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Transcript: The ReidOut, September 15, 2020

Guests: Vin Gupta, Steve Schmidt, Benjamin Crump, LaTosha Brown, Fernand Amandi, Varshini Prakash


Woodward recordings reveal Trump's fear of COVID-19. Rolling Stone dubs Trump the 'No Lives Matter' President. Recordings reveal Trump misled America about virus risks. Trump, on pandemic, says he didn't downplay it, he up-played it. Trump holds super-spreader rallies despite virus risk. Steve Schmidt says, Trump has demonstrated his total incapacity to deal with this crisis. GOP Senator Graham slams opponent for not releasing taxes. Joe Biden is in the key battleground state of Florida for the first time since becoming the Democratic nominee. The former VP was in Tampa for a veterans roundtable and he attended a Hispanic heritage month event earlier this evening in Orlando, with an eye towards a growing Puerto Rican population in Central Florida.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Post your questions so it will be even more active with THE BEAT, as I look forward to hang with you all this Sunday,

That does it for me. I'll see you back here tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: The steady drip, drip, drip reveal of the Bob Woodward tapes continues with two new audio tapes disclosing in disturbing detail just how much Donald Trump feared the coronavirus in private while actively dismissing the pandemic in public to the American people.

In April, the month that coronavirus killed more than 18,000 people in the United States, Trump tweeted that, quote, the invisible enemy will soon be in full retreat, only to say this to Bob Woodward three days later.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: This thing is a killer if it gets you If you're the wrong person, you don't have a chance.

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, RAGE: Yes, yes, exactly

TRUMP: So this rips you apart.

WOODWARD: This is a scourge and --

TRUMP: It is the plague.


REID: Trump also admitted how terrified he was of catching the virus.


TRUMP: And, Bob, it's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't even believe it.

WOODWARD: I know, it's --

TRUMP: I mean you could be in the room. I was in the White House a couple of days ago, meeting with ten people in the Oval Office, and a guy sneezed innocently, not a horrible -- you know, just a sneeze.


TRUMP: The entire room bailed out, okay, including me, by the way.


REID: Only to tweet four days later on April 17th, liberate Minnesota and Michigan and Virginia, riling up his followers who were protesting stay-at-home orders in those states because they wanted to get their hair cuts.

Now, we know that Donald Trump doesn't care about people of color or women or poor people or immigrants or their children that he puts in cages. But even Trump has been able to extend the myth that he does care about white people.

But what these tapes reveal is that he doesn't even care about them. He holds indoor super-spreader rallies, shows contempt for mask wearing and stay-at-home orders. He put his own cabinet at risk by hosting the RNC at the White House, putting even rich white people at risk.

He doesn't care about white America. Those who are sick or poor or out of work or facing evictions, he literally doesn't care, which is why Jamil Smith of Rolling Stones describes him as the no lives president, a president with an utter disregard for both the truth and for human life, a president who, from the day he announced his candidacy, promised to make America a safe haven for white citizens, and now he can't even claim to do that.

Joining me now is Steve Schmidt, co-Founder of the Lincoln Project and Dr. Vin Gunpta, Global Health Policy Expert and Pulmonologist.

I want to play for you, gentlemen -- thank you for being here tonight. I want to play a clip from a town hall that Donald Trump did tonight. He did a town hall with ABC. And here he is actually being asked by a voter whether or not it's his responsibility to protect the American people. And here it is.


ALANI POWELL, STUDENT, PENNSYLVANIA: If you believe it's the president's responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities.

TRUMP: Yes. Well, I didn't downplay it. I, actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action. My actions were very strong.

POWELL: You did not --

TRUMP: Because what I did was with China, I put a ban on, with Europe, I put a ban on, and we would have lost thousands of more people had I not put the ban on. So that was called action, not with the mouth but an actual fact, we did a very, very good job when we put that ban on. Whether you call it talent or luck, it was very important. So we saved a lot of lives when we did that.


REID: Dr. Gupta, thank you so much for being here. There's a tape that exists that we've played on this show of Donald Trump saying, I like to downplay it. I like to downplay it. Yes, I downplayed it. I like to downplay it, like he literally said those words. What do you make of this excuse now? They're just pretending these tapes aren't real, I guess.

