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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Delivers Divisiveness On Independence Day; Florida Hotspots Celebrate At The Beach; England's Pubs Reopen; Australia Calling For A Pause In Easing Coronavirus Restrictions; Grim Coronavirus Statistics In Latin America; Sport Deals With Racism; California Hospital Beds Fill To Capacity; Iraq Struggles With COVID- 19. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired July 5, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are now the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters.

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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The Independence Day message from President Donald Trump who compared the fight against Nazis and terrorists to his efforts to defeat what he calls the radical left. We'll talk more about the president's message this hour.

Also, the heat is on in Florida. Whatever effort is being made to cool down COVID-19 summer spread there does not seem to be working as the state hits another new record high in cases.

And pumping the brakes on reopening in Australia. Thousands living in public housing suddenly put on strict lockdown. A live report about that one.

We're live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: Thank you for joining us this hour.

Celebrating the 4th of July during a pandemic was challenging enough but, for many Americans, two straight days of divisive rhetoric from the U.S. president set an ugly tone for this holiday.

There was a traditional Independence Day celebration in Washington, complete with beautiful fireworks. Mr. Trump has scarcely acknowledged the raging pandemic beyond the White House.

Instead, his ire has been laser focused on scenes like this, people cheering at the statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore was pulled down and tossed in the harbor. Here's how Mr. Trump describes the situation.

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TRUMP: American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the Earth.

We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: While the president stokes a culture war over America's past, the here and now shows COVID-19 is steamrolling the United States into deeper shades of red. Many hospitals are already feeling the crunch.

Pandemic or no, the 4th of July is a beloved holiday and Americans were determined to enjoy it any way they could. While some popular beaches around the country were closed, the ones that were open had plenty of visitors.

The 4th is a time to celebrate how Americans came together to gain independence. But that is not the tone that the president used to mark this holiday. For more about it here is CNN's Jeremy Diamond at the White House.

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JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, on 4th of July, most American presidents typically aim for unifying remarks. But President Trump this evening, for the second night in a row, focusing his Independence Day remarks on exploiting cultural divisions among Americans, particularly at this time of deep division in America, with two crises, both the coronavirus pandemic and these protests over a national reckoning on racism in America.

President Trump delivering these divisive remarks, in which he even compared his current political fight against leftists in America, radical leftists, as he called them, to the fight against Nazis in World War II.

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TRUMP: American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the Earth. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left.

The Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: Now President Trump on Saturday also said we will not allow anyone to divide our citizens by race or background. Those remarks, fairly remarkable, coming from this president, one that started his campaign by decrying Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.

A president who called for a total ban on Muslims entering the United States. A president who said that a judge who was of Hispanic origin could not be impartial in a case involving him.

This president claiming on Saturday that he will not allow others to exploit people by racial divisions.

Now President Trump sought to recast himself as a protector of American history and heritage. That was a theme of his remarks on Friday at Mt. Rushmore and on Saturday at the White House.

But the president, for the last week, hasn't focused on protecting statues of founding fathers, as he has claimed in this speech. Instead, he's focused on protecting Confederate namesakes and monuments. That's been the heart of the president's focus over the last week.

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DIAMOND: Yet now, he is trying to recast that battle. But certainly, these remarks from the president, on a 4th of July where America is facing these crises, divisive and certainly not unifying for this country -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.

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ALLEN: The coronavirus has scarcely been mentioned in President Trump's recent speeches, although he did falsely claim that 99 percent of all cases are, quote, "totally harmless."

There is no medical evidence to support that. But as far as Mr. Trump is concerned, the pandemic is under control.

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TRUMP: We have made a lot of progress. Our strategy is moving along well. It goes out in one area and rears back its ugly face in another area. But we have learned a lot. We've learned how to put out the flame.

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ALLEN: You can see Florida is not just a flame. It is an inferno. The state reported more than 11,000 new cases on Saturday and surpassed the worst day for new cases in New York from back in April.

But that is not stopping people from celebrating the 4th of July holiday the way they always do, heading to the beach. Boris Sanchez has more about it from Clearwater.

