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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 14, 2020

Guests: Sharice Davids, Sherrilyn Ifill, David Corn, Beto O`Rourke, Mazie Hirono, Errin Haines


Trump ramps up assault on vote-by-mail while voting by mail. Trump says, people will have to vote in person like the old days. USPS to remove 671 high-speed mail processing machines. Trump's handpicked postmaster general under fire. USPS inspector general investigating DeJoy's changes. The polls are tightening up in Texas and Donald Trump is bizarrely claiming that state of New York is now in play.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely. I'll see you soon. Thank you for having me too.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for saying that. We'll see you on Broadway.

That does it for THE BEAT tonight. We'll be back Monday 6:00 P.M. Eastern, so I'll see on Monday, I hope. But don't go anywhere. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Donald Trump's hypocrisy knows no bounds as he continues all-out assault on America's tradition of free and fair elections, actively working to undermine the United States Postal Service to try and cling to office. Look no further than his latest sleight of hand on the day he confessed that he's holding up funding to the postal service because he doesn't want millions of ballots to be counted on time.

News broke that he and his wife, Melania, requested absentee ballots to cast their vote by mail in Florida, even though he is perfectly capable of flying down to Florida, dropping off his golf clubs at Mar-a-Lago and going to polling place, just like he did in New York City in 2016. The Palm Beach Post was first to report that Florida's most famous mail-in voter was at it again since he also voted by mail in the presidential primary in March.

Curious, considering that yesterday, he told the regular folks in this country who apparently he views as the little, unimportant in America, well, that all of you should think long and hard about having a fair election and then suck it up and go risk your lives standing in line during a pandemic.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What would mean is that people will have to go to the polls and vote, like the old days.

I'm not saying anything wrong with voting, I want them to vote, but that would mean that they'd have to go to a voting booth, like they used to and vote.

REPORTER: Even if they don't feel safe voting in person? People want to vote by mail because --

TRUMP: Well, they're going to have to feel safe and they will be safe and we will make sure that they're safe.


REID: Trump's duplicity wasn't lost on his opponent, Joe Biden, who tweeted, voting by mail is safe and secure, and don't take my word for it, take it from the president who just requested his mail-in ballot for the Florida primary on Tuesday.

While Trump is getting his ballot, he is doing everything in his power to prevent everyone else from being able to do the same. NBC News has obtained internal postal service documents detailing plans to remove 671 high-volume mail processing machines from postal facilities across the country. A USPS spokesperson told NBA in a statement, completely without irony, that these are part of, quote, normal business adjustments.

The cutbacks of the postal service come at the leadership of Trump's handpicked postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who also happen to have been a major Trump campaign donor and an investor in a postal service contractor. In his new job, DeJoy has been hard at work crippling the agency he's supposed to be leading.

NBC News also obtained an internal memo DeJoy sent to staff just yesterday noting recent cutbacks and restructuring has led to, quote, unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels. Unintended is doing a lot of work in that sentence.

Meanwhile, as "The Washington Post" reports, the postal service has warned 46 states, 46, that their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots. And NBC News has obtained letters some of those states have been receiving, warning that mail-in ballots might not be delivered in time to be counted.

Two sources confirmed to NBC that DeJoy met with Trump in the Oval Office last week. And today, NBC News confirmed that the postal service inspector general is investigating recent policy changes under DeJoy.

I'm now Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids, who serves on the House Small Business Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and she has called for the firing of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

And, Congresswoman, I think a lot of people probably agree with you, but can that even be done? Who is in charge of whether or not the man can be fired? Is it just the president? Is there a board? Walk us through it would work?

REP. SHARICE DAVIDS (D-KS): Well, first of all, thank you for having me here tonight, Joy, and talking about this. This is so important. The postal office serves such an important function in our country. Look, end of the day, of course, the president can fire the postmaster general at his pleasure, and he absolutely needs to do that.

One of the things I think we need to see is, I want to see my Republican colleagues come to the table. I know so many of my Republican colleagues have expressed support for the postal service. What I need them to do right now is take action and convince this president to fire the postmaster general and bring on somebody who is not going to be playing political games with our democracy and the health and well-being of so many of our seniors who are depending on the post office for their prescription drugs.

