tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN December 21, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
do. all right. omar, thanks very much for your reporting. to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can always follow me on twitter and instagram @wolf blitzer. you can always tweet the show at cnn sit room. that that's it. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. out front next. don't panic. president biden laying out his action plan to slow the covid surge. sending resources to states in need of help, and defending his plan for testing amid long lines. plus, the race to save biden's agenda. the president promising, tonight, to get something done with joe biden -- joe manchin -- on his spending bill. but will the senator even join a key call with fellow democrats on the topic tonight? and a story you will see only on out outfront, school librarians fearing the worst
because critics want to ban hundreds of books that they claim are offensive. let's go out front. good evening, everyone. i'm kate bolduan in for erin burnett. out front tonight, this is not march of 2020. that was president biden trying to reassure americans today. telling them not to panic over the latest surge. but he did warn things are about to get worse. >> we'll see some fully-vaccinated people get covid, potentially in large numbers. there will be positive cases in every office even here in the white house but these cases are highly unlikely to lead to serious illness. if you are not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned. you are at a high risk of getting sick. >> right now, the u.s. is reporting more than 140,000 cases per day and the cdc is predict -- predicting we could be at 250,000 new cases a day in the next few weeks. breaking the record set back in
january of this year. president biden insisting the u.s., though, is ready for an omicron wave announcing 500 million at-home tests will be available sometime next month. but that is next month and the president is facing real questions about why americans are struggling so much right now to get tests. >> is it a failure that you don't have an adequate amount of tests for everyone to be able to get one if they need one right now? >> no, it's not because covid is spreading so rapidly, if you will notice, it just -- it just happened almost overnight. >> companies, like walgreens and cvs, are reporting unprecedented demand for tests. nearly impossible to find in their stores. new york city is set to open federal testing sites, as people are forced to wait hours in lines to just get a test. one big question remaining. how deadly will this variant
prove to be? new research today from the uk, south africa, and japan are finding omicron may be less likely to cause severe disease in the lungs but at this point it is still not clear whether the variant is less severe. israel, though, not waiting around to find out. now, recommending a fourth-vaccine dose to everyone over the age of 60, along with medical workers and people with suppressed immune systems. back here, hospitals are bracing for what may feel like march of 2020, again. the president announcing emergency response teams are being deployed to help in six states -- arizona, wisconsin, michigan, vermont, new hampshire, and indiana where hospitalizations are up 80% from this time last month and doctors are warning that people could wait as long as 36 hours for a bed to open up. >> we're underwater at the moment and it feels like every day is a little bit worse than
the last. and i'm so tired of saying i'm sorry. sorry for allow long you've had to wait. i'm sorry i had to see you in a hallway. we are all doing the best that we can. >> i am going to speak to that doctor in just a moment. but first, jeff zeleny is out front for us live from the white house this evening. jeff, the president trying to ease fears tonight about omicron as cases are reaching their highest levels in more than three months. >> reporter: kate, he did. and president biden also he really shot to reassure americans but at the same time, say i know you are frustrated but we are still in this. we are in this critical moment. that point, of course, is clear. this is not a christmas message that any president, of course, wants to deliver. 6 he was defensive on the question of testing. has this administration done enough about testing? but the reality is, going forward, they will be tested by how they perform here delivering those at-home tests to people next month. but that, of course, is next month. now is the critical time here. so the president really going hard after disinformation and
misinformation. some of the hardest, strongest language we have heard him talk about, yet. really, trying to draw the distinction between the vaccinated and boosted and the unvaccinated. allowing people the opportunity to, once again, try and make that decision for themselves to get the shot. so, kate, we -- we've seen the president in this setting so many times before trying to urge, control, nudge. but at this day, right, you know, four days before christmas, again, making that plea. but the question here is really no one at the white house knows how bad this will get. there is a sense of anxiety. but also, he made clear -- the president made clear -- this is not march of 2020 as you said because of all the vaccinations. that is what they are hoping for. but certainly, as they prepare to send, you know, up to a thousand military-medical members to really ease the burden here of hospitals across the country, there is a sense of unknown here right before the holidays. >> jeff, thank you. out front with me now, dr. jonathan reiner. he advised the white house medical team under president
