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THE SITUATION ROOM
Heads Of CDC, FDA Now In Self-Quarantine After Virus Exposure; Obama: WH Response To Coronavirus An Absolute Chaotic Disaster; California Moves To Phase 2 Of Reopening This Weekend; Gov. Newsom Says California Voters To Receive Mail-In Ballot For 2020 Election; Trump Administration Shuttered Pandemic Program Then Scrambled To Extend It. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 9, 2020 - 19:00 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.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. This is a Special Edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.
A horrible milestone reached today and an ominous new development unfolding over at the White House. The number of people infected by the virus worldwide has now passed 4 million cases, worldwide. There are probably a lot more than that and while that is certainly terrifying there's breaking news over at the White House this hour as well.
There's confirmation that the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield. He is now in self- quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus. I want to get right to the White House. Jeremy there - Jeremy Diamond is joining us right now.
Jeremy, so what are you hearing first of all about this possible exposure that is now motivating, the head of the CDC to self- quarantine? Yesterday the commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn. He also self-quarantined.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right Wolf. This is the second top official on the White House's coronavirus task force now announcing that they will be self-quarantining. A CDC spokesman confirming that Dr. Redfield will be teleworking out for the next two weeks after coming into contact with someone at the White House who tested positive.
They do not identify the individual who tested positive, who the CDC director came into contact with but Wolf, what we do know is that Katie Miller, the Vice President's spokeswoman, she tested positive just yesterday which prompted Dr. Stephen Hahn to announce it later that day that he was also going to be self-quarantining for two weeks. Dr. Hahn and the FDA have also not said who the official was that they
came into contact with but they did say it was someone at the White House. We also know Wolf that earlier this week, one of the President's personal valets, a navy official also tested positive for the virus and the question though Wolf is whether there is a uniform policy at the White House about how to handle possible self-quarantine after coming into contact.
We do know that officials at the White House have been conducting contact tracing after Katie Miller, the Vice President's spokeswoman tested positive yesterday. What we don't know what is whether there is a uniform policy for officials who did come into contact with her to begin working from home, to begin self-quarantining for the next two weeks.
The White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere would not address whether or not there is that kind of a uniform policy but what he did say is that the White House is stepping up its preventative measures.
We know Wolf, that previously officials who are coming into contact with the President or the Vice President, they were being tested on a weekly basis. Now Wolf that is happening on a day by day basis. So certainly they are stepping up preventative measures but again some more questions still here do remain.
And I should note Wolf as well that the spokesperson for the CDC said the Dr. Redfield would come to the White House if he needed to in order to fulfill any responsibilities as part of the task force but that he would do so by coming and wearing a mask, checking his symptoms daily and of course getting that testing that is being provided by the White House. Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC. The CDC is based in Atlanta. Dr. Stephen Hahn, the head of the - Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. He's here in Washington. Both of them I assume were in direct contact with Katie Miller, who's the press secretary to the Vice President who's now been confirmed with coronavirus, right?
DIAMOND: That's right Wolf. Again, these officials aren't confirming whether Katie Miller is the individual who came into contact with them but it's a reasonable assumption to make because Katie Miller, she is known to frequently attend these task force briefings.
She has been the primary spokesperson for the task force, given the fact that the Vice President is leading that task force and she is his press secretary so clearly there - there appears to be at least a connection here will but again, I do think it is notable, as the country begins to reopen, as workers are being asked to come back to their jobs, even the work place that has perhaps the most protocols anywhere in the country, coronavirus is even seeping in here. Wolf.
BLITZER: And I just want to be precise so Katie Miller, the press secretary the Vice President tested positive, a U.S. navy valet who worked closely with the President tested positive and a personal assistant to Ivanka Trump has also tested positive, is that right. DIAMOND: That's right. The personal assistant, we should note though
Wolf, is not an employee of the government. She works for the Trump - Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner in a personal capacity. We also understand that that personal assistant had not been into - come in contact with Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner for several weeks.
But again Wolf, it is just notable, you are seeing this kind of sensor in on the White House here.
