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Schools Struggle with Outbreaks; Trump's Health Care Plan; Trump After 9/11 Attacks; NFL Season Opens. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 11, 2020 - 06:30   ET



FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Know that's not what it's about, but that's not the message we've been giving them for decades.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Dr. El-Sayed, John and I have this debate all the time because I give the kids more of a pass because, case in point, they're not tested every day. And if they're not -- some of them don't know they are positive. I mean my friend's son got a positive test result. He has -- he's asymptomatic. So, of course, they've been going out in town. They don't know that they're positive. This is happening everywhere.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that's right, Alisyn. Look, my thoughts on this are a little bit different. I just believe that college administrators are responsible for what's happening on their campus. That's why they're being paid the hundreds of thousands of dollars and students and parents are paying them to be able to make good decisions about what that campus may mean. And administrators know what happens on campus on Thursday nights and Friday nights. And they're young people, right? Young people have been cooped up in their homes for a really long time. And so I actually think that a lot of this is on the administrators, making decisions that almost every public health expert said were suspect so that they could recoup and harvest those tuition dollars that they knew they needed.

And this has been a problem across colleges and across campuses, no matter how rigorous their approach has been, simply because young people are young people. And if you put them together on a college campus after an entire summer and spring of being cooped up in their parent's house, what do you all expect is going to happen?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I will say, some of the reporting now, Alisyn, in my defense --


BERMAN: Is that there are kids who know they are positive going to parties. That's what's happened reportedly in Illinois and Alabama. So that's what's starting to happen. And I happen to think that's irresponsible and they're old enough to know better.

CAMEROTA: Well, we agree with that, but I also -- BERMAN: Well, apparently not. You just said that these kids are going to go to party.

CAMEROTA: Because some of them don't know they're positive. In fact, a lot of them don't know they're positive.

BERMAN: That's different. That's different than those who do.

CAMEROTA: So many of the -- I mean unless you're being tested every day, and not all schools are testing everybody, every day, then what are you supposed to do, stay in your dorm room, John Berman, like you did for four years? Not everybody can do that.

BERMAN: There wasn't a pandemic. There wasn't a pandemic when I went to college. And, you know, and it's a privilege to go to college. And it's $70,000 to go to college. And these -- these young adults need to know that. And the -- clearly the colleges need to do more, I get it, but I don't think that we should completely absolve these privileged children who are, you know, who are at these schools who are learning, I think, you know, to go forth in society.

Dr. El-Sayed, to your point -- to Frank's point, I think this is important, though --

EL-SAYED: Yes --

BERMAN: We saw in May bars be this place where the virus started to come back. People would go to bars and then go out into the community. Is that what's going to happen to colleges now, the kids are going back to college, they will get this and then this is where we will see it be sparked?

EL-SAYED: Yes, John, to your broader point, of course, if you know you're positive and you're going out, that's just, frankly, irresponsible and it's wrong.

Now, we've got to ask a bigger picture question, right? Why is it that in our society we systemically bias opportunities for fun over all of the other things that need to happen in society, like five-year-olds going to kindergarten? I worry a lot about exactly the point that you made, where you have college campuses that become hot zones for transmission. And then, all of a sudden, the colleges don't want to have to handle the problem that they helped to create. And then they send kids home, back into the random towns that they've come from and now they're seeding infections there. I think it's really, really important, as Alisyn talked about with her friend, it is now quarantining in a dorm on campus, that those quarantine situations happen on campus so that if and when students are released home, that at least they're armed with knowing their -- their status and -- after having done a quarantine to make sure that that Covid status is real and that it haven't been transmitted.

And -- but this is -- this is a situation that really is quickly becoming out of control and speaks to a lack of preparation on the front end. CAMEROTA: And, by the way, there's one more factor. It's not just your

dorm, if you're going to be quarantined in your dorm or if you're going to be sent home to infect your family, there's also the college town.

I mean, Frank, you know, some of these are small, rural or even urban college towns. And, again, these kids are going out. So you're also exposing, when you have this hotbed of possible positivity, they're also, before they know, maybe, that they're positive, unless they're irresponsible, they're going out into these towns and exposing everybody in that town to it as well.

BRUNI: Yes, it's a very dangerous situation. And one thing we haven't said that we should also say is, for a lot of these students, they kind of don't quite get it because they're seeing these numbers of people infected, but they're not seeing a lot of their friends actually seriously sick because of the age group they're in. So it's hard for them -- for some of them, I think, to see this as more than an abstraction (ph).

I think in retrospect, we're going to -- we're going to come to the conclusion that a lot of these campuses should not have welcomed kids back in the first place. They should have continued the remote learning. That was the way the spring semester ended. But they were in huge economic trouble and under huge economic pressure to get students back. They've lost a lot of money in student fees and athletic revenues. And I think they may have hurried in opening for business.


BERMAN: It's really remarkable, the stories that you tell just from your one friend. And just every -- it just seems that so many of the colleges are doing it. We're hearing this story time after time after time after time.

CAMEROTA: Guys, thank you very much for walking us through all of this and what the fall might look like.

