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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/18/21

Guests: Anthony Fauci, Jennifer Rubin, Krish O`Mara Vignarajah, Bernard Ashby


Biden administration will offer vaccine booster shots in September. Mask debate turns classrooms into battlegrounds. Booster shot distribution begins September 20. Biden administration says boosters will be available eight months after second dose. Booster shots may also be recommended for J&J vaccine. WHO opposes boosters for adults in rich countries. Religious right ad once supported face masks to curb a disease that was not airborne. Biden administration wrestles with Afghanistan fallout. U.S. State Department races to evacuated civilians. Biden says troops could remain in Afghanistan beyond August 31 deadline to evacuate civilians. Republican governors are essentially allowing COVID to spread and infect our nation`s children.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I`m going to hit it off right now because "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Always here for Dr. Ruth and Pets. Thank you Ari, I appreciate it. Have a great evening. Bye.

MELBER: Cheers.

REID: All right. Good evening, everyone. We`ve got a lot to get to with breaking news here at home and overseas. A Florida school board just voted to defy Governor Ron DeSantis` insane ban on mask mandates in schools. And President Biden strongly defended his decision to pull out of Afghanistan and said American troops would get every American out of the country, even if it means staying past the August 31st deadline.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the Biden administration taking forceful action on multiple fronts in the war against COVID, starting with booster shots, which will be offered to all Americans beginning the third week of September.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The reason most people in America don`t worry about polio, smallpox, measles, mumps or rubella today is because of vaccines.

The threat of the delta virus remains real. But we are prepared, we have the tools, we can do this.

If you aren`t going to fight COVID-19, at least get out of the way of everyone else who`s trying.


REID: The Biden administration will also require that nursing home staff be vaccinated in order to continue receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding. These developments come as America`s hospitals are back in crisis mode, overwhelming health care workers who are facing burnout. States like Alabama are out of ICU beds. They`re done. And a hospital association president called it uncharted territory with some patients being treated on gurneys in hallways.

But what is perhaps most troubling is the spike in COVID cases among children. Now returning to school as mask orders turn their classrooms into battlegrounds. Tens of thousands of kids are already in quarantine or in isolation and school has just begun. What`s quickly emerging in plain sight with the modern day political pawn, public school kids, many of whom can`t get vaccinated, with nearly 6,000 students testing positive or getting exposed to COVID in one Florida school district alone.

Joining me now is Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden and Director of the National Institutes of Energy and Infectious Diseases. And when I take off the one earring that didn`t fall off during that open, Dr. Fauci, I want to thank you for being here.

Let`s start with this news about the booster shots. I got Pfizer. The whole family has Pfizer. I hear that there is this study, that there is this information that we should get a booster shot after eight months. But I guess the question that I have for you is do you have the same discomfort I do that I could get a booster shot before any child under 12, when kids under 12 can`t get it? Is it -- does it make you as uncomfortable as it makes me?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: No, Joy, it doesn`t because we have to finish the clinical trials to show that in children that young, it`s safe and induces the kind of response that you would predict would be protective. We already know from clinical trials that in adults like yourself that the vaccine, whichever you got, either Moderna or Pfizer or J&J, is safe and highly effective. So I think that`s really apples and oranges there. You shouldn`t fit one against the other. One still has to go through the safety as well as the immunogenicity study, the other we know how it acts in adults.

REID: Can we talk -- you mentioned J&J, because that`s the one that was a one-shot deal. So does this mean -- because right now, what we`re hearing, per NBC News, the plan does not yet include those who received Johnson & Johnson. Health officials say they anticipate boosters will be needed in that group as well but they expect more data from Johnson & Johnson effectiveness in the coming weeks. Can you explain why if Johnson & Johnson essentially acts the same way that Pfizer and Moderna do, the additional booster shot is not being ordered for them?

FAUCI: Well, it`s a timing issue, because right now, much of the Johnson administration, J&J, took place in March and later whereas the mRNAs started in January. In order to get the authorization for an additional boost, you have to get the FDA authorization. And we believe we have time, some wiggle room to do that before the people who got J&J will be at their eighth month, whereas the people who got it in January, the mRNA vaccines, they`re ready to do that right now in the middle, second, third week in September. That`s the reason for the difference. Nothing that`s prejudiced against the J&J. It`s a matter of timing.

REID: And, you know -- and thank you for saying that. So, the World Health Organization opposes this. I will just -- and I`m sure you know this already. They oppose it for all adults in rich countries because the boosters will not help slow down the pandemic, they say, by diverting doses away from unvaccinated.


The WHO is concerned that booster shots will help drive the emergence of more dangerous mutants, they said. Do you worry that doing booster shots for those of us who are willing already to get the vaccine in the first place will not only deprive poorer countries of the vaccine, they can`t even get one, and also discourage those who won`t take it in this country?

FAUCI: Well, let`s start with those in this country. We still emphasize very strongly, Joy, that the most important thing we need to do is get the approximately 90 million people who are eligible for vaccination in this country and who have not gotten vaccinated. And we`re doing everything we can with trusted messages, with outreach, with making it very, very easy and accessible for them to get vaccinated. So, clearly, that`s not going to be interfering or conflicting with the issue of the booster.

Regarding international, we in the United States are extremely sensitive to the need to get vaccines for the developing world, but you can do both, Joy. And as a matter of fact, the United States has already either promised or given more vaccines to the developing world than all the other countries combined, including a commitment for half a billion doses, 200 million of which will be before the end of this year, 300 million as we get into 2022 and already given about 115 million doses to about 80 countries.

So we feel a very strong commitment for the developing world, lower, middle income countries, but we feel we can do both. We can take care of our own people simultaneously with making a major contribution of doses to the developing world.

REID: I`m glad you said that. I have family in South Africa that have COVID and because they didn`t have access, the same kind of access and they would have gotten vaccinated if they could have.

Let`s talk about some of this ongoing resistance to the basics. You know, there are people who just are refusing. I know some, I`m sure you might know some as well, who are just literally just laying down the law and resisting getting it. But there is one group that I find the irony is rich, and I just want to know if you do as well. I know that you are probably the best known person that was involved in trying to stop the AIDS pandemic during the 1980s when that first happened.

I want to show you something. This was tweeted Kurt Eichenwald, by Journalist Kurt Eichenwald. In 1983, Jerry Falwell, a Jerry Falwell`s organizations moral majority report, or the report they used to send out, and I don`t know if you all can see that. This was an ad urging families to mask themselves and their children because of AIDS, which is not spread through the air. It is not an airborne virus. It was obviously an attempt to make a comment about the LGBT community and not in a nice way. But what do you make of the fact that this was not orthodoxy until COVID, the idea that masks are bad is suddenly orthodoxy among many say of people who are also evangelical Christians?

FAUCI: It`s apples and oranges, Joy. The transmission of HIV has nothing to do with the respiratory tract in the sense of an airborne or aerosol. I mean, it is completely apples and oranges. Right now, you`re dealing with a virus that`s well known to transmit by droplets and by aerosol. Masks right now today in August of 2021, it`s well known by multiple studies that masks are beneficial, they`re not perfect, but they go a long way in preventing the transmission and acquisition of COVID-19 or SARS-Cov-2.

REID: Yes.

FAUCI: So anybody who makes that analogy just doesn`t understand the differences in transmission. Masks do help and that`s the reason why the CDC recommends them under several circumstances.

REID: Yes. Can you talk to -- just to the -- to the sort of crisis nature of what`s happening in hospitals right now? I mean, hospital ICUs are overrun. There are places where there are no beds. What else can be said? Because there are people who are refusing to get vaccinated but who are willing to be treated with monoclonal antibodies, which are also, probably even a newer technology when they get sick. What do you say to that and to these overrun hospitals?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, vaccines prevent getting infected, prevent getting sick, prevent your hospitalization. Monoclonal antibodies are a treatment after you do get infected. They`re very good, but I`d rather not get infected than get infected and have to be treated for it.

What`s going on in hospitals that are becoming overrun is really a tragedy, Joy. We here in the United States have the tools to prevent this. What you`re seeing is entirely predictable if you don`t get people vaccinated, and yet entirely preventable by vaccine.


We`ve got to do a better job of reaching out to people, getting trusted messengers to convince people why it`s so important for their own health, for that of their family and for the community to get vaccinated. We never, ever should be in a position where people who belong in an ICU are being treated in hallway in a gurney. That`s just unacceptable.

REID: It`s absolutely unacceptable. In the 21st century when we`ve got polio vaccines that saved people`s lives, for people to be fighting about a miracle vaccine is -- it`s wild to me and I`m sure it is even worse so to you, sir.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much. We really appreciate your time as always.

And up next, President Biden stands firm on his decision to Afghanistan, while Republicans pretend they got everything exactly right for the past four years.

Plus, the fight to save Afghan refugees and the predictable xenophobic attacks from the American right.

And the nonsensical fight to block mask mandates in schools when thousands of students, kids, are getting sick with COVID. But the schools are finding brilliant ways to fight back.

