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Trump Refuses To Take Questions At Briefing, Day After Discussing Disinfectant Injections To Fight Coronavirus; Trump Lies, Says He Was Being "Sarcastic" When He Discussed Injecting Disinfectant To Treat Coronavirus; Navy Recommends Reinstatement Of Fired Carrier Captain Who Blew Whistle On Coronavirus Outbreak On Ship. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 24, 2020 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening again. Chris Cuomo is off tonight.

Topping this hour, the shortest Coronavirus briefing on record, President taking no questions, his top science advisers, not even there.

A source close to the Task Force saying the President is upset of the flack he's been taking over what he said at last night's briefing, after an official talked to reporters about research on killing the virus outside the human body, and then inside.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn't been checked, but you're going to test it.

And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, you can - which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that too. It sounds interesting.


TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.


Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So, it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you're going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds - it sounds interesting to me.


COOPER: As you might imagine, the President talking about people being injected with disinfectants prompted the makers of Lysol to warn against it, and just about every doctor and scientist to do the same.

Government agencies also issued warnings as well. More than a 100 people called into a Maryland hotline asking about that.

This morning, the White House said the President had been taken out of context, which is not true. Then, when later asked about it, the President lied directly to the American people.


TRUMP: No, I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen.

And I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday, Bill, because when they say that something will last three or four hours or six hours, but if the sun is out, or if they use disinfectant, it goes away in less than a minute. Did you hear about this yesterday?

But I was asking a sarcastic, and a very sarcastic question, to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.


COOPER: He wasn't talking to reporters, and he wasn't being sarcastic. Tonight, he took no questions.

Joining us now is Kaitlan Collins, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Kathleen Sebelius, former Democratic Governor of Kansas, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary in the Obama Administration.

Secretary Sebelius, I mean, you know, look, the country's in a major health crisis, the President of the United States suggesting that people might be injected with disinfectant, then lies about it, I mean, how dangerous is all this?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, OBAMA HHS SECRETARY: Well Anderson, I think it's incredibly dangerous. You ended the last segment with a heartbreaking story about a young widow, and her two children, and her beloved husband who just died.

We have ended this week with 50,000 American deaths. They have doubled over the past 10 days.

And we have a President who, from the podium, is pitching Americans to take specific medication that is not proven effective and may indeed cause them harm, and now is talking about lighting inside their body ultraviolet light, and - and maybe injecting people with disinfectant, which is again dangerous, could kill them. So, I think it is incredibly harmful and must be shocking to any of the health advisers who try to make some sense out of what's coming out of his mouth.

COOPER: Kaitlan, you were in the briefing room today, when the President walked out without taking any questions. I think the FDA, the Head of the FDA took one question, but that was it. The Vice President didn't take it. Dr. Birx wasn't there, Dr. Fauci not there.

What are you hearing from your sources about all this?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, I was thinking tonight, one of the first briefings that the President came out to, typically remember, they were just only held by the Vice President, and the other doctors on the team, at the beginning.

And I remember the President first came out, and he seemed so joyous, to be engaging back and forth with the press.

It was a very long briefing, the first time the President came out and, of course, it was a rare appearance for him in the briefing room. I think it was the first time he had actually ever taken questions in the briefing room.

And it's really just be notable to see how far that has changed from where we were that day to where we were today, where the President took no questions. The FDA Commissioner only took one question.

And, of course, what we've been hearing from aides and allies of the President is that they don't think he needs to be doing these marathon briefings every single day. They think he's obviously exhausted from dealing with the Coronavirus, having these meetings every day.

But a lot of them also don't think they're helpful to the President because often it's this long briefing that happens during prime time hours, where the President often talks about the ratings.

He ad-libs from the prepared remarks that aides and the scientists have prepared for him over their latest developments. And a lot of people around the President just don't think they're helpful to him.

And I think a lot of people could point back to yesterday as a highlight of that point that they've been trying to make.

But of course, it's ultimately the President's call if he wants to come out to these briefings. And often he decides, you know, even when there's not a briefing scheduled that he wants to have one, like he did, I think, about two weekends ago.

