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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/27/21

Guests: Chris Murphy, Mary Trump, Jasmine Crockett, Cedric Alexander, Nikki Fried


War hawks push for more troops as war winds down. Biden says evacuations a worthy mission despite losses. Biden says ending the war was his top priority. GOP Representative McCarthy takes credit for Clinton`s defeat.


JOY RIED, MSNBC HOST: Because I do have one but I`m not telling you right now. That`s a tease.


REID: That`s a tease. Thank you very much, have a great weekend, I really appreciate you guys.

Good evening, everyone. We have a lot to get to on this Friday, including disturbing attacks from the so called back the blue crowd against a police officer who is credited with saving lives on January 6th.

But we begin THE REIDOUT with the U.S. on the cusp of ending the longest war in its history, a war that sadly took the lives of 13 American service members yesterday along with more than 100 Afghans. President Biden has vowed to hunt down those who carried out the attack and make them pay. It comes as the president`s national security chiefs have warned another attack in Kabul is likely. And we hope that doesn`t happen.

But the sad truth is this is what being at war and extracting yourself out from the middle of a civil war looks like. And it`s precisely why Biden is trying to bring it to an end and why most Americans agree with that.

But instead to taking this somber moment to focus on the threat abroad to try to comfort the families of the death, it seems Republicans are doing nothing but searching for a position that will pay off for them politically in 2022, except they can`t seem to decide between the usual warmongering or calling for the president`s resignation.

And, remember, it was the clown show of the past administration that brought us here in the first place, including releasing 5,000 Taliban fighters, one of whom is running Afghanistan, something they would very much like for you to forget.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I`ll be meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not too distant future and we`ll be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they are going to be doing. They will be killing terrorists. They will be killing so very bad people. They will keep that fight going.

When I hear General McKenzie say that the Taliban is going to protect us, the Taliban is the enemy. I dealt with the leader of the Taliban. This is not -- this is not a very simple man. This is not a boy scout.

MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We have seen the Taliban leadership working diligently to reduce violence from previous levels during similar time periods. And so, we still have confidence that the Taliban leadership was working to deliver on its commitment.

I can say this much. The Taliban aren`t looking for international recognition.

This is not a regime, these are butchers, these are people who care about a seat at the table of the United Nations.


REID: And then there are the forever war thirsty Republicans who want to make this week`s strategy, the excuse to re-invade Afghanistan for, you know, who knows how long.


REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): I think we should re-take more airfields throughout the country that will take troops on the ground. It will take a complete reassessment of our strategy. But the military can do it.

REP. MARK GREEN (R-TN): We are going to expand this operation. I`d put more military in there. I`d get every single American and I just start killing bad guys.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): What Joe Biden needs to now is reverse course. He needs to stay at the airport as long as necessary or we open Bagram if necessary to make sure we get every last American citizen out of Afghanistan.


REID: So, of course, none of this is deterring the president, who, again, addressed the tragedy today in the vital work that is ongoing.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The mission there is (INAUDIBLE) dangerous. Now, it`s come with a significant loss of American personnel. And it`s a worthy mission as they continue to evacuate folks out of that region and out of the airport, evacuate more than 12,000 people out of the airport for the last 24 hours.


REID: More than 114,000 people have now been evacuated from Afghanistan, the largest airlift undertaken by any country ever.

Joining me now is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And someone I follow on social media and have been listening to what you`ve been saying. Both on social and in television interviews and I`m 100 percent with you on this.

You know for those of us who were dubious about the idea of occupying a country like Afghanistan, that we don`t know culture. That`s, you know, we`re not going to turn into some sort of Jefferson democracy where we can`t even get our own democracy to work here.

We can`t people to protect themselves from COVID. It didn`t seem like a great idea to me in first place. I think a lot of Americans are relieved it`s coming to an end and support the president in this. But let me, I want to let you hear what the president said yesterday. Let`s go back a day and what he said about what his alternatives look like. Take a listen.


BIDEN: Imagine where we would be if I indicated on May the 1st, I was not going to renegotiate evacuation date. We were going to stay there. I had only one alternative, pour thousands of more troops back into Afghanistan.



REID: Senator, it sounds like some of your colleagues on the Republican side would very much like for us to do that for tens of thousands of troops back into Afghanistan. What do you think?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, Joy, thanks for having me. First, let me say this. Our collective hearts are breaking for the families of those that were lost yesterday in Afghanistan. We hope there isn`t any more news like that to come --

REID: Amen.

MURPHY: -- despite the threats that continue at the airport.

But you are very right. The Republican Party has been very clear that their desire is to stay in Afghanistan forever. They may not actually say it that way but what we know definitively now is that there was never going to be a moment when the United States military was going to be able to create a fully functioning, independent and competent Afghan military and government. If we couldn`t do it in 20 years, we weren`t going to do it in another 10 or another 20.

