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CNN TONIGHT

COVID Deaths In The U.S. Nears 100,000 Mark; President Trump Doesn't Mind Insulting His Opponents; Widower's Plea Fell On Deaf Ears; Minneapolis Police Officers Kicked Out From Their Job; CNN Exclusive Interview To Joe Biden As He Responds To Trump Mocking Him For Wearing A Mask: He's An Absolute Fool To Talk That Way; Joe Biden Fires Back At Trump's Attacks On Mail-In Voting. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 26, 2020 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you very much, Dr. Schaffner. I wish you well. Good health and good luck. Thank you. And thank you for watching.

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Good to be here.

CUOMO: "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon, the man, starts right now. There he is.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Don't I know how little you catch. I know from personal experience. You catch very little when you fish.

CUOMO: First of all, listen --

LEMON: It's the truth.

CUOMO: You have seen pictures of what I've caught. You've eaten what I've caught.

LEMON: Well that's the thing. No, no, no, I've seen pictures of what you claim you caught.

CUOMO: You have eaten what I caught.

LEMON: I have eaten what you claim. But I've been with you and you caught nothing.

CUOMO: First of all, I caught -- we caught fish when we were together. First of all, I wrecked my boat. I still took you fishing. And we caught a fish. I lost it at the boat which was good because we weren't going to take it home, anyway.

LEMON: Hey, I got to tell you something. So, this is, I mean, ingenuity, I have to show this, right? Because you know people have been coming up with things to do about masks and all that.

I have a friend who is in Boston. Took up quilting. He said, you know, I'm going to do something different. I'm just going to try something different. He took up quilting and made these masks for me. Look at that.

CUOMO: Wow. What's on it? Fruit?

LEMON: Yes. He got really good -- these are lemons.

CUOMO: Of course.

LEMON: And they're double -- they're reversible and washable. I mean, it's really, it's amazing. They're really cool. They spread out. I think he should sell them. So --

CUOMO: Did he just give you one? You can't wear one with lemons on it.

LEMON: No, no, no.

CUOMO: It's too on brand. You've got to give it to me.

LEMON: No, he gave me a bunch of them. I have some, I'll give you -- I'll give you one.

CUOMO: It's going to fit over this?

LEMON: I'll give you one for Cristina. And then --

CUOMO: is it going to fit over the king-sized sniffer?

LEMON: No, I need a bigger one. I'm not going to talk about anyone's nose. Your nose is fine.

CUOMO: Listen to you. You're so nice.

LEMON: I appreciated your interview with Roddie's attorney. It was very interesting and you answered the questions. People who don't really know about the legal system who watch a lot -- I'm getting my papers together as we -- I always tell people, they always wonder why I'm looking down. I'm sorting through my research, and setting it all up here on my desk so I'm ready.

They will watch cop shows or, you know, law and order shows, and they think, my gosh, there is a polygraph test. And it's junk science. Like it's just, you know, --

CUOMO: Polygraph test is not admissible in court.

LEMON: It's not admissible in court. And so, he should take a polygraph --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: And he wants to say the guy took a lie detector test. Then why wouldn't he answer the damn question if he didn't do anything wrong.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: The media presents you a great opportunity if you've done nothing wrong. LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Let people know. Because that's what your community is going to see and that's who will probably judge you.

LEMON: This is what I'm going to talk about tonight. I say we have two viruses in this country right now. We have COVID-19 and we have racism 2020. And that's what we're going to be dealing with tonight. The two viruses that are infecting our society and killing people. And we need to deal with both of them. So, I got a lot to talk about. Lot to do. Great show. Great interviews as usual. I'll see you soon.

CUOMO: I love you and thank you for taking it on.

LEMON: I love you. It was good seeing you this weekend as well.

CUOMO: Always.

LEMON: Socially distanced, of course. We'll see you soon.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

And we've got breaking news tonight. The death toll from the coronavirus getting closer and closer to 100,000. That is almost unthinkable. Nearly 100,000 Americans dead in a matter of months.

And the president in a Rose Garden event doubles down on his disgraceful tactic of stoking a culture war over masks. The masks that millions of Americans have been wearing for months to protect other people, to protect their fellow Americans, right?

