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Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) is Interviewed on Covid-19 and his New Book; Unemployment Numbers for Last Week Released; United Warns of Possible Furloughs; Pressure on Candidates to Embrace Trump. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:30:00]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another boater discovered the pontoon drifting with Rivera's son asleep in it and unharmed on board. Police say the four-year-old had a life vest on and an adult life vest was found on the boat. The boy told police that he and his mother went swimming but she did not get back on the boat.

Authorities launched aerial and underwater searches last night and they say they will continue the search at first light this morning. In southern California, authorities say there is no evidence of foul play at this point. They believe that she drowned. Rivera is best known for her role in Santana Lopez on the Fox hit "Glee," starring in nearly every episode during the show's six-year run and just two days ago the 33-year-old mom posted this picture on Twitter with her son and a caption, just the two of us, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, it's so sad. Wow.

JARRETT: Yes.

BERMAN: Let's hope, still. But so sad.

Thanks, Laura.

JARRETT: Sure.

BERMAN: So hospitals are stretched to capacity in parts of the country. It is a different story in Maryland now. Infections are declining. Hospitalizations just dropped below 400 for the first time since March.

Joining me now is the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. He has a new book coming out this month called "Still Standing: Surviving Cancer, Riots, a Global Pandemic and the Toxic Politics that Divide America."

That's a lot to bite off in one book, Governor. Thanks so much for being with us.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): It's quite a title.

BERMAN: Maryland has been -- Maryland has been through a lot and things are obviously better this morning as we sit here. As you look at the rest of the country, as you look at these states, Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, that are seeing these steep increases in the number of cases and now numbers of deaths as well, what do you think happened?

Well, look, we're very concerned about what's happening around the country. And I don't want to take any kind of a victory lap because while we're doing really well, we took early and aggressive action in our state and so far we've had great success in dampening the curve. And, as you mentioned, all of our metrics are trending in the right direction.

But states surrounding us are starting to go in the opposite direction and we're seeing what's happening in states across the country with spiking numbers in both cases, in positivity, in hospitalizations, in ICU beds and in deaths. And, you know, as you know, this virus kind of has a mind of its own and it -- it's not -- it doesn't recognize borders. So people travel from one state to another. We're very much watching it. We've got to continue to stay vigilant and continue to do the things that got us in the good spot in the first place, which was, you know, masking, social distancing and everybody continuing to follow the guidance of the public health professionals and the epidemiologists who tell us to what to do to stay safe.

BERMAN: So what do you think happened, though, in these states? Were these states not doing those things you're just talking about?

HOGAN: I think some of it is people not following the guidance and perhaps in some cases maybe moving too quickly towards reopenings. But in our state where -- even though we have the great numbers and our numbers are declining for the most part and among people over 35 we're down to about a 3 percent positivity rate, but we are seeing a spike with people under 35. Younger people are tending to completely ignore the rules and not wear masks, not recognize social distancing and crowd together in different places.

And we don't have bars open except for distanced seated, you know, dining on a limited capacity basis with, you know, all -- lots of restrictions, but those places that opened up bars and packed in hundreds of people, that's big part of the issue as I talk to my colleagues across the country.

BERMAN: You along with every governor and every leader in every school district are trying to figure out ways to open schools safely as quickly as is possible and feasible. And we do have some, I guess, breaking news because just moments ago we heard from the head of the CDC who explained -- because we were under the impress yesterday Mike Pence said that we're going to get some new guidelines from the CDC, that what we heard from them before was too tough. This is what the CDC director just had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CDC: Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities and try -- that are trying to reopen k-12. It's not a revision of the guidelines, it's just to be -- provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward.

BERMAN: So I guess they're not going to change the guidelines from May. Maybe they weren't too tough.

HOGAN: Well, look --

BERMAN: Do you know what's going on?

HOGAN: I really don't. That's a -- that's breaking news. I was confused by the president's messaging yesterday.

