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Some Minnesota Churches To Defy Limits On Worship Services; Biden: Klobuchar Is "First Rate" When Talking About Potential VP Pick; Soon: Trump To Hold News Conference From White House. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 22, 2020 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: -- thousand teachers, masks, school districts provide the masks. These are children masks are going to get lost, masks are going to get soiled. What are you talking about? You're now essentially you're in the hospital business, right? You're in the PPE business as you try to reopen schools.

TONY THURMOND, CALIFORNIA STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION: Unfortunately, that's our reality. And I believe that, as you said, schools will have to be prepared to have masks on hand that, you know, students forget things. We all forget things.

And so, you know, our department is working closely with the governor's office and our Office of Emergency Services, to find ways to make sure that there's lots of masks and personal protective equipment. This is going to be the challenge for everyone everywhere, every sector. But this is the order of the day. And we've got to make sure that we've got lots of equipment and supplies. Otherwise, we can't do this.

The only way we can do this safely and we ensure, we are going to ensure that we only do this, if it can be done safely is that we have access to all the personal protective equipment.

KING: And where are you? And again, it'll be different in every district. But particularly, we started talking about this in our last conversation about the urban districts that don't have large classrooms, that don't have enough teachers. And so you have to deal with the social distancing question. Are you sort of running simulations, running data to see what makes the most sense, one week on, one week off?

You know, one week some students were in the classroom, the other ones are doing distance learning at home? How do you work out that mix when you have to then factor in if you're going to have some at school, some not at school? If you split the day, you have a cleaning challenge, I assume. So I assume it's -- is it better to have one or two weeks on, one or two weeks off? Or do we not know the answer yet?

THURMOND: Well, you're right. These are complicated factors, but we're having conversations. And school districts are being very creative. Some are thinking about splitting the school day into two sessions, a morning session, and then an afternoon session.

You know, right now we've got good weather. And so a lot of schools are thinking about even having some class time outside that gives a little bit more flexibility for schools that are hindered by space. We're seeing this in our childcare sector where they're using the outdoor space to broaden the campus and what we can do around social distancing.

And I got to say, a lot of schools are preparing to offer a kind of blended approach of in class instruction and some distance learning. And the distance learning might actually help us to keep our class sizes smaller. We know that families are asking for distance learning. So we're anticipating that there'll be a balance of in class instruction, with students wearing masks and social distancing and physical distancing and distance learning as the order of the day as we go forward in California.

KING: Most states and local governments have had a giant hole blown in their budgets because of the economic shutdown of the coronavirus.

So whether it's PPE supplies, whether it's increasing cleaning at schools, whether it's getting the technology for students that can't afford it, for those who would still have to do distance or remote learning, where are you in addressing that challenge, which I have to assume is just overwhelming?

THURMOND: All of this has huge fiscal implications. And there's no question that we can do this. We cannot do this without the help of the federal government. And I want to, you know, appreciate those in Congress who've talked about providing an additional federal stimulus and relief package. It absolutely is needed in California and every state.

You know, I speak regularly with state superintendents and state schools, chiefs, all across this country. Almost to state, we know we need additional support from the federal government to support, you know, more personnel, so we have smaller class sizes, and so we can support more, you know, equipment and supplies to keep our school safe.

We have to have that revenue from the federal government. As you noted, the coronaviruses impact on the economy has been devastating. And this is the time more than ever that we need for Congress and the President to send another relief package to support all of our states.

KING: Tony Thurmond, we wish you and your colleagues across the country the best of luck as you sort through these difficult challenges, appreciate your time. We'll circle back.

THURMOND: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, sir.


Up next for us, as the President claims churches are not being treated with respect, some say they will defy local orders, and that they will reopen


KING: In a sudden reversal, President Trump now says he's instructed the CDC to release guidelines for churches on how they can safely reopen. This comes after a senior CDC official told CNN earlier in the week that references to faith based guidance had been stripped from the CDC's new document about reopening. Here's the President just moments ago.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I just spoke to CDC, we want our churches and our places of faith and worship we wanted to open and CDC is going to be, I believe today, they're going to be issuing a very strong recommendation. And I'm going to be talking about that in a little while.

But they're going to be opening up very soon. We want our churches open. We want our places of faith synagogues, we want them open. And that's going to start happening. I consider them essential and that's one of the things we're saying.


KING: Count Minnesota among the states where we are already seeing pushback to these limits on worship. Minnesota's Catholic Church and a Conservative Lutheran denomination say they will defy the governor's 10 person limit on worship and resume services next week.

Joining us now is Reverend Curtiss DeYoung. He's the CEO of the Minnesota Church Council joining us live. And he supports, he supports the governor's continued restrictions. Reverend, thank you for being with us. So now you have a split in the faith community. Tell us why you think it's so important to give Governor Walz a bit more time here?


