On this “Face the Nation” broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- Sen. Tim Scott R-South Carolina
- Sen. Cory Booker D-New Jersey
- Carmen Best, Seattle Chief of Police
- Robert S. Kaplan, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
- Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner
- John Dickerson, “60 Minutes” Correspondent
Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington. And this week on FACE THE NATION, there are disturbing new trends with the spread of the coronavirus as America struggles to dismantle racism and curb police brutality.
Nearly three weeks after the death of George Floyd, the protests and demonstrations continue, as do the incidents of unseemly use of police force. In Atlanta, an African-American man who had fallen asleep in his car at a Wendy’s drive-through was shot and later died while resisting arrest. City officials responded quickly. We’ll have the latest.
Across the country, symbols of America’s past that are so hurtful to so many are being removed by those who’ve had enough. Chokeholds and other police tactics are being given closer scrutiny from the federal to the local level. But divisions and questions of insensitivity from our leaders about race continue.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other President, and let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good, although it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.
HARRIS FAULKNER: Well, we are free, Mister President. He did pretty well.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: But we are free. You understand what I meant.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But the President’s planned to hold a rally in the city that is home to one of the worst outbreaks of racial violence in American history a day after Juneteenth, the anniversary of the end of slavery and ninety-nine years after the Tulsa massacre has been widely criticized. We’ll talk with Senators Tim Scott and Cory Booker. Plus, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But we are far from it. Even as top health officials step up their warnings and issue new guidelines on COVID-19, the do what I say, not what I do mindset continues from the Trump administration. Will the President’s plan for campaign rallies set to start this week in indoor arenas with optional masks spark even more spread? We’ll check in with former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. After a volatile week on Wall Street, we’ll talk with the head of the Dallas Federal Reserve, Robert Kaplan. Plus, political perspective in these troubled times from our John Dickerson.
It’s all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. After nineteen straight days and nights of outrage following the death of George Floyd, a weary and emotionally drained America has settled into a trifecta of crises affecting every part of our culture and society. We will continue to bring you all the news on all three fronts as the race to contain the coronavirus to repair our devastated economy and to fix systemic racism keeps moving. CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann begins our coverage today from Atlanta.
MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News National Correspondent): Atlanta, known as the city too busy to hate, was in turmoil overnight. Protestors enraged by another deadly police shooting took to the streets. They blocked a stretch of downtown interstate confronted by dozens of police in riot gear. Atlanta was burning. Some protestors torched this Wendy’s where the shooting took place. On Friday night, two white Atlanta police officers wrestled with Rayshard Brooks after he failed a sobriety field test. He grabbed one of their tasers and ran. The second officer chased him, firing his taser. Seconds later, off camera, you hear what sounds like three gunshots. The twenty-seven-year-old Brooks died at the hospital. Investigators say he had turned around and pointed a taser at the officer chasing him, and the officer shot him. Within twenty-four hours Atlanta’s police chief resigned. And Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for the officer to be fired.
KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (Mayor of Atlanta): There is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do.
MARK STRASSMANN: Officer Devin Brosnan was terminated. His partner Garrett Rolfe was suspended. It’s the latest deadly moment that explains this: Saturday’s march in Los Angeles and another in Washington, DC. In all fifty states, protesters demand a vaccine for America’s other killer virus–racism. Police chokeholds, police budgets, police attitudes all under review. But expect a fight.
PATRICK LYNCH (New York Police Benevolent Association): To then demonize police officers as if we’re the problem, as if we broke the window, as if we caused the violence, that is absolutely outrageous.
MARK STRASSMANN: Another familiar battleground, Confederate symbols keep falling, like rebel soldiers at Pickett’s Charge. NASCAR banned the rebel flag. Confederate statues toppled or vandalized across the South. But as crowds clamor for an American renewal, there is a new health worry. In at least twenty states, new COVID cases are rising. Experts see a potential health threat in crowds of protesters shoulder to shoulder shouting. Back in Atlanta, Chris Stewart is the lawyer for Rayshard Brooks’ family.
CHRIS STEWART: I couldn’t even say we want justice, but I don’t– I don’t even care anymore. I don’t even know what that is.
MARK STRASSMANN: This is the Wendy’s where the original confrontation took place. This city is bracing for another round of protests tonight. Atlanta is smoldering, just like this restaurant. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark Strassmann, thanks.
