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Pence Wears Mask During Campaign Event in Texas; Florida Walks Back Some Reopening Measures Amid Surge; U.S. Travelers Likely Banned from E.U. Over Virus Surge; Trump Denies Being Briefed on Russian Bounty Intel; Colombia Exceeds Number of Cases in China; Mexico City Reopening, Too Late for Many Businesses; Trump Retweets then Deletes Video of 'White Power' Chant; More Companies Join Facebook Advertising Boycott Over Hate Speech; England's School Curriculum Criticized for Skipping Black History. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes.


And coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, a grim global milestone in the fight against coronavirus. There are now more than half a million deaths worldwide, a quarter of them right here in the U.S.

And as the U.S. struggles to control the pandemic, the European Union weighs a ban on Americans.

Plus, another blow to Facebook's bottom line. Two more major advertisers boycott the social media giant over its hate speech policy.

Ten million. That is the number of coronavirus cases confirmed around the world. It was reached on Sunday. And Johns Hopkins University reporting another horrible number: the number of people the virus has killed, now past half a million.

The U.S., far and away, leads in new cases and in deaths. The virus is on the rise in about two-thirds of the country. You have to look hard to see the two states where cases are actually dropping. They're in green there on the map. Try to find them.

It's especially surging in the south and the west. Some of those states saw their most cases ever over the weekend, and now, some are rolling back the measures they put in place to reopen.

The U.S. health secretary says the rate of deaths and hospitalizations is down for the time being, but he warns time is running out to bring the virus under control.


ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: This is a very, very serious situation, and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control. If we don't social distance, if we don't use face coverings in settings where we can't social distance, if we don't practice appropriate personal hygiene, we're going to see spread of disease.


HOLMES: Well, in Texas, where cases are soaring, the U.S. vice president is finally offering the same direct advice that health officials have been giving for months now.


MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wash your hands, avoid touching your face and wear a mask wherever it's indicated. Or, wherever you're not able to practice the kind of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


HOLMES: Mike Pence was in Texas on Sunday, attending a crowded campaign event as the state continues to be overwhelmed by the virus.

Have a look at that graph there. On Saturday, the state recording more than 4,700 new cases. Alexandra Field with more.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Mike Pence touched down in the hard-hit state of Texas over the weekend. He got off the plane wearing a mask, and he was greeted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, also wearing a mask.

He then went on to a campaign event that put some 2,200 people inside a church. Masks are encouraged, but a choir of about 100 people sang loudly throughout the rally without their masks on.

Still, Vice President Pence took time, while in Texas, to reaffirm the importance of wearing masks, saying that they are effective in helping to stem the spread of this virus. A particularly prescient message here in Texas where we have seen cases spike, day after day; where hospitalization rates have been going up for some two weeks now; and where local officials have warned that hospitals could be overwhelmed in just a matter of weeks.

All that said, there is not a statewide mandate that requires individuals in Texas to wear a mask. Instead, the governor has recently agreed that local governments can require businesses to require their customers to wear masks. That's as far as the mask mandate goes here.

In Houston, Alexandra Field, CNN.


HOLMES: Florida, another state where virus cases are surging. Let's take a look at the seven-day average in Florida, and just check it out there. You can see how cases have shot up in the past couple of weeks. Officials blaming this partly on people getting together to socialize. Well, now, they say, the party's over.

Randi Kaye has more.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The state of Florida breathing a sigh of relief as the case numbers have gone down for one day after a record high on Saturday of 9,500 cases. Sunday saw 8,500 cases.

The governor, once again, attributing that to higher positivity levels, and also more testing and a backlog of testing. Those positivity levels, he says, are really because of the younger people. He says they've been going to graduation parties, and socializing, and it's mainly the 18- to 44-year-olds, he says, that are coming back with these positive results.

Still, he has closed the bars in the state of Florida to make sure that you can't consume alcohol on the premises, where younger people might congregate.

He has not closed the beaches, although Miami-Dade and Broward have decided to close the beaches for the July 4 weekend on their own.

And also, the governor is -- still has not mandated masks around the state, although many people have said that they would like to see that, because they think it's selfish for people to not be wearing a mask in order to protect others that they've come into contact with.

Meanwhile, IHME, which does the modeling for the fatality rate in this coronavirus pandemic, says that, if 95 percent of Floridians wore masks, by October 1, you would see half the number of fatalities that they are now predicting we will see if those people aren't wearing masks.

Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.


HOLMES: California's governor has ordered bars closed in seven counties due to a recent spike in the virus there. It has been a steady rise in California since March, and now, the state has more than 214,000 infections.

The governor also recommending bars close in eight other counties. The statement from the California Department of Health identifies bars as one of the highest risk nonessential businesses. The state also points out that bars lead to less compliance with use of face masks, and, of course, social distancing, and make contact tracing more challenging.

Joining me now is Dr. Darragh O'Connell -- O'Carroll. He's an emergency physician from Honolulu in Hawaii.

Good to see you again, Doctor. I mean, there's some stunning increases in a lot of cases. I mean, really, just a couple of places where it's stabilizing or dropping. What are you seeing in the numbers, and what should be the immediate priority in dealing with this?

DR. DARRAGH O'CARROLL, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: Yes, it is definitely concerning and knowing that the incubation time, the time that we, you know, really get to know what these numbers exactly are, is lagging, that these numbers are really kind of the tip of the iceberg. And that so large of a percentage of people are actually asymptomatic, you could estimate that these numbers we're seeing here are only 10 to 20 percent of the actual numbers that will come to light in the next couple weeks.

And so it's really concerning here in Hawaii. You know, our state is categorized as increasing numbers, but you can't get much lower than the, you know, 10 to the 15 that we've already had, or you know, for a week or two, a couple weeks ago, we were having zero cases.

So Hawaii's managing thus far, and you know, we've implemented a -- before anybody gets on a plane ticket to Hawaii from the domestic continental United States. They need to get a negative PCR test within 72 hours. So we're going to continue to manage and watch this really carefully.

HOLMES: Yes. I mean, the American 4th of July weekend is just days away. Traditionally -- you know, it's not far away. It's coming up. I mean, you know, fireworks, gatherings, a lot of those planned gatherings are still planned, including the official celebration in Washington.

Are you concerned about that when you're talking about gatherings?

O'CARROLL: Yes, absolutely. Hopefully, you know, they're still -- it's still going to happen. It's our nation's birthday, and there's still going to be a large amount of gatherings, even though people are going to try and detract from it.

Hopefully, the fact that most of these gatherings, if they do happen, are going to be outdoors, will help cull the virus. Hopefully, the fact that most people will be wearing masks -- and I would actually argue that people do a BYO everything. So bring your own everything. So don't share any utensils. Don't share any drinks. Don't share any food. And maintain they physical distancing. And you know, social distancing is sometimes a bit of a misnomer, but the physical distancing, and the hand hygiene that we need to, to continue to combat the spread of this virus.

HOLMES: What -- what do you make about the messaging at the moment? I mean, the vice president, unusually, sort of saying, wear a mask. But at the same time, he was at a church gathering on Sunday, and you know, he was wearing a mask. But you had dozens of people in the choir, singing their hearts out, with no masks. Of course, choirs have literally been linked to spreading events.

What do you make of the messaging and -- and the optics?

O'CARROLL: Yes, it's concerning in that I am very happy that Vice President Pence was wearing a mask. That's a change, I think, in a lot of things we've seen in the public, and we do need to lead from the top, all of our public health officials, you know, Dr. Fauci, and the heads of the CDC and the FDA have been wearing masks in public.

We do know that these work. We know that masks -- you know, there's a study that came out of the National Academy of Sciences shows that just wearing masks, alone, prevented 66,000 infections in New York of -- in the month of April, to me. So, we know they do work.

And so we need to continue to harp on our elected officials to lead from the top down. And I'm happy that Michael Pence was wearing them there.

