tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC December 16, 2020 9:00am-10:00am PST
good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington where president trump is holding his first cabinet meeting in six months today as he ramps up his attacks on senate republican leader mitch mcconnell for mcconnell's belated recognition of joe biden's victory. the president still refusing to accept defeat and still considering using a special counsel to go after hunter biden and to go after baseless claims of election fraud. with only 35 days until biden is sworn in, nbc news is reporting the president had to be talked out of firing fbi director chris wray recently by white house lawyers concerned it could put mr. trump in legal jeopardy. the president-elect is in wilmington, delaware, moments away from announcing former rifle pete buttigieg as his choice for transportation secretary. former mayor of south bend, indiana, he would be one of the youngest cabinet members since alexander hamilton and the first openly gay cabinet secretary. biden has selected former michigan governor jennifer granholm, an advocate for
electric cars and clean energy, for energy secretary, and gina mccarthy as top domestic climate coordinator. only buttigieg is expected to be announced today, though. joining me is kristen welker and mike memoli, and "washington post" report ashley parker, and former rnc chair michael steele. welcome, all. kristen, we're expecting any moment now the cabinet meeting with the president as well as in about two minutes, joe biden coming out. so split screen moments ago. first of all, what are you expecting from the president today in the cabinet meeting? >> andrea, as you point out, he hasn't had a cabinet meeting in several months now. at this point in time, we are told that this will not be open to the press. but of course we're asking that that happen. so we'll let you know if that changes. i think at the top of the list of this cabinet meeting, you would have to think they will be focused on covid-19. the fact that there is now an
approved vaccine and the plans to distribute it, which have been quite lofty, will they be able to meet those benchmarks, will they have enough vaccine doses in order to do that. it does come against the backdrop, of course, andrea, of some major changes here behind the scenes at the trump administration. the fact that you have attorney general bill barr who offered his resignation earlier this week, now you have an acting attorney general who is stepping in, jeffrey rosen. and reports overnight that according to the associated press, president trump is considering, considering pushing the acting ag to launch a special counsel investigation into hunter biden, joe biden's son. of course he's under federal investigation related to his taxes. he said he's done nothing wrong. and also, according to the associate press, president trump considering asking that special counsel to look into his baseless claims of election fraud. so that will be at the backdrop of this cabinet meeting with president trump of course now
just several weeks away from leaving office, despite the fact that he has yet to concede and despite the fact that you have a growing number of republicans who say it is time for him to do so, andrea. >> and mike memoli, the president-elect continuing to roll out these cabinet appointments or nominations, i should say, including pete buttigieg for transportation secretary. and i also wanted to show what the vice president elect, kamala harris, said on abc about president trump's refusal to concede. >> in this democracy of ours, as americans, which our democracy is stronger than any one man -- >> -- vice president elect harris and i have been announcing nominees to our cabinet. they're people of the highest character, varied experiences and backgrounds. they're going to help us beat this pandemic, keep us safe and secure, and build our economy back better than it ever was.
they include long time colleagues and new faces and new voices. they include people who share my views and those who have different views. they include people who supported my campaign from its earliest days and people who ran against me. they're experts in policy, leaders tested by crises, and by the end of this process, this cabinet will be the most representative of any cabinet in american history. we'll have more people of color than any cabinet ever. we'll have more women than any cabinet ever. a cabinet of barrier breakers, a cabinet of firsts. i know how proud presidents are when they're able to achieve a first in their cabinet. i remember when president clinton named the first ever woman to be secretary of state. i was there when president obama named the first ever black attorney general. but compared to my predecessors, the harris/biden cabinet is first among cabinets of all the firsts it represents.
