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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Music Legend Prince Dead at 57; Trump Says He's Becoming More Disciplined; Trump, Cruz Spar Over Transgender Bathrooms. Aired 4:30- 5p ET
Aired April 21, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[16:31:04] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's Prince on MTV performing his hit "Little Red Corvette" off the 1983 album which was called "1999", and was his first song in the U.S. to reach number one.
Welcome back, our breaking news today as the death of music legend Prince.
In New York, the famed Apollo Theater is paying tribute to Prince.
CNN correspondent Jean Casarez is there outside the Apollo.
And, Jean, tell us what the atmosphere is like there.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Jake, this is really the heart and soul for music for New York City, the Apollo Theater, and as many people walk by, man of them are learning for the first time that Prince is now dead and they are shocked and they are saddened and there's just a disbelief because of a young 57-year-old.
Look at the Apollo Theater. This is how many people are learning that he has passed. "In honor of the beautiful one Prince, nothing compares to you, 1958 to 2016. I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain, purple rain, purple rain."
And right here to my side, look at this -- I mean, people are selling t-shirts already. Already with the dates of his birth and his death, and that is how people are learning that he has passed and they are also buying those t-shirts as a final remembrance.
Now, Apollo Theater was very familiar to Prince. In the early 1970s, he performed here for a VH-1 concert. In the 1990s, he came here when Patti Labelle was honored for the Walk of Fame. He came here to honor her. He's performed many times through the years.
And, finally, he was here just several years ago, not for himself but to honor the Apollo Harlem Ballet that was performing. He wanted to pay tribute to them -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jean Casarez, outside the Apollo Theater in New York -- thank you so much. As authorities investigate the exact cause of the death of Prince, we
know that the music legend suffered symptoms of the flu, according to his publicist.
CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta joins me now.
Sanjay, what more do we know about his health, especially over the last few weeks.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, two weeks ago to the day, Jake, he did cancel his shows, I heard, because of the flu, but then a week later, so just one week ago now, he performed in those shows. They were here in Atlanta. By all accounts, you know, he was up and about and didn't look sick.
Important fact, when he was flying home back to Minnesota, the plane had to make an into a hospital for about three hours at that time. Again, being treated for symptoms of the flu, we were told. He was performing just this past Saturday. He was seen riding his bike on Sunday.
But then obviously, four days later, we hear that he has suddenly passed away.
So, it's early, Jake, to try and piece this all together but that's what we know, at least over the last few weeks.
TAPPER: Is it possible that somebody who is 57 years old and gets the flu dies in the kind of sudden manner like this?
GUPTA: It is possible, Jake, but it wouldn't necessarily be the first thing that I would look at. Look, tens and thousands of people die every year because of the flu. Typically, they are elderly people or very young or they have some sort of underlying medical condition.
For example, if someone' immune system is weakened for some reason, that could make a flu, which is a viral infection, persist and maybe even someone develop bacterial infection on top of that. So, again, we don't know. But, you know, you're right to sort of ask the question, it doesn't make complete sense.
I think there's going to be more details. We do know this is going to be investigated by the medical authorities there in Minnesota.
TAPPER: And also, Sanjay, you talked about how he performed in Atlanta and he seemed up and about and healthy.
TAPPER: But somebody who is a professional performer, I mean, they get sick all the time, they travel, they probably have ways of dealing with the need to have some energy and the ability to perform while still also being sick.
[16:35:01] So, it doesn't necessarily mean that he had recovered, I assume, especially because the plane was forced to land. GUPTA: Excellent point. Very good point. Let me put a little more
detail on that. Say someone is sick, they don't feel great but they're still able to perform. If they sort of tip over and become even just a little bit more dehydrated as a result of that performance in combination with the altitude, for example, on the plane, it could make them much worse than they were.
They already had the underlying illness and there's certain things that can sort of tip somebody over, if you will. That's certainly a possibility.
He was only in the hospital, Jake, for three hours after the emergency landing. So, whatever happened there, they thought he was good enough to get back on a plane at that point and fly back home. So, while there was concern, it didn't look like there was a significant enough concern, even to keep him in the hospital overnight and that was just a week ago, Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, 57. So young.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.
GUPTA: Again, thank you.
TAPPER: The music world is shocked and saddened by the death of Prince. Russell Simmons tweeting, "Rest in power, Prince". Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, "Dearly beloved, we're gathered together here today to get through this thing called life. Prince."
Lenny Kravitz tweeting, "My musical brother, my friend, the one who showed me the possibilities within myself."
We will have continuing coverage of Prince's passing. We'll take this quick break.
[16:40:58] TAPPER: That was Prince one year ago in Baltimore recording a song about the killing of young, unarmed black men, particularly Freddie Gray in Baltimore.