We go now to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and Republican Senator Tim Scott. Good morning to you, Senator.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT (R-South Carolina/@SenatorTimScott): Good morning, Margaret. I hope you’re doing well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s great to have you back. I want to get into your proposals–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –but, first, ask you about what’s happened overnight, where protests are continuing in Atlanta after Rayshard Brooks was shot. The man, the officer who shot him has been fired. The police chief has resigned. Do you agree that this was not an appropriate use of force?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, it seems like the mayor says it was an excessive use of force. That’s really the question. The question is when the suspect turned to fire the taser, what should the officer have done? One of the challenges that we have in the split-second decisions is the need for more training. That’s why the de-escalation aspect of my bill and the House bill is so critically important so that we don’t re– revert back to basic fear plus adrenaline leads us to the genetic code, so to speak. That’s a hard balance to– to achieve. So in order for us to provide more opportunities to de-escalate these situations and to reduce the use of force, we have to have effective training. That situation is certainly a– a far less clear one than the ones that we saw with George Floyd and several other ones around the country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, this is how it was handled on a local level but you have the responsibility on your shoulders of how to reform things from the federal level down. What do you think–
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –needs to be in the bill that you’re working on?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, there are three major parts of it. We have to have all the information. Today, only forty percent of law enforcement office– departments are actually providing information to the DOJ. We need a hundred percent as it relates to serious bodily injury and death. When the officer uses force, we need to have all the information. I’ve been working on this, Margaret, for five years. The second thing we have to do is look at training and tactics. If we do that, we can certainly de-escalate the situation and make sure that the officer and the suspect go home. And the third part of it is officer misconduct. If we can drill into officer misconduct, we do it on a local level. House has been talking about doing it on a state level. The President’s executive order talks about doing it on a national level.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Officer misconduct. You’ve been talking about having information sharing when it comes to hiring. But what about the firing? Democrats, in particular, emphasize that reducing qualified immunity, making it easier to fire bad cops needs to be in legislation. Are you open to that?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, there are two ways that you could deal with that from– from the Republican perspective and the President sent the signal that qualified immunity is off the table. They see that as a poison pill on our side. We could use a decertification of officer, except for the law enforcement unions, say that’s a poison pill. So, we’re going to have to find a path that helps us reduce misconduct within the officers. But at the same time, we know that any poison pill in legislation means we get nothing done. That sends a wrong signal, perhaps the worst signal right now in America. I think we’re going to have legislation that can be negotiated that gets us to the place where something becomes law that actually makes a difference. That’s got to be our goal.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So to be clear, you personally would be open to reducing immunity, but not removing it completely?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: No, I think there’s a way for us to deal with it. Decertification would be a path that I would be interested in looking at. That is a path that has got a roadblock because I don’t have the votes on the other side to– to make that into law. If we do it right, I think we can reduce the number of times that we’re dealing with misconduct on the police departments. If we don’t do it right, then we’ll have the same situation where there is no law. We can do better than that as a nation, and we will.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We spoke with the attorney general last Sunday on FACE THE NATION and he pointed to a growing number of African-American police chiefs as a sign of progress. And he also said this:
WILLIAM BARR: I think there’s racism in the United States still but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve talked about your own personal experiences with being targeted, stopped by police, even on Capitol Hill by a police officer who questioned whether you were a senator. Do you agree with the attorney general that there is not systemic racism in law enforcement?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Well, I– I will say most of us don’t really understand the definition of systemic racism. It changes based on the conversations. What I would suggest is that you look at the racial outcomes, is there a– a nexus to race in some of the outcomes in law enforcement? I think the answer is yes. Can we reduce that so that we’re no longer battling the question of the definition of systematic or systemic racism? I think the answer is yes. But there’s no question that the outcomes seem to have a racial component. And that’s why we’re working on getting all the information, then retraining and then eliminating those police officers that have a pattern of misbehavior.
