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Transcript: The ReidOut, November 24, 2020

Guests: Melody Barnes, Olivia Troye, Chris Murphy, Amanda Simanek


Biden introduces picks for top administration posts. Biden says, his administration will be a coalition-builder. Biden cabinet nominee says, America is back. Harris says, nominees share an unwavering belief in America's ideals. Biden announces diverse field of cabinet picks. Biden will nominate Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence. General Mattis says, Trump is a threat to the Constitution. Biden says, administration's purpose will be uniting America. Heidi Heitkamp is reportedly on shortlist for agriculture secretary. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins passed away last night at the age of 93.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: A president talking about the turkey carrots and raising a question, who is the real turkey?

And that is for us. I concede the hour. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Ari, for the concession.

Well, for nearly four years, we have all been living in a grim reality show that should but, frankly, never have made it past the pilot. But in 57 days, we will start a new with President Joe Biden leading the country. Regardless of Donald Trump's pathological inability to concede, the transition is now well under way.

Today the White House approved giving Biden the president daily brief. And this afternoon, President-elect Biden formally introduced his top foreign policy and national security team. In an exclusive interview, with NBC's Lester Holt, Biden described the message that he is sending with his initial cabinet picks.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: America is back. We're at the head of the table once again. I have spoken with over 20 world leaders and they all are literally pleased and somewhat excited America is going to reassert its role in the world and be a coalition builder.

LESTER HOLT, MSNBC HOST: This line up, those you selected so far, a lot of familiar faces among them. What do you say to those who wondering if you are trying to create a third Obama term?

BIDEN: This is not third Obama term, because there's -- we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden Administration. The president, President Trump has changed the landscape. It's become America First, which has been spent America alone.


REID (voice over): These first picks may not all be well known to the American people but each is highly respected in their own department. As The Washington Post notes, with these, picks Biden, quote, aims to reverse much of the Trumps agenda with figures who have promoted the policies that Trump rebuffed, denigrated and used to fuel his rise to power. It's also an attempt to bring back normalcy to what has been nothing but a clown show at 1600 Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Now, in case you forgot what normal sounds like, here it is.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SERETARY OF THE STATE NOMINEE: America, at its best, still has a greater ability than any other country on earth to bring others together to meet the challenges of our time.

AVRIL HAINES, DIERECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE NOMINEE: I know, Mr. President-elect and Madam Vice President-elect, that you have selected us not to serve you but to serve on behalf of the American people.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS NOMINEE: On this day, I'm thinking about the American people, my fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world. I want to say to you America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.


REID (on camera): While each member of the Biden team comes from varying backgrounds, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris noted what brings them together.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: They also share something else in common, an unwavering belief in America's ideals and unshakable commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.


REID: I want to bring in Melody Barnes, former Domestic Policy Adviser to President Barack Obama, Jason Johnson, Professor of Journalism and Politics at Morgan State University, and Michael Beschloss, NBC News Presidential Historian. I'm really excited to talk to all of you.

I want to play very quickly one more little bite, and this is Alejandro Mayorkas and the Secretary of State Nominee, Anthony Blinken, talking about their family's stories. Take a listen.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: My father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism. They cherished our democracy and were intensely proud to become United States citizens, as was I.

BLINKEN: My late stepfather, Samuel Pisar, he was one of 900 children in his school in Bialystok, Poland, but the only one to survive the Holocaust after four years in concentration camps. At the end of war he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star. He ran to the tank. The hatch opened. An African-American GI looked down at him. He got down on his knees and said the only three words that he knew in English that his mother had taught him before the war, God bless America.


REID: Michael Beschloss, you know it occurred to me, as I was listen this today, that, you know, there's a timber and a tone and a lexicon of America that we all have gotten and so used to hearing in public life, whether it is from an ambassador or secretary of state, there's just a way that public leaders in this country talk, whether or not their policies match what they're saying but it's a way that they speak. And I haven't heard it for so long. This was like an assault on senses hearing people speak that way again. How did you take in what you heard today and these poignant, incredible stories that they were telling?

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, MSNBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I loved it. This is like being at the end of Wizard of Oz and we've gone through a nightmare of three years and ten months and the dream is over. Now, we're back to reality with good people who are coming to very important positions.

And it's also nice, Joy, to take a look at group of appointees that don't look like a restricted all white country club, which too many of the Donald Trump people have for the last three years and ten months.

