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Don Lemon is Interviewed about Cancel Culture; Pete Buttigieg is Interviewed about Borders Reopening; Adrian Zmed is Interviewed about William Shatner. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 08:30   ET



JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Look, the Internet has democratized criticism.

We criticize, we postulate, we opine, we make jokes and now other people are having their say. And that's not cancel culture, that's relentlessness. We live in relentless culture. And the system of the Internet, and all those other things, are incentivized to find the pressure points of that and exacerbate it.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I thought that was a really interesting way to think about it. I wonder what you think and sort of what -- what parts of that you think are good and what parts are bad.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, "TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON": Well, I would like to see the full context of it. I mean I can sort of garner what he's saying, but I would like to see the full context. I know he's saying, you know, it's -- you're incentivizing, what, people to go after people or is he saying incentivize more voices to be heard? Because we do live in a time now where there are other voices being heard, not just the powerful, not just the people who are -- who are wealthy, or the people who hold cachet in society. Everyone has a voice now because of the Internet, because of social media in large part. Is that necessarily good? Not always.

But, again, I think everyone should be judged on individual merit. There is due process. But, I do think that there is a divide in the country, especially culturally, you know, depending on when you were born, there's a cultural divide, there's an age divide. Even in my own family there are women who have disagreements about the Me Too movement. The older women think that the younger women should be standing up for themselves in the moment and saying -- and talking about accusations or behavior in the moment instead of waiting to talk about it.

And my mother has, you know, survived in business for decades and decades and decades and went through some of the things that young women are going through now. And she said, in the moment, I said, quite frankly, get your hand off of my butt or whatever and let's go over this proposal and moved on and she continued to excel in business and to become, you know, a leader in her field. That doesn't mean it was right, but that's what she lived through. And so the younger folks in my family and nieces go that's -- well,

ma, grandma, that's not acceptable behavior. She goes, I know it's not acceptable behavior but one must stand up for themselves and you can't go back in time and do all these things. So there is a divide with -- with that. And so I think that that's part of the issue here, that people become upset about because they think differently because they grew up in different times.

KEILAR: Do you think it's possible they're both right?


KEILAR: You know, I've thought about this, in a way when it comes to Me Too, I want -- I personally -- I want women -- and I want young women to be able to stand up for themselves, I also think that a lot of this behavior is abhorrent and that, you know, you can kind of build both of those muscles so that we know as women we don't have to tolerate certain things, for instance, and I think all of this can apply, you know, not just to women. But both of these things can be true and maybe it's actually very important that they are true.

LEMON: I think they -- look, I'm not drawing a judgment on it. I'm telling you what is happening in my family and what I see happening.


LEMON: And even beyond my family. And I think you're right, both can be true. I think that sometimes we look -- we look at what's happening today or look at what's happened in the past, excuse me, through a lens -- through the lens of today. Through a 2021 lens. And things were just not that way then.

But, again, we cannot let that be an excuse for bad behavior. We cannot let that be an excuse for sexism or racism or homophobia or for any other issue that affects or discriminates against people. You cannot let that be an issue and a catch all for people who don't want to be criticized and don't want to be held to account.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm going to ask you to do this quickly, which I know isn't fair, because you've talked about this in great depth, and I think with great feeling on your show, but Dave Chappelle, in the Netflix special where he makes comments about transgender people.

What's your view?

LEMON: I think what -- you should listen to the handoff because I think Chris and I do a good job of talking about that this -- in this episode this week. So you asked me quickly, and I'll go as quickly as I can. You can cut me off whenever you're ready.

Look, I know this is not very popular for people, especially someone who is a member of the LGBTQ community. Quite honestly, when I heard it, Dave -- I didn't think it was funny. And I don't mean that to, like, as a criticism against Dave. I thought it was very powerful and quite frankly genius social commentary. But as far as laugh out loud, it's something else. But I -- that's not to say that it was good or bad. I didn't find it to be like a comedy special that was like ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. I thought it was very powerful social commentary. So I wasn't triggered by it because I'm not easily triggered.

But I do understand that there are young people who are -- who have concerns about their identity, whether it be coming out, coming out -- Dave was two days ago and I -- and I talked about that.


But I think -- whether it's coming out or being trans or what have you, there are people who face life and death consequences because of that. And most of the people who face problems when it comes to being a transgender person or people of color, right, transgender women of color, right, getting beaten or killed or harmed or what have you or killing themselves. So I don't -- I don't think Dave should be canceled. I think Dave opened up a very important conversation. I don't think that his Netflix special should be removed. But I -- and -- but I don't think people should be restricted from criticizing Dave. That's what the whole point is. Because then you're canceling people's criticism.

