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Erin Burnett Outfront
In Speech Tonight, Biden Will Direct States to Open Vaccine Eligibility to All Adults by May 1; Biden to Use July 4 as a Target Date for Americans to Gather in Small Groups with Family & Friends; Biden to Give First Primetime Address Tonight, Will Talk to Americans About Life Being Closer to Normal by July 4; Prince William Denies Racism Claims About Royal Family. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 11, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Stay with CNN for special coverage of President Biden's address to the nation in one hour, 8 pm Eastern.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, President Joe Biden making his first primetime speech to the nation directing states to open up vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1st. Biden's Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, is OUTFRONT.
Plus, the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border. The White House says it's not a crisis, but what will the President do about it?
And Prince William breaks his silence on his brother's interview. Just how strained is the relationship between the two princes? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, President Biden about to address the nation his first primetime address since taking office 51 days ago. And CNN just learning the President will direct all states to open vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1st and that he would like to see some signs of normalcy, like small gatherings by July 4th. This comes just hours after Biden signed a landmark piece of legislation, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe this is and most people I think do as well, this historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, people have built the country a fighting chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Biden is seizing the moment. According to CNN's new poll, 77 percent of Americans now believe the worst is behind us. That is up nearly 30 percent over just the past two months. There is an undeniable sense of hope across this country after a year that the CDC says was almost certainly the deadliest year on record for the U.S. The deadliest year on record.
And tonight, does mark exactly one year to the day that the World Health Organization follow the lead of CNN and call the COVID outbreak what it is, a pandemic. That same day, Trump addressed the nation with this message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens, and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, one year later, despite some signs of light, we are still trying to defeat this virus. Because yes, 530,000 Americans have died, an incredible tragedy and loss. But even now, 1,400, 1,400 people in this country are still dying every single day from coronavirus and there is a lot of pain.
In moments, Biden will address that pain and the hope for the future. Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. And Kaitlan, you've been learning some more details about what exactly President Biden will say tonight. It is a significant address, his first in 51 days. It is going to be detailed, we understand. He's put a lot of time into this.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They say he's been editing it line-by-line, one, because he wants to make sure that Americans understand how they're going to benefit from that coronavirus relief package that he signed earlier today, that $1.9 trillion package. But also, he's going to make some news, Erin, and what that's going to be is President Biden is directing all states to make sure that all Americans can actually get the vaccine by no later than May 1st.
That means these conditions that you've seen so far on age limits or whether or not you have a health precondition, they want all of those to fall away by no later than May 1st. And the White House is saying that they believe President Biden has the authority to direct states and tribes and territories to do so through the Health and Human Services Department, so look for that.
But there is also going to be another key date that you're going to hear from President Biden tonight and that's July 4th, because they believe by having this goal of May 1 where all adult Americans can get the vaccine, everyone is eligible, that then by July 4th you could start to see small gatherings of people for July 4th celebration, something that, of course, did not happen last year, because that was when we were right in the heat of all of these lockdowns.
They're hoping they can actually get back to some kind of look like by normal by July 4th. Now, the one key thing that we should note senior administration officials said is they were prepping us for what President Biden is going to say tonight is that a lot of this is going to depend on Americans actually going and getting the vaccine. You can read into that. You've seen concerns about vaccine hesitancy.
And they also said that just because everyone who wants one is eligible to get one by May 1st, doesn't mean everyone will have actually gotten one by then. There are still going to be the issues that they're working through with supplies, with hesitancy, with actually getting people to get the vaccine in their arms, so look for that as well.
But the other question that naturally comes up is how are they going to do this and a few things that they just told us a few moments ago is they are going to set up a federally supported website by the beginning of May.
You heard that idea being floated by Biden's Chief of Staff earlier this year and so you're going to be able to have that to go look to where you can actually get a vaccine. And for people who do not have access to internet, they said they're going to have a call center set up so you can call and find out where the closest location to you is to actually get a vaccine, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.
And I want to go out front now to President Biden's Chief of Staff, Ron Klain. Ron, I appreciate your time. So, we know that there would be news in the speech tonight and we did get some big news that the President is directing all states to open vaccinations to all adults, no preconditions, no age restrictions by May 1st. What else new can you tell us about what to expect tonight?
RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think Kaitlan went over a lot of the big news, which is this May 1 deadline, but also the President's going to talk tonight about how we're going to make that possible. That's possible because we have rapidly accelerated the pace of vaccinations under the Biden administration.
