'This Week' Transcript 5-2-21: Jake Sullivan, Sen. John Barrasso, Adm. Mike Mullen & Dr. Ashish Jha

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, May 2nd

ByABC News
May 2, 2021, 9:16 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021 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.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC "THIS WEEK" CO-ANCHOR (voice-over): Cautious optimism.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: I think we can confidently say the worst is behind us.

RADDATZ: More than 100 million adults now fully vaccinated, the country eying a return to normalcy.

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Our plan is to fully reopen New York City on July 1.

RADDATZ: But, as the U.S. seems to near a turning point, India in the grips of a devastating surge.

JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": There are people who are dying on the streets.

RADDATZ: The administration sending aid, restricting travel.Back here at home…

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is on the move again.

RADDATZ: ... President Biden selling his ambitious agenda to the American people.

BIDEN: The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.

RADDATZ: Responding to Republicans united in opposition.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): A president who promised to bring us together should not be pushing agendas that tear us apart.

RADDATZ: We cover it all this morning with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Republican Conference Chair Senator John Barrasso, Dr. Ashish Jha with the latest on the COVID fight, and our powerhouse roundtable. Plus: 10 years since the top-secret raid that took out bin Laden.

(on camera): Tell us what was happening in that room.

RADDATZ (voice-over): We go inside the critical mission as it all unfolded.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."

Here now, co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week," where we begin on a hopeful note this morning. The answer to that question we have been asking for more than a year, when can we get back to normal, finally seems within reach.

While there is concern about a drop in those seeking vaccinations, more than 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, and COVID cases have continued to drop, the director of the CDC saying, if this trend keeps up, July 1, just two months from now, could be a reasonable reopening target, although this virus has tricked us before.

President Biden touted that progress at his joint address to Congress Wednesday, as he outlined his vision for America, expansive, sweeping initiatives, igniting a debate about the steep cost.

But while the pandemic news here in America looks positive, the virus is still upending much of the rest of the globe, India in the grips of a crippling COVID surge, images of bodies being cremated around the clock shocking, even after a year of heartbreaking COVID stories worldwide. The dire situation and concern over variants prompting restrictions on travel from India starting Tuesday.

"The New York Times"' South Asia bureau chief, Jeffrey Gettleman, is based in New Delhi and has been sending powerful reports from his home there. We spoke with him a short time ago about the country's deepening crisis.


GETTLEMAN: When I step out on my balcony, the first thing I smell is smoke. There are massive cremations that are taking place across the city and across this country. So many people are dying of coronavirus that it's creating these huge clouds of smoke that just hang over the cities.

We're experiencing the worst crisis the coronavirus pandemic has produced anywhere at any time. Just about everybody I know has somebody in their family who is sick. And what's really scary is, the health care system is collapsing around us.

The hospitals are totally full. They're running out of medicine. They're running out of oxygen. People are racing around the city trying to get help. There are people who are dying on the streets because they can't find even the most basic things.

And, as we -- as we speak, the cases are growing. The government is reporting almost 400,000 infections, new infections, every day, and maybe 4,000 deaths. But all the information we're getting is, that's a gross understatement. So, the problem here is way bigger than I think anybody realizes at this moment. And there's just this sense of fear circulating across the city right now.


RADDATZ: And our thanks to Jeffrey Gettleman. There's so much to discuss this morning with our first guest, President Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. Thanks for joining us this morning, Mr. Sullivan. I know the U.S. is providing some aid, has barred travel. But there are a number of Republicans and Democrats who believe the administration is not doing enough to help India and want even more supplies sent. So, what more can be done now? And how concerned are you about these variants?

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, thanks for having me, Martha. And first, in a crisis of this speed and ferocity we always wish we could move faster and do more. And we’re proud of what we’ve done so far, which has included multiple plane loads -- and we’re talking very large military plane loads of supplies, including oxygen -- including diverting raw materials for vaccines, including therapeutics that can help save lives. And we are continuing to work to source additional critical materials to move them as fast as we can, both directly from the United States and also galvanizing partners around the world. We are concerned about variants. We’re concerned about spread. We’re concerned about the loss of life and also all of the secondary effects that emerge as this pandemic rages out of control in India.

RADDATZ: The White House is also getting pressure to temporarily waive patent rules for vaccines from a group of 10 Democrats led by Bernie Sanders who argue that by relaxing those intellectual property rules these countries could produce their own generic vaccines much quicker. The Democrats sent a letter to the president saying he should prioritize people over pharmaceutical companies. What’s your reaction to that?

