Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Interview With Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH); Stimulus Checks Delayed to Add Trump's Signature?; Interview With Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 15, 2020 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:32:35]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And we're back.

We had a little technical issue on my end at the end of that interview. I didn't get a chance to properly bid adieu to the speaker of the House.

So, I want to bring her back right now that my camera is functioning and ask her another question, as long as I have her.

Speaker Pelosi, thanks for bearing with us.

I know you're going to challenge President Trump and his desire to pause funding for the World Health Organization.

I have to say, I have followed your career enough to know that you're actually a pretty strong China hawk. You have been very critical of the Chinese government since I have been covering you now, for decades.

Do you not see the point that President Trump has to make, which is that the Chinese government was not transparent, covered up a lot of what was going on in Wuhan, and then the World Health Organization, at the very least, seemed to enable it?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Well, first, let me thank you for the opportunity to talk about small business, because there's nothing more entrepreneurial, more optimistic that anyone can do than to start a small business, maybe except get married. But, anyway, you weigh the equities.

And so we want to support the small businesses, all of them, and support the PPP, and hope that we can work together to do that. Having said that, what the Republicans are proposing will not get unanimous consent in the House of Representatives.

In terms of the World Health Organization, the position that the president is taking, you asked, does it make sense? I say it's senseless. The World Organization -- Organization is there to fight disease, pandemics and all this throughout the world.

And for us, as the United States of America, to undermine that just doesn't make sense. And that's why you see even some -- I don't know if the Republicans

will speak out, but I know they have -- many of them have supported the World Health Organization in the past.

Whatever the situation is as far as China is concerned -- and that's a matter of science to tell us what the story is there. But the fact is that the scientists, the technology, the convergence of all of these resources in a global way, because this is a global pandemic, as you know, is something that to -- for us to say we're not a part of, again, is senseless.

TAPPER: All right, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much.

Continue to stay healthy and safe. We agree -- we appreciate your time today.

[16:35:01]

PELOSI: Same to you. Thank you.

Thank you, at this sad time. Thank you so much.

TAPPER: Today, the IRS insists adding President Trump's name to paper stimulus checks will not slow down delivery.

"The Washington Post" first reported the addition of the president's name on the checks, saying that the decision could possibly delay the issuance of the checks.

Let's bring in CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley to talk about this.

And, Julia, the IRS is reportedly rushing to send off the paper checks for printing by tomorrow. It's unprecedented to have a president's name on a check like this. And it's not easy just to add it.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: No, it's not. It requires computer coding changes. The system then has to be rechecked.

But to your point, the Treasury and now the IRS confirming that these checks will be going out from next week, and that is on schedule. I guess we leave it to others, Jake, to impress the point on how essential it was to have the president's name on these checks, when people are so desperate for money.

TAPPER: Retail sales fell 8.7 percent in March. That's the worst drop on record, according to the Census Bureau.

That doesn't mean that all factions of the retail industry are down, however

CHATTERLEY: No, you're right.

We're buying more online than I think we have ever done. Amazon, of course, hiring thousands of workers just to cater to that demand. What we're buying here is essentials. We're hoarding groceries, we're buying medicines.

That's what these numbers show. What we're not buying is the things we don't need, because we're sitting at home, things like clothes, a new car, for example. But net-net, we're spending a lot less.

I think the key for these numbers is that, as bad as March was, this month is going to be worse. We have seen millions more people filing for unemployment benefits. And it will be a whole month basically spent shutting doors and staying at home.

This last month is bad. April will be worse.

TAPPER: While many small businesses have applied to get loans from the Small Business Administration through the paycheck protection plan, which we were just talking about with Speaker Pelosi, there are a couple discrete industries that are suing because they're not eligible.

Specifically, lobbyists and strip clubs are not eligible.

What's the story there?

CHATTERLEY: Two strip clubs, in particular, are now suing the government or the Small Business Administration.

They're saying, look, they're struggling, they need a grant from the paycheck protection scheme to pay their workers. Those workers just happened to work at a sex-related venue or a strip club. But it's not just them, remember. It's lobbyists too are saying they should be eligible for these loans. And they aren't.

What it's going to come down to is a legal decision on who and whose workers are allowed to get access to these things. But, of course, legal decisions take time, Jake, and these are businesses that are struggling, like anybody else.

TAPPER: It's interesting. I'm sure that Congress thought that they didn't want any stories about lobbyists or strip club owners getting this money.

CHATTERLEY: Free money.

TAPPER: But the question, if you don't like those industries, try to outlaw them. I mean, they're part of the American system.

Julia Chatterley, thanks so much.

Our next guest is refusing to listen to some of his colleagues calling to reopen some parts of his state.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is live with us next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:42:45] TAPPER: Breaking news: The city of Los Angeles may have to wait until 2021 before large gatherings, such as concerts or sporting events, will be able to legally resume. This is according to internal e-mails obtained by "The Los Angeles Times."

