A rush transcript of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” airing on Sunday, June 14, 2020 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the “This Week” transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Black lives matter!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Demand for change. Weeks of protests spark sweeping reforms, starting with policing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Defund!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Police!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Defund!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Police!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Spreading across society, from corporate America…
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That money is going to go straight back into black communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: … to NASCAR…
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: It starts with Confederate Flags. Get them out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: … and prime-time TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that first foot forward for “The Bachelor” franchise is having a black lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, as America reckons with the stain of racism, a new police shooting rocks Atlanta.
Our guests this morning, Stacey Abrams, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Republican Senator James Lankford, plus analysis from our powerhouse roundtable.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s “This Week.”
Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to “This Week.”
The streets of America have seen protests every night since the killing of George Floyd nearly three weeks ago in cities large and small, from New York to Beverly Hills.
And, overnight, a new police shooting has drawn outrage in Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The chief of police has resigned, a police officer fired after shooting and killing a black man. Authorities are now reviewing this video of the violent struggle.
The shooting, sadly, not new. Such a swift response certainly is. Under pressure, society changing fast. The big question, will it last?
In New York and New Jersey, police choke holds banned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is the moment to put forth a real federal reform justice agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Louisville, Kentucky, passed Breonna’s Law to stop the use of no-knock warrants.
And those first police reforms just one sign of a striking cultural shift. Merriam-Webster revising the definition of racism. The Oscars have added a diversity requirement for eligibility. “White Fragility” and “So You Want to Talk About Race” top “The New York Times” bestseller list, as the NFL apologizes for past mistakes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE: We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And now the protest movement has gone global, thousands marching in France, in South Korea, this Black Lives Matter banner at the U.S. Embassy.
And, in England, protesters toppled this statue of a 17th century slave trader, as Confederate statues are torn down here at home.
And with the election just five months away, President Trump is struggling for a consistent response, promising reforms at public forums, threatening to send troops into the streets, attacking protesters with inflammatory tweets.
And, on Friday, this startling claim:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I have done more for the black community than any other president. And let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good, although it’s always questionable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by the president’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson.
Dr. Carson, thank you for joining us this morning.
Quite a claim there from President Trump, done more for black Americans than any president since Lincoln.
Do you stand by that claim?
BEN CARSON, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: Well, I will say, rather than get into an argument about who has done the most, what has, in fact, been done, the Opportunity Zones, where they’re designed in order to bring money into areas that are traditionally neglected.
And that’s been quite successful. Prison reform has been quite successful. It’s just the first step. There are other things that need to be done.
Making funding for the HBCUs regular, rather than done on an annual basis, and increasing the amount of money for that, that’s been very useful. And, you know, there are other things that have been useful.
So, to get into an argument about who has done the most probably is not productive. But it is good to acknowledge the things that have been done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s a fair point. So, should the president stop making that comparison? It’s hard to compare that with Lyndon Johnson passing the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Act, Ulysses Grant sending in troops to take on the Ku Klux Klan, President Eisenhower sending in troops to enforce Brown v. Board of Education.
CARSON: All of which is a significant part of our history. And that’s an important thing for us to acknowledge, what has happened in the past.
And we should be willing to look at what we’ve done together collectively to make progress.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the question should be, what should — what should be done now?
There have been times, over the last several weeks, to where the president has seemed out of step with this movement across the country, those tweets about saying, you know, when the looting starts, the shooting starts, attacking the protesters. He’s now standing firmly against renaming any confederate bases.
As the president’s only black cabinet member, how have you counseled him to address these issues?
CARSON: I say, you know, we, obviously, should look at things from multiple perspectives because we are a diverse country. We have diverse opinions. And, you know, his opinion is one of them as well. So I — I don’t have any problem with him expressing his opinion as long as he’s willing to listen to other opinions.
As long as we’re all willing to listen to other opinions because as I’ve said before, the United States of America is a destination country, it’s a place where other people want to come to, not a place where they want to leave and there’s a reason for that. And we’re the only ones who can destroy ourselves. And we have to stop, you know, putting everything into the arena of combat. And let’s see if — if we can find a way to work together because, if we don’t, we’re doomed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That — that’s an interesting point you make there. You’re saying we should stop everything in the arena of combat, the president’s tweets talk about dominating the streets, saying we have to send troops into the streets. Is that the appropriate response right now?