It's possible because of the funding that the President signed into law today with the American rescue plan, which will allow us to further accelerate vaccinations. He's also going to talk tonight about some of our other goals, which is getting schools reopened by the end of his hundred days, getting majority of K through 8th schools reopened by the end of hundred days and also getting people more guidance from the Centers for Disease Control about what they can do safely after they've been vaccinated.
We think that's an important thing that helps encourage people to get vaccinated. It helps people see a pathway back to greater normalcy in our lives. BURNETT: So, there's a new poll out tonight showing more than three quarters of Americans, 77 percent say the worst of the outbreak is behind us. I do wonder who the other 22 percent are. But there are still serious risks out there to be to be sure. And we did see today the Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt. He is following the recent lead of Texas, Mississippi dropping all COVID restrictions, masks, everything else. Is there real risk that the progress gets wiped out here or at this point no?
KLAIN: No. I think there is a risk that the progress gets wiped out here, Erin, or at least that the progress gets delayed or set back. The President tonight is going to emphasize that he's doing his part, the federal government is finally showing up for work in accelerating the pace of vaccines and delivering the tools we need. He is going to deploy 4,000 additional troops to give vaccinations. He's going to send vaccines to 950 community health centers.
But then the American people have to do their part. That means using masks until it's safe not to do so. That means social distancing. That means when it's your turn to get vaccinated, getting vaccinated.
So, this is a whole of the country effort. The President's deploying our entire government to do its part. The American people are going to have to do their part, too.
BURNETT: So today, the President signed the COVID relief bill into law. And I know he's going to be talking about that tonight. And I know that he's going to be trying to lay out different parts of it, because obviously, Ron, when you look at it, it is five to six times bigger than it would be if it's simple goal was to replace loss income from COVID. It would be much, much smaller, but it's bigger.
And when the first stimulus checks went out in April of 2020 and that was the biggest bill. This one is a lot smaller than that one. Unemployment was 14.8 percent. Now we have unemployment down to 6.2 percent savings rate has surged.
Do you have any fear that this bill is too big for the moment, when you do have a lot of people who are ready to surge out there?
KLAIN: No, Erin. I think that this bill is finally what we need to meet the moment. We have fought this virus from behind for more than a year. We've been losing that battle. We started to turn that around the past 50 days. There's a lot more work to do.
And while the official unemployment rate is indeed down, we still know there are millions of Americans out of work, Americans who can't find work, Americans who've had to drop out of the workforce because of the economy. We need to get this economy growing again. We need to get people the help they need.
And part of what this bill does is in addition to those $1,400 checks everyone is talking about. It also provides food assistance for the people who've been hardest hit by this, assistance to our veterans health care system to get them the help they need. Help for small business so they can get reopened and create jobs. I mean, this is a comprehensive strategy to get this country going again. I think that's what this country really needs right now. BURNETT: All right. So, of course, the reality of it is as we all know, no Republicans voted for it and all Democrats did but one in the House. Now, this comes in the context though of President Biden's taking his candidacy and his presidency on his unique ability to unite and what he calls the crucial nature of bipartisanship. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We need to revive the spirit of bipartisan in this country.
And my hope is that we'll get Republicans as well as Democrats to support this.
I've been talking to a lot of my Republican friends in the House and the Senate, continue to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, there was none of that on COVID relief. As I mentioned, even a Democrat in the House voted against it otherwise completely on party lines. Now, Ron, I want to ask you about this specifically, because as you probably know, you were blamed by the moderate Republicans, Susan Collins, because she said during that meeting at the White House when the President sat down with 10 Republican senators to talk about this at the beginning, well, let me quote her.
She says, "Biden was very attentive, gracious into the details. It was a great discussion. Ron," that's you, "was shaking his head in the back of the room the whole time, which is not exactly an encouraging sign. I thought that was unfortunate." What do you say to Sen. Collins, Ron?
KLAIN: Well, what I will say with all due respect to Sen. Collins is that the plan the Republicans put forward in that meeting, which the President did indeed listen to graciously because he is a gracious listener was inadequate for the moment. It proposed to cut these $1,400 checks. It proposed no aid to put teachers back on the job. It proposed nothing for veterans health care. It proposed nothing to help the children who were in poverty as a result of this.
So, the plan they proposed was less than a third the size of the plan that Congress enacted. And again, the President certainly did listen respectfully. We wanted to find a way to try to get to a middle ground with the Republican senators, Republicans in the House.
