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Minneapolis Police Chief Promises to Regain Public's Trust; Trump: Won't Remove Confederate Leader Names from Military Bases; Floyd's Brother to Lawmakers: "Stop the Pain" and "Listen to the Call" for Policing Reforms; 16th Night of Protest Under Way Over George Floyd's Death; White House Defends Trump's Smear of Elderly Protest Shoved by Buffalo Police; Top WH Economic Adviser Kudlow: There is no Systematic Racism; U.S. Coronavirus Cases Nearing 2 Million, 112,000 Plus Deaths; Harvard Doctor Predicts 100,000 More U.S. Deaths; "Cops" Canceled, "Gone With The Wind" Pulled In Response To Protests. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room.

We're following breaking news as 16th night of protest now underway over the death of George Floyd. His brother testified before the House Judiciary Committee today and asked lawmakers to, "Stop the pain and listen to the call of protesters around the world demanding change." I'll speak with another person who testified at that hearing in just a few moments.

Also breaking, President Trump now ruling out changing the name of US military bases named after Confederate military leaders. An idea top Pentagon leaders said they were certainly open to.

And there's breaking news in the Coronavirus pandemic. The US is now nearing 2 million confirmed cases and more than 112,000 confirmed deaths. And the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute now tells CNN the U.S. can expect that another 100,000 people will die from coronavirus. Another 100,000 by September.

Start our coverage this hour in Minneapolis, right now still reeling from the death of George Floyd. CNN's Lucy Kafanov on the scene for us.

Lucy, the city's police chief is promising to regain the public's trust.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that's right. The message from the chief today is that he's listening but perhaps more importantly, that he is taking action. He acknowledged that there are parts of police agencies across the country that are broken, that was in his words, but he is vowing a new paradigm and peacekeeping right here in Minneapolis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: Race is inextricably a part of the American policing system. We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it, head on.

Communities of color have paid the heaviest of costs and that is with their lives.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo in the harsh national spotlight tonight laying out a plan to reform his department in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

ARRADONDO: History is being written now. And I'm determined to make sure that we are on the right side of history.

KAFANOV: The first move withdrawing from police union contract negotiations, calling for new policies on disciplining officers, the use of force and other matters he suggested the union contract has prevented from changing in the past.

The chief is also launching a warning system to weed out bad police officers early on.

ARRADONDO: So for the first time in the history of policing, we here in Minneapolis will have an opportunity to use real time data and automation to intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior.

KAFANOV: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tonight stepping firmly behind the chief's plan.

MAYOR JACOB FREY, (D) MINNEAPOLIS: We need a new compact with the police, one that centers around compassion and accountability. One that recognizes that the way things have been done for decades and decades is not acceptable. We need change.

I want to be very clear that I have Chief Arradondo's back.

KAFANOV: Also tonight revelations that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, seen with his knee on George Floyd's neck was negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors before he was arrested and charged. But the Hennepin Prosecutor's Office did not say why.

That plea deal ultimately fell through for reasons unknown.

All four former officers at the center of the Floyd case remain in jail. This as protests continue to spread across the nation, with calls for police reform now leading to action. At least 12 cities and municipalities moving to ban police from using neck restraints or choke holes. The techniques controversial long before Floyd's death.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAFANOV: And Wolf, Chief Arradondo also rejected the idea that the two rookie officers were somehow less culpable in Floyd's killing, saying that Floyd was expecting humanity that day something he did not get in his death.

And also knew today we're just learning that NASCAR is prohibiting the display of the Confederate flag at its events as a new development coming out today, Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly is that's significant. Lucy, thank you very much. Lucy Kafanov on the scene for us.

We're also following other breaking news emerging right now this time over at the White House. Let's go to our White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond.

Jeremy, the President just weighed in on the potential renaming of some key U.S. military bases.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He certainly did. Wolf.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Army said that Defense Secretary Mark Esper was open to having a bipartisan conversation about renaming military bases named after Confederate commanders.

Today, Wolf, the President is rejecting that conversation outright, saying that those bases are part of the great American heritage in saying my administration will not even consider renaming those bases.

