Right-wing freaks out over Biden vaccine requirements. Biden says GOP resistance to vaccines is disappointing. The Federalist flip-flops on support for vaccines.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: When we get through -- Joy, when we get through all of the COVID, next time we`ll just bring you right over, you`ll be one studio. I will go to the green time, get some quality hustle time.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That is a deal. I accept. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Have a great weekend. All right, Ari, I appreciate you.
Okay, good evening, everyone. We begin tonight THE REIDOUT tonight with a sigh of relief followed by a right-wing meltdown now that President Biden has announced far reaching new federal requirements to compel the millions of still unvaccinated Americans to just go their shot. But if you`re like me, chances are you and those in your circle thought, finally. We finally don`t have to worry about the unvaccinated bow guarding (ph) our spaces and keeping the pandemic going.
Well, on the right, the freak out is already in full effect. We told you last night about Texas Governor Greg Abbott, you have to be joking pledge to protect Texans right to choose. But, really, across the board, the reaction has ranged from absurd to hysterical to downright frightening. Take, for example, the two candidates in Ohio`s race to the bottom Republican Senate primary. Mr. Punch the pores (ph) J.D. Vance told the working people of Ohio only mass civil disobedience will save us. You`re going to leave that Mr. Investment Banker? Meanwhile, former Ohio treasurer and professional Afghan refugee-hater Josh Mandel expanded on those thoughts in creepy nighttime rant in a corn field.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not comply with the tyranny. And when the Gestapo show up on your front door, you know what to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Okay. To be clear, the president is calling for a requirement that employees get tested once a week or just simply get vaccinated. But the Republicans are telling the unvaccinated to resist, which I guess means quitting your job, which is kind of the opposite of the Republicans` other demand that you get a job.
And this Gestapo that they claim is coming for your freedom to catch and spread and COVID, well, that Gestapo is you. You. You`re the one who has to decide whether you want to do what it takes to protect yourself and the rest of us from a deadly pandemic or whether you would rather stay home and do your own research and probably catch COVID and wind up clogging up an ICU. Cue the fully vaccinated poop peddlers at Fox News who dropped this wisdom after they got called out by Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: We begin with one of the most heinous displays we have ever seen from a president. I`m talking, of course, about Joe Biden`s angry, anti-American vaccine mandate push earlier today.
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: And then say to the flight attendants, show some respect for the flight attendants. Maybe some of the flight attendant attendants ought to show some respect to us. Okay?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democrats and the media spent four years calling Donald Trump a Tyrant. But what we just saw from Joe Biden is more authoritarian than anything Donald Trump every tried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What? I guess she missed the part where he refused to accept the results of a democratic election.
Anyway, Republican governors across the board are just apoplectic. South Carolina`s Henry McMaster said he would fight President Biden to the gates of hell over the vaccine policy. Well, apparently the south will rise again for the right die for an airborne virus and then go to hell to fight Gettysburg part two?
Several GOP governors are even threatening to sue, including America`s YOLO governor, South Dakota`s Kristi Noem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): This is not a power that is delegated to the federal government. This is a power for states to decide. In South Dakota, we`re going to be free.
My legal team is already working and we will defend and protect our people from this unlawful mandate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Again, to be clear, these governors are essentially saying the hill they choose to die on or more accurately let their own base die on is the determination to force as much COVID as possible on their own populations so they can appeal to 25 percent of the population?
President Biden today made it clear what he thinks of their threats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Have at it. I`m so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities.
The vast majority of the American people know we have to do these things. They are hard but necessary. We`re going to get them done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Look, he`s right, Americans aren`t even irritated. They are sick of it for the angry unvaccinated. It`s not about freedom. It`s about a right to be dead. And it`s an argument for only a quarter of Americans. The rest of us are already partially or fully vaccinated and ready to get on with our lives.
And a Gallup poll this week found that among the vaccinated, three quarters support requiring vaccination to go to an office or worksite. So, President Biden is governing for the majority and the numbers show it.
And the majority is sick of the bull.
Joining me now, Neal Katyal, former Acting U.S. Solicitor General and an MSNBC Legal Analyst, and Fernand Amandi, Democratic Pollster and MSNBC Political Analyst.
Neal, I`m going to start with you because these governors are about to waste a whole lot of time in court. Because even The Federalist, which started out as, I guess, a conservative new tone but became like a Trump thing, even they said -- this is way back in 2015 before they turned into whatever they are now. And they wrote a piece that was called, the insane vaccine debate. We`ve had mandatory vaccine policies in the U.S. since before the Emancipation Proclamation. Why are the controversial now.
