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President Trump Demotes His Campaign Manager; Trade Adviser Versus Fauci?; Wearing Of Mask Becomes Too Political; Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) Is Interviewed About Mandate Of Masks In Alabama. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 15, 2020 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That's when an idea sparked -- the third grader afro mom to help raise $500 to make art supplies that have more options for people of color. With the help of a GoFundMe page, guess how much, supplies? $24,000 in less than a month.

She wants to give them to schools so kids can color themselves the way they want to be that reflect their reality. Want to donate? Visit and search help fill Madi's Treasure Box. Isn't that beautiful? We are her as well. We're not just the best we're often -- we're not the worst, we're often the best.

Thanks for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon right now. Isn't that great?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Speak for yourself. Yes, it is great. I mean, it's great. There was -- and Madison, congratulations. You are an amazing little girl and she deserves everything that she's getting.

People often ask them -- so you get to ask these questions, what stories do you remember a story that touched you a lot or touch you the most in your career? I was starting out in Birmingham, Alabama and there was this book called, I think it was nappy hair or nappy hair or something like that.

And this was a little kid's book and I read it and it was about accepting yourself, accepting your hair. And it really -- and I did the story and it really had an impact on me. And people found it, you know, quite interesting and were drawn to it. So, it reminds me of that little story right there. She's awesome.

CUOMO: You have very nice hair.

LEMON: I do. But colors, speaking of. No makeup. You can see my scar tonight. I'm tired of wearing --


CUOMO: Did you tell them how I did that to you? I said pay for lunch. And you said make me.

LEMON: No, I just like doing it every night you really miss hair and makeup people. I mean, you have your wig guy but I don't have anybody.

CUOMO: What wig?


CUOMO: It's stitched in.

LEMON: In all seriousness, let's get serious here. We had been in this position before in 2016 where Donald Trump then candidate now president was behind. Not as much as Hillary Clinton. I mean, Joe Biden is ahead not, you know, but not as much as Hillary Clinton.

But we've seen this before around this time. Maybe just a little bit later a couple of weeks later. Remember that's when he brought in Kellyanne Conway. And that's when everything turned around. There is still a long way to go. I don't think anybody should be doing a victory lap right now.

CUOMO: Well, I have to tell you, I don't -- yes, I do know the answer to this. Kellyanne Conway was invaluable in turning that thing the right way at the end. Why she's not there doing it now more overtly. I'm not quite sure.

The president by all accounts is not happy with how this is going. Harry and the big brains would tell you that this is not like 2016. That his numbers are not anywhere near where they were then in ways that matter.

Now that said, polls are just a snapshot of a moment in time.


CUOMO: And between now and November, so much can happen to make this thing move one way or the other. And unlike what Harry said, I believe in the debates this time. I think the measurement of these two men is so careful for so many people. I think they're going to matter.

LEMON: I don't think they matter. I don't -- I think it's already baked in. I don't think people care if you are a Trump supporter then you're a Trump supporter. If you're a Biden supporter then you're a Biden supporter. If you care about decency you're going to vote for Biden. If you don't and you just want things the way they are you're going to vote for the president.

I don't think -- I don't think a debate -- I don't think -- I don't judge for me as an American, I don't judge the performance in a debate as someone who can handle the presidency. The presidency is not run in 30-second answers or one-minute answers or a quick wit in the debate. It's run by someone who has the ability to lead.

So, I think we put too much emphasis on debates. It's great to watch. People it's like a fight. But I think it's already baked in. I don't -- I think it's going to be fun for viewers to watch. I don't think it's going to move the needle one bit at all.

CUOMO: You have history and political science on your side. LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I, however, feel that this is different especially with Biden. There are a lot of people who don't want to vote for Trump but they need to be convinced to vote for Biden. They don't like how left a lot of this stuff sounds. And how he may have to own it. And they want to make sure he's on his game. So that's why I'm saying I think they'll matter. We'll see.

LEMON: We shall see.

CUOMO: We'll be watching them probably together.

LEMON: We'll see. Yes. Thank you, sir. Good to see you. I'll see you soon. Thanks for the --


CUOMO: I love you, Don Lemon.

