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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Coronavirus Cases Are Now Climbing In 32 States, Steady In 14 And Falling In Just Four; Pres. Trump Criticizes NASCAR Ban On Confederate Flags, Attacks Black Driver; White House Defends President's Tweet; Miami-Dade County Rolls Back Reopening Plan; U.S. Military Deploying Medical Personnel To Texas As State Battles Spike In Coronavirus Cases; U.S. Death Toll Tops 130,000 As White Defends Trump's Claim That 99 Percent Of Covid Cases Are "Totally Harmless". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 6, 2020 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Cordero was outlived by his one year old who will grow up hearing stories of how much he was loved.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.

[20:00:21]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for being with us. If divisive inflammatory racist words could kill the coronavirus, the President of the United States would be heading to Stockholm right now to pick up his Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Instead, tonight, the same as every night, he is safe inside his biological bunker surrounded by people wearing masks and frequently getting tested and from the safety of his biological bunker, he is encouraging the rest of us not to follow the best scientific advice.

He is trying to persuade the country that the virus is simply vanishing or if that won't work, he is trying to divert people's attention elsewhere to smearing a black NASCAR driver supporting the Confederate flag and statutes of traitors, which he claims is part of our proud heritage.

So, knowing it's a diversion, we begin tonight where attention ought to be, on the facts that we all have to face right now or as White House Taskforce member, Dr. Anthony Fauci put it today, quote, "We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this."

Today, the country crossed another milestone 130,000 lives lost. By tomorrow or Wednesday, it will surpass another three million known COVID cases, that milestone. Those are facts.

So is this. We now have more cases than any other country on Earth and more fatalities, again, than any other country on Earth. We're number one for cases and for deaths, America is first.

It is a fact that because of how much worse we are doing than any other country on Earth, Americans can't travel to other parts of the world, can't fly for example to Europe where the virus is largely under control. This chart showing the U.S. and European Union showing why this country is now a pariah. The two different paths that we have taken versus Europe.

Why it's now in the eyes of our friends and allies, why we are now in the eyes of our friends and allies, the object of puzzlement and yes, even pity. It is also a fact that some of the largest states in the country like Florida here are now starting to experience what New York did in the spring, approaching 12,000 new cases a day.

California, also nearing the 12,000 a day mark, putting six more counties today on the state's coronavirus danger list.

In Texas, the hospitalization rate continues to soar and hospitals, whether in Houston, Austin or parts of West Texas are at or near capacity. The state set a record for cases on Saturday.

And it is happening in small states, as well. Kansas today reporting the steepest spike since the pandemic began. Cases are now climbing in 32 states, steady in 14 and falling in just four. That is a fact.

A fact along with others that the President neither seems comprehend nor wants the public to see. He doesn't want you to know this. Here he is on Saturday by the gaslight's blue glare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've made a lot of progress. Our strategy is moving along well. It goes out in one area and rears back its ugly face in another area, but we've learned a lot. We learned how to put out the flame.

Likewise, testing. There were no tests for a new virus, but now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And that is not a fact. Before going any further, we should just acknowledge the difficulty of nailing down precisely how deadly COVID-19 is. Estimates vary.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the fatality rate is 4.6 percent. Again, that's the fatality rate, just the percentage of people who actually die, not just people who get sick, have permanent damage to their bodies, have a very difficult time with COVID. That's just fatalities.

Doctors treating patients say survivors can have permanent life altering damage to their bodies, their lungs, their brains, other parts. In any case, just by simple arithmetic, something anything that is 4.6 percent fatal cannot be 99 percent harmless. That's how the President is characterizing it. How he trivializes it. That's how he diminishes the loss of so many human lives and how he demeans the sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and friends left behind.

Today, Mark Meadows the President Chief of Staff was asked about the President claim. When he answered, as you will see, words did come out of the front of his face. As for whether they made any sense, you can decide for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: The President said that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are totally harmless. Public health experts disagree. Why does the President --

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I'm not sure. Yes, I'm not sure which public health experts that you're talking about. I probably will get to review more numbers, more numbers and when you look at the facts, when you look at really what we're dealing with, a lot of these cases are asymptomatic.

