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Don Lemon Tonight

Booster Shots Now Offered to Americans; Lesson Learned for Ignoring the Vaccine; U.S. Ensures All Americans Are Safe Back Home; Biden Acted on His Predecessors' Plan; Right Time but Lack of Preemptive Planning; Parents and School Board Fight Over Mask Mandates. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 18, 2021 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Thank you for watching the coverage to pick up with "DON LEMON TONIGHT" and its big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We got to get vaccinated. Just so you know, I know everyone is going to be saying I got soap in my eye today. And it's red and I tried to rinse it out with eye drops and it just made it worse. So, I don't know what people will be saying, what happened to Don Lemon's eye? Is he OK? I got a little soap in it, in the shower.

CUOMO: Good to know.

LEMON: Yes. But anyways, back to the thing. Get vaccinated. I heard your conversation with Harry about red and the blue. And listen, I think, you know, I hope clearer minds prevail regardless of ideology and political affiliation. But there are still groups of people out there who are fighting people to, you know, keep their masks off and you saw what happened in Los Angeles. I'm sure with people maskers and anti-maskers.

There is only one group who is really fighting against it, actively. Other people may be doing it, you know, vaccines, masks, however they feel in their normal lives and the polling works out the way that Harry has it. But there is a big -- there is a group out there, an active group literally, physically, fighting to keep masks off people's faces.

CUOMO: Yes. That's called 'covidiocy.' Those are COV-idiots. I think the mistake is to write off all Republicans as that. I think Republicans and Democrats --

LEMON: Not all Democrats.

CUOMO: -- is done. I think right and left --


LEMON: Mostly Trumpsters.

CUOMO: -- is done.


CUOMO: I think the binary system is a disease. It has to change in this country. I believe the new demographic is the vaccinated. They are Republican, Democrat, left, right, brown, black, white, anything you want to make as a designation. You have the majority of them are vaccinated which means that they're putting sense first.


CUOMO: Focus on them.


CUOMO: That's who our leaders need to speak to.

LEMON: And everyone, listen. I'm going to get it to at the end of what I'm going to say in the opening of this show. But if there is a message to anyone who needs to be vaccinated, you're going to hear it tonight. It has something to do with what I did last week when you were gone. So, I'm going to get to it. I'm not wearing black just so you know this is blue and green. Not black and white. Just so you know I'm not --

CUOMO: It's good to know.

LEMON: -- abiding your side.

CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon. Because you got something right here.

LEMON: Yes. I know. It's from the shower. Thank you, sir. I'll see you later.

CUOMO: Nobody cares. I love you.

LEMON: You as well. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.

We have to get to the business of this. This is what the White House is facing tonight. Now nearly five times -- nearly five times as many Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 as there were just two months ago and with the Delta variant raging, the president announcing a plan for booster shots, even though 30 percent of people who are eligible haven't even gotten their first shots yet.

And as Americans and the world watch the disaster unfold in Afghanistan, as they watch scenes of desperation like in this in a never before seen video at the airport --

President Joe Biden now saying troops may stay past his August 31st deadline if all Americans are not yet evacuated.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: All troops are supposed to be out by August 31st. Even if Americans and our Afghan allies are still trying to get out? They're going to leave?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're going to do everything in our power to get all Americans out and our allies out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that mean troops will stay beyond August 31st if necessary?

BIDEN: It depends on where we are and whether we can get -- ramp these numbers up to 5,000 to 7,000 a day coming out. If that's the case, then all be out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Because we've got like 10,000 to 15,000 Americans in the country right now, right?

And you are committed to making sure that troops stay until every American who wants to be out is out?

BIDEN: Yes. Yes.


LEMON (on camera): So, U.S. troops could be in Afghanistan past August 31st if there are Americans waiting to be evacuated. But the president wasn't as definite about our Afghan allies.

That as the pictures coming out of Afghanistan are nothing short of chaos. You hear that, crowds of desperate people, mobbing the airport in another exclusive video, hoping against hope to get on a plane. Gunfire heard repeatedly, though the Taliban didn't appear to be shooting at people? And President Biden says this --


STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you don't think this could have been handled. This exit could have been handled better in any way? No mistakes?

