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Transcript: The ReidOut, 9/20/21

Guests: Ilhan Omar, Derrica Wilson, Lynnette Grey Bull, Dahlia Lithwick, Vin Gupta, Mona Masood


Pfizer says vaccine is safe for ages five to eleven. Biden administration, relaxes travel restrictions for vaccinated. Mississippi Governor Reeves says he`s relying on personal responsibility to stem raging pandemic. Border patrol tries to stem flood of Haitians refugees. Thousands of Haitian migrants gather on southern border. DHS secretary say our borders are not open.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: All right excellent. All right, I love get the recommendation. Thank you very much my friend. I appreciate it.

Okay, good evening. Cheers everyone. Good evening, tonight. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight, with the two Americas, a nation with vaccinated and unvaccinated spaces would sharply competing values. Today, we got news that millions upon millions of American parents have been waiting for. Pfizer`s says its vaccine is both safe and effective in young children ages 5 to 11 and it plans to seek FDA authorization by the end of the month.

And there`s another long awaited development, the Biden administration announced the easing of travel restrictions for international travel passengers. Now, passengers will need to show proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers are still prohibited. It`s a ray of hope for millions of American families and a common sense approach to travel as we stare down what looks more and more like a bifurcated country with COVID deaths in the U.S. now surpassing the devastating flu of 1918.

It`s driven now by the tragedy unfolding in largely unvaccinated states like Mississippi, which currently has the highest COVID death rate per capita in the entire country. And if it were its own country, Mississippi would be tied for second in the world in terms of COVID deaths.

As about changing course amid that devastation, Republican Governor Tate Reeves tried to downplay his own incompetence.


GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): As you know, unfortunately, fatalities is a lagging indicator when it comes to the virus, it is a lagging indicator. And so timing has as much to do with where with that statistic that you used as anything else.

The president want try to believe that this is -- the delta variant is only affecting Republicans in the United States. That is not true. That is not a fact.

(INAUDIBLE) move around the country and you`re going to see fatalities rise in other states.

We believe in personal responsibility, individual Americans and individual Mississippians --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, you`re not going to change anything?

REEVES: -- make their decisions to take care of themselves.


REID: Tate`s attempt to explain away the mounting death toll in his state is a terrifying harbinger of the dark future for unvaccinated America. The open COVID states where leaders and some in their populations appear to be willing to just roll the dice and take their chances with mass death, where Republicans, like the Mississippi governor, Tate Reeves, and Florida`s Ron DeSantis and their fellow travelers, denounce vaccine requirements.

And the right-wing death cult takes full advantage with bogus conspiracies and appeals to a so-called freedom culture, which largely means people are free to die alone in the crowded, and die alone if they can even get into an ICU.

Case in point, Ohio Senate Candidate Josh Mandel be clowning himself, tweeting that quote, you can`t spell pandemic without Dem, or the Breitbart columnist who argue that the push for vaccinations is just a trick to trick Trumpist anti-vaxxers into dying because we know if we tell them to take it, they won`t take it out of spite. I mean, if that`s the case all that lives, please get vaccinated. We`re begging you.

Because meanwhile in California, which now has the lowest COVID case rate per capita in the country, nearly 70 percent are partially or fully vaccinated and common sense measures, like masking, have been adopted or Vermont, the un-Mississippi with the lowest death rate per capita in the U.S. and one of the highest vaccination rates at just under 80 percent.

Their tourism department is even touting how safe from COVID you will be if you visit, because that is the other America, one that`s refusing to just shrug off mass death and beginning to creep back into something that looks like normal life.

Joining me now is Dr. Vin Gupta, a Critical Care Pulmonologist, he`s currently on assignment with the Air Force Reserves as an ICU Doctor in Cincinnati, and Dr. Mona Masood, Outpatient Psychiatrist and Founder of the Physician Support Line. Thank you both for being here.

I will start with you Dr. Gupta, because I don`t know if you feel like that is a fair assessment of where we are. Because I`ve kind of reached the point where I think it`s kind of impossible to argue people into saving their own lives and we just kind of have to figure out how we live with this kind of two Americas where it`s just a part of the country that`s largely regional that`s just continue to kind of be a COVID hell escape for folks and then there`s a part of the country like the northeast, like New England, where they`re kind of getting their normal lives back and California and places like that.

