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U.S. Not Rounding the Corner On COVID-19; President Trump Using Levers of Government to Help Win Reelection; Trump's Election Strategy, Stoke Resentment and Fear; Deadly, Fast-Moving Wildfires Ravage West Coast; Six Months of COVID-19, How the Virus Has Changed The United States; Critical Witness in Deadly Kenosha Shooting Speaks to CNN; Historians Say a New Wave of Uprising for Racial Equality is Erupting Around the United States; CNN Heroes: Helping Foster Kids Through the Pandemic. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 11, 2020 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It's 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, and we're following these big stories for you. The COVID-19 death toll in the United States getting closer and closer to 193,000. And Dr. Anthony Fauci pushing back on President Trump's claim at the U.S. is rounding the corner in the battle against the pandemic. Fauci disagrees because he is looking at the facts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASES: The data tells us that we're still getting up to 40,000 new infections a day and a 1,000 deaths. That's what you look at. Look at the science, the evidence and the data and you can make a pretty easy conclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The president also pushing for a vaccine before Election Day. Top medical experts including Dr. Fauci saying that is highly unlikely. That as a top prosecutor is resigning from the Justice Department team probing the Russia investigation. A report saying that they're being pressured to produce results before the election. Is re- election all Trump cares about? We'll discuss just ahead.
Also, tonight, wildfires devastating the western part of this country. Killing more than two dozen people, at least 100 large fires burning across 12 states scorching more than 4.5 million acres.
A lot to report to you this hour. We are going to start with our White House correspondent John Harwood, senior editor at the Atlantic, Ron Brownstein, and Amanda Carpenter, the former communications Director for Senator Ted Cruz.
Hello one and all. John, you're up first. Let's talk about Dr. Fauci's warning that we may not get back to our pre-coronavirus lives for another year. The president, though, pretending that the pandemic is, you know, already over. What does the electorate think?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the electorate plainly does not buy it in the main. Some people do. If you saw the people that Jim Acosta interviewed at the president's rally last night some of them were saying, yes, it's a hoax and nothing to be afraid of. But a significant majority of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of coronavirus. 40,000 cases a day still, 1,000 deaths a day.
And to put that in perspective as we commemorate 9/11, a thousand deaths a day means that every week we lose twice as many people to COVID as we lost on 9/11. This week was the 25th straight week where new unemployment claims exceeded the previous record from before the pandemic. People understand that the virus is out there.
The economy is not going to fully recover until the virus is gone and truly tamed with the vaccine, therapeutics and suppressing that caseload. And as a result, people are acting to protect themselves. They know it's not over.
LEMON: Yes. Amanda Carpenter, multiple former Trump administration officials slamming the president in Bob Woodward's new book including former defense secretary James Mattis -- secretary general I should say, James Mattis and former DNI Dan Coats, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
How damaging is that that so many people who have seen this president up close and personal working with him are making it abundantly clear now they don't think he is fit to serve.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it should make a difference. But I'll tell you what I think it's very hard for people to keep track of all this information, all these tell-alls coming out because there's just too many characters in the story. And so I think we need to distill it down to what they're saying because they're all really saying the same thing.
If you're James Mattis or even if you're Michael Cohen, they're all coming out and saying that Donald Trump leans on people to engage in unethical and even you know, sometimes criminal behavior. I mean, John Bolton, why he resigned. They all tell the same story. I mean, Donald Trump's name should mean -- be equated with corrupted influence.
And you ask why are they telling us now? Well, obviously to get the information out before the election, Michael Cohen even says I'm giving you this information, so you act on it. And I think the lessen you take away, because no one has the time to read all this. I try to keep up as best I can. He will corrupt America if you give him a second term and that's why they're coming out now.
LEMON: Corrupt even more. OK, you agree I guess. Ron, listen, the president's plan is clear stoke resentment and division. Is that what's going to win him votes especially in the states that he needs to win? RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, clearly that is
his strategy. He's appealing to white racial resentment more overtly than any candidate in either party since George Wallace in 1968. And it leaves him on a narrow ledge, Don.
