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Top Vaccine Doctor Says He Was Removed From Federal Post After Questioning Drug Trump Touted; Trump On Top Vaccine Doctor Who Says He Was Sidelined: Maybe He Was "Pushed Out... Maybe He Wasn't"; Trump: "Too Soon" For Georgia To Reopen Friday. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 22, 2020 - 21:00   ET





RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Hialeah Gardens, Florida.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good groups doing food - food banks and food delivery.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, my friend. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome everybody to PRIME TIME.

I know there are a lot of political headlines, and we'll touch on them. But we can't let gotchas and the latest examples of Trump being Trump distract us from what is definitely the elephant in the room.

We are still not on the same page, states and the federal government, one plan obviously will be regional and subjective, but one mindset about how to open places safely.

Tonight, Governor Cuomo of New York. Now, he just met with the President yesterday, pushing for more testing to get on the same page.

He said they had a good meeting. The President said they had a good meeting. But why? Is the State ready now to reopen the way the President wants to? We're going to hear from the Governor. If not, then how is it a good meeting?

Together as ever as one can't just be words. It has to be intentions and actions that get us to a safer place. So, what do you say? Let's get after it.



C. CUOMO: Now look, you can't ignore the President trying to change the facts. We have to be facts first.

The President doesn't like that the Head of the CDC - and by the way, most experts in the area of Coronavirus and pandemic control, all say the same thing. The fall could be a real problem. Coronavirus is likely to return. It will likely be in combination with flu season. That's very difficult.

Now, why fight that fact? Why not just prepare for what could happen?

No, Trump decides to fight reality and deny that it will be anything like what we just experienced.

But that's not the measure whether it's like what we just lived through. If it's anything close to that, as has happened in the past with other viruses, it may put us right back in hiding with the same kinds of pressures, if we don't prepare.

So, the CDC Head comes up. The President had said that CNN lied about what he said. First of all, CNN didn't do the interview. The Washington Post did. And the Doctor then gets up there and confirms his statement was accurately written by The Washington Post.

Then Tony Fauci, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gets up there, and says, "Yes, likely second wave is a real probability that we have to deal with."

Now the question is what's going to happen to them. Are they going to suffer the fate of Dr. Rick Bright, the Head of BARDA, the agency that's working on a vaccine for the federal government? That's what Bright is doing working on the thing we all need most.

His problem? He's also been saying stuff that doesn't go with what the President's been saying, specifically the President's long-touted miracle cure, Hydroxychloroquine. And I know you're not hearing about it as much anymore.

But Dr. Bright says, he pushed back, and said, "I don't want Congress' money to be spent on this drug that doesn't have any research before on it. I want to spend it on things we know might be making a difference here."

Now he says he lost his job over it. Will there be others who have to sit - pay a price for telling the truth, all right?

Here's the Doctor's quote, Dr. Bright, "Sidelining me in the middle of this pandemic and placing politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk. Science must always trump politics."

President's response? Who?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I never heard of him. You just mentioned the name, I never heard of him. When did this happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This happened today.

TRUMP: Well I never heard of him. If the guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. I mean you'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is.


C. CUOMO: First of all, that's pretty scary, isn't it? The President doesn't know the lead person who's working on the vaccine at BARDA, the agency that's focusing on this, really?

And maybe he was pushed out of a job? That's - that's an equal concern, maybe he was, maybe he wasn't, after the reasoning that the Doctor gave? Is that something for the President to be ambivalent about like he wouldn't have some role in that, he wouldn't have some responsibility?

Also surprising, on a totally different level, because you got to be fair here, was the President all the sudden striking a different posture about a State reopening as quickly as possible, specifically Georgia.

The Governor there, a Republican, seems to want to be appeasing this President more than making common sense for his own State. The President says "Not so fast."


TRUMP: I told the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities, which are in violation of the Phase 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.


Is just too soon, I think it's too soon.


C. CUOMO: Good for him. Good for him. But very confusing for us, why?

Because if he thinks it's too soon, because Georgia isn't meeting the criteria for reopening, then why would he be pushing states that have told him many times "We can't reopen safely. We won't have the testing."

If he sees it in Georgia now, all the sudden, why is he pushing other states to "Liberate," telling people to "Liberate your State" when they could get the same analysis from him. They're not ready either. Why push them?

Let's bring in the Governor of New York to talk about this where he sees the state of play. He just met with the President.

It's good to have you, Mr. Governor, thank you for joining us.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Good to be with you, little brother.

C. CUOMO: Always a pleasure.

So help me with this, honestly. You go down there, you meet with the President. You come out. He says, "Good meeting." You say, "Good meeting." He's going to help you double testing, from 20,000 people in New York, a day, to 40,000.