I am the head of the Minnesota Council of Churches which represents African-American denominations, the mainline church and the Greek Orthodox Church. Of central part of our concern is that, as we listen to communities of color, and many of our congregations people are engaged in to represent refugees and immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, even seniors, they're saying, why the urgency?


They're so directly affected. They're actually afraid in many cases to go into group gatherings. And so we don't see the urgency. We feel that we need to make our decisions based on good science and the recommendations of our health department. And we've been in an ongoing conversation with our Department of Health, with the Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota governor. KING: What one of the complaints from people who disagree with you is that they feel a sense of discrimination. I can show you some of the Minnesota reopening stages. On May 11th, electric surgeries allowed to resume, May 18th, retail stores are allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, bars and restaurants, on June 1st, barbershop, salons, Mall of America.

And so the Catholic Conference in your state looking at those restrictions and what's allowed to reopen, what people are allowed to do says this, it's not permissible for an unspecified number of people to go to shopping malls and enter stores, big-box stores have hundreds of people inside at any one time. An order that sweeps so broadly that it prohibits, for example, a gathering of 11 people in a Cathedral with a seating capacity of several thousand defies reason.

Do you understand the complaint there that if you can have 50 or 100 people, 200 people, wandering around a mall, why can't you put 100 people in a church?

DEYOUNG: sure we understand how that sounds and how that looks. I will say that the business perspective comes from the need to make profit and see the economy get back on course. While that also affects us, our central concerns have to do with the health of our people.

And so we're not feeling that our facilities are ready. We do know, the governor and Department of Public Safety are preparing plans for how to open up. We just don't see the urgency of why we can't wait a few more weeks before we do this.

KING: And to that point, yes, you're in touch. You're in touch with the governor's team, the governor himself and the public health team. Are they are they telling you as part of the reason you're able to go to your people and say, let's hang in there? Do they tell you what, two more weeks, three more weeks, do they give you a better timeline?

DEYOUNG: They are working on that kind of a timeline. Unfortunately, it's not public yet, which would help our process. So I do ask for our governor to become more public in the kind of timeline required. But we are, in those kind of conversation, it's not just the churches, the Jewish community, Muslim community, Buddhist, Hindu community, we're all in conversation and we're all firmly behind a more cautious, health driven approach that our governor is taking.

KING: Reverend Curtiss DeYoung, very much appreciate your joining us today as your state as like many states go through. And we see the debate everywhere. We see the debate everywhere. Appreciate your insights today, Sir.

DEYOUNG: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you.

As restaurant across the country start to reopen, thousands of service industry workers who suddenly lost their jobs still struggling. This as the industry tries to get back on its feet safely. 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley has jumped in to help keep people fed and supported. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOC HENDLEY, 2009 CNN HERO: In St. Patrick's Day, we got an order from the government that all restaurants had to be shut down as of 5 o'clock in one day. It was devastating. So we created this program, we just wanted it to be something that doesn't just give people food to survive during this time.

Fresh apples, fresh oranges.

But also give them things to help them thrive.

It will be ready to hand out and we'll feed two people for an entire week.

I was terrified when this really got bad. But that sense of kind of fear and stress just immediately turned off and was just focused on, what can we do to help? I saw single mama coming literally when she opened it up. She just started crying. I really think that we as a people are going to come through this stronger and more together.


KING: Anderson Cooper shares the full story of what Doc is doing to help during this time of crisis at


Top Senate Republicans began the week insisting there is no rush to provide more stimulus money. They end it in a very different place.


KING: First it was no, then it was not now. But Senate Republican leaders now concede a fourth coronavirus rescue package is needed. The question now is, how big and what's included? This as Senate Republicans in the White House craft their alternative to a $3 trillion plan that House Democrats back?


TRUMP: I think we will. I think we're going to be helping people out. We're going to be getting some money for them during the artificial because it really is. It's an artificial closure. I would say, it could be one more nice shot, one more nice toss.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: I think there's a high likelihood we will do another rescue package. It's not too far off. Let me tell you what it won't be. They won't be a $3 trillion left wing wish list that passed the House that elbows couldn't get all the Democrats to vote for that Senator Schumer is in favor of. That's not going to pass the Senate. It's not going to become law.


KING: Let's bring in CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly. Phil, the majority leader there at the end dumping on the Democratic package, but, but just the fact that he says there will be another one is the concession.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, it's also kind of a grasping of reality. The real reality of what's going on right now both on the policy side and on the political side.


On the policy side of things, if you look at what's going on in the broader economy, you look at the indicators, even some of those starting to come back as the country starts to reopen. I think there's a recognition that --

KING: We lost Phil. We lost Phil's audio. Sorry, we lost him there. That happens in this new world we're in. He's gone. We can't get him back.

