A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, April 19, 2020 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Lockdown showdown.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're opening up our country.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump sets guidelines for getting back to business after sending mixed messages.
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TRUMP: The president of the United States calls the shots.
It's going to be up to the governors.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Governors grapple with the consequences.
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GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): There's no light switch.
GOV. GARY HERBERT (R-UT): This is more like a dial.
GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): We're not at halftime at a very close game.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: And as millions more file for unemployment across America, Congress considers even more funding.
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REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think we're very close to agreement.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: What will our new normal look like?
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GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: What will it take to get there?
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: The emphasis that we have been hearing is essentially, testing is everything, and it isn't.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Those questions this morning for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House task force, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, plus analysis from Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, and our team of experts.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."
Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."
As we come on the air this morning, the coronavirus continues to spread, now more than 730,000 cases across America.
And as the fight to contain the virus goes on, the White House, Congress and governors also now focused on containing the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, struggling with how to reopen society without risking a second wave of the virus.
At the White House last night, the president stepped up his attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claiming she's blocking new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program for small business.
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TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi has been blocking it.
She sits in her house in San Francisco, overlooking the ocean, and she doesn't want to come back. She doesn't want to come back.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: That is where we began when I spoke with the speaker yesterday.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Madam Speaker, thank you very much for joining us.
You know, over the last 48 hours, President Trump has leveled a series of tweets and attacks against you, calling you weak, crazy, away on vacation.
And, more importantly, he's accused you of costing Americans jobs by blocking new funds for the Paycheck Protection Program. What's your response?
PELOSI: Frankly, I don't pay that much attention to the president's tweets against me. As I have said, he's a poor leader. He's always trying to avoid responsibility and assign blame.
But, putting that aside, because we have to put that aside, what we really need now is -- as we go forward with this interim package, of course, we all support the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program. We helped shape it in a bipartisan way.
But we want to make sure that it's reaching all of America's small businesses. And we also want to make sure that it's operating in a community where our police and fire, our health care workers, our doctors, nurses, our teachers are being compensated for and not fired.
And that's why we're asking for the additional funds in the package, as well as for hospitals, so that we can do testing, testing, testing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've even got some of your own Democrats who are saying, those other programs are important, we should negotiate those in a new package, but it's important to pass the PPP funding right now by unanimous consent. Why not do that?
PELOSI: Well, I don't know who's saying that.
But I will say, overwhelmingly, my caucus -- and I'm -- we're working closely with the Senate Democrats -- know that we have an opportunity and an urgency to do something for our hospitals, our teachers, and firefighters, and the rest right now. And then we are preparing for our next bill.
But everything we've done, three bills in March, were all bipartisan. This interim package will be too. And the businesses will have the money in a timely fashion.
So again, maybe you will find some who may say something, but, overwhelmingly, the caucus is: Let's get as much as we can for those who are helping to fight this fight, so that we can soon open our economy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How close are you to getting that package done? I know you've been talking to Secretary Mnuchin.
PELOSI: Yes, we're close.
Again, we -- we have common ground. Our CARES one package was something that we worked together in a bipartisan way, springing from that and making it more effective and stronger, so that more people are benefiting from it and protected by it.
I think we're very close to agreement.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And assuming you reach -- you close this negotiation down, how is Congress going to get this done?
I know that Washington, D.C., is still under stay-at-home orders. You've got a lot of members who can't travel.
Are you prepared to go forward with the proxy voting proposal that's been put forward by Rules Committee Chairman Mr. -- Mr. McGovern?
PELOSI: Yes, he and Congresswoman -- Madam Chair Zoe Lofgren of House Administration Committee were tasked to see what we could do remotely, whether it was by dint of the Constitution, the security and the technology. They came back with this recommendation on proxy voting. We want to see -- make sure though that we can do it in a bipartisan way.
But nonetheless, to your point of reaching an agreement, we did reach agreement on CARES 1. We have an example of how we went forward in a bipartisan way, even though there was a person on the other side of the aisle who was insisting on not -- avoiding unanimous consent.
