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Don Lemon Tonight

POTUS' Patience Running Thin; Dr. Fauci Perplexed by Hardheaded Americans; DOJ Suing Texas State; Supreme Court Makes a Wrong Decision; Companies Mandated to Get Their Employees Vaccinated. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 09, 2021 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And here's the even better news. Every episode of the show is now available for free on all podcast platforms, Apple podcast, Spotify, wherever you listen or just go to OK?

Thank you for watching. The big star of the Handoff himself, Don Lemon of Don Lemon Tonight.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You've got that right.

CUOMO: Right now.

LEMON: It's so much fun doing -- look, if you think we go a little bit overboard or we push the boundaries during this television handoff, then you actually need to listen to the podcast. I actually had someone say this is the best one that -- it was very courageous, very brave of how far we went with talking about personal issues, things that we're dealing with, and you know, so don't want to give it away, but check it out.

CUOMO: Thankful for my long-haul syndrome, I don't even remember the Handoff. I don't even remember what I said.

LEMON: It's kind of crazy when you -- honestly, though, this is honesty. When you meet -- especially when we were in our big studios, the number of people that we would meet on a daily basis -- and I've been doing two hours for, what, five, six, seven years, I forget how long. Two hours a night, and I don't mean to be rude.

People would say hey, do you remember I was on your show and I would go, yes, I remember. I got quite -- and then they'd have to remind me, prompt me, and I'll go, now I remember. but I mean, I was, I think I interviewing like maybe 20 people a night at one point, and so, you know, there's only so much information that can be held up in this little tiny --

CUOMO: You know, I think it's interesting. you know, thank God you and I don't really think about why we do what we do. We just do it.

LEMON: I love it.

CUOMO: We think about what we say, --


CUOMO: -- but we don't think about what it's going to mean that we said it, and I don't know how to feel about so many people coming forward and saying I love listening to you guys. That's nice. But they say you guys are really brave with what you say there. It's sad that --


CUOMO: -- they see things that there should be no risk to what we're saying, but in today's climate, you never know what people are going to try to use against you, whether or not it should be weaponized or not.

LEMON: Yes. But you know how I feel about that, right? You know I'm just like whatever. I say what I want, I have this platform. I'm very -- listen, I respect the platform. I have to tell the truth. But you know, I had this platform for a reason, and so I lean in, and I always tell all my friends you and other people, even on other networks who will ask me -- who I'm friends with, just lean in, don't worry about the whole cancel culture or someone.

Everyone makes a mistake. Everyone says things that they regret, and so if you say something you regret, you apologize and you move on. So I just don't -- I don't believe in that, and I'm going to continue to speak the truth and people love it. I can't believe that they love you so much. It's really unbelievable, and more than anything, they like it when we fight.

CUOMO: Yes, you make too much of our fighting.

LEMON: I like it.

CUOMO: We have never had --


LEMON: Not a real fight, a disagreement.

CUOMO: -- a real. Yes, we disagree about a lot of stuff.


CUOMO: But I really -- I am amazed by this. I've been saying this to Don for years, I don't know why people are so moved by something that is so natural. It's like, you know, Don could do this podcast with like 20 of his friends. You know, this is the way you guys talk to each other.

LEMON: It is.

CUOMO: Isn't it?

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: I mean, have we really gotten to the point where you won't talk

about the sticky bits with each other anymore.

LEMON: Yes. But I think the real thing is when people's heads pop off when they see us in public. Whoa, wait, you mean it's real?

CUOMO: Hey, Cuomo, where's your boy Don Lemon? Right there.

LEMON: I got to tell you, though, with leaning in and speaking the truth, the president of the United States did it tonight, and I'm so glad that he did. It is the right thing. It's the right attitude, and that's the way he should be leading on this issue, leaning in on this issue.

CUOMO: Enough is enough.

LEMON: Enough is enough. Enough is enough of this. And I'm going to get to it, tune in to the Handoff on television.


CUOMO: I love you.

LEMON: I love you, too.

LEMON: And tune in --

CUOMO: Anywhere you can listen to podcasts you can get it for free.

LEMON: And tune in to the -- yes. The one, the audio one as well.

CUOMO: Don didn't want it to be free. I said it had to be that's why it's free.

