tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC August 13, 2020 6:00am-7:00am PDT
you get 24-hour heartburn protection. prilosec otc. one pill a day, 24 hours, zero heartburn. hi there. i'm stephanie ruhle. it is thursday, august 13th. we begin with a news phase in a presidential race that will be unlike any in american history. because of coronavirus, the first joint appearance by former vp joe biden and senator kamala harris played out in front of mostly reporters and campaign aides giving the candidates the unavoidable backdrop to focus on the pandemic and this administration's response. >> no real leadership or plan from the president of the united states how to get this pandemic under control. we can do this. we just need a president and vice president willing to lead and take responsibility.
>> there's a reason it has hit america worse than any other advanced nation. it's because of trump's failure to take it seriously from the start. >> six months into this pandemic, more than 5.2 million americans have gotten the disease. nearly 167,000 have lost their lives. on wednesday, another 1400 deaths were reported nationwide. the highest number we've seen in weeks. and yet when the president was asked about kamala harris accusing him of making things worse, here's what president trump had to say. >> i think that's probably one of the reasons she was a terrible candidate and was forced to leave the race because she got her facts wrong. she's very bad on facts. very weak on facts. when you look at the job we've done compared to others, we've done a great job.
>> my goodness. all right. we've not done a great job but what we do have is all the angles covered here. ali vitali in wilmington, delaware, carol lee at the white house. this roll-out is now complete. they raised a ton of dough online. tell us about what's next. >> steph, yesterday was a day where we saw several metrics of enthusiasm. i saw people showing up outside kamala harris' house in d.c. before she left hoping to catch a glimpse of her. crowds outside of their event in wilmington, delaware. when you can quantify, though, is cold, hard cash. $26 million in 24 hours, the best fundraising day of the campaign, and not just your usual biden donor either. the campaign is boasting 150,000 new donors. first-time donors who came to them in the wake of this announcement. so, clearly, a big day for growing their grassroots base. typically at a point like this in a campaign when you just got a newly minted ticket they'd be
taking that show on the road. right now the road looks a little different. we'll see them in wilmington, delaware, for a briefing with public health officials. it will hammer home the point both of them made yesterday. the rhetorical contrast between how the biden/harris administration would take on this pandemic versus how the trump/pence administration has taken on this pandemic. and they're not just talking about it. i imagine today as we see them at this roundtable with public health officials that we're going to see them let some of those officials do the talking which could not be a more stark contrast from what president trump tends to do which is talk over the officials that are around him and the administration and instead allow himself to be the spokesperson for their efforts in this skaca. steph? >> let's talk about what the president's had to say, carol. after day one, the only thing that seems consistent about the trump team's line of attack is inconsistency. they're all over the place. president trump led with kamala harris is the most progressive person in the senate until i
guess they looked at her record. >> yeah, that's right, steph. the trump team is struggling to settle on a clear line of attack against senator harris. we've seen them say that she's part of the radical left, anti-police and then at the same time say that actually she is not left enough for liberal democrats and we heard this morning the president had an interview on fox business and he launched into personal attacks against senator harris. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> you have sort of a mad woman, i call her, because she was so angry and so -- such hatred with justice kavanaugh. i've never seen anything like it. she was the angriest of the group, and they were all angry. all radical left angry people. they're angry because i beat them. they still haven't forgotten. >> so there you have the president using what many are likely to argue is a racially charged trope calling a black
woman angry. we know from our own reporting that some of the president's allies would like him to stay away from the personal attacks. and we know they're concerned that they generally just don't have a clear, consistent message on how to counter the biden/harris ticket, steph. >> carol, thank you. joining us to dig deeper into all of this, delaware democratic senator chris coons, a longtime friend and colleague of joe biden. also a member of the judiciary committee where he served alongside kamala harris for many years. senator, welcome this morning. you know both of them personally. so when you hear criticism that she'll be disloyal to joe biden or that he's being used by the liberal left, what's your response? >> well, stephanie, it's been both striking and concerning to see that the trump administration's response to the pandemic and the trump administration's response to kamala harris have been the same. bungled, chaotic and without a
