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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/12/21

Guests: Louann Woodward, LaTosha Brown, Jasmine Crockett, Anthony Fauci, Hansi Lo Wang, Janelle Wong


Unvaccinated Americans driving new COVID surge. COVID surging in states with low vaccination rates. MS state hospital system on brink of failure. Interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Today, the United States Census Bureau released the official data that states will use to begin their redistricting process.



JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I just need to hear it. I just need to hear it. Thank you, my friend. Have a good evening. Have a good one.

MELBER: I`ll see you.

REID: Take care.

All right, good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the COVID crisis that it really feels like it`s spiraling out of control. Cases are surging throughout the country and hospitals are understaffed and overflowing. And this is a crisis that could have been prevented. But instead it`s being driven by a minority of Americans who are refusing to get vaccinated or, in some cases, to take any precautions to stop the spread.

At the White House coronavirus briefing today officials continue to plead with Americans, to plead, just get the shot. They also had set a recommendation for immunocompromised Americans to get a third booster shot is coming soon. Dr. Anthony Fauci will join me later to discuss all of the latest guidance.

But, first, we need to talk about the crisis in the American south where COVID is surging in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and now particularly in Mississippi. The state has seen a 136 percent spike in hospitalizations over the past 14 days. That`s higher than they were at any other point during the pandemic. And 97 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. Doctors and nurses there have painted a dire picture.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been exhausting. I think we are all emotionally spent. I kind of personally feel like I am an air traffic controller, and every day, I`m watching two airliners collide.

LASHEIA BEGNAUD, RESPIRATORY THERAPIST: Just having those patients look at you before they are being intubated and begging you to not let them die, that just -- it`s just heartbreaking.

DR. ALAN JONES, UMMC ASSOC. VICE CHANCELLOR FOR CLINICAL AFFAIRS: Based on what we are seeing, if we continue that trajectory within the next five to seven to ten days, I think we are going to see failure of the hospital system in Mississippi.


REID: The sixth largest hospital had to turn their parking garage into a COVID wing after they ran out of ICU beds. And Mississippi has officially requested information from the federal government about using the hospital ship USS Comfort, which treated patients during the height of the pandemic in New York City.

Now, there is a glimmer of hope. Vaccinations in the state have started to rise with officials seeing, they`re seeing triple the number compared to a month ago. But so far, only 35 percent of residents are vaccinated, tying Mississippi with Alabama for the lowest rate in the nation.

And while Republican Governor Tate Reeves extended Mississippi`s state of emergency today, he also made it a point to tweet that, quote, there will are no lockdowns and there will be no statewide mandates.

Joining me is Dr. Louann Woodward, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Dean of the Medical School.

I have to ask you about that final point. Mississippi is clearly in crisis. The state`s hospital system might collapse. Can you understand the governor having to make the point that there will be no mask mandates and no vaccine mandates?

DR. LOUANN WOODWARD, VICE CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER: So, we are indeed in a challenging situation, a very challenging situation. All of us in health care are exhausted. We see the numbers rising just daily. You know, every single day the number of new cases is going up and we know very well that that means the hospitalizations will follow and then the critical care bed need will follow that.

We, on the medical side of the house, feel strongly that vaccination is the path out of this horrific situation that we`re in between now and getting out of that path we need vaccinations and the use of masks. It is challenging in Mississippi to mandate things at the governor level. It is challenging because people have a lot of strong opinions on both sides of that issue. So he is in a very -- he is in a pickle. He is in a very tight spot.

We are doing what we can do here at the medical center. We announced a couple of weeks ago that until the vaccine is approved and completely out from under the EUA, that we have a phased-in approach requiring that our employees and students are vaccinated or wearing N95 mask. Once the vaccine is out from under the EUA and fully approved from the FDA, then we will require it, just like we do with a lot of other vaccinations. But it is tough. It is a tough sell in this state.

REID: You know, normally, people also have a really strong feeling about staying alive, right, and keeping their kids alive. I honestly -- and I don`t mean to say that to be facetious. I cannot understand the sort of vehemence and rage around being told just do this thing to keep yourself safe, wear a mask or get vaccinated.


