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Trump Doesn't Refute False Birther Theory About Sen. Harris; Trump Admits He Opposes USPS Funding To Stop Mail-In Voting; NCAA Doctor Compares Rushing Back To Sports With Titanic. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 13, 2020 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening. Chris Cuomo is off tonight.

President Trump igniting another birtherism attack. This time, it's not President Obama but Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, who is very much an American citizen, born in Oakland, California.

Last hour, Senator Bernie Sanders said this was "Just another racist lie," and that the President was trying to deflect attention away from the millions of unemployed and the stalemate over the Coronavirus relief bill.

In just a moment, a conversation with Ohio Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, about what this kind of attack means for the Presidential race in his State.

Also tonight, the President says the quiet part out loud on mail-in voting. We'll talk to a Commissioner with the Federal Election Commission, who joins us to discuss President's comments today that without money from that stalled relief bill, there may not be enough money to help vote-by-mail efforts, something he has relentlessly attacked as dangerous without any evidence really for his charges.

We'll also continue our focus on the human cost of the virus. We're going to hear from a woman, who has lost both her parents to the disease, just days apart.

First, we start with the President's comments about Kamala Harris. For that, want to go to the White House and CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

So, I mean I guess we know why the President and his allies are pushing this false racist theory against Senator Harris. I mean he did it before. Why wouldn't he do it again, because it saves him from talking about COVID?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he always exists in this in-between, where he says, "Well I'm not the one suggesting it. I'm just putting it out there." And you saw-- COOPER: People are talking.

COLLINS: Exactly. That is how the President does with many things, but especially with things of this nature.

And so, he was asked directly about a report that's obviously not true. She is obviously eligible to be legally the Vice President of the United States. But instead of the President saying that, having a moment like what John McCain had, so many years ago, the President says, "Oh, well I have heard that. I don't know if it's true."

So, instead of combating it, instead of putting it down, the President instead encourages it, and gives it room, and makes it a bigger thing than it is, when he was asked about this, by a reporter today, in that briefing.

He encourages it, instead of taking that opportunity to knock it down, and say that that's not the kind of attacks that he'd like to see in this Presidential race.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, as you know better than anybody, he uses the word "Strong" and "Powerful" all the time, to describe himself, to describe his actions, to describe his statements, whatever, "It was a strong statement, a powerful statement."

If he really wanted to be strong and powerful, standing up, and just saying, "You know what? Of course, she's born in Oakland, California. Of course she's an American. That's - we're going to run hard against her. She is who she is. We're going to - we're going to beat her. We have better ideas. We're going to beat that team. We're going to - we're going to win."

Instead, he just - he does the weakest of all things, which is, "Yes, you know, people are saying, very capable attorney said this. It's a very serious charge."

Let's play what he actually said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you definitively say whether or not Kamala Harris is eligible - legal - meets the legal requirements to run as Vice President?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So, I just heard that. I heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements. And, by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that's right. I would've - I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for Vice President.


TRUMP: But that's a very serious--

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: I mean, it's amazing that now we just accept that the President of the United States says stuff he - at the same time, he says he has no idea, whether it's true or not, he's more than happy to spread it, and talk about it.

I mean, a responsible person learns whether it's true or not, and then either ends it or continues it.

COLLINS: Or it's obviously not true, and the President would say that.

COOPER: Of course.

COLLINS: He did not take that opportunity to do that. And we should note the context of which this comes where the President is letting this float out there.

He has not really been able to land any kind of strategic line of attack against Kamala Harris. He's really struggled with that over the last 48 hours. You and I talked about that.

And so, maybe he's taking this as that opportunity because he can't find something else that's actually legitimate to criticize her on, so he's taking this. Because of course, he did this to President Barack Obama. It's something that Obama mocked him on.

And the President, at one time, I believe in 2011, said he would release his tax returns if President Barack Obama released his birth certificate. Well he did, but the President has not released his tax returns.

So, it just goes to show you, this is exactly how the President has been for a decade now. It's not surprising that he hasn't changed.


But it is a little shocking to see from the White House briefing room, the President being asked about a conspiracy theory, and he doesn't take an opportunity to be magnanimous, and to say, "No, that's not right."

Instead, he just encourages it, and lets it stay out there for his supporters, who will surely likely amplify it in the coming days.

COOPER: Right, of course. Well why would he take a principled stand on facts and be man about it, as opposed to reaching out and sending signals to the darkest corners of the web, to trolls, to who support him in conspiracy theory chat rooms.

COLLINS: Instead of talking about her and legitimate reasons, looking at her record as a prosecutor--

COOPER: Right.