Additionally, when we look at a population of 325 million people and what we're looking at, those statistics would indicate about 102 percent. When that 99 percent came from actual numbers and you can look at numbers a number of different ways. Hold on. Let me finish the -- you ask the questions, I'll try to answer them, all right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:05:27]

COOPER: That was the best he could do. At least he did not try as Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary did to deny that he even said what he said. I'm going to play a portion of it again just to refresh your memory of what the President said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Totally harmless. Now, here is how the woman who promised on her very first day never to tell a lie answer the following question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: The president said that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are totally harmless. Which members of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce agree with that statement?

KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So what the President was pointing to and I'm glad you brought it up, was a factual statement, one that is rooted in science and one that was pointing out the fact that mortality in this country is very low. What the President is noting is that at the height of this pandemic,

we were at 2,500 deaths per day. We are now at a place where on July 4th, there were 254.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So actually, the president mentioned none of that. He said that 99 percent of COVID infections are quote, "totally harmless." He talked about ventilators, protective gear, treatment and vaccines in China. He certainly mentioned China a lot of course, but nowhere did he connect any of it to decreasing mortality.

Rather, his 99 percent remark seemed more in line with many others lately dismissing the need for so much testing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So we go out and we test 25 million people, which is a lot. You never thought that was even possible. Most people didn't. And we could go up a lot higher than that and I guess we are. But I tell my people, it's a double edged sword. Because we do so much testing and again, we have kids with sniffles and all of a sudden we report a case and they are in no danger whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: No danger whatsoever he says. Ninety nine percent harmless. That's not him talking as Kayleigh McEnany suggested about the falling death rate which in any event lags several weeks behind the soaring hospitalization numbers.

And thank God that hospitals and doctors do know more about this virus now and are able to treat it better. It seems instead to be part of the same contempt he has always had for testing. Period. Because it makes him look bad.

That's what he has felt from the beginning of this. I mean, just think about how warped that is. And that in turn plays into his larger disregard for all of it.

Keeping them honest, this self-professed War-Time President took himself out of the fight months ago and being more honest, he was never in the fight to begin with. He avoided wars and civilian -- and while he talks tough when this viral war began, he was nowhere to be found.

Maybe it was those old bone spurs of his suddenly flaring up, but he wasn't in the fight. Now, he wants all of us to just suck it up. I want to read you some new reporting in "The Washington Post" that goes straight to that point.

CNN Political Analyst, Josh Dawsey shares the byline of the story. Quoting now, "The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus. White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day according to three people familiar with the White House's thinking who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations."

'"Americans will live with the virus being a threat," in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official."

And that, that is precisely what the President's words and actions have been hinting at for weeks now. This President wants you to just suck it up, not just the virus, but his failure to take it seriously.

His inaction altering the month of February. His lies and phony promises about the virus just miraculously disappearing. He wants you to accept what people in no other country are being told to accept, because now, this isn't just a virus killing us and making people sick, it's incompetence and a failure of leadership.

Instead of working around the clock on this visiting hospitals, rallying the troops, rallying the public to wear masks, fight complacency, care for elderly and the sick, this President is simply declaring victory, declaring COVID 99 percent harmless.

Instead of talking about the virus and doing things about it, he is spending his time trying to distract now with racist and jingoistic talk. He is now just leaning full into the racist he has long been. He is just letting us see it more clearly now than ever before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate or children.

Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[20:10:19]

COOPER: With 130,000 once living, once breathing Americans now dead and tens of thousands now hospitalized, the President has made it his priority to protect inanimate objects. Angered by the contempt Americans have for Confederate traitors, the statues were put up to lie about their cause and their actions.

Statues designed to glorify the confederacy and perpetuate white supremacy. That's what those statues were built for. To make people believe in the idea of the Confederacy. The lie that we were being told. The history has told.