And the other thing you were showing Avril Haines who was the new DNI. You know, the first thing she says to Biden in public is you know that I shy away from -- I never shy away from speaking truth to power. Did that ever happen with anyone who worked with Donald Trump? It was always dear, leader. Trump hates dogs. He loves lap dogs.

And you had people that he appointed like Michael Flynn and Robert O'Brien, and Chris Miller. I don't know if they were nice people or not, but they certainly did not belong in those jobs. And they were so unqualified and so thrilled to be there that they went along with a lot of things that no appointee should ever stand for. That's the way it's supposed to work in a democracy.

REID: Yes, I mean, and I'll update to the Wiz, because I do love Wiz more. That the can you feel a brand new day sound track was playing in my head the whole time, that I was listening to them talk.

BESCHLOSS: Can we sing that before the program is over.


REID: Yes, I'm -- I, don't threaten me with a good time.


REID: Don't threaten me with a good time.

You know, Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote an article in foreign affairs and he wrote, why U.S. Security depends on alliances now more than ever. He wrote, the United States today is undermining the foundation of an international order manifestly advantageous to U.S. interest, reflecting a basic ignorance on the extent to which both robust alliances and international institutions provide vital strategic depth. In practice, America First has meant America alone, something Biden said today, that has damage this country's ability to address problems before they reach the U.S. territory and has thus compounded the danger emergent threats post.

And, you know, Melody, it's strikes me that Donald Trump's team were not just sort of B-listers when it came to who he staffed in. Some of them were actually generals and people who should have been A-listers, but even they didn't have the courage to speak up to Donald Trump, right? And they went in thinking maybe they could rein him in and they didn't even try.

And, you know, it's the one place that the neo conservatives and I came to agreement during the Trump years, that the post-World War II order actually meant something and did organize the world in a way that kept the world safer, and then Trump threw just threw it away and went Russia first, North Korea first. How easy in your mind will it be for this normal that felt so good today to kick in and actually change things?

MELODY BARNES, FORMER DOMESTIC POLICY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Look, those are fantastic questions. You know, I think when President-elect Biden said America is back, I also think professionalism is back. I think that the belief in expertise is back. The belief that the American government can be a force for good both domestically and internationally is back. But it will take some time for that message to be believed for people to see our actions both at home and abroad and to see that those words and those actions match one another.

In fact, I think part of what has to happen is there has to be a resetting of the culture of American government and America as a force for democracy in the world. That is something that sad and troubling to say. Those stories that Tony Blinken was telling, that Alejandro Mayorkas was telling, were very, very powerful. But I believe that Americans are going to have to work hard to have others around the world believe that we mean what we say and we say what we mean.

REID: Yes, absolutely, because we're still the country that elected the guy from The Apprentice, and thought he should be president and got 80 million votes a second time, like we're still that country too.

And I love having Jason on, because Jason is willing to be contrarian, and I appreciate that. And you have been getting -- you know, people have been mad at you on Twitter because I think it feels so good that we almost don't want to interrogate it. We once, oh, these people are experts, they're smart, they've got great degrees. I know some people like Marco Rubio hate degrees and they think degrees are (INAUDIBLE), but they've got degrees they're intelligent, don't question it.

But the thing that does worry me, okay, and I want to play you a sound bite, and this is President-elect Biden's interview with Lester Holt, and then I have a couple of a question for you on the other side.


HOLT: Have you considered for the sake of national unity selecting or nominating a Republican, someone who voted for President Trump?

BIDEN: Yes. And we still have a lot more appointments to make. I want this country to be united. The purpose of our administration is, once again, reuniting. We can't keep this very long political dialogue going. It has to end.

HOLT: What about former rivals from your own party, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren? Have you talked to them about cabinet positions?

BIDEN: Well I have talked to -- look, as I said, we already have significant representation among progressives in the administration, but there's nothing really off the table.

But one thing is really critical, taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House, and particularly a person of consequence is a really difficult decision that will have to be made.


REID: It's smart. Don't take people out of a contested state where the Republicans have the governorship. But, Jason, you've got the idea that maybe consider Rahm Emanuel for position. You Rahm Emanuel, I think Laquan McDonald. There's talk about Heidi Heitkamp potentially having a position.


REID: You know, there are question about whether the meat packing industry, which hasn't been star players in terms of COVID, with cheer, with people who are concerned about the workers and these plants would be concerned if it's not someone like a Marcia Fudge instead. So are you worried that Biden's tendency toward conciliation will mean that he, I don't know, kind of gives away the game.