At least wear a mask. As a -- you know, as somebody you said on the medical side of the world, can you understand why someone would take such a hard- core, angry opposition to staying safe and alive?

WOODWARD: You know, we`ve got a lot of folks in Mississippi that still have questions about the safety of the vaccine. We are doing -- and I say we, meaning Dr. Dobbs, our state health officer, all the folks at the medical center, physicians and other health care professionals all across the state are trying to do everything we can do to address those concerns and let people know that it is safe. It is -- like I said, it is very tough.

We have failed as actually a country, really, to unite against a common thread. We have failed to do that. The concept that people would not want to wear a mask just to protect themselves, their families, their patients and everybody in their community is beyond what I can understand.

REID: You and me both, Dr. Louann Woodward, indeed. Well, we are praying for you. I hope that Mississippi can turn it around. I hear that people are starting to get vaccinated. So, hopefully, that trend will continue. Be well. Be safe. Thank you very much for being here tonight.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

REID: All right. Breaking earlier tonight, the Supreme Court refused to block Indiana University`s requirement that students must be vaccinated to attend classes in the fall. It`s the first legal test of a vaccine mandate to come before the court. Just as Amy Coney Barrett the, justice in charged to that region denied the case, that none of the other justices dissented.

And with me is Charlie Sykes, Editor-at-Large to the Bulwark and MSNBC Columnist. And, Charlie, you know, that is surprising to me. This is a very arch-conservative court. Amy Coney Barrett, this is just her region. So it`s not like it was a full court deciding it. But the fact that no one dissented, are we reaching a point now where what we`re going to need to turn this around are mandates that then go to court and the people who were pushing against the mandates lose and that`s the only way that we are going to be able to sort of save people`s lives against their will, I guess?

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC COLUMNIST: I think so. I think that`s exactly what has to happen. And, look, I think what the Supreme Court is also sending a very, very clear signal that there is nothing unconstitutional about a public health mandate like this. There is a long history of it. These have not been controversial in the past. This is common sense.

And what they are pushing back against is this know nothing revolution that you`re seeing in places like Texas and Alabama and Mississippi and Florida where we`re seeing that disinformation has consequences, that political demagoguery has consequences, and it`s a grim toll.

So, yes, this is a conservative court, but it`s distancing itself from this kind of tribal we have one page in our playbook policy, politics, that we`re seeing from people like Greg Abbott, by the governor of Mississippi, or the governor of Florida.

REID: And I should note that this is also a court that was much more open to the idea of allowing religious gatherings. I think that was also an Amy Coney Barrett thing, I have to say, that you couldn`t restrict religious gatherings on the basis of COVID. So it`s kind of a turnaround.

Right now, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, he is leaving Florida this weekend to go do a fundraiser on a sheep farm in Nevada. That`s what he thinks is important for himself to do. You have got lawsuits in Texas, in which Travis County, a judge has batted down the governor of Texas, and this is a tweet that Governor Abbott tweeted yesterday, any school district, public university or local government that decides to defy his order, which prohibits government entities from mandating masks, will be taken to court. And he`s taking personal responsibility, personal responsibility.

Well this is what the Travis County judge said, governor, with all due respect, the threat of being sued is nothing compared with the threat of kids getting sick and dying. I will not let that happen on my watch. I`ll ask you to join me in that sense.

I mean, the reality is, these governors are taking a stance in favor of death. And I don`t understand the calculation to do that.

SYKES: Well, I think, in some ways, they are stuck. They are all in on treating this as if it`s a culture war issue rather than a public health issue. And keep in mind that there is something of an outlier. We are not seeing this from the Republican governors of places like Maryland or Ohio or Utah, all of whom have done the responsible things, but those guys are not running for president.

So, Ron DeSantis has put his 2024 campaign ahead of everything, and right now, he says, okay, this is what the base wants, I`m raising money off of this, you know, selling T-shirts, making fun of Dr. Fauci, and he has bet his own political future and the lives of potentially thousands of people in Florida that this is a political winner.


I also find it extraordinary that they are willing to double down at this particular point, that at the same time they are begging for ventilators because the number of hospitalizations is so high, they are still trying to use the power of the state to tell private companies, and, by the way, that`s mind blowing to me.