Particularly with that case of the Presidential valet and also the spokeswoman Katie Miller whose husband we should note is one of the President's top advisor Stephen Miller comes into contact a lot with the President. None of these officials so far who have come into contact with Katie Miller or the President's valet as far as we know have tested positive.
In fact the White House has told us that Stephen Miller for example tested negative after his wife did indeed test positive for coronavirus but Wolf, one of the things that we do know about this virus is that the incubation period can be for several days and of course, there is also that risk of asymptomatic spread.
BLITZER: Is Stephen Miller the senior adviser to the President, is he in self-quarantine? As of now we do not have any information that he is in self-quarantine. All we've been told so far is that he tested negative for the virus. That is something that we're monitoring and we have asked the White House again a series of questions about whether they had any protocols in place for this.
What exactly they're doing to step up procedures so far? All they have told us is that the physician to the President is working to ensure the health and safety of all White House officials and of the President and the Vice President and again that notion that the testing is being stepped up from a weekly basis to a day by day basis.
BLITZER: And we certainly hope all of them are going to be OK. All right Jeremy, don't go too far away. We're following the breaking news. Right now, I want to get more on the threat the virus is posing over at the West Wing. I want to bring in Dr. William Schaffner. He's Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dr. Seema Yasmin, a CNN medical analyst, former CDC disease detective.
I want your reaction. Dr. Yasmin, let me start with you ask to what's going on at the White House. Now the director - the directors of the FDA, the heads of the FDA and the CDC, both under self-quarantine because of exposure to the virus. You think more people should be under self-quarantine, Dr. Yasmin?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: If they've been exposed then yes, absolutely Wolf and one thing I'm really concerned about is the following, the careful following of protocols and I'm especially concerned by what Jeremy just said about the CDC director saying that he's under self-quarantine but that he would go to the White House if he was needed.
That's not what you do when you're self- quarantining, you don't leave your house, you don't come into contact with other people even if you're wearing a mask, even if you're wearing gloves. I'm also concerned Wolf, about the test that's being used in the White House because if it is continues to be the Abbot ID now rapid test that gives you results within 15 minutes, that has a 15 percent rate of returning false negatives meaning around one in six people will get a negative result when actually they are carrying the virus.
That's very concerning to me. We need to make sure all those folks in the administration are following the protocols and they're using the best available testing.
BLITZER: Well, on that point Dr. Schaffner, let's say you can give the virus to someone else even if you test negative because it takes a few days for that negative reaction to unfold Dr. Schaffner, is that right.
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, that's absolutely right, Wolf. That can happen and of course, that's the reason we recommend that masks be used when anybody is within six feet of someone else. I mean it sounds as though these folks are kind of late to the party, right?
The rest of us have been wearing masks for the last six weeks at least and that's an entirely appropriate thing to do.
BLITZER: So if your Dr. Schaffner were advising the White House, what would you tell him about people who were in contact with Katie Miller?
SCHAFFNER: Well, they should all be wearing masks and - and - and actually they should be quarantining at home.
BLITZER: What do you think Dr. Yasmin?
YASMIN: Yes. I'm really just concerned again Wolf, that a lot of us have been following these guidelines only to see that top officials have not been following the same rules as us. In fact they're the ones at the pulpit, dictating these guidelines to us but they're not modeling the behavior needed to contain this infectious disease.
So for too long, the too late into the pandemic, we saw politicians still shaking hands, still standing behind the same podium, sharing the same microphone, touching the same microphone so I'm concerned that they've not been following the right protocols that many more people have been exposed and put at risk.
And also just to mention, that a lot of people in the administration older adults and we know that people in their 60s, 70s and 80s, the case fatality rate for COVID-19 isn't zero point anything at that point. It's 1 percent, 4 percent, even 15 percent for people in their 80s so I do really worry about this.
BLITZER: Yes, that was a picture about Katie Miller, the press secretary of the Vice Presidents. On Thursday, she tested positive. On Friday, she tested negative. She was meeting with reporters outside of Washington. Alexandria, Virginia, you can see the reporters all wearing masks, she was not wearing a mask.
