tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 4, 2020 9:00am-10:00am PDT
construction, manufacturing, and select retail with curbside pickup. they are the most essential with the lowest risk. second phase -- professional services, retail, administrative support, real estate. third phase -- restaurant, food services, accommodation. fourth -- arts, entertainment, recreation, education. remember, density is not your friend here. large gatherings are not your friend. that's where the virus tends to spread. that's why those situations would be down at the end. and then we need businesses to also reimagine how they're going to do business and get ready to protect their workforce, to change their physical environment to the extent they need to and to change their processes to make sure people can socially distance, people
remain at a safe -- in a safe environment. and that's going to be up to businesses to come up with ways to reconfigure their workplace and their processes to make this work. and that's business by business. government can say these are the standards, but a business is going to figure out how to do that. when you look at this state, there are some regions that right now by the numbers pose a lower risk, some that pose a higher risk. we can tell you by region right now, of those criteria that we went through, which ones are in place for which region, so which ones have the right hospitalization, the right testing regimen, the right contact tracing regimen, and which ones still have work to do in those areas.
and this is going to be region by region. and each region has to put together the leaders in those respective areas who put together this system and monitor this system literally on a daily basis. so, they're getting all that input, all those specifics, all that data, and then day by day, they're making a decision as to how to proceed with reopening based on the data, based on the facts. and that will be a little different for every region in the state. may 15th is when the statewide pause order, p-a-u-s-e, not p-a-w-s -- the pause order -- the pause order was stop all businesses, stay at home. that expires on may 15th.
may 15th, regions can start to reopen and do their own analysis, but these are the facts that they have to have in place to do it. start now. don't wait until may 15th. don't call me up on may 15th, and say, well, the pause order expired. i want to open. because i'm going to ask you the questions i just asked. i just presented. do you have a health care system in place? is your health system ready? can your hospitals handle it? do you have testing in place? do you have tracing in place? have you talked to the businesses about how they're going to reopen? so, we have a couple of weeks. but this is what local leaders, this is what a community has to deal with to reopen safely and intelligently, in my opinion. this can't just be we want to get out of the house, we're
going. no. let's be smart. let's be intelligent. let's learn from the past. let's do it based on facts. you know, we are at a different time and place. government is fundamentally in a different position than it was just a couple of months ago. this is for real now, right? government politics, it's not about optics, it's not about celebrity, it's not about press releases, it's not about what i put on instagram yesterday. this is about government leaders' performance, their expertise. this is a situation where their competence and their ability can be the difference between life and death, literally. and what the governments have done -- federal, state, local -- what we've done in this state
has literally saved lives. we reduced all the projected hospitalization rates dramatically, by about 100,000 new yorkers. 100,000 fewer new yorkers were hospitalized than they predicted. 100,000. think about that. if we had 100,000 more people in our hospital system. first of all, our hospital system would have collapsed if the projections were true, if we didn't change those projections. and we literally saved lives. how many of those 100,000 would have been hospitalized and would have died? so, we've done great work at a tremendous cost and tremendous hardship, but we've done great work. we just have to remain vigilant and smart and competent going forward, and that's what new york tough means.
new york tough means we're tough, but we're smart, we're disciplined, we're unified, and we are loving. and it's the love of community and love of each other and respect for each other which is what has gotten us through this and will continue to. thank you very much for taking the time to be here. thank you for the social distancing. questions for myself or any of my colleagues? >> sir, do you think it's about time that you tell police that they should start ticketing people if they're not wearing masks outside? >> mask-wearing. i said -- look, i believe this is a time for sort of honest, straightforward talk. i said that i think it's disrespectful of people not to wear masks. i mean, think about it. you see all these commercials on tv. we thank you to our heroes, thank you to the nurses, thank you to the doctors, thank you to the transit workers, thank you
to the police officers, and we should be thankful. right? they went to work so all of us could stay safe and go home. the least gratitude you can show is at least wear the mask so you don't infect more people who place more of a burden on the hospitals and the nurses and the doctors who we're all saying thank you for your great service. you really want to say thank you, then respect them and respect their job and wear the mask so you don't infect people. well, i don't want to wear a mask. it's not that big a deal! and by the way, you don't wear a mask for yourself. you wear a mask to protect me. i wear a mask to protect you. we owe each other a certain amount of reasonableness and respect in society. and i owe you that level of respect, that if i'm sick, i should wear a mask.
