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President Trump Holds Press Conference at G7 Summit; Photos Released on President Trump and other Leaders at G7 Summit; President Trump Leaves G7 Summit for Singapore for Meeting with Kim Jong-un; Anthony Bourdain Remembered; President Trump Tells NFL Players who Kneel During National Anthem to Provide him Names for Possible Pardons. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 9, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:16] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington, D.C. We start with breaking news. President Trump officially on his way to Singapore for the historic sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Moments ago in Canada the G7 leaders and outreach countries just gathered for a, let's call it a class photo, family photo. One notable leader missing, President Trump, who left the meetings early for his Singapore trip.
But then there's this picture capturing a mood, shall we say, of the summit. Angela Merkel's press secretary sent out this photo of the leaders surrounding Trump during negotiations or talking there. Germany's Angela Merkel leaning over the table having dialogue. Arms crossed there on his end, and among others there, too.
Here's another angle with the White House director of social media, Trump sitting down arms folded, other world leaders mostly standing, kind of towering around him. What does all of this say? My goodness. CNN's Ryan Nobles joining us live right now. Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it's also dangerous to try to analyze photographs because we don't know what was being said.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's simply true, Fred, but it does give us a peek behind the curtain as to just how contentious these conversations were between the president and these foreign leaders, leaders that are among the most important allies of the United States.
This picture also gives us a view that was a little different from the perception the president gave during his wide-ranging, impromptu press gaggle before he took off for Singapore. Mr. Trump described the conversations as very cordial and that these world leaders understood the U.S. position on these big issues like trade and Russia's role in the global conversation.
But it is hard to ignore the body language, right, and the way the house has handled this summit. Mr. Trump arrived late. He showed up at this morning's meeting late. And he took off for Singapore long before the summit ended. It certainly doesn't give the impression that everyone is on the same page. Still this morning, President Trump insisted that he is getting along very well with all his counterparts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The level of relationship is a 10. We have a great relationship. Angela and Emmanuel and Justin, I would say the relationship is a 10. And I don't blame them, I blame, as I said, our past leaders, for allowing this to happen. There's no reason that this should happen. There's no reason we should have trade deficits with virtually every country in the world. I'm going long beyond the G7. There's no reason for this. It's the fault of the people that preceded me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Ten out of ten, the president said. And part of President Trump's tough talk was based in the promise that it would lead to results, but so far he's leaving this very important meeting in Canada without any substantive changes to these big trade deals and this tariff conversation. These trade deals like NAFTA, nothing has changed as of yet. And also the very real threat that the U.S. is on the verge of a trade war with some of its most important and reliable partners in the global community. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Ryan nobles, thanks so much.
The president is now turning his focus to his highly anticipated sit- down with Kim Jong-un in North Korea. He's currently on his way to Singapore where the summit is scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Let's go to CNN's Ivan Watson, who joins us live from Singapore. So what is happening? Last-minute security preparations?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly. The Singaporeans have mobilized thousands of security officers here to protect not only President Trump but also the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who will be making, we believe, probably one of his longest overseas trips since assuming the top position in North Korea some six years ago. In that time he's only made two trips to China, and that's in the last couple of months. This will be his biggest overseas trip. And we understand the logistics of that for the North Koreans themselves, those have been somewhat complicated.
President Trump talking about the upcoming meeting again, saying a lot of it will boil down to his kind of gut reaction to meeting the North Korean leader for the first time, whether or not that can be a success. He seemed to lower expectations, saying that instead of demanding complete, irreversible, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea's nuclear arsenal, as has been the position of the Trump administration in the past, that at a minimum he would be looking for a dialogue with the North Korean leader. Take a listen to a little bit more of how he characterized the run-up to this potentially historic meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:02] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be on a mission of peace, and we will carry in really, in my heart, we're going to be carrying the hearts of millions of people, people from all over the world. We have to get denuclearization. We have to get something going. He could take that nation with those great people and truly make it great. So it's a one-time -- it's a one-time shot, and I think it's going to work out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Now, Fredricka, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, he on Friday kind of gave some of his thinking on what the quid pro quo might be, saying that North Korea in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons, we still don't know whether it's really going to do that or offer to do that, that it would want some kind of security guarantees, and he has argued that that must be giving North Korea knowledge of economic development. And he suggested that China, Japan, South Korea, other countries here in the region would want to be a part potentially of economic development in North Korea should it truly hand over its nuclear weapons in exchange for opening up to the rest of the world and potentially getting a lot wealthier than where it stands now, kind of at the bottom of all international prosperity and wealth measurements. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right, Ivan Watson, thanks so much.