CARSON: There are lots of different ways to express things. I believe what’s being said there is obviously we cannot submit to anarchy. I think we would all agree with that. We might not all express it the same way, but we would all agree with it. And we’ve got to begin to look at the big picture, what is the thing that we’re aiming to do, not what someone said this day or that day.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that then — that leads to the next question then. What are we aiming to do right now? So many Americans look at what’s happening and see systemic racism across the board. We’ve seen those sweeping changes that have started to take place now in the country in response to these protests. What more needs to be done right now?
CARSON: Well, I think we obviously need to acknowledge that there is a reason that the protests are going on, there’s no question about that. But it also means we need to open the discussion. We need to listen to the police as well as to the protesters. We need to look at what is happening in these communities where protests are going on.
Peaceful protests, no problem whatsoever. Destroying the livelihood, the businesses of people who live in those neighborhoods who’ve worked hard, in many cases, all their lives to establish them, that’s very, very bad. And, you know, we need to talk about that also.
And talk about, you know, what makes sense. Does it make sense to allow anarchists to just take over things and destroy things at will? Of course it doesn’t. And we all need to talk about that. Does it make sense to allow rogue police to move from one precinct to another? Of course it doesn’t. Does it make sense not to use the technology that we have to help us to be able to investigate? No, it doesn’t.
These are all things we need to do and we need to make them regular and pervasive throughout our society.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Coming up this week, of course, is Juneteenth, the national holiday celebrating the freeing of the slaves in the United States. And the president moved his Tulsa rally from June 19th to June 20th, but there is still real questions about whether that rally should put — take place, in part because of health — and I’m asking you to put on your doctor’s hat right here.
The director of Tulsa ’s Health Department has said he wishes it would be postponed because of the spread of COVID. You’re a medical doctor. Should the president be following that advice?
CARSON: Well, first of all, I did talk to the president about the Juneteenth event. I was pleasantly surprised at how much he knew about it already — and knew about the Black Wall Street there and the whole history of it. And was thinking about making some remarks to acknowledge what had happened there and why we don’t want that kind of situation to ever occur in this country again. But, you know, it is what it is. And it’s probably good to have moved it.
In terms of whether a rally can be done — whether people can get together, I think if it’s done in conjunction with the public health experts, which it is being done in conjunction with them, that’s quite acceptable. We do need to always, all of us, need to do what we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it is very important that we utilize what we have learned about the disease so that we can live with it, rather than allow it to dominate us and determine how we’re going to live.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And finally, sir, the president’s convention — acceptance speeches, now it’s scheduled for Jacksonville on August 27th, which is the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday when a KKK mob attacked mostly Black Civil Rights protestors.
Is it appropriate to be having a convention speech on that anniversary in that city?
CARSON: You know, we’ve reached a point in our society where we dissect everything and try to ascribe some nefarious notion to it.
We really need to move away from that. We need to move away from being offended by everything, of going through history and looking at everything, you know, of renaming everything — I mean, think about the fact that some of our universities, some of our prestigious universities, have a relationship with the slave trade.
Should we go and rename those universities?
It really gets to a point of being ridiculous after a while. And, you know, we’re going to have to grow up as a society.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Carson, thanks for your time this morning.
CARSON: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get the Democratic response now from Stacey Abrams, former leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, author of the new book, “Our Time is Now”.
Ms. Abrams, thank you for joining us this morning.
Let’s pick up where I left off with Dr. Carson right there. He says we have to grow up.
STACEY ABRAMS, AUTHOR, “OUR TIME IS NOW”: I think that is a fairly infantile response, actually, to say that words don’t have meanings, that dates don’t have meanings, that dates don’t have power.
This is from the administration on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse murders of the LGBTQ community stripped away health protections for that community. This is the same person who had to be convinced that having a rally that would necessarily traditionally attracted people who do not care about black lives, that they were going to have this rally in Tulsa, at the site of black massacre, and it took a week of cajoling to make him move.
And so, let’s be very clear, this isn’t about growing up. It’s about taking responsibility and having accountability for the actions that have been taken by this country and by people acting on behalf of this country and we do have a day of reckoning and that day of reckoning is going to continue until we actually make change.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We saw immediate taking responsibility last night in Atlanta. I want to ask you about that incident last — over the weekend in Atlanta, the killing of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms did speak out on this yesterday. Let’s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: While we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: What a disconnect that is. She mentioned it’s the third time in the last two weeks she’s had to review police video.
ABRAMS: And that is why you saw the reaction from protesters, that is why the virulence of anger remains. Activists are necessarily calling into question what’s actually being done.
