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CNN Tonight

VP Harris Meets With Expelled Black Tennessee Lawmakers; Backlash Over North Carolina Democrat's Party-Switch, Giving Republicans Veto-Proof Supermajority In State House; Jeremy Renner Talks About Snowplow Injuries In Emotional First Interview: "It Would Have Been A Horrible Way To Die". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 07, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Yes. Well Adam Kinzinger, Anthony Scaramucci, I appreciate you being on. Sorry we got pressed for time, given all the breaking news. But thank you so much.


COOPER: The news continues. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.

Vice President Kamala Harris went to Nashville, tonight, to meet with the two Democratic lawmakers, who were expelled, from the State Legislature, for speaking out of turn. They say, they were simply protesting gun violence.

The expulsion has thrust these two young Black lawmakers, into the national spotlight, President Biden inviting them to the White House.

But what happens next, for them? Well, in a moment, we're going to hear how they could be right back, in their old seats, as early as Monday.

And, Actor Jeremy Renner, talking about his recovery, after that seven-ton snowplow nearly crushed him to death. His doctor will be here, to explain, how Renner was able to survive.


DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You remember the pain?

JEREMY RENNER, AMERICAN ACTOR: Oh, all of it. Yes, I was awake through every moment. It's exactly like you imagined it would feel like. If you -- it's hard to imagine what that feels like. But when you look at the machine, and you look at -- and I was on asphalt and ice. I wish I was on snow.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: And LSU basketball star, Angel Reese, now says she will go to the White House, with her teammates, the NCAA Women's Basketball Champions.

Bob Costas is here, on our panel, to talk about all of this, tonight.

But let's begin with the developments in Nashville, including the Vice President's visit.

Nashville City Council Member, Russ Bradford, joins me now.

Councilman, thank you so much for being here.

So, let's start there. What did the Vice President have to say, to these lawmakers?

RUSS BRADFORD, NASHVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, thank you, first of all, for having me on, tonight. It's a pleasure to get to speak about this important issue, going on here, in Nashville, and shed some light on what's going on.

Vice President Harris came here, and she really brought the house down. She pointed out that what we're having, what we're seeing here, in Tennessee is not a democracy.

Democracy isn't when you cut off somebody's microphone, because you don't like what they're saying, that you're not shutting down dissent that you're actually -- a part of democracy is actually accepting the dissent, as everything, because that's what democracy is. It's listening to all the voices.

CAMEROTA: So, Councilman, what's going to happen next? Because I've been very intrigued, to hear about this rather arcane process, where you all are going to vote, I think, on Monday.


CAMEROTA: And who are you going to vote for, to serve as an Interim Chair, for this State Rep. Justin Jones?

BRADFORD: Well, that's correct. We have a special-called session, this Monday, at 4:30 PM, where we will take up this matter.

And, as I've told everybody, in the State House, and all my constituents, I will be voting, to send Justin Jones, back to the State House, because that is who the people of House District 52, elected, this last November.

And so, it's very important that unlike my State Legislature, I will listen to the voice of my constituents, and I will do what needs to be done, to support democracy, in this State.

CAMEROTA: Will your colleagues also be voting to send Justin Jones back to the State House?

BRADFORD: I hope they do. And I believe most of my colleagues do plan on sending Justin Jones back.

CAMEROTA: So, can you just explain what this exercise was that we just went through?

He was expelled on Thursday.

On Monday, you're going to vote to send him back.

He'll be seated likely, again, next week.

And so, what was the point that this all served?

BRADFORD: It served as a distraction.

Two weeks ago, we had a horrible tragedy, here in Nashville, where six individuals, including three 9-year-old children, were gunned down senselessly, mainly because our State has very lax gun laws.

And instead of our State Legislature, taking the time to fix that, and to push solid commonsense gun legislation, they decided to create this circus!

And yes, Justin Jones will be back in the House. And under the House rules, he cannot be expelled for the same reason. So, really, their attempt at distraction is only going to blow up in their face, because now they can't get rid of him.

CAMEROTA: And what about the fate of State Rep. Justin Pearson?

BRADFORD: I can't really speak on that since I'm not in Shelby County.

But I really hope the Shelby County Commission will send him back, and not cave to State pressure.

CAMEROTA: And what about your -- what about the Republicans who said that this was about decorum, that you can't interrupt the people's business, that they were speaking out of turn, they were using a bullhorn, they said that it was too chaotic, in the State House?

BRADFORD: Well, these are the same legislators, who thought that January 6 was just a peaceful tourist incident.


And some of these legislators, they have backgrounds themselves. They've urinated on each other's seats. There's even a Republican Rep. David Byrd, who has admitted, on camera, to molesting girls that was on his high school basketball team, when he was a coach there. But he's still allowed to serve!

CAMEROTA: Uh huh? And when you say they urinate on each other's chairs, do you -- can you put any finer point on that? What you mean by that?