And tonight`s absolute worst, the politician for best known for giving his corrupt boss that adoring gaze now wants to lecture President Biden about, quote, weakness arousing evil. Give me a break.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: To paraphrase the infamous former defense secretary, the late, maybe not so great Donald Rumsfeld, there are known knowns and known unknowns in Afghanistan. Because the truth is no matter what the vast majority of instant Afghanistan experts will tell you, we don`t know a whole lot. The truth is we do not know what will happen in Afghanistan in the coming days, weeks and years or have a full removal of U.S. troops will play out.

Here`s what we do know. The Taliban were basically 14th century goons who don`t think women should work or go to school or that music should be legal, took control of the country with surprising speed. The Taliban is awful and untrustworthy and yet they currently stand between thousands of Americans and Afghan allies and freedom.

State Department officials are working around the clock to expedite the departure of those U.S. Citizens, embassy staff and Afghan allies. The Kabul airport, which is guarded by the U.S. military, is stable. Here`s the latest from administration officials.


WENDY SHERMAN, DEPUTY U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: In spite of the obstacles, many, many Afghans in all of the categories that you cited are finding their way to the airport. And we will continue to do what we can.

LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We`re going to get everyone that we can possibly evacuate evacuated. And I`ll do that as long as we possibly can until the clock runs out or we run out of capability.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: This comes down to an issue of will and leadership. And, no, I did not nor did anyone else see a collapse of an army of that size in 11 days.


REID: Here`s what else we know. President Joe Biden told us he would do this and has taken a steely-eyed approach to delivering on that promise. He told ABC News that the United States would get every U.S. citizen out of Afghanistan and he added this.


BIDEN: The idea that somehow there`s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don`t know how that happens. I don`t know how that happened.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: So for you, that was always priced into the decision?



REID: Another thing that has not surprised us, the Republican Party and their craven political hysteria with the party straddling two incongruous positions, more war or no war but leave the Afghans there, because we don`t want any brown Muslims here.

Matthew Dowd was the Chief Strategist for the Bush, Cheney 2004 presidential campaign. He later became disillusioned with President Bush over the war in Iraq. Earlier today, he tweeted, the response by the GOP and so many Democrats in D.C. to events in Afghanistan underlines what I have been saying for years. GOP feels no shame and Democrats feel shame way too quickly. Biden is right in what he is doing. Support him vigorously.

Joining me now is Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, and Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post Opinion Columnist and the Author of the upcoming book, Resistance, How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump. Oh, I`m going to that on my reading list. Thank you very much for being here, both of you.

But, Ben, I`m going to start with you because I`m going to read a different Washington Post columnist to Jennifer. So I`m just going to read a little from David Ignatius` piece in The Post. And this is what he wrote. I thought it was brilliantly written and comprehensive. The structure of the Kabul government has been rotting from within for all 20 years of the United States war and every U.S. commander knew its weakness. They worried about the corruption and incompetence of the government, devised elaborate strategies to fix it, kept convincing themselves they were making progress, President Biden -- and that President Biden rejected the advice of his advisers and pulled the plug. U.S. combat troops finally left and in six weeks the tower of illusion crumbled.

That, you know, was sort of rested with me because the other thing pointed out in Ignatius` piece is that Biden has always had this belief, even when President Obama reluctantly agreed to send in more troops, Biden was the one guy saying don`t do it. You can`t nation build. Let`s get out.

So what is surprising is that people are acting like he hasn`t had this position for a very, very long time. It is not surprising once you read that piece. Your thoughts, Ben.

BEN RHODES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No, look, Joe Biden has been very consistent in Afghanistan. Since I first started working with him back in 2009 during the debate around the surge of forces under Barack Obama, Joe Biden was the only and most prominent voice that rejected that surge, that was against it, that felt that a nation-building exercise in Afghanistan couldn`t succeed, that this was too distant and different from the United States.


And really, Joy, you kind of have to think of it in terms of, there were two broad missions in Afghanistan, the counterterrorism mission to eradicate the al Qaeda safe haven, much of which ended up in Pakistan, which kind of reached its crescendo with the killing of Osama bin Laden, but then this effort to build a sustainable Afghan National Security Force and government that could take some kind of handoff from the United States.

And what we found over the years, of course, is that, in part because of our own failures -- and I think people who`ve served in successive administrations have to acknowledge that the premise of them being able to do that, absent U.S. support, is what never emerged.