Mayor Eric Garcetti suggested these events may not be approved for at least one year, according to "The Times." His spokesperson confirmed the mayor's comments, saying -- quote -- "The mayor was referencing best practices for safely reopening our economy."

Joining me now to discuss this and much more is the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine.

Governor DeWine, what do you think about the next time you can go to a Browns game or a Reds game? Do you foresee concerts, sporting events canceled in Ohio until 2021?

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): You know, I don't really know.

You know, if you start looking at what you're going to do sequentially, probably, the last thing you open back up is a big event, where you have got a lot of people, whether it's a concert or whether it's a football game, or, you know, a baseball game.

And those are all, you know, near and dear to my heart, and I know for many Ohioans and Americans.

But...

TAPPER: Seems like the shot for Governor DeWine has just gone out. We will bring him back whenever we can.

Oh, he's back here. OK.

You were saying, Governor -- Governor DeWine, you were saying that those are near and dear to your heart, and then you froze up.

Go ahead. I'm sorry.

DEWINE: Oh.

Well, I just think those are probably the last things that you can open up. I think any big gathering is something that's going to be the last thing. I mean, you're going to start to try to get some businesses back that can practice the distancing and do those things, before you're able to open up to the big concerts.

And, you know, one of the things I talked about today to the people of Ohio is that, until we get a vaccine, things are not going to be really normal. And, you know, particularly people who are high at risk, people who, because of their age or because of some medical condition, you know, are going to be exceedingly careful, until we get that vaccine.

[16:45:06] And I'm sure they're going to be weighing the odds of, if I go to a football game or I go to a baseball game, is that -- is that really worth it? And that's, again, someone who's a big fan, but it's a different world until we get a vaccine.

TAPPER: Right.

Let's turn to the situation specifically in Ohio, where you have suffered more than 7,500 coronavirus cases and more than 320 deaths from the virus. I think it's 324 at this hour.

Now, you have said your team is working on a plan to reopen the state. What would be the first step in trying to do that? And do you have any sort of timeline in mind?

DEWINE: Well, we have reached out to businesses, both those that we have already deemed essential and those that were deemed nonessential, and started working with them about how they can provide a safe workplace for their employees.

And we have had some experience. We have had companies that have done a very good job that have stayed open during this epidemic. So, that's a place we start. We also look to our hospitals. We have stopped elective surgeries at our hospitals, because we don't have enough personal protection equipment.

So, once we're sure that we have enough personal protection equipment, we will be able to then start rolling those things out with a hospital, so they can get back to taking care of people on things that are not just total emergencies.

TAPPER: And do you have any idea when you might start to take some of these initial steps? Would it be May 1, which is a goal that President Trump is talking a lot about? Would it be strictly based on what your health commissioner and others tell you whether that's in June or July?

What are you thinking?

DEWINE: Well, we're thinking we got to look at the numbers.

I mean, what we have seen in Ohio in the last weak is that we have -- looks like we have leveled off, fairly flat now in regard to hospital admissions. And so that's a good thing.

We want to see if we get another week of that and see if this is really the right trend. And what we'd like to see, of course, is those numbers to start down.

But we're already moving forward with plans. But, no, we do not have a specific date. That's going to depend on as we see these facts unfold. We got to get back. We have got to get people back working. But at the same time, we don't want to be in a situation where we do things that dramatically shove that curve up again, and we're back at the problem again. And we're going to live with this virus, I guess, is my message to people of Ohio. We're going to live this -- with this virus until we get a vaccine. And so that's going to mean different things. It's going to mean we're going -- people who are working are going to have masks on.

People who are out in public are going to have those on. A lot of different things are going to -- things are just going to be different. And that's the sad truth.

TAPPER: And are you going to make your decision regardless of whether President Trump calls for governors to start to take steps to reopen businesses on May 1, or are you going to listen to what he wants to do?

DEWINE: Well, we're certainly going to listen to the president.

I think one of the things that people miss is that we have a lot of exchange back and forth with the vice president and the president. This week, we had an hour-and-a-half conference with governors and the vice president, and it was just great.

They do this all the time. And so we're exchanging information back and forth all the time. We're going to take -- certainly take that into consideration.

Ultimately, we have to craft a plan that is uniquely Ohio, for Ohioans. And Ohioans are anxious to get back to work. We have got to make sure that they can do it in a safe way, and that we can protect them.

TAPPER: Governor Mike DeWine, thank you so much. Best of luck to you and the good citizens of Ohio.

DEWINE: Thank you.

TAPPER: We appreciate your time.

DEWINE: Thank you.

TAPPER: There are only around 45,000 people there, but it has the highest coronavirus death rate per capita in the United States.

We will take you there next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:54:00]

TAPPER: Today, the number of coronavirus cases around the world has now passed two million.

New Zealand's prime minister and her Cabinet are going to take a 20 percent pay cut for the next six months. India is restarting some industries as early as next week, despite a lockdown. They include farming and fishing, construction, e-commerce, and

transportation. In Japan, health experts are warning if coronavirus is not contained, 400,000 people in that country could die.