The president mocking Joe Biden for wearing one at a Memorial Day event yesterday. Then turning on a reporter who asked him about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Biden can wear a mask, but he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather. They're inside, they don't wear masks. And so, I thought it was very unusual that he had one on, but I thought that was fine. I wasn't criticizing him at all. Why would I ever do a thing like that? And your second question was? I couldn't hear you.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: The second --

TRUMP: Can take it off, because I cannot hear you.

MASON: I'll just speak louder, sir --

TRUMP: OK. Because you want to be politically correct. Go ahead.

MASON: No, sir. I just want to wear the mask.

TRUMP: Go ahead. Go ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So, the president was speaking at an event on protecting the health of seniors and you know what, if he really cared about seniors, he would encourage people to wear masks to save the lives of those seniors who make up a large portion of the coronavirus deaths.

But this president would rather mock a reporter, he'd rather mock Joe Biden, for doing what -- doing what every American has been doing. Most Americans have been doing. The right thing. And that is wearing a mask.

Mocking him for being a real man, unlike the president and doing what he should be doing. Biden tonight updating his Twitter avatar to a photo with a mask. And telling CNN's Dana Bash this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way. I mean, every leading doc in the world is saying we should wear a mask when you're in a crowd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:04:56]

LEMON: We are going to have more from a former vice president coming up, but at a time when we desperately need leadership, this president is escalating feuds trying to fire up a culture war over masks.

The president, he's afraid, quite frankly, to be seen wearing a mask. OK? He's afraid to be seen wearing a mask. He's afraid to be seen doing the right thing. And as a result, he is doing -- he's going to goad millions of people who follow him away from something that could save their life or the life of someone they love.

You heard him. Making fun of Reuters' Jeff Mason for wearing a mask. For actually taking it seriously. The president saying, he just wants to be politically correct. OK. Well, listen to the second part of Jeff's question and the president's response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MASON: The second question was about your tweets about the woman who died who you're suggesting that Joe Scarborough was responsible.

TRUMP: Yes, a lot of people suggest that. And hopefully someday people are going to find out. Certainly, a very suspicious situation, very sad. Very sad and very suspicious. Question, please?

MASON: Asked you not to tweet --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Go ahead, please, go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, though, have you seen the letter that was written by her husband begging Twitter to delete your tweets? Talking about how hard it's been for his family, for him --

TRUMP: Yes, I have, but I'm sure that ultimately, they want to get to the bottom of it and it's a very serious situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That is disgusting. The president has been tweeting out insinuations, peddling a baseless years-old conspiracy theory that Joe Scarborough who he views as a political enemy had something to do with the 2001 death of an aide in his congressional office.

Well, authorities in Florida ruled that young woman's death as accidental. I'm not going to read those tweets out because I'm just not. They're nothing but a disgraceful smear.

Joe Scarborough had nothing to do with the death of his aide, Lori Klausutis. But think about this just for a minute. This is the President of the United States, he has no problem making disgusting insinuations about the death of a young woman. OK? A young woman with a family and a husband.

These are real people. These are people who are grieving someone they loved. Imagine how they feel seeing the President of the United States using that young woman's death to smear someone he considers his enemy. The president.

I said I wouldn't read the president's disgusting tweets, but I'd like to read something else. OK? This is from a letter that the young woman's husband, T.J., wrote, OK? To Twitter's Jack Dorsey. Asking him to remove the president's false tweets.

Please listen closely to this, and I quote, "I'm asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him, the memory of my dead wife, and perverted it for perceived political gain."

A grieving widower trying to protect his wife's memory asking Twitter to take down the president's false tweets. Twitter wouldn't remove those tweets. They wouldn't come on the show to talk about their decision to let this disgusting smear stand. People have been removed from Twitter for far less outrageous behavior. Come on, Jack Dorsey.

Instead, for the first time Twitter tonight is labeling other tweets from the president misleading. Make the label bigger, please. Twitter has become a cesspool, Jack Dorsey, and, listen, I know that you're doing great things and you're trying to help out people with your barbershop initiative and you're donating money here, that does not make up for this disgusting behavior that you're allowing, especially from the leader of the free world. It does not.

I wish someone would come up with another platform, honestly, so that everybody could just delete their accounts on Twitter and go to the other platform because this is outrageous, disgusting, behavior. Stop companies like Jack Dorsey, and stop hiding behind the First Amendment and for profit, stop doing it. Do the right thing. Stop allowing families like this family to have to go through this. To grieve their loved one over and over and over and over again.

