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Florida Surpasses New York In Total COVID-19 Cases; Texas Reports Second Highest Single-Day Death Toll Friday; Hurricane Hanna To Strike Southern Texas Today; Testing Delays Hobble Virus Response; Legendary T.V. Host Regis Philbin Dies At 88; Growing Coronavirus Cases, Fatalities Fuel Voter Mindset; Biden Could Win Electoral College By Triple Digits If Polls Hold; Honoring Civil Rights Icon, Rep. John Lewis. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 25, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Today, for the fourth straight day, more than 1000 people have reported dead in just 24 hours.

Florida now surpassing New York in total number of cases with an additional 12,000 infections reported just on Friday. In all, more than 400,000 people are sick in Florida.

And California has the most active cases in the nation this weekend and this terrible figure Friday saw the highest number of patients die from the virus in a single day, 159 people.

And with hospitals and staff already stretched to their limits in Texas add one more emergency, hurricane -- category one Hurricane Hanna expected to make landfall in southern Texas today.

And big news from the FDA, it just authorized the first diagnostic test to screen people for the coronavirus who may be asymptomatic. Official say that tests may go a long way in helping schools and workplaces reopen.

And let's begin with Florida in an unexpected move as new cases and deaths surge and hospitals run out of ICU beds. Florida officials are now discussing get this reopening bars. Let's get right to CNN Rosa Flores in Miami.

And Rosa explained if you can that this new development.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know Bianna, this is what you get when you have a governor who believes that the number of cases in his state have stabilized.

Take a look at this tweet because this is from his secretary of business and regulation, tweeting it just a few hours ago saying that he plans to meet with bars and breweries next week to set up meetings to figure out ways to reopen bars and breweries with a "safe, smart and step by step plan." Now it's important to note that bars closed in this state about a month ago when the number of daily cases exceeded 9000. That was the record then. Two weeks ago that record was broken with 15,300 cases.

And I just checked in the month of July alone, there have been more than 20 or, excuse me, 20 days, at least 20 days, of more than 9000 cases that we've got to look at the positivity rate here in the state of Florida because it's an indicator of the spread. And in the past two weeks, the positivity rate has ranged between 13 percent and 18 percent.

We look at hospitalizations across the state those have increased by 79 percent in the past three weeks, and also 50 ICUs across the state are at capacity.

Now, here I am in Miami Dade County bars never reopen because the situation never improved enough. As a matter of fact, it was an issue here in this county so much so that restaurants were turning into bars and nightclubs at the end of the night. And officials here instituted a curfew to try to stop the spread.

So Bianna, again, the latest here from the state of Florida, despite all these facts and figures, despite the fact that case has continued to surge is now officials are planning meetings next week to figure out ways to reopen bars. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: The disparage (ph) is so frustrating Rosa, I don't understand this obsession with bars. Obviously everyone is economically impacted. I understand that. But if we're focused on getting schools reopen, focus on keeping the levels down. Why this obsession with reopening bars, it makes no sense and I know that a lot of the medical officials will agree with that as well.

Rosa Flores, you will stay on this story, I know. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Well, as if a pandemic weren't bad enough add a hurricane to the mix. Hurricane Hanna is barreling toward areas of the Texas coast that have been hard hit by the coronavirus.

While the state is seeing a plateau in cases, Texas did report its second highest death toll from the virus in a single day on Friday.

And with me now is the Mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg.

Mayor, the current path of the storm is headed towards south of San Antonio. But how worried are you about hospital resources if you suddenly have to now contend with both the pandemic and whatever comes during Hurricane seasons? You know, we Texans, we know what hurricanes are like in that state.

MAYOR RON NIRENBERG (I), SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Yes, they can be very severe for the whole region because, you know, this area, San Antonio in particular, is a hub for regional disaster and emergency response. So, we are planning for every contingency obviously in the midst of coronavirus, a hurricane preparation and potential evacuation is a lot different.

We are viewing this hurricane as a means to get ready. We have gone through several tabletop exercises and drills to prepare for this.

In the evacuation, and again, it's important to recognize that there isn't currently a voluntary or mandatory evacuation in place, but if there was one, we will be ready. That looks a little bit different obviously than a typical hurricane evacuation now that we have to contend with physical distancing.

[17:05:01]

So we have prepared, for instance, hotel rooms for different types of family units. And then of course some cohort and congregate facilities in the event that we do need those as well.

In addition, we are under severe stress in our hospital system because of COVID-19. So we have alternate care facilities stood up ready to go in the event that people need medical assistance.

GOLODRYGA: And given that stress in your facilities there, I want to get your reaction to what you just heard from Rosa Flores that officials there in Florida are contemplating reopening bars. Even, you know, Texas Governor Abbott had said in an interview that he regrets possibly opening bars as soon as he did, is now the right time for hard-hit states like Florida and Texas to reopen bars?

NIRENBERG: Absolutely not. We are starting to see a bit of a plateau with regard to our numbers. But look, you don't cut off your parachute just because you've slowed your descent. If anything, we've got to learn from our mistakes in here, in Texas, as you've heard the governor say, we open up too fast, too soon under his orders, it also removed local authority on things like facemask wearing, we can't do that again.

So we've got to be much more careful about how we open up when we open up and how we do so. And that, you know, that starts with not making the same mistake twice, as I'm hearing might be contemplated in Florida.

GOLODRYGA: And in your city of San Antonio, the current risk level for coronavirus is severe and critical. You're advising people to stay home. When possible, are people listening to that?

NIRENBERG: You know, the vast majority of folks are taking this much more seriously than I think they did at the beginning of the Texas reopen plan. When we started this pandemic response we were very aggressive and proactive. We had one of the lowest infection rates for a big city in the country.

All that changed at the end of April and into May with the Texas reopen plan, with the governor's order we opened up to fast, too soon, and it encourage people to let their guard down. And we saw the cases in every urban area in the state accelerate to the point where we are now. But people are taking the mask wearing much more seriously. Our deaths have tripled, nearly tripled within the last three weeks or so. So, you know, we are seeing the results of a careless reopen in the state and we are committed to not allowing that to happen again.

In conversation with our medical officials, we are being very proactive with regard to getting the word out even if we don't have the authority to do certain things like a stay home order. We encouraging people to do so

GOLODRYGA: Should the governor issue a statewide stay at home order?

NIRENBERG: We have been very clear and our public health professionals have been consistent about the fact that things have opened up without the benefit of data to support those decisions. So we've been urging a rollback of certain things particularly mass gatherings. There's a whole slew of exceptions within the current order, state order that allows for mass gatherings in even indoor mass gatherings. Those are the things that need to be reduced. Also certain activities --

GOLODRYGA: And I --

NIRENBERG: -- time to have those.

GOLODRYGA: Well, I believe your final words that we may have lost them, some of them, but I think I understood what you were saying and you may be in favor of that. Obviously, you don't want to have a repeat of what happened in this state. Nobody does.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

NIRENBERG: Thank you, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And we're going to bring you now to our breaking news. Regis Philbin has died at the age of 88. We're going to have a look back at his legendary career from live to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:12:51]

GOLODRYGA: Almost across the board reports about coronavirus testing are the same from people who have been tested. The test in many cases are hard to find, difficult to get and the results come far too slowly.

And there's something else, doctors are seeing rich and powerful people getting test results back more quickly than others. Here's CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the start of the pandemic, Sarah Polon was worried about her 30 employees. The founder and owner of Soupergirl, a successful plant based soup company in the Washington area hired a private doctor to test her employees every week. For a while it worked well she says, then --

SARA POLON, FOUNDER AND OWNER, "SOUPERGIRL" SOUP COMPANY: The test results started taking longer and longer. And so it got to the point where I was getting results after the CDC recommended isolation period for asymptomatic carriers. So, I'm spending all this money on doing everything possible to keep my team and my customers safe. And I can't.

TODD: Medical experts say people who get tested who think they might have coronavirus should self-quarantine while they wait for their results. But Polon says she can't shut down her business while her employees wait.

POLON: If I shut down waiting for test results for 13 days, I'll go out of business. It's hard to put into words the amount of stress. That's on us, the small business owners.

TODD: Polon's frustrations are reflected across America during a coronavirus test crisis that has reached alarming levels. It's not just that patients are waiting a long time to get tested, sometimes compromising their health in the process. Like waiting in long lines in the Arizona heat.

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, PHOENIX VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: There are people who are waiting in line to get tested and are fainting literally while waiting to get a test.

TODD: But America's top health officials as well as the companies which run diagnostic labs are also acknowledging that as the demand for tests grows during this spike in cases, the wait times for getting test results back are getting longer and longer.

CNN has reported that results can take from a couple of days to as long as three weeks to get back.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: You send it off to a central laboratory. There's a time there in order to do the delivery of a sample then they have to do the testing. They're kind of backed up it takes a while to come back.

[17:15:05]

TODD: The problem, experts say, is that people can spread the infection to others while they're waiting for their test results.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: We generally know that people who transmit do so in their first two or three days before symptoms and then two or three days after symptoms. So if you're getting test results six days after you have symptoms, you've already transmitted it to all the people you're otherwise going to.

TODD: Experts are also worried about the ramifications of delayed test results. It delays contact tracing, and it means the entire system could be clogged. WALENSKY: There are so many components to the test. You need the personnel to do it. You need the PPE to do it. You need the swabs, you need the reagents, you need people in the lab. And it's not entirely clear where in the whole system if not everywhere in the system, there are delays.

TODD (on camera): Dr. Rochelle Walensky also says it breaks her heart to see that getting test results back quickly often depends on how much money or power you have access to.

Anyone close to President Trump can get tested and get results back almost instantly. The same for professional athletes whose leagues can arrange for tests and results very quickly, while people in the most vulnerable communities often have to wait four weeks.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GOLODRYGA: I want to bring in Dr. Peter Hotez Professor and Dean of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Doctor, thank you so much for joining us. Good to see you.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Good to see you.

GOLODRYGA: Are you surprised that so many months into this pandemic that testing is still an issue today?

HOTEZ: Yes, we're still struggling, aren't we? We still don't have easily available diagnostic tests. And even then they're just such a slow turnaround.

And you know, you need this, you need this almost immediately because it's telling you whether you have active infection. So getting a result five days later is like getting a weather report that's five days old and trying to extrapolate for what's still happening and it just -- it's just not working. It's part of our overall fragmented response that we've never really had a coordinated national strategy to prevent COVID-19.

We've left it to the States. We've seen terrible and consistencies. You heard the story about the governor of Florida thinking about opening bars.

You know, the governor's the chief executives of the states just don't have the epidemiologic knowledge and ability to understand complex models. And they're too easily affected by local pressure, political pressures. And the result is the fact that we've now got the worst COVID epidemic in the world.

In the southern United States has one quarter of the world's COVID cases right now, a new COVID cases. So it's just a public health disaster. GOLODRYGA: You mentioned that news about the possibly opening bars in Florida. It's incensing, I have to say. And I spoke to a mayor, the mayor of San Antonio, asked him his thoughts on it, but I wanted to speak to you, medical professional, about your views on opening bars right now in a state as hard hit as Florida. What would you say to officials if they asked you whether bar should be open?

HOTEZ: Well, that's an easy one. The answer is no, we have a screaming level -- there's a screaming level of COVID transmission in the metro areas of the southern U.S. And the deaths are only now starting to climb.

Remember, we heard back -- a few weeks back from the White House saying there's no deaths, there's no deaths while we knew there was a delay. And now, right now COVID-19 ranks maybe number one or two as the single leading cause of death on a daily basis in multiple states across the south, probably including Florida, Texas, Arizona, and many others.

And let's say, yes, we're just going to open up the bars and now is more than just insensitive. It shows that there's a failure to understand the epidemiology of these diseases and what you need to keep our community safe and what we need to keep our schoolteachers safe and bus drivers and everyone connected to school systems.

And the results are predictable, these numbers of cases will continue to rise, the deaths will continue to rise until we implement a national strategy. And that's what I've called for now to put a national strategy now, we bring each state down to the containment mode. We can actually do this by October 1, and then we can safely open up schools and colleges and maybe even have sporting events. But to try to do this now is guaranteed to fail and it is failing.

GOLODRYGA: It's all about prioritizing that is for sure.

Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you so much, and we appreciate all the work that you do.

HOTEZ: Thank you so much, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And up next, the breaking news. Legendary T.V. host Regis Philbin has died at the age of 88. The tributes are now pouring in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:24:18]

GOLODRYGA: The world has lost a true legend. Longtime broadcaster and morning T.V. host Regis Philbin has died.

Philbin hosted numerous T.V. shows, including "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee", with Kathie Lee Gifford, and then "Live with Regis and Kelly" with his cohost Kelly Ripa.

He was nominated for 37 Daytime Emmy Awards and one six. And as you can imagine, tributes are pouring in. Kelly Ripa posted a joint statement with her current cohost on live Ryan Seacrest, saying, "We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin.

He was the ultimate class act bringing his laughter and joy into our homes every day on live for more than 23 years.

[17:25:00]

We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire every day to fill his shoes on the show.

We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope that they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place." Beautifully written there.

Well, I want to bring in CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter and "Entertainment Tonight" host and CNN contributor, Nischelle Turner.

Nischelle, let's start with you. Philbin's career spanned six decades. Tell us about this true T.V. legend. I mean, we throw that title out so often. His is a real life example.

NISCHELLE TURNER, HOST OF "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Oh, yes, he earned that moniker, you know, he definitely earned that moniker.

I mean, before he was ever famous for "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee," and then "Live with Regis and Kelly," you know, he was a broadcaster for the longest time. He started out in the early days as a sidekick on Joey Bishop show back in the '50s. But then his career started taking another term where he went from, you know, kind of the sidekick to the front man.

And before he was ever national, he did a morning show out here in Los Angeles called "A.M. Los Angeles." At the same time he did that, he would commute every weekend to St. Louis. And he did a Saturday night, nighttime show in St. Louis every week.

So, you know, people like to call him the hardest working man in show business. And I think he really did earn that. I mean, he is a legend in so many ways.

I think one of the ways that you can really Mark how good someone is on television, you think about everyone that sat next to him. It always felt familiar. It always felt like a time, it always felt like you were watching your best friends. And that goes for anybody that he was with whether they were a guest host or whether they were his regular cohost.

And yes, there's a lot of really devastated and saddened people out here in Los Angeles but all across the industry today.

GOLODRYGA: And so many people recalling memories, right? There mornings were in front of that television, watching him with his cohost, with his guests feeling so comfortable telling stories. Brian, I was telling you this. It just felt as though it was Seinfeld before Seinfeld. He would tell stories that any other day, told from any other person would have been boring and he made them so entertaining.

And I want to ask you specifically because you wrote a book on morning television, tell us about his impact on morning television world. I mean, I've been in it, so much of it is scripted, and with him it all just felt so natural.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think the biggest thing I learned writing about morning T.V. and studying shows, like "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" is that it's all about companionship.

When you wake up in the morning, you're half dressed, you're half alive, you're looking for your coffee, you're figuring out how to get your kids ready for the day. You're choosing who to watch on television, you're choosing who to spend your morning with, and that is why "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" was so special, as Nischelle mentioned and then became "Live with Regis and Kelly," now it's "Live with Kelly and Ryan." This show is going to go on and on.

But Regis is what made it so special at the very beginning and for its first couple of decades, it is why it's a television institution. I would add, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to that as well, because that was such a huge television show. But it was really that morning wake up that everyone wanted to have with "Regis and Kathie Lee, and then Regis and Kelly. It was so special.

You know, the statement put out by Regis' family obtained by CNN's Chuck Johnson, described his legendary sense of humor and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about.

I really loved that sentiment, you know, it's the singular ability to make every day worth talking about. That's what everybody wants. A lot of people imagine it might be their own talk show host at home, entertaining their family, entertaining their friends. Regis was doing that for millions of people every day. And that's why this is such a loss.

GOLODRYGA: And he was such a success at it. Brian, as we mentioned earlier, it's rare to get one hit. He had so many hits with his cohosts on the show for decades.

And then, you know, Nischelle, as Brian mentioned, there's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," that was a huge hit as well. How will he be remembered as a game show host? I mean, he really wore many hats successfully.

STELTER: Yes.

TURNER: Yes, he did. I mean, I think he fits right up there in a rarefied air in the lexicon of T.V. game show hosts as well, because he did take "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to another level.

I mean, people did tune in to see what cork that Regis was going to do. I mean, he made it fun. He made it funny. You know, when a lot of money's on the line and people are thinking what are they going to do, I mean, he kind of made you feel OK about it all.

So I definitely think that he fits right up there with the, you know, the top, the money hauls in the Bob Barker's of game shows.

But he also affected, and I know Brian said this little bit, he affected so many generations.

[17:30:01]

I just did an interview with Taran Killam, who is the star of "Single Parents" on ABC the other day and his daughter is the director on that show now, Regis' daughter.

And so Regis came in guest starred and Taran was telling me the story. When He walked on set and he said I couldn't even talk. I felt like I just couldn't talk. It was just such a wow moment and I was mesmerized because here was this man who was everything to me. And he was standing right in front of me.

And he was so kind and so thoughtful. And it was so fun to see his daughter be his boss and kind of boss him around.

So, you know, some of those things, those type of memories people got to see, whether he was entertaining on television, and then in the later years, you know, playing a different role, are really, really special.

GOLODRYGA: He invited his family on the show. Viewers got to know his family. I think it started a trend. We got to know Kelly's family, Kathie Lee's family. It felt familial.

Brian, how far will this loss be felt? Talk about his impact on the industry as a whole?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Certainly, I think he helped define this idea of morning television, these talk shows, where it's not just about the guests, although the guest is important, whatever celebrity there's there to hock a book or movie.

But it's about the hosts themselves and what they are doing. I think that idea, that sentiment in television, that's something that continues to this day. And Regis deserves a lot of credit for that.

Here's a message from one of David Letterman's producers. Letter and Regis went way back. And Regis would come on the show all the time. He said, "When we had Regis booked, we knew the show was going to be great. It was going to be easy. Regis was a great guest. He knew to bring stories and humor and warmth."

And that's what you look for in television. It's about companionship and Regis was able to bring that. Whether you felt like he was your dad or grandpa or best friend it, is a remarkable feat. And he will be missed by millions. (CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: He was so funny. He was so funny.

Go ahead, Nischelle.

TURNER: I was just going to say, he walked away when he was still beloved and loved and wanted.

GOLODRYGA: Yes.

TURNER: And that is a mark of something. He really -- he walked away on top. And people don't always do that.

You know, we want to be dragged kicking and screaming from our jobs, but he said, I've done it all. What else is there for me to do?

I think that's also the measure of a man when you can walk away and say, I'm good, I've left my mark here and it's good.

GOLODRYGA: I remember watching that episode. It was filled with tears and laughter, lots of emotion. And lots of memories people are having now as they recall the impact that Philbin had on their lives, who was one month shy of his 89th birthday.

Brian Stelter and Nischelle Turner, thank you so much.

We are thinking of Joy, his wife, and Kelly and Kathie Lee and all of those who worked with him.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:36:46]

GOLODRYGA: With more than four million cases and a staggering 146,000 deaths, voters are hard pressed to find an issue more crucial this election than the pandemic. And we're seeing that play out in poll after poll.

CNN's senior political writer and analyst, Harry Enten, joins me now.

Harry, great to see you.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST: Nice to see you.

GOLODRYGA: A lot of Americans as you know are worried about polls given what happened in 2016. What's different this time?

ENTEN: Well, I mean, just take a look at the latest polling out of the state of Florida, Quinnipiac University. We see Joe Biden holds a lead, over 50 percent. Compare that to where Hillary Clinton was polling at this point in July of 2016. She was trailing by five and well below 50 percent. And we see this play out across a number of states. There were a

number of FOX News polls that came out from battleground states. And we see Joe Biden with a clear advantage between nine and 13 points at or near 50 percent. Just very different this time around.

GOLODRYGA: You also see polls coming out of Texas that leave people scratching their heads as well. This is not the place the president wants to be.

Let's talk about the Electoral College. You see this being emblematic of other problems that President Trump is facing. Why is that?

ENTEN: Yes, I mean just, look, if you were to take the latest polling averages, and you were basically saying, OK, whoever is leading in the polling averages is going to win that state.

Look at this. Joe Biden's at 352 electoral votes. It's early days yet, still 100 days to go. But if the election were held today, the president would be in a lot of trouble.

GOLODRYGA: The focus around the country, rightly so, is mostly on the coronavirus. It is driving this election right now. And it's helping Joe Biden. Why?

ENTEN: Yes, I mean, look, if you look at the nation's most important issues in the latest FOX News poll, what do you see? You see coronavirus by far the most important issue, 29 percent. The economy only half that at 15 percent.

If you were to look and say to voter who do you trust more on coronavirus former vice president Joe Biden or President Trump, you see Biden overwhelmingly trusted.

And more than that, over the last few months, you see the issue getting away from Trump as coronavirus cases rise in the nation.

GOLODRYGA: Those are some alarming statistics for the president to be digesting.

Harry Enten, thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: I want to bring in CNN Senior Political Analyst, John Avlon, and host of "Firing Line" on PBS, Margaret Hoover.

Great to see you both. My favorite couple.

John, let's start with you.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you.

