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Actor Chadwick Boseman Passes Away; President Trump Comments on Police Shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin; Former NBA Player Craig Hodges Interviewed on Current Players' Activism; Attendees of President Trump Rally in New Hampshire Do Not Social Distance or Wear Masks; Case Reported of American Contracting COVID-19 Twice; President Trump Condemns Violence Related to Protests; Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden May Campaign at Live Events after Labor Day. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 29, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: This morning we are remembering Chadwick Boseman. He's played some giants on screen, including a superhero. We'll tell you how his roles left their mark on a generation of movie fans.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And a man in Las Vegas may be the first patient in the U.S. to have contracted coronavirus twice. What this means in the fight to control the pandemic.
BLACKWELL: And President Trump makes his first comments about the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking into it very strongly. I'll be getting reports, and I'll certainly let you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: We are so grateful for your company, as always. It is Saturday, August 29th. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
And we're starting this morning with Kenosha's police union and an attorney for the family of Jacob Blake. They're describing very different versions of what they say led to Blake's shooting.
PAUL: Shimon Prokupecz is with us from Kenosha right now. So we've seen the video of the moments before the shooting. There is no agreement as far as we can tell on what that video actually shows, though. Walk us through this, will you, Shimon?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is no agreement yet. And so we've heard from the union now, the union that represents this officer that was involved in the shooting. The family, though, is not buying that argument. Mr. Blake's family, obviously the moments in that video that we've seen, what led to the attack. They're saying that there has to be an imminent threat. Was there an imminent threat. They don't see it. That is according to the family attorney. And just a warning that the video you're about to see you may find disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hey, hey, ho, ho, these racist cops have got to go.
PROKUPECZ: Thousands march on Washington Friday to bring recognition to those who have become household names.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jacob Blake!
PROKUPECZ: For all the wrong reasons.
LETETRA WIDMAN, JACOB BLAKE JR.'S SISTER: You must stand. You must fight. But not with violence and chaos.
PROKUPECZ: Among those in attendance, the family of Jacob Blake, who is unconscious after being shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha police officer. It all played out on video. Authorities are revealing new details about Blake's past and the circumstances surrounding the shooting that left Blake paralyzed. The sheriff says Blake had a felony warrant for his arrest from July for third degree sexual assault. The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, which is leading the shooting investigation, has said that Blake admitted he had a knife in his possession. And law enforcement agents recovered one from the driver's side floorboard of his vehicle.
The Kenosha Professional Police Association saying that he confronted officers, put an officer in a headlock, and carried a knife that he refused to drop when ordered to by police, the union said, moments before being shot in the back.
For Blake's attorneys, the police union's narrative is merely a tactic to justify the officer's actions.
B'IVORY LAMARR, BLAKE FAMILY ATTORNEY: I think that it is the common strategy that police departments use in these types of circumstances. It's always trying to justify murder from misdemeanors. Arguably, even if Jacob did resist an officer or obstruct an officer, let's just say if that was true. The penalty in Wisconsin, as we understand it, is up to nine months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. But we commonly see in these types of police brutality cases they try to justify their actions.
And I think it's very clear. I think that the world watched that same 20-second video. They can clearly see, like my co-counsel, Patrick, mentioned that Jacob never posed an imminent threat, and their actions are completely unjustified and are excessive. PROKUPECZ: It's why the sheriff's office says Blake would have woken
up shackled to his hospital bed, a move the family has called cruel, and the sheriff called protocol. The handcuffs that restrained Blake while in the hospital have been removed, and the criminal warrant that authorities used to explain the restriction has been vacated, his attorneys told CNN.
Blake's shooting led to days of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Tuesday night, two were killed and one wounded on the back end of demonstrations. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17-years-old, in custody for the shootings after allegedly shooting and killing the first person, 36- year-old Joseph Rosenbaum.
Another male approaches, and the defendant turns and begins to run away from the scene. As the defendant is running away, he can be heard saying on the phone, quote, "I just killed somebody," according to the criminal complaint. Rittenhouse now faces six charges, including first degree intentional homicide, first degree reckless homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. His attorneys say he was acting in self-defense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just shot him.