local governments have the ability to enforce and to penalize. that's up to local governments. but do i think local governments should be enforcing it and should there be sanctions? yes. yes. because it is a public health emergency. you know, this is not just do me a favor. this is a public health emergency. and it's a statewide order that i put in place, that i'm proud of, and local governments have the responsibility to enforce it. and part of their right, their legal right, is they can have a penalty or a sanction that they impose. so, rochester can have one penalty. you know, it can be appropriate to the community. new york city's in a different situation. but yeah, i think local governments should enforce it and i think there should be a penalty. because you can literally kill
someone. you could literally kill someone because you didn't want to wear a mask. i mean, how cruel and irresponsible would that be? >> do you wear a mask when you're not -- >> yes. >> -- here? >> yes. you don't have to wear -- no one said wear a mask all the time, right? wear a mask if you may be in a situation where you can't socially distance. you go for a walk in the woods, you don't have to be wearing a mask. you come to a point, even from your walk in the woods, where you're going to be in a parking lot, or there's an entrance and an exit, and you may run into other people, wear the mask. you can have the mask down when you're walking in the woods, but now you see someone coming the other way. i'm going to pass by the other person, you put the mask on.
i mean, it's the least that we can do, right? everyone is killing themselves. people with working 24 hours a day. show some respect. show some basic modicum of respect. [ inaudible question ] >> is there reinforcements coming or -- >> yeah, putting all of these new systems in place -- >> and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington, continuing our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. here are the facts at this hour. as america's death toll from the virus moves towards 69,000 people, president trump has raised his projected death toll five times in just the last two weeks, saying last night in an eyebrow-raising fox news virtual
town hall staged at the lincoln memorial, that up to 100,000 americans may die from covid-19. then breaking with medical experts by stating his belief a vaccine for the virus will be available at the end of this year. dr. fauci has said that would be an aspirational deadline. supreme court justices are taking the historic step of holding oral arguments for the first time on a telephone conference call today with the audio streamed live to protect everyone from the virus. as the senate returns to capitol hill today without any movement on new legislation to help state governments. there is also no mandatory guidance for senators or their staffs to wear masks. many of the senators have told their staffs to stay home. secretary of state mike pompeo says there is a significant amount of evidence the coronavirus pandemic originated in a chinese laboratory in wuhan, adding that a more detailed investigation is still necessary to determine whether the virus was released intentionally or due to an accident inside that lab.
and moments ago, new york governor andrew cuomo saying that although the government continues to blame china for the infection rate here in the u.s., the cdc has learned that the cases in his state, on the east coast in new york, originated from europe, not asia. and joining me now, msnbc's garrett haake on capitol hill. pbs news hour white house correspondent yamiche el sinnedor, nbc news president yard line historic michael beschloss and dr. michael sharfstein, vice dean at the john hopkins school for public health. dr. sharfstein, you first, because there is new reporting from "the new york times" projecting there is a new cdc projection, apparently based on the way states are reopening that there could be as many as 3,000 deaths a day by june 1st and that this could be an infection rate of 200,000 people a day. just trying to get our arms around this. we don't have confirmation from the white house but that the white house has been notified of
this new 200,000 new cases each day by the end of this month. that's up from around 25,000 new cases now. this would be a very big increase. 3,000 daily deaths as of june 1st. as i say, nbc news is working on this, but we are told that these new cdc projections have gone to the white house. dr. sharfstein, does this c comport with what you would expect from your own analysis? >> well, what i would say is that these potential numbers are possible, you know. the only thing that's been holding this virus in check is our ability to stay away from each other, depriving the virus of a chance to jump from person to person. now that we're getting back together, there is a certainty that there will be more viral spread. the question is how much? and can we respond to that spread effectively through contact tracing and other mechanisms? and if we can't, if we're
opening too much too early, then we're going to have more cases. and you know, there are all kinds of potential scenarios, and having more cases and more deaths is definitely a realistic possibility. >> and we, of course, just heard andrew cuomo saying, first of all, wear masks, and that it should be enforced, and that it's only respectful to people on the front lines to wear masks. and also suggesting that this reopening is too fast, too soon, that we don't have the data yet to support the kind of reopening that is being done in some states around the country. but he did say that they would reopen partially in different parts of new york state at some point. yamiche, the president last night again changing his prediction of the death toll and also claiming that a vaccine is closer than most experts predict. we should be very careful about this. just last week, dr. fauci said that, well, the end of the year, the beginning of the next year is the original year to 18
months that he predicted in the best-case scenario, when this all started back in january, but that the president's prediction is by the end of the year. and what dr. fauci said is that it's aspirational, it's hopeful. the president seems to be a lot more optimistic about this than the data would suggest. >> that's right. this is another case of the president saying something slightly different than what the health officials and top white house scientists are saying. what we saw last night was the president really moving the goal post when it comes to the death rate from the coronavirus in america. the president at the beginning of the week and into last week was saying that it would be about 60,000 americans that were dead, and he said we would be victorious as a country if 60,000 people died of the coronavirus. then last night he said, actually, it could be more like 80,000, 90,000, even 100,000 people could die. so what you're seeing is there is clearly changing data from the white house that the
president -- that is making the president do this, but we are still seeing the president try to have an optimistic tone, saying even those deaths are better than the millions, the 2 million people that could have died if nothing happened. in terms of that, the vaccine, he's saying, as you noted, that this vaccine could be out by the end of this year. health officials say it takes a year to 18 months to develop a vaccine. now, the president saying that they're trying to rush as much as possible, but that, of course, begs the question of what is being gived in that process? and there is also the whistle-blower complaint that at some point will be filed from the top vaccine, or one of the top vaccine experts who said that he was removed from his position when he was pushing the administration to go behind science and to lean on science instead of leaning on a sort of rushed, crass version of trying to get a treatment and a vaccine for the virus. >> and garrett haake, there you are back on capitol hill, open for business, but after we've seen an unusual statement this
weekend from nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell. i don't think that they've ever put out a joint statement before, rejecting the white house's offer to get them enough tests for the 100 senators and their staffs, saying that they didn't want to put themselves above and in front of the line -- in front of frontline health workers and others who need those tests more than do the senators. >> reporter: yeah, an interesting move there politically, particularly for the senate, which is simultaneously arguing that they are essential and that they need to come back and get back to work, but not so essential that they should take these rapid tests that were made available by the white house for their use right away. i just talked to senator john barrasso, the first senator of any kind i've seen back on the hill. he, himself, a medical doctor. he was wearing a mask, as was his staff when he arrived here at russell rotunda, which i think is a good sign. and he made that argument that these are resources that belong on the front lines of hospitals and in hard-hit communities, not necessarily here in the united states capitol.
despite the fact that the senate is coming back to work in the midst of a city that is still under a stay-at-home order. it's an interesting challenge here, to say the least. >> and garrett, what are they actually going to accomplish when they don't have any legislation ready. >> reporter: no. >> the house isn't back. they do have some hearings. they have some confirmation hearings. most importantly, i guess, for the head of the dni in charge of national intelligence, john radcliffe. >> reporter: yeah, there are two confirmation hearings of particular note this week, the one you just mentioned for the director of national intelligence, john radcliffe is on wednesday, i believe. on tuesday, there is a hearing for the ig who would be in charge of overseeing pandemic relief, which i think everyone could agree is probably a pretty important position, of course. overseeing all of the money that's been given out in the cares act and the other federal programs that are designed for pandemic relief. mitch mcconnell likes to say the senate is in the personnel business. that's what they're focusing on this week. there is, of course, a judiciary
committee hearing for yet another federal judge. mcconnell has also said he intends to leave no vacancy behind in the federal judiciary, and he's putting his vulnerable senators where his mouth is, i suppose you could say in this case, by bringing them back to continue to advance those dominations this week. >> and we should also point out on friday night, when supposedly no one was watching, he, the president also removed the acting inspector general for hhs, a career person who's been there through the clinton, through the bush years, clinton, bush and obama years, a really top professional who had angered the president by putting out that report saying that hospitals did not have the ppe and the other equipment that they needed, in contradiction to what they were saying from the white house podium. she keeps her job, but he has appointed someone over her so she will no longer be the acting inspector general to write those reports, and she is a highly regarded person, according to a lot of former officials who have worked with her over the years.