COLLINS: --talking about the votes that she's had on Capitol Hill, those are all actually reasons that supporters--


COLLINS: --want to know about, that voters want to know about.


COLLINS: But instead, it's going to be discussing something like this, because the President did not take the chance to knock it down.

COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much.

For more, want to bring in two members of the Obama Administration, David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser to President Obama, and Reggie Love, former Special Assistant and Personal Aide to President Obama.

Reggie, you know the impact - I mean, you saw, had a front row seat to this with President Obama, and his family. Obviously, it was a distraction. These are based on just, I mean, the deepest, long - generation-long racist tropes against anyone who is different, immigrants of any sort, Black Americans, Latinx Americans.

What do you make of the revival of this by this President?

REGGIE LOVE, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT & PERSONAL AIDE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Look, this is not a new play from the current President. Like you mentioned before, he has run this play before. And, let's be honest, I think it's a distraction and it's something he's using to try to exhaust and fool the American people.

But I think people are more concerned about what we're doing to support our COVID efforts, and essential workers, and all the people who've lost their lives, and families who lost - and people who've lost family members throughout this period.

I think unemployment is something people are really interested in having a conversation about or funding the Election Commissions to help make sure that we have safe and fair elections this November. But this is just another - this is a distraction.

And, David, you've had 40 years in politics. So, you've seen this not as many times, but you probably have better thoughts on it than I do.

COOPER: David, does this work now?


No, listen, I - Kaitlan Collins, I think, is a brilliant reporter. And I just have to disagree with her in one respect. It wasn't shocking.


AXELROD: It was appalling. But it wasn't shocking at all. It wasn't even surprising. He pulled this old chestnut out of his slimy bag of tricks. It was a naked, racist appeal. Yes, it was partly to cause a distraction because we lost 1,500

Americans yesterday, and this effort against COVID has gone very, very badly, and it is dragging his candidacy down, so he's trying to create a distraction.

But, on another level, he is trying to dog-whistle to his base, "She is not like you and me. She's not really an American. Her parents were immigrants. She's a person of color. She really isn't qualified to be President." And it's insidious and it's ugly.

But I will predict this, Anderson. It's also a stupid tactic on his part because this is exactly the kind of politics that is driving voters away from him. This is why the suburbs have moved away from him. This is why people have become uncomfortable.

There was a Fox News poll today, and they rated Biden and Trump, on a series of issues. He did very poorly on Coronavirus.

On race relations, he did even worse. And so, he's only going to drive those numbers up. So, he may think that this was a clever tactic, but I think he's digging his own political grave with these kind of sorted tactics.

COOPER: Reggie, I'm always surprised, though, that nobody ever sees - admits to seeing racism as it's actually happening.

It's always people look at black-and-white films - news reels of Whites screaming at little girls, who were desegregating schools, and say, well who - I mean, who would have done such a thing? Those people, 40 years ago, 50 years ago, who can imagine doing such a thing, as if it doesn't happen in present day.

I mean we are seeing just, again, a repeat of a racist-based ploy. And it just amazes me that no one - I almost wish he would just say, "Yes, you know what? Well of course we know what we're doing."


I mean, yesterday, he sent out a tweet about low-income housing moving in and just happened to say that Cory Booker was going to be in charge of it.

I mean Cory Booker is a U.S. Senator, is Black. I mean that seems to be the only reason he would have brought Cory Booker that Cory Booker is going to be running a housing program in the suburbs.

LOVE: Yes, look, I think Trump has used fear in so many different ways. And race and race relations is, I think, it's a sensitive topic.

And I think we're at a vulnerable time in this country, mainly because, at a point in time, in which we had a lot of unrest, and we had the killing of George Floyd, there was an opportunity to have a real conversation, as a country, and we missed that opportunity.

And so, it's not surprising that he would make a comment about Senator Cory Booker and housing.

But when it comes down to it, it is about race and it is about criminal justice, but it's also about opportunity, and it's also about income inequality, and it's also about people feeling like they actually believe in the American Dream and that there's something out there for them.

And for African-Americans and Black Americans, I think it's hard. It's really hard to get through, and to cut through, and to feel like that thing is real for all of us. But there is a portion of White America that also feels that as well, and I think we don't talk about that enough.

And I think that is the portion of the population that Trump is trying to pit against one another, and I think that's where it's not about race. It's about education equality. It's about access to healthcare. It's about economic opportunity and economic equality.

That's where I think we, as a country, can be great. I think that's where we need to come together and have conversations to talk about how we can expedite and grow those opportunity sets.

