tv Morning Joe MSNBC February 19, 2021 3:00am-6:00am PST
hans nichols, thank you. thank you for getting up "way too early" on this friday morning. "morning joe" starts right now. >> mr. it's crazy that we would be taking a recess. let's not take any recesses. let's work every day, let's work weekends, let's work until we get the job done. apparently it was more important for senators to be home on vacation, home playing golf, home doing anything but being here on the floor doing the people's businesses. >> president obama and frankly hillary clinton they are so out of touch with wher the american people are. >> he goes and plays golf. he is not focused on people who are hurting. >> we have a job to do and we have a short window of time. so we ought to stop taking recesses, time off, and just keep going until we get it done. >> playing pool is a higher priority for this president. than it would be go to see the
humanitarian crisis he's created. >> well, look, in hindsight, if i had understood how it would be perceived, the reaction people have, obviously i wouldn't have done it. it was a mistake. . >> right. okay. good morning and welcome to "morning joe". it is friday, february 19th. with us, host of msnbc's politics nation and president of the national action network reverend al sharpton. vanderbilt university historian jon meacham. he unofficially occasionally advises joe biden. and msnbc political contributor rick tyler, who has had the pleasure of working in the past as a communications director for senator ted cruz. good to have you all on board. >> so, rick, why don't we start with you, since you've had experience with senator cruz.
there's so many things that are wrong with what happened over the past couple of days. i just go back to my time in congress. and i know he's had a couple trump-type people trying to defend him saying there's nothing a senator can do. i remember when we had hurricanes in the district, it was all men and women on board. i would say childs, jeb bush. i mean, you name it. i would see bill nelson, connie mack. and it was all hands on deck. everybody was working. we were all together. we were talking to fema, talking to the sba, we were talking to every agency. we were working together with local officials asking what they needed.
you just -- you almost had a checklist, especially somebody like jeb bush. if i had ever decided i was going to go on a foreign overs when a hurricane had hit, i promise my staff would have -- before letting me do that, they would have put a tranquilizer gun, shot me in any neck to stop me from going. this is actually beyond the realm of anything -- i'm almost speechless, rick. how does something like this happen? >> well, good morning, joe. well, look, i'm just a dumb country guy. in the very sophisticated world of political communication this is what you call a dumbass move.
there's no excuse for it. it's really remarkable that in moments that require leadership, like leadership in a disputed election, like leadership in a pandemic, and leadership in a manmade and natural disaster in texas. texas is losing $3 billion a day because of the incompetence of the management of the power grid. and that was foreseeable. we have known that for 10 years. people in the legislature have been screaming about it, writing reports for 10 years about this is inevitable, just in the way the pandemic was inevitable. and i'm trying go through the thought process, joe. during that crisis where people don't have electricity and they're told by the state to boil water that doesn't even come out of their faucets, you decide to get online, book yourself a ticket to a first-class resort in cancun, and then get on a plane.
and after you order your first glass of wine in first class, you decide, and this is senator cruz's statement, that something doesn't feel right about this. maybe this is the wrong thing to do. and then ted cruz did a really horrendous move. he blamed his mistake on his children. nowhere, i can promise you, did a 10-year-old and 12-year-old say, daddy, i know you have important obligations as a senator but we want to go to the ritz-carlton in cancun this week and you're going to take us, and he would succumb to that. he said i want to be a good dad. you tend to the emotional needs of your children. when you're in a crisis, they don't need you. you don't go off to cancun because your children want to go to cancun. i promise they didn't ask to go to cancun. this is senator cruz's move. and he comes back and suddenly
he wants to have a reset and put it back together. this is gross, negligent, reckless incompetence. >> yeah. and, you know, willie, of course text messages revealed later showed it wasn't the children asking that he goes down for a day and then comes back. again, everybody's welcome to go where anybody wants to go. just not in the middle of an ice storm. and this is, again -- >> it's more than an ice storm. it is a catastrophe. >> it is just a catastrophe. that false populism he always talks about. i'm against all the fighters. and barack obama is playing pool. this guy went to princeton, harvard, mr. elitist himself always playing the populist
card. and it's just -- it's been phony. and he got called out this week. >> yeah. almost like all that outrage was insincere and completely phony as we looked through the clips. he criticized the mayor for going to cabo. and complete and utter arrogance to think you could scroll onto a plane on a commercial flight and get away with this while people are dying, freeze to go death, without power, without water, without heat in your state. i agree with you, joe. the few people, and it was a few, who said what is a senator supposed to do? if you think ted cruz could have done in this circumstance, you don't understand how government works. really? there are two senators in the state of texas. shouldn't be there during constituent services doing all the things that he would do and other senators in florida would do on the ground during a hurricane. of course you should be there. not just for optics.
this is more than optics. he has levers of power he can pull to get things done for people. if you're not up on the story, here's what happened. news came out wednesday night, pictures of cruz and his family waiting at an airport gate with luggage boarding a plane starting to circulate on social media. after the senate did not respond to repeated requests, they did not respond to anything. he said he was returning home thursday afternoon. it read this way. with school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends, wanting to be a good dad, i flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. nbc caught up with him. >> well, texas is going through horrific storms. and millions of texans have lost power, have lost heat, and have been hurt. and our family was among them.
we have no heat and no power. and yesterday my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends. and heidi and i agreed. so i flew down with them last night, dropped them off here. and now i'm headed back to texas and back continue to go work to try to get the power on. what's happening in texas is unacceptable and a lot of texans are hurting. . >> there senator cruz initially was booked to return home saturday. and he booked his return ticket at 6:00 a.m. yesterday, which flies in the face of what he said which is he was just dropping off his girls and returning home. the plan was to stay through the weekend. after he returned home, senator cruz acknowledged he had planned to stay through the weekend but said he had second thoughts after he got on the plane. but the "new york times" reports text messages sent from mrs. cruz to friends and houston neighbors revealed a hastily planned tape.
their house was freezing, as ms. cruz put it. and she pro knows posed a getaway until sunday. the room price this week, $309 and it's good security, she wrote. the text messages were provided and confirmed by a second person on the thread who declined to be identified pause of the private nature of the text. mika. >> wow! power has been restored to more texas homes and businesses. but the crisis still appears to be far from over. many texans don't have safe drinking water. 7 million people, a quarter of the population of texas are under a boil water order after the record low temperatures damaged infrastructure and pipes. as for electricity, more than 300,000 people are still without power. and utility officials have warned that rolling blackouts
are still possible. the historic storm has made things particularly difficult at hospitals across the state where several facilities are going to great lengths to protect water supplies. a nurse in austin told the local station kvue that the staff had to use trash bags to remove feces from toilets. a hospital in houston had to rely on buckets of rain water from the roof to flush toilets. in some instances, staff members have had to clean themselves with hand sanitizer instead of soap and water. insurance industry officials are warning this week's winter storm may be the costliest weather event in texas state history. even more than hurricane harvey in 2017, which amounted to about 19 million in insurance claims. oy. >> let's take a step back.
obviously, things are still absolutely terrible in texas. we ask everybody to -- please keep praying for the people of texas. they definitely need it right now, especially the disadvantaged are still having trouble finding shelter. even having trouble getting food. and also contribute to whatever organizations you can contribute to. but, jon, i'm reminded of a conversation i had with a good friend of mine, david stafford. we were driving over to louisiana and mississippi during katrina. it was obvious what an absolute catastrophe it was. we took supplies over.
we were taking supplies over every day. we were shocked that even seven days inn both mississippi and louisiana, there was no help. there was no help from the federal government. there was no help from the state government. there was no help from the local government. it was chaos. and my friend, david stafford, turned to me and goes, you know, this is the era that we're in. he said, you know, we republicans, we just look and we check off boxes. are they pro life, pro don, anti this. democrats say are they pro-choice, you know, pro gun control. you go down and check off those boxes. and then you go in and vote. he said it used to be the first box that we checked off was, is this person going to be a good leader? is this person going to be a stronger leader.
and instead at that time they were talking about a democratic governor from louisiana who just performed horribly. a democratic mayor, who performed just horribly. and a republican president who performed just horribly in hurricane katrina. and everybody was so wrapped up when they went into the voting booth voting for somebody's ideology. they said do they check off all the boxes and we forgot to ask the most important question. what type of leaders are they? are they going to be able to help constituents when their constituents need them the most? that's what we see in ted cruz. i cannot imagine a member of the senate, even from my time in the '90s, doing this. this is in explicable.
i imagine there are some so ideologically driven, their first job is taking care of their people instead of holding press conferences. >> yeah. the image i have of senator cruz is not from the airport. though given the detail with which he was documented by his constituents, one suspects he has some problems at home even before he got on the plane. they're following him like candid camera with their phones. and this is a case where, as jeremy bentham once said, publicity is the soul of justice. with the absence of iphones and video, i think the senator would be at the breakfast bar right now down there. that's one thing to remember. the image i keep going back to,
though, is the smugness with which he stood up in the house of representatives on january 6th and said that he was the senator deciding the certification of the question. remember that? there was a little cheer from the republican side. and i think that we're in the hour -- and this is not both sides. it is not an equivalence thing. i hate to say his name. i will use it as a modifier. this trumpified republican party has put power and privilege so far ahead of fundamental democratic principles. and i don't want to overextrapolate from cancun. but it's in a pattern where the
guy who did it is someone who tried to warn us about donald trump, whose family, his wife, as i recall, was belittled and insulted by donald trump, who gave a speech, as i remember, in 2016 that had a couple of brave lines in it about be careful of this. but for the sake of power, which is ironic given the term, right, he, like so many others, his colleague from south carolina, among others, totally embraces the former president for the sake of position and power. and this goes to your point about checking boxes. it's less about -- not just constituent service, though if anybody needs it right now it's the state of texas.
it's about do you really believe in this overall experiment we're all part of? do you believe in the more perfect union? if so, do you follow the rules, the rules of that union. he not only broke the rules of political common sense, to be to rick's point, but he helped try to break the rules of the constitution within the last six weeks. so it is a scale of problems, and it's a pretty big one. remember when he did january 6th, and then put cancun there. but the enduring issue is that he tried to argue that joe biden was not the duly elected president of the united states. moments before the capitol of the united states was breached. >> yeah. it is -- that is one huge thing that a lot of people can argue, apparently. it's an argument to some.
