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Dr. John Cowan is Interviewed about Offering Vaccines at Rally; U.S. Adds 235,000 in August; CNN Reflects on 9/11 with a Documentary; Jessica McDonald is Interviewed about the Women's Team Pay Lawsuit. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 03, 2021 - 08:30   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Elizabeth, for joining us this morning.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Georgia is now seeing more COVID hospitalizations than at any time since the pandemic began with 6,500 people in the hospital. My next guest went to a political rally attended by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to try to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Joining us now is Dr. John Cowan, he's a neurosurgeon. He also lost the Republican primary to Marjory Taylor Greene in 2020.

Doctor, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

You went to this political rally where Marjorie Taylor Greene was speaking to try to convince people to take the vaccine. I think there was even a mobile vaccination clinic there. How people did you get on board for vaccines?

DR. JOHN COWAN, NEUROSURGEON: Well, good morning. Thanks for having me.

Unfortunately, we didn't get anybody to take the vaccine that morning, but what we did do was put a positive spin on getting vaccinated. The folks who were there saw that leaders in the community had already gotten vaccinated. That the face of the vaccine was their neighbor, their relative, and people who treated them in other circumstances.

I operated on a lot of folks who were at that rally. And if they trusted me to operate on their brain and spine, I would hope they would trust me to give a safe and proven vaccine.

BERMAN: But you went there prepared to help deliver shots that day and you delivered zero?

COWAN: That's right.

BERMAN: What does that tell you in general and how was it received, I should ask? I mean how was it received when you were out there talking about the vaccine?

COWAN: You know, Governor Kemp, for example, got up and gave a very pro-vaccine message. He came by our booth, thanked everybody for being there. And so I think everyone understands the importance of vaccination.

You know, look, we've been on a second shift for a year and a half. President Trump helped build some life rafts on that ship. Biden has deployed a lot of those life rafts. And we've got people who just need to get on the lifeboat.

Unfortunately, we have people out there, too, who are destroying some of the lifeboats. And that's what we don't need to have happen. There are plenty of lifeboats, called the vaccination, if people get on board.

BERMAN: But what message do you think people are hearing, right, because I know you say you went -- and it's good that you're delivering this message there, but I don't know if it was at this same rally, but Marjorie Taylor Greene says things publicly about the vaccine which just aren't true and she's got a lot of people who pay attention.

COWAN: She does, unfortunately. She says a lot of things that are untrue. And I would encourage you to bring her on and challenge her on that. I'm doing the best that I can to promote a safe face of the vaccination.

This is really a miraculous vaccine. It was developed under President Trump. It was deployed under President Biden. We have bipartisan support for this vaccine if people want to make it political. If they don't, please just ask your trusted doctor or health care provider. They're going to tell you to take the vaccine.

BERMAN: You know what, this vaccine has no political party. I wish people would realize that and realize that it can save lives.

Dr. Cowan, thank you so much for what you're trying to do. I appreciate you being with us this morning.

COWAN: It's my pleasure. God bless.

COLLINS: We have breaking news. The August jobs report is in. What it shows about the country's recovery is the delta variant is surging across the U.S. That's next.



BERMAN: All right, just in moments ago, the August jobs report.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans with the details.


disappointment. Delta drag. You could see huge job growth in the summer and then in August job growth slowed dramatically. Look at what the numbers look like. When you look at the numbers you can see that 235,000 jobs were added back. That is a big miss.

The consensus, John, was for more than 700,000. Even the whisper numbers of a disappointment were 400,000 or 500,000. So this is a disappointment, and it shows COVID and child care concerns are still holding back hiring here.

Let's look at how many jobs have been added back since the beginning of the year. You can see this is the weakest since January. And a big, big slowdown from the summer. We had June and July, big hiring there in June and July, and then it just -- the brakes went on there overall here.

How does this make us look for the pandemic? You can see that we are in the pandemic, add another 235, and that doesn't add very much. You are still down more than 5 million jobs since the pandemic began.