[22:10:01]

So, they put up this label for this misleading tweet, but not the tweets about Scarborough. Tweets that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud. OK? That's the one that they put up the label about.

Twitter did apologize to the Klausutis family but said they would not take down the president's tweets about his wife's death.

Really, come on. So, they're letting the president use their platform to drag us all right into the mud. Letting him get away with it. But tonight, the president seems a lot more outraged at Twitter than he is about the death toll of the coronavirus, and that is approaching 100,000 right now.

The president tweeting, of course, tweeting as he always does, that Twitter is stifling free speech and threatening that he won't allow it to happen.

But there are two major crises in this country tonight, OK? As I said, two deadly viruses killing Americans. COVID-19, racism '20. Now we all know that racism is not new this year but the latest racially charged incident is from just last night. The death of George Floyd.

He's a black man in Minneapolis who died after a white officer arresting him held him down with his knee on his neck. Four Minneapolis police officers were fired today as the FBI has opened an investigation. A disturbing video showing two officers with George Floyd on the ground.

This video doesn't show what led up to the arrest. We don't see what police describe as the victim resisting arrest. He's on the ground for a long time with the police officer's knee on his neck. How can he resist? He couldn't move. He's saying, I can't move. He's saying, I'm done.

But what we do see is this officer with his knee on George Floyd's neck forcing his face into the ground. We hear him screaming, please, I can't breathe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please. I can't breathe, officer. Give me --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It is hard to watch. Imagine what he felt like. When you said, my god, I can't watch that, or why are they showing that? Imagine what Mr. Floyd felt like. Imagine what his family feels like.

Police say he died at a hospital shortly after that. After begging, please, I can't breathe. Just like Eric Garner nearly six years ago in New York. His final words, I can't breathe. Speaking of the family, I'm going to talk to member of George Floyd's

family tonight. And another one, then there's the case of Ahmaud Arbery, the young black man who was chased down and shot to death when he was jogging in Georgia, in a Georgia neighborhood in February.

Three white suspects are charged with murder in the case. An attorney for the family says the DOJ is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

As we reported last night. Racism is infecting this country, continues to affect -- infect this country. Just as surely as COVID-19. And we don't only see it in encounters between African-Americans and the police. It even infects a simple walk in the park.

A black man out in New York's Central Park early yesterday morning bird watching asks a white woman to follow the rules, put her dog on a leash. The man films the incident as the woman calls police claiming that she is being threatened by an African-American man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's an African-American man, I'm in Central Park, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog. And, like -- I'm sorry, I can't hear. I'm being threatened by a man in the ramble. Please send the cops immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The fake tears. The scary black man. Notice, she's the one who's breaking the rules, but she wants to call the cops on the man who asked her to follow the rules by putting her dog on a leash.

Happens a lot. This one was just filmed. So, when people tell you this B.S. happens, maybe you should believe them. OK?

[22:15:05]

And by the way, she knew the power that she had. This is a white woman calling the cops saying that a black man is threatening her. My gosh, a scary black man. Those cops could have showed up. His fate could have been similar as Mr. Floyd.

Different relationships with the police Amy Cooper have than that black man. That woman, her name is Amy Cooper. She apologized but was fired from her job today after the video sparked outrage. And the fact is, all too often encounters like this have spiraled out of control with tragic results, but this man, his name is Christian Cooper. No relation. Says he didn't want to see anyone's life ruined. I'm going to talk to him tonight as well on the show.

But I want you to take a look at this tweet. It's from Bernice King. Bernice King is the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. See those side-by-side photos? Minneapolis police officer with his knee on George Floyd's neck. There's Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest racial injustice. Her quote is, "if you are unbothered or mildly bothered by the first

knee, that would be the one on the left but outraged by the second knee, that would be the one on the right, Colin Kaepernick, then my father's words, you're more devoted to order than to justice. And more passionate about an anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a black man's freedom to live."

Roll that back. Let me read that again. Put that up. Take a look at your screen. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., quote, "if you are unbothered or mildly bothered by the first knee but outraged by the second, then in my father's words, you are more devoted to order than to justice. And more passionate about an anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a black man's freedom to live."

In a moment like this, racism and coronavirus ravaging this country, we need leadership. Instead, this president is dragging us right into the mud.

Lots ahead on this show tonight. With all 50 states in the process of re-opening and cases increasing in some of them, we're moving too fast, are we? That is a question for Andy Slavitt and Dr. David Rubin, next.

