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Don Lemon Tonight

New York Gov. Cuomo Faces Calls For Resignation From Powerful Dems In Wake Of A.G. Report; Some GOP Governors Clash With Biden Over COVID Spike; Will Governor Cuomo Resign?; Obama Scales Back Big Birthday Bash Amid COVID Worries; Trump And Supporters Go After American Olympians; Passenger Duct-Taped After Allegedly Groping Flight Crew, Throwing Punches. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 04, 2021 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): Tonight, the pressure is building on New York's embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. The head of the state's Democratic Party says Cuomo has to go. And the state assembly has enough votes to impeach him after New York's attorney general released a report on allegations Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women.

Also tonight, the defense secretary expected to require all active- duty U.S. troops to get the COVID vaccine. It could happen as soon as this week. Cases nationwide are spiking. Now, more than 90,000 new cases each day.

And Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis sniping at Joe Biden after the president called on him and other GOP governors to help fight the spread of COVID or get out of the way.

Joining me now are CNN political commentator Charlie Dent and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Gentlemen, good evening to both of you.

Charlie, you're up first. The day after President Biden was urging Republican governors to help or get out of the way, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is firing back. Listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): His solution is he wants to have the government force kindergarteners to wear masks in school. He doesn't believe the parents should have a say in that. He thinks that should be a decision for the government. I can tell you, in Florida, the parents are going to be the ones in charge to that decision.

Joe Biden suggests that if you don't do lockdown policies, then you should -- quote -- "get out of the way." Let me tell you this. If you're coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I'm standing in your way.


LEMON (on camera): So, Charlie, look, we're in the middle of a public health crisis. Florida is the epicenter and DeSantis is making all of this about politics.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Don, I would urge Governor DeSantis and other Republican governors to listen to Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas, who deeply regrets his decision to sign a bill into law that restricted his ability to impose or local jurisdictions' ability to impose mask mandates.

No one likes to impose those mandates. But it seems to me that we have to give local authorities some flexibility to deal with the crisis in their communities. It's as simple as that.

And what's even more disturbing is that many of the same people, I'm not saying Governor DeSantis, many of the same people who are out there fighting mask mandates are also some of the same people who are casting doubts on the efficacy of vaccinations.

And, you know, for those of us who are vaccinated, we think it's now time that some of these leaders start using sticks, not just carrots --


DENT: -- to get people vaccinated. You just mentioned the secretary of defense is likely to impose a mandate. Many leading businesses are doing the same thing. If elected officials aren't able to do this, then I think it's going to be up to the private sector, leaders in the private sector and other governmental entities, to stand up and do what needs to be done to get people vaccinated so we get out of this mess.

LEMON (on camera): Ron, here is the former vice president speaking out about COVID tonight.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to encourage anyone here who hasn't got the shot, who is eligible, to go get it. And if you're not sure about it, go ask your doctor and get the very best advice that you can.

As we do our part, each and every one of us, to put this pandemic in the past, we need to also stand firm on the principle that we can defeat this virus without lockdowns and mandates.


PENCE: We can protect the vulnerable and get our kids back to school.


PENCE: And we can keep America open without forfeiting our freedoms.


LEMON (on camera): Umm --


LEMON: Look, Ron, it's good that he's telling people to get vaccinated but he is saying everyone needs to do their part to put this behind us. Doesn't that mean not handcuffing ourselves by banning things like mask mandates?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, Don, first of all, to give you a sense of the stakes in this dispute, I calculated today, the states where Republican governors have barred school districts from imposing mask mandates if they think they are necessary, enrolled 12.8 million K-12 students.

One quarter of all of the students in the country will be operating in districts where their parents have to send them to school without assurance that everyone in the school is going to be wearing masks. I mean, that is the reality that we're now facing.

And, you know, the president came in wanting to build cooperation with Republican governors after all of the conflict between Trump and Democratic governors during the first year of the pandemic when he at times openly threatened to cut off aid to states where the governors had criticized him.

So cooperation has been their watchword from day one. They've had weekly conference calls with governors, Jeff Zients to coordinate or talk to two or three governors a day.


BROWNSTEIN: I think that left them a little slow to make the turn when some of these Republican governors, not all but certainly some like Abbott and DeSantis and Kemp and Ducey in Arizona, went the other way now, actively impeding the imposition of public health measures.

