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Solidarity Protests Pop Up In Cities Around The World; Businesses Coast To Coast Reeling From Violent Protests, Looting; President Donald Trump Takes Brutal Tone With Some Governors; Former Vice President Joe Biden Calls For Unity In Meeting With Community Leaders On Protests; Former President Barack Obama: State & Local Leaders Matter Most In Reforming Justice System. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired June 1, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: This is fascinating moment. Clarissa Ward, we much appreciate that international perspective.
Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world at the top of the hour now, I am John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing your with us. Right now we are waiting to hear from the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz about the unrest in his state, obviously where George Floyd was killed.
We're also hearing now about President Trump and a conference call he had with the nation's Governors just last hour a call where the President called on state leaders to dominate. He called them weak so far.
And we're hearing this from the Former President Barack Obama saying let's not excuse violence or rationalize it or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system and American society at large to operate on a higher ethical code the Former President says that we have to model that ethical code ourselves.
The protest touching every part of the nation, all 50 states seeing some form of this call to action a demand for justice and people calling out the name, George Floyd among others Floyd the man of course who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers one week ago.
New York City has seen both sides of the chaos. We've seen looting and police vans on fire and clashes between protesters and we have also seen scenes like this in Queens, officers joining and taking a knee to show solidarity with those protests.
Our Brynn Gingras is in New York. Brynn, as I bring in I just want to show you that image right here on the front page of "The Daily News" of the officers leaning down with The New York Post. As you know in a city conflicted by this taking a very different position they want focusing more on the violence. What's the latest today?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's it, John, you mentioned these moments where there were unity where police officers were joining in with the protests. There were a lot of peaceful protests this entire weekend even yesterday into the night.
But as the Commissioner said when it got dark out, it got ugly and it got ugly quick. I want to show you what's behind me because at this point businesses in the Soho District of New York City which is the high end shopping area there most boarded up at this point.
But if you can see - you could still get a good idea of what we were seeing in the early morning hours here. The store - you see this wood on the ground, this was protecting the store. Looters at night came and tore this wood down and went into the store and stole a bunch of merchandise.
John, we've been here since 5 o'clock this morning even before that even in those hours into the day light we were seeing people going into the store and continue to just take things even when there were cops around they were actually playing cat and mouse.
They were trying to catch them it was still happening. It was just incredible to see what that night turned into after such a long day of peaceful protest. I want you to hear from the Commissioner who just gave a news conference with the Mayor about what happened over night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DERMOT SHEA, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: I saw increased again numbers last night of New Yorkers of every faith and every religion of every ethnicity speaking out against it that they are not speaking for us. I saw many incidents where I was quite frankly a little worried that it was going to turn to violence where people confronting, people that were breaking windows on stores saying that doesn't help us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: And again there were those moments of unity and then there were moments like the ones you're just seeing here. The Commissioner estimates more than 400 people going to be arrested in the process of being booked at this point just from the overnight hours.
We have to keep in mind, John, this is New York City. This city has not opened up yet where they are still under sort of a lockdown situation because of the pandemic. So many of these stores, we talked to one business manager who says, we have been suffering for months now and then he walks into his jewelry store privately owned, there is not any jewelry left.
They took the entire store even the back inventory. There was so much sorrow for what happened in the city over night. Of course there are just so many mixed emotions because of the big riot they're actually protesting having those peaceful protests were somewhat getting lost because of the looting though happened not just last night but over this weekend.
KING: Very important point, the legitimate protest getting lost because of that horrific damage. Brynn Gingras, on the ground for us in the New York City thank you so much. Just the businesses behind you there this is happening from coast to coast. Business owners now on edge some have been cleaned out by looters and some have watched their buildings burnt to the ground. My next guest owns a bar in Minneapolis, and in an effort to stay - protesters you see it right there put up a sign that says "Black Owned Business."
Tony Zaccardi is the owner of Palmers Bar and he joins me right now Tony, thank you for joining with us. So you decided to do this hoping that the people protesting in the street would not hurt your business. What has it been like in the community these past terrible days?
