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Cuomo Prime Time
U.S. Averaging More Than 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths a Day; Trump Downplays Increasing Number of U.S. COVID-19 Deaths; Gym Owner's Pushback Against NJ COVID-19 Restrictions; Trump Compares His Record to Teddy Roosevelt, LBJ & Lincoln. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 04, 2020 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: alive, not a hoax, not disappearing, a pandemic, that we are handling worse than too many other places, because it is what it is and more importantly, he is who he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are continuing to monitor, and monitor particular hotspots across the South, Southwest and the West, and we're seeing indications that our strong mitigation efforts are working very well actually. The recent rise in cases has not been accompanied by a significant increase in deaths.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He is tied to the script, because he has no independent grasp other than what people are telling him. Now, the shame goes to the people who are writing these messages for him to read to you that they know are deceptive. They are not doing everything they can do to fight this pandemic.
I thought the carnage was supposed to stop with this administration, more crime, according to him now, tougher economy, according to him now, and a pandemic that was not of Trump's making. But it's certainly out of control. Because of Trump's inaction. The daily average of deaths has roughly doubled, when other countries have seen it reduce.
500 plus additional deaths a day, and the President says that's insignificant. He won't say when all Americans will have access to the rapid COVID test, because he doesn't know and it's not his focus. We are looking at that very strongly. How do you look at something strongly? Hmm. They're doing nothing.
Why does the U.K. have 90-minute test turnaround and capability, and we don't? We are the richest country in the world with the greatest resources. That was his pitch. MAGA was about manufacturing at its best. I would argue that it was a dog whistle to a culture war that he wants to fight about us versus them, including race and religion, which it certainly was early on, and it has every chance he gets a chance to make it that. But at its best, it was about bringing back manufacturing. Isn't this the perfect time to kick start companies? What's worse than that inaction, his insane pushing of states to send our kids to schools that he knows are not safe. His kids not going back to school like that. I guarantee you. That is what it is too.
It is unsafe to send kids to places that can't space, can't trace cases they get and can't even test in time. Did you hear that a second grader just tested positive after attending classes on the first day of school? His or her classmates and teacher now quarantining for 14 days?
How many of us, including my family - I'm going through this just like you. How many of us are going to have to decide to keep our kids out of school? And then what? Who's going to help with a cost for so many of you not being able to work? What's it going to do to our kids?
How is it not going to result in imbalances in places where people have money and they're able to put together these pods - you're hearing about pods? Families getting together? Grouping, who's excluded who's got the money to pay for extra teachers, because the schools can't do the work in America?
This is the time for government to work for us. This is why we have a federal government. So we must keep pressing for it to do what it can. And that means we can only spend so much time complaining about the status quo, because we only know what we show. What can we do?
Let's turn to a very valuable mind. OK? Former White House Ebola Response Coordinator, of course in the Obama administration, Ron Klain, not just theory, practice, they had to do this. Thank you for joining the show again tonight.
Let's start off with the President's great defense to what is being done. He says we test more than anyone else in the world. India's got almost a billion and a half, they don't test as much as we have. Is that the correct answer and proof of purpose of this administration?
RON KLAIN, FORMER EBOLA CZAR UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it may be proof of a lack of purpose of the administration, Chris, the fact that we're six months in this and still really don't have a plan at all.
The U.S. is about middle of the pack in terms of per capita testing. We're pretty low in terms of per capita testing among well developed and wealthy nations. I think, the fact that the President wants to compare America's healthcare system to India, I don't think that's really a comparison most Americans want to abide, want to live with.
The bottom line is, we have people in this country contracting COVID at record rates, dying at record rates. We're losing Americans here, right now, at about the same pace we're losing Americans at World War II. We certainly didn't hear FDR tell people just it is what it is.
CUOMO: Well, listen to the president here, talking about why the numbers work in favor of the argument that he's doing a good job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to look at some of these charts.
JONATHAN SWAN, REPORTER, AXIOS: I would love to.
TRUMP: We're going to look--
SWAN: Let's look.
TRUMP: And if you look at death per--
SWAN: It's starting to go up again.
TRUMP: Here's one. Well, right here, United States is lowest in numerous categories - we're lower than the world -
SWAN: Lower than the world. Lower than the world? What does that mean?
TRUMP: We're lower than Europe -
SWAN: In what? In what?
TRUMP: Take a look. Right here, here's 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 - you can't do that.
SWAN: Why can't I do that?
TRUMP: You have to go by - you have to go by where - look, here is the United States. You have to go by the cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, let's help people understand this. OK. Here's my simple explanation and then you get into it from a policy perspective, the reality of this. So the interviewer is saying, as a percent of population, we have too many people dying.
The President says yes, but not by a percentage of cases. Now, why is one answer better than the other? The simple explanation is, well, we have a great healthcare system. So the fact that we are able to save people that may be saved - may not be saved in other parts of the world, because our healthcare system, our clinicians, our first responders are so good, does not excuse the fact that we have so many deaths as a function of our population. Is that a fair assessment?
KLAIN: It is. And there are more factors to it. For example, the case mortality rate is higher in some European countries, because their populations are older. They have a higher percentage of old people, for example. They also have some denser cities. The bottom line, though, is, that the key number most Americans want to know is, how likely Am I to die from COVID? Right? That's the bottom line. If I'm walking around today in America, what's my chance of dying from COVID? And that statistic, the one that Jonathan Swan in that interview was pushing.
America has one of the worst numbers on Planet Earth. You are more likely, as an American, to die from COVID, then you are in almost any other country.
CUOMO: Now part of that - just Ron--
KLAIN: There more new cases of COVID today in Paris - Texas than in Paris, France.
CUOMO: Fair point.
KLAIN: More cases of COVID in the smallest state in the country than in the entire country of Spain. So, we have it very bad here. And comparing our country to other countries shows how much the Trump response has failed.
CUOMO: And just to be clear, it's not about cherry picking numbers that make us look good, but they're just as many that make us look bad. This is about process and strategy of attack. That's why the testing matters so much to me.
We are testing in a way that is so ineffective that we are exposing our most vulnerable, the oldest, and we have too many people are getting caught by surprise. And this president refuses to acknowledge that, here's the proof.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Here's one right here. The United States. You take the number of cases. Look. We're last. Meaning we're first. We have the best.
SWAN: Last? I don't know what we're first in. As of what?
TRUMP: Take a look again. It's cases. And we have cases because of the testing.
SWAN: I mean--
TRUMP: If you take a look at this other chart - look, this is our testing, I believe. This is the testing, yes.
SWAN: Yes, we do more tests.
TRUMP: No, wait a minute. Well, don't we get credit for that? And because we do more tests we have more cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: This matters, OK. Because I can't tell you, Ron, how many people say, will you stop saying that testing is the problem? Yes, in some places, they don't get the results that fast. But we test more than anywhere else in the world, Chris, he can't do better than best. What's the reality?
KLAIN: The reality is that about 80 percent of the tests are taking a week or longer for people to get results. And that makes - it adds up to the testing total, but it's pretty useless. If you've been walking around with COVID for a week, you've probably infected a lot of other people at your workplace or wherever you're hanging out or whatnot. So the fact that we're so slow on getting the results back makes the test for all intents and purposes, pretty useless. That's the first point.
The second point is, that we still aren't testing anywhere near enough, because we are a country that's trying to get people back to work. President talks about everyone going back to school. Kids are going to go back to school, we're not going to know if they have the disease or not. We're not going know if they're exposed to the disease or not, we're not going to know if they're bringing it home or not. That's the big testing gap, right?
And what's more, even when we test people, we get them positive, we don't have contact tracers to identify who that person is been in contact with, so we can isolate cases and keep the disease from spreading. Bottom line is we're, eight, nine months into this in total, right. The President still doesn't have a plan. He has charts and statistics numbers, but where is the plan to get this under control?
CUOMO: He is insisting that we test too much. And, again, I am all about testing, because I think it's all we have. All we have is the ability to figure out who we need to remove from society so they can heal and not make anybody else sick. It's the only prophylaxis we have until we come up with a pillar of vaccine. And he has been pushing this to great political effect, by the way, that the problem is actually how much we test. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: --there are those that say, you can test too much. You do know that.
SWAN: Who says that?
TRUMP: Oh, just read the manuals. Read the books.
SWAN: Manuals? What manuals?
TRUMP: Read the books. Read the books.
SWAN: What books?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now he wanted to BS more to justify it. But let me give him a better defense that he gave himself. Ron, we only have a lot of cases, because we're so good at measuring how many people are sick in this country. These other countries stink compared to us. They haven't tested as much. That's the only reason we have more cases. They have a ton more cases than we do. They're just not counting them as well as we are.
KLAIN: So first of all, Chris, they had zero cases in Spain yesterday. Zero. Zero cases in France. Zero, zero. We have 70,000. Even if we're picking up more because we're testing, 70,000 to zero is not because of testing. That's the first thing.
Second thing is, forget the case counts. Forget the - forget all these things. Let's go to people who are dying. We're losing almost 1,000 Americans a day - almost every single day. No matter how you count, the tests and the cases and the rates, that's a death toll that is World War II levels death toll in the United States. And for the President to say that just is what it is, is not presidential leadership.
CUOMO: Well, it would be if he was saying, look, the pandemic is what it is, it's going to eat as many of us as it can, that's why we're going to do X. Is the second part, it's fine that you recognize it, yes, that's what it is. That's what this thing does. Great. Let's not be in all of it. Let's attack it. He doesn't do the second part.
Now, this other point that I want to make. This is another of his strong arguments about why he's being unfairly treated here. Important for people to get it here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think we've done an incredible job, between the ventilators, and stopping very infected people from China coming in, meaning putting the ban on China, which frankly nobody wanted me to do, practically nobody because it was early in January.
Then putting the ban on Europe, not an easy thing to do. When you put a ban on Europe, that's a big thing. We would probably have lost hundreds of thousands of lives more had I not done that, banning China from coming in--
SWAN: But it was already in here by the time--
TRUMP: What's that?
SWAN: It was already here. By the time you banned China, it came in through Europe.
TRUMP: Nobody knew the extent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What is your read on it? He banned from China. A lot of people on the political Left were against it. He did it. Did he make the right move? Did he make the right move with Europe? Or is the issue timing?
KLAIN: Well, I think, it's a bunch of things. First of all, 44 countries banned travel from China before we did. We were the 45th. He wasn't first. He wasn't early, and the ban wasn't complete. 40,000 people came here from China after you put the ban in place. By the way. He said it was in January - early in January in that interview. It actually took effect in February, so that's just another lie, another mistake.
On Europe, the fact that there's most of the cases we had on the East Coast, most of the cases there in New York came from Europe, not from China. And he didn't act on that until the middle of March, when the disease was already here in large numbers.
All these travel restrictions were smart things to do. They should have been done on time. They should have been done more completely. When he imposed the travel restriction on China, I said before Congress, that this wasn't a travel ban. It was a travel band aid. It bought time.
The real question, Chris, isn't about the travel restrictions. What did he do with the time that the travel restrictions bought? Did he get testing running? Did he get tracing running? Did he get equipment to our hospitals, our healthcare workers? We probably lost about 1,000 healthcare workers in America to COVID, because they weren't protected. Did he do any of those things? That's the shame here. That whatever the travel restrictions bought us in terms of time he squandered with inaction,
CUOMO: Here's his defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWAN: --under control.
TRUMP: Nobody knew what this thing was all about. This has never happened before. 1917, but it was a totally different - it was a flu in that case, OK?
TRUMP: But other than 1917, there's never been anything like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You guys all missed it. Fauci, Birx, all the big brains said, it's not going to be a problem here and then when it started to come here, they said, nah, we're going to be OK. So he's no different than anybody else.
KLAIN: Well, of course, that's a lie also. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the senior infectious disease - respiratory disease expert at the Centers for Disease Control, told reporters in February 25th briefing that the pandemic was coming. It was inevitable. That she warned her own family to prepare for a major disruption of U.S. life. The day after she did that. Donald Trump basically prevented her from speaking to the press again.
So this isn't just a question of he didn't see it coming, its people in his own administration, told him it was here, told him it was about to explode and he did everything he could to suppress the truth, to suppress the facts and tell people it was going to go away. Right?
It wasn't just they didn't see it coming, Chris, right. He was either telling us, it's 15 cases going down to five, it's going to go away. Like a miracle it's going to go away. It's going to go away by Easter. It's going to go away when it gets warm. It's going to go away in April. It's going away at Memorial Day, right. Time and again, he was wrong.
And what's more, after it came in a rage, he stood there in May and June and said everyone should reopen everything right away, after we learned the painful lessons of New York and New Jersey and we didn't share those lessons with Florida and Georgia, Texas. Instead, he egged those states on to ignore what had been learned in the Northeast and open as quickly and as rapidly as possible - recklessly as possible.
CUOMO: And now he is doing it with schools--
KLAIN: He saw - people saw it coming and--
CUOMO: And now he's doing it with schools. But I'll tell you what, Ron, schools are different. I'm a parent. I got three kids at different states of school. And I'm telling you, families are not going to send their kids to schools if they're afraid of them getting sick and bringing it home. This is going to be a problem. It's different than business. And it is going to be a time for act, or you're going to see a lot of rogue actors doing it their own way.
Ron Klain, thank you for the guidance. I look forward to using you much on this show to help us understand where we are and where we need to be. God bless. Stay healthy, you and your family.
KLAIN: Thanks Chris. Thanks for having.
KLAIN: Thank you.
CUOMO: What happens when government doesn't do what you need it to do? You start doing things on your own, for better and worse. My next guests are defying orders to keep their businesses shut down because of COVID. OK?
They've already been arrested for reopening their gym in New Jersey, and they are not giving up their fights even under the threat of losing their - that's them breaking into their own place. They're not breaking into somebody else's. They will make the case for why they are in the right next on PRIME TIME.
CUOMO: Two new jersey gym owners were arrested. They were charged with defying the state's COVID restrictions last week. But that didn't stop them from doing this.
CUOMO: And just to be clear, they're not breaking into somebody else's place. This is their place. They're kicking in the plywood barricade at the front door of their gym, because they want customers to get in.
They say that at the Atilis Gym, they have done what they were supposed to do to make it safe the way other businesses that they are similar to in their own estimation did. And that yet they are not allowed to open. All right, this is a court battle, they could go to jail. Now you have the state AG's office there in Jersey recommending a fine of up to $10,000 a day. So this has become a More than business.
I want these men to make the case, because there's somewhat representative of something that's happening all across this country. Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti are the owners of Atilis Gym and they're here now. How you're doing fellas?
FRANK TRUMBETTI, CO-OWNER, ATILIS GYM: How are you Chris?
IAN SMITH, CO-OWNER, ATILIS GYM: Good evening, Chris. How are you?
CUOMO: So look, the best case they have on you is, this is about health. It's not about not liking exercise. It's not about not liking you. It's about keep keeping people safe and you should respect that and you're not. Your response. One at a time.
TRUMBETTI: I would say that actually, when this first started, they asked for two weeks. When we first opened up, we gave them two months. Then we gave them until May 18th. And two months they had no plan. Plain and simple. They had no plan we did. We actually wanted to prove that we could open up safe.
They actually say that liquor stores are essential. That actually every place did. You can go into Home Depot and Lowe's is essential. I disagree with that, OK. We're all essential. Everybody is essential.
And bottom line is, this isn't about opening up a gym, they have violated everyone's constitutional rights. We all have the right to make a living. We all have a right to actually do what we want to do as Americans. We are promised liberty and they have actually put such oppressive restrictions on us, it is just unacceptable to us.
CUOMO: And, Ian, they say they agree with you. And you have the right, obviously, but you have to balance that right with the risk to people who will come in there, be breathing all over each other in too a tight a space and gym is different than other places, because people are getting so exercised, excuse the pun. It's not about restricting your liberty it's about keeping people safe. Counter.
SMITH: I would argue that the gym is a place to keep people safe. This is this is a place where people come to build their immune systems, to build the strength of their body, physically on the outside and the inside. This is a place where people come to relieve stress. This is a place where we have soldiers that have served our country that come to deal with their PTSD. This is a place that we have recovering drug addicts who use this as an outlet. This is a place that saves lives. This is a place that creates health and fosters health.
CUOMO: How do keep somebody from being sick? So I come in, I'm sick. And look, everybody knows that I'm a fitness guy and I have a lot of friends. We're in the gym business. A lot of people were in this kind of pain. And I understand it and I feel sorry for--
TRUMBETTI: You will not be allowed in. When you go to Home Depot, or you to Lowe's, you go to a liquor store, they don't do anything, but make you require a mask and stay six feet apart from each other.
TRUMBETTI: When you come into our gym, you actually stand in front of a biometric scanner that takes your temperature. You take a disinfected pen, you fill out a health questionnaire, just like you would in a doctor's office. You take that pen and you put it in a dirty bin, so we can actually disinfect it.
You're handled up handed a bottle of a disinfectant that is actually from Ecolab that actually is proven to actually kill the coronavirus in 45 seconds when it's diluted at four ounces per gallon. We actually have an air scrubber in here which is an auto. It's a mobile decontamination unit that actually circulates approximately 10,000 cubic feet of air per minute through a UV light run by hydroxyl generators that provides 99.9 percent chemical free and virus free air.
The science says that the mask don't work. Plain and simple. It is a safe place to be. It is not a confined space. We actually have 25 foot ceilings in our gym. They have actually taken all gyms and they've actually considered them as one. They are not all equal. I agree.
CUOMO: Well, the state says that too.
TRUMBETTI: And bottom line is--
CUOMO: The state says that too. Look, I don't agree with you about masks, but that's not what we're talking about here. They say - well, no, that's not right. We've allowed outdoor drills. We're allowing one-on-one indoor martial arts and we're allowing yoga instruction and we will allow you to do whatever you want outside as long as you can follow certain rules. Why is that not good enough?
TRUMBETTI: Our governor has allowed outdoor fighting. You can actually full contact fight outside. I can punch you in the stomach. You're an athlete, you actually are one of the tough guys out there. If we're actually sparring outside and I punch you in the stomach and I knock your mouthpiece out, you're going to spit in my face.
But Governor Murphy says that you can't get COVID that way. But because it's outside--
SMITH: But somehow walking into a facility that's highly regulated, that has a 15-point safety protocol. That goes above and beyond what any business in the State of New Jersey, and I would argue any business in the country has done so far, you can't get - you can get COVID just because what, there's dumbbells in here? It doesn't - it's very inconsistent.
CUOMO: So here's my concern. I think you got a good case. I'll be honest. I don't think it's one by one. I don't think there's malice on the part of the state, obviously. But sometimes they go too far. Here's the problem. You lose here, because they are the regulatory authority. And what do you do about $10,000 a day? And what do you do if they want to lock you up, because they have the law on their side of keeping people safe during a pandemic?
TRUMBETTI: First of all, executive orders are not laws. So bottom line is, we'll fight this to the end. And you actually - we listened to your part that came on before this. And you're - you seem like you're a big numbers guy.
And, actually, I would like to put some numbers out there for you. Are you aware that actually when this first started, there are 2.1 million people in the United States in long-term care facilities that represent 0.6 percent of the population. But on July 17, that's 0.6 percent of the population represented 53.3 percent of all the deaths that occurred in the United States from COVID.
TRUMBETTI: And that's because the governors are not doing their jobs. OK? In New Jersey alone from June 1st, the percentage of deaths - of total deaths in New Jersey in long-term care facilities was 42.3 percent. Now, you would think they had control of it because they don't let anybody into long term care facilities since March 13th when they started Executive Order 104, OK - 107, I'm sorry.
And then when you go back and you would think they go down. So from June 1st, the actual total number of percentage of debts was 42.3 percent. Now, fast forward to June 23rd. On June 23rd, the percentage of total debts in--
TRUMBETTI: --New Jersey--
CUOMO: Good. TRUMBETTI: --OK. The percentage of deaths from long-term care
facilities rose to 49.7 percent. And I brought to the media's attention that for 23 straight days more people died out of the 70,000 residents in New Jersey that lived in long-term care facilities than the 9 million people that, he calls the knuckle heads. OK, we're not doing we're supposed to do. OK.
And then that day on June 23rd, he actually - he would always admit how many people died in long-term care facilities, how many people died in the general population. On June 23rd (inaudible) with 57 total deaths in New Jersey, blessed souls that he says--
TRUMBETTI: God help them. 50 of them died in long-term care facilities, seven out of the other 9 million people in general population. But he never--
CUOMO: Yes, but Frank, I don't think it's just about--
TRUMBETTI: And you know what there is task force. No, there is one more thing. There's a task force. The actual - U.S. Army has a JTF-57 COVID-19 task force that was disassembled on June 24th. That task force job was inside of the long-term care facilities in the State of New Jersey to document all new cases and document all of the deaths. The State of New Jersey has not updated any other deaths in long-term care facilities since a dissembled that on June 24th.
CUOMO: Frank, I think it's a--
TRUMBETTI: Look it up. That's the facts.
CUOMO: Frank, I am not questioning your numbers.
TRUMBETTI: You are a numbers guy, that's the facts.
CUOMO: Frank, I'm not questioning--
SMITH: But the bottom line is--
CUOMO: Hold on a second. Guys I hear you about it.
SMITH: Chris, we are being blamed.
CUOMO: I hear you about it. But, no, I'm not blaming you that's the way that you're suggesting. Let me just balance it out.
SMITH: No, not you.
TRUMBETTI: No you. SMITH: I'm talking about we're being villainized as small businesses in general that we're responsible for this spread, but over 50 percent of the deaths are coming from places that are supposed to be under governor's--
CUOMO: I understand. And there's no question, Frank.
CUOMO: Frank give a chance. Give me a chance, Frank.
TRUMBETTI: --we have had 15,009 visits to our facility. Zero positive cases. Nobody is sick. We will actually have the rapid - you just said something about the rapid tests.
TRUMBETTI: I will have 250 rapid tests available to be administered by a nurse on Thursday.
CUOMO: Rapid tests are great.
TRUMBETTI: Who else has that?
CUOMO: I don't know.
TRUMBETTI: Who else has that?
CUOMO: I don't know. Look, I'm saying, I think, you guys have a good case. I get there general suspicion of places where you're going to be congested and people are going to be breathing all over each other. But one size doesn't always fit all. Rapid test with quick turnaround, a point of service turnaround would be very important.
What you're saying about long term care facilities, I'm not questioning it. We did the wrong job by the most vulnerable people. And even though, obviously, the oldest and the most fragile will die the most in a situation like this. It doesn't mean you did it the right way. The only thing I would caution you about--
TRUMBETTI: You're knocking Trump because of the total numbers.
CUOMO: I'm not knocking--
TRUMBETTI: You were knocking Trump because
CUOMO: I'm knocking Trump, because he's not doing - hold on.
TRUMBETTI: 53.3 percent of the deaths--
TRUMBETTI: 53.3 percent of the deaths from 0.6 percent of population.
TRUMBETTI: Bottom line, that's a fucking stat that nobody's talking about.
CUOMO: Frank, watch your mouth on television.
TRUMBETTI: Sorry, sir. Sorry.
CUOMO: Don't worry about it. Don't worry about it. I get the passion. What I'm saying is this. One, death isn't the only metric. I'm not blaming the President for the pandemic. I'm not blaming the Present when people die, except there's a lot more they could be doing.
If the government were doing what you're doing in your gym, we'd be in a very different place. If they were killing themselves to figure out the best way to test, we'd be in a different place. I'm not blaming you for that kind of stuff. It's not about the President.
SMITH: No, but we're being blamed by the governor for being reckless when we're doing more than what he does in long term care facilities to keep people.
CUOMO: I get your argument. And I think that you should have a fair hearing.
SMITH: Obviously, it's out of control. It's out of control. It's - all that happens is conclusion - conclusionary statements with no science and data to back up that our gym or any gym or any small business for that matter is more responsible for deaths in the spread of COVID than any other ones--
CUOMO: And I don't think. All I say, Ian - I don't think death is the right metric, because it's about - look, obviously, death matters most, right. We're human beings.
TRUMBETTI: Cases aren't the right metrics?
CUOMO: No, no.
TRUMBETTI: What is the right metric?
TRUMBETTI: Healthy people are not dying.
CUOMO: Frank. Frank, deaths--
TRUMBETTI: Healthy people are not--
CUOMO: Well, that's not true.
TRUMBETTI: --are not dying.
CUOMO: That's not true. TRUMBETTI: I lost my mother from this.
CUOMO: And I'm very--
TRUMBETTI: I lost my mother from this.
CUOMO: I'm very - I'm very sorry for that.
TRUMBETTI: She got it in the hospital.
CUOMO: I'm very sorry for that.
TRUMBETTI: You are breaking up the wrong tree.
CUOMO: I'm not breaking up any tree.
TRUMBETTI: My mother got it in the hospital.
TRUMBETTI: My mother got in the hospital where they're supposed to protect.
CUOMO: I'm very sorry about that. And I'm sorry, she got it. I'm sorry. She succumbed to it--
CUOMO: I'm not attacking you for it. I'm saying that death isn't the only way to measure the risk. I'm very sorry about you losing your mother, Frank. And, you know, I'm sure you can understand that. I don't want to blame anybody for
SMITH: And that sort of--
CUOMO: I'm saying getting sick, is what they're worried about. Not that you're going to kill people, but that--
TRUMBETTI: No, they're worried about deaths. They're worried about death. The bottom line is, it's like the flu. If you take that, if you take that 0.6 percent of the population that is responsible for 53.3 percent of the deaths, this is a mild flu.
CUOMO: No, but there are lot of cases, Frank.
TRUMBETTI: They are shutting our country down.
CUOMO: There are a lot more cases and people are getting more sick and different people are getting sick than get sick with the flu and we're getting a lot of weird after effects with this. We've got to take it seriously. But that doesn't change the fact that you guys may be doing the right thing to keep people safe.
SMITH: It is important to take very seriously. And I think that what needs to happen is government needs to start working with the people in order to resume life while taking things seriously.
CUOMO: I agree.
SMITH: When we opened back up in May, we opened very publicly for a reason because there was no plan present. And we decided that we were going to put forth a model to work with government. To this day, we've had no outreach from government. Even though our plan has been proven to be pretty effective.
Is it perfect? No. But you would have thought by now that the New Jersey government would reach out and say, Hey, let me send a health official down there and let's talk about this. Let's get let's get back on track. No--
CUOMO: I don't disagree with that either. I would say this, though--
SMITH: --they shut up and listen to my executive orders, and if you dare defy them, you will be punished and you will be financially ruined and you--
CUOMO: And, obviously--
CUOMO: --and obviously that's not that's not how the administration of justice should work. And you should have the chance to make your case. I just don't think it should have to go that far. I don't want to see you guys wind up in court to do this.
But you're also allowing yourself to be a little politicized on this, Frank. I didn't mention the President. It has nothing to do with the President.
TRUMBETTI: I'm the least political person you ever--
CUOMO: You brought it up in this interview and it had no place it in. So that wasn't on me. That's on you, Frank. I'm just saying, be careful, because if you get seen as a political actor, then you're going to get treated as a political combatant. And I don't know that you want that.
TRUMBETTI: And that's OK. And Chris - Chris, that's OK with me, because the people that have known me from my entire life - I'm 51 years old - know that I never had a political bone in my body. I couldn't give two craps about politics. I thought Blue states were bordered by water and Red states weren't. That simple. Bottom line - bottom line is--
CUOMO: That's true.
SMITH: It's actually true.
TRUMBETTI: --and that is true. Everybody that knows me. And I--
CUOMO: But Frank, look.
TRUMBETTI: I made my house in glass, and you guys haven't found anything to come after me with.
TRUMBETTI: A bottom line is--
CUOMO: I'm covering it because I think it's indicative of what's happened in a lot of places in the country. I'm going to stay on your story. You guys are welcome back here to let me know what the next iteration is.
It's not about red or blue for me. It's about what's right for people to get healthy and get businesses open and live their lives. So you got an opportunity here when you want it. All right? And I'm really sorry about your mother, Frank. I'm so sorry that you lost your mom.
All right, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti. Now, to be honest, if they want to make it political, we can and just this one way. If we had the rapid testing in this country that they have in the U.K., I don't think that Trumbetti and Smith have the problem at Atilis Gym that they have in Jersey. Why?
Because we'd have a different cultural reality about how quickly we can detect whether or not somebody has this and we have to move them out of the population. 90 minutes. It would fix a lot of things and keep us safer than we are today. William Schaffner, scientists doctor, what does he think? Next.
CUOMO: Now those guys are characters, but they represent something that's happening with a lot of businesses around this country. So let's bring in Dr. William Schaffner back with us tonight.
I have to tell you, doc, I agree with the one size doesn't fit all. And I agree that a little bit of the preliminary, let's shut everything down, wound up catching the good and the bad in terms of its effect. And reopening, I understand the frustration of people saying, so I can kick box outside, but I can't have anybody inside, even though they're not going to be touching each other.
I can do you know yoga or I can do one on one training, but I can't have people - 15 people feet away from each other with nobody up on them. I get their frustrations. What is your take?
WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I think that their frustration is understandable. And it's emblematic of so many people who as individuals are going out not wearing masks, not obeying social distancing. They don't really understand it. And sure, there are in consistencies, because one size does not fit all, but in emergent matters, we have one size. And that's the way we have to implement kind of large scale public health interventions in order to interrupt the transmission of this virus.
CUOMO: Understood. Health has to come first. But, look, the problem for the state is they've made exceptions to the rules and changes within that same genre of business. And then it starts to get a little bit more imbalanced in terms of what's fair, what isn't. But when you think about a gym, would you go to a gym, and if not, why?
SCHAFFNER: I wouldn't go to a gym, but then I haven't gone hardly anywhere, except briefly to the supermarket. And I go to my office, but I'm totally enclosed while I'm there, I'm away from everyone else. So my contact with other people has been really marginal and very, very rare now for several months.
CUOMO: So those guys saying they're better - you're better off in their gym than in the supermarket. Everybody's touching the food. They don't wear the gloves. You don't know who's sick and who isn't. The ventilation system is not as good. The people working there don't clean the same way that they do, because they don't have to. Their gym is cleaner than even a supermarket. How much does it matter? How a place approaches its protocols?
SCHAFFNER: Of course, it matters a great deal, and it sounds as though these fellas have a good case. I'm no attorney--
SCHAFFNER: But their constitutional case sounds terribly weak. But I get where they're coming from as human beings. And as people who are trying to run their operation in the best possible way. I'll take exactly what they say at face value. They're in a difficult situation. It sounds to me as though the Health Department hasn't had a reasonable conversation with them either.
CUOMO: Right. And also, look, they told us early on. I don't know if this is still true doc you can tell - tell me this now. That you don't get it through sweat. This virus doesn't transmit through sweat. Do we still believe that?
SCHAFFNER: I don't know anything particular about sweat, but that's something that can be taken care of in a circumstance like that by disinfection and good hand hygiene, right? We still think that this virus is transmitted through close personal contact over a prolonged period of time indoors. That's the major way it's transmitted.
We think now, also, that inanimate surfaces play a role, probably not as important as we thought initially. And we're also talking about airborne transmission, that is transmission at a distance, probably also happens on occasion. Not very important. It's still close in contact, or in a prolonged period of time in an enclosed space is where most of the transmission occurs. That's the highway of transmission--
CUOMO: And the--
SCHAFFNER: --the others are all kind of side streets.
CUOMO: The overriding factor that you've mentioned many times, doctor, but it deserves to be repeated is, if we had better quick or what we call rapid testing and turnaround of results, we would be in a different place with our schools, with our gyms, with our businesses with our reality. Because we would know in almost real time, who we have to take care of, and who we don't, and that would free up a lot of activity that now we just don't know enough to be safe with.
Dr. Schaffner, thank you. We got to continue talking sense because the only way we'll get where we need to be. Thank you, Doctor.
CUOMO: We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon when their eyes widen in amazement as old faithful bursts in the sky. When they gaze upon Yosemite's sequoias. Their love of their love of country grows stronger and they know that every American has truly a duty to preserve this wondrous inheritance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Yo-semites, you know, it's that park where only Jewish people are. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin joins me right now. Personal favorite of mine. Welcome to PRIME TIME. Good to see you.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENT HISTORIAN: I'm glad to be with you, Chris.
CUOMO: You and I, we should take a trip sometime to the yo-semite park so we can visit with all our Jewish friends who were there. Look, it's not about his ignorance of not understanding the word. He would later say nothing like this since Roosevelt. This president loves to compare himself to the greats, but that's not really his job. It's yours. What do you see in this?
GOODWIN: Well, I think that's true. It's not the sitting President's responsibility, or should it be a contest between him and the other presidents. It's true the Great Outdoors Act is good thing to do to make these deteriorating parks get repaired, to give a lot of jobs.
But if you wanted to make a comparison, Teddy Roosevelt is the one that set aside 200 million of these parks in the first place that made Grand Canyon safe from the protection of mining interests that wanted to go there.
But the important thing is that Teddy stimulated a movement, he was part of a conservation movement. That was the legacy he left behind. And almost all the changes that have taken place in our society that really, really matter are when there's an outside movement. Is it the civil rights movement under - that LBJ was able to be part of, was it the anti-slavery movement that was part of Abraham Lincoln, the women's movement, the gay rights movement? When they connect to people in power, that's when something happens.
So that's what we should be looking for. That's the moment we're at right now as a possible movement out there with the black lives movement, and we need the leadership. We could really compare I think, Mr. Trump to FDR. I mean, because that's the really important comparison that so far he hasn't made.
CUOMO: Right. About seeing the challenge and what you do with it in that moment. Interestingly, the Great American Outdoors Act that he was signing was not just a bipartisan bill, but it was introduced by John Lewis. A man he has gone out of his way to disparage as if it were equal that - well, Lewis didn't come to my inauguration, so I'm not going to his funeral.
The idea of embracing bigger movements, the President spoke about that, in a way. I want to play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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, Oh, that's a really--
SWAN: You really - you believe you did more than Lyndon Johnson who passed the Civil Rights Act?
TRUMP: I think I did, yes.
SWAN: How? How possibly did you-
TRUMP: --I got criminal justice reform done, I got prison reform--
SWAN: Lyndon Johnson-
TRUMP: I've done things. Well--
SWAN: He passed the Civil Rights Act.
TRUMP: Ask. Ask. How has it worked out? If you take a look at what Lyndon Johnson did?
SWAN: You think the Civil Rights Act was a mistake?
TRUMP: How has it worked out?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Help me with that?
GOODWIN: Well, how has it worked out? The South was legally destroyed segregated. The Voting Rights Act provided the vote to millions of Americans. But the incredible thing is that Lyndon Johnson would be the first one in that voting rights speech and his civil rights work to say, the heroes of those acts were the people in the civil rights movement.
And when he embraced it, and he asked for civil rights, and he asked for voting rights, it was because it was not just good for Black Americans, not just good for Northern or Southern Americans, it was good for all of America to do this thing.
When Abraham Lincoln was called a liberator because of Emancipation Proclamation. He said, No, don't call me that. It was the anti-slavery movement and the Union soldiers that did it all. I was an instrument. Well, he was far more than an instrument, because he gave voice and he gave leadership at that time to what had to be done. But it's that connection between the outside - and John Lewis is emblematic of that outside movement.
And to not be able to say he was a great man, when we understood what he did on that bridge, that bridge that then produced the great speech that LBJ gave where he embraced the anthem of the civil rights movement, "We shall overcome, " it's incomprehensible to me to not understand who he was and what he represented.
CUOMO: Well, it will be interesting is how people like you, Doris, and other historians define what Trump did in the moment of this pandemic. Every president who has a crisis on their watch becomes defined on how they handle it, and you and I have never seen someone deny the existence of a crisis and push an attitude of an action that way this one has. It will be interesting to see how it's remembered, and it may get written sooner than later.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you for your perspective. You're always welcome on the show. It's a big tree.
GOODWIN: I'm glad to be with you. Thank you.
CUOMO: Take care. We'll be right back.
CUOMO: Hey, everybody. I'm Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME. We are two hours this week. I'm in for--