This fear-mongering and division is not anything that's going to create anything of value in the long run.


COOPER: I mean, David, it certainly doesn't create anything of value. Does it - I mean you alluded to this about that you don't think, this time around, does it work? I mean I don't know if he--

AXELROD: Yes. Well let me say this.

COOPER: --I don't even know what impact it had about - regarding President Obama.

AXELROD: I don't think it was particularly helpful over time. And a lot of Republicans quietly wanted him to drop that at the time. So, no, I don't think it was particularly helpful.

But Reggie said we missed the chance to have a conversation. I think the country is actually having that conversation. They're just not having it with the President of the United States leading it. He instead chose this to be an opportunity to divide the country. The Floyd murder was just one more opportunity to throw gas on the fire, and now we see this.

But let us say that as he is demeaning Senator Harris, her elevation to the ticket is one more sign of progress in this country, and we ought to celebrate that and not pine over what we know we're going to get from Donald Trump between now and Election Day. This is not surprising.

COOPER: I mean, again, if he was a strong, powerful leader, he could have celebrated Kamala Harris being named just for the historical reasons of it, and then said, "You know what? We're going to beat her at the polls and we have better ideas," but it shows where we are as a society. But, obviously, he's choosing a different way.

AXELROD: Yes, he's not that guy, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Well I'm--

AXELROD: He's just not that guy.

COOPER: Yes. I have no illusions on that. David Axelrod, thank you.

LOVE: Well totally agree.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. Reggie Love--

LOVE: Historical moment for the country.

COOPER: Yes, absolutely.

LOVE: Totally agree.

COOPER: Reggie Love, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Shortly after the President's comments about Kamala Harris, I spoke with Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown about - of Ohio about whether these sorts of tactics work, and whether the President can win Ohio with them.


COOPER: Senator Brown, the fact that a Senior Legal Adviser of the Trump Campaign has now retweeted an article, which was essentially questioning Senator Harris' eligibility to run, the President said "I heard today that she doesn't meet the requirements," can you believe that this is happening again?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Yes, I can believe this President is a racist.

This President divides to - he just tries to distract from the fact that we're 4 percent of the world's population and 22 percent or 23 percent or 24 percent of the world's Coronavirus deaths.


And he's always doing this, and he's always playing race and playing to fear. And some of his base will start saying that on other networks, and on talk radio, and it won't work anymore than it worked with Barack Obama.

But it's the way they - when they got nothing else, they try these kinds of things. It's just despicable.

COOPER: In the span of 48 hours, I mean, he's called Senator Harris "Angry," "Horrible," "Mad woman," "Nasty," which is a term he uses often for strong women who stand up to him. Does this stuff work?

BROWN: Well I think it works. It's the reason that the 35 percent of Americans that support President Trump love President Trump, because he plays to the anger and fear and resentment and often to racism of not all but some of his supporters.

But keep in mind, his supporters are, whether they're - while I've not called all of them racist, I understand that they are supporting a racist for President, but it works for them. It just drives more and more of the public away from him. And that's why so much of the public has just had it with Trump, including some that voted for him.

And he won my State by eight points in 2016. He's not going to win it this time, because a number of those 51 percent or so of people of Ohio who voted for him are - pretty much had it with him.

COOPER: You really don't think he would win Ohio?

BROWN: I don't think he would win Ohio, in large part, because Joe Biden and now his running mate, are increasingly understand that you campaign through the eyes of workers, you govern through the eyes of workers, and you contrast who is on your side that Biden and Harris, talk about workers, will support workers. Trump has betrayed workers.

And people understand that increasingly in the Mahoning Valley, and Youngstown, and Dayton were areas where Trump did better than Republicans usually do. Those days are going to be behind us.

COOPER: The President has now outright said that he opposes funding the U.S. Postal Service because of mail-in voting. He walked back slightly in the press briefing, of course. But he was openly admitting that he's trying to manipulate the Postal System for political gain, earlier.

BROWN: Yes, well he breaks all rules. He may have his - he may do his Convention acceptance speech at the White House. I mean he - the rules don't matter. Institutions don't matter.

The Post Office has been around for the entire existence of our country, more or less. That doesn't matter. Fair election doesn't matter to him. It's always whatever he wanted, because his record is so bad.

I mean, the unemployment rate is three times. One of the interesting, back in March, South Korea and the United States, both had 95 Coronavirus deaths, give or take a few. South Korea's had 200 more since then. We've had 160,000 more. Their unemployment rate is under 4 percent. Ours is three times that.