So Dave can put it out there. He's a big boy. Take the criticism and discuss it. Don't run away from it. And then move on. But don't cancel him or whatever.

And, look, many people thought it was a -- he was -- he's -- it's -- you know, he opened up a floodgate and it's great because he's stopping people from being canceled. OK, if you believe that, then great. And other people think that, hey, listen, he is -- what he said was terrible and it was transphobic and what have you. OK, fine. But let's talk about it. Don't cancel him. Don't cancel the people who are criticizing him. And, certainly, I don't know what's happening at Netflix, but they shouldn't be canceling or firing employees who speak out about it because there are transgender people and people who are allies who have concerns about it and they should be heard as well.

So, look, give each other some leeway when it comes to this particular issue and other issues as it relates to the LGBTQ Plus community. But let's be careful about what we do and what we say and let's be open to each other about listening and having constructive conversations and not just yelling at each other and saying, you're this, you're that, you're that. There's room to grow here and there's room to learn.

KEILAR: Well, Don, I can't wait to hear what the handoff, what more you have to say about it on "The Handoff." We love you, Don. We love having you on the mornings with us. Thank you.

LEMON: I love you. I'm just upset about one thing. And I'm sure you guys are upset about more because I didn't go fast. John asked me to. I'm sorry about that. But you're not here. So -- and I had to hang out with John Berman. I mean --

KEILAR: I know.

BERMAN: We all have to make sacrifices. KEILAR: He's pretty fun, though. He's a pretty fun guy, Don.

LEMON: As we say -- yai (ph).


BERMAN: And they smell like (INAUDIBLE).

KEILAR: All right, you can -- you can, of course, catch Don's show tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

LEMON: Bye, Brianna.

KEILAR: Don, thank you so much. Bye-bye.

So, coming up, a soldier runs face first, yes, that's a concrete block. We're going to tell you why.

LEMON: John wanted me to do that.

KEILAR: I wanted you to do it.

BERMAN: And a brazen kidnapping attempt in broad daylight. A child snatched from the street.



BERMAN: Time now for "Five Things to Know for Your NEW DAY."

The U.S. plans to reopen its border for fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico starting early next month. This is the first time this will happen since the beginning of the pandemic. The change could provide an economic boost for shopping and gambling along border towns.

KEILAR: And the Supreme Court hears oral arguments this morning on whether to reinstate the death penalty for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A federal appeals court threw out his death sentence saying the trial judge made a mistake by excluding evidence.

BERMAN: A brazen kidnapping attempt in New York City caught on camera. A man is seen snatching a three-year-old girl off the street as her grandmother gives chase. Police say the suspect dropped the girl and fled the scene before being arrested.

KEILAR: And California set to become the first state to ban gas- powered lawn equipment starting next July. The California Air Resources Board says just one hour of using a gas propelled leaf blower gives off the same air pollution as a car driving 1,100 miles.

BERMAN: And bizarre video from North Korea shows soldiers performing high flying martial arts kicks and smashing blocks with their heads while performing for dictator Kim Jong-un. The scene was part of a defense exhibition this week showcasing the nuclear armed country's weapons.

KEILAR: I just don't even know what to say about that. But it is interesting.

Those are "Five Things to Know for Your New Day." We'll have more on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "Five Things" podcast every morning. You can just go to And you can also find it wherever you get your podcasts.

So, as we mentioned, the borders are set to open up again to vaccinated travelers. Vaccinated travelers. This is coming as the Biden administration will address the supply chain bottleneck that we're seeing across the country.

And joining us now to discuss more of this is the transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg.

Secretary, thanks for being with us.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.

KEILAR: OK, so talk to us about this decision to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated travelers. To be clear, this is folks coming over the border crossings, the land borders, from Mexico and Canada. How did the administration make this decision and why now?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, it's always been guided by safety and public health. And it's important news for our country, for our economy. We're talking about land ports of entry with two of our key trading partners. It helps to safely open up North America. And it's going to be important for the supply chains that we're here to talk about at the White House today, as well as for Americans on so many different fronts.


Meanwhile, of course, we've had the announcement about international air travel and working to make it possible for that to open in new ways. Again, for vaccinated travelers. Throughout this has been guided by the needs for public health and public safety. Of course we want to get to that fully reopened state as quickly as we responsibly can, but it's always first going to be guided by doing what's right to beat this pandemic.

