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As Number of Immigrants Increase, Biden Administration Attempts To Find Sites To Accommodate Children Crossing The U.S.-Mexico Border Alone; President Biden Condemns Recent Rise In Anti-Asian Crimes; Rallies Organized In Atlanta To Protest Violence Against Asian- American Community; CDC Releases New Guidance Reducing Social Distancing Requirement In Schools; New Accusations Leveled At New York Governor Andrew Cuomo For Sexually Inappropriate Behavior By Current Aide; Most Residents In Oklahoma City Say They Will Not Take COVID-19 Vaccine. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 20, 2021 - 14:00   ET



KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But Trump did trick it out, covering every metal surface, from seat belt buckles to doorknobs, even the faucets, in 24 carat gold. Price tag, $250,000 for that alone, according to the interior design who outfitted the entire plane. Seats, the finest leather. Ceiling panels in cream suede, embroidered Trump family crests in gold thread, fabrics flown in from Paris, customized from the master bedroom to the private dining room.

On the campaign trail in 2016, the plane was the ultimate marketing tool, the tangible symbol of Trump's success, promising he could do the same for the country.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I fly on that big plane, I'm paying for it.

BENNETT: Behind the scenes, a gilded expense, and for four years in the White House, with access to Air Force One, the 757 was grounded.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Kate Bennett, thanks for your report.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

This just in to CNN, up to 1,200 migrant children are not expected to arrive at the Dallas Convention Center. The facility has been serving as an emergency intake site for unaccompanied minors who crossed the U.S.-Mexican border. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has been reporting on this, and she is at the Convention Center for us now out of Dallas. Priscilla?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: This Convention Center behind me is being transformed to care for children who cross the U.S./Mexico border alone. It has been outfitted with cots. They are bringing in medical services, case managers, entertainment like games and books, all for these minors who are being moving out of Border Patrol custody.

We learned this week that there were more than 4,500 children in Border Patrol custody. Those are jail-like facilities with concrete benches, concrete walls, where children have had to make do. They have been alternating sleep schedules to rest. Border Patrol agents have been putting bunkbeds in cots to accommodate these kids.

So the administration trying to work around the clock here to start to transfer those kids out of those facilities where they should not be and into temporary sites. So this Convention Center behind me is considered an emergency intake site. Here the minors will come, like you said, we're now expecting up to 1,200 of those minors here where they will work with case managers to be relocated with family in the United States.

WHITFIELD: And then Priscilla, how does this current surge compare to recent years of unaccompanied minors coming to the border?

ALVAREZ: We have seen surges in 2014. We saw it again in 2019 and now. Those surges tended to happen over the summer, and so if past is prologue, the numbers we're seeing now are probably going to increase, and that is a big concern for administration officials. So we saw higher numbers in the summer months of those past years that I mentioned, 2014 and 2019, but this is happening in February. So there is a lot of concern among officials that these numbers are going to continue to trend up.

And even just the Border Patrol custody numbers, that is key. Those are kids that are staying in facilities not intended for them. in 2019 at the peak of that crisis, there were 2,600 kids in Border Patrol custody. Now more than 4,500.

WHITFIELD: All right, significant difference. Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much. Keep us posted there from Dallas.

Now to the investigation into those deadly shootings at Atlanta area spas. CNN has obtained new surveillance video of the moments just before the first attack. It appears to show the shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long park in front of Young's Asian Massage. In total, eight people were killed at three different locations.

Six of the victims were Asian women. Long faces multiple charges related to the murders, but many are now calling on prosecutors to add hate crimes to those criminal complaints. President Joe Biden has not gone that far, but in the visit to Atlanta on Friday, he strongly condemned the anti-Asian racism that has risen over the last year.

CNN's Natasha Chen is in Atlanta for us where protests are under way in response to the shootings. Natasha, what is going on right now?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, right now, you have the two new Georgia senators speaking to the crowd. Raphael Warnock and Ossoff, they actually just walked in not too long ago and the crowd just erupted in applause. There is clearly a lot of support going on here right outside the state capital, people of all backgrounds. And I want to introduce you to a couple of the people who organized

this event. And first of all, Claire Xu, are you local here in Atlanta?