DR. VIN GUPTA, CRITICAL CARE PULMONOLOGIST: Joy, good evening, great to see you. You know, here is what I`ll say because we`re moving across the country, us in the military and the reserve side, even the civilian docs, because even if there is a crisis in Mississippi, it`s likely impacting urban areas outside of Mississippi.

We`re seeing that back home in Seattle, for example. What is happening in Montana and Idaho, even Washington is impacting the city of Seattle. And so it`s just to say we`re in a case right now -- you know, Joy, we`ve talked about this, this future state scenario of rationing care.


It`s happening regardless of the zip code. And the challenge here is we don`t have standards.

In one zip code they might be using one paradigm, one framework and then another is totally different. Do we prioritize youth and life expectancy or do we prioritize who made responsible decisions to get vaccinated? This is where we`re headed especially with cold and flu season and a perfect swarm of other threats on the horizon.

REID: Yes. Because, you know, people don`t only get sick, Dr. Masood, with COVID. So hospitals are having to decide, you know, if somebody comes in who was hit by a bus or had a stroke or heart attack, they`re also just in that same funnel with the unvaccinated COVID patients who they`ve all got to compete for these limited number of beds.

But I also wonder if you can talk a little bit about the limited amount of sort of head space and brain space and space for compassion that also these patients are competing for, because I got to imagine, look, doctors have a duty to treat but they don`t have a duty to stay in their job. They don`t have to stay working in the states where people just don`t care about COVID and come in all these unvaccinated cases. They could move. They could quit. They could leave.

DR. MONA MASOOD, FOUNDER & CHIEF ORGANIZER, PHYSICIAN SUPPORT LINE: Yes, Joy, thank you so much for having me. They could do all of those things, but they won`t. The positions who call the physician support line and talk to us about what they`re going through, they talk about their frustration. They talk about that slow erosion of compassion that they`re having over the course of this prolonged trauma, really. But they won`t leave.

And they`ll talk to us about escape fantasies, about the desire to leave. As we all do, we all want this to be over and doctors are just as human as the patients they treat but they won`t. And that is the appeal that I think the physicians, thousands of physicians that call us on the line really want the public to know, which is we are here, we are doing the work, but in the end, we`re only human and we don`t know how this is going to end.

REID: It`s -- you know, Dr. Gupta, this crazy thing that we`re seeing where you`ve got sort of two banks of anti-vaxxers, anti-vaccism, you know, you`ve got the hard core people who have made it a political, almost -- it`s almost like a religious fervor that they`re never going to get vaccinated. And I wonder what you think about that because it`s just going to be a percentage of Americans who are just going to refuse. I mean, there are people who still won`t vaccinate their kids from measles, right? There`s always going to be a certain percentage that just won`t.

And then there are the people who are just afraid to or they just are mistrustful. I mean, there were people out, you know, protesting against the CDC this weekend. You know, people putting rapper Nicki Minaj`s picture on an American flag and a lot of them didn`t look like they were generally hip-hop fans but suddenly they sort of wrapped their arms on anyone who they think is going to give them backing in the idea that they`re afraid to get vaccinated or refusing, even though she didn`t say she would never get vaccinated but they`re wrapping their arms around any cultural moment that will say I don`t have to do it. And I wonder how that ends up playing out long term if people just say I ain`t doing it no matter what you say, I`m digging in.

GUPTA: Well, Joy, you know, I agree with Dr. Masood in a sense that doctors still have an obligation to treat through a Hippocratic oath given to those individuals who end up in the hospital that are firmly against, that they are not reachable. But of those that are unvaccinated even to this day, the 70 million Americans, there is evidence that about 60 percent of them are reachable. But, Joy, what is the critical blockade here, they don`t have a trusted relationship with the medical provider and they want that one-on-one engagement.

Many people so don`t have durable access to health care, so we`re reckoning with the consequences of that specific issue that people don`t actually have the ability to get questions answered in a way that will feel trustworthy to them, intimate. That`s number one.

But, you know, I think this is the time for hard decisions. I don`t see any reason why we shouldn`t mandate -- the FDA should mandate proof of vaccination to board a domestic airline but for doing the same for our friends in Europe, and that`s the change today. Why not do the same here?

We know one of the biggest things that would move the unvaccinated is restriction to travel. So, hard decisions should be made now. We shouldn`t wait to pull that lever, for example.