The president is rallying around Confederate flags that NASCAR banned after a noose was found in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the sports only top African-American driver. It later turned out that the noose had been there before anyone knew Wallace would be using that garage, but the incident sparked a reckoning and led NASCAR to examine the racist symbols surrounding it. Here is the tweet by the President, "Has Bubba Wallace apologized to

all of those great NASCAR drivers and officials who came to his aid, stood by his side and were willing to sacrifice everything for him only to find out the whole thing was just another hoax. That and flag decision has caused lowest ratings ever."

He comes back to ratings. That's all this President cares about. Numbers. Do you notice how quick he is to attack black sports figures, impugn their motive, but white supremacists marching, chanting against Jews in Charlottesville, the President saw some very fine people there.

Gun toting weekend warriors dressed up to look like Special Forces troops, calling themselves a militia, bursting into the Michigan Statehouse screaming at police and politicians outraged because they don't want to wear masks.

Those folks according to the President are good people. If they had been black, what do you think he would have said?

It's the Confederate battle flag he is defending. Consider that. The President of the United States defending the flying of the Confederate battle flag and his Press Secretary who is trying to say that's not what he is really doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: What is the president's position? Does he think NASCAR made a mistake by banning the Confederate flag?

KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, he said -- I spoke to him this morning about this. He said he was not making a judgment one way or the other. The intent of the tweet was to stand up for the men and women of NASCAR and the fans and those who have gone and is rushed to judgment of the media to call something a hate crime when in fact, the F.B.I. report concluded this was not an intentional racist act and it very much mirrors other times when there had been a rush to judgment with say with the Covington boys or with Jussie Smollett.

QUESTION: Let's drill down on the Confederate flag. Does he think it was a mistake for NASCAR to ban it?

MCENANY: The President said he wasn't making a judgment one way or the other. You're focusing on one word at the very bottom of a tweet that's completely taken out of context and neglecting the complete rush to judgment on this.

QUESTION: Why is he saying that the NASCARs ratings are down because they banned the flag? That's what he said.

MCENANY: The president was noting the fact that in aggregate, this notion that NASCAR men and women who have gone and who are being demeaned and called racist and being accused in some venues of committing a hate crime against an individual, those allegations were just dead wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: She went on to say a lot more along those lines, but as much as she tries to deny it, this is where the President's head is. He has been tweeting out video of black on white violence, threatening statue vandals and defending the names of the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians.

This is where he wants to be. This is what he wants us discussing. This is what he wants the country thinking and talking about. A few long dead Americans, some heroes, some traitors, a few hundred statue, a few people of color he doesn't like. Anything but the disease he cannot cope with and the people whose lives he is failing to protect.

Perspective now from two leading public health experts Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine. Also, William Haseltine, a preeminent researcher, formerly at Harvard University and the author of a "Family Guide to COVID: Questions and Answers for Parents, Grandparents and Children."

Dr. Hotez, you're in one of epicenters of the virus right now in Houston. I am wondering when you hear the President saying that 99 percent of cases are harmless, I mean, as a scientist, what do you think?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, Anderson, what I think about are the 2,000 COVID-19 patients right now we have in our Texas Medical Center in Houston including 600 in the ICU, almost 600 in the ICU. You can't hide ICU admissions. You can't hide hospitalizations.

And I think about a lot of my former students and residents, doctors, nurses who are taking care -- technicians who are taking care of those patients tonight. So, this is a catastrophe for our city and the State of Texas. The numbers are accelerating precipitously. Around 7,000 to 8,000 cases a day.

We're seeing this in Florida. We're seeing this in Arizona. The cases are rising so rapidly that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore, I don't think -- I don't see how it's possible to even do that.

So, essentially, even our limited means of public health control are not possible. So this dramatic acceleration, the epidemic is out of control in the southern part of the United States. Now we're seeing the numbers rise in Tennessee and the northern part of the Midwest.

