Return to Transcripts main page

New Day Saturday

Average Number Of Daily Vaccinations Drop To 2.6 Million; States Drop Mask Mandates, Reopen Economies Amid Drop In Cases; India Sets Another Infection Record With Oxygen Running Out; GOP Piles On Rep. Liz Cheney For Breaking With Trump; Gaetz Associate Says Congressman Paid For Sex With Minor In Letter Obtained By The Daily Beast; Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops Underway In Afghanistan; CNN Poll: Nearly Half Of Republicans Won't Get COVID Vaccine. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 01, 2021 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY, I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. There are signs of optimism in the United States as vaccinations top more than 100 million and signs of normalcy are slowly returning across the country.

PAUL: You have a situation in India, though, is really different. It's nearing a breaking point there. Thousands of people are dying daily, and resources are pretty scarce. We're going to take you there live.

SANCHEZ: Plus, family feud, fractures within the Republican Party on full display as the party debates how to move forward and attacks one of its own over a fist bump.

PAUL: And fans are in the stands or will be? The Kentucky Derby returning today welcoming some 50,000 spectators back to the track.

SANCHEZ: We appreciate you joining us this Saturday morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

PAUL: Good morning, Boris. I'm Christi Paul here in Atlanta. And I love to be able to say there are reasons to be helpful, right? Because it feels like it's been a long time since we've been able to say that, but let me tell you this, more than 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That's nearly 44 percent of the US population that's had at least one dose. Dr. (INAUDIBLE) said yesterday, "The worst is behind us."

SANCHEZ: Yes, well, cases fall and deaths decline, the country's headed toward a return to normalcy. One of the happiest places on earth, Disneyland in California, reopening its doors yesterday. Indoor dining limits are soon going to increase in New York. And Delta Airlines, the last us carrier to keep middle seats blocked is going to start selling them again today. Right now, at least 21 states are seeing a decline in cases over the past week. PAUL: Let's start this morning with CNN's Polo Sandoval in New York as we see some of the lowest averages in terms of deaths in the U.S. In nearly a year Polo, what, what really is the takeaway from this? I'm sure some people are wondering.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, and we certainly can't ignore the fact that there are many other parts around the world that are still dealing with the COVID crisis. But nonetheless, when it comes to Americans here in the United States, Boris and Christi, it's also really important to acknowledge there's certainly taking another step in the right direction and another step towards normalcy as many Americans experienced that this weekend.

A lot of that having to do with that number that you just mentioned a little while ago. The Biden ministration announcing that 100 million Americans now fully vaccinated. Now, that is still about a third of the population and well below what we're trying to get to in order to achieve herd immunity. But nonetheless, it is enough to bring about another wave of post pandemic normalcy.

You mentioned Disneyland open again to California residents for the first time in over the over a year. The Kentucky Derby welcoming back those crowds, hopefully, masks crowds as well. But there you see in California, obviously the cast members keeping their distance, still some of those measures in place. But nonetheless, it's these little things that really do count for so many people that had been hunkered down or at least taking these extreme measures for quite some time.

And also, you mentioned Delta Airlines also opening up middle seats. They're just one of the many airlines that are now preparing for what will likely be a very busy summer travel season as when you look at those TSA numbers, you see the number of Americans clearing the security checkpoints growing almost every day. And when you hear from experts, including Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean at a Brown School of Public Health, it seems that the country taking a positive step towards normalcy today.


DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: I think we can confidently say the worst is behind us barring some crazy unforeseen variant that none of us are expecting to happen. We will not see the kinds of sufferings and death that we have seen over the holidays. I think we are in a much better shape heading forward.


SANDOVAL: Now in terms of COVID-related deaths, we're still losing hundreds of people a day but nevertheless, certainly not where we were a year ago or especially during the height pandemic or at least during the last surge here. CNN analysis finding an 80 percent decrease in those deaths since January alone. There is another number that's dropping, which is certainly not what you want to see which is the number of vaccinations that reached about 2.6 million this week, Christi and Boris. That's certainly concerning because it also speaks to what authorities

and officials are trying to push people to get vaccinated. It's about getting those shots to not only those that are hard to reach, but also those that are hard to reach, but also those that are hard to convince. Of course, talking about the issue of vaccine hesitancy that remains a big problem for us officials that are trying to get that number up way beyond 100 million guys.


