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STATE OF THE UNION
Does Trump Have a Plan?; Interview With Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R- AR); Interview With Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM); Interview With National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci; Interview With Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 12, 2020 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): At the peak? The death toll soars in the U.S., as the coronavirus ravages American lives.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Even though we're in a holiday season, now is no time to back off.
TAPPER: Did we see the worst this week? One of the Coronavirus Task Force leaders, Dr. Anthony Fauci, joins me to discuss in moments.
And back to business? President Trump says he would like to reopen the country.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to have to make a decision, and I only hope to God that it's the right decision.
TAPPER: But do governors, who will actually make the decision, think it's time? I will speak to the governors of New Jersey, Arkansas, and New Mexico next.
Plus: taking the lead. States are figuring out for themselves how to fight and track the virus.
TRUMP: I like to allow governors to make the decisions without overruling them.
TAPPER: From finding people who gather in large groups to using cell phone data, what's effective and what do Americans find acceptable?
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is looking for signs of hope.
It is Easter Sunday, but the country is still facing a dark reality. There are now more than half-a-million coronavirus cases in the United States, and more than 20,000 dead.
In the last 48 hours alone, the disease has taken more Americans than died on 9/11. Still, as the numbers reach almost unimaginable highs, there are some small signs that the measures that we have all been taking might be working. In New York, a state with more reported cases than any other country, the number of hospitalizations has somewhat flattened.
But, as the economic pain for Americans grow, President Trump is spending the holiday weekend weighing whether or not to change federal guidelines to push governors to reopen the country by May 1. Of course, that decision to lift those restrictions lies with the states and lies with the governors.
So, this morning, we are going to be hearing from three of those leaders.
But I do want to begin this morning with a vital member of President Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Fauci, happy Easter, and thank you so much for joining us today.
The United States reached 2,000 deaths in one day for the first time on Friday.
TAPPER: The United States has passed Italy now for the most reported coronavirus deaths worldwide.
Are we in the worst of it right now, the U.S.? And when do you think we will start to get out of the worst of it?
FAUCI: You know, it's very difficult to predict, Jake.
But as we had said the last time we spoke and predicted last weekend, that this was going to be a really bad week with regard to deaths.
But, as you said, at the same time that a place like the New York metropolitan area had a very -- a really terrible, terrible week of suffering and death, nonetheless, the indications of that part of this machine that drives this outbreak is starting to level off, because on the same day that the New York metropolitan area had the highest number of deaths they had, when you look at the admissions, the hospitalizations, the intensive care, and the need to intubate, that not only has flattened; it's starting to turn the corner.
So, that's where we're hopeful. And it's cautious optimism that we're seeing that decrease. And if you look at the patterns of the curves in other countries, once you turn that corner, hopefully, we will see a very sharp decline.
And then you can start thinking about how we can keep it that way and prevent it from resurging, when you're starting to think about a gradual reentry of some sort of normality, some rolling reentry. So, you're trying to balance two things.
You want to make sure you don't do something prematurely and precipitously. At the same time, you pay attention to the need to try and get back to normal.
TAPPER: And last time we spoke on this show, you told me that, in order to eventually be able to loosen the stay-at-home and social and physical distancing restrictions, the United States would need testing in place for -- quote -- "knowing real time if a person is infected, and then getting them out of circulation and contact tracing" -- unquote.
When do you think the U.S. will have that capacity nationwide for that kind of testing?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, I -- we really can't guarantee every -- every area of the country.
But what we're told by the companies and the people who are getting the antibody test, which doesn't tell you if a person is infected -- it tells you if they have been infected -- and that's going to be important when you think about getting people back into the workplace.
But the other point which is important, if you start, and when one starts to relax some of those restrictions, we know that there will be people who will be getting infected. I mean, that is just reality.
The critical issue is to be able to, in real time, identify, isolate and contact trace. That's called containment. Right now, in places like New Orleans and in New York City. We're in mitigation.
You mentioned the governors. This is really important. I have spent this week on the phone with a considerable number of governors, some of which you -- I believe, are going to be on your on your program later on.
They are really important. I'm deeply impressed about how much they care about the balance of preserving the health of their citizens in their state, at the same time as they cautiously do this reentry.
So, you know, I have confidence that, with the help that we can do federally from the -- from the federal government, to the fact that the states are really committed to doing it right, I think that combination, hopefully, is going to get us to where we want to be.
