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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Trump Reschedules Tulsa Rally 'Out Of Respect' For Juneteenth; Trump To Deliver Commencement Address At West Point; Rate Of New Coronavirus Cases Trending Up In 19 States; CDC Predicts 130,000 Coronavirus Deaths By July 4; Eighteenth Night Of Protests In U.S. Over George Floyd's Death; Starbucks To Now Allow Workers To Wear Black Lives Matter Apparel At Work; College Athletes Take On Social Justice At Their Schools. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired June 13, 2020 - 06:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful sunrise there. Good morning to you. Hope that you're doing well on this Saturday. We're always glad to have you. Listen, this morning there is a message from the health officials that the coronavirus pandemic is not over. There's concern about several states reporting a growing number of new cases and the CDC reiterating this morning their latest guidelines, including to stay apart from others, wear face coverings and try not to share objects.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, despite that guidance from his administration, the president still plans to hold a rally next weekend, but he now says that he will push back this event in Tulsa, Oklahoma by a single day. Of course that's after criticism that it was set for June 19th. Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.. Let's go to Washington now. CNN's Sarah Westwood is with us. So what's the president saying about this decision to push that rally back?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, good morning, Victor and Christi. And yes, President Trump announcing in a tweet late last night that he had decided to move the date of his rally, his first post-pandemic rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In those series of tweets, the president saying that he received a lot of outreach from his African- American friends and supporters encouraging him to move the date out of respect for the Juneteenth holiday.

The backlash, by the way, was not just over the fact that the president selected that particular date for his first post-pandemic rally, but also because of the location because that was, of course, the site in 1921 of a place where African-Americans were murdered in a racist rally. So that is something that had also caused some consternation for people who saw the president selecting that date.

Rally attendees also, by the way, have been asked if they are to get tickets through the campaign to basically sign away liability for the Trump campaign if they contract COVID-19 because of course risks still exist to gathering in large groups, such as at a rally, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: So Sarah, we know that the president's going to be speaking at West Point today -- well, to West Point graduates. Very different look for a speech like this during a pandemic that we're living in right now, but what do we expect to hear from the president?

WESTWOOD: That's right. It'll be a socially distant commencement ceremony up at West Point today, the president heading there from his Bedminster Resort. Now, the second lieutenants who are graduating today, they will be wearing masks, seated at eight-foot intervals apart from each other, it'll be an outdoor ceremony and instead of being handed a diploma, they will be doing a salute, so there won't be contact among people. Their families also won't be able to attend. They'll have to watch this on a live stream.

But this all comes as, again, there are still risks that the president's own public health officials are warning about when it comes to gathering in small groups. I want you to hear what Dr. Anthony Fauci had to say about the risk that still exists when people gather.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you're in a large crowd, if you have the congregation of people that are much, much close to each other, you definitely increase the risk that you will either acquire or spread infections and I've said there are some people that are going to do that anyway no matter what I say, but the issue is if they do, please wear a mask all the time because the mask will give you some protection. The best thing to do is to avoid crowded areas, but if you're not going to do that, please wear a mask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, one person who won't be in attendance today is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley who apologized on Thursday for appearing on the streets during protests in military fatigues. He said that leant the perception that the military was involved in domestic politics and it's unclear if, today, the president will respond to Milley's apology. Milley will have a taped address to the second lieutenants today, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Sarah Westwood, always good to have you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's discuss this now with CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis, also a political anchor at "Spectrum News" and host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, it's been a minute. Good to see you.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is. Good to see you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So let's start here with the announcement from the campaign of this push back of the rally in Tulsa announced on Wednesday, rescheduled Friday. What's the significance of the postponement?

LOUIS: I think it's a wise move on the part of the campaign, in part because, thanks to social media and news outlets like CNN, the whole world was being made aware that this was the anniversary of the Tulsa riots, that this was a place where -- if people wanted to bring a lot of attention and a lot of protests, this would be the place to do it. That would certainly spoil exactly the kind of image that the campaign wanted to portray and so the easiest thing to do would be to just move it by a day, which is apparently what they decided to do last night.

BLACKWELL: And the Trump campaign, the president especially, has long wanted to get back to these rallies, but former vice president, now the presumptive nominee for the Democrats, has not had one of these massive nominee-in-waiting rallies.

[06:05:10]

He won Michigan on March 10th. The next day, he started canceling events. What's the practical advantage that the president gets by going back to these arenas and stadiums with 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 people?

LOUIS: Well, look, it's a -- it's a -- it's a very practical kind of maneuver. If you look at where Tulsa lies, it's not far from Kansas, people from Texas, if you want to drive, you could get over there from Arkansas.

It's a way to touch a number of different markets all at the same time and believe me, the president arriving and talking to a cheering stadium filled with supporters is the biggest news that's going to have happened in Tulsa for quite a while. So it ends up doing really a lot of work, politically speaking, all at once and so you can't really beat that kind of free publicity. That's what they're really after.

The other thing that goes on, and we saw this pioneered by President Obama, what you see, Victor, is that while you're in the arena, it's a great place for the campaign to, what they call, harvest people's phone numbers, e-mails, other kinds of contacts. There's something Obama used to do where he'd ask everybody to hold up their cell phone and text a friend right there on the spot and so you could actually reach, you know, 10,000 or 20,000 people in addition to whoever is sitting there in the stadium.

So these are very potent, very practical ways to advance a campaign and that's why the president, despite the advice of some public health experts, is really pushing to make these things happen.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We should point out that the president's going to Oklahoma, but then also announced North Carolina, Florida, Texas and Arizona. Every one of those states has reported a single-day-high of new cases in the last week, several of them reporting that just yesterday. We've run out of time. Errol Louis, thanks so much for being with us.

LOUIS: Thank you. PAUL: Well, right now coronavirus cases are spiking in several states and that's prompted a lot of those states to delay their reopening plans.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So yesterday, the U.S. reported more than 25,000 new cases. That's a consistent, give or take, number that we've seen for a while. Another 851 people died. Last night, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned states to rethink their reopening strategies if they see an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Let's go now to CNN's Polo Sandoval. Polo, Dr. Fauci says don't ignore the guidelines here. Hind of flush out what else did he say. It's been a while since we've heard from him.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A big part of it here, Victor, is the numbers and they are telling. They suggest that the virus is still spreading, particularly here in New York, for example, even though the infections rate continues to be relatively low and steady, but look, as we heard from New York's top health officials say yesterday, they will be banning any overnight children's camps here in New York state. As he said last night, the risk is still too high.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: Dr. Anthony Fauci with a new warning for Americans as coronavirus case counts are rising in 19 states.

FAUCI: If you leapfrog over different phases, you increase the risk that you're going to have the kind of resurgences that we're seeing in certain of the states.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Has the United States stalled in the fight against coronavirus?

FAUCI: I'm not so sure we can say it stalled, but what we're seeing right now is something obviously that's disturbing.

SANDOVAL: With more people congregating in public places, recent protests for racial justice in major cities and the lack of a vaccine, experts are concerned.

RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: We're in the early days of the pandemic and if only 5 or 10 percent of the population has had this infection, we have a really long way to go.

SANDOVAL: Since Memorial Day, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations has gone up in at least a dozen states according to data CNN collected from the COVID Tracking Project from May 25th to June 9th. North Carolina has seen the most cases reported in one day since the pandemic began. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper said in a press conference Friday, South Carolina has seen a large increase in daily new cases. On Thursday, the state saw its single largest daily increase since the pandemic started. Florida's average new case count had about doubled since June 1st.

RON DESANTIS, (R) GOVERNOR, FLORIDA: As you're testing more, you're going to find more cases. SANDOVAL: And Governor Ron DeSantis says there are new outbreaks in farming communities. In Houston, Texas, they're prepping a field hospital at the Texans NRG Stadium just in case COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Texas just hit an all-time high. In Arkansas, a record number of COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours.

[06:10:00]

ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBRAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: If things continue on the current trend, we're going to lose 20,000 to 30,000 Americans a month and nothing in the foreseeable future stops that unless we really do things differently.

SANDOVAL: Dr. Fauci cautioning states on Friday to rethink their reopening strategies if they see increases in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

FAUCI: Wait a minute. Let's rethink this and see where we're going. Maybe we need to slow down a little. Maybe we need to intensify our capabilities to identify isolated contact trace. We don't want it to get out of hand again.

SANDOVAL: Oregon and Utah have paused their reopenings and California's Orange County relaxing its strict mandate for face coverings. Neighboring L.A. County, which recorded its highest single- day increase this week, moved into phase three. Gyms, day camps and TV film production are among the businesses reopening. All of Missouri will be open next week and concerts and conventions can resume in Georgia July 1st. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, officials at the CDC are reiterating the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings in public and washing hands frequently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: With the first of week of phase one reopening already behind us here in New York, the next big test will come later this month. As we heard from Mayor Bill DeBlasio say yesterday, we may not know for another week or so whether or not the wave of protests that we saw potentially led to any resurge of the virus here. So in the meantime, what we keep hearing from health officials here, Victor and Christi, is if you participate in these protests, get tested just in case.

PAUL: That's a good point. Polo Sandoval, always good to see you. Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: Some breaking news. This is coming to us from Texas. At least eight people have been shot here in an incident in San Antonio. This happened last night outside of two bars. This is what we know from police. A group was denied entry into one of the bars.

A man then walked to his car, we're told, and then pulled out a rifle and started shooting. Police also say that the man said that he was a UFC fighter from California. No name released and we know that police are still looking for that shooter. They say, though, that there is no threat currently to that area. If we get more, we of course will bring that to you. No reports of any fatalities of those who were shot. PAUL: So the CDC released some new predictions regarding the number of U.S. coronavirus deaths by the 4th of July. That's just three weeks away and it's prompting federal health officials to release some new guidelines. We're going to talk about that and more with Dr. Saju Mathew.

BLACKWELL: And after facing that backlash on social media, Starbucks will now allow its employees to wear t-shirts and pins and buttons that support the Black Lives Matter movement. We'll talk about how corporations are struggling, some would say, to address the calls for racial justice.

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[06:15:00]

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PAUL: Want to show you some live pictures here out of Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth holding her official birthday celebration today. Her first birthday ceremony was back in April actually and it was cancelled, of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that. A lot of things being canceled here. So typically the Queen has a couple of celebrations a year, two, and this, you're looking at, is one of them. She is 94-years-old.

So federal health officials are renewing their calls to wear face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus. Here's why. Yesterday, the CDC urged organizers of large gatherings that might involve singing or chanting to strongly encourage the use of cloth face masks to lower the risk of spreading the virus because the CDC predicts the U.S. will reach 130,000 deaths by the 4th of July. Really absorb that. That's just three weeks from now.

CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Saju Mathew, a primary care physician and public health specialist, is with us.

Hi, Dr. Mathew. Good morning. It's so good to see you.

SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: So I wanted to ask you about this new guidance from the CDC and the thing is there are a lot of people, just to give us some clarity here, who say, listen, in the beginning of this, doctors told us we didn't need to wear masks. Now we're telling we do. What has changed? Help give us some clarity there.

MATHEW: Yes. So Christi, there's definitely more data, it seems like, every day, every week that confirms how important it is to just wear a cloth mask over your face and nose and the reason is -- it's interesting. Back in China when they first attacked the virus, they did all the mitigation efforts all at once, social distancing, hand- washing and wearing a mask.

When that virus traveled to Europe and then to America, we actually did the mitigation efforts at different times. We did not do all of this at the same time and now studies have shown that in New York City, once they almost mandated the wearing of masks, that that potentially prevented 60,000 people from getting infected and really when you think about why the mask is key, it makes so much sense.

When you're socially distancing yourself from people or washing your hands, you're decreasing contact transmission, not airborne transmission. Well, guess what the mask does. It does both. It prevents the droplets from being transmitted in the air and also prevents contact transmission as well.

PAUL: OK. So I want to talk to you as well about something that Dr. Fauci told to our own Wolf Blitzer yesterday regarding treatments for COVID versus a vaccine. Let's listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[06:20:01] FAUCI: There is a better chance timewise of having something that can help in the regard to treatment before we actually have the capability of distributing a safe and effective vaccine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So he mentioned that he had some confidence in Remdesivir, the drug that we've heard could be optimal here, also another treatment that's used to fight Ebola. Do you believe a treatment will come before a vaccine and if so, what might that look like?

MATHEW: I agree with Dr. Fauci. And by the way, it was so nice to hear him after a long time. I think that if you -- if you really look at a new virus like COVID-19 that is highly contagious and lethal at the same time, and that's what makes this respiratory virus so difficult to control, when you develop a vaccine, unfortunately you're developing a vaccine against a new virus, a virus that the body doesn't really know how to attack.

So that can be difficult and I -- and I hate to be a pessimist, but most vaccine trials fail. However, if you use old drugs, it's almost like old drugs, but new tricks. Remdesivir has been on the market for so long. Initially it was studied to treat hepatitis C and then Ebola and the way that this antiviral drug works is that it works in a basic mechanism where it can attack all viruses, not specifically one virus. So that's why I think that it's easier for researchers to look at a drug that's already on the market and say listen, how could this potentially work against COVID-19? And Remdesivir is showing some promise.

PAUL: OK. And when we talk about the virus, there's some new information from researchers in Florida this morning who say that COVID has mutated and it's mutated in a way that makes the virus more infectious, they say, that the mutation gives the virus more spikes and that those spikes are more stable for the virus, therefore making it easier to get into the cells of people and we're hearing this after the WHO just last week said mutations did not make it more easily transmissible. So how legitimate, in your opinion, is the -- is the Florida research and if it's true, what does that mean? MATHEW: Yes. So it's just a new observation, if you will, by few scientists. It's not been peer reviewed by a larger group of researchers and that's where the credibility will come. You know, look, Christi, we've known that this virus has two strains, the strain that was in China that was not as transmissible or contagious and then as that virus traveled to Europe and America, it mutated.

And you know, I definitely don't want our viewers to panic. A virus like COVID-19 that replicates so quickly like a cancer cell in the body will mutate. The big question is has that mutation made it unstable to where a vaccine will be difficult to produce and that is where the big question is going to be, not necessarily that the virus mutates. We know that the virus is absolutely going to mutate.

PAUL: OK. And also, you know, we were told at the beginning of this -- I'm trying to get some clarity on all the different things we've heard -- that perhaps there would be a lull in this virus during the summer because the warm temperatures, viruses can't always live well in warm temperatures, but we're seeing spikes in Arizona which has triple digits right now, in California, in Texas. So what do you make of whether temperatures really have any effect on this virus and if -- and if they don't, what does that tell you about this virus as opposed to others that we know about?

MATHEW: Well, we know, Christi, that there's definitely been some seasonality to the COVID-19 for sure. That doesn't mean that the heat is going to render this virus, you know, invisible or ineffective or not lethal. We know that all of that is not true, but there's definitely been some quietening of the virus in the -- in the heat, but again, just like most virologists will say, that is absolutely not going to be true.

Now, in the fall when we're expecting that surge, when it's going to be cooler temperatures and now we're going to be dealing with both COVID-19 and the flu and to me that is a time period that worries me the most because we're having to deal with two viruses at the same time and we may not have a vaccine against COVID-19.

And I also think like Dr. Fauci mentioned, Christi, that we need to be very careful when we open up a state and we should also be willing, as I tweeted the other day, to pull the brakes if we have to.

PAUL: OK. I only have a couple of seconds, but I have to get this in. If there's a second wave, how prepared are we to deal with that, with PPE, with ventilators? What do you know?

MATHEW: We've already learnt many lessons, Christi, with 100,000 people that we've lost already and we need to put those lessons into play and make sure that our hospitals are fully equipped, that health workers are safe, that they're healthy and that's the bottom line and we also need to let science drive us to decide when we should open and when we should pull back, but I think we are better prepared, but we have to put all of that into action.

[06:25:08]

PAUL: OK. Dr. Saju Mathew, always great to have you with us with your expertise. Thank you so much.

MATHEW: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: So you've probably received the e-mails or seen the social media posts from companies big and small affirming that black lives matter. OK. Well, then what? Well, our next guest explains what you should look for to determine if that's real or if it's just marketing.

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BLACKWELL: Now, for the 18th night, protesters were marching, demonstrating across the country, demanding policing reforms and an end to systemic racial injustice.

[06:30:00]

PAUL: In Miami, Florida, a non-violent march to the courthouse downtown, and there was some protesters on Interstate 95, look at this, they were blocking a bridge there. There was a brief standoff with law enforcement.

They were taken to Chicago here, protesters sang hymns as you can hear there, called for the creation of a civilian council to keep police accountable. And in Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed when an officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, protesters are demanding the head of the police union resign. All three cities, and at least 17 others are banning choke-holds in policing after the Floyd incident.

And let's talk about Starbucks there reversing the decision and will allow now employees to wear items supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Starbucks has also designed a T-shirt for its employees to wear, expressing solidarity during this historic time. The company has publicly supported the movement, but there were some backlash after prohibiting its workers from doing the same through wardrobe, through their T-shirts and pins.

Starbucks is one of a lot of companies that have struggled to address how to respond to these calls for justice across the country. With me now is Rashad Robinson; president of Color of Change. Rashad, welcome back.

RASHAD ROBINSON, PRESIDENT, COLOR OF CHANGE: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start here. After getting slammed on social media for this ban, this is part of the statement, the letter to employees that Starbucks sent out. We trust you to do what's right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.

It's -- I'll let people interpret the letter from Starbucks. But is this an unfortunate misstep for a company trying to do what's right or is this something more? ROBINSON: I think this is something more. This is systemic. I mean,

this is not the first time I think you and I have talked about Starbucks on air. And I think that this speaks to who is making the decision at Starbucks. What is their process? How do their underlying values track back to how they sort of move decisions out into the world. And so companies will say black lives matter, but how are they actually making black lives matter?

By I mean, ensuring that their leadership actually reflects that. Their decision-making reflects that throughout the company. That you don't have these sort of knee-jerk decisions that say people can't wear black lives matter pins when we know from sort of previous experience that they hand out pins for pride celebration, they hand out pins and other material for other celebrations.

And you know, this speaks to, I think the catching up that so many companies have to do as they're trying to meet these public statements, these words with actual action and deeds.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you've got the statement that comes out from the Econs Department and then potentially the T-shirt or the pin is a bridge too far for the Baristas. So you've got to reconcile those. Let me come here to this, you suggest that the company should shift their inclusion or diversity programs to anti-racism initiatives. Why and what should those look like?

ROBINSON: I mean I think those should look like, first and foremost, you know, we see a lot of companies doing trainings or implicit bias trains, but very rarely do we see that companies actually been putting in place the sort of metrics and data actually evaluate whether those things are successful. What I know about corporate America is that when they actually sort of want to know, are there go-to market strategies effective? They actually put data behind it to evaluate whether or not something is making a profit, to whether or not some staff are sort of delivering on results.

And so to the extent that companies are going to do the work to engage in anti-racist or anti-discrimination practices, they need evaluation tools to actually judge whether those have been effective. Whether or not they've actually moved the ball or whether or not they've just sort of gotten back to sort of a benign state where maybe it's -- you're not having bad negative incidents out in the world, but your staffers still sort of feeling the sort of impact of negative policies.

You don't have any better data to talk about how you've been able to promote and engage staff. You don't have leadership that reflects sort of the diversity of our country. All of those things have to be sort of at the heart of how companies evaluate sort of what they're doing and how we should evaluate what they do.

BLACKWELL: Let me get that to one more thing before we wrap up here. A & E has dropped live PD from its lineup cops was canceled after more than three decades on air. Color of Change published this report earlier this year. "Normalizing injustice, the dangerousness representation that define television-scripted dramas, crime dramas specifically. Twenty six series across six networks, 353 episodes of the 2017-2018 season.

[06:35:00]

I know there are a lot of numbers here, but I want to give you two more. Eighteen of the 26 series depicted good guy criminal justice professionals committing more wrongful actions than those who were depicted as the bad guys, framing these wrongful actions as relatable or forgivable or ultimately good. What is the impact of what you found from crime dramas on television that so many people watch?

ROBINSON: Yes, I mean, these shows in essence serve as a PR for police and for a justice system that is deeply flawed. It shows sort of when police officers do something wrong, it sort of feeds into this bad apple idea instead of actually --what we do know is that our system is not actually operating in a way that delivers on safety and justice. And so, you know, far too often, what ends up happening is that these shows serve to make an excuse, give permission.

The ends justify the means and so many of the sort of misdeeds we see out in the world, and create a kind of energy that is much bigger than any op-ed piece we could write or any sort of public education campaign because these shows are so ubiquitous across so many platforms. And so even to this larger point about how corporations engage in the world as we see Hollywood speaking out in so many powerful ways around what's happening in terms of black lives matter.

They have the ability to actually make black lives matter on their airs by not continuing to put forth content that normalizes injustice and serves as nothing more than a vehicle to promote the type of, sort of salacious content that puts our communities in harm's way.

BLACKWELL: And also meant that so many black voices are in there writing these characters --

ROBINSON: Right, absolutely --

BLACKWELL: Twenty one of the 26 shows were run by white men, 20 of the 26 had either a single black writer or none. Rashad Robinson --

ROBINSON: There in New York and Chicago, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes, thanks so much for being with us.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Quick break, we'll be back.

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[06:40:00]

BLACKWELL: So weeks of protest over the death of George Floyd have led some independent and Republican voters to reconsider who they will support in November.

PAUL: CNN's Kyung Lah reports from the election battleground of Arizona.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Republican stronghold of the north Phoenix suburbs, signs of a party split.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not at home in our party. We're not Democrats. We don't have anywhere to go.

LAH: So, self-proclaimed independents, Linda and Tom Rawles went to their street corner to hold their own small protest. That wasn't exactly then welcome.

LINDA RAWLES, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: Every life matters! Yes, have a good day!

LAH: There are frequent obscene gestures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was a finger there.

LAH: But some supportive ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you guys. Have a great night!

TOM RAWLES, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: I think the last three to six weeks have been a turning point.

LAH: The coronavirus pandemic, historic unemployment, and a sustained nationwide protest after the death of George Floyd.

L. RAWLES: All of these things together are allowing a few people to have the moral courage to speak up. We'll support Biden not because we agree with him on issues -- most issues I don't agree with him on. I'm not a Democratic philosophically. But he's a decent, kind, sane man.

LAH: The shift among independents is a warning sign for the president. In 2016, Donald Trump narrowly won independents. A recent series of national polls show him trailing Democrat Joe Biden among that group. A trend that's near here in Arizona. These suburbs are the battlefield in the fight for those votes. Hunter Henderson protesting nightly in Tempe sees an opportunity with independents. He works with Vets Forward, a group that hopes to convince moderates to vote Democratic.

HUNTER HENDERSON, CO-FOUNDER, VETS FORWARD: The problems of our society are right in front of them now, and now is the time to, you know, really capitalize and have those conversations.

CHERYL COONS, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: Yes, I voted for Trump in 2016. But many Republicans who did vote for Trump don't feel comfortable even saying that, and then because of this polarization.

LAH: Cheryl Coons is a self-described moderate and a nurse working the frontline of Phoenix's COVID crisis. But it's not her job that's making her think about voting Democratic, it's the protests.

COONS: We have to come together as a people, and we need a leader, a world leader, national world leader that's going to help us do that, not poke the bear if you will.

LAH: As far as voting Republican in November?

(on camera): What are you going to do?

COONS: I honestly don't know yet.

LAH: Would you say it's too late --

COONS: No --

LAH: For you?

COONS: No, I wouldn't.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Our thanks to Kyung Lah who was reporting there.

BLACKWELL: So, you've heard from the pro athletes in the NFL and NASCAR and other sports. Up next, how college athletes are taking a stand against racism.

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[06:45:00]

BLACKWELL: Some college athletes focusing on racial injustice. They want some things to change on their respective campuses this weekend.

PAUL: Yes, they want it to be significant here. Coy Wire has the "BLEACHER REPORT" for us this morning. Good morning Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Good morning, Christi, good morning to you, Victor. We've been talking for more than half a century here, back to Mohammad Ali calling for justice, Tommie Smith and John Carlos holding up a fist to so many other athletes wearing T-shirts, holding up hands or kneeling for change.

Athletes have been trying to give voice to those who don't have one, but it seems this time, the activists of these athletes cannot be ignored. Around 40 student athletes of the University of Texas asking for sweeping changes this week including the removal of the school's fight song, "The Eyes of Texas" due to racial under tones. They say they won't help to recruit any other recruits or take part in donor- related activities until their demands are met.

Yesterday, Clemson removing the name of former U.S. Vice President and slave owner John C. Calhoun from its honors college. Former Clemson standout and current NFL star DeShaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins signed a petition calling for that change. And Clemson's current star quarterback Trevor Lawrence is one of four football players leading a march for change on campus today.

[06:50:00] And it's not just here in the states. We're talking athletes around

the world joining the fight for racial equality. England's Premier League players, they're replacing their names on their jerseys with "black lives matter" when the league resumes play on Wednesday.

And players in Germany's top soccer league are raising their voices too, like 21-year-old Weston McKennie; a member of the U.S. men's national team, he wore an arm-band that said "justice for George Floyd" earlier this month. And listen to what he's saying about the lack of leadership he sees from President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WESTON MCKENNIE, MIDFIELDER, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM: I don't think he's the right president for this time to handle a situation like this. You're supposed to be our president. You're supposed to help in the situation, not throw, you know, oil onto a fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Earlier this week, NASCAR banning the Confederate flag from its races after the only black driver in its top series Bubba Wallace called for it right here on CNN. The Cup Series returns tomorrow at Homestead. Today, the PGA Tour is back for round three today for a cup for the colonial one in Fort Worth.

Harold Varner III, he's having the best tournament in his career after a triple bogey on the first hole yesterday, he rallied to take a one stroke lead. Varner is one of only three black players on the tour. He says he didn't have any nice clothes growing up, no light, sometimes not even a buck 50 for school lunch, he's been an absolute inspiration, Victor and Christi. He posted a story about all the support he got from the white community growing up, playing golf, he says, we're not as fractured as it seems.

And he's never won a PGA Tour event, so certainly someone to root for today.

BLACKWELL: All right, Harold Varner III. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Coy. So "ABC" casts its first black male lead for the popular dating show "The Bachelor", and it's not Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes!

PAUL: Why? We have other latest in entertainment. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:55:00]

PAUL: Welcome back. Fifty six minutes past the hour. And following a petition urging "ABC" to address a lack of diversity on its reality dating show, the company has cast the first black lead for "The Bachelor". BLACKWELL: OK, so I'm just reading this, checking with my producer,

this is only the second black lead in 40 cycles of this show, "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" franchises. There have been 40 --

PAUL: Forty --

BLACKWELL: CNN Entertainment Reporter, Chloe Melas is with us now. Let's just start with why "ABC" says that it made this decision?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Good morning, guys. Well, this is welcomed change for so many fans of "The Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" who have been calling on this for years. And like you said, this comes after 40 seasons of the franchise with only one black lead, and that was Rachel Lindsay who has been very vocal, calling out "ABC" on social media.

So the new star of "The Bachelor" is going to be Matt James, he is going to be on Season 25. We were going see him on "The Bachelorette" but due to the coronavirus pandemic, that season didn't get to happen. And like you said, thousands signed this change, that were a petition, calling on "ABC", calling out their lack of diversity.

Some people feel like this is a knee-jerk reaction to the times that we are in right now, but welcomed change for so many, and comes the same week that Lady Antebellum dropped the word "Antebellum" from their name, not realizing they said after several days of reflection that, that word carries so much weight from before the civil war with slavery, now, they're going to be called just Lady A. So I think we're going to see a lot of change, a wave of change in Hollywood.

BLACKWELL: What did they think the word "Antebellum" meant? I mean, you don't have the answer to that, but I'm thinking, you've been in this group for 14 years and all a sudden you know the meaning of "Antebellum", I'm sorry, Christi, you had to follow.

PAUL: OK, so, a valid question there, Victor --

BLACKWELL: OK --

PAUL: Absolutely a valid question. I don't know if you can answer it, if you can, go ahead. If and -- even if so, we also have to talk about your interview with Queen Latifah.

MELAS: Yes! So quickly, I'll just tell you that they said that they felt it had to do with the beautiful southern houses, that when they took their -- like, the old south, but not when it comes to racism and slavery. So, that's what they had to say, their fans were standing by them right now. Like you said, I spoke to Queen Latifah about something called the "Queen Collective" where she is shining the spotlight on aspiring filmmakers of color. But we talked about the race crisis in America, and this is what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA OWENS, ACTOR & RAPPER: And I think that's what we're seeing right now. Believe me, what the hell. You had to see murders on video in order to believe somebody and all of you still don't believe it. But enough believed that we -- that it had to burn! Something had to burn down for you to pay attention -- oh, don't burn that place down.

Nobody wants to see people's properties and things get burned down to the ground because you don't even know who it belongs to. Somebody could have been black and working their whole life to build it. But the system is what needs to be burned down. The system of this is what has caused this and caused this eruption and this anger.

People just have to open their eyes. These blinders that have been on like this and allowed you to look into this world, your world and it's fine, just you've got to get some peripheral vision now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELAS: This interview was food for my soul. I loved talking to Queen Latifah, such an incredible person and her "Queen Collective" series of short films, they're going to air tonight on "BET", guys.

PAUL: Looking forward to that, yes, some of my favorites too. Chloe Melas, thank you so much.

MELAS: Thank you.

PAUL: Just ahead, some states are seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, and with that, the CDC is renewing their call for people to use face masks.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.