SANCHEZ: It's important to remember that even as we revel in watching things get back to normal and how refreshing that is, this is still a process and people still should go out there and get vaccinated if they haven't already. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, guys.

SANCHEZ: We do want to bring you an update about the situation in India, it is far more desperate there. COVID cases arising uncontrollably with more than 400,000 reported on Friday. The virus also claiming another 3500 lives. Those numbers though, keep in mind, that's just the official count. The true death toll is likely much higher, as overwhelmed hospitals are actually having to turn people away.

PAUL: Yes, they're saying that the people who are dying at home aren't even being counted right now. Other countries are coming to India's aid though the first shipment from the U.S. arrived just as the Biden administration announced it is restricting travel from the country.

Starting on Tuesday, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed into the U.S. Travelers will still be required to show a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination upon arrival. In cities, across India though there's this desperate search for oxygen specifically. Look at these lines of people waiting for hours on the street just for a chance to breathe. Here's CNN Sam Kiley.


SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A sensor reveals dangerously low levels of oxygen stifled by COVID-19, this canister of gas buys this patient time. All of these patients arrived barely able to breathe. This isn't a medical clinic, it's a tent on the outskirts of India's Capitol run by volunteers.

Without the initiative being shown by these volunteers from the Hemkunt Foundation, we're providing oxygen on the street on the outskirts of Delhi. They say many dozens perhaps over 100 patients would be in deep trouble medically now. They already had one death just over there earlier on today. They've treated over 100 people who've come in, desperate for oxygen unable to breathe and it's all about this. The supply of these oxygen cylinders. It's a 300-mile drive each way to get one of these filled and brought back to Delhi.

They cost about $25.00 when filled.

How easy has it been to find oxygen?

INDERPREET SINGH, HEMKUNT FOUNDATION VOLUNTEER: Oh my god, trust me this this has been the toughest thing we are facing.

KILEY: With COVID-19 infections and numbers of deaths breaking records daily in India, many patients in Delhi have given up on hospital treatment, where they know that oxygen is scarce and beds often shared. Pankaj Chandrawal said he was turned away by three hospitals. He took off his oxygen mask demanding to be heard.

PANKAJ CHANDRAWAL, COVID PATIENT: But they are just not entertaining anything, and they're just refusing all the things. I cannot tell whom I can blame. It is both government and the hospitals also.

KILEY: Bottled oxygen is mostly produced outside Delhi and neighboring states are prioritizing their own needs. And so, the city gasps and many dies unrecorded in their homes.

Titendah Shinte collects the bodies of patients who die at home. He'll pick up three in this one hour run. Many are even afraid to take their dying loved ones to hospital.

Prashant Chamas family decided to keep his grandmother at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were scared seeing the condition around. So, we got scared if we took her to any nearby hospital, who is going to you know be in touch with her, who is going to give us the information, exact information what is going on within the hospital?

KILEY: India's government has promised a vaccination campaign with renewed vigor, but with around only two percent of the nation inoculated so far, that's cold comfort here.

Now I'm joining you from Batra Hospital, a very sharp contrast to what you just saw on the streets of Delhi. This is a sophisticated first world institution, some 500 beds and it has been absolutely hammered. Just today, they lost eight people due to lack of oxygen in the space of a few hours and by the director of the hospital, Dr. Ashal Gupta. Doctor, how do you cope and how on earth did this occur?


DR. ASHAL GUPTA, PHYSICIAN, BATRA HOSPITAL: It's the most unfortunate situation today. Because of a lack of oxygen, you are losing about 12 of patients. The number is increasing. You are seeing them every day in the morning and suddenly you see that he is no more. The person whom you could have saved, the person you could have treated and suddenly because of no oxygen, somebody is dying. This is absolutely not digested.

KILEY: Not digestible and you've also you've lost the colleague today.

GUPTA: At the same time today, one of very senior person of my hospital, Dr. (INAUDIBLE), who's the head of the department of gastroenterology. We lost such a wonderful person and who was a real coronavirus here, for the last one year continuously he is fighting for corona patients. He got Corona. He was admitted in ICU. One of my colleagues was saying that I was talking to him and in front of me he collapsed.

KILEY: And these patients have all died today in the space of a few hours I understand, because you even had to issue the appeal for oxygen, and it just didn't come.

GUPTA: This is what happening for the last one week continuously and regularly. We are not getting the adequate supply of the oxygen in this out my hospital and not my hospital only, most of the big hospitals in Delhi, they are not adequately supplied by oxygen. What our hospital wants from the Delhi government, they want oxygen, the amount which to be decided by (INAUDIBLE) by parameters. And this amount as per your number of patients in the hospital, for example in my patients --

KILEY: I'm going to have to interrupt you there, so what we're seeing though doctor is effectively the demand and supply simply not being met. And earlier on the doctor said to me that fighting a war against COVID and oxygen was his aircraft carriers M-16. It was the only weapon they had and it's the only weapon they don't get given. Back to you.


PAUL: Sam Kiley, oh, we're so sorry for all of those people and for the, for you covering it and the doctors and the medical teams there that are trying to manage it. Thank you so much for bringing us this really important story. We need to keep aware of this. If you want to help people in India who are facing the devastating COVID outbreak there.

I know it feels like we can't do anything but go to to find out how you can make a difference. There are things that we can do together. Still to come, there are growing fractures in the GOP. Congresswoman Liz Cheney is pushing back against criticism from a party after making a friendly gesture toward President Biden.

SANCHEZ: Plus, new momentum for police reform. Bipartisan talks gaining steam after George Floyd's family lobbying senators and aides personally this week. We'll take you live to Capitol Hill to get the latest on where negotiations stand.



PAUL: 17 minutes past the hour on this Saturday for you. Republicans in Congress are still trying to discern who the true leader of their party is. Congresswoman Liz Cheney is the number three Republican in the House, her opposition to former President Trump's influence though is again testing whether she can hold on to her leadership role.

SANCHEZ: Yes, one lawmaker tells CNN the frustration in the party is "real and much more widespread than before and completely of her own making." CNN's Manu Raju explains what is behind the new tension. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Congresswoman Liz Cheney facing new turmoil internally amid her feud with former President Donald Trump and his House GOP loyalists, erupting after the Congresswoman responded to questions and a GOP retreat this week in Florida, all stemming from Trump and his role in the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should be charged and prosecuted with anything?

SEN. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Well, that's a decision that the Justice Department is going to have to make.

RAJU: Saying Trump is not the leader of the party.

CHENEY: I think our elected leaders, you know, are the ones who are in charge the Republican Party.

RAJU: A senior House Republican member told CNN that Cheney could be in very big trouble and expected that there could be another attempt to kick her out of leadership. The members of lawmakers were "really upset she trampled all over messaging during the party retreat." A fist bump with the current president of the United States this week, even leading Cheney to tweet, "were not sworn enemies were Americans."

The fallout underscoring how Trump's appeal to the base still makes him the GOP is dominant figure, despite his electoral defeat, many even endorses lie that the 2020 election was rigged, following her vote to impeach Trump, Cheney surviving attempt to oust her by a wide margin after House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy called on his colleagues to keep her in the number three job. Yet the attention has only simmered. The two have not appeared together at a press conference since this incident more than two months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe President Trump should be speaking or former President Trump should be speaking at CPAC this weekend.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes, he should.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congresswoman Cheney?

CHENEY: That's up to CPAC. I've been clear my views about President Trump and the extent to which he said to his fellow January 6th, I don't, I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future the party or the country.

RAJU: A source told CNN McCarthy remains furious with Cheney. This week, he declined to back her up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Cheney still a good fit for your leadership team, do you believe?

MCCARTHY: That's a question for the conference

RAJU: McCarthy's number two, Steve Scalise making clear he's not in agreement with Cheney.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party.

RAJU: Now, Cheney does have support particularly from those nine other Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, one of those Anthony Gonzales, an Ohio Republican, told me yesterday, if a prerequisite for leading our conference is lying to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit.

Now, Gonzalez, like Cheney facing primary challenge, challenges, and multiple Republicans tell me they do expect potentially this could have come to a vote again, within the House Republican conference. Some, some expectation that perhaps she won't be successful fending off a challenge this time, but these are secret ballot elections, if it were to come to that and it's anyone's guess how it could turn out. Boris and Christi.