george w. bush. and dr. donald zimmer, emergency physician in south bend indiana. dr. reiner, president biden making clear they are stepping up their response. they are really leading into on this but he was also frustrated when asked today if this should have been done sooner. do you think he is right to be defensive about this? >> well, i think the american public have a right to feel agitated by not having access to these tests. for instance, the binax now test was the eua for that was approved on march 31st of this year. so that test has been available for nine months. so, nine -- nine months later -- now, suddenly, it -- it dawns on this administration that perhaps these tests should be available in -- in wide -- you know, wide numbers. remember, we -- before omicron, we had delta. another opportunity for people to test. and -- and -- and to keep people
at work and keep people at school and prevent spread. so, you know, now basically after the outcry following the unfortunate press conference a couple of weeks ago when the press secretary basically dismissed this idea, now we are going to send tests but that's only part -- and i am glad the administration is doing that but it's only part of the answer. we need to flood the countryside with tests. you should be able to pick up a free bag of tests at the supermarket, at -- at the drugstore, at your bank, at your library, at your place of work. every home needs tons of these tests. and i am concerned that if we now rely on a system, you know, next month when we will be well into this -- this surge where you have to basically go online, order some tests on -- on a website, then wait for them to come. that's not really going -- going to do it. people need to have access to tests on the day they don't feel
well, so we need -- we need to think more expansively and half a billion tests seems like a lot but we have 330 million americans. we are going to need a lot more. >> yeah. dr. zimmer, indiana as i mentioned is one of the states that the federal government's deploying resources to right now because it's being hit so hard. at your hospital, you're already at 127% capacity and you describe it as being underwater. what's going on there? >> it's just like that. it's like being underwater, trying to tread water and catch your breath, and then someone brings you someone to try to help and you're trying to keep them above water, too. um, we are overwhelmed. our -- our hospital is pulling every lever that we possibly can to try to open up more bed space, to try to bring in more nurses and techs and respiratory therapists and try to open up more zones. but right now, in the emergency
department, 75 to 80% of our beds are full of patients that are waiting for beds upstairs and that makes it incredibly hard to do the work of emergency medicine, which is on a day-to-day basis a life-and-death business. um, it's overwhelming. and it's incredibly stressful. and -- and it's hard on patients and it's hard on our community. >> yeah. especially, two years in. having your hospital get crushed, again, even as we have vaccines. that must be just really hard to face, dr. zimmer. >> yeah, you know, i think that's the part that's the most frustrating is that, for the most part, the patients that we're still seeing with covid which currently are occupying almost a third of our hospital, um, and over, you know, 3,000 of the hospital beds in indiana right now -- most all of them are unvaccinated, particularly in the icus and that part of it
all feels like it was preventable. we -- we had a level of protection that was offered, um, that people declined. and now, they're taking up beds that we know we need for other patients that need surgery for their heart disease or for their cancer. um, and those patients don't have access to the care that they need right now. um, and that's -- that's pretty frustrating. >> you know, dr. reiner, looking overseas, israel is moving on forget one, two, or even three -- they are looking at -- they are now recommending a fourth dose to everyone over the age of 60 along with medical workers. it will be given the way we are learning is four months after their third dose. do you think we will be seeing or should be seeing fourth doses happening here after the new year? >> yeah, i think we are going to dolg that. the question is how late are we
going to be when we finally do that? we have been following the israelis since this pandemic began. that's where almost all of our data has been generated. so what the israelis are seeing is that while the boosters do restore a great amount of efficacy for our existing vaccines, that efficacy -- the boosted efficacy -- wanes, you know, after about 90 days. so, what the israelis are going to do is they are going to protect the people who are really in harm's way. they are going to protect their healthcare system by reboosting with a fourth dose their healthcare workers and keeping people at work. keeping their hospitals functioning. and they are going to reboost the people who are at greatest risk of a severe infection -- people over the age of 60 and people with pre-existing or -- conditions or immuno -- the im immunocompromised. we should be doing that now. many of our people in this country who have been -- who got boosted are now starting to
approach that critical four-month period. we should start boosting america's healthcare workers now. otherwise, our hospitals are going to be even more shorthanded and every hospital is going to face the kinds of terrible issues that dr. zimmer is facing. >> yeah. you know, dr. zimmer, you talk about the unvaccinated and how that's the majority of who you are seeing in your hospital bid we hads right now. part of the president's speech was about appealing to people to get vaccinated finally. he called it a patriotic duty. what do you think? do you think that message cuts through to the patients that you are treating? >> you know, i think it depends to some of the patients on who the message comes from. i am not partisan in any way and i don't think the virus is either. i know that the vaccine is efficacious and it protects people across both sides of the aisle. i do think it's a patriotic duty and i do think that if you get vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself, you are protecting your family, your kids, your loved ones, and your community.