REID: Yes.

SYKES: Private companies, you can`t make decisions about what`s best for your employees and your customers. These are conservative Republicans who say they are for small government and for freedom and yet they are trying to deny people, entities, organizations the freedom to take steps that will save the lives of their own constituencies.

REID: Yes.

SYKES: So, political tribalism is a hell of a drug.

REID: Yes. It`s the same ethos of big, big government that says they are going to tell students what they can read in school, they`re going to go from the big government and mandate what books to ban and they`re going to go in and say that you can`t even protect your school or your private business.

Jim Jordan had a thought last night on Hannity talking about the Florida situation. Here he is.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Yes, so I don`t want to hear anything about COVID cases in Florida, mask mandates in New York, vaccine passports. I don`t want to hear anything about that until the Biden administration deals with the crisis they created on our southern border. There is no other conclusion any rational person can reach other than this is intentional, this is deliberate.


REID: And this is where the planned campaign for 2022 meets the reality of COVID in this year, right? They wanted to run, the Republicans, on border scare and brown scare. COVID has interrupted their plans. And so they decided to merge them together.

Let me just put up a border map just for those of you who -- you know, this audience knows, but there is no connection between Florida and the southern border that he is squealing about, right? So the original plan was to do border scare and crime scare. And now, they have got to somehow find a way to fit COVID into it. Your thoughts?

SYKES: Well, this is again the playbook. This is back to their comfort zone, which is to blame the problems on the border, on disease-infested immigrants. They have been playing this particular card since Donald trump came down the escalator and said that the Mexican rapists were coming, not bringing their own.

So, in some ways, they returned to their comfort zone because now they can be alarmed about something. They have downplayed the significance of the coronavirus. They have pretended it`s no big deal. But now suddenly they have something they can be angry about, and outraged about, which is these immigrants bringing it in. As you point out, there is no border in Florida. It does not stop Ron DeSantis from demagoguing this issue, from sending out fundraising letters.

But also I just want to point out how incoherent the argument, if, in fact, we are facing this dire threat of hundreds of thousands of diseased immigrants coming across the border, wouldn`t that be an argument for more aggressive vaccinations making sure that everybody is vaccinated? You know, how can you on the one hand say this is this dire threat of disease coming here and continue to say, yes, but I am not having any mask mandates or vaccine mandates?

REID: They stop trying to make sense. I mean, I didn`t even get to Marjorie Taylor Greene saying, I mean, you`re going to die at some point anyway. Like that`s your argument? I mean, you`re going to die of something, might as well be COVID. These are nonsensical, homicidal arguments against their own voters. I don`t get it. It`s bizarre. Charlie Sykes, I always appreciate you coming in to make sense of the nonsensical.

We`ll have much more on the COVID crisis later when Dr. Anthony Fauci joins me.

And up next on THE REIDOUT new reporting on the tense scramble at the DOJ to deal with the former president`s increasingly bonkers election conspiracies in the final days of his administration.

Plus, the latest heroic efforts by Democrats to fight Republican voter suppression.

Also, new census numbers are released with huge implications for politics and society, just as Republicans prepare to brutally gerrymander the political map in their desperate attempt to hold on to power.

And tonight`s absolute worse in a really, really bad week. And I will tell you all about it for the low, low price of $375.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: For nearly a year, our country has been bombarded by conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory over the big lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, promulgated by none other than America`s former cry baby in chief. New emails obtained by Politico show that back in December top Justice Department officials wrestled over the now Florida retiree`s baseless claims of voter fraud, specifically in Georgia. And the expectation they were to use the FBI to investigate the already debunked claims.

A top DOJ official wrote to the FBI`s second in command, sorry that you and your team have been dragged into this again. Unfortunately, this is the reality of working here these days.

We are still seeing the ripple effects of that big lie play out in state legislatures across the country with Republicans trying to jam through voter suppression bills based on that big lie. Democratic lawmakers in those states are taking a stand, literally in some cases to try to fight to save our democracy. Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado spent 15 hours on her feet overnight filibustering in opposition to the Republican voter suppression bill.