Then, they say, "Oh good, so you're ready to reopen?" "Oh no, we're not ready to reopen. We have a lot longer to go." Then how is it a good meeting?

You keep talking to the federal government about what you need to reopen. You keep saying you have good meeting, so does he, and then you don't have what you need to reopen. How is this progress?

A. CUOMO: Yes, nice to be with you again. Glad you're feeling better. Glad Cristina's feeling better.

C. CUOMO: It is a common frustration, Governor.

A. CUOMO: Sorry to see you're still in the basement.

C. CUOMO: It's a common frustration.

A. CUOMO: I don't know how common it is. And I don't know that it's fact - your - your assertion is factually accurate.

I don't keep meeting with the federal government. I don't - I don't keep meeting with the President. We had one meeting, and it was a good meeting. It was a productive meeting.

The testing, we have been going back and forth on who's supposed to do what, on testing. The federal government starts by saying, "We don't do testing. It's up to the states." The states said "We need federal help," and we were getting nowhere.

So, I wanted to go. I wanted to sit down at the table, actually have the conversation, talk about testing, here are the different functions, and who's going to do what.

And the President's point that the states should take the lead on testing is right. I have 300 labs in my State, OK? I regulate those labs. They're basically private labs. But I regulate them. I should determine how many tests we need, where we can do them, et cetera.

But the labs have to get the supplies from these national manufacturing companies that they bought the machines from. And each machine has its own chemicals and its own testing kit et cetera.

Those national manufacturers say they can't get enough test kits, so my labs don't have the supplies. That is a job that the federal government should do.

We talked about Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, went to South Korea, and he got test kits.

But it's not right for governors to now worry about an international supply chain, right? We went through that with PPE. Let the federal government take that piece, and that's what we agreed to.

But testing is only one piece, Chris. You don't reopen just because you have testing. You reopen, first of all, when the numbers stabilize.

New York was still coming down the curve. But we are not down. And you're not going to reopen until that number is at a lower, lower point. And then you test to make sure you're still at that point, and calibrate where you are.

C. CUOMO: All right.

A. CUOMO: Understand?

C. CUOMO: One step sideways - yes. Yes. One step sideways, and then I want to go to when you reopen, what the - what the right measures. Just to be very clear, you met in person with--

A. CUOMO: Oh, you're stepping sideways.

C. CUOMO: Yes, lateral step, lateral move.


C. CUOMO: You met with the President. You have spoken to the President and his people, before now, about testing, yes?

A. CUOMO: That is a true statement.

C. CUOMO: So, that was not the first real meeting. You've talked plenty with the federal government about this.

You just kind of keep running circles around each other about having the conversation about who does it, and you saying the same things to them, them saying the same things back, and you still remain in a state of gradual movement, but not where you need to be.

Is that a fair assessment?

A. CUOMO: Well to say that I had phone conversations with them is not to say I met with them. You said I met with them a number of times.

C. CUOMO: That's semantics.

A. CUOMO: I didn't meet with them a number of times. I didn't have--

C. CUOMO: That's semantics. What is a phone call?

A. CUOMO: No, it was on facts. I did--

C. CUOMO: What's a phone call?

A. CUOMO: I did have phone calls. Those are phone calls. Those are conversations. They're not meetings. I had one meeting yesterday.

C. CUOMO: What's the difference?

A. CUOMO: And look, what we're trying to do - well one is a meeting, one is a call. What we're trying to do is never been done--

C. CUOMO: But that's semantics.

A. CUOMO: --before. OK.

C. CUOMO: True.


A. CUOMO: What we're trying to do is never been done before. New York State today does more tests than any state in the country.

New York State today does more tests per capita than any country on the globe, all right? So, we've been very aggressive and very good at ramping up this testing. We've done over 500,000 tests in a month, more than anyone else.

But 500,000 tests, as - as big as that is, sounds like a big number, not when you're talking about a population of 19 million, and a workforce of 9 million, 500,000 a month. That means a million in two months. It means 15 - 1.5 million in three months. It's not enough.

We want to double that rate of testing, which is already the highest in the country and the highest on the globe per capita. To do that, the federal government has to work to get that supply chain to the national manufacturers, so they can provide--

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --the equipment, the reagents to my labs.

Just to give you an idea of what the 40,000 tests are, that's every machine we have in the State of New York, running seven days a week, 24 hours a day. So, you can't have, a higher number of production capacity in the State than that.

C. CUOMO: And that's my point that listen, you definitely deserve your respect for doing as much as you can with your capacity. But you're not getting what you need to get your capacity where you need it to be.

