tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN December 29, 2020 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
>> this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon in for chris who is nof tonight. he is off this week as a matter of fact. we're going to start with the covid variant the one that appeared in the uk, now in the u.s. for the first time. a colorado man in his 20s with no travel history is in isolation right now. and meanwhile there is a covid cliff hanger on capitol hill to tell you about. less than 48 hours after president trump caved to allow $600 relief checks, his demand for a $2,000 payment is now being wrapped just like he wants it into what democrats consider a poison pill. because it's only important to this president that you get real financial relief if you can get two other things -- if he can get two other items into the bill that has nothing to do with coronavirus. senate leader mitch mcconnell appears happy to have obliged him with that. but time could run out before it even gets to a vote.
a week from now, georgia is going to decide if it wants to keep both its republican senators. if both those seats go democratic, the gop loses the senate. president-elect biden is blasting the white house for the slow rollout for the vaccines. >> the trump administration's plan to distribute vaccines is falling behind, far behind. and the pace of the vaccination program is moving now, if it continues to move as it is now, it's going to take years not months to vaccinate the american people. >> as you can imagine, that put the president on the defensive. trump tried to shift blame to the states. but remember that many states got far less vaccine than they had been promised. and trump's own chief operations officer for the operation warp speed already took responsibility for the miscommunication. but maybe the outgoing commander in chief missed that because he was too busy complaining about the renovations to his mar-a-lago resort and, of course, golfing. >> we have a report on all of this tonight.
we're going to get straight to it. i want to get straight to t i want to bring in kaitlin collins in west palm beach traveling with the president. and mj lee is covering the biden transition from wilmington, delaware, and our congressional correspondent phil mattingly as well joining us from washington d.c. good evening to one and all. kaitlin, to you first. president trump shifting blame to the states for slow vaccine rollout but the states have not gotten the supply that they were promised. >> and also they're under an immense amount of pressure right now already, don, because they don't have a lot of funding. they're already in charge of contact tracing and rolling out testing as well. now they've got distribution of the vaccine thrown at them as well. you can see why it's become such an issue and raising questions what the planning was for this, given the bid numbers we've seen from federal officials about the vaccinations they said we could expect from the end of december, just a few days away. and of course we're nowhere near that. you see the president taking a similar tactic when it came to testing, saying it was the
state's responsibility, it's the state's fault that there was such a botched rollout. he did the same thing with ppe. it's raising concerns that the vaccine will face a similar fate. we do expect to get questions answered by administration officials tomorrow from the pentagon and from hhs. we'll see what their explanation is for why they haven't met the goals that they set so far. >> it's far less windy where mj joins us. [ laughter ] kaitl kaitlan looks like she's about to blow away there. >> holding on. >> blasted the administration's handling of this and set the bar at 1 million vaccines a day. tell me about that. >> set a really high bar. this is a really ambitious goal. he's essentially talking about speeding things up in terms of the vaccine distribution from five to six times what we're seeing currently. that's at least 1 million shots administered a day. that's 100 million shots in his
first hundred days in office. and then there are a couple of other things that he talked about, whether it is setting up vaccine sites or sending in mobile units that go into hard-to-reach communities. talking about a national public campaign to try to convince people who have a lot of concerns about the vaccine being safe of course particularly in communities of color. and then this mandate to require everybody to wear a mask in his first 100 days in office. i will tell you, though, don, we have been spending a lot of time here in wilmington covering this transition process. and every time the president-elect talks about the coronavirus, you really get a sense of how daunting he finds this task ahead is for him. he's not ever really underselling what a big challenge this is going to be, and certainly that was the tone that he struck tonight as well. >> on direct relief payments, kaitlin, for americans, the president is saying republicans
have a death wish if they don't increase the size of these relief checks. he's really at war with his party in these final days. >> yeah. it's fascinating to see what is happening in this split. we have seen the president at odds, of course, with republicans before, especially senate republicans and especially when it comes to something like financial agreement like this, that the president is making when it comes to foreign policy. the other thing we're watching right now. this is fascinating to see this is the last few days of the donald trump presidency. there is this massive split within his own party that democrats are eager to try to take advantage of and highlight the fact that the president is more in agreement with them on this than he is with the leadership of his own party, including senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. still pushing for these $2,000 checks. whether or not that's going to happen i'll leave that up to phil for something to explain. this is something that he pushed for, even though he did not make a similar effort back during negotiations. it's not only frustrated senate republicans but his own staffers who are in charge of negotiating
that and now are in the middle of this where the president of course is now lashing out at republicans over the size of these payments. >> she invoked your name. is it possible? >> i'll frame it this way, don. if you want those $2,000 stimulus checks, if you qualify for the $2,000 stimulus checks, today was a day that moved you further away than actually getting them, than to the alternative to it. the reality is this. kaitiln hits a key point. it's a fascinating point in the republican party as you watch senators trying to navigate a president still very powerful inside their party and inside their because base but is losing power by the day in terms of what he can actually do. there's a reality here in the senate that things actually need to get done, whether that's the defense national act or the covid relief stimulus package and how mitch mcconnell has operated here is the most fascinating part. because loyalty tests don't matter to mitch mcconnell.