for some reason this cancun trip reveals a lot how he feels about his power and his state. it's very trumpy, very trumpian. constituent service is the number one most fulfilling part of a public servant, to be able to help people directly and to be able to, like, solve things for the people of your district or your state. . >> yeah. >> and to leave during that time and then to treat your constituents like they are so stupid that they would believe a lie that the kids forced him to go to cancun and he was just giving them the ride. that's the first and the second lie. and then the third lie comes out where his wife is texting everybody, they're having a party there and he's bringing everyone there. three lies later, he then comes back and lies about how much he
cares about what is happening in texas. it is painful to see such a waste of a senate seat. >> you know, it's interesting, rev, what mika was saying about constituent services. you're aware as much as anybody when i got elected to congress, i was ideological, small government conservative/libertarian/ populist. i was very ideological. i was always trying to do whatever we could do to move to a balanced budget as quickly as possible. it was interesting that when i left congress what people came up and talked to me, and still if they see me on a plane. they're not like i love when you put out that bill to balance the budget in six years.
it's always, hey, my parents were having trouble with their form, and the irs had been investigating them for 10 years and you talked to my mom and dad. and then you called the irs. what i said was, listen, if you have been there for 10 years, if you're going to arrest them, arrest them. if not, wrap it up because you are destroying their business. case up, acted honorably in the situation. and that happened time and time again. it is constituent services. i never thought that the first time i ran. it is about the people that you are able to help that makes that job. i was telling the story to somebody this weekend who wanted to run. they said that's great. but the first person you hire is a really good constituent services person in your district.
and that's what you drive. that's what you do. because a that's what people need the most in your district. and that's what you will find most rewarding at the end of your career. that's sadly something too many people in washington have forgotten. >> constituent services come from a leader, an elected official that has real compassion for the person that they want to serve or lead. i think the glaring failure showed by cruz is he really doesn't care about the people that he is representing in the senate. if you are an elected official, or even just an advocate leader like i do, we go to people in trouble, not run from people in trouble. i mean, you mentioned katrina, joe. many of us came from around the country to katrina. we weren't elected to represent louisiana. we went to flint, michigan.
so what this shows me about cruz is how he has the moral capacity to walk away from people that are in the dark, that are freezing. they get on a plane. and then when he's questioned about it, he has such a low moral compass, he throws his own daughters in front of the bus to blame it on them. this is the kind of character that people need to assess when they go to his election. month puts their daughters on the line when they're caught holding in effect the people that elected them incontempt. the same that would hold voters in contempt january 6th saying forget the vote, my guy should be president because it's all about him. the level of self-aggrandizement and engagement is beyond what we can even measure. and i think that's the most egregious thing about what he
did is to walk away when he should have been running toward the people that needed had his help and leadership and assistance. . >> also point out in 2018, ted cruz barely beat beto o'rourke in the senate race by two points. yesterday and the last couple days while ted cruz was in cancun, beto o'rourke, private citizen, had a phone bank going, doing phone assistance trying to get people food and water. we are learning how close texas came to a catastrophic failure that could have left people in the dark for months. ercot say the state's power grid was seconds and minutes away from a total failure earlier this week. it was only avoided when operators on monday morning made the decision to cut power and implement rolling blackouts across the state. let's bring in meteorologist bill karins for the very latest on the impact of this winter storm. bill, how does it look today?
>> the last day, willie. we just have to get through this morning. still more damage being done. the temperatures are record breaking. only south texas is not below freezing. it's ridiculous. temperatures, look at northern texas. 16 in dallas. oklahoma city, 5. especially those areas around san antonio to houston, those pipes are just not protected from the cold as well as areas to the north. and when we get temperatures like this, you know, people have been having their faucets on for days. that's why we have low water pressure. in cases where the water runs out, that's when the pipe freeze. when the temperatures warm up, we will have leaks all over the place. it's a broken record. rinse and are he pete. dallas is now going five straight days below freezing. look at kansas city, chicago, minneapolis.
if you put an ice cube in the shade 15 days ago that ice cube is still there. that's why the roads have been so treacherous for so many years. from d.c., southern new england, freezing rain overnight. now we have light snow. treacherous conditions. 62 million people impacted by this last round of winter weather. after all of this is said and done, it looks like a warmer weekend. we should be in the 60s by sunday in texas. finally today in dallas we'll go above freezing for the first time in six days. but the magnitude and duration of this, willie, we have never seen this in recorded history in the deep south. . >> freeze and boiling water across texas. bill, thanks so much. mika, just to put a point on this with ted cruz. last night on fox news, presumably to do mop up duty, he could say the media mob was coming at him.
in a rare moment of humility said, no, i messed up. >> i think at this point he's not nowhere else to go. still to come -- >> well, no, there are people so shameless they would blame the media mob. i'll tip my hat to him for at least doing that. >> owning it. >> and at least owning it. but i do, again, want to underline the fact that constituent services, you know, we see a lot of people on tv and a lot of people running around, so many people have forgotten this is about helping your constituents. you get the right people running the local offices. and, you know, that has to be your focus. that has to be your obsession. and then everything else takes
care of itself. and it's something i hope a lot of members in the house and a lot of members in the senate who are newer members can learn from this lesson. still ahead on "morning joe", the very latest on the investigation into nursing home coronavirus deaths in new york. and what we're learning about involvement by federal prosecutors looking into the cuomo administration. plus, the winter storms across the country are having an impact on coronavirus vaccine distribution. we'll be joined by former fda commissioner dr. scott gottlieb to discuss the state of the vaccine rollout. you're watching "morning joe". we'll be right back. 'll be righ.
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mika, but that is classic andrew coco mow. the bullying is nothing new. i believe ron kim. no public servant, no person telling the truth should be treated that way. but, yeah, the threats, the belittling, the demand that someone change their statement right that moment. many, many times i have heard that and i know a lot of other people in the state have heard that. . >> so you believe assemblyman kim, that he was threatened? >> 100%. >> wow. that was yesterday on "morning joe". mayor bill de blasio not mincing words about governor cuomo. we turn to new reporting on the investigation under way in new york and into nursing home deaths from the coronavirus. "the wall street journal" reports that federal prosecutors in brooklyn sought data this month on nursing home deaths
from governor andrew cuomo's administration. sources say that the request seeks the number of deaths, including when and where they happened as part of a broader inquiry into the state's handling of the pandemic. a senior adviser to the governor said the justice department has been looking into the nursing home issue for months and that they have been cooperating with them and will continue to do so. let's bring in chief for the "new york times" jesse mckinley. also with us republican strategist and msnbc political analyst susan dell percio, who served as special adviser of andrew cuomo. susan, i would like to ask starting off if your experience reflects what mayor de blasio was describing in pretty great
detail emphatically. >> well, i was a staffer, not an elected official. i didn't have quite that experience. the governor is known to strong arm. the difference now, mika, now the state legislature is threatening to take away his emergency powers during this crisis. since they have a veto proof majority, they can override the governor. and i think that has him concerned. >> i would not recommend that. there are a lot of people who do it. you're going to vote with me on this or i will look closely. that never works. still some executives do it. it's a completely different thing when you know the
department of justice is investigating you and you know that the attorney general of your own state may be investigating you to call members of the state legislaure and ask them to lie when you know all of these investigations are going on. . i'm a bit surprised that, first of all, they would be that devious. but also, for a guy that's been in office that long and grew up around power, that's an amateur move, to say the least. forget about being corrupt and possibly criminal. i'm shocked that they would be that stupid to expose themselves. >> well, as susan was saying, these sorts of, shall we put it, strident opinions from the governor are not uncommon. certainly journalists have heard them lawmakers have heard them.
so it has not been a great couple of weeks for cuomo. >> jesse, it's willie, the last decade as governor, cuomo has grown into feeling invincible. he gets good credit when he gave the press briefings. do they actually feel like they're in some trouble here? does he worry about being stripped of emergency powers?
what kind of peril does he view himself in right now? >> well, you kind of having to break them into two parts. the first is whether or not there's any legal jeopardy. indications that probe out of brooklyn is very early. a couple weeks old. look the doj has been kind of poking around since last fall. this is a democratic state. he would be up for a fourth term next year. the big issue there would be a primary. whether someone from the left would take him on. this controversy has given momentum to that. the issues of transparency not being forth coming with the data and his heavy handed political style, it plays right into the
hands of a progressive who wants to attack from the left. he's been in the office for a decade. maybe it's time to turn the page. . >> why not continue this politics 101 seminar. if you're taking notes at home, kids, number one, constituent services. put it on the top of your list and put your most talented people there. secondly, not just with legislators but dealing with others, jon. let's look back through history. we could talk about lincoln or fdr, how everybody that came in when they talked to him would leave thinking that those presidents agreed with them and they were really just taking all the information in trying to chart their course. reagan, who early on after winning a landslide, they knocked over his jelly bean jar. he got on the jar, put them back in, put them up there.
he was always gracious. bill clinton said the best thing a governor or president could have is a short memory. impeach you on tuesday, invite you to golf on wednesday. i can't think of an example where this cuomo style of governing where you're screaming and yelling, i can't think of an example of where that actually worked in the legislative process. it certainly didn't work with the last president. >> no, you're right. the great churchill insight, this morning's foe is this afternoon's ally. and they're the same human being even though you may virulentally agree with them on x, you will probably need them on y. it's not unlike human nature. it really is just human nature kind of a petri dish. you have all the appetite and
ambition and nobility. and my favorite reagan story about how he thought about other people after he had been shot he had spilled some water in the bathroom when he was in the hospital. and vice president bush went to see him. and he walks in and reagan is not in the bed, which is a little concerning. he realizes the president is in the bathroom donning up water off the floor with a towel. and he said -- bush said, mr. president, what's going on? he said, well, i spilled the water but i don't want the nurse to get blamed. plutaric said a small gesture
tells us as much about an era and a king as the largest battles and largest public action. and i think one of the reasons -- i don't think. it's just self-evident. the greatest legislative presidents have been the ones who understood that legislators has what is sometimes in the business called equities. everybody has lines they can't go over. everybody has concerns they have to take care of. for instance, the greatest speakers of the house, greatest senate majority leaders have all understood what is important to the other person. jim bakker brought this, president biden's, there's a lot of foreign policy coming up today. jim bakker was a genius at this. that's a sentence often spoken. one of the things he absolutely saw, and this is true in foreign
policy, domestic policy, is that in a political context, these are politicians. and they all have interests and concerns. and we can pretend they don't. we can try to say, well, this is so right you can do it. but you have to get them there. and that's the nature -- i don't have to tell you this. that is the nature of the fallen world. the sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world. and that's what we're doing. . >> here's lesson number three, whenever i would walk on the house floor, i said everybody needs something. what do they need? what do they need? and then you figure that out. once you figure out what's on the top of their agenda, you know how to talk to them. you know if there's a possibility to make a deal. it's simple.