While the bill passed the Senate this morning, the measure continues to be stalled in the Texas House Of Representatives, where Democrats continue to block Republicans from reaching a quorum, a standoff now in its 32nd day.


And, earlier today, the Texas House sergeant at arms deputized members of law enforcement to go after those Democrats.

And I`m joined now by one of those Democrats, Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett, and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter.

I will start with you on that question of the sergeant at arms coming after, or, at least in theory, being able to now come after -- come after you guys.

So, Texas state Representative Jasmine Crockett, what do you make of that? Are you concerned about being arrested if you were to touch down in the state of Texas?

STATE REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): Yes, so I -- first of all, it`s good to see you, Joy. And thank you for having me.

As it relates to my fear, I can`t really afford to be scared. When I know that I walk in my position only because of those that came before me, such as John Lewis -- I had the pleasure of being with two of his brothers today -- I can`t be worried about that. All I have got to do is continue to fight for democracy. And that`s what I plan to do.

That means that I will not be voluntarily going to the floor. Now, if a law enforcement officer attempts to use any sort of force against me, I am a civil rights lawyer. And I do believe that that would be a violation of my constitutional rights, and that will be excessive force.

REID: That is good to hear.

Let me -- LaTosha, let me let you hear a little bit of state Senator Alvarado. This was the filibuster that she launched for 15 hours in the state Senate in Texas.


STATE SEN. CAROL ALVARADO (D-TX): My friends, voter suppression anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.

As we draw this discussion to an end, it is my sincere hope that civil acts by everyday Texas, from the Senate floor to the ballot box, can help to shed the light on all important issues.

What do we want our democracy to look like? Do we want our state to be more or less inclusive?


REID: You know, LaTosha, I feel like the Texas Democrats have done everything possible to try to save democracy in that state, everything from risking arrest, leaving the state, epic filibusters. They have done it all.

You have been spending a lot of time with Freedom Riders lately in your work. How can D.C. Democrats affirm the sacrifice and the commitment? What should they be doing to match the commitment that we`re seeing out of Texas, in your view?

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: You know, thank you for raising that, Joy.

And I do want to acknowledge and lift up the Texas Democrats. I mean, that is the kind of representation we need, that they will literally be able to put -- they left their families for over a month, their jobs, their places. And so I think we need to really recognize the kind of great sacrifice that they`re making, because they understand what is really at stake.

And so, if folks -- if the Texas Democrats could do it, what we`re looking at in the Senate right now, we have to have federal legislation. There should not be a recess when we`re talking about the vote being under attack right now.

And so we need to see the Senate Democrats pass right now using their power, where that means breaking the filibuster to literally pass legislation that will protect the right to vote. And, right now, we`re being held hostage. The Republicans are holding democracy hostage.

They`re doing it on three different levels. They`re doing one level where they`re undermining the process of who has access to the ballot. They`re weaponizing the administrative process. And now they plan on even taking the redistricting process.

They`re in control of the redistricting process for 20 states, opposed to the Democrats have 11 states, although that there are more Democratic voters. And so we expect them to be able to crack. They`re going to do some cracking around there.

So, we have to really recognize that democracy is really being attacked from a party that refuses to create an agenda that would attract more Americans, so they have decided that they`re going to cheat instead.

REID: And we`re talking about this on the day that we get the gerrymandering -- or the census results that are going to be used to gerrymander states like Texas that`s already majority non -- majority minority, as they say.

You were, I believe, at -- Representative Crockett, The Poor People`s Campaign delivered demands to Washington today that align with what we just heard LaTosha Brown.

I want to let you listen to Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, who spoke at The Poor People`s Campaign event today. And this was at the Supreme Court.


BISHOP MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE, EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: Those who are entrusted with power are given such privilege and responsibility. We should go to bed each night quaking in our beds for the responsibilities that we hold.

How can we tell the leaders of this country that their role is to be compassionate and just? If they don`t know that, then we must bring power to them to persuade them that it is time.



REID: You know, what I loved about that, Representative Crockett, is that a lot of what I worry about is that Democrats in D.C. have sort of siphoned this off as an as an issue just for black people, right?

And this is an issue that is far broader than that. That was an ecumenical group of people from all faiths and all races. This is not a niche issue. Can you sort of walk us through that? Because this is an issue about democracy in general in this country.

