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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 13, 2020

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Dan Pfeiffer, Loretta Lynch, Tiffany Cross, William C. Rhoden, Jemele Hill


Trump ramps up attacks on USPS funding in COVID relief bill. Trump says, democrats want USPS funds to have the post office work. Trump says, can't have universal mail-in voting without funds. Trump says, expansion of mail-in voting means you'd never have a Republican elected. Postal service funding dispute stalls relief bill negotiations. Acknowledging the reality of COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris held their first joint coronavirus briefing today.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Michelle Obama recently noted that she has, at times, felt a kind of low-grade depression about Donald Trump's approach to civil rights, but it is time for people to come together going towards November.

That's our final word tonight. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: In 2016, Donald Trump relied on foreign help and voter suppression to help him squeak by Hillary Clinton. This year, he's literally going postal to do the same thing against Joe Biden. Donald Trump is actively working to ensure that your vote, the vote that you plan to cast in the presidential ballot, may not count in November. And he's hell bent on sabotaging vote by mail.

But don't take my word for it. Trump admitted it himself this morning. He admitted that he knows the postal service needs money to process those ballots in time, and he is going to block that money.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What specifically are they pushing for that is causing this breakdown in any deals?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. That's election money, basically. They want $25 billion, billion, for the post office.

Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.


REID: Okay. Let's pause that for a second. Trump confessed that he is obstructing coronavirus relief and blocking money to the postal service because he doesn't want millions of ballots to be counted on time. And if that wasn't clear enough, let's listen to some more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is one of the sticking points that's holding back stimulus for Americans during this coronavirus, the Democrats wanting for the post office for mail-in voting.

TRUMP: That's one of them. That's right.

They want $25 billion for the post office because the post office is going to have to go to town to get these ridiculous ballots in.

Now, if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting.


REID: Trump is crippling the post office because he knows that Democrats are more likely to vote by mail this election cycle due to the coronavirus crisis.

And it's not even the first time that he's made that admission. He also fessed up during a similar debate over funding in March.


TRUMP: The things they had in there were crazy. They had things -- levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again.


REID: And apparently to ensure success, in his drive to drown the postal service in order to save himself, in June, Trump installed a major campaign donor, Louis DeJoy, as his new postmaster general. DeJoy has been hard at work crippling the agency that he's supposed to be leading. He's already ousted 23 postal executives and moved to stop employees from working overtime, overtime that's critically needed to get ballots and just regular mail sent out on time.

Meanwhile, sorting machines are being removed from post offices, causing mail to pile up undelivered, and the agency may stop processing ballots as first-class mail, potentially causing more delays unless states pay a higher rate.

It is quite frankly a twisted and broad effort by Trump and his team to suppress the vote by any means necessary. There's the lying about voter fraud and promoting mail-in voting for only one state, Florida, because it has a great Republican governor and Trump lives there.

And then there's the effort to promote their handpicked third-party candidate, this year's Jill Stein, one Kanye West. Trump's top operative, son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly been speaking with West regularly since early July. But there are signs that despite all of these efforts, Trump might be losing his nerve.

For more I'm joined by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He's Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. And, Congressman Jeffries, I don't know if you were able to hear Donald Trump's press conference earlier, but not that long ago this evening, but apparently when confronted with the question of whether he would actually veto a bill that had postal service funding in it, even though he said people have to -- they must vote in person, whether they feel safe or not, he said, oh, they'll feel safe, earlier, that's what he said. Now, no, he has said, no, he wouldn't even veto it. What do you make of that slight turnaround?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, the Trump administration is crashing and burning, and it's all happening before our very eyes. His response has been an unmitigated disaster to the coronavirus crisis. And he can't deny that there's been a lot of pain and suffering and death that the American people have experienced, including more than 165,000 people who have died, more than 5 million who have been infected by the coronavirus.

And so it just seemed to me that if we were able to arrive at an agreement to provide meaningful relief to the American people, that's exactly what House Democrats are working on, that he'd be hard pressed to veto it. But it's a sleight of hand, Joy, because at the same time, it's his administration, his henchmen, who are refusing to come to the table in a reasonable way to try and find common ground in order to get something done.

REID: Let me let you listen to what Joe Biden said today, responding to Donald Trump's attacks on the post office.


REPORTER: President Trump today said that he doesn't want increased funding for the postal service, tying it to mail-in voting. What do you think about that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay, guys, let's go, let's go. Come on.