LEMON: I know you do. I'm going to stop telling you because you tell me you love me more than you tell Christina, I'm sure.

CUOMO: That's not true. That's not true. I just mean it when I say it to her.

LEMON: Good night.

CUOMO: good night.

LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

So, how did we get into this mess? And how do we get out of it? How do we? Tonight, more than 100 -- more than 137,000 Americans have died of coronavirus. Nearly three and a half million of us have been infected.


And it didn't have to be this way. But even know six months after the first cases were diagnosed, we still don't have enough testing. Still don't. We can't even get everyone to comply with the basic protection that we have. And that is mask wearing. And more than 137,000 people are dead. It is a disgrace.

Talk about American carnage. The president only cares about his political prospects. And right now, those don't look too good. We were discussing it the other polls. He's behind 15 points in a new national poll. Behind Joe Biden in Florida and other key battleground states.

And with no clear leader in the State of Texas, and so tonight he is announcing his campaign manager Brad Parscale has been demoted. A campaign adviser is telling CNN it was just matter of time before it happened. But come on, that's not why the president's campaign is in trouble. Let's be real about this. Did Brad Parscale make the president say this?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I said supposing you brought the light inside the body in which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that too? Sounds interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get the right folks who could.

TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs.


LEMON: Did Brad Parscale gas peaceful protestors in Lafayette Park so the president could have his photo op scowling in front of St. Johns Church holding a bible? Nope. That was the president. This campaign is all about President Trump.

We've got more on this breaking news in just a moment for you.

But what's the best thing that this president could do if he really cares about reelection, if he cares about being re-elected? What's the best thing that he can do? Well, he can work on this. He could do your job. Do your job. Work on this coronavirus crisis. Fix what needs fixing.

Instead, he and his administration are trying to discredit the expert. The experts. The only ones who seem to be paying attention, any attention to the facts and the science in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is firing back after the most recent slam. An op-ed by trade adviser Peter Navarro who in spite of having absolutely no, zero medical training seems to think that he's expert enough to trash Dr. Fauci on the facts.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, that is a bit bizarre. And I have to tell you, I think if I sit here and just shrug my shoulders and say, well, you know, that's life in the fast lane.


FAUCI: You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don't really fully understand it.


LEMON: And going onto say this.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP) FAUCI: I think if you talk to reasonable people in the White House, they realize that was a major mistake on their part because it doesn't do anything but reflect poorly on them. And I don't think that that was their intention? I don't know. I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that.

But I mean, I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do because it's only reflecting negatively on them. I can't explain Peter Navarro. He's in a world by himself. So, I don't even want to go there.


LEMON: So, the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows says the president did not approve Navarro's op-ed. Didn't have to. He said pretty much the same thing himself.


TRUMP: Dr. Fauci is a nice man but he's made a lot of mistakes.


LEMON: But now the White House is furiously back peddling. The president himself claiming everything is just fine. Nothing to see here. Move along. We're al on the same team. And we are. And the country is coming back very strong. Very strong.

Yes, the president thinks everything is just fine. Never mind that nasty virus that is killing more and more Americans every single day. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it's probably not a coincidence that Vice President Mike Pence tweeted out a photo of Dr. Fauci at the task force meeting at the White House today. Funny. I don't see the president in that picture. Right. See, the president was too busy to attend the task force -- task force meeting. He's on his hot spot tour of America.

You know where he goes to a state where the coronavirus is raging and then he talks about just about anything except the virus.


Check him out. Here he is arriving in Atlanta today. No mask. Even though everyone around him seems to have gotten the memo. Like the rest of us who have been wearing masks in public for months. The president didn't wear a mask at his indoor speech either. His speech to announce plans to streamline infrastructure projects.

I don't know how many more infrastructure weeks this country can survive. But let's face it, no matter how much this president tries to avoid and ignore it, the coronavirus struck this country on his watch.

More than 137,000 Americans have died on his watch. And he is not doing a damn thing about it. The 'I alone can fix it president' who claims to know more than the experts about everything under the sun. Remember all the times during this presidency that he put himself first.


TRUMP: I, alone, can fix it.

I am the chosen one.

People are surprised I understand it. Every one of these doctors said how do you know so much about this? Maybe I have a natural ability.

