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Transcript: The ReidOut, September 8, 2020

Guests: Mikie Sherrill, Ted Lieu, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Sam Nunberg, Shermichael Singleton, Jennifer Palmieri


President Trump holds rally in North Carolina despite COVID restrictions. Michael Cohen says, Trump said only the blacks could live this way. Trump campaign is in crisis mode after report on Trump and the military. Some top generals are conspicuously silent amid uproar. Biden says, calling service members losers and suckers is un-American. Trump is on defense after report on disparaging military. Trump aide criticizes Biden for meandering to son's grave. Report says, Trump is furious flags were flown at half staff after Senator John McCain died. The fallout continues over Trump's visit to France in November 2018 after "The Atlantic" reported that the president canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery because he was concerned his hair would get mussed and didn't believe it important to honor America's war dead, calling them losers and suckers.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you have a joint event, he will be talking to every single person.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: But I love that about him too. I really do.

Folks want to be seen and Joe sees people through those aviator glasses. And without them, he really does see people. It's a very special thing about him.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: A campaign ad with a callback.

That does it for us. THE REIDOUT starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It is 7:00 P.M. on the East Coast and at this hour, Donald Trump is holding a rally in Winston Salem, North Carolina, defying the state's mask mandate as well as its limit on crowd size because, of course, he is.

Now, we're not going the take it live, but we are monitoring what he says and we'll bring you any relevant developments throughout the hour.

And then there's this.


MICHAEL COHEN, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY: When we were in Chicago, we were driving through a predominantly black neighborhood. His comment to me was only the blacks could live this way.(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Trump's former lawyer/fixer, Michael Cohen, has a lot to say about his former boss in his book and in a brand new interview with our own Rachel Maddow. We have much more on that coming up in a moment.

But, first, Donald Trump is doing everything in his power to stop the bleeding after an explosive report in The Atlantic that he disparaged U.S. soldiers and marines killed in combat, calling them losers and suckers.

Trump is doing what Trump does best whenever a narrative threatens his grip on power. He is denying the report despite multiple outlets, including Fox News, confirming parts of the story.

When he isn't in denial mode, Trump remarkably doubles down on insulting the military by attacking the very military leadership that he himself appointed.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm not saying the military is in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.


REID: Now, what we've learned from that Atlantic piece isn't exactly breaking news. I mean, we know Trump doesn't respect the military any more than he respect anyone who isn't Donald Trump. We've seen it since the summer he launched his first presidential campaign when he said former prisoner of war and Senator John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured.

But Trump made sure a clack of loyalists slammed The Atlantic's reporting any way, including people who were not even on the November 2018 Paris trip, like his current press secretary, who didn't assume the b job until 2020 while dragging a former ones, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, out of hiding to deem the story fake news.

But who is not commentating on this story is far more interesting than who is, namely, John Kelly, who has managed to become the loudest person in this controversy by not saying a word. The retired four star general who plays a large role in The Atlantic report has yet to confirm or to deny it.

The same goes for retired General Joseph Dunford, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both emn have indicated that, similar to the blue wall of silence, the military calls for staying mum, especially in the world of partisan politics.

And yet, there comes a time when senior leadership of the American military must break their silence, no? Here is Joe Biden making a strong case as to why.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When it comes to veterans, he's down right un-American. I've never said that about a president ever, ever, ever. But calling those who have served, risk their lives, even gave their lives to our nation, losers and suckers. These are heroes. I'll tell you something. My Beau wasn't a loser or a sucker.

If that's how you talk about our veterans, you have no business being president of the United States of America, period.


REID: Joining me now is Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, a former Navy helicopter pilot and a member of the Armed Services Committee, Representative Ted Lieu of California, a former active duty officer in the U.S. Air Force, and current reservist, and Claire McCaskill, former U.S. Senator out of Missouri. Thank you all for being here.

And, Congresswoman Sherrill, I want to go to you first. Donald Trump, he sent a lot of people out to defend him including the current defense secretary who wasn't in the job until the following summer, a lot of people who weren't there, Steve Mnuchin, who wasn't there. What do you make of these denials and how did they hit you personally when you read or heard about what The Atlantic's reporter found out?

REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): Well, Joy, as you discussed, this isn't the first time the president has denigrated service or service members. We've seen it with his comments on John McCain and his powerful example of how you serve when you're captured as a POW, and the fact that you follow the rules of war and you don't accept the enemy letting you go for special favors and you stay, even if you have ejection injuries and are tortured for five more years. That's something that speaks to people who served. That's something that spoke to me as I learned about it at the Naval Academy.

We've heard him denigrate gold star families. And I have to say, many of us who served the ultimate sacrifice is not giving our lives for our country, that's something a lot of us signed up to do and are proud to do, it's really the families we leave behind. It's our mothers and our father and our sisters and brothers and children who will grow up without parents.

So we take care of our gold star families. And to hear the president even denigrate them is really beyond the pale and I believe he's unfit to be the commander in chief.

REID: Yes. We spoke with Khizr Khan last week, who lost his son in Iraq, and he expressed some of the same sentiments. I mean, we heard the same things.

Congressman Lieu, this isn't even like a new story. I mean, the thing about this, one of our great producers who worked on this segment said during one of our calls today, that the only thing that's surprising us is how surprised people are acting.

I mean, there's a book out that in which Donald Trump, this is Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, wrote a book, these two great reporters, called A Very Stable Genius, in which Trump is said to have berated generals in 2017, calling them dopes and babies, telling them, you're all losers, you don't know how to win anymore. I wouldn't go to war with you people. You're a bunch of dopes and babies.

So it's not like this is like something he hasn't done before. What do you think made this resonate in a different way than those other reports?

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you. Joy, for your question. You're absolutely right. This is not an isolated incident. And, first of all, it is appalling that anyone would think that American service members who gave their lives at war are somehow losers and suckers. But for these words to come from the president of the United States is absolutely demoralizing to our active duty military.

Imagine if you're deploying on the frontlines in Afghanistan and you hear about this or if it goes to a family and you lost a family member to war. So Donald Trump must apologize. The fact that everyone who is around him at the time is silent and not denying this, I think, speaks volumes.

I do hope that John Kelly and other generals do speak out, but we don't need them to speak out to know that this is true. And we know it's true because Donald Trump, again, went after the military just this weekend when he attacked military generals for somehow being warmongers. That's exactly the opposite.

I served active duty. It's been my experience that commanders and military leadership don't want to go to war because they know the horrors of war.

REID: And, you know, Claire, one of the people that was sent out and has been out flaking for her former boss is, of course, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was pretty much ride or die, for whatever it is Donald Trump does. I found a very interesting little piece of her interview on The View this morning. Watch this segment with her. And at one point, Joy Behar asked her a very important question. She is out there saying it didn't happen, it didn't happen, it didn't happen. She was indeed on the trip. But just take a listen to this little clip.


JOY BEHAR, ABC NEWS HOST: A question, I want to clear something up with you. because I think I heard you say that you don't believe that Jeffrey Goldberg article because you were there. Is that correct?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Correct. The incident that they were specifically talking about, I was there for that discussion.

BEHAR: Okay. So my question is when, when General Kelly was at Arlington Cemetery standing next to Trump looking at his son's grave side, and Trump allegedly said, what do you get out of it, were you there for that?

SANDERS: I was not standing next to the president for that, no.

BEHAR: Okay. So then you say you were there but you weren't there all the time?

SANDERS: But I have stood next the president and General Kelly.


REID: I mean, Claire, she is the one person who was there who is trying to defend. I think there have been some other people who were on the trip, but there's no one who was literally standing there listening to Donald Trump talk to General Kelly or General Dunford that has defended him. What does it say to you that those people are silent, that they're not coming out because they could easily say they're not being political, they could just say what a horrible thing to say about the commander in chief, he didn't say it? They're not saying it.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I love being on a panel with these two wonderful people who served. I was on the Armed Services Committee for 12 years, Joy. And I will tell you, the military leadership that has been maligned last week, you know, it's so funny because Trump spends days saying, I didn't criticize the military and then has a press conference and criticized the active duty military leadership.

And people who serve in the military know the people that are the leaders of the military, they are not political. They have come up through the ranks. They have seen the horrors of war personally, both by losing people and fighting.

So, you take a guy like John Kelly. He does not want to be political. He is -- but his sigh silence is deafening and I guarantee you that it means something.

