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Transcript: The ReidOut, November 23, 2020

Guests: Maxine Waters, Doug Jones, William Barber, Tammy Duckworth


GSA tells Biden it is ready to begin transition. Biden won clear popular and electoral majorities. Michigan certifies Joe Biden as election winner. Most GOP lawmakers are silent on Trump's refusal to concede. GOP Senator Lee posts conspiracy theories on Parler. Trump legal challenges are going nowhere fast. Philadelphia certifies Biden victory. Senator Tammy Duckworth is interviewed on one of the biggest challenges Joe Biden faces, restoring America's standing on the world stage.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I appreciate it. And we're out of time. I want to pass on THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid, which start now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Wow. We begin tonight with breaking news, in a move that has major implications. The head of the General Services Administration has finally informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to formalize the transition process.

In a grievance-filled letter, frankly, Emily Murphy writes, I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA administrator ascertain, not impose the apparent president-elect.

In a statement issued moments ago, the Biden-Harris transition called it a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.

For nearly three weeks, Murphy has refused to ascertain Biden's claim a decisive victory. And, normally, this is just a routine task. Her refusal to state the obvious, however, has held up funds to help Biden's transition and prevented him from receiving national security briefings.

Now, why did this middle manager drag her heels? According to The Washington Post, she didn't want to be disloyal to the administration that hired her.

The facts remain. The election was not close. 80 million Americans handed Trump his termination papers. That's 51 percent of the electorate who said, thank you, next. The victory was so clear cut that of the last six presidential elections, only Barack Obama in 2008 had a larger popular vote margin. And Biden's electoral vote margin is the same as Trumps from 2016, which Trump at the time called a massive landslide.

As the loser, Trump has 58 days to pack his stuff and go. But instead of focusing on a peaceful transition of power or filling out change of address forms for his friend, Postmaster Louis DeJoy to this place or getting his luggage together, what we're witnessing is a cornered man making baseless claims that it's just not possible that he lost, the election had to be rigged.

In a different time, Trump would have been shamed for his brazen desecration of our constitutional system. Instead, what we're seeing is the Republican Party helping Trump in his effort to disenfranchise many of the Americans he swore an oath to defend, in this case mostly black and other Democratic voters.

Late today, the Michigan boards of canvassers certified Joe Biden as the winner of the state's 16 electoral votes. By law and by practice, certification is supposed to be a routine sign off. Instead, the vote only happened after Republicans had a sort of many hearing, where they were told the obvious, that they had to certify. And one Republican abstained.

Over in the court, Trump's little band of misfit toys, the self-describe elite strike force, keeps striking out. A Republican judge dismissed their case with prejudice, calling it a Frankenstein's monster, filled with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.

And in the wake of yet another rejection, a handful of Republicans are daring to admit the emperor has no clothes. Ohio Senator Rob Portman wrote, based on all the information currently available, neither a final lawful vote counts nor the recounts have led to a different outcome in any state. In other words, the initial determination showing Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win has not changed. No S, Sherlock.

And those who are not willing to join, the rest of us in the land of the obvious, are being publicly outed (ph) by famed Investigative Journalist Carl Bernstein, who blasted 21 Republican senators who he says have expressed contempt for Trump privately, or refusing to speak out publicly. Courage.

I want to start and bring in my colleague Ari Melber.

Ari, my friend, we just watched your very interesting interview with Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis. She still restated that Trump not only won but won in a landslide. I didn't hear it. But you are the lawyer not me. So did you hear any legal basis or evidentiary basis for the said landslide?

MELBER: No. I thought she came up empty handed, like many of the lawyers. And I want to be clear and respectful as possible, like you, Joy, we talk to all kind of people in our reporting. And so the question I posed her, and I wouldn't do it every night on repeat, but I did wanted to get a Trump lawyer once to talk about this is, what are you trying to do? What is the point? What is the purpose? There's not a single pending case that can change the outcome. And you have, of course, as you were just reporting, Joy, the president himself, under whatever delay, conceding to some of that in his own way by saying, yes, we're going to have a transition.

And so, what we have here are the embers of the desire for some sort of final clash that, legally, it doesn't look like the president is going to get. He famously said he thinks this will end in the Supreme Court. The lawyer did tell me tonight she hopes that as well. But what we don't see is a path for them to do that. Instead, we see them losing every time they bring one of these claims. And, again, to re-emphasize this for everyone, none of these cases, if victorious, would change the national map.

REID: And let me ask you this, because I think for a lot of people watching, it's like 31 or 32 cases and I think they have won one or maybe two little minor ones that don't change anything, how long, just in terms of how our legal system operates, can they keep doing this? Is there just unlimited appeals as long as you have the money for lawyers and people fool enough to give money to his legal defense fund? Is there some limit that the court says, at this point, you have to stop?

MELBER: It's a great question, Joy. You have mid-December as the constitutional deadline for the certification in what they call the safe harbor period. So you can basically count, but by the time you get to mid-December, Christmas, you don't really have anything left.

Now, in court you can always march back in and claim, right, oh, well, this was mishandled. This was some sort of, quote/unquote, fraud. But the door shut is pretty tightly then. And there are costs in our patchwork system, it's just depends on the state, right. This was the founder's genius or insanity, depending on how you look at it. But in Wisconsin, you have to pay for your recount. And when it came to the ticket price of 8 million roughly for this full state or 3 million for partial, they came up cheap and say, we'll just -- we only want to pay for partial, right?

In other states, it doesn't have to require payment by the candidate if you are within the right required margin. We haven't seen in history, and I did bring this up so viewers got something factual out of even that exchange, we haven't seen in all of American history a recount every move more than 400 votes. The narrowest margin right now is not 400 or 800, or 1,200, or 1,600. It's over 10,000 in Georgia. And so we have no reason mathematically, historically or legally to think that even a redo, re-recount would change that.

They are entitled to go to court just like they're entitled to talk and that's fine in our system. Sometimes we have to listen to people we don't want to listen to. But I think it's very clear that the door is shutting and the president's dismissal of Ms. Powell, as well as Holly Jackson, our colleague reporting his frustration with the legal team tonight is a reminder that that sometimes there isn't a grand strategy. Sometimes there's a hope for something that someone told them might happen, we'll end to the Supreme Court, you go down and fighting, which is very different than ending in the district court of Pennsylvania where the judge says you got nothing.

REID: Yes, absolutely. Well, you know, that's why they're saying that the bazillion Trump votes in Germany. And I'll put that on myself, that you didn't say that, Ari Melber, I said that. But that's why they are saying that, because there's nowhere else to get votes if they're not in Germany. Ari Melber, thank you very much. That was quite an interview, well done, thank you.

MELBER: Thank you, Joy, thank you.

REID: And for more -- cheers.

I am joined now for more by MSNBC Correspondent Heidi Przybyla and Michael Steele, former Chairman of the RNC and Senior Adviser to The Lincoln Project.

And, Heidi, I'm going to you first on the reporting end. You have this clash now of stories. You have the GSA, the administrator, Emily Murphy, putting out a letter in which she includes the following. She says, please note that I came to my decision independently based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any executive branch official, including those who work at the White House or GSA with regard to the substance for limiting on my decision after complaining that people are going after her pets.

But then Donald Trump goes out and he tweets nope, I told her to do it. It was me. I told her what to do. It makes her look like a stooge. I'm sure he doesn't care about that, but, you know, do we have reporting on who is lying here or could they both be lying? I don't know.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's just stick to the reporting, which is that they actually sent over a council, White House Council to help guide her in the decision making process. Now, look, none of us will ever be inside the room of what actually happened here, but when you hear so many Republicans talking about loyalty and some of the reporting about her own concerns, hinging on loyalty, I think that tells you enough about what was going on here, Joy.

And the fact that this happened at all really marks an unprecedented hazing of this incoming administration that we've never seen before based on an argument that the president actually told us he was going to do. He told us he was going to do this. He told us there was going to be fraud and they were going to build out this narrative. They just told us, give us some time to find the facts. We'll find you some facts. But there's going to be fraud. We promise you. And what happened here was they never were able to manufacture those facts, Joy.

I was on the ground in Detroit and all of these arguments that they were making, for instance, there were two classes of arguments. There was the fraud arguments were just pure conspiracy theory stuff about voting machines and there was never anything there, and never a factual basis to that. And then the second, if you look closely, what they're saying was, well, we were disrespected, we weren't treated right, we were harassed, essentially.

But, Joy, I was there when they tried to storm the TCF Center. I was there. I heard people testify actually today as well about what was happening inside the room with all of these who showed up and just said they were self-anointed poll watchers. They had no training. They didn't know what they were looking at. They were demanding that one lady discarded an entire table of ballots because she wasn't wearing a name tag. They weren't respecting social distancing rules. So, yes, I guess some people in Detroit did get a little irritated with that. And that became the basis of some massive fraud conspiracy.

