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Trump's Long History Of Urging Boycotts And Firings; Lebron James, Lakers Wear MAGA-Like Hats With Breonna Taylor Message; Multiple Colleges Halt In-Person Classes Amid Surge In Cases; Dr. Phillip Coule Discusses Nurse Who Cared For COVID Patients Who Died From Virus. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 19, 2020 - 14:30   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Look at just some of the people and companies he's called to boycott or fire over the years.

Starting with his favorite medium, TV. He's called for entire networks to be boycotted, including CNBC, HBO, NBC, Univision and CNN.

We should note he didn't like CNBC after he was left off the list of most-influential business leaders.

When it comes to individual TV host, he's singled hosts and pundits from NBC, CNN, CBS, the "New York Times." He's gone after FOX personalities, Karl Rove, Megyn Kelly, the late Charles Krauthammer, and the "National Review" writers.

For a president who likes to tell us how much he reads, he has called for boycotts of "Rolling Stone," "New York Magazine," "The Oklahoman," the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board, the editors at "Vanity Fair," "USA Today" for declaring him unfit for office.

And the "Dallas Morning News" and the "Arizona Republic." They endorsed Hillary Clinton.

And he's called to fire everyone, from the NFL players to Debra Messing, who played Grace alongside Will. And he threatened big brands, Macy's, Harley Davidson.

He even called on Scots to boycott a whiskey brand because he wasn't chosen as top Scot of the year. The guy who was, incidentally, was the farmer who refused to sell his land to make way for a Trump golf course.

He also threatened to shut down social media companies, like Twitter, for calling out his lies.

But cancel culture even crosses the border. And he once called on Americans to boycott Mexico.

Don Lemon, host of "CNN TONIGHT" with me now.

We should point out, the presidential vehicle, Don, is equipped with Goodyear tires. And the company has a long-standing relationship with the Secret Service and the U.S. military.

What do you make of this call to boycott a big American company?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Two things. The president is -- he likes to call people snowflakes and names. He's the biggest snowflake of them all.

I should mention he has criticized me, you, my colleagues. He's called for the cancellation of CNN. And he tried to get involved in the AT&T merger.

So, he's a hypocrite when it comes to counter-culture.

Number two, it's because he's afraid that he is about to be cancelled by voting public, the American people.

Listen, we shouldn't be surprised that this president is a hypocrite. We shouldn't be surprised that he is making something political that's not. And we shouldn't be surprised he's a bigot.

He's a bigot. He's a racist. He's a hypocrite. Those aren't opinions. Those are facts.

COOPER: It opens the discuss of what is allowed inside workplaces. That's something companies wrestle with all the time.

Goodyear saying this wasn't a corporate policy, what was on this slide, but it was in some sort of presentation.

Whether it's MAGA attire or Black Lives Matter attire or a pride flag, what do you make of that? What do you think?

LEMON: Well, I think there's a difference between equality and politics, something being political.

There's nothing, I believe, that should be inherently political about Black Lives Matter or Gay Lives Matter or a pride flag.

That has to do with equality. That has to do with equal protection under the Constitution as a citizen of the United States.

The right to wear a political shirt or hat in the workplace, I think it's protected in the Constitution. And no one should want to wear that. And workplaces have rules.

You have rules of what you can wear to work. I can't wear certain things on the air because my boss and my company deem it so.

I think there's a big difference between something political and something that has to do with equality.

I would not want to wear an Obama shirt to work. I may want to wear it in my personal life. I would not want to wear a Make America Great Again hat to work because it is political. It shows my political stripes. I may want to wear it in my personal life. Everyone is free to do that. I don't think you should be able to wear anything you want to work.

There are certain rules.

And when you get politics in the workplace, it starts trouble.

It's like people started turning -- remember, they started turning televisions off in gyms because people were having fights -- Anderson?

COOPER: I want to ask about Lebron James and the Lakers. These use a MAGA hate wearing their own red hat with a slogan that said, "Make America arrest the cops who killed Brionna Taylor."

It's interesting how the red hat has become such a political flash point across the country.

LEMON: It is. I have red hats. I have one red hat from a hotel in Florida. I just like the logo. I like the hate. I don't wear it anymore because people think I'm wearing a MAGA hat. That's my choice not to wear it.

I think that hat conjures up a certain feeling in people. Many wear it, they say, out of pride. And others as an in-your-face sort of thing. This is my president and I believe what he believes. OK, fine, if you want to do that.

I think it's interesting the NBA and Lebron James picked up on that to make a statement.

And you cannot be offended by Lebron James and professional athletes or NBA players wearing a red hat that says, "Make America arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor," and not be offended by a MAGA hat. I think it's interesting. I think it's smart.

