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NCAA President on the Return of College Sports; Peter Navarro is Interviewed on the Economy, China and the Pandemic. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 15, 2020 - 08:30   ET



MARK EMMERT, PRESIDENT, NCAA: Same thing with regular students. It's impossible to believe you can bring 40,000 students back to campus and all the faculty and staff and not have somebody sooner or later contract the virus. So it's how you react to it that's going to be critical.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sounds like what you're saying is there needs to be a serious testing regimen in place. Do you feel that there is adequate testing to do this type of thing?

EMMERT: Well, that's what we've been communicating to everyone, from President Trump on down, is that the testing is going to be one of the critical variables here.

And, today, we don't have access to that level of testing that you can check every student that walks on campus or every athlete that walks on to a field or a court at this stage. But we're very hopeful that that will be the case going forward. We've been given all kinds of reassurances that that's going to be the case. And it's going to be critical, Chris, to making this all work. I think that's -- that's what we're all pushing hard for.

BERMAN: It's John Berman. Chris Berman, I wish, who is my rich uncle, who --

EMMERT: Oh, I'm -- I'm thinking -- sorry, John.

BERMAN: Who helped me in the media business. But it's -- no, no, I under -- Chris Berman, Lan (ph) Berman --

EMMERT: Yes, one of those Bermans.

BERMAN: We're a lot of Bermans in the sports world here. I'll get there. I'll get there.

EMMERT: There are.

BERMAN: Just -- just, last question --

EMMERT: (INAUDIBLE). BERMAN: What does happen -- what does happen -- what does happen when

there are teams that are playing in colleges that are open and you have other states with schools that aren't open? How do you juggle that?

EMMERT: Yes, it's going to be -- clearly going to be a juggling act. The one thing that we can't compromise is the health and wellbeing of the students. So we -- we may find, in fact, I think it's very likely that we'll find that schools will be restarting sports at different times.

We -- we'd all love to have a -- you know, a single date and say, OK, we're going to start, but that's not going to happen in the economy, it's not going to happen on campuses, it's not going to happen with sports. So -- so we're going to have to be more flexible around the sort of competitive equity questions, if you will. What -- that's always going to take second -- second seat to -- to health and safety.

We'll have to have abbreviate seasons probably in some cases and we may even have to move our championship schedules around for the fall and perhaps even into the winter, but -- but we're not going to compromise health and wellbeing.

BERMAN: All right, Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA. On behalf of all the Bermans, we thank you for this. It's been a really, really interesting (INAUDIBLE).

EMMERT: Thanks, John.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That was great. A great conversation.

All right, there are so many developments on the pandemic and the economic crisis. Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Soon, New York Gov. Cuomo briefing.

12:00 p.m. ET, President Trump speaks.

2:00 p.m. ET, White House press briefing.


CAMEROTA: All right, we have some breaking economic news.

A record drop in retail sales. New numbers show how Americans are cutting back during this pandemic. So we will talk to a top economic adviser to President Trump, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: we do have breaking economic news.

Retail sales in the United States plunged a record 16.4 percent in April as Americans cut back on spending.

Joining us now is White House economic adviser, Peter Navarro. He's the director of the office of trade and manufacturing policy.

Peter, Great to see you this morning.


CAMEROTA: So tell us about those numbers, 16.4 percent, does that suggest to you that Americans are just not feeling safe in terms of spending?

NAVARRO: Oh, not at all. What it suggests to me is that this has been a manufactured downturn that was done because we wanted to save lives. The whole essence of the strategy to fight the China virus has been to shut the economy down. So this is a natural, logical result of that. But looking forward, we've got almost $10 trillion now that is coursing through the veins in the economy and most of the 50 states are going back to work in some form.

So I'd like to look forward and I think the future is going to be a lot stronger than the last 60 days.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about looking forward. As you know, Rick Bright, who was the head of the agency, BARDA, that is responsible for vaccine production and procurement purchase, he was looking forward yesterday.

So he testified, as you know, in front of Congress and he basically said that he's quite concerned about what's going to happen in the fall and the winter and he said that there is no national plan. He doesn't see a master plan or a national plan for distribution of the things that we're going to need like the masks, the swabs, vaccines, the ventilators.

So -- but, I mean, because you are, you know, the manufacturing guy and the numbers guy and the supply chain guy, what exactly is the plan?

