Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Trump Speaks as His Valet Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Trump Says He's Being Tested Every Day; Death Toll Climbs as More States Reopen; Sports Giants Pair Up to Raise Money for Coronavirus Relief. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 07, 2020 - 15:30   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If someone who tested positive for COVID-19 got so close to you?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think probably that has to do with the fact that we all believe in tests, we have the best tests in the world, but they were tested -- I believe they're tested on a weekly basis. I just had a test, as you just probably heard, in fact, I had one yesterday and I had one today. And it's negative. And Mike just had a test and it's negative.

But they do the tests and it just shows you that the fallacy -- it's what I've been saying, testing is not a perfect art. No matter what you do, testing is not a perfect art. So, we test once a week now we're going to go testing once a day. But even when you test once a day somebody -- something happens where they catch something. But we -- I've had very little contact, personal contact with this gentleman. I know who he is, good person. But I've had very little contact. Mike has had very little contact with him. But Mike was tested, and I was tested. We were both tested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's (INAUDIBLE) it can be scary for someone --

TRUMP: Yes, it's a little bit strange, but it's one of those things. As I said, you know, I said yesterday, governor, all people are warriors in this country. Right now, we're all warriors. You're warriors, we're warriors. You could be with somebody, everything is fine and then something happens to that person, and then all of a sudden test positive, and we're all warriors together. I am, you are. We all are.

It's what we were saying before, it shows that testing -- and we have the best tests in the world. But what happens in between when you got tested and just a couple days later. So, in this case there were a number of days missed and it was a long weekend and things. So, you never know, But we both tested in a negative fashion, I guess you would call it.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: So that we just wanted to turn that around, that was President Trump reacting to his valet at the White House testing positive. Valet part of this elite military unit works very closely in the West Wing. You heard the President say he tested negative and that he will be tested every day now.

So, let me bring our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and our chief political analyst Gloria Borger. And Elizabeth, that was news to me that he said he will now be tested every single day.

ELIZABETH COHEN, SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right exactly and so they're testing every single day now, but they weren't then. So how long -- this gentleman who has tested positive, how long was he in the White House when he might have been infectious? It sounds like we may never know, but, you know, eventually this becomes sort of a game of numbers.

There are people who work in the White House, who go home every day. They go home to family members who might be infected. This virus is circulating and then they come into the White House. Even if you test them every day, which is certainly more of a sure thing than every week, you can still miss people. These tests are not perfect.

As a matter of fact, there have been complaints that these tests have more false-negatives than many other tests do. So, you are going to miss people. It becomes then a huge question mark why here not wearing masks in the White House and why President Trump continues to say let's open up the country when here he has an example in his very own office of someone who came in and had COVID and people didn't know.

BALDWIN: No. Every single doctor I've asked who's been on the show, you know, just given his potential exposure said he should be sitting there also wearing a mask. And Gloria, you heard him, you know, say we have the best tests in the world. I can't help but think that someone tested positive and, man, they were tested all pretty quickly, but that goes against what the President wants for the nation. He's just recently said that widespread testing isn't necessary.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, so which is it? The inside the White House, they're getting tested every day, the President, the Vice President, and people around them, yet at the same time the President is saying, well, you know, these tests don't really make a difference. Because, of course, you know, as Elizabeth was just saying there, you know, you can be positive -- you can be negative one day and positive the next. So, what is it that the President believes that the country should do?

He keeps says, Brooke, and I hear it a lot from him, some governors want tests, and some governors say not so much. Give me a governor who actually doesn't want any testing in his state. You have to figure out a way to have more accurate tests and if everybody in the country is a warrior, as the President likes to say, you have to give them equipment with which to fight the war. And one piece of the equipment is trying to figure out where you stand.

BALDWIN: Ladies, thank you both very much for jumping on with me and reacting to the President there.

I want to go now though to the issue of unemployment. The jobs lost during this coronavirus pandemic continue to climb. In just the past week, another 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits pushing the total number of people filing for first-time benefits since mid-March to more than 33 million. You just want to bottom line it, that is one out of every five Americans.

Diane Swonk is with me, she the chief economist for the accounting and consulting firm of Grant Thornton. Diane, thank you for being on with me. It's a gut punch looking at these numbers, and especially, of course, tomorrow ahead of the bigger unemployment picture, right, the April jobs report is out tomorrow. What are you bracing for?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON: I'm really worried. I think we've lost over 30 million jobs in the payroll numbers because even when this report was taken, we knew the initial unemployment claims were understating what was actually occurring. There were somewhere between estimates of between 9 and 14 million people who were eligible who were not able to apply for unemployment insurance in the five-week period of the survey for the month of April. So you add that on top of the 26 million that fell into before we got into the extra weeks in that we got that fell into the survey period. And you can get easily over 30 million, over twice the number of job losses in the Great Recession in 5 weeks' time.

And then you also have 8 million undocumented workers out there that do have payrolls, and as the payrolls go down, they also lose their jobs, and it shows up as a loss in payroll. So, this really is an incredibly acute situation where unemployment rates are going to be at Depression era levels and even those won't reflect all of those who are actually unemployed. If you've been unemployed for five weeks and four of those weeks you didn't look for a job, that under the classification is that you're a discouraged worker. That's fine for a regular recession, it's not fine for an economy where people were literally locked out of going to work or even looking for a job.

BALDWIN: And just to add to this, another sobering number, 20 percent of households with kids younger than 12 are now food insecure. Food insecure meaning it's a house that can't provide enough food for the family because they just don't have enough resources. And the Hamilton Project finds young children are experiencing food insecurity to an extent unprecedented in modern times. What do these numbers tell you?

SWONK: It's really sad. It really unfortunately reinforces something we already knew and that was a rising tide didn't lift all boats. There are over 10 million people who were eligible for food stamps and for aid prior to the crisis that couldn't even get access to it. And in the most recent CARES Act they didn't even enhance the access to SNAP, the actual food stamps which really mostly go to children, the food out there. And many kids are losing the food they could have gotten in school. They got meals during the day in school, of course, And so, it really is a severe situation. We knew from the 2018 Federal Reserve household surveys that 40

percent of households didn't have enough money to withstand a $400 shock. This is more than a $400 shock. And it explains why in modern times in the wealthiest country in the world we are seeing food lines that are miles long. It's simply heartbreaking and stunning and it's just really hard to know every single one of those kids, and every one of those jobs lost has a name and a life and a whole family that goes along with it.

BALDWIN: And to think of all the first-time folks who have to swallow it and show up because they now need help too. Diane Swonk, thank you very much. And we'll talk I'm sure about those April numbers tomorrow.

SWONK: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just when you think up things maybe couldn't get any weirder in some cases, a Twitter fight has erupted pitting Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin against Guns and Roses front man Axl Rose.


Yes, Rose firing the first shot last night tweeting, quote, whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin, he's officially a "bleep".

Let's go to Brian Stelter, he's our CNN chief media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", and what's going on?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what is going on, Brooke. That's a great question. I think Mnuchin was searching for his own name on Twitter, then he saw Axl Rose's comment and he replied. He said, hey, what have you done for your country lately? But unfortunately, Mnuchin added the wrong flag, instead of the United States flag, he added the Liberian flag.

He deleted it, he reposted it. He corrected it. Then Axl Rose responded.

Axl Rose said -- my bad, I didn't understand that we were hoping to emulate Liberia's economic model, but on the real -- this what Axl Rose wrote a -- unlike this administration I'm not responsible for 70- plus thousand deaths, but unlike you I don't hold a federal government position of responsibility to the American people to go on TV telling them to travel the United States during a pandemic.

So now we know how Axl Rose feels. And look, many other Americans feel the same way. They believe this government is culpable for tens of thousands of deaths. That is not a radical position, it's a common position. But here's the more important thing, Brooke, Mnuchin has been out there saying, it's a great time to explore America. That's the message from the Treasury Secretary.

I think if epidemiologists were telling us, it's a great time to explore America, I would take them more seriously. And in the meantime, maybe Mnuchin can lay off Twitter and focus on saving some of those tens of millions of Americans you just talked about who are terrified of what's coming in the next few weeks without work.

BALDWIN: Terrified, thank you for saying that. Brian Stelter, appreciate it, good to see you.

STELTER: Thanks.

BALDWIN: As more leaders paint a rosier picture of this crisis, I'll talk with one columnist who says that he will, quote, not die of stupid.


BALDWIN: Before I get to my next guest, I just wanted to stop and make a point about the death toll here. I mean you see the numbers each and every day. We put them on the left side of your screen. More than 1 million cases in the United States of coronavirus, nearly 75,000 deaths, but let me put it to you this way. Some days we wake up and another 9/11 World Trade Center full of people is dead.

And I know we've been covering this for weeks and week now, and maybe some of us are becoming numb to the numbers. Juliette Kayyem, the former Homeland Security official said on CNN this week that Trump's next move is to, and I quote her, ignore the dead. But please, we cannot.


So, here's an idea, President Trump in an interview with ABC's David Muir said this --


TRUMP: As horrible as that is, I mean you're talking about filling up Yankee stadium with death. So, I thought it was horrible, but it's probably going to be somewhat higher than that.


BALDWIN: Maybe we should count them that way. How many stadiums of people would be filled? How many rows, how many sections of people killed by COVID. I wonder if people would get it then?

And a new study says more African Americans are dying at a higher rate than any other group in the United States. This was a study by these researchers at four universities and with several nonprofit groups. Shows that while African Americans represent just 13 percent of the American population, they account for more than half of all coronavirus deaths in the United States. Counties with higher populations of black people were also disproportionately affected, and the study found that disparities including access to health care is likely to blame.

This is despite the fact that the majority of states are reopening without meeting all of the federal guidelines. So, let me bring in my guest, Leonard Pitts. He's a columnist with "The Miami Herald." And he's with me with this powerful column: "I Will Not Die of Stupid." So, Leonard Pitts, welcome to you, sir.


BALDWIN: Let's begin your piece. What do you mean by you will not die of stupid? What is stupid?

PITTS: Stupid as defined in the piece is taking medical advice from people who do not have MDs, PhDs or at least RNs behind their names. Stupid is defined as taking medical advice from TV talk show personalities, from people, you know, protesting in the streets with MAGA hats. That to me is stupid. It would be like taking advice on my car from, I don't know, from somebody who has never driven or seen a car before. It makes no sense. You take advice on a specialty from somebody who is educated in that specialty.

BALDWIN: So in terms of then who you take your advice from, you know, a lot of people are leaning on local officials to decide when to go back to this new normal, but you say it's not even up to them. So, who is it up to?

PITTS: It's up to us the consumers. That's the thing that seems to get lost in this. They can open -- the governors and President can say all they want about opening the economy, the business owners can take the padlocks off the door, but as a matter of fact, the economy will not open until the consumers, who power the economy, feel safe to participate in that economy.

And as I said in the column, I don't know how many people I speak for when I say this, but I'm pretty sure it's more than a few. I'm not ready to participate. I'm not ready to sit in a movie theater. I'm not ready to go to a sporting event. I'm not ready to go to a play, a restaurant, any of those things, until I can feel assured that in doing so, I am not risking my life.

BALDWIN: We've been talking about the disparities, too, Leonard, you know in COVID-19 transmissions, the deaths among communities of color and now this new study is out that says more African-American groups are dying than any other group in the United States. So, when you hear studies like this and you see the gap widening, what do you think?

PITTS: I think I'm not surprised. I think it's just another iteration of the inequity that has, you know, long been part of our lives as African Americans and as people of color. I think that we're talking -- when we talk about those numbers, we're talking not just about unequal access to health care. We're also talking about the fact that studies have shown that health care professionals tend to be less aggressive in treating African Americans.

One study for instance that showed that medical students were less aggressive in treating African Americans for pain because they thought we had thicker skin and thus less susceptibility to pain. The other point that would be made is that we were told to social distance, to have space between us as a means of safeguarding, but in a very real sense, the ability to have space is a privilege and is a luxury that you don't have when you're living, you know, in urban areas, in closer quarters. So, all of these things I think contribute to those numbers that you're seeing.

BALDWIN: Leonard Pitts, thank you so much for coming on, you can find him, read "The Miami Herald." Appreciate you.

More on our breaking news. The President says he will now be tested every single day after his valet tests positive.

Plus, a new study shows the drug he touted for weeks and weeks, hydroxychloroquine, now shows no signs of helping COVID patients.

Also, remember the salon owner that was jailed in Texas for reopening her shop? The governor just made a move that impacts her fate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I'm not going to shut the salon.




BALDWIN: A little bit of good news for sports fans, the Celebrity Golf Match for the ages is just days away. And it's for a great cause, COVID-19 relief. Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning are teaming up against their biggest rivals, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in the Match 2, Champion for Charities. It is set for Sunday May 24th.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You win the award for taking the time to set up your shot.

PHIL MICKELSON, PRO-GOLFER: This is the trophy for the match. I don't know actually, Tiger, if you know what this looks like. You might have caught a glimpse. But that's actually what the trophy looks like.

TIGER WOODS, PRO-GOLFER: Hold on one second, I just got out of an ice bath. I'm a little chilly. I feel better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well played, sir.

PEYTON MANNING, RETIRED NFL QUARTERBACK: A lot of people are hurting right now, Ernie, a lot of people struggling. You know, I mentioned New Orleans my hometown is once again being hit hard by this virus as are many communities around the country. So, you know, I don't think this event would happen if it wasn't going to benefit those people that are hurting. And so, I think that's why it's a double win.


[15:55:00] BALDWIN: Man, what a great interview. And with us now, Turner Sports Ernie Johnson, himself, co-host of "Inside The NBA" on TNT. Good to see you, my friend. And what does your shirt say? Be a better?

ERNIE JOHNSON, CO-HOST, "INSIDE THE NBA": Be a better human, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Be a better human, love it.

JOHNSON: You know what, there's a great -- there's a great company out there, Combat Flip Flops, veterans started it and they're helping out kids in Afghanistan, especially young women in Afghanistan become educated. And so, they sell the flip flops, and that kind of thing, and so check them out. Combat Flip Flops. They're a great unit.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about another great thing this golf match. So, so 24th of this month. What is it all about? It's helping out coronavirus sufferers.

JOHNSON: Right. That's exactly right. Because two years ago we had the first one of these. And it was just Tiger against Phil and you saw Phil, he had the belt buckle that he won along with $9 million when he beat Tiger head-to-head out there at Shadow Creek two years ago.

So this time around, they're going to have partners. Phil is going to team with Tom Brady, Tiger is going to team with Peyton Manning. And this is not a $9 million winner take all. This is all going toward coronavirus relief. And so, two of the greatest golfers of all time. Two of the best quarterbacks of all time who are going to be a little out of their comfort zone playing golf. Although, they're both good players. But that's how it's going to unfold at the Medalist Club down in Hope Sound, Florida.

BALDWIN: Who's your favorite?

JOHNSON: You know, Tiger's the favorite, you know, the Tiger/Peyton team is. But Tiger was favored last time when Phil won. So you know what, it's just going to be great to see actual live competition happening because the American sports fan is starved for that. Just to see, something that's unpredictable. You know, you can watch as many classic games as you want, you know, things that have happened in the past. But there's nothing quite like not knowing who is going to win and watching them compete and it's four guys that everybody knows.

BALDWIN: I also appreciated a little of the trash talk. I think it's still healthy in these difficult times, you know, Tiger with the green jacket, noted. Let me ask you about this, CNN has just learned that the NBA has informed all of its franchises that their facilities may open on Friday and be used on a voluntary basis by up to four individual players as long as local or state guidelines are followed. We're just seeing that. What's your reaction?

JOHNSON: This is the situation. In fact, Charles Barkley and I just got done talking to Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks on our Steam Room podcast not an hour ago. And the thing that's been difficult about this in terms of trying to get everybody on the same page is the fact that there are different rules and different laws depending on the municipality of the state and everything else.

So, I don't know. I mean, I think it's an encouraging sign. But it's also one that -- look, this may be something that works in, you know, this town but doesn't work in this town, depending on what their government has done. So, I'll take it as any step like this you know is somewhat encouraging to see that maybe we're making progress towards that. But in my thinking, there is just so much that's uncertain right now, Brooke, that it's hard for me to jump up and down and say, oh, yes, we're about to play.

BALDWIN: Totally. No, no. Everything is so, so in limbo. But despite all of it, I know you Ernie have partnered with the league to just keep fans engaged. It's a Twitter chat, #NBAtogether. Tell me about that and who have been some of your guests?

JOHNSON: Well, we've had -- we're designing it to talk to some of the most influential voices in the game. We started with Adam Silver. And the thing that strikes me, Brooke, look, if I can go back to March 12th. The night after the NBA suspended play, we did a show in the Atlanta studio minus Charles, who was in his hotel room, because he had just been tested. You know it turned out he tested negative. But on that night, there were 40 deaths in the United States on March 12th as I spoke with Adam Silver that night. And now what are we, 73, 74,000? And it hasn't been even two months since then. And I talked to Adam in the first installment of this NBA Together and I said, how much more do you know now than that night that we talked? He said not much.

We're all in this thing, kind of that way. Trying to read what the medical experts are telling us. What's going to be the safe way to try to come back and start, restart sports again? We all want to see it. I mean, make no mistake. But we also know --

BALDWIN: Of course, we do. I need to jump in.

JOHNSON: We have to be so careful.

BALDWIN: We do, the # it's nbatogether --