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Coronavirus Cases Continue to Surge in the US; Interview with Hialeah, FL Mayor, Carlos Hernandez; Interview with Jamaal Bowman, Democratic Candidate for Congress in New York's 16th District. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 20, 2020 - 07:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Developing this morning, coronavirus cases in Florida continue to surge. In Miami Dade County, hospitalizations hit a new high, and the ICUs are 27 percent over capacity. So what is the plan? Joining me now is Mayor Carlos Hernandez of Hialeah, Florida. Mayor, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. So we just said positive cases in your county are at 26 percent, and of course the ICUs are over capacity. So how are you going to turn this around?

MAYOR CARLOS HERNANDEZ, HIALEAH, FLORIDA: Yes, this scary. I mean, now every day it's over 10,000. It's almost like the norm. You stated hospitals are at full capacity. I spoke to two of the three large hospitals in our city late last night. Two of them have cancelled the non-emergency surgeries, and they're really, really at the point - it's a breaking point. It's a breaking point now. We're at critical stage, and more than ever we have to unite, and I keep saying that.

Our governor has certain ideas. Our government here at the county has certain different ideas and cities have different ideas and nobody's come together yet to have one plan in motion, and I think that's causing a lot of confusion here in our state. I mean, that's the reality of it right now.

CAMEROTA: What do you want the governor to do today?

HERNANDEZ: Well first of all I think that it's about time that masks are mandated state-wide. I mean, like I said you have counties here that if you go to today it's like nothing's happening. No masks, no distancing, nothing. And then you have other counties that are not working one with another. For example, here Miami Dade County, our county next to us at Broward County, we have a curfew here where restaurants are closed and in Broward the restaurants are open. So what's happening instead of people not going to restaurants, they're just going across the border to those restaurants.

[07:35:00] So, as long as we don't work together, and I'm talking counties and the state, we're going to -- we're going to find ourselves in this problem right now. You can't -- this is not -- you can't fix this by pieces. It's got to be work together and that's not happening right now and that's the biggest problem that I see.

CAMEROTA: Why won't your governor issue a mask mandate when things are so bad in Florida?

HERNANDEZ: I have no idea. I really can't talk on his behalf. I don't understand it. I think that would be -- you know, there's a lot of people who listen to him and to the president and -- and -- and again, they're not listening to anybody else.

And it would really be -- show a lot of leadership if he would say it's time that the state of Florida, you know, the masks were mandated and social distancing. And that's something that he has chosen not to do and that's something that he has to answer to. But again, the numbers speak for themselves or the problems we find ourselves -- speak for themselves.

CAMEROTA: One of the things that your county is going to do on Thursday you all issued an executive order about masks and social distancing. And for anybody who is out not wearing a mask or social distancing, as I understand it, the fire department and police can start issuing tickets and these are steep ticket prices, fines, $100 to $500. Is this really happening? I mean, is this just a threat or police really doing this now?

HERNANDEZ: Listen, that's where the confusion and -- you know -- the cities, the large cities started doing this almost four weeks ago. The county decided to start doing this a week ago. And that's why I keep talking about working together.

At one moment that the mayor of the county said it wasn't -- it wasn't necessary, while the large city said, hey, we need to start to enforcing, we need to start doing this.

And now it's -- it's happening county wide, but the -- again, as long as we don't all unite, I'm going to keep saying this, at every level, local, county, state and the federal (ph), we're going to find ourselves in the problem that we have right now, because it's not the same message.

Some people are confused and some people are taking sides and they're -- this is not -- no time for sides. This is no time for, you know, Republicans, Democrats, none of this game, we're -- I'm -- in this -- in this together and there's no way out if we don't all get on the same page.

CAMEROTA: Do you know how many tickets in Hialeah? I mean, are people being ticketed for $100 for no masks there?

HERNANDEZ: We -- we have given the orders and that's been going on for a couple weeks. We have -- we have closed a couple businesses for not following the guidelines. And again, we'll see how that works -- we'll see how that works. But I think more important, as I keep saying, is the counties and the state working together and that's not happening right --


HERNANDEZ: -- I can tell you that's not happening now.