NAVARRO: It was the height of irony that the day that Bright was up there doing the circus thing, President Donald J. Trump was out in the beautiful Lehigh Valley essentially announcing the key part of that plan, strategic national stockpile 2.0. It's worth understanding what we're going to do.

When China basically unleashed a pandemic in the world -- on the world, we were caught with FEMA stockpiles which were a bit thread bear. We made our way through that, but in that process, we learned that we had to do better.

So here's what this is. It's in President Trump's image. It's smarter, bigger and more resilient. What do I mean by that? The stockpiles, we'll have more information technology to better manage and distribute the stockpiles.


The bigger is probably the most important because we're not only going to have more PPE and other things in terms of quantity, but other things in those stockpiles --


NAVARRO: At FEMA, we're going to do it in other ways. Owens and Minor, in Lehigh Valley, yesterday, is the distribution center. Distribution centers around the country, they're going to carry more inventory, point-of-care hospitals are going to carry more inventory.


NAVARRO: And the third part of this more resilient is we're going to bring the domestic supply chains home for this.


NAVARRO: What is that going to be able to allow us to do? We're not only going to make it here, but we're going to have reserve capacity in things like N-95 mask production so that if we need it for a surge, we will do that.


NAVARRO: So -- smarter, bigger, stronger, that's the essence of the stockpile.


NAVARRO: Now, today, at noon --

CAMEROTA: And that's great to hear.

Hold on, Peter, I -- I have a couple questions about that.

NAVARRO: Yes. Sure.

CAMEROTA: So, just -- can you give us some numbers that you all are preparing for in the fall. What are the numbers that you have come up with or that you think you'll feel comfortable with in terms of the N- 95 masks, in terms of the ventilators, in terms of the gown. How many do you think you'll need for the fall and winter?

NAVARRO: Let me come at that from a slightly different angle and -- because my job is -- it's interesting, I used to be the trade guy, now I'm kind of like the quarter master. But what I -- what we've been trying to do, working with FEMA and HHS and the Pentagon, is to rapidly build up our domestic capacity.

So, for example, the two new factories that Honeywell put in, in Smithfield, Rhode Island, in Arizona, will give us 20 million masks a month. The Batel (ph) recycling machine -- I love this concept, Senator Portman had a large part of doing this, 60 of those machines will effectively create the -- a billion masks overtime as we're able to recycle.

So what we're doing is rapidly building up as much as we can.


NAVARRO: I can tell you, the stockpiles are going to be much bigger than they were. We were -- we're replenishing them. We're moving on this. And I think we're going to be fine in the fall.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, do you have an exact --

NAVARRO: I can get you the spreadsheets. I --

CAMEROTA: No, just in terms of the numbers of ventilators. You have a number. I mean --

NAVARRO: Now, the ventilators -- I'm telling you, the ventilators, that problem -- you remember when Andrew Cuomo was running around with his hair on fire saying, we need 40,000 ventilators. Well, he didn't. That was twice the amount in the stockpile at the time. He was basically telling the other 49 states, go pound sand.

But we -- this president, Donald J. Trump, has got over 100,000 ventilators that will be produced by the end of June. And, Alisyn, I can assure you that what we'll be doing now is exporting many of those to the world, selling some, creating jobs here --


NAVARRO: But also giving some to our friends and allies who don't need them.


NAVARRO: So don't ever worry about ventilators again.

CAMEROTA: OK. I'm -- that's very comforting.

NAVARRO: Made in American ventilators.

CAMEROTA: Very comforting.


CAMEROTA: So -- but let's talk about keeping people safe. So what you've just described is what happens if people get sick. So, if people get sick and go to the hospital, you say that in the fall we'll have enough N-95 masks, we'll have enough ventilators, we'll have enough gowns.

What's being done nationally to keep people from getting sick because, I mean, I don't know, Peter, if you've seen the video from just yesterday in Wisconsin, but a bunch of people raced out to the nearest bar the second that the Wisconsin state supreme court lifted the stay- at-home orders, and I don't know, I mean, if you've -- if you consider this keeping people safe, but they're not doing what we've been told is important in terms of social distancing and wearing masks.


CAMEROTA: So, what's the national plan to keep people safe?

NAVARRO: I think we have to have a national dialogue about the cost and benefits of the lockdown. And, you know, the medical professionals, including Dr. Fauci, wants to keep the whole thing locked down and not send our children to school. You know, that's one way to do it.

