tv Meet the Press NBC May 17, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PDT
this sunday, the president and the pushback. on a vaccine. >> we would love to see if we could do it prior to the end of the year. >> we can't count on it. we don't know if will be one year, two years, or many years. >> on restarting the economy. >> vaccine or no vaccine, we're ck. >> i feel if that occurs, there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control. >> on preparedness. >> without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history. >> it's nothing more than a really disgruntled, unhappy
person. >> and now this from former president obama. >> this pandemic has fully finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing. >> my guest this morning, defense production coordinator peter navarro and dr. tom inglesby of johns hopkins university. >> plus, partisan pandemic. antigovernment protests across the country. while in wisconsin, the state's conservative supreme court overturned the democratic governor's stay-at-home order. >> i don't think the risk presents any higher than me going to the grocery store. >> also, all those conspiracy claims. >> another agenda. >> it's not just a virus. >> how and why so many faceless conspiracy ideas are spreading during this crisis. i'll talk to nbc news national security analyst chris watts. joining me for insight and analysis are peter alexander, anna palmer, senior washington correspondent for politico, and
yamiche alcindor, white house correspondent for pbs news hour. welcome to sunday, it's "meet the press" and our continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. >> announcer: from nbc ne washington, the longest running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> good sunday morning. with the number of confirmed covid-19 cases approaching 1.5 million and the death toll now nearly 90,000, with antishut down protesters in the streets, and with others using the crisis to peddle conpespiracies, it ca seem as if we're a hopelessly divided nation. we see it in washington, in the disconnect with anthony fauci warning about a too rapid reopening of the country, and the president who calls fauci's position on reopening schools unacceptable. and we saw it in wisconsin. and we see it in our split
screen nation with some people partying like it's 2019, while neighboring states and even neighboring counties remain essentially on lockdown. of course, even before the coronavirus hit, political division was our pre-existing condition. and all this makes it easy to forget how much most of us are actually pulling in one direction to get us through the worst health and now economic crisis in a century. like the health care workers risking their lives in hospitals, like the grocery clerks working low-wage jobs to make ends meet, like the police and others who can't work from home to do their job. so maybe this is a good moment to remind ourselves of all those acts of kindless, selflessness, and heroism that do pull us together even as protesters, partisans, and some high-profile politicians exploit the situation to try to pull us >> vaccine or no vaccine, we're back. >> as most states move to partially reopen, the gap is widening between the president's
rhetoric and the guidance of many of his top public health experts. president trump claims -- >> maybe one exception, but all tlouts the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly. >> in fact, the rate of new reported cases is decreasing in 19 states, remains steady in 21, and is increasing in 10. the cdc director tweeted friday night that the agency's models all forecast an increase in deaths in the coming weeks with the death toll exceeding 100,000 by june 1st. then there's testing. >> florida, many other states have so much testing, the testers are waiting for people to show up. it's great. >> but last week, harvard university researchers found only nine states had met the testing levels needed to safely reopen. and on a vaccine -- >> we would love to see if we could do it prior to the end of the year. >> but many scientists, including the president's ousted former top vaccine official, say that is overly optimistic. >> i still think 12 to 18 months is an aggressive schedule.