And what I would say is that there is — there’s a legitimacy to this anger, there’s a legitimacy to this outrage. A man was murdered because he was asleep in a drive-through and we know that this is not an isolated occurrence.
We also know that a man taking a Taser from a police officer in Pennsylvania resulted in his arrest, but because this person was black, it resulted in his death.
Those are conversations that have to be had, not only through speeches but through the decisions made by budget allocations, and I think that’s the next conversation we have to have in Atlanta.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and that is a conversation happening right now, this whole debate over defunding the police. The Democrats’ nominee, Joe Biden, has said he’s against defunding the police but, of course, is for investing more in social services and other programs.
What does defunding the police mean to you and is it necessary?
ABRAMS: I think we’re being drawn into this false choice idea. The reality is, we need two things — we need reformation of how police officers do their jobs, how law enforcement does its job, because what happened yesterday to Rayshard Brooks was a function of excessive force and the decision that — the fact that they were either embarrassed or, you know, panicked led them to murder a man who they knew only had a Taser in his hand.
We know that the murder of Breonna Taylor means we have to reform no-knock warrants. We know that in the state of Georgia, we also have to look at the larger judicial issue of the fact that people can use citizen arrest laws to murder men like Ahmaud Arbery in the streets.
So, reformation is absolutely important. What we saw happened in New York is a part of this.
I served in the state legislature for 11 years and I served on the committee of pergue (ph). I took action to increase police accountability. I took action to address the issues of criminal justice reform. But I also know that we have to have a transformation of how we view the role of law enforcement, how we view the construct of public safety and how we invest not only in the work that we need them to do to protect us, but the work we need to do to protect and build our communities. And that’s the conversation we’re having. We’ll use different language to describe it. But, fundamentally, we must have reformation and transformation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Georgia had a primary election this week. We saw some chaotic sites across the state, but including in — in the Atlanta area, in Fulton County, long lines, voting machines which weren’t working properly.
I know you’ve talked about the responsibility of the secretary of state for this, but there are also problems in the county itself, Fulton County controlled by Democrats. What must be done to fix it? Will Georgia be ready by November?
ABRAMS: Again, this is an attempt by the secretary of state to deflect from his responsibility. Fulton County’s the largest county in the state. But right next door, the second and third largest counties, one run by a Republican and the other run by Democrats had the same issues. We had 20 counties that had to get judicial orders to extend their elections because of inoperable machines, because of lack of training for their staff, because of the challenges posed by the failures of the secretary of state.
Cobb County, led by Republicans, have called on him to resign because they know that he’s refusing to take responsibility. Of course you’re going to have more concentrated problems in the single largest county in the state, but the larger responsibility is that in — with 20 counties, Democrat, Republican, urban and rural, all facing the same challenges, the buck has to stop with the person who’s constitutionally obligated to solve this problem.
And let’s be clear, my organization Fair Fight and Freedom Works, a Charles Koch organization, all warned against the approach that the secretary of state was taking. He did it anyway. And now he has to be accountable for it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Before you go, I have to ask you about the vice presidential search by Joe Biden. You’ve made no secret of the fact that you’re prepared to serve if asked. But have you been interviewed be his team? Are you being vetted?
ABRAMS: I will say the vetting conversation need to be had with the Biden team. I was responding on — on the Colbert show to a very specific question that was raised about April Ryan, who is a respected journalist, who, unfortunately, has been pilloried by the Trump administration, by Donald Trump himself. And I wanted to be clear about the fact that I was responding to a very narrow question.
But rite large, my focus is on making sure that we have elections that can happen in November. There will be no vice president, there will be no president if our democracy crumbles under the inefficiencies and the inequities that we see happening. And we want to have an administration, led by Joe Biden, that transforms America and makes us a stronger and safer nation. That’s what I write about and our time is now and that’s what I’m going to be working on from now until November.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you for joining us this morning.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, with President Trump heading to Tulsa for a MAGA rally this week, we’ll speak with Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, also one of the leading Republican senators negotiating police reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Can you have an arena packed filled with people at a political rally safely?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The best way that you can avoid either acquiring or transmitting infection is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask. When you start to chant and shout, even though the instinct is to pull the mask down, which you see, don’t do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Anthony Fauci with Jon Karl on Friday.
Of course, this comes as the president is scheduled to head to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday for that MAGA rally.
We’re joined now by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford.