And so Biden did call them out yesterday. I've talked to activists who said that is unlikely by itself to change their behavior --

LEMON: Yeah.

BROWNSTEIN: -- and the question is the administration going to put any kind of deeds behind the words in terms of pressuring the governors. So far, the message I'm getting from the White House is no.

LEMON: I want to go back to something that Charlie said just a moment ago, Ron, when he talked about Asa Hutchinson, you doing a 180 now.


LEMON: Why are some Republican governors doing that? What do you think it is?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think Asa Hutchinson is at the moderate end of the governors who imposed these restrictions. But reality -- I mean, they're getting mugged by reality. You know, the problem we have is that the states, these are states with low vaccination rates to begin with, that have moved most aggressively to stop local governments, not only school districts but cities, from having almost any kind of public health tools in their -- you know, in their belt to try to respond to this, and that is where the crisis is germinating.

And as we talked about before, it isn't only a question of what this means for Florida and Texas and Georgia and Arizona and Arkansas. If the virus is raging in those states, it is highly unlikely we are going to get control of it everywhere else.

You hear more of what Representative Dent just said, is the future of dealing with this putting more burdens on the vaccinated or pressuring the unvaccinated? Kaiser Family Foundation poll, real quick, on majority --

LEMON: I have it right here. Let me get the numbers.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, 53 percent, I think it was, said that they believe the vaccine is more dangerous than the disease itself. That suggests to me that you're not going to get them just with carrots. You're going to need some kind of sticks to move this up, the vaccination rate, up to the level that we need.

LEMON: Let me -- I want to explain the numbers that were up there. This is the Kaiser Family Foundation study that was just up. It shows that 73 percent of unvaccinated adults aren't worried that they'll get seriously sick from COVID.


LEMON: Fifty-three percent of unvaccinated adults think getting vaccinated is a bigger risk to their health than getting a vaccine. Charlie, is this a result of more than a year of misinformation that's spread by the GOP?

DENT: That is just such a discouraging number. I think all the fearmongering that's going on, all the misinformation from the anti- vaxxers, has taken a huge toll.

I mean, I can deal with people who are fearful. They're afraid they might get sick for a short period of time. We can deal with that population. But those who are wilfully ignorant, those who, you know, are dogmatic in their beliefs, you know, I don't know how we persuade them at this point. You can't yell at them. But we need to get them to a better place.

And yes, Don, this is the result of, you know, massive disinformation campaign by any number of people, many of whom know better and many of whom have been vaccinated themselves and are working in environments where they must be vaccinated. That's what's so sad about this whole situation.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Now, I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist. He is also a candidate for Florida governor. Congressman, good evening. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining.

REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D-FL): Don, thank you. It is great to be with you, sir.

LEMON (on camera): Florida is far and away leading the country in coronavirus cases and has more hospitalizations than at any point in the pandemic. The governor, Ron DeSantis, is using this time to make really a public health problem political. Here is more of him going after President Biden right here.


DESANTIS: We can either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state. And I can tell you, Florida, we're a free state. People are going to be free to choose, to make their own decisions about themselves, about their families, about their kids' education, and about putting food on the table. Why don't you do your job?


DESANTIS: Why don't you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you. Thank you.


LEMON (on camera): What's your reaction to that?

CRIST: That's pretty immature and extremely defensive. President Biden is giving good, solid leadership on this issue that is really focused on the safety of our children and our families and our nation.

Governor DeSantis's reaction to that is to be dismissive because he's chosen to be playing Russian roulette with my fellow Floridians, which is a disaster. We're about to start school, Don, with our kids next week. In all 67 counties, almost three million kids will go back to school.


CRIST: He has put out an executive order late last week saying that local school districts cannot, they are prohibited from having a mask mandate. I mean, it's unconscionable.

He doesn't talk about vaccines because he got checked on it by some conservative radio host. They called him a sell-out for doing so. The man is so, unfortunately, politically-motivated toward the White House in 2024 and capturing that base that he is forgetting Floridians, my fellow Floridians --

LEMON: Yeah.

CRIST: -- who want masks, who want their kids to be safe because they're reasonable people with common sense.

LEMON: Well, listen, congressman, the White House says that Florida has a 23 percent of all new COVID hospitalizations in the entire country right now. Officials are warning 60 percent of state hospitals will face a critical staff shortage in the next week. What does the state need to do to help these hospitals?

