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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
U.S., Surpasses 150,000 Coronavirus Deaths; Interview with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Trump Stokes In Racial Division By Rescinding Housing Rule; Says Suburbanites "Will No Longer Be Bothered" By Low Income Housing; Tyler Perry: I Would Tell AG Barr There Is Bias In Policing; U.S. Surpasses 150,000 Coronavirus Deaths; Texas Cases Top 400,000 With 9,000+ New Infections; We Remember. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 29, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.
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ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks so much to Abby, and thanks so much to you for joining us. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening. More than 150,000 Americans have now died in this country that is reckoning with COVID-19, and though it's a milestone, a terrible one, to be sure, it is neither just a number nor a statistic. It is one parent, one grandparent, a lost child, an absent friend. One less measure of love in the world and many more tears. That times 150,000.
I wish I could tell you the President of those 150,000 dead and their families and all of us said something about those deaths today about the grief that so many families are feeling, but he did not.
Today crossing that miserable milestone of 150,000 deaths, the President ignored it. Nothing about the 197 lives lost in California or the 216 in Florida.
When confronted with the civilian casualties of his misbegotten, so- called whole of government approach to the pandemic, the self- proclaimed Wartime President has little to say.
Visiting an oil rig in Texas, a state which reported 313 deaths today, the President didn't speak of that nor did he wear a mask, nor did most people at the event. The President did not acknowledge the lives lost in Midland, Texas right where he was nor speak of the Rio Grande Valley, which a woman there who you'll meet in a moment who lost both her parents to the virus calls hell on earth.
This is the extent of what he said at the energy company he was visiting in Texas, a state I remind you that reported 313 fatalities today alone.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our hearts are with the people of Texas. We love our people. We love our country.
Together, we will end the plague from China. We will defeat the virus. I want to thank everyone at Double Eagle Energy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The President also had nothing to say about the Texas Congressman, Louie Gohmert who was slated to fly with him on Air Force One today. The Congressman who only rarely wears a mask testing positive for the virus and telling a local Texas news outlet this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): I can't help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place that if I might have put some germs, some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in.
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COOPER: Congressman Gohmert seen here -- we're going to show you the video walking yesterday with Attorney General Barr, both men were mask free on the way into the House Judiciary Committee -- because we don't have the video, we'll get it to you.
The congressman says mask wearing should be a matter of individual choice, which must thrill everyone around him, two republican aides who were in proximity telling CNN's Jeff Zeleny they are only now in line to get tested.
One said, it has taken all day for reasons unknown, adding it's been frustrating and a waste of a day. And this is Congress, not the country at large where you'll recall the President back in early March said that anyone who needs a test can get one. It wasn't true then, it isn't true now.
And beyond boasting about the total number of tests done in this country, he has had nothing to say about whether people can actually get one and get the results back in time to be useful. Two weeks is meaningless.
However, once again today, he did have plenty to say about this woman who he has praised for her public embrace of hydroxychloroquine. She is a doctor who also preaches about astral projection, alien DNA, and the sperm of demons.
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DR. STELLA IMMANUEL, PEDIATRICIAN AND PREACHER: It's what we call astral sex. That means this person is not really a demon or Nephilim, it is just a human being that is witch and the astral project and sleep with people.
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COOPER: So that is Dr. Stella Immanuel, who when she is not preaching about witches and astral sex and demon sperm and alien DNA is part of a group of tea party sponsored doctors advocating for unproven and according to a number of legitimate medical studies, potentially dangerous COVID treatments.
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IMMANUEL: I came here to Washington, D.C. to tell America nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine, zinc and Zithromax. I know people want to talk about mask, hello, you don't need mask. There is a cure.
I know they don't want to open schools. No, you don't need people to be locked down. There is prevention and there is a cure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the President retweeted that video of her as did many COVID deniers and conspiracy theorists. Then last evening, he defended her while perversely also claiming to quote, "know nothing about her." And when CNN's Kaitlan Collins pressed him on it, he just ended the press conference and fled the briefing room.
He could not or I guess would not face any further questioning on his support for this person, the one he likes but quote, "knows nothing about" and today when asked again, he made no mention of astral projection or demon sex, but like a man possessed, he was still praising her.
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TRUMP: I was very impressed with her and other doctors that stood with her. I think she made sense, but I know nothing about it. I just saw her on -- you know making a statement with very respected doctors. She was not alone.