Here is a quote from it. If you choose not to vaccinate, private and public institutions should be able to discriminate on that basis.
Talk a little bit about the legal backing for what Joe Biden is doing. And I guess it has to do with OSHA, as Rachel Maddow explained. Please.
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, Joy, I completely think that this is a legal action by the Biden administration and it`s kind of hilarious that Republican governors have all of a sudden discovered law. I mean, Trump did all sorts of highly unconstitutional things, like the Muslim ban, and they were all about deference to the president in times of emergency and stuff like that. And COVID, of course, is a true emergency, not like Muslim immigration or the caravan or all those other cockamamie things.
And there`s truly a give me a break quality to what the Republicans are saying. I mean, it`s supposedly they say an overreach of government power to enforce these workplace standards but it`s like totally reasonable to deploy unmarked federal agents to arrest protesters and the like. I mean, correct me but the bill of rights only covers one of those acts and I`m pretty sure it`s not the right to go to work unvaccinated.
So, you were asking about OSHA, and here is the deal. OSHA provides, allows the government to regulate workplace safety and the test under the statue is the government must show, quote, that workers face a has hazard in the workplace that poses a grave danger to their health or safety.
Now, this obviously qualifies. I mean, I went to my first concert in 18 months and I realized or knew the theater had been closed for 18 months. Our workplaces have been closed. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying. I mean, OSHA has so many regulations that they regulate, for example, whether you can have an open water bottle at work. If they can regulate that, I kind of think that you`re allowed to regulate whether or not they can deal with COVID.
REID: Again, welcome to reality. And let`s just play -- you mentioned Trump. Here is Donald Trump. This is cut 5 from our producers. This is him claiming total authority over states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that`s the way it`s got to be.
REPORTER: The authority is total?
TRUMP: Total. It`s total. And the governors know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Yes, okay. So, it`s different when it`s Trump, right?
Fernand, let`s talk about the real world, okay, because these Republicans are pretending like you don`t have to get vaccinated for a whole bunch of stuff just to put your kids in school. You have got kids. I have raised kids in Florida as well. You have to get vaccinated for a lot of things.
Let`s just put them on the screen. Just to go to school, chickenpox, diphtheria, hepatitis-A and B, meningitis, measles, mumps, polio, pneumonia, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough. You pretty much got to get vaxed for a lot of stuff. Your thoughts on what the politics are in your view as somebody who analyzes this stuff and analyzes polling for a living. Who`s got the stronger politics here? The guy that`s saying enough already or the people who are saying we have a right to die and spread COVID?
FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Joy, the politics are rock solid for President Biden because I think it`s a mistake to try and present this as a President Biden or Biden administration mandate. This isn`t coming from the president of the administration. This is coming from the American people and the American voter.
I think you touched on it at the offset (ph) of the segment. 65 percent of voters are fully vaccinated. 75 percent of voters have already gotten one shot, so we`re on the way. And those numbers, by the way, are climbing still even as we speak right now.
So, I think what`s happening now is you`re seeing President Biden do what is appropriate in a democracy. He`s not allowing a tyranny of the minority to impact how the rest of us, the clear majority, in this case, of Americans who want to get back to normalcy, who want to get back to life, who want to get back to work and frankly don`t want to die. I mean, there is a cure out there. If people don`t want to take it, they have that right.
But the fundamental fact is, yes, here in America, you have the right not to take vaccine. You`re free to do so. You`re also free to leave the United States. And if you want to re-colonize or repopulate a new country, call it MAGAstan, where the life expectancy isn`t going to be very high amongst the unvaccinated, feel free. But for the rest of us here in normal world, this was an overdue measure by the Biden administration and a welcome one, and I think you`re going to see him rise in the polls in the days to come.
REID: Or leave your job. Let`s bring in Stephanie Ruhle. Stephanie Ruhle, host of Stephanie Ruhle Reports on MSNBC and NBC News Senior Business Correspondent.
Stephanie, I saw you yesterday on Nicolle Wallace`s show. And I do love to steal stuff from Nicolle because I do love her show. And you said something that I thought was so smart. I think the assumption is because people tend to think of Republicans as the pro-business party is that they must have the pro-business take here. Not among the business people I know and not apparently not among the CEOs you talked to. Please explain.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: First of all, I cannot believe Neal Katyal said he went to his first concert in 18 months last night, and neither of you stopped the segment and insisted on finding out what concert it was. It`s the only thing that I`ve thought about for the last two minutes.
