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Heather Boushey is Interviewed about the Economy; Gregg Berhalter is Interviewed about the World Cup; Amber Ruffin is Interviewed about Juneteenth. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 17, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: New CNN reporting this morning on the White House shifting blame for the state of the economy. Top White House officials urging House Democrats in a meeting on Capitol Hill yesterday to blame Republicans for being obstructionist on economic relief efforts, as well as big corporations for high prices.

Joining me now is Heather Boushey. She is a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Heather, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

The president saying yesterday a recession is not inevitable. Why is a recession not inevitable?

HEATHER BOUSHEY, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISER: Well, one of the reasons it's not inevitable is because families and businesses are starting off from a strong position right now. Because of the actions that the president took, as soon as he got into office, with the American Rescue Plan, that created an insurance policy that has - that has allowed the strength and the resiliency of the American economy to show its full force over the past year as we've dealt with crisis after crisis, you know, from repeated new variants of the virus, through Putin's unprovoked war in Ukraine that has up ended energy markets and led to higher gas prices.


You know, we've still seen that we're creating jobs, that the president had seen 8.7 million jobs created since he took office. And, you know, we continue to see that last month. And, you know, family household balance sheets remain strong. So, all of this puts us in a good position to transition to the kind of stable, shared, steady growth that we need to see for the economy over the long-term. So, these are all the reasons that the president does not believe that a recession is inevitable.

There is a question, though, of whether American families could be better positioned. And that was actually something that former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who served in the Obama administration, raised yesterday on the show.

Let's listen to that.


JACK LEW, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY, OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: At the time, my critique of the package was that it wasn't well targeted. It didn't put money in the hands of people in the middle -- lower middle class, the people at the lower end as much as it should have, compared to people who were going to save it.


KEILAR: Is he right there? Could it have been better targeted?

BOUSHEY: Well, certainly. You always know that with policy there's always the perfect, right? But here's the thing, that piece of legislation has been remarkably effective, more so than any recovery in recent memory, at getting people back to work and back to work quickly. And that was the president's goal. We needed to get all those folks who've lost their jobs through the pandemic, all those businesses that were struggling to recover from the pandemic, we needed to make those things whole again and get people back into the economy. We did that effectively and we did that far faster than forecasters predicted.

So, yes, on the margins, maybe there's some things that could have been done to aim for perfection, but, seriously, this was a package that got us back to a very strong economy, and that was the president's goal. The president has made clear from day one that he wants an economy that delivers for the middle class. Most of the middle class, most of us in America get our incomes and economic security from having a job, and that is what he delivered, you know, over his first year.

KEILAR: This big move by the Fed that we saw yesterday, tackling inflation, but the side effect, because there are obviously other factors you can and cannot control for, may be that they are engineering a recession. Are you comfortable with that?

BOUSHEY: Well, first of all, the Fed is an independent agency. And as the president has made clear, they need to do their job. Their job is price stability and full employment. They have tools at their disposal. They're going to use them.

But we know that the particular crises that we are in, in this economy right now, are supply side challenges. The pandemic upended our economy, businesses had had a really hard time smoothing out their supply chains, getting things back to work in the - in sort of the usual fashion, and so that is why the president has been so focused and doing all of he can - all that he can, and this administration can, to unsnarl America's supply chains and make sure that Americans can pay fair prices when they go into the grocery store or they, you know, go to the gas station, and that he does that through addressing supply chains and addressing issues around market concentration. KEILAR: President Biden -- and we're hearing this white House talking

point going to Democrats on The Hill blaming Republicans for blocking his agenda for inflation. We should be clear, there were Democrats who were not on board as well. But is it your calculus that the Build Back Better plan would have brought down inflation?

BOUSHEY: There are so many things that Congress could be doing right now that the president has asked them to do that could certainly help families with the big costs that they're facing. And all of that can help to ease the burden on families.

For example, let's do something on prescription drugs. Let's do something to make energy cheaper for families by all the investments in clean energy that the president has put on the table that will lower costs for families over time. Let's do something to make child care affordable for families. These are all big-ticket items that families struggle with day in and day out and the president has said, let's do something about this. Let's do something about this together. And he's waiting for Congress to act.

KEILAR: But that includes Democrats who are opposed to some of those measures. This isn't just a Republican issue, right?

BOUSHEY: The president has said time and again that, you know, he is very interested in doing things in a bipartisan way. And, you know, he is waiting for Congress to act.

So, yes, you are right, I mean this is - this is in Congress' purview right now.

KEILAR: Heather, thank you so much for being with us. We do appreciate it.

BOUSHEY: Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are years away from the 2026 World Cup, but from Philadelphia, to Miami, to Guadalajara, Mexico, soccer fans in host cities showing their excitement. They announced the cities that are going to host the World Cup in 2026.

KEILAR: Look at that guy.

BERMAN: This guy in Philadelphia, man is he digging it.

KEILAR: He's into it. I see you, buddy.



BERMAN: The World Cup coming to North America in 2026. And we finally know which cities will be hosting. These 16 cities across Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will host the world's biggest sporting event. This will be the second time the U.S. has hosted the World Cup. The first was in 1994.

Joining us now is the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, Gregg Berhalter.

Gregg, this is like my lucky day. I get to talk to Woodward and Bernstein and you on the same day, all of my interests all at once here.

Listen, how big of a deal is it to U.S. soccer to have the World Cup here?

GREGG BERHALTER, HEAD COACH, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: It's massive. It's massive for our whole region. Think about Canada, the United States, and Mexico coming together to host the biggest World Cup in the history of the World Cup. It's a big deal for sure.

KEILAR: No Washington love, though? It is the capital city, Gregg.

BERHALTER: I know. I was surprised at that as well.

