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Biden Campaigns Today On How To Reopen Safely Amid Pandemic; CDC Data Show Minorities Make Up Majority Of Coronavirus Cases; Florida Reports 2,600 New Coronavirus Cases. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 17, 2020 - 12:30   ET



MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But Americans can still fly to Mexico and can go to those resorts if they want to. The Mexican government says it is safe for them to do so. They're trying to jumpstart an industry that is worth billions of dollars each year to the Mexican economy.

But the American government disagrees. The ambassador for the United States here in Mexico City, in a message on Tuesday told Americans now is not the time to take a vacation to Mexico, saying community transmission rates here remain far too high.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN BRAZIL BUREAU CHIEF: Here in Brazil authorities have expanded the use of hydroxychloroquine to include children and pregnant women in early treatment of COVID-19.

At the same time, they criticized the FDA for revoking its authorization for emergency use of the drug to treat coronavirus. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been a huge proponent of using the anti-malaria drugs clashing with doctors and even his own health ministers.

His first minister was fired. His second minister lasted just a month on the job before he quit. And for the last month an army general has taken the post on an interim basis, all of this, while the virus continues to spread. On Tuesday, Brazil registered a record number of new cases almost 35,000 in just 24 hours.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Up next for us the campaign trail, Joe Biden on the road to talk economy. Progressives want him to get more aggressive when it comes to police reform.


[12:35:56] KING: Joe Biden out on the campaign trail today to talk about the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and how struggling business and communities can now safely reopen.

CNN's Jessica Dean is at Darby, Pennsylvania, ahead of the speech by the former vice president. Jessica, what are we expecting?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we're expecting former Vice President Biden to really draw contrast between himself and Trump both with his message but also with his actions.

Let's talk message first. We have heard over and over again from Biden that President Trump has one plan and that's it. Just hang a sign on the door that says open for business. We expect Vice President Biden come back to his message again, that he believes that having to choose between public health and the economy is a false choice that he thinks both can be done simultaneously.

And to that, and he'll be meeting with small business owners here in Darby Borough, Pennsylvania. Now, also with action, you're going to see former Vice President Biden wearing a mask. All of these events are being socially distance that has been very important to the Biden campaign that they maintain all of these regulations in line with what they're being told by their health team that Biden says he speaks to very frequently every day he talks to them.

So we see the former vice president wearing a mask, again, drawing that stark contrast between himself and President Trump, who doesn't wear masks at his event. Has this upcoming rally in Tulsa where we are going to see thousands and thousands of people all together, inside.

So the Biden campaign really seeking to draw this contrast, John. They believe that that's what -- that that is something that the voters can understand. And that that's the most important message they can draw out, that Joe Biden is a steady leader that he stands in stark contrast to President Trump and his handling both of the pandemic and the response to it, John.

KING: Jessica Dean on the ground in Pennsylvania for us. Jessica, thank you so much. We'll continue to track that event.

Now from Pennsylvania, remember, that's one of those blue states that President Trump flipped to red in 2016 to Wisconsin, another one of those states.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now. He is in Milwaukee on this day. Jeff, it's a fascinating moment for the former vice president in the sense. I want to go through some of President Trump's numbers. The best numbers for Joe Biden right now are President Trump's numbers. His overall approval rating, disapproval is 57 percent. You ask them the coronavirus, do you approve or disapprove, 55 percent disapprove of how the incumbent is handling the coronavirus, 62 percent, more than six in 10 Americans disapprove of how the incumbent is handling race relations.

So the overall performance in the two biggest issues facing the country right now, the incumbent is underwater. If you're the challenger, you have to think that is a moment of great opportunity. But there are always buts.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, no question. There are always buts. But we're on the other side of the blue wall, if you will, as Jessica being there in Pennsylvania. There was also Michigan, also Wisconsin, those three states are states that President Trump, of course won four years ago. And Democrats would like to win back.

But as you said, there's no question here. The best news for the Biden campaign is the bad news for the Trump campaign. We do know that, you know, essentially starting the reset of this campaign, that's where this is beginning. It is on those issues of coronavirus. It is on police reforms.

So the Trump campaigns efforts to make Joe Biden an unacceptable alternative, if you will, are being held up by the Trump administration's own progress, own performance on these issues. Right now this race is being viewed by voters as a referendum on the incumbent.

Of course, we do know that that can change. No question about it. But John, when you talk to voters here, as I have been for the last several days, there is a sense of exhaustion at the Trump administration. And there is a sense of just not handling these challenges and crises in an acceptable way.

Joe Biden has a couple other things going for him as well. $81 million raised in the month of May. He is getting back in the fundraising game to be competitive with the Trump campaign, which of course has had overwhelming fundraising throughout the year.

So all of this really being framed against, you know, a contrast between Joe Biden and President Trump so much talk about the rally on Saturday in Oklahoma, so much concerned about the health implications of that.


Joe Biden is presenting a very different image. So come on with a mask. As this summer campaign moves on, the Biden campaign would like it to stay like this. But John, we know politics is not static. And the rules of presidential campaigns don't always apply to Donald Trump here. So we need to stay tuned. But at this moment in this week, no doubt Joe Biden is smiling. John?

KING: And yet, and yet I want to bring this up, because if you're Hillary Clinton, and you see where you're standing today in Milwaukee, you would think, you know, if I only had a little bit more African- American turnout there, four years ago, things might have been different.

We could say that about Wayne County, Michigan. We could say that about other places in the country as well. And so Joe Biden facing some criticism or at least pressure from progressives at this moment with police reform, police tactics, police accountability, front and center in the country because of his own history.

In the United States Senate, a letter from a number of progressive groups saying as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president you have a moral responsibility in this moment. Making amends for the harm you've caused is an important first step, but it is no longer enough. You must put forward a transformative and comprehensive policing and criminal justice platform that shifts how we approach public safety and allows black communities in particular to thrive.

So there you see at this moment, the President's numbers are horrible.

ZELENY: Right.

KING: Are horrible. It's a great opportunity moment for Joe Biden. But he's got some problems within the family.

ZELENY: He does indeed. I mean, of course, his primary ended short with Bernie Sanders because of the pandemic. But that does not mean that all the progressives, all the folks on the left are thrilled with the Biden campaign. And that is a challenge for Joe Biden as well.

We know that President Trump supporters are excited to get out to the polls. We do not yet know if Joe Biden's are in talking to a lot of African-American voters and city leaders here throughout the past several days as I've attended protests and marches and things, that is a question almost to a person if you ask, does Joe Biden excite you?

John, the answer is not always, yes. In fact, usually it's not. It is about President Trump. So Biden, of course needs to please progressives here as well. So we will look to see if he changes some of his policies to be in line with where his party is as well, John.

KING: Fascinating moment both opportunity and challenge. Jeff Zeleny, good to see on the ground in such an important place. We'll keep in touch.

When we come back, two crises in America, coronavirus, racial reckoning for many African-Americans they are very much connected.



KING: Protests now are nearly daily occurrence since the death of George Floyd and as African-Americans fight for police reforms and other racial justice. We also see constant efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic because of its disproportionate grip impact on the black community.

CDC figures show us of course, minorities make up a majority of coronavirus cases in many communities. I'm going to turn now to Dr. Ebony Hilton, she's an associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Virginia.

Doctor, on the one hand, people would say these are separate crises. You have the coronavirus pandemic. You have the racial reckoning and protest movement going on in America. But you say for black Americans, they are connected, explain.

DR. EBONY HILTON, CO-FOUNDER, GOODSTOCK CONSULTING: All right, for sure. Thank you for having me. But when you look at that population of people that are dying at higher rates for COVID-19 and we look at those who are dying at higher rates for police brutality, we see they share one common thread and that is African-Americans.

And racial minority groups tend to be those that fall in the hands of these two sorts. And the reason being is that they share the same disease process, which is systemic racism, and how that plays into everything that we see unfolding today.

KING: And so, I just want to get your thoughts, A, as someone in the medical community who's dealing with the pandemic issue, but B, just as a black American watching all this play out, you shared a picture from your hometown. You're in Charlottesville, Virginia right now, but this is little Africa, South Carolina. And I hope we could show the picture up. And it's a heinous image. It is a heinous image that you showed there.

We don't show it to promote it. We show it to condemn it. Just your thoughts on this moment when you see that's home. That's home and the messages of hate.

HILTON: Right. And that message is not unique. Today marks literally the fifth year anniversary of Dylann Roof come into what used to be my hometown Charleston, South Carolina, who murdered nine people in a church.

This issue that we're seeing with George Floyd has been a long standing issue that we saw with Eric Garner, with Trayvon Martin, with Emmett Till, with Martin Luther King. I mean, it dates back literally since the beginning in the founding of America, and for African- Americans in 1619.

There's always been this divide of, you know, what it means to be black and American is a to, you know, is that economy. But we see that shift, and not only health outcomes, not only law outcomes, but also along the lines of education, along the lines of wealth.

And until we deal with those systemic flaws, we won't be able to progress as a nation in total. And I think that's what this pandemic is showing is that, when you have these targeted populations, along the lines of racial discrimination, the entire nation suffers. And we're seeing not only a health crisis, but an economic spiral at this point because of it.

KING: And so help me as an American who happens to be black, let me put it that way. Because that's what you are here in America.

HILTON: Right.

KING: How do you -- when you see the steps so far, score them for me in the sense that you do see state local governments, Washington D.C. trying to do police reforms. You see, Quaker Oats today saying, you know, Aunt Jemima, sorry, we're taking that brand off. We get it late, silver century. But we're going to move we're going to act.


The University of Virginia, you're in Charlottesville, Virginia right now, the University of Virginia changing its athletics logo today, because the athletic director says, came to realize that the graphics in it were viewed as a celebration of slavery to the degree. Are these modest changes, are they just symbolic changes, or are they important brick by brick steps?

HILTON: Well, for what I think is, it's never a wrong time to do what's right. So I congratulate all those companies and those institutions for taking a step forward to say this is wrong, and we need to fix it. But it is a band-aid on a -- it's a -- of the symptom. And we do have to get down to the root of what cause, a need for these symbols to be prevalent in today's time in the first place.

Why is it that you need to have these imageries of lesser than a black people and minority people of standing your place? That's what we have to address. And if we don't think these symbols are important, then the billion dollar industry of advertisement wouldn't need to exist, right? So we know symbols carry weight. We know they shape how people, not only view you but how they treat you.

And we're seeing those numbers, like I said, in the outcomes of black people being three times more likely to be involved in a police shooting, right? We see those numbers in African-American mothers being four times more likely to die during pregnancy. We see those numbers in us in our burying our children's two and a half times the rate of other races before they're one years old. We're seeing this in our children being suspended from schools four times more likely if you're black than if you're white.

And so we have to start thinking as a nation. We can put band-aids and try to say we're going to reform some things. But I tell my students and my residents when they rotating through the ICU, we don't treat symptoms, we treat diseases. And we must in America start to combat disease of systemic racism, or we will, we will see ourselves crumble as we are right now.

We are we are in a time of crisis and we need to have a full coating of America to get this right.

KING: Dr. Ebony Hilton, I'm grateful for your time and your insights and perspective today. Thank you.

HILTON: Thank you for having me.

KING: Thank you, my pleasure. Civil rights groups want big advertisers to pull their spending from Facebook. They say the social media giant has failed to police hate speech and misinformation. And the Facebook is a hostile place.

Meantime, in a new USA Today op-ed Mark Zuckerberg insists his company can play a positive role in the 2020 election. Our business reporter, Donie O'Sullivan tracking this for us. Donie, Facebook facing criticism yet again.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: That's right, John. And Facebook pretty much makes all of its money from advertising. So if this is successful, it could have a major impact on Facebook's bottom line.

Now civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League are saying today that they want to send Facebook a message. And I'm quoting they're saying, your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, and violence. They're saying that Facebook is not doing enough to fight a tonight's (ph) platform.

Now Facebook will say that it's doing a lot, that it's brought in some new rules against white nationalists that's invested in, in taking, you know, bad actors off its platform. But we'll all remember just a few weeks ago that posts, that infamous now Trump posts, where he said losing will lead to shooting. That really upset a lot of these civil rights groups.

Twitter called it a glorification of violence. Facebook did nothing. And one of the big things here, the big question is will brands, will these companies actually pull ads. Facebook is an extremely powerful ad platform. Even politicians recognize it. Joe Biden in the last 30 days has spent $8 million on Facebook.


KING: Donie O'Sullivan, tracking that for us. It's an important piece of this conversation as we try to figure it out. Donie, thanks so much. Quick break, we'll be right back.


KING: Florida among the states that reopened from coronavirus early. Its Republican governor now says his state will not shutdown again. That despite evidence cases are going up and the possibility that rising case count could soon overtax hospitals.

CNN's Rosa Flores, live for us in Miami with the latest there, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Well, the Florida Department of Health just released the latest numbers. And it's very concerning actually. The number is 2,600 new cases. But if you look at the percentage, the positivity percentage, it's actually 10.3 percent. And that's the highest it's been in at least two weeks, that of course very alarming after we've seen an uptick in cases.

Just last week, we were tracking how there were more than 1,000 daily cases. Over the weekend, that changed to more than 2,000. And here we are the latest numbers 2,600. Now Governor Ron DeSantis maintains that this is all due to an uptick in cases due to outbreaks in communities like agricultural communities, in prisons, in long term care facilities.

And he has been digging in his heels saying that he will not shutdown the economy, take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We're not shutting down, you know, we're going to go forward, we're going to continue to protect the most vulnerable.


FLORES: Now again, the latest numbers released by the Florida Department of Health, 2,600. And John, that raises a number of cases to more than 82,000 here in the State of Florida. But again, the governor saying that this does not change the calculus actually just e-mailed the governor's office asking if this new number which is pretty alarming, two digits, 10.3 percent positivity rate changes calculus for them. I'm waiting to hear back. John?

KING: We look forward to an answer. But Rosa, one of the things we have seen and we saw this throughout the reopening debate is a bit of a disagreement between the governors all in accelerate the reopening and some of the big mayors in Miami, saying we need some help with discipline, facemasks, personal behavior, right?

FLORES: Absolutely. We're seeing it here in Florida and also in Texas with nine mayors in Texas asking the governor there to require masks. But you're absolutely right. We're seeing it here in Miami. Also the mayor of Miami and Miami Beach, very concerned about these numbers. They're looking at the same numbers, John, that the governor is looking at, the governor having one reaction. Local mayor saying something needs to be done. John?

KING: Rosa Flores on the ground for us in Miami. I appreciate that you're there every day keeping track of these numbers for us. The facts are important. Thank you Rosa so much. And thank you for joining us here today. Hope to see you back here tomorrow as well.


Busy News Day, stay with us. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.