And Joe Biden made a decision. It`s clearly a tough decision. It`s clearly a controversial decision to say, look, I don`t think this is sustainable. The only way that we can shift the momentum that the Taliban had seized and really advanced after Donald Trump made a deal to withdraw from Afghanistan without getting any real concessions from the Taliban, they don`t know where to shift that momentum is to add more U.S. forces, and it`s something he wasn`t going to do.

And, obviously, we have seen a lot of risks associated with it. But the bottom line is, the only way we`re going to end this war is by pulling U.S. forces out. And that`s what he always said he would do. And that`s what he`s done.

REID: Yes.

And, Jennifer, mistakes or magical thinking. The sense I get is that there was a lot of magical thinking, thinking that we could take a culture we know nothing about really, and set up a sort of Western-style government there, and that, if you just showed people American-style freedoms, they would be like, yes, I want that, not taking into account this is a very tribal culture.

They have their own culture, their own -- there are some people who are going to want it. And those are our friends. And then there`s all the other people.

Let me play one of the people who didn`t seem to know a darn thing, and not really get it. And I don`t like playing him. But here`s Donald Trump showing you what he actually knows on "Hannity" last night about the Taliban.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because I will tell you what. They`re great, automatically great negotiators. They have been fighting for 1,000 years, and everything about them, they negotiate.


REID: I mean, he seems have more respect for the Taliban than he does for the Democrats in his own country.

He also -- 1,000 years? The Taliban was formed in 1994. Is this -- is -- I just want to throw it over to you. What do you think, Jennifer, about all of this?

JENNIFER RUBIN, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Everything he said, including the "the"s, is false, obviously.


RUBIN: ... deliberately or not.

But let`s be clear about a few things. First of all, I think you`re exactly right in saying that we never fully appreciated that what we were asking the Afghans to do, to form this central army of hundreds of thousands of people with a national identity was just never going to happen. That was antithetical.

And the other thing is, I think the military`s inclination to say -- salute and say, oh, yes, we can do it, and, oh, yes, it`s working and, oh, yes, things are getting better. And although they may not feel like they`re lying, they`re just being optimistic, in fact, they begin to delude themselves. And, therefore, they give bad information to presidents, they get bad information to Congress and the American people.

And when we go back and look at this, you`re going to see a slew of generals, admirals, secretaries of defense all getting up there and telling us the Afghan army is really making progress, we really see them, they`re a tremendous fighting force, on and on and on.

And it never happened. I think the downside of this going on for very long, and then having Donald Trump as president, is that he put President Biden in the worst possible position. First of all, he drew down to 2, 500 troops...

REID: Yes.

RUBIN: ... which made them very vulnerable.

Secondly, he had ceased processing any of the special visas. They hadn`t been processed since March of 2020. There were 17,000 applications back- loaded. And he dumped this into Biden`s lap.

And what was Biden to do? Was he going to insert another 10,000 troops to try to get the Americans out, to try to get all of the Afghan partners out? That simply wasn`t feasible.

And then when -- I think what happened, although we will find out, I`m sure, is that he was told, don`t worry, you have months and months to pull this off. Even if we have to go, the Afghan government will oversee it. We will be able to get people out. Was spectacularly wrong.

And maybe we should have expected it to be spectacularly wrong, because we never understood really what we were working with. We never understood the Afghan army to begin with.

REID: Yes.

RUBIN: If we had, we would have been able to make the handoff earlier than 20 years.

So maybe the CIA is great at reading the enemy, but they`re not very good at reading our own allies. And that`s the situation that...


REID: You`re absolutely right, 100 percent.

I go back to Iran again. We`re like, we will get rid of Mossadegh. He`s not being nice enough to us. We will put in the shah. They will love him.

No, they won`t. Eventually, they will overthrow him, and you will get the mullah -- you will get what their own country decides they`re going to put in there. We may not like it.

To speak of that, and I think that Donald Trump sometimes has this weird knack for sort of telling the truth when he doesn`t mean to. Trump`s statement today said the plane that was leaving Afghanistan, to the point Jennifer just made about not approving visas. Well, you wonder why he didn`t do that. "The plane should have been full of Americans, America first," he says.

The statement was sent out by his little press people. The point is, is that there -- it was never going to be a Trump policy to bring in 30,000 or so or however many thousand Afghans here, because his policy was the Muslim ban.

And so, Ben, I think...


REID: ... it`s magical thinking that`s the problem, thinking somehow Donald Trump would have evacuated those Afghans. No, he wouldn`t have. His people are already screaming, don`t bring them here.

So, where does Biden, in your view, go from here? Because he is going to bring people out. And then what?