When somebody is the president of the United States the authority is total. And that's the way it's got to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Total? Your authority is total?

TRUMP: Total.

If I wasn't here to say no way, that's not going to happen, we'd be in some mess. We'd be in some mess.


LEMON: Well, now we are in some mess. And so is this president. All this incompetence and negligence is on his doorstep with less than four months to go until election day. And in the face of all of this, what's he doing? This.

Please, everybody. Look. Because I've got a point to make here. OK? Look at this. That's the President of the United States. That's the Resolute desk. Posing and grinning behind the Resolute desk with a load of Goya products.

Remember when he said that he couldn't picture himself wearing a mask and meeting with dictators behind the Resolute desk. Let me remind you.


TRUMP: Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute desk. The great Resolute desk. I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know. Somehow, I don't see it for myself.


LEMON: So now he can pose there with a can of beans? Can of beans. But he can't wear a mask. This is his response to boycotts of Goya after the company's CEO said, quote, "we are truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump in the middle of deadly pandemic."

He and his daughter. You just have to soak it in. Taking time to give the thumbs up to a load of Goya products. But let's remember, this is the man who in 2016 celebrated Cinco de Mayo by promoting the Taco bowls in the Trump tower grill, who launch his campaign with an attack on Mexicans.


TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They are rapists, and some I assume are good people.


LEMON: Who promised over and over to build a wall on the border. Mexico is going to pay for it.


TRUMP: We are going to build a wall. Don't worry about it.


TRUMP: And wait a minute. Who's going to pay for the wall?


TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?


TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?



LEMON: Well, I hope you're not holding your breath to see that wall built even four years later. Because most of the 200 miles he's built are just replacing old dilapidated barriers. Only about three miles are new. Check your facts. OK? And the facts will show no, Mexico is not paying for it.

This is a man who slammed an Indiana born judge hearing a case against Trump University because the president falsely insisted that he was Mexican and therefore couldn't be impartial.



TRUMP: Look, he's proud of his heritage. OK? I'm building a wall. Now I think I'm going to do very well with Hispanics. You know why I'm going to do well with Hispanics? Because I'm going to bring back jobs and they're going to get jobs right now. They're going to get jobs.

I think I'm going to do very well with Hispanics. But we're building a wall. He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico.


LEMON: This is a president who put kids in cages on the border. This the president who is still trying to end DACA. Even though the Supreme Court blocked him last month.

Posing with cans of beans in the Oval Office won't change any of that. But that's what this president is doing while the pandemic is raging and your fellow Americans are losing their lives. Beans on the Resolute desk.

In the face of all this, the president shakes up his campaign as he is struggling in the latest polls. His campaign manager demoted with less than four months to go until the election. Until election day. A lot more on this, next.



LEMON: Breaking news tonight, President Trump shaking up his campaign leadership. Brad Parscale out as campaign manager as new poll showed Trump trailing Joe Biden by double digits. That as the coronavirus is surging out of control in the United States. More than 63,000 new cases reported just today.

A lot to discuss. CNN's White House correspondent is Kaitlan Collins, our senior political commentator is David Axelrod. Good evening to both of you. So here we are with election day nearing, getting ever closer.

Kaitlan, let's start with this campaign shake up. The president announced by Facebook that Brad Parscale is out as President Trump's campaign manager. What do you know about that? Tell us.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He's not pushing him out entirely which is notable. He's just demoting him to senior adviser and instead promoting the deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien to be the actual campaign manager and replace Brad Parscale.

And of course, that comes not only after the fallout that we saw from the president's rally in Oklahoma but also, Don, these polls that came out today and the polls that we have been seeing for weeks. Some of them have the president down double digits to Joe Biden saying that they do not approve of the way that the president has handled the pandemic so far.

And we're told that as of a few hours ago this morning Brad Parscale was not aware that this change was in the works. But he was called by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser this evening, he told him that they were going to make this change.

And we do expect Brad Parscale to stay on. He is someone who is deeply entrenched in President Trump's family. But it is significant that these three and a half weeks after that rally in Tulsa the president is now deciding to make this change.