clear and coherent message. those two messages, as a line of attack on kamala harris, don't make sense to me. joe biden went through a disciplined, careful, thorough review process to vet a dozen really compelling candidates, among whom he chose. then he went and made individual interviews, a key priority, so that in the end, he and jill could make a choice about someone they knew would be the same kind of vice president for joe that he had been for president obama. someone he can trust. someone to whom he can entrust in important and difficult challenges and someone who will not only have his back but will be dedicated, relentlessly, to responding to the pandemic, the recession and a renewed focus on inequality in america. kamala harris is going to be a great vice president. she's been a wonderful colleague on the judiciary committee. i've seen her take on bullies. deliver tough questioning. come prepared and engaged and ready. but i've also known her personally as someone who is
engaging, who is warm and who has got tremendous empathy. joe was looking for that combination of skills, strength, character and heart. >> and president trump is obviously incorrect. there is no evidence that senator harris is by any means anti-police, but i do want to talk about criminal justice reform. it's a huge issue in the upcoming election. former vp biden has had to walk back his signature 1994 crime bill and some people are uneasy about her record as a prosecutor. is criminal justice a vulnerability for these two? >> it's not, stephanie because they both have a balanced record. they have a record of supporting public safety, of making sure that the american people in times of rising violent crime have the resources that they need and the response that they ask for. but in this moment, in this context, they've both been clear-eyed, engaged and effective advocates for real policing reform. they've rejected the idea of defunding the police, but
they've embraced the idea of reforming policing. making sure that we have policing that respects the civil rights and civil liberties of americans and kamala -- excuse me, senator harris, my colleague, along with senator booker really led the effort for the justice in policing act in the senate. it's a broad and bold bill that would reform significant parts of how policing is conducted in states and federally. and i think she has shown real leadership on this topic. >> senator, you knew i wanted to talk money. i always do. yesterday the president doubled down on the payroll tax holiday, and i want to remind people holiday meaning you're still going to have to pay it. it's just on delay. but he said if he wins the next election, he'll make it permanent. watch this. >> at the end of the year, the assumption that i win, i'm going to terminate the payroll tax, which is another thing that some of the great economists would like to see done.
we'll be paying into social security through the general fund. >> okay. number one, can he do that unilaterally, do away with the payroll tax and, second of all, explain to us the amount of money you would need to find somewhere else to keep social security from completely going under. >> stephanie, i don't have that number off the top of my head, but it would be significant. we are already in -- not unprecedented but in highly unusual times. we have to go all the way back to the second world war to find a period where the federal government is laying out as much money as we already have this year. i'll remind you the c.a.r.e.s. act which passed unanimously in the senate four months ago put out $4.3 trillion in assistance. that's been keeping our economy afloat. that's the direct stimulus, the support for state and local governments that prevented us from sliding into a great
depression over the last four months. all of those things -- nearly all of those things have expired now, that additional 600 in unemployment. the support for state and local governments. the eviction moratorium. i'm getting lots of calls from folks in delaware gravely concerned about how they'll get through the next few months. if we were to put on top of that the impact on the balance sheet of the people of the united states and the impact on the social security trust fund of eliminating the payroll tax, that's just -- that's not just saying to a drowning man, oh, here's a life preserver. it's saying, here's an anchor. and it would be the biden/harris administration in january, if they are so successful in the election, as i hope and pray they will be, they have just another challenge in terms of repaying all of those unmade contributions to the social security trust fund. >> all right. then senator, what do you say to those people from the state of delaware calling you telling you how desperate their economic situation is when yesterday
