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Trump Stands by Decision to Disperse Protestors with Force; U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Regrets Role in Photo Op; Key Model Predicts 170,000 U.S. Deaths by October; COVID-19 Fuels Financial Stress Across U.K.; Colombians Struggle with Income Inequality as Cases Rise; U.S. Stocks Plunge Amid Fears of Second COVID-19 Wave; Trump Warns Against 'Falsely Labeling' People as Racists; Controversy over Trump's Planned Juneteenth Rally in Tulsa; Black Lives Matter Movement Spreads Across U.K.; Hong Kong Students Return to School; Museums Finding Ways to Remember COVID-19 Crisis. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired June 12, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hi. Welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching CNN.
So just ahead, amid ongoing protests, the U.S. president is doubling down on his support for police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're going to have to really do a job, if somebody's really bad, you're going to have to do it with real strength, real power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Coronavirus cases on the rise in several U.S. states, and a key forecasting model is warning thousands more people will die in a second wave. That grim outlook is wreaking havoc on markets, sending Wall Street plunging, as you can see, from these numbers here.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.
CURNOW: It is day 17 of protests across the United States over the police killing of unarmed Black man, George Floyd. Now, in New York, protesters shut down one of the main arteries out of the city, the Holland Tunnel, at least for a time. They soon left the area and marched through other parts of Manhattan.
Those protests were noisy at times, but peaceful.
More protests on the opposite side of the nation. Large crowds in Portland, Oregon, carried signs reading "Black Lives Matter," "Speak Truth to Power," and "Enough is Enough."
And in Seattle, Washington, after days of sometimes violent protests, the streets now have what the mayor calls a block party atmosphere. It's happening all around a precinct that police left empty during earlier protests.
President Trump threatened to send in the military, which led to a forceful rebuke from the mayor and government.
And then in Dallas, Texas, more protests, with chants of "No justice, no peace."
Well, President Trump was in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, speaking of, quote, "dominating streets with compassion." He was there for a roundtable discussion with faith leaders and law enforcement representatives.
But three of the top law enforcement figures in the area, all Black, were not even invited.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF MARIAN BROWN, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS: When you initiate a conversation, and you purport that conversation to be about racism and policing in America, and you failed to include the top three law enforcement officials in an area where you are speaking? I think that that says a lot, and that causes one to raise the brow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, amid nationwide protests after the killing of George Floyd, Mr. Trump lauded the police, describing the ones using excessive force as "just bad apples." And instead of addressing racism, he focused on officers targeted in the line of duty.
He also warned against labeling, quote, "tens of millions of decent Americans" as racist or bigots. And described using force to clear protesters as, quote, "like a knife cutting butter." Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They went in, and it was like a knife cutting through butter. Right through. There was some tear gas and probably some other things, and the crowd dispersed and they went through.
By the end of that evening -- and it was a short evening -- everything was fine.
But if you're going to have to really do a job, if somebody is really bad, you're going to have to do it with real strength, real power. I said, we have to dominate the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: So all of this comes as the top military official in the United States apologizes for his role in that infamous presidential photo-op last week near the White House. And he becomes the latest U.S. military figure at odds with Mr. Trump's handling of protesters. Here's Jim Acosta with more on all of that.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is a no-apology tour for President Trump, who's still standing by his administration's response to the protest following the police killing of George Floyd.
TRUMP: We have to have law and order.
ACOSTA: At a church in Dallas, the president took time to voice his concerns about officers who are targeted in the line of duty, as much of the nation's focus has been on police brutality.
TRUMP: They get shot for no reason whatsoever, other than they're wearing blue. They get knifed. You saw that the other night. It was a horrible thing.
ACOSTA: Contrast that with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, who's expressing regret for his part in the president's tour of Lafayette Square, where protesters were gassed and pummeled for Mr. Trump's photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church.
Milley, who was dressed in combat fatigues that day, told graduates from National Defense University he crossed the line.
GEN. MARK MILLEY, U.S. CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned, uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from. And I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.
ACOSTA: Don't tell the president, who's boasting it was a big success, tweeting, "Our great National Guard troops who took care of the area around the White House can hardly believe how easy it was. "A walk in the park," one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others were handled VERY easily."
Milley doesn't sound like he's on the same page.
MILLEY: The freedoms guaranteed to us in the Constitution. It allows people to demand change, just as the peaceful protesters are doing all across the country. That is why we serve in the military.
ACOSTA: But the president is warning of more harsh tactics for protesters in Seattle, tweeting, "Radical Left Governor Jay Inslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played. Take back your city NOW. If you don't do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [SIC] IMMEDIATELY!"
Inslee noted the president's typo, firing back, "A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state's business. 'Stoop' tweeting." And the mayor tweeted to Mr. Trump, "Go back to your bunker."
