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Brooklyn Nets' Garrett Temple On Being Inside The NBA Bubble; Sec. Mnuchin Says Admin. Supports More Money For Small Businesses; Dems Tell Members Of Congress Not To Attend Convention. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 17, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


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[12:31:56]

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Testing time for Major League Baseball and the NBA just around the corner. Baseball set to resume play next week, the NBA the week after that. The NBA games will be played in what is being called the bubble in Orlando, Florida, a Disney hotel and Sports Complex.

Joining us now from the bubble, Garrett Temple, he's a guard for the Brooklyn Nets. He's also vice president of the NBA Players Association. Garrett, thanks for coming back. We spoke a few weeks ago, and you said you were a bit nervous, a bit anxious about A, just getting back to work and getting back to play, but B, given the safety concerns about the virus and all that. You're in the bubble now? What are your reactions so far? How's it going?

GARRETT TEMPLE, POINT GUARD, BROOKLYN NETS: Yes, John. Thanks for having me again.

The bubble has been, the campus as we like to call it, has been very safe, very secure. Obviously, there have been a few incidents where guys maybe not knowing all of the rules, having to quarantine but being tested every day, wearing our mask, following protocol. And it's been very safe and I'm happy with how it's been so far.

KING: That's great to hear. I'm looking forward to seeing some games. As you know, you're talking -- you're involved with the Players Union. You to talk to your colleagues, the players, so you know, Coach Popovich of the Spurs is a very colorful outspoken guy, San Antonio, of course, in Texas.

Here's Pop Coach, take on the bubble. The bubble is one of the safest places you can be, especially compared to outside the bubble in Arizona or Texas or Florida. We've been all over the map in Texas. Nobody knows what the hell is going on.

I assume he's talking about the rising case count there. Florida too, if you go outside your bubble, Florida's having a case surge right now, when you talk to your friends and colleagues, the players, are you impressing upon them both for the good of the League and the safety of this enterprise getting playback going, and for their own personal health, follow the rules, stay put.

TEMPLE: No question, exactly what you said, following the rule, staying put, not only for their own personal health, but there are so many people here that will be going back to loved ones when we do finish playing.

But the fact of the matter is if everybody starts testing positive this season, we'll have to end. So staying put, we obviously know what's going on in Florida, how the cases have arisen. And as Pop said, the bubble is the safest place to be, especially if you follow protocol. So I agree.

KING: We've seen some back and forth. I don't want to call it mistrust in some of the other leagues. But just some questions, how long does it take to get test results, do the players trust what they're hearing from the league? You feel like you're on the same page with Commissioner Silver and everybody else with the NBA?

TEMPLE: Yes, no question. I think he's done a great job as well as the Players Association is putting this together. We're getting test results back quickly. You can't go into certain buildings without your test results back. So this little magic band that they have using putting in our temperatures in the morning, all these different things, the protocols are doing really well.

KING: You're going to have education reform on the back of your jersey. There's been a lot of conversation, a little bit of controversy about players using this moment. We talked about this a couple weeks ago. Using this moment, we have a racial reckoning around America after the George Floyd killing and the death. You have the coronavirus raging in America. You're getting a chance to get global attention not just attention here the United States as your resume play, everybody desperate to watch the game. But you want to send a message as well.

[12:35:10]

TEMPLE: Yes, definitely I want to send a message. We actually had a players only call last night about 30, 40 guys got on it. Just trying to make sure we stay on topic. Most -- a lot of guys that come down here to make sure the message stays hot.

You know, obviously things, the window down, the longer they go. We want to make sure that we stay on point in terms of what we're trying to, obviously do play basketball, but even more importantly, push out the messages that we want to push out and the fact that we have different messages on our jerseys, maybe get together with like-minded individuals, have some conversations about what we can actually do to create tangible change.

KING: Garrett Temple, appreciate your time today. Let's keep circling back in. I know you're going to get a little more busy soon when you're back on the court playing and all that. But let's keep in touch as this play out. I wish you and your fellow players the best of luck. Stay safe.

TEMPLE: Appreciate it, John.

KING: Thank you, Garrett. We'll talk again soon. Thank you.

Coming up for us, Congress beginning to start weighing another stimulus package, small businesses say we need help. We're struggling to survive.

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[12:40:38]

KING: Small businesses are watching with urgency as Congress begins to debate another round of coronavirus economic aid, as many as 100,000 small businesses may already have closed permanently. Thousands more have scaled back or shutdown with the hopes of opening again. The Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Capitol Hill right now, here's what he said earlier this morning about this issue.

