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Trump Orders Protection of Monuments; Unemployment Numbers for Last Week; America's Grim Coronavirus Milestone was Avoidable; Kids Returning to School in the Fall. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 08:30   ET



MALCOLM JENKINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And I think there's a groundswell of, you know, this -- this energy to preserve that -- that history. But we all know, you know, what that civil war was about and preserving slavery and I think it's about time that -- that all of these confederate, you know, war generals and monuments come down because they don't represent us as a country. And I hope we don't find, you know, our identity in any of those statues.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I get that. What about then the statues of Ulysses S. Grant, you know, Union leader? What about the statues of abolitionists -- an abolitionists in Wisconsin?

JENKINS: Yes, I think, you know, you have to -- each individual has his own complicated history. And I think one of the things that we don't quite do is talk about those histories. So I think you talk it on a case by case basis. But I think you can start with anybody who, you know, represents fighting for confederates.

BERMAN: Yes, anyone who fought for slavery fought against America.


BERMAN: That might be a starting point.

You just asked for something that turns out to be a really high ask, which is to talk about things. You just had a very interesting discussion with Drew Brees, the quarterback of your team, the New Orleans Saints, who obviously changed his position on the idea of kneeling during the national anthem. This was an emotional discussion for you, I know, before. And in talking to Drew Brees and you say this is the discussion that we all need to be having or the kinds of discussions we all need to be having. Why?

JENKINS: Well, because, one, I really think that Drew, his stance came from his own personal perspective. And he wasn't able to step out of that perspective and actually listen to players like myself or other players that have been kneeling and fighting for social equality. And I think it's -- it's at that point that that's the conversation that needs to be had, that we want to listen to each other and put our own kind of preconditions, thoughts to the side and really get to each other's experiences and acknowledging the pain, the history and the oppression that is going on, not only in our history -- our country's history, but it's very, very present today. And those conversations are sometimes tough to have, but as a country we've tried to put reconciliation and move forward without actually addressing the things that are hamstringing this country.

BERMAN: One question about football and sports. We just got word that the Hall of Fame game, the preseason game, was canceled. There are health concerns, obviously, right now. Football players are scheduled to come back for preseason not too far from now. Avery Bradley, an NBA player, just told the Lakers he's not coming back because he's got concerns for the health of his family.

What are your concerns? How safe to you feel?

JENKINS: I think -- yes, I think, you know, the NBA is a lot different than -- than the NFL because they can actually quarantine all of their players, or whoever's going to participate, where we have over 2,000 players, even more coaches and staff. We can't do that. And so we end up being kind of on this trust system where -- the honor system where we just have to hope that guys are social distancing and things like that, and that puts all of us at risk, not only, you know, us as players and whose in the building, but when you go home to your families.

I -- you know, I have parents that I don't want to get sick. And I think until we get to the point where we have protocols in place, and until we get to a place as a country where we feel safe doing it, we have to understand that football is a non-essential business and so we don't need to do it. And so the risk, you know, has to be really eliminated before we -- before I would feel comfortable with going back.

BERMAN: Malcolm Jenkins, a pleasure to speak with you this morning. Thanks so much. I mean it. Please come back on NEW DAY real soon.

JENKINS: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, now to this developing story that we first told you about earlier this week. The New York City police officer seen in this body camera video putting a man into the chokehold during an arrest over the weekend is expected to turn himself in today. A law enforcement source tells CNN that Officer David Afanador could face charges. He has been suspended without pay. Afanador has been with the NYPD for 15 years, he's had eight civilian complaints against him. He was cleared in seven of those cases. We will keep you posted on this.

BERMAN: So NASA has announced it will name its Washington headquarters after the agency's first black female engineer, Mary Jackson. Jackson and a handful of other black mathematicians and engineers were hired in 1958 to help NASA launch American astronauts into space. Their story finally told in the 2016 book and movie "Hidden Figures." Jackson was played in the film by singer and actress Janelle Monae. Jackson's family says they're honored that NASA continues to celebrate her legacy. What a wonderful tribute. What a wonderful story. Such a great thing to have happening there.

A new snapshot of America's unemployment crisis. We have breaking details, next.



CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news. The Labor Department has just released new jobless numbers.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the breaking numbers for us.

What do they say, Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Another 1.5 million people, almost 1.5 million people filed for the first time for jobless benefits in the most recent week.

These numbers have been coming down little by little over the past 12 weeks or so, but they're coming down from just an unbelievably high level. To have 1.5 million people still filing for unemployment benefits in a week is just something almost unheard of in the American labor market. The biggest increases were in Oklahoma, in Texas, in New York and in New Jersey.

The continuing claims, those are people who are continuing to get benefits at least two weeks in a row now, that is about 19.5 million. That came down by some 767,000 from the prior week. I want to still watch that number and see that number start to come down.

Again, the trend is in the right direction, but just the sheer volume of these numbers show you that we are at the bottom of a very deep hole in the labor market and trying to climb out. Even as the economy has slowly been reopening, you're seeing these layoffs continue. Chuck E. Cheese filing for bankruptcy this week, GNC as well, 24 Hour Fitness. So you've got a lot of retailers that are still laying people off. So the layoffs continue even -- even as the economy reopens, guys.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, thank you very much for that.

Obviously, these numbers super important.

So many of the arrows in the fight against coronavirus pointing in the wrong direction. Over the course of this week, the three most populous states in the country reporting a record number of new cases. And one of the things you can see by looking around the world at some other countries, it didn't have to be that way.

John Avlon with a "Reality Check."


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: America first isn't supposed to be about pandemic deaths. But, that's where we are.

First in deaths worldwide. First in cases. In fact, twice as many as the next highest case count in Brazil. Not only wasn't the Trump administration prepared for Covid-19, as Dr. Sanjay Gupta pointed out in his recent podcast, we're not even done with the first wave. The first wave isn't even over.

And some states the resisted lockdown or opened up too quickly are seeing new spikes. The lessons seem clear, speeding and stringent actions directed by scientists save lives and ultimately do more to get the country on the road to economic recovery. But, politicians pushing back against science only prolongs the pain.

Take a look at this. Here's us with the number of confirmed cases and deaths courtesy of Johns Hopkins. See that rapid growth beginning in March and then a slight decline? But then another spike in summer, when many folks expected the virus to retreat for a time.

Now, here's Italy. The first European country to suffer massive losses after the virus started in China. You see a terrible spike and then a dramatic decline after the first national lockdown and minimal levels today.

South Korea suffered its first cases of Covid-19 at roughly the same time as the United States, but it took quick action with testing, contact tracing and mask wearing and kept the total number of cases to just over 12,500 and 281 deaths.

Now, we should point out that other countries, like Brazil and India, with notably nationalist leaders, are also seeing massive spikes. But let's get back to the USA.

The northeast saw the worst of Covid-19 in the early months, particularly New York. But thanks to early and aggressive efforts to lock down and test, the numbers of new cases have declined dramatically there. Now compare that to Florida, Texas and Arizona, where governors resisted calls to lock down, bowing to President Trump's admonition to get the economy moving again. Well, they're each seeing spikes, along with California.

Now, in May, "The National Review" touted the success of Florida' resistance to state lockdowns, going so far as to ask where the governor should go for his apology. Now his state is seeing more than 3,000 new cases a day, making it a potential national epicenter. And the state's former data scientist revealed on NEW DAY that Florida may be undercounting its deaths by not counting non-Florida residents who die in state.

Look, pandemics don't care about partisan politics, but that's been at the core of our country's mistakes in confronting this crisis. President Trump didn't want to deal with reality out of fear it would hurt the economy and his 2020 chances. The virus spread and the economy was devastated anyway, which screwed up testing and gave mixed messages on masks, while President Trump encouraged states to open up too early against the advice of scientists. And as things are getting worse, the president is still in denial. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any.


AVLON: Which is a little like saying, PSA tests cause prostate cancer.

Here's what's clear. What Dr. Anthony Fauci called America's anti- science bias has hurt us all and denial is not a strategy.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: Our thanks to John for that.

So, a team at Harvard says children should go back to school this fall. More on how to do that safely, next.

But first, a non-profit helps families cope during the pandemic in this week's "Impact Your World."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were days I could see it on her face as a nine-year-old being stressed and, of course, we don't want to see our children stressed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would get upset and then I would try and hold my feelings in but I can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we've been taking Mindfulness for Kids. We try to do it at least three times a week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, let's see if we can find a steady and still body. Lifting our heart and feeling our feet on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So let's breathe in and tighten up all your muscles, imagine you're frozen in a big block of ice, and then breathe out and you can just let yourself melt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first you -- I was -- I feel stiff, and then when I let go and I exhale, I feel relaxed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mindfulness is learning how to pay attention to what's happening in the present moment experience. We spend a lot of time lost in thought or worrying about what's happening in the future, the past. We're paying attention to present (INAUDIBLE) like the breath, that can help us move out of the fight or flight mode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is the butterfly mindful breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like I was the butterfly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a while you'll feel how much stress you actually are relieving and it becomes a part of your day. (END VIDEO CLIP)



CAMEROTA: Parents and students across the country are holding their breath to see if schools will reopen to students in their classrooms come fall. Now one Harvard science professor is making a strong case for yes.

Joining us now is Lily Eskelsen Garcia. She's the president of the National Education Association, which represents 3 million educators nationwide.


Ms. Garcia, great to see you.

Let me give you the case. This environmental -- go ahead.


CAMEROTA: Say that again.

GARCIA: You can add teachers to your list, parents and students and teachers and all those support educators. We really want our kids back.

CAMEROTA: That's a great point.

And so let me just read to you the case that this environmental safety professor makes in his op-ed in "The Washington Post." He says, would I let my kids go back to school in the fall? The answer is, yes. Let's first acknowledge a hard truth, widespread school closures come with devastating costs. Kids are at lower risk from complications of Covid- 19 and basic risk reduction control measures are working.

Do you agree that it's riskier for kids to stay home than to go back to school in the fall?

GARCIA: So -- so here's the thing, we want to open schools, we want to open schools safely. We're going to do it that way. This is -- this is a -- this is a no-brainer.

We know that there's more regulations right now to open a restaurant safer -- safely than to open your local elementary school. But let's take a look at what infectious disease experts say.

I'm a sixth grade teacher. I am not a medical researcher. But I pay attention to the Dr. Faucis of the world. Distancing, disinfecting, you've got to have the personal protective gear, the masks, the gloves, and you have to have constant health checks to make sure that people that come into that building are healthy. We can do this in a safe way. Here's the problem. Just when we're trying to think of very creative

ways to distance kids, I had 39 sixth graders one year. That you can't put them six feet apart in a class. Can we use space? Can we use the hours of the school, come in shifts? We're willing to be really creative about how we do some of this.


GARCIA: But just as we're sitting down with school boards, they're getting the messages that their funding has fallen off a cliff. Local and state tax revenue that funds our schools has fallen off a cliff. So now we're being told, oh, can you do that and maybe we cut 20 percent of the staff. No. This is why if we're going to do it and we're going to do it safely --


GARCIA: We have to have the Senate act on a piece of legislation for school funding.


GARCIA: The same kind of help that they gave to businesses so they wouldn't have to lay off people is now sitting in Mitch McConnell's lap. It would send --

CAMEROTA: And -- great point. And -- and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says -- I think he has, at last check, said that they are going to visit this at the end of July. And if that's the case, is there enough time to put those safety precautions into place that you're talking about by September? Do -- what is your best guess right now whether or not kids will be back in their classrooms in September?

GARCIA: So you can't see the back of my hair where I've been yanking my hair out over this because we have to do it now. What a lot of politicians and apparently Mitch McConnell don't understand is those districts have to start laying off teachers now. They're saying, we don't have the money. And we're not going to trust that the Senate is going to -- is going to act.

The Senate could solve this problem, because we are bleeding revenue right now. And while we're trying to get schools open, he's saying, yes, we'll get around to it. No one trusts that the Senate is going to pass something just because, you know, just because it's the end of July.

CAMEROTA: Well -- well --

GARCIA: It has to happen --

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, very quickly, let me just ask you this. If you can't put kids six -- we only have 30 seconds -- six feet apart, can they still go back to school? I mean they are at the lowest risk. Even if desks were six feet apart, could they still start school, in your mind? GARCIA: (INAUDIBLE). Listen to the Dr. Faucis. First of all, there's a whole lot of adults that work in the learning community too, and the kids may not get ill, but they -- and, by the way, many of those kids will get ill.


GARCIA: It's just a low percentage. And they take -- they can be carriers, take it back home to their parents.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Understood.

GARCIA: And then those (INAUDIBLE) work.


GARCIA: We have to do it right.

CAMEROTA: Understood.

GARCIA: We don't have (INAUDIBLE) safe way.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And, sorry, we're out of time. We could talk to you for hours, Ms. Garcia. And we will talk again, obviously, as the summers unfolds.

Thank you very much for being with us.


BERMAN: Time now for "The Good Stuff."

Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston Salem, North Carolina, had to close because of coronavirus.


When owner Mary Haglund cleaned out the place, she decided to auction off the stunning artwork that had lined the walls of her diner.


MARY HAGLUND, OWNER, MARY'S GOURMET DINER: I was like, OK, this painting's up for auction, and people would start bidding on it and they'd have bidding wars.


BERMAN: So she made $5,000 from the paintings. That's good. But what's better, rather than keeping the money, she gave it to the owners of a local Mexican restaurant who were struggling.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost my breath. I just had to sit down, man. HAGLUND: When you can pay it forward like that, to me it's not even a

choice. I mean, of course I'm going to help these people because it's a family owned business.


BERMAN: We all need each other so much right now. What a great story that is.

All right, CNN's coverage continues, next.