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California Shuts Down Statewide as Florida and Texas Mayors Call for Same; Live Coverage as Biden Announces $2 Trillion Clean Energy Proposal; Biden's Speech Emphasizes Reviving American Manufacturing by Updating Infrastructure. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 14:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: The mayor of Miami Beach vows to do what he can to keep his citizens safe.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: I suspect if, in a week or two, this has not changed in any way, then we're all going to do it. And whether or not the governor wants us to or not, we'll do it, the county will do it, lots of the cities will do it. It'll just be a shelter-in-place again.


KEILAR: CNN's Erica Hill is monitoring all of the developments across the country. Erica, tell us what you're seeing.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're hearing a little bit more -- like what we just heard -- from the mayor there. Across the country, Brianna, 20 states on Monday, posting their highest seven-day average for new cases. And it is just a reminder that this virus is spreading, and it does not look at any lines, whether they be for a state, city or county.


HILL (voice-over): Across the country, reality setting in.

PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We should have known that this was coming and planned ahead of time. And this is the problem. There is no roadmap, no plan for the country.

HILL (voice-over): California, the first state to shut down, doing it again, closing indoor activities statewide. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and in some of the hardest hit counties, houses of worship, gyms and salons too.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: We have never had as many people infected or infectious. We have never had as many recorded positive cases each day. And we've never had as many people in the hospital.

HILL (voice-over): Similar records in Florida. Miami, now the nation's new epicenter for the virus.

GELBER: People aren't respecting this virus, especially younger people.

HILL (voice-over): The positivity rate in Miami-Dade County, which counts for nearly a quarter of the state's cases, getting closer to 30 percent.

Nearly 200 employees at Jackson Health, the largest hospital system in the state, are out sick with COVID-19.

in Texas, Houston's mayor wants a new two-week stay-at-home order.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON, TEXAS: We have to slow down this virus. Right now, we're all chasing this virus. The virus is in control.

HILL (voice-over): The governor hasn't yet responded.

Nationwide, the U.S. is averaging more than 60,000 new cases a day. Reopening is paused or in reverse in more than half of all states. Philadelphia just cancelled all large events through the end of February 2021. Walmart, mulling a nationwide mask mandate for shoppers in its stores as the nation's top infectious disease expert admits early mask messaging was amiss.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What got, I think, a little bit misrepresented in that message was not that it was just we wanted to preserve them, but they don't really work that well anyway. So that was the mistake because in fact there's no doubt that wearing a mask is better than not having a mask for the general public."

HILL (voice-over): Back to school will be virtual --

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- pandemic has affected more than three million Americans. It has cost more than 135,000 lives and climbing. And it shows no signs of slowing down.

In just the last few days, 19 states -- 19 states -- reported record cases, including Florida, which saw more than 15,000 new cases in a single day. Hospitalizations and deaths, two of the most concerning indicators of Trump's failed response, are already unacceptably high and they are rising.

It's gotten bad enough that even Donald Trump finally decided to wear a mask in public. I'm glad he made the shift. Mr. President, it's not enough. We won't be able to turn the corner and get American people back to work safely without presidential leadership.

Mr. President, open everything now isn't a strategy for success. It's barely a slogan. Quit pushing the false choice between protecting our health and protecting our economy. All it does is endanger our recovery on both fronts.

Mr. President, please listen to your public health experts instead of denigrating them. Do your job, Mr. President. Because if we can't deal with the public health crisis, we can't deal with the economic crisis or deal with almost 18 million Americans who are out of work, and incredible pain inflicted on small businesses and communities of color.

We can't deal with the climate crisis that could cost us, and cast us into an even darker and more permanent shadow that would loom over the country and the world for a long time.

And we won't be able to do what Americans have always done: come back stronger than ever before with the grit, toughness and resilience that characterizes who we are. That's what I want to talk about today.


Last week, I shared the outlines of my plan to build back better, a bold plan to build an economy of the future, not an economy of the past. And the first plank of that plan rejects the defeatist view that automation and globalization mean we can't ensure our future is made in American, with American, paying, good-paying union jobs, here at home, making it in America.

We clearly can. Today, I'm here in Wilmington to talk about a second plank. How we could create millions of high-paying union jobs by building a modern infrastructure and a clean energy future. These are the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people.

Even if we weren't facing a pandemic and an economic crisis, we should be making these investments anyway. One in five miles of our highways are still in, quote, "poor condition," according to the American engineers. Tens thousands -- actually tens of thousands of bridges are in disrepair, and some on the verge of collapse, presenting a clear and present danger to people's lives.