TONY ZACCARDI, MINNEAPOLIS BUSINESS OWNER: I'll tell you that were a last minute idea that - just to see. We are definitely on edge. Unfortunate and about a mile and a half kind of where this all started from the third precinct, I had a very diverse and very kind of hot neighborhood, mostly black owned and Somalia businesses over here.
I kind of thought that I just paint a big target on this side of my building after you know it kind of came out that there is some of the white supremacist and stuff in town and I would be worried. And so we've been watching every night these businesses down here.
KING: So as a business owner in the middle of all this, obviously you are hoping to reopen your business when you can. You have the Coronavirus to deal with on top of everything else. We're only just learning about a call the President of the United State had with Governors saying that they had been weak.
Although we're told he praised your Governor for bringing the National Guard earlier. What is your sense as a businessman or just as a member of the community of the reaction whether it is the Mayor or the Governor or political leadership or lack there off right now?
ZACCARDI: We have been really excited. I personally have been very excited about Governor Walz during the Coronavirus - he's just been a rock. He was a former teacher and he has been eloquent and well spoken.
Mayor Frey, I've met ample of times I think he is certainly one cares very deeply about people. Maybe he is not coming across as strong as people may be liked to but I said - I think he is a - he really cares and he wants to do the right things.
So I personally I'm happy with how they managed and I am glad that Governor Walz stepped it up a little bit. A lot of people are hurting in this neighborhood and community just the devastation of seeing firsthand at this it is heartbreaking.
KING: So help me with the conversation as you see whether it is other businesses or its neighbors or other families, what is the conversation in the community obviously, there is legitimate outrage over the death of George Floyd and now there are some legitimate horrors over some of the violence and destruction going on?
I keep using this term, circuit breaker, what is it? How do you convince people please not violence - I think was Mayor was saying - saying he doesn't want patience he just wants peace.
ZACCARDI: I think there is such a - yesterday we saw it kind of after really bad night and the night yesterday we really saw the community came together and did a massive cleanup, donation, food-drive efforts they've really I think given people hope.
And it feel like you know as a business owner, I think people are going to little more - we are not conscious but conscious of you know - we really got to support and you know support these small businesses. I for one put up a post yesterday like, let's encourage folks to rebuild and let's make them thrive. The Wendy's was burnt down or whatever.
A lot of people that worked at Wendy's and Target you know that live in these communities. I think everyone realizes that this is bad and it is scary when you are five miles away from thing and the suburbs where from kind of around zero in the suburbs and you need to - you can't find a store that's open or find an ATM. But I think there is a sense of hope but I'm - sense of hope.
KING: I hope that hope comes about. Tony Zaccardi very grateful for your insight and your thoughts straight from Minneapolis today thank you sir.
ZACCARDI: Thank you for having me.
KING: It is our pleasure sir, grateful for your time today. When we come back, the President of the United States have a conference call with Governors, we were told that he was agitated told them they need to do more and he said many of them looked weak.
KING: President Trump today venting frustration at some of the nation's Governors in a conference call the President was at the White House the President calling Governors "Weak" saying they need a more robust police response to the protests going on now cross the country. CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us. Kaitlan he says the Governor should dominate he calls them week what more we know about this call?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes and he said that Minnesota turned into the laughing stock of the world for how officers they are handled those several nights of protests and riots that we sell breaking out John. This is a really remarkable call and CNN has obtained the audio.
It is a call to President just town with Governors with law enforcement officials, with national security officials and he was on this call and he chose to start it by lashing out at these Governors telling them the most of them have been weak and they start to need they need to start cracking down on the protesters who were turning violent on the streets of their cities he says it is making the United States the laughing stock of the world. Listen to this really remarkable audio that CNN has obtained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened in the state of Minnesota and - all over the world? They took over the police department. Police were running down the streets with sirens and they - it was a camera. And then they - probably captured build a new one.
I haven't seen anything like it and the whole world was laughing. Today two days later I spoke to the Governor, the Governor - and all of a sudden - got to use the National Guard and they did. I don't know what it was; it was the third day or fourth day. Those guys worked with - so much it was bothered.
It was right through and he hasn't had any problem since I mean they know they're not going to go there now they are going to start it first. But once you go out and you dominate them you took the worst place and you made it very - recovered last night because there was so many flash because you dominate, you dominate.
Now what happened to New York? I live in Manhattan, what's going on in Manhattan? I have no idea, New York is finest, they got to be allowed, they need to do this. I don't know what's happening in Manhattan, but it is terrible.
And because it is New York and because it is Manhattan it gets a lot of trust. So they really spent a lot of time last night. So New York is going to have to tough it up and you send your National Guard if you want. You have a lot of police force in the country 40,000 I understand.
But what's going on in New York is terrible, it is terrible. What happened last night in Los Angeles - is terrible.
KING: More domination yet - but something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And he said there at the John that they have to dominate and start imprisoning some of these protesters who were turning violent. He said otherwise they are going to look like jerks. We should also note that the Governor of Maine told the President that they were uncomfortable because he is scheduled to visit the state on Friday because of the security concerns.
And the President said it because the Governor of Maine was trying to convince him not to come but now he was coming for sure.
KING: The black and white from the President Law and order dominate, dominate your week if you don't that's the President's message today pretty clear. A much more nuanced a message from the Former President of the United States Barack Obama publishing this post on medium.
It's very detailed, it's very nuanced - gets in you see here let's not excuse violence or rationalize it or participate it in if we want our criminal justice system an American society at large to operate a higher ethical code then we need to model that code ourselves the Former President saying.
If we want to bring about real change in the choice is between protest and politics we have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness but we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates will act on reform.
I didn't listen to the entire call with the current President of the United States so I want to be careful. But a very different approach here in tone President Obama saying please stop destroying things to the protesters in the demonstrators but telling them to keep out there demanding change and reform.
COLLINS: Yes, this is the second statement the Former President Obama has issued. He first issued one about three days ago this one is much longer. And it's basically telling these protesters what to do moving forward? Telling them to organize, telling them to mobilize and start voting as a way to respond to of course the death of George Floyd.
And it's really notable hearing him speak out like this with this statement because this comes as there is a serious internal debate John happening inside the White House over what the President should do next?
Some people say they have not heard from him enough. He did address this after that space launch on Saturday. I was with him down in Florida but he has not had an address dedicated solely to the death of George Floyd and the protests that we've seen breaking out across the country in the riding as well instead those messages have mainly come from tweets in addition to what he said on Saturday.
And so the question is right now internally should he do some kind of Oval Office address? Should he do a Rose Garden address? Should he just do something to speak and there are some people advocating for it. He's hesitant though because of his last Oval Office address on Coronavirus was widely criticized because he made several inaccurate statements within just a matter of minutes.
But then some people are encouraging the President that he does need to go out there and he does need to say something because he is the President and of course the nation is in crisis right now.
KING: The nation dealing with two crises right now the President of the United States will choose his path. Kaitlan Collins from the White House thank you so much. We're also hearing from the Presumptive Democratic Nominee today as well Joe Biden the Former Vice President calling for unity this at a meeting with community leaders in Wilmington, Delaware.
CNN's Arlette Saenz is there covering this for us. Arlette what was the message from the Former Vice President.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John Joe Biden spent the morning at Bethel Emmy Church here in Wilmington, Delaware meeting with those community leaders. And he really spent a big portion of that morning and just sitting there listening for about an hour listening to these leaders concerns when it comes to the issue of systemic racism including the economic and also the health hardships that so many African Americans face in this country.
And after he sat there for an hour listening Joe Biden stood up in the middle of the church pulled down his mask and talked about some of the changes that he thinks need to be made. He says there needs to be changes to the way that police are trained as well as to the culture.
He also talked a lot about the economic impact that so many African Americans face particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic as well he says that if he were President as part of the economic recovery he would focus on fixing some of those institutional problems that exist.
Now Biden also talked about the larger need for unity and that's a message he's been stressing from the start of his campaign. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody is tired and everybody is angry - and they recall from the timeline announce like I said the one unite the country and by saying he just - we want to unite the country and when they come by executive order that's call future power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now Biden also said that he will be releasing some economic proposals relating to housing and economic opportunities in the coming week as well as delivering some speeches over the course of the next few weeks.
Now in that meeting Biden was also pressed on whether he will select a black woman as his running mate Biden would not commit to that only saying that he is considering multiple black women as a possible vice presidential pick.
SAENZ: And later today in just a short while Biden will actually be holding a virtual roundtable with the Mayors of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Saint Paul, Minnesota all of those cities seeing those protests over the weekend John.
KING: Arlette Saenz, I appreciate the reporting. Democratic Candidate Joe Biden up and about today speaking on this issue. Up next for us we're waiting of course to the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz he will give a news conference shortly on the situation in his state also three Mayors from around the country will join us to discuss how they're handling the protests in the middle of a pandemic.
[12:25:00] KING: Mayors across the country now juggling the challenge of keeping the unrest under control while also trying to help their communities heal. National Guard has been activated in 26 states plus the District of Columbia at least forty cities across the country now using curfews to try to keep the peace.
With me to share their insights the mayors of three American cities Quinton Lucas is the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri Lovely Warren the Mayor of Rochester, New York and the Mayor of Newport News is with us as well Newport News is in Virginia, McKinley Price he is also President of the African American Mayors Association.
Mayor Price, let me start with you. We've just heard about this call with the Governors with the President of United States saying they look weak and they need to dominate. Is that the message that you think needs to be conveyed right now in America cities to these protesters?
MAYOR MCKINLEY PRICE (I), NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA: No absolutely not. I think we don't want to militarize our police force. I think we need some understanding, we need some empathy. I share the pain that the protesters are having. But I think one equity as far as a police discipline. And I think the protesters we'll get a better change if it's peaceful and we're all hoping that that will occur.
KING: Mayor Warren to you on this one Michael Hancock the Mayor of Denver said this today you must also have a President who has the credibility and the integrity to engage a community. Does President Trump have credibility and integrity among especially among young black people?
MAYOR LOVELY WARREN (D), ROCHESTER, NEW YORK: Well, I think that the actions of the President speaks for themselves. I can tell you that the Governor of the State of New York Governor Cuomo and we called him and ask him or new resources to come into the City of Rochester without hesitation he decided that he was going to stand in the state troopers to help us out.
Last night we had a night of peace here in our city. And I think it was because we were able to say that Governor Cuomo was sitting in the resources that we need it in order to keep our city safe. And the President needs to make sure that he chooses his words very carefully because what we know is that words hurt and worse can also cause wars.
KING: Mayor Lucas, the Former President of the United States and America's First Black President Barack Obama short time ago made a very detailed posting about what he thinks. Number one he said stop the violence and stop the destruction. But he also said keep up the protest he was act urging people to be as specific as possible.
And he rejected the notion you do hear from a lot of these especially younger demonstrators that politics does not matter that the politicians have not listened to us for years that's why we're out here because there continues to be the death of black males in particular at police hands. Former President Obama saying it is important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices. When we think about politics a lot of us focus only on the Presidency and the Federal Government but the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments in the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.
I assume you agree with that point how do you convince these people who have very legitimate and raw anger right now peacefully protest and tell me what you need just don't destroy things?
MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS (D), KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: I think we have to make sure we are accessible and available. Yesterday in Kansas City I went to the protest. Yesterday in Kansas City I kneel down with protesters. I know there are some that are mad at me there are some who are mad at our police department.
But you need to make sure they have a true space to be heard. That space alone cannot simply be based on having police officers in riot gear standing across from protesters. We need to break into them. We need to speak to them because frankly in contrast what the President is providing now people want leadership. People need to hear it and that's something we can provide at the local level.
KING: And to that point Mayor Price one of the things President Obama mentioned and you hear this in different forms from a lot of the demonstrators is that they want to be able to trust that police reforms will not only be enacted on paper but will be enacted in practice. How do you do that in your community and how do you keep as your colleague just spoke about the dialogue be present, be active in the in the conversation?
PRICE: Well, you have to be proactive. Our Police Chief has done a great job I think with community policing. I attended to protests yesterday with the Chief with the Sheriff showing that that we are with them and that we can dialogue and we all believe that we do need change but there is a way of doing things.
So it is our job to try and channel this energy and this - what we're witnessing now into constructive policy changes that's going to help everyone.
KING: Mayor Warren, help me with this one.