BIDEN: He doesn't want an election.


REID: you know, we know that Louis DeJoy, Donald Trump's handpicked postmaster general, he holds a multi-million-dollar stake in a company, his former company, XPO Logistics. And we know that's United States postal service contractor, which means there's a likely major conflict of interest. He sold some other stock in some private delivery services, and he had stock in Amazon. I mean, he literally holds the ability to buy short because of the way that he unloaded his Amazon stock if Amazon were to drop in value, he could buy it cheap because of the way he unloaded that stock.

I mean, he potentially has a financial interest in watching both the postal service and even Amazon crash and burn. Is there anything that Democrats can do, that Congress can do to stop what is being done to the postal service?

JEFFRIES: Well, we're continuing to hold firm as it relates to the $25 billion in assistance for the postal service that was requested by the Postal Board of Governors, a bipartisan group entirely appointed by Donald Trump. These are his own people.

Now, next week or next month, under the leadership of Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, the Oversight Committee will have the postmaster general before Congress to testify under oath so we can expose these shenanigans to the American people.

But, Joy, let me put this in context. This is the most corrupt administration in American history, and this is all part of a continuing conspiracy to subvert our free and fair elections. It started back in 2016 where, according to Bob Mueller himself, a lifetime Republican, the Trump campaign welcomed the foreign interference by the Russians, which was designed explicitly to artificially place him at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And then last year, he corruptly abused his power, withheld $391 million in assistance to a very vulnerable Ukraine as part of this scheme to pressure a foreign government to target Joe Biden, an American citizen, in order to cheat in the 2020 election.

And now, there's this vicious effort in the middle of a pandemic to try to shut down the postal service so there can't be universal mail-in voting.

REID: But the question -- the question to you is then what can Congress do about it? Congress is a co-equal branch of government. The postal service is in the Constitution. Are there powers that Congress has that can stop this administration from gutting the postal service? Are there actions that Congress can take to stop him?

JEFFRIES: Right. Well, congressional power really goes down three roads, right? It's the power of the purse. There's the power to legislate, and there's our oversight authority. We're going to work on all three. There's legislation that's being introduced, but, of course, we have to deal with an intransigent Senate.

The power of the purse is perhaps our most effective, and that is why we're at a stalemate in the context of this negotiation right now about unemployment insurance benefits, about direct payments, about state and local assistance, and, of course, about the postal service and $3.6 billion for election security.

And then there's our oversight function, which, as I indicated, we will have this postmaster general before us shortly, and we can expose a lot of what's happening before the American people.

Public sentiment is with us. As you point out, Joy, the postal service is in the Constitution. It's basically as American, as baseball, motherhood, and apple pie. And we think that these attacks on the postal service, which will impact balloting, impact the ability of the American people to receive social security checks, and impact the ability of people to receive medicine, which is one of the ways in which people receive their prescription drugs, won't be accepted ultimately by the American people.

REID: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, thank you very much. Hopefully, you'll come back and update us on what's going on as far as this oversight. Thank you. I really appreciate your time.

And joining me now is Dan Pfeiffer, co-Host of Pod Save America and former Senior Adviser to President Obama.

And, Dan, I want to point out the last thing that you just heard the congressman say because Donald Trump is acting as if the only thing that the post office does is fail to obey him and gut Amazon, which he wanted them to do, which is one of the reasons he hates the postal service. And he thinks the only other thing they do is deliver ballots. But we know in the real world they also deliver to rural people. They deliver to people who are not on the FedEx route. They deliver paychecks. They deliver people's medicine. All of that is also being delayed.

And so I think it frustrates a lot of people that it doesn't feel like anyone can stop this president from destroying the post office through this Mr. DeJoy, who would then pick up all the profit on the back end and profit from what he's doing. It's frustrating for people.

DAN PFEIFFER, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: That's exactly right. Because Congressman Jeffries is correct, there are limits to what the House can do here, but they can be more aggressive than this. And there is a very powerful political argument to be made.

We can't reason with Trump. He has a very specific goal in mind, which he's trying to steal an election, so he can't be reasoned with. But you can put political pressure on other members of the Republican Party because it is not just (INAUDIBLE). They are preventing seniors and veterans from getting their prescriptions on time. And they have to go on offense there.

