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Protesters March Through New York City; Drew Brees Apologizes for "Insensitive" Remarks on Anthem Protests; Fauci Says It's Time to Think About Reopening Schools; White House Releases Results of Trump's Annual Physical; Virginia Governor to Have Robert E. Lee Statue Removed. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 4, 2020 - 11:30   ET








JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Looking at live pictures here. This is New York City. This is Harlem. This is demonstration. People marching in the street to remember George Floyd. You see "Black Lives Matter." You see other signs calling for justice.

CNN's Alexandra Field is there with the protesters.

Alexandra, explain the scene.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, everyone on the streets of Harlem right now knows they are part of writing the country's history but everyone here tells me what they really want is to be a part of a building change for the future. That means supporting policy, supporting real change.

I'm out here with Samantha Guess (ph). She brought her two young sons. She is from Harlem.

What are your boys here for this for this turnout?

SAMANTHA GUESS (ph), HARLEM RESIDENT: It's important to me for my sons to be a part of this moment of change because it really affects their entire lives. And I want them to see how many people in the world are supporting the work to change their lives. And they can't possibly feel the power of this moment on the couch.

FIELD: It is certainly a moment that they will never forget.

Samantha, you are absolutely doing your job bringing your boys out here.

GUESS (ph): Thank you.

FIELD: I hope it's heartening to see all the people in this community that have turned out today to be a part of this. They want to be seen. John, they want to be heard. This is a community really coming together to show support.


KING: Alexandra, if she has one second, if she doesn't mind, if you could have your photojournalist show the sons' sign? I saw a quick glimpse of it as they were walking. If you can hear me.


KING: OK. I got ahead of you there.

FIELD: You're asking to see some of the signs?

KING: Yes, thank you.

FIELD: No problem. We've got the "Vote, 2020" "Black Lives Matter" signs. We've heard chants like, "We are to be respected, not to be feared," "Black Lives Matter," "Hands up, don't shoot," so many of the rallying cries we've been hearing in demonstrations across the country -- John?

KING: Alexandra Field, thanks so much. I especially love the young man's sign walking around, "My life matters." Young boy there.

We'll keep an eye on this protest.

Still ahead for us, Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, issues an apology. That, after facing backlash for his comments about the NFL anthem protests.


KING: A dramatic apology today from New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees. In an Instagram post, Brees writes, "In an attempt to talk about respect, unity and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark and on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion and empathy."

The apology is for this.


DREW BREES, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QUARTERBACK: I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.

I envision my two grandfathers who fought for this country in World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps, both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.



CNN sports anchor, Coy Wire, is here to walk us through this.

Coy, that was a dramatic about-face.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Absolutely, John. Drew Brees' teammates, Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected players in the league, has been one of the most outspoken players advocating for racial justice, putting an end to police brutality.

Jenkins, John, never kneeled during the anthem himself, deciding instead to hold up a fist. But he felt Drew Brees' words could hurt those who peacefully protest for change.

And when he was discredited the method of the protests as opposed to stressing its message, Jenkins and others responded to Brees' comments. Listen.


MALCOLM JENKINS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS SAFETY: When the world tells you that you're not worthy, that your life doesn't matter, the last person you want to hear from are the guys that you go to war with and that you consider to be allies and to be your friends.

JASON MCCOURTY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS CORNERBACK: We have a great amount of respect for those that have fallen in the military and have defended our freedom. I think that sometimes gets mixed up and it's a way of avoiding the issues and what people are really talking about.


WIRE: Now, John, Brees' current fellow team captain, Demario Davis, a prominent member of the Players Coalition, had this to say after hearing Brees' apology for the first time here on CNN's "NEW DAY" this morning.


DEMARIO DAVIS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS LINEBACKER: Well, we had hoped the first time that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community. And he admitted he missed the mark.


WIRE: John, Davis went on to say that he believes Drew Brees' apology was a sign of leadership, a model for all of America, admitting that he missed the mark. Because historically, in general, he said, John, that most of America has missed the mark.

KING: Coy, I appreciate that.

Another thing Drew Brees said in that apology, he thinks it would be better for him to do less talking and do more listening. I think that's good advice for many of us at this moment.

Coy, I appreciate the insights there.

Coming up, Dr. Anthony Fauci weighs in on whether it is time to reopen America's schools.

But first, some hospitals are struggling now with coronavirus. They look for help from medical and nursing students close to graduation. This week's "Impact Your World" highlights 23-year-old Tiffany Harris and dozens of classmates who answered the call in Detroit.


TIFFANY HARRIS, NURSE INTERN, ANDERSON PROVIDENCE HOSPITAL: I knew, as a nurse, that's what they had prepared us for throughout my college career and that it was time for me to step up.

It was a reality check of how quick life changes, how quick it comes and it goes.

Sometimes I'm numb and I'm just like, wow. You know, the things that I've seen, the things that I've heard. Other days, I walk out feeling better because we may have saved more patients that day. We were able to discharge some people.

I'm scared every day when I go to work. But I work through it because I know that I have PPE to protect me. I know I have team members to support me.

And I live with my parents right now who are up in age. So not only do I have to protect myself at work, but I have to think about everything I'm doing to make sure I don't bring it back to my family.

Knowing that my patients are alone, their families can't come visit them, they don't have that support, I'm proud that I get to go in and brighten their day and make the difference for them.

This shows me that I made the right choice, because when people are sick, when people have no one else, nurses step up and they get it done. They help their patients. And that's what I've been about since I decided on this career.


KING: If you want to help frontline workers or contribute to fighting coronavirus, go to


Stay with us. We'll be right back.


KING: The coronavirus state by state trend line at the moment taking a turn in the wrong direction.

Let's take a look at the map, if you'll put it up for me. You see 19 states heading up. Seven of them, 50 percent rate of cases this week compared to last week. Nineteen states headed up. Thirteen states holding steady. Eighteen states have a case count going down. Those are the states in green. But all that red and orange are troubling signs as America reopens. Not a bad one-day case count but that's the things to watch.

Among the questions, as I bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is whether it is safe to reopen schools at the end of summer into the fall.

Sanjay, I want to read to you a quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who had some caution here. "Children can get infected so, yes, you've got to be careful. You've got to be careful for them and you have to be careful that they may not spread it. Now to make an extrapolation that you should not open schools, I think, is a little bit of a reach."

What Dr. Fauci, if I am reading it there, if you prepare to do the right things, you can open schools?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think so. In some ways, sort of reflects what he's been saying all along. I think, first of all, drawing a bit of a distinctions between colleges and primary schools. Colleges, people are living there and we know other infectious diseases and meningitis and things like that have spread on college campuses.

Younger people are at lower risk of becoming critically ill, although they can, as we've heard. We are still not entirely sure of how much they can spread it if they are harboring the virus in their bodies.


So I think the idea that schools can open but it will look a lot different, that reflects -- that's what he's been saying all along.

I will give you an example of how it may look different here for schools. Staggering start times, for example, so they're not all going to the school at the same time anymore. Obviously, increasing the space and the physical distance. Trying to avoid common areas, like a cafeteria, for example. So kids might be eating in the classrooms.

Classes like gyms or choir or things like that may not happen anymore because it's very hard to maintain physical distance.

But, yes, John, in all of our reporting and all the people we are talking to, first, drawing an extinction between colleges, which are making decisions on their own, and primary schools.

And second of all, the idea that people pretty much want primary schools to open but here is how it may look different. Those plans are underway now.

KING: We'll watch how that plays out.

Let's switch gears, Sanjay. The White House physician, Sean Conley, put out this brief memo, put out yesterday, listing some details about the president's health. But they left a lot of what we traditionally see out. Your read of this?

GUPTA: It was very basic. This was part two, so to speak. The president had the first half of his physical before and we kept on hearing there's going to be a second half of his physical now.

A couple of things that were significant. One is he has an issue with a common form of heart disease and he has high cholesterol. And we know the cholesterol medication has increased. His cholesterol, as a result of that increase, has come back down to a normal level. They mentioned that, John, recently about the fact --

KING: Yes.

GUPTA: Crestor, there, that you can see 40 milligrams a day and other data about the president, his cholesterol, his height, his weight.

And the other thing they made mention, John, is something that has been in the news a lot lately, which is the president took two weeks of this medication, Hydroxychloroquine.

He took it as a prophylactic, they say, to try to prevent him from developing or contracting the COVID infection because of the history of heart disease and concerns about heart arrhythmia. I understand he had EKGs to monitor his heart during that time.

But he's off that medication. Said he had no side effects. So that was something also noted -- John?

KING: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, out chief medical correspondent, thank you for your help.

GUPTA: You bet. Thank you.

KING: Just ahead for us, a famous Confederate monument is coming down.



KING: : Virginia's governor is promising to remove a major Confederate landmark in a place of prominence at the state capital. The Robert E. Lee statue has long been a flashpoint in the one-time capital of the Confederacy. Protests of recent days, because of the George Floyd's killing, helped convinced the governor to act now.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins me now. He's following this.

A very important story, Jeff. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, it is an

important story. And one example of the ripple effects we're seeing across the country. Small measures perhaps but a significant measure -- a significant announcement in Virginia.

The Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said he would order the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from Richmond, from the capital, Virginia. Of course, a different statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the center of the deadly killing in 2017 of Heather Heyer, which prompted a massive backlash at the time.

So the governor this morning saying he will do what he can to remove that statue. Let's take a listen.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM, (D-VA): And in 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people. Not in 2020.

Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then and it is wrong now. So we are taking it down.

It is time to heal, ladies and gentlemen. Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy.


ZELENY: The mayor of Richmond, Virginia, saying Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy.

John, this is one step. But it's also signifying how state law is impact matters. On July 1st, a law in Virginia goes into effect that has a local ordinance on being able to make a decision about statues.

That was that issue in 2017 in Charlottesville. They were saying it was a state law, the city could not remove it. This is something we'll see across the Commonwealth of Virginia, after July, cities being able to make the decision.

John, a small perhaps ripple effect but a significant one.

And we heard the former President Obama saying yesterday, the images don't look the same as 1968. The major of Richmond, Virginia, perhaps a key example of that. Levar Stoney leading the way here in this case.

Perhaps small steps but certainly steps important in detail.

KING: Very important, very important steps. And proof, if you demonstrate and protest peacefully, you can get --

ZELENY: Indeed.

KING: -- positive results.

Jeff Zeleny, appreciate that very much. Thank you. ZELENY: Sure.

KING: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Approaching the top of the hour. I am John King, in Washington. Thank you for joining us today.


Minneapolis remembering George Floyd today. You see live pictures there. That's the site of Floyd's death. This, as we see evidence across America of how his death is triggering a racial reckoning.

The memorial service in Minneapolis comes 10 days after Floyd's pleas --