DR. VIN GUPTA, PULMONOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON MEDICAL CENTER: Well, good evening, Joy. The simplest explanation is probably true in this case, which is they can't acknowledge reality, because acknowledging reality in this case would be tantamount to admitting failure. And we know this White House doesn't say the word, we were wrong. They're just not willing to do that and level with the American people.

So here is the problem here. That exchange was powerful. I'm so glad that questioner asked that question because that's the same question I'm getting, Joy. I'm getting questions from patients, from family members, from teachers across the country wondering, hey, Doc, if you get an N95 mask caring for your patients in the ICU, why not me? Because they can't go to the grocery store right now because they're suffocating in smog. They're still vulnerable to COVID-19. We had 40,000 cases just yesterday. This pandemic is very much real. And we just don't have the way right now to protect the American people.

I can tell people left and right stay home, don't do this, don't do that, but that's still insufficient. Air purifiers have limited utility, yes, sure, get one. But you know what, everyone needs a well-fitting N95 mask or something like it. And the reality, Joy, is because we didn't have the right leadership at the right time, no one is talking about this because we can't get 330 million Americans fitted with the right mask. I mean, that's the reality here.

REID: And I mean, you know, Steve, Donald Trump had the power already inherent in the office. I mean, he makes up powers he doesn't have. But he could have used the Defense Production Act and said, we're going to manufacture N95 masks, we're going to make sure every American has one and then I myself am going to say what he said to Bob Woodward but yet go all the way to August 11th, when they had stopped doing the rallies. And he says, oh, we're not going to hold rallies because the seats will be empty. We're not going to do that.

But here is what he told Hugh Hewitt on the exact same day. Here he is.


TRUMP: I'd love to do the rallies. We can't because of the COVID. You know, you can't have people sitting next to each other.


REID: Okay. So he acknowledges in August -- now, this is months after he knew how deadly this virus was, we can't do the rallies because you can't have people sitting next to each other because it's a deadly virus. Now, we have a story in The New York Times on Monday saying, his aides are concerned because they're still doing them. They did an indoor rally in Nevada, an indoor rally, where people came from out of state and they did it because Donald Trump needed to feel good. They needed to keep his spirits up. Your thoughts.

STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first off, Joy, if the United States had the mortality rates from COVID that Germany does, there would be 140,000 less dead Americans. 140,000 of our country men and women would still be with us.

Number two, after he imposed the China travel ban, 47,000 Chinese nationals entered the country. The virus entered the country primarily from Europe. He acted much too slowly shutting down the border from the United States, the border of the United States from Europe.

But let's understand what this is. Donald Trump has confessed on tape to the greatest and most deadly lie in all the long history of the United States, bar none. It is a failure of leadership at a profound level. It is a failure of moral leadership that is unequalled in the country's history. He knew how deadly this was.

Every United States senator in the Republican Party who heard Trump week by week, day by day, saying that this was a hoax, that it was a Democratic hoax, that it would magically go away, not one of those people took to the floor of the Senate and said, what the hell are you doing? Not one of them went to the Oval Office and said stop it, Mr. President, you're killing people.

We have a president of the United States that is fundamentally indifferent to the lives of the American people. And this is the greatest tragedy in the history of the United States for no other reason than it's a completely preventable tragedy. It did not have to be like this. The United States did not have to be the epicenter of coronavirus death and suffering in the world.

Our economy did not have to be shattered. The education of every American kid did not have to be disrupted. We could have had and still can have a national strategy, but not unless and until Donald Trump is removed from power in an election of the American people to pick a new president because he has demonstrated a total incapacity to deal with this situation, this crisis, this pandemic

And his failure ranks literally as the deadliest and the greatest by any American in the entire history of the country who has been charged with responsibility for other people's lives.

REID: You know, and, Dr. Gupta, Steve talks about Donald Trump, he's not even honest about what he did regarding China, regarding travel from China. But how do you close off the border of California to people from Nevada who went to that rally? How do you close off the borders of neighboring states of the people who went to that motorcycle rally?

Inside the United States, you have people who have been convinced by Donald Trump that this is no big deal, that it's no more than the flu, that it's a minor illness, that they can have herd immunity and everyone will be fine. Did you see the people running, running like they were at a K-pop concert to go see Donald Trump with no masks on because they couldn't wait to get in front of him?

