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Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) Participates In Selma March Today; Washington State Investigating Possible Outbreak At Nursing Facility; Bernie Sanders Looks To Take Back Moment On Super Tuesday; Soon: Asia Markets Set To Open For Trading; Trump's Media Allies Downplay Coronavirus Risk; Seventy-Four Coronavirus Cases Confirmed In U.S.; Pence Defends Trump Jr. Claim Democrats Want "Millions To Die"; Trump To Visit Centers For Disease Control This Week; Harry And Meghan's New Life In Canada. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 1, 2020 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:19]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with U.S. congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis making a surprise appearance in Selma, Alabama, today. Lewis, who is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is among the hundreds if not thousands who have gathered to commemorate the 55th anniversary of bloody Sunday. Lewis, of course, was one of the activists who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and was met by brutal force and teargas by Alabama state police in 1965.

On Friday we were told that Lewis was not expected to attend due to his health, but today he was seen in a vehicle right there in the backseat and taken across the bridge. And he has been there -- he's been a fixture of the commemoration ceremonies virtually every year, and he would not let today go by without his appearance.

Let's go now to Arlette Saenz who is in Selma at the march.

Arlette, who else is there? We have seen a number of the presidential candidates there. Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg. We've seen other civil rights icons, Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is right now in that golf cart. What are you experiencing there?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Fredricka, I'm at the base of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And we saw people like Martin Luther King III and Stacy Abrams. And when they came through the crowd, people were cheering, and you can feel the energy and excitement out here, particularly upon the arrival of Congressman John Lewis, who, it was unclear if he would actually get to attend these commemoration services today, but he is, in fact, here, 55 years after that Bloody Sunday demonstration.

And I actually talked with a woman here, her name is Marilyn Rogers (PH), and she is from John Lewis's hometown in Troy, Alabama.

Why did you decide to come out here today? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because so many people bled and died for us to

vote, and I think it's only fair for me to just come and show how much I'm appreciative of it.

SAENZ: And what do you think about the fact that Congressman John Lewis, who's battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, that he actually made it here for these commemorations today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a strong fighter and God is good. He's just strong.

SAENZ: And what does it mean -- you're from his hometown of Troy, Alabama. What have you heard about him over the years? And what does he mean to you personally?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personally, John is a foot soldier. And anybody that can take the beatings that he has taken over the years to get us to go out and vote, you can't help but to come out and show much you're appreciative of it.

SAENZ: Well, enjoy the events today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

SAENZ: You can tell just how appreciative people are. The people who have come before like Congressman John Lewis and the path that they have paved for so many people in this country. Right now the march is about reaching through the bridge. You can see right by me. I can see Pete Buttigieg, who is now at the base of the bridge. He's behind the Reverend Al Sharpton.

It is a bit of a chaotic scene right now, but you are seeing these candidates start to come through on such a critical and important day for so many people.

WHITFIELD: A large crowd, but everyone there for a very common purpose and very jovial but at the same time largely respecting the real impetus of why it even happened and the battle against -- the ongoing battle against voter expression.

Arlette Saenz, stick around with me, I want to bring in now Michael Eric Dyson, author and professor at Georgetown University.

So, Michael, it is nice to hear directly from people what the inspiration of being there and that, you know, young woman saying she just wanted to show her appreciation, you know, to Congressman Lewis and all of the civil rights foot soldiers that are allowing, you know, the right of everyone to vote today.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR: That's exactly right. You know, Fred, when you go out to these ball games and they have a moment where they thank the veterans of America in their foreign wars who have really exercised their commitment to this country and, therefore, defended the right of those to enjoy ball games and the like, and they celebrate those veterans. Well, this is akin to that. We are celebrating the veterans, the foot

soldiers, the generals, the sergeants, the leaders in the ongoing war of America's worst side against its best side. And those who embody the best of America as soldiers of truth and conscience are there to remember those who came before them, those who made it possible to do what they do.

And John Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr., and so many other people, men and women, whose names we will never know, made it possible for us to enjoy this ability of you and I to sit on CNN and to discuss the legacy of African-American people, who created a pathway for media and for scholarship that allows you and I to have this conversation before the nation today.