REID: Well, I mean -- and this is an important point. Because I've said this before on the show, Donald Trump acts as if the only thing the post office does is deliver ballots because he's laser-focused on clinging to power and clinging to the presidency. So he's acting as if that's all they do, so that's the thing that will hurt him. There's also the delivery of prescription drugs, the delivery of paychecks, the delivery of social security checks. Can you just tell us in your district how has slowdown in the postal services' operations, how has that affected your constituents?

DAVIDS: Well, I can tell you that our phones have been bringing, we've been getting tons of folks reaching out to our office. First of all, folks are outraged. They're outraged about the interference that this president is attempting to clearly -- attempting to hijack an election by slowing down the postal service and we've got a postmaster general who needs to be removed so that he is no longer hindering the services that the post office is providing.

And I would say the seniors, you mentioned it earlier, the seniors, 80 percent of veterans get their medications delivered by the post office. These are folks who absolutely depend on this service. So there's fear, there's worry and there's outrage. And I'm right alongside folks with the outrage.

And I just -- I have to say this. My mom served in the Army for 20 years and has now been at the post office for nearly 20 years. And when I asked her earlier today how she felt about what was going on, she said that to have a postmaster general doing things, like removing machinery and trying to slow down the service, that all he's doing is stopping people from -- they want to do their jobs. They want to get people the medications they need, and help the small businesses out there that are trying to keep our economy afloat. And it's unconscionable.

REID: Before I let you go, have you heard from Pat Roberts or Jay Moran, the two senators from your state? Are they supporting your effort to remove Mr. DeJoy?

DAVIDS: I have not. But I hope that they will join me and I hope the other senators from the Midwest here will join me in calling for the postmaster general to be immediately removed and replaced with -- replace him with new leadership that certainly we can have a postmaster general that is able to provide the essential functions and services of the post office without the political gamesmanship.

It's so disheartening to see -- if the president had spent as much time focused on the coronavirus as he has focused on stopping people from voting by mail, we would have seen a lot more lives saved.

REID: Yes, indeed. Congresswoman Sharice Davids, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your time tonight.

DAVIDS: Thank you, Joy.

REID: And meanwhile -- cheers, thank you. Meanwhile, President Obama expands it on his criticism of Donald Trump's war on mail-in voting in a podcast interview.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, what we've seen in a way that is unique to modern political history is a president who is explicitly trying to discourage people from voting, right? I think the Republicans' view has been it's all fair game as long as it helps us gain power.

What we've never seen before is a president say, I'm going to try to actively kneecap the postal service to encourage voting and I will be explicit about the reason I'm doing it. That's sort of unheard of, right?


REID: Joining me now is Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director, Council of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. And, Sherrilyn, thank you for being here.

I get more texts on this, other than the new vice-presidential nominee, this is the next second highest level of text messages I get. And the question people consistently ask is what can the public do about it? Are we just having to helplessly watch this Louis DeJoy person destroy the postal service?

Congress has said -- we've had members of the Congress on, they said they're going to have hearings. I'm not sure what that accomplishes. You heard Congresswoman Sharice Davids said he needs to be fired, but that's up to Trump. And then there's also a board of directors, he controls that. What can the public do about this?

SHERRILYN IFILL, PRESIDENT, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: First of all, Joy, thank you so much for having me. This is the first time I've been on your new show, so congratulations to you, and your voice is so important in this period.

REID: Thank you.

IFILL: We are facing something that is really, in many ways, hard for people to wrap their minds around.

I will say that many of us have been sounding the alarm on this for some time. Congress passed the HEROES Act -- the House passed the HEROES Act in May on trying to get the funds that post office needs to be able to properly handle this business because we recognize the need for absentee voting. Organizations, like LDF, have been litigating in states throughout the south and there's been litigation throughout the country to try to relax some of the onerous restrictions on absentee voting

So, we saw that there was trouble coming down the pike. And now, we're at this moment. And I think you're asking the important question, which is what can we do. All the things that you described are all things that are important. I actually think hearings are important because they provide us with information. We need sworn testimony. We need to find out precisely what is going on and we need to get that information from those hearings. I'm not sure that hearings that are delayed are best. I think we need those hearings to happen right away.

I think it's important for people to remember that this can only happen because Congress allows it to happen. It's Congress that funds the post office. And Congress -- the Senate has just gone ghost on us, led by Mitch McConnell. The Republicans have not spoken out about this. This is an issue that goes to the core of American democracy. We have the right to continue to pressure those representatives. I know they've left Washington, D.C., but they are supposed to be at their district offices in states around the country. Where are we? Are we making this uncomfortable for them is the question that I would ask?