president trump doesn't necessarily matter that much to mitch mcconnell so far as he can't offer anything to mitch mcconnell anything anymore. protecting his 52-member congress, on winning those two seats in georgia right now. mitch mcconnell's conference, don, i think this is really important, they've had five republicans come out and say they support $2,000 checks. that leaves 47 republicans who are not coming out and saying they support those checks. if you want to know where mitch mcconnell is going to go, why he's presenting an alternative piece of legislation that democrats call a poison pill, it's because he's trying to protect the majority of his conference. that could change. right now more than likely no stimulus checks, at least at the $2,000 level, are coming any time soon. >> it's still not an enviable position for mitch mcconnell to be in right now. fighting the president. leaving office. he has to garner, figure out how much support the president still has, even though he's leaving. there's a lot of calculation that he has to do before he figures out what his strategy is
going to be. >> no question. it's complicated. you're dealing with the president, who is the president. everybody has watched him and operated under his leadership in the republican party over the course of the last four years. he's dealing with two run-off races that will determine whether or not he's still the majority leader. he's dealing with a conference that's uneasy about the presidency here. this is also his job. this is what he got himself into. you get in bed with president trump, i don't know how anybody thought this was going to end any differently when he lost. i think the interesting element or elements over the course of the next couple of weeks -- and kaitlan's obviously got very keen insight on this from the white house perspective, is senate republicans in particular trying to inch away. trying to inch away. president trump has claimed after the covid relief agreement he signed that he got a litany of items in that agreement as payment for his willingness to sign that. mitch mcconnell didn't mention any of those in his statement. he has moved on, to some degree.
that underscores why they don't really have a relationship right now. the president has attacked him publicly, he has attacked him privately. mitch mcconnell, the last three years, could always get on the phone privately with the president and walk him through specific issues, try to get him in line with where the senate republican conference was. that, right now, is all but gone as president trump's term comes to an end. >> let's talk about what's happening in georgia. georgia senators david perdue and kelly loeffler had backed these check increases. where do they and their run-off contest fit into all of this, phil? >> reporter: they're essential. and i think they were central to the fact that covid relief got done in the first place. behind-the-scenes moment where mcconnell told his colleagues, and this is a quote, david and kelly are getting killed right now, because there was no covid relief deal. all of a sudden there's a covid relief deal this is the control
of the united states senate. this is whether or not mitch mcconnell maintains his position as majority leader. that's why it's interesting why mcconnell is doing what he's doing today. this polls very well, the idea of expanded checks. it's obvious this has resonated nationally, particularly given the dire economic times so many people are facing. however, it doesn't appear, based on numbers that some republicans i'm talking to are looking at that it is going to be the clinching issue in terms of who wins and who doesn't win. that's more of a base issue. it's more of a turn out of your own people issue. so they matter. they obviously backed the idea of the $2,000 checks because that lines them up with president trump. one question they did not answer today, according to dj judd, our colleague on the ground there, kyung lah as well, they did not push mitch mcconnell whether he would put an up or down vote on the floor right now. they're willing to back it but they're not willing to force the issue right there.