[16:05:21]

So those who are there are grateful, and I think this is great because the intergenerational connection that is fostered there. I've been there a few times as well, And I was there when Barack Obama stood up on the 50th anniversary of that march, gave one of the great speeches of his presidency. So there are many there who just want to say thank you to the older folk who never get the love they deserve, never get the credit they deserve, and it's a beautiful scene.

WHITFIELD: It really is. I feel like I can never say thank you enough for the generations before me for really paving the way in so many ways.

Michael Eric Dyson, Arlette Saenz, thank you so much, as we continue to look at these live pictures of people crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge 55 years after Bloody Sunday.

All right. Our other top story, the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. The number of cases has soared to more than 70 and health officials in the state of Washington are investigating a possible outbreak at a long-term nursing facility. We'll take you there live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:10:32]

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We're following new concerns about the spread of coronavirus here in the U.S. Today the president announcing new screening procedures for people arriving from high-risk countries. This coming as health officials in the state of Washington are investigating a possible outbreak at a long-term nursing facility. Two people have tested positive and more than 50 residents and staff are now being treated after showing symptoms.

The state of Washington also confirming the first patient to die after being infected with the virus in the U.S. In this country there are now at least 74 confirmed cases of coronavirus. In total the CDC says 25 coronavirus cases originated in the U.S.

Today Rhode Island became the eighth state with a confirmed case of the virus. Let's begin our coverage in Kirkland, Washington, with Omar Jimenez.

Omar, what more do we know about this potential outbreak at this nursing facility near Seattle?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. There are a few major points of concern. You talked about two of them in regards to the Life Care Center nursing facility here. More than 50 people here, both residents and health care workers, are being tested for potential coronavirus. We, of course, had two people already test positive for coronavirus, one being a health care worker in her 40s with no relevant travel history that would have exposed her to the virus, and a resident in her 70s.

When it comes to first responders as well who were literally just coming here as part of calls that they were getting for potential sicknesses, 25 firefighters and two police officers are now being quarantined out of an abundance of caution. And when you talk about people here, they are already seeing in some cases a number of people with symptoms on the respiratory side or pneumonia as well.

It is part of why both state and federal officials are treating this site as a potential outbreak site. The CDC has sent a team of experts out here to assist both state and local officials in this investigation as they move forward. And when you look at this county alone, we are now learning about two new cases that just popped up over the course of today, though, officials are saying they are not tied to this particular nursing facility -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. And then what are we learning -- what more might we be learning about that first person who died, which was also in King County, Washington?

JIMENEZ: Of course. Right here in this county, a major point of concern for all officials both at the local, state, and federal level. This was a man in his 50s who also had no relevant travel history that would have potentially exposed him to this virus, indicating it likely came through community spread. And that's part of the thing that officials have been touching in on and so concerned about in regards to this.

State health officials saying in particular with this seeing the two new cases that popped up today and, of course, what happened with this death, that these are numbers that are likely going to rise as tests begin to come back and as they start to look through more of these results. So that's what we're going to be keeping an eye on. Not just here in King County, but throughout the state of Washington and of course countrywide as well.

WHITFIELD: All right, Omar Jimenez, thank you so much.

All right. Let's bring in now our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So, you know, we can learn from these cases even though there are real limitations about the details. What do you -- you know, what do you believe people should glean from these cases?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the public health investigators are trying to find a connection between these folks to see if they had somehow come in contact with each other in some way. And in many situations they may not find that. There were -- the man that Omar was just talking about, the man in his late 50s who unfortunately died from this, was treated at the same hospital and another patient from a long-term care facility who was subsequently diagnosed. And a worker from that health care facility.

There's a postal worker, there's an individual who traveled to South Korea. So, you know, trying to find all the connections may be challenging. They also looked at the genetics of the virus and they basically say, look, is this virus that infected, for example, even the first patient in Washington state back on January 20th, is it similar to these same viruses which have now been found in these patients more recently? And the answer is yes.

In fact, the recent infections, those viruses, seem to be descendants of that first virus, which means that that -- the original virus may have been circulating in that area since January 20th, which, you know, again not surprising, you know, as far as -- after you start to see communities spread.

[16:15:05]

So the public health investigators are still continuing to work on this, and the testing that is expected to become more robust over the next week or so should help identify more of these patients, who may have been exposed.

