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CONNECT THE WORLD
Trump Touts His Political Record on Memorial Day; U.S. Delegates in North Korea to Prepare for Talks; Trump to Lay Wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Real-Life "Spiderman" Saves Child Dangling from Balcony; Former IMF Official Nominated as Interim Prime Minister of Italy; Calls for Abortion Vote in Northern Ireland; Mo Salah Confident He Will Be Fit for World Cup. Aired 11-12n ET
Aired May 28, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, welcome this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you in Dubai, where it is 7:00 p.m. in the
evening, 11:00 a.m. in Washington.
Let me take you to Arlington National Ceremony just outside Washington where U.S. President Donald Trump will soon speak on behalf of the nation
paying tribute to military service members who died in the line of duty. First, he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, that is
supposed to happen anytime from now and then he will give remarks later in the hour and we'll bring you them live.
Nearly 35,000 unknown soldiers are buried at Arlington National Ceremony along with some 400,000 other service members. It is considered America's
most hallowed ground for its fallen soldiers. Let's bring in two of our White House reporters, Stephen Collinson and Jeremy Diamond following this
story from Washington where we believe the President will leave in a few minutes to get to that ceremony. This is an annual event of course,
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. The President actually just departed the White House a couple of minutes ago.
He's going to head to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath there. He was there as well last year during his first Memorial Day as president
where he actually visited the grave of his Chief of Staff, John Kelly's son. John Kelly, his son died in Afghanistan in combat there. So, the
President will be head to Arlington today to once again commemorate this day. But he did spend much of the weekend not talking about fallen
soldiers, but instead he spent the weekend golfing for much of it, as well as tweeting attacks against the special counsel's investigation, against
Democrats as well as against the media.
And even this morning the President's tweet saying happy Memorial Day. He talked about those who died for our great country, but then he went on to
tout the accomplishments of his presidency saying that those fallen soldiers would be very proud of the work that he has done as president.
ANDERSON: Yes, many years presidents, of course, have shied away from talking politics on Memorial Day, Jeremy, focusing on what unites the
country, not dividing it. But as you rightly point out, Donald Trump tweeting this shortly before heading to Arlington Ceremony and this is this
Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud of how well our country is doing today. Best economy in
decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics ever. (& women in 18 years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!
His supporters will probably welcome tweets like that, his detractors less so -- Jeremy.
DIAMOND: Yes, that's right. And once again, you know, the President is heading to Arlington, he is going to honor those fallen service members.
But it is important to point out when the President does behavior like this that is out of the norm for Presidents on these kind of sacred days like
Memorial Day weekend, you know, is not typical. And so, it's important to point that out.
ANDERSON: Stephen, we talk about something cannot typical in an era of Trump. There is very little that is typical about this U.S. President,
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. And I think Jeremy makes a good point there. This is a moment when Presidents seek to fulfill
that ceremonial role of their office, to bring people together in a moment of national solemnity. It's inconceivable that a previous president in
modern times would have had twinned a sort of message of remembrance on Memorial Day, almost like an infomercial for the success of his presidency
and making it very political.
The media and Trump's opponents will point that out today and Trump supporters will simply see this as another instance of Trump's opponents
being hypersensitive and always out to get him. But I think it tells you a lot about the state of the United States, the state of politics in the
Trump era. And it is the kind of division which the President has used deliberately as a political tool. And so, it's not just something that's
inappropriate, it's deliberately done and it's a method -- it's a political method that we've seen from this President.
[11:05:00] And it tells you a lot about the state of the country right now.
ANDERSON: Stephen, Jeremy, stand by. I want to bring in Matt Rivers. It is a working holiday for U.S. delegates in North Korea. They are laying
the groundwork for a possible summit between Mr. Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, of course, just days after the President called that
meeting off. He is now suggesting it's still a go. In a tweet on Sunday, he sounded upbeat saying Pyongyang has, and I quote, brilliant potential.
Well, talks have been planned for June 12 in Singapore and a lot can happen between now and then, let's bring CNN's Matt Rivers. He's in the South
Korean capital, Seoul. Where we are well aware because we've been discussing now it seems for weeks. The South Koreans really hoping that
this meeting will happen. U.S. delegates now we know in North Korea pushing again to make this happen. It seems North Koreans are on track
with all of this. So, I assume you will tell us today it is most likely June 12 is on, correct?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean most likely best we can tell all indications are pointing towards this June 12 summit being a go. And
what we're seeing from the American side is a couple different, really indicative signs there. You've got one American team down in Singapore
working out the logistics. Where is the Summit going to happen? What kind of access is the media going to get? Where will the parking lots going to
be? I mean, it's literally to that kind of detail.