SULLIVAN: Well, here’s the basic bottom-line, we believe that the pharmaceutical companies should be supplying at-scale and at-cost to the entire world so that there is no barrier to everyone getting vaccinated. Our Ambassador, Katherine Tai, our U.S. Trade Representative, is engaged in intensive consultations at the WTO to work through this issue. And we should have a way forward in the coming days.

RADDATZ: And I want to move to President Biden’s joint address before Congress this week. He’s proposed trillions of dollars in domestic investment, saying it was necessary to keep up with places like China. Those plans have a received a core (ph) reception from many Republicans, I’m sure you’re aware of that, and even some Democrats like Joe Manchin who said we shouldn’t spend money for the sake of spending money. What does it mean for our competition against China if the president can’t get his infrastructure and jobs plans through Congress?

SULLIVAN: Well, as the president has said, we’re going to be engaged in a stiff competition with China in the years and decades ahead. And the United States needs to approach that competition from a position of strength. And the number one thing we can do to accomplish that is to invest in ourselves, in our infrastructure, in our innovation, in our manufacturing, in our people. And that means the bold far-reaching investments in everything from research and development to an updated electricity grid to all of the job-creating, middle-class growing investments Joe Biden has proposed.

That’s not just good for our economic security, it’s good for our national security. And it’s critical, from my perspective as National Security Adviser, to make the case to Republicans and Democrats alike that this is in the national security interest.

RADDATZ: And is Joe Biden willing to make concessions?

SULLIVAN: Joe Biden has said that he’s prepared to talk to anyone, Republican or Democrat, about putting a package together that can pass and that can get the job done. And the job, Martha, is to make the kinds of investments across the board in all the areas I just talked about, so that the United States truly is able to do, as he said many times, build back better.

RADDATZ: I want to talk about climate change. While most Republicans agree that China is the top foreign policy challenge, some are critical of the White House’s efforts to work with them on climate change, worried that the president will have to make some trade-off on things like human rights.

Here’s what my next guest, Senator Barrasso says, he said, “We should not turn our energy dominance over to the whims of foreign powers like China that are actively seeking America’s decline. President Biden said he wants to make sure every nation plays by the same rules in the global economy, including China, yet his administration seems determined to fall for China’s grand deception. China is playing the United States for the fool.” Your reaction?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, President Biden gathered the world leaders, 40 of them, in summit hosted at the White House to deal with the existential challenge of climate change and to drive home the argument that every country, including China, has to do its part.

The United States is prepared to own and win the clean energy race for the future, which itself is going to create millions of jobs and enhance our national security. But we are also going to hold other countries accountable, including, as President Biden has said many times, through making sure that there can’t be a race to the bottom. China will not be able to get away with polluting industries in their country and then exporting those goods to undercut American workers. We will not permit that to happen. So we have clear eyes about the way ahead but we fundamentally believe that it is in the best interest of the United States for us to be the clean energy super power of the world, not China or anyone else.

RADDATZ: And I want to turn to Iran. Iran says it has reached agreement with the parties in the 2015 nuclear deal for your administration to lift a raft of economic sanctions to help get the agreement back on track. Is that accurate? And are you talking about a full rollback of sanctions?

SULLIVAN: We have not yet reached agreement in Vienna which is where the talks between the world powers and Iran are taking place right now. There's still fair distance to travel to close the remaining gaps and those gaps are over what sanctions the United States and other countries will roll back. They are over what nuclear restrictions Iran will accept on its program to ensure that they can never get a nuclear weapon. And our diplomats will keep working at that over the coming weeks to try to arrive at a mutual return to the JCPOA, which is the Iran nuclear deal on a compliance-for-compliance basis. So the short answer, Martha, is there is no deal now. We're hoping to continue to make progress and we’re hoping ultimately to achieve the objective that President Biden has laid out.

RADDATZ: And speaking of nuclear, North Korea is warning the U.S. will face a grave situation because President Biden called the North a serious security threat. You have talked about being somewhere in the middle, between Trump and Obama. Neither of those plans worked with North Korea. Why does a middle ground seem possible?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, Martha, our policy towards North Korea is not aimed at hostility. It's aimed at solutions. It's aimed at ultimately achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And we're prepared to engage in diplomacy towards that ultimate objective, but work on practical measures that can help us make progress along the way towards that goal. And we believe that rather than all for all or nothing for nothing, a more calibrated, practical, measured approach stands the best chance of actually moving the ball down the field towards reducing the challenge posts by Iran's -- North Korea’s nuclear program.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much for joining us this morning.

SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.

RADDATZ: Now let's bring in Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, chair of the Republican conference.

Good morning, sir. Let's go back to President Biden's speech on Wednesday. You've hammered the president's $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, as did Senator Tim Scott during the GOP response on Wednesday. What's the biggest sticking point for you?

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Well, it's the trillions and trillions of dollars of reckless spending. When I look at this, this is a staggering amount of spending, like someone with a new credit card. And these are for things that we don't necessarily need, we certainly can't afford, but they’re going to delight the liberal left of the party. It seems to me that this is a cradle to grave role of government, whether it's paying for child care for everyone, college -- free college for everyone, and ultimately, someone is going to have to pay for this. It's almost creating an addiction to spending.

So, it's either massive new debt to China, as well as massive taxing, probably the largest tax increase in 50 years. And anybody that says this is going to be just on the 1 percent or big corporations -- I mean, that's just phony math. Americans understand that with this kind of spending and this kind of borrowing and taxing, everyone is going to get hit in their wallet.

RADDATZ: Our new ABC/Ipsos poll shows more than half of those polled willing to raise their taxes if it will help the economy.

BARRASSO: Well, I think people take a look at this and say, what is the impact on me? And when the Biden administration says it’s just going to be on the wealthiest, it’s just going to be on corporations, look, it's going to be seen -- anybody that earns a paycheck, small businesses, families. People are going to pay through expenses in their life with cost of living going up, and whether that's gasoline prices, grocery prices. And I will tell you, Democrats are also getting concerned about the -- all of this spending and borrowing, realizing that they're going to be held accountable in the 2022 election. And some Democrats publicly, but most privately are saying, this isn't sustainable. We cannot continue with this reckless borrowing and spending, especially with the taxes coming out of a pandemic.

RADDATZ: And on your point about Democrats. Reportedly, Biden and top Democrats are willing to make concessions or break the plan into chunks, and are contemplating Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s counteroffer of $568 billion. Could you get behind that?

BARRASSO: Well, yes. We are working closely with the administration. We had four of us that represented this plan the other day. It is focused on core infrastructure -- roads, bridges, ports, airports, waterways -- things that people think of when they think of infrastructure, things that will get our economy firing on all cylinders. The problem is, of course, that President Biden's proposal, only 6 percent of the money actually goes for roads and bridges. And they have more money for electric cars than they do for all of those other things --


RADDATZ: Senator -- Senator, I’ve got to stop you there. The 6 percent for roads and bridges figures you and other GOP leaders have cited has been fact-checked multiple times. The total amount for what you have called traditional infrastructure -- roads, bridges, rails, airports, waterways, public transit -- is more than 25 percent of the Biden plan. So do you want more?

BARRASSO: Well, what we're working with, and as Shelley talked to President Biden Thursday, I’ve been working regularly with the -- with the other Joe, powerful Joe in Washington, Joe Manchin. And we're focusing on core infrastructure. President Biden calls it hard infrastructure as opposed to soft infrastructure.

So I actually believe there's a deal to be had if we leave things out like the Green New Deal, and recyclable cafeteria trays and climate justice, because $500 billion to $600 billion of infrastructure is a massive amount of infrastructure. And we ought to start with the core that we passed when I chaired the Environment and Public Works Committee, which was a plan that passed 21-to-nothing. I voted for it, Bernie Sanders voted for it. It focuses on building faster, better, cheaper, smarter. It focuses on the things that people think of as core infrastructure that the president talks about as hard infrastructure.

RADDATZ: So, on our ABC/Ipsos poll also. It says 67 percent of those polled said Republican leaders in Congress are doing too little to compromise with Joe Biden. You are a Republican leader. So, are there places where you could compromise on the president's agenda? Where you see a good opportunity to meet him and Democrats in the middle even beyond this?

BARRASSO: Well, a couple of things. You know, with coronavirus relief, we did five bipartisan bills, each of which got over 90 votes and when President Biden came into office, gave the speech about unity on Inauguration Day. Ten Republicans went to the White House to meet with him on another coronavirus package, and we made really good faith efforts. He ignored all of it. They did this with budget reconciliation by the slimmest margin of votes. Ignored Republicans. We want to work together on this with true infrastructure, and I think there's a deal to be had.

RADDATZ: Well, we'll see if that happens. Within your party, former President Trump continues his attacks on leaders you worked closely with, including Mitch McConnell, including Liz Cheney there in Wyoming. How damning -- damaging is that, what the president is doing to your party?

BARRASSO: Well, President Trump has a remarkable record of accomplishments in his administration. Working together, President Trump along with leader McConnell in the Senate, we were able to confirm three justices to the Supreme Court, conservative justices. We were able to rebuild the economy, cut taxes, eliminate regulations, rebuild the military. It was the strongest economy really in a generation.


RADDATZ: But let's go back to McConnell and Liz Cheney. Some people are trying to get Liz Cheney out.

BARRASSO: But we need to get beyond all of this and focus on the 2022 elections so that we can win back the House, win back the Senate, get united on the things on which we agree, and then successfully stop the far extreme efforts of this Biden administration, and those that are taking the country towards socialism.

RADDATZ: OK, that question not exactly answered. But we appreciate you coming on this morning, Senator.

BARRASSO: Thank you.

RADDATZ: The roundtable is up next.

And later, as COVID cases continue to fall in the U.S., we'll talk to Dr. Ashish Jha about the steps toward resuming normal life.

Stay with us.


RADDATZ: Roundtable's standing by, ready to go.



PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.: Moving forward, but we can't stop now. We're in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st Century. We're at a great inflection point in history.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): We should be expanding opportunities and options for all families, not throwing money at certain issues because Democrats think they know best.


RADDATZ: President Biden and Senator Tim Scott delivering their addresses on Wednesday. Here to discuss that and more, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; ABC congressional correspondent Rachel Scott; and Audie Cornish, co-host of "NPR"'s "All Things Considered."

Good morning to you all. And, Rahm, I want to start with you. We're just over 100 days into Joe Biden's presidency. You gave his speech on Wednesday an A. What does he hope to do in his next phase of his presidency?

RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I -- Martha, I gave an A because I think it was authentic to his person, and he -- which is very important at this time, his decency, his common sense and his approach, and being approachable. And I do also believe, because the agenda is right for America at this moment, investing in its people and investing in this country, both in research and development, infrastructure, educational opportunities. And it's broadly popular, as you've seen. I also think the reason it worked is because it basically has up-ended and flipped the switch on how Republicans attack.

Republicans historically go after Democratic presidents by either attacking their character or the caricature of them as Democrats. And Joe Biden's decency comes through and makes that -- takes that off the table. And in addition, the caricature is tax-and-spenders. As you notice, not a lot of the Republican criticism is about -- they're talking about the spending, but they've left taxes, which is a third rail, off to the side. And President Biden is goading them to come forward and try to have a debate about higher corporate -- corporations paying their fair share, wealthy people paying their fair share. And that, to me, has worked extremely well. Now, the other thing that's left is he's focused on jobs and investing in America. Republicans are left with a culture war. And in the 2018 election midterm, Joe -- Donald Trump was totally focused on the culture war, the border, left the economy off the table. Democrats focused on health care. We've run this issue before. So if we focus on where the American people live their lives, what their agenda is, which is what Joe Biden is doing, and the Republicans try to -- try to sidetrack on either sexual orientation, gender or race, I think that's a good terrain for the Democrats going into the midterm election.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, I think Senator Barrasso used your line about the speech about a credit card. I think you said it was a 15-year-old credit card holder, Joe Biden. So, what are your expectations, based on what Rahm just said?

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, what's happening here -- and you're going to see a lot more focus on the huge increase in the family business tax that Joe Biden is proposing, that any family who tries to pass a business or a farm down to their -- to their son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter are going to pay a huge new tax, and going to be forced to potentially sell their farm, sell their business to pay that tax.

They're not going to want that. And when they see the stock market tank, if he actually is able to double the capital gains tax, and they see the diminution and maybe, in some instances, destruction of their 401(k), threat IRA, and wondering, how are they going to retire or how are they going to pay for their children's education, believe me, they're not going to care how amiable Joe Biden is at that point. They're going to -- they're going to be very, very angry, not to mention when you have got an economy that's already growing at near 6 percent GDP, he wants to put another $6 trillion into that economy.

Let me tell you what's going to happen. We're going to have wild inflation in this country as well. So, it's fine. We're 14 weeks into the Biden administration. He is playing to role in terms of what comes out of his mouth, but he is not playing to role to be a unifier and a moderator through the wild liberal agenda that he's put forward. So, we're going to see. Republicans have to have some patience. And I have patience to let these policies, which I believe are wrongheaded and will be proven to be wrongheaded, play out over time. And then the amiable Joe Biden will look like the isolated Joe Biden.