Anderson, if you allow me just to weigh in on the conversation you had previously, because you're talking about racial issues here, and you were talking about QAnon and conspiracy theories and on and on.


It's interesting, when you look on the Internet and you see the bigotry on the Internet and the people who have been -- these conspiracy theories about QAnon and about Jeffrey Epstein.

There's a picture of me on the Internet, right, where someone has superimposed the face of Jeffrey Epstein over Chris Cuomo hanging out. And there are people who actually believe it.

People say, well, not all Trump supporters are bigots and racists. OK, fine. You can believe that.

But when I look at all the people who put those things like that on the Internet, 99 times out of 100 it is a Trump supporter.

People should think about that as they are placing those things on the Internet, as they're wearing political messages in the workplace as well. COOPER: Talking about that, there's a fake flight manifest that has --


LEMON: You're on it.

COOPER: Yes, I'm allegedly on it.

If you want to see who is on that flight, there are court documents, and there's like a handful of people whose names you might know, who were -- who were ever on any flights of his. Alan Dershowitz, who I think was doing legal work. Bill Clinton went to Africa.

But again, this flight list, it's all just -- but QAnon, it's trafficking in age-old anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant troupes.

There's this cabal of Jewish bankers controlling the world monetary system. It's essentially kind of an offshoot of that, saying this is a cabal of sex traffickers who drink the blood of children and worship Satan. I mean, it's insane.

LEMON: And the president condones it and promotes it and gives authority to it by promoting it, by retweeting it, and by trafficking in that.

I think the best line of the week so far may have been overlooked, and that was the former first lady's line, when she gave her speech and said, "It is what it is."

And I said that sums up the whole time we're in right now. People realize exactly what that -- it's a very concise way of saying, it is what it is, and we all know what it is.

COOPER: Don Lemon, thanks very much.

Catch Don at midnight for CNN's special -- are you on three hours?


LEMON: I'm on until 3:00 a.m. I raced in here. You should have seen me. My phone was ringing. It's you've got to get with Anderson. Get in there.

COOPER: I appreciate it.

Thank you, Don. Appreciate it.


COOPER: Don, midnight to 3:00 tonight.

The nation's college campuses are taking another look at reopening plans amid a surge in cases as students head back to school.

Plus, a nurse who cared for dozens of coronavirus patients today has herself died from the virus. Her coworker joins me ahead.



COOPER: A scramble at the nation's college campuses. Multiple institutions now rolling back, suspending or going fully online after spiking cases among students and faculty.

Hannah Saad is a senior at the University of Alabama, which resumed in-person classes today. She's also the photo editor for the "Crimson White," the school's paper.

Welcome. Thanks for being with us.

First, how are you feeling about being back on campus? Do you feel safe?

HANNAH SAAD, SENIOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA Anderson, thanks for having me.

I've been taking precautions around campus. I've been wearing a mask. And I haven't had any in-person classes yet. So all of my classes have been assigned to be hybrid or through Zoom. So I've felt safe with the classes I've had so far.

So far, on campus, I've seen about two-thirds of students have been wearing masks and about a third haven't been wearing them. Some are kept on their neck and some don't have one. But the majority of students so far are wearing masks.

COOPER: The University of Alabama officials announced nearly 26,000 students have tested, less than 1 percent are positive. Proof of a negative test is required before returning to class. I think six students are in quarantine.

What protections has the school put in place?

SAAD: The university is having two dorms that they're going move student who are living on campus, they're going to quarantine those students and students that have been exposed and also live on campus.

They're going to try to keep students with COVID-19 in those dorms and recommend to students who have been in contact with somebody with COVID-19 to stay in their dorms or relocate to another quarantine location.

Students who don't live on campus have been doing U.A. health checks. So, you get asked every day, do you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have you been in contact with someone with COVID-19. And you're supposed to fill that out every day before you return to campus.

COOPER: I know your school's athletic director tweeted a photo on Sunday of students waiting to get into a bar with the caption, "Who wants college sports this fall? Obviously not these people. We have to do better for each other and our campus community. Please wear your masks."

Have there been large gatherings like that on or off campus?

SAAD: On that day it was a big day where new sorority members are introduced into their house. There are a couple of college bars that were hosting gatherings and specials for bid day. So, those long lines are waiting to get inside the bars.

In Tuscaloosa, bars are supposed to be kept between 50 to 60 percent capacity, depending on the time of day. And employees are supposed to wear masks.

But there have been sometimes where students have fathered at bars like that.

And big day, especially, there were a lot of students gathering outside the houses. They were having new members take large class photos.

So, there are between 80 and 100 of each house that had to gather in tightly, all wearing masks, but, albeit, gathering in tightly to take that class photo.

And then there were parents and family members as well that wanted to see their daughters at bid day.


Bid day was probably the biggest cluster of students we've had on campus so far.

COOPER: The World Health Organization today warned young people they're not invincible when it comes to COVID-19. In talking to people, what kind of -- I mean, obviously, everybody has different opinions.

But what attitude exists among your peers about COVID, about what precautions to take?

SAAD: So, it's rather split. There are some students very concerned about their health. They have underlying health conditions or know someone who does and want to take the precautions to keep them safe. There are some people who are only going to take-out food, only going out for class or to go get grocery shopping.

And there are other students who say, while we're going to be in COVID anyway, and as long as I wear my mask when going to the restaurant, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to go into a restaurant or a bar.

So, it's been pretty split.

COOPER: Hannah Saad, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Best of luck to you. Stay safe and I hope the school year continues.

SAAD: Yes, Anderson, thanks for having me.

COOPER: All right, take care.

Contact tracing has worked in other countries. It is not widespread in the U.S., not as much as it needs to be. Sanjay Gupta gives us a look at cities where it is working.

Much more on our breaking news. One of the most promising trials against the coronavirus just suffered a setback. Why the FDA is halting blood plasma trials from those who have recovered.

And also, a nurse who cared for up to 50 coronavirus patients a day has died from the virus. I'll speak to one of her co-workers next.



COOPER: Medical workers in Augusta, Georgia, are mourning the loss of one of their frontline workers, a nurse at the medical center. Yolanda Coar died last week from coronavirus. She worked at the center for 13 years.

Georgia has been criticized for its handling of the pandemic. Yesterday, the Department of Public Health reporting nearly 3,000 new cases and 69 new deaths.

Those numbers following another scathing report from the White House Coronavirus Task force. "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reports the task force says Georgia had the nation's highest rate of new cases in seven days, ending August 14th, and continues to be in the red zone.

Dr. Phil Coule, a colleage of Yolanda's, the vice president, chief medical officer of the Augusta University Health System.

Our condolences to you and the A.U. staff.

Can you tell me about Yolanda?

DR. PHILLIP COULE, VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM: Yolanda was a fantastic nurse leader within our organization. She had been with us for about 13 years and had risen through the ranks and became a nurse manager for two different units within our facility.

She was a bright, shining example of what a nurse leader should be. And she was just loved by her colleagues. Her motto was be exceptional. And she lived that every day.

COOPER: It's got to be terrifying for all medical personnel and people who work in hospitals.

But to then have somebody like Yolanda, who was treating patients, and then herself getting sick, it's got to be incredibly frightening.

COULE: It is frightening. And our staff are working incredibly hard to take care of COVID patients in spite of that.

I actually had COVID-19 myself and recovered. I was one of the fortunate ones.

And we have had several other staff members that became ill. This would be our third staff member that we've lost to COVID-19. And it is a sad time for the team.

But overall, the team is working incredibly hard, providing excellent care in spite of all of that.

COOPER: And what are you seeing in the hospitals? I mean, how -- the flow of patients?

COULE: Well, luckily, we are starting to see our numbers decline, both at our facility and in Georgia. We are coming down off of a peak.

And I'll tell you that the peak has been a bit of a challenge. It has stretched our staff, stretched our facility.

But I'm pleased that we appear to be coming down off of that peak and appear to be over it and numbers are declining.

We've had a seven-day average of new cases in Georgia down 26 percent. Statewide, our hospitalizations over the past week or so are down about 19 percent or 20 percent.

Augusta has been lagging a little bit behind the state in terms of the decline. But we're starting to see numbers decline now.

And that is a welcome respite for our staff. We would love to see them continue to decline.

COOPER: When a doctor, when medical personnel gets COVID-19, what is the protocol? What happens?

COULE: Yes, well, we have a whole protocol. We follow the CDC guidance for how people go into isolation, how long they have to be in isolation, a testing protocol, et cetera.

And for health care providers, in particular, we do universal masking so that we reduce exposure potential.

Luckily, we don't see a lot of patient-to-nurse or physician or physician or nurse-to-patient transmission of COVID.

It mostly occurs outside or at the break room or outside of the work setting, is where the majority of the cases that we've seen in our health care providers occurring.

COOPER: Doctor Phil Coule, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Thanks for all you do.

COULE: Thank you for having me.

COOPER: I'm so sorry for your loss.

Our special coverage continues with Jake Tapper in a moment.


I'll be back at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for night three of the Democratic convention.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin this hour with the health lead. And a new warning from the World Health Organization. They say young people are becoming the primary drivers of the spread of the coronavirus.

A top official saying that folks in their 20s and younger, you are not invincible to this virus, and your lives and the lives of others depend upon the decisions you make, decisions about wearing masks and congregating and hygiene.