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President Biden To Mark 100-Day Milestone This Week; Dana Bash Interview With VP Kamala Harris; Video And 911 Call Released In Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man In VA; Dr. Fauci: Risk Of Outdoor Coronavirus Transmission Is Quite Low; Derek Chauvin's Sentencing Date Set For June 16th; Bill Granting D.C. Statehood Passes The House; More Than 75 Colleges & Universities Requiring COVID Vaccinations. Aired 2- 3p ET
Aired April 25, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right. This week marks the 100th day of the Biden presidency and new polls are giving a clearer picture of where President Biden stands in the eyes of Americans.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll out this morning puts his approval rating at 52 percent, with 42 percent of respond events disapproving. Biden earns positive marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy.
This week he will address a joint session of Congress for the first time. The president is expected to promote the next phase of his massive U.S. infrastructure plan, as well as other achievements and priorities he has highlighted over the past three months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.
Shots in arms and money in pockets -- that's important.
It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges, it's a once-in-a- generation investment in America.
I've concluded that it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home.
We have to step up. Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Joe Johns is in Wilmington, Delaware where President Biden is spending the weekend.
All right, Joe. so how does President Biden compare at his point of this presidency to his predecessors?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, you did the top lines there, Fred. 52 percent according to ABC News. If you add the last five polls and average them, he comes out at about 54 percent, which puts him at the low end of modern American presidents. He does come in ahead of Donald Trump, but significantly behind Barack Obama, George W. Bush and some others.
So the question is why. And one of the issues clearly is the polarization of the American electorate. What we do know is that Democrats give Joe Biden some of the highest marks and Republicans simply do not. So that is one of the biggest reasons why we see Biden ending up where he is.
The good news for Joe Biden and his administration is that he gets some of his highest marks on handling of COVID-19, which is the number one concern for Americans. He sort of breaks even on the issue of handling the economy and he breaks negatively when it comes to handling immigration. So those are some of the findings of the polls we've seen over the last several days, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Joe Johns, we'll check back with you. Thanks so much from Wilmington.
And a reminder, you can watch President Biden's first joint address to Congress right here on CNN. Live coverage begins Wednesday night, 8:00 p.m.
Biden's 100th day comes as the nation grapples with a convergence of pressing issues -- from the coronavirus pandemic to police reform and mass shootings. That issue of policing coming into full focus after the conviction last week of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
Vice President Kamala Harris sat down with CNN's Dana Bash for an exclusive interview and talked about the racial reckoning happening in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 9 minutes and 29 second, right? We all watched that VIDEO, many of us watched it multiple times. And people are in pain over what we all saw in that video.
And in fact, it was in large part because of that case that together with my then-colleagues Cory Booker in particular and then on the House side Karen Bass that we wrote the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
And I really do hope that the United States Senate -- the House has passed it -- that the United States Senate will take it on and have the courage to take it on because there is no question that we've got to put an end to these moments where the public questions whether there's going to be accountability.
Questions whether there is going to be the kind of fairness that we should all expect and deserve in all of our lives, and in particular as it relates to people of color, with a particular emphasis on black and Brown men in the criminal justice system as it relates to policing.
HARRIS: This verdict is but a piece of it and it will not heal the pain that has existed for generations -- that has existed for generations among people who have experienced and firsthand witnessed what now a broader public is seeing because of smart phones and the ubiquity of our ability to videotape in real time what is happening in front of our faces. And that's just the reality of it.
And that's why -- that's why Congress needs to act and that's why they should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: This is really a moment in America.
BASH: Racial tensions, as you just mentioned, they are really palpable. Your experience, your life experience, is different from every one of your predecessors. How is that bringing itself to bear right here in the White House?
Well, I think that, you know, first of all, you will recall that when Joe Biden asked me to join him on the ticket, he did so with a sense of intentionality, of purpose, knowing that he and I may have very different life experiences, but we also have the same values and operate from the same principles.
But it was something that I know he was very intentional about in terms of asking me to run with him and to serve with him, which is that I will bring a perspective that will contribute to the overall decisions that we make.
He and I are in almost every meeting together, have made almost every decision together. I'm not going to talk about our private conversations, of course, but I can tell you that it is often the case that as I will ask his opinion about things, he will ask my opinion, and through that process I think that we -- we arrive at a good place and ultimately, of course, he is the president and he makes the final decision.