Senator Lankford, thank you for joining us this morning.
I know you encouraged President Trump to move his rally away from Juneteenth so it didn’t fall on Juneteenth, now scheduled for next Saturday. But it comes as the Tulsa health director yesterday is warning against having the rally.
Let me show the “Tulsa World” this morning. He’s saying that he wishes the Trump rally will be postponed. Quote, a large indoor rally with 19,000 to 20,000 people is huge risk factor today in Tulsa. I want to make sure we can keep everyone in that building safe, including the president.
Is it time for the president to postpone that rally?
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): I do not believe so, actually. We’ve gone through phase one, phase two, and phase three. We continue to see hospitalizations decline, deaths decline in Oklahoma.
We’ve seen a little bit of a bump in last couple of days, I assume based on more people at restaurants, more people out and about shopping, some of the protests that have happened around Oklahoma. So, we’ve seen some of those numbers come up a little bit.
But our hospitalizations continue to decline. Our deaths continue to decline and we encourage people that are high risk not to get involved in any location, whether that be a rally or other higher risk locations. So, high-risk folks need to be able to step back and everybody needs to be able to take responsibility for their own health.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, can you safely have a rally with 19,000 to 20,000 people in the same place? Is everyone going to have to wear a mask? How can you social distance?
LANKFORD: I don’t know how they’re going to handle that, actually, George. That will up to be the city of Tulsa, this will be the governor of Oklahoma and the Trump team itself to be able to figure out how they want to be able to manage that.
We’ve been through all three phases in Oklahoma. We are fully open again. We have seen seven or eight weeks now of declining numbers, up until this last week. And so we’re going to track that very, very carefully.
But we’re ahead of a lot of other parts of the country. We have actually had fewer total cases in Oklahoma than they have had deaths in other states. And so we’re — we’re a little farther ahead than other parts in the country in trying to defeat coronavirus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you will be going?
LANKFORD: I will be attending. I absolutely will be.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about police reform.
Your colleague Senator Tim Scott is leading the effort. You’re part of the task force trying to come up with a police reform package in the Senate. He’s announced this morning that the president’s going to have his executive order laying out his ideas on Tuesday.
What should be in the executive order? What do you hope to achieve in the Senate? And can you find common ground with the House?
LANKFORD: Oh, sure, yes. We absolutely have to be able to find common ground with the House.
This is an issue that needs to be addressed. And it will and can be addressed on it. So, the House is going to have their perspective. They have already put that out. The president’s going to put out his proposals. The Senate Republicans will put out their proposals. We will work together to be able to get things resolved.
Our focus is on basic things like transparency, police records for — employment records, making sure that future departments can see what’s happening, body cameras, increasing not only the availability of body cameras, but the technology of those body cameras, making sure those body cameras actually stay on at critical moments, trying to be able to work through, if there’s serious bodily injury or someone dies in police custody, getting all those records in on an FBI record.
Right now, about 40 percent of the departments around the country do that. We’d like to be able to get that to every department around the country, so we increase that transparency.
Increasing training for things like mental health, de-escalation tactics, trying to be able to engage in things like recruiting, so that we have more African-American recruiters for law enforcement, to make sure we’re getting more African-American officers, and helping them be able to get financially through the academy, and so we can get people actually engaged in the community.
Anywhere where law enforcement doesn’t match the ethnicity of the community, we need to engage to be able to increase that, and so we have great officers in every place.
We do have a lot of terrific officers around the country who get incredibly frustrated when this kind of stuff happens. It’s happened in the past several times over and over and over again in some departments, but it puts a bad stain on those good cops when this happens with a bad cop.
So, just like you don’t judge all protesters the same, the vast majority of protesters are peaceful and speaking out as they should be, with a few folks that are rioting, you can’t judge all police officers the same. We have got to be able to get some help, though, to be able to make sure that we can help both with the training and in transparency.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about a national ban on choke holds?
LANKFORD: Absolutely, we should have that.
That is one of the things that we should have engaged in a long time ago. Many departments around the country have already banned choke holds. And I think a lot of other departments are increasing that now. Some departments just didn’t train for choke holds and told their officers they can only do one if they have been trained for.
But this has been pretty clear. There’s been a longstanding principle out there that that is not needed for that situation. And there’s been a consensus document that was done in 2017 by law enforcement around the country to say that that is not needed.
So, I think that’s not an issue for us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We are also seeing now efforts to rename military bases across the country.