MARGARET BRENNAN: After Charlottesville, you said the President of the United States is not racist, but he is racially insensitive. This past week, he scheduled and then rescheduled by a day his first political rally in three months. It was scheduled for June 19th, the celebration of the end of slavery and located in a city, Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was the site of one of the worst massacres of black people in this country’s history. The symbolism alone here seems damaging. Should he just call it off?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: He’s welcome to go wherever he wants to go. I’m thankful that he moved it. Certainly, the Tulsa, Oklahoma race riots were the worst in American history by a count. Next year is the hundredth anniversary. The President moving the date by a day once he was informed on what the Juneteenth was, that was a good decision on his part. I think if we look at the President’s speech at West Point, we find really what I think is the path forward on how to talk about these really encouraging issues of racial progress and those issues that are discouraging to the racial divide.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was this school that gave us the men and women who fought and won a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery. The Army was at the forefront of ending the terrible injustice of segregation.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: If we hear more of that, our nation will turn its head and listen a little closer to what the President says on issues of race. That is the path forward for this nation. It’s finding the common ground and those institutions that bring us together. Without that, we may be looking at worse outcomes, not better outcomes, in the next few months.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So just to be clear, you think no one on the Trump campaign or in the Trump White House had any idea of the significance of these two events?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: My understanding is he moved the date once he understood the Juneteenth. I’m not sure that the planners on his inner-circle team thought about June 19th, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and race riots. Unless you’re doing a historical check, you probably don’t– don’t get those dots connected. But I– I have always said my staff in Washington is an incredibly diverse staff and diversity on our staffs help us avoid some of the– the pitfalls. The President, fortunately, has some folks that used to work with me, Ja’Ron, and others who, I think, helped to inform and educate the President on why Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 19th was not the best day to do it on it. And to his credit, he moved it. So that’s good news.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Scott, thank you for your time this morning.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT: Yes, Ma’am. Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’ll be back in one minute with Senator Cory booker, who is standing by.
MARGARET BRENNAN: For the Democratic perspective on policing, we want to speak now to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who joins us from his home in Newark. Good morning to you, Senator.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-New Jersey/@SenBooker): Good morning, Margaret. Thank you for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: In Atlanta, was the killing of Rayshard Brooks an example to you of excessive use of force?
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: I was a mayor of New Jersey’s largest city with a police department. If one of my officers shot someone in the back while they were fleeing with a non-deadly weapon, that is unjust use of force and unacceptable to community standards and– and very unfortunate and– and tragic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Given the broader concern at the federal levels on how to come up with legislation that both sides can get behind, you heard Senator Scott say that when it comes to qualified immunity, the administration has made clear to him that is a poison pill. It cannot be in any kind of legislation. How do you offset the concern of the administration that qualified immunity helps– well, it’s necessary because police need to make split-second decisions and they can’t be thinking twice in a way that inhibits them from doing their job. How do you offset that specific concern?
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Well, let’s understand that qualified immunity right now is not a Democratic-supported thing. Clarence Thomas and conservative Supreme Court justices say that we need to reexamine qualified immunity. Some of my Republican colleagues in the Senate right now have come forward to me and said we need to reexamine qualified immunity. What qualified immunity does in this country is it allows a case in Washington where a pregnant woman, seven months pregnant, was dragged into a street for not signing a parking ticket and tased three times. No accountability. Those police officers were qualified– had qualified immunity. It’s a case in Utah where a bicycle rider a hundred yards away was shot multiple times by multiple police. And then they claimed it was just mistaken identity, no accountability in terms of qualified immunity. Even in Washington– and even in Oklahoma, a man with pneumonia, wandering, stumbling through a hospital unarmed, was shot and killed by police. So I could go through horrific example after horrific example. We have to ask ourselves as a society, do we want to have a nation where police officers who do really awful things cannot be held accountable to– to– through to civil rights charges? And that’s unacceptable. And so I– I hear what folks are saying. But when there’s so many conservative voices talking about qualified immunity and when we know that no one in America should be above the law, I think it’s time that we change qualified immunity.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What you heard Senator Scott say, though, was the term poison pill, meaning this could– this could sink everything else. What about his idea that he floated there of decertification as a way to reduce officer misconduct?
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Well, every American should think to themselves if your wife or daughter or family member was that pregnant woman who was brought out into the middle of a street for not signing a traffic ticket and tased three times, is decertification a real accountability? We are in a nation right now where the sense of what’s possible has shifted. The bill that I just did with incredible partners like Kamala Harris and House members, that would have been poison pills just a– a month ago. This is a moment in American history where there are things in the Republican bill that allow still chokeholds or no-knock warrants, which are being banned right now from Kentucky to New York. This is not a time for lowest common denominator, watered down reforms. It’s a time to stop the problem, because if– if someone’s knee is on your neck, you can’t take it halfway off and say that that’s progress. We have the tools with which to stop people from dying. And any bill should have a ban on racial and religious profiling called for by George Bush in his first address to Congress. Any bill–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But are you saying– are you saying on this one particular issue that you will not sign any bill unless there is a reduction that would allow for it to be easier to prosecute bad cops?
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Look, I– I– I have witnessed in my life the awful criminal justice system getting worse from 1980 till now, our criminal– our incarceration going up five hundred percent in America. And I was part of a compromise bill to liberate thousands of people out of prisons. And so I did the best I can. And the first step we did to tear down a system of mass incarceration, in which the land of the free–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: –has one out of every three incarcerated women on the planet Earth, even though, we’re only five percent of the globe’s population. So do I want progress? Yes. But when you– when we stop short and start talking about finding a bill that’s the lowest common denominator it is meaning that we will revisit this again when another armed– armed black person gets killed and the nation erupts. We should be seeking to solve the problem–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: –pushing the bounds of the possible and getting as big of a coalition as we possibly can.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’re saying that there is a chance here that this moment could– you could miss the moment that Democrats or Republicans won’t be able to come to a compromise?
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: No, I’m saying that we could miss the moment by not solving the problem and ending practices–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: –that we know would make a difference to lives, things like having police misconduct registries–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: –open to the public because sunshine is the best disinfectant. So I’m going to do everything I can in this moment that is– every day with– with artists of activism, nonviolent protesters out in the streets, every day–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I want to ask you– I want to ask you about this moment, because, I mean, it’s an election year and emotions are already supercharged. The President this morning sent a tweet quoting Michael Moore, a filmmaker, said Democrats shouldn’t underestimate white male Trump supporters’ rage and emotion. You heard my exchange with Senator Scott about whether it is ignorance or deliberateness to plan a rally around Juneteenth. Do you believe that you can come to a compromise with this administration on this issue?
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: Well, this is what I know. I know the heart of Tim Scott and senators like Senator Braun, who said to me he’s– qualified immunity is on the table. We– we are one body of the United States Senate. And– and people of good heart and good spirit, regardless of what the President does. He can veto a bill, but we should come forward in this moment in history, which will be judged. We should put our best face– best faith efforts forward to put a bill–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: –intact that will stop the kind of awful violence and– and killing of unarmed people that we see in our country. We can do that. We know what works.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: And we know that half measures have not worked in the past from Ferguson to Minneapolis. We know what will work.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well–
SENATOR CORY BOOKER: This is not a radical bill, but we can get this done.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will watch. Thank you very much, Senator Booker.
We’ll be right back with Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Seattle, where this week several blocks of one neighborhood were shut down in order for protesters to hold demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality. The police there vacated the precinct. It’s a situation that has drawn considerable criticism from President Trump. Joining us now is Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. Good morning to you, Chief.
CARMEN BEST (Seattle Police Chief/@carmenbest): Good morning, Margaret. Thank you so much for having me here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to talk about what’s happening in your city. But first of, I want to give you a chance to respond to what you just heard the two senators talking about, which is how you do your job. What do you think of these proposals?
CARMEN BEST: Well, you know, I can tell you, Margaret, I think all the time about how we might improve policing and what– what we’re experiencing in the field every day. I absolutely believe in accountability. But I think it’s– we’ve moved away from using the word reform. We were under a consent decree in the Seattle Police Department for almost a decade. We followed every rule and everything that was asked of us to do, yet, here we are–
MARGARET BRENNAN: That was the Justice Department looking at whether there was a pattern or practice of bias in policing. That’s what you’re referring to.
CARMEN BEST: Yes. Yes. And that’s– that’s what the consent decree is. And, essentially, they– they laid out a roadmap and a game plan for us to follow while they reviewed us with a federal monitor. But what I– what I believe, especially after I was at a march yesterday, or the day before yesterday with Black Lives Matter, and I was looking at the sixty thousand people that were there, signs saying, you know, defund the police, stop police brutality, you know, no qualified immunity. And there were thousands of people carrying those particular signs. And I just realized it was a moment, an epiphany, that this is a pivotal moment in history. We are going to move in a different direction and policing will never be the same as it was before. And I–
MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you think specifically of reducing community?
CARMEN BEST: Well, I think that’s really a conversation for the politicians and the judicial people to have about how that works and what that looks like. I think there are various iterations that have been proposed, and I think that that is a better discussion in that arena.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
CARMEN BEST: But I do believe that the considerations of the public need to be infused in whatever that outcome is.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.
CARMEN BEST: And so I would– I would have to defer to that as a better forum to have that discussion. I– I can say–
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to–
CARMEN BEST: Go ahead.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sorry. Let me just take a real quick break here, because I want to talk to you and give you time to explain what is going on in Seattle right now.
CARMEN BEST: Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s take that commercial break and continue the conversation with police Chief Best in our next half hour.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be back with much more FACE THE NATION.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We want to continue our conversation with Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
Chief, thank you for staying with us. You know there’s a lot of focus on your city. Republican lawmakers have called this six-block area that the police had left and that protesters are occupying, they’re saying it’s like a war zone, that warlords are running rampant. The President himself has said domestic terrorists have taken it over. You’re the police chief. What is happening in this so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone?
CARMEN BEST: Well, there are people who have occupied the area. My understanding is they’ve actually changed the name to the Capitol Hill-Occupied Protest area. There are a lot of folks there, a lot of differing objectives and agendas and people who have congregated into the area. One of our real challenges there is trying to determine who is a leader or an influencer. And that seems to change daily. I know that many of our city officials and others are trying to establish some sort of communication with someone who can give us some direction about what the intent is and how we might move forward.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So I had read reports in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere that there were negotiations underway with Black Lives Matter who we were saying they didn’t want to hand over control until funding to the police was cut. You’re saying it’s actually not that clear of a negotiation. How long will this last?
CARMEN BEST: Yeah, those are great questions. I wish I had the answer to how long it might last. I can tell you that we want to move it forward as quickly and efficiently as possible. But my concern as a police chief, besides that I want to be back in our precinct doing the work, is that we don’t want to– we don’t want anyone there to be harmed. We don’t want this to be something that devolves into a force situation. So we’re really trying to take a methodical, practical approach to reach a resolution where everyone gets out of here safely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you believe it’s peaceful? Just to be clear.
CARMEN BEST: For the time being, yes, it is.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. You are a police chief and I just wonder when you look at what has happened overnight in Atlanta where this shooting occurred. The two officers involved are under scrutiny. One of them was fired. The police chief herself resigned, even though she had– was not present or overseeing this directly–
CARMEN BEST: Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –at that moment. And I wonder, given all the tension, what it is like to be a police chief right now? Do you feel like there is just zero room for any kind of error? And have you changed the way you’re doing your job?
CARMEN BEST: Well, certainly, I’m sure you’re probably aware of the temporary restraining order that does not allow us to use pepper spray or gas– flash bangs or CS. So in some ways, there’s already been a change that we’re having to work through. I can tell you this, I was mentioning earlier that I was at the Black Lives Matter March, and I saw many people carrying signs about defunding the police–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
CARMEN BEST: –ending police brutality and looking at resolving the qualified immunity issue. So I know standing there, watching and listening that we’re going to change in policing. We have to. It has to be a movement that involves everybody. And we need to reimagine and refigure out, if you will, how we’re going to move forward as a country and as an organization to make things better for everybody. It’s incredibly difficult.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
CARMEN BEST: But with every challenge, there’s opportunity. There’s opportunity to move forward and bring people together and get positive change. I absolutely believe that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right.
CARMEN BEST: So some stressful situations are not going to deviate me or my organization from leading the way in trying to make things better for all of us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Chief, good luck. Thank you very much.
CARMEN BEST: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to more news this week on the coronavirus crisis. Former FDA commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb joins us from Westport, Connecticut. Good morning to you.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, MD (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Can you set us straight here? The CDC said this week that expanded testing is what accounts for this increase that we’re seeing in COVID-19 rates and that hospitalizations nationally are going down. But then Doctor Anthony Fauci publicly said that what’s happening is, quote, “something obviously that’s disturbing.” Who is right? What’s going on?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, hospitalizations nationally are flat. They’re not going down, they’re flat when you look at the total hospitalizations across the entire United States. And what we’re seeing is that parts of the country that had persistent spread, that never really crushed their epidemic, now have flare-ups in– in the cases, surge in cases as they reopened. That was expected. But the challenge is that parts of the country, states like Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, where you see those outbreaks right now, never really reduce the number of cases substantially. They had spread. It was persistent. And now it’s flaring up. So in Arizona, you see fifteen hundred cases recorded recently, in Florida, twenty-six hundred, California, thirty-seven hundred. To put that in perspective, at its peak of the epidemic in New York City, there were five thousand cases a day recorded.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Now, granted, we weren’t diagnosing as high of a percentage of cases, but these are pretty big outbreaks right now underway in these parts of the country. And what you also see is the positivity rate going up. The percentage of people who are testing positive is increasing. So that’s a bad combination. Seeing cases go up and seeing the positivity rate also increase suggests that there are outbreaks underway.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do we know enough at this point to attribute the uptick to the reopening?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, it’s certainly attributed to the reopening. I mean we all expected that as we reopened, we were going to see an uptick in cases. So in some respects we shouldn’t be surprised by this. I think the challenge for these states and these cities, if you look at Texas, the outbreak is really centered around Houston and Austin. The challenge is that they aren’t able to trace it back to a certain set of sources or activities so they can’t take targeted measures. What we’re going to have to do going forward is take targeted mitigation steps to try to contain these outbreaks by perhaps closing certain venues if you find that bars are the source of the spread. You might temporarily close bars or limit the number of people who can be in. Or if you find that certain large gatherings, outdoor gatherings are the source of the spread, you might target those kinds of gatherings. Right now we haven’t been able to trace them back to the source because we don’t have all that track and trace work in place. And so that’s a challenge for public health officials. In the state of Arizona, that’s largely left to local officials, to the counties. You might see the state start to take that over if they can’t start to trace these cases, the surge in cases, back to the sources.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You also have large demonstrations and now Trump political rallies that are being planned. You had Doctor Birx from the task force tell governors this week that shouting can actually offset the benefit of wearing a mask. That’s, obviously, relevant to anyone going to a rally or to a demonstration. Do you agree with her?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I agree with her. We’ve seen data now from the CDC that shows choir groups in places where people were singing led to spread within confined spaces. Obviously, the risk is a little bit diminished when you’re outside versus indoors. But we know these large gatherings are going to lead to more spread. The spontaneous protests around the country are going to lead to additional spread. Certainly, holding a large political rally will as well. That’s in an indoor space. It’s a confined space. And so we need to be mindful of this. I mean there’s things you can do to reduce the risk. You can require people to wear masks. You know, with respect to the protest. It’s a shared responsibility, not just of the people attending–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: –those protests to try to wear masks and engage in good practices, but also the police tactics, which probably contributed to the spread, the spraying of tear gas, grouping people together. This is a shared responsibility to try to reduce the risk in these settings.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You worked in the Trump administration. I know you know how important to the President having these political rallies is. But you’re a doctor. Is it advisable for him to be going to these places where there are upticks and holding rallies? Would you go?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I would certainly counsel against it. If I was giving advice to the administration on this, I would say that they should withhold large political rallies right now. They also need to lead by example. And so encouraging people to social distance, encouraging people to wear masks, that’s what we should be engaging in right now. And that political example is a powerful message to the– to individual people all across the country. We’re taking an awful lot of infection into the fall. We– we think that we can sort of manage at twenty thousand diagnosed infections a day. The virus wants to infect fifty to sixty percent of us. That’s the characteristics of this virus. It’s not going to be content just to infect twenty thousand people a day. And so if we carry all this infection all the way into the fall, it’s unlikely we’re going to be able to–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: –keep it at these kinds of levels and we need to be mindful of that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The CDC says masks should be worn at all times. They issued this on Friday with an eye toward some of these gatherings. You recently have changed your recommendation on the type of mask that people should be wearing. What are you advising?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, we know the– the better the quality of the mask, the more protective it’s going to be to the individual. There’s a study in Lancet that showed that N95 masks are ninety-six percent effective versus surgical masks, which were only sixty-seven percent effective. And we’ve seen that health care workers that didn’t wear N95 masks had a higher rate of infection. And so, ideally, we want to be providing high-quality masks to individuals. Any mask is better than no mask. A good cloth mask is going to provide a level of protection, but not as much as an N95. And there’s enough supply entering the market right now that in three, four months we should be able to provide N95 masks at the very least to high-risk individuals. I think we need to look at ways to try to get higher-quality masks into the hands of senior citizens, people who are immunocompromised or at higher risk of infection. Right now, the states are stockpiling these masks and so is the federal government. California just purchased a hundred and fifty million with an order to purchase another two hundred and fifty million. So as the states fill their stockpiles and hospitals do, I think in three to four months we’re going to be in a position to start providing these to consumers. Right now consumers can go out and get them. They’re expensive. They’re harder to get, but they’re starting to become available in the commercial– in the commercial channel for consumers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: An important change. Thank you very much, Doctor Gottlieb.
We’ll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the country and the world was experiencing the, quote, “biggest economic shock in living memory.” He predicted lingering high unemployment and that a significant number of Americans won’t go back to their old jobs. Robert Kaplan is head of the Dallas Federal Reserve, one of the twelve banks that make up that system. Good morning to you.
ROBERT KAPLAN (President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas): Good morning, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Houston is a hot spot, as we just heard. Saturday marked Texas’ highest COVID hospitalization rate since this pandemic began. The governor is continuing to reopen businesses. Elsewhere in the west, out in Arizona, also seeing some hot spots, flare-ups, governors not requiring people to wear masks. As an economist, what do you make of these policy choices? Is it going to impact the economic rebound?
ROBERT KAPLAN: Yes, so we knew as part of the reopening that we would get more cases. The thing we’re watching is– is– are there so many cases that it has the risk of overwhelming the health care system. We’re not seeing that at all here. But– but I think what you point out is the– the health care response at this point is as important as fiscal or monetary policy. And in particular, it’s critical, based on my conversations with epidemiologists, that people widely wear mask, that we have good testing and contact tracing. And I think the– the extent we do that well will determine how quickly we recover. We’ll grow faster if we do those things well. And right now, it’s relatively uneven.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So that– that is a false choice, the dichotomy between reopening and being able to follow these policy prescriptions. I think that’s an important point you made.
ROBERT KAPLAN: That’s right. That is exactly what I’m saying.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you still believe that the national unemployment rate will tick up to twenty percent because we’ve seen this change in the past few weeks?
ROBERT KAPLAN: No, we’re– we’re on our way down right now. So there’s some dispute about some of the data. But let’s say the national unemployment right now– unemployment rate right now, if you did it accurately, we think is in the mid-teens. The– the other measures suggest there’s even more slack. We’re going to get positive job growth in June, July, and from here. The issue we have and I think the chairman talked about a few days ago, is if we’re– we’re– even with that growth, we’re going to end the year with an elevated unemployment rate. And that depending on how fast the service sector comes back and people reengage, we’re still going to have an elevated level of unemployment maybe as high, based on my forecast, of eight percent or more. And it means that some people won’t be able to go back to their old jobs and will have to find new jobs and this is why skill training, helping people find new jobs is going to be also a big part of this effort.
MARGARET BERNNAN: If Congress doesn’t renew pro– provisions like the federal moratorium on evictions, if they don’t include the six-hundred-dollar boost to unemployment when it all expires in July, what will be the impact?
ROBERT KAPLAN: So fiscal policy, and– and we’ve said this, is going to be very important from here. Monetary policy has a key role to play and we’re doing everything we can, but we don’t make grants at the Fed. It’s going to take continued, I think, unemployment benefits. Now, they might be restructured to create more incentives for people to go back to work. That all makes sense. I think benefits to state and local governments. Fiscal policy from here is going to be a critical element of the recovery.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And by that, you mean– you’re telling Congress that they have to do some work here? I want to–
ROBERT KAPLAN: I’m being careful as a central banker not to tell the fiscal authorities what to do. But– but–
MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you are. I know you are.
ROBERT KAPLAN: But I would say fiscal policy is going to be critical from here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I– I know why you’re using the language you are. I was just trying to help our audience understand there.
ROBERT KAPLAN: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: One of your regional Fed presidents from Atlanta– Atlanta, Raphael Bostic, wrote this week that, quote, “Systemic racism is a yoke that drags on the American economy. This country has both a moral and economic imperative to end these unjust and destructive practices.” I wonder if– if you would agree and how you would quantify the cost of the racism–
ROBERT KAPLAN: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –he’s talking about?
ROBERT KAPLAN: I would agree. You know, going into the crisis, we’d made a– a big point and have been working for years at the Dallas Fed but across our Federal Reserve System to help improve skills training, to improve educational attainment because we strongly believe a more inclusive economy will lead to better growth. For years blacks and Hispanics have had an elevated level of unemployment versus whites. That started to improve dramatically in the last few years. We now take a step back as a result of this crisis. But a more inclusive economy where everyone has opportunity will mean faster workforce growth, faster productivity growth, and we’ll grow faster. And so I– I think we– we are right to focus on this and bore in on this. It’s– it’s in the interests of the U.S. The fastest growing demographic groups in this country are blacks and Hispanics. If they don’t participate equally, then we’re going to grow more slowly.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And more work needs to be done on that front? By Congress?
ROBERT KAPLAN: No question.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I– I think that’s– I think that’s what you’re saying. All right. Thank you very much, Robert Kaplan of the Dallas Fed, for giving us your insight.
And we’ll be back in a moment to talk about politics and presidents with our own John Dickerson.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to a familiar face on this broadcast, former FACE THE NATION moderator and now 60 MINUTES correspondent John Dickerson. He’s the author of a new book that’s coming out on Tuesday. It’s called The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency. John, good to have you here.
JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Senior Political Analyst/@jdickerson/60 MINUTES Correspondent): Great to be back, Margaret. Great to see you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you say the American presidency is in trouble. It’s overburdened, misunderstood, and an almost impossible job to do. And you started writing this, before the pandemic, before the economic crisis, and before the current racial strife that we are in. I mean we seem to beyond– be– beyond the cliche of this is a stress test on our democracy. How are you thinking of where we are?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, that’s exactly right. I mean the book was finished before those three challenges, but they highlight essential point of the book, which is I went back and tried to look at the blueprint of the office. What is– what is it really at its most basic level? And what it is, it’s a job where big, high-stakes things happen that are surprises to the President and where everybody, the President on down, needs to have created a system for dealing with those kinds of emergencies so they can be ready when the crisis hits. Because when the crisis hits, it’s too late to kind of get ready on the fly. Gautam Mukunda is a professor at Harvard and he says the presidency is like an airbag. You may not think about it all the time, but when there is an emergency, you want it to work.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So the excuse, well, no one could have seen this coming, you’re saying the office is designed with that assumption, that you need to be prepared for the thing you don’t see coming.
JOHN DICKERSON: That’s right. That’s why LBJ referred to the office, pardon me, morning viewers, as like being a jackass in a hailstorm, because sometimes you just have to take it. And what that means is the– the job holds you to an extremely high standard. And the reason it’s important to take responsibility even for something that you didn’t create is because that sets everybody’s priorities. It tells everybody on your political team, you know what, spinning won’t work. I’ve put my reputation on the line here. The buck stops with me. And you better all solve this problem, because my future is at stake if we don’t deliver results. And– and don’t put any energy into spinning this. And that’s what the– that’s why the office is so hard. It’s why we treat it with such reverence and seriousness because you’re in a position where the buck stops with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But as you write in the book, President Trump has sort of changed that or challenged that assumption when he says things like, you know, no, I don’t take responsibility for anything with this pandemic.
JOHN DICKERSON: He has. And, in fact, that’s why he was elevated to the office, because people looked at this office in which we ask a President to do too much and with tools that are either broken or which he– he wasn’t given in the first place, a lot of what the President’s been asked to do for the last several presidencies is really is better housed in Congress or with governors or with mayors, but we ask the President to do it because we run everything through the presidency, which is why I wanted to take a look at what the office actually should do. President Trump was brought in by people who said, dismantle lots of it. Don’t pay attention to a lot of these rules and norms. And so he is both someone to evaluate, but also because of that behavior, he’s an incredible measuring instrument for us to take a look at the office and say, well, do we want this? Do we not want that? And what should we replace it with?
MARGARET BRENNAN: We are five months out from this election. And I wonder, given all the stresses, how you’re thinking of the actual process, because it feels like the institutions are undergoing some real crisis in confidence from the public, and just the functioning, the mechanics of our democracy are– are being called into question, being able to vote in November. How are you thinking of this?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, exactly. Let’s start on the voting in November. One of the key things for a President for any national conversation, and, again, we run them all through the presidency, which isn’t always great, but if we look at the next election, this is one of those problems. It’s on the horizon. It is not, yet, in our lap. The administration and– and different agencies have been looking at the elections, because they’re worried about them being interfered with by the Russians or the Chinese. Now we have another problem with COVID-19. This is a problem everybody can see coming. And that’s a test of leadership. Can you focus on the things that are important but not urgent, because, even though, they may not be urgent today, election day is not today, they will be urgent soon enough. And when they become urgent, you can’t suddenly come up with a solution. So this is, in addition to the other three tests we have, which is the economy, COVID, and America’s racial profile at the moment, we have this fourth test coming, which is can there be a peaceful transfer of power or a mainte– maintenance of power with the incumbent, which makes all people who are on the other side of the issue, which is to say those people who would not like Donald Trump to be reelected, make them feel like the process was safe. That is the hallmark of American democracy, was the thing the country was founded on, that we could have peaceful transfers of power with no monkey business, that’s a big test– test facing this country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know the President has talked about his generals and his relationship with the military. And– and I remember in 2016, one of the things President Obama was faulted for was his frayed relationship with the military. This week we had this extraordinary moment where the President’s top military adviser, Mark Milley, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff go on camera and issue an apology for wearing his fatigues and standing alongside the President in this photo op in Lafayette Square. Have you seen, you know, a fraying of the relationship on that front? Is that claim gone?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, you know, what I focused on is the early lines in the President’s speech at West Point. He said he was there on behalf of the nation. And that’s where the fraying takes place, because General Milley was worried that he was brought to Lafayette Square on behalf of the Trump reelection campaign. The President has a– has a duty to represent the entire nation, and the military takes that very seriously. And that’s where some of the fraying has gone. Also, of course, the President’s been very tough on some of his generals about the way they’ve prosecuted some of America’s recent wars.
MARGARET BRENNAN: John Dickerson, it’s an interesting read. Thank you so much. Great to have you here.
We’ll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s it for all of us today. Thank you for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.