Defense secretary against use of active-duty forces


Nationwide tensions appeared to ease Tuesday night, as thousands of demonstrators launched peaceful protests across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd while he was being subdued by Minneapolis police.

Major cities enacted earlier curfews and beefed up law enforcement resources Tuesday night after days of violence. Businesses had boarded up in anticipation of more looting and vandalism. Though arrests in some cities remain at elevated levels, there were fewer clashes between protesters and police in comparison to recent days. 

In Washington, added fencing has gone up near the White House and U.S. military members joined D.C. National Guard in policing streets. President Donald Trump hasn’t spoken publicly since Monday, when he threatened military action in U.S. cities. 

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the demonstrations gripping the U.S. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer says CEOs need to take racial dialogue to the ‘next notch’

1:20 p.m. ET — Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said he’s “very sad” and “angry” about the current events plaguing the nation due to discrimination against black people.

Ballmer, who is the former CEO of Microsoft, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to discuss a wide range of topics, including a CEOs’ role in creating economic opportunities for black people.

Ballmer said both public and private companies have “distinct responsibilities” to take it to the “next notch” – turning words into action.

“We need to have the conversation,” Ballmer said. “We need to do implicit bias training. We need to make sure that we’re hiring a diverse slate of candidates.” —Jabari Young

Defense secretary voices opposition to deploying active-duty forces against protesters

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper visits DC National Guard military officers guarding the White House amid nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

11:45 a.m. ET — Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he is not in favor of invoking the Insurrection Act, a law from 1807 that would allow President Donald Trump to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to respond to civil unrest.

“I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard, the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” Esper said. “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” he added.

Meanwhile, NBC News, citing two White House officials, reported that Trump is backing off the idea of invoking the act, at least for now.

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The latest revelation comes as Esper approved an order to bring 1,600 active-duty Army units to the Washington area for possible use controlling protesters.  —Amanda Macias

NYC mayor says curfew will end as first phase of coronavirus reopening plan begins

New Yorkers protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis, United States on June 2, 2020 in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

11:24 a.m. ET — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that an 8 p.m. curfew imposed during the heated protests over George Floyd’s death is set to be lifted Monday morning, when the city kicks off the first phase of its coronavirus reopening plan.

“We’re going to end it, as per now … 5 a.m. Monday morning, curfew comes off,” de Blasio said at a press briefing.

“I’d like for us never to have to use it again if we can do things right, and then we go right into the reopening,” the mayor said.

The first phase of the plan to lift social distancing restrictions will include construction, manufacturing and wholesale businesses, as well as retail businesses that can provide curbside pickup services.

“New Yorkers are resourceful. I have great confidence people will be ready,” the mayor said.

He apologized to any businesses dealing with the “additional challenge” of having to repair their stores following the violence and property destruction that occurred during protests over the past week. —Kevin Breuninger

Trump claims he went to White House bunker during protests for a brief ‘inspection’

10:55 a.m. ET — President Trump denied multiple news reports that he took refuge for his personal safety in an underground White House bunker during intense protests last Friday night.

Rather, Trump claimed he only visited the bunker during the day for “a short inspection.”

“It was a false report. I wasn’t down [in the bunker]” on Friday evening, Trump said on Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade’s show.

“I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny, little short period of time and it was much more for an inspection, there was no problem during the day,” the president said.

The New York Times first reported that Secret Service agents rushed Trump to the bunker, also known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, on Friday night as protests over George Floyd’s death outside the White House grew hotter. —Dan Mangan, Kevin Breuninger 

SoftBank announces $100 million investment fund for minority-owned businesses 

9:53 a.m. ET — SoftBank is creating a $100 million Opportunity Fund, which will only invest in companies led by people of color. The fund is one of the first big pieces of capital created in response to nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

“I see a lot of people have good intentions, but I think each one of us needs to contribute to make change in America,” SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The fund will start with $100 million of its own capital and could grow with more investments. Still, the fund pales in comparison to SoftBank’s Vision Fund of $100 billion, which is designed to invest heavily in high-growth start-ups. —Jessica Bursztynsky 

Bank of America CEO says ‘Things aren’t going to quiet down’

9:43 a.m. ET — Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told CNBC the U.S. has serious issues and “it’s time to fix them.”