dr. birx also was issuing a comment that was very strong this weekend on fox on how important she thinks it is for people not to be going out and about and how worried she is. i wanted to play that for dr. sharfstein. >> it's devastatingly worrisome to me personally, because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a co-morbid condition, and they have a serious or an unfortunately outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives. so we need to protect each other at the same time we're voicing our discontent. >> she was talking about the protesters who have been, you know, in states around the country. they don't represent the majority view of americans, according to all the polling, that people feel they don't want to go back to life as normal until they know that it's safe. but, dr. sharfstein, she's certainly concerned about the protesters who are, you know,
we're seeing them in close contact with each other. they are endangering other people is her point. >> well, she's completely right. she's absolutely right, and it's great that she's saying it. and she knows what she's talking about, as does dr. fauci. but what is disappointing is that we don't hear consistent messages about that. we're actually getting -- you know, some people, sometimes even the president, encouraging these kinds of protests that are based on a misunderstanding of the risk that's exposed to even these people and their families. so, i think it is very important for her and other senior officials to be clear about this. i was glad to see that she did it, but inconsistent messaging from leadership really can undermine the ability to effectively inform people, and that's my real concern. >> and speaking of inconsistent messaging or unusual messaging, let's talk about the lincoln memorial.
michael beschloss, to a lot of people, that's hallowed ground. and to see a cable news program, virtual town hall, with the president and, you know, correspondents questioning him, anchors questioning him at the feet of abraham lincoln, and to make the whole image worse, let's take a look at one of the things that he had to say in a question from a friendly, supportive viewer calling in and asking him, despite her support for him, whether he should change some of his comments and not be as aggressive and as confrontational as he has been in some of those briefings, and this was his response. >> i am greeted with a hostile press, the likes of which no president has ever seen. the closest would be that gentleman right up there. they always said lincoln, nobody got treated worse than li treat. >> michael, how did that strike you?
>> well, what i really thought, andrea, was when he said nobody got treated worse than lincoln, today is by happenstance 155 years since the day that abraham lincoln was buried in springfield. one of the great cases of the great leader g yeer giving his r his cause. and the other thing was, yes, lincoln was treated with all sorts of obscene and nasty comments about him. some of them i couldn't even repeat on this program. but abraham lincoln didn't have two hours live on a friendly cable news network the way that the president did last night. abraham lincoln didn't have a briefing every day, which the president has. >> although i do think that lincoln's second inaugural or the gettysburg address will live
a lot longer than anything that donald trump has ever said or will say. just guessing. >> i wouldn't bet against that. >> michael, i also wanted to ask you -- i also wanted to show a little bit of a video that george w. bush issued this weekend. a number of leaders were putting out inspirational videos about coming together and how important unity is in our country. let's take a look at this. >> let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. in the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of god. we rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise. god bless you all. >> and so, michael, the president -- president trump -- tweeted against that video message, complaining that president bush had not supported
him during impeachment. >> well, yes, and had not supported him certainly in 2016 when his brother, jeb, was running. and george w. bush did that. you know, this is a guy who ran originally in 2000, as you well know, calling himself a uniter, not a divider. he wasn't always that. no president is always a uniter, but i think the reason that george w. bush made that video was because he felt that donald trump has been too partisan through this period, too willing to pit one area of the country against another, one party against another, and i think george w. bush knows, as he demonstrated in the wake of 9/11, that a big job of the president is to unite the country at a time of crisis, and that makes the country stronger in dealing with something like a war or a pandemic. >> and michael, can this president change his leadership style by not having those daily
briefings, by doing things in the east room, doing things in other venues, having a more controlled appearance? i mean, is there still time -- >> maybe sticking -- >> -- to bring the country together? >> well, you know, go back to election night. you and i both watched him at the new york hilton claiming victory, saying that he wanted to unite the country and there was nothing that was more important to him than doing that, and we had seen so little of that since then. even if his only motive were to make his leadership right now more persuasive, it would make so much sense for him to try to strike some of the notes that george w. bush did in that video. >> it would be hard to imagine, but perhaps there is still some room for that to happen. but last night at the lincoln memorial, it certainly was an extraordinary moment, an extraordinary image in that space to be having a town meeting. and one still doesn't know, you
know, what about all of the national park and other security people who had to be out there, out during a pandemic in a shutdown where d.c. is still rising in its infection rates. thanks, anyway, to you, michael beschloss, for joining us today. and to dr. sharfstein, to yamiche el cindor and garrett haake on capitol hill. doctors have been saying children are mostly spared from covid-19, but now today, leading pediatricians have come together from around the world. they met over this weekend and they're saying that children could be at risk for a rare but dangerous complication from the coronavirus. nbc news medical correspondent dr. john torres explains. >> reporter: 12-year-old julia daley emergency airlifted to a louisiana hospital after complaining of stomach pain. >> you know, what point, what moment did you know that something was wrong? >> her lips were blue and her arms were cold. her body was going into shock. >> reporter: there, she tested
positive for coronavirus, and things took a terrifying turn. >> her heart rate started dropping even more. it went from 40 to 20 to zero, and they called a code. and they did two minutes of cpr on her. and thank god they were able to bring her back. >> reporter: julia suffered from cardiac arrest. her doctors believe triggered by a new, rare complication of covid-19. so far, there have been nearly 100 reported cases in the u.s. and europe. >> this new shock syndrome is really a very small tip of a larger iceberg. >> reporter: with some children reporting a red rash all over their bodies, strikingly similar to an uncommon childhood illness called kawasaki disease. how's it different from kawasaki disease? >> the body's immune response is much more exaggerated than in typical kawasaki disease, and the heart is the major target. >> reporter: a new warning for all parents. >> take this pandemic seriously and make sure you continue to
social distance. we almost lost her. >> and dr. john torres joins us now. dr. torres, how serious is this, this complication? are children even dying from this? and is it underreported? >> so, andrea, this is a very serious complication, but it's a rare complication still at this point. what you heard there was the expert saying there's around 100 cases so far. what we're knowing now is that there seems to be more cases than that, and the nih is going to do a study to find out exactly how many cases there might be to try to get a bigger handle on it. but what they're saying is it's a condition similar to something called kawasaki disease, which in and of itself is rare, but it's something that happens after viruses in particular to children, and it's an inflammatory issue that starts attacking different parts of their body, particularly the blood vessels around the heart. this one is a little different because it's attacking the heart muscle and other organs. and as you heard with julia there, she ended up going into
shock. the heart stopped. they restarted it with cpr and she came to life at that point. in a meeting, they're calling it pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome at this point, and that's exactly what it is. it's this multisystem. a lot of organs are getting this inflammatory process and it's starting a syndrome which is not only something that could be potentially serious but could be fatal as well. and so, more kids are getting it than we thought, but it's still rare among children. i think that's the important message to get out. >> and is there any understanding of why it affects children and not adults? >> you know, and the thing with this virus is we're learning more every day about this virus. and even though we know children have a little bit of protection from this and they're not as affected as older adults, it looks like in some children in particular -- and we think there might be a genetic component to it -- that for some reason, their immune system goes into overdrive and they start getting the immune system attacking these other parts of the body. researchers are trying to figure out -- and that's why the nih is doing a study, to figure out why that might be and what they can
do early on to hopefully either prevent it or get a good understanding of who it's affecting so they can go ahead and treat them and get them into the hospital sooner. but as of now, a lot more questions than answers. i think we'll get answers, but it will be months and years before we get a very good understanding of what's going on here. the main thing is, make sure everybody protects themselves. that's the biggest thing they can do. >> it's truly terrifying. thank you so much, dr. torres. thanks for alerting us to this major new issue in this study. meanwhile, state and federal officials are still trying to determine what went wrong at a massachusetts home for veterans, where 84 veterans have died in recent weeks. 71 of them testing positive for covid-19. the mission of the soldiers home in holy oak is to provide, quote, care with honor and dignity. but officials wonder, how is that possible now that the home has become a hotspot for the coronavirus? nbc's anne thompson is at the soldiers home in holy oak, mass. anne, what are they telling you there? how did this happen?
>> reporter: andrea, this is really one of the most tragic stories of this pandemic. it took just one case of covid-19 that was diagnosed in the holy oak soldiers' home behind me to lead to 71 deaths that they have connected to covid-19. that's of the patients. the virus also infected 81 people who worked at this home. so, it just created really what was an unthinkable situation. how and why the virus rampaged through this facility is now the subject of state and federal investigations. one of the first people to blow the whistle on what was going on behind me here is holyoke mayor alex morris. while he didn't have jurisdiction over the hospital, he was constantly getting phone calls from staffers and family members, describing what was going on inside. are you confident now that they have the situation under control?
>> i'm not 100% confident at this point. i'm more confident than i was when i reached out to the governor several weeks ago, but i'm not 100% confident that this facility or most long-term care facilities across the state are doing everything they can. >> reporter: so, now here are some steps they have taken since they had this outbreak. first of all, they realized that the staff-to-patient ratio wasn't where it should be, so they have hired more staff. they have brought in the national guard to assist the workers inside. and they have also brought in coaches to teach the staff how to properly use the masks and gloves and all of the other personal protection equipment that is so necessary to protect the staff and to keep the virus from spreading throughout. they have also dramatically reduced the number of people who are at this facility. this is a 247-bed facility. today there are only 106 people here. andrea?
>> anne thompson, a really troubling story there. thank you very much for bringing us up to date. and coming up, new questions about that complaint that tara reade says she's filed with the senate. we have reaction from the senate now. and that was back in 1993, according to tara reade. our latest reporting, up next. stay with us. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." hey allergy muddlers... achoo! ...do your sneezes turn heads? try zyrtec... ...it starts working hard at hour one...
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assault allegation against former vice president joe biden, the aparnell democratic nominee. today the secretary of the senate said they have no discretion to disclose any personnel information as requested by joe biden on friday, as he requested in a letter. over the weekend, tara reade also clarified her previous description of what that alleged complaint that she said she filed back in 1993 actually said, a complaint that has not been found -- no record has been found yet. joining me now, nbc's mike memoli, who covers the biden campaign. mike, take us through what has changed in what tara reade said to nbc last month, which she texted on saturday, and also how the biden campaign is now responding, as i gather, to what the secretary of the senate has said this morning, as to whether they would search or disclose any records. >> reporter: that's right, andrea. i think it's important as we're having this discussion to step back a bit and sort of establish
what we're lacking here, which is really a paper trail. those of us at nbc news, ali vitali and myself and others, "the new york times," the "associated press," the "washington post," who have reported extensively on reade's allegation, what we're really weighing are her detailed account that she made herself, plus the account that she says she shared with others, those who have heard from her about it, against what the biden campaign has said in terms of very clear refutation and others. we have spoken with 14 other people, for instance, in the office at the time who said they have no such recollection of it. so, really what this all speaks to is the need for some kind of paper trail to corroborate or clearly refute what reade is alleging here. that's why we have what the vice president did on friday, which is asked the secretary of the senate to try to locate, establish whether any such record exists and release it to the public. the secretary of the senate saying today that based on the applicable laws at the time, they are not authorized to make such a release. and andrea, just in the last ten minutes or so, the biden campaign is responding to that request with follow-up questions to the senate. they're asking, could you at
least disclose whether such a complaint exists, if you can't release the complaint itself? they also want to know whether the senate could share and help us understand more fully what kind of paperwork would have been filed based on the law at the time and whether reade herself might be able to ask for this complaint to be released if the biden campaign's own request is not sufficient to deal with these confidentiality requirements. now, in terms of what reade has said over the weekend and how it relates to what she said previously, our reporting in our first story on this on april 12th, she told us that the complaint she filed with the senate personnel office related to harassment but not necessarily to assault. and she spoke with the soap s p "associated press" and with ali vitali about this, my colleague, essentially saying she doesn't recall the exact words she used in such a complaint. and in fact, as she told the "associated press," this account could involve a complaint about retaliation and not even harassment. and so, i think all of this, andrea, helps potentially only confuse matters further, because if the secretary of the senate were to be authorized and
eventually find any complaint, it would not necessarily be about the core allegation here, which is of assault. >> exactly. and of course, joe biden is under pressure still from "the new york times" editorial over the weekend and others, saying that he should authorize the release of those documents, his senate records on policy issues, he says, from the university of delaware. he is resisting that and crea creating a lot of pressure on him to go an extra mile and release everything. this has created big issues for the me too movement, for women who have supported joe biden, but certainly all of the women, the elected women we've spoken to so far, including governor whitmer from michigan, who is on the list to be considered to be a vice president, who spoke. they've still been speaking out on his behalf. she is a sexual assault survivor by her own declaration in the past, and she had an interview on cnn. i want to play a little bit of that with jake tapper this weekend.
>> as a survivor and as a feminist, i'll say this. we need to give people an opportunity to tell their story. but then we have a duty to vet it. and just because you're a survivor doesn't mean that every claim is equal. i know joe biden and i've watched his defense, and there's not a pattern that goes into this. and i think that for these reasons, i am very comfortable that joe biden is who he says he is. >> but both biden and whitmer and others are being questioned -- why did you say you would believe christine blasey ford against now justice kavanaugh, just because she had the courage to come forward, rather than saying about tara reade, well, we're not sure we believe her because there are inconsistency and joe biden has never been this kind of a person? i mean, they're being asked whether there's a double standard here. >> reporter: and i think it's instructive as well what joe biden said at a fund-raiser on
friday night that included a significant number of obama administration alumni. he reiterated, of course, that he fundamentally challenged that this did not happen, but he said, in this environment, that doesn't change that he still believes that women have a right to have these kinds of allegations be heard and that they shouldn't have to take his word from it personally. so, i think that's what's particularly difficult for democrats here, is that is this all happening against the backdrop of the me too era and also the allegations against president trump and subsequently against justice kavanaugh as well. >> and i should point out, i talked to bill jeffress, who led the team of lawyers investigating joe biden for barack obama when he was considering putting him on the ticket, and he says that they found nothing, nothing, no misconduct of any kind, sexual or otherwise, and that's what the other members of the legal team have said as well. thanks so much, mike memoli. you've been all over this, you and ali vitali, breaking a lot of ground on this story. coming up next, covid-19 is
hitting african-americans particularly hard. one organization is fighting to fund midsized cities with large numbers of african-american residents. ahead, i'll talk to national urban league president and ceo marc morial. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." challenging it is right now. whether you're facing unemployment. have bills to pay. or just trying to keep your family healthy. it's hard. but when it comes to your pfizer medicines, we want to make things a little simpler. we know you may have new questions. about affording your medicine. we want to help you find the right answers. if you make under $100,000 for a family of four, or $50,000 as an individual. and have prescription coverage for your pfizer medicine but can't afford your insurance copay. or you have no prescription coverage at all, pfizer may provide your medicines for free
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academic year, this as jersey city, new jersey, begins offering free testing to residents with or without symptoms. the city's putting the most vulnerable to the front of the line. nbc's ron allen joins us from the first city-sponsored walk-up testing site in jersey city, geared toward people living in senior and public housing. ron, this is a big innovation. it's exactly who needs to get these tests. >> reporter: well, exactly, andrea. and this is an example of a city that's really trying to take matters into their own hands. the mayor here cut a deal with a local laboratory that produces tests and got tests so that the city can use them and make them available to anyone who wants a test. they're going to send the bill for all this, i should tell you, to the federal government, and hope to be reimbursed for it. behind me at the fire headquarters here, you can see now that there's a line of first responders who are going into a truck over there behind that blue tent, and they are getting antibody tests. the city has not only diagnostic tests, but antibody tests as
well. they are letting first responders go today. then they are going to move this mobile facility out to public housing projects, to senior communities, to try to get everybody tested. critical to the mayor's plan to try and reopen the city, something he says he wants to do. here's how he explained his testing priorities. >> we have tests. we're going to end up doing about 4,200 tests per week between antibodies and the covid traditional nasal swipe. but the reality is that a city of 300,000, we need much more, probably five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times that. so, still not enough, but we think that it's important to getting the city reopened. >> reporter: the mayor says that he is really determined to try and push to get the city opened. we know that several public parks have reopened in the last couple days. things have gone really well. he sees some restaurants, perhaps car dealerships, big businesses, the malls perhaps opening up in limited ways. but again, the bottom line is that they've gotten their own tests. these are another example of first responders who are arriving here to do this
testing. they've taken the initiative because they couldn't get the tests from the federal government, but they're going to send the federal government the bill when all this is over. andrea? >> we'll follow up, of course, ever gets paid. thank you so much. now to another vulnerable population, african-americans in general, who account for about 1/3 of the covid cases in the country. to bear the economic costs of lockdowns and rising health care expenditures, joining me now is president and ceo of the national urban league, former mayor of new orleans. the urban league persuaded the federal reserve and the treasury to lower population thresholds and change borrowing limits so these mid-size cities could eligible. good on you, mr. mayor. thank you very much for doing this.