The Senate — the Senate Armed Services Committee voted on that this week. We have seen leading voices like General David Petraeus saying, it’s time to stop having military bases named after Confederate generals like Braxton Bragg.
Is it time?
LANKFORD: I do, actually.
And I think the right way to be able to do this is to be able to have (AUDIO GAP) to be able to look at, where did the name come from, what do we need to have to be able to take a serious look at it, and then to be able to transition.
There are lots of great leaders, military leaders, that are around the country that are modern leaders that we can continue to be able to honor and continue to be able to put names forward.
But I see it like schools. Every school has a name, and you want those children in that school to be able to learn about the founder of that school or the name — that person that school is named after and to be able to have them as a role model.
You would have that on a military base as well. So, if you have a military base that is named after someone that actually rebelled against the United States government, then you would want to be able to go back and look at that name. That should be a pretty basic principle.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Lankford, thanks for your time this morning.
LANKFORD: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable is up next.
We will be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Our roundtable is ready to go. We’ll be right back.
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The senior leaders, everything you do will be closely watched. And I am not immune. As many of you saw, the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week, that sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society. I should not have been there. We who wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation. And we must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Another remarkable moment of the week, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized for his role in the president’s photo-op at Lafayette Square.
Let’s talk about what’s been going on for these last several weeks with our roundtable. Chris Christie joins us this morning. Also, Rahm Emanuel, the CEO of Democracy for America, Yvette Simpson, and Leah Wright Rigueur, professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School and author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican.”
And, Professor Rigueur, let me begin with you.
In the last three weeks, as I was talking about at the top of the program, we’ve seen this movement sweep the country, even the world, arguably the broadest protests since 1968.
Why now, and is this truly a transformational moment?
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT THE HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: So, it’s absolutely a transformational moment, particularly when we think about the cultural aspects of this. You know, the phrase “black lives matter” was something that only black people could really utter, you know, four years ago. And now I think it’s over 70 percent of Americans can actually agree with the phrase and we actually see everything from corporations, to politicians, right, the former 2012 presidential candidate marching in the streets and chanting “black lives matter.” So there’s certainly something cultural and symbolic shifting that is transformational.
What remains to be seen is, you know, the structural aspects. Are we going to see actual reforms? Are we actually going to see policy changes? Are we going to see the ways in which, you know, traditionally the state have failed black people and brown people? Are we going to see those things shift dramatically the way that we saw them shift in, say, the 1950s, 1960s with these other protest moments.
And that’s essentially what people are responding to right now. They’re responding to this larger failure across multiple and overlapping sector of society. So they’re resulting — you know, the failure of the economy, right, high unemployment rates. They’re resulting at– they’re coming from the failures of, you know, a pandemic, a global pandemic that has hit African-American communities especially hard. And then, of course, they’re coming from the failures of a system, like policing, that has consistently failed and harmed black communities. So that’s why we’re seeing these uprisings right now in these kind of protests.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Yvette Simpson, it has been remarkable to see the kinds of changes happen in such a swift — in such a swift fashion. The NFL apologizing. Corporate America announcing investments across the board, promising to diversify their boards, even as we pointed out television right now, we’ve not — we haven’t seen this kind of change take hold so fast.
YVETTE SIMPSON, DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA CEO AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, it’s a different time. And, you know, as someone who led a city during Trayvon Martin, we actually had a police-involved shooting in my city when I was an elected leader.
George Floyd just hit differently. It was — it ruptured something that was already broken. We were still doing our 2.23 for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, was murdered. You know, her — her murders are still out in public. And then this happened. And we watched for eight minutes and 46 seconds a man die in front of us. And it has changed the conversation.
And I think this is an important time to talk about getting beyond performance theater and talking about real change. I think as — as Leah said earlier, folks who would not utter “black lives matter” are now saying it. people who protested against someone taking a knee are now taking a knee.
And I think the question is, so what, now what? Are we going to see real change as a result of what’s happened in this country? And I think I want to highlight as well the global nature of the protests that we’ve seen. We’re seeing people around the world coming out, day after day, saying something must change. And so it’s on us now to say, what are we going do? Are we really going to root out the systemic racism and institutional racism that has brought us to this point in?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: So much of it is centered on the debate around police reform as well.
Chris Christie, I want to bring in on this because you were governor of New Jersey when the city of Camden actually dismantled its police force, created something new. Talk about what you learned from that experience.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: What we learned is that this can be done and the country has to follow this example, George. The two main things that happened in Camden were community policing, we got police officers out of their cars, on to bicycles, on foot and embedded in the community both from a law enforcement perspective and socially, George, working with communities and working with young men and women in the communities to develop trust.
