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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Second Night of RNC: The President is Not the Man You Know Him to Be; Kenosha Unrest Tests Trump's "Law and Order" Message; RNC Largely Ignores Coronavirus Pandemic; Ex-Trump Official Claims Trump is 'Dangerous,' Endorses Biden; Jacob Blake's Mother Asks for Calm. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired August 26, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone, I'm Chris Cuomo along with D. Lemon. Welcome to our special coverage of the second night of the Republican National Convention.
The theme from my perspective, let's show you who we think we are. The president using a pardon for a Black man. A naturalization ceremony for new immigrants now Americans and a blatantly political speech by a secretary of state to advance reelection hopes.
All of it is too little, too late because we have two major crises falling on our heads. Both of them are on this president's watch. And it doesn't matter what his friends say. It doesn't matter what his wife says. He has not put his arms around this pandemic in a way that will keep our families safe.
And then you get to the second one. You have COVID and Kenosha, Don. And what's happening in Wisconsin, it's a Rorschach test for where this country is and I think it probably represents the biggest threat to the Democratic cause.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You took the words right out of my mouth.
CUOMO: That's because we're reading from the same teleprompter.
LEMON: That's all you. This is where I come in. We'll get to that.
But when you said it's too little, too late, I don't know about that. I mean, we still have a lot of time left until Election Day. And I do think that this -- what you said was happening in Kenosha is a Rorschach test for the entire country.
And I think this is a blind spot for Democrats. I think Democrats are hoping this will go away and it's not going to go away. So unless someone comes up with a solution over the next 73 days or however so --
CUOMO: -- 68 days.
LEMON: -- 68 days. So the problem is not going to be fixed by then.
But what they can do -- and I think maybe Joe Biden maybe afraid to do it. I'm not sure. Maybe he won't, maybe he is. He's got to address it.
He's got to come out and talk about it. He's got to do a speech like Barack Obama did about race. He's got to come out and tell people that he's going to deal with the issue of police reform in this country and that what's happening now is happening on Donald Trump's watch.
And when he is the president, Kamala Harris is the vice president, then they will take care of this problem.
But guess what?
The rioting has to stop. Chris, as you know and I know, it's showing up in the polling. It's showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing -- it is the only thing right now that is sticking.
And the Democrats (sic) tonight, stuck with that, right?
And they also stuck with the theme that you said, the coronavirus. You've got coronavirus and you have Kenosha and then you have the first lady of the United States.
So what did we see tonight?
The first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, on the day the death toll, Chris, in this country passed 178,000, one of the only people at this convention to actually acknowledge the virus and to speak about race.
Did she do it an honest way or was it just for political reasons?
She did do it. But then she went on to gaslight in her own way, praising her husband's honesty -- really? -- and claiming that her husband doesn't waste time playing politics.
CUOMO: Right. When I say too little, too late, I'm saying for reality, not for the election. I think as you well know I think this election is very far from done. I think this race is much closer than polls allow, especially for the states and the counties where it matters. And fear is a huge driver.
CUOMO: And that's what the message is. When you do COVID-19, I'm saying it's too little, too late. You can't say, even if it's Melania Trump -- and she obviously gets more latitude than her husband in terms of being genuine, you know, deserved or not -- if you care about families then Melania Trump should tell her husband to make sure that every family can get what they can get for their son, that he can get tested whenever he needs, that the people around him can be tested whenever he needs and that he can have security in going to school that so many people's families cannot.
CUOMO: Her husband is the one who's asleep at the switch when it came to switching the strategy on testing and getting us to rapid testing. And he still won't do it. I'm not here to criticize the first lady. I don't think she's relevant.
CUOMO: But I'm saying a little too late for reality.
LEMON: But here's the thing, yes, she did a fine job. She did a fine job of tonight. You expect the spouse of any candidate to come out and trash their partner?
LEMON: They're just not going to do it. So the first lady wasn't going to do it --
CUOMO: If anything she talked a lot more about her time as first lady than his time as president, which I thought was interesting. I thought it was very important to define herself differently than happened the last time --
LEMON: Fear, playing up the fear about what's happening with race with protesting in this country, playing down the fear of the coronavirus. Here's the first lady.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not you always know what he's thinking. And that is because he's an authentic person who loves this country and its people and wants to continue to make it better.
