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Trump on 155,000 Americans Dying of Virus, It Is What It Is; Trump Dismisses John Lewis' Legacy, He Didn't Come to My Inauguration; Study Shows Decline in Patients Diagnosed with Cancer During COVID. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired August 4, 2020 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS: Thanks for joining us today. I hope to see you back here this time tomorrow. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good afternoon

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN RIGHT NOW: I'm Brianna Keilar and I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

The president of the United States says it is what it is when it coming to Americans dying from the virus, more than 155,000 Americans. And he once again has pushed lies, conspiracies and falsely says that the virus is under control in a cloud of delusion that is hurting the nation's response to the coronavirus.

We will play the interview in a moment and discuss. But, first, let's begin with what matters first and foremost, the public health crisis.

These are the trends. As the rate of Florida's new case numbers goes down, the state still has 45 hospitals that have no room in their ICUs. In Arizona, the state logged more than 2,000 new hospitalizations on Monday and the state's top education official says it's still not safe for kids there to go back to school in person.

Then there are states that are going in the wrong direction, states like Arkansas and West Virginia and Kentucky, which had been trending in the right direction. They are now reporting more than 600 hospitalizations in one day. They hadn't seen a day like that in more than a week.

Remember, we were warned about the spread into rural areas. We heard that from Dr. Birx. For that bit of truth, President Trump called her pathetic. And now we are hearing that she is troubled by the Trump attack but it's just another in a long line of Trump attacks on health experts.

Also today, lawmakers are said to be nowhere near a deal on the second round of stimulus relief as millions of Americans suffer. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells CNN the price tag that she is willing to settle for is $3.4 trillion. That's the reality of where we are right now, which really doesn't match up with where President Trump insisted we are.

We heard a lot from the president in a new wide-ranging interview with Axios, a lot about the pandemic and his work on controlling the virus, as he put it, and a lot of other subjects. But let's start with the president talking about coronavirus testing.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We have tested more people than any other country, than all of Europe put together times two. We have tested more people than anybody ever thought of. India has 1.4 billion. They've done 11 million tests. We've done 55. It will be close to have 60 million tests.

And there are those that say, you can test too much. You do know that.


TRUMP: Just read the manuals. Read the books.

SWAN: Manuals? What manuals?

TRUMP: Read the books. Read books.

SWAN: What books?

TRUMP: What testing does --

SWAN: Wait a minute, I'm sorry --

TRUMP: Let me explain. What testing does, it shows cases. It shows where there may be cases. Other countries test -- you know, when they test, they test when somebody is sick. That's when they test. And I'm not saying they are right or wrong. Nobody has done it like we've done it. We've gotten absolutely no credit for it.


KEILAR: Dr. Jonathan Reiner is a Professor of Medicine at George Washington University. He's a CNN Medical Analyst. Doctor, thank you so much for being with us.

Is that a thing, can you test too much?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No, you can't test too much. Well, just ask the White House now. They are looking to test more to protect the president and that same strategy to protect the country is what just about every public health expert is suggesting. We are not doing enough testing in the country.

If you look at the positivity rate at the U.S. as a whole, it is about 7.8 percent right now. It needs to be much lower, down to 1 to 2 percent before we'll really have this crisis under control. So we need to test more and more and more.

KEILAR: And the president -- it was interesting -- brought -- and we have seen this before. He brought charts and graphs to talk about deaths in America. Let's watch.


TRUMP: If you look at death --

SWAN: Yes, it's going up again, daily death.

TRUMP: Take a look at some of these charts.

SWAN: I'd love to.

TRUMP: Okay? We're going to look.

SWAN: Let's look.

TRUMP: And if you look at death --

SWAN: Yes, it started to go up again.

TRUMP: Here is one. Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories. We're lower than the world --

SWAN: Lower than the world?

TRUMP: We're lower than Europe --

SWAN: In what?

TRUMP: Take a look, right here. Here is case death.

SWAN: Oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases. I'm talking about death as a proportion of population. That's where the U.S. is really bad, much worse than South Korea, Germany, et cetera.

TRUMP: You can't do that. You have to --

SWAN: Why can't I do that?

