tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC July 13, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
committing an insurrection. but they're saying she's supposed to be a martyr. >> i think they are trying to make a martyr of a cause that didn't exist. let us remember. they were in the middle of an insurrection. whether the lady should have been killed or not is a total different subject. they were in the middle of an insurrection. >> that's right. >> and the officers had a duty to protect the people -- >> and they want to out this officer's identity, which would put that officer in jeopardy. reverend al sharpton, michael daly, thank you. that is tonight's "reid out." "all in" with chris hayes starts now. tonight on "all in" -- >> the big lie is just that, a big lie. >> the president outlines the greatest threat to democracy since the civil war. >> stand up for god's sake and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our
elections. the right to vote. have you no shame? >> tonight the biden speech, the rigged system, and the outcry for reform to fix it. then texas democrats fleeing their state to protect voting rights meet with the vice president as the texas governor threatens arrests. >> as soon as they come back in the state of texas they will be arrested. they will be cabined inside the texas capitol until they get their job done. and tennessee's top vaccine official is fired one day before the state removes all vaccine outreach to minors for all diseases including covid-19. that fired official, dr. michelle fiscus, joins me live. when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. today more than six months after the insurrection with no real precedent in american history, a transfer of power marked by violence, not by peace, the president of the united states, the man who the mob tried to
stop from occupying the office, came forward to say the country is facing a major crisis. >> so hear me clearly. there's an unfolding assault taking place in america today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections. an assault on democracy. an assault on liberty. an assault on who we are. who we are as americans. we're facing the most significant test of our democracy since the civil war. that's not hyperbole. since the civil war. >> it's an incredibly powerful thing to say. i mean, he says it's not hyperbole, a kind of bidenism. but i agree with him it's not hyperbole. republicans are passing laws making it harder to vote in states across the country. of course they're using the predicate of the big lie to do so. conservatives on the supreme court have gutted sections 2, 4,
and 5 of the voting rights act. i mean, the country has basically only been an actual multiracial democracy in a recognizable sense since 1965, when the voting rights act was passed. it's a very short history we've been working on. and the president made the case today there's an urgent problem. and again, he's right. unfortunately, the solution to that problem, the path forward all comes down to this question, about whether democrats will restore majority rule in the united states senate. do they use the power entrusted to the democratic party by the majority of americans in the house and in the senate and by 8 million-plus more voters, 81 million in total, to protect the basic fundamentals of american democracy by finding the votes, the unanimous 50 votes, to weaken or eliminate the filibuster and pass the agenda or do they let principles erode because of some frankly ridiculous quasi-accidental reactionary procedural norm that creates a status quo that's
completely indefensible? that's the question. that's the choice. and despite his very strong rhetoric, president biden did not mention the filibuster in his speech today. he was pressed by reporters after the event. >> mr. president, why didn't you talk about the filibuster? are you going to meet with the texas democrats? >> what? >> are you going to meet with the texas democrats? >> it's a big deal when house majority whip jim clyburn who helped pave the way for the biden presidency perhaps as much as any single individual called for a voting rights carve-out on the filibuster saying if you can make exceptions for nominees and reconciliation you can make exceptions for legislation to protect fundamental constitutional rights. he's also suggesting the president is working senators behind closed doors telling the "l.a. times" today, "i just don't think you negotiate these kinds of issues from the microphone.
you do it much better from the telephone." and that may be true. i will tell you, i have no dog in the fight of how biden and senate democrats come to consensus on getting rid of the filibuster and passing an agenda to protect voting rights. whether that's done in public or in private or how best to move reluctant democrats, democrats on the record opposing getting rid of the filibuster including senators manchin and sinema. everyone's sort of throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. i don't know the answer to those questions. i'm not sure anyone does. if president biden is right about the threats america is facing and if democrats are not going to address the filibuster, then the threats will only get worse. at least 51 democratic members of the texas state legislature have fled the state. they are now in washington, d.c. they met today with vice president kamala harris in the afternoon. and they're in d.c. instead of texas because republicans want to pass a bill that will make it
even harder to vote in d.c. there is no filibuster in the texas legislature, which is the case in most states. it's just majority rule there, right? and they're in the minority. they don't have the luxury of that supermajority threshold. so they're taking desperate, extraordinary measures that in some ways the filibuster, once actually represented in the senate, to flee the state and break quorum. you need quorum to conduct legislature business because they think the threat to their state and democracy is so extreme. they've flown down to d.c. where one of the two houses of congress does not function by majority rule to go plead with congressional democrats who do have control, majority control of the senate, to use that control. think of it from their perspective as texas state representative jasmine crockett said last night on our show. use the power you have to pass voting legislation to preserve and protect the right to vote across the country, please. and this points to something i think is easy to overlook but i think is really important to focus on, which is the fundamental asymmetry and
unsustainability of the current status quo. because state legislatures are by and large run by majority rule. and in states they control republicans can pass legislation to restrict the vote. even in states like georgia where joe biden just won an election, where they elected two senate democrats. there's no filibuster in the state senate. it's majority rule. but then if you want to protect voting rights at the national level, well, then it takes 50 votes -- 60 votes and those votes are just not there because republicans won't play ball. not only that, think about this craziness. the filibuster as we say often on the show, it's not some sacrosanct non-negotiable principle. it's changed over time. indeed, i covered it changing back in 2013. democrats got rid of it for most presidential nominations because republicans were using the filibuster to make it impossible to fill courts and executive office appointments. that was a big deal. republicans at the time said you'll regret it. and in some ways probably true. donald trump got to confirm a
lot of judges. historic judge confirmation rate. but that's just what democracy looks like. that's the way the cookie crumbles. one thing democrats did leave in place back in 2013, right? they said we're getting rid of the filibuster for all these nominations but we want to retain the filibuster for supreme court justices. it made a certain amount of sense at again, what gets carved out, what doesn't? so democrats, rightly furious at republicans stonewalling merrick garland's supreme court nomination, remember, as soon as trump and mcconnell took over the first thing they did was filibuster trump nominee neil gorsuch. and what did mitch mcconnell do? well, he just got rid of the filibuster of supreme court nominees. done. that's it. we have control. we're not negotiating on this. we're going to use our power. and so what were they able to do? install three supreme court nominees for lifetime tenure with 54, 50 and 52 votes respectively. none of those are 60. so if you're keeping score at home here's where things stand. republican state legislators can
make laws to restrict the right to vote with just a majority vote. supreme court's already gutted the part of the voting rights act that would have stopped them from doing that through preclearance. democrats need 60 votes to try to protect the voting rights people fought for decades to achieve. but then republicans also just needed 50 votes to appoint supreme court justices who have been and lp continue to tear down the voting rights laws one after another. this doesn't make any sense. i mean, put simply, the system right now is rigged against democracy and it won't get better. unless joe biden and all the democrats in the united states senate come together to use their power to fix it. democratic congressman mondaire jones of new york says president biden should do more to push the issue of voting rights saying before today's speech, "if he is serious about saving our ailing democracy he will voice his support for at the very least reforming the filibuster to pass the for the people act on a simple majority vote in the senate and even less at this point as an insult to the voters, organizers and activists who understand the dire stakes
of this moment and are counting on him to act." congressman mondaire jones joins me now. good to have you on, congressman. what was your reaction to the speech today and what's been happening in washington at both the white house and the capitol? >> it's a weighty question, and it's great to be on, chris. let me start by giving credit where credit is due. this is a president who has saved american democracy once before by defeating the twice-impeached, disgraced former president of the united states, donald j. trump. but now we find ourselves at the precipice again. and the only way to get through this, the only way to walk back, is to pass the for the people act and of course the john lewis voting rights act. we cannot do that without filibuster reform. and so to your point earlier he was accurate today, the president, in describing the crisis, in diagnosing the crisis and the problem. but his prescription really fell short. there is no way out of this in
terms of salvaging our ailing democracy without at a minimum making an exception to the filibuster for purposes of securing the fundamental right to vote in this country. >> i mean, there are certain things that joe biden has fairly unilateral power on, certain things he just does not. right? huge parts of the immigration infrastructure of the country enforcement, there's a tremendous amount of executive latitude. things like clemency. there are certain things the president really can do. but this is the senate's own rules. i guess the question is let's say joe biden comes out today and says reform the filibuster and joe manchin and chrysten sinema say no thank you. >> well, you have to try. and that's the thing. you don't get to just do a speech and be taken seriously on a subject without also lying out a path forward. and the path forward cannot, i will note, be just expecting black and brown and aapi voters
to turn out at higher rates than they have already been doing. i mean, i think people are first of all tired of having to save democracy all the time. well, now to your point earlier, democrats have unified control of the federal government. and can deliver on the promise of a multiracial democracy by simply passing voting rights legislation on a majority vote. right? so we have to try. this president can have an lbj moment where he makes multiracial democracy the singular project at this stage of his presidency. and he can prevail. i've got to believe, especially given some of the ahistorical illogical arguments set forth by senators manchin and sinema with respect to the origins of the filibuster and what happens when you get rid of the filibuster, that there is something that they want. there's something that he can do in exchange for their support, for salvaging our ailing democracy. but he has to try. and to be taken seriously by them and by the american people
i think he has to describe a solution that is credible. and that requires knowing that we can't get ten republican senators to even support a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly events of january 6th, dispensing with the filibuster and protecting the right to vote because the consequences otherwise are dire for our democracy. this is the party of insurrection. these folks, 2/3 of my house republican colleagues, voted not to certify the free and fair presidential election. just after nearly dying alongside me hours earlier. these are people who are not interested in the project of governing or delivering real relief for the american people. these are folks who will first redistrict democrats out of power for the next decade if we don't pass the for the people act. and then they can't be trusted to vote to certify the next presidential election if a democratic president is fortunate enough to be elected president in november of 2024 in
a voter suppression environment. those are the stakes. >> congressman mondaire jones laying out quite clearly there. nice to have you on the program, sir. come on back. >> thank you. >> adam gent'llson, you may remember, he was a deputy chief of staff for senate democratic chairman harry reid when reid first weakened the filibuster in 2013. he's the author of the kill switch, the rise of the modern senate, the crippling of american democracy. and he joins me now. i thought you'd be a good person to talk to since you were sort of in the room the last time democrats did this, right? it's been -- it was changed in 2013. mcconnell killed off the supreme court justice carve-out in 2017 to get gorsuch confirmed. what kind of work had to be done just from a tactical question here? joe biden can't wave a magic wand. like how did it have to get there in 2013? what lessons are there for this moment? >> yeah, that's right.
i think that's the key point. people who sort of point to the difficulty of this effort say what can biden do, he can't just wave a magic wand, as you said. and that's true. but that's not what it requires. there's no one weird trick here. there's no magic bullet. what it requires is relentless engagement from the white house and the president on a near daily basis and constant pressure. it took basically the full year of 2013 to sort of set up a series of votes and to demonstrate to the senate caucus, senate democrats, that this reform was necessary. that's what was required. and we didn't reform the filibuster until november of 2014. i think people have had an education about republican obstruction since then. i don't think we necessarily have to wait until november to do this. but what is required is the muscle memory of seeing republican obstruction for themselves, seeing that there is no way for a bipartisan compromise on the issue at hand,
combined with a president who is engaged on a daily basis talking to senators, taking the case to the public but also making phone calls, inviting senators to the white house, consistently applying all of the tools and pressure that are available to the president from the white house to the entire senate caucus. >> and this was -- was that the case the last time around? was this a joint obama white house harry reid effort on this score? >> yeah. i mean, it was obama's nominees who were being blocked. and so you know, this was something that was being done on his behalf. and there was definitely engagement from the white house. that was just for nominations. so you know, it's an incredible change to the filibuster, one of the biggest changes to the filibuster in many decades. doing it for legislation is even higher stakes. so the level of engagement is going to have to be higher here. but yes, it takes -- it's a partnership. it takes the white house working in concert with congressional leaders, and that's what is
required. >> and we should also note with slimmer margins. harry reid was very, very, very deft vote counter and vote whipper. he lost three democrats, if i'm not mistaken, on that vote to reform the filibuster. i think it was mark prior of arkansas, joe manchin of west virginia, and carl levin of michigan. one of those guys is still there. you know, eight years later. and remains unconvinced. >> that's right. i mean, look, you get the votes you need to get the thing passed. and you know, you lose the people that you can lose. you let people take votes that they need to take. but i think a lot has happened since 2013. we've had eight years of relentless republican obstruction. in 2013 people still thought that the fever was going to break, that the tea party might be a passing fancy. since then we have seen republicans go far off to the right, to start to head in an authoritarian direction. and you know, if democrats can
sort of take the education of those years and apply them to -- apply those facts to the situation at hand, i think that's a problem. but i have faith that they can do that. i think that we have learned a lot. i think that democrats can be realistic about the prospects for voting rights and how dire those prospects are if we don't reform the filibuster. >> so you just think -- i mean, what i'm hearing from you is like you just work this and you pressure and you push and you push and you push and that push does have to be coming from the white house. clearly in a focused and us sustained fashion day offer day. otherwise, it's not going to happen. >> yeah, look, in 1964 lbj, it wasn't one phone call or one act of persuasion that won the day on the civil rights act. there was a three-month-long filibuster that focused public attention on the opponents who were blocking the bill and constant pressure from the white house. when senator reid passed the affordable care act, he brought the bill to the floor in november and they didn't pass it until christmas time. it was on the floor for months. it had the public option. when it came to the floor there were massive deals that were cut
while the bill was on the floor. but the act of getting it to the floor required public pressure and forced senators to get serious on forging xlomzs and making decisions. he also backed the senate up against a christmas blizzard to bring pressure. these are the kind of tactics you need to apply and it has to come from the white house working with congressional leaders. >> all right. adam jentleson, your perspective on this is always super vanl. thank you so much for joining us tonight. >> thank you, chris. >> as i mentioned earlier, more than 50 texas house democrats who fled the state to block the voter restriction bill, currently in washington, d.c. now texas governor greg abbott is threatening to arrest them when they return p p we'll have the latest after this. p we'll the latest after this. and losing some weight... now, back to the game! ozempic® is proven to lower a1c. most people who took ozempic® reached an a1c
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♪ dream until your dreams come true ♪ we are sad for democracy in the state of texas. and we took a solemn oath to protect the constitution of the united states. >> when i look at the african-american museum, i thought about the struggle of my people that fought in this country to get the right to vote. i'm not going to be a hostage! that my rights will be stripped from them. we have fought too long and too hard in this country. >> one day after fleeing the texas state house to stop debate on a republican voter restriction bill, texas democrats met with vice president kamala harris and senate majority leader chuck schumer, and they pleaded with them to pass legislation that will protect voter rights across the country. meanwhile, back in texas the
state senate republicans who do have a quorum and are in session passed their own voter restriction bill tonight along party lines, 18-4, though i should note a whole bunch of the democrats in the state senate also fled. state house republicans, meanwhile, voted to send the sergeant at arms to detain the democrats that left even though they have no authority to make arrests outside texas. and texas governor greg abbott promised to pass republican voter restriction bills even if he has to imprison democrats to do so. >> i can and i will continue to call special session after special session after special session, all the way up until election next year. as soon as they come back in the state of texas, they will be arrested. they will be cabined inside the texas capitol until they get their job done. >> joining me now live from texas, adam serwer, staff writer for "the atlantic," author of "the cruelty is the point," which is now in bookstores and you should absolutely pick up.
adam, abbott seems -- i mean, the uniform intensity and focus on this agenda, not just in the state of texas but other states. we're seeing it obviously in texas. is always so striking to me. they're more focused on this it seems than almost anything else. and you can see that abbott views this as like a challenge that he seems happy to take. >> i think there are a couple of things going on here. one is that you know, texas republicans did very well in the last election. they have no reason to be concerned about their ability to hold on to the state. nevertheless, they're proceeding with this election bill because ideologically they are invested in disenfranchising the other party's constituency as a matter of principle, not simply as a matter of survival. second, this is a pretty conservative state. so abbott is not concerned -- when he's talking about bringing the texas democrats back at gunpoint, he's not concerned about facing a liberal backlash
in texas. he's concerned about primary challenges to his right. so there's almost nothing he can do in terms of being too conservative from his perspective that would put him at risk. his risk is that somehow he gets tagged as a rino and some insurgent candidate from the right takes him out in a primary. >> you're also seeing -- i want to play what schumer said today because in some ways i'm reminded of the texas democrats doing this back in the bush years when karl rove engineered this completely absurd mid-decade redistricting gambit. and you know, it had never been done before but he was like yoink, we can grab a few more congressional seats, we can do it mid decade. texas democrats fled. eventually, they had to come home. and you know, it got redistricted. here's schumer basically saying these people are doing all they possibly can. take a listen. >> democrats are doing all they can to block the dangerous partisan bill. they are brave. they are bold. they are courageous.
and history will show them on the side of right. and the republican governor, i saw him on tv this morning, on the side of deep dark ugly wrong. >> i mean, i think that democrats know that they don't have the power here and that you have to just fight with any tool at your disposal. is that your read? >> yeah. look, i'm afraid that what schumer said is incorrect. history is written by powerful. to the extent that republicans succeed in this effort to disenfranchise the vulnerable constituencies that support the democratic party, they're going to be writing that history and they're going to be writing it with themselves as heroes, saving democracy from the corruption of these non-american voters who have no right to participate in american democracy. so schumer's incorrect about that. where he is correct is that the federal government has to act here. texas democrats can't hold this off forever. it's just not a sustainable thing to have to stay out of the state indefinitely to block this bill. you know, to the extent that
democrats want to defend the rights of their constituents, they're going to have to do so at the federal level. and as long as senate democrats like kristen sinema and joe manchin are willing to give the republican party a veto on their own constituents' rights, that's impossible. >> you know, one of the elements here that i just keep coming back to in the proposed legislation, would ban drive-thru early voting and overnight early voting. and these release two innovations put into place in harris county by lena hidalgo, the county supervisor there. and it made life easier for working people. easier to vote. there was zero evidence it had any negative effect whatsoever. and again, as we said, texas republicans did well that night, even with all those people voting. it is a kind of principle objection, i think. >> it is a principled objection to keeping, you know, more voters of color and poor working-class voters out of the electorate. that's what they want. unfortunately, it's going to disenfranchise some of their
constituents as well. but for them it's a matter of principle. they want to keep these people from participating fully in texas democracy and american democracy, and that's why they're going all the way forward with this. there's another factor here of course, which is that abbott has stayed in trump's good graces and the more he pushes this election bill the more he stays in trump's good graces, which of course is relevant to a potential primary challenge. >> adam serwer, that was really great. thanks so much for your time tonight. don't go anywhere. we've got senator chris murphy on the president's big speech. what's next for the filibuster as his colleagues race to pass the filibuster bill. we'll talk about that and much more after this. about that andh more after this.
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filibuster. it's just getting all 50 members on board. unanimity in the caucus is difficult. we've seen this back and forth sausage making on the infrastructure bill. but today a piece by one of my nbc colleagues caught my eyes. "democrats plow ahead with party-line spending bill for biden's economic priorities." and this quote from brian squhots of hawaii, "i have not been this optimistic in many, many months" about getting that agenda passed. a member of his party's leadership team told nbc news "we're going to do this." brian schots and chris murphy, a senator from connecticut, are famously very public twitter friends and senator chris murphy's a democrat from connecticut and he joins me now. i wanted to get a temperature check with him-s if you are feeling the same way about the direction vote, the sort of reconciliation spending part of the package and the bipartisan part of this package. >> i would never, ever contradict brian schatz. and he is indeed right. this is an optimistic moment. right now we are being bold.
right? we recognize the stakes. i would argue that the future of the country in many ways rides on what we do in the next several months because people are hurting out there. there's been this massive sort of economic and political power shift in the last 20 years from the middle class to these sort of cabal of billionaire elites. we have to have an answer. donald trump had an answer. the mexicans are to blame, the blacks are to blame, immigrants are to blame. he enacted that agenda. he started building the wall. he banned muslims from the country. nothing got better. that's why he's not the president. so we now have an opportunity to provide the right answer, which is to shift power and money from those elites to raise taxes on the billionaires and use that money to fund universal child care and paid family leave and tax cuts for poor families. and guess what? if we do that it'll work. and it all has to happen in the next couple months because as we know, presidents get these short honeymoons. by the time the end of this
year, the beginning of next year rolls around the window may be gone. so we're doing it in a slightly complicated manner, we're passing a bipartisan package and then using the reconciliation process to pass another bigger bill with 50 votes. but i think today there's a good chance that we're going to get it done and hopefully, you know, right decades of economic wrongs in this country in one fell swoop. >> the president's speech today on voting rights comes at another sort of fraught moment for this. we're watching what's playing out in texas. i know that you've been watching this across the country. i wonder like some of the rhetoric you hear from democrats, even from the president, is pretty existential. the gravest threat to democracy since the civil war. which i happen to agree with. but is that -- do people privately feel that way or they just say that? like is that actually a felt belief of you, for instance, and your colleagues? >> so i do feel that. and i listened to your interview
with adam, who's so smart in the prior segment. i have a little different take on it. it is strange that republicans have been consistently attacking mail-in voting because it used to be that mail-in voting advantaged republicans. and so it's not clear, you know, in the end what the practical impact of all these changes are going to be. it's probably going to be that less poor people and people of color vote. i think really what they are trying to do is just perpetuate this idea that there is fraud endemic in voting so that when democrats win an election in texas for senate or governor or the next presidential election republicans can invalidate that election. and that in the end is the agenda that i worry about, is in 2022 or '24 a big election being won by democrats and republicans in a place like georgia or texas invalidating that election. if that happens, there's going to be a conversation in this country as to whether we can still be all in this together if voters really don't -- their opinions don't matter in certain
parts of the country and their choices can be invalidated. that is an existential threat to the united states of america. i think that's in part why i worry about what's happening in texas and other places. >> and do you think that -- i mean, the voting rights act is one of the most -- he we say it all the time on this program. we've shown the statistics of registered black voters in mississippi from one year to the next after the voting rights act passed. one of the most successful pieces of legislation in american history and a signature turning point in making the country like truly a democracy, genuinely i would argue for the first time in a certain sense. that that -- if the stakes are that high, can the caucus get to unanimity on it? >> yeah, good question, chris. right now we have not been able to convince -- right now we haven't been able to convince all of our democratic colleagues that the stakes are that high, thus we shouldn't give republicans in the senate a
minority -- a minority veto. my hope is that we will be able to deliver a change in rules. we're talking about making it potentially limited to changes in voting laws. that may be a way to get our caucus together. but if we don't i really fear that we're going to be sitting here two years from now, four years from now, with a senate democrat having won an election in a red state and republicans in that state refusing to seat them, and at that point my colleagues in the senate will wish that they had used this opportunity to take preventative steps to stop something like that from happening. >> final question on i would say an issue near and dear to your heart and an issue near and dear to the heart of the president and also i'm kind of a train guy myself i will say. you said this recently. "fyi, an infrastructure bill that doesn't fix the broken northeast rail corridor isn't worth doing. it shouldn't take 7 hours to get from boston to d.c. this is our one chance to speed
up service along a corridor that represents 18% of u.s. gdp." are you optimistic about that aspect of it? >> yeah, this is still to be decided. i do not think it's worthwhile to spend $4 trillion on infrastructure in this country if we have a rail line in the most highly populated part of the country that is fundamentally broken. we are not going to be able to attract companies companies and jobs to the united states if it takes seven hours to get from boston to d.c. there is not enough money in the bipartisan agreement in order to create high-speed rail in america, and shame on us if we don't use this opportunity to do that. china will continue to eat our lunch if they have high-speed rail and we don't. so one of the projects that is left undone right now is to make sure that between the bipartisan package and the reconciliation bill we have enough money there to build high-speed rail. by the way, it's so important for climate as well. the only way that we fulfill our climate obligations is to get people out of their cars, to
convince people to get out of planes and onto rail lines, the most green of all mass transit options. >> every time -- the more that i study the strategy here, the recon siltation, the bipartisan, i keep thinking i'm watching like a sidewalk three-card monte person. do i know where the ball is or am i being tricked? i keep losing sight of that. i guess we'll find out in the end. senator chris murphy, thanks for making time tonight. >> thanks. >> ahead, my interview with the top vaccine official in tennessee, who says she was fired for the crime of promoting vaccines. what the state did next is maybe more shocking, and that story is coming up.
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on freshly baked bread. panera. order on the app today. when i get a migraine, i shut out the world. but with nurtec odt that's all behind me now. nurtec is the first and only option proven to treat and prevent migraines with one medication. onederful. one quick dissolve tablet can start fast and last. don't take if allergic to nurtec. the most common side effects were nausea, stomach pain, and indigestion. with nurtec, i take on migraines my way. what's your way? ask your doctor about nurtec today. today more than a million people rushed to make vaccine appointments in france. why? well, the surge in vaccination appointments came less than a day after french president
emmanuel macron mandated special covid passes showing vaccination or a negative test for anyone who wants to go to restaurants or hospitals or shopping malls or get on trains or planes next month. macron also announced vaccines would be mandatory for all health care workers. this state intervention comes at a time when france is seeing a drop in vaccination rates. if there's one thing we know about the covid vaccines at this point, not from clinical trials, from real world data, is that they're doing exactly what they're supposed to do, which is preventing the kind of hospitalizations and deaths that we saw across the world before we had them. when vaccines were first approved, israel, uk and the u.s. were doing a better job than anyone at getting shots into arms. at one point during the first 100 days of the biden administration the u.s. was doing a better job than anyone on earth. but over the course of a few months our vaccine pace has hit a wall. and that's not for lack of trying. it's with the white house trying to figure out what to do. officials working on the covid
response acknowledge that none of their outreach efforts are likely to supercharge vaccination rates. so now the u.s. vaccination effort has actually been surpassed by countries we were lapping before like italy and germany, for instance. part of the reason for that i think comes from, well, the kind of american exceptionalism, the fact that other countries do not have one half of their political movements, their parties, essentially whipping up fear against the vaccines. instead of taking more active steps to get people vaccinated, particularly as the delta variant continues to cause cases to spike among people who have yet to get the shot, the republican party is increasingly taking steps to discourage vaccination. in the state of tennessee only 38% of the population has been vaccinated. that's low. according to the "new york times," the average daily case rate has increased by a whopping 404% over just the past two weeks. again, not great. well, today we learned the tennessee department of health, which is a state agency, will
halt all adolescent vaccine outreach not just for the coronavirus but all diseases, amid pressure from republican state lawmakers according to an internal report and agency e-mails that were obtained by the "tennessean" newspaper. "the health department will also stop all covid-19 vaccine events on school property. it will no longer send postcards or other notices reminding teenagers to get their second dose of the coronavirus vaccines." the state has also fired its top vaccine official, dr. michelle fiscus, for her work trying to get teens vaccinated. in a statement dr. fiscus wrote, "it was my job to provide evidence-based education and vaccine access so that tennesseans could protect themselves against covid-19. i have now been terminated for doing exactly that." who is making these decisions in tennessee to prevent its citizens from receiving a life-saving vaccine, who fired dr. michelle fiscus? i'm going to ask her that question when she joins me here, right after this break. t after k
virtually all new covid deaths and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people. doctors say there is more and more young people hospitalized with the virus and covid vaccines have been improved for emergency use in the -- anyone over the age of 12, but only 25% of 12 to 15-year-olds are fully vaccinated now. less than 14% of 16 and 17-year-olds. that's one of the reasons that dr. michelle fiscus, tennessee's top immunization official, wrote that they may be able to get vaccinated without their parents' position. state republicans accused her of applying peer pressure. now she says she was fired doing her job. the health department that fired her is putting an end to all vaccine outreach for teens for all diseases, not just covid. joining me is dr. michelle fiscus who served as tennessee's
medical director for vaccine distribution and immunization programs. i thought we would start with telling us what was your job? what was your role in the public health ag there particularly with respect to covid in the state of tennessee? >> well, as medical director of the tennessee vaccine distribution and immunization program i was responsible for the vaccines for children program an entitlement program for children, responsible for the tennessee immunization information system, i the immunization registry for the state and responsible for vaccine preventible disease outbreak mitigation and response. so hepatitis a outbreaks, measles outbreaks and eventually covid-19 became a vaccine preventible disease and i was responsible for the rollout of that vaccine across the state and to make sure that that was
done equitably and in a way that any tennesseean who wanted to access the vaccine would be able to get one. >> from your perch what have the challenges been in your state to getting a higher vaccination rate than what you currently have? >> well, we have had several. initially, it was vaccines supply. fortunately, that is no longer than issue. then it became getting providers to be willing to give the vaccines because there have been challenges just with low-to-mid gistics of dry ice storage. and then there is vaccine hesitancy, which we have seen in different ways. some folks that are unsure about the government, unsure about the vaccine, but be vaccine hesitant and willing to have conversations with their providers, throwing listen to information that's given to them, and then this political
divide or this kind of toxic politicization of covid-19 and the vaccine where we now have our most hesitant population being rural male conservative white who really do hang their hat on this political ideology that covid-19 isn't real, isn't a threat, or that getting the vaccine somehow props up the left-wing part of our political system. and so it's really that, that politicalization of public health and in people's choosing not to protect themselves has been the biggest challenge for us to overcome. >> so you were discussing, i understand, memorializing what the legal authority sort of parameters were for outreach to
teenagers and that triggered this firestorm that led to your firing or resignation. what happened? >> so, you know, on the cusp of the pfizer vaccine becoming available for children 12 years and older i began to receive questions from some of our covid-19 vaccine providers across the state about what they were to do if a child showed up unaccompanied to receive a vaccine. and they just weren't sure where the lines were so i reached out to the office of general counsel at the department of health. i was given language around case law from 1987, tennessee supreme court ruling that children's ages 14 and older can receive medical care under their own consent without the consent of their parent. and i took that language that i was told in an email was blessed
by the governor's office and that i could share with anyone that i so choose, put it into an email into our covid-19 providers and sent it out, and over time, over a very short period of time, there was some backlash from some of our providers who felt that that was an inappropriate email -- or memo to put out that the information shouldn't have been shared and that it was somehow targeting our youth, even though this was a memo sent to our medical providers like every other memo we send to our medical providers. that then sparked some backlash from our -- some members of our legislature who went so far as to call for the dissolution of the state department of health because of this information that i had shared. that devolved into the department of health not only pulling back on messaging to
teenagers about getting covid-19 vaccine, but creating barriers for their ability to access the vaccine and now has devolved into a moratorium on messaging for any kind of vaccine to children whether that's infants or children for back to school vaccines or hpv vaccines and even counseling school-based flu immunization clinics scheduled for the fall as a result of the saber-rattling amongst some of our legislators. >> so you check -- you check the legality, send the state supreme court decision of tennessee to say this is what the law says, right? this backlash ensues. quickly, who fired you? >> i was fired by the commissioner of health via a letter that was delivered to me by the chief medical officer of the department, a member of the human resources team. i was offered the opportunity to
resign or to be terminated, and i have done my job very well serving the people of tennessee and that is my job, and so i chose to be terminated. >> i want to read -- you said i have been terminated for doing my job because some of our politicians bought into the anti-vaccine misinformation campaign rather than taking time to speak with medical experts. uneducated public and leaders but their own interest in mind. dr. michelle fiscus, i am sorry that happened to you. thank you so much for the work you have done and making time tonight. >> thanks for having me, chris. >> that is "all in" on this tuesday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> that story out of tennessee and your guest, chris, is an unbelievable story. unbelievable development. republicans talking about abolishing the health department in the state and