if they wanted it done, if they said this is crucial to us winning these two seats, mitch mcconnell would have to act. they haven't done that yet. >> that's going to make a huge difference on how this goes for biden. right, mj? >> reporter: absolutely. i mean, there's no question that the biden team is watching all of this carefully. and every time that he talks about this, he has been critical. and when i say this, just the coronavirus issue in general, he has been deeply critical of trump. but it was note worthy that one thing that he did congratulate the bipartisan team in congress and president trump on in recent days is getting this covid relief bill actually signed, but he has always also said, too, this is just the beginning. that this is simply not going to be enough. and you also heard yesterday when he was asked by a reporter what do you think about the $2,000 direct payments for covid-19 relief?
do you support it? he gave a one word answer "yes" before he walked offstage. he is very keenly aware that all the activities going on in congress right now, that is going to have a huge impact on his own legacy and what he ends up inheriting at the beginning of his administration. regardless of what actually gets done between now and the time that he takes office, he also has emphasized over and over again there's going to be a lot more on his plate, that whatever gets done between now and when he becomes actually president, at the white house, that there's just going to be so much more work that he has to do with senate republicans and with everybody else in the house. and, of course, whatever ends up happening in georgia in the senate runoff races, is going to be so, so critical to what he's able to get done and what the political dynamics are and what working relationship he is going to have to have with mitch mcconnell next year. >> all right. i appreciate it.
you've got the wind but we've got overcoats. you've got the wind but we've got overcoats. >> i'll take it. >> thank you all. be safe. i'll see you soon. if not have a good new year's, okay? breaking news tonight, first known case of the highly infectious covid variant in the united states, the same variant that's locked down southern england, is it a sign of things to come? >> as i said all along, i'll tell you like it is when it comes to covid. s, they don't have time to go to the post office they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter any package any time right from your computer all the amazing services of the post office only cheaper get our special tv offer a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again!
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here's break news tonight. colorado reporting the first-known case of the uk covid-19 variant, that experts believe to be more contagious. that, as president-elect biden is calling out the slow pace of covid-19 vaccinations. >> a few weeks ago, trump administration suggested that 20 million americans could be vaccinated by the end of december. with only a few days left in december, we've only vaccinated a few million so far. and the pace of vaccination program is moving now as -- if it continues to move as it is now, it's going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the american people. >> but the reality is that we can't afford to wait years for americans to get vaccinated. tonight we set a record for
covid-19 hospitalizations with over 124,000 americans in the hospital. let's discuss now. dr. leana wen, an emergency physician and an expert we love having on, because she gives us everything we need to know. thank you, doctor, for joining us. we appreciate it. let's talk about the uk coronavirus variant now confirmed to be here in the u.s. how worried should we be? should we be worried at all? >> we should be worried, but not surprised, don. that's because we've known that this variant has existed since september. and there has been a lot of back and forth travel between here and the uk. and this case in colorado is in someone who has no travel history, which means that this individual got it from somewhere in the community. it's almost certainly not the only case. there will probably be many other cases. even though this strain doesn't appear to be more virulent. it doesn't cause greater chance of hospitalization or death than somebody with the regular
strain, but it's more transmissible. by definition it means it will spread more and there will be more hospitalizations and deaths that result. >> it's more contagious, right, if it's going to spread more, isn't it more likely to overwhelm health care workers and hospitals then? >> that's right. and that's what i'm really concerned about. we know that at least one in five hospitals in the u.s. are already reporting that their icus are at or over capacity. and if we have a strain that may be contributing to this, then of course we are further in a place that we just cannot even fathom. i'd say too that finding the strain has also just shown us how our surveillance system is lacking, that we just have not had the surveillance to pick up on. maybe there are other strains that are even more contagious and we haven't been doing the type of testing we need. >> that's pretty frightening, doctor. let's talk about the vaccine. we need the vaccine, right? the distribution. coming up short now. 11 million vaccines already delivered.