Thank you.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So President Trump promised to unveil a health care plan. It was more than three weeks ago when he made this promise. He said it would be very soon. Where is it? That's next.

Developing this morning, four Houston police officers fired for fatality shooting an emotionally disturbed man who was on the ground, wounded, and incapacitated.

Warning, the body cam video that you're about to see is disturbing.

Officers firing 21 shots at 27-year-old Nicholas Chavez after he had already been Tased and shot.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down, man. Just relax. Talk to us!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You shot is engaging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can someone tell them to shut off their (EXPLETIVE DELETED) siren.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going hands on.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Just relax. Let us talk to him.

Calm down. Calm down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't do it, man. Don't (INAUDIBLE) --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He still has something in his hand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't -- don't do it.





CAMEROTA: Houston's police chief says that Chavez was armed with a medical object when he was initially shot, but that the barrage of gunfire was unreasonable. The police union is condemning the terminations. The officers are appealing the decision.

BERMAN: All right, new concern this morning about a possible delay in absentee ballots being mailed in the critical swing state of Wisconsin. The state's supreme court has ordered election officials not to mail ballots to voters until the court decides whether to add the Green Party to the ballot. The ruling comes one week ahead of the deadline for ballots to be mailed out. The 4-3 decision was split among party lines. All four conservative justices ruled in favor of pausing the process. Think about that. All four of basically the Republican judges. The conservative judges wanted the Green Party, the extreme left, to be on the ballot. Obviously, in Wisconsin, Jill Stein, in 2016, the thinking is, pulled a lot of votes from Hillary Clinton. So it is an interesting development, to say the least, and it adds confusion to the process at a time when there probably shouldn't be.

CAMEROTA: You're scrambling my brain.

BERMAN: I know.

CAMEROTA: I have to sit down.

Meanwhile, this morning, the stalemate over stimulus drags on. The Senate failed to advance a slimmed down relief bill on Thursday. Democrats and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul opposed the measure. Democrats called it inadequate because it did not include relief for state and local governments.

BERMAN: So, new this morning, President Trump has not released a new health care plan despite promising to do so, honestly, for years. Most recently, on July 19th, he told Chris Wallace that he would release a new health plan within two weeks. That was seven weeks ago.

CNN's Phil Mattingly takes a closer look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (March 24, 2017): I want to have a great health care bill and plan. And we will. It will happen.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been three years and President Donald Trump still doesn't have a comprehensive health care reform plan. He didn't when he said this in June 2019.

TRUMP (June 16, 2019): And we already have the concept of the plan. But we'll be announcing that in about two months. Maybe less.

MATTINGLY: When he promised this in July.

TRUMP (July 19, 2020): We're signing a health care plan within two weeks. A full and complete health care plan.

MATTINGLY: Or, most recently, when he pledged a plan by the end of August.

TRUMP: I do want to say that we're going to be introducing a tremendous health care plan sometime prior -- hopefully prior to the end of the month. It's just about completed now. MATTINGLY: It's now September, in the middle of a once-in-a-century

pandemic, with the death toll surpassing 190,000. And on Capitol Hill, Republicans say they've received zero indication any health care plan is coming. It's BS, and you know that, one GOP senator told CNN of Trump's health care plan this week.

Trump's empty health care promise now spans years, sparked by the GOP failure in 2017 to repeal and replace Obamacare, and exacerbated by the Trump administration's decision to sign on to a legal effort to strike the law down altogether, even without a clear replacement in the waiting, despite another Trump promise.

TRUMP: If a law is overturned, that's OK because the new law is going to have it in.

MATTINGLY: But surrounding Trump's bold if (ph) empty promises are two stark realities. First, Republicans simply haven't coalesced around a single proposal up to this point, including inside Trump's own White House, where sources say advisers have battled over ideas for years, and settled, instead, on unilateral actions. And, second, the politics of health care moved sharply against Republicans. Democrats in ad after ad after ad hammered Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, and, with it, its coverage of pre-existing conditions in 2018.

Republicans lost the House and Trump pledged to reverse the slide, promising the GOP would, quote, become the party of healthcare. Republican candidates have moved forcefully to rebut the attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John will always protect everyone with pre- existing conditions.

MATTINGLY: Framing the issue in the most personal of terms. But it remains a top election issue. One Democrats, polls say, continue to hold an advantage on. That, more than anything else, according to aides, is why Trump promised an executive order that he said would protect pre-existing conditions.

TRUMP (August 10, 2020): Pre-existing conditions will be taken care of, 100 percent, by Republicans and the Republican Party.



BERMAN: So that promised executive order, as of today, still has not been signed or released publically. By the way, pre-existing conditions are protected as part of Obamacare, which the Republican Party and the president has tried to overturn. We want to thank Phil Mattingly for that report.

And just the overall thing, we keep on pointing out is, July 19th, the president said two weeks.

CAMEROTA: That was a long time ago.

BERMAN: Yes, it was seven weeks ago. CAMEROTA: Yes, tick tock.

