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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  July 11, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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lie about what happened in the 2020 election and look no further than the cpac straw poll for how that's manifesting among this self-selecting conserve -- this has become a top issue for
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the party and there is a reward structure for lawmaker whose go along with this. if you look into the straw poll, many of the people who rank highly on the list, like ron desantis and ted cruz, have backed up or not directly condemned this lie about the 2020 election. there is definitely a reward structure in this. in terms of trump's hold on the party, though, you see it from the messaging perspective, especially as he's starting to take much more public posture over the course of these next few weeks and months leading up to the midterm elections this is the message that he is choosing to lead with. a backwards looking message about what happened in 2020, hoping that that's enough red meat to actually fire up the base to go vote again in the upcoming midterm elections it may be a different plan than people like the rnc and other republican groups would like to lead with, but undoubtly, trump is the person with the biggest reach and easily the biggest megaphone, still definitely the head of the party. what he says in forums like this
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one really matter, especially from a messaging form. >> i want to take a look at that straw poll trump just beat florida governor ron desantis, 70% to 21% in that straw poll desantis would hold a comfortable lead over the others if trump did not run cpac hasn't always in 2011, he was bued for suggesting ron paul was unelectable. this followed reporting from gabe sherman that found trump and ron desantis on a collision course. what does it say about how thist conference has evolved under thd influence of trump? >> i mean, it's always been a conference for the base and the activist wing of the republican party. trump hasn't always been the favorite, but t as activists ha learned to like him, he's gained popularity at cpac. whats really important here is we know that in 2024, if trump does not run, ron desantis would be the early favorite of the activist base of the republican
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party. that is not prophetic for who will get the nomination, but it does tell us about one major wing of the republican party and where they're leaning right now. >> yeah, matt, a group at cpac is distributing cards with a seven-point plan for reinstated president trump in, quote, days not years. the plan involves somehow installing trump as speaker and then ousting biden and harris.id i mean, it is absolutely bananas. i don't need to tell you that. your sense of how mainstream this idea isin within the republican party, and what it is going to take to extricate that idea. >> well, i think at this point in time, you can replace the c that stands for conservative with crazy because that's what this has become in this. i was thinking the other day, what are conservative values today? if this is what it represents, i thought conservative values stood for integrity, honestly, thegr constitution, our democra and all that. this party and the cpac representing the gop today, no longer stands forop any of that.
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if abraham lincoln, teddy roosevelt, ike eisenhower or ronald reagan showed up to the meeting today. they would be thoroughly booed at this point in time. it'sin seeped in. it's part of the ecosystem of cpac, part of the ecosystem of the republican party. and that's what the fundamental problem today in democracy is. we have two legacy parties but only one that currently supports democracy as it stands, and is willing to dealst from a place facts. and i think that's what we have to all struggle with in the media and in politics, how do we deal with a political party that ispo no longer honest? >> i want to drill down on that, matt. take a listen first to what republican congressman adam kinzinger said today earlier on "meet the press." >> to all of my colleagues in politics, let megu say this to you. you either have to be a zombie for the maga belief system, whatever that is today or tomorrow, it varies every day based on donald trump's whims, or actually stand up and tell your constituents the truth. >> i just wonder, matt, if there
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is anyone who that message, that perfectly reasonable message, is actually landing with. >> i mean, an accurate message that supports our democracy if it lands with anyone inr the republican party, my guess is it's about 10% to 15% of the republican party would be receptive to that w message. t not enough to win a primary, not enough to even finish second or third in a primary. that's the problem today. whatbl donald trump is, what ro desantis is, what all of the other people that are spreading the lie and doing all the things attacking our democracy, including here where i live in texas, they represent the mainstream part of the republican party today. adam kinzinger is a unicorn in the republican party. >> ali, trip gabriel of "the new york times" writesel the big question of the 2022 midtermicize how will the suburbs swing. it's arb crucial voting bloc th soured on trump in 2020. we talked about how the suburbs