BERMAN: Where are the finals going to be? Where do you want the finals to be? Which I know you want the U.S. to be playing in for the second consecutive time, the first being in Doha this November.

BERHALTER: Absolutely. You know, I don't know where they're going to be, but what I'd say is, we have world class facilities.


And we'll be able to put it in a big building with great amenities, great conditions. And it's going to be -- no matter where it is, it's going to be a huge event.

KEILAR: And what is this going to mean? I mean we're talking about decades since we've seen this, right? The '90s. A great decade, by the way.


KEILAR: But is this going to mean for how excited Americans get about this sport, and maybe even what it brings for a new generation of players?

BERHALTER: You know, the way I described it is, in '94, it was kids getting -- parents getting their kids involved in the game. And for some - some of them, it was their first experience with the World Cup. And now those people are adults and they -- now they have children, and now it's an opportunity for them to share it with their children, really closing the generational loop on soccer.

And I think it's going to have a huge impact on soccer in America. And I think our team in general, from the 2022 World Cup to 2026 has this window to really captivate the nation.

BERMAN: Yes. Look, I can't wait for November at this point. And I know you've been asked this by soccer journalists, but never on CNN, who's the starting number 9 in the World Cup come November? Who's going to score the goals? BERHALTER: Come on, you're going to do it to me this early? I don't

know. But what I'd say is that is that, it's just about at the moment, right? We have six months until the World Cup and it's trying to find the striker that's in the best form, and taking advantage of that, you know. And soccer is a game of rhythm. And if a striker comes into the World Cup scoring a lot of goals, I'm sure he'll have a good opportunity to be part of the team.

BERMAN: You could break news right here. You could make it happen right here, this morning.


KEILAR: Hard pass.

BERMAN: I know.

Look, we tried. We tried. We're pressing for answers.

Gregg Berhalter, it's an honor to speak with you. Wishing you the best of luck into the summer and into the fall.

BERHALTER: Thank you, guys.

BERMAN: So, CNN's Juneteenth special featuring an incredible lineup of black artists and visionaries.

KEILAR: A preview of the event ahead.

Plus, comedian Amber Ruffin is going to join us live.



KEILAR: This Sunday, CNN will host its inaugural Juneteenth concert. A slate of black artists and musicians will take the stage in Los Angeles to celebrate the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth and highlight the ongoing fight for equality in the black community. Preshow coverage starts at 7:00 p.m., and this includes an appearance from CNN anchor Don Lemon, our very dear friend here, to highlight African American advocates, trailblazers and creators.

And joining us now to talk about the importance of Juneteenth is comedian Amber Ruffin. She is the author of the forthcoming book, "The World Record Book of Racist Stories," and she's the host of the "Amber Ruffin Show" on Peacock.

You know, Amber, I think some people are still trying to figure out Juneteenth, right? This is sort of a growing awareness that we're seeing, but certainly not everyone understands this holiday.

AMBER RUFFIN, HOST, "THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW" ON PEACOCK: That's right. There is a growing awareness since Joe Biden made it an official holiday. And I think it is harder to understand because, you know, all of the enslaved people weren't freed at the exact same time. So, it happened, you know, over a couple of years. And I think people are unsure how to celebrate as gross a thing as the end of enslavement. So, I think it's confusing for a lot of people. But it's definitely worth celebrating.

BERMAN: Yes, because we're seeing different versions here. You're seeing people recognize the historical significance of that, the pain, and the legacy. And then you're seeing people do strange promotions. Explain what it is not.

RUFFIN: OK. So, you know, look, we all want to celebrate something so beautiful as the end of slavery, but it is a tough line to cross, right? We want Juneteenth decorations and stuff, but it's tough.

What we don't need is probably Juneteenth ice cream that mentions nothing about how black people no longer had to be enslaved, you know. Like, that's where it's dangerous, you know what I mean? It's dangerous when it stops being slavery has ended, and it becomes, yea, being black is fun. Like, that trip, that's where Juneteenth becomes an opportunity to make money. And that's what we don't want.

KEILAR: Because that happened, and it was clearly a misstep.

So, let's talk about people who are embracing this new holiday. How can they do that? How can they honor this holiday?

RUFFIN: There are a million great ways to celebrate Juneteenth. You can, you know, for example, take your lightbulbs and your toothbrushes and your detergent and you can subscribe to black-owned lightbulb, detergent and toothbrush places. You can support your local black politicians. You can donate to black causes. Or you can just go down the street, because it's happening, you know, this weekend, and celebrate with the people in your neighborhood, because I've -- every neighborhood probably -- well not every, but a lot of neighborhoods have Juneteenth celebrations. And, you know, they're for all of us.


So, come on down. Have fun.

KEILAR: Yes. They are. They're happening all over.


KEILAR: Amber, it is great to have you. Thank you so much. Amber Ruffin.

RUFFIN: Thanks for having me.

And tonight is the final episode of season two of the "Amber Ruffin Show" on Peacock. Important to note.

And then "Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom," that will be airing live, worldwide, on Sunday, this - or, on CNN this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

I like it when someone says, yea. BERMAN: Yes. They're so happy that they just joined us.

KEILAR: And, yea.

BERMAN: We have new details on Vince McMahon's sudden resignation as CEO of WWE.


BERMAN: So, just in, WWE CEO Vince McMahon is stepping down following hush money allegations. McMahon has agreed to step back from his responsibilities as chairman and CEO while the wrestling company's board investigates him for alleged misconduct.


"The Wall Street Journal" reports that McMahon paid a secret $3 million settlement to a former employee he allegedly had an affair with. His daughter Stephanie McMahon will serve as the interim CEO and interim chair.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN's coverage continues right now.