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New Day

CNN Poll Shows Americans Growing More Supportive of Vaccine Mandates; Trump Remains Outside Presidents Club in Life after Office; Justice Breyer Warns Against Adding Seats to Supreme Court. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired September 13, 2021 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Rodgers didn't look anything like a reigning league MVP that he is. The Saints' defense grabbed two interceptions from him, 38-3 blowout, handing Green Bay their worst opening day loss since 1970.

Let's go to the U.S. open final where Novak Djokovic denied the first calendar year grand slam in men's tennis since 1969, world number 2 Daniil Medvedev capturing his first career major in straight sets. Djokovic showing all the emotions in this one, John, frustration, smashing a racket in the second set and then in the third, he's burying his face in his towel, tears are flowing as the crowd encouraged him when they realized it was evident that he wasn't going to be able to pull off this incredible feat.

John, afterwards, Djokovic said this was past five to six months really impactful and felt relief that it was over yet sad that he lost, thankful for the crowd who encouraged him along the way.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: He got beat. I mean, this ended up not being a Djokovic story. It ended up being a Medvedev story who, was phenomenal and just won, just absolutely mauled Djokovic right there.

WIRE: Yes. The 25-year-old looked sharp. But incredible year nonetheless for Djokovic, who was so close to making history and capturing that 21st major title and separating himself from Nadal and Federer.

BERMAN: Coy Wire, thank you very much.

Coming up on New Day, we will speak with Daniil Medvedev about his big win. And New Day continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: I'm Brianna Keilar alongside John Berman on this New Day.

New evidence that shows vaccine mandates are working as more Americans support them at work and school.

BERMAN: George W. Bush exasperated with the vision in the United States. He likens January 6th rioters to the 9/11 terrorists.

KEILAR: Plus, Donald Trump once again finding himself outside the exclusive presidents club.

BERMAN: And Justice Amy Coney Barrett defending the Supreme Court, saying they aren't a bunch of partisan hacks, this as Justice Stephen Breyer issues a warning to Democrats.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world, it is Monday, September 13th.

And a growing number of Americans support vaccine mandates at work and in schools. This is according to a new poll just out from CNN. More than half of Americans, 54 percent, now say they support requiring vaccinations for returning to the workplace. 55 percent support it for both students attending in-person classes and people attending sporting events or concerts. That is an increase notably from April.

Meanwhile, there is still a stark division along party lines. 75 percent of Democrats say it's acceptable to mandate vaccines for everyday activities while only 24 percent of Republicans feel the same. The overwhelming majority, 86 percent of Americans also think that the pandemic is not over and nearly two-thirds say that economic recovery has not yet begun.

BERMAN: President Biden just announced a series of new vaccination requirements, including a mandate for testing or vaccinations for any company with more than 100 people. The surgeon general tells CNN that this will benefit businesses and improve public health, but Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson argues that the requirements could backfire.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): The problem is that I'm trying to overcome resistance but the president's actions in a mandate hardens the resistance.


BERMAN: Here is the thing, they haven't backfired for businesses that have already started using them.

CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans here with some facts. Romans?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, good morning, guys. It's a tricky situation for companies. They need vaccinated employees to get back to normal. At the same time, they need to keep their employees, there are record 10.9 million open jobs in the U.S. right now, but we are learning what works. Some companies are mandating vaccinations. Some are requiring routine testing for the unvaccinated. Others are passing the cost of being unvaccinated on to their workers.

That's what Delta Airlines did. At the end of August, they'd announced $200 a month surcharge for health insurance for unvaccinated workers. Since then, the vaccination rate improved nearly 4,000 workers, one- fifth of vaccine hesitant employees there got the shot, John. We've seen similar results in federal agencies. Since the Pentagon required shot for active duty military last months, the percentage of vaccinated service members rose to 83 percent from 76 percent.

Now, overall, Corporate America welcomed the Biden administration's vaccine push with questions about the details. The group representing big consumer brands, like Coca-Cola and Kellogg and Campbell Soup, it wants immediate clarity, it says, on how its members are supposed to enforce all these new rules.

But the White House essentially giving the green light to what companies have already been doing.


