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Trump Now Says He Disagrees Strongly With Georgia Governor On Opening Barber Shops, Salons, Spas, And More On Friday; Dr. Redfield Playing Safe On His Statement; Doctor Says He Was Removed From Federal Post After Questioning Drug Trump Praised; President Trump Claims More Testing Than Any Of The Governors Even Want As Governors Still Complain Of Testing Supply Shortages; Interview With Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) About Her Response To The Mayor Of Las Vegas About Being Reopening Las Vegas. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 22, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Ben Ramirez turn his kitchen into a free coffee stand. he offers free coffee to healthcare heroes and other essential workers. His 5-year-old son suggested using his toy gorilla arm to hand over the cups while keeping six feet away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people have actually been very thankful having just, like, a space to come get your coffee and talk to somebody for a second, kind of makes it feel like they're back in their kind of routine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Together, as ever, as one. Ramirez says his dream is to open a cafe. He's certainly got the service part down.
Thank you for watching. Time for CNN TONIGHT, and that means D. Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: That reminds me -- remember the old thing, the old punching thing when we were young? The expandable thing that had the boxing glove on the end? You don't remember that?
CUOMO: I know -- I thought you were talking about rock them sock them robots.
LEMON: You're way older than me so you probably don't remember that.
CUOMO: That is true.
LEMON: That was before my time. Or the hook. Pull him off stage. Give him the hook.
CUOMO: Well, that I remember. I still fear that, by the way.
LEMON: You do?
CUOMO: Let me ask you something.
LEMON: You can ask me whatever you want.
CUOMO: If you and I meet -- if you and I meet on the phone and we discuss business matters --
LEMON: I heard that. It's not a meeting.
CUOMO: Or we meet first --
LEMON: Unless you say it's a meeting. Maybe -- OK. I just had a thought.
CUOMO: Come on. Come on.
LEMON: I just had a thought, maybe in this environment it's a meeting. But a phone call is not necessarily a meeting. It's a conversation. When you say meet, that means what? You meet.
CUOMO: Semantics. Either you've been talking with them about this same problem or you haven't. And we're in this same pickle. The Fed says the states should do testing. The testing in the states. They say they can't get up to capacity. Then they have a meeting. They say they make progress and we're still not ready anywhere. I just don't get it. I don't get why we can't get on the same page.
LEMON: You think I'm going to disagree with the governor right now? I'm sorry.
CUOMO: You really, you really fell on that one. Boy, boy. I hope it works out well for you.
LEMON: That's not going happen right now. I'm glad you're doing well. I am thinking about you know who, the little one.
CUOMO: Yes, he's OK. He's got the same deal that Cristina had.
CUOMO: So, they're doing better than I do. At night it's hard. You get the sinus pressure. But look, man, this is how it works in families. It works its way through families all the time. Hopefully we get lucky, the other two don't get it. One day at a time.
LEMON: Yes. I count -- you know, I get up later than the other half and I'm like, OK, how long before I get the did you talk to Chris yet? Some days it's 20 minutes, some days it's, like, six minutes, you know? So today it took longer. But anyway, be well. Go it to run. You be well.
CUOMO: I love you. Have a great night.
LEMON: Thank you. That goes double for you. Thank you very much, sir.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Here's our breaking news. It involves people, sadly, and deaths because there are more than 846,000 cases of coronavirus in this country, more than 46,000 Americans dead. They have died.
And there is news tonight about the director of a key federal agency working on a coronavirus vaccine who says that he was dismissed from his post and he was dismissed in retaliation, he says, for raising questions about hydroxychloroquine.
You know, that's the drug that the president has been touting, praising for months, telling sick Americans, what have you got to lose, he says. Dr. Rick Bright, that's his name, says he's going to file a whistleblower complaint in a statement that goes on to say this.
He says, "I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus science not politics or cronyism has to lead the way."
In the middle of a deadly public health emergency, one that kills more and more Americans every day, our leaders are sidelining science. The science that our lives depend on right now.
And before we could even absorb that development today, a top scientist saying the administration forced him out during a deadly pandemic for advocating a science approach.
Well, that came another example. The CDC director Robert Redfield forced to fall on his sword tonight after his warning to the Washington Post that a second wave of the coronavirus coming at the same time as the flu could be more difficult and more complicated. Forced to do that, fall on his sword, with a grim president standing by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Thank you, Mr. President. I really do think it's important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people.
