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Trump Rails Against Foes with Dramatic Rant at National Archives; 200+ University of Wisconsin Students Test Positive Since Dorm Move in Began in August; Colleges Crack Down on Student Behavior as Virus Spreads; Joe Biden Town Hall. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 17, 2020 - 15:30   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's never going to happen. Two months ago the leftwing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And so, Brooke, you hear the President there, you know, throwing out some very incendiary statements. Talking about how people on the left want to tear down monuments and statues dedicated to our founding fathers and so on in this country. When that's just not a serious conversation, but the President is trying to prey on some of those sentiments that exist in his base to try to rev up his supporters for this reelection fight.

He was talking during this speech a few moments ago about how he's going to try to create a 1776 Commission to rival the 1619 Project, and how he wants to make sure that patriotic education is taught in our public schools. Obviously, people want their children to be patriotic, but there's a lot of dog whistling and a lot of using of the racial bull horn, I think, as well, in the Presidents remarks there -- Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Red meat indeed. We'll see if people fall for it. Jim Acosta, thank you for that update.

ACOSTA: You bet.

BALDWIN: Coming up, the PAC 12 is now the only holdout of the power five college conferences and has not yet resumed its football season this fall, but the PAC back just got a little easier. We'll explain.



BALDWIN: The University of Georgia doing an about-face just about a couple hours ago. Reversing its decision not to allow in-person voting on campus initially after critics pointed out hypocrisy of them taking away in-person voting locations all the while allowing thousands of fans to attend football games. The university tweeting out their new decision now saying the basketball arena can accommodate social distancing for in-person voting despite earlier saying they did not have sufficient indoor space to offer.

This is all happening here as colleges and universities continue to battle the worsening virus outbreak all on college campuses and as officials scramble to contain it, some student's behavior seems to be derailing their plans.

CNN's Omar Jimenez went to the University of Wisconsin and got a look inside the school's efforts to contain the virus.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2019, this would have been a typical college Saturday night. But in 2020, it's a nightmare for universities across the country, trying to gain control as coronavirus cases continue to increase on America's college campuses.

(on camera): This is where students here at the University of Wisconsin, Madison get taken when they test positive for COVID-19 to isolation housing. Nobody goes in. Nobody comes can out.

It's all part of the University's effort to try and get a handle on the outbreak here on campus where it took just five days to go from the first day of classes, to students restricted to essential activities only.

(voice-over): Since move-in started in Wisconsin in late August more than 2,000 students have tested positive for COVID-19.

KEIR METTER, FRESHMAN, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON: They sent me an email, pack your bags and be out of there as soon as possible.

JIMENEZ: Freshman Keir Metter is one of them.

(on camera): Why do you think it's so difficult to contain COVID-19 outbreaks on college campuses?

METTER: You could say like don't do this and don't do that, but it's very difficult to enforce all of that. But that's probably why they can't send everyone home. That's what I think because we're just going to spread it all across the country if we do.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Metter says he's had mild to no symptoms so far and he's been in isolation housing for days as he waits out his two- week period. In total, more than 350 students are in isolation at the University with another 100-plus quarantining. The rest of the undergraduate campus has been restricted to essential activities only. A move students say they only learned about last-minute rushing to grocery stores as cases continue to climb.

PETER GIRZADAS, FRESHMAN, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON: You're standing in the elevator with people that might have it. Of course, you have your mask on. And you're like, well, that does something but not 100 percent of, you know, everything.

JIMENEZ: Across his dorm and another, roughly 20 percent of the students have been infected, according to the school. Residents in those dorms have been told they can leave the building for 30 minutes, three times a day, to secure meals, and get a breath of fresh air.

CHANCELLOR REBECCA BLANK, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON: We're almost certainly going to see significant case numbers continue over this coming week. We're identifying people who test positive and moving them into isolation.

JIMENEZ: The school says they're investigating more than 380 student violations and reviewing 12 students for emergency suspension. A step that's been taken at other schools. The University of Missouri expelling two students for disregarding COVID rules. And at the University of Kansas, large gatherings like these leading to public health bans at off-campus residences, according to a statement given to the "University Daily Kansan." A concern at schools across country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, STUDENT: We're in the middle of a pandemic. And the fact people think it's OK to party right now is the biggest mistake.

JIMENEZ: It's all part of a reality some students say they assumed would come with back-to-school.

METTER: Obviously, I don't want to have COVID. But it seemed kind of inevitable.


