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White House Denies Attacking Fauci Despite Memos Against Him; Poll Shows Seven In 10 Americans Fear Sending Their Kids Back To School; Mulvaney: U.S. Testing Issues "Simply Inexcusable." Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 07:30   ET




KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The notion that there's opposition research and that there's Fauci versus the president couldn't be further from the truth. Dr. Fauci and the president have always had a very good working relationship.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. The White House appears to be backing off their criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci after that concerted effort to discredit him. Why the change?

Joining us now is CNN political analyst David Gregory, and CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip.

Abby, I get so confused with this episode of as the stomach turns. Where are we? Why do they now have a different message? Do they trust Dr. Anthony Fauci or do they not want to do that?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, has a different message, but several other White House officials are not necessarily following suit.

I mean, look, the White House -- it's not just the White House, I should say. First of all, it's a lot of people around the president -- his supporters -- who he communicates with regularly are -- he's aware of what they're saying, and they've been skeptical of Dr. Fauci for a long time. This is not a new phenomenon. What is new is that it's boiling out into the public sphere.

Regardless of what Kayleigh said in that clip, reporters sitting in front of her in that room were on the receiving end of the opposition research. So her denial that it doesn't exist does not change the fact they were given it by White House officials who wanted to remain anonymous.

I do think, however, that perhaps there's been some recognition that this all-out effort to discredit Fauci is a poor reflection on the White House because Dr. Fauci is far more -- viewed far more credibly and as more trustworthy by the American people than the president and by many of the officials in that building. So I do think that they know that they're on the losing side of public polling and public opinion on this issue.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, put it in the growing category of attacking the wrong thing, which seems to be a trend here, in some ways, David.

And I'm focused on a new poll which just crossed from Axios and Ipsos on the issue of opening schools. We've heard from the president and the education secretary over the last few days -- you know, damn the science, open schools. I don't care what the risks might be.

Well, a new poll out of Axios and Ipsos finds that 71 percent of parents think it's a large or moderate risk to send their kids back to school. That includes a majority of Republicans. Fifty-three percent of Republicans think it's a large or moderate risk. And by the way, nine out of 10 African-Americans think it's a large or moderate risk there.

So, parents are nervous about this as the president is saying just do it.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via Cisco Webex): Well, I think -- I think this is a more nuanced issue. And maybe I'm influenced by the fact that I would like to see my own kids go back to school and I think that schools need to push to do it safely.

Of course, there's risks. Of course, there's a reason to be worried. But, you know, I've also been acquainted with schools where the faculty are more concerned than the parents.

I think what's difficult is that a lot of schools don't feel that they have to go back and so they're not figuring out how to try to do it safely.

So, again, I think this is a more nuanced view. I think there's tremendous harm that's being done with kids losing this much time and it's the impact on families who don't have work-from-home options as well. So it's -- this one, I think, is a more -- is a more difficult issue.

I don't think the president can just come out and say open the schools by fiok (ph). He has got to be part of and putting scientists ahead of figuring out how you do something that is this difficult but really should be done.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, I think that not only is it nuanced but that it depends geographically on your comfort level. I mean, if you live in -- right now, if you live in New York or Connecticut where the cases, blessedly, are very low, you think, OK, maybe that's a risk we're willing to take. If you live in Texas and Florida you might feel very differently, Abby.

And yet --


CAMEROTA: -- as David just pointed out, the president wants it across the board and has threatened to deprive states of dollars -- of federal dollars.

So, where are we with that?

PHILLIP: Well, they've realized that they actually can't do that. They can't use federal dollars as some sort of forcing point for states.

What they could do is they could give federal dollars to districts that need to open schools and need funds to do it. That would actually be a much smarter way to go about this because opening schools is going to be extremely expensive for a lot of these states who have to figure out how to get all this PPE, how to separate students. How to provide both options -- learning opportunities in school and at home.

So they, I think, have come to a much better place on this but the rhetoric is still in a bad place.

That poll, it seems, reflects what I hear all the time. Parents are actually genuinely afraid for their children. Most parents are extraordinarily protective of their children.


But then let's go a little deeper. John, you talked about a majority -- a vast majority of African-Americans worried about sending their kids to school.

Think about who has been the most affected -- black Hispanic- Americans, in particular, who tend to live in households where there are a lot of people within their households who are at greater risk. They might live with their grandparents. They might, themselves, have health conditions that put them at risk.

So sending their kids to school is not just a decision about their -- about their children's health; it's also a decision about their health and the health of people in their households.


PHILLIP: That's something that's so much more acutely felt by communities of color and I think that is one of the reasons why you're seeing those numbers as high as they are. They recognize the risks and they're just not willing to take it without assurances these districts are going to do the right thing.

GREGORY: Can I make a point about this larger issue about Dr. Fauci that I think is important. I mean, one of the things that I was feeling this morning is I would really like more information to try to understand what, as a country, we do at this moment. Or if I lived in Florida or if I lived in Texas, what is it that has to happen?

We're not talking about complete shutdown and yet, you look in California. They're moving toward a complete shutdown again. When we pull back from reopening, what does that look like?

The reality is we're not hearing from Dr. Fauci in a unified way with the Coronavirus Task Force. He is being made to be a straw man. And the truth is that Fauci, himself, should not be making these decisions alone. He has to work. He has a public health concern.

And there's people, like politicians, who -- or governors -- who have to deal with risks -- make risk analysis decisions for the economy, for children's education, and for safety.

We ought to be hearing this information. We're not hearing this information. Instead, it's only a political context, which really underserves us. It's one of the reasons why we're handling this as a country so poorly, I think.

BERMAN: David Gregory, Abby Phillip, thank you both very much.

Just one point I do want to make on the poll. I think the fact that 71 percent of Americans are concerned about sending their kids back to school -- what it shows is that parents are thinking about this and the White House saying just do it doesn't assuage those concerns. It's not a strategy, it's just a goal. And I think what parents want is how are we doing to do this.


BERMAN: All right, guys, thanks very much.


BERMAN: As states begin to shut down certain things again, there is growing concern about a new phase of the coronavirus recession. What will it mean for Americans trying to get back to work?



BERMAN: So, this morning, the reality for millions of Americans is they are suffering. Wall Street, not showing it so much, still riding the wave of the stimulus.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now. It's one of these ironies, Romans --


BERMAN: -- that as the pandemic doesn't improve and, in some ways, gets worse, the market doesn't seem to notice.

ROMANS: Yes, John, the contrast is stark here -- the pain on Main Street, the rally on Wall Street. And the Dow and the S&P 500 briefly turned positive for the year yesterday with millions of people out of work and cases spiking. Take a look, John, at how stocks have performed during the pandemic. The longest bull market in history ended on March 23rd and since then, stocks have rallied more than 40 percent.

The big test now is earnings season. Profits are forecast down more than 40 percent. This is the coronavirus quarter, of course. That's the biggest drop since the Great Recession and bank earnings are expected to be even worse.

But the stock market has been riding that wave of record stimulus money from Congress and the Fed and that has blown up the U.S. budget deficit. Look at these brand-new numbers from the Treasury Department. They show an $864 billion shortfall in June alone and that's a record. It's $3 trillion in the last 12 months.

Now, the government spent hundreds of billions of dollars to support businesses, to support the unemployed. Tax revenue, at the same time, has cratered because of the virus.

As a share of the economy, the deficit now is the biggest since World War II. Fighting coronavirus, as far as the economy goes, Alisyn, is on par with fighting a war.

CAMEROTA: Wow. Christine, thank you very much for the latest there.

A warning for out-of-state travelers coming to New York from high-risk states. And another big sporting event canceled because of the coronavirus.

CNN's reporters are covering the pandemic coast-to-coast.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta where Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reactivated a COVID-19 overflow hospital inside the Georgia World Congress Center here on Friday. That's the same day that the state hit a record number of new cases with nearly 4,500.

Now, his relationship with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms has seemingly worsened after calling her mask mandate unenforceable.

But the mayor is getting some support from a governor. New York's Andrew Cuomo offered some support to Atlanta, saying that since New York is in a more stable place right now, New York could offer testing, tracing, and strategy resources to the mayor as numbers continue to rise here in Atlanta.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Erica Hill in New York where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced an emergency health order to enforce the mandatory 14-day quarantine in New York State for travelers coming from 19 states that have a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher. When arriving at any airport in New York State, travelers will now be

given a form. They'll be required to provide local contact information so officials can follow up to make sure that they're following the quarantine. And if anybody leaves the airport with filling out that form and without providing the information, they're subject to a summons and an immediate fine of $2,000.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ryan Young in Chicago where COVID-19 continues to have a lasting impact. The Chicago Marathon has been canceled for the first time in more than 40 years. And when you think about the impact of this, more than 45,000 runners showed up for this race just last year. All 50 states were represented and more than 100 countries.

This race has a big economic impact, especially in the downtown area of Chicago. More than a million people came to spectate. But with all the COVID-19 worries and concerns going on, organizers thought it would be safe not to have it this year.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to all of our correspondents.

And now, we want to remember some of the more than 135,000 Americans lost to coronavirus.

Abraham Vega was a sheriff in West Texas. He served as president of the Chief Deputies Association before being elected sheriff of Lynn County. He also won a Republican primary in March and was headed towards reelection.

Vega is described as a kindhearted, genuine man, and a pillar of the community. He was 48 years old.

Lakeisha Snipes was a public bus driver in Miami. Her cousin says Snipes did everything she could to prevent the virus, even taking a couple of months off from work before returning to her route in June. Snipes' family says they are heartbroken by her passing.

Bobby Almager was a lieutenant at the Corpus Christie International Airport in Texas. He worked in the hub's police department for 24 years. Lt. Almager was also a master aircraft rescue firefighter, an EMT, a master peace officer, and an instructor.

Airport officials describe him as dedicated to helping people. He was 53 years old.

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: This morning, the testing situation in the United States is, quote, "simply inexcusable." Now, that's not a comment from a university professor or some Democratic senator. It's coming from President Trump's former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and he has more to say than even that.

Joining us now is Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama.

Andy, let me read the full quote because it is interesting for Mick Mulvaney.

"I know it isn't popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country.

My son was tested recently. We had to wait five to seven days for results. My daughter wanted to get tested before visiting her grandparents but was told she didn't qualify. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic."

Your reaction?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTER FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES (via Cisco Webex): My reaction is if it hadn't happened to him he wouldn't be complaining about it. And this is, I think, a little bit of the problem with the way these people are making policies. It's very self-centered.

So, yes, we have -- we have a big backlog of inability to get tested in our country and it has a big impact. It means that people are sick and they don't know about it. It means they're spreading the disease. It means states can have lots of case growth without seeing it.

It means the numbers that you have up on the chyron, up to the side, are delayed. They're not -- they don't reflect today's reality; they reflect seven days ago reality. There's no ability to fight this virus in any country in the world if you can't do that.

Thankfully -- and I feel badly for Mick's kids, of course, but he experienced it and now he knows what the rest of the country is seeing, which is quite the opposite of what the president keeps telling us.

CAMEROTA: Yes, he's not alone. We hear all the time that people are waiting a week for their test results. They're useless. If you're not getting your test results in a week, unless you're going to quarantine during that week and not go to work, and not interact with anybody, they're useless.

And so, I mean, Mick Mulvaney's arguably one of the most connected people in Washington. If his kids couldn't get test results -- one of them couldn't get tested, one of them couldn't get results within a week -- then clearly, the system isn't working.

But when he says this is simply inexcusable, who does Mick Mulvaney think can fix it?

SLAVITT: Right, and where does it all start? And that's a really important point and a really important question.

But the reason you see places like California going on lockdown, places like Texas making very severe measures -- all over the country I think you're going to see some more announcements today that there's going to be stricter -- that people are going to be pulling back from commitments to school -- is because they now have to assume that a bunch of asymptomatic people are walking around with the virus, spreading it, and that is worst place to be. That's about -- that's where we were at the end of March and the middle of March.

So, today -- I mean, think back on this, Alisyn. When we were in the end of March, if someone would have said to you in July we still don't have the ability to test, we'll be running out of PPE, and we'll have 60,000 cases a day that we know of, you'd think no, we'll make more progress than that. We have to. I mean, we're a great country and we'll get out of this.

But here we are three months later -- it's the exact situation if not, arguably, a little bit worse.

BERMAN: Why? I mean, why? Why is it taking so long? Why did it take so long for Mick Mulvaney's kids to get the results back? Why can't people in California get them back as quickly as they want?

SLAVITT: Well, it's a function of two things.

