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Governor Of Maryland Holds Press Conference On Continuing Efforts To Recovery Bodies After Bridge Collapse In Baltimore; Donald Trump Draws Controversy For Reposting Picture On Truth Social Of Truck With Picture Of President Biden Hog-Tied On Back; State Lawmakers In Georgia Pass New Immigration Enforcement Bill In Wake Of Killing Of 22-Year-Old Nursing Student Laken Riley; Republican Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock Erroneously States On Social Media That College Basketball Players On Bus Were Illegal Immigrants; President And CEO Of Humanitarian Aid Group Discusses Difficulty Of Getting Aid Into Gaza; Pope Francis Taking Part In Easter Vigil At St. Peter's Basilica In Rome; Caitlin Clark And Iowa Women's Basketball Team Prepare For Sweet Sixteen GAME in NCAA March Madness Tournament. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 30, 2024 - 14:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

And we begin in Baltimore where moments ago, officials gave an update to that catastrophic bridge collapse. Today, Governor Wes Moore said it's too unsafe for divers because of debris, wreckage, pieces of bridge in the water. The governor underscoring mission first, people always. He said crews are working 24 hours on the water and on the vessel Dali.


GOV. WES MOORE, (D) MARYLAND: We have a series of 24/7 operations currently underway. Unified command are conducting planning and engineering assessments 24 hours a day. We have assets on the water enforcing safety zones 24 hours a day. We have assessments on the Dali being conducted 24 hours a day. This is an around the clock operation, and we're going to ramp up our 24/7 posture in the coming days.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Gloria Pazmino is live from Baltimore. Right now, Gloria, what more are official saying about how they're potentially going to be able to clear certain areas so that shipments can get through?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. We know that they have four crucial missions that they are trying to get at. The first being the recovery of the bodies. But the second, as you said, to reopen the waterways so that business and commerce can keep flowing through. This is one of the busiest ports in the entire country, and it plays a crucial part in the overall economy. The governor outlining a plan to clear a part of the wreckage so that ships can start traveling in and out around the area, because this entire thing is going to take a long time to be removed.

It is a very complicated operation. We are talking about tons of material, concrete, metal, steel, all in the water. And on top of that boat, which we have been seeing since the collapse of the bridge, they are going layer by layer, trying to figure out exactly how to pull it all apart. We know that the biggest crane along the Eastern seaboard has arrived here in Baltimore, and that crane is going to play a critical role in helping to lift some of that metal that's rusting on top of the ship right now. That's going to be really important in order to get things moving.

So all of that is happening as we speak. The governor calling this a 24/7 operation. They are working around the clock to get this done. It was also a striking to see several members of the delegation speaking to the families, speaking in Spanish, reminding everyone that they are prioritizing the recovery of those bodies. They know that that's what they are waiting for, and they are trying to do that as fast possible, reminding people that conditions for divers are extremely difficult, but that as soon as they are able to get back into the water, they will do that.

WHITFIELD: Right. And Gloria, the train signals there are also indicating what an important transit area this is, trains for automobiles and, of course, for shipping and a priority now, safety while trying to reopen the port to that very vital shipping to the rest of the country. Gloria Pazmino, thank you so much.

All right, new today, former President Donald Trump igniting a wave of new criticism after sharing a new post to his followers on Truth Social. The video this shows an image of President Joe Biden hogtied on the back of a pickup truck. And now both presidential campaigns are sounding off about the controversy.


CNN's Steve Contorno is joining us live with more on all this. So Steve, what are the responses to this?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Well, the Trump campaign is not backing down from this. And in fact, in some ways they're doubling down in a statement that they issued to CNN. A spokesperson for the campaign said, quote, "That picture was on the back of a pickup truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him."

