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Trump Holds Rally in Phoenix as Fauci Warns of 'Disturbing Surge'; FBI: NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Not a Target of a Hate Crime; Texas Governor Urges People to Stay Home as Virus Spreads; Trump Again Uses Racially Insensitive Term to Describe Virus. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 24, 2020 - 06:00   ET



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we're seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new daily high in Texas, cases topping 5,000 for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately, we reopened too soon. Basically, we're back to where New York was back in March.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; All of us have been and continue to be committed to increasing readily, timely access to testing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump spoke to an audience of nearly 3,000 people inside this packed megachurch.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There is definitely a certain percentage of the population inside that church that have the virus, because of what's going on there.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, June 24. It's 6 a.m. here in New York.

And this morning, the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is breaking records. And Dr. Anthony Fauci says the next two weeks are critical in saving lives.

As of this morning, 26 states, those states in red, are reporting an increase in new cases. That's more than half the country showing an increase. Seven states are reporting a record number of hospitalizations, including Texas, where the Republican governor there is now urging residents to stay home. That's a huge reversal there. The European Union, which has been far more successful in containing

the virus, is now considering banning Americans from traveling there.

The U.S. now makes up about 25 percent of the total cases in the world. A 25 percent and 25 percent of deaths, but the U.S. makes up only 4 percent of the world's population.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR; Despite all of that, President Trump held a large indoor rally in Arizona, one of the nation's coronavirus hot spots, where he again used a racist and juvenile nickname to describe the virus.

Many in the rally did not wear masks or keep socially distant. We'll show you some more video from that. This is exactly the type of gathering that the White House coronavirus task force warns against.

The nation's top health officials say they see a disturbing surge that is not under control.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Lucy Kafanov. She is live in Dallas -- Lucy.


Coronavirus cases are surging here in Texas. We've seen a record spike in this state. And as you pointed out in the intro, this is just one of 26 states with increasing numbers. Many are breaking records. The nation's top health officials ringing the alarm. The president ignoring those warnings.


KAFANOV (voice-over): On Capitol Hill, an urgent warning from the nation's top infectious disease doctor as President Trump campaigned on the other side of the country in Arizona, one of the states experiencing a rapid increase in reported coronavirus cases.

FAUCI: We're now seeing a disturbing surge of infections.

The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we're seeing.

KAFANOV: New weekly infections are on the rise in at least 26 states, including California, recording 5,000 new cases, its highest daily count since the start of the pandemic.

Here in Texas, one of the first states to begin reopening, Governor Greg Abbott now says it's possible restrictions will be back.

Because the spread is so rampant right now, there's never a reason for you to have to leave your home, unless you do need to go out. The safest place for you is at your home.

KAFANOV: There's no statewide mandate for wearing masks in Texas, nor is there in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is still resisting issuing one. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

And you attach criminal penalties for something, you've got to enforce it. And the question is, in some of the parts of Florida, is that really a good use of resources?

KAFANOV: A county face mask rule was not enforced at Trump's indoor event at an Arizona as the state reported a new single-day record of cases at nearly 3,600. Dr. Anthony Fauci giving this advice to help slow the spread.

FAUCI: Plan A, don't go in a crowd. Plan B, if you do, make sure you wear a mask.

KAFANOV: Fauci, along with other top health officials, testifying before a House committee about the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: We've all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus and the reality that brought this nation to its knees.

KAFANOV: And shutting down this claim from President Trump last week.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: o I said to my people, Slow the testing down, please.

KAFANOV: Trump's staff said he was kidding, but according to the president --

TRUMP: I don't kid. By having more cases, it sounds bad, but actually, what it is is, we're finding people.

KAFANOV: Fauci telling lawmakers he was unaware of any delays.

FAUCI: To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing.

KAFANOV: And on the question of a possible vaccine --

FAUCI: I still think there is a reasonably good chance that, by the very beginning of 2021, that if we're going to have a vaccine, that we will have it by then.


KAFANOV: Health officials say the recent spike is being fueled by people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

A big issue, Alisyn, is large gatherings. Here in Texas, governor trying to restrict that, giving local judges, county judges and mayors the ability to restrict gatherings, outdoor gatherings of 100 people -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Lucy Kafanov in Dallas for us. Thank you very much.

Developing overnight, Bubba Wallace, the only black driver on the NASCAR circuit, is talking to CNN after the FBI determined he was not the target of a hate crime. Investigators say the noose found in his garage stall had been there since last Fall.

CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now with more.

This is a relief, I'm sure, on -- on one side, but still lots of questions about it -- Nick.


Yes, to use Bubba Wallace's own words, he says that he's pissed that some members of the public are questioning his integrity, some going so far as to say that he's manufactured a hoax.

Here's part of what he said in his interview last night with CNN's Don Lemon.


BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: I'm pissed. I'm mad, because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity. And they're not stealing that away from me, but they're just trying to test that.

The image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a -- is not a garage pull. I've -- I've been racing all my life. We've raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that.

It was a noose that was -- whether it was tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. So if it wasn't directed at me, but somebody tied a noose. That's what I'm saying. It was -- it is a noose.


VALENCIA: Wallace was clear in his interview last night, saying that he never saw the noose. It was a member of his team. And his statement about a hate crime only came after he was told by the president of NASCAR that he was the victim of a hate crime.

Now, we want to show you some new video or some video, I should say, this morning of 2019, showing garage number 4 where this noose was found and this noose being there last year in 2019.

Now, we should mention that the Department of Justice and FBI concluded that no hate crime occurred. They released a statement here. I want to read part of that.

It said, "The noose found in garage No. 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage No. 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage No. 4 last week."

Now, NASCAR has been accused by critics of jumping the gun, coming out too soon with a statement in this hyper-charged environment. They're also talking, saying that they're committed to an inclusive environment in their sport -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: That -- that video is fascinating. That is a noose.


CAMEROTA: It will be interesting for the rest of us to see what it normally looks like and to hear Bubba Wallace in a couple of hours on our program.

Nick, thank you very much.

Because coming up on NEW DAY, John Berman will speak with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace live in our 8 a.m. hour. Stick around for that.

BERMAN: All right. Developing overnight, protests in Madison, Wisconsin, the state capital there. Video shows Democratic State Senator Tim Carpenter allegedly being attacked by at least two people who rushed towards the camera.

Carpenter told "The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel," quote, "I don't know what happened. All I did was stop and take a picture, and the next thing I know I'm getting five, six punches, getting kicked in the head."

The group of protesters took down two statues outside the Capitol building in Madison, including one of an abolitionist who died trying to end slavery during the Civil War.

The unrest began earlier in the day in response to the arrest of a black man who brought a megaphone and a baseball bat into a restaurant.

This morning, the governor of Texas is telling people to stay home. That is a huge reversal there. And one of the nation's leading public health experts who lives in Texas calls what is happening now the greatest public health failure in the history of the nation. He joins us next.




GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The coronavirus is serious. It's spreading in Brazos County, across the entire state of Texas.

Because the spread is so rampant right now, there's never a reason for you to have to leave your home, unless you do need to go out. The safest place for you is at your home.


BERMAN: That's Texas Governor Greg Abbott telling people to stay home as the coronavirus rapidly spreads across his state. That's a big reversal in Texas with the governor telling people to stay home. On Tuesday, Texas reported more than 5,000 new cases, breaking the

previous record. The state is also reporting a record number of hospitalizations. You can see the increase there.

Joining us now is Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

So Dr. Hotez, you're in the middle of it all. And I know it's hard to hear these types of things in the morning, but let me just tell people some of the things you have said over the last 24 hours about what's happening. You've called this the greatest public health failure in the history of the nation. You've said the situation in Texas is lights out. You call it a disaster. And you say you don't have two weeks to fix this. Why such alarm?


We're seeing a very steep acceleration now in the number of cases here in Houston, in our metro areas, as you pointed out, and also in San Antonio and Austin. It's just -- not just an increase in the number of cases. It's the slope, the way it's accelerating. It's almost vertical. This is what we call an exponential rise, meaning it's been flat for a while, and now it's going up almost vertically.

And so the numbers are quite concerning in terms of the number of cases. But in some ways, that's the least of it, because our hospitalizations. Texas Medical Center, which is the world's largest medical center, with 60 institutions, we are now projecting that our intensive care units will fill up over the next two weeks.

And the reason that's significant is because we know, as ICUs start to fill up, mortality goes up. It gets harder and harder to manage all of those patients. Even if you have -- even if you're fully staffed.


