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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/23/21

Guests: Chris Pernell, Mara Gay, Gina Hinojosa, Beto O`Rourke, Katie Hobbs, Josh Green


FDA grants full approval of Pfizer vaccine. FDA urges anti-vaxxers not to take livestock medicine. Conservative radio host and vaccine skeptic Dick Farrel dies of COVID. FDA says Pfizer vaccine meets high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. Rev. Jesse Jackson and wife have been hospitalized with COVID. Packed hospitals are forced to turn away non-COVID patients. Texas legislature fast-tracks voting bill after some Democrats return. Anti-maskers protested outside the home of Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, where he has two young children, ever since Hawaii mandated vaccines for state and county workers.


JOY RIED, MSNBC HOST: I`m pro-democracy, right?

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You need that.

REID: I say it on my Twitter handle. Thank you very much. Have a great evening. Good night.

All right, good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a major breakthrough in a different type of a forever war, the war against COVID-19. Today, the Federal Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, making it the first COVID vaccine to pass this pivotal hurdle. The designation is the game changer that this country desperately needs. It allows institutions, like the military and businesses and schools and universities, to adopt mandates. It may also lift public confidence in the shots, something President Biden addressed today in his message to the unvaccinated.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: If you are one of the millions of Americans who said that they will not get the shot when it is -- until it has full and final approval of the FDA, it has now happened. The moment you have been waiting for is here. It is time for you to go get your vaccination and get it today, today.


REID: The president also urged businesses to require employees to get vaccinated now that the Pfizer shot is fully approved. It signals a shift from a vaccine push to a vaccine must. And, frankly, it couldn`t come at a more crucial time. The health care system, frankly, is collapsing in parts of the country due to the strain of the unvaccinated. A group of around 75 South Florida doctors staged a walkout today to protest the number of unvaccinated COVID patients flooding into their hospital.

Now, the anti-vaxxers, they seem to have a thing for death and home remedies, claiming the new COVID cure is livestock de-wormer. Yes, that`s right, a drug bought at a feed store meant to prevent parasites in pigs and cows and such, leading in an uptick in calls to poison control. This is a group ingesting medicine for an animal that weighs a ton or more than humans do. So we get it. Talking sense into some of them is tough.

But a bigger part of this public health crisis is who some of the unvaccinated are listening to, people with influence, with far reach, people like Phil Valentine, a prominent conservative radio host in Tennessee, where COVID is so bad, the National Guard is supporting hospital staff and where a third, a third of all new cases are children.

Valentine scoffed at the need for vaccines. He wrote on his blog that his chances of dying from COVID were, quote, way less than 1 percent. He was doing his own research, as they say. But unlike your unvaccinated uncle or neighbor, Valentine broadcast this information over the airwaves and then Valentine got COVID and then he announced his diagnose in July.

Less than two weeks later, his radio station announced that the host was hospitalized and suffering from COVID pneumonia. By this point, Valentine finally understood his error and urged others to get the vaccine. He said that he was never anti-vaccine, just not pro-vaccine, something he came to regret. Valentine had promised a speedy return but he didn`t return. And after a month-long battle with COVID, Phil Valentine is now dead.

Joining me is Dr. Chris Pernell, a Public Health Physician, and Mara Gay, a Member of The New York Times Editorial Board.

And I have to go to you first, Dr. Pernell, both as a physician and someone who lost your dad, unfortunately, to COVID. When you hear stories about like that of Phil Valentine, there`s another guy, Dick Farrel, another conservative radio host, who also died of COVID. His friends and family also at the end said he urged people to get the vaccinate but it was, of course, too late for him, too late for Phil Valentine. When you hear those stories, how does it hit you?

DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: Joy, it is heartbreaking. I don`t want to see anyone lose their life, especially to something that`s preventable at this point. Look, when I lost my father back on April 13th, 2020, we weren`t here. We didn`t have these vaccines available to the public. There was so much we still didn`t know about coronavirus and my father still does not have to be another person`s story.

So this not only breaks my heart but it also puts a fire in my belly to shame on politicians and public officials who are knowingly leading people astray, leading people to death. Let`s just make it really frank. And it is time for those of us who know better, who can understand that science and translate it with common sense and plain spokenness that we speak loudly and speak clearly.

REID: You know, and, Mara, I know you suffered through COVID, you talked about it on MSNBC. You have actually been through it. I mean we all, I think, know people who are anti-vaxxers and who are really insistent and they have self-declared themselves experts. I know people who, because they had COVID, they think that they`re immune to COVID. They will not listen to anything you say. Every argument you give, they have a counterargument and there`s no getting anywhere with folks that had COVID.

