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Don Lemon Tonight

President Trump Ignored Warnings From Health Experts; FBI Released Updates On Bubba Wallace's Case; NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Talks About Noose Investigations; Anthony Fauci: Next Two Weeks Critical As Number Of Cases Surge; Half Of U.S. States Show Spikes In Coronavirus Cases; At Least 17 Ohio High School Students Test Positive For Coronavirus After A Trip to Myrtle Beach, SC; President Trump Uses Racist Term To Describe Coronavirus Again. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: That's it, no closing argument. No, nothing.


CUOMO: What's better than you. And I can't do better than Ken Burns.

LEMON: ken Burns is great. Ken Burns is right. There -- of course there's always overcorrection in everything. The pendulum swings and then it comes back. The question is we should be looking out for the people who keep trying to make excuses about, well, is this, are we going too far. Are we doing this?

Yes. We will go too far and we'll come back. And you have to remember that for hundreds of years people as he said had a foot or knee on their neck. So, you have to allow for imperfection. Because that's what happens. That's just what we do.

So, I don't necessarily agree. I don't think anyone agrees with the destroying of property. But you can certainly understand the sentiment about how offensive it is to see some of those statues and symbols still up in your face every day when you know what they mean to you.

CUOMO: That last part is the key for people like me, my brother.


CUOMO: Which is, as a friend of mine said the other day, you got to take the cotton out of your ears and shove it in your mouth --

LEMON: Listen.

CUOMO: -- when you're in my position. Because I've been looking at these statues for a long time. Did you see the museum of Natural History?


CUOMO: I never saw it the way I do now.

LEMON: Yes. Well, that's good for you. That thing on your face. You're on TV.

CUOMO: Do your show.

LEMON: But you're on television why don't you just do what everybody else does. Just buy a sports car, buddy.

CUOMO: How about that thing in the middle of your face, known as your mouth --

LEMON: Just buy a sports car.

CUOMO: Where a lot more offensive than anything on me.

LEMON: I got an extra razor in my office in my office if you need one.


LEMON: Thank you, sir. I'll see you soon.

CUOMO: I'll see you.

LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Listen, we cannot stop holding the president accountable. Accountable for his racism, his incompetent dangerous handling of the coronavirus. For his hypocrisy. So here we go.

More than 121,000 Americans dead right now. More than 121,000. Coronavirus hot spots flaring up across the south and west. And the president travels to Arizona one of those hot spots and instead of empathy, instead of modeling lifesaving behavior by wearing a mask, he just doubles down on the same old racist slur.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's got all different names. Wuhan. Wuhan was catching on. Coronavirus. Right? Kung flu. Yes.


TRUMP: Kung flu.



LEMON: As I always say, and they cheered and they cheered. It's racist. It is. Kung flu is racist. Plain and simple. And just like he did in that rally in Tulsa on Saturday night, the president just tossed it out just to get a reaction from the crowd.

And it worked. As I said, they cheered. A crowd of young supporters cheering a racist slur in a church. In a church. How's that for Christian behavior? Only a handful of people wearing masks even though Phoenix requires them indoors within six feet of others. And the risk is very real.

Arizona today setting a single day record with more than 3,500 new cases, 42 deaths reported. Dr. Anthony Fauci saying the next few weeks will be critical in states like Arizona.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The next couple of weeks is are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we're seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and in other states. They're not the only ones that are having a difficulty. As we get into the fall and winter.

The first thing that we need to do is to try as best as possible to get the complete outbreak under control. So that everything is at such a low level that when there are cases that come up, you can contain them as opposed to mitigating, we essentially chasing after a forest fire.


LEMON: Well, the president ignoring the science, ignoring the facts. But he cannot ignore what is happening in this country.


This is a CDC director, Dr. Robert Redford (Ph).


ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We've all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus. And the reality is it brought this nation to its knees.


LEMON: Redfield. Pardon me. The reality is it didn't have to be this way. We didn't have to have more than 120,000 Americans die with the virus still raging. We could have listened to the experts when everyone was saying listen to the experts. Downplaying it. It was a hoax. Even still. Closer to the now.

It's going to go away, haven't heard from the Coronavirus Task Force in weeks. But experts like Dr. Fauci with this very simple straightforward advice today.


