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Don Lemon Tonight

Jon Gruden Stepping Down from the Raiders; GOP's Loyalty to Trump Unshaken; Governor Abbott Issued New Executive Order on COVID Mandates; Anti-Vax Candidate Tested Positive; Facts Versus Fiction Over Medications Clarified; Superman Coming Out as Bisexual. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired October 11, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): Thank you for watching. DON LEMON TONIGHT with the big star, D. Lemon. Monday night is Monday night football but football has gone from sport into culture.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Into the breaking news category there. We're going to cover it in a moment and get your take here quickly before I get to the breaking news. But it appears that before I tell the audience what happened, I'd like to break it after we speak. This is bad behavior if true and behavior that --


CUOMO: We're talking about Jon Gruden.

LEMON: The coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

CUOMO: The coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Yes.

CUOMO: He was a very popular TV analyst. He was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's a very well-known commodity within the NFL. He got called out for saying ugly and racist things --


LEMON: And e-mails.

CUOMO: About the head of the players union.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: An e-mail he said I'm not a racist. He apologized. He said it was a long time ago. But now there is more.

LEMON: Yes. He said there is not a stick, I'm paraphrasing here of racism in him but apparently, the new e-mails, there's been a trove, another trove of e-mails, Chris, that have been uncovered and revealed. And reportedly in these e-mails, it doesn't show what he said in that apology that he made on just the other evening.

So that is our breaking news. I know people are going to be talking about this. They are talking about it now. But --

CUOMO: It's not about football.


CUOMO: It's about a developing aspect of our culture.

LEMON: Well, let me just give you the breaking news and we can talk about it. Because there are multiple reports tonight, Chris, that Jon Gruden is resigning as the Las Vegas -- the head of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Again, this is all coming in, in the wake of a bombshell New York Times report detailing how Gruden used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous e-mails during a seven-year period. And again, I think I still have Chris with me. If he's not --


LEMON: -- I want him to talk, good. This is all according to the New York Times, Chris. That Gruden sent e-mails to Bruce Allen. Bruce Allen was then the head of the Washington football team. The president. Saying that the NFL commissioner, this is what they reportedly said, should not have pressured then Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft Queers. He was referring to Michael Sam. Remember we cover that. He was the first openly gay player -- gay player -- openly gay player drafted that was back in 2014.

Using multiple anti-gay slurs in an e-mail but it didn't, you know, end there. Said he called someone Roger Goodell a pussy for wanting to take precautions when it comes to, you know, head injuries or what have you in football and pro football.

CUOMO: So, the Seminole question on Gruden was, not whether or not people are going to like the e-mails. They're not. They're ugly. It that well he wasn't with the Las Vegas Raiders at the time, this was years and years ago, even this new trove from the New York Times that they talk about is a seven-year period that ended 2018.

And it's an interesting question. What is the relevance of time to what somebody did? Do you give context to whether or not the morais were the same then? The sensitivities were the same? For the Vegas Raiders, the issue was, well, it didn't happen on our watch. But at what point does the person that you have now, the employer that you have now have to act on what you did in the past?

LEMON: Well, yes. And listen, and morais at that time. You don't say that, you know, a player has lips were like Michelin tires. I mean I don't think that was, you know, OK at any time. It was OK to share, you know, images of cheerleaders and female reps and say, you know, nice job or comment on their, you know, personal parts or what have you.

But listen, I have some breaking news. I have a response from Jon Gruden. I got to go and I got to get to the person who actually --


CUOMO: Go ahead.

LEMON: -- wrote the article from the New York Times. I love you, brother. I'll see you later.

So, again, Jon Gruden from Las Vegas Raiders, we said that it is reported that he's going to resign but we have a statement from him. Here is the statement coming in from Jon Gruden. He said, I resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. He says, thank you to all the players, the coaches, the staff and fans of Raider nation. I am sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone.


Again, that is according to Jon Gruden himself. A statement, the breaking news now out that Jon Gruden is resigning as the coach of the Las Vegas Raider -- Raiders. And other things about these e-mails. He admits to using a racial trope in a 2011 e-mail describing -- describing NFL P.A. executive director DeMaurice Smith.