COOPER: Yes. I mean the irony is they're not helpful to the President because the President cannot help himself but to muse aloud about his, you know, thoughts on medical issues, which he is not qualified to talk about, as if they're real suggestions.

Sanjay, I mean the medical community obviously rejected, you know, these ludicrous dangerous suggestions on, you know, injecting disinfectant. The CDC put out a statement, Lysol had to put out a warning.

I still - I mean, ever since this has happened, you and I have been discussing this. I still just find this unbelievable that the greatest country in the world is facing this situation, and this is what is being discussed from the upper echelons of our government.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: At a time when it's critically important for these scientists to be focusing on really important things.

I mean, you know, I guess I - there's a little solace in the fact that I think the scientific community, for the most part, spoke with one voice, in response to this, not just public - in the public sphere, but also in the private sphere.

You heard a lot of people coming forth and really making sure that - that people understood and - and that people would be kept safe from this.

I, you know, find it concerning, as you and I've talked about, Anderson that, you know, these great scientists, really renowned scientists, you're right, we have some of the greatest scientists in the world in this country.

And some of them are working on that Coronavirus Task Force, great leaders in HIV/AIDS, Anthony Fauci, 40 years running Infectious Diseases for this country, Stephen Hahn running the MD Anderson Cancer Center, before this job really, really, renowned scientists.

I'm worried sometimes, obviously, that they are not speaking as forcefully as - as they probably should. But I also, you know, take some solace, the fact that they're in the job, and they want to stay on the job because this is really important right now.

I mean there are six significant vaccine trials that are happening. And one of them we just reported on. There are many therapeutic trials. Some of them have not shown promising results yet. But one of those clicks, that could - that could be a way out of this mess.

So, you know, we need these scientists to be in these jobs. Hopefully, they didn't get too sidetracked by all this. I'm sure the guys are - the people that are working in the labs, hopefully, just kept working in the labs on the - on the work that they have to do.

But it is a huge distraction, I mean I - the number of texts that I got from people, my sources today, about this issue. I'm asking about medications, I'm asking about whether mRNA is going to be a good vaccine candidate or not, and we're talking about Lysol.

I mean that - that is not, you know, I mean I - I guess maybe we should stop talking about it as well because it's not - it of no use to the American public.

COOPER: Yes. Well, by the way, this is of course, the President, tomorrow, is going to talk more about it because he's going to try to, you know, spin the knife, stewing about it, formulating some new lie, and then go after it tomorrow.

Secretary Sebelius, I mean in - in a - in a normal time, shouldn't scientists be able to speak directly to the American people, not filtered through the lens of, you know, the White House or the Vice President's Office? I mean shouldn't there be--

SEBELIUS: Well Anderson--

COOPER: --CDC briefings, and - and HHS briefings and, you know, directly, scientific information, and questions being asked and answered?

SEBELIUS: It would be really helpful if we would have Anthony Fauci, Dr. Debbie Birx, both of whom are excellent, and have incredible reputations.

And then, you know, whether it's Dr. Redfield or Anne Schuchat, Dr. Anne Schuchat, somebody from the CDC should be by their side, every day. They're the epidemiologists. That's who we should be hearing from.

Periodically, you want a government leader to talk about logistics, give clear guidance, national guidance, on issues like stay-at-home rules, and what kind of help can be coming from the federal government.

But you want the medical advice to come from the scientists. You want people like Sanjay Gupta talking about medicine, and not hearing it from, you know, the Head of Lysol.

I - I just - I find it just so troubling. And I really don't, you know, the President again has touted the fact that his uncle was a doctor. My uncle was a doctor. That doesn't make me well-equipped to give medical advice. I would never do that.

And what he's doing is incredibly dangerous because he's promoting drugs, and now, potential cures of some kind, which - which can be very, very harmful to people, and just saying, "You know, well talk to a doctor. But I have these great ideas and let's go follow this."

And as Dr. Gupta just said, the notion that scientists could be misdirected into some errand to follow whatever the President woke up in the morning, thinking about, is also troubling.

24/7 we need people to be focused on finding a medication and certainly finding a vaccine. And those two things will take all the time and energy that we have.

COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan, I just want to play something that Dr. Birx said on Fox News today about these comments from the President.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud, and really have that dialog.

And so that's what dialog he was having - having. I think he just saw the information at the time, immediately before the press conference, and he was still digesting that information.


COOPER: I mean, yes. Kaitlan, the - the President is putting the White House Task Force public health officials in incredibly difficult positions. Obviously, she's trying to put the best face on it.


I'm not sure, you know that that's a great explanation that "Well he just happened to randomly hear this information and therefore decided to speak about it in front of the world."

COLLINS: Yes. I don't think any of the doctors would suggest the President digesting information, in front of cameras, at the podium, where aides, like I said, have - they put together these carefully prepared remarks, and then it's when the President goes off script that moments like this happen.

And Anderson, really this whole week, we have seen where the President has put these doctors and these scientists in these positions, where Dr. Birx is trying to explain that.

And that was - that was, we should, note taped before the President made his comment that it was sarcastic, what he was saying, to reporters, now that Dr. Birx is saying he was just, you know, digesting that information.

But we've seen it multiple times this week with Dr. Fauci, where the President said he disagreed with him about whether or not the U.S. had the proper amount of testing. They contradicted each other about Coronavirus returning in this fall.

He had the CDC Director come out to correct his quote that the CDC Director said was accurately quoted in The Washington Post. Because you really see what these doctors, you know, what their experience like is with the President, when he wants them to--


COLLINS: --come onto these briefings, he picks them to come out there, and then it ends up with Dr. Birx trying to explain that comment today in an interview.

COOPER: You know, Kaitlan, I'm glad you mentioned that it was before the President then went out and lied about, you know, it being sarcastic because it's another example of how all those around the President skewer themselves and debase themselves by coming up with stories, cover stories for the President that are not coordinated.

So, Kayleigh McEnany says "Well this was taken out of context, and it's the media." Dr. Birx says "Well he was just digesting new information." He said - and then he comes out and says, "Oh no, it was all sarcastic and I wasn't - I was talking to reporters."

You know, everybody ends up with mud on their face because the President, they're just trying to cover for the President, and it's sad that our scientists are put in this position that they are kind of trying to do this.

I just want to end on just a completely unrelated, mildly happy note, which is the nicest thing that happened to me today, besides talking to you all, and besides talking to that amazing mom, who just lost her husband, few moments ago.

Sanjay, your daughter made me a mask, and it is the best mask I've ever seen. It's got little like Cowboys on it. It reminds me of like pyjamas I had from the 1970s, and it makes me so happy. So, I want to thank you and thank your daughter, Soleil, for - for making it.

I've gotten two requests from very famous people, who are friends of mine, who saw that picture, and immediately are asking if she can make them masks as well. I'll send you an email about it. But I just thank her. If she's watching, thank you.

GUPTA: She is watching. Thank you. She'll get - she'll get to work, Anderson. But can I just say she is a huge fan of yours. So, what you just did will absolutely make her - make her day.

COOPER: All right.

GUPTA: So, thank you for that, Anderson.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks. Secretary Sebelius, thank you, as always, Kaitlan Collins, as well.

Joining us now, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.

Governor Lamont, thanks so much for being with us. The President went out of his way yesterday to offer this, you know, ridiculous medical advice. I don't really want to spend much time on this with you because there's more important things to talk about. Just for me as, you know, Governor of a State, do you worry about

people in your state, you know, hearing this and kind of thinking in a desperate situation, "Oh, let's try this."

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): I worry about people taking that, and taking them literally, and how dangerous that is.

But I'm really struck by your last segment. Katie's husband Jonathan was a state employee. They met in Danbury, Connecticut. And he was a frontline worker, he was an essential worker, and he put himself at risk, even though he had a kid at home, who was at some risk as well.

And this reminds you what these "State employees" are doing. They are essential workers. And I think every day about essential workers, there's no correlation to how much you're paid and being how essential you are, and that's what that story reminds me of.

COOPER: Yes. LAMONT: And talking about the President bleach, I just I'm not there right now.