And number two, I think other common sense stuff for the vaccinated, I hear all the time, Joy, from the two-shot Modernas and one-shot J&J is why can`t we get a Pfizer booster shot now that it is fully approved. If we`re going to lead, let Israel lead on what -- if we should get booster now or not, it turns out England and Canada are already have great data in mixing and matching. Why are we picking and choosing on global data? We should (INAUDIBLE) all or none of it.

REID: Yes. You know, Dr. Masood, I also find that some people are only learning by experience, personal experience.


You had Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was vaccinated in January. His wife, Jacqueline Jackson, was unvaccinated. They both got COVID. He recovered pretty quickly, she ended up in intensive care and she`s come out of that experience saying, oh no, I`m a believer now. She`s now calling herself a true proponent of vaccination. We know Chris Rock, Comedian Chris Rock has come down with COVID and saying get vaccinated, you all. It`s like people are sometimes people are being converted through experience.

But that does not feel like the most efficient way for people to learn this lesson is to get it and get sick and come close to death. It feels like that is the least efficient way but it is converting some people. I wonder what you make of that, of just the sort of near death conversions or really getting sick making you a convert.

MASOOD: Right. So this is an interesting conversation I`ve been having with other physicians, is that the trust that, you know, Dr. Gupta was talking about is really refining a shift in trust. It`s more along the lines of that trust and meaningful relationships, which used to be about expertise and having that partnership with your physician has really changed over to who you, you know, you trust in terms of the way they live their life, about their choices, about their politics and in terms of, you know, who are the influencers out there, who are the celebrities out there, who, honestly, for doctors, that`s not that big of a deal. We don`t care where you get that information.

And as long as it is that, you know, it is thoughtfully put out there, I think what worried us about what was put out by Nicki Minaj and by maybe other celebrities is that it seemed to be discountful of evidence and in medicine, evidence-based medicine is sound medicine. It has been studied and vetted and reviewed from so many different sources that it is the best information that you can get. And it feels very much like that that vetting and that nuance is lost in the way that people take their information nowadays.

REID: But, I mean, Dr. Gupta, look, you know one of the points that Ms. Minaj made was actually really true. Is that we don`t have up universal healthcare here. So there`s a Venn diagram between the states that did not expand Obamacare, did not expand Medicaid, say it`s where people don`t have a doctor where people can`t get access to somebody that they can call and have a one-on-one intimate personal relationship with because they`re in states that don`t allow them to have health care. So you have millions of people who don`t even have a doctor so there is no one for them to call. So they are listening more to what they`re seeing on social media, people they trust in bitter celebrities because they actually do not have this other relationship that they could use.

GUPTA: You know, Joy, I`m glad you brought that up. Because something important happened in May of 2020 that we don`t talk a lot about, where before you could speak to say media or Dr. Masood do brought to smart phone, previously to access actually telemedicine services, you needed a smart phone, broad band, internet connection or a computer. You have face- to-face interaction. That changed in May of 2020. You can just pick up the phone and say, hey, doc, I need a test. I am not feeling well.

That is now moving away, Joy. We`re moving back to where we were in terms of telemedicine restrictions from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services standpoint. Regulations are moving back. They were temporary. Now we`re moving back to a place where to get reimbursed, you still need that broad band internet connection, the face-to-face engagement. That`s not great for the specific purpose to get better information.

REID: Yes. And, unfortunately then, you`ve got been of governors like, you know, Kemp confusing, you know, saying there is an AIDS vaccine and saying using his sort of moral authority because to say the AIDS vaccine never worked. There is no AIDS vaccine, and then saying he really meant HPV. It`s a mess. So it`s a no, no, no, sort to trust. It would be helpful if you have universal healthcare to speak to a doctor. That would be nice. Dr. Vin Gupta, Dr. Mona Masood, thank you very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the shocking scenes of border agents, menacing Haitians as they tried to enter the U.S. It`s like something that you might have seen after the Fugitive Slave Act of the 1850s. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar joins me to discuss.

Plus, and the case of Gabby Petito sparks major media coverage. Her family does deserves answer and justice. But what about Daniel Robinson and Mary Johnson and all the other people of color and indigenous people who go missing? Where is the blanket media coverage for them?

And tonight`s absolute worst, they`re not your father`s conspiracy theories, just like JFK`s assassination in the moon landing, there are these new ones and they`re dangerous.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: Okay. I want to show you some unbelievable images shot near Del Rio, Texas. This video from over the weekend shows a horse patrol for U.S. customs and border protection trying to corral human beings like cattle, chasing after Haitian migrants trying to cross back into the United States.