[22:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So tonight, this country is getting closer and closer to a grim milestone. Milestone, 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. And it's important to note that new cases are trending up in 17 states as the nation re-opens and social distancing rules are being relaxed.

So, let's bring in now Andy Slavitt. Andy Slavitt is the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. And Dr. David Rubin is the director of PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I'm grateful to have both men on. Thank you so much.

Andy, I'm going to start with you. Can you hear me? You there? OK. We don't have Andy Slavitt. So, I'm going to go to Dr. Rubin. Or David Rubin. Dr. Rubin, listen, these 17 states are seeing an increase in new cases.

We're going to put it up. Dark red states on the map like Alabama and Arkansas are among them. In Arkansas the governor is describing a second peak. Georgia and Wisconsin are also seeing increases. Why are some hotspots cooling off while others are seeing a significant increase?

DAVID RUBIN, DIRECTOR OF POLICY LAB, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Well, this is a really important next three to four weeks. You have a lot of communities re-opening. Most communities in the country. And you're seeing a lot of different paces to how those communities re-open. How vigilant they are.

And that's coming right in the face of increasing temperatures and humidity as we enter our summer months here in the United States. And then right in the middle of that we now introduced Memorial Day weekend.

So, there are a lot of different forces in play right now. The next three to four weeks are going to be critical. To the degree that temperature and humidity have been helping to mitigate transmission, that works against increasing case counts as we re-open, but our forecast at policylab.chop.edu already demonstrating that we're seeing the kind of sea levels rise in many areas.

We're seeing it along the southeast coast. We're seeing it in Southern California. And in the southwest now. And certainly, through areas of the upper Midwest which are continuing to be in their epidemic phase.

It's hard to know exactly where we'll be in three to four weeks, but I suspect for a lot of communities we may actually see cases rise and then kind of plateau at a new level and the decision-making will actually -- to whether -- whether those communities are comfortable with the amount of transmission they're having in regards to the healthcare capacity of those communities.

Some cities may be able to manage just fine, but particularly some of those rural areas in Alabama and Arkansas that you were discussing, they may be overwhelmed quickly.

LEMON: Andy Slavitt, I want to bring you in now. You've been, you know, talking about this. We've been discussing this with you. I know you have strong opinions on it.

You know, we saw packed boardwalks, beaches, bars, this weekend. There was that packed pool party, Lake of the Ozarks. Are these large-scale events of particular concern to those who are looking closely at exactly how this virus spreads?

[22:25:01]

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: Well, look, I think there's some good news and there's some bad news. The good news is by in large I think the public has learned how to be safer, wear masks, stay out of small crowds.

The bad news is that this virus hasn't changed since the days we went indoors and started staying home. The virus is just as contagious and just as lethal.

And so, people who have that energy to kind of bust out, hang out, in large crowds, are taking some risks. I think it's a little bit safer outdoors, but as soon as people start packing churches, older people with stifled air, large crowds, those are -- those are potential hotspots.

So, people need to be very, very careful and realize none of us have immunity to this. You can open safely, you know, we have a web site which tells people how to open safely. It's got a hash tag, and it's open safely. As David said, we can mitigate some of this but we can't let our guard down. LEMON: David, I want to ask you about the Arkansas Governor, Asa

Hutchinson. Said that several people in his state who attended a high school swim party contracted coronavirus. How many people are having, you know, pool parties thinking that it's fine to be outside because, you know, you just heard Andy Slavitt saying, outside, it's better, but it's still not foolproof, right? It's better than being inside in a packed church and so on.

But they attended this pool party. People think it's OK, I'm outside, I'm in a chlorine-filled pool, the chlorine is going to kill it. The reality is there's still ongoing community spread when you're around a lot of people. Correct?

RUBIN: Sure. I mean, crowding is always a problem. I suspect that the risk is lower when you're in outdoor environments, but, you know, the risk of transmission is never going to be zero. People are going -- we're in a phase wherein government is actually transferring responsibility back to individuals.

And everyone is trying to calibrate their own risk here. I -- I don't feel as concerned when I see people on the beach or at a pool party. When I see people packing into bars --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hold on, hold on. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, let me ask you this, doc, because I understand what you're saying. Does it feel like we're having this conversation a little bit too soon, though, to say -- having conversations about whether it's -- listen, I know we have to open the economy back up. Right? It's just -- we have to do it smartly.

