Skip to main content

tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  July 30, 2020 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

5:00 pm
what's at stake? reproductive rights, lgbtq rights. these are at the heart of how we define ourselves as a democracy. we have to win these battles. so i think the film is a great reminder for why we have to get out and vote. >> absolutely. thank you both very much. that is tonight's reid out. tune in tomorrow. al franken joins the reid out. "all in" starts right now. tonight on "all in," the attack on our democracy is coming from the president. trump's brazen strategy to undermine the voting process and throw november into chaos. barack obama sounds the alarm and a call to action in the name of john lewis. then the coronavirus death toll continues its climb as former presidential candidate her main cain loses his life to the virus. and outrage and panic grip
5:01 pm
capitol hill after the news of louie gohmert's covid diagnosis. today was nuts and unnerving and dizzying. but the main story tonight is this. the president says things will get better, and then they get much worse. much, much, much worse. and then somehow on top of that he makes them worse still. just days after donald trump had been bragging about the u.s.'s low coronavirus fatalities, today over 1,500 americans died of the coronavirus, the highest total since all the way back on may 14th. more than 150,000 americans have died in total in the u.s. that means more than one in five coronavirus deaths in the world are here in this country. americans are dying of the virus at the rate of more than one per minute right now. and the president has been
5:02 pm
insisting we are on the cusp of an economic break-out, but things are getting worse right now. more than 1.4 million americans filed new unemployment claims this week. that is the second straight week the number has increased. today the u.s. economy posted its worst ever quarter. the gross domestic product or gdp, the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the u.s., down 9.5%. almost 35% annualized. look at that red line on the right. it makes every bad quarter ever before this look like a flip on the radar. on top of all that, today the president engaged in an active flagrant effort to undermine the legitimacy and outright sabotage the administration of free and fair elections in this country. he has been waging an assault on the foundational cornerstone of american liberty, the free exercise of the franchise for a while now. but today, the president just
5:03 pm
came out and threatened to postpone the election. here's what he said at the white house briefing earlier this evening. >> and i don't want to see an election, you know, so many years i have been watching elections, and they say the projected winner or the winner of the election. i don't want to see that take place in a week after november 3rd or a month or frankly with litigation and everything else that would happen years, years or you never even know who won the election. >> you got what that was, right? that's a threat. that's i'm going to try to do that. i'm going to try to postpone it by a week or months or years or you never know who won. and all of that happening on the very day that congressman john lewis, a patron saint of the movement to establish those ideals of genuine democracy in this country so that every american can exercise those rights and vote freely that that
5:04 pm
man was laid to rest in atlanta, georgia. now, the president can't postpone the election. a bunch of republicans were chased around capitol hill where half of them say they have not seen the tweet and others including mitch mcconnell and congresswoman liz cheney said, no, no, we're going to have the election as usual. it is worth remembering at this point that donald trump already won the presidency as a candidate, right? as the beneficiary of not one but two separate criminal conspiracies on his behalf. that is a fact, a true statement about the world. one was by the russian government to damage his opponent. the other criminal conspiracy was by his hench men. so donald trump already has experience in cheating to win. but now donald trump has the federal government to help him cheat. and we have been covering on this show night in and night out how his hand picked postmaster
5:05 pm
general appears to be intentionally slowing down the mail ahead of an election that will almost turn on mail-in ballo ballots. the president is sending federal forces to intimidate and attack and round up american protesters. he's having people tear gassed and beaten for cheap photo ops. now the question of what the law allows becomes less important of what, the citizens, will allow. what will we do to stop him when the time comes? it is for that reason the legacy of john lewis cannot be more powerful and poignant today. because the right to participate in american democracy was delivered by people like john lewis, putting their bodies in the street and their lives on the line. and that point was made today in a masterful and moving eulogy from former president barack obama. >> and some day when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more
5:06 pm
perfect union, whether it's years from now or decades or even if it takes another two centuries, john lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better america. [ applause ] >> i mean, american democracy is young, only decades old. it only became a democracy, a true democracy because of young john lewis and his come raids ready to face the batons and fire hoses and the death threats and the terroristic violence. that's how recent and fresh and young actual democracy in this country is. and the threats to it now are as great as they have probably been in our lifetime. as former president obama pointed out. >> we may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a