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are changing demographically. do you get a sense that any of their messaging is tailored to that suburban audience? >> no, because it's very similar messaging to what former president donald trumpha used throughout the 2020es election. and he ended up with lower margins in the suburbs than joe biden did. that's a key part of the biden coalition, and that piece in the times today was really apt. clearly, former trump read it because he released a statement about it. really, it presents the balancing act for both of these parties here. democrats trying to show what they can do with power, not just having power in the white house, but also in both houses of congress. republicans, i think, taking the opposite approach, on a national level, conferences like these that set the messaging tone, they're clearly digging in to the red meat that's not the substance that parts of the party would prefer them toat fos on. things like the border and jobs. that's not the focus necessarily here. people walking out of this room and rooms like it come away talking about ake rigged electi
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in 2020 thatri didn't actually happen. what's happening, though, on state level legislatures and this is where republicans i think are going to start pointing to what's happening across the states of proof of what they can do if they're given power again in the midterms is looking at state legislatures passing things like critical race theory bans or trying to in this special session. restrictive voting bills happening in places like texas, florida, georgia. those are the places where republicans have to look for the incubators of what republicans can do if they have power because on a national level, on a messaging level, a lot of it is backwards looking while democrats are trying to show, hey, we have power right now. we will actually get things done. of course, if this is why the infrastructure push is so important, because it could prove that bipartisanship still exists in washington, or it could prove that democrats don't know what to do with power while they have it. >>ey daniel, colorado congressm lauren boebert said we're here to thel theo government, we dot want your benefits, we don't want your welfare.
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that is fresh given that she receives ppp loans for her restaurant. aoc snapped back on twitter. tell them loud and proud. gop will strip your unemployment benefits and disassemble any safety net we have left. how unhinged has this modern gop come from reality? and from understanding what it is that the majority of americans say they actually want from government? >> well, congresswoman boebert is one of the members of the republican party who is always looking to rev up the base and is always looking to endear herself to the more radical ideas and proposals of the gop. so i'm not super surprised that she would say something like this. evenli if she benefitted from p loan not so long ago, but it's definitely the sentiment of where the base of thehe republin party is right now. you will find any big standard bearer for the gop making those same arguments. >> yeah. very little surprises us these
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days, if we're being honest. matt, i just gotta ask you, how significant is this that all of this is happening in texas? these are the two big stories today. we look at cpac as what this means for thec future of the republican party. and we look at what is happening in texas as a test for what is happening to our democracy writ large. >> i think it's pivotal that it's happening in texas because i think ultimately, texas is going to determine the nature of politics in our country for the next ten years or the next 20 years in this. republicans understand that if democrats vote according to what they represent in the population in texas, they win. that's exactly why they're doing the voting restrictions. republicansic see exactly what democrats see in texas. i think they both understand whoever ultimately comes out of this fightte in the next electi and election after that is going to determine a lot of where the country goes, and texas is, i think, the center point of that. texas has some ofth the fastest growing demographic groups.gr
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it's not just latinos. it's asian-americans, a whole realm of things. the wall they're really building in texas is a wall to keep people from voting. >> ali, matthew, daniel, a reminder.ie matthew's new book, revelations on the river, being a prophet for your own path, is out in september. >> next, the president heads to philly to address voting rights, as texas plans to vote on a bill to restrictbi voting access. will washington intervene before it is too late? >> plus, the classroom is a place to learn. so why are schools across the country facing threats for teaching the truth? >> also, the battle against disinformation to save lives across the midwest and the south. you're going to hear from doctors who are doing all they can for covid patients who refuse to get the shots. >> and later, new heights in the billionaire space race. we're just getting started here on "american voices."io erican v. one that's been paved and one that's forever wild.