She was making a statement about hydroxychloroquine with other doctors that swear by it. They think it's great, but she was not alone.
I was very impressed by her. I know nothing about her. I had never seen her before. But certainly you could put her up and let her have a voice. And with hydroxy, all I want to do is save lives. I don't care if it's hydroxy or anything else. All I want to do is save lives. If we can save lives that's great.
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COOPER: I'm impressed with her, he says. I know nothing about her, he says. It's now been 24 hours though and if the President actually did want to know something about this person that he is now promoting on a global stage, he has had plenty of time to Google her, or have someone else do it and tell him about her and about the demon sex and the astral sex.
Hard to imagine this President of yours wouldn't perk up with those topics.
Clearly what doesn't interest him is medical studies. The actions of his own F.D.A., removing emergency use authorization of the drug she is touting.
What clearly doesn't interest the President or his own scientists, guidelines on social distancing or wearing masks, things that actually can save lives, which the President says is all he really cares about.
In fact, it seems the only thing that does really interest the President about his scientist is how popular and respected Dr. Anthony Fauci is.
He brought it up again yesterday before fleeing from basic questions from Kaitlan Collins. He cares about Fauci's popularity because it annoys him, not his expertise. He doesn't cared about that. He doesn't certainly care about his advice and he certainly doesn't care for the fact that Dr. Fauci reminds the public of the facts about the very drug the President has been touting.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If a study that's a good study comes out and shows efficacy and safety for hydroxychloroquine, or any other drug that we do, if you do it in the right way, you accept the scientific data. But right now today, the cumulative scientific data that has been put together and done over a number of different studies has shown no efficacy.
So when there's a video out there for a bunch of people spouting something that isn't true, the only recourse you have is to be very, very clear in presenting the scientific data that essentially contradicts that.
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COOPER: No efficacy. Not effective. It doesn't work. That bunch of people by the way, they got an audience yesterday with Vice President Pence. Yes, the Vice President met with them.
Not sure if it was in person or if they beamed in via astral projection, but there was a meeting. Don't worry, though it is all part of the whole of government effort that the Vice President always talks about under the strong and decisive leadership, as the Vice President always says, of a self-proclaimed Wartime President who is continuing his own metaphor, makes no mention of the now 150,000 American lives lost in the battlefield that he himself is absent from.
Let's get perspective now from a doctor whose organization believes the country needs a better plan for addressing the pandemic and has developed one, David Skorton is President and Chief Executive of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Skorton, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
Your association laid out a roadmap today and you're saying that or you're predicting that if strong measures are not put in place immediately, the death toll may reach well into the multiple hundreds of thousands and we passed 150,000 American deaths today. How much work worse do you see this potentially getting on the course we're on?
DR. DAVID SKORTON, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES: Well, thanks for having me on, Anderson, how much worse it gets depends on us. It depends on whether we have the courage to pull together and do the things that have to be done based on scientific evidence.
So it's in our hands. We can suppress the growth of this virus, or we can let it run wild. It's really up to us.
COOPER: Your op-ed in the in "The Post" begins with the words, "We're failing." Can you explain exactly how we are failing?
SKORTON: Well, as you noted tonight and in shows earlier today on CNN, there is continuing growth in the number of cases. There's continuing growth in hospitalizations and continuing growth in deaths. That's all you need to know, to know that we are failing.
And you notice I said in the op-ed, we are failing not a particular person or particular sector is failing. All of us together are failing to face the scientific evidence and do what is -- what needs to be done based on that scientific evidence.
COOPER: You are right that it's no exaggeration to say that none of the goals that Americans have for resuming some sort of normalcy can be achieved without establishing more testing and a stronger supply chain.
We know testing is not where it needs to be. Contact tracing is certainly not. Are hospitals equipped with what they need to fight this virus? The equipment, the PPE, the swabs, everything that we've been talking about now for four or five months.
SKORTON: Well, we've been talking about it for a long time and I'm sorry to say tonight at the end of July of this year, no, they are not ready to do the things that they need to do because of lack of supplies.
We are not ready to make decisions on such things as opening schools because we don't have the testing that we need and then the roadmap we lay out some targets and some timelines, we need to get organized on these, especially supplies, as you mentioned, especially testing, and having a national view on face coverings.