With that kind of economic record, that kind of record on healthcare, on the pandemic, controlling the pandemic, and that - you can't blame the President for changing the subject every chance he gets, from call - from making things up about the new Vice Presidential nominee to attacking Biden on things that aren't true, to the whole way he's done his Presidency, and now going after the Post Office.

COOPER: In Ohio, I'm wondering what the view from there is. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing that the Senate was adjourning today, despite no Coronavirus stimulus deal. How does that play in Ohio?

BROWN: Well 680,000 Ohioans have been getting $600 a week for unemployment. And it's a terrible confluence of factors that last week, the $600 expired, $600 payments. Last week, the moratorium on evictions expired.

And last week, moratoria, there are dozens of them around the country, in different communities, on shutting off water and electricity, expired. At the same time, evictions courts are opening up in my State, and around the country, and we're in the middle of a pandemic.

And McConnell has cut off the $600, as Trump has, has no interest in helping with rental assistance, no interest in helping local governments, no interest in sending money to schools, so that they can open safely, not just open, but open safely.

And it's going to just create more illness. It's going to create more hardship. Hundreds of thousands of people, millions around the country will drop into poverty, will fall into poverty, which hasn't happened during this pandemic because of the $600 a week.

And Trump and McConnell fiddle while the country burns. And it's just a terrible, terrible situation that they clearly - I mean we know Trump has no empathy. McConnell doesn't either and nor does his Republican Caucus, who should have told him "Stay, negotiate with Democrats, debate the House bill. Let's get serious."

We should be in Washington right now, and we should stay until we've completed our work and actually done significant things to help the country.

COOPER: Senator Sherrod Brown, I appreciate your time. Thank you.


BROWN: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Well still more to come tonight.

President Trump no longer hiding behind, why he doesn't want more money for mail-in ballots. An FEC Commissioner, Federal Election Commissioner joins me to discuss the President's open attacks on a key resource for voters worry about contracting Coronavirus.

Also the story of a couple madly in love, brought down by the Coronavirus, 11 days apart they died. Their daughter joins us to talk about the life that they lived together that ended way too early.


COOPER: New tonight, a source confirms to CNN the New Jersey Governor is expected to announce, as soon as tomorrow, that his State will conduct the November election largely through mail-in ballots. And if true, New Jersey would join eight other states that have taken that step, some because of the Coronavirus.

President Trump has relentlessly attacked mail-in voting. Today, during a Fox Business interview, he appeared to come right out and say what critics have always charged he's trying to do, that he's trying to block money for the Post Office in that stalled Coronavirus relief bail to upend vote-by-mail efforts.



TRUMP: Now, if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting. They just can't have it.


COOPER: During his afternoon news conference, he suggested that it's not him trying to toy with the election, that it's the Democrats.


TRUMP: Some people say they don't want - the Democrats don't want schools open because that's where you have a lot of polling booths. And if you have a school closed, you can't very easily have polling booths at the school. And that's becoming, I think, maybe we'll be able to show that as fact.


COOPER: Maybe we'll be able to show that as fact.

Joining me now, a Democratic Commissioner, with the Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub.

Commissioner Weintraub, thanks for being with us. First of all, the President says absentee ballots are good and safe, but mail-in voting is not safe and a completely different thing. We have shown time and time again there is not a problem with mail-in voting.

Can you just explain? Is there a difference between with absentee ballots and mail-in voting? Is it a different Post Office? Is there some sort of different system?

ELLEN L. WEINTRAUB, COMMISSIONER, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: Well, for the most part, it is not. Most people use the terms interchangeably.

Indeed, in a brief that was filed by the Trump Campaign, in a court case in Pennsylvania, the brief itself said that they were going to use the terms mail-in and absentee voting interchangeably.

I have sometimes seen people use it, where they say absentee means that you have to request the ballot rather than it being directly mailed to the voters without them making an affirmative request. But the good news is that this kind of absentee voting that the President and the Vice President have used and they say is safe, and secure, that is the way most states are doing it. Most states are actually requiring that an application be filed with the local Election Board, requesting the ballot be sent to them at their home address.

Now, of course, all of this is going to take place through the mail. The ballots are going to be sent through the mail. The applications for the ballots are going to be sent through the mail.

Now, when the ballots are submitted, some of them will be sent through the mail. Sometimes people use secure drop boxes, where they drop it off at the Election Boards themselves.

So, the ballots are not necessarily going to be returned through the mail, but they certainly are going to be received through the mail.