TRUMP: You have to go by where -- look, here is the United States. You have to go by the cases. The cases of death --

SWAN: Why not as a proportion of population?

TRUMP: When we have somebody -- what it says is, when you have somebody that has -- where there's a case --

SWAN: Oh, okay.

TRUMP: -- the people that live from those cases.

SWAN: It's surely a relevant statistic to say if the U.S. has X population and X percentage of death of that population versus South Korea --


TRUMP: No, you have to go by the cases.


KEILAR: What did you think of that moment?

REINER: Yes, really disgraceful. The U.S. has by far the largest number of deaths in the world. And if you look at even on a per capita basis, the U.S. has about 480 deaths per million population. If you look at countries like Germany, it's 110. Japan, it's 8. So any way you look at it, we have an unacceptable number of deaths in the United States. And although it had dropped, you know, towards the end of the spring, it has risen again to almost 1,000 deaths per day. So, really unacceptable.

The president was talking about case fatality rates. No one really knows what the case fatality rate is because no one knows what the denominator is. No one knows what the true number of cases is. And, frankly, any success on keeping the mortality rate for individual cases low goes to my brothers and sisters on the frontlines in hospitals around the United States who have run into the fire in an effort to put this inferno out. It really has very little to do with this administration.

KEILAR: We are hearing from them. It is like they're building the boat they're riding in as they cross the river. It is a monumental task. And they're doing the best they can.

The president was asked about his message to his followers. Let's listen.


SWAN: Here's the question. I have covered you for a long time. I have gone to your rallies. I have talked to your people. They love you. They listen to you, every word you say, they hang on ear (ph) to it. They don't listen to me or the media or Fauci. They think we're fake news. They want to get their advice from you.

And so when they hear you say, everything is under control, don't worry about wearing masks, I mean, these people -- many of them are older people.

TRUMP: It is under control.

SWAN: It's giving them a false sense of security.

TRUMP: I think it's under control. I'll I tell you what --

SWAN: How? 1,000 Americans are dying a day.

TRUMP: They're dying. That's true. And it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us.

SWAN: You really this is as much as we can control, 1,000 deaths a day? TRUMP: I like to know if somebody -- first of all, we have done a great job. We have gotten the governors everything they needed.

SWAN: Mr. president, you changed your message this week in terms of you canceled the Jacksonville convention, you said wear a mask, you're saying that it's going to get worse before it gets better. It's not something you'd like to say. I remember you said that. The people --

TRUMP: Not get worse like the original flow. You understand that? But --

SWAN: I hope not.

TRUMP: Now, you look, Arizona is going down.

SWAN: If I could just finish my question.

TRUMP: Texas is going down and Florida is going down.

SWAN: The question is are you going to, even some of your own aides wonder, whether you would stick to that message until Election Day, whether in a week or two you won't say, right, we have got to reopen again, we can't do this stuff anymore, that you get bored of talking about the virus and go back to that sort of cheerleading?

TRUMP: I never get bored of talking about this. It is too big a thing.


KEILAR: What did you think when he said, it is what it is, as he was talking about the number of people dying? Is it what it is?

REINER: Really painful, you know? I've lost family to coronavirus. My closest friends have lost family to coronavirus. And soon, just about every American is going to be separated maybe by only one from knowing somebody who has lost -- been lost to coronavirus. It is what it is makes it seem like we are powerless.

Just about every other industrialized country around the world has had success in suppressing this virus because their leadership has been willing to do the hard things and then stick with it. This president has not. This president was super slow to test widely, very, very slow. This president, only about a week ago, was willing to be photographed in public wearing a mask.

This president actually has no national policy for testing. He's outsourced this to the states. And now, he throws his hands up says, it is what it is? It's incredibly distressing.

Our greatest failing in handling this pandemic has been the lack of leadership, you know? Many of the governors or several of the governors, certainly both Republican and Democrat, have risen to the challenge. But it would have been much more effective if we had a national strategy, a strategy for opening, a strategy for testing, a strategy for social distancing and mask wearing, a requirement for everyone in this country. And now, the president says it is what it is, as if there was nothing that could be done.


KEILAR: Dr. Reiner, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.

REINER: My pleasure.