But does this sound like something we should be having a conversation we should be having in a few months about people being outside and zero transmission? Because everybody knows it's never going to be a zero-transmission thing. That's the obvious. But does it seem like we're having this conversation a little too soon?

RUBIN: Well, like I said at the beginning of my comments, I think within three or four weeks we're going to see the effects of these re- openings as well as the introduction of this Memorial Day travel. And the mixing we've just seen.

It's the degree that, you know, temperature and outdoor environments have helped, we'll see it, but if we start to see resurgence, I think you're right, we'll have a different opinion. But I think the next three, four weeks are going to be really critical in understanding what the rest of the summer looks like.

LEMON: I hope the temperature has a mitigating effect on it. I hope the humidity as well. So, let's see what happens. Thank you so much. Sorry about the issue we had, Andy Slavitt. We'll have you back soon, both of you. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

The former Vice President Joe Biden sitting down exclusively for CNN today. It is his first face-to-face interview in the months since the coronavirus crisis upended the country. And you're going to want to see what he has to say. OK? Here's some of what's he's saying about President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine. It reminds me of the guys that I grew up with playing ball. They'd walk around with a ball in their hand but didn't like to hit very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Tonight, a CNN exclusive with Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, it is his first in-person interview since being knocked off the campaign trail by the coronavirus pandemic and he calls President Trump an absolute fool for mocking Biden's wearing of a mask at a Memorial Day ceremony. CNN's Dana Bash sat down with the former vice president and she joins me now. Dana, good evening to you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. We sat down social distancing style outside of his home in Delaware, and I started by asking him whether the interview he did with me, the outing he did yesterday, means that he's about to get back on the campaign trail. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is, yes, but I think you got to -- president is supposed to lead by example. And I watched -- I watched the president yesterday wearing no mask, you know, and -- and some making fun of the fact I wore a mask.

The truth of the matter is I think you're supposed to lead by example, and one of the things our governor has said, he want -- keep social distancing, stay at home has been the order, until, on June 1 of this year, and so I think it's important that, look, 100,000 deaths. 100,000 deaths and at least 35,000 to 50,000, were avoidable, but for lack of attention and ego, I think.

And just -- so, and you know me, I'm usually the last one to leave an event. I like interacting with people. But I hope to be able to do more, but we're going to do it by the numbers, because I think it's important because this is not over.

BASH: You mentioned the mask, that you wore a mask yesterday. President Trump went to a Memorial Day service. He did not wear a mask. Not just some people making fun of you. He did.

BIDEN: Yes.

BASH: He did on Twitter. He retweeted a photo of you wearing it. He's trying to belittle you for wearing a mask making it seem like it's a sign of weakness. Is it?

BIDEN: He's a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way. I mean, every leading doc in the world is saying we should wear a mask when you're in a crowd, and especially when you know you're going to be in a position where you're going to inadvertently get closer than 12 feet to somebody.

[22:35:11]

I know we're 12 feet apart. I get that. But just absolutely -- this macho stuff for a guy -- I shouldn't get going, but it just is -- it's cost people's lives. It's costing people's lives. And like I said, we're almost 100,000 dead today. 100,000 people. Columbia study showing that we could have, if you just started a week earlier, would have saved thousands of lives. I mean, these are -- this is a tragedy.

BASH: But wearing a mask has become a cultural and political flashpoint. The president is involved in that, even stoking that.

BIDEN: Sure, he is, and, look, he's stoking deaths. That's not going to increase the likelihood that people are going to be better off.

BASH: So do you think wearing a mask projects strength or weakness?

BIDEN: Leadership. What it presents and projects is leadership. Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine. Reminds me of the guys that I grew up with playing ball. They'd walk around with a ball in their hand but they didn't like to hit very much.

BASH: Let's talk about the fact that nearly 100,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. If you were president right now, what would you do differently? How would you balance people's wellbeing, medically and in terms of their health, versus their economic wellbeing?

BIDEN: I don't know how you separate the two. I don't know how you separate -- if you're dead, you have no economic wellbeing, your family has no economic wellbeing. So first of all, I'd listen to the scientists. I'd tell the truth. Tell the truth.

There are ways to re-open certain areas and rationally with distancing, wearing masks, making sure that you don't congregate with too many people in one spot. Making sure you're in a situation where you don't spread, you, in fact, inhibit the prospect of a spreading of this disease.

