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SK: North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile; Soon: Trump Delivers Speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia; Pence Commencement Speech: Dozens of Students Expected to Walk Out in Protest. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired May 21, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a great honor to be with us. Our countries have a wonderful relationship together.
[07:00:04] But there has been a little strain, but there won't be strain with this administration. We are going to have a very, very long-term great relationship and we look forward to it doing that, and many of the same things in common. Thank you for being with us.
KING SALMAN, SAUDI ARABIA: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We are looking at some live pictures, I believe, here.
We want to get straight to CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny who is live there in Riyadh.
Jeff, I want to take a step back to the breaking news we have this morning about this missile launch overnight by North Korea. What is the White House saying about it this hour?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, the White House is keeping one eye on that missile launch in North Korea even as the president prepares to deliver a major speech here later today to the Muslim world.
But the White House released a statement a short time ago saying this. It says: We are aware that North Korea launched a mid-range ballistic missile. This system last tested in February has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea's three most recent tests. And they are referring to the Department of Defense for more information on this.
But again, this launch was something that is yet another distraction here, but the White House is focusing on this speech that he will give to the Muslim world later today.
PAUL: OK. So, we are looking at live pictures and help walk us through what we are anticipating today and really the mood there as we wait to hear from President Trump about U.S./Muslim relations.
ZELENY: Well, the mood here, I think, is one of anticipation for what the president is going to say. I mean, Christi, really, it is an opportunity to reset the relations, but also the rhetoric from this president that he, you know, so famously and infamously when he was running for president. It was just a little over a year ago where he said "Islam hates us." That is the type of language that the White House says will be toned down and tempered entirely in this speech.
Now, we are getting a couple of excerpts of this speech. They arrived just a short time ago. Let's -- I read one of those. Now, the president will not saw about radical Islamic extremism but he will say this, he said it is time to honestly confront the crisis of extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.
So, he is using similar language, but not as incendiary as during the campaign. But we are told it is going to be a message of peace. It is going to be a message that America is with Saudi Arabia and countries in this fight here.
But, again, most importantly, it is a chance for this president to reset his own rhetoric here which was so inflammatory. Of course, you know, it was a high point and center point of his campaign banning Muslims and we will not hear that as the day goes forward. But the president has been meeting with other leaders throughout the day here and throughout the morning here, talking about armed deals and other things have been worked out here.
So, so far, of course, no discussion of what is waiting for the president back home in Washington, but huge controversy, scandal over the Russia investigation. But so far in the first day of this trip here in Saudi Arabia, the red carpet rolled out for this president. And he certainly seems to be enjoying it -- Christi.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Jeff, it's Martin Savidge here.
SAVIDGE: This has been unusually to the script by the president, I will have to say almost remarkably so. I'm wondering whether that has surprised you at all in that his statements have been brief and they have been to the point, and it is as if he is almost having to restrain himself and just for follow the script.
ZELENY: Martin, I think that's right in one respect. I mean, certainly, it has not gotten off message at all. But there haven't been all that money opportunities to so.
On his first day here on Saturday, we were struck by he basically said about 26 words on television. He talked about jobs and he talked about the economy, and that was it. Of course, no opportunity to ask him anything at all from a reporter's and other things. He was, you know, certainly being wrapped in a cocoon, if you will, in some respect.
But certainly, this is a moment the White House hopes to reset, you know, his own controversies happening back in Washington and that means by keeping on message. Now, a bigger test, I think, will come later today, Martin, during that major speech he'll be giving and at a forum this evening actually on social media, he will be talking about his own strategy here and, of course, we've not seen him tweet anything yet today, and those tweets often are what sort of either get him in trouble or draw attention.
But no question, he is staying on the straight narrow, on track, on script, at least so far on this foreign trip -- Martin.
[07:05:03] PAUL: All right. Jeff Zeleny, we appreciate it so much. We continue to look at these live pictures. Thank you for the update on what is happening there in Riyadh.
We want to talk to Ali Shihabi, executive director of the Arabia Foundation, excuse me, and "New York Times" London bureau chief Steven Erlanger, and Amanda Terkel, senior political reporter and politics managing editor at "The Huffington Post."
