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Dr. Fauci Says Mask Guidelines For Fully Vaccinated Under Discussion; Donald Trump Spends More Than One Hour On Election Lies In Arizona; Police To Testify At First Hearing Of January 6 Committee. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 25, 2021 - 15:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, COVID-19 cases are spiking across the country and now the nation's top health officials are looking at potentially reverting back to mask wearing guidance, even among the fully vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci telling CNN this morning, that he is part of the active discussion to revise the guidance, and it is in large part to the number of people who are still choosing not to get vaccinated.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are go going in the wrong direction. Since we have 50 percent of the country is not fully vaccinated, that's a problem, particularly when you have a variant like delta, which has this extraordinary characteristic of being able to spread very efficiently and very easily from person to person.


WHITFIELD: Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said today that once COVID vaccines receive full approval from the F.D.A., it could be easier to mandate vaccines, especially in the military and in some businesses.

All of this, as the pandemic is quickly spiraling out of control once more. Cases are continuing to rise in nearly every state, and while vaccinations are dragging with still less than 50 percent of the U.S. population fully vaccinated.

Now, some cities are ordering new mask mandates to try to slow the spread. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is in St. Louis, where a mask mandate goes into effect in fact, tomorrow, Suzanne, but not everybody is embracing it.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, you can imagine, it was just a little bit more than two months ago, people were breathing a sigh of relief here in St. Louis that they did not have to wear their masks. And now all of that is changing tomorrow, this mask mandate will in fact go into effect tomorrow. And it covers St. Louis as well as St. Louis County.

And what this requires is that folks will have to wear a mask indoors and public spaces, as well as public transportation. Everyone who is five years old and older, the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated will have to wear their mask.

The only exception to this is for those who are eating or drinking at a restaurant or a bar, or those who are disabled, not able to put on or take off a mask, and then there will be a very strong recommendation that people wear masks outdoors as well.

So, you can imagine kind of the confusion, the frustration, if you will, even among -- especially among the vaccinated who we have spoken to saying that they did not need, they didn't think they had to come back to this place again.

But the Mayor making it very clear, the County Executive making it clear that this is a health and public safety issue. Fred, it did not take long to get quite a bit of pushback here. Attorney General of Missouri, we're talking about Eric Schmidt. He is running for the -- hoping for the G.O.P. nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, he was very quick to respond saying he is going to file a lawsuit on Monday to go along with the mask mandate to try to block this.

He tweeted saying, "The citizens of St. Louis and St. Louis County are not subjects. They are free people. As their Attorney General, I will be filing suit Monday to stop this insanity." He is framing this as an issue of freedom and not of public health.

The Mayor responding very strongly tweeting saying, "Our top priority is protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people of St. Louis city and county. Nobody is surprised that the Attorney General plans to file yet another frivolous lawsuit to serve his own political ambitions."

In the meantime, who is caught in the middle of all this? These are the small businesses, the business owners, the employers, folks who are actually serving at restaurants and bars. Just listen to the concerns that they have, Fred.


CORY HAMMERSTON, ST. LOUIS BAR OWNER: Whenever we had the mask mandate, we had to fight a lot of people who didn't want to wear masks. We had a customer pull a gun, we've had customers like threatened to fight and just go crazy.


MALVEAUX: So Fred, people are really a little bit nervous, a little bit of anxious about what's going to happen tomorrow. They are going to have to sort it out themselves. But we'll see how this all goes.

In the meantime, this is a very serious situation, a dire situation in Missouri, as well as in St. Louis when you look at those COVID cases, they are surging as we speak -- Fred. WHITFIELD: All right, Suzanne Malveaux in St. Louis. Thank you so much

for that.

All right, let's bring in right now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He is a CNN medical analyst and a Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University. Always good to see you.

So, Dr. Fauci addressed mask mandates earlier today on CNN, this is what he said.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think masks should be brought back for vaccinated Americans?