And so, well what you`re seeing today is absolutely horrific. It`s tragic. There frankly was no way, in my mind, to avoid this kind of chaos and panic on the ground when the Afghan military collapses in a matter of 24 hours and to me it is just proof positive that the decision to leave was the right one.

There`s lots of folks in Washington who make a lot of money off of war whether you be a think tanker or a defense company lobbyist. Nobody is happy when a war comes to an end because the money stops flowing at the level it was in this town. That`s not the only reason we were in Afghanistan but it`s part of the reason and Republicans are going to perpetually cheer lead for more and more forever war despite the fact the American people still support for what Joe Biden did.

This disconnect between the foreign policy establishment and the American people has been ongoing for a long time. The American people want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Barack Obama knew that, Donald Trump knew that. But they didn`t, I guess, have the ability to break with the military industrial establishment and leave. Joe Biden had the courage and the guts to do that. But you are now seeing that establishment come down on him like a ton of bricks.

REID: Yes, absolutely. And there`s war machine that wants to be fed constantly. And, you know, (INAUDIBLE) called it that the military industrial complex, you call it military industrial establishment, it`s real, everybody. You didn`t believe it before, believe it now.

But what`s interesting is how taciturns some of these Republicans are because they may love the military industrial establishment but they love Donald Trump more. I just want to give you a couple of people who had shifting view on this idea. Josh Hawley, this was on April 13th, President Biden should withdraw a troops in Afghanistan by May 1, as the Trump administration plan. Better late than never, it`s time for this forever war to end. So he loved it back then. August 26th, he`s like to say that the loss of American lives in Kabul is sickening just begin what just this happened, it`s in raging on and on and on. Biden is responsible. It`s now clear beyond all doubt, he has -- on and on and on. So suddenly, he`s turned because it`s a different president. Kevin McCarthy, everybody thought Hillary Clinton was -- sorry, I`m not going to get Kevin McCarthy.

We can go on and on. Ted Cruz, a lot of them who were all for the deal that Donald Trump made to get out and were demanding that Joe Biden live with that deal are now pretending that they never thought that. So, is this, in your view, more about 2022 and them trying to build some sort of a case that will help them politically because it doesn`t seem to be authentic?

MURPHY: Well, I think it`s more about this sort of instinctual reaction that Republicans have to oppose anything and everything that a Democratic president is going to do. I remember that some of the most hawkish Republicans opposed President Obama`s plans to bomb Syria in wake of the chemical weapons attacks. Now, I opposed it as well but it was shocking to see people like Marco Rubio voting against it. Many of them were against it because simply Obama was for it.

I guess what worries me most in this line of Republican magical thinking is that many of them are forgetting that it`s Donald Trump`s decision to bring all the troops out, say, for the 2,500 that put Joe Biden in the position as to whether to keep those troops there and essentially lead them to slaughter because that wasn`t enough to hold against the Taliban, withdraw them or put 10,000 more troops into the country, something the American public didn`t support.

And so I`m glad that Biden has sort of call this out and made it clear that it was Donald Trump`s decision to leave. It left Joe Biden with really only two options. One, get everybody out or a massive surge back into Afghanistan, which, frankly, the facts of the case just would not merit.

REID: Can you, as an insider, as somebody who`s in Washington and dealing with this sort of world and this military industrial establishment, as you call it, how do we reduce their power? Because it does seem that every president winds up in some way or other in war, in a situation where they are deploying our military. And unless you have a family member in it, most Americans kind of look the other way.


There`s not -- there`s have been nightly stories about Afghanistan, all of the hand wringing we`re seeing in the media about Afghanistan and all the umbrage. It`s not like any of these folks have been doing nightly stories on Afghanistan. It`s fallen out of the American memory. It`s gone into the memory hall. And all of a sudden everyone is an expert on Afghanistan.

How do we reduce that power? Is this about reducing the power or lobbyist? Is it about the money? Is there some way to disentangled it? Our military budget is the biggest on Earth and people want to use it. They don`t just want to have it.

MURPHY: Yes. And, listen, I don`t want to make it sound like it`s all a matter of nefarious motivation. You know, there are a lot of well-meaning people, especially in the think tank community who constantly proffering plans for how the United States can fix very difficult problems on the other side of the globe. And while most of those plans only work on paper and not in reality, there`s a lot of folks that aren`t making profit off of making the case for America to go into places like Afghanistan.