Dr. Schaffner, the President who's 73 years old by the way, the Vice President is 60 years old, they both are pointing out, they take a test now every day, the test is negative so they don't have to worry about any contacts they may have had let's say with Katie Miller, are they right?
SCHAFFNER: I don't think that they're right. First of all, they could be within the incubation period and they could turn positive at any time down the road within the next days and - and a couple of weeks and of course, leaders at the national, state and local level just as Dr. Yasmin has said should be modeling this behavior for all of us because otherwise the local person to Joe and Jane, they're all confused about what it is that they ought to be doing.
BLITZER: We understand that Dr. Yasmin, that as of right now everyone is receiving over the White House as you point out, these rapid coronavirus test which have about a 15 percent false positive. They must wear masks if they're in the residents we're told. The West Wing is being sanitized more often right now.
Is that enough? Do you think other safety measures should be implemented, given the fact that two people who work over there the West Wing, over at the White House have now tested positive?
YASMIN: So it's a 15 percent false negative rate, Wolf, I worry about again, about one in six people will test negative when in fact they actually do have the infection. We need to make sure that the same kind of guidelines are followed in the White House that are being followed by businesses and families and homes across America.
And that is that you come into contact with as few people as possible. We've seen how quickly this virus can spread. We've seen how quickly it can devastate lives and kill people. What we need to see is our top officials following the same rules as the rest of us, modeling the kind of behavior that we will need to do to stop this virus in its tracks.
Yes, that involves wearing masks. Yes, it can involve wearing gloves, having really good hand hygiene but especially because this infection can spread even able from people who don't have symptoms, it's very important that people telework, stay at home as much as possible and even if they're public facing officials, that they stay as far away from others as they can.
BLITZER: We have been there Dr. Schaffner, you've seen the President, he said he did wear a mask at one event but there were no cameras there. We haven't seen him wearing a mask. Do you think he should be wearing a mask when he's in public for example, just a little while ago, he was meeting with top military personnel.
There was a photo-op. He clearly was not wearing a mask in the cabinet room over at the White House.
SCHAFFNER: Well surely. That models for all the rest of us across the country what we ought to be doing and if our national, state and local leaders do it, then others will be persuaded to do it. Wearing masks is now going to be the social norm, going forward and it will be the social norm for months because this coronavirus is going to be with us and as you have just demonstrated, it respects no rank and no prominence.
BLITZER: Yes, it certainly doesn't. All right, Drs. Yasmin and Schaffner, we really appreciate your joining us. Thanks very much for discussing all these late breaking developments. We're going to have much more coming up on our breaking news. Once again, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now self-isolating for two weeks after possible contact for the coronavirus.
This after the administrator of the Food and Drug Administration entered isolation yesterday also for two weeks. Plus in a rare review, former President Barack Obama now calls the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus and I'm quoting the former President right now "an absolute chaotic disaster."
The reporter who broke the story is standing by. We'll discuss with Michael Isikoff when we come back.
BLITZER: We rarely hear the former President Barack Obama weigh in on the Trump presidency but on a private call last night with confidants from his administration, President Obama tore into the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Yahoo news got hold of a recording. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. And it would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute, chaotic disaster when that mindset of what's in it for me? And to heck with everybody else, when that mindset is operationalized in our government.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: Three former Obama administration officials who were on the phone conversation confirmed to CNN that the audio that Yahoo news got is in fact accurate. President Trump has not personally commented on the blistering Obama remarks but the White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded today saying in part and I'm quoting her now. "President Trump coronavirus response has been unprecedented and saved American lives. There has been a bipartisan recognition of President Trump's leadership and the American people have taken notice." Michael Isikoff, the investigative correspondent for Yahoo news is
joining us right now. He broke the story. You have more you audio. We're going to get to that Michael, in a few moments but let's talk a little bit about the former President now saying that this pandemic would be a challenge of course for any administration but he really went after a blasted the Trump administrations remarks so what does that - what does that say to you?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Well, these are pretty extraordinary comments by the former President. He has been pretty reserved until now about what he has said publicly about President Trump. There's kind of a tradition where former Presidents don't take pot shots at current Presidents.