CRIST: Well, we need to have leadership. We don't have -- we have a leadership void, Don, unfortunately. We need to have a governor who says getting a vaccine, getting it now, getting it as quickly as you can is the most important thing you can do.

We also need a governor in Governor DeSantis to say, you know, wearing a mask is a smart thing to do and not signing executive orders banning it, and then threatening to take money from school districts who actually incorporate having a mask requirement to protect and keep our kids safe.

When we're kids, we grow up, Don, and you learn the rule early on, safety first, safety first. Well, I don't know why Governor DeSantis doesn't get that, except he's politically paralyzed by having his eye focused on the republican nomination in '24. It's sad.

LEMON: You mentioned just moments ago about schools reopening in Florida soon. The governor says that parents should decide about masks. But schools are worried about keeping their students and their staff alive and healthy. Who should decide about masks?

CRIST: Doctors, health care professionals. I had a forum today, a Zoom forum, which most of them are these days, with a pediatrician from University of Miami, and I asked her point blank, I said, what is the most important thing we need to do as it relates to masks? She said, wear them, we need a mandate, it's important to do that.

And, you know, my dad is a doctor, my sister is a doctor, I'm not, but I listen to doctors, I listen to health care professionals. Governor DeSantis should do the same.

LEMON: Yeah. He is also saying that Florida will not mandate vaccines. But schools already require vaccinations for diseases like measles, mumps. Should Florida schools require vaccines for children once they are approved by the FDA?

CRIST: We need to consider that, Don. Listen, you know, when I was a kid, we had vaccines for the measles, I still have the scar on my shoulder. You know, people did not question it. For some reason now they've been politicized and I don't really get that and it's unfortunate because it is costing lives.

So I think what we need to do is, again, fall back, when you're in an area that is not your expertise, fall back on the experts, physicians, health care professionals, nurses, those who are on the front line and understand what's happening here. Take their advice. Don't be too arrogant to do that. Be willing to listen.

My dad used to always tell me and my three sisters, God gave you two ears and one mouth. Probably good to respect (INAUDIBLE), and I try to.

LEMON: Yeah. (INAUDIBLE) gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason, right? Thank you, congressman. I appreciate it.

CRIST: Thank you, Don. My pleasure.

LEMON (on camera): New York Governor Andrew Cuomo refusing to step down even with the very real possibility of impeachment looming on the horizon and members of his own party trying to convince him to resign. What happens next?


JAY JACOBS, NEW YORK DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE CHAIR: The best course of action right now would be to just step aside.





LEMON: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo refusing to resign even though the majority of state assembly members say that they are ready to impeach him. This coming after the state's attorney general released a damning report detailing accusations that the governor sexually harassed 11 women and created a hostile work environment.

Joining me now is New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and New York State Assembly Member John T. McDonald, III. Thank you both for joining. It is a very important topic and I'm so happy that you're both here to discuss.

So state Senator Biaggi, I'm going to start with you. You used to work for Governor Cuomo and you've been open about feeling uncomfortable around him even after you left the job. What is your reaction to this report?

STATE SEN. ALESSANDRA BIAGGI (D-NY): I mean, first, I want to say that I commend the brave women who came forward. It took an incredible amount of courage to report their interactions with the governor and their instances of sexual harassment.

I think what the A.G.'s report confirmed for many of us was really what most of us knew to be true, was that the governor has fostered and upheld a toxic work environment that is harmful to women. His staff has perpetuated this toxic environment.

And now, what's concluded, as we all know, is that there are violations of both federal and state law. And so his actions ultimately have become an abuse of power. And they don't just impact those individual women who came forward, but they also impact the function and the integrity of the entire New York State government.

LEMON: Listen. Assembly McDonald, I had a similar conversation with Jay Jacobs earlier. I'm not sure if you saw it. But, you know, it seems like you have the votes to impeach the governor. How soon could this happen?

JOHN T. MCDONALD III, NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMEMBER: Well, I -- we definitely -- I can tell you from being in conference yesterday with my colleagues, there is a will to move forward.


MCDONALD: Like anything else, though, we need to be prepared to go into battle. You know, people may not like to hear this, but the governor is a smart individual. He will be prepared if he wants to fight this. Therefore, we need to be prepared just as well.