BIDEN: No, I don't think it could have been handled in a way that -- we're going to go back in hindsight and look. But the idea that somehow there is a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens. I don't know how that happened.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So, for you that was always priced into the decision?



LEMON (on camera): All right. So, the president says chaos always priced into the decision. But just last month he called the drawdown orderly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way for our ties in the safety of our troops as they depart that the jury is still out. But the likelihood there is going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.


LEMON (on camera): And now the import in Kabul is the center of it all, the center of the desperation, the center of the chaos. The U.S. embassy in Kabul warning it can't ensure safe passage to the airport, despite the Pentagon saying that the Taliban is guaranteeing safe passage.

More and more people trying to get in, trying to escape. Some of them so desperate that they are passing their babies overhead hoping U.S. troops will save them.


MATT ZELLER, TRUMAN NATIONAL SECURITY PROJECT FELLOW: That was taken by a relative of mine that was at the north gate in the airport in Kabul. And exactly what you are saying, people are so desperate to get away from the Taliban. And I can't, I mean, as a parent, I can't believe that that's what they are having to do, that they are just handing their children off to complete strangers and bucket brigades, they're passing them to the front of the line in the hopes that they might be able to convince the U.S. military to at least take their kids. If you didn't -- I don't think we need any other argument than that.


LEMON (on camera): And if you are not watching CNN's Clarissa Ward, you are missing what is happening there. She's on the ground doing a hell of a job in Kabul. During one of her live shots, rut gunshots rang out.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's definitely chaotic, it's definitely dangerous, I will say this, the Taliban appears to be trying to disperse the crowds and there are crowds there of young man who seemed to be disengaging and like criminal activity.

I don't know if you heard that -- they're kind of running towards the Taliban and then running away from them again almost like it's a game. But you know, when there's bullets, firing like that, Brianna and John, it's clearly not a game.


LEMON (on camera): One man in the crowd pleading for help from America.


WARD: So, what's your message to America right now?

UNKNOWN: And this -- our message to America, we help the American people so that's their jobs to help us right now here.


LEMON (on camera): And remember that photo that shocked the world some 640 Afghan men, women, and children jammed into a U.S. Air Force -17 on their way to safety? Well today, the Pentagon released a photo of U.S. marines arriving at Hamid Karzai International Airport, aboard a similar military plane to assist with the drawdown.

And take a look at this picture, an Afghan child sleeping on the floor of another U.S. Air Force C-17 departing from the airport in Kabul, draped in the coat from an air force member. And this child is one of the lucky ones, one of the lucky ones getting out of the country in chaos.

That, as here at home, hospitals in hotspots across the country are full to capacity. People are dying, needlessly. Even though we have all the vaccines we could possibly ever need even though we could be protecting children who are too young to be vaccinated simply by wearing masks.

President Joe Biden today announcing a plan to give booster shots to Americans eight months after their second doses. The first boosters expected to rollout beginning next month. Pending sign off from the FDA and the CDC, while far too many Americans have still haven't gotten their first shots. That as the president today slammed governors who banned mask mandates in schools for their own ghoulish political good.


BIDEN: Some politicians are trying to turn public safety measures that as children wearing masks in school into political disputes for their own political gain, some even trying to take power away from local educators by banning masks in school.

They are setting a dangerous tone. Intimidation and threats, we are seeing across the country are wrong. They are unacceptable. And I've said before, this isn't about politics. It's about keeping our children safe.


LEMON (on camera): It shouldn't be about politics. The president is right, some governors are putting their own political gain ahead of children's lives, really of their constituents' lives. Like Texas Governor Greg Abbott who issued an executive order banning school districts from requiring masks, and tested positive for COVID-19 the day after he attended this crowded indoor Republican club meeting, apparently not wearing a mask.