BERMAN: I'm not sure he meant it. That's -- I'm beginning -- I'm beginning -- I'm beginning to wonder whether or not he meant it.

CAMEROTA: Really, you're beginning to doubt that timeline? Well, let's ask --

BERMAN: I wonder if he says things sometimes.

CAMEROTA: That he doesn't mean?



BERMAN: All right, football. Actual football. Last night, the Super Bowl champs, they played and it was what happened before the game that was very powerful.

That's next.



CAMEROTA: Today is September 11th, and you are looking at live pictures of the Pentagon. This morning, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and New York City commemorate the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on this day 19 years ago.

President Trump was in New York during that terrible time and he has told stories about his experience, but his stories about those days often include conspiracy theories. They remain unproven.

CNN's John Avlon, who was working for Rudy Giuliani at that time, has a "Reality Check" about all of this.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Today marks 19 years since 9/11. And we see a president who likes to talk tough about radical Islamic terrorism, reportedly insulting the courage of the soldiers and generals who have been fighting the war on terror ever since.

So let's look back to see what Donald Trump was doing on 9/11, after the first responders ran into the fire.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 40 Wall Street actually was the second tallest building in downtown Manhattan. And now it's the tallest.

AVLON: Yes, he managed to use a tragic terrorist attack in real time to pump up the size of his skyscraper. Years later, Trump bragged about being on the rubble of Ground Zero. TRUMP: Everyone who helped clear the rubble, and I was there, and I

watched, and I helped a little bit, you didn't know what was going to come down on all of us.

AVLON: There's no record of Donald Trump being at the pile at Ground Zero, but maybe he's conflating himself with people who work for him. It's a common rich guy mistake.

But even that claim, that Trump paid hundreds of guys to search through the rubble after the attack, would have to be false, because the Ground Zero perimeter was restricted in the days after the attacks. I remember because I was working at city hall at the time.

Trump said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attacks. There's no evidence this happened. Trump said he'd donate $10,000 to the Twin Towers Fund. There's no record of that. There's actually no record of any 9/11-related donations from the alleged billionaire before he ran for president.

And with so many firefighter funerals held at St. Patrick's Cathedral, just four blocks from Trump Tower, there's also no record of Trump attending a service to pay his respects.

So if you're surprised by "The Atlantic's" reporting that President Trump said American soldier who died in wars are losers and suckers and didn't want to see disabled vets in his military parades, or that he denigrated dead marines buried in a World War I cemetery, or that he stood next to his former chief of staff, John Kelly, at the grave of his son, Robert Kelly, who died in Afghanistan, and said, I don't get it. What was in it for them?

Well, you're right to be outraged, but you haven't been paying attention, because this is a guy who has a long history of insulting military heroes, from John McCain to George H.W. Bush, to Admiral McCraven, to the gold star Khan family. This is a guy who dodged the draft during Vietnam, who calls his generals slang for female genitalia for standing by our allies while he negotiates with the Taliban, abandons the Kurds in Syria and puts 14,000 new troops in the Middle East.

Now, team Trump will deny it all, just like they desperately tried to denied Trump's comments caught on tape. But don't buy it for a second because all the evidence indicates that Donald Trump doesn't understand the spirit of sacrifice because it's never been about public service. It's always been about himself.

And that's your "Reality Check."


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to John Avlon.

One of the nation's top scientists calls these images of President Trump's rallies puzzling and disheartening. What are the president's supporters thinking about their risk there? They tell us, next.



BERMAN: We saw football last night. The NFL season actually began. A lot of people thought it wouldn't happen and we were already seeing differing paths on how teams plan to handle the beginning of the games and the national anthem.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report," live from Kansas City, where there was live football, Andy.


And in part of the new NFL social justice initiative, the league is playing both the black national anthem, which is the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and the normal national anthem before games during week one. And the Chiefs opted to stay on the field for both of those anthems while the Texans decided to stay back in the locker room. A Texas executive telling NBC that they didn't want to be seen as celebrating one while throwing shade at the other.

But the Chiefs all lining up together, standing at the goal line for that black national anthem and video tribute. Then, one player, defensive end Alex Okafor, kneeling during the national anthem with his fist raised in the air.

And once the Texans did eventually take the field, the teams gathered together at midfield for a moment of unity.

Now, you heard some boos on the broadcast. I was in the stadium. I didn't hear any of the fans booing in the area where I was sitting. And JJ Watt said after the game, he didn't understand why anyone would boo that moment.


JJ WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS DEFENSIVE END: The booing was unfortunate during that moment. I don't -- I don't fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved with that besides two teams coming together to show unity.

PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: We wanted to show that we -- we're unified as a league and we're not going to let playing football distract us from what we're doing and making change in this world.


SCHOLES: Now, as for the action on the field, Chiefs Coach Andy Reid battling a foggy face shield all game. And his team picking up right where they left off. They scored 31 unanswered points at one point. Patrick Mahomes, three touchdown passes. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, great in his debut, 138 yards to score.


Chiefs cruise to a 34-20 win over the Texans.

And, John, you know, this is the first game since the pandemic started. They had about 16,000 fans here.