CAMEROTA: On Friday Governor DeSantis said that schools should reopen five days a weeks in person next month. He said that elementary school students are quote, at almost zero risk. Do you agree?

HERNANDEZ: Listen, I don't agree with the Governor on that. I think that nobody will want to put their kids at risk to catch coronavirus. And if that was a fact, which -- which we -- there is no evidence for that, those kids do have parents and they do have grandparents, so -- and we all know, we have kids, how hard it is to control little kids and tell them to wear masks or -- or -- or respect social distance. So, I don't agree with that.

Again, we have this serious issue right now and I don't think talking about opening schools is -- is the right thing at this moment.

CAMEROTA: I mean it looks like from your facial expression you don't think that he's taking it seriously.

HERNANDEZ: I don't know if he's taking it seriously. I know he's late (ph), that I can tell you. He's very, very late and for a long time, again, he was taking a position that this was going to go away. And he was late on testing sites, he was late on a lot of things and now we find ourselves in this situation.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Carlos Hernandez, we really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

HERNANDEZ: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: A financial lifeline of $600 a week for millions of unemployed Americans will run out in just days. So, what's the plan? Christine Romans tells us.



JOHN BERMAN, NEW DAY ANCHOR: All right, lawmakers back on Capitol Hill to discuss the next round of stimulus as a key lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans expires this week. Chief Business Correspondent, Early Start anchor, Christine Romans, joins us now. I a lot of people have been leaning on this extra $600, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, 25 million people, and what he recovery looks like, John, depends on what Congress hammers out in the next 10 or so. White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, says negotiations on the next stimulus package will start in earnest today. Now, there's a critical window here. This is the last week for that

lifeline for millions of Americans, the extra $600 a week in enhanced unemployment benefits. Economists at both JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank now say that extra money was effective. It worked as stimulus. It went into the economy, but some Republicans have called the money a disincentive to go back to work. Without quick action in just days, about 25 million people will have thousands of dollars less a month.

Now, the House has already passed a $3 trillion plan with more stimulus payments directly to Americans and an extension of that $600 a week. Republicans have proposed a smaller $1 trillion package. They want liability protection for employers, hospitals, and schools. President Trump wants more stimulus checks, too. He also wants a payroll tax cut. Now, the president says he might veto the next stimulus package if there is no payroll tax cut.


Also on the table, funding for the CDC, funding for schools. The president has suggested that schools won't get funding if they don't open fully. Now John, the recent surge in cases across the country is likely going to mean more layoffs, more furloughs, more hardships for people and businesses, and data from the Census Bureau shows that half of adults of the U.S. live in households that lost income during the pandemic. So we are at a critical moment here where what Congress does next will determine how well we recover.

BERMAN: Yes, a lot of people counting on their actions to be sure. Christine Romans, thanks very much. Alisyn -

CAMEROTA: All right, how much do you know about the shadowy operation called QAnon? Well, John Avlon has looked into their conspiracy theories and believes the Q should stand for quacks. John Avalon has your reality check.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Normally the last thing I would ever do is talk to you about QAnon. It's a nonsense conspiracy theory, and trying to track its web of lies will only make you dumber, but these are not normal times. According to Axios, there are 11 GOP nominees who support to defend this bogus claptrap. GOP Oregon Senate nominee, Joe Rae Perkins, Colorado congressional nominee, Lauren Boebert, and Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene.

So let's back up. What exactly is QAnon I'm so sorry you asked. Get ready for some deep weirdness. CNN captured its broad contours by saying, quote, "It's a baseless theory. Followers of QAnon believe there's a deep state within the U.S. government that's controlled by a coval (ph) of Satan-worshiping pedophiles, and Trump is trying to take them down. Sounds weird, right? That's because it is, but it has seeped into the groundwater of Trump era hyper partisanship with Q paraphernalia, solds out on Trump rallies, and appearing with disturbing regularity on his supporters.