I must have heard you say, on just this television show, let alone your press briefings, several times, "Hey man, federal government's got to figure out how to get more of this done. They should be talking to the manufacturers."

New York can't make it. You don't have the cash to front these companies. States don't have that kind of budget, even big New York, even big California, they can't afford it. The federal government would have to do it. You keep saying it. Nothing happens. One company, they tell us, is making swabs in the United States of

America, the home of Rosie the Riveter, made B-24s during World War II, now we can't make cotton swabs. Why?

A. CUOMO: Yes, look, I don't want to argue that point with you because you're right. One of the lessons we learned here, from the get-go, by the way, whether it was gowns, masks, gloves--

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --ventilators, why does it all come back to China? Why is everything made in China? I mean it was just bizarre when you think about it. And now, we're getting into the second phase--

C. CUOMO: That's what Trump said, by the way, during the campaign.

A. CUOMO: --when the testing kits--

C. CUOMO: That's what Make America Great Again was all about.

Remember him saying during the campaign, "It's all got to come back from China," and then they chased him about his ties, and where his stuff was made, and he was like "Yes, that's because the trade deals stink. I'm going to change all of it."

This is a beautiful opportunity. He hasn't done any of that.

A. CUOMO: Well we have to do that. And look, that was a wake-up call for everyone.

I understand how the International economy works and why manufacturing left, especially a product like a mask or a gown or a glove. But there's now a national security issue. You have to be able to get this material.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: And that - that's one of the lessons. We have to make all of that here, so we control the supply chain.

We're now learning it on this testing side, where you're trying to go 50 times your current testing capacity, right, and all of a sudden, reagents and chemicals and - and whether China will release them or not becomes relevant.

But just so we're clear, before you get to testing, the number of cases and hospitalizations has to come down, because--

C. CUOMO: Yes.

A. CUOMO: --we are only on the downside of the curve. It's not low enough to even talk about reopening. And then, if any of these theories are true that you could see a low ebb in the summer, but a rise-up in the fall, I mean that's, you know--

C. CUOMO: Yes. A. CUOMO: --you know, it just changes your whole calculus, right?

C. CUOMO: But do you think that's a speculation like a "Maybe," a "Possibly," or are your projections and your experts telling you, by the way, from the federal level also, "You better get ready for that because it's coming?"

A. CUOMO: Well look, I don't think the CDC gets up, and says, "We have to worry about the fall." I don't think Dr. Fauci gets up, and says, "We have to worry about the fall." I don't think Dr. Birx gets up, and says, "We have to worry about the fall," unless we have to worry about the fall, right?

The President is - wants to be optimistic, wants to be positive, he wants to see those markets come back.

But, you know, you listen to the medical experts, who are just giving you facts. They're all saying it could come back in the fall. They all are saying it could be coincident with the flu, which is a real problem because that now--

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --all the testing capacity we're developing, we're putting all that testing to COVID, right? The testing was normally HIV tests, large number, about 2.4 million, and the flu.

If you have the testing machines doing COVID, do you have enough machines to do COVID and flu, come the fall? And that's - that's another problem we're going to have to deal with.


C. CUOMO: Right. And that's what the CDC Head was talking about in refining context again today that we didn't have to deal with the flu in earnest this time around in this later, you know, the spring season, where flu starts to abate. Next time, we may not be so lucky, and that obviously creates new complications.

All right, let's take a break on the tease of this notion. You dealt with some interesting and significant pushback today on the idea of whether the solution, the cure, is worse than the virus itself because of the economic impact.

What the Governor's counterargument is to the people who are saying "It's been too long already, you're killing me by keeping me home," right after this.








C. CUOMO: Back now with the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.


Good to see you, big brother. So today, you said something that is making a lot of headlines. You said, "This is no time to act stupidly. More people will die if we are not smart."

The response to that is "But this has been too much for too long. You are killing me by keeping me home because I can't work. I'm burning through my cash. The relief checks aren't enough, and it's time to take some risk, because the cure is worse than the virus."


A. CUOMO: Yes, yes. I've seen the signs myself.

The cure is worse than the disease. Yes, except it's not, right? Here, the disease can kill you. So, the cure is not worse than the disease because the disease can kill you, and there is nothing worse than death.

Look, I get the frustration that people feel. They don't have a paycheck. The bills still keep coming, right? It turns out that the Bill Collector is an essential worker, so those bills keep coming.

You don't have a paycheck. That's real stress. You don't even know if you have a job. You don't even know if your business is going to return. You're in the house, which sounds very romantic with the family. That lasts for about seven days, right? And then, everybody's stressed, cabin fever.