We have a template. We’ve done it once. We can do it again. And it’s easier if we can have proxy voting. But in order to have proxy voting, you also have to have a vote to change the rules of the House to do that. And we’d rather do that in a bipartisan way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: All of this, of course, is against the backdrop of these staggering jobs losses over the last four weeks, more than 22 million Americans. And that’s why you’re seeing these protests build up across the country saying, boy, we have to reopen as quickly as possible. Do you think that the president’s guidelines to the governors are appropriate and are -- and states are ready to begin that process of opening up?
PELOSI: I wouldn’t -- I wouldn’t exaggerate the protests across the country. There are some in some places, largely where there’s a Democratic governor. But I think of it largely as a distraction and the president’s embrace of it as a distraction from the fact that he has not appropriately done testing, treatment, contact tracing, and quarantine.
So -- but just to move on from that, the -- that’s why we want the small businesses to thrive and that’s why that was such an important part of the CARES package, so that we could -- that is the lifeblood of our economy, the creation of jobs, the creation of capital and the rest.
But again, the key that opens the door to the economy is testing, testing, testing. We haven’t done it right. If, as Dr. Fauci says, if we proceed the right way, then we can do that. But we haven’t.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, Dr. Fauci did say the other day, that he thought that if we moved in this direction right now, there’s enough testing out there for Phase 1, you clearly don’t agree?
PELOSI: No, he’s saying if we proceed. I’m saying we haven’t proceeded. That’s why we’re saying, let’s proceed in that way, with testing. You can’t just test. You have to test, treat if people are diagnosed to have it and so -- and contact tracing, so that it doesn’t spread, and quarantine so that people are sheltered in place for as long as it takes.
And how wonderful the American people are. They understand that we have to have a scientific, evidence-based approach to how we go forward, because we can’t just go out there and then find out that we went out too soon. And that has to be calibrated, scientifically based, not politically based, or as a distraction to how we should go forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re dealing with this every single day. You have access to the best information in the country...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ...and the world. What’s your best sense right now of when we’re going to get back to some semblance of normal here in the United States? I noticed one of your California Mayors, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, said no big crowd events until 2021. Do you agree with that?
PELOSI: Well, everybody has to make their determination in their own community. But it has to be based on, again, the evidence and the data of what will work in those communities. Your previous question about the president -- let me just say about that, the president has established these guidelines.
First, he said, I have sole authority to open up states or close states. The next thing he said was, it’s up to the governors. When the governors have said they want to follow the guidelines, he’s now criticizing them by siding with people who are objecting to their following the guidelines -- the governors following the guidelines that have been forward by the Center for Disease Control and others.
So it is -- I don’t know that anybody can give you a time-line. We’re prayerful that there will be a cure soon, that there will be a vaccine -- that will take longer. That’s really the answer. And it is, again, the sooner we commit to shelter-in-place across the board, testing, shelter-in-place, treatment, contact tracing -- that’s the path to opening the economy and putting people back to work.
But again, I praise the American people for their appreciation, what (ph) it means to their health, the health of their families and their loved ones, to make the sacrifices necessary. But we all want to get back to work so that people have livelihoods, as well as their lives protected.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: In a conference call with your caucus earlier this week, you reportedly said, I’m afraid what the president might do during this period. What is it you’re afraid of?
PELOSI: I’m afraid that he’s going to act on the set basis of what he’s acted before. It’s a hoax. It’s magically going to disappear. And that’s why I sent out the letter that I did after Easter, because Easter gave me a time for reflection and prayerfulness about, OK, we don’t want to keep harping on what he did wrong because he failed.
He’s failed in the testing and the rest and the hoax and it’s going to magically disappear. That’s not based on science. This isn’t magical. This is scientific.
And so I’ve said if he -- if he continues to predicate the action that we take on a false premise, then we’re in further danger and his earlier delay and denial caused deaths. And so, it’s very important that we walk the line that is close to evidence, data, science, as we go forward and not whimsy, magic hoax allegations and placing blame instead of taking responsibility.
And again, I was fearful about this. I didn’t -- you know, when people said to me this and that and that, I said that’s time for an after-action review. We’ll go over all of that. Except he was drawing strength in his own view of what his falsehoods were gaining him and we cannot -- we cannot fight a pandemic. We cannot open up to our economy based on falsehoods.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Madam Speaker, thanks very much for your time today.
PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, the White House response. Dr. Deborah Birx from the coronavirus task force.
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GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Robust testing of the general public.
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): The more we can do testing, the more we can get people's confidence up, the more places like the airports, the airlines, are going to be able to come back.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Testing is the single most important topic for us to understand, I think.
Testing is how you monitor the rate of infection and you control for it. And that's the whole tension in reopening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: A series of governors talking about the importance of testing in this -- for COVID as we escalate our response here in the United States.
And we're joined now by the coronavirus response coordinator from the White House, Dr. Deborah Birx.
Dr. Birx, thank you for joining us this morning.
We just heard those governors talk about the importance of testing right there. The president said it's going very, very well at his press conference yesterday. But researchers with the COVID testing project up at Harvard has said that we need to triple the daily amount of testing in the United States in order to get us on a path towards reopening in May. More like 500 to 700,000 a day rather than about 150,000 a day.
Are they right and what's it going to take to get there?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Well, thank you and good morning.
So I think there's three aspects of how to monitor the spread of COVID. And I understand one of those a critical -- critical legs in the stool is testing. But the other two legs are really making sure that we're monitoring, using our syndromic and our influenza-like illness. It's up on the CDC website. Every state has that capacity. And making sure that they're monitoring those two elements at the same time that we're expanding testing.
Because I want to be very clear to the American people, none of our tests are 100 percent sensitive and specific. What do I mean by that? Not -- none of our tests that we use in medicine can diagnose 100 percent of the people who are positive and correctly diagnose 100 percent of the people who are negative. These are very good tests, but if you utilize them in what we call very low prevalent states, where there's no evidence of COVID-19, you can both have false negatives and false positives.
So we're working with every governor and every mayor and, frankly, every laboratory to ensure that we have quality tests out there and also to ensure that we're meeting with the governments and with the governors, the needs that they have in each of those labs. And so the solutions need to be tailored to each of the issues that each of the labs may have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they -- but what the governors are saying, though, is that we need national coordination of that entire effort to make sure the supplies are getting where they need.
BIRX: So, first, I just want to remind everyone that four weeks ago we were working off of the pandemic platform that had been developed for pandemic flus and we realized, and the president realized, that we had to change completely how we were doing testing. And that's why we brought in the diagnostic companies that really work on novel tests and brought in the large, commercial labs. And I think you could see from the diagrams yesterday that almost 60 percent of the tests to date have been done by these large, commercial labs. But we've also put out an additional seven platforms for additional tests, to make it possible for hospitals to test and clinics to test, and I think what we don't have right now is complete reporting.
So, when you look at the numbers of cases that have been diagnosed, you realize that there's probably 30,000 to 50,000 additional tests that are being done that aren’t (ph) being reported right now. But we also understand that there have been specific issues at specific labs. And to find those solutions, you’ve got to do it in a granular fact-based, data-driven way.
So, we have a team calling every single laboratory that have us all these platforms throughout the United States. There’s over a thousand of them in over 300 labs, and they're calling everyone to work with each state and local authority to ensure that they have everything that they need to turn on full capacity, which will, we believe, double the number of tests that are available for Americans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that going to be enough to prevent a second wave?
BIRX: Well, that's a very interesting question because we’ve never had a pandemic like this before. So, we believe it’s been enough and a whole series of the outbreak areas, when you see how Detroit has been able to test, Louisiana, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. We preferentially put these tests where the outbreaks where so that people could be diagnosed, because the number one -- the number one issue that the president want to address is make sure we were saving all the lives. So, he wanted to make sure that everyone who was sick had a test, and everyone who is sick that needed a hospital bed got a hospital bed, and everyone that needed a ventilator got a ventilator.
And now, we're working on expanding testing strategy across the United States, but in deep partnership with governors and more importantly, in partnership with the lab directors who actually know precisely what the issues are that need to be solved.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has suspended funding for the World Health Organization and blamed them for covering up the spread of the virus. But more than a dozen U.S. officials have been imbedded at the WHO since this crisis began. Since December 31st, there were constant briefings with senior officials. So, they were getting the same information in real time from the WHO.
So, is it fair to blame the WHO for covering up the spread of this virus?
BIRX: You know, I think early on, when you go back to the -- and again, I watch pandemics around the world. And the level of transparency and communication that you need, you have to over-communicate, you have to communicate even the small nuances.
You know, when you look at the outbreak that's been reported to China and you look at the outbreak that was able to be contained in South Korea and a series of Asian countries, you didn't see that kind of doubling rate, you didn’t see that logarithmic increase that you see all throughout the developed countries of Europe and certainly in the United States.
And so, when you look at those countries, it wasn't until the beginning of March that we could all fully see how contagious this virus was, how transmittable it was. And I think that level between January when we had evidence of this apparently and when we really understood its level of transmissibility, it’s always the first country that get exposed to the pandemic that has a -- really a higher moral obligation on communicating on transparency because all the other countries around the world are making decisions on that.
And that's something that we can look into after this is over. I know the European countries are communicating very effectively with each other and with us. And when we get through this as a global community, we can figure out really what has to happen for first alerts and transparency and understanding very early on about how this virus and how incredibly contagious this virus is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, we're seeing protests crop up in states across the country now against these stay-at-home restrictions, including in Austin, Texas, yesterday. I want to show some of that right here where you hear the protesters -- saying "fire Fauci, fire Fauci." And you're also hearing from these people that they're not worried about the virus, that they don’t -- they think they're going to be able to develop immunity.
What is your message to these protesters out there right now?
BIRX: Well, first, Dr. Fauci and I have had a strong partnership for over 30-plus years and we've been telling the American people all along that they need to really follow state and local guidelines, and they themselves need to be educated and knowledgeable about this virus.
We're not only protecting ourselves but we're protecting each other when we follow the guidelines.
That said, every state needs to really do a great job of communicating in local communities because we know every community is different. I'd like every American today to go to the Florida public health site, because I had a question yesterday about a specific county in Florida and I wanted to go in and investigate, and because these outbreaks are very local, the data needs to be analyzed locally. And so we all should look at the Florida public health site. I think they are doing an extraordinary job keeping their communities informed day by day about where the virus is, where the new cases are.
It's divided by county and zip code. They talk about where the testing is available, but they show, in a very transparent way, all the cases.
And I think bringing knowledge to the community is what is going to be critical in ensuring that we get not only through this phase, but the other three phases, and prevent a future outbreak if the virus comes back in the fall.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Birx, thanks for your time this morning.
BIRX: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next: Governor Jay Inslee from Washington.
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QUESTION: Stephen Moore, someone you appointed to your open the country task force, is organizing a protest in Wisconsin.
But aren't they, in a sense, protesting your very own guidelines?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we have a flexibility. I didn't see what Stephen said.
QUESTION: He said: "We need to be the Rosa Parks of government injustices."
TRUMP: Well, there is a lot of injustice, when you look at Virginia, where they want to take your guns away.
So, yes, I mean, I can see where he's coming from. I think it's a strong statement, strong statement, because, hopefully, this will be over very soon for all of us.
But some have gotten carried away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: There you see President Trump at his press conference yesterday talking about how he thinks some states have gotten carried away with their stay-at-home restrictions.
We're joined now by the Democratic governor of Washington, Jay Inslee.
And, Governor Inslee, thank you for joining us this morning.
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have also seen those tweets from the president saying, liberate Michigan, liberate Virginia.
And you believe that's dangerous.
INSLEE: I don't know any other way to characterize it, when we have an order from governors, both Republicans and Democrats, that basically are designed to protect people's health, literally their lives, to have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity.
These orders actually are the law of these states. And, again, these are not just Democrats. These are Republican-led states as well. To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can't remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing.
And it is dangerous, because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives. And I don't know there's another way to characterize it.
And it is doubly frustrating to us governors, because this is a -- such a schizophrenia, because the president basically is asking people: Please ignore Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. Please ignore my own guidelines that I set forth, because those guidelines made very clear, if you read them -- and I don't know if the president did or not -- but, if you read them, it made very clear that you cannot open up Michigan today or Virginia.
Under those guidelines, you need to see a decline in the infections and fatalities. And that simply has not happened yet.
So, yes, we hope that there could be a restoration of leadership in the White House, rather than hobbling our national efforts to protect people from this terrible virus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- and where do you things stand in Washington right now? How close are you to meeting the guidelines to start to relax the restrictions and the end of phase one?
INSLEE: Well, there's a lot of good news in Washington.
We have been very united as a state. There's been massive compliance with our stay home, stay healthy order. People are really pitching in. They feel sense of commonality and unit. We're very proud of Washingtonians, because we've been able to bend the curve down. And the reason we've been able to do this is we've made decisions based on data, based on science, based on some of the best geneticists and epidemiologists in the world here at the University of Washington and in other labs. So, we have a lot of things to be happy about and prideful about.
The problem, however, though, is we still have not got the curve going down. We're sort of plateaued, if you will. We want to make sure we want to wrestle this beast to the ground. And the reason is you have to get the infections down to a low enough number where you can handle it through very vigorous robust testing and contact tracing.
We are building an army to act sort of like a fire brigade. You know, when your house is on fire you call the fire department and they come quickly. We need the same capability when you have symptoms to get you tested and isolated as appropriate.
So, need to get those numbers down to be in that really reopening stage and contact tracing stage, and I'm looking forward to that happy day when we get to that downward curve.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And setting expectations for your citizens, citizens across the country, what's your expectation of when you're going to get close to something like normal? You heard Mayor Garcetti in Los Angeles said no big gatherings until 2021. Governor Newsom of California, your neighbor, saying this new normal is going to look very, very different. What kind of expectations are you setting for your citizens?
INSLEE: Well, everybody is very anxious to have a date. You know, they're wanting to get out and see their grandkids, they're wanting to get back to work, people without a paycheck have extreme anxiety about this and so this is something very, very deep, a yearning, a lust, to have that date to be able to shoot for. But obviously, no one has a crystal ball, no matter how intelligent they are, to know exactly where that date is.
So what I've been encouraging folks is to focus on the single most important date in our country right now and that's today, April 19, it's the day we can control our destiny, it's the day we can decide to continue to stay home as appropriate. It's the day we can encourage our researchers. We've got to focus on what the here and now, what we can actually do.
Now, we think things are going to improve, and we hope it's in the next several weeks so that we can get to the next stage of dialing this -- and by the way, this is not a light switch, this is going to be a dial where we can help businesses reopen and give them the advice and the technical expertise so they can do that in a safe way, so that we can get back to perfect our remote learning with our students because our schools are not going to be open this year but we can have better remote learning. So, we're happy to get that data as soon as we can.
And what I'm trying to encourage people is focus on what we can do today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, sir, Washington's one of five states to have basically all mail-in voting. You've seen the president come out and say that that is more susceptible to voting fraud than other forms of voting. What has been your experience, and what is your response to those claims by President Trump?
INSLEE: The water's great. Jump in. This is a tremendous work in democracy, because it's the easiest, safest, most reliable voting there is. Our numbers have gone up on voter participation. This effort has been a spectacular success. There is zero reason not to have a mail-in ballot in any conditions, and certainly when people have to risk their lives to go physically vote right now with this COVID epidemic.
So, I know that there are some in the other party who are afraid more people will vote if we have that. That shouldn't be a fear, it should be a hope. And we should increase voter participation any way we can. So, if you look at the experience of states -- Oregon that has led this effort, it's just been fantastic, virtually no fraud and increased participation. People love it.
We love it so much that I actually bought a stamp for everyone out of my emergency funds last year, and now we've made that a stable thing. So I hope people instead of suppressing votes, let's encourage voting, that's the first thing we can do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Inslee, thanks very much for your time this morning.
INSLEE: You bet. Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll be right back.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Back now with a deeper dive at what it will take to reopen our economy. As we've discussed, testing, comprehensive testing is a key factor. The big question is, where are we now? What will it take to scale up, prevent a second wave and start us on the road to a new normal? And here to help us break it all down, President Trump's former Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, Danielle Allen, director of Harvard Safra Center for Ethics and the lead author of the new report "The Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience," and Austin Goolsbee, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, who chaired President Obama's council of economic advisers.
And, Dr. Allen, let me begin with you. You do have this report coming out on testing tomorrow. You heard me discuss this with Dr. Birx. She believes that doubling testing over -- over the next several weeks will get us to where we need to be.
Do you agree? Is that what your report found?
DANIELLE ALLEN, DIRECTOR OF THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY EDMOND J. SAFRA CENTER FOR ETHICS: Thanks so much, George.
The key question is, how ambitious does America want to be? Doubling testing will help. Tripling testing will help. But those levels will not get us to a place where we can avoid a second wave.
I think the most important question is, how much testing, tracing and supported isolation do we need to avoid having to use repeated applications of stay at home order when a second or third wave hits. Our view is that we need to get to 5 million tests a day by June in order to achieve that. It is doable. We don't have to break any law of physics to do this. It's a question of coordinating the supply chain, maximizing existing capacity, we can get to 2 million a day with the existing infrastructure and using breakthrough innovations. For example, the new saliva test and really scaling up a simplification of the testing process. That can take us to that 5 million test a day level. We can do it. We're can-do America. It is just a question of where we set our ambition.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Tom Bossert, one of the things we're seeing right now is this real back and forth between the president and the governors. The president saying now it's up to the governors. They have -- they have the capacity they need to ramp up the testing. The governors saying back, no, we need more national coordination, more investment. And that seems almost like a recipe for paralysis.
TOM BOSSERT, ABC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, you know, this week I saw what I really fear seeing in disasters, George, and that is we've reached that fourth stage of exhaustion, at least among some of our political leaders. They need to stop and re-think this long disaster. There's not a perfect answer to this, so we started with, you know, all federal government. We ended the week with all state government. We've got to find a middle ground.
The federal government exists for the collective defense and we can play a very strong, convening role. Not the -- not the compelling role that everybody's kind of pushing this debate into, but bringing these regions and states and municipalities together to help them understand that not all of them are going to have the same resources and capabilities and not all of them are going to have the same need, but some common standard sharing of data and resources is really necessary. And so the federal government can't completely absolve themselves from this third gate, which is really the necessary gate that the doctor's talking about and that is pre-necessary or a pre-qualifier before we can even discuss these re-entry plans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Austan Goolsbee, one of the things we’re seeing is other countries getting ahead of where we are right now on testing, more contact tracing, testing -- tracing, and even beginning with doing more widespread antibody testing, which could be the key to containing the crisis over time.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look, I can't understand why we're not learning from the lessons of these other countries. These are not theoretical lessons of how to restore the economy.
The number one rule, as I say, of virus economics is that the best way to help the economy is to get the control of the virus. If you look in Korea, if you look in Taiwan, if you look at Iceland, if you now look at Germany, they did enough testing that the only people that have to go into lockdown are the people who have the disease. That's the key to testing.
And their economies are now coming back. They’re out of lockdown. In Korea, kids went back to school.
So, for sure, that's what we should be doing in the United States. And the puzzle is that we’ve no set up this lord of the fly scenario in which we're pitting the states against one another to bid for the short amount of medical equipment and tests that are already on the market, so it's driving up the prices. And now, you've got the federal government literally seizing when the state of Massachusetts and when Somerset County in New Jersey ordered large number of masks and medical equipment, the federal government then stepped in and seized the equipment that the states had ordered to put it in the national stockpile.
It just doesn't make any sense. I can't understand why we're doing that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Dr. Allen, explain more about the danger here, we see a cycle of lockdowns being lifted before adequate testing and other provisions are in places which then leads to new surges, second and third waves.
DR. DANIELLE ALLEN, DIRECTOR OF THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY EDMOND J. SAFRA CENTER FOR ETHICS: Sure. I mean, I think a standard approach to disease control is what people called adaptive response, which is that you do watch cases come down, and you look at hospital capacity, you start to open again. But, you know, you're going to have another wave, and so then, you expect a tightening again, you expect more stay at home advisories, and the notions that you cycle through this.
This makes sense when you have kind of contained epidemic. It does not make sense when you have a global pandemic -- entire countries experiencing this. So, we really have to change the tool kit and that's where we really need enough testing, tracing and supportive isolation to control the disease so we don't see resurgences.
And so that -- the important number there is how much do you have to test in order to really reduce the rate of the numbers of positives that you're getting?
So, for example, in South Korea they tested at such a level only 3 percent of the tests come back positive. So, we still are at a rate where we're testing with 20 percent coming back positive. That means we're not testing enough.
You need to tests so much that really will weigh (ph) the percentage of which positives actually showing up. That’s when you know you're catching everything.
The numbers that Dr. Birx shared today was that our target at 10 percent positive rate, the percentage that we are finding within every range of testing. We need to lower that. We should be at the same level as South Korea.
I do not understand why this country is setting its ambitions lower than the successful countries. That is the part I do not get. We're can-do America. There’s no reason we cannot give up to a level of 5 million tests a day, which would get us to that place where we are catching so many cases then we would not have a resurgence of a disease, we would not have to go back to sort of adaptive response and using collective stay at home orders repeatedly over a period of time.
So, for me, the part I really don't get and the part that’s really sort of sad about the kind of contests among the different elements in our federal system is, we should be working together at setting the maximum possible ambitions for ourselves. This is a country that can do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Austan Goolsbee, I mean, talk a little bit, this is against the backdrop of this economic devastation we’ve been seeing all across the United States now, which makes some of the resistance on these stay at home orders at least understandable, 22 million jobless over the last four weeks. But talk about the economic impact of a new wave.
GOOLSBEE: Well, look, the thing is this might be the worst 28 days in the history of the American economy, certainly unemployment, we’ve never seen anything by a factor of 10 like what we’ve seen in terms of job loss, and everyone believes that these are underestimates of what the true impact has been.
So, in a way the virus hit us in our weak spot -- all of the rich economies of the world and especially the United States are dominated by service sector industries, which are exactly the things that get pulled down when people socially withdraw.
The thing about these numbers that's really striking is, they come in with a lag. And this decline, this precipitous collapse in the economy, started before the orders were put in place. The stay-in-place orders followed what was an already natural process, that people, when they're afraid, they pull back.
And so that suggests that just saying liberate Michigan or just saying, oh, we -- we, the politicians, believe that it's safe to go back out, that will not restore the economy. You have to get control of the spread of the virus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you all for your time this morning.
Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel are up next.
We will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: A global crisis. President Trump took action, but Joe Biden attacked Trump after the China travel ban.
For 40 years, Joe Biden has been wrong about China.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believed in 1979 and I believe now that a rising China is a positive development.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The uncomfortable truth is that Donald Trump left America exposed and vulnerable to this pandemic. He ignored the warnings of health experts and the intelligence agencies and put his trust in China's leaders instead.
And now we're all paying the price.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: This crisis right at the center of our presidential campaign.
Let's talk about that now with Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel, our political duo this morning.
And Chris, I want to begin with you this morning. There's a big story in the Washington Post this morning saying that the president's team -- campaign team -- has concluded that they are going to launch a broad effort to tie Joe Biden to China after concluding that that would be more politically effective than promoting President Trump's response to Coronavirus pandemic. Is that the right choice by the president's campaign team? Some White House advisers are resisting?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: I don't think it's the right choice, George. I disagree with it. Listen, there will be plenty of time to talk about folks record in this regard over the long course of their career. Vice president has had a long career. There will be a lot of time to talk about that. I think that's the wrong thing right now.
I think what we should be continuing to emphasize is the president's role in trying to bring this pandemic under control to assist the American people with the help that they need, to be able to do it with it on both a personal and professional level. And if it were up to me, I would say -- I would vote no on the right now in April on having the Joe Biden China ads. There may be time for that, to discuss that later in the campaign, but I don't think now is the right time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Rahm, how about on Joe Biden's side. You see a similar response ad from his campaign, but how much of a disadvantage is it for him right now to be basically locked in his basement when the president has that bully pulpit every day?
RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER MAYOR OF CHICAGO: Well, a of things. One is I think that story in the Washington Post reveals something about the Trump administration. They know that the president's record is not one you can defend, so they're trying to find some other way of deflecting anger.
Second, I the think this election is fundamentally different. And what I would say to you is if the president wants another hour of time in the Rose Garden, I'd give it to him. That show is old and stale and is wearing on people. And I do believe right now that this election in 2020, if 2016 was defined by anger and rage and a populist middle class revolt, this election is going to be defined by empathy and caring and appreciation. You can see it how the public is treating the health care workers throughout the system, how they're respecting our first responders. And I think that Joe Biden's personal story of a middle-class/working class family, his own trajectory of marshaling through some personal tragedies and setbacks, he is perfectly, character-wise, to fit the zeitgeist of this moment versus the president's own narcissism.
Look, the only person whose poll numbers have dropped both internationally and the state, governors are going up, the president's is dropping because his narcissism is getting in the way of empathy and that's what people want to see from a leader.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, why don't you get in on this. What do you make of that analysis, what people are looking for now is empathy and bringing the country together?
CHRISTIE: I think what people are looking for most right now is strength and competence and that's why I think it's the right thing to do to emphasize the things that the president has done.
And, you know, it's kind of interesting to hear Rahm talking about the Joe Biden personality and the empathy and the rest of that. I don't think that's what people are looking for right now. I think what people want to know is can you get the job done? And I said this a few weeks ago on this show, George, this is a referendum on Donald Trump. This is going to be a referendum on whether people think when we get to October, whether or not he handled this crisis in a way that helped the American people, protected lives and moved us forward.
And I don't think Joe Biden, his story and all the rest of it are going to have much a role to play at all in this campaign. And I think you're seeing that right now. I think he is locked in. I think anything he does that looks political will be contrary to what the American people want from somebody who they're considering. This is about competence and moving the country forward.
EMANUEL: Chris is totally right, it's about leadership. The Rose Garden show is only about showmanship. And the fact is the president is not showing leadership. And his desire to hit China underscores the very point that his White House does not have confidence that the American people see what he's done this moment as showing the type of leadership that's necessary.
And I actually do -- crises have the clarity of revealing a need of candor. He has not done that. And his desire to deflect either attacking governors, having for civil disobedience, or attacking China shows he doesn't have a narrative, a positive narrative of his leadership, because he knows the American people have made a judgment to date exactly on his capacity and capability which has fallen way short of what we need as a country.
Everybody has the same cabin fever of wanting to get back. The fact is, though, we don't have the system yet and the confidence in the system to allow us. And he has not led in that effort.
CHRISTIE: George, let's be honest about what's going on here, OK. When Rahm talks about -- when Rahm talks about the politics.
There have been attacks going both ways here. And we've had governors across this country who are under great stress and strain, who have attacked the White House any number of times. The president has attacked back. I said when I was with you a couple of weeks ago that I thought the president shouldn't be doing that kind of thing. And I still don't think he should be doing that kind of thing in general.
But, you can't also deny the fact that there's been a good back and forth here on this and that there are some people who are out there trying to play subtly, quietly play politics. I don't think that's the way this should be working here. We're in the midst of a crisis and what people need to be doing is working together. I think --
STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I -- I take your point. I -- I take -- I take your point on that. But let me just -- just -- just press that, does -- but do these tweets saying, you know, liberate Michigan, liberate Virginia, do they take that to a new level and cross the line? You heard what Governor Jay Inslee had to say about that.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, Governor Inslee's been one of the most partisan, political people in this entire fight. So, you know, let's be honest about judging the source.
And I think that, you know, what we need to be looking at here is it -- you know, initially, everyone was concerned because the president said he was totally in control and was going to take charge of this. They said he wasn't going to listen to his medical experts. Yet, what did we find? He listened to the medical experts, deferred to them and he deferred to the governors and said, you make the calls.
Now, that doesn't prevent him from being able to critique those calls that governors make in the very same way the governors are critiquing his performance. And hopefully those critiques lead to an improvement in everybody's performance. But the fact is, the president has deferred to his medical experts and the president has allowed each governor to make their own decision based upon what's going on, on the ground there.
EMANUEL: Chris --
CHRISTIE: That's the right way to lead in this circumstance.
EMANUEL: Here's where Chris is -- look, in a crisis, in this moment in time, the best politics -- and we're seven months from election, so anybody that says that politics doesn't matter isn't being honest.
The best politics is to put partisanship aside. Chris is right. He says, here's what the medical profession says. What he doesn't then say is that the next hour, within the same hour, he undermines everything they're doing. The governors are trying to, as Jay noted, and I think was a very important point, the very definition of what public health needs are by the White House would not allow right now total reopening like so-called liberate Michigan, liberate Virginia, Minnesota. So he is undermining the very goals and that, therefore, undermines his own political standing. The public doesn't look to the showmanship he has, which is why he is not doing well politically. And you can take a temperature raise right now. It doesn't determine what will happen in November.
A crisis reveals character. And it needs also the clarity of candor. He has not been able to do that. And that is why there has been this bickering. And I don't think -- I think the American people are exhausted by it. They've rejected it. And they're looking for a -- while it is a referendum on Donald Trump, they're looking for an alternative that will actually lead the country through this crisis together.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Guys, thank you both for your time this morning. Great debate.
That is all we have time for this morning. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."