and i think that's what we need people to do. i know in my community, i'm begging people that are unvaccinated or that are due for their booster to get the next shot, to get the first shot if they haven't had any. um, this is absolutely a nonpartisan type of topic. we need everybody to get vaccinated and we need people to take care of one another and i don't know anybody that doesn't want to take care of their own family, their mother, their father, their grandparents, their love wd ones, their children. this is the way do it -- it is the vaccines. >> thank you so much, dr. zimmer. thank you, dr. reiner. out front next, president biden still confident his agenda is on track, telling reporters he and senator joe manchin will get something done, but what exactly can they accomplish? plus, a showdown on capitol hill. the january 6th select committee with a new warning to one of their colleagues after scott perry refuses to sit down with investigators.
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going to get something done. thank you. >> something done. this, just two days after manchin, the key democratic senator in the negotiations at this point, that he walked away from talks with the white house and said he was a no on that bill. and tonight, senate democrats are just minutes away from holding a conference call to discuss the fate of this massive bill and massive effort to get it over the finish line. manu raju is out front for us tonight. manu, what's going to happen on this call? >> well, it's going to be a lot of air clearing. we do kpap senate majority leader chuck schumer to detail what his plan is to try to bring this bill forward for a vote, even though it is destined to fail, assuming joe manchin doesn't change his position and manchin's making very clear he is not going to change his position and it's also unclear whether manchin himself will participate on this call. i am told he still has not confirmed his participation on this 8:00 virtual call. this comes as democrats are vam scrambling to figure out what the way forward is exactly.
something in which they believe they can get consensus from the various wings of the party. but there is also pushback from some progressives who say they don't trust joe manchin to get behind such a narrow approach and manchin, himself, has suggested that instead of going through with a democratic-only approach on a smaller bill, if they were to go that route, they should go through the regular committee process and that process, kate, as you know, could take months. it is a process that joe manchin envisions that could require ten republicans to join with all 50 democrats in agreement on all these issues on-healthcare, to climate change and education and housing that has been elusive with the republican for months. so where does this all leave the party? uncertain. frustration is building, particularly among house democrats, who are forced to cast a vote to pass their version of a $1.75 trillion bill out of the house last month. but they may be headed to the polls next year, next november having voted for the bill but having delivered nothing which makes these conversations tonight in the weeks ahead so
critical as the party tries to get their agenda back on track. >> yeah. manu, thank you so much. out front with me now, for more more on this, democratic senator from maryland. senator, thank force being here. on this call that you are about to jump on, what are you all going to work out tonight? wh what are the options? >> well, kate, first of all, it's good to be with you. this bill is so important to the american people. we are going to continue to work for a path forward where we can get it done. we know it's important in regards to the affordability of healthcare, the affordability of housing, childcare, all these issues that are so important to the american families. the checks they have been receiving regards to the child credits that are important to pay just for basic needs. so we are going to continue to work to find a path forward and tonight's call, we will talk about our strategies of -- of when we should bring the bill up, where we think we can make some progress. but one thing is clear. we are not bringing a bill up to lose. we're bringing it up in order to find a path forward, to get this
done. >> which begs an important question. i mean, manu said manchin's not yet confirmed to even join the call tonight. do you expect joe manchin to be on the call? >> i know that senator manchin has joined us in our caucus. he understands what we are trying to get done. he's had direct conversations with the president and with senator schumer, so i am confident that we'll have communication with senator -- senator manchin. we are also looking for a way which we can get all 50 democratic senators together. look. it would be a lot better if we had republicans who were willing to work with us. we don't on these issues. so therefore, we need all 50 democratic senators. >> you sure do. what message does it send if joe manchin at this critical juncture does not join this call? >> well, i think he will join us. ultimately, we are going to need to get all 50 senators together. that's what our objective is, to figure out a path forward. we have made a lot of progress. get the american rescue plan done with all the democrats. we ever been able to get a lot of bills through the senate in
unity and the democratic caucus over the course of this year. we are not there yet. we recognize we still have challenges but we are not going to give up. it's just too important. we are going to figure out a way to get it done. as the president said this afternoon. he's confident that he can work out an agreement with senator manchin. i know that senator schumer is confident we can get to the finish line. >> one aspect of the bill that you, um, care deeply about is expanding the child tax credit. senator manchin, um, the counteroffer that he gave to the white house last week included key elements of the bigger bill of build back better. but it notably left out the child tax credit. if that is the compromise that gets this overt finish line, if that's the get something done as president biden described it tonight, what do you do? >> well, kate, we want to get the strongest possible bill done. we recognize we are all going to have to make compromises.