CROCKETT: Absolutely.

It`s interesting because you mentioned the census, which I quickly want to let you know that a quick review of the census for the state of Texas shows that 95 percent of the growth in the last decade was people of color.

Now, I want your listeners to just keep that in mind and put that in context for what`s going on. She was right. This is really a moral issue. It`s not a partisan issue. The Republicans want to pretend like it`s the Democrats or that it`s just black folk. But it`s not. It`s about what`s right, what`s wrong. It`s about our democracy, a democracy that seemingly they only believe in so long as it means that they`re in power.

Once they`re not in power, they want to change their tune and say, well, wait a minute, that`s not what it is. You guys are running some stuff that`s lacking in integrity, when we know that that`s not true, because the facts just don`t add up.

And, honestly, no one has addressed why 24-hour voting somehow is less secure. And, honestly, if you believe that 24-hour voting was less secure, then why didn`t you come up with something to actually cure the security of it, instead of just deciding, I`m going to shut it down?

What it is, is about making sure that our floor continues to look the way that it is, which is full of older, white men.

REID: Yes.

CROCKETT: And that is not what Texas looks like.

REID: And that is the irony, LaTosha, because, while this is an issue for democracy in general, the targets that they intend to push out of the voting booth look like this panel, look like brown Americans, look like indigenous people.

As you just heard from the representative, the targets are our votes. And so it is people like yourself, it is Black Voters Matter, black women that are having to put themselves on the line to try to save this democracy.

I`m just going to give you the last word.

BROWN: You know, I absolutely believe that, at the end of the day, when you`re talking about believing in democracy, they don`t believe in democracy. That`s a propaganda point.

At the end of the day, when we`re talking about a reflective democracy, that`s going to require pluralism, that me, as a citizen and all citizens in this country, regardless of whether they`re Republican or Democrat, should have access to the ballot to vote.

And so they do not stand for that. They are politically corrupt. And we have to call it what it is. This is political corruption 101.

REID: This is a 911.


REID: Amen.

And there should not be a recess. Come on, Democrats. If the Texas Democrats can do it, if they can fight, fight on the level that they`re fighting.

Texas state Representative Jasmine Crockett, LaTosha Brown, two of the heroes of our democracy right now, thank you both.

And still ahead: As if they didn`t have it hard enough already, America`s doctors and nurses are wrestling with a new kind of burnout, due to the fact that so many of the COVID cases they`re treating now were probably preventable.

Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us next. Don`t go anywhere.



REID: As the COVID surge sweeps across parts of the country, there was big news from the White House COVID response team today.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the FDA will make a recommendation soon for a booster shot, a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, for immunocompromised people, which may include those undergoing cancer treatment, organ transplants, or who are living with HIV.

It comes as emergency rooms and ICUs are overrun with COVID patients and as the Delta variant sends more and more children to the hospital in areas seeing spikes in new infections.

And joining me now is Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

And, Dr. Fauci, thank you so much for being here.

I want to ask you about that booster shot, because the way it happened before is that immunocompromised people and older people were first to have the vaccine, and then that guidance eventually spread to the rest of us.

So, should we be expecting that everyone is going to need to have a booster shot? And, if so, when do you think?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, ultimately, that very well may happen, because vaccine durability is not going to be indefinite, for an infinite period of time.

So what we are doing right now is to follow -- and the CDC is primarily responsible for this -- in real time, literally every day, every week, to follow in real time cohorts of individuals who have been vaccinated to measure and determine if there`s any attenuation in their response that would make them actually more susceptible to having infections.

And when you get below a certain critical level, you need to be prepared to give those people boosts. We don`t feel that, right now, those people, namely, the general normal population of people who are not immune- compromised, that they don`t need a boost right now.

But we are preparing for the eventuality of having to do that. Not sure when we will know, because we`re going to continue to follow these people. That`s very different than what we`re talking about now about the immune- compromised, because those people, really, as a group, never made an adequate immune response, for the most part.

Some did. But, as a group, they did not, which means they`re vulnerable right from the get-go. So that`s the reason why it`s very important to get those people an additional boost to try to get them up to the level that would be protective.