And then there is Ron DeSantis. You can always count on him to try to turn a deadly disease into an applause line.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Politicians want to force you to cover your face as a way for them to cover their own assess. That's just the truth.


DESANTIS: They want (Inaudible) say they are taking this on and they are doing this, even though it doesn't -- it's not -- it's not proven to be effective, they want to continue to it.


LEMON (on camera): God, that is just such bunk, or just to say this is bullshit, really? Just call it what it is. They want to protect the kids, governor. What do you want? The CDC and the AMA both agree that masks reduce the transmission of the virus, but DeSantis reacted to the Miami-Dade schoolboard's vote today in favor of a mask mandate with the statement, pushing the same old misguided bad faith view of freedom.

This has nothing to do with freedom. How is it freedom to force children who are too young to be vaccinated into schools where they could be exposed to a deadly virus surrounded by people not wearing masks? Putting politics ahead of lifesaving science? Like those governors are encouraging people to do?

It is just depraved. People are dying all across this country, people with loved ones who are grieving tonight. These are people who didn't have to die. Their loss is a very preventable tragedy. And this is what I was talking about earlier, with Chris.

I'm thinking of tonight about a man I met in my hometown of Baton Rouge last week, his name is Jim Burgess, he was in the hospital where I was born. He and his brother, Rafil, both got COVID. Both were unvaccinated.

Well, the brother went home last week, Jim passed away on Sunday. And our deepest sympathies go out to his family. Jim shared a message with me days before he passed, telling everyone to get vaccinated. And I want you to hear that.


LEMON: How are you doing?

UNKNOWN: Doing good.


UNKNOWN: Doing a lot better

LEMON: You and your brother were here?

UNKNOWN: Yes, sir.

LEMON: What happened?

UNKNOWN: We just got, got COVID and got sick and we went to the hospital (Inaudible) and. And there is no place for us they send us down here. He came down two days before me. And he left yesterday, going home. I was in ICU for three days and they (Inaudible) for a room.


UNKNOWN: So that's a good time.

LEMON: How is your brother?

UNKNOWN: He's doing good when I talk to him this morning. He was at home. It was his first night at home last night.

LEMON: What does it feel like?

UNKNOWN: It feels like he (Inaudible).

LEMON: Why didn't you get vaccinated?

UNKNOWN: I didn't have time. I just didn't do it.

LEMON: So, you are not anti-vaccine?

UNKNOWN: No, sir. No, sir.

LEMON: So just kind of ambivalent about it?


LEMON: Do you regret it?

UNKNOWN: Yes, I do.

LEMON: Tell me why.

UNKNOWN: Just, if, I don't know if the shot would've helped me, maybe it would have kept prevented to get worst.

LEMON: What do you say to folks?

UNKNOWN: Open your eyes. You know, open your eyes. Have heed to this. This is nothing to play with.


LEMON: May he rest in peace and as my colleague Wolf Blitzer always says, may his memory be a blessing. His brother was in that hospital. His name is Rafil. He and another family member is going to join me, next.


LEMON (on camera): We have a lot to talk about in this program this evening, and we are going to get into the politics and the situation in Afghanistan tonight. But there's something very important that I have to do first. So, I really need you to listen up and pay attention.

Last Thursday, I traveled to my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Visiting the hospital where I was born, to speak with medical staff and COVID patients. And today I learned, I was stunned when I got the call. I learned sadly that one of the patients I met, Jim Burgess has passed away. He was 53 years old.

So, joining me now is Jim's brother Rafil Burgess and Rafil's wife, Jerrie. Hello to both of you. I'm so sorry.


LEMON: How are you guys holding up? How are you doing?


R. BURGESS: Yes, we are.

LEMON: Yes. I only met with him for just a little bit, and he was so kind and so adamant about how he felt about what was happening. And he wanted people to get vaccinated. And he told me that he was starting to feel better. What happened, Ray Phil?

R. BURGESS: I don't want to talk to him at least (Inaudible). I told him to come home because he was feeling good. And then (Inaudible).