BASH: Do you feel a special responsibility given the fact that --
HARRIS: Listen, I carry a great, great weight of responsibility knowing that there are so many people -- again, the generations of women who fought for and imagined there would be a woman vice president or a woman on the ticket. And I think of that all the time in terms of the responsibility I have to hopefully make them proud.
I carry a great sense of responsibility for all of the young girls and boys of color, those who identify in some way because maybe no one expected something of them, but they expect a lot of themselves, to do well and to do right and to do good.
So, yes, I carry a great, great sense of responsibility, of the seriousness of the responsibility to be in this position and be a voice for those who have not traditionally been in the room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Here with me now CNN's chief police correspondent and co-anchor of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" Dana Bash. Dana, so good to see you.
So you had a very wide-ranging interview there with the vice president. She got particularly emotional, I noticed, about child poverty. But you also discovered in her that she's passionate about a lot.
BASH: Yes. And I thought what was one of the many things that was interesting because she hasn't talked a lot about her experience so far as we near the first 100 days of the Biden/Harris administration, particularly in that clip that you played, Fred, she talked about the decision-making process and how she is in the room with the president and they bounce things off of one another.
So there's that, but also obviously the week that I was able to talk to her, this past week. I mean, I guess you could probably argue that at any time unfortunately in modern history or in American history, but the reckoning as the Chauvin trial was coming to an end and as the verdict was coming down, the fact that she was reflective on her role and her barrier-breaking position as a woman of color at the highest levels of government, higher than there has ever been.
And for the other thing that was interesting is on police reform she said that she was one of the authors when she was still in the Senate of the George Floyd policing reform bill.
But what I pushed her on was also whether or not the White House is going to get more involved as these negotiators are making some progress. She made pretty clear at least in the short term the answer is no.
BASH: They're pulling back because they think that the negotiators -- Karen Bass her fellow Californian, Cory Booker on the Senate side and, of course, Republican Tim Scott seem to be making some progress. So I thought that was quite noteworthy.
WHITFIELD: You also brought up President Biden's decision to finally end the war in Afghanistan. Let's listen to that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: President Biden always said that he wants you to be the last person in the room, particularly for big decisions, just as he was for President Obama.
BASH: He just made a really big decision -- Afghanistan.
BASH: Were you the last person in the room?
BASH: And you feel comfortable?
HARRIS: I do. And I'm going to add to that. This is a president who has an extraordinary amount of courage. He is someone who I have seen over and over again make decisions based on what he truly believes, based on his years of doing this work and studying these issues, what he truly believes is the right thing to do.
And I'm going to tell you something about him. He is acutely aware that it may not be politically popular or advantageous for him personally.
It's really something to see. And I wish that the American public could see sometimes what I see because ultimately and the decision always rests with him, but I have seen him over and over again make decisions based exactly on what he believes is right regardless of what may be the political people tell him is in his best selfish interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So we get some insight into the decision-making of President Biden, which sounds very consistent with his decades in the Senate and when he served as vice president.
BASH: Yes, and to me that was one of the really key things that I wanted to know the answer to when I went into this interview, Fred, because from the beginning of then-candidate Biden's process when he was going through trying to figure out who his VP pick would be, he said to me in an interview and so many others that that was the most important criterion for him.
To know that there's somebody he can trust enough that he can bounce off the biggest decisions he's going to make, know that it stays private, and know that he gets sound advice, and the fact that it happened with perhaps the biggest decision -- definitely the biggest decision he has made so far as commander in chief and one, as you heard the vice president allude to there, was not popular among military leaders.
I mean, he pretty much went against the advice of military leaders who said that, you know, the whole notion of America and American troops being in Afghanistan militarily should remain conditions-based and he said, no, I'm not going to do it. And that was as you were saying, Fred, based on his experience and his position in the Senate and more importantly when he was vice president.
And as I toss it back to you, the other really interesting thing was her role as the president's kind of point person on trying to deal with immigration at its root, the Northern Triangle, diplomatically.
She talked a lot about that but really, really lowered expectations that this is going to be something that's going to be solved anytime soon because it is such a complicated problem.
WHITFIELD: Well, it was a fascinating interview. You touched a lot of bases.
Dana Bash, thanks so much for bringing that exclusive interview with the vice president.
BASH: So good to see you.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you as well.
All right. Coming up, another police-involved shooting in America. This time a Virginia sheriff's deputy shot an unarmed black man and investigators say the deputy helped the man just an hour before the shooting.
And then still that lingering pandemic and lots of questions. Do you need to wear a mask when you're outside and what is the risk if you don't? We have new information from Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Then later, the House passes legislation to make Washington, D.C. a state. Why a key supporter believes statehood is within reach even though there are still major obstacles in the Senate.