CHEN: So tell me a little bit about how Tuesday's events affected you personally?

XU: Tuesday's event was really heartbreaking for me. Personally, I have a friend who works, owns Asian businesses that are afraid to open their businesses.

My parents are talking about stay at home. And I have an aunt that works in California. She is a spa owner, too, and I just -- we are just really shaken by this tragedy. And it is just too heartbreaking.

CHEN: And Allison Wang is another one of the organizers. Tell me about how this event came to be. And how did you have idea to do this, and how are you reacting to how many people have shown up?

ALLISON WANG, RALLY ORGANIZER: So I think that the more people who have shown up and have supported us all day and people from different diverse backgrounds have really surprised me. This was a last-minute event because of what happened Tuesday. We pulled this event together basically in a matter of days, and it has been really crazy. I still feel like I am living a dream.

I think the heart of this event, we just wanted to have on this platform for Asian Americans to be heard, and for Asian Americans to raise their voices, because we feel like traditionally Asian Americans stay silent. And we want this to be a place where everybody unites to fight for justice.

But we are not here to promote any political or organizational agendas. We are just here as ordinary people from the Atlanta area who want to say something for the community, and that's all it is.

CHEN: And finally, to either of you, what is your feeling about this not yet being officially designated a hate crime, and we don't know if it will be?

XU: I have said earlier when I watched the press conference by police chiefs and Mayor Bottoms, my first reaction was this is not absolutely not acceptable, that they are making excuses for saying that the guy had a bad day, and problems like that. I just really want to see this being designated as a hate crime, as it is.

CHEN: Thank you both so much for speaking with us. And as you can tell, from what both Claire and Allison have said, what others have told me, especially the bad day comment, is really affecting people in the way that they feel that that diminishes the tragedy that these victims experienced, that their families experienced. And so of course, there's a lot still to discover in that investigation. In the meantime, the feelings of the community are strong, and they're very real and very present, Fred. WHITFIELD: Yes, feelings of hurt and outrage all there. Natasha Chen,

thank you so much.

So the shootings come at a time when many Asian Americans are on edge, as violence against members of their community spikes across the country. A report of the organization Stop AAPI Hate says since the start of the COVID pandemic, there have been nearly 3,800 reported hate incidents across the country, and even more were likely unreported.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is in the little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles. So Paul, this tragedy is bringing a lot of attention to racism in this community, across the country.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. And here in Los Angeles County, Fredricka, we have 1.5 million Asian Americans, and that's 1.7 million when you include mixed race people.

And I'm going to bring in David Monkawa, a community activist. As we look behind us, this is the friendship knot, which is to symbolize a cultural coming together peacefully, and yet right now, the Asian American community here in southern California is on edge. But you are fighting back. Tell us about that.

DAVID MONKAWA, SAVE OUR SENIORS AND PROGRESSIVE ASIAN NETWORK FOR ACTION: Yes, some people have to process the grief. It's very, very shocking and very, very horrible. And that's proper and good. Other people want to fight back.

What they want to do is to show white supremacists and anyone else who dares to attack Asian people, and especially the cowardly who attack the elderly Asian people, we want to show them that we will not lie and just take it. We will not curl up. We will hit back. We will defend ourselves.

VERCAMMEN: And also for you, this has been a cyclical phenomenon that you have observed. It seems like even trade wars have whipped up these anti-Asian sentiments.

MONKAWA: Yes. In fact, it is fairly predictable. Every 10 or a dozen years, they accuse Asians or Japanese of unemployment of white autoworkers because there is too many Asian cars being sold, and then it comes out on people like Vincent Chin, who was killed because of the false scapegoating.

Right now, it's the Wuhan virus, and we are being scapegoated for bringing the virus to the United States. So yes, and every time something like this happens, individual Asian violence, against Asians individuals, that is, usually corporate violence or state sanctioned violence is behind it.