One is it's just a function of the spread. This is an exponentially- growing virus and as fast as testing capacity grew in this country -- and it did grow -- it spread just too massively.

The second is a function of no national leadership or strategy to put this in place. I mean, we have labs across -- universities across the country that could be repurposed to do COVID tests if we had a national strategy to do it -- to get them approved safely, to get them approved quickly. There's a certification that they need.


There's millions more capacity and we just basically -- the president made a decision early on to say this is the state's problem. I'm not going to deal with it because it's too hard. And this is my opinion, of course, but it was too difficult for them to do it and he didn't want accountability for it. And so he just said we're going to let Laissez-faire capitalism take off and more capacity will get built.

Unfortunately, in a -- in a -- you can't do that in a public health crisis where you need a certain amount of tests in order to basically contain the disease.

CAMEROTA: And, Andy, don't forget -- President Trump wanted to slow down testing. President Trump -- we have the tape of him saying that he asked them to slow down testing. So he got his wish. It is sure slow.

And he also may not understand or comprehend testing. He thinks that we're doing a tremendous amount of testing but per capita, we're not. We're not doing what any health expert says per capita we should be doing. But are you saying, Andy, in terms of a solution that the president, today, could what -- fire up the Defense Production Act and create more swabs? I mean, what could happen to fix this today?

SLAVITT: Yes. Well, unfortunately, he won't be able to fix it today because like everything else it takes a little bit of time. And so if he starts today, he can make a difference within the next few weeks and months.

What I think he would do is he would basically say all of these university labs that do a bunch of other amazing work -- that, by the way, I've located and are not very far from COVID labs -- can be fired up and get what's called a CLIA certification -- that's C-L-I-A. And that certification can allow them to take a lot of dormant capacity that's just sitting out there and begin to reuse it.

It can't happen overnight but it can happen quickly. He should have done it three months ago. If not, he should do it today.

And let's not forget one more thing. He and the White House and the West Wing, they test every day.

BERMAN: Right.

Andy, I wanted to jump in because Mick Mulvaney got a lot of attention because of his comments on testing. I actually think the bigger admission he made in this article has to do with the economy and the entire pandemic in general.

He said, quote, "Lawmakers need to realize that the current economic crisis is public-health driven. Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with COVID."

He basically said people aren't not spending money on vacation because, you know -- because they're not on vacation. They're not spending money because they're scared to go on vacation.

And this is a vastly different argument the White House has been making. They're just saying reopen the economy. They haven't said we're going to fix the health crisis and then reopen the economy.

SLAVITT: Well, he is 100 -- he is 100 percent right.

And, you know -- I mean, there's a little bit of an interesting orientation here in that Democrats generally tend to start their policy thinking around things like health care and benefits and inequality, justice, et cetera. Republicans tend to start thinking about it from in terms of economic growth and tax structure, policy, and so forth.

And so, for him to go -- to realize and go all the way over from his lens -- and he's a very conservative Republican -- not a -- not an unintelligent guy at all -- and see that -- it took him several weeks to get there but he got to exactly where I think the rest of the country is feeling, which is that you expect me to buy a car, hire people, sign a lease, travel in the middle of a public health crisis? You've got to be crazy.

And, the president has to hear that. He has to hear that his path to fixing the economy and growing jobs is the same path to helping save people's lives and make people feel safe.

BERMAN: And sometimes writing an article and getting it out in the press is a way that people communicate with the president and this administration. So interesting to see that.

CAMEROTA: Andy Slavitt, thank you.

SLAVITT: Thank you.

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: We are now requiring all counties to close their indoor activities, their indoor operations.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: I do think we are going to need a shutdown. I am proposing two weeks.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: This is a really serious problem. It is truly historic. We haven't even begun to see the end of it yet.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci. I don't always agree with him.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL ADVISER: Look, if you're trying to get the public to believe a fantasy, then you have to discredit the truth-tellers, and that's what the president is doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is deeply, deeply frustrating that he sees this as a ridiculous sideshow.


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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

We begin with the coronavirus pandemic worsening in Florida and across the country. The state reported, in Florida, its second-highest number of cases in a single day after setting a record on Sunday. Forty-eight hospitals in Florida are now at ICU capacity.

This morning, some states are beginning to shut down again. After an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, the most populated state in the country, California, is putting the brakes on indoor dining, movie theaters, and bars.