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Rep. Steve King (R) Loses Primary After Racist Remarks; Six Atlanta Police Officers Charged With Excessive Force; Trump Focuses On Christian Base Amid Protests. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 3, 2020 - 05:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking political news. Nine-term Republican Congressman Steve King loses his primary race in Iowa. King was shunned by the GOP leadership after racist remarks.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live in Washington with more. So, was this expected, Jeff?


It was expected in some respects but he, of course -- Congressman Steve King has been ostracized by the Republican Party leadership here in Washington, really, for almost the last year and a half or so because of some racist language, racist remarks, anti-immigrant remarks that he made.

Now, of course, he has long held these views and he has been reelected time and time again from his Iowa district, which is largely the western and northwestern part of Iowa. But in 2019 he pushed it too far with Republican leaders when he talked about white nationalism and white supremacy, and he said when did this language become so offensive. At that point, he was stripped of his committee assignments and since then it's been downhill.

But it was one year ago this month when he was disinvited from a ride on Air Force One that President Trump was taking to Iowa. He was not invited; other members of the delegation were, so that was his downfall. And, in fact, some of his rhetoric is very similar to the president's on immigration and other matters.


But he was running against four other Republicans but there was one state senator, Randy Feenstra, who defeated him last night by 10 percentage points. So this is something that was hailed by Republican leaders here.

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, praised the results last night. She said white supremacism has no use -- no room in the Republican Party. So this certainly comes at a fascinating moment in our time and our history -- our discussions here. The Republican Party is eager to push him aside.

Of course, he'll serve the rest of this year in Washington but the key was he was stripped of the committee assignments. But interestingly, his campaign never became a discussion about his actual comments. It became a fact that is he effective or not because he was stripped of his key committee assignments.

So, John, certainly a fascinating defeat -- the biggest Republican defeat in a primary, certainly, so far this year.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and for it to happen in the middle of everything going on in the country right now is certainly notable --

ZELENY: Right.

BERMAN: -- and certainly poignant.

Jeff Zeleny --

ZELENY: Just remarkable.

BERMAN: -- our thanks to you and your wood paneling -- appreciate it.

Also developing this morning, the Republican National Committee looking for a new state to host its convention. Officials tell CNN President Trump will not accept the 2020 nomination in Charlotte because of coronavirus restrictions.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond live at the White House with more. The president wanted assurances they'd be able to put 19,000 people in an arena with no masks -- couldn't get it.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He certainly could not and that's why yesterday evening, John, we saw the president take to Twitter to say that the Republican Party will be forced to seek another convention site for this Republican National Convention that is slated for August. The president is going to have to move on despite what he wanted to do.

Three Republican National Committee officials telling me and my colleagues yesterday evening that at least the night that the president accepts the nomination, that will not be happening in Charlotte. One official saying exactly that to me, John.

And that's because basically, they have to still have at least part of this in Charlotte. The business of the convention is what they have an agreement with the city of Charlotte to do in that city this year. So they're going to have to at least gavel in, perhaps there, but they're not going to do the big performative aspects that you typically associate with these big political conventions.

They are already looking at other sites. I was told that Republican officials were already visiting one of the potential cities earlier this week and they plan to visit several more in the coming days and weeks.

Democrats, we should note, John, they are already preparing to do at least part of this virtually, possibly -- and they've certainly left open that possibility of doing it entirely virtually.

But we know this president, who likes a spectacle, who likes a show -- he wants a big in-person convention with a crowded, crowded audience -- John.

BERMAN: Still, there's been no explanation from anyone how you could crowd that many people into one arena safely at this point. It may very well be that the medicine of the science dictates all of this.

Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

Six Atlanta police officers now facing charges over use of excessive force on two student protesters. We have new developments, next.



CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, six Atlanta police officers are facing charges, including aggravated assault. They're accused of using excessive force on two college students after a protest Saturday night. Police body cameras captured the incident and we want to warn you it is very disturbing to watch.


POLICE OFFICER: (INAUDIBLE) get out of the car.

(Police tasing two college students)


POLICE OFFICER: Put your hands up.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins us now with more. Dianne, I've seen that video a half-dozen times, at least now, and it doesn't get any easier to watch. It's just --


CAMEROTA: It's just from the -- from the get-go, the breaking of the glass, the tasing, it's just extraordinary how quickly it escalated for the police.

GALLAGHER: And that is what the chief of police has said as well. She said that the students were manhandled in her point of view and she was shocked by it. There are now arrest warrants out for the six officers involved.

The district attorney said that he worked through the case and went through even their initial excuses -- those officers -- saying that they thought perhaps the students had a gun on them. They went through the video and determined that a gun was never mentioned at any point during the event and it was only mentioned afterward in that police report.

Now, those six officers who arrest warrants are out for, I do want to read you their names right now -- their warrants for arrest of aggravated assault, simple battery, property damage for Lonnie Hood, Willie Sauls, Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones, and Roland Claud.

Now, Streeter and Gardner were fired on Sunday. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announcing that just the next day after that incident.

There was a lot of video of this incident where Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young are yanked out of that car and tased.

Messiah Young had his arm and wrist fractured. He had 24 stitches. According to the district attorney, he was not taken to the hospital for 2 1/2 hours after that.


Now, the charges against Messiah Young were dropped.

Those particular officers have until the end of the day, June fifth, John and Alisyn, to turn themselves in. They will be held -- they have a $10,000 signature bond.

CAMEROTA: Dianne, thank you very much for that important update.

And coming up on NEW DAY, I will be speaking with those two students who were tased by the Atlanta police and their lawyers. How are they feeling about it today? Why haven't they ever seen that video? We'll ask them in the 7:00 hour.

President Trump visiting another church one day after the controversial photo op where he held the Bible up over this head. How faith leaders are reacting to this, next.



CAMEROTA: President Trump made his second visit to a church in the space of two days. This was yesterday. This came after the controversial photo op where the president held the Bible over his head after using police to violently disburse peaceful protesters.

Joining us now is Father Dave Dwyer, host of "THE BUSTED HALO SHOW" on SiriusXM. Father, great to have you here.

We wanted to --


We wanted to get your take on what we've seen of the president seeming to embrace churches this week after a long period of time of not seeing him engage in any sort of religious services.

And, you know, there have been leaders -- the leaders of the Archdiocese -- or the Diocese, who have come out and said that they were offended, stunned. They felt some of these things were outrageous.

In fact, let me read to you what the Archbishop -- the Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C. said about this second visit. So, the visit where the president and the first lady went to this shrine. The Archbishop felt so strongly about what he saw happening there that he took this step of releasing this strongly-worded statement.

"I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree."

What were your thoughts as you watched what happened this week?

DWYER: Well, I mean -- and you're quoting Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who is the very first African-American archbishop of Washington, D.C. A population -- certainly, a Catholic population that is largely African-American.

And I think, along with -- along with the rest of the U.S. bishops that together put out a statement just a couple of years ago on racism, condemning it as evil, as sinful, as -- and even using language describing the history of racism in our country certainly against African-Americans, against indigenous peoples and Native Americans. They used the phrase "a lust to dominate."

And when I've been hearing and seeing the events of this week, particularly with the president talking about needing to dominate all the protesters, it seems to me just so flying in the face of what people of many faiths, not only Catholicism, have been trying to chip away at somewhat recently. Hopefully, been trying to chip away at it for centuries and obviously not doing a very good job -- but so antithetical to what the spirit of our faith tells us about justice and about loving our neighbor.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that the president has been using this church imagery, from hoisting the Bible to the backdrop of the boarded-up church, to the shrine of Pope John as props?

DWYER: Well, certainly, the Bible couldn't have been anything -- it couldn't have been anything more than a prop. I'm not going to judge his heart but certainly, the opportunity for photos to activate people that I'm sure he and his people would know would relate to that.

And we've seen the reaction as you've talked about. Yes, many religious leaders have decried that. But many people all across the land who are of a Christian or Catholic faith have said good for the president. So, I mean, I think he knows that doing that --

One distinction that I'll make between the two days -- yes, they did happen to be back-to-back. In many ways, they were similar and seemed similar.

In the second instance -- what happened yesterday at the Catholic -- the first day it was an Episcopal church right near the White House. Yesterday it was a Catholic shrine just across the street from the grounds of the Catholic University of America.

And in that second instance, the president was actually invited by those who run the shrine and it was to coordinate with him signing an executive order yesterday afternoon about religious freedom. So it's likely that that was kind of planned before all of this happened. But nonetheless, yes, two days in a row is certainly -- the optics, as everyone today would say -- the optics certainly make it look like disingenuous.

But quite honestly, Alisyn, I appreciated -- if not to be Pollyanna -- but I've appreciated the fact that over the last several days we've got to see across the news, whether they're decrying the president or not, so many faith leaders having the opportunity to talk about the important issues of racism.

One of the -- one of the things that I -- that I've found in the conversation lately that some people seem to be focusing on is focusing on the symptoms of a disease. Like looking at a rash on your skin and saying well, why don't we just cover it up with some makeup or a longer shirt as opposed to addressing the genuine sickness inside of the organism which hopefully, our conversation can more significantly address this time around.

CAMEROTA: Father Dave Dwyer with the silver lining of all of the tumult that we are seeing here for -- as a conversation starter. Thank you very much. Great to get your take on this.


Overnight, the majority of protests were peaceful. An update on the situation around the country for you, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're using the cover of protests to fill their pockets. They found out that somehow that it's all right -- it's part of a protest to loot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allowing people to break curfew -- police again taking a backseat, allowing these demonstrators to march.


PROTESTERS: George Floyd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even though they are not in compliance with the curfew, you can see they're sitting, they have their hands up.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: I look forward to the day when we get rid of a curfew, when we don't have National Guard, when our police officers don't have their helmets on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has taken on a decidedly different tone that what we have seen throughout the course of the entire day.