JACOB BLAKE SR. FATHER OF JACOB BLAKE JR.: That 17-year-old Caucasian shot and killed two people and blew another man's arm off on his way back to Antioch, Illinois. He got to go home. He got water. They gave that guy water and a high-five. My son got ICU and paralyzed from the waist down. Those are the two justice systems right in front of you. You can compare themselves yourself.
PROKUPECZ: As for the officer who shot Jacob Blake, Officer Rusten Sheskey, that investigation continues.
MAYOR JOHN ANTARAMIAN (D-WI), KENOSHA: I believe that the attorney general is a good guy, and he will do the right thing. And so I believe that we will get a fair analysis from him as to the investigation. I have every hope and faith in him that that will occur.
PROKUPECZ: And back here in Kenosha today, more marches. The family intends to gather again here and bring people together and march to continue to demand justice, continue to demand answers from the police, who at this point, we're seven days from the day of this shooting, have not provided full details on exactly what happened. Back to you guys.
BLACKWELL: Shimon Prokupecz for us there. Shimon, thank you.
President Trump is now talking about the shooting of Jacob Blake after failing to address it during the Republican National Convention. The president was asked about the shooting after a rally yesterday in New Hampshire. He did not say whether he thought the shooting was justified.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm looking into it very strongly. I'll be getting reports, and I'll certainly let you know pretty soon. But I'll be -- it was not a good sight. I didn't like the sight of it certainly. And I think most people would agree with that. But we'll be getting reports in very soon, and we'll report back then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So the NBA playoffs are expected to resume today after a three- day strike in protest to the Blake shooting. And the NBA and its players are forming a social justice coalition that will focus on several issues, including increasing access to voting, advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform. I want to bring Craig Hodges, a retired NBA player and social activist into this conversation now. Mr. Hodges, so good to have you with us, sir.
CRAIG HODGES, FORMER CHICAGO BULLS PLAYER: Good morning. How is everybody doing?
PAUL: Just well, thank you. And you?
HODGES: I'm doing fine, thank you, during this craziness, this crazy time.
PAUL: I know. And I want to give people a sense of you, because there's this great headline, I think it was in "The Chicago Sun Times" that says before Colin Kaepernick there was Craig Hodges. So if people don't know your background as an activist, certainly this one line I feel like really puts it in some modern perspective. I wanted to ask you, I know in 1991 in the playoffs there in Chicago you talked to both Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, and you asked them about boycotting the finals. And you said they looked at you like you were crazy. What does it feel like now to see the NBA, the WNBA, the MLB, everybody come together and boycott?
HODGES: It's a beautiful thing. And as far as everybody realizing that this day and time we all have a part to play in the solution. And to see the human brothers and sisters who have stood up on the courageous point, to stand and show they feel the pain and suffering that has gone on for generations. And now I think more than any other time in our history of the planet, actually, that people from other nations and other ethnic groups are seeing the oppression that has happened over the years. And now everybody is standing up, justifiably so, and want to see the young brothers and sisters do their thing. It's beautiful, man, because it's all part and parcel of a fabric and culture that started a long time ago. For me, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, those are my heroes. And I'm the baby of the movement. So it's just a matter of us continuing to strive and move forward in order for this generation to have a chance. PAUL: And I understand you credit social media for part of this
movement right now. What is your hope in that?
HODGES: I think the cool part about it is that in 1991 and myself and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in the late 90s, we were standing on principles.
And those principles were somewhat looked upon and frowned upon, where now, with social media being what it is, players as well as people in general, you have an instantaneous following, people can join the bandwagon and support you. And I think that's the biggest thing that I love that happened with Colin is that he had the support of not only America but he had people all over the world who could chime in and show that his stance that he took was right.
PAUL: After that 1991 playoff season, you went to the White House and you wrote George H.W. Bush a letter. And I want to read part of that. You wrote, "The purpose of this notice is to speak for poor people, Native Americans, homeless, and most specifically African-Americans who are not able to come to this great edifice. This letter isn't begging the government for anything. But 300 years of free labor has left the African-American community destroyed." If you could go to the White House today, if you could hand a letter to President Trump, what would you say?
HODGES: Well, obviously everybody can see it. Everybody can see injustice being handed out. Everybody can see the police brutality that is actually an extension of the genocidal experiment that is the American experiment. So for me, it's one of those things that it's not even -- go to the White House at this point. I think some battles have already been played in front of us. We made the move. We had to during that period of time.