PAUL: Manu, thank you so much. CNN Political Analyst Rachael Bade with us now, she's the co-author of Politico's "Playbook." Rachael, good to see you this morning. I want to talk to you about your reaction to that report. Talk to us about the Cheney factor.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, this all goes back to one thing, and that is that Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker someday. I mean, he tried to be speaker after John Boehner stepped down. Conservatives in the conference, banded together to refuse to get in the boats. And so, ever since then, McCarthy has been working to sort of stay in the good graces of not just sort of centrist and more moderate or traditional Republicans, which typically he, he was considered, but also conservatives and Trump allies.

And this is one of the reasons he has kept Trump very close over the years. He knows Trump is popular with the base. And so, he sort of defends him and sticks with him, his chances of becoming speaker someday are higher. And I think you know, McCarthy's looking at 2022. Republicans have a very good shot at flipping the house, I would be shocked if they did not all the headwinds are in their favor right now. And that means you know he's going to have another try to be speaker. And so, obviously, members of his conference want to stick with Trump, Cheney is the exception.

But I think you know, I mean, the thing here is Republicans are showing over and over again, but they only will allow certain voices. So, for authors talking about censorship and a big and commitment to big tens. If they go after her again, and they purge her from the leadership, this is going to be a big distraction from trying to flip the house in 2022. And they're going to be sending a signal to the rest of the party. And that is, you know, they only want a certain type of Republican. Forget about that big tech.

PAUL: But what's the evidence that that is going to jive with voters? BADE: Well, look, I think the Republican base is with the president right now. And so, that's the calculus that Kevin McCarthy is making. And I think a lot of Republicans who voted to keep Chaney as conference chair last time around, they did so because they It was a secret ballot, you know, they didn't have to vote out loud. And so, if this comes to a vote again, you know, and you know, it sounds like McCarthy's really angry, it sounds like he actually might back something like this, which is a little against surprising, given the distraction that it would create from his effort to retake the house.

But it would be interesting to see if this does come to a vote. This time around, he might say that the ballot has to be public. And if it is public, you know, these lawmakers are going to face a lot of pressure to vote against Cheney, even if they do like her personally, and admire her courage, because they're going to have to face their constituents. And once again, their constituents are with Trump.

PAUL: Yes. A very good point. Let's talk about the GOP reaction to President Biden's address this week to the joint session of Congress, particularly regarding his economic agenda. Tim Scott, for instance, said even more taxing even more spending to put Washington even more in the middle of your life from the cradle to college, Lisa Murkowski, expansive spending on top of spending, the President Biden defended his proposals in an interview with NBC. Let's listen to what he said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't have any inordinate faith in government. But there's certain things only the government can do. Is a private sector going to go out and build billions of dollars or the highways, ports, airports, bridges? Are they going to do that? And so, these are things that only government can really do.


PAUL: So, the question that's surfacing here, Rachael, obviously is how expansive government should be, who's winning that debate?

BADE: I mean, look, right now Biden has a lot of support with what he's doing. You know, the, the coronavirus pandemic relief package with both getting out vaccinations and sending checks to individuals $1400 checks was really popular, including with a lot of Republicans. And you know, now this you know, American families plan, expanded child tax credit, a lot of you know, middle income and lower income families really benefit from that. So, it's pretty popular but what you're seeing right now is the sort of traditional big versus small government debate coming back to the fore.


It had sort of disappeared under President Trump because Trump was a more popular, popular, popular president, popular president, sorry, Saturday morning. And so, he ordered a lot of government spending. And the GOP sort of kept their concerns quiet when he was in the White House. So, again, this sort of traditional debate, big government versus

small government, I think that the speech this week, really made clear, for the first time all these different packages that Biden wants to do with that big $6 trillion total in price tag. And I think Republicans are seeing that and seeing saying, whoa, that's scary, we don't want to go that far.

PAUL: Yes. Rachael Bade, you are so smart, and I always learn from you. Thank you for being here even on a Saturday morning. And let me say always getting up at, you know, 1:45 in the morning for this, I understand Saturday morning, we're all here with you. Thank you, ma'am.

SANCHEZ: A bipartisan group of lawmakers is making progress on police reform legislation. They set a self-imposed deadline of May 25th, marking the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, but many sticking points remain. Let's get over to Capitol Hill and CNN is Daniella Diaz. She joins us now. Daniella, where are negotiations? Where do they stand?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Christi, there's a lot of optimism here that these lawmakers will be able to reach a deal on police reform legislation. You know, these key negotiators. Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, who used to be the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus have met a couple of times this week and have had many discussions in the past couple of weeks on this legislation to be able to pass a bipartisan deal on police reform.