LEMON: I'm glad you mention that because wasn't the writing on the wall since that Tulsa rally? All those empty seats, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, I think so. Because we heard sources saying the president was backstage looking through the curtain and seeing how many empty rows were out in that audience and he was furious about it. He complained about it for days afterward. I mean, they had many political meetings, Don, at the White House since then where the president has still brought up those unfilled seats in that arena.

But I think it's also a bigger picture than that. It's these polls that the president has been fuming about. Showing him down to Joe Biden. Something that we clearly saw was bothering him when he came out to the Rose garden for over an hour yesterday.

But the ultimate question when you walk away from here is one, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law has still had one foot inside the White House. One foot inside the campaign. He's really been de facto running the campaign. That's not likely to change.

And two, is the president's own behavior going to change. Because just changing who is running your campaign isn't going to change how the candidate himself is acting. And that's what so many people around the president, you know, they've been so baffled, Don, by how the president has been acting lately that they've even wonder, some of them privately to me, that the president was actively trying to throw this election by the decisions he was making because it seemed so counterproductive to being reelected.

So, the question is, does changing who your campaign manager is change Trump? And of course, the answer is no.

LEMON: So, David, the question is, from me, this is not something that happens when a campaign is doing well. Correct?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. And it's very unusual for any campaign, much less the campaign of an incumbent president to make these kinds of changes this late in a campaign. But obviously, things have been going south for some time for the president.

Kaitlan raises a point though, Don. You know, you can't fire the candidate. And Donald Trump is going to be the last person on the planet who is going to acknowledge that he is responsible for his own troubles. But he is largely responsible for his own troubles.

That fact is, if you look in the polling just as NBC and Wall Street Journal that came out tonight, so much and this is true in all the polling that we have seen. So much of his problem is related to how he's handled this coronavirus. How he handled the aftermath of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. And pouring gasoline on the fire of race in this country.

And he's getting very low marks for both those things. And that has driven these numbers down. I doubt that Brad Parscale was the architect of his coronavirus strategy. This is Donald Trump running his own show. But he can't fire himself. He wouldn't fire himself. And so, the manager has to go.

LEMON: Well, David, since you mention -- let's put up some of this latest national polling. OK. Fifty-two percent of registered voters back Vice President Joe Biden. Thirty-seven percent support President Trump. Here's the thing. If the president as you just alluded, if he doesn't prioritize this pandemic, will those numbers change?


AXELROD: I really don't think so. I mean, you know, the president had in his mind that he was going to ride a strong economy to reelection. He was in denial about the impact of this coronavirus largely because he feared that it would stall the economy, send the economy into a spiral. And that would hurt his reelection chances.

He got serious about it for a few weeks and in the middle of May he kind of quit on the hard medicine that was necessary to deal with the coronavirus. And now we see the result. We see it surging again. And yet he continues to deny it. He continues to assure people that this is just a blip.

And that's not the experience that Americans are having in their own lives. So that contradiction that tension is one that doesn't resolve itself in the president's favor. It looks like he is either out to lunch on this coronavirus issue. Or simply unwilling to acknowledge it because he thinks it's bad for him politically.

LEMON: Yes. Or, Kaitlan, out of the White House traveling to hot spots. He went to another one today. He's down in Atlanta for a non- coronavirus related event.

We saw him get off the tarmac not wearing a mask. Get off the plane onto the tarmac not wearing a mask. Most everyone else was. What gives here? Was the president wearing a mask at Walter Reed a one-time only thing? That was the first time we saw him in public. Although he said he did wear it once before, I think it was at an auto plant or something.

COLLINS: Yes. And the reason they scheduled that hospital visit is so the president could have an excuse to wear a mask without looking like he changed his position on wearing a mask. And so, you know, they do it one time. But the question is, is it something he is going to continue.

And it clearly doesn't appear to be that way since he didn't in Atlanta today. Something that the mayor of Atlanta chastised the president over.

But you make an interesting point about, you know, he is going on these hot spots. I think he's gone to hot spots too earlier. And he's gone to Phoenix. He went to Miami recently. And now he's gone to Atlanta. He's going to these places where coronavirus is surging. The infection rate is surging.