These horrifying images seem far more reminiscent of the Fugitive Slaves Act of the 1790s and 1850 and not in 2021. Today, the chief of the border patrol told reporters that these agents are most likely using a technique to control their horses but would look into the matter. Wow. Okay. Thanks.

Over the past few weeks, Del Rio has faced a wave of migrants, about 15,000 people, mostly Haitians, have set up camp in squalid conditions in the hopes that border patrol will allow their asylum requests. The local mayor has declared a disaster to get state and federal assistance.

According to The Guardian, most of these Haitians who fled their homeland after the 2010 earthquake and other natural and political crises have recently arrived at the U.S./Mexico border.

To the DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made clear that the border is indeed closed.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We have reiterated our borders are not open and people should not make the dangerous journey.


If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned.


REID: Yesterday the Biden administration began expelling planeloads of refugees back to Haiti, a country plagued by gang violence, political instability. Recall that their president was recently assassinated, not to mention catastrophic natural disasters.

Give us your tired, your poor, those yearning to breathe free, indeed.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, author of "This Is What America Looks Like."

And, Congresswoman, you tweeted -- as somebody who knows very well, having been a refugee as a child, how it feels to be that afraid, you tweeted: "These are human rights abuses, plain and simple, cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law. This needs a course correction and the issuance of clear -- a clear directive on how to humanely process asylum seekers at our border."

I want to read to you, Congresswoman, what the Department of Homeland Security released. They just released this statement. And it says the following: "The Department of Homeland Security does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody. And we take these allegations very seriously. U.S. Customs and Border Protection`s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter and has alerted the DHS Office of Inspector General."

Secretary Mayorkas has also directed that personnel from the ORR be on site full time to ensure that the responsibilities of DHS personnel are executed consistent with applicable policies and training. He also said that he visited the Del Rio area and will have more to say.

What do you make of that response and of what we`re seeing?

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): These kinds of responses that doesn`t actually follow the actions on the ground that is so visible to everyone are not going to cut it.

What we have seen was cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic laws and international laws. The right to seek asylum is an international right. I know this because I would not be here today if I wasn`t able to seek asylum in the border of neighboring country Kenya.

To see this kind of atrocious, disturbing images at our border should really make every single American`s skin crawl. We have seen Americans show sympathy and empathy to people who were fleeing Syria and call on the international world to get involved and do something.

And now that it`s happening in our border, the fact that we are not outraged is really shameful. I do hope that this administration does what they said they were going to do, which is to have a humane immigration policy, one that grants the right for people to be able to seek asylum.

I have also heard people say, Haitians might -- many of the Haitians who are at our border might not have actual grounds to seek asylum. These are people who have experienced a natural disaster, which allows for people who experienced that to seek asylum.

They have also experienced political violence, political upheaval, they have experienced crisis after crisis. We have also contributed to that. Generations of Haitians have experienced American policy that has contributed to their starvation, to the criminalization that they are dealing with, and to the inhumane policies that continue to destroy the lives of Haitians.

So, not only do we owe Haitians the right thing of allowing them to seek asylum here, but we also owe them the kind of policies that would allow for them to dictate the ways in which they want to run their country.

REID: Yes, I mean, I -- there`s a lot going on here.

So we know that the policy right now is to send people back, including families who are not claiming asylum. There`s something called Title 42, which gives the government the power to turn back any migrant caught crossing the border illegally, regardless of their country of origin, to stop the spread specifically of COVID-19.

And that`s something that the Supreme Court has upheld. They`re essentially locking in Trump era policy on Title 42.

Is there something that Congress can do to intervene to make sure that what you`re talking about actually happens for Haitians? As I have to commend the administration for doing with Afghan refugees, they`re bringing people in, how can we get that same kind of energy going for our -- really our neighbors, people from Haiti?


OMAR: Yes, I mean, we do need to have the same energy that we are dealing with Afghans to deal with Haitians.

I don`t, obviously, agree with this policy. We all spoke up against it, including the president and the vice president, when it was the policy under Trump. And I think it`s really important, while Congress might not be able to come together, unfortunately, to do the right thing in this case, for the president and the vice president and this administration to do right by Haitians who are at our border.

I can`t, for the life of me, understand why people would think deporting Haitians who have come a long way in seeking asylum at our border makes sense...

REID: Yes.

OMAR: ... or why that would be the humane thing to do.

So I want this president and this administration to grant them pardon, because it is something that they can do. And so many other people are calling on them to do that as well.

REID: And, very quickly, I know that funding for the government begins in the House.

Should we be looking at the budget of Department of Homeland Security? Because I was not aware that whips which come from the slave era, slavery era, were part of the package that we issue to any sort of law enforcement or government-sanctioned personnel.

Were you aware that was being issued to people, that people had that kind of equipment on them that they could use on humans?

OMAR: I was not. And I am quite appalled.

When it comes to our immigration policy, for so many years, cruelty has been very much embedded in it. There is obviously systematic racism at play here. We have seen many people come to our border.

And the fact that we are dealing with mainly black migrants and black immigrants and asylum seekers at our border in this kind of way really speaks to the kind of racism, systematic racism that is embedded in that department and all of the departments that deal with our immigration policy.

REID: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here this evening.

And just really quickly want to make sure that, in our previous segment, I mentioned Chris Rock coming down with COVID. Just for our audience that`s watching, I was not implying that he was not for getting vaccinated. I believe he is vaccinated and it might be a breakthrough case. Just want to make sure we clarify that.

All right, still ahead: As American media focuses on the still unexplained disappearance of Gabby Petito, thousands of other cases are routinely ignored. Why the discrepancy? Is it because mainly many of the other cases involve people of color or indigenous groups?

We will ask that question after the break.

Stay with us.



REID: If you have been watching the news for the past few days or on Twitter or TikTok, you`re probably familiar with the name Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old aspiring social media influencer who was reported missing after her fiance returned from their van life excursion without her.

On Sunday, human remains believed to be Petito`s were found in a national park in Wyoming. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow to confirm the identity.

Now, it goes without saying that no family should ever have to endure that kind of pain. And the Petito family certainly deserve answers and justice. But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering, why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?

Well, the answer actually has a name, missing white woman syndrome, the term coined by the late and great Gwen Ifill to describe the media and public fascination with missing white women, like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway, while ignoring cases involving missing people of color.

Joining me now is Derrica Wilson, co-founder and CEO of the Black and Missing Foundation, and Lynnette Grey Bull, founder of Not Our Native Daughters, an organization created for the awareness of the missing, exploited and murdered indigenous women and children.

Thank you both for being here.


REID: I bring up this point because there`s a case that`s so similar.

A journalist friend of mine, Derrica, sent me this story about a young -- about some other people that are missing. There`s one guy whose name is Daniel Robinson. Daniel Robinson is a young black man. He`s only 24 years old, 5`8``, 165, black hair, brown eyes. That`s his description.

His dad has hired a private investigator to find him. He`s missing part of an arm. He was last seen driving away from his job site in the Buckeye, Arizona, desert on June 23. And his case struck me because it`s very similar. He`s missing in the same part of the world. It`s a case that it has all of that same kind of sizzle, the sort of mystery of it, this young man who just goes missing.

It -- I never heard of it until this friend of mine sent it to me. And I guess that`s sort of -- that`s the issue, isn`t it?

WILSON: It is definitely the issue.

And we have been sounding the alarm for nearly 14 years because of this. When it comes to missing persons of color, men, women and children, our cases are not taken seriously. And no one is looking for us if we were to go missing.

REID: There`s also, Lynnette -- and thank you for being here as well -- this is an FBI poster I`m going to put out. This is element one for my producers.

And this is a missing poster of someone named Mary Johnson. Ms. Johnson is a native of American woman who went missing from the Tulalip Reservation in Washington state.


Now, this is back in November of last year. I`d never heard of this case, either.

And, again, I -- let`s put up the statistics. In terms of the disparities in media coverage for runaways, a lot of minority children are initially classified as runaways. You have missing minority adults are often labeled as being associated with criminal involvement, gangs or drugs.

There`s a certain desensitization, according to the Black and Missing Foundation. It`s believed that missing minorities live in impoverished conditions and crime as a regular part of their lives. So, it`s sort of dismissed. And that`s from the Black and Missing Foundation`s data.

From your point of view, why is it that indigenous missing, particularly women, don`t get that kind of attention?


I think -- I think there`s a lot of factors on why there`s the MMIW movement. But one of the main factors and one of the key factor that a lot of people don`t want to talk about is that it`s racism. It`s systemic racism. We`re still fighting oppression in our tribal communities.

We are still facing inequality across the board, whether it comes through our community, housing, jobs. I mean, you can pick any topic in Indian country and you would have an issue there.

REID: Yes.

GREY BULL: So, it`s no different when it comes to missing, murdered and indigenous women and girls.

REID: And there`s a case -- to stay with you for a moment, Lynnette, there`s a -- "DATELINE" did a story about there`s a woman named Carla Yellow Bird. She disappeared in 2016.

You were quoted in this story talking about her. This is a case that is so long ago. It was obviously during a presidential election year. There was a lot going on. How can we do better in terms of getting that same kind of attention? This is not a young sort of blonde white woman?

And so the media sort of lets it go.

GREY BULL: Yes, I think everybody plays a part.

I think it`s -- when we talk about -- we talk about law enforcement, we talk about media coverage, if you don`t have blond hair and blue eyes, I mean, our stories do not make it to the 6:00 news. We barely make -- get our story into the paper.

However, I just think it takes everybody coming to the table, addressing the issue, being accountable, and making sure that, when somebody goes missing or murdered in our community, that it`s equally presented and have a sense of urgency.

REID: And the same question to you, Derrica.

I got some of the Black and Missing Foundation back when I was working for The Grio. And we connected with you all trying to find ways that we could boost some of these cases, including using social media.

Give the media a little critique. What can we do differently and do better?

WILSON: You know, we can`t always wait on the 5:00 and 10:00 news cycle.

We have to get these profiles out there. We have to tell the stories of our mistake. One of the things that we also need to change the narrative on is the decision-makers in the newsroom. Majority of them are white men, middle-aged. And our cases are just not sensational enough.

And then we need to change the dynamics for law enforcement. These cases need to be taken seriously. So, if you see a post of a missing person, don`t just like it. We ask you to share it. Just because someone is missing out of Washington, D.C., doesn`t mean they`re in D.C. They can be in New York. They could be in Boston in a matter of hours.

So we need everyone around this country being very vigilant, looking into the eyes of everyone that they come across, because they may hold the answer.

REID: Yes.

And, Lynnette, has social media helped? Because we can -- it`s so easy to share information now, because we have visible social media like Instagram. We have Twitter. Has that made a difference, in your view?

GREY BULL: Yes, absolutely.

I mean, before, we were putting bright green and bright pink garage signs up to find our people within our community. So, social media played a huge role on disseminating that information throughout the nation and through different communities. It definitely helped us.

REID: Yes.

And I think, Derrica, you made a really good point, that, if the woman who`s missing looks like your own daughter or granddaughter, and you`re a newsroom executive, you`re going to gravitate more toward it.

And if this is the way that these young women look, maybe they`re not noticed as much, but we need to change that.

Derrica Wilson and Lynnette Grey Bull, thank you all for all that you do. And thank you for being here.

All right, tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is still ahead, as a sparsely attended pro-insurrectionist rally sends a deceptive message about the ongoing threat of violent extremism.

But, first, one year after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the notorious RBG, a disheartening look at where this new conservative-stacked court is taking America.

We will be right back.



REID: Saturday marked one year since the great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. She was a trailblazer for women`s rights, equality and justice.

But the very things she fought so tirelessly for are being threatened by that same Supreme Court that she served for 27 years. Remember, it took just 38 days from her passing, mere weeks before the 2020 election, for Republicans, led by Senator Mitch McConnell, to install the Federalist Society-approved Amy Coney Barrett to RBG`s seat, thus solidifying the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court supermajority.

We have seen what that majority has meant on such issues as voting rights, elections, immigration policy and, most recently, allowing Texas to move forward with the country`s most restrictive anti-abortion law.

But if you ask RBG`s successors, she doesn`t believe the highest court in the land is politically driven at all, claiming to a crowd last week that the Supreme Court is -- quote -- "not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."

It`s hard to take that seriously, given that she made the claim at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville with none other than Yertle the Turtle`s evil doppelganger sitting right next to her.


Joining me now, Errin Haines, editor at large for The 19th, and Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate.

Thank you both for being here.

Errin, you wrote a piece: "Ruth Bader Ginsburg`s death continues to reverberate as abortion fight heats up."

Given the fact that Republicans made it very clear that their dream was to subvert and really undo her legacy with the Amy Coney Barrett appointment, in your view, mission accomplished?