The president risks further inflaming tensions with his plans to hold a rally next week in Oklahoma, set for Tulsa, the scene of one of the worst massacres of African-Americans in U.S. history. The date of the rally, June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, the day slaves in Texas were read the Emancipation Proclamation after the Civil War.
The White House says Mr. Trump is well aware of that.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The African-American community is very near and dear to his heart. He's working on rectifying injustices, injustices that go back to the very beginning of this country's history. So it's a meaningful day to him.
ACOSTA: But the president is not budging on whether to rename U.S. military bases honoring defeated Confederate generals, even as some top Republicans sound open to the idea.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): It could be appropriate to change some.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He decided that he was going to pit us against one another based on race.
ACOSTA: Former Vice President Joe Biden, who's blasting the president's handling of race relations, says he has an even bigger worry about Mr. Trump.
BIDEN: It's my greatest concern, my single greatest concern. This president is going to try to steal this election. This is the guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, direct -- voting by mail -- while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in a primary.
ACOSTA (on camera): The president's upcoming trip to Tulsa is raising fears about spreading the coronavirus. An administration health official said the president's rally will pose a risk for Trump supporters at the event. Trump supporters are being told they can enter the rally at their own risk.
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CURNOW: Thanks, Jim, for that.
Now, the White House is also under fire because of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which health experts warn now is far from over. There are fresh concerns that there could be a big rise in cases and deaths later on in the year.
An influential coronavirus model from the University of Washington projects that about 170,000 people will die from COVID-19 in the U.S. by the beginning of October.
An effective treatment, of course, would be a game-changer. Well, a U.S. pharmaceutical company says it started the country's first human trial for anti -- for an antibody cocktail, a medicine that would ultimately treat and prevent COVID-19.
Well, joining me now live is Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, an internal medicine and viral specialist in southern California.
Doctor, great to have you along. Thanks for joining us. I do want to get your expertise when it comes to the numbers that we're seeing. Today, we're hearing, you know, the numbers hitting sort of unbelievable amounts of death, just in the U.S. And we heard the same yesterday. What is your feeling?
DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE AND VIRAL SPECIALIST, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Well, my feeling is that this is a slow burn. This is a simmer. The United States is seeing approximately 1,000 to 2,000 deaths a day. And I think that's just going to continue.
So there are models that predict that, by the end of the year, I think it's very realistic that we're going to have almost 200,000 deaths in the United States.
There appears to be very few areas in this country that are actually slowing down. You know, on the contrary, we're seeing these wildfires raging, being -- happening in different states now. Arizona, Tennessee, Florida. So it's going to continue.
CURNOW: It is going to continue. And what do we know about antibodies? Because there was a Swiss trial. I was just reading before we came on air, where even where places that COVID hit hard, hardly anyone really got infected. I think it was about a 10 percent rate.
What does that mean in terms of a second wave of what we're seeing now here in the U.S. in terms of how our bodies are responding to this?
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, that's very worrisome. Because what it's saying is that people that actually got infected, a large majority of them did -- a majority of them did not get antibodies.
Antibodies is what we presume will give us protection going forward. So one of the hopes, or one of the things that we discuss all the time is herd immunity, which means that if people are infected, they will have protection.
This study shows that not everybody that got infected got protected. And if that's the case, then a second wave could be very dangerous and much more debilitating and perhaps much -- many more deaths than we're seeing now.
CURNOW: And there could then also be a third and fourth, as well. A second wave is just a concern for the next few months.
RODRIGUEZ: Unfortunately so. I think months ago I said that this was going to be like a rollercoaster ride where we were going to see increases and decreases and increases. Which is why precautions and preventions are so important right now. CURNOW: I want to talk about that in a moment. But also, then, people
and folks are pinning their hopes on a vaccine. I know I covered the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa and Africa= for many years, particularly in those early days.
I know you have treated HIV patients since the early Eighties.
CURNOW: You've also investigated HIV drug trials. There's still no vaccine for HIV. It's also a virus. Are you hopeful that there will be one sooner for COVID?
RODRIGUEZ: Of course. I have to be hopeful. But as you mentioned, it's been 35 years, and there is no vaccine for HIV. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.
So I don't want to be, as we say here, a Debbie Downer, but we have to be careful so that -- so that we use other modalities to try to prevent spread.
So am I hopeful? Yes. There are some very interesting and unique vaccines that are being developed here. But unfortunately, there's been no vaccine ever developed for a coronavirus. So we're just crossing our hands right now. I mean, our fingers and our hands.
CURNOW: Everything. We'll just twist ourselves into pretzels crossing what we can.
So you're saying, essentially, social distancing, masks -- masks work, contact tracing, quarantining if you do come, and all of that stuff is what many countries have done and have done successfully. We can, you know, quote New Zealand, who have done really well.
CURNOW: America is not doing that. It's not following public health guidelines. Why --
RODRIGUEZ: I think the same thing that makes the American spirit so vital and so unique, that -- that sort of drive toward individualism, may be our Achilles heel right now.