FAUCI: You know, Jake, this is under active consideration. If you're asking me, am I part of the discussion? Yes, I am part of the discussion. The C.D.C. still says, it recommends that if you are vaccinated fully that you do not need to wear a mask indoors.

However, if you look at what's going on locally, in the trenches, in places like LA County, the local officials have the discretion and the C.D.C. agrees with that ability and discretion capability to say you know, you're in a situation where we're having a lot of dynamics of infection. So, even if you are vaccinated, you should wear a mask.


WHITFIELD: Dr. Reiner, what do you want people to do? Regardless of whether there's a mandate or not, just given the rise of cases, the delta variant, what we're all seeing and experiencing?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Oh, hi, Fredricka. I want everyone to stay safe, and if you're vaccinated, you are largely very safe. But if you're unvaccinated, you are at grave risk. And the only way to get the unvaccinated to mask up is to mask everyone up.

We don't have vaccine passports, we don't wear lapel pins saying "vaccinated." So, there is no way to know who is vaccinated and unvaccinated. And for that reason, to protect the unvaccinated, we all are going to need to mask up. That's just the brutal truth.

There is really very little risk in most places in this country for the vaccinated. It's true, you can still -- a small number of people who are completely vaccinated will have breakthrough infections, which are largely mild, but the reason to mask up now is to protect the unvaccinated.

WHITFIELD: And you heard Suzanne reporting out of St. Louis there, the Attorney General, you know, who said stop the insanity. But you know, how do you see it? What's the insanity? The wearing of the mask or the spread -- the continuing spread of COVID?

REINER: Right. So COVID is spreading very rapidly through Missouri. Missouri is one of the top four states in the United States in terms of the rate of infection now. Something has to be done. Either you close businesses down -- and certainly there's no political will to do that -- or you get more people vaccinated, and we're having a very difficult time in places like Missouri and Arkansas and Alabama, and Mississippi to do that, or you have to get people to mask up.

The virus doesn't care what you think about it, the virus will infect you. And this virus is very, very avid for people who are not vaccinated and have not been infected in the past. So, this virus is likely to infect you if you go out in public, if you go to a bar.

In fact, what I would say bluntly is, if you are not vaccinated right now in the United States, you should not go into a bar, you should probably not eat in a restaurant. You are at great, great risk of becoming infected.

WHITFIELD: We're back to that. I mean, really the early stages of when, you know a pandemic was declared in the United States and globally.

So Dr. Jerome Adams, the former U.S. Surgeon General says it would be easier to mandate vaccines once the vaccines are fully approved by the F.D.A. Do you see a correlation there that the hesitancy is also predicated on whether it's F.D.A. approved or not?

REINER: You know, I think there are some people who are hesitant to vaccinate now, who will go ahead and get a shot once a vaccine is fully approved. But really the benefit will be for industry, you know, for airlines, for state agencies, for the Federal government to then mandate vaccines. Legally, they can do it now. It'll be I think less of a headache once the vaccine is fully approved.

Look, I think the Federal government should mandate vaccines for all Federal workers. I'd like to see the President now issue a mandate for the Armed Forces. I'd like to see a mandate for everyone who works in the White House.

Let's set an example for business around the United States and show that the Federal government has faith in the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, so much so that the Federal government is now going to mandate it for all workers that get a Federal paycheck. That would set a great standard.

It'll be easier once it's fully approved, but legally, the Federal government can do it right now.

WHITFIELD: And still on the issue of vaccines, President Trump -- former President -- said this in Arizona at his appearance on vaccines.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recommend you take it, but I also believe in your freedoms a hundred percent, but just so you understand -- but it was a great achievement.

What they've done is because they don't trust the President, people aren't doing it, and that's as simple as it can be.


WHITFIELD: All right, a couple of different messages there. But at least, we're now hearing from the former President to encourage people to get vaccinated I mean he did after all.


REINER: Right, but he did it in secret. I mean, that's just a half- baked endorsement. He says on the one hand, get vaccinated; on the other hand, he believes in freedom. This reminds me of when he said you can wear a mask, but I'm not going to wear it.