BRADFORD: That's exactly how it sounded. There was a vote, and one of the Republicans did not vote, with the rest of the party, and one of their colleagues just decided to be immature, and urinate on their chair, on the House floor.

CAMEROTA: And that person was not expelled?

BRADFORD: No. He was actually promoted to a position within the governor's administration.

CAMEROTA: And so, in terms of what's next, for these two lawmakers, who were expelled, do you think that this has backfired, in fact that now, I don't know their household names, but they're certainly more well-known than they were a week ago?

BRADFORD: It definitely has backfired. As to your point, up until this moment, most anybody outside of Nashville or Tennessee didn't really know what was going on here, in this State. The last 12-plus years of one party rule, where they've been able to do whatever they want, without any pushback.

And by doing this, they have given Representative Jones and Johnson and Pearson, a worldwide stage, in which to shine a light, on the corrupt government that rules the State.

CAMEROTA: Councilman Russ Bradford, thank you very much for your time. Great to get your perspective.

BRADFORD: Thank you. Appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's bring in my panel.

We have CNN Political Analyst, Natasha Alford, with us; Republican strategist, Evan Siegfried; CNN Contributor, and veteran broadcaster, Bob Costas; and Mosheh Oinounou, Founder of Mo News.

Bob, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: Does all this seem like a good use of taxpayer money?


Is there any possible answer, to this sort of combination of, it's toxic, but it's also buffoonery? And that typifies too much of the Republican Party.

Here we have a Republican strategist. But I see him nodding!

It's you -- people think, or at least many people think, depending upon where you get your news that anything to the left of MAGA is somehow the most extreme leftist position. It's sensible Republicans and conservatives, who understand what, once were the principles of the party that should be most alarmed, by this sort of thing.

We're focusing on what happened in Tennessee. But it typifies a lot of what happens, in the Republican Party, which has descended into madness, and people, who are auditioning for the next appearance, on Fox News, and owning the Libs, as their highest aspiration. But you could run down a list of Republicans, of the recent past, who whether you voted for them or not, were worthy of your respect. There aren't as many people left, in the Republican Party anymore, who can be described that way, sadly.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Republican strategist?


CAMEROTA: Do you think this was all madness?

SIEGFRIED: Well, first of all, Bob, I don't want to own the libs. I want to explore leasing them.

But it's not just buffoonery. It's strategically stupid.


SIEGFRIED: Take out all of what happened. What did the Republicans do? It's an own goal. You just put three Tennessee State Legislators, into national, if not worldwide prominence.


SIEGFRIED: And now, they have massive platforms. And what does the Republican Party not only in Tennessee come off looking like, but nationally, couple of days, after a horrible school shooting, in Nashville? They come off -- their priority, is to get revenge for people who were protesting.

Yes, it was against the Legislature's rules. But does the infraction warrant the punishment? Absolutely not. You censure them, you move on, and you actually try and get the people's business going.

COSTAS: They actually appear to be more outraged by the protest than by what the protest was about.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, they didn't take any action yet on gun violence.

COSTAS: And they won't.

CAMEROTA: But they took action against this.

COSTAS: And, by the way, to your point, Justin Pearson is a star in the making. With all due respect, to the other two, this guy has star quality.


COSTAS: And now, he's a national figure.

ALFORD: Yes, absolutely. I mean, eloquent, inspiring, and also reminding us of the connection to the Civil Rights movement. COSTAS: Yes, very much so.

ALFORD: Didn't you feel in the oratory that this was reminiscent of the Civil Rights movement?

COSTAS: Uh huh.

ALFORD: And so, for any American, who's at home, feeling apathetic or disconnected, this made it very real and tangible.

All those millennials, like me, who were scrolling on our phone, and you see the visual of the two Black lawmakers expelled, and the one White Democratic lawmaker, punished but not to the same extent? It sends a message that "If you speak up and if you don't fall in line, and do things the way that we expect you to do them? We will punish you. And allies will be punished too. But again, the harshest rules are for those, who are Black." And that's a terrible message to send, right now.


CAMEROTA: Here's what, Mosheh, here's what one of the Tennessee State Reps, Rush Bricken, who voted to expel the two Black lawmakers, had to say.

He says, "The three Representatives violated our House Rules," they developed and in accordance of -- that were "developed in accordance with our state constitution. They disrupted our legislative process." They "brought the House to a stop, unable to do the people's business of legislation for almost an hour."


CAMEROTA: "The business we all were elected to do. They knew what they were doing. They wanted to incite chaos and get their notoriety. The two who were expelled are professed political activists. I also assure you there was no racial bias in my thinking and I believe of my colleagues actions."

OINOUNOU: It was notable. So, I was actually looking into this, today, these seven Reps, who basically defied the party, right?

There was one Republican, who voted against, who decided like, "I'm not involved in any of this."