America's largest employers have been encouraging vaccinations, offering days off and bonuses and then requiring testing for the unvaccinated. Some 80 million private sector workers will now have to be vaccinated or face that routine testing where vaccinations are truly mandatory, federal employees and federal contractors and healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding. For them, it is truly mandatory, John.

BERMAN: It is interesting to see how the numbers have gone up, not giant leaps but statistically significant rises, the likes of which represents or could represents millions and millions of people.

ROMANS: That's true. As the companies have started to lead on this and push for these vaccinations, the public is following, right? And we know, we know from surveys and we know from all kinds of interviews and anecdotal evidence the people at work want to know the people next to them are vaccinated as well.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, I feel better knowing you're vaccinated. Thank you very much.

KEILAR: Now, over the weekend, former Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Biden marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 at a number of somber remembrance ceremonies. One notable exception was Donald Trump, who skipped the official events and made a surprise visits to several locations, including a New York City police precinct, where he continued to push his baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Trump then provided commentary at a boxing match in Florida.

Joining us now to discuss is Kasie Hunt, CNN Anchor and Chief National Affairs Analyst and co-author of the book, The Presidents Club, Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity, and Time Editor-at-Large Nancy Gibbs also with us.

Nancy, it's just another example here of Trump outside of this exclusive president's club.

NANCY GIBBS, CO-AUTHOR, THE PRESIDENTS CLUB, INSDE THE WORLD'S EXCLUSIVE FRATERNITY: And this is where he's placed himself from the beginning, really being alienated from the institutional presidency, as you can imagine, from the day he came down the escalator. But it was especially stark this weekend when you saw the other presidents doing the unique and deliberate duties of former presidents to unite the country, to call us to our highest values. And of all the things he could have chosen to do, to choose to do commentary on a fight was beyond metaphor in capturing the attitude that he has brought to his relationship to the office and to the people who preceded him in it.

BERMAN: Look, the truth of the matter is that Donald Trump has run against the presidents club in many ways for his entire political career. So this is something that he embraces. However, this was September 11th, right? This was the 20th anniversary of September 11th, a time when the country, you could argue, Nancy, needs something different.

GIBBS: Oh, very much so. And it's a fascinating calculation that he makes that the currency of outrage has served him extremely well politically and very few things you can imagine would outrage his critics more than showing disrespect on a day like this that calculation is that it would not also alienate independent voters, Republican voters who view this as something of a sacred day in the country's history and bringing back in a kind of really poignant way how much has changed for people individually and institutionally in those 20 years and to what extent President Trump bears some responsibility for the kind of division that President Bush was addressing in his remarks in Shanksville.

KEILAR: It's not unusual, Kasie, for Trump to kind of grind his axe on sacred ground. We saw that at the very beginning of his presidency, right, when he went to the CIA, stood in front of those stars that are hallowed ground and he got political. But this is New York. I mean, he's a New Yorker.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, it's stunning but obviously I think we're all out of energy to be stunned yet again. I mean, I would take it further back to when he denigrated John McCain's service and time as a POW, the first thing basically out of his mouth on the campaign trail when he first started running for president.

And I think when you contrast and think about the difference between what we heard from former President Trump and from former George W. Bush yesterday also throughout the course of their presidencies, Donald Trump was the first person to actually engage in these divisions and ultimately win as opposed to think about how John McCain, when he was campaigning, handled divisive moments, like the time when someone stood up and questioned President Obama's patriotism, and McCain said, absolutely not. That's not what's going on here.

I think that the anniversary, the very somber anniversary that I think hit a lot of us harder this year than it had maybe in years past, in many ways, it was almost refreshing to have him be shunted to the side, not center stage.


And it kind of underscored to us that we are all actually still in this together even though it's hard to remember that sometimes. BERMAN: Let's actually play what George W. Bush said in Shanksville, because in some ways, it was as if he anticipated the divisiveness that the former President Donald Trump was displaying on this day. Listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within. There's little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But then there's disdain for pluralism in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols. They are children of the same foul spirit and it is our continuing duty to confront them.


BERMAN: Kasie, children of the same foul spirit is a striking line from George W. Bush, even more striking is the fact that he knows that September 11th, this speech in Shanksville, its 20th anniversary, this is the biggest platform George W. Bush will have for the year, maybe for several years. To choose to deliver that line on this day to me was really interesting.