and i think it's going to take longer than that. >> and on what to expect from the virus. >> at some point, it will go away. it may flare up and it may not flare up. >> when you talk about will this virus just disappear, as i said publicly many times, that is just not going to happen. >> the tensions between the president and public health officials were on full displas as the cdc released a tree for reopening the country, while the rest of the proposed guidelines remain under review at the white house. and mr. trump criticized his top infectious disease expert, dr. anthony fauci, after his warnings about reopening pre prematu prematurely. >> there's a real risk you'll trigger an outbreak you can nlt control. >> he wants to play all sides of the equation. i was surprised by his answer, actually, because you know, it's just, to me, it's not an acceptable answer. especially when it comes to schools. >> and the president is playing up the political divide as
partisan fight break out over when and how to reopen. in pennsylvania -- >> areas of pennsylvania that are barely affected and they want to keep them closed. can't do that. >> another agenda. not just a virus. no way it's just a virus. >> in wisconsin, where the conservative majority state supreme court this week overturned the democratic governor's stay-at-home order, president trump called that a win. >> i want my freedom, basically. i don't think i should be under house arrest. >> in michigan, where the republican-controlled legislature is suing the state's democratic governor. >> when people are showing up with guns, when people are showing up with things like, you know, confederate flags, it tells you this really isn't about the lockdown. >> joining me now is dr. to inglesby, director of the central for health security of the johns hopkins bloomberg school of public health. dr. inglesby, welcome back to "meet the press." i want to put up on screen a
breakdown of the curves, a regional breakdown, because i'm curious to see how this impacts how we should view where this virus is right now. there's clearly not only a flattening but a bending of the curve downward in the northeast, but in the south and west, it's a plateau, and in the midwest, it's just starting, we hope, to plateau, because the curve was actually continued on an upward trajectory for most of the week. looking at it that way, what does it tell you where we are when it comes to this virus? >> well, i think overall, the good news for the country is that the overall top line numbers are trending down on average over the country. but you really have to look at the state level and regional level to understand where your own state or your own county lies in the whole story. as you said earlier, there are some states that are still having increasing daily numbers of cases. some states that are flat, some states that are going down. you really need to know the story, you need to ask questions
in your own state about how things are going, and some of the questions that are most important are hospitalizations still going up, are ventilators still in short supply or do we have many of them in case there's a new flare? those kinds of questions are really important for people in states to be asking about their own situation. >> and i know when we were talking earlier this weekend, you wanted to put an emphasis of concern on how this is spreading in rural america. i want to put a map up here. in this map, the counties that are in yellow are counties that just in the last week have seen a spike in cases. and just about all of these counties are populations less than 50,000. what is the status of -- how concerned are you about the icu bed situation in these rural counties? because the numbers may not look that bad when you look at but in an individual county of less than 50,000, 20 cases, 20
hospitalizations could become a huge deal. >> yeah, i think the local details are going to matter a lot. and as you can see in the map, the spread has been from big cities, especially in the northeast, and then moving towards counties that are further away from cities, either ones of small towns or rural counties, and even if numbers are small in those places, they have to be very vigilant because they may not have a hospital that's in close reach or ventilators in nearby areas. and they may have to go quite a distance to get the care they might need if they get sick from covid. those are important places to watch and states to be vigilant about. >> what do you tell -- we have gotten quite a few emails from viewers who say, and i had plenty of conversations with folks who say, you know what, our area is just fine, and i don't understand why all these lockdowns, and boy, they did all these lockdowns in that state, and our state's the same way without all the ey all really n?
what do you say to that viewer who may look in their own neighborhood and think i just don't see it? >> yeah, i think lockdowns were necessary. they actually have changed the course of the epidemic in the united states. we have the largest epidemic in the world, five times as many cases as any country in the world, and you can see over time the curve is moving in the right direction and it's now appropriate for states thinking about how to very carefully reopen and do it as safely as possible. but yes, i think we needed to get control of this epidemic in the country and now reset and now places where there's very little disease, those are the places where it's going to be safest to gradually reopen. >> give us a sense of what you think the next three months are going to look like with this virus. we keep talking about what the fall might look like. but given what we have seen -- what you have studied around the world in various climates and seeing what our reopening status
is essentially going to be, where it looks like about half the country is going to stick with some social distancing guidelines, what do you expect the summer to look like? >> well, it's difficult to predict. i mean, the future really is in our hands. it depends on how people in individual states react to the situation. if people continue to be very careful about physical distancing, wearing cloth masks when outside, avoiding gatherings, i think i'm hopeful that states will be able to control their outbreaks. we also need to have very strong contact tracing efforts around the country. that's what countries around the world have used with a lot of success. if you get a case, you investigate it quickly, you make sure all those contacts are safely quarantined, and we keep control that way. i think we shouldn't think of this as sort of starting and stopping and this is over. this is a longer term process. a i think, you know, the models in this country, the leading models
predict that there may be as many as 110,000 people who have died by this disease a month from now. those are models. it's possible for us to do better than models. it's also possible for us to do worse depending on what people decide to do, their own actions. >> what do you take away from a situation in georgia where they were one of the first states to try to reopen. there was a lot of doom and gloom predictions, and so far, things have gone okay? >> yeah, georgia has been about the same as it was before the lockdown ended. my understanding is many people in georgia are cautiously and carefully moving back towards reopening, so i don't think people should see the reopening process in georgia as everything happened at once and everything restarted in the same way. seems like there's a lot of caution by individuals around the state, but that being said, it's a good beginning in the fact it hasn't gotten worse.
it does take time for us to see the change that might occur following changes in takes a wh people to become sick afterg fe take even longer for them to be hospitalized. it's too soon for us to say in any state how things are going. we need to see a couple more weeks but it's good news things have not gone in the wrong direction. >> very quickly on a vaccine. we hear this 12 to 18-month timeline. is that timeline too optimistic? we know the president wants it sooner, and why wouldn't he, why wouldn't anyone want it sooner? is the 12 to 18-month timeline realistic or not? >> coming into this year, i would have said it was completely unrealistic. i still think it's far from a sure thing. but given that there are now 110 vaccine projects going on around the world, that all the major vaccine companies in the world are working on this in some way, and given tony fauci is now
leading figure in the u.s. in this project and they both believe it's possible, i think it is possible, but everything would have to break in the right way, and there are many ways it might not work. i don't think we should bank on t but we should hold out some level of hope if everything goes in the right direction, we could possibly see a vaccine by the end of the year. >> that's for sure, the hope being hey, we have the smartest minds in the world all focused on one problem. gosh darn it, let's see if we get the solution quickly. dr. tom inglesby, thanks for coming on. >> appreciate it. >> joining me now is peter navarro, director of trade and manufacturing policy inside the white house, but in this crisis, he's also the national defense production act coordinator. welcome back to "meet the press." and i want to start with your current job as defense production act coordinator. i'm sure you have seen the letter, a handful of democratic senators have written, and they're frustrated it hasn't been invoked enough. they say that the authority has
been used too sparingly to basically even out the market when it comes to ppe and testing kits and testing supplies. what do you say to their concerns? >> they're dead wrong. let me give you a couple examples. one of the most successful uses of the defense production act was to get general motors working with a small company called ventech to make ventilators. we had a serious crisis back at the time. this was a miracle, and in some sense, a microcosm for the future. what we had was general motors in 17 days working with this vel tilator factory, and within three days with the help of we ventilators to hospitals in chicago. beneath the surface of that, the real story is gm went in, used
3d images to replicate a factory in seattle that was small, only cranking out 25 ventilators. more importantly, chuck, 700 pieces go into that ventilator, and gm was able to use its manufacturing platform to go out to its supply chain to replicate virtually all of those here on domestic sile. so using the dpa, we were able to move an incredible speed, innovative, and bring ventilator production right here to domestic soil. that for me is a microsaucosm o what we're doing. honeywell, we opened two victories. one in arizona and one in rhode island. that was done using the dpa in five weeks as opposed to nine months. so we're using the dpa whenever we need to. and we're using it quite effectively. >> well, you're making a strong case for how the dpa can be effective. and what these senators are asking is use it more, use it more to ramp up the issue, for instance, of testing kits, but
more importantly, the supplies it takes to process those tests. it's still something we lag behind on. what's wrong with using dpa to surge those supplies? >> senators are looking in the rear-veer mirror. we had the same discussion six weeks ago about ventilators. they were saying the exact same thing. what we did with ventilators is basically get a situation now where by june we'll have over 100,000 of them. we'll have more ventilators that america ever needs, and we'll be able to export those ventilators, make that an export industry, jobs here, exports there. and we're going to be able to give ventilators to our allies that can't afford them. so same thing is happening with testing as we speak. every week, it ramps up. it's kind of like computer chips where the speed doubles every certain amount. same thing has happened with testing. these democratic senators ought to get out more often and see what the trump administration is doing. >> i want to go back, though, to