He said he apologized to Smith and claims he's not a racist and joked about an NFL owner performing oral sex on him. He sent sexist memes, and again there is more.

So, let's discuss all of this now the breaking news. Ken Belson is here. He covers the NFL for the New York Times and he broke tonight story with his colleague Katherine Rosman. Ken, I'm so grateful that you're here for this breaking news. We appreciate it. We have a statement in from the coach now. What's your response to his statement? What do you have to say?

KEN BELSON, NFL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, not surprising. He knew that these e-mails were out there. The NFL had found these e- mails in an investigation he did on the Washington team and forwarded them to the Raiders last week. Only one came out about DeMaurice Smith on Friday so he knew it was a matter of time before these would surface somehow. I suspect he hoped they never would but they did.

One thing that I think is remarkable here is that he did sort of pin his initial explanation was he pinned it on 2011, has state of mind at the time but as the e-mails show, they were a barrage of tirades that went on for many years misogynistic comments, homophobic comments, criticisms of the league's anthem, protests policies, concussion, issues the NFL policies to improve safety. And so, this was sort of a whole fuselage of attacks on the NFL including the commissioner himself.

LEMON: Yes. And it's interesting that his response was that he didn't -- that he had no racism with him. There wasn't a stitch of racism in him. These e-mails, again, if these e-mails are true and it appears that they are because he is resigning, he has resigned, then it goes against everything that he said. We hear often, Ken, we often hear people saying I'm not racist, I'm

not homophobic, I'm not misogynistic, I'm not any of these things when their actions actually show otherwise.

BELSON: Yes. It's sort of an unvarnished view. Maybe he didn't deliberately try and hurt anybody but he certainly made those comments in this circle.


LEMON: Hey, Ken, I want the audience to hear what I'm talking about. I want to play what he said and then I'll get you to come back on the other side and continue what you were saying. Let's play it.


JON GRUDEN, HEAD COACH, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: All I can say is I'm not a racist. I don't -- I can't tell you how sick I am. I apologize again to D. Smith. But I feel good about who I am and what I've done my entire life and I apologize for the insensitive remarks I had no, you know, I had no racial intentions with those remarks at all. But yes, they can. I'm a -- I'm not like that at all. But I apologize. I don't want to keet addressing it.


LEMON (on camera): So again, Ken, I've heard that before. I don't -- no rate, but when you say someone's lips are like Michelin tires and so on, I mean, but go on.

BELSON: Well, I mean, you can -- you cannot intend to be offensive and still be offensive. They're not mutually exclusive. You cannot know you're being racist or homophobic when you are saying things. So, it's a level of awareness that's perhaps lacking in this case.

The other thing is, you know, what he's saying is going against everything -- not many of the things the NFL has been trying to address. The objectification of women, you know, race relations in the country. The Raiders have a player who said publicly he's gay. So here is the head coach whose past comments seem to contradict that.

So, it's an awkward position to be in. I don't -- I don't see how he could finesse out of this. Maybe one comment, two comments but there were many other e-mails.

LEMON: Yes, let me go through some of them, OK, with you, Ken, and get you to response. He denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of gay players, the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem, that's according to e-mails reviewed by the New York Times. His messages were sent to Bruce Allen. Bruce Allen was the former president of the Washington football team and others while he was working for -- this was when he was working with ESPN as a caller analyst for Monday night football.

He also said that Roger Goodell, he said Roger Goodell a faggot and clueless anti-football pussy and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher the then coach of the Rams to draft queers, a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014. Again, that doesn't sound like someone who is not racist or homophobic or misogynistic.


BELSON: Either that or he's -- doesn't know the definition of it, I suppose. Yes, it's an awkward position to be in. I don't know. You know, it's true this all happened while he was not working at an n NFL team but he's a leader of a team now, and it's a teams operate on a sort of mysterious chemistry that is involved.

There is a lot of trust and when these e-mails are introduced into that conversation, it makes it a little harder, actually a lot harder to motivate players to work for you and that's destructive to the franchise and frankly to the league.

LEMON: It's especially so when 70 percent of the roster in the NFL, the players, 70 percent are African-American players. To that, they told the African-American player or many of the -- some of the owners and team managers and the fans, of course, said we don't want politics in football.

