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Demonstrations and Counter Protests Planned in Virginia and Washington D.C. One Year after Charlottesville; Airport Ground Worker Steals and Flies Airplane; Black Police Officer who Infiltrated Ku Klux Klan in 1970s Interviewed; President Trump Tweets Condemnation of Racism and Violence. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 11, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:00:10] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, when you are comfortable with spewing that kind of hate as 45 appears to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States had a chance to denounce hate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what, you just magnified her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I am Victor Blackwell.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. Always grateful to have you here. Moments ago, President Trump condemned all types of racism and called for peace. This of course one year after the deadly protest launched by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. We're going to read part of his tweet here. He said "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to all Americans."
This comes as the state of Virginia declared a state of emergency ahead of several events planned in the city of Charlottesville today. Dozens of police are already patrolling the streets and tightening security ahead of events. CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung joins us now from Charlottesville. Kaylee, what are you seeing this morning?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, I think it is safe to say more than dozens of law enforcement personnel are patrolling these streets. The police chief here in Charlottesville is telling me she has 1,200 people at her disposal from local, state, and federal entities, all working in collaboration to protect the city of Charlottesville this weekend. She says no violence will be tolerated here.
HARTUNG: Last summer Charlottesville became a battleground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clashes have erupted between white supremacists and protesters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terror in Virginia. One person is dead.
HARTUNG: One year later a new team of officials are vowing not to let history repeat itself.
RASHALL BRACKNEY, CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE CHIEF: We have to start owning that we did not live up to our training, we didn't leave up to our oath, but we have the opportunity to recover and get it right.
HARTUNG: After a sharply critical report placed blame on the Charlottesville police department for its failure to contain the violence and protect the public.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a law enforcement event. This is a public safety endeavor.
HARTUNG: Chief Al Thomas retired. RaShall Brackney took over two months ago.
BRACKNEY: I walked into this position. I did walk in in some ways with my eyes wide open, but I didn't realize probably the extent and the breadth and the width of what the responsibilities would be because I had not really had the opportunity to hear how hurt this community was and still hadn't healed.
HARTUNG: The first images of hate America saw in Charlottesville came from here. The night before the planned and permitted alt right rally, white nationalists marched onto the University of Virginia campus wielding tiki torches. The visual was startling, but that wasn't the worst we would see.
The next morning, violence in this intersection as police looked on just outside the park where General Robert E. Lee's statue stands.
So-called alt right activists chanting racist slogans and carrying guns and Confederate flags clashed with anti-racists and anti-fascists counter-protesters. Then the day turned deadly.
This street where James Alex Field Jr. allegedly barreled his car into a group of counter protesters, it remains a memorial to Heather Heyer.
Heyer was killed in the attack, 35 others injured. The driver, a Nazi sympathizer, will be tried and federal hate crimes. There was anger and outrage in reaction to not only the violence but the hateful rhetoric that was openly on display here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a message to all the white supremacists and
Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very fine people on both sides.
HARTUNG: President Trump's refusal to condemn the racist attack and its immediate aftermath further inflamed the national conversation.
When you think about the flashpoint that Charlottesville was in this country for the dialogue around race relations, where do you think we are one year later?
BRACKNEY: So I don't know if we as a city or even as a nation has had that real honest dialogue about equities in terms of really moving the needle forward. I'm not sure that we've actually instituted policies, procedures, or even support that could help move the conversation beyond the conversation.
[10:05:00] HARTUNG: And so the conversation continues this weekend as the second unite the right rally organizes in the nation's capital. Here in Charlottesville, the focus will be on continued healing. And Chief Brackney says the city has an all-encompassing plan for whatever or whoever the weekend may bring.
HARTUNG: Despite President Trump's tweet this morning, many here in this community feel the president has done irreparable damage, namely the Charlottesville mayor, Nikuyah Walker, she was among the activists here in these streets a year ago, before she was mayor, trying to protect the city from white nationalists marching into it. She says the president's rhetoric, she calls hate, continues to cause turmoil for this community. We haven't seen any turmoil here today, Victor and Christi. These streets remain quiet downtown, protected by a secure perimeter, a heavy law enforcement presence, a presence that some members of the community welcome but that others say is an overcorrection after what they see as the failures a year ago.
