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George Floyd's funeral, Dems debate 'defund the police' and the U.S. in recession as Wall Street soars

"They didn't know him like we knew him," said Jonathan Veal, one of Floyd's former classmates in Houston about the world chanting his name.
Image: People stand in front of a mural of George Floyd in Houston
People stand in front of a mural of George Floyd in Houston, Texas on Monday.Johannes Eisele / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

George Floyd’s funeral, Dems debate "defund the police" and the U.S. is officially in recession, but don’t tell Wall Street.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

Democratic leaders clash with activists over 'defund the police'

While "defund the police" has become a rallying cry for the movement to combat police brutality and racism that has exploded across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death — it has created a delicate dance for Democrats.

President Donald Trump has seized on the slogan to paint his opponents as radicals who envision a world of lawlessness and anarchy. Attorney General William Barr decried the mounting calls Monday, saying it would lead to an increase in "vigilantism" and "more killings" in major American cities.

Comments like those have left the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a sticky situation where he has to try to balance protesters' calls and not alienate moderate white voters who may sympathize with the protesters' cause but still support police.

So far, Biden and most other Democrats have resisted the left's calls and have floated more modest measures to curtail bad police behavior.

"No, I don't support defunding the police," Biden told CBS Evening News on Monday. "I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community."

And Congressional Democrats unveiled a police reform bill on Monday that would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants in drug cases.

But wary activists say, that's "not enough."

Meantime, Floyd's long goodbye reached his hometown of Houston where thousands gathered to pay their respects at a public viewing at the Fountain of Praise church on Monday.

Among the mourners were old childhood friends suffering their own private grief amid the public outcry.

"They're chanting his name across the world," said Jonathan Veal, one of Floyd's former classmates in Houston, "but they didn't know him like we knew him."

Floyd will be laid to rest next to his mother in Houston on Tuesday.

Here are some other developments:

It's official: The U.S. entered a recession in February.

The U.S. is officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth, after the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and shut down the economy.

"The unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession," said the National Bureau of Economic Research.

But, despite the grim designation, Wall Street soared on Monday, brushing aside the news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day 460 points higher, the S&P 500 erased its losses for the year to close up 1.2 percent, and the Nasdaq hit a new high and edged even closer to the 10,000 mark.

Investors remain firmly optimistic that recovery is within spitting distance — despite metrics that indicate economic pain across the nation.

People wearing protective masks walk by a closed discount store during the coronavirus pandemic on May 25 in the Queens, N.Y.Cindy Ord / Getty Images file

Businesses in the city that never sleeps woke up to a new reality

The city that never sleeps emerged from its coronavirus-imposed stasis Monday with a handful of "phase one" businesses in New York City raising their roller shutters to a landscape altered by the virus and protests over systemic racism.

While some small-business owners said they were eager to get back to work after three months, they expressed uncertainty about what's next.

They're not the only ones.

Despite the signs of economies across the globe slowly reopening after months of lockdown, the World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic is "far from over" as the number of cases globally hit 7 million.

"More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Monday.

How Texas couple claimed their baby from Ukraine despite lockdown

It took the Straubs more than three days to travel from Dallas to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. But, arduous as it was, to them the trip was worth it.

A baby was waiting for them in Kyiv. Their baby. Waiting to come home.

The Straubs are not alone. Due to travel restrictions the Ukrainian government imposed in March, dozens of other prospective parents from all over the world remain separated from their babies, who have already been born to Ukrainian surrogate mothers.

Darlene Straub, 45, center, takes a selfie with Yulia, 33, left, a surrogate mother holding Straub's newbron daughter Sophia, right, and her husband Chris Straub, 43, in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 30.Oksana Parafeniuk / for NBC News

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One fun thing

New Zealand declared itself free of coronavirus on Monday.

Many Kiwis celebrated the return to almost normal life after the government lifted social distancing rules.

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Thanks, Petra Cahill