So, I get the frustration, the anxiety. Everybody's feeling it. I feel it personally. I feel it as Governor. But what is the flip side? The flip side is, "OK, so I want to go out. I want to do what I want to do."

And we have 15,000 people who have died already in this State. The only way we brought down the virus spread was by doing what we're doing. And I just want to abort that because I think I have pressure, and I have to get out of the house.

Yes, but the flip side is you could infect yourself, OK, do what you want with your own life.

C. CUOMO: True.

A. CUOMO: You could infect someone else. And you could kill someone, literally kill someone. So, the cure is not worse than the disease because the disease can kill you. And that's what people have to remember. And, you know, freedom, freedom. C. CUOMO: But they don't - but you do have a lot of people--

A. CUOMO: Freedom--

C. CUOMO: No. I get - I don't want to give you the freedom point because I don't buy that - the "You're - you're hurting my freedoms. We need to liberate." I don't know that why the President's saying that.

I'm not going to hold you accountable for what the President says. I just hope you don't ever say that "Go liberate your own region" or something like that.


C. CUOMO: It sounds like insurrection.

But here's their argument. "Yes, there is a chance I could die. There's a chance I could kill somebody else. But it is so small. And it is more than likely that I'm going to get crushed economically.

I burned through my savings. It's going to kill my business. I can't take it anymore. So, death of the business, economic death is much more likely than real death, so lighten up, Governor."

A. CUOMO: Yes, except real death is real, right? Economic death is not death. It's economics. Real death is real death. You're dead. I'm dead. Somebody else is dead. They don't come back up. There is no Lazarus here.

The economy, we can figure out, right? We have federal legislation. We have state legislation. We can figure out the economy. Look, the old Italians used to say, "As long as you have your health, everything else is second," and that's true.

So, death is still the ultimate problem in life that we can't fix. Anything else we can fix.

C. CUOMO: But you do see the mission creep, don't you? I mean the different states, the timing. Yes, the President was banging on those governors in the Red states. It was effective.

I thought it was really interesting what he said about Georgia that he said they're doing it too quickly. That's so out of sorts for him. He's been saying exactly the opposite, as we just - I just mentioned.

A. CUOMO: Well.

C. CUOMO: He's telling people to liberate their states.

But you see state after state is planning to find a way to reopen. How long can you forbear the political pressure of people saying "Guv, this is hurting us. This is hurting us that the cases aren't where you want them to be. But they're a hell of a lot better than they were three weeks ago, man."

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: "Don't let perfection be the problem with progress."

A. CUOMO: Look, yes, Georgia put the President in a box. And I think the President was right, frankly.

Georgia violated the CDC guidelines, right? They have theoretical CDC guidelines. Georgia violated the CDC guidelines. How can you do these activities and still socially distance?

How can you run a tattoo parlor and socially distance, right? You have to be six feet away. That's a long tattoo needle, and you need really good aim to do that tattoo, you know.

So, you really can't do those jobs and socially distance. So, I think Georgia put everyone in a box.


But I'm not going to make this decision on politics or political pressure. I've been through a lot of political pressure. And I'm not going to make a bad decision because of political pressure.

And I'm getting a lot of the local officials who feel the pressure more than I do, frankly, one way or the other. But I - I say to them, because I talk to them all day long, I said, "Look, the truth helps you here. The State law governs."

So, even if a locality does something that contradicts the State law, the locals' action--

C. CUOMO: They could put--

A. CUOMO: --is void.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: It's void. So, I say, "Look, tell the truth."

C. CUOMO: So, they can put - so they can put it on you.

A. CUOMO: Which is it's--

C. CUOMO: Yes.

A. CUOMO: --is not up to you and - and blame me. And I don't have a problem with that. And I'm not going to cave--

C. CUOMO: All right.

A. CUOMO: --to the political pressure, and see people die. I'm not going to do that.

C. CUOMO: You're making a neat argument also though, which is interesting on the federal level.

You, and Larry Hogan, again, the Governor of Mayor - the Governor of Maryland, he's the Head of the National Governors Association.

You guys wrote a letter, you're the Vice Chair there, saying "You are not giving any money to the governments, you know. You're giving it to programs. You're giving it to specific things. That's good. But you're not giving it to us, so we can't deal with our operating deficits."

Mitch McConnell says, "Hey, go broke then if you don't know how to run your government. I'm not giving you a bailout. You're not getting more federal money. State governments, local governments, go bankrupt then."

What do you think of that?

A. CUOMO: Yes. It's one of the dumb statements of all time. Mitch McConnell, they're talking about bringing back the economy. And then, he says, "States should declare bankruptcy."