Donald wants to keep your family safe. He wants to help your family succeed. He wants nothing more than for this country to prosper and he doesn't waste time playing politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Look, I don't know if she believes that but she said it. And it deserves criticism.
He is not honest. She knows he's not honest. She knows very well he's not honest. She knows he's intentionally not honest. And saying a lot of things doesn't mean you're saying things authentically. And she knows all these things.
But most importantly the idea he will fight to keep families safe, then why isn't he fighting for testing?
He is the reason -- and his administration's inaction -- why our kids -- kids like mine and the people watching this show are screwed in terms of going back to school because we can't test the kids regularly enough. That's why. Everybody's being told that.
They don't have the level of confidence. They don't have the square footage. They can't get the tests. They can't get it processed in time. That's how you keep families safe.
Look, she's the first lady. I don't want to hold it against her. I think there's a bigger deal here you referred to. The Democrats want to define what we see around the country every time there's one of these cases, like now in Kenosha, the symptom is the protest. The symptom is the riot. And opportunists, you have the bad actors and then you have people who went there for the right reason and now did the wrong things. It's all true. And they're rioters, not protesters, and they're criminals as a result and they are exhibiting what they say they oppose.
But to Trump, the riots are the problem. See, this is the key, Don. This is why the polling is shifting.
Maria, I don't know if we have it to put up right now.
But you'll see from June until now we're seeing voters shift in terms of how they see these incidents. And they see them more now about riots than about legitimate protests.
LEMON: The riots and protests have become indistinguishable. And again the only thing sticking in focus groups -- and that's why I said that this is a blind spot for Democrats. They don't want to believe it.
And when you say -- what you said just now about, you know, what is the symptom of whatever, that's all well and good. But you can't put that on a bumper sticker.
You know what I'm saying?
CUOMO: I hear you but I'm saying they're losing the narrative. The narrative is when you see the riots, you see the ugliness, the desperation, that is a symptom of a problem. Trump doesn't want to deal with the problem. He won't even say the words "systemic racism." I don't care how many people he pardons except the ones that are done for political --
LEMON: Let's put that up.
CUOMO: Put the poll number back up.
LEMON: Because listen, still they're saying it's gone from 62 percent to 53 percent. But still most people in the country, Chris, believe they're mostly legitimate.
CUOMO: But, Don, think about that. Barely half of this country believes we have a problem with systemic racism -- ? LEMON: Well, I don't know if it's systemic racism. I think this is about policing. But to see from 62 percent to 53 percent from June to August, that's a big shift.
LEMON: Even though it's still most of the people in this country, it is a shift and something that should be paid attention to. And so, listen, I agree. They're playing up on fear. This is about politics. Politics is about winning. And so both sides should --
LEMON: Would we, in a perfect world, want both sides to come to some sort of consensus?
Yes. But that is not going to happen because this is about stoking fear for the Republicans or for the Trump people when it comes to race and policing in this country, downplaying the fear for COVID because you know they've done a terrible job.
And the president knows it. And you know and I know that by not attacking the -- if you don't attack the disease, then you're not going to fix it.
CUOMO: That's right. He doesn't have any interest in fixing it. He has an interest in winning.
LEMON: That's a symptom; that's not really the problem.
CUOMO: But if he can spin it to where everytime somebody is chased around a car and shot multiple times, it's more proof of bad Blacks and bad Blacks that you don't want to come to your suburban neighborhood and Rudy Giuliani back in the TV game tonight, saying, it's moving to the suburbs, they are coming for you, this is their plan.
Who's they, Don?
LEMON: Scary stuff but it's incumbent on the media, too, that make sure that we --
CUOMO: We're doing it right now.
LEMON: -- portray the right thing and we're honest about it.
I'm going to say this and I know people don't like it. Most Black people don't want police defunded. They don't want fewer police. What they want, they want more. And most communities of color in this country need police. They may need police more than white communities, OK?
CUOMO: There's more crime.
LEMON: Because there's more crime. Poorer communities, there's more crime in poorer communities regardless of what ethnicity you are.
CUOMO: That's right.
LEMON: And African Americans -- most African Americans know that. The fringes of the party want that. But most people in the Democratic Party don't want that. What they don't want and what African Americans don't want, police abusing people.
CUOMO: That's right.
LEMON: A domestic call being a death sentence. They don't want that.
And I think the two -- you can talk about the two. You can fix the two unless you want to play up on people's fears. And I really do think the fringes of the Democratic Party have to realize that they're playing a very dangerous game.
They cannot keep their blinders on when it comes to this issue, whether you think it's real or the Republicans are playing up the narrative and stoking fear or not. It's a real issue that's showing up in the polling when it comes to suburban women and when it comes to moderates and for people who may be your allies on this particular issue.
One has to realize, when you're losing an ally and you're starting to turn people off, whether it's real or not, you have to figure out how to fix it. The goal in politics and an election is to do what?
LEMON: Win. Not to win an argument, to win the election and to be strategic and know when to push a certain issue, when to pull back on a certain issue. And you can't always have an activist mind and an activist leaning when you're trying to win an election.
It's great to be out there, rah-rah-rah, this is what we want, this is what we want.
But you have to realize the ultimate goal is to what?
To win the center of power so you can take care of the issue that is important to you.
CUOMO: All right, look, we've said our piece. COVID and Kenosha.
LEMON: There you go.
CUOMO: Those are the two boxes. Look for 6 days, 8 days out, there'd have to big event to change voters minds from --
LEMON: And if you want to hear the real deal, tune in to this show.
CUOMO: How do you feel about the Rose Garden?
LEMON: This is what people are talking about, what we're talking about.
CUOMO: These are going to be heavy things to have people going to the polls and we'll see who gets more people to come out to believe their story.
On that, we go to break.
Who are you going to believe, what you've seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears for the past few years, what this president is and isn't about?
Or what you're hearing now in the convention, that this president is someone other than the man you've seen all these years?
The choice is yours.
CUOMO: Saint DJT -- next.
LEMON: It is the second night of the Republican National Convention, so there's obviously a lot to fact check on a night designed to convince you the president is not the man that you have seen all these years.
Let's discuss now, of course, with our very busy fact checker, Daniel Dale. We're keeping him supplied with lots of coffee for this. Our senior political analyst, Ryan Lizza, and a former Republican congresswoman, Mia Love.
Good to see all of you. Hello and welcome. I hope you're doing well and healthy so on and so forth.
Ryan, I'm going to start with you.
What happened to the president we have seen and heard over the past nearly 4 years?
It seemed like it was day two of being told to ignore what you've experienced during this presidency. The man you see every day is not the man that he is. This is who he is, caring, responsible, took care of the coronavirus. He's perfect.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think your point about taking care of the coronavirus, to me, is the headline from last night and tonight. I mean, Larry Kudlow went as far as to put it all in the past tense, as if the pandemic is no longer with us.
And I mean, this is an incredible exercise here to see if the issue that is on voters' minds, the fact that this administration, by any objective metric, has not defeated this pandemic, if with a convention, if, you know, with two hours of prime time programming and speeches and testimonials about other aspects of the president's character.
LIZZA: If all of that can overcome the fact that the country is still going through the double whammy of the pandemic and the economic crisis that it caused.
And, boy, I don't think you can deny reality with a few hours of convention programming over the course of a week. I still think, by the end of this, that is the issue on the minds of voters.
LEMON: Let me ask you this, though.
Are you going to change any minds?
The people watching the conventions, the people who love the president, they're going to believe what they believe.
Is it going to change their minds that, wow, I've actually done a terrible job with the coronavirus from the people that are watching this convention?
LIZZA: I don't think so. Look, he's going to get a bounce out of this convention and this race is going to tighten. If you look at the big lead that Biden has, it's going to narrow after this convention. I think that's what most of the polling experts think, right?
So he might change a few minds. There's only about 5 percent to 8 percent of the population that is up for grabs in this election. It's that tiny sliver.
A lot of those people have jumbled, incoherent ideological views, so it's anyone's guess what exactly will change their minds. But people are dying and the pandemic has not been defeated. That is the issue. I don't think convention programming can distort that reality.
LEMON: All right, Mia, let's talk about that. Listen, you've run and won. And you've run and lost, right?
So you know this game. It's on the margins and it's just 8 percent. But you only have to get a few percentage points, a few people to come over to your side and that can be the difference between winning and losing.
Do you think that can happen out of this convention?
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it absolutely can. OK, so we -- look, it's time for us to tell it like it is. We just have to be honest with people. They're going to get a bump.
I got a phone call from my dad, who was so incredibly upset before with the president. He heard both conventions and he was just like, wow. I have to tell you, if it's not for Donald Trump, maybe I might have to vote for all the people who were speaking. He was really impressed with Tim Scott because he saw himself in it.
He was impressed with some of the people that were talking and, you know, people need a little bit of light in the world. They need a little bit of enthusiasm. They need a little bit of a brighter future.
And so some of the people that were speaking -- and I don't know if it's because some of it wasn't recorded, maybe because it was a little bit different. I don't know. I think that the first night and even into the second night, I was actually pretty pleased with what I saw from some of the people that were --
LEMON: You don't think people had an issue with the president issuing a pardon, using the naturalization ceremony and program as a political stunt?
You don't think people had an issue with that, taking something that is usually held as pretty reverent within our political system or within our system of governing, not usually used as a political tool during a convention, you don't think that was insulting and turned some people off who may have been paying attention to this?
LOVE: I think it might have turned some people off. I'm sure it has. I looked at it and I thought, hmm, I wonder if this is the appropriate place to do this. I've gone to many naturalization ceremonies.
LEMON: Not at a convention on live television.
LOVE: Yes, not on a convention.
But it wasn't about taking credit for yourself, right?
At least not for me, anyway, because I'm a daughter of immigrants. This is something that --
LEMON: Before we run out of time, I've got to get Daniel in. I just felt like it came off as a stunt. And I'm just wondering if that was obvious to the folks.
OK, so Daniel, you were busy fact checking the convention. Eric Trump, you heard a few things from him that were not true.
What is it?
DANIEL DALE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were at least three, Don. He claimed, while listing the president's accomplishments, he just cited peace in the Middle East.
We don't have peace in the Middle East. Trump did help broker a Israel-UAE normalization deal. That is something. But we have a war in Syria; we have thousands of troops in Iraq, we have an Israeli- Palestinian conflict and so on and so forth.
Eric also said, like many other speakers, that Biden he says has pledged to defund police. Biden has explicitly, repeatedly rejected that idea.
He also said Biden has pledged to get rid of our cherished Second Amendment. This is just something conservatives say but it's not true. Biden hadn't proposed repealing the amendment. He has proposed some gun control measures, like a non-mandatory buyback of so-called assault weapons.
LEMON: One more, let me give you another fact check here, Daniel, a claim from Larry Kudlow tonight, that I just want you to fact check for us. Here it is. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Inheriting a stagnant economy on the front end of recession the program tax cuts, historic rollback of onerous regulations that crippled small business, unleashing energy to become the world's number one producer and free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to bolster manufacturing, agriculture, technology and other sectors. The economy was rebuilt in three years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Trump inherited a stagnant economy?
The Obama administration created more jobs in the last part of their administration than Trump did in, I think all of his administration, the first part. I forget what the statistics show.
DALE: The last three years of Obama versus the first three years of trump.
LEMON: Obama created more jobs than Trump. So what is he talking about?
DALE: I don't know, Don. I honestly don't. Growth did slow in 2016 to 1.7 percent but that's still growth. Kudlow said Trump inherited the front end of a recession. There was no recession. You have to have two consecutive quarters of negative growth for a recession. There were no quarters of negative growth in late 2016, early 2017.
So that phrase, I have no idea where it comes from.
LEMON: And if you're watching tonight and you don't know, then you'll believe it. And a lot of people did because I'm not sure there was much fact checking. I don't believe there was much fact checking going on, especially with conservative media tonight when it comes to that.
Thank you all. I appreciate it. I'll see you soon. Stay safe.
A group of current and former Trump administration officials are coming out against the president, working to see him defeated come November. The former Homeland Security official leading the charge calls him "unfit."
I've been seeing you all over the place. I can't wait to hear your conversation here on CNN or on this program this evening.
He's going to join us next right after the break.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So, a question for you. Is President Trump who they want you to believe he is at this convention? Welcoming people into this country?
Or is he who we've seen and heard for years? He is proposing cutting legal organization. Not illegal immigration; illegal and legal immigration. He wants to stop the way that people like his wife bring in family. You heard Melania Trump tonight, with pride and rightfully so, talking about her struggle and her family's desire to be here, and how hard they worked, and the passion they had to make it in this country. Trump wants to end the method of immigration that his own wife used.
So who is he really? Let's talk to somebody who's watched him in action as president. Miles Taylor, former Trump insider, served as chief of staff for the Department of Homeland Security. He is a Republican. He served in the George W. Bush administration, but he is now part of a group of conservatives who think a second Trump term would be, quote, "dangerous for America." Thus, he has endorsed Joe Biden for president and joins us now.
Mr. Taylor, thank you for taking the opportunity, especially given this time.
MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thanks for having me tonight. I appreciate it.
CUOMO: What did you make of the naturalization ceremony?
TAYLOR: I mean, look, I'll say this. It was incredibly ironic. Right? You hit the nail on the head.
This is a president who I witnessed wanting to cut immigration down as far as humanly possible. In fact, I'll give you an anecdote. At one point, when we were having discussions about the refugee numbers, the president wanted to take the refugee numbers down to zero. Literally, at one point, he wanted to say the numbers are zero; we're not going to let any refugees into the country.
Now, historically, the number has been somewhere around 50 or 60,000 refugees a year, but that's what the president of the United States wanted to do. And his policies were designed to make it more difficult for both legal, illegal, any immigrants to get into the United States. So I thought it was very ironic that the president would choose a naturalization ceremony as a feature to be held.
But also, I'm going to quote my friend Rick Wilson, who tonight said this looked less like a series of Hatch Act violations and more like a Hatch Act violation festival. I mean, it was one thing after another.
You're taught on day one in government not to mix politics and official business; and this seems to have been designed to be a deliberate mixer, and that was pretty disturbing to watch.
CUOMO: You know, you have to wonder whether or not the people who are watching, the voters, have such low expectation of politics now that they expect someone in the office to abuse it. That the Rose Garden would be used for political business, that the president would pardon and use naturalization at a political convention to help himself, because they think they're all on the arm (ph).
So let's get your perspective of what do you want American voters to know about how you witnessed this president do the job.
TAYLOR: Look, I think people need to know this. There are a lot of folks who came into this administration, most of them who wanted the president to succeed. We were lifelong Republicans. We were excited about a Republican administration. We wanted good things to happen.
But the more that we witnessed the president's indiscipline in office, the clearer it became that he was unfit for the job. And people at home could be skeptical and wonder, you know, why are these folks coming out now? Why are they coming out during the election? Is there some ulterior motive?
Look, a lot of us who are coming out to talk about our experiences in the administration are putting jobs, and families, and careers, and friends, and all sorts of things in our lives at risk. Now, again, I'm not asking for sympathy about that, but people are coming out to tell the truth.
And in fact, today I talked to a lot of former senior administration figures who said I'd be doing the same thing, but I fear for my job, or I fear for my family.
But the good news here is that the facade of Trumpism is starting to crack, and we've got a number of folks this week who are joining the team. Tomorrow, you're going to see a number of the other ex-Trump officials who joined me out there more publicly, talking about their experiences. But I think you're going to the same takeaway from them, is that in their experience, they were hopeful, and they found Donald Trump to be wildly unfit for the job that he held.
CUOMO: You use the term irony. I used the expression B.S., and it applies to what's being done to you. Your party says at its convention, We are now the party of protecting the First Amendment. Everybody is welcome here. We allow all voices.
Then you speak out in dissent and say this president's not doing a great job. And he says, "Mr. I Protect the First Amendment," "All of a sudden, he's bad-mouthing," Trump said, about you. "The reason is the Democrats or somebody got to him and said, How would you like to speak, or whatever. He's a low-life. Anybody that does that is a low- life to me, and it's a shame."
What's your response?
TAYLOR: You know, look, first of all, at this point, criticism from the president, to me, is a badge of honor, because by the end of my time in the administration, I'd lost total respect for the man, and I think he fundamentally lacks character. And I wasn't saying that after he criticized me. I was saying that well before he criticized me.
But I'd also say this. A number of, you know, Trump trolls have come out of the woodwork to say, you know, You can kiss your career in the GOP could buy. And I would say this back to them. If this remains the party of Donald Trump, there aren't going to be any farewell kisses from my side.
CUOMO: Miles Taylor, it is not easy to do what you're doing at any time, let alone now. So thank you for the candor. Appreciate you taking the opportunity.
TAYLOR: Thanks for having me on.
CUOMO: Good luck going forward. I'm sure we'll be speaking again.
All right. Now the big story. I believe that this focus in this election is going to come down to two issues. God forbid there's no other supervening tragedy that falls on our head the next 68 days. COVID and who's protecting your family or not.
And Kenosha, Wisconsin. Why? Because this latest case involving Jacob Blake is on this president watch, of course, but right before the election.
Now, Blake's family says he has been paralyzed after being shot multiple times by police. Protests are continuing into a third night. There is violence. There are things that should not be done in protest to an action like this. People lose their leverage when they become what they oppose.
But his mother is speaking out now, and she is calling for calm. Will that make a difference? Don and Mr. Blake's mom, next. Must-see TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA JACKSON, JACOB BLAKE'S MOM: Please, let's begin to pray for healing for our nation. We are the United States. Have we been united?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Very important story, and you should pay attention to it. The Department of Justice and the FBI now investigating the circumstances surrounding the police shooting of a black man in Wisconsin, in Kenosha, to be specific. That is according to a CNN law enforcement source.
Twenty-nine-year-old Jacob Blake remains in intensive care and is paralyzed from the waist down. His family says he may never walk again.
But new video has emerged, and it shows the moments before he was shot. In the grainy video, which is only 24 seconds long, a group of individuals are seen interacting with police officers. But it's not clear what prompted the interaction.
Blake then walks out of the group of individuals and around the front of the vehicle, followed by two officers. Seconds later, shots ring out. And we're going to show you this new angle of the shooting, but I have to warn you that this video is graphic and it is disturbing. OK?
So Jacob Blake's mother with a plea tonight. There's that grainy video. And a plea tonight, she says, to stop the violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: You can see right now that I have beautiful brown skin, but take a look at your hand, and whatever shade it is, it is beautiful, as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
JACKSON: How dare we hate what we are? We are humans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jacob Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, joins me now, along with Benjamin Crump. Benjamin Crump is the attorney for Jacob Blake and his family. Thank you both for joining.
First of all, Ms. Jackson, let me tell you that I am so sorry for what is happening, and I appreciate you being here tonight. How are you holding up?
JACKSON: I -- I do have a portion of peace from God, but it is still very difficult. My children and nieces, and we try to laugh when we can. Sometimes you have to do that to make it through. But -- yes.
LEMON: Yes. Yes. I can only imagine. I understand that you got -- you have an update from the hospital. The last -- last we heard is that Jacob is paralyzed from the waist down. What do you know? What's the update on the condition?
JACKSON: He is currently still in surgery, and it is our understanding, we just had an update about 13 minutes ago, that this surgery will be a long one. But he is handling the surgery well. His vitals are stable. And we're just praying and believing that it will -- it will be good results.
LEMON: Earlier, as I understand, when you saw him, he was more worried about you and your family. What did he say?
JACKSON: Well, when I first walked in, he looked at me and just kind of cried and kept saying, Mom, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
And I'm like, What are you saying you're sorry for? Did you shoot yourself in the back?
And he looked at me like, What do you mean? And he said no.
And I told him, Well, don't be sorry.
It's like, Well, I don't want to be a burden on anybody, and I want my babies. And call my boss.
And you know, so I comforted him and tried to redirect his focus.
LEMON: I've watched the -- the press conference with you and your family members earlier, and I was just -- I was struck by your poise, and everyone's, but yours in particular, that -- and the words that you said. I want to talk more about that, because I think it's important, especially right now, with what's going on in this country.
And so your -- your son was shot in the back by police officers. You're at the hospital. There's a police officer in the room, and you prayed together.
JACKSON: Yes. Most definitely. Even if he was the one that did it, it would've been harder to do. But it would have been the same scenario.
Like I said earlier, we have to examine our hearts, and not learn how to do that personally. And my -- my relationship with God and the Lord Jesus Christ. And, well, you do -- you get a piece. There's a piece that I can't even describe.
So when I tell you this is how it is, very difficult, but in addition to that, I have great peace. And it allows me to forgive. I've already forgiven, and this forgiveness is not for anybody else but God and me.
LEMON: And for you. The -- the destruction that -- that has been taking place in cities across the country and in -- and in Kenosha. I heard you speak about that. And my question is, you said that you don't want that in Jacob's name, and neither would he. Tell me more about that, please.
JACKSON: Absolutely not. My family and I are very hurt and, quite frankly, disgusted. And as his mother, please don't burn up property and cause havoc and tear your own homes down in my son's name. You shouldn't do it -- people shouldn't do it anyway, but to use my child or any other mother or father's child, our tragedy to react in that manner is just not acceptable. And it is not helping Jacob. It's not helping Jacob or any other of the men or women who has suffered in these areas.
LEMON: Do you have anything to say, Ms. Jackson, to the politicians who are out there? Or anything you want to say, to the presidents or the candidates or to Trump or Biden or anything like that?
JACKSON: For -- for our President Trump, first, I want to say a family member, and I don't know if it was her or not, said something that was not kind. She is hurting, and I do apologize for that outburst. That does not reflect our behavior.
And then also for President Trump, I'm sorry I missed your call, because had I not missed your call, maybe the comments that you made would have been different. And I'm not mad at you at all. I have the utmost respect for you as the leader of our country.
Like I said before, and I'm not saying this to him directly, we should always get the details from the right source before we start throwing bricks.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR JACOB TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Or a tweet.
JACKSON: Or tweets. You know, I do have one other thing for all politicians. And I've never in my life dreamed that I would actually be able to say this other than on my couch.
You guys are the leaders of our country, and I personally have respect for authority. I would like to see our politicians set a better example for the citizens when it comes to the things that are -- is said. Let's -- I would like to stick to the facts and see them stop having these pillow fights. And just stick to the facts, and then, once they start doing that, I think we can start concentrating on what we need to do to fix our country, because this country is in grave danger.
JACKSON: There's too much faith and murder and et cetera, and that's a problem. Other countries are laughing at us.
LEMON: Yes. And because we don't have a shared reality of what really is reality, and we don't live in facts anymore.
Ben, I have to ask you, OK? So Mom, I'm sorry. I don't want to offend you with any of these questions, but they must be asked, OK? And if you don't like them, you're free to weigh in and sack me out or leave the interview. I certainly understand, because I wouldn't want to put my own mother in this position.
But, Ben, we've got some new video today. What does that video add to the story of what happened on Sunday? Because they're saying that there was a struggle, that there might be a weapon or a knife of some sort. Talk to me about this video and what do you know about a possible -- the possibility of a knife, or a gun, or a weapon of any sort.
CRUMP: Well, Don, we think the video does nothing to change the fact that this was a brutal use of excessive force to shoot a young man seven times in the back while holding this T-shirt at point blank range. That is deliberate indifference for whether her son, Jacob Blake, lived or died.
And this is supposed to be a person who's trained to de-escalate a situation. It seems like, to me, from all videos that I have viewed that he is walking away. He never attacks the police. He is trying to get away from them. They were not an imminent threat or harm, him trying to leave --
LEMON: Ben, but I have to ask you. So in the video, there's no -- you don't believe there was a scuffle before what happened?
CRUMP: What we see --
LEMON: With the officers?
CRUMP: What we see is very clear. If there's a scuffle or what have you, he's not swinging at any officer.
CRUMP: He's not doing anything to attack the officer. He is trying to get away.
LEMON: And there are witnesses there saying they heard the police officers say, Knife, knife. Do you know anything about a knife?
CRUMP: We do not.
LEMON: Or the possibility of any sort of weapon or gun or anything. Have you --
CRUMP: We do not. The police have given this family no answers. All they have done is try to get answers from people who were there, but they have not offered anything to this family to say why they shot him at least seven times in the back, maybe a possible eight times. As whereas he's in surgery, struggling to become a shell of what he was, they are continuing to try to justify the unjustifiable.
Don Lemon --
LEMON: Yes, sir.
CRUMP: -- there is nothing in that video that justifies this brutal, excessive use of force on Jacob Blake Jr., point blank, period.
LEMON: Again, I'm so sorry for what has taken place. I wish your son the best and you. You are an amazing woman to be able to forgive someone, and I think you should be an example for a whole lot of people, not only in this country but in this world.
So best of luck to you. God bless you. Thank you for appearing on the show. Ben, you and I will continue to talk, and we'll figure out what's going on. Thank you so much.
CRUMP: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: And Chris -- Chris, welcome Chris back in the conversation. Listen, you know, it's tough to do after a family member is in a situation like that, and I don't say this lightly. He was at death's door. I don't know his condition now, but last update was that he was still in surgery and, you know, they were hoping that he gets through this, paralyzed below the waist.
But she had a pretty solid message there for all the leaders, all politicians, and for the people who are out there doing the rioting and protesting.
CUOMO: Well, I think that's an important message. If for no other reason that, at the same time, you can understand, you even better than I, the desperation, the outrage, the frustration that nobody hears, nobody says anything, especially in this administration. They don't speak to the underlying fear that generates people going into the streets.
But then once you riot -- unless it's the opportunists, unless it's the anarchists -- but people of goodwill who go out there and then do the wrong things and become criminals in riots wind up defending their own purpose. So it is powerful to hear that from the parent of the person who has the most reason to be angry.
CUOMO: But, as you did -- and you have to do it, Don. You've got to ask the questions you did at the end to Counselor Crump. This is a Rorschach test. And that video, and those types of suggestions, and open questions, no matter how they wind up being resolved in fact, make this a tale of two realities. Either you can see this as a situation where they didn't need to do it the way they did it and use such harsh force, or you will see these things happen as long as these black people refuse to comply and fight with the police.
And that is the version that Trump is pushing, and it is pushing polls. And one of the things that we didn't cite yet, but you've got to tell people, in the NBC poll from August, Trump, 43, Biden 39, who would be better dealing with crime?
Crime here is a metaphor for Kenosha. That has become crime. And the more pictures of the riots, the more reports of the burning, the sympathy for that mom is real.
LEMON: Here's the thing.
CUOMO: But so is the fear of what they see in those scenes, and they think that's the problem.
LEMON: The -- the reality of that poll, I guess, is real, but here's the real reality. Here's the real thing. This is Trump's America. This is happening on his watch.
Joe Biden is not the president of the United States. This is all happening, because Trump is refusing to deal with the actual problem, as you said earlier. He says that -- what he's talking about is a symptom. It's not the problem.
The issue is police reform. The issue is treating people fairly in this society. The issue is systemic racism.
Now, the problem on top of that is that people are taking advantage of the protests and people who want to legitimately speak out and have this issue solved. There are people who are taking advantage of this. And there are people who are also exploiting that situation in the media by playing up the protests and giving them more importance than they should have and making it seem like cities are -- all cities are on fire. And even here in -- in New York City and Manhattan, you think you're going to walk into New York City, and it's going to be a hellscape. It's not.
I was out --
CUOMO: What's the goal of the election?
LEMON: To win. I was out on the streets of New York City today. I've been out last week when we were here covering it. I was out this week. It's not a hellscape. New York City will be just fine.
Are there issues? Yes. Are there issues in big cities? Yes. But there are also issues in small towns. There are issues in white American towns, as well.
Issues when it comes to drug addiction, issues when it comes to all sorts of problems that every other town faces. People just exploit what they want to exploit, and they put their lens where they want to put it. And I don't mean physical lens, like a camera. That is true, as well.
CUOMO: But remember --
LEMON: But I mean in your head.
CUOMO: This is the --
LEMON: The goal -- the goal of --
CUOMO: This is the first president, though, Don, the goal of the election --
LEMON: Is to win.
CUOMO: -- as you said many times, is to win.
LEMON: Yes. It's to win.
CUOMO: You're 100 percent right. But remember what this president has --
LEMON: But we also have to tell the truth about what is happening here, as well, and how you're being exploited. Go on.
CUOMO: But we have competition. We have competition, because this president, more than ever before -- and I don't care what people say about the media being leftie. They're right, in general. That's true. There are good reasons and bad reasons for that.
But we've never had a president have state TV run 24/7, 365. And this president has that in FOX News. And I'm telling you, nobody is talking on FOX News about riots being symptomatic.
CUOMO: About riots being an overreach and something that's opportunistic, and with these anarchists and then, yes, people of good will who go too far and surrender their own leverage. They're not saying that.
CUOMO: They're saying, look what the left wants to be OK --
CUOMO: -- and bring to your cities in the form of Cory Booker, a black guy.
LEMON: Yes. Well, that's a thing they say --
CUOMO: And it's moving the polls.
LEMON: These are -- well, that's all B.S.