Let's talk about this with our CNN senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski, CNN's political analyst Nathan Gonzales, and CNN's political analyst Julian Zelizer. Good to see all of you.
Michelle, that photograph or the series of photographs really do resonate a lot. What is to be read in that when the president says the relationship is a 10 and we see arms folded and we don't see a whole lot of smiles. Might this punctuate the G7, you know, what did or didn't happen, or might this punctuate the relations between the leaders?
MICHELL KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: I think it's great, because those two photos, they are essentially the same photo just taken from two different delegations from two different angles. So of course in the one Angela Merkel's team put out, she's in charge and she's schooling Donald Trump and he has his arms folded. Right? Isn't that what's happening? The answer is, we have no idea. They could have been talking about lunch.
But in the one that the White House released, Trump is at the center and everyone is gathered around him to hear what he has to say because it's so important. That's the kind of photo that they choose for obvious reasons. But when the president says the relationship is a 10, come on. He's been in Twitter wars, he's been in terrible phone calls, he's been in difficult and, quote, shocking conversations with some --
WHITFIELD: There was a lot of tension leading up to this summit.
KOSINSKI: Over the last several weeks. So there's been trouble. You only need to look at his Twitter feed to realize that. So we don't know what exactly he's talking about. Maybe he means that everybody is friendly and respectful towards him, so he got seemingly very defensive when he's asked about that. His response to a question about the relationships was to attack the press full on and say the relationship was a 10.
Well, one European diplomat kind of in the same semi joking what are you talking about vein responded to that statement. He must mean there are 10 things on which we totally disagree, or like the title of the movie, "Ten things I hate about you." So it's not about personal relationships here. I'm sure that everybody is cordial in these meetings. We have not heard otherwise, but the fact is there are some real disagreements here that need work.
WHITFIELD: And, Nathan, might a strong message have been sent with the president, his early departure, being late for the gender equality breakfast. And then we see those photographs and then we hear him talk about relations are good, but then blaming, pointing blame on his predecessors for why trade relations aren't what he thinks would be optimal.
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this whole situation is a good example of sort of the President Trump playbook. He wants to dictate his own terms, he wants to come and go as he pleases. I thought what Michelle said about the photo the White House released with the world surrounding around him, I think it's exactly right.
But I think we have to remember that this is the type of situation here in America that hits different people different ways. To Democrats, this is appalling. He's not only to them ruining the country, ruining the world, he's ruining these relationships, but to the president's supporters, if France and Canada and the world, Europe, is our enemies, then they love that. They think that the president can do no wrong.
The question is those people in the middle, those independents who probably are uncomfortable with the president's, his demeanor, style, the tweets, but if his policies lead the country in the right direction, then they might be a little more open to him and the Republican Party in general.
[14:10:02] WHITFIELD: And Julian, are we now seeing perhaps a shift in what expectations should be as it relates to a G7 summit based on how things did or didn't happen here?
JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AN PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. He's lowered the bar in terms of how the president will act in this kind of alliance. Even though he says it was a 10, it wasn't. I think we're at the point we just don't have to believe everything he says. I think the words on Twitter, the words in the press indicate that relationships are very volatile, and it's going to take some repair work to get the G7 to where it was. It doesn't go back to a reset very easily.
And I think he leaves to North Korea, to Singapore, for the discussions with North Korea, with many of our alliances really on edge and afraid as a result not just of this meeting but everything that came before it. WHITFIELD: And so Michelle, how might, you know, the president's
demeanor, his behavior, his interaction be a prelude to what should be expected in North Korea?