I do believe in the coming weeks, we should be coming close to getting prepared to file the articles for impeachment, which starts to process. And, of course, when those articles are introduced, the governor is no longer the governor, and then we move on to the next step.

LEMON: Assembly member, what if the governor tries to bargain and says that, you know, let me get through my term and I won't run for reelection? Would you entertain that idea?

MCDONALD: I don't think that's going to work, I'll be honest with you. You know, naturally, as you might guess, the legislature and executive, there's always going to be friction between the bodies. That's the course of the process.

But this report, as the senator pointed out, and I support those women as well, their bravery is second to none, this report was jarring to many individuals and, you know, you can't pick one of the 11. All 11 were egregious in many aspects.

But the reality is the goodwill, whatever goodwill was built up over the years between the governor and many members of legislature, has been lost. I think that's something that everyone needs to be very keenly aware of.

LEMON: Senator Biaggi, you're a survivor of sexual abuse. Would anything short of Cuomo leaving or being removed from office be an injustice to the 11 brave women who spoke out against him? What do you want to see happen?

BIAGGI: I want to see the governor really put his love for New York first. We I think can at least give him the benefit of the doubt that he does care about the state. But if he really has a devotion to it and cares about the 19.5 million people who are in this state, then what he will do is to resign.

And I want to just respond to something that the assembly member said and really just make very clear to those who are listening that the standard for impeachment in New York is willful and corrupt misconduct. The A.G.'s report is credible, it is thorough, it is confirmed that the governor violated state and federal law and sexually harassed 11 women.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee investigation is not a necessary step on the path to impeachment. The assembly is responsible for creating those articles of impeachment and delivering them to the Senate so the Senate can conduct a full and thorough impeachment trial.

I think we can all agree that the governor is no longer fit to lead our state. It's absolutely our responsibility to make sure that we have somebody at the helm who respects and cares about New Yorkers. It's important, most importantly, that we act with urgency.

Our state is in a pivotal moment because we're also navigating the delta variant, distributing COVID-19 relief funds, and so we cannot afford to continue business as usual. And also, frankly, we cannot continue to act out of fear.

LEMON: She mentions the report, Assembly Member McDonald. That report describes a toxic culture in the governor's office. Do you think anyone else besides the governor, besides Governor Cuomo, should be held accountable for this environment?

MCDONALD: You know, I think that's going to be part of the continued investigation. The reality is, and I'll give you a good example, what really caught my attention, once again, I'm not putting one over any of the 11 that were mentioned in the report, but the whole situation with the state trooper was extremely troubling to me, extremely troubling that a young lady was hand-picked to jump over all the requirements, be put on his special detail.

I find that extremely troubling in many aspects because, quite frankly, somewhere along the line in the leadership of the state police back then, not now, back then, somebody was complicit. That's totally inappropriate, inexcusable, and requires further investigation.

BIAGGI: Don, can I respond to that question, too?

LEMON: Yeah, that's why I'm quiet, I'm letting you talk, go on.

BIAGGI: Okay. Thank you. I think, you know, one thing that's really important for all of your viewers to know is that the governor did not act alone. The governor acted with enablers. The governor's power was made calcified by those around him who carried out his orders.

It's really important that, you know, there's one part of the attorney general's report that says the odd part about these workplace stories is that it's not even close to what it really was like to work there day to day, it was so much worse.

And so that was a culture that started at the top, but it was enforced and enabled by those around him, and that's what made it a toxic environment. It was designed to undermine staff. People were belittled and berated.

[23:24:57] BIAGGI: And even the report goes as far to show that there are members of the governor's executive senior team, inner circle, who not only attempted to leak personnel files but attempted to also discredit the women who had come forward and really put everything on the line.

These women had everything to lose. And they took a stand because their treatment and the way that they were beginning their careers in public service was shattered by somebody who saw them as targets and preyed on them.

And so, again, the governor did not act alone. He acted certainly with impunity but that impunity was fostered and enabled by those around him, especially those in his senior staff.

LEMON: State senator, assembly member, thank you. Quickly, if you can, assembly member, I know you want to respond but --

MCDONALD: I just want to say one thing to the senator's point. What we have witnessed in this report, what we've seen reported, is a true contradiction to what most of us have stood for, to protect women, to advance women, to give them opportunity. And therefore, all those who are responsible need to be held accountable.