LEMON: Well, I'm cheap. You know that, you always say I'm cheap.

CUOMO: Lie there. That's the truest thing he ever said to you.

LEMON: I'll see you soon.

CUOMO: Good night.

LEMON: This is Don Lemon Tonight.

So, speaking of what we just talked about, right? There's been a lot of talk about freedom as a reason or an excuse or opposition for the vaccines and the masks. Just remember before you go on to that, people say, it's my liberty. It's whatever, life, yes, liberty, fine. Life is first, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You need the life part first. OK?

So today President Joe Biden announced some mandates that he hopes will free the rest of us from this pandemic and try to move more people to get the vaccine, to do the right thing, including workers at companies with 100 or more employees, federal workers, the contractors and millions of health care workers, OK? [22:05:06]

The president warning his patience with the unvaccinated is wearing thin. it's worn thin. And admitting tonight he is frustrated.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What makes it incredibly more frustrating is we have the tools to combat COVID-19, and a distinct minority of Americans supported by a distinct minority of elected officials are keeping us from turning the corner.

These pandemic politics as I refer to it are making -- are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part who want to get back to life as normal.


LEMON (on camera): Truer words have never been spoken. Do you know who else is frustrated? Dr. Anthony Fauci. You know how I know that? Because he told Anderson this just moments ago.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I am frustrated, and the reason is we do have the tools to end this. I mean, I've been in situations in public health situations where you didn't have the tools to end something that was devastating people with regard to illness and death.

That is very frustrating. It's frustrating in a different way when you have the tools and you have the wherewithal to get to the end game of where you want to be, but you don't implement them.


LEMON (on camera): The president also clearly outraged by people who refused to do this, to wear masks, to do it on planes, and he is warning that they could be fined up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.


BIDEN: Tonight, I'm announcing that the Transportation Safety Administration, the TSA, will double the fines on travelers that refuse to mask. If you break the rules, be prepared to pay. And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong. It's ugly.


LEMON (on camera): Thank you, Mr. President. Show some respect. We know how much opposition there will be to the new mandates, right? Kevin McCarthy, well, he knew, it's Kevin McCarthy, he knows that, right? He's calling vaccine mandates un-American. What is so -- what is so -- I don't know, all American about willfully

misrepresenting the truth about a vaccine that can save lives and co- opting the rhetoric of freedom to oppose common sense measures that could stop the pandemic and save the lives of their own constituents. What is, right? Life first, then liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

South Carolina Republican Henry McMaster tweeting that he'll fight the president and Democrats to, quote, "the gates of hell." Well, one part of that is right about -- anyways, more than 11,000 people have died in his state.

And then there is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who apparently has decided to stake his political future on his feud with the president over mask mandates in schools, filing an emergency appeal today to prevent districts from ordering masks.

More than 34,000 students and 6,300 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the largest school district in Florida since the start of school. That is according to a CNN analysis.

That as physicians today warned doctors not to spread misinformation, the kind of misinformation that's rampant in our political -- our politics with mask wars and divisiveness spreading just as fast as the virus.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): The American Journal of Medicine came out with a great article that they had discovered a regimen of medication that when taken together early in COVID that you may have heard of it, hydroxychloroquine, --


GOHMERT: -- Ivermectin, a Z-Pak, azithromycin, zinc.


LEMON (on camera): Are we that, my goodness, what is it going to be bleach again? Light outside the body? Come on. Ivermectin? Ivermectin? You mean the deworming drug that's often used in livestock? The one with absolutely no evidence it's effective against COVID, pure misinformation.

Why would you prefer to take drugs that doctors say won't help you, instead of getting the vaccine that is safe, effective, and free. Why would you do it? Because of misinformation. That's why. And don't forget this, never forget this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I said supposing you bright the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and think you said you're going it test that too. It sounds interesting. [22:10:03]

UNKNOWN: We'll get the right folks who right.

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 (on camera): Does a real number on the lungs. The former president was an absolute font of misinformation on COVID, even though he himself was vaccinated, although we didn't find out until months later, right, even though the vaccines were developed on his watch?

So, would it have helped if he had told his supporters loud and clear to get vaccinated?

CNN's Elle Reeve talked to some folks in Missouri about why they don't trust the vaccine.


