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Trump Defiant as Cultural Change Sweeps America; Growing Concern Over COVID-19 Resurgence in America; RNC Moves Convention to Florida; Trump Doubles Down on Threats to Intervene in Seattle Protests. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 12, 2020 - 06:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You're seeing Republicans and Democrats try to hammer out some kind of answer for the demands for police reform. There is an executive order in the works at the White House.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The idea that someone would have a chokehold when somebody is handcuffed or others, there should be severe consequences.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We will not rest until it becomes the law. We will not rest until the changes are made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By October 1, they now project that nearly 170,000 Americans will be dead, killed by COVID.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: We are seeing the appearance of additional infections, particularly in the areas that are opening.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, June 12. It's 6 a.m. here in New York.

And this morning we wake up to a new list of changes, big changes taking place across the country. Changes that have been decades and decades in the making. Changes that now seem to be coming in a wave in just weeks.

A Republican-led Senate panel approved a plan to remove Confederate names from military bases. Louisville voted to ban no-knock warrants, blamed for Breonna Taylor being fatally shot by police.

More and more members of Congress, including the top House Republican, are coming out in support on a ban on police chokeholds. The country group Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A, saying

they're embarrassed they did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word "antebellum," referring to the period before the Civil War, which includes slavery.

Big political and cultural shifts, huge movement. But one person seems to be mostly standing still, the president. While he says fixing racism will be easy, he's not a major player in the changes being discussed, and in some cases, stands in outright opposition.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And then, John, also this morning, concern over a spike in coronavirus cases. Nineteen states are now seeing increases in new cases, and hospitalizations are up sharply in several states as more Americans try to get back to their regular routines.

And the reaction from the Trump campaign behind the scenes is very different than what they're saying in public about the risk. They are making anyone who wants to attend the president's campaign rally next week in Oklahoma sign a waiver, vowing not to sue the Trump campaign if they contract the virus at the event.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live for us at the White House.

Good morning, Joe.


The president did indicate that he will sign an executive order on policing, but the big takeaway from the White House this morning is that, while many localities around the country, even some members of the president's own party up on Capitol Hill, appear to be embracing broad change, the president appears to be putting on the brakes and, in the process, could endanger himself and make himself irrelevant in the larger conversation about systemic racism in the U.S.



JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump dismissing the challenges of combating racism in the United States, telling this to a Dallas roundtable.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear. We have to get everybody together. We have to be in the same -- same path. I think if we don't do that we have problems. And we'll do that. We'll do it. I think we're going to do it very easily. It will go quickly.

JOHNS: Trump only giving broad outlines of what the White House might actually do without providing many details, including --

TRUMP: We were working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force.

JOHNS: -- and also explaining his earlier comments that governors should use the National Guard to dominate the streets against protesters.

TRUMP: And they said, Oh, that's such a terrible thing. Well, guess what? You know who dominated the streets? People that you don't want to dominate the streets. We're doing it with compassion, if you think about it. We're dominating the street with compassion.

JOHNS: The president's statement as demonstrations continue for the 17th day against police brutality.





JOHNS: And nearly two weeks after peaceful protesters near the White House were gassed and attacked to make way for this Trump photo op.

Meantime, on Capitol Hill, while lawmakers debate a police reform bill introduced by congressional Democrats, the highest-ranking Republican in the House says he supports a national ban on police chokeholds.

MCCARTHY: The idea of someone that would have a chokehold when somebody is handcuffed and others, there should be severe consequences.

JOHNS: Now a Senate panel also moving forward to remove the names of Confederate leaders from military use, including bases. While the White House says Trump stands by a stance against doing so.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He takes it personally offensive. The president will not stand for that.

JOHNS: The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee is planning to move ahead with the changes.

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): I agree with the president that we don't want to forget our history. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that we should continue with those bases with the names of individuals who fought against our country.


JOHNS: The president heads off to give the commencement address to the U.S. military academy at West Point this weekend at a time when there are new questions about this president's relationship with the United States military. Also questions about large gatherings in the time of coronavirus.

Back to you, Alisyn. CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much.

Also, developing overnight, the Republican National Committee announcing that President Trump has officially moved much of the RNC out of North Carolina.

President Trump will accept the GOP nomination in Jacksonville, Florida. This, after North Carolina's governor refused to change the state's coronavirus restrictions.