And then you have the seven, who -- of whom, five voted to kick out Pearson and Jones, and not Johnson, and then two incidentally, who voted to kick out Jones, but not Johnson or Pearson.

So, I was trying to go through their statements. Only half of them have put out statements, including the one that you just mentioned. And, they're saying, "Johnson was different. Johnson didn't actually hold the bullhorn." I mean, the fact, in the statement he's saying, "It was an hour. That was a really tough hour." And--

SIEGFRIED: Yes. CAMEROTA: Almost an hour.


OINOUNOU: And they need to be expelled? She didn't hold a bullhorn, so she deserves to stay?

COSTAS: Because they've spent every waking hour, working on the most pressing business, that the public is concerned with, especially gun reform.


COSTAS: It's worth noting, though, that Gloria Johnson escaped expulsion by only one vote, right?

OINOUNOU: Right. I mean, we're ultimately talking about the difference of a handful of votes--


OINOUNOU: --where seven people have sort of made the difference.

But the bottom line is this. It's a supermajority in Tennessee House, right? There's 99 seats. 75 Republicans. So, if you look at 2020 numbers, Tennessee voted for Trump 60-40, but their State House is 75- 24.

And then, if you look at their U.S. House Reps, they have nine, eight of them are Republicans. So, 89 percent of the U.S. House Reps of Tennessee are Republican, which speaks to the gerrymandering issue. I mean, this is lit up, and reminded folks, of some larger issues, in the system, here.


OINOUNOU: I didn't--

ALFORD: And then the States matter, right?


ALFORD: So, again, there's going to be people, who are dusting off their state constitutions, as well, to try to understand, "How do I get involved in local politics? And how are things done at the local political level?" Because if you're saying decorum matters, and all of this happens? I need to understand, I need to pay attention at that level.

SIEGFRIED: I did find one thing very smart.

Earlier today, Jake Tapper interviewed a Republican lawmaker, who voted to expel Representatives Jones and Pearson. And he said that Representative Jones was actually whipping Republican votes, to expel him, because he wanted the notoriety.

It's very smart, strategic.

CAMEROTA: It is. But I wish I knew the context for that. Because, I heard that too, and he said, he -- I didn't know if he dared him to expel him, in other words, I don't know if Representative Jones was saying, "Go ahead, expel me," in some sort of angry way.

SIEGFRIED: No. It was "I would like you to vote to expel me."

OINOUNOU: They have adjacent offices. And he said Jones was in his office. And the only reason he voted to kick out Jones, not the other two, was like, Jones says, "This is going to make me famous." So, there's some complexity here. I mean, clearly?

CAMEROTA: And some foresight.



OINOUNOU: Jones knows that he's--



OINOUNOU: --this would make him famous.

CAMEROTA: All right, everyone, stay with me, if you would.

We have to talk about this other state. Shockwaves, across North Carolina, after a Democratic State Rep, switches to the GOP, giving Republicans, there, a veto-proof supermajority.

Up next, we're going to talk to the woman, who faced off, against Tricia Cotham, this, this Democrat, who turned to a Republican, in the Democratic primary. She's going to speak out.



CAMEROTA: The shockwaves, in North Carolina, have not settled down, after a State lawmaker, suddenly switched parties, with no warning. Longtime Democrat, Tricia Cotham, defecting to the GOP, thereby giving Republicans, a veto-proof majority, in that State.

Cotham was elected, in her deep-blue district, less than six months ago. But now, she says she finds the Democratic Party, unrecognizable.

Let's bring in Yolonda Holmes. She was Cotham's opponent, in the Democratic primary.

Yolonda, thanks so much for being here.

Were there any signs to you that Tricia Cotham was planning something like this? Or did this come as a complete shock? YOLONDA HOLMES, NORTH CAROLINA PRIMARY OPPONENT OF TRICIA COTHAM: Thank you for having me.

And there were no signs that I recognized. And this was a complete shock, to myself, as it is to others, who are sharing their emotions, and feelings, currently, as you shared earlier.

CAMEROTA: She says she did it because she was criticized, for using the American flag, and the praying hands emoji, on her social media platforms, and on her bumper stickers, on her cars. And she was deeply offended.

HOLMES: I've never heard of that. And that's just news to me.

I've never heard of any of the accusations and things that she's sharing. This is my first time even hearing that. Even throughout our candidacy, or while we were running, I've never heard any of those remarks.

Not to say that whatever she's saying is true or not true. I myself have personally not heard any of those comments or remarks.

CAMEROTA: Do you think it's possible that Republicans wooed her, with certain perks? And I ask this, because we had heard, from some local officials there, that she's now gotten a bigger office, and a committee chairmanship, as a result of this switch?

HOLMES: Well, I guess, based on what we see, we can definitely make some inferences, or ascertain, just based on the facts that that probably is exactly what transpired or happened.