You know, we need a full-throated, right -- We don't need a conditional approval. We need a full-throated recommendation. We need him to urge his followers to get vaccinated now. That's weak. That's weak stuff.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, good to see you. Thanks so much.

REINER: My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, former President Donald Trump also spouting more lies about the election. So, where do Republicans go from here?

Plus, Congresswoman Liz Cheney is facing new attacks from members of her own party. Why she is being compared now to Hillary Clinton?



WHITFIELD: All right, 264 days since the election and former President Donald Trump is still not letting go of his big lie, spouting more wild claims about the election and the vote in Georgia, and he said all this during a rally in Arizona last night.


TRUMP: The big lie they call it. You know, what's the big lie? The opposite is the big lie. The election was the big lie.


TRUMP: And I've got to tell you, I've got to say this. I've never said it before, but I've always thought it. If I lost the election, I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it.

Seriously, if we lost the election, we lose an election. I go home, I'll start building buildings. I'll do something. I'll keep myself busy.

But you know, what? If we lost the election, we know when we lose. You know, in Georgia, they had an election, we did so well and everyone knew we won by hundreds of thousands and they stole it from us.

And what happened is, we had two senators running a couple of months later. And you know what happened to them? The Republicans said, we are not going out to vote, because this was rigged. This election was rigged.

And they know it. You know when you win when you lose.

If I lost this election, I could handle it pretty easily. When they steal it from you and rig it, that's not easy, and we have to fight.


WHITFIELD: No, what we know is you lost the election, and you're still not okay with it. So, let's talk.

Joining me right now, former Republican Congresswoman from Virginia, Barbara Comstock, and CNN political commentator and political columnist for "The Bulwark," Amanda Carpenter.

Good to see both of you, ladies. All right, so Congresswoman, please, explain the logic if you want to, you know what the President -- former President is talking about? He keeps saying Republicans in Georgia didn't vote because they thought the election was rigged. But he is the one who had been talking about this rigged election even before the election actually happened.

So, how do you make sense of -- how do his supporters make sense of what it is he saying?

BARBARA COMSTOCK, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, there is no sense in what he is saying. I would dare anyone in House leadership -- House Republican leadership to stand up and say those very same things, or any Republican lawyer to go into court and say those same things and not get laughed out of court.

I think when you look at the past week, I think one of the most startling things that we saw this week was Super Bowl Champ, Tom Brady, making fun of Donald Trump's election denialism when he was at the White House, you know, for the Super Bowl, you know, celebration.

More people, I would imagine saw, you know, the hero, Tom Brady than saw the ridiculous rantings of Donald Trump and that is why he is becoming diminished, taken less seriously, and as these books come out, and as we have the hearing start this week, this is a diminished though still dangerous man. And obviously, he still draws some people who are going to continue to believe in this delusion, but it is going away, and I think it will in the months to come.

WHITFIELD: Yes, diminished, but still dangerous because there are people who are still believing a lot of the ridiculousness that continues to come out of his mouth.

I mean, Amanda, moving forward, Tuesday hearings, we just learned today that ahead of that, House Speaker Pelosi has named another Republican to join Liz Cheney to the panel, Congressman Adam Kinzinger. Do you think this helps bring credibility to the objective of this Commission and their search for who, what, when, where, and how?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, absolutely. I completely applaud Nancy Pelosi for appointing strong Republicans to this committee and for Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, to answer that call, because this certainly will not be easy for them.

And listen, I agree with Barbara that Donald Trump does have a diminished influence broadly. But he is hugely influential within the Republican Party. I mean, I was sort of flabbergasted to see the retiring Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey tell Jake Tapper this morning that he didn't think Donald Trump would be relevant in the 2022 election. He didn't see a reason to go on with this investigation.

And that clip that you just played at the top shows why we must have that investigation because Donald Trump is absolutely making that a central issue for Republicans going forward. He wasn't there just to speak for himself in Arizona. I listened to that entire five-hour lineup.

The purpose of that forum was to not only keep the big election like going, but to enforce it among Republican officials and candidates, and you had speaker after speaker embracing that big lie. And so this question is not going away.

In order to have a truthful, honest accounting for what happened, we absolutely need Republicans who see the truth of that election to serve in that Commission, and I really hope that she finds more staff and counsel who are on the Republican side to assist in that effort.


WHITFIELD: Yes. And Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger has said it before he was officially asked and then accepted the position, have said that they want to get at the truth. But here's the consequence, particularly for Congresswoman Cheney. I mean, she is getting the brunt.

Not only has the G.O.P., of course, removed her from important positions, she runs the risk of losing, I guess, even more clout among the G.O.P. In fact, there's kind of a campaign now that is trying to compare her to what the G.O.P. sees as a nemesis, you know, Hillary Clinton. Take a look and listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): She benefited from a famous political last name. She sided with Nancy Pelosi and attacked President Trump when he was in office.

She supported impeachment, and she continues to attack President Trump today.

Hillary Clinton? No.

Liz Cheney.


WHITFIELD: Oh, boy, how creative. I mean, Congresswoman does this -- does Congresswoman Cheney really care at this point? I mean, she took a great stand at a great risk and seems to be, you know, feeling very proud of what she is doing. But then what do you see the long term political consequences potentially for her?

COMSTOCK: Well, I think long term, people look at somebody who stands up for themselves and conservative principles, as Liz as always has. She is standing with the Constitution, the rule of law. She is strong on defense. She happens to be pro-life and pro-Second Amendment.

She is somebody who is really fighting for Wyoming's, you know, local issues and knows them, you know, in and out, unlike many of the people who are challenging her.

So, I think this is nonsense, because when you see some of the people -- I wasn't as good as Amanda, I could not watch those ridiculous people who were bowing and scraping to Donald Trump, and I predict none of those people will win.

If you put somebody who is there saying the kind of nonsense that they were saying last night at that rally, they are not going to ever be a U.S. Senator, certainly won't be a Republican U.S. Senator. So, they might get nominated, but then they will lose a seat, which I think is unfortunate. I'd like to have a Republican Senate, but these kind of, you know, people who are bowing and scraping for Donald Trump, they do not look like real men and women.

And that's why somebody like Tom Brady, making fun of him this week, I think was, you know, singularly kind of changed the dynamic here. Now, here is somebody who knows how to be his own person, and stand up for himself, and the people that you're seeing there -- this week -- what we're also going to see this week with the hearings and going forward in the hearings, you're going to hear in real time, Republicans who worked closely with Donald Trump saying things similarly about him, about how ridiculous he was being how they knew it was a lie.

People like his White House Counsel, who told him his election theories were nonsense. Bill Barr, who told him that, his Attorney General, and many other close-in staff there that need to be subpoenaed, the records need to get there. Heck, Ivanka Trump was saying this was nonsense, according to recent reports, so let's get her texts. Let's get her phone records and let's get her deposition.

Put these people under oath, and you're going to see a lot of these people saying the same kind of things that Amanda and I are saying when they have to be put under oath.

WHITFIELD: And I guess it's going to be very interesting to see who is going to cooperate, who will be willing to do that to testify or to give deposition.

COMSTOCK: Well, if they are subpoenaed and put under oath -- yes, well, if they're subpoenaed and put under oath, they have to do it. If they take the Fifth Amendment, that implies they have some kind of criminal liabilities and this is a political situation so they should have to testify.

WHITFIELD: Right. Well, first on deck on Day One of testimony on Tuesday, we will hear from four of those very brave officers who responded that day and what they were subjected to, Amanda, including the officer that you see right here, Daniel Hodges, who was crushed in that doorway by rioters, Republicans -- some Republicans have said they want to say this is a sham of an investigation, as was like, you know, another day of tourists on Capitol Hill.

I mean, but now a reexamination of these images of testimony, and I wonder, Amanda, is it really going to change the minds of those who have been so dug in to turn away from that imagery and the stories to continue to say it didn't happen that way.