TAPPER: Based on what you know right now, when do you think the country will be ready to take some of these steps to reopen, based on the availability of testing? When do you see that happening?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, that's a great question.
And that's really what I was inferring when I said a rolling reentry. It is not going to be a light switch that we say, OK, it is now June, July or whatever, click, the light switch goes back on.
It's going to be depending where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you have already experienced, and the threat of an outbreak that you may not have experienced. So, it's going to -- having to look at the situation in different parts of the country.
Obviously, New York, who went and is going through a terrible ordeal, is going to be very different from Arkansas -- and you will hear from the governor shortly -- and very different maybe from some places on the West Coast, like Washington state, which have been successfully able to prevent that big spike.
I think it's going to have to be something that is not one size fits all.
TAPPER: When do you think it could -- it could start?
FAUCI: You know, I think it could probably start, at least in some ways, maybe next month.
And, again, Jake, it's so difficult to make those kinds of predictions, because they always get thrown back at you if it doesn't happen, not by you, but you know by any of a number of people.
We are hoping that, at the end of the month, we could look around and say, OK, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on? If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down.
And that's what, at least for me standpoint of the public health aspect, that we look at.
Other decisions are going to have to be made at the level of the president and the governors about what they are going to do with all of the information they get. The only thing I and my colleagues in public health and medicine can do is to give a projection of the kinds of things that may or may not happen when you make these steps.
TAPPER: And I know you're concerned about the idea of what happens if it happens too quickly, prematurely, and then precipitously, the U.S. or that area of the U.S. goes back to a dire situation.
The University of Washington professor Chris Murray, who I know you're familiar with his work -- he runs the model frequently cited by your task force -- he told CNN that he is worried that, if the country opens up too soon -- quote -- "The risk of rebound is very great."
And according to his model, when it comes to stay at home and social and physical distancing measures -- quote -- "If we were to stop at the national level by May 1, we are seeing a return to almost where we are now sometime in July."
Do you agree with him? And what happens if parts of the country...
TAPPER: ... try to go back to some semblance of normal...
TAPPER: ... but the testing and contact tracing capacity is not there?
FAUCI: Well, I mean, Chris is a very good modeler. And we relied on him heavily to give us some capability of making some projections.
But I believe what they were referring to in that model, Jake -- and it's important -- is, I agree. That's why I said a few moments ago, if you just say, OK, it's whatever, May 1, click, turn -- turn the switch on, obviously, if you do it in an all-or-none way, there's an extraordinary risk of there being a rebound.
So, in that respect, that model is correct. And that's why I mean it is not an all or none. It's going to be something that you gradually and carefully, in different parts of the country in different ways, try to get back.
I totally I agree if that, all of a sudden, we decide, OK, it's May whatever, and we just turn the switch on, that could be a real problem. And everybody knows that. So, it's going to be something different from that.
It's going to be a concerted way to take a look and try doing it appropriately, depending upon where you are in the country and what the nature of the outbreak is in that part of the country.
And I'm sure you will hear the same thing from the governors.
TAPPER: South Korea and the U.S. announced their first confirmed coronavirus cases at virtually the same time in late January.
If you take a look at where we are right now in the U.S., the U.S. now has 50 times more cases and almost 100 times more fatalities than South Korea.
Meanwhile, while the U.S. makes up only about 4.25 percent of the world's population, the U.S. has 30 percent of the world's reported coronavirus cases and almost 20 percent of the reported coronavirus deaths.
Sanjay Gupta said that's -- this is all because we got started too late in the U.S.
Is that right? Do you agree?
FAUCI: You know, it isn't as simple as that, Jake. I'm sorry.
I mean, to just say this is all happening because we got started too late, obviously, if you look, could you have done something a little bit earlier, it would have had an impact, obviously.
But where we are right now is the result of a number of factors, the size of the country, the heterogeneity of the country. It's -- I think it's a little bit unfair to compare us to South Korea, where they had an outbreak in Daegu, and they had the capability of immediately, essentially, shutting it off completely in a way that we may not have been able to do in this country.
So, obviously, it would have been nice if we had a better head start, but I don't think you could say that we are where we are right now because of one factor. It's very complicated, Jake.
TAPPER: "The New York Times" reported yesterday that you and other top officials wanted to recommend social and physical distancing guidelines to President Trump as far back as the third week of February, but the administration didn't announce such guidelines to the American public until March 16, almost a month later.