CAMEROTA: You're not only -- you were not only her primary opponent. You are a constituent, in her district.

HOLMES: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And so, what are people saying? I mean, what are her other constituents saying, about their feelings, tonight?

HOLMES: Well, a lot of the constituents are just really expressing their heartfelt emotions. They're hurt. They're at a level of disappointment, in regards to what has transpired.

And that continues, today. Whether they are speaking face-to-face with me, or they are taking, to social media, to express their deepest concerns, in regards to the platform, and the initiatives, she shared, she would continue and ensure will happen, if she's elected in the House District 112.


And so, there is a lot of hurt. There's still a lot that is going on. And we're hoping, and I'm hoping, and praying, that we can be able to pick up the pieces, and draw on this, with strength, and solidarity, and continue to move forward because we're going to be House District 112 Reloading! CAMEROTA: And what is your hope? I mean, do you want her to resign? Is there any way to recall her? What's your plan?

HOLMES: I just want to share that just as Dr. Maya Angelou stated, just do right. It may not be expedient and/or profitable, but it will satisfy your soul.

And so, if you take that position, and do right, by the constituents, and the community, and absolutely the State of North Carolina, the Democrats, who have, entrusted you with the values and the morals, to ensure that you do just what you said, you're going to do, when you took the seat, in what is 60 percent of a Democratic district that you're going to do? Do that.

And if you're not going to do that, with all diligence, please, with any honor, step aside, and allow us, to continue to represent the constituents that so, so dearly need to ensure that their concerns are heard, and that their voices are heard. And let us be the voice for the constituents.

CAMEROTA: Yolonda Holmes, thank you very much, for sharing that perspective, tonight.

All right, well, what should the voters do about all this? Our panel is back with us.

Evan, do you think that voters in that district have a right to feel hoodwinked?

SIEGFRIED: They have a right to feel, however they want to. They can feel hoodwinked. But that doesn't matter.

When you go, and you vote for a candidate, be they Republican, or Democrat, you are putting your trust that they are going to go, to whatever office, you elect them to, to serve you, the constituents, as best to their ability.

And, in this deal, where, because clearly it was not based on emojis that caused her to switch. If she were able to get some sort of deal, which helped her constituents, then she should be judged on that. And the voters have a right to judge her and fire her, in the next election. But--

CAMEROTA: But did it help her constituents?

SIEGFRIED: We don't know, at this point. It's too early to tell. We still have time in her term. It's very early, in the term.

And also, democracy is messy. Politics is messy. You don't elect people, to be just a rubberstamp of "You have to do this, that and that."

So, there's still time for her to be judged by your constituents. And if they end up liking what she did, in the long run, they reelect her. If not, she's going to be thrown out. COSTAS: Shouldn't we expect her, though, based on what her past positions were, as a Democrat, to be more or less a purple rather than red or blue public servant? Shouldn't we expect her not to fall right in line with everything that the Republicans are doing, and to be an independent voice?

SIEGFRIED: Her constituents absolutely should expect and demand it of her. But if she goes, and she goes, and stays very red, or even goes MAGA, her constituents should have every right to fire her.

CAMEROTA: Yes, in two years, I mean, a year and a half.

ALFORD: Right. They have to wait it out.


ALFORD: And what's heartbreaking is that this is happening at a time when people are already questioning democracy, questioning whether their votes matter, questioning our institutions.

And so, even if she goes in, and she does, she acts more as a purple voice? Republicans still have this veto-proof majority, right now. And it has changed the dynamics, in terms of what the Governor is able to do.

But I think that there is an integrity issue. I like that Yolonda appealed to morality, integrity, these things that used to matter that seem to matter less in the age of power over everything.

And for at a time when marginalized communities are feeling the pain? She was supposed to be representing, and advocate for LGBTQ people. She was supposed to be standing up, for women and reproductive rights. It's painful, I think, to those voters. They're asking for donations back. They're calling for her to resign. I think they have to keep applying that pressure, to let her know that this is not OK.


OINOUNOU: I mean, I think her constituents totally have a right to be upset about this. At the same time, she hasn't voted on anything yet. So, it'll be interesting to see what happens.

I mean, what's remarkable, abortion is set to come up as an issue, in North Carolina, right? With this veto-proof majority, they can, I think -- the last I read is they're going to take it from 20 weeks to 12 weeks.

She had an abortion, which she spoke about, on the floor. She's talked about how Republicans shouldn't play doctor. So, she was asked about this, in a few interviews, in the past day or so. And she's like, "I'm going to vote my conscience." She wouldn't indicate if she's changed her opinion on that.

So, I think, a lot, will be predicated on how does she vote? Does she still vote on LGBT? Apparently, her website, as of today, was still critical of Republicans, like she didn't refresh her website, in time, for the party switch.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. I mean, untested and interesting. But if she -- you're right, she had been vocal, about abortion rights. And so, if she wasn't as vocal today? That's curious.