WHITFIELD: And then President Trump, you know, announced new screening measures which will include screening people from high-risk areas, both before they board, after they arrive into the U.S. But because it's hard to tell what stage anyone may have been affected by this, what kind of screening could possibly be successful?

GUPTA: Yes. And, you know, people may be completely asymptomatic, right, Fred, as well, no symptoms whatsoever, so the screening wouldn't -- really wouldn't catch those folks. Screening may be useful, but it can't be used in isolation. There has to be many other facets to this.

I'll show you the numbers here. I don't know if we have them. To show you how many people have been screened up until February 23rd. I believe the number is close to 46,000 people have been screened, 11 people roughly. This is a different set of numbers, but I'll get to these numbers in a second. But there's been about 11 people out of those 46,000 who subsequently were sent to the hospital, to the clinic, and only one person confirmed they had the coronavirus infection out of 46,000.

But, you know, people do get educated about the coronavirus. If they develop symptoms, they may be encouraged to stay home, isolate themselves. So -- but screening, you know, ultimately as these numbers continue to grow, Fred, and it becomes clear that it's spreading in the communities, then travel restrictions like that probably aren't going to have much of an impact if they've had much of an impact at all already.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Next, Joe Biden's campaign for president now revitalized after a crucial win in the key state of South Carolina. And now he's going after frontrunner Bernie Sanders, dismissing his proposals as pie in the sky. A live report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:21:28]

WHITFIELD: Live pictures right now of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where people have gathered and are walking across the bridge to commemorate the 55th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. And at one point U.S. congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis making a surprise appearance. If you look right through the back -- into the back of this vehicle, you will see him. He was seen in his vehicle at the apex of the bridge.

Lewis, who is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, was one of the activists who marched across the bridge and was met by brutal force and teargas by Alabama state police back in 1965.

Also there today several of the 2020 Democratic candidates. Bernie Sanders is hoping to cut off Joe Biden's momentum after the former vice president's huge primary win in South Carolina. Senator Sanders set to take to the stage at a major event on the West Coast at any moment now as he works to energize voters in the Super Tuesday state of California.

CNN Reporter, Paul Vercammen joining me now from Los Angeles.

So what are you learning?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, as you pointed out, Sanders to arrive here later in California, moving the primary into march, making it part of Super Tuesday, and, of course, it is the single greatest delegate haul here in California, and Bernie Sanders working hard to try to secure votes. His ground game here, the campaign boasting that they had a million people knock on doors here, that they've made five million phone calls.

WHITFIELD: Paul, I'm sorry to cut you off.

VERCAMMEN: And then --

WHITFIELD: Real quick, I just need to take us back to Selma, Alabama, where Congressman John Lewis has gotten out of his vehicle. He's speaking now at the apex of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Let's see if we can hear him. (CROSSTALK)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): Fifty-five years ago, a few of our children attempted to march on Brown Chapel AME Church across this bridge. We were beaten, we were tear-gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and some way, God Almighty helped me here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LEWIS: We cannot give up now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No.

LEWIS: We cannot give in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

LEWIS: We must keep the faith. Keep our eyes on the prize. We must go out and vote like we never ever voted before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(CHEERS)

LEWIS: Some people gave more than a little blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LEWIS: Some gave their very lives. So to each and every one of you, especially you, young people, the fraternities, the sororities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

LEWIS: You look good.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: You look colorful. Go out there. Speak up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LEWIS: Speak out. Get in the way. Get in good trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good trouble.

LEWIS: Necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America. Thank each and every one of you. I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to give in.

CROWD: No.

LEWIS: We're going to continue to fight. We need your prayers now more than ever before. Let's do it.

(CHEERS)

[16:25:02]

LEWIS: Selma is a different place. America is a different place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LEWIS: But we can make it much better. We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

LEWIS: Thank you very much. Good to see you.

(CHEERS)

WHITFIELD: John Lewis there, who did get out of that vehicle, standing there at the apex of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where he was beaten on Bloody Sunday 55 years ago, March 7th, 1965. And there he was saying Selma is a different place, America is a different place. But he says through vote, America can redeem the soul of America. He said a variety of things, which were just so powerful, even recalling what it was in 1965, he says he thought he was going to die on that bridge.