Florida is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. More than 1,000 new cases have been reported almost every day for the last week.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live near Orlando, Florida, with more. Rosa, what's the latest?


According to Governor Ron DeSantis, the uptick is due to outbreaks in agricultural communities in counties like Collier and Palm Beach, where according to the governor, some areas have seen up to 50 percent of people there test positive for the coronavirus.


Now, despite that uptick, like you mentioned, a portion of the RNC will be hosted here in the state of Florida. And despite that uptick, Governor Ron DeSantis is recommending that schools reopen in the fall.

A reporter asked him yesterday how he was recommending that and how he expected to reopen schools safely given the uptick, and the governor said that hospitalizations in Florida are flat and that risks to children are low. And then he said this. Take a listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (D-FL): The majority of our fatalities, May, late April, May, and into June, have been long-term care. The No. 1 age cohort for fatalities have been age 85 and above.


FLORES: And we checked, and according to the Florida Department of Health, of the nearly 2,900 deaths, more than 50 percent are linked to nursing homes.

And when we look around the country, 19 states are reporting an upward trajectory, including some of the first states to reopen around the country, including Texas, seeing an increase in hospitalizations for the past two weeks; and also in Arizona, but the governor there saying that, despite the uptick, he is not recommending the reinstating of economic restrictions -- John.

BERMAN: Yea, and, again, what concerns me most is the increase in hospitalizations in many of these states. More and more people getting sick and needing treatment. Rosa Flores for us in Florida, thank you very much.

So overnight, new threats from President Trump to intervene in the protests in Seattle. Seattle's mayor firing back, saying the president's threat is not only unwelcome, but illegal.

CNN's Dan Simon live in Seattle. It's just after 3 in the morning there. Dan, I understand there are still -- I can see them -- some people on the streets.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, several people on the streets, John. We are in the heart of the occupation zone, or the autonomous zone as protesters have called it.

You can see the police department behind me. You can see that it's totally been defaced. You see the Seattle People Department there on the sign. You can see windows have been boarded up.

Officers made the decision on Monday to evacuate this area, to leave their own station to try to de-escalate some of the tension that had existed between protesters and officers.

Now, since that happened, it seems to have had its intended effect. We've seen peaceful demonstrations on the street. But you do have, of course, President Trump, who has issued these fiery tweets, saying that the city and that the state need to reclaim this area. The mayor of Seattle responding to the president's rhetoric. Take a look.


MAYOR JENNY DURKAN (D), SEATTLE: We've got four blocks in Seattle that you saw pictures of that is more like a block party atmosphere. It's not an armed takeover. It's not a military junta.

The chief of police was in that precinct today with her command staff, looking and assessing on operational plans.

What the president threatened is illegal and unconstitutional; and the fact that he can think he can just tweet that and not have ramifications is just wrong.


SIMON: Now, one thing that needs to be addressed is, according to the chief of the police department, as the result of officers leaving that station, response time for people who live in this precinct has tripled, but there seems to be no strategy in place at the moment in terms of when or how officers will get back into that station -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Dan Simon for us in the middle of that autonomous zone. Dan, please keep us posted as the morning there moves on.

So think of everything that's happened in this country since the White House pushed aside protesters so the president could have that photo op at a church with a Bible. Think of how much has backfired on him. Military leaders speaking out. Republicans going against him on major policy shifts. Attempts at dividing not working. Why?



BERMAN: So this morning the national reckoning over America's racist legacy is growing, but President Trump seems to be digging in, denying the existence of systemic racism and voicing opposition to the removal of Confederate symbols.

Joining us now, CNN political commentators Angela Rye and Errol Louis. Angela is the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The president is in a different place than America is right now. When you see the cultural shifts that have happened over the last 24 hours, and we listed off a few, when you see the policy shifts in Congress, including among Republicans, you know, in the Senate Republicans calling for the removal of Confederate names from military bases, the president stands in opposition.

And Errol, you say he risks something even more, which is irrelevance. Explain.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. Look, the -- the ground is shifting underneath the president. The race for re-election that he was expecting to run has gone in a different direction, and he's going to have to adapt.

The reality is, day after day, night after night, including on the president's favorite cable station, which happens not to be this channel, they are not talking about Donald Trump. They are not talking about his re-election. They are not talking about the things that he thinks will make him look good and help his re-election.

In fact, they're talking about something completely different, something unprecedented. They're talking about things like the North Carolina legislature, where both the upper and the lower House are actually passing, unanimously, criminal justice reforms that they had not even considered in a year.

Things are moving. It happens once in a while. You know, this kind of crept up, I think, on a lot of us. Nobody expected 1968 to kind of break out in front of us in the middle of this pandemic, but here it is.

And the president is no longer dominating the news cycles. The -- the president is no longer sort of taking the lead when it comes to figuring out how to get out of this major crisis.


So just as he sort of faded to the background when it comes to response to the pandemic, he's no longer in the lead when it comes to this response and this national conversation on policing, of which he's really not a part. And so it doesn't work for anybody who's running for re-election to

not be part of the main national conversation. For this president in particular, it's a real challenge. He's behind in the polls, and he's got to get back into the game. I think he feels a little frustrated that he's not able to do so right now.

CAMEROTA: Angela, have you been surprised by what you've seen over the past week, in terms of Republicans breaking with, a least, the president's messaging?

The idea that the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, would be willing to say out loud that, yes, he's willing to consider changing the names of Army bases after President Trump explicitly and, it seemed, passionately felt that, no, they should never be changed, because they are such a great part of America's heritage, these that are named after Confederate leaders, have you been surprised by the shift in Republicans' stance?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, Alisyn, I wish that I could say that I was surprised. But sometimes the people speak louder than donors. Sometimes the people, as a whole, speak louder than this country's racist, white supremacist past.

And what I would tell you is the shift in Republican leadership, the shift in the Senate and the House, is not significant enough. So I am so pleased that they are finally breaking with the president, but I think that they have no choice.

This is an era that we find ourselves in that is so -- so unique, where people cannot turn a blind eye to white supremacy, to racism, to oppressive systems in the ways in which they have in the past.

And to Errol's point, yes, it does feel, I'm sure, at least from everything that I've seen, from everything that I've heard from my parents and from my parents' friends, that this is very similar to 1968.

But I hope one of the things that will be different about this moment, in particular, is that we have to do something broad, sweeping, that will last for generations, as well. That we understand this is not a time just to pack -- pass, as you just talked about Kevin McCarthy, at least in passing.

It's not just the no-chokeholds bill. It's not just, you know, turning on a body camera moment. This is actually a moment, Alisyn, that calls for Congress and the House and the Senate, that calls for the people to really consider sweeping legislation like a Civil Human And Economic Rights Act, because the systems that have held us back are not just one. They were rooted, engrained, and engrained into this country's history; and we see it every single day. So it has to be something big to change it.

BERMAN: It seems to me what's happening -- and I mentioned this before -- is that the silent majority, which people have always referred to, this invisible hand of what the public really wants, you know, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, maybe it was law and order. Maybe it was. But now, if it exists, it's a silent majority that wants change, that wants reform, that is calling out for forms of racial justice.

And you see all these political figures acknowledging that, and you see culturally it happening too.

Look, I don't happen to be a giant country music fan, but I know who Lady Antebellum is, the group. And this may seem like a small thing, but I think it's a big thing because of what it represents. They changed the name.

And just put up the statement quickly, if you can. I read part of it. I can't read print that small, because I'm too damn old now. But basically, what they said, Errol, is that they're embarrassed that their name, Antebellum, conjures up, literally, refers to the period before the war, before the Civil War when slavery existed. They're embarrassed by it, and they want to be known as Lady A now. That's a big deal.


LOUIS: That is a big deal. And the reality is there are people like this group that have -- it is their business to have their finger on the pulse of where the culture is going, of where the young people are going. And people are going to ratify that choice every day by downloading and streaming and purchasing concert tickets and so forth.

And this is the ground that's shifting that you really can't change with a couple of policies, right? This is not something that is going to be fought out on the floor of the Senate or the House of Representatives. This is the whole culture changing.

And it's, in some ways, analogous to what we've seen with same-sex marriage. It was impossible. It was impossible. It was impossible, until it was normal.

And the shifts like this don't come along very often, but when they do, it puts a politician like Donald Trump in a very difficult position.

You can fight against an opponent. It's very hard to fight against a movement. It's even harder to fight against a cultural shift. And, you know, that's the task for him.


We should mention, by the way, as we talk about 1968, the winner in that presidential year was Richard Nixon. So this -- movements give rise to counter movements, and so we should expect a lot more turbulence between now and the end of the year.

CAMEROTA: In terms of the alacrity with which things have moved, Angela, the Louisville City Council in Kentucky last night, 26-0, voted to end no-knock warrants. I don't even know if many of us knew that there was such a thing as a no-knock warrant until Breonna Taylor Breonna Taylor was killed.

So you know, obviously, it is heart-breaking that this special young woman lost her life, but now this is a household word; and they did the right thing yesterday.

RYE: Yes, so Breonna's -- Breonna's Law was passed. And I think with the backdrop that just last week Rand Paul refused to vote in favor of an anti-lynching bill in the United States Senate speaks volumes.

It is an amazing thing that this law was passed and so quickly in Louisville, Kentucky.

But the flag that I would offer you all is that, as we celebrate that progress, Breonna Taylor's killers are still on the streets. They are placed on administrative leave. They have still not been arrested. They shot 20 times into her home. She received eight of those bullets and was killed.

Under any other circumstance, if there was a -- a citizen that did that, they would be arrested. And so we have to remember that, as times are shifting, as change -- as change comes, that we still need justice, that we still need to be from under the thumb of oppression. Or as Reverend Sharpton talked about, it's time for America to get -- to get its knee off our backs.

We have to have that safety and security. This under the backdrop the Donald Trump talking about law and order, which when I hear, I hear shoot to kill. Right? We have to start reckoning with all of these things and understand that progress is coming, but for so many, progress has to come a lot quicker for us to survive.

BERMAN: Yes. The president says dominate the streets with compassion, which sounds like the world's worst James Taylor song. Shower the people you love with pepper spray.

RYE: Yes.

BERMAN: Errol Louis, Angela Rye, thanks for being with us this morning. Appreciate the discussion.

RYE: Thank you both.

BERMAN: Coronavirus cases spiking in states across the country. Is Texas already experiencing a second wave? Our next guest says yes.



CAMEROTA: Here's a snapshot of where coronavirus cases are in the country this morning. Nineteen states, the ones that you see in red and orange there, are seeing an increase in new cases. Twenty-three states, those in green, that you see are seeing a decline.

Joining us now is Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

You are in Houston, Texas, Dr. Hotez, we should say, because Texas is one of the states that is seeing a spike right now. And you think that it may be a second wave that is already under way? DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: So thanks for having me back, Alisyn.

Yes, there's been a pretty sharp increase in the number of cases here in Texas, particularly in Houston, where we're seeing not only a big increase in the number of cases, but it's backed up by the fact that we're seeing a lot of hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions.

The reason I say that is it tends to make this -- debunks the idea that this is due to increased testing or something else. This is for real.

I think what happened was we began opening up Texas throughout the month of May, and even though the models, like the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said we should keep it shut down until early June. We opened it up about a month early, and now we're seeing this new spike.

I don't know that it's a second wave so much as version 1.2, meaning that we never really finished the first wave, but now it's on a steep increase.

So I'm very worried we're seeing this rise in Dallas, we're seeing it in Houston, we're seeing it in Austin. And so I think this is going to be a very tough next few weeks for the state of Texas, as well as some of our other states nearby. Arkansas's pretty bad and Arizona, where the projection there look positively apocalyptic. So I'm really concerned.

BERMAN: Yes. And just so people can see a little bit of a micro level here, we can show people Dallas County and Harris County in Texas, where the number of new cases -- that's obviously where the city of Houston and the city of Dallas are, you can see the number of cases there rising very quickly. I mean, very quickly.

And as you say, though, this isn't just about more testing. This is about more people in the hospital sick, so sick that they need to be hospitalized.

And it doesn't even reflect yet, Dr. Hotez, the demonstrations we saw. People out on the streets protesting, not social distancing necessarily, so we could see even more from that.

What's to be done? What can be done slow this down? Because I'm not sure you're going to see cities reenacting stay-at-home orders.

HOTEZ: Well, so you put your finger on it, John. This is the big issue, is will anybody have the political appetite to reimplement social distancing?

But that may be what we have to do. I don't -- I don't know -- we can certainly expand our public health infrastructure a lot more than we are in terms of contact tracing, in terms of testing.

We also need to implement some systems where we can identify spikes in fever cases and using an app-based system. Some people call it syndromic surveillance.

So there's definitely some wiggle room to improve our public health infrastructure. But the bottom line is I still think those numbers are going to increase.