HUNT: Well, it was very striking, especially because former President Bush has been very careful about choosing the places, spots and ways that he steps back into public life. He was very careful to be respectful of President Obama when Obama was in office. And he was not terribly vocal during the Trump administration necessarily. There were a few moments that he chose to say sort of cryptic things in a way. But he was -- tried to really rise above it all.

And here, in this case, it's clear he felt like he needed to send a moral message. And it underscores, frankly, what our intelligence and terrorism organizations are telling us here in this country, which is that this is, in fact, now the greatest terrorist threat that we face white supremacists domestic terrorism here at home, not attacks from abroad.

But it also, I think, lifted people up in an emotional way also. You didn't show the line where he was talking about the people who were on Flight 93 that crashed there where he was giving that speech, where he said that those terrorists that day discovered that any random group of Americans is an extraordinary group of people.

And I have to say, I thought back to that obviously so emotional, the messages that were being left, but this idea that everyone on that plane felt like they were in it together. And you juxtapose that against what we're experiencing right now in the skies, where the people are arguing over mask mandates and being nasty to flight attendants and nobody can seem to get along.

And it just made me realize and underscore again for me how important it is to try and find those places where we can connect because in these big moments, like what happened to the people on that plane on September 11th, they were in the middle of something like that. And it's such a different way of leading, the way that George W. Bush spoke in Shanksville than what we experienced over the course of the last -- the previous four -- I should say the last four years under the former president Donald Trump.

KEILAR: And I also -- one of the things that stands out here is that that plane, Flight 93, was very likely headed for the Capitol or maybe the White House. It seems also more logical that it would be the Capitol. That really is the face of American democracy, and so he's there at this hallowed ground where people came together to stop very likely this attack on the Capitol, which is where January 6th happened. He's got a message connecting these two things.

I wonder, Kasie, I always think what it was like to be on the Capitol on 9/11 or what it was like to be Capitol on January 6th, as you were. You were in the Capitol complex. There's this connection between these two places.

HUNT: Well, one thing I will say being in the Capitol on the 6th, we did feel a connection to each other, those of us who were in the building. And at the time, there were Republicans, Democrats, both of those chambers were full. And on that day, people came together to try and stop the attack. But what happened in the aftermath was the opposite. We have the congressman who was literally helping members of the security forces with guns barricade those people outside the doors, you know, later going on television and saying oh, this was just a normal tourist visit.

And I think that's what we really need to focus in on here is that the moments that connect us as humans very quickly disintegrate in the face of disinformation, misinformation, the political division that comes from outside and elsewhere.


And I think for me, as I've lived through that both as a journalist covering it but also as a person who was there and whose workplace was attacked, that's been the most difficult piece of all of this.

And some of this started around 9/11, the 9/11 truther movement and all these conspiracies and questions about it, and it's just been accelerated by what we now see online. I mean, I think a lot of us were reading social media over the weekend and thinking, thank God, we didn't have this on September 11th because God knows how we all would have dealt with it.

So, yes, I think the threads are very much tied together from that terrible day on September 11th of 2001 and what happened on January 6th.

KEILAR: Kasie, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Nancy, I really appreciate it.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett responding to critics who say that the Supreme Court has become too political. You'll want to hear her new remarks ahead. BERMAN: Plus, Justice Breyer's warning for Democrats.

And brand new details about how Melania Trump responded as rioters stormed the Capitol.



KEILAR: Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer is pouring cold water on an idea that progressives have been batting around, to add more justices to the highest court in the land.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: What do you think of the idea of increasing the number of justices on the court?

JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER, SUPREME COURT: One party can do it, I guess another party can do it. And the more -- it's fairly surface, on the surface it seems to me you start changing all these things around and people will lose trust in the court.


KEILAR: Let's discuss this with CNN Chief Legal Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin and Constitutional Law Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Gloria Browne-Marshall. She is also the author of the Voting Rights War, the NAACP and the Ongoing Fight for Justice.

Gloria, what do you think? Do you agree with Justice Breyer?

GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well, of the three branches, the U.S. Supreme Court is the one that has the highest level of trust among the Americans and it is matter of trust. His first book, I believe, also spoke of Alexander Hamilton and his recent book as well and the fact that Alexander Hamilton in this issue of trust is one that goes very deep.