VERCAMMEN: And super quickly, I know you have a vigil tonight, we're going to bring attention to an inordinate number of deaths, a record in California, at an Asian nursing home for seniors as well as draw attention to the possible sale of an Asian, a Japanese American nursing home. [14:10:11]

MONKAWA: Thank you so much for mentioning that. Yes, 118 people now have died in K.I. Los Angeles and K.I. South Bay, by far, by far the most in California, mostly Japanese Americans.

VERCAMMEN: I super appreciate that. I appreciate your taking time to give us perspective.

So here on the streets on Los Angeles, yes, there is anxiety among the Asian American community. But by the way, we reached out to those nursing homes for comment. We don't have a crystalline response yet, but reporting live from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.

WHITFIELD: Paul and David, powerful information, thank you so much for that.

Coming up, one woman told police about being the victim of an anti- Asian hate incident, but then says they didn't act until her video went viral. She joins me later.

And big changes coming to schools after the CDC says students can sit closer together in classrooms. Plus, signs of the vaccine hesitancy across the country, I'll talk to a doctor who says he is begging his patients to get the shot.



WHITFIELD: The CDC issuing new guidelines for classroom, updated recommendations for safe social distancing in schools call for just three feet of separate between students rather than six feet under most circumstances. Experts say that the new guidance relies on masking and other measures like testing, contact tracing, and required handwashing to keep kids and teachers safe.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there has been this steady drumbeat of new evidence about what is safe in terms of reopening schools. We heard about a study out of Massachusetts some time ago where they compared school districts that had only been doing three feet of distancing and compared them to school districts with six feet of distancing, and found that there really wasn't a difference in terms of how much the virus was spreading or the impact on hospitalization rates in those counties.

Now there is more evidence from Utah, form Missouri, from Florida about school re-openings. And again, this idea that even with three feet of physical distancing, you should be able to do this safely if, if everyone still continues to be very diligent about masking, if there are evidence of good ventilation in these areas. Remember, as you add more people in the room, you've got to make sure that the ventilation stays good as well.

Now, there is a couple of caveats as well with regard to the overall distancing. You still have to maintain six feet in certain situations according to these CDC guidelines -- between adults and children. Remember, children are not just little adults, so for adults who are going to be interacting with each other or children, it is still six feet. You have got to wear masks, obviously, all of the time.

With middle and high school students, if you are in a high transmission area, then you've got to maintain the six feet unless you can cohort. Let me explain that for a second. Cohorts are basically the same group of students and staff that basically stay together the entire day.

Why are middle and high school students different? Well, the belief is that they are more likely to transmit similar to adults, whereas elementary students are going to transmit at a lower rate. So they want to be a little bit more careful, especially in the areas of the country where there is high viral transmission. In those cases, they are saying middle and high school students need to be a little bit more careful.

Incidentally, let me just show you this map. This is what the country looks like right now in terms of overall virus transmission. Obviously there is a lot of red there still. Those are communities of concern with regarding to viral transmission, and those are the places, even in schools in those areas of middle and high school students are going to have to be a little bit more careful.

But this is an important move. A lot of schools simply have had a difficult time finding the square footage to be able to get six feet of distancing, so this will help a great deal. But, again, you've got to make sure all the other things are checked, make sure the masks are there, also the ventilation.

About 40 percent of the school districts right now need to have some sort of updates, either big updates or small updates to their overall ventilation. So look for continuing emerging science on the reopening schools, and the guidelines that follow.


WHITFIELD: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for that.

Joining me right now to discuss this is Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician and the executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare. Good to see you, Dr. Davidson. So what do you make of this new CDC guidance in classrooms?

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: I think it's great that we have said all along we should follow the science, and as more information rolls in, the current director of the CDC, Dr. Walensky, is now updating the guidelines, and that is exactly how we should respond. It is a very fluid situation with the pandemic.

But I think everything that Dr. Gupta said is important to note. It's not just the distancing. It's wearing masks. It's ventilation. There is a lot of money going out to schools. Hopefully, I know here in Michigan, there is still about $2 billion being held up by the legislature. So we need to make sure that the money that has been allocated is getting to those schools districts so they can do the things they need with ventilation, making sure they have masks, so we can do it safely.