All right, a quick break, when we come back, it'll be one of the biggest campaign decisions Joe Biden makes, who is on and off the shortlist for his running mate.



KING: Former Vice President Joe Biden says he has not made a decision yet on who he will pick as a running mate. Take a listen, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee last night on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert".


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to get into the details of who, but I promise you --

STEPHEN COLBERT, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT HOST: Go ahead. We have time. Go ahead. Get in the details.

BIDEN: I honestly got don't know who. I promise you right now.


KING: CNN Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny joins us now. Jeff, I take him at his word as someone who knows this process all too well, since he was once on the other side of it that he doesn't know right now. But he does know where he is in the process. Where's that?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, there's no doubt. I mean, he is at the beginning of the process, but he knows who he is at least considering.

And of course, he doesn't know who he's going to pick because the vetting we're told is just getting underway right now. But talking to a variety of people in his campaign and close to him, he's looking for a few things. One, he is looking first and foremost for someone who can govern, who can be a governing partner with him. We have to think this is not just any moment in any presidential campaign, this is someone, if Biden wins, he will inherit a massive set of challenges.

So he wants someone who can govern with him. He wants someone of course, who can get along with him, and of course, someone who passes the vet as well. So I am told the people that his campaign is looking at first and foremost the most aggressively, are people who ran against him in the primary, and that is a host of senators.

We know he narrowed it down to a woman. He said, during the March debate, his last debate with Bernie Sanders, he's going to pick a woman. So that leaves many insiders to believe that Senators Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, are at the top of that list.

KING: Well, let's listen to on that point as Stephen Colbert last night tries to press the former vice president about Amy Klobuchar, listen.


COLBERT: Like on the campaign trail when Amy Klobuchar would fundamentally disagree with you and yet you guys are still friends. So is she --

BIDEN: Oh, no --

COLBERT: Is she on the shortlist?

BIDEN: No. By the way, Amy is first rate, don't get me wrong.

COLBERT: So she's first on the list.

BIDEN: Well, I'm not getting into that. But the truth is that --

COLBERT: Get into it.

BIDEN: Everybody disagreed with me on the campaign trail, so.



KING: As just one snapshot, Jeff, of the difficult choice and also the opportunity because there are so many candidates here. But the, you know, communities of color are saying picking African-American or Latino. There are some people saying pick Amy Klobuchar, look at the Midwest blue collar workers.

There a lot of people saying bring in the Sanders progressives by picking Elizabeth Warren, but there's a Republican governor of Massachusetts. Who is the vice president listening to as he weighs these options? ZELENY: I think he's looking at all three of them. But there are these external factors that any presidential candidate must consider. And that is something that will happen over the next month or so. But first and foremost is the vetting to see if all of these candidates do a pass the vet.

So I am told that the first part of the vetting is the public records. They're looking into their finances. They're looking into, you know, anything in the public domain that could be an issue. So that is going to happen on a separate track as the former vice president really is doing tryouts with many of these potential candidates on his own.

He's doing a lot of appearances. Senator Harris last night, for example, appeared on a Biden conference call supporting women. Senator Klobuchar has been on the former vice president's podcast, the former vice president to speak to Elizabeth Warren all the time.

So he's doing a lot of this interviewing in real time here. But the question is, does he play it safe and pick someone who, you know, can help him govern? Or does he throw a Hail Mary at the end of this? Does he need to choose someone who's going to shake up the dynamic here? That's one thing we really don't know at this point, John.

KING: Jeff Zeleny, I appreciate that reporting. We're early in the process. We're going to walk through it together. Appreciate that.

Let's go to the White House now. Just in the CNN, President Trump said to hold a news conference any moments from now. Kaitlan Collins is there. Kaitlan, what's behind this move?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's a good question. The White House just abruptly announced this. We were expecting to see someone in the briefing room but that's supposed to be the press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in about an hour.

And now they just announced to the reporters here at the White House that it will be the President in the briefing room. And they said it would be coming at 1 o'clock. So we'll see if he's on time or not, John.

But this is notable because we have not seen President Trump taking questions in the briefing room since remember, there was that entire fiasco where the DHS official came out with the President and there was the briefing about sunlight and bleach and disinfectant and what it did to coronavirus on hard surfaces, which of course, turned into that infamous briefing where the President was musing about using it as a possible treatment.

That was the last day he took questions, I believe, in the briefing room. The next day he did come out, but they did not take questions from reporters. And then of course, we started to see those coronavirus briefings in the way that they had been for the last several months completely fade away.

And then the President would start taking questions and other places, cabinet meetings, things like that. So we have not seen him in the briefing room since then. And of course, a major question that the President is going to be asked about is not only that he's been taking hydroxychloroquine but this new study saying that may cause harm to coronavirus patients.


KING: Kaitlan Collins at the White House will be standing by to watch the President any moment now. I hope to see you back here Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. Eastern --