And just to describe what was actually in this video, this was captured on Thursday on Long Island. It shows two trucks traveling on the road decked out in Trump flags and decals. And on the second truck, there is a picture Joe Biden tied up, hogtied, as you said. And this is the kind of imagery that we have seen from Trump's supporters from time to time at his campaigns, certainly, online, and yes, on the back of vehicles. It is another thing entirely for the president, a former president and someone aspiring to be president once again, to amplify that kind of imagery.

And that's the response that we heard from the Biden campaign. In a statement to CNN, they said, quote, "This image from Donald Trump is the type of crap you post when you're calling for a quote, "bloodbath," or when you tell the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by. Trump is regularly inciting political violence, and it's time people take him seriously. Just ask the Capitol Police officers who were attacked protecting our democracy on January 6th."

And Fred, I should mention that, of course, this post on social media, to his Truth Social account, comes just as he is also receiving flack for these attacks that he is making on the judge and a daughter of the judge who is overseeing the allegations of the hush money payments in New York.

WHITFIELD: All right, Steve Contorno, thanks so much for that.

All right, the Biden campaign is launching a new ad targeting Nikki Haley supporters, wanting to get their support. Haley dropped out of the Republican presidential race earlier this month and said it was now up to Trump to earn the support of her voters. And now President Biden is making a forceful appeal to those Haley voters who are reluctant to support Trump.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joining us now from the White House with more on all of this and this effort. Priscilla, tell us more.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, this is explicitly an appeal for those voters who backed Nikki Haley. And it is an ad that showcases what Donald Trump has said about those voters and what he has also said about Nikki Haley, saying, for example, that she's a, quote, "very angry person," and saying that Trump doesn't want your vote. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Birdbrain, I call her birdbrain.

Nikki Haley has made an unholy alliance with RINOs, never-Trumpers Americans for no prosperity.

She's sitting there like --

She has gone crazy. She's a very angry person.

She is not presidential timber.

I don't need votes. We have all of the votes we need.

She has gone haywire.

There aren't that many never-Trumpers anymore?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you bring these Nikki Haley voters back into the tent?

TRUMP: I'm not sure we need to many.


ALVAREZ: Now, this is a 30-second ad that is specifically targeting battleground states, and more specifically those suburban areas where there was support for Nikki Haley.

Now of course, this is part of an ongoing effort. If you recall, when Nikki Haley dropped out of the race, Biden issued a statement saying that there was a place for those voters, that place being voting for him. And also sources tell CNN that campaign officials are meeting with some of Haley's donors. So all of this is coming together in an attempt by the Biden campaign to try to bring those Republican voters onboard, particularly those who don't like Donald Trump and trying to use this ad to show them that he doesn't want their vote either.

And so all of this, of course, coming on the heels of that record- breaking fundraiser earlier this week with President Biden along with former President Bill Clinton and former President Barack Obama, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Priscilla Alvarez at the White House, thanks so much.

All right, coming up, the Georgia legislature passes a new immigration enforcement bill after the murder of a nursing student on UGA's campus. New concerns that the measure could raise racial profiling.

And this GOP state legislature later in Michigan posted about illegal invaders, his words, getting a police escort at Detroit's airport. Well, guess what? It was the Gonzaga basketball team.

Stay with us.



WHITFIELD: State lawmakers in Georgia have passed a new immigration enforcement bill in the wake of the campus killing of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley. Her death last month angered Republicans and many people, especially after an undocumented immigrant was charged in her death. The new bill allows local and state law enforcement to check the immigration status for anyone 18 or older who has been arrested or anyone who, quoting now, an officer has probable cause to believe committed a crime.


The legislation now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who has expressed support for tougher immigration policies.

I'm joined now by Michelle Baruchman, politics reporter for "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" here in Georgia. Michelle, great to see you. All right, so this legislation is heading to the desk of the governor. Is the feeling he'll likely sign it?

MICHELLE BARUCHMAN, POLITICS REPORTER, "THE ATLANTA-JOURNAL CONSTITUTION": I would expect that the governor would sign it. I haven't heard otherwise, and I know that this has been a priority to address what they see as illegal immigration.