REID: Right.

FAUCI: And that`s what all the discussion was about today and tomorrow, when the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that advises the CDC will talk about that and make some decisions.

REID: You know, I feel like there are just two Americans right now, right?

There is the America of the people who are vaccinated, who are following the guidelines, who aren`t freaked out by the idea of having to wear a mask or have their kids wear masks. And for -- so, for those people, there is this news that Pfizer may get final approval, like, full FDA approval, which I think we don`t need on this side, right?

Do you think that there`s a possibility that some of the people in the unvaccinated world, those who are refusing to do it, do you -- are you hopeful that maybe full approval, let`s say, of Pfizer, and then, when it finally happens for Moderna, that might change minds, not the people who it`s ideological for, but for people who are just nervous about it because it`s preliminary?

FAUCI: Well, that`s the right question. And I believe the answer is yes.

It`s multifaceted reasons why people are not getting vaccinated. Certainly, one of them, maybe not the predominant one, but one of them is, some people are still reluctant until you get the official, full approval, as you`re referring to what`s going to be imminent over a very reasonable period of time with Pfizer and then subsequently with Moderna.

And the reason is that people just have that feeling that they want to get the official stamp on it. However, there`s another thing that is going to happen when you get the official approval from the FDA, the final approval, is that that is going to empower local enterprises to do mandating for vaccine.

For example, there will be universities and colleges which will say, if you want to come to class in person, you have got to show me that you`re vaccinated. There will be organizations, corporations that employ large numbers of people that will be saying, if you want to work in our enterprise, you have got to be vaccinated.

I`m certain you`re going to be seeing a lot more of that at the local level. You`re not going to see a central mandate for the country. That`s not going to happen.

REID: Yes.

FAUCI: But at the local level, you will be seeing mandates.

REID: Well, I think a lot of us would like to see mandates, because you`re right. It takes the pressure off of local governments, et cetera, the more mandates, if it`s companies, et cetera.

I want to ask you a question, because a lot of people have asked me about this. People who, let`s say, got Moderna are -- there is this notion that maybe what you should do is get a booster of something else. Like, if you got Johnson & Johnson, should you be thinking about getting a booster of Pfizer or Moderna, or if you got...


REID: You think that is not a thing people should be doing? Because it`s a thing people talk about.

FAUCI: No. Well, they talk about it, but they should just talk about it, but not do it.


FAUCI: We really are recommending that, if you got a Moderna, continue to stick with Moderna.

REID: Stick with Moderna. OK.

FAUCI: If you got Pfizer, stick with Pfizer, right.

REID: OK. Thank you for that. That answers a lot of questions for folks that have been asking me that.

President Biden had to answer something that just seems -- no one, I think, could have anticipated that we would be in a place where doctors and teachers, et cetera, are thinking about getting personal security. I`m sure you obviously have had to get personal security because of the hostility to lifesaving measures, right?

Here`s President Biden reacting to the fact that you have had people harassing health professionals simply because they`re saying that students and kids should be wearing masks.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there are a lot of people out there trying to turn a public safety measure -- that is, children wearing masks in school, so they can be safe -- into a political dispute, and that this isn`t about politics.

This is about keeping our children safe.


REID: The thing that we`re seeing is exhaustion among people who are in the health care industry, people who have to provide care for people who are hostile to the idea that they are saying mask up and get vaccinated, but then run to the E.R. and want the same science and medicine to save them when they get sick.

How do you process this, as somebody who`s been an epidemiologist, who has been in this game for a long time with lots of different illnesses, people literally saying, I hate you for saying put a mask on or get a vaccine, but please save me when I get COVID?

FAUCI: Well, that is tough.

It`s difficult to process that. I am the object of that every single day, literally every single day. It seems inexplicable that we`re dealing with what is so, obviously, a public health global health crisis that has killed over 615,000 Americans and worldwide, over 4 million people.


And we have such divisiveness in society that we concentrate on this divisiveness and hostility to the very people who are devoting their entire lives, you know, working 24/7 -- the health care providers, the nurses, the doctors, and even the scientists who are trying to do a job of getting the vaccines and getting the therapies. It just doesn`t make any sense.