FAUCI: Plan a, don't go in a crowd. Plan b, if you do, make sure you wear a mask. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That is advice that this crowd obsessed non-mask wearing president is ignoring. I guess you can't expect him to actually listen to experts like Dr. Fauci. The president hasn't spoken to him, like I said, in two and a half weeks. That's according to Fauci.

We heard the same thing from other members of the task force who testified on Capitol Hill today. So, the President of the United States is not even bothering to speak to the members of his own task force about the virus that is killing more Americans every single day. The President of the United States.

Think about that. Not even bothering to speak to members of his own task force. About a virus that is killing more and more people every single day. Does that appear to be a priority? He hasn't spoken to someone in two and a half weeks. Are they a priority?

And now contradicting his White House insisting that he wasn't kidding. He was not kidding when he said on Saturday that he wanted people to slow down testing.


TRUMP: I don't kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world and we have the most of them. By having more tests, we find more cases.


LEMON: The president says nope, he's not kidding about slowing down testing. And now when our lives literally depend on it, we can't believe this president. That's the problem. He has such a problem with the truth that you don't know what to believe.

If someone has a problem with the truth most of the time you don't really believe what they are saying. They are discredited. Discounted. What they say is discredited and discounted because they have no credibility. He has no credibility with the truth. Everything he says is the opposite of what his own experts would tell him. If they could actually talk to him.

So, I just want you -- don't forget, let's not forget that he downplayed this virus for months. He encouraged Americans to take a potentially dangerous drug even taking it himself. Remember? And then he suggested ingesting or you know, you can put it inside the body or maybe through the skin or some other means. Ingesting disinfectant could knock out the virus.


TRUMP: We have it under control. It's going to be just fine.

We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment. Five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.

By April, you know in theory, when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away.

The coronavirus which is very well under control in our country.

We're going down, not up. We're going very substantially down, not up. When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done.

We're doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.

Some of the doctors say it will wash through. It will flow through.

Very accurate, I think you're going to find in a number of weeks.


The FDA also gave emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine. And I say it, what do you have to lose? I'll say it again, what do you have to lose? Take it. It will be wonderful. It will be so beautiful. It will be a gift from heaven if it works.

I said supposing you brought the light inside the body in which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that too? Sounds interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get the right folks who could.

TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant where knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs.


LEMON: Can you believe the president of the United States actually said that last bit? Well, all of it but especially that last bit. Knocks it out in a minute and cleaning inside the body. Cleaning the lungs. He thought he was being smart right there.

Then he relented and said I was being sarcastic. That wasn't sarcasm. That was real. This is a president who won't listen to the experts. But the former President Barack Obama has something to say about that. At a socially distanced fundraiser tonight for his vice president who is Joe Biden.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have to listen to public health experts and we're back to Fauci, you know, who is having testify and then see his advice flouted by the person he's working for. We've got to pay attention to what the public health experts say when it comes to this campaign season.


LEMON: God, polar opposites. Polar opposites. Leadership, hubris. Leadership, arrogance.

Speaking of the campaign season, as voters in New York and Kentucky went to the polls today in a preview of the most consequential election of our lives in November the president is making it clear that he doesn't want you to be able to vote by mail in the middle of a pandemic.


TRUMP: The Democrats are also trying to rig the election by sending out tens of millions of mail-in ballots using the China virus as the excuse for allowing people not to go to the polls.

Hey, we have a virus coming. We have to send -- think of it. California. He's going to be sending out millions and millions of ballots. Well, where are they going? Where are these ballots going? Who's getting them? Who is not getting them? A little section that's Republican.

Will they be stolen from mail boxes as they get put in by the mailman? Will they be taken from the mailman and the mailwomen?

Will they be forged? Who is signing them? Who is signing them? What are they, sign at a kitchen table and sent in?

Will they be counterfeited by groups inside our nation? Will they be counterfeited maybe by the millions by foreign powers who don't want to see Trump win because nobody has been tougher on trade or making our country great again? Nobody.


LEMON: Who is getting them? Who is getting them? Standby, I'm going to tell you who's getting them. But it's no surprise that makes absolutely no sense. What he's saying. It's interesting that this president has all worked up about non-existent foreign interference with mail-in ballots.

And didn't care at all about the real election interference by Russia to help him, Donald Trump, and to hurt Hillary Clinton. Interesting. But yes, this president would rather have you risk your health in the middle o a pandemic than risk losing the election. He doesn't want you to be able to vote by mail.