But right now I feel like it's a spiritual thing going in that the spiritual part that we have to back up and let it play out to a certain degree. But at the same time, wherever we see injustice, we have to speak up on it. And that's the principles that I was raised on as a baby of the movement in the 60s. And now things are coming full circle. So I feel like 1990 when I asked Michael and Magic to stand up, and to see now the evolution of Michael being able to do what he's doing is cool, but at the same time, we need to be on the front lines with our people. And I think that's the beautiful part of what I see with the NBA is that they're taking an active leadership role at a point in our history when we need them to. So I applaud them wholeheartedly.
PAUL: Craig Hodges, it's been an honor to talk to you, sir. Thank you so much.
HODGES: Appreciate you. God bless you.
PAUL: You as well.
BLACKWELL: Still to come, he brought us so many films we've come to love so much. The world is now mourning the loss of the Marvel superhero Chadwick Boseman, played King T'Challa. Tributes are coming in this morning. We'll have those ahead.
PAUL: And later, defying state laws on social distancing, hundreds of President Trump's supporters are gathered in New Hampshire. They were there for a rally last night. Here is what happened when they were asked to wear masks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, in accordance with New Hampshire executive order 63, please wear your masks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So people across the world are mourning the death of actor Chadwick Boseman. He died yesterday after a battle with colon cancer that went on for four years.
PAUL: According to a statement posted on his Twitter account, he died at home. He was with his family and his wife. They were by his side. He was just 43 years old. Here is CNN's Stephanie Elam.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From James Brown in "Get on Up" to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Chadwick Boseman rose to fame playing American icons. He died on the day baseball celebrated one of them, Jackie Robinson, who Boseman embodied in his 2013 breakout film "42."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll give you the guts.
ELAM: But it was his portrayal of African superhero King T'Challa in "Black Panther".
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't freeze.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never freeze.
ELAM: That made Chadwick Boseman a household name.
CHADWICK BOSEMAN, ACTOR: I knew it was an opportunity to pull from real things. So if anybody believes that Africa didn't have an empire, didn't have architecture, didn't have art, didn't have science, you see it in this movie.
ELAM: The action-packed blockbuster clawed away more than $1.3 billion at the box office worldwide, becoming a cultural phenomenon, and proving that a predominantly black cast could draw audiences. In 2019, "Black Panther" became the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards. The film also won best ensemble cast at the SAG Awards. Boseman accepted the award on behalf of the cast, speaking to the historic win and why it meant so much.
BOSEMAN: You have equal, if not more talent at times. But you don't have the same opportunities. You don't necessarily have the same doors open to you, the same nepotism, the same money or resources that could be put towards your dreams.
ELAM: Raised in Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman moved to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2000.
ELAM: While at Howard, he studied under acclaimed actress Phylicia Rashad, who urged Boseman to pursue acting and helped him attend the British American Drama Academy in London. He later moved to New York to work in theater before heading to Los Angeles and a career on screen. In 2018, he returned to his alma mater, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate before giving the commencement speech.
BOSEMAN: I stand here today knowing that my Howard University education prepared me to play Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and T'Challa.
ELAM: Boseman played the role of T'Challa in four Marvel movies, all while battling a major illness. After his death, it was revealed what few knew. In 2016 Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. It eventually progressed to stage four. Remarkably, he continued filming, starring in several other movies, including Spike Lee's "The Five Bloods."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been dying for this country from the very get-go.
ELAM: He also produced and starred in "21 Bridges."
BOSEMAN: Every character changed. And because I was instrumental in pinpointing what those things were, it was clear that I was going to be more than an actor on this film.
ELAM: A post on his social media reads in part, "All were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in "Black Panther." Boseman leaves behind his wife, singer Taylor Simone Ledward. Chadwick Boseman was 43 years old.
PAUL: There are so many tributes, too, that are just coming in over the passing of Chadwick Boseman. I want to read a couple of them to you. Marvel Studios, in fact, tweeted "Our hearts are broken, and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman's family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest in peace."
BLACKWELL: Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington said that he was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short, yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman.
PAUL: We spoke with pop culture commentator Lola Ogunnaike about what she saw in Boseman when she interviewed him six years ago before the James Brown biopic.
BLACKWELL: This is part of the conversation.