COOPER: Yes. Governor Lamont, we're having a problem with your shot. We're going to take a quick break. We're going to try to get it up because we'd love to be able to see you, and we'll continue this conversation. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Having trouble re-establishing connection with the Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont. We're going to continue to try to get him back on that.

Right now, want to turn to the outbreak that was both inspiring and deeply depressing, Captain Brett Crozier walking off the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, relieved of his command, after warning that Coronavirus is racing through his ship, trying to raise alarms about it. 856 people on board that ship, including Captain Crozier, ended up infected.




COOPER: You may recall the Acting Navy Secretary at the time who - who was fired - who fired him was subsequently fired himself. And now, the Chief of Naval Operations is recommending to the Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Captain Crozier's command be reinstated.

Two Defense officials tell CNN that Secretary Esper is not prepared to immediately accept the recommendation. However, he's said to be - he's said to be generally inclined to support Navy leadership and their decisions.

Joining us now is Ray Mabus, who served as Secretary of the Navy during the Obama Administration.

Secretary Mabus, thanks for being with us. I knew you were critical, we spoke before, you were critical of the Navy's decision to fire Captain Crozier. I'm wondering what you make of their recommendation, and what do you think the Secretary Esper's calculus is on this?

SECRETARY RAY MABUS, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: Well this is what should have happened in the first place, do an investigation, find out what the facts are, because as I said, when I was last on your - your program, it's inconceivable that somebody like Captain Crozier, the first thing he would have done would be send out a memo like this.

[21:25:00] And those facts that have come out, since then, says that he didn't. He went through the chain of command. And it was only a last desperate act that he did, and he was proven correct. 856 sailors have tested positive. We've lost one Sailor Chief that - that died.

And what this shows is the danger of putting politics into what ought to be a purely military decision. You know, the Acting Secretary said that he fired Captain Crozier because he, quote, wanted to get out ahead of the President, and he didn't want to get crossways with Trump.

And I hope that what Secretary Esper is doing is reading that report, and deferring to the - to Navy leadership, to the CNO, to the chain of command in the Navy.

What I think would be incredibly dangerous is if he's checking with the White House to see if this is OK, to once more put a political spin or a political element into something that ought to be purely, totally, absolutely a military decision.

COOPER: You know, I mean when you hear 856 sailors aboard the Roosevelt, testing positive, and as you said, one - one Chief dying, Captain Crozier, is himself in quarantine, testing positive, it certainly sounds like the alarm was warranted.

It also just gives you a sense of the danger of - to our military personnel of this virus. I mean we're not - beyond just, you know, the personal danger to each individual sailor, which is, you know, the main thing, also just from a national security standpoint that can - there's concerns about that.

MABUS: It's a tremendous national security risk and in so many ways but to our military and to our Navy, in particular, because these ships, you cannot isolate people on a Navy ship.

You cannot have social distancing. They're - they're literally, as we talked about before, on top of each other, sleeping in bunks that are three high, eating together every day, the passageways, all the compartments, very small.

And you're - you're beginning to see there are three more carriers that have announced that sailors have tested positive. The USS Kidd, the destroyer, said that it's got somewhere in the mid-teens people that have tested positive.

And this is going to seriously, seriously weaken our Navy if a lot of proactive steps aren't taken, if we don't proactively bring these ships in, test people, clean the ships. We're going to have a little dip in readiness when that happens. They're not going to be as ready.

But they will be much more ready in a very short term. And if we keep doing this piecemeal stuff, then we're going to have issues with whether the Navy and whether the entire military can do their jobs well into the future.

COOPER: Yes. I mean it also puts a - again, just it highlights the need for more testing which, you know, and a national strategy for testing, if it becomes a national security issue, you know, rather - even if a ship can't come all the way into port to be able to have testing onboard a ship, and be able to figure out, you know, exactly, you know, who's positive, who's not, who's, you know, asymptomatic, who has antibodies, to at least try to get a handle on it before it becomes something that you do need to bring the ship back in for.

MABUS: I think that's absolutely right. I understand the Navy Medical Unit flew out to the Kidd to do exactly that. But you can't wait until the virus is spreading throughout the crew. You've got to have these tests.