And if the President is right, that absentee voting is a really great thing, and we certainly have seen that many, many voters would prefer to use absentee voting, rather than to have to go and stand in line, in a polling place, during this pandemic, then we are going to need to have a functional postal service.

We are going to need to have election workers who can send out the ballots and receive the ballots. They're going to need equipment.

They're going to need resources in order to run both a successful mail-in operation, for those people who choose to vote that way and safe in-person voting for those voters who would prefer to come and vote in person.

All of that requires resources. And, so far, Congress and the President have not appropriated sufficient resources to get the job done.

COOPER: Right. The President is saying essentially that Democrats want millions of dollars for mail-in voting that will turn out to be fraudulent, so that all - that the money will basically go toward fraud.

As you point out, the money is going to actually make absentee ballots possible, to make mail-in voting possible. It's going to election workers.

It is not going to promote fraud because there are not widespread examples of voter fraud in this country, as the President's own Commission, which he, with great fanfare, started, right after he was elected, disbanded without finding anything. In terms of absentee ballots--


COOPER: --can somebody vote - in every State, can anyone request an absentee ballot?

WEINTRAUB: In most states, people will be able to request absentee ballots.

There are some states where you need an excuse to vote absentee. In some of those states, this year, the governors, or the legislatures, or the Election Boards had made the determination that COVID-19 is a sufficient excuse.

Remarkably, in some states, they still don't think that's enough of an excuse, and you need an additional excuse, in addition to a global pandemic, in order to get your absentee ballot.

But most states have now made that determination, that you can request--

COOPER: Right.

WEINTRAUB: --an absentee ballot this year.

COOPER: President Trump is making the claim that universal mail-in - that states that send out un-request - ballots to each household, that that's where all the problems lie.

He says that Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, can grab ballots by the handful, or print forgeries of the ballots, and mail them in, and nobody will know the difference, and that's going to be massive fraud.

Do you see that happening? Has there been examples of that?


WEINTRAUB: No. And I have not heard any Voting Expert who has viewed that as a credible threat. There are credible threats coming from abroad. We do need to worry about disinformation.

There are new reports out, just in the last week, from the State Department and the Intelligence Community about the ways that foreign adversaries may be trying to interfere in our election, but not by printing up ballots, which voting experts have determined would be extremely difficult, and virtually impossible.

There are so many differences in the ballots. There are differences in the paperweight. Every community has its own races that are - that are separate from the ones that are being run in the neighboring communities.

We don't have one national ballot that would be very easy to reproduce. A lot of these ballots are pre-printed with tracking numbers. There are going to be signature matches on the way back.

I think that a lot of people are more concerned that too many ballots will be discarded, that people will sign their name a little bit differently, than they usually do, or they'll not see that they need to sign it, in the right places.

And that - and we've seen this in the primary, where tens of thousands of ballots end up not being counted for technicalities, when they may well have come from legitimate citizens, who were just trying to exercise their right to vote.

COOPER: We have to go. But just very briefly, for viewers, who are watching tonight, how can - what should - what can they do right now to see if they can vote absentee? Or how would they go about doing that? Who would they call or look online for?

WEINTRAUB: Go to your local Board of Elections, to the Secretary of State's Office, make sure you're getting your information from reliable sources. Check your registration. And however you vote, in- person, absentee, do it early.

COOPER: Pretty sure. Ellen Weintraub, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

WEINTRAUB: My pleasure.

COOPER: Up next, big announcement for college football. But even with games planned, an NCAA doctor is comparing playing sports in the fall with being on the Titanic. He's here to tell us why, next.



COOPER: I want to show you a live picture. This is Herriman, Utah. The nation's first high school football game, in this new school year, is underway, despite the Coronavirus threat nationwide.

Many schools, of course, have postponed sports during the pandemic.

Tonight, the NCAA President says there will be no fall championships, except for the college football playoff, the reason, not enough schools taking part. The playoff brings in millions for the NCAA and the schools involved. Only three major college football conferences have even announced plans to start the season next month.

An Infectious Disease Doctor who advises the NCAA on COVID-19 is warning of the danger in rushing back to the playing field too soon.


DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, NCAA COVID-19 ADVISORY PANEL MEMBER: We have a serious problem. I mean I feel like the Titanic. We have hit the iceberg, and we're trying to make decision, so what time should we have the band play?

I mean, we need to focus on what's important. What's important right now is that we need to control this virus. And not having fall sports this year, and controlling this virus, to me, would be the number one priority.

So, my advice to colleges, my advice to organizations that I've talked to is if you cannot do it safely, you shouldn't do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Dr. Carlos del Rio is here tonight. He's the Executive Associate Dean of the Emory University School of Medicine, at Grady Health System. Also with us, CNN Medical Analyst and ER Doctor, Leana Wen.

Dr. del Rio, thanks for being with us. Some very strong words. I'm wondering, what pushed you to that point? How do you see that?

DEL RIO: Well Anderson, I think that where we are right now in our country is we have an epidemic that is out of control. I'm really not pleased about where we are. We could be in a much better place.

When we started working with the NCAA, back in March, April, we were projecting a trajectory that would have us down to less than 10 cases per 100,000 population, as a nation. And in that case, you could do a lot of things safely. It would be OK.

But unfortunately, we did not - we opened the country too soon, and we did not open with the appropriate precautions, and we have a serious epidemic right now in our country, much worse than it was back in March or April.

And I think we need to really focus on controlling the epidemic, because there are too many people already infected, and there are too many people already dead.

I know 160,000 Americans have died, as a consequence of this pandemic, and we expect, by December 1, there will be 300,000 Americans dead as a result of this pandemic, if we don't do anything. We really are not taking this seriously.

And, quite frankly, as an Infectious Disease doctor, and as a public health expert, I am convinced we can do better, way better. And we really need to focus on what's important, which is really controlling the virus in the community and, quite frankly, decreasing the mortality, which is out of control.

COOPER: Dr. Wen, today, the Governor of Mississippi said "I believe that we can play sports. We can do it in a safe way and the way to do that is by limiting crowd size." Does that make sense to you?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, VISITING PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I mean, it makes sense in theory, if we actually had low levels of community spread, as Dr. del Rio was saying.

Look, we can't have our cake and eat it to too. We, as a society, have to decide what are the most essential things that we need?

And I guess, we can think about this, Anderson, as we do of a budget. We make budgets. Cities, and states, and federal governments make budgets. You decide what is the most essential thing?

If what's most essential is schools, then we need to keep schools open at all costs, then we need to close down bars, and restaurants, and nightclubs and other indoor gatherings. That's the way that we could get this infection under control. That's the way that we'll actually be able to get sports back.

It's not by just making proclamations. But rather, it's by doing these really hard things, but these hard things that are evidence-based, that we know from other countries, and from our own country, are what's effective in controlling COVID-19.

COOPER: So, Dr. del Rio, in terms of sports, are you saying that there should be no team sports at this point?

DEL RIO: Well, Anderson, I think sports are all very different, right? And we know some sports may be worse than others. We also have some interesting models to look out there.


I mean the NBA has created a bubble. And within that bubble, they have actually played very safely.

So, if you can potentially create a bubble for college sports, maybe you can have sports. But on the other hand you have the MLB, the National Baseball League, which really has not created a bubble, and we've seen the consequences of that.

So, I think there's some lessons to be learned. I think also, if we delayed a little bit, not only can we bring infection rate down, but we can have better testing.

And I think if we have better testing, that we had more available rapid testing, that you can make diagnoses immediately, then you'll be in a much better position. But, at the end of the day, it's really not what happens in the field but what happens outside the field.

We need to make sure that those athletes are not then, after the game, going out to parties, going out to nightclubs, going out to bars, because that's actually when a lot of the infection is going to happen, is going to be in that close environment.

It's not going to be necessarily out on the field. But it's going to be in what happens outside of the field.

COOPER: Well, I mean, Dr. Wen, that's one of the things with college sports, you know, obviously a lot of schools, the athletes, that's all their main focus. But, technically, they were supposed to be going to school.

The idea that they're in a bubble just to play sports in college seems sort of against the whole idea of why they're actually in college.

WEN: That's right. And I think that we also have to look at what these universities are doing, too. It doesn't really make sense for the student athletes to be coming back on campus to play sports when all their instruction is done virtually.

I just want to second what Dr. del Rio said about testing.

I think it's absolutely essential that we get this widespread rapid testing. I mean imagine how much of a game-changer that would be for everyone. This is what President Trump has. Why shouldn't the rest of the country also have access to this, too?

If we could all be tested at home, before we go to school, before we play sports, go to work, even if we're not picking up a 100 percent of cases, right now, we're picking up essentially zero percent of all the asymptomatic cases.


WEN: If we can pick up 80 percent of that, we would make a big dent in our ability to control this virus.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Carlos del Rio, appreciate all you're doing. Thank you very much.

Up next, we remember a California couple, married 35 years, both died of Coronavirus 11 days apart. We're going to talk to their daughter who also had the virus. She joins us when we continue.