5:07 pm
ball ballot. but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive id laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that's going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don't get sick. >> ultimately the only real protection for american democracy is the active work of the people in the streets. people refusing to allow their rights to be taken away. it was true for congressman john lewis and it's true now. and the people in the streets right now are why president trump is so scared. it is why he's sending armed men to get rid of them and why he's
5:08 pm
trying to make sure your vote doesn't count. for more, i'm joined by the staffer of the new york times magazine focussing on racial justice. she won the pulitzer prize earlier this year. and steve schmidt, co-founder of the the lincoln project. nicole, let me start with you. today the president talking about delaying an election you know, he tweets a lot of stuff and there seemed a red line crossing, particularly in the sense of him threatening this on the day that america is mourning the icon of the voting rights act and americans equal access to the franchise. >> yes. i think it speaks to how dangerous and serious this is, that the cofunder of the federalist society actually came out against donald trump and said that that tweet was an impeachable offense. we need to think about the words of john lewis, who had his final
5:09 pm
words printed in "the new york times" today. and he said democracy is not a state. it is an act. and of course president obama echoed that when he said democracy is not automatic. if we didn't understand that before, we certainly should understand that today, that we, the citizens, are clearly going to have to fight to save this democracy. >> you know, steve, piggybacking off what nicole just said, you know, through much of the time of the president being in power, there has been these questions of what institutions will check him. in some ways the courts have. and there has been ways in which congress has checked him as well. but i'm increasingly hearing people articulate that there is no like superman out there and there is no just like institution granted down from heaven that says like, it all works out. it basically is just us. like our citizens, our people in the republican party, our
5:10 pm
citizens in the streets, part of the black lives movement and others, are they willing to say, no, we're going to fight for american democracy? that's going to be the question. >> it was pointed out, chris, that freedom is always one generation away from being extinguished and we're reminded of that admonition tonight. we are at a very dangerous hour in this country. never before in our history has an american president ever suggested stopping an election for the purposes of maintaining power because if the election were tomorrow he would be crushed in the election and increasingly there is very little way in terms of strategy for trump to win the election. what he's attempting to do is to sew chaos, sew doubt, question the legitimacy of the democratic process, getting in position to try to steal the election.
5:11 pm
he is an ill liberal man, and this is an autocratic moment, and we should understand it as such. but in the end, it is not donald trump's right to bestow upon or take away the voting franchise. that franchise has been paved with the blood of american martyrs. and it is our inheritance, all of ours. >> yeah. >> john lewis said that we all came here in different boats. we all came here in different ships. but we're in the same boat now. and the reality of it is this. from lexington and concord to gettysburg to john lewis, we will vote in this country. we tell the government what to do, not the other way around. this is the united states of america, not trumpistan. and the american people are the last check on this most
5:12 pm
illiberal man. so there was a question that more robustly debated in the 1970s and '80s than it was in the '90s and the early years of this century, and it was contemplating a fascistic project. could that happen in america? could there be an authoritarian movement that could come to power in the united states? and the answer was always no. the high watermark for that was the german-american in 1938 selling out madison square garden. but the question of could it happen here, it is happening here. when the president of the united states dispatches and threatens to tens of thousands of armed storm troopers lacking badges and ids, shoving people into white vans, slowing the mail down, which is a federal crime to influence the outcome of an election, dividing the american people, questioning the legitimacy of the election,
5:13 pm
suggesting that he will not accept the results of the election, talking about suspending the election and have no doubt if donald trump could stop this election from going forward for the purposes of remaining in power for the rest of his life like the man he admires like president xi, like president putin, he would do so. and anyone that thinks he wouldn't is profoundly naive and not attentive to the moment that we're in. >> to the point about can it happen here, nicole, when i was thinking about john lewis, what john lewis stared down was the closest thing we had to fascism in the u.s. it was not a free democracy. it is the closest thing we've had. then i thought about him today because i was watching the eyes on the prize on salma recently.