ALFORD: But she's still undermining the Democratic Party, right? This narrative that we're hearing that Democrats are just so intolerant, and that we can't even, we're such snowflakes, we can't handle emojis, like, that's just not reality, right?

We know that this was more than about the emoji. But she is feeding into that frenzy, which I think, again, undermines the party's efforts, it undermines what they stand for.


OINOUNOU: Though there was one Democrat, State Rep. Cecil Brockman, who was quoted, in "The Charlotte Observer," who said -- he said, "I understand why she did what she did, because the Party hasn't been treating her fairly." I mean it seems like there's been some personal animus. She's been left out of certain meetings.

And what one quote struck me, he said, "Democrats would rather be right than win elections."

SIEGFRIED: And we've seen politicians switch all the time. Jim Jeffords, in the early 2000s. And we've--

CAMEROTA: Not all the time. I mean?

SIEGFRIED: No, it's happened historically.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But on one hand--

SIEGFRIED: Jim Jeffords, Arlen Specter.


SIEGFRIED: Jim Justice was the most recent high-profile, when he switched from Democrat to Republican, in West Virginia.


SIEGFRIED: People do this for political reasons--


ALFORD: To take--

SIEGFRIED: --all the time.

ALFORD: To take those personal slights, and value them, over the interests of the people, who voted for you, and the issues, right now, that are life and death, for women, particularly reproductive rights, is pathetic.

CAMEROTA: OK, friends, we have to leave it there for a second.

COSTAS: Right.

CAMEROTA: Because we have to get to actor Jeremy Renner. He's speaking out, for the first time, since being crushed by a snowplow. His harrowing account, next.


RENNER: That's what I screamed, by the way, when I went under the thing. "Not today (bleep)!" is what I screamed. Sorry for the language!




CAMEROTA: Actor Jeremy Renner is opening up, about the New Year's Day snowplow accident that almost killed him.


RENNER: If I was there, on my own, it would have been a horrible way to die. And surely, it would have. Surely.

SAWYER: You remember the pain?

RENNER: Oh, all of it. Yes, I was awake through every moment. It's exactly like you imagined it would feel like. If you -- it's hard to imagine what that feels like. But when you look at the machine, and you look at -- and I was on asphalt and ice. I wish I was on snow.


CAMEROTA: Joining me now is Dr. Christopher Vincent, a chiropractic sports physician, who has been working, with Jeremy Renner.

Doctor, thanks so much for being here.

It's so helpful to have you, who is actually working, with Jeremy, to tell us how did he survive this accident? It was a seven-ton snowplow. How can we see him there talking to Diane Sawyer, functioning?

DR. CHRISTOPHER VINCENT, CHIROPRACTIC SPORTS PHYSICIAN, @DRCHRISTOPHERVINCENT: Yes, it's -- right, it's incredible, and purely a miracle that he survived, first of all, and being out there, and sort of so far away from help.

So, being in the snow, and crushed for 30 minutes, with his lungs collapsed, and not able to breathe, is a miracle in itself, and just shows his sort of grit and determination, first of all, to live through accident, at that magnitude.

CAMEROTA: Let me just put up his injuries, from this accident. Eight ribs, broken, in 14 places. His right knee, broken. His right

ankle, broken. His left tibia, broken. His left ankle, broken. His right clavicle, broken. His right shoulder, broken. His eye socket, broken. His lungs, as you say, collapsed.

I mean, what were you--

VINCENT: Yes, there's a few extra that we're missing from the best. We can go to several more.

CAMEROTA: Is that right?

VINCENT: Yes. He's got toes broken. He's got wrist broken, shoulders, quite a bit more than that.

CAMEROTA: And so, but the fact that he's up and using a walker? What accounts for that? In other words, was his spine spared?

VINCENT: Yes. So, the first miracle was that he actually survived the accident.

And then, the second miracle is, when you look at all the injuries, they're really perfectly placed, preserving a lot of the joint spaces. But preserving -- his liver was a little lacerated by his 12th rib, puncturing the liver, and his lungs collapsed. But other than that no other vital organs were damaged.

His spinal cord was preserved. And his brain, I mean, the cat ran all the way over his face, and skull, and would have crushed his brain. But he's neurologically intact, and strong, healthy.

CAMEROTA: It really is a miracle.

Let's listen to him describe his injuries. Here he is.


RENNER: This whole side of my body, I don't really feel, just sensitivity to touch. But it'll grow. It's I can feel it, the change already in two months.

It's here in my face, like I can't feel hardly any of my teeth on the upper part because that's -- it went inside my face, to put in two plates, because of orbital crack. This eye was kind of -- really not -- I don't want to be injured.

VINCENT: Pressure (ph).

RENNER: Yes. Yes, yes.


CAMEROTA: Doctor, we see you there, working on him, as well.