picking up the phone and screaming at a legislator doesn't work. it is interesting that willie and i are having our monthly plutarch conversation. we're at 500. that's the max. we'll let you end next week. rev, don't want to put you on the spot. be as diplomatic as you want, hasn't andrew cuomo had this reputation really from the beginning? because i remember reading "new york times" stories wondering whether he was going to be able to be an effective governor loathing the press as much as he did. >> well, andrew cuomo has always had the reputation of being very blunt and candid and it's gone
him supporters and detractors. the one thing i will say, i have no idea whether the federal investigation will lead to anything. i can say i have known andrew cuomo for years. he was state attorney general before he was governor. and he knows the law. he may be a lot of things but stupid is not one of them. i don't see him being in any legal jeopardy. whether people under him, we'll see. for him to yell and raise his voice, i think everyone would say he heard stories about that. he's never done thaw with me because i was probably already screaming when he called to scream. but to say it went above a legal line, i would have to wait and see. i don't see him not being
cautious because he's a lawyer. there's always a strategy there. the thing i do hope, though, is that the midst of all of this we don't forget there are people in the state that are still not getting their vaccines and there are still communities that need the attention. so i hope we don't get so driven in the story that we forget the services that are needed in the state of new york that need the state assembly's attention. i hope people don't get trampled on when we're seeing one way or the other in terms of these allegations. >> still a lot of work to do in the state of new york. jesse, what's new here, and you know better than any of us, he ran into an assemblyman, ron kim, who was happy to talk about what happened to him, show us the phone calls, describe the phone calls in some detail. so what happens from here now? what do you see next, whether it's inside the assembly, up in albany or the courts in brooklyn. what's the next step here? . >> well, i think what's
interesting is that on monday cuomo came out, as the reverend pointed out, seemed to try to turn the page. he said we created a void in which bad information came out. and on wednesday kind of went back and attacked ron kim, which kind of reopened the story. he had the opportunity to move on. on wednesday seemed to take a step back by picking this feud with ron kim. and as -- in addition to that, by angering ron kim, by angering lawmakers and members of the assembly, he has put them on war footing as well. politically speaking, i don't know if that's exactly what he wanted to be doing, when the legislature is stripping his powers. he is expected to speak today if he holds true to form. we may have an update, another explanation. but we have to wait and see on
that. >> albany bureau chief for the "new york times", jesse mckinley, thank you very much for coming on the show this morning. now, to the coronavirus, the u.s. has surpassed 28 million covid-19 cases. since the start of the pandemic last year. according to an nbc news tally, over 495,000 deaths have been confirmed nationwide. and now it's a global race to keep the covid vaccines up to speed with the numerous variants. joining us now, chief foreign correspondent richard engel, who has a special this sunday on the variant versus vaccine race. richard? >> reporter: it's good to talk to you. there are several thousand variants. about 4,000 known variants. really there are three of major
concern. they are all in the united states. south african variant, brazil variant, and uk variant. in the uk, there is talk about giving these names like they give to tropical storms and hurricanes. people don't want to be known as the spreaders of the variant since it just happened to be created here, happened to have evolved here, not through anyone's fault. all three of the variant strains of concern are spreading in the united states. one in particular, the uk variant is of particular concern in the u.s. because it has the ability to replicate so quickly, to spread so quickly, which makes it very contagious. by being very contagious, it makes it potentially more deadly across populations. so, yes, have this special hour coming up all about variants,
how they came about, what can be done to stop them. there is a race right now. viruses evolve quickly because of their short life spans, and their structure because the structure is changing as they mutate. and the ability of scientists to catch up with the viral evolution. the uk variant is the one expected to be dominant in the u.s. quite soon. dr. fauci is one of many scientists i interviewed for this hour and i asked specifically about the uk variant. and these upgrades to the virus in all the different mutations. all coronaviruses have spikes to bind to and enter our cells. in the uk strain, the spikes
mutated ever so slightly, allowing them to penetrate about 50% more efficiently, making the virus far more contagious. scientists identify this new strain by its main mutation, b-117. the cdc estimates this superspreader will be dominant in the u.s. by march. >> when we say they are concerned that it will be dominant by the time we get to march, what we're talking about that because of advantage that it has over the other strains, namely the replicative advantage, that it replicates more efficiently and effectively, that over a pefd, by the pure kinetics and the dynamics of the outbreak, after a couple months, it will gradually take over the turf, as it were.
. >> all right. nbc's richard engel, thank you very much. and we'll be watching the special on covid mute ants this sunday on msnbc. and still ahead, dr. scott gottlieb joins us in a few minutes. plus, there's an interesting story out of australia where facebook decided to remove news from its platform in that country. matt bradley joins us to explain why. that's next on "morning joe". ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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to me it's all about feeling what the piece of wood in front of me is meant to be. creating a functional piece that is also beautiful. i know there are others and i want them to find me. i'm mats and i put myself out there with godaddy. all right. 56 past the hour. a live look at dallas this morning. while the u.s. faces a winter cold front, australia is dealing with a different type of blackout. facebook blocked news updates from local health sites and the
national weather service, among other pages, amid an ongoing dispute overpaid content. the deliberate move comes on the on the same day the country begins its nationwide coronavirus vaccine rollout. joining us now nbc news foreign correspondent matt bradley. matt, so many different questions now that you can think of given this story. tell us what happened. >> yeah. it's a big dustup down under. we are seeing facebook took the nuclear option. now it looks like that is really about to backfire. scott morrison, the prime minister of australia, he said today that he is determined to push ahead with investigation in the australian parliament that would require facebook and other tech giants to pay for news that shows up on their site. so essentially putting an end to this idea where you can click on a news source and get news for free. now facebook would have to, if
this law passes, would have to pay these local news sites. so facebook retaliated. essentially what they did is pulled the plug on all news sharing in australia. that was also local news, international news agencies. people couldn't share their stories on facebook. the reason everybody is saying that facebook really botched this is when they pulled the plug, they ended up shutting downstate health services, charitable organizations dealing with domestic violence. just a couple of days before australia's massive vaccine rollout. all of this in the midst of a global pandemic. it really makes them look like an arrogant bully. that's basically what scott had called them. now it looks like they will go
ahead with this legislation. facebook says they should be able to have -- this would essentially put an end to the freedom of media. their service democrat taoeuzs media. it is a smaller news market and is concentrated in a couple of big corporate hands. amongst them, rupert murdoch's media. he had been lobbying for this. i was mention something written by a former facebook executive in australia new zealand. he said when you pull a government's pants down in front of the world you leave little option but to dig in.
when you 13 million citizens's news feeds as a bar gang chip, you raise the stakes. why have they been so resistant about policing their service in issues of free speech in america. >> nbc's matt bradry, thank you very much. joe, i guess facebook can take down stuff. they just choose not to. >> it all comes down to money. >> oh, hmm. >> if it gives them more money, they will take it down. if not, they will put algorithms that actually encouraging the spreading of misinformation about a once in a lifetime pandemic. and allows our enemies to spread misinformation, at least foreign and domestic, to spread misinformation around this
country. i just wonder when our congress and when our leaders on both sides of pennsylvania avenue will reign them in. they have been allowed to regulate themselves for the most part for the past 30 years. >> joe, i have struggled with this issue. i hope i'm not coming to the conclusion that we just may not be smart enough to have facebook. because i can't tell you the number of times when people i know and conversations have repeated something that -- and i pay attention to the news. so i read the newspapers. i'm immersed in it. tell me something i have never heard before about the vaccine or about the election or something. wait a minute. where did you hear that? well, my aunt posted that on facebook.
it's amazing how chronic that information. look what it led to. the president of the united states exploiting that ability to spread false information, continue to spread false information about an election not contested but that clearly had a winner. but allowed people to go on and on and say there's real issues here. that was done through facebook and other social media. and i frankly don't know the entire answer to that. it is definitely something to worry about. >> well, you know, rick, we've got to figure it out. we've got to figure it out because i'm with you. i have so many friends that have degrees, advanced college degrees, law degrees that spent decades being sane and rational that the past four, five, six, seven years will call me up and say, hey, that it really true
that -- fill in the plank. that dr. fauci deliberately killed people during the aids epidemic and now he is going to make -- now that's a lie that won't die. i ask, where did you hear that? it always comes back to facebook. the violence that was spread at the capitol, the terrorists was organized around facebook. when there was the assassination of the law enforcement officer in oakland by a right-wing extremist, once again, where was he meeting other bugaloo people? facebook. facebook, which had its algorithms, deliberately pushing people to extremist sites, deliberately pushing people to sites that spread misinformation.