Second was de-escalation training. And the watch word for de-escalation training is, first do no harm and that violence is a last resort.
What’s happened in Camden since then? In the seven years since we implemented those changes, the murder rate in Camden which at the time in 2012 was the most dangerous city in America, it’s down 81 percent.
But even more important than that, George, is that citizen complaints of excessive use of force by police are down 95 percent in the last seven years. And so this can be done.
It’s a false choice to say that we can’t have effective law enforcement without the violence that we’re seeing that’s going on in so many of our places across the country. Camden, New Jersey, which is a 96 percent minority city, we worked together, we brought down the murder rate by 81 percent, and brought down excessive use of force by police by 95 percent.
I think Yvette is absolutely right. It’s time to start — stop talking and start doing. If it was done in Camden, it can be done in other places around this country, and should be.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, of course, Rahm Emanuel, you’ve also had to deal with this in both the White House, during the 1994 crime bill with President Clinton and chief of staff to President Obama, and, of course, as mayor in the city of Chicago which has had so many controversies.
RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. George, I had to make two points. First and foremost, you have to — all on us — what the protesters have showed is that the lack of investment in mental health, drug treatment, homelessness and housing, that is our societal failure. Police should not be responsible for that, and we’re going to have to step up and do our investments to bring in equity across the cities and across the country.
Number two, you have to re-imagine and reenergize community policing, so police are a part of the community rather than standing apart from the community. And that’s the only way to build trust and cooperation and collaboration, there’s too much distrust.
And third and final, there’s a strategy in policing called broken windows. It is totally broken. It needs to be ripped out of police departments.
You’re going to need massive retraining, and massive de-escalation and a whole different approach so police have a legitimacy which they do not have in community.
And then I want to pick up on what the professor said, which I think is really important. I think the people on the streets are exercising their fundamentals as citizens. They know America is an idea, and a set of ideals, and it has fallen dramatically short from that.
It’s the only country not built on culture, religion or a language. It is a set of ideals and we all have seen ourselves fall dramatically short from the ideals of this country, and it’s calling on us, all of us, to collectively put our shoulder to the wheel to actually fulfill those ideals after literally 200, 400 years of growing way short of that — way short of that goal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Professor, to pick up on that, it is striking to see the breadth of support for the protesters in the streets, even us — you know, some try to say, including the president, that it’s simply being dominated by Antifa and other left-wing radicals.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Yeah, no. I think what’s clear is that there’s widespread support for the protests that are going on right now, not only in kind of symbolic gestures of people acknowledging the protests, or sending out, you know, emails that saying, oh my gosh, I can empathize with this.
But instead, what we’re seeing is that a lot of these movements which did start off as black led protests movements have evolved into multiracial protest movements all across the country. You know, we’ve had more than 200 protests across the globe, right, as Yvette (ph) pointed out, but we have had more than 200 protests across the globe. But in the United States alone, we have seen them pop up in places that are, you know, majority white, small towns, little cities, large locales, and there’s something about what’s going on that really has touched off this broader movement.
One other thing I do want to point out is that it’s really important to note that this is not a moment that is spontaneous in its making. It’s not necessarily happening just because of this three interrelated but important issues. But, instead, it’s this longer, longer history and context that is built upon one another that we see with decades upon decades, really generations of systemic failures, of systemic racism, of police brutality, right?
When we look at all of these intersecting pieces, we actually see compounded harm that people are reacting to. And so this broader movement that we’re now seeing emerge is actually coming out of that. So it’s not simply just these incidental — I mean, these incidents that are happening one after another, even though they are powerful.
It’s the cumulative incidents that we have seen for generations that really is making a difference in helping people come together in this multiracial movement.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Chris Christie, it does seem like the president is struggling to find a consistent tone through the course of these protests.
Of course, we have all seen the tweets, the inflammatory tweets. You also see when he goes to places like Dallas or West Point yesterday, where he tries to strike a more moderate tone. And it comes as he’s fallen, at least in public opinion, over the course of the protests.
So, how does he find his footing here?
CHRISTIE: I think to listen, George.
I think part of what needs to be done here by all of our leaders is to be listening to the American people. As the professor just said, the American people across socioeconomic, racial lines are speaking with a very unified voice right now that we can do better and that we have to do better, and that it’s no longer acceptable for us not to.