But in the end, there was a choice between doing what the country needed to be done to beat this virus and to grow this economy or doing something much smaller than that. And the President made the choice to do what this country did.
Now, look, I hope we can find as we move forward to other issues, places where we can work together with Republicans and do things on a bipartisan basis. Presidents had some meetings about infrastructure that are encouraging, some meetings about taking on cancer that are encouraging.
But in this case with this crisis, the President did what he had to do to beat this virus and to get this economy moving.
BURNETT: Ron, I also want to ask you about what's happening at the southern border right now. The latest numbers that we have today, more than 3,700 unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. border patrol custody, which is actually 1,000 more kids than Trump had at the peak of the 2019 border crisis. We've also learned that many children are being kept in jail like facilities. How is the situation any different than under Trump, except for that you have more kids?
KLAIN: Well, first of all, we aren't separating children from their families. These are children who are arriving alone. And the other thing is we're trying to meet this situation with urgency and humanity. We're working hard with the Department of Health and Human Services to get more housing for these children when they arrive to make sure they're treated in a humane way and to make sure they are ultimately connected with their family members in the United States with other sponsors.
We were left with inadequate resources down there with a system that had been shrunk due to COVID. And now we're trying to stand up the resources we need to make sure that these children are treated in a humane and appropriate way.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you, because this is really hard. I mean, I know it's really easy for people to throw stones here. But when you're looking at a problem like this and a lot of these kids, one of the issues that Trump administration said they had, is they could not find these kids families, they didn't know where to send them. If they've come here illegally, are you just going to let them stay? Are you going to be able to find where they came from? I mean, how do you even tackle this issue in many of these cases?
KLAIN: Yes. So, Erin, it is a hard problem, no question about it. Many children have family members here in the U.S. and we're going to make an effort to connect them with their family members. Others don't and we're going to try to connect them with sponsors and social service organizations that will take care of them. But particularly when small children come here, sent by their parents on a perilous, dangerous journey to this country, claiming a fear of persecution, we need to try to deal with this in a very humane and sensible way.
It is a hard problem, but it's a problem that we're very focused on in terms of making sure these children are treated appropriately. And ultimately, wind up in a safe home here in the U.S.
BURNETT: Right. And so just to understand, so the goal then in what you're saying is in humane way and I totally understand. But your goal is to have them stay here.
KLAIN: Well, these children coming here, if they have claims of asylum claims, then those claims they have a right under U.S. law to have those claims be heard and so our goal is to follow the law. I mean, this is a nation of immigrants. It's a nation of laws.
KLAIN: We're going to follow the law, treat these children appropriately under federal law and both legally and humanely, that's our objective.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Ron. Thank you very much for the conversation.
KLAIN: Thanks for having me, Erin.
BURNETT: All right.
KLAIN: Of course.
BURNETT: And next, Biden preparing to address the nation and tout his COVID relief bill, a bill that as I was just discussing with Ron had no Republican support. So will that hurt Biden's ability to move forward with other parts of his agenda, the things like infrastructure that Ron was mentioning?
Plus, four of America's former presidents joining forces to urge everyone to get vaccinated. But there's one person missing, Trump. Why?
And Prince William pushing back on racism claims as we learned just how distant he and his brother, Harry, appear to be.
BURNETT: Breaking news, President Biden in moments away from his first primetime address to mark one year of the coronavirus pandemic and address where he's going to set some very specific dates, May 1st for all adults to be eligible for vaccines in every state and July 4th as a target date for the country being closer to normal. He's expected to tell Americans that that time they could have a small gathering with friends or family or a barbecue if there is continued vigilance with masks and social distancing.
His Chief of Staff and longtime ally, Ron Klain, was just telling me that timeline is possible due to Biden's actions to accelerate virus going in arms.
OUTFRONT now, CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Co-Anchor of STATE OF THE UNION, Dana Bash, and our Senior Political Analyst and former political speechwriter, John Avlon.
So John, Biden is going to lay out specific dates, that May 1st, July 4th. They have been giving dates before but very general like by mid- summer or by late spring and then you all of a sudden kind of talking about, oh, how summer actually doesn't start till the end of June and it's all very vague and all of that. This is very specific, which seems to signal a real sense of confidence, doesn't it?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right and that's what an oval office address is designed to do. I mean, this is the most iconic moment in early presidency other than an inaugural. The President behind the Resolute desk in command and what, I think, you're going to see isn't Biden trying to aim for soaring rhetoric, but to lay out a clear plan of command to say, look, here's how this is going to affect you.