The problem is, is that when we try to solve problems around the world, the only tool that we have is the U.S. military. And so it`s frankly up to us in Congress to use this moment right now when Democrats control the House and the Senate to reorient the tool kit of an American president to say, listen, we are going to give the state department and USAID tremendous new resources so that when a president decides that he wants to fix the problem somewhere, he doesn`t only have military trainers or arm sales to deploy.

I think responsibility is also in the media. I mean, the fact of the matter is the media didn`t seem to be very interested in Afghanistan when the war was being conducted. 10,000 Afghans killed or were badly injured in 2019 but almost no attention. It`s the withdrawal that seems to take all the attention.

REID: Yes.

MURPHY: So if we want it to be a bit harder to stay in a war and a little bit easier to get out of wars, then I also think the media has to even out the balance of their coverage between when we`re having boots on the ground versus when were taking them out.

REID: You can get an amen. Again, it`s not Sunday but you can get an amen on that regarding the media. You`re absolutely right. Thank you very much. We really appreciate you. Senator Chris Murphy, you`re great. Have a great weekend.

All right up next on THE REIDOUT.

MURPHY: Thanks.

REID: Cheers.


LT. MICHAEL BYRD, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: I am afraid because I know there`re people that disagree with my actions on January 6th. But I hope they understand I did my job.


REID: He may have saved dozens of lives on January 6th, Democrats and Republicans, and yet some on the right are calling him a murderer. Mary Trump joins me to discuss.

Plus, you know that meme with the cartoon dog saying, this the fine? That`s Ron DeSantis. His state is on fire with COVID. And yet he says with a straight face, this is fine. Biden should follow my lead.

And despite that, he`s not tonight`s absolute worst. They believe that sometimes it`s good when people suffer, even children.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.




M. TRUMP: And by the way, who shot Ashli Babbitt? Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN (R-FL): Everyone deserves to know who killed her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We still don`t know his name.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Why hasn`t that officer that executed Ashli Babbitt been named?

M. TRUMP: They know who shot Ashli Babbitt, they are protecting that person.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: They covered up who shot Ashli Babbitt.


REID: For months before Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd revealed his identify in an interview with NBC News, the former president and his allies have been relentlessly trying to out him. But the truth is members of the far right media had already begun piecing together clues about his identity as early as February. It wasn`t long before Byrd`s name was being about on right wing websites and Trump confirmed earlier this month that quote, we know who he is.

In other words, they have known his identity for some time. And they knew he was black. In fact, Trump ally and infamous birther Dinesh D`Souza called -- could focus on little else when he publicly announced Byrd`s name way back in April.


DINESH D`SOUZA, HOST OF DINESH D`SOUZA PADCAST: Well, I happen know the name of that cop but you really have to dig to find it. By the way the guy is Lieutenant Michael Leroy Byrd. That`s the guy who did it, but you`ll almost not see that in a single media report. You know why? Because he`s black. What I`m trying to get at here is that if you`re black, and on the left, you really have a sort of pass in our culture.


REID: That was in April. It explains a lot about the right wing`s dangerous obsession with Officer Byrd. And while we can`t pinpoint exactly when Trump first learned of Byrd`s identity, it certainly cast Trump`s threats in an even more ominous light.


M. TRUMP: You know, that were on the other side, the person that did the shooting would be strung up and hung.


REID: Strung up. Now in the wake of Lt. Byrd`s interview with Lester Holt, right wing pundit like Tucker Carlson are again, working overtime to portray Ashli Babbitt as a martyr while demonizing Lt. Byrd. Never mind that Babbitt was at the forefront of a violent mob trying breach the House chamber. He is calling her a mere protester and his mocking Lt. Byrd for doing the job he was trained to do which possibly save live.


CARLSON: So she was on honor and protester. I don`t think we execute unarmed protesters duly on what he just did. You know he`s apologized for it. He`s a hero. Michael Byrd executed an enemy of the Biden administration so they`re praising him. But we call that courage, we devalued the term.


REID: Hashtag black, back the blue, right. With me now, Mary Trump, Donald Trump`s Niece and Author of The Reckoning: Our Nation`s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal.


Mary, it`s always great to see you.

I will tell you, I -- it was yesterday that I found out that Lieutenant Byrd was black. I had no idea. I had heard that day earlier in the day that he might be. And I ran into Lester Holt here at the studio and didn`t even think to ask him, because it just -- I hadn`t even thought of it. I didn`t assume that he was.

So it shocked me when I saw him. And I immediately got really afraid for him.

And now I`m thinking back to all the times that your uncle Donald said, we know who you are. And now hearing Dinesh D`Souza back in April already knew his race, I feel like the threats against him, they -- it all feels more ominous now. Does it feel more ominous to you?