KOSINSKI: You mean how things went at the G7?
WHITFIELD: Yes. Was he giving a window into his approach to North Korea? He's on his way to Singapore.
KOSINSKI: These things that he was saying about he will know within the first minute how things are going to go and how serious Kim Jong- un is, I mean, OK. He said I'll know by touch and feel how things will go. Maybe that will happen, but I think what everybody else wants to discover is how prepared are they, what are the exact signals that they are getting from the North Koreans. So we don't know how it's going to turn out. No one does. But the president wants to project that he's not going to settle for a bad deal and he wants to project optimism and still talk about what North Korea has to gain in the hopes that probably Kim Jong-un is listening and thinking, OK, there's a pep talk. Maybe I'll go for this after all.
WHITFIELD: And Nathan, might this simply be the president holding the cards close? He doesn't want to convey exactly what he's going to be demanding, how he's going to be approaching Kim Jong-un, you know, being mysterious?
GONZALES: There could be a master strategy. He could be playing four-dimensional chess. But then on the other hand there's a lot of resistance --
WHITFIELD: Critics will say he's not being prepared, but perhaps might this be very intentional?
GONZALES: I remember weeks ago when this was all starting to come together, I believe Bolton was on saying the president was preparing, he was smarter, he was taking in information like no one he had ever seen before, and now we've shifted to he has it under control, he's not preparing, he's just going to go fly by the seat of his pants. Ultimately, we have to wait so see what is the results, right? What's the end result? We're going to have a result, assuming the meeting happens. We'll see what comes out of it, and I think then we'll judge the meeting based on its merits.
KOSINSKI: I think the warning sign has been the lowering of expectations, where what will be a successful summit will be a commitment, a historic action on the part of North Korea, that's how we'll know this is serious. And now it's, oh, well, at the very least we'll meet, we'll say hi, maybe we'll like each other. That makes me wonder, are they -- it tells me that they are not 100 percent clear on what they are going to get out of this, and that's fine. If that's the best they can do, I don't think it's necessarily a big win for Kim Jong-un to have this meeting with President Trump, because something good could come out of it. But there are plenty of people who see that as worrying, that Kim Jong-un will get this big meeting and then give nothing.
WHITFIELD: And Julian, he says one shot. Is it -- one shot for Kim Jong-un, one shot for President Trump. Which is it?
ZELIZER: Usually, it's not true. Most of our summits, most of our diplomatic breakthroughs take several iterations before anything comes out of it. Often the first meeting is really about the relationship with the leaders and an effort to set some kind of framework. So it doesn't really have to be a one-shot process.
And we also have to remember, President Trump says stuff like that all the time, and then goes for a second shot and he'll kind of back away from his initial statement, so that's just some of the Trumpian bluster. And I think if things work out well, there's ways around that, even if it's not a one-shot solution to this whole problem, which we've been dealing with since 1950.
WHITFIELD: Might it have been a veiled threat?
GONZALES: It could be, it could be.
GONZALES: Right. But that's part of diplomacy, as well. So it's really about what happens in the room.
All right, Julian Zelizer, Nathan Gonzales, Michelle Kosinski, thanks to all of you, appreciate it. Thank you.
All right, coming up, blaming Obama and other predecessors. He did say plural. President Trump is pointing the finger at his predecessors over the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea, this as he doubles down on his call for Russia to rejoin the G7. That's next.
[14:19:19] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. President Trump is pointing the finger directly at his predecessor for Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, an act that cost Russia a seat at the G7. Now it's G7. It was then the G8 summit. This was the president's parting shot before he left the G7 earlier today from Canada.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have to ask President Obama, because he was the one that let Crimea get away. That was during his administration, and he was the one that let Russia go and spend a lot of money on Crimea, because they spent a lot on rebuilding it. I guess they have their submarine port there, et cetera. But Crimea was during the Obama administration, and, you know, Obama can say all he wants, but he allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude, but so you really have to ask that question to president Obama. You know, why did he do that?