REID: What was it? Tell us quickly.
RUHLE: Foo Fighters, 9:30 Club. That`s --
REID: Was it Foo Fighters? Now I`m jealous. That`s why I didn`t ask. Now I have Fomo. Okay, thanks for that. Go ahead, Stephanie.
RUHLE: Okay. Let`s be clear. This move yesterday was 100 percent supported by, thrilled by the business community. CEOs in this country want their employees back, they want their employees healthy and they want their customers back. You are going to see, sure, maybe a little bit of lawsuit here, a lawsuit there, but not much. This is exactly what they`ve wanted. And we`ve heard this -- this is the ultimate air cover.
So then they didn`t need to deal with, oh, now their employees don`t want it, now they`re going to quit and go work at the business down the street. Now, they can say, not my rules, right? Hate the game, not the player. The government decided it. This is exactly what the business community wanted. They are thrilled about it.
REID: Yes. Let`s talk about -- 100 percent.
RUHLE: That`s actually big business in the south.
REID: Well, the whole argument that we have been hearing from Republicans is that they want to cut off the unemployment -- expanded unemployment insurance because they want people to put that check down and come back to work. A lot of the reason people are afraid to come back is they don`t want to get COVID. They are afraid to go back into an environment where they don`t know who is vaccinated who is not unvaccinated.
And they are saying to themselves, let me make the calculation, I`m going to bring COVID home to my kid that can`t get vaccinated. I`m going to get sick, maybe my grandma, my mom. And they are making a very rational calculation. If you take that off the table, guess what people are going to do. They are going to feel more comfortable going back to work and they say good, at least I know I`m safe in that space.
Neal, talk a little bit about the Postal Service, because this confused us a bit. Here is what we have from -- this is, I guess, from the administration. OSHA is going to cover U.S. Postal Service through the emergency temporary standard, meaning that postal workers will be subject to the vaccination or testing policy announced yesterday. That`s for the White House. Can you just explain that? So, they are federal employees, right, but they`re going to be covered too, right?
KATYAL: Exactly. I think Biden proposal do not just cover federal -- cover private sector workplaces but also federal employees and federal contractors. And there`s a difference suite of authorities that applies to regulation over private sector and over the government. And so President Biden is wisely invoking both lines of authority here.
And it is really striking to me that Republican governors are challenging this. I mean, in one sense, I think you can call it brave because like if I had botched pandemic response the way they did, I`d never show my face in public again, let alone put my name on some sort of attack on a coronavirus policy. I mean, it`s kind of like Paul Von Hindenburg going on a national blitz tour, or something like that.
REID: It is wild. And, Stephanie, the reason I bring up the Postal Service is because, first of all, DeJoy needs to go, but not just because of that. The other issue here is in terms of the way we have been living. We have been getting everything delivered, a lot of us. We all went into this lock down where everything had to come to your house. That means a human has to come to your house. A person has to come to your house.
If you`re now talking about making it safer, Amazon is going to love that. All of these people who sends stuff by delivery are going to love that. You`re talking about all the places where we`re touched by other people that are outside our bubble if we think they are safe.
Steph, I`m not a business reporter. You`re the expert. But aren`t we going use those businesses more?
RUHLE: 100 percent. Joy, I have a child under the age of 12. So, even though I`m vaccinated and I think I can go everywhere, I can`t, right? I`m taking lots of personal risks but I live with an unvaccinated person. If suddenly I can go to stores and businesses and restaurant that I know are completely safe, I`m going to do a lot more business. This is great for the economy.
And please remember, CEOs out there, they want their customers back. They want their employees back. Even if they are saying, we`re okay with work from home. We`re extending the date, make no mistake, they want people back in the office ASAP. And the only way they`re going to get them back is if we`re vaccinated and healthy. They want this.
REID: We are out of time but very quickly, Fernand, isn`t COVID still Biden`s best issue?
AMANDI: Not only is it his best issue, it`s the defining issue. I mean, as much as the Republicans wanted to try and anchor him down with Afghanistan, that`s not the issue here. This administration and this first term lives and dies on two things, saving us from COVID and saving U.S. democracy. And I think on the first issue, Biden has made some great progress this week.