only 2.1 million doses have actually been administered. what's gone wrong? >> this is the question. i think, actually, that a lot has gone wrong. i think part of it is overpromising. because initially president trump had promised a hundred million vaccines that were supposed to be delivered by the end of this year. and then it became 40 million, and then 20 million. and then it wasn't 20 million administered. it was 20 million delivered. and then it became 20 million allocated but not delivered. so that's a big problem. in a way it sounds a lot like the testing debacle, that there's no national strategy. states are supposed to figure it out on their own but without the resources and the guidance that they need. i'm really concerned here because we thought that vaccines would be how we get out of where we are. it just pains me, and i'm sure so many of us, so much, that there are millions of vaccines sitting in warehouses when there are thousands of people dying every single day.
>> can we dig in a little more on what you said? i want our viewers to be able to see it. in september president trump promised 100 million doses by the end of the year. dr. wen just told us that. look at this. this is the variation of what was promised and what's actually being delivered. in november the administration said 40 million before dropping to 20 million just a few weeks back. so instead of fixing the problem, doctor, the trump administration is backpedaling on the promises and they're playing semantics, yet people are dying. americans don't know what to believe. they don't know when things are going to start to get back to normal, if they're ever going to get this vaccine in the next couple months or even within the next year. what do you say to them? >> well, i would say that we need a lot more transparency from our federal government. and i hope that it begins now with the trump administration. i certainly hope it will begin with the biden team. we need a public accounting of exactly what's happening. and i would want to see a lot
more humility and introspection as well. look we know that this is a very complex operation we're undertaking here, and i think the american people would have a lot of sympathy if the federal government said we recognize there are missteps. here is what went wrong. here are the steps we're going to take in order to fix the mistakes and here is how we're going to move forward together. right now at a pace of 1 million a week, vaccines being administered, it will take us ten years for to us vaccinate 80% of americans. >> wow! >> so 2030. we cannot wait that long to get back to normal. >> the goal for the president-elect is 1 million vaccines a day. this is what he said. >> it would take ramping up five to six times the current pace to 1 million shots a day. even at that improvement if, we boost the speed of vaccinations to 1 million shots a day it will still take months to have the majority of the united states population vaccinated.
>> so 1 million vaccinations a day. is it possible? will that be enough to get the virus under control? >> i think it's possible. although, with all due respect to the president-elect, it's not enough. because if we to the simple month here at a million a day, which is going to be a lot better than a million a week, but at that rate it will take a year and a half to vaccinate 80% of the american public for a two-dose vaccine and that would be middle of 2022. i don't think that's what the american people expect. either we need to reset our expectations completely or we need to say a million per day is a great goal for us to aim for, for the next several months but then with the expectation that we have to ramp up dramatically after that, too. >> we've got our work cut out, right? everyone said by july we'll be back to normal. but if they don't start getting this vaccine out faster, that's not at all true. am i wrong? >> that's exactly right.
and i think we have had this really rosie picture that's painted for us. and maybe we should have learned our lessons sooner with testing, with ppe, that numbers given to us are not reflective of reality. because so much work also had to be put in. and now we're finding out that that work just has not been done. >> dr. leana wen, thank you so much. appreciate you joining us. be safe and i'll see you soon. >> southern california's icu capacity is at 0%. hospitals are reporting they're running out of beds, oxygen tanks and space in the morgue. to weigh in on this crisis, california secretary of state who is taking over senator kamala harris' seat next, alex padilla, next. is a story waiting to be discovered. this holiday, start the journey with a dna kit from ancestry.