COOPER: After 35 years of marriage, they died 11 days apart from COVID-19. Gwendolyn, Keith Robinson met in high school. They married after reconnecting in their 20s.

They were best friends. They had four kids, 10 beautiful grandkids, and two great grandchildren, a love story like the movie, "The Notebook," according to their son. They were only 60-years-old and 62- years-old.

Joining us now with more, on their life, and their battle, is their daughter, Eboni Hunter.

Eboni, thank you so much for being with us, and I'm so sorry for what you and your family are going through. What an extraordinary love story your parents had. I mean, if you could, just talk a little bit about them. What were they like?

EBONI HUNTER, LOST HER MOTHER AND FATHER TO COVID-19: They were amazing. They were an amazing example of just a great marriage, unconditional love.

They were best friends. They were into a lot of different things together. They loved fishing. He's into motorcycles, so they liked to ride together. They loved sports, loved the Warriors and the 49ers.

So, they really were best friends, as well as, being a married couple, but they're extraordinary. They touched so many people's lives. And they definitely left an imprint on us for sure, of the way to go- forward in life and to live life to the fullest. So, that's kind of what we're trying to do, is just keep their legacy alive.

COOPER: You lived with your parents. And I know you saw that they weren't doing well. You actually drove each of them to the hospital just two days apart.


COOPER: And one of the things that is a blessing, if somebody's life is ending, is one's ability to spend time with them. COVID robs us of that ability in the final days. I mean, you dropped your mom off. Were you ever able to be with her again?

HUNTER: So, they let you - when they think that maybe your - when they - I mean the hospital, when they think that maybe they're going to pass, they're not going to make it, they do FaceTime you.

So, I was able to see her via FaceTime, but she didn't look like herself. She wasn't really coherent anyway. So, I mean, I wish I didn't really have to see that. But my brother, he did, with his family, get to say goodbye to her via Skype - not via Skype, via - what do you call it?

COOPER: FaceTime.

HUNTER: FaceTime. Thank you. And with my dad, I dropped him off first. And no, I just - I got to talk to him before he was intubated, and sedated, and that was it.

COOPER: Were--

HUNTER: I never got to talking to him or got an update through the doctors.

COOPER: Were your parents aware that each of them was in a hospital?


COOPER: I mean that the other was in the hospital?

HUNTER: Yes. So, I dropped my dad off first, and then, the next - that day that I dropped him off, my mom actually came home from work sick, and she wasn't feeling well. And then that night, which was really bad for her, she was throwing up, and couldn't keep anything down, had a fever. And so, I took her in the next day.

And so, they both knew that they were each - each of them is in the hospital. My mom, actually, her heart stopped when she was talking to my dad, the first time her heart stopped.

COOPER: Oh my Gosh.

HUNTER: Yes. So, yes, they were communicating in the hospital. And, yes, my dad was aware that my mom passed, yes.

COOPER: I mean, it's got to - it's got to - it all happened so quickly, too. I mean, they were in there, and then, I mean, it was a matter of days?

HUNTER: For my mom, yes. She went in Wednesday, and she passed Saturday. But she had a type of blood cancer. She had asthma. She had other issues, where we knew her immune system was compromised.


But my dad, other than having diabetes, he didn't really have any health issues. He's never even been like hospitalized any day of my life that I can remember. So, we really thought he was going to pull through.

But we were - we kind of understood it would be a long haul for my mom, but she passed quickly. And my dad, he hung in there for a while. He passed on July 29th. But she passed on July 18th.

COOPER: So, 11 days apart from each other.



HUNTER: Yes. And I just don't - we don't - we can't make sense of it, but we kind of think of it, like, maybe he didn't want to be here without her, because he'd always said he didn't want to be here if she - he wanted to go first because he didn't want to be here without her. Yes.

COOPER: And have you - have you buried them?

HUNTER: Yes, we did yesterday.

COOPER: Yesterday? Wow! Well how was that?

HUNTER: It was - it was hard. It was a beautiful day. My brother - my older brother and sister, they had to speak because I couldn't get through it. And it was hard for my grandmother because she buried her child. Yes, it was--

COOPER: Wow! Your grandmother was there!

HUNTER: Yes. Yes, her first child to pass. And it was hard because they made everybody feel like family, so everybody felt it.

It was different because we couldn't have a service. We had to have just a burial outside, social distancing, mask and everything. And it had to be very brief. So, we didn't really get to say goodbye to them the way that we would have liked to. But, yes, it was a beautiful day. But it was hard.

COOPER: Eboni Hunter, I'm - it always sounds so hollow to say I'm sorry for your loss, but it's - it's hard to know what else to say. I wish you peace in the days ahead for you and your family.