REID: All I needed to do is say don`t make me pull this car over on voting rights too and then he is goingn to -- have lit the trifecta. Neal Katyal, Stephanie Ruhle, Fernand Amandi, you guys are great. Have a great weekend.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, a doctor on the frontlines fighting to keep abortion safe and legal in Texas joins me. And state officials offer a pathetic defense for their unconstitutional new law.
Also, the devastating effects that a Gavin Newsom loss would have on California. Former Governor Jerry Brown joins me.
And we have more special guests tonight, Morgan Freeman, Morgan Freeman and Frankie Faison are here on the very important new movie, The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, based on a true story of a black marine veteran shot and killed by police.
Plus, my thoughts on the painful memories of 9/11, which never, ever go away.
THE REIDOUT continue after this.
REID: Now that the Justice Department has joined the fight against Texas and its nearly complete abortion ban, it`s up to the courts to decide whether or not to put a stop to what amounts to an unconstitutional bounty hunter program against vulnerable women.
But, at this point, the law remains in effect, preventing health care providers from providing care to their fellow Texans. Republicans in the Lone Star State continue to show their utter ignorance and disregard for women`s constitutional rights.
The state party responded to the Justice Department, taunting them to come and get it -- or come and take it with what appears to be an image of a fetal heartbeat.
And then there`s Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was claiming that the founding fathers actually intended for Texas to have the ability to pass an anti-abortion law that places bounties on women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: They clearly didn`t understand what the founders intended, which was they wanted states to be the experiments for democracy, so that they could try things different ways.
Every time we make a move, whether it`s on elections or abortion or anything that`s good for our people, they come in, the federal government comes in, Biden comes in and tries to stop us from taking care of our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Dr. Bhavik Kumar, an abortion care provider with the Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Houston, Texas.
And, Dr. Kumar, I really kind of think he was referring to the Fugitive Slave Act. But that was an 1850, not with the founders. And it`s probably not a really good P.R. move to sort of casually and tacitly refer to that. But I won`t make you analyze that.
Let`s talk about what can be done. You were part of a roundtable that Vice President Kamala Harris held with reproductive health advocates yesterday. You were there. What did you take away from it?
DR. BHAVIK KUMAR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD GULF COAST: Yes, we were very happy that the Biden/Harris administration held a meeting with folks like me, an abortion provider in Texas.
What we heard from the administration is that they are with us, that they are supportive of abortion providers and folks who need access to abortion in Texas, and that they have our backs.
I heard that message loud and clear from the administration.
REID: Let me let you listen to Governor Greg Abbott. And I apologize for forcing you to listen to him.
REID: But here`s what he said, particularly about the rape or incest, the lack of any sort of exception for that, which has become a real issue and caused real outrage. Here`s what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): It doesn`t require that at all, because, obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Is that true?
KUMAR: That is absolutely false.
I think that comment shows the -- not just the ignorance, because he`s choosing not to understand any medical facts. He`s not a physician, has no background in medicine. And it is completely false. And it is also really offensive to the people who are survivors of rape and incest and need to access abortion.
And so it`s a great example, unfortunately, of just the lack of politicians having any medical background or information on how to make these laws...
KUMAR: ... let alone how to talk about the people that need access.
REID: Yes. And I wonder if you could just give us the pragmatics, because, look, it`s not just people who are victims of rape and incest, as horrifying as that is, who need to use the services that you provide and who have a right to under the Constitution and under the law.
There are reports of people traveling all outside of Texas, reports in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma of women desperately leaving the state trying to get health care.
What has been the pragmatic impact for you, for your clinic? What have you seen?
KUMAR: Yes, so, as you mentioned, Senate Bill 8, even though it`s a ban on abortion when cardiac motion is detected, it`s really essentially a complete ban on abortion.
And when you ban abortion, it doesn`t change the need for it. So, folks, instead of getting the care that they need within the state closer to where they live, they`re being forced to go out of state.
So, now Texas folks are now becoming an issue for other states. They`re going as far as Kansas, New York, Chicago, wherever they can get care. They`re going out of state. And it`s really unfortunate. We`re seeing patients come back for the follow-up care. We`re having to help them navigate how to figure out the travel, child care for the children that they already have at home, the cost of traveling out of state.
And let`s not forget that we`re still in a pandemic. So the risk of COVID- 19 is still there. It is really, really unfortunate. And I think, for me, as a physician, it`s so frustrating, and it really feels unethical to say, I have the skills and the training to help you, but the governor and the government here is forcing me to tell you have to go out of state.
REID: Yes, and they`re quite proud of this law, because they believe that now private citizens will sue someone like you.
Are you worried about that? And are -- is there a plan in place for what happens through your organization if somebody does decide to put a bounty on a woman and names you as a defendant?
KUMAR: Yes, one of the most concerning parts about this law is this sort of vigilante concept, where anybody can sue somebody who aids or abet somebody getting an abortion in Texas.
And it is scary. It`s the first of its kind. It`s unprecedented. It`s the most extreme that I have seen or anybody has seen when it comes to abortion restrictions in Texas. And we are navigating that. We are not clear if this is going to be a couple of lawsuits or if it will be several hundred.
It is unfortunate. But what I`m doing as a physician is centering the people that need access to care...
KUMAR: ... and making sure we take their concerns and their priorities and their care at the center of what we`re doing.
So, we`re concerned, but we`re moving forward and taking care of people, because, like I said, banning abortion doesn`t stop the need for abortion.
REID: Indeed. I wish we could sue politicians who pretend to be doctors, when they ain`t.
REID: Thank you very much, Dr. Bhavik Kumar. Thank you.
KUMAR: Of course.
REID: Cheers. Thanks for all you do. Cheers.
Coming up next, former California Governor Jerry Brown joins me to talk about the crucial recall election in his state on Tuesday. Will California go the way of Texas and Florida? That`s a terrifying thought.
We will be right back.
REID: There`s a saying that there are moments in a nation`s life when each generation loses its innocence.
For my parents` generation, it was Vietnam and Watergate. For mine, it was the Rodney King beating, the police acquittals, and the L.A. uprising that followed and 9/11.
In both instances, the loss of innocence comes down to no longer feeling safe in your own country. The September 11 terror attacks in 2001 were a visual, visceral, terrifying reminder of the fact that death can be visited upon us anywhere, on a plane, at work, in an iconic building that felt permanent, and yet it fell.
Nearly 3,000 lives were lost that day. I think everyone who was old enough to experience it live on television remembers exactly where they were. I was in Florida, where we had moved four years earlier from New York. But I was still a New Yorker. That still felt like home.
I had a day off from the NBC affiliate where I worked as a digital producer and woke up to hear my brother, who was visiting from Denver and my husband yelling, "Oh, sh -- a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center."
I ran downstairs just as the second plane hurtled into the South tower. We all understood this was no wrong-way small plane pilot, no accident. And as the morning unfolded and I got called into work, it became real clear real fast that we, the big we, were under attack.
More hijacked airplanes targeted the Pentagon and seemed to aim at the White House or the Capitol. My kids were 5, 3, and 1 in 2001. Their whole lives have been lived in the wake of 9/11. My daughter has had to surrender her Barbie backpack to be searched at the airport.
I was of the unpopular opinion, along with the very lonely voice of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, opposing going to war in Afghanistan and even more so Iraq. I actually quit the news business for a time over my anti-war stance.
And I still wonder what might have happened had we not had a president surrounded by men who had been spoiling for an Iraq invasion for years, with one eye on imperial hegemony and another on Iraq`s oil, had we not had an administration willing to lie to us to get their forever wars.
Had we focused on just getting bin Laden, and not spent a generation occupying the country known as the graveyard of empires, had we not continued to cozy up to the Saudis, despite their nationals being 15 of the 19 hijackers, had we not had a national lust for oil, and instead turned away from it toward energy resources that could have actually saved the planet, had we used that rare moment of national unity for something else.
But, honestly, mostly I just think a lot, especially this week, about those people on the planes and in those buildings, how scared they must have been. It haunts me, man, the inhumanity of what they had to go through, those last phone calls to say goodbye, how they tried to fight back, how brave those first responders were who ran up all those stairs, while so many ran down, how some chose the air over the flames.
Even 20 years later, it hurts.
And so, this weekend, we will remember, and we will hurt, and we will try to heal again.
REID: With the California recall vote just days away, there are some encouraging signs for Governor Gavin Newsom. A new poll from U.C. Berkeley shows a whopping 60 percent of registered voters say they oppose recalling Newsom. That number was hovering at 50 percent just six weeks ago.
"The Los Angeles Times" reports that the turnaround is thanks in part to Newsom`s effort to redefine the recall campaign as a referendum on Trumpism. I guess it helps that Newsom`s leading opponent is Larry Elder, the conservative talk radio host and Trump fan who has made it clear he would turn the great state of California into another Texas or Florida.
Elder opposes vaccine and mask requirements. He thinks the minimum wage should be zero. He said it`s smart for women to tolerate crude behavior in the workplace. And he`s argued that the descendants of slaveholders, well, they`re the ones who deserve reparations. No joke.
Those are the stakes on Tuesday. Now, that`s not to mention that Elder has also embraced the big lie and is already questioning the legitimacy of the vote next Tuesday, claiming it`s all rigged. And he`s actually said that Stephen Miller, the anti-immigrant former Trump adviser, should be president of the United States.
That means that, if anything should to Dianne Feinstein -- let`s say that she retired -- a Governor Elder could appoint Miller to the United States Senate. Of course, the recall itself is nothing more than a Republican power grab organized by right-wing activists and financed by wealthy conservative donors.
Among those who funded the recall, there`s Geoffrey Palmer, a luxury condo developer who opposes affordable housing, John Kruger, an opponent of COVID restrictions in churches who used a shell company to hide his identity. And Mike Huckabee even chipped in almost a quarter-of-a-million bucks through his PAC.
Then you have got some venture capitalists and oil and gas companies, some private equity investors, and you get the idea.
Joining me now on the phone is Jerry Brown, who served 16 years as governor of California.
Governor Brown, I have to say, California is such a progressive state in some ways, but, in some ways, it is a very scary state.
These recalls -- FiveThirtyEight wrote today that: "California`s recall process is one of the most lenient in the country. Of the 29 recall elections for state legislators that have had -- that have taken place in the United States, nine have been in California. And after Tuesday, two of the nation`s four gubernatorial recall elections will have taken place in that state."
When you look at the people who are funding this recall, very wealthy right-wing interests, does it worry you that it`s been so easy for them to jeopardize the state with this recall?
FMR. GOV. JERRY BROWN (D-CA): Yes, it is worrisome.
And I think we`re seeing more recalls because we have seen more money. And over the last few decades, and, increasingly, over time, more and more money is available, particularly on the right. It`s available from many corners.
So, it would be inconceivable 30 or 40 years ago to think of a successful recall. So, it`s all about money. And maybe there`s some way that the requirements can be increased, so we don`t have to go through this nonsense, because there`s an election in another year, where all these same issues will be relitigated.
So it`s just there`s a lot of discontent in politics, very big polarization. So it isn`t too hard to get 12 percent of the people to sign a recall for almost anything. And that`s really the dilemma here, that the polarization, the antipathy toward anything on the part of somebody can translate into this crazy recall.
But I think, as more information came out, it`s very obvious the recall is going down. People don`t want what the recall backers want. And they don`t want what these leading recall candidates are offering. It`s kind of going back, I don`t know, to the 1920s. Very crazy.
BROWN: And it only worked because nobody knew what the stakes were or who were these -- the characters who want to be governor if the recall could ever go through.
I mean, it is the ultimate in sort of minority rule, right? I doubt that very many Californians want to be Texas or Florida, and have their numbers. We pulled -- our wonderful producer here pulled the numbers here.
The national average for COVID deaths per 100,000 people is 202. California is below that average because of smart policies to try to stop COVID. Texas and Florida are both well over the average. Look at Florida peeking out there at 225 per 100,000.
I mean, the idea that somebody like Larry Elder could come in and basically force California to get more COVID and more COVID deaths, what do you do -- do you think that that message has gotten through?
BROWN: Well, the message is getting through, who Elder is, what the recall is all about.
Look, the way it is today, there`s a lot of discontent, discontent about the vaccine, discontent for the loss of jobs, probably discontent over Afghanistan, all sorts of things, both local, state and federal.
Therefore, if you just start in kind of in a vacuum and say, are you happy, people say, no, I`m not happy, darn it? Let`s change. So that was the basis of the recall getting some steam. But once they understand that change is much worse, and not what people want, then they say no.
And that`s what`s going to happen. It`s no. Newsom will be resoundingly retained. And I think California will go on its way uninfluenced by the characters who are getting their moment of glory in this recall. Crazy.
REID: Yes, let me -- let me just -- this is -- I don`t even know if I have a question for it, but here`s an ad. This is one of the Larry Elder ads. It`s real weird.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You remind me of that guy in high school who took my girlfriend, then went on to the next girl. You still think you`re better than everyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I don`t even know if I have a question for it.