And I think the president needs to listen to that. And I think if — many times — and I know Rahm knows this through all the leadership positions that he’s had. Some of our best moments are leaders — as leaders are when we’re listening, because, when we’re listening, we’re learning from the people that we are trying to lead.
And I think that the president needs to listen, listen to what the American people are saying. And if he does, I think he can provide that type of leadership that the country needs right now.
And what we need is action. We need action at every level of government. We don’t need any more talk. We don’t need this to be a moment that passes.
And the one last thing I’d say, George, that is very encouraging to me is to see how many young people are participating in these protests across the country. I think it shows, again, an evolution generationally of thought regarding these issues of race in a very positive way.
And I see it talking to my own children about how they react to the situation. And you see it by the kind of young people who are participating peacefully in these protests across the country. It’s a positive sign for America. And the president should be talking about that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette Simpson, no question young people are engaged on this.
We have also seen something of a generational split basically all year long between — in the African-American community, in the black community in how they have approached these issues.
And it leads to one of the big questions. You see a lot of people in the streets right now. Will they go to the polls in November?
SIMPSON: You know, that is the expectation.
And I think one of the conversations we’re having in the progressive movement, in the grassroots movement is, yes, protest is important. It is a vital part of the toolbox for change. And you must also vote.
And we’re seeing a lot of energy. I know you talked earlier with Stacey Abrams about Georgia, the fact that turnout was overwhelmingly high in Georgia just recently, despite the voter suppression that they saw down there.
You have got people who are activated and enthusiastic. It’s the best thing, I think, to come out of an otherwise very tragic situation. I would say that we were talking a few weeks back about the low enthusiasm that folks have for Joe Biden. I think now people are really enthusiastic about real change.
I think the question, George, is what happens between now and November. And this is not going to be an overnight — this is not going to be done. I know that organizations like the Movement for Black Lives and Black Lives Matter are organizing continued actions to make sure that we see real change.
And if folks start to see real change, a real alternative, they’re going to be energized to make that change from the local government all the way up. We need to see real accountability here. And if people, like young people, believe that that change is going to happen, I think that they will use that energy, take it from the streets, keep it in the streets, but also take it to the ballot box.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rahm Emanuel, of course, one of the big events between now and November will be Vice President Biden — former Vice President Biden’s choice of a vice — of a vice president as well.
Given everything we have seen over the last three weeks, is it now — and I don’t want to get ahead of myself here — but is it now foregone conclusion that he will have to pick an African-American woman?
EMANUEL: I think it’s clearly informative, but he’s not picking a vice president for this moment. He’s picking a vice president for the tenure.
And one of the things you know from the White House is, you know something’s going to happen you have no preparation for, like a 100-year pandemic. And so you got to pick — he knows, as a vice president who was a partner to a president, you have got to pick a full partner. And the most important thing for that is going to be his trust and relationship with that person.
The other thing I would say to you is — and I think the professor hit on this — there are the interactions of three E’s, epidemiology, equality, and the economy.
And, in this moment, the president is getting an F on all three. He is actually seen as the person creating the dissonance, creating the trouble, rather than addressing it and bringing the country together. And I think in that case, this moment in time could have been in any one of these situations where he could have redialed his presidency correctly and he has missed every opportunity to get it right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Professor Rigueur, let me pick up on that. you’re a historian of the Republican Party’s relationship with the black community. We’ve heard so many people talk about the comparisons between now and 1968, when of course Richard Nixon won in 1968. Does that hold for you?
RIGUEUR: So, you know, I think we’re in a different period of time. Although I know the comparison — there is this real urge to make a 1968 comparison, and sure there are parallels to be made, but Donald Trump is in a class of his own when it comes to African-Americans, particularly when we look at the data.
You know, Trump right now is polling horrendously with African-Americans. And so we’re seeing a lot of these superficial surface level overtures to black people but there — I mean, they’re patently see-through. So, part of the dilemma that we have right now is this moment, for example, of how somebody like Donald Trump is channeling a George Floyd. He’s channeling George Floyd in ways that are deeply offensive to African-American communities. He’s suggesting that the way to solve systemic racism is through the stock market and — a really good stock market, but not actually looking at the variables that affect African-American lives and the policies that affect African-American lives.