the issue of testing and test kits. you're making a lot of promises here. at what point will every business leader in america know they have access to as many test kits as they need to reopen their facilities? >> admiral giroir has said it clearly, that anybody who needs a test now can get a test. >> when do we get beyond that? >> i'm not here to make promises to you, chuck. i'm here to tell you as the coordinator of the supply chains that we're rapidly ramping up testing, just like we did with ventilators. we're ramping up surgical gowns. we're ramping up masks. and this strategic national stockpile 2.0, i think it might be worth talking just a little bit about. it's smarter because we're using information technology. it's bigger in a really smart way because not only are we going to fill fema warehouses with a lot more ppe and medicines, we're also going to
use distribution centers, which the president visited last week in pennsylvania, to have them hold additional inventory. hospitals' point of care are going to hold additional inventory, and most important, chuck, in terms of this buy american, build american. as we locate the domestic supply chain here, our factories are going to be able to hold reserve capacity, which allows us to surge to additional demand. so my job is to make sure people of america have enough of what they need going forward, and i'm confident that we're moving beautifully in that direction under the leadership of president trump. >> look, i know you want to talk about the strategic national stockpile, but i have to ask you this question. you did a pandemic exercise, and you went through these plans in '18 and '19. do you have a good explanation for why the after-action reports weren't followed in time to have our stockpiles prepared for this
pandemic? >> i'm not looking in the rear-view mirror right now, chuck. this president is just looking straight ahead towards what's going to be a really strong future. the fact of the matter is we were able to get through the chinese winter here of the pandemic with what we had. it was a thread-bare fema stockpile that was left to us by the previous administration. the one that we're going to have going into the fall is not that. it's going to be, as i said, smarter, bigger, far more resilient. that's what i'm doing, chuck. my focus, yeah, i came here to kind of work on trade policy issues and somehow i became quarter master and supply clerk, but it's been a beautiful thing working with private industry to see how innovative the companies of america can be, and how the manufacturing platforms of this country f we just give them some lift, how they can really develop like the gm example i told you about earlier. >> i want to ask you quickly
about the cdc and ask you whether the president has confidence in the cdc. it does seem as if the initial guidelines, they didn't want them put out. they put down very limited guidelines with more detailed ones coming later. cdc hasn't been able to give a briefing now in over a month. does the president have confidence in the cdc as our lead on this pandemic? >> well, i would say two things about that. first of all, you should ask the president that question, not me. but early on in this crisis, the cdc, which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down with the testing. because not only did they keep the testing within the bureaucracy, they had a bad test. that did set us back. but going forward with these guidelines, the important thing to understand here for the american people is this -- opening up this economy is not a
question of lives versus jobs. the fact of the matter is, and what president trump realized early on, is that if you lock people down, you may save lives directly from the china virus, but you indirectly are going to kill a lot more people. why do i say that? we know statistically, based on our experience with the china trade shock in the 2000s that unemployment creates more suicide, depression, and drug abuse. but we also know this in this crisis, as we basically locked down our hospitals for everything but covid. women haven't been getting mammograms or servical examinations for cancer. we haven't been able to do other procedures for the heart or kidneys. and that's going to kill people as well. so if you contrast like this complete lockdown where some of the people in the medical community want to just run and hide until the virus is
extinguished, that's not going to not only take a huge toll on the american economy, it's going to kill many more people than the virus, the china virus, ever would. >> i got to ask you this question about the president. on one hand, he says he wants to leave these decisions up to governors, but it does seem as if if he doesn't like the decision of a governor, particularly if they're in the midwest, he expresses his view. how does that help the governor be able to make their own decisions? >> look, i report directly to the president. i'm one of the top five advisers on policy. i let the president speak for himself. that's all i can say. i do think that what we're seeing here across this country in terms of different responses, that it is very useful to leverage local control, but on the oth californian, and when i see the mayor of los angeles want to lock down that city through the
