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Obama Urges Changes after Floyd's Death; Unemployment Numbers Released; Brees Apologizes for Comments. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 4, 2020 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:30:00]

REGGIE LOVE, FORMER SPECIAL ASST. AND PERSONAL AIDE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, in 2016 the Obamas were super active, campaigning and making their voice heard around the importance of the election. You know, to say that I somehow have a crystal ball as to where we'll be next week or three weeks from now, you know, in my mind, I feel like I've said to myself over the last three years that, you know what, things can't get worse than what they currently are and somehow I end up being proven wrong every couple of weeks.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, I mean, I'm just saying, you know his style. You know his style. You know his willingness to wade into something. And, look, I hear his supporters saying that they could use his voice more often during this. I'm sure -- well, I'm not sure that former Vice President Joe Biden would agree, but probably couldn't hurt. And so do you think that they'll step in at this moment?

LOVE: Look, Barack Obama, the former president, also a former constitutional law professor who has an immense amount of respect for the document that our country is built on, I think that he has always been very cognizant about the peaceful transfer of power. That is one of the key elements that allows us to move from administration to administration and so you don't end up in a place like -- places like Venezuela where, you know, there's so -- there's so much uncertainty and so much unrest.

But I do believe that he -- I do believe the biggest point for that call was that, you know, people I think feel hopeless. I think people believe that we woke up ten days ago or over the weekend and a lot of people feel like we don't know how we got here. And I do believe that the two points that you've got to understand is that we didn't end up where we are overnight. We didn't just wake up and suddenly here we are. And a lot of these things didn't just start with Donald Trump. You know, a lot of people forget that police officers and these police chiefs and sheriffs, Donald Trump doesn't appoint them or doesn't put -- doesn't appoint them or doesn't elect them. You know, those are things that not only can we change, not only can we change in 2016, we can change in probably in 20 -- would could have changed in 2018, we could have changed in 2020. Those are things that we can do now to hold our leaders accountable to the voters.

CAMEROTA: Yes. LOVE: And so there is action to be taken. But -- but all that --

CAMEROTA: And, I mean, you certainly hear the call for it and we certainly see these protests that have lasted, you know, we're going into the tenth day. And so it does feel as though, you know, tens of thousands -- hundreds of thousands of people feel that this is the moment to step in.

LOVE: Yes.

CAMEROTA: But, Reggie Love, sorry to interrupt you, we have breaking news. I really appreciate you coming in with your perspective. Thanks so much. Great to talk to you.

LOVE: Thank you. Have a great day.

CAMEROTA: You too.

America's unemployment crisis is getting worse. We have the breaking jobs numbers, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:37:50]

CAMEROTA: Breaking news, the Labor Department just releasing new unemployment numbers and the pandemic continues to take a toll on American workers and the economy.

So CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the numbers.

What do they look like?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Well, it looks like another almost 1.9 million people filed for the first time for unemployment benefits in the most recent week. That means over the past 11 weeks, 42.6 million first time jobless claims. Just an astonishing number. That's more than 26 percent of the labor market has filed for unemployment benefits. That is three times all the jobs lost in the great recession happening just in this short period of time here.

But is the worst behind us? Look at those bar charts there. They have been getting a little bit more shallow every time, these job losses. And this is the first time we've seen fewer than 2 million in a week since mid-March when this crisis began here.

You have Vegas casinos start reopening today. You've got states that have been reopening and other industries slowly beginning to thaw here. So hopefully the worst is behind us and you'll start to see these numbers begin to reverse.

One thing I'm looking at here, continuing claims, the total number of people getting jobless benefits, that rose a little bit. So that does not suggest there's been a lot of hiring back yet, at least not this week.

We get a May jobs report tomorrow. This is a big, official jobs report for the month of May. That's expected to show 8 million job loss and an unemployment rate, Alisyn, of 20 percent.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Christine.

All right, thank you very much for all of that breaking news.

Well, Saints quarterback Drew Brees sparking backlash for his remarks about the nationwide protests. The Saints quarterback has just issued a new response. We will have that for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:43:42]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, breaking moments ago, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees issued an extensive apology for comments that sparked outrage in which he said that kneeling during the national anthem disrespected the flag. This is what Brees just posted on Instagram. I'm going to read it in full.

He said, I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the city of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. 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 on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.

Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I'm an enemy. This could not be further from the truth and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.

This is where I stand. I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exist today. I acknowledge that we, as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for this equality, or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community.

[08:45:05]

I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it's like to be a black man or raise black children in America, but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have always been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking, and more listening. And when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I'm very sorry and I ask for your forgiveness.

I wanted to read it in full because it's extensive and really, in some ways, goes there.

Joining me to discuss, a teammate of Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis. Also with us, Nate Boyer, a former long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks and a former United States Army Green Beret.

Demario, I want to start with you. Your reaction to the apology from Drew Brees?

DEMARIO DAVIS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS LINEBACKER: Yes, well, let's start, you know, (INAUDIBLE) uphold it yesterday. Let's instead start with Malcolm's response.

I think in Malcom's response you see the emotion and the hurt that's felt throughout the black community around, you know, 400 years of oppression that has led to systematic injustice and racism throughout America. And you see that emotion, you know, being expressed when anyone is kind of missing the mark or not hearing the cry from the black community.

You know, in hearing Drew's apology, and that's the first, you know, I, you know, heard it, you know, I think that is a form of true leadership. And I would -- and I would say it because that's taking ownership. What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community. And he admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, you know, I missed the mark, I've been insensitive, but what I'm going to start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them, I think that's a model for all of America, because historically, in general, most of America has missed the mark in not hearing the cries. These aren't new cries that are coming out, you know, on behalf of the black community. I mean the black community has been crying for a long time. Now it's turned into a global outcry that it's time to stand up for black lives and make sure that they're not being killed in the streets and putting an end to racism and systematic injustice that has plagued this country for so long.

And for him to admit that he was wrong and say, you know what, I can do better, and I will do better, I think that is leadership at its finest. That's not easy to come out and admit when you're wrong. And for a long time I feel like a lot of people have taken that posture of not wanting to admit that they're wrong. And for him to do that, I think that's very symbolic of America, especially all the ethnic groups that aren't people of color or black people in understanding, hey, it's OK, you might have got it wrong, but don't get it wrong now. And that's what we have to be as a country. We can't get it wrong this time. You know, we all -- we all have played a part, also, in helping try to direct the narrative away from the issues. We've all played a part in that, you know, in getting caught up in different topics.

At the end of the day, police brutality in America is a problem. Racism in America is a problem. Systematic injustice is a problem. And the reason why there are millions of people of all different backgrounds, all different colors, all different ethnic groups in the streets -- in the streets right now, protesting, and around the world protesting on behalf of black lives and because it's a global outcry because, you know, racism exists, systematic injustice exists, police brutality exists, especially around black people, and we need to fix it. And that's the most important thing.

BERMAN: You talked about Malcolm Jenkins' response yesterday. But how did it feel to you? What did you feel when you first heard what Drew Brees said and has now apologized for?

DAVIS: As I just spoke on, you know, I think that the biggest thing was wanting to hear more. I wish I would have heard, you know, this, that he has come out and said now. And that -- and, you know, how I felt about it isn't as important.

[08:50:03]

You know, and what he said is how I feel about the issue as a whole. You know, how I feel about racism, that this has gripped our country for so long, you know. It's a shame that this has been a problem in our country for over 400 years. We're better than that. We can eradicate this, but we have to focus our attention here.

BERMAN: Yes.

DAVIS: And that's where my mind went to, is like, you know, though I wanted to hear more. Any person isn't the issue. The disease is the issue. You know, the virus that we just, you know, that we're technically still in this pandemic, brought us all to come aground and having to deal with issue worldwide at one time, where we have a -- we have a virus that plagued our country for 400 years, racism.

BERMAN: Yes.

DAVIS: We all -- we all have to collectively focus on that. It's easy to start talking about, you know, somebody else and, you know, their response and their statement. Did they -- you know, that isn't going to bring -- that isn't going to honor these families.

BERMAN: Yes.

DAVIS: You know, who -- we need to find justice for people who have murdered these people. You know, we need to find justice in these situations and we need to find solutions to prevent this stuff from happening again.

BERMAN: You -- and I commend you. You've always been part of pushing people towards the larger issues, don't focus on the small things, don't be distracted. You were part of an op-ed team that wrote, we cannot wait to change hearts and minds. Too many people will die while we try.

Nate Boyer, we had some technical issues with you. Thanks so much for joining us now. You played in the NFL. You also served in the military. Just from a

factual basis, as someone who has looked at this from these different sides, explain why the comments from Drew Brees, which he has now apologized for completely, it wasn't, I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings. He says, I was wrong. But explain to me why they hurt or why they may have missed the mark.

NATE BOYER, FORMER SEATTLE SEAHAWKS LONG SNAPPER: Well, first of all, I'm proud of Demario Davis, man, he's a -- he's a great dude. I don't know if he's still on with us. I can't see anything on my screen. But love you, kid, if you're still there.

And Demario and Drew and a lot of players on the Saints have done a lot in the city of New Orleans to bring about equality. You know, and they fought for voting rights for formerly incarcerated people there and they've done so much more. And, you know, whether it's post Katrina or now. And it was -- I was very happy to hear those remarks.

And what was most frustrating about it is because I know the type of person that Drew is. I don't know Drew very well, but I know the type of man that he is and what he does stand by. And, you know, we all have the right to our feelings and emotions, right? And, for me, when I hear the national anthem and I see the flag, I feel a lot of the same things Drew was talking about in that video.

However, not everybody feels that way. And that's -- and that -- everybody's not only entitled to that opinion, but everybody's feelings are -- you know, they're brought about from our experiences. And I have a different experience in relationship to the flag, the anthem, because of what I did in the military. And when I sat down with -- when I sat down with Colin Kaepernick three and a half years ago, we talked about this very thing, you know. And he told me explicitly then, and a lot of people have talked about it since then, including Demario, including Malcolm Jenkins, and including a lot of players in the league, that, you know, the reason that he was sitting and then eventually kneeling during the national anthem was not because they were protesting the flag or they were protesting the military or anything like that, you know, the narrative, as Demario had mentioned, the narrative has always been about police brutality, racial inequality, social injustice. And we've got to keep hammering that home so people understand that.

