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General John Kelly Says I Agree with Mattis on Trump; Black Lives Matter Message Is Painted on Road to The White House; Protests Around the Country Keep Pressure Up for Systemic Change; Universal Orlando Reopens. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 15:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is now joining the list of people criticizing President Trump for his responds to the unrest facing this country. In a new interview with Anthony Scaramucci today, General Kelly said that he agreed with General James Mattis' assertion that the President has divided the nation and made a mockery of the Constitution.


GEN. JOHN KELLY (RET.), FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He's quite a man, General Jim Mattis and for him to do that tells you where he is relative to the concern he has for our country.


KELLY: I agree with him. I think we need to step back from the politics. I think we need to look harder at who we elect. I think we should start all of us regardless of what our views are on politics. I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter. What is their character like, what is their -- what are their ethics?


BALDWIN: With me now CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip. So Kaitlan, first to you, any response from the White House on John Kelly's comments today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not publicly at least. There are a few officials talking about it behind the scenes. But I mean it's just so stunning, Brooke, to see and I'm not sure this is ever happened where you've seen the former Chief of Staff and former Defense Secretary come out while the President is still in office and offer such a scathing assessment of his leadership.

And if you cover the White House, if you talk to White House sources these are things that General Mattis and John Kelly have been saying behind the scenes for some time now ever since they left the White House. Obviously, neither of them left on good terms.

Mattis resigned in protest over the President's decision. Kelly was pushed out of the job for someone else to take over chief of staff because he and the President were on such bad terms when he was leaving that they were barely speaking to one another.

But to see them come out publicly and say this and for Kelly to say he agrees with Mattis, questioning the President's leadership and saying there's a lack of leadership in the United States for the last three years. It's just really remarkable to see the President's former top officials turning into his own main critics while he's still in office.

BALDWIN: That's extraordinary. Also, that this quite literally the big picture of D.C. is extraordinary this week. Abby. I mean on the one hand you have the President sharing this letter on Twitter that refers to, you know, these protesters as terrorists and the White House adding that huge fencing around the perimeter. And now the road just outside of the White House has this giant painting "Black Lives Matter" and renamed the area "Black Lives Matter" plaza. And moments ago, the President attacked the D.C. mayor calling her incompetent. What a contrast.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean this is a long- running feud between the President and the city that he currently is living in. And it's only going to get worse from here. You know, the President has insisted that his show of force earlier this week is responsible for the protests being largely peaceful for the last couple of nights. No arrests in D.C. last night and the night before.

But Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of D.C., is basically saying we want federal law enforcement out of this city. We don't need you here. And she's making a pretty bold statement by putting down Black Lives Matter outside of the White House.

Again, I've said this repeatedly for a week and a half now and I'll keep saying it until it changes, this White House continues to not want to address the fundamental underlying issues of how black people in this country believe that the system is not working for them. He does not want to address systemic racism really at all. And until he does, I think you're going to continue to see this divide existing not just in Washington, but all across the country.

This is a White House that wants to appeal to black voters or they say they do but they still remain hesitant to actually address what is boiling up from the grassroots of this country all the way to Washington D.C.

BALDWIN: Abby, so well put. Thank you very much for that. And Kaitlan, I appreciate you as well. Just how stunning this has been. Coming up, the demand for justice is showing no signs of slowing down. The clear message here, it is time for systematic change. But how do you bring about that change. Who are the ones with the power to do it? That's next.



BALDWIN: More protests across the country are expected tonight and in through the weekend. Still folks demanding justice pushing for much- needed police reform in the wake of George Floyd's death, and over the last couple of nights the scenes really have been for the most part peaceful and the fight, the message is loud and clear.

Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and editor at large at The Establishment and an author of the book "So You Want to Talk About Race?"

And Ijeoma Oluo, it's an honor truly to have you on. And I know you have been doing this work on race and injustice for years. You wrote your book for people to educate themselves all of the time, not just in these moments. Yet every time there is a senseless killing of a black or brown person in this country, I've heard you say that your book sells out. How does that make you feel?

IJEOMA OLUO, AUTHOR OF "SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE?": It's kind of traumatizing in a way. You know honestly, because in between these major news headlines countless people of color are lost to not just police brutality but systemic racism in general throughout this country. And I would really love the collective love that I know that people have for us to sustain our activism and anti-racism throughout the year instead just of waiting for this sort of brutality.

BALDWIN: Despite the struggle, despite the years, centuries of trauma, something that really struck me that I heard you say recently is that black people in this country should be proud. Tell me why that's so important to say and to hear right now?

OLUO: I think it is so important to recognize that for over 400 years we have lived in a system that has wanted to kill us. That has wanted to extract our labor and leave us broken. And we are still here. And we are still creating. We are still loving each other and holding each other up. We are building communities and that is something that we have to be incredibly proud of.

It shouldn't be this hard. I don't believe in glorifying resilience. But I do believe that everything that we accomplish. We've accomplished in the face of violent white supremacy and we should be proud as a people that we are here. I'm so grateful for every black person that is here.

BALDWIN: As for white folks, you said a few things, you know, to white folks who truly are allies, watch out for your seemingly progressive friends that want you, Ijeoma just to explain what you mean by that, and also why you say, you know, white folks shouldn't go down the rabbit hole and try to educate their racist uncle and I want to understand why not?

