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Trump Tells Crowd In Tulsa He Wants Testing To Slow Down; TikTok Users Take Credit For Empty Seats At Trump Rally In Tulsa; Trump Fires Top Federal Prosecutor In New York; Police Tactics Face Scrutiny As Demonstrators Demand Justice; New York City To Enter Phase Two Of Reopening Tomorrow; Navarro: Bolton Will Lose Book Profits And Risks Jail Time; Judge Denies Trump Admin's Attempt To Block Release Of Bolton's Book. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 21, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Happy Father's Day. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin this hour with the U.S. approaching another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. The total number of deaths is closing in on 120,000 people, which is more Americans that died in all of World War I. And that number is only expected to rise in the coronavirus number. But President Trump is downplaying the climbing cases and deaths, saying this is to the crowd in Tulsa last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's the bad part. When you test -- when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please. They test and they test. We have tests of people who don't know what's going on. We've got test. We got another one over here. The young man is 10 years old. He's got the sniffles. He'll recover in about 15 minutes. That's the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Kristen Holmes is joining us now.
So, Kristen, the president's team now says his comment was a joke?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Fred. And just to be clear, this is not the first time that they have used this as a defense of the president when President Trump has said something incredibly controversial. However, given the timing, as you mentioned, we are a country that is coming up on 120,000 deaths from coronavirus, this is obviously receiving a lot of backlash.
However, the administration has not straying from this narrative. We heard last night one official saying that he was, quote, "obviously kidding," and then Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser doubled down on that earlier today when he was asked by our Jake Tapper. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: You know, it was tongue in cheek. Come on now. Come on now. That was tongue in cheek. Please.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know that it was -- I don't know that it was tongue in cheek at all.
NAVARRO: I know it was tongue in cheek.
TAPPER: He has said similar things for months.
NAVARRO: That's news for you. Tongue in cheek. OK.
TAPPER: He has said similar things for months.
NAVARRO: But, we got --
TAPPER: But he has said similar things for months that --
NAVARRO: We've got over 30 million people unemployed.
TAPPER: Go ahead.
NAVARRO: And we've seen over 100,000 people die because of the China Wuhan virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: So whether or not this was actually tongue in cheek or some sort of joke, it is, obviously, not surprisingly, getting a lot of backlash particularly from Trump's adversaries who have been saying that this was the case since the beginning of the pandemic.
They have argued that President Trump cared more about appearances so think lower test of cases, lower cases, which means lower testing, than they cared about actual American people and making sure the people are getting tested and getting this disease caught early that they wouldn't get sicker.
Now no surprise here. Democrats are already counting here. We have heard that these different organizations as well as Joe Biden are already trying to cut this, get this up on the air waves. They want people to see this as we get closer and closer to November -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. And then the president, his mission was to, you know, reach tens of thousands of people live with that audience there in Tulsa, but now everyone is learning that it didn't have such a great turnout, and he's very disappointed, isn't he?
HOLMES: Yes, and look, crowd size is something that has mattered to President Trump since 2016. He talked about it at every rally. Look at all the people we have here. There are thousands of people outside. And this rally was no different.
This was supposed to be the restart of the campaign. We've heard from campaign officials who said a million people had registered. We knew that they were expecting tens of thousands of people, so many people in fact that they had an outdoor overflow space that was going to have a big stage.
President Trump and Vice President Pence were going to speak at it, but they didn't even fill the original arena and entire plan for the outdoor section got scrapped. Now we have heard from the Tulsa fire marshal, who was saying that about 6,200 people were attending yesterday. The campaign says that's not true. They say that 12,000 people came through the metal detectors, but again, just to note here, this is still far lower than expected.
They were saying tens of thousands of people. That arena sits 20,000 people. And it was clear that it wasn't full there. And one thing to note, though, and I think we cannot stress this enough that even if it was half or way -- one third of what they expected, this is still 6,000 people, and they played those videos for the last several hours, people without masks in a closed space, in a city that is experiencing a spike, so this is still some real potential hazards here.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Sounding a lot like the crowd dispute from inauguration day as well, except mask issue was not an issue then.
All right, thanks so much, Kristen.
All right. The Trump main is dismissing the possibility that a social media campaign may have contributed to exaggerated attendance, expectations for last night's rally, this after the president bragged on Twitter about having received about a million ticket requests but many of those who requested tickets may have been trolling the president after a video went viral on the social media platform TikTok encouraging people to register for the event online with no intention of ever showing up.
The woman who appears to be responsible for the social media campaign spoke this morning to our Brian Stelter about that effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: How much of an impact do you think this online prank actually had in Tulsa yesterday?
MARY JO LAUPP, STARTED TIKTOK CAMPAIGN AGAINST TRUMP RALLY: I honestly can't tell you because these social media systems are generational. So when I shared the video, let's say my video was shared 700 times, but each of those people that have people sharing their copies of it, so that's 700 more people I never saw. So it's impossible to tell for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joining me now from New York.
So, Donie, what more can you tell me about all this? DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, well, I think the
first thing we should point out here is there wasn't a cap on the number of people that could request tickets for the total rally. So it wasn't as if the TikTok users were blocking real Trump supporters from going to the rally in some way.
And so the fact that the Trump campaign was unable to fill this 20,000 capacity arena isn't the TikTokers' fault. But what was playing out all week on TikTok and some other social media platforms, too, was this massive push for people to register for the event and then not show up.
And that I think, probably, did definitely contribute to the inflation figures of the expectation of folks who are going to attend the rally. And I want to show you how this played out on TikTok, what it looked like. Take a look at this TikTok video from Toren Hudson (PH), the 16- year-old who took part on the online protest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOREN HUDSON (PH), ONLINE PROTESTER: Guys, I actually just reserved two free tickets for the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump rally on Juneteenth. And now I can't go because my dog's goldfish's funeral is that day. So it'd be a shame, though, if like everyone else did this and then there were empty sheets at the rally. That would be really bad because we don't want that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'SULLIVAN: So there are many videos like that circulating on TikTok of people showing how they had registered for the event. The Trump campaign is pushing back on this. Brad Parscale saying in a statement today, "The leftists and online trolls are doing a victory lap. Thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance. Don't know what they're talking about or how our rallies work."
He said, "Registering for a rally means you RSVP'd via cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers. These phony requests never factor into our thinking." Obviously if that is the case, the Trump campaign said that a million people registered to attend the rally if they really did weed out all the bogus attempts, the question remains where were those million people last night -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: I don't know. All I got to say is we're in a weird world right now. It's even hard to say let alone digest.
All right, Donie, thank you so much.
O'SULLIVAN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Democrats meantime are now demanding probes into the firing of a powerful federal prosecutor, who was investigating people close to the president. Last night the president fired Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. The firing came after Berman refused to step down when Attorney General William Barr announced that the prosecutor had resigned on Friday night. And today top Democrats are demanding answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Nixon had the Saturday night massacre. And now President Trump and AG Barr have the botched Friday night massacre. Any investigation must examine the roles of President Trump, Attorney General Barr, and anyone else who was involved. The bottom line is we need an answer to two simple questions -- what did the president know and when did he know it?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Well, we are having a hearing on Wednesday in which we have a number of whistleblowers from the Department of Justice who will testify. We have invited Berman, and I'm sure he will -- I don't know about Wednesday, but I'm sure he will testify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez joining us now.
So, Evan, what more are you learning about this firing and the fallout?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the big question is why now? Why was it the Attorney General Bill Barr decided that now was the time to get rid of Geoff Berman? They've never actually given an official reason in the letter that Barr sent to Berman telling him that the president is firing. They don't actually say any of this.
We have heard from people at the Justice Department that part of it was that Jay Clayton, who is the chairman of the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, had expressed interest in the job, and as a result of that, because he was leaving the administration, they wanted to make room for him.
We talked to people close to Jay Clayton and they say that's not quite right. They say that he thought that Berman was already going to be gone and they were never -- he was certainly never part of a plan to force him out of the job. So again there's -- those are two explanations that are not quite aligning.
And as you pointed out this is a big job, this is an important job, one of the most important prosecutor jobs in the country, and of course it's one that is very close to the president's attention simply because he's been investigating Rudy Giuliani, the president's personality lawyer.
A lot of things that have to do with the president happened to be investigated in this office. And that is what has raised all these questions as we heard from the lawmakers. They certainly believe that there's more to this and we just don't know what the final answer will be.
WHITFIELD: All right. Evan Perez, let us know when you know. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. The debate over police reform heats up on Capitol Hill. Democrats and Republicans at odds over how to respond to a wave of protests across the country. The fight over defunding police and the future of race relations.
Plus, should John Bolton go to jail for his tell-all book about working in the White House? New reaction from the Trump administration, and then later, why so many Americans say they are unhappy. An expert reveals how you can find hope during these very difficult times.
WHITFIELD: A shooting in central Minneapolis overnight left one person dead and 11 others injured. The shooting took place in the same area that was the scene of looting and destruction during protests over the death of George Floyd, though police say there was no indication that this incident was related to his death or the protests. No arrests have been made.
In Seattle police are investigating a fatal shooting in the so-called Autonomous Zone referred to as CHOP or CHAZ. New body cam footage shows what police described as a violent crowd denying them entry. One person was killed, another injured. No arrests have been made.
CHOP is an area in Seattle overtaken by protesters or -- also called CHAZ, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Police abandoned its precinct building there more than one week ago leaving it unoccupied after protest erupted over George Floyd's death.
As activists around the nation call for major police reforms in the wake of recent incidents involving police violence, Senator -- Republican Senator Tim Scott says it's important to leverage federal funds to compel change around the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): It is important for us to use the resources that we provide to law enforcement in a way to get them to -- to compel them towards the direction that we think is in the best interests of the nation, of the communities that they serve, and frankly of the officers themselves.
And so what we try to do is bridge that gap. But we are in a position that says, in order to get the law enforcement agencies to improve their data collection, to improve their trainings, to improve the de- escalation of situations, and the duty to intervene, we use resources from the federal level to compel or coerce local behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Joining me now to discuss is Cornell Brooks, a civil rights attorney and a former president and CEO of the NAACP.
Cornell, good to see you.
CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: It's good to see you.
WHITFIELD: So does Senator Tim Scott have a good idea?
BROOKS: He has a good idea from the perspective of offering carrots, but we're too late in the day to offer carrots without sticks. So to the extent the federal government can incentivize good behavior, training, data collection and the like, that's fine as far as it goes, but we need to be very clear about this, given that 1,000 people a year are losing lives at the hands of the police, we need sticks, we need consent degrees, we need mandatory national standards of excessive use of force.
We have to strip away the shield, the cloak of protection for abusive police officers known as qualified immunity. The point being here is we have to be tough and strong and disciplined in our effort to rein in abusive behavior. This is not a matter of offering some fiscal sweeteners, a few extra dollars, to bring in a few aberrant police officers. This is a massive national problem, which is represented by the sheer number of people in the streets across America and around the globe.
So be clear, the GOP cannot simply offer a few carrots, the use of serious of some serious stakes to bring in -- I should say, to solve this problem.
WHITFIELD: So if I understood Senator Scott properly, and you talk about, you know, making some sort of mandatory national standards in that same interview, he was saying that the federal government really cannot require a municipality, a police department to stop, say, chokehold, but by de-incentivizing these departments because of the types of training that they may be carrying out by saying, if you don't meet these national standards or requirements, then we can withhold certain federal funds.
Do you see that that is kind of a -- will that placate, you know, those who say, OK, if the federal government can't come in and mandate, then perhaps you can remove some incentive? Almost like punishing, it sounds like, a municipality for not doing at least this, you know, meeting a certain standard.
BROOKS: Of course, but to be clear, it's also important to recognize that the power of the federal government with respect to, say, consent decrees, when we look at, I should say, when we consider the Department of Justice on the Obama administration, using consent decrees, say, for example, in Ferguson where Michael Brown died. They used a stick, a lever to rein in abusive police departments.
So the exploration of incentives is fine, but we have to be clear that we have to compel, with the full weight and authority of the federal government, to bring about an end to this problem. So to the point about, let's not treat this as a matter of incentivizing good behavior without recognizing the need to rein in bad behavior with the full weight and authority of the federal government. (INAUDIBLE) to be used.
WHITFIELD: Senator Scott, you know, said he would hope that this measure could also bring more emphasis on a character-driven law enforcement. How can that be legislated?
BROOKS: Well, let's think about this. So if you look at the city of New Orleans they use a program called EPIC, which is ethical policing, where they hold police officers accountable for the actions of other police officers. So in other words, anytime a police officer sees a fellow police officer engaging in behavior that could lead to termination or suspension, that officer has an ethical responsibility, a moral obligation, if you will, to act, to intercede.
So in the case of Derek Chauvin, who took out George Floyd with his knee, the police officers standing by as witness bystanders would have an obligation to intervene. So while it is true, the federal government cannot create a conscience, the federal government can incentivize conscience behavior, moral behavior, ethical behavior by incentivizing police departments, for example, to use the program.
But also using the Justice Department to hold police departments accountable for unethical behavior, (INAUDIBLE) behavior. Let's be clear about this. We cannot take a weak-kneed, spineless, gutless approach to this long-standing, deep-seated problem rooted in systemic racism. We have the tools. We have the means. We have the scholarship and the research, the data, but we also have the will.
WHITFIELD: And Cornell, thank you so much for being with us today on this Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to you. And I do wonder what kind of new conversations are you having with your kids, particularly in the climate we are in?
BROOKS: Well, I can tell you this. Last night, my youngest son and I were talking until like 1:00, 2:00 in the morning, and talking about this problem. And I said to him, I said, you know, when you go out with your friends, I never worry about you having or getting a flat tire. I worry about the police showing up when you get a flat tire. That is to say, those who charged with protecting and serving, I'm worried about whether or not we need protection for you from them.
The fact to all the parents listening to this program, watching this program, experience anxiety when their children stay out later than they should, but the problem for African-American parents and parents of communities of color, is that we have to worry 100 times more, But this is the moment, be clear, this is the moment where we can do something to alleviate those worries, and literally speak to the possibilities of this country and this nation. So that would honor the spirit of Father's Day by giving fathers less to worry about.
WHITFIELD: Cornell Brooks, always appreciate you. Thank you so much for that.
BROOKS: Thank you. WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Despite the U.S. nearing another grim milestone of coronavirus deaths, New York City, the former epicenter of the virus, is set to begin phase two of reopening tomorrow.
CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joining me right now.
So, Evan, what are New Yorkers expecting?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, tomorrow starts another chapter in this pandemic response here in New York City. Tomorrow New York hits phase two of New York state's reopening process, which means restaurants will be available for outdoor seating. Some retail will be open for curbside pickup and things like. Hair and nail salons, those were back open again with some changes.
And more of the beaches and parks that were used to recreate here will also be open. Now obviously none of that comes with back to the normal that we're used to before the pandemic. There's still mask requirements and social distancing requirements. But for New York, for New York City, which was the most locked-down place and suffered the most from this pandemic, this change is just dramatic and it's starting tomorrow -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Evan, thank you so much.
All right. John Bolton's book hit stores Tuesday, and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee wants Bolton to testify before Congress but not everyone agrees.
WHITFIELD: Now that a federal judge has blocked a Trump administration or rather the Trump administration's push to stop the release of John Bolton's explosive new book, the president's allies are lashing out at the former national security adviser. Today, a top Trump administration official told CNN, Bolton could face jail time for his revelations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WH OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: John Bolton has put highly classified information sprinkled throughout a large book. And he -- I predict this, he will not only not get the profits from that book, but he risks a jail sentence. He has done something that is very, very serious in terms of American national security, and he's got to pay a price for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Matthew Rosenberg is an investigative correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN national security analyst. Matthew, good to see you.
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Good to see you too.
WHITFIELD: All right. So, is this book filled with highly, you know, sensitive, classified information, or is it, as the president first put it, a book of lies?
ROSENBERG: Well, it's got to be one or the other.
ROSENBERG: If it's (INAUDIBLE), it can't be properly classified if it's not true. You know, he went through a peer publication review, and a career official of the NSC, you know. They made changes and made edits. And then, after that was done, another review was initiated by political appointee, which does suggests, you know, that there are things the administration doesn't want out.
And look, if the information in there is merely embarrassing then it can't be properly classified either. And embarrassment to the country is not a justification for classify material. So, I guess we're going to find out. But as it stands now, we'll know in the next day and a half.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And if it is indeed the case that the manuscript was sent, the White House either sat on or just simply didn't choose to give him the approval to proceed with the publisher, and John Bolton did proceed with the publisher, you know, if there was something classified or alarming by the White House, wouldn't they, at that point, have said, no, you cannot print this as opposed to just sitting on it to hopefully delay his efforts to take it to the publisher?
ROSENBERG: I mean, you hope so. This administration has proved pretty dysfunctional. So, for them to sit on something and not realize what was going to happen wouldn't be surprising either.
You know, I think there's another issue or two. There's a whole pre- publication review system that is totally broken that holds up books by officials for sometimes legitimate reasons, sometimes political reasons. We don't know.
In this case, it really looks like they don't want this information out. Whether it's classified or not, I mean, we have no idea. They're not going to tell us. They're just going to make the claim. And at this point, I think the administration hasn't really earned the benefit of the doubt.
WHITFIELD: Democrats wanted Bolton to testify at the president's impeachment hearing. He, for a minute, said, OK, I can do that. But then, the White House stood in the way of that. Well, now, apparently, you know, Democrats are split on whether to call Bolton to testify in new hearings. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I certainly hope that he will come and testify before Congress. And I know Chairman Nadler intends to investigate this and he should. It's -- you know, I think the most disastrous management of the justice department in modern memory.
JERRY NADLER, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: No, we're not interested in Bolton's testimony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And what would be the point?
ROSENBERG: I mean, it is a good question. You know, look, all testimony is, to a point, political theater. But testimony in the fall of an election year, that can go a lot of ways, you know. I don't want -- far be it for me to tell Congressmen how to do their jobs, but it is why are you having him testify now. He didn't do it during the impeachment hearings. What are you going to learn at this point?
WHITFIELD: Peter Navarro, among those from the White House, saying to Bolton, OK, you know, you may have gotten this many, you know, reprieve from the federal judge, but they're calling it a court win because the White House sees this as John Bolton potentially having to pay up a lot because he's revealing classified information, and, you know, the court wouldn't like that. Is that really just an attempt to make Bolton kind of shake in his boots, feel a little less confident or excited about the release of his book?
ROSENBERG: Look, the judge's language was strong, and strongly castigated Bolton, and did suggest that, you know, if this is proven to be violating the law that the proceeds of it will be called back. But that ruling hasn't been made, that determination hasn't been made. So, it's not really a win or a loss for either side at this point.
WHITFIELD: All right. Matthew Rosenberg, thank you so much.
ROSENBERG: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. As corporate America responds to the "Black Lives Matter" movement, some brands may be getting a major overhaul. I'll talk with the founder of the Jim Crow Museum next on the reckoning over racist marketing.
WHITFIELD: All right. For weeks now, we have taken a closer look at unconscious bias, implicit biases or judgments that influence decisions that we make in everything, you or I do in business, education, healthcare, and even the products that we buy or sell, which brings us to this movement for social justice sweeping the country leading some big corporations to rethink some of their branding and marketing. Just this week, PepsiCo announced it's doing away with "Aunt Jemima", the brand originated in 1889, which also has a history of racist stereotyping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy Aunt Jemima, famous for her secret recipe, pancakes, waffles, and buckwheat. What's the good word, Aunt Jemima?
AUNT JEMIMA: Well, (INAUDIBLE) folk says there's nothing so pretty as a happy face and nothing so worthwhile as a happy life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Now there's been an evolution of "Aunt Jemima", the picture. But as "Black Lives Matter" protests sweep the globe, other companies are reevaluating products such as "Uncle Ben's", "Mrs. Butterworth's", and "Cream of Wheat", all in an effort to make progress toward racial equality.
So, how did we get here? And why has it taken so long for there to be this kind of reckoning of racist branding?
David Pilgrim is the founder and director of the "Jim Crow Museum", and he's also the author of several books including his most recent, "Haste to Rise", a remarkable experience of black education during Jim Crow, which he co-authored. So good to see you, David.
DAVID PILGRIM, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, THE JIM CROW MUSEUM: Thank you. Thanks for the invitation. I relish the opportunity, any opportunity to talk about the work that we do at the "Jim Crow Museum".
WHITFIELD: Well, fantastic. I know this has been your life's work too. So, you know, so, tell me, David, you know, how big of a deal is this to remove or change offensive branding?
PILGRIM: Well, let me start by saying that the "Jim Crow Museum" at Ferris State University, we bring in people, and "Aunt Jemima", that represents a very small part of our collection but a significant part of our collection. We have thousands of pieces. And we've been trying to get people, for years, to have engaged, difficult, even sometimes painful discussions.
So, to answer your question, I think it's huge. I was pleasantly surprised. You know, probably the only thing that surprised me more would be if the professional football team in our nation's capital decided to have those same kinds of difficult conversations and come up with a similar result.
WHITFIELD: You're talking about the NFL team representing Washington, and the name of the "Redskins" has been central to a lot of discussions and debates for a long time. So, can I also ask you, you know, are the removals of the Native-American on "Land O Lakes", "Uncle Bens", "Mrs. Butterworth", black depictions, you know, representations of America, you know, are these representations that America is ready to now act, the removing of these images?
PILGRIMS: Well, I think so. In your prelude or your introduction, you set it up very nicely. The fact of the matter is, is that this current social justice movement, which was set off by the horrific murder of George Floyd, has forced all of us to engage in deeper conversations about the role of racism in our society and in ourselves.
And so, I'm not going to impugn the motives, as some of my colleagues have done, suggesting that these companies are doing this because they look at a changed demographic or because they want to be on the right side of history. I don't want to get it twisted.
I am appreciative of the fact that they have made what I believe to be are significant cultural statements. The fact of the matter is, in the U.S., we like happy history. We like history that makes us feel good, that we can have parades about, and using smart (ph) conversations.
But if we're going to be a mature nation, we have to be able to look at the past and the ways that it morphs into the present. And so, if you're a company and your brand has a racial slur in the name, it is, itself, a racial slur, or if it caricatures people, reduces them to one-dimensional caricatures, then you should be having conversations about rebranding.
WHITFIELD: So then David, help people understand, you know, how, you know, your, display, this "Jim Crow Museum" came to be. I mean, you -- anyone can go on a virtual tour right now and see the collections, and we're looking at some of it right now that you had, and you, when you came up with this idea, and (INAUDIBLE) this museum back in 2012, right, you had some anticipation, that particularly people of color, were not going to like this. But you said, in fact, it has been -- it has brought and elicited an opposite response.
PILGRIM: Yes, that was a real concern of mine and I'm grateful to Ferris State University. I don't think you could bill the "Jim Crow Museum" at most universities. And by the way, I believe there should be a "Jim Crow Museum" in all 50 states.
So, what I wanted to do is to create a space where people would do the thing that they seemed less willing or least willing to do, which is to have important discussions about race, race relations, and racism. And I thought -- and I learned this. I went to Jarvis Christian College. And I had professors who used objects to teach.
Their objects weren't as contemptible as the ones that I use. But they use objects to teach. And it kind of reminds of -- I don't quote (INAUDIBLE) Ross Perot a lot. But the quote that he has that says, the activist is not the man who says the river is dirty, but the man who cleans the river. Not everybody likes the way we do it, but our pant legs are wet.
And what I encourage other people to do, if you don't like -- if our way is too direct, if confrontational, if it's too much in your face, find a way that you can help create a more just society.