But the more important American delegation in this part of the world, would be the one you mentioned. That crossed the demilitarized zone into the
North Korean side -- they're at the demilitarized zone on the North Korean side of that border. And that delegation meeting with their North Korean
counterparts, trying to work out what is this summit's agenda going to be, what are the nitty-gritty details that these two leaders, should the Summit
go ahead, actually talk about. And that's where things get difficult.
But what we know, is that the American delegation is led by some very senior people, people who have experience with North Korea. So, the
delegation led by the Ambassador Sung Kim, who currently is the Ambassador to the Philippines for the U.S. But he's a North Korea expert. He spent
several years here in South Korea as an ambassador and he was there as a special envoy for the United States the last timing there was substantive
negotiations with North Korea about their nuclear program. That would be the six party talks that ultimately ended up failing.
And so, because of that, you have an ambassador leading the U.S. charge here trying to figure out what's going on with this agenda. But in that
ambassador, you have someone who is well aware of how fragile these kinds of talks are, and how difficult it can be to reach an agreement with
Pyongyang even if summits are held, negotiations are held. There is no guarantee that a deal will work out in the end.
ANDERSON: That ambassador then as good an expert as anyone assumes. And, Jeremy, it is that lack of expertise in the run up to what we got last
week. Which was the letter from Trump to Kim Jong-un canceling the Summit. It was a lack of expertise that many people were talking about as having
been the number one issue in the run-up to these talks. Does it really matter whether Donald Trump is prepared if indeed the preparations are
satisfactory ahead of that meeting? Because in the end, it's a picture- perfect moment. Isn't it? But it is the work done before and afterwards that's going to count.
DIAMOND: Yes, it depends how it goes. Because I think that the idea that U.S. officials would like to see -- is they would like to see something
pre-prepared, pre-negotiated by the subject matter experts, by top U.S. officials like Mike Pompeo, like the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines.
And then have the President sit down with Kim Jong-un and have a more ceremonial meeting where they can actually sign this agreement that has
already been brokered. But there is a big question and a lot of Trump administration officials who I've spoken to are concerned about this, is
the idea that what happens when Donald Trump gets into that room with Kim Jong-un. Will they stick to whatever the plan was that was agreed to
before? Or will the President, someone who has been known to improvise, known to go off the cuff and follow his gut, improvise again at the highest
stakes table in the world? And it is definitely a possibility and it's something that has concerned Trump administration officials so far.
ANDERSON: Well, we will continue to speculate what will happen if indeed it happens at all on June 12. Stephen, probably until June 12. Meantime
let's get back to Arlington Ceremony in Arlington Cemetery, just outside of Washington in Virginia. Where more than 3 million people visit annually.
And we will see there the image of the wreath that the President will lay on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier momentarily. As you consider these
images, your thoughts.
COLLINSON: It has become a rather poignant ceremony in recent years, when the president goes to mark Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery, because you
have fewer and fewer numbers of the greatest generation, the second world war generation, who are now beginning to pass away. And you have this new
generation of war veterans from the Afghan and Iraq wars which of course join the Vietnam Veterans. So, you look back at this and you think, well,
this has been a country that's been at war basically for the last sort of decade and a half since the September 11th attacks. Jeremy was
conferencing there the son of John Kelly, the Chief of Staff, who was killed in Afghanistan, James Kelly, in 2010.
[11:10:00] And the last three Presidents particularly Presidents Obama and Bush have really been war time commanders-in-chief. And this ceremony has
taken on much more sort of emotional resonance for a new generation of Americans. Trump, of course, is a wartime commander-in-chief. There are
U.S. troops in action in Syria, in Iraq, we've seen fatalities in recent months in Africa. Where U.S. troops have been fighting Islamic radicals.
But Trump to some extent although he is very militaristic in his rhetoric, he has great reverence for the military. He is trying to organize a
military parade on the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war in November on Veterans Day. He is less of a wartime commander-in-chief
ironically than Presidents Obama and Bush due to the pullback from Iraq and Afghanistan that happened in the Obama presidency.