You, as somebody, who is not just a journalist but somebody who dealt with this, what do you say to people who say, well, I had COVID so I`m immune or I don`t believe in the vaccine?


At this point, where is your frustration level at?

MARA GAY, THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Well, first of all, I just want to say, Dr. Pernell, I`m so sorry for your loss. I know how horrible those months were in April last year, that`s when I got sick, and my heart really goes out to your family. Thank you for speaking publicly about it. I know it is not easy to do.

I just want to say, you know, the frustration that I have is pretty much peak frustration as with the majority of responsible Americans who have taken the steps to get the vaccine to protect themselves, those they love and those they don`t even know.

But I think this is really kind of a war that we have to fight on all fronts. I don`t know that I am the best messenger to convince somebody who does not want to get the vaccine. If somebody is open to it, I have had a couple of folks say to me over the summer, hey, can you talk about what your experience was getting it, I`m nervous, I`m happy to share.

But I think that there may be good messengers for specific communities, and I think that might be the best push at this point, whether it`d be a pastor, a friend, a family member. I talked to two young men who are working for New York City`s test/trace core initiative, our vaccine initiative this week shall and they told me they had convinced their parents to get the vaccine and it took days of sitting around the kitchen table to do so.

So that`s really a successful effort, but this is kind of really labor intensive. I think there may be a portion of the population that we don`t reach through anything except for a mandate. So I think it is more than one answer.

I think the other thing that`s really important to just consider is on the whole, you know, doctors and the public health infrastructure are just doing a herculean work, but I do think it is really important that they just be transparent, every level, about what they know and what they don`t know. Because I think from day one Americans have been told kind of conflicting reports about what the level of risk is as an individual. Oh, you will be fine if you are healthy and young. Oh, well, maybe not. You know, is it airborne? I turns out, yes. Initially, we didn`t know that.

So just being honest and forthright about what it is that we know and what it is that we don`t know, that alone can help engender trust. I mean, as a journalist, if we are in possession of public information, we see it as an obligation to report that public information to the public.

So I do think that this is a time of, you know, fighting this war on all fronts, but also reflection for every corner of society and all of our institutions, what can we be doing better.

REID: Well, you know, some of the things we did know, first of all, the president of the United States at the time, he knew it was airborne. He admitted later on, right, called up an author and said, hey, guess what I knew, back in last February that it was airborne. That we also knew it was killing, you know, a good percentage, like somebody described it today as Russian roulette, maybe you will live, maybe you will recover, maybe you will get long COVID, maybe you will die. And people are playing this Russian roulette, Dr. Pernell, in a way that I -- it is becoming infuriating.

I`m with Paul Krugman, who talked about the frustration of those of us who have given up all of our going outs and all of our everything to do the right thing and do as we are told as the science changed. We are all trying to do the right thing and there are people who are insisting on not.

I`m going to give you two examples of what Mara was talking about, messengers and maybe the stories of people. On one hand, Reverend Jesse Jackson, we learned over the weekend that he and his wife, Jackie, both have COVID. He is 79 years old. He is fully vaccinated. He got his vaccine on January 8th. He did a public event. He urged others to get it. We know that his wife, Jackie, Jacqueline Jackson, is not vaccinated. That was confirmed by longtime family spokesman Frank Watkins. So she is unvaccinated. So that`s one household where you have differing vaccine statuses.

On the other hand you have Donald Trump, the guy I just mentioned, who knew how deadly it was and didn`t tell anybody except Bob Woodward. Here he is today trying to reverse himself on the idea of whether people should get vaccinated. Take a listen. No, this is this weekend.


DONAL TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I believe totally in your freedoms, as I do. You got to do what you have to do. But I recommend taking the vaccines. I did it. It is good. Take the vaccines. But you got -- no, that`s okay. That`s all right. You got your freedoms, but I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn`t work, you`ll be the first to know.


REID: He got booed. Okay, he has lost control of, you know, the asylum at this point. He gets booed for saying, take the vaccine, and he immediately goes, okay, no worries, you`re going to send me more money because I got more texts and I need more cash, so no problem, and backed immediately down. So, I feel like if Reverend Jesse Jackson had a testimony to the black community about COVID, having experienced it with he being in one vaccine status and his wife another, maybe I could see -- maybe the community listening to him. Trump can`t get those people who are ideologically opposed to getting vaccinated to even listen to him.


Your thoughts?

PERNELL: Look, as far as it goes for the former president, if you talk out of both sides of your mouth, it is like not saying anything at all. And that`s what, unfortunately, what he has done. So what we need are credible and trustworthy people in various different communities, whether those are black and brown communities, whether those are rural communities or urban communities, whether those are local pastors, whether it is a person in your family.