the first ever woman, the first black woman, the first woman of south asian descent as vice president behind me on the screen. the first ever black secretary of defense. the first ever latino head of the dhs and first ever latino head of hhs. the first woman of south asian-american descent to lead omb. the first woman and asian-american to lead the united states -- lead as our united states trade representative. the first ever woman to hold alexander hamilton's position as treasury secretary. our cabinet doesn't just have one first or just two of these first but eight precedent-busting appointments. and today, a ninth. the first ever openly gay nominee to lead a cabinet department. and one of the youngest cabinet members ever. the biden/harris cabinet will be
an historic cabinet, a cabinet that looks like america, a cabinet that taps into the best of america, a cabinet that is opening doors and breaking down barriers and accessing the full range of talent. we have so much of it, the full range of talent in this nation. a cabinet that is up to the immediate crises we face and we face several. in the long term challenge the nation faces in the future are in this cabinet's hands. it's a cabinet that's battle tested, qualified, experienced, creative, innovative, and forward looking, and yes, representative. and today i'm proud to nominate its newest member, for secretary of transportation, i nominate mayor pete buttigieg. i got to know pete on the campaign trail. he's one of the smartest people you'll he evever meet and one o most humble, a mayor from the
heartland, a policy wonk with a big heart, a lieutenant with the united states reserve, deployed to afghanistan while he was mayor. a new voice with new ideas, determined to move past old politics. the son of professors, his husband is an educator, always, always a mark of good character is the way i look at it. and by the way, jill and i have always enjoyed seeing pete and chastain together on the trail. chastain has become a close friend of jill's and mine. what i admire about pete is he's always clear about who he is, what he believes, and how he wants to bring people in, not exclude them. he's able to walk into any room, leave people inspired with his ability to describe an america that's best for us, all of us, an america that's hopeful, bold, creative, inclusive, an america that can do literally anything. the department of transportation services a critical mission with
a critical responsibility, particularly in this administration. we need someone who knows how to work with state, local, and federal agencies. for example, right now one in five miles of our highways are still in, quote, poor condition, according to the society of american engineers. tens of thousands of bridges are in disrepair, some on the verge of collapse, presenting a clear and present danger to people's lives. we rank tenth among the world's nations in quality of infrastructure, according to the world economic forum. there's so much we can do. when i think about climate change, i think about jobs, good paying union jobs, jobs that put america to work, making air for our children breathable, making
it faster, cheaper, and cleaner to transport american-made goods across the country and around the world. i know when you were mayor, pete, people would come in to try to decide whether to build something, they would say, where is the nearest railroad at? what about water access, and so on. this is going to attract businesses. jobs that lay the lines for the second great railroad revolution, which is not only to slash population but slash commute times, open up investments in areas connected to metropolitan areas for the first time. you know, we selected pete for transportation because the department is at the intersection of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better. when president obama put me in charge of implementing the recovery act, over $800 billion to take us from crisis to recovery to resurgence, modernizing our transportation infrastructure, roads, bridges, and ports, wheere some of our mt
critical investments. we invested more in infrastructure than president eisenhower. the projects that traditionally receive bipartisan support, that forge public and private partnerships, when we do these public and private partnerships, and we invest federal money, we pull billions of dollars of private development for every dollar we put in, federal dollar. we'll put millions of americans to work, improving our economy and rebuilding our communities for the future. pete's got a great perspective of a mayor that solves problems and brings people together. he's got a vision of a next generation leader with the experience and the temperament to lead change today, today. to dig us out of this economic crisis. for example, helping cities and states to keep transit systems running for front line and essential workers. and then helping to modernize their airports, their ports, their railways, to attract and retain businesses and workers,
to advance racial equality, racial equity as we build back better and include everyone so zip code doesn't determine your access to a good job, a good school, a good education and health care. to deal with the existential threat of climate change with real jobs, not just $15 an hour jobs, which i'm going to call for universally, but for prevailing wages, union jobs, paying 45, $50 an hour and benefits. helping cities across the country in red states and blue states. red cities and blue cities. to build more climate-resilient communities to deal with extreme floods, droughts, and super storms. just look around the country today. what are we faced with? the west is burning. the midwest is being flooded. the east coast is being pummelled by more tornados and storms than it's ever had. we're in a state that's three feet above sea level.