And the Navy is a microcosm of what's happening in the country. You cannot do it piecemeal.


MABUS: You've got to do it service-wide, you've got to do it military wide, or you're going to have some real national security issues in terms of our military not being able to do all the missions the country expects of it.

COOPER: Yes. Secretary Mabus, I really appreciate your - your time tonight, thank you.

MABUS: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: We're going to - we think we have our technical issue solved. So, we're going to try to talk to the Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, next. We'll be right back.



COOPER: We've reconnected with Connecticut's Governor, Ned Lamont. He's joining us by phone.

Governor, right before we had some technical problems, you were talking about Katie Coelho, who I just - who I spoke at the - the beginning of this program. She lost her husband, unexpectedly. He was intubated. They thought he was going to get off. She has two kids. He actually was a state employee in Connecticut.

LAMONT: He was. I think my iPhone was broken up just hearing that story. I found out that Jonathan, he's worked for the State for over 10 years, a frontline first responder, taking care of folks.

And everybody knocks state employees. Then you remember these are the guys, on the frontlines, taking care of people, putting themselves at some risk. It was just a heartbreaking hearing that story.

COOPER: Yes. I mean and - and it is a reminder for, you know, for all the talk about reopening, and which is obviously incredibly important, and getting the economy back, there are people dying. This was two days ago. I mean that, you know, there were more than 400

people that died in New York over the last 24 hours. It is still - this is - we are still very early in all of this.

LAMONT: We're still early in all this, Anderson. And I had at the Governor's Residence, in Hartford, I had all the protesters circling around, beeping the horn, saying "Liberate Connecticut! Give me liberty or give me death," and I wish they knew the story of Jonathan.


I wish they'd go to some ICU units, and they be reminded what this disease is doing. And I, as a Governor, feel every day how serious it is the responsibility to keep every future Jonathan safe.

COOPER: In terms of, you know, testing, we were just talking about what's going on, on Navy ships, and the need of testing on those ships.

Just in terms of in Connecticut testing, contact tracing, where are you with that? What do you hope to - where do you hope to be with that, you know, down the road?

LAMONT: Yes. We're going to ramp up testing big time. We're going to double the amount of testing in the next week or two.

We've got a great relationship with CVS, the Head of Quest Diagnostics, grew up in Trumbull - Torrington, Connecticut, to be exact. And that this is the type of relationships we need.

And these - you want to get in the supply chain these big companies have access to the swabs and the reagents that we need. So, that's going to allow us to ramp up. And as soon as I can start doing some random testing, see how severe the infection is, the sooner I can get people back to work safely.

COOPER: Do you have a - I mean I'm sure you have folks who are thinking about that, and trying to figure out when that may be. I mean, is it - do you have a calendar date in mind, a goal?

LAMONT: I've told the people of Connecticut, May 20th, we're going to be able to give you a roadmap on how we slowly get back to normalcy. Between now and then, I'm going to have a lot more protective gear, a lot more masks. We'll have a lot more testing, so we'll know what the nature of the pandemic is.

And, at that point, we can build on what type of small businesses, retail businesses, we might be able to reopen, probably with a mask, perhaps with a fever test, just to make sure we move forward cautiously.

COOPER: I understand you were on a Task Force call today with Vice President Pence. Can you say what was being discussed and how you left that call feeling?

LAMONT: Yes. I'd say the Task Force, you know, whatever rhetoric you hear coming from the Oval Office, the Task Force is pretty constructive. And you got Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci. A lot of Governors have a chance to compare notes, in terms of how we're doing our tracing, what type of testing is going on.

Obviously, there was some frustration from the governors that, and yet another supplemental, "There is maybe money for airlines, but no money for frontline workers, state employees, state and the local government."

And, you know, our revenues have just been devastated, income tax as well as sales tax. So, that point was made clear that you got to remember a state government or else, we'll never get this economy back on track.

COOPER: Yes. I mean when you talk about, you know, trying to double testing, there - that requires money. Do you - is that something you need from the federal government?