But in this conversation which was with hundreds of his former aides, former administration officials, this is Obama Alumni Association he was talking to, he made it clear that he is all in, in this election. He plans to play a major role on behalf of his former Vice President Joe Biden and he took the gloves off against President Trump in a way that he hasn't publicly to date.
BLITZER: And he's sophisticated enough and knows Washington, knows politics well enough with hundreds of people potentially on that phone call, he suspected I'm sure that it was eventually going to get out. It got out very quickly thanks to your reporting.
The former President also said the White House coronavirus response was part of what he calls once again, he's calling it long term trends including being selfish, tribal, divided and seeing others as an enemy. That's the way he put it. Was this call in effect the kind of stump speech we're getting ready to hear from the former President as he does as you say begin to ramp up his campaigning for Joe Biden.
ISIKOFF: Yes, you know that critique is interesting because it's not so much focused on masks or testing or the particulars of the response but the sort of larger outlook of the way he's - of the Trump White House as Obama sees it and I think that fits into the larger narrative that the former President and no doubt, the former Vice President will be making on the campaign trail, this fall to sort of cast the inadequacy of the administration response in terms of this sort of tribal outlook, us versus them, not looking for the best interests of the country as a whole.
That's the way, I think Obama is going to try to present this and also I think you'll see that echoed by Biden and all of his surrogates in the fall as well.
BLITZER: Yes. The former Presidents says the White House response has been in his words an absolute chaotic disaster. We heard - we hear very different things from the President Jared Kushner, says it's been a great, great success. On that same phone conversation last night, Michael, President Obama also expressed serious alarm after the Justice Department has now dropped its case against the former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. I want to play that clip. We got the clip. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury getting off scot-free. That's the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic, not just institutional norms, but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: We got that audio thanks to you and Yahoo news, Michael. We should also point out that the former President did misspeak a bit. As you reported Flynn was actually charged with making false statements to the FBI, not perjury. Flynn was forced out of the Obama administration. He was then working at the Pentagon, Director of Intelligence at the Pentagon.
He was also after a month or so forced out of the Trump White House. Do you get the sense that President Obama was taking this Flynn news somewhat personally, given his warnings to the incoming President during the transition against hiring Flynn.
ISIKOFF: You know, that's - that's actually a part of it, the - certainly Trump is speaking on policy grounds there about the - about the President's - about - about the Justice Department decision to drop the charges but there is that personal dimension to it that you know, he or his administration had fired Michael Flynn.
You know when he had his one meeting with then President-elect Trump, the one personnel issue he weighed in on was urging him not to hire Michael Flynn. Of course Trump ignored that but you know, even more broadly what was Flynn charged with lying about, his conversations with the Russian ambassador in which he told the Russian ambassador not to worry about the sanctions that had just been imposed by President Obama on the Russians over their interference in the 2016 election. We'll deal with that once we get in, suggesting that those sanctions might be rolled back and Obama's eviction of Russian diplomats might be rescinded.
So it was sort of the first hint or first sign that the new Trump administration was going to undo what the Obama administration had done and of course, we saw that, we've seen that time and time again, whether it's the Affordable Care Act or the - the Iran nuclear deal or the Climate agreement, I mean time and again, Trump has undone what Obama did but this, the Michael Flynn instance telling the Russian ambassador, we will revisit that was the first time what Trump was going to do on do Obama.
And I think that has to be factored in in understanding why Obama came on as strongly as he did about Michael Flynn case.
BLITZER: He did come in very strongly on that, very strongly on the Trump administration's behavior towards the entire coronavirus pandemic. Michael Isikoff, excellent reporting as usual. Thanks so much for joining us.
ISIKOFF: Thanks a lot, Wolf.
BLITZER: So what happens after the pandemic? Watch the post-COVID-19 world. Fareed Zakaria GPS special. That's tomorrow morning 10 A. M. eastern right here on CNN. Also today for the first time in months many Californians actually went out. They can hit the golf course and hike on trails but what are officials doing to make sure people still maintain social distancing. We're going live to Los Angeles.