GOLODRYGA: And let's talk about that because what was always a bit puzzling is the president who focused so much on the economy didn't seem to understand what many medical experts and economists alike were saying, and that was, fix the medical problem and the economy will follow.

Are we seeing the effects now of the president not listening to that?

AVLON: Of course, we are. I mean, from the very beginning, denial is not a strategy, but that was Donald Trump's impulses at the outset of this COVID crisis. And he was afraid that scientists speaking out could impact the stock market badly.

[17:40:03]

His team remains in denial about testing on a large level as the president nonsensically says.

So, denial's been the hallmark of their strategy. But that only seeds exactly what he was trying to avoid, a hollowing out of the economy and terrible politics.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, reopen an economy when people don't feel safe. I don't care what stores are open, a lot of people aren't going to go into those stores because they're nervous.

Margaret, let me ask you about this new questionnaire that was asked by "Axios." They asked people whether they had visited people or relatives in the last week. And 61 percent of Republicans had visited friends and relatives while just 36 percent of Democrats had.

I don't think it's because Democrats don't like their friends and relatives. But it does give you a sense of the disconnect in this country as to what role the virus plays on impacting people's lives when you look at party lines.

MARGARET HOOVER, PBS HOST, "FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER": And we saw this, Bianna, I hate to mention it, but it's quite clearly playing out with wearing face masks, right? We saw the same thing.

I had the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, on the PBA program I host, "Firing Line," this weekend. And he said it would have been easier and better if the president said masks are patriotic and they work, not just this last week but back in April when he first issued his face mask mandate that he then had to reverse 24 hours later because Ohio went into open revolt.

They were not ready to listen to a face mask ordinance from their governor. This has impacted public health negatively and that is a shame for this country, and there are lives on the line. Lives have been lost because of it.

GOLODRYGA: And Governor DeWine is a perfect example of someone who has tended to put politics aside, focus on his constituents, and adhere to guidelines, and guidance issued by health officials as opposed to just falling in line with the president as we've seen in hard hit states like Florida and even Texas.

John, let me get you to respond to this question because we know that a thousand Americans are dying daily now. It's hard to swallow. We have enormous failures with testing. Hospitals are begging for help for additional staff, some for PPE. Millions of Americans are about to stop receiving an extra $600 a month in unemployment as states say they may need to shut down again.

And we're just learning that the president spent his day golfing with former NFL player, Brett Favre. This is an official White House photo we're seeing. In what world would the White House want this photo out here given those circumstances?

AVLON: This world.

(LAUGHTER)

AVLON: Trump Land.

Look, it obviously doesn't make sense. But so much of this doesn't make sense.

The presidents are -- it's all about crisis leadership. This president has failed to treat it seriously. He seems to continue to want it to just go away.

You've seen the White House fighting with their own party about increasing money for testing. Where is the plan for national testing? They really are in denial and the president is off playing golf.

But to play to the base strategy makes no sense. And Margaret was saying, pandemics don't care about partisan politics. Play to the base is the single worse approach you can make. We're reaping the whirlwind because of it, folks.

GOLODRYGA: Margaret, it would be one thing if the president just thought every single president should be putting out photos of him playing golf no matter what circumstances. But we know there's always a tweet for something.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: In terms of going after previous presidents, President Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: -- than President Obama, right?.

HOOVER: I was about to say, I'm old enough to remember when President Trump was tweeting about --

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: -- about President Obama golfing. I am old enough to remember when the Democratic encore in the Congress tweeted that George W. Bush was out golfing.

The golfing hit is one that always, if you're in the presidency, is one you have to be careful about the optics. So, you would think they would be even more sensitive to the nature of

that and the economic collapse that came from the COVID pandemic. And there's a bizarre lack of sensitivity to the object.

AVON: Sensitivity is not really the hallmark of this president. I don't know if you noticed.

GOLODRYGA: Good observation there, three and a half years into the presidency.

But you also notice --

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: You also notice crickets again from other Republicans.

But let's move on because I want to ask you, John, about the convention the president just cancelled, the Florida portion of it at least.

This is something that he was determined to pull off. That's why he left North Carolina. And he said we're going to do it come hell or high water and not in those words but in Florida. And all of a sudden, he said, no, I'm concerned about the public safety.

There's something else going on behind the scenes though, right? "New York Times" is reporting there were concerns about hotels having to be booked by a certain date and how many people would turn out. They didn't want a repeat of Tulsa.

[17:45:11]

What finally got to the president?

AVLON: Well, unfortunately, it's usually a fear of looking like a failure rather than the public health crisis.

But it just shows that ultimately when the rubber meets the road the president is incredibly impulsive. He makes these decisions. Then sometimes, when reality intrudes on impulses, at some point, you've got to fold, even though it's never the president's instinct.

But it's stunning the role reversal he embraced out of necessity.

HOOVER: Out of necessity because it is the epicenter of the pandemic in this country.

AVLON: Right.

HOOVER: But the truth is because they made it a date late in the game. They moved it from Charlotte to Jacksonville, as you mentioned. They actually -- they logistically aren't organized.

You might be surprised to learn that the Republican Party isn't particularly organized right now. But actually, planning a convention, there are many, many plans and are quite typically in place many, many months ahead of time.

Of course, we're in a pandemic. That makes it very difficult to plan. Makes it even more difficult when you move to the epicenter of the pandemic.

But even all of those things aside, there's quite a bit that the party hasn't organized and normally is on top of by this stage in the game.

And so I think it was a confluence of events actually, Bianna --

AVLON: Yes.

HOOVER: -- I think that made them, frankly, just have to pull the plug.

GOLODRYGA: And many prominent Republicans already saying beforehand that they weren't going to be there for health concerns as well.

John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, thank you so much for joining us. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

AVLON: Good to be here.

GOLODRYGA: Say hi to your kids.

AVLON: You, too.

HOOVER: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you both.

Coming up, one last journey, one last march, to honor an extraordinary life. Congressman John Lewis and the tribute planned at the bridge made infamous during his fight for civil rights.

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[17:51:44]

GOLODRYGA: Moments ago, a motorcade carrying the body of the late civil rights hero, John Lewis, crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where Lewis was beaten by state troopers during a 1965 voters rights march.

Lewis, a Georgia congressman who served for 17 terms, passed away last week at the age of 80 from pancreatic cancer.

This is not the final bridge crossing for Lewis, that's planned for tomorrow.

Lewis suffered a fractured skull from that beating on that bridge and 17 marchers were hospitalized. By his own count, Lewis was arrested more than 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.

Today's memorial in Alabama is part of several events to honor Lewis who passed away last week at the age of 80. Earlier, we heard from Lewis' sister.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSA MAE TYNER, SISTER OF FORMER CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS: He lived with a never-ending desire to help others. He often told us, if you see something wrong, do something. His actions showed us just that.

In a time when going to jail was perceived as trouble, he reminded us that it was good trouble, necessary trouble. See something, say something, do something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOLODRYGA: CNN's Martin Savidge joins me now from Selma by phone.

Martin, this is a man, as you heard from his sister, who got into good trouble. See something, say something. It's a legacy that we're going to be talking about for decades to come.

What other tributes are planned?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, this is day one of what are going to be six days of tributes and memorials and visits all along the life and path of John Lewis, both as a civil rights leader and also as a congressman and eventually a very powerful political figure in American society.

But right now, we're standing outside of Brown Chapel, and we're waiting. We know that John Lewis has already made it into Selma, because of the images you saw of him crossing the bridge, so we're just waiting for him to show up at the church here.

This church is so instrumental. This is another chapter in his life. This was the church where he, along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., worked to organize and strategize for the very famous marches from Selma to Montgomery.

One of which you already talked about, which was Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, in which John Lewis, along with Jose Williams, led a group of marchers across the bridge. Waiting for them on the other side were Alabama state troopers that pounced on them and nearly killed John Lewis and severely injured a number of others.

And so on that day, that group of demonstrators retreated back to this very church. This is where they healed . And this is where they planned to once again carry on.

And they did, eventually, on the 21st of march, go all the way to Montgomery. So there's so much that's tied up in history as well as his life.

Tonight, there's a ceremony called Selma honors Congressman John Lewis. It's a private ceremony that will go for two hours. Private because primarily the room inside the church is so limited. Then two hours of public viewing. [17:55:57]

And then tomorrow, that remarkable one last crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

GOLODRYGA: Starting from that first march there, to decades later, the fight for justice in this country continues. He was diagnosed earlier in the year with pancreatic cancer.

He said his heart broke when he saw the death of George Floyd. But he was also enlivened by the sight of Black Lives Matters marchers and people from all different races and backgrounds uniting in this country for that righteous cause.

Martin Savidge, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

GOLODRYGA: We'll be right back.

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