FAUCI: You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it's not.
But we -- it is what it is. We are where we are right now.
TAPPER: Do you think lives could have been saved if social distancing, physical distancing, stay-at-home measures had started third week of February, instead of mid-March?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, again, it's the what would have, what could have.
It's -- it's very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say, that if you had a process that was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that.
But what goes into those kinds of decisions is -- is complicated. But you're right. I mean, obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different.
But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.
TAPPER: Do you think it will be safe in November for voters to physically go to vote at the polls?
FAUCI: I hope so, Jake. I can't guarantee it.
I believe that, if we have a good, measured way of rolling into this, steps towards normality, that we hope, by the time we get to November, that we will be able to do it in a way which is the standard way.
However -- and I don't want to be the pessimistic person -- there is always the possibility, as that -- as we get into next fall, and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound.
And, hopefully, hopefully, what we have gone through now, and the capability that we have for much, much better testing capability, much, much better sera surveillance capability, and the ability to respond with countermeasures, with drugs that work, that it will be an entirely different ball game. So, number one, I hope we don't have a rebound that would make this
very difficult as we get into November. But, if we do -- and there certainly is a possibility -- I'm a realist -- it certainly is a possibility -- hopefully, we will be able to respond to that rebound in a much more effective way than what we have seen now in January, February, March.
TAPPER: You're a man of medicine, a man of science.
But today's Easter Sunday. And I know that your Catholic face -- faith and your Jesuit education played an important role in your upbringing and how you look at the task in front of you today.
On this holy day of Easter, what role does faith play in this immense task you have before you?
FAUCI: You know, I think faith means different things to different people.
People with a strong foundation in faith, I think, is very, very important when you go through serious, really terrible ideal -- ordeals -- excuse me -- that the country is going through. I think faith helps people through this.
I just know my father, who was a man of deep, deep faith. And when there were times in his life and in the life of the country where he needed solace, I mean, his faith was just extraordinary. I was always in awe of him. And I think that there are many, many people that way.
So, faith is a good thing. Science, you have to do what science is, but the faith, in how you deal with stress -- I mean, we're going through a historic ordeal right now.
This -- this is -- people are going to write about this as a terrible affront on us as a nation to our health and to our well-being. It's tough, and faith will take an important role.
TAPPER: All right.
Well, on this Easter Sunday, God bless you, Dr. Fauci. We appreciate your leadership and we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today.
FAUCI: You too, Jake. And the best to you and your family.
TAPPER: Coming up next, we're going to -- thank you, sir.
Coming up next, we're going to check in on one of the states hardest- hit by the coronavirus. As the death toll climbs, is there also some cause for hope in New Jersey?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to the STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
New Jersey, the Garden State, is behind only New York when it comes to coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S., with more than 58,000 infected and more than 2,000 dead.
But amid that grim news this weekend, New Jersey's governor says he is seeing some cause for hope.
Joining me now, the Democratic governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy.
Governor Murphy, happy Easter to you on this very difficult weekend.
Let me ask you. The first case in your state was reported on March 4. Now, not even six weeks later, you stand at over 58,000 cases.
A key coronavirus model cited by the White House task force says New Jersey reached its peak last Wednesday. Does that match with what you're seeing on the ground?
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): First of all, happy Easter, Jake. It's good to be with you.
Yes and no. I mean, we have lost 2,183 blessed souls from our state, which is just staggering. We look at a handful, probably four or five different models. Some of the -- some of those models, in their best- case scenarios, have us in a peak right now. Some of them, in a more sobering reality, have us peaking many weeks from now at higher numbers.
I hope it's the former and not the latter.
Again, we look at a whole range of inputs and try our best to stay out ahead of this and base our decisions based on the facts.
TAPPER: And President Trump is considering calling for a reopening of the U.S. economy and relaxing the social and physical distancing and stay-at-home guidelines on May 1, potentially. That's just 19 days away.
Do you think parts of New Jersey will be ready to try to go back to something resembling normal in that time, by May 1?
MURPHY: Listen, Jake, if we are, I will be the happiest guy not maybe even in New Jersey, but in America. It would be great.
I do know this. There's a sequence here that we have to abide by. And that is, we need a health care recovery, a health recovery first, and then the economic recovery. It has to come in that sequencing.
