Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

President Trump To Announce His SCOTUS Nominee; Trump's Unkept Promises; Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) Is Interviewed About Democrats' Plan To Stop SCOTUS Nomination; CDC Updated Its Web Site; Cities Labeled As Anarchy Jurisdictions. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 21, 2020 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It's time for "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon. If you don't want to watch him or while you're watching you can open your phone --


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Speaking of power.

CUOMO: -- you can ask for a ballot. And you can vote.


CUOMO: If you don't like what's happening, vote and things will change. Get what you vote for.

I think -- I think you're right about that. You surprised me. I think you came to be a little bit earlier. I didn't think you were done. But I think you're right. I think there are many people in this country who don't have the perspective of history and time on the planet about voting.

Because they think like I don't really like either of them so I'm just going to sit it out. That's not what people fought for the right to do, for you to do, to sit out. They fought for you to vote, to become a part of the system, whether you -- and not to necessarily fall in love with a candidate. No President since the beginning of presidency have been perfect. People don't like them.

But the whole -- you think the people who fought for me to vote back in the 50s and 60s, you think that they were in love with the Presidential candidates who many of them didn't believe in what they wanted to? No, they weren't in love with them. But they wanted to be a part of the process. They knew that every little bit count. Every time you get involved, every time you cast your ballot it changes things. Whether you believe that or not it is true. It changes things.

So, I just don't understand especially young people now who are so apathetic and they say I'm not going to vote or this person is not doing this. You know, they don't get history. And they don't get wisdom. And they don't strategy. They just get everything should be the way that I want it right now. That's not how things work in the world and especially the greatest democracy on earth. That's not how it works.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Sorry. And then there's another thing that I want to tell you about.

CUOMO: Please.

LEMON: Listen, the Harry Reid thing, I understand what you're saying with the whole filibuster thing. But I really think that's apples and oranges. Harry Reid did not tell people to abandon their morals and to become hypocrites when it comes to setting a precedent.

The Republicans set a precedent in 2016. And listen, I don't -- look, I think the Democrats don't have options except for public the court of public opinion. OK? Because as far as moves strategically it's very little that they can to not get have the President confirm his choice.

But I don't think that Harry Reid was saying abandon your morals, your principles and if you set a precedent don't abide by it. Mitch McConnell was right. They were setting the precedent with a filibuster but they didn't come back and lie and say well now we want to change the filibuster because we're not Democrats. They didn't do that.

So now the Republicans are saying we're in power, yes, but we made a deal back in 2016 and now the same people who said that they wanted the next president to be able to pick the Supreme Court justice are saying the exact opposite thing. That is nothing other than -- nothing other than hypocrisy.

CUOMO: Trump is saying the opposite. I had him on my show.

LEMON: They all are. They all are. And I don't expect him to do anything different.

CUOMO: But the top of the food chain is the president.


CUOMO: And I have -- I don't think you can say you can keep your doctor. OK? And the Democrats will argue all day long that Obama said it in good faith. Thought that it was at that time, it wasn't an opinion. That's what he thought it was, even if you want to do a one for one.

LEMON: There's no one for one in this. There's no one for one.


CUOMO: But I'm saying Donald Trump told me in March of 2016 we should not seat the judge. It should be the next president. It's too soon. It's too close to the election.

LEMON: I know.

CUOMO: But nine months out. Now look at what he's saying. LEMON: Listen, not to minimize your interview. But he said it on

Twitter. He said to you and a whole bunch of people. Do you actually expect not even let's take Donald Trump away, let's remove him from the past four years in office? I don't know, that's very tough. Look at his history before that.

Do you expect Donald Trump to have a conscience? Do you expect Donald Trump to have values and morals? The person who sued everyone and waited for them to run out of money so they didn't have to pay them for not paying contractors, for the myriad things that he did. Do you actually expect him to abide by the same rules that he sets for himself? No.

So, over the past, especially over the past four years, Chris, do you expect Donald Trump to keep his word in an interview he gave to you or a tweet that he put out five, six, seven years ago?