But his focus while he's there is not coronavirus. I mean, he didn't go to the CDC while he was in Atlanta right near their headquarters today. And instead he gave a speech on infrastructure.

So, we've been reporting how, you know, aids are -- Dr. Fauci as all this drama is going on is saying let's get back to focusing on the pandemic at hand and how we're going to respond to this. But the president himself has continued to try to focus on other things instead of what's going on. Even though aides, political aides around the president say if he doesn't start changing the way he's handling this they are seriously worried about what it's going to do to him in November.

LEMON: Thank you both.

AXELROD: We should --


LEMON: Go ahead, David.

AXELROD: OK, Don. No, I was just going to say we should point out that those hot spots he's went -- he's gone to are states where governors followed his lead. And opened up quickly in defiance of the recommendations of public health experts. So now that you have resurgence in the states where the governors followed his lead and yet he continues to go down that same dangerous path.

LEMON: And some -- some of those states won't even require, won't even make wearing masks mandatory even though their numbers are going up rapidly.

Thank you both. I appreciate it.

My next guest is calling on the country to act now. Or he warns the coronavirus pandemic could get much worse. And he would know. He's an expert on pandemics. What he says needs to be done, next.



LEMON: Fourteen states reporting record high hospitalizations as the coronavirus surges. Dr. Fauci saying the current case spikes are untenable.

Let's discuss now. John Barry is here. John Barry is a professor of public health and tropical medicine at Tulane University. He wrote in the New York Times the pandemic could get much, much worse, we must act now. He's also the author of "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History." We're so happy to have you here, Mr. Barry. Thank you so much.

So, here's more of what you wrote in the Times, OK? You said, "have we done it right the first time we'd be operating at near 100 percent now. Schools would be preparing for a nearly normal school year. Football teams would be preparing to practice and tens of thousands of Americans would not have died." Do we need another shut down to get this right?

JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT INFLUENZA": I think we need close to that in certain states not necessarily nationally. If you compare what's going on with Europe, Italy has the population combined Texas, Florida, and Georgia. In all of Italy had 200 cases a day. And those three states you have tens of thousands of cases a day. If we had the number of cases in Italy, we would be near Italy -- near, you know, a fully functioning economy right now.

Football teams would be starting practice. Everything would be as close to normal as we could get. But we screwed up the first opportunity when we closed down. And if we don't get it right now, then when the weather gets cold, and people are forced indoors because of the weather, then we could really potentially be in for it. And frankly, Redfield, Robert Redfield, you know, the CDC director said the same thing, I think yesterday.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, you mention Europe. I want you to drill down a little bit more on that. Because it's not like the U.S. doesn't have experience with pandemics. I mean, we could have drawn from the lessons of the 1918 pandemic. Not to mention looking at Europe as you said and Asia to see how they handled the coronavirus. What did they do that we didn't?

BARRY: Well, they took it seriously. For one thing. A couple days ago someone had a -- in Australia someone had a birthday party invited too many people. And they were fined $18,000 for exceeding the maximum limit. That was a private party. And not hundreds of people. It was smaller than that.


You know, we they ever did anything like that. It became political. This thing shouldn't have been political. You know, as I said in the op-ed, I guess the opening line was, when you mix science and politics, you get politics. That's not the way it should have been. You know, science doesn't get to actually dictate everything.

If all of the economic pain we went through would only have saved a single life, I'm not sure too many Americans would have supported it. But if it would have saved tens of thousands of lives which hundreds of thousands of lives that's a different -- different measure. And you know, had we done it right, I mean, that's the irony.

Had Trump done it right the first time, you know, he'd had, his approval rating would have skyrocketed. We wouldn't have had 135,000 deaths, whatever the precise number is. And the economy would be functioning. But we blew it. You know? We have the mask issue was politicized.


LEMON: Can -- let's talk about that.

BARRY: We have --

LEMON: Let me jump in and ask you about the whole mask thing. Because you said, you know, you don't see how this became political. Masks have become political, John. How the heck did that happen? What if everyone would wear a mask, what effect would that have? BARRY: Well, at this point -- and you know, the country is different

in different places. There are states that are doing OK. And those places are the things you have heard about, you know, the masks, most important is social distancing. You know, the hand washing. Staying home if you have symptoms. Things like that. That would be OK. That would be enough to keep this in the box.