And I fear, if we open up too early, and we have not sufficiently made that health recovery and cracked the back of this virus, that we could be pouring gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently. So, listen, I will be -- again, I will be the happiest guy around if we're able to reopen at that point. And we will continue -- you know, this is iterative. Each day, you have a different set of data that you didn't have the day before.
But we will continue to do everything we can to stay out ahead of this.
TAPPER: Governor Cuomo of your neighboring state of New York talked on Friday about there being a potential second wave of the disease in your area. And you just heard Dr. Fauci say something similar about his concerns about what might happen in the fall.
I know that you, everybody wants to go back to some semblance of normal, opening up for business as soon as possible.
Is there a plan that you have to keep people safe even after some of these restrictions have been lifted?
MURPHY: Yes, I mean, that's -- it's not job number one, because, right now, the house is on fire, and job number one is to put the fire out.
But it is the job right -- it's job 1-A. In fact, we have spent a significant amount of time this weekend sort of beginning to war-game on that.
You mentioned Governor Cuomo. One of the area -- one of the many areas that he and I agree on is that, in this respect, whether it's testing, contact tracing, the rules of the road such that you don't have -- you don't have unintended consequences or you get a different set of policies on one side of the Hudson vs. the other, or one side of the Delaware River in our case or the other, is, we need to do this regionally.
And that's something that we're committed to, I know he's committed to, to make sure that not only do we bring our states to a closure together in harmony, but, when we reopen, we're doing so in broad harmony as well, including the testing and the other health care infrastructure we're going to need to make sure we don't see another round two of this.
TAPPER: In terms of testing and infrastructure, where is New Jersey when it comes to testing? Do you have enough tests? Do you have enough labs to do the tests?
Do you have -- do you your health care workers have enough personal protective equipment? Do your patients have enough ventilators?
Just give us a quick update on that, if you could.
MURPHY: Broadly speaking, Jake -- and there's -- there's more nuance to the answer, depending on the specifics -- the answer is no. In other words, we have enough testing material, personal protective
equipment. Our health -- our heroic health care workers are stretched incredibly thin. So, we are testing only for symptomatic patients. That's a decision we made from day one.
I think we have got the fifth most tests taken of any American state. We have got the 11th largest population, so we're punching above our weight, but we do not have universal testing. And we would love to have that.
We're fighting to stay ahead on bed capacity, ventilators that are constantly running thin, the medicine you need for those ventilators, the personal protective equipment, and the relief from the bullpen for our health care workers.
So, we are every minute of every day on all of those fronts doing everything we can to stay out ahead of it.
TAPPER: You closed schools on March 18. You issued a stay -- statewide stay-at-home order on March 21. Both of those came after Ohio closed schools and California issued a stay-at-home order.
Former CDC Director Tom Frieden told "The New York Times" that the death toll in New York City could have been cut in half if closures had been put in place a week or two earlier.
Do you think the same is true for New Jersey? Should New Jersey have acted sooner than it did?
MURPHY: Listen, we acted, Jake, about as soon as any American state.
I mean, along with Ohio, California, Washington, New York, I mean, we were among the first. And we're probably, as I sit here today, the tightest.
But, boy, we will do a postmortem. Please, God, I hope we do a national postmortem that's not partisan, that just asks the tough questions that were asked by the 9/11 Commission, I might add, chaired by one of my mentors, Governor Tom Kean, here in New Jersey.
We're going to need to do the same thing in our state. The woulda, shoulda, coulda deserves a -- an important focus. Right now, again, the house is on fire. We got to put the fire in the house out, and then we got to begin to get back on our feet.
And then, at that point, we have to look back and say, what could we have done differently?
TAPPER: Governor Murphy, God bless you. God bless the citizens of New Jersey.
Stay in touch. Let us know what you need. We really appreciate your taking the time.
MURPHY: Thanks for having me, Jake. Happy Easter.
TAPPER: My next guest is one of the few governors who has not issued a stay-at-home order for his state. He has issued some guidelines.
Is his approach working?
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Arkansas is one of eight states that has not imposed stay-at-home guidelines. Instead, Arkansas has closed schools, restaurants, and bars, banned indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and encouraged people who are going out to wear masks, all of which the governor says is helping slow the spread. And the Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, joins me now.
