Return to Transcripts main page


Richmond Virginia Mayor Orders Confederate Statues Removed; New York Court Clears Way for Tell-All Book By Trump's Niece; Miami-Dade County Officer Under Investigation After Striking Woman. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 2, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ERICA HILL, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Across the country this morning including another Confederate statue coming down overnight. Joining us next, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, about what his decision to have those -- that statue removed, what that -- what's behind that and what happens now?


HILL: Cheers erupting in Richmond, Virginia, as the monument to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, he's taken down. That statue stood for more than a 100 years until the mayor invoked emergency powers Wednesday, ordering the removal of multiple Confederate monuments in the city. Joining me now is the Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, Levar Stoney. Mr. Mayor, good to have you with us this morning.


HILL: We heard the cheers there. We know the calls that there have been. But I'm just curious for you on a personal level. As you're watching that happen, what does it mean to you and what do you think it means to the city?


STONEY: Well, you know, it was a true mix of emotions. It was both humbling and also empowering. You know, that monument stood for roughly a 100-plus years. And we know those monuments were erected for a particularly reason. They were there to intimidate and also to put black and brown people in their place. And yesterday, we did the right thing. There was a public safety issue, but also it was past due time.

HILL: Past due time. You talk about it being a public safety issue, too, which is I understand why you invoked those emergency powers. I know there's been a little bit of a push-back from one of your challengers, we should point out, but a City Council member who says she agrees with the removal, but is worried about lawsuits coming. Telling CNN, she's worried the lawsuits will come. Are you concerned about that? STONEY: I'm not concerned. We believe that we're on sound legal

ground. On June 8th, the City Council invoked another declaration of emergency and under our emergency operations plans, the mayor is the emergency management director, and also that's derived from the governor's executive order. We're in a state of emergency until July 29th, and I'm going to do everything necessary, it's my responsibility to do everything necessary to ensure that we protect life and property.

HILL: As you know, President Trump sees statues such as the one that was just removed, says they're important for history, signed this executive order, of course, protecting monuments. Do you agree that people who were destroying some of those monuments should be punished as the president says?

STONEY: You know, I wish the governor -- I wish the mayor -- I wish the president would spend more time protecting people than he does protecting inanimate objects. You know, we spent three and a half years since the president has been in office, and not one moment have I seen him stand up for black and brown people. Well, roughly four years ago, he said to an audience at one of his rallies that, you know, to black and brown people, what do you have to lose?

And over the course of the last three and a half years, we've seen exactly what black and brown people have to lose. Whether it's through the pandemic or just through systemic racism, period.

HILL: How do you think the conversation is changing when it comes to systemic racism?

STONEY: Well, you know, removing monuments is one thing, right? That's just the -- that's removing symbols, symbols that I think were there for a reason, to put black and brown people in their place, to intimidate, but we've got to do more than just work on symbols. We have to systemically tear out racism, and whether it's our government, our criminal justice system, whether it's in health care. You know, I've said for the last few weeks that the removal of monuments is akin to the fall of the Berlin wall.

When the Berlin wall fell, so did the system that fell behind it. With us, we have to actually go in and root out that systemic racism as elected leaders working with our community, and that's what we plan to do.

HILL: And listen, we all have to do our part, too, right? We have to continue learning, educating. When you -- when you look at that space, though, I mean, I just think of -- you know, as you put it into context, too, right? That, that was there to put black and brown people in their place. Well, now there's this empty pedestal. What would you like to see in that space? What would be an empowering monument for all of the people of Richmond, Virginia?

STONEY: You know, for me, at the beginning of the removal of the monument is a sign that we can finally become, officially, the former capital of the confederacy. Those were signs of oppression. I want us now to be the capital for compassion, the capital for equity, and so any figure, hero or a shero(ph) or just symbol, that represents that, that's inclusive, I think will go a long way in beginning the healing process. We'll work with the community to do that.

HILL: Great. Real quickly, before I let you go, if you can give me a yes or no, the governor said that the next statue to come down would be the Robert E. Lee in Richmond. Is that correct?

STONEY: He did say that. Well, he's been -- there's been an injunction filed, and so we've been waiting more than, I think 20 days now for that one to be removed.

HILL: OK, we'll watch for that. Mayor, great to have you with us this morning. Thank you.

STONEY: Thank you, Erica.

HILL: A big blow overnight to the Trump family's efforts to block a tell-all book written by the president's niece. Details, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: New this morning, a New York court siding with a publisher of a "Tell-All" book by the president's niece, Mary Trump. The judge partially lifted a temporary restraining order ruling Simon and Schuster should not be blocked from printing or distributing the book, which is due to come out July 28th. CNN's Brian Stelter joins us now with more. So Mary Trump still blocked, but not the publisher, correct?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The issue is whether Mary Trump is under a confidentiality agreement that bars her from talking about the Trump family. That is going to be litigated in court in the coming days. Attorney Ted Boutrous says he's confident he will make sure Mary Trump is free to tell her own story. But whether or not, she is liable or not, the book is able to come out.

This book as you mentioned comes out in four weeks, it is already on Amazon, the number one best-selling book in the country. Why? Because it says Donald Trump is the world's most dangerous man, threatening the world's health, economics, security, and social fabric. That's what we know about the book. And of course, we also know Mary Trump is the niece of the president and a clinical psychologist. So it is a very intriguing situation that she's writing a "Tell-All" about her family.

Initially, Robert Trump, the president's brother won a victory in a lower court, stopping this temporarily. And then last night, an appellate judge overruled that. So this is going to go on, and we will see if Mary Trump is in any contractual trouble. But with regards to the book, it is coming out.


And with regard to the bigger picture here, you know, a couple of weeks ago, it was about John Bolton's book, whether the DOJ was going to try to block that book. Now it's about Mary Trump's book. Look at what this Attorney Nora Benavidez said overnight, she said, you know, "Trump and his allies have brought two lawsuits against authors in the past two weeks to try to block publication of books. This is a threat to the First Amendment." Well, John, so far, the First Amendment is winning.

BERMAN: Brian Stelter, thanks so much for being with us this morning, as you say, the book is coming out.

STELTER: It's coming out.

BERMAN: All right, appreciate it. Erica?

HILL: A developing story at this hour. An investigation is underway in a Miami-Dade police officer relieved of duty after body-cam for the officer shows the officer striking a woman hard at the Miami airport. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really should. I really should. I really should. You're acting like you -- you're acting like you're white when you're really black. Now walk away for real. What are you going to do?


HILL: Wow. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez explained what happened last night on "CNN TONIGHT".


MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: And entailed a lady that lists -- that missed her flight and she started to really be upset that -- at I guess, the ticket agents and they called the police and then she got really close into his face and he punched her. And that's way too excessive use of force.


HILL: Miami-Dade County's police director says this will not stand. He's asked the state attorney to get involved in the investigation immediately. Now, we should note, you can hear a male on the video say, she head-butted me as the woman is placed in custody. No head- butt though can be seen in the video. We also don't know if the woman was injured nor whether she was charged.

As coronavirus cases surge in Florida, many beaches there will be closed for the 4th of July holiday weekend, but not Jacksonville Beach. To the north, we'll ask the mayor why his beach is staying open. That's next.


[07:50:00] BERMAN: New overnight. Florida reporting more than 6,500 new cases of

coronavirus just days before the 4th of July. So many beaches in South Florida shutting down for the holiday weekend in the populous county in the southern part of the state, no beaches. But the city of Jacksonville Beach will open beaches up north. Joining me now is the mayor of Jacksonville Beach, Charlie Latham. Mayor, thanks so much for being with us.

As we just said, I know in the southern part of the state which is miles away, they are closing beaches but you are not. Why not?

MAYOR CHARLIE LATHAM, JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA: Hey, good morning, John, thanks for having me today. Well, we've been through quite a learning curve in the last several months during this pandemic. And we were one of the first beaches to open after we had originally closed when the pandemic began. Now, we found virtually no increase at all of the virus in the first go-around.

And I think if we take a step back and look at what the circumstances were that created the current peak we have, it was actually the opening of the bars, not the opening of the beach. We've reached out to -- you know, we're a relatively small city of 25,000 people. We're adjacent to Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach in Duval County. I worked with those mayors, Mayor Glasser and Mayor Brown regularly, and we talk together about how these decisions come about.

And we think it's in the best interest to keep the beach open for a couple of reasons. One is that the first street which runs parallel to the beach common would be completely packed. That's typically where people ride their bikes and it would be double the density that there would ever be on a beach. So they're keeping the beach open, we'll have a -- kind of a calming effect if you will on the concentration of potential people with the virus.

And also, the Mayor Lenny Curry who is the mayor of Jacksonville has quite a few more resources than we do to take consults from the medical people in the community. And I think there's five or six hospitals that he meets with weekly. And he meets with the CEOs or the public -- or the senior medical officials. And this week, when he asked them specifically about closing the beaches, they told him unanimously that they didn't think that would have a huge impact on the health of the citizens, that the sun was good for the citizens.

BERMAN: Well, let me ask you -- let me ask you this. What's happening with cases inside Jacksonville Beach over the last two weeks?

LATHAM: The cases are rising fairly substantially. The age -- average age of the infected is lowering dramatically, and that has to do, I think with the fact that most of these positives are coming from the bars. Hospitalizations and death are very stable though. They're not increasing --

BERMAN: You've -- your case rate has more than tripled, right? It's gone from 80 to over 300?

LATHAM: It has, yes. BERMAN: Are you concerned with beaches in other parts of the state

being closed, that you're going to get a flood of people on your beach which will be opened?

LATHAM: Well, there's other beaches in the northeast that are open as well. I have spoken with Hunter Conrad, who is the county administrator for St. John's County which is immediately adjacent to the south, they're going to be opened as well. I think there's going to be -- I don't know about Volusia County, but I think there's going to be several counties that the beaches are open.

BERMAN: What are --

LATHAM: You know, we're not densely packed, it's the south Florida beach --

BERMAN: What are you going to do to control the number of people who are on your beach?

LATHAM: Well, we're not necessarily out to control the number of people as we are gauging their ability to keep a safe distance from one another. Our police -- our department will be out to enforce as best we can social distancing.


You know, we've got the -- you know, the last -- the last resort -- option for us is to close the beach, and we can only do that --

BERMAN: When will it happen? You say as best we can. Look, we've all seen pictures from around the country of some places that have been open, and you can see people on top of each other. So what will take place if that's the eventuality?

LATHAM: Well, it depends on like I said, how it works out for us in Jacksonville Beach. And the other thing to keep in mind is, you know, the government can't solve this problem by itself. It needs its citizens support to help us all, get behind us. And quite frankly, you know, people need to take accountability and responsibility for themselves and their families.

We're not encouraging people to go to the beach. We're not asking people to go to the beach. We're -- it's probably the lesser of the two evils than closing the beach because we have this unbelievably condensed group of people all the down the first street through the county, and that won't help us at all. So, you know, I think it's a -- it's a good, prudent decision. It's a decision that was unanimous among all the beach mayors here in northeast Florida.

And, you know, we're asking citizens to use their good judgment. If you show up at the beach, you've got your children, it's packed and there's no place for you to go, I'd turn around and go home and have a barbecue.

BERMAN: What about masks? LATHAM: Masks, we're actually mandated by Mayor Curry of

Jacksonville, which includes us in the consolidation of Duval County. Indoors if social-distancing can't be obtained. So that's the requirement. It's indoors and only if social distancing can't be maintained.

BERMAN: What's your level of concern? I have to say, you know, the number of cases they're going way up in Florida. You say we've learned a lot. To me, the one thing we've learned about this pandemic is that it's not in control right now.

LATHAM: Right. Well, you know, we have to -- we have a fine balance that we've got to maintain here. We've got local businesses that for the last three months have gone through a horrible downturn. And several of them have gone out of business. I think that, you know, the circumstances are such that, you know, we're trying to warn everybody of the potential issues with the virus and the beach. We're not suggesting that people go flood the beach. I'd be a lot more comfortable with people staying home and barbecuing, quite frankly.

BERMAN: But you can make that -- you say that, but you know, you can make that happen. You say you're more comfortable with people staying home and barbecuing, you could do that. You could say you can't go to the beach.

LATHAM: You know, and then we'd systematically wipe out the business stead here for businesses at the same time. So we're trying to find a balance that's safe for everybody.

BERMAN: Mr. Mayor Charlie Latham, I know it's not easy. I really do. I know you're facing tough decisions. I know you're doing the best you can. We appreciate you being with us and we wish you the best of luck heading into this holiday --

LATHAM: Thanks --

BERMAN: Weekend.

LATHAM: Thank you, John, best of luck to you as well. Thank you.

BERMAN: Right, NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have now in a single day seen the highest number of cases, more than 50,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If your state is going up in numbers for five days in a row, you need to go into some sort of stay-at-home mode again.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This president has essentially gone AWOL from the job of leadership. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bars, dine-in restaurants and movie theaters will

also now close again in 19 Californian counties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not take your guard down, please.


BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY, Alisyn is off, Erica Hill with me this morning. I'm so glad you're here keeping me in line --

HILL: You slept with me again, Berman.

BERMAN: Oh, no, because, you know, look, I have to say it's hard to stay in line with what we're hearing. We heard this piece from Miguel Marquez, just blew me away. A hospital in San Antonio which is being overwhelmed and the situation is still getting worse. So I appreciate you being here. Breaking overnight, this devastating milestone. The United States reported more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single day, 50,000.

That is a record, and all signs point to the fact that it will be shattered soon. One top doctor warns we're approaching apocalyptic levels in places including Texas and Arizona states that reported their own record cases overnight. Arizona and South Carolina reported record deaths, we're seeing record hospitalizations in certain states around the country. And yet, the president is still relying on what he calls hope that it will soon disappear.

Thirty seven states are seeing a rise in new cases. All of those states in red, that's more than half the country. And nearly half the country is now rolling back plans to reopen businesses.