LOLA OGUNNAIKE: I was so taken with his commitment to the craft. There are some actors who get into this for the limelight, for the fame. But he was genuinely interested in the art and in the craft. He was a tremendously hard worker. To inhabit the role of James Brown, he worked tirelessly, and he was in dance classes and choreography for six to seven hours a day for months. It was so important for him to not only nail the essence of James Brown, but to play him convincingly. And he was known for his work ethic.
I interviewed Josh Gad who worked with him closely on "Marshall," and he just raved about him. He had tremendous reverence for him as a person and as an actor. He spoke again about his commitment to his craft, his willingness to go above and beyond for the work, and he spoke about his gentle soul and his love for humanity and his love for the work.
BLACKWELL: Yes. That role as James Brown, that could easily have become a caricature, but he played with it such nuance and sensitivity that it was a beautiful performance. You talked about his commitment to the work, what we learned from this statement is that over the four years that he was struggling with stage three and then stage four colon cancer, he was working and putting out some great products, great performances during that time.
OGUNNAIKE: If you think about it, in the face of his own mortality, in a literal fight for his life, he was portraying one of the most memorable and iconic characters in Hollywood history. He was playing a superhero. And this role not only inspired an entire generation of movie viewers, it gave us an ability to dream about what a future, of a utopic future could look like for black people. And so many of the characters, whether he was playing Jackie Robinson or James Brown or Thurgood Marshall, he reminded us the dignity of our past. But through T'Challa and this role in "Black Panther," he also gave us an opportunity to dream of a magical future.
PAUL: And certainly, our condolences to his family.
So we've had a lot of questions about coronavirus and what it means. Well, listen to what doctors discovered now, a possible case of COVID- 19 reinfection here in the U.S. What doctors are staying about this. Stay close.
BLACKWELL: Today President Trump will head down to Louisiana and Texas to see the damage caused by hurricane Laura this week.
PAUL: Last night he rallied with more than 1,000 supporters at a campaign event in New Hampshire. Not a lot of people wearing masks. No social distancing, as you can see. CNN's Sarah Westwood is with us from the White House. What is the White House saying about it, Sarah? And good morning.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi. And yes, the images of the campaign rally last night show bustling crowds. People standing close together, not wearing their face coverings, all things that public health experts are warning against.
Now, our team on the ground there reported that there was about 1,400 chairs set up for people attending the event in the airplane hangar in New Hampshire, and the chairs were not spaced apart. People were advised to go and sit in them upon their arrival at the venue, but again, our team reported many did not. They stood around, mingled, not staying six feet apart.
And the vast majority of people in the crowd, as you can see, were not wearing masks, even though guests were given masks upon arrival if they did not already have one. Many of them had removed them. And in fact, the crowd was not receptive to a reminder over the loudspeaker that it is a regulation that they have to wear the face covering there in public. That reminder elicited boos from that crowd.
This could be a template that we see repeated over the next several weeks heading into Election Day. The president's campaign intends to have the president out on the road at least a few times a week campaigning in these battleground states. And these are the types of events we're likely to see, especially at these airplane hangars. It's easy for the president to get in and out, just walks off Air Force One over to the podium. And it's outdoors. That's something public health experts recommend.
And Vice President Joe Biden, though, could draw a really stark contrast in the way he intends to get back on the campaign trail. The campaign is signaling that could happen after Labor Day, but Biden's camp is saying if they do so, it will be in compliance with all state and local ordinances. It is likely to be very different images from Biden's coming campaign events, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood from the White House, thank you, Sarah.
PAUL: Thank you, Sarah.
A 25-year-old man in Nevada may be the first person in the United States documented to have been infected with the coronavirus twice.
BLACKWELL: So this study is from a Nevada research team. It's not yet been peer reviewed by a journal, but the researchers say the findings suggest that people can catch COVID-19 more than once.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is following this from New York. Nobody wants to hear this, but Polo, what more do we know about this?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, nobody wants to hear this, especially five days after Hong Kong authorities reported their first global case of COVID reinfection. And now, as you point out, we appear to have the first here in the U.S. A Nevada 25-year-old man testing positive in late April. He was treated, recovered, and then he tested positive again in late May. So what does this mean, even though this research has not yet been peer reviewed? Researchers did note that these findings not only suggest that reinfection is possible but also that there may be implications for the efficiency of any future vaccines, and that we still don't know exactly how much immunity can be built up or exactly for how long.