RHODES: Well, first of all, Joy, I think you have made a very important point and put your finger on it, which is, I think the most concerning thing that many of us have seen in recent days, and it`s some of the most valid criticisms that the Biden team has gotten, is on why there hasn`t been more of an effort over time to get more Afghans out.

These are interpreters who saved the lives of American troops. These are people who took money from USAID to start organizations to set up girls` education. These are people we have an obligation, a moral obligation, to get them out of danger. And, frankly, these are people who, if they came here as refugees, would make enormous contributions to American society, much like the Vietnamese American community did after the Vietnam War.

REID: Yes.

RHODES: We just celebrated a Hmong American who won a gold medal in the Olympics, for instance.

REID: Yes.

RHODES: And that, too, has its origins in the Vietnam War.

I think what Joe -- and so the Republican arguments against the withdrawal and how it`s been executed, ignore the fact that it`s their party and their president who wanted to slam the door in the face of all these people. So they have no moral standing to criticize Joe Biden for the execution of the withdrawal, when they themselves would not have held the door open to these Afghans.

REID: That`s right.

RHODES: I think what Joe Biden needs to do now is cast aside the bureaucracy, say we`re going to -- we`re not going to sit there and require interviews and processing visas.

REID: That`s right.

RHODES: We`re just going to airlift as many of these people. We know who they are.

REID: That`s right.

RHODES: We`re going to get as many of these people, tens of thousands of people, outside of Afghanistan. And we`re also going to do our share to let a big share of those refugees resettle in the United States.

REID: That`s right.

RHODES: That`s a part of how we end wars in this country. It`s a part of how we enrich our country with the contributions that refugees make, and it`s something that Joe Biden should absolutely do.

REID: And those are people who have proved that they want to live in a modern context. And so there is every reason to bring them. You`re absolutely right.

And I hope, for my profession, for journalists, I would like to see them ask every single Republican who`s screaming at Joe Biden right now, how many of those Afghans are you willing to accept coming into this country? How many do you want in? I will bet you a lot of their answer is zero.

The outrage is so fake.

But, anyway, Ben Rhodes, Jennifer Rubin, I will put that on myself saying that, not on you two. Thank you, wonderful guests.

And up next: the fight to save Afghan refugees who helped the U.S., as we just heard. As if getting past the Taliban wasn`t bad enough, now they have to deal with America`s right wing.

More on that when we come back.




GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: And we are the United States military. And we fully intend to successfully evacuate all American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan, all American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan. They are our priority number one.

In addition, we intend to evacuate those who have been supporting us for years, and we`re not going to leave them behind. And we will get out as many as possible.


REID: We are less than two weeks away from the deadline for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And the race is on to evacuate not just the remaining Americans, but also our Afghan allies who fought alongside the U.S. military over the past two decades.

Complicating the matter, the Taliban has set up checkpoints and are reportedly attacking some Afghans who even try to reach us and reach our military planes. As of this afternoon, U.S. officials said that about 4,000 Afghans have been evacuated to the United States, a small fraction of what that number needs to be.

"The Washington Post" reports that aid groups estimate that the number of Afghan applicants for Special Immigrant Visas, as well as their family members, is 80,000.

Joining me now is Krish O`Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She was also a policy director for first lady Michelle Obama.

Thank you so much for being here, Krish O`Mara.

Let`s talk about the challenge of getting people that we want out, these 80,000 people, to be able to physically get to the airport. From what you understand, how difficult is it for them to even get to us?


So, there`s a few issues that have caused trouble. One is that about 50 percent of our Afghan allies are outside of Kabul. So, they are in heavily Taliban-controlled territory. And it is clear from the statements made by the Pentagon that they have no capacity, no intent to evacuate these individuals to Kabul or out of the country.

Even those who are in Kabul who have communicated to us that they are debating whether to go to the airport, in the hopes that they can be evacuated or shelter in place, are trying to figure out how to actually get to the airport, because, obviously, these are actively patrolled streets by the Taliban.

And so they are so close to potential freedom, and yet they can`t make their way home.

REID: Yes, to say nothing about the fact that they may have papers on them that indicate that they worked with us, which make -- puts them in even greater danger.


So, here`s the thing that is infuriating, I think, to a lot of probably the folks that watch this show, is that if they are able to scale all of those hurdles, and get on those U.S. planes and get here, I want to give you a sample of what they`re going to face from the people who are pretending to be the most concerned about Afghanistan right now.

This is Stephen Miller, who most people know as just somebody who`s made his life about tormenting people of color and keeping them out of the United States. Here he is last night on FOX.