This is ubiquitous disease. And the president doesn't seem to me to be prepared. We should be testing and tracing before we can fully open. We should be in a position where we're able to make sure that people have all the protective gear that are needed. The first responders and the like. They still don't have all that.

We should be in a position where we're able to make sure that people are -- if he cares about people re-opening, start lending the money to small businesses. Not one more penny to a major corporation. Put people in a position where they don't have to risk their lives to be able to make a living.

BASH: Speaking of making a living, if you win, you could be inheriting some really severe economic challenges. President Trump's senior economic adviser told me on Sunday that the unemployment rate could be in double digits in November.

And I realize that when you were vice president you had to deal with the financial collapse. This is different, though. How would you address that?

BIDEN: Well, two ways. It depends on how irresponsible he remains between now and November, if and when we win. Because things can get worse or they can get marginally better. Number one. Number two, if he, in fact, has prepared the nation for a rebound of this disease, this covid-19, then, in fact, we may be in a position where we're able to handle what happens.

BASH: One more question on the economy. The flip side of the first question I asked about the very poor economy, some Democratic economists, I'm sure you've heard about this, they're saying that there's a real possibility that the economy could surge right before the election. And the president could use that as a talking point for his re-election. How do you deal with that?

BIDEN: Well, surge is relative. So, if you're losing 10s of millions of jobs and we're well over -- millions and millions of jobs and you gain back a quarter of that or half of that, it's going to look like there's real growth, but you're still going to end up as all the economists say with an incredibly high unemployment rate and a lot of people in real trouble.

BASH: I want to ask you about the remark you made last week on the Breakfast Club. You said if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, you ain't black.

BIDEN: Well --

BASH: Now you since said that you shouldn't have been so cavalier. But during the same interview you said the NAACP has endorsed me every time I've run which isn't true. So my question for you is about what some supporters say they're worried about which is that all of this could end up hurting the enthusiasm that you really need to win among black voters.

BIDEN: Well, first of all, you know, I -- it was a mistake, number one. And I was smiling when he asked me the question. I was -- I shouldn't have been such a wise guy really. He was being a wise guy and I responded kind. I shouldn't have done that. It was a mistake. I have never taken the African-American community for granted. Never, never, never once.

[22:40:07]

And I've had overwhelming support in my state and overwhelming support from the African-American community in my whole career, but I have never taken it for granted. I worked like the devil for it and I have to earn it every single time. Nobody's vote should be taken for granted. That's what it conveyed. My response.

And I've never done that. And if you noticed, I, you know, this -- all the time we were talking about in the primary, well, Biden can't win because look what he did. He came in 99th or something in Iowa and, you know, and New Hampshire, and I said, wait until we get to a representative state. I've had overwhelming support from the African- American community. My whole career.

BASH: They're going to be out there for you in the same numbers --

BIDEN: Well, no, only if I earn. I've got to make it clear why I think I deserve their look, why I deserve a look. And -- and not just in comparison to him but in comparison to anybody else, anybody else running. Anybody that would be running.

And I've had -- I've had -- look, the state you're sitting in here has over -- you know, it's the eighth largest black population in America, it's a percent of vote -- of population. And I've got overwhelming support every time I've run but I work like hell because I work in the east side, I work in all the things that I care about.

I work about the African-American agenda. Dealing with everything from making sure their houses are as valuable as the same white person's house in a white neighborhood. I'm making sure that they -- we're working on education. I've been arguing for years that it's not fair. So, you know, I have to earn it.

BASH: You did make an effort to clean up that comment pretty quickly. It still got a lot of attention. President Trump says offensive things. He never apologizes for it. Is there a double standard here? And if so, is there a lesson for you on how to compete with him?

BIDEN: No, I'm never going to stoop to where he is. I'm not going to do what he does. He says so many outrageous things and to usually divide, separate -- the things he said about African-Americans and women and across the board, Asians, across the board, you know, and he says so many of them that I was talking to a friend of mine today, a leader in the African-American community.

And I said, why is he going after Barack? He said, because it stirs up his base, Barack's a black man. I don't know if that's -- all of a sudden, Barack, most popular guy out there and he's attacking Barack? What's that all about?

BASH: Well, you know, I'm sure you've seen some Democrats have said, Mr. Vice President, stop apologizing. You're going to say dumb things. Don't apologize because that's not the world we're living in.