Of course, there will be litigation from a variety of fronts, I have no doubt. But at this point, I think, Joy, it's important for us to decide that we are going to vote in this election no matter what. And what that means is that, tonight, tomorrow, every person who can go online and order their absentee ballot needs to do so now. They need to order the ballots so the ballot can arrive in time and they can get it back to the Board of Elections on time.

I encourage people to think about taking their ballot personally to drop it off at the Board of Elections rather than drop it in the mail if they're not able to fill out their ballot and return it quickly. You can drop it off. There are some states that have drop boxes. Use those drop boxes.

And then for those who are planning to vote in-person, we're suggesting and really encouraging people to prepare to vote. That means you need to know exactly when early voting starts in your jurisdiction, and you need to try to early vote. We need as many people to do that as possible. This is very important for the African American community, early voting.

And if you plan to vote on November 3rd, on Election Day, make sure that you have PPE, that you have a mask and that you have gloves. I know that there are black churches around the country that have pledged that they will provide PPE on Election Day, and then all of us need to be ready and fasten our seat belts because we may not know the outcome of the election that night. We need time to count absentee ballots.

But we need to -- all of the pressure points, the pressure on the Congress, the pressure on the president, the pressure on the Senate to tell them to pressure the president. And we need to make sure that we have resolved within our communities that we are going to vote and we are not going to allow what is either the most nefarious, diabolical voter suppression scheme I have ever seen, or the utter incompetence of a public official at the post office.

Either one of those two scenarios suggest that his man should be removed from office but we have to make sure we're working on multiple fronts even as we continue to just try to save our post office and pressure our post office, make sure we ready to have our votes count.

REID: That is the word. I've said many times that this Republican Party is morphing into something that looks like more like these South African nationalist party than an American political party. There's a great South African song that starts, the higher you build your barriers, the taller I become. That's what we need to do and that's what you just advice us to do. Sherrilyn Ifill, thank you so much. It's always a pleasure to speak with you.

IFILL: I enjoy it.

REID: Thank you so much.

And I want to bring in David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief from Mother Jones.

And, David, you've had Mitch McConnell, who, in 2016, basically threatened the White House, the Obama White House, to say, if you try to stop Russia from helping Donald Trump, I'll throw you under the bus. Now, he is standing back, let Congress and the Senate go home, there's been not one Senate hearing on this, on the destruction of the post office, and it seems to be prepared to let the post office die so that Donald Trump can hold on to power. Am I overreading that?

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "MOTHER JONES": I don't think so. I think that's true with all of the Republicans or most of the Republicans, certainly the Republican leadership. And what they're saying to their voters back home in Kentucky for Mitch McConnell, we don't care about your social security checks, your paychecks, your prescription drugs that you count on from the mail. We don't care about the jobs. A lot of people rise up the economic ladder while working at the post office, postal service. He's stepping back.

We have multiple crises right now. We have the public health crisis, we have an economic crisis and we have a democracy crisis, and the other, social/racial justice crisis, right? And they all are interconnected. And Donald Trump knows that he wants to delegitimize the election because it looks bad for him at the moment. And if there's anything he can do to actually rig the election in his favor, he's going to do that.

And, you know, to Sherrilyn's point, I don't know why the Democrats -- I know they work hard, I know it's recess and they're going back home, but, really, they should be having a crisis hearing every day, whether it's on COVID, what's happening economically, police brutality, and now with the post office. I mean, you just can't -- in some ways, I don't think our system is built for multiple crises happening and 20 different news cycles on a given day. It's just very hard to handle and process it all.

REID: No, absolutely. And the Republicans seem to be coming at the attempt to ensure Donald Trump's reelection at all costs. You've got -- I mean, Lincoln Project is out not just going after Mitch McConnell. They've got an ad -- they've got a tweet that would go after each and every one of these vulnerable Republicans.

And that what it feels like Democrats maybe should be doing is focusing on each of one these Republicans that are seeking reelection, on the fact that they're doing nothing to stop the post office, which also delivers people's social security checks, people's prescription drugs are late, and Republicans do not care, the destruction that is caused to ordinary people, to senior citizens, to their own constituents, as long as Trump clings to power, it doesn't seem like they care.