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you both. I appreciate having you and come back to discuss the situation. Thank you so much.

The expected 400 guests plus staff, but now the former president, Barack Obama, is changing plans because of coronavirus.




LEMON: The former president, Barack Obama, scaling back the guest list for his big 60th birthday bash in Martha's Vineyard on Saturday, citing fears about the surging delta variant. The party will now include only family and close friends.

Let's discuss now. CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner is here and Joe Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard School of Public Health, who is the author of "Healthy Buildings." Good to see both of you.

And Joe, I haven't seen you in a while. It's been a while. I see Dr. Reiner every night. He's our nightly house call.

So, Joe, I'm going to start with you. I got to ask about this party.


LEMON: You know, they could have held it and technically been in accordance with the state guidelines since it was going to be outside. But they were looking at, you know, hundreds of people, possibly 600 people between guests and staff. It's the summer. There are lots of events, big and small, weddings, concerts, et cetera. What do people need to know?

ALLEN: Thanks for having me back on, Don. It is good to see you as well. I think people have to be concerned here that the delta variant is different. We know this is much more highly transmissible. And so it feels like another moment of uncertainty here in terms of where we are as a country. That said, some basic fundamentals still apply.

Being at -- first and foremost, the vaccines are safe and effective. That's the path out of this. That's how you stay safe. In addition, events outdoors, we know are much, much safer and okay. If you're vaccinated and outdoors, I think that's a low risk activity.

We have to be careful in places where there are a lot of cases and where there are a lot of people who are unvaccinated. We see what is happening through the south where this delta variant rips through and finds people who are unvaccinated.

I'm less concerned with an outdoor party where presumably a lot of people, if not all of them, are vaccinated. I'm more concerned with places with low vaccination rates.

LEMON: So, that said, was it the right move to do to make it smaller, especially with what's going on?

ALLEN: I think it is because we need to send a signal here that this is serious and that we've seen a rise in cases --

LEMON: Gotcha.

ALLEN: -- around the country.

LEMON: All right. Dr. Reiner, do you agree?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION PROGRAM AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Oh, yeah. Look, it just wasn't bad optics for the former president to have a massive party during the pandemic, really horrible optics, but it was bad public health.

Look, remember what happened just a few weeks ago in Provincetown, where --

LEMON: Yeah.

REINER: -- large numbers of people, many of them vaccinated, got together, and there was a huge outbreak. It makes zero sense. I think it actually would not just send a wrong message, I think it was foolhardy to do it, it was good to take that down.

LEMON: Thank you for that. So, Dr. Reiner, sources are telling CNN that Defense Secretary Austin is going to mandate mandatory vaccines for active-duty troops as soon as this week. Do you think this will have -- is going to have a ripple effect in the communities and across the country?

REINER: Yeah, what a great decision to do that. Remember, right at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, there was a massive outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, where a quarter of the ship's crew, about 1,200 sailors, were affected. So in close quarters, the military is filled with people living in close quarters, this virus is very efficient.

So, but more than protecting our troops, which is a very important goal, you know, this country reveres the military. And if the military, you know, firmly embraces mandatory vaccines and our 1.5 million active-duty troops are vaccinated, I think a lot of people are going to say, if it's good enough for the military, it's good enough for me.

LEMON: Yeah. Joe, I want to put up this new poll, okay, put it up right here. It shows 53 percent of unvaccinated Americans think that getting the shot is a bigger risk to their health than actually catching COVID.


LEMON: Listen, I read your new article in "The Washington Post" where you argue that we're past the point of volunteer vaccines and mandates are the only way to protect people at this point. Why do you say that?

ALLEN: Look at that stat right there in the poll you just put up. We've hit the limit of the voluntary approach. The Biden administration has done a terrific job of getting this vaccine within five miles of every single person. Everyone who wanted a vaccine has had the chance to get it. We tried free beer, we tried million-dollar lotteries, and we hit the limit, it's not enough for delta.

And so we've stalled and the vaccine mandates are the only way. Here, businesses see this, Don. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Harvard, Morgan Stanley, Disney, Broadway, they all see that this is the path to getting open, bringing their customers back, having people feel safe.

And, Don, it reminds me of March 2020, where people were very concerned about this new virus and it was when the NBA cancelled the game --

LEMON: Right.