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BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yet another record-setting day for the state of Florida. More than 11,000 new coronavirus cases reported here in the last 24 hours. That means that, in the first three days of July, the state has seen over 30,000 new COVID cases.

To give you some perspective, the state of Florida saw about 100,000 new cases in the month of June alone. Local leaders, the state's governor, Ron DeSantis, leaving it up to local officials to determine what restrictions they wanted to put in place.

But here on the western part of the state, just outside of Tampa at Clearwater Beach, folks were coming all day to enjoy the waves, to play sports, to enjoy the sand and surf as well.

There are signs out that are warning people to try to stay socially distant, six feet apart from people who do not share the same household. They are also asking groups to not congregate. Groups of 10 or more are not allowed here.

Though, throughout the day, we did see groups of much larger than 10 people enjoying the beach.

Actually spoke to one woman named Kathy (ph), who told me that she moved from Alabama to Florida in the middle of the pandemic. She says that she's concerned about the risk of coronavirus but that she wanted to enjoy the holiday weekend on the beach. Here's more of what she shared with us.

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KATHY (PH), NEW FLORIDA RESIDENT: I just think that we all should wear masks and protect ourselves as best as we can, you know and keep, you know, keep the social distancing going on and, you know, that's it.

If we're going to get it, we're going to get it. I'm happy to be here. I really am. I know that the numbers are going up and I hope it drops but it doesn't seem like it is, so why stop enjoying life?

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SANCHEZ: Of course, the big question is, what these numbers will do two weeks from now. Remember, that, after the Memorial Day weekend, when we saw so many large crowds ignoring social distancing guidelines, soon after that, we saw a surge in coronavirus cases nationwide.

Two weeks is that incubation period for the coronavirus, so all eyes will be on the numbers, about 14 days from now -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, Clearwater Beach, Florida.

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ALLEN: Now we go across the pond. Pubs and other businesses in England are open once again. And for all those who waited in line to get those first pints, Super Saturday, as it was called, could not come soon enough. Those reopenings would not have been possible without health care workers on the front lines. For the 72nd anniversary of the British National Health Service, NHS

for short, the U.K. Is pulling out all the stops. London landmarks have lit up in blue, including 10 Downing Street. Also a nationwide clap is scheduled for Sunday.

CNN's Anna Stewart and Salma Abdelaziz both join me from London.

Let's start with you, Anna, talking about the country reopening.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, England finally emerged from a hibernation yesterday. Lockdown being lifted for many different businesses, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, bars all were allowed to reopen if they had COVID-19 safety measures in place.

Good news for many in England, who wanted to get a haircut and go out for a pint. A lot of businesses didn't open. They were concerned, A, those safety measures might, of course, make them financially unviable. Other people are concerned about the anxiety still in the U.K. Lots of people aren't ready to go back out as normal. Take a listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not risking going into a pub immediately. I think having a beer outside, which we've been doing for weeks anyhow, is fine.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's actually quieter here today than it has been, because pubs are open. Not in a rush to go to cinema. A restaurant would be nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't go into a pub or a restaurant myself. But takeaway, I'd do because I don't want to be around lots of drunk people, probably batting into you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excited for a bit of brunch, a few restaurants and things, it would be really nice to get back to a little bit of normality. But obviously, we still do need to be safe and trying to keep that distance from everyone as best we can.

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STEWART: There have been fears that there would be overcrowding and possibly overindulging in alcohol in England yesterday.

I would like to show you some video of central London last night, where we saw crowds. It didn't look like there was a lot of social distancing going on. We're looking at a younger demographic there. It will be concerning, particularly as London has a high rate in terms of the virus transmission.

ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. And when bars opened in many parts of the United States, Anna, young people did flock there. And that is considered a big reason why we are seeing these spikes. So fingers crossed for those pub goers there in London.

Now let's go to Salma. She is on another story for us, an important one, celebrating the front line health care workers that have done an unbelievable job during these very difficult days.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Natalie. It's hard to overemphasize how beloved the National Health Service, the NHS, is in this country. The declarations of love are everywhere. You see a mural to them here.

It's not just graffiti, as it is in this East London neighborhood. It's posters, billboards, little crayon drawings in the windows of homes that say, "We love the NHS." It's the least political thing in this country, the most beloved organization.

If you are hearing a politician talking about the NHS, he is usually talking about funding it more, not less. Even prime minister Boris Johnson, when he became ill with coronavirus he was hospitalized at St. Thomas' Hospital. That is an NHS hospital, cared for by NHS workers.

When he was released he said, "They saved my life, no question."

So there is a great deal of gratitude in this country because, of course, the NHS, the doctors, its nursing and medical staff have been on the front line for months. Dozens losing their lives to the virus.

There has been some controversy over the government not providing adequate PPE to the NHS, not protecting particularly minority members of the health care community because they are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus.

Today it's about honoring the sacrifice and tireless efforts that they have made and perhaps, in its seven decades of history, this is the most difficult and most poignant chapter in the NHS' history and everyone will be applauding the NHS and its work at 5:00 pm local time today.

ALLEN: All right. So well-deserved. Thank you, ladies, for bringing us the latest. See you soon.

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ALLEN: In October 2019, an international panel created a scorecard of sorts ranking countries by their ability to handle a major health crisis. It was called the Global Health Security Index and it concluded that the United States was best prepared in all the world to handle a major disease outbreak. The U.K. was number two.

But months into an actual pandemic, both of those countries have had the highest number of excess deaths, over and above what would be seen without a crisis. As of June 2020, the U.S. has had more than 122,000 excess deaths. The U.K. nearly 66,000.

I want to talk about this now with Clare Wenham, she is in assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She joins me now live from London.

Good morning to you, thank you for coming out.

DR. CLARE WENHAM, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL HEALTH POLICY, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE: Good morning.

ALLEN: First up, regarding that scorecard. The U.S. was ranked first out of 115 -- I'm sorry -- 195 nations. The U.K. was ranked second. And by June, they are two of the world's biggest failures in tackling this pandemic.

How did that scorecard get it so wrong?

WENHAM: The scorecard, what it did was it looked at policies that were written to implement in the case of an epidemic or health emergency. It looked at all sorts of capacities that governments had to detect an outbreak.

So what surveillance systems they had in place, what surge capacity they had in their health systems and how they would be able to respond. However, what the scorecard did not account for was political decision-making and how governments were going to react.

Thus, what we are looking at here is this difference between policy and actual implementation. What is going to happen when it hits and (INAUDIBLE).

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WENHAM: And Gavin Union (ph) and I, who wrote this piece decided that we need to figure out how to engage this political decision-making in how we measure how prepared countries are for an outbreak.

ALLEN: Right. We know that the U.K. has just come out of a three-month lockdown; in the United States there's really no federal program. It has been left up to states and many of the governors have left it up to cities.

As far as Boris Johnson goes and his leadership there and Donald Trump here in the United States, are there commonalities in how they approach the pandemic and the government's response?

WENHAM: Absolutely. The governments around the world are all faced with the same decision. It fundamentally came down to if they were going to prioritize population health or their economy.

What we see in the U.S. is a prioritization of the economy. What we see in the U.K. is somewhere mixed between the two. But this led to certain policy pathways that made governments somehow, particularly the U.S. and the U.K., feel they were exceptional, that this was not going to be an issue for them.

We see these distinct tensions between not setting up track and trace systems, not using the time advantage they had when this outbreak was mainly in East Asia, to prepare. We see a questionable relationship between policymakers and political

decision-makers and science and the role of what they consider to be legitimate science.

And then, you know, we see these distinct tensions in both countries between who is being affected. In the U.S. it is high infection rates among black and Latinx communities. Here in the U.K., it's amongst black and Asian and minority and ethnic communities.

So we see this distinct tension that needs to be taken into account. These are political decisions and political prioritizations.

ALLEN: Even in the United States we hear our president saying the U.S. has made a lot of progress in controlling the pandemic. Yet cases continue to rise in 36 states. Hospitalizations are hitting record numbers in Texas and Arizona.