Look, we -- I'm the chairman of the National Governor's Association. We had a great meeting on Monday, a meeting of all the governors on kind of a video audio conference with all the governors, with the vice president, with Dr. Robert Redfield from the CDC, laid out the guidelines. It was helpful guidelines I felt from the CDC. Most governors thought so.

[08:35:01]

I think, in our state, and I think many governors are looking to follow the best advice of the CDC and our local public health officials. And, you know, we're work -- our state school superintendent and school board are working with our local -- our local school boards, getting the input of all the stakeholders. Watching, making sure we're listening to the science. I thought some of the recommendations of the CDC were very helpful.

And I'm not sure what it was that the president didn't like about it or why he was lashing out about it his own administration's report, but I'm glad to hear they're not going to change the guidelines.

And, look, states and local school boards are the ones that are going to make these decisions. And we're -- we want to get kids back to school as quickly as possible, but we -- we only want to do it in the safe way because we don't want to have, you know, widespread infections in our school.

BERMAN: We know why the president didn't like them. The vice president told us the president thought they were too tough. That's -- that's what they said about it.

HOGAN: Yes.

BERMAN: And it's a problem for me, if you're confused, you know, you're supposed to know what's going on.

HOGAN: Yes.

BERMAN: If you're confused, it's a real problem.

HOGAN: Well, actually, I'm not confused. I think it's the president whose confused.

BERMAN: Well confused -- OK.

HOGAN: The governors seem to know exactly -- yes, we knew exactly what the CDC was talking about. We know what's going on in our states. But we just confused as to what the president was talking about yesterday.

BERMAN: It strikes me -- it's reminiscent of something that you have spoken about in your book tour or pre-book tour, I should say. You did an interview with "The New York Times" where you said the president is sending mixed messages. You say -- and this is a direct quote. You said, everybody in the administration is sending the message that this needs to be taken seriously and the president is sending the message not to take it seriously. How do you mean?

HOGAN: Well, I talk about this in the book and I think -- look, I think the vice president, the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a lot of folks, Dr. Birx, a lot of people working really hard in the administration and working very well with the governors and messaging to us about the things that we can do to work together to keep everybody safe. Sometimes the president says almost the completely opposite message right after we have one of these very helpful and fruitful discussions. I think just think sometimes it really sends the wrong message and it confuses the public about is it -- you know, if everybody in the administration is saying it's not safe and we need to do and these things and the president says to ignore all of that advice and do what he says, I just think it's a mistake that the president's been making.

BERMAN: Yes or no, have you decided who you're voting for in November?

HOGAN: You know, it's a long way off. As the chair of the National Governor Associations, I represent Democratic and Republican governors. But we'll have plenty of time to talk about that between now and November.

BERMAN: Notable, non-answer.

Governor Larry Hogan, as I said, we appreciate you being with us. Good luck with the book.

Thanks, sir.

HOGAN: Yes, thank you very much.

BERMAN: The unemployment crisis remains quite bad. We have new job numbers, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:41:43]

BERMAN: All right, breaking news, the Labor Department has just released new jobless numbers.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with the breaking headlines.

Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is that grim mile marker every week, every Thursday, when the government puts together all of the weekly jobless claims that people, for the very first time, filing for unemployment benefits. Another 1.3 million. This has been going on for 16 weeks. You can see, it's not as bad as it was in late March and early April, but another 1.3 million people filed for benefits.

For a comparison, this very week last year it was 211,000 people. So you can just see the volume of people still being laid off here.

There's a number we look at called continuing claims. You want to see that to start coming down. And it is here. About 18 million people are continuing to get unemployment benefits. And that's a decrease of 698,000. So we want to continue to see that number going down.

The volume of the layoff here, we're talking 49.9 million people in 16 weeks filed for the first time for unemployment benefits. That's 30.6 percent of the pre-pandemic labor market. Just unheard of. And it just shows you the crushing blow to the job market of this recession overall.