And here is what I would say to Sarah Huckabee. Well, this was about commemorating American soldiers, this cemetery in Paris. Why were the other world leaders there? How did they manage to get there? Why was the rain not a problem for them? Why was the leadership of Germany and Canada and all of our allies, why were every single one of them at that cemetery but Donald Trump wasn't? That's the question I'd like to have Sarah Huckabee Sanders answer. Why are all those leaders, why did they think it was important and Donald Trump didn't?

REID: Yes, let alone the fact that he did find time for Putin. I mean, literally, Congresswoman, Sherrill, I mean, the French Army was tweeting out photos of people riding their bikes in that exact same rain. I mean, it just isn't plausible. And he was mocked for it at the time.

Meanwhile, another little interesting nugget of information, because in the defense of Donald Trump, this is what his campaign is doing. One of their campaign staffers, somebody named Francis Brennan tweeted out or -- I'm sorry, tweeted out, Mr. Vice President, come talk to us, this is Joe Biden who just keeps meandering along. This is a tweet from the Trump campaign.

Now, this was Joe Biden, who has lost a son, not in combat, but his son served his country and died of cancer, his oldest son. And Biden made a visit to St. Joseph's to a church in Wilmington, Delaware, where Beau Biden, his son, is buried.

And you can see -- we're going to show the video here of it, because this is what the Trump campaign mocked as Biden meandering and trying to make him look like there's something wrong with him when he really was just literally walking to see his son's grave.

What do you make of that? I mean, even the campaign is participating in mocking Joe Biden, who has actually felt the loss of a son. He didn't die in combat, but, you know, what do you make of that, Congresswoman?

SHERRILL: I think like most Americans, I have no idea what to make of that. To have a parent visiting the grave of their child, something that I hope I personally never have to experience, being somehow mocked? I mean, again and again, you just wonder where is the empathy. Where is the concern for other people? Where is the leadership to bring this country together when we're all hurting so badly from this pandemic? It's really strikingly lacking.

REID: And, Claire, to go back to you for just one moment, because you knew Senator McCain. I'm sure that you guys had your clashes on policy back and forth, et cetera. And Donald Trump still can't let it go. He cannot let him go. Here he is again. This is Donald Trump on McCain, this was on Monday, on Labor Day.


TRUMP: I've always been on the opposite side of John McCain. John McCain liked wars. I will be a better warrior than anybody. But will we fight war, we're going to win them and, frankly, I was never fan of John McCain. You know that.

So this is not somebody am I supposed to say, what a wonderful guy?


REID: John McCain is dead. He can't let it go and he hasn't even ended any of these wars. He's increased the number of troops who were deployed overseas. So that's not even a -- you've been in tough campaigns, Claire. Does this make any sense to you, whatsoever, for this to be the strategy?

MCCASKILL: No. And, you know, it's so hard to listen to him denigrate John McCain. John McCain and I were friends. We didn't agree on a lot but we were friends. And as the congresswoman said, people need to understand John McCain's history. You know, his family was revered in the Navy and his father was an admiral at the time he was a prisoner of war and they wanted to let him out. They wanted to let him go. And he said, no, I'm not leaving without my fellow captured soldiers or captured sailors. I'm not leaving without the others and he stayed.

Now, compare and contrast that to this jerk in the White House who actually said that fighting sexually transmitted diseases was his personal Vietnam. And this jerk who refuses to confront Putin over putting a bounty on American soldiers, that's what America's military is hearing right now. That's the commander in chief they've got. That's why his numbers are plummeting with active military right now. And he may be the first Republican in my lifetime to not capture the majority votes of the active military in the United States.

REID: And, Congressman Lieu, I'm going to give you the last word on this, because even the attacks on the mail could hurt overseas military personnel who may have to vote by mail. It just sort of never ends. I wonder if you -- I don't know. I'm just going to give you the last word.

LIEU: Well, thank you, Joy. Senator McCaskill is absolutely right. Donald Trump is likely going to be the first Republican president in a long time to lose a vote of active duty military based on recent poll. More active duty troops support Joe Biden than Donald Trump.

Representative Sherrill and I were talking about this a few days ago. That's unheard of. When we served, you never would have seen this happen and that's because the active duty military understands what Donald Trump has done. He has weakened United States' foreign policy. He has disparaged the military. He still refuses to condemn Putting for placing a bounty on the heads of U.S. troops. And even today, he cannot say a single sentence that is against Vladimir Putin.

