Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Book: Biden Overruled Top Advisers on Afghanistan Withdrawal; GOP Officials Go "Doctor Shopping" for COVID-19 Deniers; Focus on Gabby Petito Is "Missing White Women Syndrome"; ESPN to Debut First All-Women Baseball Broadcast. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 22, 2021 - 07:30   ET




ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": In our book, you see Biden coming through as someone who has the relationships with Speaker Pelosi, with Leader Schumer. So when they need to start moving on reconciliation, cutting a deal quickly, he has those relationships that go back years.

It's almost like speaking a different language, the language of power behind the scenes. He doesn't have to learn it. He knows it and he speaks it fluently.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He has meetings with both of them today.

I want to end if I can where we began, with "Peril," remains, which is where you end in the book here. I'm dying to know very quickly, your gut feeling here.

Donald Trump, as you say, is, at this moment the Republican front- runner for nomination for president. The insurrection didn't happen because a few people in the system were willing to stand up to Donald Trump. Brad Raffensperger, Mike Pence, others said, no, no, no.

Is it your opinion there are those people who could stop him again or they would be willing to?

BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We'll see. What we discovered in working on this book is, there is surprise always when you deal with people who are dealing with Donald Trump.

Some things may work. Some things may not. Bob is right; within the Republican Party, it's, oh, Trump wants this, Trump supports this candidate. And there's a lot of saluting going on. And are people -- we will see. There are always surprises.

We found the big surprise in this was General Milley, who is the one who said, wait a minute, we're going to not have a war with China. We're not going to have Trump go off the rails and do -- launch some sort of military operation, even the use of nuclear weapons. And he took action. You know --


COSTA: There is this moment. While we were working on this book, I had two words sitting in front of my computer screen every day, assume nothing. As we move forward as reporters, we can't assume anything.

And we've got to take it very seriously and not avert our eyes from what happened. This is history unfolding right now. We need to report it out, take it seriously, not just assume, whether it's president Trump or anyone else, won't run again or can't win or this can't happen.

Things happen. In "Peril," we all knew it was a domestic crisis, but it was national security emergency. Who's to say --


WOODWARD: Suppose we had -- Milley's concern about a war with China. And there was important intelligence, telling Milley that the Chinese thought we were going to attack them. That is the worst moment. That --

COSTA: Miscommunication can be the seed of war.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yes. And that's really the question.

Do we get to that point as a country again?

And you guys raised some very important questions in your book. We want to thank you so much for coming in to discuss "Peril" with us. Bob and Bob, thank you.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

KEILAR: Up next, Florida's governor just named a new top doctor. But wait until you hear what he says about COVID vaccines.

BERMAN: And a progressive lawmaker daring now Nancy Pelosi to call her bluff. She joins us live.

Another first pitch -- oh, my God. Dear Lord. All right. Sorry. I've got to get a drink of water there.


BERMAN: Bob Woodward now has the subject for his next book.

KEILAR: Oh, man.

BERMAN: All right. Stick around.






KEILAR: So what do you do when you're a Republican governor blocking vaccine mandates, saying COVID is no big deal, but all the science and all the doctors say you're wrong?

Well, you go out and find a doctor who will say you're right. John Avlon went doctor shopping for today's "Reality Check."


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Doctor shopping is usually a problem associated with drug addicts who go from doctor to doctor, trying to get the prescription they want rather than the treatment they need.

But hyperpartisanship is a hell of a drug. It can make people politicize a pandemic and cause right wing governors to hunt high and low for an anti mask, anti vax mandate state surgeon general.

You might remember that Florida's Ron DeSantis went doctor shopping for Trump White House radiologist Scott Atlas before reopening the Sunshine State, blocking local mask mandates and fighting them in court.

It's this kind of governing that has contributed to nearly 52,000 Floridian deaths from COVID, which is creeping toward the total number of U.S. deaths in the Vietnam War in one-sixth the time.

The 43-year-old Ivy League populist with a 47 percent approval rating isn't going to let numbers like that stop him from playing to the base. So he just appointed Dr. Joseph Ladapo to serve as his new surgeon general.

Why is someone from out of state in such a big position?