5:14 pm
when they go to register there, they get told, the clerk's office is only open for a few hours. even then, even the racist white sheriff down there isn't saying we don't want black people to vote. no, no, it is an administrative thing. i thought about that when i saw the president talk about all the administrative problems with the mail-in voting. it is the oldest excuse. >> yeah. so no one in this country knows how fragile our democracy is than black americans because black americans have had to fight for centuries to actually take part in our democracy. black americans have always been the canary in the coal mine. as we have seen, this wave of voter suppression bills targeting black americans and other americans stood by and watched that happen, black people have always said, what you allow to happen to us can eventually be done to you. and now the entire country has to worry about voter
5:15 pm
suppression. now the entire country has to worry that their vote will not count. >> that's a great point. >> the 15th amendment made it unconstitutional to discrimination and deny someone the right to vote because of their race. and as soon as that constitutional amendment was passed, conservatives have found a way, race neutral ways to deny the vote. this is what the grandfather clauses were. this is what the jelly bean counts were, and this is what we're seeing with these different voter suppression tactics like closing polls and now this threat of denying mail by ballot. so we have allowed and not passed a new voting rights bill. we have allowed those more marginalized to phrase diseven franchisement and american citizens have to decide, are we going to save our democracy or not? >> final question to you, steve, is about this question of sort of when the chips are down, right? and it feels like the chips are down now.
5:16 pm
and we saw mattis come out after the lafayette square moment, which i thought was important. we have got republican leaders basically saying in a kind of, you know, nonconfrontational way like we're going to have the election. but it is going to matter what people yielding power throughout the republican party and in the military, the courts, all of these people operating in those institutions, their conscious and what they're willing to do when the moment matters is going to matter a lot. >> the majority of this country shares this position. we're not going back to salma 1963. we're going forward. and freedom means freedom for everybody in this country. one of the most powerful ideas in the history of the world that represented a before and after moment were the words that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with
5:17 pm
even alienable rights including life, liberty and happiness. the whole history of the country has been the struggle to close the gap between that perfect ideal and the reality, the flawed reality, the original sin of slavery. we're not going back. and i think the american people will rise up in righteous anger at threats to our liberty, to our sovereignty and will not stand for this. we will not. and in the end, when you think about john lewis on that day crossing the edmond pettus bridge, he took a first step. and then he took a second and a third and a fourth and a fifth, and he drew closer. he drew closer to the men with the clubs and the dogs. he drew closer to the men who would attack and beat him, and he did it fearlessly,
5:18 pm
fearlessly. no nobody is asking anybody here in the congress to storm omaha beach. nobody is asking anybody -- >> right. >> -- to do what john lewis did. but the american people are called on now to do is to honor the legacy of great sacrifice and to demand pristine, free, fair elections that are accessible to everybody. and when this rancid administration is turned out from office, the very first thing that president biden has to do is we must in this country pass a voting rights act, a civil rights act and an election security act to secure our elections so we don't ever have to deal with this again because it is awful. and it is un-american. >> voting rights act day one. john lewis voting rights act. i think president barack obama suggested today. nicole and steve, it is a great pleasure to get to talk to you
5:19 pm
on this momentum day. thanks a lot. >> thank you, chris. ahead, not only did barack obama deliver a stirring defense of democracy in his eulogy for nonlewis, he made some big news in his speech. we'll show you what happened next. you what happened next at the golden opportunity sales event. in his speech. we'll show you what happened next. lewis, he made some big ne his speech. we'll show you what happened next. jo lewis, he made some bis in his speech. we'll show you what happened next. h lewis, he made some big news in his speech. we'll show you what happened next. n lewis, he made some big news in his speech. we'll show you what happened next. lewis, he made some big news in his speech. we'll show you what happened next. next no matter how far away. anything to report? (kevin) nothing. (brad) exactly like the last nine hundred eighty-three days. apartments-dot-com. the most popular place to find a place.