Tens of millions of Americans lack access to high-speed broadband. To get our people to work and our kids to school safety, to get our kids to market (ph) swiftly, to power clean energy revolution in this country, we need to modernize America's infrastructure.

Despite this overwhelming need, this president and the Republican Congress have simply failed to act. There's no other way of saying it. To continue to break the promises they've made to the American people.

Donald Trump promised a big infrastructure bill when he ran in 2016. He promised it again in 2017. And then in 2018, and again in 2019. And now, he's promising one again.

Seems like every few weeks, when he needs a distraction from the latest charges of corruption in his staff or the conviction of high- ranking members of his administration and political apparatus, the White House announces, quote, "it's Infrastructure Week." How many times have you heard him say that? But he's never delivered. He's never really even tried.

Well, I know how to get it done. In 2009, President Obama and I inherited an economy in freefall. And we prevented another Great Depression. We enacted the largest infrastructure plan since President Eisenhower's interstate highway system, not only creating good-paying jobs and improving the safety and security of people on our roads.

We made the largest investment in clean energy in history of the United States of America, $90 billion. And it put us on a path toward a thriving, clean energy economy, powering new economic growth and reducing energy costs.

Here we are now, with an economy in crisis, but with an incredible opportunity, not just to build back to where we were before, but better, stronger, more resilient and more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

And there's no more consequential challenge that we must meet in the next decade than the onrushing climate crisis. Left unchecked, it is literally an existential threat to the health of our planet and to our very survival. That's not up for dispute, Mr. President.

When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is "hoax." When I think about climate change, the word I think of is "jobs," good-paying, union jobs that will put Americans to work making the air cleaner for our kids to breathe, restoring our crumbling roads and bridges and ports, making it faster, cheaper and cleaner to transport American-made goods all across the country and around the world.


Jobs. Jobs to build and install a network of 500,000 charging stations along our existing and new highways that we would build across this country, which not only would help America and the American automobile industry lead the world in manufacturing with electric vehicles, it will also save Americans billions of dollars over time in the cost of gasoline for their vehicles.

Jobs that lay the lines for the second great railroad revolution, which will not only slash pollution, it will slash commute times and open up investment in areas connected to metropolitan centers for the first time.

When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer. When I think about these windmills, I see American manufacturing, American workers racing to dominate the global market. I see the steel that will be needed for those windmill platforms, towers and ladders that can be made in small manufacturers like the McGregor Industries -- I was up in Scranton last week.

I see the union-trained and certified men and women who will manufacture and install it all. I see the ports that will come back to life, the longshoremen, the ship-builders, the communities they support. When Donald Trump talks about improving efficiency by retrofitting

lighting systems with LED bulbs -- remember what he said? He said he doesn't like LED because, quote, "the light's no good. I always look orange," end of quote. The light's no good, I always look orange.

When I think about energy retrofitting for lighting, I see the incredible projects, like the one right here in the Chase Center. I see small businesses like Preferred Electric, that design and install award-winning energy conservation measures, reduce consumption of electricity, and save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs per year.

I see master electricians and union workers who went through union apprenticeships, who start off with good wages and quality benefits that only grow from there.

These investments are our win-win-win for this country, creating jobs, cutting energy costs, protecting our climate. That's why, today, I'm releasing my plan to mobilize millions of jobs by building sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future.

In my first four years, we're going to give four million buildings, all across this country, the same energy makeover that you get here at Chase, at Chase Center. It's going to create at least one million jobs in construction, engineering and manufacturing in order to get it done.

It's going to make places, the places where we work, we live, we learn, healthier, improving indoor air quality and water quality. It's going to save tens of billions of dollars in energy costs over time. That's all real.

We're not just going to focus on commercial spaces, though. We're going to give direct support to help families do the same thing for their homes. We're going to offer cash rebates and low-cost financing to upgrade energy efficient appliances and windows, improvements that will cut their monthly energy bills and, over time, save them thousands of dollars a year.

We're going to make a major investment to build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units will benefit from community -- all the communities, three times over, by alleviating affordable housing crisis, by increasing energy efficiency and by reducing the racial wealth gap linked to homeownership.

Last week, I talked about using the purchasing power of the federal government to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing. That's what we're going to do for the American automobile industry as well.

The United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles. And we're going to convert these government fleets to electric vehicles, made and sourced right here in the United States of America, with the government providing the demand and the grants to retool factories that are struggling to compete.

The U.S. auto industry and its deep bench of suppliers will step up, expanding capacity so that the United States, not China, leads the world in clean vehicle production.


We're going to make it easier for American consumers to switch to electric vehicles as well, not only by building 500,000 charging stations, but by offering rebates and incentives to swap older fuel- efficient vehicles for a new, clean, made-in-America vehicles, saving hundreds of billions of barrels -- millions of barrels of oil on an annual basis.