CUOMO: The tweet was actually vague. I gave him a break on it.


LEMON: He's not going to do it.

CUOMO: Because he's saying that Obama was trying to get around it.

LEMON: They're not going to do it.

CUOMO: I'm just saying he's supposed to be better. That's what his supporters say.


LEMON: But he's not going to be good.

CUOMO: That they want him there to clean the swamp.

LEMON: I agree with you.

CUOMO: That he's not like these guys. And my point is you now have clear evidence that not only is he like them. He's worse. But look, this is a short-term win. This country is changing.

LEMON: If it's a win. You're right. I think at where you're going.


CUOMO: I think it's a win. I think if they get this judge it's a win because if he wants people to vote for him --


LEMON: I don't know about that.

CUOMO: If he doesn't deliver a nominee and it doesn't get acted on by the Republicans, they've got trouble. I know people say well, in races that are close. LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Who is voting or thinking about voting for a Republican who doesn't want them to pick a judge right now.

LEMON: I don't know about that. I don't. I really don't. I don't think --


CUOMO: You think there are people who are considering voting --


CUOMO: -- for Republican senators and they want no judge picked?

LEMON: I think that this is the last gasp of a group of people who feel the way that they feel about this. I think most people in this country, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal aren't willing to go back to the 1970s, 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s, they're not just interested in that.

CUOMO: I'm fine with them on that.


LEMON: Regardless of that --

CUOMO: I'm talking about the process here. And let me ask you something.

LEMON: It's a win for them in the short term. If you want to say that, fine. But I actually don't think it's a win for them. And I don't -- I think that if they rush it, I actually think it will backfire. I really do.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something. If the Democrats were in control of the Senate right now, and Trump was President, and he wanted to nominate a justice, what do you think they'd say?

LEMON: Well, I think they do the same thing they did in 2016. They would do it. That's what they did.

CUOMO: That's right. That's my point.

LEMON: That's what they did.

CUOMO: So, nobody cares what the Democrats are saying now.

LEMON: No, no, no. No. I think they do exactly what they did in 2016. You can say what you want about Democrats. Democrats you see wet the bed. They are not strategic when it comes to politics.


CUOMO: You think they give Trump a justice after what happened with Merrick Garland?

LEMON: I think if -- yes. I think they do abide by -- well, it's different because it's different because Democrats did not make the promise. So, you keep comparing things that aren't equal. Democrats did not make the promise in 2016.

CUOMO: That wasn't a promise.

LEMON: Democrats were on the other side. They said --


CUOMO: It wasn't a promise.


CUOMO: It was a B.S. rational to --

LEMON: All right. Semantics.

CUOMO: -- to explain what they were doing to the (Inaudible) of power.

LEMON: Semantics. They didn't allow the -- his nominee to go through. They wouldn't even have a hearing. They said we're not going to do it. So that wasn't Democrats doing that. That was Republicans doing it. And if you come on this side, I don't know what Democrats would do.


CUOMO: Democrats back in 2016 --

LEMON: It would not mean that they were being hypocritical if they did it.

CUOMO: They are being hypocritical. It's not the same --

LEMON: Because it would be -- Chris, it would be the same. They would have the same stance.


LEMON: Democrats -- listen. Listen.

CUOMO: Klobuchar and Biden back then -- not Biden, Klobuchar and others back then were saying hey, you've got to have a full bench. You've got to have a full bench.

LEMON: Because -- because of what the Republicans did in 2016. Democrats didn't do that in 2016. If Democrats actually put the person -- one of the person that was in office now to do it they would be making the same choice. They would be -- they would be consistent with their principles.

CUOMO: I don't know that.

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: And I think that most people don't agree with that idea, which is why they don't care about the difference between left and right. See, until you have a group of people that decide to consistently be better than what they reject, you're going to have people in the exact position they are now, Don. Which is no matter what happens, everybody sticks with their --


LEMON: We're going to have to blow up the entire system. And you know what we're going to have to do?