So, the U.S. military troops are watching this and they understand that Donald Trump is not fit to be commander in chief.

REID: Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Congressman Ted Lieu, former Senator Claire McCaskill, thank you very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, spills all the tea.


LESTER HOLT, MSNBC HOST: If you had a conversation with Donald Trump right now, what would you want to tell him?

COHEN: That he should resign now, let Mike Pence pardon you from any and all potential crimes that will come out against you and that would be my recommendation to you, step aside.


REID: New revelations tonight from his interviews with Lester Holt and Rachel Maddow.

Plus, 400,000 Americans dead from COVID by the end of a year, according to a key forecasting model, as experts warn that a second wave could be just around the corner.

And Trump's Poseidon adventure, his latest boat parade ends with five boats at the bottom of the lake, similar to how his campaign has been going lately.

Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.




And I was in this cult. And I -- while I was in the cult, I was really refusing to acknowledge that the actions that I was performing for my boss were morally wrong.


REID: Now free from the cult of Donald Trump, his former personal attorney Michael Cohen is out with a new book full of incendiary allegations about his one-time boss.

But much like the explosive report from "The Atlantic" about Trump disparaging American service members, some of Cohen's allegations sound a lot like what we already know about Trump.

In the book, Cohen portrays Trump as not only a cult leader, but also a con man and a racist. In an exclusive interview with NBC's Lester Holt, Cohen expanded on the racism he says he observed firsthand while working for Trump.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: You call Trump a racist.

Were you witness to any moments that you thought he was exhibiting racism or used a rational slur?

COHEN: Yes, unfortunately, all too many times.

We had one where, right after Nelson Mandela had passed away -- and I talk about this in the book -- he asked me if I had known of any country that's run by a black that's not an S-hole.

And I said, well, how about America, to which he gave me the proverbial, "F. you."


REID: Cohen also said the book details what he calls Donald Trump's -- quote -- "hatred and contempt" for his predecessor, Barack Obama.


COHEN: Well, I believe his hatred for Barack Obama just basically starts with the fact that he's black and that he was the first black president in this country.


REID: Now, that's not surprising, given that Trump launched his political career peddling the racist birther conspiracy about Obama and his long history of disparaging America's first black president.

But what is new and super weird, according to "The New York Times," Cohen writes that Trump hired -- quote -- "a fake Obama, a faux-Bama, if you will, to record a video where Trump ritualistically belittled the Obama stand-in and then fired him, a kind of fantasy fulfillment that it was hard to imagine any adult would spend serious money living out, until he did the functional equivalent in the real world," which, actually, he didn't.

Obama served two full terms, and termed out. Trump didn't functionally fire anybody.

Anyhoo, the video that Cohen appears to be describing was presented to the Romney campaign to be shown at the 2012 Republican National Convention. But the campaign, for some reason, passed on it.

We can show you a bit of it now. It shows the actor portraying Obama visiting Trump Tower in New York.



Let's see what you have been up to. This is your review. The fact is, the American people want results.

President Obama, you're fired.



REID: And in an interview with my colleague Rachel Maddow, we will learn more about Trump's other favorite obsession, Vladimir Putin, of course.

For more, I'm joined by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, former director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House and the author of "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," and Sam Nunberg, former campaign adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign.

And, Omarosa, you and I have talked about this before. I read your book. You talk a lot about the things that people, they know they know about Donald Trump, but they need to have it affirmed for them.


REID: This obsession with Barack Obama, you have talked about the fact that it had in part to do with President Obama disparaging him at that 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.

But Cohen suggests it's more than that. It's the idea that a black person, in his mind, shouldn't be president at all, that any -- in his mind, any country with a black president is an S-hole.

Does that ring true to you?


And I have to tell you that this kind of anecdote about Donald Trump is probably one of the most bizarre stories I have heard. I didn't know anything about this. All these revelations in Cohen's book are shocking.

I mean, it's just downright shocking, but certainly definitely believable.

REID: And, I mean, this is a person who wanted to do a blacks-vs.-white "Apprentice."

There is a guy who worked on "The Apprentice" who has been tweeting all the time that Trump used the N-word, that he was very open about it. Cohen says he just ritualistically constantly just would use the N-word, just drop it all the time.

