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Trump Travels To Arizona For Events As State Sees Rise In Cases; Trump To Visit Border Wall Segment, Speak To Students In Phoenix. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 10:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


Happening right now, President Trump is on his way to Arizona, which we should note is one of 25 states where coronavirus cases are surging today. He's going to host several events, and we are learning that masks will not be required at the president's events in Phoenix today, though Phoenix requires them.

Before he left the White House, the president moments ago responded to a question about his comments on deliberately slowing testing in this country. You'll remember the White House has said he was joking. What did the president say?


REPORTER: Mr. President, at that rally, when you said you asked your people to slow down testing, were you just kidding, or do you have a plan to slow down testing?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world, and we have the most of them.

By having more tests, we find more cases. We did 25 plus, 25 million tests. Think of that, 25 million. If you look at other countries, they did 1 million, 2 million, 3 million, big countries. We did 25 million, way more by double, triple, quadruple any other country.

Here is what I say. Testing is a double-edged sword. In one way, it tells you have cases. In another way, you find out where the cases are and you do a good job. We are doing a great job. We have never been credited for it. We're doing the best testing job anywhere in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: I don't kid. All right, well, straight from -- straight from his mouth, I guess he meant it. This as the nation's top medical experts will soon testify on Capitol Hill about the administration's coronavirus response. We're getting our first look at what they are going to say on testing and on vaccines.

Our teams are covering every angle. Let's begin this hour with our Rosa Flores in Miami, where they are still seeing a spike daily in cases.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Poppy. And now, multiple mayors here in Miami-Dade County requiring people in public to wear masks. This as Florida and 24 other states across the country are reporting an uptick, an upward trend in coronavirus cases, including the State of Arizona where President Donald Trump will be hosting a series of rallies today in Phoenix. Masks are required, but they will not be enforced.

The Department of Health there saying that they have seen more than 2,000 cases for five days in a row and the governor attributing that uptick in part to an increase in cases.

On now to Texas, in that state, they have seen cases and hospitalizations double in the past month, and Governor Greg Abbott saying he is ready to take tougher measures to stop the spread.

On here to Florida, Florida has seen more than 100,000 cases so far, and if as you look at this graph, think of this, it starts on May 4th, and you can see that it took a few weeks for that uptick to start, but now it's in full swing.

And, Jim and Poppy, like I was saying, now here in Miami-Dade, multiple mayors requiring everyone to wear a mask in public. Governor Ron DeSantis is not making that requirement statewide. Jim and Poppy?

SCIUTTO: Rosa Flores in Miami, wearing a mask as recommended, thanks very much.

We're getting a preview of what four of the nation's top health experts say -- will say in less than an hour when a House oversight hearing on the coronavirus response begins. Among them, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is saying in his opening statement that rigorous clinical testing is under way right now on several possible vaccines for the virus, plus, we're learning about a revolutionary CDC test that can check not only for COVID-19 but also the seasonal flu. And that's key, of course, because when we get to the fall, there going to be both floating around.

HARLOW: For sure. Let's go to our Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with more. Good morning, Elizabeth. If you could walk us through what we're going to hear today and perhaps an update on that dual test.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Let's start with that dual test. This is the first we're hearing about it. If it works out, that would really be terrific, and here is why. Come flu season, people are going to go to the doctor, go to the emergency room with symptoms, headache, achiness, temperatures and doctors are going to go how can we tell if this is COVID or the flu because there's going to be a lot of flu running around once the winter hits.


One test that can do it all would be great because all those patients need to be tested for both. So one test would save time, would save money, would save lives. We're very interested to hear when this test will be ready to roll out.

And then there was also -- there were also -- we're expecting talk at the hearing on other types of testing, especially testing of vaccines. The hope is that we will have a vaccine out as soon as possible. Three phase three trials, that's the final before rolling out on to the market testing that gets done, are supposed to start in July, August and September, and the United States is investing lots and lots of money, hundreds of millions, billions of dollars into this testing.

And Dr. Fauci is expected to -- to emphasize rigorous -- we're doing rigorous testing, make sure it's safe, make sure it works. That's so important, Poppy and Jim, because when you have the name, Operation Warp Speed, that's the name of the effort to get this vaccine, that doesn't speak to safety. That doesn't speak to rigorous testing. It speaks to speed, and Americans aren't going to trust that, and so it's good that Dr. Fauci is emphasizing that this testing will be rigorous. Poppy, Jim?

HARLOW: For sure. Elizabeth, thank you.

Let's talk to Dr. Amy Compton Phillips. She's a CNN Medical Analyst and Chief Clinical Officer at Providence Health System. It's very nice to have you. Thank you for joining us.

Could we just begin on that, on that dual test and what that will mean just in terms of slowing the spread and just informing people in this country?

DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, testing itself doesn't inform the spread but testing and acting on it can absolutely slow the spread.

There's something we call influenza-like illness. And influenza-like illness is cough, fever, shortness of breath. And once flu season hits come to fall, we're going to have to distinguish what is traditional influenza and what is coronavirus.

Because influenza, you know, we ask people to stay home and recover but we don't really require them to go into quarantine and self- isolate. With COVID, because of the lack of antibodies in the population and the significantly higher risk than flu, we really want people to take that extra step to self-quarantine. And so it's really critical to distinguish and so a dual test can definitely help to do that. SCIUTTO: So, doctor, you heard the president make claims will testing and the White House denied them and the president basically making his arguments standing by them saying that, really, the reason we're seeing a rise in cases is because we're testing more.

Now, the facts are that the positive rate from those tests also rising, which means infections are rising. It's not just that you're testing more. Can you explain to folks at home why those are the facts of this?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Yes, absolutely. In this case, we absolutely have to fact-check the president because it is not the issue that because we're testing more, we're finding more cases. We're finding more cases because there's more cases to find.

The rate of infections are going up in the U.S., absolutely. The number of hospitalizations are now starting to go up, and as you know, hospitalizations lag behind people getting infected by about a week to two weeks because people get the infection first and then the infection gets bad and they go to the hospital.

So now, we're finding that front wave of rising infections, and we're going to continue to see in states where like Florida and Arizona, they are already seeing hospitalizations go up, and that peak is not going to happen for a couple of weeks.

So finding the tests early, in my mind, it's a lot like if you were going to go screening for cancer, the reason we do that is because when you find it early, it's much easier to treat. And the same thing holds true with COVID. If we find it early, we can stop the spread. But if you don't find it early, it explodes and gets out of control like a cancer that metastasizes, much harder to deal, and that's the situation we're in right now.

HARLOW: We had Michael Osterholm on last hour, who has really led the way in so many respects on calling what this was going to become months ago. And he said to us, I don't think there's going to be a second wave. This continues -- this is a forest fire. And I wonder if you agree with that.

Because I do -- I have a lot of friends saying, okay, now I'm going to get on a plane this summer and take my kids to see their grandparents because we can't do that in fall and winter when this all comes back in a second wave. I mean, if this is a forest fire, then now is not safe for them to do that either.

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: It is a forest fire. Compare what we've done in the U.S. to what happened in the E.U., because our peaks happened at about the same time. And, by the way, the E.U. has more people than the U.S., about 100 million more people.

And yet here in the U.S., our rate has stayed flat. In the E.U., it came down, right? So they actually have been able to control the first wave by using science, by using testing, by using contact tracing and isolation.


Ours has never come down. It's leveled off and stayed high. And so we've never controlled that forest fire that's burning across the country.

But what's interesting is that because it's local, there's hot spots, there might be a lot of infections in one town and virtually none in the other town, so people in places where the infections are less prominent are feeling safe. And because we don't have consistent messaging coming out from the government that's clear and cohesive, saying that masks stop the public, wear them in public, people are confused about what they need to do.

And so we need to be clear, cohesive and very consistent in saying that this is a forest fire and what you can do as an individual is wear that mask and stay six feet apart.

SCIUTTO: Just very quickly, is anybody getting it right? Do you look at any state, any community for having this dialed this up and down as necessary?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Well, I think we can really take a lesson from New York. The fact that they were able to get it under control after having this raging wildfire and in fact it's one of the reasons why the stats in the U.S. are as good as they are right now because New York was able to get theirs down and under control.

SCIUTTO: Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, good to have you on to hear the facts. Please listen to the doctors, folks.

Still to come this hour, President Trump saying he does not kid when it comes to his comments on slowing down testing. That, of course, contradicts what all his advisers have been saying. We're going to be live at the White House, next.

HARLOW: Also, the NASCAR community rallies around its only top circuit black driver a day after a noose was found in his garage. The emotional scenes from yesterday's race and an update on that investigation are just ahead.



SCIUTTO: Right now, President Trump is en route to Arizona, where coronavirus cases have nearly doubled in just the last two weeks. The president will make a stop at the border wall before heading to Phoenix to host a real for student supporters, no masks required.

HARLOW: Right. John Harwood is at the White House with more. Good morning, John.


We saw the president as he was leaving look for things to feel good about after the bitter disappointment of the rally in Tulsa over the weekend. So the president in talking to reporters before getting on Marine One hailed the 200 miles of border wall that he's going to inspect, even though there was already a border barrier on 197 of those miles, just three miles of new border.

He was talking about the Fox News ratings for the rally he had in Tulsa even though the arena was only one-third full on Saturday night, which was a very disappointing thing for him. And he also talked about leaning into the culture war that he sees as his political comfort zone after police stopped protesters in Lafayette Park outside the White House last night from ripping down a statue of Andrew Jackson.


TRUMP: We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators, and call them whatever you want. Some people don't like that language, but that's what they are. They are bad people. They don't love our country.


HARWOOD: Vandals, hoodlums, anarchists, bad people who don't love our country, that is how he lumping the protests across the country against police abuses. And it's consistent with the president's pattern of dividing Americans for his political benefit.

The other thing he said was he completely debunked the explanation that his aides offered yesterday for his comments about testing. They had said he was kidding when he said that I want to slow down the testing because more testing means more cases. He told reporters a few minutes ago, I don't kid, and, in fact, more testing does show more cases, and he does not want to do that.

SCIUTTO: And a rising infection rate, we should note. That's a thing. The positivity rate is going up as they test more. John Harwood at the White House, thanks very much.

HARLOW: All right. Let's turn now to a brand-new ad that you may see soon targeting President Trump, this one on trade.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump lost a trade war that he started. Farmers bankrupted, steel workers betrayed, and manufacturing in a recession. Donald Trump lost, and we can't afford four more years of losing.


HARLOW: With me now is former Democratic presidential candidate, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. Good morning, Mayor. Thanks for being here.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning. Nice to be back with you.

HARLOW: It's an interesting ad for sure, and this is really the first unified DNC Biden campaign concerted negative attack on the president's handling of trade in China. And I wonder why you think this moment, this is the best way to go after the president given that it was last May that, as you know, the former vice president said that China is not competition for the U.S., only to walk that back a month later?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the DNC is stepping up to clarify the record because we know that this president will continue to try to fog up his failure to stand up for American workers and American farmers when it comes to dealing with China.


Look, the record and the facts are very clear. You've got a president who talks tough, went into a trade war without a strategy and then allowed American farmers and workers to pay the price. Our prices went up, it's consumers. In my part of the country, where there are a lot of soybean farmers, there was a lot of pain inflicted on farmers.

And the president basically painted this country into a corner, negotiated a deal that did little more than make up for some of the damage he created, and meanwhile sold out all of our values in the process. I think this moment where Donald Trump is talking about China all the time is exactly the right moment to remind everybody of his failure to stand for American workers and American values.

HARLOW: So then the question becomes what would a President Biden do, right? You've got China's handling of the coronavirus and lack of transparency to say the least and global implications of that, and then you also have China's promised agricultural purchases from states like yours, states like mine in Minnesota or across the Midwest that have not come close to what they promised to do. So would a President Biden walk away from this phase one trade deal?

BUTTIGIEG: I think we could expect a President Biden to negotiate in a way that puts our farmers and workers first and that's consistent with our values. What you're not going to see is blundering into a trade war with no strategy.

What you're not going to see is a President Biden doing what President Trump did, which is praising the Chinese regime's, quote, transparency on the issue of coronavirus in order to try to get in good. It is amazing how easy it has been for China to

manipulate the current president.

And someone with the experience that Joe Biden has with China specifically, with Xi Jinping in particular and with foreign policy more generally, means that we will have a president who actually knows what he's doing when he's fighting for us in trade deals and in international diplomacy.

HARLOW: I would like to get your take on another topic, and that is the vote to even begin debate that's going to happen tomorrow on the Republican proposed police bill or the Justice Act, because you're a guy who, when you were running for president, talked a lot about compromise and talked a lot about the middle. And at this point you've got some Senate Democrats signaling that they are prepared to block even debate. You've got the NAACP legal defense fund sending that letter saying that Democrats should not even debate this Republican proposal at this time. Do you think that Senate Democrats should vote to at least take up debate on it?

BUTTIGIEG: I think that Senate Republicans need to do better so that we can actually get the ball rolling. As what happens as --

HARLOW: So at this point you would support not even debating what's out there? I ask because if there isn't a debate about it, nothing may happen this year.

BUTTIGIEG: There's a lot of debate about it. The question is whether there's going to be action. And I think to get the ball rolling on action, there has to be an actual good-faith starting point from Senate Republicans. Another way of putting it is that if you're on the wrong side of the NAACP on the initial terms to get this debate going, we're going to have a lot of trouble getting anywhere.

Look, this is a moment where one advocate has put it we have to raise the ceiling on what's possible and raise the floor on what's acceptable. And that means that at least table stakes is meaningful reform that will deliver real police accountability and look to the broader questions of systemic racism in this country, because this also goes beyond police reform.

We had a number of successes and a number of humbling failures here in South Bend trying to deal with these issues. We need much more robust federal actions to try to support cities and departments trying to do the right thing.

HARLOW: Certainly. Of course, it was just about a year ago the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan. I know for you, and it's been something that you've thought a lot about especially in this moment.

If I could ask you about a different topic, you did a really interesting interview after the Supreme Court decision last week with my colleague, Jim Sciutto, and you talked about wanting to start a family with your husband.

Next year, next term, the Supreme Court is going to take up a case that involves 11 states where it is now currently legal to allow religious exemptions for organizations that would not allow same-sex couples to adopt or foster because of religious exemptions. And Indiana is not one of those 11 states.

But I'm just wondering personally, have the two of you faced discrimination in this process?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, you know, when you start thinking about a family, as we are, you turn to the landscape of agencies and organizations to help. And because we're a same-sex couple, our options are limited.

Look, this is about not just the situation of married couples like us, but about the values we have as a country. And the idea that the administration will try to proactively promote discrimination, proactively encourage laws to turn couples like us away, it doesn't just trouble me as a gay man, it troubles me as a Christian.


Because I know that there are so many kids out there who are deserving of love and who need a good home. And to make them worse off in a pattern of discrimination that isn't consistent with the laws or the values of this country, I think it's just not lining up with at least my personal understanding of where faith can guide us.

HARLOW: Mayor Buttigieg, I appreciate your time this morning. Thanks so much.

BUTTIGIEG: Same here. Thank you.


SCIUTTO: Bubba Wallace is speaking out after someone put a noose in his garage at a NASCAR event. Now the FBI is getting involved. We're going to have more details coming up.