Can't give up, never give in. Keep an eye on the prize. Vote. And the message to today's audiences, vote like you've never -- like you've never voted before.

Our Arlette Saenz is there in Selma. It was, number one, a surprise that Congressman Lewis was going to be in Selma, and that topped off with yet another surprise that he would get out of the vehicle and actually speak to people there and encourage, you know, the power of the vote.

SAENZ: Yes. That's right. It certainly was unexpected that Congressman John Lewis was going to be here for these commemoration events of Bloody Sunday, but much less that he even spoke. In talking to people at the peak of that bridge, saying that they need to go out and vote like they never have before.

When you think about the fact that John Lewis and so many others marched across this bridge for the right to vote, the impact of those words and that statement just really resonating with people across the country, as Alabama is one of those states that is in the Super Tuesday contest. But the march is still ongoing here. We see hundreds, maybe even thousands more who are still lined up at the base of the bridge ready to make their march.

And I actually want to bring in two women, who are here, a mother and daughter from Houston, Texas.

Where did you -- why did you guys decide to come in here -- over here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the 55th anniversary. We just wanted to come back and give honor to those who walked before us and gave us the privilege that we actually get to enjoy today and just participate in the process. SAENZ: And is this your first time at these events?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our first time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's our first time here. Very enjoyable. I really appreciate. I'm happy that I did come.

SAENZ: And how important do you think it is that Congressman John Lewis, who's battling cancer and was one of those who marched across the bridge, that he is here today to participate in this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It speaks volumes. Oh, my goodness, the fact that he would get himself up to come out here and just impress upon us the importance that our voice matters, I mean, you can't put words to that. It's awesome.

SAENZ: And what message do you think people should take away from 55 years after Bloody Sunday, what they should be taking away from this moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that they should take away that please go out and vote. My ancestors fought for us to vote and have that right and should participate and vote.

SAENZ: Are you also from Texas?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am.

SAENZ: And are you guys -- two daughters and a mother. So a whole family occasion here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SAENZ: And are you going to be voting in the Texas primary?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know we will.

SAENZ: And can I ask who you're voting for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

(LAUGHTER)

SAENZ: It's a secret. I had to ask.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We appreciate it.

SAENZ: But thank you so much.

So you can hear from these women talking about the importance of voting just as Congressman John Lewis up there on that bridge. But overall this is a very highly emotional day for everyone who is here, particularly because John Lewis did make his way here 55 years after he himself marched across this bridge.

WHITFIELD: And those women evident that the message received from Congressman John Lewis there he say, you know, I'm not going to give up, not going to give in, need prayers like never before, and he said Selma is a different place, America is a different place, vote to redeem the soul of America.

All right, Arlette Saenz, thank you so much there in Selma, Alabama, one of the 14 Super Tuesday states. And John Lewis there making his appearance at the apex of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:33:39]

WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. We're just a few hours away from the opening of the stock markets in Asia and it will be the first trading session since the first coronavirus death in the U.S. was announced yesterday. U.S. markets have plunged on coronavirus fears going from record territory a couple weeks ago to a more than 10% fall into full-blown correction territory.

I want to bring in Dion Rabouin. He is the "Axios Markets" editor.

Good to see you, Dion. So, could this news about this first U.S. death send markets into further tail spin?

DION RABOUIN, AXIOS MARKETS EDITOR: You know, I don't think it's actually going to be the news about this first death. I think what it's going to be if anything that scares markets is what's happening over in Europe. You're seeing entire quarantines possibly of cities. In Italy, they're putting --telling soccer teams not to play their matches. Folks in the U.K. and Switzerland are banning gatherings of more than 5,000 people.

And so, the real worry, as former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said a couple days ago was that you get a real slowdown in recession in Europe that makes its way over here to the U.S. and that really starts to have a serious impact.

You got a lot of things also weighing on the economy. And so, if you get that kind of shock, that could have a serious negative impact.

WHIFIELD: What do you see in the near term that could perhaps calm investigators?

RABOUIN: Well, everyone is waiting on the Federal Reserve and Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The markets are expecting a 50-basis point cut which is not unprecedented but would mark a serious change in policy from the kind of thing the Fed has advocated for in the past. That would send a signal to markets.