CARPENTER: There is a chance, but more importantly, we have to establish for the record what really happened that day. The excuse coming from a lot of Trump supporters is that we don't need a congressional investigation because these are -- there are criminal proceedings happening.

No, within those courtrooms and the people being prosecuted for those actions, you will never hear the stories from the Capitol Hill police officers. You will never get the inside story from someone like General Milley who told reporters for a book interview that he was worried that Trump was trying to engineer a coup.


CARPENTER: Those are the kind of stories that we will get from there, and so, it may be the first time that someone say like a dedicated FOX News listener ever hears that. When that report is produced, it will be read widely in a way that these criminal proceedings and statements from the judges will not.

And so yes, absolutely be hopeful that it will change minds. But we do it because it's the right thing to do and we have to establish the facts for the record that will stand the test of time.

WHITFIELD: Yes, this might indeed be a pivotal week. Former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and Amanda Carpenter, thanks to both of you, ladies. Stay well. Thank you.

COMSTOCK: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, the story of a frontline nurse in Arkansas who has helped COVID patients and is now facing what she describes as a torrent of insults and lies for just doing her job.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then you have the public going, well, you signed up for this. No, I didn't. When I was 17, I enlisted in the Army. I knew that I might die for my country, when I was 22, I went to nursing school that wasn't on the agenda. You know, like I didn't volunteer to die for everybody.




WHITFIELD: All right, Arkansas is one of the nation's COVID hotspots. Health experts describe the pandemic in Arkansas as a quote, "raging forest fire." It's also a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, just 36 percent of the state's residents are fully vaccinated.

The pandemic is also taking a toll on Arkansas's healthcare workers, as those on the frontlines struggle with not only taking care of the sick and dying, but also abuse from those who continue to doubt the virus and its vaccine.

CNN's Elle Reeve traveled to Arkansas and has this story.


SUNNY, NURSE IN ARKANSAS: It was extremely difficult to watch so many people die, and then have people tell you, you know, on Facebook or in Walmart, that you're a liar.

ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sunny worked on a COVID floor of a hospital at the height of the pandemic. Being a nurse was hard, but what made it surreal was living in Western Arkansas, where many people even some in her own family said COVID was overblown -- just the flu.

SUNNY: Nurses were really the symbol for this whole pandemic, and almost all of the hate has centralized around us.

Nurses have PTSD. A lot of us are suffering from it from last year, and now we're having people come in and look us in the face and be like, no, I didn't get the vaccine and now I'm sick.

REEVE (voice over): Arkansas has the third lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country. Just 36 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Like many places with low vaccination rates, it is now seeing a spike in cases.

REEVE (on camera): Are you going to get the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not, and I will not. I'm not a guinea pig. It will not change.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did. That was really harrowing, but then after I got over the COVID, I had a heart attack after that.

REEVE: So, why would you not get the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I at bad risk?

REEVE: I see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's good. That's better. You know, I believe that it's a freedom issue and I've worn a mask probably a maximum of one hour in the entire whole thing since this COVID came by.

If it is so communicable, why am I still standing?

SUNNY: We had people accuse us of giving their loved ones something else so that they would die and we could report it as COVID. We heard it more than once that we were just fudging the numbers or we were killing people on purpose to make COVID look like it was worse than it was or to make it look real when it wasn't.

For the first majority of the pandemic, we wore the same N95 for like one to two weeks at a time.

REEVE: Tell me what you think about the term "healthcare heroes."

SUNNY: I think it sucks.


SUNNY: So, they dubbed us healthcare heroes. It just -- it gave the public this really wrong impression that we were sacrificial lambs and willing to die for them.

We want to help people. You know, I want to save lives. I want people to get better, but not, you know, at the expense of my family's lives either.

Then you have the public going, well, you signed up for this. No, I didn't. When I was 17, I enlisted in the Army. I knew that I might die for my country; when I was 22 and went to nursing school that wasn't on the agenda. You know, like I didn't volunteer to die for everybody.

