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CNN NEWSROOM

New York City Begins Phase One of Reopening; 22 States See Rises in New Cases in the Past Week; New CNN Poll Shows trump Approval at 38 Percent, Worst Since January 2019; NFL Chief Says We Were Wrong for Not Listening to Players on Racism; Top Brands Condemn George Floyd's Death and Vow to Fight Racism; Angry White Man Confronts Black Lives Matter Protesters. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 8, 2020 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And B, have you had, do you think you will have any customers walk through your door today?

MATT BREWSTER, OWNER, 30TH STREET GUITARS (via Cisco Webex): Well I'm very excited to open up again. It's been a long time. I've kind of been in hibernation. We actually have someone at the door now. So we're following our protocols of call first and wait at the gate to be let in or spoken to.

BALDWIN: Do you -- from what I was reading, what you told our producer is that while you're thrilled to be reopening, you know, Broadway is closed, no one is playing at the garden. You know, a lot of the folks who you're selling guitars or fixing guitars for, they're not in business. So --

BREWSTER: It's a little scary because all of those people are not just clients, they're actually friends of mine. So it's a big community that I miss seeing. And basically, we're just all going to hope for the best and got to get started somewhere. So we're starting today.

BALDWIN: And, Matt, I know you talked about and you're not the only one, I'm buddies with restaurant owners in the city and everybody's talking about how incredibly high the rent is for a lot of these businesses and I imagine including yours. And just for people who do not live in New York City who have zero clue as to how astronomical rent 10 be, ballpark, what is it for businesses say for a month?

BREWSTER: Usually starting at a place like mine, well over $8,000 and then it goes up from there. And it is not just the rent. There's real estate taxes that come into it which need to be addressed and then you have the cost of just doing business.

BALDWIN: And all of that factoring and seeing if, you know, businesses can make rent and if landlords are willing to give somebody a -- you know, let somebody slide for a month or two. My last question is this, you know, music is such an outlet for so many people and especially right now even if your you know just playing at home alone. How have you, how have your friends gotten through the last couple of months?

BREWSTER: Well, luckily most musicians are internet savvy so there's been a lot of Zoom and a lot of reporting can actually be done through the internet. So all of my friends have been staying busy. I mean, they would rather be out in public and enjoying themselves with crowds at bars or clubs or whenever you're playing, but everybody is staying busy doing virtual reporting. So it's a whole new world especially for people teaching. I think it's actually helping a little bit because people could Zoom and they could fit their schedules in, it's a little easier for them.

BALDWIN: It is a new world these days. We're all just rolling with it as we have to. Matt Brewster, thank you very much. Good luck.

BREWSTER: Well thank you very much for having me, OK.

BALDWIN: Yes, yes. And joining me now just to discuss all of this, former Baltimore city health commissioner and emergency room physician Dr. Leana Wen. And so, Dr. Wen, according to this CNN analysis, there are four states, California, Texas, Florida and Illinois they are all outpacing New York state in their averages of daily new cases. And then you see the map, 22 states are trending upward in new cases. Why do you think that is?

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Yes, I'm very worried about this, Brooke, because we are seeing the effect of reopening and we're still in the very beginning phases of reopening. I think people are letting down their guard and I know that protests are occurring, that people are going for mass gatherings.

But the numbers that we're seeing don't reflect the protest. They're reflecting what happened two, three weeks ago. And I think we all have to keep in mind that this virus is very contagious. That just because reopening is happening doesn't mean that the threat is gone. And we all have to take additional precautions just because he can go out and do something doesn't mean that you should.

BALDWIN: Right, news flash, we're all still living in a pandemic. And to your point about protests and it is wonderful that people are out and about using their voices. But just listening to the Mayor of New York and Mayor of Atlanta all saying, listen, you can go protest but make sure you get your COVID test afterwards, right?

WEN: And also while you're there, take as many precautions as you can. Definitely wear a mask because if everybody wears a mask it reduces the rate of transmission by 50 percent. But masks are not enough. You also have to try to practice social distancing. So I know in the heat of moment you may want to hug and kiss and shake hands but please don't do that. Don't share water with someone.

Try to bring hand sanitizer with you and if you're passing around a bull horn or something else, cleanse your hands afterwards. Just remember that, yes, racism is a public health issue. We are still living in a pandemic and there are things that you could do to protect yourself and we need a lot more testing too. So that people who go out and protest, when they come back, are able to get testing that they need to protect themselves and their loved ones too.

BALDWIN: Last quick question, just back in New York City. And we saw Governor Cuomo wearing a mask, riding the train this morning. Is it safe to ride the subway?

[15:35:00]

WEN: There is going to be risk. I would advise people to walk and bike if possible. And if you go, definitely wear a mask, use a lot of hand sanitizer and try to limit your time doing other activities that bring risk too.

BALDWIN: Dr. Wen, thank you very much.

Continuing on here. President Trump's approval rating is slipping and according to a new CNN poll, he is also falling behind Joe Biden. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN I'm Brooke Baldwin.

[15:40:00]

President Trump's approval rating is the lowest it's been since January of last year. That's according to a new CNN poll. It shows the President slipping amid a chaotic week. Only 38 percent approve of the job he is doing. That is down 7 points since just last month. And of course it comes as race relations have become front and center in the wake of George Floyd's death two weeks ago today.

And according to that new poll, a clear majority of people disapprove of how the President has handled it all. Something White House advisers are definitely taking note of. CNN political commentator Abby Phillip -- correspondent Abby Phillip joins me now from Washington. And Abby, we are hearing, we've been hearing that the President's team is really pushing for him to make a nationwide speech on race and unity. A, do you think that will happen and, B, how do you think that'll go?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think this is something that has been under consideration for some time. And what I've heard from people close to this White House is that there is a constant debate happening about how and if he should approach this and clearly that debate has not been settled yet. But we're seeing the impact of the President floundering in this historical moment in the poll numbers. These numbers are causing alarm in the White House, in the campaign.

That 38 percent approval rating, well, when you compare that to prior presidents like Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, both of those presidents had similar approval ratings going into their re-election. Both lost their re-election. So I think that at the White House, there is an understanding that he needs to get a grip on this situation. In part because obviously the issues of race are hugely important to Americans right at this moment. Some of the interesting findings in our poll is that, you know,

Americans right now are saying that they believe that the criminal justice system is favoring white people more than black people rather than equally. Look at the numbers -- 67 percent to 24 percent. I mean, that's two-thirds of the American population. And then beyond that, 67 percent of Americans say racism is a big problem in America today. Just five years ago that number was 49 percent. So the President's approval rating, his handling of issues of race, they are inextricably linked and so it is no surprise that he would try to address that in a speech.

But, Brooke, you know he's been talking about law and order and it seems like President Trump does not necessarily agree with the problem that protesters are saying exist in this country which is that systemic racism is out there and needs to be addressed.

BALDWIN: And we know the words that he's used to describe these protesters. Abby Phillip, thank you very much for all of your perspective on all of this.

Coming up, the big change in tone from the NFL Commissioner. Roger Goodell now apologizing for how the league handled player protests. Let's talk about that.

[15:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: In the wake of George Floyd's death, many companies are vowing to do their part to end racism in the United States. And in the case of the NFL, that vow also came with an apology to the hundreds of football players who take to the field each and every week on the league's behalf. Here is Commissioner Roger Goodell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We at the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We at the National Football League believe Black Lives Matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: It is quite a shift for Goodell who has publicly sided with owners and against players in recent years when it comes to the issue of protesting police brutality.

LZ Granderson is an ESPN host and sports and culture columnist for the "L.A. Times," LZ, as always, a pleasure to have you on, my friend. And let's just get right into this. Because Goodell didn't even mention Colin Kaepernick, right, whose protests of police brutality during games essentially ended his pro-career. He first took a knee four years ago and now you have Goodell and even, you know, Drew Brees to some seemingly changing their stances overnight. And I'm all about folks evolving. But why did it have to take this? LZ GRANDERSON, ESPN HOST: Well I think there is a lot of things at

play right now. First and foremost you have a global movement. A global movement that has yet to lose any steam. And so, the NFL being the most powerful sports league in the country is cognizant of these little wrinkles that's happening in society and wants to make sure that it's on top of it.

Way at the beginning of the Kaepernick's protesting there was a safe place, it was in an island in this storm and that island was call being nonracist. You could put out little flowery statements and vague statements about being, you know, into diversity and inclusion but never really having to fight racism. That was a safe place before. That space is gone and because of what is happening all around the world, these protests, these young people, these companies are saying we can't be nonracist anymore and we have to actively fight racism and Roger Goodell and the NFL has decided to join in this fight.

BALDWIN: What about just practically speaking, LZ, like what does this mean? Because Goodell says they encourage players to speak out and peacefully protest, do you think we will be seeing players actually being allowed to take a knee this season?

[15:50:00]

GRANDERSON: Not only will we see players take a knee this season, we're not going to see this conversation die at all. And in large part because of President Trump and his penchant for sort of going after the NFL as he did recently, going after Roger Goodell.

When you think about the fact that presumptive nominee Joe Biden and he will be on stage as players are kneeling at the beginning of the season or even during the pre-season as you're heading towards a November election, we can anticipate hearing a lot of rhetoric from both sides, nonstop and the visual of players protesting nonstop and it's incumbent on us not to be distracted by those visuals, not to be distracted by those sound bites from debates. But remember why they're protesting in the first place and that is against -- criminal justice reform and against police brutality. Those things have to stay focused and not get distracted by the rhetoric remarks coming out of debates and things of that nature.

BALDWIN: Separately but connected to this, you mentioned companies a second ago. And so, you have more and more brands, companies, right? Under pressure, to your point, actively address racism and equality.

On Instagram, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted an e-mail from a customer who was pushing the whole all lives matter line, and Bezos posted her, email very publicly and his response where he explained the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, and my question to you, last question is just what is the responsibility of major businesses right now to be on the right side of history?

GRANDERSON: Well, I think first and foremost is to ask yourself when this is all said and done and there's only two sides, which one are you comfortable standing with? Which one do you think will make your fellow employees feel good? Which one do you think your customers will feel good to see?

There's no more space now, Brooke, to be non-racist. To hell with these little flowery comments about diversity and inclusion and some Dr. King quote thrown in the middle for good measure and you're not actually doing anything. That's not acceptable anymore for most of the people.

And so, your question is simply are you a company that wants to fight racism or are you a company that's complicit with it. It's really those two choices.

BALDWIN: And make it very public in --

GRANDERSON: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: -- you know, not just the flowery rhetoric but the Black Lives Matter, you know, we are anti-racist.

GRANDERSON: Action.

BALDWIN: So important to see. And action, yes. LZ Granderson, thank you very much, nice to have you on again.

GRANDERSON: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up, a woman stands up to an angry man as he berated Black Lives Matter Protesters. We have the video, next.

[15:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Well, it was a peaceful protest in Montana filled with Black Lives Matter. Demonstrators demanding an end to racial injustice and police brutality in this country until this white man entered the scene. Caught on tape cursing at demonstrators knocking down protest signs, getting in folks' faces even going so far as screaming at a priest who tried to reason with him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:) (BLEEP) (BLEEP)

CROWD: Peace! Peaceful! Peaceful!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) (BLEEP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: That's a lot of bleeping. The man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. There was one woman there who wasn't having it and bravely faced down this man. Her name is Samantha Francine. She talked to Brianna Keilar about the whole thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAMANTHA FRANCINE, BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTER: You know, there wasn't much time to think. I mean it seemed like it went on forever, and it was just a few moments. But as he was staring down at me and yelling at me like that, the only thing that I could really think of was the words of my father when I was a little girl and my brothers and I were little.

We grew up in (INAUDIBLE) it's predominantly white town and he always told us that no matter what the threat is or who the threat is make sure that you look them in the eye so they have to acknowledge that you're human.

In that moment I lifted up my sunglasses and I saw him and he saw me and that was about the end of the interaction, because I saw the fear in his eyes and then he wanted to continue his fight elsewhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Samantha Francine says she has no malice toward him and sent a gift basket to his wife that afternoon.

A global pandemic, an economic downturn, racial tensions blowing over. The class of 2020 is no doubt walking out of their classrooms and into uncharted territory. Former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama addressed that reality in their dear class of 2020 virtual commencement celebrations just over this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: I've seen you marching with peace and with purpose, and that is why even in tough times like these you continue to be what gives me hope.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't have to accept the world as it is, you can make it into the world as it should be and could be. You can create a new normal. One that is fairer and gives everybody opportunity and treats everyone equally and builds bridges between people instead of dividing them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And there you have it. Words of wisdom passed along to the class of 2020. That is it for me today. I'm Brooke Bolduan, we'll see you back here tomorrow. In the meantime, let's go to Washington. THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper and we begin with the national lead today.