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so tonight the coronavirus is ripping through california. stay-at-home orders are being extended for millions in southern california in the joaquin valley. they were set to end this week, but there are no icu beds left there because of the explosion in cases after the thanksgiving holiday. california's top health official is warning that some hospitals will need to get ready for what he calls crisis care and hard choices. an epidemiologist at ucla says this is no longer a matter of waves or surges but a viral tsunami. with kamala harris now preparing to become vice president, alex padilla will become the next united states senator from california. he will be making history himself in these historic times. and he joins me now. good evening, sir.
senate designate alex padilla, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> nothing less than dire in your state. some icus in southern california at zero capacity. other hospitals are preparing to ration care. could people who truly need help be turned away? >> so, i mean, you hit the nail on the head, don. the situation truly is dire. we can't emphasize that enough. you look at too many regions of the state with zero percent icu capacity. long, long lines. no the just at covid testing sites but food banks, food pantries. it's why this discussion over the survival checks in congress is so frustrating, because there's literally people's lives on the line. we don't have time for the politics that have been played in the capitol in recent days. so our message is going to continue to be and anybody listening, please stay at home as much as possible. do what's necessary to protect yourself, your loved ones and community. your wear mask. it's not a partisan issue.
it's a matter of life and death for far too many. respect physical distancing and public health protocols we've been hearing since march. >> having said all that, you talked about the people in line. it takes resources, right, to deal with this. what does your state need right now to deal with this worsening crisis? >> look, we need help. and, you know, this most recent package that was finally signed after unnecessary delays, nowhere near enough and certainly not enough to get us to the end of the pandemic, which is still nowhere in sight. we need to continue to support struggling families. we need to continue to support small business owners. we're not going to be able to rebuild our economy until we get to the other side of the pandemic. in your prior segment you talked about even with the big uptick in manufacturing, distribution, administration of vaccines for sufficient penetration of our national population, it's going to be a while.
so we need to continue to hang tight. federal resources to sustain the economy, federal resources to sustain our hospital and health care infrastructure and essential workers, front line workers behind it. again, this is not a partisan issue. this is impacting blue states, red states, purple states, everybody in between. and can't wait for the true national leadership that will begin on january 20th. >> i've got to ask you, because new york city, in new york state, we were dealing with, in the beginning of the pandemic a lot, right, because people coming into this country, especially from asia and europe. and we have such a big hub and people come in here. california for the most part spared, right, except you have some of the most restrictive, you know, shutdowns there, restaurants and that sort of thing. why are you dealing with such -- why are there so many cases now in california? have people not been taking it seriously? what's going on in california right now?
>> look, if you look at the numbers and the charts for the better part of the year, governor newsom's quick, bold action paid dividends. our curve was relatively flat especially on a per capita basis for a good chunk of the year. as you said, we've been hearing about whether it's covid fatigue, and people are maybe getting a little too comfortable thinking that they would be immune or the worst of it was over but it wasn't true. second, california can do all the things it needs to do. if you have people still coming in and out from other states that have been less restrictive. arizona is just next door, for example, where all the people that flew throughout thanksgiving weekend, all that is now coming home to roost. once again we've got to tighten the belt in terms of mobility, in terms of public health and minimizing exposure to try to flatten the curve down once again. >> we hope you guys get it under
control. i want to talk now about the moment where governor gavin newsom asked you to represent california in the senate. you were talking about all that your immigrant parents sacrificed for you. here it is. listen. >> can you imagine what they -- mom would be thinking now as i ask you if you want to be the next u.s. senator of the united states, the great state of california? >> are you serious? >> this is the official -- this is the ask, brother. >> i'm honored, man. and i'm humbled. i can't tell you how many pancakes my dad flipped or eggs he scrambled to try to provide for us, or the many, many years of my mom cleaning houses, doing the same thing. >> it's very moving. what is the most important thing that you want to accomplish in the senate?