ALLEN: -- that everybody's eyes widened up and said this is real. And I feel like this is the same moment. These businesses get it and they're leading the way and now we see others following.

LEMON: Yeah, it's what's happening with SoulCycle, Equinox, gyms and also here. You can't go to the theater unless you show a vaccination card. So, yeah, this is where we are.

Dr. Reiner, Dr. Fauci is warning if the majority of people aren't vaccinated, there's ample chance for a more aggressive variant than delta and -- look, I just got to wonder. While vaccines are readily available here, they're not all around the world. So, how much of a risk are we looking at here with multiple variants from all over the place?

REINER: Yeah. Well, delta is bad enough. This is what viruses do. They mutate, they change overtime, which is why you don't want large numbers of people harbouring this virus for a long period of time because the virus will continue to change.

So, you know, this administration has a big challenge not only to vaccinate this country, but we need to vaccinate the world. We just can't say, you know, we just can't lock ourselves in our borders because the virus doesn't care. The virus will reach us. If it mutates abroad, it will come to the United States. So it's in the United States public health interest to vaccinate the world. We need to be a leader in that.

LEMON: Joe and Dr. Reiner, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Good to see both of you.

REINER: My pleasure.

ALLEN: Thanks for having me.

LEMON (on camera): So they're rooting against Olympian, bullying athletes, calling them names. And the thing is these are Americans going after Team USA.

Plus, a passenger threw punches on a plane, then this happened.







LEMON (on camera): With the Olympics underway in Tokyo, publicity is criticizing public -- excuse me, publicly criticizing America's Olympic athlete has become a sport all its own among the former president's right-wing followers here at home. Trump cheering a loss by the U.S. women soccer team, which he blames on what he calls "wokeism," which he claims ruins people.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The U.S. women's soccer team is a very good example of what is going on.


TRUMP: Earlier this week, they unexpectedly lost to Sweden, three to nothing.


TRUMP: And Americans were happy about it. You prove that point before I even said it.


LEMON (on camera): Jesus, I mean, all sweaty, probably can't even climb up the stairs and he is talking about Olympic athletes. Remember that one of the team star players, Megan Rapinoe, has been a fierce critic of Trump.

Let's discuss now with Jemele Hill, contributing writer for "The Atlantic." It's so upsetting. I can't even get my words out.


LEMON: What is wrong with people, Jemele? What is that?

JEMELE HILL, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I just look at that clip and, you know, why is he so dumb? Like I just don't -- I don't know why he insists on doing these things.

He's on social media, he's out of the public eye, and I guess this is what he feels like his only way to stay relevant, is to attack Americans, who in many respects have put far more on the line than he has, who have actually done something wonderful for this country and how these athletes have committed themselves to their sports, how they represented this country.

And so to be under attack by other Americans is just really disgusting, Don. That's the only thing I can think of it.

LEMON: I apologize, Megan. I met her. We hung out in the makeup room here in the green room and I'm mispronouncing her name. Megan, I'm sorry. Did you ever think that you would see a former president of the United States really against a U.S. Olympic team celebrating their loss, even encouraging the crowd to boo them?

HILL: No. But I also didn't expect somebody like him to get elected. So guess fair is fair. You know, I think the thing that is hard about watching that is hearing the cheering section.


HILL: I expect Donald Trump to be ignorant, to be racist, to be xenophobic, to be all the things that he is. What I don't expect is for other Americans to join in on this party --

LEMON: Right.

HILL: -- and to pile on to athletes who have done nothing again but represent their sport, represent this country to the finest degree possible, who still compete for this country, even though many of them are representing marginalized communities who have been under attack by policies that were ushered in by Donald Trump and many other people cheering on for their demise. So, that is not -- we don't look at the sacrifice of that, of representing a country that sometimes rejects you, which they do heartily, easily and with their full selves. And so to see other Americans attack them, it's just -- again, it's just something that they don't deserve in the slightest.

LEMON: One of those Trump propaganda outlets that call themselves "news" (ph) hosted a segment called the "Woke Olympics," where he said that he took pleasure in seeing the U.S. men's basketball and women's soccer teams lose.

Players on both of these teams are outspoken about racial justice, about equal pay, about LGBTQ rights and other causes. Is it standing up for what you believe in about as American as it gets?