STEPHEN MILLER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Resettling in America is not about solving a humanitarian crisis. It`s about accomplishing an ideological objective, to change America.

There`s a lot of people in Afghanistan, millions and millions and millions, who don`t like the Taliban, and rightly so. That doesn`t necessarily mean that all those millions of people are Jacksonian democrats who are pro- American and who will embrace our way of life.


REID: It is a humanitarian crisis. He`s a fool.

But I want to let you respond to him.

VIGNARAJAH: It`s true that our Afghan allies won`t embrace his way of life. His way of life was ripping 5,000 children from their parents` arms.

His way of life was allowing innocent children to die because he believed that kids belong in cages. Look, Stephen Miller is about as un-American as they come. He`s not an authority on what the American way of life is.

Our way of life is fighting for the rights of girls to get an education. Our way of life is America keeping its word. Our way of life is leaving no one behind. And that`s why our American allies who risked their lives to save ours deserve a hero`s welcome here.

REID: Yes.

And, luckily, he is -- there is a white nationalist contingent in the United States, but they are not the majority, far from it. What we`re seeing is that there are some Republican governors who are singing a very different tune.

Georgia`s even governor, who is not really a big fan of people of color voting, but he has said he`s open to accepting refugees from Afghanistan. Utah`s governor is -- says he`s eager to assist with resettling Afghan refugees.

Kim Reynolds of Iowa, who`s not too much in favor of stopping COVID, but she says she`s willing to take in eligible refugees. And there`s Governor McMaster, who says that it`s our duty to take in refugees.

Can you talk about the -- what could be the dispersal, what could wind up being the dispersal of people from Afghanistan around the country, how you think that`s going to work, and how COVID, to be frank, complicates it, because some of these states are not fighting COVID? So they may be going into COVID hot spots.

VIGNARAJAH: Look, it is heartening to see a sharp contrast in terms of Republican governors` responses, because, obviously, in 2015, when the Syrian crisis led to an infusion of refugees, we saw a number of these Republican governors speak out and reject refugees.

So let`s hope that this means that there has been some progress. But this is heartening, because, typically, Afghan allies will relocate to the D.C. metro area, so, Virginia. Maryland`s governor announced that he would welcome refugees coming.

So we have typically seen people go to the D.C. metro area, Texas, California. These are obviously areas that are dealing with affordable housing crises and other issues. And so knowing that there are other states that we can look to, to welcome and integrate Afghan allies, I think, is incredibly valuable.

It`s also just really important to understand that this is a win-win situation. We obviously have a moral and military obligation to these individuals, but these are people who become engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs.

REID: Yes.

VIGNARAJAH: They`re the people who worked in hospitals and aides in assisted living homes during the pandemic. They`re the ones who are at meat processing plants taking jobs that Americans won`t.

And so I think it`s really important to recognize that this isn`t just the right thing to do. It`s a smart thing to do for America.

REID: Indeed.

This is a -- as you said, it`s a win-win, enhancing our culture with people who sided with us in a war against the Taliban and did everything they could to help us win, which was really an unwinnable situation for us, but more for them.

So they deserve to be here. And, hopefully, they will all be here very soon.

Krish O`Mara Vignarajah, thank you so much for being here.

And coming up: Tonight`s absolute worst was once called America`s most repulsive public figure by George Will. And he continues to show why, yeah, that`s the case.

But first to the outrageous display of disregard for children`s health by Republican governors. Do these politicians actually think voters will reward them for putting kids` lives at risk? Really?

Stay with us.




JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Republican governors are essentially allowing COVID to spread and infect our nation`s children.

In Texas, amid the legal back-and-forth about the newly COVID-positive governor, Greg Abbott`s mask mandate ban, one district found a loophole requiring masks as part of their dress code, clever. Abbott put in place his ban last month and a whole idiot`s gallery of Republican governors followed his lead including South Carolina and this week Tennessee`s governor issued an order requiring parents to let parents opt out of mask mandates.

Tennessee`s order came days after anti-maskers threatened people near Nashville which a parent noted on the day of the governor`s order.


JUSTIN KANEW, PARENT OF KINDERGARTENER: I`m a dad of a new kindergartner. Her first day was right after the chaos last week. She went to school and was one of a few kids in her class wear a mask which made her ask me why she had to. My answer was because we want to take care of other people. She`s 5 years old, but she understood that concept. And it`s disappointing that more adults around here can`t seem to grasp it.