M. TRUMP: It feels extraordinarily ominous.

And it`s -- I think it`s a perfect distillation of exactly where we are right now. It`s horrifying. On the right, the gaslighting, the projection - - they`re accusing the left of things they`re actually doing. It`s -- it all feels like it`s really getting out of control.

And, again, I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that people on the right, particularly powerful white men, get away with things with impunity. There`s never any accountability. And they will take any opportunity to twist things in a way that advantages them somehow.

It`s a quite tragic irony that Lieutenant Byrd is a black man and Ashli Babbitt was a white woman, because that`s a horrible trope that I`m sure the right is going to take advantage of. And we can`t let it happen. Unfortunately, there seems to be nobody in Republican leadership who has the courage to put a stop to it.

REID: Right.

I mean, I`m thinking of all of the incidents of white officers killing a black man or woman in bed who pose no threat. I mean, we do a lot of reporting on policing. And, in some of these cases, the victim is asleep, sitting on the couch in the car with an air freshener hanging, doing absolutely nothing and posing no threat.

None of these people ever say anything, but that`s a white officer killing a black person. They don`t -- they don`t -- they`re not interested in that. They don`t care about that.

But, suddenly, they`re obsessed with this.

Dinesh D`Souza didn`t only say in April about -- point to Byrd`s race and make it a specific thing and make it a topic of conversation. He did it again in July, claiming that Byrd`s name was concealed because he`s black.

And let`s remind you that, too, Dinesh D`Souza is a guy who was a -- he was convicted of a felony in 2014, got pardoned by Trump. So he`s not exactly an upstanding citizen.

He is obsessed with the idea of he`s black. And now you have got Tucker. All of these people who are so -- who are real fascist-curious are obsessed with his race.

Is -- do you believe that Donald Trump might have known when he was saying, we know who you are, that this man was black?

M. TRUMP: Yes, of course. He was in a position to, to know.

And I believe that he kind of kept it under wraps and just hinted about it to stir up anxiety and to build drama, because that`s what he does. And then, of course, he handed it off to other people, like D`Souza and Carlton -- Carl -- sorry, fish sticks, whatever his name is.


M. TRUMP: And they then run with it and continue to engage in this fascistic rhetoric, like saying immigrants carry diseases, and it`s immigrants who are sickening us with COVID, even though, last I checked, Florida doesn`t share a border with anybody who`s not in the United States.

So, it`s so dangerous, and it feels again like it`s out of control, because they are willing to take advantage of any circumstance to spin the truth on its head.

REID: Yes.

M. TRUMP: We`re seeing this in Afghanistan. We`re seeing it with Lieutenant Byrd.

And it`s hard to know when there will be an end in sight if the Democrats keep trying to play ball with these people.

REID: Well, I mean, I didn`t use in the last segment, but Ted Cruz is out there saying, yes, we should rescue these Afghans, but don`t send them here. Send them to a third party country. They shouldn`t be here.

Fascism is about demonizing each other and raising up, right, the in- group...

M. TRUMP: Yes.

REID: ... and the in-group being white Christians, and they`re saying, everyone else is the other. And they are obsessed with race in a violent, ugly way.

I can`t get away from the F-word, fascism here.

Mary Trump, it`s always great to talk with you. Thank you very much.

Scary subjects, but scaring is caring. Thank you.

Joining me now is Cedric Alexander, former member of President Obama`s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and a former public safety director in Georgia.

And I guess I will ask you the same thing, as somebody with a law enforcement background yourself. I don`t know if you knew, if you`re also yesterday old knowing that this man was black.

But when you found out that he is a black police officer, who we now know shot and killed legally a white insurrectionist, how that hit you as a law enforcement officer?



For someone who spent over 20 years as a police executive, just in the executive role itself, I have had a number of police officers, white and black, all shape, size, and colors who have been involved in officer- involved shootings.

And at the end of the day, for me, it doesn`t matter what color they are. Did they conduct themselves appropriately? Did they conduct themselves according to their training and by law? And that`s all that was important.

And this case, as it relates to Lieutenant Byrd, Lieutenant Byrd and that entire U.S. Capitol, I think we all would have to agree, there was something very serious going wrong that day, as it was a threat to our U.S. democracy

And on that particular day, in that particular hallway, in that particular moment, Lieutenant Byrd had to make a decision, a decision based on the experience, based on his training, not based on the fact that he was black or white, or whether that was a male or female, or she was black or white.

But he did what he was trained to do accordingly by this U.S. government in this democracy that we live to protect the integrity of the U.S. Capitol and those, quite frankly, who are elected officials on both the right and the left.


ALEXANDER: Now, someone -- absolutely.

And someone like myself, who have a number of conservative views, particularly as it relates to public safety and policing in this country, at the end of the day, right is right. This is not about color. This is about what`s legally right. This is about true law and order.