It is great that the postmaster is general is coming, but he's not coming for a month. And we have to raise (INAUDIBLE) because this -- this is -- right before us is one of the greatest political scandals in American history. The president installed a political hack to delay the mail to ensure that votes will not be counted in an election that's going to be conducted by mail, and the crime is in progress right before us. And we have to step up, and we have to raise holy hell.

REID: I mean, you go to even who works for the postal service. I was reading a piece today, and we're going to put up a little bit of it. Business Insider talked about the fact that military veterans form about 15 percent of the work staff, the staff of the postal service. 100,000 military veterans are employed by the agency, about 15 percent of its entire workforce, many of them people with disabilities. If there's no overtime, that means military veterans who are disabled don't get overtime.

He's not just cutting maybe black and brown people who he thinks maybe won't vote for him is overtime, he's cutting all the military veteran's overtime as well.

PFEIFFER: Yes. I mean, it is absolutely morally and politically offensive what he is doing. And it -- like in a -- right now, this election is not real close but it could get close (INAUDIBLE). And in a close election, this could be the deciding issue. Because what people need to understand is, in many states, if your ballot is postmarked before Election Day but arrives after Election Day, it will not count.

As you point out in your opening, 72 percent of Democrats are planning to vote by mail. 22 percent of Republicans are. So, rigging the post office, starving it of funding and delaying the mail can be a very effective strategy to steal an election where all of (INAUDIBLE) supporters are going to vote by mail.

REID: Yes. Well, it's also a bit of an undermining of your own strategy because Colorado, one of the states where Kanye West appears to have gotten on the ballot, where they handpicked him, he's meeting with Jared Kushner, obviously, he's their third-party guy, Colorado votes by mail, all by mail. So I don't know how they think that's going to work out for Mr. West.

PFEIFFER: And then in Florida, a state where Republicans have always had a vote by mail advantage and Democrats had, as of last month, made 500,000 vote by mail request advantage.

And so, in some ways, they are undermining their own strategy. But it's three-quarters of your opponent is getting their votes from mail, and you're getting a quarter, it can end, in a close election, matter. And I think we are not -- and I'm so appreciative of you doing this segment because this should be the biggest story in all of America right now, and I'm afraid it's not getting enough attention. And when that happens, you can sneak things under the radar in a very dangerous way.

REID: Absolutely. We're trying not to be Russia. That's the goal. Don't be Russia. That's the goal. Dan Pfeiffer, thank you very much. And Trump is trying to get us there. He truly is. Dan Pfeiffer, thank you for your time.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, the Republican freak out over Kamala Harris has begun.


TRUMP: And now you have sort of a madwoman, I call her, because she was so angry and such hatred.


REID: And here we go again with the racist birther nonsense from the once grand old party.

Plus, three twisted tales from the dark side, including the tweet from beyond the grave, the sheriff's the mask of doom, and scariest of all, the showerhead from hell.

Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: Today on Earth One, the new addition to the Democratic presidential ticket, Senator Kamala Harris, got a warm welcome from a very big name. Former First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Harris in a heartfelt Instagram post, showing a photo of Harris with two young black girls in the caption, Obama wrote, you get used to it, even as a little girl, opening the newspaper, turning on the T.V., and hardly ever seeing anyone who looks like you.

She added Kamala Harris may be the first, but she won't be the last. I am here for it all. Let us embrace and celebrate this moment. Go get 'em, girl.

Meanwhile, on Earth Two, there's Donald Trump and his echo chamber, who have some really original arguments against the black lady on the ticket.


TRUMP: She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing about her is she seems to come across as a bit abrasive.

TRUMP: I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't trust Kamala Harris. I think she's very ambitious.

TRUMP: She left angry. She left mad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For some reason, I just have this feeling that Joe Biden isn't going to be on the ticket.


TRUMP: Now, you have a sort of a madwoman, I call her, because she was so angry.


REID: Talk about throwing everything into a bag and shaking it.

If that weren't enough, Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis took issue with Senator Harris' voice, as if that matters in any way.

But, oh, wait, there's more. Since there's a black person on the ticket this year, some of the circus clowns on the right are throwing it back to the bad old days of 2008. You remember birtherism, don't you? That is coming up after the break.


REID: Ever since Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, allies of Donald Trump on the far right have been melting down, relying mostly on, of course, personal attacks.

After tweeting an insult about Harris' voice, one Trump flunky went full birther. Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis retweeted an article questioning Harris' citizenship because her parents were immigrants from India and Jamaica.

Asked about the retweet, she said: "It's an open question, and I think Harris should answer so the American people know for sure that she's eligible."