ERRIN HAINES, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, listen Joy, I mean, I think I can remember fairly vividly a year ago all the mourning over her death, and particularly among Democrats, who were kind of fearing what the absence of Justice Ginsburg was going to mean for the court.

Remember those donations to Democratic candidates were pouring in because voters were kind of galvanizing their grief into action. But I mean, honestly, yes, the damage was already done, right? President Trump did what he promised that he was going to do for his voters, which was to create that conservative supermajority that you mentioned that could roll back many of the most progressive gains of the 20th century, whether we`re talking about voter rights, abortion, affirmative action, and other things that liberal voters hold dear.

So, a year later, the folks that I talked to for the story -- and thank you for mentioning it, -- it`s on for people who want to see it. We are seeing those concerns realized.

Voting rights are under attack and really finding no safe harbor with the High Court. And Roe vs. Wade, which is a 50-year precedent that has been in place, now hangs in the balance, and its fate is going to be tested anew in December, we learned today, with a case out of Mississippi that bans abortions at 15 weeks.

And so, yes, these are the stakes. And it is unclear what the court is going to do, but, certainly, the fears of what people thought would happen have been accelerated in Justice Ginsburg`s absence.

REID: Yes, indeed.

And, Dahlia, the Republicans don`t have a whole lot of worry about sort of shame or embarrassment. I mean, Lindsey Graham said on tape, like, multiple times, if there`s -- if the same situation that happened with Merrick Garland happened in reverse, there`s no way that we`re going to we`re going to still -- we`re going to go ahead and still try to confirm a justice.

And then he pretended that he never said that, because he said: Quote me on that. And people did. And he went, so?

But it seems like the justices are a slightly different kind of Republican. You had not just Amy Coney Barrett, but also Clarence Thomas, and even Breyer, go out there and try to insist, insist that, oh, no, they`re not political at all. But it does seem that the theme of the current court is repeal the 20th century. And they`re doing it.

DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR, SLATE.COM: Yes, you can always tell that the court is incredibly anxious about its public legitimacy, Joy, when they`re all on the same message, right, across ideological spectrum.

They`re all saying: Oh, we`re not partisan. We`re just balls and strikes all the way down.

That`s a good signal, that`s their tell that they`re freaking out. And what they`re freaking out about is the polling that came out last week shows the Supreme Court at this moment with the lowest approval rating we have seen, I think ever, but certainly in my 20-year career.

And they have no power to enforce their rulings, right? The Federalist Papers saying neither the purse, nor the sword. The power they have is the public belief that they are a court. And when they behave the way they behaved -- and I think Errin`s piece makes this point. Initially, in the Mississippi case, all they were asking for is to really have some solicitude for fetal pain.

As soon as Amy Coney Barrett is seated, they`re saying the new ask is strike down Roe. Take it all down.

REID: Yes.

LITHWICK: And I think that`s your tell. They`re making hay while the sun shines. And they`re out on the hustings telling us they`re not doing the thing.

They`re doing it because they know that the only power they have is that we continue to believe that they`re made of magic.

REID: Well, and the thing is, Errin, Adam Serwer, I think, put it really well.

He tweeted that they want to do their politics, but also have their legitimacy, right? They want their reputations while they`re doing what they all say they`re going to do. Five of these justices were appointed by presidents who did not win the popular vote in their initial election.

George W. Bush did win it the second time, but five of them. So they already come to the table with a sense that these are Republicans who were appointed specifically to input promises that people like George W. Bush made. George W. Bush was out there promising: I`m going to get rid of Roe.

It`s been an open promise by Republican presidents for a very long time. So I wonder, as you talk with people about the court, what does it mean that their legitimacy is so really at its lowest ebb?

HAINES: Well I think, especially the black women voters that I talk to, they were aware of the stakes of this election, particularly as it pertained to the Supreme Court.


And I that think that is why you saw President Biden making that campaign, that debate stage promise, right, to appoint or to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, which would be a first, assuming that woman, whoever she is, is confirmed.

And so there`s being pressure -- there`s this pressure that`s being put on Justice Stephen Breyer, who turned 83 last month, to retire, not necessarily in the same way that Justice Ginsburg was pressured, I would say, during President Obama`s term, but he is being pressured.

And it`ll be interesting to see if the calls grow louder for that to happen, because this is a thing that black women were certainly motivated to vote for. And given the direction that things are going on issues that they care about, I would not be surprised if those calls grow louder.