CAMEROTA: I haven't heard -- I haven't heard Dr. Fauci say that. I didn't hear Dr. Fauci say don't send our children to school.

NAVARRO: I heard him. But --

CAMEROTA: He didn't say that.

NAVARRO: But be that as it may, there is a point of view where keep it locked down until the virus is extinguished. That was not the original philosophy and strategy of locking things down. It was simply to flatten the curve.

But here's the thing, Alisyn, we have to soberly weigh this (INAUDIBLE) facts. The China virus kills people directly so that if you lock everything down, the direct deaths are less.

However, if you shut the economy down, you also kill people through alcoholism, drug abuse, opioid overdoses, depression and what we saw -- and this -- I think this was one of the big -- the big mistakes, the closures of our hospitals to anything but Covid. Basically people needed a heart or kidney or other kinds of treatment --


NAVARRO: It puts them at risk as well.

CAMEROTA: Understood, but, I mean, I think that people are talking --

NAVARRO: So -- so let's --

CAMEROTA: Including Dr. Fauci --


CAMEROTA: About reopening smartly and how to keep people from getting sick.


Smartly. I mean, so are you comfortable with what you saw in Wisconsin in those videos? NAVARRO: No, but I understand the frustration. I think -- first of

all, I didn't see the video, so I think you're referring to somebody in bars, is that correct?

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean people are not socially distancing.


CAMEROTA: And so, you know, look, here, I have the new guide -- the new CDC guidelines.

NAVARRO: Look, who -- who am I to -- who am I to judge here in the White House.

I think one of the problems is that this is split along party lines and people are too judgmental when we (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: No, no, but, Peter, to be clear, I'm not asking you to judge.

NAVARRO: I'm -- my lane here again --

CAMEROTA: Hold a second.


CAMEROTA: I'm not asking you to judge.


CAMEROTA: I'm asking you what the plan is. What are the specific guidelines, now that we've reopened this weekend, what are the guidelines to keep people from getting sick?

NAVARRO: Well -- you -- you've -- yes, you've veered way out of my -- my lane. That's -- that's the task force and Dr. Birx and the CDC and all of that.

All I can talk about, Alisyn, happy to do that as much as you want, is about how we have enough domestic production here to provide the PPE and medicines for our people.



CAMEROTA: Then let me move on to something else that you -- that is your area of expertise, and you've been talking a lot about, and that's China.

Yesterday, you said that China brought this plague upon the world. But, I mean, as you know, President Trump has been quite complimentary of President Xi of China. He's said that they've handled it really well. He's said that they're doing a very good job. He's praised him at least as far as we can tell -- NAVARRO: I think that's a little old news, wouldn't you say that? I

mean if you've been listening to the president over the last month, you've heard none of that. And, frankly, Alisyn, the problem is that the Chinese basically were not forthcoming. They lied to us. And I hope -- I hope CNN -- I -- there's a tendency on CNN sometimes I see where -- that if you actually assign China the appropriate amount of blame, somehow that helps Trump. You -- we've got a --

CAMEROTA: That's --

NAVARRO: On CNN is like, don't blame China, blame Trump. Look, let's be clear --

CAMEROTA: Yes, I'm not sure what you're talk -- I'm not sure -- Peter, hold on, I'm not sure -- let me pose a question --

NAVARRO: I'm not accusing you. I'm not accusing you.

CAMEROTA: I -- look, I hear -- whatever. It doesn't matter to me.


CAMEROTA: I don't really know what you're talking about.

But what I do know is that President Trump does -- says he's critical of China, but he's complimentary of President Xi. Who does he think --

NAVARRO: He's very unhappy with China.

CAMEROTA: Who -- he's unhappy with China. He has said it. And so are you.

NAVARRO: And in an interview on another network just yesterday he said he had --

CAMEROTA: Who does he think is responsible if not President Xi?

NAVARRO: For the China -- China virus?


NAVARRO: So, well, it goes right to the top certainly. But the Chinese communist party, that whole system -- look -- look what they did. They spawn that virus. Patient zero was in November. They hid it for two months behind the shielded of the WTO.

And they could have kept that pandemic inside of Wuhan. Instead, they sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens, who couldn't fly to Beijing from Wuhan, over to Europe and New York and basically traded a pandemic while they were doing that, Alisyn --


NAVARRO: And this is fact, they were -- they were buying up all the PPE around the world.

Here's what bothers me. I hope it --

CAMEROTA: I'm not arguing that.

NAVARRO: Here -- let me say one last thing. Let --

CAMEROTA: All I'm arguing is who do you hold responsible, if not President Xi, who are you holding responsible?

NAVARRO: I -- we're certainly holding the entire Chinese communist party leadership responsible.

Let me say this, and this should frost everybody in CNN land, that we signed a trade deal with them and one of the things was stop stealing our intellectual property. And now we have credible information that the Chinese government is trying to steal our vaccine information.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So what does that mean for the trade deal?

NAVARRO: I'm not even thinking about the trade deal right now. What I'm thinking about is trying to protect the American people, bring in our supply chains home. But I simply stated as a fact for the American people to understand that China created that virus and they've inflected trillions of dollars in damage on our economy, killed tens of thousands of Americans, and now they want to steal our vaccines?


NAVARRO: I mean, come on. We've got to all be able to agree on China's major role in what's going on with our economy and society and culture.

CAMEROTA: Sure (ph). Listen, Peter, I'm only asking you about the mixed messages that -- where President Trump has seemed to somehow spare President Xi of the responsibility.

NAVARRO: I think that's old news.

CAMEROTA: But thank you -- OK. Thank you.

NAVARRO: I think that's old news.

CAMEROTA: You've addressed it. Thanks for all the information, Peter, really appreciate it. Thanks for your time.

NAVARRO: Take care. All right.

Graduating seniors are sharing their hopes for the future.


JORDAN JEFFERSON, JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY, JACKSON, MS: We have witnessed some dark hours, but today we stand on the threshold of a new beginning.


CAMEROTA: We have a very special edition of "The Good Stuff," next.



BERMAN: Time now for a special edition of "The Good Stuff."

The class of 2020 may not be getting the graduation ceremony they expected, but that hasn't stopped high school and college seniors from sharing messages of hope as they look to the future.


KATHRYN COYNE, RIVERSIDE HIGH SCHOOL, ELLWOOD CITY, PA: To my comrades in composition, to my allies in Algebra, to my friends in phys ed, to my family, to the class of 2020, I'm coming to you from my own little quarantine on the day that would have been my prom, in the dress that I would have worn.

CALEB SOLOMON, LE LYCEE FRANCAIS, LOS ANGELES, CA: We expected to have a graduation ceremony. We expected to have a prom. We expected to be able to see our friends in person.

ELIZABETH VAUGHN, OAKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL, DAYTON, OH: We allowed ourselves to shed a few tears, but quickly transitioned to funnel these emotions into embracing the unexpected. In Oakwood, Ohio, classmates began to use their 3-D printers to print face shields for healthcare workers and our car trunks (ph) became our new favorite place to hang out.

AHJAE BATTS, BISHOP MCNAMARA HIGH SCHOOL, FORESTVILLE, MD: And while we may not experience our end of the year events, nothing can take away from our hard work, growth and accomplishments from the last four years.

LAUREN SORENSEN, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON: Everything that has been taken away from us this year, and I know that we have lost a lot, cannot take away from the fact that we made it. We are graduating today.

CHLOE TAMIS, NORTH SALEM HIGH SCHOOL, NORTH SALEM, NY: Who else can say that they had their graduation at a drive-in movie theater or their prom in a garage?

JORDAN JEFFERSON, JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY, JACKSON, MS: We have witnessed some dark hours, but today we stand on the threshold of a new beginning.

LOGAN WILLIAM BAGGETT, PETAL HIGH SCHOOL, PETAL, MS: Fear has not defined us. And we must continue to not let it define us as we go into the future.

HANNA ALLEN, CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY, ATLANTA, GA: As we prepare to move forward in our careers, graduate programs, military service or whatever our choices are, we know we are prepared to succeed.


BROOKE FOSTER, CENTRAL STATE UNIVERSITY: As students of Central State University, we've learned a primary lesson from each other, and that's to be resilient in any situation.

ALEXANDRIA DENIA LOVE, LOUISVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, LOUISVILLE, MS: We did it. We made it. And let us not stop here and continue to do ground breaking things in this world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations to the class of 2020.


BERMAN: Congratulations indeed.

Tomorrow, CNN honors the graduates of 2020 with a two hour event starting with "Class of 2020: In This Together." And then join LeBron James and former President Obama for "Graduate Together." The celebration begins tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

CNN's coverage continues, next.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Friday morning. We're glad you're with us. I'm Poppy Harlow.