So the question is how do you unwind a situation where Trump lied to them and these people are still, even though now they know it, they're not acting as if they understand what coronavirus is?

GUPTA: Well, Joy, you know, the first step is for us on T.V. to try to undo the damage of Jared Kushner, Michael Caputo and other ridiculous spokesmen and women for this White House. So I'm going to try to do it right now.

You know what parents are worried about? This is what real Americans are worried about. If they have a young child that's about to start a high school sport, hey, Doc, what about this cardio myopathy or this myocarditis that I'm hearing about that my child, if they have asymptomatic COVID, might actually have inflammation around their heart? This is something that I wished Dr. Fauci had a platform to talk about. Because docs like myself and my colleagues, we don't know what to tell parents.

Does everybody that is going to participate in an activity that gets tested for COVID also, do they need a echocardiogram? Do they need to get worked up? We don't know the answer to these questions, Joy. What about smog and COVID? We know that exposure to air pollution actually facilitates, makes easier and successful infection? And if you're infected, you're more likely to die with COVID-19 if you're exposed to wildfire smoke or other air pollution.

We need people to be talking about this. Enough with Jared Kushner on the Today's Show, we need Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and others who are somewhat trusted to actually be giving voice to these important issues because this is what mom and dad and this is what every American is worried about, these real-life issues that can impact their children.

REID: Yes. And we'd love to have Dr. Fauci on. He's welcome to come on any time. We've been asking. Hopefully, he will say yes at some point.

Steve, I started this block out, talking about the fact that, look, at this point, Donald Trump is not fooling black America, okay? The young lady who asked the question, she knows what's going on. The vast majority of the Latino community, the AAPI community, are not listening to him anymore. It's white America that's listening to him. Let's just be blunt. He is still going to win a majority of white American votes. He is still getting positive reviews even for his handling of COVID from white America.

Is there something, is there somebody that's got the gravitas or that's trusted enough that isn't Donald Trump who, in your view, could talk the majority of white America into believing these truths? Because, honestly, if we still have large numbers of people who don't believe COVID is real and who reject mask-wearing and reject the science, I don't know how we back out of this crisis, because there will still be some people who are behaving the way those people did in Nevada. Is there somebody out there, do you think?

SCHMIDT: Look, Joy, I think that, first off, there are tens and tens and tens of millions of white people across America who stand in strong opposition to the insanity of the Trump administration, along with the other Americans that Trump has betrayed. Look at our military made up of every race and ethnicity in the country, the people that Trump called suckers and losers.

The reality is this. We have a political issue in the country and the political issue when you look at the polling, where you look at the state of the race right now, it's clear that a majority of the country rejects Trump, Trumpism and his handling of this. And that bodes well for Vice President Biden.

We have a sociological problem in the country. The sociological problem is that we have 30 percent to 35 percent of the country has surrendered completely their agency to a cult of personality that's harmful and injurious to them. That cult of personality has stoked racial animus, conspiracy theories, it's made up of components of the most extreme fringes of American life and it's unhealthy to have a population that large in a country that rejects science, that rejects vaccines, that is so easily manipulated and politicized over a simple issue like a mask.

Because of the size of that population, they present an extreme public health threat to everybody else over the course of the pandemic and they're stoked and egged on by profoundly irresponsible political leaders. Look, we live in an era where, unfortunately, expertise has been discredited. But what people do believe is people like them.

And so it's incumbent on everybody, and I mean everybody, who is attached to reality, to the real world, to the idea that there is fact and objective truth, that these things matter and are real, that science matters, that medicine matters, understand the magnitude of the damage that Donald Trump has done to this country. It is incalculable.

We have more people out of work in America today than on any other comparable September day in the entire history of the republic from the signing of the declaration of independence to today. We have growing food lines. We have chaos in our cities egged on by Trump. The country cannot endure this for four more years.

And there is no magic person. There are no group of former presidents who will rescue the country. There are no Avengers. Winston Churchill made the point that in a democracy, we get the government we deserve. What's at question is our capacity in the third decade of the 21st century to govern ourselves competently, effectively and to be the type of country that we ought to strive to be, not a banana republic, not Trumpistan, not a country that leads the world in chaos and death from a pandemic that could have been managed like it is in Canada where yesterday there were zero deaths.