So, is going to be very interesting to see how the President handles this. You have this sort of split screen presidency between a president who spent
most of the morning tweeting about one of the most divisive things in American politics, the Russia investigation, now he is standing as a
representative of a nation remembering all the Americans that died to defend the United States in this sort of set piece ceremony. So, it's like
everything with the Trump presidency, it is completely contradictory and strange and, you know, improvisational.
ANDERSON: You see Sarah Sanders in the picture now. John Bolton, the new national security adviser, has just arrived. So, one assumes that
President Trump, his arrival is imminent. Memorial Day originally honored to military personnel who died, of course, in the Civil War. The holiday
now honoring those who died in any war while serving with the United States.
So, we await the arrival of the U.S. President. Who will lay the wreath you see there being held by one of the soldiers, on the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldiers. Or the unknowns. Which has never really been officially named. It's a memorial to the dead of World War I, of World War II, the Korean War
and the Vietnam War. And the tomb itself made from marble quarried in Colorado. It consists of seven pieces. It's a total weight of about 79
tons and was completed in 1932. We're told at a cost of $48,000.
The tomb has the following words inscribed, here rests in honored to glory an American soldier known but to God.
And this is a tomb that is guarded 24 hours a day every day of the year by volunteer members of the third U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as the old
guard, in full dress uniform carrying M-14 rifles.
So, the arrival imminently of the U.S. President to lay wreath as happens every year on Memorial Day on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a day
honoring American soldiers who died serving the country in wars. And this is observed annually in the United States on the last Monday in May. The
difference this year, of course, is that there is a different sort of president who has been tweeting today.
Many U.S. Presidents shying away from talking politics on Memorial Day and the past, focusing on what unites the country, not divides it. Not Donald
Trump though tweeted shortly before heading to Arlington ceremony.
Happy Memorial Day, those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud of how well our country is doing today. Best economy in
decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics and women in 18 years. Rebuilding our military and so much more.
[11:15:11] Stephen, as we wait for the slightly delayed arrival, I have to say, of the U.S. President, who will those gathered there be -- aside from
obviously the dignitaries that we've seen coming in?
COLLINSON: Right, you've got veterans, you've got top brass of the military, you've got families of veterans in recent years there have been
many of the dead from Afghanistan and Iraq laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Which is just across the Potomac from Washington. So,
you'll have representatives of those families.
Each of the graves in the cemetery is adorned with an American flag, which were put on the graves by service men in the days leading up to Memorial
Day. You also have a very interesting thing called "rolling thunder" which is veterans of the Vietnam War come on their Harley Davison motorbikes
every year driving from all over the country toward Washington and they meet in the parking lot of the Pentagon. And that's been going a long
time. I see we see the President coming in here.
ANDERSON: That's right. Let's just pause for a moment. This is Memorial Day honoring American soldiers who died serving the country in wars. Let's
just watch these images for a moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Present, present arms.
[PLAYING OF NATIONAL ANTHEM]
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Present, present arms.
[TRUMP LAYS WREATH AT TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER]
[11:20:00] [PLAYING OF TAPS]
ANDERSON: Arlington National Cemetery, where the U.S. President and those gathered honoring those fallen U.S. service members on what is Memorial Day
today, the last Monday in May. The holiday declared a national holiday back in 1971. And that is the wreath laid there on the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier. White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, still with me -- Stephen.
COLLINSON: Right, Becky, that was really a sort of very conventional classic ceremony that we've seen other presidents take part in. You saw
the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Joseph Dunford, the top military officer. James Mattis, the Defense Secretary, who is himself a decorated
Marine General and the playing of taps, the bugle sounding there, which is equivalent in much of the rest of the world of the last post remembering
And it was just a reminder that for all the sort of strange twists of this presidency that we've seen this morning in fact as you mentioned, the
President tweeting about the Russia probe and politics. You know, he still has the ceremonial role. And a very important role as the commander-in-
chief with the U.S. war in many parts of the world. So, sort of a solemn moment that is probably somewhat unusual in this Trump presidency.
Stephen Collinson, good friend of the show and our White House reporter in Washington today. Back with me a little later this hour as we will hear
from the U.S. President there at Arlington. For the time being, we will take a very short break. Back after this.
[11:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Now take a deep breath and let's just have a look at this incredible death-defying video.
You just have to see to believe it. Don't you? What you've just seen is a man climbing the outside of a building in Paris, pulling himself up from
one floor to another with nothing but his bare hands to save a little toddler hanging on for dear life. The man an immigrant climbing from Mali,
climbing four floors in seconds, grabbing the toddler and pulling him to safety. It is almost super human. You wouldn't believe it unless you've
You can see why this chap is being called "Spiderman". Well, the rescuer saved the child's life and now his actions are utterly transforming his
own. Jim Bittermann is in Paris for is now. Not far from where that rescue happened. I want you to talk about what can only be described as
one hell of a heroic act in a life changer to boot. Before we talk about the chap from Mali who -- I was just looking at that video again,
remarkable what he did. Is the toddler OK?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The toddler is fine as far as we know. He's been taken away from his father and his
father has been in trouble with the police this morning already. Because he's been charged with sort of neglect of children -- of his child. He
left the child at home alone while he went out shopping.
It's not known where the mother was when all this was taking place. But in any case, the toddler was crawling around, apparently walking around, got
out on the balcony and got hooked up's somehow and dangled in midair as you see from the video. And so, the child has been taken away from the father
and is in temporary care with a foster family.
ANDERSON: So, right, tell us about this rescuer, this super hero, this "Spiderman" from Mali. What do we know about him and what's happened
BITTERMANN: Well, 22-year-old from Mali who had come to France last year. He basically was trying to get to Europe and to France beginning in Mali
and then going on to Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Libya, taking the hazardous journey that many migrants have died on across the Mediterranean. He said
he was in a very crowded boat. Landed in Italy was granted temporary asylum and then made his way to France. He wasn't illegal here. He was
here waiting for a judgment on whether or not he could be granted asylum. He didn't have a resident card or anything like that or work papers, but in
any case, he is now going to be a citizen.
[11:30:00] President Macron after hearing about all this asked that he come to the Presidential palace this morning. And he had a little chat with
him. He ended the chat by saying bravo to the Malian, and Mamoudou Gassama, 22-year-old. And he said he was just going out for a bite to eat
and watch a football match on Saturday evening when he heard all the commotion. Saw the child dangling. And he said in a very understated way,
you know, I kind of like children. Here's what he had to say. A little sound from him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAMOUDOU GASSAMA, RESCUE CHILD DANGLING FROM BALCONY (through translator): We came here to watch the football match at a restaurant. I saw a lot of
people yelling. Cars were honking. I got out and I saw the child who was about to fall from the balcony. I like children, so I will hate to see him
get hurt in front of me. I ran, and I thought of ways to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to that balcony.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): How did you climb? It seemed easy.
GASSAMA: I got on top of a door and I managed to pull myself up from balcony to balcony. And thank God I saved him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: So, giving credit to divine intervention and, Becky, they say life expands and contracts with courage, so I think we can say that Mr.
Gassama's life has really expanded today -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Mamoudou Gassama. You know what? All credit to him. Some will call this a savvy PR move by the President, other people will call it just
a really good news story. This guy is a hero. And he deserves everything. Thank you, Jim.
CONNECT THE WORL continues after this.
[11:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Just after half past seven in the UAE. Where in Dubai today. Just after
half past 11:00 in Washington. Arlington Cemetery, the pictures that where you are seeing here. President Trump on the stage. He will make some
remarks today on what is, Memorial Day. We've first seen him a little earlier this hour laying the wreath -- for putting up a wreath on the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier. We'll get back to Arlington Ceremony when President Trump starts speaking.
For now, though, to Italy where three months after elections, the winning populist parties still haven't managed to form a government. Now this man
has been nominated as interim Prime Minister, Carlo Cottarelli, a former IMF official. He'll run Italy until new elections next year after the
President rejected a proposed coalition government. So, what does all of this mean? Let's bring in Delia Gallagher who joins us now live from Rome.
Months without a government which is, of course, by no means unfamiliar to Italians. How did we get here this time and what happens next?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, as you mentioned, this has been going on since March 4th elections brought in the two leading
parties, the League and the Five Star, neither of whom had a majority and therefore they had to come together to agree on a government. One of the
ministers of their proposed government, the finance minister, a Euroskeptic, was rejected by President Mattarella yesterday. And so, the
President suggested that he bring in this interim Prime Minister, Cottarelli, who is as you say, a former IMF official. Now, Mr. Cottarelli
spoke to the nation today, Becky, and said that there are two hypotheses. One if his government is approved by Parliament -- that must happen in next
few days -- they will govern until the end of the year in order to get the 2019 budget passed. As crucial for Italy. And then elections can happen
early next year. If they are not approved by Parliament, Mr. Cottarelli says that they will govern anyway until the end of August at which time
there will be new elections. So, either sooner or later, Becky, the end result is there will be new elections in Italy -- Becky.
