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CNN NEWSROOM

Growing Pandemic; Biden Lays Out Economic Vision. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:23]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN on this Thursday afternoon. Thanks for being here.

The U.S. is reeling, as COVID-19 continues to ravage the nation, now in its sixth full month of fighting the pandemic. Twelve states have record numbers of hospitalizations, while deaths have increased in seven.

And of the now three million total cases, one-third -- that's one million -- were confirmed in less than one month; 58,000 cases were added just yesterday.

And, increasingly, President Trump finds himself on one side of the fight, while his doctors are clearly on the other. And that includes Dr. Anthony Fauci. The nation's top infectious expert is making his voice heard, when -- even when he doesn't appear at those Coronavirus Task Force briefings.

You may remember, back in February, just during the earlier stages of the pandemic, the president offered up this idea on how the U.S. would beat the virus. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The virus. They're working hard. Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. Hope that's true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Fast-forward several months and thousands of cases later, and this is Dr. Fauci's view:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: For the people who expected to see a sharp decline in the number of cases as the weather became warm and moist, I think we're seeing that that's absolutely not the case.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And then there was this comment from the president just this week, where he stated he disagrees with Fauci's view on the severity of the crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think we are in a good place. I think we're actually -- we are going to be, in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we're going to be in very good shape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Here is Dr. Fauci today:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: A total of 60,000 new cases per day. We need to get our arms around that, Steve, and we need to do something about it quickly, because, if we don't, there's a possibility we may be seeing surgings in other area.

So we're in a very difficult, challenging period right now, as we speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And, and when it comes to the president's ongoing push to reopen schools and his fight with the CDC over its guidelines to do that safely, the American Public Health Association is now weighing in, saying, the White House's actions are turning students, their parents and teachers into -- quote, unquote -- "political pawns," something the association says could have deadly consequences.

And in a confusing turn, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield says that the agency would not be changing its guidelines, while the White House press secretary says everyone is on the same page.

So, we will pause on all of our COVID coverage and pivot now to, we're about to hear from the former vice president. Joe Biden obviously would like to unseat President Trump this fall. And he is about to be speaking specifically on his economic plan, something that, according to reporting, is something that the Biden team sees as a vulnerability for the current president.

Let me bring in our political director, David Chalian.

And, David, what should we be listening for?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, this is going to be the first of four speeches in the lead-up to the convention that Joe Biden is making, really focused on the economy. And this is on the manufacturing economy.

I think what you're seeing Joe Biden trying to do here is to chip away at some of the advantage President Trump still has on the economy. It's still the one area where, in our most recent poll, he actually gets majority support, who would handle the economy better, Trump over Biden. And I think Joe Biden wants to refrain that argument and argue that he is the one that can put in the populist policies to reinvest in America first, not the way Donald Trump describes it, but with a real investment of federal dollars into manufacturing here at home, that can help bolster supply chains, so that if another pandemic where to hit us, or if we have a second wave in the fall, that the country could be more prepared for that kind of scenario under a Biden administration.

BALDWIN: There was an opinion piece today in "The Washington Post."

Greg Sargent wrote this piece, and so I thought it offered an interesting perspective, because the first graph, he reminds all of us. He takes us back to 2016 and talks about Steve Bannon, and how he had given -- oh, hang on one second.

I will hold my thought. We will talk about it on the other side. Here is the former vice president speaking now.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me start off by saying hello to Terese Casey, and the guy that hangs out with her occasionally.

And, Bobby, thank you. Thanks for being here. And thanks for welcoming me home.

And the McGregor family, all of them, including the long-suffering wife who's had to be the sister, like my sister, of a mayor for all those years. And I want to thank them all.

[15:05:14]

And, Mayor Burke and Mayor Cognetti, congratulations. And President Eric Dean. Mr. President, as I have said earlier, your -- the Ironworkers have been with me my entire career.

When I first -- the first operation to ever endorse me in 1972, I wasn't even old enough to be elected senator, and you guys endorsed me. And I was able to turn 30 by the time I got sworn in. But, at the time, I wasn't elected. I was elected. I wasn't old enough.

And it's great to be -- great to be home. My dad is from Dunmore, and -- Mr. Mayor. And my mom was from Scranton. And I want to thank -- I want to thank Bob and everyone here at the McGregor Industries for showing me around this morning, although we -- I knew of this establishment for a long time. It's only been around 100 years.

And it's -- but this is the kind of small manufacturing business that demonstrates that the resilience, the creativity and the staying power of the American industrial base.