Well, it might be because Dr. Ladapo said the risks of COVID-19 vaccine may outweigh the benefits for certain low-risk populations. This is classic anti-vax rhetoric. As the CDC says, these vaccines have undergone the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.

But, hey, what does the hell does the CDC know, am I right?


AVLON: But Ron DeSantis isn't the only skeptic. Idaho has run out of hospital beds in most places and is now rationing care. This week they nominated a doctor who called COVID vaccines fake to serve on a central district health board. He got the job because a former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians was kicked off for the sin of supporting pandemic restrictions.

Some people with scientific bias thought an epidemiologist endorsed by the Idaho Medical Association would make a logical replacement. But Republican county commissioners decided to go in a different direction.

They nominated a doctor whose primary qualification seems to be the claim that vaccines, like those for COVID, cause diseases. But this is all evidence of another kind of sickness which also popped up in Horry County, South Carolina.

The local GOP seemed to endorse a prescription for horse dewormer to combat COVID-19. Tom Rice, a Republican, didn't pull any punches.

"That the leaders of the Horry County Republican Party believe it is appropriate to advocate for medical treatment for any illness is simply insane, especially in the middle of a plague. In opposition to the guidance for the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and 95 percent of the physicians in the country."

We could use more conservative congressman with the cojones to stand up for the craziness infecting his party. That's why it's good to see Rice isn't backing down from a primary challenge designed to punish him for telling the truth.

Let's be honest, the truth is what's being debated here, from the reality of COVID to the reality of election results. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But they are not entitled to their own facts.

Here's the key fact to keep in mind. The United States just passed the number of deaths we suffered during the 1918 influenza epidemic, before we even had basic medical advances like penicillin. This is officially America's deadliest pandemic.

And with vaccines readily available, it is now a largely self- inflicted tragedy, driven by disinformation and politicians who don't seem to care how many people their policies kill. And that's your reality check.


KEILAR: You know, John Avlon, it seems like good politics would be keeping your voters alive so that they could vote for you maybe. Just a thought.

Up next, does race play a role in all the attention given to the Gabby Petito case?

BERMAN: And breaking this morning, former president Trump now suing a member of his own family.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BERMAN: The national focus on the story of Gabby Petito, whose

remains were identified yesterday in Wyoming, has generated a parallel conversation about how much attention is given to white women who go missing versus the amount of attention and resources given to women of color.

According to the FBI, there were nearly 55,000 adults who went missing last year where the person was believed to be in danger or had gone missing voluntarily. More than 15,000 were Black, more than 34,000 white, which includes Latinos.

Are these numbers reflected in all the coverage or national attention?

Joining us now, journalist and host of the podcast, "Run Tell This," Mara Schiavocampo.

Thanks so much for being here.


BERMAN: This story is interesting and raises all kinds of questions. There are things that need to be investigated and discovered there. This isn't saying that story is not important. But:

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, thank you for starting that way. This isn't saying Gabby is not important. It's saying there is an overrepresentation in media when white women go missing and underrepresentation when Black, Brown or indigenous people go missing.

I'm willing to bet no one watching can name one Black or Brown woman who became a household name. There are young, beautiful, middle class women where every other factor is aligned with Gabby Petito but the only differentiator is race.

Micki Fitz (ph), 32-year-old mother in California, went missing in 2016. Her 2-year-old daughter went missing with her. That child is still missing to this day. So we are talking about representation.

KEILAR: This isn't just -- you might look at media coverage and say, OK, those are the stories that get blown up and that get covered.

But what is the harm?

What is the harm of it?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes, so unlike with other stories that are over or underrepresented, this has real-life implications for women of color. It makes them less safe. Predators know, if you want to get away with murder, you seek the victim that no one is going to look for.

So it has real implications for women walking around today. Also, when there is all of this media attention, it puts pressure on law enforcement and directs resources to these searches and increases reward money. So the women are much more likely to be found because of the media attention. BERMAN: Leyla Santiago is in Florida covering this. She said, as far

as she can tell the FBI and law enforcement presence yesterday was greater than she had seen in the days before.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes, media is very, very powerful. When the light is shone and no one is saying they don't deserve it, when everyone knows the world is looking for them, it makes a real difference.