5:20 pm
5:21 pm
5:22 pm
today at the funeral for john lewis, former president barack obama delivered the
5:23 pm
eulogy. obama articulated a full vision of enlarging, enhancing and strengthening american democracy by delivering a call for action. you want to honor john? let's honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for. and by the way, naming it the john lewis voting rights act, that is a fine tribute. once we pass the john lewis voting rights act, we should keep marching to make it even better. by making sure every american is automatically registered to vote, including former inmates who have earned their second chance. by adding polling places and
5:24 pm
expanding early voting and making election day a national holiday so if you are somebody who is working in a factory or you're a single mom who's got to go to her job and doesn't get time off, you can still cast your ballot by guaranteeing that every american citizen has equal representation in our government, including the american citizens who live in washington, d.c. and in puerto rico. they're americans. by ending some of the partisan gerrymandering so that all voters have the power to choose their politicians, not the other way around. and if all this takes eliminating the filibuster,
5:25 pm
another jim crow relic in order to secure the god given rights of every american, then that's what we should do. >> wow. that is a full sweep of a kind of small democratic politics increasingly pushed by members of the democratic party. today, a full throated endorsement. in some ways, this was the obama speech in the trump era that so many have been waiting for. there to hear it live is a democrat of colorado. congressman, it is great to have you. i'm jealous you were able to be there today. what is it like to be in that room? >> it was incredibly moving. today was obviously a very tough day for our entire country. there certainly was not a dry eye in the church, in atlanta. and i suspect that that's the case in a lot of homes across
5:26 pm
our country and indeed the world as we mourned a living legend, a true american hero, mr. lewis, a deep friend and colleague to so many here in the united states congress. and i was certainly honored to be able to have the privilege and opportunity to pay my respects with speaker pelosi and the congressional delegation and to hear the powerful eulogies that were delivered. one by president obama who was as elegant as always, but today spoke truth to power in such a resounding way that i suspect his message echoed across a lot of family rooms across the united states tonight. >> yeah. i want to play something he said about the lewis' recognition about how important democracy is and how it is not a given and the degree to which it does feel now that this election turns on something that existential, that important. are we democracy or not?
5:27 pm
>> john lewis devoted his time on this earth fighting the very attacks on democracy. and what's best in america that we're seeing circulate right now. we knew that every single one of us has a god given power and that the fate of this democracy depends on how we use it. >> i want to ask you this, congressman. ky never tell. you are a young professional politician. you are fairly knew to this. you are a freshman. but whether the people in capitol hill, the people in your caucus recognize the stakes right now, like at a visceral daily lived level understand what is on the table right now
5:28 pm
for this country. >> i certainly think so, chris. i think the word that you used existential is the right word and i certainly think my colleagues recognize that. and i think the american people recognize it and if they didn't, they certainly do after listening to president obama's remarks earlier today. there are many of us in congress inspired to pursue public service by president obama, myself included. and to hear him describe how high the stakes are in this particular election and the fact that it really is all on the line, our ability to continue to function as a republic, to live up to the ideals in those founding documents, the constitution and declaration of independence. it is all on the table this november. so i think that that message was delivered really effectively today by the president. as i said, i don't think it's lost on members of congress how high the stakes are. and i certainly hope it's not lost on the american people. >> speaking of the steakes, ten
5:29 pm
of millions of americans will lose $600 a week starting this friday. that's essentially already baked into the cake because the state programs won't be up in time. mitch mcconnell sent them home for a recess. there are people facing eviction. four days straight with no outcome for a relief bill. what is your understanding of where things stand right now? >> first let me just say it is unconscionable what the senate republicans have brought us to this point after the house had taken decisive action as you know back in may to pass the heroes act to provide the economic lifeline to americans across our country who are struggling right now to be able to make ends meet as a result of the public health emergency and obviously the economic fall-out that's been a byproduct of the covid-19 pandemic. and the fact that mitch mckonld and the republicans failed to about and provide a sensible negotiating position, it really