BIDEN: Well, no, when I say something that is understandably in retrospect offensive to someone, and legitimately offensive. Making it look like I take them for granted, I should apologize. I don't apologize for every mistake I make because a lot of them don't have any consequence. It's just a beat up -- well, Joe said there were three rungs on that fence, well no, there were two rungs on that fence. I'm not going to apologize for that. But my generic point is, you know, look, the good news and the bad

news. The vast majority of people in all the data and my experience, the polling data, they think they know me. That's the good news. The bad news is they know me. So, the hard part is, I have real faults. Everybody does. They know my faults. So, it's going to be hard though, I think, as the data is showing now, to try to turn something they know to be my strength and my honor, into a liability.

BASH: So, I want to move on to another topic. But real quick, the president spent a lot of time, especially this past weekend tweeting some pretty outlandish comments, retweeting others, things like conspiracy theories suggesting his critics committed murder. Do you think social media companies like Twitter should take action against the president?

BIDEN: I'm of the view that social media companies have to re-examine, whether or not, for example, if you put something out saying that same outlandish thing that the president thinks a talk show host on a cable committed murder. I mean, you'd say there's no evidence for that at all. Zero.

BASH: So should Twitter --

BIDEN: Yes.

BASH: -- do something?

BIDEN: Yes.

BASH: Should they take action?

BIDEN: I think they should. I think they should say when things are patently not true, they should say so.

BASH: You told me in the last debate that you would pick a woman.

BIDEN: Yes.

BASH: As your running mate. Will that woman be a woman of color?

BIDEN: Look, I'm not going to get into that now because we haven't gotten there yet. There are women of color under consideration, and there are women from every part of the country under consideration, because there's a lot of really qualified women that are ready to be president.

But I'm not making that commitment. I'm going to make that judgment after, in fact, this group goes through interviewing all these people, then they do the background checks which you know take six weeks or so to be done and then for me to narrow down and --

[22:45:11]

BASH: Are the background checks happening already?

BIDEN: Not yet. BASH: Has the vetting started formally?

BIDEN: Well, I'm not going to get into detail, but let me put it this way. The four-person commission that I put in charge, they have interviewed a lot of these people already.

BASH: After your interview with the Breakfast Club Charlamagne told CNN that he thinks a black woman as a running mate is necessary.

BIDEN: Well, Charlamagne's really entitled to his own opinion.

BASH: OK.

BIDEN: There's others, for example, I just was -- Jim Clyburn was just on The View and he said it's not necessary. So, you know, it's -- I'm going to pick the best person that I -- look, you've watched me and you've covered me as vice president. I think the two most important things are you got to pick someone who's compatible with you both in terms of your style and my style and Barack's are very different but they were compatible, they work with one another.

And someone who, in fact, you would want to be the last person in the room when you're making a tough decision and who will be loyal in the sense that whatever disagreements you have or between you and the president at that moment. And so that's a process that's under way.

BASH: The president is stepping up his attacks on mail-in voting. How confident are you that the election in November is going to be safe, secure, and fair?

BIDEN: It depends a lot on whether or not the president follows through with his threats, President Trump. For example, cutting off money from the post office for mail-in ballots. This is a guy who sits in the Oval Office, fills out his absentee mail-in ballot and sends it to Florida to vote in a primary.

Now, why is that not something that is susceptible to fraud or as -- there's no evidence at all. There's no reason why we can't have an honest, decent vote and the president is always lying about voting. I heard him again, he's talking about, how all those thousands of people in California are going to vote two and three and four times. I mean, it's just bizarre.

BASH: Your political opponents re trying -- the president is trying to paint a picture of you as somebody who's too old to be president and that you're missing a step. How are you going to combat that?

BIDEN: Watch me. Look, I mean, talk about a guy who's missing a step. He's missing something, man. I don't want to get down in the -- giving him nicknames, but this is a fellow who looks like he's having trouble controlling his own emotions.

What worries me is, you know, all the stuff about Biden's hiding, you know, the fact of the matter is it's working pretty well so far doing the rules. He's behind in almost every state. It doesn't mean it's going to be that way come November, but the idea that he seemed to get more erratic the more he feels like he's behind the curve.

BASH: Last thing. We are coming up on five years since your son, Beau, passed away, and we're in a moment in this country where families across the country are grieving their loved ones. What's your message to them?

BIDEN: My message is, son, daughter, husband, wife, mom, dad, you lost, are still part of your soul. And focus on -- focus on how the wonderful parts of the relationship and try to find a purpose. For example, if they left behind children, you can find purpose in helping the children, or a brother, a sister, a mom, or a dad, a husband, a wife, and I found for me, it never -- it never totally goes away, you know?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Fascinating interview, Dana. The vice president has been somewhat out of the spotlight during this coronavirus pandemic, but he is really taking on the president over his handling, or lack of handling, of this crisis.

BASH: He is. I was writing down some of the adjectives he used. He said he's a fool, he's erratic. And then he said he was lying about voting. This is -- and I certainly got the feeling from the former vice president when I was with him, that this is a man who finally clinched, effectively clinched, the nomination. He kind of, beat out all of his Democratic opponents. He was ready to turn to the president to start going mano-a-mano and the pandemic hit.

[22:50:07]

And so not only could he not physically get out, which he still really can't and doesn't want to, but also he couldn't breakthrough. I mean, that's just not where the story was. The 2020 election certainly took a backseat in a big way to the health crisis and economic crisis.

So, he's clearly getting ready to get back out there. He did said in the beginning though that he's going to wait for his own governor of Delaware to lift the stay-at-home order before he even thinks about leaving the state and beginning some semblance of a normal campaign.

LEMON: A tough position to be in. Especially when the president of the United States has a bullied pulpit, he is on television every day a supposed to Joe Biden. Right? Who doesn't run a government or anything, so, he can't do it. Thank you Dana, I appreciate you joining us with that interview.

BASH: Thanks, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: OK. So, four police officers fired. After a black man died in their custody. George Floyd said that he couldn't breathe as he was held down with a knee during his arrest. His family is speaking out, right here. They are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:55:00]

LEMON: All right. I want you to take a look at the screen now. Because these are protests tonight. Four Minneapolis police officers fired today after the death yesterday of George Floyd. A black man who was held down with a knee by an officer as he protested that he couldn't breathe. OK?

The incident was caught on camera. In a disturbing video. The video did not capture the incident leading up to the arrest. And did not capture what police describe as the victim resisting arrest. OK? Here's what police say happened.

The officers approached Floyd and attempted to arrest him over a suspected forgery. Now, according to a police report, the police say that he was ordered to step from his car, after he got out, he physically resisted officers. Video captured by a bystander shows what happened next. Now, I'm going to play a portion of the video for you now. But I have to warn you, it is very difficult to watch. Here it is,

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you got him down, man, Let him breathe at least, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been trying to help out. Let him breathe.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me breathe, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe. Leave the knee in my neck. I can't breathe (BEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been (inaudible) the whole time, man. Just get up and get in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mama. Mama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) to get in. When I told you, you came

(inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mommy. I'll do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know but you didn't listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My stomach hurts. Get me some water or something. Please. Please. I can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: He's pleading and saying I can't breathe. How long do they need to keep their knee -- his knee on the man's neck? Police say Gorge Floyd died at a hospital a short time later.

So, joining me now, Philonise and Rodney Floyd, both brothers of George Floyd. And his cousin, Tera Brown. Also Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family of George Floyd. I'm sorry you guys have to watch this. And I'm sorry this happened. And I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. OK? If the questioning becomes too much, just say so. Because I don't want to be disrespectful. But I want the story to get out there. OK, family?

TERA BROWN, COUSIN OF BENJAMIN FLOYD: OK.

LEMON: Is that a deal? Thank you. Thank you so much. So, Ms. Philonise, I can't even imagine what you and your family are going through right now. Just losing a love one, but in such a brutal and public way. Can you talk about this -- how your family is holding up?

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER BENJAMIN FLOYD: Right now, everybody is trying to stay strong. We're all pulling together, we just want justice for everything that's going on right now.

LEMON: Sorry, I meant to -- sorry I called you Ms. I meant Mr. Let's bring in Tera now. We showed these protests. They have sprung up in Minneapolis. And Chance, the rapper, helped organize a protest in Chicago today as well. Do you take heart in the support that you're getting from the community at least? Is there something heartening about that?

BROWN: It definitely warms my heart to see that we have so many people willing to support and to protest and to give him a voice. And keep this going because he was a very loving person. And he didn't deserve what happened to him. So, yes, we are definitely even overwhelmed, because we didn't expect to have the kind of support that we have.