And that May 1st date where everyone is eligible is a big deal. The symbolism of saying we're going to declare a degree of independence from this pandemic by Independence Day is also real. And he's going to talk about schools and the way this new bill helps achieve that. But this looks like it's going to be a very - how does this action going to impact your lives and help America open up a workday speech from the President of the United States.
BURNETT: Independence from the virus by Independence Day is something that only a speechwriter could on the fly turn. If they didn't think of that line, I would imagine they're playing with it right now.
Dana, to that point, though, we do know that Biden went through line by line reviewing drafts of tonight's speech over the past week. Literally line edits by himself all this week. So, what does that say to you, knowing him over so many years that this level of detail is going into it and what his goal is?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, like John said, this is such a historic and iconic moment for this president. Historic in terms of how people are going to look at his administration, particularly given the crises that he inherited.
And so this is an incredibly important time for him to communicate, especially given the fact that as we now know, they are going to and he is going to communicate very specific ideas and goals. It's so interesting to me, because at the beginning, the first few weeks, there was a lot of criticism of the Biden administration, because they were kind of low balling the goals on vaccines in arm saying it was a hundred million by the first hundred days and are you just playing politics with this.
This speech tonight is the completely opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the expectation game that people play in politics, because he is going to be pretty bold with the timeline.
Now, if you think about where we started a year ago, if we thought this time last year that being bold with the timeline would be May 1, 2021, no one would have believed it. But given how difficult it has been and how mismanaged it was during the previous administration, it's pretty accelerated. BURNETT: So John, we talked about the partisanship of the vote here and there's a lot of implications from that. But one thing that is quite ironic is that many of the people who voted against it, obviously, a lot of constituents are going to benefit from it.
And now, well, Republican Senator Roger Wicker actually went on Twitter to praise the bill tweeting, "Independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief. The funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll."
Well, I mean, so I'm glad he's celebrating winning even though he voted against it. The White House is taking this in stride and saying, hey, great, we'll work with you on other stuff.
BURNETT: But this is a pretty incredible irony. And obviously, he's not a stupid person, he knows that that was going to be called out and he doesn't care and thinks it benefits him.
AVLON: That's right. And look, in fairness, Wicker was a strong supporter of the restaurant act, which was folded into this bill.
AVLON: But you don't get to take credit for it if you voted against it. But I think first of all, we've seen this kind of hypocrisy before. What the Biden team should be doing is saying exactly what you just laid out, work with us on something else. Don't victory lap it. But the fact is the Republicans got a problem here, because this bill is massively popular. It's likely to have an economic impact that leads to increased popularity and they don't own it.
They're in a box because of their fear of the base where they can't vote for things they might normally support. So can they reach out of that incentive structure contradiction to work with Biden on immigration reform or infrastructure reform? Is that possible in the current political context? We'll see.
BURNETT: Well, Dana, I also discussed with Ron the issue of immigration and it is a big problem. That's what this White House is facing, the influx of migrants on the border and what they're seeing with unaccompanied minors. And you heard Ron Klain a moment ago say, well, the difference between this administration and Trump's even though there are more unaccompanied minors now, he says is that they're not separating families.
But obviously, Dana, the numbers are the numbers on the number of people crossing the border, we are seeing an influx. So what does the White House need to do to prevent this from really spiraling out of control?
BASH: It is such a difficult question to answer which is why they don't have an answer yet. And let us add to one thing that Ron Klain didn't say, which is yes they are taking in children. [19:25:02]
They are not separating children from families. But the influx of children now is high in that scenario, but imagine what it would be if we weren't in a pandemic, because the policy is still - aside from children who are unaccompanied, you're not allowed in to this country to seek asylum because of the pandemic. It's a public health situation that Trump put in place and the Biden administration kept in.
So it would be even more overwhelming and they would have to put into question about children and families and so on and so forth, which is a non-issue because of the policy. So they're going to have to figure it out. They're going to have to build more facilities, make it more humane or find a way to do what they were talking about the White House yesterday, which is deal with it on the front end before these illegal immigrants get across the border.
But as we've seen during the Obama administration, the Trump administration is a whole different story. But this is a historically very difficult thing, which is why everybody talks about immigration reform, but because it's so politicized, it has been so difficult, impossible to do.
BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you both very much.
And OUTFRONT next, a bipartisan presidential effort to get Americans vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We urge you to get vaccinated when it's available to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But why is Trump not in that message?
And we're standing by for President Biden's first primetime address. It's going to begin here in just a few moments and we are learning more about what he will say to the nation tonight.
BURNETT: Breaking news. As we await President Biden's first primetime address in just moments, CNN learning the president will direct states to open up vaccines to all adults by May 1st.
The announcement comes as all of the living former presidents except Donald Trump are joining forces, urging Americans to get vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: We've lost enough people and we've suffered enough damage.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: In order to get rid of this pandemic, it's important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT: I'm getting vaccinated because we want this pandemic to end as soon as possible.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: So, we urge you to get vaccinated when it's available to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: CNN learning that Trump was not asked to be involved because the campaign centered around this video that the former presidents filmed on inauguration day. Biden's inauguration, which of course Trump refused to attend.
Instead Trump saying in a statement, quote, if I wasn't president, you wouldn't be getting that beautiful shot, for five years at best and probably wouldn't be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers.
That would not be the accurate time line for a vaccine to be developed. But let me bring in our doctors here.
Dr. Jonathan Reiner is with me who advised the White House medical unit under President George W. Bush who you just saw there. And Dr. Ashish Jha is now dean of Brown University School of Public Health.
So, Dr. Jha, I want to start actually with the announcement we just are going to get in a few moments from President Biden when he addresses the nation. States open up vaccines to all adults by May 1st, putting aside age, underlying conditions, all of it, and normalcy by July 4th. I mean, not full normalcy, just to be clear. You can gather with a small group of friends.
This is something you called for, vaccines being available to everyone. How big a game changer is this?
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: This is huge. It's really exciting, Erin. And I think this is where America needs to be.
The good news has been that in the last couple of months, we've seen a huge ramping up of supply. I want to make sure all the states are ready for distribution, for Dr. Reiner to talk about the need for multiple millions of doses going in every day. That's what we will need to do.
But if we do our part, we are going to have a pretty normal, not 100 percent as you said, but pretty close to a normal July 4th and that is very, very exciting.
BURNETT: It certainly is. So, Dr. Reiner, on this ad, we learned Trump was not asked to be
involved in the ad with the other four living presidents because he wasn't there when the core part of it was filmed, right, because he refused to attend the inauguration. But they did say they thought it was unlikely he would be willing to participate.
So, it was a missed opportunity, though, to not try to get him involved given that some of the vaccine hesitancy may come from some of his base.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yeah, sure. It seems like the former president never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. A recent Monmouth poll found that about a third of registered Republicans have no plans to get vaccinated. Much higher than other Democratic Party or independents, fully a third.
What an opportunity for the former president, first of all, to take a victory lap. Pat himself on the back about the vaccine and promote it. But how can he be in an ad like this when he hasn't even publicly acknowledged that he was vaccinated?
Remember, we learned that he was secretly vaccinated in the White House. Why do it secretly?
So it's an enormous missed opportunity. We really have to reach out to the folks across these party divides and really answer the questions and get them to accept the vaccine. This is not a partisan issue.
BURNETT: No. Dr. Jha, you know, what Dr. Reiner is referring to, we found out that Trump and his wife were vaccinated at the White House. He didn't want anyone to know about it.
He didn't want any pictures. He didn't want anything, when it would have made a huge difference.
And I actually spoke to Dr. Fauci recently right after we found this out. I asked him, hey, did you know President Trump was vaccinated while he was president in the White House? And what should he have done about sharing this moment with the public?
And here's the exchange with Dr. Fauci.
(BGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Were you aware at the time that he got the vaccine, Dr. Fauci?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: No, Erin, I was not. I was not aware he was vaccinated. It was just unfortunately a lost opportunity because he could have gotten a lot of people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated, vaccinated. I'm sorry he didn't do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Dr. Jha, to this day, the former president, President Trump has not publicly said he's been vaccinated. What is the impact of that silence?
JHA: Yeah, it's puzzling, first of all, right? Because the biggest impact it would have is on his supporters. It would keep them alive. It would keep them safe.
Of course, it would be big effects on our whole country. We would be much closer to reaching herd immunity. It really is a missed opportunity. The most puzzling part to me it is his own loyal supporters who would benefit from him being public and the fact that he just chose not to do something that would be useful for them.