end of july, i just have to scratch my head. i think california, that's the only way i see california ever becoming a red state, because my folks back in orange county are not going to put up with that kind of nonsense. and it is nonsense. >> peter navarro, the defense production coordinator and adviser on trade and manufacturing policy as well, thanks for coming on and sharing the administration's views. >> great to talk with you today, sir. when we come back, another result of the coronavirus pandemic. conspiracy theories. >> i don't even know if i really believe in it, to tell you the truth. i think there's something going on, but i don't think all this illness is related to the virus. >> the belief in
to serve on the front lines... to fight an invisible enemy with courage and compassion... to comfort and to care, to hope, to press on, to do whatever it takes to beat the odds. we are the men and women of america's hospitals and health systems. and we're here to care for you in every way every day. welcome back. viruses breed more than disease. they breed belief in conspiracies as well. we saw that in the open up the
country protest this week across the country. >> i don't believe that this was a health issue to begin with. >> anybody who has a decent thought process can see that there's more going on than the virus. >> in the past three months, there's been a spike in belief in conspiracies. virtually all of them without factual basis. which makes them impossible to disprove. and that's the point. joining me now is nbc news national security analyst clint watts who specialized in tracking how conspiracies form and spread. he's a senior fellow in the alliance for securing democracy. clint, it's good to see you. good to see that you're safe. let me sart with this. you have a way of mapping these conspiracies out and how they catch on. and you described it this way. how to build a disinformation bonfire and in this case, like a bonfire, the first thing you need is a spark. and the spark being a theory is put online.
in this case, why are these sparks so potent this time? >> when we are scared, chuck, and the time of a pandemic, when we're not really sure what to believe, we're fearful, both for our life and the health of our families, we tend to take in information we might not otherwise consider. when you see these sparks thrown out there, there is a demand signal as well for it. people want to know, are they safe, can i trust this information, and then people that have, you know, different agendas, maybe it's anti-vax, maybe it's reopening the country, maybe it's a conspiracy by elites. if you throw all those sparks at the same time, it can start that fire of disinformation. >> clint, what's amazing about this spark, and we're trying to be careful here not to give more attention to it, but there's this book and this movie that's circulated online. while a bunch of tech companies got rid of it, the book itself is number one -- you know, number one amazon bestseller.
number three "new york times." both are putting it in the nonfiction category. >> chuck, this is a super organized effort. you have multiplatform, multimedia. you have people who know how to push this stuff in the social media environment. you have people that know how to make a very high production video that's very engaging. it makes you want to start to engage in these conspiracies, and then you have all of the so-called background. this is that book, this is many, many websites that are out there talking about health or health risks related to vaccines. when you put all of this together, it's hard not to encounter the information, and the more you see something, the more you'll believe it or even if you know it's false, you'll start to consider it. >> let's go back to the bonfire. the spark, this theory, this book, this movie. then you get the kindling. that is all of a sudden you have a whole bunch of fringe groups pick up on the spark. >> chuck, what's amazing in this time of the pandemic is how many
conspiracies, we were talking about 5g three weeks ago. we're talking about essentially an elite organized corrupt big pharma vaccine conspiracy theory this time. it touches on many audiences. that kindling is when many fringe or alternative media sites pick up and astroturf this content. they repeat it over and over again and try to amplify it in social media. that creates the kindling which elevates it not only in social media but up to the mainstream media where people have to start addressing it. >> four years ago, this disinformation camp pain star sd internationally and domestic actors picked it up. it appears te international fol goosing it a little bit, a they? >> chuck, when i talked to you three years ago about disinformation coming from russia, it was something they had to push along.
