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Japan in 4th Wave of Infections as It Preps for Summer Olympics; India Sets New Record for Number of Coronavirus Cases in a Day; 28 Killed in Protests Against Colombian Government Response to COVID; Former Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN) & President, Club for Growth, Discusses Questions over Rep. Stefanik's New Loyalty to Trump, Her Conservative Credentials; Waves of Attacks Against Asian-Americans Continue; Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) Discusses Asian-American Diplomats Saying Discrimination Holds Them Back & Violence Against Asian- Americans. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired May 7, 2021 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The International Olympic Committee is not mandating vaccinations but does encourage it.
The IOC says it expects a significant portion of participants to be vaccinated. Some countries, like South Korea and Australia, have already planned to vaccinate their delegation.
And as for Japan, the vaccine rollout is under way but it's going very slowly. Less than 1 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: I'm in New Delhi. India has recorded more than 400,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for the third time in the last seven days, breaking global records once again.
India has reported almost 21.5 million confirmed total cases of COVID- 19, the second-highest after the U.S. according to doctors from the Johns Hopkins University.
The northwestern state of Rajasthan, like several other states, has announcing a temporary lockdown. The concern for the state is the spread of the virus to rural areas.
The positivity rate in the western state stands at 51.4 percent, according to the state's health minister, Vijadith (ph) Rani. Rani says the reason behind the spike in cases is an influx of domestic tourists since November last year and relaxed restrictions.
India's scientific adviser has now backtracked on his comments on a third wave being inevitable. Vijay Raghaven now says the third wave can now be avoided with effective guidelines in place. POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Polo Sandoval in Bogota,
Colombia, where demonstrators are gearing up for another day of protests.
Bogota is one of 200 cities and towns throughout the entire country that are calling on the government to act to address this widening economic inequality that has only worsened by the pandemic.
They're also calling on government officials to address what protesters are describing as heavy handed police tactics. Mainly, the police response to some of these demonstrations that have taken a violent turn, especially in the city of Cali.
All of this started about a week and a half ago when President Ivan Duque rolled out this extra tax plan that he hoped would help the country improve economically.
Amid criticism, he then withdrew that plan. But at this point, it's too late to calm some of those criticisms.
And some of the protesters calling on Duque to resign and to find a better way of improving the lives of millions of Colombians affected by poverty and, most recently, by the pandemic.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right, thanks to of our correspondents around the world.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, she's a big fan of Donald Trump now, but she has not always been. Growing questions about how and why she is now so loyal to the former president and about her conservative credentials.
BLACKWELL: She is a fierce Trump ally, currently on the path to GOP leadership while pedaling the big lie all along the way.
But Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik sounds a lot different than she did a few years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY) (voice-over): I think he has been insulting to women. I think this is Mr. Trump's peak moment and I think we're going to see his numbers change.
I think in the presidential field, there are some candidates who, over the long run, and they've already started this process, are somewhat disqualifying themselves with untruthful statements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: David McIntosh is a former Republican congressman from Indiana and the president of the conservative PAC, Club for Growth.
Congressman, thanks for being here.
You and the group, Club for Growth, oppose Stefanik taking over for Congresswoman Liz Cheney. I want to talk about that in just a second.
FORMER REP. DAVID MCINTOSH (R-IN) & PRESIDENT, CLUB FOR GROWTH: Yes.
BLACKWELL: But just so we set the primer here, and before we get into the leadership conversation, do you believe that Joe Biden legitimately earned enough votes to win the presidency and that former President Trump's claim that the election was stolen was a lie?
MCINTOSH: So, let me tell you, there's a lot of investigation going on right now. The process worked its way, and Joe Biden was picked by the Electoral College as the next president. He's been sworn in.
So, I think, when it comes to the questions about election integrity, we should let the facts come out. And we should --
BLACKWELL: That wasn't the question, sir.
MCINTOSH: No, no, but I think Joe Biden is --
BLACKWELL: -- sir.
MCINTOSH: -- the president of the United States.
BLACKWELL: Yes, but did he win --
BLACKWELL: -- enough legitimate votes to win the presidency? And is the claim from the former president that the election was stolen a lie?
MCINTOSH: I think we don't know that until we know what the facts are. Let's let the facts come out and then we'll know.
But what I'm saying is the process has worked. We have Joe Biden as our president.
BLACKWELL: So the facts have come out. Dozens of judges found no evidence of widespread fraud. And secretaries of state across the country have found the same thing.
Let's move on to the leadership conversation here.
BLACKWELL: You said Congresswoman Stefanik would be a terrible leader. Why? MCINTOSH: She's a liberal Republican. She didn't support President
Trump's tax cuts. She wanted to keep the U.S. in the climate accord, which would destroy American energy jobs.
And now they're saying let's make her a leader to oppose Joe Biden when he tries to repeal the very tax cuts that she didn't vote for.
I think it's a terrible choice for them.
What they should do is have an open election process. And once there's a vacancy, take several weeks and let lots of Republicans put their names forward and see who would be best.
What they need in the Republican Party in Congress is people who truly believe the principles the Republican Party stands for: Smaller government, freedom, a common-sense approach to rebuilding the economy.
And Elise Stefanik has a long record of not being on board with those.
MCINTOSH: Politicians will say anything to get elected. But the American people they catch on to that. And they want to see Republicans who truly believe those principles.
BLACKWELL: It's interesting because that's pretty similar to what you said about former President Trump, then-Candidate Trump in 2015. It seems like Stefanik is doing similar to the transition you did on President Trump.
Let's read from 2015. You called Donald Trump, "The worst Republican candidate on economic issues. It's astonishing that he's even running as a Republican."
And then, President Trump levied tariffs. He increased ag subsidizes, supported taking land for the wall through eminent domain.
Those aren't part of conservative orthodoxy.
And in 2020, you called him a free-market conservative.
Are we seeing similar to what the Club for Growth did over a five-year span to what we're seeing from Elise Stefanik, a transition on the former president?
MCINTOSH: No, I think it's very different. The Club for Growth supported the president when it came to passing the massive tax cuts that generated huge economic growth.
The Club for Growth supported the president when he pulled out of the climate accord so we could protect American energy industry and start being a net exporter of carbon energy.
No, we've supported his policies. She's not been on board for the policies for the really good things that President Trump did.
BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about the positions of your group. You know, there's a score card for each member of Congress.
If this is about conservative principles, Liz Cheney has a rating, a lifetime scorecard nearly double that of Elise Stefanik.
So if you want a conservative in that position, do you support Liz Cheney holding on to her leadership?
MCINTOSH: Let me tell you what I think the ideal Republican leadership candidate is. It's somebody who will be truly faithful to conservative principles. We like to see them at the 90 percent rate.
And then somebody who can actually appeal the way President Trump did to working families, to say America is a great country. We are going to create jobs and have the American dream.
I think you combine those two things and you've got the ideal leadership for the Republican Party.
Elise Stefanik doesn't really believe in those principles. Liz Cheney is saying there's no place for Trump. So the Trump voters hear that as saying there's no place for them.
Those two types of leadership don't work. What you need is somebody who's truly principled and believes in the things the party says it stands for and welcomes all that --
BLACKWELL: Liz Cheney doesn't do those things?
MCINTOSH: No --
BLACKWELL: She's a very conservative congresswoman. And this is a fight over principle, is it not?
MCINTOSH: Well, for her, for some reason, people hear her talking about the president, and Trump voters think, well, she doesn't want us in the party either.
And that's a formula for not regaining the majority and not winning.
I think we've got to find leaders who can appeal to those voters who liked what President Trump did to build the economy, create jobs, keep the American dream.
And at the same time, be very faithful to those principles and not just say anything to get elected and then do something different once they get into office.
BLACKWELL: But also some of the actions of the Trump administration are direct conflicts to what you espouse on the Club for Growth Web site, your position.
Let me ask you one more here. Your group released a poll from Wyoming on popularity of the congresswoman, Liz Cheney. Are you planning to back a challenger in a primary against Liz Cheney?
MCINTOSH: We've been interviewing a lot of the candidates out there.
When we find somebody that fits that description, a true believer but can also reach out to the average American family and worker the way President Trump did, if there's someone like that that we identify.
And I can share with you, there are two or three that are thinking about running who would be great congressmen from Wyoming.
BLACKWELL: So --
MCINTOSH: So, we spent a lot of time interviewing, vetting, researching the candidates. And we're looking to see if we can find somebody that really fits that bill.
BLACKWELL: OK, former Indiana congressman, David McIntosh, thank you so much for your time, sir.
MCINTOSH: Thank you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, Victor, four more Asian women attacked just this week alone. And some U.S. diplomats say the discrimination has made it harder for them to do their jobs. We'll talk about that, next.
CAMEROTA: The wave of attacks against the Asian-American community continues.
In San Francisco, a suspect is now in custody after reportedly stabbing two elderly Asian women Tuesday who were waiting for a bus.
In New York, police release this disturbing video of two Asian women being attacked by a stranger with a hammer after the suspect yelled at them to take off their masks.
Violence and hate crimes against the Asian community has surged since the coronavirus outbreak.
And a new CNN report also finds that many Asian-American diplomats say they were denied assignments related to Asia because of concerns about their loyalty.
They say that sidelining them has national security consequences for the U.S. with China.
Andy Kim is a Democratic congressman from New Jersey and a former diplomat who is now speaking out about the obstacles he faced in the State Department.
Congressman, great to have you.
REP. ANDY KIM (D-NJ): Thanks for having me.
CAMEROTA: So, you were a diplomat and had top-secret security clearance. You worked as an adviser to General David Petraeus in Afghanistan.
But you were banned from working on issues pertaining to Korea. Why and by whom?
KIM: That's right. I remember, one day, you know, this was after I came back from working in Afghanistan, showed up at my desk one day at the State Department and there was an envelope on the desk.
