Return to Transcripts main page


Final Words of Civil Rights Icon Published on Day of His Funeral; Justice Ginsburg Recovering from Procedure at NYC Hospital; U.S. Surpasses Grim Milestone of 150,000 Deaths. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: He said, each one of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state, it is an act. And each generation must do its part to help build what we call the beloved community and nation and world society at peace with itself.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful non-violent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it. You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching existential struggle for a very long time.

People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movement stretching across the globe, because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitations of others.

CAMEROTA: "Though, I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life, I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of piece, the way of love and non-violence is the more excellent way. Now, it is your turn to let freedom ring. When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let me say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last, and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war.

So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of ever-lasting love be your guide." And John, you know, the reason that I find it so powerful and poignant is knowing that he wrote it to be published on the day of his funeral is very powerful. And his capacity for forgiveness, you know? I mean, his -- I have heard him in different audio clips and interviews over the years, and that he didn't harbor a grudge, you know, for all that he had gone through, and that he's urging us to have those same higher angels is just, you know, it's very moving. BERMAN: "Democracy is not a state, it's an act", he said, and he

acted until his very last minutes. And even now after passing, he wants us to read these words on the day that he's laid to rest. It's a call to act. It's a call to go out and get in good trouble, necessary trouble, as he said, as he demonstrated for 60 years with raw, pure courage. To see the picture of him standing behind Dr. Martin Luther King. He was young, he was like 20, 23.

He was -- you know, almost a child, but he had the courage of a lion because he knew what was true. And as he wrote, and we read this morning, "truth does not change." And John Lewis knew that.

CAMEROTA: I mean, you're so right, John. He has been doing this for a long time. He's been doing this for a long time. And even after his death, he leaves us with those words.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.



BERMAN: This morning, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg back in the hospital for the second time this month. She is said to be resting comfortably after a procedure. It comes just weeks after announcing her cancer has returned. CNN Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic live in Washington. What's the latest on her condition?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Good morning, John. Yes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg according to the court officials is resting comfortably, is expected to get out of the hospital by this Friday. But as you note, it's been sort of one thing after another. This latest procedure, though, does appear to have been minor, not anything like the recurrence of the cancer that she alerted everyone to earlier this month. This was the replacement of a bile duct stent, fairly predictable, according to her doctors as the court said in its news release last night. She had first had this stent put in last August. So, this is just to head off some infections, John.

BERMAN: So, Joan, all week, you've had this really remarkable series inside the Supreme Court. Details and the type of information, honestly, we never get to see in real-time. We just don't. It's just true. You have some information about the judgments and the discussions leading up to the ruling on some of the president's financial records. What can you tell us about that?

BISKUPIC: OK, so here it is. It's the last cases of the term. The one from the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic-led committees had wanted various financial documents of President Trump and then separately, a New York grand jury was seeking tax returns and other financial documents from President Trump.

He had intervened in both of those cases, saying that in the New York one, that he should have some sort of absolute immunity while in office, and similarly, had rejected the request from the house. So the justices meet behind closed doors after hearing these cases, and they are very narrowly divided. Chief Justice John Roberts had a majority for his ruling, but he felt like the vote was just way too close and so did other members of the court.


Because, John, you have to remember that in history, when this Supreme Court has taken up important questions of presidential power, they have -- the justices have managed to come together, set aside their political and ideological views, and be unanimous. And John Roberts had that hanging over his head. So in the New York case, for example, they started out with a 5-4 vote and ended up 7-2.

The overriding sentiment I got from insiders was, even though they could not purge Donald Trump from their minds, that would have been almost impossible, they had to make these cases out of -- into something much more than him. You remember that President Trump had said so many things over the past four years -- almost four years, about how he regards the judiciary. That he expects the Republican appointees of his to automatically vote for him.

The Democratic appointees to automatically vote against him. He's considered it a personal affront with how the Supreme Court rules when it does rule against him. So they had to overcome those issues in the back-drop and put institutional integrity first, and that took nearly two months to do that.

BERMAN: They had to make it more about a president, not about the president per se. Joan Biskupic, again, the reporting is terrific. Everyone should go read it all. It's all available on Thanks, Joan.

BISKUPIC: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, President Trump is pushing hard to win over a group of voters that he believes is key to his re-election. He's trying to appeal to white suburban voters by going after low-income housing and poor people. Joining us now is CNN contributor and Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio; he's also the author of the new book, the "Hunting of Hillary: The 40-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton". And Michael, we'll get to your book in a moment.

