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Prince Williams Says Royals Are Very Much Not A Racist Family; 59 New York Democrats Call for Cuomo's Resignation; Interview with Zohran Mamdani, Assemblyman, New York State on the Impeachment of Andrew Cuomo; Trump Not in Vaccine PSA Photo with Other Past Presidents. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 11, 2021 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Does he think people will just accept that and move along?
ATEH JEWEL, JOURNALIST AND BROADCAST WRITER: Lovely to be here with you, I think in the U.K. we are brought up with the stiff upper lip, you know, the mantra of never complain, never explain, and things sort of being swept under the carpet.
I think it just shows how angry and frustrated Prince William must've been to even have said this when there's been talks that the Queen has asked everyone to sort of stay silent.
I think the country is completely polarized. They are people in my camp and in my community online who believe Meghan because I've walked in her shoes. I know what institutional racism feels like. And there's people who think that she's not telling the truth, she's acting, she's being all these negative things, which I think are just sort of stereotypical that they want to put on her. She's being the angry vengeful black woman, this horrible stereotype.
So I'm not quite sure. This has never happened. It's unprecedented. And it's dividing our culture and opinions.
BALDWIN: Back to your point about the stiff upper lip. There are a lot of parallels being drawn between Meghan and Princess Diana. And at the time Diana really opened up a conversation about mental health that would never have flown before. Because you said it, you know, stiff upper lip, you just don't show your emotions.
With Meghan it seems she is opening up this conversation about race. And not something that has happened in the public in the U.K. Take me inside those conversations, Ateh. What do those conversations look like right now especially among people of color?
JEWEL: I think it just shows that a duchess can feel and explain and express what racism looks like in the 21st century today, and it's still not believed. I have had many conversations with my friends and colleagues. I've been in the beauty industry for 20 years. I've often only been the only person of color in the room at events and launches. I have been at events where my colleagues have been waived through and I've been questioned, asked for I.D., evidence I hadn't stolen the invite.
This is the kind of things we're talking about. Because you're not called the n-word, people think racism doesn't exist. In a big beauty company my friend and all of her colleagues who were, you know, the women of color, they were called the urban corner. And this is, you know, just last year. So this is what we're talking about.
And unless you understand this nuanced sense of racism that we have today, it's very hard to feel it or understand it. But I look at it through a prism of sexism. Just because women can vote, we can own property, hands up if you think sexism doesn't exist anymore.
BALDWIN: No, listen, I appreciate you saying all of that. And we have certainly had our own racial reckoning here in the United States. And we have a long way to go on that.
But to hear that this is cracking something open within the U.K. in a way that is necessary, I appreciate, and you and I should chat again. Ateh Jewel, thank you so much. It's just such an important conversation we're having globally.
JEWEL: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: We continue on. There are more calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign, a letter just sent today from New York state lawmakers. We'll talk to one of the first Democrats to call for Governor Cuomo's impeachment, next.
BALDWIN: 59 New York state Senate and Assembly Democrats have issued a letter calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. And they are citing two reasons they think he needs to step down.
Quote, in light of the governor's admission of inappropriate behavior in the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths, he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joins me with more on the governor here. And we know Governor Cuomo, Shimon, has repeatedly said he wants to wait until the State Attorney General completes her investigation. Can he continue to resist these calls in the meantime to step down?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, certainly so far people close to him and certainly the governor feel that they can continue to resist these calls for him to resign.
While 59 sounds like a large number, that is still not the majority when you think about Democrats in this state who are calling for him to resign. There are a lot of meetings and discussions that state legislators continue to have on the next steps, perhaps some kind of an impeachment hearing, perhaps their own investigation that state legislators can conduct into some of these allegations.
Of course, the governor, and even other Democrats in this state, Brooke, are saying they want to see these investigations play out by the Attorney General who has appointed two independent people, two lawyers to overlook that investigation. And they say they want to see that investigation play out before they make a decision -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Shimon, thank you. Let's get some perspective. With me now, Zohran Mamdani, a member of the New York Assembly. Mr. Assemblyman, thank you so much for being with me. As Shimon was pointing out, many of your colleagues are calling on this governor to step down, but the governor is resisting. He says he is not resigning. Do you think these 59 Democrats are going to change anything?
ZOHRAN MAMDANI, ASSEMBLYMAN, NEW YORK STATE: I think they are going to change something. And I'm actually proud to be one of those. And I think what they're going to change is the public perception of the appetite for accountability within the legislature towards the governor. And if, you know, this governor has made it very clear that he does not intend to step down.
And so, I believe that the next step must be impeachment.
BALDWIN: Before we jump to impeachment, you know, the pressure is mounting. Today I saw that the Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Cuomo can no longer serve as governor. You know the governor, you worked with the governor, you know the kind of person he is. Do you think he would bow out or fight to the end?
MAMDANI: I think this governor would fight till the end until he's forced to face up to his actions. And I think that that is why it is incumbent upon us to make that happen. And, you know, I would just add that what he has been doing in these past week, two weeks, it's been an abdication of leadership. And in a time when our state and New Yorkers need us the most, we are unable to focus on the issues at hand because we have a governor who is lying to the public and a governor who is refusing to face up to what he has done.
BALDWIN: Is there anything he could do now? Apologize, acknowledge anything specifically, or are you just all in on wanting him impeached?
MAMDANI: You know, I think that the time for what he could have done besides leaving office and facing up to his action has sadly passed. And I say that given the context of what the apology was that he delivered last time. It was a conditional apology. Frankly, it was a non-apology. It was saying that I'm sorry if you were offended. I'm sorry if you misconstrued this.
And then he went on to say that he had never touched anyone or behaved inappropriately. And then last night the "Times Union" reported that that is exactly what is alleged to have happened where he would have sexually assaulted an aide who he summoned to his governor's mansion to help him with an issue with his cell phone and then fondled her after closing the door to his private residence.
BALDWIN: Do you intend to -- I mean that you're one of 150 calling for impeachment, do you intend to proceed with the impeachment process if he continues to not step down?
MAMDANI: Absolutely, and you know, I'm glad that you brought that up. I am one of 150. But what I would say is that this has to be a collective decision. And I have empathy and belief in my colleagues that this is the decision that we will come to.
It's going to take some time. We're organizing for it. But it is not, you know, I don't think we have an alternative to this. And fundamentally, the only way that the governor steps aside from his position is if the assembly passes articles of impeachment and commences a trial in the Senate.
And I would also like to address, often times when we talk about impeachment, we're told that it's the abdication of due process. But impeachment itself is the creation of a trial. It's not a conviction.
BALDWIN: As we have learned on the federal level. New York State Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, thank you, sir, very much.
MAMDANI: Thank you very much, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Breaking news, now CNN has just learned new details about why former President Donald Trump was not included in that vaccine PSA with all the former presidents. That's next.
BALDWIN: Here's the breaking news now. CNN has learned more about why former President Donald Trump did not appear in that vaccine PSA with all of the former presidents. Our CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny is breaking this for us. And Jeff, why was Donald Trump not part of this PSA?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, it's just yet another example of how former President Donald Trump is really estranged from this president's club. It's a very elite group of former presidents.
And we saw it again on display in that public service announcement that came out earlier today of former Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama getting their COVID-19 vaccinations.
But we were told the conversations about this actually began when President Trump was still in office. Then he left town, as we know, on inauguration day, and then later that day the three living presidents who attended the inauguration, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, had a conversation at the Arlington National Cemetery. That's where they recorded part of this ad. And then Jimmy Carter's voice was added later.
And then they all agreed to have photographs taken of themselves getting vaccines. And that is one thing that President Trump has not agreed to do. We learned later after the fact that he actually got a vaccination in January, but he did not make that public.
And there is a suggestion that he did not want to get photographed getting that vaccine. Who knows why, for reasons political, perhaps for vanity reasons as well. But, Brooke, this is just one more example of President Trump not wanting to be a part of this president's club. It's unclear if there were any conversations in the weeks since then.
This was originally actually supposed to be released in February. But then I'm told there was an issue with the vaccination supply, so they held off on this because vaccination hesitancy was not the top issue. But now they are trying to put this out. But Brooke, very interesting, so we seldom see former presidents together. This is one example where President Trump is not in the club -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Jeff Zeleny with the news, let's get some reaction, ER physician Dr. Rob Davidson. And Dr. Davidson, you know, you know that as Jeff pointed out, President Trump and Melania Trump got that vaccine quietly. Again, President Trump though still is taking credit for the vaccine in this country and the fact that he's not in this PSA. What's your reaction to all of this?
DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, I think it's really a shame that they didn't show themselves getting photographed, getting videos getting the vaccine, touting the efficacy, touting the importance of it. Because we still know there is hesitancy in this country. About a third of Americans have some degree of hesitancy. And we need 70 to 90 percent to get vaccinated. But the ones that seem to be most dug in are people who tended to vote for and follow President Trump.
Who have thought all along people that I see unfortunately still today that think, well, it's not a big deal, it's just a flu, it's just a cold, I don't need to do that. And if they saw video of and heard his words saying, this is important, we need to do this as a country, I think that could make our jobs right now a lot more easy.
So it's too bad and I'm hoping he has a change of heart and comes out with some messaging telling people how important this is.
BALDWIN: I know you're a doctor, this is, you know, asking you to dive a little in the realm of politics, but is there a particular harm to President Trump, who again oversaw the initial response to this pandemic for not being featured in a campaign like this?
DAVIDSON: I think, yes, the harm is that the people who follow him, you know, aren't seeing those images. So if he wouldn't let them record him getting the shot and if he is not willing to be a part of any kind of campaign, I think that's a challenge. Hey, I think it's great, if he wants to put out, you know, put out
releases saying what a great vaccine it is and remember, I got this for you, you know, who cares? Who cares who gets the credit for getting the vaccine approved, you know, if it makes more people get the shot right now, that's all any of us should care about.
BALDWIN: Let's talk about the reopening trends we're seeing around this country, a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel, doc. You know, how do you feel about indoor dining? Would you tell people it's safe now that it's an option in so many states?
DAVIDSON: Well, I personally am not much of a foodie eating out, so it isn't as much of a sacrifice for me, you know. I think if there's restaurants that are adhering to the guidelines where people are there at a very limited capacity, I know in our state it just went up to 50 percent, a little bit concerned about that number, but I think if people are spaced apart enough, you know, it's -- it's kind of safe, I mean, everything has some degree of risk.
You know, you get in your car, you could get in a car accident. So we still drive our cars to work. We drive them to see people. So, you know, I personally wouldn't, I think if you want to eat outside, I think, get takeout and tip well to the folks that are doing the takeout. I think this how we can keep the industry going until we have more people vaccinated and we know that the numbers are staying down, and these variants are being held at bay.
BALDWIN: OK. Kind of safe, says Dr. Rob Davidson. I like that high end medical advice there. What about taking vacations? I mean, spring break is a couple of weeks away for a lot of families. Is there a way to vacation safely?
DAVIDSON: You know, again, nothing is 100 percent safe. So the safest thing is obviously staying home. I think if you're going to travel, being vaccinated gives you some liberty, because you know then that you are well protected and you very likely can't transmit it to other people or have a decreased risk of doing that.
I think if you want to travel to see one other household, you know, parents across the country or children across the country, as long as we adhere to the guidelines where either both are vaccinated or if one set isn't vaccinated, they're at low risk. People can get together without masks on. I think traveling by car in your personal vehicle is safer than getting on an airplane or a bus. Although now that we have mandatory mask guidelines in these places, it's definitely a little bit safer.
You know, it's all sort of that dial of risk and it's how much you're willing to take. The safest is staying home and then everything you can do to protect yourself, including wearing tight-fitting masks or two masks or an N-95 mask when you're around others. It's going to make it even safer.
BALDWIN: Last one, just because I'm channeling families with little kids who need to get out of the house and really would love on their spring break to dive into a public pool. Can they do that this spring? DAVIDSON: Yes, I mean, I think, you know, kids in public pools, I
think outside pools, that sounds, you know, certainly safer than something inside. You know again, if you are hanging out on the deck of the pool and you're just staying in your little family unit six feet away from other people and you are outside, that sounds like a relatively safe proposition.
I think when people are gathering in large groups, you know, the risks just go up and we're still advising against that.
BALDWIN: OK. Dr. Rob Davidson, thank you, as always.
DAVIDSON: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: YouTube announced today it has removed more than 30,000 videos with misinformation about the COVID vaccine since October. The company adds that throughout this past year, it has taken down more than 800,000 videos containing dangerous or misleading campaigns about the virus. The site has come under increasing scrutiny for the way its recommendation engine can lead unsuspecting users down extremist rabbit holes and spread misleading claims.
Our coverage this afternoon continues here. We're hitting a major milestone in the COVID pandemic. President Biden today signed this massive relief bill into law and is preparing for a prime time address tonight to the nation, as the world marks one year unlike any other.
BALDWIN: Quick programming note for you for the man we're all really just living vicariously through. Stanley Tucci explores the art, food and culture of Tuscany, the new CNN original series "STANLEY TUCCI, SEARCHING FOR ITALY" Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific.
And before I let you go today, something really, really special for all of us here within the CNN family. I want to close by asking for your help. Let me show you this picture.
This is my colleague Andrew Kaczynski here at CNN pictured with his precious daughter Francesca, or they called her Beans.
Late last year, he and his wife Louise lost Beans to a rare form of cancer and today would have been Bean's 1st birthday. Her family has been collecting donations in her honor. It is all going directly to cancer research.
So if you would like to join Team Beans and contribute yourself, go ahead and visit teambeans.shop - teambeans.shop, all proceeds for the beanies will go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. So thank you so much in advance for your generosity. And sending love to Andrew and his wife.
And I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me. The Lead with Jake Tapper starts right now. END