You know, I'm not telling you anything new, but we're living through a time unlike any other in American history. Our country is facing three simultaneous crises, a pandemic that's infected over three million Americans and cost thus far over 130,000 lives. Bobby, three times a week, I'm on the phone with the national folks,

the docs who were head of CDC and other places before. The expectation is, they think it may get as high as 200,000 before it's over.

And it shows no signs of slowing down. We have an economic crisis that's left almost 18 million Americans out of work, with some of the greatest pain inflicted on small businesses and communities of color.

A national recognition on the issue of racial injustice is also -- that's long plagued the United States of America, long plagued our country. It's come on top of a widening economic inequity and a mounting climate crisis.

Each of these, each of these crises is an enormous challenge. It is testing our strength, our patients, our resilience, and our commitment to our core values, and a commitment to one another.

But each of these also presents tremendous opportunity for the nation, an opportunity to prepare now for the future threats we know are just around the corner, an opportunity address fundamental inequities of our nation, the growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else.

It's an opportunity to finally and fully live up to the words and the values enshrined in our founding documents of this nation, that we're all created equal. We're entitled to be treated equally the rest of our lives, not just created equal, to be treated equally.

We all know the stakes couldn't be higher. That's why it's no time for the divisive politics we're hearing more about today. Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans will benefit him. I don't.

We have a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, a climate crisis. We need to come together to solve these crises, to solve them as Americans. This is our moment to imagine and to build a new American economy for our families and for our communities, an economy where every American, every American has a chance to get a fair return for the work they put in, an equal chance to get ahead.

My grandpop, when I live with him down in Green Ridge, used to talk about everybody, everybody, Joey, deserves a shot, just a shot, everybody.

An economy that is more powerful, we can build, precisely because everyone will be cut in on the deal this time, as we rebuild the middle class, this time bringing everyone along, everybody, an economy that says investing in the American people and working families is more important than the nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks predominantly handed out to the super wealthy.

[15:10:03]

Donald Trump loves to talk and talk and talk. But after 3.5 years of big promises, what do the American people have to show for all the talk? He promised a health care plan, but never even offered his own bill, as he continues to try to wipe out Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic.

Instead, he's fought repeatedly to take health care away from tens of millions of people who didn't have it before and over 100 million people who are covered because they had preexisting conditions now that they couldn't have gotten coverage for before.

He promised an infrastructure plan to deliver, deliver on jobs and opportunities. We're rated as having the 23rd -- ranked 23rd in the world in terms of our transportation infrastructure. What happened to all that? He promised to bring back jobs, but manufacturing was in recession even before COVID-19.

He promised to buy American, but then he let federal contractors double the rate of offshoring jobs in his first 18 months.

I'm going to change that. We're going to double the foreign tax -- the tax on foreign profits, so we don't encourage people to leave and build abroad.

And when it comes to COVID-19, after months of doing nothing, other than predicting the virus would disappear, or maybe, if you drank bleach, you may be OK, Trump has simply given up. He's waved the white flag. He's walked away.

And his failures come with a terrible human cost and deep economic toll. Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration's incompetence. There's no other way to say it than incompetence.

Small businesses ended up with the short end of the stick as well. Less than a third of the massive amounts of money for stimulus that the Congress has passed and the Federal Reserve has made available to the private sector, less than a third of it has gone to Main Street businesses.

Big businesses, the wealthy, Trump's cronies and pals, they have been the big winners. Senator Casey can tell you they wrote in the law there had to be oversight, an inspector general, to make sure where that money went.

I'm the guy that had the responsibility of handing out $84 billion in the Recovery Act of the financial recession. I met once every two weeks with the inspectors general. Everything was open.

What are we finding out now? That large chains and hotel chains and chains of restaurants, they divided all the restaurants up and treated them as individual restaurants. They're already making hundreds of millions of dollars.

But Main Street, mom-and-pop businesses, they didn't get the money. The truth is, throughout this crisis, Donald Trump has been almost singularly focused on the stock market, the Dow and Nasdaq, not you, not your families.

If I'm fortunate enough to be elected president, I'll be laser-focused on working families, the middle-class families I came from here in Scranton, not the wealthy investor class. They don't need me. But working families do.

And this may be -- should be, in my view, the guiding principle. We must reward work as much as we rewarded wealth. But now we just reward excessive wealth.

You see, growing up rich and looking down on people is a bit different than how I grew up, up here. Here, nobody thought and understood, nobody thought, but also knew, that Wall Street bankers and CEOs didn't built this country -- didn't build it.

You can just look around your neighborhood or your kitchen table and see who built this country. It was at my grandfather Finnegan's kitchen table in Green Ridge that I learned money doesn't determine your worth.