REID: Meanwhile, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said he`d cut off federal COVID funds to school districts that put in place mask mandates. Taking a page out of the playbook of the most craven of them all, Florida governor and thinly veiled 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis who has made the Sunshine State his ground zero for the battle between educators who want to protect kids and really his own ambitions.

Today, students in Broward County started school with masks, defying the governor`s order banning mask mandates. Yesterday, the state board of education voted to punish that district and the Alachua County for rejecting the order.

But school boards are fighting back hard. In Tampa, where a week into the school year, more than 10,000 students are in quarantine. The Hillsborough County school board voted for a stricter mask mandate.

The Miami-Dade School board met amid scenes of anti-mask protesters ahead of next week`s start of school. The state`s largest district, which is the fourth largest school district in the country voted overwhelmingly for a mask mandate, setting up two more showdowns with DeSantis.

I`m joined by Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist, and Fernand Amandi, Democratic pollster and an MSNBC political analyst.

Thank you very much. I appreciate both for being here.

I want to start by noting for our audience as we speak tonight and are worrying about the students in Florida, kids in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is at a 25,000-per-person fund-raiser, that`s what he thinks is important.

Now, with you knowing that, let me let you listen to what he said about the students who are currently quarantined in Palm Beach County today.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I think as people come, if students have symptoms, then they should stay home. I think quarantining healthy kids deprives these kids of an ability to get an education.


REID: So, Dr. Ashby, he`s not allowing -- he doesn`t want to allow mask mandates so he wants kids to come who might be COVID positive and asymptomatic, to be able to come to school, not wear masks and now he`s saying they shouldn`t even be quarantined.

A COVID positive kid or COVID positive teacher should come to school.

Your thoughts as a physician?

DR. BERNARD ASHBY, MIAMI CARDIOLOGIST: Joy, right now I`m trying to contain myself because I am seething. Everything that DeSantis has done has been contrary to what we medical professionals have been saying. We`ve actually sent a letter a few weeks ago, myself and some other physicians, that has over 1,200 doctors who have signed onto this letter basically asking DeSantis to do is job. He is refusing to do his job and instead is playing politics with not only our lives but children`s lives.

I mean, tell me you don`t care without saying you don`t care. I mean 50 pediatric cases were admitted to the ICU today and school is just starting. He`s telling people that if your kid tests positive and doesn`t have symptoms or was exposed to go ahead and go to school?

I mean, I don`t even know what to say. I get so exasperated when I about him my blood pressure goes up because he literally doesn`t care and he shows it each and every time. He`s literally choosing politics over people and it`s sick to me.

REID: I feel the same way. You know, I spend a lot of time, Fernand, feeling incredibly guilty and thanking god every day that my children are grown, because, you know, I live in Broward County. I was 954, I still have 954 number, right, and you were my Miami-Dade homey and I think about your kids a lot, Fernand, because you`ve got little kids. I don`t know what I would do right now if I had little kids in south Florida. I would be home schooling them. I would not send them to school.

Thank God for Broward County and Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach standing up to this guy. But this is somebody -- I want to get your reaction to this, who not only is out there raising $25,000 a head fund-raising, but one of his biggest donors is a guy, his top donor, as a matter of fact, Citadel Investments has $15.9 million in shares in Regeneron pharmaceutical. Its CEO Ken Griffin has donated $10.75 million to a PAC supporting DeSantis, $5.75 million in 2018, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The investment in Regeneron is a fraction of its overall investments but this guy is taking donor money and suddenly being my only plan is all y`all take Regeneron if you get sick. Nothing else. Get sick and then take this expensive treatment.

Your thoughts?

FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: My thoughts. You know, first off, let me acknowledge and accept what Dr. Ashby said, because as you alluded to, Joy, I am the parent of two small elementary age children here in Miami-Dade County. I`m not alone. Millions of parents across the state of Florida right now are debating what to do. The other thing that hasn`t been important in the news is governor is Governor DeSantis himself ruled against the ability for parents to do the virtual learning option at home.


So you`re not even allowed to do an online class without withdrawing your children from school.

And as inexplicable, off the rails and insane as all this sounds, the only conclusion I think we can logically come to is that Ron DeSantis is betting his road to re-election as governor of Florida and the 2024 nomination as Republican nominee for president is going through the grave yards, the morgues and the hospital rooms of adults and children in Florida. There is no logical or reasonable explanation for this.

And I think Mary Trump had a right on the air waves of this in network a couple days ago. And she said it`s time to stop calling this person a reputable governor and more a homicidal sociopath, because he`s acting in the face of all the science, all the medical advice as you heard Dr. Ashby said at the outset.