REID: Yes. And, again, we've got to go, but I just have to show one more thing. This is what Lindsey Graham was tweeting about on Saturday, just to show -- just to make this point and put an exclamation point on what Steve Schmidt just said. He was tweeting about Jamie Harrison's taxes. That's somebody who a lot of people listen to in South Carolina and who would listen to if he would just say what he knows is true.

Lindsey Graham, you know the truth. You just have to say it because those people will listen to you a lot more than they're listening to me and, unfortunately, they're not listening to Steve Schmidt and Dr. Vin Gupta, who they should be.

Steve Schmidt, Dr. Vin Gupta, thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, the city of Louisville reaches a settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor after she was shot and killed in her own home. Will it be enough to ensure that what happened to her never happens again? And will justice in the case follow?

Plus, a rigged election, martial law, left-wing hit squads, the paranoid rhetoric among Donald Trump and his acolytes has reached a fevered pitch.


TRUMP: The Democrats are trying to rig this election because it's the only way they're going to win.


REID: My thoughts on the new paranoid streak of the Republican Party coming up later on the show.

THE REIDOUT continues after the break.


REID: Earlier today, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the city would pay Breonna Taylor's family $12 million to settle a civil lawsuit.

It's one of the biggest settlements ever paid in a case of excessive force. Breonna Taylor died at home after she was shot five times by police officers who tried to serve a no-knock warrant. The settlement would also include a list of police reforms aimed at addressing officer accountability and the execution of search warrants.

Among some of the proposals, the city will require that commanders approve all search warrants before they go to a judge, and the city will hire a team of social workers to help assist police. And the city will offer housing credits for officers to live in certain low-income areas.

The settlement does not admit any wrongdoing on the part of the city police.


TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: As significant as today is, it's only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna.

We must not lose focus on what the real job is. And with that being said, it's time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground. So, please continue to say her name.

Breonna Taylor.



REID: All eyes are now on Daniel Cameron, Kentucky's attorney general, who is tasked with presenting his investigation into the shooting to a grand jury.

NBC News reported last week that Cameron, Senator Mitch McConnell's former legal counsel, was set to present evidence sometime this week.

WAVE, an NBC affiliate in Louisville, called Cameron's handling of the grand jury even more secretive than usual. The grand jury will determine if criminal charges should be filed against the three officers who were involved in Ms. Taylor's death.

And for more, I'm joined by Ben Crump, civil rights attorney and one of the attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor, along with Errin Haines, editor at large of The 19th, and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund. And, today, she launched a 10-year fund-raising initiative to raise $100 million to help financially empower the goals of Southern black girls and women.

Ben, I'm going to go to you first, my friend.

This is a record settlement, a $12 million settlement, the largest ever paid by the city of Louisville. But I think what a lot of people want to know is, aside from the settlement, were there any assurances made or do you have any indications that a case is going to move forward against these officers?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF BREONNA TAYLOR: No, we don't, Joy, because this was with the city leadership of Louisville, and it was a significant, landmark step in the journey to justice for Breonna Taylor, the $12 million as one of the largest ever paid out, particularly for a black woman in America in a wrongful death by the police shooting.

But beyond that was the reform that they did, which was quite significant. Attorney Lonita Baker and Aguiar, with Breonna's mother, negotiated intensely with the city to try to prevent any future Breonna Taylors. That's what she wanted most, to have her legacy to be, no more.

As it relates to Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky attorney general, we expect the grand jury to convene this week. And we expect them to bring back charges in the killing of Breonna Taylor, based on the evidence. And we know that today was just one step, but there's more to do in this journey to justice for Breonna Taylor.

REID: And we know that there was a law that was passed earlier that banned no-knock warrants. And that's called Breonna's Law, that that passed.

The set of reforms that were promised in this settlement, Ben, do those have to go to the city council and get voted on, or should we consider those reforms to be approved?

CRUMP: Some of them do have to go.