The Washington Post here has written -- well, let me read you this real quick and I'm going to let you respond to that. I apologize. I'll let you respond to that.

The Republican National Committee and conservative groups are pursuing an unprecedented effort to limit expansion of mail balloting for the November election, spending tens of millions of dollars on lawsuits and advertising, aimed at restricting who receives ballots and who remains on the voter rolls. How are they not getting sued? That's my question.

CORN: Well, let me say, surprisingly, I agree with you. And when you talk about what Mitch McConnell did in 2016 and saying he wouldn't say anything about Russian intervention, the Republicans have said they don't care about the fundamentals of our democracy. Even in the last few weeks, evidence has come out or indications from Trump's own intelligence community that Russia is intervening right now as we speak. Instead, the Republicans say, what about China, what about Iran. The intelligence reporting that we can see tells us it's not as great a threat as what Russia is doing.

So they are not responding to that. They are, indeed, standing aside while the postal service, without explanation, removing equipment necessary to process high-volume of mail. Maybe there's a reason for it but it's certainly not being offered and presented to the public. So, again and again and again, just destroying and letting these attacks on our democratic infrastructure happen.

REID: Well, if you can't win through democracy, destroy democracy.

I have to show you this. Speaking of Russia, Ron Johnson, who has been characterized as many perhaps one of Russia's playthings in the United States Senate. Here he is talking about what he thinks his probe of the Obama administration will do for Republicans, will do for Donald Trump. And then I'm going to play you right afterwards Kevin McCarthy in 2015. And tell me if you see any similarities in these two sound bites.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): The more that we expose of the corruption of the transition process between Obama and Trump, the more we expose the corruption within those agencies that I would think would certainly help Donald Trump win re-election and certainly be pretty good, I would say, evidence about not voting for Vice President Biden.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.


REID: David, it's like deja vu all over again.

CORN: It's funny you say the quiet part aloud. Kevin McCarthy though got a lot of trouble. He got some criticism back in those days, in the before times, for actually saying what we all knew was true, they were weaponizing congressional investigations for partisan purposes. Ron Johnson says that now, it's barely a blip. And he's saying these investigations are more important than looking at what Russia is doing at this very moment to undermine the election in order to help Donald Trump.

At some point -- well, actually, I take that back. I would say, at some point, Republicans might have to say something, no they don't. We've learned our lessons, they don't care about Russian intervention, they don't care about pulling the rug out from democratic norms, it's become a cult of personality, power for power's sake. And what really matters now is whether there are enough Americans who are going to say no to that.

REID: Absolutely, and will stand up to it and demand that we hold on to our democracy, because it is ours. It doesn't belong to one political party because they are just desperate to keep power forever.

David Corn, this is a pretty stunning, stunning world that we're living in right now.

Thank you so much for being here.


REID: And up next on THE REIDOUT -- cheers -- Trump is back into megalomaniacal hyperbole mode, tweeting: "I have done more for women than just about anyone."


Well, a poll, a new poll, shows that they're just not that into you, man.

Plus: The Trumpists try to make a funny, comparing Kamala Harris' voice to Marge Simpson's. Well, now Marge is fighting back.


JULIE KAVNER, ACTRESS: As an ordinary suburban housewife, I'm starting to feel a little disrespected.


REID: Kamala Harris is also speaking out in a brand-new interview. We have the highlights and the interviewer next.

And Donald Trump says that he can win New York this year, a state that he lost by 22 points last time.

No, Donald, you can't go home again.

Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.



SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): I'm the only black woman in the United States Senate, the only one, and only the second in the history of the United States Senate.

And so, when we look, again, at how far we have to go, we have a lot of work to do.

And by Joe asking me to be his running mate, he has pushed forward something that might have otherwise taken decades.


REID: In her first interview as a vice presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris today credited Joe Biden for breaking down barriers of gender and race by asking her to join his ticket.

And that choice is already paying off, quite literally. After announcing Harris, the Biden campaign raised $48 million in just 48 hours. That's a million dollars an hour.

During that interview with Errin Haines of the nonprofit news outlet The 19th, Harris said women would be a priority of the Biden/Harris administration.

And she spoke passionately about Republican efforts to suppress the vote this fall.


HARRIS: Why are they creating obstacles to us voting?

Well, the answer is because, when we vote, things change. And so we know how to jump over or get around the obstacles that for many of us have been in place since the day we were born.

And that's going to be the job ahead of us in the next 80-something days, to jump over those obstacles and to make sure our voices are heard and counted in this election.


REID: This comes as Donald Trump spent the week attacking women and patronizing suburban housewives.

The contrast could not be more clear.

We will be joined next by the journalist who conducted that interview with Harris today, Errin Haines of The 19th.

Stay with us.


REID: Joe Biden's choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate comes during a week that Donald Trump has issued a series of demeaning and personal attacks on a number of high-profile women.

He's tried to label Harris as nasty, mean and a madwoman. He said that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez yaps, and then questioned her intelligence.

He even went after MSNBC's own Mika Brzezinski in an attack that did not go unanswered.

So, it's no surprise that 71 percent of women in the suburbs in small cities have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump. That group is crucial to his reelection, and just 25 percent view him favorably.

Joining me now is Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Errin Haines, editor at large of The 19th and a newly minted MSNBC contributor, who spoke with Senator Harris today in her first interview since she was announced as Biden's running mate.

So, congratulations, and welcome to the family, Errin.

I'm going to come to you in just one moment, though.

I'm going to go to the senator first. We're going to go senators first.


REID: What do you make of the ways in which the -- of the contrast between the ways in which Donald Trump is talking about women just this week and about suburban housewives, and what Joe Biden was able to do with this pick of Senator Harris?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): The president continues to show all of us what a misogynist he is, from the very beginning. And he continues to attack strong women, because he can't handle strong women.

And he's called me nasty. He's called me vicious. So that's what he does.

REID: Yes.

HIRONO: Contrast to Joe Biden, and his pick up Kamala Harris is not just historic, but really an acknowledgment of the leadership qualities that she brings to the table, her intelligence, her skills, everything, and a person who will be a team -- who can be a strong team with him in supporting families and women and the working people with -- and build a contrast to what Donald Trump is doing.

REID: Yes.

Let me play -- Errin, to come to you, let me play a little bit of the interview you did today. And congratulations on landing that first interview with Senator Harris.


REID: That's a big deal for yourself and The 19th. Here's a clip.


HARRIS: Joe Biden had the audacity to choose a black woman to be his running mate. How incredible is that?

And what a statement about Joe Biden, that he decided that he was going to do that thing that was about breaking one of the most substantial barriers that has existed in our country, and that he made that decision, with whatever risks that brings.

I think, as much as anything, it's a statement about the character of the man that we're going to elect as the next president of the United States.


REID: OK, Errin, I heard that word audacity, and I thought Obama. It was a very Obama-esque choice of phrase.


REID: But tell me what your big takeaway was today in speaking with Senator Harris.

HAINES: Well, frankly, I was surprised at just how direct and forceful she was.

I mean, she was somebody that Joe Biden, in introducing her, said was a fighter who was ready to take on the Trump/Pence ticket headed into this general election, just about 80 days left here until November.

And I think that we saw a lot of that on display today, and that mix of qualifications and lived experience that really helped him decide that she was the person of the qualified, capable, and talented people who were on that short list that he should pick.

But it's interesting. You mentioned that polling about suburban women, and how 71 percent of them are not supporting this president. You see the president recognizing this is an issue for him if he wants to win reelection, tweeting about how he's done more for women than any other president in history, and talking about getting a statue for women around the Suffrage Centennial.

Senator Harris today talked about historic candidacy in terms of the Suffrage Centennial and the unfinished work that we have yet to do as an electorate and how that could possibly be a galvanizing thing headed into November.

REID: Right.

And to stay with you for just a moment, Errin, I mean, it was a very pointed and, I think, important choice of where you go with the candidate first.


REID: And somebody's dog is in play.


REID: And to go to The 19th, which is, of course, named after the 19th Amendment, with the 100th anniversary this year, there was a significance to that.

Did Senator Harris talk to you about what the role of women more broadly will be in the administration and what the focuses will be?

HAINES: Well, she talked about how she would govern on behalf of the country's women, something that I asked her about in our interview.

And she said that she plans -- that that will inform everything. She talked about how all issues are women's issue. She talked about some of the work that she's been doing, as the lone black woman currently in the U.S. senate, to address the disproportionate effect that this pandemic has had on women in these past few months, as caregivers, as essential workers, as domestic workers.