LAMONT: Well, you know, the last supplemental, $350 billion for the states, allows us to reimburse for COVID-related expenses, just like the testing. I think we're in pretty good shape there. What worries me is that 90 percent of my deficit is related to just income tax and sales tax revenues, just eviscerated in the last 90 days.

COOPER: And, you know, so many frontline workers, not just in the hospitals but, you know, grocery stores in Connecticut, you know, the grocery store I go to in Connecticut, you know, they - they've instituted, you know, social distancing, regulating how many people are in the store at one time.

But, you know, I've talked to other grocery store workers, not in Connecticut, but - but from other places, who weren't even given, you know, hand sanitizer for until, you know, a couple weeks ago. I just found that startling.

Do you feel like there's enough, you know, in the - the businesses that are open, do they have access to what they need in terms of personal protective equipment?

LAMONT: I think, increasingly, they really do. And we've mandated that you've got to wear a mask. If you're an employee in that grocery store, wear a mask. If you're a customer, going in there, wear a mask.

We're getting a supply of masks. Your employers are obligated to get you a mask. And if you can't get either, wear a scarf. But I think that's going to keep us safer and tamp down this virus.

COOPER: Governor Ned Lamont, I appreciate all your efforts. Thank you very much.

LAMONT: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: The Governor was talking about the - the Coelho family. We were talking to Katie Coelho, who just lost her husband, Jonathan. She got two kids. One has severe - some very serious medical issues. A GoFundMe site has been set up. It's GOFUNDME.COM/F/VBE3B-COVID19-

RELIEF. You can see the address on your screen. We'll put it also on our - our Facebook page and tweet it out from our - our show account. They would certainly appreciate anything you could do for them. I'll be donating as well.

Governor Lamont, thank you very much. We're going to have more ahead. We'll be right back.



COOPER: My friend, Andy Cohen, was diagnosed with Coronavirus. He's now recovered. He's feeling - feeling very - pretty much fine.

Last night, however, he spoke about what happened next, when he tried to help, because he had emerged with a clean bill of health.


ANDY COHEN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN": I signed up for a program for COVID-19 survivors, where you could donate plasma, which is rich in antibodies, to those still battling the virus.

I was told that, due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA, to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I'm a gay man.


COOPER: So, at present, FDA regulations require that any gay man who's had sex with another man during the past three months not be allowed to donate blood.

Andy, of course, has been through a great deal. He joins me now.

So, Andy, what exactly happened here?


COHEN: I recovered from Coronavirus, and read in the paper, and all over the place, in New York City, that Mount Sinai Hospital put out an urgent call for donors who had survived Coronavirus.

They were looking for plasma for antibody trials. They were using the plasma from people who had recovered from Coronavirus to treat people who had Coronavirus and to study it from what I gathered.

COOPER: Right. And obviously the - the numbers of people who have the antibodies is relatively small. And so, they're - they're very eager to get as many people as possible to donate plasma to help others.

COHEN: Exactly. And this was I think they put out the call in early April. I immediately responded. It took a bit for them to get back to me. And then, when they did, I was - they were going through kind of a questionnaire for me.

And I said to them - they said, "Oh, you sound like a perfect candidate." And I said, "Listen, I'm a gay man. Is that" - I know that some of the rules have been relaxed because I know that gay men can't typically give blood. I've tried to donate blood before.

And they said, "Oh, you actually - you can't - you can't be a part of this." There had - the new rules are relaxed, so that if you have abstained from sex, over the last three months, any kind of sexual conduct, you could - you can give blood.

COOPER: Right. It used to be - I mean, before it was, you couldn't do it at all. It was a year that you had to abstain for a year from having sex.

COHEN: Right.

COOPER: But now--

COHEN: Right.

COOPER: --because of COVID, and the need, the urgent need, they say it's three months.

So, you're not able to give your very valuable blood that has antibodies because of this?

COHEN: Exactly. And - and I understand the concerns about gay men being a higher risk for carrying HIV. But there are HIV tests that can be administrated in 20 minutes.

COOPER: Right.

COHEN: So, I could go, I could take an HIV test. They could tell me in 20 minutes, and they then retest your blood, from what I understand.