REID: Have we lost Jason? Oh, we lost Jason. Oh, no. We're going to try to get him back. We're going to try to get him back. So I'll just going to go to you Melody on that question until we get Jason back. Does it worry you at all that Biden might be too conciliatory in who he brings in?

BARNES: Well, one of the things we know is that Joe Biden has been in government for quite some time. And if you are a student of Joe Biden and I spent time on the Senate Judiciary Committee as a staff person watching him when he was co-chair and ranking member and working with him in the Obama White House. And, one, you have to understand who he is and who his -- and what his record represents, two, that like most presidents, he wants to surround himself with a diversity of opinions and a diversity of views. But, ultimately, and this is what I mean when I say study Joe Biden, he is ultimately going to make the decision that he thinks is the best set of decisions for the country.

I believe that he will create a coalition and that kind of diversity that I was just speaking of that not everyone is going to like everyone that is a part of his cabinet or a part of his senior White House staff. But, ultimately, I think the norms, I think his values and his principles that he talked about on the campaign trail are going to be what drive him. We can see that already in some of the selections that he made. And, ultimately, I think this coalition that's very diverse, that sent him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will see him act on those same values and those same principles.

REID: Okay, so the gremlins got you, Jason. I don't know if you heard what Melody just said but do you agree with it?

JOHNSON: No, I don't. I heard one small part of it. Look, this is the greatest concern I had about Joe Biden, even though the way I always thought he was a candidate most likely to win among all the Democrat. He is too conciliatory, okay? This is not about working together.

I don't want Rahm Emanuel, anywhere near presidential administration. This is a guy who was more concerned about Jessie Smollett than he was about Laquan McDonald. I don't want John Kasich, who was in favor of suppressing as many votes as he could to be anywhere near this Administration.

Joe Biden needs to recognize that he has four years to make the case that obnoxious, aggressive white nationalist Trumpism isn't effective, that he can rally the country around strong difficult principles again, and that means picking people who may sometimes buck the trend.

Look, diversity is great. But if all that diversity includes people who are all in favor of drone strikes and bombing Yemen, that's not a good thing. He needs to have an administration that's willing to change some direction.

I'll say this, Joy, after looking at some of the people he brought out today, they're all nice people, they all have wonderful backgrounds, they seem like perfectly wonderful neighbors who will share their leaf blower with you and everything else like that, but what I want to see is who he picks on a domestic level, who he takes for secretary of labor, who he takes for interior, who he ends up putting in as attorney general.

Because the domestic changes that will support American life, that will protect children who are coming over here as refugees at the border, that will be what really determines if Joe Biden ran on changing the soul of America or trying to take us back to some fictitious hay day of the Obama years, which weren't great for everybody to begin with.

REID: Well, and, Michael, I want you to give on the last word on this. You're a historian. You have to be the tie breaker here. Because, look, you know, Biden can come in and try to be FDR and say, I'm going to make big change because big change is required in this moment. You know, he can be LBJ and say, damn it, I know I'm a southerner but this can't last, like we have to make dramatic change. Or he can try to come in and be a conciliator and just to try to hold the line, may be more of a Carter and say, I just want everyone to get along and let's try to do smaller things that are nice but don't really change anything.

That feels to me -- I think I'm with Jason on this. I feel like that sets up 2024 to be a referendum on nothing happened, nothing changed in my life, therefore give me another rule breaker and then we can get somebody a smart version of Trump, and that's what scares me most.

BESCHLOSS: Joe Biden is the head of a party that is probably, in many cases, more progressive than he is. He knows that. He cannot just sit on oars and say, I'm going to run this as if it's Dwight Eisenhower in 1955. And I think the people appointed today really reflect that.

But, you know, Joy, can't we just -- I'd loved it, I totally agree with what Jason said, but at the same time, I would love just to spend tonight enjoying this day, having new people appointed to positions. I don't have to worry whether they are secretly working for a foreign government or that they're there to steal money, whether they are there to help Donald Trump make an authoritarian take over the United States. I think we're pretty near out of the clear.

As you know, my wife and I have two sons that are in their 20s. I have felt for three years every single day they have been in danger. I think tonight, maybe I'll be able to start going to sleep.