And so she framed the Biden/Harris agenda as one that would certainly address the concerns of the majority of the electorate, the U.S. work force, and the U.S. population, namely, women.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

And, meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Senator Hirono, you have got the president now saying that he's going to give his -- the contrast is going to be huge, I think, at these conventions. I think it's needless to say, right?

But Donald Trump has decided that what he wants to do his stage is acceptance of his nomination on the White House lawn, which only he could legally do. Any other government employee legally cannot participate in that.

HIRONO: That's right.

REID: But, as a United States senator, what do you make of that?

HIRONO: It's par for the course with President Trump, because he really thinks that the rule of law does not apply to him, and he can do whatever he wants.

So, he doesn't care about the Hatch Act. He doesn't care about any of those things. He only cares about himself.

And, before I go further, Errin, congratulations. I really enjoyed your interview with Kamala.

REID: Thank you.


HAINES: Thank you, Senator.

HIRONO: I also want to mention that this election, it's not just historic because she's -- you're terrific.

But Kamala is black, very important, but she is also Asian. And the AAPI community is the fastest growing ethnic community in our country. They are a very important base for the Democrats, because we're on the page in terms of immigration issues.

In fact, Kamala was the first presidential candidate, a Democrat, to have a platform, a program on immigration. So, she comes with so much to the table. And, truly, when you look at the Biden/Harris ticket, you see the diversity there, which you do not see on the other side.

REID: Yes.

HIRONO: The contrast is great.

REID: It's an intersectional choice that Joe Biden made, because Kamala Harris, she touches so many aspects of the American multicultural universe here.

This is a bit of a fun one for you guys.

Jenna Ellis, who is a campaign adviser to Donald Trump, made fun of the way that Kamala Harris speaks. I don't know if this came up with you when you spoke with her today, Errin.

But the people who make "The Simpsons" decided to respond. I want to play that for you guys.


KAVNER: I usually don't get into politics, but the president's senior adviser, Jenna Ellis, just said, Kamala Harris sounds like me.

Lisa says, she doesn't mean it as a compliment.

If that's so, as an ordinary suburban housewife, I'm starting to feel a little disrespected. I teach my children not to name-call, Jenna.

I was going to say, I'm pissed off, but I'm afraid they would bleep it.


REID: It is fun, right, Errin?

But on a serious note, it does show you which of the two parties has the culture, right? I mean, I am curious as to what you expect to see next week at that convention, because the Democrats can get "The Simpsons" to weigh in on their side and defend the vice presidential nominee.

I'm not sure what Republicans are going to be able to pull out. I mean, they can't have Kanye West at their convention. He's supposedly running as a third-party candidate. So, what are you expecting to see out of these two conventions, particularly when it comes to the culture and when it comes to the way women will be portrayed?


HAINES: Well, Joy, it would be -- I would be remiss not to mention that -- I'm sorry -- I just jumped in there, because you said women, and I was so excited, because we're coming up on the centennial -- centennial of women's suffrage, which will be happening in the midst of the Democratic National Convention next week.

REID: Yes.

HAINES: And so I think that you will see the role of women in our politics on full display.

But, unfortunately, we didn't have time to get to Marge Simpson today in the interview, Joy. I'm sorry.


HAINES: I hoped that we could have gotten to that, but we didn't quite make it to Marge Simpson and her reacting to Marge Simpson.

But, to your point, I mean, I do think that both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been pretty disciplined in terms of sticking to message in terms of their agenda, what they plan to do for the American people, and really trying to contrast themselves as much as possible to the Trump-Pence ticket, whereas you have seen the president and even Vice President Pence kind of making it more personal, referencing things that are not necessarily about qualifications, but criteria that feels like more of a distraction than a focus on the issues.

REID: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

HIRONO: Joy, I would like to...

REID: Well, Errin, congratulations on that interview.

Very quickly. Yes, I'm sorry, Senator.

HAINES: Thank you.

HIRONO: I would like to say, Joy, I think what we're going to see from the Republican side is a description of an alternative reality, a reality that says the pandemic is under control, that our economy is going to be great, our schools are going to be reopening, all of that, and tons of lies.

That's what we're going to see on the Republican side.

REID: Yes.

HIRONO: And from the Democratic side, we're going to see two people who are totally committed to addressing the needs of our country.


REID: We shall see. We will all be tuning in.

Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you so much.

HIRONO: Thank you.

REID: Errin is going to be back a little bit later for "Who Won The Week?"

But -- cheers -- but, first, Beto O'Rourke joins me next to talk about polls tightening up in Texas and Trump's seemingly bizarre claim that the state of New York is now in play.

THE REIDOUT is back after this.


REID: Donald Trump, now officially a Florida resident, still thinks they just love him back home in New York.

How else can you explain his latest remark to "The New York Post" that he thinks he can win that state in November?

Quote: "We did well last time, but to get over 50 percent is hard for a Republican, but we're putting New York in play."

He seems to forget that, in 2016, it wasn't even close. Hillary Clinton carried the state by 22 points. And instead of focusing on states that he can't win, maybe Trump should be more concerned about states he won in 2016 where polls show Joe Biden ahead, like Arizona, Florida and Michigan?

Joining me now is former Congressman Beto O'Rourke. And he thinks that Biden could win in his home state of Texas.

I am fascinated to hear your analysis of this. You came very close to winning statewide in that state.

I'm going to put the numbers up for you, Donald Trump 52, Hillary Clinton 43, but, right now, Donald Trump 46, Joe Biden 44.

Can Biden get that extra 2 percent? And how would he do it?

FMR. REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX): Joy, I think this is his to lose.

You saw in 2018 we got within two-and-a-half points of Ted Cruz. That was in a midterm election that typically favors Republican turnout, disfavors Democratic turnout. Now we're in a presidential election cycle, which typically boosts Democratic voter turnout.

And you have this historic mismanagement of the response to COVID that's killed more than 165,000 of our fellow Americans, 9,600 of my fellow Texans. And it's not just Democrats and independents. Increasingly, it is disaffected Republicans.

When you add to that the net new voters that we're adding to the rolls by the hundreds of thousands, people who have moved to Texas or are coming of age in Texas, and, in this, Joy, we have a chance to take the state House for the first time in 20 years, and end decades of racial gerrymandering, voter suppression in Texas.

Those state House candidates, like Alisa Simmons, the president of the NAACP chapter in Arlington, who is running for state office right now, they're expanding the electorate, and bringing energy, excitement into our elections right now.

That's how Joe Biden's going to win, not coattails coming down, but energy pushing up from down-ballot. I'm very excited about what's happening in Texas.

REID: Now, one of the things that's happening Texas, as you mentioned, that numbers of cases are just staggering, 534,345 cases. Obviously, it's a big-population state, 9,836 deaths to date, a lot of those deaths disproportionately black folks and brown folks.

Yet the state is testing less. The amount of testing is down by more than 40 percent, while the positivity rate jumped up 24 percent.

Is it your sense that the governor of Texas thinks, if they just don't test, and they falsely deflate the numbers, that somehow Texas voters won't notice it and they will vote for Trump? I don't understand what the strategy is.

O'ROURKE: We have got to listen to what they say, Joy.

So, the lieutenant governor, who is arguably the most powerful elected figure in the state of Texas, Dan Patrick, said on FOX News not too long ago, there are more important things than living.

And it begs the question, who is it that he wants to do the dying? It is those front-line workers, in some cases making our minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. And, disproportionately, it is Latinos who are bearing the brunt of this.

In 90 to 95 percent Mexican American Rio Grande Valley, they have run out of space in the morgues, in the funeral homes. They are stacking bodies in refrigerated trucks. In my hometown of El Paso, where I am right now, 85 percent Mexican American community, we saw our single-day record for deaths yesterday in this community.

So, this is not affecting all Americans, all Texans equally.

REID: Yes.

O'ROURKE: And I think it is comfortable enough for the governor, the lieutenant governor to allow Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans to do the dying, so that they can keep this economy open.

The answer is to have a stay-at-home order until we get that positivity rate, which you said was at 25 percent, down to where New York is, under 1 percent, then open schools, then open businesses, then get us back to our lives.

REID: Yes.

O'ROURKE: But, until then, let's save those lives.

REID: Well, I mean, and that sort of begs the question, right?

Are they -- is this disease decimating the very populations who would need to be able to uplift themselves at the voting booth, right, and be able to mail-in-ballot and be able to vote? These communities are so devastated. I wonder what the motivation is.

I want to show you one -- just one of the many food lines. Food insecurity in Texas has doubled during this pandemic from 13 percent to 27 percent. And the food lines are just epically long. You have talked about this before.

If people are hungry and terrified, and family members are dying, are people going to be able to motivate themselves to vote?

O'ROURKE: The answer is yes, but it will take transcending some pretty significant obstacles.

I mentioned the racial gerrymandering that has produced a state that ranks 50th in voter turnout, because we have drawn black and brown voters literally out of the franchise. You have the most onerous voter I.D. laws in the country.

In the last eight years, 750 polling locations have been shut down permanently in the state of Texas. Guess what? You tend to find them in the communities that have the fastest growing black and Latino populations.

And then, in the midst of the deadliest virus, for which none of us enjoys immunity, our state government is going to force us to vote in-person. At TSU, one of our historically black colleges in Houston, Texas, the lines during the primary in March were four-, five-, sometimes six-hours long by the end...

REID: Yes.

O'ROURKE: ... people bunched up together, fewer and fewer polling places, more people.

But the good news, Joy, is that people are willing to turn out. And we're exceeding turnout records in the primary. I hope that holds through for the November election.

REID: Yes.

But we're going to -- OK, we're going to keep you around for a little bit longer, because we want to -- we want to do some more -- something a little bit uplifting at the end of the show. We're going to keep you around, Beto O'Rourke, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, for "Who Won the Week?"

So, don't go too far away.

And up next: It's been quite a week. And you have earned it. Your "Moment of Joy" is next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: There are 81 days until the election.

And it is never too early to start thinking about how you're going to vote. There's been a lot of misinformation out there, as well as anxiety, over the post office functioning properly.

And I want to stress that voting by mail is entirely safe.

But, as progressive lawyer Marc Elias has pointed out, there are alternatives to consider that do not involve the post office. Almost every state either offers early voting or absentee in-person voting, where you either need to -- either need no excuse to request a ballot or you can use the pandemic as an excuse.

Ballot drop boxes in secure locations are also gaining popularity. Check with your local officials to see if a box will be available near you.

Many states also offer community ballot collections, where either a family member or someone else is able to drop your ballot off for you.

Go to for more information on how to register and vote this November.

And before we go: Kamala Harris' selection has been celebrated by so many communities, but one TikToker brought it all together, and it's this week's "Moment of Joy."




REID: "Who Won the Week?" is next.


REID: Welcome back.

Well, we have made it to Friday, and you know what that means. It is time to find out "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me are Beto O'Rourke and Errin Haines.

Errin Haines, ladies first. Who won the week?

HAINES: Well, I'm going to have to go with a twofer, because I don't think that you could ignore Senator Kamala Harris enduring racial and gendered attacks to make history.

But I have to say I have to give a shout-out to the entire staff of my newsroom with The 19th News for a successful launch and an amazing five-day virtual summit, 19th Represents...

REID: Yes.

HAINES: ... including Kamala Harris.

Also, our CEO, Emily Ramshaw, was interviewed by the duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. So I mean, it's really just been a dream come true as we prepare to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, but, remember, without asterisk for the black woman who had to fight twice as hard for their access to the ballot.

REID: Yes.

Go ahead, represent. The 19th won the week.

OK, how do you beat that, Beto O'Rourke? Who won the week?

O'ROURKE: First of all, congratulations to Errin and The 19th. And I love the shout-out to our great Texan Emily Ramshaw.

It's the next vice president of the United States of America, Kamala Harris, who is the perfect response to the racism, nativism and stupidity of Donald Trump and the Trump administration and Trumpism, the daughter of immigrants, an extraordinarily intelligent, witty, courageous, fearless woman.

This makes me so excited. And listening to voters all across Texas in these massive phone banks that we're running, they're excited as well.

REID: Yes.

O'ROURKE: The electricity she brings to the ticket and to the administration, I'm loving it.

REID: And she's getting HBCUs on the map,. I picked HBCUs, which are going to be in the White House, if she wins, for the first time.

Beto O'Rourke, Errin Haines.

That's tonight's REIDOUT. Please buy stamps, everyone. Buy stamps.

I will be back here on Monday with our special coverage of the Democratic National Convention beginning at 7:00 p.m.

So, buy some stamps. Support the post office.



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