BURNETT: I want to ask you each, we talked so much over the past year, Dr. Reiner, you and I have spoken every single day over the past year. Your first appearance on out front last March, you were talking about how people were confusing coronavirus symptoms with heart attack, you were seeing that cross over.
What is one of the most surprising things -- let's put it this way. What's the most burning question you still have about the virus?
REINER: Well, my big question is why was the U.S. response so awful? That's really my most burning question.
The virus didn't come uniquely to the United States. The virus went all over the world. But yet our response was uniquely awful.
So, you know, I'm left thinking about that with the sort of mixture of anger, you know, sadness, but also gratitude for my colleagues around the country who have done just hero's work and have run into basically burning buildings every day to try and put this fire out.
REINER: One day we'll find out why our response was so awful, and it will be hard to swallow.
BURNETT: Dr. Jha, what is your biggest question?
JHA: My biggest question is, you know, we know that 525,000 of our fellow Americans have died, but we also know that tens of millions have been infected and didn't die thankfully and recovered. But I want to know what the long-term effects are for a lot of those individuals. I worry that we are really just seeing the tip of the iceberg when we think about COVID, there's going to be a lot of disability, a lot of suffering that's going to be with us a long time.
I hope that's not true. But that's what I worry about and I'd like to understand that better.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And next, Prince William and Harry, well, they did used to be so close. They had, after all, only each other after that great loss. Where does that bond stand tonight?
And we are standing by for President Biden's first primetime address to the nation beginning in just a few moments coming on the heels of his major legislative victory. How does he avoid a mission accomplished moment?
BURNETT: Tonight, the duke of Cambridge, Prince William, breaking his silence by saying that the royal family is not racist. It comes as we get a sense of how strain the relationship now is between William, and his brother Harry.
Max Foster is OUTFRONT.
REPORTER: Sir, have you spoken to your brother since the interview?
PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: I haven't spoken to him yet, but I will do.
REPORTER: Can you just let me know, is the royal family a racist family, sir?
PRINCE WILLIAM: No, we're very much not a racist family.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A reporter, breaking protocol, with unsolicited questions, answered by a brother, still not ready to talk. The royal rift, never more apparent than just days after a scathing, no holds barred interviewed, in which Harry made allegations that will live with the British monarchy for years, if not decades.
Prince William, still the heir, Prince Harry, no longer his stand in, an ocean apart, for the distance between the two even greater.
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: The relationship has space at the moment.
FOSTER: That space, confirmed, it seems, on Thursday by the future king of the United Kingdom. A far cry from this.
PRINCE HARRY: He's definitely got more brains than me, I think we've established a from school. But I am much better hands on.
FOSTER: With the gentle ribbing and teasing of 2 brothers, who had been through so much, showing just how inseparable their bond seem to be.
PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: It's pretty rich, coming from a ginger.
FOSTER: These two young men, who grew up being watched by millions, living through the unimaginable tragedy of losing their mother as young boys, and emerging on the other side, together, side by side, candidly exposing their pain.
PRINCE WILLIAM: It's through the circumstances as well, that's the thing. You are uniquely bonded because of what you've been through.
FOSTER: Making mental health the centerpiece of the royal platform.
At the time, both men aware of the duty on William's shoulders as future king. Their grandmother, the queen, committing to a slimmed down future monarchy, only adding to the burden they were meant to share.
PRINCE HARRY: It's something that both myself, and my brother wish obviously that we were just completely normal. But, we've been born into this position, and we will do it we need to.
FOSTER: After a period of smooth sailing, royal tours, engagements, weddings, births, rumors of turmoil within. Becoming reality is Harry and Meghan took steps last year to stand back, and, ultimately, stand apart. Prince William, reportedly, saddened by the couple's decision. According to "The Sunday Times", saying to a friend, I put my arm around my brother all our lives. I can't do that anymore. We are separate entities.
Harry, solidifying that separation in his sit-down tell-all with his wife, to Oprah Winfrey.
PRINCE HARRY: Me and my brother have been through hell together. We've had a lot of shared experience, but we were on different paths.
FOSTER (on camera): You know, it's incredibly sad, isn't it, Erin, when you look at this from the perspective of the two brothers. Ultimately, it is a family breakdown, the queen said she wants it all resolved in private.