But look, there's still a couple of sticking points, as you mentioned, some of them including qualified immunity from civil suits for police officers, and a threshold for prosecuting cops with crimes, which is also known as Section 242. And Senator Tim Scott has said that section 242 is a red line for him. So, there are still negotiations happening on these issues. But look, a larger bipartisan and bicameral group met this week signaling that there's broader discussions, discussions happening on this issue, which is a good sign that they'll be able to reach a deal.

And George Floyd's family as well as their family attorney, Ben Crump, visited the Hill this week and met with these negotiators to share their concerns on this legislation and shared optimism with reporters that they think a deal will be cut on this that they will like. But look, President Joe Biden was stern with lawmakers this week.

He says he wants legislation passed by May 25th, also the self-imposed deadline by these lawmakers, which is the year anniversary of George Floyd's death. So, lawmakers are racing to cut a deal on this issue, but I do want to know that Congress is out this week both the House and the Senate are out for recess. So, they will not be here this week to have these negotiations that will keep an eye on how these proceeds. Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Daniella, as it is they only have about three weeks and they're going to be off this week. So, we know you'll keep an eye on that deadline as it approaches. Thank you so much.

Some new trouble for Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. Up next we have new details of an incriminating letter adding new fuel to his sex scandal.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is under increased scrutiny as he faces a federal investigation now.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In a letter obtained by the Daily Beast, Joel Greenberg, a friend of Gaetz who is now cooperating with investigators over a separate investigation reportedly said that he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including someone who is 17 at the time.

Now, we want to be clear about this. CNN has not seen the letter, and as Paula Reid reports, Gaetz has denied the allegations.


In this letter, Greenberg reportedly admitted that he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor who was 17 at the time. Greenberg claims they thought this woman was 19, but later learned she was underage.

CNN has not seen this letter, but over the past month, we have spoken with several women who are involved with these two men, and they've each told us how they were paid in exchange for sex where we are seeing receipts.

Now, CNN's own Chris Cuomo, he spoke with Roger Stone on Thursday night. He says he doesn't recall Greenberg implicating Gaetz, he doesn't remember this letter. He says he never tried to get Greenberg a pardon, and he never received any money.

A spokesman for Congressman Gaetz also issued a statement which said, in part, Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with a 17- year-old as an adult. They also argue that this specific story shows how the representative was long out of touch with Mr. Greenberg and had no interest in involving himself in Mr. Greenberg's affairs.

But that's not what this story reflects at all. And our reporting is that Mr. Greenberg who is currently in jail facing 33 federal counts, he's been cooperating with federal investigators since last year. And that he shared with them information about encounters he and the congressman had, and how they exchanged sex for money.

We could also be learning more about what Greenberg has been telling investigators as he is expected to finalize a plea deal with federal investigators in the coming weeks. Boris and Christi?

[07:34:50] SANCHEZ: Paula Reid, thanks so much for that.

After 20 years of war, U.S. troops are officially on their way out of Afghanistan. We're going to speak to a retired army general about the impact of the withdrawal after a quick break.


SANCHEZ: At least 21 people are dead and dozens more injured after a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan. It happened in a city south of Kabul, and so far, no one has claimed responsibility for it.

The blast comes just one day after the U.S. began withdrawing forces from that country. A decision that will bring an end the longest war in American history.


SANCHEZ: It also raises concerns about the future of Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism. Joining us now to discuss is retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, he's the former army commanding general for Europe and the Seventh Army, and also, a CNN military analyst.

General Hertling, always a pleasure to have you on; really appreciate your perspective on these issues.

I want to get to Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, telling CNN that the measure of success in Afghanistan should not be whether or not there is violence there like that car bombing, but whether terrorist attacks emanate from Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have warned that al-Qaeda and the Taliban -- they will be ready to respond to any threat from those forces. How would you rate the United States' ability to deter terrorism in Afghanistan without having an actual presence on the ground there?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's going to be very challenging, Boris, and good morning to you. I agree with Representative Smith, it's going to be very challenging because we don't have forces on the ground and, more importantly, there's going to be a lessening of intelligence, infrastructure, to determine where a new attack might occur.

You know, it's been interesting that for the last 20 years, our mission set in Afghanistan has changed from counterterrorism to counterinsurgency, to nation-building. Now, it seems to be transferring back to counterterrorism. But you need both intelligence and forces to conduct that mission set.

BORIS: Yes. There are obviously major differences between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but having watched ISIS rise in the vacuum of leadership exacerbated by the U.S. withdraw there, are you afraid we might again witness a descent into chaos in Afghanistan like we saw in Iraq? HERTLING: Well, I having -- been to Iraq on three different deployments, Boris. Yes, I am concerned about that. I think that we continue to see both ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist group, looking for a place where they can base from.

Now, that's a reminder to those of us to -- who are -- those of your viewers who were too young to remember, but that's exactly why we went into Afghanistan, in the first place, to counter al-Qaeda after the attack on the World Trade Center.

But the thing is, those terrorist organizations while they have been depleted, they are still alive and well and trying to reconstitute. You're seeing different groups coming together, ISIS seems to be leading the way now, but there is still a large amount of al-Qaeda and other groups within the afghan region, and in the countries surrounding Afghanistan, receiving support not just from the Taliban who promised not to do that, but other country's governments as well in the area.

SANCHEZ: I want to ask you, general, about an op-ed that you wrote for and I want to read a portion of it now. You wrote, "Those who served in Afghanistan, more than others will be plagued by doubts about their perceived lack of success, not finishing the missions assigned to them by the nation. Combined with elements of survivor's guilt because they returned home when their buddies didn't, those doubts will be exacerbated. But they did what they were asked to do, and they should be proud of their service."

General, I'm very fortunate to be close to a number of people who have served in Afghanistan, and several of them are unsettled by this outcome. Given the amount of sacrifice, the amount of risks that they took, and the sacrifices made by people close to them, what would you say to them to someone who feels unsettled about this outcome for the longest war in American history?

HERTLING: Yes, that's why I wrote at the op-ed, Boris, and it has to do with the fact that there is a full range of spectrum of feelings about leaving Afghanistan from those who serve there, not just military, but also state department officials.

Some will say, as you just read, they're discouraged by the fact that we've tried so hard for 20 years and not quite got it right. There are others who wore the uniform who are going to say, it's about damn time. We should have left there years ago because we accomplished the mission, and that spectrum is unbelievable.

But to answer your question, I really believe that the soldiers on the ground -- soldiers, marines, and others on the ground did what they were asked to do. As the mission evolved, I also say this in the op- ed, the waning of political support and support from the American people also affected the mission set.

As a great theoretician clause, which once said, In order to win a war you have to have effective military support from the people, and a government with a strategy. We were missing in all three of those areas as we continue to conduct operations over the last 20 years. So, perhaps, it is time to leave that country. Although, it is going to leave a sour taste in the mouth of those who serve there.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and despite that those who serve should know that we support them and that we are very appreciative of their service, as we are yours. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thanks so much for the time, sir.


HERTLING: Thank you, Boris. Appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

PAUL: Well said there.

So, in a recent poll, almost half of Republicans polled said they will not get the coronavirus vaccine. Their reasoning, coming up.


PAUL: So, over 100 million Americans now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That equates to just over 30 percent of the population, but we need 75 to reach herd immunity.

SANCHEZ: Yes, new CNN polling, unfortunately, shows that many Americans do not want the vaccine at all.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more.



I first want to show you the results of this CNN poll, which just came out during the week pretty remarkable. Incredibly, it shows 44 percent; almost half of Republicans say that they will not get the COVID vaccine. That's compared to eight percent of Democrats.

Over the past few weeks, I have been speaking to some Republicans, Trump supporters who say they're not going to get the shot. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN: Are you getting vaccinated?

ROB GREGORY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: No. I don't need a vaccine. I had COVID last March. Sick for all the five hours.


GREGORY: I don't need a vaccine for that. O'SULLIVAN: The CDC recommends, even if you have COVID, you should get vaccinated.

J.P. WOODRUFF, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, they can recommend stuff.

O'SULLIVAN: Got emergency approval (INAUDIBLE).


WOODRUFF: Who's the emergency -- who's determining the emergency approval?

O'SULLIVAN: Do you think Trump was wrong on this one?

WOODRUFF: You know, I don't -- I don't know what the situation is on that, but I know I'm not wrong. And we're the independent freedom people of America, and we make our own decisions.

O'SULLIVAN: You're not getting vaccinated, are you?


O'SULLIVAN: Even though it's the Trump vaccine?