COOPER: Right. Blood is tested.

COHEN: They do another HIV test of your blood.

COOPER: Right. The blood--


COOPER: --the blood supply is - is tested for - for HIV. So, this is an antiquated law that is just - and I mean they're not stopping people who are heterosexual from giving blood, if they've had sex within three months.

COHEN: Well that's true. I mean, there could be sexually promiscuous heterosexuals who've had plenty of sex in the last three months, who can go in, no questions asked, and give blood.

I mean my feeling is this is - we've been asked to change our way of life because we are at war with this virus, and we've been able to adapt to a whole lot of things that we weren't used to two months ago. We're wearing masks, we're quarantined.

I think that it's time for the FDA to look at this antiquated rule, and say, this is ridiculous. I mean I think that the plasma in my body can absolutely help someone or possibly cure someone.

COOPER: Well also, I mean, frankly these laws were made at a time when there was a huge fear about HIV/AIDS and huge stigma against gay people, just as, I mean, this was at a time when gay people were HIV- positive were and - actually not allowed to come into the United States which is--

COHEN: Right. Right.

COOPER: --was a law that was on the books until, you know, a couple years ago. By the way, just in general, how are you doing, in terms of - of Coronavirus? I mean, any lingering--

COHEN: I'm great.

COOPER: --feelings for you?

COHEN: No. You know what? It's weird. Something - it is something that lingers.

I felt great all week. And I woke up this morning and I had tightness right here in my chest, which I know that I've complained to you about before. And it went away and, you know, it's back.

But I'm great. And, you know, I'm grateful that this worked its way through my body and that I'm past it.


COHEN: I'm just looking to see who is going to play the Mayor of Las Vegas on "SNL" this weekend. Any bets?

COOPER: You think she should be - you think she's a--

COHEN: Oh, yes.

COOPER: --character worthy of that?

COHEN: Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am - I would hope that Kate McKinnon is brushing up on - on her Las Vegas Mayor routine right now.

COOPER: Andy Cohen, appreciate it. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

COOPER: Coming up, something we hope is going to make you smile at end of a very difficult week. Well it's a surprise. We'll be right back.



COOPER: We're obviously all going through a tough time.

One of the things that has brought me great joy over the last several weeks is discovering an Instagram account of an actor who I've always admired, who I've always thought was very funny. He's known for his comic supporting roles, shows like "Will & Grace."

But his - Leslie Jordan's Instagram, he has like, I don't know, I think he has like 2 million followers suddenly, and he's like an Instagram Star. Here is some of the reason why. Here are some of his postings.


LESLIE JORDAN, ACTOR: So, it has come to this. Ironing to pass the time and watching a murder program on television. Honey, she killed him. And then she fed him to the tigers.

I'm talking to my friends, Mama! Quit bothering me! How much more of this can I take?


Are y'all watching Netflix? Honey, I conquered Netflix. I've watched them all. I watched the one about the tigers. I watched the one about the boy who tortured kittens. I watched the one about the nun that got killed in 1969. I watched the one about Ivan the Terrible.

There is nothing left for me to watch. But I'm not about to turn on the news. They want to make you think it's like the end of the world. They don't know (BLEEP). I will turn on Anderson Cooper, because people have said that we resemble. We both have white hair.


COOPER: Leslie Jordan joins us now. God bless you. I - I am so thrilled that you're here. You give me such joy. I'm so honored that people say we resemble. I can't tell you how many people come up to me, and say, "Leslie, is that you?"

JORDAN: No. I hate they do that (ph).

COOPER: And - yes, they do.

JORDAN: You made that up.

COOPER: Well I - OK, I made that up. But I'm - but, you know, you're making up stories all the time, and you confess them on Instagram.

You made up a story that you've been telling, apparently for years, you told Linda Bloodworth-Thomason some story about some poor lady in your church, who had a baby, and you said the baby looked like, what was it, a pig?

JORDAN: A little bitty tiny baby pig. And she'd hold it out for everybody to look at. And - and it had bows in its hair, little frilly socks. And the story then got bigger and bigger. And Linda Bloodworth-

Thomason wrote it into Hearts Afire, and they hired Debra Jo Rupp to play the woman. And I had to tell that story.

And I thought to myself, "I made that up. I made that up." But that's kind of, like a lot of it is, you know, you just kind of make little stories up. That's a very Southern thing.

COOPER: Oh, my God. Well the other--

JORDAN: You know--

COOPER: My dad - My dad's from - was from Mississippi.

And one time, my mom called him up, and was like, "I've been trying to get through to you on the phone for hours. The lines have been busy." It was like "Who were you talking to?" And he goes, "Oh, it was a wrong number." He would just talk to anybody. He would just - this was before Instagram.

JORDAN: Anybody.

COOPER: But so like every time I hear you, I just think, and like so many of my - my Mississippi relatives. What do you think of your, like, your Instagram fame? It's got to be, you know - it's - to know that you're giving such joy to so many people.

JORDAN: It started, you know, I've had a long career in Hollywood, and I thought, you know, well, I've gotten a lot of attention, but never like this. It's like 3.8 million followers. It's gotten just--

COOPER: That's an - wow!

JORDAN: --out of control. And so, now, you know, I just make stuff up off the cuff, you know? And so, I've never sat and thought and planned it out at all.

But I - I'll get up, something will happen, and I'll - I'll film it. But I think what's happening, which is fun, is that people who have known me for years, for all these characters, but I thought that they "Knew me, knew me."

COOPER: Right.

JORDAN: And I'm just the funny guy that comes in with the zinger. But all of a sudden--

COOPER: Well--

JORDAN: --at 65 years of age, people are, like, meeting me.

COOPER: Well I mean what's so--

JORDAN: And they really, really--

COOPER: Yes. What's so great about it is, it's so intimate like you start it out and you're like in your bed, just like looking. And I love the way you start out so many of your videos. You're like, "What you're doing? What y'all doing?"


COOPER: It's like somebody just calls you up, and be like, "Hey, hunker-downers, what you're doing? What do you?" It's so great.

JORDAN: And I decided, you know, early on, I'm not going to try to make money at this. I'm just going to have a lot of fun. And then, you know, people started tiptoeing around, offering things, and I thought, "Well, I've got to stick with what I said," so, you know--

COOPER: Do you? Oh, come on!

JORDAN: --until we no longer have to hunker down.

COOPER: Oh, come on. You could--

JORDAN: And then I'm going to be the--

COOPER: You can hunker down with, like, you know, some product, and be like, "Hey, hunker-downers! Oh, look, it's my new, you know, sit and spin. I love sit and spin."

JORDAN: Listen, I'm going to be - I'm going to be the biggest whore in Hollywood when this is all over, I mean a $100 a day. I'm going to - I'm going to sell out. But right now, I'm still going to do the original thing I said that I'm--

COOPER: You also--

JORDAN: --just said of course (ph).

COOPER: You've also been coming up with like all these - these life hacks. I want to play a quick video you posted where you discovered something pretty amazing. Take a look.


JORDAN: Sometimes I just stun myself with my original thinking. I should be an inventor or something. OK, so you got a bag of chips and you've got no clips. You know, so what on earth do you do?

Oh, well, let's take magnets off the refrigerator. Job done! Watch out, Rachael Ray. I'll take my 3 million followers. I'll start me a little home channel.


COOPER: And so you're, like, you're in - you live in L.A. But you're in - you're hunkering down in Tennessee. How's your mom doing?

JORDAN: She's doing really, really well. I hit the jackpot for mom.

COOPER: I mean I-- JORDAN: She's the most beautiful woman in the world. She really is.

COOPER: If she - if she is--

JORDAN: She's a--

COOPER: I mean you must get a lot of it from her because I mean she's got to be a character, too.

JORDAN: Well, you know, she really isn't. It's funny how she's just so normal and she was just such a good mom.

And when - when I was young, I thought she was a fairy princess because she's blonde, and bashful, and people talk about fairy princesses. But my mother's very, you know, private. And so, people have said to me, you know, why don't you let (ph) your mother out the door.