And that was the most damaging thing when I heard what Drew had said because I don't think it was even his intention, but it pulled away from what the actual narrative was and put it on, you know, put it about something that it wasn't. And that -- that's a problem in today's society because, you know, social media has become the mainstream media and stuff gets spun around and shared and, you know, it had millions and millions of views within a matter of minutes. You know, and I'm thinking of all the people that watch that video, that don't understand the context, and don't understand, you know, what Colin was doing almost, you know, four years ago now, which is frustrating, but there are a lot of people that don't understand why that started. And that was what that was all about for me.

And I'm just -- I'm glad that that is sort of cleaned up, but it's going to take a lot longer, obviously, for, you know, men like Demario Davis, a lot of men in the league, out of the league, people of color, to continue to push the narrative as to why, why, you know, Colin chose to take a knee during the national anthem and, you know, why I chose to stand by him, you know, because, as people in the military, what we fought to defend at the end of the day, we took the oath to defend the Constitution and the First Amendment, which includes freedom of speech.

[08:55:09]

BERMAN: Demario, do you now feel, look, you know, Drew Brees went a long way from what he said yesterday to what he just said in that full apology. And I'm glad we read the whole thing.

What do you want to hear or what are you looking for, Demario, from white America at this moment?

DAVIS: Well, you know, I would -- I would suggest, instead of, you know, talking about something that happened two years ago, in the form of a protest or, you know, talking about, you know, a player's response or statement or apology, to just look outside. Why are there millions of people of all ethnic groups, all backgrounds, all colors, just standing in the street right now? Why are people in other countries marching on behalf of America? And, more importantly, marching on behalf of black America? Why is it a global outcry right now? That's what I would want us to talk about. And that is because there is racism that has existed for far too long in our country. There is police brutality that has gone unchecked for far too long that have cost many black lives. And we need to eradicate that problem, you know, now.

And we have the opportunity now. We have the collective voices. We have people united and speaking out about a cause that has -- that has -- an issue that has existed for far too long. And we can do that by continuing to stay focused on the issue at hand. We missed the -- we all missed the mark before we had this opportunity. And had we not missed the mark then, we wouldn't have a Breonna Taylor situation, we wouldn't have an Ahmaud Arbery situation, we definitely wouldn't have a George Floyd situation. And I think the best way that we all can honor those families is staying focused on the issue at hand, and that's eradicating racism in our country, eradicating police brutality, eradicate the oppression of black people in our country. And that's how we properly respond to the global outcry. And that's going to take all of us.

BERMAN: So, Nate, how do you do that? How do you respond?

BOYER: I mean, honestly, as a person that looks like me, and listening to someone that looks like Demario and the things that he has to say and so many others, and I know this is a very common thing to say these days, but I mean it, we need to keep listening. We need to keep listening, stand by our brothers and sisters. And not just -- not just listen to hear the voices, listen to try and understand, try and empathize as much as possible because I -- as much as I try, I'll never know what it's like to be a person of color in America. But I can -- I can do what I can to not only -- not only hear them, and to -- but to ask them to, to ask them, how can I help? What can I do? What more can I do, you know, besides just sharing something, supporting something, going out in the street and walking with them? What else can I do? Is there more?

And as long as everybody is on board with that, or at least the majority is on board with that, I believe, because I have hope in our country, I believe things will get better, you know? But it's not -- it's not going to be easy, obviously, you know? It's going to be a very tough thing. We've just got to stick together and, you know, we got to -- we got to eventually, you know, be this country that that flag and anthem are supposed to represents.

BERMAN: You know, Drew Brees, in his apology, says, I recognize I should do less talking and more listening.

Demario, I want to give you a quick last word. We have about 30 seconds left.

Talk to us about your project to get masks for everyone in the community in New Orleans.

DAVIS: Yes, when everyone has -- is asking, you know, what can be done on top of the listening and hearing, hopefully it moves to action. You know, at the end of the day, it's about action, you know? And we all can do a little part.

We can't bring justice to these families. The whole point of the masks, I can't -- it can't -- justice would be bringing those people back and we cannot do that. The best thing we can do in action is try to honor those families.

You know, my mask being sold or, you know, as people are out protesting in the street in the middle of the pandemic, they can be safe. But also all those funds and the purchase of the mask will go to those families of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. And in a way, just hoping to ease the burden.

But at the same time, I want my action to be around, you know, bringing conviction to those who are responsible for the murder. I think people should be understanding how we have as people those charges have been upgraded and there's still more that needs to be done. But also working together to change the way that policing is done in our country. I think we can find a better way to empower the good cops to help them better able to weed out the bad cops.

[08:59:59]

I believe that we can move step by step to remove all systematic injustices that exist in our country, to strike racism at the --