Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Restricts Travel From Europe To The United States; Dow's 11-Year Bull Market Ends; European Countries Blindsided By Trump Travel Ban. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired March 12, 2020 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: An extraordinary move to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Why the White House had to walk back some of that just moments later.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president's plan did not calm the markets. Futures are way down a day after the bull market ended its 11-year run.
JARRETT: The effects are big and getting bigger. A million students are out of school, the NBA season on hold, March Madness will have no fans, and Tom Hanks has coronavirus.
Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.
ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour.
Breaking overnight, President Trump taking drastic steps to curb the spread of coronavirus in the United States. Until now, he has repeatedly downplayed the virus, contradicting his public health officials publicly and even claiming it will just go away.
Cases in the U.S., now almost 1,300 -- the first case just reported in Wyoming.
The president delivered a somber Oval Office address finally acknowledging the gravity of the situation and yet, at the same time, mischaracterizing his own policies. And he didn't answer the most basic of questions about a path forward.
JARRETT: He put blame for a global problem squarely on countries overseas, calling it a foreign virus. He falsely claimed insurers would waive all copays for treatment. And failed to give any real update on testing nationwide and how hospitals would deal with overcrowding.
The president's boldest move, sharply restricting travel to the U.S. for more than two dozen European countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Then within minutes, the administration was forced to admit the restrictions are not as extreme as the president made out. Overnight, the State Department raised the worldwide travel advisory level, urging all Americans to reconsider travel abroad.
The president's announcement caused major havoc for travelers already at the airports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aer Lingus is going to probably come out with a commercial policy like most international airlines at some point in the next 24 hours. The only thing that we really can do here for you is if you really don't want to go -- listen, we're not going to make you go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: President Trump's address was the highest-level reaction to a public health crisis that has engulfed the White House, caused global turmoil in financial markets, and disrupted everyday life.
Kaitlan Collins is at the White House for us.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura and Christine.
The president spoke for about 11 minutes in the Oval Office last night talking about his administration's response to the coronavirus in what really was his first acknowledgment of what a crisis it truly has become not only here in the United States but also around the globe.
But one of the president's most restrictive measures that he announced -- that he was banning all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days starting at midnight on Friday -- had to later be clarified by his DHS secretary who said it wasn't that extensive. Really, essentially offering us the fine print in a statement later on, saying that it was going to suspend the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries leading up to the two weeks before their arrival here in the United States.
But they said this did not apply to legal permanent residents; generally, immediate family members of U.S. citizens; and other individuals identified in the proclamation. So a really important clarification for people who aren't sure whether or not they should be traveling -- how soon they should be returning to the United States.
But also, the president seemed to be saying, when he was talking about that, that trade flowing between Europe and the United States was also going to be affected -- something he later had to respond to in a tweet, saying it was not going to be part of this and it only applied to human beings, not goods, which of course, is incredibly important, as you know, Christine, for how these markets are going to react to the president's speech.
Now, he went on to say several other measures -- talking about how he wanted the Small Business Administration to be doling out loans. There were going to be tax payment deferrals. He wants to take emergency action to make sure people who aren't getting paychecks because they can't go to work are still getting those paychecks. So we'll be waiting to see what exactly the president has to say about this.
But overall, it was this 11-minute speech where the president sought to reassure Americans, hoping -- continuing to say that this is going to have a deadline on it, though health experts still say that's unclear -- what the president's saying. This is just one moment in time. This is not a financial crisis, though.
Of course, it really remains to be seen just how widespread the effects of this are going to be, not given what they already are.
ROMANS: All right, Kaitlan. Thank you for that.
Now, global markets are dropping -- actually, just plummeting this morning after that speech -- after he announced those European travel restrictions. You can see Asian shares closed down sharply. And look at Europe. I mean, obviously, if you're talking about a European travel ban of any sort it's just going to decimate those markets, and that is what is happening here.
Wall Street also pointing to more trouble ahead here. The president did not soothe those jitters on Wall Street. They'd like to know about testing. They'd like to know about hospital overcrowding and how the government is going to -- going to combat that -- not necessarily this travel ban. Even proposed payroll tax relief to keep money in people's pockets did not help.
Global market confidence here just shattered. The Dow's 11-year bull market came to an end, finishing more than 20 percent from its high in February. The S&P 500 hanging on, briefly reaching bear market territory midday. We expect it will crash into a bear market when the market opens the morning. The market reaction and the week's coronavirus headlines confirm what is a new reality for investors. There are more cases. We are learning about social distancing in our lives. There are cancelations, school closures. These are things that grind an economy to a halt.
The president tried to sound a unifying tone last night but his claims the last few weeks have been anything but that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.
Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus.
When you have 15 people and the 15 -- within a couple of days, it's going to be down to close to zero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: So after weeks of those upbeat assessments, the White House is not catching up to markets. More than half of the S&P 500's gains since Trump took office are gone. More than a year -- almost a year and a half of gains wiped away out of these markets.
Airlines and cruise lines cut in half. At Amtrak, future bookings are down by 50 percent and cancelations are up 300 percent. Boeing, the bluest of blue-chip stocks, lost 18 percent yesterday.
Vicious sell-offs. Treasury bonds now signaling a global recession.
JARRETT: European officials say they were completely blindsided by President Trump's announcement on new travel restrictions.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live in Berlin with more. Fred, European officials have to be struggling to understand the logic of this given that European countries haven't been --
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
JARRETT: -- a major source of the virus in the U.S.
PLEITGEN: Well, I think you're absolutely right, Laura. I think a lot of officials here in Berlin and other capitals around the European Union certainly are somewhat blindsided by why it happened. There are some diplomats who apparently said that they thought something might be coming from the United States -- some sort of restriction -- but certainly, nothing of the magnitude of what we're seeing right now.
And, of course, that is something that many people here in Europe fear will have pretty large economic implications. One of the things that President Trump, of course, did say -- he said that the movement of goods would continue. In other words, that trade would continue.
But, of course, when you're looking at international transatlantic companies the reality is a little bit different. You have, for instance, the giant German automakers. Also, American industrial companies who have business in the European Union. They fly experts back and forth between Europe and the United States all the time on a very regular basis.
And, of course, some of the things these experts do you might be able to do in teleconferencing. But if you're talking, for instance, about high-level, top-level engineers who deal with production processes, that is something that is a lot more difficult to do.
Now, of course, we know that companies both in Europe and the U.S. have sort of been adapting to the new coronavirus situation. A lot of them have been stopping what they call non-essential transatlantic travel. So you have had the demand for airline tickets, for instance, go down anyway. But, of course, that now is going to take another major hit.
And then the other big question is how long are airlines going to continue to service those routes? Just yesterday, guys, Lufthansa, the German flying carrier, announced 23,000 flights will be canceled -- some of those also on transatlantic routes, guys.
JARRETT: Twenty-three thousand flights -- my goodness.
All right, Fred. Thanks so much.
ROMANS: All right. The spread of coronavirus is upending everyday life in so many ways.
This stunning move by the NBA putting the season on hold after a number of the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. Last night's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was the first casualty. The teams were on the court, fans were in the stands when the game was abruptly postponed just before tipoff.
And look at the reaction of Dallas Maverick's own Mark Cuban watching his team play elsewhere when he saw the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: This is something out of a movie. And you just don't expect it to happen in real life but that's the randomness of the world we live in. And so, it's stunning but we are where we are and we have to be smart in how we respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: LeBron James also weighing in, tweeting, "Man, we canceling sporting events, school, office work, etc., etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020. Damn, it's been a rough three months. God bless and stay safe."
And a major blow to March Madness. It will go on but without the fans in the stands. That, of course, is a huge revenue loss for the tournament venues across the country. Only essential staff and family members will be allowed to attend.
And one more note. The PGA Players Championship in Florida will go on as scheduled, at least for now.
ROMANS: All right. The gravity of the moment was clear; the path forward was not. What the president's speech means for the effort back the coronavirus.
JARRETT: The World Health Organization now calling the spread of coronavirus a pandemic.
Overnight, California joined Washington State, strongly advising against gatherings of more than 250 people.