Well, if that throwback to Obama birtherism wasn't bad enough, far right talk show host Mark Levin and wannabe intellectual Dinesh D'Souza, who questioned President Obama's birthplace long after even Donald Trump dropped the issue, tossed out the old "immigrant heritage means you're not really black" card.


MARK LEVIN, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Kamala Harris is not an African-American.

I only point that out because if you dare raise that, you're attacked. But the truth is, she's not.

DINESH D'SOUZA, AUTHOR, "THE ENEMY AT HOME: THE CULTURAL LEFT AND ITS RESPONSIBILITY FOR 9/11": The point I'm trying to make is that Kamala Harris seems to be descended less from the legacy of, let's say, Frederick Douglass than she is from the legacy of the plantation itself.


REID: I am joined now by Loretta Lynch, former U.S. attorney general and co-chair of the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.

You must feel like it's a rerun. I guess it's almost like a movie you have seen 100 times before and didn't like the first time.



REID: It's amazing, isn't it?

I want to let you listen to what Donald Trump had to say. He was asked about -- questions directly about whether or not he wanted to entertain this birther thing again. And, of course, he was an O.G. birther.

But here he is answering.


QUESTION: Can you definitively say whether or not Kamala Harris is eligible or meets the legal requirements to run as vice president?

TRUMP: So, I just heard that. I heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements.

And, by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that's right.

QUESTION: She was born in this country, but her parents did not -- the claims say that her parents did not receive their permanent residence at that time.

TRUMP: Yes. I don't know about it. I just heard about it. I will take a look.


REID: I mean, aside the fact that I'm not sure why the media is entertaining this at all, but he was asked it.

What do you make of the fact that we're back in birtherism?

LYNCH: Yes, and we're back in birtherism because, once again, a highly qualified, outstanding black candidate has risen to the fore.

And this always generates a backlash, and, frankly, the same backlash that we have seen over the years, over whether or not black people are truly Americans, are truly citizens, and can truly participate in the democracy of this country.

We fought a war over it. We changed the Constitution over it. We had to pass the Voting Rights Act over it. And ever since then, there has been this growing backlash to continue to raise this idea that somehow, somehow, when black Americans, when African-Americans, when people of color of all backgrounds aspire to higher positions, somehow, they're not as American as everybody else.

And that's what we're seeing now with Senator Harris. We saw it so vividly with President Obama. And, unfortunately, it's come home to roost again.

REID: Can I ask you what you think of Bill Barr, who has the same job you had, but does it quite a bit differently? I mean, he seems to be more of a hand of the king than an attorney general.

But he's made a lot of very personal comments about Democrats, about liberals-, about saying that they want to destroy America. He's got some interesting religious beliefs. He thinks, I guess, there should be some sort of biblical rule.

What do you make of him?

LYNCH: Well, you know, I think that one of the things that you have to always keep in mind when you serve as the attorney general, on top of the Department of Justice, is that, first of all, you work for the department, you work for the people of the Department of Justice.

It's your job to get them what they need to provide justice and equality to everyone in this country. And one of the most important things that the department has in its arsenal is the trust of the American public.

People have to be able to look at the Department of Justice and feel and know that they will be treated fairly. It's so often the place of last resort for civil rights matters, for example, for policing matters, for example, and so many other challenging issues.

And so I think that everyone who sits in that chair should have as their first mantra maintaining the public's trust in the Department of Justice.

REID: Yes.

LYNCH: And using words that divide us is not helpful. It's just not helpful, because, again, we're looking at it.

As we look at this campaign coming up, we will see efforts to divide us, to cabin us off, to describe some of us as less than. And once you do that, once you describe someone as less than, then they don't deserve the same protections as other people. They don't deserve the same rights as other people.

REID: Yes.

LYNCH: And they don't deserve to vote like other people. And that's what the attorney general has to guard against.

REID: Let me ask you just about what Donald Trump's fears seem to be.

Once Donald Trump returns to civilian life, he will be subject to potential prosecution for anything that he might have done that is illegal. Let's say he's done money laundering, tax evasion, things like that, maybe helped in the payoffs of Stormy Daniels, that sort of thing.

Joe Biden has said that he would not stand in the way of such a prosecution, if that were on the table, that he wouldn't stop it.

And I want to let you listen to Rudy Giuliani, who, let's just remind everyone, ran off to Ukraine to try to find dirt on a fellow American citizen named Joe Biden, was one of those who said that Hillary Clinton should be locked up and sent to prison. We will put that in, in a little bit there.

But here he is talking about the Biden administration and what he would think of a prosecution of Trump.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, we would become a banana republic, Governor. And that's where we're headed.



REID: Your thoughts?

LYNCH: Similar to wondering why journalists continue to ask the president about the birtherism issue, not sure why we're giving oxygen to that particular opinion, because it's not helpful, it's not accurate.

Look, I think that former Vice President Biden had the right of it, which is, this will be evaluated after the election. The most important thing right now is to win the election, and then see what happens.

There are, of course, already cases under way that are considering the president's activities and behaviors of his businesses and certain associates. And so those are going to play out however they play out, again, likely after the election.

So, we will have to see what the landscape is then. But I think that, frankly, comments that this American justice system could descend to that level are just beyond the pale, frankly.

We are going to have a lot of work to do, frankly, to restore trust in the justice system, both at the federal and state level. There's going to be a great deal of work to do to make sure that the Department of Justice opens its doors to everyone equally, regardless of whom you know or how much money you have or where you live.

It's a lot of work to do to rebuild that. But we are nowhere near descending into the levels that Rudy Giuliani is thinking about.

REID: Yes.

LYNCH: And I gave it no shrift.

REID: Well, we're not yet. We haven't seen what happens in the election yet.

Loretta Lynch, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend.

And I'm joined now by Tiffany Cross.

LYNCH: Thank you.

REID: She's the author of "Say It Louder!" -- thank you -- "Black Voters, White Narratives and the Saving of Our Democracy."

I'm going to go back to where I started, Tiffany.

I want to let you listen to Joe Biden responding to the attacks on Kamala Harris. And here's what he said yesterday.


BIDEN: Donald Trump has already started his attacks, calling Kamala -- quote -- "nasty," whining about how she is -- quote -- "mean" to his appointees.


BIDEN: It's no surprise, because whining is what Donald Trump does best.

Is anyone surprised Donald Trump has a problem with a strong woman or strong women across the board?


REID: What do you make of the fact that the -- Trump and his friends have gone right back to the anger, she's angry, she's nasty? I mean, these are pretty typical tropes, then added birtherism to their attacks.

TIFFANY CROSS, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Yes, I mean, I think it depends on how you define nasty. Some people may define nasty as having unprotected sexual relationships with adult film stars and Playboy Playmates.

Other people describe it -- ambitious women that way. I think it's a bit beneath us to even address it, Joy, to be honest with you, to your point earlier that the media has given this so much attention, quite honestly.

Look, I'm bored.


CROSS: I'm just bored with it, because they clearly have no narrative. This is the only thing they can come up with to attack this woman who made history.

And so there's not a lot of credence there. There -- I mean, the scary thing really is that his base of cultlike followers will never break from this asinine storyline that he spoon-feeds them every time someone challenges him.

And so, if you're fact-averse, these things may resonate. But, for the sane-thinking people who are trying to preserve this democracy, I think it's just laughable and something we can dismiss.

And I just -- I want to say it's not lost on me that we were just talking to Loretta Lynch, a woman who herself made history, talking to Joy Reid, a woman who also made history.

So, in this moment, people are afraid of -- I said -- I made this point earlier. This is a revolution for some people, but, truly, Joy, it's an evolution, because you can either...

REID: Yes.

CROSS: ... agree or disagree with the revolution.

An evolution is here.

REID: Yes.

CROSS: And you either get on with it, or you become an anachronism, you become fossilized.

REID: Yes.

CROSS: And that's -- really, he is the last surviving member of the party of old white, racist, angry men. And this is why he throws out these insults all the time that really, at this point, they fall flat. I'm bored with it.

REID: Yes.

And I guess give a little -- your book has a lot about the way that the media kind of handles this and handles the moving, the changing diversity in the country.


REID: And, I mean, it strikes me that journalists, including journalists of color, are -- are going back and re-asking the same questions that were asked about Barack Obama, when anyone who's thinking logically knows that birtherism is stupid.

Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, the end. Black people were enslaved in the Caribbean. They were enslaved in America. You get here.

CROSS: Exactly.

REID: It doesn't make a difference. You're born in America, you're -- I mean, by their token, I'm not, I'm not African-American.

CROSS: Right.

REID: Both my parents are immigrants.

CROSS: Right. Right.

REID: What should the media do differently in looking at these stories?

CROSS: Well, first, let me say, racist white folks don't have time to dissect who was born here and who was not and whose parents are born here.


CROSS: When they see you, all they see is a black person that they don't like, simply because of the color of your skin.

But in terms of the media, I think a lot of the questions that are asked are insulting. I talked about this before, how the members of the press would ask, is there systemic racism in law enforcement?

We don't need to ask these questions that have been asked and answered. So, why give breath to...

REID: Yes. Right.

CROSS: ... what do you think about, is Kamala qualified to be here? It's insulting to our intelligence.

REID: Right.

CROSS: And what it does, Joy, honestly, it contributes to the dumbing down of the American electorate.

And I know that can sound elitist to some people, but it's, quite frankly, what happened. The reality TV culture dumbed down our country and allowed people to believe this foolish person to ascend to the highest office of the land. And we're all suffering for it.

REID: Yes.

CROSS: COVID-19 won't kill us, but stupidity will.

REID: Yes, amen to that.

Tiffany Cross, who will also, by the way, be hosting a little show called "A.M. JOY" this weekend. I believe I am invited, so I'm going to be a guest.

So, I will see you this weekend. Thank you, Tiffany.

CROSS: I'm so excited.


CROSS: You're my big get, so thank you for joining me.

REID: You are welcome.

And still ahead -- see you soon.

Still ahead: a roundup of some of the most, I just have to say, head-scratchingly bizarre stories making news today. You will not believe what I'm going to have to tell you.

Stay with us.


REID: The pandemic continues to worsen, and yet some people's priorities appear to be completely out of whack.

Here's the Florida -- there's the Florida sheriff literally ordering his deputies and visitors not to wear masks. Protect and serve much?

There's Herman Cain's Twitter account, which seemed to be churning out attacks on Democrats from beyond the grave, two weeks after his death from coronavirus. Mystery solved. His daughter is running it now.

And then there's Donald Trump. He's a man who has always had some truly bizarre obsessions.


TRUMP: The old lightbulb, which is better!

You turn on the faucet, you don't get any water. People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water.

They don't want me to use hair spray. They want me to use the pump. Bing. Bing. Bing.


TRUMP: And then it comes out in big globs, right, and you're stuck in your hair, and you say, oh, my God, I got to take a shower again.


REID: Wow.

Well, now Trump's administration is focusing on one of his other pet peeves.


TRUMP: Showerheads. You take a shower. The water doesn't come out.

So, what do you do? You just stand there longer, or you take a shower longer? Because my hair, I don't know about you, but it has to be perfect.


REID: The "Associated Press" reports that the administration wants to change the definition of a showerhead to let more water flow, addressing a pet peeve of the president who complains he isn't getting wet enough.

Yes, you heard it right, although I think we're all sorry that he did. I can't believe I have to say this, but the president should use his power for bigger things than water pressure, like doing something about the pandemic that's resulted in more than 5 million coronavirus cases, 167,000 Americans dead, and more than 56 million unemployment claims since the start of the pandemic.

Deal with that crisis, Mr. President, and then you can purchase all the Waterpiks that you like. Just don't count on the postal service to deliver them because, you know, you broke that.

We'll be right back.


REID: Because of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to ravage this country, millions of Americans are confined to their homes and barred from normal life. But if you believe what Donald Trump has been telling you, you'd think everything was hunky-dory. It's almost as if there are two worlds, Trump's world and the real world. In the real world just yesterday, the country reported the highest number of deaths in a single day since mid-May, 1,500.

Acknowledging that reality, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris held their first joint coronavirus briefing today.


BIDEN: We didn't have to be this day. If the president had acted just one week earlier, would have saved -- just one week earlier, would have saved 30,000-some lives two weeks earlier. I think it was 51,000 or 57,000 lives.

I hope we've learned a lesson. Let's institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESUMPTIVE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We just witnessed real leadership, which is Joe Biden said that as a nation, we should all be wearing a mask for the next three months because it will save lives.


REID: For more, I'm joined now by ex-Republican and former Republican Congressman David Jolly.

And, you know, David, I want to put up a chart for you that shows overall the amount of testing we're doing throughout the country. It's down by an average of 17 percent, while we're still averaging about 50,000 new cases a day. And if you look at all those squiggly lines there, Texas down 45 percent, Arizona down 36 percent, South Carolina, 17 percent, Nevada, 9 percent.

But look at Florida, 27 percent decline in the numbers of -- the amount of testing that's being done. As bad as things have been in Florida, would do -- what does that make you think is happening because it looks oddly suspicious when these pro-Trump governors are the states -- represent these states.

Do we have, David?

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Joy, are you coming to me?

REID: Yep, David, do we have you?

JOLLY: Yep. We do. Sorry about that.

No, look, what we have seen in the contrast thus far already in yesterday's event with Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Harris compared to Donald Trump is a leadership contrast. And all elections are based on a contrast.

At the end of the day, voters have to look at two candidates and say which one do I find more trustworthy. And in Biden and Harris, we see a steady, honest, responsible leadership compared to Donald Trump, who is erratic and lying.

And that is obvious. The pandemic is real, and as much as the statistics around the pandemic are damning for implications of how Trump has handled it, it also every day showcases Donald Trump's ineptitude to the voters. That is why I think you're seeing Donald Trump act increasingly erratic because he cannot function.

He does not have the leadership capabilities to function in the environment of a pandemic, so he tries to ignore it. And what we saw yesterday from Biden and Harris was leadership you can trust.

REID: Mm-hmm. But, David, he does lead some people. He leads these governors. The governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida do whatever he says, the governor of South Carolina, they are -- they are the people he leads. And they're testing less.

They're testing less at a time when we're averaging 50,000 cases a day. Does it make you suspicious when you also have Mr. DeSantis, Governor DeSantis giving an address and likening reopening schools to the Navy SEALs going in to get Osama bin Laden, making it sound like some sort of historic military operation, saying he's quoting someone else who did this.

Do you -- are you worried that the governors of these Republican states will test less in order to make the numbers look better for Trump?

JOLLY: I do, and I worry that governors of states like Florida and Texas are going to jeopardize the public health of the citizens who live within the state. Look, one of the reasons that people like myself have left the Republican Party is because the party chose to elevate people who operate politically with a functional level of ignorance. They ignore science, and they jeopardize the health of people simply for their own political benefit.

Donald Trump cannot win this election if it comes down to how the pandemic was handled, so they have to ignore the reality and create a separate reality. Donald Trump is a populist, and populism can be a very dangerous tool in the midst of a national crisis.

He tries to distract people by talking about opening schools and letting kids play football when he knows that at the end of the day, what it will do is jeopardize people's health. We're seeing that from governors like DeSantis as well.

REID: Yeah. You have perfectly set up the next segment. David jolly, thank you very much. Sorry about the technical problems. Glad we got you on.

And up next -- cheers -- up next on THE REIDOUT, college football, as David just said, is big business. But should players who do not get paid risk their lives in a pandemic for the entertainment and profit of others? We'll discuss.


REID: The college football season is in jeopardy after the Big Ten and PAC-12 conferences announced this week they would postpone the fall season until next year. Other major conferences, including the SEC and ACC say they're still planning to play. But the problem is those conferences have a lot of schools in states currently struggling with the coronavirus like Florida, Texas and Georgia.

If you ask Donald Trump, he says the season should go forward because the players are tough enough to handle the virus.


TRUMP: You know, these football players are very young, strong people, and physically. I mean they're physically in extraordinary shape. So they're not going to have a problem.

You're not going to see people -- you know, could there be? Could it happen? But I doubt it. You're not going to see people dying. So, I think -- I think football is making a tragic mistake.


REID: Joining me now is Jemele Hill, contributing writer at "The Atlantic" and host of "Jemele Hill is Unbothered" podcast, and William C. Rhoden, columnist at ESPN's "The Undefeated" and author of "Forty Million Dollar Slaves."

And, Bill, I have to go to you on this first. it sounds like Donald Trump was talking about gladiators. It didn't sound like he was talking about people who, you know, he gave a damn whether they live or die. What do you make of this attitude that, you know, Ben Sasse also shares, that put them back on the field so they can entertain us?


But once you -- once you hear this guy weigh in on something, you got to go the other direction. Once he says go play, you know it's been totally co-opted and corrupted. I mean, it's terrible. And it's also terrible that the commissioners of the SEC, the ACC, the Big 12, all these guys are going along with this nonsense. You're basically turning those young people into martyrs and it is strictly, Joy, political.

This is now about competition. This is not about anything other than money. It's terrible. It really is awful.