On the one hand it does -- I think reinforce his floor. I mean, there's no question I think in my mind that the vast preponderance of his voters are drawn to him and hold to him more on questions of identity than performance. Why are we nearing 200,000 Americans dead and almost unimaginable number, and his support has not collapsed?
You know, it's staying in the range it's not that differently in the horse race than it was last October before any of this happened. So I think that, you know, he has shown that there's an audience, a kind of ominous audience for white racial resentment that may be a little bigger than people thought.
But there's also a ceiling for this. I mean, there's a reason why even when the economy was thriving he could not get his approval rating above 45 percent because he has drawn a very clear line in the electorate, between those who welcome and fear the way America is changing demographically and culturally.
And by identifying so strongly and unreservedly with the, you know, the side of backlash, even using images of Joe Biden in a black church in a new ad and segueing into an argument that leads to riots or those are rioters. He is driving away a majority of Americans, but whether that majority is strong enough to carry Biden through the Electoral College is still what we're going to be, you know, looking at over the next seven weeks.
LEMON: Everyone said but Ron, I want to ask you, because we always -- we use these terms, right, and sometimes we just let it slide. And as you're talking there like when you say white racial resentment, I've heard that a lot. What does that mean? What are -- is that white people -- what are white people resentful of? Is that -- am I asking you the right question there?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, sure, sure. I think Trump is very much appealing to -- the core of his appeal, not all of his voters but the preponderance of his voters are voters uneasy about the way the country is changing demographically and culturally. The single best predictor in multiple academic studies of who voted for Trump in 2016 was not economic anxiety or economic discontent, it was the belief that systemic racism and for that matter systemic sexism does not exist.
And you know, I was talking to one of the scholars who did that study in 2016 and said the relation is probably going to be even more powerful in 2020 because Trump is basing so much of his campaign on presenting in effect as the human wall between you in the suburbs, and you the white voter and all the changes you don't like. Which he now puts a violent sheen on, you know, basically saying that people are literally going to come and get you.
And that is, I mean, I do think that is why. If you would have said five years ago or 10 years ago that a president would be presiding over a catastrophe of this magnitude and his support would be 41, 42, 43 instead of 35, 36, 37, usually John and Amanda thing of that.
I don't think anybody would have believed it. But what he is showing is that his audience is attracted to him primarily on questions of identity. They're almost immutable, they are almost immune to issue performance. That is not quite enough to win but it is enough to keep him within range.
LEMON: And that is the definition of identity politics that he criticized the left for.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, it is.
LEMON: Interesting. I'm glad you put that into perspective. But I think that, John, when you look at all of this, doesn't that say more about the people than the president? Or both?
HARWOOD: Well, I think it says something about both of them. Look at what Bob -- President Trump said to Bob Woodward when Bob pressed him in that call that we've heard over the last couple of days about asking him to reflect on the privilege he had enjoyed as a wealthy white person, and said do you feel at all -- Bob said do you feel at all that you've been in a cave, and those of us who have been privileged should get out of the cave and try to understand the pain and anguish of people without those privileges? And Trump laughed. He said --
LEMON: He swallowed the Kool-Aid.
HARWOOD: He said, man, you really drunk the Kool-Aid, listen to you, Bob. He said, no, I don't feel that way at all. That shows exactly what's in the president's heart when he communicates. And that minority, not a winning minority probably but a significant minority is responding to that message.
And the president is driving that harder and harder and harder through the campaign. Briefly at the convention they put forward testimonials from African Americans talking about Trump's good qualities. Hershel Walker and a Democratic state Senator --
LEMON: Hershel Walker is a presidential advisor, correct? All of those black people who were at the -- who spoke, they're in the president's administration, aren't they?
HARWOOD: Well, the state Senator I don't think.
LEMON: No, I'm just being facetious because none of them are -- there's like two black people in the president's administration. One is Duran who's been there forever. I can't believe he's stuck it out this long, and the other is Ben Carson. And that's pretty much it. And then so, the convention, everybody -- don't be bamboozled. All those people speaking, where are the black people in the president's administration if he is so down for black people? There aren't any, so that should tell you the truth. Amanda, just before -- yes. HARWOOD: And Don, Ben Carson himself has encouraged some of this
rhetoric by continually pounding on political correctness and sort of lending support to the messaging that President Trump has offered. So I'm not sure he makes the kind of difference that you might imagine.
LEMON: No, I don't think he makes any difference at all. It's sort of like Chris and I were talking about Rudy Giuliani. There was Ben Carson of a long time ago, and then now there is the Ben Carson that is -- of now and deserves all the criticism that he gets despite his, you know, legacy as a great brain surgeon.
But Amanda, I just wanted to say, doesn't this point out to you when you listen to, you know, Woodward saying about, you know, this resentment and so on and so forth, how people vote against their own interests? Because you look at the polls, they're showing that health care is top issue in this campaign.
The president keeps saying that he has a plan. Has not had one plan for health care. People are voting against their own interests, voting against pre-existing conditions, getting rid of Obamacare. Of course it was not perfect, but it could have been improved upon. It says a lot about the president, and again, about the people who are supporting him.
CARPENTER: Well, this is what Donald Trump -- and he's had some success with this. He doesn't rise to the occasion to fight big issues. He wants to stoke racial resentment to win by a slim majority, but I don't think it's going to work this time. He's pushing racial resentment for this big law and order message, right, because the black mob is going to burn down your suburbs.
Meanwhile the West Coast is actually burning. California is a blue state is becoming an orange state because it is on fire. People in the suburbs can't leave their house, can't send their kids to school because of this mishandling of coronavirus. So he can keep playing these games, but I just don't think it's going to work this time because the reality is we are not safe because of his management of the country. And we have nothing else to be afraid of but another four years.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. Try to have a good weekend with that message Amanda just left for you. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
HARWOOD: Thank you.
LEMON: Think about this, it has been six months since the coronavirus burst into the headlines since March madness was canceled and Tom Hanks announced he had the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci warning things could be about to get a whole lot worst. That as Amanda, just talk about. When you talk about these wildfires burning on the West Coast in an unprecedented scale. We're going to have the latest for you.
LEMON: Dr. Anthony Fauci warning coronavirus will likely get worse in the coming months. Nearly 193,000 Americans have already died from the virus and a key model predicts that the death toll will more than double by the end of the year. It's hard to believe it was just six months ago today that the grim reality of this pandemic hit the U.S. Tom Foreman has more now on how the virus changed this country.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The NBA calls a time out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This game has been officially postponed.
FOREMAN: After Tom Hanks and his wife say they have the virus, a worldwide pandemic is declared, and President Trump announces sharp limits on travel from Europe.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.
FOREMAN: March 11th was a trifecta of very bad news.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Up until that point the threat of coronavirus affecting people's lives and/or livelihoods seemed maybe relatively remote. It was something that was happening in distant lands to foreign people, not here in the United States. At least not that we were aware of.
FOREMAN: As casualties mounted some hospitals were overwhelmed. Too many patients, not enough supplies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are being told to reuse our masks. That is an official policy now that we're being told to use one mask for five days.
FOREMAN: Food lines formed as panic buying emptied some shelves. More than 20 million jobs disappeared. Only about half have come back, even as the president has pushed the country to reopen.
TRUMP: Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He had a crown jewel of achievement in his mind which was the all-time high of the stock market, and he was afraid that it would plummet, that it would crash, that the unemployment would become high. He was trying to be a savior of the economy and not a savior of lives.
FOREMAN: The president's response has been punctuated by falsehoods --
TRUMP: I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.
TRUMP: I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute.
FOREMAN: And claims that the pandemic is nearly done.
TRUMP: It's fading away. It's going to fade away.
FOREMAN: Now newly released recordings from journalist and author Bob Woodward shows Trump knew all along how dangerous it was.
TRUMP: I still like playing it down.
BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.
FOREMAN: And all the while the number of infections and fatalities have climbed so sharply in the U.S. The dead nearly equal to the population of Tallahassee, Florida. Among those lost jazz legend Ellis Marsalis, baseball hall of famer Tom Seaver, journalist Maria Mercader, Chef Floyd Cardoz, Trump celebrity supporter Herman Cain and tens of thousands of regular Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to know that my faith has never wavered.
FOREMAN: All missed, all mourned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10 minutes later, we get the full call for facetime, you know, she put it right up to my mother's face, and you know, I could tell my mom I loved her and how much I was going to miss her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he couldn't really talk, you know, but we could hear him breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then the doctor took the phone, and he said I'm sorry but there's no more pulse. And then I played our wedding song for him. And then -- and then that was it.
FOREMAN: To think that all these things have happened in the past six months can be overwhelming but even more so when you hear health experts say there's not yet any clear end in sight, Don.
LEMON: Tom, thank you so much for that. I want to bring in now Dr. Jonathan Reiner, he is the Director of Cardiac Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital. Doctor, thank you. Just watching those stories, my gosh, especially the one with Erin Burnett, just awful. You say that 150,000 Americans would be alive today if President Trump just embraced masks. 150,000 people?
JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes, because that's basically -- if we look at what Germany has done. Germany has had an OK response. Not a great response, not an awful response to the pandemic. And they've had 9,000 deaths. They have a population of about 80 million, so do the math. So multiply that by four. That's about where we would be. Bad and, you know, but 150,000 Americans would be alive. You know, we'd have open schools, probably people in stands at sporting events. Our economy would be better, more people would be at work.
So six months. So let's think about this. So March 11th, we had just canceled our cruise. Not the right time to go on a cruise we thought. On March 11th there were 28 deaths in the United States, 28. So in six months we've lost almost 200,000 people. So March 11th, 28 deaths. The president didn't wear a mask in public until July 11th, four months later.
REINER: That was the first time the president of the United States was seen in public wearing a mask. Now, think about this. He had known since the end of January how lethal the virus was and how it was spread. But yet he waited and only went kicking and screaming to Walter Reed essentially for this photo-op to be seen finally wearing a mask in public. And that singular stubborn refusal to wear a mask in public and get the people that adore him to wear a mask has killed about 150,000 Americans.
LEMON: Doctor, thank you. Thank you for putting it that way. Really brings it into the right perspective. I appreciate it. I'll see you soon.
REINER: Sure, Don. Thank you.
LEMON: I want to make sure you know about my new podcast. It's called Silence is not an option. We're taking the hard conversations talking about being black in America, about racism in America. This week racing an anti-racist generation. You can find it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app.
At least 100 fires burning, more than 4.5 million acres across 12 states. Cal fire's Deputy Chief joins me next with the latest.
And ahead, a new CNN interview with a critical witness in the deadly shooting during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
What did he say and what did he see to the -- what did he say to the suspect Kyle Rittenhouse? We'll talk about that later.
LEMON: Historic wildfires -- look at that -- they're devastating the West. At least 26 people have been killed by the blazes since August 15th, and hundreds of homes destroyed. Today California Governor Gavin Newsom visibly furious over what's happening to his state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're in the midst of a climate crisis. We
are experiencing weather conditions the likes of which we've never experienced in our lifetime. This is climate dam emergency. This is real, and it's happening. This is the perfect storm. It is happening unprecedented ways year in, year out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's discuss now. Deputy Chief of CAL FIRE, Nick Schuler. Nick, thank you so much. I appreciate it. I know it is a very busy time, but this is an important story to get on the air here. There are fires burning all over California. Give us an update, please. What is the latest?
NICK SCHULER, DEPUTY CHIEF, CAL FIRE: Well, the latest is we have 28 major wildfires burning throughout California. This year alone, we've had more than 7,700 fires that have burned nearly 3.1 million acres. We have fires spanning from the Oregon border to the Mexican border. More than 50,000 structures threatened, and more than 3,900 destroyed.
LEMON: I'm taking notes here. That's incredible. You say 60,000 people have already had to evacuate. With so many fires burning, how many more are in harm's way here?
SCHULER: Well, that's a great question. Every day, it seems to be getting more challenging for firefighters across the state not just in California but throughout the Western United States. This is an effort not only by firefighters and law enforcement but by our National Guard partners, as well.
When we talk about historic fires, just in 2018, we had a 400,000-acre fire that nobody thought could ever be bigger than that. And as I sit here and talk to you today, we have a fire that's burning in Northern California that's more than 846,000 acres.
LEMON: My goodness! You said 3.1 million acres have burned, right?
SCHULER: Three point one million acres this year alone, which is --
LEMON: This year.
SCHULER: -- 26 times more land than burned in 2019.
LEMON: That's what I wanted to ask you because that number is staggering. Twenty-six times more acreage is burned this year compared to last. Is that 2019 or 2018 that you said?
SCHULER: That's 2019.
LEMON: Twenty-nineteen. And we're not even at the heart -- not in the heart of California's normal fire season yet. Do you expect this is going to get worse?
SCHULER: That's a great question. In California, fire season is really year round, but many people think about, specifically in Southern California, those Santa Ana wind conditions that typically have some our most devastating fires in the late September, October, and November. We have firefighters that have been on duty for 30, 40 plus days, and we still have several months to go.
LEMON: How are the firefighters doing?
SCHULER: The morale is good. Our firefighters are working hard. We have a ton of support from the community. They are feeling very positive. But it's a long road ahead.
LEMON: Mr. Schuler, thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us and updating us, deputy chief of CAL FIRE. Thank you so much.
SCHULER: You're welcome.
LEMON: A critical witness to the deadly shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin revealing details of his encounter at the scene with the suspect Kyle Rittenhouse. Plus, protests and unrest throughout much of the country this year, but it's not the first time it's happened here. There's a long legacy of rising up and demanding racial equality. We'll look at that.
LEMON: Tonight, a critical witness in the deadly shooting during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin is speaking out to CNN. He is describing the moment he first met 17-year-old suspect Kyle Rittenhouse and the chaotic events that followed.
CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin spoke with the witness, Richie McGinnis, who was in Kenosha to cover the protests and wind up being part of the story.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the third night of the Kenosha protests --
GRIFFIN (voice-over): -- and amidst it all, Daily Caller video director Richie McGinnis spotted the newest additions to the complex situation.
RICHIE MCGINNIS, WITNESS TO KENOSHA SHOOTING, VIDEO DIRECTOR FOR DAILY CALLER: I saw a bunch of armed individuals. I asked are any of you willing to do an interview, to which Kyle volunteered immediately.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Kyle Rittenhouse, 17 years old, armed with a loaded AR-15-style rifle, casually explained why he came.
KYLE RITTENHOUSE, ACCUSED OF SHOOTING: Our job is to protect this business, and part of my job is to also help people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- said get off the car.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): McGinnis says Rittenhouse was drawing the attention of some of the protesters, but the 17-year-old didn't seem to notice.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Soon after, chaos would erupt. Richie McGinnis would turn to the sound of yelling, see the 17-year-old he had just interviewed being chased by a man later identified as Joseph Rosenbaum.
MCGINNIS: You can see me closely behind Rosenbaum and Rittenhouse as they run into that parking lot, and there is a pop (ph) that goes off as we are running into that parking lot. But what was clear to me is that Rittenhouse did not fire that first shot. Rittenhouse is actually still running at the time that happened.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Prosecutors say what happened next is the reckless homicide of Joseph Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse's attorney says it was self-defense. Richie McGinnis saw the whole thing happened.
MCGINNIS: I was there at the exact moment that Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Police, in their description, say at some point, Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, missed him, but did you see that?
MCGINNIS: I was just off to the side when that happened, and I do recall seeing it go through the air and hearing a crash as it landed.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): McGinnis said Rosenbaum would get close enough to reach for Rittenhouse's gun.
MCGINNIS: And I think there's been a lot of confusion as to whether or not Rosenbaum was pursuing Rittenhouse. I did see him running after Rittenhouse, Rittenhouse running away from Rosenbaum, and I did see Rosenbaum reach for the front portion of Rittenhouse's rifle. I was extremely close to them at the time, and I know exactly what I saw with my eyes.
He lunged for the gun, and Rittenhouse with the gun in this position dodged around the lunge, and that's when he re-levelled the weapon and fired. In that exact moment as Rittenhouse fired those four shots, I saw Rosenbaum basically go lifeless and fall onto his face. And immediately after those shots were fired, Rittenhouse runs away from the body.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): McGinnis runs towards the dying Rosenbaum. He takes off his shirt, uses it on the wound, yells to the man standing beside him to call 911, not realizing that man was Kyle Rittenhouse. Instead of dialling 911, prosecutors say Rittenhouse calls a friend.
MCGINNIS: Probably would have been a terrifying experience if I did notice that it was him given that he had just perpetrated that shooting. But at the time, I was so focused on addressing Rosenbaum's wounds that I didn't even noticed that it was Rittenhouse.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): At that moment, Richie McGinnis loses track of Kyle Rittenhouse as McGinnis rushes to get the fatally wounded Rosenbaum to the hospital.
But the violence is not over. Rittenhouse is being chased again. Video captures him running, tripping and falling in the street. A pursuer, 26-year-old Anthony Huber with a skateboard in one hand, appears to try to grab his gun, according to the complaint. Rittenhouse fires, killing him.
A second pursuer armed with a handgun tries to grab Rittenhouse's weapon. He, too, was hit, wounded in the arm. The 17-year-old who has now shot three protesters retreats slowly. Then with arms raised, walks past approaching police.
Rittenhouse's attorney in a statement said, Kyle did nothing wrong. He exercised his god-given, constitutional, common law and statutory law right to self-defense. Richie McGinnis says he is making no judgments. But there's no mistaking he says what he saw.
MCGINNIS: My role in this situation is to relay to the public exactly what I saw and heard on that night. And my only concern is that those objective observations will be lost because one side or the other doesn't want to hear what I saw and heard.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Though McGinnis says he was told by police he's a very important witness in this case, Don, he has yet to hear from prosecutors or even the defense. And we have yet to hear from Kyle Rittenhouse himself. He remains in custody in Illinois awaiting extradition back to Wisconsin. Don?
LEMON: All right, Drew, thank you so much for that. Nineteen-nineteen, 1953 -- 1943, I should say, the 1960s to the 1920s, a history of racial uprisings and demands for equality in this country, and what it all means today in this moment, next.
LEMON: The protests and calls for racial justice this summer are the latest in a tradition of Americans demanding equal rights. But historians say this new wave of uprisings feels, well, unlike any that came before it. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the story.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Historians say a new and fourth wave for uprisings for racial equality is erupting around the country, one that feels and looks unlike any before.
THOMAS SUGRUE, PROFESSOR, DIRECTOR OF NYU CITIES COLLABORATIVE: Whites, Latinos, suburbanites, big city residents alike have taken to the streets demanding police reform and justice for African-Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
MALVEAUX (voice-over): In Minneapolis, for George Floyd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breonna Taylor!
CROWD: Breonna Taylor.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Louisville, Breonna Taylor.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Kenosha, Jacob Blake.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black America, I hold you accountable. You must stand. You must fight but not with violence and chaos. With self-love.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Protests spurred by the ongoing deaths of Black people in police custody and the use of excessive force at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement.
While overwhelming peaceful, some protests have turned violent as extremists from the right and left infiltrate and lash out with federal National Guard troops moving in. The tumultuous presidential election is spurring both candidates to point fingers.
TRUMP: Look at all of those horrible race rights you had during Obama.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country, not use them for political gain.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Historians say three distinct waves of U.S. racial unrest have created the conditions for this powerful new movement today. The first wave was in 1919. U.S. veterans, including Black soldiers returning home from war, looking for work, as tens of thousands of African Americans migrate north, causing dozens of racial clashes.
SUGRUE: They believe that African Americans were taking away their jobs, and they fought fiercely to maintain their white superiority.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): One of the most devastating, in Chicago, where whites set fire to scores of African American homes. Two years later, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, white mobs with the help of local police torched the area known as Black Wall Street, killing as many as 300.
The second wave comes in 1943. Blacks fighting for freedom abroad demand rights at home, as whites lash out. Race riots break out across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): More than a hundred square blocks were decimated by fire and looters.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): And the third takes place in the turbulent '60s. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders lead nonviolent marches and sit-ins to fight segregation across the south. In Birmingham, they are met with dogs and fire hoses. African American churches and homes are firebombed. Protesters are beaten. Some leaders, like Malcolm X, call for self-defense and retaliation.
MALCOLM X, AMERICAN MINISTER: The freedom comes to us either by ballots or by bullets.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): July 1967 becomes known as "long, hot summer," as close to 160 riots erupt in dozens of cities. Despite King's insistence on peaceful protest, he said he understood what was behind the rioting.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: A riot is the language of the unheard. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.
KRISTEN CLARKE, PRESIDENT, LAWYER'S COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW: The civil rights movement was dynamic that involve nonviolence and at moments called for violence to really grab the public's attention.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Many see the televised beating of Black motorist Rodney King in 1991 as a turning point for police reform. But it's the new emergence of cell phone video that is helping to expose some abusive police tactics.
CLARKE: The videos, the photos, the images of these horrific acts of police violence and racial violence are making it very uncomfortable and difficult for people to just look away.
LEMON: And Suzanne Malveaux joins me now. Suzanne, thank you for giving perspective to people often just live in the moment, but there's been a long history with this. What has been the impact, historically, of these protests or uprisings on the nation's -- on the nation, politically?
MALVEAUX: Well, each one of these phases, Don, it's good to see you, builds on the previous one. So, what happens is that the African American community continues to mobilize and continues to communicate and organize throughout this period of time.
And when you talk about the 1920s, that's really the critical time when they start -- African Americans start to run for office. It's slow and it's gradual.
But then, it really turns around World War II. You've got this critical messaging that's taking place, where they are fighting against fascism abroad. They're taking that message home and saying we're now going to fight for equality at home.
And that gave the African American community and civil rights leaders the legal tools, that case that they could make in the courtrooms, and also as the basis for legislation that came in the 1960s.
That is when we saw civil rights leaders really pushed the Johnson administration, pushed the Kennedy administration for things like housing, voting rights.
And it's very similar to what we see, Don, now, where you do have similar legislation, again, for -- for voting rights, for police accountability, if you will.
And so, the people who I talk to in the Black Lives Matter movement say, look, they're going to be looking to our candidates, they're going to be looking to President Trump, they're going to be looking to Biden to see how they handle and how they are received from these leaders in this presidential race.
And Trump, trying to essentially say it's a law-and-order issue, and Biden saying it is social justice, as well as unity.
LEMON: Yeah. Suzanne Malveaux, great reporting. Thank you so much. Good to see you, as well. You be well. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Heading back to school has been complicated for many parents in America, but maybe even more challenging for many of the 400,000 young people currently in foster care who don't have support or resources. Some don't have access to technology needed for distance learning. And those who've aged out and are in college are worried about housing.
The 2013 CNN hero Danielle Gletow and her organization One Simple Wish grants wishes to foster youth to make sure this population isn't neglected.
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DANIELLE GLETOW, 2013 CNN HERO: We immediately created a COVID-19 response fund and started focusing on the things that we knew our young people were going to need. Those being laptops and other technology to keep them current with remote learning, as well as basic essentials like food and assistance with rent or utility payments. We've seen an over 300 percent increase in needs coming in from our kids and young adults. If you have ever been in foster care and you are struggling right now, please, don't be ashamed to ask for help. We just want to make sure that everybody has a sense of support at a time when the whole world just feels completely out of control.
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LEMON: To learn more about Danielle's organization and how you can grant a wish to a foster child in need, go to cnnheroes.com right now.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.