And Gruden also criticized President Obama during his reelection campaign in 2012. And then Vice President Joe Biden called him a nervous clueless pussy. He said similar woods to describe Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association.

BELSON: Yes, this is a pretty -- well, I use the word unvarnished view. The conversations going on with Bruce Allen and others, mutual friends of theirs and e-mail chats. Obviously, they never expected any of this to become public but it is a window into kind of a tight circle in the NFL and the NFL itself is kind of a window into American culture.

So, if you think about it, I mean, these conversations may be happening at many levels and many workplaces just so happens this is the biggest sports league in America.

LEMON: Yes. Let me ask you. So, Allen, Bruce Allen's e-mail, they have not been -- because they said that Allen actually initiated some of the conversations and then -- and then Gruden weighed in on them. Why not Allen's e-mails on what he -- what he might have been initiating because Allen is not under an investigation here? What's going on with that?

BELSON: So, Allen was investigated because of the investigation of the Washington football team. There was many women stepped forward to say that there was workplace harassment at the Washington football team. The team initially hired its own investigation or and the league took over that investigation that was last summer.

And as part of that wide-ranging investigation, they went through e- mails including the team president Bruce Allen. So, this was swept up in that. That investigation is closed and Bruce Allen hasn't been with an NFL team since the end of 2019.


BELSON: So, in that sense, he's no longer affiliated with the NFL whereas Jon Gruden is leading a prominent team. So that's why this is become a focus.

LEMON: Well, it's interesting because Allen's e-mail was unofficial on the official NFL team e-mail and Gruden's was not. This is his personal e-mail. I'm not sure the difference that is but they're sharing these, you know, pictures of women and what have you and these horrible e-mails on work e-mails, at least Allen was.

Thank you, Ken. I appreciate you joining. All right?


LEMON: And thank -- yes, good job on writing that story and breaking this.

I want to bring in now CNN contributor Bob Costas. Bob, good evening to you. Here's a -- you know, he is resigning. My first question I want to get to you, though, ask you, the players, some of the players who he offended, Jon Gruden, actually stood by him. I wonder how those players feel now after all of this other trove of e-mails has been uncovered?

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I guess the first, which was the insulting comment about DeMaurice Smith with obvious racial implications. Maybe some players who know Gruden in a different context, in a different way were inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that was 10 years ago. He was trying to be funny. It was awkward, whatever, however they want to rationalize it.

But I think it's important in any of these situations that come up now where we look for a pattern of behavior rather than something that might have been a mistake or might have been out of context or might have been unattended and it's wholly inconsistent with the person's body of work or everything we know about that person.

This is a pattern of retrograde notions. Not confined to race, not confined to sexual orientation, all of that is in there. Retrograde notions about the nature of football, all of it obviously reaches critical mass very quickly to the point where either Gruden decided himself that there's no way out of this and has to resign or he was pressured to resign.

But the key difference here, Don, is we're not talking about a one-off situation.

LEMON: Right.

COSTAS: Or one thing that happened 10 years ago, or 30 years ago, happened in the past to someone who is dead and now we're trying to cancel that person and disregarding the context of their time and of their entire life and existence. This is pattern of behavior apparently.


I defer to Ken Belson. He has reported the story and quite honestly, I've been watching a lot of baseball tonight and I'm trying to play catchup so I don't want to venture into an area where I'm not on firm ground. But from what I've been able to determine and what I heard on your show and what I read in Ken's piece in the New York Times, there's a lot here and it can't be rationalized.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I saw the apology last night as I was watching the game and yesterday, Gruden told the world that he doesn't have and the exact quote is, Bon, an ounce of racism in him.

But I just want you, I want to read part of what DeMaurice Smith said on Twitter today. He said that the e-mail from Jon Gruden and some of the reaction to it confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over. This is not about an e-mail as much as it's about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less.

And then he goes on to say, I appreciate that he reached out to me and I told him that we will connect soon but make no mistake, the news is not about what is said in our private conversation but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they're going to be held to account. That is a very powerful and true statement at least it rings true for me. Your reaction, Bob?

COSTAS: I think it's very reasoned. I know DeMaurice Smith fairly well. I like him and I respect him. I think what he said was thoughtful. It's important even as we rightly condemn statements like this that a couple of words that matter in DeMaurice Smith's statement by some, not by everybody.