But when he's asked in that who's getting the ballot? Who's getting them? Well, he is. And a bunch of other people. He has voted. He voted absentee in New York in 2018 and in Florida's primary in March. That's voting by mail by the way.

He's not the only one in this administration to go by the old do as I say, not as I do rule. Here's what the Washington Post is reporting, that the Attorney General Bill Barr voted absentee in 2019 and 2012.


So, who's getting them? Vice President Mike Pence did the same in 2018. And according to business insider mailed- in a ballot for this year's Indiana primary.

Who's getting the ballots? White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany voted by mail in Florida eleven times. Who's getting them? Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale voted by mail in 2018. Who's getting them? Ivanka Trump tried to mail-in her vote for New York mayor in 2017, but she sent it in too late.

Who's getting them, Mr. President? Jared Kushner, your son-in-law requested an absentee ballot but didn't return it. Who's getting them? There's the first lady Melania Trump tried to vote absentee in the same election but didn't sign the envelope.

It seems like they're not very good at this whole voting by mail thing. Didn't sign the envelope. Got it in too late. I mean, didn't return it. What's going on over there? Who's getting them.

The Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar voted absentee in 2018. Who's getting them? The Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross voted absentee in Florida, commerce numbers, 15 times.

Who's getting them? The education Secretary, Betsy DeVos has permanent absentee status in Michigan. Who's getting them? Kellyanne Conway voted absentee in New Jersey in 2018.

Need I go on? Would you like me to read the definition of hypocrisy? I don't think I have to. I just put it up on the screen for you. All of this is the truth. You can get mad because maybe I'm showing personality and giving you the truth while I'm asking you who's getting them. But this is all the truth.

No opinion. No lies detected. Truth. This administration really doesn't want you to be able to vote by mail or mail-in your ballot and the president has already told you why. And I quote, "more truth."

This is what he said. Doesn't -- there it is on your screen if you don't believe me. Doesn't work out well for Republicans. Except for the Republicans in this administration. They can vote by mail. Do as I say, not as I do. They want you to go out and stand in line in the middle of a pandemic. Looking out for you, right? A lot more to come on all of that.

And next I'm going to talk with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Speaking out for the very first time since the FBI concluded its investigation and said that he was not the target of a hate crime. I cannot wait to speak with you. We're going to do it on the other side of the break. Don't go anywhere.



LEMON: And we're back. This is big news tonight. It's big news in the FBI's investigation of a noose found in the team garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. The FBI saying Wallace, the star African- American driver was not the target of a hate crime.

I'm going to talk to Bubba Wallace in just a minute. But first I want to get to CNN's Randi Kaye. Randi is here with the very latest on the investigation. Randi, good evening to you. The federal investigation concluded that the noose found wasn't a hate crime. What are you learning?

RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, there were 15 FBI agents, Don, assigned to this case. They want to get to the bottom of it very quickly. It was a very important issue, a very important case to them. And they determined that this rope that had been found in Bubba Wallace's garage had been in that garage long before that garage was actually assigned to Bubba Wallace.

In fact, we have video tonight. Take this -- take a look at this video from 2019. It was on YouTube. It shows a garage door rope fashioned into a noose. And that is in the stall used by Bubba Wallace's race team.

And a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation is telling CNN that the noose in that 2019 video is the same noose that Bubba Wallace's team alerted about. That there is just one noose involved in this case.

Let me give you a little bit from the joint statement by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. It reads in part, the noose found in garage number four was in the garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is not -- is now known to have been in garage number four in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number four last week. Don?

LEMON: All right. Randi Kaye with the latest on the investigation. Randi, thanks for clearing that up. And we appreciate you joining us this evening.

I want to hear now from Bubba Wallace himself. He is back with me tonight. Bubba, good evening to you. I think you have handled this like a champ. And I'm appreciative that you came to speak to us tonight. Because we first talked about the confederate flag on this show and many other issues. So, again, thank you.

So much has happened just in the last few hours. A federal investigation shows that this wasn't a hate crime. Talk to me about what's going through your head? How are you feeling right now?


I can't hear Bubba. We lost your audio.


LEMON: Talk to me about how you're feeling right now.

WALLACE: I'm pissed. I'm mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity. They're not stealing that away from me but they're just trying to test that.