they had to pick and grab certain things in the u.s., but they also made their own conspiracies to push. that's no longer the case. right now, whether it's russia, iran, china, or any other u.s. adversary, there's plenty of u.s.-made disinformation which they can pick and choose, amplify, and send back into the u.s. audience space, seeking to divide us, seeking to erode trust in the institution, seeking to erode trust in our health care system which is essentially at this point. >> and then of course, that leads to number three in your disinformation bonfire ingredients here, the gasoline, social media becomes the gasoline. it's on social media, you say, that suddenly you get trust -- people who appear to be trusted verifiers like celebrities. >> chuck, if you can get your kindling to boil over into that bonfire sort of stage, what you see is a celebrity or an expert, even if they're refuting a
conspiracy, can elevate it so there are more eyeballs on it. if you get just a select group, maybe three to five social media influencers who have an outsized reach in terms of audience, they can bring these conspiracies up to a level that's almost unmanageable. you can't even put the fire out at that point. >> let's talk about two aspects of this, though, that are a challenge here. one is, a lot of people are going to criticize us for covering this, because they're going to argue that we're amplifying or bringing attention to these conspiracies. what do you say to that? >> if you don't address the conspiracy and it continues, if there's no rebuttal, people tend to believe things that have no rebuttal. if you don't rebut it, then the conspiracy continues to spread. at the same point, if you actually go and challenge the conspiracy, sometimes it can draw more attention to it, it can draw more evaluation. it's a delicate balance with the media and social media companies about how to police this sort of
information. the key thing to look at is where is this outlet, who is producing this information, how are they making their money, or is this for an idealogical cause. and the second is the experts. why are they experts in this field and should you trust them? >> what do you do if you're amazon? this was self-published on amazon. this is why it's, you know, gotten out of the imp prom tour of saying this is a "new york times" best seller which in and of itself gives it legitimacy. >> what was facebook, twitter, youtube, trying to police disinformation has now spread to products. in the health space, we have to determine how do we police this sort of information? >> clint watts, this is a difficult subject. but we thought it waw one that's more important to bring some sunlight to. thanks for coming on and sharing your expertise with us. >> thanks for having me, chuck. >> you got it. when we come back, former president obama takes on ♪
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newshour. peter alexander, white house correspondent for us here at nbc news, and anna palmer, correspondent for politico and co-author of politico's playbook. well, peter, i assumed i would have been starting with a tweet from the president this morning responding to president obama. that hasn't happened yet. let's play a little bit of president obama not so subtly taking a dig at the pandemic response from national leadership. >> more than anything, this pandemic has fully finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing. a lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge. if the world's going to get better, it's going to be up to you. >> peter, i assume this becomes something that's a bit of a -- a bit of an attention seeker for the president today. >> well, we have seen it over the course of the last several days from president trump
attacking his predecessor, barack obama, what he calls obama gate, this weekend, he's at camp david meeting with some of his conservative allies. a white house official telling me it's certain their desire so far fruitless to try to show evidence that president obama committed a crime. the president was asked that very question. president trump, this week. the president couldn't identify what crime he's accusing president obama of, but i'm told it's certain they'll be discussing that topic, but what underscores is that break in what was that presidential tradition where there wasn't any criticism back and forth. we have seen it. last night, you saw barack obama speaking at a commencement address to americans. one vision of leadership, versus what we have seen from president trump in recent days. they each offered one world they punctuated. from president trump trying to knock out biden. he said obamagate. from barack obama, he said vote, chuck. >> yamiche alcindor, look,
former president obama, you know, he's careful with his words. that's a written speech. that's a vetted speech. he made this decision to engage. it is going to spark a political back and forth. >> it is, but i think what we see now is president obama really getting into general election territory and starting to gear up the might of the obama name. he is ready for this fight. he was at first caught really on a private call talking to staffers, and he was trying to get them excited about joe biden, saying that president trump's response to the coronavirus was a chaotic disaster. that was, of course, president obama's direct words. what you see there is president obama coming to the defense of his vice president and coming to his own defense without actually directly talking about this conspiracy theory that president trump is now talking about, which is whether or not president trump -- or president obama broke some sort of law. i think what you see, though, this week is president trump really leaning in on his 2016 instincts. he'ic is he's going on the