RADDATZ: OK, Audie, you can take that on, if you want. But Biden's spending plans that he laid out Wednesday do total over $6 trillion, and would fundamentally reshape federal social and economic policy. It looks like he does want to be a transformational president.

AUDIE CORNISH, CO-HOST, NPR'S "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED": I don't look at Biden through the lens of sort of perception and political perception, but what he went through with the Obama years, right, where he also came upon a crisis. That administration came upon a crisis.

And critics on the left hand have said that that -- that solving of the economic crisis at that time really only helped the top of the economy. It left a lot of families out in the cold, literally in terms of the housing crisis. And so now let's look at facts on the ground. The stock market is doing well. You have families who are in a pandemic realizing sort of what can happen if there are -- safety nets are taken away. And you also have -- the country has minted billionaires over the last couple of months.

So, you -- as a American person, right, as a citizen, John Barrasso is right. You have to say, what is in this for me? And if there are policies that are in it for you, like universal pre-K, that's going to be hard to tell those folks, no, you don't deserve that. No, you didn't go through a hard year being home with your kids all the time. No, you don't deserve support. And it will be interesting to see a Republican Party that has really weakened its deficit hawk arguments during the Trump years combat that with an argument about spending.

RADDATZ: And, Rachel, we have talked about his lack of bipartisan support before, but it does look like he is now signaling that he's willing to make concessions on the infrastructure plan.

RACHEL SCOTT, ABC NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but I did think it was interesting that, while the president said that he wants to work with Republicans on this, he also said during his speech Wednesday night that doing nothing is not an option here.

And so now we're seeing the White House employ this very familiar strategy, where they're taking these proposals out on the road, and they're trying to sell them directly to the American people. Now, the White House, of course, argues that these proposals do have bipartisan and popular support among the American public. But the American public is also signaling that they want to see President Joe Biden compromise. In our latest poll today, a slight majority, 51 percent, say that the president is compromising at just the right amount here. And so there are inroads being made. There are discussions that are happening.

I talked to Senator Shelley Moore Capito. She told me that she talks to the White House pretty much every single day. But the bottom line here is that there is a debate over, what exactly is infrastructure? And Republicans have told me that the price tag on this and those tax hikes are just a nonstarter, Martha.

RADDATZ: And, Rahm, Biden also seems to be gambling that a heavily polarized country really is ready for a new era of big government financed by big tax increases. That's a pretty stark difference from the two most recent Democratic administrations.

EMANUEL: Well, Martha, I think we have -- you have got to go back, and let's just take a look at the last 100 days, both from the relief bill, but also then this investment, the American Family Plan.

There's a consistency here. It has wide support among Democrats, very deep, very popular, a -- over a majority of independent voters and a slice, maybe 20 percent, 25 percent, depending how you measure, of Republicans.

That’s why consistently from pre-K to free community college, to broadband, to strengthening our transportation, roads, rails and runways, it is popular what he's offering and he's also offering -- I think there are two ways of paying for it. One, those who are doing very well, corporations and very wealthy individuals, that’s why Republicans aren’t taking on that fight.

And then second, which always gets lost, and this is where I think they’re going to find the revenue to work on the infrastructure, is the tax gap, those who actually have an obligation to pay and are cheating on their taxes. And that's where you’re going to find the revenue for what I think is traditional infrastructure and broadband, and this could be a dual track here.

And I do think in this case that consistently, the president's agenda, and then him personally is wildly popular with and keeping Democrats energized and committed to him, independents loyal to the agenda as well, a majority of them, and about 20 percent of the Republicans who don't want to be associated with the Trump Republican Party. That is consistent, and that is a real good shield and protective as well as an offensive weapon into the political agenda, which is why Republicans are running to cultural issues, away from the economics.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, I just want you to take that on.

CHRISTIE: Well, you haven't heard me mention one cultural issue tonight. You haven't heard me mention it last Wednesday night when the president made a speech, or the Sunday before that. So, Rahm sets up a straw man so he can knock it down.

But let’s -- let's listen to what Rahm just said. Get ready, everybody, for a new weaponized, aggressive, in-your-face, in-every-aspect-of-your-life Internal Revenue Service. Boy, that's really bringing people together. That’s a real uniting force for the American people, because everyone loves the IRS. So, let's have them in every aspect of your life to see if they can squeeze another nickel out of your pocket for Joe Biden to spend. I’m sorry, that’s not what this country is all about. And so, when you look at what's going on here, what's going on is that Joe Biden ran as a moderate uniter, and he is now governing as a Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, way out socialist liberal. And so, I’m willing to let that take some time for Americans to have to sink in. The American people are still focus on COVID, on the pandemic. And as far as that bill goes, the president is getting a little bit better, Martha. You know, he had a COVID-19 relief bill where only 10 percent of the money was spent on health care. He's now proposed an infrastructure where 24 percent, 25 percent is actually infrastructure, and we're applauding that because the first bill was so bad. Look, he's got to start telling the truth to the American people, and he's got to start governing like he ran, not like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who were rejected even by the Democratic Party.