SANDOVAL: It's another grim warning, a prediction by a model previously cited by the White House of a coronavirus death toll of more than 317,000 by December. Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington said 67,000 lives could be saved, however, if 95 percent of Americans wore masks in public. And the doctor thinks even more people could avoid dying from the coronavirus.
DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: We could save 90,000 American lives if 95 percent of people wore masks by the end of this year. That's just such a huge number of American lives that could be saved.
SANDOVAL: This week, amid the ongoing pandemic, crowds gathered on the White House South Lawn in support of the president, and on the National Mall in support of equal rights. Some wearing masks but little to no social distancing at these events.
WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: The White House scene was a very dangerous scene. It is a super spreader kind of a case. You know that some of those people were unknowingly infected. They'll be infecting others. And two weeks from now we're going to see the result.
SANDOVAL: On Friday, a Health and Human Services official expressed optimism about a future COVID-19 vaccine, saying efforts are, quote, "absolutely on track," and we could see four possible vaccines in phase three clinical trials by next month. Many experts say it will be next year before a vaccine is readily available. Whenever that might be, the nation's pharmacists will be able to administer the vaccines, says the head of the CDC, Robert Redfield.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on the CDC to reverse its recent guidelines, advising that testing may not be necessary for asymptomatic people who have come in contact with COVID- 19 patients. It's a "dangerous step backwards" wrote the organization. And in Louisiana, COVID concerns are on the mind of the state's governor who fears this week's hurricane may have drastically interrupted testing efforts.
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): As we move people, as we shelter people, as we rescue people, we have to be very, very mindful of this, otherwise in a couple weeks we're going to really pay the price here with more cases in hospitalizations and unfortunately more deaths than we would otherwise experience.
SANDOVAL: Large gatherings are being blamed for increase infections at Texas Christian University, more than 400 cases and counting on that Fort Worth campus. A letter from one university official reading, "We literally cannot keep up."
SANDOVAL: Bringing it back here to New York where the major said that schools are still on track to start in-person teaching on September 10th, and only about 30 minutes ago the doors to famous Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened again for the first time in six months. Of course, this will come with restrictions, Victor and Christi. You have 25 percent capacity. Of course, masks will be required as well as reserved entries as well.
So it's going to be a very different kind of day at the museum, but nonetheless, after six months of uncertainty, isolation, six months of grief for New Yorkers, at least one more sign of normalcy.
PAUL: And we'll take what we can get I think at this point. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
SANDOVAL: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Here's a question. Does the president's bet, his expectation that the unrest that's happening in Kenosha and Portland and other parts of the country will play into his campaign strategy? Does it make sense to you? Do you expect it will? We're going to discuss that with Republican strategist Alice Stewart and Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman next.
BLACKWELL: So over the past several months thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds even, have protested racial injustice across the country. The latest protests are in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As we get closer to the general election, some Democrats are worried that the protests will play into the president's strategy.
Joining me now to discuss, Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, and Robert Zimmerman, Democratic strategist and member of the Democratic National Committee. Good morning to both of you. Welcome back, Robert. It's been a while. ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure has. Good to see you.
BLACKWELL: Welcome back, Alice, but it hasn't been that long, just last week. Good to see you.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning. Yes.
BLACKWELL: So let me start with you, Robert. What do you think? The president's campaign is at least expecting, or betting that what people are seeing in cities across the country will help his campaign. Do you agree?
ZIMMERMAN: No. Let's be very clear about this, Victor. Donald Trump is as qualified to talk about law and order as Jerry Falwell Jr. is to talk about family values. This president, Donald Trump has pursued a strategy during this entire tragic crisis to exploit divisions in our country and encourage violence, whether it's his racist tweets that he put out, whether it's his defense of the Confederate flag, or for that matter defending right wing groups that are labeled as potential domestic terror threats like QAnon, saying that they seem to love our country because they seem to like him.
He is engaged in a strategy dividing our country, and, in fact, fanning the flames of violence. And the American people aren't going to have it. They're not going to accept that because they know the message of unity and healing and addressing systemic issues of injustice and racism in our country is long past due.