CUOMO: I don't know, buddy.

LEMON: Yes. What you have to do --

CUOMO: You just got to vote.

LEMON: Honestly, from what your closing argument is, you're going to have to get rid of the Electoral College because the people --


CUOMO: I don't see it.

LEMON: Because the minority in this country decides who the judges are and they decide who the president is. Is that -- is that fair?

CUOMO: You need a constitutional amendment to do that.

LEMON: And if Democrats, if Joe Biden wins, Democrats can stack the courts and they can do that amendment and they can get it passed. That's the danger.

CUOMO: Well, you need two-thirds vote in the Congress and three quarters of the state legislature.

LEMON: They may be able to do that.

CUOMO: Maybe. But that's a tall task. I think if people vote. If you had 80 percent participation in our elections --

LEMON: I'm in so much trouble, you know why.

CUOMO: You have - it's your show. What's better than this? Everybody -- what people are saying when they stop us on the street?

LEMON: I love you, guys, I love it when you argue, whatever. That's me -- I can't -- I got -- I got to get to the business at hand. But go on.

CUOMO: My favorite part of your show, Cuomo, is when you talk to Don. That's not my show.

LEMON: That's the favorite part of your show. That's not the favorite part of my show. You know what they tell me? Chris has had his chance, move on. We don't want to hear from him anymore. We're done.


CUOMO: Nobody tells you that.

LEMON: Yes, they did.

CUOMO: And then we do the whole time nobody has ever said that.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: Go ahead. Do you thing. I'm listening and I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: Did you put the top on my car?

CUOMO: I did.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: It's done. On the -- on the --

LEMON: On the convertible. Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: And I fix the ball cover again.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: It's a bad play. I'll tell you about it next time.

LEMON: Thank you. This is -- I love you.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Here's our breaking news for you. And it is stunning. This is -- let's -- there's a lot going on. So, let's go through this without being emotional, right. We are closer and closer tonight to a terrible milestone in this country.

Nearly 200,000 Americans dead of the coronavirus. That's our count by other counts. Some people say it's 200,000 Already, 200,000 people losing their life on this president's watch. That with the election day just 43 days away and with a political war raging over filling the vacant Supreme Court seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. May she rest in peace.

The President says he'll announce his nominee who he promises will be a woman. He says he'll make that announcement Friday or Saturday. This is crucial, a crucial moment for this country. But what this President wants is to distract you to gaslight you. To make you forget all about the deaths of the nearly 200,000 people, 200,000 of our friends, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our co-workers.


Don't fall for it, everyone. I tell you. We need to see everything that is happening tonight through the lens of this president's mismanagement of the killer virus that has taken the lives of nearly 200 Americans. That's a lot, 200,000, imagine that.

Joe Biden warns that we can't become numb to the death toll.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What worries me now is we have been living with this pandemic for so long, I worry we're risking becoming numb to the toll that is taken on us and our country and communities like this. We can't let that happen. We can't lose the ability to feel the sorrow and the loss and the anger for so many lives lost.


LEMON: How many of them might still be alive today if this president hadn't downplayed the virus? Claiming that it would just go away even without a vaccine.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests, this is going to go away without a vaccine. It's going to go away. And it's we're not going to see it again hopefully after a period of time. But eventually, it's going to go away. The question is will we need a vaccine, at some point, it will probably go away by itself.

We're going to be OK. And it is going away. And it's probably going to go away now a lot faster because of the vaccine. It would go away without the vaccine, George. But it's going to go away a lot faster --


LEMON: So that President you see right there, the person you see right there the President he knew back in February how deadly this virus is. He knew it's far worse than the flu.


TRUMP: It goes through air. Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch you don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air. That's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your -- you know, even your strenuous flu.


LEMON: And in spite of what he knew almost a month later he was asking whether a flu vaccine would help against coronavirus.