COOPER: So when you talk about -- when you talk about this roadmap, how many -- what percentage of the population should be wearing masks right now? And what are the other main steps on the roadmap? SKORTON: Well, let me quickly tell you about the roadmap overall. So
the first three things that need to happen urgently, you've already mentioned, and that is a national policy on face coverings and it should be mandatory in areas where there is growing communities spread.
There is no room for local decisions if there's growing communities spread. Masks should be mandatory in those situations.
The supplies we talked about in testing, not only do not have enough tests and we lay out in the op-ed and in the roadmap that we believe we need to have 2.3 million tests per day and that's not an arbitrary number, Anderson, that's based on some calculations that I'm glad to share, if you wish.
Other elements of the plan include a variety of things, but in the context of John Lewis taking his final journey, I want to mention that one of the big ones is health inequities, and the health inequities that we've seen in people of color and in vulnerable populations of a wide variety have been accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic, but they didn't start, they weren't caused by the pandemic.
We have failed over generations to deal with these health inequities and that's one of the things that we need to do and we need to get more serious about it now.
COOPER: When you talk about the number of testing, it's not just of course the number of actual tests, it's how quickly they can get results. What is a reasonable timeframe that those -- I think you said 2.3 million tests a day would get results. Because obviously two weeks makes the test almost meaningless.
SKORTON: Exactly, just what you said is absolutely correct. If a test takes 10 days to two weeks, it's not useful for things like contact tracing or anything else. So, there's multiple kinds of tests and bear with me just for a moment. The kind of test that we're thinking about to takeaway are called PCR tests that stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. And they take a while to come back. They're very accurate tests.
There's also another test that can be called the point of contact test. It's called an antigen test, and you might think about it as a simple strep test that you can get the results very quickly, certainly within an hour.
Those tests are very useful if they're positive, there's about a 15, one five percent false negative rate. So, one approach would be to utilize these antigen tests at point of care or even perhaps at home, and then -- and then utilize academic medical center labs as a backup, so if the test is negative, the academic medical center lab can perform the full PCR and usually do it quicker than the high throughput labs that are taking tests from all over the country.
COOPER: Dr. Skorton, I appreciate your expertise and being with us tonight. Thank you.
SKORTON: Thanks so much for having me on.
COOPER: Coming up next, we have more breaking news in the wake of Congressman Louie Gohmert testing positive for COVID-19.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mandating masks on the House floor. We'll talk to her about that and the grim milestone that we've reached today. She joins us live.
And later my conversation with mogul and filmmaker Tyler Perry about the President's latest effort to stoke racial fear in the suburbs, Confederate monuments, John Lewis and more.
COOPER: Two items tonight breaking on Capitol Hill where the Congressman Louie Gohmert has tested positive for COVID and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instituting a mask mandate for members on the floor. You can see it playing out in video of numbers voting late today. Their faces covered following the rules and modeling healthier behavior, certainly than many have lately.
That said the mandate literally only covers so much, the problem of testing, of course remains very real. Joining us now the speaker herself, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California.
Madam Speaker, thank you so much for being with us.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Thank you.
COOPER: This new mandatory mask mandate that you've instituted for the House chamber, it's my understanding doesn't apply to the House office buildings or hallways. Would you like it to and do you think it should extend to both chambers, frankly or the entire Capitol Complex?
PELOSI: Well, yes, the proclamation that I made today applies to the whole of the House. The members cannot come on to the floor of the House, unless they have a mask and I, as Speaker have directed the sergeant-at-arms, the Capitol Police to refuse entry into the hall if people don't have on a mask, a mask and we have masks there for them.
The sergeant-at- arms will issue the regulations and the rest, probably tomorrow and with it, what goes with it for the other rooms in the Capitol or other -- what happens in the other office buildings that are on Capitol Hill. So that expanded announcement will probably happen tomorrow.
COOPER: The Minority Leader McCarthy said today, quote, "Testing would be critical at the Capitol," quote, "Because people can be here and have it and would not know." Obviously, that is factually correct. It also applies to the entire rest of the country who still cannot get easily tested.
I don't know if it's ironic that he is saying this, but the problem of testing, I mean, it's extraordinary to me that we're still in this situation where people can't get tests, and it takes two weeks for people to get results.
PELOSI: Well, when the White House originally suggested that they had enough tests to send us, I consulted with a Capitol physician, and really we are not -- it's just not the Members of Congress, it's for Members of Congress and support staff and that's a fair amount of people.
We can't say well as members we should get tested, but the other people shouldn't, but it points to the challenge that we have in the country.
We have the tools at our disposal: testing, tracing, treatment, isolation, mask wearing, sanitation to hold this virus in check, to try to beat it. Hopefully we will have a vaccine or some therapies that will be helpful, but we don't have them to a full extent now, certainly not a vaccine.
PELOSI: And until we do, we have to do what we can. Other countries have done it. It works. But in order for us to do it in the Capitol, with a full -- with everybody there, as well as in the country, we need more equipment.
And the reason everybody isn't tested because there isn't enough equipment to test everyone and then we don't have enough equipment to get rid of results of the test. Sometimes it takes a week to get the result, almost useless by then.
And then we need the PPE, the personal protective equipment for the people administering the test on our healthcare providers, and teachers and others to have that equipment.
So we've asked the president to have the Defense Production Act, go into action to insist that our businesses produce this equipment -- this equipment -- he just won't do it. He hasn't done it.
We have this plan in our Heroes Act. This is a way for us to open our economy, facilitate opening our schools by reducing the rate of infection in our communities. But in order to do that, we have to know what it is and that requires testing, tracing, treatment, et cetera.
So again, when it comes back to us what we should have. Well, I leave that judgment up to the Capitol physician about whether we have the equipment and the rest to just test members, that doesn't seem enough, but it is -- there is great cause for alarm in the Capitol when people found out that Congressman Gohmert had been tested the way he had and participated in two hearings yesterday, largely without a mask. Very, very irresponsible on his part, and members were very unhappy because he interacted with other members, but other staff as well.
COOPER: Yes. Is there any progress on any kind of further steps toward -- coming to a consensus on what happens next in terms of helping working people, helping people on unemployment and helping people who are in desperate straits right now? PELOSI: Well, central to all of that is to get rid of this virus and
that's why I keep coming back to the fact, we can open our economy, we can improve the situation if we follow science, but if you don't believe in science, and you don't believe in governance as they don't seem to, then that makes it more problematic.
So in terms of our conversations, we have to fundamentally agree that central to solving our problem is solving the virus to the extent that we can.
We have a big -- we have three main pillars, that is state and local government are our heroes, our healthcare providers, our first responders, sanitation, transportation, food -- all of the services that people need that are provided by state and local. They've said zero. Zero. It can't be. It can't be.
And by the way, it's much less than they spent to give tax cuts to the top one percent in our country, 83 percent of the benefits going to the top one percent. Now all of a sudden, it's the money.
In addition to that, we have the testing which I described, and then put money in the pockets of the American people.
Well, they have a distain or sort of a condescension toward working people, it seems because they don't trust, how they might use the $600.00. That kind of thing, oh, they have money to pay the rent, they're just not paying the rent.
Well, we cannot operate if we are not even stipulating to basic set of facts. The people are hurting. The unemployment is high, and that we have a way to address this in terms of honoring our heroes, testing, tracing treatment, as well as money in the pockets of the American people, being respectful of them and understanding their needs.
People are hungry. Millions of children are food insecure in our country, and we can't get them to do food stamps and women, infant and children feeding programs, and the rest of that.
So we have -- we still have a long way to go. But we are determined that we will try to find common ground and we need the public to weigh in about the need to support state and local government and all the people who serve the community.
We can open schools. State and local governments supply over 90 percent of the funding for schools.
PELOSI: So it is all connected. It's all addressed in the Heroes Act. And I hope that they would come closer to our thinking on that than some of the -- it's over 10 weeks since we passed the bill.
COOPER: Yes. PELOSI: Leader McConnell said we need a pause. Then it came back this
Monday was a piecemeal. Well, that's not what -- this is as big as it gets. A plague that has an impact on our economy and it's about the lives of the American people, the livelihood of the American people and the life of our democracy.
COOPER: Speaker Pelosi, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
PELOSI: Thank you. Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, the President makes his most racially charged pitch yet to suburban voters a day after his Attorney General said there's no systemic racism in police departments.
Writer, director, producer, actor, philanthropist Tyler Perry joins me to talk about the conversations Americans are having right now about race.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: President Trump is under fire for a tweet he wrote this afternoon and I'm quoting the President. Quote, I am happy to inform all the people living their suburban lifestyle dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood. Your housing prices will go up based on the market and crime go down. I have rescinded the Obama- Biden Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. Enjoy.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said of the comment, quote, our president is now a proud vocal segregationist. Here with the latest our White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
So the President bragging about ending this Obama era Fair Housing Rule. Is this just clearly an appeal to white suburban voters that he's just trying to get?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, that's definitely what it looks like, because the President has now been in office for this long and he has not rescinded this regulation yet. And if you look at this regulation, Anderson, basically what it goes to do is try to combat these discriminatory housing practices that you've seen, and in segregation and suburban areas. And if it's an area that is getting any kind of grant or aid money, then they have to assess the segregation in their area and then deal with it if they do find that to be a practice. And when the President rescinded this the Department of Housing, and Urban Development called it this unworkable rule, but though there's no evidence that it drove crime up in these areas. You saw what the President said there on Twitter, you know, your housing prices will go up based on the market and crime will go down.
Though, of course, there is no evidence that crime went up. So it's not clear where the President is making that statement from and that's why you've seen critics in response to this say that they believe it's a pretty clear play to his base.
COOPER: I mean, given the history of the Trump Organization and his father, and the, you know, the allegations against them, the lawsuits against them, for discrimination in housing. I mean this rule, as you mentioned, is from 2015.
COOPER: It's pretty clear while the President is just repealing it now.
COLLINS: Well, and it also comes as internally the President's campaign has been talking and noticing that he is losing ground with suburban voters, mainly women, suburban voters that helped carry him into the White House in 2016. So that's why you've seen him lately tried to say that if Joe Biden gets elected, the suburbs are going to disappear. He's been making comments like that trying to appeal to those kind of voters with them. And the thing is, it's not clear if this is going to work. Aides have been saying his best reelection strategy is focusing on the coronavirus, making it look like he is in charge. He is at the helm. Of course, you know, we've seen the statements that he's made this week. But instead the President has gone back to these cultural battles that helped him in 2016.
But what's not clear that this is going to work is we saw what happened in 2018, or the President was using things like the caravan talking about that, ahead of the midterm elections, and then Democrats retook the House because it wasn't something that appealed to voters. And a lot of it was the suburban areas where you saw a lot of those Democrats that had been in either Republican areas or not long standing Democratic areas take office. So that's the question, is this going to be an effective tactic like the President thinks it is.
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thanks.
A short time before the President tried to stoke fear among whites about black Americans moving next door. I spoke with writer, director, producer, actor and philanthropist Tyler Perry, about the state of race in America. His views on Confederate monuments as well as John Lewis and police reform.
COOPER (on-camera): Tyler, you recently wrote about raising People Magazine and one of the things you wrote you said, it's my hope that as we continue these hard conversations and come out of our respective corners to talk to each other, but most of all to hear, we got to start hearing each other. So this pain, this grief, this mourning in America will give way to mourning in America. I found that really powerful. You know, I was thinking about this yesterday, the Attorney General of United States, Bill Barr said he doesn't believe there is systemic racism in police departments. If you were to have a conversation with Barr, what would you want him to hear?
TYLER PERRY, PRODUCER & ACTOR: Well wow, that's what a great question. There are many things I ever wanted to hear. But more than anything, just to understand the journey of someone who is black in America, even me sitting here talking to you now, at 50 years old, all the things that I've accomplished, all the things that I've overcome, I still get pulled over by police. Some recognize me, some don't. Because I'm in a nice car, in a neighborhood that they don't even know that I live in until they realize it's me.
So, I would want him to understand that there is bias. There are those things. And here's the greatest gift that I've been given is I've been able to live on both sides of the wealth gap. I've been extremely poor. And I've managed to do very, very well. And I understand how someone could come to that conclusion when you live in your own world, when you live in your own bubble, and you're not even open to hearing or seeing it another way. So, I understand how he got there. But his thinking is very wrong.
COOPER (on-camera): Are you optimistic now in a way that you haven't been before? When you see these -- the protests that are taking place when you see the outpouring and people of all colors?
PERRY: I was very optimistic. I was very optimistic about, you know, at the horror of what happened after the death of George Floyd. I became optimistic when I saw so many people get it. It was the same thing that happens during the Civil Rights Movement and people saw on television that what happened on Edmund Pettus Bridge what happened with Bull Connor, what happened in all these moments when people saw it, when white people saw it, they got engaged. They wanted to help.
So when they saw George Floyd's death that's horrific, horrible death played out. As this man pleaded for his life and begged said, please, many, many times, it seeing it changes everything. So I became very, very optimistic when everybody galvanized together because I know that's when change comes, when people galvanize and come together as one. That's when change happens.
But lately, I've been very, very concerned that the message is being hijacked by some other groups or political ads and parties that are trying to stop the message of what we're asking for here is police reform. Right. So yes, I was but I'm worried now is because of what I'm seeing.
COOPER (on-camera): You have a -- your son is five years old. And --
COOPER (on-camera): -- you know, obviously, having a child changes one's perspective on things and makes you see things with a fresh eyes and in many ways senses. Have you had -- I mean, I know he's five years old. Have you had a conversation with him about race? I know it's something you've written about just the sort of the feeling of gosh, I'm going to have to have this conversation sometime soon.
PERRY: Yes, I don't want it -- listen to me, I'm trying to push that as long as I can. Because there's something about the level of innocence that that's ripped from a child when they have to face race. Like I love watching him play with his friends or coming home from school and talk about his friends, never describing them by race at all, ever, not once in this years that he's been talking and smart enough to ask me all kinds of questions. So, my hope is that I can keep him -- keep it from him as long as I can. But I know that being his father, being a black man in America, and during the things that I've done, I'm going to have to have that conversation with him. And I know it's coming soon. I know it's going to be painful, but I want to -- listen if I can let them hold on to that innocence for just for another day. I'm going to give him -- yes, I'm going to give him that.
COOPER (on-camera): Your great-great-grandfather was enslaved in this country. You are also the owner of the largest movie studio in the U.S. which happens to be built on what was a military base for the Confederate Army. I mean, the arc of that is just -- is an extraordinary thing. The President is arguing that Confederate statues monuments are part of our heritage as somebody who's a storyteller. What story do you think these statues tell you and us and should they come down?
PERRY: For me I grew up growing up in New Orleans and there's a circle that's called lease (ph) circle that takes you from where the streetcar actually goes around and to take you into the French quarters and downtown. And you see the Robert E. Lee up top and there's a Robert E. Lee High School. So these -- and listen as a kid I love the Dukes of Hazzard until I realized what the flag represented as I got older. And again, it's going back to holding on to the innocence
When I see these monuments, for me, I can look at them and realize I don't need to see them in the air to understand what happened. I have this, I wear this every day. I wake up with it every day. And even in America in 2020 there's still racism that I deal with even me that I deal with on a constant basis, in Hollywood in this in the business, you know, as much as I've been able to accomplish if I -- if people would have given me the shot to just have a fair playing field. God knows where I could be at this point. So I've always had to find a way, how do I find a way to make it inside of this. That's what my mother taught me who grew up in the Jim Crow South, you have to find a way. So that's what I've been trying to do all these years to find a way.
So when I see these statues and these monuments to be on this land that was once a Confederate army base. I mean, think about the poetic justice in that where they were, where was people plant is a Confederate soldier plotting and planning strategy on how to keep Negroes in slave and now that land is owned by a negro. That for me, is beyond poetic justice and there's still several streets here that are named after Confederate generals on the base that I'm changing when you talk about my ancestors and great, great, great, great grandfather. I want to change him to those names, so that they can be honored as well.
COOPER (on-camera): You know, I read recently that you donated Kroger, I think it was gift cards to people in the Atlanta area and you got the Atlanta Police Department to help distribute them around to people in need. When, you know, there's a large movement within protest movement of defunding police. Republicans are focusing on that as saying that, you know, the Democrats want to do away with police departments, which I don't think is what defund police means. But when you hear that slogan, what do you think?
PERRY: Well, when I first heard it, I was troubled by it. I thought OK, this is -- if this is going to be weaponized by it in this political year, I completely thought that that was happening. That's exactly what's happened. It's been weaponized. But I did some research and what I would challenge people to do is to do research on find out what it means. Now, you got to understand this. I'm not for taking money for the police department. I think we need more police. My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police, but we don't need a police that to have or that are under trained. And you got to understand, I have really close friends who are police officers that I love dearly who are really good people, who have been very, very hurt by this as well.
And here's what I want you to understand Anderson, wrong -- where there's wrong I'm going to stand up against it when. When Rayshard Brooks was murdered, I thought that was wrong. When George Floyd was murdered, I thought that was wrong like so many other people. But when a police officer who was white in the -- in a suburb in Atlanta, was shot in the head by shoplifter I thought that was wrong too. And I reached out to do what I can to help his family. When Cicoria (ph) was eight year old was shot near the Wendy's in her mother's back seat. I thought that was wrong too. So anywhere, there's wrong, I'm going to stand up against it. I just don't believe that and I believe that most -- I don't believe that there are lots of people. Let me just change that to understand that, there are a lot of people in America who feel the way that I do. Right.