But what do you make of that tactic, going after him because I guess he`s handsome? I mean, do -- listen, you have dated a famous person. You dated the beautiful Linda Ronstadt in the day. So, I hope you don`t mind me asking what you think of that tactic.
BROWN: Well, it`s characteristic.
This guy Elder, I was on his talk show 10 years ago, and we were talking about the high-speed rail. And I said something, well, you don`t even believe in public infrastructure. He says, you want -- kiss my behind. He used another word, by the way.
I -- no, I didn`t. I didn`t say that. He likes to use provocative language because he is a provocateur. That`s why he`s good at talk radio, but he`s certainly not good at government. And the people have figured that out by now.
REID: There are a few roadblocks that are potentially there for the governor, as you said, people`s just sort of general maybe unhappiness, maybe low turnout.
One of the kind of issues that`s popped up that is -- I don`t know what you make of whether it is a threat to the way that this might turn out. Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, is up for parole. Governor Newsom hasn`t said whether or not that he would accept that parole.
What would you advise him to do? Because this -- it seems like this is sort of a no-win call for him.
BROWN: Well, first of all, I know the timing. It isn`t even close. It takes 90 days before the governor has to rule.
And the governor is getting 20, 25 of these every week. And it wouldn`t be appropriate for me to tell him what to do, or for him to say without really giving it the judicial review.
BROWN: So I think it`s a nonissue right now.
Governor Newsom has rejected paroles when he thought that that was the appropriate thing, where there were some outrageous case that he felt the people didn`t believe in and the law didn`t contemplate any kind of parole. So I wouldn`t worry about this decision.
Gavin Newsom cares about the safety and people of California and very much about the law of California.
REID: Former Governor Jerry Brown, former California Governor Jerry Brown, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here tonight. Thank you so much.
All right, well, coming up next, executive producer Morgan Freeman joins me next to talk about his new movie based on the events surrounding the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain.
There he is.
We will be right back.
REID: Ten years ago in White Plains, New York, Kenneth Chamberlain, a 68- year-old black veteran with a history of mental illness, accidentally set off his medical alert device.
As "The New York Times" reports, police were dispatched to his home for a welfare check. And 90 minutes later, after he had been taunted with racial slurs and subdued by both a Taser weapon and beanbag rounds, Chamberlain was shot and killed.
No officers were charged, with the grand jury declining to indict in 2012 and jurors rejecting the family`s wrongful death suit in 2016.
But, last year, a judge gave his family renewed hope, rejecting a previous ruling that the officers were protected by qualified immunity.
This harrowing instance of police brutality is portrayed in the new movie "The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Mr. Chamberlain, this is Candace Wade with Lifeguard Medical Alerts. This line is being recorded. We just received an activation from your pendant.
Do you have an emergency? I`m not getting a response from you. I`m going to dispatch emergency services now.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: White Plains police. We`re here for a welfare check.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Open this door!
FRANKIE FAISON, ACTOR: You`re not coming into my home.
Help me! Help me! I need help!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I`m joined now by Morgan Freeman, Academy Award-winning actor and the executive producer of "The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain."
He`s also the president and co-founder of Revelations Entertainment. I`m also joined on the phone by Frankie Faison, the actor portraying Kenneth Chamberlain, as well as Mr. Chamberlain`s son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr.
Thank you all for being here.
I`m going to go to you first, Mr. Freeman. And I`m trying to be calm, because I am a huge fan of yours, but I`m going to conduct this interview with all the dignity I can muster.
How did you come to this project?
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: My partner and I, Lori McCreary - - she`s co-founder of Revelations -- we saw the movie, I don`t know, sometime back during the pandemic in 2020, I think. Yes, this is `21, isn`t it?
REID: It is.
FREEMAN: And it was just so profound and such a tour de force for Frankie.
And the story is so immediate. It`s the true story of this man. The movie is based on that truth. And it`s just -- I don`t know. It brings out, again, such an unnecessary situation, when we involve police in a situation that does not call for any police.
Kenneth`s inadvertent triggering of his 911 health life alert thing should not have triggered anything that would lead to his death, unless he was in some sort of health problems. And he wasn`t.
This is just why we shouldn`t send the police to do a job they`re not trained to do.
REID: Yes, indeed.
And, Mr. Chamberlain Jr., our condolences, of course, for your loss. My heart rate went up just watching that little bit of the film. It was a brilliant film, but it was so tragic and heartbreaking.