WHITFIELD: An investigation is under way in Virginia after a deputy shot an unarmed black man just an hour after the officer gave the man a ride home. 32-year-old Isaiah Brown was shot multiple times while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher as the deputy returned to Brown's home on a domestic incident call. The sheriff's department has now released body cam video and the 911 call.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has that footage and joining us now, Polo.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, pretty incredible that Isaiah Brown is still in serious condition even after his family says that he was shot ten times by a Virginia deputy. This happened on Wednesday.
His family alleging that the shooting was the result of a miscommunication. That the 32-year-old man had in his hand what was actually a phone which he was using to speak to 911 dispatchers when he was shot.
Now, we're going to play you a portion of that call n addition to deputy-worn body camera video that has been released by authorities so you can see and so you can hear some of the moments that happened before and after those shots were fired.
But first, an important background information here. According to the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office he was responding to Brown's call of a domestic disturbance, talking about the deputy. And in the 911 call, I listened to it, and you can actually hear Brown having an argument with his brother. At one point in the conversation Brown threatens to kill his brother.
Brown is also heard asking his brother for a gun but his brother refuses and then seconds later Brown tells the dispatcher that he does not have a gun and that he is not armed as he walks into the street. And that's when you begin to hear the sirens approaching.
The dispatcher instructs Brown several times to hold his hands up and that's where this audio picks up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isaiah, are you holding your hands up? Put your hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me your hands now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me your hands now. Show me your hands.
Drop the gun. Drop the gun now. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.
Show me your hands. Show me your hands. Drop the gun. Drop the gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: The Virginia state police they do confirm for CNN that Brown was, in fact, unarmed at the time of the shooting. The Brown family attorney suspecting that the deputy actually mistook the cordless phone that he had in his hand for a gun.
And here is what the deputy body camera actually shows. And of course, a warning that some viewers may find this video disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got a gun to his head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the gun now. Stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Authorities do say that Brown again, remains in serious condition with nonlife-threatening injuries. His attorneys now calling on the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office to release audio between their dispatcher and the deputy whose identity has not yet been released. He does remain on administrative leave, Fred, as the investigation continues.
That's going to be a crucial part of this investigation because the question here remains was the deputy told to expect somebody who was armed or was it as the Brown family attorney describes, did he -- was it a mistake? Did he think that Brown actually had a weapon when in fact it was a phone in his hand?
WHITFIELD: Terribly disturbing.
All right. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.
All right. A North Carolina sheriff now says he wants police body camera video of a deadly shooting of a black man in his county released to the public. In a message posted on Facebook Sheriff Tommy Wooten said he will file a court motion as soon as Monday requesting a judge make the video public. But he says before that can happen the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation needs to confirm the video release won't undermine the investigation.
Few details have been made public in the fatal shooting of 42-year-old Andrew Brown. Brown was killed by sheriff's deputies when they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant on Wednesday in Elizabeth City.
The trial for a former Louisville police officer charged in connection with Breonna Taylor's shooting has been pushed back to February of 2022. Taylor, a 26-year-old aspiring nurse, was shot and killed by Louisville officers in her own home during a botched police raid in march of 2020.
No charges have been brought in her death. But former officer Brett Hankison is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing multiple shots that entered a neighbor's apartment and endangered three people. The judge says his trial date had to be pushed back because of a backlog of trials caused by the pandemic.
All right. Still ahead, experts say the coronavirus vaccine supply will outpace the demand as early as next month. And now we're learning about 8 percent of Americans skipped the appointment for their second shots.
WHITFIELD: All right. As the months get warmer and the number of vaccinated Americans continues to grow, more questions about whether Americans should continue to wear masks outdoors.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says new CDC guidance could soon be on the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think it's pretty common sense now that outdoor risk is really, really quite low particularly -- I mean, if you are a vaccinated person wearing a mask outdoors, I mean, obviously the risk is minuscule.
What I believe you're going to be hearing with the country -- is going to be going to be hearing soon, is updated guidelines from the CDC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Joining me right now to discuss, Dr. Richina Bicette, an emergency medicine physician and a medical director at the Baylor College of Medicine. Always good to see you, Dr. Bicette.
So in your view how important is it for people to continue to mask up, even though people are getting vaccinated and restrictions state to state are being lifted?
DR. RICHINA BICETTE, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: So wearing masks are still important, but I do agree with Dr. Fauci that wearing masks outside may be less important. Actually, back in November "The Journal of Infectious Diseases" released data showing that you're about 19 times more likely to contract COVID indoors as compared to outdoors and about less than 10 percent of cases have been contracted while outside and that was before the rollout of these highly effective vaccines that we now have.
So the risk is low, people are getting vaccinated. If you are outdoors you are likely safe. You do have to consider the rate of viral transmission in your community, the vaccination rates in your community, and what kind of outdoor setting you are in.
Of course, a packed concert where people are shoulder to shoulder is going to be riskier than an outdoor volleyball game where you have a large area and people spread apart.
WHITFIELD: And those concerts are coming by the way. Some artists are already advertising that, you know, at an arena or theater near you very soon.
WHITFIELD: So new CDC data also shows that about 8 percent of Americans have now missed appointments for their second doses of the coronavirus vaccine. And that's up from about 3.4 percent in March.
So what is behind that?
What's going on? People would be willing to get their first vaccine, but then why drop it off before that second one?
BICETTE: Well, it could be because of the reactions they're experiencing with the first dose, and lack of knowledge that these are some things that can be these are some things that can be expected. Sometimes you will have a little bit of nausea or fatigue or headache. Those things are to be expected and doesn't mean that you shouldn't get your second dose. It's not indicative of an allergic reaction. As we have more vaccines being given, there may be people with
allergic reactions. If you do have an allergic reaction, then you shouldn't get the second dose.
And then, of course, everything going on with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, I'm sure that's contributing to vaccine hesitancy and with people not wanting to delve into even other vaccine manufacturers.
WHITFIELD: In fact, what do you tell people who are now even more hesitant because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did have a pause and even though it contributed to some blood clots in about 15 people, but now it is back on the market. Now, it's available.
What do you say to people who now have even more questions about the safety of getting not just Johnson & Johnson one shot, but perhaps any vaccine?
BICETTE: You know, Fred, I have a lot of things in this world that I worry about and the safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is quite low on that list.
Let's do some comparisons. The rate of developing blood clots from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from what we're seeing so far is about two in one million, OK? If you take your chances with COVID the rate of developing a blood clot from having COVID infection is actually 147,000 in a million, OK?
And that's just talking about blood clots. There are other things that we should be more worried about. In the month of April this year in the United States alone, 50 Americans have been killed in mass shootings. Where is the outrage and the cry for gun control?
You just spoke about another officer-involved shooting in Virginia. The lifetime risk of a black man getting killed by police is 1 in 1,000, not 1 million -- 1 in 1,000. Where is the outrage and the cry for police reform?
So again, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safety is not something that I'm too worried about.
WHITFIELD: Yeah, and all of those things you just mentioned weighing heavy on many of our minds and shoulders. I will talk more about that at the end of the 3:00 hour. I hope you can listen and read on that as well, some of my thoughts.
Dr. Richina Bicette, thank you so much for keeping us abreast on the pandemic, the vaccines and what we should all responsibly be doing. I appreciate it.
BICETTE: Thank you, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And, of course, for more on coronavirus, Jim Acosta will interview Dr. Anthony Fauci in the 4:00 hour Eastern hour. Jim will also speak with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in the 5:00 hour.
And still to come, his church sits right across the street from the spot where George Floyd was killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe God deliberately prepared me to be here because I realized that everybody, every pastor can't be in 38th and Chicago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Meet the Minnesota pastor working to bring healing to this community.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
Derek Chauvin will be sentenced on June 16th. Despite last week's guilty verdict, the city of Minneapolis remains uneasy. Still heavy on the mind, the brutal public death of George Floyd, the grief and guilt that have come with it.
Adrienne Broaddus joining us now from Minneapolis.
And, Adrienne, tell us what the mood is like there and all the people that you've been talking to.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what, after a week or weeks of anxiety, Fred. Things are calm. There's a collective sense of release, but the real work begins. Neighboring Minnesota is Kenosha, Wisconsin, and later this afternoon people are going to hold a protest outside of the Kenosha Police Department, members of the Jacob Blake's family.
You might remember in the days following the shooting death of George Floyd, there was an incident in Kenosha and it left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down. The officer in that case was cleared of any wrongdoing and the family is just now learning that officer returned to work during the Chauvin trial. And there's going to be a protest there this afternoon.
And a pastor here in Minnesota that we spoke with, his church is on the corner of 38th and Chicago, he says his work is needed now more than ever.