The jobless rate here, 5.2 percent. So that is the lowest of the pandemic. So that means there are people still being added into the labor market, right? You are still seeing some hiring. And 5.2 percent is the number we want to see, but we haven't seen the job growth from the company side that we'd want to.

Look, this is a really important moment here in the labor market. We have kids going back to school. In these numbers we saw hiring in education. So we know kids are going back to school. Maybe that will help some of the child care problems that have held back hiring overall.

But the delta variant is the number one concern here right now. How can you grow hiring when you have people who are afraid to go to work, you have companies who are afraid to keep adding onto their payroll because they're not exactly sure what the fall is going to bring, guys.

BERMAN: I've got to say, this is a pretty big story this morning, Romans. I mean, yes, the 5.2 unemployment rate, that's good news, but the slowdown in new hires is really something and really will raise concerns heading into the fall with delta.

ROMANS: And, look, you also have 7.5 million people this weekend who will lose their extra unemployment benefits. Those expire.

We also know, John, we've seen, the verdict is in, the company -- or the states, rather, that cut those extra jobless benefits early, they did not have a bigger boom in employment than the states who left those extra benefits on. So there's still kind of a mystery here about how we're going to get more people connected with all those open jobs that are there in the midst of the delta variant.

COLLINS: That's interesting, Christine, because that was the argument that the White House had been making about those jobless benefits. But also this showing that leisure and hospitality were unchanged after an increasing by an average of 350,000 per month over the last six months.

ROMANS: Yes, I was happy to see manufacturing jobs added here. So that's really important. Those tend to be higher paid jobs. And we know that there's a big focus on U.S. made goods and getting our manufacturing sector back up on its feet after all of these tie-ups and snags because of COVID.


So I was happy to see that there. Also jobs added in education. But 235,000 is not what you wanted to see after the gangbuster growth of the summer.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much.

COLLINS: And here is what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:00 a.m. ET, Homeland secretary update on Afghan refugees.

10:00 a.m. ET, President Biden delivers remarks on jobs report.

3:30 p.m. ET, President Biden tours Louisiana Hurricane Ida damage.


COLLINS: It has been nearly 20 years since the day that changed America forever. CNN, with a front row to history to one of the most iconic moments of the mornings of September 11, 2001. Stay with us.



COLLINS: On September 11, 2001, President Bush visited a second grade classroom in Florida, not knowing, of course, what was about to happen. In a special report, CNN's Victor Blackwell relives that fateful day with the students who were in the second grade, but are now in their late 20s, their teacher and the White House aides who were there with the president. "Front Row to History: The 9/11 Classroom," premieres Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Here's a preview.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you do in that moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cry. I pray. And I ask why. Why and how. I really needed a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We never really seen her cry. And it's like, something definitely impacted her more than what we know, what was going on is -- was deeper than what we seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew Miss Daniels as loving, caring. It's a really different take from our teacher is kind of jarring. I mean we've never seen her like this.

BLACKWELL: How long was your moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could have been two minutes. It could have been three minutes. But I knew I had to get back to my kids.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I didn't want them to think that they had done something wrong. So I had to let them know it was not their fault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something in the way that you presented it to us like allowed me to understand that, like, the human side of it, that like I am not the most important person right now, like he's got something he has to do. People are hurting. He has to leave. And that's OK. And it's not our fault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think after that, that's when, you know, they cut on the TV for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those Americans who are looking at these horrific pictures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then it all came together. Like, I grasped how serious it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think myself and maybe other students thought it was like a movie or something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn't look real.

BLACKWELL: The TV was here or you took them to a different room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the TV, the monitor that President Bush had was in his office next door. The memory of it might fluctuate a little. After I came out of the room, I told them what happened. The pictures and the images that they saw, they might have seen them when that door was open, but the TV never came in here. I was very careful about how much I exposed them to and what I said to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the first day I learned the word terrorist, too.



COLLINS: CNN's Victor Blackwell joins us now.

What was it like to even do these interviews and be with someone who was with the president on what was one of the most -- or the most monumental day of his presidency?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I thought I know all the angles of this when I walked in, what to expect from these now 27- year-olds who were part of this story. But I was surprised. Every minute we spoke about it, there actually is a degree of something akin to survivor's guilt that they feel because they are the few who were so close to this story, who, from their perspective, did not suffer loss or trauma. And when people find out that they are the students who were in the classroom, sometimes there's a reluctance to even talk about it because they don't want that type of notoriety, but they wanted to share this because they know now that they're the only ones who can tell that story.

I also think the story of the teacher, Mrs. Daniels, who is still teaching 20 years later, is fascinating because she had to then determine in that moment, after having her moment to digest what had just happened to the country, what does she tell, as she calls them, her babies? What does she tell them? The president had come to congratulate them for doing so well in their reading. And then, in a moment, after Andy Card whispered into his ear, he left. They didn't know what to make of that.


BLACKWELL: So she decided to sing to them after they had seen those images. And what's interesting was -- I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

COLLINS: Me, too.

BLACKWELL: She sang to them a song by Sounds of Blackness, hold on, change is coming. And in this interview where I'm sitting in this classroom with Mrs. Daniels and the students, she starts to sing it. And I'm pretty sure they haven't heard it in, you know, 20 years because it's not something that plays on the radio. They come in at the same parts as they sang it with her 20 years ago. And in those small voices, as if they were seven years old again. I mean that's how that moment resonated for them.

Throughout the special, you're going to feel and hear those moments where a teacher had to decide, what do I do with these seven-year-olds who are now living through this moment and also how this impacted their life over those 20 years since.

COLLINS: It's amazing she had the foresight to think about that because she's still processing this unbelievable day.


COLLINS: But she knew that this would be a day that, when they're older, they're going to know, this is where I was on September 11th. The president was in our classroom.


BLACKWELL: She had to soothe them, but also understand that some of this explanation should come from their parents.


BLACKWELL: That some of this should be reserved for home. But she had to protect them in that moment. And then the conversation continued in the days and weeks after, as it did for all of us.

COLLINS: I can't wait to watch. I know this is going to be so good.

BLACKWELL: Well, thank you.

COLLINS: The preview there was amazing.

BLACKWELL: I'm looking forward to sharing it.

COLLINS: Thank you for joining us this morning. We can't wait to watch.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

COLLINS: You can tune in to the CNN special "Front Row to History: The 9/11 Classroom," this Sunday at 10L00 p.m. Eastern.

BERMAN: That sounds amazing.


BERMAN: Four Olympic golds, four World Cup championships, the U.S. Women's national soccer team. But now they may be facing their biggest challenge ever, the fight for equal pay. In a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019, the players allege they're not receiving pay that is equal to what the men's team makes. A federal court disagreed last year, throwing out the players' equal pay claim. The judge found that the women's team negotiated a different pay structure than the men's team and that the women's players were already paid more than the men's team. The players are now appealing.

The all-new film "LFG" brings you a behind the scenes look at the grit and the determination of these women.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lawsuit is something that no professional athlete would ever want to have. It's so much work. It takes you away from your sport. It's very stressful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The same sentiment that's been happening for, you know, years and years, decades and decades through many different negotiations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something needs to just completely collapse and crumble and we need just to build it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in camp a lot, but then there's times when we're in completely different time zones, states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's great, guys. Thank you very much for doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of phone calls. A lot of text messages. A lot of emails.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Strategizing and keeping everyone on the same page and --

Carlos (ph) is the only one that has his eyes on that.

Discriminated peoples do not have the luxury of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) around, frankly.

So it's our players that are having to form what the lawsuit is, you know, figuring out all of the inequalities over the year, trying to go through our contract, going through the other contracts.


So it's hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of overtime.


BERMAN: Joining us now is Jessica McDonald. She's a professional soccer player and a member of the 2019 World Cup U.S. women's national team.

Jessica, it's an honor to meet you. I am a huge soccer fan. A huge fan of the teams that you've played on. So it's really nice to see you.