J. BURGESS: And then -- and then I had to -- his oxygen started dropping, so they had to put him back in ICU.


J. BURGESS: And then Saturday night --

R. BURGESS: Saturday night, yes.


R. BURGESS: And at 12 o'clock they had to put him in (Inaudible) and that (Inaudible).

LEMON: What do you want to -- are you OK, Rafil?


J. BURGESS: It is hard, really hard.

LEMON: What do you want to say, Rafil? R. BURGESS: To tell people to get their COVID shots. When I get

through this, I can get my shots.

LEMON: You are right there in there with him in them. You guys went in, I think you went in a little bit before him, am I right?

R. BURGESS: I went in about two days before he had to.

LEMON: You are both in the hospital in Singer?

R. BURGESS: And DeRidder.

LEMON: And DeRidder.


LEMON: And then they didn't have room for you or they couldn't take care of you, so they sent you to Baton Rouge to the general, Mid -- in midtown, the Mid City.



LEMON: What was your experience like with COVID?

R. BURGESS: It was partly (Inaudible) -- when I went to the hospital my legs were too weak, I couldn't stand up (Inaudible) going to town. I thought I would never leave. And when we got down there just put IV's into me, like we did (Inaudible).

LEMON: Were you worried when you left, because you had gotten better -- did you feel some encouragement that he would get better or were you worried that you hate leaving your brother there?

R. BURGESS: I didn't want to leave him there. After he's be coming home four or five days later, it didn't happen.

LEMON: Jerrie, I know that you also got COVID, correct? But the difference is --


LEMON: -- is that you got the vaccine.

J. BURGESS: Yes. I got the vaccines. I work at a facility, I'm a registered nurse. And there was at first that I, you know, but I've been vaccinated for a couple of months for both of it. But there were times, you know, before I did get the injection, that I didn't really want to get it but, you know, we all kind of talked about it and everything, and my thing with -- because I've been taking care of patients for a long time --


LEMON: You work in a nursing home? J. BURGESS: So, my thing was, I was worried about my residents

getting the COVID. I didn't really tell junior about it because at that time, I believe, he was against it. But whenever he got down, you know, I didn't have any symptoms. I didn't lose my taste.

Now I know other people even that had the shot sometimes not -- they do have some symptoms. But you know, I was lucky. I didn't have symptoms. You know, whenever when -- we woke up that morning I took him to the hospital, I checked their oxygen level and normal is anything over 92. Junior was 84 and Jim was 74. And Jim often say he would, whatever, I said you are going to the hospital.



LEMON: So --

J. BURGESS: You know, it's bad in the nursing homes or in the hospitals. You know, I don't really understand anymore and I'm going to be really like a big supporter of making people understand they need to get the shot. I can't force anybody, but I should be telling my story.

LEMON: Right on. Right on! Right on! Jerrie, you, but you weren't against getting it, right?

J. BURGESS: Am I getting -- no.


LEMON: No, you weren't against getting it.

J. BURGESS: No, you are saying am I against getting it?

LEMON: You aren't against getting the vaccine, the shot?

J. BURGESS: I was at the beginning I was leery of it. But I want to be honest, because I was thinking about others because I work in the facility, I worked the COVID hall before we even knew it was COVID. We kept having patients getting sick and sick and sick. But I was lucky back then I never got it.

LEMON: Got it. Got it. Rafil, so, your brother told me that he just didn't -- he said he didn't have time to get vaccinated. Listen, he's lying there not doing well. I don't want to press him too much on, but he said, you know, I wasn't really against it but we live out in the country. You know this.

But so, I played some of the conversation earlier that happened, but I just want to play that part again and here it is, and then I want to get your response. Here it is.


LEMON: Why didn't you get vaccinated? UNKNOWN: I didn't have time. I just didn't do it.

LEMON: So, you are not anti-vaccine?

UNKNOWN: No, sir. No, sir.

LEMON: So just kind of ambivalent about it?



LEMON: Now what about you, were you anti vaccine in the beginning?