Governor Hutchinson, happy Easter, thanks for joining us on this difficult, difficult time. You said on Friday that Dr. Fauci called you and gave his -- quote -- "stamp of approval" to the measures you've taken in your response to the virus. But Arkansas is one of just a handful of states that has not yet put in place an official stay-at-home order. Do you think other governors have made a mistake by putting in place stay-at-home orders?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): No, not at all. It just reflects the flexibility a state needs. I applaud that New Jersey and New York, they've had to really lock down. They have a high density population. But we have less density in our population here in Arkansas. And I think we can take this targeted approach, which has proven to be effective.
On the first day we had one case, I declared a public emergency. We proceeded, as you said, to close the schools and other things. And then we're targeting where we need to. But look at the results. Right now we have about 80 hospitalizations and we have 8,000 hospital beds and, of course, they're empty because we're not doing elective surgery.
And so we're beating that trend line where our -- in terms of our cases, it's better, we're increasing our testing. And right now, I would like to think that we're at the peak, but we're at least flat. And hopefully we won't peak later, we'll peak sooner. But there's a lot of hope and optimism this Easter that our tough time is behind and we're going to be getting better.
TAPPER: Well, I sure hope that's right. But let me ask you, you talked about the density playing a role. And I understand that Arkansas is not like New York in that respect, but Little Rock is. And you are not letting different little towns or cities or localities in Arkansas to make their own stay-at-home orders if they want to. The mayor of Little Rock said that that's making his situation more difficult. Why not let mayors impose a stay-at-home if they want?
HUTCHINSON: We have a good partnership with the mayors. We've negotiated where there's curfew, where it's helpful. They can close the park if they need to. And so those are some of the targeted responses.
But if you look at this, we want to take the long term approach to this. And you're not going to win simply by a lockdown because there's no such thing as a true lockdown where everybody stays at home and does not go out. You're going to have, if we put a shelter-in-place order today, tomorrow we would have 700,000 Arkansans that will be going out on the streets going to work.
The most important message is that you wear your mask, you do your social distancing and the people of Arkansas have embraced that. And, again, it has given us success. That's the focus we have, and that way we can be engaged in this for the long term. Because I hope that this ends soon but we all (INAUDIBLE) coming back next year, are we going to be prepared for this? And you cannot lock down. You cannot shelter in place for six months.
And so our approach, emphasizing the masks, the social distancing, being in it for the long term, being able to have a modicum of business that's going ahead and functioning out there, that's important balance that we have in our state. And I assured Dr. Fauci when I spoke to him this week, that if we need to do more, we will do more. And so that's always an option on the table if we have to shelter in place. But right now, what we're doing proves to be successful in this targeted approach.
TAPPER: Let me ask you, because I was looking at the Arkansas numbers. One month ago your state had one case and zero deaths. Two weeks ago you had more than 400 cases and five deaths. Now you have more than 1,200 cases and at least 25 deaths.
I mean, something that we've learned from watching places such as Italy, Spain, Washington State, California, is that extreme measures do work in terms of controlling how many people get the disease and how many people die from it. Why not take these extreme steps, more extreme steps than you have taken, that have been proven to work so far given the fact that it does seem like Arkansas is still on the upslope?
HUTCHINSON: Well, whenever you look at the 1,200 cases that we have, that is more than a thousand short of the projections. Whenever you look at the projections, we were going to be skyrocketing. When we were starting this, we were looking at War Memorial Stadium as a potential place to house patients. But today, we have -- let me emphasize here, we have 80 that are hospitalized because of COVID-19. We have 8,000 hospital beds available.
That means we're not doing elective surgeries. We've really shut down a lot of our hospitals out there. We have this excess capacity. We have 80 that's hospitalized. And that's remaining steady.
You look at our surrounding states, and two counties in our surrounding states, there are more COVID-19 cases than there are in the entire state of Arkansas. And so we're doing that targeted approach to prevent that spread here in this state and we'll do more if need be.
TAPPER: Well, I certainly hope it continues to work.
You have said that you support moving forward with no excuse mail-in absentee voting in your state given the issues with in-person voting that could be caused by coronavirus. So just to be clear, that means you do not believe that widespread absentee voting fraud exists?
HUTCHINSON: We have absentee voting in Arkansas, but you have to have a reason for it. We have some special elections recently, and I said you can have no-excuse, as my emergency powers. We need to have that in November as well, in the event we still have this national emergency, because we want to have people be able to safely vote.
No, with our absentee voting system, I'm not concerned about the fraud aspect of it. That's absentee, it's not mail-in, it's absentee, no- excuse voting, but they vote in person.