When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall/winter -- next fall and winter it could be more difficult -- difficult, more complicated when we had two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time, influenza and the coronavirus 19, but I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say.
I didn't say that this was going to be worse -- I said it was going to be more -- more difficult and potentially complicated because we'll have flu and coronavirus circulate at the same time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, the president claiming Dr. Redfield was misquoted. He wasn't. Look at your screen. He wasn't misquoted. All right? Redfield himself said that he was accurately quoted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That quote that I just read this afternoon, right, sir? That's the quote from the Washington Post. you were accurately quoted, correct?
REDFIELD: I'm accurately quoted in the Washington Post. As difficult, but the headline was --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. And then the president started jumping in and saying, you know, back and forth back and forth back and forth, it's like, quit while you're, I guess, ahead, but I'm not sure.
So here's what the Washington Post said, OK? This is the Washington Post. there is a possibility that the assault -- look at the quote. The possibility the assault the virus on our nation next winter will actually be more difficult than the one we just went through. And when -- when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back. They don't understand what I mean. We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.
Sounds pretty simple. That's what he said. He said what he said. A source telling CNN other members of the task force shared Dr. Redfield's concerns. And listen to what the president says tonight about Dr. Rick Bright, OK, who says that he was dismissed from his post for raising questions about hydroxychloroquine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask you about Rick Bright, he's the head of the federal agency in charge of getting a vaccine out to Americans once it's ready. He says he has been pushed out of his job because he raised questions about hydroxychloroquine and some of your directives on that. Was he pushed out of that job?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I never heard of him. You just mentioned a name. I never heard of him. When did this happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This happened today.
TRUMP: Well, I never heard of him. If the guy says he was pushed out of the job, maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. You'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Never heard of him. Don't know who he is. Nothing to see here. Never heard of the official who questioned the unproven drug the president has been touting. But wait a minute. The president said he never heard of the guy who was heading up the search for a vaccine, the guy looking for the only thing that can end this nightmare pandemic? Wouldn't you expect the president to have some idea who that person
is? I mean, at least some idea. But all this sounds a lot like what the president said last night when he claimed not to know anything about the study that found the drug not only had no benefit. It increased death rates.
That as researchers in New York have submitted preliminarily results to the Health Department of what's being described as the largest study so far of hydroxychloroquine. The results haven't been released, and the Health Department didn't respond when CNN asked when it plans to release them.
And then there's Dr. Deborah Birx, who as I said last night, I respect a great deal, especially for her work on HIV AIDS, but she seems to have really downed a whole lot of the Kool-Aid. Failing last night to defend the guidelines that she wrote. Guidelines Georgia is just ignoring in planning to reopen businesses like barber shops, nail salons and tattoo parlors this Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: I believe people in Atlanta would understand that if their cases are not going down, that they need to continue to do everything that we said, social distancing, washing your hands, wearing a mask in public.
So, if there's a way that people can social distance and do those things then they can do those things. I don't know how, but people are very creative. So, I'm not going to prejudge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: She's not going to prejudge when a state ignores the guidelines, let's be honest, guidelines that she put forth.
And remember when Dr. Anthony Fauci was a fixture at most coronavirus task force briefings? Remember that? Well, he disappeared for days. A source telling CNN that he now waits to see if White House officials will call him down to the West Wing. Tonight, after five days they apparently did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There will be coronavirus in the fall. If we do, which we won't, but let's take an imaginary period. OK, coronavirus, we're not going to do anything about it. It will take off. That's what viruses do. But that's not what's going to happen. We're going to respond to it to not allow it to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Good to see him, right? Dr. Fauci saying it plainly, there will be coronavirus in the fall. That's what the science tells him. But it may not be what the president wanted to hear. Let's see if he gets a call for tomorrow's briefing.
The fact is scientists have been sidelined in this crisis over and over. There's the CDC's Nancy Messonnier who on February 25th warned about the possibility of a pandemic and said community spread of the virus was likely, and she was right.
We're learning today that the first death from the coronavirus was on February 6th. A California woman who had no history of recent travel overseas. But when Dr. Messonnier issued that warning, the president was furious and threatened to fire her. She's been sidelined ever since.
Scientists sidelined when they speak scientific truth to power. Forced to fall on their own swords. Facts questioned and buried.
This is the kind of thing that happened in China, where doctors were fired for sounding the alarm about a virus that has killed more than 183,000 people worldwide.
This disregard for science, for the facts, comes from the top, but it is spreading and putting Americans at risk.
Georgia's governor ignoring administration guidelines and insisting that he'll open businesses like barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlors on Friday. Ignoring modelling used by the White House that says his state should not reopen until June 19th. Just yesterday the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, he's a very capable man. He knows what he's doing. He's done a very good job as governor of Georgia, and, by the way, and South Carolina. Governor McMaster also. So, you have two very capable people. We're going to find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Very capable? Tonight, he is changing his tune.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I told the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, which is it? Strongly disagree or he knows what he's doing? Or is this just another attempt to have it both ways or push blame on to the states if there is trouble?
And then there is the mayor of Las Vegas. Did you see this? Calling for the city, including casinos on the strip, to be reopened while refusing to even consider providing guidelines for how to do that safely. If you haven't seen it, you've got to hear this exchange with Anderson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, hundreds of thousands of people coming there in casinos, smoking, drinking, touching slot machines, breathing circulated air and then returning home to states around America and countries around the world, doesn't that sound like a virus petri dish? I mean, how is that safe?
MAYOR CAROLYN GOODMAN (I), LAS VEGAS: No, what it sounds like is you're being an alarmist. I'm not. I've lived a long life. I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I know what it's like to be in subways and busses and crammed into elevators.
COOPER: I'm being an alarmist?
GOODMAN: I think you are by saying what you just said. I am the one --
COOPER: So, you don't believe there should by any social distancing? You don't believe that this is a --
GOODMAN: Of course, I believe there should be. Of course. I'm a rational --
COOPER: But how do you do that in a casino?
GOODMAN: That's up to them to figure out. I don't own a casino. I don't know anything about building a casino.
COOPER: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The mayor. It's outrageous. Calling for casinos to reopen even though she doesn't have the authority to make that happen. All the while refusing to do anything to keep people safe. I don't know, she says.
This is the time to put the facts first. We need to know the facts to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, our co-workers. Is this where we are now? Where we ignore the science, we push it aside for politics and feelings?
What is the story behind the dismissal of this top official working on vaccines and will this slow the search for the one thing that can stop the coronavirus? We're going to discuss. Kaitlan Collins is here, as well as Dr. Harvey Fineberg. That next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: President Trump at tonight's coronavirus briefing saying the nation won't go through what we went through for the last two months again, seeming to contradict the science and the scientists as more Americans die every day.
I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and Dr. Harvey Fineberg, the chair of the Standing Committee of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Thank you both for joining. Good to see you both of you.
Kaitlan, we're going to start with you. Because we are seeing the president either contradict or have some sort of conflict with many of his advisers on the science, and we're seeing it happen live, at least we saw it today, and it's happening on a number of levels.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don, we've seen the doctors say the president has always taken our advice that we've given to him about how to proceed, but at times we see the president contradict them in real time, as we did today where the president wanted the CDC director to come out and clarify a comment he made, though he didn't clarify it, he just reaffirmed that, yes, that was the comment that he had actually given to the Washington Post.
When he was adding, you know, some context around it, but he was repeating what he had already said.
Meanwhile, the president was saying that he didn't know if the coronavirus outbreak would have a second wave later this year. When you saw Dr. Fauci say, no, we do fully expect that to happen and we're preparing as such. Which is what we've heard from people like Dr. Birx and others.
And this is something that's happened time and time again at these briefings, where often you'll see the doctor weighing in on a subject and then the president comes back later, he tries to offer a statement that is a bit more vague about what exactly the future could look like when the scientists are saying, no, we've already looked at the data, we have a pretty good idea that this is likely what's going to happen and this is the direction we're leaning in. When often you see the president try to really couch those statements.
LEMON: Yes, I kept wondering -- it's like, what are they arguing about? Because the guy is actually saying -- he's contradicting you and you keep arguing and making the point for him. It was really -- today was really bizarre, Kaitlan. I mean, I've got -- it was an unraveling in the beginning of that press conference.