Is that something you ever experienced? Or did he have the nerve to try to do it in front of you?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: You know, the first time I heard about Donald Trump's use of the N-word was when Bill Pruitt, the producer from "The Apprentice," went on PBS and gave that interview.

And I'm going to tell you, I was shocked to hear that Michael Cohen heard him use it so often, and knew that I was doing business with Donald Trump, that I was around him, that I was a producing partner for Donald Trump, and didn't share that, I mean, it's just a little disheartening.

But he's saying the same thing that Donald Trump's niece, Mary Trump, said as well, that he used it often, that he dropped it often. And so I think that this is kind of par for the course for Donald Trump.

We all know that he is a racist.

REID: Yes.

And, Sam, there's -- there's that. And I agree that that is the weirdest door I have ever heard, that he literally went to the trouble of hiring a Faux-Bama to make a video. That's some serious obsession. That's some Joker v. Batman obsession.


REID: But let's move on from that and talk about some of the other things.

On Russia, which is Trump's other obsession, Cohen writes -- and "The Washington Post," who had a preview of the book, they write the following.

"On Russia, Cohen writes that the cause behind Trump's admiration of Vladimir -- of Russian President Vladimir Putin is similar -- is simpler than many of his critics assume."

"Above all," he writes, "Trump loves money, and he wrongly identified Putin as the richest man in the world by a multiple. Trump loved Putin," Cohen wrote, "because the Russian leader had the ability to take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company, like the Trump Organization, in fact."

Does that ring true to you, that Donald Trump loves Putin because he wants to run America like it's his personal business, the way he think that Putin -- thinks Putin does?

SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: No, the way -- that wasn't in my dealings when we discussed Putin, which it was strictly policy and what would help him in the Republican Convention.

And, Joy, I -- disclaimer, I spoke to Michael. I texted him. I'm reading the book. I enjoyed it. It has Michael's humor. But it's a different way people see things.

And, for instance, this Obama video. I was under the assumption that the Romney campaign had actually asked him to film that, and then they spiked it at the convention. If that's -- if that's what Michael claims happened, then I wasn't -- I wasn't working day to day there.

But I think a lot -- I think the tragedy of all this is, if you would have told me, Joy, that I would be on a panel 55 days out from Donald Trump's reelect, and Omarosa would be on here, and she would be -- have had a fallout with him, and we would be to -- in the lead-up, two hours to Rachel Maddow's blockbuster interview on Michael's big tell-all negative book on Donald Trump, I would have said, you're crazy. I would have said, you're absolutely crazy.

And -- but what ends up happening is, none of us are different.

REID: But what in policy -- but let me ask you this.

Yes. No, I agree with that.

But let me ask you one more question on the Putin thing, because you said it was about policy.


REID: What policy could possibly be advanced by refusing to criticize Vladimir Putin for putting bounties on American soldiers or for killing his chief opposition leader, and refusing to believe American intelligence about Vladimir Putin attacking our election, when all of our intelligence agencies say he did?

What could possibly be the policy reason for sucking up to Vladimir Putin to that extent?

NUNBERG: Well -- well, no, when I -- what I said was, when I spoke with him, it was 2015, and we were talking about whether or not we were going to oppose -- Putin had just gone into Syria to fight ISIS, and whether or not we were going to say that that was a positive or a negative.

In our view, we said that -- and he said this -- that we thought that Putin would be doing a better job to take out ISIS than Obama.

With that said, the recent revelations that have come out, I don't think that the Trump campaign or the Trump White House has dealt with them well. I don't understand. I would hope that the president could actually say something.

And the problem is -- is, overall, he has this antipathy to the national intelligence. And I can understand, from the point of view of what happened during the investigation, particularly with Comey and how he felt blindsided.

But, with that said, he is the commander in chief. And if the Russians are doing this, he should be aggressively talking about it, both publicly and privately, to Putin.

REID: Well, I'm sure it is blindsiding when someone catches you canoodling with a hostile foreign power that's attacking our election.


REID: Omarosa, overall, what you have seen in the campaign, I mean, the stuff that Cohen is talking about is Donald Trump inflating his assets to make himself look richer because he wants to be on the "Forbes" list.

It's all ego, ego, ego, ego, ego.


REID: You experienced him both as a White House staffer and as somebody who was a star of his show "The Apprentice."