So, you know, when we talk about, say, comparisons to somebody like Richard Nixon, sure there are some overlaps. But what we’re really looking at in this moment is someone like Donald Trump who’s really exacerbating racial tensions and exacerbating racial issues, systematic issues, and not really offering anything more than symbolic tropes or publicity stunts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Chris it does seem to be a debate going on within the president’s team, within the president’s own mind over how to do this, is it possible? They’re asking for him to increase his share of the African-American vote, or should he just do everything he can to get that base back out, which leads to an emphasis more on the kind of things we’ve been seeing in the president’s tweets rather than his public speeches.
CHRISTIE: George, I think that what the president has to do is what comes naturally to him and what he feels in his heart. I think when you’re not authentic in today’s political world it’s very, very obvious.
And I think it’s unfair to not point out that this is the president who brought criminal justice and prison reform across this country. And that’s an important, important issue. It was one that I did in New Jersey back in 2014, which led to a significant drop in our prison population and actually allowed us to close two state prisons.
The fact is that this kind of prison reform that was done, criminal justice reform that was done in a bipartisan way is something that the president deserves great credit for. It didn’t happen organically, George, he had to push for it and push hard for it and then sign it.
So, I think, while there are certain areas that are apt for criticism, I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is just tropes. The president brought real reform in that area and that’s going to make a real difference in the lives of many Americans who otherwise would have been spending a lot more time in prison unjustly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How does Vice President Biden counter that, Rahm Emanuel?
EMANUEL: Well, let me just say this, Donald Trump is uniquely given the Democrats the broadest coalition we’ve ever had. We have military leaders, suburban women, and kids out on the street, that is a unique contribution that Donald Trump has given the Democrats.
And I do think that this situation is in the last week, you saw Joe Biden both on the eve of what happened in Minneapolis speak to the country in a very presidential way compared to the president. Second, the way he addressed the country at the funeral. He has spoken in a way of bringing us together, facing our own problems together as a country, to come to a resolution where we then improve. That is what a president does.
And the fact is in that split screen between the way President Trump is acting now, exacerbating these problems, dividing and using the cultural veins to actually create division in America, rather than actually figure out ways to find common language, common understanding, and a common push forward.
I think Joe Biden in the last 10 days has shown how clearly different he is from President Trump, and that sense of choice is why you have such a broad coalition coalescing around Joe Biden right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, let me ask you the question I asked Rahm Emanuel before, your organization I believe endorsed Elizabeth Warren during the primaries. Can Joe Biden pick her as his running mate or must he pick an African-American woman?
SIMPSON: You know, I think Elizabeth Warren has been a candidate who has spoken to African-Americans and African-American women. I do think she is a contender.
But I would say that these most recent incidents, and — and just in general, the fact that Joe Biden won and got back on top because of South Carolina has really called for many African-American women to say, this is the time, right? If you think about the symbolism of having an African-American woman on this ticket at a time like this and we know that the African-American women on the ticket are qualified and are ready to serve on day one, every single one of them, I think this is a time for him to show that he’s serious about really hearing from black women during this time.
I’ve always said that a black woman should be in every room where a decision is made. And I think having an African-American woman in the room when decision are made in the White House is where our country needs to be. I think it would be a huge show that Joe Biden is listening, that he values the most significant base in the Democratic Party, which is African-American women, and he’s prepared to have the very difficult and real conversation we need to have in these coming years about the effect of race in our country, because that will be the most important conversation we have over the next four years and beyond.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: And if that happens, Chris Christie, how does the president respond?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, listen, you know, I didn’t think the president should respond to anything like that. The fact is, this is Joe Biden’s choice. And Vice President Biden’s going to make whatever choice he believes. And I hope the way he makes it is the way all responsible presidential candidates have made this choice over the course of time, the ones who have done it successfully. Is the person prepared to be president if they need to serve? And, two, does he have the type of relationship with this person where he can trust them to do some of the most important work that needs to be done for the country?
And that’s his choice. He gets to make that decision.
I think President Trump has to run his campaign. And what I think he needs to do, as I said, is get back out there, start listening to the American people, thanking the American people for the extraordinary work they’ve done in flattening the curve and controlling this pandemic and running the campaign so that there’s a clear choice between President Trump and Joe Biden.
Right now this is a referendum on President Trump. That is not good for the president to just have a referendum, or for any incumbent to have a referendum on them. We — he needs to make this a binary choice. If he does, then I think we’re going to have a very close race on our hands.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that — that is all we have time for today.
Thank you all very much.
We’ll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT” and “GMA” tomorrow morning.