TAPPER: Today is Easter Sunday, obviously your state has banned indoor gatherings of more than 10 people but it exempts church services as long as individuals there follow social and physical distancing at the church services.
You have been discouraging large religious gatherings because of an earlier outbreak at a church in your state which infected more than three dozen people. Are there going to be consequences for anybody in Arkansas who goes to church services today and violates the guidelines that you have called for?
HUTCHINSON: Well, because they're guidelines, there's not going to be any arrests made or citations made. But the consequence would be that if there's a serious health risk because of a gathering, we'll give a very specific directive and have a discussion with that church, which happened in one in northeast Arkansas. The pastor responded very quickly when our public health officials went there.
So just virtually all of the churches in Arkansas are following the guidelines very carefully. They're just as concerned about their parishioners as I am as governor. And so we're worshipping remotely this Easter. And I expect everybody to make sure they follow those social distancing guidelines and not gather whenever you have a risk.
TAPPER: All right. Governor Hutchinson, God bless you and the people of Arkansas this Easter Sunday. We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today.
HUTCHINSON: Thanks so much, Jake. Appreciate it.
TAPPER: Could data from your cell phone be helping authorities figure out whether people are following stay-at-home orders? That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
As many families wake up this Easter Sunday there will be one more big change to their routines. Many will not be able to worship at church. Yesterday afternoon New Mexico became the latest state to extend its ban on mass gatherings to include houses of worship.
And joining me now the Democratic governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham. Governor Lujan Grisham, thanks so much for joining us and happy Easter to you during this very difficult time.
President Trump is considering calling for Americans to go back to work, easing federal, social and physical distancing guidelines as soon as May 1st. You predicted the peak in New Mexico could come as late as the end of May. What will you do if the president calls for an easing of those guidelines on May 1st?
GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D-NM): We're going to make the decisions that safeguard New Mexicans. Everything we do is about protecting live and first responders or health care workers.
I think this is the problem with not having a national strategy. This virus is blind to state borders. And if we had better national strategies and better national (INAUDIBLE) and universal testing and software-based (ph) contract tracing then we can really figure out when opening makes sense and we could actually start to do that in the country.
So I'm going to do whatever is right for New Mexico. And we've began looking at recovery options but we aren't going to anything until that peak occurs and we're clear about not having hospitalizations and reducing the number of people that are positive every day in our surveillance and testing efforts.
TAPPER: Your office has been relying on data from a company called Descartes Labs to track New Mexicans' movements, to see whether New Mexicans as a whole are adhering to social distancing guidelines. You've said the data come from millions of cell phones and you don't know whose cell phone is whose.
For your constituents out there who might have privacy concerns about this, can you explain exactly how this data collection is happening and what oversight there is in the process?
LUJAN GRISHAM: Well, a couple of things. I think that some folks got confused that somehow this is state data and state effort, and it isn't. It's also aggregate cell phone data for the entire country.
And Descartes Labs is a data -- large data firm. And they do incredible work managing any huge types of information that can be beneficial. So we treat this as a tool that allows us to figure out whether our social distancing, more than just looking at the cases, but look at where people are traveling, how long they're traveling, and get a sense about whether or not we need to do something else that limits person to person contact and enhances our social distancing.
In terms of oversight, if there was anything that we thought in this company or anybody else that was breaching already robust federal or state laws protecting privacy, A, we wouldn't have a relationship and, B, we would do the appropriate accountability. But they're just using aggregate data. We don't have any idea who any of the cell phone numbers belong to, not just in New Mexico but nowhere in the country. But it is a very useful tool to get a sense about how social distancing works and what the benefits of that are.
TAPPER: I want you to take a listen to the surgeon general at the White House task force briefing on Friday where he addressed racial disparities in coronavirus cases and deaths. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: The chronic burden of medical ills is likely to make people of color especially less resilient to the ravages of COVID-19 and if possibly, in fact likely, that the burden of social ills is also contributing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now the surgeon general said that the administration is taking steps to -- quote -- "reach, protect, and strengthen all communities impacted by this disease especially communities of color." Nearly half your state's population is Hispanic. Are you seeing the same trend in your state, and if so, how are you dealing with that?
LUJAN GRISHAM: So, absolutely. And we know that the social determinants of health, poverty, lack of access to adequate shelter, food, health care, is an aspect that makes this virus and our efforts to combat it and provide productive treatment incredibly challenging. Add that that we also have 6 percent of our population is Native American. We have 23 distinct sovereign nations.