Houston, Texas, had two counties even send out an emergency alert because the hospitals were full.

Can the United States get this under control if the president continues to characterize the situation as like, well, it's going well?

In fact, he even falsely claimed that 99 percent of all cases are totally harmless.

WENHAM: You can't make progress, you just need decisive action. What this virus needs is for people to be separated. If people aren't separated, it cannot spread between the 2.

So perhaps different states or different counties need to re-integrate and really put these lockdown policies back into place. Or at the federal level. But the problem that is political suicide to implement a lockdown having come out the other side of it. But I think we really need to ask the administration, what is more important to them?

Because actually the short term lockdown is going to be better in the long term for the economy. Population health, it is fundamental to a functioning economy. You need people going out and buying.

If people are not well enough to go out and do that, it is a false dichotomy. So I think they just need to get a grip on it now before it gets even more out of hand.

ALLEN: Right. And we know that there are people that are wearing masks and social distancing and there are people who do not heed health experts advice to distance and quarantine when necessary.

Where could we be if and when a second wave comes in the fall?

WENHAM: I think it's far too premature to talk about a second wave. We are still very much in the first wave, particularly in the U.S. and most of the Americas. So I think it's a bit premature.

I think what it has shown us is a difference between how populations engage with government. In East Asia, where people, when governments suggest people wear face masks. Everyone did it because everyone recognized the risk to their health and their communities.

That showed a much better outcome than in the U.S. with the same advice being issued or mixed advice being issued. But actually, you know, there is this tension between how people trust in government. We really need to have trust in government at a time a crisis, particularly when it requires individual behavior change.

ALLEN: Clare Wenham, professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, we appreciate your expertise. Thank you.

WENHAM: 'Bye.

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ALLEN: Next here, thousands of people are on lockdown in several Melbourne, Australia, public housing blocks. The latest on what's happening there in a live report.

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ALLEN: The Australian Medical Association is calling for a pause in easing coronavirus restrictions there because Melbourne, Australia, is currently seeing spikes in new cases. There were 108 cases Friday, which led to new stay at home orders and drastic lockdown measures in some public housing blocks.

Joining me more to talk about it from Sydney is journalist, Angus Watson.

Hello to you. Talk with us about what could be the reasons behind these spikes.

And why are these new restrictions dedicated to public housing?

ANGUS WATSON, JOURNALIST: So the frightening thing for authorities in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria, Natalie, is they just don't know where the outbreaks are coming from. Most of the cases that are being counted each day are considered community transmissions.

So they are searching for where the cases are coming from and they found 23 in these highly densely populated public housing units in the city, nine public housing units where 3,000 people live.

Those 3,000 people have now been told they can't leave their homes for any reason. There are police guarding them and they are on what the government is calling a hard lockdown.

Premier Daniel Andrews this morning said he was proud of people on the front line of the fight against coronavirus, so that support would be offered the form of free rent, financial payments, other support for mental health, drug and alcohol, family violence, potential issues that people may face. Take a listen to what he said this morning.

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DANIEL ANDREWS, PREMIER OF VICTORIA: This is not about punishment, this is about protection. We cannot have a cohort of people, many of whom, not all but many of whom, are in poor health to start with.

We cannot have this virus spread. We have to do everything we can to contain the virus and that's why staying in your unit, staying in your flat, is absolutely essential.

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WATSON: Now they are not the only people in Victoria who are subject to lockdowns; 12 post codes in Melbourne are on a lockdown but a much softer version. That's over 300,000 people who are confined to their homes.

There is a stay-at-home order but they are allowed to leave for things like buying food or exercise or giving care to somebody who needs it, much like the lockdowns that we have seen in Australia so far and elsewhere in the world.

But it's really dramatic, Natalie, to think that there are 3,000 people in these nine public housing units, which the premier this morning described as culturally and linguistically diverse as well.

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WATSON: It's dramatic how different their experience of this is going to be and the authorities in Victoria say that's absolutely necessary because of the dangers of COVID-19 ripping through these public housing buildings.

ALLEN: Absolutely, drastic steps but they are trying to protect people and prevent a wider spread. Thank you, Angus Watson. We will be watching that story from Australia.

Mexico is setting new records daily in infections. On Saturday, more than 6,900 cases were recorded. More than 520 died. That brings the nationwide infection total to more than 252,000.

Officials in Mexico are trying to control new infections so they are adding checkpoints to the border with Arizona, as that state here in the U.S. reels from a surge in new cases and stopping all non- essential travel.

Brazil remains Latin America's worst hit country. It has more than 1.5 million cases. It has gone 50 days now without an official health minister. The position is temporarily filled by an army general with no previous medical experience.

The last person to formally hold the office left after less than a month amid criticism from President Jair Bolsonaro, this after Bolsonaro fired the previous health minister in April. That minister backed wearing masks and social distancing. Bolsonaro has not so much supported that. And we see what's happening in Brazil.

Well, this year's 4th of July holiday came with bursts of divisive rhetoric. Just ahead, some of the fallout from President Trump's politically charged Independence Day speeches.

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ALLEN: Take a look at this. This was the 4th of July celebration in Texas for America's Independence Day there in Houston. Drone video here shows the fireworks sparkling and shimmering over Houston on Saturday night.

That city, of course, having a tremendous spike in coronavirus cases. They probably welcomed that beautiful show.

Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

The United States observed its 244th birthday Saturday. The coronavirus pandemic forcing much of the country to cancel or curtail the usual public celebrations. But Washington, D.C., went ahead with its traditional concert and fireworks show hosted by the president and first lady.

Beautiful, beautiful sight there, a little slice of normalcy as well in a year that has been anything but normal. CNN's Alex Marquardt was at the National Mall in Washington. Here's his report.

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ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The smoke is still settling here after what was a spectacular fireworks show here in Washington, D.C., not at all a muted celebration during this time of coronavirus and social unrest.

People gathering all along the National Mall to watch a show that was billed as one of the largest ever, 35 minutes. It included some 10,000 fireworks shot off from two main locations. The first at the Washington Monument, the second a mile long stretch between what is essentially Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. People out here did have plenty of room to social distance. There were

far fewer people out here than normal. The crowds were, indeed, much thinner. The National Park Service, which helped coordinate the celebration, they were bracing for large crowds. They had asked people to spread out across what is federal land here.

They had prepared some 300,000 masks to hand out. Now it's important to note that this was a celebration that was called for by the Trump administration, by the White House.

The mayor of Washington, D.C., had canceled the city's celebrations, asking people to stay at home, to celebrate in or around their homes. But of course, this celebration went forward. People came from far and wide, from as close as Virginia.

I also met families from Florida, from Georgia, from Chicago and elsewhere, as well as families from overseas, from Brazil, from Argentina, from South Africa, all of whom wanted to come see America celebrate its birthday -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.

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ALLEN: This 4th of July will not just be remembered for coronavirus and fireworks because of divisive rhetoric from President Donald Trump. With me now to discuss the president's stance over the holiday is Leslie Vinjamuri, the head of the U.S. and Americas program at Chatham House, a think tank based in London.

Good morning, Leslie. Thanks for coming on.

LESLIE VINJAMURI, HEAD OF U.S. AND AMERICAS PROGRAM, CHATHAM HOUSE: Good morning, Natalie.

Well, first up here, the president has used dark and divisive language over this holiday addressing the country. He framed the hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating over race issues as, quote, "nefarious left wing mob" that intends to end America.

What do you make of his words and his message that we've heard in the past two days?

VINJAMURI: So I think we're seeing a president, who is grasping for straws, who is desperate to hold on, who sees a country he is leading respond to a pandemic, a health crisis and economic crisis on a scale that we haven't seen in decades, respond very poorly because of his leadership.

And it's showing up in the polls. So President Trump is doubling down on his racist narrative. He is looking to probably a hard core of his base to mobilize them, to energize them.

But Natalie, it's not working. If you look at the data that's coming out on, for example, the number of Americans who engaged in the protests surrounding the Black Lives Movement after the brutal killing of George Floyd, people are estimating between 15 and 26 million Americans have participated in these protests.

They've been peaceful. The call out from Americans is very clear, for unity, for equality and for reform. So the president is pushing back. And he is targeting a very, very narrow segment of the population.

Unfortunately, it's tremendously divisive. And if you sit where I sit in London, in Europe, looking back at America, it's just devastating. It's devastating and, quite frankly, it's shocking to watch.

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ALLEN: And on that, the "shocking to watch" part, I do want to elaborate a bit, because a former U.S. ambassador to Russia called the president's Mt. Rushmore speech as the most U.N.-American speech ever given by a U.S. president on the 4th of July. The words he is using have raised concern.

I want you to listen now how a noted presidential historian said earlier on CNN about what he is hearing from President Trump this weekend. Here he is.

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DOUG BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Donald Trump is showing us how Joe McCarthy would have acted if he had become president. McCarthy was obviously just a senator from Wisconsin but who raised havoc with his anti-Communist crusade.

And here you have a President of the United States on July 4th, in the middle of a ceremony on the National Mall, TV cameras around the world, using the opportunity to divide our nation, to call his opponents "radicals" and "good for nothing anarchists" and the like.

This is appalling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: And as you said, Leslie, it's shocking as well.

Is there any surprise, though, that this president is taking this approach?

Or is this his same playbook that appeals to his base?

VINJAMURI: It's the same playbook, Natalie. You know, the words that we just heard are exactly right. It's the same playbook but he is taking it really in a darker and more dangerous way.

If you go back to the beginning of his presidency, he was speaking out against immigrants, against foreigners. It was very divisive, very problematic. But now he is turning that inwards. And he is dividing Americans against each other by attacking a certain segment of the American population, which, frankly, doesn't exist in the way that he portrays it.

So it is devastating. It is a bad move. This is a president who can stand up. He can call for unity. He could ask people to wear those masks. He could double down on testing, on contact tracing and help to pull the country back and drive the economy alongside the public health response in a positive direction as he leads up to November.

He is doing exactly the opposite. He is preventing the country from coming back together, from responding as effectively as it could. But he is pushing back against so many extraordinary people at the state level.

He is losing some of his Republican governors, who are actually taking a much firmer line on the health crisis, in line with what Dr. Fauci has been calling for, for a very long time.

So I think the president is on a losing strategy. But it's creating in these months a very divided platform. He's using a platform to create division.

And as we run up to November in the election, it's going to be extraordinarily complicated, just simply at the operational level. Just holding an election, having a president who isn't calling for unity on July 4th of all days in the face of these protests is unconscionable.

ALLEN: Right. In 2016, it was "build a wall" and subsequent ban on Muslims. It's now protect our Confederate heritage. As you mentioned about the mood of the American public, recent polls indicate most Americans and more whites than ever believe the country needs to come together over racial issues.

Can he win a second term, Leslie, if he ignores that?

VINJAMURI: You know, Natalie, so much is going to happen between now and November. You know this more than anybody. We're going to wait and see what happens with the economy, the virus, the development of a possible vaccination. There is a lot of news yet to come.

But I -- we've seen those polls. You're right. Americans want to see unity. And I can tell you anecdotally, watching people on my Facebook page, on either side of the electoral aisle, in the Midwest, on the East Coast, across the country, people want unity.

They're not -- they're not buying into this line of division. So I think it is a losing strategy. But time will tell. And it's going to be a very, very difficult few months and a difficult election.

ALLEN: And as you say every week, there is something different. So it's hard to predict right now. Leslie Vinjamuri, we always appreciate your time and insight. Thank you.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: From coast to coast the coronavirus has America in its grip. Florida has seen yet another record, the highest number of new cases in a single day of any state since this pandemic began. In New York, people mostly heeded the warnings to socially distance.

