(CN) — MSNBC anchor Brian Williams kicked off Wednesday’s broadcast by diving right into the record number of Covid-19 cases across the United States, noting the recent resurgence has been fueled by small family gatherings.
“Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a clip played by Williams.
Williams was quick to point out that President Donald Trump’s recent campaign rally in Iowa flagrantly violated the state’s Covid-19 guidelines, playing a split-screen showing MAGA-masked attendees seated on camera behind the president while the bulk of the crowd wore no face coverings.
He next discussed Trump’s recent Covid-19 diagnosis, as well as that of first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, who Trump claimed “had it for such a short period of time, I don’t even think he knew he had it.”
When asked whether Trump should call off his remaining campaign rallies, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “I can’t advise the president about what he can or should do in regard to political campaigns, but I can reiterate my statement that when you have congregate settings with a lot of people together closely packed, when most are not wearing masks, that is a high-risk situation to be avoided.”
Robert Costa, political reporter for The Washington Post, told Williams: “In my calls with Republicans tonight, with White House officials, it’s clear the president is personalizing the virus in his conversations with Republicans. He’s saying ‘Hey, I beat this.’ And there’s another factor beyond his own experience — it’s who is in his ear — and that’s Dr. Scott Atlas, the conservative doctor from the Hoover Institute at Stanford. He’s the one that’s really driving the president’s mindset on the virus. It’s not Dr. Fauci.”
Moving on to the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Williams asked his guests if the prospect of seating a third justice on the Supreme Court was “all the GOP had to keep them psyched these days.”
“Well, at this point what they would like to see is the focus on anything but those coronavirus numbers,” said Jill Colvin, White House reporter with The Associated Press. “If the nation is paying attention all day long to the Barrett hearings that’s something that can get Republicans and conservatives potentially excited.”
Colvin explained that anything to help draw the focus away from the Trump administration’s shoddy handling of the pandemic will inevitably improve his chances in the upcoming election, which seems to be the goal.
Williams underscored the discrepancies in some of Judge Barrett’s statements to the confirmation committee with statements and interviews she has given in the past, such as denying knowledge of the motivations driving an anti-LGBTQ group which donated money to her in the past. The group, known as “The Alliance for Defending Freedom,” has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Williams then played what he called a “greatest hits reel” showcasing Barrett’s alleged skill in avoiding a range of questions posed by Democratic lawmakers during her confirmation hearing. Among her more striking answers was “I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts,” given when asked by Senator Amy Klobuchar if intimidating voters is illegal under federal law.
Williams wrapped up his broadcast by returning to Covid-19, showing an overflow field hospital in Wisconsin dedicated to patients stricken by the virus.