WHITFIELD: And I'd also love your thoughts of this information. CNN has learned through surveys and interviews that many members of Congress still have not been vaccinated despite having had access to the vaccine on Capitol Hill since December. And among those that were surveyed, the majority are Republicans who have chosen not to get vaccinated. What are your thoughts?

DAVIDSON: I think over two-thirds of Republican members either wouldn't answer the question or hadn't been vaccinated.


And I think it's almost unbelievable, but the politicization of this pandemic has been so clear from the start, I guess maybe it was expected. This is our way out. I don't understand the thinking, a, if they are not getting vaccinated, we need to continue to talk with those members that they do get vaccinated.

But they need to send a message to their constituents. Some of these folks are in districts where three-quarters of the people in their district voted for them. They could be an incredible messenger to help us get people vaccinated, and to get us out of the pandemic. It's really the only path forward.

WHITFIELD: Cases have been climbing in Michigan since the last week of February, and the state has now reported the nation's second highest number of cases of the variant first identified in the U.K. which Dr. Fauci says is more deadly and more contagious. How concerned are you about that?

DAVIDSON: It's immensely concerning. I know in our area the test positive rate is closing in on near 10 percent. We were near 20 percent back in November when it was so completely terrible. But we were down below two or three percent as recently as a month ago. So it is going in the wrong direction.

We know in the past cases went up, then hospitalizations, then deaths followed. With the variants that is a concern. With the vaccine, hopefully, we are making the headway. I think almost two-thirds of people over 65 have been vaccinated now. And you know what remains to be seen, we just would rather not wait and find out. We'd rather get people to mask up, keep distancing, and get those numbers down.

WHITFIELD: You have spent the last 20 years working as an emergency room doctor in a small rural town in western Michigan. Do you believe officials are doing enough to get people vaccinated in the hard to reach areas?

DAVIDSON: I think they are trying. I think we still need resources in places like this. I think the J&J one-shot vaccine that has less stringent storage requirements I think is critical, I think getting that out. But, yes, we are seeing our state really ramp it up.

And, again, now I think it is about getting to those groups of people, particularly people who were Trump voters, people who are Republican voters who are saying they don't want the shot. We need to get local leaders, local physicians to continue to talk to those folks.

I have been doing it. Any time I see a patient now, I ask them if they have been vaccinated, if they plan to be, and if they want to talk about it, we have a conversation. So I think that's critical.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Rob Davidson, thank you so much. Thanks for what you do.

DAVIDSON: Thanks, Fred.



WHITFIELD: Still ahead, the newest claim of sexual harassment against Governor Andrew Cuomo is from a current aide.



WHITFIELD: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a new claim of sexual harassment. According to "The New York Times" this new accusation is coming from a current aide. Multiple women have now accused Governor Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, sparking investigations and calls of his resignation.

For more on this, let's bring in Dan Merica in Albany, New York. So Dan, what more can you tell us about this new accusation.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Fred, the new accusation comes from a woman named Alyssa McGrath, and what sets her accusation apart is she currently works for Governor Cuomo. She is in a pool of executive assistants that work in the executive mansion.

And her allegations, though, create a pattern of what other Cuomo aides have accused, or former Cuomo aides have accused the governor of. It's worth noting that the accusations levelled in "The New York Times" do not get into unwanted touching, but she does lay out allegations of unwanted attention, of the governor staring of her, and of comments about her marriage.

Now, I want to read to you what she told "The New York Times" about the allegations against Cuomo, and this is what she said. Quote, "He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you are his friend. But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation in your head, going, quote, "I can't believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York." Cuomo himself has not responded to these allegations. In fact, he

spent much of the week not answering questions about the allegations against him, citing the investigations into the allegations. But a Cuomo lawyer did respond to the allegations in "The New York Times." Here is what they said, quote, "The governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehead or hand. Yes, he has posed for photographs with arms around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like "ciao bella." None of this is remarkable, although it may be old- fashioned. He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone." Fred?

