Biden demands action from Trump administration on COVID crisis. Trump emerges to take credit for COVID therapeutics. Trump refuses to consider lockdown despite COVID surge. Obama says a peaceful transfer of power is the essence of our democracy. White House officials still pretending Trump won election. Klain says, some GOP politicians acknowledging Biden win. GOP governors say they would ignore national mask mandate. Politico reports, Biden considering Senator Angus King for top intel post.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I hope you have a great weekend. I'll be back here Monday night 6:00 P.M. Eastern. You can always find me online @arimelber on Instagram or Twitter or wherever your information.
Right now, keep in locked, it's Joy Reid.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Today, with nearly every U.S. state now officially a coronavirus hot spot, 78 million Americans were reminded why they decided to vote for Joe Biden. The president-elect released a presidential statement urging hope during this worsening crisis, saying, I know people are tired but this will not go on forever, and adding that urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration starting with acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is.
Well, today the leader of the current administration addressed the nation, emerging from the White House where he's been stewing for a week and hiding from the shame of becoming a one-term president. But that acknowledgment, well that never happened. Instead, the anti-science president took credit for breakthrough therapies, making sure to dangle the vaccine before a Democratic governor who didn't play nice. And the closest he got to acknowledging his election lost went something like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ideally, we won't go to a lock down. I will not go. This administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the -- whatever happens in the future who knows, which administration it will be. I guess time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Which administration do you mean, sir? Which one?
Since Trump last spoke in public, nearly 950,000 COVID-19 infections have been reported and 7,500 Americans have died. Look at this devastating map. Just look at that. COVID is exploding to new levels across this country. Hospitals are again at full capacity, with schools and the economy in chaos.
Trump infected his own family, the White House leadership, his own staff, and 130 Secret Service members are now infected because he needed to have his big old rallies.
But just like he continues to ignore the reality of the pandemic, Trump is ignoring the reality of his historic loss to Joe Biden. His refusal to concede and work on a peaceful transfer of power is not just a threat to tradition but also to democracy, something President Obama addressed in an interview with CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Donald Trump won, I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning and I then called Donald Trump to congratulate him. His margin of victory over Hillary Clinton wasn't greater than Joe Biden margin over him.
The peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it's dogcatcher or president, are servants of the people. It's a temporary job. We're not above the rules. We're not above law. That's the essence of democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Biden Campaign Senior Adviser Symone Sanders. Symone, great to see you. Congratulations to the campaign. I can officially say that to you now that the election is over. I know Donald Trump doesn't want to believe it.
But, you know, it's bad enough, right, that you know we just saw President Obama, who had to peacefully hand power over to the birther who pushed the conspiracy theory that he wasn't even really legitimately president. But he managed to do it. You know, all of these presidents who've lost, George Herbert Walker Bush managed to do it, they all managed to do it when he hand it to Bill Clinton, on and on and on.
But this is -- I want to play for you a little bit of the way the current administration is behaving a whole week plus after they lost the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're moving forward here at the White House, and the assumption that there will be a second Trump term.
STAUART VARNEY, FOX NEWS HOST: It would look bad if he did not attend the inauguration. It would sound like -- look like sour grapes, wouldn't it?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think the president will attend his own inauguration. He would have to be there, in fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: As irritating and silly and embarrassing as that is, can you walk us through how much is it complicating the work that you all have to do to actually plan to govern?
SYMONE SANDERS, BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, thank you for having me tonight, Joy. It's always great to be here with you.
You know, those clips you showed I think might be concerning for a number of people across this country. They're wondering if the current president of the United States is not recognizing what's happening. What does that mean for the democracy? Well, I want folks at home to know that our democracy is, in fact, intact and President-elect Joe Biden's transition is moving forward.
Now, would we like a concession from the current president of the United States? Yes. It's the presidential thing to do, it's the right thing to do. It's something, as you noted, Joy, that is a hallmark of the democracy, presidents, whether Democrat or Republican, have participated in the peaceful transition of power for years. And that is really an underscore and foundation of who we are as Americans.
But I would tell you that you saw not just the statement folks heard from President-elect Biden today, but he was meeting with his COVID-19 task force today. Earlier this week, he announced that task force and did a briefing. He and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were meeting and talking about the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, and what they would do in the Biden/Harris administration to protect pre-existing conditions build on the success of the Affordable Care Act. The president-elect announced his chief of staff, Ron Klain, who I know was on this network just last night.
And so we are moving forward. And the current administration's antics are not keeping the transition and the next president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the next vice president, Kamala Harris, from doing their due diligence here.
REID: You mention Ron Klain. I want to play a little bit of what he said to my friend, Lawrence O'Donnell. He was on his show, THE LAST WORD, last night. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON KLAIN, BIDEN'S WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Joe Biden has spoken to Republicans. He's spoken to some Republicans senators, some Republican governors. I'm not go into the names.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Can you tell us a little bit more with a little more specifically. Have Republicans senators contacted and called Vice President-elect Biden and specifically acknowledged to him that he will be the next president?
SANDERS: Yes. You know, again, President-elect Biden, as Ron noted last night, has spoken with a range of individuals. We have also -- we've ran out the conversation that the president-elect had with former President Bush. And we haven't read out some of these other conversations because, as Ron said, it requires two parties to agree to do that. And we are going to respect private conversation that are had.
REID: I hear you, but you're saying senators. Republican senators have done that? They have?
SANDERS: Yes, Joy, Republican senators, sitting United States senators, yes.
REID: OK. All right, we just want to get that on the record. Symone Sanders, thank you very much, my friend. I appreciate you being here.
All right, and joining me now, Michael Steele, Senior Adviser for The Lincoln Project and former RNC Chair, and David Plouffe, former Obama Campaign Manager.
And, Michael, I'm coming right to you on this. You just heard Symone Sanders say that Republican senators are calling but that it requires two people to agree to let that out. What does it say about the Republican Party that these people are too afraid to go public and say the obvious that Joe Biden is the President-elect of the United States?
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: It says what it's been saying for the last four years. They're hostage to one person. I appreciate the fact that they have made the overture to the president-elect directly. That bodes well. I mean, look, one you get the obstacle and the obvious problem out of the way, then you can probably see a sort of thawing, if you will, of that relationship that is going to be needed to be formed in order to tackle the big things ahead.
So, yes, and, look, fine if a senator -- you know, a sitting senator, Republican senator wants to make the private call and ask the vice president not to disclose that the call is made, that's fine. What that says to me is Joe Biden now knows he has someone that he can work with when he becomes officially the president of the United States on inauguration day and can then maybe at that point that phone call will be revealed.
But I'm not going to make much more of in a negative way than that, because we know what the obstacle is. And as soon as that is obstacle is gone, we can move on.
REID: But just don't take him into battle, because, obviously, they ain't the bravest people in the world.
STEELE: Well, Joy, look, you're going to have to -- Joe Biden has to build a coalition to get some of the things that he wants done.
REID: I get it. The cowards can be in there too. I got you. I hear you.
STEELE: Look, not can be, the cowards will have to be because the numbers aren't there for the Democrats in the United States Senate.
REID: At least not as of now.
David Plouffe, we've already hearing that you know, you have some governors. I mean, you think about Kristi Noem whose state is on fire with COVID right now, saying, I don't care. We're not going to do anything, you know, people like Ron DeSantis. You have some Republican governors who are steeped in this religion of anti-mask, anti-doing anything to stop COVID. They want to let it to rip through their communities. You have Senators like Rand Paul, who want to do the same thing.
Walk us through if you were advising Joe Biden how to deal with people like that? How can you form a strategy to get a vaccine out to try to stop this hell that we're all trapped in if you are dealing with governors and senators like that?
DAVID PLOUFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Joy, my sense is you're going to get a corporation on the vaccine because they bought into the story that, you know, Trump was going to deliver a vaccine ahead of the election, you know? But, yes, I mean, the issue here is we need universal social distancing, universal mask-wearing. Many states, not the ones you mentioned, are putting out strict guidelines around holiday gatherings. So that's the challenge as we're all in this together.
But at the end of the day, Joe Biden is so skilled, he's got a high EQ, he's been very successful through the career working across the aisle. So he's going to have to fine (ph). There may be a governor like Kristi Noem, who just refuses despite all the evidence not to say we need a mask mandate, but maybe she'll be supportive of the economic relief. So you're going to have to find your areas.
The question for me though, Joy, when you think about this period, we expected this from Trump, tragically, is this the only time in the next 10 to 20 years where we going to have people who lose elections refuse to concede? Who say it doesn't matter what the voters did or I won, you lost? That's the question in 2022, 2024, because if this gets normalized, quite frankly, our democracy won't survive it. So that's the question.
REID: You know, can we just -- there's a great photo here of the White House staff member. This is -- people remember this photo listening to President Obama speak. And this was in the Rose Garden. Remember the faces, like you do it because you're an adult, right? You do this because you are a grown up and you may not like it. But this is this is the way democracy works. You're absolutely right.
Just really quickly on the question of the next fight is going to be who can be on the team, right, and who can get confirmed by the United States Senate. And I want you to each of you answer this question. We've heard Angus Kings name floated around as somebody who might be able to be there for intel. Start with you, Michael, and then you, David. How hard is this fight going to be? Is Mitch McConnell, literally going to be given a veto over the Biden cabinet?
STEELE: I don't think so. OK, I know that there's a record you can go back to in how Obama administration came in and what Mitch McConnell said there. But I think there are extenuating circumstances there that don't exist here. One is a personal relationship between these two men that goes back a significant amount of time. Two, I think that the majority leader, current majority leader has already signaled that he -- that this is not going to be a difficult road for the vice president, oh, excuse me, Vice President Biden, president-elect to give his nominees through.
So I think there is going to be a high level of corporation this time around given the gravity of the issues that need to be addressed. And quite, honestly, the hollowing out of the cabinet level offices by this current administration, we cannot sustain that. He knows that. We got a budget that's going to be fought over starting in two weeks and you've got COVID-19. So I think there's going to be more corporation here than I think a lot of people right now suspect.
REID: And it's not the black guy. So maybe they'll have more respect for him. And maybe I'm just mean.
So, I mean, the other question obviously in forming cabinet is that Biden also has to look internally, right, because you've already got interest groups saying, wait a minute, we want to make sure that people who have a progressive mindset or people who have another mindset and that fight is already starting to happen of how that -- of how he shapes his cabinet. How do you think that that will play out?
PLOUFFE: Well, it's fascinating. I can agree with Michael. But even if McConnell decides he wants veto, Biden can play along with that. So for two reasons, one, he'll just get killed politically and say, I'm only going to nominate people who McConnell says is OK. But, secondly, this is the team he's building. So these aren't just names on a sheet of paper about who is left, who's left center, who's like who can run the health department, who can be a great attorney general. And that's not just a sexy name. It's like, who can actually do the job, manage big agencies and handle crisis.
So given the pandemic, given the economic challenge, given the threat of climate change, he needs the people he wants in seat. And I think we all need to give Joe Biden quite a bit of room because we all have so much riding on who he puts forward to be his core team.
REID: Yes, amen to that. I just want to note for our audience that James Lankford, the senator from Oklahoma who said he would step in by Friday to make sure that Biden receives his daily intelligence briefings, and that had not happened, we are passed close to business. I don't think he has stepped in. But I just want to make sure that we keep up with that because we did talk that yesterday.
Michael Steele and David Plouffe, thank you both, very much have a fabulous weekend.
All right, up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump claims widespread fraud. But that's not what his lawyers are claiming in court. And the latest MAGA fantasies of wrongdoing at vote centers are just beyond ridiculous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU DOBBS, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: And the vans that showed up, there were supposed to be filled with food. What did they have in them? Do you know?
MELISSA CARONE, CLAIMS TO WITNESS FRAUD AT DETROIT VOTING CENTER: I never saw anything being brought out of the van. I was not allowed over in the area, at all. But the vans were definitely not big enough to be carrying enough food for two-thirds of those workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That was really on T.V.
Also, why Trump should be very, very nervous about what awaits him as a private citizen.
And the battle for Georgia. Jon Ossoff, one of the two Democratic candidates in those crucial Senate runoffs, joins me.
Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.
REID: No matter how much he huffs and he puffs, Donald Trump cannot force a victory for himself in this election. Face the facts, Donald. You lost. And this time, it wasn't just the popular vote. The Electoral College is telling you it's time to pack your bags, get the industrial cleaning people in there to clean the COVID out of the White House, and go.
It doesn't matter how many times you tweet, or how many lawsuits you file with bogus claims of fraud and election theft. Even your own campaign lawyers cannot make that case for you. In Arizona, one of your lawyers told a judge that they -- quote -- "were not alleging fraud or that anyone is stealing the election, simply raising concerns about a limited number of cases involving good-faith errors."
And, in Pennsylvania, your lawyers cut ties with you and your claims that hundreds of thousands of votes there shouldn't be counted. Even before the law firm withdrew their case, some employees said that they were concerned that the firm was being used to undercut the integrity of the electoral process, you know, that process that you swore to defend.
Even the Department of Homeland Security has called out your claims, saying the November 3 election was the most secure in American history. And, today, 16 federal prosecutors who were assigned to monitor the 2020 election told your Roy Cohn, Attorney General William Barr, that they saw no evidence of substantial voting irregularities.
Joining me now is Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe.
And, Professor Tribe, it's always great to see you.
And I want to stipulate going in that I think that were -- at least one more loss today. I think Donald Trump might have won zero cases so far, even before conservative courts. So, at this...
LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: That's right, I think zero out of -- zero out of 13. It's not -- even a junior varsity team would be ashamed of a record like that.
REID: So, at a certain point, is there a duty for the lawyers involved, as did the law firm in the Pennsylvania case, to simply withdraw and say to their client, we can't continue doing this?
TRIBE: Yes, I mean, they're supposed to be officers of the court. There's an ethical obligation.
It's true that you can defend somebody who might be guilty but helping someone undermine democracy and delegitimate the transfer of power, something we have done ever since John Adams handed the presidency over to Thomas Jefferson, is way beyond that.
And I think any lawyer worthy of the name would be ashamed to be involved in frivolous lawsuits of this kind. So, I think...
TRIBE: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
REID: No, no, I was just going to say, because it feels like there's a lot more that lawyers who are working for Donald Trump really could be about their time with, because you have got just facing Donald Trump potentially, once he is a civilian again at noon January on 20 the potential for legal issues regarding hush money payments to Stormy Daniels that he was involved in, the tax fraud cases involving potentially inflating the value of his assets to secure loans and get tax benefits.
There are the defamation lawsuits by E. Jean Carroll, Summer Zervos, who accused Trump of sexually assaulting them and disparaging them when denying their claims. You have got the inauguration -- the misuse of inauguration funds and accusations his committee and others were misusing the money to enrich Trump.
There's a lot waiting for him, from Letitia James, who's got civil related cases, to Cy Vance, who may have criminal cases.
Shouldn't -- how much trouble do you think, quite frankly, to be blunt, is Donald Trump potentially in?
TRIBE: Well, you have summarized it pretty well.
I mean, there's just a litany of lawsuits, civil and criminal, that are going to come piling down on him, kind of an avalanche. And I really don't see any obvious way for him to get out from under them. It's clear that his pardon power is not going to do any good at all against Letitia James or against Cy Vance, because the pardon power of a president has no purchase at all when it comes to state and municipal prosecutions.
So, he's really much better off if he spends time and money defending himself against this avalanche of lawsuits than if he continues making the futile and ridiculous claim that this election, which his own Homeland Security Department said was the most secure in American history, that this election was somehow stolen.
That's nonsense. No one really believes it. People are humoring him. But he really ought to get on with his life. And there is going to be an afterlife, whether he likes it or not.
REID: Well, and there are -- there is some reporting that Trump is carrying this on for a couple of reasons, one, that he's -- he's short financially. He doesn't have a lot of liquid, at least liquid capital, left, that he is -- that he is fearful of prosecution, and that he's thinking of maybe pardoning himself, pardoning his family members.
There are a lot of options there. I mean, he could resign and have Mike Pence pardon him. But a pardon -- just, if you can clarify for us, that is an admission of guilt, right? If he were to pardon himself, he would be admitting he committed a crime.
And I don't think he really could pardon himself. I mean, it's never been tested in American history. But 410 years ago, in a famous case called Dr. Bonham's Case, the chief jurist of England, Edward Coke, reasoned that no one could be a judge in his own case. You can't pardon yourself.
You can pardon your son, your daughter, your family, but not yourself.
The other really important thing you can't do is pardon future crimes. I mean, the odds are that, when he gets out of the White House, the most valuable thing he is going to have is the national secrets that he's accumulated, if he can remember them.
And we already know, from what he told Kislyak in the White House, that he is quite a leaker. He, for his own benefit leaked information about the Israeli secret agent. He's probably going to use all sorts of classified information for his own benefit.
But, if he does, it might be the federal crime of espionage. And no pardon that anybody can give, even Pence, can reach into the future into crimes not yet committed. Pardons can't be licenses to commit future crimes.
And he's very willing to undermine the national defense right now by withholding the presidential daily brief from the incoming president, Joe Biden. He is willing to mess up the Defense Department. We know that he doesn't care really about the defense of the United States. He doesn't complain when Putin puts a bounty on the heads of American soldiers, whom he regards as losers and suckers.
What reason is there to think that, when he leaves the White House, he won't try to take advantage of the stuff he gained while there? One...
REID: Yes, particularly since he does seem to need the cash.
TRIBE: Right. Right.
REID: So, it is -- and a broke Trump and an angry Trump might be the most dangerous Trump.
Professor Laurence Tribe, I wish we had more time. Thank you so much. Always great to see you. Thank you.
TRIBE: Thanks. Thanks.
TRIBE: Good to be with you.
REID: Thank you so much.
Meanwhile, national security experts are sounding the alarm about Trump's refusal to concede the election.
Stay with us.
REID: Unable to accept his ignominious fate, Donald Trump is fueling an unhinged fantasy that he, not Joe Biden, won the election.
And he's urging millions of Americans to join him in this descent into fantasyland, fueling a toxic stew of grievance and rage, which also doubles as a grift to get more money from his adoring fans. It is a favored Trump tactic.
This weekend, Trump supporters have planned an event that they're calling the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C. Trump fans were already gathering today at Black Lives Matter Plaza, where some were spotted tearing down anti-Trump signs, including -- get this -- a picture of John Lewis.
Trump tweeted today that he may stop by the supposedly organic rally.
But here's the thing. Those organic rallies are not so organic. ABC obtained audio of Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, issuing a call to action to his supporters, telling them to stay at the ready because they will need support waving the flag and yelling the president's name.
Media reports note that the rallies are also being promoted and in some cases attended by members of the Proud Boys, QAnon cultists, right-wing militia leaders, and neo-Nazis, ah, yes, the Trump base. How exquisitely colorful.
For more, I'm joined by Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI.
And, Frank, it's easy to mock this sort of ragtag collection of misfits and such that are going to show up and rip down photos of John Lewis.
But is there a real danger here? Because, look, to be blunt, D.C. is a black city. It's a majority black city. It's got a lot of minorities, a lot of people of color. And now you're going to have white nationalists and neo-Nazis and QAnon people converging on it.
Should we be concerned?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's a recipe for trouble, Joy.
And I can tell you that my contacts in law enforcement in the D.C. area as recently as today have told me that they're very, very concerned. And it's not just kind of a gut feeling. It's the intelligence that they're seeing both in the private and public messaging, in chat rooms, and blog sites, and Web sites, and Twitter feeds, as you mentioned, from the various groups, from QAnon, to neo-Nazis, to militia groups, all amassing weapons.
Now, I'm very pleased that, so far, law enforcement and the intelligence community, up to this point, have done an incredible job behind the scenes battling both the foreign threat and the domestic threat. And they're to be commended for that.
But, as I always say, Joy, the bad guys just have to get it right once, and law enforcement has to get it right every single time.
So, if I had friends and family that were thinking about attending either side, a rally, this Saturday in the D.C. area, I'd say this. Why exactly are you going? This is essentially attending a pregame pep rally when you already know who won the game.
There's no reason to be there. If you want to exercise your free speech rights, please be sure that you're not getting anywhere near the opposing side, because things could get very, very heated on Saturday.
REID: Yes, hopefully, people will just stay home and stay away from it. I think that's really great advice.
Well, we know that Donald Trump has emboldened white nationalists. They consider him their dear leader. They have expressed those kinds of thoughts about him.
He, during one of his speeches, his speech at the Republican National Convention, said -- oh, no, I'm sorry, it was at one of the debates. When told -- when given the opportunity to condemn white nationalism, instead of condemning it, told the Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.
When you hear his campaign manager using the phrase, stand -- stay at the ready, sort of similar language, knowing that the people that are coming include the Proud Boys, also include neo-Nazi groups, it feels like that's what they're doing, right, that they're trying to get those kinds of fringe groups excited and riled up.
FIGLIUZZI: Well, I don't have to engage in conjecture here. I can tell you what I see on these sites and how they -- these groups and individuals respond to this.
They see it as green lighting. They see it as messaging. And, again, as recently as today, I have seen leaders of certain organizations say, we are just waiting for the signal. All Trump has to do is tell us to get in the fight, and we're ready to go in the D.C. area.
So, he can't claim anymore that this is accidental, that he can't think of all the possible outcomes of what he says or doesn't say. We have a track record of it now. This is how they respond. And, ironically, the so-called law and order president has made the job of law enforcement that much more difficult.
He's got 130 Secret Service members sick. He's making the job of the D.C. area law enforcement more difficult for Saturday. And it seems that these groups just don't understand that he doesn't stand for the law and order that he claims.
REID: Well, I mean, this is the president who sacked sort of troops or tear-gassed peaceful protesters, so that he could take a walk and hold the Bible upside down at a church, because -- rather than allow these people to protest. He tear-gassed even some members of the church leadership of it
As far as the public is concerned who live in the D.C. area, besides just staying away from it, is this a situation where Muriel Bowser, who is the mayor of D.C., ought to be considering a time to stay by, right?
They say that people should stay in their homes, a stay-at-home order. What would you be advising Mayor Bowser to be doing? Curfews? What do you think that she should try to do?
FIGLIUZZI: Well, there's some good news here, in that the D.C. area, as you know, is really, really experienced at exercising free speech and protests.
And part of good protest management is designating spots and issuing permits and making sure that the opposing groups do not run into each other. That is a critical aspect of protest management.
But, Joy, that presumes that people will play by the rules. And they don't always do, particularly on certain sides. So, the mayor and the city officials and the federal officials are working together. That city is used to that kind of partnership. They are working with groups on designated protest areas.
I think a curfew is something that's premature, until we see how the day starts to play out. But I can tell you that law enforcement is plugged in and they're trying to manage what's going to happen.
REID: Yes, well, we hope for the best.
And, please, I hope that, if you're all out there and you're listening, listen to Frank. He knows what he's talking about. Stay home and stay away from that.
Frank Figliuzzi, always appreciate you. Thank you.
And up next: For anyone still not taking this virus seriously, maybe you need to hear from a COVID nurse who became a COVID patient.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: How long were you in the hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five days in an ICU, three days on med-surg.
QUESTION: Yes. And then how long until you came back to work?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I had to isolate for a total of 21 days. And then so I was off for three months.
QUESTION: Three months. And you were on oxygen at home for a while too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on oxygen at home and not really getting a paycheck.
So, financially, mentally, physically, it devastates you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The coronavirus situation in the United States is dire, and it's getting worse.
For the 10th day in a row, more than 100,000 cases were reported. In the Upper Midwest, hospitals are facing a catastrophic loss -- lack of beds. Experts say that cases are surging in the region as the weather has turned colder and more people are forced inside. The region's surge is a preview of what the rest of the United States can expect in the coming weeks as winter approaches.
And the record-breaking surge in cases is being driven to a significant degree by casual occasions that may seem deceptively safe. Officials and scientists warn that dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools not a good idea.
A model that's been cited by the White House is projecting that, by New Year's, the U.S. will have more than 320,000 deaths, around 2,000 deaths per day.
I'm joined now by Dr. Celine Gounder, member of the Biden/Harris transition advisory -- COVID Advisory Board, clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at NYU, and host of "American Diagnosis" and "Epidemic" podcasts.
We love an expert. And I'm so thankful that experts are going to be back in charge.
So, I want to thank you just for existing and being on that task force.
REID: And it's Gounder. And I pronounced your name wrong. It is Gounder. So, I apologize for mispronouncing your name.
Dr. Gounder, we now have 10.7 million people infected today, 245,000 deaths. I choke up on it. I can't barely get it out. And now we have Thanksgiving coming.
Obviously, the idea is stay home, keep it small. But do you worry that Thanksgiving is going to produce another huge outbreak?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, BIDEN CORONAVIRUS ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER: Well, we're in the middle of a wildfire, so to speak, that is spreading across the country, and Thanksgiving could well be like pouring gasoline on that fire.
Thanksgiving has all of the characteristics of a super-spreader event, people in close quarters indoors, without masks around a dining table, eating and drinking together, not to mention the fact that people are traveling from various different parts of the country to be there.
You have people from different generations. So, you have young adults with older adults and the elderly. And so that's really a recipe for a lot of transmission and transmission to people who are very much at risk for complications.
And the other thing is schools. And I have a friend that's a teacher that I text with every day. And she's scared. And a lot of teachers are afraid. But now it looks like school -- and New York City schools, the biggest school system in the country, may have to close again because we have hit that 3 percent positivity rate.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a great writer, who was in charge of The 1619 Project at "The New York Times," she wrote: "That New York City's public schools may have to shut down because the city and state felt they just had to let people dine indoors and work at a gym says all we need to know about how much our society values public education, particularly when it comes to low-income black and brown kids, who will suffer once schools close down."
Do you think that the country just made a bad choice in prioritizing getting bars and gyms open, and essentially sacrificed these kids?
GOUNDER: Well, I think that we need to be deciding what we're putting a pause on, what we're closing, on the basis of what are the highest-risk settings in terms of transmission, and what are truly essential services.
So, on the basis of that, we know that indoor dining, bars, gyms, nail salons, as well as private indoor gatherings, are among some of the highest-risk settings for transmission. Schools are not zero risk, but they're much lower risk.
And so if you consider schools to be an essential service, I would say that the no-brainer would be to keep schools open as long as possible. And you would close bars and restaurants and the like first.
And -- I mean, and we know that causes an economic catastrophe for people who own bars and restaurants and gyms. So, I want to make sure that we let people know we do understand that.
Here's the next thing. And this is really a going-forward question, because you are advising the incoming administration. You have now a Supreme Court that is 6-3 conservative. You had Samuel Alito give a speech to the Federalist Society in which he went on and on and on, and basically was very open about his disdain for mask orders, as if they are somehow a huge threat to liberty.
You have Amy Coney Barrett, who it's not clear that she would not rule to say that it is against religious liberty to have mask orders that don't give churches an exclusion.
If we wind up with a Supreme Court that rules that you cannot ban -- you cannot mandate masks, and that you cannot particularly mandate them in houses of worship, where we know lots and lots of COVID has been spread and people have died, how fearful are you that we will never get this thing under control, and that it will get even worse?
GOUNDER: Well, Joy, I'm really concerned about the politicization of masks.
I think it's a really unfortunate thing that has happened over the last several months. As far as I'm concerned, this is like politicizing the use of toilet paper. This is a very basic hygienic measure that has really nothing to do with politics. It's just about protecting ourselves, protecting our families, protecting our communities.
In terms of the Supreme Court law -- the legal aspects of this, I'm not a lawyer, and so I don't want to opine on what the Supreme Court might or might not do.
I do you think it is going to be difficult to enforce a mandate, even if you have mandates, and that we really need to be encouraging people regardless to take personal responsibility for their health and to be masking up.
REID: Yes, indeed.
Well, the people on that side of the aisle, they say personal responsibility is the thing they care about. At least, that is what they say.
Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you very much. Really appreciate you. Have a great weekend.
GOUNDER: My pleasure.
REID: Meanwhile, the show -- cheers -- the showdown for Georgia for control the United States Senate, that is going to be up next.
The January run-offs could determine the fate of the Biden agenda.
Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff will join us next.
REID: NBC News has declared Joe Biden the apparent winner in Georgia, making him the first Democrat to win that state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
The Senate race between Jon Ossoff and David Perdue is officially going to a run-off, along with the special election between Kelly Loeffler and Raphael Warnock, meaning that the January 5 run-off will determine which party controls the United States Senate.
As "The L.A. Times" puts it, the outcome will probably shape the ambitions of Joe Biden's presidency, as well as his party's future. It's a choice between having a Senate that actually governs and -- well, and this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If we keep the Senate, we need to do a joint committee in the Senate to analyze mail-in balloting.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): On the possibility of another coronavirus package, I don't think the current situation demands a multitrillion-dollar package.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): We have had 11 million people in our country who have already had COVID. We should tell them to celebrate. We should tell them to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again, because these people are now immune.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining me now is Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate running to unseat Senator David Perdue.
The mind reels.
Great to see you. Great to have you on.
JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, Joy.
So, you have challenged another sort of winner here, Mr. Perdue, to three debates. You didn't -- he didn't do so well against you in the debates against last time, and kind of went viral, and not well for him.
Has he accepted your offer to debate three times?
OSSOFF: Not to my knowledge.
And I guess my message for the senator is that, if he doesn't want to come out in public and answer questions about his record and explain his positions and his vision, that's fine. You just shouldn't be seeking reelection to the U.S. Senate.
REID: I think that's a fair point to make.
Let me play a little bit of an ad on this. I'm not going to play the whole thing. I'm not sure that we want to see much of that. But let's play a little bit of the ad that's being run against you right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Now we take Georgia. Then we change America.
NARRATOR: You heard him. Chuck Schumer is trying to use Georgia to take the Senate majority and radically change America.
The Schumer-Pelosi-Ossoff change, defund police, voting rights for illegal immigrants, Washington, D.C., as the 51st state.
SCHUMER: Then we change America.
OSSOFF: Change is coming to America.
NARRATOR: Believe them. Vote Perdue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Maybe it's just me, as a black woman, that I have feelings about that, because they have already run an ad against you where they tried to basically malign you for being Jewish by trying to use very blatant Jewish stereotypes against you.
REID: Then they have Schumer, Schumer, Schumer, be scared of Schumer, when Chuck Schumer is like the most moderate, like, non-scary person in the world. I don't know what -- they're afraid of him.
What do you make of that tactic? And what is your response to it?
OSSOFF: I think that Georgia Democrats have learned really not to care what these national Republican groups say about us.
I mean, the impact of an ad like that is nil, Joy. So I don't really spend any time worrying about it. That's political consultants in D.C. raising a ton of money from Republican mega-donors cooking these ads up in boardrooms.
That doesn't address daily life for people in Georgia. I have been on the road for the last four days visiting six cities. People are concerned about the fact that we're in the midst of a pandemic, Democrats and Republicans, that we're in the midst of a pandemic, that we're in the midst of an economic crisis, not this partisan nonsense.
It's just meaningless.
REID: But -- well, I mean, but then why did so many people vote for David Perdue?
I mean, they -- the claim from a lot of Democrats and some -- and Republicans is that defund the police is the reason that people who even had a great distaste for Donald Trump still voted in large measure for Republicans. I mean, he did tie you.
Do you not buy that that message of trying to do sort of anti-blackness and scare you about Black Lives Matter and that kind of thing, you don't think that's going to work?
OSSOFF: Well, look, I do think that fearmongering is all they have got.
But David Perdue was considered a lock to cruise easily to reelection eight months ago. When I first launched this race, I was telling everybody, hey, look at the work we have done in Georgia, with Stacey Abrams, with Lucy McBath, with Carolyn Bourdeaux. Georgia's the most competitive state in the country. Folks didn't believe me.
And they already threw the kitchen sink. They spent something like $50 million hitting me with all this nonsense. They couldn't even get Perdue over 50 percent. And it's because this is all they have.
They're not talking about how we're going to contain this virus. They're not talking about how we're going to deliver relief for working families and small businesses. It's just fearmongering and division.
And today, by the way, Joy, as you saw, Joe Biden officially won here in Georgia, I mean, beyond doubt.
So, we have a lot of momentum here. And folks want to hear about solutions and where we go from here. And I really don't worry about ads like that.
REID: Do you think that, on the strength of the argument that Republicans, if they maintain control, will not pass another substantial relief bill, will not pass a health care bill if the Supreme Court throws out the Affordable Care Act, and just actually don't care how many people have died, like, is that is that enough to get back the same level of turnout that we saw for Joe Biden?
First of all, we are still actively registering voters. We're running a massive turnout effort here. We're organizing. We're rallying the troops. And we're invigorated by president-elect Biden's victory here.
But, second of all, think of all the work that's been done in Georgia for the last 10 years to get us to this point. I mean, we have such a head of steam.
And I give Stacey Abrams a lot of credit, as I always do, and the tens of thousands of volunteers who have made this possible. The bottom line is, they're going to try to do to Joe Biden just like they tried to do to Barack Obama. They're not going to allow him to pass his agenda.
And that means containing this pandemic. And that means delivering economic relief. Those are the stakes of this election.
And I need folks across the country to log on to ElectJon -- ElectJon.com, so that we can get this done, and allow this incoming administration to govern and lead us out of this crisis.
REID: Jon Ossoff, I want to let our viewers know that, in order to -- if you filed an absentee ballot in Georgia, you have to file a separate application for each application -- for each election and each run-off election for which you're requesting an absentee ballot, unless you're a voter who's over age 65.
So, all of you all, you have to re-ask for another absentee ballot if you want to participate in this election.
Senate candidate Jon Ossoff, best of luck to you. Thank you very much for being here.
OSSOFF: Thank you so much, Joy. Have a good night.
REID: Thank you. Cheers.
And before we go, a Moment of Joy from one of MSNBC's most loyal fans, Morgan Densmore.
Morgan celebrated her ninth birthday on Election Day, and we wanted to help her celebrate, so we surprised her with a special birthday message from her friends here at MSNBC.
Take a look at her reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN DENSMORE, 9 YEARS OLD: It's for me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: She's like a super fan. She's 9 years old. She's like the best.
Thanks for watching, Morgan. We appreciate you. Thank you.
And that is tonight's REIDOUT.
Isn't she adorable? She the cutest thing ever.
So, Morgan, happy birthday. You had a great birthday. We all had a great birthday for you.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" -- and, everybody, have a fabulous weekend.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES," you get to watch it. You love it. It starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END
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