>> i think it's bringing that perspective. it's not unique to my family. my family is one of the many, many -- i think you could tell in that video, my journey of being raised by proud immigrant parents who worked hard, sacrificed, struggled in their pursuit of the american dream. and in one generation, that short order cook, that housecleaner raised three children to be public servants, all three of us. i'm on the verge of joining the united states senate, the american dream is alive. but it's a lot harder to reach for far too many families. the struggle to realize that american dream was too tough for too many even prior to the pandemic. now, as we've been discussing, the pandemic has only exacerbated so many of the gaps and divides in the nation. whether it's the income inequality, access to education, fundamental access to health
care. it's important not just during a pandemic. it is a fundamental right for everybody at all times. >> listen i have to run. i've got to ask you about this. i think that everyone congratlates you and they're very happy for you. but with kamala harris becoming vice president-elect and becoming vice president, there won't be any black women in the senate. that is an issue of diversity when it comes to our electors, especially in the senate. >> yeah. look, i agree. it shouldn't an either/or. i'm proud to be the first latino representing california in the united states senate in our 170-year history. that's an important voice to include, and all the deliberations and decision making that will take place once i get there. so is the black -- the voice of black women. i agree. so it just reminds us that you look at california's entire leadership, constitutional officers, senate representatives, it does reflect the population of california. you can't say the same for every state. so we have a lot of work to do to make sure that all
perspectives are included at every level of leadership at state, local, and federal government across the country. >> alex padilla, congratulations to you. happy new year to you. congratulations. >> thank you, don. you, too, please stay safe. one election to decide who controls senate, live to georgia for the stakes of the run-off . that's right after this. get a hobby. you should meditate. eat crunchy foods. go for a run. go for 10 runs! run a marathon. are you kidding me?! instead, start small. with nicorette. which can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette now every bath fitter bathbath fis installed quickly, safely, and beautifully, with a lifetime warranty. go from old to new.
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republican incumbents, kelly loeffler, david purdue, are now in a race to keep up, with not only their democratic opponents but the blocks to covid recovery laid down first by president trump and now mitch mcconnell. the chaos on capitol hill overshadowing the race. cnn's kyung lah and our team on the ground in georgia spent the day trying to get answers from candidates. kyung joins me now. thank you so much. it's always a pleasure to see you. one week to go until this runoff. right? but republicans -- >> just one week. >> they are siding with president trump in favor of this $2,000 stimulus, these payments. what are you hearing down there in georgia? >> yeah. you know, it's really interesting. this has been such a point of contention among the candidates here in georgia, on the democratic side as well as the republican side. what we are seeing in the actions of the republican
incumbent senators today is the influence of president trump donald trump and his strength with the base here. they now agree that it should be higher, that these payments that they certainly indicated they were not in favor of raising should be higher because of what the president wants. listen to senator david purdue. >> i want to thank the president openly for signing that covid bill on sunday night to bring more aid to the state of georgia. [ applause ] brought $47 billion in the first round of c.a.r.e.s. that helped 147,000 businesses and saved 1.5 million jobs. i've talked to the president repeatedly over the weekend. his heart was, we've got to do this. we've got to do this now. we don't want to wait. we don't trust the other side that they'll do it right. that's why he signed it into law. >> and you heard that applause as the senator was mentioning the president's name. he's very popular with the base here. they need the base in order to
win. that's why you heard the other republican senator, kelly loeffler, say this. >> i said i'd support it, i support it. look, we have to provide relief to americans because democrats have locked our country down. they've played politics with this moment and refused to pass relief month after month after month. >> so you also spoke with voters. how do they feel about these stimulus payments? >> we want to make real clear, don, that the people who show up at the perdue and loeffler events, and that's where we focused our energy today, going to the events, talking to their supporters, seeing how they feel. these are the republican faithful, they are the republican base. they show up waving trump flags. they show up wearing red hats.