But first, let's just talk about the things that we have seen in the past, basically week with President Trump. First, he puts out this tweet that is supposed to, I guess, appeal to suburban voters. He says, "I am happy to inform all of 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 will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden affordable housing rule. Enjoy!" Exclamation point. I mean, is this a change for Donald Trump in terms of being this explicit, in terms of being this overt about saying those -- you won't ever have to worry about those -- you know, nasty, poor people. MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's not a change

when you consider his behavior as a real estate man. Everybody by now knows that the U.S. government had to sue the Trump organization back in the '70s to get them to obey the bare minimum of the regulations for civil rights laws and for renting to minorities. And this isn't really a reference to income levels.

They made that same argument back then, too. And it's really a racial dog whistle or trumpet blaring, and it is explicit. But I think it reflects what's inside the man. You know, you read that beautiful piece that was written by John Lewis that revealed this soulful, full heart. And I think in Donald Trump, we see the exact opposite. This is a vacant man who really is just concerned with himself. And so he's sewing division and he refuses to acknowledge the beloved community of John Lewis, and instead wants to put up walls and exclude people. So it is who he is, but it is explicit.

CAMEROTA: Michael, how about what we saw this week, where the president endorsed that doctor who believes that alien DNA is being used in our medications, and believes that people are engaging in astral sex with demons -- I mean, I'm not making this up. This is truly what her belief system and what she propagates. And he called her very impressive. He wanted her message out to his followers. Has he always been this susceptible to magical thinking or conspiracy theories or at this level of gullibility?

D'ANTONIO: Well, the president doesn't think very carefully about what he sees and what he hears. The only reference that he has is what can I do with this material? So in this case, he thought, well, I could promote this wacky theory and all of these crazy ideas because it somehow fits in with what I'm promoting.


And that idea of not wearing masks, you know, this doctor, who does say some awfully wild and incredible things, declared that we don't need masks because somehow the president's magic elixir that he says will cure everybody with coronavirus, works. Now, just think about that for a minute. Forget the preventative measures that would keep you from getting sick, she's saying. Let yourself get sick, burden the healthcare system with that, and you'll be better because this magical potion works. And --


D'ANTONIO: Our president is endorsing it.

CAMEROTA: And that's the least naughty thing that she said.


CAMEROTA: Michael, I had an opportunity this week to sit down with a group of voters who voted for President Trump in 2016. Some of them now regret their vote. And one of them talked about something that she fears that you're beginning to hear a lot of people talk about. So let me play that moment for you. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONICA HAFT, REGRETS VOTING FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: And so when this election occurs and if it's not -- the result isn't in his favor, I don't think the man is going to leave and that scares me.


CAMEROTA: So Michael, what about that? I know that President Trump doesn't like to lose, I know he never admits defeat, but when he is defeated, does he stick around or is he more likely to go back to his old life in Trump Tower and leave, you know, the White House and the responsibilities of the presidency behind? What do you think?

D'ANTONIO: Well, I actually think he'll try and make himself bigger. He'll -- I'm sure have a massive media presence, he's going to comment on everything, and he'll attempt to be even more disruptive than he is today. Because you know, he's not going accept losing all the attention that he's received in the last four years, and it's being massive. So, we're not going to be through with him, I don't think, until he passes away, and he may leave a message like John Lewis, but it'll be a chaotic, negative, divisive message.

CAMEROTA: And I'll cry for a different reason.


CAMEROTA: Michael, tell us about your book, "The Hunting of Hillary". How long she was vilified and why? Just tell us what you found out in the book and the gist.

D'ANTONIO: Well, the most remarkable discovery I think I made was this now 42-year-old videotape of a very young Hillary Clinton who was the wife of the new Attorney General and she was interviewed and the entire interview on television was about the fact that she was a woman who called herself Hillary Rodham and was from the east and had a great education.

And well, people in the heartland aren't going to accept you. She spent the first five or ten years of her life in this strange position where people were talking more about her hair and clothes and makeup than they were about her as a person or about her husband's policies. So it's remarkable thing to see this first really prominent female candidate for president emerge from all of this terrible criticism and constant badgering.

And you learn, you know, what it is like to come from a minority, you know, women are a minority in terms of power in our country --


D'ANTONIO: And to have to carry the weight of all these expectations and criticism through life.

CAMEROTA: She continues to be such an interesting character to explore and -- D'ANTONIO: She got this --

CAMEROTA: You do that in your book. Again, "The Hunting of Hillary: The 40-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton". Michael D'Antonio, thank you very much for all of the insight.

D'ANTONIO: Thank you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, as parents grapple with the decision of whether to send their children back to school in the classroom this Fall, how does she teachers feel about getting back in the classroom? We ask the head of one of the country's biggest teachers unions.