The tribute also honored the people of Baltimore and also addressed political and social issues across the country.
Let us now move to our politics lead. Republican Party leaders are meeting at this very moment. One issue on the table: convention rules tossing party officials into what has become a rather heated debate.
Donald Trump has already called the party process rigged. He also says he's changing to become a more effective candidate. But so far, it's not clear that any of these changes will stick. Trump's unexpected answer on transgender bathrooms today dominating the conversations on the campaign trail.
CNN correspondent Phil Mattingly is live in Florida where party officials are meeting this afternoon.
Phil, what's going on in that building?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, at least or the moment, Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, was able to at least behind the scenes tamp down much of the issues that have risen amongst Republican National Committee members related to those rules, and because of that, the attention has shifted to Donald Trump's team and the meetings they are having behind the scenes.
Their purpose is two-fold, Jake. Try to assuage the concerns of party leaders and try to convince people, at least according to one person familiar with these meetings that their campaign is shifting, turning a corner and trying to professionalize.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Donald Trump looking to close the deal after his big New York win.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So you're going to cast that vote on Tuesday. And we're going to win the whole thing. And January is going to come and you're going to look back. Seriously, you're going to look back and you're going to look at that vote and you're going to say, it was the greatest vote you ever casted.
MATTINGLY: The GOP front runner not letting up on his two remaining rivals, saying Ted Cruz and John Kasich should, quote, "get out of the race", because they are, quote, "mathematically eliminated", even as he telegraphed the shift in his tone.
TRUMP: I will tell you, it's easier for me to be presidential than for me to be doing what I've doing for the last really nine months. But at the right time, I will be so presidential, you will be so bored.
MATTINGLY: Including a stand against the North Carolina dictating how transgender individuals use public bathrooms.
TRUMP: North Carolina did something that was very strong and they've paid a big price and there's a lot of problems. One of the best things I heard is from a commentator yesterday saying, "Leave it the way it is right now."
REPORTER: So if Caitlyn Jenner were to walk in to Trump Tower, and I want to use the bathroom, you would be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses?
TRUMP: That is correct.
MATTINGLY: A position that drew immediate criticism from Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald on television this morning said, gosh, he thought that men should be able to into the girls' bathroom if they want to. Let me ask you, have we gone stark, raving nuts? I am waiting with anticipation for the new baseball caps, make PC great again.
MATTINGLY: All as the brand-new top tier of his campaign team privately met with more than 100 top GOP leaders in Florida, a behind- the-scenes effort being train tracking closely with the shift in Trump's campaign, when he made clear in a "Wall Street Journal" interview, where he said, quote, "The campaign is evolving and transitioning, and so am I. I'm not going to blow it."
That evolution including more policy speeches and even the use of a teleprompter.
Cruz and Kasich rejecting Trump's calls to drop out and fresh off their personal pitches to GOP leaders in Florida, back on the trail, pointing both their campaigns towards the only end game they see, a contested convention in Cleveland.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to go to a convention. I've been saying this for two months. We were going to go to an open convention, that no one was going to get the delegates. And the delegates will choose who they want to have as president.
MATTINGLY: Now, Jake, Kasich and Cruz really underscoring the importance of this meeting, both coming down here personally. Their teams still working here throughout the day today.
[16:45:00] Donald Trump's advisers are supposed to have a closed-door briefing for all available RNC members here in about 20 minutes followed by Ben Carson showing up a reception, obviously a top Donald Trump surrogate.
But one of the interesting things here, Jake, you talk to RNC members and they are clearly stunned by the public comments Donald Trump has made attacking the RNC, attacking the system.
That is a mountain that his advisers have to climb behind closed doors at least as far as I've heard up to this point -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thank you so much.
We return to our breaking news, Prince's death. We have continuing coverage of his impact on music, art, and pop culture. Stay with us.
TAPPER: That, of course, is Prince's top-selling single "When Doves Cry" from his hit 1984 album "Purple Rain." Maybe his best song ever, one of the best songs ever, period.
Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm joined by our political panel. We will talk about what is going on in the race for the White House. Joining us Donald Trump's national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, Republican strategist, Lanhee Chen, who advised Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio's campaigns, and national spokesman for Senator Ted Cruz, Ron Nehring.
Thanks one and all for joining me. Ron, let me start with you because Senator Ted Cruz is on the stump today attacking Donald Trump for being, quote, "too pc" for saying that Caitlyn Jenner can use whatever bathroom she likes when she visits his Trump Tower.
Cruz says that grown men should not be in bathrooms with little girls. That was his response. So explain to me exactly what the position is here that individuals like Caitlyn Jenner should be forced to use the men's room?