[15:15:03]

He would say, Joey, no one in the world is more worthy than you and everyone is equally worthy.

My dad used to have an expression. The people who follow me on -- I know they're probably tired of me saying it, but he meant it. And I never understood it as well as I have the last 15 years.

He said, Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about your place in your community. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, honey, it's going to be OK, and mean it.

You know, Mr. President, over 56 percent of the people think their kids will never, never reach the standard of living they had. And, folks, we know who built this country. Hardworking folks like you grew up with. You know who built the middle class. Unions built the middle class. That's why we have a middle class.

Had a uncle used to say, Joey, you're a laborer from belt buckle to shoe sole. Well, I have taken pride in that, because the only way, my dad would say, you deal with power is with power, with power.

Corporate America -- and I come from the corporate state of the world, Delaware. The only way to deal with abuse of power is with power. And labor, unions, is the only one that have that capacity to do it.

If that's raining outside, come on in, guys. I don't want anybody out there -- are you guys in the rain? Or is that not rain? I thought -- OK, I thought that was rain. It is? You guys can come on in. Don't stay out there.

But, look, determination, resilience and grit, the strength to get up, no matter how many times you get knocked down, respect for hard work and for the people who do it, these are the values I grew up and all of you have grown up with. These are the values that I'm going to take with me to the Oval Office. I will give more help to mainstream businesses and entrepreneurs and

ask more of corporate America. Nearly half of the jobs in America are small business jobs. And even back in the early -- as early as May, some estimates found that more than 100,000 small businesses have been permanently shut down.

More have closed. And it's been devastating. So, enough is enough. It's time to reverse the priorities of this country. It's time to help small businesses, middle-class folks managed their way through a pandemic. Let's help billions of would-be entrepreneurs get out from under their debts, so they can start businesses.

And it's time corporate America paid their fair share of taxes. We thought, in our administration, we should lower tax from the high 30s to 28 percent. They lowered it to 21. I'm going to raise it back up to 28, provide hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in the growth of this country.

And the days of Amazon paying nothing in federal income tax will be over. Let's make sure that our workers have a power and a voice. It's way past time to put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism, the idea the only responsibility a corporation has is its shareholders.

That's simply not true. It's an absolute farce. They have responsibility to their workers, their community, to their country. That isn't a new or radical notion.

These are basic values and principles that helped build this nation in the first instance. Now the challenge is to take these fundamental values and apply them to the new economy we have to build in the years ahead. And, folks, it's not sufficient to build back.

We have to build back better. That's what my plan is, to build back better, as bold, as practical, and as focused on building an economy for the future, not for the past, and that responds to five truths laid out in this moment of crisis.

The first is that we have seen in the course of this pandemic that we need to strengthen our industrial base as long-term sourced -- sources of middle-class job creation. Let's use this opportunity to take bold investments in American industry and innovation, so that the future is made in America, all in America.

[15:20:08]

I do not accept the defeatist view that forecasts that automation and globalization mean we can't keep well-paying jobs here in America and create more of them.

I do not buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past. American manufacturing was the functioning arsenal of democracy in World War II, has to be part of the engine of new prosperity in America now.

So, today, I'm releasing the blueprint I think the press has, how to create millions of good-paying union jobs, building promising technologies that we need now and we will need in the future.

And it starts with a pretty basic idea. When we spend taxpayers' money, when the federal government spends taxpayers' money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs.

My plan would tighten the rules to make this a reality, and it goes further. During my first term alone, we will invest $400 billion in purchasing products and materials our country needs to modernize our infrastructure, replenish our critical stockpiles, and enhance national security.

That's how much the federal government will spend on buying products, the federal government. These funds will provide reliable, predictable demand for products made by American workers, and supply chains like this one right here for the American industries.

We will purchase clean energy technologies, fight climate change, building materials, including steel products like those produced here, stockpiles of critical goods and equipment, and advanced technologies to modernize our government and enhance our national security.

To ensure the future is made in America, we need to win not just the jobs of the day. We have to invest in what the jobs and industries of tomorrow are going to be. The Chinese are spending multiple billions of dollars trying to own the technology of the future, while we sit with our thumb in our ear.

It means fighting unfair trade practices, curbing the threat of intellectual property by countries like China. America can't sit on the sidelines in a race for the future.

That's why I'm proposing a dramatic research and development investment of $300 billion in my first four years alone to sharpen America's competitive edge in the new industries, where global leadership is up for grabs, like battery technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, clean energy.

That's the future. And this money will be used purposefully to ensure all of America is in on the deal, including communities that historically have been left out, black, brown, and Native American entrepreneurs, cities and towns everywhere in the region and in the country.