But with regards to the choir here in Honolulu, our mayor has only just allowed singing inside of -- public singing. And to do so, you need to have a plexiglass in front of -- in front of the artist.

And so you need to maintain the exact amount of distance. You know, the more distance that you have between the artists, the better. But, those choir members were all within six feet of each other and all belting out. And while it sounded beautiful, they're putting all of each other at risk.


O'CARROLL: And their families at risk, as well.

HOLMES: It was interesting. When they sat down, they all put on masks, which is a bit like, you know, putting on your seatbelt only when you're in the driveway.

You had Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on Monday said he thinks it would help if President Donald Trump wore a mask, because it would sort of, you know, lessen this sort of political stigma around wearing it that we've seen more and more.

For whatever reason, though, he -- he does not do that. Do you think the president's actions, or inactions, on this has an effect, or a correlation, with the wearing of masks and, you know, ergo, cases?

O'CARROLL: I can't speak for all of his staunch supporters. But I think when every single one of our public health officials are recommending wearing masks, and are -- you know, the top leader in our country is not, I think it does trickle down to the people who are going to follow and not wear -- not wear masks, just because he isn't.

And so I'm concerned, and I really think that he should reconsider looking at the evidence. And all the evidence is supporting that masks are going to prevent this virus from transmitting to people, and even, possibly, prevent you from wearing -- from contracting the virus. So it's -- it's something that he really needs to look at.

HOLMES: And yes, Dr. Birx saying, you know, that there is now evidence that, you know, wearing one helps you not spread it, but it also, there is evidence now that it helps you not catch it.

Dr. Darragh O'Carroll, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.

O'CARROLL: Appreciate it. Thank you very much. HOLMES: Well, sorry, you can't come in. That is expected to be the

message to American travelers from the European Union. E.U. ambassadors are meeting in coming hours as the continent prepares to reopen its doors to tourism this week. And the U.S. is -- isn't likely to make the list of safe countries, thanks to those surging COVID numbers we've been talking about.

Our Nic Robertson brings us a story from London.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: So what's been happening over the weekend, the E.U. ambassadors at their meeting Friday agreed the criteria for which nations should be allowed into the European Union. And over the weekend, the ambassadors have gone back to their countries, and each country has drawn up a list of nations that they believe should be allowed into the European Union.

On Monday, when the E.U. ambassador to meet again, there will be 27 different lists from the different countries, and that's when they have to get agreement. It is very important to the European Union that they do get an agreement over one single list, because once you're inside the Schengen Zone in the European Union, you can move around freely. So that's important.

They're operating on the basis of protecting the health of what is half a billion E.U. citizens. That's their priority.

So by the end of Monday, they will have voted on one commonly-agreed- upon list, and that will come into effect on Tuesday.

Now, this stage, it really doesn't appear as if the United States is going to make that first list. The reason is the rate of infection from coronavirus in the United States way exceeds that of the European Union.

So the expectation, the U.S., not on the list now, but the E.U. will be looking at the list again, revising it in the weeks ahead.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


HOLMES: We'll take a quick break. When we come back, intelligence reports surfaced months ago, warning that Russia put bounties on coalition troops in Afghanistan. Disturbing new details ahead as President Trump reacts in typical fashion on Twitter.


Plus, a growing list of companies unfriend Facebook. The corporate fallout on hate speech, coming up.


HOLMES: And welcome back. President Trump says he was never briefed about Russians attempting to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. That story first reported by "The New York Times," now widely reported elsewhere, as well.

Now, in a tweet, Mr. Trump said intel told him they didn't find the report credible, and so they didn't report it to him or the vice president.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has an update.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, a European intelligence official told me about this Russian military intelligence plot to pay Taliban fighters to attack American and other coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. And the basis of that scheme has now been confirmed by a U.S. official with knowledge of the intelligence to my colleague, Barbara Starr, in Washington.

Essentially, both these officials agree on the original premise of this plot, that money seems to have been passed to the Taliban at some point. The European officials I spoke to was unclear as to precisely when the supposed casualties that occurred because of these payments actually happened, their number or nationality or nature, as well.

But the U.S. official we've spoken to does appear to believe money did change hands, although the precise verification of those payments is something that is a little unclear.

It appears that these reports began emerging earlier on this year. Now, for their part, the Taliban have been clear they had nothing to do with this, as has the Russian embassy in Washington, using the hashtag, #blameRussia.

The White House itself hasn't disputed the original intelligence reports in an earlier statement, but have, in fact, suggested that "The New York Times," who first reported this plot, was wrong to suggest that it, in fact, had been part of a briefing given to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

President Trump himself has cast doubt on the validity of the original "New York Times" reports suggesting they should release their sources, but it's a very confusing picture with one simple, very clear allegation at the heart of this.

That Russian military intelligence, the GRU, did try, or possibly succeed, in paying money to the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers or coalition allies, as well.

As I say, my European intelligence official I've spoken to is clear that harm was caused most likely because of these payments, but details are still unclear.

And it is, frankly, another chilling moment for the U.S.'s longest war in Afghanistan. And many are asking exactly why these Russian intelligence officials would be motivated to do this.

The European intelligence official I spoke to said that the Russian motivation was, quote, bewildering, but described their actions as callous, reprehensible and shocking.

Much more detail needs to emerge on that, certainly, but one of the original conclusions is much, I think, confusion amongst analysts as to exactly why Donald Trump was not briefed about this as the White House, in fact, claims, given it's such a severe allegation.

But another troubling departure from the U.S. objective at this point, to get out of Afghanistan. Trump administration have been absolutely clear about that. They're involved in peace talks that seem, even as we speak, to be trying to keep their momentum alive, stalled briefly over prisoner exchange.

The real question being, if Moscow did order this, were they trying to expedite the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan? Or is this some smaller level unit operating on its own?

The European official I spoke to said, in fact, it was the same unit that was accused of being behind the poisoning of the Skripal father and daughter in Salisbury in the U.K. in early 2018 that were behind this.

A lot of detail here. A lot of detail missing, as well. But as I say, at the heart of this, a stark and chilling allegation about a Russian bid to pay Taliban to kill and target Americans and their allies in Afghanistan.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


HOLMES: CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd joins me now. Lots to talk about. It's always good to see you, Sam.

So you've got European sources saying the plot did result in harm to coalition troops in Afghanistan. "New York Times," "Washington Post" says the same. Yet, the president says he wasn't briefed.

Now, the thing is whichever way you look at it, it's not a good look. Either he was briefed, and he's saying he wasn't. Or he wasn't briefed, which raises the question of why on something like this.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, exactly. The question of who knew what when is only one piece of the puzzle. You know, it is implausible to me, as someone who served at the White House for four years, that the president wouldn't be briefed. That intelligence officials and policy makers wouldn't make reliable intelligence on threats to American forces accessible to the president.

In my experience, this kind of reporting is kind of rush-delivered to the Oval Office so that the president is aware of dangers to American citizens. Concurrently, we also have reporting that there's a White House

meeting on this intelligence and that there various force protection measures were taken to defend our troops against this threat.

So it looks like this threat reporting was credible, which means that most likely, this reporting was included or provided to the president in some form. That could be the presidential daily briefing. That could be memos ahead of his calls with President Putin and our allies. It can be NSC meetings and more.

But the larger question is, even if it was provided to him, Michael, based on his track -- track record, does anyone have certainty that he digested the intelligence? He has a track record of not getting intelligence briefings and, frankly, trashing intelligence throughout his tenure.

So saying that he wasn't briefed on this intelligence doesn't answer the question about whether the intelligence was or was not available to him.

HOLMES: And during this whole time, I mean, he then announces a drawdown in U.S. troops in Germany, which helps Vladimir Putin; suggests that Putin comes back into the G-7, which helps Putin; all while this was known to the U.S.

Now, as you say, you deal in -- you dealt in national security in the White House. We all saw the Republican reaction to Benghazi, I mean, never-ending investigations.

When Iranian militias killed one contractor, Donald Trump took out Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force.

In any other administration, this would be a major event, warranting action, would it not?

VINOGRAD: Most certainly. And under any -- any other administration, there would be immediate congressional inquiries in, one, why Congress wasn't briefed on this intelligence, if for example, our European intelligence partners were, so why Congress wasn't kept in the loop.

And two, more importantly, why wasn't something done about it? If we've had reliable intelligence, intelligence with a relative degree of confidence, for weeks -- months, in fact -- why hasn't the administration taken steps to protect American citizens?

And frankly, the only answer that I can come up with is that the administration wanted to contain this information. By providing intelligence to Congress, an administration does two things. One, it meets its statutory obligation to keep Congress fully and currently informed. And two, it allows Congress to make moves on its own.

So keeping this intel kind of close hold, within a close circle, really signals to me that there was an effort to drag the -- drag U.S. feet when it comes to protecting Americans.

And that really opens up American troops to current threats right now. If we haven't imposed costs, why would Putin slow down? He has no reason to take his foot off the gas when it comes to targeting Americans, and that means that there may be a live threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and frankly, anywhere else that Putin can pay proxies to target us.

HOLMES: What would be Russia's motivation? I mean, especially with Donald Trump openly running to the Afghan exit door? And what does it say about Putin's long-term goal when it comes to the U.S.?

VINOGRAD: Well, Putin has reportedly been providing arms and other support to the Taliban for a longer period of time than this intelligence reporting may cover. The intelligence reporting is an escalation in terms of Putin's support for the Taliban.

But most likely, his motivation is to inflict harm on the United States. He's doing that in cyberspace and the information warfare attacks. And now we have conventional attacks to add to that -- to that Putin to-do list. So it's to inflict harm on the United States and to push the Americans out of Afghanistan.

The unfortunate thing is that the administration is continuing to draw down in Afghanistan, despite the fact that the Taliban has not lived up to their commitments, the Taliban which I just mentioned Putin has been accused of supporting. The Taliban hasn't lived up to their commitments. And we know that, clearly, Putin doesn't want us around in Afghanistan. It's a geopolitical win for him if we are seemingly forced into a retreat.

HOLMES: Samantha, great to see you. Samantha Vinograd, appreciate it.


HOLMES: With the coronavirus spreading across South America, one country has now surpassed the original epicenter of the outbreak, while another has surged to one of the highest case totals in the world.

Also, when we come back, Mexico City getting ready to ease restrictions, but is it already too late for some businesses? We'll be right back.


HOLMES: More now on our top story. The coronavirus smashing two records that nobody wants to hold.

As of Sunday, the virus has killed more than half a million people worldwide, ten million infected. According to Johns Hopkins, Latin America is one of the latest hotspots. The Pan American Health Organization says cases have tripled there in the last month. Brazil, second in total cases after the U.S., and now Peru is sixth. It has reported nearly 280,000 cases, more than either Spain or Italy.

In Colombia, the death toll from the virus climbed past 3,000 on Sunday after officials counted another 167 deaths. Overall, the country has confirmed over at least 91,000 cases, more than even China, the original epicenter of the pandemic.

From the capital of Bogota, Stefano Pozzeban explains how the country got to this point.


STEFANO POZZEBAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Colombia has now registered more coronavirus cases than the whole of China. And this comes at the end of a week where Colombia has registered new daily increase records for three days. It's perhaps a sign of how much inwards coronavirus is getting, not only in Colombia, but all across the region.

And this puts intense pressure on the Colombian government, who since the beginning of June, had somehow partially allowed a reopening of the economy, increasing the numbers of businesses allowed to be open up to 43 categories. It's now under the pressure to have to return to a strict lockdown to prevent further increase in the coronavirus cases.

The situation is particularly critical here in Bogota, the capital, where the intensive care units' occupancy rate is almost getting to 70 percent. And authorities are very careful and afraid that, in -- in a few days, there won't be enough hospital beds to treat all these coronavirus patients.

So increased pressure on the Colombian government to return to a strict lockdown the way it was in April and May. And of course, increased pressure between in this thin (ph) game between the health crisis and the economic crisis. The IMF is projecting that coronavirus will toggle an economic crisis unseen in South America in recent times. Even worse than the end of the commodity boom in 2010.

And so there is pressure and a situation that is evolving by the minute.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


HOLMES: Officials in Mexico have counted another 4,000 cases of the virus with at least 267 new deaths. Overall, the country's death toll is the seventh highest in the world. And it could continue to grow as parts of the capital prepared to reopen.


For some businesses, this will provide much-needed relief. For others, the move is too little too late, as Matt Rivers now reports.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lines out the door usually means a business is thriving. Except this one, the A Traves del Espejo (ph) bookstore in Mexico City, is dying. Owner Selba Inanda (ph) says the truth is really sad. Her mom first

opened the shop back in '95. And for 25 years, it survived earthquakes, and recessions, and Amazon Kindles, but the pandemic proved too much when the government shut down the economy.

"It's a bookstore," she says. "We don't make a lot of money normally. Then we had to close, which means we couldn't pay rent, so the owner asked us to leave."

Her story is as tragic as anything you'd find on her shelves, but among small business in the city, it is a familiar narrative. One local chamber of commerce estimates, of the roughly 400,000 small businesses here, some 40 percent won't survive, forcing more than one million people out of a job.

A short walk from the bookstore, keeping people employed and the neighborhood well-fed has turned into a mantra of sorts at Expentio de Maiz (ph). They've managed to stay open during the crisis, just.

Chef Ana Gonzalez (ph) says, "I've seen so many places closed, and I just feel fortunate I still have work right now."

Sales are way down, and they've all taken big pay cuts. And even as the economy is starting to reopen, they're not sure what that looks like.

"Day by day, people have less money," says co-owner Jesus Tornes (ph). "Even if they reopen everything, if there's no demand, it won't matter. This year is rough."

But they know it's rough for everyone, and good food helps, so they're determined to try and see it through.

A good book can also help, which is why Selba (ph) slashed prices and invited people in one last time. She says the closing doesn't feel real.

"I am happy to see so many people coming to say goodbye," she says. "It's a nice tribute, because my mom loved for books to be cheap and accessible to everyone."

Her mom's chosen name for the shop, "A Traves del Espejo" means through the looking glass, a literary reference to an imagined world. It's an apt name these days, with the real world so different than it was before.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


HOLMES: When we come back, a retweet, then a delete. But the U.S. president wasn't fast enough to cause -- to avoid an uproar over a white power message. That's next. You're watching CNN.



HOLMES: Welcome back. The U.S. president is once again accused of fueling racial tensions, this time due to a video he retreated which showed a supporter shouting, "White power." And the president did eventually delete.

Well, Jeremy Diamond has details now on that and the White House response.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump on Sunday amplifying a video in which one of his supporters can be heard saying, "White power. White power."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power! White power!

DIAMOND: The president posting a retweet of that video and also adding this comment, saying, "Thank you to the great people of The Villages." That is a location in Florida where this video was reportedly shot.

Now, the president did delete that tweet after it was online for more than three hours. And the White House says that the president simply did not hear that message before he posted that tweet.

The White House's deputy press secretary, Judd Deere, saying in a statement, "President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters."

Now, this, of course, is not an isolated incident. It is the latest in a string of examples where we have seen President Trump amplifying hateful or racist messages. We saw the president, of course, after that white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, say that there were many fine people among those at that rally.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very fine people. On both sides.

DIAMOND: We've also seen the president retweet anti-Muslim videos, and many other examples exist, as well.

And particularly -- this is striking -- because President Trump has really struggled to address issues of systemic racism and racism broadly in America amid these protests since the death of George Floyd. He has not, in a comprehensive manner, addressed that.

Instead, what we have seen is him fanning the flames. And this was really just the latest example.

Now, while the president did delete that tweet ultimately after more than three hours, what he didn't do was apologize for posting it in the first place. Nor did he condemn the Trump supporter who said, "White power."

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: The only black senator in the Republican conference is among those denouncing that tweet or retweet. Before it was deleted, Tim Scott told CNN it was offensive.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I think it's indefensible. We should take it down. That's what I think.


HOLMES: The likely Democratic presidential nominee also comparing the tweet to when President Trump said there were fine people at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Joe Biden tweeting, quote, "We're in a battle for the soul of the nation, and the president has picked a side, but make no mistake, it is a battle we will win."

Well, while the president is under fire for retweeting racist language, Facebook is facing an advertising boycott for failing to control hate speech on its platform. A growing list of major companies announcing they're putting a pause on their ads on the site.

CNN's Brian Fung with details.


BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: It's a massive decision for a massive brand. Starbucks said Sunday it is pulling its advertising from all social media platforms, amid a wider backlash against Facebook.

The global coffee giant said it will use the pause to talk with media partners and civil rights groups about how to stem hate speech. The decision could mean a major blow to the revenues of social media companies.

Starbucks was the sixth largest advertiser on Facebook in 2019, spending an estimated $95 million on ads, according to Pathmatics, a market intelligence firm.

Facebook now confronts a seemingly unstoppable advertiser boycott. In the past two weeks, brands like Unilever, Verizon, Patagonia, Honda and Hershey's have all said they're pausing their Facebook advertising.

Advertisers have criticized Facebook's handling of hate speech and misinformation.

Facebook has said it invests billions every year to keep its community safe, and that its artificial intelligence helps it remove hate speech faster than other platforms.

[00:45:04] On Sunday, Nick Clegg, a top Facebook executive, acknowledged to CNN, "We constantly need to improve at implementing our policies, enforcing them so that we can seek out what, thankfully, is still a very small minority, but damaging minority, of content on the platform to make people feel safe."

If brands like Starbucks abandoned social media, some analysts say it could lead to a longer-term reckoning for Silicon Valley in the midst of a high-stakes pandemic and an election year.

Brian Fung, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: The last state flag in the U.S. with a flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem is one step closer to removing it. Mississippi's House of Representatives and Senate both passed a bill on Sunday that would get rid of the controversial emblem, and the governor says he will sign it.

Activists fighting against racial injustice have a message for England's schools. It's time to make black history mandatory in the classrooms.

CNN's Nina dos Santos with a closer look.






NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taking to the streets week after week, Black Lives Matter protesters say racism continues to be a pervasive problem in the U.K. But activists say to be lasting, change must also come in the classroom, by making the black community's history a compulsory part of England's national curriculum.

DAVID OLUSOGA, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC HISTORY, MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY: The history they're being taught in school is partial. They know that it has an omission, and the omissions are their stories. And they're angry about it. It's everybody who needs to learn this history. It's not just about black people, and it's not just for black people. It explains why our society looks the way it does today.

DOS SANTOS: While though many schools observe Black History Month once a year, there is no actual obligation to teach the topic, leaving some Britons feeling underrepresented and others underinformed.

LAVINYA STENNETT, FOUNDER AND CEO, THE BLACK CURRICULUM: The current Eurocentric curriculum doesn't center black histories at all, and what that does is ultimately disempower all students from learning about British history in its more rounded view. And I think it's really key that we're able to offer narratives that are positive and also more truthful.

The Black Curriculum is a project that goes into schools --

DOS SANTOS: Lavinya Stennett created her start-up, the Black Curriculum, in 2019 to provide training for teachers on the subject. Now, she's lobbying the government to make black history mandatory for all 8- to 16-year-olds.

(on camera): Do you think that there is now a broader recognition that black history is British history, and that part of British history is black?

STENNETT: Absolutely, I think the two are simultaneous (ph). It's very simple for our nation, I think. Ultimately, we are a multicultural society, and I think just to recognize that through policy and also in the national curriculum sends a strong message.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Despite these calls to make black history teaching mandatory, the Department for Education told CNN the national curriculum is, quote, "already incredibly diverse and offers pupils access to different Black History topics."

They also told CNN, "Racism in all its forms is abhorrent and has no place in our society, and schools play a crucial role in helping young people understand the world around them."

(on camera): However, successive government reports over the past 20 years have consistently highlighted attaching greater importance to black history as a vital tool for rooting out racism.

(voice-over): A recent CNN poll reveals the extent of Britain's steep racial divide. Black Britons are at least twice as likely as white Britons to say that there is discrimination in British policing and media.

They're three times as likely to think the country has done far too little to address historic racial injustice, and significantly more likely to find statues of slave traders or colonizers offensive.

OLUSOGA: If you can teach the Industrial Revolution and miss out the bit where the cotton is produced by 1.1 (ph) million African-Americans who are half the slaves working in America on the eve of the Civil War, you are omitting critical facts.

We tell half histories, and sometimes we tell half-truths. What I suspect is happening is that a generation who've learned black history, taught it themselves, are not standing for the things that my generation stood for.

So this is history in action. This is not a challenge to history.

DOS SANTOS: History which one day may well be taught across all schools in England. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


HOLMES: When we come back, playing tennis amid a pandemic. A reigning Grand Slam champ speaks to CNN about how she's preparing for this year's U.S. Open. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: The U.S. Open tennis tournament is scheduled to return in about two months, and already the reigning women's champion is preparing to defend her title. Like the rest of the pros, she's been out of that action because of the pandemic, but she told CNN's Christina Macfarlane she has high hopes for the Open.


BIANCA ANDREESCU, 2019 U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: I actually didn't think tennis would come back so soon, just because it's such an international sport. But honestly, I'm just super happy to go back there and, hopefully, defend my title. Just step back on the court and start competing again.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORT: We can take it from that that you definitely want to play if you can.

ANDREESCU: A hundred percent. I know everyone involved is going to do their best to keep everyone as safe as possible, but just looking at all the other sports, I think it's time for tennis to come back, and I'm sure it's going to be done in a strict -- like, as much as they can, manner. Then I think everything -- everything should be fine.

MACFARLANE: Given the experience of last year, do you think you would prefer to play with someone like Serena Williams again under these circumstances, with no crowds there, given what it was like last time around?

ANDREESCU: I don't know. Playing in front of a crowd is just -- it just brings the hype into everything. I would say I perform really good under pressure, so I felt like the crowd kind of gave me a push.


I told myself, I was like, I'm going to try to win every point right now so the crowd can just calm down a little bit.

To be honest I think the closer they can make the atmosphere of having fans, I think the better. I'm sure if they add, like, some claps here and there, it will definitely put people more in a competitive environment.

So all we know is that there definitely will be people watching at home. I think it will be good for us to keep that in the back of our mind.

I'm sure so many people that haven't watched tennis before will probably start watching now, just because sports hasn't been on for the longest time. Just like UFC. Like, I never was really into UFC, but I just got into it now, because it's kind of the only sport that was going on. And I actually like it.

It's intense.

MACFARLANE: Pretty incense.

ANDREESCU: But I like it.

MACFARLANE: So last year was huge for you. You started the year ranked 178 in the world. You finished it ranked No. 5 in the world. You competed in your first Grand Slam, and you won it in your first attempt.

And you've only now just turned 20. What comes next for you?

ANDREESCU: Reach the No. 1 spot and continue to make records and win as many Grand Slams as I can.

MACFARLANE: Yes. Nothing bigger than that.

ANDREESCU: No. I kind of want to surpass Serena in her wins. Because then I think that'll be -- yes, that will be something.

But honestly, if I continue what I'm doing right now, I know I can win a couple more. Who knows, yes, maybe even surpass -- surpass the greatest. I like to dream big. It gives me more motivation.


HOLMES: And thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM, and there is more of it after the break.