Thank you all for being with us.
Ali, I'd like let's start with you. As we were just talking here, he is speaking, the president, to 50 leaders of Muslim countries but he is really speaking to the Muslim world. So many more people are going to be watching this to see what he says. What do you personally feel you need to hear from this president?
ALI SHIHABI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARABIA FOUNDATION: Look, I think it's going to be a scripted positive speech. I think what thoughtful people in the Muslim world will actually will appreciate is that for President Trump, he'll be also talking to his base. That has heard a different message from him on the campaign.
So, the fact that upon assuming office, you know, he has been able to sort of adjust his speech and realize that he has to work with the Muslim world and he has to work with his Muslim allies and particularly Saudi Arabia in fighting terrorism and in addressing the risks of countries like Iran and the Middle East. I think that is going to be very much appreciated.
So, it's the symbolism really of him having made the effort to get the speech, to come to Saudi Arabia on his first visit. That is going to be appreciated and registered by people in the region.
PAUL: We are getting our first excerpt from Trump's speech early on here. One line that we are getting, he will say, quote: Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.
I'm just wondering, Steven, what do you make of that comment in light of what he has said in the past?
STEVEN ERLANGER, NEW YORK TIMES LONDON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it seems like a platitude now and, of course, the Saudis are pretty extreme themselves. Their version of Islam, Wahhabism, is pretty extreme and it has also inspired a certain amount of radicalism. But I take his point. I mean, Trump has always talked about killing
off ISIS. That seems to be his main interest. And in doing deals and Saudi Arabia is very useful for both reasons. And then he has made a big point throughout the campaign and still of about Iran's interest and pleases the Saudis enormously.
So, to talk against extremism is hardly shocking and very good thing. What he is not saying is that some of the people in the room with him, he considered not very long ago to be extreme.
PAUL: Amanda, Steven Miller writing Trump's speech here. And we have to remember that he is also the author of the travel ban. Just over a year ago, Donald Trump said this about Islam. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think Islam hates us. There is something -- there's something that is a tremendous hatred there and we have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In Islam, itself?
TRUMP: You're going to have to figure that out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Amanda, how likely do you think it is that this visit, not only made change how Muslims see Donald Trump, but how Donald Trump sees the Muslim community?
AMANDA TERKEL, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, MANAGING EDITOR AT THE HUFFINGTON POST: I mean, I don't think it's going to change a lot. We keep hearing about how Donald Trump wants to reset, but then a few days later, he'll tweet something else. People have long memories and that is what he is running into when his administration is trying to defend his travel ban which bans people from now six Muslim majority countries, and they are trying to say, look, it's not a Muslim ban. We know that during the campaign, yes, you know, there was talk about a complete and total shutdown of Muslims interesting the United States but this is different.
But the judges who are hearing the case aren't fooled. You know the public, including his base, many of whom who like this sort of rhetoric and remember what he said. And so, he may, for example, avoid more incendiary phrases while he's overseas. He may not make any big mistakes or really sort of tick anyone off while he's overseas giving the speeches and meeting with the world leaders.
But what he has said in the past is not going to change and I think fundamentally when he comes back to the United States and talks to his base, I think he'll return to a lot of his old rhetoric.
PAUL: Steven, talk to me about Iran here and what they are talking about and the relationship that may unfold from this part-time.
ERLANGER: Well, everyone has made this contrast of Iran just having a pretty open election, electing or reelecting a moderate president, and a Saudi government that still won't let women drive and doesn't have a democracy.
[07:10:09] So, Iran, you know, is a very key player in the region. There is no question that the Sunni states have been very, very upset with Iran's reach and power. They were very eager to restrain Iran's nuclear program and very worried about Iran's missile program. Iran has been backing Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas for a long time in Gaza and in Palestine. Everyone is a little worried that, you know, future maybe with Iran since the Arab revolution has been stuttering.
So, in general, I think, the Americans are quite happy that they now have stable governments, more stable relatively in Saudi Arabia and again in Egypt. They are worried that Jordan is happy that the Arab spring has turned into a kind of winter. Everyone is preoccupied with Syria but doesn't want to talk about it. Iran is a big player there.
