Return to Transcripts main page
Trump's Leadership Tested By Unrest Across America; Two Atlanta Police Officers Fired For Using Excessive Force; Latin America: World's New Coronavirus Epicenter. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired June 1, 2020 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (via Cisco Webex): Over the last couple of days that this president and his administration are kind of at war with themselves about how to address the situation.
You know, when the president is left to his own devices, on social media, you see on him tweeting about law and order, kind of urging police forces to use increased amounts of force than they have used so far, pushing the National Guard, threatening to bring in the military because he believes that being tough on the protesters is the right answer to this.
And then at the same time, there are discussions going on behind the scenes about whether he does need to give some kind of national address. Now, the White House is going to point to comments that he made on Saturday to the pool of reporters who are traveling with him about the -- about the George Floyd protests ahead of his remarks about the space launch.
But I think a lot of people are looking for more. They are looking for the president to address what we were discussing in the last segment -- what exactly is his response to what the protesters are saying and what black Americans have been saying for decades in this country, which is that there is a deep problem in this country. Black people do not feel like they are being treated equally under the law.
And, President Trump has had absolutely nothing to say about that and that's partly because this is not something that he has any familiarity with. Despite what he has been saying about wanting to appeal to black Americans, he has not thought about these issues and I think that is why we have not seen him address it.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, the metaphors were striking over the weekend. I mean, yesterday, they declared a full lid (ph) at the White House in the morning, which is their way of saying the president has nothing more to say today, period. Imagine making that statement about silence.
The lights were turned off at the White House overnight and that seems to be a metaphor for something. I suppose it was for security reasons because there were demonstrations in Lafayette Park across the street but still, to turn everything off in the White House is striking, Errol.
Ann Coulter tweeted overnight -- Ann Coulter, conservative commentator -- and she may be doing this for her own reasons. She writes, "Is it possible Trump has resigned and they just haven't gotten around to the press release yet?"
I mean, there's a choice to be silent that's being made right now.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, POLITICAL ANCHOR, SPECTRUM NEWS (via Cisco Webex): Yes. Well, look, the reality is we may have to count our blessings on that score because the same things that would be inflammatory would actually have real-world consequences outside of what we as political pundits might want to kick back and forth.
I think the reality is the president has got a tough reelection battle and most of their -- most government actions and certainly most political actions I think have to be seen through that lens. He does not want to, and I'm sure his advisers have told him he does not want to inflame the passions of people who are going to come out and vote against him in November.
It's one thing to say -- you know, you can write off Los Angeles, you can write off New York. The president was never going to win those states. You start talking about Miami-Dade County in Florida and maybe boosting turnout because people are so upset with the president over his comments, that's another story. You start looking at places like Madison, Wisconsin, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This is not something the president is going to sort of wade into, I think, with his customary swagger. He's got to be very careful about what he says at a time when the whole world is watching cities burning, police cars burning, crowds besieging the White House itself. This is not another problem that he needs on top of all of the other political issues that he's dealing with.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Bakari, the president doesn't seem to make the distinction between protesters, which have been overwhelmingly peaceful, and the rioters, which is -- you know, some of the destruction that we're seeing. And so when he talks about siccing vicious dogs and ominous weapons on them it's just a different tone than we might have heard from past presidents.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, AUTHOR, "MY VANISHING COUNTRY" (via Cisco Webex): I mean, like what the hell is the president going to say? I mean, this is a president that doesn't understand the nuance of race. He's a blunt-force object and he's ill- equipped for this moment.
I mean, this moment requires some level of thought to actually unravel and deal with many of the issues at the Department of Justice and policy issues. This moment requires some level of empathy so you can understand and put yourself in the shoes of the Lloyd (sic) family, the Arbery family, the Taylor family. And this moment requires a level of compassion so you can reach out to a neighbor.
And none of those things that I named does the president have. Those are not attributes that he has.
I mean, I think that if you -- he actually has said some things. We're not giving him enough credit. He came out and quoted a 1967 segregationist -- "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." He then said he wanted to unleash dogs.
I think if the president were to say anything else it would probably include water hoses. It's as if he's using the George Wallace and Lester Maddox playbook.
So I honestly think that as we're going, it's never good for the arsonist to come out and put more flames on the fire. So I think that there has to be others who step up.
And one of the sad parts about this whole thing is you had Republicans who were screaming from the mountaintops about Joe Biden's ignorant comments. It felt like it was a year ago but it was only like 10 days ago. But none of those -- none of those Republicans have come out and said anything about this unrest and put forth solutions. And so, I think that's what we need.