CNN's Will Ripley joins me now live from Tokyo.

Will, why do experts think the death toll could be so high in Japan?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a staggering number, Jake.

And this is from a leading panel of experts assembled by the Japanese Health Ministry. This is their worst-case scenario, if Japan does not implement social distancing measures, and they have a long way to go to reach the government's goal of 70 to 80 percent reduction in human- to-human contact.

But some social distancing measures are already in place. So, I think, realistically, they're not expecting 400,000 people to die. But they are expecting a huge number of people to die in this country if much more dramatic steps are not taken immediately to slow the spread of this virus.

[16:55:10]

The problem is that they have had a really hard time with the messaging to the public, Jake, messaging that only really began after the announcement of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The government for a long time was focusing on a strategy of very minimal testing, tracing clusters, contact tracing, a strategy that was convenient for the government when they were trying to save the Olympics, but now they found themselves with a basically an artificially low number of cases and no real idea of how much this virus is spreading.

And, also, Jake, there's a real shortage of ventilators and ICU beds. Japan did not bolster its public health system.

TAPPER: Will Ripley in Tokyo, thank you so much.

A new nationwide study from Harvard University says coronavirus patients with previous high exposure to air pollution are more likely to die from the infection. That might be why one parish in Louisiana is seeing the highest death rate outside of New York state, as CNN's Ed Lavandera reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In mid-March, Diane (ph) and Edward Jasmine attended church services led by their son in LaPlace, Louisiana.

Pastor Antoine Jasmine noticed his parents looked ill that morning. A few days later, the couple ended up in the hospital, as doctors confirmed they were both infected with coronavirus. ANTOINE JASMINE, PASTOR: This is the last time I saw them, was seated

here.

LAVANDERA: Last week, Pastor Jasmine was recording a sermon when he got the dreaded message.

JASMINE: I was preaching, and then I got the text, "Your father just passed."

And I kept preaching.

LAVANDERA: Two hours later, he got another message. His mother had also died.

JASMINE: If someone told me your parents are going to leave you. I would have not accepted it. It just was mind-blowing, and still today it's still shocking.

LAVANDERA: The Jasmines lived their whole lives in St. John the Baptist Parish, which sits along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It's home to a sprawling collection of chemical and industrial plants.

The area has been at the center of battles over air pollution for decades. It's often called Cancer Alley. This tiny parish, with a population of about 45,000 people, has the country's highest per capita coronavirus death rate, according to a data analysis by "The New York Times" -- 569 coronavirus cases have been reported in St. John's, and 47 people have died.

ROBERT TAYLOR JR., CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ST. JOHN: We are dying at unprecedented numbers right here in St. John.

LAVANDERA: St. John Parish resident Robert Taylor leads a protest of environmental activists. They believe long-term exposure to the toxic air in their neighborhoods has made them even more vulnerable to dying from COVID-19.

TAYLOR: We are losing people. I mean, it's terrible. What is it going to take for people to stand up to this?

LAVANDERA (on camera): When you see the list of the counties that have had the highest death rates, and all of a sudden you see St. John at the top of this list, is that pretty shocking for you?

TAYLOR: I was shocked. The correlation is right. We have a lot of people here who are ill, who are ill, because we thought we were under attack.

We must stand up to this.

GEORGE HANDY SR., CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ST. JOHN: If you breathe it in, these chemicals every single day, it automatically affects your immune system. COVID attacks mostly people with low immune system. Those are the ones that are dying. LAVANDERA (voice-over): Some say residents in the parish were slow to

take social distancing seriously to keep the virus from spreading. It's also a parish with high rates of underlying health issues.

Tulane University epidemiologist Susan Hassig says more research is needed, that there is no definitive link between the chemical exposure and the high death rate in St. John Parish.

DR. SUSAN HASSIG, TULANE UNIVERSITY: We don't know whether it's contributing 2 percent of the increased risk or 10 percent of the increased risk or maybe higher. We just don't have the information that we need at the present time to be able to make that kind of a statement.

LAVANDERA: Antoine Jasmine doesn't know how his parents' lifelong exposure to air pollution might have affected their battle with coronavirus, but the question will always linger.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, LaPlace, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: I haven't been able to deliver a lot of good news for you, but here's one for you amid all this sadness, captured on cell phone video.

This mother, Yanira Soriano -- you see her there in the wheelchair -- is meeting her newborn baby boy for the very first time today. There he is.

It's even more moving because she was critically ill from COVID-19. At 34 weeks pregnant, doctors felt that they needed to put her into a medically induced coma and then put her on a ventilator. They then performed an emergency Caesarean section because her life and her child's life were in jeopardy.

Yanira spent 11 days on the ventilator. She was at Northwell's Health's Southside Hospital in hard-hit Suffolk County, New York.

[17:00:00]