we've already made a lot of compromises in the legislation that's -- that's before us. the child credit's a very important part of the package. it is so important to families on the affordability of -- of just basic expenses. so, we are going to continue to try to -- to extend the child credit. we think it's important. we think americans will be missing that check in -- in january when it doesn't come in, and that there will be additional interest in getting that done. so -- and we do have some republicans that might be interested in this. so, we're -- we're going to continue to work for a way to get that done. we want to get in the build back better budget, the strongest possible bill we can to the president of the united states. >> where -- joe biden says he is confident he is going to get something done with joe manchin. but honestly, senator, seeing the mess that this has been in playing out. the surprise from this weekend that was very clear. the anger and blowback we have seen against joe manchin since then.
how are you confident you are going to get something done, honestly, candidly, are you confident guarantee that you are going to get something over the finish line? >> you know, kate, i have been in this business for -- for -- for a long time now, and i know things can change pretty quickly. so, yes, i -- i maintain my optimism that we will be able to get the build back better budget done. i think it's so important to the american families. i know that every democrat, including senator manchin, understands the importance of this legislation. so, i am encouraged that communications are still continuing. that the president and joe manchin did talk, that we will have a path forward. i'm not exactly sure how the final bill will look like but i am confident we will be able to keep the process moving forward. >> senator, thanks for your time tonight. out front for us next. former-president trump announcing his plans for january 6th, the anniversary of the insurrection he helped incite.
and breaking news in what could be a major sign of where deliberations are headed in the trial of the officer who killed daunte wright. their questions to the judge tonight. ♪ it's the easiest because it's the cheesiest. kraft. for the win win. this is your home. this is your family room slash gym. the guest bedroom slash music studio. the daybed slash dog bed.
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committee will consider seeking such information using other tools. out front now, former republican congressman frances rooney, and gloria borger, our chief political an list. congressman, he just went after what he called an illegitimate commit degree in a series of tweets today. are you surprised that he is not cooperating -- cooperating and what do you think the committee should do now? >> i am not surprised scott would stonewall the committee but there seems to be an awful lot of evidence written and testimonial that he was helping block those vote counts, and urging this clark guy on at the doj. and i think he needs to be investigated and held accountable for that. >> do you think -- do you think -- i mean, would be extraordinary for a subpoena -- for the committee to subpoena a sitting member of congress. congressman, do you think that's what should happen? >> well, wait a minute. we are a nation of laws, not men, right? that's what john adams said. i think that whether you are a congressman or not, if you have been involved in some conduct
that's suspect -- and in my opinion, any of these people to voted -- that refused to certify the election -- is inherently a little bit suspect with the evidence here is even more. but they should be held accountable and they should come testify as to what happened. >> you know, gloria, this -- perry is the first known sitting member of congress asked to come before the commit yetee. it would be an extraordinary move if the committee is considering, you know, investigating him in this way. where do you see this going from here? >> well, you know, it's really hard to say. i think this committee has proven, time and time again, that they are willing to subpoena people. and willing to hold them in contempt if they don't answer that subpoena. as you point out, this is a member of congress. they would rather not have to subpoena a fellow member of congress. and what you're gonna hear from these members is the same old, same old, which is they say that this is an illegitimate committee because it's not truly bipartisan which, of course, it is.