REID: Yes.

And the calls, Dahlia, to expand the court, because this is something that`s come up since the presidential campaign in 2020. How real are those calls? How realistic is it that that could happen?

LITHWICK: I think the fact that we have a commission that is thinking about thinking about it, but is not actually tasked with even making recommendations, suggested to a lot of people on both sides that the energy for court expansion or other major structural reforms is not there.

And I think some of what we`re seeing, including Mitch McConnell simply crowing that, if they take the Senate, they will not install anybody in the court in 2024, possibly in 2023, and, also, I think just what we`re seeing at the court, an emboldened court that was going to get this Mississippi case in December, but they did it in September.

REID: Yes.

LITHWICK: That`s what you`re seeing, I think, very emboldened, a sense of, this is not a real threat.

REID: Yes. And they are -- but they are real politicians. They are real right-wing politicians. I don`t care what they say in their speeches.

Errin Haines and Dahlia Lithwick, thank you both very much.

Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is up next.

And don`t be fooled. This weekend`s pro-insurrectionist rally may have looked like a complete flop, but violent extremists are still out there organizing.

We will be right back.



REID: As many predicted, the rally in support of the jailed insurrectionists in Washington, D.C., this weekend was largely a bust.

It lasted less than 90 minutes from start to finish. And, as expected, the turnout was relatively meager. And, in fact, the roughly 400 people who did attend were far outnumbered by law enforcement.

But let`s not forget, it`s not the size of their turnout that matters. It`s the danger of their ideas. And those ideas have already taken hold. As NBC News reports, one attendee at that rally named Lori Smith said she opposed the storming of the Capitol.

But, at the same time, she also made this unbelievable statement. She said: "If a nuclear bomb dropped on that Capitol Building, I would celebrate."

Now, I`m just going to go out on a limb here and say that, if you`re in favor of nuking your own Capitol, then you don`t really oppose the siege of January 6. But that`s the kind of thinking that permeated the rank-and-file of the Republican Party and does so at this point.

To that point, "CBS Sunday Morning" aired an illuminating segment this weekend on a popular tourist destination in Mount Airy, North Carolina. It`s the site of Mayberry, a replica of the fictional town in "The Andy Griffith Show," which went off the air more than 50 years ago.

Though it`s just a recreation of a town that never actually existed, it attracts many who chase the illusion of a simpler time and an earlier era.

And, as Ted Koppel found, many of its visitors were also firm believers in another work of fiction, this one by Donald Trump.


TED KOPPEL, CBS NEWS: How many of you think we had a fair election?


KOPPEL: I saw two hands go up.

So, is it fair to say the rest of you think that it was not a fair election?



KOPPEL: Tell me what you think happened on January 6 at Congress?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They showed truckloads of people that they were bringing in for this. It was all staged. And that`s how that started.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t even watch the news on TV anymore.

We don`t feel like that we`re being told the truth.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we find our truth in other ways.


REID: Wow. It was all staged. It`s all staged, all made up. They brought them in. Wow.

Well, that`s proof, if you needed it, of how firmly rooted the big lie has become, at least among a certain slice of the American public.

Democrats may never, ever disabuse Republican voters like the ones that you just saw of that notion, which is effectively now baked into their psyche at this point. It`s just part of them.

But these aren`t like the people who believe the moon landing never happened or that JFK wasn`t killed by a lone gunman. The big lie is far more corrosive, and it`s still enabling Donald Trump to subvert our democratic institutions.

Even now, 10 months after the election, he`s again asking Georgia`s secretary of state to decertify their election results from last year. He`s promoting a slate of handpicked candidates for secretary of state in crucial battlegrounds, where he could, in theory, count on them to change the results of a future election in his favor.

And he`s generated such hostility toward election officials that even volunteer poll workers now need their own legal defense committee, not to mention security details.

We now know that, for Republicans, the insurrection clearly wasn`t the wake up call that it should have been. It was a rallying cry. So, while people can choose to believe whatever falsehoods they want,

Democrats need to protect free and fair elections, so the rest of us can continue to live in a democracy.

All of this is to say that the big lie is and has always been the "Absolute Worst." And our system of government still hangs in the balance.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

Be be sure to check out THE REIDOUT blog for Ja`han`s take on the QAnon conspiracy theorist who`s trying to become the secretary of state in Arizona, if you can believe that.