BLACKWELL: Kaylee Hartung for us there in Charlottesville, Kaylee, thank you so much.
PAUL: So listen to this, Russian trolls apparently exacerbate the racism in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally last year, or they did, blaming the violence on Antifa, on Black Lives Matter. This year there are fears they may try to do the same thing. Samantha Vinograd, CNN national security analyst and former senior adviser to President Obama's national security council is with us now. Sam, thank you so much for being with us. What evidence is there that Russia did try to use the division in the U.S. as an opportunity for them? SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Christi, this is a
big weekend for Vladimir Putin because it's such a prime opportunity for him to sew divisions and create confusion in the United States, which we know are two key tenets of his intelligence operation. It is high impact because Putin knows millions of Americans are going to be on social media this weekend talking about unite the right protest, racism, and counter protests that are planned tomorrow in Washington, D.C., and around the country.
And so because he knows that so many Americans are going to be on social media, he is going to enlist his digital army, bots, trolls to develop and spread inflammatory messages and even to encourage Americans to protest. And we have data points from the past several years on a range of inflammatory issues, much like Charlottesville, the Parkland shooting, and even Black Lives Matter and NFL players kneeling. We have information from the Senate Intelligence Committee that Vladimir Putin and his bot and troll army actually encourage two sides of a protest in Texas on the same day, the same location, anti- Muslim and pro-Muslim protests, because Vladimir Putin knows that these kind of issues that are inflammatory and that lead to protests really divide us as a country.
And it is low cost because bots and trolls cost a lot less than the human assets that Russia typically would have sent to the United States to try to promote these messages and get Americans to protest. So we all really need to verify content we're seeing on Facebook, on Twitter, and other social media platforms this weekend.
PAUL: How do you do that, because you know Twitter and Facebook, they've identified, they pulled trolls and bots. If they're going to keep coming up, I'm sure that there are people who get on social media and say I don't know how to validate this.
VINOGRAD: It is often after the fact. As you just mentioned, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have often done post-ops after these kinds of events and tried to flag these fake accounts, but various social media platforms and technology companies have been trying to institute more machine learning technologies to identify these bots and trolls at the front end. But I think we all know what news sources are trusted, and various signs of bots and trolls that seem to be automatically retweeting very suspicious hash tags.
PAUL: We've talked about Russian meddling in elections that has been so concerning. And it is not just here in the U.S. There are allegations of the same in France and the U.K. and Germany. But for a moment like this specifically, beyond social media, is there anything Russia might target? Is there any way for them to infiltrate otherwise?
VINOGRAD: I think the Russians are infiltrating on an information warfare stage in a variety of ways, in particular again any inflammatory content or issue in the United States or even in western Europe where they have been promoting language by extremist groups like the National Front in France, The League in Italy, and other kind of right leaning nationalist groups that promote anti-immigrant messages, and again anything that's going to divide a country. And it is ironic that Vladimir Putin doesn't allow protests in his own country because he knows how divisive they are, but is actively using bots and trolls to promote them in countries like the United States because he is hoping that it really fosters these divisions.
[10:10:09] PAUL: Interesting perspective. Samantha Vinograd, we so appreciate you being here. Thank you, ma'am.
BLACKWELL: Up next, an airline ground service agent steals an empty passenger plane, is pursued by jets as he performs stunts in the air, and then crashes and dies in a nearby wooded area. We'll hear the conversation he had with the control tower.
PAUL: An ordinary traffic stop became something much worse when a man pulled his gun on two officers, seriously injuring them. We have details ahead.
BLACKWELL: Plus, we speak to the man who inspired Director Spike Lee's new movie, a black police officer in Colorado Springs who was able to infiltrate the KKK back in the 1970s.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The KKK is planning an attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you propose to make this investigation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Establish contact over the phone.
We'll need a white officer to play me when they meet face to face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You for the white race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it becomes a combined.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the right white man, we can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:15:16] PAUL: The White House is responding to the breaking news from overnight after a regional airline employee steals an empty plane, takes off, and then crashes.
BLACKWELL: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation. This happened just after 8:00 Seattle time. Within minutes, military jets were behind him, and he was talking to air traffic controllers the entire time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to try to do a barrel roll, and if that goes good, I will just go nose down and call it a night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Authorities say, and we need to make this very clear, this is not a terrorism case. This is was apparently what's called a ground service agent. That was his job. They can be in charge of everything from directing the plane on the ground to handling bags, but flying is not part of the job description.