JIMENEZ: And at least one student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison has now hospitalized as a result of complications from COVID- 19, and that campus' positivity rate for students tested is right around 8 percent.


And they're hope in trying to get that number down is that it will come from testing, which is now required for everyone in the dorms and for those living in fraternities and sororities and trying to limit that student interaction. It's why they're been restricted to their residences. Again, only to come out for essential activities and it's why they pushed all their classes to online at least for the time being -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: It's just stunning to see the pictures, you know, the video in the piece with the students and partying and of course what do they do? They take video of them doing of this. Omar Jimenez, thank you, so much for all of that.

Let's talk college football now. Pac 12 is inching closer to a fall season coming under enormous pressure to join the other power five conferences and reinstating its season. California and Oregon governors declared there are no state restrictions preventing teams from playing and President Trump certainly put his two cents in calling on the PAC 12 to get going. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Again I want to recommend PAC 12, you're the only one now. Open up. Open up, PAC 12. Get going.


BALDWIN: This all comes on the heels of a major reversal from the Big Ten. In just a few short weeks they went from claiming they couldn't safely play football to announcing an October kickoff.

So with me now, award-winning sports journalist and national columnist for "Sports Illustrated," Pat Forde.

So Pat, I mean it looks like all signs point to go, do you think the PAC 12 is going to play this fall?

PAT FORDE, AWARD-WINNING SPORTS JOURNALIST: They're certainly trying, you know, they're late to the game here obviously. And the funny thing is, Brooke, that they had the rapid testing agreement two weeks ago, and really didn't do anything with it, and then once the Big Ten seized the moment, they finally said, OK, we'll try to catch up here.

There's still some obstacles ahead. Specifically, county health ordinances in the Bay Area for Stanford in California, but having the governors kind of clear the decks for the state -- for most of the state of California and for Oregon is definitely a step forward. There's also the wildfire consideration there as well. Air quality.

How well will teams be able to practice?

BALDWIN: Yes, no, that's such a great point. And as you point out, you know, California and Oregon, let me just remind everyone, those are two Democratic governors. But then you have the President Trump factor. Right?

We know he made repeated calls to the heads of the Big Ten conference. He is now weighing in on the PAC 12. How much influence, Pat, do you think these having on this decision?

FORDE: I don't think President Trump is much of a factor at all on the West Coast. When Gavin Newsom is doing and Governor Brown in Oregon, I think is pretty much independent of any pressure from him.

The pressure is more coming internally from within the conferences to the conference leaders and it's interesting, because both governors basically said, well, if the PAC 12, it shows us something, we'll probably OK it. It's just the PAC 12 hadn't gotten around to doing that. But I don't think this is very politically motivated. Certainly not at the governor level in those states.

BALDWIN: Got you. How about, Pat, I want your reaction to the shocking quote from the LSU football coach. Take a listen to what he said about his players and COVID.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ED ORGERON, LSU FOOTBALL COACH: I think most of -- not all of our players but most of our players have caught it. So I think that hopefully they don't catch it again and hopefully they're out for games, you know.


BALDWIN: So that's not, you know, how it works. You can get coronavirus more than once. I mean, if that's how the coach at one of the country's biggest programs thinks this is how the virus works, are we in trouble?

FORDE: Yes, entirely. The more football mentality guides public health decisions, yes. The more trouble we are in here. So, you know, Ed Orgeron and he's not the only football coach with that idea that just thinks, oh, give us some herd mentality, we'll all be fine. That's a very dangerous outlook. That is not the way to approach this and you can't find any of the health experts on his campus who would say that's the way to approach this.

But the football mentality has kind of won the day, Brooke. I mean if look around at what's happened with conferences either reversing or considering reversing their plans, we've seen a number of games postponed or canceled. We've seen some big outbreaks and still football is pushing forward.

BALDWIN: We will continue to watch and see how it goes and if the PAC 12 really officially get the green light for now, Pat Forde, thank you.

FORDE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, Joe Biden's first primetime town hall since accepting the Democratic nomination is just hours away, right here on CNN. It will be like nothing you have ever seen before. We'll take you there. Next.



BALDWIN: Just moments ago former Vice President Joe Biden vowed he is not taking this election for granted telling Senate Democrats that he will visit critical swing states in the final weeks running up to election day.

The former Vice President's pledge coming in a phone call today just hours before he visits one of those states, Pennsylvania, for a Presidential Town Hall unlike any other.