But in the states where it's exploding, that would not be enough to do any more than flaunt the growth. It would not bring the case numbers down from the tens of thousands into the hundreds where you could, you know, go back to school, where you could play football. Or where the economy could function.

So, it's not necessarily national. It could be as narrowly focused as on a couple of counties at a time. In a large state it might not be statewide. But we do need to take very aggressive action, that means at the very least things, you know, the obvious things are bars, and unfortunately, churches.

Those are places where people are indoors in close contact. And they are well documented for spreading the disease. You know, there's not much you can do about bars. You know, conceivably churches could make adjustments, particularly in the summer and have outdoor worship and things like that which in fact did happen in 1918. Outdoors is a lot safer than indoors.

LEMON: Yes. John Barry, thank you. Thank you. I hope everyone heeds your warning and your advice. I really appreciate you joining. Be safe.

BARRY: Thank you.

LEMON: So, I just want to make sure that you know about my new podcast. Silence is Not an Option. As a matter of fact, the new episode drops tomorrow overnight tonight. So, I'm taking on the tough conversations about being black in America. Make sure you find it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app.

And next, take this. The president's own former doctor say is -- says wearing a mask is a, quote, "personal choice." And he doesn't wear one all that often. A doctor. A doctor is saying this. When the CDC says masks are key to fighting the virus. My last guest said the same thing. The case for masks, next.



LEMON: You know, sometimes you have to put things into perspective for people. Like take them out of the everyday sort of -- I don't want to say minutia, but every day all the things that we talk about to get them to understand just how serious this is.

And some of this came about from speaking to a colleague earlier today. OK? So, please pay attention and I think this may open some minds and eyes. So, every night I report the latest numbers and this surging

coronavirus pandemic. Right? And I'm going to keep doing it until COVID-19 is brought under control.

Tonight, another grim milestone. More than 137,000 American lives lost. And I think we need to take a step back. And think about how many people that really is. And what it would look like if it was some other kind of emergency. OK? Something that we could see. Like plane crashes.

So, let's think about 137,000 airline passengers. And how many planes would be needed to move all those people over the past few months. Now think about all the planes crashing. Here's what it would mean. That about 50 jets crashing per week. Fifty per week over the course of four months since the pandemic began to reach a death toll that high. Fifty per week over the course of four months.

If planes were falling out of the sky like that, wouldn't the government immediately mobilize to stop it? Would we keep just doing what we're doing? Would people just keep getting on planes? If that many people were dying every day? It would be unthinkable.


We would all do whatever it would take to stop that carnage. Fifty per week over the course of four months. Think about that. We know in part that what it takes to stop this carnage. I want you to listen to the head of the CDC.


ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Face coverings are key. If you look at it, the data is really clear. They work. You know, we're not defenseless against this virus.


LEMON: Masks work. That's what the doctors and experts tell us. Which is what makes the next comments from the president's former White House doctor turned congressional candidate Ronny Jackson, Doctor Ronny Jackson, so incredible.


RONNY JACKSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DOCTOR: I think wearing a mask is a personal choice. And I don't -- I don't particularly want my government telling me that I have to wear a mask. And so, I think that's a choice that I can make. I don't wear a mask all that often to be honest with you.


LEMON: Dr. Jackson is running for a seat in Texas. A state where the virus is out of control. And where the governor who initially resisted mask wearing has reversed course after not doing what the experts said to do resulted in exactly what the experts said would happen. The Texas governor not alone. Listen to Alabama's Governor Kay Ivey now requiring residents to wear a face covering.


GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): Always prefer a personal responsibility over a government mandate. And yet, I also know with all my heart, that the numbers are definitely trending in the wrong direction. Folks, the numbers just do not lie.


LEMON: The numbers do not lie. The numbers don't lie. The facts don't lie. The virus doesn't care about your position on personal choice. Does not care about your politics, doesn't care about your personal choice. Doesn't care about my freedom as an American.

Try walking into a store with no shoes or no pants on and see what happens into a place of business. We can land the plane safely, everyone. Wear a mask.

