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Soon, Biden Signs $1.9 Trillion Relief into Law Ahead of Primetime Address; Prince William Breaks Silence, Denies Royals Are Racist Family; One Year Ago, U.S. Had 1,000 Confirmed Cases, Now, U.S. Approaching 30 Million. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired March 11, 2021 - 13:00   ET


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: And now we're seeing these tapes emerge.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Math is math. Sara Murray, grateful for the reporting. I'm very grateful for your time today in Inside Politics. I hope to see you tomorrow. Also join us tonight. I'll be back for the president's speech and our live coverage of that.

Don't go anywhere, a very busy day. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar, and I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

One year ago tonight, Tom Hanks revealed he had coronavirus, the NBA shut down games after an outbreak and Americans began to realize that this pandemic could impact their lives. Now, tonight, President Joe Biden will assess where the country has been and where it is going as America reflects on the human economic losses in the past year.

His first signature legislation, one of the nation's largest rescue packages ever has passed Congress and in moments he will sign it into law. This as vaccines are being delivered to Americans with the goal of having enough vaccine doses for all adults by the end of May. And nearly 1,500 Americans are still dying on average each day to a disease that didn't have a name just 15 months ago.

I'm going to turn now to CNN Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. And, Kaitlan, before you get into the details of the president's speech tonight, tell us what you know about this signing event.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, so this is a bit of a change. We were not expecting President Biden to actually sign this bill until tomorrow when they were going to have a signing ceremony here at the White House with all those lawmakers.

But the White House now says they actually got this bill last night, earlier than they thought it was going to go through those procedural motions up on Capitol Hill. So they said that President Biden wanted to sign it as quickly as possible so it can start going into effect.

And so that's what you're going to see here in about the next 30 minutes or so. We're going into the Oval Office and actually see President Biden sign this legislation, see if he makes any comments on what is really a defining moment of his 50 days in office, his first major piece of legislation. And, of course, this is all setting the stage for that primetime address that is coming in just a few hours, his first primetime address since actually taking office.

And what you're noting there, just think of everything that happened a year ago when we were told that Biden tonight is really going to try to mark those moments, mark what Americans have been through for the last year, really they've been through hell for the last year.

But also what the White House wants him to do is look ahead and what that return to normalcy is going to look like as vaccinations and the vaccine supply is starting to get ramped up and life could potentially return to normal if you listen to health experts and what that's going to look like.

So what will be the question for him tonight is striking that balance between the fact that this crisis is very much still going on. 1,500 Americans are still dying per day from this, but he wants to recognize that there is coronavirus fatigue. And so that will be the messaging challenge facing President Biden later tonight. We're expecting that speech to run for about 20 minutes. It's going to be from the east room of the White House. And so that will really be what they say is the next chapter in the federal government's response to this pandemic.

KEILAR: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you so much.

A president's first primetime address is noteworthy and the topics over the years say a lot about the times and society. We looked at them in every form, from Oval Office speeches to news conferences.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tomorrow will be two weeks since I became president.

One of our most urgent projects is to develop a national energy policy.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Good evening. I'm speaking to you tonight to give you a report on the state of our nation's economy. I regret to say that we're in the worst economic mess since the great depression.

We have to face the truth and then go to work to turn things around. And make no mistake about it, we can turn them around.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, distinguished members of the House and Senate, tonight, I'm back to offer you my plans as well. The hand remains extended, the sleeves are rolled up, America is waiting and now we must produce. Together, we can build a better America.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: On Wednesday evening, I'll address the Congress about the specifics of my plan, but, first, I turn to you for your strength and support to enlist you in the cause of changing our course.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Good evening. The issue of research involving stem cells derived from human embryos is increasingly the subject of a national debate and dinner table discussions.

I'm a strong supporter in science and technology and believe they have the potential for incredible things.

I also believe human life is a sacred gift from our creator. I worry about a culture that devalues life.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. I'd like to speak briefly about the state of our economy and why I believe we need to put this recovery plan in motion as soon as possible.


And that is why the single most important part of this economic recovery and reinvestment plan is the fact that it will save or create up to 4 million jobs, because that's what America needs most right now.

That's the test facing the United States of America in this winter of our hardship.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, I am keeping another promise to the American people by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Supreme Court, to be of the United States Supreme Court.


KEILAR: Worth nothing, Bush 43's first primetime address was technically his state of the union, but the stem cell address certainly stands out in the history books. It's also noteworthy that many of those addresses focused on the economy, which will obviously be a big focus tonight as well.

Prince William is now the second royal to publicly comment on his brother, Harry, and sister-in-law, Meghan Markle's explosive accusations in that Oprah Winfrey interview a few days after his grandmother, the queen, issued a statement. Today, the Duke of Cambridge was directly asked by a reporter if he thought his family is racist and here was his response.


REPORTER: Sir, have you spoken to your brother since the interview? PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: No, I haven't spoken to him yet, but I will do.

REPORTER: Can you just let me know, is the royal family a racist family, sir?

PRINCE WILLIAM: No, we're very much not a racist family.


KEILAR: Karen Attiah is the Global Opinions Editor at The Washington Post. She penned the op-ed, how two black women broke down whatever fantasies remained about the British monarchy. Karen, thank you so much for being with us.

What is really an extraordinary, it kind of goes beyond, just what we're seeing with one family, albeit one that's very prominent. Prince William denies having a racist family. I wonder what you thought of his reaction there and maybe, I don't know, some of the context when it comes to the monarchy about what may be missed in what was obviously a very quick response to a question.

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. I don't know anybody who would respond to the question of, is your family racist, with an answer of, yes, I think so, right? So, I mean, not shocking. And perhaps the real thing that we should be considering is this idea of the royal family as being not just a family, but an institution, right?

For a long time, for decades, you heard of the royal family being called the firm. And we have to remember this is an institution in Britain with so much reach around the world due to, honestly, colonialism and racism, and that legacy there.

But this is an institution that has hundreds of employees, has an entire machinery to support their activities. So when you look at it that way and when you look at how there has been a global reckoning of powerful institutions and specifically white institutions, and I think we can very safely say that the British monarchy has been a white institution interested in protecting, you know, itself as it is, which is being white, that in that case, then, yes, there are clearly serious reasons to say that, as an institution, it has clearly not been friendly to people of color.

And, again, anybody can just read history and infer that perhaps the British monarchy is not the poster child for uplifting people of color around the world.

KEILAR: I wonder, why do you think there's so much interest? I mean, it seems like Americans who generally have no interest in the royals, and certainly there is an American involved in this here, but why do you think there is so much interest in this moment involving the royal family?

ATTIAH: I actually think that Prince Harry said it very well during the interview that both the royal family, again, as an institution, and Meghan Markle and Harry, it's not so much about them, but it's about what they represent about where we are on race relations. Again, remember how Meghan Markle's engagement and then subsequent marriage into the royal family, op-eds and commentary penned about how this was going to modernize them, how this was going to bring them into the 21st century, right?

And so I think the reason why this moment is so emotionally packed for so many people here in America is that we are also having our reckonings with institutions, and particularly black women, multiracial women who find ourselves in institutions that do not support us, do not protect us, even driving us to the point which are mental health is compromised, where our children aren't even safe.


I think that's why it had so much weight, it's because of what Meghan and the royal family represent about our struggles to basically survive in white-dominated systems and institutions.

KEILAR: It's certainly clear it's become about something so much bigger in a conversation that is underway.

Karen, if you can stay with me, I do want to switch topics real quick. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is hitting back at MSNBC Host Joy Reid who basically said he was being used as a prop for the Republican Party because he's black. Here is how the senator responded during an appearance of Fox News with Host Trey Gowdy.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Woke supremacy is as bad as white supremacy. We need to take that seriously. And to all of those folks who oppose good common sense, Matthew 5:44 is still available to be read and read.


KEILAR: All right. So let's read it. This is what the bible verse says. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

I wonder what you thought of the senator's response there, Karen.

ATTIAH: Well, I would say that Senator Scott should keep his job perhaps being a poet and M.C. might not be his thing as spoken white rhyme (ph). But, really, what he is perhaps trying to articulate or trying to, you know, trying to dance in front of his base for is this fear of, again, more and more black people, people of color, people who have formally been marginalized now entering mainstream conversations about our lived experiences, about white supremacy, about privilege, about anti-blackness and these conversations are gaining more and more strength and more and more power.

And, honestly, I would prefer a world where, you know, knowledge and awareness and sensitivity did reign supreme and not old institutions and practices that managed to suppress not only black people but our entire democracy, right?

So, you know, I would just say nice try, Senator Scott, but I'm not buying it.

KEILAR: You are not buying it. All right, Karen Attiah, thank you so much for being with us.

ATTIAH: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: In an extraordinary moment, all former presidents except for one urge Americans to get the vaccine. See what happened.

Plus, a veteran charged in the Capitol attack, a veteran who had top secret security clearance when he moved in the presidential Marine One squadron.

And a new tape emerges of Donald Trump pressuring another Georgia election official to find voter fraud. What does this mean for the investigation against him?



KEILAR: We have breaking news. President Biden will sign the $1.9 trillion COVID relief stimulus bill into law moments from now in the Oval Office, and that means that those $1,400 stimulus checks could be on their way to many Americans very soon.

Also new today, every living former president, except for one, are banding together to urge Americans to get COVID-19 vaccinations.


CLINTON: We've lost enough people and we've suffered enough damage.

BUSH: In order to get rid of this pandemic, it's important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated.

CARTER: I'm getting vaccinated because we want this pandemic to end as soon as possible.

OBAMA: So we urge you to get vaccinated when it's available to you.

BUSH: So roll up your sleeve and do your part.

CLINTON: This is our shot.

CARTER: Now it's up to you.


KEILAR: Notably missing from the PSA is former President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, the only living ex-president and first lady who did not participate. Both Trumps had COVID-19 last fall and they both quietly got vaccinated in January. Here are more COVID headlines from across the nation.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Bennett in Washington. Former First Lady Michelle Obama telling People Magazine that she has struggled with mental health during the pandemic, saying she's had low-grade depression and opening up about feelings of anxiety and encouraging other Americans to discuss these issues and get help if they too are struggling with their mental health, acknowledging these are difficult times.

However, Obama did say time at home has helped her bond with her two college-age daughters and that she has learned to count her blessings.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I'm Pete Muntean in Washington. The stimulus is keeping thousands of airline workers on the job. American Airlines CEO just told 13,000 of its employees who received notices of possible April 1st furloughs that they are happily canceled, you can tear them up. United Airlines is also halting the furloughs of 14,000 of its employees. All of those workers will receive pay and benefits until September 1st.

Airlines are getting $14 billion in total from the federal government, and it comes at a critical for them. Airlines think demand could come surging back as the company reopens and more people get vaccinated.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: I'm Jacqueline Howard in Atlanta. A small number of people thought they were getting the COVID- 19 vaccine at a clinic near Richmond, Virginia. It turned out they were empty syringes. There was no vaccine in them. This happened at little clinic location affiliated with Kroger.

But Kroger told CNN in a statement today, quote, that all impacted customers were contacted and have received their COVID-19 vaccine.


We thank these customers for their understanding and have apologized for their inconvenience, end quote.

The little clinic says it is investigating the matter to make sure it doesn't happen again.

KEILAR: All right. Thank you to my colleagues for that.

Exactly one year ago, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, bringing the United States and the world to a standstill. The U.S. had 1,000 confirmed cases then. And now one year later, we're approaching 30 million infections and nearly 537,000 deaths. Dr. Anthony Fauci says not even he could have imagined numbers this high.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I knew we were in for trouble, and you remember, you go back, I said it then, we better be really careful. In fact, that day, at a congressional hearing, I made the statement things are going to get much worse before they get better, and that was at a congressional hearing a year ago today. It was March 11, 2020, I said that, but I did not, in my mind, think that much worse was going to be 525,000 deaths.


KEILAR: Joining me now is Samantha Schacher. She is the co-host of Daily Blast Live, and her brother-in-law, Eric, has been in the ICU fighting for his life now for almost two months following coronavirus complications. Samantha, thank you so much for joining us to talk about this.

Can you tell us a little bit more about Eric and what he's going through right now?

SAMANTHA SCHACHER, BROTHER-IN-LAW ON LIFE SUPPORTER, AWAITING DOUBLE- LUNG TRANSPLANT: Yes. Brianna, first, thank you for having me to share Eric's story. I know that millions of people worldwide can sympathize, as you just stated, that coronavirus has affected so many families.

Eric is -- listen, Eric is fighting for his life right now. And when your loved one is in a medically-induced coma, you can't physically, obviously, talk to them. When they're intubated -- Eric has been intubated since early January. He's been on a machine called ECMO, which is a life-saving innovation. It (INAUDIBLE) you time, essentially. It oxygenates your lungs and your heart. Eric has been on ECMO.

So, that said, my sister and their two kids have not talked to Eric before he was intubated. We've heard the stories, right, where you can't be there physically and you have to have an R.N. or a doctor hold up a phone and you have to essentially say those words to your loved one not knowing if you'll ever hear from them again.

Now, Eric is so strong considering the fact that, for two months now, he has been on life support and he has been fighting for his life. The doctors say, you know, for someone to be going through everything that he's gone through, procedure after procedure and complication after complication, this man is strong, and this man wants to live.

And so he's hanging on, Brianna. He's going to make it. But let me tell you, this is difficult.

KEILAR: Look, we see these photos, his beautiful family, he has a lot to live for. We know that he wants to come back and join them. He's 51. I mean, this is a young person. He's very active. You mentioned he he went into this very strong.

You know, could you ever have imagined that this is what your family would be up against right now?

SCHACHER: No. Brianna, my heart is beating through my chest. And I'm used to being on television. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be on the other side advocating for my loved one. And I understand the privilege that I have, that I get that ability to use my platform to advocate for him. But I never thought that my family would go through this, let alone Eric.

To your point, he is a surfer, a snowboarder, strong lungs. And COVID has -- COVID is cruel. And, you know, Eric no longer has COVID. He cleared his COVID load because he's so strong way back in January. So these are all COVID complications. And now, we're in a position where we've run out of options. And we have a very healthy guy otherwise who can't come home to his -- my sister, his wife and their two babies because of his lungs.

So who better to advocate your loved ones than your family? And so especially because he's a health care worker, my sister is a health care worker, my whole family comes from health care workers, so they're used to advocating for everybody else, and now it's our turn, it's my turn, my sister's turn, their friends' and family's turn to help advocate for him.

So we just hope, considering how unique Eric's situation is with the COVID lungs that we can find a team to help our Eric live the rest of his life that we know that he should be doing.


KEILAR: And, Samantha, what are doctors telling you about his condition?

SCHACHER: Well, they compare -- they say, your brother-in-law is strong. Again, he would not be here today if he didn't have the will to live and the strength to live. But they say his lungs are no longer or look to be no longer compatible with life. They say, when he breathes, they compare it to that of a guppy fish. And they say, you know, we've ran out of options.

So we have to do everything we can to get Eric to a team that -- again, a double-lung transplant is rare alone, right, in the world. But to have a COVID double-lung transplant, COVID complications double-lung transplant, there's only a few, a handful that have been done in the world. This is uncharted territory. But I strongly believe that our Eric can be a case study, that our Eric can be an example that this can be done, and it can save other people's lives.

So many people are suffering. If anything, Brianna, I hope this is a cautionary tale because I know a lot of people are lowering their guard because we have spring break coming up, the vaccine is here, but we're not out of the woods. And I don't want another family to go through this, because it can happen to you. You don't think it's going to happen to you, it can. Look at me, look at our story. You do not want to go through this. It is excruciating. So --

KEILAR: Samantha, I want to thank you for talking to us. We are going to follow this. We are there with you and your family, and we're thinking of you, we're thinking of your sister, your niece and nephew. And we're hoping the best for Eric. Thank you for coming on.

SCHACHER: Thank you. He will prevail, Brianna. Mark my word. KEILAR: He will prevail. Samantha, thank you.

Ahead, Tucker Carlson's sexist and outrageous comments about women in the military now getting the attention of the U.S. defense secretary.

And fireworks erupt on the House floor after a Republican congressman says Black Lives Matter doesn't like the traditional family.

And moments from now, President Biden signs the COVID relief bill into law ahead of his primetime address. Stand by for that.