On the West Coast California is having a hard time of it as well, with hospital beds filling up to record capacity.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on the Independence Day festivities in New York. First, Paul Vercammen is in California with a look at how the virus has changed one big holiday tradition.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Part of the strategy to stop the spread of coronavirus: shut down beaches in southern California. This is Huntington Beach. Normally on a 4th of July weekend, people would be laying down their towels and they would be right next to each other, enjoying a day at the beach and later on a huge fireworks display.

The fireworks, canceled. They have a big 4th of July parade here, canceled. They had a smaller sort of community parade where they weaved through and by people's homes.

The idea, again, is to have all these counties in lockstep with each other and not having the beaches open. Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange Counties shut down their beaches. San Diego did not. But as a police spokeswoman said here in Huntington Beach, important that four of those five did shut down.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not the only one that's open, we're not the only one that's closed. So the message is there. We're closing down. Let's do it for just a few days, let's try and flatten this curve again and make sure we can stay safe.

VERCAMMEN: So good vibrations up and down the California coast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big time. Let's keep it chill.

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VERCAMMEN: So almost an eerie sight, as this beach is shut down and some people in Southern California getting creative. I came upon a group of three sunbathers in Manhattan Beach. And what they did was, they laid their towels down on a cement walkway. They said they just needed to get in their rays.

California, at times, is a source for unique innovation -- reporting from Huntington Beach, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you.

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POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Families were certainly present on the beach and on the iconic Coney Island boardwalk, though certainly not in the numbers we are used to seeing, especially for the 4th of July.

From the families we did see, many taking precautions and keeping their groups about 6 feet apart. Also wearing those masks. Those people did not have facial coverings, there were volunteers and workers who were handing out those masks, which is really the main recommendation right now.

But nationally, when you look at other parts of the country, certainly you see that sharp increase that has been seen not just in Arizona but California, Texas.

[04:40:00]

SANDOVAL: And, of course, Florida continues to see high numbers.

In fact, on Saturday, the number of daily COVID cases hitting what is really a record number, at least 11,400 cases there, when you compared to the numbers than New York saw, for example, when it was seeing the largest numbers back in April. It is almost in line.

So it is certainly concerning for authorities in the Sunshine State. So much so that some of the beaches were closed over the 4th of July weekend.

But here in the New York tri-state area, there is also one disturbing trend that authorities in the neighboring state of New Jersey have noticed, specifically in the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, where they saw a significant increase in the number of COVID cases.

Many of those are young individuals who had traveled back from states in the Southeast and also out west, those areas of concern. That is one of the reasons why authorities in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey are requiring anyone who is traveling from some of those affected regions to quarantine for at least two weeks, even if their COVID tests come back negative -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.

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ALLEN: The virus is spreading at an alarming rate in the Middle East. Next, how Iraq is grappling with a spike in new infections and bracing for more.

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ALLEN: Iraq is bracing for a tough fight as the coronavirus is surging there. The country's health ministry reporting more than 2,000 new infections Saturday. That brings the total number of known cases to more than 58,000.

Fears are growing that the country's hospitals could soon reach full capacity. The International Rescue Committee says the country saw a 600 percent rise in cases during June with no signs of slowing down. CNN's Arwa Damon is following developments in Istanbul.

[04:45:00]

ALLEN: You have reported repeatedly, Arwa, on how people in Iraq have already been suffering so much and now this.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie. And the increase in cases has contributed to a shortage of oxygen.

So the World Health Organization managed to send in to Iraq's ministry of health some 300 oxygen concentrators. The country is converting some schools and university dormitories into isolation units. But experts warn that Iraq will have to re-double its efforts if it wants to bring this under control.

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DAMON (voice-over): They wait to verify the names of the dead. Their sorrow is silent, much like the enemy that claimed those they love.

Yousef al-Hajami (ph) lost his parents and his sister to COVID-19, one after the other. They underestimated the virus. They did not understand how to protect themselves from the spread.

"We are terrified now. We are 100 percent convinced," he says.

The burials happen at night in Iraq's largest cemetery, when the country's brutal summer heat dips. Final prayers are carried out by strangers. Teams from the country's paramilitary force, the Hashd (ph), initially formed to fight ISIS.

"We are getting around 70 to 80 bodies a day," (INAUDIBLE) Ibrahimi (ph) says.

And it is expected to get much worse across this country, whose medical infrastructure was already decimated by decades of sanctions, war and corruption.

Medical workers report a prevalence of the virus among hospital staff due to a lack of proper measures and PPE.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was with my family when the head manager of the hospital contacted me to inform me that the result of PCR is positive for COVID-19.

DAMON (voice-over): Dr. al-Etapani (ph) filmed the moment he told his children he was sick, promising them that he would be back, not knowing if it would be a promise he would keep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For any person, it's a painful moment that you say goodbye to your children and your family and you do not know whether you will return back or not.

DAMON (voice-over): Luckily, he did and is now recovering.

"We were so worried about Mommy and Daddy because of corona," one of his daughters says upon his return. But the others chime in.

But al-Etapani (ph) fears for the worst for his country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With coronavirus cases now jumped due to government default in providing protection measures, the people and opening the markets and malls.

DAMON (voice-over): This video shows people scuffling over oxygen tanks outside a hospital in the south of the country, trying to secure a supply for their sick loved ones.

In the same city, health workers beg their ministry for help. Iraqis know loss on a mass scale all too well. The bitter pain of consecutive wars that bled into each other.

A member of Iraq's security forces apologizes for his inability to keep his emotions in check. It's his mother who died.

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DAMON: Natalie, on top of that, there is the economic impact. A survey conducted by the International Rescue Committee showed some stark results.

They found that 87 percent of Iraqis have lost their jobs and are struggling to find money, even if it's just to buy bread, and that 73 percent of people they surveyed said they have had to reduce the amount of food that they are eating.

ALLEN: Just a terrible situation all around. Arwa, thank you.

Next here, the calls for sports teams to change what some consider racist nicknames get louder. Sponsors who say they are backing out if one team doesn't change its name.

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ALLEN: Dozens of Major League Baseball players have now tested positive for coronavirus as the league resumed training Wednesday. Carolyn Manno has more on that plus the growing call for some teams to change their mascot name amid social justice reforms. Here she is.

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CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: As Major League Baseball continues its push for the resumption of their season at the end of July, we're learning about positive coronavirus cases after an initial round of testing performed by both the league and the players association. Four Atlanta Braves players are the latest additions to more than 30

confirmed cases and seven staff members out of a pool of just over 3,000 tests. This happening as the Braves and other teams are facing mounting pressures to address team nicknames viewed in the past as racially divisive.

The Braves did not give any indication that they are willing to consider a change to the Braves moniker but did say they will continue to support and honor the Native American community.

The team's counterpart in Cleveland, the Indians, went a step further, saying they will reconsider the nickname they have had for over 100 years. This follows steps by the Washington Redskins and the NFL on Friday, who both issued statements after it was revealed that the team is facing mounting financial pressure to change its name as well.

It's something team owner Dan Snyder said he would never consider doing in the past. But after an "Adweek" report said investment firms totaling more than $600 billion have legitimate concerns about brands not aligning with topics like inclusion and diversity, they are changing their tune.

On Friday, Snyder and the team said they are having internal discussions and will conduct a thorough review of whether or not the name is inclusive. Roger Goodell quickly adding his support of the decision as well.

[04:55:00]

MANNO: Saying in a statement that he has had ongoing discussions with the team and that he is behind this important next step.

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ALLEN: Washington Redskins coach Ron Rivera says he is working with the team's owner on ideas for a new name. Rivera is the son of a U.S. Army officer and told "The Washington Post" the new name should be a tribute to the U.S. military and reflect the tradition of Native American service in the armed forces. We'll keep you posted on that.

Rapper Kanye West celebrated Independence Day by doing this, talking about a 2020 presidential bid. He sent a tweet Saturday that ended with, "I'm running for President of the United States," with the #2020Vision. He offered no details.

He would have to be a write-in candidate in many states since he has already missed the independent candidate filing date. But he can still make the ballot in some areas. We'll see. Stay tuned to that one.

I'll be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM right after this. Thanks so much for watching.