Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

House Dems To Unveil Legislation On Combating Police Brutality; NFL Players Challenge League In Black Lives Matter Video; Rep. Ocasio- Cortez Debates Primary Challengers. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST (D-MI): -- these things need to happen to change the literal interaction. But even going beyond that, you know, the fact that we have seen, you know, black communities, communities of color, impoverished communities not being able to agree whether it is under the knee of the neck of law enforcement or under the threat of the coronavirus.

I mean, we need to make comprehensive policy solutions that will respond to both of these challenges that are suffocating opportunity in our communities and suffocating our futures. And we can do both.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And I want to ask you both starting with Governor Barnes, I will show you this new polling. The question is, the question is, is this a tipping point? And again, we've asked this question after Michael Brown, we asked this question after every single one of these events. Have we finally reached a point where people are going to stick with it if you will, and not move on to the next new cycle?

But here's -- is this -- this is after George Floyd, is this part of a broader problem isolated incidents have a broader problem in the treatment of African-Americans by police, 74 percent now say part of a broader problem, 26 percent say it was an isolated incident.

Back after the Michael Brown in Ferguson in December 2014, 43 percent prior to problem, 51 percent isolated incident. So you do have a much more critical mass here of public opinion right now, Lieutenant Governor Barnes. The question is, how do you grab it, seize it, get something done before, sadly, it might dissipate?

LT. GOV. MANDELA BARNES (D-WI): Yes. It has to be a tipping point. But we say that after every instance that it has to be a tipping point. But now even given the numbers that you show, people see even in response to brutality, people are being brutalized on the streets.

We see police firing tear gas, firing rubber bullets, hitting people with batons. So I until the whole system is reformed, you're going to continue to see these mass protests and before people didn't have I mean, people had jobs to go back tom people have school to go back to, that's not the case right now. Folks are willing to tough it out for as long as it takes until justice is one. And that's the way that it should be because these aren't new issues. They've been brought up time and time again. They've been brought up for generations, these issues have long existed. And there has to be a want, there has to be a desire for them to change.

And if it's not, it's going to take the public pressure that we're seeing, and people aren't ready to let up because they shouldn't.

KING: The White House says the President may have some listening sessions at some point on these issues. I'm looking into the camera here at two African-American men who happened to be leading Democratic politicians who understand this issue in a way that I can't. And I know the President of the United States can't.

Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist to you, any instinct reflex at all that is the White House actually reaching out to leading members of the community, not just in politics, because you want to get to the street as well, but any effort at all? Do you see a genuine effort to reach out and bring in people who understand this issue, who can maybe help educate the President?

GILCHRIST: I've never seen a genuine effort from the Trump administration to reach out to the black community in a solution oriented way. They've used rhetoric, but it has been failed.

I mean, even this morning, when the President said that George Floyd should look on these unemployment numbers that continue to rise in the black community as a good thing and a good day, you cannot ask a dead black man to look at failed economic policies from this administration as a good thing.

And that's true when it comes to criminal justice reform, as well and certainly policing. This President has shown that he will use military force to brutalize people speaking up for racial injustice, and that's exactly the kind of leadership that we don't need. It's part of his dangerous and destructive agenda.

And now that has left, you know, bodies in this wake in the black community, not just George Floyd but Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery. This is what we had to lose by having Donald Trump in the White House. And I think that people are not going to rest. We're going to participate in decision making at every level so that we can be counted, that we can vote, and we will make sure that we get a change that we need in the White House and in Washington D.C. that'll help reverberate reform across the country.

KING: Lieutenant Governor Barnes, I'm guessing your phone's not ringing either?

BARNES: No. And that's the thing that the President can't just have these conversations with the black people that he's comfortable with. It can't just happen with his African-Americans. He has to have these conversations with people who've been dedicated to this work, the people who don't always agree with him, and the people who aren't going to just be there for the photo opportunity because that is what Donald Trump thrives on.

The people who are going to be his, yes, man. This isn't a yes man or yes woman moment. This is a movement. And it has to be respected as such. Until then, the president again is feeding the American people lies.

KING: Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes of Wisconsin, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist of Michigan, gentlemen, thank you both for your insights. Again, really appreciate your time. Thank you.

GILCHRIST: Thank you, John.

BARNES: Thank you.

[12:34:40]

KING: Coming up, we shift a little bit to sports. We're getting details of the restart for the NBA season.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Basketball could be back soon, perhaps by the end of the month. But it might look a little bit different. CNN's Cory Wire joins us now. Coy, walk us through the NBA finally has a plan to reopen. What should we look for?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi, John. One NBA player telling me that they are trusting that the league will keep them safe, the League's Board of Governors approving a plan yesterday that would restart the COVID suspended season July 31st, just 22, John, of the league's 30 teams competing in eight regular season games to determine who would make the playoffs with a new champion crown no later than October 12.

Now the Player's Union still needs to approve this plan. The league says it's working on the deal to play at the Disney Sports Complex in Florida without fans. Commissioner Adam Silver telling TNT last night that certain coaches may not be on the bench come game time due to their age of the 22 teams that will be invited to Orlando, three, John, have coaches 65 or older.

[12:40:03]

Silver also said the games would go on even if a player test positive for COVID-19. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: Our view is that if we were testing every day, and we're able to trace in essence, that the contacts that player has had, we're able to, in essence, contain that player, you know, and separate him from his team and we're continuing to test every day. The belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: All right, now, and the NFL more than a dozen superstars joining forces to send a powerful message to the league about racial inequality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what we, the players --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would like to hear you state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: We, the National Football League.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Condemn racism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the systematic oppression of black people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: We, know the National Football League.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Admit wrong and silence in our players from peacefully protesting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: We, the National Football League.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe Black Lives Matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black Lives Matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: Black Lives Matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: The players say, the NFL must condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people, ending the video by insisting they will not be silenced.

John, earlier in the day, the league put out that it has donated 44 million to hundreds of organizations combating racism and that is committing an additional $20 million. This year the statement ending with quote, we stand with the black community because Black Lives Matter, unquote.

Now, finally here in Atlanta, Falcons team captain, Matt Ryan says he is tired of just saying that racial injustice and police brutality are wrong. He wants to act. An hour ago he launched a GoFundMe kicking it off by committing $500,000 himself. He'll talk with local leaders, activists, businesses, to do his homework to direct those funds to organizations that will help improve the community for people of color, he says.

And John as a former teammate of Matt, it is no surprise that we need leaders to step up and bring people together. Matt is there helping lead the way.

KING: It's fascinating conversation this beginning. We will see where it takes us. Coy Wire, appreciate the updates there on both fronts, the NBA and the NFL. And joining us now is Dr. Myron Rolle. He's a neurosurgeon resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. He's also a former NFL player. Doctor, it's good to see you again. You just heard hopefully you were able to hear it, voices of some of your former colleagues there, NFL players, saying Black Lives Matters promising to be voices at this moment.

What do you see as the role of players and former players as to try to hopefully seize the momentum you see in the protests on the streets and get action from it?

DR. MYRON ROLLE, NEUROSURGERY RESIDENT, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Well, thank you for having me, Mr. King. I think that that video was powerful and very poignant.

When you had these young players who are the stars of your league, a league that's unequivocally connected to the black culture stand up and allow their voices to be heard, it reminds me of Muhammad Ali or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Arthur Ashe, Jim Brown, some of these amazing stars when back in the day, who knew they had a platform because they were amazing athletes, they dominated their sport.

They had the eyes and attention of the country on them. And they redirected that light to shine it on issues that were pertinent to them, to people who didn't have voices like they had. And so I'm seeing these players now, walking in that same vein, it's not a difference honestly, that could separate someone like Odell Beckham or Saquon Barkley scoring touchdowns on Sunday from somebody like Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, obviously, George Floyd.

There's not a huge separation between these two individuals, maybe one decision here, one decision there. And so the fact that these players are stepping up means a lot. I'm very proud of them. And I hope the NFL listens because now is the time to make change. And when you have athletes that are representative of this fight, this push, this momentum, it matters.

KING: A lot of players have said, if you didn't understand Colin Kaepernick, now you should. Colin Kaepernick was taking a knee whether you agree or disagree with it, he was taking a knee to draw attention to these very issues, police violence against black men.

Drew Brees had to apologize. He gave a -- first, he gave a statement in which he said, you know, he can't -- he doesn't respect that because he's -- because of people and his family who served in the military. Drew Brees now apologizing, let's listen to a little.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW BREES, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QUARTERBACK: I know there's not much that I can say that would make things any better right now. But I just want you to see my eyes how sorry, I am. I'm sorry. And I will do better. And I will be part of the solution. And I am your ally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Should he be part of the solution? Is he welcome to be part of the solution?

ROLLE: Well, he should. And we hope that he's, you know, reformed and rectified, you know, I guess his way of thinking when it comes to this movement.

You know, he has an amazing opportunity to be an ally, as you mentioned, in this fight, to be on the right side of history. He's got cultural capital and not only within his city, New Orleans but with around the league, people who look up to them are black people a lot of times because he represents their favorite sports team. He represents what's good about the NFL.

[12:45:09]

But when you come out and you pivot and you say, a very tone deaf and insensitive comment like he did, you really missed the mark and you miss a chance to really drive forward and be a huge part of the change. But if he's reformed, if he has thought about his transgressions, and he's educated himself, and he's aligned with us, then certainly from his action, he's a step forward, and we can have him as ally. I think that's helpful.

KING: I want to ask you quickly Doctor. Our last conversation was about your work helping at the hospital about COVID-19, the coronavirus, as sports leagues get back to work, we're seeing something that is up close and personal to you. We can show you Mike Tomlin he's the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, getting back to work at the training facility wearing a mask.

And I know that you have some work that you're doing right now to try to get masks out into the community. Explain.

ROLLE: Yes. My foundation, the Myron L. Rolle Foundation, we've donated about 500 masks to a different location in Tallahassee, Florida, New Jersey, and in Boston, because again, we feel that, you know, we have to be a part of the solution.

And COVID-19, although it's sort of slowing down a little bit, we still need to be aware and vigilant that risk factors are here. I'm in the hospital every day and I see it's still playing out. We have to be continuous even though the people in the front line, the intellectual giants are doing a great job trying to make sure we're prepared if another wave hits.

We still need to be doing our part with the behavior, lifestyle, modifications that we've been doing that has been helping us get to this point. So just trying to be a servant of the community and do the best I can from the philanthropic altruistic side.

KING: Dr. Myron Rolle, appreciate your time today. More importantly, appreciate the work you're doing every day, Sir. Thank you.

ROLLE: Thank you.

KING: When we come back, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a primary debate and the Pelosi question comes up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:51:36]

KING: The freshmen Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces off against her primary challengers. The debate airs tonight at 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern that's on Spectrum News NY1. Afterward you can watch it on NY1.com.

CNN political commentator, Errol Louis moderated that debate and joins us now with a preview. And Errol, remember, she want her job, you know this very well by beating a Nancy Pelosi deputy in a primary two years ago and so you probably to her what I will call the Pelosi question. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, if reelected, would you vote to have Nancy Pelosi continue as speaker of the House?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Well, you know, that's always subject to continuing dynamics. But, you know, support --

LOUIS: Yes, no, maybe.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I support her. Yes, maybe, yes. If she wants it, she's also already indicated that she may or may not run again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Yes, maybe, yes, Errol?

LOUIS: Yes, interesting. Although she is a freshman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is learning the art of saying a few things at the same time. So that was our lightning round, where you're supposed to give a brief response. In that case, we were looking for a yes or no, or even a maybe, and we kind of got it yes and a maybe and a little escape hatch there suggesting that maybe the whole issue would go away.

It's an important question for a lot of members of the conference, the Democratic Conference. Those who are left leaning like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez up, they've had a sort of not quite troubled, but a kind of a textured relationship to the Democratic leadership. And in this case, you certainly don't want to cross Nancy Pelosi. You don't want to ride her off. She might be back looking for another term of speaker but she might not. So that's kind of where things stand.

KING: Like texture. I always say complicated, but I might still texture. I like that word. But another issue that came up obviously, for good reason is the issue does your racial tensions in America, police conduct in America. Let's listen to a little bit more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OCASIO-CORTEZ: The reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that that costs us books in the hands of our children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would support the chokehold ban for sure. It's put forth by Representative Hakeem Jeffries, that's someone that AOC threatened to mount a primary or support somebody upon, against.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are they protecting us is the question. They need to be more trained and instead of sending more military equipment which I do not agree with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Just a snippet there, but in this prime run (ph) and races all across the country, this is an interesting laboratory. This issue will be front and center.

LOUIS: Absolutely. And like you said, 7:00 p.m. we're going to have it on our Facebook page. We're going to have it on our Twitter page. And of course NY1.com streaming live, no pay wall. I urge everybody to take a look.

These are huge issues whether or not to take money from police and put it into social services. There's also an issue about whether or not to continue the federal program that makes military equipment available to local police departments, big issue in New York, big issue everywhere.

KING: Errol Louis, really appreciate your allowing us to do a little sneak preview there. And I hope people will watch the debate tonight. Watch more around the country. It is a fascinating election year more complicated by very important pressing events. Errol, thank you.

[12:54:43]

When we come back, the TSA says travel is up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This just into CNN. The TSA announcing today that the number of people flying reached a 10-week high on Thursday, nearly 392,000 people pass through TSA checkpoints. Now that is up from the past 10 weeks, but it's only 15 percent of the people TSA screened on the same day last year. President Trump touting the increase in air travel today as a sign the economy is improving.

Thanks for joining us today. Have a great weekend. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington. And right now the nation is watching Minneapolis where its city council is considering a temporary restraining order to address the use of police force by implementing more consequences for offenses after the police killing of George Floyd.

[13:00:08]

A day of remembrance for the --