Oscar-winner Tom Hanks revealing he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, tested positive for coronavirus. In an Instagram post, Hanks said they contracted it in Australia. He's there for preproduction on a film about Elvis Presley.
Twitter now requiring its nearly-5,000 employees to work from home. Other big companies inside and outside the hotspots have done the same.
ROMANS: Overnight, Starbucks told customers in some stores it will be limited seating to improve social distancing. And in some cases, only the drive-thru will be open.
Late-night comics like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee -- they all announced they will tape without live audiences.
St. Patrick's Day parades in Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. all called off. New York City's parade was postponed -- a new date not yet announced. Same in Chicago where officials say the city's parades and iconic river dying will move to a later date.
JARRETT: And even well-intentioned moves, like closing offices and schools, can leave millions just stranded. Some parents don't have paid sick leave. Plenty of students rely on school for housing and meals. "Education Week" reports more than 1,500 schools have been closed, affecting more than one million K-12 students.
In Framingham, Massachusetts, a school let out early after a parent tested positive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUDENT: I kind of feel scared and I also didn't want to go in the bus, just in case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope not the worst can happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Colleges also face very big decisions. The number of those either moving classes online or canceling them altogether is growing. Some are asking students not to come back from spring break.
Schools with high numbers of students living shared quarters are perfect Petri dishes for this disease, but keeping them away from campus creates new uncertainty for students. Some live in affected countries, some are low-income and rely on financial aid for their housing, and some don't have Internet at home if remote classes are needed to graduate.
And I keep wondering, are you paying tuition and room and board if you're -- they're telling you no, don't come back? It's remarkable.
JARRETT: Right. Are you going to get some rebate of some kind?
ROMANS: Right, exactly.
JARRETT: Well, let's talk with Catherine Lucey, White House reporter for the "The Wall Street Journal," joining us live from Washington.
ROMANS: Hi, Catherine.
CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Hi.
JARRETT: Good to see you, Catherine.
So, the president, behind the resolute desk, gives a somber address. But he doesn't answer, I think, some of the basic questions that people have, like can my kids go to school tomorrow? Should I be going to work?
Instead, he placed the blame on everybody else -- in particular, European countries. He talked about it as a foreign virus even though it is right here on our shores. And he didn't address the testing delays, which have just plagued the U.S. for weeks now.
So where does this leave us?
LUCEY: Yes. So, this really was a shift in tone from the president last night. We really saw, after days of the president trying to downplay the situation -- you know, stressing that it was going to be OK. We did see him take a more serious note and really sort of emphasize the gravity of the situation.
But yes, the focus -- a key focus here was on travel from European countries. He did outline some economic measures he'd like to see.
But I think for a lot of Americans this speech really capped a day of rising anxiety and uncertainty about what's next. You know, followed (INAUDIBLE) even talking about the widespread cancelations, messages coming from schools, from workplaces -- you know, real disruptions to day-to-day American life.
And in terms of easing anxieties or making people feel better going forward, it certainly rattled the stock markets even more --
LUCEY: -- sending those plunging. And so for people who were watching that, that creates more concerns.
And it didn't answer some key questions about testing and about containment and treatment here because obviously, while the president is trying to focus on the idea that this closed -- you know, closing off travel or restricting travel could reduce the virus coming over here -- it is already spreading in communities. Community spread is real. Certain areas of the country are dealing with rapidly escalating cases. And so, that's something that's already on our shores.
ROMANS: I guess it's not a surprise that he would like to sort of close borders to keep new cases from coming because we heard him talk about a cruise ship in San Francisco. He didn't want those people to be disembarking because he didn't want numbers to go higher from outside of American shores.
But the community spread is alive and it's happening quickly. And all the public health officials tell us that this is going to be -- these numbers are going to be getting worse.
I guess I wonder if he has more work to do to get the public to trust him. He did not coordinate this, we're told, with European allies. And that's one of the reasons why the markets are so nervous because this is not sort of a global approach; this is a go-it-alone approach.
And it was just Monday that the president tweeted this.
"So last year, 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment, there are 546 confirmed cases coronavirus with 22 deaths. Think about that!"
There are now 1,300 cases. But even 48 hours ago, this was a president who was downplaying coronavirus and comparing it with the flu.
Is there more work to be kind of like the wartime president?
LUCEY: Well, that's certainly a thing that we're going to be watching him for now. One thing that we've heard a lot from public health experts who are watching this is that when you have mixed messages coming from the president in a time of rising crisis, it's very confusing to the public.
So to hear him say one thing about how this is not a big deal one deal, and then to really sort of shift tact the next day does create a certain amount of confusion, and then can -- creates mistrust in the information that you are getting.
Obviously, this message came from the president on a day where you had health officials on the Hill striking very serious warnings about how this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
And so, I think you are seeing a change in tone from White House. They are taking this seriously. He is also talking about economic measures they want to take, trying to make sure that people know that there will be help for them. But that is also something that is still unfolding as lawmakers and the White House try and work on exactly what they're going to roll out.
JARRETT: Catherine, any indication from within the White House about where this idea for a European travel ban even came from? It wasn't as if we had seen multiple public health experts on T.V. every day saying you know what we really need is a European Union travel ban. I just -- I'm curious if you have any indication about how this even sort of got in the ether over there.
LUCEY: Well, we know -- we know a couple of things. I mean, one -- obviously, is this isn't the first travel restriction the president has put in place. In late January, they -- you know, they restricted some travel coming out of China.
And in the last couple of weeks, even as the president has sought to sort of downplay or ease tension -- anxiety about this, he has repeatedly stressed that as an important thing he has done. He did that again last night. He really sees that as a key move.
We also know that yesterday -- you know, in advance of this speech, our reporting shows that when the president was meeting privately with bankers at the White House, he was talking about what he saw as spread of this within Europe and that he saw this as a problem. So it is obviously something that has been on his mind and that he turned to in this moment.
JARRETT: All right. Well, it remains to be seen how exactly this will go.
Catherine Lucey, thank you so much for getting up --
LUCEY: Thank you.
JARRETT: -- with us. See you soon.
All right, we'll be right back.
JARRETT: U.S. officials say Iran is likely behind a rocket attack that killed two Americans and a British national at the coalition forces base in Taji, Iraq. The U.S. military retweeted pictures taken by Iraqi Forces of a pickup truck with rocket launchers mounted in the back and three rockets still in the chambers.
The U.S. official tells CNN the weapons and tactics suggest Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps was behind the attack. The official said the U.S. will go after the perpetrators inside Iraq. ROMANS: All right, a final look at the markets. On Wall Street, you have market futures down sharply here, more than 1,000 points for the Dow; four percent for the S&P 500.
Overseas, Europe not thrilled with the travel ban, of course. You can see European shares down at least five percent each.
A new bear market is here. The Dow has cratered more than 20 percent from its highs set earlier this year. The S&P 500 barely hanging on, briefly dropping more than 20 percent in a day. Futures show more trouble ahead.
JARRETT: What's going to make this stop, Christine?
ROMANS: When - well, look, right now, all of the fundamentals are the same. We've got more cases, we've got social distancing, cancelations. That's going to grind the economy to a halt.
ROMANS: We have to get through -- we have to get through this difficult period and then there will be snapback. We just don't know when that's going to be.
JARRETT: Right, but the travel ban certainly is not helping.
ROMANS: It does not help at all.
Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.
JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): There's only two ways that countries have reduced the numbers -- massive quarantine or massive testing.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIAL CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "RELIABLE SOURCES": He misspoke about the intensity of what's going on.
TRUMP: We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.
COLLINS: Important clarification in a statement later on, saying that it was going to suspend the entry of most foreign nationals, but this did not apply to legal permanent residents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NBA has announced that the play for the remainder of the year would be suspended.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a serious situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, March 12th, 6:00 here in New York.
And we begin with major developments here in the U.S. on the coronavirus. Last night, President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from 26 European countries into the U.S. He also called the coronavirus outbreak a foreign virus.
The president's prime time address seemed to cause confusion around the world. It did little to calm the financial markets. U.S. stock futures are down sharply.