[20:15:30]

HOTEZ: You know, last week there were 40,000 in new cases a day. Earlier -- then, later in the week there were 50,000. Now it's getting 60,000. Dr. Fauci predicted 100,000 new cases a day and we're rapidly approaching that. This is a public health crisis for our nation.

COOPER: Professor Haseltine, I mean, when the White House says that the rest of the world looks to the U.S. regarding its coronavirus response, the place with the most cases and most deaths, as a leader on COVID-19, how do you wrap your head around that? I mean, what needs to be done now if Dr. Hotez is right in some of the states, there is no point in doing contact tracing because there are too many cases and it's just not possible.

DR. WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: Well, first overall, this is -- I agree entirely, this is a terrible tragedy for our country, and it is a preventable tragedy.

At this point, what we have to do is people have to exert their own individual responsibility. It's clear we don't have national leadership to do that. The leadership in our Governor's Mansions is erratic, sometimes it's good, sometimes it not. And then it changes.

Some of our mayors are great and some aren't. It's unfortunately up to each individual to be responsible for themselves, their family and all of those around them. And it's a very difficult thing to ask people who really are getting mixed messages.

But I'm afraid at this point, we've passed the point of no return in many of our states. Not all. In New York, New Jersey, Northern California, people are responsible, but at this point, it up to us and that is a very sad thing to say about your country.

COOPER: Dr. Hotez, Dr. Fauci said something today that I want to read to our viewers. He said, "Rather than looking at the public health effort versus economic opening as if they were opposing forces, they are not. We should use the public health effort as a vehicle and a pathway to get to safe reopening. It's not an obstacle, it's a pathway to do that."

That is just logical and makes sense and frankly, that's nothing new. That is the argument he and health professionals have been making all along, but the administration has created this either you're for opening or you're for everybody staying at home rather than it being a pathway one to the other.

HOTEZ: Anderson, what they can't figure out is this. As the numbers approach that 100,000 mark per day, and it is going to be pretty quick, we're soon going to get to the point where everybody in the United States knows someone personally who is very sick with COVID-19. That is going to have an incredibly destabilizing effect on the country. That and -- we might as well come close to collapsing the economy.

COOPER: We are going to take a quick break. There is more I want to talk about. When we come back, we will play you Dr. Anthony Fauci's grim assessment of where we are right now and talk about ways forward, you know, through treatments, vaccines, changing the way we live.

Later on, more why the President is wrapping himself in the losing flag of a failed racist past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:22:58] COOPER: We are talking tonight about the reality everyone now seems to

be facing or just starting to come to grips with, except that is, the President and many of the people around him.

You cannot say however he hasn't had some of the brightest minds at his disposal or that he has not been warned. We alluded to it at the top. Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci in a livestream with his boss, N.I.H. Director, Dr. Francis Collins pulled no punches.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The current state is really not good in the sense that as you know, we had been in a situation where we are averaging about 20,000 in case a day. Two days ago it was at 57,500.

So, within a period of a week and a half, we've almost doubled the number of cases. So, in answer to your first question, we are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say this would not be considered a wave, it was a surge or a resurging of infections super imposed upon a baseline, Francis that really never got down to where we wanted to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Back now with Dr. Peter Hotez and Professor William Haseltine.

Professor Haseltine, is it becoming more and more evident that at least, in the United States, the only way we are going to go back to any semblance of pre-COVID life is for a vaccine to come along? Is that the only hope?

HASELTINE: Well, I hope it's not the only hope. I think behavior change by most people is the actual answer. But there are two solutions from the medical world.

One is a vaccine that everybody is talking about. In my opinion, it's going to come, but it will be partially effective and we don't know for how long it will last.

There is another solution which is coming very quickly, which is a bridge to an effective vaccine and that is the use of combinations of antiviral drugs to suppress the virus and to protect people from being infected in the first place.

We know that works for something called respiratory syncytial virus. Another virus that affects in this case instance, children. We know that it works for malaria and so, we are very hopeful.