It is unfortunate. It was sad for the victim in this case. It was sad for officer who had to pull that trigger. And, unfortunately, it was a very sad day for this nation. So, hopefully, we never have to be confronted with something like this again.

And Lieutenant Byrd`s color should be totally irrelevant in what we focus...


REID: But it isn`t because the threats against him are directly related to the fact that he`s black.

Let`s just be clear.


REID: He`s being targeted specifically. People like Dinesh D`Souza, who basically are just hell-raisers on social media, all they do is try to whip up this brand of the Trumpist right.

And they`re doing it specifically based on his race. He is fixated on the fact that this man is black.

Let me just read -- the Capitol Police issued a statement, saying the officer was not originally being identified. Originally, they didn`t want identify him because -- for his safety. He`s facing threats.

And then -- and you have to say that because Trumpism is so baited down and weighed down by racial resentment, that he is under more threat because he`s black, right? As a black officer, isn`t he at greater risk now?

ALEXANDER: Well, I think it goes without saying, if you`re a person of color in this country, you`re always going to be...


ALEXANDER: ... more scrutiny, period. And that`s under any set of circumstances.

But if we go back and look at the four officers who testified, one being white, in front of Congress just a few weeks ago, you remember the threat that he...


REID: Oh, he was getting threats, too. That`s right, yes, Michael Fanone.

ALEXANDER: That`s right.

So, now you have Lieutenant Byrd, who would have come up under threat whether he was white or black. But the fact that he is black, in this society, in this country that we live in, people will manipulate that for its own benefit.

REID: Yes.

ALEXANDER: But I have enough confidence, quite frankly, Joy, in this country and the residents and the citizens of this country. The majority of the people are not going to be misled by this. We`re going to learn from and then hopefully nothing like this ever happened again.

REID: Yes.

ALEXANDER: But that officer, Lieutenant Byrd, operated within and under the color of law and his training.

REID: His -- he was required to, if there is a threat, decide, how much force do I need to use to stop the threat? That is actually the way that you determine if a shooting is legitimate. It was determined to be legitimate, in fact, heroic, because the threat was real.

You could hear it, you could see it, you could feel it through the TV. They were banging on that door and trying to come through that door. And there were people, white and black, on the other side. And he didn`t care who was on the other side, white, black, whoever. He was protecting all of those people.

You see it right there. This was not a protest, everybody. This was a threat. That man did his job. And I have been covering police shootings since 2012. That was a shooting that was unfortunate. Sorry that somebody lost their life. But you can`t argue with the facts.

Cedric Alexander, thank you very much.

Still ahead -- appreciate you. Have a great weekend.

Still ahead: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says his efforts to fight COVID have been a great success.

Really, Ron? Then why are more of your state`s residents catching COVID, being hospitalized for COVID and dying of COVID right now than at any previous point in the pandemic, Ron?

We`re back after this.



REID: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is unquestionably the worst governor in America when it comes to COVID.

He`s done the least to contain the spread and the most to prolong the pandemic for the rest of the country. "The New York Times" put it bluntly: "The pandemic in Florida is worse than it has ever been at any previous point."

But Ron DeSantis had the audacity to turn to his safe space, to run over there at FOX News and blame President Biden.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You know, he said he was going to end COVID. He hasn`t done that.

We are the first state to start the treatment centers for monoclonal antibodies. Having great success with that. That should have been a bigger plan, bigger part of this whole response throughout the country from the beginning.


REID: Yes, you heard that right. Ron, the junior Don, had the nerve to say Florida is a great success. We should all be like Florida.

Well, today, Florida reported a single-day record for new cases. More than 27,000 ICUs across the state are stretched to their limits. More cities are rationing water for supplies of liquid oxygen.

A survey this week found 68 hospitals had less than 48 hours` worth of oxygen supply. Yesterday, the state recorded the largest single-day increase in deaths in pandemic history. Morgues at 10 hospitals are at capacity, using rented coolers. And funeral homes report having bodies stacked to the ceiling.

Now, on this planet, we would call that a failure.


Meanwhile, Ron has been busy promoting his Regeneron pop-ups and pushing his relentless campaign to infect the Sunshine State`s children by his idiotic mask mandate ban.

Well, today, a state judge smacked him down in a big way, ruling in favor of a group of parents who sued arguing the mask mandate ban was unconstitutional.

Leon County Judge John Cooper blocked DeSantis` order, saying it is without legal authority and, by definition, arbitrary and capricious. Ron DeSantis, unsurprisingly, has vowed to appeal. Got to get more kids infected.

Joining me now is Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried. She is running for Florida governor.

Nikki Fried, thank you for being here.