I've had this conversation with you before, Don. No one is trying to soft pedal the existence of things like this or say, that's just an aberration, that's one in a million. We know these attitudes exist even if they're whispered behind closed doors because they are not socially acceptable anymore.

We know that these attitudes exist and they've been fired up and affirmed by some corners of the internet by some people in our politics where people feel emboldened. That's not necessarily true of Jon Gruden. It's a whole witch's brew of stuff that's out there, but at the same time, it isn't just members of marginalized groups who are offended by this.

I'd like to believe that it's the majority of white Americans who do not feel this way and do not want this to be the tone of our sports or of our culture. I like that DeMaurice said by some. Now we can guess as what some means, 10 percent, 20 percent, I don't know. But it sure as hell as in everybody and is sure as hell hope it isn't the majority.

LEMON: Listen, but sports, especially football, I mean, runs deep in our culture. You're, you know, someone from the SCC from down south, LSU, I mean, we grow people --

COSTAS: Right.

LEMON: --right, and we groom people to become college and NFL football players there. It is a whole culture. And so, it is -- I mean, this runs deep in the culture and it is reflective, I think, in many ways of what's happening in our culture and in our politics.

I mean, listen, I just want to play this. We don't have to play sound up, but I just want to put this up and ask Bob a question here. This is the NFL players, this video that they put out. We'll just run the video. They put out this video and you saw what happened in the league, you know, over the past what, five, four, three years or so on Colin Kaepernick and so on.

What does this say about the culture and the time that we're in? Players are starting to feel empowered and some autonomy and then you have this. Does this show that the players are right to be doing what they were doing or doing now?

COSTAS: Well, they're right to be concerned. We can certainly talk about how typical this is and how far-reaching it is but it exist and it needs to be confronted and called out and eliminated where it exist. We're not talking about normal political differences.

There are reasonable political differences across the spectrum. But when it comes to bigotry or feelings toward people that just have no compassion and have no enlightenment connected to them, I would think that all reasonable people can say yes, we don't want this to be part of the culture.

We don't want this to be part of our discussions and part of what surrounds the games that we follow and the teams that we care about. And as I said earlier, it's one thing to say hey, a guy made a mistake, slip of the tongue or he reformed his attitude or he raised his consciousness and we're not going to hold him to account for one thing 10 years ago. But if there is a pattern of behavior, that's a different thing.


COSTAS: And of course, you know as a fan the majority of players on SCC teams and the overwhelming majority of players in the NFL are African-American.

LEMON: Right.


COSTAS: So even if you say starting today, I've learned my lesson in going forward I'll never do this, how do you win the trust of the people in that locker room?


COSTAS: You're their leader. How do you win their trust? LEMON: Yes.

COSTAS: And it isn't just the black players. The majority of white players regard the black players and the black players regard the white players as their brothers in arms. They're teammates. You see the way these people feel about each other. Players in every start.

Whatever their background and cultural differences may be, when they come together as a team, they begin to see each other as teammates and also as individuals. Not as representatives of a group but as individuals. And they create bonds of affection and connection and respect. You can't have someone at the top of that organization that doesn't reflect those values.

LEMON: Yes. The fallout from this is remains to be seen. Then we're going to watch it play out live. Thank you. The legendary Bob Costas joining us down.

COSTAS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Here is our breaking news. The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden resigning tonight. In a statement saying, I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and fans of Raider nation. I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. Jon Gruden.

The lasting ramifications of this, what happens next as it comes to NFL and professional sports in general.

Also, tonight on this program, who is afraid of the former president? Apparently, most elected Republicans and it's putting our democracy in peril. That is next.



LEMON (on camera): President Trump making his big lie a litmus test for -- I should say former President Trump a litmus test for the GOP. Either you're with him or you're against him. And it seems even -- even long-time establishment Republicans are getting in line for the former president and for his big lie as well.

Stuart Stevens is here. He is the former chief strategist for the Romney presidential campaign and a senior advisor to the Lincoln Project. So good to have you back on, Stuart. Good evening.