RON NEHRING, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN, TED CRUZ FOR PRESIDENT: No. I think the issue is what happens at our high schools and our elementary schools and the like across the country, particularly in the case with North Carolina, which exercises its rights to enact legislation aimed at clarifying this particular issue.
This has been an issue in my state as well. People are concerned about the prospect of having grown adult men in the girl's locker room and in a bathroom at school and the like. That's something that many people find offensive and inappropriate.
TAPPER: Has this ever happened, that you know of, in California, or anywhere, a transgender individual in a girl's room harassing a girl? Has that ever happened?
NEHRING: Well, you know, this is an issue, which is being addressed on a state by state level. You know, difficult laws are being phrased in different ways. You know, part of the issue in my state where this has been debated in California is that can anybody simply walk into any restroom of any gender at all.
Even in the girl's locker room or girl's bathroom at school and the like, and that in itself is the issue here and that's what's not appropriate.
You know, what Donald Trump chooses to do with the Trump tower, which is a private building and a private facility is up to him. The question is whether at public schools, grown men should be not be in the girl's locker room. That's inappropriate.
TAPPER: I didn't actually hear an example cited there, but let's move on. Katrina, North Carolina passed a law restricting the bathroom use of transgendered individuals. This is obviously causing a huge uproar.
Companies are refusing to do business in the state of North Carolina and Donald Trump pointed out. There's not much evidence of problems with transgender people using restrooms of the gender in which they identify.
Do you see this? Does the Trump campaign see this as a civil rights issue? KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, you know, let me just clarify, Donald Trump does not believe that Caitlyn Jenner is a threat to any woman in a restroom, number one. Number two, this is a local issue. A lot of these instances are happening in schools because they are taking federal money and that's why this is happening.
Mr. Trump what he says today was that he did support Caitlyn Jenner going into the restroom of her choice. But this is what happens with these types of laws.
I'm just curious to know where the Cruz campaign really stands on this because you're talking about a constitutional conservative campaign that wants to create laws to prevent crimes that are already rendered as crimes.
When essentially what you're doing is creating criminals for those women who want to use the empty men's room when the women's restroom lines are too long. So I'm really curious on how you (inaudible) the constitutionality of a law like that.
TAPPER: Let me just bring in Lanhee because we are running out of time and I want to bring you in. I know this is not the issue necessarily that you woke up thinking that you were going to come on CNN and talk about. These are the two frontrunners of the Republican race right now. What do you make of it all?
LANHEE CHEN, RESEARCH FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: I think for Senator Cruz, it's an interesting opportunity for him to actually pivot this discussion to something that Republican voters may actually care about, not the bathrooms but the Supreme Court.
And saying, look, this is going to be an issue that's going to be litigated. I'm a constitutional conservative. I'm the one who is going to be trustworthy on judges.
So it's a very interesting move for him. You know, the Trump came out in New York. They did well in New York. Now they are talking about 1,400 delegates. That's not going to happen.
You and I have both seen these campaign memos throughout this crazy numbers, but at the end of the day, for Cruz to try to control this discussion, I actually think is pretty smart.
TAPPER: Let me give you the last word here, Katrina. The 1,400 delegates, that's a math that a lot of people who are counting the delegates find the bridge too far.
PIERSON: I'm sure they do. This is our goal and we're very confident that we'll reach 1,237 prior to the convention. We are making the case right now to the RNC where the other campaigns are telling delegates and the RNC that they should go with the candidate that can't simply win.
Whereas we're showing that we have the votes, we've won the contest. We are bringing in the new voters. We are winning Hispanics in these states, beating Senator Ted Cruz, by the way, in Arizona, Florida, New York, and Nevada.
We are the campaign that can beat Hillary in November and Donald Trump is the candidate to get it done.
TAPPER: Ron, last word?
NEHRING: At the end of the day, Donald Trump's internal memo about getting to 1,400 may as well be 14,000. It's simply not going to happen if we go through state by state as to what's coming up.
[16:55:05]We are going to go ultimately to a contested convention, which just means the voting will go a couple more hours longer than it would otherwise.
And everybody knows when it goes past one ballot, on the second ballot, Donald Trump is never in a million years going to get more votes than on the first ballot and he is never going to be the Republican nominee.
That's why he's flipping out. That's why he says all of these bizarre weird things. He has to attack everybody else over the fact that he's lost five states in a row leading up to New York.
He knows he's not going to be the nominee because he's not going to get on the first ballot. Thanks.
TAPPER: Thank you, Ron. Thank you, Katrina. Thank you, Lanhee. Appreciate it.
Back to our breaking news, a new information coming in about the death of the music icon, Prince. A medical examiner in Minnesota now telling CNN that they will conduct the autopsy on the entertainer. More on CNN on the breaking news story coming up, next.