offensive with obama. he's also in some ways leaning and not listening to the scientists, saying hey, you really need to slow down and be cautious about reopening. this week, he said i think it was the line of the week, vaccine or no vaccine, we're back. he could have said test or no test, we're back. scientist or no scientist, we're back. the clear sign is we're back in his mind. >> you know, anna palmer, i want to play, and speaking of the president, he continues to believe that if we overfocus on the health issues, we are going to do worse economic damage. take a listen to how he portrayed the death toll earlier this week. >> i have lost friends, many of us have lost friends. we read about that, and we see that, and that's what the news covers, but a very, very -- that's a very small percentage. it's a very, very small percentage. i say it all the time. it's a tiny percentage. the vast majority, many people
don't even know they have it. >> anna palmer, among congressional republicans, how much do they sorttoward that view of sort of think ther this president has never been very good with empathy. and certainly, as a country, when that death toll is rising, almost 90,000, and clearly it looks like there's going to be tens of thousands more deaths on the horizon, that republicans are concerned. but they have not broken with this president on this issue or on very few others. to your point earlier about obamagate and how the president is trying to rally his troops and making this a campaign issue, you have seen a little bit of space between where congressional republicans are, where mitch mcconnell is, even his allies like lindsey graham saying you should be careful what you wish for. if you really want me to bring
former president barack obama up to the hill to actually testify. >> anna palmer, i wants to stick with congress for a second. jay powell, the federal reserve chair, seemed to make it clear this week that he wants to see congress act, and i'm curious what mattered more to mitch mcconnell, jay powell's comments or nancy pelosi's ability to pass her $3 trillion package? >> i mean, congress is nowhere on a package. the republicans and democrats haven't even started talking. if you speak to republicans behind the scenes, they're projecting another bill won't even be really seriously looked at for several weeks. and on a more aggressive timeline, potentially try to pass it before the july 4th recess. but really, right now, you're not seeing mitch mcconnell having any sense of urgency to take up a package, whether or not jay powell is urging them, saying we need more action soon. >> peter alexander, i want to
read for you here very quickly a mitt romney tweet about the late night announcement on friday night that the president planned to fire -- planned to fire another inspector general, steve linnik. this one at the state department. said mitt romney, the firings of multiple inspectors general is unprecedented. doing so without good cause chills the purpose. it's a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure is power. the white house went on the record to say, it wasn't the president that -- the president made this decision after it was requested bytary of state mike pompeo. >> you're exactly right. it's not just mitt romney, by the way. chuck grassley among those also critical of this decision. the third time in six weeks on a friday night that the president has ousted one of the independent watchdogs, these inspector generals here. it was striking they would say pompeo recommended this and that
president trump followed suit. given the fact there's reporting from democratic aides that pompeo is being investigated by the state department inspector general for basically having a political appointee do some tasks on his behalf. this was on, i asked a white house official. they said this is not the way i would have put it. back to you, chuck. >> very interesting there, peter alexander. all right. when we come back, how the economic fallout of covid-19 can also spread like a virus. but as we go to break, it is graduation season. virtual graduation season, that is. we have highlights from a graduation week like no other. >> what will your essential service be? what really matters to you? >> you have to be good americans. good americans who having you c moment to help america move through this very difficult time is really extraordinary. >> leave behind all the old ways
of thinking that this moment. this moment right now... this is our commencement. no, we'll not get a diploma or a degree of any kind. but we are entering a new chapter in our lives. our confidence is shaken; our hearts cracked. the kind of a crack that comes from the loss of a job; from life plans falling apart. we didn't ask for it... but we are rising to meet it. and how far we've come isn't even close to how far we can go. we just have to remember how patient we were... how strong we can be. (how strong you can be.) and remember this; there's a crack in everything for a reason. how else can the light get in? ♪
welcome back. data download time. the economic toll of covid-19 becomes more apparent with each new set of job and economic figures. but the pain is not spread evenly across the country. the month of april saw 20.5 million jobs lost across the u.s. economy with many sector losing millions. manufacturing lost 1.3 million. retail, 2.1 million. 2.5 million from education and health services. but the biggest decline, not surprisingly, was from leisure and hospitality. a whopping 7.7 million jobs lost, 38% of all job losses in april alone. but even among leisure and hospitality jobs, the losses are not evenly spread, as we see in an analysis from a labor markets analytics firm. for instance, the performing arts and sports cust 217,000 jobs last month. hotels and accommodations lost
