New details on Trump`s final days in office. General Milley reportedly viewed Trump as a classic authoritarian leader. House GOP leader meets with Trump. Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the United States with the contagious delta variant making up over half the country`s new cases.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And Jason, I have a quick piece of housekeeping for you.
Are you ready?
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: I`m ready.
MELBER: Thank you for doing for me what you`re about to do for Joy. You`re one of our favorite guests and now you`re one of our favorite guest hosts. And I appreciate you being in on THE BEAT, sir.
JOHNSON: Thank you so much. And you look exceptionally tanned and relaxed, Ari. So I`m very glad that I can help facilitate that relaxation. All right.
MELBER: Thanks, man.
JOHNSON: Thanks so much. Good evening, I`m Jason Johnson in for Joy Reid. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the danger that was averted when Joe Biden was sworn into office just this past January. Explosive new reporting has revealed that in the final months of the previous administration, there was genuine, 100 percent genuine concern inside our government that Donald Trump would stage a coup and stay in power.
These were not the idle concerns of chattering classes. They came from the highest levels in government, including from the country`s top ranking military officer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. That`s according to excerpts from a new book set to be released next week, I Alone Can Fix It, Donald J. Trump`s Catastrophic Final Year, by Washington Post Reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
They report that as Trump purged the ranks of the Pentagon and refused to concede the election, General Milley was actively working to avert a possible coup. He told his closest deputies, quote, they may try but they`re not going to blanking succeed. As early as November, he and the Joint Chiefs began informally planning how they could block a presidential order to use the military in a way they considered illegal or dangerous and ill-advised.
Now, there were others who shared Milley`s concern too, a list that reportedly includes former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, though unsurprisingly, he says it`s totally not true.
But Milley`s most chilling assessment of the former president came as Trump mobilized his supporters behind the big lie, a mass delusion so powerful it inspired a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol, quote, Milley saw Trump as the classic authoritarian leader with nothing left to lose. He saw parallels between Trump`s rhetoric of election fraud and Adolf Hitler`s insistence to his followers that the Nuremberg rallies, that he was both a victim and their savior. This is a Reichstag moment, Milley told aids, the gospel of the fuhrer.
But that`s sink in for a second. That`s how serious this was in January, that Donald Trump posed such a threat to this country at that particular moment, that the top brass in the American military not only recognized, thankfully, but actually had to take steps to prevent a coup. Yet, despite the gravity of that news, the Republican Party continues to pledge loyalty to the former president and coup instigator.
Just today House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a house call at Trump`s Bedminster club to bend the knee once again. Meanwhile, his reaction to the story today, Trump seemed confused by reporting. He said if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley. Of course, that`s not really what the book says. Milley was intent on preventing a coup, not joining one.
Speaking of joining, joining me now is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, author of Endgame, Inside the Impeachments of Donald J. Trump, and Miles Taylor, former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff and Co-Founder of the New America Movement.
I will begin with you, Congressman Swalwell. As a member of Congress, I don`t think we can be reminded enough of how dangerous and how precipitous our potential loss of this country was back in January. With these new quotes coming out of this book, does this make you look any differently to that time? Are you even more frightened thinking about how close we were? Or is this just par for the course and you realize now, hey, look, I knew this was that dangerous six months ago, I`m glad now the rest of the public is picking it up?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Jason, I would actually say it`s now how close it had come, we actually crossed that Rubicon, and for the first time ever in our country`s history, we did not have a peaceful transition of power.
Look, I don`t look at this book and say these people who spoke up were heroes, your other guest, Miles Taylor, he spoke up when it was a great political risk to do so. People like Alexander Vindman and Masha Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill, they spoke up to help stop the Ukrainians from putting dirt on Donald Trump`s political opponent when Donald Trump was asking them to do this. This is coming out after the act.
And I just happened to think that had these people spoken up before the January 6th insurrection, maybe Officer Sicknick would be alive today, maybe hundreds of officers who were injured would not have been injured and maybe we would have had a peaceful transition of power.
JOHNSON: Mr. Taylor, this -- going along with what Congressman Swalwell just said, you know, all of these people in this book now who are saying, oh, my gosh, this was so bad and so terrible, none of these people were willing to speak up.
None of them said anything that mattered, right? They`re all the person that comes to you after you`ve been dressed down by your boss and comes to your office after, it was like, oh, my gosh, that was so terrible. You didn`t say anything during the staff meeting.
So when you hear these people now revealing in a book how dangerous they thought things were, does it inspire you? Does it make you think, okay, cool, our system somewhat worked? Or does it remind you of what feckless cowards we had in our government were only willing to do something and admit that they were doing something to keep us safe after the fact?