You know, I try to say, we were talking about give me liberty or give me death. I don't want to wear a mask. Well, you know, be careful what you wish for. You may get both liberty and death.
There seems to be a distrust of institutions going on in this country. And among those institutions is the scientific community.
There is no doubt. There is no doubt that wearing masks decreases the incidence of spreading the virus even probably more than quarantining. So I like to call it the holy trinity of COVID prevention, which is wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing.
And, you know, we Americans have to realize that part of our legacy isn't just individuality, but it's teamwork. And it's going to take teamwork for all of us to protect each other. It's that simple, really.
CURNOW: That's a very interesting perspective. And I certainly see it here in Atlanta and Georgia in the south. It's certainly prevalent in terms of what you're talking about, about individuality and how that plays out and how people are dealing with this.
But there's also inequality. And we're seeing this playing out in the streets in this very, very anguished reaction to the death of George Floyd.
But there's also inequality in healthcare here; and that comorbidity as doctors talk about, very much prevalent within minority communities. That is also, I think, and I understand, why Americans are dying at higher rates than anywhere else in the world.
RODRIGUEZ: Correct. That's absolutely right. Since you know, you know, about HIV, you know that the underprivileged and underserved areas of the country are the ones that got HIV the most.
The HIV epicenter of the United States is the southeastern United States, which was also heavily Black, and a poor section of the United States. That is the area that is also blossoming now.
So it is unfortunate that we're having the sort of perfect storm, this confluence of both social protest, which is very essential, in the midst of this pandemic. And the people that are probably protesting, all right, for their rights, are the ones that may be at high risk.
Another thing that we very rarely mention here is the fact that we're not emphasizing the need that Americans need to be healthier in order to try to not get very sick from this.
I mean, I'm just pontificating, but Japan for example, they didn't do lockdowns, and their rate of death is miniscule compared to the United States. They have a healthier population, and part of their culture, they just have certain social distancing and certain hygiene, if you will, that prevents the spread of COVID. So it's small things like that.
CURNOW: And we haven't even talked about obesity, which also comes into this, into the morbidity.
Doctor, thank you very much. It's great chatting to you. I hope you've given also some valuable advice for many people talking, thanks very much for sharing your expertise.
RODRIGUEZ: My pleasure.
CURNOW: So, the U.S. president has authorized sanctions and visa restrictions against international criminal court officials investigating potential U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. It's not the first step the Trump administration has taken to try and
stop the probe. Last year, they revoked the visa of the court chief prosecutor.
Well, the U.S. is not a party to the ICC, and U.S. officials say the investigation is an affront to American sovereignty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The International Criminal Court's efforts to investigate and prosecute Americans are inconsistent with fundamental principles of international law and the practice of international courts.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We cannot, and will not stand by, as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court. And indeed, I have a message to many close allies around the world. Your people could be next, especially those from NATO countries who fought terrorism in Afghanistan right alongside of us.
ESPER: Our nation, and this administration, will not allow American citizens who have served our country to be suggested to illegitimate investigations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: But the U.N. and humanitarian groups say they are disturbed by the way the Trump administration is trying to delegitimized the court. You heard the language there. Well, the European Union's top diplomat says the ICC plays a key role in providing justice for genocide and war crimes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEP BORRELL, EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: For sure, there is -- there is a matter of serious concern, as you can understand, because we, in the European Union. We are steadfast supporters of the International Criminal Court. I think that, for sure, we can reiterate our support for this institution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, the coronavirus is putting a burden on more than just people's health. The financial stress is facing a lot of people, and that is adding to people's woes.
CURNOW: So the coronavirus has not only taken hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, but it's also robbed many of their livelihood. Well, Phil Black now has a look at how people in the U.K. are grappling with the economic and emotional strain of the virus. Here's Phil.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tourists don't come to Trafalgar Square anymore, but there are still crowds. The vast space is now being used to feed the homeless, while ensuring social distancing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come that way, please.
BLACK: Most of the people who've stayed in London's streets through the pandemic are long-term rough sleepers. But the charity still working here report a recent trend. There are many new faces.
People, suddenly homeless, because of COVID-19. There are the obvious economic courses. London's lockdown made lots of already insecure, casual work quickly disappear. But vulnerable families have also splintered under the emotional strain of living through this pandemic.
Right up until lockdown, Colin Reynolds lived with his elderly parents.
(on camera): What did they say to you?
COLIN REYNOLDS, HOMELESS: They asked me to leave. So I left. Because my parents are high-risk, it wasn't a good idea for me to stay there. So I left and come to London, because there's more hope here.
BLACK: Life for Cohen, and his family, was never easy. He has a long history of crippling depression and anxiety. Now, the further pressures of this crisis have torn him from support that he desperately needs.