TRUMP: You take a solid flu vaccine you don't think that would have an impact or much of an impact on corona? (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: How many Americans would still be alive today if this president had called for every one of us to wear a mask, instead of saying this.


TRUMP: Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute desk, the great Resolute desk. I think wearing a face mask as I greet Presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings and queens. I don't know. Somehow, I don't see it for myself.


LEMON: The president is only been seen in public a handful of times wearing a mask since then. He has mocked Joe Biden for consistently wearing one. And this president's actions or his refusal to act speak loud and clear to his supporters. I want you to listen to what happened before his rally, that was this afternoon, when Ohio's lieutenant governor tried to get the crowd to wear masks.


LT. GOV. JON HUSTED (R-OH): But if you go into a grocery store where you got to wear one. All right?


HUSTED: Hang on. Hang on. Just listen up. Just listen up. All right. I get it.


LEMON: They created those monsters or that monster speaking metaphor. He couldn't even get them to wear Trump branded masks. The president has denied the reality of this deadly virus over and over. Pushing dangerous fake cures like powerful light or ingesting disinfectant.


TRUMP: 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? It sounds interesting.

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

TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant where it 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: He claims he has a natural ability to understand the virus because his uncle taught at MIT.


TRUMP: You know, my uncle is a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like a record number of years. He was a great super-genius. Dr. John Trump. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said how do you know so much about this. Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for President.


LEMON: Boy. Well, the President told Woodward he downplayed the virus, he kept the truth from the American people because he didn't want to cause a panic.


TRUMP: TRUMP: I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.


TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.


LEMON: Joe Biden saying today it was the president who panicked.


BIDEN: Trump panicked. The virus was too big for him. All his life Donald Trump has been bailed out of any problem he faced.


And with this crisis, the real crisis the crisis that required serious presidential leadership, he just wasn't up to it. He froze. He failed to act. He panicked. And America paid the worst price of any nation in the world.


LEMON: What we need to save lives was Presidential leadership. Plain and simple. What we got was a President who kept the truth from Americans, who made empty promises, who told George Stephanopoulos more than a year ago that he'd denounce his healthcare plan in two months.


TRUMP: We're going to produce phenomenal healthcare. And we already have the concept of the plan. And it will be --


TRUMP: We'll be announcing that in about two months. Maybe less. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: No healthcare plan. No healthcare plan last year despite the president's promise, nothing this year either despite another empty promise, this time to Chris Wallace.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You have been in the office three and a half years you don't have a plan.

TRUMP: Well, we haven't had -- excuse me. You heard me yesterday. We're signing a healthcare plan within two weeks, a full and complete healthcare plan.


LEMON: OK, so here's the thing, two weeks, right? That was July, still no healthcare plan. It's almost October now. And then there's another empty promise from last week's ABC town hall.


TRUMP: We're going to be doing a healthcare plan, preexisting, protecting people with preexisting conditions.


LEMON: The Trump administration is supporting a Republican lawsuit that would declare all of Obamacare void with no plan for protection people with preexisting conditions, nearly 54 million Americans.

The choice of our next justice is crucial. Lives are literally at stake. Healthcare for millions and millions of Americans could be thrown into turmoil torn away as the pandemic roars through the country. But for this President, it's all just a big game.


TRUMP: So, let's give me a free poll. We do this. I have (Inaudible) far with it. We do it. Give me a free poll, you know. They go ahead they charge hundreds of thousands of dollars. They interview like 19 people which mean nothing. Here we got a lot of people. Who would like to see a woman justice of the Supreme Court?


TRUMP: Who would like to see a male justice of the Supreme Court? The only one I hear there is women, some women. What's that all about?


LEMON: Wow. If you don't know what the word gauche means, Google it. It's just more than gauche. It's outrageous. Justice Ginsburg hasn't even been buried yet. The future of healthcare for millions of Americans hangs in the billion balance and the President is joking around, disgusting.