And let's talk about him, mentally. What is his will like? I mean with all of those injuries, how is he doing? VINCENT: Yes, I think you've -- when something like that happens that is sort of life-threatening, you've got to dig deep, and find something that really drives you and motivates you.

And I don't really know what it is exactly, for Jeremy. But he has that inside him that instinct that drive. And I see it a lot in professional athletes. You see it in some superhero, super-successful people, who have risen to the top of their game. And it's that same drive that's innate within him that gives him the drive, to overcome this pain, overcome the injuries, and really want to heal.

I think a lot of people, would go "OK, hey, I'm standing," or "I'm able to walk around with a walker. That's good enough. No more pain, no more of this rehab and therapy, seven days a week."

But he's a little different. He's pushing through it, and really has the determination, to not only heal, but come back stronger and better than he was before.

CAMEROTA: Doctor, if you'd stand by, I want to bring in my panel now. They may have questions for you.

Bob, he is different.


CAMEROTA: Jeremy Renner is built differently than most people.

COSTAS: Yes, evidently. I don't know him. But it's remarkable, as you look at him, conversing with Diane Sawyer. His presence is the same. He doesn't -- obviously, he's going through a lot of physical rehab and whatnot. But he appears to be the same person.

Doctor, have I got that right? Is that impression, correct?


VINCENT: Yes. And that's, you look at his personality. I mean, he's a fun guy. He's joking. He's dancing around. He loves life, and he loves his family. And so, you kind of see that, within him, which is exactly the same as he was before the accident.

CAMEROTA: Just so remarkable, Mosheh. I mean, I -- to see all of his injuries, and as the doctor's saying, the will to survive, is coupled with your physical recovery.

OINOUNOU: Absolutely. I'm wondering, I mean, to what extent -- to what do you ascribe his recovery to willpower? And how much of it is just pure luck? Where he happened to fall, I mean, is it a matter of inches that led to his survival here?

VINCENT: Yes, millimeters. I mean, it really is millimeters. It's so lucky. As unlucky as he is to have such a tragic injury, he is so lucky that the injuries are where they are.

And, really, the worst-case scenario, which is what I first went to, when I heard about his accident, was just imagining him being, having spinal cord injury, or brain damage.

And so, it was incredibly lucky that the injuries that he had, and where the fractures were, kind of missed vital organs, and missed sort of major nerves and nervous system.

COSTAS: Alisyn, can I jump in?

VINCENT: And even -- even where they broke?

COSTAS: Go ahead, Doctor.

VINCENT: Yes, go ahead, sorry.

COSTAS: I was just going to say, I didn't mean to minimize.

VINCENT: I was going to say where the brakes--


COSTAS: He's obviously been traumatized. I didn't mean to minimize it. But he is recognizably himself, in shorter order, than you would think after this happened.

CAMEROTA: Totally agree.


CAMEROTA: By the way, he talks about that. He talks about why his -- I mean, he gives us a little bit of a window, into why he's able to function. So, let me play that for you.


RENNER: I shift the narrative of being victimized, or making a mistake, or anything else. I refuse to be (bleep) haunted by that memory that way. This is what I talked to my family about, from all their perspectives, which are horrifying. That I put upon them.


CAMEROTA: See, Bob, this is what's so interesting.


CAMEROTA: He refuses to be haunted. I didn't know that was a choice, you know?


CAMEROTA: When we are in accidents, when we're traumatized, we often are haunted. But he's making a choice not to be.

COSTAS: But he clearly has been traumatized. And it's something that he will carry, with him, for the rest of his life. I assume, in some way, it seems like he'll turn it into something productive. But you just don't shrug your shoulders, and put this behind you, immediately. CAMEROTA: Yes. And, in fact, Natasha, he was saying, "I don't want the -- I shift the narrative of making a mistake."

In a different part of the interview, he does say, it was his mistake. He stepped out, onto the moving wheel, that sort of heavy-graded wheel, of the snowplow.

He stepped down to it, because he was looking for his nephew, making sure that he wasn't running, over his nephew, and that he wasn't in danger. So, he was trying to save him. But he says, "It was my mistake." But he's not going to -- he's going to try to absolve himself, of any of that sort of guilt.

ALFORD: Yes. I mean, that's an act of love, right? You put your life on the line, for someone that you love, and you live to survive that? You have to forgive yourself, because it came from a pure place.

And when you survive something like that, I think the question is why did God spare me, if you believe in God? If you don't, "Why am I here? And what is the purpose that I now find in the pain?" And I believe so many people will be inspired from his story, because he's still here to tell it.



SIEGFRIED: Dr. Vincent, I have two quick questions for you.

First, how long is the rehab prognosis for Jeremy Renner?

And then also, what is the average day of rehab like for him?

