Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Public Viewing Of George Floyd In Houston Underway; Minneapolis City Council To Dismantle Police Department; Joe Biden Does Not Support Defunding Of Police; Bail For Derek Chauvin Set At $1.25 Million; White House Defends Actions On Dispersal Of Protesters; CDC Monitoring Protests For Potential Spike In Cases. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 08, 2020 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room."

Two weeks after -- two weeks after his death under the knee, under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, a public viewing for George Floyd is now under way this hour in Houston where thousands have turned out to pay their respects.

Derek Chauvin, the fired police officer charged with second-degree murder in Floyd's death made his first court appearance today by videoconference. The judge set his bail at a maximum of $1.2 million -- $1.25 million I should say.

That comes as nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced their support for dismantling the city's police department. And protests continue for the 14th day across the U.S. in reaction to Floyd's killing with demonstrators calling now for police reform and an end to police brutality.

Let's go straight to Houston right now. CNN's Omar Jimenez is on the scene for us. Omar, the viewing there has been under way now for four hours, still has two hours to go. Update our viewers.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We've seen a steady stream of people coming in over the course of the day today. All of them masked and gloved to pay their respects to George Floyd.

Now, any minute now we're expecting to actually hear from the families of George Floyd and Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and more. All of those families connected by tragedy and all of them living examples of why George Floyd's case and death are about so much more than George Floyd.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): As George Floyd's body arrives at the Fountain of Praise Church in his hometown of Houston, Texas. It was the public's last chance to say good-bye.

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden visited with the Floyd family privately for over an hour according to the family attorney.




It was two weeks ago to the day, this single cell phone video led to protests around the country.


And the world over more than just Floyd's death.

GREG ABBOTT, GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: This is the most horrific tragedy I've ever personally observed, but George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States. George Floyd has not died in vain.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): In Minneapolis, a majority in the city council is committing to defunding and dismantling the city's police in favor of more community-based public safety, a pledge that city council president Lisa Bender says means acknowledging the current system isn't working.


LISA BENDER, PRESIDENT, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL: What it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): But not everyone is entirely onboard, including the mayor.


JACOB FREY, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: We need a full-on cultural shift in how our Minneapolis police department and departments throughout the country function. Am I for entirely abolishing the police department? No I'm not.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): It's a debate now playing out in places across the country including in New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio now says they will be shifting some funding from the NYPD to youth and social services.

Today, the former police officer facing the most serious charges in George Floyd's death made his initial court appearance. Derek Chauvin's bail set at an up to $1.25 million bail while the other three former officers charged had theirs set at $1 million each during their initial hearings last week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it possible that your client stood by and watched for nearly nine minutes?

EARL GRAY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR THOMAS LANE: He did not stand by and watch. He was holding the legs because the guy was resisting at first. Now when he's holding his legs he says to Chauvin, well, should we roll him over because he says he can't breathe. Chauvin says no.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Back in Houston, a family and those that knew Floyd best continue to mourn.


JIMENEZ (on camera): Now, tomorrow is when we will see the funeral for George Floyd here. It is the final good-bye in what has been a series of good-byes starting last week.

But as you hear from protesters, as you hear from family and more, goodbye does not necessarily mean the end of George Floyd. In many ways, it is the beginning of a legacy we are seeing play out and pushes for long term change. Floyd is set to be buried next to his mother, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Omar, thank you. Omar Jimenez in Houston for us. Let's go to the White House right now. Our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, has breaking news. Jim, what is President Trump saying about calls to defund the police?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, he's dead set against it obviously, but White House officials are still defending the administration's actions one week ago when authorities violently cleared out Lafayette Park for a photo-op for President Trump.