ANDERSON: There will be those who say democracy is OK as long as the winning ticket is one that the President agrees with. If not, all bets are
off. I don't know whether you think that would be fair in Italy. The two populist parties who won the election of course are relatively Euroskeptic
to say the least. What happens with their agenda now?
GALLAGHER: Well, it's very serious. There's quite a bit of turmoil this morning because of the President's decision yesterday. Luigi Di Maio, the
Leader of the Five Star Movement actually calling for the impeachment of the President Mattarella. They have been on Facebook trying to get their
supporters to follow them in probably what is going to be increased populist antagonism against the institution of the presidency. We haven't
seen that level of rhetoric before, Becky. So, all eyes are now going to be on this upcoming election to see, A, whether there is a surge in
populist support for these parties because of this clash with the President. And, B, whether it opens up a discussion on Italy's involvement
in the euro, something we didn't see at the top of their agendas in the last campaign -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Sure. Delia Gallagher is in Rome for you today where it is 5:38 p.m., 7:38 p.m. here in Dubai.
Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas has left
hospital after eight days. The 82-year-old's departure from the Ramallah clinic was broadcast live saying that he'd be back at work soon. He was
admitted last Sunday suffering from a lung infection.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital. Doctors say that the 93-year-old's low blood pressure and fatigue is to blame.
They say he is awake and alert. This is Mr. Bush's second time in hospital since his wife Barbara passed away last month.
In Hawaii, the volcano there is showing no signs of slowing down. A fast- moving lava flow sparked evacuations on Sunday, that flow from just one of the 24 cracks that have opened up since the volcano erupted more than three
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is facing calls to allow a vote on abortion in North Ireland. That after voters in the Republic of Ireland
opened the door to legal abortion in a referendum on Friday sparking these emotional scenes. Campaigners are now looking north where abortion is
still illegal. [11:40:00]
One party helping to keep Theresa May government in power intend to keep it that way. Erin McLaughlin is in London with more.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Ireland has incredibly restrictive abortion laws when compared to other parts of the United
Kingdom. It's essentially illegal to get an abortion in North Ireland other than in life or death situations for the woman. And now campaigners
are looking to change that, building on the momentum from that historic referendum that we saw take place in Ireland.
The issue being that normally in the United Kingdom the issue of abortion is resolved by the devolved assemblies. And in the case of Northern
Ireland, Stormont Assembly has been suspended due it a power sharing agreement collapsing some 18 months ago. And that is why now British Prime
Minister, Theresa May, is coming under increased pressure to do something about the situation. The issue there being that the Democratic Unionist
Party or DU P which is against any change in abortion law in North Ireland, is what's currently holding her government together. Which is why some say
that Teresa May is reluctant to push for change.
Some calling on her nevertheless to push for a referendum there in Northern Ireland on the issue similar to the referendum that we saw in Ireland.
Downing Street at the moment is ruling that out. Saying that this is a matter to be solved by the Devolved Assembly in North Ireland.
Nevertheless, campaigners continue to push for change. There is an Amnesty International petition with over 30,000 signatures calling for change in
North Ireland. Reporting from London, I'm Erin McLaughlin.
ANDERSON: And I'm Becky Anderson in Dubai for you today. CONNECT THE WORLD continues after this short break. Stay with us.
[11:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. And for those of you who are just joining us we are in Dubai today.
Meanwhile, more than welcome.
Egyptian football fans awaiting to hear how exactly -- how long star player Mo Salah will be out of action. Salah injured his shoulder, of course,
over the weekend in the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid. There has been no official word yet if he will be fit to play in
the World Cup. Which of course kicks off in Russia less than three weeks from now. But Salah tweeted that he is confident that he will be there.
World Sport's Patrick Snell joining me live from Atlanta. And Mo's legions of fans across the world will have been relieved to have seen him back on
social media late last night. What did he have to say for himself?
PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, hi, Becky. This is great news for Mo Salah, really encouraging. And as you say, he is such a popular really
charismatic figure as you well know. But let me get to that tweet you referenced. Because it really is the first clear indication now that he
believes he may well have a good chance of being fit in time for the FIFA World Cup. Which starts in just over two weeks.
What he tweeted was, it was a very tough night, but I am a fighter. Despite the odds, I'm confident that I'll be in Russia to make you all
proud. Your love and support will give me the strength I need.