RADDATZ: And, Audie, I want to ask you, is there a risk that Biden is pushing too far too fast?

CORNISH: I would say that the politician who introduced BFD into the political lexicon is not the person to ask that about. His lessons from his previous administration experience is that the honeymoon is short, bipartisanship can at times appear to be a mirage, and he has got an ascendant wing of his party that doesn't see government as the boogieman and the markets as the cure-all. So, there's a lot pushing him in this direction.

And to be honest, having covered politics this year, I’m always surprised to hear politicians talk about all the bipartisanship that they engage in because I think to the average American, they don't hear that. They don't hear that in the rhetoric and they don’t hear that in the actual votes when it gets down to it. So I’m not sure sort of how those arguments land with regular people because that's just not the politics we have been hearing the last two years.

RADDATZ: And polling certainly seems to back that up. And, Rachel, Rahm touched on this. But can he keep moderates and progressives with this -- within his own party united?

SCOTT: This is a massive challenge, and the president even admitted that his own party is splintered. Look, I was talking to Senator Elizabeth Warren. She said that she was delighted to see the progressive pushes such as childcare included in some of these White House proposals. But then when I went to go talk to Senator Joe Manchin, he was emphasizing bipartisanship on the next legislative pushes, and his team told me that its overall price tag makes him uncomfortable.

So, we talk a lot about the split there in the Senate, 50-50. Democrats can't afford to lose a single vote if they decide to go with this on their own, but they also have this very slim and narrow majority in the House as well. Right now, they can only afford to lose two votes. That may change a little bit with these upcoming special elections, but not a lot of wiggle room there, Martha.


EMANUEL: Martha?

RADDATZ: Go ahead, yeah, go ahead.

EMANUEL: I'm sorry. One of the things that we haven't mentioned here yet but is very important is -- going not only into the agenda but into the elections -- is you have a growing economy, unlike what happened for President Obama and President Clinton. The economy didn't take off until later on in the second half of the first term. It is growing at a very rapid pace. That gives both forward momentum to his second downpayment on that investment, gives him credibility about how to move the economy and keep investing in Americans.

And, third, when you have that type of growth, you're going to watch the Jersey and the Virginia governor's race. Right now, it's -- which are usually the early warning signs. That is tilting blue in both states, which is a good sign going into the midterm.

And, I'm sorry, as a former congressman, a lot of members of the House and Senate are going to look at the midterms and say, "Make that calculation." So President Biden is having an economy that is strong and getting stronger, which gives credibility both for the second installment of the investment in America and Americans and also credibility as it goes into the election, which did not happen both for President Obama and President Clinton, which is why the agenda flipped back on them that they were going too far. I think the American people are going to support somebody who has got a record early on of proving how to move the economy fast and furious.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, I'm going to -- we have about 30 seconds to -- to wrap up. Police reform, can he get that through?

CHRISTIE: If he works with Senator Tim Scott to make sure tjhat you work with police, not against them, to bring reform, and that you work with the communities to make sure they're policed -- being policed effectively, fairly and justly. It can be done. We did it in New Jersey, Martha. And we worked with the Camden city people to get reform done in the city of Camden and all across New Jersey in a bipartisan way. It can be done in Washington.

I think Tim Scott and Joe Biden are the two keys to that because the outliers on both sides will not be helpful.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much, Chris. Thanks to all of you. Coming up, Dr. Ashish Jha joins us with his outlook for the weeks and months ahead. And, later, we revisit the secret mission that brought down the most hunted man in the world.


RADDATZ: Dr. Ashish Jha is standing by, ready to go. We'll be right back.



VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: We have a longstanding, decades-old relationship with India, with the Indian people, in particular around public health issues. Tonight, in fact, we're going to be sending a plane with supplies.

QUESTION: And what's your own sense of that, for people who have family and loved ones there?

HARRIS: People are worried, no question. People are worried.


RADDATZ: Vice President Kamala Harris discussing assistance for India, which on Friday reported over 400,000 new cases, a global record. For more, let's bring in our friend Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Good morning, Dr. Jha. You heard that very frightening report from the New York Times reporter in India on the great personal tragedy. How does this effect the efforts worldwide to -- to fight the pandemic?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN OF BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yeah, good morning, Martha. Thanks for having me one.

It's a huge challenge. India, obviously 1.3 billion people. They're having just a horrible outbreak right now. We've got to help India get this under control, for a variety of reasons, the humanitarian one, certainly; there are geopolitical issues; but from a pure public health point of view, that large of an outbreak also is fertile ground for more variants. There are just many, many reasons why we've got to be very deeply engaged in helping India get this outbreak under control.

RADDATZ: So the Biden administration is putting travel restrictions in place between the U.S. and India starting Tuesday. But it sounds like there really should be concern about the spread of this strain, possibly here, and whether it can evade existing vaccines?

JHA: Yeah, so the -- the main variant that we're seeing spread in India, 617 -- B.1.617, I think, will not be evading our vaccines yet. They don't evade our vaccines yet. Most of the data suggests that our vaccines will hold up.

But, of course, when you have major outbreaks like this, there are the opportunities for more variants. And, ultimately, what we need to do is we need to get this under control, as I said, purely for humanitarian reasons -- we just don't want tens of thousands of people dying every day. But, second, that the variants will spread to other parts of the world, including the United States, will leave unvaccinated people in America vulnerable. So there's a lot of good reasons for us to be getting this under control.

RADDATZ: And on vaccines, here at home, things are clearly improving with the number of vaccines now administered. But -- but the pace of vaccinations is sliding. We've seen Michigan's governor announced a plan to tie reopenings to vaccination rates. West Virginia's governor is offering $100 savings bonds to young people who get vaccinated. What more needs to be done to encourage everyone to get vaccinated?

JHA: Yeah, now it's the ground game. All the people who really, really wanted a vaccine have gotten it. We're at about 55 percent of all adults. We need to get into the 70s and 80s, in terms of proportion of adults. Because, obviously, kids are not going to be vaccinated for a while. And therefore I think it's about making it extremely easy, walk-in clinics, getting it to doctors' offices -- and then also working with trusted voices, religious leaders, civil society leaders, to advocate for getting people vaccinated. It's going to make an enormous difference if we can get some more chunk of that unvaccinated population with shots into their arms.

RADDATZ: And the CDC issued new guidance this week on wearing masks outdoors. Critics say some of the guidelines aren't clear, don't really offer detailed explanations. And there's still no system to distinguish between who is vaccinated, who isn't. Are there any concerns with you about these guidelines being confusing?

JHA: Yes, I thought the -- I thought the guidelines were a good next step. I mean, the big-picture take-home -- and, look, some of the details can be confusing, but the big-picture take-home was, if you're fully vaccinated, outdoors is more or less safe, unless you're in some very, very crowded space.

The key issue now is, what about indoors? And my sense is, while infection numbers are still above 50,000 a day, almost half of adults are not yet vaccinated, CDC is going to be hesitant about pulling back on indoor mask mandates. And I think that's right. But as more people get vaccinated, we're going to see that pull back as well. This is a pretty dangerous time to be unvaccinated, but what CDC is signaling is, if you're fully vaccinated, the freedoms are just becoming safer and safer for people.

RADDATZ: And you have said earlier this week that you believe the worst is behind us. So, do you think, as the CDC director said, that July could be a target date for reopening cities like New York City?

JHA: Yes, absolutely. I saw what July 1 -- Mayor de Blasio said, I think, is very achievable. It's all dependent on vaccinations. But if we keep going, even at the slower pace, if we keep vaccinating Americans, I think, by July 1, you're going to see much of America feel close to normal.

Look, it won't be 100 percent, but it is going to be pretty close to what life was like before the pandemic. And it's going to -- as I said, it's going to depend on vaccinations, but I'm very optimistic about this summer.

RADDATZ: Well, that's good news for all of us.Thanks so much for joining us, Dr. Jha.And just ahead: As the U.S. prepares to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a special look inside the historic raid to kill Osama bin Laden. That's next.



SUBTITLE: Which president began the tradition not to give an official State of the Union address the year they were first inaugurated? Ronald Reagan.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: Only a month ago, I was your guest in this historic building, and I pledged to you my cooperation in doing what is right for this nation that we all love so much. I’m here tonight to reaffirm that pledge.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We went to Afghanistan to get terrorists, the terrorist who attacked us on 9/11, and we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell to do it. And we delivered justice to bin Laden. We degraded the terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And after 20 years of valiant, valor and sacrifice, it's time to bring those troops home.