all of us along the atlantic ocean find ourselves with problems in terms of flooding. look, working with states, businesses, and labor to install 500,000 charging stations for the next generation of clean vehicles, smart grid system, reducing energy consumption and ushering in a clean energy economy all across america. some of you may remember i met with five leading ceos in america and five leading unions in america. and the president of general motors, after our conversation, our joint conversation, picked up the phone and called, i'm told, california and said they're dropping their suit against california. they're all in on making sure that they are -- we're the first in the world to switch to and be able to get to a carbon neutral economic way to power automobiles as a consequence of dealing with electric vehicles. we can own the electric vehicle
market. it can put those 500,000 charging stations, we can put -- if we can put a million jobs back in detroit and the midwest, building cars. you know, pete's also going to carry out the department's duty to keep americans safe on our roads, on our highways, and in our skies. pete will help build back better with jobs and hope, with vision and execution. and i'm honored, i'm honored he's answering the call to serve this country once again. so please welcome, please welcome the next secretary of transportation, pete buttigieg. it's all yours. >> mr. president-elect, madam
vice president elect, thank you so much for entrusting me with this opportunity to serve the american people. i am humbled by your confidence, eager to do everything in my power to ensure that this administration succeeds. my hometown, south bend, indiana, was built by the power of american transportation, from trade along the river whose bend gives our city its name, to the rail lines that connected us to the rest of the country back when we were considered the west, to the livelihoods created by the good-paying you know jobs that places like thea ary o aeronautical supplier bendix and automotive supplier studebaker. also i have a personal love of transportation ever since childhood. more than once as a college student, i would convince a
friend to travel nearly a thousand miles back to indiana with me on amtrak, though i know that in this administration i will at best aspire to be the second biggest train enthusiast around. i spent a spring break in graduate school aboard a cargo ship, studying there. travel in my mind is synonymous with growth, with adventure, even love, so much so that i proposed to my husband chastain in an airport terminal. don't let anybody tell you that o'hare isn't romantic. and i want to take this chance to thank chastain for everything that he gives and everything that he sacrifices to support me in public service. first time i ran for office was on a platform of supporting the obama/biden administration's rescue of the auto industry. and when i did first take office as mayor, in a city fighting its way out of the teeth of the great recession, infrastructure was at the heart of our vision.
we reimagined how vehicles and people move through the city, unlocking new economic vibrancy in our urban core. we built up partnerships from a regional collaboration to improve rail service to the public/private partnership that put our city at the cutting edge of bicycle mobility. we developed new forms of support for lower wage workers in their commutes and added electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help prepare for a more sustainable future. we also dealt with the challenges created by generations of often-inadequate state and federal infrastructure funding, with just enough resources to replenish the paving of every lane mile of street in our city only every 100 years or so. i faced a constant battle with that natural enemy of all mayors, the pothole. in a community where more than a quarter of our residents lived in poverty, we worked to fill in the gaps that were created when
underfunded transit resources left too many cut off from opportunity just because they didn't have the means to own a car. at its best, transportation makes the american dream possible, getting people and goods to where they need to be, directly and indirectly creating good paying jobs. at its worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities can reinforce racial, economic, and environmental injustice, dividing or isolating neighborhoods, undermining government's basic role to empower everyone to thrive. and now comes a historic opportunity. this administration can deliver policies and resources that will create jobs, rise to the climate challenge, and equitably serve all americans, all while continuing to ensure the safety of travelers and workers alike. america has given this administration a mandate to
build back better. and step one in building back better, literally, is to build. americans shouldn't settle for less than our peers in the developed world when it comes to our roads and bridges, our railways, and transit systems. the u.s. should lead the way. and i know that in this administration, we will. we'll bring together leaders and communities from every corner, labor and business, left, right, and center, urban and rural, communities of color, tribal nations, mayors, counties, states, everyone who has a stake in american infrastructure, to design a better future. americans expect us to see to it that the idea of an infrastructure week is associated with results and never again a media punch line. my view of this opportunity is also shaped by being the youngest member so far named to this cabinet and the first millenial invited to a seat at that table.
newer generations have a lot at stake in infrastructure policy that by its nature must contemplate both the immediate and the long term. the question of how america will look by the middle of this century, the caveompetitiveness our economy, the security of our climate, for me this isn't academic, it's personal. i'm also mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment, knowing that this is the first time an american president has ever sent an openly lgbtq cabinet member to the senate for confirmation. i can remember watching the news, 17 years old, in indiana, seeing a story about an appointee of president clinton named to be an ambassador, attacked and denied a vote in the senate because he was gay. ultimately able to serve only by recess appointment. at the time i had no aspirations of being appointed by a president to anything. at that age i was hoping to be
an airline pilot. and i was a long way from coming out even to myself. but still, i watched that story. i learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong. but just as important, i saw how those limits could be challenged. so two decades later, i can't help but think of a 17-year-old somewhere who might be watching us right now, somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world or even in their own family. and i'm thinking about the message that today's announcement is sending to them. so thank you, mr. president-elect, thank you for honoring your commitment to diversity with this administration that you're assembling. and thank you, madam vice president elect, for your trailblazing leadership, your encouragement, and your friendship. there is no greater source of meaning in professional life than the chance to serve others.