VINCENT: Yes. So, he's -- I mean, he's come a long way, incredibly quickly. But we're probably going to have some kind of rehab, or some things that he's going to have to do, for the rest of his life.

I mean, you're always going to wake up a little stiff, a little achy, and things just hurting. But if he stays on his sort of daily regimen, he's going to -- he's going to be able to act, and have a totally normal life. But I would say, we're looking at this intensity, for a good part of a year, before he's really considered, just start to relax a little bit.

He's at the point, where he's so driven, he's so motivated, that we're even having to pull him back, a little bit. And some days, where he's just pushed too hard, and fatigued? We're actually having him take the day off and rest.

But most days, he gets up, in the morning. We have to start, joints moving, and mobilizing things, and so, he's in bed, sort of getting everything starting to warm up, starting to move. And then, we get him on the table, and we'll do some stretches with him, and mobilize some joints a little bit more.

We put on these -- I mean, I do a lot of biohacking, and things, to try and speed up the process, and fool the body, to think we're working harder than it is, so we don't break down too much.


But one of the things we use is the BFR calves strips (ph) from B Strong, and we put them, on his arms, and his legs, put him on the bike. He bikes for 20 minutes, really gets a good warm-up.

Then we put him in the Boost, which is a treadmill where it's an anti- gravity treadmill, and so we can determine if we want to walk in with 10 percent of his body weight, 20 percent of his body weight. And we can control that. And he'll walk as normal as he can. So, we're retraining sort of the motor patterns in his brain, so he actually walks normally again.

And then, we'll do some strength training with him. And then more stretching, we put him in the Jacuzzi warm-up. We put them in the pool to cool down. It's sort of trying to keep it fun and interesting. But, you kind of go through the grit and the grind and the hard work at the same time.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Vincent, that is so fascinating.

Great question, Evan.

Thank you for sharing all of that, with us. It's really interesting to hear about his recovery and his mindset. And we also, we thank you for coming on.

And we also thank Jeremy Renner, for giving you permission, to talk to us, tonight.

VINCENT: Yes, yes, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Because, I think, so many people are really concerned and interested. Thank you for all the information.

VINCENT: Yes. Thanks for having me. Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: OK. Moving on to this. LSU star, Angel Reese, rethinking her refusal, to visit the White House, after her team's big win, at the NCAA tournament. What President Biden said to her, next.



CAMEROTA: All right. Earlier this week, LSU star, basketball player, Angel Reese, declared that she would not visit the White House, after first lady Jill Biden suggested that the defeated University of Iowa team would also be invited.


ANGEL REESE, AMERICAN COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYER FOR THE LSU TIGERS OF THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE: I'm not going to lie to you, I don't accept that apology. You can't go back on certain things that you say. I mean, you felt

like they should have came because of sportsmanship, right? They can have that spotlight. We'll go to the Obamas. We'll see Michelle. We'll see Barack.


CAMEROTA: But today, Reese had a change of heart.


REESE: Just going back on it, I mean, the team -- you don't get that experience ever. So being able to go back, and I know my team probably wants to go for sure, and my coach is supportive of that. So, I'm going to do what's best for the team. And if they would like to go, and we decide that we're going to go, then we're going to go.


CAMEROTA: My panel is back with me now.

All right, Bob. Your thoughts on all of this?

COSTAS: Well, first of all, there's an overlay, whether we want it or not, there's an overlay of race. And so, it's always tricky territory. If it happened to be two White players or two Black players, some people would view it differently.

What Jill Biden said, was ill-advised. But no fair-minded person could think that there was any ill motivation behind it. She sat at the game, with Billie Jean King, and with other female athletes, who kind of represent the Title IX generation, and the progress, made by women athletes. And in the afterglow of that she tried to say some inclusive thing.

But, of course, it's silly, because only the champions go to the White House.

And what Iowa's coach said made more sense. "If the Bidens would like to come to Iowa, and visit us, we would love to have that happen. But this spotlight belongs to LSU."

With regard to Angel Reese, she's obviously very bright. She obviously has a strong sense of herself. But sometimes, when people have a certain sense of themselves, they can easily take offense, and they think they're incapable of giving offense.

When she said, "I don't accept her apology?" Wow! You can't go back on a simple little well-intended statement. I don't -- "This is unacceptable, completely unacceptable, now and forever?" Luckily, she changed her mind within a couple of days.

It wasn't a good look, all the way around. But because of the racial angle, it's amplified more than it needs to be. People misspeak. People get caught up in the heat of the moment. Trash-talking is part of basketball, more so than other sports.

Michael Jordan trash-talked, but so did Larry Bird. Larry Bird was one of the great trash-talkers ever. So, I don't have -- really have a problem with people trash-talking in basketball.

And in fact, Caitlin Clark did this thing, in an earlier game, against Louisville, but it was more directed at the entire squad. Where, very clearly Angel Reese was looking, right at Caitlin Clark, the best player on Iowa's team, and giving it this repeatedly. So, she was kind of taunting her. Now, that's not outrageous in basketball. But it is different than what Caitlin Clark did, earlier.

Now I'm trying to judge this, as we all should, on an individual basis. Angel Reese is not representative of all Black people. Caitlin Clark is not representative of all White people. You try to look at them as individuals.

I respect them both. And I think that Angel Reese had to recalibrate what her reaction was. Caitlin Clark has played it perfectly, as it happens, as an individual, not as a White person.


COSTAS: She's played it perfectly.

CAMEROTA: Graciously, yes.

COSTAS: Graciously. She's given LSU all the credit. She's given Angel Reese all the credit. I'm not going to go there. I wasn't offended. Angel's great. I have no problem.


COSTAS: And this really should be -- and, Angel, for all of her -- for all of her presence, she's a young woman, all right? So, she said something sort of impetuously. So now, everyone settles down.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And I was interested that she changed -- she had a change of heart that she would go even before President Biden called her. So she said that this morning. Then, President Biden called her today.

I'm sure President Biden doesn't need any of this controversy! But he -- I'm sure, he was like, "I'm sorry, Jill. What did you just say?"

COSTAS: Right.

CAMEROTA: Anyway she -- it wasn't because he strong-armed her, or, begged her to come or anything. She already had had a change of heart.

ALFORD: I think the moment when Angel said, "I'm a team player," really stood out for me, because I actually don't think her opinion changed, right? I obviously I'm not inside of her head. I can't speak for her.

I think she spoke truth, in that moment. She spoke truth. She called out the fact that, Dr. Biden was holding these teams, to a different standard, than we would hold any other championship-winning team, to try to say that both teams somehow needed to be there.


And, for Angel, you cannot take away the lens of race, because she is talking about her entire experience, of being accused, of basically being a stereotype. Remember, when she says, "All year, I've been told, I'm too this, I'm too that," this is so much bigger than sports.

This is about the fact that young Black girls disproportionately get punished, when they're in school. There's like a culture of holding young Black people, and girls, in particular, to a different standard.

So, I think, for Angel, she didn't separate it. But she understood that this opportunity was bigger than her. And so, she graciously spoke to that.

COSTAS: Well, to put a finer point on it, though, I think, and I don't know Angel Reese. I don't know Caitlin Clark, for that matter. But I think if she heard some of the things that she says? And I don't doubt her. These are things that have been said about me. Those things were said almost entirely, on social media, where any kind of crazy lousy thing is said.

Members of the press, in 2023, are not calling Angel Reese, or any other Black player, "Ghetto," or characterizing them, as "Thugs."

ALFORD: Are you sure about that?

COSTAS: Overwhelmingly.

ALFORD: Can you -- can you say that with certainty?

COSTAS: Overwhelmingly.

ALFORD: I don't think we can say that.

COSTAS: Can I say--


COSTAS: --can I say that it never happened? Of course not. But over--

SIEGFRIED: I do believe she got criticized by Barstool.

COSTAS: Overwhelmingly. Well Barstool's--

SIEGFRIED: It was a pretty inappropriate term.

COSTAS: Barstool is in a place that I don't consider respectable.

SIEGFRIED: Well, I have a great deal of sympathy, for Angel Reese. Because, look, you've just won the national championship, this is the pinnacle of your college playing career. You should be riding high. And yes, she read the comments, and she had people saying some horrible things about her.

And, at the same time, Caitlin Clark, she has engaged in similar taunting, not -- if you did differentiate. And that's true.

But to have that moment, where you're supposed to be riding high, to be pulled down by the trolls, on the internet? Of course, you're going to be frustrated.

COSTAS: Yes, of course.

SIEGFRIED: And I would probably react the same way. Because, let's face it, we're human, and we have emotions, and that can really hurt. And I think that's what, at the end of the day, happened here. And I hope, with time, she will remember only the good of what happened.


And stop reading negative comments. It is, you know, there's no law that says we have to do that.

COSTAS: That's -- it's a cesspool.

CAMEROTA: Yes, absolutely.

COSTAS: Stay out of it.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much, for those comments.

Just in time for Easter, we're going to introduce you to Officer Hopps. This is not a holiday gag. This adorable bunny plays a vital role, in a California Police Department. We're going to explain and play you some very adorable video, next.



CAMEROTA: All right, on this Good Friday, behold, an Easter Bunny! But this one has a badge!

The Yuba City PD, in Northern California, has a rabbit, on the force. His name is Officer Percy Hopps. And he serves as a wellness officer. This furry friend provides free petting, and stress relief, for the human officers, in the precinct. You can think of him as a Therapeutic Thumper.

Percy was found -- you're welcome.

Percy was found abandoned, on the side of the road. And the Police Department ended up adopting him!

Look at how cute Percy is!

All right, we'll be right back.