If you have been vaccinated, sharing your story is going to be crucial. It is going to be significant for someone who is still on the fence, but I really, really -- my heart goes out to the southern states in particular where the unvaccinated proportion of the community is just staggering. We need people in those regions, in those groups, those spheres of influence to stand up and to say, you may have heard lies, you may have heard distortions, you may have heard disinformation in the past, but people are losing their lives on a daily basis and it does not have to be that way, Joy.

REID: It doesn`t. And, I mean, you are hearing stories of doctors having to turn away cancer patients because their hospital ICU beds, the beds are full. There are no beds left. You are hearing stories of little kids, a little girl, a little -- you know a12 year old in Mississippi who died from COVID. You are hearing these stories day after day.

Mara, as somebody who is in the business of disseminating information, I just do wonder -- I mean I`m at a high frustration level at this point with the unvaccinated but I see them as two groups. You have a lot of African- Americans who are dead set against getting it and they all have the same talking points. They all say the same thing, I want to know what the origin of it was, and then you have the right-wing Republicans who are saying what they`re hearing on Fox News.

Do you have some wisdom for us as a communicator -- a public communicator, how do we get to the people who have created self-declared expertise on something they`re not scientists on, they are not experts on but they`ve declared they are experts?

GAY: I think the first thing to do is to listen, understand in cases obviously where there`s some what we call vaccine hesitancy, which is often based not in fact but, you know, that`s a conversation point. The first step is to listen to try to understand why they`re hesitating. The second step is to find a credible messenger to help them really make the right decision. And I actually think the third step is cultural pressure, so whether that, again, comes from a pastor, comes from an employer or comes from your doctor, right, to kind of send messages on multiple fronts that this is something you need to do not just for yourself but for others.

I mean, one of the most tragic things that I have seen, I have been reading a lot of stories in local newspapers across the country, people saying, I wish that I had taken the vaccine. They`re either on their death bed or they are speaking after the death of a loved one. And I think, you know, not only is that devastating, but it really -- we have to really ask ourselves the question, why do we have to wait until somebody we know or us, ourselves, are affected to care?

I mean, there has been a massive breakdown in empathy in this country and in responsibility to a community. And so we have a lot of work to do, and it is not going to be the vaccine, it`s really not going to cure that. So I do think mandates are a huge part of the answer.

REID: Yes.

GAY: And that`s going to be putting pressure on people too. This is -- we have to fight this on all fronts.

REID: Fomo is maybe the only thing. You can`t go here, you can`t go there, you have to show your vax card or you don`t get to work here, it has to be mandates, because I think even doctors, you can`t expect them to have endless empathy when people are not listening to you. It is so frustrating.

Dr. Chris Pernell, I want to echo Mara Gay giving you condolences, not only our team but obviously everyone who watches the show. Thank you so much for speaking out. Mara Gay, always, thank you so much. I appreciate you both.

Okay, much more on the COVID crisis coming up. Hawaii`s lieutenant governor, who also happens to be an E.R. doctor, is trying to protect people from dying of COVID. And for his efforts, he`s being attacked, including some really hateful, awful anti-Semitic stuff. He joins me tonight.

Plus, with COVID raging in their state, Texas Republicans are focused on something much, much more important to them, ramping up their voter suppression efforts. Beto O`Rourke joins me next on how Democrats are fighting back.

And a member of Congress just got married. Well, congratulations. The bride is 26 years old, somewhat older than you would expect of this particular character. For a wedding gift we`ve made him tonight`s absolute worst.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: For 38 days, Democratic members of the Texas State House showed the country how to stand up for democracy. Dozens of lawmakers left the state and faced threats of arrests rather than allowing Texas Republicans to pass a blatantly partisan voter suppression bill. Now that the Democrats are back, Republicans are putting that bill on the express track, pushing everything else aside that should matter, like dealing with the deadly rise in COVID in Texas, with children filling up ICU beds, not to mention their crumbling infrastructure.

But what seems to be most important to those Republican lawmakers above all else is stopping millions of people from voting. No better way to get away with rotten leadership than to make it all but impossible for the people to vote you out, am I right? The bill could see a vote within days unless Democrats can find another way to block it.

And joining me is Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa and Beto O`Rourke, former Texas Congressman and 2020 Presidential Candidate.

Let me start with you first, Representative Hinojosa. I want to give you just a little bit of color. This is stuff you know, but for our viewers, right now in Texas, there`s a reporting that the new Texas COVID surge could be worse than anything seen yet. Here is the new spike in cases in July. July 1st, seven-day average, 1,464 new cases.


August 22, seven-day average, one month later, 17, 508 new cases. How many ICU beds remain in the entire state of Texas, with 29 million people? That is 347 for 29 million people. The total number of cases in Texas is now north of 3.4 million. And the total number of deaths is 55, 522. That`s like some countries.

Yet your state legislature, here is their list of agenda items for their special session. This is what they find important, overhauling bail to make it harder for people arrested on bond -- arrested to bond out of jail without any cash.

Election changes, which they`re calling election integrity, meaning making it hard to vote, border security, extra funding for law enforcement, social media censorship, going after Facebook, legislative branch funding for themselves, family violence prevention. Don`t know what that means. Limiting access to school sports teams for transgender students, less some little trans girl tried to play soccer.

Abortion-induced -- inducing drugs, banning getting them through the mail, and then other payments for retired Texas teachers, but, meanwhile, Texas teachers who are still teaching are facing COVID, and, of course, critical race theory.

Your thoughts?

STATE REP. GINA HINOJOSA (D-TX): Well, because it wasn`t enough that we passed a critical race theory bill that banned critical race theory once before. We have to do it again in a special sessions.

It`s all ridiculous. It`s all Republican red meat for Greg Abbott, our governor`s primary. And it`s all a shame, because, to your point, we shouldn`t be focused on the self -- of the health and safety of Texans. Instead, what we see our state doing is taking power away from local governments, from our local school districts, and trying to limit their ability to keep our communities safe.

We have held the line as Democrats for now -- we began May 30. Here we are. Still, every day is a trial for Republicans to have quorum. In fact, the most dramatic TV on right now is watching to see whether there`s going to be a quorum that`s going to be on the floor of the Texas House.

That just happened. It took them an hour-and-a-half to finally get their quorum, because Democrats, many Democrats are saying, no, prove yourself up. Show you`re going to show up, because we`re not going to help you pass your agenda.

REID: Can I just ask you this real quick? Is it true that Texas Republicans were calling in Republican -- fellow Republican members and saying they were there, and not verifying that they were there, and basically creating a quorum that was really more theoretical than real?

HINOJOSA: They had a fake quorum on Thursday. The speaker called it, declared quorum, which we all hollered foul about.

And so, today, we had a member show up on the House floor, a Democratic member, who called for verification to ensure there wasn`t cheating. This is why it took them an hour-and-a-half to establish quorum. And every day, we`re going to make them work for this.

We are the minority in Texas. We can only do so much. But, this, we can do. And we`re committed to do it.

REID: Beto O`Rourke, we talked to the mayor of Houston last week. And he - - I mean, he was -- we brought him on to comment on the fact that the lieutenant governor of your state basically said he doesn`t represent the Black people. He only represents Republicans, and then, everybody else, that`s Democrats` problem.

Meanwhile, he`s fixated on stealing the votes of Black people and brown people. It`s pretty blatant at this point. Your thoughts?

FMR. REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D-TX): You`re absolutely right.

And, in fact, our lieutenant governor blamed the spike in COVID cases in Texas on Black Texans specifically, as he tries to make it harder for Black Texans and Mexican American Texans, young Texans, Texans with disabilities to vote in upcoming elections.

This is where we need some federal help. We need the United States Congress, specifically the Senate, to pass the For the People Act.

And, actually, thanks to Representative Hinojosa and her colleagues, they were able to force that issue. And I think they got us progress, to the point that Leader Schumer has vowed to bring this to the floor on the week of September 13 and force another vote on it, which I hope forces a decision on whether the filibuster is amended, so we can actually get this thing passed.

And then I think, tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R.4, which should pass and then make its way to the Senate as well. Let`s get both of those passed in the Senate, signed into law, so that we have a real democracy and free and fair elections in Texas.

That allows us to address all of the issues that we brought up so far, because we can then trust the wisdom of the millions of voters in Texas who are now functionally locked out of their own democracy and future elections.

REID: I mean, what would you say to a Kyrsten Sinema, who spent a lot of time with one of your senators, Senator Cornyn, on the border, where that`s an issue that he thinks is the most important thing, and yet has said she ain`t changing the filibuster no matter what?


How do you convince beltway Democrats, D.C. Democrats, that this is important enough for them to change the procedures on?

O`ROURKE: I think that`s up to all of us.

And I really think that our public pressure should be focused on President Biden. My takeaway from the `65 Voting Rights Act is when President Johnson said he just didn`t have the power to compel recalcitrant senators and congressmen from the South, the people of this country put the pressure on him to help him find that power to get it done.

That`s what we all have to do with President Biden. And, again, Representative Hinojosa and her colleagues did that. They forced this issue on to the public agenda, and they forced the president to respond to that.

We need to keep that pressure up until this thing gets passed, because, if we don`t, it`s unfortunately going to get much worse in Texas. This god- awful agenda that you just described in the special session, you will see something like that in the next special session, in the next regular session, and we will lose the ability to freely decide who represents us in these important positions of public trust.

So, Mr. President, please get the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passed as quickly as you can.

REID: Yes, and I will give you the last word on this, Representative Hinojosa.

I mean, the people forget that the 1963 march was not a march to support John F. Kennedy. It was a march on John F. Kennedy, demanding that he passed the original Civil Rights Act. And he had to be pushed to do that. And that anniversary is coming up this weekend on the 28th to force there to be a Civil Rights Act.

Last word to you. How do you convince people like Manchin, like Sinema, like the other eight who just won`t admit it, but they`re also on their side on the filibuster, that this is job one for them to pass these bills?

HINOJOSA: Well, Republicans seem to understand very well that this is their number one job.

That`s why they keep bringing us back to get this job done. So I`m not understanding why we don`t understand this is a foundational right, just like in 1965. Beto is right. We need Washington to help us in these states where they`re silencing our people and really robbing us of our democracy.

REID: Yes, good luck to you all D.C. Democrats getting reelected if the laws say that the Republicans can just change the votes around after you win and say that you lost.

I don`t know how you think you`re going to organize around that. I don`t get it.

Texas state Representative Gina Haspel, Beto O`Rourke, thank you all for staying in the fight.

And still ahead: The Keystone Cops outfit known as the Cyber Ninjas has turned over the results of their partisan vote fraudit to Arizona Republicans, of course. And, of course, nobody in their right minds will take this seriously, but that does leave a lot of wiggle room on the far right.

We will be right back.



REID: You know the saying it would be funny if it weren`t so sad?

Yeah, that comes to mind as the Arizona GOP`s political stunt to appease their orange-hued idol is coming to an end. By that, I mean the sham audit, or fraudit, where a firm called the Cyber Ninjas was given free rein to tamper with ballots and voting machines, looking to prove the former president`s big lie.

Well, state Republicans received part of that report today. More on that in a moment. And while I`m sure the MAGA-hungry crowd is salivating over what could be inside, let me just remind you of just a few things. There`s nothing legitimate about this report at all, full stop.

The Ninjas have absolutely no experience auditing elections, and it showed. Their high-tech auditing skills included using black lights in search of bamboo fibers to prove a racist theory that ballots were flown in from Asia. They searched for cheese dust, and even proposed scouring the poop emanations of chickens.

Yeah, you can`t make this stuff up, because none of this should be too surprising, given that the head of the company, Doug Logan, is a member of the tinfoil hat brigade. And, apparently, the reason only a portion of the report was received today was because Logan and other members of his crack audit team have tested positive for COVID-19.

And scene.

Joining me now is Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She is running for governor of Arizona.

Sometimes, whenever I have you on, I almost want to apologize to you for even talking to you about this, because it sounds so stupid. But it`s actually really dangerous.

You have got a report. You managed to eke out 122 pages in a report on this fraudit. What does it say?

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, it really summarizes all of the observations and information that we have been putting out all along throughout this process, highlighting why it is not a real audit, highlighting why whatever they come up with in their report is not going to be credible.

And it highlights the lack of security, the lack of transparency, the continued missed deadlines, the lack of procedures. And, really, all those things undermine this as a real audit.

REID: We know that there`s been a lot of -- they`re called the Cyber Ninjas. I mean, it sounds so stupid to say.

But, I mean, no wonder they`re not being open and transparent about what they`re doing. But there`s a Reuters report that talks about the fact that they have refused -- the House -- a House Oversight Committee is trying to get information about what they`re doing. They refused to produce the documents requested by this congressional committee, including any communications that they had with Trump and his allies.

Representative Carolyn Maloney and Representative Jamie Raskin, they`re actually threatening legal action against them. Do you think this is going to wind up in a lawsuit against the state of Arizona? And what do you think might be found?

HOBBS: Well, I don`t know what the House Oversight Committee is going to end up doing.

But what I can say is that their concerns around transparency and everything else are absolutely valid. And the public has a right to know how this whole thing came about, how they were chosen as the contractor, and all the things that they have done that weren`t transparent with Maricopa County`s ballots and voting equipment.


REID: I mean, the guy who runs this -- and this is on who funded them, because that`s the other issue, is, where did they get the money to do this?

This is reporting from the Associated Press. And this is a quote from that report: Logan ended months of silence about who was paying him when he said a whopping $5.7 million had been contributed by political groups run by prominent Trump supporters, including Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell of the Kraken fame, "Patrick Byrne and correspondents from, of course, One American News Network, which had the exclusive to view it. The figure dwarfs the $150,000 to be paid by the Senate.

Do you have any idea how much of that money Mr. Logan gets to keep for himself, if any?


And that`s also an issue of concern that the public has a right to know. This was a public exercise conducted at the behest of the Arizona State Senate, which reports to the voters and taxpayers of Arizona. And to this day, there hasn`t been any transparency about the finances, and, basically, who`s been enriched by this exercise, because that`s what it seems to be.

And, again, the public has a right to know these things. These are our elections, our public institutions, and, really, these kind of private companies on a partisan fishing expedition don`t really have any business being there.

REID: Well, and we know that now this is a trend that Republicans want to repeat.

They want to repeat this foolishness all over the country. Just for those who have been paying day-to-day attention to this, how many times was the - - how many times was the election in 2020 actually officially audited?

HOBBS: There were the postelection hand count audit that`s required by statute, and the post-election logic and accuracy tests that are required by procedure done in every single county.

And then over and above that, Maricopa County conducted an additional logic and accuracy test and two forensic audits of the equipment done by EAC- certified firms to do that. And there was no fraud found.

Arizona voters can be confident that the election was free of fraud and accurate and fair. In addition to those audits, there were nine lawsuits. And there was no evidence of any fraud for any of those lawsuits. There was no basis for them. They were all thrown out of court.

REID: So, let me give you what this really seems to be. This is Geo TV for Republicans, right, because their audiences demand to hear the line about the audit everywhere they go.

This is Mo Brooks, one of the insurrectionist members of Congress. Here he is this Saturday at a Trump rally.


REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): Let`s do it.


BROOKS: The Arizona recount is coming. The Arizona audit is on the way.


REID: The implication of that is that somehow Donald Trump is going to be named president after this miracle audit, fraudit, happens.

Just humor me. What are the chances that the Arizona result is going to be overturned, such that Donald Trump can be named the winner of the Arizona election?

HOBBS: There`s absolutely zero chance that that is going to happen, regardless of whatever report the Cyber Ninjas give us.

But the fact that Republican leaders know that a lot of people believe that this actually will happen, they are fueling dangerous behavior. I`m very concerned about what happens when this report comes out. There`s no way that anything is going to be overturned. And what`s the consequence then?

REID: That is the issue. It is a national security concern at this point, as goofy as it sounds, Cyber Ninjas. It`s actually now a national security problem. It`s really terrifying.

Thank you for standing in the breach, Katie Hobbs. Really appreciate you for being here this evening.

OK, tonight`s absolute worst is still ahead, as a Republican congressman under investigation for sex trafficking discovers a whole new level of irony.

But, first, the disturbing rise in threats and violence directed against health care professionals and teachers by anti-mask and anti-vax fanatics.

Stay with us.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has never been about your health! It has never been about your health. It is about control and compliance. Let me tell you something, go home tonight and take one of these spoons and put it on your vaccination spot. Guess what? It is going to stick to you.

Guess what else? You take a black light flashlight and shine it on your veins and you`re now going to blow in the black light because, guess what? You are no longer human. You are 2.0s, and we are afraid of you!


REID: Coronavirus misinformation sometimes borders on the absurd, the ridiculous, just like what you just saw from Palm Beach County, Florida.

But it`s also downright dangerous, not just because it`s literally killing people who won`t get vaccinated, but because it has led to a toxic, violent atmosphere. As a recent "AP" article pointed out, mask and vaccine conflicts have descended into violence and harassment.

On the very first day of school in northern California, a parent punched a teacher in the face over a mask dispute. In Texas, a parent ripped a mask off a teacher during a meet-the-teacher event. And at a Missouri Walmart, a man threatened pharmacists with execution if they continued to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The situation is particularly vile in normally peaceful Hawaii where protests outside the home of Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, where he has two young children under 4, have been going on for weeks, ever since Hawaii mandated vaccines for state and county workers.


Some of them yell into bull horns and shine strobe lights into apartment units and flyers with his photo with the words, quote, "Jew and fraud" have been plastered around the neighborhood because anti-Semitism is alive and well in America, even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and a pandemic.

When he is not leading the state`s coronavirus response, Lieutenant Governor Green is working as an emergency doctor on the big island, mostly handling -- you guessed it -- coronavirus cases.

And with me now is Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, and he is also an ER doctor.

Lieutenant Governor Green, first of all, I want to apologize on behalf of humanity for what is happening to you and the anti-Semitic attacks and the attacks our family and I hope your kids are safe. I want to start by saying that.

LT. GOV. JOSH GREEN (D), HAWAII: Thank you, Joy. You don`t need to apologize. It is other people, certainly not you doing it.

A quick clarification, my next-door neighbor has the little ones. Mine are 10 and 14 but they`re still kids and they`re still -- they`re really in the line of fire on this.

REID: My kids are in their 20s and I think they are kids. So, to me, a 10 and 14 year old, that`s a little kid to me. So, I totally hear you. Thank you for the clarification.

So, you`re an ER doctor, so you know COVID -- you know COVID presumably better than the people who are outside screaming at you. So, I want to put some of these numbers up for Hawaii, 54,608 cases, a smaller number of deaths, 564 deaths.

Let`s put up this math, my friends in the producing room. COVID cases have spiked. Look at the number at the end, it is in august of this year, looks like it spiked higher than ever.

Do you have a handle on what has caused the spike? Is it just the delta variant just coming to town?

GREEN: Yeah, it is the delta variant and it is definitely a pandemic amongst those who are unvaccinated, just like everywhere else. So we have about the third or fourth highest vaccination rate in the country, which has been extraordinary.

REID: Yeah.

GREEN: However, those who are unvaccinated are refusing to wear masks and the delta variant just roared right through that community. And then the protests are targeting individuals and scaring people away from getting vaccinated. That`s really the saddest thing.

REID: It is. It is infuriating to me both that people are willing of -- first of all, it is silly people are willing to risk their own lives. But to the extent the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers demand that we risk their lives, too, that everyone risk their life, that everyone take off their mask, that everyone do what they say, to me, is most mind-boggling to me.

When you are treating COVID patients on the big island where you are an ER doctor, is anyone demanding you take off your mask when you treat them?

GREEN: No, not there. Everyone in the hospital that I`m caring for is now -- well, they`re unvaccinated when they have COVID in the hospital, and they`re usually very tearful because they realize they could have prevented it. I have not had a single patient yet who has been vaccinated. So, all of my COVID patients have been unvaccinated.

REID: Interesting.

GREEN: And they all are beside themselves because they know now they could die because they could have done the one simple thing, which was to get vaccinated.

So, usually, it`s just a lot of remorse and our heart breaks for them. It`s a big problem. And then there`s a secondary problem to that, too, which is because those who have not gotten vaccinated have filled up the hospitals across our state, I was taking care the other day of a gentleman, not COVID positive, was fully vaccinated, he had a huge heart attack. And I was unable to find a bed for him to transfer for him to get the cardiology care he needed because our ICU beds were filled.

So, the health of other people who have gotten vaccinated, who have done the right thing is now compromised. And I think that`s happening all over the place also.

REID: We have seen reports of that elsewhere, right. People with other illnesses, heart attacks, strokes, et cetera, can`t get a bed because of the COVID patients. We have heard calls to the poison hotline to the point where -- because people are trying to make their own ivermectin by going to the feed hospital and ingesting that, to the point the FDA had to pint out a sign, you are not a cow. Come on, wake up, you`re not a cow, don`t take these drugs.

Have you treated -- have you had any of those patients come in, who have taken these methods of self-healing in their mind?

GREEN: I haven`t had anyone with a toxic overdose of ivermectin, which is a medicine for worms, not for -- not for COVID.

But I have had even educated people who watched too much of the wrong news and who watch feeds on social media yell at me for not prescribing ivermectin or other treatments that don`t work. So it is really sad because, once again, people who should be getting the right information, who should be capable of doing the right things and making the right decisions to not catch COVID are now completely confused because of the rhetoric that`s become political.

Look, I don`t mind if people express different opinions. Of course, we should. Even the protests, I completely support freedom of speech, the right to protest nonviolently.

But when you start going down that road, it terrorizes a lot of other people and it gives people just wrong ideas.

REID: Yeah.

GREEN: At the end, it is going to be science, not some kind of science fiction, that stops this pandemic.


REID: And if those people who are outside your apartment scaring your kids and your neighbor`s kids, if they get COVID, they`re going to expect you to cure them.

And my question to you on that same line, have you ever had a patient say to you, I don`t know what`s in remdesivir, I don`t know what`s in monoclonal antibodies, do not give me that when I have COVID?

GREEN: No, it`s just the opposite actually. Once people are in the hospital, they, of course, like any other patient, are desperate, and they want the right care from a physician.

It`s this rhetoric that`s political beforehand, and it`s toxic. I mean, you know, again, you can protest. You can be expressive about your ideas, but to do it at a person`s residence is beyond the pale. And then also, to scare others and then put them in a bad situation is beyond the pale.

REID: Yeah.

GREEN: But at the end of the day, everyone, I can tell you this as an emergency room doctor, everyone is vulnerable once they actually are sick. And it breaks my heart because I know I`ll be treating those very individuals that were dragged into a rally inappropriately or other people who were scared.

The protesters have been trying to get people to not get vaccinated, and one region in Hawaii, the western side of Oahu, has people only vaccinated at about a 35 percent rate. That rate is so low that the surge in Ewa, in the Waianae area, has meant that one of our hospitals was overwhelmed and they had to go into an emergency state and we had nowhere to put patients that were catching COVID.

The people who had been convinced not to get vaccinated now overwhelmed the hospital and it rippled through our whole state.

So, I just really think we have to get real. Americans should be coming together rather than being divisive, because this pandemic won`t end until we get enough vaccinated.

REID: That`s right.

And the bottom line is, if you don`t want to get vaccinated, and this is your hard core ideological belief, fine. But you don`t have a right to demand other people not get vaccinated and other people not wear masks and protect themselves. You don`t have control over other people.

I don`t know what these people are thinking. They want to make everyone do what they say and they have no right to do that. Again, I know -- you said I didn`t have to do it, but I`m still going to apologize. I`m so sorry for what you`re going through.

Thank you for all you have done to save people`s lives in Hawaii. Really appreciate you and best of luck in your race.

Okay, lordy, Jesus. Josh Green, thank you very much.

Don`t go anywhere. This ain`t over yet. We still have tonight`s "Absolute Worst", and it`s a doozy. As a Republican politician whose picture should appear next to the urban dictionary entry on failing upward accuses a highly accomplished U.S. army general of being stupid.

Stick around.



REID: The modern Republican Party is filled with, as John Boehner put it, people who spend more time tearing things apart than actually building anything. The poster children for those feckless politicians are Representatives Margie Q. Greene and Matt Gaetz.

Last week, two bottom feeders took their national Bonnie and Clyde liars tour to Iowa, where Gaetz said the nation`s black defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, quote, might be the stupidest person to have ever served in a presidential cabinet in America`s history.

Just for the record, Rick Perry was secretary of energy in the Trump administration. Need I say more? But I digress, and I will say more.

Because the guy leading that cabinet, orange java in Bedminster, isn`t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. I mean, he did suggest injecting disinfectant into your veins to cure COVID and asked if we could fire nukes into hurricanes -- but again, I digress.

Defense Secretary Austin is a highly decorated general. He graduated from West Point. He earned a master of arts from Auburn University, a master of business, and served as the chief of staff of the United States Central Command, among other things.

For comparison, Marjorie`s legislative accomplishments are nil because she spends most of her time spewing venom, some of it anti-Semitic and Islamophobic. Oh, and she`s also busy endorsing the execution of fellow Americans who just happen to be Democrats. And the space laser thing.

And then, there is nubby fingered Florida Congressman Gaetz, whose list of accomplishments include bringing Nazi apologists to the State of the Union, being the subject of a Justice Department investigation into whether or not he had sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl, and engaged in sex trafficking, with his bestie, who pleaded guilty with promises to tell on Matty. Oh, he denies any wrongdoing.

But Gaetz has managed to make Beavis and Butthead great again because he is one and looks like the other. You guess which.

But don`t take my word for it. In 2019, "Mother Jones did a deep dive into baby Gaetz. This is what one Democrat who ran against him in 2016 said. Quote, Matt would be an assistant manager at Walmart if it weren`t for his father.

You see, speaking of failing up, Gaetz is a third generation politician. His daddy was a prominent Florida politician who cashed in on his connections and helped his son do the same. Before running for office, Matt was a middling lawyer in a local Ft. Walton Beach law firm.

When Gaetz made the jump to politics, he got a cash injection by selling property to his daddy. I guess for some, you`re never too old to get an allowance from your parents.

It doesn`t stop there. For a guy who represents a military heavy district, Gaetz seems to really enjoy disrespecting veterans. Not only does he call a four-star general stupid, but he seems to think veterans are rubes.

You see, his dad once claimed that baby Gaetz loves to go visit wounded warriors at Walter Reed every week. But here`s the thing, "Mother Jones" dug deeper and found he had done so only twice since taking office. So, tonight, baby Gaetz, ethically challenged, mediocre politician, and even lower rent version of your tacky orange idol who didn`t even find you worth pardoning, you`re pathetic, and you`re also the absolute worst.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.