HILL: I thought it was. I was under the impression that we valued the ability to love our country, but also point out where it could be better. Do you know what's so funny about all these people that are suddenly performing by saying that they are happy that U.S. athletes lost in certain sports? I guarantee you that if he saw Jayson Tatum on the street, all he would do is walk up to him and ask for autograph. That's it.

And so that is the other part of it that bothers me is that they're just talking a big game and they can't bus the grape with a hammer (ph) as they say.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen, we have to remember what happened with Tommy Smith. Remember Muhammad Ali? I mean, people despised him and then he ended up becoming a hero to most people in this country. Let's hope the tables will turn one day but we seem to be on uncharted waters.

When Simone Biles announced that she was withdrawing from the first event putting her mental health first, she was immediately attacked, Jemele. People on the right called her a quitter, weak, unpatriotic and -- quote -- "selfish sociopath." I mean, she is universally considered the greatest female gymnast of all-time, and she doesn't owe anyone anything.

HILL: No, she doesn't. I mean, I would even take it a step further and say she is the best athlete in the world right now. And considering the way she has dominated her sport and the fact that she has four maneuvers that are named after her, the most decorated gymnast of all time, all that she's done, she had nothing to prove at these Olympics.

Matter of fact, it was a miracle she was even there. I mean, she is the only -- or she was rather the only gymnast who was competing who was linked to the awful, horrific Larry Nassar thing. And she still showed up for our country anyway. And despite having to deal with the loss of an aunt and having to deal with all these other challenges, she still wanted to perform and show up for this country.

And so to see a lot of people immediately turned their backs on her, it just was really a distasteful moment. Unfortunately, it wasn't a surprising one.

LEMON: Thank you very much, Jemele. Good to see you. Happy summer. Looks like you're enjoying it.


LEMON: I see the tan. It's on and popping.

HILL: Can you see it?


HILL: Listen, let me stunt with this tan, Don.

LEMON: Hey, listen, live your best life. We have been through a lot. Thank you, Jemele. I'll see you soon.

HILL: Thank you.

LEMON: So from Olympic athletes to the best of human behavior, right, and to the worse. He allegedly groped flight attendants, threw some punches. Then this happened. We've got the full story, next.




LEMON (on camera): Tonight, Frontier Airlines is doing a major about- face, now saying it supports a crew of flight attendants it initially suspended after they were forced to restrain with duct tape an unruly passenger who allegedly assaulted them. The incident caught on video.

Here is CNN's Pete Muntean.



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New video from a weekend Frontier Airlines flight shows what flight attendants called the ugliest case of an unruly passenger yet.

UNKNOWN: Shut up (bleep).

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Miami-Dade police alleged that passenger, Maxwell Berry, ordered two drinks, spilled a third on himself, emerged from the bathroom shirtless, then groped the breasts of two flight attendants.

Police say a third flight attendant was assigned to watch Berry when he started throwing punches.

Video then shows a flight attendant taping the passenger to his seat, prompting Frontier to initially suspend its flight crew from the job.

TYRI SQUYRES, FRONTIER AIRLINES: After an incident like this, we are going to do, you know, a thorough investigation and really review what happened, how it happened, and how it was handled.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Now, in a new statement, the airline says it is supporting the crew and the prosecution of Berry by law enforcement, an announcement that came after criticism from Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants.

SARA NELSON, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: All the crew had on board that flight for any kind of restraint was duct tape. And so if we want flight attendants to be using other procedures, then we have to make that possible for them to have other tools in procedures to use.



MUNTEAN (voice-over): The TSA is restarting flight attendants self- defense training as in-flight issues are becoming more common. Of 3,700 cases reported to the FAA this year, so far, only 99 have triggered enforcement action. Police have already charged Berry with three counts of battery. But flight attendants say prosecution of other problem passengers needs to be just as swift.

Are you scared?

CARRIE, FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Sometimes, a little bit, yeah. You get on a plane for the people and some of them aren't very happy and you just never know what's going to happen.

MUNTEAN (on camera): One flight attendant union surveyed 5,000 of its members and 85 percent of them reported dealing with an unruly passenger in this year alone. Of those, just shy of one in every five said the passenger became physical with the flight crew. By the way, the passenger in this incident, 22-year-old Maxwell Berry of Ohio, is not responding to our requests for comment. Don?


LEMON (on camera): Pete Muntean, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.