MILE TAYLOR, FORMER DHS CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, Jason. Look, by the end of the administration Donald Trump got what he always wanted which was a cabinet full of cowards. That`s what he wanted, a pliable cabinet. And the fact that these people didn`t speak out was one of the greatest professional disappointments of my entire life.
I came to Washington, D.C., as a young, idealistic page working on the house floor. Eric remembers where the page desk used to be. That same desk was used to blockade the chamber to keep insurrectionists from coming in. I was inspired to come work in Washington. I have seen my heroes all die moral deaths in this town because they lacked the courage to speak out.
Behind the scenes, Jason, they would say this man is a threat to the fabric of our republic and then they didn`t do anything. No one has to play the violin for me. But look, it cost me my job, my personal relationships, my home, my personal savings and my security to speak out against the guy. Guess what, damn it, I would do it again if we got the same result. And I wish more of those cabinet secretaries had done it.
Now, I will say one thing about what General Milley said, and I hate to be the annoying guy who`s going to say, well, if you read my book. I titled my book The Warning, for a reason. It was a year before the election and I said in that book, if Donald Trump wins the -- I`m sorry, Donald Trump loses reelection, he will deny that he lost, and it will lead to violence.
This was foreseeable and it`s not hyperbole to say this man implemented Nazi-like policies and had Nazi-like tendencies. We saw it up close. He was an authoritarian. He loved authoritarians in an Oval Office meetings with me. He would talk about his magical powers, like the Insurrection Act, that he wanted to use to do extraordinary things.
True story, Jason, he told us at one point he wanted to use the Insurrection Act to seal the U.S. southern border because it was a powerful tool. This was, in his mind, in year one of his administration. I have no doubt that he considered a coup.
JOHNSON: You know, I`m glad that you mentioned this sort of idea of Nazis. You know, in the book, Milley likens Trump to Hitler. He says that this is our clearest example of what this would look like. Congressman Swalwell, I`ll tell you this little anecdote and I want you to understand -- I want your sort of perspective on this of how dangerous Trump was.
I spent time abroad right before the 2016 election in Germany and I actually had members of the press there tell me that America was not taking the threat of Donald Trump that seriously. I remember actually saying to a reporter, I don`t even know if this guy is going to win. They said you sounded just like we did in 1933.
When you hear these kinds of reports, when you hear, Donald Trump being compared to Hitler, when you see what he was attempting to do at the border, are these hyperbolic comparisons at this point? Are we trying to demonize him in order to make America realize how dangerous he was, or do you think that`s a fair comparison now that we find out more and more about what he was attempting to do?
SWALWELL: Well, Jason, I`d actually fast forward and look at democracies that have died in the past decade, whether it`s the Philippines, Turkey, Hungary, Hong Kong and, of course, Russia, you know, continues to slide farther and farther into being an autocracy. We`re not different in that that could happen to us.
And the thought I had on the House floor, Jason, that I`ll never forget, the anger, the emotion that came over me as the banging and smashing of glass was taking place was it can`t end like this. Like democracy cannot die like this. And we barely hung on. I would offer that we`re on life support right now.
And what has really changed from January 6th? Republicans have not passed any security funding that would make us safer at the Capitol. Donald Trump is telling people he`s coming back in August. And the leader of the Republican Party, Kevin McCarthy, is at Donald Trump`s residence in New Jersey today.
So nothing has really changed. We are on life support right now and it`s a fight every day to keep this democracy alive.
JOHNSON: I want to ask this directly, Congressman Swalwell, and I think it`s really important before sort of close the segment here. Do you trust your Republican colleagues with this country anymore? I mean, do you actually trust them with this country.
SWALWELL: No. I trust Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, you know, Mitt Romney. There`s a few others in the Senate. But no, mostly no. I really fear that they are all in for this cult personality and it`s because they don`t have the imagination, the creativity or the courage to do the right thing to save this country.
JOHNSON: I want to go to this last one. This is another really horrifying part here.
Mr. Taylor, in the book, it`s reported that, apparently, General Milley actually went to Speaker Pelosi and said, hey, look, we`ll make sure that Trump doesn`t use the nuclear codes. That was a part of a conversation he actually had.
I have to ask you so that everybody is again aware of how dangerous things were for us at that time politically and internationally, what do you think Trump was going to try to do if he had gotten access -- was he going to try to start a war with Iran or something else like that and extend his power? What on Earth could the president have wanted to do with nuclear codes faced with the fact that he had been voted out by the American people?
TAYLOR: Well, one can only imagine, Jason. But I`ve got to assume that in Donald Trump`s mind, he believed there was a scenario where he could deploy the United States military in such a way to deny Joe Biden from taking office. That was the fear I had a year before the election, it was a fear I had in the days after the election.
But I`m going to tell you this, Jason. I`ve spent my whole career not as a political operative. I`ve never worked on a campaign in my life other than campaigning against Trump. I`m a national security guy and worked in national security against ISIS and Al Qaeda and Russia. And the number one national security threat I`ve ever seen in my life to this country`s democracy is the party that I`m in, the Republican Party. It is the number one national security threat to the United States of America.
And I`ll tell you this, if my party retakes the U.S. House of Representatives in the next cycle, it`s going to become a haunted house. And the ghoul and the specter haunting that house is going to be Donald Trump. And if Kevin McCarthy`s hand is on the speaker`s gavel, it`s really Donald Trump`s hand on the speaker`s gavel. And the fact that Kevin McCarthy continues to pay homage to a twice-impeached presidential loser I think should give all Americans pause and make them worry about the future of this country and its security.
JOHNSON: Couldn`t have said it better myself. Thank you, Congressman Eric Swalwell and Miles Taylor.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, guess what did not come up in today`s meeting between the Texas Democrats fighting voter suppression in their state, Senator Joe Manchin.
Plus, the Biden breakthrough. Today, millions of American families began receiving much-needed financial help while Senate Democrats roll out a $3.5 trillion plan to fulfill many of the president`s policy proposals.
And COVID cases are rising again and so is the anti-vax rhetoric. It`s the most deadly example of the seemingly intractable political divide in this country.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
JOHNSON: The fight for voting rights has escalated into the arrest of a member of Congress. Today, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested and taken into custody by Capitol Police during a peaceful protest in support of federal voting rights legislation.
Also, today, Texas Democrats who fled to Washington in a last-ditch effort to prevent the passage of a very restrictive new voting law in their home state met with Senate Democrat who happens to have the key vote on these issues, Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The problem is that whole thing with the filibuster never actually came up in conversation with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV) (voice over): There shouldn`t be a Democrat or a Republican, that wouldn`t or couldn`t or shouldn`t vote for something that truly just only deals with voting, and the rights of voters.
REPORTER: Did you have a discussion in there about the filibuster?
MANCHIN: No, there is no thing about the filibuster. Forget the filibuster.
REPORTER: But, sir, what if no Republicans will support it, which is what they`ve indicated, not doing anything on voting rights.
MANCHIN: Because. You know why? Because they`ve had a bill that`s 800 pages long, they`ve had everything thrown at them. Let`s get back to the basic rights of voting, protecting voting rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Meanwhile, back in Texas, the Republican state house speaker just stripped one of the Democrats of his leadership role, the first punishment doled out to a Democratic member for leaving the state. That Democrat, Texas State Representative Joe Moody joins me now. Representative Moody, thank you so much for joining THE REIDOUT this evening.
I`ve got to tell you. I appreciate the bravery that your caucus has shown. They have basically turned you into fugitives. I`m expecting to see you guys jumping off a waterfall soon in order to protect voting rights in your state. But I have to ask you, getting stripped of your position while in absentia, do you think that`s just a warning shot on how aggressive Texas is going to become? And how far do you think the punishments in absentia will be as you guys stay here for at least another three weeks to try and ride out the session?
STATE REP. JOE MOODY (D-TX): Here`s what I know. People that fought for voting rights in the past were beaten, they were bloodied, they were killed, they had dogs sicced on them. If the only thing that happens to me is they take a placard off my door, I`m doing just fine.
JOHNSON: That`s a good attitude. You also spoke today with Senator Joe Manchin. Tell us about that conversation. I keep pointing out you know Joe Manchin is a former secretary of state, so he`s got to understand some of the nuances here with how voting rights work. What was the beginning of the conversation? Did you all lay out requests? Did he say what he was trying to offer? Tell us a little bit about the beginning of that conversation.
MOODY: You know, we`ve had three days of hard work on the Hill and this is obviously one of the most important meetings that we needed to have, to talk about voting rights, to talk about access to the ballot box. And in exactly being a former secretary of state, he speaks the language. And so that`s important for us.
And so what I came away from was someone who has an intimate knowledge of the House and the Senate dynamic here and he was eager to learn about what was in the new versions of bills back home. And he offered some ideas about stuff they had done in his home state when he was secretary of state. And so it was a really productive meeting and certainly opened my eyes to some of the complexity that has really taken hold here at the Capitol.
JOHNSON: So, one of the things that apparently was not discussed was the filibuster. That did not come up. Was that a conscious decision on the part of the Texas delegation?
Did you guys think, look, it`s a nonstarter with Senator Manchin, so we`re not going to mention it? How did you have, like, several days of productive conversations and not mention the fact that the filibuster is one of the key reasons why we don`t have legislation already?
MOODY: Well, we don`t need to say the word filibuster to talk about the situation.
MOODY: Look, I believe that Senator Manchin has been asked a few times about the filibuster. That`s an elephant that was in the room that we didn`t need -- didn`t need to address.
We wanted to talk to him about voting rights and access to the ballot in Texas and what was happening -- what was happening there, and to express to him our concerns and what we needed. We need a strong voting rights bill here. We need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to be resurrected. That`s important for Texas specifically.
So those are the messages we want to deliver. People shared personal stories about what their families went through in the past and some other stories that they have gone through now with some of these partisan poll watchers intimidating people.
So it was it was a good conversation where Senator Manchin did -- probably did more listening than talking. And it was a -- one that we all walked away feeling like we were on an equal ground when it came to the importance of voting rights.
JOHNSON: That is excellent.
And, to be fair, the elephant in the room is the Republicans thanking him for being against changing the filibuster.
JOHNSON: Texas state Representative Joe Moody, thank you very much for your time.
As I mentioned earlier, a voting rights day of action culminated in a march around the Hart Senate Office Building, leading to several arrests, including Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Joining me now is one of my favorite people, LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, who was also present at the march.
LaTosha, thank you for joining us this evening on THE REIDOUT.
First off, I want to start with this. I always ask this question, because I think it`s important for the cynical people out there in the world. What did you hope to accomplish with your march? What was the purpose of the march around the Senate Hart Building today?
LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: You know, we needed to send a message loud and clear, particularly as led by black women, that we are literally not backing down from voting rights, that what we recognize is that voting rights are being attacked.
Our voting rights are being attacked right now. Just today, the secretary of state in Georgia announced that he wanted the election board to resign from Fulton County and plans to take over the Fulton County election board. That was primary, the work that we have been doing on the ground that our rights have to be protected.
We wanted to make sure that we sent a strong message to the Senate that literally we expect them to move on For the People Act. We will be relentless. We are resilient around it.
And so that was our point. Our point was to have civil disobedience in the space of peaceful protests, that we actually would raise those issues and say how serious we are. And we`re not going to stop until we have secured our voting rights in this nation.
JOHNSON: When I have talked to a lot of organizers on the ground sort of off the air, the point they keep making is like, look, no matter how much work we`re doing, we can`t out-organize a state law that says that you can just eliminate an entire swathe of votes if you don`t like them. You can`t out-organize past that.
And so my question to you is, what is the key thing that you think members of the Senate haven`t figured out about this yet? I mean, it seems pretty obvious to us, but what have they not realized about the fact that you could organize 300,000 people to vote in a district and, currently, in Georgia, the Republicans could basically say, we don`t trust any of those ballots and thrown it out?
What is not sinking in yet in some members of the Senate?
L. BROWN: You know, I think what is not sent in is the fragility of democracy in this nation, that this isn`t just about one election, this isn`t just about one state.
What we`re seeing is, we`re seeing a full-court...
JOHNSON: What was that?
OK, I think LaTosha has sort of frozen up.
But, look, I want to make this point, because I think it`s activists like her on the ground that are really key to the battle that we have here.
Nse Ufot, who`s the CEO of The New Georgia Project, she mentioned this earlier in the week. If everything that the Biden administration does only boils down to something from the Department of Justice and helping out activists, they`re basically going to be playing Whac-A-Mole with every single state House and Senate.
The Senate and House in Georgia and Texas and Florida can definitely move a lot faster than activists on the ground.
We have LaTosha back.
Apparently, you were about the spit fire and it burned the camera.
JOHNSON: I totally understand that.
LaTosha, in addition to obviously trying to make the message clear and organizing on the ground, what I want to find out from you is, what is the next plan for activists and organizers? Is it we need to focus more on voter registration? Is it we need to try to get local elections or laws changed or something, so we can at least be for them?
What is your plan right here, right now, assuming that we don`t have any changes in the law for the next five or six months, and there we will be municipal elections sometime this fall under some of these more repressive laws?
L. BROWN: You know, I think that there`s two things.
One, I think there is a business of holding people accountable, that, ultimately, what winds up happening in the democratic process is not just about voting. It`s about how we engage in the entire process and those that we put in...
JOHNSON: I`m telling you all, LaTosha -- can we -- LaTosha spits hot fire, and it literally burns the camera. That`s why you guys need to listen to her and her organization.
LaTosha Brown, thank you so very much. Sorry for the technical difficulties. We will have you back.
Still ahead: the difference between stress and security. That is how Democrats are describing a new child tax credit that could be showing up in your bank account starting today. Of course, conservatives are already freaking out about it, calling it welfare.
One of the bill`s leading advocates, Senator Sherrod Brown, my former senator, joins us next.
Stay with us on THE REIDOUT.