And the layoffs are still coming. We know that Bed Bath & Beyond is going to be closing 200 stores. We know that Brooks Brothers has filed for bankruptcy. There will be job losses there. So we'll continue to see this pain in the layoffs. The question is, Alisyn, how many of these jobs are going to start coming back if you can get these reopenings to stick.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, understood.

Christine, thank you very much for all of those breaking numbers.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: Coronavirus cases are spiking in 33 states and air travel is hurting. Now, United Airlines is warning that 36,000 employees could be furloughed in the fall.

CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean joins us now with more.

So what are they saying, Pete.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, United -- one United employee, Alisyn, tells me this is just heartbreaking. That comprises that 36,000 number, nearly half of all of United's front line employees, they're receiving these notices of possible furloughs come October 1st. That is when restrictions on the CARES Act expire.

What is so interesting is that it was only last week that United thought it was seeing signs of a travel turnaround. Of those 36,000 employees, 15,000 of them are flight attendants. That's more than half of all of United's flight attendants, airline wide, 11,000 in customer service, 5,500 in maintenance, 2,250 pilots. They were in short supply just at the beginning of this pandemic. Now, United warns these numbers could change if employees take early

retirement packages or separation packages. No doubt the number is stark, 36,000, enough to fill some professional stadiums.

United said in a letter to its employees, the reality is that United simply cannot continue at the current payroll level past October 1st in an environment where demand is so depressed. United said that demand for travel actually started to slip away as coronavirus cases began to surge across the country. Now United says it will fly only a quarter of its flight schedule compared to last year. But even still, it is burning $40 million a day. There's after receiving $5 billion from the federal government. Airlines warned all along throughout this pandemic that they would become smaller companies and now we are seeing simply how small.

[08:45:06]

Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Just remarkable how fast it has all happened.

Pete, thank you very much.

So, just four months until Election Day and we have a revealing look next at how some top Republican advisers are feeling about their chances in November.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Every shred of evidence points to a likely ass kicking in the fall. That remark a quote coming from one of many top Republican consultants on President Trump's chances of winning in November.

My next guest got an inside look at what these strategists are saying about the president behind the scenes.

Joining me now, former communications director for the Jeb Bush presidential campaign, Tim Miller. He's just published an article in "Rolling Stone" that explores the delimit. He's also a contributor to "The Bulwark (ph)."

So people know, you are a self-proclaimed never Trumper but I still think you know some of the Republican secret handshakes which is why this article in "Rolling Stone" is so compelling because you talked to top strategists and asked them to level with you about the situation right now.

[08:50:12]

What do they say about what they think the president's chances are and Republican chances are in November?

TIM MILLER, CONTRIBUTOR, "ROLLING STONE" MAGAZINE: Hey, John. Yes, I do -- I do know a couple of the secret handshakes and they still talk to me even though my status is a never Trumper. And what I heard is, I tried to talk to strategists who were working on Senate races, some of whom have put on the red hat and gone full MAGA, other of whom, you know, maybe privately harbor some dislike for the president. But the answers were the same pretty much across the board, which is, this is about as bad as it could get right now.

The president's performance on the virus and the protests have brought down their candidates across the board. And right now they're looking at a very ugly November unless things rebound. But the problem is that they're stuck with him because the fact is that his ballot numbers above theirs in many cases and he's bringing them down with him..

BERMAN: So the polls are the polls. I think we all knew that the president's in a tough place right now. That was interesting.

MILLER: Yes.

BERMAN: But what's really interesting is when you started asking them how they're going to handle it, given that the president might be such a problem with them. You asked them, OK, do you think it's worth splitting from him? And what did you find?

MILLER: Nada. No. Never. I can't do it. And the answer was, you know, basically because the base voters of the president -- which is not the whole Republican Party, by the way, but about half of the party are with him so strongly that any sniff of distance from them means that they risk losing those voters. And so a number of strategists point to John Cornyn, for example, in Texas. They said he's quietly in trouble, which I think is off the radar right now. They said that the -- Cornyn is stuck with Trump. Even if he wanted to distance, which I'm not sure that there's any evidence that he does, but even if he wanted to he could because Trump is getting, quote, Saddam Hussein like numbers out in Lubbock, in west Texas, 25 percent of the state, and Cornyn is running like ten points behind him in that part of the state. And so if he does anything, even if he sniffs at criticizing the president, he risks losing these voters for whom loyalty to the president is the number one issue.