But it is certainly a reflection in the terrible divisiveness that we have in our society. And I wish what we`re going through now, which is such a painful experience, that people will realize that the common enemy is the virus, not each other. We`re in this together, and the only way we`re going to conquer this virus is by working together.

So I don`t have a good answer to your question.


FAUCI: It`s just an unfortunate reality that we have to deal with.

REID: Yeah. I wish people would treat it like an alien invasion, right? Like, treat it like an alien invasion. But now, I wonder if maybe some folks would be siding with aliens if they actually did invade.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much.

FAUCI: Yeah.

REID: Thank you for all that you do. Appreciate you.

Okay. Still ahead, tonight`s absolute worst went from gracing the cover of "Time" magazine as person of the year to selling personal messages for cash.

But up next, our country has become notably more diverse in the last 10 years, according to the 2020 Census numbers released today. But what does this mean for the future of U.S. elections and for our society in general? We`ll tell you next.

Stay with us.



REID: Okay, friends, listen up. Today, the United States Census Bureau released the official data that states will use to begin their redistricting process. Now, let me explain how we got here and why it matters.

Last year most of us got these questionnaires about our lives, some of us even got real people, census take terse to knock on our doors and ask the questions. It was tough, especially given the pandemic. But we do it every ten years because the Constitution requires us to. It is important. Why? Because the answers get tabulated and turned into data that allows state legislatures to decide our political representation in Congress, aka, redistricting.

And here is the thing. It plays a huge role in who controls Congress. And this is where it gets tricky. The party in control of each state gets to decide how the lines are drawn. Some do it to ensure their party gets the power, hello North Carolina. Thirty-five states rely on a political process to redistricting and Republicans control map making in 20 of them.

That means that they have a clear advantage and a track record of stuffing the increasingly diverse population of their state into one or two carved out districts. That`s called racial gerrymandering.

And this is why today`s numbers have massive implications not just for our politics, but for our society. Today, we learned that the United States is increasingly more multiracial and urban as the white population continues to age and shrink. For the first time the portion of white Americans dipped below 60 percent.

According to "The Washington Post," the report marks the first time the absolute number of people who identify as white alone has shrunk since the census started being taken in 1790.

For more on that learned today and what it all means, I`m joined by Hansi Lo Wang, who cover the census for NPR, and Janelle Wong, professor at the University of Maryland and co-director of AAPI Data.

So, Hansi, I want to start with you. Explain the significance of what we`re reading in this report. And given that we had a giant pandemic, are the numbers accurate in your view?

HANSI LO WANG, NPR CORRESPONDENT: You know, the thing to keep in mind is that no census has been perfect in the history of the country since the first one in 1790. The 2020 census had a lot of challenges, including the pandemic, but also including interference from former Donald Trump`s administration, trying to get a citizenship question on, that was a failed attempt, and also last year trying to cut short the amount of time for counting. That happened.

Door-knocking ended earlier than expected. It`s key to make here that historically undercounted groups are counted. So that`s another factor that is baked into these new statistics that we have today about race and ethnicity.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that there is a lot of talk about how the white population has changed, and there is a lot of focus about what is known as the white alone population. And the Census Bureau today presented a set of statistics that there are a lot of different ways of analyzing that data that show different ways that the white population has changed.

The bottom line is that the white population is still the largest racial ethnic group in the country, remains to be so, and another interesting thing to point out is that the number of people, the share of people that identified as white as well as another racial group has increased more than 300 percent. So there is some interesting changes happening in how people identify through the census.

REID: You know, and it`s interesting to know, you know, there is this big fight about so-called critical race theory, but really about the 1619 Project. And so, the irony in all of that, that it was Europeans who invented the idea of race. It`s a social construct.

Europeans here decided there is a thing called white, you were free, free white in the first sentence, the first census, and then everyone else, indigenous people, people who were African, who were enslavable, et cetera. But now, that is sort of making it tricky, right?


So white alone is now at 57.8 percent based on the way that the folks who founded this country decided what white means, 18.7 percent Hispanic, black at 12.1 percent, Asian at 5.9 percent. Everybody who is everything other than white is growing in number.