But it's difficult to see how that is possible when the carry on with their public roles. They are just public figures, they're part of the monarchy, at least William is, and Charles and the Queen. And Brits frankly feel they have a stake in it, they have a right to know what's going on.
BURNETT: Yeah, it is quite tragic. Thank you very much, Max.
And next, we are moments away from President Biden's first primetime address. One he has been, personally, editing line by line.
BURNETT: Breaking news, you are looking at live pictures of the East Room of the White House. We are going to show you, in just a moment, because that is where President Biden will give his first primetime address to the nation. We are learning more about what he will address from inside of the White House, as I said, in about 10 minutes time.
He is expected to reflect on the past year, and lay out the next steps in the pandemic, including his order to every state making vaccines available to adults by May 1st.
OUTFRONT now, Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH", and Dana Bash, our chief anchor and political correspondent back with me as well.
You know, we are all learning tonight, let me start with this, Michael, first. What does it say that Biden is elevating so many issues, on such an important night? He is also going to talk about the recent violence against Asian Americans, which is come on the heels, obviously, of the president just the other day calling it a former president the China virus.
And President Biden is going to put it in a 20 minute speech tonight, that issue of violence against Asian Americans.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, it's a little unusual, we will have to wait and see what he actually says, but it seems like we're about to get the sales pitch after he has already close the deal. Which for me, raises a question of, who is the intended audience tonight? What is the real purpose?
My hunch is he wants to do two things. One, to keep his foot on the gas, and ensure people get vaccinated, and secondly, to build some momentum. Obviously, he can get this done with the benefit of reconciliation. Something he will not have the advantage of doing next time. I'm sure he would like the wind at his sails so he can continue on with this further legislative agenda.
BURNETT: Yeah. So, to the point that Michael was making, let me just ask you about one specific thing he just said. That is, 20 minute speech, talking, really, at the beginning of a blitz. He's going to go across the country to sell the COVID relief bill.
The COVID relief bill is very popular, and has already passed. This is not the time for selling the COVID relief bill. So, what is the goal here, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's a couple of things. One is, as Michael said, it is selling the notion of get your vaccine, and, at the same time, until we really feel were out of the woods, according to the science, you know, don't take your foot off the gas when it comes to all of the mitigation efforts of people are supposed to, still, be taking.
But, also, here is the reality. The reality is, as Michael said, this COVID bill passed through reconciliation, meaning it was filibuster proof, and only Democrats voted for it, so we are already seeing the Republicans try to chip away at public support of this. So, what you will see, and hear from President Biden, from everyone else on his team who is going to fan out across the country is that this is what we did for you. This is what you can get. You can get a child tax credit, you can have more unemployment benefits, you can have more help with the ACA benefits you have, and on, and on, and on.
And so, it is now -- it's a war against the virus, its education, and it's also messaging war against Republicans who are trying to take away the credit that Biden is trying to get for this.
BURNETT: Michael, what does it say to you? The president's office they put a lot of time on this, it's going to be a 20 minute speech, so not exceedingly long, but 20 minutes has people's attention span. He is literally been line editing every single line. There is a lot going into this. There is a lot he is trying to accomplish in 20 minutes.
SMERCONISH: Well, I think it's also a victory lap, of sorts, and he is entitled to it. I think maybe the headline, tomorrow, will be the idea that everyone is able to get a shot by may 1st. I can tell you, as a resident of those infamous Philly burbs, we feel quite shortchanged. We take a look at Alaska, saying if you are 16 and older, come and get it. We look at Georgia, Texas, now saying that everyone can come if they are of a certain age, or that pocket in Arizona where every adult is able to get it.
And the patchwork of rollout, I think, irks some people who have not yet had that access.
BURNETT: That's a good point, and exceedingly good point.
So, Dana, you know, in this poll, and I mention it to Ron Klain earlier in the show, 77 percent of Americans think the worst of the pandemic is behind us, 42 percent think the economy is stabilized, 25 percent think it's already begun to recover. They are accurate, because it has.
The question is, how much does it do so? But it has, right? The unemployment rate has been cut in half, savings of search, network of Americans were up 6 percent.
But how much does the president make of this moment? Because really, when you add on top of that checks, he could be about to ride, at least for a while, stunning economic surge.
BASH: Right. And the question is whether it's an economic sugar high, or whether or not it is a shot in the arm, financially, economically, that this country needs.
I mean, obviously, the Biden administration argues that it is the latter, and it is absolutely what is needed, and they have economists, even those that you will know, Erin, some who worked for president Trump, who agree with them on that.