So next, we're going to go to Alabama where the governor issued a statewide mask mandate. It's also where Jeff Sessions just -- was just defeated in his bid to be the Republican candidate for Senate. The current senator is Democrat Doug Jones joins me next.



LEMON: Coronavirus cases surging in Alabama, the state reporting more than 1,700 new cases just today along with a record 47 deaths in a single day. The governor today issuing a statewide mask mandate.

So, let's discuss now with the Alabama Senator, Doug Jones. Senator, thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us. Important subject. Good evening to you. So, you say that you agree with the governor's decision to mandate masks, but what else does your state need to do?

SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): Well, I think that is a huge first step. I think the governor has been listening to healthcare professionals. She said it very clearly. Nobody likes to mandate masks, but when people aren't getting the message and they're not following the guidelines, you're going to have to do something to start changing behaviors.

So, I think she did the appropriate thing today, and I think that is a huge first step. We'll see how this goes. I think the enforcement will be an interesting issue, but I think just the example that she is setting by this will go a long way to make sure that we try to do everything we can to stop this just incredible rise in the number of hospitalizations, the number of cases, the number of deaths that we're seeing in the State of Alabama.

LEMON: Yes, it is really, I mean, just outrageous. It's surging, surging. So, listen, Senator, the president is stirring up racial divisions in the run-up to November. Yesterday he said that the confederate flag is free speech like black lives matter is. He has been defending confederate monuments. Are those going to bin winning messages for him in your neck of the woods?

JONES: No, I don't think so. I don't think so at all. You know, we've been talking about this for a long time. Alabama -- people forget this. Alabama took the confederate battle flag off its state capitol some 20, 30 years ago now, 1994, I think that happened. Governor Jim Fulsome took that off there.

So, we've dealt with these issues before and we're continuing to deal with those, but I think we're at a moment in history now, Don, where people are recognizing that it's time for a change. We've got to make sure that we do the right thing. We've got to make sure that those monuments get in a place of history and that communities and that all people in a community feel safe and they're not offended when they go to a courthouse and they see a statue of a confederate general who took up arms against the United States of America.

So, I think we're at an interesting moment, and I don't think it's a winning issue for Donald Trump or anybody else that follows him.

LEMON: Let's talk about your race right now. Senator Tommy Tuberville beating Jeff Sessions in the Alabama Republican Senate primary last night. President Trump is attacking you throwing all kinds of support behind him. Listen to this.


TRUMP: I'm very happy that Tommy Tuberville won the race. I think he's going to be a great senator. We don't have a good senator in there right now in Jones. He's not doing the job he should be doing a much better job.


Certainly, he doesn't represent the views of the people of Alabama. That's for sure.


LEMON: Your -- your Senate seat is seen as the most vulnerable for Democrats. Trump is 100 percent behind your opponent. What's your message and your strategy, Senator?

JONES: You know, my message has been the same that it's always been, Don. We represent everybody in Alabama. It's one Alabama for us. That's exactly what we've been doing. And we've reached out -- we had an amazing turnout for us in 2017, and we're going to see another one because people now see and understand what we've been able to do. And it's not just for the traditional Democratic base.

We've reached out to farmers and educators and healthcare professionals. We've been talking about saving rural health. We've been talking about jobs and the economy. I'm on the armed services committee and we have talked about modernizing our military and keeping America safe and secure in an industry, a military industrial complex that's incredibly important for Alabama. We've talked a lot about veterans and we've got a lot done for

veterans in the State of Alabama. And across the country, things like the elimination of the widow's tax. We're going to run on that. We're going to go straight at this and let folks see the leadership, the kind of leadership that can come when people reach across the aisle, do the things necessary to try to get things done and not live in such a hyper partisan world.

LEMON: Senator Doug Jones joining us -- or joining me from my former state, Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama. I worked there. WBRC a top red mountain. So, it's good -- the great state of Alabama. Good luck to you. Thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us and please be safe, OK?

JONES: Thank you, Don. I appreciate all you're doing to get this word out about how dangerous this virus is. We really appreciate it here in Alabama.

LEMON: Thank you so much.

More than 137,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. We have the latest on the surge in this pandemic. Plus, a big Trump campaign shake-up. That's all next.