UNKNOWN: You shafted me of my president. I am not taking your medicine. Not from -- I'll take what they give him, but I'm not taking yours.

ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He took the vaccine, though.


UNKNOWN: He might of, I don't know that.

UNKNOWN: I think they give him the Regeneron.

REEVE: They did give him that, but he did take the vaccine.

UNKNOWN: Their own, probably. Yes. I'm not saying he didn't. I don't know that, but that's what pissed me off, and I am not taking it because I'm that bull headed.


LEMON (on camera): Well there's all kinds of information out there including -- and the president actually said on stage I did it for me, and then he got booed, remember? OK.

So, people won't even do a simple thing like wearing a mask, a simple thing that saves lives. This is where we're at in this country right now, adults, so-called adults mocking a student advocating for masks after his grandmother died of COVID.


GRADY KNOX, TENNESSEE STUDENT, RUTHERFORD COUNTY: I'm worried about my family. If I get COVID, I'm going to bring it to my family, and I talk to my grandparents a lot. They're higher risk than me, so I don't want to give them COVID. This time last year my grandmother who was a former teacher at the Rutherford County school system died of COVID because someone wasn't wearing a mask. This is a very -- this is a very.

UNKNOWN: Shut up.


LEMON (on camera): Right. Shut up, not him, just the people there booing him, so-called adults, maybe in age, but not in maturity, and definitely not in thinking. That's where we are fighting masks in schools even though that's the only way to protect kids too young to get vaccinated.


UNKNOWN: These are demonic entities and all the school boards of all the United States of America and all of us Christians will be sticking together to take them all out. Masks don't work. These doctors that sit up here that were sneering at us and looking at us like we're scum bags, they need to go back to (muted) medical school.

UNKNOWN: Your children and your children's children will be subjugated. They will be asked how many vaccines have you had? Have you been a good little Nazi? Hail Fauci! Hail Fauci!


LEMON (on camera): What do you even say to that? I'm just trying to imagine what you all's reaction is at home. I mean, if anybody should have been wearing a mask it's that guy screaming that loud. That is where we are in this country right now, folks, come on, people.

The question is will any of what the president said tonight convince people who are getting their misinformation from those politicians and acting out like that?

That as the challenges just keep piling up for the Biden administration, by the way, amid outrage over Texas's new six-week abortion ban. The Justice Department is suing the state, saying the law is unconstitutional. The Attorney General, Merrick Garland calling an unprecedent -- calling it an unprecedented scheme that creates bounty hunters.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The statute deputizes all private citizens without any showing of personal connection or injury to serve as a bounty hunters. The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): The Texas Governor Greg Abbott who in defending the law claimed that he'd eliminate rapists in Texas. Tonight, putting out a statement saying he is, quote, "confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life."


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer calling the high court's refusal to block the Texas law, and I quote here, "very, very wrong."


STEPHEN BREYER, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I thought the last decision you mentioned was very, very, very wrong. I'll add one more very, and I wrote a dissent, and that's the way it works, but it's a procedural matter, and so we'll see what happens in that area when we get a substantive matter in front of us.


LEMON (on camera): So, the DOJ is taking where the Supreme Court would not, setting up a showdown over the law. Stay tuned. But the big question tonight is can President Biden convince millions of unvaccinated Americans to roll up their sleeves? Because that's what it's going to take if we ever want to get back to some semblance of normal life. I'm going to ask the White House official, Cedric Richmond. He's next.


BIDEN: My message to unvaccinated Americans is this. What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?




LEMON (on camera): President Biden taking on the unvaccinated announcing new rules to try to breakthrough to millions of Americans who refuse to get their shots.

Joining me now is Cedric Richmond, he is a senior adviser to President Biden and the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Cedric, good evening. Thank you so much for joining us. Good to see you.

The Biden administration isn't requiring proof of vaccinations. That's up to individual agencies and businesses. Can we -- do you think we can trust people's word? I mean, why not require some proof here?

CEDRIC RICHMOND, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Well, we're going to leave that to the businesses to decide, and we put the burden on the businesses, if you have 100 or more employees, to get your employees vaccinated or to implement a rigorous testing regime.

Look, we have 75 percent of the country has at least taken one shot, and what we need is people to just do the responsible thing, care for their neighbors, care for children who can't get vaccinated and take the shot. And that's what we need because this is a race, and we said it from the beginning. This is a race between vaccines and variants.


LEMON: But they're not doing that, Cedric. You know they're not doing it. That's why the president had to come out today --


LEMON: -- and do what he did.

RICHMOND: That's exactly right. We're always going to adapt to the environment, and so we see the challenges. We're getting up to 100 percent vaccinations, so we've put in more requirements, all federal employees. We're also going to include head start, any schools that are federally supported.

We're going to use every tool in the tool kit and hopefully people will also use good common sense and judgment, but as far as the things that we can control, we will push people as a mandate to go and get vaccinated.

LEMON: This is what the president said today about Republican governors who are aiding and abetting in the pandemic of the unvaccinated. Watch this.


BIDEN: Let me be blunt, my plan also takes on elected officials and states that are undermining you in these lifesaving actions. Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools. If they'll not help, if these governors won't help us beat the pandemic, I'll use my power as president to get them out of the way.


LEMON (on camera): Cedric, we know these governors won't help. But they're already slamming the new rules, so what are you going to do about it?

RICHMOND: The one thing I admire about this president is the fact that we're always going to put people above politics, and we're going to fight for those who really need our help. And so it's unfortunate that we have so many governors that are using vaccinations and mask requirements as a political gain, but our purpose is to save lives, and we will do anything and everything under our control to make sure that we protect our citizens, especially those children who cannot get a vaccination yet. And so, we have to do everything we can to make sure adults do it. And

those governors that stand in the way, I think it was very clear from the president's tone today that he will run over them, and it is important. It's not for political purposes. It's to save the lives of American people, and so we won't let one or two individuals stand in the way. We will always err on the side of protecting American people.

LEMON (on camera): All right. Speaking of adults, this is a question that many people don't understand. The postal service isn't included in the vaccine requirement, but they do fall under Labor Department rule requiring vaccination or weekly testing for companies with more than 100 employees.

Will mail carriers and postal service employees need to get vaccinated? They are in contact with people on a daily basis, a lot of people.

RICHMOND: Well, from what I looked at so far, Don, it appears that the post office is an independent agency, but to the extent that they would fall under our labor standards if that is the rule, then that's where it's going to fall.

We're not playing favorites. We are very clear. We're going to err on the side of protecting our children and our vulnerable population, so we're doing the responsible thing, and so we're not picking winners and losers. If you're required by law to do it, the chips will fall where they may. To begin, we are worried about people.


LEMON: Is the White House talking to the postal service? Is the White House talking to the postal service --

RICHMOND: I have not --

LEMON: -- trying to push them to get vaccinations, make it a requirement?

RICHMOND: Don, all I -- all I can tell you is I have not talked to the postal service today. I'm still doing some Ida recovery and some other things, so I have not. But the one thing I do feel comfortable saying is that if they fall under labor standards, then the rules will apply to them.

LEMON: I want to talk now, Cedric, about the Department of Justice suing Texas over this new law that bans abortions after six weeks, even in cases of rape and incest.


Governor Greg Abbott saying he is confident the courts will uphold the law. How long could this fight last? Because time really is an issue here.

RICHMOND: It is. Every day that this law is in place, I think that it's a travesty of justice. I think it's misguided. I think it's discriminatory, I think it hurts women, and we're going to use everything we can, and we're happy that the Department of Justice initiated action. We're going to use the court system to try to fight it.

In the meantime, we've directed DHS and our gender policy council to do everything they can to make sure that women have a meaningful right to choose, and that means that they have access to abortion if that's what they choose. And so, we are going to keep fighting it. We know how serious this is, and it just shows how out of whack and out of touch the Republican Party is with the country, and the needs and rights of women.

LEMON: Did you say you were dealing with some Ida issues or COVID issues earlier? Because I want to talk about what's happening.

RICHMOND: Well, I'm dealing with -- we deal with COVID, Ida, and the one thing about this administration, we meet the challenges wherever they are, and so as we will adapt as it happens --


LEMON: All right. Well, listen --

RICHMOND: So, yes, I'm spending a lot of time on Ida.

LEMON: OK. Well, let's talk about that. Because you know in Louisiana, both of our home states, they're dealing with so much -- home state -- devastation there from Hurricane Ida.

We're hearing some insurance companies are agreeing to cover additional living expenses for policy holders who were evacuated ahead of the storm. I mean, this is something the president was calling for. What more can you tell us about that?

RICHMOND: Well, I can tell you that both all state and USAA decided that they would cover people no matter whether they were in a mandatory or voluntary evacuation because people didn't leave for a vacation. They flee to protect their lives, and we have companies like State Farm and I call them by name, that have decided that they're still going to use that loophole or that technicality or that fine print to deny coverage.

And so, people left because it was a storm bigger than Katrina. Then it knocked out the power over a million people and southern heat, 102, 105 heat advisories and State Farm's position is that people could have went home and lived in that house. And my opinion is that the CEOs and the leadership at State Farm would not stay in a house with damage without power in 105-degree heat, and they should not expect Louisiana citizens or Mississippi citizens to do that.

LEMON: Have you reached out to them?

RICHMOND: So, I'm happy that the president called out insurance companies.

LEMON: Did you reach out to them? RICHMOND: I have reached out to them -- I have reached out to them and

I expect that after tonight I'm going to talk to them a lot more tomorrow.

LEMON: Yes. You know, my dad always was an all-state man, all state to GMC and Chevy trucks. It's like, that's all he bought. So, you know, I wish the folks there well, and of course insurance companies should be helping.

RICHMOND: Well, I was always a state -- I was always a State Farm man. I thought they were the good neighbor. And I will tell you that I'm just very disappointed and the amount of calls that I get from people who find themselves in a position of having to replace all the food in their refrigerator, pay for hotel rooms, pay for travel back home and pay for the food.

This is not a game. This is real, and the money adds up. And so if you know the study that 30 percent of the people in the country are $400 away from not being able to pay their rent, well, it's $400 to restock a refrigerator, pay hotel rooms of $125, and then you have companies that won't live up to the contract that they signed.

I just think it's wrong. I hope that State Farm and the other companies will change their mind. I would hope that they would, and we're going to work with them as much as we can to try to get that done.

LEMON: We haven't had an opportunity to reach out to State Farm. We will and get a response from them on this. But we appreciate it. I know the folks there, Cedric, they're in good hands with you guys. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Be well.

RICHMOND: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

President Biden putting the blame for the current COVID surge squarely on unvaccinated Americans saying that their refusal has cost all of us, but how much of a difference will his new orders make?



LEMON (on camera): Tonight, President Biden getting tough with nearly 80 million Americans who are eligible for the COVID vaccine but have not yet rolled up their sleeves saying their refusal is putting a steep cost on Americans who have been vaccinated, and going on to say, quote, "our patience is wearing thin."

I want to bring in now CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner and Matthew Dowd, the former chief strategist for President George W. Bush.

Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you for joining. Also, by the way, Matthew is author of "Revelations on the River." I cannot forget that one. Matthew, so with that blinder eye just made. I'm going to start with you.

President Biden addressed the frustration of people who are nearly -- who are already vaccinated, and he had this message for the unvaccinated Americans. Here it is.


BIDEN: The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us, so please, do the right thing, but just don't take it from me.


Listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds taking their final breaths saying if only I'd gotten vaccinated. If only. It's a tragedy.


LEMON (on camera): So, look, Matthew, he's certainly frustrated. What do you think of what you heard?

MATTHEW DOWD, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I a thousand percent agree with President Biden on this. I mean, we're at the point where the unvaccinated are not only hurting themselves, which they are because they end up in hospital or worse, they're hurting other people because they're using -- if they go in the hospital, using up space that could be done for other procedures and other things and other resources that are stretched thin as is.

They're endangering their neighborhoods and they are endangering our economy because we're at this point where there's still a fear about what this pandemic could mean. So, he's a thousand percent right. We're supposed to be a country founded on the idea that we look out for one another and we embrace the common good. The people that criticize Joe Biden in the midst of this, I think are the exact opposite of that.

But at some point, the common good from all aspects, health care and our economy and what's happening in the health care system takes precedence over somebody's opinion about whether or not they want to take a vaccine.

LEMON: Doctor, Dr. Fauci spoke to Anderson and to our Dr. Gupta earlier, and he was asked, you know, why not just do the vaccine mandate instead of allowing weekly testing as an alternative. Here's his answer.


FAUCI: Well, I think the president is, you know, being somewhat moderate in his demand, if you want to call it that, in that there are some people who really don't want to get vaccinated, but they don't want to lose their job.

You've got to give them an off lane, and the off lane is if you get tested frequently enough and find out you're positive you won't come to work and you won't infect other people. So, it really is somewhat of a compromise there. Myself, I would make it just vaccinate or not, but he was trying to be moderate in what his pronouncement was.


LEMON (on camera): So, Dr. Fauci there saying he would not let workers opt out of vaccine requirements with testing. So, was this Biden policy made based on public health or political considerations or both?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: A little bit of both. I agree with Dr. Fauci. Tonight, the president removed the testing option from the federal government requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated, without a test out option. And I think he should have made the same requirement for companies with more than 100 people.

But I don't think the president went far enough. I was hoping that he would ban travel by unvaccinated people beginning in November. I also thought the president should have embraced a digital difficult to counterfeit verification system since we're putting so much stake now in business mandates, corporate mandates for vaccinations. Let's have a secure way for folks to show that they've been vaccinated.

So, look, I like the speech. I like the speech very much, and I particularly like the fact that the tone was different and essentially the president said enough is enough. You know, my colleagues around the country who have been trying to put this fire out for the last 18 months have long ago said enough is enough, and I was really glad to hear that coming with a very strong voice from the White House today.

LEMON: Yes. I think Dr. Fauci is right. It should be stronger, can't get on a plane. You can't do any of those things. Look, do the right thing and that should -- that should be it.

Matthew, governors are reacting to the president's new vaccine rules, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey calling these mandates outrageous and overreaching. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster saying the American dream has turned into a nightmare under President Biden, and we will fight them to the gates of hell.

They promote vaccinations and yet attack these efforts the first chance they get. At this point, if you're not behind these requirements, does it mean that you're comfortable with continued COVID spread?

DOWD: Well, I think all of these -- and it's all -- let's just be clear about this. This is all Republican Trump supporting governors that have sort of spread throughout our nation that is actually completely getting in the way of all of the ideals not only, Don, of our Constitution, but the Christianity so many of us practice and so many of them practice. All of this is. There was a time in America that we were willing to do

what was in the best interest of our neighborhoods, our communities, our country, even if that's a small sacrifice like getting a needle in your arm or wearing a mask.

But for some reason, there's a segment of leadership of our country that's unwilling to embrace the idea, as I said earlier of the common good.


And keep in mind, Don, one of the things that's consistent about all of this that affects this, all of this starts with a lie. It all started with a lie. First it wasn't real, it wasn't a problem, and then there's some problem with the vaccine, and then all of these other crazy conspiracy theories, and then it leads us to the crazy policy choices that Republicans are making.

And those lies ever -- all those things that start with a lie, our democracy affected started with the lie. Why we're not doing anything about guns started with a lie. Why we're not doing anything about climate change started with a lie, all of these. And now we're into health care, which used to be nonpartisan, because we want to do what's in the best interests of everyone, started with a lie and has led us here.

LEMON: You don't want to get a vaccine, you don't want to wear a mask or both, stay home. And that means from work, and I don't mean still having a job. Stay home, don't go on a plane. Don't travel. Don't go to stadiums. Don't go to places where people are vaccinated. That should be it. We're going to discuss more. Short break, we'll be right back with these gentlemen.



LEMON (on camera): Dr. Jonathan Reiner and Matthew Dowd back with me right now.

So, doctor, last night we spoke about CNN's reporting about how some Americans didn't want to take the vaccine because they don't trust government. Is there enough here to compel them to overcome that distrust?

REINER: Well, I think we're -- it almost doesn't matter whether they trust the government. We're basically -- the government is basically creating a tool that gives some people no choice or gives them the choice to either quit their job or get the vaccine.

We're at a point, we're really past the point in the pandemic where either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem, and the problem right now is that we have 25 percent of our adults or as you said, almost 80 million Americans who are unvaccinated, and we have to fix that problem. And if we can't bribe them, and we can't cajole them, then we need these other tough measures to get folks to understand that they have to get vaccinated.

So, whether they have faith in the government or whether they just want to preserve their job, I don't really care. Enough is enough. We need more of these people to get vaccinated for the good of the community for the good of us all.

LEMON: On any given day, Matthew, you can go on the internet or on social media or anywhere, and maybe you're just a passenger on a plane and you see these unruly airline passengers. Were you surprised that Biden chastised these people, talked about, you know, how they were directing their anger at flight attendants and that it was wrong and that they needed to show some respect?

DOWD: No, I'm not surprised at Joe Biden. I guess I'm surprised it took him this long to sort of vent that frustration at these folks that are doing this. It's just unbelievable to me, Don, that the values that you and I and the doctor were all brought up as children, and if we have children of our own, we try to instill in our children. The idea that we respect other people, we're not mean. We play well, we give people dignity what they are.

All of those by some people have just been thrown out the window completely. Just been thrown out the window, and their own personal interests or their own personal, you know, grievance or their own personal whatever takes precedent over other people.

And I just wish people would go back, you know, the book what I learned in kindergarten or whatever, but what we learned and what we want our children, and what we were taught as children, let's just practice those basics. Let's just practice those basics. If we just practice those basics again, we'll be a lot better off as a country.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. Absolutely you're right. But thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowing to fight a DOJ lawsuit over his state's near total abortion ban. Does the Justice Department have enough legal ammunition to win?



LEMON (on camera): The Biden administration taking on Texas over its new law banning abortions after six weeks. The Justice Department suing the state saying the law is unconstitutional under long standing Supreme Court precedent.

We'll discuss now with CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates is here. Laura, good evening to you. Thank you for joining this evening.

This suit now sets up a showdown between the federal government and the Republican-led state of Texas. What comes next, or as they say, now what?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the showdowns are pretty much handled on a normally the supremacy clause which says that the federal law and Supreme Court precedent is going to actually take precedent over the idea of a state law.

And Texas already knows that they're in violation of Roe v. Wade. They know they're in violation of federal law but they were attempting to try to go around as an end game which, of course, Garland called out today, to say that there was an obvious and also expressly stated goal here of trying to run that end run around judicial review.

What also interesting about here, we've been talking for a long time, Don, about the idea of, hey, Uber driver should have been swept under this dragnet, lift operators, receptionist, school counsellors, you name it.

Well, this idea of that very vague definition of what it means to aid and abet somebody who is trying to get an abortion, seems to have given license now to the Department of Justice to say hey, that means that our federal employees who are trying to carry out federal law, the Department of Defense, the Labor Department, areas where people are providing Medicare and Medicaid services were included in that dragnet because now the people whose job it is to, in some ways, support things that could lead to abortion-related services, could now be facing civil liabilities.

So that dragnet that they set up around the ambiguous definition has now invited the Department of Justice to bring this suit.

LEMON: Listen, today you're talking about the critics of it, right? In an interview out today, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer called the high court's refusal to block the Texas law very, very wrong. I mean, that is an incredible statement coming from a sitting justice, especially this one with all the speculation about when he is going to retire.

COATES: Absolutely. And how critical it is, I'm sure he believes to remain and still be on this court. Because remember, it was a very slim majority that they were able to even have that procedural ruling that says this law can go into effect.

And it's not normal normally for a Supreme Court justice to write a dissenting opinion that is as scathing as all of them were in their dissent about what they knew to be an end run around their very clear precedent.


And, again, remember the whole goal here is to have these checks and balances on power of the legislative branch, of the executive branch. Well, now, what they're done in Texas is basically foreclosure that opportunity and the Supreme Court said, OK, well, that was very novel and complex as if other cases are not novel and complex.

So, Breyer knew that it was the wrong thing to do but he did opened the door and said if this becomes a substantive, not just procedural matter in front of us, perhaps things might change.

LEMON: Laura Coates breaking it down for us, thank you, Laura. I appreciate it. Have a good night.

President Biden pulling --

COATES: Good night, Don.

LEMON: -- back the carrot and giving more of the stick announcing new vaccine mandates that could affect 100 million Americans. How far will it go in controlling this pandemic?



LEMON: Tonight, President Biden adopting a get-tough approach as his administration tries to bring the surging COVID pandemic under control. Mandating federal workers be vaccinated and requiring businesses with 100 or more.