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CNN NEWSROOM

Biden: Climate Change Poses an Imminent Existential Threat; Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami-Dade County)Discusses Florida Allowing Bars to Reopen at 50% Capacity but Southern Florida "Not Ready"; NFL Players Focus on Social Justice in Opening Sunday. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 14, 2020 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00]

BRITTANY SHEPHERD, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, "YAHOO NEWS": You hear it from his surrogates, you hear from Michelle Obama and Barack Obama that Joe Biden will listen to the Coronavirus Task Force and also listen to the scientists task force on climate change.

So I think pressure from those surrogates, from those young voters, and by just creating a clear foil to what Trump is going to be saying later on in California is definitely expected later.

Especially as Bernie Sanders has been pressuring Joe Biden privately to talk about more kitchen-table issues and campaign not just on not being Donald Trump.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And so, Michael, you get to this point where, how do you break through to the president.

And part of this is this is largely happening -- tell me if you think I'm wrong or the reporting says I'm wrong. This is happening in California, Oregon and Washington, three blue states in presidential politics. In California, there's not really much of a Republican Party left.

Might it be different if that were happening in a different part of the country, if it were a bigger Texas problem, for example?

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think so. I mean, look, on the one hand, the White House has approved disaster declarations for every state over the years.

So there's some -- some way in which the government, even this administration offers help regardless of politics.

But what you have also seen is this president, whether it is the pandemic and his different responses to Democratic governors versus Republican governors, whether it's the racial upheaval in various states in which he has repeatedly targeted Democratic -- what he called Democrat-led cities and states or the -- or the environment. I mean, look, he went down to Florida a week or so ago and approved an

offshore -- extending an offshore drilling ban that the Republican governor of that have state desperately wanted.

And yet, he -- he's -- his administration has refused to do that for several northeastern states who want a similar kind of thing. But they, of course, are led by Democratic politicians.

And so I do think that one of the features of this presidency has been to differentiate between, you know, what -- who the president likes and whether the president is -- sees that the states are run by his allies or not.

KING: Michael Shear, Brittany Shepherd, appreciate the reporting from you both. We'll watch as the president heads west today to see if he sticks to that script.

And as we go break, Joe Biden dropping by to vote early today in Delaware's primary election. And he offered this prediction about November's vote count.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have confidence in voting this November that all votes will be counted?

JOE BIDEN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm confident that Trump will try to not have that happen. But I promise the American public will insist on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:37:29]

KING: Starting today, Florida is allowing bars in the state to reopen, restricting them to 50 percent occupancy. But in south Florida, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties are ordering bars to remain closed for now.

Miami-Dade's mayor says simply not ready yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ (R-MIAMI-DADE COUNTY) & CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Let me be clear. The Miami-Dade County will not be opening up bars and night clubs.

There are other parts of our state that are opening bars is perfectly OK, fine, because they have very few cases of COVID-19. We're still not out of the woods yet but we're getting close.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Carlos Gimenez is the mayor of the Miami-Dade County and he's also a Republican candidate for Congress.

Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here.

I want to show positivity rates, first, in your county and statewide. Put them side by side. Miami-Dade County has a 4.34 positive rate and, as of yesterday, the state has just shy of 11 percent.

You could make the case looking at the data that you're actually more ready to reopen because you have the lower positivity rate. You want to be extra careful, get that down even more.

Is it reckless for the rest of the state? I understand there are some counties where it's not that high, but for -- nearly 11 percent positivity?

GIMENEZ: I don't know. That's a one-day average that you just got. I mean, sometimes there's data dumps that skew that number a little bit.

So usually, the rest of the state is lower than Miami-Dade. On the average, it's lower than Miami-Dade. And so the -- the three in the southeast have the highest average on a 14-day average.

We're still not ready here. We want to make sure we also get our contact tracing down before we open up any more spaces.

Most of the businesses here are open, by the way. It's just the bars, night clubs. Some interior spaces like move theaters and banquet halls, those are still closed.

But we're probably going to make a move on those soon. Not the bars, not the -- not the night clubs, but all those other spaces, make a move soon.

But I want to make sure that our contact tracing is in place and working before we do that.

KING: And I'm guessing, sir, help me understand the pressure on you. I'm guessing your phone is ringing or your texts are lighting up and e-mails are lighting up.

And I say that with no disrespect because these are critical businesses. A lot of your economy is tourism-driven and social- activity driven and beach-driven. And you have this horrible pandemic now where six months-plus.

What is it like to pick up the phone and tell a restaurant owner, a bar owner not yet?

GIMENEZ: Well, the restaurants are open. The restaurants are open at 50 percent capacity, six-foot separation in tables and all that. We did that a couple of weeks ago. And we're looking to see what has transpired since.

[11:40:06]

Luckily, our positivity rate continues to go down. We're in about 4.3 percent today. Hospitalizations are like 70 percent, 75 percent down from where they were even four weeks ago. So everything is going in a good direction.

We also are hearing that there may be a second spike time in the later fall. And the lower we get this positivity rate, the less that spike will be. We never want to exceed the capacity of our hospital system. We have not yet. And so we want to make sure that we're ready for that.