WHITFIELD: OK. And so this legislation would allow law enforcement to verify, as we just mentioned, the immigration status of someone who may be arrested. Also, there are penalties, right, for local law enforcement that apparently don't cooperate with immigration officials. And that jurisdiction could potentially lose some funding. It did pass with majority of Republican support, but why is it that there are critics among many who happen to be Democrat, critics of this bill calling it discriminatory?

BARUCHMAN: Yes, I think there's a few reasons why Democrats and at least one Republican voted against the measure, and that one of them is because I think Democrats see it as an overreach about the state's role in enforcing immigration law rather than the federal government. I think they see it as an overburden on law enforcement, that it would require them to compile data and information and share that, and that's just another step that they have to take among all of their other responsibilities.

And then I think it also, they worry that it would cause immigrant communities to be less likely to report crimes for fear of their immigration status in the country.

WHITFIELD: And you wrote in the "AJC" that the bill would punish sheriffs if they don't flag potential violations to immigration agents. Can you give me an example of what would fall into that category?

BARUCHMAN: I think that was one of the big questions that I was trying to report is part of the process that happens now is automatic. So when someone is in jail, they're charged with a crime, their fingerprint is automatically taken and sent to different systems that check their immigration status. The jailers make an inquiry to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and that information is then flogged in the system.

So the question is, what information would still need to be sent that they don't think is happening, that is not already automatic? And then the other part is when that person has flagged in the system, the jailers are supposed to hold that person so that if ICE wants to come get that person to deport them, that they are still in custody for 48 hours for ICE to arrive. But some of the lawmakers don't believe that that is happening, and that they are letting people go without waiting for ICE to come.

WHITFIELD: If the governor signs it, it doesn't go into effect until the end of the year, is that correct?

BARUCHMAN: I'm actually not sure on when it goes into effect.

WHITFIELD: OK. All right, well, we'll have you back. Michelle Baruchman, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BARUCHMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate your reporting on this.


WHITFIELD: All right concerns about racial profiling being expressed in Michigan after a Republican state lawmaker claimed online that he spotted three buses filled with, quote, "illegal invaders," that at a Detroit airport.

Well, guess what? It turns out those buses were actually loaded with or soon to be loaded with members of the Gonzaga men's basketball team on their way to a March Madness game. CNN's Daniel Dale has more.


DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Republican Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock posted something dramatic on social media on Wednesday night. His post included a photo of an airplane and a photo of three buses. And he wrote this, quote, "Happening right now, three buses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they're headed with their police escort?"

Now, social media users, including me, quickly figured out that Representative Maddock's tweet was complete fiction, absolute nonsense. You know who this plane and these three buses were actually for. It was NCAA men's college basketball teams that were landing in Detroit to play in March Madness tournament games there.

Let me walk you through how people solved this non-mystery. If you go back and look at Mr. Maddock's post, you'll see the plane in the picture belonged to Allegiant Air, and online flight-tracking sites showed that this was the only Allegiant plane to land at the Detroit airport that day.


And it was a charter flight from Spokane, Washington, which is, people quickly knew, home of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs, who were scheduled to play in March Madness in, yes, Detroit. So people went to the Gonzaga basketball social media page and found there a photo Gonzaga posted itself of its players boarding their flight to Detroit on, yes, an Allegiant plane.

Now, a Gonzaba spokesperson quickly confirmed to me, yes, the team took an Allegiant plane to Detroit, had buses waiting for them when they arrived. He confirmed that the players themselves got a police escort to their hotel. And the organization that runs the Detroit airport also confirmed from the buses in Maddock's picture were waiting for NCAA basketball teams. So no illegal invaders, total nonsense.

Now, Representative Maddock is a staunchly pro-Trump Republican who joined the former president in trying to overturn the 2020 election. And in this case, he has taken quite a Trumpian approach to the controversy he caused. He has not only refused to concede he was wrong, not only refused to take down his post, but he has used this moment to attack the, quote-unquote, fake news, make other points bashing Democrats about immigration, and to respond to social media users who pointed out the truth, that these were basketball teams, by calling those social media users "kommies," "kommie" with a "k" for some reason. Do not ask me to explain.

Daniel Dale, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: So perplexing on so many levels.

All right, coming up, the Biden campaign is calling out Donald Trump for inciting political violence after he posted an image of President Biden tied up in a pickup truck. Is this inflammatory rhetoric helping or hurting Trump's campaign? We'll discuss next.



WHITFIELD: All right, new today, former President Donald Trump setting off a firestorm of controversy after an incendiary social media post. Trump shared a video, this one, on his Truth Social account featuring an image of President Joe Biden hogtied on the back of a pickup truck. The Biden campaign is blasting the post as inciting political violence.

And then this is what the Trump campaign spokesperson had to say about the post. "That picture was on the back of a pickup truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence so once against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him."

So let's talk about this. Joining us right now, former Republican Congressmen Joe Walsh of Illinois and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. All right, Joe, you first. This is not only irresponsible, I mean, it's downright dangerous. And how can the former presidents camp justify that this is all right?

JOE WALSH, (R-IL) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Hey, Fred. They can't, and we can't let them. And this is one of those things where we can't move past the headline. Donald Trump shared an image of the president of the United States tied in the back of a pickup truck, bound and gagged in the back of a pickup truck. Stop there.

WHITFIELD: Yes. It's inexcusable.

WALSH: No justification.

WHITFIELD: Forget your politics.

WALSH: This is, this is way beyond politics. This is an incitement to violence. But Fred, none of this is surprising. Donald Trump, and this is a scary thing to say because he's the Republican Party nominee, Donald Trump wants there to be violence in this country. He wanted it before January 6th. He wanted what happened on January 6th to happen. He's doing the same thing now. And it's right, by the way, for the Biden administration to aggressively go after him.

WHITFIELD: And Charlie, why is everybody else incensed about this and not the former president? Yes, he may be speaking to his base. He can count on them. But we are talking about a general election now. Isn't his focus to be that he's trying to grow support? How does this do that?

CHARLIE DENT, (R-PA) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, he's really never been about expanding the base of support for his candidacy. I mean, he only doubles down on the MAGA element of his base. I mean, he hasn't reached out to the Nikki Haley people, he hasn't done any of that. It's clear to me he doesn't seem to care about the broadening the base.

That said, these types two of images are disturbing for a number of reasons, because he sends a signal to people across the country that it's OK, that it's OK to pose these types of images about the president United States. I remember as a member of Congress, I had people call my office say they were going to do terrible things to the president. I'd turn it over to the police and the Secret Service, and these people would be visited.

And it just sends a horrible signal. This is a -- this is a really crass attempt, I think, at a political humor and negative partisanship. He's trying to converge these two things, not very successfully, but that's what he is trying to do. And that's just the state of where things are. This is typical for Donald Trump. As Joe said, he's all about this type of incendiary language that has led to violence in the past. It's not the first time he's done it, and I don't expect it to be the last.


WHITFIELD: Yes, but, Joe, while the Biden campaign put out a statement saying this is potentially inciting violence, Trump, as he has done when there have been similar very inappropriate images or things said, will try to make it seem like it's just a joke, where's everybody's humor? And that's another way in which to try to normalize something that is just simply outrageous. It's the sitting president of the United States.

WALSH: And again, Fred, don't you dare lose that tone of yours. Keep that, because it is outrageous. And the Biden administration needs to push back every time Trump does this.

I disagree with my friend Charlie in one respect. I don't think this is a play to the base. Look, if the election were held next week, it would be neck and neck. It would be close. Trump may win electorally. I think Donald Trump believes, I think his team believes that this sort of aggressive, mano-mano kind of stuff, fight, fight, fight, plays with people well beyond his base. And he's going to try to contrast it with feeble old Joe Biden. They think that works. That's why Joe Biden needs to be aggressive and push back hard.

WHITFIELD: But then, Charlie, I guess the Trump campaign is able to say, and perhaps this is what they're saying, we didn't do that. This is happening on the highway. Somebody else did this. But they are not condemning it, and buy him posting it on Truth Social, he is using it as an instrument, if you will, an extension of the very sentiment that he's trying to potentially insight or encourage. The former president feels like it's OK because there's some distance between the action, what actually happened, and it's his supporters who did it. It's not him.

DENT: Well, it's completely absurd and disingenuous for the Trump campaign to say we didn't do this when they reposted it, they broadcast it intentionally. So I don't know how they can even say something like that with a straight face.

But it really does get to the political discourse in this country. When I was a candidate for office, when I would attack my opponent, it was always on a matter of public record, something they said or something they did, a vote they took. It was always that way. It just seems now anything goes. It's crazy.

Now, to be fair, Joe Biden a few years ago made some I meant to then he'd take Trump out behind the gym or something and beat the hell out of him. OK, that's probably not helpful either. And so unfortunately, this is where political discourse is. We don't have the same level of serious public policy conversations. That can be aggressive and negative, too, but it's about things of public record. And this is just the latest political insanity that is really driven by this negative partisanship where it's not so much that we like our guy. It's that we hate the other guy more. And this is just another clear example of it.

WALSH: Quickly, Fred. Here's the other reason why Trump thinks this is OK. It's been almost 24 hours. How many Republicans have spoken out against this? How many Republicans have called him out? None.

WHITFIELD: I think you're the only two. You're the only two so far.

WALSH: Yes. How many current members? None.

DENT: Joe, they can spend all their time calling out Trump. They could spend all their time calling out Trump for everything he's ever done. That's one thing they're so frustrated with. I think a lot of these Republican members just want him to go away. They don't want to have to answer these questions.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there, gentlemen.

WALSH: They're cowards. They're cowards and they're enabling them. That's what they're doing. They've made that calculation, Charlie. They want to keep their jobs, they want to stay in Congress, so they keep their mouths shut.

WHITFIELD: So sad. All right, Joe Walsh, Charlie Dent, glad you're not keeping your mouth shut, and you are with us to talk about it. Thank you.

DENT: We're running our mouths.

WHITFIELD: We like that. You need that.

OK, all right, the U.N. is accusing Israel of blocking many of its aid convoys into Gaza. Next, we'll talk to the head of a humanitarian group about their experiences trying to deliver desperately needed aid as the threat of famine looms.



WHITFIELD: A ship carrying food aid for Gaza has left Cyprus. The operation is led by World Central Kitchen and it's carrying hundreds of tons of food. Meantime, the United Nations says Israel denied 30 percent of its humanitarian aid missions into northern Gaza this month. It is accusing Israel -- Israeli, rather, soldiers of frequently delaying or denying convoys from crossing checkpoints. Israel, however, has committed to help protect American troops working to build a much-needed humanitarian causeway along Gaza's coast. That's according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Let's bring in Christine Squires. She is the President and CEO of Americares, a humanitarian aid group that has been operating in Gaza since 1993. Great to see you. Sadly, the circumstances don't seem to improve every time you or any representative gets an opportunity to talk about the state of affairs.


So are you able to assess how much of your aid is actually getting into Gaza right now?

CHRISTINE SQUIRES, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERICARES: We are, and thank you for having me on. So today in Americares we delivered six tons of essential medicines and medical supplies to Gaza. And we've got 13 tons of aid that's currently in transit. So this includes things like prenatal vitamins, medications that treat infections, to treat injuries, and very importantly, medicines for people with chronic conditions. It's what they need to survive on a daily basis. So, combined, these shipments are enough to fill 200,000 prescriptions. So we're able to track what it's getting in. However, I will say, as you alluded to earlier, not enough aid is getting it.