And it all kicks off 8:00 tonight right here on CNN. And my colleague Arlette Saenz is live there near Biden's childhood hometown of Scranton. And

Arlette, give us a little preview, what are we going to be seeing?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke this going to be a completely different type of town hall than we've previously seen before. As you can see, I'm standing in the middle of a parking lot right now, but in just a few hours this will be transformed into a drive-in-style town hall as Joe Biden is set to participate In our CNN town hall this evening.


Now about 35 cars will be driving here into this parking lot carrying those voters who are going to ask Joe Biden questions. The cars will be coming into designated spots like what I'm standing in right now. You can see the different numbers for each of the spots that these cars will be in.

There are two microphones stands up front where the voters can ask their questions of Joe Biden. Those microphones positioned in a way that the voters don't have to touch them.

If a voter doesn't feel like they want to ask the question at the microphone, there will be a microphone brought over to them in their cars.

And then right behind me you will see those two chairs where Joe Biden and our moderator, Anderson Cooper, will be sitting a well distance away from each other as well as from those voters here.

Now everyone who is coming on site will have to answer a screening questionnaire along with having their temperatures taken. CNN complying with all the state and local regulations that are here in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So this is just the latest event that we are seeing transformed due to COVID-19 as we've seen so many campaign events adapted in the wake of the pandemic -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: A drive-in town hall. Got to get creative. 2020, I dig it. Arlette, thank you. And everyone make sure to watch this special event tonight 8:00 Eastern only here on CNN.

All week this week we've been bringing you inspiring stories of everyday people making big positive changes in the world. And so today in our "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" series we meet a plumber building the next generation of skilled trade workers. She runs a program that puts tools in the hands of girls as young as six with hopes that they will one day follow in her boot steps.


JUDALINE CASSIDY, FOUNDER TOOLS & TIARAS (voice-over): When I arrive at a plumbing job, most people do not believe I am the plumber. Being a woman in a male dominated space, especially being a black immigrant woman with an accent, sometimes people doubt what you are capable of. That's what I'm trying to change, that stereotype.

(on camera): So when I first started Tools & Tiaras in 2017, my goal was to give little girls the exposure to different careers in the trade. We have a free monthly workshop for women and girls. And then a free summer camp where girls can come and be exposed to all the awesome careers in the building trades.

TANZIRA RASHID, YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD, TOOLS & TIARAS: I just graduated high school. I'll be going off to college. And I'll be majoring in civil engineering. Coming from a first generation of Bengali immigrant parents, I was really pressured to either go into the medical field or become a lawyer. Because my parents sacrificed everything to come to the U.S. but then soon with Tools & Tiaras, I got exposed to the construction trades.

PENELOPE AMAYA, PARTICIPANT, TOOLS & TIARAS: Thank you, Tools & Tiaras. The high school that I am going to is focused on engineering mostly. If it was not for you in Tools & Tiaras, I would have not considered this this school. Tools & Tiaras showed me that women that can do anything.

CASSIDY: With all my love, Penelope, future architect/engineer.

And I still cried. Because sometimes I don't think I'm doing enough and I struggle and Penelope reminds me of what I'm doing is important.

Growing up in Trinidad Tobago because I didn't have a mother or father, I grew up not having any self confidence in myself. I didn't want any little girl to grow up feeling that way.

My great-grandmother, who was my caregiver, she passed away. And that left me without any financial means to attend university. The trades was a free option in Trinidad. So I decided to apply for the trade school.

Good morning, everyone.

Pre-COVID I traveled a lot as a speaker to really highlight the amazing work that the trade careers could bring to students. This year's virtual camp projects include plumbing, carpentry, electrical, stagehand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the bottom of your bird feeder.

CASSIDY: Our instructors are woman. We had to order different kits and ship it out in boxes to the girls.

Today's workshop was called Leaky Linda. The goal was to actually just give them a little glimpse into what plumbers do with fittings and pipe.

So at the end of the week for every Tools & Tiaras summer camp, we actually take the girls to a construction site like this. And we couldn't change it up, we had to bring them to a virtual construction site visit.

I'll show you the job site for right now.

My mission is to really just put tools in girls' hands and let them build the world that they so desire.

[15:55:00] And whatever you decide to do in life, just remember, you can do it because jobs don't have gender!


BALDWIN: I love that so much. Please tune in and watch Alisyn Camerota and John Berman this Saturday night, CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE, 10:00 Eastern only here on CNN.

Coming up next, President Trump is once again contradicting his own health officials on COVID.