Second thing I want to say is that what happened in Detroit happens all over the country with this inability to balance the books completely and vote for vote. Let's say, grandma mails in her ballot and she forgets to actually to put the ballot in the envelope. It's out of balance, right? You got one ballot but you don't have a vote there, because it didn't show up. So these things happen routinely. And the fact that they pick Detroit, that's going to seeing for quite a while. They're still going to be -- that's going to be an open wound.

REID: Well, quite a while, black voters will never forget they picked Detroit, Atlanta and Milwaukee.

You know, Michael, you've had -- Donald Trump said that this lady is crazy. She can't be part of my team. She's embarrassing me. Like that's his new take is, oh, the lady who went out there, he's like, oh no, no, I have nothing to do with it. He thinks that these people are making me look bad. They're making me look like fools for NBC reporting.

You have Chris Christie going on and saying, these people are an embarrassment, called them a national embarrassment. And Sidney Powell, which apparently who is causing much of the angst, suddenly, oh no, she's doing this on her own. Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She's not a member of the Trump legal team.

Put up element six please. This is the Trump tweet promoting Sidney Powell. Sidney Powell, I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend our right to a free and fair election. Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, which we're calling the Island of Misfit Toys.

Chairman Steele, you know, I mean, it's at the point now where the two buckets of conspiracy are a 40 bazillion ballots were flown by the United States Army to Germany and they're hidden. And that's why we can't find the massive glorious victory. This is what Jenna Ellis talk about. And the second one being, we can't tell you how, he just won. That's Mike Lee on Parler. Mike Lee on Parler, where on Twitter, he's normal Mike Lee. On Parler, he's going, you know Trump really won, right? It was a landslide. They just hide it from me, I can't tell you how. We've reached the land of the absurd, Michael.

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, and we've been here for four years. So in one sense, none of this is surprising. It is part of the last episode in the series. So, with that in mind, we just get our popcorn and we just kind to go with it because we know on the other channels that's where the good stuff is that we'll get to next week.

Look, this is the reality that we're in right now. Trump handpicked these lawyers through Rudy Giuliani. He knows exactly who is on his legal team. Every name in that tweet he knew about, signed off on. Rudy Giuliani is not going to go out there and just put together a team of, you know, misfit toys without Trump signing off on the misfit nature of those toys. So there it is.

So all of this noise that they're now coming back on this -- on the back end 40 million votes in Germany, overseas ballots, it's just -- I chair the U.S. Vote Foundation. Seriously? Come on. You got an overseas voting, they're only like 7 or 8 million expats altogether between Republicans and Democrats.

REID: And some of them are voting for Trump.

STEELE: Yes. And some of them --

REID: Some of them voted for Trump. So you're saying they just don't count any of the overseas, don't count any of the black votes and then Trump can win.

STEELE: Right.

REID: Yes, is you just discount everybody black and every (INAUDIBLE). The other thing, and I have to say this, I know that some of The Lincoln Project colleagues have said never forgive, never let them back in. People like Mike Lee, who are going to -- you know, six months from now going to be pretending, I care about the Constitution, Constitution. He's on Parler saying Trump really won the election.

You have all of these people, Lamar Alexander, Mike DeWine, Chris Christie, Larry Hogan, some of the one who creped out and said, we think, we think, we think, we think Biden won. But then you have the others, like Tim Scott, Rick Scott of Florida, Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley, Richard Burr. Do they -- should they ever be allowed back into polite and normal political society after what they have done to this country?

STEELE: Well, unlike the current and iteration that Republicans who claim to be the standard bearers of the Republican Party who want to kick people out and lock them out because they don't like Donald Trump or aren't feel -- you know showing fealty to Trump. I'm not going to sit here and decide who should or should not be a Republican, or who should or shouldn't be inside the party. Those individuals have to make that case and that stand for themselves and then take it to the voters if they're planning to run under Republican banner.

If you are in a blood red state, this won't ever be an issue for you. You're going to be fine. If you're in a different state, a purple state, if you will, you continue the color theme, yes, you're going to have to account for where you stood at this hour for the American people in that. So I'm not going play that game, Joy, with them.

REID: We're out of time. time. But I have a yes or no for you, my friend. Yes, would you ever go to war with any of these men?

STEELE: I have been at war with them. Did you not see my chairmanship with the RNC?

REID: I'm saying with them by your side. Would you trust them by your side in battle?

STTELE: It depends on what the battle is. But, look, that's the nature of what's happening.

REID: It will be a two-night.

STEELE: No. Joy, come on. You asked a serious question. Well, I'm trying to give you a serious answer.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: That's the problem with the nature of our politics today. And in the many respects, Donald Trump exposed that distortion in our politics. You see it on the left as well. Would you go -- would you -- how do you go to battle with an Ocasio-Cortez, at some point when she turns to the moderate or the conservative, Democrats next to your doors.

REID: I would. She knows how to speak to young voters and I trust her that she actually cares about constituents. I believe she actually cares whether people have a meal on Thanksgiving. I don't know if Marco Rubio cares, I don't know if Rick Scott cares. I know AOC cares. And she will fight for her constituents come hell or high water and for this country's democracy. Hell, yes, I will go to war with her, 100 percent.

STEELE: And I'm sure her constituents those people represent, they're constituents feel the same way about them. I don't get to make that judgment for them and neither for you.

REID: Well, they surprise. They haven't passed a bill to feed them at Thanksgiving. Surprise, they are not doing a damn thing to give them to make sure they eat.

STEELE: But they got re-elected and they picked up eleven seats. So somebody saw something they like.

REID: But what are they going to do with it? We're out of time, but what the question is, what will they do, because right now they're doing nothing for these people, nothing, but we'll see. Heidi Przybyla. Mike, I love debating with you. It's good to be debating with you. Michael Steele, always fun. Text you later and say good morning (ph). Thank you very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, much more of tonight's breaking news. The formal transition has begun, as the bizarre spectacle of Trump's legal team continues.

And later millions pack the airport setting up a COVID calamity.

Meanwhile, the lame duck president skips out on a COVID-19 meeting with world leaders to golfing.

Plus, a devastating Thanksgiving ahead for millions of families out of work and are lining up in food lines, while Republicans, we're just talking about, in Washington do not seem to care. They certainly haven't demonstrated it.

Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: We are continuing to follow tonight's major breaking news.

The head of the General Services Administration has informed president-elect Joe Biden that the official government transition process has begun. The obvious question, what took so long?

Meanwhile, Trump is promising his legal battle will proceed. That's the same battle his ally Chris Christie has called a national embarrassment.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama.

And, Senator, you are an expert lawyer, a legendarily expert lawyer.

So, I just want to ask you, because Jenna Ellis is now tweeting at myself and Ari Melber a bit snarkily with a lot of confidence. She's put a lot of her chest into it.

"Hey, Ari Melber, Joy-Ann Reid, do you know how a case gets to the Supreme Court? One side has to appeal a final opinion they disagree with. As I said, the Third Circuit has granted our appeal. We already have one case from PA pending before SCOTUS."

So, she seems confident that she can still get a case to the Supreme Court. Have you seen anything in these 31 lawsuits that might get Donald Trump to the Supreme Court, where, in your view, that court would overturn the election of Joe Biden?

SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): No, Joy, there's not been anything.

Thanks for having me, by the way. I really appreciate you and joining you again.

But, no, there's not been anything legally that I have seen that has come out. It has just been crazy conspiracy theories. And, yes, anybody can appeal a case, and -- because once a case gets turned -- turned down and you lose on -- at a lower court level, court of appeals are pretty much obligated to take the case.

The Supreme Court is not obligated to take cases. I'm not seeing anything where there was any legal basis whatsoever. And I tend to agree with Chris Christie, not only as what was going on, but these cases are now beginning to be an embarrassment, a national embarrassment, for the legal profession. And they need to just stop.

It just needs to stop, and let this transition move forward.

REID: And, as somebody who's been a civil rights lawyer and done the right thing, just as a human being, to try to fight for the rights of people who are not even you, right, for black people to receive justice in the hands of the courts, how do you feel watching Republicans go specifically after black voters in places where black voters are the majority or a substantial plurality?

JONES: It's really unfortunate. It is continuing to stoke the divisions that we have in this country.

We now have the General Services administration saying that this transition needs to move forward. Joe Biden ran on a healing platform. That's what we need to be doing right now. We don't need to be attacking one group or the other right now.

But particularly going after black voters, who have enough issues across this country with trying to cast a ballot, and then to disperse all of them, it's an insult to the community. It's an insult to all of those who really went to the polls.

Everyone wanted a high voter turnout. We have encouraged people to get out to vote. And now we're insulting them by saying, well, you're -- it's just all fraud. And it's really a sad commentary on the lawyers that are pursuing these claims.

REID: And I am sorry that you did not win your reelection. I really genuinely am, because you -- I'm always tweeting that you are a civil rights hero, and you are, sir.

And you lost to a man who doesn't know what the Voting Rights Act is. And the turnout was actually low in your state. It was one of the lowest of all the states.

But had you prevailed and carried Joe Biden under -- with you, if you if you two had both won because you had sort of the same voters who brought you to the table, your state probably would have been one of the sources. It's a state with a lot of black voters.

So, your state would have been in this mix, too.


REID: Do you think that Joe Biden can trust any Republican at this point that you have served with as a United States senator, given their conduct and their refusal to publicly accept his victory in this election?

You quite graciously conceded. He -- the current president cannot. Can you trust -- would you trust any Senate Republicans at this point, if you were Biden?

JONES: I would, absolutely. I know those folks.

And I believe that, once we can get this transition in process, and once we can get a new president in -- you know, there's going to be arguments over policy. There are going to be a lot of arguments on which way to go.

But if there is anyone in this country who can find common ground with the other side, it is Joe Biden. I have known him for 40 years. And I know he can do that. And he's going to give them a chance. And I want them to give him a chance.

I have talked to these folks on the other side of the aisle. They're good people ,Joy. They're not -- they're not as partisan as people might believe. And the fact of the matter is, they have -- they have done what they believe to be in the best interest. And we may not agree with it. We may think that they should say something sooner.

But I think now, as we have seen the board of elections certify in Michigan and in Georgia, these folks are going to come out and say, OK, it's time. We have given the chance.

REID: Yes, we will see.

JONES: We have given the president on opportunity to bring legal challenges.

REID: We shall see.

JONES: And they have all failed.

REID: Let's -- we are out of time. My producers are going to scream at me if I don't let you go.

JONES: I'm sorry.

REID: But, very quickly, have you been approached about potentially taking a job inside the attorney general's office in the Civil Rights Division, very quickly?

JONES: Joy, I am trying to finish up my tenure as the United States senator from Alabama. We still have got a lot of work to do.

REID: Sure.

JONES: I have been friends with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and I want them to succeed.

And so we will just leave it at that.


JONES: And we will see how things play out. He's picking a really good team right now.

REID: Well, keep us posted. You're a friend of the show.

Senator Doug Jones, thank you very much, sir, for being here. I appreciate your time.

JONES: Thank you, Joy.

REID: And up next -- take care. Cheers.

And up next: As the coronavirus surge continues, millions of Americans are ignoring guidance and heading to the airports ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

We will be right back.


REID: Front-line health care workers are sounding the alarm, as they struggle with a major surge in COVID cases virtually everywhere.

Doctors in hard-hit states like Wisconsin are begging people to stay home for Thanksgiving. But many of those dire warnings are falling on deaf ears. Airports were packed over the weekend. The TSA says more than three million people passed through checkpoints. But it's not just average citizens engaging in dangerous behavior.

Axios reports the White House is going forward with holiday parties, noting that invitations make no mention of health safety protocols. Today, the administration's own surgeon general had to remind them that it's a bad idea.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: We're at a dire point in our fight with this virus, by any measure.

Well, we want everyone to understand that these holiday celebrations can be super-spreader events. So, we want them to be smart and we want them to be as small as possible.


REID: The current occupant of the White House has made crystal clear yet again that he is over the pandemic. Donald Trump skipped a virtual G20 session on pandemic preparedness over the weekend to play golf.

Meanwhile, despite dire warnings, super-spreader events continue. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's office is investigating a recent indoor wedding at an orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn. Video has emerged showing a huge crowd packed indoors, in violation of restrictions banning such gatherings.

Last week in Atlanta, an after-party for a virtual rap battle between rappers Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, video showed crowds of maskless people congregating inside the Compound nightclub.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California and Dr. Kavita Patel, former Obama White House policy director.

And, Congresswoman Waters, I'm going to start with you on this, because the White House is going to go ahead and have their holiday parties. And that is not surprising to anyone. But can you just talk about, within your constituents, people who really listen to you and you're very influential over, that party in Atlanta broke my heart, I have to be honest with you, when I saw it this weekend, because we know that this is disproportionally killing black and brown people.

And to see so many black folks packed in together, it was heartbreaking to me. How do we get across that, as much as we are exhausted by the pandemic and tired of it all, we have to keep -- we have to keep doing the masks and the distancing?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Yes, we have to just keep pushing. We have to keep talking. We have to try to make people understand the dangers that we all are confronted with.

Joy, I'm in Washington. I didn't go back to Los Angeles, because I listened to the experts. And I was not going to go into the airports. And I did not want to do anything that would endanger me and cause me not to be able to be back here next Monday, when we have to pass the HEROES Act, when we have to pass legislation that will help so many suffering people.

So many people and families are hungry, and they're standing in food lines. And I'm so worried about possible evictions. And so I think that we have to keep crying out. We have to keep talking. We have to keep trying to convince and do everything that we can to get people to understand that they can take responsibility, that they cannot be a part of spreading this virus.

REID: Yes, indeed.

And, Dr. Patel, when the president of the United States, when he's -- when the behavior he's modeling is that, when the G20 is meeting to try to stop this global pandemic all over the world, he's just out golfing. He just doesn't care.

And so I -- and we know that not everyone really even listens to him. There are people who couldn't -- wouldn't give Trump the time of day. But it feels like the messaging is so consistent that people just want to party, and he's the partier in chief.

DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, absolutely Joy. That's right.

And not only that. I mean, candidly, you would think that he would even want to take some pride in these vaccines and some of the research and funding that helped lead us to a place where we actually have some potential vaccines, or the G20 to celebrate.

He's not even willing to talk about the potential for the United States to act and do its part in getting the world vaccinated safely. Forget about any of that.

But I really hope what Congresswoman Waters said is -- she is absolutely right that we need to appeal to people. We need to tell them it's not about you. It's about keeping -- it's about helping health care workers, who are literally sacrificing their lives.

Almost 2,000 health care workers have died taking care of COVID patients and counting. So, it's not about you. So, let's try to do what we can and give -- give my friends a break who are doing this on the front lines every day.

REID: Yes.

Well, Congresswoman, he would have to thank a Muslim or three, right, because the guy who he tapped to head Operation Warp Speed is of Moroccan -- is a Moroccan, of Moroccan descent. There are two Turkish immigrants, a husband and wife, who are the head of Pfizer's effort to try to create a vaccine.

It is ironic to me that this president started off with his first act being to try to ban Muslims from traveling to this country. And here he is and here we are relying on Muslim geniuses to try to save our lives.

WATERS: Well, you know, Joy, we have always believed that this was a country that would welcome immigrants. And we have always known that with them come talent.

With them come a commitment to come to the United States and to be a part of a democracy that allows one to realize their full potential. And so, in believing that, it was so very difficult for many of us to understand why the president of the United States would literally have a travel ban to keep people out, when, in fact, we're supposed to be the country that welcomes.

But, of course, this president has disappointed us at every turn. I wish I could say that I'm surprised at what he's doing. This way that he is trying to make people believe that, somehow, he actually won the election and that the Democrats have all been a fraud, and not counting the votes properly, on and on and on, but I'm not surprised.

I have known that this was a man with no good values. This was a human being who really does not care about others and really does not care about the Constitution, democracy, none of that. And he has shown it throughout this four years.

And so let him keep going as far as he wants to go, even though the door is closed on him now. There's nowhere for him to go. But if he wants to try and keep going to the Supreme Court, let him try. It's over.

REID: Yes.

WATERS: Now we have got a president-elect and a vice president who's going to take this country in another direction, and create the kind of change and appreciation for diversity and talent that will help this democracy to be stronger.

REID: Absolutely.

WATERS: So, I'm just looking forward to inaugur (AUDIO GAP)

REID: Absolutely.

And, Dr. Patel, what would you recommend, now that we do have a president-elected, and even the GSA admits it?

What do you think that he can accomplish in the next 50-something days to ease the strain and the horror, particularly of health care workers? Is there anything that you would recommend that he do?

PATEL: Yes, great question, Joy. I think a couple of things.

Number one, I do think sending signals that he's not afraid on January 20 to invoke that Defense Production Act for all the supplies we're going to need, not just for the testing and the PPE, but, Joy, the vaccine distribution. It takes gloves, it takes needles, it takes people to do all of that.

And I think he can also send a signal, as he's done so far with very clear messaging. Joy, he did more in that two or three minutes where you saw him emotionally react to that ICU nurse. I mean, it's still haunting my image in my head.

That will do more, just to show emotion, clear messaging. Those are the things he can do today. And they will make a big difference. They already are.

REID: Modeling good behavior, it helps.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, always love talking with you and, of course, Dr. Kavita Patel. We love talking with you both. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

And still ahead: The Trump campaign is recycling Jim Crow era tactics in its quest to overturn election results in largely black cities.

Stay with us.


REID: As Donald Trump and his Republican cronies continue to file their phony lawsuits to overturn Joe Biden's clear election victory. The strategy is one that Republicans have waged for decades, disenfranchising black Americans. Philadelphia, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit. Democrats want to throw out votes in all of them, all cities with large populations of black voters who overwhelmingly supported Biden.

But unlike decades past, the courts and public are not having it. In Detroit, black voters are suing Donald Trump for trying to take the constitutional protected right away. the lawsuit states that defendants are openly seeking to disenfranchise black voters, adding defendant's tactics repeat the worst abuses in American history, as black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the republic.

Joining me now, Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign and my friend.

Bishop Barber, I mean, I just look at the demographic in the states. Detroit being the city with the highest black percentage population in American, 78 percent. Atlanta being a bare majority African-American, Milwaukee had a plurality of black voters. That's what they're suing. What does this tell you about the state of the Republican Party?

BISHOP WILLIAM BARBER, THE POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: Well, it tells us that they are still using the same playbook that was developed in 1968 by Richard Nixon and Kevin Phillips and Pat Buchanan, that talked about positive polarization. Code words like urban and city mean black. They say whatever black people vote in mass, it's fraud.

But they never own, their proven in the court voter suppression, where courts have actually proved that Republicans have engaged in racism and voter suppression with surgical precision.

So, this is an old playbook. And Donald Trump is not the only one. This is the caution. He's just using what was prepared and has been used for a long time. Reagan used it. Nixon used it. Others have used it.

Even some Republicans today that don't like Trump, they use the same tactic. And they've been big on voter suppression. They claim fraud, but their claim of fraud is actually fraudulent. The really issue is voter suppression and this is another tactic, what he's trying to do now.

REID: Well, I see the same echoes in those two Georgia senators who aside from the sort of dubious taste in investment, you know, feeding off the pandemic to make money. They have both tried to claim that election in Georgia that Donald Trump lost was fraudulent.

The other thing I feel like conservatives use is the black church. They love to walk into the church on MLK Day. You had Johnny Isakson do it when he was senator. You had Loeffler do it, so I'm proud to be here at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Georgia, and they want to get on the pulpit for MLK Day, and then turn around and attack the said man of the church, attack the pastor of that church, Reverend Warnock, which is what they're doing now.

What do you make of that attack? And do you think that actually just might -- go on.

BARBER: They should. You know, they love the King of their imagination. They would be just as much against King as others were when he was alive. But they also use these terms like socialism. That means they called Dr. King, they called Fannie Lou Hamer, they called Rabbi Heschel, they called those people socialists as well. These are terms.

I like what my friend Reverend Warnock said about Kelly Loeffler. He said he was glad she listened to his sermon. Maybe she should listen to the ones about love and justice.

But what's hypocritical of Republicans is that they are attacking my friend and others for quoting words directly from Jesus, which prove they don't know the bible. They don't know Jesus. They wrongly think Jesus was a healer and lover of the poor, was actually anti-healthcare, anti-living wages, and anti-poor, anti-gay, anti-Palestinian, pro-gun, pro-war, pro-tax, pro-tax cuts for the wealthy, pro-racism and pro-Trumpism.

That's just wrong. What they do is say so much about what God says so little and so little about what God says so much. They're scared of a Warnock. And they're scared of a Jewish brother running because they are two people who know what religion say about love and justice and mercy, and how to engage that in the public.

And you know what? They should be scared, because millions of people of faith and religious leaders are rising up to reclaim the moral platform that extremists have tried to take in the name of the Republican (ph).

REID: I think it's poetic you have a black and Jewish man running. That was the coalition for the civil rights movement. So, maybe Jewish brothers and sisters went down south to fight for the rights of black people. And so, now, you have that coalition running against two people would likely support what's going on now.

We're going to put up on the screen what assistance two people will run out by this year, because it was passed way back before through the CARES Act, and now, it's expiring. And McConnell and Republicans are refusing, refusing to renew the desperately needed programs. What do you say to Republicans and my good brother, our good brother Michael Steele says he thinks they do care about the people. But they're going to let this stuff expire, Bishop. They're gong to let the people be hungry.

BARBER: Well, the bible says a tree is known by the fruit it bares. They do not care, because even before COVID, they were allowing 140 million people in this country to be in poverty and low wealth, 700 people a day were dying, and they were more interested in passing tax cuts for the wealthy than living wages for poor and low wage workers who've been hit the most back home.

But when you look at that list and you see that they are denying that and more concerned about putting one woman on the Supreme Court and blocking votes. And not protecting people from laying in caskets, this is a crime against humanity. It's exactly what we say.

REID: Yeah.

BARBER: It is not our Constitution, about (INAUDIBLE) and justice. It's not about love. It's not about really caring about the people.

And that's why people are rising up. They were afraid when Obama broke through in North Carolina and Florida, and Virginia in 2008, and they are surely afraid now that Georgia has opened up and these two senators are running. And we need to understand this is not just Trumpism. It's so much deeper and we've got to stand against it.

REID: Yeah. Absolutely.

Bishop William Barber, always love talking with you. Thank you so much for being here, on a Moral Monday. Appreciate you.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Senator Tammy Duckworth on one of the biggest challenges Joe Biden faces, restoring America's standing on the world stage. That's a big one.

Stay with us.


REID: There is perhaps no area more crucial for undoing the damage of the Trump administration than foreign policy. And we now know who will lead that task in the Biden-Harris administration. Tony Blinken, a Biden confidant of more than 20 years who will be nominated as secretary of state.

Top cabinet picks also include former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen who confirmed would be the first woman to serve as treasury secretary.

Former deputy CIA director, Avril Haines, is Biden's choice for director of national intelligence. If confirmed, she'd be the highest ranking woman to ever serve in U.S. intelligence.

And Alejandro Mayorkas who will be nominated to run homeland security, a Cuban refugee who'd be the first Latino and immigrant to head the department. Imagine that.

Joining me now is Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, member of Senate Armed Services Committee.

And, Senator, I want to go through it, and we'll put up the list of others who are part of this list of people, including some women, including a Latino, including, you know, John Kerry, including Linda Thomas Greenfield for the ambassador of the United Nations.

How difficult do you think it will be even with this high caliber of talent for the rest of the world to take the United States, not so much Joe Biden himself, but to take the United States seriously after Trump?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, this is a very serious cabinet. That is a message that President-elect Biden is sending with this message, and he could not have picked better names in each and every one of these spots. He's basically telling the rest of the world, we are back, this is our A-team. These are hands you all know, people who have led before in really crucial times on a global scale, and we are taking our role back as leader of the free world and the greatest democracy in the face of the greatest democracy.

So he's sent a strong message to the rest of the world America is back, and that, you know, there are real serious people back -- back in business again.

REID: And, you know, you've talked about and your written op-ed talked about Donald Trump endangering our national security and I think that's clear, particularly his attitude toward Russia. But I think for a lot of people, the worst foreign policy the sort of related disaster has been Donald Trump's handling of migration and the fact that he and his administration took possession of thousands of children, some 600 of whom have not been returned to their families.

What do you think is the significance of Alejandro Mayorkas, who would not only be the first Latino to hold the role, but helped develop DACA?

DUCKWORTH: I think it's very significant because he can be the one to say, listen, we will welcome people who seek refuge. We will stand firm against those people who seek to do harm to the United States, but we will not turn away people who are seeking refuge into the United States, and we'll do everything that we can to finally reunite these children with their missing parents. I have great hope for the future of our country with this Biden cabinet as so far it has been nominated.

REID: And there's also the issue of the Middle East. When we've Jared Kushner who's had business interests that make him I think a very inappropriate person to have been in charge, not to mention his inexperience. He -- while Jared Kushner was working on a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, his companies, Kushner Company's charitable foundation, was funding settlements.

You have Mike Pompeo going through and meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman, they met in secret with Pompeo. He's been trying to put facts on the ground that would bar Palestinians from really having anything, let alone a state and trying to make those facts permanent so that Biden can't change them.

Are you worried that those things will be hard to undo?

DUCKWORTH: I'm not worried those things will be hard to undo, but frankly, my greatest is America's national security, and that includes the national security of Israel, and when you have serious people come to the table who want to negotiate, who have the appropriate background as Mr. Blinken does, I have great confidence that our national security will be safeguarded.

Now, that said, we have to send a message to both our allies and our adversaries around the world that they can't take advantage of the inexperience of the team that America put forward like they did under the Trump administration, and certainly, the United States is not for sale the way it was under the Trump presidency.

REID: Well, hear, hear to that. And, hopefully, we'll be back, the Iran deal (ph), and things normal policy coming back, ha ha.

I do want to do one domestic policy thing with you, though, because as a woman of color yourself who made history in your own way, in so many ways, the idea of Deb Haaland maybe being interior secretary, who will be the first indigenous person to hold such a role, do you as I do root for something like that? I think that would be a huge message to send to the world about us if that were to happen. What do you think about her running Interior?

DUCKWORTH: Well, I think that any role that we can elevate our members of our first nation is a great one. I think she would be fantastic at Interior, but I also think there are any number of members of the first nations who could hold any number of roles.

Remember that it's not just about one person, we have to fill government. There's a lot of empty seats right now because the Trump administration failed so miserably at actually putting people through jobs to help the American people. So, we have lots of positions that need to be filled, and I know the Biden folks are looking to make that as diverse as possible, and Deb Haaland is just one of many more who are coming.

REID: I think there are a lot who would like to see you in that administration as well. I won't try to pin you down on that.

But, Senator Tammy Duckworth, thank you so much for being here. People talked about you being in there as well.

Thank you so much.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.



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