Without a producer, without somebody like the creator of "The Apprentice" to help him, could Donald Trump ever function as a leader, as a president? Is the only thing propping him up is that he had people like Mr. Cohen to help him, and that, now that they're gone, he can't do it?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Well, Joy, we have seen Donald Trump tried to produce his own reality show in the White House. I do believe that this is "The Apprentice" version of the White House.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump has shown the American people over and over again -- he's had three years to show that he was up to this job, that he could be an effective leader, that he could help with domestic policy, and go out on the world stage and make us proud.

But, over and over again, we have seen that Donald Trump is not equipped to lead this country, particularly as we see 185,000 Americans have died of COVID, and yet he still does not have a nationwide plan to combat COVID.

There is no way that anyone watching at home should even think about giving this man four more years to lead this great country. Otherwise, it will be our demise.

REID: Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Sam Nunberg, two people who Donald Trump well, thank you both very much for being with us tonight.

And still ahead: Medical experts warn of a potential second wave of COVID infections this fall, but, still, as you just heard from Omarosa, no national strategy from the Trump White House.

THE REIDOUT will be right back.


REID: For months, Donald Trump claimed the coronavirus would just disappear. But, as we near the end of summer, that has clearly not been the case.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the United States saw the number of new cases almost quadruple from around 1.6 million to more than 6.3 million cases. And the number of Americans who have died almost doubled from just under 100,000 to more than 190,000.

The latest projections are dire and show that the number of deaths could reach 400,000 -- 400,000 -- by the end of the year. This comes as students head back to school, with heightened concerns that those attending in-person classes could cause an even more catastrophic spread of the virus.

And joining me now is Dr. Lipi Roy, an internal medicine physician.

And, Dr. Roy, there is a lot of sort of -- I won't call it panic, but a lot of parents are afraid. They're sending their kids back to school. In a lot of cases, it's in-person.

How worried should people be, given what we're seeing happening, particularly on college campuses, that are in some cases sending kids home because of outbreaks?

DR. LIPI ROY, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, Joy, yes, it's great to be with you.

I'm hearing, actually, a lot of -- and I agree with you. It's not necessarily alarm, but there's concern. And, frankly, I think it's legitimate concern.

We have already seen many, many cases of schools across the country, from the elementary schools right up to universities, where we're seeing just huge outbreaks of cases amongst children and up until college-age students.

So there's concern amongst parents, because there, again -- and we have talked about this before -- no clear plan. There's no national strategy. All the different communities are left to their own devices to try to figure this out, which is really -- it's so chaotic, and it's irresponsible.

We need to stop playing Russian roulette with children's lives. We know that children get sick with this novel coronavirus. And now that autumn is here -- fall, rather -- we know that respiratory viruses, including influenza, are going to be peaking.

So, we need to actually take action here.

REID: And what about this idea of a vaccine?

Donald Trump is still kind of promoting that there will be a vaccine. There's been some pushback from drug companies that say, whoa, we're not going to put anything out there unless it's been properly tested.

Is it even possible for a vaccine to have been thoroughly and properly tested to be safe by, I don't know, Election Day?

ROY: Random date of Election Day, yes.

Look, I'm a doctor. I'm a public health advocate. I'm a big, big advocate for prevention, preventive health. And vaccinations, immunizations fall under the category of prevention. I just got my own flu shot last week. I recommend it for all people.

Here's the thing, though, with coronavirus and the vaccines, the multiple candidates that are out there. None of them have completed phase three trials. And, remember, that's the last phase, the large phase that looks at 30,000, 40,000 people.

And -- but it's not just the number, Joy. It's the timeline. You have to look at the effect of this new medication, this vaccine over time, because you may not see an adverse effect in 30, 40 days, but you might in six months, in 12 months, in 18 months.

It could be a neurologic, cardiac, autoimmune, rheumatologic side effect. So that's the concern, Joy. And, right now, none of the vaccine candidates have completed that necessary phase three trial, which -- phase three -- which can take up to, like, years, to be honest, at least one or two years.

REID: Indeed. Sobering, but very good information.

Thank you so much, Dr. Lipi Roy. Always appreciate you being here. Thank you.

And still ahead: Did you hear the one about the president who pillaged an American ambassador's residence, hauling off various works of art, which then turned out to be fakes?