And even with the vaccine now, it is still a highly politicized thing for no good reason.

REEVE (voice over): Last year, Sunny started venting on TikTok.

SUNNY: You're just trying to spread fear. If that's what it takes to get you to listen to me. Sure.

I had avoided posting about COVID for a long time because of the negative reactions like it hurts my feelings. But just a couple weeks ago I had people in my inbox threatening to kill me, calling me a murderer, or saying I helped kill those people.

I get called a crisis actor all the time.

It is my thing now to respond to hate comments with for just $10.00 into my Venmo account, I'll tell you the truth about COVID-19 and crisis acting. I made about $100.00 or so.

REEVE: Like really?


REEVE: I mean, people like send you $10.00 and you're like yes, I'm not a crisis actor.

SUNNY: Hello, I'm just like crisis acting? It is real and COVID is real, so like, surprise. I said I'll tell you the truth, and that's not the truth you wanted to hear, but no.

REEVE (voice over): Sunny says dark jokes bring some relief from a darker reality, like that her own health is at risk. Her fellow nurse, Hazel Bailey got COVID last August and was on a ventilator for 42 days.

HAZEL BAILEY, FORMER NURSE WHO GOT COVID-19: It's real. COVID is real. I nearly died from it and will probably have issues from it for the rest of my life.

I have family that -- they believe that it's real, but they're not concerned with taking the vaccine. They understand some people get it and it's not bad. But I got it and it was bad. And now, we're seeing this new variant hit and it's really hit in Arkansas.


BAILEY: It's hard. Sorry. My sister hasn't had the vaccine.

REEVE (voice over): Sunny says that recently, COVID patients have been telling her they got it at church. This week, Arkansas had its biggest spike in cases since February and it has the worst case rate in the country.

The state is offering vaccination incentives like free lottery tickets. It hasn't convinced many.

REEVE (on camera): Did anyone you know get COVID?


REEVE: How old is he?

STARR: Eight.

REEVE: Wow. So, that's like pretty rare for like a young kid. What was that like?

STARR: He's sick a lot. He's been sick a lot for a while and he is still sick, so I might have to have him get looked at and see if there's further damage. I don't know, because I mean, he got real sick. Fever every day for weeks.

REEVE: Are you guys going to get the vaccine?

STARR: No. No vaccine.

REEVE: How come?

STARR: I just don't trust the government.

REEVE: Are you going to get the vaccine?

JEREMIAH SMITH, ARKANSAS RESIDENT: Absolutely not. Our kids are not going to get it. None of us.

REEVE: How come?

SMITH: I mean, I figure I'll just let the world work its natural ways.

REEVE: Okay.

SMITH: We've taken none of the vaccines ever, so --

REEVE: Are you able to get like religious exemption at schools for your kids? Is that how --

SMITH: No, I mean, we'll take the stuff if we have to.

REEVE: So, what do you mean when you say you don't usually get vaccine?

SMITH: We didn't do the pig -- swine thing or whatever that was. We didn't do any of that -- any of it before. It's something that I don't believe in. You know, I mean, I haven't ever -- it seems it only comes about every presidency, and it seems like it's either crowd control or whatever you want to call it, but I want my family have nothing to do with it.

We've always been healthy, and this seems to work better that way.

REEVE (voice over): Not everyone around here feels this way.

TERRY "COWBOY", ARKANSAS RESIDENT: I think you need to get it because it's not only helping you, you can help your home family, everybody around. It's better to take a chance on the shot than it is to take a chance on the COVID. Cowboy up and go in there and get a shot and come out of there like a grown up, you know.

SUNNY: One of my biggest fears is like this new wave of COVID, we're seeing a lot of nurses with compassion fatigue, and I am really scared how that's going to play out because a lot of the cases that we're seeing are non-vaccinated individuals.

If I had a patient come in that wasn't vaccinated with COVID, like I have, like I'm obviously still going to treat them to the best of my ability, but I do know some nurses that had to quit because they just don't have it in them to do that.