they're not wearing kelly loeffler and david purdue shirts. that's important to note. you see it in what they tell us. they're not as concerned that suddenly the senators want to vote for $2,000 versus $600 or that there's a nuance of policy that's shifted. what they're most concerned with is that these senators align themselves with trump. that's why you're seeing the senators, at times, twist themselves into a pretzel in order to make sure they keep the president happy and also try to encourage people to vote. >> giving trump a big old bear hug as often as they can. thank you, kyung. i appreciate that. i want to bring in now cnn's political analysts and commentators. there you guys are. wondering where you've been. good evening to all of you. >> good evening, don. >> alice, the president said jump on the $2,000 relief checks loeffler and perdue said how high. what's the impact of the
last-minute chaos down there? >> they said how high? he said $2,000 high. they said sure, we'll do that. look, the reality is, what the president did in terms of having them flip flop on this not only put them in an awkward predicament but also served up a pretty solid talking point for the democratic challengers in this final week. but the reality is people on the ground are going to vote for these republican candidates because they truly want to see a check in balance on the biden administration. the people of georgia, while it has made great strides to turn more blue, it is still a conservative state. they do not want to have the biden policies go without being checked, and they do want to have the republican control in the senate. i want to add on to what kyung lah said. when i was there last week doing get out the vote efforts on the ground, these were not just at loeffler and perdue rallies. all across the state of georgia,
random places, random people, random street corners, people waving trump flags because they do support president trump. while he might not have won, the key is harnessing that energy, getting them out to vote next week. >> bakari what do you think about this? especially with loeffler and purr tu talking? are they at a disadvantage now? >> i mean, it's tough. georgia is a tough state. but let's not forget that joe biden won this state by more than 10,000 votes. it was an extremely close race but joe biden still won the state of georgia. if anybody would have told you joe biden was going to win georgia before this election happened, we would have all said they were fools. that's not the case. stacey abrams and many others laid the groundwork so this was possible. i just want to use the language that was used earlier. you have two united states senators who are scared to death of the president of the united states who have contorted themselves into pretzels. that's simply what we're seeing. gary, it gives great talking
points for raphael warnock and jon ossoff. let's not fool ourselves. this isn't a perfect situation election. there's nobody sitting at home, trying to make a decision about whether or not they're going to visit for osoff, warnoff, loeffler or purdue. it's not that kind of race. you have to get the truck drivers, you have to go get the individuals who haven't voted in a long time. you have to get the individuals who work 9:00 to 5:00 or sporadically or work at waffle house, those people who do not show up, who are not the super voters that come out to vote for you if you are going to win this election. it takes voter contact. we'll see who has the best voter operation, whether or not it's stacey abrams or the bully pulpit and donald trump. >> he has the party faithful. he's got ride or die. we'll see if that happens with warnoff and osoff. kerstin, this puts senate majority leader mitch mcconnell in a tight spot.
they may consider $2,000 but with some poison pills maybe republicans can't vote for. how do you see this playing out? is there a chance americans see bigger checks? >> i don't know because mitch mcconnell is concerned about, obviously, the senators in georgia have their cover because they've been able to say that they support this. at the same time, a lot of people in the conservative base don't like it. a lot of the senators don't support it. he seem morse inclined in the direction of not wanting, you know, a vote to come up on this. if i had to guess, my guess would be no, they probably aren't going to see these checks, which i think is a real travesty. i have to say, i am just very -- i don't even know what the word is. mesmerized? something about what these voters, that you're describing, alice, who are so consumed with this person, who just lost an election. i can't think of any time in history where a losing candidate has this kind of cultish support behind them that the only thing
that they care about is whether or not these senators are aligned with the president that is not going to be in office anymore and is not really technically in control of the republican party any more. >> it's going to be interesting. alice, i'll get your response. because i want to know how these voters are feeling, how these people are feeling knowing that their checks were held up. maybe they're going to get some now, maybe more money. when? not sure. but the president, out playing golf. i wonder about the optics of all of this. we'll talk about that right after this break. have no by-products. (his voice) "baloney!" (automated voice) has joined the call. (voice from phone) hey, baloney here. i thought this was a no by-products call? land o' frost premium. fresh look. same great taste.
back with our political dream team now. president trump back on the golf course today, lashing out at republican lawmakers as congress deals with the mess the president actually made. so, alice, trump is resentful, stirring the pot, calling republicans weak and tired and still trying to convince people that he won. it is bizarre.