The president is paying a big political price for how he's responded to the protest around the U.S. as a new CNN poll shows his approval numbers are tanking setting the stage for an uphill battle to win re- election.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Still on the defensive over his response to protests against police brutality across the U.S., President Trump met with law enforcement officials to hammer home a simple message.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- less crime and there is a reason for less crime and that's because we have great law enforcement. I'm very proud of them. ACOSTA (voice-over): One week after the Trump administration gassed

and pummeled protesters at Lafayette Park minutes before the president's photo-op outside St. John's Episcopal Church, White House officials are still offering no apologies.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's no regrets on the part of this White House and we stand by those actions.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Aides to the president are already sounding call the new legislation from House Democrats aimed at reforming police practices saying some proposed measures are non-starters while declining to weigh in on controversial tactics like chokeholds on suspects.

MCENANY: The president again hasn't reviewed this piece of legislation. The president is looking at what's a state issue, what's a federal issue right now. He's currently reviewing proposals actually on this very topic about police reform and I'll leave it to him and not get ahead of him.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats say it's high time to end the kind of police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): It's a long time, eight minutes and forty-six seconds. That's a long time to be on one knee. But for 244 years, there were plenty of knees on the necks of blacks who came to this country.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Yet press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had no problem laying out where the president stands on professional athletes taking a knee at football games and protest of unjust policing. Last week the National Football League admitted it was wrong not to listen to players' concerns.

MCENANY: The president is very much against kneeling in general. The president has made clear for years that kneeling is tied to our national anthem, that it does not respect our military men and women across this country.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president's political advisers are seizing on a proposal from the so-called defund the police movement that would draw resources away from law enforcement agencies.

MCENANY: That means defunding police departments if not getting rid of them entirely. No, he does not agree with that and the rest of America does not agree with that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): A spokesman for Mr. Trump's Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden says the candidate does not believe that police should be defunded.

A new CNN poll finds the president's approval numbers are in freefall down seven percentage points in the last month as high-profile Republicans flocked to Biden.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We have a Constitution and we have to follow that Constitution, and the president has drifted away from it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Utah GOP Senator Mitt Romney actually marched with the demonstrators and uttered the words black lives matter.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R), UT: And to make sure people understand that black lives matter.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Contrast that with the president who has walled himself off from the protesters, dodging questions from reporters for days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, why haven't you laid out a plan to address systemic racism?

ACOSTA (voice-over): As more top administration officials refuse to say there is systemic racism in law enforcement despite mounting episodes of violent behavior.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think there's racism in the United States still, but I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the distrust, however, of the African-American community given the history in this country.


ACOSTA (on camera): Aides to the president are dodging the questions about the steel fencing that is now wrapped around the White House saying those decisions are made by law enforcement and not inside the West Wing.

The president again refused to take questions from reporters today. It's been more than a week since he has taken questions from reporters at any length. And despite the president's standing in the polls, we've just confirmed this, this just in to CNN, he is set to start campaigning for a number of weeks.

A campaign official confirms to CNN the president will resume his rallies by the end of the month, at least, that's the plan for now, Wolf.

BLITZER: The plan for now. All right, thank you very much, Jim Acosta at the White House. The former Vice President Joe Biden, he's been in Houston for much of this day meeting with the family members of George Floyd, and you can see this picture.

There you see the former vice president meeting with George Floyd's daughter and other family members. We're going to continue to watch this part of the story as well. But joining us right now is the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Mayor Bottoms, thank you so much for joining us.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Thank you for having me, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's talk about what they're proposing, the city council in Minneapolis right now. I wonder if that might work for Atlanta. Well, city council members are proposing to dismantle the city's police force. Is that something you can go for?

BOTTOMS: I don't think that's a solution in Atlanta and I can tell you, Wolf, just as we've been talking about defunding police and these things that we've heard cry for, I pulled out our city's budget book and this is a pretty thick book.


And so it's pretty easy to simplify a message, but the solution is a lot more complicated. So in Atlanta, for example, we have cut our corrections budget this year by 60 percent and we are moving that towards equity programs to help us transition our city jail into a center for equity health and wellness.

So, what people really are crying out for, for more dollars to be allocated to social support services and what they see as over policing, and I think it's going to be incumbent upon people to really dig into municipal budgets, which can be a complicated process.

But really look at what the cities are doing and the solutions may not always be defunding police as much as making sure that we are allocating funding in our budget for these programs that are so important to our community.

BLITZER: It sounds as if you and the former Vice President Joe Biden are on the same page because he says he does not believe -- this is a campaign statement that just came out that the former vice president does not believe that police should be defunded.

He supports what the campaign calls the urgent need for reform. Have you looked at his proposed reforms? Do you think they go far enough?

BOTTOMS: Well, I looked at a lot of the proposals that Vice President Biden has put out, but in Atlanta, we are forming an advisory committee and we listened to the charge that was set forth by President Obama for us to one, begin actively looking at what our use of force policies are in the city.

So, we expect the recommendation, preliminary recommendations in the next 14 days and with a final review with community input over the next 45 days. And so, I think there's always room for us to do better, but I think what the vice president has set forth was a very good start.

But I think there is an opportunity for us to all take a second look at what our policies are within our cities because, unfortunately, many of these policies don't come into the forefront until there is a problem.

BLITZER: President Trump, he has just been meeting over the at the White House with law enforcement leaders saying there will be no disbanding of the police forces, that 99 percent of police officers are great people, his words.

Does this conversation on dismantling or defunding the police give President Trump potentially some political talking points going into the election in november?

BOTTOMS: Well, that's been my concern that this would be weaponized against people across this country who -- they are well intentioned. They want better support services for communities. They want less policing and more partnership within our communities.

And I think that when you simplify a message it feeds right into Donald Trump's strong suit. He is able to simplify messages and amplify them as propaganda, but again, I think that's where it's incumbent upon us as leaders of good conscience to help articulate and convey to communities when this real work is already happening.

So in Atlanta, for example, when we had a shooting and we had someone who was a member of a federal task force from our police department, they wouldn't allow us to have our officers wear body cams when they were a part of these federal task force.

So we took our officers from this federal task force for that reason. We have implicit bias training for our officers. We require them to go do some programming at our National Center for Civil and Human Rights. That being said, there clearly is still more that needs to be done.

But when I look at this budget binder that I just showed you, what I see reflected in there primarily in our city's police budget, we are paying salaries, pensions, worker compensation costs and capital costs.

And so, what you don't see when you talk about the police budget, you don't see the budget that we've set aside for housing through our housing authority. You don't see what we've set aside for equity and so many other initiatives and LGBTQ initiatives, if you are simply looking at the police budget and it is a much more complicated conversation.

BLITZER: As you know, one final question and you can give me a simple yes or no, there are reports out there that you are being vetted right now potentially as a vice presidential running mate for Joe Biden. Is that rue?

BOTTOMS: I will refer you to the Biden campaign for that.

BLITZER: Well, that's not a no. All right, thank you very much. The Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Thank you so much for joining us. Good luck to you. Good luck to everyone in Atlanta.


Up next, we'll have more on the Minneapolis city council's call to dismantle the city's department. Plus, the White House at war with Washington, D.C., the latest on the growing tension that has emerged between the nation's capital city and the Trump administration. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Protests continuing, we got some live pictures coming in from New York right now. Continuing in New York City, crowds gathering once again. We'll stay on top of that. This is exactly two weeks after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, but the protests clearly continue.


They are also continuing here in Washington, D.C. Over at the White House this afternoon the president insisted there's not going to be any disbanding of police here in the United States, but a demand to defund the police has been added to a huge mural over on a key street right near the White House.

Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He is there on the scene for us. Brian, tell us more.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf. That mural is right behind me. I'm going to show it to you in just a second here. It says defund the police. This was painted by activists over the weekend. This is not part of the Black Lives Matter mural behind it.

That mural in huge yellow block letters just beyond this, that was painted on the orders of Mayor Muriel Bowser. This one was painted over the weekend, defund the police.

And what's interesting is that Mayor Bowser has not been too committal over whether she wants this mural to stay here or not. She has indicated that this is an expression, but she's also indicated that this was not intended to be part of the original mural.

And when she was asked over the past couple of days, including by CNN, whether she's going to order this mural, to defund the police, removed, she has basically not answered the question. So we're going to see if this one stays here.

And as you mentioned, Wolf, this comes as, you know, the escalation of tensions between the White House and Mayor Bowser continues tonight. The latest salvo came this afternoon when the White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House has no regrets for the forcible removal of protesters from this spot a week ago today, Lafayette Square Plaza.

The White House saying that was a call made by Attorney General Bill Barr and by the park police, but that it stands by that call. Now, Mayor Bowser for her part says, she believes that that forcible removal of protesters was the reason why so many thousands of people descended on this space last week and over the weekend to protest peacefully.

Mayor Bowser says she's not engaged in a fight with President Trump. She's engaged in a defense of her city and she calls the presence of federal troops here an invasion of her city. That's another part of the equation tonight.

The federal troop presence here, is it going to basically de-escalate? Is it going to diminish? We are told that by Wednesday, all the National Guardsmen that came in from out of town to support the police here will be gone.

So, that is something that may be a little bit of the battle here that Mayor Bowser may win. She's been wanting them out. Another big part of the symbolism here over the weekend was the presence of Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon who came here to see that mural over there, the Black Lives Matter mural. He was here with Mayor Bowser over the weekend. A powerful symbol. Protesters gathering here tonight. We'll see how big this protest gets this evening, Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much. We'll stay in close touch with you. Let's get some insight right now, joining us, CNN political commentator and Attorney Bakari Sellers and CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, at this event today the president said 99 percent of the police are great, great people, his words. We saw how his last speech went over. So what's the thinking? What are you hearing now, Dana, about potentially another national address on race, for example, by the president. What's going on?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's still to be determined. One senior adviser told me today that the chances are good that the president would give some kind of an address, but it is still very unclear, Wolf, what that exactly means, whether or not the president would go so far -- or the White House would ask for T.V. time from the networks given, as you said, some of the bumpy road that comes before us on that notion.

It's unclear if that would actually happen. And it's also unclear if and how this potential speech would unfold in terms of venue, never mind the content because they understand inside the Republican world and certainly broadly and maybe even more in a more growing way people close to the president that this is something that is hurting him.

That just being -- just singing one note, which is law enforcement, and having that drown out anything else that even remotely appears to be a call for unity is not what the country is looking for right now, at least the big enough majority in the country that he needs to support him.

BLITZER: Bakari, listen to what the Attorney General Bill Barr says on this very subject. I want you to listen to what he said yesterday.


BARR: I think there's racism in the United States still, but I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the distrust, however, of the African-American community given the history in this country.


BLITZER: What's your reaction to that?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that the attorney general probably has a misunderstanding of what systemic racism is. I think that many people don't necessarily understand the concept. I go back to Stokely Carmichael often when he was defining racism.

He said that if you want to lynch me, that's your problem. But if you have the power to lynch me, then that's my problem. So, racism is a power construct and has to be understood as such.


So when we're looking at the system of policing in this country, the question that has to be asked is why are there so many contacts between law enforcement and communities of color?

Why do these contacts turn violent quicker and why is there more of a threat perceived by law enforcement officers because of the color of one's skin? And when you look at this in totality, you understand that we have to go through the necessary training mechanisms, de- escalation.

We need a misconduct database and that is where you can deconstruct the system. You know, we have this new slogan which I often times say Democrats, we really, really suck at our messaging sometimes, but defunding the police is a way in which we're not talk about abolishing police so when you dial 911 the police won't be there.

But it's talking about tearing down systems of oppression and rebuilding them up and utilizing some of these dollars that flow into arming police officers, overly arming police officers into things like mental health, and to things like summer jobs programs.

I actually speak to law enforcement officers all of the time and even law enforcement will tell you something as simple as this, Wolf. Why are they the first ones called when someone is having a mental health issue?

And so we have to begin in our own communities to reframe and reform the way we police in this country because yes, it has systemic ills contrary to what Bill Barr says.

BLITZER: Bakari Sellers and Dana Bash, guys, thank you very, very much. Coming up, two members of the Minneapolis city council who are promising to dismantle the police department, they are getting ready to join us. How will they protect public safety now going forward?

Also, more on today's circuit court appearance by the former Minneapolis policeman charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd's death.



BLITZER: Take a look at this. Live pictures coming in from New York City where more protests are underway right now. These are almost nonstop over these past two weeks and over the weekend, a majority of the members of the Minneapolis City Council committed to begin dismantling the city's police department calling the relationship between the city and its place force toxic.

Joining us now in "The Situation Room", the Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender and the Council's Vice President Andrea Jenkins. Thanks to both of you for joining us. Lisa, you're pledging to dismantle the Minneapolis police department. What exactly does that mean? And why do you think it's past the point of simple -- simply engaging some significant reforms?

LISA BENDER, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Yes. So over the last two weeks, we've seen thousands of people in Minneapolis take to the streets and raise their voices for change, telling us that incremental reform has not work to keep our community safe.

We're also seeing major institutions like the University of Minnesota, our parks and schools, major businesses and arts institutions ending their relationship with our police department. So it is clear that we need to make major shifts both in the short term and that our community is ready to reimagine public safety from the ground up to think holistically, to make sure every single member of our community is safe.

BLITZER: As you know, Andrea, the former Vice President Joe Biden says he doesn't believe police should be defunded or dismantled. He supports significant reforms. He supports funding for other community programs. How do you respond to the Former Vice President?

ANDREA JENKINS, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL VICE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, I certainly respect the Former Vice President. Our goal in this process is keeping our community safe, making sure that everyone in our community feels safe. And so we're going to work with community to come up with a safety plan. We're going to work -- we want to work with the police officers that want to be involved in creating a new reality of public safety for the citizens in our community.

And I want to work with the Former Vice President. I hope he becomes our president. So we can address these issues. But reforms haven't worked. And so we have to reimagine what public safety looks like to keep everyone in our community safe.

BLITZER: All right. Lisa, you say that in the short term, this doesn't mean necessarily that Minneapolis will have no police department. The Attorney General Bill Barr just commented on calls to defund police saying these calls are dangerous, and that pulling back on policing will lead to more harm done to these communities.

What's your reaction? What happens if there's a criminal out there with a gun and start shooting people, who's going to respond if there's no police force?

BENDER: Look, it is our top priority to keep every single member of our community safe. And if you look back at the last 150 years of our police department, it is becoming increasingly clear that that model of policing isn't working. So we need to invite in our whole community, the nine members of the city council that came from every corner of our city to stand together to make this commitment.


We don't have all the answers and what we committed to was a community process to help reimagine public safety. So, yes, we still have a police department in Minneapolis today. I hope it won't take 150 years to get to that looking forward, that next solution, but we have a lot of wisdom in our community.

We have invested in community to beat safety strategies. We did an analysis of all the reasons people call 911 in our city to look at ways we can have an appropriate response. So we've laid the groundwork, and in many ways this will be incremental change over many years.

BLITZER: Andrea, have you had any risk --

JENKINS: Wolf, if I may?

BLITZER: Go ahead, make your point.

JENKINS: Well, if I may, I would just add to those comments that, you know, we -- defunding the police means really redirecting resources to community. And so, if we can have community responses to those incidents that don't require someone with a gun, then police can actually do their job that they signed up for to serve and protect, which is -- it would give them -- allow them more freedom to be able to do their job without having to respond to the calls that don't necessarily need a police response.

BLITZER: Who would be responsible, though -- Andrea, who would be -- this is a question that you keep hearing, who would be responsible if you did need someone to respond with a gun, if there was an individual or a group of people simply going out there and killing other citizens for no reason at all? Who would be responsible to go out there and try to stop it?

JENKINS: Well, in my mind, Wolf, and as it stands right now today, we still have a Minneapolis Police Department and that will be their responsibility to address those issues.

BLITZER: So Lisa, you agree?

BENDER: Absolutely, yes.

BLITZER: So at least for the time being there will continue to be a much smaller, much more limited Minneapolis police department, but it wouldn't be completely dismantled at least. Is that what I'm hearing?

BENDER: You know, I think, again, community trust in this existing department is so low that there is an urgent need for change. Now, and we have a state action, the Human Rights Department took against our police department for patterns of racial discrimination.

The City Council has agreed to fully cooperate with that and do what we can to use those tools. We adopted a temporary restraining order that put more controls in place for how police are responding to the protests in our streets right now. So there's clear need for urgent change.

And as one of my colleagues said, you know, it's clear that we need to dismantle this department. What comes back in its place, is what we need to hear from our community. And so when we stood together on Sunday, we committed to a year-long process to invite everyone in to hear what people are imagining for public safety.

And we need that, we need to hear from our community before we make any change and any of those incremental changes, budget hearings, charter amendments, those all have public process built into them, maybe even on the ballot for the voters themselves to the side.

BLITZER: Lisa Bender and Andrea Jenkins, you guys got huge challenges ahead of you. Thanks so much for joining us. Good luck to you, good luck to everybody in Minneapolis. In fact, appreciate it very much.

JENKINS: Thank you, Wolf.

BENDER: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, we'll have more on the public viewing in Houston where thousands are turning out to honor George Floyd. Bishop T.D. Jakes, he's standing by live. We'll discuss. Plus, there are new developments in the coronavirus pandemic and a very disturbing rise in cases across the United States. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: The casket of George Floyd on public display in Houston this hour where thousands of people have turned out to pay their respects exactly two weeks after Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

Joining us now Bishop T.D. Jakes, the founder and senior pastor of The Potter's House. Bishop Jakes, thank you so much for joining us. What role do you want churches and other faith communities to play in the path forward?

BISHOP T.D. JAKES, FOUNDER AND SENIOR PASTOR, THE POTTER'S HOUSE: Well, first of all, Wolf, thank you for having me. Delighted to be with you. I think churches have an obligation not to look the other way on this issue, but to become involved as a part in a significant part, particularly of African-American community and being involved in providing solutions and guiding the process because we're not just looking at the deterioration of the criminal justice system, which has been corroding for some time.

But we're also looking at the deterioration of trust in the community. And when you lose trust as a leader and as an official, the consequences can be absolutely devastating, and they're too high for us to pay. We have to do something to restore trust.

BLITZER: That's an important point. You've also pointed out that black clergy here in the United States have led the fight for social justice, so what would you want to see now from white faith leaders and white Americans in general?

JAKES: You know, I am starting to see that. I'm very encouraged by a large portion of growing portion I should say, of white clergy becoming involved in an even larger amount of the white community recognizing that this is not a black problem to be segregated and relegated off to our community, but it is an American problem.


When you look at some of the atrocities that have happened, even in Buffalo with a 75-year old white man, it's not just us. When you look at what happened to the Australian reporters trying to report, it's not just us. It's a derelict of responsibility and duty and an insensitivity to using the least amount of force necessary to handle a situation has become a thing of the past. And so it's everybody's problem. And everybody all over the world is starting to speak out about it.

BLITZER: Yes, that's a fair point as well. The other day, I had a chance to speak with the Reverend Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church here in the United States. He said, now is the time to make a decision about what kind of people, his words, what kind of people we are going to be. What does that look like to you?

JAKES: I think, you know, a myriad of ideas are being thrown against the wall. But I think at the end of the day, it is a mutual respect, the restoration of a pursuit of equality, the correction of hundreds and hundreds of years of injustice that has kind of been swept up under the rug. And we have been told pretty much, just suck it up and be forgiving and go about our business and why you can be forgiving. It's hard to forgive somebody that's still stomping on your foot.

And I think it took a knee on the neck to wake America up, that a knee on a football field wasn't quite as bad as we thought. And I think we can get a lot done once we begin to re-evaluate how we are brethren, how we are family, how we are interconnected.

There's more to unite us and there is to divide us, but we have to have an equal seat at the table. Our voices have to be heard and in almost every aspect of our systematic influence whether it's education, whether it's entertainment, whether it's criminal justice, we are way under represented and there has to be some changes made.

BLITZER: Well said. Bishop T. D. Jakes, always great to hear from you. Thank you so much for joining us.

JAKES: Thank you for having me. Have a good day.

BLITZER: Thank you. You too.

Coming up, we're going to have the latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which clearly continues. New York City finally begins to reopen, but coronavirus cases are surging in other states and the world just recorded a very disturbing milestone.


BLITZER: Look at this Washington D.C. protests continuing here in the nation's capital right outside the White House. Also in New York, people are marching. They're protesting once again in New York City as we watched the demonstrators move down the streets.

We're also seeing some important major developments right now in the coronavirus pandemic. New York City finally starting to reopen. But it comes amid a very disturbing rise in cases in many states and indeed around the world. The World Health Organization now says that yesterday was the largest one day rise in coronavirus cases globally ever.

Let's get some more from CNN's Nick Watt.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 100 days since New York State's first case the Big Apple is back. Well, they're now allowing more retail, manufacturing and construction with some strict parameters.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: It is the day that we start to liberate ourselves from this disease the day we move forward. Phase 1, the restart begins today in New York City.

WATT (voice-over): Let's not forget the terrible toll on this city. Nearly 22,000 deaths so far and black and Latinx New Yorkers dying at twice the rate of white residents. And it's not over.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We're not out of the woods, but we are on the other side certainly.

WATT (voice-over): The Governor rode the subway to his daily briefing this morning. The message, it's safe.

CUOMO (voice-over): We are continuing our decline. The rest of the country is still spiking.

WATT (voice-over): Florida has added more than 1,000 new cases a day for five straight days. Texas, another early reopener, now adding an average of over 1,500 cases a day. That's up 50 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Abbott has had an inadequate and weak response that has been based more on politics than on science. He opened up the state too early.

WATT (voice-over): Bucks County, PA announced 33 new cases Saturday, 11 of them tied to one person who they say has been partying down to the Jersey Shore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of a coming together of a perfect storm, if you will. We had the Memorial Day weekend, a lot of folks were being very laxed and relaxed about proportions. And we've been having a backdrop of states reopening. Plus, all the protesters in these mass gatherings.

WATT (voice-over): Protests sparked by George Floyd's death might be spreading this virus around the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to catch it. I don't think anyone wants to catch it. But when it comes to issues of social justice, that takes President, I feel like. COVID-19 is going to be here for a little bit. Hopefully we'll get a vaccine.


WATT (voice-over): The White House has a vaccine program.


WATT (voice-over): But today, two prominent professors say they're scared it might move too fast. "Given how this President has behaved, this incredibly dangerous scenario is not far-fetched." They wrote in "The New York Times" op-ed. "In a desperate search for a political boost, he could release a coronavirus vaccine before it had been thoroughly tested and shown to be safe and effective."


WATT: Now, the big question, did the lockdown work? Well, researchers at U.C. Berkeley say absolutely. They estimate that just the first few weeks of shutting everything down here in the U.S. prevented perhaps 60 million infections. But the price we're paying, Wolf, the U.S. is now officially in a recession has been since February. Back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Nick. Thank you. Nick Watt reporting.

Coming up, President Trump reacts to calls to defund police departments after nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced their support for dismantling that city's force.