RADDATZ: It was, in fact, ten years ago this very weekend when Joe Biden was vice president that U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a secret and daring raid on a compound in Pakistan. That raid coming after one of the most intense manhunts in history.


CHARLES GIBSON, FMR. ABC NEWS GOOD MORNING AMERICA CO-ANCHOR: There is one report as of yet unconfirmed that a plane has hit the World Trade Center.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Osama bin Laden was the most wanted man on Earth, escaping from the mountains of Afghanistan even as U.S. intelligence and military scoured those rugged mountains.

But on May 1st, 2011, 10 years after hijacked airliners brought down the World Trade Towers and a chunk of the Pentagon -- Geronimo. And Geronimo meant?

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, U.S. NAVY (RET.): We got bin Laden, killed him.

RADDATZ: Admiral Mike Mullen was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time. That's him behind President Obama in the White House as they watched the Navy SEALs descend on bin Laden's compound in real-time.

MULLEN: There was a lot of risk. We felt comfortable that we could get in and out of Pakistan without being detected in a timely way. We felt we could get into the compound.

RADDATZ: And for Mullen, it was personal. He was in the Pentagon a decade earlier when one of the hijacked planes slammed into it.

MULLEN: The plane flew in under -- basically under my office. My two assistants looked out the window and saw a 757 fly in under their feet.

RADDATZ: The Navy lost 42 people that day, among the nearly 200 killed in the attack on the Pentagon. Ten years later, it was the Navy that would dominate that raid on the bin Laden compound. Mullen meeting those SEALs before they headed into Pakistan.

MULLEN: Sort of the final dress rehearsal that I went to. It involved upwards of 48 to 50 SEALs, and then I specifically met and shook hands and looked every operator in the eye to, one, express my gratitude. Two, you know, are they ready to go? And I was very confident that they were.

RADDATZ: But in the days leading up to the raid, secrecy was paramount.

MULLEN: You needed to keep this very, very close because if bin Laden or his people had gotten wind of any potential operation there, he would have been gone.

RADDATZ: And Mike Mullen and all those involved in the raid knew how to keep a secret.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome the president of the United States of America.

RADDATZ: Just 24 hours prior to the raid, President Obama and others involved in the operation were at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Even a joke about what was believed to be the failure to find bin Laden did not throw the president.

SETH MEYERS, 2011 WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' DINNER HOST: People think bin Laden is hiding in the Hindu Kush, but did you know that every day from 4 to 5 he hosts a show on C-SPAN?


RADDATZ (on camera): I remember taking pictures with you, seeing you, I knew you pretty well. I never would have known anything was up.

MULLEN: But I think what made it all work at the White House Correspondents' Dinner is we acted as if everything was normal, and that was the plan.

RADDATZ (voice-over): But not everything went according to plan. There was the harrowing moment when one of the helicopter's tail sections hit a compound wall.

MULLEN: That picture captures a lot of intensity. It was incredibly intense, and it almost froze the place.

RADDATZ: But as Mullen and then-Vice President Biden clutched their Catholic rosary rings, the skill of that helicopter pilot saved the day. Minutes later, the Navy SEALs entered the compound and took out bin Laden.

MULLEN: And right after we heard Geronimo, I looked down to the vice president, and he's getting his wallet out and he's about to put his rosary ring, you know, into his wallet. I turned to him and I said, Mr. Vice President, I've got 48 or 49 American sailors and soldiers illegally in a country. I've still got to fly them out. I've got to get them back to Jalalabad, and then I've got to fly them through Pakistani air space to get the body out to an aircraft carrier and bury him. Please put that ring back on. It's -- now is not the time to stop praying.

RADDATZ (on camera): I suspect he put that ring back on.

MULLEN: He did.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Hours later with the mission fully complete, Mullen left the White House to celebrations echoing around him.

MULLEN: I left alone, and I walked by the Rose Garden, and I could hear out in Lafayette Square, this chanting, USA, USA.

CROWD (chanting): USA! USA!

MULLEN: Dominated by young voices. And that's sort of when it really hit me is how significant it was, that these young men and women who had been 9 or 10 I think when -- when the towers were taken down, that it was such an extraordinary moment for them. And that really -- that was the moment for me that kind of raised it to how significant this really was.


RADDATZ: Indeed it was, and eventually led to the demise of al Qaeda. I asked the admiral how he feels about President Biden's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces after 20 years. He said, while he has concerns, it is the right decision. It's time to come home.

That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT," and have a great day.