And although he hasn't spoke directly about QAnon, the president has fanned the flames, repeatedly retweeting QAnon supporting accounts, memes, and hashtags. The Trump Campaign even included QAnon signs in an ad which was later taken down. This month Business Insider published data showing the Trump Campaign relies on a huge network of QAnon accounts to spread conspiracy theories and disinformation. And get this. A lot of these accounts are inauthentic. According to the tracking site Bot Sentinel, there of the top five bought amplified hashtags of 2020 are QAnon related. That's right. If you're a follower, you're probably getting duped by a bot.

Meanwhile, Trump's former National Security Advisor and convicted felon, Michael Flynn, recently decided to go full Q and post a video reciting some of its slogans, which is not creepy at all.

Here's the thing, and this is much more than a logically extreme extension of play-to-the-base politics. The FBI classified QAnon as a domestic terror threat in their 2019 internal memo, and QAnon followers have allegedly been involved in a foil presidential assassination plot, a devastating California wildfire, and armed standoff of local law enforcement officers in Arizona.

Conspiracy theories offer their followers special knowledge and confirmation bias. When I wrote a book called "Wing Nuts", extremist groups and conspiracy theories were already defining the conservative resistance to the Obama administration, building on old foundations laid by the John Burks Society and patriot militia movements. Donald Trump's embrace of the racist birther conspiracy theory fit this pattern perfectly, and he's continued pumping up disinformation from the White House.

Now, Republicans may look at these likely nominees expressing support for QAnon and try to convince themselves they're outliers. After all, in 2018 the GOP found itself with strange bedfellows on their ballot as well. Fox News describing Illinois GOP congressional nominee, Arthur Jones, as, quote, "One of several Nazis, Holocaust deniers, or White Supremacists", who have elbowed their way on to the GOP ballot for November's midterm elections. But Republicans need to ask themselves just why somebody (ph) unhinged extremist candidates feel comfortable clustering under the GOP banner. In the cases of QAnon and the current congressional candidates embracing its conspiracy theories, the answer lies at the top of the ticket - President Donald Trump. And that's your reality check.


CAMEROTA: All right, thanks to John Avlon for some reality. A former middle school principal beating a 16-term Democratic incumbent in a New York primary. The progressive newcomer joins us live next.



BERMAN: A stunning political upset, a 16-term incumbent and the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel defeated in a primary race here in New York by former education Jamaal Bowman. And Jamaal Bowman joins me now.

First off, congratulations, quite an achievement. But the timing of this, it took nearly a month to declare you the winner here. So, what concerns does that raise for you in terms of the coming November election, how long it will take to figure out maybe who wins the presidential race?

JAMAAL BOWMAN (D), NY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Correct. You know, not just for me, but for the entire country. You know, even on election night we had people waiting in two and three hour lines just to vote.

So, we need massive investments and our Board of Elections to prepare for the mail-in ballots that are going to be -- that are going to be happening during the November elections. It's a logistical nightmare at the moment. So, we need people power and money as well to make sure we're able to count those votes much more efficiently.

BERMAN: Yes, and it's maybe not just a matter of efficiency either, it's a matter of the president drawing unfounded questions as to the entire legitimacy of it. Listen to an interview he did over the weekend with Chris Wallace.


CHRIS WALLACE, NBC ANCHOR: Are you a good loser?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not a good loser. I don't like to lose. I don't lose too often. I don't like to lose.

WALLACE: But are you gracious?

TRUMP: You don't know until you see. It depends. I think mail-in voting is -- is going to rig the election. I really do.

WALLACE: Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results of the election?

TRUMP: I have to see (ph).

WALLACE: Can you give a direct answer, you will accept the election?

TRUMP: I have to see. Look, you -- I have to see. Oh, I'm not going to just say yes, I'm not going to say no and I didn't last time either.


BERMAN: Yikes. What happens if the president doesn't accept the outcome of the election?

BOWMAN: You know, he -- he's been exhibiting chaos leadership from the very beginning. He loves to stoke panic and fear and racial divide and -- and misdirection. This is his leadership style and it's unfortunate because the country needs a calming presence right now. We need true leadership, we need people to have faith in the process.

And right now he's stoking a lack of faith and a lack of hope and it's unfortunate. But this is the kind of president that he's been from the very beginning.