A lot of folks hope it would be a good signal saying the Feds got your back. we're going to provide some more easy monetary policy. It could also send the opposite signal which is that policymakers are worried that a recession is coming and that could really drive stocks down even further. So, you've got to watch and wait. But right now, there's a lot of panic. And certainly, the markets would love to hear something from President Trump that would calm things down, maybe announcing some fiscal stimulus, something like that. But right now, a lot of people are on edge and they'd love a hero right now.

[16:35:41]

WHITFIELD: And I wonder, will it make investors, you know, more nervous to hear that, you know, U.S.-based airlines are cutting back flights to Italy over this coronavirus outbreak even though so many are still unclear about really how much this will spread?

RABOUIN: Yes. And that's something that could really not only hurt airline stocks, but you talk about paring back travel, there's tourism companies, you've got all kinds of boating companies, restaurants, bars that make their living off of these -- off of travel, right? Folks move. They go to different areas. They go to Europe. They come from Europe.

Here in New York City, we are kind of the hub for travel from Europe and a lot of places in the world. If they start shutting down these airline flights, that obviously, affects a number of different businesses. And if people get scared and they don't want to go out, they don't want to eat, they don't want to meet friends for a couple drinks, maybe go out to the game, that has a real effect and it starts to snowball. And that's the kind of thing where you really start to get worried.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dion Rabouin, thank you so much, of "Axios". Appreciate it.

RABOUIN: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: So, as the coronavirus claims its first life in the U.S., President Trump's allies in the media are downplaying the threat while accusing Democrats of playing politics. Here's CNN's Brian Stelter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump.

Recent Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Rush Limbaugh, one of many, cooking up partisan conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, chief among them, it's the news media's fault.

MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: They think this is going to be what brings down the president. That's what this is all about.

STELTER: Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney making the shocking claim that the media is somehow using the virus to take down Trump. Mulvaney, picking up right where Fox's Sean Hannity left off blaming Democrats for making this political. SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Sadly politicizing and actually weaponizing an infectious disease in what is basically just the latest effort to bludgeon President Trump.

STELTER: These talking points are bouncing back and forth between the Trump's and their TV surrogates, portraying the president as the victim in chief and going so far as to say the president's perceived enemies actually want people to die.

DONALD TRUMP JR., TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Anything that they can use to try to hurt Trump, they will. But for them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump's streak of winning is a new level of sickness.

STELTER: This is not the first time the Trump machine has conjured up a conspiracy narrative full of misinformation and fear mongering. But this time, the backdrop is a public health emergency. Still, irresponsible claims abound.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. Yes, I'm dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.

STELTER: Experts have debunked that, but it's all part of a Trump defense strategy, fighting a virus by playing politics.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Thank you, Brian Stelter. Let's talk more now. With me now is Ron Brownstein, a senior editor for "The Atlantic" and a CNN senior political analyst. Also with us is historian and Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer, also a CNN political analyst.

I was watching you all's expression as you are watching this. I mean, it's quite incredulous, you know. And so, you know, Ron, do you think, you know, people know the real deal or are they buying that approach?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, and you know, I was thinking all the last week or so that one of the most derided lines in presidential history was that Michael Dukakis, at the 1988 Democratic Convention said, as you may recall, this election is about ideology. It's about competence. And he, of course, lost. And it wasn't election about ideology. But partly, the reason why it was ideology and not competence was that the public assumed a baseline of competence in anybody elected president.

Donald Trump has kind of pushed that continuum the furthest to one side, I think, of any modern president. His hold on his voters, his connections with his voters is much more about ideology than about competence. It's about kind of affirming cultural resentments and cultural values. There's much less confidence, I think, in his ability to manage the government on a day-to-day basis. Most days, that doesn't matter so much to his voters.

The question is, if we get into a situation where this virus ultimately is more, you know -- it grows into more of a threat than it is today, the question of his ability to manage the government on a day-to-day basis to respond to the things that the federal government must respond to, I think, is going to loom larger in November than it would have been otherwise.

[16:40:17]

WHITFIELD: Wow. And so, Julian, the financial markets took a big hit last week, I mean, to the tune of $3 trillion in value lost over a seven-day period. And then yesterday, the president held a news conference to try to show the administration was taking the public health threat seriously.

But at the same time, you know, here was Vice President Pence this morning defending the president's son in that piece that you just saw talking about what he believes Democrats really want to happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that was Don Jr.'s point, that there has been some very strong rhetoric directed at the president by some members of Congress and --

JAKE TAPPER, STATE OF THE UNION HOST: You don't think that (INAUDIBLE)?

V.P. PENCE: Well --

TAPPER: He said seemingly Democrats want millions of Americans to die of coronavirus.

V.P. PENCE: But responding to the kind of things that have been hurled is understandable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So Julian, you know, the vice president is now in charge of the White House response to the virus. And then here, I mean, maybe if I'm wrong, did we just interpret the vice president essentially giving credence to what Don Trump Jr. was saying?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's exactly what he was doing. And that's actually weaponizing this public health problem and using it for political purposes. And the danger is obviously the public needs to have confidence in what public officials are saying. And they need to be able to hear members of congress, president, scientists, and know what to do.

And when you have the vice president promoting this kind of rhetoric or supporting Don Jr. saying something like that, it weakens the ability of government to handle a problem. It's another attack on science and it's politicizing science at a really critical moment.

So, I think this is a -- it's a risky track that the administration is on right now. WHITFIELD: Yes. It is a little confusing because Ron, the president has plans to go to the CDC. So, is it critical of science or is it embracing science at this time that we're seeing the president do?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, you know, as I listen to the Vice President Pence, I was reminded, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And really, whatever situation they find themselves in, whenever the administration is on the defensive at all, they always come back to some version of the same argument, you know, telling their voters, telling Donald Trump's voters, that they are under siege by forces that don't like them, whether it's immigrants on the one hand or elites and Democrats and the media on the others.

And Donald Trump, I alone can protect you. That's what they do. No matter what they are dealing with, they kind of run back to that frame that the idea that Democrats and the media and other kind of elites are conspiring against you.

You know, the way this could evolve is the president could very much turn this into a kind of -- you see, this is why we need to build walls against the world. Contrast his response to this to President Obama's under Ebola when the U.S. got very involved in helping the frontline states manage the outbreak.

Here, the president is more saying we've got to kind of wall ourselves off away from it. It's going to be quite a contrast with the Democrats if this, in fact, develops into a full-scale public health emergency that dominates more of the summer and fall.

WHITFIELD: And then, Julian, you know, the president has spent his entire first term attacking the media's fake news, even called, you know, this outbreak, you know, a hoax, so dispute that with democratic hoax. So, how might any of that impact, you know, how seriously this threat may be to the American public health?

ZELIZER: It hurts a lot. I mean, we have a public commons and we depend on that commons for information and we need that. That's the midpoint between politicians and the public. And if the president systematically undercuts that public commons, so a lot of the public doesn't trust it anymore or actually sees it as some kind of partisan machine, in moments of public health emergencies or national security emergencies as well, it's harder to get out information.

And I think that's one of the long-term costs, not just of the Trump presidency, but this era we're in. But when the president makes these of kind statements or people around him do, that's the kind of erosion in information that is a consequence of this strategy.

WHITFIELD: All right. Julian Zelizer, Ron Brownstein, good to see you both. Thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, up next, a new chapter for the royal family. The changes Harry and Meghan are expecting as they start their new lives together in Canada.

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[16:44:20]

WHITFIELD: All right. More changes are being made as Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, retreat further from their official royal roles. Just last week, Prince Harry said he wants people to start calling him Harry and drop the prince portion in front of his name.

We also know that Canada, where the couple have taken up part-time residence, will no longer pay for their security. Over the next year, Harry and Meghan plan to split their time between North America and the U.K. where they will work on a nonprofit organization.

So, joining us right now, CNN Royal Commentator, Kate Williams is with us. Kate, good to see you.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Hi.

WHITFIELD: Oh boy. So, life is really changing for them. Are they going to be able to afford their own security?

[16:50:02]

WILLIAMS: This is the big question, Fredricka. You're quite right to ask it because this has been -- right from the beginning, from the moment in which Harry and Meghan said we want to be independent. Initially, of course, they were saying they hoped to be half in, half out of the royal family, a model which I thought was workable, but clearly the royal family thought it was absolutely one or the other.

So, they are very much out. And this is the argument that who is going to fund the security. Canada said they will not fund it. So, I think what you're going to see is having them initially using some of Prince Charles' money. Of course, William uses Prince Charles' money. Harry has before using some of Prince Charles' money.

But increasingly, they would expect their nonprofit, as you were saying, to fund themselves and also some of their other endeavors. Harry was at a conference this week in Scotland, said call me Harry, as you were saying. It was about sustainable travel. We think we'll see them going into sustainable travel, ecology. And we do understand Meghan is having serious meetings about TV and TV producing.

So, with in terms of money, the world is their oyster. I mean, they can make millions if they want to. So, they can fund their own security. And I think they will do. And obviously, they do need it because wherever they go, even though they're not necessarily working royals anymore, they are global megastars.

WHITFIELD: Yes, they sure are indeed. OK. So, balancing a more modern monarchy, you know, and upholding tradition is really nothing new, you know, for the queen, which we get a closer look at in tonight's new "CNN Original Series", "The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty." And here's a preview. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSAMUND PIKE (voice-over), ACTRESS: Summer 1957, a once deferential British press has a new target, Queen Elizabeth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Edward Poynder Grigg, 2nd Baron of Altrincham, is in hot water. In an article in his journal, the "National and English Review", he voiced his criticisms of the queen and her court, which rouse the wrath of much of the national press.

PIKE (voice-over): The attack comes from a committed monarchist, Lord Altrincham, is the son of a former royal courtier.

ALEX GRIGG, LORD ALTRINCHAM'S SON: I think my father had real concerns in a world where Republics had become the norm and monarchy the exception. That a monarchy would become -- seen as an anachronism.

PIERS BRENDON, HISTORIAN: Lord Altrincham is very unhappy with the stuffy, old-fashioned way in which the monarchy is run. He's critical of the courtiers. They'll guard around the queen. And he's particularly critical of the words they put into the queen's mouth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Wow, what a difference of 68 years ago when she first took to the throne. What explains that she is rather modern?

WILLIAMS: Yes. So, this is what the episode tonight is fascinating. This footage, I just love it, of '50s Britain and really showing when she came to the throne she is this (INAUDIBLE) to be able to give this optimism. But things changed very quickly.

There was a scandal about who her sister, Princess Margaret, was going to marry. And then, we saw Lord Altrincham criticizing her. But, you know initially, the queen -- her response to a crisis is often to bury her head in the sand. But really, she saw that Lord Altrincham was saying she's of touch. She seems stuffy. Britain was moving towards the '60s, a more modern time. She had to change and so she did.

But I think, you know, the change is a part of the monarchy. If the monarchy can't change, there was -- if they can't change, if they -- if they (INAUDIBLE) tradition, but if they always want to do things in exactly the same way, they must be flexible, I think, to accommodate what members want because being a part of the monarchy is a gilded cage and it can be too much for some.

WHITFIELD: Traditional yet adaptive. All right, Kate Williams.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much. Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. All right, be sure to tune in to an all new episode of the "CNN Original Series", "The Windsor: Inside the Royal Dynasty" airs tonight at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

Before we go, I want to take the time to spotlight our CNN "Heroes". This week, CNN will reveal its first honoree of 2020. Last year's hero of the year was recognized for her innovative efforts to end the stigma around menstruation in parts of Africa. And that recognition has helped her open minds and doors back home in Ethiopia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The 2019 CNN Hero of the Year is --

KELLY RIPA, ACTRESS: Freweini Mebrahtu.

FREWEINI MEBRAHTU, 2019 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR WINNER: I just could not believe it. To work so hard for this long, I felt like, oh, it is really important.

Almost the entire town was waiting for me at the airport. I don't deserve it but the cause deserve it. The Ethiopian president, she's been wonderful. It's like, wow. I'm in the National Palace to talk about periods. We have a lot of work to do, but the silence has been broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, watch Anderson Cooper's full update and nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero at cnnheroes.com.

[16:55:04]

And thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM with Ana Cabrera right after this.

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