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Justice Dept. Investigating Noose Found In Bubba Wallace's Garage; Trump: "Slow The Testing Down", Adviser Says He Was "Kidding"; Nearly 40% Of Black-Owned Businesses On Brink Of Closure. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired June 22, 2020 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: -- reimagines the workplace and reimagines the systems. Some of these lessons will be lasting. We will learn things to respond to coronavirus, they'll be with us for the next 5, 10, 15 years. What are those? What are you seeing as you've gone through, first, to work from home, now you're bringing people back into your factories, what do you see as the lasting revolutions, if you will, of the coronavirus?

KUMAR GALHOTRA, PRESIDENT, AMERICAS & INTERNATIONAL MARKETS GROUP, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: John, I think there will be multiple, multiple claims. It is way too early for us to really understand the lasting impacts this will have on trade, the lasting impact it will have our work habits. For example, a big part of our company went to start -- and started working from home March 13th.

And amazingly, using technology, the company hasn't really missed a beat. And we started looking at the employees in sort of in two ways, employees who are -- whose jobs are dependent on being at a facility for example, if you're going to build cars in assembly plant, you need to be at the assembly plant. And there are several others who are also not assembling vehicles, but they're designing vehicles, they're in studios, they're testing vehicles, power trains who will also have to be in facilities.

So we're thinking through this view of who actually needs to be there, who doesn't need to be there, and when we do bring back people who are not facility dependent, probably work with them, conference rooms will probably be not as crowded as they used to be. We will probably still be wearing masks when we come back. We will be seriously thinking about maybe there are some people who will not come back for a long time.

We recently sent out a survey to thousands of our employees in the U.S. basically trying to understand how they are experiencing it. How would they think about coming back? Do they want to come back full time? Do they want to come back part time? Are there some who don't want to come back at all? You know, what is their work experience from home?

So, lots of questions, but not all the answers is available yet. But this will fundamentally change how we work.

KING: I'm going to circle back someday if you want --

GALHOTRA: For example, we're --

KING: Go ahead.

GALHOTRA: Sorry about that. I was just going to say for example we do these launches, our product reveals, they used to be in big halls, with big crowds, with a lot of press. We're moving those to virtual the -- a lot of our -- some of our launches are going to be at a mixture of a virtual launch and some audience but that audience is going to be, you know, social business. So a lot of the aspects of the business are going to change.

KING: We're learning as we go. Kumar Galhotra, President of Ford, really appreciate your time again. I will circle back down the road a little bit to see as we learn more of these lessons as we go. I very much appreciate your time, Sir, best of luck.

Still ahead for us, a noose is found in the garage of NASCAR's only black driver.



KING: And federal investigators now to those looking into the hanging of a noose in the garage stall of the NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, this at the Talladega Speedway in Alabama. The FBI and the Civil Rights Division today saying they will look into this incident.

Wallace, the only African-American driver, NASCAR's top series led the charge to have NASCAR banned Confederate flags at the tracks. Fellow drivers and sports stars like LeBron James tweeting their support for Wallace in the wake of this noose incident.

Joining me now is Bill Lester, a former NASCAR driver himself, author of the forthcoming memoir, "Winning in reverse". Bill, thank you for your time today. I just -- as a black man who drove in NASCAR, at one time, you were the sole black man driving for NASCAR, now Bubba Wallace is. What goes through your mind when you hear he speaks out, he has the Black Lives Matter logo on his car, he comes back to his garage stall and there's a noose?

BILL LESTER, FORMER NASCAR DRIVER: Yes. It's frankly, unbelievable. You know, it's so sad and unfortunate that that's the case. You know, it's a clear indication that this country has a long way to go. I applaud NASCAR and commend them for making the statement they've made with regard to quality and making the environment welcoming for everybody.

But for some, they're just not able to apparently let go of their own ways. They need to get with the times.

KING: I want to read you part of Bubba Wallace's statement. He said, we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. This will not break me. I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.

Help us because you can understand the space he finds himself. When you were driving at NASCAR, did you -- was there a lot of overt racism? Did you feel welcome?

LESTER: You know, I really did feel very welcome. I was booed at a number of tracks on the circuit, and didn't understand why. Talladega where he's competing today is one of those tracks. It's very difficult some of these environments. And some of the fans that are there, they just live in a time warp.

It's no reason for them to continue to try to use the rebel flag as their symbol. They should be using the American flag. And as far as Bubba is concerned, I mean, I have so much support for him and I commend him on what he's doing, the stand he's taken, and the position he continues to put forward as far as equality and justice.

It's not a Black Lives Matter to the exclusion of everybody else. It's we matter too. Black Lives Matter just as much as everybody else's. And, you know, a lot of those folks have that message twisted. They believe that we should be above everybody else or something to that degree, from what I've read on social media, and nothing could be further from the truth.


KING: That's -- it's very well put. You mentioned the flag. NASCAR did take the bold step at Bubba Wallace's request, excuse me, and say we're going to take that off of our tracks. Our great sports reporter Andy Scholes, I was talking to him last hour, and he said across the street from the track, a lot of vendors are selling the Confederate flag.

And they say the sales have actually gone up since NASCAR decided not to allow it on the tracks. We saw a plane flying overhead in Talladega saying defund NASCAR with a Confederate flag tailing behind it. This is a debate the country is having right now.

You see Confederate statues and Confederate portraits coming down around the country as people see this opportunity to take them down. But one of those people saying this is a bad idea is the President of the United States. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Beyond hands left wing mob is trying to vandalize our history. Desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments. You want to say that beautiful heritage of us, we have a great heritage. We're a great country. You are so lucky on President that's all I can tell you.


KING: You can comment on the last part, if you wish. But I really want your take. At this moment where I hope the country is listening and learning, the President talks about this is our great heritage and they want to vandalize our heritage. Do you -- how would you answer that in the context of what he's talking about here with the Confederate flag or Confederate monuments?

LESTER: Well, the statements that he makes, statements like that are just divisive. It's unfortunate that he doesn't realize that we are all Americans. We all need to live together and coexist peacefully.

And what we are doing as far as the black community is concerned, is making it very clear that we are unhappy with and tired of being put in the backseat effectively. And we are -- we require and we insist on our equal rights, equal justice, lack of racial profiling, police brutality, we're tired of it.

And so the Black Lives Matter movement is something that speaks to that. It speaks to equality, stop discrimination, stop all these things that try to demean us and put us down. We are equal and should be treated equal as Americans.

And for the President to make some of the statements that he makes that further incense people is not productive. I don't understand what his method is, or you know, what he's trying to accomplish. But all it does is incense people. I was hoping that he would be a President that would stand for and promote unity. But that clearly is not the case.

KING: Bill Lester, really grateful for your thoughts and insights today, this heinous, heinous nuisance and it will be investigated. But more broadly, I very much appreciate your insights and perspective of this very important moment. Thank you.

LESTER: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you, Sir. Take care.

Quick break, we'll --



KING: The White House says the President was joking when he said this at his weekend rally.


TRUMP: 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.


KING: CNN's Kaitlan Collins back with us from the White House. Kaitlin, I understand the President is given a new interview in which this question came up. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he has. And yes, it did. And just a reminder, many White House officials said the President was only kidding when he made that remark that it was tongue in cheek.

The President himself did not say that when he just did an interview with Scripts here at the White House. Listen to what he did say when he was asked if he actually told his team to slow down the number of coronavirus tests happening across the nation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But did you ask to slow it down?

TRUMP: If it did slow down, frankly, I think we're way ahead of ourselves. If you want to know the truth, we've done too good a job.


COLLINS: So he does not say, yes, I was kidding. No, I didn't actually tell anyone to say that. Instead, he says if they did slow down the testing, he still thinks that the United States would be ahead of it.

Of course, John, that comes after testing has been, you know, one of the biggest arguable failures of the administration's coronavirus response, given how delayed it was in getting kicked off where it could actually happen on a national level to where anyone who wanted to test could get a test as the President claimed so long ago.

KING: Right if he did ask his staff to slow down testing that would be reprehensible. If he was joking, he should clear it up by saying, I was joking instead we get that a non-answer.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins, appreciate the update. And as we've been on the air, you see on the right of your screen there, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has now passed 120,000, more than 120,000 Americans killed during this pandemic.


When we come back, African-American owned businesses facing a higher rate of closures during the pandemic.


KING: The Black Lives Matter movement is currently encouraging customers to go to black owned businesses but a lot of owners worry it won't last. They feel left behind by the government's coronavirus relief package as well.

We're learning nearly 40 percent of black owned businesses could be forced to close. CNN's Phil Mattingly, tracking the story for us. He joins us now live, Phil?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, the top line numbers are absolutely staggering. And they underscore reality right now. Federal efforts to save small businesses to keep them afloat amid the pandemic have been enormous $660 billion in the cornerstone program.

But for too many black small business owners, they've been able to survive if they have in spite of those programs, not because of that.


MATTINGLY (voice-over): That's the sound the Jones sisters weren't sure they'd hear much longer, a customer buying their ice cream.

For the owners of the Southwest Soda Pop Shop, the coming summer months were the heart of this business.

BRITTANY JONES, OWNER, SOUTHWEST SODA POP SHOP: We have, you know, sodas but, you know, floats, milkshakes, ice creams, and things like that.


(voice-over): Until the pandemic brought them on the brink of failure.

BRIANNA JONES, OWNER, SOUTHWEST SODA POP SHOP: Instead of the 30 customers or 50 customers that we usually have on a regular week day, it went from maybe one or two, three or four, because people were scared.

(voice-over): But it wasn't a piece of the trillions in federal government assistance that kept them alive.

BRITTANY JONES: We just didn't qualify initially for those programs that were out there.

(voice-over): They were shut out of the largest small business rescue program in U.S. history, the Paycheck Protection Program, running headlong into the structural issues that have hindered black owned small businesses for decades and only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Forty-one percent of black owned small businesses shuttered between February and April, their white counterparts less than 20 percent.

ASHLEY HARRINGTON, FEDERAL ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE LENDING: This is just laying bare all of the cracks and issues that were already there in this foundation and that people of color have been experiencing every single day.

(voice-over): The PPP was structured in a way to quickly kick hundreds of billions of dollars out the door. That same structure unintentionally entrenched those pervasive disadvantages, from lack of bank relationships and disincentives for banks to prioritize smaller loans to the fact that more than 95 percent of black owned small businesses are sole proprietorships, which limited the funds they could access.

QUBILAH HUDDLESTON, DC FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE: I mean, a lot of it has to do with who has a seat at the table, and who we think about in terms of who are the business owners that, you know, are at risk of closing doors.

(voice-over): Small Business Administration's inspector general finding that contrary to law, there was no initial prioritization for these underserved communities, and that no demographic data was collected making it impossible to determine the loan volume to the intended prioritized markets.

Federal officials have recognized the shortcomings and have scrambled to address them, but that push would have been too late for the Southwest Soda Pop Shop where it not for their own inventive effort.

BRIANNA JONES: The GoFundMe was originally my dad's idea. So you can imagine four young independent black women, we're like, Dad, a GoFundMe, that's kind of like begging. It took a lot of pride to the side for us to even send out the GoFundMe.

(voice-over): And this viral tweet with more than $25,000 raised, the business is alive, distance, masks, but still delicious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is only the beginning for us.

(voice-over): But it's also a window into just how acute the long standing hurdles faced by black owned businesses have become for a nation in crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are saved, saved Southwest Soda Pop Shop.

(voice-over): It wasn't the government?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It's not the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got community.


MATTINGLY: And John, I think there's the near term issues, obviously, if people look at the numbers of small businesses that are closing, black owned small businesses that are closing, and I think they're horrified. You talk to lawmakers here on Capitol Hill, and you certainly get that response.

But there's also the long term here as well. When you talk to analysts, when you talk to the researchers on this issue, these businesses are pillars for their community. They're part of the fabric of the community. And for those businesses to start going down, I think there's significant concern about what the long term repercussions are coming out of what is still an ongoing pandemic and economic crisis, John?

KING: Well, you lay out the numbers and you lay out the details and you lay out how these people were ignored when Congress rushed to spend all that money, lawmakers going to do anything about it now? MATTINGLY: Yes, one thing I will tell you, and speaking to lawmakers who are kind of top leading on this issue, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ben Cardin in the Senate over in the House as well, they are very, very aware that this was a problem. They are very aware of this was a problem in the initial traunch for Paycheck Protection Program money they made changes.

They set aside funds to more minority focus lenders. They've tried to urge lenders to focus on minority communities, underserved communities. And when I talked to Senator Rubio, who really kind of drafted the Paycheck Protection Program, he made clear to me in the next round of stimulus, in the next bill that's coming, there will be a very focused and targeted approach trying to address these issues.

I think the one issue that I continue to hear when I talk to people here and kind of in the economic analyst community is two-fold. One, why did it take this long for people to figure it out? And two, is it too late? Obviously the effort is necessary. The effort is needed. But is it coming too late given those top line numbers we've been talking about, John?

KING: Phil Mattingly, appreciate the reporting stay on it. And that ice cream look great, I'm going to have to take a drive by there. It looks pretty good --

MATTINGLY: It's good ice cream.

KING: -- look pretty good.

A New York City police officer now suspended without pay after an apparent chokehold incident captured on body camera.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, stop choking him. Yo, he's choking him. Let him go, bro. Let him go.


KING: That struggle unfolding as officers confronted an allegedly disorderly group over the weekend. The police commissioner said that while an investigation is still ongoing, immediate action was necessary. The New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, praising the officer's partner for intervening during that incident.

The viewing for Rayshard Brooks set to begin in just a few hours. Brooks, of course, shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer in the parking lot of a Wendy's a little more than a week ago. The viewing will be held at Atlanta's Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King of course was co-pastor. The private funeral will be tomorrow.


Thanks for joining us as we start the work week. Hope to see you back here this time tomorrow as well. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.