But I think they were negotiated while we were negotiating with the city. And it is sweeping reform, Joy. It is a model for the rest of the country to use in these police, I guess, pattern and practice of excessive force against black people in America.

I mean, talking about having police housing be paid to live in the cities where they parole, so they will know the black and brown people they interact with, and so they won't be so apt, hopefully and prayerfully, to shoot first and ask questions later, because this is your neighbor.

And also the fact that they hire social workers that, hopefully, when you have the mental illness crisis calls, that social workers will accommodate the police to the location to try to de-escalate the situation, and they're actually trained to deal with the Daniel Prudes of the world and Pamela Turners of the world, unlike most police officers.

So, it was sweeping reform in the name of Breonna Taylor.

And, Joy, you know when I called you when this first happened, our main concern was that nobody cared about this black woman, because black women are often disrespected and marginalized. But, today, I believe, just like with Trayvon martin and Michael Brown caused greater attention in America to black lives matter, I believe Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, is causing great attention in America that black women lives matter too.

REID: Yes.

And, Errin Haines, you and I have also had this conversation a lot, that -- and I remember talking with you about the fact that this case, if you just look at the number of stories vs. cases of black men that were killed, at first, it was fewer.

What do you make of these developments in terms of just putting it on scale, right? We have had a lot of cities, New York, Chicago, other cities, make big settlements with families due to police misconduct. It's something a lot of cities budget in, that they turn -- they'd rather pay than make change.

This is a rare case where they have -- they're paying, but they're also pledging to make some change.


And we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that these proposed reforms are part of the settlement agreement that was announced today, especially when you think about that we are in a climate -- this is an administration that is not really about the business of consent decrees, right, and looking into pattern and practices of police departments.

And so it is often up to local jurisdictions as to whether or not they are going to take up the issue of police reform. And so putting that into this settlement, I don't think that this is a small thing, and I think that it's important that we note that, in addition to the financial settlement that was announced today for Breonna Taylor's family.

And we know -- Ben knows all too well, because, unfortunately, he's had to deal with far too many of these -- that financial compensation for the families may be the only form of acknowledgement of the killing of their loved one at the hands of law enforcement in cities across the country, and that there is still a very long road in the legal proceedings for Breonna Taylor's case.

Today was a step forward for the family, but, you know, we know how rarely it is that officers are arrested, charged, go to trial, and then convicted. We know that that is rare. And so justice in the courtroom is usually far less common than justice in terms of financial compensation for these families.

So, still, we are only at the beginning, even six months after Breonna Taylor's killing, only at the beginning of what the journey for justice for her family looks like, but also, to Ben's point, continuing -- and to Breonna Taylor's mother's point, continuing to keep her name on the radar for people, especially as a black woman, knowing, as I have written about at The 19th, that black women do get so much less attention in these cases.

It is very important. And that is something, frankly, that we have seen in the midst of this national reckoning, her name being amplified just as much as any of the black men who have been killed.

REID: Yes, indeed.

And, LaTosha, today is the 57th anniversary of the explosion that killed four little girls in Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. So there's a lot weighing today. And so it is a momentous day, I think, for black women in general and for black women and girls and for justice in that way.

I wanted you to be here today because I know that, in addition to talking about this case and the justice here, you're trying to do something that will make some change in these Southern states. And I want to give you a chance to talk about that, and if you had anything you wanted to add about this case as well.


I think that, at the end of the day, when I'm thinking about Breonna Taylor's mother, and I see that image, her heart is broken, that there's a settlement and there's reforms, but her child is gone.

And so, when we're looking at, she was a Southern young woman that literally has not -- her death has not received any justice. And had it not been for the young organizers on the ground in Louisville, we would not get to the point that we are right now.

And so my heart goes out to her family and particularly to her mother. Just as those four black girls were bombed in the 16th Street Baptist Church, today should be a reflective moment of how we treat and protect black women and girls.

And so what we're doing is, the Southern Black Girls Consortium, we have launched a $100 million 10-year initiative where we're literally going to invest in black women and black girls in the South, in 12 states in the South. It's been three years in the making where we have organized and talked to black girls about, what is a black girl's dream and how can we really make that be so?

And part of that is making a safe environment and holding those accountable that harm our community.

REID: Yes.

Well, we will see what comes next.