How does that help the national economy, states should be - should declare bankruptcy? He then says this is a bailout to the Blue States, which was a really offensive statement.

What he's saying is the Blue States are the states that have the Coronavirus problem. Why? Because the Coronavirus problem is basically a function of density, and urban areas have more density, and those are cities, and cities are Blue. They're Democrats. So, why should he bailout the Blue areas? I mean, it really is offensive.

You talk about one issue where you - you think you can get past partisanship, and pettiness, and now you - you talk about helping communities, where people are dying, and you say they are Blue States?

No, the Coronavirus attacks Republicans, and it attacks Democrats. It doesn't ask someone, "Are you a Republican or are you a Democrat?"

And normally, in emergencies, Chris, it's the one time where you saw the federal government put the politics aside. A State had a hurricane, a State had a flood, they got federal funding.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: Because you didn't play politics with that. McConnell is the exact opposite. And that's why I said all along, they should have insisted that the state funding be in this bill.

And when they signed this bill, they passed this bill, which is small business, they took care of Airlines, they took care of all these industries, which is fine--

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --you don't do state governments? And if you don't do state and local governments, by the way, that's police, that's fire, that's teachers, that's schools, you're not going to fund those areas.

And you're not going to fund the states, which are the governors who are doing all the reopening. I mean it's - it's so-- C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --politically repugnant. How am I supposed to reopen if you want me to declare bankruptcy? I mean it makes no sense on any level.

C. CUOMO: Right. And if you guys--

A. CUOMO: And the state funding should have been in here. And the Democrats are to blame for that also, Chris.

C. CUOMO: Right, in Congress, because they're not - you've been talking about how you've been talking to your own constituency down there. They've got to fight for the states to get the money.

And we're not hearing them pipe up either, the big voices in the Democratic Party in Congress, saying that the states should get the money, so good for you, for blaming both of them because neither one's putting the money in your pocket that you say you need.

Let me ask you something else while we're in transparency mode.

A. CUOMO: Hold on a second. Hold on. Hold on.

C. CUOMO: So, I grew up with--

A. CUOMO: It's not my pocket. It's not my pocket.

C. CUOMO: Oh, yes, I know.

A. CUOMO: It's police, fire, teachers, schools, right?

C. CUOMO: Well yes. I get--

A. CUOMO: Yes, OK.

C. CUOMO: Yes, it's not you personally, no.

A. CUOMO: Yes, go ahead.

C. CUOMO: Because God forbid you have money to buy gas or something like that--

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: --whenever we're out on the boat. I know.

A. CUOMO: Yes, well, God forbid.

C. CUOMO: You don't get any money. It doesn't go to your personal aid, I get it.

A. CUOMO: Yes. You're the--

C. CUOMO: Yes--

A. CUOMO: --you're the one who sews his pockets closed, and you want to talk about me?

C. CUOMO: Listen, you'll fight over anything but a check. You're tight as two coats of paint. Everybody says it. You always say your hands are too big to reach--

A. CUOMO: Oh, please.

C. CUOMO: --into your pocket.

A. CUOMO: Yes, OK, OK.

C. CUOMO: That's the word on the street.

A. CUOMO: Let's compare paychecks.

C. CUOMO: Let me ask you this.


C. CUOMO: So, I grew - you don't want to do that.

The - listen, the - I grew up with a guy, who, when someone showed up to the house, a suitor, to spend time with any of my sisters, would fly out of bushes like a puma, chase them back into cars, and literally come to the door, and say, "Turn around and walk away while you can."


Now, in contrast, I see a man on television, the other day, saying "We always like the boyfriend. The boyfriend is always a good thing. We embrace the boyfriend."

When did you get this epiphany? And why didn't you pass it along to me instead of having me go the shotgun and a shovel route with Bella, which creates nothing but agita in my house?

A. CUOMO: Yes. Yes that--

C. CUOMO: Mr. Sensitive?

A. CUOMO: --that plan, doesn't work. Plan B, Plan B. Plan B - Plan B is you say you like the boyfriend.

See, if you say you don't like the boyfriend, there's some weird reverse psychology, where now they have to prove you wrong, so they like the boyfriend more. So, the only answer is "I like the boyfriend."

And, by the way, I like the boyfriend. The dog does not like the boyfriend. I don't know what the dog senses that I haven't. But the dog doesn't like the boyfriend. But I like the boyfriend.

But you can't say anything other than you like the boyfriend. Otherwise, they do the exact opposite of what you say. I've learned it the hard work. But I got it now. C. CUOMO: How did you get so--

A. CUOMO: I pass it on to you, my brother.

C. CUOMO: How did you get so warm? How did you get so warm and cuddly all the sudden? You have become a real feely guy, you know that? You've become very sensitive.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: Very emotive, as Pop used to say, you like to emote all of the sudden. What has softened you up, Guv?

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: I'd like to know because I don't remember you this way.

A. CUOMO: Yes. Well I'm not that--

C. CUOMO: Maybe it's the Coronavirus.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: But I don't remember you this way. So, what happened?

A. CUOMO: Yes, it's your memory, it's your memory. I think the Coronavirus has perverted your memory. Not only did you come out frail, but your memory has suffered.

Maybe when you get out of the basement, when Cristina lets you out of the basement, your memory will come back, and the essence of you will come back.

C. CUOMO: I am out of the basement. This is where the shot is set up. Now, the concern is, you know, as with all families, as with all families, as Andrew will quickly tell you, the virus works its way through the family.

It was me. Then it was Cristina. Now, Mario has the same symptoms she had. He's got the - the Coronavirus now. It's working its way through. They're doing fine.

Thank you for your concern, Andrew, you were always first and foremost. Thanks for caring about my family, and about me, and thank you for fighting for the people in your State.

A. CUOMO: Pleasure.

C. CUOMO: I appreciate it.

A. CUOMO: Thanks.

C. CUOMO: All right?

A. CUOMO: He's going to be OK.

C. CUOMO: Thank you very much.

A. CUOMO: Yes, Sir.

C. CUOMO: Appreciate it, Doctor. Dr. Sensitivo.

A. CUOMO: Thank you.

C. CUOMO: That's what they call him now, Dr. Sensitivo. All right, so--

A. CUOMO: That's me. Don't forget it.

C. CUOMO: All right, will you please? When I get the last word, the interview is supposed to be over. Why do you let him keep talking? Then--

A. CUOMO: No. You can't get the last word.

C. CUOMO: He's still talking.

A. CUOMO: I want the last word. I'm governing and you're not. That--

C. CUOMO: OK. All right, is he gone now? Dr. Sensitivo, there you go. All right, good, kill the mic. Took three times, it's amazing, the pull he has over my own team.

All right, so why was the doctor in charge of a government agency, working on a COVID vaccine, and then suddenly dismissed from his post? We're going to come back with a former top U.S. health official.

Forget about the back-and-forth about why it happened. What it means, what he was working on, how vital it is, next.









C. CUOMO: All right, here's the question. What do we need most to get past Coronavirus? Answer.




C. CUOMO: All right? Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most credible people in the country, but common sense tells you the same thing, right? We need the prophylactic. We need the vaccine.

So, the question becomes who would push out the guy in charge of finding the vaccine now of all moments?

Let's bring in Andy Slavitt. He knows the intersection of healthcare and politics better than almost anyone.

Andy, good to see you. Hope you're healthy.


And I'm glad you're back in the chair. I think I told you before. Whether you're in the basement or anywhere else, America needs you in that chair, to feel normal, so thanks for being back.

C. CUOMO: Well if it my extreme abnormality makes everybody feel a little bit more comfortable about their baseline, then it's all been worth it.

Let me ask you something, political intrigue aside, OK, just the timing, tell me about BARDA, this agency, and how important it is, and how if this is the guy, Dr. Bright, who was working on the vaccine, how much does that make him the man?

Are there like 10 agencies working on a vaccine? You know, is this not that big a deal? Is the agency kind of secondary? Or is he a main player?

SLAVITT: I think this is like the Patriots being down two touchdowns in the fourth quarter at an elimination game, and decided to pull Tom Brady.

Dr. Bright's a guy that's been working for this moment his entire career. He's the guy who turns out the influenza vaccines. He's a guy who's been studying infectious diseases and vaccines for his entire life, his entire career.

I can't tell you whether he's the best in the government, or the second, or the third, or the fourth, doesn't matter. I don't understand why you'd pull him off the field right now, when you need every capable mind?

And this is something that this guy has been preparing for this moment forever. And I don't understand why we pulled him off the field. We've got to change that.

C. CUOMO: Well you do understand, of course, because that's what happens when you contradict Trump. Now, of course, the President said, "I don't know the guy," which I

don't know what's scarier, by the way, him owning, "Yes, I don't like what he said about Hydrochloroquine, so I got rid of him," or him saying, "I don't know who the guy is," who's one of the main people working on a vaccine.

I don't know what should be more troubling to the audience. They can decide.

But in terms of what this means now, so getting a vaccine they say takes a year or a year and a half. What does it do to the process, if you lose someone at the head of it?


You're saying that Tom Brady, I guess, now of the Buccaneers, what it would mean to take him out of the mix. How does it slow us down?

