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WAPO: 300+ Incidents of Trump-Inspired Harassment of School Kids; 300 Plus Incidents of Trump-Inspired Harassment of School Kids; LAPD Officer Using Hoop Skills to Coach Kids to A Better Future. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 14, 2020 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: I know I have it in this seat and said more than once that words matter. I could sit here and play a bunch of clips for you of the President of the United States routinely insulting people. You know what he said, I know what he said. So let's just skip that and move to this.

This "Washington Post" report describes in disturbing detail what the President's words are doing to children at school. A team of reporters went through about 28,000 news stories and found this. More than 300 incidents of Trump inspired harassment involving school kids.

And you can see from the Post's graph, 14 percent of the cases are against students who support Trump. But the vast majority of harassment is against minority students, children of color by fellow students and teachers who use Trump's words to bully.

And Hannah Natanson is one of the "Washington Post" reporters behind all of this. The investigative report is called "Trump's Words, Bullied Kids, Scarred Schools." And so Hannah, thank you so much for being here.


BALDWIN: In your quite lengthy piece, right, you all detail it's like story after story of examples of harassing behavior. Can you just give our viewers just a couple examples of some of the words used by these children to bully kids?

NATANSON: You know, you hear -- people are hearing things at sports games and in hallways, like, go back to where you came from. A very popular one especially at sports games is build the wall, and in some cases, merely the President's name has become a shouted form of an insult.

BALDWIN: And how much damage is this bullying causing?

NATANSON: I mean, you know, obviously it's hard to quantify, but I would say that the students we spoke to for this story, a lot of them even in cases where the incidents happened several years ago, the damage has lingered. And you know, they're still upset. And it still affects the way they move through the world day-to-day. So you know, anecdotally, again, I'd say, it can be life altering this kind of thing.

BALDWIN: You gave examples of, you know, of suicide as an extreme, right, in one or two of these cases. And also to be fair you also found kids who support Trump and they're being bullied as well, right.

NATANSON: Yes, I think it's really important to note that this is also happening against students who support the President or show up to school wearing gear that is pro-Trump. In one of the incidents we documented in the story, a kid was actually forced to change his name because his last name was Trump. It's not that he was a supporter of the President. In fact, the reverse. But he wound up changing his name because he was being bullied by classmates for having the same last name as the President.

BALDWIN: And who's looking into this? What's being done about it?

NATANSON: So no one really tracks this was one of the discoveries that came out of our reporting. So we based our report on every incident of bullying we could find publicly reported in the news. But no school system has really been tracking this.

That being said I think our reporting did show that school systems around the country are starting to realize this is an issue, particularly as we approach the 2020 election. And there are some positive instances that we found where school systems are starting to be proactive and convene classes.

For example, on how to have a civil dialogue where they try to teach students how to disagree with one another over political matters, for example. And some might be doing things like pursuing student led mediation groups where students work with their peers to solve disputes.

So I think, you know, as much as some of the examples and the stories are disheartening, one of our findings was that school systems are starting to develop ways to deal with this wave of politically fueled harassment.

BALDWIN: And as we just put a button on this conversation, let's just remind everyone that it is the President's own wife, right, the first lady who literally created "Be Best" to prevent precisely this kind of bullying at our nation's schools.

And here you have this incredibly lengthy report just detailing how much bullying exists in part because of the President of the United States. Hannah Natanson of "The Washington Post." Hannah, thank you.

NATANSON: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: We are staying on our breaking news out of the Justice Department today, on the one hand, deciding not to bring any criminal charges against former acting FBI Director Andy McCabe. On the other, order a review of the case involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Those new details. Stand by.



BALDWIN: Just a little over a week now until Nevada voters hold their 2020 caucuses, and as CNN covers this election cycle, we are also telling the unknown stories of elections past.

The season premier for "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE" tracks the history making 2008 race between freshman Senator Barack Obama and veteran Senator John McCain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Hillary Clinton's office is a photograph of the Obama family, a gift from the freshman Senator from Illinois.



Or they call me, yo mama, but the name's Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barack Obama really wasn't on our radar as a candidate in early 2006. I think the general feeling was he just got to the Senate. There is no way he's going to run for President. That would be pretty, you know, audacious.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I got a call from Senator Obama in the spring of 2006, and he said just had the most peculiar meeting. He said, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer called me in --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, top Democratic dogs on The Hill.

AXELROD: And Harry said, you ought to think about running for President.


BALDWIN: Joining us now CNN Presidential historian Tim Naftali. He appears in this original series. So nice to see you.


BALDWIN: Let's go to, I mean remember back in 2007, 2008 and people were like then Senator Barack Obama doesn't have any real experience. Can he do it? I mean, and now like flash forward to today, people look at someone like a Pete Buttigieg and think he's just this Mayor in South Bend, Indiana. What say you just on this question of experience? NAFTALI: Two things, one thing's changed. The American people don't

like our institutions much. And so there was a time when you'd make the argument that somebody should spend years in Congress or spend years in a Governor's office and the American people would say, yes, yes, we want people with political experience. Right now they'd say, no. We want people from as far away from Washington, D.C. as before. So I think in terms of political experience it's not what it was. When people were asking those questions about Barack Obama in 2008.

The second point is about what kind of experience. You know, before Barack Obama, the previous -- the only previous Senator to become President of the United States was John F. Kennedy, and the argument always was you don't elect Senators to the White House because they have no managerial experience at all. You get Governors.

Really with time what we've learned is it's not what job they had before, it was the judgment they showed, regardless of the size of responsibility that came with that job, what judgment did they show? Because in the end, it's judgement.

BALDWIN: But what about President Trump?

NAFTALI: Well, that answers the question. President Trump, there are ways -- there are ways that a businessperson could lead the country if they show good judgment. The President has shown us poor judgment. In fact, that's why he was impeached, and that's why Senators including Mitt Romney agreed that he should be convicted, not a majority, mind you, but quite a few Senators.

BALDWIN: What about also thinking of Senator John McCain, and we were talking in the commercial break and you were saying to me when you think about someone such as a John McCain and some of the people who would have been his supporters and his audience, that would be a Republican base, which many of whom have been supporting a Donald Trump. What's the difference?

NAFTALI: Oh, my god. You know, we always think that this is the worst. We Americans like to reinvent ourselves. It's one of the great things about our country. It keeps us always young and as a country young, or youthful. We forget history, and one of the things we forget is that nastiness in our history is nothing -- there's nothing new about nastiness.

When you watch the show, the 2008 episode of "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE," you're going to see that there was some real nastiness in the crowds that McCain spoke to. Some of what we see today and some of what became birtherism later in the Obama years, that's there, but the difference is this. McCain turns to his base and says stop it, please.

BALDWIN: Stop it.

NAFTALI: We're better than that. Don't let that anger define us. Let this debate, let this contest be on principles and ideas, not on conspiracies. It was beautiful, and he didn't just do it once. He did it multiple times, and two of those cases are right there in the show. It's going to make you sad. It's going to make you very proud of McCain, and it's going to remind of us at our best. But it will make you I think a little dismayed at how far we have fallen when our leaders don't stand up to their base and say, please, we Americans are better than that.

BALDWIN: Here's one more, this is on President Trump. I want to play some sound for you. President Trump's interview on Geraldo Rivera's podcast, he was asked how impeachment affected him personally.


GERALDO RIVERA, TALK SHOW HOST: I know because I know you, what a gut punch impeachment was for you. But I'm not sure that, you know, heart to heart you've expressed that feeling, you know, that feeling of assault, of insult. Why don't you share that with us? What was that like for you?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's a terrible thing, and you know, I think of Nixon more than anybody else.


And what that dark period was in our country and every time in the White House I pass his beautiful portrait of various Presidents, right. But the portrait of Richard Nixon, I sort of -- I don't know, it's a little bit of different feeling than I get from looking at the other portraits of Presidents.


NAFTALI: Well, when I -- one of the joys of being a Presidential Library Director, is you get a tour of the White House, and Laura Bush gave us the tour. You know, I was Director of the Nixon Library so I asked where is Richard Nixon's portrait? And they had hidden it. That was way off -- and so I'm very interested in knowing where President Trump's put Richard Nixon's portrait. Because usually Presidents put it far away so first family doesn't have to look at it.

I'm not sure what he's saying, what lesson he's channeling from Nixon. I fear it's the wrong lesson. One of the things that the Richard Nixon case taught us was that abuse of power was an impeachable offense. And that Richard Nixon had abused power and he had hurt not only the country but himself and family by doing so. I'm not sure President Trump learned that lesson.

BALDWIN: Tim Naftali, thank you so much, as always. And to you all, please, do not miss the premiere of this new season "THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE" this Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific only here on CNN.

Coming up next, President Trump repeating this theory about the novel coronavirus that has been contradicted by his own CDC Director. Those details next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: This just in, President Trump is once again repeating this theory that the coronavirus will die out as temperatures warm up. It is in direct contradiction of what the CDC is warning that the deadly virus is likely to stick around even beyond this year.

And health officials have growing concerns about it spreading in the United States. 15 people are now affected across the country, more than 65,000 are affected around the world, killing nearly 1,400 people, and China has yet to accept the offer by the CDC to send the experts there to help. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is calling on China to be more transparent.


ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Some of the data issues may just be the chaos of a public health crisis, but it is very important that the World Health Organization hold China to account for transparency and cooperation as they would any other country, including the United States.


BALDWIN: We did hear from a top official organizing the 2020 Olympics this summer in Tokyo that despite this outbreak, plans for the games are still, quote, on track.

And to the breaking news that we've been on this afternoon, this White House official telling CNN that President Trump is angered by the Justice Department's decision to drop the case against former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. We are live in Washington just ahead.



BALDWIN: Police departments all around the country use community programs to keep kids off of the streets and out of trouble. But one Los Angeles police officer decided to combine his love for basketball and the compassion to give children hope and mentorship. CNN's Nick Watt shows us how he went beyond the call of duty.




LOMBARD-JACKSON: One, two, three.

WATT (voice-over): It began with the sound of a bouncing ball, while officer Ivan Lombard Jackson was out on patrol.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: I see a 7-year-old boy playing, dribbling basketball and I started shooting basketballs with him. After a while I asked him if he would like to join a basketball team. And he told me at the time, hell, yes, and at that point, I was like, well we're work on your language later.

Push it, push it.

WATT: There wasn't a team, so he created this one figuring he'd also work on equipment, uniforms and gym time later. Ultimately all donations they entered a park league.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: We ended up going undefeated.

WATT: Jackson himself had played in college, then played pro-ball in Belize, Central America. He decided to take team on the road searching for stiffer competition.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: And I got the kids in the van with me. One of the kids he looks up and he says, hey, coach, what is that? He's pointing to downtown LA. And I'm like, you live ten minutes from downtown LA and you have never seen downtown LA and he says, no. And that's when it clicked to me, this is not a basketball program, this is about exposing these kids to as much as I possibly can.

WATT: It's about making these kids believe that there are many ways to live a life.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: Kids who get into the gangs pretty much start around 11, 12, middle school age. We want to get those kids before that even happens.

WATT: It's about a positive interaction with a cop.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: You're going to get the ball and you're going to pass it.

WATT (on camera): He's a police officer. Is that strange? No?


LOMBARD-JACKSON: I have had parents that are not pro police at all, and now, they are calling me every single day about their child. So, I will drive by and stop my kids' schools and check out the report cards, talk to the teachers of my players.

Do you split the court?

WATT: He's quite strict, though isn't he?


WATT (voice over): Setbacks turned into teaching moments.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: First tournament we got smacked every single game. I explained to them what I'm more interested in is your character. Who is going to continue to come.

Get a layup, let's go.

I'm building people who do not want to quit not just on the court, but in life.

WATT: Now they're competing for trophies in those same tournaments where once they got smacked.

LOMBARD-JACKSON: You got to come up now.

Yes, they're pretty good. To see the actual impact that I am having on these young kids' lives is literally priceless.


BALDWIN: Oh, so good, Nick Watt, and thank you.