i felt that meaning every time i laced up my boots when i was in the military. every time i came to work when i was a mayor. and i feel it here now, joining this historic team with such an important mission, preparing to deliver for all americans. thank you. >> as president-elect biden and i look ahead to the challenges we will inherit upon walking into the white house, we are focused on containing this pandemic and delivering relief to all who need it. we are focused on safely reopening our schools and responsibly reopening our economy. and as we've said many times, we are also focused on building america back better, and doing what is necessary to lift up all
americans, no matter where they live, whether it's in big cities, rural areas, or any place in between. one of the most important ways we will do that is by creating good union jobs to build, operate, and maintain a safe, modern, and sustainable transportation system. a transportation system that will help us grow our economy, tackle our climate crisis, and connect all americans to jobs and opportunity. we will transform our roads and bridges, transit systems, railways, ports, and airports, while powering them with clean energy. we'll spark a renaissance in american passenger rail that will not only connect our country but unlock job creation and growth across our manufacturing sector. and we will expand and upgrade our transportation system in a
way that is equitable, serving communities of every size, urban and rural, across our country. the choice president-elect biden has made to help spearhead this work is simply outstanding. i got to know pete over the last couple of years. we traveled to the same states, attended the same events, and shared a debate stage many times. we have had long conversations, he and i, about the future of our country, about the need for bipartisanship, and about family and faith. and along the way, pete and his wonderful husband chastain have become very dear friends of doug's and mine. pete is an innovative problem solver. he has a sharp intellect and a deep commitment to uniting people across party lines and meeting our challenges together. he is a trailblazing leader from
the industrial midwest who understands we need to create opportunity for people of all backgrounds. and he is of course a veteran and a dedicated public servant who represents the very best of our country and the next generation of american leadership. now, pete will bring his remarkable talents to bear, not just on behalf of the people of south bend, but on behalf of the people across our nation. in 1966, upon creating the department of transportation, president lyndon johnson said america's history is a history of her transportation. with pete's leadership, we are ready to write the next great chapter in that history, modernizing our infrastructure, creating jobs and opportunity, and helping to usher in a clean energy future for the united states of america. thank you, mr. president-elect,
and welcome, pete. >> thank you. by the way, i called the vice president elect and thanked her for not getting on the highway in the middle of a storm, a storm about to come. she wanted to be here. so thank you all very, very much. and if you have to travel -- >> reporter: will you get the vaccine? >> we're working on that right now, i don't want to get ahead of the line but i want to make sure we demonstrate to the american people that it is safe to take. they're working on that plan right now. and when i do it, i'll do it publicly so you all can actually witness my getting it done. [ inaudible question ] i'm confident. >> reporter: the stimulus package? >> the stimulus package is encouraging. it looks like they're very, very close. it looks like there's going to be direct cash payments.
but it's a down payment, important down payment on what's going to have to be done at the end of january into february. it's very important to get done. i compliment the bipartisan group for working together to get it done. thank you all very much, have a good day. >> and with a lot of news just now, the president-elect saying that he will get the vaccine, the vaccination soon, very soon, and will do it in public, obviously trying to model that for the rest of the country and also that he believes that the deal on the hill nfor a covid relief package connected to the continuation of government spending is very close, and it will have some direct payments, so he's complimenting the negotiators for that. back with us are mike memoli, michael steele, and kristen welker. let's talk about pete buttigieg, among the things he said is he will be the second biggest train enthusiast now, as you've noted
right in the shadows as you are in wilmington of the joseph r. biden amtrak train station, we've seen him on the train ourselves many, many times, we know that's how he commuted for decades back and forth to wilmington, never having a washington place when he was raising his kids, and also that pete buttigieg is another first, biden going through a litany of all of the firsts in his new cabinet in terms of diversity, women and blacks and hispanics and south asians, of course kamala harris representing several ethnic groups as well, a black american woman who is of south asian descent, as well. now the first openly gay nominee for the cabinet. it does raise the risk in all of this history-making, and a cabinet that will look like the face of america, of how much he is being pressed by different groups for diversity and how that has delayed some key appointments including attorney general. >> yeah, that's right, andrea, i
was so interested to hear him go true those statistics and what he's calling his barrier-breaking cabinet. it signals they're very well aware of the criticism they've been getting not just because of the lack of diversity in the view of some in the party but also the fact that this is very much a cabinet of former colleagues from the obama administration. he is using pete buttigieg i think as a front and center example of what he talked about during the campaign, which is the first example that we're seeing of him being that bridge to the next generation of democrats in the party. buttigieg, as he said, would be one of the youngest cabinet secretaries since alexander hamilton, in fact the second alexander hamilton reference we've gotten at one of these cabinet announcements. it's very clear, as we heard there, the relationship with pete buttigieg that developed during the campaign. i was in texas for that night, just on the eve of super tuesday, when buttigieg announced his endorsement of biden, and you'll remember he
talked about how he reminded him of his son beau. and it was earlier in the campaign when biden was being attacked by the president and his allies about his son hunter that buttigieg actually spoke out very clearly defending the president-elect now, defending his family as well. that was a moment that was particularly significant to biden in building that relationship. and it's very important, as you talk about the amtrak role here, infrastructure and transportation, maybe not traditionally the biggest role in a cabinet, the most high profile, but for joe biden, something that is going to be absolutely critical as part of what he hopes to be a $2 trillion infrastructure program that includes a significant investment in rail. and biden, who doesn't often reveal things where he disagreed with president obama, has at times mentioned one specific break between the two, which was he didn't think they did enough in messaging about the recovery act at all, the great work they were doing across the country, very clearly in pete buttigieg he thinks he has somebody who
can help sell that message to the public as they're doing it. >> and just one quick point before i move on, there is a possible hiccup in what we anticipated could be deb holland, the member of congress who is from the native american background, she lives on the pueblo -- i believe on the pueblo community, that she might be opposed actually by congressional leadership because of the slim margins, that that may be some reason not to have another member of the democratic house caucus appointed. what are you hearing on that? >> yeah, andrea, this is a very sensitive discussion on the part of the biden team and also on the part of congressional leadership. we know the president-elect has already tapped cedric richmond for a top role in the west wing and marcia fudge for a top role obviously as the hud secretary in the cabinet. the election outcome in which democrats had disappointing results downballot led to a
very, very slim majority in the house. they can only afford to lose a few votes to get anything passed. we know every two years, when democrats have been in the majority, how the sensitivity about pelosi being elected and democrats defecting on that vote. so any more choices from the house could put the governing majority in the house at risk. >> and michael steele, we've got the president holding a cabinet meeting today, and the president still refusing to acknowledge joe biden, now going after -- retweeting -- going after other republicans who have refused to accept his false allegations of -- you know the baseless allegations of election fraud. he's suggesting in a retweet that the governor of georgia and the secretary of state should be jailed. how long can this resistance from the president go on and how are other republicans reacting as we see just a few more republican senators now recognizing biden, but certainly not all. >> andrea, the resistance will
go on for as long as donald trump is breathing. donald trump will, when he leaves the white house, will try to set up to some degree a shadow presidency in which he will bird-dog everything that the biden administration does, particularly if it -- like he did with obama, undoes anything of the things the administration accomplished over the last four years. so donald trump is not going away. i think the media and the political communities have to adjust to be serious about what they will cover and what they won't cover regarding donald trump. we cannot have two presidents at the same time. and i think we need to get it in our head that as of january 20, he will no longer be president, he will be a private citizen, and he should be afforded and treated accordingly. so that means despite whatever noises we may hear from donald
trump, to weigh it with a pound of salt. but between now and then, there will be no concession, there will be no niceties, and republicans are still going to be stuck in the same space that they've been stuck for the last four years, standing behind donald trump, peeking out from behind him, trying to figure out when it's safe to say something, if they decide to say something, and then we'll see what that something is. so i have no expectations of anything changing over the next three weeks or four weeks from what we've already seen. in fact, i anticipate it could get a little more dramatic if not worse depending on how deeply-rooted this pathology is with donald trump and how he wants to exercise it. >> and kristen welker, briefly, what we expect to hear from the president today at the cabinet meeting, we of course want to hear what he has to say about whether or not he'll accept this
deal, and we're going to be talking to bernie sanders about that momentarily. kristen? >> that's right, and you just heard president-elect biden say that he is encouraged by what he is seeing and hearing on capitol hill, the fact that they are nearing this deal. so of course now we look to president trump. it will require his signature in order to move forward. so we'll anticipate that. and again, at this point in time, andrea, cameras not allowed inside his cabinet meeting. it's also worth noting, though, we heard from president-elect biden that this deal is going to be a down payment. we know that in his first 100 days, he has signaled he wants to try to move toward a broader stimulus package. so if you think about everyth o about, as he tries to tackle that, you'll see him move aggressively once he's sworn into office for a broader
stimulus deal for covid, andrea. >> thanks, kristen, mike memoli, and mike steele. congressional leaders are nearing a deal on a $900 billion covid relief package, described as a down payment, two sources tell nbc news. the agreement would not include $160 billion for state and local funding, which was a democratic demand, nor liability protection for businesses, a republican priority. there would be money for vaccine distribution, and it would include cash payments for stimulus, probably in the $600 per person range. joining me now, senator bernie sanders who serves on the budget committee. senator, thank you very much for your patience. we had the biden event and the announcement of pete buttigieg. first of all, i know the agreement is not finalized. what are you hearing from the negotiations so far? is it something you would support as a down payment?
>> look, everything that is in that package is vitally needed. the problem is it is much -- a much smaller amount than the country needs in this moment of economic desperation. as you know, a week ago there was virtually no discussion about direct payment, about providing help to working families and their kids, which to my mind should be the major priority because we're looking at a moment when so many of our families are struggling to feed their kids, worried about getting evicted, having in money to go to a doctor. we have to get money to our working families. i'm glad, as i understand it now, we're at $600 per adult, working class adult, and $600 for the kids. so for a family of four that would be 2,400 bucks which i think will be pretty good news during this rather bleak christmas period with the
pandemic. but we have got to do more. we have got to do more because the working class of this country frankly is in worse shape economically than at any time since the great depression. this is a step forward. i certainly look forward to a biden administration working with us to provide significantly more help to those people who need it. >> of course it's taken nine months to get this far. the house passed their act back in may. mitch mcconnell wouldn't put anything on the floor. so how important is it for americans to see changes in the way the senate operates? >> oh, absolutely. i mean, look, there's no question that under mitch mcconnell and the republican leadership, this has been one of the worst do-nothing senates in american history. you talk about the health care crisis. there hasn't been any discussion.
we talk about the starvation wages that millions of americans are working for, no discussions on the senate floor to raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. criminal justice, virtually nothing. immigration reform, virtually nothing. climate change, nothing. i hope, by the way, in georgia, the good people of georgia elect two democrats so we can have democratic control over the senate and start moving an agenda that works for working people and not just the billionaires of this country. >> turning to the transition, you just saw pete buttigieg being tapped to be transportation secretary and president-elect biden talking about a cabinet that will more than look like the face of america, that will be the most diverse in history. he's talking about denis mcdonough, we understand, for veterans affairs. you of course have been such an important player on that in committee and elsewhere. do you think this cabinet is diverse enough? what more would you want to see? >> to me diversity is a very big
word, in the sense that you certainly want a cabinet to look like america in terms of representation for african-americans and latinos, and every other group in america. when people turn on the tv and they see that cabinet room, they should say, hey, that looks like me, and that's right. but equally important or more important is having a cabinet that stands up and fights for working people at a time when wages have been stagnant for 45 years, at a time when 92 million americans have no health insurance or are underinsured, at that time when working class kids can't afford to go to college and people are working for starvation wages and we've got to deal with climate change. so i want diversity in the cabinet, i want it to look like america, but i also want it to be a cabinet that has the guts to take on powerful special interests and fight for working families.
>> what are your top priorities? labor secretary would be one. what about attorney general? >> the biden people will make those decisions, that's not my choice. >> are you pressing for anyone in particular for labor? >> no. we are fighting for right now a cabinet that is prepared to stand up for working families. there is something wrong in this country when you have a handful of billionaires who own more wealth that the bottom half of america. when the very, very rich are getting phenomenally richer in the middle of a pandemic when so many of our people are hurting. so we need voices in that cabinet who are going to fight for working families. that's my interest. >> and one of your colleagues, of course, in the house, owe cassia cor ocasio-cortez, aoc is talking about new leadership in congress, it seems to be a shot at nancy pelosi and chuck
schumer. do you agree there needs to be new leadership in the congress, democratic leadership? >> let me just say this, and that is that i am disappointed that when democrats, as you indicated, i think way back in may, in july, came up with legislation that was i think $3.4 trillion, which would have included $600 in supplementary unemployment benefits, $1,200 for every adult, working class adult, 600 bucks for their kids, doing what had to be done. we started at $3.4 trillion, went down to $2.2 trillion, rejected an offer from mnuchin at 1.8, and you know what we're looking at in terms of new money in this bill, andrea? we're looking at about $188 billion, because most of the money is unspent money from the c.a.r.e.s. act. so if you're asking me do i think that this bill was
well-negotiated, i don't. there should have been a lot more money in it than there currently is. and again, i hope that as soon as president biden is in office, we're going to roll up our sleeves and start working on an emergency relief bill that addresses the unprecedented crisis that we are facing, get to work on raising that minimum wage, expanding health care, rebuilding our infrastructure, creating the millions of good-paying jobs we desperately need to do. >> senator bernie sanders, thanks as always, very good to see you. thank you, sir. >> thank you, andrea. a winter storm watch. snow setting to blanket the east coast, already snowing here in washington. al roker is next with the forecast. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. watching "anl reports" on msnbc. you can get the perfect gift up until the last minute. let's end the year nailing it. ♪
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but with walmart's low prices, you still know how to do it up. and keep costs down. let's end the year enjoying more. ♪ you are all i need baby baby to get by ♪ 70 million people from georgia to maine are now in the path of that massive winter storm. it could dump more than a foot of snow in some areas. it's already started snowing here in washington. "today" co-host al roker is tracking the storm. al, they're talking here about a lot of rain tonight and a
refreeze tomorrow which means ice during the morning rush hour. >> that's right, it's going to be a bit of a miss, andrea. some areas, it will be the biggest snowstorm in about five years. as we mentioned, we have winter storm warnings, watches, weather advisories. the purple line you see is the dividing line between the cold air, the warm air, and where the rain/snow line is kind of setting up, that 32-degree line. 70 million of us are earned some sort of winter weather alert. and so this afternoon, the snow will move into new york. heavy snow will be west of i-95. and you can see that blue line, that's that 32-degree line. and it cuts just across philadelphia, to the south of new york, and out onto long island. we'll be watching that. if that line moves a little further north earlier, that will be more of a mix of rain and snow, sleet. and so maybe some of those snow totals will come down. but right now, we look for snow to begin in boston later tonight. the sleet line will slowly move
up to the north. early tomorrow morning, thursday morning, we'll be looking at heavy snow, gusting winds, snow will end for some near sunrise, continue, though, in through new england. boston, you won't get out of it until later in the afternoon. so those winds are going to be really gusting. and here's the interesting thing, andrea, we got this cold canadian high pressure. so a lot of cold air banked throughout a good portion of the northeast, new england. however at the coast we've got this moisture-laden but more mild ocean air. so really, you're talking about the difference of 50 miles from almost zero snow to about a foot of snow. so here's what we're looking at. we expect snowfall rates of up to three inches per hour, whiteout conditions at times. because it's such a vigorous system, some folks may hear thundersnow. snowfall totals we're looking at right now, harrisburg between 16 and 22 inches. allentown, scranton, upwards of
a foot and a half. new york city, nine to 13 inches. albany, almost a foot and two inches. boston, nine to 13 inches, hartford, sevten to 16. as you mentioned, andrea, the system will get more compact and move up the coast. downed trees and power outages, andrea, are likely. we'll be watching this, i don't think it's the storm of the century, but it's one that's going to have an impact. one good thing is, there are fewer people traveling to go to work. the bad news is if you're a kid, you may not get a snow day out of this because you're already home. that's a bummer. andrea? >> i know, we've all been home for a long time. al roker, thank you so much. more hospitals now getting their first shipments of pfizer's covid vaccine today with a second vaccine from moderna right around the corner. if moderna gets emergency use authorization from the fda later this week, nearly 6 million more vaccines will start shipping on monday, we're told, twice the number of doses that pfizer has
sent out. operation warp speed's dr. moncef slaoui told me yesterday that the country is still on track to vaccinate 20 million americans by year's end. so far, the u.s. has locked in enough doses to cover 150 million people by the end of june. that's while thousands of healthcare workers are getting their shots, the virus is still spreading rapidly. it is straining the health systems and medical staff around the country. in california, governor gavin newsom said the state is trying to recruit nurses and doctors to meet the increasing demands of the pandemic, including from abroad. >> we are actually looking overseas, interestingly, to potentially recruit some staffing. >> and california also ordered 5,000 body bags and dozens of refrigerated units to prepare morgues for more deaths. against that grim forecast, joining us now nbc's jacob soboroff at ucla health in l.a. as the hospital begins to vaccinate its staff. jacob, i'm sure that the healthcare workers are --
they're strained beyond belief and they're caught between excitement over getting the vaccine, but also horrible, you know, forecast they face. >> reporter: i think that's the exact juxtaposition of emotions here, andrea. the vaccinations just got under way this hour at ucla health. they expect about 450 front line workers to be vaccinated today alone in the facility behind me. i think we have a picture of right before the vaccinations started. sort of what the mood was inside the facility. there they are. nurses, doctors, ambulatory care specialists, all getting ready to undergo a major logistical operation. while at the same time there is the logistical operation taking place for caring for a record number of icu and covid patients here. that's the fedex truck entering the facility behind me and the vaccines being placed into the ultra cold storage freezers that they have here at ucla just yesterday. they got 114 people in this facility alone right now hospitalized with covid. that is an all time high
throughout the entire duration of the pandemic, which is why as you said the state of california is looking at bringing in 5,000 additional body bags, writie in in medical care professionals from overseas. the testing system is strained as well. i was in line at doctors stadium here yesterday, one of the main testing facilities in los angeles, it took me personally about two hours just to get to the front of the line, in order to get a test. capacity at icus is under 2% now in los angeles county. and that is the most populous county, remember, andrea, in the entire nation. so it is a bleak situation here. but also a hopeful one as the vaccines and vaccinations get under way. >> jacob, thank you so very much. and joining us now, is someone who got vaccine, dr. peter hotez, one of the leading vaccine experts in the country. you got the vaccine last night. dr. hotez, i think we have footage here. how are you feeling today and
what was your experience with it? >> i feel fine today. that's the first time i've seen that footage, actually. yeah, no, it went like any other vaccination, last night i had some soreness and some body aches, maybe a slight fever, not even sure, and then this morning, you know, little bit of body aches and soreness, but really fine and very active today, no problem. so, you know, some people handle the vaccines better than others, and this is an exciting time. at the same time, you know, i had mixed emotions as i was getting vaccinated. i couldn't help but think of the 300,000 americans who have lost their lives this year, who did not have to lose their lives if the u.s. had put up a national containment strategy around covid-19. and that was heart breaking to think about. and also the fact that we're going to lose another 100,000 lives according to the
projections by the inauguration. again, people who are either defiant of masks and social distancing, governors who refuse to accept that we have to halt surges on our intensive care units, vaccines are going to be on the other side. and nobody has to lose their life. and that, for me, is just so profoundly frustrating that my voice is not strong enough in order to stop these icu surges by governors, especially in the middle of the country, who -- and leaders, elected leaders and local leaders and people who still think covid-19 is a hoax or deaths due to other causes. >> and we see, of course, in washington, most importantly, the president, lack of mask wearing, secretary of state quarantining today because of a contact, but he wasn't there, but hosting a party at 70 people, turning up at the state department last night, 900 were invited. the president last weekend at the army/navy game without a
mask in the crowd of cadets and midshipmen. how big a game changer is the news that the moderna vaccine may prevent asymptomatic spread? which at least according to their data, which is now being analyzed for the emergency use authorization, is something that we -- has not yet been established with the pfizer vaccine. >> yeah, andrea, this is important because there is two things we would like a vaccine to do. one, keep us out of the hospital and the intensive care unit and looks like i think all of the covid-19 vaccines are going to do that just by inducing strong immune response to the spike protein. but then there is something else we would like, we would like that if enough americans get vaccinated and we did analysis with a city group, you can interrupt transmission if these vaccines also halt asymptomatic transmission. it gets to be a little bit of a complicated concept because what can happen is potentially that the vaccine can reduce -- will
prevent symptomatic infection or serious infection, but if you're exposed to the virus, there may be some virus replication up in your nose and your mouth and transmitted to other people. so we're trying to do studies now to show the vaccines also stop asymptomatic transmission, which is not something we really know. and the moderna vaccine may do that. i hope they all do. we don't know that for certain. >> well, sorry we didn't have more time today with all the breaking news out of washington. i hope you'll come back soon. a lot more to talk to you about, about the anti-vaxxers and the effect on other people. thank you so much, dr. peter hotez. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." chuck todd will be going through all of the news up next with "mtp daily" evenonly right here msnbc. " evenonly right here on msnbc. with our highest concentration of prebiotic oat intensely moisturizes over time
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welcome to a very busy wednesday. it is "meet the press" daily. i'm chuck todd. wednesday, december, and suddenly with a goal and congress might actually do something. right now congressional leaders in the white house are nearing an agreement on a $900 billion covid relief deal. members have been publicly mum on the details