OLUO: Yes, and I want people to understand that this is a common distraction technique. Right, to focus on the most committed racist and say we must win over these people who are -- have already really made their full decision as to where they feel about black lives in this country and lives of people of color. Instead, we should be looking at the majority of people who say that racism is wrong, who believe that there's a problem that needs to be fixed and say how can we work together to fix it?

But people will show up in times like this and try to get you to debate about the value of our lives. If you know our lives have value, move past that debate and start talking strategy and start getting together with fellow white people who also believe in black lives and believe that people of color deserve to live free from brutality and free from systemic racism and start making change in your community.


Focus on what you can do to help us in our fight. Instead of trying to win over that one stubborn committed racist in your life.

BALDWIN: I've been so mindful of just the next generation as I've been covering all of this, right. So, I know you have two sons, 12 and 18.

OLUO: Yes.

BALDWIN: And the first time I would guess that either of them, this is the first time they've seen sort of such extraordinary widespread activism, not just in America, we've seen the pictures in Europe, the photo of the graffiti "I can't breathe" in Idlib, Syria, you know. But when you look at what is happening through the eyes of your sons -- this is really my final question -- you know, do you -- this has been life work. Do you see it differently this time, Ijeoma, and do your boys have hope?

OLUO: Yes. Definitely my boys have hope. And it's been interesting watching them see these protests and trying to calculate the anger that they're seeing out there such wide scale and it was sad to me realizing they don't quite have that level of trauma yet, especially my 12-year-old but one day they might.

But also seeing the progress being made, seeing people of all races and ethnicity standing together, they are hopeful and they're sharing stories, they're looking things up, they're asking a lot of questions, they're talking with their friends. Young people are leading this movement right now. And that is so encouraging because they have so much more imagination and fire than we do, and they haven't been blunted by decades of dealing with this to think that nothing can be done. They still believe in the possibility of a better future and they're willing to fight for it.

BALDWIN: Ijeoma Oluo, thank you. Thank you so much.

Coming up next, a spike in new cases of coronavirus. This is happening as businesses around the country have been reopening including Universal Orlando. How will the park keep thousands of guests safe amid the pandemic? We'll take you live to Orlando, next.


BALDWIN: Now to the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. More states are reporting a spike in new cases as the reopening process continues to pick up steam across the country.

I'll show you a picture here and you can see that, you know, in the country over the course of the past week cases are trending upward in 21 states including places like California, Texas, and Florida.

Despite that, the Universal Orlando Theme Park is reopening to the public today for the first time in nearly three months. But as you can imagine, it will be a very different experience as the park implements new guidelines designed to keep visitors safe. And Natasha Chen is there for us live at Universal Orlando. And Natasha, all right, so they've opened. Are you seeing a lot of people or what?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, there are a good number of people coming through but it's definitely lighter than I'm used to seeing on my vacations typically.

So, people are supposed to follow new guidelines. I am wearing a mask, as is everyone else here because it's required of everyone ages 2 and up. And when you're coming in everyone goes through a temperature- screening, anyone with 100.4-degree temperature or higher are asked to come back another day. And there are a lot of guidelines around the parks regarding social distancing.

So, there are a lot of signs out, there's even social distancing when you load into a ride vehicle, so you're not sitting to close to other strangers. And there are a lot of hand sanitizing stations and ways that you can use the app here to get an appointment, basically, to come back to more popular attractions during a certain time window.

We talked to certain guests about how they feel coming back for the first time in 2 and a half months. Here is what they told me.


CHANNING WILHOUGHBY, VISITING UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ON FIRST DAY OF REOPENING: I felt that they really had a good handle on safety. I'm actually a physician, so I kind of keep up on, you know, what's happening in the world with coronavirus. And in terms of preventive measures I thought Universal was ahead of the curve. So, I felt very safe in bringing my family here.

ABI MANKE, VISITING UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ON FIRST DAY OR REOPENING: There hadn't been anybody here for a long time. So being that it's the first day open, I think we felt more comfortable.


CHEN: And this is all happening, by the way, in the 2009 context of what you mentioned, slightly higher numbers of new coronavirus cases in Florida, just in the last couple of days we've seen a little spike. And if you look at a seven-day moving average of new cases in Florida, that has gone up, slightly trending upward.

So, these guests, though, they feel comfortable. And if they need to take their masks off for a moment, there is a designated area, Brooke, for them to do that and take a rest.

BALDWIN: I don't doubt that, I'm sure they're taking all the precautions they possibly can given the circumstances. Natasha, thank you.

Meantime, protests ramping up this weekend after more videos show excessive police force. What can done? And is the country at a turning point? Bishop T.D. Jakes joins THE LEAD with Jake Tapper.

But first, with the global pandemic and the death of George Floyd, you know, people all around the world and in particular many Americans are overwhelmed by a sense of pain, loss, and grief.

And 2014 CNN Hero Annette March-Grier's nonprofit helps thousands of families process their grief every year. Here is her insight on coping during this tough time.


ANNETTE MARCH-GRIER, CNN HERO: Grief was already heightened with COVID-19. People lost jobs, family members, and then for the whole George Floyd incident to be witnessed nationally, this is now grief on top of grief. It is a very sad, scary, angry time. Not just African- Americans, anyone who has a heart.


The tears, the yelling, even the violent behavior, these are all grief reactions. Grief is messy. The grief of not having a safe community or to have your store looted. That's also grief. The way that we all can deal with grief constructively is to do something positive to take action and protest peacefully, reaching out to help someone in need. Act upon your grief to make positive meaning so that you can deal with this in a healthy way.


BALDWIN: You can hear more from our heroes. Go to And we will be right back.