But, Ben Crump, I'm sure the family is so grateful to have had you on board, because you are effective, sir, at getting justice in whatever way that you can for these families.

So, Ben Crump, thank you so much, my friend.

I appreciate all of these friends tonight.

Ben Crump, Errin Haines, LaTosha Brown, thank you all.

And still ahead: From predictions of rioting in the streets, to rampaging left-wing hit squads, to Trump saying the only way he can lose is if the election is rigged, it's time to shovel a big old dose of reality into the right-wing spin machine.

THE REIDOUT will be right back.


REID: To hear Donald Trump and coterie tell it, America is one big "Mad Max" hellscape.

But, just like in "Mad Max," it's a hellhole in a terrifying future, but where Joe Biden, former vice president and current Delaware civilian, is totally in charge.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He will drive you out of the suburbs. He will drive you out of -- he will drive you out of everything.

Joe Biden is basically the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I don't want to overplay the facts here, but if someone will study the president's authority in the Insurrection Act, his ability to impose the martial law, if there's widespread cheating, force will be met with force.

That's the way this is going to have to work. It's really unfortunate.


REID: Felon says what?

Look, what Trump is fantasizing about Black Lives Matter as some sort of armed insurrection white America is bad enough.

But, in real life, a whistle-blower in Trump's Department of Homeland Security who until recently was in charge of the department's intel office, is accusing DHS officials of, on White House orders, shading intelligence reports to fit Trump's scare white suburbia campaign rhetoric, playing down the genuine threat of white nationalist domestic terrorism, and hyping up the threat of anti-fascist Antifa.

And regarding that radicalization video that's whipping up paranoia about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Black Lives Matter, using a black AME Church as a backdrop, AME leaders warned it subtly incites white terrorism against people of color and attacks the black church and black people for refusing to bow down to the idol call to white supremacy.

But wait, there's more. I now bring you Mark (sic) Caputo, former member of the Trump-Putin 2016 campaign and currently the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. He's currently under fire for allegedly pressuring scientists at the Centers for Disease Control to change public information on coronavirus to fit Trump's unscientific views.

Caputo recently went on Facebook Live to warn his hundreds of followers, not about the pandemic, but about the shadows -- no, not "The Shadow." That's a movie.

The ones he described before closing off his Facebook to public viewing, but which "The New York Times" got hold of, are part of what he apparently believes is a seditious conspiracy against Trump by government scientists to make the pandemic look worse.

Per "The Times," Caputo accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of harboring a resistance unit determined to undermine Donald Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the COVID-19 death toll.

Caputo also fantasized out loud that left-wing hit squads are preparing for armed insurrection after the election, and added that, "I don't like being alone in Washington," describing "shadows on the ceiling in my apartment there alone. Shadows are so long, so, so long."

Oh, and, apparently, Caputo believes the president will lose the election, and that, when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin.

And this isn't like Roger Stone broadcasting from his basement on the Alex Jones show. To reiterate, this is a taxpayer-paid spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Now, for what it's worth, Politico reported today that Caputo apologized to staffers in the department and indicated he might step down from his position.

Clearly, all the president's men are paranoid, but not about the real things that are actually threatening the lives of Americans, like an entire coast that's literally on fire and in the grips of a climate change catastrophe, including the much-discussed Portland suburbs that Trump seems to have forgotten, and in California, which, according to former DHS official Miles Taylor, Donald Trump -- quote -- "told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn't support him."

Trump and his people are also undecidedly unbothered about the coronavirus pandemic, despite more than two million Americans sick and nearly 200,000 dead and the president admitting it's a plague, it's deadly stuff, so unbothered, they're still planning rally after rally outdoors and even indoors, because, to quote "The Washington Post," the president needs the rallies to keep his spirits up.

The things that Trumpers say are frequently bizarre and often infuriating, but it's the things that they do or fail to do that are catastrophic and dangerous.

Welcome to the real hellscape.


REID: Joe Biden is in the key battleground state of Florida for the first time since becoming the Democratic nominee. The former VP was in Tampa for a veterans roundtable and he attended an Hispanic heritage month event earlier this evening in Orlando, with an eye towards a growing Puerto Rican population in Central Florida.