or that it has no legislative purpose, which of course it does. and so, they will throw that back at the committee. and then, perhaps try and end up in court. the committee has not indicated what it's going to do but, um, you know, congressman perry is kind of crucial here. he tried to get rid of the acting, um, ag and put in mr. clark, instead. he had text messages with mark meadows, which the committee is aware of and of course they want to question him about it. why wouldn't they want to question him about it? i think the question you ought to be asking is why doesn't he want to answer their questions? >> a great question, gloria. congressman, former -- former-president trump, um, today announced that he is planning a news conference for january 6th in the very same statement, announcing this he pushed his election lies again and downplayed the attack on the capitol. so now, a press conference, he is planning on the anniversary of that horrible day.
what is that going to do? >> well, i think that will further enliven his base, which has proven incapable of supporting democratic institutions versus him, personally. and i think it's a bad thing. i think it's one more damage to our history of -- of elections and -- and democratic respect for our electoral process. i mean, look what happened with nixon and al gore. those were much more legitimately contested elections than this one. >> look where we are. gloria, um, kind of wrapped into all of this, i spoke with -- last night with retired army general who is afraid and warning about the potential of another insurrection coming in 2024. this one, he fears, from within military ranks. i asked him what he thought needed to be done to prevent that from happening. let me play for you what he said. >> the most important thing is
accountability. we haven't accounted for the leaders, the people out there -- the josh hawleys, the donald trumps, the people fanned the flames of insurrection and then toad stood back and act surprised when it happened. >> i mean, this brings it back to scott perry and even the trump press con tference. i mean, how do you prevent another attack from happening if people aren't held accountable for the first? >> i know, that was a stunning interview, kate. i mean, you know, he was begging people. saying, look, look right before your very eyes. what is occurring. and what is occurring domestically. and, you know, the question is how do you protect the country? and when you have this kind of misinformation floating around, um, and donald trump is out there still singing the same old, same old the election was rigged because he can't admit that he lost an election. and riling up the base.
i think it becomes more and more dangerous. and i think that's what he was saying to you last night, and it was sort of a kree decor. you know, we can't -- we can't sit back and watch this happen again because democracy is at stake here. >> yeah. congressman, what do you think of that? >> well, i think the only ray of hope i can think of -- and i am trying to think of 'em every day -- is that there is about 30 -- 30-plus percent of this country that isn't monolithically aligned with trump and isn't nearly as progressive as some of the progressive democrats. and those are the people that need to determine our future and who have historically determined it. they -- they -- they usually want to see things done on a compromised basis. they -- they resist the partisanship. that's why we have increasing non -- non-party-aligned voters. and somehow, we have got to reach them and they have got to rise up and counter this anti-institutional behavior. >> congressman, it is good to see you. gloria, thank you as always.
>> thank you. out front for us next, breaking news. a crucial question tonight from the jury in the kim potter trial. what they have asked and what it could mean for her fate. plus, school librarians fearing for their own safety now over books. >> many of us have had to take measures in our personal lives that we never would have imagined we had to do because of our profession. (wife) hi, honey! (man) like what? (burke) well, you'd get a discount for insuring your jet skis... and boat...rv...life... ...home and more. you could save up to forty-five percent. (man) that's a whole lot of discounts. (burke) well, we offer coverage for a whole lot of things, and you could save a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. (kid) sup, dad! (burke) seventeen-car garage you got there? ♪we are farmers♪ ♪bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum♪ this... is the planning effect. this is how it feels to have a dedicated fidelity advisor looking at your full financial picture.