Again, our contact tracing, got -- had a meeting on it today and will have another meeting in a couple of days to make sure that that's all set.

And I expect our schools to start opening, too, sooner rather than later on a, you know, volunteer basis. And our parents were polled and 50 percent want their kids to go back to school and 50 percent want their kids to remain learning in a virtual environment.

We have to ensure that contact tracing is well -- it's well established. We have procedures in place so that we open up the schools. We can, if anything happens, we can contain it.

KING: If we show -- take coronavirus cases in Florida with key dates going all the way back to April.

On March 20th, as the country was dealing with this and the state of Florida was dealing with this, Florida suspends drinking at bars.

And on June 5th, bars in most of the state, not your part of the state, most of the state were allowed to reopen. And on June 26th -- and you can follow the cases going up -- Florida suspends drinking at bars.

This has been -- if you listen to the public health experts, this has been one of the things they are most concerned about.

You're right about restaurants. If you can spread people out, they view that as safer. Bars, it's a natural tendency, people are packed in closer together. They are drinking and talking to each other in close proximity.

Number one, did Florida move too early to reopen the bars in other places and have to retreat? And how do you wrestle with the question is it a combination of a lower positivity rate and triple checking that contact tracing? What's your trigger?

GIMENEZ: No, we need to have a lower positivity rate. And we've got to make sure that our contact tracing is fine.

Look, I don't think that bars -- here in Miami-Dade, I don't think bars is a good idea. We are -- we're a tourist capital. We are not -- our night life is legendary.

So one of the things we do here to try to tamp down that -- that night life and that social activity. We still have a curfew and we moved back the curfew to 11:00 to allow

the restaurants to basically have a second, you know, turn of the table, have a little bit, you know, better chance of recouping some of that money they lost for all of these months.

But we still have the curfew and that's to tamp down social activity and keep people away from each other as much as possible.

Because it is, when you take the mask off, when you're close together, that's when we know that this virus is going to spread and then thing that happened to us in early June, we think -- we saw it.

It was all young people. Young people. The positivity rate just skyrocketed because they -- you know, they let their guard down. So our message is keep your guard up.

We'll continue to, you know, enforce the rules that we have. We'll be very, you know, diligent in how we open because we did have the most number of cases down here.

And we're just a little bit different than the rest states. It's a big state. Big difference in positivity rates.

And so those parts of the state that have very few cases, it may be appropriate for them but, right now, not yet in Miami-Dade County.

KING: Caution is not a bad watchword.

Mr. Mayor, we appreciate your time and your insights. Best of luck in the days ahead, sir.

GIMENEZ: Thank you. Appreciate it. Have a good one.

KING: Thank you.

[11:43:46]

Up next for us, Joe Biden heads to Florida where he's about to get a $100 million boost from his former rival.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:48:41]

KING: Early voting is on hold right now in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of ballot delays. In-person, early voting, delivery of absentee ballots all supposed to start today.

But unresolved lawsuits to stop counties from certifying their ballots so they can't be sent out. President Trump won Pennsylvania by less than one point back in 2016.

[11:48:59]

Up next for us, the NFL season begins and the fight for social justice is front and center. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:53:31]

KING: We are told the Big 10 set to vote today on whether to reverse course and proceed with an abbreviated fall season.

The NFL, their return-to-work experiment already under way, bringing with it a new season of social justice protests.

CNN sports correspondent, Andy Scholes, joins us now with day one from the NFL -- Andy?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, the first Sunday of the NFL season is in the books. And it very interesting to watch how teams across the league handled the new social justice initiatives and they did it very differently.

We say eight teams remain in the locker room for the national anthems and the song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is the black national anthem.

And we also saw players across the league kneeling, raises fists, and locking arms together.

Here in Jacksonville, where I am, the Colts all locked arms together for the national anthem with just one person taking a knee, and that was their head coach, Frank Reich.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Vikings honoring George Floyd. They played a video tribute and Floyd's family was recognized before the game.

Now, this morning, the NFL sending out a memo to the teams reminding coaches they must wear their masks at all times while on the side lines.

The Rams' Sean McVay was seen last night multiple times with his mask pulled down while he was calling plays. The memo says coaches will be disciplined if they don't comply.

In New Orleans, Tom Brady making his Bucs debut. This game was featuring the two oldest players in the league, Brady, 43, Brice (ph), 41.

[11:55:00]

Brady, off to a great start, led the Bucs down the field for a touchdown but he threw a pick six later. This was all New Orleans after that, 34-23.

Cam Newton, meanwhile, taking Brady's place in New England. Look at that suit. Impressive. Cam, he was dominant for the Patriots on the ground. Led them to a win over the Dolphins 21-11.

John, I know you are a big Patriots fan. Cam Newton keeping wins, are you going to buy yourself a yellow suit?

KING: I was going to wear it today but Cam wore it yesterday. So I'll wait. I'll wait a couple of days to bring that in.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: But we're off to a great start, Andy. We haven't seen the best of that yet. We shall see as we go.

Andy Scholes, appreciate that very much.

Up next for us, stay with us. The president's final attempt to get Bob Woodward to see his coronavirus management as a big success. Exclusive new audio of their final call after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)