Florida has lost 43, 640 people to COVID since the start of the pandemic. Judge John Cooper essentially ruled that DeSantis doesn`t have the authority to try to force schools to make -- let -- allow kids to come in maskless.

And what he cited was the parental bill of rights. And it`s ironic that DeSantis had also cited the parental bill of rights, saying that`s what gave him the authority to tell school districts what to do.

Do you think that this judge`s ruling -- what effect do you think it will have on the state of COVID in the state of Florida?

NIKKI FRIED (D), FLORIDA COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE: Well, first of all, Joy, thank you for having me on tonight.

And those headlines are just heartbreaking. When I heard of that ruling, I was actually at a meeting with a bunch of parents and teachers and school board members from Brevard County.

And when I actually announced that ruling (INAUDIBLE) and that he ruled with the parents, the teachers and for democracy, there was a cheer that went out loud in this roundtable. And the school board member that I was sitting next to immediately pushed a -- to have a -- I think I froze.

REID: No, you`re here. We can see you.




REID: I thought you were calling somebody. Like, hello?

FRIED: All right.



REID: We got you.

FRIED: Well, immediately, a board member heard that ruling, she pressed an e-mail asking for an emergency hearing for her Brevard County School Board.

So I`m hoping that the rest of the school board members who were scared of the retribution that Ron DeSantis and our secretary of education was spouting for the last couple of weeks, that they feel empowered to do right again by their kids and by their communities.

REID: Florida is such a mess right now, my former state.

Your surgeon general is leaving. He`s leaving the administration, Mr. Rivkees, Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees. He issued a standing order allowing Floridians to be treated with the Regeneron`s monoclonal antibody drug without a doctor`s note. He issued emergency rules detailing that school districts must allow their parent -- allow parents to opt their children out of mask mandates.

I mean, it`s probably a great thing that he`s leaving. This man is a pediatrician. He didn`t even appeal at the trial for the mask mandate ban. He didn`t even bother to show up.

I am terrified to think, does the governor gets to appoint the next surgeon general? Because who is he going to appoint, Dr. Scott Atlas, next? Like, who`s coming next?

FRIED: Yes, that`s a concern.

But, quite honestly, Rivkees has been MIA for a good part of over a year. I have been asking, where has our surgeon general been? So the fact that he is resigning is really not going to change anything for our state, because he`s not been here.

But, yes, unfortunately, DeSantis has an appointment. And it has to go through the Senate. So it`s a confirmation process, but I have no idea who he`s going to appoint next. But it`s not like he`s been listening to scientists and experts to begin with.

So it`s really not going to make a difference. DeSantis is going to do what he believes is going to get him to that 2024 nomination for president.

REID: That`s all he cares about.

FRIED: And, unfortunately -- that`s all he cares about.

And the record numbers of children under 12, that is the largest group of children that are with cases right now is under 12 years old. And he`s going around and threatening school board members and saying that we are fine. Again, he`s taking this victory tour, that we should have been blaming President Biden for this.

We`re in an emergency here. And I have been asking for over three weeks for him to declare an emergency. I have been talking to parents and to teachers and to hospitals and to nurses and doctors. They are terrified of what is happening out here.

Our teachers are afraid to be in the classroom. Our parents are stuck with this impossible situation of whether or not to put their kids back into school or to keep them home. And then what do they do for work?

The trickle-down impact also on our economy, the impact on our health care system, this is a crisis. And I`m heartbroken that our state is having to go through this today.

REID: Yes, it`s almost like he wants COVID to spread as widely as possible and affect as many people as possible. I know it sounds wild, but it`s almost as if he`s doing the Scott Atlas. Let`s infect as many people as possible.

I don`t understand it. It is bizarre and madness. But he`s -- that`s what he`s doing.

Nikki Fried, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here.


Still ahead, in tonight`s absolute worst, the unbelievable reason, unbelievable, a Wisconsin school board voted to opt out of a free food program for kids.

But, first, it`s official. The Texas legislature has approved a sweeping elections bill that will make it as hard as humanly possible to vote in that state. Perfect.

We will be right back.


REID: Remember that mass exodus of Texas Democrats who literally fled their state in order to block Republicans there from passing voting restrictions?

Desperate times, desperate measures, because that bill which Democrats call Jim Crow 2.0 will prohibit drive-through voting centers and 24-hour early voting. It will also increase protections for partisan poll watchers.

The 38-day walkout ended, allowing the bill to pass the Texas House today. It now heads to the Senate. This urgent state of voting rights in Texas and beyond is exactly why multiple events will take tomorrow in Washington, D.C., and in cities throughout the nation, including March on For Voting Rights, a march demanding that the vision of Martin -- of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.`s "I Have a Dream" speech be deferred no longer.