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breaking news. the jury in the kim potter trial revealing they could be deadlocked. the jury asking a key question tonight, which is what happens if they don't reach a consensus? potter is on trial for killing daunte wright after she says she meant to pull her taser but instead pulled her gun and that jury has been sent home for the night. they have been deliberating now for more than 14 hours. adrienne broaddus is out front with us now. adrienne, a very revealing quefrom this jury tonight. what did the judge tell them? >> well, the judge re-read an instruction she gave to them yesterday. and that first question they asked certainly signals there may be some sort of debate or disagreement brewing among members of the jury. the zwruj judge said to them, in part, deliberate with a view toward reaching an agreement if -- key word if -- you can do so without violating your individual judgment. members of the jury also had
another question -- it was about exhibit 199. that is the gun potter used on the day she shot and killed daunte -- the jury wanted to know if the zip ties that are securing the weapon could be removed so they could remove the weapon from the evidence box. the answer was yes. you might remember, during closing arguments, erin aldridge and matthew frank on rebuttal told members of the jury they would have an opportunity to compare and contrast the two weapons. they would be able to feel and see the taser potter thought she intended to pull, as well as the gun. they did mention, obviously, the gun is not loaded with ammunition, so the weight is a little different. today, the first-full day of jury deliberations, combined with deliberating today and yesterday, they were in that room for more than 14 hours trying to determine whether or not potter is guilty of first
and second-degree manslaughter. kate? >> adrienne, thanks so much for that. out front with me now, stephanie rawlings-blake, former defense attorney, also former baltimore mayor. this jury asking what happens if they can't reach consensus, they're home for the night. they are going to be back tomorrow. but when you hear that, do you think they are headed for a hung jury? >> so, a hung jury, um, is pretty unusual. so, i think they will eventually get to a verdict because, you know, really, most jurors -- most juries do end up with a verdict. but i think it means that they are pretty strong opinions on both sides. and i also think it means that they've gotten beyond the use of force, and they're really taking a look at that gun. >> does it mean that they're struggling in there? >> i definitely think they're struggling. i think, um, they passed the point of whether or not she should or shouldn't have used the gun. i think the struggle, the chaos,
you know, using -- excuse me, using a taser -- that using force was okay -- was understandable. i think right now, they are saying can this be an accident? or must it be negligence for an officer to mistake or confuse a gun -- a handgun -- with a taser? and that's why i think they are holding it. i think they are really grappling with that and trying to come up with a decision that they can stick with for the rest of their lives. >> and is that -- do you think that speaks directly to what that other question was from the jury? wanting to get the gun out of the evidence box to hold it? >> definitely. i think they want to hold it. i think they want to compare the taser to the handgun. they have a really tough job ahead of them. they have to see, is -- is it a -- an excusable mistake? can they give this officer the benefit of the doubt? or does this have to be
negligence to confuse two weapons that are so vastly different? >> if this is how they ended the day, where do you think the jury begins tomorrow? >> i think they begin tomorrow as they began today. focused on looking at all the evidence. you know, we have seen so many trials -- high-profile trials lately where the jurors are really taking their job seriously. and i think that this is no different. they are looking at the evidence. it's clear based on the question today. and they are looking at the instructions, and they are trying to reconcile those things to come up with a verdict that all of them can feel comfortable whl th when they have to give that jury if there is a tally, you know, if -- if they want to hear a voice vote for the jury, um, they -- they need to feel comfortable in their spirit that they can say guilty or not guilty. >> stephanie rawlings-blake, thank you. out front for us next, an out front exclusive. school librarians caught in the
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tonight, a nationwide movement to keep some books out of school libraries is gaining steam but in texas, one former librarian is fighting back. evan mcmorris-santoro with tonight's inside look. >> reporter: this is a school librarian in texas. why are you afraid to show your face when you talk about your job and the challenges that you're facing these days? >> because there was a day not too long ago when i had to stop and think, when they come in with handcuffs and they come in with the warrant for my arrest for alleging that i have provided obscene material to minors, who am i going to call first? >> reporter: across texas, protestors at school board meetings are accusing educators of forcing pornography or
obscene obscene content on children. >> this is not a witch hunt. this is genuine concern for children. it's abuse. it is predatory. >> reporter: the anger is largely aimed at school libraries and many texas politicians are onboard. in october, republican state legislator matt kraus requested every school district in the state scour their libraries for a list of 850 books. >> infamous texts list, the pattern seems to be books that are representative of lgbtq, subjects and characters and topics, um, books that may contain depictions or narratives of sexual violence, survivor stories. some books that are about racism. >> reporter: the list includes "new kid," a graphic novel about a black student's struggles fitting in at a majority-white
school. the letter q, queer writer notes to their younger self-selves. and a coming of age story that features a character who performs abortions. republican governor greg abbott took things a step further ordering officials to investigate any criminal activity in public schools after complaints act two lgbtq-themed books he said were pornographic. >> i have never experienced anything like that before where, um, a government agency or any kind of government entity was interested in specifically what kinds of books were in the library. >> reporter: the texas library association is traditionally a pretty sleepy advocacy group. but the heated rhetoric is forcing that to change. last week, the group set up an anonymous hotline for librarians afraid of job consequences. >> school librarians don't go into this business to harm kids. they are working really, really hard to select books that
represent everyone on their campus. >> reporter: this is happening all over the country. lgbtq and racial-themed books written for children and young adults are facing powerful resistance. educators are being put on notice. >> this is pornography, plain and simple, and it does not belong in our schools! >> reporter: just since the start of the school year, the american library association has tracked more than 230 book challenges nationwide. the ala says there's been a dramatic uptick in challenges to books featuring lgbtq and racial themes. >> students like me, who are being harassed for not conforming to antiquated notions of gender roles and how they should express themselves. >> okay. >> here we go. >> exciting. >> yay. >> there you go. >> there it is. >> reporter: librarians are starting to fight back. in a very librarian way. >> this week, we are sharing books that were gifts in people's lives, and so i am going to kick this off by sending the first -- my first
tweet from our freedom friday account. >> reporter: carolyn foot is a retired librarian and one of the fo founders of the group freedom fighters. in just a month, it's become the grassroots way librarians under threat find and help each other. >> it is amazing how widespread these, um, book challenges are. people are contacting us, like, privately from all over the country saying can you help me? scared. nervous. unsure. worried they might lose their job. >> if they speak up. >> i have heard that, too. >> or i am hearing this from my district or they don't know this. what do i do? >> they are facing pressure -- external pressure. like, what if i am called out at a board meeting? or someone's in front of my house? and then, there is internal pressure of your own organization and how they're responding to something. and your relationships within the institution. so -- so really, it's a time when people need a lot of
support. >> reporter: librarians helping librarians, so librarians can get back to helping kids. >> i grew up reading trumpet of the swan and little house on the prairie and i mean, there were no, you know, hispanic girls. that is a disservice to kids and -- and -- and so, we work really hard as librarians to make sure that kids have books that they can see themselves in. by we also want to offer books where kids can learn about other kids' lives. and who knows if that's something that would get you demonized? >> reporter: governor greg abbott's office didn't respond when we asked for comment on what librarians in texas are telling us. we also reached out to matt krause and stopped by his office. >> hello? >> do you think you are going to win this? you think you are going to lose this? >> it's not about whether i win or lose this. i think it's a point in our culture and society when we have to ask ourselves what do we stand to lose if we don't correct action and course now?
we can't afford, as a democracy, to believe anything else will correct this. >> reporter: kate, it is hard to understand. it's hard to explain how sfrang strange a moment this is for school librarians. you know, usually, they are valued members of their communities. even who teach our kids about books and about reading but in just the past few months, this rhetoric, this vilification, has changed their lives. that woman you saw on camera there, afraid to show her face, she said she's had to add a security camera to her garage just in case something might happen there. other librarians were worried about their jobs, other things like that. this is all happening to school librarians. people who are usually pretty boring, quiet job. they are now on the front lines of a very vicious and nasty culture war. it is really a remarkable moment. kate? >> really remarkable. they'd like to go back to that boring period of their lives, for sure. you can tell. thanks, evan, great reporting. out front for us next. the new plan to punish people
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sing 2 and finally tonight, the faa with a message to anyone who behaves badly while on a flight. act up and you will end up at the back of the security line. the faa announcing today that it is teaming up with the tsa, and will soon share information about unruly passengers, like this. those passengers could then lose their pre-check privileges. the move, coming after the faa says this year alone, it's received more than 5,600 reports of in-flight incidents. of those, 4,000 were mask raeltd related. the faa has been cracking down -- trying to on the unfriendly skies for almost a year, warning passengers they could face fines of up to $37,000 if they threaten or
attack other passengers and crew. one example of things getting out of hand? this fight in miami's airport last night. police say they were called to the gate because of a disturbance surrounding a delayed flight, and it quickly escalated. two people were, eventually, taken into custody. honestly. thank you so much for joining us tonight. i am kate bolduan. "ac 360" with john berman starts now. good evening. it is only tuesday but already, it feels like we have witnessed a week of major developments in the fight against covid. as families, friends, and worshippers gather in the days leading up to christmas, president biden used his speech from the white house this afternoon to ensure the nation that there is a plan to fight the surge in covid cases, and the quickly-spreading omicron variant. and that, his administration is up to the task. i'm john berman in for anderson. in just a moment, we will see with one of the administration's top-health officials, cdc director dr.