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Trump Defiant As Cultural Change Sweeps America; Growing Concern Over Coronavirus Resurgence In America. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 12, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

A major change is sweeping across America as President Trump appears to want to move in a different direction. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working to address demand for police reform and for fighting systemic racism.

The top House Republican coming out in support of a ban on police chokeholds and possibly renaming military bases. Louisville city council voted to ban no knock warrants after the killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police.

The president though says he wants police to dominate the streets. When mayors pushed back and said they don't want to turn their cities into police states, the president tried to change the meaning of what he'd said.

As for tackling racism, he is short on details of how he'd do it.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but we'll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots. We have to get everybody together. We have to be in the same path, I think, Pastor. If we don't do that, we'll have problems. And we'll do that. I think we're going to do it very easily. It will go quickly and it will go very easily.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Concern is also growing over a spike in coronavirus cases. 19 states seeing increases in new cases, those are the states there in red. And it's not just an increase in case numbers. Hospitalizations are up sharply in several states too. What does that mean? It means people are getting so sick, they need treatment. So it's not just asymptomatic cases, it's sick people. And all this is happening as people are returning to more regular routines.

The reaction from the Trump campaign behind the scenes is very different than what they seem to be saying in public about the risk. They're 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 get the virus at the event. Nothing makes you sound so confident about the virus going away as making people sign a waiver that they can't sue you if they get sick.

Joining us now, CNN Global Affairs Analyst Susan Glasser and CNN Political Commentator Bakari Sellers. He's the author of the new book, My Vanishing Country.

Bakari, you just heard the president talk about fighting racism and bigotry in the country and he basically said, easy peasy, it will go quickly. Your reaction.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Let me just be extremely clear. We've had racism in this country before Donald Trump and, unfortunately, we'll have it after Donald Trump. You have to have the necessary skill set of empathy, compassion and understanding to navigate through this.

And we also remember this president, we recall him saying that this virus, the coronavirus, the COVID-19 was going to be something that disappeared as well and then it popped up and we have over 100,000 individuals who have lost their life to this. So he doesn't have the best track record of negotiating and curing, remedying these viruses that are ravaging our country. But I have little faith today.

I am extremely worried though about the president going to Black Wall Street, going to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to deliver a message next week. The reason being is because you never really want an arsonist near the house when it's burning down.

CAMEROTA: What do you think is going to happen, Bakari?

SELLERS: Well, I'm afraid of the language he may use. I'm afraid of someone who, while the country is still becoming untethered on this issue of race, while we're actually beginning to have conversations that are difficult but yet necessary, I think that the president may set us back even further.

I remind you, Alisyn, that this president of the United States did not create racism. However, in places like Charlottesville, he allowed racists to take their hoods off and be proud and emboldened in their ignorance.

CAMEROTA: And to say that there were good people in the crowd.

Susan, I want to get to your article for The New Yorker that you wrote, because I love the headline, I think, it captures something so strange that happened this week. It says Trump hates losers, so why is he refighting the civil war on the losing side? Wasn't it so curious to see the president this week come out with his passionate support for these confederate generals that he seems to have, you know, great kind of fondness for?

I mean, despite the fact that they, in their day, said vile, racist things, they also were lousy, losing generals. Is this a dog whistle that is still effective today that he's using?


SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I guess my ears aren't properly tuned to it because I also didn't get it, Alisyn. Look, it's by now a familiar tactic of Donald Trump to distract from the (INAUDIBLE). Remember, earlier this week he had us all heads exploding over this extraordinary tweet in which he literally accused a septuagenarian protester of somehow wanting to smash his own head on the pavement in order to make the police look bad.

So while everybody was worked up about that, Donald Trump then decided to (INAUDIBLE) in a way that seemed to distract us by coming out and saying we're keeping confederate general's names on military bases.

First of all, he's a guy from New York, you know, and the idea the confederate flag has become sort of a weird symbol of his showing up at those rallies, remember, back in Michigan when Donald Trump was talking about liberating the states, it just seems so publicly discordant, not only because Donald Trump, clearly, is not sincere in this but, most importantly he seems to be on the wrong side even on his own party at this moment of time. He's misread the country. He's misread the politics of the moment.

And, as you pointed, out he really doesn't like losers so why is he embracing this particular set of not only losers, but traitorous losers? It's a Trump classic, I have to say.

BERMAN: I had to say, it's interesting over the last two weeks since the event at St. John's Episcopal Church, where he held up a bible. How much -- I don't know if it's a backlash, Bakari, or irrelevance, because the country seems to be moving in a direction and things seem to be happening despite what the president says and despite what the president does.

The Senate Armed Services Committee votes to rename the military bases that are named after confederate leaders in the next three years. Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, comes out and says he wants to ban chokeholds. Lady Antebellum in the country music group changing its name to Lady A because they're embarrassed by the fact that Antebellum seemed to glorify the pre-civil war slavery days.

So these changes are happening. What does it say that the president is irrelevant or not able to stop them?

SELLERS: Well, I mean, I think the president is on the wrong side of history. And this president has been on the wrong side of history before. Charlie Kirk and Donald Trump like to harken back to be a Abraham Lincoln. He even says that he's the best and greatest president since Abraham Lincoln. And the irony is that, yes, but then you champion -- then you champion these confederate generals who wanted to actually keep black enslaved. So there's a bit of intellectual dishonesty on the part of the president.

But one of the things that I can say is we have to refocus and remember, John, we have to remember why this change is occurring. Again, it's because of the death of George Floyd. It's because of eight minutes and 46 seconds with a knee to the back of his neck and now the conscience of the country has been awakened.

And so I am so excited that Rand Paul wants to ban no-knock warrants. I'm so excited with the work that Tim Scott is doing on this issue of police reform. I'm glad that Kevin McCarthy has a good idea.

And, you know, he was go forward, it's okay to work in a bipartisan fashion for the first time, even without the president's thumb on anything moving forward. He's going to sign it and he's going to get black folk around him and he's going to dance and do all of this other stuff and say that he's the reason that we got it done. Well, the fact is we know that the country is coming together not because of Donald Trump, but in spite of Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: What about that, Susan? What about those Republicans, these high-profile Republicans that Bakari just laid out from House Minority Leader from Kevin McCarthy onward to be breaking in their messaging from the president? We haven't seen it much over the past three years and the fact that they're now publicly saying things, oh, yes, I would consider renaming army bases, yes, I think we should perhaps ban police chokeholds, do you think they have decided and made the political calculus that this is not a risk for them at this time, they don't need to be on the same page as he?

GLASSER: Well, look, Alisyn, there's no question about the only thing that can come between a Republican elected official and Donald Trump are the polls and overwhelming public sentiment. And as Bakari pointed out, the country has voted on this even if Donald Trump hasn't, and the numbers are quite overwhelming. So that certainly gives Republicans cover to distance themselves from the president.

But, you know, I think I would not be too sanguine about how quick or easy this is going to be. Yesterday, you heard President Trump saying that at his opening in Dallas, essentially saying, no problem, we got this, people, laying out a completely vague and therefore kind of useless guide to his own views on what should be done, which is to say nothing much.


So -- symbolic things.

BERMAN: I think we lost Susan's audio there. I mean, clearly, the point is that it hasn't been easy. In fact, in some cases, this change has cost the blood of way too many people.

Bakari, you came out on our show as a Taylor Swift fan last week. And so I do want to drill down on the Lady Antebellum thing for a minute and talk about the cultural significance of it when you have a country music group like this come out and say, you know what? We listen, we get it, we're changing. What is the --

SELLERS: Yes. And let me just say, again, I will reiterate that it's a heel I would die on because red is a very underrated album in the Taylor Swift catalog. And Swifty's know that, okay? But the cultural challenges and what we're starting to see actually do warm my spirit. And, yes, Lady Antebellum, I don't listen as often as I probably should, but I can it will you that I watch NASCAR. I'm not far away from Darlington Motor Speedway.

And to see what Bubba Wallace has done in NASCAR, to see that NASCAR has finally banned the confederate flag. I mean, when you were going to a NASCAR event and you would go to Darlington and pull up, it was almost as if you were pulling up in the '40s or '50s or '60s with these flags that were flying robustly, people were draped in them. But to ban those flags, to make it more welcoming, to allow Bubba Wallace to actually race in a car that says, Black Lives Matter. He had about 17th fastest car but finished 11th on Wednesday night.

I mean, that is just -- you're right about the fact that cultures are changing and people are speaking up. And that is what we need more of. We need more people of like minds and good hearts. We get this question all the time. It's really driving me crazy. My wife, for instance, will be like, Bakari, what can we do? Like speak up, speak out, have some truth, have some courage. And when you see something going on that you find to be filled with bigotry, racism, xenophobia, call it out particularly amongst your friends. The culture is changing, do not be on the wrong side of history as we try to make this country better for my children and yours.

CAMEROTA: Bakari Sellers, Susan Glasser, thank you both very much.

Now to coronavirus. Nearly half of the country is seeing increases in new cases. Did some states open too early? What are the consequences? We have all that, next.



BERMAN: So this morning, 19 states seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases over the last week. Some of them breaking records daily. Alabama is one of them. The state recorded 849 new cases Thursday, that's the largest single day increase since the pandemic began. You can see the map or you can see the chart right there.

Joining us now is Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And, Dr. Marrazzo, you know, we look at the map. We can see 19 states in red now with their case numbers going up. We can look at the daily case -- new case totals in states like Texas and Florida and Arizona and you see the curve going up. Part of that is more testing, but not all of it, because hospitalizations are going up too in states, Alabama, in Texas, in Arizona. And that's of serious concern, because that gets to the fact that hospitals may run out of capacity, that people are getting sick enough to be hospitalized. What does this all tell you?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Yes, good morning, John and Alisyn. I really can't think of a better metaphor for this than Groundhog Day. It really seems like we are going back to exactly what we talked about very early in this epidemic when we were really scared about running out of the ventilators, we were scared about running out of healthcare workforce personnel. We were scared about running out of ICU beds.

And that's one of the key metrics that we need to follow as we reopen society, right? We can't just follow the positive tests, which we are doing. You're right, we are testing more but we really have to follow what comes after a positive test to know exactly what this virus is doing as we reemerge from our quarantine. That means we have to follow carefully the rates of hospitalization. We really is to follow our ICU capacity and our ventilator capacity. And we really need monitor the health and capacity of our healthcare workforce. Because if we don't have people to take care of these patients, that's when we're really going to get into trouble.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, Dr. Marrazzo, if this is some sort of Groundhog Day, you are going to run out of hospital beds and you are going to run out of ventilators and you are going to run out of protective equipment for healthcare workers. That's what we saw happening in New York before they shut it down and we all had those stay-at-home orders. So what's the plan in Alabama?

MARRAZZO: Right. Alisyn, you're absolutely right. I think the silver lining, the sort of end of the movie kind of thing is that we know how to avoid exactly the scenario that you just painted, right? We did it in New York. I mean, New York came very close to the precipice of not being able to provide the kind of care that people and patients deserve. But with very good measures, right, they were pulled back from the brink.

What I would love to see us as not having to get to that extreme of having to shut everything down again and create the ghost towns that we saw in Manhattan and many other places as a reaction to trying to stem this tide. If we can continue with the basic measures as we reopen the economy, and we know what they are. We feel like a broken record, this is part of Groundhog Day, right? Wear masks, try to be socially distant as much as you can, do the hand cleansing, don't go out if you're sick.


We actually can avoid the scenario that you just painted. It's just that people are really of hearing those messages and I understand that.

BERMAN: Do you see a political or public will to do the things that you're saying let alone the political will or public will to institute stay-at-home orders again if that's what it takes?

MARRAZZO: There are many incredible leaders who are not only crafting the policies that are needed to support these kinds of community behaviors, but who are role modeling them, right? They're get up there, they're doing press conferences, they're taking off their masks, they're talking about things, they're putting their masks on.

Our mayor, the mayor of Montgomery, who I know has been on the show, incredibly good, but we have not had that at the national level. In fact, we've had defiance of the best practices at the national level. And, again, this has been a theme for the whole pandemic, right? We have had a lack of really comprehensive national leadership and role modeling to help us chart a course out of this pandemic.

That's why we're listening to really strong local leaders who are really sitting in the driver's seat because they are responsible to their constituents who are suffering the consequences of not having that leadership at the national level. So, thank goodness for those heroes at the community level, for sure.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Marrazzo, from all the doctors have learned and every day we talk to folks like you and Sanjay Gupta who tell us what a steep learning curve it's been and just how scientists and doctors have been working overtime to try to save all of us, really. Has the disease become -- well, the virus become less deadly in the hospitals in that there are more things that people are trying? Remdesivir has been used many in some cases successfully as a treatment. Is it looking any better than it was back in March?

MARRAZZO: I would say that we've learned a ton on the management of patients who are hospitalized and a couple of really big advances. One of the early things we learned was this concept proning patients. And if you've ever seen T.V. shows with patients on ventilators, they're always flat on their backs. We now know that if you turn patients over and if you move them periodically while they're on a ventilator, you dramatically improve the function of their lungs.

The caveat with that is that it takes a lot of intensive personnel to make that happen. You can imagine, it's a complicate mechanical kind of thing in a critically ill person. So that's been a big advance.

The remdesivir story is a cautiously beneficial advance, it's not perfect. The problem is we've run out of remdesivir right now in the State of Alabama. The distribution of the drug has been problematic and it's also just not in great supply.

So you mentioned that we had 800 new cases yesterday, our hospitals are full, particularly in Montgomery. The ICUs there are really full and we don't have the only drug that we think can really help people who are in the most dire situation.

CAMEROTA: That is not a promising note to end on but we really appreciate you, Dr. Marrazzo, and thanks always for coming on with such good information for us.

MARRAZZO: Absolutely. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, coronavirus cases are also surging across Latin America. The region now accounts for more than a third of new infections in the world. CNN has reporters around the world covering all the latest for you.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City. Region of Latin America and the Caribbean is now reporting more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the virus for the first time since this outbreak began. Around 1.3 million of those cases come from just four countries, Brazil with the most by far followed up by Peru, then Chile, and then here in Mexico.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean in London, where there are early results from the British government's efforts to trace the contacts of every person who tests positive for the coronavirus. In the first week of its new contact tracing system, the government tracked down more than 26,000 people and told them to self-isolate because they had been in contact with one of about 8,000 people who had tested positive for the virus.

The system is far from perfect though. About a third of those who tested positive either couldn't be reached or didn't provide any contacts to the government. The health secretary though says the system will be key to gradually lifting coronavirus restrictions.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman in Rome, where, Friday, prosecutors were questioning Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other senior officials about their conduct in the early phases of the coronavirus outbreak. A group of people whose relatives died from the virus filed 50 complaints with the prosecutor's office in the northern City of Bergamo accusing the government of being late and imposing lockdowns.


The prime minister, however, says he's not at all worried, in his words, about the questioning.

BERMAN: Our thanks to our reporters around the world.

We want to remember some of the more than 113,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. Jose Alex Vellez Vega (ph) was an Army specialist and later became a police officer who served as a first responder on 9/11. He proudly retired in 2004. Vega (ph) dedicated his life to providing the best for his family. He and his wife shared two daughters, a son and two grandchildren. He was 65 years old.

Ruthie Saab spent last of the last three decades as a dedicated employee of the New Jersey Department of Labor. She was also a regular volunteer with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, making sure that others were fed. She survived by her daughter, Ashley, and grandson, Malachi (ph).

Reverend Clarence Sickles led St. John's Episcopal Church of Hackettstown, New Jersey, since 1953. He also helped create a non- profit and retirement community to ensure seniors could live their final days in dignity. The 18 that worked with Sickles was so moved by him, that on his final day, they sat around him as he passed because his family couldn't be there. Sickles and his wife share eight children, 13 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren.

We'll be right back.