democrats refused to meet with treasury steve mnuchin and negotiate at all. if you don't even meet with the guy, how are you going to create a resolution? >> stephanie, i don't think the issue is a refusal to meet. they had a conversation in which the secretary, who was a vital part of that agreement four months ago, by the way, said that mark mnuchin, and the trump administration -- >> mark meadows. >> yes, mark meadows. that they were unable to move from their position. i'll remind you, the hour, controlled by the democrats and speaker pelosi passed a bill two months ago that was over $3 trillion. the white house, the trump administration, has taken the position along with republicans in the senate that they won't give more than $1 trillion. that's a big gap. and in their last in-person meeting, schumer and pelosi said we'll come back a trill yoion i you'll come up a trillion to
meet in the middle between essentially 1 and 3.5 and get to maybe a 2, 2.5 number. that was rejected out of hand. the two single biggest issues remain aid to state and local governments and providing support for the millions of americans who are unemployed and who need unemployment insurance assistance. the executive orders which were the trump administration response to this are unworkable. governors like desantis in florida and hogan in maryland have said they can't make them work and don't have the resources to match what was the initial terms offered by president trump that he'd give $400 a week in unemployment supplement if the states would match it with $100 out of that $400. there are real questions about whether president trump has the executive authority he asserts he has in terms of some of the tax moves he made and whether this is of any real assistance to states and to people at all. let me remind you, stephanie,
the biggest piece of this disagreement isn't just about faceless, nameless bureaucrats in gray buildings. it's about paramedics, nurses, the folks who teach our children in schools. those are the sorts of public employees who have already been laid off. more than 1.5 million of them around the country. and it will face layoffs without more assistance. they are talking. the absence of a conversation in person is because there wasn't any willingness to move to come to the middle. >> no reason to meet in person if you don't have anything to say. quickly before we go, i know you joined fellow democrats in signing a letter voicing your concerns about changes happening at the post office under this new postmaster general. these are serious issues. what can you actually do about it? >> well, the challenge of congressional oversight is we have to have the majority party be willing to take some action. we've sent letters, demanded meetings, raised this publicly,
privately. i've had delawareans up and down my state, republicans, independents, democrats, all my office to complain that medication is arriving late, that packages and letters are arriving late. this is because the postmaster general has changed the delivery standards. we should be investing in a robust postal service as long as we have tens of millions of americans at home and because we have an imminent election where we know there will be a record number of mail-in ballots. i was initially hopeful this wasn't an intentional effort to throw the election. i'm gravely concern given the recent changes in the leadership at the postal service we've seen by the postmaster general who i'll remind you was a major trump campaign contributor. >> i have never said the words postmaster general more in my life than i have in the last week. it is a very important job, especially this year. senator, thank you for joining me. we're going to leave it there.
still ahead -- 960,000 more people filed for unemployment last week. the first time we have seen that number under a million in 20 weeks. but that doesn't mean we're out of the water. we're digging into the struggle millions of americans are still facing trying to get unemployment benefits months after losing their jobs. that's right. many still haven't gotten anything. plus -- the white house releases its own new guidelines for schools so what's in them and how helpful will they actually be? e? ♪ ♪ ♪ the open road is open again. and wherever you're headed, choice hotels is there. book direct at choicehotels.com. ♪ with one protein feels like.
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developing now, the white house issuing new guidelines for reopening schools across the count country. as part of the plan, president trump announced $125 million reusable masks will be distributed to school districts across the country. the guidelines call for frequent hand washing, social distancing and wearing face masks when social distancing isn't possible. but some reopened schools are already seeing infections even after implementing some of these protocols. our team of reporters is covering the latest developments. i want to start with ellison barber in georgia outside one school forced to close this week specifically due to covid-19 concerns. ellison, what's going on there? >> hey, stephanie. this high school is actually the second high school in the county to close this week because of covid-19. school officials say woodstock high school students will now shift to online learning for the rest of the month after 14