(END VIDEO CLIP) [14:20:14] WHITFIELD: Joining me right now, CNN contributor and former CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty and CNN global affairs analyst and online news director for "The New Yorker," David Rohde. Good to see you both.
So Jill, you first. Before the president went to Canada, he said Russia should be welcomed back into the G8. And then today he's blaming his predecessor for having kicked out Russia. So how does this impact the relations between the U.S. and the other G7 allies?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it certainly creates real problems between the United States and its allies, because after all the allies and the United States have sanctions precisely because of the annexation of Crimea, and also because of the intervention and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
I think you back up and you say, OK, what really is going on here? I think President Trump looks at this in very transactional terms. Crimea, OK, they got it, he can blame Obama. But essentially it's theirs, so what do you do about it? It is not based on, let's say the principles, you know, rules-based international order as it's talking about. And rules-based international order says you don't take parts of other countries. That's the principle.
But remember, Donald Trump is the disruptor. So ideas like that, like principles, are not the primary thing. It's right now transactional, what do you do, I want Russia back in the G8. I can tell you, I was looking, Fred, at the Russian media, and they are, as you can imagine, very happy about this. In fact, one headline said, Russia has been kind of isolated from the international community and Vladimir Putin may not be at the G7 physically, but he is there in the, let's see, the guise of the tweets by Donald Trump. So Russia feels that they are getting back on the world stage in this guise, in the G7, G8, whatever, thanks to Donald Trump.
WHITFIELD: So, David, you know, what is to be made of all of this? I mean, for a moment the president even said, you know, something happened, as if he didn't really know about the invasion of Crimea. And then he pointed the blame at his predecessor, President Obama. So, is it not quite knowing history, or is there something intentional about how he might leverage that kind of language or his point of view?
DAVID ROHDE, ONLINE NEWS DIRECTOR, "THE NEW YORKER": I don't understand it. I'll be honest with you, I want to be fair to the president. Since he was a candidate, since he won the election, he has embraced Russia with warm arms. This doesn't make sense politically. His campaign is under investigation for colluding with Russia.
So this is a slap in the face to our allies. There is no proof as far as I know of collusion with Russia, but this just makes no sense, and it also makes no sense politically. Russia intervened in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump win the presidency according to every U.S. intelligence agency. He's now welcoming Russia back in the G8. Maybe there was no collusion, it just -- he's raising all these conspiracy theories again by doing this, and I just, frankly, don't understand it.
WHITFIELD: It is baffling, but Jill, might there be some kind of potential long view here the president might see on the eve of his summit scheduled for Tuesday with North Korea that by complimenting Russia in some kind of way that perhaps Russia might in some way be influential on the potential outcome of North Korea?
DOUGHERTY: That's interesting, because in a way you could be right, complimenting. But I'll tell you, the interesting reaction that came from the Kremlin, which wasn't reported a lot, right after Donald Trump did say, hey, maybe they are to get back in the G8 or the G7, the spokesperson for President Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said, you know what, we are concentrating on other formats, other international formats. In other words, thanks, but no thanks.
And I thought that was quite significant, because you might expect them to say, gee, thank you very much, President Trump. We, too, agree that we ought to be back in the world organizations. But no, they said thanks, but no thanks.
[14:25:06] So I think the Kremlin is realizing that Donald Trump in this highly transactional period where he is, you know, setting the stage for the meeting with the North Korean leader, Mr. Kim, and doing other deals around the world, that they don't want to be, the Kremlin doesn't want to be a pawn in this kind of negotiating strategy that the president has. So they are pretty much saying, great, you do what you want, but we have other fish to fry. So behind the scenes I do think that they're very happy about it, because the allies are basically at each other's throats, and President Trump says let's let Russia back in the G8. Those are huge wins in a P.R. sense for Russia.
WHITFIELD: And, David, except for Italy responding when the president was on the White House lawn about Russia, we haven't heard from the other G7, you know, leaders about the president's seemingly deference to Russia. But in a roundabout way, is that why perhaps Angela Merkel, Germany's office, sent that photograph showing or in some way painting the picture of how tenuous things are with those leaders, the majority of them standing up, the president, President Trump, sitting down, arms folded? Might that have been a roundabout way of expressing sentiment?