We actually know and have the drugs and the model for this is HIV. We've developed drugs and there are some spectacular new drugs on the near horizon for controlling HIV. We can do this.

So that is a double strategy from the medical world providing drugs to prevent infection for those who are exposed, which would be a bridge to a safe and effective vaccine for which we will have time to test to make sure it's both safe and effective.

[20:25:31]

COOPER: But Professor Haseltine, I mean, if states now aren't able to do contact tracing because there are simply too many cases, I mean that's, you know, in a war movie, this is where you call an air strike on your positions because the enemy is in the wire.

It would seem to be a huge concern just from a social distancing standpoint. You would still argue that people as you said people need to kind of take control of this themselves and do social distancing, wearing masks. It's up to each of us now.

HASELTINE: That is unfortunately about where we are now. However, what you'll see is the moment there is a way to prevent infection for those who are exposed, with drug treatment, which there will be. People will flock to be tested if they've been exposed.

Once there is a way to prevent you from being infected, the complete mind changes. We have seen that with a number of diseases, and again, HIV for example.

Once we had drugs to treat people with HIV, people wanted to be tested. Before, there was no incentive to be tested. Now, if you're tested and exposed, you might have to be quarantined for two or three weeks. That, instead of taking a couple of pills every day is going to be your alternative and I think you're going to see a mind change.

So, this isn't forever. It for a while.

COOPER: Dr. Hotez, I mean, what do you -- in terms of where you are in Houston, what needs to happen? What are the steps?

HOTEZ: Well, let me just follow on what Dr. Haseltine, and I absolutely agree. We will have partially protective vaccines and we will have various forms of prophylaxis and monoclonal antibodies, but it's not going to happen for several months, at the very earliest, maybe six months, maybe a year.

And during that period, a lot of damage will happen. The rate of acceleration we're seeing, we will have catastrophic numbers of deaths. So, we still need that national road map and plan.

We can do this. We can stop this virus if there is the political will and leadership and we can discuss how that could be done.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Peter Hotez and Professor William Haseltine, as always, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Just ahead, a deeper dive into the question the White House Press Secretary had trouble answering about why President Trump attacked a black NASCAR driver and defended the Confederate flag.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:32:22] COOPER: Want to talk more now about something we mentioned at the top of the program President Trump's tweet about NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, which wasn't just fact less and its attack on NASCAR is only black driver in his top tier. It was racist, just plain and simple.

I mean, when you got reaction to combat a stew of negative stories and pull numbers is depleted the only black person in a room full of white guys and say, well what about that guy there and lie about that guy and make up things he definitely didn't do so that you can get out of a jam. And then for good measure, bear hug the Confederate flag. Just in case it wasn't clear your base whose side you're on. That is racist.

And just for good measure, we want to play again Kayleigh McEnany's attempt and I am sighs attempt to justify her boss's words.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the President's position? Does he think NASCAR made a mistake by banning the Confederate flag?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So he said he -- I spoke to him this morning about this and he said he was not making a judgment one way or the other.

The intent of the tweet was to stand up for the men and women of NASCAR and the fans and those who have gone in this rush to judgment of the media to call something a hate crime, when in fact, the FBI report concluded this was not an intentional racist act. And it very much mirrors other times when there have been a rush to judgment, let's say with the Covington boys or with Jussie Smollett.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But let's drill down on the Confederate flag. Does he think it was a mistake for NASCAR to ban it?

MCENANY: The President said he wasn't making a judgment one way or the other. You're focusing on one word at the very bottom of a tweet that's completely taken out of context and neglecting the complete rush to judgment on this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you say in this corpratings (ph) are down because they banned the flag. That's what he said.

MCENANY: And the President was noting the fact that in aggregate, this notion in NASCAR men and women who have gone and who are being demeaned and called racist and being accused in some venues of committing a hate crime and against an individual. Those allegations were just dead wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: As the press secretary for the president, United States of America trying to justify the President's embrace to the Confederate flag.