Let the face-palming begin -- next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: The fallout continues over Trump's visit to France in November 2018 after "The Atlantic" reported that the president canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery because he was concerned his hair would get mussed and didn't believe it important to honor America's war dead, calling them losers and suckers.

Trump has, of course, denied that reporting blaming the weather.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was very, very foggy and the helicopter was unable to fly. So I went and I called home, I spoke to my wife, I said I hate this. I came here to go to that ceremony.


REID: But there's one teeny little problem with that defense. His wife was literally on the trip with him. There she is right next to him while his favorite dictator Vladimir Putin shakes his hand and gives him a thumb's up. But that's not even the most ridiculous thing to come out of this news cycle. New Bloomberg -- now, Bloomberg News is reporting that after that cemetery trip was deep sixed, Trump had some extra time on his hands, in a mansion filled with artwork, the U.S. ambassador's home in Paris.

The next day, Trump pointed out a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and a set of figurines of Greek mythical characters, and insisted the pieces come back with him to Washington. In other words, he went shopping without a credit card.

The art was loaded on to Air Force One and off to Trump's (INAUDIBLE). But it turns out that the art wasn't even high quality. According to Bloomberg, both Franklin pieces were replicas and art dealer Patricia Wengraf described 20th century fakes of wannabe 17th century sculptures.

I can't believe I have to say this, but the stuff that people used to prop a room is rarely ever real, even in France, and acquiring tacky, fake art, is not something the president of the United States should be focused on.

We'll be right back.


REID: Donald Trump is at a huge disadvantage heading into the final eight weeks of the campaign. As "The New York Times" reports, money was supposed to have been one of his great advantages of incumbency. Biden was relatively broke when he emerged this spring and Trump and the Republican National Committee had a nearly $200 million cash advantage.

But five months later, Trump's financial supremacy has evaporated. Of the $1.1 billion his campaign and his party raised from beginning of 2019 through July, more than $800 million has already been spent. Some of the issues seem to revolve around unnecessary expenses.

People familiar with the budget noted that former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale had a car and a driver, an unusual expense for a campaign manager. And Republicans have also been saddled with extralegal costs, more than $21 million since 2019, resulting from investigations into Trump and eventually his impeachment trial.

The money isn't Trump's only problem. As America's paper of record noted, five years, I should note, after black journalists begin talking about Trump's white nationalism including "Atlantic" writer Ta-Nehisi Coates calling Trump the country's, quote, first white president.

"The Times" writes: Trump is casting himself as defender of white America, presenting himself as a warrior against identity politics. The president has increasingly made appeals to the grievances of white supporters a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. Welcome "New York Times."

But it's not strategy that appears to be working in Trump's favor and that is up next.


REID: Donald Trump has spent the past few weeks honing his new campaign strategy, the lie that violence is spreading and could come right to your doorstep.

Trump sent out tweets out today warning white voters that if Biden gets in, this violence is coming to the suburbs and fast. You could say good-bye to the American dream.

The president and his campaign's increasing reliance on this fake crime message comes as recent polls show public safety is not a top concern for most voters. Their top concerns are -- no surprise -- the coronavirus, the economy and impact of racism.

But NBC's Shannon Pettypiece points out, there is one demographic that does cite crime as a top issue, the president's current base.

Joining me now Jennifer Palmieri, contributor for Showtime's "The Circus", and former White House communications director for President Obama, and Shermichael Singleton, a political consultant and contributor to "The Washington Examiner".

And, Shermichael, I want to go to you first.

I mean, first, I'm going to also note that we interviewed Omarosa a little bit earlier and I just want to make sure that we clarify that it was Mary Trump and not Michael Cohen that made the allegation that Trump actually used the "N" word. So, let's just make sure we clear that upright off the bat.

But, Shermichael, I want to go to you on the strategy that Trump is trying to use. It's a "scare white voters" strategy. The polling shows it's not moving any numbers toward him away from Joe Biden.


REID: Why do you think that is as somebody that was a Republican and understands how these campaigns work?

SINGLETON: I mean, Joy, the suburbs have changed. The suburbs aren't the way they were 10, 15, 20 years ago where they were mostly older and mostly white. Now, the suburbs are younger. They're more diverse.

But, Joy, I also think another problem that Donald Trump has is that it's not the scare white people tactic that's not working, he also has to worry about the front line workers, who for the past several months have seen people die in front of them because they didn't have the necessary resources as a result of his dereliction of duty to provide them with the resources that they needed to do their jobs.