Together, this will mean one million new, good-paying jobs in the automobile industry. And supply chain, and the associated infrastructure needed to get it done.

We also know that transforming the American electrical sector to produce power without producing carbon pollution, and electrifying an increased share of our economy, will be the greatest spurring of jobs creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century. That's why we're going to achieve a carbon pollution-free electric sector by the year 2035.

We need to get to work on it right away. We'll need the scientists at the national labs, the land grant universities, the HBCUs to improve and innovate technologies needed to generate, store, and transmit this clean energy.

We need the engineers to design them, the workers to manufacture them. We need ironworkers and welders to install them. We'll become the world's largest exporter of these technologies, creating even more jobs.

We know how to do this. Our administration rescued the auto industry and helped it retool, made solar energy the same cost as traditional energy, weatherized more than a million homes. And we'll do it again, but this time, bigger and faster and smarter.

And as we do this work, we need to be mindful of the historical wrongs and the damage that American industries have done to the 20th century, inflicting environmental harm on the poor and vulnerable communities, so often black and brown and Native American communities, polluted air, polluted water, toxins raining down from communities that bore the environmental and health burdens but shared none of the profits.

Growing up, breathing that in every day, it's poison. And it's partly why there are such incredible rates of childhood asthma in black and brown communities, why black Americans are almost three times more likely to die of asthma-related causes than white Americans.

It's Cancer Alley in St. James Parish in Louisiana. That's the cancer- causing clusters along Route 9, right here in Delaware. And that's why, today, I'm also releasing a state of the environment justice policies that build on my existing plan.

This is an area of incredible opportunity for economic growth for our country, but we have to make sure that the first people who benefit from this are the people who were most basically hurt by it historically, in the last century, by the structural disparities that exist.

I'm setting a goal to make sure that these frontline and fence line communities, whether in rural places or center cities, receive 40 percent of the benefit from the investments we're making in housing, in pollution reduction, and workforce development and transportation across the board.

We're also going to create jobs for people by cleaning up the environmental hazards that have now been abandoned. I saw the front page of the "Times" two days ago, all these places that are going bankrupt except for the benefit that's going, millions and millions of dollars, going to the CEOs.

More than a quarter million jobs, right away, to do things like plugging millions of abandoned oil and gas wells that exist all across the country, posing daily threats to the health and safety of our communities.

And we're going to hold accountable those CEOs and corporations that benefit from decades of subsidies, then just walked away from their responsibilities to these communities, leaving the wells to leak, pollutants to continue to spew, greenhouse gases flowing into the air and the water.

We're not only going to repeal those subsidies, we're going to go after those golden parachutes the CEOs gave themselves before declaring bankruptcy, to make sure the workers receive the benefits and retirement they were promised.


Let's create new markets for our family farmers and our ranchers. A new modern-day civilian climate corps to heal our public lands, to make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.

Look, these aren't pie-in-the-sky dreams, these are actionable policies that we can get to work on right away. We can live up to our responsibilities, meet the challenges of a world at risk of a climate catastrophe, build more climate-resilient communities, put millions of skilled workers on the job and make life markedly better and safer for the American people all at once, and benefit the world in the process.

The alternative? Continue to ignore the facts, deny reality, focus only on technology of the last century instead of inventing the technology that will define this century. It's just plain un-American not to. This is all that Donald Trump and the Republicans offer, backward-looking policies that will harm the environment, make communities less healthy, hold back economic promise while other countries race ahead.

It's a mindset that doesn't have any faith in the capacity of the American people to compete, to innovate and to win. It's never been a good bet to bet against the American people. And when you, it will exact a deadly cost.

I know better. I know you do as well. I know what the American people are capable of, I know what American workers can accomplish when given the room to run.

I know that climate change is a challenge that's going to define our American future. I know meeting the challenge will be a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy, strengthen our global leadership, protect our planet for future generations.

And if I have the honor of being elected president, we're not just going to tinker around the edges. We're going to make historic investments, and we'll seize the opportunity and meet this moment in history. We're going to get to work, delivering results right on day one.

We're going to reverse Trump's rollbacks of 100 public health and environmental rules, and then forge a path to greater ambition. We're going to get back into the Paris Agreement, back into the business of leading the world. We're going to lock in progress that no future president can roll back or undercut to take us backward again.

Science requires a timetable for measuring progress on climate that isn't three decades or even two. Science tells us we have nine years before the damage is irreversible. So my timetable results is in my first four years as president. The jobs we'll create, the investments we'll make and the irreversible steps we'll take to mitigate and adapt to the climate change and put our nation on the road to net zero emissions no later than 2050 (ph).