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STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: The administration support using the existing money and topping it up with some additional money and that will be discussed and allowing for a second payment to the businesses that are especially hard hit.

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KING: CNN's Phil Mattingly is live for us on Capitol Hill. Phil, you've done a lot of work on this, those small businesses would like to know what he means by topping it up.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I think we would like to know that as well. I think what it underscores more than anything else is there's not a ton of agreement right now as Senate Republicans prepare to release their stimulus proposal and the negotiations really are set to launch except for on one issue, and that is small businesses.

There is a recognition that significantly more aid is needed. It needs to be more targeted. It needs to focus on some of the smallest businesses in particular, businesses like the restaurant industry, an industry that has just gotten crushed over the course of the last several months.

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AYESHAH ABUELHIGA, CEO, MASON DIXIE FOODS: We sold out every day.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): When Ayeshah Abuelhiga left her corporate job to launch Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. she couldn't have dreamed of how big of a hit it was going to be.

ABUELHIGA: We had lines all the way down to the Costco, so probably two miles long. And then it was like as if that opening day lasted a month and a half. (voice-over): A first-generation American who grew up in public housing and worked a half-dozen jobs just to get through college, the comfort food pop-up was the ultimate success story. And the accolades, the permanent brick and mortar location, and most importantly, customer loyalty followed in spades.

ABUELHIGA: It was really important for us at the time to be a part of a neighborhood and a community and not just be in downtown.

(voice-over): Then came the pandemic.

ABUELHIGA: The first week or two there was basically no traffic. I think we were making $100 a day. So, like, it went to nothing.

(voice-over): The business never returned above 50 percent of its past sales, leading to this gut-wrenching decision.

ABUELHIGA: We couldn't sustain the business anymore. We had shut it down.

(voice-over): With Abuelhiga writing the letter now taped in the window of her restaurant -- a letter an owner of a thriving business could ever imagine putting together.

ABUELHIGA: It was the last thing I wanted to do and I avoided it at all costs. What do you say to your team members? What do you say to their families, right? What do say to customers that feel like they've been there for you the whole time?

(voice-over): Small businesses are a central driver of U.S. economic activity, with more than 30 million in the country representing nearly 50 percent of all U.S. jobs. But as the crisis has continued unabated, thousands of brick and mortar small businesses have taken the route of Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. and closed their doors with nearly 66,000 businesses closing their doors for good since March 1st, according to data from Yelp, and some researchers pegging the total number at north of 100,000.

Even more are on the precipice with 23 percent in a recent survey saying they could only survive for no more than six months in current conditions. Even some that received crucial federal Paycheck Protection Program loans are simply closing their doors altogether, like Mason Dixie Biscuits.

Yet, in a sign of the very resiliency that defines what small business owners represent, a second business run by Abuelhiga, a frozen biscuit business once driven by customer loyalty to the restaurant, itself, has taken off.

ABUELHIGA: Never in a million years could we have planned that it was going to be as crazy as it was. The demand surge for us was upwards of 200 percent month-over-month.

(voice-over): And Abuelhiga isn't closing the door to giving another restaurant a shot post-pandemic.

ABUELHIGA: There isn't a bone in my body that doesn't want to try this again.

(voice-over): But as small businesses around the country fight for survival, she strikes a chord many facing this once-in-a-century pandemic are clinging to each day.

ABUELHIGA: I can't say that you should feel like it's a failure. It's really just closure on a chapter but it forces you to think what's the next step. What's the next move?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And, John, I think one of the key things to think about and having spoken to just dozens of small business owners over the course of the last four months is to take away almost entirely is, we just want a chance, right?

This was not happening because of their own bad decisions. They're not asking for better bailouts are handouts. They're asking to stay afloat as they are ordered to shutdown and those shutdowns or at least rollbacks of reopenings. We've only seen them increase over the course of the last several weeks and there doesn't seem to be an end to that, so long as the coronavirus surges.

[12:45:13]

And I think even lawmakers on both sides who disagree about everything they acknowledge that the Paycheck Protection Programs served its purpose in its initial stages for millions of small businesses, but it didn't do enough for long enough. And I think that's what you're going to see lawmakers try and target over the course of the next couple days and weeks.