REID: Well, and just staying with you for just a moment, you wrote the book "Forty Million Dollar" slaves. If you look at a map, this is a 2013 map, it hasn't changed much apparently, if you look at the state's highest paid public employee going across the country, in 27 states, the football coach at whatever the biggest football college is in the state are the highest paid state employee in the whole state. In 13 states, the basketball coaches are the top paid.

So, it's also about a lot of money.

RHODEN: Oh, yeah. It's all about money. He's got these guys, Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban, all those guys probably support, you know, POTUS 45. That's what makes it even worse.

And you've got these young people who are not being picked but they're asked to come and play for free so that they could support the softball team, the lacrosse team, so they could attract donations. It really is corrupt.

But the last thing I will say about this. If they really want these kids to play like that, they should be made to take out a $10 million term life insurance policy on each player. If they really want them to come back and play, then you pay for it. You know, they're probably not going to do that because this is a plantation.

REID: Yeah. Well, they are -- they are the cattle, right? And that is at the end of the day.

Jemele Hill, you know, you are talking about these athletic departments that are raking in millions and millions of dollars. These players get used in video games. They don't get compensated for it.

I'm looking at $4.1 billion in allocation to the athletics department just the 50 plus public schools in the power five conferences. This is a huge industry. And the only unpaid part of it are the players, these college players.

JEMELE HILL, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": First of all, a shout-out to you, Joy. Thank you for having me on. This is my first time on THE REIDOUT, so I'm super excited about this.

REID: Thank you.

HILL: But, no, I mean, Bill talked about this and he's absolutely right, is that this is all about money. The bottom line is this, the way higher education is now, particularly at these schools that are represented in these power five conferences and NCAA football, they have become very dependent on the money that college football rakes in.

It's not just the athletic departments. It's not just the president of the university. It's the towns, it's the businesses. They have built an entire economy off of free labor and they are motivated by that.

And then you put that in conjunction with the fact that they're in states, as you said yourself a moment ago, they're in states that are struggling with this pandemic. You know, it's really interesting because a lot of states have talked about their desire to play.

Of course you expect young people to feel that way. When we're all young, you don't always know what's at stake and we don't always see consequences before they happen.

The thing about this that makes it so unethical, it just really disrespectful and a whole lot of other adjectives that don't come to mind without me using a cuss word on air, the thing that really gets me about this is that when the athletes start talking about how much they want to play, suddenly people in leadership positions want to hear their positions. Suddenly, they are sitting there amplifying their voice. But when they talk about getting compensated, when they talk about getting paid, then they don't want to hear anything. Then it is just shut and play.

So it is just amazing how, to use a sports analogy, people are moving the goal posts to suit their political agenda.

REID: Well, I mean, you think about, let's stay with you for a moment, Jemele. I mean, you've got somebody like, you know, LeBron James who is a very well-paid professional athlete. You know, he and other athletes are getting together to make, you know, voting booths out of huge stadiums and they're able to do good with what they're doing so the risks they take to play at least have some sort of compensation that allows them to, you know, sow back into the community.

But these college players, I mean, can they keep their scholarships if they don't play? Because I feel like there is a lot of pressure for them to want to play, because they want to keep their scholarships.

HILL: So they can keep their scholarships. Anybody can opt out. But this comes with a huge asterisk that Bill and I who are covering sports as long as we have, we know what it is. It's like when they have voluntary workouts, yeah, they're voluntary in name only, but all these guys know the moment they opt out, they're just going to have somebody else waiting to take over their position. They may never get it back.

And most of these schools have still one-year renewable scholarships, not four-year scholarships, OK?

REID: Wow.

HILL: That means either way their jobs are on the line from season to season. So this is just kind of a cute way of making it seem like the players have a choice when we know they really don't have one.

REID: That they don't.

And, Bill, is there any chance these players can ever, you know, unionize? Is there some way they can protect themselves?

RHODEN: You know, Joy, that's a great point. And this is the one point where they really should be represented. But there is no representation. And the problem you've got is that there is sort of a rotation. You know, you're there for one year, two years.

REID: Yeah.

RHODEN: But the most cynical thing about this, joy, is that you have got all these young, black players in an industry that's overwhelmingly white. The coaching staffs are white.

REID: That's right.

RHODEN: The athletics -- I mean, so --

REID: That's right.

RHODEN: That's why I say it's a plantation. They're going to do all this heavy-lifting so they can support the softball team, you know?

REID: Absolutely.

Jemele Hill, William C. Rhoden, thank you guys very much. Really appreciate y'all.

And that is tonight's REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

Thank you.


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