WHITFIELD: And then, Dan, "The New York Times" is also reporting on new details into the governor's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

MERICA: Yes, CNN has previously reported that the FBI as well as U.S. attorneys are looking into the handling of nursing home data in the Cuomo administration, but "The New York Times" has taken it a step further and saying that the probe is specifically looking at whether the Cuomo administration gave false data to the Department of Justice.

Now, Cuomo has repeatedly defended his handling of the nursing home data, and you'll remember the coronavirus pandemic and the way he fought it is what made him so popular a year ago. He did not respond to these specific allegations, but a lawyer did. Let me read to you what that lawyer said, quote, "The submission and response to DOJ's August request was truthful and accurate, and any suggestion otherwise is demonstrably false."

Now, the reality for Cuomo right now is that he's facing two investigations, both into the nursing home data and into the sexual allegations against him. And his strategy to get through this has largely been to distract from those allegations. He visited a mass vaccination site during the week. He got his own vaccination at a historically black church in Harlem as well, and he made an announcement about baseball coming back to New York City.


But the reality is this is putting pressure on Cuomo, and as you can see behind me, there is also a small group of protesters who are out in front of the assembly here to protest and to call for Cuomo's impeachment.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dan Merica, thank you so much in Albany, New York.

Coming up, a woman says she was fearful to go outside after capturing video of a man who she says targeted her because she is Asian American, and now she is using this experience to help others, next.


WHITFIELD: The recent deadly shootings in Atlanta have given new attention to the rise in violence against Asian Americans across the country. In Los Angeles according to a police department report, hate crimes against the AAPI community members increased 114 percent in 2020.


Hong Lee is a partner of the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate and Advancing Justice L.A., and also serves as an ambassador for L.A. Versus Hate. You're involved in a lot of groups. Hong, you were accosted back in August. And right now, how are you feeling? And tell me what happened.

HONG LEE, VICTIM OF RACIALLY MOTIVATED HATE INCIDENT: I am feeling very emotional this week, especially with all of the attacks that have happened in Atlanta, and not the mention the others that are happening nationally as well. In August of 2020, I was at a restaurant in Los Angeles, and a person came up to me and handed me his business card.

He said, hey, let's have lunch. I then respectfully declined and informed him, no, I'm sorry, I'm married. He then snatched the business card from me and told me to go back to Asian. This was then followed by another two minutes of hateful derogatory words. I knew that if he took another two to three steps towards me, I would have been cornered in.

I asked for help from those around me, and they did the best they could do to help. The employee finally after two minutes asked the man to go to the other side of the restaurant. I was in the corner crying uncontrollably while I was calling 911 for myself.

Once the officer arrived, I showed him the video of the incident. He asked me, well, what do you want me to do? I asked him if he could walk me to my car since my husband was on the way. I then asked him is this is something that happens all of the time. He told me, yes, this is normal, that it's not out of the ordinary.

I then asked him if I showed the video of the assault, would they be able to do anything. He told me, no, there is no crime here. We can't even do a 5150 hold. There's nothing we can do. I then asked him, will I be able to get a police report. He told me, no, there's no crime, so there's no report. He then rushed me to my car and he said, well, where is your husband? Is he coming? Is he on his way? Where is he?

So I got into my car and I was just crying inside while I was waiting for my husband. A few hours later, my husband and I were debating whether or not we should share the video. We wanted to protect the privacy of our family and our two young toddlers.

But at the same time, we had heard that there were over 2,500 attacks against the AAPI community since the pandemic started, and knew we had to share the video in order to raise awareness since a lot of people did not know what was going on at that time.

After sharing the video, it went viral. And two days later, the next victim came forward to state she was also assaulted by the same man while she was with her 10-year-old son in July of 2019. Her case ended up becoming a hate crime with a criminal threat, and my case, along with the other four victims who came forward after seeing my video, are supporting her case. WHITFIELD: So, Hong, we are unable to show that video at this time

that I know that you are speaking of, but then, give me an idea of how you were feeling when you reached out for help from the police, and you just explained what was said to you, and how this was further humiliating for you, and how this made you feel in terms of your level of vulnerability and security from this point forward even.