39,000. and then the hardest hit of all, food services, everything from full-service restaurants to bars and caterers lost 5.5 million jobs. hotels, restaurants, gambling, casinos, you look at those categories, and you see how a city like las vegas can be facing an economic catastrophe in this pandemic. 33% of their workforce is unemployed right now in nevada alone, folks. in addition, the distress can spread to related sectors. much like a virus. retail lost 71,000 positions because of the job losses in leisure and hospitality. finance and insurance lost 109,000 jobs. manufacturing lost 184,000. and real estate, that sales rental and leasing, lost more than 400,000. so when you add in all of the secondary impact from 7.7 million jobs lost in this sector grows markedly. as many as 10.1 million jobs were lost in april just because
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welcome back. as we teased out earlier, obama v. trump, what is it about at this point? and yamiche, it comes at an awkward time for the biden campaign, because on one hand, they want obama, obama, that's why he's the nominee, but bide has his own challenges. mr. biden's inability to influence the political debate about the coronavirus and the nation's economic collapse has worried allies, donors, and former obama alis. in some ways, it's obama that did the tough work this weekend. >> that's right. and there are, of co limits to what joe biden can do from his basement when we see the president now traveling to key states like arizona and
pennsylvania. i have been talking to officials on the biden campaign, and they say they think he's reaching the people that he needs to reach from his basement. they feel like their numbers are strong, but there is this question of whether or not he should be doing more. they say this election, biden officials, say this election is going to be about president trump's handling of the coronavirus, and on that note, joe biden has been pretty critical of the way that president trump has handled the virus. that's why you see president trump moving toward this idea that he wants to go back to talking about the economy, because that's what he hoped to run on. peter navarro, i think there was an interesting moment where you were pushing him on the national stockpile, and he didn't want to come to the defense of the president, he said i don't want to look in the rear-view mirror. >> anna palmer, it is sort of odd to see biden have so little apparent interaction with the congressional democratic leadership right now. >> absolutely. i think one of the struggles that the biden campaign is
having right now is one democrats have all the time. president trump soaked up all of the oxygen, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of alignment or coordination among nancy pelosi saying look to joe biden and his plan on this. she's leading completely on her own. the other real question is when is he going to have a breakout moment and can he do it from his basement? there's so much rofrting on who is going to be his vp, but is that going to give him a bump? that's something democrats are super nervous about. a lot of opruptives i'm talking to are saying when is he going to have that moment? without the campaign and being out there, is obama going to be his really rallying cry? that's a big issue for them. >> and peter alexander, you know, one thing about president trump some people overread what he does as strategy, but i think some people underlook it, some of his moves about strategy. he seems to be wanting to make
obama as polarizing as he possibly can. he clearly seems to be nervous obama could be an effective surrogate for biden. >> i think you're exactly right. president, former president barack obama remains the most popular political figure in the country right now. it's obvious, you can read into it, white house officials well tell you as much, the president is trying to chip away at the popularity, trying to make the former president a polarizing figure here, but his obsession with barack obama starts with his origin of getting into politics. he acued obama of tapping my wires. the hope of the president is, he needs to pivot to the election. jared kushner when i was speaking to officials behind closed doors, they said who is the most powerful person behind the president, they laughed and said jared kushner whose focus isn't only the economy, but the political campaign ahead.
they recognize barack obama is also on the ticket alongside joe biden. >> now, peter, though every time he's picked a fight with opalma, obama is one of the few who seem to regularly at least in trump's own mind get the best of him, because he's actually retreated at times from obama fights. >> i think that's right. i think that's right as well. we have seen that again here the president leaning in on this occasion. as someone said, it relates to what the president calls obamagate. this is not about changing votes. it's about motivating our voters. the president is focused on his base with his new commentary. >> all right. that is all we have for today. thank you, panel. thank you for watching. thank you for trusting us. we leave you this morning with the choir from last night's graduation, who graduated together event. it's an amazing, amazing moment. we'll be back next week because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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