Like I said, we need to see all of this. Everything that is happening tonight through the lens of this president's negligent response to the virus that has taken the lives of nearly 200,000 Americans. We cannot forget them.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is our chief medical correspondent here on CNN. He joins us this evening. Good evening to you, doctor. You know, it has taken just seven months to approach 200,000 deaths. We have the highest death toll in the world. And even adjusted for population we are much worse than countries like Germany, France, Canada and Australia. Is that an a-plus?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. No, Don. Obviously. This was not inevitable. It did not need to be this bad. And as you point out there's several countries around the world where the first patients were diagnosed the same day here as the first patients were diagnosed here in the United States where they count the death toll in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands.

Don, you also mention, you know, it took seven months to get where we are now. And it's still hard to belief 200,000 people. But as you know, Don, there's now projections that another roughly 200,000 people could die within three and a half months.

I mean, there's, you know, we talk about this in the past tense. It's not past tense. We're still very much in the middle of it. And as awful as the numbers are, and they are awful.

I talk to some of these families on a regular basis, Don, as awful as it is, there's still things that we can do going forward. Even without the vaccine, even without therapeutic we want those things obviously. But just with basic public health measures. Some of which you were just talking about. If we did those things, a lot of lives could be saved still, Don.

LEMON: Yes. Dr. Gupta, the president says that we are rounding the corner. That's a quote from him. He is saying that as 28 states show spikes in cases. Do you think these increases continue as we head into the winter?

GUPTA: I think there's no question we're starting to see an uptick over all in the number of people who are becoming infected. You know, we never brought this overall pandemic trajectory in the United States down to a contained level.


A contained would be roughly one in a million to a one in a 100,000 new infections per day. That would be 3,500 people roughly in this country per day. We're way over that, right, 35,000 instead. I think what's really worrisome now, Don, is that the numbers are starting to go up. It was already too high a plateau. But they are starting to go up as we go into the colder season and people are going to be indoors.

You know, Don, the only real model or context that we have for this is 1918, 102 years ago. And there were three major waves at that point. First wave was bad. The second and first wave 75,000 people died within six months. The second wave was awful. It was 195,000 people died in the single month, Don. And that month was October.

So that's what we got to prevent. The sort of time frame was very similar to what we're seeing now. We cannot have that happen as we go into the fall season.

LEMON: My gosh. Wow. And Bill Gates saying the best-case scenario is that this ends in 2022. We'll continue to discuss. Dr. Gupta, we're always appreciative. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

GUPTA: You got it, Don. Thanks.

LEMON: With the coronavirus killing more than -- more and more Americans every day the battle is also raging over a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Senator Corey Booker is on the judiciary committee. There he is. We'll talk to him after the break.



LEMON: Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moving closer to securing enough support to confirm a new Supreme Court nominee before the election. Two key Republican senators, Cory Booker -- excuse me -- Cory Gardner, I should say, and Chuck Grassley signaling they are on McConnell side.

So, joining me now is Democratic Senator -- now you know why I said that -- Cory Booker of New Jersey. Sorry, I didn't mean to get you mixed up with someone else. He is a member of the Senate judiciary committee. Senator Booker, thank you, I really appreciate you joining us.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): I appreciate you, man. Thank you for having me.

LEMON: So, Democrats hope to get principal Republicans on board appear to be dwindling. You can't stop this with just Senators Collins and Murkowski. So, what's the plan?

BOOKER: Well, again, we have to focus on trying to make sure we get the other two. Remember, even back in the healthcare debate when they tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we were able in the last moments to flip a Republican, then John McCain to get us over.

But let's be real. This is going to be a very difficult thing to do. And the chances and the odds are against us. And so, we can't lose sight of what we do have control over which is to end Mitch McConnell's reign in the United States Senate as a majority leader. We see how powerful he is with the Democratic president and a Republican President. We need to take back the Senate, focus on this and focus on the White House.

Then we can start dealing with the challenges that might come because so much is at stake with the Supreme Court case.

LEMON: Do you really think you have a John McCain in the ranks now?