On Weymouth Beach, along England's southern coast, there's no obvious sign people in this community are struggling, but Andy Price knows the truth. His community cafe, set up to help traumatized military veterans, has quickly embraced a new purpose.
ANDY PRICE, HELPING FEED NEEDY: They'd been like parcels -- parcels of milk, lots of cereal (ph).
BLACK: The isolated, the poor, the suddenly jobless, owners of what were recently thriving businesses, anyone who needs it. And the need is great.
As he hits homes across Weymouth, Andy knows many of those he now helps, bristle against the idea of receiving charity.
PRICE: They think you've gone and failed. You're failing as a parent. You're failing as an individual. And really, like -- like we're kind of discovering now, you're only one paycheck away from needing support.
BLACK: Carrie (ph) Watts, and her husband, Michael, are grateful for Andy's help, but accepting it is hard.
MICHAEL WATTS, MK CLASSICS: I should be earning, providing for my family. But I'm -- I'm just not. I'm just -- I've just sat, doing nothing, pretty much. Just sat here, wondering, if one day, I'm ever going to be able to go back to what I love doing. And genuinely, that upset me.
BLACK: Soon after lockdown, people stopped ringing Michael to fix their cars, and Carrie needed hospital treatment for COVID-19. They almost lost everything.
CARRIE (ph) WATTS, TREATED FOR COVID-19: Dear, just what you can do? Just to see how -- how long things can go before maybe you just hit rock bottom.
BLACK: In the northern city of Sheffield, we see the same pain. People who, just a few months ago, had independent lives and plans for the future. Now, patiently waiting in the rain for handouts. Phil Barrett is a self-employed electrician.
PHIL BARRETT, ELECTRICIAN: In the initial start of the lockdown, we were selling food up here for people, and we never expected that we'd be on the receiving end of some of it towards the end of this.
BLACK: Back in central London, Colin Reynolds goes back to his sleep swap, in the entrance of one of the city's iconic theaters. He doesn't know when he'll sleep in a bed again, when, or how, he'll see his parents.
(on camera): You haven't known a chapter of your life this uncertain before?
REYNOLDS: Nope. Not this bad.
BLACK: One day at a time?
REYNOLDS: Yes, yes. And that's all I can do.
BLACK (voice-over): COVID-19 has killed more than 40,000 people in the U.K. It's stolen the emotional and financial security of many more.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
CURNOW: A powerful piece. Thanks to Phil and his team for that.
Now, in Columbia, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is steadily rising. The pandemic is adding to the misery of many Colombians who are already struggling with income inequality, unemployment, and homelessness.
Stefano Pozzebon reports, right now.
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three months ago, Lilibeth Fiore (ph) had a job and a House, but the pandemic took nearly everything away from her.
Like almost half of the entire Colombian labor force, Lilibeth (ph) worked informally, first as a caregiver in private homes, and then, as a street vendor. Lockdown measures against coronavirus meant she has seen no income since March.
And to make things worse, her House was bulldozed at the beginning of May. The city says it was unsafe. But now, she can't find a home. She has no job, and rental accommodations are sparse during the pandemic. Now she can only look at what remains of her House.
LILYBETH FORI, INFORMAL WORKER (through translator): Before the virus, we had a life. Now, we don't. We don't know what we're going to eat, or what will happen to us.
POZZEBON (on camera): Colombia may have been spared the worst of the health crisis, but the economy is suffering. Unemployment almost doubled in Columbian cities since the beginning of the lockdown. And without a job, the people who are displaced from these areas, are saying that they're facing life on the street.
(voice-over): Lilybeth and 60 other people now live in tents, an impromptu settlement just meters away from their houses used to stand.
Now, the pandemic has only added to the frustration of people like Lilybeth, who says she took to the streets in November last year, to demand social change.
It has also increased the disparity between those who can afford the quarantine, and work from home, and those who cannot.
By one estimate, as many as 7 million Colombians could fall back below the poverty line by the end of the year. A level not seen since 2002.
Fabian Marroquin also took part in the protests last year, when he was working as a cook. Now unemployed, his home near Lima also demolished, he thinks a return to the streets is the only way for things to change for the better.
FABIAN SERGIO MARROQUIN, INFORMAL WORKER (through translator): The government's slogan is stay at home, but where should I stay if they took away my home?
POZZEBON: The Colombian government has so far pledged $74 million to prevent lay-offs, but little of those resources are designed to help the informal economy. Colombia is now lifting some quarantine measures, while still trying to control the virus. It's a thin line between a health crisis and the economy collapse.
Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.
CURNOW: From the main streets in the U.K. and Columbia, to Wall Street now.
The growing concerns of a second wave of the coronavirus, in the U.S., has sent Wall Street plunging. The Dow sank more than 1,800 points on Thursday. Take a look at these numbers. That is the largest set-off since mid-March.
The fall also comes on the heels of a dire outlook from the Fed. It warned the U.S. economy has a long road to recovery.