A lot more and all the breaking news when we come back.
BLITZER: California right now is pressing forward with Phase 2 of their plans to reopen the state's economy in Los Angeles, so that means great outdoors, parks, hiking trails, golf courses -- they are being opened right now to the public.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is in LA for us. So Paul, how are the folks out there taking these loosened restrictions just the beginning? How's that going?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well in Los Angeles where they just love the great outdoors, I mean Griffith Park, 4,000 acres and they're just loving this. The rule is you have to have your mask on.
So, we caught up with people who were walking the trails. They've been admonished by city leaders that they need to wear a facial covering, stay six feet apart. They want them to bring that hand sanitizer and some wipes if they can.
And also, on the trails, political discussion because the governor announcing that every Californian can vote by mail, if they choose to, they can also vote in person.
They need to tweak that in terms of social distancing. But Californians are receiving this very well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENDRA COOPER-SMITH, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I think it's extremely important. I think everyone should be able to vote by mail. Because if you restrict people to like whether or not they can and can't vote by mail, then only a select few people like can really.
I think it should be like -- I think it should be like, country-wide that everyone should be able to send in their ballot, like through the mail, because then it's kind of like an equal playing field for everyone.
MELODY COOPER, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: So yes, I would vote by mail, and I think, I mean, I would vote in any way that allows me to vote.
I think it's really important to make sure that we do I think the idea of voting and how we vote, who votes, how -- I think it's become a political football, and I think it's important to make sure that we do it and do it safely.
And however that ends up happening, I think we should move forward and do it that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: And in November, don't forget California with 55 electoral votes and 53 House battles.
Now, also here in Los Angeles, more on this opening, they opened up golf courses, and they put some pretty stringent rules in it. They don't want you touching the flagstick. They don't want you paying in cash. You have to wear a facial covering.
All of that in play right now. They want you to stay six feet apart as best you can. So, far so good.
San Francisco has not opened up the Bay Area to the same degree yet as Los Angeles. And why might golf be significant here? You may not know this, but just in the city -- the city parks, 850,000 rounds of golf per year. Back you know -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, they love golf. What else factors into Phase 2 and what needs to happen, Paul, before the states starts thinking about Phase 3?
VERCAMMEN: Well, what they did is they allowed retailers to open up only with pickup by curbside, but they need to see the numbers go down in terms of those deaths and those coronavirus cases before they move into Phase 3 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Lots going on right now. Paul Vercammen out in Los Angeles for us. Good luck out there. Thank you.
So, could the botched White House response to the coronavirus be the result of a chaotic transition from the Obama to the Trump administration? The best-selling author, Michael Lewis says yes, and that it all started when Chris Christie got the boot during the transition.
Michael Lewis standing by live. He'll join us right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Despite early indications of China's coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration notified Congress this past December it would still follow through with its plan to shutter a program tasked with detecting new potentially dangerous infectious diseases from around the world.
The program was aimed at helping foreign labs stop emerging pandemic threats globally. The administration ultimately backtracked, but the pattern was clear then, downsize key offices and programs focusing in on protecting us from a pandemic, despite multiple warnings over the years.
Michael Lewis is joining us right now. He's the bestselling author of "Moneyball," "The Big Short," "The Blind Side," just to name a few of his major books. But it was his book, "The Fifth Risk," written well before anyone had heard of coronavirus pandemic that argued that the chaotic transition from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, particularly in areas of Science made the country far less safe.
Tell us about that, the dire warnings that you write about in this book.
MICHAEL LEWIS, AUTHOR: So, it was only chaotic on one side, and that was on the Trump side. There was this obligation and Obama felt that because Bush had handed the government over to him so cleanly, and Obama had like a thousand people for six months preparing for this transition.
And there were all these briefings to be got, including what you do if there is an epidemic of any sort, and the briefings are really non- ideological sort of like how we handle this and you may handle it differently, but it's a transfer of knowledge.
And Trump, you know, by law basically he was pressured into having a transition team of 500 or 600 people, but he fired them the day after the election.
LEWIS: And so those briefings, the book is me going out and getting the briefings he never bothered to get, and when you went and did that, you saw a couple of things. You saw that there was essentially -- that this was -- it was a description of a portfolio of risks that the Federal government was managing, and he was going to be in charge of.
And you saw that they were going to be totally unprepared for whatever happened, because they never really assumed the responsibility of managing it.
BLITZER: Well, let's talk a little bit about that transition. Now, he was elected in early November, sworn in as President and inaugurated on January 20th and you write about the role that Chris Christie had in the transition, but he was dumped at a certain point and that set things back dramatically. It's having an effect today, right?
LEWIS: So, it isn't just Chris Christie. Yes, it wasn't just to a certain point. It was like the day or two after the election. So before anybody -- so you had you know, the people who were in charge of the nuclear arsenal, the Department of Energy sitting there waiting with the briefing books, you know with little finger sandwiches out and Diet Cokes, expecting the next day after the election, the Trump people to roll in and engage in this exchange of information.
And they waited and waited and waited, and like, I have to go get the briefings because they don't do it. So it's -- it was -- so the pandemic, there were briefing specific to this particular problem. And I think if those briefings had happened, I think the history of this whole thing we're going through now starts at that moment.
If those briefings that happened, they would have seen how important it was to have the Pandemic Response Unit on the National Security Council, and not have just gotten rid of it.
BLITZER: You point out, this was extraordinary, not business as usual in a presidential transition, right?
LEWIS: Oh, I mean, look, they are always a little bumpy, especially when you're changing parties. But it was unusual for this reason, the reason I just stated, but also, the people who eventually roll into the jobs where they do roll into jobs are put through basically a loyalty test.
So, they aren't -- there are people who necessarily know anything about the jobs. And so on top of not receiving, you know, a body of information that would be unbelievably useful to have when you're managing the government, managing these risks. They then put people in who are wholly inappropriate and who aren't really equipped.
So you've got, you know, I think we've got a coaching problem right now in America. We've got a very talented team and a really crappy coach.
BLITZER: Well, tell us about that. The coach -- because you you've got a podcast, "Against the Rules" and you deal with that whole issue of coaching.
LEWIS: Yes, well, this season is about coaching and it's about sort of like, the power in the role. And, you know, it was on my mind, because I've been working on this thing for the last six months, and it's just being released, but I watch the country now. And it really does feel like, you know, we are -- we're the world's leaders in the sort of expertise one would use to defend oneself from a virus.
And we're -- but the talent is just disorganized. And you know, you're seeing other countries outperform us in all kinds of ways. Because essentially, the head coach is not -- has not assumed responsibility for his job.
And, you know, you don't really think of the presidency as a coaching job, but it is a coaching job, you know, that you are -- you're trying to bring the best out of the country.
You're trying to unify the country, get it to act as a team. You know, there are real similarities and there's a real abdication of that responsibility right now. BLITZER: As you know, the country was rocked once again. Friday
morning learning that 20.5 million jobs were lost in April alone. Nearly three times as many jobs that were lost during the entire financial crisis which you obviously wrote an important book about.
The second season of your new podcast, "Against the Rules" is out. First episode, you talk about the importance of coaching we had just been discussing that.
But right now, you've got maybe in the past seven weeks alone, 33 million Americans have lost their jobs, formally applied for financial assistance. Many more are working less hours right now. They're not making much money. Tell us tell us a little bit about the role that a financial coach, an excellent financial coach would be playing right now in helping these millions and millions of people who have lost their jobs. They're desperate for help right now.
LEWIS: So, it isn't just a financial coach. I think that one of the things we explore in the podcast is the way a coach enters with great leverage where the real importance is in transitional or vulnerable moments when people are a little scared, when they are feeling like they failed, when they're learning something new.
And you know, this is clearly a massive transitional moment in the lives of the people in this country. And so and it is funnily reassuring that this role of coach has exploded the way it's exploded. That's why I did the podcast about them in the first place.
It's been very interesting to see just how the rise of this role and the rising importance of this role and the effectiveness people have when they're working with someone to make them better.
So, the financial coach, we have an episode on a financial coach who walks into the lives of people who've got credit card debt, and reorganizes them and nudges them into kind of a better financial pattern and has miraculous kind of results.
I have a feeling -- I have a feeling his services are now going to be more in demand than ever.
BLITZER: You also right, Michael, about how so much of the government -- so much of the government that the public never sees the work that is actually done to save citizens from the things you write that might eventually kill them, yet even now we see protests, with people yelling fake virus.
The President even retweeting a message in support of firing Dr. Anthony Fauci. Can more be done to convince the public of the value of truly credential scientists and professionals considering risks are not going away. They're actually growing and that they can't all be predicted.
LEWIS: So, I think this is going to happen. I mean, it's happening, but it's happening in a tragic way. Yes, the public is going to see the value of the scientists and the expertise because they're going to see just how much more loss we suffer than countries that actually paid attention to people who knew things and who allowed the response to be organized by the people who knew things.
And so yes, I think the country's going to learn a lot about the importance of Science and it can learn it in a really messy way. And it's going to learn in a messy way because the whole thing has become politicized. Right?
I mean, as you know, and everything that one side says is automatically discredited by the other side, simply because that side said it.
So, I think that, yes, we're going to bounce from this into a greater respect for experts, and maybe a better appreciation of what the government does, which is -- you know, the problem is that if the government prevents all of this, no one sees it.
So, if this had not happened, if somehow we had miraculously escaped it, because our scientists in China had nipped it in the bud, no one would pat anybody on the back because no one would have -- because they know, don't know appreciate it when nothing happens.
Well, maybe, maybe going forward we will appreciate it.
BLITZER: Michael Lewis, thanks for everything you're doing. Thanks for your excellent books and your new podcast.
I want to remind our viewers that to check out the new season of Michael's "Against the Rules" podcast. Very, very good job. Michael, thanks for joining us.
LEWIS: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, what's behind the Trump administration's decision to block a key United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for a Global Coronavirus Ceasefire? We have details just ahead.
BLITZER: The United States has now blocked the United Nations Security Council Resolution addressing the global pandemic. The resolution called for a truce in war-torn countries to help focus resources on trying to tackle this coronavirus pandemic and it comes after China pushed for the text to mention the World Health Organization.
Last month President Trump halted funding for the W.H.O. accusing it of mismanaging and helping cover up the spread of coronavirus.
Kylie Atwood is following all the late breaking developments for us from here in Washington. So Kylie, what's the reaction from U.N. diplomats and give us the background?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, they were stunned, Wolf. The bottom line here is that U.N. diplomats have been working on this effort for more than six weeks. So, this is something that they really wanted to come to fruition.
And the fact of the matter is that they knew that the U.S. did not want a reference in this resolution to the World Health Organization.
Now the important backdrop, of course, is that the Trump administration has been really tough on the World Health Organization all out of this global pandemic.
Now, China did want a reference to the World Health Organization in this resolution (AUDIO GAP) sort of an agreement, they were not going to mention the W.H.O. in name. They were said to come to an agreement if they mentioned U.N. Specialized Health Aid (AUDIO GAP) the U.S. said that would not agree.
So the (AUDIO GAP) is that an international body that is supposed to be doing things like putting (AUDIO GAP) for a global ceasefire (AUDIO GAP) doing that because of these issues that the United States and the Trump administration has right now with China and the World Health Organization.
BLITZER: All right, Kylie, we've got some audio issues. I want to apologize to our viewers. But the bottom line, the U.N. Resolution has been vetoed by the U.S., which has veto power over at the U.N. Security Council.
We'll have more on that story coming up. Kylie Atwood reporting for us.
We'll have more on the other breaking news we're following this hour. The heads of the C.D.C. and F.D.A. now in self-quarantine for two weeks -- two weeks -- after possible exposure to the coronavirus.
BLITZER: So what kind of risks does all of this pose to the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States?
We're going live to the White House. There's breaking news.