But you've picked up on something there about the fact that he was tangling up with Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid skipper, who many people are actually
citing as a villain of the piece here. And with that in mind, we were working out -- there is actually an online petition doing the rounds right
now of around 300,000 names, basically calling for a retrospective punishment on Sergio Ramos. Who let's just say has a reputation of being
somewhat of an uncompromising defender, shall we say. I suppose in the interest we actually be pretty fair and hear his side of the piece.
Because he has been tweeting as well. He clearly wants to have his side of things -- have his say on that, Becky.
He tweeted, sometimes -- translating it -- sometimes football shows you it's good side and other times the bad. Above all we are fellow pros. Get
well soon, Mo Salah. So that's Sergio Ramos weighing in on the situation - - Becky.
ANDERSON: There will be 300,000 wanting a retrospect to look at that. There will be 300 million Arabs I can tell you who are saying less than
positive things about Sergio Ramos this days. I'm going to go to President Trump because he is speaking at the Memorial Day celebrations Arlington
ceremonies. Stand by, Patrick, please.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress and distinguished guests. Thank you for joining us on this solemn day of remembrance. We
are gathered here on the sacred soil of Arlington National Cemetery to honor the lives and deeds of America's greatest heroes, the men and women
who laid down their lives for our freedom.
Today we pay tribute to their service, we mourn alongside their families, and we strive to be worthy of their sacrifice. The heroes who rest in
these hallowed fields, in cemeteries, battle fields and burial grounds near and far are drawn from the full tapestry of American life.
They came from every generation, from towering cities and wind-swept prairies, from privilege and from poverty. They were generals and
privates, captains and corporals, of every race, color and of every creed. But they were all brothers and sisters in arms. And they were all united
then as they are united now forever by their undying love of our great country.
Theirs was a love more deep and more pure than most will ever know. It was a love that willed them up mountains, through deserts, across oceans and
into enemy camps and unknown dangers. They marched into hell so that America could know the blessings of peace. They died so that freedom could
[11:50:00] America's legacy of service is exemplified by a World War II veteran who joins us today, Senator Bob Dole. Earlier this year, I was
fortunate to present a very special award to Bob, the Congressional Gold Medal. Bob, thank you for honoring us with your presence and thank you for
your lifetime of service to our nation. Today we remember your fallen comrades who never you returned home from that great struggle for freedom.
We are also proud to be in the company of another American hero, Navy veteran Ray Chavez. At 106 year of age and he was in the Oval Office two
days ago and he doesn't look a day over 60. He is the oldest living survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. What a guy. And Ray, you are
truly an inspiration to all who are here today and all of our great country. Thank you, Ray, for being with us. Thank you.
Most importantly we're joined today by the families of American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. We cannot imagine the depth of emotion that
this day brings each year, the grief renewed, the memories relived, those last beautiful moments together cherished and always remembered. And you
also feel that incredible pride, a pride shared by one really and truly grateful nation.
To every parent who weeps for a child, to every child who mourns for a parent, and to every husband or wife whose heart has been torn in two,
today we ask God to comfort your pain, to ease your sorrow, and to wipe away your tears. This is a very special day. And today our whole country
thanks you, embraces you, and pledges to you we will never forget our heroes.
ANDERSON: President Trump at Arlington ceremony in a scripted speech on Memorial Day honoring those U.S. service men and women who have lost their
lives serving the country in wars. White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, is still with me.
[11:55:00] And I point out, Stephen, that he stuck to the script pretty much. Because he has got a habit of going rogue, of course. And this is
one of those occasions where U.S. presidents, whoever they been, have shied away from talking politics. Focusing on what unites the country, not
COLLINSON: That's right, Becky. That was unusually, as you say, the President sticking to the speech so far at least. It was a speech that
really could really have been given by any U.S. President of modern times and that's not something that you can often say about President Trump. But
at the same time, we have to remember that on a day that is sort of put aside to remember U.S. war dead and a day of national unity, he has spent
some time this morning tweeting about the Russia probe, touting the fact that the roaring economy would make those who have given their lives to the
United States proud. So, although he is sticking to the script here and is clearly relishing being in the spotlight, the President has not stepped
back from politics on Memorial Day. And I would say that is fairly characteristic.
ANDERSON: Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington in Virginia. President Trump on Memorial Day. I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD.
Stephen, thank you for joining us. And viewers, thank you for watching. CNN of course continues after this short break.