A lot of Arkansans you know, would give you the shirt off their back to help you out for a stranger like, you know, I think that a lot of people being anti-COVID and anti-vaccine is just a product of the way that we were raised here, but they're not bad people.


WHITFIELD: Elle Reeve, thank you so much for helping us to hear people.

All right in Michigan, at least 130,000 customers are still without power after severe thunderstorms moved through the state late last night. A suspected tornado touchdown in Armada, Michigan, just north of Detroit, and Macomb County Sheriff's official told CNN there were no reported injuries, but there have been reports of damage to homes and some roadways have also been shut down because of trees in the road.

All right, up next, a disappointing loss for Team U.S.A. at the Tokyo Olympics. Plus, Simone Biles makes an admission after a rocky start for the gymnastics team.



WHITFIELD: All right, for the first time since 2004, Team U.S.A. has lost a basketball game at the Olympics. A star-studded American squad faltered late against France. The stunning upset doesn't eliminate them from the tournament completely, but it does cast even more doubt on their ability to earn gold, and that's something the U.S.A. -- Dream Team, after all, right -- are accustomed to. Well, not this time. Not in Tokyo.

CNN's Don Riddell is here with more on this. I know that was a huge disappointment, and I guess that's also the moral of the story. There's no presumption to be made at the Olympic Games.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Right. No team has a divine right to always come home with a gold medal even though it seems as though that's what this American Basketball team has done. Certainly, for the last three Olympics, they brought home the gold, but based on the performance against France last night, American basketball fans might want to recalibrate their expectations because they struggled. I mean they did have leads in this game, but as you say, not so good towards the end.

They've got a number of issues. First of all, the coronavirus situation, which of course has impacted every player.

WHITFIELD: Yes, team pressures, for sure.

RIDDELL: A number of players just didn't want to have to deal with all of that, and so they made themselves unavailable. Then they were two late admissions because of an injury and the coronavirus protocol. Then there were three players that arrived really, really late because of the NBA Finals, and they've literally just got there.

The warm up games, the Americans lost. So, I mean, this is no surprise. But as you say, they are not out of it. They've got to finish the group. They've got games coming up against Iran and the Czech Republic. So, they can hopefully progress to the latter stages, but you might want to recalibrate your expectations.

WHITFIELD: Right, and then maybe by that time, over a little bit of time, you'll be kind of more acclimatized because we are talking about -- I mean, you're upside down, you know, time zones -- 12 hours.

RIDDELL: Right. Those players that just arrived.


RIDDELL: Maybe by the next game on Wednesday, they will be better, but we do have better news.


RIDDELL: In the pool.

WHITFIELD: Let's take it.


RIDDELL: Yes, I'll give you that. Chase Kalisz delivering the first gold medal for the American team in the 400 meter individual medley. He is a protege of Michael Phelps. Remember him? It's kind of weird seeing Phelps in these Olympics on dry land, but he has helped Chase Kalisz to win a gold medal here. They're both from Maryland and actually Kalisz won silver in Rio five years ago.

So, a step up for him, and a very rare American gold medal in fencing Lee Kiefer winning the women's foil. That's only the third American gold in this sport. She really did well to win it, too, in the women's foil beating the defending champion in the final.

WHITFIELD: Okay, and we're going to wrap it up from here, but you know, gymnastics people are always watching and you know rooting for and of course, it's all about Simone Biles, but it's the whole team and apparently, okay, they didn't come out of the gate so strong in qualifying, but they're going to get there. Don't worry,

RIDDELL: Right. They have qualified, but in second place, which is very, very unusual for this American gymnastics team. Usually, they're ruling the roost looking down on everybody else. They've made a lot of mistakes and that has to be said, even the great Simone Biles, the greatest of all time arguably, Simone Biles was not perfect.

WHITFIELD: Well, I like your word recalibrate. Okay, they're going to recalibrate, too, and that's okay, expectations can remain high for Team U.S.A. in gymnastics. Don Riddell, good to see you. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

All right, coming up from "Mary Tyler Moore" to "Murphy Brown" and "Who's the Boss" -- we're looking back at some iconic workplace sitcoms, a preview of the CNN Original Series "History of The Sitcom," next.