BOOKER: I don't. I'm not -- I'm not optimistic with that. I'm taking a sort of clear-eyed view of this.


BOOKER: Knowing all that's -- but knowing all that's at stake from the right to join a union, voting rights, Roe v. Wade, healthcare, climate change. So many things are on the line here. My hope is just like I saw with the healthcare bill, that so many Americans will speak up about these basic fundamental rights that are popular by the way on both sides of the aisle and will not want the court to take hard right cemented turn down in that direction.

LEMON: So, I'm looking at my notes here, because I want to show you what Republicans said about why they wouldn't consider Obama's nominee. This was in 2016.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I want you to use my word against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president whoever it might be make that nomination. And you can use my word against me and you would be right.

We're setting a precedent today. Republicans are. That in the last year, at least of a lame duck eight-year term I would say it's going to be a four-year term that you're not going to fill a vacancy of the Supreme Court based on what we're doing here today. That's going to be the new rule.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So of course, of course, the American people should have a say in the court's direction.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I don't think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president's term. I would say that if it was a Republican president.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): President Obama is eager to appoint Justice Scalia's replacement this year. But do you know in the last 80 years we have not once has the Senate confirmed a nomination made in an election year and now is no year to start. This is for the people to decide. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court.


LEMON: So, what was all that though?

BOOKER: Again, it's painful to listen to those words and to see how they are being violated. And they're not abiding by their word, their word of honor. So, again, is it surprising? No. Is it disappointing? Very, very, very disappointing.

LEMON: President Trump brought you up tonight at his rally in Ohio. Watch this.


TRUMP: I think suburbia has got to wake up. Because if they get in, you know who's in charge, you know who's in charge of the program? Cory Booker. Corry Booker.


TRUMP: So, I think the suburban women and suburban men and husbands and wives and everybody you better get smart because you're not going to have your dreams very much longer if they get in.


LEMON: So, we've heard this before but what is it with this warning from President Trump that you're going to be responsible for ruining suburbia?


BOOKER: You know, first of all, as a guy who grew up in suburbia, and in fact, to be able to move in my parents had to get a white couple to poses them.

LEMON: Right.

BOOKER: It's great activists accomplished that. But that's not the point. The point is that we have another example of the president leading with bigotry and divisiveness and fear mongering and demagoguery.

I mean, it's just -- it's a disgusting cocktail that he's trying to force this country to drink. And I have enough confidence in the suburbs and the cities and in rural areas that America is going to reject him soundly again. And this time not only reject him in the popular vote which he lost by millions. By this time reject him soundly in the Electoral College as well.

LEMON: You think so? But those people were cheering. Do you think people see beyond that?


LEMON: And see it exactly for what it is?

BOOKER: I sincerely believe that we have seen who this president is for four years. Not only have we seen he's driving this country deeper wedges, divisiveness, demeaning, degrading tactics. But in the great test of his presidency he has so resoundingly failed.

What you said and what Sanjay Gupta said. I just hope we don't lose sight of the fact that we are at a point where we should have more like Taiwan's death rate which are measured in the dozens. But instead, because of his failure, we have a measured in the tens, if not now hundreds of thousands.

And so, I really think that this president is now for most Americans we know who he is. We have a lot of work to do. But I feel like we will reject this person and hopefully begin to reclaim a lot of dignity and honor and humility. But most importantly, the ideals of love, the ideals that we need each other as a country that we need -- and shouldn't have presidents that divide us against each other, to try to call us to common purpose and common cause.

LEMON: Senator Booker, always a pleasure. Thank you for your time.

BOOKER: Thank you always, man. Thank you very much.

LEMON: Another major reversal from the CDC, taking down guidance about airborne coronavirus transmission just days after posting it. Are they scaring Americans who worry no one is really in charge?



LEMON: This is very serious. Tonight, this country is on the verge of passing the tragic milestone of 200,000 coronavirus deaths, that, as 28 states are now trending up in new coronavirus cases.