JOHNSON: If you`re a parent, check your bank account, because most of you began receiving monthly checks of roughly $300 from the federal government.
The payments, which are set to last through the end of the year, will help roughly 60 million kids. Why? Because President Biden and Democrats expanded the child tax credit as part of the American Rescue Plan.
And no Republicans voted for it. Surprise, surprise.
The child tax credit could cut child poverty by 40 percent. Prior to the expansion, poor families were deliberately excluded. Thank you again to the Republicans.
Today, President Biden marked the occasion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe this is actually a historic day, a historic day, in the sense as we continue to build an economy that respects and recognizes the dignity of working-class families and middle-class families.
It`s historic. And it`s our effort to make another giant step toward ending child poverty in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Also, today, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he will move forward on a procedural vote to pass the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan, which includes an extension of the child tax credit, and the bipartisan infrastructure plan.
Naturally, Republicans have already signaled they would block that.
Joining me now with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who has been fighting for expanding the child tax credits for years, and my former senator.
Senator Sherrod Brown, good to see you this evening.
I`m going to start with this, because I -- everybody can talk about big numbers. We can talk about $50 million here and there and how -- but talk about Ohio. What does an extra $300 mean to your average family in Lorain, to your average family in Northeast Akron? What is this child tax credit going to mean to regular people in Ohio?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Spent much of last couple of weeks going doing - - having discussions in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Toledo, Dayton, Fremont, Defiance, Bryan. I`m leaving some towns out.
And what I hear from -- I hear from -- one mother said: "For the first time ever, I`m going to be able to send my son to a summer camp for a week."
A father said: "I can buy equipment for fast-pitch softball for my daughter now."
Another said -- a couple said: "Maybe we`re going to try to put aside $100 a month now for each of our two children -- they`re babies now -- for a college fund."
A couple of people, a number of people on these meetings said: "Every month, the last week of the month, I struggled to figure out how to pay my rent. I`m not going to have to struggle."
I mean, you think about that. What`s the whole idea of infrastructure? Infrastructure sets a foundation for families and for societies to launch their children into a better life. And think about what this is going to mean, $300 a month, month after month, starting June 15 -- I`m sorry -- starting today.
S. BROWN: Then August 15, September 15. We got to make it permanent.
But think what this is going to do. I have not done anything in my long public career -- and you used to live in my state -- you know it`s been long, Jason.
S. BROWN: I have not done anything that has the magnitude and the importance of this, joined by Michael Bennet, and Raphael Warnock, and Cory Booker, and Rosa DeLauro especially in the House, fighting for this.
It`s been years coming. And Republicans always want to do tax cuts for rich people. Every single time, they say it`ll trickle down. Of course, they know it won`t. And they all -- as you pointed out, they all voted -- they had two chances on this, one, an amendment to take it out of the bill they all voted for, every single one.
And then, by one vote. We passed it back on March 6, which I turned to Senator Casey, sitting next to me, and said: "This is the best day. This is the best day of my career."
And it`s going to change our country.
JOHNSON: And that`s saying something. You have had a very, very storied career.
How does it feel, Senator Brown, when you see Mitch McConnell, when you see Portman, when you see Republican senators basically either bragging or taking credit for policies like this, talking about how policies like this will benefit voters, when they consistently vote against it?
Does that -- does it just infuriate you? Or, at this point, you just sort of shrug your shoulders and say that`s the status of the opposing party right now?
S. BROWN: I was talking to public radio this morning, talking to Andy, the head -- with Ohio Public Radio.
And I kind of laughed at one point, because I said, this is going to become so popular, within a couple years, all the Republicans who voted against are just going to say it was their idea. I know that`s coming.
S. BROWN: Social Security. Think about how popular Social Security is. Republicans still try to quietly privatize it.
But this will be as popular in a year or two. I mean, I assume, today, lots of people in Cleveland and Akron and Hiram and all over this state, and Kent, are going to wonder what these checks are. What is this?
But then they`re going to talk to neighbors, they`re going to see your show, they`re going to read about this. They`re going to realize this was - - this is how elections matter. Voters had voted for -- in Macon, Georgia, a voter that voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, they`re going to say, my vote counted. This election really mattered.
That`s why we`re going to win the midterms next year. But forget about that. We`re going to make -- we`re going to -- we`re going to show people that government can be on their side and government works, and their lives are going to get better. And it`s going to change the way this country sees about the effectiveness of government, seeing it through the eyes of, who`s on my side?
JOHNSON: Speaking of the midterms, so you have got an interesting race on the Senate side.
Rob Portman is leaving. You have a collection of Republicans who are arguing over who can be the most ridiculous and detached and Trumpian. And then you have Tim Ryan, who will be stepping into the race as well.