R. BURGESS: Well, I don't know what to make of it. You hear one story and then you hear another story. If that's what (Inaudible), take a chance on getting the shot and really what we've been able (Inaudible) after ourselves. Well then, I'm going to get the shots whenever I get over this.

J. BURGESS: Whenever they say, he can have one.


LEMON: Your entire family pretty much got it, right?


R. BURGESS: Yes. They've been able to get it.

LEMON: So, give me, you said you're going to get the shot. R. BURGESS: yes.

LEMON: I've been to your -- I do want to put words in your mouth. Did you feel like you are misinformed in the beginning?

R. BURGESS: Yes, I think so.

LEMON: You do? And your message to folks now who may be thinking the way that you thought?


R. BURGESS: I guess, they know what they'll do but I want to get my shots.

LEMON: What should people know about your brother? What message do you want people to hear right now, Rafil?

R. BURGESS: I know we should have got his.

J. BURGESS: But you can't.

R. BURGESS: He liked everybody most of the time.

LEMON: Look, from the few minutes I spoke to him, I could tell he was a good guy. He's very kind soul. Was I wrong about that?

R. BURGESS: He's good. We worked together most of our lives.

LEMON: What's the age difference?

R. BURGESS: I'm 57, he is 53.

LEMON: So, most of your life. You guys have been together.


LEMON: Well --

R. BURGESS: We were together. And then maybe (Inaudible) of my house.

LEMON: Rafil, I'm sorry about the loss of your brother. I'm grateful that you're here sharing your story with people and you're here to honor your brother. And I hope more people can listen to folks like me and you, both grew up in the same -- we're about almost the same age, Rafil.

Both of us grew up in Louisiana and we're completely different. But you're my people. I know you. I grew up with folks like you. I grew up in Baton Rouge right outside a little town called Port Allen. So, I get it. So, you guys be good. I'm sorry it happened. If you need anything, let us know. And keep preaching your story to help other people, OK?

J. BURGESS: Thank you so much.

LEMON: That's the message, folks. You don't want to be too late. Sadly, he had to pass, very kind man. You can tell -- you can tell people when you meet them if they're kind or not, very kind man. Invited us in and spoke to us about his story. He had trouble breathing as you saw there and now, he is gone. So, let that be a lesson to all of you. We'll be right back.



LEMON (on camera): So, President Biden is on the defensive tonight insisting the chaos in Afghanistan amid the U.S. troop withdrawal is not a failure of intelligence planning or execution and claiming there is no way the U.S. could have withdrawn without Afghanistan falling into chaos.

I want to bring in Matthew Dowd, a former chief strategist for George W. Bush. I always like to get his perspective. So, let's go. Lots to talk about, Matthew. Thank you.

President Biden defiant, also saying U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan until every American is out. Pass the August 31st deadline. He must realize the facts on the ground are really dire and he's got to get this done. MATTHEW DOWD, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

Well, I think he understood that. That's why the decision he made what so hard and which is why no other president had made the decision from seven years of Bush to eight years of President Obama and then Trump, obviously, I've been very critical of Trump.

I actually thought Trump's decision at that time of withdrawing from, of getting out of Afghanistan was a good decision and how he went about it I think in the course it was not good, but I think his overall decision was. I think President Biden is right and he's been proved, I think he's been proved out by what's happened in the last 72 hours.

The fact that the Afghan government collapsed and all the soldiers gave up proved him right which is they weren't capable of governing their country and no matter when we left this was going to happen.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I have been listening to you and reading what you have been writing. And you think you're very, shall I say, bullish on the president's decision and what the president has done. And quite frankly, you believe that Democrats -- that everyone should be, but especially Democrats should be rallying behind the president and his decision now not that you don't have some issues with the way it was executed in the end. But you think it's a good thing overall.

DOWD: yes. And I don't understand why some Democrats, many Democrats are, you know, scared of this. Most every single one ran on the idea of getting out of Afghanistan. President Biden ran and won on the idea of getting out of Afghanistan as quick as he could.

I don't get the idea that they're so easily scared of their own shadow and Democrats have a tendency and I've watched it over the years as I said in a tweet, they feel shame way too quickly while Republicans never feel shame at all.