[17:05:09]

Wolf, while the President is weighing in on that issue, we still don't know whether or not he supports these policing reforms that are being discussed on Capitol Hill. But today, Wolf, powerful testimony there is certainly ratcheting up the pressure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIAMOND: Tonight an emotional plea on Capitol Hill.

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20.

I'm asking you, is that what is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020.

Enough is enough. The people watching in the streets are telling you enough is enough.

DIAMOND: George Floyd's brother intensifying the pressure on President Trump and Congress to reform policing in America.

FLOYD: I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.

DIAMOND: House Democrats unveiled an ambitious reform package this week and Senate Republicans are also drafting legislation. With two weeks after George Floyd was killed. President Trump is still silent about what kinds of reforms he will support. KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We do believe that we will have proactive policy prescriptions whether that means legislation or an executive order.

DIAMOND: White House officials have sought proposals from criminal justice reform advocates and are now drafting an executive order. The White House also keeping tabs on legislation being drafted by Republican Senator Tim Scott.

But the draft GOP legislation doesn't include a provision to ban police chokeholds or change the qualified immunity legal doctrine to make it easier to sue cops. It also requires states maintain a database of uses of police force that result in death or lose federal funds. Democrats want to mandate a federal database.

And on body cameras, the Republican proposal is to mandate police wear them when arresting and detaining people. Democrats would require federal uniformed officers to wear them at all times.

Scott, said he expects to release his legislation on Friday. But will Trump support it?

SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: If history is a teacher, the President has been receptive for the last three years on the priorities that I've -- tried to make sure that they're sensible and directed towards the American people and not towards partisan and or politics at all. Hopefully, he'll have the same approach.

DIAMOND: Tonight, the President's top economic adviser became the latest Trump official to deny the existence of systemic racism in the US.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: I don't believe there's systemic racism in the U.S.

DIAMOND: Meanwhile, Trump's aides are still answering for the controversies that are leaving Senate Republicans squirming like Trump's baseless claim that a 75 year-old man who was severely injured after police pushed him was an Antifa provocative

MCENANY: The President was asking questions about an interaction and a video clip he saw and the President has the right to ask those questions.

The President does not regret standing up for law enforcement men and women across this country rather --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it incumbent on the President to have facts?

MCENANY: The President did have facts before he tweeted out that undergirded his questions --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- a baseless conspiracy theory, do you acknowledge that?

MCENANY: It's not baseless conspiracy. No, not at all, I won't acknowledge that.

DIAMOND: The President also rejecting a proposal by his defense secretary to have a, "bipartisan conversation about renaming military bases named after Confederate commanders." Tweeting, "My administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DIAMOND: And Wolf, just moments ago, the President was in a meeting with some conservative black Republicans, who he discussed various issues with. But we didn't actually hear the President's expressed what kinds of policing reforms he would actually support even as we know his White House has been drafting those proposals.

What we did hear about from him, though, Wolf, is this notion of restarting campaign rallies. The President announcing that he will be having a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma next Friday. Again, the President here forging ahead despite the fact that this coronavirus pandemic, still very much here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Still a lot people dying here in the United States every single day, indeed a lot of people dying around the world.

All right, Jeremy, thank you very much.

Joining us now Philip Goff, he's the co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity. And we're going to get to him in a moment.

But look at these pictures we're just getting in right now. This is protests continuing in Boston and in New York City right now. A 16th night of protests underway over George Floyd's death. We'll watch these protests over the next several hours as they unfold.

Once again, Philip Goff is joining us right now. He testified earlier today before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Oversight and Policing and Law Enforcement Accountability Also with us, Kamau Bell. He's the host of CNN's "United Shades of America. Thanks to both of you joining us.

[17:10:05]

Professor Goff, you testified today and you said this, and let me read the quote that you said. You said, what we're seeing on the streets of the United States -- what we're seeing on the streets of the United States is a past due notice for the unpaid debts owed to black people for 400 plus years. What do you hope members of Congress will take away from your testimony today?

PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Well, on that element, specifically, we have to have an honest accounting of the ways in which this country has erased and abused some of the people who are citizens, right. It would just be disingenuous for me, having talked with protesters, having talked with civil rights advocates to come back and say, even if we got policing, correct, yes, that would fix it. That's not the case. Part of the conversation that we're hearing right now when people are talking about defund law enforcers. But what they're really talking about for many of them is giving social programs to communities that have lacked them so that they have the resources that they don't have to call police in the first place. That's not just a policing issue. That's a disinvestment, right? Like, that's -- really it's a theft from communities. And if we're not able to account for that, if we're not able to address that, we're just going to keep paying these bills over and over and over again.

Sixteen nights is nothing compared to the amount of time that some of these communities have waited for actual equal justice.

BLITZER: As you know, Kamau, George Floyd's younger brother, Philonise, also testify today and he urged Congress to make sure his brother is more than another name on a list in his words that won't stop growing. How can Congress do that?

What do you think the country, the legislature, the executive branch, what do they need to do?

KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: Well, the sort of tag team with what Phillip said, I think that it's not going to be 16 nights. We don't have an administration right now who is going to be open to any of this. So this is a battle that we have to wage from here going forward into the next administration, whether that's in a few months or whether that's in four more years.

I think that, you know, I -- when I look at his brother testifying, how sad is it that the state of this nation (ph) exists, that he can't even take time to mourn. He's got to go testify about his dead brother. I mean, I think it's just -- it shows how messed up our priorities have to be in America when black people get a chance to mourn. They have to become professional witnesses.

BLITZER: Professor Goff, I know you were involved in an effort that started back in 2015 to study the Minneapolis Police Department and improve police Community Relations. How is it the Minneapolis was the subject of this intensive reform effort, yet we still saw the death the killing of George Floyd?

GOFF: It's a great question. I really wish that the efforts were more intensive. The price tag that was on what you're talking about is the national initiative for building community trusts adjusting. It looks like it was a lot of money, right? It looks like it was close to $5 million.

When you spread that out across six cities over three years, and for partners, it's $75,000 per city, per year, per partner. That's one college graduate with hopefully some health benefits. That's not nearly proportional to what we need to fix what's been broken in law enforcement since the very, very beginning.

That said, what we were there to do was to add science to chiefs that want to make change. So that meant that we could do some training. That's OK. We can create some new policies. That's pretty good. But the goal is always to shift culture because culture eats policy and training for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

BLITZER: As you know --

GOFF: They're long enough, we didn't get the picture of the funding we were hoping to get and we didn't have the kind of intensity to move there. So now where we are as a nation and say, we need to do that plus, reimagine what's possible in terms of producing public safety both end.

BLITZER: I was going to say you could still see these very little crowds in New York and Boston that have gathered for the 16th night of protests around the country.

Let me follow up a Professor Golf, 12 cities now, including Minneapolis have moved to ban choke holes since George Floyd's death. And today the Minneapolis police chief ended contract negotiations with the police union. There -- how far will that go in addressing some of these problems?

GOFF: New York had banned a chokehold when Eric Garner was killed with a chokehold. There were restrictions on how to use force in Cleveland when Tamir Rice was shot.

Again, policies are great, especially in places like Minneapolis, where you have a chief who says I'm going to fire you the next day as soon as I see evidence, that, I know it is insufficient for the life of George Floyd, but that is an improvement.

But policies are not sufficient. Law enforcement policy, if it doesn't change law enforcement culture isn't going to get us where we need to go and none of it, none of it is to efficient communities the authority and the resources to say we won't need police because we can take care of ourselves the way they've been doing in the suburbs for generations.

[17:15:09]

BLITZER: You know Kamau, in terms of the broader cultural impact that we're seeing unfold here in the United States right now, NASCAR you just heard now banning the display of Confederate flags. The reality TV show cops has now been cancelled HBO Max, our sister company has pulled "Gone with the Wind" from its library at least temporarily. Many businesses are cutting ties with racists employees and pledging more diverse hiring. What do you make of these waves being made right now beyond just policing?

BELL: I mean, I think some of this stuff is window dressing, you know, until we change the culture until we change the structure and institutions of America. And it's still a system of white supremacy.

So I think that like if you want to see "Gone with the Wind," then go see "Gone with the Wind." I don't know who's really watching "Gone with the Wind" right now, but good luck to you. And they got a lot of money out of cops (ph) before they pulled it. I didn't know cops was still on. So to me, this is not some sort of brave statement. Tell me, what does this look like in a year if black people still like the police don't have their backs and our policing in our community as well? If we're still aren't not well represented among the top levels of companies, then all of this is window dressing.

BLITZER: Kamau Bell and Philip Goff, thanks very much for joining us, appreciate it very much.

Up next, the White House under lots of pressure right now when it comes to police reform as it works on its own proposals. Plus the growing push to remove Confederate monuments across the United States. We'll update you on that much more when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:20:55]

BLITZER: Take a look at this so you can see the protests are still continuing here in the United States

In Boston, large numbers of people are marching right now in the streets of Boston in New York City. Similarly, they're marching in New York. They're protesting. This is the 16th night of protests underway right now here in the United States. We'll stay on top of those protests.

But right now, I want to dig deeper into the mixed signals coming from the White House today as the Trump administration is clearly struggling to come up with some consistent messaging on police reform and fighting racism.

Let's discuss with our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and our CNN White House Correspondent John Harwood.

John, the White House is working, we're told, on its own police reform measures. But today, the President, he weighed in to say he won't support renaming U.S. military bases that were named after Confederate commanders. Does he see this moment potentially more as a culture war than a real problem in American society?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf Donald Trump sees every moment as a culture war. This was precisely the complaint that General Mattis leveled against him last week that his instincts all run toward division rather than unity, to an extreme extent that Jim Mattis said it was un-American.

We know that throughout his life, in particular, racial division has been a consistent theme of his life, sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination, Central Park Five, the birther racist conspiracy theory about President Obama. And it's been shot through his entire campaign what he's had to say about immigrants.

The very theme "Make America Great Again," is a backward looking theme that views social change through the prism of political correctness and wants to go back to the way things were. And so even though the military has got a lot of interest in this moment, highly diverse U.S. military, successfully integrated -- racially integrated U.S. military racing ahead with things like considering changes to those military bases named after Confederate generals. The President says no, which is why the idea of him giving a unity speech is not likely to produce anything that matters very much.

BLITZER: You know, Gloria, the White House Press Secretary today defended the President for putting out that totally baseless conspiracy theory accusing a peaceful protester in Buffalo, New York, of faking his injury at the hands of police, 75 year-old individual. Kayleigh McEnany saying that the President was just raising questions, raising questions. What's your reaction to that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Come on. Of course, he wasn't just raising questions. First of all, you're the president United States. You don't have to raise questions in a tweet. You can go to the FBI, privately, and say if you have some real concerns about whether this person is a member of Antifa or whatever, which as we know, is a conspiracy theory. That's ridiculous.

But let's say you as president had a question about that, you go to the FBI and you ask the FBI. You are the president of the United States.

Secondly, in response to Kayleigh McEnany, he wasn't just asking questions in that tweet, what he was doing was saying that the protester could be a provocateur. So he wasn't raising questions. He was making outrageous, conspiratorial statements. Those were not questions in that tweet.

BLITZER: You know, John, I'm anxious to get your thoughts because a lot of people think it's simply dangerous for the President of the United States to amplify a conspiracy theory like that with no basis in fact.

HARWOOD: Well, of course, it's dangerous. And not only is that a baseless conspiracy theory, it was one advocated by a Kremlin propagandists, the person who gave this information the President picked up on, on this kooky television network also works for Sputnik which is a Kremlin propaganda outlet. So, yes, it is dangerous.

^M00:05:02]

Now, what makes it less dangerous is that people are used to this from President Trump. A majority of Americans at every point in his presidency have said they believe Donald Trump is dishonest. So, you have to discount for the effect that that's going to have.

Most Americans don't pay attention to what he says, there is a minority who do who will be inclined to believe that stuff, but the effect of every incremental crazy thing he tweets, I'm not sure is all that great.

BLITZER: You know, also today -- go ahead, Gloria. Finish your thought. BORGER: No, go ahead, Wolf. That's fine. Go ahead.

BLITZER: No, no, no, we want to hear from you. Go ahead.

BORGER: Well, it's just that it is inflammatory. I mean, this is a president who's pouring gasoline on a fire here.

And when you talk about a president potentially giving a uniting speech, there's questions inside the White House about whether this president can actually do that. I spoke with a former White House staffer yesterday who said they cannot even agree on whether to give a unity speech and the staffer called it a farce. And the reason it's a farce is because they don't know whether they can trust the President to actually unite the country, because it's what most presidents' try and do at times like this. But this President has never reached out beyond his base. And there's a little certainty that he can do that now.

BLITZER: You know, Gloria, another one of the President's top advisors, the White House Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow came out to say he doesn't believe there is systemic racism in the United States. How divided, based on everything you're hearing, our White House staffers on the President's response.

BORGER: Well, I think I think they are divided. And it is it is highly ironic that on the speech that has to do with unity there's a divided group inside the White House trying to figure out whether the President of the United States can actually give a good unifying speech that would matter. Think about that.

They -- there is division over whether he can unify. And I think that's very telling in and of itself, Wolf.

HARWOOD: Wolf, Wolf, just to --

BLITZER: You go ahead, John.

HARWOOD: -- that point, I wanted to say that, yes, there's division in the White House. But it's important to look at the unanimity among major figures in the administration to object to the idea that there's systemic racism. We've heard that from Bill Barr, the Attorney General. We've heard that from the National Security Advisor. We've heard that from the Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. Now we've heard it from Larry Kudlow, very consistent position among top Trump administration aides.

BLITZER: Well, look on that point doesn't seem to be have a whole lot of division.

All right, John Harwood, Gloria Borgia, guys, thank you very much.

Coming up, disturbing surge in coronavirus cases here in the United States. As the national death toll now surpasses 112,000. Plus, more astonishing fallout in the cultural shift taking place before our eyes in the wake of George Floyd's death. NASCAR just announcing it's going to prohibit, prohibit the display of Confederate flags. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:33: 08]

BLITZER: Protesting on the streets of New York City right now. The protests continue on this the 16th night of protests underway as a result of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis. We'll continue to watch all of these developments regarding the George Ford case, the protests underway across the country right now.

But there's other important news including some breaking news we're following in the coronavirus pandemic. The director of the Harvard Global Health Institute now tell CNN, the U.S. can expect another 100,000 Americans will die from the virus by September. Already 112,000 Americans over the past three months have already died. Another 100,000, Harvard is now the Harvard Global Health Centers now projecting by September. Very disturbing numbers.

CNN's Nick Watt is joining us now from Los Angeles. Nick, a grim new projection as the country approaches 2 million confirmed cases.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Dr. Anthony Fauci calls this virus his worst nightmare and stresses that it is not over. And, you know, down in Arkansas where they're continuing to open as the case numbers climb, today, the governor said that Americans are on the move. They can't be tied down. They can't be restrained. And he also put it rather poetically like this, he said, but we're not out of the woods. We are still in the heart of those woods.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATT (voice-over): This morning, Miami's beaches reopened. In New Jersey up to 100 people can now gather outdoors. And this weekend, NASCAR will allow some fans back in the stands. Nationally, our daily new case count is falling but is there devil in the detail.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: If you're going to get into trouble, you'll see it in the numbers. You'll see them starting to increase. And as we sit here today, states are getting into trouble.

[17:35:08]

WATT (voice-over): Hospitalizations are often at least a dozen states since Memorial Day. And in 19 states, the average daily new case count is rising, as is concerned that this coronavirus is making a comeback.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: And it worries me because there's no obvious way to stop it without shutting down or without really aggressively increasing our testing capacity.

WATT (voice-over): Arizona's average daily case count has doubled in just the past 10 days. Hospitals across the state now being told if they haven't already, to fully activate your facility emergency plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is prudent to start looking at the surge capacity, because unless there's an intervention that comes in the next few days, I think we're on a railroad to over capacity in early July.

WATT (voice-over): In North Carolina, there are now more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any time since this pandemic began

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You still need to wash your hands as often as you possibly can and avoid congregation in large numbers.

WATT (voice-over): The D.C. National Guard deployed to quell protests sparked by George Floyd's killing says some members have since tested positive.

FAUCI: The report of the National Guardsmen being infected is certainly disturbing, but it's not surprising. It's the kind of things that we were concerned about. And unfortunately, we're seeing it come true right now.

WATT (voice-over): Meanwhile, the U.S. government announced it will fund and conduct studies on three possible vaccines with Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which just accelerated its schedule. Human testing was slated for September, just moved up to July.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: Now, a sliver of good news. Major League Soccer say they will be back July 8th, but some worrying news from college campuses where athletes have been returning these past couple of weeks. Arkansas states has seven athletes now tested positive for the coronavirus. University of Central Florida has three positive football players. And Texas Tech has an unknown number of people on the men's basketball who have also now tested positive. Wolf?

BLITZER: That's disturbing, very disturbing indeed. Nick Watt in L.A. for us, thank you.

And we're going to have a lot more on this. Stay with us. We're going to be following what's ahead for the United States as the coronavirus cases continue to rise and states continue to keep on reopening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:42:09]

BLITZER: We're back with more on the breaking news. Right now as the U.S. coronavirus death toll now surpasses 112,000, a Harvard doctor is predicting another 100,000 deaths here in the United States by this September.

Joining us here in "The Situation Room", Baltimore's Former City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, who is also an expert on this. Dr. Ashish Jha of the Harvard Global Health Institute will be joining us in the next hour, Leana, says another 100,000 people will die from coronavirus by September. That's clearly a shocking number, especially when the country is continuing to reopen big time.

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: It's also, Wolf, that we knew what we had to do to prevent the next 100,000 deaths. Initially, we could have said, well, maybe we didn't know. We didn't know about the importance of testing, we didn't know about how early action with social distancing can save lives. Now we do. We have plenty of studies to show this.

We are reopening despite the advice from many public health experts saying that we're just not ready to do that. There were multiple states that were reopening despite seeing an increase in the number of cases that went against the Coronavirus Task Force -- the White House Coronavirus Task Force's own guidelines, and now we're seeing the consequences. We are seeing the surge that really could have been predicted. And unfortunately that surge is only going to get worse.

This is a very contagious virus and we all need to be keeping our guard up. Just because you can now do something, doesn't mean that you should. So we should keep on practicing that social distancing, wash our hands, wear masks and do all these public health hygiene practices to the best of our abilities while we also urge our policymakers to do a lot more to prepare for this upcoming surge.

BLITZER: Yes, and a lot of people out there apparently think it's over. It's clearly not over by any means, as you say, it's probably going to get a whole lot worse. Nineteen states, Leana, are actually seeing their number of cases go up right now. And since Memorial Day weekend, hospitalizations are up in at least a dozen states and the daily death toll is still very high. So do parts of the country need to do a 180 right now re-implement some of those safety measures that we saw originally in the form of lockdowns?

WEN: It's going to be really hard I think for anyone to tolerate these lockdowns. But I think we need a combination of things. First of all, we have to have the early surveillance systems. That way we can pick up on new infections before they become outbreaks and outbreaks before they become full scale pandemics. And we also have to be preparing our hospitals.

We cannot have a situation like we did last time where healthcare workers on the frontlines did not have basic things like masks to protect themselves. This time we do have the warning. We know that it's going to happen and I think that policymakers also have to do their part to think about, at what point are they going to pull back? At what point are they going to now say, we will remove or reimpose some of these restrictions that have been removed?

[17:45:11]

If schools are open, daycare centers are open, and we get new evidence that children are vectors, are we ready to be able to pull the plug and say, let's impose these restrictions again. I hope that that messaging will be clear. And in the meantime, everybody should keep up their guards because as we are reopening, as people are going back to work, that virus is going to be transmitted more. So we should do even more ourselves to reduce our own personal risk. BLITZER: Yes, let's not forget hundreds of Americans are dying every day. We just checked yesterday, 983 Americans died from coronavirus. Earlier in the week, Leana, an official with the World Health Organization confused a lot of people by saying that it's rare for people without symptoms to actually spread the virus. She later clarified saying now enough research has been done on asymptomatic spread. Update our viewers, what really is going on here?

WEN: Yes. So the comments by the World Health Organization were confusing and actually really unfortunate because they made the situation muddy when it shouldn't be. The bottom line is that asymptomatic transmission occurs, meaning that you could be transmitting, you could be carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it before you have any symptoms. And in fact, according to the CDC, up to 40 percent of cases of COVID-19 are from asymptomatic transmission. So be very careful even if you have no symptoms.

BLITZER: Good advice from Dr. Leana Wen as usual. Thanks Leana very much for joining us.

Coming up, "Cops" canceled, "Gone with the Wind", gone. NASCAR without confederate flags. Popular culture is changing right before our eyes. And amid concerns about George Floyd, racism and police tactics, CNN speaks with the Minneapolis police chief. Lots of news. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:51:51]

BLITZER: Breaking news, we're following NASCAR just announcing its prohibiting displays of the confederate flag. And it's just one of the many shifts suddenly taking place in popular American culture.

Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's working the story for us. Brian, tell us more.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the cultural impact of George Floyd's death and the protest is striking, starting with the abrupt cancellation of one of the most popular TV shows in cable history.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep your hand where I could see it.

TODD (voice-over): For more than three decades, the show "Cops" was lauded as a real life, unfiltered, intimate look at the daily lives of law enforcement officers. Tonight, "Cops" has been unceremoniously dumped from the cable TV universe, canceled by the Paramount Network which says it has no plans for the show to return.

Worldwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd have drawn new scrutiny on shows like "Cops" and the similar popular A&E show "Live PD" which has been postponed. A "Live PD" crew was filming when Javier Ambler, an African American man died in police custody last year in Austin, Texas. In newly released police body cam video, we can be seen yelling, I can't breathe. A plea also made by George Floyd. A critic who's investigated the show "Cops" says the program often led off with crimes committed by African-Americans at a disproportionate rate. And that they shows generally offered a distorted picture of police as the good guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those shows are built to scare people and to make people believe that the only thing between them and the violence they're seeing on that show is the "Thin Blue Line".

TODD (voice-over): Police reality shows are not the only showbiz icons under the microscope after George Floyd's killing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've been brave so long Ms. Scarlet (ph). You just got to go on being brave.

TODD (voice-over): HBO Max owned by the same company as CNN has removed the classic film "Gone with the Wind" from its catalog. The 1939 movie which romanticizes the South during the Civil War will be brought back, HBO says, but will include a discussion of its historical context and a denunciation of racism.

NISCHELLE TURNER, HOST, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Yes, indeed, it does glorify the antebellum south and yes, that it does whitewashed slavery. So I think the movie does have its place in history. But it definitely is a problematic movie in a lot of ways. And I think having a conversation about that is appropriate.

TODD (voice-over): Audiences are also seeking out films and shows about the black experience and racial justice. Movies like "Just Mercy" and "The Hate U Give", documentaries like "13th". TV shows like "Blackish". And of the top five best-selling books on Amazon, four of them are about race, including titles like "White Fragility" and "How to Be an Antiracist".

PROF. STEVEN THRASHER, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: This is a real big cultural shift. All of these very powerful players throughout the society from Hollywood to City Hall are now responding to the protesters after just a couple of weeks of action, and they're able to do what electoral politics has largely failed to do.

The cultural shift has also made its way to the racetrack, following pleas by African-American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. NASCAR has just announced its banning fans from bringing confederate flags to races.

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TODD: As for those cop reality shows, some critics have called for them to be completely purged from TV. But analysts say that's unlikely. They say that several cable networks have already committed their line-ups to true crime shows. And reruns of the show "Cops" can still be seen on some cable stations. Wolf?

BLITZER: Interesting. All right, Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you.

Coming up, the Minneapolis police chief goes one-on-one with CNN to talk about his plan to turn around his department that's been rocked by the death of George Floyd.

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BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room". We're following --