SCHIAVOCAMPO: And this is what we're seeing when the value system, society's larger value system of white women being valued heavily and women of color not being valued as much comes through the media, because a lot of the decisions about what's being covered is made largely by newsrooms led by white men.

And that's the core of the problem here, is that this reflects the value system.

KEILAR: I think also, separately from women of the George Floyd case and all the resources that got mobilized outside of that department, they wanted to make sure that they had their best shot at a topnotch prosecution.

But look, this is -- this is something that we have seen before, right. This is actually a term that was -- that the late great Gwen Ifill, who we miss very dearly, she brought this up at a Journalists of Color conference in 2004. Let's listen to that.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: I think at the time when in '94 in Rwanda, we were looking at, you know, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding and Wayne Bobbitt, everybody knows what happened to Bobbitt, you know.

GWEN IFILL, PBS HOST: I call it the missing white woman syndrome. If there is a missing white woman, we're going to cover that, every day.


KEILAR: What's changed?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Nothing has changed since then. And, you know, we miss Gwen Ifill, she was a truth teller. I've covered tons of crime and I can spot a perfect victim from a mile away. I could have told you this Gabby Petito story was going to blow up. We all know who gets attention. We all know who gets coverage.

That has to change. Imagine the men, women and children in the community where Gabby Petito went missing, who know for the last 10 years 700 indigenous people have gone missing and nobody said a word and one missing white woman turns up in their backyard and the world pays attention.

KEILAR: Part of the story, if it is something that benefits all women, this 9-1-1 call, we know the call was about Brian Laundrie allegedly hitting her. And you look at the Moab police tape, right.

And it looks like she's going to be the one who gets in trouble. I wonder what this says for all women, though, about -- and for policing, when it comes to how they should be approaching these domestic violence incidents and how perhaps they should be asking more questions.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: It is very important to have these conversations. And this is a sisterhood, right, the sisters support each other. But what a lot of folks are pointing out is that the rules don't apply equally.

And that's what we all want. We want all women to be protected. We want all women to be searched for when they disappear.

KEILAR: We have to think about this as we cover this. Mara Schiavocampo, always lovely to have you. Thank you.

The clock ticking as the U.S. is nearing default. And President Biden's economic agenda is hanging in the balance. So we're going to talk to the leader of the progressives in the House, who is daring Democrats to call their bluff.

BERMAN: Plus new reporting this morning that signals a face-off between George W. Bush and Donald Trump -- details ahead.

Former President Bush's first campaign event of the 2022 midterms will be a fundraiser to support Liz Cheney.





BERMAN: Time now for the good stuff. Play by play announcer Melanie Newman and analyst Jessica Mendoza will be part of ESPN history, when they call a nationally televised Major League Baseball game next week. They'll be first all female duo to broadcast a big league game for ESPN.

Two women have been there before, Newman, the radio voice of the Baltimore Orioles was part of Major League Baseball's first ever all female broadcast crew this summer. Mendoza has been with ESPN since 2007 and was first female color commentator on their Sunday night baseball telecast.

BERMAN: In the storied annals of Major League Baseball, there have been some historically bad first pitches. MMA star Conor McGregor joined that list, might have topped that list, throwing out the first pitch last night at Wrigley Field.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy. I didn't teach him how to play baseball, OK?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks easy when you are in the ring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not sure how to play baseball, OK.


KEILAR: I think he took out -- oh, gosh -- wow.

BERMAN: I feel bad for the wall.


KEILAR: I loved your reaction last hour, because you hadn't seen it before.


BERMAN: I don't understand. There have been bad first pitches but that one is almost as if he had to try to be this -- no wonder he has lost so many matches.

KEILAR: We've seen enough -- well, there you go. We have seen enough --


KEILAR: -- I was going to say maybe he should stick to fighting. But we know how that's been going. I've seen enough pitches that, once I had to throw out a pitch at a Nats game and I didn't want to be on that list so I practiced. I made sure that I could throw the distance and I could throw it in the right direction. It was pretty basic.

BERMAN: How did it go?

KEILAR: It was fine. It ended up fine. Practice.

BERMAN: Brianna Keilar, 1, Conor McGregor, 0.

KEILAR: Correct. I feel like he gets minus 1200 for that one. That was pretty bad.

BERMAN: "NEW DAY" continues right now.