REID: Indeed, no neo-Nazis, nobody that's going to sell us out to Russia. I mean, all I have to say is everybody look up, because it's a different way of (INAUDIBLE), right? We can -- I mean, it is -- I was going to sing the whole Wiz soundtrack today.

BESCHLOSS: We'll sing it together.

REID: All right, thank you Melody Barnes, Jason Johnson, sing it on Twitter next.

BESCHLOSS: Happy Thanksgiving.

REID: Michael Beschloss, Jason Johnson, you guys too, Melody Barnes, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Up next on THE REIDOUT -- all right, I'll see you tomorrow -- Donald Trump taking out his angry feelings on the American people, doing as much damage as he can before leaving office, while millions of Americans head into Thanksgiving facing eviction and financial ruin because of Republican inaction.

Plus, David Dinkins and the political wards of New York City, Rudy Giuliani praised Dinkins after hearing of his death. But 30 years ago the same Giuliani led a violent racist riot against New York City's first black mayor. It was Trumpism before Trump.

Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this


REID: So, there is virtually nothing normal about the Trump administration.

So, it shouldn't surprise you that Trump's exit is the chaotic, conspiracy-laced dumpster fire that it is, with Trump refusing to concede even after Pennsylvania and Nevada formally certified that president-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump in both states.

To think Trump can still emerge victorious is to exist in the galaxy of alternative facts, where Trump is playing golf as a pandemic ravages the nation, where he emerges for one minute to brag about the stock market, before running away to pardon turkeys, then went back to his favorite pastime, Twitter, retweeting conspiracy theories by celebrity has-been and former fugitive Randy Quaid, because, yes, Cousin Eddie of the "Vacation" movie franchise is exactly who should be giving pointers on how our elections work.

Meanwhile, Trump is losing even his staunchest supporters to reality. Far right host Laura Ingraham -- Laura Ingraham on FOX, FOX News, telling her viewers that this charade is over, that president-elect Biden will be inaugurated. Yes.

But still not a single word from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about whether he will join us in the real world, where Joe Biden is the next president of the United States.

And joining me now is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

And, Senator Murphy, you are not a former 1980s celebrity, so I'm not sure how credible our audience is going to believe that you are.


REID: But you are an elected official.

So, I will just ask you, what do you make of the Senate majority absolute silence on the fact of the election, when Laura Ingraham has come to it, and his just inaction? What do you make of it?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): You know, Cousin Eddie was a great character, but Randy Quaid in real life is actually less stable than Cousin Eddie was in those movies. But that's who Trump is stuck with right now.

But your point is right that maybe Mitch McConnell isn't sort of openly engaging in the same level of conspiracy theory, but his silence is, frankly, more damaging to the country, because what's happening right now is that 30 to 40 percent of the American public has come to the conclusion that elections are rigged, that they are illegitimate if Democrats win.

And while this election wasn't close enough for Donald Trump to steal, what happens two or four years from now, when QAnon Republicans have taken over secretary of state offices, are in charge of election boards? What happens when a Democratic Senate candidate wins by only 10,000 votes in a pivotal election?

That election could be stolen if Republicans, by that time, believe that any time a Democrat wins, it must be rigged. So this has real consequences down the line.

And by Mitch McConnell staying silent, he's allowing for this particular virus to infect the entire party.

And I can tell you why he's doing it. He cares about power, and power only. And he doesn't want his party to fracture, and he doesn't want Donald Trump to start shooting from the inside before the Georgia run-off. But the long-term damage to democracy is significant.

REID: No, I think you're absolutely right.

And, as the leader of the party, he presided over the Tea Party invading the Republican Party. And now there are Tea Party Republicans inside of his own caucus. The QAnon people are the same way. They're just going to come in. There's already one in the House. There will be some in the Senate.

And you're right. They're just going to keep invading. Meanwhile, there's real problems in this country.

In the state of Kentucky, in his own state, Mitch McConnell's state, a third of Kentuckians are now struggling to meet their basic needs, like food, heat and rent, as the holidays approach, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Kentucky has had 162,838 cases of COVID.

He is completely absent. He sent you all home for Thanksgiving break. And we're going to put back up on -- we have been putting it on almost every night -- the things that are just expiring, emergency unemployment relief, eviction moratorium, the 2020 rebate checks that people got, student loan forbearance, meaning people are going to have to start paying, the payroll tax deferral.

You can go on and on and on, the paid sick leave tax credit. All that stuff is about to expire at the end of the year. And Mitch McConnell doesn't seem to give a damn.