So, it's very hard for the United States to ignore Iran and I think it was a good sign that the Trump administration did not renege on the nuclear deal with Iran. It is trying to pump up sanctions on things like missiles. But the election of Rouhani I think is a good sign.
Trump listens. Now, Trump seems to have come into government, as we know, with a lot of edefects (ph), a certain ignorance about the world but he does tend to listen and my sense is that his view of Muslims has been moderated to some degree, partly, because he knows America's interests and the interest of his own success lie in beating ISIS and for that, he needs help.
PAUL: And, because of that, Ali, do you think part of the intent of this speech will be to urge Muslim leaders to be more vocal in their rejection of radical Islam? And, if so, how would that be received?
SHIBANI: If I could just, first, make a comment about Steven's point.
PAUL: Yes, go ahead.
SHIBANI: I thought rather surprising when people call Iran a democracy, when Iran is ruled by a supreme leader that nobody has elected. Even then it's a cosmetic process of electing somebody from a very thin bench of people that are approved from the ruling elites and who don't exercise power.
So, the Iran goes to the Sharad (ph) every four years of a so-called democracy. But the supreme leader is the ultimate ruler and the revolution guard is the most powerful force of the country again not elected.
So, I think the difference between the Arab states or the gulf monarchies they don't pretend to play the game of democracy. Iran plays that and a lot of people in the gullible west call them a democracy and that is a major fallacy.
Now, as to the speech, you know, the Muslim countries and particularly in the Gulf and led by Saudi Arabia are on the front line of fighting ISIS. ISIS is looking to Saudi Arabia as its ultimate target. You know, caliphate won't work unless you have the holy places, so they understand that they have to fight radicalism. They understand that they have to fight terrorism and they have been fighting it actually. People don't fully understand and appreciate the efforts made over the last 15 years.
Yes there are, you know, sort of radical theologians and there is a reactionary religious establishment and there is a lot of literature that is unacceptable to the western world and the governments are working on tempering that. But these things have to be done gradually so that you don't provoke, you know, a overreaction like the shah of Iran did and look what we got after that.
So, I think quite a total agreement between the United States and between countries like Saudi Arabia that they have to fight radicalism and they have to fight terrorism. And they are working very well together. I've had senior officials tell me, for example, in the last few years that the Saudi U.S. intelligence cooperation is among the best in the world and that is fighting terrorism.
So, there is that understanding that they are very vocal. You don't hear local media -- I mean, I think if the western media looked at what the local media and press and messaging is said in local languages like in Saudi Arabia, they would be pretty surprised because in Saudi Arabia, there is a very active program to take on radicalism and to take on messaging and, frankly, you know, arresting clerics that refuse to do that. So, it's a top priority and I think the Americans understand that, and also, that's why President Trump is there.
[07:15:04] Remember, President Trump hired very experienced people around him. General Mattis, General McMaster, these are people who not have served in Middle East and have fought in Iraq and have seen the Iranians and Revolutionary Guard in operation on the ground. They understand what's going on. I think they have played a role in directing the president to do what he is doing today.
PAUL: All right. Ali Shihabi, Steven Erlanger and Amanda Terkel, we appreciate you all being here and lending your voices to this conversation as we take some -- continue to take some live pictures here of what's happening in Saudi Arabia. All of the leaders, many of them who the president is going to be addressing today, arriving here at the Arab-Islamic American Summit.
SAVIDGE: We'll be back with more right after this.
[07:20:02] SAVIDGE: We continue to show you these live images that are coming from Saudi Arabia as Muslim leaders are gathering there to both have an opportunity to speak to President Trump but, most important, to listen to President Trump. And we should point out there are speeches and then there are big speeches.
This one is going to very big because of the fact of whom he is speaking to and what he is speaking about and it's primarily focused on the Islamic fate. We should mention that because it is such a high profile speech, it is hope that it's going to ease relations with the Muslim world but skeptics are concerned about the impact of the president's words after he spent, of course, the majority of his campaign criticizing Muslims.
CNN White House correspondent and reporter Jeremy Diamond is live in Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia.
He is saying that, you know, we must come together -- and I'm quoting now what we have at least an excerpt from the president -- confronting Islamic extremism. But he's not saying radical Islamic extremism. Jeremy, what's the difference?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, it's really interesting. There was a question over the last couple of days as to whether or not the president would say those words, which he talked about on the campaign trail, radical Islamic extremism which he berated President Obama for not uttering during his presidency.
Now, it appears that President Trump is not going to be saying those words. He is instead going to be saying, as you just said, Islamist extremism. Now, to the untrained ear, that might not sound so different but here in the Muslim world, that is going to make a difference because the fact he is not talking about Islam. He is not saying this is derived from the Islamic religion. Rather, he is saying that is tied to the fundamentalist Islamist ideology, which is the ideology, of course, that groups, terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS adhere.
And so, that is going to make a big difference here in the Muslim world where people have been hoping that the United States can make clearly that there is a difference between, of course, the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims around the world and this Islamist ideology that groups like ISIS have used. What the president is going to make clear in this speech is that, quote, this is not a battle between different faiths, different sex, or different civilizations, but, rather, a battle between good and evil.
So, this is going to send some very strong signals from the United States to the Muslim world to try and say, listen, the United States is not at war with Islam, it is at war with these fundamentalist groups like ISIS.
PAUL: OK, Jeremy, I want to read something we have gotten prior to him giving this speech.
It is believed he is going to say: America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we're here to offer partnership based on shared interests and values to pursue a better future for us all. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invoke the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.
So, it sounds as though he is going to try to urge Muslim leaders to be more vocal, more forthcoming in demanding that these terrorist acts stop, and if they stop invoking Islam as their reasoning for them.
DIAMOND: Absolutely. You know, that is another very important side of this speech, at least based on the excerpts we have seen so far, is that there is going to be a call for burden sharing. So, it's not just outreach to the Muslim world and making clear that the U.S. is at war with these terrorist groups and not the broader Muslim world, but there is a call, almost a suggestion that these Muslim countries have -- bear a certain responsibility for these terrorist groups and for routing out these fundamentalists from the religion and making clear that they don't represent them.
So, what we're hearing here from the president is that he is really saying, listen, Muslim countries, you must unite behind the United States, you must join in our efforts to fight terrorist groups like ISIS and that goes in line with the president's ultimate goal of destroying ISIS and his efforts thus far in his administration to try and enlist the support of Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and others who will be gathered more than 50 Muslim leader gathered for this speech this evening to urge them all to unite behind the United States and to confront together Islamic extremism.
The president has voiced some criticism saying that many of these Muslim countries in the Middle East have not done enough to confront the terrorist group like ISIS. There are, of course, issues like financing of these terrorist groups coming from Muslim countries right here in the Gulf region. And so, clearly, the president is trying to say not only are we not at war with Islam, but Muslim countries you must help us, you must help us to confront this extremist ideology and to take down these terrorist groups.
[07:25:12] SAVIDGE: Jeremy, thank you very.
You know, I'm just noting what we are watching there on the monitor and you're still watching live images there. I believe that is Mahmoud Abbas who is the Palestinian leader and you can see he is having a rather intimate moment conversing with the king of Saudi Arabia. This is significant because, of course, later in the week, President Trump travels to Israel tomorrow, but he'll also go to Bethlehem and is expected to meet with that very man. So, it just shows you the dynamic that is in the room today listening to the president.
This week, President Trump will meet also the pope and it is the first time, and it's also after he criticized the pontiff during the election. How can they find common ground? That's ahead.
[07:30:11] PAUL: Welcome back. Good to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: I want to show some live pictures here out of Saudi Arabia this hour. President Trump is preparing to speak to a group of 50 Muslim leaders
at the U.S./Arab Islamic summit. In a few hours, he will be delivering that speech.
SAVIDGE: We are getting excerpts from that speech right now. Here is some of what he is going to say. Quote: This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.
Trump goes: That means honestly confronting the crisis or Islamist extremism and Islamist terror groups it inspires.
Some of President Trump's speech that is anticipated to be coming shortly.
PAUL: You know, as part of the president's five-nation trip, he's also going to be meeting with the pope. That happens on Wednesday. And as you might remember, they haven't always seen eye-to-eye. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, the Mexican government fed the pope a tremendous amount of stuff that Trump is not a good person and the pope just made a statement, can you imagine? I just got a call. As I'm walking up, they said, Mr. Trump, the pope made a statement about you. I said, the pope? What did the hope say?
I like the pope. I mean, was it good or bad? Because if it's good, I like the pope. If it's bad, I don't like the pope. No, it's true.
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): A person who thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So let's talk to Darrell Scott, founder and senior pastor to the New Spirit Revival Center and a Donald Trump supporter, as well as Maureen Fielder, host of Interfaith Voices and a sister of Loretto.
We appreciate both of you being here with us. Thank you.
I wanted to ask you first and foremost, Darrell, what are your hopes today for this speech and what it might bring in terms of understanding?
DARRELL SCOTT, FOUNDER & SENIOR PASTOR, NEW SPIRIT RENEWAL CENTER: Well, Mr. Trump has been trying to clarify his opinion and seems oftentimes he has taken off context. So, he's misconstrued. He wants to clarify his opinions on Muslim radical extremism and he also wants to clarify his feelings toward, you know, in this trip to the Vatican, towards the pope, he holds no hostility towards him. The pope is head of a sovereign state and he's a spiritual leader of
the Roman Catholic Church. So, there has to be constructed dialogue between the United States government, the head of the United States government and the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. I believe he is going to mend fences and he's a very charismatic guy, the president is, and I believe he and the pope are going to get along famously. And I believe that the Islamic countries think they will have a warm welcome for him, too, when they meet him face-to-face.
PAUL: Sister Fielder, I want to read something, an excerpt from an article that you wrote recently. And you said, I'm sure this visit will be brief but even in a short time, anything Francis can do to bring Trump to face the realities of the world will be a gift to the entire planet.
What are your hopes for the meeting between President Trump and the pope?
MAUREEN FIELDER, HOST, INTERFAITH VOICES: Well, my hopes are centered on the issue of climate change, actually, because Pope Francis wrote a landmark encyclical called "Laudato Si'" on the importance of climate change and dealing with in the world, and Trump has been one to deny the reality of climate change. And so, I would hope that they would have an honest exchange of views on that.
And it has occurred to me that the pope, who is a very pastoral person, might approach Trump in a pastoral way on this, saying, you know, I was new to the papacy, obviously as anybody is, I had a lot to learn and I had a lot to learn about the earth, about climate change, and, thus, I was led to write this encyclical. And he might encourage Trump to do the same thing.
I also expect that the pope is going to encourage him to be more aware of the needs of the poor in the world at large and in the United States. And I think, finally, they probably -- they might touch the issue of nuclear weapons because that has become looming large with the North Korea crisis in the world. And certainly in that vein, Pope Francis is going to be, of course, very much opposed to any consideration even of the use of nuclear weapons and probably encourage Trump to do the same.
[07:35:12] PAUL: Darrell, the pope has said that he is going to keep an open mind with this. He said, I will say what I think. He will say what he thinks. But I never, ever want to make a judgment without hearing that person.
Do you believe Donald Trump can go into that meeting with that same open mind?
PAUL: Darrell, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
SCOTT: Absolutely. One thing I know about President Trump is that he is has a very high regard for members of clergy and high regard for spiritual leader. Often times when I'm in his presence and I have other spiritual leader with me, he takes the position of the lesser and he acknowledges the spiritual leader as the greater and adopts a position of humility.
Now, he is going in his capacity as president of the United States. Only so low he can humble himself and I believe he will be gracious to the pope. He's going to be open-minded to what he has to say. He will process whatever the pope's input to him is. Then he'll make whatever decisions that he can.
He is not going to condescend and he is not going to dramatically alter his positions or his opinions based on one meeting. He'll go in with an open mind and listen to what he has to say. He wants to be friends with him. I believe they will come out of this with a better relationship than they currently have.
PAUL: Sister, we have the president would who has been a bit vague over his own faith. He has said he is a Christian. He has rejected sharing some of his favorite Bible verses per se and there are some people -- he is not somebody who attends church regularly. So, there's some people question how strong his faith is.
Do you believe that the president be changed by this meeting with the pope?
FIELDER: I don't know that one meeting can change a person, but I do think he will be very much affected by his meeting with Pope Francis because Pope Francis is just a dynamic warm person. I've never actually met him myself. I'd love to. But he certainly is a transformative figure. So, who knows?
Trump is a Presbyterian by denomination but you're right, he doesn't regularly go to church as far as anybody knows. It's not clear how important that faith tradition is to him. So, it's possible that Francis will encourage him to look into that in greater depth and perhaps have Christianity have some meaning in his life and decision. If that even started to happen, it would be a major improvement.
PAUL: Darrell Scott, Maureen Fielder, Sister Fiedler -- we appreciate you both being here. Thank you for taking the time to walk through this segment with us.
SCOTT: God bless.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, he is probably the only member of the Trump administration that's not in Saudi Arabia. The vice president head to his home state today. But he may not get the warmest of welcomes. We'll go live to Notre Dame University where dozens of students plan to protest his graduation speech this morning.
How much do you know about Muslim communities in America? Tonight, on "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA", W. Kamau Bell travels to an Arab-American Mecca outside of Detroit to have uncomfortable conversations about the Muslim faith in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's this rhetoric of a standard of Muslimness and that's dangerous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the misunderstandings about Islam have to do with who Muslims are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're taking my religion and killing people as a devout Muslim, that's not what my god told me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't support homosexuality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In our religion, it is forbidden.
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": How was it to grow up in the Muslim faith and be gay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that you can be gay and Muslim at the same time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's part of our beliefs to always have hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam has always been part of the American fabric.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will just continue to strive as citizens of this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what the mosque is all about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People need to wake up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is who we are and this is what we stand for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:43:26] SAVIDGE: And you're looking at live pictures out of Saudi Arabia. Any moment now, we are anticipating that we will also see the arrival of President Trump. We've been watching what has been the arrival of dozens so far.
Now, Muslim leaders are from not just around the region but other parts of the world, as a matter of fact. It's quite an extraordinary gathering that Saudi Arabia is hosting here, on top of the president of the United States. So, again, Saudi Arabia trying to show it's a leader in the Muslim world both in faith and in politics. It's also going to be a very key audience for President Trump to speak to on an issue he has been quite controversial past and that's on the faith of Islam.
PAUL: Yes, that speech he's going to be delivering here this morning and when he does step up to the podium to deliver it, not just to the leader of the 50 Muslim countries who be will there with him but really to the world. We're going to be bringing that to you live, of course.
And we are getting some excerpts in terms of what he's expected to say. He will say, Together, we must confront Islamist extremist. And we'll have more on the exact preview he is discussing in a moment.
But we do want to tell you what is happening with Vice President Mike Pence today as well. He is speaking at Notre Dame at their graduation.
SAVIDGE: And dozens of students plan to protest his speech by walking out of that ceremony. They say it's a statement against his policies which they believe target minorities.
CNN correspondent Rosa Flores is live in Notre Dame, Indiana, where she has been speaking to students about the protest.
Good morning, Rosa.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
Well, from talking to some of the students who plan to walk out today, they tell me that it's very simple. This is a Catholic university and on this campus, they learn to stand up and speak out for the poor and the marginalized, and that is what they say they plan to do when Vice President Mike Pence begins to speak today during commencement.
Now, three students are with me today. Two of them are graduating so congratulations, first of all, and then we have the editor of the paper with us also today.
But I want to start with Bryan Ricketts. Why is it you're standing up and walking out today?
BRYAN RICKETTS, NOTRE DAME STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT EMERITUS: Yes. Well, so for me, I was a student here at Notre Dame in 2015 when Mike Pence and Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act without including initially civil rights protections for LGBT people. But many other people are walking out with us, too. They are students who are low income from low income families and when they go back home, their parents don't know if they are going to continue to have health insurance from the Medicaid expansion.
There are students whose students whose parents and families are undocumented and they are coming here on this day of celebration to see them graduate and are concerned they might not make it back home. So, all of these people feel targeted in some way by the policies of Pence. But by staying together in solidarity and walking out, we hope to take back some of the celebration for ourselves.
FLORES: Now, I'm talking to Luis Miranda, who is also one of the organizers of the walkout, I know we talk about this yesterday, about a bit of perspective. There is about 50 to 100 students who will probably stand up and walk out. There's about 40,000 people who are going to be in the stadium about 3,100 students are going to get degrees.
Why do you think you are in the minority in this case in standing out and walking out?
LUIS MIRANDA, HELPED ORGANIZE GRADUATION PROTEST: Well, I would not be so sure we are in the minority. I think it's a question of organizing and preparing to go ahead and walk out. For us is about calling upon those values by which we have been thought here at the university, values like Catholic social teaching that teaches you to care about the poor, to care about the vulnerable.
And so, we believe that, today, even if we are small number, we will stand for truth and we will let truth speak. Today, we are standing for human dignity. We are standing for solidarity, for justice. We're standing up for the vulnerable. We're standing up for those targeted by the policies of Mike Pence and we hope that people will be able to see that and what we are trying to do.
FLORES: Now, Courtney Becker, right? I got your name right? Is the editor of the paper here, the student paper.
My question to you is a lot of people think about university and the years at university and say that's time when you're supposed to speak to opposing views, listen to opposing views, because it's the time for you to find yourself. Do you think that should happen today, that people maybe perhaps shouldn't walk out and should listen to Vice President Mike Pence?
COURTNEY BECKER, NEWS EDITOR, THE OBSERVER STUDENT NEWSPAPER: I think the people definitely have been listening. Over the past few months, the announcement of Vice President Pence as the commencement speaker was very divisive. There are some students who really support bringing the vice president to campus and feel honored to be able to host him at this university. I think that, you know, Brian and Luis and those who choose to walk out with them recognize that.
And the stated purpose of the walkout is not to disrupt anyone's graduation day or get into a fight. It's just to stand in solidarity with the people they believe are marginalized and they hope it doesn't disrupt the commencement ceremony so much so that other students won't be able to enjoy their day.
FLORES: Thank you so much for being here today, so early for us too this morning.
And, again, so these students have contacted the university and this walk-out, Christi and Marty, is expected to be very respectful and very peaceful. Again, this is just so they can voice their opinion regarding Vice President Mike Pence being here on their campus today -- Marty and Christi.
PAUL: And the policies they talk about there.
SAVIDGE: Yes, Rosa, thank you very much for that. Thank you to your guests and to the graduates there, congratulations.
PAUL: Live pictures here still coming out of Saudi Arabia as they get ready to listen to a speech by President Trump and we are waiting for his arrival which could be any moment now. We are going to continue to follow. Stay close.
(CXOMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:53:40] SAVIDGE: Going to be a huge day, to use the president's own word, to describe the importance of the speech he is going to deliver. We've been looking all morning at these images of the Muslim leaders predominantly that are gathering in Saudi Arabia to both listen to the president and to also meet with him as well.
PAUL: We've gotten an excerpt of what the president will say, part of it is: America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We're not here to lecture. We're not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, how to worship.
Instead, we're here to offer partnership based on shared interest and values to pursue a better future for us all. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.
So, that's just a bit of what we know the president will say, as soon as he steps up to the podium to have the speech, we will certainly bring it to you live.
But we're so grateful that you spend some of your weekend mornings with us. Thanks for being here.
SAVIDGE: And, a reminder, we'll bring President Trump's speech when he does speak live.
"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King is coming up next, but first, in this week's "PARTS UNKNOWN", Anthony Bourdain shows you don't have to travel far to experience food and culture from around the world. Have a great day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN: Interested in wonderlands where you can eat your way through various countries of central America or Asia, Africa? Immerse yourself in cultures not your own? You don't have to go far.
[07:55:02] It's right across the river.
BOURDAIN: Magical place, an enchanted wonderland of diversity and deliciousness, called Queens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I walk out the door every day and everybody here is a hustler. Everybody's trying to make it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the borough of dreams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love this place. If the American dream is alive, I think it's alive in places like Queens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I'm not traveling out of the country, then I can travel here and still be in the world. (END VIDEO CLIP)