HUNTER: Thank you. Thank you so much.

And we just wanted to say thank you to everybody who donated to our GoFundMe because that's how we were able to bury them because we didn't have the money right away, and people from all over the place showed up and donated, and because of them, we were able to do that, so thank you, thank you.

COOPER: Wow! So, you put up a GoFundMe, and people donated, and that's how you were able to have the funeral?

HUNTER: Yes, yes.


HUNTER: So many people did. They touched so many people, even some people we went into high school with and elementary, everybody. I don't know how it got around. My brother is kind of the social media guy.

But it got around, and we were able to get the money to pay for the burial, because we did not have that, so just say thank you. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. We gave them a beautiful burial.

COOPER: Well they sound like just lovely parents and a great couple. And thank you for sharing them with us.

HUNTER: Thank you.

COOPER: Eboni Hunter.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: Tonight, another rising GOP star and congressional primary winner is facing scrutiny about his past. Where he's been, what he's posted, and what he believes in are all coming to question. Biggest controversy involves his visit to Adolf Hitler's retreat.

Here's Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 25-year- old North Carolina congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn.

MADISON CAWTHORN, (R) NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I welcome increased scrutiny because I don't have anything to hide.

SERFATY (voice-over): On the defense over these questionable photos on his Instagram page, showing him, in 2017, visiting Adolf Hitler's vacation house in Germany. The site known as "The Eagle's Nest" is a popular tourist site documenting the horrors of the Nazi regime.

In the caption, he calls Hitler, the "Fuhrer," for leader. Cawthorn wrote that a visit had been on his "Bucket list for a while." "It did not disappoint," he wrote, "Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots." COL. MOE DAVIS (RET.), (D) NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: There's so many important issues--

SERFATY (voice-over): His Democratic opponent, Moe Davis, is pouncing, tweeting "Hitler's vacation retreat is not on my bucket list," and in an interview with CNN stops just short of calling Cawthorn a White nationalist.

DAVIS: I think collectively, when you put all the pieces together, it paints a pretty clear picture of someone that's at least comfortable in that environment.

SERFATY (voice-over): Davis alleging the Instagram photo is just one of many dog-whistles he believes Cawthorn is sending.

DAVIS: The name of his company, you know, is SPQR, which is a symbol that's associated with White nationalists.

SERFATY (voice-over): Cawthorn shooting right back, telling "The Charlotte Observer" newspaper that the name of his company comes from Rome and, "We can't let extremists on any side hijack or re-write history because those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it." He has also disavowed racist groups.

CAWTHORN: As of right now, I completely and wholeheartedly denounce any kind of White nationalism, any kind of Nazism.

SERFATY (voice-over): And explaining in that 3-year-old photo that he was celebrating victory over the Nazis, emphasizing "The Eagle's Nest" is a "Place where the Nazi regime plotted unspeakable acts of evil."

And in a statement to CNN, accuses Davis of "Pushing conspiracy theories" and "Bigotry." "His belief that conservatives in his district are guilty of being White supremacists until proven innocent is dangerous to our democracy. His suggestion that I, a man in a wheelchair, would celebrate a regime that would have had me exterminated is offensive to every thinking person in Western North Carolina."

CAWTHORN: My name is Madison Cawthorn.

SERFATY (voice-over): Adding to the scrutiny, new questions about Cawthorn's educational claims. Cawthorn's website saying he was nominated to the Naval Academy, and his plans were derailed by a car accident that left him paralyzed.

But, in this deposition, related to the accident, obtained first by AVL Watchdog, Cawthorn admits he was rejected by the Academy before his accident.

CAWTHORN: I've never said that I was accepted or appointed to the Academy. I just I knew that I had only been nominated at that point. I fully expected to be accepted, and to be appointed. But, at that point, I hadn't received it.

SERFATY (voice-over): Since winning a stunning upset primary in June, Cawthorn has captured national attention, dubbed by some as the AOC on the Right.

CAWTHORN: I believe conservatism all boils down to personal responsibility.

SERFATY (voice-over): And while President Trump didn't back him in the primary, he does now.

CAWTHORN: The President and I are looking forward to having a very productive working relationship.

SERFATY (voice-over): Hosting Cawthorn and his fiancee in the Oval Office and in the Trump Hotel.

CAWTHORN: And I got big shoes to fill right here.



SERFATY: And we spoke today to the Anti-Defamation League, and they say that they do not see much merit here to these accusations. They say it's very clear that he made, in that Instagram post, that he was not sympathizing with the Nazis.