they don't care if it's good or bad for america, for democracy, if their viewers like it, they will send as many people there as possible because the browsers are money. it all comes down to money. when are we going to get leaders in washington, d.c. that understand this is one of the greatest threats to american democracy. >>. >> you know, when private industry is left to self-regulate and they do it responsibly, and that's what is at issue here. and we do regulate federal communications. you are under regulations as an msnbc broader. what you talked about is click
bait. i know many people have said you saw the comments about the pandemic, that it's really a hoax, and it's not really true. they are puffing up the numbers. in order to believe that, you would literally have to believe that the doctors are in on it, the families of the victims are in on it, the e.r. nurses are in on it, the family physicians are in on it, the health officials are in on it, the elected leaders are in on it, the media is in on it. that doesn't fly. we have to use our common sense. statisticians. my aunt posted it on facebook so it must be true. they are only good for moral
people. people have to take responsibility to make sure things are true before they spin that crap around. . >> well said. thanks for being with us this morning. let's turn to the race to get americans vaccinated against the coronavirus. it is now facing a big weather challenge this week. yesterday white house press secretary jen psaki said we are experiencing delays in covid-19 shipments and deliveries. cdc and federal partners are working closely with the jurisdictions, as well as manufacturing and shipping partners, to assess weather conditions and to help with delays and cancellations. many testing sites across texas closed over the weekend and earlier this week, mississippi and the memphis area closed down vaccination sites. while washington state estimated 90% of this week's vaccine shipments will arrive late. dr. scott gottlieb is a member of the board at pfizer. great to have you back on the show.
we can talk about some of those delays. but also let's talk big picture how production and distribution of the vaccines is going right now. we had bill de blasio on yesterday saying we're ready to go. i have the javits center ready. >> the federal government, biden administration is pushing back through some of the federal partners, the big box stores, community health services. they have opened up new routes of delivery for vaccine. the footprint that you can distribute is much broader right now. supplies still constrained but it's been growing every week. we will be close to $15 million dose rate as we get into march. there is substantial supply coming online. in april, supplies should ramp
quickly. especially if j&j gets approved in march. we will have more supply than demand. the equation will start to change. we will continue to feel it for the next three, four weeks. i think we will start to have a lot of supply. you will see slots open up. . >> we heard from dr. fauci earlier this week saying i believes by april, as you sort of indicated there, that things will open up and people should be able to start to get them. perhaps looking towards fall there could be a return to version of normalcy. does that timeline line up with what you're seeing? >> i think it does. tony changed his forecast a little bit. the president said july. by the end of march, we will
have 220,000 doses. not all will get used. by march, 220 million doses that will be manufactured and shipped. if they get authorized, and i think they will, they will put 30 million doses in march. if you assume a 60/40 slip in first and second doses, 60% goes to first doses. 40% goes to second doses. that's potentially 150,000 doses. not every dose that gets manufactured is going to get into an arm. it will still be in the supply chain somewhere. i think we'll get to 125 million people with some cajoling. once you get to that number, 125
million americans vaccinated, the next 25, 30 million people will be difficult. that's where command starts to become more slack. especially where prevalence is declining. they will not be as eager to go out and get vaccinated. you will see the equation start to change, and it will change quickly. >> doctor, let me ask about the science of the vaccine, what you know so far, what the medical community and science community knows so far. say people have gone both vaccinations. they obviously will still be wearing a mask. but what is the possibility of them picking up strains of the virus and passing them along to anyone else. is there any evidence that that could happen? >> well, there's evidence now that suggests that the vaccine reduces your likelihood of getting effective and reduces
the likelihood if you do get infected, that you will transmit the infection. clinical studies were designed to show it reduces the signs and symptoms of covid. people didn't get sick. or they got sick at a much lower rate. it didn't assess whether they got infected in the first place. there is accumulating clinical evidence that shows people are less likely to transmit the infection. conventional wisdom is that's true. what needs to be worked out is the mag newt. they need to file supplements with the agency. i think if you talk to most researchers, they believe there is some effect on transmission, on infection. and they just don't know the magnitude. some think it will be quite profound. others more subtle. so there is some debate around that right now. >> next question about
antibodies. how long have you had covid, how long do the antibodies last. i just regurgitate what i hear on tv. it seems like the most conservative number is three months, maybe three to six months. but studies i've read said if you look at what happened with sars your cells, you may have a resistance to the virus for years to come. what's the latest science on that question. more and more people are getting covid and recovering. >> yeah. look, immunity is highly variable. we experience it all differently. conventional wisdom is you will have protective immunity for at least six months, 12 months, maybe a little bit longer. this seems to sit between the
normal coronavirus and sars mrs. you are developing memory t cells. cd 4 and cd 8 cells that will kick into action so you may get infected but you may not get sick because you will have the memory t cells. it appears some of the vaccines, particularly the j&j vaccine induces a healthy t cell. you have some residual immunity, long term immunity. >> that's the study i read. the memory t cells with sars lasted up to 17 years in some cases. it's not immunity, per se. it's just you've got these t cells that know how to fight off the virus, right? >> right. and also cells that will generate antibodies.
you will have cells that will quickly be able to produce antibodies because they have seen the virus before and help you fight the infection. >> dr. gottlieb, i just want to ask a basic question about the vaccine itself. as the country becomes more and more vaccinated over the coming months, exactly what does it do? what is the function of the vaccine and how should people in america be conducting themselves until the entire country is predominantly vaccinated? . >> the established function of the vaccine is that it prevents symptoms of covid disease. studies were designed to look at whether people got sick from covid infection. they weren't designed to look at whether people didn't get infected from sars in the first place. there is a accumulating evidence, including moderna they submitted to fda that suggests
it does reduce transmission. we need to establish the magnitude of that. good data will come out of israel. i think most people assume there is some effect on transmission and effective. we need to work out the magnitude of that benefit. >> dr. gottlieb, as you know, parents are growing impatient with the question of schools and why they aren't open in many places. why they are hybrid or remote. they want their kids back in school, safely, the teachers they love to be safe in the classrooms as well. we have just gone some conflicting information from the top. i'm interested about whether or not you think teachers should be vaccinated before schools should be opened. >> i don't think it's a prerequisite. schools aren't inherently safe. they can be made safe if you stick with the masks, distancing, the mitigation.
it is important to pod the students to implement testing where you can. if you look at the data and the school districts have come together to create their own data consortium. january 4th, 1 town 2%. teachers were getting infected than the general population. it probably was from the students. what we believe is they clear the infection very quickly. the period of infectivity is shorter than an adult. it doesn't mean they don't transmit the infection. especially the older age set. a big study looked at 32 different studies and showed kids under 14 are half as likely to get infected.
we need to protect the kids and the teachers. >> dr. scott gottlieb, thank you so much for being on the show once again this morning. democrats are embracing a new game plan to get immigration reform passed. the u.s. citizenship act would overhaul current policy. the bill would, among other things, give an eight-year pathway to citizenship for 11 million people leaving the country without legal status. after failing for decades to pass a comprehensive immigration package, congressional democrats are reportedly considering a piece by piece strategy where they would break up the larger bill into smaller targeted laws. the method is backed by some immigration advocates who believe it will be easier to
garner republican support. . >> so, rev, it's not just republican support that chuck schumer and joe biden need to worry about. they need to worry about moderate to conservative democrats that are inside their caucus. how difficult will it be to pull everybody from joe manchin to bernie sanders? . >> it will be a challenge, which is why we have not had a comprehensive bill so far. the climate is much different than this post trump era. we're coming off a president that was so belligerent in terms of building a wall, blocking out people, held people that wanted to be citizens in contempt. i think the climate is better now to try to do a broad kind of
bill that could get joe manchin, bernie sanders. i think the strategy is to walk towards achieving this bill rather than run. i think the time has come and americans are prepared to say we need to have a clear immigration policy that would lead toward citizenship and protect us at the borders at the same time. >> so we just got past an election in 2020 that had a lot of democratic activists scratching their heads where some black americans voted, latinos voted,s breaking for donald trump. do you think there is more of a recognition in the democratic party that not all black voters look at immigration the same way? not all latina voters look at it the same way? that there is a resistance.
joe biden said i'm going to go all in and i'm going to try to not only legalize but grant citizenship to all undocumented workers in america, do you think democrats have a better understanding that that wouldn't be an unqualified success for a good portion of black americans and even some latinos? >> i really do believe the numbers gave many in the democratic leadership the message that people are not always where you may go in terms of your last slogan or what you may see driving social media. blacks and latinos are very much decided in various issues. and i have said said many in the black community are very conservative on some issues and
leftist on others. and i think that that vote showed that in this last election, which is why i think the strategy that the biden-harris administration is doing to try to walk things through. i think people assume because they come out with a certain feeling that they are speaking for the people across the board. people have different feelings or at least have to be convinced. this is a discussion you and i have had a long time. that's why i call them latte liberals. they're not talking to people. they are talking at people. they think because they are talking at people that people are agreeing with them and that is just not the case. . >> not the case at all. susan delpersio, what is it about immigration reform, maybe it's a 75/25 issue on a lot of
reforms, immigration reforms. so politicians think they can wade into those waters and they always end up getting bit. you can talk about george bush, john mccain, working with ted kennedy. a huge bipartisan consensus. i think it was 2006. and then just a full-on revolt against it that killed immigration reform then. marco rubio said we lost in 2012. la team knows didn't like mitt romney. let's get out and pass immigration reform. he quickly retreated when the base turned against him. why is 2021 going to be different than 2013 or 2006. . >> well, it may not be, joe. because you used the key words. the base turns against you as a republican. and that's what a lot of elected
officials are looking at. what's interesting this time, though, is that president biden is swinging big. and i think they are betting he will be successful in attacking this first as a public health crisis and then the economy. come 20222 i'm not sure people want to be in the anti-biden category, except in a primary. the other thing is breaking up the legislation. dreamers can move forward. even thought donald trump thought dreamers should be acclimated into our country. and of course they should. the other thing is that we have seen the chamber of commerce talk a lot about immigration. >> thanks so much. good to see you this morning. the global fight against coronavirus will be a big focus of the g7. president biden will address the
group this morning virtually where he is expected to announce $2 billion to help covid vaccination efforts around the world. president biden also will address munich security conference this morning. he has attended the conference several times as a senator, vice president, and in 2019 as a private citizen when he urged allies to wait out president trump saying we will be back. bill neely with us. former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments, rhee lease jordan. bill, we'll begin with you. what do you expect to hear from president biden today and how will he be received at the g7? >> yeah. this will be the first meeting between president biden and european leaders. a happy coincidence today because it will not just be a day of reassuring words for from the president biden but also a
day of action. because today is the first day that the united states is part of the paris climate agreement. reassuring words. joe biden will say the transatlantic alliance is the corner stone of america's relations with europe and with european leaders, that democracy is the best model for meeting the challenges of the world. and so on. after the bile of the years of donald trump. but that's all very well. but it's not enough. it is not simply enough that joe biden can flip a switch and everything can go back to the way it was. europe is now profoundly distrustful of the united states in a way we just haven't seen perhaps since the 2003 iraq war, maybe even before that. and it's not just donald trump's presidency. it's not just his transactional
borish nationalistic relationship. it predates trump as well. and just the idea that a new american administration can, just like that, change policies and views of the previous administration. i think joe biden's words will be absolutely welcomed by europe's leaders. but a loss of trust will be difficult for joe biden and his team to put back in place. >> no question about it. and also there's a question of iran. bill, as you know, the biden administration said yesterday it is ready to begin talks to restart the iran nuclear agreement. it would be prepared to accept an invitation from the eu to meet with iran to discuss the accords. how big a step is this from the biden administration, bill?