As so as one strategist put it, you know, you have two options, you can either be on this hell ship with President Trump or in the water drowning. And so they all -- not only said that they're planning on sticking with him, but with one exception, they all said that they're not even talking about ways to distance him. It doesn't even come up as a possibility or something they're considering. That kind of even shocked me.

BERMAN: There's another interesting aspect to this and I think this is something that people need to hear.

MILLER: Yes.

BERMAN: When you're talking to these Republican strategists, some of the president's antagonists or the president's targets are people of these strategists are perfectly happy to have as targets and antagonists. Can you explain that?

MILLER: Yes, look, so here's the thing. I -- you know, because I tried to level with these, you know, strategists and say, hey, I mean why not distance with him a little bit? You know, why not, when he's gassing priests who are innocently protesting outside the White House, why not take that opportunity to step away? You know, why -- or, secondly, if you're not going to distance, why aren't you mad at him? Like when Mitt -- I was working in 2012 and when Mitt would mess up, and maybe the 47 percent thing, people got mad at him and got mad at the campaign.

Why aren't you mad at Trump? The answer I got back from everybody is, Trump is Trump. You've got to deal with him. Who I'm mad at is John Berman and John Acosta for being mean to me. Who I'm mad at is the never Trumpers, like your friends at Republican Voters Against Trump and the Lincoln Project who are -- who are making my life harder. Who I'm mad at is the woke liberals who are -- who are, you know, making my friends and family think that I'm a racist for working for this party. I found that very interesting that they -- that even when -- even for strategists who night not find Trump to be their cup of tea when -- when you really dug into it and tried to figure out who is it that you're upset with, to a person, they're upset at the other guys and they're in line with Trump on that. And I think that explains, you know, a lot of the motivations and a lot of the -- kind of the anger that you see from Republicans on The Hill because they're frustrated with having -- with the media for holding them to account. They're not frustrated with Trump for putting them in this position.

BERMAN: I think that is (INAUDIBLE).

MILLER: I think that's misguided, but that's what they all say.

BERMAN: It may be misguided but it is notable. I think it was important for you to find that out and bring it up.

MILLER: Yes.

BERMAN: I do -- it didn't come out in the article, but I am curious --

MILLER: Yes.

BERMAN: This was written, and I imagine these discussions taking place over the last few weeks, when the pandemic, where it is --

MILLER: Yes.

BERMAN: Which is bad. But it's also getting worse. So what do these consultants do or think about if this continues to get worse? How do you run in an even worse situation than this in October and November?

MILLER: Yes, maybe from lack of imagination, but, you know, once sentence (ph) as bad as it gets right now, I'm not sure that that's the case. It can always get -- you know, it's always darkest before completely black, as John McCain would say.

[08:55:03]

I think these guys are stuck with him. I -- you know, at this point, they're pregnant. You know, they're past pregnant. You know, they're Trump kid is now running around just like, as a toddler now. And so, you know, I don't think they have any way out. You know, one said, look, what am I going to do in September, you know, after -- after my candidate said nothing, you know, during Charlottesville, after they said nothing, you know, when he's gassing protesters, said nothing about his mishandling of the pandemic, then I'm going to come out? You know, that's not going to seem -- that's going to seem disingenuous.

And so I think the view is that these folks are stuck with him, with maybe a handful of exceptions of individual candidate who have their own personal brands, you know, and trust with voters. But, man, those are few and far between these days.

BERMAN: Tim Miller, we appreciate the discussion. It's a really interesting read. You will learn something by reading this full article. So everyone should go do it immediately. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

MILLER: Thanks, Berman.

BERMAN: We've got a lot of news developing this morning, so CNN's coverage continues right after this.

[09:00:00]