Thousands are expected to attend on this 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

And joining me now is Texas state Representative Jasmine Crockett, one of the Democratic lawmakers who fled her state to thwart voting restrictions, along with the Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, one of the sponsors for tomorrow`s march, and who deserves a huge congratulations as we approach the 10-year anniversary of his show, "POLITICS NATION."

Thank you for being here.

I`m going to start with you, Representative Crockett.

In the end, what did the walkout achieve, if the bill is going to now pass?

STATE REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): First of all, it`s great to see you, Joy.

And my heart has been broken for the last few days, knowing that some of my colleagues decided that it was best to give the Republicans in the Texas Statehouse a quorum.

While we did accomplish a lot, to answer your question, we did not accomplish enough, in my opinion, to decide that it was time to go back. Some of those things that we accomplished, as most -- most people don`t understand that H.R.4 is a bill that had been filed over and over and over while John Lewis was actually alive.

REID: Yes.

CROCKETT: And, sadly, enough, it could never get passed. It finally got passed in the House.

We definitely started a movement in this country. We have made it clear that voting rights is under attack. So long as they can do this at night, which is what they like to do in Texas, right, when nobody`s paying attention and sweep it under the rug, then, hey, who cares, who knows, right?

But, instead, we basically rang the alarms and said, hey, listen up. Things are getting really bad. Our democracy is under attack. And so we were able to get movement on that bill. Speaker Pelosi told us, but for you all walking out, I don`t know if they really would have understood the urgency of getting this passed now.

So, yes, we got past the House.

REID: Yes.

CROCKETT: But we still got to get past the Senate. And we know that that`s a different animal in and of itself.

REID: And, Rev, one of the things I will say that the Texas Dems accomplished, the Dems who walked out and who -- and many fled to D.C., they did show us the meaning of the word fight, and what it can look like when somebody has a real will to fight.

I got to tell you, I don`t know if you hear this from folks, but this is what I`m hearing from a lot of Democrats. They don`t see that kind of will to fight among D.C. Democrats. They see it when it came to getting their infrastructure bill. They`re really fighting hard for that.

But if they really meant it that they really intend to have H.R.1 and two have H.R.4 become law, they would fight like a Texas Democrat.

And so I guess my question, as somebody who`s in those rooms and talking with the White House and talking with these seniors -- the senior leadership, at what point are they going to start to fight like the Texas Democrats did?

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST, "POLITICS NATION": I think they will start fighting when we start fighting, which is why we`re having the march tomorrow and marches around the country, and why we are marching to the Capitol, to the Mall, and where the rally will be, facing the Capitol, rather than going just to the Memorial to remember what happened 15 years ago.

We`re under siege right now.

And what, I call her Senator Crockett -- I`m predicting her future -- has said is true.


SHARPTON: I remember when Martin Luther King II and his wife and I joined them and brought them to the King Monument.

We said they started a movement because it shows states` rights is what we`re talking about. What we`re talking about right now, Joy, is that we return to the states by states having the right to decide election law.

And the whole idea of the civil rights movement was to get the federal government to stop states` rights, including in voting rights. That`s what the voting rights bill of `65 was about. And that`s why, based on what they did, we now must make the Senate carve around the filibuster and give us this us Senate bill, which is H.R.4.

If they can carve around the filibuster to confirm Donald Trump`s nominees to the Supreme Court, what is more basic in a democracy than to have a carve-out to protect people`s right to vote, particularly when they`re being targeted by race?

REID: Yes, that would seem to be pretty logical.

Representative Crockett, the irony here is that a lot of the rules, the 24- hour voting and making it easier to vote, was because of the pandemic. It made it easier not just for black Texans or brown Texans, but all Texans to vote.

Do you think that one of the outcomes, the unintended outcomes of what Republicans have done is that they`re going to make it harder for their folks to vote too? Or do you fear that what they have done is going to be effective at essentially shutting down the progress that`s been made in registering and encouraging people of color in the state to vote?


CROCKETT: Yes, that`s a great question.

I actually did a tweet not too long ago speaking about the one Republican that, between these two bills, H.R.4, as well as S.B.1 in the Texas House, the only Republican that actually voted against the passage of S.B.1, Lyle Larson, he understands that.

I recall -- I apologize. I recall when he actually sent us a letter specifically stating that there were elections officials in Republican areas that were saying, hey, this bill is bad. And they were laying out the sections that were going to be problematic.

When you look at our rural areas, what we see is that so many of them use vote by mail. And they`re making it more difficult. And so they actually may end up shooting themselves in the foot with this bill.

But, more importantly, what we see out of the intent of the Texas House is, number one, the speaker of the House specifically said, you guys will not use the R-word.

REID: Yes.