KING: Let's hope they figure some way to work it out especially for those small business people. They A, take big risk, B, they change for the better of the character of those communities. Phil Mattingly, fantastic piece. Thank you so much.

Coming up for us, Democrats because of the coronavirus, drastically reducing now the plans for their convention telling members of Congress you shouldn't show up.

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[12:50:29]

KING: Democrats are dramatically rolling back plans for the Democratic National Convention to nominate Joe Biden which supposed to meet next month in Milwaukee. The convention still go on, but instead, a plan of 50,000 now down to 300, 50,000 people was the plan, now down to 300.

Get that right now, only the former Vice President Joe Biden who will become the nominee and the Democratic National Committee Chairman, Tom Perez, have committed to traveling to Milwaukee.

With me, national political reporter for The New York Times and our CNN political analyst, Lisa Lerer. Lisa, it was inevitable but reading your piece today about this, it is kind of stunning when you just think of how they've gone from the big plan to this.

LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, it's unbelievable as the virus has spread, the convention has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. And as you mentioned in the intro, they're down to estimating as few as 300 people. And it's important to note that that crowd of 300 will include media, will include medical professionals, will include security, will include aids, convention aids, so you're really not talking about a lot of principles, a lot of politicians.

In fact, they told everyone in Congress, don't come. The Committee told all the delegates not to come, all that business, the kinds of things that always happens at conventions will be happening virtually.

KING: It's always great to find an optimist or somebody who can somehow try to find a silver lining. I love this quote in your case from Alex last week who led the convention bid to get, obviously this isn't what we anticipated on the bright side, we'll have hosted the most unique and consequential convention in history. True.

LERER: True. I mean, America has never seen a convention like this, period. You know, it's going to be -- there's going to be a lot of pre-taped. There's going to be a lot of video conferencing, Democrats are talking about setting up satellite sites across the country where some of the principles would speak.

The program is going to be much shorter, you know, normally these things go on for five, six hours of speeches at night, we're looking at two or three. And planners told me the model is more like the Oscars. So that NFL draft then, you know, previous conventions. But they think the contrast with Republicans will be politically beneficial for them, particularly when it comes to the viruses spread concerns about people's health.

KING: And so people are used to and I think we can show from 2016 in Philadelphia, Tim Kaine, the vice presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, the presidential nominee, you have the families on stage, you have the nominees on stage, you have a balloon drop. That's Bill Clinton there with her is that, you know, this -- we're not going to get this. Are they going to try to give us anything like this?

LERER: I just think it's going to be really different. And actually some Democrats I talked to said that they advise the planners to not even try for that that lean into this contrast that you have the President was trying although his aspirations are shrinking by the day two. To gather a big crowd, you're going to have presumably images coming from Jacksonville the following week of, you know, a maskless crowd.

So some Democrats, some people in the party are saying, lean into this. Show that the Democratic Party is taking this health crisis seriously. I know I'm going to miss the balloons, I have to say. That's my -- always my favorite part is to watch politicians tangle with the balloons but that's the times we live in, I suppose.

KING: I have confetti collected from conventions going back to 1988. So I guess we're going to -- I guess I'm going to have a gap year. We might call that one. Lisa Lerer of the New York Times, very much appreciate it. Well watch this as it plays out. It's fascinating month ahead.

[12:53:58]

Coming up for us, President Trump's niece setting sales record for a book that claims her husband -- her uncle, I'm sorry, isn't fit to lead.

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KING: A big tell-all book by President Trump's niece is a record breaker. The publisher of Mary Trump's book Simon and Schuster says it sold 950,000 copies of too much and never enough on its first day of sales. That is a new record for the company.

In the book, Mary Trump calls the President a sociopath and a racist. The White House says the President's niece is wrong. This quick programming note, Mary Trump will join CNN for an interview tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And before we go to break, here's a peek at the all new season, United Shades of America.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very conscious about that. And I remember when you were a little guy, you know, six, seven years old and there was a drugstore near us that we will shop in. And as soon as we walked in the door, the store detective would follow us, I said be really careful. And I pointed out the store detective because we're always being watched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember that lesson and it sticks with me today. So much so that I'm aware of when I'm in stores even as a fully grown adult, where my hands are. And then, you know, as a kid, I was aware of it because I didn't want to be arrested. And now, I've become worried because I don't want to be killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Don't miss W. Kamau Bell Sunday night 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, that shows back for us this year, a very important time.

[13:00:00]

Thanks for joining us today Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now.