REID: And the pope. I mean, the pope has come out and said it is the Christian and right thing to do to get vaccinated even as his chief American cardinal rival is literally on an ventilator right now because he was anti-vaxxing with Bannon and now he`s on a ventilator with COVID.

I mean, as a physician, Dr. Ashby, could you in good conscience advocate people take their chances without a mask, take their chances without a vaccine, on the hope that they will get Regeneron if they get COVID?

ASHBY: So, Joy, the short answer is hell to the no. I mean, that is the definition of insanity.

We live in America, the vaccines are already paid for, masks are pennies on the dollar. And they`re very effective tools that will decrease death. We already see the disparity between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The vaccines work, and this governor does not care. He literally does not care.

And word on the street is that he went to Yale. I mean, for being Yale alumni, I apologize this dude has devaluing your degree as we speak in real time.

REID: Yeah.

ASHBY: What we`re seeing right now is the worst aspects of politic, the worst aspects of governing, and there will literally be history books written about this, political courses taught about this because he literally is putting peoples lives in danger and killing people unnecessarily.

REID: Oh, the Ivy Leagues have taken a hit from the Trump people.

I`m going to give you the last word on this, Fernand, because coming down the tracks in this gubernatorial re-elect is a guy named Charlie Crist who was also an education secretary. Just to put the politics in it for a hot second, is there any way this is good politics for DeSantis, real quick?

AMANDI: I mean, again, in a world where there is a free democracy and you can count on the sanctity of elections, of course not. This is madness. This is insanity and you even see that in the polls today.

A Republican poll came out today showing DeSantis only has a 3 point lead over Charlie Crist, 46 to 43 percent, within the margin of error and everyone who follows politics know when you`re seeking re-election if you`re under 50 percent you`re in trouble. So I just don`t understand the politics. No one does.

REID: Well, 46 percent of the people who survive him, what he`s doing.

Dr. Bernard Ashby, Fernand Amandi, thank you both, friends. Appreciate you. Thank you.

And up next, tonight`s absolute worst. Do not go anywhere.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban. They want to cease the violence. They`d like to cease violence also.

I believe they really want to make a deal. I think after 129 actually going close to 20 years, they`re also tired of fighting, believe it or not.

REPORTER: Sir, on Afghanistan, are you afraid that once the U.S. pulls out that the Taliban will basically just overrun --

TRUMP: Well, you know, eventually, countries have to take care of themselves. We can`t be there for the next, another 20 years. We`ve been there for 20 years.


REID: That was the disgraced twice impeached former president bragging about how he has such a great relationship with the Taliban, how thanks to his very particular brand of genius they would put down their weapons and there would be peace and happiness for all.

Now, of course, Republicans along with orange Julius Caesar would love for us to all conveniently forget Trump`s role in Afghanistan and blame it on Biden. Trump`s official Renfield (ph), complete with the fly on his head, aka, Mike Pence, had a gall to write an editorial in "The Wall Street Journal" accusing Biden of breaking the deal with the Taliban (AUDIO GAP) withdrawal.

Zero mention at all of Trump`s agreement to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners many of whom went straight to the battlefield to fight for the enemy side or the sanction that he lifted on Taliban leaders. That`s all pretty bad.

But while we can spend hours on the GOP`s hypocrisy, what`s even worse on this line from Pence. Quote: Weakness arouses evil and the magnitude of evil now rising in Afghanistan speaks volumes about the weakness of Mr. Biden -- says the man who was so obsessed with what his dear leader thought of that he literally played "Simon says put your water bottle on the floor" edition.

And if you want to talk about evil, there`s no one who decided to blindly standby his man as he committed evil separating children from their families or calling white supremacists "very fine people" like Mike Pence did.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump signs an order temporarily restricting entry to the U.S. from several Muslim countries.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: It`s the greatest privilege of my life to be vice president to a leader of such conviction, vision and courage.

HOLT: President Trump unloads, doubling down on his initial response to Charlottesville now blame, quote, both sides.

PENCE: President Trump is a man of his word and a man of action.

REPORTER: President Trump tonight ignoring questions after outrage grows after his vulgar insult, calling African nations S-holes.

PENCE: I`m here because I stand with President.

HOLT: Under the Trump administration`s zero-tolerance policy, nearly 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their parents in just the last six week.

PENCE: Because of the relentless leadership of President Donald Trump. It`s been a year and a half of promises made and promises kept.


REID: So Mike Pence for your sanctimonious op-ed and your oblivious hypocrisy when it comes to weakness arousing evil, you are tonight`s absolute worse.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.