people tested positive for covid-19. 15 other students are still waiting for their test results. and close to 300 people, students and staff, are now in quarantine. that is all just from this high school. countywide, the school district has now reported at least 78 confirmed cases of covid-19 among staff and students since august 3rd. at 21 different public schools. at least 1,358 students and staff are now quarantined in the cherokee county school district. we spoke to one high school student who found out just a couple of days ago that one of his classmates in his study hall tested positive for covid-19. he says he was told he did not need to quarantine because he wasn't considered close contact. face masks are encouraged in this school district but they are not mandatory. they are not required. that student we spoke to said only about half of the students
in his study hall were wearing face masks. he says there's not a whole lot of social distancing, and right now, based on what he sees inside the halls of his high school, he thinks the number of covid cases in this county in the schools could keep going up. listen here. >> i feel like if more time had been given, they could have maybe been able to devise a better plan for keeping everyone safe. for the time being now, though, i am not seeing anything really getting much better than it is now. >> so this high school, woodstock high school, also has a middle school on their campus. for now, school officials say there are no plans to take the middle schoolers out of in-person learning, but again, woodstock high school on the same campus, they are now closed for in-person learning at least for the rest of the month. stephanie? >> ellison, thank you. now let's head to my colleague kerry sanders in florida where the coronavirus has teachers there using some
innovative technology. kerry, i've always got time for an innovative solution. what you got? >> well, you know, there's a problem, of course, about this whole idea of having kids in a classroom at home and the teachers in a classroom at home. so we'll talk about that technology as a backdrop of all of this coming together as in tallahassee right now in a courtroom, they are challenging the state's order to go back to school. broward county where i am right now expects to return to the classroom with teaching virtual on wednesday of next week. some parts of the state have already returned. they're arguing in the courtroom right now that they don't believe the state has the authority to order this. meantime, let's talk about the technology. so were i a teacher here in the classroom and traditionally, the way this is all going to be done on virtual learning, it will be a computer staring into that and a kid at home five hours a day
staring into it. it's a lot to ask for. but they've got a piece of technology here. i'm going to take the camera over here. zoom in on it. that's called the owl. and now we're going to cut to the live stream. now you're a student at home and you're looking at this live stream coming from that camera. this is all autonomous. so if i were the teacher, i could now have the class follow me all the way over to the other side of the room. it will take a second to match up, but i'm over here and in a moment it picks me up and then i say to my class, eighth grade, this is a biology class. the camera follows me around. it engages the students a little bit. it gives them something to watch and feel that they're now part of. you can see how it automatically went into a split screen. let's say you're a student at home. i'm going to come over here and we're going to have the cameraman and sound man carlos and raul act as if they are the
students asking questions. make some noise. >> mr. sanders -- >> mr. sanders -- >> may i go to the rest room? >> all of a sudden, there they are. the students are engaged. so now there's this sense of participation. and i think it's interesting that here in mrs. alonso's class she's been practicing with this and she looked at the idea of doing this versus working at home and, well, this is what her conclusion is. >> teaching from school does give us many advantages. first of all, the lack of distractions. right? i'm not in my dining room. i don't have a dog barking or the lawn being mowed. there's no issue with them hearing me, no wifi going down at the house or cable losing. >> so stephanie, i think those of white house watch tv or work on television, we understand the interactive nature. but again, the bottom line here is, in seven states, this is charter school usa.
they are set up in seven states. 49,000 students. they have this owl camera deployed everywhere. and the hope is again that virtual learning will keep kids engaged because at the end of the day, kids get bored. if they're not engaged, they're not learning. >> that was amazing. bottom line, kerry sanders, your crew right there would win class clown. if you were my eighth grade teacher, i without a doubt would have been number one in my class. kerry sanders, always amazing. we've got to dig deeper here. i want to bring in dr. michael osterholm, the director of the center for infectious disease research and policy at the university of minnesota. i am so glad you're with us because you've got a striking new op-ed out there in "the new york times." you are now calling for a new lockdown. how would this work? >> well, first of all, let's just start out with the premise that i realize for everyone to hear that is shocking news. they don't want to hear it.