>> yeah. it is a big step. and to the previous answer i gave, anthony blinken made a joint statement with france and germany. that hasn't happened on iran for four years. interestingly, just this morning, there's been a statement from iran's foreign ministry saying gestures are find but remember trump left the room. iran doesn't like being painted as the country that's not in compliance with the nuclear deal. it is saying we were in compliance. it was the united states that walked away from this room and left the room. the united states is now signaling it is prepared to have talks. the united states as a goodwill gesture said iran's diplomats are more free to move around the
tri-state area than they were before. it is a confidence building gesture but it matters. the tiny small steps matter. we are now seeing the first steps sideways perhaps to a renegotiation of that nuclear deal. it won't be the same deal as before, that's for sure. it will have to be stronger and longer than before. but the path is there. . >> important first day, major day of foreign policy at the g7. bill neely in london. thank you, as always. mika. all right. let's move now to senator ted cruz and his trip to mexico. elise, he said it was, quote, a mistake to go on a family vacation to cancun, mexico. he first blamed the trip that he
took during a complete weather and grid catastrophe in his state on his kids. that turned out to be a lie. then it came out he was a part of his wife sent out group texts to friends saying let's go to cancun, their house is freezing, let's get out of here, we can all have fun at the rits. and those texts were revealed to the press. that turned out to be a lie that it was for his kids. then ted cruz lied about when he was going to come back. he said he was just dropping his family off. that turned out to be a lie. he was actually planning to stay until saturday. some were saying what could he really be doing during this catastrophe to help his state and i point to -- i just came across on twitter here a tweet
by alexandria ocasio-cortez who spent the weekend last night working for texas relief and raised a million dollars going straight to texas food assistance, elder care, and more. what do you make of this that he couldn't have been doing anything. what do you make of his very misguided trip to mexico? . >> well, the bar really is so low that if the defense of a u.s. senator in his home state under crisis, a huge crisis, if he is ascribed so little power that he can't do anything, he would be better off working remotely at the ritz-carlton in cancun. it is just pathetic. so many episodes make your jaw drop but this is particularly
egregious. i can't believe that he thought he would get away with this, leaving his state, going on a flight to mexico, going unnoticed. it's nice that he has been vaccinated. so he doesn't have to worry about contracting coronavirus on his international jaunt. i am so disgusted. it is not relatable going off to the ritz-carlton in cancun at the first sign of trouble in your home state. >> today president biden is set to visit pfizer's vaccine plant in michigan. we will talk to garry peters next on "morning joe". we'll be right back. we'll be right back.
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president biden heads to michigan to visit the pfizer plant that was the first supply the -- the first to supply the country with a vaccine for covid-19. let's bring in democratic senator garry peters of michigan. chairman of the senate homeland security and government >> al affairs committee which overseas fema, for helping the cdc to coordinate vaccine distribution with the states. so let's start there. how would you rate how distribution is going across the country? it seems like there are some hick cups. >> well, there are hick cups.
there's no question about that. the work is to smooth it out as quickly as possible. we're pushing fema. the biden administration is certainly pushing fema to come up with a national strategy, which they have been implementing. we saw a big change with the new president in the last administration, every state was pretty much left to do whatever they could. they were left on their own. that is not the way you deal with a natural emergency. fema needs coordination across the country. the biden administration has been focused on that. and particularly making sure that there is visibility as to when vaccines are going to be able. in fact, i had the opportunity to bring this up directly with president biden at the white house in a meeting we had recently. i can tell you he was focused on that completely and understand you can't just drop vaccines off on a friday and say this is what you're going to get for the next week. that's what we saw with the trump administration. he understands you have to tell
folks this is what you're going to get not just next week but the week after and the week after, over the next three weeks. that's the process moving forward. you are seeing more vaccines moving forward. i'll be with him later this afternoon at the site that is making the vaccine here in our state. they are continuing to make more as they continue to bring more production online. of course now we have an issue immediately because of the weather events that have occurred across the country certainly disrupted some of the supply chains. once we get back on it, i can tell you that i know the biden administration is focused on this and fema is focused on it. . >> the vaccines is one of the elements of the rescue plan, the $1.9 trillion proposal that i know you support to get the economy going again but to get vaccine and supplies out to the country. what is the fate of that? that's a big number, 1.9
trillion. a lot of republicans say there are pieces they can't vote for, including $15 minimum wage. president biden conceded the $15 minimum wage may not survive, may not live. do you think $1.9 trillion is going to clear through this senate? >> i think it's essential that we do that. we have to be bold and big. one that i am feeling closely overseeing fema is $50 billion to help distribute the vaccines, to set up sites. fema coming into michigan this week with additional resources to help state and local deposits with the actual distribution facilities, setting up 100 across the country in order to
get more vaccine in the arms of individuals, to make sure the supply is transparent as we go forward. that's one critical beings of this. but when you look at the fact that too many families are still struggling to put food on the table, roof over their head, our small businesses are struggling to stay alive to get to the other end of this. we know we have to be bold. we have economists all across the country from every persuasion saying the risk is too small. the risk is not going too big. now is the time to put that stim list into the economy, that type of help from an economic standpoint but to deal with the public health aspect. it will pass. we are hoping to have republican votes. i think it's important to remember that this does have bipartisan support with the american people. . >> yeah. . >> public opinion polls are clear as well as republican mayors, governors, others who say we need to go big. we need to be bold.
>> elise. >> senator, switching gears slightly but the same topic because this fallout is all related to the coronavirus pandemic and the fallout from the trump administration. you're part of a group of senators who are asking why the post office is still delayed with so many deliveries for americans around the country why is postmaster general dejoy still in his position now that biden has taken office? >> it's important to remember he is hired by the board of governors. that is a separate body. it is not fully populated. there are a number of open seats. it's one of my priorities in the committee to make sure they are fully staffed and folks are doing their job.
we plan to take up issue with this very shortly. a number of reforms to streamline operations. but at the same time, make sure that you're maintaining service. to me that is absolutely critical, to remember that the postal service is a service. it provides to every single address in america every single day in a timely and efficient manner. that is going to take some legislative action. we are committed to doing what we have to do to support the efforts going forward. . >> senator peters, al sharpton. in the homeland committee in terms of overseeing fema, what has been put in place to make
sure underserved communities that are disproportionately not getting vaccines, what is being put in place by the committee to make fema give you a plan that assures there is going to be fair distribution? second to that, as you know, there is a hesitancy problem in the black community. what has been done to make sure that as you distribute it that you have people that can address that and convince people that vaccines are the way to go. we hear the administration saying we're going to send it directly to pharmaies and hospitals. you have many communities that are deserts when it comes to pharmacies and hospitals. >> absolutely, reverend. and that has to be addressed given we know communities of color are disproportionately affected. we have to get distribution into
the communities. that is part of the fema plan to set up direct sites through fema and help local efforts in terms of additional personnel, support staff, logistics to go into the communities. they were not even collecting the data necessary to know where supplies were going when it was clear communities of color were not getting the supplies necessary to deal with the magnitude of the crisis in those communities. that is changing. we're getting that information out. i'm working to create a department within fema that actually deals with under served communities and communities of color and understand whether the crisis is a pandemic or a flood or hurricane, those communities tend to get hit in a disproportionate fashion and we have to treat that in a way that it provides additional resources. we are seeing that now with the biden administration.
it is stepping up. we're collecting that information. and we know we have to make long-term structural changes in the way fema operates going forward so this never happens again. >> senator, before you go, i'm just curious. i'm looking at dozens now who have died, attributed to this severe winter weather in texas. if your state was under a winter weather emergency and also undergoing a catastrophe where millions of your residents had no heat, power, water, and food, would you go to cancun? >> no, i would not do that. i would be here with folks here in michigan. my family is here. we would work together to get through it. . >> senator gary peters thank you
for being on the show. suggesting house speaker nancy pelosi may be responsible for delaying the deployment of the national guard during the january 6th attack on the capitol. the politics behind what they're doing ahead on "morning joe". doing ahead on "morning joe" with unitedhealthcare medicare advantage plans, there's more to take advantage of.
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he's going to do as secretary of transportation now that he's been confirmed. clearly infrastructure issues and other issues that are really, really important to people around the country as we see the erosion of so much in the infrastructure that runs under the department of transportation. so we have a lot to talk about with secretary buttigieg, formerly known as mayor pete. >> yeah. thank you, rev. we look forward to that. thanks for being on today. u.s. capitol police officials have reportedly told congressional leaders that the razor wire-topped fencing surrounding the capitol should remain in place for the next few months. a source familiar with the matter told the associated press that the fencing should stay until at least september as there are continuing threats against lawmakers and the capitol complex. the threats range in credibility. there is only chatter about
extremist groups potentially returning to washington in the coming weeks the source tells the a.p. police officials say the fence is necessary to prevent a repeat of the january 6th insurrection. it remains unclear at this point how long the fence will remain in place. this is just sad, willie. >> it is. conspiracy theorists have other dates circled on the calendar. house speaker nancy pelosi says the 9/11 style commission that will investigate the january 6th riot at the u.s. capitol must have subpoena power in order to be successful. such powers would give the commission the ability to call witnesses, even ones uncooperative. the chair of the republican conference, liz cheney, agrees and says the commission should be made up of retired officials from both parties.
four house republicans sent a letter to pelosi earlier this week suggesting she may have been involved in delaying the deployment of the national guard troops after the attack on the capitol. the four suggest the speaker wielded influence over the security decisions before and during the attacks due to her enormous institutional responsibilities and involvement in all operational decisions made within the house. the house speaker's office quickly denounced the claims as a partisan attack. joining us now, former senior adviser for the house oversight committee, kurt bardella, he's a columnist for "usa today" and the "l.a. times." kurt, your response to this in terms of the big picture as well? >> you know, it's really something that house republicans are more willing to try to attack nancy pelosi than actually hold the people
responsible for inciting the violence with their alarmist rhetoric in the first place like former president donald trump. this is a repeat of a playbook we've seen time and time again. we saw it during the bengahzi proceedings when republicans tried to make that her fault. culminating with her 11-hour testimony before the bengahzi commit and now they're trying to do it with nancy pelosi even though they're ignoring the reports that donald trump refused to intercede that it was actually vice president mike pence that ordered the additional support on january 6th. if they want an investigation, if they want to get to the real truth about what happened with the chronology and who is responsible, that has to include talking to the former trump administration officials, talking to vice president mike pence, maybe even talking to donald trump himself about why he delayed sending the resources needed as the violence and the escalating violence continued on
that day. the idea that this is somehow nancy pelosi's fault is the republicans clumsy attempt to whitewash what happened on january 6th. senator ron johnson is out there in wisconsin saying he doesn't believe there was a violent insurrection on that day. we're seeing republicans do what they always do -- try to find another target, usually a female in power conveiently and make it their fault. it's ridiculous, it's embarrassing. we cannot allow the facts to be whitewashed this way with these conspiracy cloaks. it is embarrassing that they're trying to make this nancy pelosi's fault. >> elise jordan? >> kurt, how do you politically see this playing out for republicans if there is a commission and there's a huge fact finding mission, there are interviews, we start to piece together what happened on
january 6th. we piece together who from the white house had any hand in the stop the steal rally that led immediately prior to the violent insurrection. how can they politically weather the facts coming out? >> i think this is a political dynamite that republicans are playing with now. if republicans want to see a repeat of the incredibly compelling and powerful presentation that house impeachment managers made last week, this is what we'll keep getting. you know, it's almost as if they want to keep talking about january 6th for some reason, when that is a losing hand for them. nothing tells the american people the story of how extreme and dangerous republican party has become than reliving and relitigating the events of january 6th. that's really what they're daring democrats to do. they're daring nancy pelosi and house democrats to have these
proceedings that point by point minute by minute that will retell the story over and over and over again. for people like sean patrick maloney, that will provide him with so much ammunition to target at house republicans in the midterms. this will be the most powerful reminder of the extremism of the republican party that they'll ever have at their disposal. why house republicans think it's to their benefit to relitigate that is politically clueless to me. i don't understand what they think they'll get out of this other than continuing to radicalize their already radicalized base and feed them this fiction and folly. it won't end well for them if they keep going down this road because we know the facts presented by the house impeachment managers tells the whole story. it's already there. >> kurt bardella, thank you very much. elise jordan, thank you as well. still ahead this morning, he
flew to mexico amid an ongoing deadly weather catastrophe in his state. he blamed the decision on kids, pretended he was always going to return right away after dropping them off and finally said the m. we'll have the very latest with senator ted cruz. also the latest on the major water crisis that senator cruz left behind. "morning joe" is back in a moment. if your dry eye symptoms keep coming back, inflammation in your eye might be to blame. looks like a great day for achy, burning eyes over-the-counter eye drops typically work by lubricating your eyes and may provide temporary relief. ha! these drops probably won't touch me. xiidra works differently, targeting inflammation that can cause dry eye disease. what is that? xiidra, noooo! it can provide lasting relief. xiidra is the only fda approved treatment specifically
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it's crazy that we would be taking a let's not take any recesses. let's work every day, let's work weekends, let's work until we get the job done. apparently it was more important for senators to be home on vacation, home playing golf, home doing anything but being here on the floor doing the people's businesses.
>> president obama and frankly hillary clinton they are so out of touch with where the american people are. >> he goes and plays golf hundreds of times with his buddies. he is not focused on people who are hurting and paying the cost. >> we have a job to do and we have a short window of time. so we ought to stop taking recesses, time off, and just keep going until we get it done. >> playing pool is a higher priority for this president than it would be go to see the humanitarian crisis he's created. >> well, look, in hindsight, if i had understood how it would be perceived, the reaction people would have, obviously i wouldn't have done it. it was a mistake. >> right. okay. good morning and welcome to "morning joe". it is friday, february 19th. with us we have pulitzer prize winning historian jon meacham, he occasionally advises joe
biden. and msnbc political contributor rick tyler, who has had the pleasure of working in the past as a communications director for senator ted cruz. good to have you all on board. >> so, rick, why don't we start with you, since you've had experience with senator cruz. there's so many things that are wrong with what happened over the past couple of days. i just go back to my time in congress. and i know he's had a couple trump-type people trying to defend him saying there's nothing a senator can do. i remember when we had hurricanes in our district, it was all men and women on board.
i would see lawton child's, jeb bush. i mean, you name it. i would see bill nelson, connie mack. and it was all hands on deck. everybody was working. we were all together. we were talking to fema, we were talking to the sba, we were talking to every agency. we were working together with local officials asking what they needed. you just -- you almost had a checklist, especially somebody like jeb bush. it was all hands on deck. if i had ever decided i was going to go on a foreign vacation, a vacation overseas when a hurricane had hit, i promise my staff would have -- before letting me do that, they would have put a tranquilizer gun, shot me in my neck to stop me from going. this is actually beyond the
realm of anything -- i'm almost speechless, rick. how does something like this happen? >> well, good morning, joe. well, look, i'm just a dumb country coms guy, and in the very sophisticated world of political communication this is what you call a dumbass move. there's no excuse for it. it's really remarkable that in moments that require leadership, like leadership in a disputed election, like leadership in a pandemic, and leadership in a manmade and natural disaster in texas -- texas is losing$3 billion a day because of the incompetence of the management of the power grid. and that was foreseeable. we have known that for 10 years. there are people in the legislature screaming about it and writing reports about it for ten years, saying this is inevitable, just like the way the pandemic was inevitable.
and i'm trying go through the thought process, joe. so what you do is during that crisis where people don't have electricity and they're told by the state to boil water that doesn't even come out of their faucets, you decide to get online, book yourself a ticket to a first-class resort in cancun, and then get on a plane. and after you order your first glass of wine in first class, you decide -- and this is according to senator cruz's statement, that something just doesn't feel right about this. maybe this is the wrong thing to do. and then ted cruz did a really horrendous move. he blamed his mistake on his children. nowhere, i can promise you, did a 10-year-old and 12-year-old say, daddy, i know you have important obligations as a senator but we want to go to the ritz-carlton in cancun this week and you're going to take us, and he would succumb to that. you see, ted cruz said i want to
be a good dad, but here's how you are a good dad. you tend to the emotional needs of your children. when you're in a crisis, they don't need you. you don't go off to cancun because your children want to go to cancun. i promise they didn't ask to go to cancun. this is senator cruz's move. and now he comes back and he suddenly wants to have a reset and put it all back together. this is gross, negligent, reckless incompetence. >> yeah. and, you know, willie, of course text messages that were revealed later showed that it wasn't the children asking that he goes down for a day and then comes back. it was different. again, everybody's welcome to go wherever anybody wants to go, just not in the middle of an ice storm. and this is, again -- >> it's more than an ice storm. it is a catastrophe. >> it is just a catastrophe.
this again falls to that false populism that he always talks about. i'm against all the fighters. oh, my god, barack obama is playing pool? oh, my god. here's a guy that went to princeton, he went to harvard. mr. elitist himself always playing the populist card. and it's just -- it's been phony. and he got called out this week. >> yeah. almost like all that outrage was insincere and completely phony as we look through those clips. even a couple months ago he criticized the mayor of austin going to cabo during a crisis. and here he is, what rick described, complete and utter arrogance to think you could stroll on to a plane on a commercial flight and get away with this while people are dying, freeze to go death, without power, without water, without heat in your state. i agree with you, joe. the few people, and it was a few, let's be clear, who was
defending ted cruz and saying what is a senator supposed to do? if you think ted cruz could have done in this circumstance, you don't understand how government works. really? there are two senators in the state of texas. they shouldn't be there during constituent services doing all the things that he would do and other senators in florida would do on the ground during a hurricane. of course you should be there. not just for optics. this is more than optics. this is a man who has levers of power he can pull to get things done for people. so if you're not up on the story, here's exactly what happened. news came out of ted cruz's trip wednesday night, pictures of ted cruz and his family waiting at an airport gate with luggage boarding a plane starting to circulate on social media. after his senate office did not respond to repeated requests for comment, for 12 hours they did not respond to anybody, senator cruz said he made the decision to return home thursday afternoon. it read this way. with school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a
trip with friends, wanting to be a good dad, i flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. nbc news caught up with the senator as he boarded his return flight home from cancun. >> well, texas is going through horrific storms. and millions of texans have lost power, have lost heat, and have been hurt. and our family was among them. we have no heat and no power. and yesterday my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends. and heidi and i agreed. so i flew down with them last night, dropped them off here. and now i'm headed back to texas and back continuing to work to try to get the power on. what's happening in texas is unacceptable and a lot of texans are hurting. >> a source with knowledge of the situation said senator cruz initially was booked to return home on saturday and that he booked his return ticket at 6:00 a.m. yesterday, which flies in the face of what he said which is he was just dropping off his girls and returning home. the plan was to stay through the
weekend. after he returned home, senator cruz acknowledged he had planned to stay through the weekend but said he had second thoughts after he got on the plane. but the "new york times" reports text messages sent from mrs. cruz, senator cruz's wife, to friends and neighbors in houston on wednesday revealed a hastily planned trip. their house was freezing, as ms. cruz put it. she proposed a getaway until sunday. the room price this week, $309 and it's good security, she wrote. the paper reports that the text messages were provided and then confirmed by a second person on the thread who declined to be identified pause of the private nature of the text. mika. up next, a look at what senator cruz ran away from. the latest on the ongoing power outages and the growing water crisis. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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power has been restored to more texas homes and businesses, but the crisis still appears to be far from over. right now many texans don't have safe drinking water. at least 7 million people, a quarter of the population of texas are under a boil water order after the record low temperatures damaged infrastructure and pipes. as for electricity, more than 300,000 people are still without power. and utility officials have warned that rolling blackouts are still possible. the historic storm has made things particularly difficult at hospitals across the state where several facilities are going to great lengths to protect water
supplies. a nurse in austin told the local station kvue that the staff had to use trash bags to remove feces from toilets. a hospital in houston had to rely on buckets of rain water from the roof to flush toilets. in some instances, staff members have had to clean themselves with hand sanitizer instead of soap and water. insurance industry officials are warning this week's winter storm may be the costliest weather event in texas state history. even more than hurricane harvey in 2017, which amounted to about 19 million in insurance claims. oy. >> so john, let's take a step
back. obviously, things are still absolutely terrible in texas. we ask everybody to -- please keep praying for the people of texas. they definitely need it right now, especially the disadvantaged are still having trouble finding shelter. even having trouble getting food. and also contribute to whatever organizations you can contribute to. but, jon, i'm reminded of a conversation i had with a guy, one of my chiefs of staffs, a good friend of mine, david stafford. we were driving over to louisiana and mississippi during katrina, after it was obvious what an absolute catastrophe it was. we took supplies over. we were taking supplies over every day. we were shocked that even seven days inn in both mississippi and louisiana, there was no help. there was no help from the federal government. there was no help from the state government.
there was no help from the local government. it was chaos. and my friend, david stafford, turned to me and goes, you know, this is the era that we're in. he said, you know, we republicans, we just look and we check off boxes. are they pro life? are they pro-gun? are they pro this. pro that? democrats say are they pro choice? are they pro gun control? you go down and check off those boxes. and then you go in and vote. he said it used to be the first box that we checked off was, is this person going to be a good leader? is this person going to be a stronger leader. and instead at that time they were talking about a democratic governor from louisiana who just performed horribly. a democratic mayor, who performed just horribly.
and a republican president who performed just horribly in hurricane katrina. and everybody was so wrapped up when they went into the voting booth voting for somebody's ideology. they said do they check off all the boxes and we forgot to ask the most important question. what type of leaders are they? are they going to be able to help constituents when their constituents need them the most? that's what we see in ted cruz. i cannot imagine a member of the senate, even from my time in the '90s, doing this. this is inexplicable. but i suspect there's a lot of members in the united states senate so idealogically driven that their first job is constituent services, their
first job is taking care of their people instead of holding press conferences. >> yeah. you know, i think -- i keep thinking the image i have of senator cruise is not from the airport, but given the detail with which he was documented by his constituents, one suspects he has some problems at home before he even got on the plane. they're following him like candid camera with their phones. and this is a case where, as jeremy bentham once said, publicity is the soul of justice. in the absence of iphones and video, i think the senator would be at the breakfast bar right now down there. so that's one thing to remember. the image i keep going back to, though, is the smugness with which he stood up in the house of representatives on january 6th and said that he was the
senator signing the questioning of the certification. remember that? there was a little cheer from the republican side. and i think that we're in this hour where -- it's not both sides. this is not an equivalence thing. where a -- i hate to say his name, so i'll use it as a modifier. this trumpified republican party has put power and privilege so far ahead of fundamental democratic principles. and i don't want to over extrapolate from cancun, but it's in a pattern where the guy who did it is someone who tried to warn us about donald trump, whose family, his wife, as i recall, was belittled and
insulted by donald trump. who gave a speech, as i remember, in 2016 that had a couple of brave lines in it about be careful of this. but for the sake of power -- right -- he, like so many others, his colleague from south carolina, among others, totally embraces the former president for the sake of position and power. coming up, southern california has had a lot of issues with its vaccine distribution. long lines, major shortages, and entire sites forced to close. but there's one california city that is doing it right. and jake soboroff brings us that story. "morning joe" will be right back.
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the atlantic recently launched inheritance, a multi-year journalism and tech project that will endeavor to fill the blank pages of black history to piece together through reporting and data the crucial events that -- and conversations that have been intentionally left out of america's narrative. the first installment is the atlantic's march issue entitled "we mourn for all we do not know." contributors have written pieces on black life, american history and what the magazine calls the resilience of memory. joining us now is actress, play write and contributing writer to the atlantic, and her piece recounts her own coming to consciousness on a sheltered mostly white college campus in the 1960s. also with us is the senior editor at the atlantic and host of the podcast floodlines, van
newkirk ii. it's great to have you both with us. i want to ask you about the issue, first of all. we mourn for all we don't know. can you fill in the blanks or list for us the areas where we're completely i guess, you know, ignorant of what has truly happened in american history? >> i don't know that i have the time to list everything. >> i know. but at least with this issue we tried to grapple with the problem, the very problem of memory. history has always been written and emphasized by the victors in many cases and by people who were not necessarily sympathetic to civil rights veterans and
black folks. so the point of this chapter in the project is to examine the ways our memory of civil rights, black history in america has failed us. everything from our understanding of slavery, how the first enslaved people came here to how the gears of jim crow oppressed generations of black folks. those things have been forgotten. so we began with a collective. >> anna, your piece is about integrating a white all girls college in the 1960s. you write our demands were modest. we wanted courses in black history and a black faculty member or two. the meeting did not go well. the dean told us that if we exhibited undesirable behavior, the administration would not be happy to have us there. and if you continue to show
undesirable behavior, she said, we're certainly not going to pay to have you here. if a dean were to talk like that to a group of black students now, heck, if a school custodian were to talk like that to a group of black students now, they wouldn't even get to the paid to have you here part. they would be fired. they said undesirable behavior. someone would put it on social media, that would be that. back then, though, there wasn't much we could do. could you talk more about that experience? that's a searing example. but it's also a sign of some progress between where we are now and where we were back then. is that fair? >> yeah. i think maybe there are lessons in looking back at history. that was a struggle but we're now in another kind of wild wild west, that time was almost like a cultural earthquake. there were only seven of us who
came in the freshman class. negros called at the time. we became black when martin luther king was killed. in an all-white environment, these schools like my school, beaver college now in arcadia, were made to train fairly well-off or upper middle class white women to be good wives and pillars to their community. in that time period it wasn't just the small efforts of integration that was also the anti-vietnam movement, the beginning of the women's movement. all men's colleges were accepting women. so it was a time of cultural upheaval. yeah, deans could say things like that to us but we stayed the course and did manage to do something while we were there. >> van, your piece for the issue is entitled when america became a democracy in which you interweave your mother's personal story and the history of the voting rights act of 1964. you write in part my own first
time voting was back in 2008 when barack obama was elected president. that was the night the spirit of the vra came closest to being realized. perhaps black turnout was now eclipsing white turnout. i called you from college as you cried on your couch. in the fall of 2020, you tried to schedule your chemotherapy appointments so that you would be able to cast your ballot in person as you always had done. when i got a call as i watched the results roll in on election night, i thought it was going to be you telling me about how you voted and how closely you were watching on television. the call was a bit more urgent than that. you died early in the morning, before we knew who won. you lived 56 years. you winsed the entirety of what might be considered genuine democracy in america. i fear that era might not last much longer. my god, that's profound on many
levels. explain how your mother's story drives the story you want americans to know today. >> so my mother was born in 1964 in mississippi. she was born the year before the voting rights act was passed. the year before there were true federal protections for folks like her, black folks especially in the south, to be able to cast their ballots freely. for me, that life is one where she saw the sunrise and possibly i believe the sunset of true multi racial democracy in america. i don't think we can call anything before 1965 real democracy. what we saw with 2020 and what we're seeing now is a concerted effort to roll back many of the protections granted by the vra
and beyond that. lots of the spirit of democracy as people have interpreted it to be in the constitution. what i understand about democracy was gained by going out to vote to the polls with my mother as a child. and i was working on a piece on voting rights and the vra and its prospects when she passed away. when she passed, it -- i really began to think a little bit more about why this issue was important to me, about what i had learned from her and about the role model that she had provided for me and others in terms of participation, in terms of civic duty and in terms of vigilance. the piece i ended up writing from there was about her life, about how that vigilance is still needed and perhaps needed
more than ever in american history. anna, you said america can't really move forward without looking back. can you explain how you tried to do that in your body of work and why it's important to look back and in some ways correct the record or maybe complete the record? >> it's to complete the record. it's also to get lessons from the past. and i've been trying to learn as much about america as i can through my entire adult life, usually in moments of crisis. i'm very excited about being asked to be a contributing editor to this inheritance project, also called lost black history because i know there's going to be great stories. not just about struggle, but also joy. and so i think it's terrific that "the atlantic" with its own history, starting back with abolitionists. they published a letter from the birmingham jail. just looking at "the atlantic" they're treasures.
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jake soboroff spoke to people at dodgers stadium. >> the lack of supply because now there's a bigger pool of people eligible to be vaccinated? >> that contributed to it. >> was the pool of people eligible expanded too quickly here? >> that did happen. >> is there any chance that age-only allowed some of those folks to slip through the cracks and head to the back of the line? >> people who may be susceptible may have to wait. >> that interview is part of jacob's new series of special reports that premieres today on peacock. jake soboroff joins us now. tell us about the show and more about what you'll be covering in the first episode. >> good morning. it's a deep dive, i would say, into local news and local
issues. i think we spend a lot of time talking about what affects us all broadly, particularly from the political perspective, when you're on the ground, as i always like to look at in my reports that i share with you, things seem different. you get more nuance. so here in los angeles -- i've been in los angeles now for the entirety almost of the pandemic. haven't been on a plane since it began, in l.a. we locked down first, fastest and hardest when coronavirus first hit. 1 million people lost their jobs. here we are today with over 1 million people affected in the largest by population county in the country. almost 18,000 people have died here. and policy and underlying inequality is really, i think, what's largely to blame for the toll we've seen late here in the pandemic. that's not the case everywhere in l.a. county. it certainly is in the city of los angeles. if you look down south, when it comes to vaccination policy,
long beach is another second, the second biggest in l.a. county, they had far more success with their vaccination rollout. that's something we get into in the show. i want everybody to look at that. >> there's the mayor right there, robert garcia. just got here. hey, mayor. >> how are you? >> at a time when what seems like a chaotic and disorganized vaccine rollout in california has been producing aggravation, robert garcia is becoming known as the mayor who is doing something right. >> is this one of the main vaccination sites in the city? >> we have three or four that move around. >> why did you come up with a different strategy? >> we felt we needed to vaccinate all groups as soon as possible. once we completed the health care sector, which was always the first priority, we finished all the nursing homes. 100% of our nursing homes are
done. we immediately went and did firefighters, paramedics, police officers, all the emergency response folks and grocery workers and teachers. most of these folks are getting their second shot. >> this is your mayor. >> good to see you. second shot? >> yeah. >> everything going good? >> yeah, really good. >> that's awesome. >> these are seniors but if you were to go to the convention center you would see teachers getting their second shots, grocery workers getting their first shots. it's more mixed ten years in th classroom as a teacher. my husband is a teacher. for parents to get back to normalcy we have to focus on schools. >> the health department has done a fantastic job. >> thank you, sir. >> you guys want a picture with him? i'll take it. get in there. mayor garcia is already a celebrity in long beach but an extra celebrity because of his response. how has his response been to the virus? >> fantastic.
amazing. >> this is yours. don't let me steal your phone. >> the thing is everyone is worthy of a vaccine. i don't care what color you are, what job you do. everyone is worthy of the vaccine. we understand that it's frustrating. there is no one that's not deserving. >> doesn't sound like there's many frustrated people here. >> i think we've been doing a pretty -- i feel we have been like a statewide model. >> is scalability an issue? can you do this in a city that's bigger? >> absolutely. i always tell people, long beach is the same size as atlanta, georgia. >> that's one of the biggest cities in the country. >> yeah. certainly if we can do it here, you can do it anywhere. >> grateful you've done such a good job. >> thank you. >> have you ever done anything as a politician that has given you such good feedback? >> i don't know. i'll tell you i have never gotten more happiness out of anything. it's weird because this covid pandemic has been so awful and
tragic for my family and has been probably the hardest year of my life. this has also brought me immense joy to see people get vaccinated. >> you know, i know you guys had robert garcia on board. i was grateful to spend the time with him at street level where we talk to people on their home turf, in their neighborhoods to see how things are affecting their community. like he said, the policy at street level in long beach is making a difference. people are vaccinating. they may see schools open there in the next couple days or weeks. >> great to see such a granular look at what's happening. we like the slow motion walking shot in your animation. >> yes. >> a lot of dramatic shots in there. let's talk about southern california and the state of california at large. you touched on it a minute ago when you said california locked down fast, l.a. locked down fast and hard and got credit from governor newsom on how things were going.
then cases spiked again. so what happened and where is it headed from here? >> well, i think we have prolific inequality in california. that's what you see. you see it disproportionately in the people affected and dying from the virus. this is what it looks like. you'll see in the show what it looks like where u.s. senator alex padilla is from, born and raised, and became the epicenter in the largely latino community when gm left and that story repeats not just there but in the state at large. so whether it's governor newsom who is in a lot of political trouble out here, or mayor garcetti, they're looking to solve these issues not just put shots in arms. that's that extra layer we'll get into. >> jake soboroff, thank you very much. you can catch "street level usa with jake soboroff" streaming tonight at 10:00 p.m. even on
peacock's exclusive news channel, the choice, and on demand. coming up, uber loses a big court battle over worker rights in the uk. what it could mean for the company here in the u.s. plus our next guest says the debate in congress over pandemic relief is overlooking something crucial. former budget director in the obama administration, peter orszag joins us to explain what's being missed. "morning joe" will be right back.
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♪♪ ♪♪ welcome back to "morning joe," coming up on 8:52. time for "business for the bell" can dom chu on cnbc. >> yesterday's gamestop testimony saw online brokerage robinhood ceo vlad tenev -- his decision was primarily a regulatory one in order to meet requirements on proper set almost of trades. meanwhile, hedge fund citadel ceo and founder ken griffin defended his firm's practice of paying brokers like robinhood to trade against their customer orders, a practice known as payment for order flow, helping
brokerages offer free trading for their clients. and reddit trader keith gill, known as roaring kitty, defended his decision to buy gamestop stock, driven by fundamental investing reasons and that the ensuing trading frenzy was not his intention. and we're watching shares of uber. the company lost a big court case in the united kingdom. the uk supreme court upheld a ruling that uber's drivers should be classified as workers and not independent contractors. this is all back in 2016 when an employment tribunal ruled in favor of drivers that claimed they were employed by uber and entitled to benefits like minimum wages, paid holidays and rest breaks. uber says it respects the court's decision and its ruling applies to the 25 drivers that brought the case but it will seek a dialogue with drivers in the country to better understand the kinds of changes they want to see. and america's going to need to go big when it comes to a covid relief package out of congress. newly minted treasury secretary janet yellen said it's very important to have a very big
package that addresses the pain caused by the pandemic, including the 15 million americans behind on their rent and the 24 million adults and 12 million children, mika, that don't have enough to eat. yellen did make those comments in a cnbc interview yesterday, echoing previous sentiments from herself and other policymakers that the risk of doing too little, guys, in terms of economic relief is far greater than the price tag of a large relief package. back to you guys. >> dom, thank you. stick around for this next conversation as we bring in former director of the office of management and budget in the obama administration. peter orzag, also served as director of the congressional budget office and is now the vice chairman and managing director at lazard. peter, i want to read if your recent column for bloomberg opinion entitled "job shifts ahead argue for large stimulus." you write the debate in congress
over pandemic relief is overlooking something crucial, the shifting of jobs from one sector to another that is to be expected after the health crisis ends. this coming rales in the economy adds to the arguments in favor of spending $1.9 trillion on pandemic relief, but neither side in this debate has maid much attention to the ways in which the pandemic stands to cause significant and lasting shifts in the economy. that should influence how we evaluate the government relief legislation. basically when economic turmoil is rising under the surface, as some companies contract sharply and others expand quickly, a larger relief package is helpful as long as its provisions don't freeze frame the past." . and why don't we start our conversation there? there are some significant changes that i don't hear being talked about, which you point to in this column. tell us about what different things are happening in the economy, in the months and years
to come, that may not change back. >> well, look, i think it's likely that we're going to wind up with a different structure for the economy, probably less business travel, maybe less movie theaters, more take home food, even after the pandemic is past. all of that involves a lot of change across the economy. and one of the things that we can accomplish with this relief package is both to try to insulate the economy from the turmoil that happens as you shift across sectors like that, and also potentially accelerate that because more money in households hands means they can start spending the additional dollars as the pandemic eases, more quickly, and accelerate that process of moving to the new growing sectors and growing firms, and help ease the transition. >> peter, it's willie, good to see you this morning. let's be specific about the sectors we're talking about here, where in your view will
those jobs disappear permanently and where are the areas for opportunity where those people may be able to find jobs? >> one of the reasons we don't want to freeze frame the past is no one can give you a great answer to that, it's an important question but it's fundamentally unanswerable but it depends on how consumers respond post-pandemic. putting more money in the hands of consumers and letting them reveal how they're going to behave as the pandemic eases makes more sense than trying to predict, you know from a top down policy approach, this is absolutely going to work. take the cruise ship industry, for example. will people go back on cruise ships? bookings are up, but i think there's an open question about the future of that industry writ large. i don't think it makes sense for us to be defining now yes or no on that question. let's -- one of the benefits, again, of putting more money in consumers' hands is the future reveals itself more quickly than
would otherwise be the case. >> peter, dom chu with cnbc is here with a question for you. >> peter, good to see you, one of the biggest concerns a lot of people have i talk to is this idea there's a "k" shape recovery going on in america and one of the other things is gender pay equality. in times of stress like this when couples and families figure out which parents need to stay at home to take care of kids it's often the women because they just seemingly make less money. how can the pandemic relief go to aid some of those types of issues there to bring some of those gender pay equality issues back into focus? >> well, there's a broader point here, which is one of the benefits of running a tighter labor market, and that's another benefit of going big on this kind of relief package, is that it helps narrow those gaps. a more hot running labor market with a lower unemployment rate historically that has rep helped to reduce inequality, to reduce the gender imbalance in wages,
et cetera. there's another argument for going larger here. do not forget that we have 4 million people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. that's a long time to be unemployed. that number has not come down, by the way, people talk about the unemployment rate coming down, the long-term unemployed rate has not declined and that's another argument for this more aggressive approach that secretary yellen and others have embraced and then i fully support. >> all right, peter orszag and dom chu thank you both on this friday. have a great weekend, thank you for being on. and that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle live from msnbc headquarters here in new york city. it is friday, february 19th, let's get smarter. much of the lower 48 states is waking up this morning still dealing with this nasty winter freeze. but just as it hit all of us this week, texas still seems to
be getting it the worst. this morning it is just as cold in houston as it is here in manhattan. the good news is that the texas power outages that were in the millions are now just down to a few hundred thousand. the bad news, no power has been replaced with a different kind of nightmare, no water. millions of people have had their water supply disrupted thanks to burst pipes and frozen wells. the director of austin's water supply said yesterday tens of thousands of people had no water at all, and that is happening all across the state. and if that wasn't bad enough gas stations now running out of gas, grocery stores are out of food and people are afraid to go out and get help because of the pandemic. on thursday, president biden declared a state of emergency in texas and oklahoma. he decided to send generators and other supplies. that's going to take time. and time is not on their side. i want to bring in antonio hylton in jersey village, a small city attached to nthn