Talk about in a state that, look -- quite frankly, Ohio used to lean purple. Now it seems to be leaning red. What does a Democrat like Tim Ryan or other Democrats have to do to make sure that they can be competitive and possibly win that Senate seat in Ohio next year?
S. BROWN: Oh, Ryan`s a good candidate for the Senate.
Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, running for governor, was on MSNBC 12 hours or so ago, I believe on "MORNING JOE." I didn`t see it, but my brother told me she was really good. And we see -- when you look at the Republican candidates for the Senate, it`s all -- it`s like a bunch of 12- year-olds on a playground that are sticking their tongues out on each other and saying: Donald Trump loves me more than he loves you.
And that`s what they are. They are this party. Each one is worse than the other, than the last. And there`s one you just put on the screen that seems to be -- well, I won`t comment on an individual and their integrity, but they`re all...
S. BROWN: They`re all pointing out how they criticized Trump. The other one criticized Trump once. And I will do whatever Trump -- it`s just a remarkable thing.
In the end, voters are going to say, they`re all talking about the past in Trump.
S. BROWN: We`re talking about future. And we`re talking about the child tax credit.
We`re talking about small business. We`re talking about (AUDIO GAP) how important it is to find housing, moderate-income and middle-class people.
JOHNSON: Very quickly, I want to ask how you have been able to successfully stay out of the other most contentious race happening in Ohio right now, the congressional seat to fill Marcia Fudge`s old seat in Ohio 11th.
You have had many Democrats come in. Some endorsed Nina Turner. Some have endorsed Shontel Brown. As of the latest polls, it looks like this is a tightening race. It might actually be tied. Do you plan on making an endorsement? Do you plan on showing up? Or you going to let the sort of -- let this fight out within the Democratic Party?
S. BROWN: I live in the district. I`m voting.
I`m taking the Marcia Fudge approach. She lives in the district. She`s voting. And she`s the secretary of HUD. And I`m the senator. And I`m not -- I`m not going to endorse in the primary. I`m probably not going to endorse in the mayor.
Cleveland has an open mayor`s seat and an open congressional seat. And my concern is that the primary for Congress is in August. The primary for mayor is September.
S. BROWN: I just hope people turn out large numbers, because the winner of these two primaries are probably going -- each winner is probably going to be the mayor for a long time and the congressperson for a long time.
And we`re attracting good candidates. And I`m just going to mind my own business. And Connie and I are going to go vote on Election Day in August and September and November.
JOHNSON: That is the best, best, best position to take.
Thank you so much, Senator Sherrod Brown.
S. BROWN: Of course.
JOHNSON: Up next: a tale of two Americas, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
Cases of COVID`s Delta variant are spiking in states with some of the lowest vaccination rates. And some conservatives are applauding.
We will be right back.
JOHNSON: Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the United States with the contagious delta variant making up over half the country`s new cases. And as "The New York Times" put it, it`s like we`re living in two Americas, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
Besides California, every other state with a spike in cases is in a red state and many, particularly the ones in the South, have low vaccination rates. While some Republican leaders are trying to show support for the vaccine, others are fighting to ban discrimination against unvaccinated people and cheering that Biden missed his goal to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by the Fourth of July.
I`m joined now by Dr. Lipi Roy, medical director of COVID Isolation and Quarantine Site for the New York Housing Works.
Thank you so much, Dr. Roy.
I`m going to start with this. I have seen so many stories lately about COVID breakthroughs. Now, they`re rare, but I`ve seen these stories of people who are fully vaccinated who still are somehow getting the delta variant. Is this something that the public needs to be concerned about yet? Yes, the vaccines aren`t supposed to keep you from getting COVID, they simply keep you from possibly being hospitalized or dying.
But are we facing a possibility that these new variants, whether they`re delta, gamma, epsilon, mu, whatever, are going to start breaking through the vaccines we`ve got?
DR. LIPI ROY, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF COVID ISOLATION FOR NEW YORK HOUSING WORKS: Good evening, Jason. Good to see you. I applaud your knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
So, you know, my message here regarding breakthrough cases or cases of individuals who get the infection while still being fully vaccinated, one is that the vaccines, they`re not 100 percent. No vaccine is 100 percent. But these vaccines, the existing vaccines are pretty damn effective. Even the most effective vaccine in humankind, measles vaccine, is 95 percent effective.
That said, we do know that these vaccines for the vast majority of cases, what they are doing is serving three purposes. One is to reduce severe illness, reduce hospitalizations and reduce deaths. That is exactly what they`re doing. Regarding the breakthrough cases and a few deaths, for instance, in Massachusetts we saw 80 cases of people infected with COVID-19 who have died.