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across the country this week, a possible turning point in the battle over voting rights. overnight, texas republicans advance a restrictive voting bill that would crack down on the mail-in ballot process and ban drive-through voting options. the bill could reach a vote by tuesday. which is the same day president biden will head to philadelphia. the birthplace of our constitution, to deliver a speech on the importance of protecting voting rights. as the president faces mounting pressure from his own party to use his bully pulpit to protect ballot access, congress returns from recess this week. senators are focused on another aspect of the biden agenda, a deal on infrastructure. the need for solutions on both is urgent. critical, so how can the white house deliver on both? joining us now, tyler page, white house reporter for "the washington post," and "wall street journal" politics reporter eliza collins. i want it turn to infrastructure. this morning, the "wall street journal" reported, quote, democrats are racing to finalize a bipartisan infrastructure deal
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and set the contours of a broad child care and education plan aiming to maintain a delicate agreement with republicans while simultaneously plowing forward with their own priorities. democrats remain divided over the size and scope of the other broader bill. liberals such as bernie sanders have called for as much as $6 trillion in spending in the package while moderates have favored a smaller number. eliza, what are you hearing from folks on the hill about how this is going to go down? >> this is a very unique situation because democrats are basically trying to do two things at once. they are trying to satisfy the moderates in their party who have expressed concern about moving forward without republican support. so they're working on this bipartisan infrastructure. at the same time, they're working on this larger package, trillions of dollars, that is things like not the physical infrastructure that that bipartisan plan is talking about, but child care sxejication and things that
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democrats say are a larger infrastructure package. so they're trying to do both at once. and it's going to be very difficult because they can't alienate really either side of their party. they're trying to satisfy the moderates with the fisone, but they need the moderates to stay onboard for the party line package. they also can't have the bipartisan package go too far towards the center because they could lose the left party. the left of their party. they really have quite a balancing act, and some progressives say they'll only support the bipartisan package if they get a promise that both will move at the same time, which is very difficult to do. >> tyler, eliza just did an incredibly succinct job of laying out something that is incredibly complicated politically. tell me where republicans come into play here. >> republicans are crucial to this effort to pass a bipartisan deal. they have the agreement on the framework, but over the recess and into the next few weeks, they now need to draft that legislation in a way that expliicates the broad overview that they agreed to with the
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president, and so there's not a lot of wiggle room there with republicans in terms of insuring that they get the support they need to reach that 60-vote threshold. they need ten republicans and they seemingly have that at the moment. once you get into the details, that's where there's more room and hurdles and potentially difficulties getting there. as they hash out these details, that's where the republicans and democrats are working together, and any source of disagreement could potentially thwart that bill from passing. >> tyler, this is all happening at the same time there's this focus on voting rights. you have civil rights leaders who want the president to focus even more on the issue. what are you watching for during president biden's speech on voting rights on tuesday? >> yeah, i think the big thing is what's new? he's been talking about this issue for weeks, for months. you know, this is a defining issue for democrats. and he continues to make big speeches about it, and emphasize it, but there's not much that he can do in terms of actual changes. he has criticized republican-led
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efforts to restrict the right to vote. i'm sure we'll hear him talk about what the latest developments in texas as they try to pass their own version of a bill we have seen in other republican-led states. but at the same time, there's not much that biden can do beyond calling for the abolition of the filibuster. he has not gone that far yet. in this speech, what i'm looking for is whether or not the president is going to escalate his rhetoric about how democrats should respond to these republican-led efforts to really restrict the right to vote, which democrats see as an existential threat to democracy and to people's ability to exercise their rights. >> so eliza, yesterday, i talked with representative ayanna pressley on congressman clyburn's push for a voting rights carve-out. take a listen to what she said. >> alicia, no democrat should support a jim crow filibuster. why stop at a carve-out? we should be eliminating and
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abolishing the filibuster outright. >> congresswoman, to that point, i want to ask you, what do you think it would get to get manchin and sinema to move on this? >> pressure from the white house. >> you heard it right there, pressure from the white house. congressman clyburn says he doesn't care if president biden uses a microphone or a telephone to ramp up pressure on manchin. how much longer can president biden hold on, and do you think on tuesday he uses that opportunity to call these senators out by name? >> well, to tyler's point, the president hasn't endorsed getting rid of the filibuster. so he can increase pressure on democrats to take this seriously, to unite, but they're pretty much united right now, it requires 60 votes for something to pass, and they do not have that. and so until joe biden endorses getting rid of the filibuster, it's going to be very difficult for anything to happen. and there are joe manchin and kirsten cinema are certainly the most vocal about keeping the
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filibuster in place, but there are other senators who would like to see it stay in place, at least right now. most of them have endorsed reforms which is something president biden has as well, but right now, there's a larger group than senators manchin and sinema who oppose getting rid of the filibuster. >> i take that point, but tyler, the filibuster debate, we talked about it a lot in the context of voting rights for very good reason that is in focus right now, but of course, the implications of the filibuster go far beyond voting rights. you have new nbc reporting that digs into areas of biden's agenda that have been stalled. a $15 minimum wage, beefing up lgbtq protections, immigration, gun safety. if and when the white house scores a win on infrastructure, which legislative victories, what do they look like with the filibuster in place right now? >> you're exactly right. that is something that i think a lot of people are losing sight of. there is that opportunity on voting rights, that missed opportunity on voting rights because of the filibuster, but
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it doesn't stop there. so much of the democratic agenda requires 60 votes. as you referenced the parliamentarian in the stimulus package a few month ago, they tried to raise the minimum wage there and were ruled ineligible to do so. so there's so much that democrats want to do. they have this narrow window in which they control the house, the senate, and the white house. and that could change in the midterms. so i think as they move forward with this infrastructure, we're going to continue to see calls from progressive democrats, even from some more moderate democrats to try to move on this filibuster issue. but joe biden himself, the leader of the party, has not explicitly called for action on it. so i think until we see the president make some movement on that, it's going to be hard to get the rest of the party to come along. >> tyler and eliza, thank you both so much. next, the debate over whether to teach the truth about america's history, now leading to death threats. and teachers being fired. >> and later, a huge move forward in getting civilians to space.
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the hysteria over how to teach america's history with race has led to death threats and harassment. due in part to the gop's antics of taking a college level course known as critical race theory and trying to gain political gain. as first reported by the boston globe, a teacher in 10 was fired for including a tan ahasse koets essay in his curriculum. priscilla thompson spoke with the board's chairwoman to find out why different perspectives on racism were fireable offenses. >> i actually attended my first pta meeting in this very room. >> in the last 19 rooms, brenda has gone from concerned parent to school board chairwoman in louden county, virginia. but she says what began as a dream job has turned into a
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nightmare. >> don't teach our kids guilt for their failings. >> over the past several weeks, sheraton says she's received nearly a dozen letters at her home, hundreds of emails daily. and voice mails like these. >> you are a disgusting piece of [ bleep ], mr. sheraton. you know your home address is on the internet, don't you? that could be a little scary. >> stupid fat [ bleep ] [ bleep ] lover. >> anger, born out of controversy around transgender rights and critical race theory. the decades-old academic study of racism and inequality. >> does the louden county school district teach critical race theory? >> it diz not. >> are you all considering teaching critical race theory? >> we are not. it would be inappropriate because it's theory based in master level and doctoral levels. we're talking about our students' experiences. we're focusing on making our
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marginalized students feel welcomed and affirmed. >> still, many parents in the northern virginia county are now rallying against what they say is critical race theory. and that's not all. a school board meeting where new state mandated policies for transgender students was being discussed descended into chaos, resulting in one arrest. >> this is an unlawful arrest. i am a first amendment right -- >> i have never been afraid to be in my community. i have never thought twice about going anywhere in louden or anywhere in my community. and i stop and think twice now. >> across the country, similar stories are emerging amid anger over mask wearing, critical race theory, transgender rights, and more. >> they're teaching our kids to be racist. >> as sheraton continues to bear the brunt of the harassment in louden, she says she won't back down, even as she faces a recall
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effort. >> the work we're doing is important. it is worth every email i have to read. and every phone call i get. it is worth it. >> that was priscilla thompson reporting. >> next, the search effort in surfside, as hope turns to outrage. how could something like this happen, and who is keeping it from happening again? plus, you'll hear from doctors on the frontlines of unvaccinated america, where the new delta variant is spreading and claiming lives due in part to disinformation. (vo) the subaru crosstrek. dog tested. dog approved. hey lily, i need a new wireless plan for my business, but all my employees need something different. oh, we can help with that. okay, imagine this...