why all the arrows, especially targeting mitch mcconnell and the gop? why target his own party? >> the main reason is he's pissed that he lost and he's taking it out on everyone. it makes no sense whatsoever. the reality is there are certainly more important things to be worried about than the fact he is putting a new name for a lame duck presidency. and look, i commend members of congress. republicans as well as the democrats for coming to an agreement with regard to the ndaa as well as covid relief, and i think they should be commended. they should not be insulted. they do not have a death wish. they're not lame. they are not cowards. they're doing the work of the american people and making sure that covid relief gets in the pockets of the american people. and if the president really wanted $2,000 for covid relief, he should have said that a long time ago. so, all of this is really confusing. i know a lot of republican
congressmen who are frustrated because they feel as though they've walked the plank for this president and he pushed them over the edge. but they're going to do the right thing. their loyalty pledge, the president might think it is to him. their loyalty is to their constituents and i think in the end they will be commended for doing the right thing for their voters. >> interesting. it took them a long time to do it, but we'll see, alice. it's hard to imagine, b a worse situation for biden. if republicans win the senate, how much harder does that make getting things done for the biden administration. >> why are you asking me this question today? let's at least get through next tuesday night. let's have some hope as we go into the new year. there are many of us who -- you know, this is my biggest problem with democrats, not only are we proverbial bed wetters -- i say that all the time. but we're sitting around recapping and rehashing whether
or not defund the police was the right slogan. no, the slogan sucked. but go get down to georgia and knock on doors. there's a lot of time left. go knock on doors and let's win this elections that ripe for our victory. you have two people running for office right now, incumbents, who are twisting themselves in pretzels who don't really stand for anything. they could be knock off by two solid candidates. but if that doesn't happen, everything you wish, your progressive wish list, the things you think will allow this country and all of us to get our shoulder to the wheel to get us out of this ditch over the last four years will not happen. >> yeah. >> and it's going to be extremely hard if mitch mcconnell is still president of the senate. the only thing we have the executive action, hopes and dreams and praying one day joe biden and kamala harris can do stuff that's unimaginable and the supreme court will approve it. which none of that is going to happen. go out and vote january 5th. >> i know that most people did not run on defund the police,
but a lot of people were tarred with that. and even though they didn't run on it, they didn't believe in it. but i think republicans used it in a way that was effective to make people think that even though this person is not running on it that they believe democrats, all democrats, wanted to defund the police. >> there's no doubt -- there's no doubt the democrats suck at messaging. there's no doubt that defund the police was like a horrible slogan, right? however, that's not -- that is not the reason that democrats lost these races. i mean, if doug jones and aoc both agree we lost races because we run out of date campaigns. that's the reason we lost races. and kyle cunningham couldn't stop texting, but i digress. so, we lost these races for a lot of reasons but it wasn't just because -- >> it all adds up. messaging was bad. i feel you, i feel you. kirsten, president trump still
shows no interest in being president, out golfing today, angry about renovations at his mar-a-lago resort. what do you say to that? uts sad. >> you always ask me. it's disgusting. it's disgusting that any person that has any control or power right now in this country would not be using every little piece of it to be helping all the people around this country who are suffering. i just, i don't understand it. i mean so many people feel so hopeless and helpless right now and here you have a person who actually could be doing something, actually could be contributing to the country, actually could be encouraging people to wear masks, encouraging people to be careful. all these other things. and he's not doing that. he's golfing. >> yeah, thank you, kiersten, thank you alice, and thank you teddy. this is teddy before harold. >> young teddy pendergrass, i love it.
he's glowing. >> leaning on the car with the fur coat teddy. there you go. we're talking about teddy pendergrass. it's an homage. i appreciate it. >> happy new year. >> happy new year. one's currently president, the other isn't, so why is trump playing golf while biden is focused on getting the vaccine out to the american people? my take is next. when it comes to autism, finding the right words can be tough. finding understanding doesn't have to be. together, we can create a kinder, more inclusive world for the millions of people on the autism spectrum. go to autismspeaks.org
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this is cnn tonight i'm don lemon. our breaking news, the first known case of the highly infectious covid-19 variant in the united states. a colorado man in his 20s with no history of recent travel in isolation tonight with a variant that has locked down much of southern england. experts worry that the man's lack of known travel means this is not an isolated case. that as this country hits another tragic milestone, a record number of covid-19 deaths tonight. much more to come on this breaking news. and we have a cliff hanger to tell you about on capitol hill. those $2,000 checks that are supposed to help desperate americans, now turning into another attempt to appease a president who is on his way out in 22 days. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell introduced a franken bill that grants some of the president's pet peeves like his grudge match with twitter and false claims of voter fraud on to the stimulus chec