And I think Democrats should get behind this and say, listen this was a mess. President Biden finally had the courage to make the decision other presidents wouldn't do. We're out of the war. And now let's do what's humanitarian right and get it right about getting people out.

I think that's where the question ought to be. Not about whether or not Joe Biden abandoned the Afghan people. Joe Biden didn't abandon the Afghan people. The Afghan leaders abandoned the Afghan people. That's who abandoned the country.

LEMON: Let's talk about COVID-19 now. President Biden is taking on governors who block mask mandates in schools saying that they should get out of the way if they can't help. And his administration is going to take legal action if necessary. Is this the fight Republicans want to be having?

DOWD: No. I don't -- this is nowhere close to the fight when 70 percent of Americans including nearly a majority of Republicans are for mandatory mask in schools. I don't think they want to have it fight.


There is obviously some element of the Republican base that still feels like not wearing a mask is some aspect of some liberty or freedom, the idea that they don't want to protect other people or even themselves. Which protecting yourself, not protecting yourself is idiotic. Not protecting other people is to me is un-American. That's not how we were set up.

But I think Joe Biden is right. I think he's reached the point in time that there is an element probably 20 or 25 percent of the country, that's what I think it is, about 20 or 25 percent of the country, a rational argument will not work. They are emotionally connected to no vaccine and no masks. And the only way --


LEMON: You can't change people who are emotionally connected with a rational argument. It just -- it just doesn't work that way.

DOWD: You can -- no. And you know that in your own life. If somebody is emotionally connected to an issue, you can give them 10-point logical thing and they won't -- no matter what, they won't switch. And so, I think it's time to start mandating these things. Start forcing these things so we can get on the other side of this, not only the thousand people that died yesterday from COVID, Don, but the health of the economy, everything about getting us back to a place where we can interact normally with each other.

The only way we're going to get there now is that businesses and others start mandating these things.

LEMON: Yes, listen. I was just going to say that. Because as I was traveling to and returning from Baton Rouge last week where I interviewed this man who is -- I did not know quite honestly, he was on his deathbed then. I thought he was sick and was going to improve.

But on the airplane, everyone had to wear a mask in the airport to and fro. And guess what? They were all fine having to wear a mask for however long the flight was. It didn't like rip their faces off and they didn't get -- you know, all these things.

But listen, I spoke to the family of that man just moments ago before you.

DOWD: Yes.

LEMON: And now, you know, we're dealing with politicians even today still speaking out against basic common-sense safety like wearing a mask and just safety measures. Why -- what the hell?

DOWD: You know, we may have talked about this before. I think we're in this time frame now where the GOP has abandoned the idea of the common good. The idea that we're all in this together and we got to figure a way out of it. They're just totally focused on the me and the I of this, what I can get, what I want, what's good for me as opposed to what's good for the community or what's good for the neighborhood. As I listen to that family, it's heart wrenching and heartbreaking. They've been given a lot of bad information by a lot of GOP politicians which is one of the reasons why they're in this mess and many states are in this mess.

But we have to get to the idea that sometimes the common good is -- it needs shared sacrifice. And it's a tiny sacrifice as you know to wear a mask and get a vaccine. We have had more sacrifices in the history of our country, people that have lost their lives and done a lot of things. World War II. People gave up things. All the things we've done. We can't even have a small sacrifice of wearing a mask? And getting a vaccine to protect people in this country? It's gotten to that point. But we need to get back there.

LEMON: It's so ridiculous, Matthew. Because wherever I go, if I see -- if I walk into a place and people are wearing masks and I say do I need -- they may say there may be someone immunocompromised and whatever. And it's like what skin is it? Even here at work, what skin is it off my back to help someone else so that they don't get sick?

That's what I don't understand now why we aren't to that point, especially if you're supposed to be a Christian. And you're supposed to be looking out for your fellow man.

DOWD: Well, and just -- not only as Christians, but just as Americans.


DOWD: When one of the first words of our Constitution start with, we, the people and it talks about our common welfare. The entire system of government was set up on the idea that we could come together for the common good. That's what we're supposed to be about.

John F. Kennedy talked about not ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. And the small level of sacrifice that people are being asked to do in order to stop the hundreds of people dying every single day in this country and our hospitals filling up, that doesn't allow care for other people that don't have COVID-19, it's a tiny sacrifice.

And the idea that GOP overall is pushing back against this tiny sacrifice for the sake of communities around the country is ludicrous.

LEMON: Yes. Matthew Dowd, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

DOWD: You, too, Don. Take care.

LEMON: President Biden pledging to evacuate all Americans from Afghanistan. Afghan civilians also scrambling to escape. But with chaos erupting around the Kabul airport, how can our troops accomplish the mission?


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON (on camera): Tonight, President Biden saying that U.S. -- Biden saying that U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan until all Americans who want to leave the country are out, even if that means keeping them there past the August 31st deadline to leave. But he stopped short of making that same commitment to America's partners in Afghanistan who are desperately crowding the perimeter outside the Kabul airport trying to get in.

Scenes like that happening over the past 48 hours, many people holding up papers, trying to get past the checkpoints manned by the Taliban who periodically fire weapons into the air to intimidate them and push them back.

Let's discuss now with CNN's military analyst Major General James 'Spider' Marks.

Thank you, general. I appreciate you joining us.

You see this video, and you know, we can see the chaos on the ground. What a tough spot the militaries in right now. This could be a riot waiting to happen. And then what? Could this situation get worse? Right?

JAMES 'SPIDER' MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It really can, and it is a riot. It's not waiting to happen. It's unfolding directly in front of us. And these soldiers and marines in the video it shows soldiers from the 82nd airborne division. They are simply manning a perimeter.


They're not part of a checkpoint validating whether one of these Afghans needs to come into the compound to the air field or that they shouldn't. That needs to take place from homeland security folks that are going through the SIVs, the Special Immigration Visas and the paperwork that they may or may not have.

LEMON: President Biden says that troops may stay in Afghanistan. General, past that August 31st deadline. What would that entail? Because the idea that the United States would be relying on the Taliban, it's, you know, it's just kind of ridiculous, right?

MARKS: Sketchy. It really is. What we have is at least the Taliban and I'm not saying that the Taliban has stated emphatically that we will stay out of the way and the United States will be able to proceed with its evacuation and they're not going to facilitate but they're not going to get in the middle of it.

Well, we have seen evidence that they are getting in the middle of it and they're trying to disrupt it. But we're going to one of our enemies and we're saying can you give us a time out so we can get out of town? That is a lot of reliance on an untrustworthy partner. This is not a partner. This has been an enemy of the United States who has, in many cases, when they were in charge before 9/11, they harbored Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is part of the fabric of Afghanistan. They're married into different tribes. So, you got the Taliban. You have Al Qaeda. You have ISIS and this

unholy trinity of terrorist organizations and we're relying on one of those for safe passage.


MARKS: Out of country. It's not a -- it's not a good idea to do that.

LEMON: So, listen, what's the plan? So, what do you -- what's the plan then, general? Because we have images we can put up when you see all this chaos. What is the plan? Or what should the plan be?

MARKS: Well, what we need to be able to do, I think the plan has established very clearly, we got a prioritize list of who should be evacuated, American citizens, those from the embassy and American citizens that are declared and in country. You know, you know as well as anybody else. We have American citizens in Afghanistan that we simply don't know about.

And then, the SIVs, and then foreign, the other foreign nationals that might have been part of the alliance or the coalition that has been in country for many, many years. And then everybody else falls in category.


MARKS: So, what happened is that clearly, this is a joint effort and a part of incredible air force, marine and army folks that are making this happen. But there has to be some type of filter that takes place outside of the air force -- the airport directly so that the filtering operation can take place so you have a little more --

LEMON: Got it.

MARKS: -- you have less chaos order getting in the aircraft.

LEMON: Thank you, general. I appreciate your time and your expertise. We'll see you soon. Thanks for joining.

MARKS: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Shouting at school boards, confrontations in parking lots all over masks and educators say our kids are watching.


UNKNOWN: Just calm down.


UNKNOWN: Calm down. We know who you are.




LEMON (on camera): As the COVID surge worsens and as children are heading back to school, arguments over wearing masks are turning violent.

Here's Rosa Flores.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The heated debate over masks --

UNKNOWN: Get out of my face --

FLORES: -- is escalating into altercations in various states across the nation. In Texas, a parent ripping a teacher's face mask during a meet the teacher event Monday, according to Eanes school superintendent Tom Leonard.

TOM LEONARD, SUPERINTENDENT, EANES INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: Let's just leave the mask wars out of the schools.

FLORES: In a letter to parents and schools, Leonard calling it a physical assault on a teacher by a parent.

LEONARD: If you want to fight those wars, fight them somewhere else. But don't mess with the teachers, they have a hard-enough job right now.

FLORES: In Northern California, an elementary schoolteacher was hospitalized last week after a parent attacked him during a verbal argument over face masks, a district official says.

TORIE GIBSON, SUPERINTENDENT, AMADOR COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: It was originally between the parent and the principal. And the teacher intervened at that point, the female principal intervenes to say, hey, it's time to go. Like, you stop.

FLORES: The teacher was stitched up for cuts and lacerations to his face. Police responded to the scene and are investigating. The parent was not arrested. The superintendent they're sending a letter to parents saying assaulting a staff member will never be tolerated on a school campus.

At this protest outside the Los Angeles City Hall, where dozens of demonstrators waved signs opposing COVID-19 mitigation efforts, it was a news reporter who fell victim. This video capturing his hat getting knocked off and his glasses ripped from his head, while he tried to do an interview, according to his Twitter post.

JAMES QUEALLY, WITNESS AND STAFF WRITER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: It just exploded pretty quickly, and unfortunately this is a pattern that we've seen at a few other protests around L.A.

FLORES: The tension and misinformation flowing into county board meetings like this one in San Diego. UNKNOWN: Your children and your children's children will be

suffocated. They are being asked how many vaccines have you had? Have you been a good little Nazi? Are you (Inaudible)!

FLORES: And into the school board rooms in Florida too.

UNKNOWN: We also had the bird flu.

FLORES: The debate today in Miami-Dade stretching out for hours.

UNKNOWN: That you know what is better for our children, better than the parents and the mothers who have to give birth to those children!


FLORES: At the same time, this in Hillsborough County in the Tampa area.

UNKNOWN: We are surrendering our children to a pandemic of sincere ignorance, and conscientious stupidity.

FLORES: This Louisiana state board of elementary and secondary education meeting was adjourned after a raucous crowd refused to put on masks. In Tennessee last week, the chaos started inside the school boardroom.

UNKNOWN: We know who you are! No more masks!

UNKNOWN: Keep it calm! Keep it calm!.

FLORES: And then spilled into the street.

UNKNOWN: No more masks!

UNKNOWN: We know who you are!

FLORES: With crowds heckling and threatening officials leaving the meeting after they approved a temporary mask mandate.

UNKNOWN: Let him out.

FLORES: Sheriff's deputies having to intervene to help officials leave the premises.

MICHAEL MILLER, HARASSED AFTER SPEAKING IN FAVOR OF MASKS AT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING IN TENNESSEE: Parents shouldn't feel threatened for their lives walking to a parking lot. That is not the America I know.

FLORES: As the unrest over mask grows educators warn children are watching and learning.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Dallas.


LEMON (on camera): They sure are watching. Thank you, Rosa. I want to make sure you know about We Love New York City, the

homecoming concert. Make sure you join us for a once in a lifetime event, it's this Saturday, starting at 5 p.m., exclusively on CNN.

President Joe Biden defiant on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan but he says troops may stay past the August 31 deadline in order to get out all on Americans. More on our breaking news from Afghanistan just ahead.