KEILAR: The president was also asked about other subjects, like Russian bounties on American soldiers. But it was his answer on the late congressman, John Lewis, that is really raising eyebrows. It seemed simple, right? Say something nice about an American hero. But here is what we heard instead.


SWAN: How do you think history will remember John Lewis?

TRUMP: I don't know. I really don't know. I don't know. I don't know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. He chose -- I don't -- I never met John Lewis, actually, I don't believe.

SWAN: Do you find him impressive?

TRUMP: I can't say one way or the other. I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive, but no. but I didn't know him.

SWAN: Do you find his story impressive?

TRUMP: He didn't come to my inauguration. He didn't come to my state of the union speeches, and that's okay. That's his right. And, again, nobody has done more for black Americans than I have. He should have come. I think he made a big mistake.

SWAN: Taking your relationship with him out of it, do you find his story impressive, what he's done for this country?

TRUMP: He was a person that devoted a lot of energy and a lot of heart to civil rights, but there were many others also.

SWAN: There's a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, as the John Lewis Bridge. Would you support that idea?

TRUMP: I would have no objection to it if they'd like to do it?

SWAN: It is a good idea?

TRUMP: We have no objection to it, whatsoever.


KEILAR: Reverend Raphael Warnock is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He's also a Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Reverend, thank you so much for being with us today.

You presided over Congressman Lewis' funeral last week. It was a beautiful service for what was really a loss for the country. And I wonder what your reaction to the president's remarks, what's your reaction?

REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, SENIOR PASTOR, EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH: Well, thank you so much. It's good to be here with you.

John Lewis, by every definition of the word, is an American hero. He is the embodiment of what patriotism looks like. What we have seen in this president is narcissism masquerading for patriotism. It is a sad response but I have to say I'm not terribly surprised.

KEILAR: Now, John Lewis did not go to the president's inauguration. He also did not go to George W. Bush's inauguration. This would not be something that's particularly unusual here in recent years and yet you saw the former president, President Bush speaking at Lewis' funeral. What do you make of that allegation from President Trump?

WARNOCK: Yes, it was a grand moment in American history to have President Clinton and President Bush and President Obama all in the same House of God acknowledging the extraordinary contribution that this man has made to our great country. He is the embodiment of patriotism. As you point out, he didn't come to George Bush's inauguration.

And the sad thing about Donald Trump we are seeing it in this moment but in ways that are much more consequential that somehow he thinks public service is about him. I think public service is about the people you're trying to serve. And his second line of the response was he didn't come to my inauguration. I mean, is an inauguration a coronation or is it a statement about one's commitment to doing the work that the people have honored you by electing you to do?

And so, sadly, we are seeing it in this moment, but it's much more consequential for something like, say, the coronavirus, whereas wearing a mask and doing the things that are necessary, admitting that the problem is as deadly and as tragic as it is. Why can't he do those things? Because he's calculated that is not good politics for him. And that's a sad situation and it's consequential for the American people.

KEILAR: I want to play the president's comments about his support for the African-American community.


TRUMP: I did more for the black community than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, whether you like it or not. People say that's --

SWAN: You believe you did more than Lyndon Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act?


SWAN: How? How possibly did you --

TRUMP: Because I had criminal justice reform then, I got prison reform.

SWAN: Lyndon Johnson --

TRUMP: I've done things -- well --

SWAN: He passed the Civil Rights Act.

TRUMP: How has it worked out? If you take a look at what Lyndon Johnson did, how has it worked out?

SWAN: Do you think the Civil Rights Act was a mistake?


TRUMP: Because, frankly, it took a long time but for African- Americans --

SWAN: But you think that was a mistake?

TRUMP: -- under my administration, Jonathan, under my administration, African-Americans were doing better than they had ever done in the history of this country. So I did a lot, job numbers, all the money, they had money, they were getting great -- their percentages was up. Their housing ownership was up. They did better than they have ever done.


KEILAR: He -- and you can speak to this as a leader of the African- American community in your community. He is questioning the Civil Rights Act. What do you make of that?

WARNOCK: Says the president who, in his emergence as a political figure, rode in on a terrible conspiracy around birtherism, denying the legitimacy of Barack Obama and he was the most prominent and effective spokesperson for this conspiracy, it's a way of saying that you don't belong, you are not one of us. And that's a familiar and painful tone that we have heard over and again in the African-American community.