A new Monmouth University poll showed Biden maintaining a lead, holding a five-point edge over Donald Trump statewide. The Monmouth poll also showed Biden ahead among Latino voters 58-32 percent, but we should note the sample size among Latino voters was tiny, it was just 100 voters and the margin of error is more than 9 percent.

So, joining me now to unpack all of this, a man who knows Florida very, very well, Democratic pollster, Fernand Amandi.

All right. Let's talk about this sample, really small sample. Do you buy that Biden that 50 is in Florida, first of all, overall?

FERNAND AMANDI, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: You know, I think the tendency is to say right now, Joy, that Biden is ahead. I do believe when you take the average polling in Florida, it shows that he's ahead. But you've got to remember that Florida is notorious for crushing Democratic dreams of capturing it. We remember just two years ago, you know, Andrew Gillum was ahead by 12 points in one poll, less than ten days from the election.

We also saw Bill Nelson ahead in polling over Rick Scott in that Senate race. We saw what happened there in 2016, also, Hillary Clinton was ahead in several polls in those final two weeks. We still got 49 days to go so there's still a lot of campaigning to go in Florida, but no question, it is the battleground state prize and you're going to see both sides go for it aggressively

REID: And just to show the history here, the two Democrats who actually won Florida, the two times Democrats won Florida were both Barack Obama and Joe Biden as his veep. And they, you know, it was 51 to 48 and 50 to 49. So, getting to that 50 percent threshold feels like it's significant. And I should note, Hillary didn't, like Hillary was at 48, Trump was at 49. So, I don't know, the 50 feels somehow important but who knows?

But let's talk about the Hispanic vote specifically you do have a difference between what you found when you were polling in Miami-Dade, which is the key county for Hispanic voters, just to be clear and this poll, this tiny Monmouth poll that only had a hundred people in it.

What do you think is happening among, particularly Cuban-American voters versus Puerto Rican American voters?

AMANDI: Joy, it's very simple Donald Trump is over-performing right now in what he should be getting with voters in Miami-Dade County and Joe Biden is underperforming in what he should be getting in Miami-Dade County.

And you cite those two examples of 2008 and 2012. I worked on that campaign for President Obama and was part of the team that was responsible for the Hispanic vote nationally, but in particular over Florida we had very specific goals and were told explicitly, we cannot lose this vote on the margins.

Right now, that is something that the Trump campaign understands very well. They're not trying to win the Hispanic vote, there's no way they can win it, probably not even in Miami-Dade County. But what they are trying to do is whittle away, erode that margin for Joe Biden with Hispanic voters, even with black voters, but more so with Hispanic voters.

And if they can do that, their calculus is they're going to be able to combine that with what they still think is a majority of white Anglo voters in the state and just get enough across the finish line. They're not going for a mandate. They're going for 50 plus one in Florida and that's the strategy right now you see playing out.

REID: And for a lot of people, people think that any Hispanic or Latino voter would never vote for Donald Trump. Can you just explain why there is this 25 percent to 30 percent who still support him given how he's treated people of Latino descent?

AMANDI: Well, let me -- it's sad, it's tragic to think about but we know this is a campaign and Donald Trump's campaign and, frankly, this administration will say and do anything, they will work outside of the rules. They will gladly and openly lie.

And one of the things that they're doing down here is they are using the boogie man of socialism and communism and weaponizing those words and manipulating the traumas of people of Cuban descent, Venezuelan descent, Nicaraguan descent, and others that have fled totalitarian regimes.

The grand irony, of course, is there is an autocrat in waiting and it's Donald Trump himself. But unfortunately, we know these messages work and it is incumbent on the Biden campaign to challenge them, answer them and contextualize them so they can win back those voters.

REID: Absolutely. He should listen to you.

Fernand Amandi, my friend, thank you very much. Really appreciate your time tonight

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has rolled back regulations intended to shield the planet from the effects of climate change and now we're seeing the results. Can we still fix it?

Stay with us.


REID: This week, more than ever, the effects of climate change have been impossible to ignore, with fires ravaging much of the West Coast, as well as the Amazon rainforest. The Atlantic facing a busy hurricane season, with the latest storm, Sally, bearing down on the Gulf Coast and after the northern hemisphere had its hottest summer on record, a huge chunk of Greenland's icecap just broke off, contributing to the sea level rise that threatens our coastal cities.

Scientists have been warning for years that action needs to be taken, but the U.S., which before Trump entered the White House, had been called the leader of the free world since World War I, is ignoring these giant red flashing lights.

Trump has spent the past few years dismantling environmental regulations as he could get his tiny little hands on. And yesterday, he openly mocked science during a crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're see thing warming trend make our summers warmer, but our winters warmer, as well.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK. It will start getting cooler you just watch

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish science agreed with you.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think science knows actually


REID: No, no, Donald, science does know that. Actually, the Earth is getting warmer, whether Trump wants to admit it or not.

So, is there hope that humanity actually addresses this crisis? Trump's opponent is arguing that there is if he wins in 2020. And that's up next.


REID: With the devastating wildfires out West, Joe Biden has made climate change is priority of his campaign.

And I'm joined now by Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement.

And thank you very much for being here, Ms. Prakash. I'm excited to talk with you .

Let's start with talking with your movement versus Biden. So, Biden apparently got an "F" from you guys early on in his campaign for president, and then something changed. You all met with him, he was trying to reach out to the liberal wing of the party.

What happened?

VARSHINI PRAKASH, THE SUNRISE MOVEMENT CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, you know, we saw that Joe Biden was actually fairly responsive to movement energy, as well as the standards and Biden unity task forces that took place earlier this year. We were able to actually push Biden to move his timeline on decarbonization from 2050 to 2035.

He's putting forward a $2 trillion green jobs, an infrastructure plan with 40 percent of that money going to disadvantage, low-income, marginalized communities. And so, we've seen some significant movement from Joe Biden and, you know, as we have seen in the last couple of days, making climate change an essential pillar of his campaign

REID: Yeah. I should note that you were a Bernie Sanders surrogate on the task force, so this was also part of trying to bring the party together.

You know, the idea of doing something about climate change is a majority position, much like gun reform is a majority position. Sixty-eight percent of Americans say the government should do more to deal with global warning. Why do you suppose despite that majority, we are where we are and so little has, you know, overall been done

PRAKASH: That is exactly right. A majority of Americans of both political parties support government-led action on climate change unfortunately, our politicians in office are not actually responsive to that public will. And so, we have an entire political party that has been completely bought out and is accountable to people like Koch Industries, which has profited off of burning fossil fuels and contributing to the climate crisis.

So, for us to win on this issue, for us to enact the level of transformative policy change that we actually need to solve the climate crisis, we need to change what Congress looks like. And that starts by defeating President Trump this fall. It starts by electing climate champions to office, not just at the presidential level, but also up and down the ballot, and then it looks like building a movement force of young people, of communities of color, of frontline communities who are able to wan together and create a call to action for politicians in this country, to take action commensurate to the scale of the crisis.

REID: Yeah, I try to tell people, you don't need a perfect president. You need a president that can be moved. I think it's important to tell that story how you were able to push Joe Biden. You want somebody you can negotiate with and who will negotiate with you.


REID: You know, one of the things that Republicans, they may not care about the climate, but they care about immigration. There was an incredible piece in "The New York Times" today. There have been a lot of people have talked about how migration and climate are going to merge as issues and already are emerging as issues.

Can you talk about that? Because people disaggregate these two issues, but they're really one issue

PRAKASH: Yeah, it's terrifying stuff. I mean, experts are predicting anywhere from -- if we continue with business as usual, somewhere between 50 million to 250 million people could have to leave their homes and be climate refugees around the world, because where they live will become uninhabitable.

That same article pointed out that 13 million American over the next few decades will have to move away from coastlines due to sea level rise and that's just America. So we have a real choice sort of ahead of us. I think we're at a crossroads. You know, we've seen the leadership of Trump, someone who has sanctioned and caused the violence that's occurring in these for-profit, private detention centers where people are locked in cages, leaving them to die from COVID, the disturbing news around migrant women with the hysterectomies emerging in the last couple of days. So, many of these folks came here seeking sanctuary from climate disaster in their own country.

REID: That's right. You can't lock up 200 million.

Varshini Prakash, thank you so much for being here tonight. Appreciate you.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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