CURTIS FARRAR, PASTOR, WORLDWIFE OUTREACH FOR CHRIST: Right here on that side of the building --
BROADDUS (voice-over): Pastor Curtis Farrar will never forget the day he saw George Floyd pinned to the ground by police.
How close is your church to the site where George Floyd --
FARRAR: I think it's about 25 yards.
BROADDUS: He was standing across the street from the Cup Foods store in his church sanctuary.
FARRAR: And I saw what was going on with George Floyd.
BROADDUS: For more than three decades, Farrar has past erred the church on the corner of 38th and Chicago, an intersection now known worldwide as the site of George Floyd's murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless every one of you today.
FARRAR: I believe God deliberately prepared me to be here because I realize that everybody, every pastor can't be on 38th and Chicago. A lot of people are afraid to come to 38th and Chicago.
BROADDUS: He's seen this square transformed from the site of yet another police killing to an epicenter of activism and unity. Something he couldn't have imagined 45 years ago.
FARRAR: I was going into a building.
BROADDUS: Farrar says he nearly died after an encounter with law enforcement in 1976.
FARRAR: Someone had called the police and they thought I was somebody that I wasn't.
They started to beat me. They started to beat me. This white lady came out and said, leave him alone. Believe it or not, they took me down to the hospital. They pulled me out by my feet and my head hit the cement.
BROADDUS: Farrar said the encounter left him with a traumatic brain injury.
FARRAR: I did not believe police officers would beat a black man simply because he was black. I felt they had to have said something, they had to have done something. Nobody feels that way about another person enough to kill him because of his skin color. I was proven wrong.
BROADDUS: Decades later he can't unsee what he saw through this window, a reflection on his own life.
FARRAR: God has changed my heart. I've come to understand that that's a human problem, racism, and we're going to have that in our world today because it's a part of human nature. You cannot say you love God and be a Christian and hate your brother.
BROADDUS: From the sanctuary of his church, some only see Cup Foods where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin, but Farrar sees a community ready for restoration, no longer living in fear.
FARRAR: You cannot even think you're going to heaven with hatred in your heart for a brother regardless of what color they are.
BROADDUS (on camera): And Pastor Farrar says despite the struggle he still sees hope and as you can see from the conversation we had with him, he is hopeful. Meanwhile, sentencing is scheduled for Derek Chauvin on June 16th -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Well, the pastor is hopeful, but at the same time you can see, I mean, his pain is still very raw, too.
Adrienne Broaddus, thank you for bringing his story and that of so many during what has been a very tumultuous last few weeks. Thank you so much out of Minneapolis.
All right. Coming up, how the idea of D.C. statehood went from a dream to the top of the Democratic agenda. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, there she is, ready to join us live in moments.
WHITFIELD: All right. The fight for statehood for Washington, D.C. took a step forward last week when the House passed a bill that would grant it statehood. The vote fellow long party lines 216-208.
But the measure faces a tough battle in the U.S. Senate where it needs 60 votes to pass. Some critics argue the district is too small to be a state, but D.C. would be ahead of both Vermont and Wyoming, which are states in population, the city is currently overseeing, Washington that is, by Congress and residents of D.C. pay taxes but have no vote in either the House nor Senate.
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton is the delegate for the District of Columbia and also a member of the House Oversight Committee.
Congresswoman, always a pleasure.
DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: My pleasure.
WHITFIELD: So this is the second time the House has passed D.C. statehood legislation but you've said for the first time, statehood is really within reach. What makes you so much more hopeful?
HOLMES NORTON: I'm optimistic because of what the polls show. It's been a very detailed poll of where people stand, and we now have 54 percent -- remember that number -- 54 percent of the American people support statehood.
How did we get there? I think that's the affect of our hearings which told Americans what they did not know, that their own nation's capital, the residents who live there don't have the same rights they have. Above all, what seems to have pressed Americans towards statehood is they learned that the residents of their nation's capital pay more federal taxes per capita than the residents of any other part of the United States.
I mean, when that's put on the poll, you even get 42 percent of Republicans supporting statehood. So, we are -- we are definitely moving ahead in public opinion and that's how you move ahead in legislation.
WHITFIELD: So you need 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, but then here is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explain in his view why he opposes statehood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONELL (R-KY): They plan to make the District of Columbia a state, that would give them two new Democratic senators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So his argument is based on power. Yours has been about taxation of the 712,000 residents without representation as you just underscored.
So, are there Republican senators that you think will be willing to see your push that is about citizens' representation, Democratic reform, voting rights?