Well, let's go to John Defterios, who joins me now from Abu Dhabi.
John, hi. I know you're on the line.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (via phone): Yes.
CURNOW: What do you make of these latest figures coming out of Wall Street?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I think there's a reassessment of the valuations we've witnessed since March. We have to look that we went up more than 40 percent on the broader index, the S&P 500.
But the good news is, we started off terribly in Asia, but there's been a slight rebound of sorts linked to U.S. futures. So let's take a look at those Asian markets, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
The Nikkei index was down better than 2 percent. Now it's down about 8 tenths of 1 percent. Hang Seng has been holding pretty steady, with that lose of about one of the 3rd percent, but the one and soul, with like the S&P 500, rose for a very long time, now if you look at U.S. Futures, this would give some solace to the Asian market. We're up right across the board, better than 1 percent.
The hardest hit has been Seoul, and that's because it was very much like the S&P 500, rising for a very, very long time.
And then if you look at the U.S. futures, this was giving some solace to the Asian markets. We're up right across the board better one percent. One and a quarter percent, to 1.4 percent. So that is, if you will, the good news.
The challenge is, though, this is a wake-up call because of the potential damage here from COVID-19, with the benchmark crossing two million cases in the second wave.
Larry Kudlow, economic advisor to the White House, tried to play it down, saying it's a bad day in the markets. We've had a great run before. Our medical system can handle it.
And then the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, was suggesting we can't go back and go back to a lockdown at this stage, because we have additional medical needs that need to be addressed, and the economy is opening it up and that we can handle it.
Let's take a listen to Mnuchin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY (via phone): We can't shut down the economy again. I think we've learned that, if you shut down the economy, you're going to create more damage, and not just economic damage, but there are other areas. And we've talked about this, medical problems, and everything else, that get put on hold. I think it was very prudent what the president did, what we have
learned a lot. And I also would just -- the fact that Congress, the House, the Senate, responded with the administration in an unprecedented way to put $3 trillion in the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: You know, there's a question mark whether that $3 trillion is going to be enough going forward into 2021, Robyn, and 2022. Right now, the administration is suggesting there's plenty of liquidity. But there we have this break, as we talked about in the last two weeks. Wall Street's been going up, because interest rates are low. Main Street is suffering. I mean, you still have an unemployment rate of 13 percent.
And the Federal Reserve was saying, Look, we're contracting nearly 7 percent this year, 6 and a half percent, which is astronomical. So you cannot expect a smooth road to recovery here. And this is a reassessment that we're seeing this week.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks for that analysis there. John Defterios live from Abu Dhabi.
So coming up, the White House is also trying to explain President Trump's controversial decision. His first post-lockdown rally is set to happen on a day that has a deep meaning for African-Americans.
CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. It's 30 minutes past the hour. We're live here from the CNN Center in Atlanta.
So U.S. President Donald Trump spent Thursday in Dallas, Texas, holding a roundtable meeting with community leaders. He seemed to brush off protester demands to fix a fundamentally racist, broken social system here in the U.S., by saying Americans are good and virtuous people and warning against falsely labeling anyone racist.
It's reminiscent of his response to the Charlottesville white supremacist rally back in 2017, when he said there were very fine people on both sides.
Well, Ron Brownstein is a senior -- a CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic," and he joins me now from Los Angeles.
Ron, good to speak to you.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Robyn.
CURNOW: I do want to get your sense of the tone and just the conversation that was had by the president in the midst of this anguish that America is feeling.
The president warned against falsely labeling people racists. He dismissed brutality, police brutality as just a few bad apples. He certainly didn't seem to address the turmoil being felt by so many.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, bad apples, I think, is the key to words. It is the -- it is the heart of the strategy of how Republicans and this president, in particular, have been dealing with these questions for several years.
As I wrote this week on CNN.com, the belief that systemic racism is a thing of the past, that it is no longer part of American life, is an absolute glue that binds together the modern Republican coalition.
I mean, there has been polling last year that two-thirds of Trump supporters say that discrimination against whites is now as big a problem as discrimination against minorities.
There's another poll last year from the Pew Research Center, where basically, 80 percent of Republicans say it was a bigger problem that people were alleging racism where it doesn't exist than that people were not finding it where it does exist.
And this isn't only rhetoric and kind of messaging. It's policy, too. Because the president, President Trump, under both Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr, has essentially shelved the efforts of the Obama administration, really energized on trying to have federal investigations of systemic racism and push for systemic reforms in police departments.
So what he was saying today was very consistent with not only his messaging but his policy today. But as you say, while it is definitely a unifying belief in the Republican base, it is out of touch with where the country seems to be moving very clearly in this moment.
CURNOW: And out of touch with the sheer facts and examples of systematic racism in America every day. I mean, its unquestionable. I mean, it's glaring. So -- so the fact that there is -- the fact that there is this division along party lines is not just about the GOP and folks -- and Democrats in Congress. You're saying this is about the base.
CURNOW: This is about folks on the ground who say there aren't any facts about this.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, you know, as you know, I believe that the fundamental dividing line in American politics is between a Democratic coalition that is largely OK with and even enthusiastic about the way the country is changing demographically, culturally, and economically. And a Republican coalition that is centered on the voters in the parts of the country that feels most threatened by those changes.
And as I say, it is not just the political leadership. If you look across the Republican base, for years now, the -- the argument that whites face as much discrimination against minorities, that continued discrimination is an isolated event limited to bad apples, rather than embedded in systems and that people alleging discrimination falsely is a bigger problem than it not being found at all, all of these have been a growing consensus among Republican voters as they -- as the parties have kind of resorted along those lines of what I call transformation and restoration.
And, you know, what you have is a president who had every moment today. Again, his instinct is to kind of mobilize and inflame that base, even as we have seen very clear movement, as you noted, in public opinion overall.
And as is always -- almost always the case with him, he is playing to the short side of the field, trying to squeeze bigger margins out of shrinking groups.
CURNOW: What is interesting, also, is in this so-called roundtable of conversations with people in Dallas, Texas. You know who wasn't at that table? Were the top three African-American lawmakers in Dallas.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, the police chief, I believe the county prosecutor, all --
CURNOW: And the sheriff.
BROWNSTEIN: And the sheriff, who are -- who are African-American, but again, it goes to this point. That he is -- you know, he is most comfortable when all -- I like to say, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
And if your instinct always is to go back to your base, the president's willingness to reach out on a policy basis or even on a kind of a personal empathy basis, is -- is just so limited that what he's left doing is -- is looking for ways to stir his base.
It is striking, of course, that this had to be held in Dallas. You know, Dallas was the beginning -- Dallas was where the Republican growth in the South really began in the 1960s. Texas has been a very safe state for Republicans since 1976.
But in 2018, Beto O'Rourke, the Democrat, won Dallas County by 200,000 votes. And President Trump faces the same kind of risk. His rural strength will probably allow him to hold the state of Texas, no matter what, but it's possible that he could lose the five biggest counties by a million votes.
CURNOW: Yes. It's not such a sure thing.
When you talk about the symbolism of the location of Dallas, I want you to just also explain to our international viewers the symbolism -- and it must be a coincidence -- of the U.S. president holding his first rally in -- in Tulsa. There is a deep, deep symbolism in that, and it's not a good one for many, many people in this country.
BROWNSTEIN: No. Well, not only holding it in Tulsa, but holding it -- he's holding the rally on Juneteenth, which is a --
CURNOW: Exactly. And the day. It's not just the location. It's the date and the time, as well.
BROWNSTEIN: It -- it commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
And Tulsa, as people -- as not only historians now but fans of pop culture who watch "Watchman," the -- on HBO, the update of the comic book series, know that Tulsa was the site of one of the worst race massacres in American history, a kind of riot by white forces against an African-American community in Tulsa.
And so for the president to kind of combine those two things and to bring his first rally -- first of all, why is he going to Oklahoma at all, you know, a state that should be as reliably Republican as they come? The answer, of course, is that's where he can find a Republican governor and Republican mayor that will allow him to do what he wants to do, which is hold a rally without any meaningful social distancing or mask wearing, at a time when the American trajectory on coronavirus is turning a very ominous direction.
And of course, we see the same thing with the convention. He's had to move the convention from North Carolina and Charlotte to Jacksonville, because there he can find a Republican mayor and a Republican governor who will allow him to hold it, you know, the way he wants.
The problem he's got, I think, is that, you know, if you look at the trajectory of what's happening in -- in Florida, Arizona, Texas, California, and some others, North Carolina and some other states, we are seeing some very, you know, kind of ominous lines, both in terms of caseloads and hospitalizations.
And for the president to go out and signal that this is not a big concern of his at this point, that he wants everything back to normal, I don't see how that helps him in the places that he's eroding, which are the big metropolitan areas in almost every state in the country.
CURNOW: Ron Brownstein, always great to get your political perspective. Good to see you again. Thanks so much.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.
CURNOW: So, the Black Lives Matter movement is spreading across the United Kingdom. Protesters are marching not only for George Floyd, but also those in their own country.
Here's Salma Abdelaziz.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Floyd! George Floyd!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd! George Floyd!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Floyd! George Floyd!
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here, they chant George Floyd's name, but they also call out to say her name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belly Mujinga!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belly Mujinga!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belly Mujinga!
ABDELAZIZ: Belly Mujinga, a 47-year-old London rail worker who died of COVID-19 after allegedly being spat on by a man who claimed to have the virus. Police closed her case in May, after their investigation found insufficient evidence.
But as events in America sparked protest in the U.K. the story of a Black female essential worker killed by COVID-19 hit a nerve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While everybody else was locked in their houses, while everybody else was protecting themselves, she still had a duty to deliver to the public. She still had to wake up early and leave her one daughter and go to work.
ABDELAZIZ: Mujinga's case resonated, in part because of the work of this group, Justice for Black Lives, which was formed literally overnight via social media.
Rachel Mallam, one of its organizers, says she's never protested before this. But she was tired of seeing Black lives lost without accountability.
RACHEL MALLAM, JUSTICE FOR BLACK LIVES: I think Belly died because she wasn't protected the way she was meant to be protected by the British government, by TFL, by the health sector, by literally everyone in charge of the workers of the United Kingdom, so her death is on their hands.
ABDELAZIZ: In a matter of less than a week, Mujinga's case went from call to action on Instagram to a massive demonstration where "Star Wars" actor John Boyega spoke alongside Belly Mujinga's family.
JOHN BOYEGA, ACTOR: Remember this face. Remember this face.
ABDELAZIZ: To an actual result. Authorities agreed to reexamine Mujinga's death due to wider public interest. All this in a matter of days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NHS to be able to acknowledge their racism, medical racism.
ABDELAZIZ: With Black people in the U.K. four times more likely to die from coronavirus than whites and other ethnic groups, these newly- minted activists feel fighting racism is a matter of life and death.
MALLAM: We've had so many Black people dying in the United Kingdom, by the past few weeks, because they're not listening to us.
When we go out, we're protesting. We know we're at risk. We know we're putting ourselves out there. I have a little 2-year-old at home that I could -- I'm potentially putting at risk by going out and protesting. But I'm protesting because of her. That's literally why I'm protesting. I don't want her to go over the same things that we are going through on a daily basis.
ABDELAZIZ: Throughout this pandemic, Britain's Black community has suffered disproportionately in isolation. Now, as lockdown eases, their stories and grief are pouring out into the streets.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
CURNOW: Now, the Black Lives Matter movement is also spreading to France. The family of a Black Frenchman who died in police custody is also calling for nationwide protests.
The man was celebrating his 24th birthday back in 2016 when three police officers used their weight to restrain him. When he was brought to the police station, he was unconscious and could not be resuscitated. His family has refused an offer to meet with the justice minister and demanding that officers involved be held accountable. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASSA TRAORE, SISTER OF ADAMA TRAORE (through translator): A Black person or an Arab is 20 times more likely to be checked. And these are checks that, unfortunately, finish in violence and sometimes in death.
My brother died because of this check. My brother didn't have his I.D. card with him that day, and in France, when young people see the police, they're frightened and they run. The violence we need to condemn first and foremost is that of the police. Obviously, my brother died because he was Black.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: French police officers laid their equipment on the ground in protest over recent reforms. Those included a ban on controversial chokeholds. Calls for this technique to be banned during arrests are growing louder, especially after George Floyd's killing in the U.S.
More police protests against the change are expected there in France on Friday.
And just ahead, students in Hong Kong are heading back to their classrooms. But it is far from what they were used to just a few months ago. We'll find out what it's like to go back to school after a pandemic.
CURNOW: So in Hong Kong, many students are going back to school for the first time in four months. Students are having to come to terms -- I suppose the teachers, too -- with new realities in the classrooms. That includes social distancing, masks and many, many new rules.
Kristie Lu Stout shows us what it's like now.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Familiar feelings for 11-year-old Hanna on her first day back at school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- social distance learning.
STOUT: Sorry to say good-bye to her mom, excited to see the other kids and get back to doing well in class. But it's not summer break or Christmas holidays that she's had away from her teachers. Hanna's school is reopening after a pandemic shut it down.
HANNA, STUDENT: I'm very excited, but I'm annoyed that we have to wear a mask all day.
STOUT: Despite its border with mainland China, Hong Kong has come through the pandemic relatively unscathed. Like other parts of the world, social distance has been the watch word.
But here, there have been just over 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in four known deaths. When Hanna's school reopened, the territory had not recorded a case for over a week.
HANNA: The hardest part was keeping one meter away, and, like, every time you leave the room and come back in, you have to put hand sanitizer on. And some people are forgetting.
STOUT (on camera): Students here at Hong Kong's peak (ph) school are finishing up their first week back in this brave new world of socially distanced learning.
And this is what a lunchroom looks like in this type of pandemic. Once lunch begins, students will be spaced 1.5 meters apart, facing the same direction. It's the one time in the entire school day when they're allowed to take off their masks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And just sit where you are.
STOUT (voice-over): New school rules are strict. P.E. class turns a team sport, hockey, into individual practice. The kids wipe down their sticks. There is no sharing of water bottles.
Classes are separated, half in one room, half and another. The teacher uses Zoom to be in two places at once.
The toughest part is to ask kids to stay apart from one another, that according to Principal Bill Garnett, but anything to start getting things back to normal.
BILL GARNETT, HONG KONG SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Communities across Hong Kong have been waiting (ph) to have the children return, and to have them turn up on the bus and walk through the gates on Monday morning was some amazing feeling. To see -- they've all got masks on, but you could see the smiles. You could see in their cheeks and you could see in their eyes. Everyone is just elated (ph) to be back.
STOUT: But being back means bringing the worries of the world into the classroom. Some of these kids have been cooped up in notoriously small Hong Kong apartments since January, when schools decided not to return after the Chinese new year break.
GARNETT: We're confident that we've reduced the risk. You cannot eliminate the risk, and we made that point to the parents, that we've done everything we can to reduce the risk.
But you know, year ones, 5-year-olds, who want to -- going to want to hold hands when they arrive at school. So it's a bit of mitigating that risk but not -- we can't eliminate it.
STOUT: The question is, will school ever be how it was before COVID-19 hit, here at Hong Kong or anywhere?
GARNETT: Hong Kong, as a city, this is an opportunity to really show the rest of the world that you can get through this. That we are leading the way. And we can demonstrate that this is something we can do. It is possible. We can keep the children safe, and we can have them in school.
STOUT: Parents around the world wait anxiously in hope that their kids can go back to class, too, and like Hanna's school, the lessons of COVID-19 will keep them safe when they do.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
CURNOW: Well, you're watching CNN.
Still to come, museums are looking at ways to remember the coronavirus pandemic for future generations. We look at how they plan to do it and what items they want to display.
CURNOW: So the world is watching as mass demonstrations grip the U.S. from coast to coast. And now museum curators are taking it upon themselves to actually capture this moment in history.
In Washington, staff and volunteers from the Smithsonian Museum are collecting signs and artwork from the fences surrounding the White House. The museum says George Floyd's death has spurred a transformative time in U.S. history, and they want to ensure they're able to accurately document this movement for years to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON BRYANT, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE CURATOR: We had been thinking about it from the very beginning of the protests happening across the country. You know, how do we collect and tell this story?
It's really not just about today but collecting so that people can tell the story 50, 100, 200 years from now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: And museums around the world are also looking at ways to document life during COVID, during the COVID crisis. How will future generations remember this time of the pandemic? And what will it teach them?
Here's Cyril Vanier.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once- bustling city streets, sitting deserted. A conversation between generations forced to stay apart. Grocery shopping dressed in a makeshift Hazmat. A healthcare worker, clearly exhausted, on the front lines.
These are some of the images that capture a pivotal time in history as museums and cultural institutions around the globe work to document the coronavirus pandemic.
ELLEN HARRISON, HEAD OF CREATIVE PROGRAMMES & CAMPAIGNS, HISTORIC ENGLAND: It's really important for future generations they're able to look back and see what had to happen in order for us all to be safe. And I also think it's a useful way of processing some of the really difficult feelings and frustration that we all experienced.
VANIER: In late April, Historic England asked people for photos of life on lockdown, in their first call for public submissions since World War II. In one week, they received nearly 3,000 entries from around the country, illustrating an adverse collective experience.
HARRISON: We've seen a lot of rainbows. That's become a real symbol in the U.K. of a kind of solidarity within this time.
We've seen a lot of examples of people coming out to clap for carers. We've had some very lovely images of people communicating to their elderly relatives.
And really pleasingly, we've seen a real example of the kind of British sense of humor. One couple recreated the John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, but it had "stay home" messages behind it.
So it's really good to see that, even in the face of this adversity, people are still keeping their sense of humor.
VANIER: Elsewhere, curators focus not only on visual display, but physical objects iconic of an unprecedented time. MARGI HOFER, VICE PRESIDENT & MUSEUM DIRECTOR, NEW YORK HISTORICAL
SOCIETY: Certainly, a recurring object is face masks. They have become the most powerful visual symbol of the crisis.
Also, they've become a political statement, as well. Whether you decide to wear one or not can signal how you feel about the government's efforts to reopen.
And another category that is growing is objects that are made by businesses who have pivoted their production in order to serve need during the crisis.
VANIER: The New York Historical Society launched their coronavirus collection in March, starting with a single bottle of hand sanitizer. Their focus is physical artifacts of the pandemic: evidence defining a painful time that may become instructive in the future.
HOFER: Look at how we are going back to the flu pandemic of 1918 for lessons learned from that experience. You know, we look at the public health measures that were taken, and the government interventions that were taken, or not taken, for guidance on what might be the right thing to do now.
VANIER: Signage offering gloves to those who can't afford it, a playground cordoned off to keep children from gathering, computer screens used to socialize in the age of social distancing. These are the items and images that will tell the story of our unprecedented time, shaping how the world remembers the coronavirus pandemic.
Cyril Vanier, CNN.
CURNOW: I'm Robyn Curnow. We'll be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. So do stay with us.
CURNOW: Hi. Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. You are watching CNN.
So just ahead on the show, Americans are calling for change.