Joining us now, Bakari Sellers, CNN commentator and former Democratic state lawmaker in South Carolina, also author of the new book My Vanishing Country, also with CNN chief political correspondent, Danna Bash.

Bakari Sellers, I don't even know what the question is here. I mean to see Kayleigh McEnany kind of, you know, contorting herself in order to somehow claim that the President, you know, isn't siding on the side of the Confederate flag. It's just -- it's so blatant and obvious.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I guess it's difficult when your boss is racist, but let's look at it in the entire context of the president today. Not only did he asked for Bubba Wallace, the lone black driver to apologize, not only did he embraced confederate flag, but he also talked about the fact that the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians should not change their names.

[20:35:08]

He talked about black on black crime, and I'm going to use air quotes with that in cities like Chicago in New York. He even went out today in a tweet and said the China virus and so today he hit on every single racist note possible. And I want people to understand that if someone tweets all of these things, let alone tweets all of these things in one day, the only thing you can deduce is that this individual is racist.

My disappointment actually is with the people around him. I come on TV, and I say that a lot because it seems to fall on deaf ears. But where are the good white folk on the Republican Party? You know, where are these individuals who claim to be able to say black lives matter but still yet cannot condemn this behavior and say that it's out of line. I mean, people just get extremely quiet and to Trump voters, look, I'm someone who will articulate very clearly that everybody who votes for Trump is not a racist.

However, however, you have to be willing to set aside the bigotry, xenophobia and racism that comes out of his mouth. And my question is, how do you do that? And so we have a president who's exhibited racist behavior, who's used racism as political currency who is racist, and nobody wants to stand up against that. And so that's where we are as a country. It's not even Democrat or Republican right now. It's good versus bad. It's racist versus not racist. It's right versus wrong. And it's in and that's where we are.

COOPER: Yes. I mean Bakari, Kayleigh McEnany who years ago, you know, said Donald Trump, what he said about, you know, Mexicans being sent here who are rapists. That was she said, that was racist when she was on CNN. And now she is here defending, as I said, going to contortions.

Dana, I mean, partly to Bakari's point there's been reporting recently, the Republican are starting to get nervous about the President's extreme rhetoric and behavior. I mean, I don't know how many times we've heard that, like, the Republicans are nervous, like they're, you know, Lindsey Graham's, you know, sitting on a porch, you know, fanning himself. And, you know, concerned. I mean it that's just at what point does somebody actually speak up? Are they just all just worried about, you know, reelection and control of the Senate?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's just talk about politics. The answer is yes, of course, they're very worried about their own reelection. They're very worried about control of the Senate because it's teetering and in a big way, and they're worried about losing even more House -- more seats in the House if this continues.

Lindsey Graham, actually is one of the people who did speak, speak out. He was on local station, South Carolina saying that what the President said was wrong today. And I was actually kind of struck by that because he has been loath to say anything negative recently about the President at all. Look what Bakari just said, as he explained the -- you know, the morality of this, which is blatant to anybody who even has a small child who understands right and wrong.

But I'm just going to give you a quick summation of the politics of this. And this is based on Republican sources I've been talking to, including just tonight, which is that the President First of all, it's his, it's his gut, it's his go to when he feels backed in a corner, he goes to where his political comfort zone is, and that is what got him where he is from 2016 which is played the base, us versus them, you know, rile up people to say, to feel that their way of life is coming to an end.

But there's something else and that is that he is being told that there are so-called low propensity voters out there, potential Trump voters out there who didn't come out in 2016, who might perk up, who will perk up to the kinds of arguments that the President is making. Is it right? No. Is it strategic? Possibly, but it's mostly he's going with his gut like he always does.

COOPER: Yes. Bakari, the Wall Street Journal editorial board defended the President's Mount Rushmore speech and his defense would they call, quote, traditional American principles. The board went on to say, and I quote, liberal elites have created this opening for him by failing to stand up against the radicals who are using the justified anger at the killing of George Floyd as a cudgel to hijack America's liberal institutions and impose their intolerant political views on everyone else. How do you respond?

SELLERS: Well, I want to be extremely, extremely clear. This moment has never been just about George Floyd. This moment is not just about Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Rayshard Brooks, the list goes on and on and on. It's not just about those names.

In fact, this moment is about institutionalized racism and systemic injustice and for those individuals who I presume to lack diversity on that Wall Street Journal editorial board, I would say that one of the things that's most important is to actually boring black folk and brown folk into your editorial rooms and your journalistic institutions so you won't write misguided op eds like that that's first and foremost.

[20:40:12] But the second thing and probably the larger thing and more important thing is this is a reckoning with America's history. And you may be right that these are traditional American values. It reeks of hypocrisy, though an irony that when I say black lives matter when I say that we should not have a statue of Ben Tillman or John Calhoun, or we should not have a statue of a Confederate General, you say that's anti American, or you call me as being anything less than patriotic.

What that shows though, is that the underbelly of this country, and let me be clear, this country was built on the back of black folks and Native Americans. We built this country and we built it for free. And so while you want to criticize us, and while you want to confuse your prejudice with patriotism.

You need to simply understand that we are still here and our blood runs through the soil of this great country. And my father and Jimmy Lee Jackson, Medgar Evers and Emmett Till and all those black folk who died in wars, who fought for our freedoms are just as American as those individuals writing those BS op eds at the Wall Street Journal. And that's what we have to realize.

COOPER: Yes. Bakari Sellers, Dana Bash, thank you. Appreciate it.

Up next, President Trump doesn't seem to think exists this hotspot, Miami-Dade one of the largest counties in United States shutting down restaurants and gyms again, with this good signal for the regional large, next.

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[20:45:23]

COOPER: Breaking news report now as President Trump insists his administration's response the virus is doing quote, so well for the country, unquote. Two major hotspots are preparing for an already bad situation get worse. In Texas, the U.S. military announced about 50 medical support staff would head to San Antonio his worries their mountain medical personnel could soon be overwhelmed. In Florida, one of the largest counties in the nation is shutting down restaurants and gyms.

Again, health officials Miami-Dade County where curfew remains in effect say that over the past 13 days hospitalizations are up 88 percent, ventilator use up 119 percent. The problems mirror those in Florida as a whole which reported more than 34,000 new cases since Friday.

I want to talk about the rising infection rates with former Health and Human Services Secretary under President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius.

Secretary Sebelius, earlier in the pandemic military was sent to help New York. So when you hear the same as now happening in Texas, how do you see the situation there? And we're just what's happening across the country right now? KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FMR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well Anderson, I think we're in a very dangerous spot. I remember Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA Commissioner talked about a slow simmering summer. I wish that's where we were in the six weeks between Memorial Day and Fourth of July we have seen this virus re-explode across the country.

In Texas and Florida, they never had a big outbreak to begin with. This is really their first wave. We're seeing it in places where people haven't seen the virus and it is totally out of control and I am really worried about what is going to happen in the nine weeks that lie between the Fourth of July and Labor Day when we had hoped that children would be able to go back to school.

COOPER: You know, the Washington Post is as Josh Dossi, among others is reporting that, you know, the White House plan and now is essentially, you know, they're declaring victory, don't talk about the virus and just that based on the idea that Americans will just grow numb to the escalating death toll, and that, they'll just kind of accept just like, we accept that kids get, you know, shot to death in schools, from time to time, as just one of those things that, you know, gosh, you can't really do anything about that Americans will just accept that, you know, this is just the way life is, we've got this virus and it kills a lot of our old people and, you know, ruins a lot of lives. It seems like a very cynical and frankly, outrageous strategy.

SEBELIUS: Well, it's a totally outrageous strategy. It also is very interesting that it all has to do with the President. It all has to do with his timetable. It has nothing to do with the country. We cannot get the economy back up and running in states across this country unless we get a handle on the virus. This President has been lying about the virus from the very beginning, has been slow walking testing has refused to use the muscle that is unique to the United States government to mobilize the supplies, the equipment, the personnel that we need.

And now he's saying very dangerous and deceptive things. He talked in the first of July about the virus just going away. That's been a theme of his, it's just going to disappear. He now says 99 percent of the cases are harmless.

Tell that to the frontline health care workers who are seeing ICU beds fill up all over this country, tell that to loving members and family members who are watching their loved ones die needlessly in hospitals where they can even go and greet them and tell that to parents and grandparents who are terrified to interact with one another because they know how deadly this virus is.

This is a very dangerous message for the President of United States. He insists on giving it it's all about his reelection, and I can't imagine a worse message for the public. The President refuses to wear masks. He refuses to ban gatherings where people don't wear masks. He flies in a private airplane.

Everyone who comes within inches of him gets tested on a regular basis. But the virus has gotten me into the White House, has gotten into his family units. This is a dangerous disease and most people don't have the luxury that he does to protect themselves in a little bubble that gets cleaned every day and tested every day. We have to go about our lives.

COOPER: Yes, I keep saying he's in a biological bunker you know and yet he's in this bunker protected and, you know, and he's yelling out of the bunker. Oh don't take the same precautions that, you know, I'm taking that I'm making everyone else around me take it's not real but he's, you know, not coming out of the bunker.

[20:50:18]

Secretary Sebelius appreciate your time and I wish the news was better that we could talk about something else, but thank you for being with us appreciate it.

SEBELIUS: I do. Always good to be with you.

COOPER: Still ahead, remembering broadway actor Nick Cordero has died after a long battle against the coronavirus, 41 years old.

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COOPER: Let's check it out with Chris, see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Well Coop, as you well know, there are many in this country that believe the President is intentionally ignoring a pandemic. And that he is intentionally stoking bigotry, and they no longer have to wonder because he opened his mouth and removed all doubt.

Tonight, we have the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms who is dealing with both of these problems in society, what's going on with race? What's going on with COVID now in an ever more personal way, she was just diagnosed positive. What does it mean for her and her life? We'll take that on tonight.

COOPER: All right Chris, thanks. We'll seeing in just about five minutes from now.

Up next, we remember broadway starring Nick Cordero who has died of coronavirus.

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[20:58:22]

COOPER: With U.S. coronavirus death toll topping 130,000 we remember more of the victims. Nick Cordero was a broadway actor with rolls and hit musicals like Bullets Over Broadway and Waitress. He came down with coronavirus in March his wife Amanda Kloots chronicled his complications on her social media account. She says he was placed into a medically induced coma, he had his right leg amputated after developing blood clots. He battled for 95 days. Passed away just yesterday.

God is another angel in heaven now his wife posted on her Instagram account. In addition to his wife, he's survived by their one-year-old son Elvis. Nick Cordero, which is 41 years old.

Anthony Richard Talamo was an Air Force veteran who flew missions during the Vietnam War, after he retired from the military went on to get a PhD in public administration, became a city planner in El Paso, Texas. He was married to his wife, Virginia for 47 years and together they adopted three daughters. He was also the proud granddaughter -- grandfather of two granddaughters who he adored. Rick Talamo was 72 years old.

Fred and Judy Whitesel were married in 1959 in Millard, Nebraska, it spent the next 60 years together side by side. When it's time for them to go into nursing home they went together. There they both came down with coronavirus. Their son says Judy was rushed to the hospital first after she developed symptoms.

So Fred remained at the nursing home. She died after a few days. That same day, Fred was rushed to the emergency room he was placed on a ventilator. They died just 12 hours apart. Their son Stephen said his parents were so connected his father just didn't want to be left behind. Fred Whitesel was 83 years old and Judy Whitesel was 81. What a life, 60 years together.

[21:00:05]

The news continues. Want to handle over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME".

Chris?