Do you see any signs that any of his caucus care any more than he does?

MURPHY: Yes, I mean, let me just underscore that level of desperation.

I literally just came from Hamden, Connecticut, from a food distribution event for the holiday weekend, and the organizers were panicking a little bit, because they had enough food for 300 people, and they had what looked like about 300 cars lined up prior to the beginning of the event.

And they were scrambling to figure out what they were going to say to all of these families who were now faced with perhaps going hungry over the holiday weekend. People are at the end of their rope. And you are right. Mitch McConnell is refusing to do anything.

What we need for Mitch McConnell to do is just enter the negotiating room. He has refused to negotiate with anybody, with Nancy Pelosi, with Chuck Schumer, again, because he's afraid of splitting his caucus.

Right now, about half of the Republicans want to do nothing. They think this should just be all up to the states or that Joe Biden should be saddled with the entirety of the problem. And so Mitch McConnell is sort of putting the unity of his caucus ahead of the survival of the nation, because there are 20 Republicans that would vote with 47 Democrats in order to pass a pretty substantial coronavirus relief bill.

But he doesn't want to split up the Republicans, again, heading into Georgia, heading into the new Congress. And that's kind of par for the course for Mitch McConnell, unfortunately.

REID: Yes. And I'm guessing that one of those 20 is not Ted Cruz, who's out there tweeting B.S. about Christmas, like, come and get it, like he's talking about guns.

And it's not just -- it's not just Ted Cruz who is gross on Twitter. And I don't know how anybody keeps reelecting the man. But on the House side, you have got people like Paul Gosar, who essentially is taking the side of imperial Japan from World War II.

So, essentially, we have now had the Republican Party take the side of the -- of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and of the Japanese imperial army that murdered three million to 10 million people and that killed 2,400 Americans at Pearl Harbor. Those are their heroes, along with the 17-year-old who shot two people during a Black Lives Matter rally.

I don't know how you ever deal with this party, sir. I don't know how you think you can deal with them.


And, listen, this is why these Georgia run-offs are so important. I mean, listen, I want to believe in the power of Joe Biden to be able to reach out and bring the country together. I want to believe that his relationship with Mitch McConnell is so good that, ultimately, he can convince McConnell to drop his history of obstruction.

But color me skeptical. Right now, our focus needs to be on making sure that there is a Senate, there are 50 members of the Senate that will vote to fund the vaccination distribution program in this country. We need $8 billion in order to get the vaccine to states and to municipalities and to patients.

The states don't have that money right now. And I think we all have to worry that, if we lose these Georgia races, Mitch McConnell is going to stand in the way of everything and anything that Joe Biden wants to do, even on the vaccine.

REID: Yes.

MURPHY: I hope that's not true, but we have got to plan for the worst and win these races.

REID: I think it is.

And say it louder for the people in the back. People don't understand, what's at stake in Georgia is whether or not there will be any relief, any help for the people who are struggling, and maybe even a vaccine that's distributed properly. It's just that simple.

Senator Chris Murphy, thank you very much. Always appreciate you being on. Have a happy and wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.


REID: Cheers.

MURPHY: You too.

REID: And still ahead, millions of holiday travelers -- of course, millions of holiday travelers are willing to roll the dice on not getting themselves or their loved ones sick.

But it did not have to be this way.

Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just felt like, OK, well, it doesn't seem like it's getting any better, so, I mean, we might as well just try to just have a little bit of fun without getting sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to let people live lives, and we can't just keep people in the bondage of being homebound all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am nervous, but I want to be with my babies. Nothing is stopping me, nothing. Only he can stop.


REID: Despite dire warnings from public health experts and pleas from health care front-line workers to stay home for Thanksgiving, millions of Americans are packing airports as the pandemic rages.

With COVID cases on the rise in all 50 states, hospitals are already overwhelmed. Health officials in Wisconsin are begging people to stay home, because they're at a breaking point and are grappling with the possibility of having to ration care, even for people having medical emergencies. Today, Wisconsin reported more than 100 deaths in a single day for the first time in the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump emerged from his hiding place to try and pat himself on the back over a vaccine.

I'm joined now by Olivia Troye, former Trump aide -- former top aide, I should say, to former Vice President Mike Pence, and Amanda Simanek, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Olivia, I feel like, just watching those people in the restaurant -- in the airports, some of whose masks were falling down onto their nose, I'm, like, freaking out as I'm watching them do it. And just -- like, the things that they're saying to justify traveling anyway, even though they're being begged not to, I see the problem.

And I wonder if then what you can see, having worked on the task force, might be the problem for the next step, meaning getting people to take vaccines and follow the directives of a Biden/Harris administration.

Let me let you listen to Joe Biden. He did an interview with Lester Holt today. Here's what he said about that.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: As we speak, people are ignoring advice to stay home. They're crowding airports around the country right now.

You have called for a national mask mandate. How much power, as president, will you have to influence people in ways you have not been able to as a candidate?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I hope that we're going to be able to have a united voice on the need to mask, socially distance, testing and tracing.

The words of a president matter. And I think it's critically important, I think it's a patriotic responsibility to wear masks, to socially distance.


REID: Yes, Olivia, the words of the president matter, and it'll be nice to have somebody who's saying the right words, but how much logistical challenge -- how much of a logistical challenge do you think it's going to be for President Biden to implement anything, a mask mandate, vaccine mandates, et cetera?

OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: I think it'll be a big challenge, only because we are living in a very divided time right now. And you have seen this firsthand.

And this is something that was created by, unfortunately, the Trump administration. And we are seeing the legacy of the policies and the rhetoric that was said earlier on in this pandemic play out firsthand.

And I know that it's the holidays. I know that it's a very hard time. People are -- have been isolated. There's COVID fatigue. But I have been watching these images in the airport.

And all I can think about is, I'm going to be praying that these families and relatives and the people they're going to see and each other don't end up in the hospital the next week, because I'm also thinking about the health care workers that are really going to be suffering in the coming weeks, as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday and these gatherings and this travel, because that's what I think about when I see these people traveling like this and gathering like this.

And it just -- honestly, it makes me really sad.

REID: Honestly, Dr. Simanek, same here. And I have heard all of the excuses even from people I know that are still traveling, even though they watch my show and they know that we're saying, please, don't do it.

I mean, people think that getting a negative COVID test, well, we took the COVID test before we traveled. We now know Vox has a headline saying a negative COVID test doesn't give you an all-clear, necessarily. Just getting one test doesn't mean anything.

You have people who have family in nursing homes, and they're desperate to see them. And maybe the people in the nursing homes aren't fully aware of why no one is visiting them. So, people are taking the chance. It's the holidays. They want to see their family who are in nursing homes. They don't want people to be alone.

You have got, in Milwaukee, nearly 300 Wisconsin nurses (sic) died from COVID-19, four weeks, 10 times more than the month before. So it's having this ripple effect. And I don't know how else we can tell people, please don't do it. Do you have any ideas?

AMANDA SIMANEK, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE: You know, I think, in addition to pandemic fatigue, there's this sort of cognitive dissonance happening, because how can people wrap their minds around not spending Thanksgiving with family, when they can go out to a restaurant with strangers?

REID: True.

SIMANEK: And I think what we just want people to remember right now is that you could have this introduction and, about two days before you develop symptoms yourself, you can pass it to other people.

So, if you are gathering with family, we really need to be thinking about still maintaining space, wearing a mask to the extent possible. If you can have your Thanksgiving meal outdoors, instead of inside, or at least open the windows, that's better.

If you can keep the number of people at your gathering small, and the time you spend together short, those are all ways that we can still mitigate risk, while we get together for Thanksgiving. The safest thing is to celebrate with your own household, no question.

But if you have already made the decision to go visit family, then please consider how you can basically prevent spreading that infection to your loved ones.

REID: And, Olivia, part of the reason that we have bars and some restaurants open and schools open, but yet at the same time trying to get people to do mask mandates, is that the president of the United States put a lot of pressure on states to open their whole state up.

I mean, places like Georgia and Florida followed his example. So, the politics has made it hard to do the health care.

TROYE: Right.

And there's a report I saw that came out today from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and it actually specifically talks about how every situation is different and every locality is different, and how they should be taking mitigation measures individually, depending on what's going on in the area.

But they're not talking about it. The White House isn't speaking about that publicly. And, frankly, they should be. If they care about what's happening right now.

Whether you are a lame duck president or vice president or not, you should be talking about this and telling people wear a mask and telling governors, hey, if there's a county that is really suffering, such as my county, in my hometown in El Paso, where the county judge is trying to implement measures. He announced measures today, and the governor and the attorney general are fighting with him about this. This has been going on for a month. This is awful rhetoric. Everyone needs to get on the same page here.