All told, this will be a mobilization of R&D and procurement investment in ways not seen since the Great Depression and World War II.

In addition of bringing back the jobs that have been lost this year, my plan will help create at least five million, five million five million new good-paying jobs, as experts have looked at it, in manufacturing and innovation, and create them right here in the United States of America.

The second thing, we have seen the importance of a more resilient economy for the long term. Our president wasn't prepared for this pandemic. He ignored the detailed briefings and warnings that our administration left behind.

The threat of a pandemic, we told him, was coming. He gave -- we gave all this to his administration in transition. But he shut it all down. He shut down the pandemic office we had inside the White House. He praised the Chinese government even as the virus was coming to our shores, because he was so afraid that they'd walk away from his trade deal that cost us significant amounts of money as well.

Let's not get caught flat-footed again. Let's get prepared to meet the challenge of the climate crisis. That means investing in infrastructure, clean energy, creating millions of good-paying union jobs in the process.

Next week, I'll be laying out an updated blueprint of how we can build a modern, safe, sustainable infrastructure, and the clean energy economy, and how to make sure that the communities that have suffered the most from pollution are the first to benefit from this investment, how to strengthen the union movement, how to make sure the unions are building America, just like they built the middle class.

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Third thing, we have seen in this pandemic the immense burden on working parents, especially women. They're carrying as if they -- you know, they find themselves in a position where they're working, they're attempting to work, they're attempting to take care of their children who are young, at the same time their aging parents who need help and are suffering from disabilities.

It's been especially hard in this crisis. But let's face it. It's always hard. So, let's make it easier to afford child care and care for our aging relatives, our moms and our dads.

Let's offer more pay, more economic dignity to the millions of workers, often women, often women of color, who are entrusted to help teach our youngest and care for our oldest at the same time.

Donald Trump has no idea what it's like to be a single parent who's barely getting by, but needs to find child care. He doesn't have a clue what it's like to provide for an aging parent. And that's understandable.

But it's unconscionable that he doesn't even try to understand or empathize with the struggling of so many millions of people out there. Like a lot of you -- and I'll bet there's a lot of you out there in the audience, including the press -- you understand it personally.

I understand it. I know how hard it is to be a single dad who has to work with two young sons at home. I know what it means to bring your aging parents into your home in the last months of their lives to care for them as well.

I have done both, and I had great help. I have a really close family. And I was a U.S. senator making $42,000 a year at the time. I have done both. It's hard. But it's so much harder for millions of Americans who are trying to make ends meet. In the weeks ahead, I'll be laying out a plan to mobilize American

talent and hearts to build a 21st century caregiving and education work force.

The fourth thing we have seen is, millions of American workers of small businesses, business owners, put their lives on the line to keep their county -- I mean, their country going. We need to treat these folks and their families as essential, not just in times of crisis, but all times.

We call these folks the essential workers. I think the blinders have been taken off the bulk of the American people. Those who could afford to stay at home and stay in place, they look out there and they realize, there's that grocery store clerk stacking the shelves.

There's that nurse's aide trying to find protective gear to take care of someone that's on a ventilator. There's that truck driver. It's that's mail delivery person, the essential workers.

You see the ads where we clap for them as they come down the street, first responders. Well, it's time we not only clap for them. It's time we pay them.

The idea that every one of them is not worth a minimum at least a minimum of $15 an hour? Or spend time with front-line workers, and then tell them they shouldn't have the right to organize and become part of a union, organize for better pay, for paid leave, for benefits, for working conditions where we insist that they have safe and sanitary conditions to work in?

Maybe it is possible for him to ignore it, but I can't, and I won't. It's not enough just to praise these workers. We need to pay them.

Let's finish the job of Obamacare by ensuring everybody has access to quality, affordable health care. Let's lower the cost of prescription drugs and stop the surprise billing and provide public options to cover the millions of Americans who are without health care by adding it to Obamacare.

Let's make everyone, ensure everyone has access to a good education, regardless of the zip code. Let's triple the amount money we spend on Title I schools. Those are -- Title I schools -- and you have 18 of them, 18 of -- Title I schools in Scranton and Dunmore.

And it means that they have very low tax bases. So they're having trouble keeping teachers. I'd triple the amount of money we spend on those, from $15 billion a year to $45 billion, raising the salaries for the teachers in those schools up to $60,000 a year, making sure every single solitary child age 3, 4, and 5 is able to go to school, not day care, Mr. Mayor.

All the data shows and studies show, whether it's at The U, or it's at the University of Pennsylvania or anywhere around, that that increases by over 58%, the chance that that child will go all the way through and graduate without having any trouble.

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