STEWART: Victor, look, we can all agree that we do need to address racial tensions in this country. But it's a sad day when we have Democrats that are more concerned about the president's political fallout of this as opposed to the actual lawlessness and looting and violence and fires going on in this city. That is the absolute most absurd way to go about looking at this.
And for Robert to say that the president has condoned this, that's crazy. He has authored to put federal troops in these cities that need it to protect federal buildings, which is exactly the role of these federal officials, while we have Democrat-led cities and Democrat-led states that allowed this --
BLACKWELL: Wait a minute, Alice. Hold on. Wait a minute, Alice. Alice.
STEWART: -- violence and lawlessness to go on for weeks and months. And that's absolutely true.
ZIMMERMAN: Alice, that's just not accurate.
BLACKWELL: Hold on, Robert. Robert, I know that she mischaracterized, I'll let you come back because I didn't hear you say what she said. I'll let you respond. But if you say that it is absurd to politicize what's happening in the cities, and then come back and call them Democrat-run, aren't you doing that same thing?
STEWART: No. What I'm actually pointing out is the actual fact is that these towns that have allowed this lawless to go on are led by Democrats.
BLACKWELL: Yes, but aren't most big cities led by Democrats? Eight of the top 10, 24 of the top 30 are led by Democrats. That's the nature of American cities, at least at this iteration of history. Let me play this. I want to hear what the president said in 2016 about violence in cities and what he promised, and now what he's saying in 2020, each time accepting the nomination of his party. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police. When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.
In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson, and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities, all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: If there's rioting and looting and anarchy and arson and violence, Alice, isn't he pointing out his own failure, his own broken promise from four years ago?
STEWART: Victor, he's the one that's trying to do everything he can to stop it. He's the one that's sending federal troops in there to stop it.
ZIMMERMAN: First of all, he's not sending federal troops in, Alice.
BLACKWELL: Hold on, Alice.
STEWART: He has offered to send them. And then when he did, there was uproar about the fact that they were inciting violence. Look, the people out there engaging in this lawlessness are grown-up adults. And for anyone to say that the federal troops on the ground there incited violence is absurd. They need to be responsible for their own actions, and Democrats need to call them out on it and say enough is enough.
BLACKWELL: Robert, Robert --
STEWART: Peaceful protests are fine. Lawlessness is not.
BLACKWELL: Robert, go.
ZIMMERMAN: Nothing is more dangerous than playing politics with the violence and divisions we're seeing in our cities. And it's very unfortunate, Alice, that you and the Republicans talk about Democrat- led cities, but don't talk about the Republican-led cities where there's violence and uprising, whether it's Omaha, Miami, Jacksonville, San Diego that have Republican mayors. This is a time that we have to come together as a country and rise
above partisan politics. No one defends looting and violence. But only Donald Trump is encouraging division and violence in our country through his conduct, through his racist tweets, through his divisive rhetoric. The very fact that he still to this day tries to make this a partisan issue. And I give Joe Biden, I give Joe Biden a great deal of credit, because he's talking about unity and healing.
And I must say, Jacob Blake's parents, going through an unspeakable tragedy that they're confronting, are calling for unity, calling for coming together and for healing. Donald Trump hasn't done that, and he is the president of the United States.
STEWART: I agree, Robert --
BLACKWELL: I need to move on to another topic. I need to move on to another topic. I want to talk about Joe Biden now deciding that after Labor Day he's going to get back out and hold campaign events.
Listen, we heard from him in the ABC News interview with David Muir that he's going to listen to the scientists say, whatever the scientists say. And if they say it would be best to shut the country down, he would shut it down. He said he would stay at home and campaign. Why is he now going out? Is there something about the pandemic that the rest of us don't see that he thinks it's good to start having these events that he derided the president for hosting?
STEWART: Victor, I think it's clear --
BLACKWELL: No, this is for Robert.
ZIMMERMAN: OK, Victor, let's be very clear. He's also said everything he will do, all his political activity will be done in a safe and respectful way that protects social distancing, requires masks to be worn. And I think it's very telling that you saw Donald Trump, not just break the law by having his Republican Convention at the White House, but the fact that he engages in these super spreader events that put thousands of people at risk, whether it's in New Hampshire, whether it was at his own convention that he held at the White House. He's pursuing a strategy of ignoring science, ignoring public safety. Just yesterday, there were 40,000 more cases in our country.
BLACKWELL: Robert, let me bring you back to the question, Robert, because this question is about Joe Biden and his decision to now hold events, because he could have held these events that were socially distant, people wore masks, up to this point and he hasn't. Is there is a fear of a vulnerability that puts him back out after Labor Day?
ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely not. And in fact, if you look the way his campaign is going so far, he's actually doing pretty well. And I think the point is he's going to be campaigning. His team has already announced that. And they're going to be going to states, they've already stated. But they're going to respect social distancing. They're going to respect the public safety standards that our own federal government has outlined. And that's a very sharp difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump who puts his own supporters at risk just for a photo-op and for an event.
BLACKWELL: Alice, let me put your tweet up, and I want you to respond to that. This was your tweet on the night of -- the fourth night of the convention, where it says "The stage is set. What a beautiful night." There at the White House, which is breaking precedent, norms that we've never seen this from an American president. And 1,400, 1,500 people slammed shoulder to shoulder, most without masks. What's so beautiful about this?
STEWART: Where do I begin? The beautiful fact that people, Trump supporters, just like people on the mall in Washington yesterday have the right to freedom of assembly. And if they want to come out and watch this president speak, they have the right to do so. And I'm glad that they did.
And to Robert's point, it is not a criminal act to do this. Hatch Act does not apply to the president and the vice president. And everyone there --
ZIMMERMAN: That's incorrect, Alice. That's incorrect, Alice.
STEWART: I'm not finished yet.
ZIMMERMAN: Let me point out, though.
BLACKWELL: Hold on, Robert. Robert, let her finish. Hold on, Robert. Go ahead.
STEWART: Look, none of those people were forced to go there. None of those people were forced to stay there when they got there. All of those people wanted to be there, just like last night in New Hampshire. And if they want to go out there and wear a mask, they are certainly encouraged to do so. But I trust the American people and Trump supporters to make right decisions not only for their health but what they think is important for the politics --
ZIMMERMAN: Presidents lead by example, Alice. Presidents lead by example.
STEWART: -- the reason that Joe Biden is now going out there --
BLACKWELL: Robert, hold on, please. And Alice, can you quickly wrap it up.
STEWART: Joe Biden's basement strategy has backfired. That's why we're seeing him out on the road.
BLACKWELL: Robert, 15 seconds, and I've got to go.
ZIMMERMAN: OK, let me just be very clear. Presidents lead by example. And when this president, the height of a pandemic, violates his own federal government's health and safety standards and holds events that put the public at risk, he's setting a very dangerous example. Let's remember as we approach Labor Day weekend, we saw spikes of coronavirus after Memorial Day, after July 4th. And the president has said to the nation, we can have these events without social distancing, without masks, and as Mike Pence said, we're going to pray for America. Safety comes first, and miracles are found through hard work and respecting science.
BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it there. Robert Zimmerman, Alice Stewart, always good to have you both.
STEWART: Thank you, Victor.
ZIMMERMAN: Great to be with you.
BLACKWELL: Likewise. We'll be back.
PAUL: St. Jude's children's hospital paid tribute to the legacy of Chadwick Boseman this morning, saying they were deeply saddened by the actor's death.
BLACKWELL: The post on Twitter included photos of Boseman visiting children at the hospital two years ago. And St. Jude also thanked him for bringing not only toys for the patients, but also joy, courage, and inspiration.
PAUL: Again, we are thinking about his family today and all of you fans. We know you loved him so much.
That's it for us, though. We'll see you again tomorrow.
BLACKWELL: And we're going to leave you now this morning with a clip of Chadwick Boseman on Jimmy Fallon. This was back in 2018.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot tell you how much it means to have you step into the role as our king and be holding it with such grace and poise and joy.
CHADWICK BOSEMAN, ACTOR: That was so great. I think we should --
BOSEMAN: Let's get a close up of that. Let's get a close up of that right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means a lot to see a movie that's not like a black movie, but it's just a great American superhero movie with people that look like me. So thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Oh, OK! OK. OK. What's going on, bro.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, for me, as the mother of a young son, my son's childhood has been defined by Barack Obama and now Black Panther, so thank you.
BOSEMAN: Hey, that's way too much praise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no, no.
BOSEMAN: You are gorgeous, gorgeous family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is unexpected.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Wow. What a surprise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)