SLAVITT: Look, I mean, let me start with this. The guy you had on before me, I think said pretty much the words. "You want to criticize me, criticize me. I'm going to do the right thing."

If there was only one thing we could all wish for, it was that the President would take that attitude, so that people could argue about, and get to the best answer.

Look, we've got - we've got dozens and dozens of vaccine trials. We've got lots and lots of possibilities. And I think it's too early for us to be predicting what we - what's going to happen with a vaccine.

You know, in today's day and age, whatever you want to believe, you can confirm on the internet. If you want to believe that we're six--

C. CUOMO: Yes.

SLAVITT: --months away, you can find articles to support that. If you want to believe that we're four years away, you can find articles to support that. If you want to believe we're 18 months away, we just don't know, and that's why we actually need the really smart people.

And BARDA is the agency that is focused on response to infectious outbreaks. That's all they do. They literally wait around for this moment, the agency that he's run. And so, this is what they do. They figure it out. And because we don't know, we want our smartest people to figure it out.

C. CUOMO: Here's the other thing I wanted to discuss from your perspective. You match - mentioned Captain Sensitive a second ago, my big brother. So, he says that he had a great meeting at the White House.

Now, by the way, I won't put this on your lap. But phone calls count in terms of meetings, OK?

They've talked a lot, the White House, the federal government, and the State of New York. Everybody knows it. The Governor says it all the time. They all count, all right, so it's not just one meeting.

But they keep winding up in the same place, I think, Andy. The idea of "Are we on the same page? Do we have a plan?" They say they have good meetings. They say they have progress.

But they don't have a plan. They're not on the same page. They don't know how to get the PPE. They don't know how to get the testing that they need scaled up for these tests to open. So, how is this progress?

SLAVITT: Well look, and first of all, he can't say anything else because I think he knows enough.

I mean he's got EQ in addition to IQ, to know that you - you have to - there's no - there's no benefit, there's no margin, in insulting the President. There's all kinds of margin in - in praising the President.

You know, secondly, you know, I do think if we're, you know, we're - he's trying to be non-partisan about this. I think, on his good days, you know, Trump wants to support. You know, he doesn't want people to die. I think, you know, I don't believe that the President wants people to die.

But if things get in the way of the way he looks, that's when things get crossed up. So, the governors are having to play, I think, a pretty a veiled game of how to do this, how to do the right thing without being critical.

I worked for President Obama. I don't recall people being afraid to be critical of President Obama for - for almost anything. And, you know, that - that - be that as it may, whether it was good or bad, it allowed us to fundamentally understand what was going on, what was wrong, what was right--

C. CUOMO: Right.

SLAVITT: --and work. No President ever feels it's fair. But, in this particular case, it's so fragile that it's very hard for a State to get through this without constantly going back for more.

C. CUOMO: Right. Look, I mean we've certainly seen that, Andy, and that is the right perspective. And I know you get that because you were doing that job on the federal level and working with the states.

And I can hear the President's supporters, right now saying, after they heard you say that, Andy, about "You don't remember Obama, people being afraid," "Yes, it's because he was weak, and Trump is strong."

Well let's see where that strength gets us because we have obvious needs that everybody knows about. And reopening without getting testing and treatment and tracing of people right will be a big problem. So, let's see where the strength gets us or perceived strength.

Andy Slavitt, you are strong for sure. Thank you for joining me.

SLAVITT: Thank you, Chris. C. CUOMO: All right, now, if you look at the President's message, consistently he's saying, "Reopen." "We got to reopen." The states that are slow on it, in his estimation, he tells the people, "You must liberate your State."

So, it is surprising that the President kind of turned 180 tonight, and said, but what Georgia is doing with a Republican Governor that's trying to impress him apparently, that's too much too soon.

What is a Mayor in Georgia going to make of this, 48 hours less than that away from the big day of Georgia reopening, next.









C. CUOMO: I call it the shocker of the day.

The same President who was telling people to liberate states that are closed, which is just dead wrong, actually spoke the truth that Georgia may be doing too much, too soon, which is really speaking truth about a situation the way we haven't heard him done before.

Now, how does this play in Georgia? Lori Henry is the Mayor of Roswell, Georgia. She supports now Governor Brian Kemp, did so in his 2018 campaign, and she joins us now on PRIME TIME.

Mayor, thank you.

MAYOR LORI HENRY, ROSWELL, GEORGIA: Thank you for having me.

C. CUOMO: No, it's great to have you. I wish you well down there. I hope things go well when you guys reopen. But let me put you in a very enviable position.

What do you say to the President of the United States? He says, "You guys are doing too much too soon," and he is saying this because he's afraid of people losing their lives. Your response?

HENRY: I agree.