So let's not waste any more time. Let's get to work, now. Now. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President, time for a few questions?

KEILAR: All right. The former vice president, there with one of his key policy speeches, this one on clean energy. I want to bring in Bill Weir, our chief climate science reporter on this, and Arlette Saenz, who covers the Biden campaign.

I want to start with you, Arlette, because this was a speech about clean energy, but we heard Joe Biden talking about the Trump administration coronavirus response there at the top, and he was saying, essentially, that you can't push a choice. They're -- don't push a choice, a false choice between health and the economy, right? This isn't a false choice.

And he also -- he also was very pointed in saying that the president finally wore a mask. But he said finally wearing a mask in public is not enough -- Arlette.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Brianna. And, really, you've heard Joe Biden over the past few months hammer away at this message about President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden, arguing that you can't separate the public health and the economic portions of this coronavirus response.


And you heard the former vice president talk about how the country is still in a moment of crisis. He acknowledged that President Trump finally wore a mask in public over the weekend, but Biden says that that's not enough, that there needs to be stronger presidential leadership.

And he specifically said that the president needs to listen to his public health experts instead of denigrating them, that being a reference to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Biden has said that he would ask Dr. Fauci to serve under his administration to continue serving at a time when the president and the White House have sought to discredit Fauci.

So you really have heard Biden, trying to present this contrast with the president not just on the coronavirus pandemic, but now also on climate change.

You know, the -- Biden specifically said that "When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is 'hoax.' When I think about climate change, the word I think of is 'jobs,' good-paying, union jobs."

And that's at the heart of what Biden is talking about here today. Last week, we heard him unveil the first plank of his economic recovery agenda, which was focusing on manufacturing. Today, he says that clean energy is what we need to -- the country needs to invest in to create good-paying jobs across the country, as Americans, many unemployed people, are grappling with the ramifications of this coronavirus pandemic.

And in outlining his plans, some of the top lines from Biden's plan release today is that he would invest $2 trillion in clean energy projects, in infrastructure, transportation, building efficiencies over the course of four years. That is a timeline that's a bit sped up from what he had released during the primary.

He is also pushing for eliminating carbon emissions from power plants by 2035, and he's also talked about this larger need for environmental justice, saying that there should be an environmental justice panel within the Department of Justice, and also wanting to invest a lot of that clean energy benefits and investments into disadvantaged communities.

So today you had Biden clearly outlining how he thinks investing in the clean energy sector could spur jobs across this country as many Americans are looking for ways to cope with the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

KEILAR: And I want to bring Bill back into this conversation. Bill Weir, you are joining us from Brazil, which of course is in the middle of its own challenges when it comes to coronavirus. But listening to the former vice president's clean energy policy speech here, what did you take away? What stood out to you?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. You know, anybody who cares about air and water and animals and the state of the planet will probably vote for a loaf of bread over Donald Trump. But Hillary Clinton's biggest mistake, she admits, back in 2016, was saying we're going to put coal mines out of business. And it gave Trump an easy line, to say it's a war on coal.

So he's pinning this all on jobs, the way, under Trump, Infrastructure Week has become a punchline. He's saying, Imagine all the engineers, all the welders, all the frackers that we could move into building us windmills and solar panels and all these things. So he's really turning this into not an I-have-a-nightmare speech, it's I-have-a- dream speech there.

And it's a lot more ambitious than where he started. He was middle of the pack early in the Democratic primaries. But now, with the health of Jay Inslee, he's brought in people like Varshini Prakash, the founder of the Sunrise Movement, a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters. They have upped his ambition and the price tag on this. He says he's going to pay for it by taking away oil and gas subsidies, golden parachutes to these old energy executives and whatnot.

Forty percent investment into communities of color. After George Floyd, I can't breathe is the cry of the day. Well, a lot of these communities, they can't breathe because they live in the dirtiest parts of town historically. So that's a huge boon for them. So a lot of these people who thought he wouldn't be ambitious enough, are saying this is a really good plan.

And here in Brazil, aside from the coronavirus pandemic -- and novel viruses will only get worse in a warmer world -- news came out yesterday that President Bolsonaro fired a woman at basically Brazil's NASA for putting out data that showed 400 square miles of the Amazon was destroyed just in June.

And so it's not just a matter of convincing voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania to vote for him. If he gets this job, he's going to have to convince world leaders to join in this basically global fight against our own lifestyles in order to create a better planet.

KEILAR: And it's so important for younger people, Bill, right? I mean, here we are, in the middle of one existential crisis, as we're going through this pandemic, with coronavirus.