And so, I would look at Justice Breyer as someone who is saying he can't make a political move, like retiring if it's going to be based on the fact that a president wants to put someone else in office that would make the Supreme Court look as political as the other two branches and it would undermine the trust he believes that has to be there in order for people to accept the decisions of the court.

As they used to say, what army is going to make people actually decide that they're going to accept the decisions of this U.S. Supreme Court? And it's about trust. If the people don't trust the court, if they think that the justices are there to decide cases based on individuals whose ever is in the White House, then people won't trust the court and it would undermine any decision they make.

KEILAR: Do you agree with that, Jeffrey? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, just in terms of the number of justices, I think most people don't realize that the number of justices is not set in the Constitution. It's actually set by a statute. There's a law that Congress tomorrow could change the number of justices on the court. Franklin Roosevelt tried to do it when the new deal was being thwarted in the Supreme Court. He lost that effort. And I think, historically, he's been judged harshly for that effort.

I think the most important thing to note about the idea of increasing the number of justices is there is no way there is enough political support in the Congress for this now. So, it's really sort of a moot question. It is indicative of the frustration Democrats feel with this now lopsided conservative majority on the Supreme Court. But the real issue is Justice Breyer going to step down, not whether they're going to increase the number of justices. One is a realistic question. The other is highly theoretical at this point.

KEILAR: What did you make, Jeff, of him dancing around retiring, this possibility of retiring?

TOOBIN: Well, it's interesting is that he has softened in the course of these interviews with his -- in promoting his book. He is coming to acknowledge the universal criticism of him among his allies pretending somehow that if he were to leave, that would make the court look political. I mean, look, the fact is justices have timed their resignations for whether a president is simpatico to them for generations. I mean, this is just how it works.

Liberals, as much as they love Ruth Bader Ginsberg, remain frustrated, even angry about the fact that she stayed on the court so long and allowed Donald Trump to pick her successor. I think he is coming to recognize that his reputation will be damaged with the people he cares about the most if he stays on the court until Tom Cotton or Donald Trump or another Republican is president.

KEILAR: Gloria, I want to ask you about something that we heard overnight from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed by Donald Trump. She defended the court. She said, quote, my goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks. Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties.

She also talked a little bit about how, you know, she goes with the law. She may not always like the outcome of a decision but she has to go with the law, not sort of think about the end point, if you will.


What did you make of her comments?

BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, justices are human beings. And, unfortunately, Donald Trump politicized her vetting process and, of course, the Republicans in the Senate did so as well. She was selected because she was conservative, because she was a fundamentalist. So they are expecting her to take those ideals into those rooms when she is making those decisions and especially when it comes to social justice issues. So, I think it's somewhat disingenuous she went along with the politicized process and now she doesn't want to be painted with that brush. As Jeffrey pointed out, this has also been partially politicized. No, we're not going to expand the court and this commission that Biden has put together, even that is political to look at court packing that's going to come back with this decision in November.

So, Amy Coney Barrett is a part of the political process. She's been painted with that brush as well as the other two justices who are on the court right now who went through that same type of politicized vetting process. And it's going to be something that's going to taint her the whole time that she's on the court.

KEILAR: You don't think comments like that help, Jeffrey? What do you think?

TOOBIN: Well, I would draw a slight distinction with what Justice Barrett said. I don't think they're partisan hacks. I think that they are people of integrity. However, I do think that judicial philosophies match up very well with political inclinations. You can tell the difference between justices appointed by Democrats and justices appointed by Republicans, especially now on the Supreme Court. It's not a 100 percent alignment, but it's awfully close.

And I don't criticize the justices for that. I mean, the fact is interpreting the Constitution is a political act. But to pretend that they are somehow completely divorced from politics, as Justice Barrett appeared to be saying, I think that doesn't align with reality.

KEILAR: Maybe not political hacks, maybe just political, right?

TOOBIN: There you go. There you go.

KEILAR: Jeffrey and Gloria Browne-Marshall, thank you so much both of you for joining us this morning.

TOOBIN: Thank you, your honor.


KEILAR: Up next, the incredible catch, I know you saw this, off the field at the Miami game. Man, we're going to talk to one of the fans who caught that falling feline.

BERMAN: Cats falling out of the sky at a football game, it happens all the time.

A new CNN reporting on how House Democrats want to pay for the $3.5 trillion budget plan. House Democrats