REID: Terrifying and sad. Yeah.

AMANDA SIMANEK, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, DEARPANDEMIC.ORG: You know, the World Health Organization deemed this parallel infodemic happening along with the pandemic, where people are bombarded with mixed messages. And correct information as well as misinformation, sometimes nefarious spread of misinformation. And I think when our public health measures become political and it's a symbol of your political affiliation, instead of science based decision making.

REID: It's a huge -- yeah.

SIMANEK: It's undermining the pandemic response.

REID: Absolutely, it's deadly. Absolutely.

Olive Troye, I wish we had more time. Olivia Troye, Amanda Simanek, stay safe. Thank you very much. Have a happy holiday.

And still ahead, remembering former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and Rudy Giuliani's role in undermining him.

We'll be right back.


REID: It started with a riot. As the Cato Institute would later record, it was one of the biggest riots in New York City history, as many as 10,000 demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Manhattan on September 16, 1992.

Reporters and innocent bystanders were violently assaulted by the mob as thousands of dollars in private property was destroyed, in multiple acts of vandalism. The protesters stormed up the steps of city hall occupying the building. They then stream onto the Brooklyn Bridge where they blocked traffic in both directions, jumping on cars of trapped terrified motorists. Many of the protesters were carrying guns, and openly drinking alcohol.

Yet the uniform police presence did little to stop them. Why? Because the rioters were nearly all white, off duty police officers. They are participating in a patrolman's benevolent association demonstration against Mayor David Dinkin's call for a civilian complaint review board and his creation earlier that year of the commission, formed to investigate widespread allegations of misconduct within the NYPD.

In the center of the mayhem, standing on a car cursing the Mayor Dinkins, through a bull horn was mayoral candidate Rudy Giuliani. Dinkins described the ugly protest the following day during a press conference.


THEN-MAYOR DAVID DINKINS (D), NEW YORK CITY: What some of them out there yesterday who were calling out -- for instance. Why would the people of our community have confidence they have the capacity to handle a tense situation in a minority community?


REID: I'm sure that you can guess the ugly racist slur we bleeped out, which was hurled at the sitting mayor of New York who euphemized it as the N-word. So, when that same Rudy Giuliani who is singular goal as the next mayor was to undo everything Mayor Dinkins tried to do, particularly when it came to making policing less onerous and less bullying and less deadly for black New Yorkers, when he offers condolences to Mayor Dinkins who died peacefully at his home last night at age 93, less than two months after the death of his beloved wife Joyce, you should take that with the same seriousness you give Rudy's legal maneuvers. In fact, if anything, Rudy was the original Donald Trump, the un-Dinkins, just as Trump was the un-Obama, designed as if a laboratory to put white grievance against an historical black elected leader into human form.

Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor? That is a line from my favorite song by my favorite hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. And he was our mayor, the first black mayor of New York City, the barber's son elected in 1990, a year before I graduated from college.

Dinkins sought to bring dignity and decency to a New York whose previous mayors, from Fiorello La Guardia to Ed Koch had been known for their harshness, and to a city that was being ripped apart down racial and religious lines, with black, Italian, Jewish and Korean communities seemingly in a state of constant war.

It was the New York City depicted in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" in 1989, the year the Central Park Five lost their liberty for a crime they didn't commit, the New York City where the murders of Michael Griffith in 1986 and Yusuf Hawkins by mobs of young white men in 1989 made Bensonhurst and Howard Beach notorious for young black New Yorkers. We knew not to set foot in the neighborhoods if we valued our life.

Dinkins brought a genuine concern for the poor and homeless to a city that faced a crisis of both. On the day after famed tennis champion Arthur Ashe announced that he was HIV positive, Dinkins named the city's first coordinator for AIDS policy, Ronald Johnson, who was himself HIV positive, as the virus tore through the gay community nationwide, following years of neglect by the Reagan administration.

He welcomed a newly freed Nelson Mandela to America in a triumphant visit that drew some 750,000 New Yorkers, including me, as the South African's leader's motorcade crossed through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

In an era where it seemed like the whole world was at war with black America from the Nixon plotted, Reagan boosted war on drugs to the plague of crack cocaine and the violence on our streets that led directly to the 1994 crime bill to the indifference and cruelty of the police, Dinkins dared to try to make a difference, and we all paid for his brief but hopeful tenure with the first Trump, the original Trump, the Trump named Rudy.