KEILAR: So holiday expectation management, as we're looking at the supply chain issues, how bad are they going to get for Americans, and I'm talking specifically, you know, leading here into the December holidays, where people are relying on getting goods, on getting presents?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, they're -- I think there's always been two kinds of Christmas shoppers. There's the ones who have all their lists completed by Halloween and then there's people like me who show up at the mall on Christmas Eve. If you're in that latter bucket, obviously there's going to be more challenges. But we are also working right now with the private sector players who own and operate most of U.S. supply chains to find ways to ease the bottlenecks, the bottlenecks that are impacting, yes, everything, from consumer goods, to construction goods in this country.

This is a largely private sector system and a global one at that. But there are a lot of steps that we can take, as an administration, as an honest broker. That's what the president directed us to do. And that's part of why we're gathering right here at the White House with the leaders from the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, labor leaders and the private sector companies that, you know, the FedExes, UPS', Walmarts, others who play that role on everything that happens between when something arrives on a ship and when it gets to the shelf so that you can get it to your home.

KEILAR: So you're doing this 90 day sprint. This is what the administration is doing to address these supply chain issues. But when you do the math on that, of course, that takes us into January. So that is after, of course, December, after the holidays.

Should Americans be prepared, should they know they're not going to get their packages, they're not going to get their goods in time for Christmas if they're not doing it right now?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, let me be clear, there is more through put than there has ever been. In other words, we are processing right now as a country record levels of containers and other goods coming into our ports already. The issue is that the -- there's even more demand than the supply chain can support.

Remember, we are relying on supply chains that were built generations ago. It's one of the reasons why this entire year we have been talking about and working on infrastructure and are eager to see Congress act to get this infrastructure deal through. You know it includes $17 billion for our ports, which is a level of support, federal support, for ports that we've never seen before. Of course that's a long-term concern. There are short-term steps that we can take too, like expanding the hours at our biggest ports and working with terminal operators, with truckers to get that flow of goods.

Think about it, when you see these pictures of those ships waiting at anchor, waiting outside of the ports, that means the ships are already there. So it's everything after that, that we have to work to unclog. It's, they're not being spaces for the ships at the berths, it's the containers being backed up and that goes through our supply chain, through the rails, through the trucks, again, all the way to the store shelf.

KEILAR: Yes, the ripple effects are wide and we're learning they're very expensive as well.

I do want to ask you about the agenda item, of course, of the social safety net bill, the infrastructure bill. But, first, I want to ask you about Southwest, because we saw these disruptions here in recent days and I just wonder, how concerning is it to you that the cascading effect of just, you know, a few hours of weather and air traffic issues caused this many cancellations?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, this is another example of a resilience issue. We've seen how the supply chains have not always been nimble enough to keep up with the movement of goods and we're finding that, in this case, you have an airline that did not have the right planes and people in the right places when there was this impact, mainly from weather issues that took place in Florida.

Now, that, in this case, impacted that one airline. But we continue to want to see steps taken to make it possible. Often the limiting factor is -- has to do with labor, as well as equipment. And we need to make sure that we have more nimble and flexible set of capabilities. And that feeds back to our broader systems, which, again, I know I keep repeating it, but it's why we've got to invest in our infrastructure as a country.

KEILAR: On this critical time, for getting the Biden agenda through Congress, and I know you've been very outspoken when it comes to the needs of the country, climate for instance, as well as other topics, but you have the speaker warning her caucus that difficult decisions have to be made. What would your message be to progressives? Do they need to budge?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, remember that this vision, any way you cut it, is an enormous step forward for America, obviously for the infrastructure issues that I work on every day, and for families, whether we're talking about healthcare, child care, climate change, there is going to have to be a series of adjustments.


That's how a negotiation works. But we are still on track to deliver something that will be remembered for decades, for the rest of my lifetime, as a game changer for American families. As a new parent, obviously I'm thinking about some of those child care and other issues with a whole new level of urgency. But the American people already see the need to do this. I think most members of Congress do too. I know the Democratic caucus shares that vision and that sense of urgency. We've just got to get it done.

KEILAR: You've got to get it done, but it's not going to get done unless someone budges. Do progressives need to budge?