LEE: I honestly had never felt so alone in my life. I was afraid. I didn't know if he was going to physically assault me, because he took a few steps towards me, and I knew that I would have been cornered in. I was fearful that it would have escalated more. And now, right after the incident, I was afraid to go outside. I had insomnia. I had severe post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards that I had to actually seek counseling because it affected me. And the tragic incidents that happened this week have brought back a lot of the trauma that I was initially feeling.


WHITFIELD: And Hong, you work, you do a lot of work with the Stop AAPI Hate and other nonprofit groups. What are you hoping the efforts will be able to achieve? What gives you hope that there is a better day ahead as it relates hate just being stamped out?

LEE: This week I had the honor to attend a press conference with Supervisor Solis and other legendary civil rights leader in L.A. county, and it was empowering to hear what everyone is doing in order to combat hate. For example, L.A. Versus Hate is a countywide initiative that is providing support for victim to connect them to resources such as counseling, medical assistance, reimbursements for lost wages, legal aid.

And we have Asian Americans Advancing Justice that is providing bystander training. And those are a few of the things that these organizations are working day in and day out in order to combat hate, and I proudly stand by them to do my small part to help push their different programs that they are having for us right now.

WHITFIELD: Well, Hong Lee, it's extraordinary. You remain hopeful, especially given all that you have been through. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Be safe.

LEE: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: In Oklahoma's Boise City, where most of the town voted for Donald Trump, some people say they will absolutely not get immunized against COVID. Very few are confident about the vaccines, in fact one person even suggested the vaccine could give him the virus. CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman finds out why.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's breakfast time in Boise City, Oklahoma, and I have this question.

Does anybody in this restaurant think it's a good idea to take the vaccine? Raise your hand if you think it's a good idea? Anyone here, is it a good idea to take the vaccine? Raise your hand if you think it's a good idea. Not one person here thinks it's a good idea? Complete quiet.

Boise City is the county seat of sparsely populated Cimarron County, Oklahoma, where 92 percent of the voters chose Donald Trump on election day, the highest percentage in a state where all 77 counties went for Trump.

What do you think about the vaccine? Are you going to take the vaccine?


TUCHMAN: Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't trust the government, and I don't trust Biden.

TUCHMAN: Chad (ph) and Misty (ph) Hughes (ph) are husband and wife. Neither of them plan to get to the vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't want to.

TUCHMAN: Why don't you, if you don't mind me asking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because when I take the flu shot, I usually get the flu. So there is no reason to take it.

TUCHMAN: So are you saying you think you will get COVID by taking the COVID vaccine?


TUCHMAN: Why are you thinking that? The research doesn't show that at all. It shows that it keeps people safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's just my choice.

TUCHMAN: These women are sisters, and they too are doubters.

Why are you doubtful?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just started rolling them out.

TUCHMAN: Well, yes, but it is a worldwide effort by great doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they claim that the flu can be cured, but still hundreds of thousands of people die from the flu. TUCHMAN: Yes, a lot of people die from the flu, but not nearly as much

as COVID. This is a horrible pandemic, and this is an amazing vaccine. These vaccines have come out, they're saving lives. You don't believe it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We will just agree to disagree on this subject, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just, I'm just not. I am not going to take it.

TUCHMAN: What if President Trump came out, and was very robust and said, take the vaccine. I took it, even though I didn't tell anybody about it, it was done secretly, but I think you should take it. He said it a little bit, but he hasn't been robust about it. If he was robust and said take it, would you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Trump is a liberal New Yorker. Why would we listen to him either?

TUCHMAN: Did you vote for him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the best option.

TUCHMAN: No matter where we went, enthusiasm for the vaccine wasn't easy to find, despite this front page option.

So this is "The Boise City News," your newspaper, and here is an article, COVID vaccines are available in your hospital. They want people to get them. Are you going to get one?


TUCHMAN: How come?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't ever get vaccines.

TUCHMAN: We did find a boss in the grocery store, though, who gave us a different answer, but with a caveat.

Are you going to take the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have taken it.

TUCHMAN: And what made you decide to take it?


TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Boise City, Oklahoma.


WHITFIELD: All right, we'll have more news in a moment, but first a can of paint and a canvas helped one woman with bipolar disorder find balance. Now the self-taught artist is helping others. Here is this week's "Human Factor."


A'DRIANE NIEVES, ABSTRACT ARTIST: When I'm painting my pieces, I honestly experience complete freedom. I started experiencing the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety pretty severely after the birth of my second son. I remember his cries being such a trigger for me, and I couldn't understand why suddenly my heart was racing, why suddenly I felt detached.


I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in July of 2011. The intake psychiatrist explained a treatment plan. I'm going to start you off with this medication. It is a mood stabilizer. My therapist suggested that I build or create something constructive with my hands. I just remember putting the paint on my hands and on the canvas and moving it around. I felt completely different than I had before, a really transformative moment.

Since I started painting in 2012, I have probably done over 1,000 pieces. I established Tessera Arts Collective to support and amplify the work of black and brown women and nonbinary artists who primarily work in abstraction. Because I was looking for something therapeutic, painting continues to be that. It's my career, but really it's still therapy.



WHITFIELD: Abraham Lincoln is often hailed as one of America's greatest presidents, a man who ended slavery and saved the country from collapse. But the truth is more complicated than that. This week's episode of the CNN original series "Lincoln, Divided We Stand," examines the political fallout from the end of slavery and Lincoln's assassination. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After Appomattox, he does something a little bit more complex. He gives a speech that turns to a conversation about the challenge of reconstruction. He said we need to have a nonideological approach to reconstruction. And he goes further in one element than he's ever gone before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says that he believes that black people should be allowed to vote, at least those who have served in the armed forces and those who are very intelligent, by which we assume he meant literate.

LOUIS MASUR, PH.D., AUTHOR, "LINCOLN'S LAST SPEECH": What a shocking idea that was. In the society that held the deepest racist ideologies about the incompetency of blacks.

MARY FRANCES BERRY, PH.D.: From a guy who was not an abolitionist, was not really purely anti-slavery in terms of doing very much about it, and he ends up saying that maybe blacks could vote. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining us right now is Edna Greene Medford. She is a professor of history at Howard University and is back with us, and author of "Lincoln and Emancipation." Professor, good to see you again.


WHITFIELD: In the victory speech shortly after the war, Lincoln makes a historic proposal about voting rights for blacks that has severe personal impact on him. Tell us about that.

MEDFORD: Lincoln, by two days after Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox, a group of residents, of Washington residents, came to the White House, and they were celebrating the victory. Lincoln decides to speak to them, and in that speech that's given from a window of the White House, Lincoln talks about the new constitution that has been created in Louisiana. Louisiana was under reconstruction. Lincoln had indicated that he was pleased with the constitution, that there were things that Louisiana had not included, but he felt confident that eventually those things, such as black voting rights, would be included.

And so he says there that he himself would have preferred that black men who had served the nation, the veterans of the Civil War, of course, and those who were the most intelligent, we're assuming of course that he means especially a group of men in Louisiana in the New Orleans area who were very well-educated, for instance, he had hoped that the state would simply grant those rights, but the thought that eventually they would come.

John Wilkes Booth was supposedly in the audience that night, and so he had planned to kidnap Lincoln initially. But when he heard that Lincoln was willing to accept black voting rights for certain groups of black men, he decided to kill him. He just felt that he could not abide any possibility of black men getting the right to vote.


MEDFORD: And so --

WHITFIELD: And then he actually accomplishes that. Booth does assassinate him, right. And then what kind of impact does this end up having on freed black slaves?

MEDFORD: Unfortunately, it leaves Andrew Johnson in charge. And initially black people were OK with that. They certainly mourned Lincoln, but they thought that Johnson would be a friend to them, that he would assist them in getting the equality that they felt should come with freedom.

Johnson, unfortunately, was not up to the task of leading the country at such a critical time. And so he stood by as black people were murdered, as what little property they had was destroyed. The Klan is formed during this period, and he just stands by and watches the discrimination and the violence.