BERMAN: Now you ran very much as a new progressive here in New York. How would you say your politics align with that of the Democratic nominee Joe Biden?

BOWMAN: You know, I think we -- we align a lot more than -- than people give us credit for. You know, Joe Biden, first and foremost, wants to move this country forward in the right direction. And the biggest thing, the thing I'm most excited about is that he's listening to people who -- who he may have disagreed with in the past.

You know, the Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden alliance came together -- to draft policy platforms together and I'm very happy to see that Joe Biden's a lot more focused on environmental justice and climate change than maybe he was before.

So, I'm excited to see that happening. And again, you know, right now in this moment we're dealing with the second biggest crisis since the Great Depression.

We have to get people back to work, we've got to get a handle on this pandemic and I'm right in alignment with Joe Biden and -- and fighting those fights as well as fighting for racial and economic justice in all it's forms. So, you know, I look forward to working with him and my Democratic colleagues, who some may call more moderate or more Centrist.

BERMAN: Have you heard from of these Democratic colleagues who people might call more moderate or more Centrist, including the ones who endorsed your opponent, I'm thinking about Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, I'm sure I'm leaving people out here. Have any of them called to congratulate you?

BOWMAN: Yes, many -- many of them have. They've been very gracious, they're excited to get started and get to work, as am I. So yes, I mean that's -- that's water under the bridge. You know, they -- they have relationships with Congressman Engel for over 30 years, so I'm not -- not taking any of that personally.

Right now it's about coming together, getting to work and meeting the needs of the American people.

BERMAN: I am curious, you brought up the pandemic. You're a former educator, worked for a long time in education. What are your views on opening schools? How safe is it do you think it will be for kids to go back to school in really just a few weeks?

BOWMAN: Well, it's safer now in places like New York than it is in places like Texas and Florida, unfortunately, because we followed the protocols early on and -- and other states did not. We need massive federal investments to be truly ready to open our schools back up.

We need finances and resources for increased ventilation, for increased cleaning services, to hire more teachers, lower class size, to use alternative learning spaces, like environmental learning spaces and outside learning spaces.

So, there are a lot more conversations that need to be had. It's possible, but we need more resources and we need everyone at the table to work collaboratively to get this thing figured out.

BERMAN: Who's the future of the Democratic Party? Joe Biden or Jamaal Bowman? Which J.B.?

BOWMAN: Which J.B., that's a great question. You know, let's -- let's focus on the right now. Right now we're dealing with a pandemic, we're dealing with uprisings across the country.

You know, let's come together and fight for racial and economic justice in -- in our healthcare system and our education system, in housing and dealing with food insecurity and criminal justice reform.

We're working together to fight against that. I'm a bit younger, no offense to Joe Biden, so some may say that -- that someone like me is the future, I'm not going to say I, myself. is the future, but -- you know -- right now people are yearning for change and I think this election showed that.

You know -- we tripled voter turnout. We had the highest voter turnout across New York State, so people are really excited about this campaign and people are yearning for change.

BERMAN: Jamaal Bowman, again, congratulations. You haven't had too much time to celebrate. We appreciate you coming on the show. Good luck.

BOWMAN: Of course, thank you for having me.

CAMEROTA: Which J.B.? Am I the only person who knows you were fishing for a John Berman there?

BERMAN: Well, look, I'm not the future of anything. I was -- I -- I -- I was talking about the Democratic Party. I mean --

CAMEROTA: Were you?

BERMAN: Yes. Yes. Yes indeed.

CAMEROTA: Because you're my pick for president.

BERMAN: That's fantastic. Well, unfortunately I wasn't born in America.

CAMEROTA: Oh, all right. Well, never mind.

BERMAN: Massachusetts. New Day continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI is investigating after a gunman opened fire at the home of a federal judge in New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The judge's son and husband were shot when they opened the door. The son was killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really every single person who had a matter before the justice is going to be thought of.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The virus is out of control. We need to close down in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arizona suffering its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began. Georgia and North Carolina hitting new highs in their single day case counts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This virus preys on our division. It preys when we get exhausted. We have to be as vigilant right now as we were the first day --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.