it's great to see you are achieving something by going up against these bureaucracies. exactly the cities that need the help the most. >> so we -- you know, it was glaring when treasury and the federal reserve put the first municipal credit facility together that it didn't include cities with less than a million 234 population. that meant only five cities, rather ten cities in the united states would be eligible for that. and they quickly reversed course and i would compliment them for doing that, but that's only one step. right now it's crucial is that if congress considers sustainability dollars, and let's call it sustainability dollars, they're not bailout dollars, it's for states and municipalities and counties, that that be done quickly. why? who's at stake here? police officers, firefighters,
sanitation, garbage and solid waste workers. teachers and social workers and nurses, those that take care of the traffic signals, they're municipal workers. they're essential. you cannot reopen any economy in any community unless the basic functions of city government are working and are sustainable that's why congress has got to step in, and step in without playing political games. i've heard some disturbing comments coming from some people about support for state and local government, and i thought to myself, you rush to the front to support the airlines and the hotels, which was the right thing to do. but then you make excuses, some do, about the need for support for the sustainability of the salaries of police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers who work for municipalities. so we're going to be strong in a coalition going forward to say that congress supports state and
local governments, support them in a fashion that allows them to sustain their services because it's necessary to reopen the economy. >> of course, you've heard people like mitch mcconnell saying well, those states should have been careful about their budgets without acknowledging that the states that we're talking about here, like governor cuomo and others, are the hardest hit, and new jersey and some of these other states and cities that you're talking about. i'll put in a pitch for mayor bo bowser in d.c. which keeps getting treated like a territory and not even like the tax paying citizens we are, the voting citizens of the u.s. >> look, mitch mcconnell's comments was so out of bounds and insensitive, and to some extent, surprising that now, when you have created a paycheck protection program, with 2/3 of the money that went to publicly
traded companiescompanies, you' to raise questions about municipalities and cities like frankfurt, lexington in kentucky. this is the backbone of america. these communities are not wealthy coastal communities. they're cities that run tight budgets. they're frugal. they're efficient in how they operate. and we need to support them so that we don't have another way of layoffs of municipal and state workers on top of the almost 30 million americans. this is a crisis, and it is not a time to play political games. >> mr. mayor, your own hometown of new orleans, how is that doing? >> new orleans, you know, the mar you and the governor have done a good job in taking the
measures they need to take, and i compliment the citizens for following the -- it's tough to tell people in new orleans to physically distance, because it's town of gatherings, a up to of culture, it's a town where people like to experience their friends and their families. but new orleans indicates how health care disparities and the inequities in american life are so important, if we think about going forward. we've got to address it. we can't build humpty dumpty back together the way he was. we've got to build new public health systems. we've got to understand that this pandemic showed how many americans are working paycheck to paycheck. or living paycheck to paycheck. >> thank you so much. great to see you. thank you. and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell
reports." follow the show online, facebook and twitter. but before we go, let's pause for a moment. that was an incredible sight. the incredible scene over the national mall in the capitol on saturday, as the air force thunderbirds and the navy's blue angels joined forces to fly over the capitol to honor health cares. they honored the first responders. the jets flew over baltimore, northern virginia and atlanta as part of operation america strong. to all of you, stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy. like way more vanities perfect for you. nice. way more unique fixtures and tiles. pairing. ♪ nice. way more top brands in sinks and faucets.
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good afternoon. i'm ari melber. let's get to the facts as we know them right now. mt. sinai hospital no longer admits new patients in central park. it may take as much as two weeks to treat the remaining patients and decontaminate the tent, a sign of progress there. mean while, the food and drug administration pulling back on a decision that was allowing dozens of companies to sell coronavirus blood tests without proof they work. some companies were making false claims about the accuracy of the tests and now they will require advanced proof before sale.