Look, let me just start out with the big question here. It's a pretty bold move, suing your boss basically for equal pay. Why did you sign onto this?

JESSICA MCDONALD, FORWARD, 2019 USWNT WORLD CUP TEAM: To be honest, I was nervous myself. I've never been part of a lawsuit ever in my entire life. I know nothing about law, to be honest, and so it was a little intimidating at first but it's a little more comforting because we're a collective group who was on board to begin this lawsuit in the first place. So that was a little more comforting. And the leadership that we had on this team and the fight that we were going to fight together. And so we're going to continue this fight until probably the day that we die. So it was a no-brainer to jump on board with this because this is a fight that we need for everybody, not just ourselves. So it's much bigger than us.

BERMAN: Look, you say you don't know about law, but you know about teamwork, you know about competition.

What's it like to try to compete at your peak, at the highest level when you feel as if the organization behind you, you know, maybe doesn't have your back, doesn't consider you to be the equal of others?

MCDONALD: It has its challenges, but it shows the world that we're also human beings at the end of the day. So we deal with this crap off the field, whereas we go onto the field and perform at our best, perform at the highest level, and continue to win. And so that's what we're here for is to show people that example, like, hey, we can fight the good fight but we can also apply good work onto the field and succeed at the same time.

BERMAN: So the team was riding high after the 2019 World Cup win, which, again, I will say, was awesome. You and your teammates said you felt like it was this moment where the change and the pay change was going to come, but it didn't happen. A federal judge has dismissed the equal pay claim and, in your lawsuit, dismissed your claim in the lawsuit and now the team is appealing that ruling. Still, how discouraging was that ruling?

MCDONALD: Very. It felt like a slap in the face to us because we thought filing this lawsuit, and then winning the World Cup was kind of cherry on top, as if we had proved ourselves, which is what we did. And then for them to continue to deny it, you know, obviously we felt a little bit -- on the fence a little bit. And so a little bit of a slap in the face, like I said. And so we did this appeal. We will continue to do appeals until we get what we want and what we deserve.

BERMAN: Yes, you'll keep on fighting. It seems like that's what you know how to do really well.

You know, you're a single mother and you've spoken about the example you're trying to set for your son by working hard, never giving up, making sacrifices. Do you think he realizes, not just everything you've done on the field, but everything that you're fighting for?

MCDONALD: Yes, he's starting to understand because now he's starting to speak up about equal pay. And he went to the premiere in New York City with me to watch "LFG." And you see that, he's in the film, but he didn't know what was going on as we were filming the movie. So watching it, his eyes got really big. He's like, oh, my gosh, I'm in a movie, I'm on TV. But he was really paying close attention to what the issue was because we were in the car one day and I'm just driving and, you know, he's in the back seat. He's like, mom, I don't get it. I was like, what do you not get, son? This is out of nowhere. And he's like, why won't they give you guys equal pay? Like, I don't understand. Like you just won a trophy. Like -- he's like confused about it and he's asking questions.

So for my nine-year-old to be on board and be a little more aware of what's going on, it's really cool to set this example for him. Hey, if you deserve something, you fight for that. And if you work hard for something, you deserve more. You deserve what, you know, you should be getting. And so that's sort of the example I'm here to set for him. And for him to be a part of it as well, you know, this is something historical that he's going to remember for the rest of his life. And I know this is going to help pave the way for him. I know it's going to help him gain confidence to speak up and speak out for himself and others as well.

BERMAN: I think that's just wonderful.

Listen, you're shaping minds and you're changing the world. Jessica McDonald, we really appreciate you being with us. Thanks so


MCDONALD: Thank you so much for having me.

BERMAN: And you can watch the CNN film "LFG" Monday night at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you for coming and playing this week.

COLLINS: Thanks for having me. It has been such a great morning. I've learned so much during the mornings that we've been here.


And thanks to Brianna for letting me sit in for her.

BERMAN: We had an historic storm. We're still feeling the aftereffects. No shortage of news. You were great. We look forward to speaking to you again.