So save your condolences, Rudy. Tell it to Four Seasons Landscaping or whoever you think is hiding 8 million Trump votes in Germany. We don't want to hear from you.

Up next, we'll talk with an actual ally of the late Mayor Dinkins who was a force in New York City back then and now my friend, the Reverend Al Sharpton.



DINKINS: I like New York. I think it's -- with all due respect to those of you who live elsewhere, I think it's the greatest town in the world, and being mayor of New York is the greatest job there is, save the one that President Obama has.


REID: Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins passed away last night at the age of 93.

I'm joined now by the Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network and host of "POLITICSNATION" right here on MSNBC.

And, Rev, I met David Dinkins in person because of you. I met him through you. I think he was here at 30 Rock to do an interview for your show and I was so excited to meet him. He was such a great man.

What do you remember most about Dave Dinkins?

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK PRESIDENT: Well, I knew David Dinkins since I was a teenager, I was 16 and started my national youth movement group. He was the lawyer that incorporated us.

And down through the years, we maintained relationships. Sometimes I would argue with him, call him names and wanted him to be more strident, and it took time to understand that he had such grace even under the most tumultuous circumstances, and I felt he should be more strident. He said, Al, you have to learn how to get the job done. Keep your eye on the prize.

But I most remember is that when we were facing a police killing of a young man named Amadou Diallo who in the hail of 19 bullets was killed for 19 of those bullets, for only going in his vest and sticking a key in the door and the police thought -- they said they thought he had a weapon. He was just going home. They were looking for someone else.

And Dave Dinkins, when we started protests, every day we would go down to the police headquarters, the main one in New York, and sit in and hundreds would be arrested. He called me one morning and said, Al, what time do y'all have the demonstrations? He was the former mayor. I said, 10:00 in the morning. He said, I'm coming down. I said, but we're getting arrested. I'll see you in the morning.

And he came down to 1 Police Plaza where he had been mayor and got on a knee way before Colin Kaepernick, he took a knee and was arrested and had them cuff him with Congressman Charlie Rangel and himself and me, and we went to jail fighting police reform that he started with that civilian complaint review board.

He never left the struggle. He was never one to be loud and boisterous, but he was firm and made real change happen.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. We started off -- we could see Charlie Rangel and James Brown, lots of folks in the photos, I don't know if you can see them come up as you're talking. And, you know, we started off by talking about the way that Dinkins was taken out of office, by Rudy Giuliani, this rage that Giuliani stoked that was already there in the police against what Mayor Dinkins wanted to do, which was change policing.

I feel like we're having a rerun about that conversation, about Black Lives Matter, whether or not police should be free to kill at will in black communities. He tried to do something about it. What did you take from that fight? Is it dispiriting to think after great men have tried, after you have tried, we've had all these movements, we're still fighting about this.

SHARPTON: Well, you fight until you win. You don't fight to say the fight is over in a certain amount of rounds. This is not pro boxing or wrestling, you fight until you win.

And every struggle has had long struggles. I remember when Nelson Mandela came, which you mentioned, and Dave Dinkins had me as part of the group that went to the U.N. with him and Jesse Jackson and all of us.

And what I thought about, it took Nelson Mandela being in jail 27 years after fighting many decades around apartheid, how could we complain about fighting? We fight until we win, knowing that the victory is certain.

And that's what Dave Dinkins would always say. And as I went more national from just doing New York activism, he said you're still fighting, Al, keep fighting. He'd come up to your National Action Network rallies, in fact, he was just there a few months ago. We had his 90th birthday there.

And we never forgot this gentle giant who had a spine of steel and he didn't need to be boisterous, he just needed to be effective. And he was the one that broke that ceiling and made people know you could be the CEO of the biggest city in the world and perform.

He revitalized Times Square. He started this whole community policing.

And in many ways, you are more than correct, Joy, it's almost like to study Donald Trump, you have to study Rudy Giuliani. They took credit for things that their predecessor did and they used race to try and rev up a political career that ended up embarrassing them at the end.

REID: Indeed. Amen. Thank you, Reverend Al. It's always great to talk with you. Reverend Al Sharpton, thank you very much.

I also do want to say to the family of Bruce Boynton who also passed away, rest in peace to him as well and the best to his family.

That's THE REIDOUT for tonight.



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