Joining me now to discuss is Erin Bromage, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Erin, good evening. Thank you so much.

Let's talk about the CDC reversing guidance that it posted just this past Friday that warned about airborne transmission, that indoor spaces are especially dangerous. Today, the CDC has returned to the old guidance saying via spokesperson, quote, "a draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency's official web site. CDC is currently updating its recommendation regarding airborne transmission of SARS COV2," meaning SARS COVID-2.

A federal official telling CNN the reversal did not happen because of political pressure and that it was published too soon? What do you think happened here?

ERIN BROMAGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH: I'm just lost for words. I mean, they got the guidance right. It is clear from all the data that we are seeing that droplets and aerosols are responsible for the majority of the transmissions that we are seeing in the community.

They got the guidance absolutely right on Friday. And then this weekend and today they walked it back. They are creating a public relations science communication nightmare by just mishandling the football as many times as they are.

LEMON: This video shows a spread of a cough with a mask and without a mask. Wow. What's the lesson here?

BROMAGE: Well, we know that coughing and sneezing can make these projectiles go great distances. But that's not what we're really talking about with aerosols. We're talking about just breathing, talking, singing, and yelling can actually put out these really fine particles that can travel great distances.

I mean, we've seen it with publication of 26 feet where the virus is moved through the air in an enclosed environment with stale air. So, air that is not being ventilated or being filtered and it travel 26 feet to another person resulting in infection.

We have the data. We know that it goes through the air in these enclosed spaces. CDC just needs to get the messaging right so that we can put in steps in schools, in offices, in buildings that we all work in to make them safe.

LEMON: Did you say 26 feet?

BROMAGE: Twenty-six feet.

LEMON: Really? Wow.


LEMON: OK. That's crazy.


LEMON: So, let's look at -- Erin, let's look at this map, 28 states seeing at least 10 percent uptick in cases over the last week. Is this a Labor Day spike or cold this be the start of the fall wave that we have been worried about for months now?

BROMAGE: It could be a few things. It could be a Labor Day spike. But we also have to remember that many universities did go back in the last couple of weeks and they have really upped their testing.

I mean, if we look at what's happened in Massachusetts, we see that there's a massive amount of testing happening at universities which is picking up a lot more cases in that younger population. So, it could be a full wave. I think it's early for that now.

It could be Labor Day that is responsible for this. But it also could be something more on the lines of increase testing of college students leading to the uptick as well. So, it's probably a number of things.

LEMON: Thank you, Erin. We appreciate it.

BROMAGE: You're welcome, Don.

LEMON: Be safe.

BROMAGE: You, too.

LEMON: President Trump rambling at a Minnesota rally that his supporters have good genes and pushing the racehorse theory? My gosh. A genetic superiority.


And I'll bet you can guess who he thinks is genetically superior.


LEMON: So, this president telling a crowd of predominantly white supporters that they have good genes. I want you to take a listen.


TRUMP: You have good genes. You know that, right?


TRUMP: You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn't it? Don't you believe? The racehorse theory, do you think were so different. You have good genes in Minnesota.


LEMON: OK. So, joining me now is Michael D'Antonio, he is the author of "The Truth About Trump." Michael, thank you very much -- listen, telling people they have good genes so they come from sturdy stock. That's a different thing as James Bowen wrote about that. Talking about slaves and building the country. But not using it as the racehorse eugenics theory.


President Trump, you know, he talks about this racehorse theory. You say that it doesn't surprise you.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. This is something I have heard from Donald Trump Jr. You know, he told me back in 2014 that they believed in the racehorse, that if you look at his mother who was an Olympian and his father who were -- who was wealthy and successful, supposedly, that he was predestined. And that was the word that he used to be above average.

Now, what he got wrong about all of that was his mother never was an Olympian. That's a lie. His father wasn't successful in business. That's a lie.


D'ANTONIO: And this whole deal about racehorse theory it's not only morally reprehensible and socially repugnant, it's bad science. Human beings when put together don't put -- don't create a predictable result. This is far more complex than that. And it's dangerous.