WHITFIELD: And so, you have done this by using this -- what many consider, you know, offensive depictions as learning tools, and so you're helping to teach people a lot through this museum and through your dialogue. David Pilgrim, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
PILGRIM: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We have much more straight ahead in the "Newsroom". But first, as we celebrate "Father's Day", we want to catch up with CNN "Hero" Sheldon Smith. He's teaching parents and life skills to young African-American fathers in Chicago who want to be better dads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELDON SMITH, CNN HERO: The message that I'm trying to spread is that black fathers are important. When businesses were closing and doing layoffs, we wanted to just make sure that our fathers knew that we were there for them.
So, how many boxes of food do you need?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like one box.
SMITH: We'll give you two.
The young men in our program have beautiful hearts. And they are volunteering their time so that they can be better fathers. And right now, we're talking about the injustices in America that need to be changed. We have to continue to believe and work together and not make it about when a death occurs that this is a time we need to stand up. Right now, as a country, as a nation, we have an opportunity to change and show the world what we're really made of. Once you invest, build, and believe, you bring about a different solution.
All right. Thank you so much. What's your name, bro?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: With an ongoing pandemic, racial unrest, and a surge in unemployment, it's no surprise that many Americans are simply not happy. A recent poll from the University of Chicago found that only 14% of Americans say they are very happy. That's the lowest since at least 1972.
So, with me now to discuss, this is Shawn Achor who has written several books about happiness including the book, "The Happiness Advantage". Shawn, good to see you.
I mean, you can't change reality out there, right? So, everyone agrees there's a lot of sad stuff. So, how do we -- what's your best advice? How do we rise above it all and find our happiness?
SHAWN ACHOR, AUTHOR, "THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE": Well, I think the study highlights something really important, that the coronavirus and the stress we're feeling in society right now is impacting not just our physical immune systems, it's impacting our emotional immune system as well. Fortunately, we have two decades' worth of research saying and the field of Positive Psychology is showing us that there are actually steps we can take. We don't have to be paralyzed by the negativity that we see.
WHITFIELD: What are those steps?
ACHOR: I just published an article in "Harvard Business Review" just last month where it found that the sooner leaders started talking about optimism, and creating work routines like getting people to raise their praise and recognition at work or doing altruistic acts or scanning the world for three new things that they're grateful for, it turns out optimism rose by 30 percent, burnout at hospitals dropped in half.
They have the highest patient satisfaction in the nation at top 1%. What we're finding is exercise, if done consistently, can be an antidepressant. Scanning the world for three things we're grateful for can raise your levels of optimism above your genetic point -- set point and your environment.
I just spoke with NASA. They said if you're going through high levels of uncertainty, by just creating a routine throughout your day that has these positive habits embedded within it, like writing a two- minute positive e-mail, praising or thanking someone in your life, raises your level of social connection to the top quartile (ph) in the world, which (INAUDIBLE).
WHITFIELD: And that's partially because you're kind of -- is that partially because you're almost putting checkmarks, you know. They're like accomplishments, and sometimes accomplishments make you feel better?
ACHOR: The brain loves to see progress, right, and to feel like that we're doing something that matters. But we're also learning is that we don't have to just be our genes in our environment. Our conscious actions can raise our levels of happiness above our genes and even this crazy environment.
WHITFIELD: I'm feeling better already, Shawn. Thank goodness for you. I'm feeling happy.
ACHOR: Well, great.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Shawn Achor. Appreciate it and "Happy Father's Day".
ACHOR: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for being with me today this Sunday. Again, "Happy Father's Day" to everybody out there. The CNN "Newsroom" continues with Boris Sanchez right now.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Ana Cabrera.
Tonight, the White House says President Trump was, quote, obviously kidding when he told a crowd in Tulsa last night he's instructed aides to slow down testing for coronavirus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's the bad part, when you test -- when you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people. You're going to find more cases. So, I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.
They test and they test. We had test and people don't know what's going on. We got test. We got another one over here. The young man's 10 years old.