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China's President to Address WHO; Obama Slams Trump Administration; Storm Bears down on North Carolina; MLB Drafts Safety Protocols. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 18, 2020 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Here's some breaking news. At any moment China's president, Xi Jinping, will address the World Health Organization. This is a crucial time. The U.S. and other nations may pressure the WHO to investigate China's response and transparency, or lack thereof, to the pandemic.

So CNN's David Culver is live in China with the breaking details.

So give us the latest.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, Alisyn, we do expect this to be an opportunity for China to push back against some of that pressure that you mentioned. And it's worth noting it's not only the United States that has been putting that pressure on China and questioning the origin and questioning how China initially responded to this outbreak, but it's other nations as well. It's European nations, it's Australia, all looking for some accountability here and perhaps to avoid a recurrence of this in the future.

Now, what we do expect from the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, when he addresses, is not necessarily anything groundbreaking beyond what has been reiterated over and over in state media, and that is trying to showcase to the world their attempts at handling this in a way that they deemed to have been responsible.


However, what we know early on, specifically within the local government, within Wuhan, is there were mishandlings, there were cover-ups, there were silencing of whistleblower attempts going on. And so we do anticipate that this will be that opportunity for them to address that in a global format.

But there's also been attempts, through state media in particular, to portray this narrative that China has been trying to make good on some of their mishandlings early on through the goodwill that they've put out to the world and how they have put supplies into different countries, European nations in particular, even the U.S. They tried to push that over and over. And so this will likely be another effort for the Chinese president in particular to put his face and voice on this.

However, it is worth noting, again, it's not just the U.S. that has called for this. And so what China will likely push here is that they don't want a unilateral interpretation of the origin, they don't want to necessarily come to a conclusion on that right away, and they also don't want that independent inquiry into how the response was handled because they say it's time right now for containment, not necessarily to investigate how it was handled early on. That will come later, they say, Alisyn and John.

CAMEROTA: OK, thank you, David.

President Xi has just begun speaking here. So we will monitor this for any and all news and bring it to you as soon as it happens.

Meanwhile, back here in the U.S., Democrats have been asking when will President Obama engage in this election? Well, the answer is now. It has started happening. President Trump and former President Obama trading jabs over the weekend. More on their public rift, next.




BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: More than anything, this pandemic has fully finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing. A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's former President Obama criticizing the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. That was to a class of 2020 graduation in an online presentation. President Trump responded overnight by dismissing his predecessor as, quote, grossly incompetent.

Joining me now is CNN contributor Kate Andersen Brower. She is the author of the new book, "Team of Five: The President's Club in the Age of Trump."

What timing for a book like this, I have to say.

So, President Obama, former President Obama, promised that he wasn't going to -- to dip into politics unless he felt that his core values were being threatened. So what does it tell you that he issued this direct attack over the weekend?

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think the pandemic has brought out these simmering tensions and brought them to a boil, really, between President Trump and all of his living predecessors really, all four of these men. There is so much bad blood between them. And I interviewed President Trump for this book. And one of the questions I asked him was, you know, do you feel more empathy for the men who came before you, and he said, no, they left me a giant mess. And the point of the book is really to contrast that with the way the president's club has operated. There's always been mutual respect. And you would think during a pandemic and a crisis of this magnitude, he would reach out to someone like President Obama or President Bush, his most recent Republican predecessor, and say, what can we do together to help?

BERMAN: And, in fact, you've talked to people who surround President Trump and they're even surprised by his lack of outreach. And you said in your book, quote, early on I was shocked by some of the things he said about the former presidents. It's not pretty. In my lifetime, I haven't seen a president so self-centered, this official told you. it's ironic that Trump doesn't hesitate to call up strongmen autocrats like Putin and Erdogan., who are not our friends, but he wouldn't call up Obama, Clinton or even Bush during this crisis.

BROWER: It really is amazing if you think of it. I mean President Obama has set up a virtual war room in his post-presidential offices where he has more than 20 people working for him to decide whether or not to respond to the sitting president and his criticisms. And if you look back at, in the past, wiretapping was one that particularly infuriated President Obama and, you know, he -- he actually even had his office put out a stronger statement than they originally had planned to because he thought it was very important to strike back at that, the idea that he would have wiretapped President Trump's, you know, campaign office in New York just infuriated him.

So I think seeing him speak out now is a sign that he is going to be, you know, gloves off during the campaign.

BERMAN: You brought up the war room. I thought that was really interesting in your book that President Obama actually has a system in place to figure out how and when to jump in here. Talk more about that.

BROWER: Well, I mean, it is kind of amazing that President Obama and President Trump haven't had any substantive conversations since that talk they had, the traditional talk at the White House after Trump won the election. And so there's absolutely no dialog between these two men. And so, as you say, when their core values are being threatened, Obama has to decide whether or not they're going to send a surrogate, sometimes they'll have a former Obama administration official go on cable or write an op-ed, and whether or not he is going to come out.

And I -- I just thought over the weekend it was really striking that he came out in such a no holds barred kind of way. And when I interviewed President Trump, I asked him if he would go to Obama's library opening, because, you know, there's always this (INAUDIBLE) of the platform where all the former presidents are sitting there and Trump just looked at me and said, why would he ask me to come? You know, and in that, to me, just says it all, the fact that Obama wouldn't even -- he -- Trump thinks why would Obama even invite him to his library opening.

BERMAN: That's really interesting.

BROWER: Yes, shocking.

BERMAN: And there's this sort of a shared attitude among all the formers basically, correct?

BROWER: Yes. I mean they have, in the president's club, this unspoken code of not criticizing each other. George H.W. Bush was really the leader of this.


You know, he said, I'm staying out of dodge. He did not want to get involved. He went back to Houston. And he thought it was very important not to criticize a sitting president and W. Bush has really been careful not to say anything because even the video that he released a couple weeks ago, Trump attacked that video. He -- Bush did not himself come out and say anything to defend himself. He had a spokesman come out and say this is about bringing people together and not dividing people.

So they've played by the rules, except for Jimmy Carter, and get (INAUDIBLE) a little bit, but Trump is an outlier and a norm breaker (INAUDIBLE) doing it with the president's club too.

BERMAN: Yes, Carter -- the Carters told you that the Trump administration and Donald Trump's a train wreck.

Just finishing up on President Obama here. How much more of this are we going to hear? And what exactly is it about this pandemic and the handling that has so infuriated him?

BROWER: Well, I think we see how it's disproportionately affecting African-Americans and minority communities and that is something that is, you know, of particular concern to President Obama and he is in a, you know, unique -- uniquely placed to come out and criticize President Trump's handling of the pandemic. He called it a chaotic disaster in that call with his aide.

But, you know, he has been very reluctant to say anything because I talk to people around him who said Trump just wants to have an enemy and President Obama doesn't want to give him that enemy to kind of galvanize his base. So the fact that he is coming out now, I think, says that he's been pushed to the breaking point on this.

BERMAN: All right, Kate Andersen Brower, thank you very much for joining us, talking to us about your reporting and all of this which we're now seeing play out before our very eyes. Appreciate it.

BROWER: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: All right, the first named storm of the hurricane season bearing down on the Carolina coast. Chad Myers tracking Tropical Storm Arthur, next.


[06:50:54] BERMAN: This morning, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the North Carolina coast as the first named storm bears down.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers tracking Arthur for all of us.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John, this is the sixth consecutive year that we've had a named storm before the official start of hurricane season. And there is talk in the community out there about maybe backing up the beginning of hurricane season a little bit because six in a row is a trend.

There is your tropical storm warning really for the outer banks of North Carolina. But we're already seeing some very heavy rainfall coming on shore right now and winds to about 45 or 50.

The big threat today will be the rip currents. You just need to stay out of this water. There were like 70 rescues yesterday across Florida because people getting caught in the rip currents.

There goes the storm. It's a quick storm for us. Will be gone by 2:00 this afternoon.

But something else is coming in behind it. Another storm that's going to make significant flooding rainfall potential from Michigan all the way down to Tennessee. Maybe even interacting a little bit with this tropical moisture. Not much, but a little bit. Anywhere you see red on this map, that's six inches of rain or more just in the next couple of days. So, a couple of storms coming here. We'll keep watching Arthur for you.


CAMEROTA: OK, Chad, thank you very much.

So, this morning, we are remembering the pioneering sportscaster Phyllis George, who passed away on Friday. Phyllis George had a remarkable career. In 1971, she was crowned Miss America. The crown catapulted her to national fame and before long she was blazing a trail in sports broadcasting. In 1975, she became the first female co- host of "The NFL Today," a football pre-game show on CBS. One of her co-hosts, Brent Musburger, said her smile lit up millions of homes.

She wore other television hats as well. She co-hosted "Candid Camera" and leaving -- she led a TV version of "People" magazine.

In 1979, she married John Y. Brown Jr. and then became Kentucky's first lady after helping her husband win the race for governor. Her loss is particularly heartfelt here at CNN. Phyllis George was the mother of our senior White House correspondent, Pamela Brown. Phyllis George was just 70 years old.

And we'll be right back.


BERMAN: All right, new reporting this morning on how Major League Baseball might begin its season, if it ever does.

Andy Scholes with that in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


So the league's put together a working draft of a health and safety manual for when they're able to get back on the field. The 67-page document was first obtained by "The Athletic: and then later by ESPN. The new protocols would calls for upwards of 10,000 Covid-19 tests a week. There would be no line-up card exchange before the game. High- fives, fist-bumps and hugs would be prohibited, as would spitting tobacco and sunflower seeds.

If a ball is touched by multiple players during a play, it's going to be tossed out. Players not playing in the game would sit in the stands six feet apart. Players can't take Ubers or taxis to the games. And players also would be discouraged from using stadium showers.

All right, when the new safety plan is finally finished, the players are going to have to sign off on it. The league and players also still need to agree on pay for the shortened season. That has caused some tension between the two sides.

Al right, Nascar was back on the track yesterday for the first time in ten weeks. They had no fans in the stands at Darlington and all the drivers and teams, they were wearing protective masks. The Real Heroes 400 was dedicated to healthcare workers battling the coronavirus across the country.

Kevin Harvick getting the win. It was the 50th of his career. And those Nascar guys are going to get right back at it. John, they're going to hold 20 events between the top three circuits between now and June 21st. They're definitely trying to make up for some missed time.

BERMAN: And it is great to see sports beginning to open up again where it can without the fans and safely.


BERMAN: I watched soccer, German soccer, all weekend, and that was great to see.

All right, Andy Scholes for us, thanks very much.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This weekend, Texas reported its most dramatic increase in the number of new coronavirus cases. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We look for early indicators. We would test

everybody there. We would do contact tracing in isolation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These tools allow us to be reopened.

PETER NAVARRO: The CDC really let the country down with the testing. They had a bad test. And that did set us back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you hear Navarro talk, it's very discouraging because you can tell that there's an agenda.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, he was an incompetent president. That's all I can say. Grossly incompetent.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what.