Dr. Fineberg, let me bring you in. You hear Dr. Fauci saying the country will have coronavirus in the fall. Dr. Redfield is saying that it could be more difficult, which is what the quote said and that's everyone is saying, they're quoting the quote. And yet, here's the president. This is what I'm talking about. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: What? It is estimated it might not come back at all, Jeff. It
may not come back at all. He's talking about a worst-case scenario where you have a big flu and some corona. And if it comes come back -- it's not going to come back, and I've spoken to 10 different people, it's not going to be like it was.
Also, we have much better containment now. Before nobody knew about it. Nobody knew anything about it. We understand it now if we have pockets, a little pocket here or there, we're going to have it put out, it goes out and it's going to go out fast. We're going for be watching for it. But it's all possible. It's also possible it doesn't come back at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, doctor, let's just be clear. The scientists are saying we will have it. Dr. Fauci is saying we will have it. The president is saying we might not. So how can he say that?
HARVEY FINEBERG, CHAIR, STANDING COMMITTEE ON EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES: They can both say it, Don, because neither one of them is actually putting a probability on their statements.
The doctors are talking about what's probable. They think that it's more than likely, greater than 50 percent, that we're going to see coronavirus -- of what scale and severity, that's another debatable point, but coronavirus is not going to disappear entirely.
When the president said it's possible that we're not going to have a major outbreak in the fall, maybe some of his advisers are telling him something that's less than 1 percent chance, but still in the realm of what is remotely possible.
LEMON: But, doctor, let me ask you -- no, he's saying --
FINEBERG: So, you'll hear both of this --
LEMON: No, he's saying, Dr. Fauci is saying we are going to have it. That was his sound bite.
LEMON: The president is saying it might not come back. They're not saying probably, they're saying -- Dr. Fauci is saying we're going to have it. The president is saying it might not come back. That doesn't -- they're not saying -- maybe the president is saying it might not, but --
FINEBERG: Well, I would probe both of them, actually, because I don't think Dr. Fauci if pushed would say he's 100 percent certain. He would say it's more likely, maybe 80 percent, 90. I'd like to hear what exactly he would say.
So, the difference here is our imperfect language about expressing uncertainty about events in the future. The fact of the matter is we should prepare as if it's going to be coming back and as if it's going to be severe because that is the prudent thing to do.
And so, when Dr. Fauci advises, it is going going to come back, he's really telling us you should prepare as if it is going to be here because that will be very seriously.
LEMON: OK. Thank you, doctor, for clarifying that. Listen, Kaitlan, I want you to talk to me about your reporting that the director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine says that he was removed from his post for questioning the drug pushed by president Trump. What is the president saying about this?
COLLINS: The president is denying knowing who Dr. Bright is. Now, he did run this really small not very well-known government agency, but it's very powerful and it's especially critical at a time like this living through a pandemic. Because it basically has purchasing power for vaccines and drug treatments.
They can pay people to conduct these studies. And he's got a lot of money and it's a pretty powerful position that Dr. Bright was in. He's now been removed from it. We noted last night that that was really unusual, just given that someone would leave this position in the middle of a pandemic.
And then he puts out this scathing statement today making these allegations against the administration, and basically saying he believed he was retaliated against because he wasn't pushing for a widening the availability of a drug that we've seen the president push multiple times in the briefing room.
Now, it's important to say he wasn't saying it's wrong, he was saying that this drug needs to be under the supervision of a physician in a hospital. Basically saying, the way it was being carried out he didn't support.
Now, the president said he didn't know who Dr. Bright was. He wasn't familiar with him. HHS is not responding to our request for comment, but he is saying that he is going to file a request for an investigation.
So, this likely isn't the last we've heard of Dr. Bright, though we should note he is no longer in this position and his deputy has taken over in -- in the acting capacity for the time being.
LEMON: Wow. Interesting times. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
And be sure to watch a new CNN Global Town Hall, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joined by Dr. Stephen Hahn, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chef Jose Andres, plus a special performance by Alicia Keys. Coronavirus: Fact and Fears begins tomorrow night at 8 p.m. right here on CNN.
Much more on the top government expert ousted from his role developing a coronavirus vaccine. I'm going to speak to someone who knows him, she's a former FDA commissioner who also tell me why she is concerned about some states' plans to reopen.
LEMON: The Director of the federal agency working on the coronavirus vaccine saying that he was dismissed because he pushed back on untested drugs touted by President Trump. Dr. Rick Bright announcing that he will file a whistle-blower complaint.
He is putting the emphasis on science at the same time some states have moved ahead with reopening despite what the science shows. Joining me now is Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the former FDA commissioner under President Barack Obama. Doctor, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
DR. MARGARET HAMBURG, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER UNDER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you.
LEMON: So Dr. Bright says that he is speaking up because science has to lead the way here. You know him. Is he the kind of person to make that charge lightly?
HAMBURG: You know, I so strongly feel that science and evidence-based decisions should be the driving our decision-making. It's true in the midst of a pandemic as well as in how we conduct science policy and practice routinely. I think that, you know, Dr. Bright, I don't know what happened here.
My interactions with him -- he's, you know, a very intelligent, dedicated, experienced individual with real vision and who wants to make a difference. He's the kind of person that I think you want at the table when important activities are going forward, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
And I think, you know, he's just one example of the kind of expertise that goes pretty deep in government, in agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, the FDA, the National Institutes of Health, other parts of Health and Human Services and other components of government, and we ought to be, you know, just pulling on all of that expertise and experience to help support actions that need to be taken, policies that need to be developed, and strategies that we need to implement going forward.
LEMON: Yes. Rely on the science because there could, indeed, be something good that happens from the drugs hydroxychloroquine and all of that, but you need to wait for the conclusions from -- from the tests. Listen, I want to ask you about Georgia. Leading the charge to reopen, many businesses could be back up as soon as this week. The state is more than four times behind the recommended testing level. It hasn't had new cases trending downward for 14 days. You say this is mystifying. What are the risks here?
HAMBURG: Well, I think that, you know, sadly the risk is that after having put in place social restrictions and taken a hit on the economy, as I recall Georgia was a bit late to the game in terms of implementing some of those kinds of practices, but after having done that then you move too quickly. You don't have the systems in place. You don't have both the criteria that the White House recommends as a starting point for decision-making and we know that they have a significant number of cases.
They're talking about opening up enterprises where it's very hard to imagine how you can do the kind of social distancing that one would want. And also opening up, you know, enterprises that probably aren't the most central to getting the economy growing again. So I think it's a real risk that you start to lose some control over containment of the epidemic.
Don't really realize the benefits of what's already been done with people disrupting their lives and, you know, really taking a hit to the economy. And then losing those gains with the recrudescence of significant new infections and increasing community spread.
LEMON: Doctor, you know, President Trump tonight making all kinds of false and bizarre comments on testing. I want you to listen to this, please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The swabs are coming in by the millions. They're coming in -- literally coming in by the millions. We're doing tremendous testing and ultimately we're doing more testing, I think, and probably any of the governor's even want. Not everybody believes as strongly as some people in testing. Some people want to do testing because they think it's impossible for us to fulfill that goal. That's easy compared to ventilators, as I've said, but we have a tremendous testing capability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, governors on both sides of the aisle say that they don't have what they need. Swabs are in short supply. Health experts say that we need to exponentially ramp up testing. If testing is so crucial to reopening, how do we get to where we need to be?
HAMBURG: Testing is very, very important. It's important to really understand the full nature and scope of this unfolding epidemic, and it's important in terms of being able to isolate -- to identify and then isolate those individuals who are actually infected and to make sure that they get the care that they need. I think experts do differ about, you know, what would be the ideal program for testing and how would you implement it.
But I think what's clear is that, you know, from the very beginning we have not been adequately testing. It's put us behind where we want to be in terms of the management and control of this coronavirus epidemic. And it is the case that we are in a better place than we were a month ago, but we are not where we need to be and we're not utilizing the capacity that exists within this nation.
And what we really need to do is, again, make sure that we have a strategy, that we really know how to ensure that our testing capacity can continue to develop to meet the public health control needs. And it may be that we're going to increase the number of swabs, but we need to make sure that we increase the number of swabs, we have access to the reagents necessary, that we have the diagnostic machines and the right guidelines for use.
All of those things need to align, and right now it's a bit of a patchwork quilt. But I can tell you, in talking to health commissioners across the country and people running hospitals and people involved in health care, everybody feels the testing remains a problem that we -- I absolutely believe can do a better job in addressing.
LEMON: OK. Thank you, doctor. I appreciate your time. Thanks so much.
HAMBURG: Thank you.
LEMON: Tyson Foods closing some of its plants after they became the center of the coronavirus outbreaks, but did the shutdowns come too late? The mayors of two towns in different states where those hot spots are simmering both join me next.
LEMON: Tonight, Tyson Foods is closing two pork processing facilities after coronavirus outbreaks at the plants. One is in Waterloo, Iowa, where the small town has seen a dramatic spike in cases. The other plant is in Logansport, Indiana, where we're told more than 2,200 employees at the facility will undergo testing.
Joining me now are the mayors of these two cities. Mayor Quentin Hart of Waterloo, Iowa. He joins us again. And Mayor Chris Martin of Logansport, Indiana joins us. Thank you both, mayors. I appreciate it. I know it's a tough time for you guys. And so we are really doubly appreciate it. SO, Mayor Hart, I'm going to start with you. You've been pushing for this shutdown for weeks. Today it finally happened, we've been talking about it. So, too late? What do you think?
MAYOR QUENTIN HART, WATERLOO, IA: I think literally that's the billion-dollar question, is it too late? I think it's too late to continue business as usual at the plant. I believe it needed to be closed. They went ahead and did that today, which would give us an opportunity to close, clean, test the employees, put in stronger preventive measures and then get this plant open back up.
They serve an incredible need for our entire country and the world, so we owe it to our resilient workforce to make sure that they're protected and secured.
LEMON: What's happening mayor there now, to take care of the Tyson employees in your city? HART: Well, I just read a statement today from Tyson that indicated
that the employees will continue to be paid. There will also be continuous testing. We just received 1,500 more tests. I think we were expecting those today and then the hope is that we can do some on-site testing at the plant directly.
LEMON: OK. Mayor Martin, what about in Indiana? You spoke to Tyson Foods a month ago about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but clearly that was not enough.
MAYOR CHRIS MARTIN, LOGANSPORT, IN: Yes, you know, we're in an unprecedented time, you know? I mean, it's not something that you want to happen and it's not something that you can prepare for, and so you can't -- I don't think we can really point the finger at anybody at this situation. A month ago when Tyson was explaining what they were doing, it looked like it was going to be OK.
But, again, unprecedented times, so you're going to see, you know, certain things that are going to come about, and we're seeing that all across the world. You know, you can't plan for some things, you know, you can be proactive, but eventually something is going to come about and you just got to be able to be that leader and react in the right way at that time.
LEMON: Well, did you discuss potentially closing the plant on that -- on that phone call?
MARTIN: We had talked about working with the county health department. So the health department, the Cass County Health Department has really been the leaders with -- with working with Tyson, and let's be clear, Tyson has really been supportive on making sure that these measures are taken in closing the plant and their operations by Saturday.
LEMON: I'm sure you understand or at least understood the ramifications, considering what was happening around the world. Because Tyson is the biggest employer in Logansport. This outbreak has ramifications for your entire community.
MARTIN: Of course. Of course. And that's the thing. The reason why we had that phone conversation was because we wanted to make sure that not only Tyson, but all of our factories in our community were taking the right steps and being proactive.
And the Deputy Mayor and I, we took those steps during that week and visited with the health department, every factory in the city of Logansport that was operating at that time to make sure that they were following the CDC guidelines and to make sure that everything was going as planned.
Everyone was doing exactly that. There were a couple of factories who maybe needed a little more guidance so we made sure that they had that guidance. And then, eventually what happen was some of those factories ended up stopping operation before Tyson did this Saturday.
LEMON: Mayor Martin, Mayor Hart, thank you. Please keep us updated. Please come back. Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
HART: Thank you.
LEMON: Good luck, be safe. Thank you.
If you didn't see this today, you have to check it out. The mayor of Las Vegas telling Anderson Cooper that she wants to open her city back up, including hotels and casinos, and her city could serve as a control group. The Congresswoman representing Las Vegas responds next.
LEMON: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is calling for her entire city to reopen including casinos and hotels. Anderson Cooper interviewed her earlier today. You've got to hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, you don't believe there should be any social distancing? You don't believe that this is --
MAYOR CAROLYN GOODMAN (I), LAS VEGAS, NV: Of course I believe there should be, of course. I'm irrational.
COOPER: How do we do that in a casino?
GOODMAN: That's up to them to figure out. I'm not -- I don't own a casino. I'm not a private owner of a hotel. I wish I were. And I would have the cleanest hotel with six feet figured out for every human being that comes in there.
COOPER: So, Chinese researchers have shown how this virus spreads. I just want to put up for our viewers -- I just want to put out to our viewers, this is a restaurant.
GOODMAN: Anderson, you are good. Anderson, you are tough. This isn't China. This is Las Vegas, Nevada.
COOPER: Wow, OK. That's really ignorant. This is a restaurant --
GOODMAN: That's ignorant to say?
COOPER: That's an ignorant statement. That's a restaurant and yes it is in China but they are human beings too.
GOODMAN: We offer to be a control group. Anybody who knows anything about statistics knows that for instance you have a vaccine.
COOPER: You're offering the citizens of Las Vegas to be a control group to see if your theory on social distancing works and doesn't works.
GOODMAN: I did offer, it was turned down -- no, no, no. Wrong. Absolutely wrong. Don't put words in my mouth.
COOPER: You just said we'll be a control group.
GOODMAN: What I said was I offered -- excuse me. What I said was, I offered to be a control group and I was told by our statistician you can't do that. If you're talking disease, I'm talking life. I'm talking life and living. These are people who had to abandoned --
COOPER: I can't get over how ignorant that sounds.
GOODMAN: Well, maybe it does to you. It doesn't to us here in Las Vegas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, I want to discuss that now with Congresswoman Dina Titus. She represents the people of Las Vegas in Congress. So, Congresswoman, thank you so much. I don't know what you think of that interview. But I don't even know what else to say. Mayor Goodman offering the citizens of Las Vegas to be a control group in order to get the city to reopen. What do you think? I don't know what you think but what's your reaction?
REP. DINA TITUS (D-NV): Well, thank you for having me and for caring about the people of Las Vegas. I think that the mayor needs to listen to the scientists and the health care specialists and stop talking about my constituents as though they're guinea pigs in some grand experiment that she's trying to conduct. We can bring back the economy which is one of the things she seems to think is a priority. But you can't bring back peoples' lives.
LEMON: Do you understand what she's talking about in the interview? I had real trouble because she said she's not offering them as a control group. And then she said she is. I just did not understand. I don't know, I had a tough time with that. I'm not sure if you --
TITUS: Well, it is hard to follow. And I just go back to the fact that we are doing a good job in Nevada. The governor shut down things. It was a very hard decision early on. He's got the support of people on the front lines, the culinary union, health care workers, also the big executives from the casinos think this is the way to go. We want to open up.
Nevada is resilient. Las Vegas is a city that's been through a lot of tough times before and come back. But you have to do it the right way. You can't open up too soon cause death or health problems for individuals, and then the economy will tank even worse and it will take us longer and be harder to come back.
LEMON: And you've got a lot of gig workers there. You've got people who, you know, they make their works -- that earn their living from tips and you know, restaurants and casino workers. It's tough. People haven't had a paycheck for a long time. People get it. Listen, so our hearts go out to them. And those people -- and people need to make money.
LEMON: They need to earn a living to take care of themselves and their families. And I think everybody gets that. But let's -- I want to talk about this recent CDC report. It showed how quickly the virus can spread in a restaurant. And when you think of the casino, Anderson had this up, casino filled with people pulling on slot machine levers, passing and playing cards and chips. Does it sound like a breeding ground for a surge, you think?
TITUS: Well, we don't want that to happen. And you have got some of the best people, the best minds working on plans to phase in so you don't open everything up at once. But that's right. People will be crowded on casino floors. They'll be in shows. They'll be shopping. They'll be at restaurants. They'll be at sporting events. You know, that's a new aspect of Las Vegas with the Knights and the Raiders and the women's' basketball.
So, those are places where people like to gather. They like to have fun. They like to be with friends and family. So, you cannot open that up too quickly. You know, I get over 100 calls in my local office every day. People are scared. They are frustrated. But very few are angry. They're not saying, why don't you open up sooner? They're saying how do I get my check or how do I get unemployment? Help me make it through this. And I think that's very telling.
LEMON: Listen, we appreciate you coming on. We appreciate your level headedness. We wish you the best. Please stay safe.
TITUS: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
TITUS: Thank you very much.