- and Joe Manchin and Kiyrsten Sinema, sorry. I can`t not fault them.

And, Christina, I think this is a great idea. You know, I`ve even wonder, you know the (INAUDIBLE) sort of normal Filibuster, it started out that you needed two-thirds, eventually when they finally created culture, it`s now down to 60. Is there a reason it couldn`t be 55? Democrats could literally do the math, as to how many votes could we get for a commission on January 6th insurrection? How many did we get, we got 55? That`s going to be the number from now on.

Because none of these people Sinema, Manchin, they cannot deliver ten votes. Well, maybe sometimes they can get five or six. Or doing what, Senator Franken just said, just change it, so that I cannot believe that these people didn`t have to stand up there and explain to those cops and their families, to Officer Sicknick`s family on television why they`re voting against the bill. At least make them do that. Is that something that you think could actually be a change, that at least, I don`t know, it could happen and would help?

GREER: Right. And I think what we`ll see, is we`ll circumvent the rules, and we`ll have some sort of makeshift task force where we have a conversation about it, but it`s not going to be the official vote, which is what is needed and it need to be. I also want our Democratic senators to be a little bit more firm with their colleagues.

I mean, I respectfully disagree with Senator Franken. I think that Mitch McConnell will stay there for five days, ten days, if it means taking away democratic freedoms from the American people. I don`t think he will tire of that. I think he`s shown himself. He wants to make sure that Joe Biden is not successful. He wants to make sure that the Democratic Party does not have any wins. And I don`t think that he keeps the larger vision of what American democracy should look like. So he is unmoved and unbothered by the circumstances that we find ourselves in.

And so I want our Democratic senators to stop pretending that their Republican colleagues will ever think about American democracy the way they do. Republicans have made very clear, they are not willing to work together. They are coming to this knife fight with every single thing in their arsenal, and Democrats are still sort of just like, well, shucks, maybe if we smile a little more, they`ll like us. It is very clear that that`s not happening.

And so I think the strategies need to be a little more firm and they need to be a little more direct with their Republican colleagues moving forward.

REID: We are out of time. I`m being told we`re out of time. But just very, very quickly, Al Franken, do you agree with Mitch McConnell stay there for ten days, 100 days to stop this?

FRANKEN: No, he wouldn`t. I know Mitch McConnell, he wouldn`t. But here`s the other thing. When you said it used to be two-thirds, that was two- thirds present and voting.

REID: Right.

FRANKEN: Now it`s 60. And there`s a difference. Because present and voting means they have to be there. And they`re not going to be there.

REID: Yes, they could do it from home. Think about that you all, they can filibuster from home. This is a great debate. You guys please continue it on Twitter. Al Franken, Christina Greer, you guys are great.

Up next on THE REIDOUT. She`s one of America`s top defenders of democracy. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has called out Republicans for their fake election audit in her state, and she just announced that she is running for governor. Katie Hobbs joins me next.

Plus, tonight`s absolute worst.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Medical Jim Crow has come to the America. If we still have water fountains, the unvaccinated would have separate ones.


REID: No, Tucker. No, no, that`s not Jim Crow. I have a lesson for you tonight dear on what Jim Crow actually was and is. And why you`re wining privilege once in T.V. dinner truck from behind will never, could never be a victim of Jim Crow discrimination.

THE REIDOUT continues -- look at that confused face -- after this.


REID: Along with the Republican fight to rewrite our election laws, there is perhaps no greater tangible example of our slippery democracy than the partisan grift occurring right now in the state of Arizona, where a firm called the Cyber Ninjas is tampering the ballots in Maricopa County, where Joe Biden won the presidency by more than 45,000 votes.

Hundreds of volunteers continue to paw ballots in search of bamboo fibers, cheese dust and nonexistent fraud, rightfully alarming Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who published a summary of troubling incidents noted by election experts on the ground.

Those experts have witnessed security gates left open and unattended, pens near the ballots, which is prohibited to ensure that they can`t be used to alter those ballots.

A Senate liaison also confirmed that voting system data was sent to a lab in Montana, but did not specify what this lab would do or what this lab even was. This, as terrifyingly anti-democratic as it sounds, isn`t even the worst of it.

Today, a delegation of Republican state senators from Pennsylvania, toured the fraudit and received a briefing from the -- air quotes -- "forensic team." One of the senators on that tour just so happened to spend thousands of dollars to bus protesters, if you want to call them that, to the Capitol on January 6.

Joining me now with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who announced today that she is running for governor.

And I`m going to get to that very shortly, because what`s happening in Arizona is probably the scariest of all of the states right now, because it`s sort of functionally what I think a lot of us fear will start happening in every state where Republicans are in control.

How out of control is this process? And is there a way to get it to stop?

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: We really hope there is a way to get it to stop. And we have been working on different avenues to do that since it began.

But we have also been seeing since the beginning that they are writing the playbook here to take this to other states. And everyone watching should be extremely concerned about this. It is an attempt to continue to undermine election integrity and lay the groundwork to steal future elections.

REID: And it`s also costing taxpayers in Maricopa County money.

I mean, you have said that now the voting machines that have been tampered with by the Cyber Ninjas are no longer good. You`re going to -- there`s going to have to be a complete repurchase. This is going to cost millions of dollars.

Let me look -- let`s just talk about Arizona for a second. This is the thing called OHPI. And it`s a power ranking among Arizona figures. It says that you are number one among registered Arizona voters, number three among Democrats, number one among independents. You`re a very popular politician.

Does that politician -- does that sort of popularity overall across the board, maybe not among Republicans, give you kind of a public forum to be able to speak against this? Like, what has been the result of you trying to talk this down?

HOBBS: Well, I certainly think it speaks to where Arizonans are on this particular so-called audit that we`re seeing right now, that they`re tired of the partisan politics. And that`s what this is, and that I have had the chance to show leadership and stand up for the integrity of our elections.

And that`s what we`re seeing right now that Arizonans want. They want leaders who are going to stand up on the side of what`s true and right.

REID: If you -- let`s say -- you`re now running for a statewide office. You`re running for governor.

If you win, do you just assume that the Republican state legislature will just erase your victory from the books and say, nope, you didn`t win and refuse to seat you? Do you fear that?

HOBBS: Well, they certainly have proposed laws that would allow them to overturn the will of the voters. Fortunately, this year, those laws didn`t get passed.

But I could see them continuing to propose these kinds of laws in the future. I think anything that was passed in the next legislative session would go into effect too late to impact the 2022 election.


HOBBS: But that`s not the last election we`re going to have.

REID: So -- OK, so, in theory, they couldn`t do it. If they wanted to do that to you, they couldn`t do it right away. OK, that`s number one.

Have you had a conversation with your senators about this, about what`s happening in the state?

HOBBS: I -- yes, yes.

REID: And what do they say, because -- what do they say about it?

HOBBS: You`re talking our U.S. senators?

REID: Our U.S. -- your U.S. senators, yes.

HOBBS: Yes. Yes. Yes.

I have talked to Senator Kelly. He is extremely concerned about what`s going on. And we talked at length about it just yesterday.

REID: What about Senator Sinema?

HOBBS: I have not had a conversation with Senator Sinema.

REID: Mark Kelly has been very quiet. He was very popular when he ran. He is an astronaut. He is an impressive guy. He hasn`t really spoken publicly about what`s happening in Arizona.

Do you -- can you understand why? I mean, this is alarming. And he hasn`t really said anything. And Sinema has said nothing. All she said is: I love the filibuster. That`s it.

HOBBS: Well, look, I have been -- I have been working to share my concerns with our senators.

And I know that their constituents have been reaching out to them too. I`m not going to tell them how to do their jobs, but I will continue to do my job and stand up for the integrity of our elections and protect the voters of Arizona.

REID: As you`re running for governor, do you expect to get support from some Republicans who are sick of this?

Are there Republicans who are coming up to you on the campaign trail saying, yes, I`m done with this as well?

HOBBS: I certainly have already talked to Republicans who are supporting my run for governor and have in the -- supported me to get elected for secretary of state.

And I`m working to continue to earn the support of Arizona voters across the political spectrum.

REID: And when you`re running -- I guess I`m going back to what you`re -- what you have had to tell Maricopa County.

Are you concerned that the physical infrastructure that would be required for even your election and for all of the elections in 2022 is so broken that it won`t be possible to have a clear result or a free and fair election in Arizona in 2022 or 2024?

HOBBS: Well, this is why we reached out to Maricopa County now and told them that we would need to know what their plan is for the election equipment, so that -- because we`re already well into preparations for the 2022 election.

This -- the so-called audit is completely disruptive to those preparations. And we`re already working towards that. So, we -- the reason for reaching out to Maricopa County now about the equipment is so that we can make sure that there is a backup plan in place and that we are ready for the 2022 election.

To not be ready is not an option.

REID: Yes, absolutely, in that state especially.

God bless you and good luck, because your state is really in a very -- is really frightening the rest of the country, because it looks like a potential future for the rest of us that we do not want.

Good luck on your race, Katie Hobbs. Thank you very much for being here.

HOBBS: Thank you.

REID: All right, cheers.

OK, so here`s a crazy suggestion for a certain FOX News host. Next time you`re thinking about comparing vaccine passports to Jim Crow laws, don`t. Just don`t

Tonight`s absolute worst is straight ahead.


REID: Have you noticed this new Republican strategy to try to drown the outrage over their flurry of Jim Crow voting laws with pure confusion?

Here`s our old friend Tuckums going after vaccine passports with the GOP`s favorite new analogy.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: That unless you can prove you have taken the injection that the Democratic Party demands you take, you are no longer permitted in bars, comedy clubs, even some dance competitions in the state of New York.

You`re too dirty to appear in public. You`re not welcome near normal people. Medical Jim Crow has come to America. If we still had water fountains, the unvaccinated would have separate ones.


REID: Nurse, can you please get in here? We appear to have another severe case of VSE, victim status envy. Stat.

These people have decided that being the victim of historic discrimination and cruelty is somehow something to be desired, and they want a piece of the action. In the current outbreak of VSE, Republicans apparently want so badly to blur the lines on what we can all see them doing.

They`re now trying to claim that, no, no, no, their anti-voting laws are not Jim Crow-style voter suppression. The real Jim Crow is anything that disproportionately affects them. See? Fix the historical analogy problem, because, if everything is Jim Crow, then nothing is Jim Crow.

See how the magic works?

Another symptom of this VSE epidemic is people screaming that Jim Crow was created by Democrats, like that`s some kind of aha, drop the mic argument.

Saying Democrats created Jim Crow the first time it was used is not an argument that you are not using Jim Crow now. By that analogy, since black people created rock `n` roll, you can`t call Elvis a rock `n` roll artist, because only what black people did in that musical style is rock `n` roll, no Beatles, no Rolling Stones. None of that can be called rock `n` roll because that`s a thing only black people did.

See how horribly that would work out?

And here we go again, having to explain to Republicans that, at the time the Democrats were doing Jim Crow, they were the conservative Southern- based party, and Republicans were the more liberal Northern-based party.

Pop quiz: Who is the conservative Southern-based Confederate Flag-waving, Confederate general-revering party now? The parties switched ideological sides. I know. I know. History is weird.

P.S., I doubt but this heckler is a Biden voter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came out here to give you all a statement and say that this was a powerful moment. I was going to connect ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a communist moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going to connect it to the Memphis massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a communist moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know who else has been called a communist? They called Martin Luther King a communist. They called...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re a communist.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s going to stand behind me singing "Dixieland."

And I told you all that...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not making this up.


REID: It looks like the idiots that stormed the Capitol.

And I don`t know who needs to hear this. OK, Tuckums is who needs to hear this. But requiring people to wear a mask or show a little card that says you aren`t going to kill everyone around you by coughing on them isn`t Jim Crow targeting the disproportionately Republican vaccine refusers and anti- maskers, any more than no shirts, no shoes, no service is Jim Crow that targets naked people.

I mean, shouldn`t people who choose to be publicly naked receive service in your store? No. No, they shouldn`t. You should be able to exclude naked people from rubbing their bare asses around your Walmart chain. That`s just common sense.

But you can`t exclude people based on immutable characteristics like race or gender or sexual orientation. That`s the difference. I can`t believe I have to explain this to adults.

Jim Crow laws, which, just like the current anti-voting laws, were passed mainly in the South, attempted to systematically exclude black people from social and civic life and carve out things like dining out and swimming at the beach or in a public pool or voting for whites only.

Jim Crow laws back in the bad old days that Republicans show most Republicans think were the good old days, didn`t say that black people couldn`t vote. The Constitution doesn`t allow that. They just said that, in order to vote, black people had to meet these very-hard-to-meet criteria, like guessing the number of bubbles in a bar of soap, or passing a literacy test by reading a complicated passage, or reciting part of the Constitution from memory.

I mean, we will totally let you vote if you can do that. And can`t anyone who ought to be voting do those things? I mean, we`re not going to ask the white people to try, but come on. It`s about preventing voter fraud.

That`s literally what they said back then, too. It was also done by closing the polling place at a time when sharecroppers couldn`t possibly make it on time because of the long hours that they had to work. And like the current version, the old Jim Crow laws often caught up some white people who might vote the wrong, meaning liberal, way too, by design.

In Georgia, their brand-new Jim Crow voting law is already working as designed. Black voters, who disproportionately lack state I.D., are already being disproportionately excluded. Jim Crow also involved periodically using brute force and violence to enforce the rules of racial hierarchy, including lynchings, like what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, or using violent mobs to overturn elections that black people won or participated in.

Sound familiar, MAGA insurrection fans?

Why do Republicans want so desperately to both suppress the history of American right-wing racism and malfeasance and also to be the victims of historic and racial malfeasance?

This victim status envy is getting really weird. Grow up and own it. You`re getting called Jim Crow Republicans because you are Jim Crow Republicans.

And you`re also the absolute worst.

And up next: more on the new phony victimization on the right. Don`t go anywhere.


REID: Despite the fact that COVID restrictions are being eased across the country, many in the GOP are still waging a crusade against masks and vaccinations. And it`s not just little Tucker Carlson appropriating the historic victimhood of African-Americans. We recently saw QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that mass requirements are akin to the prosecution that Jewish people faced during the Holocaust.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second class citizens, so much so that they were put on trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.


REID: No, no, no. That analogy was equally absurd and offensive. When a lady who ran the hat shop in Tennessee started selling Star of David patches in some kind of bizarre protests against vaccination. And to be clear, trying to keep people from spreading a deadly disease is not Jim Crow, and it`s not a pogrom like the Nazis unleashed on Jews. But because the Republicans insisted on treating a matter of public health as a political issue, they prefer to stoke this fire, rather than putting it out.

And that`s apparently why Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio, felt the need to post this very awkward video of himself literally burning a mask last night when he probably paid for, meaning he burned his own money in flames. Sadly, that`s what passes today as a Republican policy position in 2021.

Joining me now, Kurt Bardella, "L.A. Times" contributor and Democratic Party strategist.

And, Kurt, I mean, I hate to keep taking you back to the nightmare days of Breitbart, but I need for you to explain to me why Republicans have VSE, victim status envy. Why do they want so badly to redirect historic wrong, especially racially-based wrongs, and make them themselves the star of the show and the victim? Why do they want to be classed as victims?

KURT BARDELLA, DCCC ADVISOR: I mean, it`s a mania, Joy, here, I mean, because, again, there`s such a cognitive dissonance here. On one hand, the right likes to pride themselves on, quote-unquote, owning the libs, and calling everyone snowflakes.

And on the other hand, they`re claiming to be victims. They`re delicate. They`re weak. They`re not to be -- you know, we`re supposed to feel pity for them. How horrible that they`re being infringed upon and attacked from the radicals, socials, and all the things that they litter out there every single day.

And the reality is, obviously, none of that is true. None of that is rooted in reality. But it`s the only thing that they can do. It`s the only fallback that they have.

They know that when the playing field is level, they can`t win. They know that in a conversation about actual public policy, about the things that truly impact people`s day-to-day lives, they can`t win. They know that in a conversation rooted in fact, reality, truth, historical accuracy and context, they can`t win.

And so, they trout this line of B.S. out there every single day across the propaganda networks and channels, and they hope -- they`re hoping beyond hope that anybody who aligns with them won`t have the intellectual curiosity or ability to do a simple Google search and fact-check them on their nonsense. That`s what they`re hoping.

REID: It`s wild, because, you know, right, they tried to sort of play that they`re the macho party. But there`s the least macho thing in the world is self-pity. And, you know, you`re sitting here as somebody who has talked about anti-Asian violence, how it`s impacted you.

You know, I`m a black person, so, hello, 1619 and on it`s been rough. But the whining is that you see -- you don`t see that from people of color. Oh they`re like, they won`t let me wear -- not wear a mask in Walmart, and I just want to go in Costco and cough on you.

You know, do you get the sense that they -- is this that they want to spread COVID? Is that they feel it`s their right to spread COVID? Is this like a measles blanket thing from the puritans? What is this? Why do they seem to want to spread COVID?

BARDELLA: I go back to, it`s this mania, right? I mean, there has got to be a mental health explanation for the irrational desire to want to not wear a mask, go to super-spreader events, get everybody infected, infect their loved ones, their parents, their grandparents, watch them all die. And then the claim proudly that it`s their right to do that. That it`s somehow wrapped in this misguided sense of liberty and freedom.

Those are the buzzwords, Joy -- liberty, freedom.

REID: Yeah, it`s a right to die. It`s their right to die.


BARDELLA: Republicans have been -- right, and Republicans have been using those words and the blanket of patriotism as an excuse for all the oppression that they have put forward against communities of color, against working poor, against minorities and immigrants, and the least vulnerable among us.

And so, this is a game that they continually play. And you`re right, it is -- it is -- talking about this wannabe macho party, this wannabe tough guy, strong man act that they pull, these people are the most mentally fragile, weak, scared little children in a corner, hiding people that you will ever find, because at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, and they get caught and they get pulled before court, they`re the ones crying to their lawyers now, saying, oh, I had Fox psychosis. I can`t believe this happened.

They fold immediately like a house of cards when they get called on their B.S.

REID: I got to ask you, but speaking of whiny, probably the most whiny person I`ve seen in politics in my lifetime is Donald Trump, which, you know, everything is whiny, whiny, whiny. Well, I got to let you comment on the end of his blog. His blog only lasted 29 days, about the same tenure as Michael Flynn lasted as his national security adviser, probably a little bit more. On its last day, the site received just 1,500 shares or comments on Facebook and Twitter combined.

I could have just let have the floor and talk about the demise of the blog.

BARDELLA: I mean, it`s not just a blog, right? It`s a major multimedia platform that will change the political conversation. It`s going to lead a revolution, Joy.

I mean, this thing, it`s like four Scaramuccis, it lasted. This is a success, right? I mean, we live in a world where up is down, and down is up. And so, Donald -- he -- Donald Trump is not a loser. He didn`t fail. He had the most successful -- it was so successful, Joy, he had to shut it down. The servers couldn`t handle it. There was too much traffic that he had to close it up for everybody`s own good.

REID: And lastly, the Republican National Committee also on the same theme. So, Ronna Romney McDaniel, no one says Romney anymore, she`s upset because they don`t like in advance the way the debates are going to work. I guess they want to pick the moderators, and I guess they want them to be from OAN. What`s going on here?

BARDELLA: Listen, Joy, you and I both know that if you set up a debate with two people and it`s fair, and equal, well, that`s just unsportsmanlike if you`re a Republican. We can`t let that happen. Of course, they`re going to try to shut that down. That`s ridiculous.

We can`t possibly have two people actually have a conversation steered by policy and actual questions.

REID: Yeah.

BARDELLA: I mean, they`re scared to death of going outside their little Fox bunker into the real world, with real questions.

REID: Yeah.

BARDELLA: This is just par for the course.

REID: And that`s why they just want to rig elections instead.

Kurt Bardella, thank you very much, my friend.

And up next, appreciate you. America is slowly recovering from the pandemic, but it`s an uneven recovery with low income family suffering the most. What is being done to help out is next.


REID: For weeks now, Republican governors across the country and only Republican governors have been racing one another to kick millions of Americans off of extended unemployment assistance under the American Rescue Plan, complaining the aid is a deterrent to work.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Human nature kicks in. Do I want to get the same amount of money by going to work every day and working hard, do I want to get that amount of money by sitting at home? And so, we want to avoid the inclination of human nature.

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS (R), IOWA: We can`t continue to pay people to stay home.

GOV. GREG GIANFORTE (R), MONTANA: Unemployment is a safety net and we need it. It should be there for the people when they hit a rough patch, but as I said many times, it should not be a career choice.


REID: Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan joined the club yesterday, saying that he will end benefits next starting next month.

Now, 25 states all led by Republican governors plan to end federal pandemic aid programs early.

The pandemic laid bare a host of economic disparities in America and now there is a new push in Congress to tackle a critical issue, poverty. The House resolution called the Third Reconstruction is aimed at addressing the needs of poor and low income Americans. The resolution includes an update to the way poverty is measured and what a living wage should be. It also aims to create a federal jobs program that prioritizes low income Americans.

Joining me now are Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People`s Campaign and National Call for Moral Revival.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Congressman Raskin, I want to start with you, first. Please explain what it is that you are trying to do, and do you think it is something that can actually pass, not so much the House but the Senate and become law?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, whether anything can pass the Senate is anybody`s guess at this point. One of these bills, whether it is gun safety or HR-1 and voting rights or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, or the Third Reconstruction legislation, one of them is going to be the straw that breaks the camel`s back.

REID: Yeah.

RASKIN: And we will have to get through the filibuster.

So, look, you know, America is coming back because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are leading us and making a real investment in the American people. But we`ve got to rectify some serious inequalities and injustices that have grown up during the Trump period, and from before that, the way forward for America is always been reconstruction.

You know, I was thinking about revolution. The American Revolution kind of brought us back to where we were in terms of slavery and social relations. It did give us a great new constitution. But it`s the reconstruction is the American way forward after the civil war, again in the 1930s and again in the 1960s where we have the Second Reconstruction with the civil rights movement, and it`s time for a new reconstruction in America so we can uplift more than a hundred million people who basically been living in poverty for many years now.

REID: Yeah. If we can stop doing the redemption part that usually comes afterwards.

Bishop Barber, you know, there is a study "The New York Times" talked about, and it found that the stimulus checks, the checks were the first thing the Biden administration was able to get through, a new analysis of the Census Bureau argues the two latest rounds of aids improved Americans ability to buy food, to pay household bills, it reduced anxiety and depression with the largest benefits going to those poorest households and those with children. That`s actually unusual in American legislation.

So, that happened. What do we need to do next to make it sustainable?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER, THE POOR PEOPLE`S CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: Well, Joy, and that`s the key, sustainable, because we know it works, because every time we do, it works.

So, the bottom line with the resolution is that the Congress persons are finally taking up the agenda of the movement. And the Poor People`s Campaign agenda is, we must have the resolve. There is not a scarcity of money or scarcity of idea. The scarcity is political consciousness and social will.

So, we need first things like the permanent -- we need to change how we measure poverty. We need a living wage of at least 15 that will address the 32 million people who work for less than a living wage.

We need an infrastructure that target poor, low wealth communities. We need health care for all. We need full and protected and expanded voting rights, because all of these things that could make and we need them made permanent. We need the tax code to address poverty, with earned income tax credit and child tax credit. But these have to be a part of the full reconstruction.

You can`t be do a little piece here and little piece there and wait another 20 years. We got 140 million people living in poverty and low wealth before COVID, 8 million more went into poverty after COVID. Billionaires made $2 trillion. Poor folk got sick the most, died the most but have gotten the least out of the recovery.

This is a wake up call and, you know, can it pass? No. Without a movement, without us doing us massive movement and having voting rights. That`s why on June 7th, we`re going to be in 47 states in front of House members offices. June 21st, we are launching a Poor People, a mass assembly of poor people and low wage workers.

And, Joy, lastly, we are calling for 365 days of mobilizing towards June of 2022 for a mass Poor People Assembly, low wage workers moral march on Washington. We are not going back on this, because we`re talking about 43 percent of the American public and 30 percent of the American electorate that are poor and low wealth.

REID: But, you know, Congressman Raskin, you know, the Republican Party that people like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema said they want to work with, they won`t even investigate the insurrection. They don`t care that our government was attacked.

I don`t understand how you do anything with them still there. And I don`t know. What are your comments as somebody who`s been an impeachment manager who`s dealt with this? They aren`t going to move on voting rights. They just aren`t.

RASKIN: Well, the Republican Party is a minority party and it`s a shrinking party, and they understand that.

And so, their recipe for survival is voter suppression and disenfranchisement as many people outside of the Republican Party as possible, which is why we see more than 360 bills across the country to end early voting, to end weekend voting in Georgia to make it a felony crime punishable by a year in jail for passing somebody a bottle of water who is waiting to vote.

That is the Republican strategy. And, you know, Tocqueville said in "Democracy in America", he noticed in America democracy is growing and expanding or it`s shrinking and it`s shriveling away.

And now, we got one party which is all about the strategic reduction of participation and voting. And I hope that another party driven by this great movement that Reverend Barber is living to expand democracy and make it work for the people. In the democracy, the government has got to be the instrument for the common good, the common man and the common woman.

REID: And very quickly, Bishop Barber, what would you say if you could get Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin to listen to you about the filibuster?

BARBER: Why would they be stuck on a piece of -- of practices not constitutional that has been against every civil rights piece of legislation used against women, it`s been used against labor? Why they`re doing that?

But more than that, I want to just say to them, I want to bring West Virginians to say it to him. I want us -- we can make them to do this. The reason they are fighting is because they are losing. That`s why Republicans are fighting.

So, voter suppression, we`ve got to make -- it is not just a black issue. Nor is it just Jim Crow. It`s actually James Crow esquire, because they want to shut down black people, disabled people, young people, women.

REID: Yeah.

BARBER: Well, guess what? If they want to shut us down, then we must refuse to be shut down because we must have the power to send them home. So, we need a movement and resolution. But we need a movement that can vote and send people home.

REID: And by the way, the reason people may not be going back to work is they may not be child care, maybe $2 an hour at a restaurant is not enough money. Maybe you should give people decent wages. Maybe you want them to come back.

But I want a quick detour with you, two gentlemen, because we have something called the "Moment of Joy". And our "Moment of Joy" this week involves one of the two of you and it also involves Tulsa where there has been so much pain but also this "Moment of Joy". Take a look.




REID: The survivors are amazing.

Thank you, Congressman Jamie Raskin and Bishop William Barber. Thank you both very much.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.