I mean, this is how we got eugenics and 60,000 Americans sterilized against their will and locked away in institutions. So, I think this is a terrible thing for the president to be promoting. But he believes it. I'm sure that he believes it. LEMON: So where does this come from? What's the origin for this

president? Is it what you said about his -- you know, about the Olympians and -- so where did this come from or him?

D'ANTONIO: Well, look, this is the guy whose father was arrested at a KKK rally in 1927. He's a father who barred blacks and Hispanics from applying for apartments in the buildings he owned. Donald attended military academy where no black students were admitted until after 1970. On and on and on you can find evidence of the racism in this family.

And, you know, Mary Trump in her book reported that they thought it was a terrible thing when Jews and Italians moved into their neighborhood in Jamaica states. So, he comes by this honestly. Unfortunately, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. So, he learned it at home. He took it into the world and he lives by it now.

LEMON: You think that President Trump said it's about race. But also, about -- you think what he said is about race but also about class.

D'ANTONIO: Well, it's race and class. I think that he looks down on poor or lower middle-class whites. Because I think he assumes again that there's a genetic issue there which is completely wrong. I think he also he likes the idea of this superiority because it means he was born to rule. That his father who told him you're a killer and you're a king when he was a kid was right.

And so, the fact that he achieved very little on his own in life doesn't disqualify him because he was born to rule. You know, and this is it's very Arian. You know, when he was concerned about being identified as German because of the effects of the two World Wars. His father went around saying he was Swedish. And so did Donald.

You know, you notice they went blonder. They didn't go to French or Italian. They went a little further north.

LEMON: Gosh.

D'ANTONIO: And why does he dye his hair blond? You know, he could have dyed it a nice shade of brown which is his natural color. I think that this is all racism. I think that it's all about being superior to other people by birth.

LEMON: Interesting. Michael D'Antonio, "The Truth About Trump." You know you wrote the book. I appreciate it. I'll talk to you soon.

D'ANTONIO: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: And make sure you join CNN tomorrow for Citizen by CNN. It's a virtual conference featuring interviews with guests like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Loretta Lynch, NBA all-star Chris Paul, and NBC Commissioner Adam Silver. Discussing an array of issues that matter to voters six weeks before election day.

You can stream it starting at 9 a.m. Eastern on I'll be part of it. I'll see you tomorrow. Hopefully you'll see me tomorrow. President Trump's Justice Department labeling New York City, Seattle and Portland as anarchy jurisdictions. New York's governor says it's all political.



LEMON: So, take this. The Justice Department labeling three U.S. cities, New York, Seattle, and Portland, as anarchy jurisdictions. The DOJ making good on the president's threat to withhold federal aid in response to prolonged civil unrest in those cities. It is overtly political and a rubber stamp for the president's campaign rhetoric.


TRUMP: You're never going to have safe areas in those Democrat-run areas. They're not peaceful protests. That's anarchy.


LEMON: Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's all part of the president's divisive politics.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I think he's more concerned with remaining president of the United States, and he thinks his political opportunity is to try to divide this nation. Is it going to happen? No, because it's illegal and it's unconstitutional. But it's politics. It's politics for the next few weeks going up to the November election. That's all this is.



LEMON: I should note, and this is important, cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, two states that also experienced unrest over the summer but are seen as competitive in the presidential election, they were not labeled by the DOJ.

At this very moment I'm sitting in the so-called -- in a so-called anarchy jurisdiction. Things are OK. And look, that's Times Square tonight. Do you see all the lawlessness? Do you see the insurrection? Of course not. Because it's unreal. The president only wants you to think it is. Those are live pictures, by the way.

Coronavirus deaths in the country on the brink of 200,000. But the president insists he deserves an a-plus.


LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It's 11 p.m. here on the East Coast.


Forty-three days until election day. And we are following multiple breaking news stories that could impact how Americans cast their votes in the 2020 election.