And as a person, Don, that that doesn't need the fame, doesn't need the hype, doesn't need the media, I could care less. I could give two craps about that. But to sit there and reading, that's my problem, I'm reading too much into it. I'm investing too much time into it.


LEMON: Are you reading social media?

WALLACE: I am. I am.

LEMON: Don, don't, don't, don't.

WALLACE: I know. I know. I've been trying hard not to. And then after tonight I'll probably turn my phone off. Unfortunately, until about 7.30 in the morning when interview start back up again and we (Inaudible), Don, to hear my side of the story and I don't mean to steal your spotlight of the show.

LEMON: Go on.

WALLACE: But my side needs to be heard. I don't know what time it was about 5.30, 6 o'clock on Sunday evening after the race has been called, garages are closed. Crews, my crew was on a plane back to North Carolina. We were -- I was about to go out to dinner with a couple fellow competitors. And we were talking about what time we're going to leave and where we're going.

And I get a phone call from (Inaudible) I get a phone call from the president Steve Phelps. And it's a phone call, Don, that I'll never forget. It's one of those phone calls where you can automatically tell within the first couple seconds that something is wrong.

And it immediately made me think of, what did I do? What am I getting suspended for, like, what did I say wrong in an interview? Whatever it was. And so, I'm thinking all the bad things or whatever it could have been that I had done. Whatever I said.

So, he's like we need to talk in person. So, I'm OK. So, he walks down on motor home and opens up the door. And the look that he had on his face alerted me in a way that I'll never forget as well. And I'm still thinking like, OK, what did I do, let me know.

Now mind you I got to the racetrack -- I don't remember what time, 9.30, 10 o'clock and slept all day. Just because that's what we were able to do. Go straight to my motor home. That's the only place where I'm allowed to go. I'm not allowed to be in the garage.

But the conversation that I had with Steve Phelps was I would say I'm speaking for him -- I would probably say one of the hardest things, if not the hardest thing he's ever had to tell somebody. Tears rolling down his face. Choked up on every word that he was trying to say that the evidence that he brought to me that a "hate crime was committed," quote on quote. And I immediately thought my family was in danger. And so, I was about

ready to call my mom and dad and to make sure everybody was OK. But it was in the garage stall and the car was at. And so, I was kind of like taken back and not really comprehending everything. I was just like, what?

But the way that I was communicating, Steve was communicating to me that everything was going on, it was, it showed that the testament to him and the character that he has and how he's representing the sport. How he wants to stand up for what's right. He's not going to tolerate any racist acts or anything.

And I stand behind Steve. I stand behind NASCAR. And like they said in their statements if it happened again, it wouldn't change anything. They would do it over again.

LEMON: Well --

WALLACE: But I never seen the noose. I never reported it. Like I said, I was going to dinner.

LEMON: Let me jump in here, Bubba.


LEMON: Because no one is accusing you of doing anything wrong. And the knuckle heads who are criticizing --


WALLACE: Well, they are.

LEMON: -- you, I should -- no, no, but you can't worry about that. Not anyone with any sense and fair-minded people are not accusing you of doing anything wrong. You were simply reacting to what NASCAR what -- the head of NASCAR told you happened.

Now listen, this is how I feel about it, OK? And people can think what they want. Did NASCAR get it wrong? No, I shouldn't say that. Did they jump the gun maybe? Yes. But I am extremely happy with what, and I think most Americans are, what NASCAR is doing.

And I think in this environment and I have said it before, this hyper charged environment that we should all cut each other some slack. OK? Because if NASCAR hadn't done the right thing if they didn't act the way they did then people would be criticizing them for moving slowly.

And so, I think what they said was we are investigating. And they investigated. And they found out that it wasn't a hate crime. So, did they perhaps act quickly? Yes. Did they get it wrong, somewhat? But I think that people will forgive them for this mistake because of the times that we're in.


And so, and I think that you have conducted yourself in -- you know, amazingly. So, I think you should be worried about that. I think that you and NASCAR should pick up from here, go on and continue to do what you are doing. You have the support of all of your team members and NASCAR. And so look at this as something that happens when you are evolving and changing. Everything is not perfect. And I mean that about everyone.

We are such in a hyper charge environment, with the coronavirus, with racism, with watching people die on television, with seeing confederate flags that were banned. Let's not forget the people out there still feel the way a certain kind of way about you and about that flag. So, I don't think that you should feel badly about what happened.

