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America Reckons with Racism as Trump Digs In; NASCAR Bans Confederate Flags; U.S. Surpasses 2 Million COVID-19 Cases, Model Projects Steep Rise in Fall. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 11, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives do matter, and the president has to expand the voices he listens to.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump is finally going to have a discussion about race.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's aides are preparing to present him with legislative options. But questions remain about what he'll support.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Let us try to be bipartisan as we deal with this. The American people deserve that.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R), HOUSE JUDICIARY: You will be able to count on Republican cooperation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president rejecting a proposal by his defense secretary about renaming military bases named after Confederate commanders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Puts him as odds with his own advisers, with members of his own cabinet.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, June 11, 6 a.m. here in New York.

This morning, many new signs that America is at an inflection point with race and racism. Overnight, a statue of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis was torn down by protesters in Richmond, Virginia, and that's just the latest monument to come down in cities across the south.

NASCAR, with a fan base that's largely loyal to President Trump, banned Confederate symbols from all of its races and venues. The sport's only black competitor circling the track in a Black Lives Matter car.

President Trump, though, John, is going in the opposite direction.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It does seem so. Sources tell CNN the White House is preparing an executive order for the president on policing, but it's not exactly clear what's in it, mostly because he has not stated what he is for.

Now, we do know what he is against. He is against the idea that there is systemic racism in U.S. law enforcement. And he's against even discussing renaming military bases named after Confederate commanders, including one who spewed absolutely vile, racist screeds, including decrying the very notion of black governors, black legislators and black juries.

Also this morning, the U.S. just passed 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus. One prominent expert who joins us later predicts 100,000 more deaths by September. Now, we'll have much more on that shortly.

First, though, the massive cultural shift we have seen, with the government, to an extent, now trying to catch up.

CNN's Boris Sanchez live on Capitol Hill with the very latest -- Boris.


President Trump travels to Dallas today. He's going to take part in a roundtable discussion and a fundraiser. The president largely silent on what kind of police reform legislation he would support, even as the debate intensifies here on Capitol Hill and we hear grueling testimony from the brother of George Floyd.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do we want it?




SANCHEZ (voice-over): While protesters march on, amplifying their voices within American cities to demand changes in policing --








SANCHEZ: -- discussions are underway inside the White House on a possible executive order addressing police reform. But it's unclear just what kind of action President Trump may take. He's stayed silent on the issue, other than repeatedly claiming --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am your president of law and order.

SANCHEZ: The White House press secretary says Trump's possible plan is reaching its final editing stage.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has spent the last ten days quietly and diligently working on proposals to address the issues that the protesters have raised across the country.

SANCHEZ: But lawmakers on Capitol Hill are not waiting for the president. They're already debating sweeping police reform legislation. This week, congressional Democrats introducing the Justice and Policing Act, looking to ban tactics like chokeholds, end no-knock warrants and drug cases, and create a national registry for tracking police misconduct.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, HOUSE JUDICIARY: And it baffles me that the president of the United States and his staff can't take a deep dive into this legislation and realize that America just cannot continue on the pathway that it is.

SANCHEZ: House Republicans pledging to work with Democrats on some of the issues.

GAETZ: There is not a legitimate defense of chokeholds or lynching or bad cops that get shuttled around, and you will be able to count on Republican cooperation.

SANCHEZ: Senate Republicans also crafting their own police reform bill expected to be released by Friday. It's led by the only black GOP senator, Tim Scott, who says this about whether they will earn Trump's support.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): If history is a teacher, the president has been receptive for the last three years on the priorities that I've brought to him.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, Philonise Floyd asking Congress to serve justice for his brother, George. PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I'm here to ask you to make

it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us being tired.

SANCHEZ: The emotional testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, just one day after the funeral of the man killed while in custody of the Minneapolis police.

FLOYD: George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20. I'm asking you, is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars?


SANCHEZ: And Alisyn, President Trump's eyes remain fixed on 2020. Just yesterday, the president announcing his first campaign event since widespread closures because of the coronavirus. The president announcing he'll visit Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19. The date and location are significant. June 19th, is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of African slaves. Of course, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of one of the worst racist massacres of African- Americans in U.S. history.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Very interesting choice for the president to visit. Boris, thank you very much.

Now to this big development. NASCAR banning Confederate flags at all of its races and venues. But President Trump feels very differently about the Confederate chapter in history.

CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with more.

Hi, Joe.



NASCAR moving away from Confederate symbolism, indicating it will no longer fly the Confederate flag. This comes after Bubba Watson, the black NASCAR driver, drove a Black Lives Matter car on the track.

NASCAR also indicating it's trying to move toward more inclusiveness for all fans.

Meanwhile, this is in stark contrast of what's going on here at the White House. And the president weighing in on the issue of U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals.

First, some top Pentagon officials indicated that they were at least open to the idea of discussing renaming ten U.S. Army bases around the country named after Confederate generals.

The president indicating in a tweet just yesterday, as far as he's concerned, his administration will not consider the idea, citing American heritage. Meanwhile, there are some other developments here in the United States

on this very issue of symbolism involving the police, namely the -- A&E, which is a network, has now announced that it is going to, essentially, get rid of the show "Live P.D." That's a show that follows the police.

They've decided they're going to do that after they were involved in the recording of an event involving an African-American person who died.

Back to you.

CAMEROTA: So interesting. I mean, that is a hit show, and they are taking this measure. Thank you very much.

So up next, we discuss this historic moment of reckoning with racism and the president's role.


BERMAN: NASCAR bans Confederate flags. Confederate statues coming down across the country. Popular reality television shows about police canceled. A moment of reckoning with racism is here, but where does the president stand?

Joining us now, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN political analyst David Gregory.

You know, Abby, I said before, the president hasn't stated clearly what he is for, but he has stated clearly what he is against. He's against acknowledging that there's systemic racism in law enforcement. He's against even discussing renaming Army bases that are named after Confederate generals.

Someone pointed out to me on Twitter, though, in declaring what he is against, maybe he is giving us a window into what he's for.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I do think that at this point, we have to -- we only have to take his actions and words and his priorities as a signal of where he is on this. I think it has been pretty clear that he's consistently wanted to use Confederate symbolism as a way to -- to keep wedges that already exist in this country firmly placed where they are.

This has dated back years. But it's one of the things going back to Charlottesville, going back to this issue where now the military wants to address the bases named after Confederate generals. And you saw Kayleigh McEnany at the -- at -- the White House press secretary, at the podium yesterday saying that she couldn't believe that anyone could possibly suggest the U.S. military might have been racist, even though the military was segregated for many, many years, while black people served in the military, black Americans served.

And then those same black veterans came back to the U.S. to a segregated country that discriminated against them. And you've heard not a word from this White House about any of those things. So their priorities are where they say they are. The president says he

wants to be on the side of peaceful protests, but he says, you can only protest when you protest the way that he wants you to. No kneeling is what the message is from this White House.

And I think that it's going to be very challenging for them to -- to suddenly wake up and start suggesting that what their priorities are are racial reconciliation in this country, when they've done, really, quite the opposite of that for many years at this point.

CAMEROTA: David Gregory, I think President Trump has told us what he's for. He really likes the confederacy. He really is a fan of that history. He is now siding with the confederacy, as we've -- as John has outlined, against NASCAR, the NFL, the Army, obviously, the 14 percent of the country that are black and all of their white allies.

Let me tell you why we know this. Here is his tweet. "It has been suggested that we should rename as many as ten of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Texas. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become a part of a Great American Heritage and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom."

There you have it.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, there's not a lot of ambiguity there. I'm sure he hasn't said this, but we've heard this from him before. I'm sure he thinks this is all tantamount to political correctness run amok and to liberals taking a moment and overreaching and extending it everywhere.

Well, that's not the case. You know, this debate about the Confederacy and Confederate memorials and statues has been going on for a long time. And it's reached critical mass, as a lot of things have, because of the murder of George Floyd that are really, as you framed it before, making American society grapple with and reckon with our racist past and our racist reality.

You know, I really don't think President Trump is the one to listen to on this and to take seriously. I've talked to military leaders, including General Petraeus, who has come out publicly saying, Why would we valorize, why would you glamorize Civil War leaders? This was -- you know, I'm for America. I stand with America. That's what Lincoln did. And even at the time, there was right, and there was wrong. And the Confederates were traitors.

Why would we have vestiges to them, if not to play into this idea, this revisionism of the lost cause and of southern heritage, which was white supremacy. I mean, this is a critical part of America's story, but that's what it is. And -- and that's where the president is, if he's going to stand in the way of these moves.

BERMAN: Just to prove that point, David, I looked up some of these Civil War generals.

Henry Benning, that's who Ft. Benning in Georgia, where all U.S. Special Forces go through, Ft. Benning in Georgia, General Benning was a vile racist, OK, who spoke out in favor of secession even before the Civil War. Listen to what he said.

He said, "By the time the North shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we'll have black governors, black legislators, black juries, black everything. We may readily assume that war will break out everywhere, like hidden fire from the earth, and it is probable that the white race, being superior in every respect, may push the other back."

It just made me think, you know, what is it like to be a black Special Forces soldier, or officer, who goes through Ft. Benning, Georgia, knowing the place that I trained, the place that I lived is named after that guy?

GREGORY: Right. And also, you know, think about kids who go to school in Northern Virginia. My kids play basketball, so we went to W. Stewart High School, where my son had a tournament.

And I was walking with my daughter and I said, "Do you know who he was? And do you know the history of what he participated in and what his views were? Can you imagine a black family in this area having to go to school every day under this banner?" It just seems totally wrong.

BERMAN: I will say, we can talk about this, David. Abby doesn't have to imagine it. So Abby --


PHILLIP: And I will say, you know, my father-in-law is an Air Force veteran and grew up in the South. And when you grow up in the South in this country as a black person, you're very used to things being named after Confederate figures and segregationists. And it's something that black people actually have lived with for a long time.

And, they're -- you know, it's finally a moment where it's actually not just black people who are saying this, but it's white Americans who are saying, You know what? It's time to show where our priorities lie.

We're not wiping these people from the history books. We're simply saying, Let's not venerate them. Let's make it so that when you drive through Richmond, Virginia, you don't have to stare up at a massive statue dedicated to someone who thought that you were less than human. I think that is not too much to ask.

But, you know, it is a debate, as David said. And I think what's notable is that President Trump doesn't even want to have a conversation about it. That -- a conversation that his own military does want to have, because they know that their black service members who fight for this country and shed blood for this country deserve the same kind of respect as everyone else in this country and deserve their -- deserve to be treated as if their lives matter and their -- their self-worth matters. CAMEROTA: Abby, I'm just curious. I mean, this is the middle of a

political campaign. Do the strategists around President Trump, if he still has some, do they like that he's siding with the confederacy? Do they think that that's a winning position?

PHILLIP: There are definitely some voices that the president listens to who do think that these kinds of battles, these, you know, as David put it, political correctness battles, that they go back to the core of his message as a political figure.

But then again, you do have a lot of people around the president who recall the Charlottesville era and believe that that was a really terrible time for the president. There was a lot of consternation in the White House when the president consistently wanted to speak up on these issues of the confederacy, defending those white supremacist protesters who were in the streets.

And I think many people in the White House view this moment as very similar to that, and they wish he would not inject himself into some of these conversations.

Now, does that extend to them advising him not to do this? I'm not so sure. I think at this point, many people in the White House simply know, this is what the president wants to do, and they just allow him to express himself on social media.

And in the case of yesterday, they literally printed out his tweet and handed it out to reporters in the briefing room to make it very clear that the president labored over this statement and wanted it to be made public so that everybody could know his position on Confederate --


GREGORY: Can I just say --

PHILLIP: -- Confederate forts.

BERMAN: Go ahead, David.

GREGORY: I think this is a classic example of a topic, a big topic for which this president simply doesn't have the bandwidth. I mean, you can look at this as somehow a political correctness debate or an overreaction.

Or you can say, no, we're really in the middle of a kind of reckoning with racism in this country that is allowing major institutions, political figures, individuals to open their eyes to say, you know, there's lots of things that we need to look at here about policing, about attitudes among whites, about implicit bias, about our history and the monuments to our history that we have around us.

George Floyd is a name that will be remembered for lots of reasons, including forcing a kind of reckoning that's real, that's big, and that has, certainly, I see the potential to be quite long-lasting. Not simply a moment of what's the package of reform measure passed by Congress?

BERMAN: David Gregory, Abby Phillip, thank you very much.

And to David's point about people not listening to the president, NASCAR isn't. The NFL isn't. Amazon doesn't seem to be. CrossFit doesn't seem to be. HBO Max doesn't seem to be. There's a lot of things that have just changed in America. Congress, Republicans and Democrats, both working on reform plans right now. We'll see what they come up with.

Our thanks to all of you.

So as more Americans think about returning to their regular routines, there are these glaring new warning signs. The U.S. passes two million coronavirus cases. An expert warns we could see 100,000 new deaths by September. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Overnight, the United States reached another grim milestone in the pandemic. Two million confirmed cases of coronavirus now and nearly 113,000 Americans killed from the virus.

Here's a snapshot of where we are this morning. Eighteen states are seeing the number of new cases increase. And a leading infectious disease expert predicts an additional 100,000 Americans will die by September. A new model now predicts a steep rise early this fall.

So joining us is Dr. Amesh Adalja. He's an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Adalja, great to have you. Explain the math to me. I'm confused by the math of these predict -- these projections.

We reached -- It took five months of the virus spreading. Sometimes -- I mean, for a couple of months, unchecked before we knew about it for us to reach the 100,000 mark of Americans dead.

How, now that we know about it and we are theoretically being smarter and washing our hands and wearing masks, how are we going to reach another 100,000 dead in just three months?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: That's an important question I have, as well. This model uses a lot of different metrics. It tries to kind of fit the curve of where it expects deaths to based on what's going on in other countries. And that's the number they came up with.

I think it's important to remember that these models are not predictions, and it's really important to look at their assumptions. And to me and then to a lot of people, it doesn't -- it doesn't make all as much sense to think about that acceleration in deaths occurring. I think it's clear to everyone that we will continue to have cases;

we'll continue to have deaths. But thinking it will be of the same magnitude, when there have been changes put into our society.

Even with increased mobility, people are not having mass gatherings. People are changing their behaviors. So I'm not sure that we'll actually reach that plateau of another 100,000 deaths, but -- and it's important to know what the assumptions that are going into that before we actually take that to be exactly a crystal ball.

And I think that's important with models. That they're -- they're really not -- they're not -- they're not completely reality. They're reflections of reality.

BERMAN: I think we've all developed something of a model fetish over the last few months. I think what's actually important is what we're seeing happening before our eyes today, Doctor.

And the most alarming statistic to me is the number of states where we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations, right? One of the questions we've had for some time is if the increase in new cases is because we're testing more. And there may be an element of that.

But an increase in hospitalizations isn't about testing. It's about sick people. There are more sick people in the hospitals in all of those states you're looking at right there, including some big states. So what does that tell you?

ADALJA: That tell you that -- that this virus is spreading unchecked in certain places. And we want to make sure that those are the states where we focus resources on.

Because as we've said before, social distancing was about preserving hospital capacity. And many places have opened up, and they've done OK. But there are places that we have to concentrate our efforts on, such as Texas, for example, such as Utah, where there are cases that are increasing, as well as hospitalizations increasing, ICU bed utilization increasing, the percent positivity of test increasing. And those states really need to issue guidance about how to get the number of cases under control.

Because we don't want any of those states going into near-crisis modes like what happened in New York. That's going to be the norm during this pandemic, is really titrating our efforts to hospital -- hospital-level capacity. And that's something that we can't ignore, and we have to keep monitoring as we go through this.

CAMEROTA: You said people are no longer having mass gatherings. Not so fast, Dr. Adalja.

Here's a picture of the Trump re-election campaign staff from yesterday, or at least it was posted yesterday by Vice President Pence, who you see at the front of the screen there. He's the head of the coronavirus task force. I can't see a mask in this group and nobody is standing six feet apart. They're not standing six inches apart. By the way, in Virginia, the guideline is no more than ten people at any one gathering.

I don't know what -- I mean, the vice president then deleted that after they were called out and criticized for that. You know, obviously, those folks are willing to take their own health into their own hands, but the problem is, when they show up at a hospital, then they become all of our problem.

ADALJA: Yes, it is true that people are -- we're seeing mass gatherings with the protests, for political rallies. But the level of mass gatherings versus one year ago was much less. We don't have professional sports.