5:30 pm
is dumbfounding, and it's incredibly problematic obviously for a lot of americans, including many of my constituents. i can't tell you how many constituents of ours are calling us in desperate, desperate situations, understanding that these unemployment benefits, the pandemic unemployment differential is set to expire in 24 hours. it is unconscionable and should not be tolerated by the american people. we put forward a proposal that i thought would make a great deal of difference for americans in the heroes act and i'm hopeful that mitch mcconnell will concede to reality, that there is a large portion of his caucus that clearly does not want to provide any economic relief to americans and instead he should negotiate in good faith with the speaker and the house majority and the democratic caucus to get something done. >> i mean, from your lips to god's ears, we'll see what
5:31 pm
happens. thank you so much for making time tonight. >> thank you, chris. still to come, the president escalates his attacks. ari berman is here to debunk the lies and what this election could and should look like ahead. ction could and should look like ahead. in a highly capable lexus suv at the golden opportunity sales event. lease the 2020 nx 300 for $339 a month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. experience amazing when you think of a bank, you think of people in a place. but when you have the chase mobile app, your bank can be virtually any place. so, when you get a check... you can deposit it from here. and you can see your transactions and check your balance from here. you can detect suspicious activity on your account from here. and you can pay your friends back from here. so when someone asks you, "where's your bank?" you can tell them: here's my bank. or here's my bank. or, here's my bank. because if you download and use the chase mobile app, your bank is virtually any place. so visit
5:32 pm
5:33 pm
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
because we are in the midst of a once in a century pandemic, november is going to be a mail-in election. and that is why donald trump appears to be attacking mail-in voting. in fact, donald trump has been waging this wartime and time again, week after week on twitter, today escalating as well. but it is important to understand that there are basically two aspects to what's going on here. he says mail-in voting is rife with fraud. that's not true.
5:36 pm
it is incredibly administratively difficult. we will see volumes the likes of which we have never seen. there is some evidence, in fact, that a lot of people who give in legitimate mail-in ballots have them discounted because they forgot to sign in the right place. my wife and i both voted recently in an election mail-in ballot in new york and we had to check it three or four times. all of that creates the conditions for donald trump to take advantage of those actual problems by trying to fight against mail-in ballots. here to clarify exactly what we could do to make sure this election is run as smoothly as possible is my friend and great reporter on this topic, the number one expert, a rrks irkrif mother jones. >> hey, chris. thanks so much for having me. >> so i want to talk about these two categories because donald trump conflated the two. like the odds of someone cheating or systemic fraud from
5:37 pm
a mail-in ballot is zero. the odds of local officials being able to process them, send them out in time, get them through the mail in time and count them in time, those are real. talk about those two distinct issues. >> yeah. that's absolutely right. mail-in ballot fraud is very unlikely. they did a study and found only 143 cases of mail ballot fraud over the past 20 years which equalled out to 0.0006% of total ballots cast. the problem is that the system could become overwhelmed, that people might not get mail ballots that they requested, that they might be sent back in time, that the post office is facing this unprecedented threat you have covered on their show that they might not be able to handle the volume and election officials might not be able to count them in a proper and timely fashion. that's why we should be making
5:38 pm
it easier to vote by mail, not harder. but the trump administration is waging this unprecedented campaign to make it more difficult, which would increase the risk that ballots will be thrown out in november. >> right. i want people to understand this just in how insidious it is, right? the idea is to make it harder to exacerbate problems so that you could then turn around and point to the problems and cast the legitimacy in question. so if election night comes and we have to count a bunch of ballots and it makes a bunch of days, that's where the lawsuits or the president railing against election, that's where the rubber hits the road. >> exactly. and trump is saying, all of these mail ballots are going to be thrown out. they will be thrown out because the trump administration in every single swing state is litigating to make it harder to vote by mail. so they're saying that your ballot has to arrive by election day instead of being postmarked by election day or they're saying ballots should be thrown out for things like mismatched