He should be concerned about the small business owners who voted for a tax cut and they are now seeing their companies bankrupt and have to close, laying off thousands of employees across the country. He should be concerned about the friends who have friends that happen to be black and see how most of them were treated by police, and see the language that this president uses to raise vitriol amongst his base against those individuals. Those are the people that Donald Trump should be concerned about instead of trying to increase angst and anxiety, if you will, amongst older white voters.

REID: Well, I mean, he's even trying, you know, ending anti-racism training in federal agencies. I'm not sure what voter that was meant to help. I'm not sure what voter that moves. Maybe Stephen Miller, who's already voted for Trump. It's a weird strategy.

Jennifer, let me play for you the new Joe Biden ad which a lot of people give me credit for, because it makes a very simple message that seems to be working for Biden.


AD ANNOUNCER: This is our chance to put the darkness of the past four years behind us, to end the anger, the insults, the division, the violence, and start fresh in America. We can stop focusing on a president who thinks it's all about him and start focusing on what's best for us.

We've had four years of a president who brings out the worst in America. Isn't it time we had a president who brought out the best?


REID: And that is a latest from Joe Biden, that's his fresh start ad.

You know, it's sort of clear that this is an exhaustion, Jennifer, that, you know, that there are people who may like Donald Trump's policies, but this is tiring I think for everyone over the last four years, dealing with the constant drama.

Joe Biden seems to not have to do much more than just say that, just a look at how chaotic it is, I'm not chaotic.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: But there's a positive element to that, which is important, because I know that, you know, the point will show that voters know (INAUDIBLE) about Trump, (INAUDIBLE) a positive message coming from Joe Biden to push them his way and that manages to do both, right? It does invoke the chaos, but wow, fresh start does sound really appealing, doesn't it?

And I think for the people that -- for the small band of swing voters that is a good message, I was in Wisconsin last week, went to Kenosha. And talked with people there, talked with some -- one of the best pollsters there, Mark (INAUDIBLE) is going to have a poll coming out tomorrow.

And it was interesting, he doubted, this pollster doubted that Kenosha and Trump's visit would have much of an impact on the presidential campaign. He thinks that the views of the two candidates were so stark that even something as big as Kenosha in the state of Wisconsin and Trump trying to use fear as a message was unlikely to have a big impact.

So when we see that poll tomorrow, I think that's really important. If that scare message cannot work in Wisconsin, you know, after Kenosha, I'm not sure where it's going to work and it could show that as you see with others from the national polls, that it's just not moving voters.

REID: You know, if Donald Trump was in a position, A, there wouldn't be stories about him having a lot of money problems. He's the incumbent president of the United States. You'd think he would have money just pouring in. So that's an issue.

And then there's this. Here's Donald Trump doubling down on telling his supporters that they should vote twice.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make sure that you send the ballot in and then go to your polling place and make sure that it counts, make sure that it counts, because the only way that they can win is by doing very bad things. That's the only way.


REID: You know, it doesn't sound like somebody that's winning. If you need two votes out of each voter, you don't have enough voters, Shermichael.

SINGLETON: I mean, exactly. Sounds like someone, Joy, who is scared as heck that they will not win. And to your point, their campaign, the Republicans and the Trump reelect, started with hundreds of millions, I think $350 million surplus. They spent $800 million. You look at Brad Parscale and some of his spending habits. They're obviously, as you pointed out, fighting lawsuits all over the place, left and right.

It shows that Donald Trump realized that the tides are turning against him, Joy, and this is the same man who said, oh, Democrats are trying to cheat. They're going to do everything they can. Watch out for all these extra ballots that are going to come out of nowhere, yet he's encouraging his supporters to break the law. It is once again the height of hypocrisy coming from the man in the White House who shows further, Joy, why he should not be in this office. He shows every single day in my view why someone like a Joe Biden who I do not agree with on every single policy issue is better suited to lead this country out of this chaos, out of this mess.

We can debate politics later, Joy, but we have to protect the institutions of the country that I personally believe are being targeted and destroyed every single day by Donald Trump's behavior.

REID: Jennifer Palmieri, wish we had more time. Shermichael Singleton, thank you both very much. Appreciate you, guys.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.



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