WHITFIELD: So how is your aid reaching people? Because we saw some of the images this week of airdrops of supplies, much needed, whether it be food or medicine, dropped into the water. Some people drowned while trying to retrieve it. In other cases, it crashed, some of the airlifts crashed into parts of buildings that were just too difficult to get to or they were damaged or destroyed. How do you know your aid is actually getting to people, into the hands of mothers, fathers, children?

SQUIRES: Yes. So we've had two shipments of aid. The first one that we shipped did get in in late November. That was during a pause, humanitarian pause, in fighting. We have been working Americares in the region for 30 years with partners. We've been 45 years respond to complex emergencies, so we know once the aids get through the borders, we know that it gets to where it's needed to be.

As the fighting continues, delivering aid in Gaza is increasingly challenging. There are longlines of aid trucks backed up at the Rafah Crossing, which is one of the key entry points. And on the other side of it, people in Gaza are desperate for medicines, food, and clean water. So just a trickle of aid is getting in. Before the war, 500 trucks of aid were coming in a day to support the population in Gaza. And now on average, it's 150 a day. So the 13 tons that we have is ready to go, we're hoping it gets in in the coming days.

WHITFIELD: I feel like every time we have an opportunity to talk with you or other humanitarian aid workers, representatives of NGOs, et cetera, we are talking about people who are in Gaza. They're on the brink of starvation, of famine. And the time continues to elapse. What are you seeing in the days, weeks ahead as it pertains to the some million-and-a-half people who are there in Gaza who are looking for sustenance?

SQUIRES: Yes, aid needs to get in, more of it every day now. We're really greatly concerned about famine. These children make up 50 percent of the population in Gaza. They are most at risk of dying from malnutrition. And 50,000 children already are acutely malnourished. And that can also cause stunting in growth.

We're also very concerned with the spread of infectious disease. Most of the population displaced and Gaza is living in unsanitary conditions. They're living in tents and shelters, overcrowding. Theres a million cases of infectious disease that have been reported. So these are respiratory infections, diarrhea, skin infections, meningitis. And we know from our previous experience at Americares that infectious disease will continue to spread quickly. If not treated, more deaths will be caused. So this is a desperate situation. Aid is ready, is ready to go at the board. If we can get this in, we can save lives and we can make a difference.

WHITFIELD: Christine Squires of Americares, thank you so much. And continued good wishes on your continued efforts. Thank you.

SQUIRES: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, this is Easter weekend. Live pictures out of Rome right now where Pope Francis is presiding over the Easter vigil surface. His message, next.



WHITFIELD: Right now, in Rome, Pope Francis is taking part in the Easter vigil at St. Peter's Basilica following his last-minute cancellation from a Good Friday service to, quote, preserve his health for Easter. But he did take the unusual step of personally writing the reflections for the Stations of the Cross service, seeking to apply the biblical teachings of Jesus too concerns we're facing today.

Here to discuss is Bishop Robert Barron. Bishop, good to see you. So what are you think is the message that the Pope is trying to convey?

BISHOP ROBERT BARRON, HOST, "BISHOP ROBERT BARRON PRESENTS": Well, the Pope is always trying to convey the supernatural message of Easter, which is that God's love is more powerful than death, more powerful than anything that's in the world. So sin and death come at us, but God's love is greater than those. And that gives us confidence then to do battle with all the forces of evil in the world.


And so the application of that teaching to whatever the struggles are we're facing today against different forms of injustice and cruelty and hatred, it Flows from the supernatural insight that God's love is more powerful than anything that's in the world. And so Christians are urging everyone to join him the great movement of Jesus now, inspired by the resurrection, that we can do battle successfully with the power of evil in the world.

WHITFIELD: And unique to today, the role of women. It's really become a theme of the Pope's preparation for Easter this year. On Thursday, he went to the female section of a Rome prison and washed the feet of 12 female prisoners. It's the first time the Pope has exclusively washed the feet of women in the ceremony. Why do you believe that is?

BARRON: Well, the Pope feels very strongly, I think all of us after Vatican Two, especially, that all the baptized are called to union with Christ. So if any member of the body of Christ field has excluded from the call to holiness, that's a bad thing. And so, of course, the church reaches out in an inclusive spirit to all those who want to be part of this great mystical body of Jesus, so men and women and everybody else. And I think that's the basic message the Pope wants to convey.

WHITFIELD: For Christians around the world, this is the holiest time of the year. And despite what sometimes seems like a world full of tragedy and uncertainty, how can Christians still embrace the meaning of this Easter season?

BARRON: By accepting the reality of the resurrection. The resurrection is not a myth or a legend or a vague symbol. We should avoid all attempts to domesticate Easter or to talk about the Easter bunny. That's fine, I suppose, for the kids. But Easter is this explosive revolutionary message that God is the conqueror of sin and death. We have to recover that still, I think, startling and still revolutionary message of the church. When the first Christian said things like "Jesus Kyrios", "Jesus is Lord," well, that was a challenge to Caesar, because the watchword of the time was "Kaiser Kyrios," "Caesar is the Lord." And the first Christians were saying, no, God is more powerful than Caesar. And so there's a new lord, and we should get into his army of love and compassion and nonviolence and forgiveness. That's the still revolutionary message of Easter.

WHITFIELD: Bishop Robert Barron, glad you could be with us. Thank you so much, and happy Easter.

BARRON: God bless you. Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, yet another top seed out of the tournament after a wild night of basketball. Your March Madness Elite Eight, next.

And get ready for a debate, comedy, and social discourse on Saturday night. CNN presents an encore presentation of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" tonight, 8:00 eastern, right here on CNN.



WHITFIELD: All right, March Madness in full swing, and all eyes are on Caitlin Clark, who is getting ready to lead Iowa against Colorado in the Sweet Sixteen. She's pretty amazing, as is the entire team.

Carolyn Manno is joining us right now from New York with more on this. This is going to be exciting stuff.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she's the story of the college basketball season, and we've watched her pursue college basketball's all-time scoring record and inspire so many fans along the way. There are so many young kids waiting for her autograph, sold- out game after sold-out game. She's a big story. And now she's setting her sights on a national championship after falling one game short against LSU a year ago. Earlier this week, Clark reflected on the support that she has received along the way.


CAITLIN CLARK, IOWA GUARD: It's super special to see your impact not only in the state of Iowa, but across the country. And I think that's been the biggest thing for us this year. It hasn't only been in Iowa. Obviously, Iowa has supported us through and through, but no matter where we go, there are so many people supporting us and wanting us to succeed. And to be able to have that impact on the next generation is really special.


MANNO: An Iowa rematch with LSU could happen in the Elite Eight. Iowa tipping off against Colorado in about 30 minutes. Right now, the defending national champion LSU Tigers tied with UCLA at 60 with under five minutes left to play.

NC State women's team continues to show up in big moments, taking out the number two seed Stanford by 10 points last night to advance to the Elite Eight for the second time in three seasons. They will face top seeded Texas tomorrow afternoon.

And the team's male counterparts continuing an unlikely run last night, too. The 11th seeded wolfpack beating second-seeded Marquette 67-58. NC State has now won eight games in a row since the start of the conference tournament, which they had to win to be a part of March Madness. So they will face ACC rivals Duke for the third time in four weeks. The Blue Devils taking out the south's top seed Houston, who lost their all-American point guard Jamal Shead to an ankle injury early in the game. The Blue Devils reaching their 24th Elite Eight appearance, but they're first under second year head coach Jon Scheyer.

So the Elite Eight tips off tonight on our sister channel TBS.