WHITFIELD: All right, in the sitcom world, the workplace is an endless source of comedy from "Murphy Brown" to "The Office" "Veep," "30 Rock." Well, the next brand new episode of "History of the Sitcom" looks at iconic characters who were working for laughs.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my way, I'll shoot. I'm going to kill everybody in this dump trench if I don't get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, do I hate to start a day like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How Linden is basically the Bob Newhart of that office surrounded by all the craziness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lenny is my other personality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got the same address?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Workplace comedy is great because all the characters come in, and they're not related. So, they don't have something in common.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It turned out to be a diverse cast, which was I guess, different in those days.

Jack Soo, Gregory Sierra, Ron Glass -- that was pretty unusual and revolutionary.


WHITFIELD: All right, boy, that really is taking us all back. Let's bring in now Lorraine Ali. She is the television critic for "The Los Angeles Times" I guess, you know, Lorraine, I never really thought about it in terms of sitcoms and categories. But then when you put it together like that, oh, it makes perfect sense.

I mean, what is it about -- I mean, whether it's "WKRP," I mean, "Taxi," "Murphy Brown"? What is it about the workplace that could conjure up so much good comedic material?

LORRAINE ALI, TELEVISION CRITIC, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": I mean, it's kind of like what isn't there about the workplace? It's just everything in it, right? It's all the dysfunction that a family has. But it's got all these people thrown together with their odd bell, you know, kind of personalities. And they have to deal with that.

They don't have the collective history of a family. And also, you know, the workplace really kind of reflects shifts in American culture, when you look at especially in this documentary, when you look at like how American culture changes, the workplace really reflects that, and so do these sitcoms and that's what's so fascinating about it. WHITFIELD: Oh, and they were real lessons learned too, because like,

you know, you pick your friends, but in your workplace, you are not necessarily picking colleagues, you know, in the basis of that if you know how to get along, and that, I guess does create so much fodder for funny things.

But they also become lessons, right? I guess these sitcoms that are workplace based, also teach a lot of lessons and what does it say about us? And how we see ourselves?

ALI: It's interesting. I mean, it's really particularly American. If you look at "Taxi," all of them are completely different from one another. There's women in that workplace. You know, and when you look at Barney Miller, people of color; when you look at "Veep," there's a female Vice President who becomes President. She is terrible, but -- and actually that show would later have to deal with reality, but we won't get into that.

WHITFIELD: All right.

ALI: But it is really interesting in that, you know, it kind of says we're constantly like this experiment of how we can push ourselves to accept and get along with each other and clash with each other.


ALI: And if you look at even "Mary Tyler Moore," you know, with her and Ed Asner, they were totally opposites then they were such a great couple. They were like -- they're like a classic work couple.

WHITFIELD: Right. Oh, my goodness and "Mary Tyler Moore," and "Murphy Brown." It also helps showcase very strong women and a presence especially in various times when America just didn't want to see that and these shows made you see that -- see those characteristics in these women.

ALI: Absolutely. I mean, if you look at like what we were coming off of June Cleaver, the housewife, all those things. "Mary Tyler Moore" comes along in the 70s. She's a single woman. She is working in a newsroom. She just broke down barriers.

And then after that, just like you said you started to see you know, whatever it is, "Designing Women," "Murphy Brown," you know, and out of that you're getting "30 Rock" and it's really kind of showing you the reality of what's out there economically and women's liberation, all of those things. So yes, I mean, we can thank "Mary Tyler Moore" for a lot.


WHITFIELD: Big time. I mean, really laying the groundwork. Lorraine Ali, thank you so much. It's going to be fun walking down memory lane as we all watch the "History of the Sitcom" tonight at nine right here on CNN.

All right, thank you so much for joining me this weekend. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The CNN NEWSROOM continues after a quick break with Ryan Nobles.