CROCKETT: You won`t use racism. You won`t use racist on the floor.

And the fact that you felt the need to say that tells you everything that you need to know about this bill. And the reality is that that is...


REID: They said you are not -- and for the audience, just so you know, they banned the use of the word racism in debating the bill.

They literally did that. Hello, first Amendment. They said you are not allowed to use the word racism.


REID: OK, I`m going to...


REID: Rev, I`m going to let you get in and give you -- your thoughts on that.

But, first, I do have something I have to show you real quick, Rev.

This is clip three from our producers. I`m sorry, I have to spring this on you. Check this out.


SHARPTON: Welcome to "POLITICS NATION." I`m Al Sharpton.

I`m going to do what I did all my life. I`m going to say what I mean and mean what I say.

Watch the show, because you will soon learn at this hour, if "POLITICS NATION" is not on your television, your television really isn`t on.


REID: And as -- Rev, as you would say, I got you. I had to do that. I had to do it.


REID: Rev, happy anniversary. Congratulations on 10 years. And I got you.

You all have a wonderful...


CROCKETT: Well, you got me. Thank you.

REID: Thank you. All right, big brother Rev.

State Representative Jasmine Crockett, Reverend Al Sharpton.

Don`t miss this weekend`s "POLITICS NATION" 10th anniversary special Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. It is going to be amazing.

Tonight`s absolute worst is straight ahead. Don`t go anywhere.



REID: It is said that Marie Antoinette`s famous quote "Let them eat cake" help trigger a revolution.

The queen`s callous comments were just too much for the people to take. For most, her alleged words serve as a cautionary tale to warn of the dangers of indifference and heartlessness.

For Republicans, however, it`s a proud mantra. Take, for example, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump last year.

Earlier this week, the school board refused to accept money from a federal lunch program that helps feed poor kids. I mean, why would people refuse to feed hungry children? As one of them said, the program made it too easy for families to become spoiled.

If that wasn`t disgusting enough, a county officials said he was worried that the free lunches would become a slow addiction.

Ah, yes, we wouldn`t want hungry kids to become spoiled or addicted to food. Quelle horreur.

Maybe they were inspired by the resident Grim Reaper of the South, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is refusing to apply for up to $820 million in food assistance for more than two million kids.

To put that in terms that you all can understand, that means that the parents of kids who qualify for free or reduced lunches in Florida are missing out on an extra $375 during a pandemic.

And DeSantis does this while flinging open the door to a variant that`s targeting children with a ferocity we have never seen.

Along those same lines, take a look at what Laura Ingraham recently said about people struggling during the pandemic.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: What if we just cut off the unemployment? I mean, hunger is a -- hunger is a pretty powerful thing. I don`t mean physical hunger, because people who truly are in need, need help.

I`m talking about people who can work, but refuse to work.


REID: I`m sorry, what? Are there no workhouses? Are there no orphanages?

What is wrong with these people? Oh, wait, I know. They love cruelty. They savor it. Cruelty is the point.

Want another example? Just take a look at the conservative-led Supreme Court. Last night, that conservative majority cleared the way for evictions to resume across the country. Yay. Three-and-a-half million Americans could end up in the street thanks to Justice Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Barrett, and Kavanaugh, a decision they probably cooked up while sitting in the comfort of their million-dollar suburban homes.

So, on this Friday evening, I toast to these Republicans as the absolute worst, because it takes a particular type of person to look someone in need in the eye and then just turn your back on them and say, go hungry. Stop being so greedy. Why do you want food?

I guess they really do believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Now, before we go, I do have one more thing to share with you that`s not the absolute worst.

Today, I did a very cool thing. I spent the afternoon at my favorite eatery, the famous Melba`s Restaurant in Harlem, where Melba and the great folks from Harlem Hospital, including hospital prez Ebone Carrington and community leaders, including the great Hazel Dukes, Dapper Dan, Bevy Smith, our friend Dr. Lipi Roy, and lots of other folks, helped Harlem get vaxxed and safe from COVID.

Here`s the first one wonderful person to step up to the van and stay healthy and safe by getting vaccinated to keep our community alive and well.

So, congrats to everybody that got vaxxed today. And thank you to the medical heroes who volunteered their time.

And, hey, William Reid (ph) Jr. and Britney (ph), I`m looking at you. I`m looking for you all to get vaxxed next, OK? I told you I was going to call you out tonight. And now I did.

And that is what I call a true "Moment of Joy."

And that is also tonight`s REIDOUT.

Thank you guys again. I have to really say to the staff at Harlem Hospital, you guys did yeoman`s work.

Melba Wilson, you are the woman. Today was a day that we really just cared for our community and loved our community. And that is what I think we should do with our platforms.