So this is when you see mortality rates really start to accelerate. This is what we saw in Lombardi, Italy. This is what we saw in Elmhurst hospital in New York and elsewhere in New York. And this is what we can expect here in our Texas hospitals.

So the point is, that's the two-week projection now. Because things are so dire, we have to intervene now, and we have to be very aggressive at implementing stay-at-home and other social distancing measures.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that intervention, because you say that we're in a red-alert situation in Texas. And so the intervention is going to go well beyond masks. So what has to happen today?

HOTEZ: Well, that's the point: we're not really at red alert yet. We do have a color-coded system here in Harris County in Houston of green, yellow, orange and red. We're still at orange. I think we have to go to red at this point. We've seen enough. We know the ICUs are filling up. This is not some

artifact or -- or a result of increased testing as some like to allege.

So unfortunately, we're going to have to go back to a pretty aggressive program of social distancing. Exactly what we cut -- cut back, I think that's going to have to be decided between the governor and the county executives and -- and the mayors --

CAMEROTA: But if it were up to you, Dr. Hotez --

HOTEZ: -- but it's -- the odds are they're not going to do it.

CAMEROTA: I hear you, but if they were taking advice from you, what would that intervention be?

HOTEZ: What -- if it were up to me, we would do exactly what we did towards the end of March, which is a full -- implement a full lockdown and social distancing. That's the only way that I see that we're going to start to bring those numbers down.

And then this time, we have to go back to what's called containment mode, meaning less than one new case per million residents per day.

Remember, if -- back when we opened up in early April, I was on; and I explained that the modelers were telling us that we had to keep social distancing aggressively in place all the way through the month of May to get to that containment point. And we weren't prepared to do it.

And what's more, not only did we open up prematurely, we didn't put the belts and suspenders in needed to monitor that opening. I other words, we didn't have an adequate health system in place for all the contact tracing. We never really did what I call syndromic surveillance in a big way, meaning an app-based system to monitor increase in cases and respiratory illnesses and fever.

We never even had epidemiological models to have as a road map. We didn't have the regular communications.

So all of this catastrophe that we're seeing right now is both predicted and predictable. And now, unfortunately, we're going to have to go back, double down, and then start again.

BERMAN: I have to say, Dr. Hotez, you know, it's not up to you. You can't just institute the stay-at-home order now. So I do wonder, given that Greg Abbott, who urged people to stay at home, which is vastly different than instituting a stay-at-home order, I wonder how politically feasible it is at this point.

It seems to me it's very hard to start reinstituting some of these things politically. You know, Texas -- I mean, in Arizona yesterday, which is seeing largely the same thing that you're seeing in Texas right now, the president held, basically, a rally in a room packed with 3,000 people, and only a few of them were wearing masks.

HOTEZ: Yes, and to make things more difficult, what we have here in Texas is kind of a fringe element coming from the far right. This is an antivaccine movement that is now embraced -- under the moniker of what they call health freedom. They've now added that they're going to campaign against contact tracing, against social distancing, against masks.

And of course, I'm the No. 1 target. They call me the original gangster villain, the O.G. villain. And so that's -- that's an extra problem.

But look, the governor, together with the county executives and the mayors, do have some options. For instance, we can focus right now on the metro areas. At least, that's where the cases seem to be accelerating the most. Let's -- let's start there and -- and then maybe the rest of the state will follow.

But at least we've got to do something to save lives at this point. This is a dire situation. And as I said, otherwise, the ICU cases will start to mount.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Peter Hotez, we really appreciate you sounding the alarm here, as you always have, and we appreciate all of the information you're giving us this morning.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

BERMAN: So, the president of the United States goes full racist with his language on Saturday night and on Tuesday night. So how do you explain someone using a pattern of racist language like that? And what will the impact be on the November election? There's some brand-new polling out that the president may want to see. That's next.




TRUMP: It's got all different names. Wuhan. Wuhan was catching on. Coronavirus, right?



TRUMP: Kung Flu, yes. Kung Flu.


CAMEROTA: And the crowd goes wild. President Trump continuing to use what we assume is his favorite racist term to describe coronavirus.

Back in March, President Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, condemned the use of that term and demanded that reporters tell her who in the White House was using it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: I'm not dealing in hypotheticals. Of course it's wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course it's wrong.