WALLIS: I don't -- I don't care.


DEBBIE WALLIS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: How can this vaccine -- it is. And something -- and I knew (INAUDIBLE) got it.


D. WALLIS: President Biden got it while President Trump was still in office. You know, so, yes, it is the Trump vaccine, I have no intention.

M. WALLIS: And we don't -- we don't blindly follow what President Trump did or didn't do. It's the fact that he promoted individual freedom and your ability to excel.


M.WALLIS: It's why we support the movement. It was a movement, he just happened to come along at the right time to help those who need it.


O'SULLIVAN: And I think, important to point out here is that they are some of the most passionate Trump supporters. But even they say that -- even if the president -- the former president was to directly plead with them to take the vaccine, they would not take them.

I think we're sort of in a bit of a catch-22 situation here, where the former president knows that. Where he knows that he might be alienating possibly some of his base if he were to push too hard and encourage people too much to take this vaccine.

Christi and Boris?

SANCHEZ: Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much for that.

There is much more ahead on NEW DAY. But first, here is today's "FOOD AS FUEL".

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: When the kids are home and those after-school cravings kick in, that doesn't have to be a recipe for eating junk food. Try whipping up a smoothie for the kiddos instead. They can be tasty and nutritious when made of strawberry. And the antioxidants in strawberries can help boost your immune system.

Or try sweet potato to add a little more zing. Try blending sweet potato, cauliflower rice, almond butter, and then, add some of your favorite spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or vanilla. This smoothie is packed with protein and fiber that could help kids stay full longer.

And avocado toast can make for a great snack for older kids. Avocados are packed with healthy fats and fiber.

For younger kids, keep it simple with yogurt and graham crackers, or berries and yogurt. Yogurt is a great source for several nutrients, including bone-building, calcium, and muscle-building protein. And to wash it down, offer water over juices, and sodas, and other sugary drinks.

ANNOUNCER: "FOOD AS FUEL" is brought to you by noom. Noom is based in psychology for lasting health and weight loss results.



SANCHEZ: Get the mint ready and put that bourbon on ice, it is Derby Day.

PAUL: It's only 8:00 in the morning on a Saturday.

SANCHEZ: No time to waste.

PAUL: That's right, Andy Scholes, live from Churchill Downs in Louisville. Obviously, both of you actually are looking quite sharp for the day.

SANCHEZ: Oh, that's very kind. You're always looking great.

PAUL: Oh, thank you. I'll be --


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. Derby Day, It is one of the most -- Derby Day, one of the most fun sports days in the entire year. Whether you're here at Churchill Downs or at home always fun, you know, dressing up. And we are going to have fans back here this year here in Louisville,

Kentucky. It's not giving the normal 150,000 plus, but they're expecting between 40 to 50,000 fans for the race this year.

And if you're still looking for someone to root for Hot Rod Charlie's not a bad pick. He's got the third-best odds of winning the race today.

And a part of the ownership group for Hot Rod Charlie is a group of five buddies from Brown University. They played football for brown and were fraternity brothers.

Patrick O'Neill who's the nephew of two-time Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill, he told us it's a dream come true, owning a horse in the derby with some of his buddies.


PATRICK O'NEILL, CO-OWNER, HOD ROD CHARLIE: It's just like a combination of my favorite worlds colliding into one. And then, to have success doing it, it just doesn't seem real. It's almost like a movie.

Having these guys just kind of keep their chins up and say, hey, we did this today, get together, we can do this -- make a gazillion dollars or candidly make the Kentucky Derby -- was just perfect because those are the type of people that you want in your life, because you know that they're going to ride with you whether you're winning or losing.

SCHOLES: All right, we could also see some history later today. Vicki Oliver, trying to become the first woman to win the derby as a trainer. Her horse, Hidden Stash, it's a long shot to win. 50-1 odds right now, but she's thrilled to be a part of her first derby.

VICKI OLIVER, TRAINER OF HIDDEN STASH: It's a pretty special event, I've gone to it every year. Love it, I mean, of course, it's everyone's dream to trains horses. So, I hope I inspire females to come in the industry, all we need more of them around (INAUDIBLE)

That many female trainers make history, which is pretty cool. Yes, I'd love to make history if I can.


SCHOLES: And guys, post time for the 147 Kentucky Derby, 6:57 Eastern tonight.