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i don't know. is that him? >> he's got the bald spot. >> yeah, that's what he needs. >> a moment of hope amid unthinkable heartbreak in surfside, florida, a cat pulled from the rubble and reunited with its family. today, day 17 since the partial collapse of the condo building, officials upped the death toll to 90. at least 31 people remain unaccounted for. more than 14 million pounds of concrete and debris have been removed from the site for analysis. today, members of the israeli defense forces are heading home after assisting with efforts. as a thank you, the crew was presented with keys to the county. but the big question remains, how could this happen? florida lawmakers are now debating local policy that allows 40 years to elapse between condominium inspections. as "the washington post"
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reports, those same regulations are under review by the florida bar association, which has launched a task force to strengthen building safety measures. joining me now, the reporter on the by-line of that "washington post" story, kim bellware. what is the latest in the investigation into the condo collapse? >> we're hearing a lot more scrutiny that's going on this building, specifically champlain towers south. there's more coming out about what the reserves are, how much money the condo association had in the coffers to fix maintenance and we know from earlier reports there were a lot of problems that were flagged with maintenance, with the preparation getting that building ready for its 40-year recertification. so right now, all of the attention is kind of focusing on what is known from the documents of the years that were leading up to the collapse that all have to do with what was know about safety and what was known about the condo association's ability to pay for that. >> other surfside condos have been evacuated as officials warn of urgent repairs needed.
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why are so many of these buildings at risk? >> a lot of it has to do with when these buildings were built. the condo boom that hit florida in the '80s and '90s are now putting a lot of these buildings that were still being built with concrete and rebar versus maybe white aluminum and blue glass in newer buildings, the only ones are now coming of the 40-year age where they're having to be re-evaluated to see if they're still safe, and 40 years is a long time, especially when you look at some of the shifting conditions that are happening both above and below the ground. so it's just that when these structures were built, they were really aging into that period where they're coming under scrutiny, according to the laws that currently exist. >> what makes updating the state's condo laws such a complicated process? >> there's a lot of different interests that go into it. every expert that i talked to said one of the big things is that florida is the condo
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capital of if not the u.s. then even the world. people say it rivals what's built in dubai. you know, condos are a huge part of the economy, and it's also a really big mix of florida's -- a really big part of florida's residential housing mix. you have so many condos, so many beachside condos. not only do you have developers making money off it, you have politicians making money from those developers who are wooing condo boards. you have people who are doing the installation, the contracting, designing. there are so many tentacles of this economy that are tied to condos, and a lot of legal experts i talked to said that can make it a really uphill climb to get some of these changes made because the other side of that equation is you have the actual residents, and in florida, there are a lot of people with fixed income, not everybody is a multimillionaire. surfside was considered relative to some of the other surrounding areas a slightly more affordable place to own a condo. and so you also have
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affordability questions because if you start putting in new requirements that are really upping what owners have to pay into for maintenance, that can price people out of their homes. >> this all brings us back to the question of accountability. champlain towers residents have filed more than a dozen lawsuits. miami-dade county d.a. said she'll convene a grand jury. who is likely to be held accountable? >> it's really hard to say at this point because, like you mentioned at the top of the segment, we just don't know what has caused this yet. and the top structural experts that are looking at this, they're really trying to be patient and say, let's hold off. let's do the research. but people do want answers now. they want to know kind of where they can point the finger and where they can make some immediate changes. very likely, you'll see some answers that are going to have to come from the condo association. but that was also made up of residents, people who were harmed or maybe even killed in this tragedy. so there's just so many different factors to look at right now, but you can
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definitely expect condo associations and anybody who had a hand in evaluating that structure in the years leading up to the disaster. >> kim, thank you for your time. >> it turns out there's one slight change the fda could make to convince more americans to get vaccinated. as disinformation makes the jobs of medical professionals impossible in several states across the south. plus, the president announced today he is sending a team to haiti to assess the political crisis there just days after the country's president was assassinated. more on that when we return. clearly, velveeta melts creamier. we made usaa insurance for members like martin. an air force veteran made of doing what's right, not what's easy. so when a hailstorm hit, usaa reached out before he could even inspect the damage. that's how you do it right. usaa insurance is made just the way martin's family needs it with hassle-free claims, he got paid before his neighbor even got started.
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the cdc, very clear, nearly all recent covid deaths are among those who were not vaccinated. take a look at this map showing the major uptick in cases over the past two weeks. in states with lower vaccination rates. missouri is among them, and local leaders and medical professionals tell us they're doing what they can when they can. >> i would equate what's happening in my community right now as a mass casualty event that's happening in very slow motion. the delta variant is spreading rapidly through our community. certainly, we have taken aggressive measures to get us to this point, through social distancing and isolations and masking. there's only so much we can do. now it's an individual responsibility. >> you know, it's sad to see people dying in the hospital for something that could have been prevented. >> bottom line, you're saying the solution here is easy. >> i think it is. get your vaccine, maintain your
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distance. wear a mask. >> disinformation plays a major role in stalling vaccination rates. so much so, the fda is being urged to fully approve the vaccines to increase confidence in the safety of the vaccines. which new polling shows might work. a survey by the kaiser family foundation found nearly a third of unvaccinated adults more likely to get vaccinated if the fda fully approves just one of the shots. dr. anthony fauci says he gets it. >> although it's understandable, quite understandable, that some people might say, well, we want to wait for the full approval, that's really only a technical issue. it's the fda dotting the is and crossing the ts. but there's no doubt in my mind that these vaccines are going to get full approval because of the extraordinary amount of positive data. >> with me now, dr. blackstock, msnbc medical contributor and founder and ceo of advancing
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health equity. dr. blackstock, what impact would it have for the fda to fully endorse any of the covid vaccines? >> you know, i think it would have a significant impact. i don't know if it will be huge, but we know definitely significant. the kaiser family foundation has been doing an excellent job of surveying the unvaccinated people. and we know for at least a third of them, this will actually move the needle, no pun intended, and encourage them to get vaccinated. >> talk to us about the kinds of disinformation that you're seeing out there given the role that disinformation is playing in people choosing not to get vaccinated? >> right, and you know, i think that the disinformation that is out there is more widespread and embedded than we realize. there are anti-vaccine organizations out there both nationally and internationally that are using concerted effort, mostly on social media, to convey this disinformation to
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people. i shared this story, i was at a fair recently, predominantly black event, and i saw members of an anti-vaccine national organization there, dispersing fly flyers disguised as medical racism to make them suspicious of vaccines. they're targeting communities of color and also targeting white rural communities as well. it's very widespread. i think any effort to counteract this information can't just come from public health agencies. it has to come from the government addressing this and disbanding these organizations. >> doctor, we have, of course, been keeping our eye on cpac, listening to some of what is being said there. i'm not going to play the sound for you but i'm going to tell you there have been multiple attacks on dr. fauci himself, you know, someone saying don't come knocking on my door with your fauci ouchy. leave us the hell alone. we're in the process of sending a letter to the doj, he lied it
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congress, and crowds chanting lock him up, lock him up. talk to me how the political rhetoric then reverberates into medical settings. >> knee know the pandemic itself has been politicized. masks have been politicized, and now vaccines, although they're essentially miracles of science, have also been politicized. what we're seeing is this really extreme divide between counties that voted for trump -- so, the politicization of vaccines is causing harm it's actually going to kil and i think people in these communities need to realize that right now the access barriers are being knocked down. the main barriers we have now are overcoming that misinformation and disinformation and fixed belief people have, false beliefs, about these vaccines. >> so, this is all happening, of course, asis schools are tryingo figure out what it is going to look like for educator, for
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support staff, for students to come back through their doors. the cdc is calling for k-12 schools to fully reopen in the fall, no f masks needed for the fully vaccinated. california announced they're going to require masks regardless. what concerns do you foresee here, understanding there are so many pockets of this country with unvaccinated populations. >> right.ci what i will say is cdc is trying to make a statement that school is important for our children. they're recognizing the harm that being out of school has caused to students not just educationally, but socioemotionally. they are evidence-based, but they are not necessarily easy to operationalize or equitable. we know there are posits of the countrye that are severely undervaccinated. and we know there are states that have forbidden mask mandates even info schools. i worry in those pockets we're going to see increases in cases and hospitalizations as the
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school yeario starts. >> dr. blackstock, thank you, as always, for your time and expertise. why conspiracies and the big lie are winning the day inside the republican movement. do the cases of bill cosby and britney spears reveal the answer? ea first, history made this morning high above us and what itrn means for the future of commercial space travel. stay with us. stay with us faces... yea, that look of pure terror... ...no, no, the smile... ...and that second right before the first tear comes... ...what?! pizza on a bagel-we can all agree with that. do you want a hug? [♪♪] if you have diabetes, it's important to have confidence in the nutritional drink you choose. try boost glucose control. it's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels and contains high quality protein to help manage hunger and support muscle health. try boost today. you love your pet...but hate wearing their hair. did you know that your clothes can actually attract pet hair?
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this morning a new chapter in human space flight. sir richard branson winning the space of the billionaires. it could one day lead to civilian rides to space for paying passengers, if they can afford it. >> reporter: under a blazing sun, a new age of space travel lifted off from the new mexico desert today. virgin galactic's unity attached to the belly of its mothership. inside virgin founder richard branson, three other virgin employers and two pilots. then 45 minutes after liftoff. >> 3, 2, 1, release, release, release. >> a 2,300-mile-per-hour rocket ride, 3gs to more than 53 miles high. >> passengers in the back have been cleared to unstrap. >> then the moment branson has
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been dreaming of since he was a teen, the curvature of the earth and the darkness of space. >> looking down at our beautiful, beautiful earth. >> reporter: after three to four minutes of weightlessness, the journey home -- >> experience of a lifetime. >> reporter: -- safely touching down just over an hour after takeoff. >> a perfect landing. >> reporter: on the ground, jubilation, triumph and the famous branson champagne shower. finally 17 years after starting virgin galactic -- >> the wings that are the virgin galactic wings, ladies and gentlemen, this here is sir richard branson, astronaut! >> i'm never going to be able to do it justice. it's indescribe bli beautiful. >> reporter: in an exclusive branson family interview, sir richard could not contain his
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excitement, proud of his wings. >> i'm afraid no one will ever be able to take it away. once you're an astronaut, you're always an astronaut. >> it's quite hard that your dad is doing something pioneering. >> reporter: the battle of the space billionaires with jeff bezos, after suggesting on friday that branson and his passengers would not be true astronauts because they don't go as high as bezos and his passengers will, bezos today seemed to concede the win, writing, can't wait to join the club. branson's hope that the price tag for a ride will soon come down, making the trip possible for those on smaller budgets. and today announcing virgin is launching a sweep stakes for two tickets to space. >> then you and a friend will be able to go to space. it's an exciting opportunity for people around the world, which has never existed before. >> reporter: tonight a life long
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dream fulfilled and a pledge to open space to everyone. >> that was tom costello reporting. a new hour, new signs the gop's embrace of lies and disinformation is here to stay. trump is still -- still -- speaking at cpac in dallas, a conference that's put conservatism to the side, sending a strong signal they want trump to run again. as the will he/won't he question lingers about 2024. out of committee and to the floor. texas republicans are one step closer to restricting voter access across texas. plus, breaking news, protests in the streets of havana, the people of cuba standing up demanding help and an end to dictatorship. what the release of bill cosby and the conservatorship of britney spears is exposing about our legal system. this is "american voices."
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this hour cpac has met and trump has left the building, but he remains head of the party. his influence on the party and their embrace of it was on clear display this week, especially tonight when trump spoke. the long-standing conservatism of this conservative conference was sidelined, cpac choosing instead to embrace conspiracy theories and flatout lies, especially that big lie, another sign the trump era is all but behind us. cpac straw poll today on the 2024 nomination, one with trump, one without. trump is clearly their man. he won with 70%. lingering over the straw poll, a report by "vanity fair" claiming that while all appears well in public, republicans are preparing themselves for a showdown between trump and florida governor ron desantis, who is

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