ROHDE: Definitely. And look, all politics is local, so this is an insult to the Europeans. The U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord, it threw out the Iranian deal after Europeans begged him to stay in it. So now he's welcoming Russia back. Angela Merkel has to look strong to German voters. Leaders in France and the U.K. have the same pressure, so this bluster, this bullying backs these European allies into a corner and they have to stand up to Trump, and it could lead to a trade war.
So it's just crazy. The Russian economy is about the size of Italy's economy. It is not as big and important player in the world that Donald Trump pretends. It's not a key player in North Korea. China is the key player. So, again, I don't understand this embrace of Russia. WHITFIELD: And on trade, it was President Trump who was blaming
predecessors, plural, for that predicament. All right, Jill Dougherty, David Rohde, thanks to both of you, appreciate it.
Coming up next, the legacy of a CNN friend and colleague, renowned chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain. I'll speak to the owner of a restaurant here in the nation's capital who is remembering a very special visit from the larger than life figure. That's straight ahead.
[14:32:24] WHITFIELD: All right, tributes are pouring in around the world for famed chef Anthony Bourdain, a gifted storyteller and writer who died at the age of 61 after taking his own life. He traveled far and wide, visiting some of the most exclusive eateries. In this clip from his Travel Channel show "No Reservations," Bourdain visits the historic Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant right here in the nation's capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: I need one. I need one now. I'm curious, the term house smoked. Outside of these -- I've never heard it before. What is it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Used to be a breakfast sausage. It's very limited in this area. But that's our number one thing, that's what everyone orders, and people love.
BOURDAIN: OK, I get it. That's not a hot dog. That's another creature entirely. So good. Now, optimum conditions I'm told for coming here is when you're really drunk, late at night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You drop by here on U Street at night, there's a line going out the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, today with us is the owner of Ben's Chili Bowl Nizam Ali. You saw him in that clip with Anthony, and Anthony was like, no, don't call it a hot dog. That's a half-smoked -- but wow, what a treat. I know you all have a picture in your window today of your visit with him.
NIZAM ALI, OWNER BEN'S CHILI BOWL: We do. It hurts so bad. And our condolences to you and the CNN family. He really felt like part of our family just in that time that he was there with us, because he's such a sweet and gentle soul.
WHITFIELD: I think everyone feels that. If you didn't have the honor of being in his presence, in his company, watching his show, we've heard it from so many people who felt like they knew him. And he really compelled people to get to know each other by not just breaking bread, but looking at the culture in the food that was being presented and looking at each other and enjoying each other's company, understanding.
ALI: Very true. So speaking of his show in D.C., so when he came to D.C., it was interesting. We got the call he wanted to come and do the show there, just blown away, right? And then this was months in advance. Then they called back again to say they had to cancel. And I said, oh, my god, so sorry, but please when you come to D.C., I hope that you come to Ben's, and the producer said, no, no, you're one of the reasons we're coming to D.C. It was really sweet to hear that.
WHITFIELD: Ben's Chili Bowl is a landmark in Washington D.C. I grew up in the area here, and you can't not go to Ben's Chili Bowl. And there is -- it is a watering hole. It really is a place people of all stripes who come there, you know, and enjoy the delicacy that you offer.
[14:35:09] but when Anthony came, was he open to whatever you got on the menu, did he already know what he wanted? Describe what that occasion was like.
ALI: Yes, sure. He was asking kind of what the signature dish was, and heard about the half smoked because he came in with George Pelecanos, the author, who told him about the half smoked. But he came in and he was just so warm, so friendly, so gracious, kind, and just -- so I had gotten a book, and this is for our 50th anniversary when he came, and I told him I had this book and I wanted to show it to mom for the first time. He's said absolutely, let's do it. So when mom came out and saw the book, it was the first time. But it was very organic. He was very interested. And then the episode on D.C. was so thoughtful, because he really tapped into the two sides of D.C.
WHITFIELD: What did you like about that? What do you suppose he peeled back or revealed to people perhaps they didn't know?
ALI: When people think of this city, they think of government. You just report on everything that is going on in D.C., you do it every day. And you see it. You see this dysfunction, you see all this craziness. There's a local component of D.C. There are residents. There are people like myself and like yourself that grew up born and raised in the city, and there's that history, these wonderful neighborhoods. There's so much that D.C. has to offer that people don't know.
And there are two sides. There are the haves and the have-nots. But he came in, even talking about food, talked about that and brought that to light. And that's something that most people don't do.
WHITFIELD: Do you remember what the reaction was like for the other customers who were there, Anthony Bourdain, the crew, et cetera? Do you remember what that feeling was like?
ALI: People were excited. They are used to all kinds of crazy things happen, and you never know who is going to be there, so they're kind of used to that. But it was a very special day. It was very, very special to have him there.
And the other thing about is when I watched the show again just to remember the show for today, is the specific words that he uses. So we talk about all these other things about him, and we talk about this and that, but he's very intentional in his words. So when he says the magnificent Virginia alley, talking about mom, or he talks about how loving the places, quote, he said I've been in the restaurant industry 28 years at that time and he said I've never encountered a place that's loved by so many so widely and so locally as this place.
But if you just listen to those words, the intention of those words, and he does that in his work. And that's the thing that I think is very different than most people. He's very intentional in every word that he uses and he brings out people's stories.
WHITFIELD: Genuine and poetry.
WHITFIELD: All right, Nizam Ali, everything he said about Ben's Chili Bowl is so true, and it's so beautiful for you to share your personal encounter and experiences with our beloved family member, Anthony Bourdain, who we're all missing. Thank you so much.
ALI: You're welcome.
WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.
And, of course, we're showing the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the bottom right corner of the screen. At some point you'll be seeing it. People are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And we'll be right back. There it is. We'll be back.
[14:42:40] WHITFIELD: President Trump has made NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem a hot button political issue, but now it seems that he may be ready to listen to what those players have to say, at least that's his challenge when it comes to pardons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me, because that's what they are protesting, people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system, and I understand that. And I'm going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs and people that they know about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So was this an invitation at the table, was it a challenge, was it an insult? Joining me right now, CNN contributor Cornell Brooks, former president and CEO of the NAACP. Cornell, good to see you. So the president rather spontaneously expressed that on the lawn. When you heard it, how did you hear it? What did you hear from that? CORNELL BROOKS, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: I was offended. I
think I'm not alone. Based on the president's past actions and his own admissions, that is to say his willingness to use patriotism as a political prop, his invitation to NFL players to report -- who knelt on the field, to provide advice on pardons is politically disingenuous and morally insincere.
So in other words, he's asking them to stop kneeling on the field in protest about policy and kneel before him in terms of pardons. It is insulting to those players. Those who have knelt, kneeling in the tradition of Paul Robeson. They are kneeling in the tradition of Martin Luther King. In other words, they are conscientiously objecting like Muhammad Ali on the field to policies that they disagree with.
So for you to ignore their policy protests and say to them, oh, you being black must know people who have committed crimes and who need pardons. Well, these players we've been talking about the policies that have given rise to mass incarceration, which has criminalized a generation of people -- more than people of color -- where we need a change in policy. And this is a Faustian bargain. He's basically saying give up something for nothing.
[14:45:11] WHITFIELD: And Colin Kaepernick and others who followed suit were making a statement about social injustices. And it isn't measured in just one way. It isn't just being jailed. And when the president said what he said, the way in which he said it, was there also an admission that he didn't quite understand the measurement of social injustices? His challenge was, bring me a list of people, black people who you know are in jail, and then that was it.
BROOKS: That's right, that's right. And Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest on the front end of this problem, namely police misconduct, police brutality, but that injustice continues throughout the criminal justice system in terms of sentencing, in terms of prison conditions, in terms of the school to prison pipeline.
WHITFIELD: So the plea is to address all of that.
BROOKS: That's right. That's exactly it. And so really the president is not giving these athletes due intellectually, morally. In other words, he's giving short shrift to the argument by saying tell me about your friends who have gotten locked up. Tell me about your friends who need a little justice on the backend. That's insulting.
WHITFIELD: And does translation now become, all right, if you don't take him up on this offer and come to the White House, then he's able to say you're not doing your part?
BROOKS: That's right. He's able to say --
WHITFIELD: And that's where part of the insult comes.
BROOKS: That's right. I gave you an opportunity to come and plead your case before me individually, therefore you should stop kneeling on the field. Well, here's a reality. There are at least 70 million Americans who have criminal records. So the fact of the matter is, people in NASCAR, the NFL, the NBA, the hockey league, everybody knows someone with a criminal record. So the issue is we have got to address this era of mass incarceration, not merely hand out pardons like some imperial president. We have to address the issue. He can talk to his attorney general about that.
WHITFIELD: And social injustice is not being in prison. It's when you walk in the store and someone is following a person of color, you, me, anybody, suspecting that you're up to no good. It's the young lady at Yale University sleeping and studying for, and being subjected to indignities.
BROOKS: That's right. That's right. We as American citizens have a birthright of citizenship, but we also have a birthright of dignity. So in other words, when you're walking about and you're living as an American, you should not have your dignity called into question. And at the end of the day it means respecting everyone, including Colin Kaepernick, everyone who's taken a knee, and being mindful of something Paul Robeson said many years ago. He said, the people -- essentially, the people who are beaten down today will yet rise tomorrow. And I believe these NFL players will rise in the ranks of history because they've taken a principled stand.
WHITFIELD: Cornell Brooks, good to see you. Thank you so much.
BROOKS: Thank you, thank you.
WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.
[14:52:42] WHITFIELD: What an emotional rollercoaster we have all been on in these last hours of this week and weekend, a range of lows and highs. Among the pinnacles this week here in Washington, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture celebrated women in a couple more big ways. The Smithsonian newest and 19th museum already celebrates women dating back to the 1800s, making an impact on American history, from Harriet Tubman to Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis and Aretha Franklin. And now two significant new building blocks in the way this museum recognizes how women continue to make an impact on American history. The first of what will be an annual E3 women's summit took place, E3, standing for empowerment, entrepreneurship, and engagement. And I was invited to lead it's first one-on-one discussion with a powerful entrepreneur who is committed to those three tenants, Urban One founder and chairwoman Cathy Hughes.
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WHITFIELD: You also had a personal mission, a commitment, besides keeping your eye on the prize. What was the mission?
CATHY HUGHES, FOUNDER AND CHAIRPERSON, UNBAN ONE INC: The mission was I wanted to be remembered. To me, I think I'm still a work in progress. I think I can still learn. When you see yourself as a work in progress, you really don't believe
your own press. You really realize that you still must best your best, that you must continue, and you must always, always open doors to try to help other sisters, to empower other sisters.
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WHITFIELD: Pretty impactful. Also during that women's summit and now open to the public, a yearlong exhibit honoring a giant force, a champion of what it means to uplift others, Oprah Winfrey. The exhibit is called "Watching Oprah." And this new 4,300 square foot exhibit focuses on how American history since her birth year of 1954 shaped her, and how the talk show queen turned global media leader has herself impacted American history and culture. Here Oprah in the auditorium with her namesake with her impressions.
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OPRAH WINFREY: I went through the whole exhibit. It's quite extraordinary. May I say, #goals to have your exhibit on exhibit.
[14:55:00] WINFREY: At a museum. But I got through the whole exhibit yesterday, and the thing that made me cry was at the end there was a book where people had written just what the exhibit meant to them and what the Oprah show had meant to them over the years. And a woman wrote, watching you every day is the reason why I love myself so fiercely. And that made me cry, because that is my goal. My intention is to use my life as an inspiration to other people to see what is possible for themselves.
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WHITFIELD: Oprah had donated $21 million to this $540 million museum to make it all happen.
Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in D.C. Still so much more straight ahead in the newsroom right after this.