5:39 pm
signatures or election officials shouldn't be able to contact you. in pennsylvania they have gone as far as to say you shouldn't be able to drop your ballot off at drop boxes, which is the craziest thing i have heard. so trump is creating the conditions for mail voting to fail. >> wait a second. one of the things i have heard is that if your state allows you to drop off your absentee ballot, go do that. you are saying the trump administration is suing pennsylvania who don't want you to be able to drop it off in a drop box? >> no. the trump administration is suing in pennsylvania no not allow you to drop your ballot off. >> what! >> claiming that it will somehow be rife with fraud. the misnomer about vote by mail is that everyone puts it through the mail. well, in oregon, actually, a lot of people drop their ballot off. one thing election officials are
5:40 pm
telling you is request your ballot early and drop it off if possible like they have in oregon and colorado to put less stress on the post office at the time when trump is doing everything he can to destroy the post office at a time they're needed more than ever. >> there are certain things outside of our control that will depend on mobilization and lawyers. but there are certain things that are important for people to understand for themselves. the vast majority of states have no excuse absentee ballots right now. there are holdouts there. and there is this idea i thought of flatten the curve. it is based on the flatten the curve we saw with the pandemic, which is flatten the ballot curve. if everyone waits until the last minute to apply for a mail-in absentee ballot, you will overwhelm the logical capacity of your local election administrators. but if people start doing it now and you space it out over time, it will be a smoother operation.
5:41 pm
does that make sense? >> yeah. that's absolutely right. first off, you are correct. in more than 40 states you can vote by mail for any reason, which includes every important swing state in the country. so vote by mail is set up to work in all of those states. but you're right. you have to request your ballot early. you have to return it early. the postal service is saying do it before the election. fill it out carefully. make sure you sign your ballot. make sure you sign it clearly. drop it off if possible. if people are proactive and careful about vote by mail, if states invest in the resources, we will have a smooth election. if we don't do all of those things, there is a major problem. >> yeah. the major problem, that is the risk here, the thing to be battled against, not fraud. but disenfranchisement is the end result the president is trying to bring about through
5:42 pm
this form. ari berman who has been righting about voting rights for years and one of the best reporters on this beat, thanks a lot. >> thanks so much, chris. i appreciate it. >> still to come, the fall-out from louie gohmert's covid diagnosis. diagnosis.
5:43 pm
5:44 pm
5:45 pm
this year, the alzheimer's association walk to end alzheimer's is everywhere. all of us are raising funds for one goal: a world without alzheimer's and all other dementia. because this disease isn't waiting, neither are you. go to alz dot org slash walk. ♪ new fixodent ultra dual power provides you with an unbeatable hold and strong seal against food infiltrations. fixodent. and forget it.
5:46 pm
it's not just a sandwich, far from it. it's a reason to come together. it's a taste of something good. a taste we all could use right now. so let's make the most of it. and make every sandwich count. with oscar mayer deli fresh multiple states reported record new coronavirus fatalities yet again today. florida reporting a record increase for the third day in a row with over 250 new deaths in just the last 24 hours. texas reported a record increase for the second day in a row, reporting more than 320 new fatalities. arizona reported more than 170 new fatalities today, also a record high, bringing the state's total above 3,600. nationwide fatalities are now
5:47 pm
rising in tandem with cases on a lag as basically everyone feared. the people who lost their lives today is someone you are probably familiar with. former republican presidential candidate herman cain. cain has led an amazing story. he grew up in the south. he worked his way up in the food and restaurant industry, becoming chairman and ceo of godfather pizza chin and then the president of the national restaurant association. in 2011, he ran for the republican nomination for president, even having a kind of trump-esque viral moment there where he was topping the polls for several weeks. he dropped out of the race after allegations of sexual misconduct came to light. cain became a big supporter of candidate donald trump and then became a campaign surrogate. this is the last picture we have of herman cain in public, attending the president's rally in tulsa, oklahoma on june 20th. public health officials, you might remember, desperately did not want the president to hold that rally, crowded, indoors.