HOLMES NORTON: Statehood has always been partisan, so I'm not surprised that Republicans think that the District would be Democratic, would be opposed to statehood.
Look, what we lack is a partner. Usually, there were two states that got in at the same time so you could write them off, one might be Democratic and one might be Republican, Hawaii and Alaska came in that way, the last two states.
And, by the way, they changed soon after coming in. The District gets this 54 percent for statehood without having a partner and we see that in the Senate. The Senate, yes, it's pretty evenly divide now, but we do have the support of our majority in the Senate, and I am very optimistic about the Senate because the filibuster is on its last legs.
Remember, the Senate had gotten rid of --
WHITFIELD: Until then -- until then, you do need some Republican support to get that 60.
HOLMES NORTON: Yeah, to get -- certainly to get to 60. But I think if the filibuster is on its last leg, we may need only majority support.
HOLMES NORTON: And when I say the filibuster is on its last legs it's because they've gotten rid of the filibuster for everything except legislation. You can't do it for nominations, for example. WHITFIELD: All right. So let's talk about what's going to happen more
immediately because that's somewhere down the line, potentially. Later this week, President Biden will be addressing the House, and he will also mark his 100th day in office. And one of the hallmarks of his campaign when he was running was to reignite bipartisanship on the Hill.
So in your view, is it starting to feel like bipartisanship is in the air?
HOLMES NORTON: Well, it certainly is the way he operates. For example, I met with the president short after he took office with a group of Republicans and Democrats evenly divided because I'm chair of a subcommittee. And he is reaching out in just the way he should. Now, if, in fact, Republicans don't come over I don't think that's his fault because he's certainly doing the necessary work to reach them.
WHITFIELD: All right. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, thank you so much. Always good to see you.
HOLMES NORTON: My pleasure.
WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.
All right. Straight ahead, more than 70 colleges and universities will now require students to be vaccinated before returning to campus this fall.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
Students in California's University School System will need more than books and computers to return to campus this fall. The biggest public school system in the U.S. says students, faculty and staff will all need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They join dozens of other colleges and universities across the country who've already said they will require students to be immunized.
CNN's Golodryga has details.
JOHN HERMITT, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I was happy. I already wanted to get vaccinated. I have no problems with getting vaccinated.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For these Rutgers University students, any chance at normalcy would be a real shot in the arm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have more students come back and be in person and like hopefully like get a real college experience.
ANTONIO CALCADO, CHIEF OPERATION OFFICER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: We feel vaccine is the game changer for us to bring back at many people as we can.
GOLODRYGA: School officials like Antonio Calcado saying mandating all students be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall is the best and safest way to bring students back.
CALCADO: They deserve to have the experience that they have been looking forward to and we think that this is a small price to pay to do it.
GOLODRYGA: Rutgers was one of the first but they're not alone. Nearly 75 other universities including Duke, Georgetown, Brown, Cornell, Notre Dame and Syracuse are requiring that students get vaccinated.
CALCADO: Students will be required to upload the vaccination cards.
GOLODRYGA: Calcado compares the policy to proof for other vaccines such as measles and mumps required in public and private schools across the country.
CALCADO: We already require and mandate a number of different vaccines. So, we have a policy in place.
GOLODRYGA: Similar to other vaccines, exemptions for medical or religious beliefs can be requested.
DORIT REISS, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HASTINGS: Vaccine management and education go back a long time and have been upheld by courts because it creates a safety net vulnerable to outbreaks.
GOLODRYGA: Despite that history, other schools are taking a different approach. The University of Colorado at Boulder says it is not requiring vaccines at this time because they are being administered under the FDA's emergency use authorization or EUA, but is strongly encouraging students to get them.
REISS: There's a legal question, can you mandate a vaccine under an EUA, and the law isn't clear on that.
GOLODRYGA: State policies may also impact a school's decision. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning businesses from asking to seek proof of a COVID-19 vaccine one day after Nova Southeastern University announced it would require vaccinations. The school sys it is now reviewing the order.
Then there are schools like Ohio State which are avoiding mandates all together, instead saying everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are able to do so. The vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective.
Many schools have yet to announce a vaccine policy, perhaps an indication of just how complicated the issue is, as students remain hopeful for a return to campus normalcy.
BELLA FUSCO, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY STUDENT: It gives me hope that things will be more normal than they are now.
HERMITT: So, I'm just happy to get back and I'll be able to see all my friends again.
GOLODRYGA: Walking alone through a still deserted Rutgers campus, Calcado has no regrets over their decision.