And as he came down that escalator, that we shall never forget, he came down, attacking communities of color. This is par for the course for Trump. And I think even as he refuses to say something nice about Congressman Lewis, part of that is his narcissism. Sadly, I think part of it may be a kind of calculation that he is playing to the most extreme xenophobic parts of his base that says how dare a man of color be who John Lewis is.

But I'm not particularly worried about what Donald Trump has to say about John Lewis. John Lewis has been vindicated by history. He is a hero of Bloody Sunday. And when the history of the 20thcentury is written again and again, he will stand as President Obama said, as one of the founding fathers of the new emerging America.

The good news is that there is a coalition of conscience, multiracial coalition, people who get it. And they're pouring out into American streets and once again heeding this call, the call he made on the day of his funeral that a new generation would rise up, reclaim the American promise of democracy and equality that embraces all. That's the good news.

The United States of America is bigger and stronger than Donald Trump. And once he's unelected, we'll continue to move forward.

KEILAR: Reverend, thank you so much for being with us, Reverend Raphael Warnock.

WARNOCK: Good to be with you.

KEILAR: A new study is showing that fewer patients are being diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic. Hear why.

Plus, I'll speak with a teacher who is retiring early citing health risks and she will tell us who she thinks is to blame.

And New York City's health commissioner quits in the middle of a pandemic after tensions with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

This is CNN's special live coverage.



KEILAR: A new study reports that fewer people are being diagnosed with cancer during in the pandemic and that is not good news.

I want to bring in CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, explain what's happening here.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, if you remember during lockdown back in lockdown in March and April, people weren't going to the doctors. So, for example, a woman might find a lump in her breast but was hesitant or maybe even wasn't able to go to the doctor to get it checked out.

So let's take a look at what this study found. This looked across the nation and they looked at more than 278,000 patients and found a 46 percent decline pre-pandemic versus March and April in the number of diagnosis that were made. And also they found an especially steep decline in breast cancer.

And so for many people, really, frankly, a month's delay in cancer might not be such a problem, you know? Month's delay isn't good but it might not affect their outcome. But for some people, having a month or two or sometimes even longer of a delay, that is a problem. And, hopefully, sort of as things start to open up again, or have started to open again, people are going in to get these kinds of tests now. Brianna?

KEILAR: And there is another study, Elizabeth, and it has some statistics. I don't want to say. They are frightening. We don't want to say that but they are really frightening when it comes ICU accessibility. Tell us about these findings.

COHEN: Right. I mean, this is frightening not just for people who have COVID-19 but for any of us who at any time may end up in the ICU for whatever reason. I mean, COVID has affected the entire health system, not just people with COVID. So let's take a look at these numbers.

What this study found is that in the United States, 37 percent of communities have no access to ICU beds. And when they break it down when you look at low-income urban communities, 31 percent had no access. And when you look at rural low-income communities, 55 percent had no access. I mean, there have been hospital access issues in rural low-income communities for quite a while now and the COVID pandemic has made it even worse.

And that's what we are talking about. We were talking previously in your show. You were talking a lack of leadership. And when you have a lack of leadership, this is what happens. You don't have planning and so you have these hospitals or these ICUS in particular becoming overrun.

KEILAR: And we learned a short time ago that New York's health commissioner resigned. What happened there?

COHEN: Right. So that's Dr. Oxiris Barbot. She's been the health commissioner for quite some time now. And it's a little bit unclear what happened, but there seems to be some unhappiness between here and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.


He said that it was a time for a change. He also thanked her for service.

There seem to have potentially been some conflicts, including decisions about how to do contact tracing and testing, should the health department do it or should it be outsourced to another group. But, apparently, the mayor said it was time for a change.

KEILAR: All right. Elizabeth, thank you so much. Always good to see you.

A new medical study identifies two things that are needed for schools to reopen safely. They're pretty simple and the U.S. has neither.

Plus, I'll speak live with a teacher who is retiring early because of the risk. What she says other teachers are telling her.

And we are just getting our first images of a massive explosion in a major city. Stand by for that.