5:48 pm
herman cain tested positive nine days after the rally. he spent nearly a month in the hospital. while he was in the hospital, his staff appears to have been tweeting from his account. yesterday they posted an article expressing skepticism about a future coronavirus vaccine. just yesterday they posted this on his facebook page making fun of congressman nadler and his mask. the president tweeted his condolences to cain. there is now a genuine public safety concern about how republicans in the administration and in congress are just treating their own staffs as they have been reportedly forcing employees back into the workplace in unsafe conditions to show america that they should be doing the same. "politic "politico"'s jake sherman has been reporting on all that.
5:49 pm
h e has heard it including from senior officials and he will join us next. join us next they will, but with accident forgiveness allstate won't raise your rates just because of an accident, even if it's your fault. cut! sonny. was that good? line! the desert never lies. isn't that what i said? no you were talking about allstate and insurance. i just... when i... let's try again. everybody back to one. accident forgiveness from allstate. click or call for a quote today.
5:50 pm
5:51 pm
5:52 pm
5:53 pm
i'm asymptomatic. i don't have any of the symptoms that are listed as part of covid-19, but apparently, i have the wuhan virus. now that i apparently have it, i will be very, very careful to make sure i don't give it to anybody else. >> right now, texas congressman louie gohmert says he's quarantining himself after testing positive with coronavirus. he was tested yesterday because he was going to meet with the president. that's how he found out. one day after attending a house judiciary meeting with the attorney general, where gohmert openly flouted mask rules. and when politico writer jake sherman first broke the news about gohmert's diagnosis, he got a letter from someone in the congressman's office saying, "jake, thank you for letting our office know louie tested positive for the coronavirus. when you write your story, can you include the fact that louie requires full staff to be in the office, including three interns,
5:54 pm
so that we can be an example to america on how to open up safely? when probing the office, you might want to ask how often people were berated for wearing masks." so, jake took to twitter, asking any republican staffer who was forced to come to work without a mask to get in touch with him, and did they ever. administration aides and senior officials reached out, saying they feel they can't work safely during the pandemic, but that they, too, are being told not to wear masks. jake sherman, senior writer at politico, co-author of "playbook" joins me now. what have you been hearing, jake, from the folks who reached out to you after you sort of put out this call? >> a few things, chris. number one, across the capitol, we know, not from sources, because we see it with our own eyes because we work in the capitol as reporters, congressional reporters, that republican members of congress don't wear masks as frequently as democratic members. not a partisan statement. it's a statement of reality. i've gotten emails from across the capitol, people with co-morbidities, pre-existing
5:55 pm
conditions, and other words, that are heavily encouraged, let's say, to go into the office during this pandemic, and who are chided for wearing masks. you just had before our addition of "playbook pm," our afternoon edition this afternoon, where we talked about robert lighthizer, the u.s. trade representative, also a republican in the president's administration, who's traveling back and forth to palm beach, not wearing masks in the office, and his staff feels like they need to come in. it might not be said directly, but that's the feeling they get. and chris, here's the important point to keep in mind. in washington, you get jobs based on your previous job. it's not always a meritocracy, or maybe it's a certain kind of meritocracy. but if you don't have someone vouching for you, you're not going to get a job. so you're incentivized, heavily incentivized to listen to your boss, even if they're not telling you something that's not in your interests, but it is in their interest. >> i mean, what's so striking about this to me, you know, we
5:56 pm
have noted that fox news, for instance, has a bunch of hosts who like to go on and talk about how the virus is not as bad as the flu, yada, yada, but that they're all broadcasting remotely, and fox news puts out hr memos saying, don't come into the office, and there's a certain kind of obvious hypocrisy there. in this case, it's not hypocrisy. i mean, louie gohmert is living his values, i guess, in forcing his officemates and the people that work for him to do it. but it makes me think that they, like, really don't think all the science is true, that they have really bought into this idea that this is all a hoax, which to me is maybe more unnerving? >> yeah, they have. i mean, many of them do not believe that masks -- i mean, louie gohmert said he got the coronavirus when he started wearing a mask. this isn't a vague proposition. he has said this directly. and it flies in the face of everything we know about this virus, and he's not a scientist. he's a lawyer and a member of