but the bottom line, if you look at our country, we're an anomaly among the higher income countries of the world in that we never did lock down sufficiently. we only slowed down to get the virus level activity by may to a so-so level. when the countries of the world that were also a house on fire in march and april like we were, actually continued. they worked hard to get the number way down. so they put that coronavirus forest fire out and with just small, smoldering spots. we walked away after 80% containment and look what happened. and so i co-authored this piece with neel kashkari here in minneapolis. we looked at the health and economy. if we continue on this course that we are now, which there's nothing that will change it, if we don't do something dramatic, the economic loss, the health issues, the number of deaths will be astronomical between now and the end of the year. if you look at it from an economy standpoint, we do much less damage to our society, get it locked down, then come back
as these other countries have done around the world. >> you say the next six months could make what we've experienced so far seem like a warm-up to a greater catastrophe. how bad do you think this could get? >> we estimate 8 to 10% of the u.s. population has been infected with this. as you've heard repeatedly, the idea of getting to a herd immunity status, where enough people have been infected, have recovered and have enough immunity to slow down ongoing transmission means we need to get to 50% to 70% of the population infected. that's still five to six times higher than we have now. and already we have 1.6 million deaths. that's going to continue to happen. i predict right now that we'll see, as we have, first this big
peak in april where we got to 32,000 cases a day, came down to 22,000 cases and finally at memorial day, decided we were done with the pandemic and look what happened. we go into 65,000 cases a day. now we're somewhere in the mid-50s. i think we're going to stay there probably for the next 3 to 5 weeks. when schools reopen fully, high schools in particular, colleges, universities, we're going to see all-new high. and the number will go much, much higher with spillover then into the rest of the community, other vulnerable adults, and the numbers could be higher. we have a long ways to go to get to herd immunity. the only thing that's going to get us out of this is a vaccine. there's so much we could do. which the other countries of the world have done to reduce the impact of this virus. we're just not doing it. >> i know it's a relatively small amount of people and a huge amount of money, but the nba says zero players tested positive for covid-19 inside the disney world campus bubble for a
fourth straight week. is that proof that lockdowns in a bubble works? >> well, i think first of all, you have to take a step back and that's a unique bubble. you have very highly paid individuals who are being asked to make some very specific sacrifices about who they have contact with. and they are getting compensated well to do that. i myself challenge whether that will continue. look no further than what's hand in new zealand. there's a country that because of its island status and the distance from any other country have -- were able to really shut down any transmission there. they went over 100 days without any cases. now there's an outbreak in new zealand. somehow it got in across the border. and it just shows how tough this is to keep this virus out. as i've said many times, this is a leaky bucket virus. if you have a microleak in your bucket it will find a way to get out and get there. i suspect by the time the nba season is over, it won't be a totally bubbled community. in our general community, the
idea of bubbling like this is really impossible. we just have to drive it down by distancing ourselves, get it to a low level where instead of fighting the forest fire we're fighting brush fires. that's what other countries are doing and doing it well enough their economies are coming back. lives are being saved. we can do the same thing if we just elect to do so. >> dr. osterholms advice, if we're going to drive it down, we've got to shut it down. i highly recommend people check out your new piece. it's thought-provoking. next, 963,000 more americans filed for unemployment in the last week. we're going to check in on food banks once a last resort now becoming the norm for millions of americans. thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor
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breaking this morning, 963,000 americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. the first time that number has been below that number since mid-march. there's a standstill over more relief for americans, specifically a boost in unemployment for the millions still out of work. americans are starting to feel the relief with millions on the brink of homelessness and bracing for another surge. morgan chesky is outside one of the food banks in dallas. what's the situation on the ground there? food banks used to be a last
resort. >> yeah, steph, it's a tough situation. we talked about the food banks when they opened up when the pandemic set in and the rates skyrocketed but this has been ongoing this entire time. about 1 of 160 mobile food pa pantry sites the north texas food bank has set up. volunteers showed up at 6:00 a.m. this morning. and when they did, there were already a line of cars here waiting for them trying to get a box of food that will feed a family of four for about a week. the north texas food bank has essentially doubled what they typically hand out over the course of the pandemic. that's an 84% increase. we're talking about an extra 35 million pounds of food going out to families all over this area. what makes it tougher is that we actually have, you can see the line go out of this parking lot and down the block. we have video that shows the line that stretches for about a mile from this one location in
this neighborhood that we're told where 1 in 4 people are food insecure. so that's the reality that faces so many americans right now. we are seeing those unemployment numbers start to improve here, steph. in the meantime, there are still countless numbers of people relying on the food banks to get everything they need just to make it from week to week. steph? >> just to make it from week to week. morgan, thank you so much. this is a very important story to tell. and for a number of others across this country,s in been a struggle, a massive one to even get the unemployment benefits that are due and all of this is due to backlogs and antiquated systems. i want to bring in thomas kenner, a man who is bravely tell'ing his personal story. he's a former d.c. police officer and amazon delivery man. he found himself out of work as this pandemic hit. thomas, i really appreciate you joining us. you did the right thing. you are eligible for
unemployment benefits but you tried filing over and over, starting in april. take us through your experience. >> it was like a living nightmare. if any person is out there listening to this story, i know your pain, your suffering. i went through it myself. started april the 22nd. i filed. called the number. the phones were transferred to the youth hot line and family services line. then i called the director's office and it was by the grace of god that one night during the webinar on facebook live and i chimed in and told them that my case had been escalated 15 times. they're supposed to take action. within five to ten business days. no one ever called back. i'm sorry, the wait -- the way
they treated you it's like, inhumane. no person should ever have to go through that. i wish they would get the system fixed. i'm also applying for the unemployment job, so i definitely would like to be a solution versus a problem. >> so it's clear they need a new system, but for you, you lost your job and your home right before the pandemic hit. how has all this impacted your life? >> a lillittl living hell but yn god through strength of friends, family. i had major heart surgery back in '17 so that's what caused the downfall of losing our home. we were living there for 18 years. but still got my grandkids, still got my health. still striving and fighting trying to get another job so i
can -- it's just heart-wrenching to see any person go through this situation. it should be rectified. i plan on speaking at the council to help through legal aid to get my story out there and to all the others going through this, i'm praying for you, and i hope that everybody who goes through this, no person should have to go through this. and for congress to say they -- no person should be on vacation. i thought they passed a law in congress saying, if you can't pass that, you don't go on vacation or you shouldn't be subject to -- i think everybody person should have to go through that so they can see what it's like to go without a paycheck, not be able
to provide for your family. be able to get food to borrow from people. it's like you're begging. and you already entitled to something that you worked for. >> thomas, thank you so much. congress, i hope you're listening. thomas, we appreciate you telling your story. your voice certainly matters. we wish you the best of luck. coming up next, the biden/harris ticket is off and running. their message to what president trump says are suburban women who say harris is too progressive. i remind you what the president says suburban women believe. before we go, join me for my new digital series "the innovators" where i speak with industry leaders and visionaries on how they are leading through this difficult time. i sit down with bryan meehan and ask him about everything from fighting zoom fatigue on how he's changing his approach on
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visit paycom.com, and schedule your demo today. we're just hours away from seeing the democratic presidential ticket together again for the second straight day. former vp joe biden and senator kamala harris have another event in delaware today. this as president trump prepares to visit four battleground states next week. joining us to sdurks former democratic congresswoman from maryland, donna edwards and erin haynes, editor at large of a newsroom reporting effort at the intersection of gender, politics and policy. congresswoman, you write in a new op-ed this. you thought it didn't matter whether joe biden picked a black woman. and then it happened. explain what it was like for you to see senator harris speak from that podium yesterday. >> well, i was prepared to accept whomever the nominee
would be, but when i saw senator harris yesterday, she reminded us of why it's important that her voice is out there. she was clear. she was direct. and we know that she'll be able to effectively prosecute the case against donald trump and mike pence. >> prosecute the case. erin, what did you think about their first appearance? >> well, it was a debut that felt momentous, even in the midst of a pandemic, but also, really, kind of showed the moment that they were in. they came out, both wearing masks. senator harris, it was a moment that felt historic. she gave a nod to those heroic and ambitious women that came before her, including her mother, an indian woman, being the daughter of immigrants was on full display. you saw kind of the combination of her qualifications and lived experience take the stage yesterday at her introduction.
and i think that's something that you saw a lot of people cheering and responding to with record fundraising the biden campaign reported. >> congresswoman, as we talk about which voters senator harris can bring in, president trump has been going on and on about suburban women and how they're with him. how he is going to protect the suburbs from low-income housing. he doubled down on this again yesterday. here's what he said. >> 30%-plus are minorities living in suburbia. and when they go in and they want to change zoning so that you have lots of problems where they want to build low-income housing, you want something where people can aspire to be there, not something where it gets hurt badly. and that's what happens. so with suburban women, suburban men, i think they feel very strongly about what i'm doing.
>> what's your reaction? >> it's really hard to process the president anymore, and i think one of the reasons the kamala harris selection is so important and the reason that the president isn't able to effectively counter her is because she checks so many boxes. there is no reason that she won't make an appeal to people who live in all parts of america, who cross all kinds of -- cross gender lines, race lines, ethnicity lines, political lines. the president of the united states is continuing to double down on his very clearly racist tropes about poor people, about black and brown people, and this idea of an invasion as though somehow there's something wrong with people who are struggling to work their way into the middle class.
i don't think it will work, and i think that he's continuing to talk to the most narrow slice of the american public, and it's just not going to be effective. >> erin, right now the senator is getting hit on both sides. the president and the far right are saying she's too progressive and the far left saying she's too conservative. >> well, i just want to go back for a second to the president's comments about suburban women. which suburban women are we talking about, and are we -- is there a suggestion there that, you know, people of color should not or don't belong in the suburbs. i think that just as he, you know, may be sending that kind of coded language to his base, i think that that could also be something that galvanizes folks on the democratic base, you know, who hear that message and are responding. we knew that he was going to be drawing on a racial playbook in
his -- heading towards the general election, but i think that that's something that could be galvanizing as, you know, on either side. in terms of, you know, this ticket being seen as too conservative, i think it will be interesting to see what happens at the conventions starting nex when you will start to see some of the progressive surrogates possibly rallying behind this ticket, and encouraging progressive voters to do the same. >> it's not coded language. it's racist. ladies, thank you for joining me and no doubt, all eyes on theve. coming up here, nbc investigates a major group of lenders that are targeting vulnerable businesses that are unable to stay open during the pandemic. that is vile. we're digging in.
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predatory lending pops up at the most inopportune moments. it's sickening, as more small businesses are struggling to survive, regulators are cracking down on a major group of lenders targeting the most vulnerable businesses and they're doing it with high-cost loans and abusive collection tactics. they are called merchant cash advance companies and they provide nearly $20 billion in funding last year alone. one of the lending companies is taking action against nearly a thousand businesses across the
country who can no long eer affd to pay. nbc's kathy park has more. >> reporter: for nearly 30 years, jay hohen has found joy in personal training and turned that passion into running a private studio with his wife in la jolla, california. >> it's a great opportunity for us to do something we love. >> reporter: a recent injury set his business back so he took out a loan. a month later, covid-19 hit. he was forced to close his studio and unable to pay his lender, par funding. >> i told the people at par, due to the current circumstances, that i definitely didn't see coming, i'd like to freeze my account. >> reporter: in return, hohen says par began turning the screws. >> what was probably the most egregious threat they threw at you? >> this confession of judgment. threatening that they would reach out to business associates that i've had. >> reporter: under the deal they signed, par has access to
hohen's checking account. last month, the company filed a confession of judgment in court that gives them the right to freeze his accounts if he doesn't pay. >> they're borderline criminal harassment. >> reporter: known as a merchant cash advance company, par funding is preying on small businesses, charging sky-high interest rates up to 400% on loans to small companies like hohen's. >> they're strong hrp amming people like myself. >> reporter: since 2008, major banks cut lending to small businesses and merchant cash advance lenders helped fill that void. because they're not banks, merchant cash advance companies are subject to lighter regulations. now, regulators and law enforcement are starting to take action. late last month, the fbi raided two of par funding's offices in pennsylvania and the securities and exchange commission filed suit alleging the companies at the center of a $500 million
investment scheme, misleading investors about default rates on lons and hiding the criminal past of an owner convicted of fraud and running an illegal gambling operation. lawyers for the company and its owners vigorously dispute the sec's allegations but declined to comment further to nbc news. recently regulators filed lawsuits against two other merchant cash advance companies, rcg, which declined to kacommen and yellowstone capital, which didn't respond. >> this is a broken market. >> reporter: rohih chopra, a commissioner at the federal lawsuits says comprehensive industry reform is imperative. >> we're seeing a business model where lenders can make big profits even when the borrower fails. >> reporter: federal officials say they're considering whether these loans should be subject to caps on interest rates in the same way loans from banks are constrained. as regulators play catch-up, jay
hohen says he'll make it through, but warns others -- >> you can make mistakes if you don't take the time to do your homework. >> reporter: kathy park, nbc news. >> don't forget this story. we're going to stay on it. that wraps up this very busy hour. i'm stephanie ruehl. eamon mohyeldin picks up coverage next. ♪ ♪ ♪ the open road is open again. and wherever you're headed, choice hotels is there. book direct at choicehotels.com. ♪
faster. better. at comcast business, we want to help you not just bounce back. but bounce forward. and now, we're committed to helping you do just that with a powerful and reliable internet and voice solution at a great price. call or go online today. good thursday morning, everyone. i'm eamon mohyeldin here in new york. right now, the