Obviously, we don`t -- any death is tragic, but I want to make sure your viewers are aware of the numbers, which is that of the 4,400 breakthrough cases, that was amongst 4.2 million people who were vaccinated. That`s 0.1 percent.
That message, when you look at the actual numbers, Jason, tells me it`s an indicator that the vaccines really are working.
JOHNSON: So one of the other concerns that I have and a lot of the people across the country have is that if you`re one of those states that`s not taking vaccinations seriously, you`re just going to be living in a frappe, an incubator of the delta variant or any other sort of form of COVID.
We see right now in Tennessee that they have fired the head of vaccinations, they`re not trying to give vaccination information to children, that basically Tennessee has basically said this is all over, la la la la la, you can`t tell me anything.
If you are living in a state where your government has basically said that the economy or political ideology is more important than public health, what do you suggest? I mean, you know, if I want to keep masking up but my boss says you can`t mask up anymore, what do I do if I`m in Tennessee? What do I do if I`m in Texas or if I happen to be in Georgia?
ROY: Yeah, so this story line is reaching beyond alarming levels. You talked about that health chief, state-run health chief who was fired for encouraging vaccines amongst children, including chickenpox and other routinely prescribed, recommended vaccines.
That`s extremely disturbing, especially as a fellow physician and public health advocate. You know, as you know, and you`ve talked about this multiple times, Jason, we seem to be living in two Americas, right, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
I want to share one message to the vaccinated. Heartfelt thank you for getting your vaccine because you are protecting all of us, including those who cannot get vaccinated.
And to the unvaccinated, they`re really falling into three contingents, right? There`s those that are just ineligible because of age or a medical condition. There are those that are unsure or uncertain. And then there are those, to your point, that are simply believing in conspiracy theories, they believe it`s a violation of their First Amendment rights, and to them it`s a tougher kind of sell.
Short of mandates, Jason, I don`t see these individuals getting vaccinated and I just want to remind them that we all have limitations on our First Amendment rights. I can`t just yell bomb in an airport for fun. I can`t be a speed demon down a road in a school zone. We have existing limitations on our rights.
But when those freedoms then infringe upon or jeopardize the health of the community at large that becomes a problem. Vaccinations are safe. People just need to get their vaccines, Jason.
JOHNSON: I mean, kids had to have measles and chickenpox vaccinations before you came back to school.
But I want to highlight the outlier state which is California. Well, so, you know Tennessee and you know Texas, these are places where you have a lot of anti-vaxxers anti-vaccine government. California actually has a really high vaccination rate and yet they just announced that they`re shutting down L.A. County and requiring again mask mandates for being indoors.
So what could possibly be happening in a state like California? Because you have a lot of people vaccinated but apparently the virus is still spreading enough that the state is moving towards what might be another closedown.
ROY: Yeah, this is sadly, Jason, exactly what public health officials, epidemiologists and other scientists predicted. When you have variants -- actually, let me rephrase that, when you have large pockets of still unvaccinated people. Remember, California is not 100 percent vaccinated. There`s a large volume of people who are unvaccinated, along with this virus that is circulating and mutating, I mean it is not going anywhere. You are going to get people who are going to get infected.
And so, to your point, yeah, masking -- I think that`s going to be the recommendation again, masking, especially with the variants circulating. But again, I want to emphasize that the existing vaccines are for the most part protective against the delta variant. But until we have mass vaccination, we`re not going to be able to contain this pandemic at all, Jason.
JOHNSON: Thank you for that sobering news, Dr. Lipi Roy. I`m telling everybody out there vax that thing up, it`s important.
Still to come, Cubans protest their government en masse amid food and medicine shortages, power outages and rising COVID cases. But what`s really fueling the fire?
THE REIDOUT continues after this with the answer.
JOHNSON: The United States have been witnessing days of protests in Cuba, the largest in decades, thousands have taken to the streets in Havana, and cities across the country demanding food, medicine, and COVID vaccines. Cuba`s president acknowledged that the dictatorship bears some blame for the massive uprising.
In a speech on state TV, President Miguel Diaz-Canel again insisted that U.S. policies were also to blame and that the protests were being orchestrated from abroad. He denied that the regime was stopping peaceful protests.
Today, President Biden was asked what he is considering as a response to the current situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Cuba is a, unfortunately, a failed state and repressing their citizens. There are a number of things that we would consider doing to help the people of Cuba, but they would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by their government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I`m joined now by Amalia Dache, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Afro-Cuban American scholar.
Thank you so much, Dr. Dache, for joining me this evening.
So, I want to start with this. We`ve had conversations in pop culture in America over the last couple of years about the erasure of Afro Latino faces and voices. I want you to sort of tell our audiences, what are we not hearing about the faces of the people initiating these protests in Cuba right now? Who is really behind this, and what are they really asking for?