5:57 pm
congress, but he's not a scientist. so, he has no idea how the virus spreads and he has no clue, and he's putting people's lives at risk. but i'll be honest with you, chris, both parties have a little bit of, i don't want to say blood on their hands, but dirt on their hands, because nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell have decided to not test members of congress. it's the most absurd thing i have seen in my 11 years covering congress, that they're forcing members of congress to come back to the capitol and to fly in from all across the country, and they're refusing, because they consider it to be bad optics -- they're refusing to test members of congress, just like you're tested at the white house. i've been to the white house many times. you get a quick nose swab. 15 minutes later, you find out if you're positive or negative. that's how mr. gohmert found out. the capitol could adopt those practices. the administration has said, we will give you the machines. we have them. they've said, no, it's not a sustainable position. we're not supposed to take positions in my side of the business, chris, but i'm taking this position here because i have to go to the capitol every day, and it's dangerous for my family and it's dangerous for
5:58 pm
other workers' families that they are not getting tested. we're around people who are not getting tested all the time. >> you know, i wanted to follow up on this, because it's so striking to me that, a, gohmert only finds out because he's going to go to the president, right? so, you've got to sort of play out -- and he says he's asymptomatic and may continue to be. that is something that happens. people have asymptomatic cases and can still transmit. so, you've got to play out -- if he never was going to go -- trump's not going to texas, gohmert's not going it go to him, he doesn't get tested. so then it's just another week or two where he's in the office unmasked, indoors with the interns, just hanging ao ining them, a. b, my next thought is, gohmert got tested, but all the people who worked for him, you can't get results for seven or eight days. what are the people in the office supposed to do now? what are the reporters covering louie gohmert for the last few days supposed to do? >> not only that, but mark meadows made the case, in a conversation we had with him in the capitol, he's for testing members of congress and says it's a continuity of government issue, and it really is. louie gohmert would have been on
5:59 pm
the floor without a mask. how do we know that? because i've seen him not wear a mask for a long time on the house floor. he would have infected his staff and he would have infected many members of congress. and again, in the district of columbia, you could get your test back in a day or two. you could get them back -- my colleague, sue davis, who's at npr, said it took her -- she tweeted today -- 28 days to get results from d.c. government testing. that's absurd! i mean, if that's what his staff has to now go do in the district of columbia, it's dangerous. it's dangerous for all of us who are in the capitol. >> yeah. really, we should say, the senate sergeant-at-arms also sent an email on tuesday reminding staffers they didn't need to wear masks, that it was a sort of mayoral decree, but because they're federal employees, they're exempt from the requirement while on duty. that doesn't seem to me like a particularly good idea. there are so many people that work in that workplace. and to me, it's a microcosm of why the charts comparatively between this country and other places look the way they do. jake sherman, who has been doing great reporting on this on
6:00 pm
capitol hill, thank you, and stay safe. >> thanks, chris. that is "all in" on this thursday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now with ali velshi in for rachel. good evening, ali. >> good evening, chris. have a fantastic evening and thank you at home for joining us this hour. it's a rare event that brings out three former presidents in one place at one time, and especially during a global pandemic, but some events are just that important. the funeral today for congressman john lewis was such an event. john lewis represented atlanta in congress for over 30 years, and he was laid to rest there today. hundreds of mourners gathered at ebenezer baptist church in atlanta to pay their last respects. presidents george w. bush and bill clinton made remarks. president obama delivered the eulogy. and it was a eulogy really worth hearing. we're going to play you some of it here in just a moment. there's a lot more to get to tonight. businessman and former presidential candidate herman cain has died.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on