The Republican Party, if they want to have some identity when it comes to issues of race, needs to find some grounding, some footage, some courage, empathy, and compassion.
BERMAN: Abby, one thing the president did say on Twitter is he wants to declare Antifa a terrorist organization. Now, there's a few parts to that. He doesn't actually have the power to do that. Antifa, in and of itself, isn't really an organization per se, but there's something to that that the president is doing. And you're also hearing from some state and local leaders around the country.
I think everyone keeps wanting to say the people who are breaking windows, the people who are engaged in bad acts, they're not from here. They're not the demonstrators here. I wonder why there's that need at all these different levels to say these aren't our people doing this?
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I think on some level that is probably true. There are -- this is evidence that a lot of people are coming from elsewhere, coming into these communities and helping stir things up.
And I think we have seen in some of the videos that are being posted online by protesters there is a tug-of-war happening on the streets right now between people who want these protests to remain peaceful and others who are not interested in that. There's a tug-of-war between people who are new to this conversation about protesting about race -- many of whom are white -- and people who are black, who have been doing this for a long time and want to use different tactics. Those are very real things.
But honestly, what the president is doing with this Antifa discussion is just reverting back to this old political conversation of wanting to look at this in an overly simplistic view that it's just far- leftist and Antifa in the same way that he blamed Antifa for the violence in Charlottesville a couple of years ago.
And it's not in any way nuanced. I think we have to look at what is really happening, which is that there are a lot of people from different ends of the political spectrum all converging on this issue for different reasons and we need to be able to hold those ideas in our heads at the same time. But what the president is trying to do is make this about left versus right, and I think that's not capturing what's really happening on the ground.
CAMEROTA: Abby, Errol, Bakari, thank you all very much for your thoughts this morning.
SELLERS: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: CNN has obtained bodycam video of an incident that led to two Atlanta police officers being fired for using excessive force against two college students during weekend protests. It shows the couple being tased. And we want to warn you this video is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Two college students in a car being tased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: The officers both say they thought the couple was armed.
CNN's Dianne Gallagher is live in Atlanta with more. It's just a terrifying video to watch, Dianne.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a really hard video to watch, Alisyn, and it was Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as well. She said that after she and the police chief viewed that video, they determined that the two officers who deployed their tasers had to be fired. They have since been terminated. The other three officers involved that you see there on that video have been placed on desk duty pending an investigation.
Now, Mayor Bottoms went ahead and talked about the fact that she'd not had a chance to speak to those students yet -- one is a Spelman student, the other is a Morehouse student -- but said that she is planning to be able to apologize to them.
They went ahead and dropped the charges of the man you see in that video -- the charges they had filed against him. They also do not have any charges filed against the woman in the video.
Now, the police chief said that when she saw it that she found that video to be shocking -- said that in the way those students were manhandled, in her words, by the officers. She also went ahead and said that how they behaved as an agency was unacceptable and that we caused further fear to you in a space that is already so fearful for so many African-Americans, and I am genuinely sorry.
Alisyn, you can probably see here out in the streets is the remnants of what happened here. It happened on this street as the protests had continued in Atlanta. The police chief trying to iron that out, trying to make amends by the firing of those two officers and that apology there.
CAMEROTA: Dianne Gallagher, thank you very much for the update.
Well, protests across the country; unrest leading to violence in many cities. Our reporters take us there live, next.
BERMAN: This morning, the entire Washington, D.C. National Guard has been activated to help police with protests in the nation's capital.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond live in D.C. with the very latest -- Jeremy.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, we are less than two blocks from the White House, right in front of the seat of the AFL-CIO, which is the largest federation of unions in the United States. And this is just one of the sites of destruction that happened last night after those protests in Washington, D.C. turned violent and when we started to see looting and destruction of property happening late in the night.
You can see here the entire glass that is the front of this building has been completely broken into. There was actually also, John, a fire that broke out in the lobby of this building. You can see here some of the smoldering wreckage that is left over. The fire alarm actually, John, was only just turned off in this building.
And this is a scene that we are seeing of several buildings in this area around the White House, John. Just a block down at St. John's Episcopal Church, which is a historic church where every president since James Madison has attended at least one church service there, there was a fire in the basement of that building that was also set off.
And around the blocks here John, in this downtown D.C. neighborhood around the White House, there are several cars that were completely burnt out -- you know, you can still smell the smell of those burnt cars as I was driving in just this morning, John.
We should note that yesterday, during the day, hundreds of protesters flocked to this area just outside of the White House. They were mostly peaceful. But in the evening around 10:00 p.m., things started to change. Several fires were set and this is the result of that destruction that we are seeing now -- John.
CAMEROTA: I'll take it, Jeremy. Thank you very much for reporting on the ground for us.
Also, unrest and looting continue in Philadelphia. CNN's Brian Todd is there with more. What are you seeing, Brian? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, the city is still reeling from the violence over the weekend and still experiencing a lot of it. We got here just before dawn and people were still picking through this store. This is a GameStop video store in Northern Philadelphia. Look at all the debris strewn all over this.
I'm going to take you up to another store just next door, as we walk with our photojournalist Andrew Smith.
What we're told by Philadelphia police, they've made more than 40 arrests for looting in the past 12 hours or so. That number certainly is going to go up. They've made more than 200 arrests total and again, we expect those numbers to go up.
This is an Ashley Stewart clothing store and that's been pretty much cleaned out as well. Some of these places aren't even that vulnerable anymore because so much has been taken.
But when we got here a short time ago we still saw people throwing objects against the windows at that store over there, trying to get inside. So the looting and some of the pillaging around here is still going on.
Still, there is outrage directed at the police. Our team experienced some of that yesterday and West Philadelphia where police cars were burned in front of us. There were street fires in front of us. So the outrage -- the genuine outrage against police still there, along with some of the crime and opportunism going on here.
Also, Alisyn -- quickly, as we were on the way up here we saw something we had not seen in the last couple of days, the presence of National Guard troops on the streets of downtown Philadelphia, wearing tactical gear and in heavily-armored vehicles. So they're getting reinforcements here but they need them badly and we'll see if they can get ahead of the violence here.
CAMEROTA: Yes, we'll see what today brings. Brian, thank you very much for that report.
So all of this national unrest coming, of course, amidst a global pandemic. We have reporters around the world to give us the status reports, next.
CAMEROTA: The protests in response to George Floyd's death causing ripples around the world with thousands taking to the streets. Meanwhile, concern over coronavirus is growing in Latin America. Our reporters have it all covered for you.
NICK PATON WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I'm Nick Paton Walsh in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And the U.S. is sending two million doses of the controversial if not,
frankly, dangerous hydroxychloroquine from the U.S. to Brazil. Probably one of the only countries, really, whose government still advocates its use for mild or moderate cases, as the numbers here go over half a million confirmed cases. Some say the peak of the virus, particularly here in the city of Rio de Janeiro, is happening this week.
I'm Delia Gallagher in Rome.
Pope Francis has resumed his traditional Sunday greeting from his window on St. Peter's Square after nearly three months of lockdown. It's a small sign of life getting back to normal here at the Vatican and in Italy as the country beings to open up.
Noticeably absent are the tourists, so important for Italy's economy. The several hundred people that are in the square nothing like the crowds we're used to seeing this time of year. They're wearing masks, they're socially distancing. They'll have their temperature taken to get into the Basilica.
The Vatican museums will open on Monday. Cultural sites and other museums throughout Italy will also open this week.
I'm Anna Stewart in London.
Car showrooms like this one have reopened their doors for the first time in weeks today, as have open markets, part of the new easing of lockdown rules here in England. Groups of up to six people can now meet outside as long as they maintain a two-meter distance.
These new rules kicked in today. However, over the weekend, you could see packed beaches, packed parks in the U.K. People preempting the new guidance or in some cases simply flouting it.
Prominent scientists and advisers to the government have warned that this easing of the lockdown has come too early and risks a second wave of coronavirus.
CAMEROTA: And back here in the U.S., there are still protests on the streets. So we have correspondents across this country bringing you the latest developments, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, June first, 6:00 now in New York.
And at this hour, there are still protesters on the streets. Fifty percent of states have activated the National Guard to enforce curfews and maintain order.
Overnight, we saw new outbreaks of violence and looting, and at least 40 states -- sorry, 40 cities have now imposed curfews.
BERMAN: In a country starved for compassion in leadership, President Trump is providing silence. No public statements yesterday.
The conservative commentator Ann Coulter wrote just a few hours ago, "Is it possible Trump has resigned and they just haven't gotten around to the press release?"
We're told this morning there is debate.