What does that mean for the social implications here?

Because I can recall the freak-out when we first heard that we`re going to become a majority-minority country by 2042, and that was around Obama getting elected. What can we expect in terms of how these numbers affect our society?

JANELLE WONG, ASIAN-AMERICAN STUDIES FACULTY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Well, these numbers are new, and are getting a lot of coverage. This shrinking white population is dominating the headlines already, and yet the anxiety about demographic change are really not new, as you pointed out.

And, you know, there`s lots of research in this area. We have seen that, you know, surveys show that whites express a lot more fear over a majority non-white country. Many are saying it will weaken U.S. customs and values. And this is actually becoming partisan.

So Republicans are much more likely to express those fears than Democrats. A 2020 PRRI survey found that a third of all whites believe that whites face a lot of discrimination. But what`s really striking about these data are that Republicans in particular are more likely, 60 percent believe that whites face a lot of discrimination in this country, and that`s a higher proportion of Republicans than Republicans that believe that other groups, blacks, Latinos, and Asian-Americans face discrimination.

And so, what we`re seeing here, I think, is not just an attention to demographic change but a kind of real interpretation that does help us to explain the attacks on students learning about structural racism in classrooms and explains some of the anxieties that were behind the January 6th insurrection, for instance.

REID: Absolutely. Exactly. I think that`s the thing we have to think about. On just the pragmatic level, it also explains what we`re about to see I`m guessing in terms of gerrymandering, right?

WANG: This is data that will be used to draw voting maps at all levels of government, including congress, also state houses, local government, and this is racial ethnic data that will be used to measure to see if these voting maps are drawing districts that would possibly dilute the voting power of minority groups. This data will be one way to check that.

So we`ll see how exactly map drawers will use this data and whether or not the debates over these voting maps will certainly a lot of them will end up in court. So it`s something to watch for.

REID: Absolutely. I think that is the rub. And we also have to watch for how it impacts sort of us in terms of the violence and the national security issues.

Hansi Lo Wang and Janelle Wong, thank you both very much. Really appreciate it. Great discussion.

And still ahead, the disgraced former mayor of New York city is reportedly almost broke, so he`ll wish you a happy birthday to cover the cost of his legal fees. He`s tonight`s absolute worst. Maybe absolute saddest, next.


REID: If you`re searching, searching for the former president`s ex-lawyer, Rudy Giuliani these days, you`re not going to find him in a courtroom, since his license has been suspended by the state of New York. Or in Washington, D.C., for that matter, which did the same for his lies about the election. Hard to make a living as a lawyer when you can`t practice law.

But where you will find Rudy is on cameo. If for some reason you want a birthday greeting from Donald Trump`s not so savvy former counselor. See, since Rudy`s mounting legal woes have left him in need of cash, as Seth Meyers put it, he`s panhandling on the personalized greeting service. You can get a shout-out from the ex-so-called America`s mayor for just $375. Just make sure he`s fully clothed for this cameo. Cue the Borat reference, very nice.

Now, what seemed Rudy is without a friend to bail him out these days. That includes the disgraced twice impeached former president who "The Daily Beast" reports has left his old pal in the dust in his time of financial need. As he so often does.

But Rudy`s legal bills continue to grow over his efforts to find election fraud that didn`t exist. A federal judge this week said Dominion Voting Systems` $1.3 billion defamation suit against him for claiming they rigged the election can move forward, as can Dominion`s suits against kraken attorneys Sidney Powell and MyPillow and its CEO, Mike Lindell.

And right before the reinstatement, what a shame, it`s no surprise that Rudy`s lies are about to catch up with him in a big and very expensive way. On Wednesday, "The Washington Post" reported that in 2018, he told federal agents that it was okay to throw a fake during a political campaign if that`s any indication of what`s left of the former mayor`s former credibility.

But anyway, in his welcome message for cameo, Rudy did say that if there`s an issue that you would like to discuss, he would be delighted to do it. So if you feel like lighting $375 on fire, go ahead. And ask Rudy if all the lies were worth it. Oh, and maybe you can get him to say, hey, Joy, it`s Rudy. And I am tonight`s absolute worst.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Sorry, Rudy.