C. CUOMO: You agree?

HENRY: Yes. C. CUOMO: You think you're doing too much too soon?

HENRY: Yes, I do.

C. CUOMO: Now, how do you square that with--


C. CUOMO: --supporting the Governor?


HENRY: My number one priority, as the Mayor of Roswell, Georgia, is health, safety, and welfare of our citizens.

I think this is too early. I think it's too soon. I understand that we have two very important issues here with this pandemic. One is health. The other one is the economy.

And I, as a Mayor of Roswell, cannot turn my back on the health issues. I realize the economy issues are very important. And the gravity of those are - it's very strong.

However, I can't sleep at night, unless I know that I'm doing everything to protect the health, safety, and welfare of my citizens. And that is my intention.

So, I have to live with the Governor's orders. I have been supportive of the Governor. My Executive Orders, here in Roswell, have been in line with his. I have supported them. But, at this point in time, he has not given me a choice. We have to - we cannot be more stringent or less strict than his orders.

So, what we are doing is we are strongly encouraging people to stay safe, healthy, and take care of themselves, and their families. That's what we need to do here. And that is my message.

C. CUOMO: Understood. Did you reach out to the Governor and tell him that you think he's making a mistake?

HENRY: I have not reached out to the Governor.

And frankly, what I have been doing right now is reacting to the Governor's Executive Orders. We have one that deals with several of the businesses that he's opened. We've got another one we're anticipating that will be coming that deals with restaurants.

And what we're doing, as a City, our staff, as well as I am, looking at everything that he's requiring, how do we deal with that, how do we pivot with that information, and how do we convey that to our citizens, and our businesses, because frankly, you know, our businesses are in trouble. And, you know--

C. CUOMO: Right.

HENRY: --our citizens are in trouble. So, it's - it's really - and I - and I would like to say, in defense of the Governor, that, you know, this is a very, very difficult time, and these are difficult decisions.

And I am counting on the fact that the Governor and the President have an Ace team of people that are advising them. And I don't have that luxury here in Roswell, Georgia.

C. CUOMO: Right. But--

HENRY: We're a city of about a 100,000 people.

C. CUOMO: How - how confident. It's interesting. First of all, people should know about you, Mayor that you are a business person. And you know what--


C. CUOMO: --running a small business is about, and that was a catalyst for you getting in the public service, so you understand business better than a lot of politicians, frankly.

Now, the confidence of the team, where does the confidence come from?

I mean, your Governor, I know you support him, but on April 1st, no irony, he said, "Hey, I just learned that you can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus." Really? My 10-year-old has known that for two months.

And now, he wants you to reopen, even though - even by the President's own reckoning, and he's very aggressive when it comes to reopening, right, you don't meet the criteria of the CDC.


C. CUOMO: So, why do you have good confidence that he's getting good advice, when he's not meeting the standard the CDC set out, and he has not shown great acumen about Coronavirus?

HENRY: I can only hope that he is getting - getting good advice, advice that I am not privy to.

And, you know, I will tell you that, at a local level, we have to deal with his orders, and we will deal with them, and we will support them because by law we have to do that.

However, I will also say to you that my message to the citizens of Roswell, and our business owners, is be careful, be safe, shelter in place, and don't let this happen too quickly.

The Governor's order does not require that businesses open. They do - it does not require that citizens attend or go to those businesses.

And my only hope is that through our message here in the City of Roswell is that we can convince our citizens and our businesses to be safe and be cautious and open at a slower pace. And - and that is what I am fighting for. C. CUOMO: Well, it - it can be amazing what the President's voice can do, especially in-Party. It will be interesting to see if the Governor reconsiders any aspect of it in the next 40 or so hours.

Mayor Lori Henry, I wish you good luck, and good health, going forward. We are here to get out information about what matters in your community and those surrounding it always.

HENRY: Thank you so much, Chris. And we support you as well.

C. CUOMO: Thank you. Be well, Mayor.


All right, New York City, fight rages on. And one of the things, I love to remind you guys, is how everyday people are stepping up, and recognizing the sacrifice of our army of warriors, on the frontlines, in the hospitals. Watch.




C. CUOMO: Listen to that. I love how this City comes alive for those people. I love gratitude in our attitude.

And let's take it to the opposite Coast, an Ameri-CAN story for you, serving up a giant jolt of thanks. I got that for you, next.








C. CUOMO: All right, tonight's Ameri-CAN is out of San Francisco.

Ben Ramirez turned his kitchen window into a free coffee stand. He offers free coffee to healthcare heroes and other essential workers. His 5-year-old son suggested using his toy gorilla arm to hand over the cups, while keeping six feet away.