CONWAY: But you can't just make an accusation and not tell us who it is. Who is it? And that's highly offensive so you should tell us all who it is.


CAMEROTA: OK. Joining us now is CNN political commentators Mitch Landrieu and Errol louis.

Well, I guess we can tell Kellyanne Conway, Errol, that it's the president who continues to use it. What's the play here? He thinks that his -- he thinks he can win with a racist term?


ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, unfortunately, Alisyn, he has reason to think so, because it -- he's done it many, many, many times before, and it got him the presidency, frankly.

You know, we should never forget that it was the racist birther conspiracy that he sort of latched onto that really brought him to national prominence in the political realm.

And he's never given that up. He comes back to it again and again and again. It's kind of his main sounding board for getting back into the rhythm that he thinks is going to take him to victory.

Now, the country has changed. It has changed substantially, just in the last few weeks. I don't know if the president realizes that his strategy is badly at odds with where people seem to be, including young people.

You know, somebody has been marching in the streets every night for the last 25 or so nights. He might want to talk to some of his advisers about who those people are and how turned off they are by some of his rhetoric.

BERMAN: Literally sweating to the oldies there as he was delivering that racist term.

And it's not just the use of that term. Of course, Alisyn talked a lot yesterday about the fact that he was retweeting without explanation or context or any reason a picture of a black person punching a white person.

This is something he is clearly leaning into, and it's a choice.

To Errol's point, though, Mayor Landrieu, the country is different. There's a new "New York Times" poll out minutes ago. We'll talk about the overall margin, which is enormous right now, between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. But the numbers on the president's handling of racial tensions are of particular note, given the context of the discussion we're having right now. This is P-305.

The president is doing badly, even with conservatives, on handling of race. Somewhat conservative voters, 46 percent disapprove -- disapprove -- of the president's handling of racial justice protests. Seventy percent of moderate voters disapprove.

So maybe this worked before for him, but there's a lot of reason to believe it's not working now.

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, as Errol said, this is something that was seen in the United States of America when we're at our lowest point. Whether it's Bull Connor, whether it's George Wallace, whether it was Nixon's southern strategy, it was clear. It was intentional. It was focused on keeping us separated, dividing and conquering.

And unfortunately, this president of the United States, every chance he's gotten, has led us in the wrong direction, done the wrong thing, and instead of uniting us around the very serious issues that we're facing, COVID-19, the economic crisis, the really critical issues we're having around police reform. When the country needs a uniter, the president has intentionally gone after the lowest common denominator. It is very sad to watch.

But there is great evidence that the people of America are not going buy this again. At the end of the day, though, it's up to us. We have to go to the polls. Although he has abused his power every day, we now have the power to take our country back. And my expectation is that we are going to do that.

CAMEROTA: Well, unknowable. I mean, Mayor, that therein lies the rub, right? That if, as Errol says, you know, all these people -- all these young people who are turning out to march, do they march themselves into a polling place? We don't know until election day.

But one predictor, Errol, that is an interesting possible harbinger is the fundraising that Joe Biden has now seen. So in May, his numbers eclipsed -- well, beat President Trump's. Let me put them up.

Joe Biden in May raised 80.8 -- $80.8 million. President Trump raised $74 million. I mean, obviously, these numbers are astronomical. But I think that this is the first time that Biden is seen as, you know, a real winner in this category.

LOUIS: No, that's right. And listen, the president called him a sleepy guy in a basement. That's pretty good for a sleepy guy in a basement. He just had a huge fundraiser that was headlined, sort of socially distant, an online fundraiser by former President Obama. And again, raised a tremendous amount of money in a very short time.

And so, you know, each of the things that the Trump campaign had touted as their key to success -- their enormous popularity, their ability to fill arenas, the excitement that they could generate, and the money that they could generate -- each piece of it is sort of falling apart or at least coming under a lot of question. Again, they're going to have to seriously retool what it is that they

are doing, if they want these numbers to turn around and if they want their prospects to improve.

If they're not ahead in money and they seem to be slipping in the polls, especially in swing states, at some point, you have to say, we're doing this all wrong. And the president's admittedly very good political and cultural instincts seem to be failing him at this time.

BERMAN: This is -- Errol just brought up the fundraiser that former President Obama did with Joe Biden last night. We have some sound from the former president we want to play you.


BARACK OBAMA (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we have seen over the last couple of years is a White House enabled by.