And I opened it and read it and it was a letter telling me I was banned on working anything related to Korea.
Which was so confusing in so many ways. I wasn't even applying to work on anything related to Korea.
This was pre-active and preemptive. The government decided to tell me that I was banned. I felt like they were saying that they didn't trust me. That there were limits to what they thought my loyalty to this country was about.
CAMEROTA: And we should mention, you were born in Boston, correct?
KIM: That's right. I was born in the United States. I don't even speak Korean very well. It was just so confusing to me why this would be triggered.
Again, even when I wasn't trying to work on something related to Korea. It just worried me about whether or not I could actually have a career at the State Department.
CAMEROTA: You weren't alone. We're hearing this from other Asian- American diplomats.
So, did anybody explicitly say that they challenged your loyalty and questioned if you would be able to work on Asian affairs?
KIM: Well, the letter itself gets that across.
You know, when they're saying that I can't work on something simply because of my last name and my heritage, they're telling me that they worry that, if I'm doing something related to Korea, that I might not be acting in the best interest of America.
That's what that restriction was about. And I tried to appeal it. Wasn't able to.
I tried to talk to higher-ups at the State Department. A lot of them just told me, look, just let it be, let it pass.
I just felt they were not taking seriously the disrespect that was shown towards me, as someone who put myself in harm's way to work in Afghanistan, that endured numerous security clearances before.
What was the problem? They just wouldn't tell me, wouldn't be up front.
CAMEROTA: Your experience was during the Obama administration. Is it your impression that things have gotten worse for Asian-American diplomats since then?
KIM: I don't know. I mean, I've heard from different Asian-American diplomats about the challenges they're facing.
What I went through is something that others are facing. Others have had experiences in a much more difficult way where they actually were trying to get assignments or posts working in Asia or working on Asian issues and were banned. That is certainly something that has affected them.
I have had conversations with the senior leadership at the State Department recently. They are aware of this and they are digging into this. But I don't think we know just yet how deep of a problem this is.
So, certainly for me, I'm on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress. I'm doing my best to shine a light on this and come up with a real plan to address it.
CAMEROTA: And explain how this discrimination does impact national security of the U.S., particularly as it competes with China?
KIM: Well, one thing that I keep thinking about id just how, when I was working at the State Department, they kept saying our diversity is our strength. I think a lot of people around the country would say that.
But in actuality, sometimes our diversity, you know, demonstrated by that experience I had, can be seen as a threat and seen as a concern.
And so when we're looking at the United States and we're thinking about, what is it we want to project to the rest of the world, how do we want to showcase what America is, certainly, for an organization like the State Department, which literally is our face to the rest of the world.
So that's part of it. But also, we should be drawing upon that. We should be proud of having so many different cultures, so many different experiences, so many different people that know the world in different ways.
That can make for a stronger foreign policy. And that's something we need to be thinking about, especially as we're ramping up our relationship and competition with China. We need to be very mindful about how our actions, our words that we
use, when it comes to China, could very much impact and affect the Asian-American community here at home.
CAMEROTA: I mean, at the same time that's happening, then as we started this segment, we're seeing increased physical assaults on Asian-Americans, in public.
Meaning that people -- these suspects are not ashamed to do this in sometimes broad daylight.
How does this end? When will this end?
KIM: There's a connection here between the different elements and stories we're talking about, which is the question of, what does it mean to be American, and whether or not Asian-Americans, whether or not we can truly be seen as 100 percent American.
And over the course of my life and my career, I just had this -- what I call a shadow of foreignness that continues to hang over me.
And whether it's a questioning of my loyalty to this country or something else that Asian-Americans face, it's this question of, do we belong here.
And I know that one of the attacks against an Asian-American woman in New York, literally, the attacker said, you don't belong here.
That's what we're fighting against. We want to say, we do belong here. This is our country. And we are as much in love with America as anybody else. And our loyalty should not be questioned. And we just ask for respect to be seen as others are.
That's what this is about. And this is what we're trying to push towards and address when it comes to the heartbreaking violence that you were showing earlier.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Andy Kim, we really appreciate you coming on to speak with us about all of this. Thank you.
KIM: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Controversial Congress members, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, they're taking a page out of the former president's playbook and kicking off their own America First tour. We're live in Florida.
CAMEROTA: But first, 50 years after Marvin Gaye famously asked us, "What's Going On," CNN's Don Lemon gives us the story behind that ground-breaking album that's become an anthem for a new generation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking "What's Going On".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the first time I understood poetry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the greatest albums every made.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His melodies were like a voice of cry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He created something that will last.
ANNOUNCER: Fifty years later --
ANNOUNCER: -- why is it an anthem for a new generation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's prophecy, man.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What do you think Marvin would think about "What's Going On?"
ANNOUNCER: CNN special report, "WHAT'S GOING ON: MARVIN GAYE'S ANTHEM FOR THE AGES," Sunday at 8:00.
(END VIDEO CLIP)