I think we need the police. I know that I need the police. I have several that worked for me here at the studio. We need them, but we need them reformed. We need them trained. Well, we need the right structure. Right. But some of the things inside of the fund the police I really understand like having officers who are clinically trained to deal with certain situations. I think all of those things are helpful, but taking money from the police department to make the police department smaller, that troubles me.
COOPER (on-camera): I want to end on just mentioning John Lewis, Congressman Lewis and also CTV and two extraordinary leaders who we've recently lost. There's a story I read and if you could just quickly tell it of the connection you had to John Lewis, which is a house you owned, was once owned by a racist segregation, his business person, I think it was. And John Lewis told you a story that when he learned who owned that house, of his connection to that person.
PERRY: Yes. It was -- we were having a gospel brunch. We've got all these black people, leader, Oprah, all of us there. And then we had this beautiful gospel brunch. And John Lewis was there and I started telling the story about this former segregationist who own the hotel in Atlanta called the Heart of Atlanta Hotel, who also owned the property that I had just bought. And when I bought the property, he had lost it in a malpractice suit, but he started suing me over and over again. And I remember walking into court, and him seeing me for the first time watching the blood drain from his face, realizing that I was a black man.
So, eventually I had him disbarred. I think he died a few years ago. But I had him disbarred because he kept suing, we fought and fought and fought, because he had no rights for any debt because I bought the property free and clear, fair and square. And I was telling this story. Among all of those people at this gospel brunches, we're celebrating on this land that he once own. And Congressman Lewis comes up to me with tears in his eyes. And he said, I sat in at the lunch counter at his hotel to integrate it. And for me, it was like what an incredible moment that I'm standing here with this man who fought so that I could just live, be able to live in a place where in the deed it said, you cannot sell to Niggers or Jews in the (INAUDIBLE) those words. So his fight and what he's accomplished and what he's done, allowed me to be here. And this studio is in the district that elected him here after all those years.
So, I'm so moved by him so proud of him. And I'm just glad that I had an opportunity to know him C.T. Vivian, as well as Joseph Lowery, all in with the matter of months, they all passed.
COOPER (on-camera): That is that is such the story of America. I mean, the --
COOPER (on-camera): -- beauty of it and the horror of it, the tragedy of it and the potential of it. Tyler Perry, thank you.
PERRY: The potential of it, Anderson, the potential of it. I love that. Yes, got to stay positive. Thank you. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Tyler Perry. Up next, back to pandemic, that now more than 150,000 American lives loss, we're bringing the story of the personal toll. It's taking on Texas.
COOPER: More on breaking news. President Trump spent most of his day in Texas whereas we reported made no public mention of today's grim milestone 150,000 lives now lost in this country to COVID. Tonight another milestone, Texas now passing New York State in total cases. Clear the entire state has been hit badly, but arguably no place harder than the Rio Grande Valley. Our Ed Lavandera is there.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rolando and Yolanda Garcia met his kids in South Texas, became high school sweethearts, and the rest is history. They reveled in life sweet moments. Rolando's birthday. Yolanda cutting her granddaughters hair. But in late June, the coronavirus caught the couple by surprise. Their daughter Priscilla believes they got infected at the grocery store. As they got sicker, the 70 year old grandparents were taken to different hospitals on the same day. It would be the last time they saw each other.
PRISCILLA MARIE GARCIA, DAUGTHER: It's heartbreaking because you never want to die alone. You want to die with your family around you. There is no one there to support you in your last moment.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Rolando died on July 4th.
GARCIA: My dad passed away and we didn't tell her. She ended up having a heart attack on her own and the last time that I spoke with her I just told her that dad was waiting for her
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Garcias died four days apart. Priscilla also has COVID-19, she's quarantined in her parent's home. A small shrine fills the living room. It's a place to reflect on her family's ordeal.
GARCIA: It didn't have to die. They still had another good 10 or 15 years. They were very bright, vibrant.
LAVANDERA (on-camera): What's it like in South Texas right now?
GARCIA: It's hell on earth. Everyone's scared, everyone's anxious.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): About 600 people have died of COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley. The vast majority of those have died this month.
MARTIN SCHWARCZ, PULMONARY INTENSIVIST: It's like living in a constant hurricane of patients coming into the hospital.
LAVANDERA (on-camera): Endless.
SCHWARCZ: It's overwhelming. It's endless and overwhelming.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Dr. Martin Schwarcz lives on the pandemic frontlines working intensive care units filled with COVID patients. He says medical teams are struggling to stay ahead of the fast spreading virus.
SCHWARCZ: We're always on the edge. Oh, am I going to have enough ventilators today? Am I going to have enough centralized enough chest tubes?
LAVANDERA (on-camera): It seems like this is really taking its toll on a lot of you guys that are on the front lines.
SCHWARCZ: We're seeing entire families in our community being ravaged by the virus. LAVANDERA (voice-over): Salvador and Imelda Munoz celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June. The family says they're in home nurse unknowingly infected the elderly couple but Marie Silva felt her mother was going to pull through.
MARIA SILVA, FAMILY NURSE PRACTITIONER: She suffered a heart attack while waiting. There was not enough staff to attend to her and so she didn't make it.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): After that, Marie says her father felt his job was done. There was time though for one last video call.
(on-camera): What will you remember most about that final conversation with your dad?
SILVA: All my brothers and sisters telling him how good of a father he was and how he could go rest if needed to. Letting him know that he did a good job and we love him. And we'll never forget.
LAVANDERA (on-camera): And what did he say?
SILVA: He just nodded. He didn't cry. He never cried. He's just a strong man. But I could see the pain in his eyes I could.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): On July 10th Maria Silva says her father's eyes finally closed during his wife's funeral service. Three days later, Salvador and Imelda Munoz were buried together.
COOPER: Ed Lavandera joins us now from Midland, Texas. It's just heartbreaking these families. The President has suggested that coronavirus numbers are stabilizing in Texas. Is that accurate?
LAVANDERA: Kind of, there -- the numbers are starting to show signs of slowing down that we've had seen weeks where we had more than 10,000 cases being reported per day. We're seeing just under 10,000 now for the last week or so. He also touted the positive infection rate of those cases being starting to stabilize, but it's stabilizing at really high numbers. At the end of May, Anderson, the positive infection rate was about 4.5%. It reached 17.5% a couple of weeks ago, and now it's dropped to just under 13%. So it's still extremely high here in the state. Anderson.
COOPER: Ed Lavandera, appreciate that report. It's just heartbreaking. Thank you.
Want to check in with Chris, see what he's working out for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The reality is heartbreaking. And what the President did, when he went to that state is an outrage. And people need to be outraged. That state is breaking records all the wrong kinds of ways. And yes, they have unique challenges. And he goes there and entertains the maskless masses. He wants to know why people don't like him. That's the answer. Right there, what he did today. So what we're going to do, Anderson is, again, unpack the truth of the reality. What the inaction is doing to us? And what must be done if we want our kids in school and the economy to get back to normal anytime soon.
COOPER: All right, Chris. We'll see in about six minutes from now.
Up next, we remember some of those lives lost the coronavirus, including to students hoping to build a better life for themselves and their world.
COOPER: Tonight, with more than 150,000 people in America now dead from the virus we remember some of the lives lost.
Darrin Adams was a student at Wayne State University Michigan. He also worked as a custodian there for six years. During class he would always sit in the front row. His professor said his thirst for knowledge was inspiring. When professor said that Darrin spoke up and his class about his experiences as a janitor and how it felt to have to work at the same university where he studied and clean up after the students said he went to class with. His candor prompted other students in class to share their stories as well. Darrin also worked with the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program for two years working in Bordeaux Baking Homes (ph) in order to improve public safety.
After his death, the sociology department created an annual scholarship in his name. The university awarded him a possum -- posthumous bachelor's degree in sociology.
Jameela Barber was a high school junior in Lancaster, Texas. Her principal said she had a big smile, smile as big as Texas they said. She was known as a leader, a self motivator. She was in the ROTC program at her school, and was also inducted into the National Honor Society this year. She was making plans for college and was wanting to study interior design.
Jameela had no underlying health conditions, is unclear how she could track to the virus. Her family says she wasn't feeling well and found her unconscious in the bathroom after taking shower. They called 911 tried administering CPR, but Jameela never woke up. She died at the hospital. Jameela Barber was just 17 years old.
That's it for us. The news continues, want to handle over Chris "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris?