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Don Lemon Tonight

Reality Bites Trump's Claim Of Hoax; Unemployment Rate Expected To Hit 20 Percent In The U.S.; Coronavirus Pandemic: President Trump Considers Giving Americans $1,000 Checks; At Least 5,839 Cases Of Coronavirus In United States, 107 People Have Died; United States Military To Open Coronavirus Testing Sites; State Of The Race: Joe Biden Wins Florida And Illinois; NBA Superstar Kevin Durant Tests Positive For Coronavirus. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 17, 2020 - 22:00   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Joe Biden only needs 47 percent of the remaining delegates. I just showed you he's winning, already won 53 percent of them. He is way ahead of pace. Bernie Sanders needs 57.9 percent. He is nowhere close to that right now, it would just have to take a political earthquake, the likes of which we have never seen to turn this around, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, David, thanks very much. You know, John King, let's take a look at the bigger picture now as far as the all-important delegate count is concerned.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, let's take a look at the delegates to David's point. Bernie Sanders would have to win 57, 58 percent of the remaining delegates. So, is there any way he could do that? Well, let's go back and show this race.

This big delegate lead tonight is not because of one big race for Joe Biden. Tis has been the trajectory of the race in South Carolina. So, let's start there with the math and how we got here, and then we'll go to the other map and show you why it's so important.

So, let's just go back. Here's where we were at the end of February, the first four contests. This was after Joe Biden's win in South Carolina, which saved his campaign. He was O for 3, wins South Carolina and he's still losing, 54 to 60. Still losing in the delegate race. But then we had Super Tuesday one, Joe Biden starts to pull ahead 90-plus there, right.

And so, then you have the next Tuesday after that, Super Tuesday two, Biden stretches it even more. Right? So, it's not like we're having a seesaw here. Once Biden get come into of the race, stretches it to the second one. And then here's where we are tonight, he stretches it even more, and we're still allocating delegates. This is likely to get even bigger as we go through the count.

So, impossible, not impossible mathematically but impossible politically given the Democratic Party rules, given the history to make that up. There's no question that Joe Biden tonight can claim to be the presumptive nominee.

Here's your delegate count. I just want to show a little bit about how this is happening. Number one, tonight no Bernie Sanders, not a county, not a county. And we're up to 92 percent now, 61 to 22. I just want to show you, I just want to show you a number here as we go back in time.

This is Joe Biden's number right now with 92 percent reporting. Right? Let's go back four years ago in a two-candidate race. Right? There are other candidates getting early vote in Florida tonight who have dropped out of the race, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar, and others.

Let's go back. Joe Biden is going to come very close tonight, might even catch of matching in a two-candidate race, Hillary Clinton got 1.1 million votes in a Florida primary four years ago. Joe Biden is closing in on that. Will he get there? We don't know. We're up to 92 percent. But he's pretty close, what was not really a two-candidate race.

So that's one thing to look out. There is turnout in the Democratic primaries, even some early voting here without a doubt, but even with the coronavirus. Very convincing win there.

Let's come up to Illinois. We're up to 47 percent now, pretty healthy lead here as well. I just want to show you something we have seen consistently. About a five-point, four to five-point lead in Chicago, Bernie Sanders competitive in inner city Chicago as he was against Hillary Clinton. Strength of the Sanders campaign to be so competitive.

However, just as we have seen throughout this campaign, you move on into the suburbs, let's pop out here. This is what has happened consistently, Biden wins in the cities, and then he wins big in the suburbs. That's where the people are, and you start to add it up.

A couple other thing when is you look at this, the conversation we just had in the other room, there is no question Joe Biden has to reach out to younger voters in the party, especially the leaders of these younger liberal activist groups in the party. No question that's a weakness Biden has to address.

But look at all the strength here. No Bernie Sanders here. This is now -- this was just four years ago. Look at all these places Bernie Sanders won. This is now. This quickly want to go over, this not just Illinois. This is Missouri on Super Tuesday. This is Missouri four years ago.

Joe Biden is winning in small-town blue-collar America in a way Hillary Clinton did not. A number of reasons for that, no time to discuss them at the moment. But you see it in Missouri, you see it in Illinois tonight. This was Michigan in 2016, this was Michigan Democrats 2020. This is a very different campaign for Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden is running the table.

BLITZER: He certainly is, and we're still waiting for Arizona to come in as well. Jake and Dana, a very, very impressive night for the former vice president of the United States.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And you really have to give it to him, I mean in the same way that the Republican candidates in 2016 was just a very impressive array of Republican senators, governors, others running for office, the Democrats really had quite a strong field, I thought in a lot of ways.

A very impressive younger senators and others, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Amy Klobuchar, et cetera. And here you have Joe Biden, who, if he wins will be the oldest person ever elected president. Donald Trump is currently the oldest person ever elected president.

He's run twice before, never -- in 1988 he didn't even make it to 1988, he dropped out in '87 and in 2008 dropped out after 1 percent in Iowa, and here he is just wiping the floor with the competition.


TAPPER: Democratic voters are saying this is the man for the moment, and I think the fact is the coronavirus pandemic and that crisis seems to only be reaffirming that.


BASH: And it comes back to the whole reason that he gave for running, which is I wouldn't have run given my age and given where I've been if Donald Trump weren't president, if I didn't feel that I was the man for the moment with the experience who could return the country to normalcy with regard to leadership and rally and everything else that he's arguing for.

And after everything that we've seen, all of the ups and downs, it looks like that comment, that reason for running ruled the day. Yes, he is doing extremely well across the board, across all of the demographic groups and so forth, but he still has a challenge of bringing over even a small part of the Bernie Sanders movement.


BASH: In order to actual presidency --


TAPPER: It's not over. He's got a lot of work to do, no question.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens, guys. We're going to continue to follow, of course, the primary results and bring you everything you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak as well.

Don Lemon picks up our special coverage right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. It's Super Tuesday. I'm Don Lemon.

And this is our breaking news. And I want you to sit down and listen to me because it's very important with the information I'm going to tell you. The polls in Arizona closing at this moment. The last of three states to hold primaries tonight, and of course as you heard my colleagues project, Joe Biden has won Illinois and Florida defeating Bernie Sanders.

Ohio, of course, declared a public health emergency because of the coronavirus, postponed its primary just hours before the polls were supposed to open, and this is the information that we have that I want you to pay attention to.

We have more breaking news to tell you about, the latest numbers on the coronavirus. As of this moment, there are 5,838 confirmed cases in this country. One hundred seven people have died. And just to give you an idea of how fast those numbers are growing, at the end of our show, this is on Friday night, there were 2,210 confirmed cases, 2,210.

Last night, 4,465 now that number has soared to 5,838, and the disruption to everyday life in America is spreading. The treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin warning Republican senators that the unemployment rate -- listen to this -- could hit 20 percent.

The New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo right here on CNN dismissing the possibility of a shelter in place order in his state.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): My job is to make sure that the state has a coordinated plan and it works everywhere. I don't think shelter in place really works for one locality.


LEMON: As at least 91,000 public and private schools are close or scheduled to close affecting more than 41 million students. And we are learning tonight that Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is among four Nets players who are tested positive for the virus.

In the face of all that, the president who has been playing down the coronavirus from the beginning says this today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've always known this is a -- this is a real -- this is a pandemic. I've felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.


LEMON: We're going to go through this. Because it's important that you should know. It is important that you hold the people who are in charge accountable. It is important to know how we got to this point. That is gaslighting pure and simple.

The President of the United States is gaslighting you, and you deserve to know. Claiming today that he has known all along that the coronavirus is a pandemic. This is way back in January, and I want you to listen to the president's own words in January. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.


LEMON: That was in January. Days later the CDC announced the first case of person to person transmission of the virus in this country. The World Health Organization said the outbreak was officially a public health emergency of international concern, but listen to what the president said in February last month.


TRUMP: We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.

You know, in April supposedly it dies with a hotter weather.

Looks like in April in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.

In fact, we're very close to a vaccine. We have done an incredible job. We're going to continue. It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear.


LEMON: Right around the time, again, that was February. Right around the time the president said all of that, the first passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the coronavirus. More than 700 people were eventually confirmed to have the virus, but this may be one of the most outrageous claims this president made about the virus.


TRUMP: One of my people came up to me and said Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia, that didn't work out too well. They couldn't do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation.


TRUMP: They tried anything. They tried it over and over, and this is their new hoax.


LEMON: The coronavirus is no hoax. Ask any of the thousands and thousands of people who are sick right now, and the gaslighting continues. This was two weeks ago, the president trying to down play the mortality rate from the virus.


TRUMP: I think the number -- personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.


LEMON: Tweeting that more Americans die from the flu. There's the tweet up on your screen. Dr. Anthony Fauci, though, telling Sean Hannity the mortality rate is much higher than the president claimed and pointing out the fact, the fact, that it is 10 times more deadly than the flu.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The mortality for seasonal flu is 0.1. The mortality for this is about 2, 2.5 percent. It's probably lower than that. It's probably closer to one, but even if it's one, it's 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. You got to make sure that people understand that.


LEMON: They downplayed it for a long time. Some in conservative media still are. For months, some just started taking it seriously just last week. Just last week. Others have been reporting on it since January.

Now, let's not forget the president's visit to the CDC, falsely claiming that anybody who wanted a test could get one. That is still not true. Falsely claiming all the tests were perfect and comparing them to his so-called perfect Ukraine phone call, which was definitely not perfect.


TRUMP: As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test, that's the important thing, and the tests are all perfect. Like the letter is perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good.


LEMON: OK. That's a video tape in his own words. It was just a week and a half ago that he said he wasn't concerned at all about the coronavirus. That was at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with the president of Brazil.

He really should have been concerned. We have since learned the press secretary for Brazil's president, who was there that night, has tested positive for the virus. That same night there was a birthday party at Mar-a-Lago for Don Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a party attended by the Brazilian press secretary.

So, you've got to wonder whether that would have happened if the president actually thought the coronavirus was a pandemic as he claims. Listen to what he said to Republican members of Congress just a week ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Stay calm, it will go away.


LEMON: And let's not forget Sunday when he claimed we have tremendous control over the virus.


TRUMP: It's incredible, but it's something that we have tremendous control over.


LEMON: Like I said, this is gaslighting pure and simple. The President of the United States has been making demonstrably false statements from the beginning of all of this at a time when real leadership could have saved lives.


He caused a lot of people to think that this virus wasn't a serious threat. We now know it is. He suggested that it was less dangerous than the flu, not true. He claimed it was a hoax by Democrats, not true. He claimed it was well under control, not true.

He made fun of it at rallies. He went to CPAC, there was a person there who had it. Caused Republican lawmakers and others to have to self-quarantine. They made fun of it. They wore gas masks.

Causing all kinds of people to believe that it was a media hoax and not take it seriously. All of that caused a lot of people to think the virus wasn't a serious threat. Caused us to lose a lot of precious time while our government wasn't taking the threat seriously.

The sad fact is the president is the one who has been politicizing this. Don't get it twisted, and don't fall for that whole thing about everyone is politicizing this. Don't politicize this, Don. Stop politicizing this.

That is why I get so angry because the president is the one who's politicizing this, and then trying to do that whole okey-doke blaming the media and saying the media is politicizing it. No, we're just giving you the information, and he doesn't like it so he's politicizing it. That is dangerous.

The latest NPR/PBS/Marist poll show the partisan divide is growing. Seventy-six percent of Democrats say coronavirus is a real threat. Fifty percent of independents feel the same way, but only 40 percent of Republicans agree.

Come on, people. I said when we began just a few minutes ago there were at least 5,838 cases of the coronavirus in this country. Let me tell you what I do, I sit here before the show, and I ask my producers are the coronavirus numbers accurate before I say them? They have to keep updating me until the moment it comes out of my

mouth on this show. I can't even print them, and if they print them for me, I have to continue to update them. That is not a hoax. That is not a hoax. It has never been a hoax.

So, I want you to remember behind every -- behind every one of those numbers is a real person. One of our friends, one of our family, a loved one, a fellow American, and yes, you should be upset. You should be angry. You should be emotional about it. You should want the people who sit in these seats like me to hold leaders' feet to the fire and everyone who comes on a program like this to hold their feet to the fire, don't let them get away with it.

People are dying. No doublespeak. No hoax. Those -- it's not -- these are not numbers. These are people, Americans just like the rest of us, and the inconvenience that we're going through right now not being able to go out to dinner, schools close, sporting events canceled, houses of worship shut, having to work from home, all of that is changing everyday life in America.

The people who are unemployed right now who are not getting a paycheck, that is not a hoax people. That is real, go ask one of them. We have to remember why we're doing this, why we're making these sacrifices. We are doing this for the people who are sick, for the people who are trying to stay healthy, and for the people who are taking care of them.

The former President Barack Obama tweeting that tonight saying we owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our health professionals and everybody who will be on the front lines of this pandemic for a long while.

Obama spotlighting the story of a medical professor, Rachel Patzer (Ph) who tweeted that her husband, an emergency department physician has moved into their garage apartment so he can continue to treat patients while she cares for their two young children and a newborn.

[22:20:03] That is the kind of story this is all about. Remember, we are all in this together.

I want to bring in now CNN's White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Seema Yasmin.

Good evening to both of you. Thank you for joining us.

Kaitlan, you're there every day. You're at the White House, you cover this. You're in the thick of it. The Trump administration looking to inject a trillion dollars into the economy including sending checks directly to Americans. How quickly can they make this happen?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They're trying to make it happen really quickly. The question is whether or not they're going to be able to, because as you've seen what's happening on Capitol Hill, they're still going back and forth. The Senate is still trying to pass that bill that the House passed on Friday, that first coronavirus funding package. But what they're hoping to do is essentially be able to send money

directly to Americans, a thousand dollars and the treasury secretary said they're trying to get this done in like two weeks. So, it does have a pretty tight time line here.

And that's a little different, it's actually a lot different than what they had been initially proposing, which is a payroll tax cut. And essentially that was not popular at all on Capitol Hill.

Today Mnuchin even advocated against it saying they believe it would take too long to be able to get money to Americans. So now they are weighing this. Among other things relief for airlines, tax deferrals, things of that nature, but this seems to be one of the biggest, and it really does show just how much they're not only now seriously confronting the health aspect of this, but also the economic impact this is having.

LEMON: Dr. Yasmin, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci, you've seen him there every day giving the information says that it is weeks or longer before we see a peak in cases. Have we done enough early enough? What else could we be doing?

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DETECTIVE: Don, epidemic response is really a time game. You said time is precious, that's exactly right. These viruses spread quickly. They move quickly. We have to preempt them. And this is really an issue about political mismanagement. And it's not a bipartisan issue.

I'm thinking even back, Don, to 2009 when we had the H1N1 pandemic and 85 million N95 masks were deployed from the strategic national stockpile. But guess what? They were never replenished. So now 10 years later, we're faced with another pandemic and only about 12 million N95 respirators in that stockpile, another five million are expired.

And I am so worried now, Don, because I am hearing from second year medical students that they're being told here in the states all right, get ready, get to work, we need you triaging potential coronavirus patient.

Is there enough equipment to keep those young people safe? We're already hearing about E.R. doctors in their 40s hospitalized in the ICU with the very disease they're trying to treat and protect us from.

So, no, we have been late. We have been delayed. And we need to see much more action and better leadership of this response.

LEMON: Doctor, Kaitlan, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Stark warnings that unemployment in this country could hit 20 percent, and that's coming from the president's own treasury secretary. What can we do to head that off?

Plus, we'll keep you posted on the latest vote counts and results on this Super Tuesday. CNN Tonight Super Tuesday edition back in just a moment. [22:25:00]


LEMON: A stark warning tonight from the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push the nation's unemployment rate up to 20 percent.

Let's discuss now. Andrew Yang is here, the former Democratic presidential candidate who during the campaign had a plan to put money in American's pockets, also, CNN Political Commentator, Catherine Rampell, and Anthony Scaramucci, the former director of communications in the Trump White House.

So good to have all of you on this evening. Catherine, the treasury secretary warning that the unemployment rate could hit 20 percent amid this global pandemic. I mean, that is wholly you know what that number --



LEMON: Is it correct?

RAMPELL: Well, we just don't know at this point. Right? The official data comes out with a pretty long lag. We have some -- some private sector indicators that have come out, not from the government, so you have like open table restaurant reservation numbers showing that they're down something like two-thirds year-over-year for a bunch of cities. That was even before there were mandatory closures of restaurants.

LEMON: Right. This is probably, there's zero on the table now.

RAMPELL: Right. Yes, there's zero now. So, we have some numbers trickling in suggesting the scale of this, but we just really don't know. To put in context that 20 percent unemployment number, though, the unemployment rate during the Great Recession peaked at about 10 percent. And during the Great Depression, it peaked around 25 percent.


RAMPELL: So, if in fact, that estimate is correct, it's truly terrifying.

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that estimate is entirely realistic because if you look at the range of industries that have already been devastated, you can keep on going down the list, hotels, cruise ships, bars, restaurants, movie theaters, personal training, nail salons. Like it just goes on and on.

So, 20 percent unemployment to me is what we need to avoid, and the tough truth is that we need to put money into American's hands as fast as possible in order -- so that families can even feed themselves and weather this storm.

But even after this money goes into people's hands, it's not going to revive small businesses around the country. It's not going to revive all of these restaurants and bars that employ many, many people in every community. This is going to be terrible. It's going to be less terrible if we plow money into people's hands as quickly as possible.

LEMON: So, Anthony, I want to bring you in. Because when, you know, when I see all this stuff happening on Wall Street, you know, I text you sometimes because you have -- you've been very successful on Wall Street, and I ask you is this going to work? What do you think of this? Blah, blah, blah, and usually you're right about these things. So, is there anything we can do to head that off? What do you think of what the administration is planning?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: So, listen, I think they're definitely going in the right direction. I agree with what Andrew is saying, you've got to get the cash in people's hands immediately. I personally think it's not enough.


And when I did the calculations today in World War II, Don, we spent 20 percent of the GDP in deficit spending. We are now fighting an invisible virus globally and we need a $3.2 trillion stimulus, 800 for the Andrew Yang program. That's $3,000 per adult, you know, $1,500 for children. This is for people below making $85,000 a year.

They need a $2 trillion gift and granting or lending program for large and small businesses around the United States, and the large businesses have to commit to no layoffs and no share buybacks, and then the last piece of this is 150 billion going to the nation's hospitals and to create hospital tents where they're going to be necessary. So, you're spending at that --

LEMON: So how much are you talking in total?

SCARAMUCCI: It's 3.2 trillion on top of the trillion we're already spending. It's a $4 trillion spend.


SCARAMUCCI: And if they do that, they'll be able to stabilize the economy, and I'll use the president's own words. I do think we have a very strong balance sheet, and I think this would put the United States in an economic pole position for the next five or 10 years if we don't let the economy right now fall off the cliff.

And remember, at these interest rates, borrowing the $3.2 trillion is roughly $100 billion a year, and we need to do this. They're not thinking big enough, and I'm telling you once they go through the numbers and they go through open table like Katherine's saying, you're going to see 6, 7, 8 percent drop in GDP.

LEMON: OK. So let me bring it to the table, and I want it -- before you go I want to talk to you about, because I know the administration, I think they've been in touch with you about your program. I want to talk to you about that, but I just want to bring it to the table, because I agree that we don't want the economy to fall off a cliff, but here's what people are asking. Where's all this money going to come from?

Either of you guys can weigh in. Where is all of this money going to come from? Because we look back at the airlines, the airlines got, you know, and many of these businesses got these huge tax cuts from this administration, and they used the money to buy back their own stocks.

They used it to enrich themselves. It didn't go back out into the economy as the administration had promised, even the airlines from the last -- when they got the bailout money, they got help, they took the gas tax, they added it to the customers, right?

They took the money that you do when you have to pay for your luggage, those became baked in. They never let those goes once the economy got great again. So, people -- I mean, honestly, they're not feeling sorry for these businesses. They're not going sorry for the airlines and they say, why are you bailing these guys out? And instead you know, you're trying to help us at least this time.


LEMON: Where is this money coming from? Who's going to end up paying for this?

RAMPELL: We did waste a lot of money on things that probably we shouldn't spend money on, including the $2 trillion added to the deficit because of the tax cuts. Interest rates are quite low. Right, because there's this flight to safety so now is a good time for the United States government to borrow.

Another thing I would add is yes, it would be very expensive for us to do whether it's something like what Anthony is proposing or something more modest, you know what's more expensive? Having a depression.

LEMON: Having depression.

RAMPELL: Right? I mean, this is going to be a huge upfront cost, but what we are trying to prevent is a prolonged economic recession or even depression, and we don't know where we could land.

LEMON: So what happens with the deficit then?

RAMPELL: It's going to go up.

YANG: Yes, it's like if your house is on fire, you don't worry about the cost of the water. You just spray it down.

LEMON: All right. I'm just asking.

YANG: And Anthony, I couldn't agree more with you that we're not thinking big enough. We need to be thinking of this as the preservation of our way of life, of our civilization. What kind of price tag would you put on that?

You know, it's like if you were the wealthiest country in the history of the world, which we are, this is exactly when you spend the money. This is what -- this is what our government should be all about, taking care of our people and making sure that our way of life continues.


RAMPELL: And I would say that we should also be a little bit judicious about whether we bail out the airlines for example which have access to capital markets which have been repeatedly in bankruptcy and had kept up operations throughout. I am less sympathetic to a bailout for them than I am for small and medium sized businesses.

YANG: You know, for big businesses like airlines, you just need to make sure that they continue to operate post crisis. And so, if the shareholders take a hit, you know, if as you say, they even have to head into bankruptcy protection, you know airlines will still operate post-bankruptcy. Like all you need is the airlines to operate, but you can't do the same thing with people. You have to take care of the people.

LEMON: We were doing Super Tuesday coverage so they cut into our time a little bit, so I'm short of time, but the administration has been in touch with you quickly about your program?

YANG: We've been talking to the administration, just trying to share learnings with what cash does in people's hands, it makes them stronger, healthier, mentally healthier, more trusting, more positive, more productive, and we're just happy to help in this time of need.

LEMON: Anthony, before I go quickly, the administration, Steve Mnuchin said they want to go big, right? I think that was the president and Mitch McConnell saying they want to go big. They're going to have to go bigger in your estimation?


SCARAMUCCI: I think they've got to go at least three times bigger and bolder. They'll get to those numbers, OK? I'm telling you once they really do a deep dive. Now, just a big shout out to Andrew Yang for being a visionary on this sort of stuff. It's an $800 billion cash give out that you will settle people down, and they'll start spending, and you will slow the growth in the economy, in the economic decline.

Last point, you want to be granting and giving money to certain people and lending it to others, particularly those big businesses like the airlines. We can do this, but we've got to go way bigger right now, right now, Don.

LEMON: OK. Thank you, all. Fascinating conversation. I really appreciate it.

The military announcing they are going to help with the government's response to coronavirus. What they're planning to do and whether it will be enough. That is next.


LEMON: The U.S. military is stepping up its response to the coronavirus announcing it will open testing sites to civilians and donate millions of masks for distribution. Defense officials also telling CNN that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is preparing to sign orders that could lead to the deployment of two U.S. Navy hospital ships and a mobile hospital facility.


Joining me now is retired General Stanley McChrystal. General, it's an honor to have you on. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.


LEMON: So first question, what could the military do? What resources could they bring to this? How could they change the response here?

MCCHRYSTAL: Yes, I'd like to start with just a story. When I was a young lieutenant, I got my platoon of paratroopers lost in the wood with my map and compass, and my platoon sergeant came and leaned over me, and I pointed out the problem, and he goes, lieutenant it's best if you navigate from where we are and not from where we wish we were. And that's where we are right now.

In my opinion the United States military exists for the defense of the nation. We are being attacked by a virus different from many of our opponents, but this is a time where every single asset in the United States military that could be of use in any way ought to be made available. We shouldn't be tripping over rules and whatnot.

I think the United States military wants to defend fellow Americans, and so whatever they can do from field hospitals to hospital ships, to just people to help with things, I think is appropriate.

LEMON: I couldn't agree with you more, they want to defend fellow Americans, absolutely. The president was asked today whether he should invoke the defense production act, a law that forces American industries to increase production of critical supplies and equipment. Listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you need to invoke the defense production act to get more of those medical supplies to different hospitals?

TRUMP: Well, we're able to do that, and we have to, right now we haven't had to. But it's certainly ready if I want it we can do it very quickly. We studied it very closely over two weeks ago actually. We'll make that decision pretty quickly if we need it. We hope we don't need it. It's a big step.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: What do you think? Why not invoke the act? Because we're

talking about estimates of millions of people could die. Our country is literally paralyzed right now.

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, the thing about coronavirus is we are going to defeat it, and most of us know that. The question is how many fellow Americans we lose that we don't have to lose, because we make mistakes that we're too slow. I think we should have already invoked the defense production act.

What's the harm? Pushing the production of things like ventilators, if we end up with too many ventilators and extra ventilators, I can live with that, if we have too few, I think that we've made a big mistake.

LEMON: I wonder if they've even discussed it. But I don't know, that's a question for someone who's with the administration. General, you know, President Trump being impressed by the New York governor to deploy the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build field hospitals and retro fit buildings for patients, do you think they should be activated?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I think that they should. Now, there are limits to what the Corps of Engineers can do. They use a lot of contractors so you can't assumed that they're a (inaudible) for everything, but every single part of the United States government and of all the commercial entities, a whole of nation approach should be put at this right now. Again, we don't need to panic. We need to roll up our sleeves.

LEMON: Right, amen.

Pentagon officials addressed the limits of our hospital care. They could provide -- what the hospitals could provide. Listen to this.


BRIG. GEN. DR. PAUL FREDRICHS, JOINT STAFF SURGEON: Our fixed facilities are designed to the force that we have. They're not thousand-bed medical centers all over the United States. They're for the most part small community hospitals. Our deployable hospitals range in size and range in capabilities that are very much focused and designed to take care of those in combat.


LEMON: So how much help can they really be in a full scale crisis?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I think they could be quite a lot. They can create just hospital beds, there's tentage, there's a number of things and a number of military professionals in active duty and reserve.

And there's some limitations with activating reserve and National Guard, because many of them are already working in the health industry, but the reality is everything can go out there, and if we really get the kind of surge in patients that we expect, we're going to need the capacity to provide just beds and to create the environment around them. That may not be perfect, but it will be better than nothing.

LEMON: General, the final question for you, a CNN op-ed -- in a CNN op-ed, you say this is all about leadership. Who's showing the leadership right now that you see?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I'm seeing a number of places across the country. There are governors stepping up and showing great leadership.


MCCHRYSTAL: There's some medical leaders who are, and I think we're going to need to see business leaders. We're going to need to see education leaders, every one of us is going to have to show the leadership and the self-control to follow the kinds of things that don't endanger other Americans. So, I don't think leadership is going to be found solely at the top of the pyramid. I think it's going to be found in our society or we're going to be found wanting.


LEMON: I do see governors stepping into the void, some mayors, and even some business owners, and we spotlighted some business owners last night who are distributing their own hand sanitizers from some of their distributors which I thought was really amazing, doing it for free, which I think is amazing. General Stanley McChrystal, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and your expertise.

MCCHRYSTAL: My pleasure, Don. That you.

LEMON: We've got a lot more to come as the coronavirus spreads across this country.

Plus, Joe Biden defeating Bernie Sanders in Florida and Illinois tonight, those Super Tuesday results are next. CNN TONIGHT Super Tuesday edition will be right back.


LEMON: Welcome back to CNN TONIGHT, Super Tuesday, voters heading to the polls today for Primary races, Florida, Illinois, Arizona. CNN projects Joe Biden wins Arizona and Illinois. Our very own Phil Mattingly, at the magic wall for us. Phil, hello to you. So I told you about Illinois and Florida. Let's talk about Arizona where they're counting the votes. As the nation's dealing with this coronavirus, national emergency, give us the latest.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What's interesting about Arizona is we don't actually have results yet. You have to wait about an hour until after polls actually close to see them, but I think what you're seeing throughout the course of the night in kind of a surreal moment that people are voting in a primary election is just the continuation of the dominance of Joe Biden. Let's take a look at Florida first. That is a CNN projected Florida.

But Don, look throughout the course of the entire state. All you see is dark blue. Dark blue is Joe Biden. Joe Biden at this point 93 percent reporting, 61 percent to 22 percent. Biden winning at this point every single county in the state. I think the scale is even more impressive for the Biden team when you move up to Illinois.

Take a look at things right now. Mostly all dark blue. But flash back to 2016, Don, this was a very close race. This was a very close state between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. And look at all that Bernie Sanders light blue back in 2016. Flip it again to this time around, Biden. Dominant, 59 percent to 36 percent. So, right now as it currently stands another very big night for Joe Biden.

We'll have to see what comes in with Arizona right now as you see no results in. We expect reporting here pretty shortly. But for the third consecutive Tuesday, Don, a very big night for Joe Biden.

LEMON: All right. Phi, thank you very much. I appreciate it. We'll check back in with you if get those results. And four Brooklyn Nets players testing positive for coronavirus tonight. Including Kevin Durant. We'll tell you what he is saying about it, next.



LEMON: The coronavirus continuing to change just about every aspect of American life including sports. Four players on the NBA's Brooklyn Nets tested positive for the virus. One of those four players is super-star Kevin Durant. A two-time NBA finals MVP. And Durant passed along this message to the public through one of my next guest. Saying everyone be careful. Take care of yourself and quarantine. We're going to get through this.

So, joining me now CNN Sports Reporter, Carolyn -- excuse me, Manno and Shams Charania, he is the senior NBA Insider, Stadium and the Athletic. I'm so glad both of you could join us. And the athletic. Excuse me thank you so much. I appreciate both of you joining us. Sean, I'm going to start with you, because you broke this news about Durant after speaking to him directly. So, what can you tell us about how he's doing and how you found out? And he found out, excuse me.

SHAMS CHARANIA, SENIOR NBA INSIDER, STADIUM AND THE ATHLETIC: Yes, so the Brooklyn Nets tested their players for coronavirus on Saturday. The players got back the results today. And Durant tested positive. He is one of four players to test positive and you know, I talked to him this afternoon. He is fine. You just said this the quote that he told me. And his message was clear, and I think this a clear message he wanted to send out.

They want to generate awareness to the public, to the youth of America. Really the world in terms of staying home, staying quarantined and really taking care of yourself during this pandemic. But there's no question for the whole NBA everything came to a halt once Rudy Gobert tested positive last Wednesday. And ever since then the NBA was really that first professional league to start the domino effect that's occurred so far in America.

LEMON: Yes. Did he talk to you about how he was feeling or he's getting the word that he tested positive or any of the details?

CHARANIA: Yes, when I found out, I reached out and it was his decision to go on the record with that information. And he is fine. He told me he is asymptomatic. He is not feeling any symptoms right now. But there is no question he will stay in quarantine over these next 12 to 14 days and then reassess. I'm sure the Nets will. Once that time period is up.

LEMON: All right. Carol, let me bring you in. Because you know, we talked about Rudy Gobert last week on the show. And that was, this was really at the turning point of this. When people started -- many people started to realize how serious this was.

After this news broke about Durant, the Nets broke to Los Angeles Times reporter that the Lakers players will be tested for coronavirus. Undergo a 14 day self-quarantine. What are you hearing about that many professional athletes and how they are going to be able to get tested and you know, every day Americans won't be able to do it? What's going on?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, this a question that a lot of people are asking all around the country. I'm hearing that this is case by case basis. So let's start with Rudy Gobert, for example. When he was showing symptoms and was tested in Oklahoma City.

He was the first person diagnosed with coronavirus in that area. So health officials needed to test him and test everybody around him so that they can track the spread of this. That was in the earlier stages before they learned how many people were infected by this.

LEMON: We were wondering how he got the test so quickly when --

MANNO: Well, so, and so now there are reports that the Nets are privately funding these tests. Hiring private doctors and that the Lakers might do the same thing. Either confirmed either of those (inaudible) reported that the Nets actually went in to their own pockets to do this testing. That is their prerogative. That's not for me to say whether or not that's fair to the American people.

Let me just tell you, Don, why it's important, because NBA traveling teams are spreaders. They go to hotels, they are on planes, they are on buses. They're shaking hands, they're signing autographs. They are making physical contact with other players.

Not Kevin Durant, he is actually interestingly a player that's been sidelined all seasoned. So, but for the most part they leave a very large foot print. And that's why it's important to test these players if you can. In a way that's fair, because we need to know how many of them and the people around them have it.

LEMON: Shams, I want to ask you because you also reported that Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. Surgeon General spoke to NBA owners about the coronavirus situation. What did he tell them?

CHARANIA: So Dr. Vivek Murthy joined the former U.S. Surgeon General, he joined the NBA on a board of governors call today and his message was essentially that if the United States hadn't have taken this hard stance they had over the last several days in terms of, you know, a lot of the, you know, vast majority of cities and states, there had been shut downs of a lot of situations that prevented, you know, there's a lot of containment now.

You know, hopefully that's the plan we move forward. If they hadn't have done that, you're looking at millions of people at risk of dying. And he let owners know there was a sobering reality of this is that cases will likely go up and increase over these next two to three weeks.