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New Day

Interview with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 07, 2021 - 08:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Some healthcare workers have been thrust into the unenviable position of deciding who gets a bed and who does not. In an op-ed for "The Washington Post" one writer addresses that problem by asking do the unvaccinated deserve scarce ICU beds? Joining us now, the author of that op-ed, Nancy Gibbs. She's a professor of press, politics, and policy at Harvard's Kennedy School, also editor at large at "Time" magazine. Nancy, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Reading your op-ed here, you note that because of patients' prognosis is part of the equation for triage decisions in effect, and vaccination reduces the chances of severe infection, that this can -- this is a reasonable question to ask. And I wonder how you defend that point.

NANCY GIBBS, EDWARD R. MURROW PROFESSOR OF PRESS, POLITICS, AND POLICY, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: So this was raised by a group of doctors in Texas, one of the states that is seeing very heavy use of their ICU beds, about the role the vaccination should play. And it shouldn't be ever the only factor, but it should be one factor because we know that if you're unvaccinated, the chance of severe infection and death is higher, that that is one of the ingredients in making triage decisions.

But even when they published this idea of maybe considering vaccination status as one of the factors, there was a lot of blowback including from other doctors and caregivers about what it would do to the doctor--patient relationship if you started having -- asking patients as they come to the hospital to give them your status as a reason to treat them or not.

SCIUTTO: Fair enough. Listen, the data is clear. Vaccination saves lives, keeps you out of those hospital beds. But the fact is in health care, for instance, we know that smoking leads to lung cancer, right, or greatly increases your risk, but you don't have doctors saying we're not going to give you lung cancer treatment, right, because you're a smoker. That's the worry here, right, is how that applies more broadly to health care decisions.

GIBBS: Doctors and caregivers treat all kinds of avoidable conditions. We don't deny care to people who don't evacuate from a hurricane and end up needing hospital care.

The difference here, one, the concept of scarcity, that critical surgeries are being delayed. You had an Army veteran who died waiting for an ICU bed. And the other context is the sense that this is so avoidable because the vaccines are available and that these are choices people are making. The problem with that is there are a lot of reasons why people are unvaccinated, and the way this debate, which is a very angry debate over access to scarce beds, is it is all people for political reasons defiantly ignoring science and refusing vaccination. That is only one category of the unvaccinated. And so this is the problem of how are you going to decide which type of unvaccinated person you would disqualify from a hospital bed.

SCIUTTO: And I know it's personal to you because you had cancer surgery yourself, and I imagine what if you were not able to get that surgery because a bed filled by someone who wasn't vaccinated. Nancy, it's an important debate. Thanks so much for joining us.

GIBBS: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And NEW DAY continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Tuesday, September 7th. I'm Brianna Keilar with Jim Sciutto here this morning in for John Berman.

And America is bracing for a critical few months here in the fight against the pandemic and the battle on Capitol Hill over bills that could forever change the country. This morning the Biden administration is gearing up for a series of challenges that could shape the outcome of next year's congressional elections. The president's legacy on the line here. It has been a challenging summer to say the least for the White House, with the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, infighting within the Democratic Party, and a series of natural disasters.

SCIUTTO: Well, in a matter of hours, in the midst of all that, President Biden leaves the White House to tour the damage in New York and New Jersey after the remnants, powerful remnants of hurricane Ida brought just historic, catastrophic flooding that killed at least 52 people. People drowning in their cars, in their homes. Also today, children across the country back in school at a time when the seven- day average of new coronavirus infections is more than 300 percent higher than Labor Day of last year, right in the middle of it.

Let's bring in CNN's Brynn Gingras.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, there are schools across the country, like you said, with kids already in class, and then others like New York City set to begin in the coming week. The goal, of course, to get as many kids back in the classroom as possible while keeping COVID cases down as the Delta variant surges.

Health experts advising stick to the science. Put in mask mandates, protective mitigation efforts. That coupled with how the community mitigates the virus spread will affect the number of outbreaks we see in schools according to those health experts, which gets me to the next thing we'll be looking for in the coming months, when kids under 12 will be able to get the vaccine. [08:05:01]

Trial data is still being gathered. Once that's done it will be submitted to the FDA. And Pfizer thinks it will be able to hand in its information by September, and then file for emergency use authorization by October according to a doctor who sits on the Pfizer's board.

Dr. Fauci says, in the meantime, the best way to keep those who can't get vaccinated safe, surround them with people who are vaccinated. And this fall we'll also keep an eye on the hospitals and how the booster shot will impact COVID cases. Dr. Fauci told CNN Pfizer has submitted information to the FDA and the booster rollout is coming soon. He told you, Jim, September 20th is their hope for Pfizer and the Moderna a couple weeks after. Also keep on your calendar September 17th when Israel's health officials will brief the FDA about the efficacy of the third dose. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Dr. Fauci also saying he believes three doses will become the norm for vaccination. Brynn Gingras, thanks very much.

So what is on President Biden's agenda for this fall? Let's bring in CNN political analyst Natasha Alford. Natasha, we did just learn that President Biden wants to make a big speech on the next phase of the COVID response tomorrow. That's certainly an enormous focus of this administration. They know that the president's approval rating is riding a lot on how well they handle the pandemic going forward. What else is on the agenda in the coming weeks?

NATASHA ALFORD, VP, DIGITAL CONTENT AND SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, THEGRIO: Yes. Well, Jim, COVID-19 has to be a priority. So many of President Biden's voters came out believing that he was the one who could bring a sense of normalcy. He could restore sanity to Washington and to the nation. And so he's in a difficult situation because he's still begging people to do what he's been asking for all year, which is to get vaccinated. And he's still battling conspiracy theories. He's still battling distrust from the public. We saw that deadlines were missed over the summer in terms of vaccination goals.

And so people are honestly just tired at this moment. Fortunately, we have the FDA approval of the vaccine, one of the vaccines, which hopefully will support people going out and getting vaccinated. But right now, morale is just really low around this issue. And so when he gives this speech, he has to restore confidence and a sense that his administration actually has a hold on this thing, and we're not just at the mercy of coronavirus and we're letting it just control us.

SCIUTTO: People look at results, right, and they're impatient.

All right, there's a lot to watch on Capitol Hill. You've got the infrastructure, you've got the budget plan. But the filibuster question is very real here because certainly for the other priorities, including voting rights, that's a barrier. Here's what Senator Amy Klobuchar had to say about the path forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN): I believe we should abolish the filibuster. I do not believe an archaic rule should be used to allow us to put our heads in the sand, to use Justice Sotomayor's words, to put our heads in the sand and not take action on the important issues.


SCIUTTO: Abortion one of them, right. That's another one where you would need to breakthrough that. So listen, you do have more senators, certainly have the number you need to get through this. Is that becoming at least more real of a possibility, to break the filibuster?

ALFORD: Yes, I think the Texas abortion bill has really just pushed people to the edge, right. If voting rights wasn't enough to get support for ending the filibuster, or climate change or police reform, the fact women's actual bodies are on the line, these are women who can vote. Will that be enough?

And so I think Senator Klobuchar is pointing to the fact that people are tired, and they're tired of being told that nothing can be done because of the filibuster. So I think that you will find even more support for eliminating the filibuster. And we know that Speaker Pelosi has this build the women's health protection act which she wants to debate and she wants vote on. But again, the chances of it passing in the Senate are very slim unless you remove this filibuster. So I think it will continually come back to that question. And, again, you will see more support for that.

But going back to this question of what's on the agenda, I'm thinking of so many people who had to watch these horrific images on their television of people under water, the thought of people dying in basements. And so infrastructure more than ever actually has the evidence that it needs to show that this infrastructure bill is a matter of life or death, and hopefully can get the bipartisan support that it needs because this is about more than red and blue.

SCIUTTO: I think it is notable you saw even Republican senators seemingly aware, like a Bill Cassidy, after all this saying, they're still on board for the bipartisan infrastructure plan. Natasha Alford, thanks very much.

ALFORD: Thanks, Jim.


KEILAR: For more now on the battle set to play out with the Supreme Court, let's bring in CNN Analyst Joan Biskupic. Joan, tell us what you're watching here?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: It's so interest to see the intersection of what the Biden administration wants and what's happening with the Supreme Court. Usually in the summer there is an adage that says the justices need their summer recess because they want to have tempers cool before they come back in October. No temperatures went down this summer, especially when we just saw what happened on the Texas abortion, and even before that when the Supreme Court by a six to three ideological split vote rejected the Biden administration eviction moratorium and also his new asylum seekers plan.

So what I'll be watching for is how these last three liberals on the Supreme Court, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, hold on in any way and achieve anything because they are so in the down position. And we have a new chapter coming on abortion where they'll actually hear a major abortion case where they would set a rule on whether Roe v. Wade will survive throughout the country. Gun rights. And then, as everybody is wondering, will Justice Stephen Breyer leave.

And this all brings us back to one year ago this month when Ruth Bader Ginsburg suddenly died and Donald Trump got his third appointee on, which has made all the difference, Brianna, and now we have to see if there are any prospects for any kind of consensus on the left and the right. But what we've seen so far in the last couple days -- couple weeks of the summer makes it look pretty grim.

KEILAR: The shift has been so fast and so drastic, it's incredible.

BISKUPIC: I would not have thought it would come this fast. I thought that Justices Barrett and maybe, excuse me, Brett Kavanaugh to a lesser extent might have wanted to wait. But this has been a bombshell summer at the Supreme Court, and it's going to impact Americans across the country as well as the Biden administration and its new initiatives.

KEILAR: Joan, as always, thank you so much for your report.

With inflation on the rise and the Delta variant punishing businesses, this fall could really be make or break for the economic recovery. We have CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans here to tell us what to watch. Speaking of pivotal, this is a pivotal time.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It really is. Goldman Sachs, Brianna, this morning trimming its growth forecast for the U.S. economy again because of Delta and fading stimulus for consumers. It now sees 5.7 percent economic growth for this year -- 5.7 percent, that's still the strongest year since 1984. So important context there. The economy is booming, but the head winds are real. Big question this fall, can job creation pick up? The economy is still down 5.3 million jobs since the pandemic began. Only 235,000 jobs added back in August. At that pace, it would take almost two years from here to fully recover.

Meantime, there are 10 million job openings and about the same number of people who just lost their emergency jobless benefits. This fall will be critical to see if the unemployed can move into all those open jobs and whether the loss of that spending power from the jobless checks holds back consumer spending.

Meantime, hopes are fading for a fall of business travel and return to work. Companies have been cancelling in-person meetings and conferences. Airlines report growth in bookings has stalled. More companies are pushing return to the office until sometime next year. Another big question for consumers and policy makers, the big "I"

word, inflation. Is it transitory as the Fed has suggested, or is it something more dangerous? Now, the upside for Social Security recipients, they could see the biggest cost of living adjustment in 40 years. Think five to six percent in their checks, that COLA. But virtually everything costs more than last year -- gas, food, clothes, cars, the works. That's why you would see that cost of living adjustment.

Speaking of the Fed, Brianna, when will it slow the emergency bond buying that helped underpin the economy and the pandemic? The consensus is that slowing jobs growth I told you about and those COVID flare-ups will push that so-called taper to later this year. And also, the Biden agenda, critical to family finances. This aggressive Biden budget and also the Democrats' budget, and also his infrastructure plan on both hard infrastructure and human infrastructure. Whatever happens there will be critical for American families, Brianna.

KEILAR: And, look, we're so at the mercy of this virus. It just shows you with everything getting pushed off. Christine Romans, thank you so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SCIUTTO: Well, a whole heck of a lot is happening on the entertainment front as the Delta variant surges, means a lot of changes. Joining me now CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas. Chloe, what's on your radar this fall?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Hey, Jim. Listen, everybody is wondering, will people go back to movie theaters, because we've all, let's face it, gotten used to watching movies on demand, on streaming, from the comfort of our homes on our couches. "Jungle Cruise," so many movies this summer did really well.


But what we're seeing is domestic box office at the theater hasn't broken 100 million domestically, which in years past that's something that big family movies, that's what would happen. When it comes to "Minions", that's been pushed back, "Clifford the Big Red Dog".

So, we're kind of waiting to see, are families going to start going back to theaters? I myself took my kids to see "Paw Patrol" which was really fun to be back in the theaters the first time. We're waiting to see what's going to happen.

When it comes to Broadway, the Great White Way has reopened. Broadway is back. But there are a lot of changes. People who go to these theaters now have to wear masks. You have to be vaccinated.

There are no more intermissions and all those meet and greets and back stage moments you would have with the casts at these Broadway plays and musicals aren't happening any more.

You can see with Harry Potter, the five-hour show has been condensed to be shorter now.

Also, Jim, when it comes to the NFL, which is going to kickoff on Thursday with their games where you see with NBA and other sports events, many people are wondering what is going to happen with this delta variant.

When you see the NFL, it's not a blanket thing across the country. You have the New Orleans saints now that's requiring either a negative PCR or proof of a COVID vaccination, in order to attend, while other NFL teams are requiring masks.

So I think what you're seeing is just the whole thing runs the gamut, and it's going to be interesting to see what happens with COVID-19 over the next few weeks. Many of us want to get back to live music, going to Broadway, going to the movie theaters, going to see a football game in person. I know I do. But we're just going to all have to roll with it and see what happens.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, and often the regulations reflect the politics, right, locally, whether it's sports or entertainment.

Chloe Melas, thanks very much.

Chloe, thank you very much.

MELAS: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: President Biden set to visit parts of the country hit by Ida in the next several hours, as calls escalate for action on the climate crisis.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, California's recall race is just one week away. It is finally nearing us. Caitlyn Jenner joining me next on why she believes she can run the state despite her low poll numbers.

And jealousy is out of this world literally. Why the head of Russia's space program is blasting Russia's billionaires for buying yachts instead of rockets.



SCIUTTO: This morning, President Biden will leave the White House, travel to New Jersey and here in New York to survey the just devastating storm damage caused by the powerful remnants of Hurricane Ida as it worked its way north. President will first stop in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, where the state's death toll right now stands at 27. In all, at least 52 people have died in the Northeast from the storm. Just not something you normally see here.

Joining me now to discuss, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Governor, thanks for taking the time this morning.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: Thanks for having me, Jim. Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: So, tell us where we stand today, because yes, the storm has passed, but, boy, it left so much damage in its wake -- days, weeks, months, before the rebuilding is done?

MURPHY: I think sadly months more likely than weeks, and that's the message we've been giving to folks, that this is going to be a long road, but we're going to stand with them at every step of the way.

I'm incredibly gratified the president is coming in today. He signed a major disaster declaration for six of our counties, which is a huge step. We are desperately trying to add more counties to that list, but it's going to be a long road. There's no two ways about it.

SCIUTTO: What do you need to hear from the president today as he comes to visit you? Or what message do you want him to be telling to your constituents?

MURPHY: Well, he's been pitch perfect from moment one on this. He and I spoke the morning after. He signed an emergency declaration two nights ago, a major disaster declaration. I think the message has to be, number one, as he's been saying, we're going to be with you as you get back on your feet, as long as that journey may take. Both the state government and the federal government will be by your side.

And secondly, if ever -- if never before, the argument is overwhelmingly compelling for Congress to act on climate resiliency infrastructure, that we need desperately in our state as the most densely populated state in America, to prevent more of these storms from happening in the future. I know he will hit both of those points as will I.

SCIUTTO: This is an argument you heard from a number of politicians in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana as well.

I wonder, though, are there any relatively quick infrastructure fixes to address the dangers from climate change? I mean, this fits the models. It makes the storms more powerful, you drop a heck of a lot more rain in a shorter period of time. But what can be done in the near future to truly address that risk?

MURPHY: Yeah, no, that's very fair, Jim. And I think it depends -- I think it's steps both big and small. It depends what community you're in.

So, Hoboken's needs are different than Millburn's needs, for instance. But I think it's the small important steps, building back from waters, building up all the way to the bigger projects that divert storm water into either green spaces or into hard tanks and infrastructure or barriers or levees.


I think it's a combination. And I do think, you know, this is going to take time. So there are some steps that are in the so-called quick fix category, but a lot of this stuff is going to be investments that will payoff over decades.

SCIUTTO: One of the most alarming things from this storm, we're seeing people die in their cars, right? I mean, trying to get away, perhaps underestimating the risk.

But I wonder, is one of the lessons from this that warnings when something like this is approaching have to go out earlier and more urgently to avoid deaths like those?

MURPHY: Yeah, I'm not sure about earlier. We were screaming out all day on Wednesday. I had a press conference at 1:00. Our emergency offices, or functions were activated at noon at the state level and all counties. Tornado warnings and flash flood warnings both went out.

It's quite striking, by the way, that no one died from the tornadoes that hit in the southern part of the state.


MURPHY: Even with houses that were completely destroyed.

But we do have to look in the mirror on the flood warnings. I don't -- I'm open to any good ideas here. Should they be sharper? Should -- is it human nature that folks say, you know what, it's water, I can deal with it? And as you rightfully point out, we tragically lost many people in cars trying to beat the flood.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, maybe next time they'll take it more seriously. Governor Phil Murphy, we know you've got a lot of work to do. We wish you the best of luck.

MURPHY: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: As California Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election one week from today, Republican candidate Caitlyn Jenner will join us next on why she believes she deserves Newsom's job.

KEILAR: Plus, a missing 3-year-old boy found three days after disappearing in a forest in Australia. What police say was the key to his survival.