LEMON: So, you say that for those who believe President Biden wasn't legally elected, that means that they believe that we live in an occupied country in and America is not a democracy and you say that the official position, that is the official position of the Republican Party. Did I get that correct? STEVENS: Yes, you got it absolutely right. That they're really,

that's the position of the Republican Party, that Joe Biden is not a legally elected president and that that means we don't live in s democracy which means we live in an occupied country.

And when you take that position, this really hasn't happened since probably 1860 would be the closest analogy that one of the major parties doesn't believe that America is a democracy.

LEMON: How do you explain what's happening in the Republican Party right now, Stuart? It is -- I sit here every night for years and I've watched the Republican Party just embarrass themselves or members of the Republican Party, I should say, embarrass themselves with their fealty to the former guy and apologizing for him. What is happening?

STEVENS: Listen, this is why I wrote this book, "It Was All A Lie" because I asked myself after 2016 how did this happened? I think that there was sort of two strands to the Republican Party in post-World War II America. There was a goal orders -- Eisenhower strand. It was like a normal governing boring strand and a Joe McCarthy strand that was racist, conspiratorial, paranoid, non-governing.

And a lot of us in the party I'd like to think, particularly those of us who were involved in George Bush's compassionate conservatism, we felt that we were the dominant gene and that this dark side was the recessive gene. But I don't know any conclusion that come to but that was wrong.


STEVENS: And the Republican Party is what the Republican Party wants to be. It's very comfortable becoming an autocratic white grievance party. There is no platform. Just don't forget that. We kind of like gloss over that.


STEVENS: The first time in modern politics a party's platform was whatever Donald Trump wanted it to be. And that's how autocracies work. That's how -- it works in Russia. It's not a Democratic institution.

LEMON: In the vein of talking about -- my question about people making excuses for him and the fealty of him. Chuck Grassley appeared with the former president at a campaign-like rally this weekend. Listen to it.


CHUCK GRASSLEY, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE, UNITED STATES SENATE: If I didn't accept the endorsement of a person that's got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn't be too smart. I'm smart enough to accept that endorsement.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): You know, it funny. I hate actually running those rallies but, I mean, it's important to hear from the people who are actually in power right now. You used to make campaign ads for Chuck Grassley. This is him now 88 years old running for his eight-year term. Do you recognize the Chuck Grassley that now pays fealty to Trump?

STEVENS: No, it's so --


LEMON: His eighth term -- excuse me. I think I said something wrong. Go on.

STEVENS: It's so heartbreaking, Don, to see Chuck Grassley who is an interesting guy. He got involved in politics because he was involved in a union movement. He was always a corky guy who really sort of spoke his mind and to see him for what? What do you get out of this? Why do you support Donald Trump who doesn't believe that Joe Biden is president that says this incredible racist stuff? I mean, it just -- this is how his career is going to end. This is what he's going to be remembered for.

And that's really -- the greatest danger is not to recognize the greatest danger, Don, and I think that the problem we have now is that it kind of looks like a normal moment. We have a normal president. So, it's not a normal moment and we've got to realize that this -- that what happened on January 6th was not a freak accident or just the end of something. It really is the beginning of something.


And there is a coordinated effort now among these people, you see it in these legislations that they're trying to pass and have passed in a lot of these states, that change the way democracy works. This is why Republicans are going to, you know, looking to Viktor Orban in Hungary as their new model.

And, you know, there's a lot of buffoonish, ridiculous people that represent that part of the country, that movement, you know. I mean, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. But the core of that is not a buffoonish movement. These are serious, organized, well-funded people who are very patient who have worked for this for years and they think they are going to win.

LEMON: Then what do we do in order to get people's attention? We have been sounding the alarm. Many people are. But I think there are many, many more who are dialed out and are not paying attention. What do we do? More with Stuart Stevens on the other side of the break. We'll be right back.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): At the end of the day, are we going to follow what the Constitution says or not? I hope we get back to what the Constitution says, but clearly in a number of states, they didn't follow those legislatively set rules.


CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: So, you think the election was stolen?

SCALISE: What I said is there are states that didn't follow their legislatively set rules. That's what the United States Constitution says.

WALLACE: Last time, I promise, do you think the election was stolen or not. I understand you think there were irregularities and things that need to be fixed. Do you think the election was stolen?

SCALISE: And it's not just irregulate, it's the states that did not follow the laws set, which the Constitution says they're supposed to follow.


LEMON (on camera): OK. Back now with Stuart Stevens. That's the minority whip Steve Scalise. I mean, he can't bring himself to call the -- call out the election lie and say that Joe Biden was a duly elected president and at least that the election wasn't stolen, let's put it that way.

STEVENS: Yes. I mean, this is what basically Russian propaganda, I mean, for decades. The Soviet Union and now Russia has attacked the concept that the United States was a democracy. They've challenged that. And what these Republicans are doing are just playing into the hands of those that are our enemies.

I mean, look, Don, you know, I worked for Republicans for a long time. I pointed out a lot of flaws in the Democratic Party. But the simple truth is, there are really two parties in America now. There is a party that's for democracy, and there's a party that's trying to change democracy in a way we won't recognize it.

And the Democratic Party is really it's up to the Democratic Party to save democracy here. And this is, we have to accept that. There's not going to be a third party? There are two parties here and it is critical this Democratic Party continue to control Congress in 2022, which is very difficult but it's doable.

And what Democrats need to do is nationalize this race. They need to make it a referendum on democracy and not get caught in these culture wars, not get caught up in, you know, whether or not it's 3.5 or 2.5 trillion.

LEMON: Exactly.

STEVENS: Ultimately, that's not going to be remembered and Democrats have to basically save democracy here.

LEMON: Yes, they got to win the war, not just the battle. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you so much, Stuart Stevens.

STEVENS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: An antivax Republican who is a Texas gubernatorial candidate gets COVID and as current Republican governor in Texas -- in Texas goes against President Biden's vaccine mandates. We got a lot more to come. Stay with us.



LEMON (on camera): Texas Governor Greg Abbott issuing an executive order banning any private employers from mandating vaccines. Abbott says the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, he says it's effective and our best defense against the virus but should remain voluntary and never forced.

Well that's happening as Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West known for being an anti-vaxxer comes down with COVID.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is here. Ed, good evening to you. So, Abbott is really flying right in the face of President Biden. And it's not the first time. What do you -- talk to me about the governor's decision.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think everybody here in Texas is looking at the governor's decisions really through very much a political lens. The governor is facing two primary opponents in the Republican race for governor. That election is next year. Both of those candidates running to the right of him and pushing against vaccine mandates and that sort of thing.

So, a lot of people looking at the governor's action simply as politically motivated. And also, remember, the governor has issued bans on entities, local entities issuing mask mandates and many of those or many school districts and cities and counties across the state defied the governor's executive order on that, as well.

So, it's not really clear whether anyone is going to pay attention to the executive order the governor has issued here tonight in Texas. Especially if you've seen so many major hospital chains in Texas and major corporations that have already issued vaccine mandates for their employees.

LEMON: Ed, what about an update on Allen West? Do you have one.

LAVANDERA: He did. Allen West announced this evening that released a video through social media that he is home out of the hospital. He went in on Saturday and said that he had been receiving a litany of medications to treat his COVID symptoms and that he is waiting to receive a negative test before he resumes campaigning for governor.

He's one of the people running against Governor Abbott. And it was Allen West who spent from the hospital bed essentially saying that this experience has made him more convinced to be against vaccine mandates. So, it's also really interesting to see Governor Abbott's announcement tonight just coming a day after Allen West was railing against vaccine mandates.

LEMON: Yes. Ed Lavandera, thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us.

I want to bring in now CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Doctor, good evening to you. We know that vaccines work. Right? How do you explain the ongoing Republican resistance to life saving public health measures while we are in the middle of a pandemic still?


JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: It almost like these politicians are trying to sabotage our recovery. There is some interesting stats that relates to -- that I think answer some of these questions.

On April 19th vaccines were made available for all Americans. And on that date, Texas and New York had very similar numbers of deaths. New York had about 52,000 deaths, Texas had I believe around 49,000 deaths. And since that time, since vaccines were available to all adults in the United States, New York has had an additional 3,000 deaths and Texas has had almost 20,000 additional deaths.

And the big difference is that New York has fully vaccinated 72 percent of its population and Florida only 60 percent. And now what we see is the -- excuse me, Texas. And now what we see is the Texas governor really trying to prevent these mandates, which had been shown to increase vaccination uptake in the United States.

It's almost as if he's trying to sabotage the vaccine effort in his home state and people are dying as a result. Every -- almost every one of those 20,000 Texans who have died in the last five months have died a needless death, a preventable death.

LEMON: Allen West, he used all the buzz words in all the treatments, right, except for vaccine.

REINER: Right.

LEMON: He says he's taking monoclonal antibodies, hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, Ivermectin, right, all the anti-vax buzz word treatments, so-called treatments. Neither of those last two are approved for COVID by -- by the way. Can you just set the record straight again for us on these medicines, on monoclonal antibodies, on hydroxychloroquine, on Ivermectin?

REINER: So, Hydroxychloroquine has been studied now in many trials. It does not work to prevent either hospitalization or death in folks with COVID-19. Ivermectin, which can be used in humans in -- for treatment of some parasitic diseases does not work for prevention of serious illness, hospitalization or death in people with COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies do work. It's an infusion, it costs about $1,500 and it can lessen the severity of disease.

LEMON: Early.

REINER: I encourage anyone --


LEMON: Yes, you got to get it early. You have to get it early.

REINER: You get it early. And I encourage everyone who is sick to check with their doctor and see if they are a candidate for monoclonal antibodies. That therapy -- those therapy -- that therapy works. Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, does not.

And what's interesting is that Allen West has said that he doesn't want to be injected with spike proteins. First of all, the vaccines don't inject him with spike proteins. They inject him with RNA, but yet, being infected by the virus, the virus is multiplying billions of copies of its spike protein in his lungs and elsewhere in his body. It's a -- it's silly. It's ill-informed, and it's dangerous to people who follow him.

LEMON: Yes. I got to get this in because it's important. It's about Merck asking the FDA to authorize its new COVID treatment pill. What does it actually do? What should people expect?

REINER: Right. So Molnupiravir is a antiviral agent, which basically causes the virus to make mistakes in replication. So it interferes with the viral replication and in a very well run trial, it shows that it reduces the risk of either hospitalization or death by 50 percent.

And what's great about this therapy is it's oral. It's a five-day course, oral course of medicine. So, if one were to contract COVID, your doctor could prescribe this. You can get it at the pharmacy and you can take it at home and it appears to be very effective in preventing severe illness. And I expect that in just a few weeks this will be available for Americans, a nice big step forward.

LEMON: Doctor, thank you. I appreciate you and the information. Thanks.

REINER: My pleasure, thank you.

LEMON: It is National Coming Out Day. And take this, Superman is coming out as bisexual.



LEMON (on camera): So, take this. Today is National Coming Out Day, and in the comic book city of Metropolis, Superman is coming out as bisexual. That's right. The new Superman, his name is Jon Kent, he's a child of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He has fallen for another male character in the D.C. comics. And let's just be real. Coming out gives all of us in the LGBTQ community our very own superpower, the power to be ourselves, the power of autonomy.

So, President Biden commemorated the day by saying this today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ plus community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are regardless, or whether or not you've come out.

He added that the country still has a lot of work do to achieve equality for all Americans. And listen, coming out is very personal. It is very complicated. It used to be more -- it still is complicated. For many people it might even be unsafe.


And it's one of the most important milestones in an LGBTQ person's life. To anyone at home who may be thinking about coming out, it doesn't have to be today, it should be when you are ready, when it feels right for you.

So just so you know, a decade ago, 10 years ago I came out. I was worried about, you know, being shunned or ostracized. I wrote about it in my book "Transparent" and I talked about it on air.


LEMON: I cared yesterday before it happened, and I don't know if care is a right word for today because I feel like whatever happens from this point on, what will be will be, and if the broadcast -- if there is not enough room for a gay anchor, gay black anchor, whatever it is, then my career will transform into something else. I will be successful and I will -- I will prosper at something else.

And I think that's a lesson in this, especially to young people. Is that, you can -- all you have to do is just keep moving. Just stay in the game.


LEMON: It's always my motto. Just one foot no front of the other and remain positive and optimistic.

On this National Coming Out Day, keep moving. And know that there is a community of people who love and support you.

So up next in a rut, the Biden presidency totally stalled. What's the holdup?