A couple of days ago 25 percent of our cases, positive COVID-19 cases are Native American. Some of these areas, particularly in the Navajo nation, you're in a situation where you've got folks living without access to water and electricity. And this creates unique challenges.
I do think actually the administration is clear that they need to do more. We're looking at a regional strategy to support the leadership of the Navajo nation between Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. We're putting out field hospitals, triage centers.
And I will tell you that the pueblo nations in New Mexico have really looked at containment strategies for their community, and we're supporting that, right? Where we have road blocks -- nobody in, nobody out. We're delivering food through the National Guard, and we hope this not only slows the spread but gives us better support to the individuals living in these remote areas in New Mexico. But it's concerning. Huge number, percentage of the cases, a number of individuals with, say, coexisting disorders that are really problematic with COVID-19, like diabetes.
TAPPER: Permit me one question that doesn't have to do with this pandemic. Permit me one question, if I could. Your name has been floated as a potential vice presidential pick for Vice President Biden. Do you want to be the vice president? Do you think you'd be good at it?
LUJAN GRISHAM: Well, I will do this. I think that you want a vice president that was much like former Vice President Biden.
He knew how to govern. He had done a ton of work as a senator and in local government as well, and I think that those are incredible attributes.
I want to be the governor of New Mexico. I will do whatever it takes to support a Biden administration, and I'm looking forward to a federal administration that can do a national strategy in good times and in bad times both.
TAPPER: All right. God bless you, Governor, and the citizens of New Mexico. Appreciate it. Happy Easter to you and thanks for talking to us.
LUJAN GRISHAM: Thank you, Jake. Thanks for having me this morning.
TAPPER: Trump is taking questions from reporters nearly every day, but that does not mean he's answering them. The president continually responds to urgent questions from the media about the coronavirus pandemic by attacking the journalists asking the questions, no matter how relevant or vital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're a third-rate reporter. And what you just said is a disgrace.
That was a nasty question from CNN. You're just incapable of asking a question in a positive way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: You heard that right. Amid a global pandemic and tens of thousands of infected and dead Americans, the president is upset that journalists are not asking questions in a positive way and are instead asking him challenging questions, questions he clearly does not want to answer, questions that he does not want you to think about, such as the April 6th HHS inspector general report that surveyed 323 U.S. hospitals that lacked enough testing equipment, to say nothing of PPE, masks, ICU beds, or more, asked about by FOX News Kristin Fisher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEW CORRESPONDENT: I know you don't want to talk about the inspector general report, but testing is still a big issue in this country.
TRUMP: We're the federal government. We're not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing.
You should say, congratulations, great job, instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: There's nothing horrid about the question. Mr. President, on March 6th, you visited the CDC, and you said anyone who wants a test can get a test. That was not true then. It remains untrue today.
Any responsible path out of this situation requires much more widespread testing than the U.S. is doing right now. What is the plan to ramp it up even more, sir? How many more Americans will be tested? And by when? Then there's this question from CBS' Weijia Jiang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEIJIA JIANG, CBS NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yesterday Jared Kushner said the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use. What did he mean by "our"?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The president responded by calling that a gotcha question. It's not. And saying that the reporter should be ashamed of herself. She shouldn't.
But, Mr. President, the American people want to know, what responsibility do you believe the federal government has when it comes to aiding states with supplies from the federal stockpile? Colorado's Democratic governor said that FEMA had swooped in and grabbed ventilators that his state was trying to get, and then days later, you announced that you were giving ventilators to Colorado because of the efforts of a vulnerable Republican senator from that state.
What do you and Jared Kushner mean when you say "our" stockpile? What is the plan with the stockpile? Then there's this question from McClatchy's Francesca Chambers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, MCCLATCHY WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The Paycheck Protection Program has got off to a confusing start for some small businesses --
TRUMP: I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: President Trump interrupted to disagree and criticized Chambers for not asking him a -- quote -- "positive question," about how the program had gotten off to a -- quote -- "tremendous start." Look, Mr. President, everyone wants this program to work, but the fact remains, that there are issues with the Paycheck Protection Program.
How are those kinks being fixed? What is the plan? Attacking journalists who ask questions does not make those questions go away. It only reveals that you might not have the answers.
Again, sir, respectfully, what is the plan for a way out of this? Do you have one?
Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. Happy Easter.
"FAREED ZAKARIA" starts next.