BUTTIGIEG: Look, everybody is going to have to take a look at where they started and where they want to get to. And that's exactly the process that's underway. By their very nature, negotiations end in a different place than where all of the parties come in. But I believe the place that we can end at, the place that we can get to is going to represent a stronger economy and a better life for this country. It's what the president has been talking about from the beginning of this administration -- from before the beginning of this administration. The idea that we're not just building back to 2019. We're building back better. Whether we're talking about physical infrastructure, or whether we're just talking about making it easier to raise a child, to get through life, to participate in the economy in this country. Progressives believe in that. Moderates believe in that. The president believes in that and we're going to get it done.

KEILAR: All right, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thank you so much. And congratulations to you and your husband.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. Thanks.

KEILAR: Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:00 a.m. ET, William Shatner blasts off.

1:00 p.m. ET, White House press briefing.

2:20 p.m. ET, Biden speaks on supply chain.


BERMAN: Still ahead, a dramatic, live launch of William Shatner into space. So many people are talking about "Star Trek," not nearly enough talking about his most important work "T.J. Hooker." One of his co- stars from that groundbreaking show joins us live.



BERMAN: A little over an hour from now, 90-year-old William Shatner blasts off into space for real. So the obvious reference point to this is his role on "Star Trek." Obvious, but insufficient. Because if you grew up in the 1980s, you know his most complete work was "T.J. Hooker."


ADRIAN ZMED, ACTOR, "T.J. HOOKER": (INAUDIBLE) 30 in pursuit of 211 suspects driving a tan four wheel drive.

Oh, no!


BERMAN: So joining me now is the man you saw riding alongside William Shatner, actor, singer, director, the incredibly talented Adrian Zmed.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

ADRIAN ZMED, ACTOR WITH WILLIAM SHATNER ON "T.J. HOOKER": Great to be here. Thank you for letting me share in Bill's wonderful journey.

BERMAN: So how excited are you? How nervous are you for your friend?

ZMED: That's a really good question. I tried to call him a couple of a days ago but apparently they took his phone away and he can't really answer anybody. But they said they'd get the message to him. And I was concerned, saying, you're really going to do this? And, yes -- well, the word got back to me that he is really going to do this.

I -- look, he's already said that he's terrified. He's scared to do this. And as I am for him at his age. But I know that he is absolutely thrilled to be doing this at this point. I mean, he -- he -- I -- we -- 13 hours a day in a police car for five years, we get to talk a lot. And he reflected many times on his wonderment of space and how incredible it would be to actually go there. And, I of course, just joked with him saying, certainly that's not possible. But he said top me, he said, I don't know about that.

And I've got to tell you, he was -- he was a visionary because he saw it. And I -- I think that this has been his number one bucket list item and in about an hour he -- it's going to happen. And I'm really happy for him.

BERMAN: You say that he's larger than life, he's not normal, you say. What do you mean?

ZMED: No. He's always been just bigger -- bigger than life. Bill does everything with massive intensity, passion. He has a wild imagination. And he has stamina for everything. He's like that rabbit that never, you know, stops running on the batteries and all.

And he's been that way forever. For -- that I've known him. When I was in my 20s, and he was -- whatever age he was then, in his 60s and 70s, and then in his 80s, he did a one-man show, telling the stories that I listened to in the squad car, the police car for many years, and he was a dynamo at the -- in his 80s, you know, during this thing and he has not changed a bit. He's just always been larger than life and he's been a mentor to me and an amazement in my life.

BERMAN: You were in your, what, your 20s during "T.J. Hooker" for those, I guess, four years you were on the show.

ZMED: Yes.

BERMAN: He was, at that point, already in his 50s. What was it like to be around him?

ZMED: Well, he -- like I said, he was a mentor to me. And he was kind and helped me and taught me a lot of things. But, honestly, just watching Bill really taught me a lot about acting on camera. I had come from the stage. I think off camera we had mentioned that I had done, you know, a lot of Broadway shows. He saw me do "Blood Brothers" on Broadway. And I needed to transfer that theater, stage technique to the film, to television. And just watching him really, you know, helped me learn on camera.

BERMAN: That is so wonderful.

Look, it's great to get a chance to talk to you. As I've said, I did see you on Broadway years ago. Incredibly talented. And it's nice to hear your enthusiasm for your friend. I know -- I think, you know, we'll all be a little relieved after that ten minutes in space.

ZMED: Yes. [09:00:00]

BERMAN: You'll be watching it very closely.

ZMED: Yes.

BERMAN: Adrian Zmed, thank you so much.

ZMED: I am thrilled. Thank you. Thank you for having me.