I went into a deep, deep dive on the story, reading it. You know how it`s going to come out, but it`s still so painful to watch. He calls his children at one point in the film.
You are his son. What do you want people to understand about your dad?
KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR., SON OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN: Well, I guess one of the first things that people have to understand is that what happened shouldn`t have taken place.
And a police officer`s job is to defuse a situation, not create one. And on November 19, 2011, they did just that. They created it. We have often said to the press and many other people it wasn`t a crime until they made it one. He inadvertently triggered his LifeAid pendant. That`s all he did, and wanted to be left alone.
Frankie Faison, thank you for joining us. We`re having a little technical gremlins, but you`re doing this on the phone.
I have to say your performance was absolute genius. It was so raw. It was so visceral. It was heartbreaking. Talk about how you approached playing a real man with a story that we can all read. Talk about your approach in playing this man.
FAISON: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on the show.
And hello to everyone.
First of all, I would just like to say, it`s the writing of the writer, David Midell. When I got this script, I knew nothing about Kenneth Chamberlain, nothing about the incident. And I live in New Jersey, which shows that it didn`t really have very far-reaching publicity. It wasn`t publicized. It was kept kind of quiet.
I read the script, and I was immediately drawn to the character. I mean, I just said, something is in this piece that just really connects to me. And I really want to tell that story, and having no idea about the impact of this story and this film, because it`s based on a true, true incident that occurred.
FAISON: So, my basic approach was the same approach that I use whenever I`m acting in anything.
I look to see what`s in the script, what the writer has given me, and then I just take it off of the other actors and what`s in my heart. I follow through with that. But this -- this touched me in such a way that it`s a universal story.
It just -- he`s a black man, but, I mean, this kind of situation could have happened to anyone.
FAISON: And with so many incidents of things happening to blacks by law enforcement officers, I felt even -- it was even more compelling to get this out in an open and a very honest way.
FAISON: So, simplicity is the name of the game, as far as I`m concerned, with is. I just tried to tell the story as honestly and frankly as I could.
And it was really tough to go to those places over as short a period of time that I had to go through them. But I...
But you -- you did a fantastic job.
REID: It`s so good. You did -- you`re brilliant.
And I have to ask you, Mr. Chamberlain, you said in 2020, you said the judge`s reliance on qualified immunity "cut the heart out of our case. It meant that evidence showing that police unlawfully entered my father`s apartment and used excessive force against him could not be heard at trial. We look forward to another day in court."
So, in 2020, and appellate court did say the federal judge erred when he said that White Plains police were entitled to qualified immunity.
Are you hopeful that there will be justice for your dad?
CHAMBERLAIN: Well, to be perfectly honest, I have used that hashtag Justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., but, at this juncture, almost a decade later, justice -- we will never see justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
CHAMBERLAIN: We hope for some type of accountability now. And that is what my family and I want to see happen.
And I think that one of the more powerful statements in that decision from the Second Circuit is when they said, instead of treating Mr. Chamberlain like a critically ill patient, you treated him like a criminal suspect.
So, with this film, and the fact that it`s coming out now, I often tell people one thing that I want this film to do, if nothing else, is let it be a teaching tool of what not to do.
REID: Yes, amen.
Morgan Freeman, do you -- I hadn`t heard of this either. I don`t know if you were familiar with the story before. I`m from New York as well. And it does feel like there are just too many stories to tell.
What do you hope comes out of this story?
FREEMAN: Well, we`re going to have to readdress the whole idea of law enforcement, of police work.
That legend on the car that says "Protect and Serve" is just there. It doesn`t mean anything to the people riding in those cars, I don`t think.
We have to get fully behind the idea of retraining, of police being -- this whole thing being rethought. Sending police to a situation as it happened with Kenneth Chamberlain, it was just ridiculous. It`s just stupid.
And then, when the police got there, they were even stupider. It`s so unnecessary. We could certainly do something about it. And the best way to do anything about it, however, is to put people in office who are willing to do something about it.
REID: Yes, and, indeed.
Mr. Faison, what was it like -- I guess my last question, what was it like when you finally met the family? We have a little bit of time left.
FAISON: When I finally met the family, it was so amazing for me, because they really embraced my performance, and they really thanked me for honoring their relative in such a way.
So, I felt very satisfied, like I did a credible job of portraying him in that film.
REID: Yes, you certainly -- you certainly did.
Morgan Freeman, thank you so much.
Frankie Faison, brilliant.
Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., I hope you get justice.
That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.