But again, back to the messaging, you already here with Mitch McConnell say that if things get better, it was because it was already happening, not because of the bill.
BURNETT: All right. Michael, Dana, thank you both very much.
And President Biden's speech is about to begin in a few minutes. We're going to bring that to you live, as our coverage continues now with "AC360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": And good evening. In just a few moments, President Biden gives his first primetime address the nation. He is expected to call on stage to make COVID vaccinations available to all adults by the 1st of May. His remarks, coming at the end of the momentous, and hopeful day, precisely one year, almost to the minute, from the day or will change completely.
A year ago, tonight, the NBA's Oklahoma Thunder about to take on the Utah Jazz when the game was called off. A player had tested positive for COVID. Moments later, Tom Hanks, and his wife, Rita Wilson, announced that they were ill with the virus.
And nearly the same time, the former president announced a travel ban from Europe promising, quote, the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a form virus in modern history. By that point, a year ago, about 1,100 Americans have tested positive for COVID, and 33 had died. Earlier that day, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic, testifying before Congress, that same day, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked, is the worst yet to come? Yes, he replied, it is.
And it was. Nearly 30 million more cases, more than half 1 million lost lives in this country, and millions of lost jobs. Now, with new federal relief checks on the way, 3 vaccines on the market, but deaths still averaging 1,400 a day, President Biden is to address the nation tonight.
And as we wait, let's check in quickly with CNN senior White House correspondent, Phil Mattingly.
It sounds like President Biden is about to make some very big announcements here, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, no question about it. Look, these remarks are set to try and match the moment that the country is in. Obviously cognizant that Americans are more optimistic that the end of the pandemic is coming, than at any point over the course of the last year. Also trying to thread the needle with the reality that there is still 1,500 Americans, or more, dying per day.
And how are you going to see the president address this is really kind of walk through what's coming next, with two crucial deadlines. As you noted, by May 1st, the president is going to direct every single state, and must allow every enjoyable adult to be vaccinated. That is, obviously, a key time when the administration is laying down.
Then July 4th is the second. Administration officials previewing the speech, making clear that the president will know, based on what the administration put in place between the surge, and vaccine development, between the infrastructure put in place to deploy the vaccine, between the effort to expand the number of vaccinators, a number of military service members, to work through this process. All of that will allow the country to get back to something close to normal.
By July 4th, if Americans keep doing what they are supposed to do. That will be the key tonight. The federal government trying to do its job, Americas aid to the same, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, we'll check in with you after the president speaks, which we expect to be about two minutes past the hour. That is about 5 minutes from now.
There is new polling, just now, going into it. CNN chief national correspondent John King is at the magic wall.
John, what does it show?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's quite remarkable. It shows the opportunity the president has tonight, but shows the challenge in this very polarized, already political, environment, as day 51 of the Biden presidency.
Here's the big headline as the president addresses the country tonight in the pandemic, started one year ago, Americans are in such a much more optimistic move, 77 percent of Americans think the worst is behind us, and leaders out of the COVID pandemic. Only 19 percent think the worst is yet to come, this is attributable to the Biden presidency.
Look, this number, 77 percent, think the worst is behind, us up more than 25 points and January. During the first 50 days the Biden presidency, vaccine rollout, Americans feeling more optimistic. As we know Anderson, 61 percent support the relief package you talk about tonight.
Some of the provisions get as high as 80 percent or more support, mike tax credits for families, yet the policy support, we are at Biden's name to the polling, you see the polarization that is American politics. You can see there is no honeymoon, even on just day 51.
Do you have a lot of confidence in Biden's ability to lead us out of the pandemic, 82 percent of Democrats say, but only 35 percent of independents, and only 6 percent of Republicans? So, the policies on sharp ground, Anderson, but the president, he is in strong standing with Democrats. He is a huge sales challenge tonight with skeptical independents, and just opponents in the Republican Party.
COOPER: John King, thanks very much. We'll see you again shortly.
Very quickly, before we hear from the president, let's bring in our political and medical team. CNN political commentator, former special advisor to President Obama, Van Jones, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and CNN contributor, Evan Osnos, author of "Joe Biden: The Life, The Run and What Matters Now."
Sanjay, is this May 1st deadline that Biden is set on vaccines, is it realistic?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think from a number standpoint, is just getting the number of vaccines out there.