BLACKWELL: He flew the plane though for almost an hour and tried several stunts, you see a few of them here, at times coming within feet of the water. Look how close he is here. Then he crashed into a wooded area 40 miles from the airport. The Pierce County sheriff's office did not release the man's name, but they say he was a 29-year- old man who was suicidal. There are several times in this recording that this man apologized. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a lot of people that care about me, and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy. Got a few screws loose, I guess, never really knew it until now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Earlier we talked to John Waldron. He was on a walk. He actually filmed what you're seeing there, that video, because he was on a walk. He saw fighter jets escorting this plane, but he knew something was strange, and that's why he started to record. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WALDRON, SAW STOLEN PLANE MANEUVERS: We have two large military bases within 10 miles from where this all happened. So it is not uncommon to see fighter aircraft up in the air. But to see them in the manner they were flying, and at that location where they were at was a little bit bizarre. So I started to tape the aircraft. And then out of nowhere, the guy flying this Q-400 just pulled the stick back and put this thing into a complete loop. And I honestly thought he was going to stall and hit the water. I mean, it was just very shocking to see. So I just kept taping. And I was completely unaware of what had actually happened at the airport. I had no idea the plane had been hijacked or what was doing on. But it appeared that the two fighter jets were escorting him, they were alongside him, then would trail behind him.
I don't know what they were trying to do at that time obviously because, like I said, I was unclear about what actually was going on. And then he headed down towards where he eventually crashed at. He actually pulled the nose back up again and I thought he was going to stall again. And he made his way down. I looked again, he was in a nose dive, and he went in the ground, straight into the ground. I saw a brief flash of flame and big plume of smoke and then the sound of the explosion. And I just had a bad feeling that it wasn't an exercise or anything. I just knew he had crashed at that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Joining us to talk about this, Rene Marsh, CNN aviation and government regulation correspondent. Rene, good morning to you. What more are we learning about how this all happened and this man?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: I will say, we do have a lot of information, Victor, good morning. But there's still a lot of outstanding questions. For example, how was he able to get this commercial plane from the ramp to the runway and then take off? You have to assume that he had to be ignoring directions from the ground crew and air traffic control because I can tell you, you cannot taxi and you can't take off without first getting clearance from air traffic control.
Of course, I can tell you the key thing investigators are going to want to be doing now if they aren't already is looking at all available pieces of video to piece together a timeline of how this man was able to do this, get into this plane, and eventually take off.
But when you look at the big picture here, a commercial plane stolen from a major airport in broad daylight, really. It happened 8:00 p.m. local time, but the sun is still up there in Seattle. It really is unbelievable.
[10:20:05] And this is your classic insider threat case. This man had the badges, he had the authority to be in a secure area, and he was able to pull this off. So this is not someone who is unauthorized to be in the secure area of an airport. This person was authorized. So this is one of those classic insider threat cases.
What's more difficult to assess is the person's state of mind, and that's clearly an issue at play here. Authorities say that he was suicidal. That's the sort of thing if the airline is unaware of their employee's state of mind, this is how something like this can happen. So you would have to think that one of the issues they're looking at is wellness checks. Also did they miss something. Did his co-workers miss something in the days leading up to this. But really there are a lot of outstanding questions that still need to be answered. Just how was he able to get the plane from the secure ramp to actually take off.
PAUL: All right, Rene Marsh, thank you so much for bringing us the latest. Appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: And we have been talking with CNN military analysts all morning on this. Colonel Cedric Leighton said this is a test of the system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What we have here is a test of the system that we have for air defense in this country, and the fact that the F-15s from 142nd fighter wing at Portland in the Oregon National Guard unit came so quickly shows that at least that part of the system is working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona says this also reveals a lot about the system and what needs to be fixed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They're going to have to come up with specific guidelines for each airport. The problem is once somebody does this, he puts a lot of people at risk. One guy gets in one airplane, he takes off in a crowded metropolitan area, and look what happens. Not only does it tie up the air traffic system, but who knew, no one knew what his intentions were. He could have easily turned north and gone to downtown Seattle. He could have caused countless deaths on the ground. So this is a real vulnerability they have to address.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And this just in, indicted New York Congressman Chris Collins announcing this morning he is suspending his campaign for re-election. He wrote this. "I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of New York 27, the Republican Party, and President Trump's agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress."
BLACKWELL: Collins has maintained he is not guilty of the insider trading charges brought against him earlier this week by the Justice Department, but in the interim we know that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has removed him from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and now we know that he will not be running for re-election. Just watching here to see if there are more updates coming in reaction to Congressman Collins' announcement.
Sarah Westwood is in New Jersey where the president is. We're going to go to here in just a little bit, see if the president is going to react to this and get the latest from her as well in just a bit.
BLACKWELL: Coming up, a new Spike Lee movie explains how a black police officer in Colorado Springs was able to infiltrate the KKK back in the 1970s. The man who inspired the film joins us next.
[10:27:52] PAUL: There are multiple events planned in Charlottesville, Virginia, today to mark one year since the unite the right rally where white nationalists launched violent protests on University of Virginia school lawn in downtown Charlottesville. Susan Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer. Heyer died last year in those protests, and Heather's mother Susan is speaking out about losing her daughter. And I talked with her about the state of race relations in this country, about her message for unity, and a message for President Trump. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: I always have three pieces of advice for Trump and for anybody, same advice I gave to fourth graders, same advice I give to myself. Think before you speak, always tell the truth, and be accountable for your actions. But the problems didn't begin with Trump and they're not going to end with Trump. We have to acknowledge that and look inside ourselves to fix the problem.
PAUL: With everything you've seen this year, with all of the work you've done, all of the people that you've talked to, do you believe that people can truly change?
BRO: I do.
PAUL: And are they willing to?
BRO: I do. I do see individuals change. They're sort of like infants in a way that they're not sure where to put that foot, where to step. And I'm trying to coach people, trying to encourage people, trying to teach people to think in the immediate, think in the practical, think of direct action. Don't have such lofty ideas that you never act on them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Tomorrow, by the way, Susan told me she's going to visit the spot where her daughter Heather died on fourth street at the time that her daughter died to lay flowers there in her honor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Ron Stallworth calling. Who am I speaking with?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is David Duke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, that David Duke?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last time I checked. What can I do you for?
[10:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, since you asked, I hate blacks. I hate Jews, Mexicans and Irish, Italians and Chinese. But my mouth to God's ears, I really hate those black rats and anyone else really that doesn't have pure white Aryan blood running through their veins.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm happy to be talking to a true white American.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless white America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: That's a clip there from director Spike Lee's new film "BlacKkKlansman" which he deliberately released this weekend to mark the passing of one year since the deadly protest in Charlottesville. The movie is set in the early 1970s. It is based on a true story of an African-American police officer in Colorado Springs who infiltrated the KKK along with his white partner. The man who inspired that film and author of "Black Klansman" Ron Stallworth is with us now by phone. Ron, thank you for taking time to be with us.
RON STALLWORTH, AUTHOR, BLACK KLANSMAN (via telephone): My pleasure. Thank you.
PAUL: What was it like to see this on film and to take yourself back to those moments?
STALLWORTH: It was a very -- I have seen it four times now. And I never tire of watching it. It is like an out of body experience. It's very surreal. It's hard to believe that that's my name that's coming out of the mouths of the actors and the events that I lived are being recreated, in some cases almost identical to what happened. It's a very strange experience, very surreal to see this.
PAUL: It is really interesting, too, because we know that tomorrow in Washington David Duke is going to be, grand Klansman in the past, former, is going to be speaking. And I understand it you really gained his trust during your time when you were infiltrating the KKK, and he recently called you. What did he say?
STALLWORTH: We talked for about an hour. It was a week ago tomorrow that he actually called. We talked about an hour. He said different things. He talked about he was very concerned about his image, how he was going to be portrayed in this. And he was basing this on trailers that he had seen. He complained about that. He did tell me he was concerned about it, and he wished he wouldn't be portrayed in that light.
We talked about -- Charlottesville did come up. He insisted he was not a racist or a white supremacist. I called him on that, challenged him. And I pointed out he endorsed Donald Trump, who is a racist. He insisted Donald Trump was not a racist. I pointed out to him that he talked about Donald Trump that has talked about Mexicans as being rapists, murderers, and drug dealers.
PAUL: So Ron, I wanted to ask you -- go ahead. I'm sorry.
STALLWORTH: He basically talked, we talked about a host of issues. And whenever I pinned him down on something, he pivoted to something else.
PAUL: OK, I know that the president tweeted just in the last hour. I want to read this to you. I don't know if you've seen it yet. But he tweeted "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to all Americans." On the eve of Charlottesville one year ago today after your conversations with David Duke, after what you've seen from President Trump, how do you take that tweet, those words from the president this past hour?
STALLWORTH: I think they're very hollow, very empty, not very meaningful. It took him I believe two days, one or two days before he finally said something negative about the accident that took place in Charlottesville, and in the same breath he started defending the white supremacists that were yelling Jews will not replace us. And then this quote you gave me comes a year later where he is finally saying what he should have said immediately in the aftermath of what happened to Miss Heyer.
PAUL: Ron Stallworth, the film is "BlacKkKlansman," and it is based on his life. Ron, thank you so much for taking time to be with us. Best of luck to you.
STALLWORTH: My pleasure. Thank you.
[10:35:03] BLACKWELL: Breaking news, Representative Chris Collins has just suspended his re-election campaign among insider trading charges. Our Sarah Westwood has the story. We'll be back with Sarah in just a moment.
PAUL: Breaking news this hour, indicted New York Congressman Chris Collins announcing just this morning that he's suspending his campaign for re-election.
BLACKWELL: He says he is taking this step in order to help President Trump keep Democrats from taking back the House.
[10:40:02] For more on this now, let's go to CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood. She's live from New Jersey near the president's golf club. Sarah, has the White House responded? We know this is just a few minutes old.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: No, Victor, and the White House has really tried to keep its distance from Congressman Chris Collins since he was indicted on charges of insider trading earlier this week related to his investments in an Australian biotech company. Congressman Collins had said just hours after he was arrested that he planned to remain on the ballot and fight for his re-election, but appears to have had a change of heart in between then, and today when he issued a statement saying in part "I will fill out the remaining few months of my term to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump's agenda. I will continue to fight meritless charges brought against me, and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing."
We should note that Collins was the first elected member of Congress to endorse President Trump in 2016. He gave Trump legitimacy at a time when much of the Republican Party was still resisting him, so this is a blow to President Trump who has remained close with Collins in months since he was elected. Victor?
PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, we appreciate it. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: From today's Charlottesville rally to the ongoing debate over Confederate monuments in public spaces, any discussion of race in America can be contentious. According to Southern Poverty Law Center report called who's heritage, 113 Confederate symbols have been removed since the massacre of nine African-American church goers in Charleston, but more than 1,700 remain in place. Our next guest has a unique perspective on the continued presence of these monuments. Joining me now is Christy Coleman, the CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond. It's so good to have you this morning.
CHRISTY COLEMAN, CEO, AMERICAN CIVIL WAR MUSEUM: Thank you for the invitation.
BLACKWELL: So a quick note to the control room, prepare that soundbite from the President in Phoenix in August of 2017, I will go to a question on that in a moment. But first, let me ask you, Richmond is just about I guess an hour's drive from Charlottesville. And this morning we have been asking people who were there at the time what they've learned, what has been solved in the years since. Do you have an answer to that question?
COLEMAN: Well, I think more than anything else communities around the country have been having conversations about what these statues mean for them. There's no question that the public landscape is one that communities built, and therefore I think as communities evolve, they have the right to question whether or not the symbols on that landscape continue to reflect the values of that community. That's what we're seeing happening in Charlottesville.
BLACKWELL: So control room, let's now play that sound bite. This is President Trump speaking at a rally about 10 days after what we saw in Charlottesville. Again, remember, Friday night we saw hundreds of white supremacists and neo-Nazis rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, and Saturday was the melee. Here's what President Trump said 10 days after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions. And yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Our heritage. What do you make of the president's framing of the monuments as our heritage?
COLEMAN: Well, it is definitely a term that I've heard multiple times. And the problem with it is in a way they're right. It is a heritage to an ideology that is really not based in historical fact. That's the problem. Most of these monuments were in fact placed in the Jim Crow era, and they are reflective of reassertion of white supremacy.
And we certainly acknowledge that people wanted to somehow memorialize their heroes of the Confederacy, but you have to step back and really have an honest conversation I think about the motivations that were going on with those. And the fact that you cannot truly divorce those sentiments, those racist sentiments from them, as much as people would like to do that, you really can't separate those ideas from those monuments. And quite frankly I think not only at the time that they're going up, principally between 1890 and 1920s, but the fact that they're used even today to assert certain values, I don't think that that's a mistake.
[10:45:00] And what concerns me often is the conversation that I hear people say, well, this really is about our heritage and not hate. And we really don't like our symbols being used this way. Well, the fact is these symbols were used throughout the 20th century with little, with no one, frankly, standing up to say don't use our symbols this way. That didn't happen. In fact, it was embraced. And so the fact that we are seeing this resurgence is not a surprise either.
BLACKWELL: Finally, let me ask about you, a woman, an African- American woman in specific, the CEO of the American Civil War museum, a context we often don't often hear from, or perspective, I should say, in discussion of the Confederacy and the Civil War. How do you expect or hope that your personal biography, your profile will inform how you teach the history of the Confederacy and the Civil War?
COLEMAN: First of all, the American Civil War isn't just about the Confederacy. I think that is the biggest problem. I served in this role now for 10 years, and if anything I think my presence represents that the American Civil War is America's story, and it is a diverse story, and it is a powerful story, and it engages people of varying backgrounds ethnically and religiously that were involved in whether or not our nation, our republic would stand against this crisis and whether or not we would stand and become a nation of free people, of all free people, not just white free people. And so my presence I think has helped to put a face to that idea that our institution has been wedded to and committed to from the beginning.
BLACKWELL: Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, thank you so much for being with us this morning.
COLEMAN: Thank you for the invitation.
BLACKWELL: Let's put the president's tweet back up this morning. This was his tweet about Charlottesville. "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to all Americans."
This is the president's statement this morning. We should put this into context and who is sending this out. This from the president who said that Haitians, all Haitians have AIDS. This from the president who said that Nigerians will never go back to their huts when they come and see America. This from the president that said African countries are shitholes. This from the president who called during the campaign for a ban of non-American Muslims coming into the country. This from the man that went after the Central Park Five for years after they were exonerated. This from the president who promulgated the birthism lie about Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, when he knew that President Obama was born in the United States. This also from the president who said Mexicans are bringing crime, they're bringing guns, they're rapists. Some I assume are good people. This from the candidate who said on this very network that he knew nothing about Grand Wizard David Duke when he was on tape years prior denouncing David Duke specifically but didn't do so during the campaign.
This also from the president who on time after time after Charlottesville said there are fine people on both sides, as you heard there speaking about our heritage of Confederate monuments.
So when you see the president here talk about he is condemning all types of racism, remember his record over his presidency and the campaign and even before that.
We'll take a break. We'll be right back.
[10:53:15] BLACKWELL: Let's take you to Pennsylvania now and some shocking video. It shows an ordinary traffic stop turn into a shooting spree that left two officers seriously injured.
PAUL: This is an incident that happened last year, actually. The video has now just been made public. But you're going to see the man in the car, Daniel Clary, initially coordinating, and then resisting being handcuffed.
BLACKWELL: The officer then tasers him and pulls a gun on him. Watch.
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PAUL: So they tased him, he pulled a gun on them. He was later convicted for attempted murder.
BLACKWELL: One of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam is the historic city of Huyen. That's where you'll find this week's CNN hero.
PAUL: He trains at risk young adults for culinary and hospitality careers. Meet Neal Bermas.
NEAL BERMAS, CNN HERO: We developed this oodles of noodles. It is not quite a tour, it's not quite a cooking class, it's not quite a demonstration.
[10:55:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We show the guests how to make a noodle.
BERMAS: They're practicing their English and they're developing their confidence, and they're table side with guests, and they're tasting and having fun. And this is very, very uplifting experience.
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BLACKWELL: Every student in Neal's program has found a job after graduation. Great news. You can see their story at CNNHeroes.com.
PAUL: Listen, we just want to make sure that you know how much we appreciate you hanging with us in the morning. We hope you make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: There is much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom.
PAUL: And stay tuned tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Just so you know, a new episode of "The 2000s," yes, we can. Explore the wild ride of the 2008 presidential election that included a junior senator from Illinois, of course, Barack Obama.