“Things aren’t going to quiet down. They shouldn’t quiet down in terms of making the economic progress and core social progress we need to make here,” he said in a “Squawk Box” interview.

He called upon the business community to “redouble efforts” in promoting progress. Bank of America has pledged $1 billion in local economic opportunities. —Hannah Miller

Johnson & Johnson CEO says white men need to listen more

9:34 a.m. ET — Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said white men need to “do more listening” to gain empathy and understanding of the experiences of black Americans.

Gorsky announced earlier this week that J&J is committing $10 million over the next three years “to fighting racism and injustice in America.” —Berkeley Lovelace

Gov. Cuomo ‘dishonored’ NYPD with criticism of looting response, Mayor de Blasio says

9:21 a.m. ET — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio returned verbal fire at Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the governor said de Blasio and the NYPD “did not do their job” responding to rioters.

“He can attack me all he wants. I’m used to it from him. I think he’s wrong,” de Blasio said in a Tuesday night radio interview.

“But that’s not the important point. The important point here is he dishonored the men and women of the NYPD in an absolutely inappropriate way while they were out there fighting in the streets to restore order and protect people. I mean, that’s disgraceful,” de Blasio said.

Police Chief Terence Monahan said on NBC’s “TODAY” that Cuomo’s office called the night before to apologize for his comments. Cuomo himself also called New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to apologize, Monahan said.

A spokeswoman for Cuomo did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. —Kevin Breuninger 

Former Trump advisor urges president to show more empathy

8:35 a.m. ET — A former top White House advisor told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that if he still had President Donald Trump’s ear, he would urge him to show more concern and sympathy for the people protesting the death of George Floyd.

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Mick Mulvaney, who was Trump’s acting chief of staff until March, said the rhetoric surrounding protests is often couched in a false “binary choice” between empathy and authority.

“If I were advising the president, I would tell him, ‘Look, law and order, safety and security, is empathy,'” Mulvaney said.

Trump’s response to the unrest over Floyd’s death has focused on getting “tough” against the violence and looting. He has repeatedly pressured local leaders to bring National Guard members into their states and cities to keep a tighter lid on the protests and has threatened to call out the U.S. millitary.

“If you’re afraid of the police in your community, that’s not safety, that’s not security,” said Mulvaney, who now serves as the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland. —Kevin Breuninger 

Trump reportedly softens on sending troops into states

8:11 a.m. ET — President Donald Trump has privately eased off the idea of sending troops into states to enact control over protests, The Associated Press reported, citing unnamed White House officials. 

Trump on Monday threatened to deploy the military if local law enforcement couldn’t manage the unrest, and he later told governors that they needed to “dominate” in the face of demonstrations. 

The AP reports that Trump has shifted his thinking, in part after seeing peaceful protests unfold in many cities Tuesday. —Sara Salinas

NYPD makes 200 arrests Tuesday

NYPD officers block off the entrance to the Manhattan bridge to prevent a large crowd that marches to protest against the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on June 2, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Justin Heiman | Getty Images

7:57 a.m. ET — The New York Police Department made more than 200 arrests Tuesday related to protests, NBC New York reports

That’s about on par with the number of arrests made Monday night, despite thousands of demonstrators, an earlier curfew and a stronger police presence. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday pushed for a stronger response from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s police department. 

NBC New York reports that more than 2,000 people have been arrested across the city during the six days of protests. —Sara Salinas

Read CNBC’s previous coverage of the nationwide demonstrations: Pentagon moves troops to DC, UCLA ‘troubled’ by police using stadium as ‘field jail’



Via CNBC