WALLACE: No, I know. I'm with you on that. I appreciate those words. And you know, you talk about it earlier the people who don't want to hear the truth and -- people that want to know me and want to get to know me, the new fans that had come into sport, I appreciate it. One thing you'll never take away from me is how 100 percent I am. How raw I am. How real I am.

And I'll shoot it to you straight each and every time. Because that's how I was brought up and that's what I standby. And in my statement on Sunday night, this will not break me. None of the allegations of being a hoax will break me or tear me down. Or pissed me off absolutely, but that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up.

To get back out of the race track next week in (inaudible) and showcase what I can do behind the wheel under tremendous amounts of B.S. whatever it is you want to say. It won't break me. It won't tear me down. Again, I will stand proud of where I'm at.

LEMON: You are going to continue to be out front, right?

WALLACE: That's it. That's all you have to do.

LEMON: So, I mention this when we talk about the flag. Because the reports about the noose came on the same day. So, this is why you can understand somewhat what happened. On the same day that we saw a confederate flag flying over Talladega, that said defund NASCAR.

There were people were had flags on their trucks and on their cars and they were, you know, in across the street as I understand from the race. Do you think the controversy over that flag issue affected the response to this incident?

WALLACE: I think, I mean, we were worried about as we as a NASCAR was worried about, you know, Talladega. Being there and (inaudible) our fans back in some most passionate fans had gone there. Talladega is one of the best racetracks to go to. We always tell new fans and family and friends that Talladega is one of the races you need to go to just because of the atmosphere. I always love going Talladega.

But we had that one circled on the radar with everything going around let's just be extra careful. So, absolutely I think you know, that definitely intensified everything that went on. And unfortunate that everything played out the way it did. But you know, there has some parallel to that. For sure.

LEMON: Have you seen ropes like that hanging from garages? Is that typical?

WALLACE: Don, the image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull. I have been racing all my life. We have raced at hundreds of garages. That never had garage pulls like that. So, people that want to call it a garage pull and put out all the videos and photos of knots being in as their evidence. Go ahead. But from the evidence that we have, that I have. It's a straight up noose.

The FBI has stated it was a noose over and over again. NASCAR leadership has stated it was a noose. I can confirm that. I actually got evidence of what was hanging in my garage over my car, around my pit crew guys to confirm that it was a noose. And never seen anything like it. It's not something -- I talked to my crew chief about that is said, - said is this something like -- I wanted to make sure we weren't jumping the gun.

And I said this isn't a knot, this isn't just a regular old what you call it. He's like, Bubba, this isn't something that can be done within a second of just tying a knot and being on the way. This is something that took time.

LEMON: So, what are you saying here? Are you saying that you don't believe -- do you believe that it was intended for you in that way? Or are you -- what are you saying here?

WALLACE: It was a noose. It was a noose that was whether tied in 2019 or whatever. It was a noose. So it wasn't directed to me. But somebody tied a noose. That's what I'm saying. It was -- it is a noose.

LEMON: Yes. Let me just read from NASCAR here. Listen, we appreciate the FBI's quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this is -- this was not an intentional racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing. What do you think about that? It seems like NASCAR has your back. But are you worried about the backlash?


WALLACE: Backlash every day. I think we talked about that. Whatever, I'm used to it. But it just stings a little worse when they are trying to test your character like I said earlier and try to take something away from me that's false. But the backlash will always be there. It doesn't matter if we provide 100 percent facts and evidence, photo evidence. People are going to Photoshop and to make me look like the bad person in the day out.

I will always have haters. I will always have the motivators to go out there and to try to dethrone me from the pedals from what I'm on. For all the kids that are watching and want to be in sports, just know that you will automatically become or be put on a pedestal. Whether you like it or not. That's what happens when you have a voice and you have a platform.

People are going to try to take that away from you. With all their power. They will lose sleep over making sure you don't succeed. So you have to be strong. Always deep your head on a swivel. And always watch your back. But always stand up for what's right.

LEMON: OK. So, let me ask you this, because I have felt this before as someone in a position as sometimes the only -- many times the only African-American in the room. And on the job, right. Do you feel like you're getting -- I know you think you know that NASCAR, they say that they are supportive.

Do you feel like you're out there on the ledge by yourself because you're the only one really speaking out? I haven't seen any representatives of NASCAR, bot to be critical of them on televisions or you know -- You know. what I'm saying?

WALLACE: Yes, no, I don't feel alone. I don't. I have had really good conversations with numerous amounts of drivers. Jimmy Johnson, Dalen Earnhardt Jr., Todd Dillon, (inaudible) we actually were running -- we were together but before the race on Monday, and we ended up chatting with each other about right vs. wrong. You know, speaking up, standing up for what's right. And what you feel is right from your heart.

This isn't like I said before this isn't about sponsorship. This isn't about race wins, or who you represent. This is about what you feel in your heart. And I feel like there's a ton of support. We have seen everybody come together on Monday there.

That was one of the coolest things that I have ever been able to be a part of. Not saying that I wanted that. But drivers wanted to do that. They wanted to show support of me and you know, now it kind of looks bad, but it doesn't. Because within our hearts they know that it is something that they want to stand up for.

LEMON: I want to say, I was going to put that up if you didn't mentioned it, because this one, I saw it last night I was watching Anderson's show before mine. And I saw what they did. All of the crew rallying around you. And I can tell you that people who don't watch NASCAR, they all saw this. It actually made me tear up. I mean, look at this moment.

WALLACE: Made you tear up. Did you see me? Come on, Don.

LEMON: Yes, I saw you. You lost it. But I think this is warranted. Even without what happened. I think this is, you know, even with what happened today. I think it was warranted. And I think people were happy to see it. And you're making a difference. I actually think NASCAR is making a difference. And I applaud you and them. OK?

WALLACE: Yes. Thank you. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Any last words? You're good? You said everything you want to say?

WALLACE: Yeah. I'm pissed but I'm ready to go and we'll be all right. LEMON: Good for you. Bubba, take care. Be safe. Stop reading social

media. OK.

WALTER: I appreciate it. Yeah.

LEMON: Thank you. Dr. Anthony Fauci warning if the U.S. doesn't get control of the coronavirus pandemic by fall, it will be like chasing after a forest fire. But so I just went on and read that. I should say a man of amazing character. People in the situation trying to do the right thing. They got something wrong. Relax. We're all moving in the right direction with this. So, let's see what happens next. Keep moving. Next step. Next step. Continue the conversation. Let's keep going. We'll be right back.



LEMON: So President Trump own experts undercutting his repeated false statements on the coronavirus. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield saying that the virus has brought this country to its knees. As Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the next couple of weeks are critical in stopping case surges.

Half of the states in this country now showing spikes in cases compared to this time just last week. Among the worst, Texas, Arizona and Florida. All three reporting thousands of new cases each day. As New York continues to trend downwards.

Here to discuss, Dr. Leana Wen, the former Baltimore City Health Commissioner and Erin Bromage, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. So good to have both of you on. This is frightening. I have to be honest with you. We thought we were going in the right direction. Everybody sitting at home and doing right thing. Being vulnerable. Trying to be safe. Not knowing what to do. And then this.

So, Dr. Wen, if you look at this map, showing new cases from May 12 to the last time Dr. Fauci testified to compare to today's map, there's so much red. The U.S. is a whole is trending upward with new cases. How quickly could this spiral out of control or is it doing it already?

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER HEALTH COMMISSIONER, BALTIMORE: It unfortunately, Don, it is already spiraling out of control. When you look at that map from May, we were able to control and contain the virus, because of these shelter in place orders. And you know, Americans sacrificed so much for that to happen. People lost their jobs, kids went out of school. And that was to buy us time. It was to buy us time to increase our testing, contact tracing, isolation capabilities. So that when we reopened we would be able to contain the virus as much as we can.

But unfortunately we reopened too soon. We reopened also in not the safest way possible. And now we're seeing these surges all across the country. Basically we are back to where New York was back in March. Except that this time I don't think that there is the political will and the public support to have these shut downs to be able to control this virus from really surging out of control.


LEMON: Yes. And that was the thing. You know, don't open up too soon. Follow the guidelines. Take it slowly, right. Keep distancing. But, people moved too fast and at least that's what it's looking like. Erin, I want to bring you in because case spikes in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.

That's particularly alarming. Officials are reporting more case of younger people. But you say it's only a matter of time before their infections spark an inferno of sickness and death and vulnerable populations? Why do you say that? That's a big statement.

ERIN BROMAGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH: it did, you know, it's a metaphor that I was using, you know, bracing, you know, going off the Australian fires that we saw this past spring and summer. But when we end up with lots of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic and mildly symptomatic people, still walking around our community.

And they are in that 20 to 40 year-old age group. If it builds up in that group because they are so important and they are so mobile in our communities, it's just a matter of time before they enter a house of worship. They enter a workplace. They enter an old age home and once the virus gets inside those environments we have seen what it does.

But one of the really interesting things that we're seeing in Arizona now is that there's 28,000 people under the age of 45 infected and a thousand of those people are actually in the hospital right now. So, I almost hope that they -- it was affecting the older people. We can see it's really hitting the younger people now as well.

LEMON: Dr. Wen, you again, the president was at a packed church in Phoenix tonight. He wasn't wearing a mask. Many in the crowd weren't either. Arizona is one of the states seeing a bad spike. How dangerous is this?

WEN: And so Arizona is already facing a surge. That's on the -- just on the verge of exponential spread. And what I mean is not only are you seen it a rising number of infections in that state, you are also seeing an increase hospitalizations. There are reports of ICU already being at capacity.

And patients have to be transferred to other facilities. It is against this backdrop that the president is holding this rally. With people sitting shoulder to shoulder with no ability to social distance.

People are not wearing masks and they are shouting, they are singing. They are spelling respiratory droplets. And I just really fear what's to come. Which is that we know that these individuals somebody is going to get sick. People are going to go home and infect family members, community members, the healthcare system that's already being stretched is going to be overwhelmed. And all of this is preventable. And I would just urge everyone to

continue to be on their guard, to practice social distancing as much as possible. To where masks to limit their risk interaction including interaction like this indoor crowded rallies.

LEMON: Boy o boy, some people still don't believe it's real. We shall see what's to come. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

In Ohio County had zero coronavirus cases until 91 teenagers took a trip to the Myrtle Beach. That's next.



LEMON: With coronavirus cases surging, we are learning at least 17 high school students from Ohio have tested positive after returning from a trip from Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, a state that is seeing an increase in cases. The county they lived in had got its infection rate down to zero under strict protocols.

Now the teens are in quarantine and health officials are doing contact tracing, expecting to find more positive cases. I want to bring in now Robert Sproul, the deputy health commissioner for Belmont County, Ohio. Thank you Mr. Sproul. I appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: So, 45 high school students from your county along with an equal number from another county made this trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where cases are surging. You can see how South Carolina has been rising right there. Now the students are home, at least 17 have tested positive. There are two contact positive cases as well. Are you expecting these numbers to go up?

SPROUL: Yes we are. Again, we have 17, they came back, they were symptomatic when they returned. So, basically they went in protesting, we are concerned about the asymptomatic students which we will see probably over the next few days.

LEMON: Are all 45 students now under quarantine?

SPROUL: Yes. They are quarantine and their families are under quarantine also so we can monitor and see if they go symptomatic.

LEMON: Wow. So, listen, this was not a sanctioned trip. It must be extremely frustrating for you because your residents had been very careful until now and you actually had reduced infection rates to zero.

SPROUL: Absolutely. We had it down to zero. We were at 500 before. Again, we have had all of the contact tracing done, we had everybody that was sick quarantined, we had the spread slowed or stopped. And now when they returned it brought it back to our community. And it is not affecting just community, also the school districts. We have two school districts that have suspended their sporting activities for two weeks because these kids were involved with some of the kids there.

LEMON: What kind of impact could this have on your community?

SPROUL: Again, it could be a very serious impact. Again, we have a couple of small hospitals, we had two hospitals that just closed over the last year. So again, a large surge like this could really affect our beds and our hospitals.


LEMON: Robert Sproul, thank you so much. Good luck, OK. Good luck, thank you for appearing here on this program.

The president calling the coronavirus kung flu again tonight. How he keeps trying to divide Americans along racial lines. That's next.


LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. Urgent and dire, urgent and dire warnings today from the nation's top health officials about the spreading of coronavirus pandemic. The spreading coronavirus pandemic, I should say, as 25 states are now recording higher rates of new cases as compared to last week. The Director of the CDC saying this about covid-19 to a Congressional committee.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL: We have all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus.