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Interview with Sen. Michael Williams; Racists deny care from physicians of other race; Public memorial service for Virginia state trooper Jay Cullen

Aired August 19, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: -- response to Charlottesville continues to tumble, driving away some allies. The latest person to jump is New York church mega pastor A.R. Bernard. He quit the president's evangelical advisory board after the footsteps of CEOs and charities.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus the president's chief strategist Steve Bannon is now back at Breitbart after really a turbulent run at the White House. This morning President Trump tweeted this.

"I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary. It was great. Thanks."

BLACKWELL: Well, in addition to Steve Bannon, there was billionaire investor Carl Icahn who stepped down as special adviser on regulatory reform.

PAUL: And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is being asked to step not by President Trump but by around 300 of his former classmates from Yale. In a letter they say he should resign, quote, "in protest of President Trump's support of Nazism and white supremacy."

BLACKWELL: So in a couple of hours two groups will be gathering in Boston and there are some serious concerns about violence just like we saw in Charlottesville a week ago today. Organizers there are holding a free speech rally and just a few blocks away a counter protest will be there against bigotry and hate.

Let's go to CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval joining us now from Boston. Important distinction and separation here. Unlike what we saw in Charlottesville they were right next to each other, the protesters and counter protesters. We've got a bit of separation, I understand.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. They will start in two separate locations but eventually those two groups will converge here at Boston Common. Obviously it's a very busy day, a lot of that related to what's taking place, and obviously that's where we see a lot of activity right now in the heart of downtown Boston.

But I can tell you that there will be this counter protest that will begin about two miles from here and then they will march here to Boston Common where this so-called Free Speech rally will be taking place. If you can stay away from this area this afternoon, do it. That's the advice that we heard from local officials yesterday as we heard from authorities.

What's interesting here is that this will be a two-way street here, according to the city's mayor. Just like they had to respect the organizers' right to free speech, they will be asking for some of those demonstrators to respect the city's right for a safe environment.

This is what we heard yesterday from Mayor Walsh ahead of today's battle.


MAYOR MARTY WALSH, BOSTON: I don't want them here. Let me be clear. I do not want them here. If I could have not had them here with a permit, I absolutely would not have given them a permit if I didn't have to give them a permit. We don't need that type of rhetoric going on in Boston Common. We've come too far.


SANDOVAL: Now what's important to mention here is that both sides are calling for a, quote, "peaceful demonstrations today." However, given the heated rhetoric that we've seen across the country, given also some of the mixed messaging that we have seen from President Trump, there is concern that tensions could once again flare-up. As a result, we have seen significant security measures that have taken place. Some of those concrete barriers that you may be able to see behind me, go again to the park. Those weren't there yesterday.

Obviously authorities are concerned that those tensions could boil over. As we heard from officials yesterday, Victor and Christi, some of the security today, you will not be able to see -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval there at Boston Common, thank you so much.

PAUL: Want to bring in CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones now talking about the ongoing fallout from President Trump's response to Charlottesville.

Athena, what's the White House doing this morning to try to fix some of this?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi. Well, we have seen the president tweeting this morning, but when it comes to dealing with the fallout, the only other response from the White House is that they are cancelling that they are deciding not to take part in any of the festivities surrounding the Kennedy Center Honors.

This is, of course, a yearly gala at the Kennedy Center honoring artists and performers and entertainers of all sorts. We had seen reports of several of the honorees saying that they planned to skip the pre-gala reception at the White House in protest of the president.

One of the honorees in particular, Norman (INAUDIBLE), a TV producer and writer. He created the show "All in the Family," even before the events in Charlottesville last weekend, he said that he was going -- he was not going to go to that gala.

We also heard recently from a Cuban American singer songwriter, Carmen (INAUDIBLE), who said that she was not going to go to the pre-gala reception at the White House, quote, "in light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in." That is according to the "Washington Post."

And Lionel Richie, another honoree, the singer-songwriter who has said he is a friend of the president, told NBC that he was a maybe. And so the White House put out a statement earlier this morning saying that they were not going to participate so that the honorees could take part without political distraction.

[09:05:02] But, Christi, this is another sign of the backlash in response to the president's response to the violence in Charlottesville last weekend and his -- many believe he was equating, of course, the neo-Nazis, KKKs and white supremacists with the counter protesters who were protesting racism.

We've talked about the business advisory councils that have now collapsed or been disbanded. And that third, the infrastructure council the president -- the White House decided to abandon before it even got off the ground.

We are seeing charities decide not to hold events at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and of course we're seeing a growing number of Republicans criticizing the president, many of them by name.

This is just one more sign that in the wake of what the president has said about Charlottesville, a lot of folks feel that being associated with him is toxic to their brand and to their own reputation - Christi.

PAUL: Athena Jones, great points to make. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And I want to continue this conversation with CNN contributor and "Washington Post" reporter, David Fahrenthold, and Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times," Lynn Sweet.

David, let me start with you. We want to put up on our screen what we know of the Mar-a-Lago situation in terms of at least 16 charities and organizations that have now pulled out their scheduled events at Mar- a-Lago because of what we've seen from the president in the last couple of weeks. Cleveland Clinic, for one I know, they've had their event there for eight years. So this has been a tradition for them up to this point, as well as for others.

What do you make of the fact that it seems now some of the backlash may be hitting the president's company, Trump?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's very significant. The president's business, which he still owns, relies a lot on big gala events. His hotels, his golf courses and especially in Mar-a-Lago which had had this tradition of hosting really large, really expensive charity galas in Palm Beach. Some of these charities would pay Trumps's club up to 275,000 for just one night to have a big fundraiser there.

And they had generally resisted backing off of that. They'd wanted to stay at Trump's club even after all the controversies of the first part of Trump's term. It's really remarkable that in a week a huge part of those charities and a lot of money have walked out the door leaving Mar-a-Lago. So that's a sign that even this sort of closest community to President Trump, one of the most loyal communities, which is rich people in Palm Beach have either decided to give up on him or they've been abandoned by the corporate headquarters or the national headquarters of their charities.

It means a lot of lost money for Trump's club and a lot of lost prestige because the elite of Palm Beach are not going to be coming to his club this winter when he's there.

PAUL: Lynn, let me ask you, as we watch whatever is going to happen in Boston, if there is any sort of violence there, how important is it for the president to respond?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": It's important that the president responds in a way that shows he is a leader who wants to help the country go forward and mend wounds and not open up new ones. When President Trump said last week that many fine people were marching in this march, referring to this White Unite rally, it is inconceivable to people, and this is why he's in so much trouble that any -- there are no fine people that no matter why they show up at a march that they march with people who have Nazi flags and swastikas and other symbols of the Nazi regime.

Many fine people do not march when those kinds of Nazi flags and neo- Nazis, anti-Semites and racists are there. If that's what happens in Boston then that deserves to be denounced. If it is a peaceful protest, people have a right to do that. No one is arguing that at this point. You've had many officials saying well, I have to give them a permit. So it is important how President Trump reacts but with diminishing returns because, as David note, the damage is done.

PAUL: All right. And David, I want to pivot here a little bit to the fact that Stephen Bannon is out of the White House now. And he was on Breitbart and I want to read something that he said. He said, "I feel jacked up. Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said it's Bannon the Barbarian. I'm definitely going to crush the opposition. There's no doubt. I built a machine," expletive machine, "at Breitbart and now I'm about to go back knowing what I know. And we're about to rev that machine up."

What does he know, David?

FAHRENTHOLD: That's a great question. So Steve Bannon has held a high security clearance in the government, something that's really hard to get in order to be part of President Trump's national security discussions, which he was for a long time. That comes with restrictions. If you have a national security clearance, you can't just walk out the door and blab what you knew from your security clearance to a news outlet including a news outlet you maybe happen to be the head of.

[09:10:02] So I don't think if he means that, that he's going to bring some sort of classified or other, you know, sort of secret information out of the White House or if he's just bring what -- sort of the inside and the analysis that Breitbart has already been trumpeting long before he got out of the White House, which was Gary Cohn and the other folks in the West Wing that they call globalists, people that support and don't support the sort of economic or ethnic nationalism that Bannon has been talking about.

If Bannon is just going to come out and say Gary Cohn is bad, well, Breitbart has been saying that for a long time and it seems like it hasn't swayed the president.

PAUL: Lynn, we look forward to what the president has to deal with policy wise, there is a deficit that he's going to have to deal with along with Republicans in the fall, and that's going to have to be reconciled.

Is he too politically isolated do you think at this point? Is there talk that this political isolation he seems to have is going to hinder him from getting anything done?

SWEET: Absolutely it will. The approach of the White House, the Bannonites particularly, have been to treat Congress, run by Republicans, as if they were some compliant board of directors. That's not how it works. They're not there to just carry out an order from the chief executive and the White House has yet to recognize that their friends are the Republicans. And you talk to them and you negotiate.

This is the art of the deal president, who doesn't seem to grasp that you have independently elected people, third party government, all the basic stuff here that we thought a White House that has any level of -- I mean, I think people in the White House know this, but the president hasn't been acting as if he wants to put out his agenda.

And one more point. On the wall, he said Mexico was going to pay for it. He needs to explain why he's asking Congress to write the check.

PAUL: David, still hitting on the economy here because this is what a lot of people voted for him for. They believed that he was going to bring jobs back, that he was going to secure the markets. Now that this council on manufacturing jobs has been dissolved because it was a mass exodus of it, what is the president's economic plan? What does this mean for tax reform?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, I don't think it bodes anything good for tax reform. Well, tax reforms seems like it's having the same problem with health care reform which is that President Trump says he wants, quote-unquote, "reform" done, but he doesn't seem to have any sort of strong ideas about what he wants that reform to be.

And without the president being involved in the details of that and having a sort of detailed agenda for what he wants and what he doesn't want other than just a win, it's really hard to negotiate with Congress, even a Republicans Congress because there's no give-and- take. The reason President Trump was good at the art of the deal in the world of real estate was that he understood the terms, price per square foot, you know, he understood sort of what terms you were negotiating on.

He doesn't seem to have grasped on health care and he doesn't seem to be getting that on tax reform either. If he doesn't get immersed in that and understand the terms of the deal he's trying to make, I don't see how he can get it done even with a Republican Congress.

PAUL: All right. Lynn Sweet and David Fahrenthold, always grateful to have your voice in this. Thank you.

SWEET: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's take it to Berlin. Moments ago we got some video here, of neo-Nazis and counter protesters facing off here. Appear to be a bit of a scuffle here with police, but this did not last long. Nothing like what we saw in Charlottesville last week. It was quickly separated. And the Nazis there, you see here, the police kind of pushing some people along.

The Nazis there are marking the anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hess, who was Adolph Hitler's deputy. Hess was killed -- rather killed himself in prison. It was about 30 years ago. Police are not taking any chances. We know that they were quick to this one after the violence they watched here in the U.S.

PAUL: Three separate attacks on law enforcement officers, two in Florida and one in Pennsylvania overnight. We're talking about that as well. What police say happened. We have details for you. Stay close.


[09:18:01] PAUL: Well, six police officers have been shot and one has died in three separate incidents, two in Florida and one in Pennsylvania, all overnight.

In Kissimmee, Florida, one officer as I said is dead. A second is in critical condition in what police are calling a possible ambush.

BLACKWELL: Now the two officers were shot north of Jacksonville, Florida, a third incident, two Pennsylvania state troopers, were shot as well.

Let's bring in now CNN digital correspondent, Dan Lieberman.

And, Dan, the Kissimmee police chief just held a news conference. You got some new information. What did you learn?

DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the condition of the second officer is very serious there. One officer died in that Kissimmee attack. We have three different shootings of police officers that happened last night. Two in Florida and one in Pennsylvania. One of them just outside Orlando happened in Kissimmee. Two officers had been -- they were ambushed after responding to a 911 call in an area that we're now learning was known for drug activity. Police were surprised and they weren't able to return fire. One of the officers died and the other is in grave, critical condition.

Here is what the police are saying.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It breaks my heart to have to come speak to you tonight about another senseless tragedy, one that's resulted in the death of one of our police officers and a grave, critical situation of another.

This evening Sergeant Sam Howard, a 10-year veteran of the Kissimmee Police Department and Officer Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran --


LIEBERMAN: And late last night police did arrest a suspect in the shooting.

And then in Jacksonville, Florida, two officers were shot when they responded to an attempted suicide call when they encountered a man with a high-powered rifle and exchanged fire. The officers were hit and injured. The suspect was also shot and he died after being taken to a local hospital.

And then in another police shooting, this one in southwestern Pennsylvania in fair chance just south of Pittsburg, two state troopers were shot there last night as well near a grocery store. Both officers were taken to the hospital in stable condition.

[09:20:09] President Trump is reacting to the Florida shooting on Twitter saying, quote -- the president saying, "My thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee police and their loved ones. We're with you."

And guys, as far as we know, there's no connection between these shootings, but three separate shootings of police officers like this in one night is alarming.

BLACKWELL: It certainly is. Dan Lieberman for us. Thank you so much.


PAUL: Also have some new details for you this morning. According to Spanish police a terror cell made up of 12 people was involved in that attack in Barcelona. And Spain's Interior minister is saying today that terror cell has been, quote, "completely dismantled."

BLACKWELL: This is happening as there's this massive manhunt for more suspects. 43-year-old Jared Tucker of California was one of those killed in the attack. He was on a delayed honeymoon with his wife of just a year. Tucker's mother-in-law said she was receiving text messages from the couple for their entire trip.


LINDA NUNES, JARED TUCKER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW: Yes. They finished lunch. Heidi was going to go across the street to buy some souvenirs. Jared said he had to go back to the restaurant to use the rest room, and then it -- everything went crazy.


BLACKWELL: Well, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The terror group issued a formal statement today. They said what they call two security detachments conducted those attacks.

All right. So we're talking about the massive confederate carving on the face of Stone Mountain in George. We heard from the candidate this morning for Georgia governor who says it needs to go.

Coming up you're going to hear from her GOP rival who says it should be left alone.

PAUL: Also white supremacists foregoing medical treatment because their doctor is not white. We're speaking to an Asian American doctor who says she's experienced this firsthand in the ER.


[09:26:26] PAUL: You know, it's so good you're out there. Thank you for being with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia says that Confederate memorials are monuments to domestic terrorism and she was speaking specifically this morning about the massive carving on Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Now I spoke with Stacey Abrams a few minutes ago. Listen to reports of what we discussed.


STACEY ABRAMS (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: Confederate monuments have nothing to do with any of our American history, except treason and domestic terrorism. They were put up post-Reconstruction to terrorize black families, to scare them because of their demand to be treated as equal American citizens.

I may have issue with other parts of our American history, but there is nothing that Americans should unite around more than tearing down monuments to bigotry and racism and domestic terrorism.


BLACKWELL: Well, one of her rivals in the race for governor on the GOP side, Senator Michael Williams, says that the monuments should stay where they are. He says through a statement, "I want to know where Stacey draws the line. Will she demand we blow up the Jefferson Memorial and knock down the Washington Monument? Let me make myself clear, I do not support defacing Stone Mountain or any of our monuments and I do not support rewriting Georgia's history."

Well, joining me now the man who released that statement, Georgia state senator, Michael Williams, candidate for Georgia governor.

Good to have you back.


BLACKWELL: So did you hear there what the representative said and what's your response?

WILLIAMS: I did and what you didn't play back was her comments after the fact when you specifically asked her to denounce the rioting and looting that's going on our streets right now where she refused --

BLACKWELL: I asked her twice.

WILLIAMS: She refused to do that.


WILLIAMS: She refused to denounce the rioting and the looting that's going on in the streets. And to me she's pandering to the far left. She's fear-mongering and she is using this racial divide for political gain and it's unacceptable. Definitely not indicative of a leader.

BLACKWELL: OK. Specifically I just want to be clear. I didn't ask her about rioting and looting. I asked her about specifically the defacing of the monuments across the country. The one that was snatched down in Durham, the one that was tarred and fettered out in Arizona and she did not after asking her twice condemn those.

WILLIAMS: Correct. People in the streets breaking the law.

BLITZER: Yes. Absolutely. So let me ask you this. You asked the slippery slope question.

WILLIAMS: Correct.

BLACKWELL: All right. If we start with Jefferson Davis and we start with Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, are Washington and Jefferson next? What's the distinction for you between those figures, Lee and Jackson and Jefferson and Washington?

WILLIAMS: Well, they're all monuments. They're all monuments of our past that we need to protect and preserve. Again, where is this going to end? Is it going to end in exploding of the Washington Monument? We've already got bills right now being dropped in the Senate to pull out all these Confederate monuments from the capitol.

BLACKWELL: Well, I've got the statement. What's the difference to you between the generals of the Confederacy and the first and third presidents of the United States?

WILLIAMS: To me there's no difference. They're all part of our past, all part of our history.

BLACKWELL: So there's no difference between the man who fought a war to create the country and the men who fought a war to divide the country?

WILLIAMS: No. Again, you're taking this, in my mind, down the wrong path. This is part of our history. The battle of that war was a horrific war, but it's parted of our history. We cannot erase it, we can't go back and change that. We need to move forward, we need to focus on uniting our country together. Bringing us together, not what happened in the past.

Again, all of this is being done to divide our country and to discredit our president and to destroy the presidency.

BLACKWELL: Well, I think there are people calling for Confederate monuments to be removed long before Donald Trump even launched his candidacy for president.

WILLIAMS: OK. When Obama was in the White House for eight years, while was this never talked about then?

BLITZER: I think --

WILLIAMS: He had eight years to do this but now because Donald Trump is the president all of a sudden this is a big issue?

BLACKWELL: Well, the issue pre-dates --


BLACKWELL: Pre-dates Obama. Of course, we know that the monument started to go up during the Jim Crow era, in the earlier part of the previous century and there were protests and concerns long before Donald Trump or Barack Obama.

But let's get to the center of the issue we're discussing here. You said, from your perspective, there is no difference between General Lee, General Jackson, Jefferson Davis and the presidents of the United States.

So, my question to you is, your understanding of what these generals represent to African-Americans across the country that they launched a war to divide the country based on the premise of slavery.

WILLIAMS: Again, when you look at America, almost two-thirds of Americans are completely fine with having monuments even those for the Confederacy and less than half of blacks -

BLACKWELL: What's your source on this?

WILLIAMS: The "NPR" did a poll.


WILLIAMS: Did a poll on that. And less than half of blacks were even concerned about it. This is not an issue. This is a fabricated issue to undermine the presidency and do everything they can to ruin him.

BLACKWELL: But this is an issue to people who see these images as they were put up during the Jim Crow era as representatives of the institution of slavery, of a government that was created, the Confederacy, specifically on the premise of white supremacy.

WILLIAMS: Again, it might be an issue to a few people out there. Why are we not talking about some of the bigger issues? Why we are not talking about how Georgia has failing schools where 70,000 children had to attend every single year?

Why we are not talking about economic development? But yet, we're talking about how to further divide our country. We don't need to give this a platform any more.

BLACKWELL: OK. But you're running to be governor of all Georgians.

WILLIAMS: Correct.

So, although you say that less than half of blacks - and I'm going to take that survey on its face - less than half of blacks have this - believe this is a problem, are their concerns not valid?

WILLIAMS: No, they're definitely valid. And we can talk about them. But blowing up Stone Mountain, erasing our history is not the answer. The answer to me is us coming together, figuring out how we can get along, how we can work together, how we can bring our country together moving forward, focusing on the future, not the past.

BLACKWELL: There are some people who question our future considering what we heard from the president. Let me ask you about this specifically. You were one of the earliest, if not the earliest, you might have that distinction.

WILLIAMS: I was the first elected official in Georgia.

BLACKWELL: In the state of Georgia to support President Trump.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you now, do you support the president's distinction that there were some very fine people who were protesting with the Nazis?

WILLIAMS: Again, he came out and he denounced white nationalists - white supremacists, neo-Nazis, KKK. He denounced all the hate groups.


WILLIAMS: He's done that.

BLACKWELL: He did that on Monday and then Tuesday he said there were some very fine people.

WILLIAMS: He has done that several different times. So, again, he's not -

BLACKWELL: We've not heard anything from him since he spoke on Tuesday.

WILLIAMS: I don't believe there's a single thing that a president can do in the eyes of the left and the media other than resign that's going to make you guys happy.

BLACKWELL: Well, it's not us because there are now 23 Republican lawmakers who are calling him out by name and saying specifically, from Tim Scott, that he is out of touch with the moral fabric of the country. I'm paraphrasing there.


BLACKWELL: Let me get -

WILLIAMS: There is a bunch of weak Republicans out there.

BLACKWELL: I think that's a yes or no. I think this is a yes or no. And I'm going to hold you to that if you can give it to me. Do you support - do you agree with the president's summation, his assessment that there were very fine people who were protesting with Nazis and white supremacists?

WILLIAMS: I agree with the president and his denouncing of all hate groups, including the KKK, white nationalists, white supremacists and all the hate groups. I completely support it and I support the president.

BLACKWELL: And you can say that, if you stand at a Nazi rally and people next to you are yelling blood and soil, and Jews will not replace us, that they are not essentially very fine people.

WILLIAMS: Again, what about the Black Lives Matter that chant "Pigs In A Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon!'

BLACKWELL: And we've talked about that. But you've gotten the opportunity to talk about that.

Let me move on to something else. In June, you were pictured with members of the Georgia Security Force III% militia.

Southern Poverty Law Center - we have the picture - calls them anti- Muslim hate group, espouses anti-government rhetoric. So, here's the picture. There's a man on the far right of the screen, Michael Ramos, who was a former member of the group when that photo was taken.

He has now been identified as one of the men who attacked DeAndre Harris in Charlottesville last weekend. You are in this picture with him. Do you know him?

WILLIAMS: I do not know him. BLACKWELL: How did this picture come about?

WILLIAMS: I was at a political event and a group of people - those guys came up to me and said can we take your picture with us. And I said sure. So, a picture was taken.

BLACKWELL: OK. Do you have any affiliation any more than this photo with Georgia the security force?

WILLIAMS: I have absolutely no affiliation with them whatsoever. And again, I've been learning about this gentleman. And if he has done - if he has broken the law, he needs to be prosecuted. He needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no room in this country for hate and violence.

BLACKWELL: OK. Well, let me ask you about this. After President Trump's remarks on Tuesday, that group, Georgia Security Force, and again you say you don't know anything about the group, you don't know Michael Ramos, but you're running to be Georgia Governor.

[09:35:10] Georgia Security Force posted this on its Facebook page. It's a letter from Robert E. Lee written about President Pierce in 1856, but they posted it after President Trump's remarks. And I'm going to read just a couple of excerpts from it.

They started with, "I was much pleased with the president's message. His views of the systematic and progressive efforts of certain people of the North to interfere with and change the domestic institutions of the South are truthfully and faithfully expressed."

They go on to include from Lee's letter, "the Blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa - morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they're undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race and will prepare them, I hope, for better things," speaking of slavery there.

You're running to be Georgia Governor?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

BLACKWELL: Governor of all Georgians.

WILLIAMS: All Georgians.

BLACKWELL: What is your message to the Georgia Security Force?

WILLIAMS: Well, my message to them is that we need to unite, we need to come together, we need to put aside all of our racism, our hate, and work together as Georgians to better Georgia for all of us.

Again, there is no room in our society for racism of any shape, form or fashion. We have to come together, strengthen ourselves, and make Georgia great.

BLACKWELL: All right. Senator Michael Williams, candidate for governor, good you to have in. WILLIAMS: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: Well, white supremacists are refusing treatment in emergency room all over the country simply because their doctor is not white. An Asian-American doctor is joining us next to share her experience with racism in the emergency room.


[09:40:45] BLACKWELL: Look at this. This is the cover of the latest edition of "DER SPIEGEL," German magazine here. It's just the latest publication to compare President Trump to the KKK. Right on the cover.

The title, when translated from German to English, is "The True Face of Donald Trump." Now, the magazine calls the president a racist and a hate preacher.

Now, there are other publications that link the president with white supremacist groups. These came out this week. You've got "The Economist", "The New Yorker", "TIME Magazine," all producing similar covers this week.

PAUL: There are a lot of conversations about the violence in Charlottesville that we saw last weekend. And now some medical professionals say they're actually having experiences with racism in the ER.

Dr. Esther Choo, an Asian-American physician, says her conversations with racist patients usually go like this. This is from her. She says, "I understand our viewpoint. I trained at elite institutions and have been practicing for 15 years. You're welcome to refuse care under my hands, but I feel confident that I'm the most qualified to care for you, especially since the alternative is an intern." She goes on say that patients pick the intern as long as the intern is white or they leave.

Dr. Choo is joining us now. Dr. Choo, thank you so much for being with us. Your words have resonated with a lot of people on Twitter. How expansive, first of all, is an experience like this in the medical community?

ESTHER CHOO, ASIAN AMERICAN PHYSICIAN: Well, what I'm hearing from my colleagues is that this is a daily occurrence for many of them, at least experiences of prejudice.

The patient who outright refuses care is less common, but I definitely heard from a lot of people this week that they have also had that exact same experience as the one that I described.

PAUL: So, you say - so, how often has that happened to you? Were they absolutely outright refused care? CHOO: I've practiced for 15 years and it's been a handful of times, maybe two or three times a year. So, it's not a common or everyday experience, but it's also not a terribly surprising one.

PAUL: So, what kind of conversations are you having with people who've experienced the same thing and trying just do your duty? You have a duty to help anybody.

CHOO: Yes. I've heard from many, many people this week. And most people have never talked about it before. And actually, that Twitter thread that you read is the first time that I've really talked about it before.

I think many of us have encountered a ton of prejudice in our practices. We almost consider it a routine, part of our jobs. And then every now and then, there is a really extreme event, an interaction with a patient who is so intolerant that they just don't want to be treated by a physician based on race or some other characteristic of the physician.

Maybe it's that they're from another country or because of their religious beliefs or their sexual orientation or their gender. But I'm hearing it from a lot of physicians that this is not unusual.

PAUL: How at risk are patients who do that in terms of their health? They're coming into the ER, so it's serious. We know that, their condition.

CHOO: Yes, for me.

PAUL: Yes.

CHOO: Yes. For me, working in the emergency department, it tends - I tend to take care of a sicker patient population. I'm also hearing from my peers who take care of patients in primary care settings or in clinics where patients may not be critically ill and they have more time to talk through it and they're dealing with stable patients.

But, certainly, in the emergency department, we are working with patients who can be quite I'll, and so that is a - it's a tough decision to have to make.

And this is not a brand-new dialogue. Last year, the New England Journal of Medicine actually published an algorithm outlining how you might approach the patients who comes into the hospital or to the emergency department and they do not want to be taken care of by the physician on duty because of race. So, it's a topic that we're grappling with.

PAUL: Yes. Patients have a right to withhold consent. Doctors have an obligation to provide care. Is there are any legal concern you have here perhaps that somebody could come back and say I didn't get the care that I needed, even though they refused it.

[09:45:09] CHOO: Yes, I think we all want to give the best care possible at all times. As soon as the patient walks into my care, I want what's best for them. And so, that is always the first priority.

But we have to balance that with our desire to create a safe and respectful working environment for our healthcare workforce. I think nobody wants to be taken care of by physicians who feel harassed or don't feel safe there.

We want them equipped to give the best care possible. And so, it is a balance. And certainly, we want to make sure that patients are stable to refuse care and that they are also not delirious or intoxicated or somehow not in their right mind before we decide that they really have capacity to make the decision to refuse care.

PAUL: And how often have you been able to change somebody's mind and treat them after they initially said they did not want treatment?

CHOO: A few times I've been able to talk patients into receiving care from me or we can negotiate some sort of compromise where they'll be seen by maybe a resident physician who is white and I'm still guiding care, but I don't actually enter the room.

But usually, you cannot - I've found in my experience that you cannot talk people out of their ideology.

PAUL: Dr. Choo, we've talked - we've had all these conversations about racism. I don't think a lot of us even thought of it happening the way it's happening in your personal experience. Thank you for sharing.

CHOO: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, mourners today remembering one of Virginia state troopers killed in a helicopter crash last weekend. We've got a live update from outside that memorial service ahead.


[09:51:16] PAUL: Today, there is a public memorial service being held for Virginia state trooper Jay Cullen. Take a look at some of the live pictures.

Excuse me, I think we're going to have some live pictures here in just a bit. But those are the two officers. He and trooper pilot Berke Bates, who were killed last Saturday in that helicopter crash flying over and assisting with that violent rally in Charlottesville, assisting trying to keep things under control.

BLACKWELL: The funeral for Bates was yesterday. And Governor Terry McAuliffe was among those who attended that service. CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher is in Chesterfield with more and I can see behind you just the legion of officers who are coming there.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. And I'm actually going to step out of the way just a bit, so you can see they're starting together here.

Just a few moment ago, many of those officers and troopers on those motorcycles came through. They were escorting in a sort of blacked out bus, which we believe had the loved ones of Lt. Jay Cullen.

This man donated more than two decades of his life to the Virginia State Police. He had just taken over command of the aviation units of the Virginia State Police in February of this year.

The 48-year-old leaves behind two teenage sons, one of whom is going to be getting his senior year of high school this year.

Of course, he and trooper Bates were in that helicopter. They were doing video monitoring of that white nationalist, neo-Nazi rally there in Charlottesville, helping the police try to get a better idea of exactly the way things were spreading and going on at the time when it crashed there in a golf course on Saturday afternoon, a week ago today.

Trooper Bates was buried yesterday. You mentioned, of course, Governor McAuliffe attending that funeral. He and other state officials, such as Senator Tim Kaine, are expected to be here today as well.

Governor McAuliffe mentioned how deeply personal this is for him because this aviation unit, they take him places, they make sure that the governor and other dignitaries in the State of Virginia get where they need to go safely and quickly.

And so, these were men that he was well acquainted with, that he knew, that he had spent time with. Afterward when he spoke, he talked about how deeply moved and touched he was, how difficult this was for him.

Here, of course, Lt. Cullen is the last of three people killed on Saturday in the Charlottesville area to be buried. Heather Heyer having her memorial earlier this week and, of course, trooper Bates.

But you can see again, things are expected get underway not too different from now. We're seeing some of the honor guard come in at this point right now underneath that flag that they have here to honor Lt. Cullen. We're expecting this to last at least a couple of hours today before the burial at this point.

And to sort of avoid, and let Virginia, and especially Charlottesville, heal and get to a point where they don't have so much strife right now, at least while they're dealing with it, Governor McAuliffe signed an executive order yesterday that will limit the number of - limit any sort of public protests until they can get a handle on things near that Emancipation Park, outside that Lee statue where all the things began on Saturday.

But, of course, today, Victor, Christi, the real thing that everyone is focusing on is the life, memory and service of Lt. Jay Cullen.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dianne Gallagher for us there in Chesterfield. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Diane.

BLACKWELL: We're following some developments in Boston right now. We've got live pictures for you here. This is where protesters are gathering right now, they say, to march against hate and bigotry.

[09:55:04] We will, of course, show you more of this. It's scheduled to start in about two hours, but as we saw last week, the crowds gather, obviously, hours before. There was one scuffle this morning. Nothing serious.

PAUL: Alrighty. And hundreds of police officers, we should point out, they're on hand to try and keep things peaceful. We have a live report for you coming up at the top of the hour here in just a couple of minutes. Do stick with us.


PAUL: It's always good to know that we've got you through this camera. Thank you for being with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now.

PAUL: And speaking of right now, it's getting busy in Boston. Take a look at some of the video just coming in to us here. Two groups organizing for planned demonstrations in Boston -