Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/7/21



Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois is interviewed. Military veterans call on President Biden to “keep our promise” to Afghans who helped U.S. According to “The New York Times,” on Wednesday, Russian hacking group REvil had a new target, a Florida defense contractor that sells space and weapons launch technology to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and NASA.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That is ALL IN for this evening.

“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks for joining this hour. Happy to have you here.

Tonight, the first lady of the nation of Haiti is in the United States. She has arrived in Miami for medical treatment. She is said to be in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.

She apparently was shot in her home in the middle of the night last night by armed attackers who shot and grievously injured her. The same armed attackers killed her husband, the president of Haiti.

The U.S. has apparently now told staff at our U.S. embassy in Haiti that they cannot leave the grounds of the embassy. They are closing the U.S. embassy there. Haiti, of course, has a land border with one country, the Dominican Republic. Crossings between Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been closed.

Nobody is quite sure what`s going to happen next, but chaos does seem like a good bet after the assassination of their president. Haiti, of course, is a country with very close ties to the United States. There`s a huge Haitian-American Diaspora in the United States.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. We`re their largest donor in terms of assistance of all kinds. But Haiti has been in more than its reasonable share of chaos lately. The president who was just assassinated late last night, arguably his term in office as president came to an end this past February, but he stayed on nevertheless and declared that efforts to remove him for a coup attempt. And he had his political opponents arrested.

Haiti has multiple sources of authority in their government. There`s a president and a prime minister and there`s also a Haitian Supreme Court. The head of the Supreme Court just two weeks ago died of COVID. There`s essentially zero COVID vaccination in the country, even among the elite, even among people like Supreme Court justices.

In the wake of their president`s assassination last night, it`s the prime minister who has proclaimed now that he is in charge of the country. But nobody seems quite sure if that`s true or if that`s proper if it is true. There`s also the question of who did it. How were multiple assassins able to get inside the president`s private residence to shoot him and his wife? And then how were they able to get away afterwards without a trace.

There is a hunt on for them now. There are conflicting reports as to whether there may have been arrests. But basically, it`s been more than half a day since this happened. Nobody seems to know conclusively what has become of these multiple assassins despite the fact that witnesses from that neighbor in Port-au-Prince last night where the assassination happened said this was a large phalanx of attackers heavily armed in multiple vehicles, making no effort to hide themselves or to be quiet about what they were doing. Where are they now and who were they?

The language is spoken in Haiti by and large are Creole and French. When the prime minister today announced that the president had been assassinated, he said that the assassins spoke English and Spanish, presumably implying some sort of foreign attackers carried out the assassination or mercenary forces of some kind. There is video circulates online of somebody at the scene of the assassination last night saying in what seems like an American southern accent that a DEA operation was underway, as in a drug enforcement administration operation.

Nobody actually thinks a DEA operation was underway, but who was at the scene of this presidential assassination in Haiti last night speaking in an American southern accent? And then apparently getting away afterward plus without being caught?

President Biden today released a statement calling the killing a horrific assassination, calling it a heinous act. He also took a couple of questions on the matter from reporters today. At one point, he said, quote, we need a lot more information. But it`s just — he said, it`s — it`s very worrisome.

Yeah, it is very worrisome. Again, the first lady of Haiti has come to the United States. She is in Miami tonight for emergency medical care to try to save her life. She apparently was shot multiple times.

But the Haitian president is dead at the hands of assassins who got inside his home. Those killers, as far as we know, have not been found. Although, again, there are conflicting reports about potentially having been arrests tonight.

Everything we know about these assassins so far is spiked with about 1,000 red flags and tons of intrigue.

So, we`ll be, you know, watching this as it — as this story continues to unfold. You know, spare a thought for our brothers and sisters in Haiti tonight. They`re really staring into teh abyss right now.

Haiti, of course, an absolutely beleaguered country. It is just a few hundred miles off our coast. There are so many accomplished and wonderful Haitian-Americans in this country who are worried about their families tonight, worried about what is going to come next in that country. So, keep Haiti in your thoughts tonight.

It`s been an interesting day in the news tonight. Lots of news developing. Lots of very serious matters.

On COVID, I think today may, in retrospect, look like a landmark day for what appears to be a new phase of the COVID response in our country. We`ve been watching really worrying headlines over the past couple of weeks out of southwest Missouri, particularly Springfield, Missouri.

Missouri has 40 percent of its population vaccinated. It`s apparently even worse than that in the southwest part of the state. And that has had consequences. They`ve got a rip roaring COVID epidemic right now in southwestern Missouri, thanks to low vaccination rates and thanks in significant part to this delta variant, which the vaccines apparently do work against, but it doesn`t help you if you`re not vaccinated.

And the delta variant appears to be so much more transmissible than the initial variants of COVID were, again for people who haven`t had the vaccine. And this is a part of the country where not very many people have had the vaccine.

Multiple hospitals in the Springfield, Missouri, area started diverted new COVID patients to other facilities because they were full up and couldn`t handle anymore.

The president and CEO of Cox Health put out this public call on social media: call to arms, respiratory therapists. Springfield, Missouri, is struggling with surging COVID volumes. Our heroic respiratory therapy staff need reinforcements. If you are a respiratory therapist, you can come to our aid, please call or text. We would be so grateful.

That was yesterday at 10:30 a.m. the call to arms. By this morning at 8:21 a.m., that hospital CEO said that 14 respiratory therapists contacted his hospital offering to help. He said, thank you so very much.

By today at lunchtime, 12:30 p.m., more hearten
ing news. The same CEO saying, quote, we`ve now had over 40 respiratory therapists respond to our request for help. Offers will go out this afternoon, meaning offers to employ them will go out this afternoon. He says, quote, this will be such a relief for our staff who will allow us to better care for our community in this surge.

Again, that`s the CEO of Cox Health in Springfield, Missouri. The surge he`s talking about there is for real and it is bad. “The Kansas City Star” reporting now just for context, a month ago, that hospital Cox Health had 35 inpatients. Now they have 95. They`ve gone from 35 to 95 in patients in one month.

The hospital says they`re admitting on average 18 patients every day now. They think they`re going up to 27 new admissions a day within the next two weeks. So, they are trying to scale up their staffing and their physical capacity to handle the number of hospitalizations they are coping with because of the COVID surge in southwest Missouri.

On top of their public call for respiratory therapists to please come from all over the country to help, they`ve already upped their staffing in the hospital….


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