AMALIA DACHE, AFRO-CUBAN AMERICAN SCHOLAR: Yes, we`re not talking about is the Afro-Cuban -- the Afro-Cuban movements, or Afro-Cuban leaders that are leading the movements to free Cuba, Dennis Solis (ph), and Luis Manuel Arturo Alcantara (ph), Michael Sorvo (ph), these are leaders of the San Isidro Movement that started in 2018. So, we`re not hearing that, these uprisings.
The catalysts were Afro-Cubans and artists across the island that wanted to express their lack of freedom of expression, the repression of the state of their freedoms in Cuba, and so we`re not hearing from the voice of Afro- Cubans on this issue. We`re not talking to Afro-Cubans on this issue when it comes to issues of race and racism under the dictatorship, and we`re focusing on things like the external embargo, instead of focusing on things like the internal embargo, or what we call the internal blockade of food and medicine like COVID vaccines because Cuba is not allowing COVID vaccines to come in through the COVAX program that UNICEF offers for free. They`re blocking medicine and food.
JOHNSON: In the United States, I think all too often the discussion of Cuba is always sort of, it`s pretty much just in the hands of white Cubans. We hear from Marco Rubio, we hear from Ted Cruz.
Who are some activists and organizers perhaps in Florida who have been talking about the issues in Cuba for years that have been either marginalized or we haven`t heard their voices so much that may have initiated or enlightened us as to where this protest was going to come from.
DACHE: Well, in Cuba, not necessarily in the United States, afro-Cubans arguing about issues of race. For example, there are activists in Cuba who are speaking out about this issue. Again, the San Isidro movements, the Patria Y Vida movement. Patria Y Vida is the reggaeton artists that are in the United States and in Cuba, pushing the issue of repression and this is what they are rapping about. This is what the hip hop lyrics are about.
Patria Y Vida is homeland or life. It`s basically saying we want an end to communism, we want an end to the dictatorship. This is coming from reggaeton artist Gene de Zona and others from the island that I mentioned. So, that`s what we`re not associating the uprising to, these leaders, these leaders that in Cuba are risking their lives.
And just like we know in the United States, black leaders and black voices and especially black women`s voices in the civil rights movement, for example, and in the organizing that was taking place in 2014, 2015, they`re erased. We don`t have intersectional perspectives.
And what I call to the American people to do is have an intersectional perspective on Cuba, and place Afro-Cubans at the center of this debate.
JOHNSON: So, your family -- you are from Cuba. Your family came over on the boat lifts in the 1980s. One of the things that I think is interesting is that the way Cuba is discussed in the United States is usually -- it`s sort of a rallying cry for the far right or far left. On the far right, oh, it`s terrible, they`re evil, communists. And on the left, oh, Cuba is this amazing place where there`s free health care and racism doesn`t exist.
Tell us about what the real Cuba is right now for your average person when it`s not being used as a football for lack of a better word between the hard right and hard left in America.
DACHE: Well, just really, this is a quick history point that will address this issue. In Cuba in 1961 when this new regime came in, they said they eradicated racism, and you know what they did, they got rid of 200 black organizations across the island, so they outlawed black organizations, they outlawed associating or organization across racial lines because they said they eradicated racism. So, can you imagine the United States after the civil right movement, we got rid of all black organizations, we got rid of the black church because in Cuba you weren`t allowed to organize across religious lines either.
So, these are the issues we`re missing. These are the conversations we`re missing that Cuba, the rhetoric of Cuba being a black power aligned country is part of an old discourse, an old discourse that belongs in the 1960s, not in 2021. Because guess what? In Cuba, black history can`t be taught in schools.
So, the debates we are having in CRT in the United States, guess what? We can`t teach CRT in Cuba. It`s against the government.
JOHNSON: I`m pretty sure that Marco Rubio is screaming about critical race theory would be ashamed to find out that he`s actually aligning himself with the dictatorship in Cuba.
JOHNSON: One of the last things I want to point out here is just very quickly, Black Lives Matter has asked for the embargo against Cuba to be stopped. There are many organizations in the United States that say we are part of the problem.
Is this really -- is the United States responsible for this uprising? Is this really some outside thing, quickly, or is this really an indigenous movement.
DACHE: Let me say two things, Jason, one, the United States is the number one exporter of meat to Cuba, all right? They spend $100 million in buying chicken.
Another thing, Black Lives Matter could not exist in Cuba. They`re outlawed.
JOHNSON: So, yes, clearly a difference.
Thank you so much, Amalia Dache.
We actually had an extended conversation on my podcast on "Slate". She`s a fantastic guest.
That`s tonight`s THE REDIOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.