CAMEROTA: The nation's second largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers says nothing is off the table when it comes to keeping students and teachers safe this Fall. This comes as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos admits there is no national plan.


BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: You know, there's not a national superintendent nor should there be. Therefore, there's not a national plan for reopening.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Randi Weingarten; she's the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Randi, great to have you -- I see, why are you shaking your head?

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Well, because, you know, there's national guidance. There's national standards. We had national education standards. There's national guidance about what can keep people safe, and frankly, if we could put it together in April, what has Betsy DeVos been doing? You know, if you're going to reopen schools for children safely, you know you need 6 feet physical distancing and masks. You know you need cleaning and ventilation, you know, you need reasonable accommodation.

All these folks, doctors and others on your show have said that over and over again, but they refuse to put any guidance together and they refuse to put any resources together. And ultimately, that's why a lot of people are very scared right now because you have the virus surge in places like, you know, Florida and Texas and Arizona. And you have absolutely no plan, no guidance, no resources from the federal government so people feel really antsy.

CAMEROTA: Well -- but is her point that you can't have a national plan because what works in New York right now where the cases have gone down, thankfully, versus what we're seeing in Florida is completely different.


WEINGARTEN: It's -- that is absolutely right. There is -- we have 98,000 schools, and we have 16,000 school districts and ultimately, what's happened with coronavirus is we've been -- we've had to deal with it regionally. So that's absolutely right. But my point is you actually have to have the guidance and they've given no guidance on anything, and frankly it's worse. They have been reckless and dangerous in saying fully reopen or else.

CAMEROTA: And so, I mean, as you sit there today, Randi, what do you say to parents, working parents, who are desperate to get their kids back into the classroom in a few weeks because they need to try to resume their lives and paychecks?

WEINGARTEN: So what I say to parents -- so look, we've been working on this since April, and I actually sat on Cuomo's reopening commission in New York where we came up with guidance about how to reopen schools safely in a way that can to the extent and anybody can assure safety. In a place like New York, I think that you can -- I think that we can. I think it can be done in a hybrid basis. But why would you actually ask teachers and parents to assume the risk of this virus when the Trump administration rushed to reopen and has this huge surge in places like Florida?

So places like New York and New Jersey where the sacrifices worked and where they were kept in place, you have low virus. Places like Florida and Texas, you can't reopen schools in person now. You have to do it remotely. And so what we need to do like all the other countries in the world have done is that the government has to work together with people on the ground doing the essential work to make sure everyone is safe.

CAMEROTA: Randi, you had an opportunity to interview Dr. Fauci on Tuesday, and he gave you some tough medicine, I think. I mean, we want to play --


CAMEROTA: A clip of it because he basically was admitting that teachers are going to be guinea pigs. So here's that moment.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: In many respects unfortunately, though this may sound a little scary and harsh, I don't mean it to be that way, is that you're going to be actually part of the experiment of the learning curve of what we need to know. We don't know the full impact. We don't have the total database of knowing what there is to expect.


CAMEROTA: What do you do with that information?

WEINGARTEN: So look, I think, you know, there were over 100,000 people who watched that interview. I think he was trying to be really honest with people, because he said at the same time, kids really need school, but it has to be safe for kids and teachers. There needs to be masks. There needs to be the other safeguards. And places with high virus is really problematic.

So I think what he was doing was actually meeting people where they are, which is people are scared, and unless they know that there are the kind of measures that we've been advocating, both parents and teachers are really scared, and he was actually meeting that need, and he was actually saying, I get that and I understand that. Instead of the magical thinking that -- or that you get from Trump and from DeVos.

But I would actually just -- I would actually lean back into, he answered lots of questions about how do we keep people safe, and that's what I thought he was really -- it was really important for people to hear him.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, that's the information that people are really hungry for. The practical suggestions --

WEINGARTEN: Exactly --

CAMEROTA: Of how we're going to do this. Randi Weingarten, thank you very much --

WEINGARTEN: You're welcome --

CAMEROTA: For sharing your position with us and talking.


CAMEROTA: And NEW DAY continues right now. Good morning, everyone, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, this is NEW DAY. The death toll in the United States is now more than 150,000 Americans. Four states including Florida and California just set daily death records. Yesterday alone, more than 1,400 American lives were lost.

President Trump did not acknowledge the death toll during his trip to Texas yesterday nor did he wear a mask or keep socially distant. His audience largely followed his lead, despite the fact that Texas surpassed New York yesterday in total number of coronavirus cases.

BERMAN: Overnight, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced that it is prohibiting the sale and distribution of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus.