Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Visits Japan; Trump Speaks to Business Leaders; Search for a New British Prime Minister; U.S. to Send Additional 1,500 Troops to Middle East; Boy Helps Man in Wheelchair as Storm Approaches. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired May 25, 2019 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN HOST: U.S. President Donald Trump has touched down in Japan. But several issues at home and abroad are outshining this trip. We'll have a live report, though, from Tokyo about it.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Plus, the race for Britain's top job. A look at candidates looking to take over for the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
ALLEN: Later this hour, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warns the Trump team of a fierce reaction if talks between the two nations do not improve.
HOWELL: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen, "Newsroom" starts right now.
HOWELL: 5:00 a.m., here on the U.S. East coast. The U.S. President Donald Trump is now in Tokyo, Japan, for a four-day state visit. These images taken a short time ago, Air Force One touched down about an hour ago after a long flight from Washington. Serious discussions over the next few days are expected, those discussions to focus on bilateral trade and international security. President Trump is expected to speak shortly at a dinner when monitoring these images here being held at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Tokyo. Of course, we'll take you there live as we see the president arrive there.
ALLEN: In the meantime, there will be plenty of relaxation on this trip. The president and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have scheduled at least one round of golf and they'll attend a sumo wrestling championship. The highlight of the trip will likely be Mr. Trump's audience with the new Japanese emperor. He will be the first foreign leader to meet the monarch. CNN is in Tokyo, our Ivan Watson joins us now with more about the president's trip.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On the first lady's birthday last month, the U.S. President welcomed Shinzo Abe to celebrate at the White House.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Prime minister, you're my friend....
WATSON: (voice over) Before they departed for dinner and cake, Japan's prime minister invites Trump to Tokyo, to be honored as the first official guest to meet a newly crowned emperor.
TRUMP: And I said, gee, I don't know if I can make it. Let me ask you a question. How big is that event compared to the Super Bowl for the Japanese? And the prime minister said, it's about a hundred times bigger. I said, I'll be there if that's the case, I'll be there. (END VIDEO)
WATSON: Making good on his promise this weekend, Trump's arrival launches a four-day state visit to Japan. An honored meeting with the imperial couple is just one of several events in a carefully tailor made schedule. It appears to follow a tradition of what's been called Abe's charm offensive as U.S. policy in Asia grows more problematic.
On his first full day in Japan, the two leaders plan to play a round of golf, now known as a cornerstone of their diplomacy, Abe once even gifting Trump custom gold-plated golf clubs. After the green, Trump heads to a sumo wrestling match where he'll have a chance to present a Trump Cup to the winner. It's to be followed by a dinner where the meat will be prepared just like the president likes, probably well done, maybe even with a side of ketchup. On his previous trip, Trump enjoyed similarly familiar fare when he and Abe sat down to eat an American-style hamburger.
The VIP treatment has led to speculation of a calculated effort to court Trump's favor as deeper policy issues loom.
TRUMP: Japan sends us millions and millions of cars, and we tax them virtually not at all.
WATSON: After threats of damaging auto tariffs, Abe and Trump are in the midst of bilateral trade negotiations. As one of Japan's largest export markets, the U.S. is a partner Japan cannot afford to lose as its economy slows. But Japan may find leverage after a dramatic failure of U.S. trade talks with China this month. On matters of security, North Korea's resumption of missile testing has rattled many in nearby Japan, who rely on defensive support from their U.S. ally. Trump's inability to strike a deal with Kim Jong-un during his last meeting and stalled talks with South Korea, having some ways left Japan in the cross hairs. Although officials have said this week's trip is largely ceremonial, matters of trade and national security could penetrate warm welcomes as Japan's relationship with the U.S. becomes ever more relevant.
Well, Natalie and George, the American president right now is at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador here in Tokyo.
And he is at a gathering of basically a who's who of the leadership of Japanese corporations -- companies like Mitsubishi, Toyota, Sony for example.
ALLEN: Yes, Ivan if I could interrupt it...
WATSON: That's the first scheduled event during this...
ALLEN: He's walking in right now with the First Lady. But - so let's hear what he has to say and we'll get back to you.
ANNOUNCER: The First Lady of the United States.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. We just spent many, many hours on the plane. You know the flight probably as well as I do. Here we are. We just walked off the plane and here we are along with probably 40 of the greatest business leaders in the world so thank you very much. Please sit down. Thank you.
Thank you, Ambassador Hagerty. You've been doing a fantastic job. Everybody is talking about the job. Do we like the job he's doing, folks? All right.
And we really have strengthened the enduring alliance between the United States and Japan. It's very special. Prime Minister Abe is very special. We greatly appreciate all of your hard work in organizing this wonderful event and Mrs. Hagerty, thank you very much, fantastic job, thank you.
The First Lady and I are thrilled to be with you as we celebrate Japan's Reiwa era, very special time and affirm the close economic times between our two nations. This evening, we're delighted to be joined by Ambassador Lighthizer, where is Bob? They didn't give you a great seat, Bob? What happened? He's been very busy negotiating deals and doing a fantastic job. Thank you very much, Bob; it's great you're here. As well as Mr. Peter Jennings, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Thank you very much. Thank you, Peter. Fantastic, Thank you.
Also in the room tonight are dozens of distinguished representatives from the American and Japanese business communities, the greatest business men and women in the world. You really have some people that are just been incredible and incredible investors in our country. Thank you very much. You said if I win, you're going to put $50 billion in and you put the $50 billion in. Now he says more. He actually raised it to $100 billion, that true and that's probably higher than that too. Thank you very much. I appreciate that confidence.
We also appreciate all of your spouses being here; very special people. Without the spouses, it doesn't work. That, we will all admit. So, thank you all for being here. We're deeply grateful to you for your presence and the relationship with Japan and the United States. I can say for a fact has never been stronger. It's never been more powerful, never been closer. This is a very exciting time for commerce between the two countries that we both love. The United States and Japan are two of the largest economies in the world. You're right there. You're doing fantastically well.
I was looking very closely on the ride over at some of the numbers being produced in Japan and doing great. Today, we're cooperating closely across many industries including defense, technology, digital economy and energy, also infrastructure, science and so much more. As you know, the United States and Japan are hard at work negotiating a bilateral trade agreement which will benefit both of our countries. I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years. But that's okay, maybe that's why you like us so much. But we'll get it a little bit more fair I think. I think we'll do that.
We also have a tremendous relationship on the military and Japan is ordering a great deal of military equipment. We make the best equipment in the world -- the best jets, best missiles, best rockets, best everything. So Japan has been doing very large orders and we appreciate that. And we think it's probably appropriate right now with everything that's going on. The world is changing.
With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship and we're getting closer.
Just last week, the United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship and we're getting closer. Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000. We welcome your support in these efforts and we hope to have several further announcements soon and some very big ones over the next few months and we're also here, as you know for a very special occasion, not having to do with trade; we all know about that.
Our nations are also working together to promote mutually beneficial investment. The United States is currently Japan's top foreign direct investor by far. And overall, Japanese investment in the United States supports nearly 1 million jobs, and that number is going up very rapidly. In fact, we're looking at projections, with all of the money coming in for the new auto plants and other things, that number will be doubled in a very short period of time.
Over the past two years alone, Japan has invested tens of billions of dollars in the United States. In March, Toyota -- where is Toyota? I thought that was you. Please stand up. That's pretty big stuff, right? Thank you very much. We appreciate it very much. Thank you. Which is represented in a number of people, but we have the boss; there's nothing like the boss. Thank you.
Recently announced new investments of $750 million, and increased its five-year investment plan to $13 billion, appreciate it, with plans to add many, many new American manufacturing jobs.
And last month Softbank and DENSO, where are they please? Where are they? Well this guy, where is - do you have another or you do - that's what I thought. Thank you very much. Thank you. Appreciate it. Join Toyota in announcing a $1 billion investment to help Uber develop self-driving cars and technology. And I guess self-driving cars are becoming a bigger and bigger thing. What do you think, yes? That's the future. If you say that's the future, I'm okay with it. It seems very strange when you look over and there's nobody behind the car going 60 miles an hour, but when you say it, I'm good with it.
I hope many of you in the room will also significantly increase your investments in the United States. There's no better place to invest. You look at what's happened with our stock market. It's up almost 50 percent since my election in 2016. We have the best employment numbers we've ever had as of this week. We have almost 160 million people working. It's the most we've ever had working. And we have the best unemployment numbers we've ever had specifically on groups, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic American, the best historically. With women, we have the best numbers we've had in now 71 years, that's going to be very soon, a historic number, meaning the best ever.
So there's never been a better time to invest and do business in the United States. We have some interesting trade deals going on. I'm sure you haven't read too much about it with China and some others but it seems to be working along actually quite well. Last year for the first time in a decade, the United States was ranked the most competitive economy anywhere in the world. During that year, our economy grew at 3 percent and if the Fed didn't raise interest rates, frankly, it would have been much higher than 3 percent. And the stock market as high as it's been would have been at least I think probably anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 points higher, but they wanted to raise interest rates. You'll explain that to me.
According to the World Economic Forum, our financial system and business dynamics and labor market all ranked number one, anywhere in the world. Manufacturing and small business optimism have set all-time records and consumer confidence has just surged to a 21-year high. So, they do studies, they do polls, and we're literally at the top of every study and every poll, so that's good. The optimism is what it's all about, when you think about it.
We slashed our corporate tax rate from the highest in the developed world to one of the lowest in the developed world. We took it down. I mean, some people could say we're at 41 to 42 percent different places, different areas. But we took it down from probably on average, 41 - 42 percent depending on what state you're talking about, sometimes, much higher than that to 21 percent and people were pretty amazed that we got that through. But what it meant is tremendous investment in jobs because capital investment is now 100 percent deductible and that's something that people thought would never happen. They'd never see.
You have one year deductions where it used to be in many cases 40-year deductions and we've cut red tape and job killing regulations at an unprecedented rate, the most ever by a president. And you could take four years or eight years, or more than that, in one case. And the fact is that nobody has ever cut regulations like we have. We've eliminated more than 30,000 pages from the federal register of regulations. These are all regulations -- thousands and thousands of pages. They're all gone and we still have regulation but it's sensible regulation. It's environmentally excellent and things are getting done.
In Louisiana, I just left Louisiana a few days ago, they opened an L&G plant. It's a $10 billion investment, many Japanese investors actually in that plant. Anybody in this room investing in that plant in Louisiana, it just opened. It's too bad...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
TRUMP: Congratulations because I hear you're sold out for 20 years, right? That's been a good one. Are you happy with the investment? OK, good. I think you would be. I've heard - I've heard it's been very good but we got the permits that were stuck for years and years and years where they couldn't get permits. We got the permits as soon as I got into office, I made sure that people were able to get permits to build and that L&G plant is one of the biggest in the world. It is absolutely magnificent.
Of course most people have no idea what they're looking at. This is a building that is a mile and a half long and it's all pipes. It's all pipes but in those pipes are a lot of energy is being produced and they were telling me the numbers and the amounts; it's incredible. And now they're building many more so we're going - we're really doing something very special. The United States as you know has become the number one country in the world during my administration, 2.5 years in energy.
So we're now number one in the world and actually we're number one in the world by far and if I get the pipelines approved in Texas which have been under consideration for many, many years, we'll get them done quickly because it's a good thing and if we get that we'll be up another 20 - 25 percent just that one move with the pipelines.
We were able to do the, as you know the Dakota Access pipeline and we were able to do many pipelines, many, many pipelines got approved that were stuck. They were absolutely stuck. You know the Keystone XL pipeline? The big one? I did that in my first week in office, 48,000 jobs and that's now under construction.
So we want U.S. companies, we want Japanese companies; we want firms from all around the world to build and hire and grow in the United States. It really is a special place and we have made it much easier. We've gotten rid of a lot of the red tape. As an example, if you look at the various types of plants, nobody was getting them approved; nobody was getting them out of the EPA. You couldn't get refineries done. You couldn't get anything. We were sending our raw product, way far away to foreign countries to have it refined and then we'd bring it back to the United States and now, we have plants, the likes of which nobody's ever seen, actually.
Commerce between the United States and Japan is essential to ensuring a future of peace and prosperity for all of our citizens. That relationship is so important. And I will say this, I met with some of our generals this morning, before we left, and the relationship they have with the Japanese generals has been incredible and they have tremendous respect for them, too. Tremendous respect.
If you join in seizing the incredible opportunities now before us, in terms of investments in the United States, I think you're going to see tremendous return on your investments. It's my sincere hope that the Reiwa era, the economic ties between the United States and Japan continue to grow deeper and stronger if that's possible. I think we right now probably have the best relationship with Japan is that we've ever had and that goes back a long way, but I don't think it's ever been better.
This probably is the best and we're going to keep it that way. I look forward to see you all. I look forward to shaking your hands right now. I know the media finally will get them to go back and rest because many of them came on the flight with us. I'm sure they want to go home. I'm sure they don't want to stick around and hear any of these conversations.
But anyway, we had a good time on the flight. We had a great flight and it's an honor to be with you again. I've been to Japan many times and have so many friends and it's a great place with great, great people, really great, great people. Thank you very much and let's say hello to everybody. Thank you. And thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Ambassador.
ALLEN: All right, President Donald Trump making his first official appearance after arriving in Japan just a little over an hour ago. The First Lady is in the room as well. He's at the U.S. Ambassador's residence there in Tokyo, talking with a group of Japanese business leaders, touting the strong relationship between the United States and Japan and encouraging more investment in the United States.
He did point out that there is a trade imbalance, and he said he got -- he said, well, they'd like to get it a little more fair. Let's go to our Ivan Watson. He's in Tokyo. He's been covering the president's trip, everything that will be happening in the next four days; the president spending quite some time there in Japan. Ivan, maybe you can talk about some of the things that the president addressed. One of them certainly was trade. And the hope of more investment in the United States and less of a trade imbalance.
WATSON: That's right. I mean, he was very much in salesman mode here. He was, after all, addressing leaders of Japanese corporations, calling some of them out, and thanking them for their investments in the U.S. economy and trying to encourage them to do more of the same to help create more jobs in the U.S.
I think a key point that stuck out here was his aspiration to negotiate a bilateral trade deal between the U.S. and Japan. These are the world's first and third largest economies and he also singled out his trade negotiator, Bob Lighthizer, who was there in the crowd. Now in months running up to his visit of President Trump to Japan, the Trump Administration had said that they wanted to ink and get this deal negotiated, before he came out here. That didn't happen.
For all we know, maybe a surprise could come out over the course of these three, four days. But it didn't sound like it. It sounded like that is still a process that is under way. Japan, if you go back a year, didn't want a bilateral trade agreement. Japan wanted the U.S. to stay with the Trans Pacific Partnership, this much larger multilateral trade deal that would have involved the U.S., Japan and a number of Asian and Pacific Rim economies. It would have become, if it had gone through, a kind of Japanese/U.S.-led trading bloc. But one of the first moves that the Trump Administration made was to pull out of that entirely. It has been negotiated by the Obama Administration.
President Trump has made clear that he prefers bilateral trade deals as opposed to multilateral trade deals but that hasn't quite come through between the U.S. and Japan. Meanwhile, the U.S. And Chinese trade negotiations have fallen apart right now. We know that the U.S. wants Japanese markets opened up more, in agriculture, for example, and he mentioned that U.S. beef was getting a foot in the Japanese market just recently for the first time since 2000, according to President Trump.
The military, the military cooperation, that is working well; trade, there still seems to be some bumps between these two countries despite the warm relations between the two leaders. Natalie and George.
ALLEN: Not -- not too much more official business while he's there in Japan, but much more fun and he'll be meeting the new emperor as well. Ivan Watson covering the trip. He'll there be there four days, thanks so much.
HOWELL: All right. We'll be right back, after this.
HOWELL: Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." I'm George Howell. The U.S. President arrived to Tokyo, Japan, just about an hour and a half ago in Air Force One. We have images, just as Air Force One landed and arrived there. You see where the president was headed there toward Japan and just landed, again, about an hour and a half ago. He's set to meet with the Japanese prime minister, also to meet with that nation's newly crowned emperor. Mr. Trump will be the first foreign leader to do so.
His first engagement, we saw it just moments ago. The president meeting with business leaders from the United States and Japan, talking about the strengthened alliance between the two nations. Again, especially focusing on the issue of trade. The U.S. and Japan currently in the middle of negotiating a new trade deal and President Trump expressed some optimism. President Trump during that meeting also touting the U.S. economy, jobs, numbers, investment in the United States. Also throwing a little shade, we heard him, on the Federal Reserve, the Fed, rather, for raising interest rates.
Again, President Trump in Tokyo, Japan, and will be there for the next four days. Let's get perspective on the president's trip now with James Boys. James joins from us this hour in London. James, this is certainly an important trip for Japan. Japan rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump, what do they hope to get out of the next several days?
JAMES BOYS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, George. There's no doubt about it, I think that there are two main key areas that the Japanese and indeed the Americans are going to want to focus upon and those are trade and national security. Both of which Donald Trump touched upon briefly in his opening remarks there with the business leaders from Japan and the United States. It's notable, of course, that Donald Trump was in full sales mode advocating not only himself, his relationship with Japan, and the market prospects of the United States. So far from a Japanese point of view, of course, they are concerned, I think, that his greatest accomplishment in office is nearly withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership which had been negotiated by the Obama Administration.
Now, Trump, of course, is touting the idea of a new bilateral trade agreement. But so far, I think, those negotiations have not progressed as quickly as the White House would have liked. So, that's one key area. The second, of course, is national security. I think the Japanese, of course, are concerned by the warming relationships, that Trump White House is advocating, with North Korea and the fact that those negotiations at this point seem to be stalling. So, with 50,000 American troops, 40,000 dependants and some other 5,000 Americans, civilians working within the defense establishment in Japan, clearly, you've got a very important national security relationship there, which the Japanese, I think are going to want to be seen as cementing further during Donald Trump's visit to the country.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And of U.S. allies, it could be said that Shinzo Abe (sic), the prime minister there, has maintained a very close relationship with Donald Trump, when we've seen other relationships with this president and other leaders become frayed or strained.
Shinzo Abe (sic) putting a great deal of time and faith in this relationship and, keeping in mind, President Trump values those personal relationships between leaders.
BOYS: You're absolutely right. You know, if you were to sort of canvas the world and think, where else has Donald Trump enjoyed such warm relations, it's difficult to find anybody at the moment who is on equal footing.
Of course, Shinzo Abe (sic) is continuing in office; in the U.K., we're about to see a change in leadership. One wonders how that might change if, for example, Boris Johnson were to become prime minister here. Might that develop into a new era of bonhomie between the United States and Great Britain.
But certainly, Shinzo Abe (sic) has invested greatly in terms of time and attention, lavishing praise on Donald Trump. It can't escape world leaders that Donald Trump likes that kind of attention. And you've seen Japanese relationships with the United States benefit as a result.
But the great question is to what end, what has that delivered to Japan at this point?
And at this point in time, one must ask whether any actual benefits have come from this. Certainly, there is a warming of relationships there. And we see Donald Trump making yet another visit there.
But what tangible benefits have come from this at this point?
And that, of course, is going to be the real telling issue in the remaining 18 months in Donald Trump's term in office.
HOWELL: History is a guide; looking back at how the French president also rolled out the red carpet for President Trump, focusing on the relationship, that relationship deteriorated. This president has shown he is willing to go his own way, despite those connections.
So the question is, will this play out for Shinzo Abe (sic), the prime minister of Japan, as he may want it to?
James Boys, we appreciate your time today. Thank you.
BOYS: Thank you.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Other issues involving the Trump administration. More U.S. troops headed for the Middle East. Will that move help ease tensions or make them worse?
We look at the mission and the potential fallout when we continue.
HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen.
The United Kingdom is gearing up for another political fight as the search for Theresa May's successor gets underway. The prime minister accepted failure, unable to deliver on Brexit, and is to resign as Conservative Party leader in two weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold -- the second female prime minister but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Ms. May's resignation takes effect June 7th, just two days after President Trump concludes his state visit there. Three days after that, the Conservative Party will start replacing for her replacement. That is likely to conclude by the end of July.
ALLEN: Joining us from London, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz.
Theresa May held on as long as she could, she fought hard; she failed with her Brexit plan but, in the end, she gave quite an emotional farewell. Talk with us more about that and the reaction.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Natalie, it was expected; this did not come as a shock that she resigned. Perhaps her emotional reaction was the most shocking of all. She's notorious for being quite a cold person here in the U.K.
But now the real drama begins. This leadership contest has already begun. We have five candidates that have already put their names forward, the front-runner among them is Boris Johnson, one of the key faces of the Brexit referendum, a very polarizing figure, of course.
Over the next few weeks, Theresa May, of course, will stay in power until June 7th to see through the European elections and the Trump state visit. Then she will be in a caretaker type role as her party begins to take all of these candidates and whittle them down to just two names. Those two names will go to Conservative Party members, 125,000 people across the country, who will vote on those two names by ballot. And by the end of July, we should have a new prime minister.
But what analysts will tell you, skeptics will tell you, almost everyone will tell you, is this does not change the parameters that cost Theresa May to fail in the first place. Parliament is still in deadlock. There's no consensus there.
And the European Union has said it will not renegotiate what it's already spent 2.5 years negotiating with Prime Minister May. So you're going to have this new prime minister in place, end of July; you have that October 31st Brexit deadline. That's the final day, that's when the U.K. leaves the E.U. officially.
So the new prime minister will have only three months to solve an impossible crisis -- Natalie and George.
ALLEN: Right, not too many options there beyond what Theresa May tried to do. Of course, the deadline is on Halloween, October 31st. Salma Abdelaziz, thank you.
HOWELL: Back here in the United States, Mr. Trump's plan to build sections of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico just hit a major snag. A federal judge issued an initial ruling blocking the president from using Defense Department money for parts of the wall without congressional approval. ALLEN: Months ago the president declared a state of emergency to free up Pentagon money for the wall after Congress refused his multibillion request. So the judge's decision came in a lawsuit that argued that the emergency declaration was made specifically to bypass lawmakers.
Well, Iran's foreign minister says plans for a U.S. troop buildup in the Middle East threatens global peace and stability.
HOWELL: Mohammad Javad Zarif tells --
HOWELL: -- Iranian state media, the troops pose a serious threat to that region. President Trump said he is sending 1,500 additional troops to counter Iran.
ALLEN: Officials tell CNN most of the troops will support the Patriot missile batteries and reconnaissance planes the U.S. also is deploying to the region.
Another move likely to anger Iran, President Trump has declared an emergency to speed up arms sales to Middle Eastern allies. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo says the move bypasses Congress because the threat from Iran is immediate.
HOWELL: However, prominent Democrats say that is just an excuse because Congress won't approve the sales. The price tag on the weapons is more than $8 billion.
ALLEN: Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul for us to talk about both of these developments.
Hello to you, Jomana. Let's start with the troop build up to counter what the United States says is a threat from Iran. Tensions have been tamped down. Now it seems they're back up with this move.
What can you tell us?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, over the past few days, it did seem that we were headed towards sort of a de-escalation. But here we are again, headed towards the unknown. It would seem, you know, reaction in this region would depend on what countries. You look at this as a very divided and polarized region right now.
You would have some countries, especially Iran's rival, that will be welcoming this move by the United States. And you have other countries calling for de-escalation and calm that would be very concerned about these developments, whether it's this additional troop deployment or the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
They'd really be seeing this as pouring fuel on this already raging fire. In the past few days, when we've heard these various statements either from the Iranians or the United States, indicating they're really not after starting a conflict or a war but, of course, maintaining that they're ready for any kind of confrontation or aggression, if that would happen, that was kind of reassuring for many in this region.
But now, the concern is, especially with this troop deployment in this region, again, what we have heard is these warnings in recent days, whether it's from members of the international community, the Iranians themselves or also U.S. lawmakers, especially on the Democratic side, who have been really concerned about some sort of an accidental confrontation that might take place in this small space of the Persian Gulf, as you see this buildup that's been taking place over recent weeks.
While the United States is really packaging this as a deterrent, this certainly will be viewed by the Iranians as an act of aggression, as we have described this buildup in the past few weeks, escalation, provocation.
And as we heard earlier today, as you mentioned, from the foreign minister, Javad Zarif, talking about that deployment, saying it's a threat to peace and stability on a global level.
ALLEN: All right. We'll be following it, two new announcements by the United States that's rattling that area of the world. Thank you so much, Jomana Karadsheh, with your insights.
HOWELL: Back here in the United States, severe weather has taken a serious toll on the midwestern part of the country, strong storms, tornadoes. You see what happened there. We'll have the aftermath and live update on the weather, ahead.
HOWELL: In the state of Oklahoma, a state of emergency has been declared for 77 counties. Eight people in that region died in the past week. A little boy remains missing after he was swept away by strong currents in Oklahoma. That boy had been playing in a creek there.
ALLEN: Yes, destructive weather has plagued the state for weeks. Tornadoes, high winds and the flooding you see there forced more than 1,000 residents to evacuate. There were eight storm-related deaths in the region in this past week alone. A 4-year old who was swept away by floodwaters is still missing.
ALLEN: What do you do if you need help and you're in a wheelchair as a storm approaches?
Well, we will show you the teenager who jumped into action -- when we come back.
ALLEN: Here's one we like. A 16-year-old boy is getting some much deserved attention after he came to the rescue of a man who really needed help.
HOWELL: You could say the teen was in the right place at the right time, just as that storm was moving in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This is the noise we know means take cover fast.
GREGORY BECK, ST. LOUIS RESIDENT: Everybody kept telling me the storm's coming, you need to kind of hurry up and get home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Getting home isn't as easy for Gregory Beck.
BECK: I lost my right leg last July.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): And his other one in March. Diabetes has also made him legally blind.
BECK: I can't see out of my right eye and everything in my left eye is mainly a fog.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): He says he was leaving Schnuck's on St. Charles Rock Road in St. John Tuesday as the sirens were going off, getting honked and yelled at for trying to cross the street. He made it to this gas station when a car pulled up.
BECK: This lady and her son were hollering at me to, like, are you OK?
SETH PHILLIPS, GOOD SAMARITAN: I was like, hey, Mom, can I help this guy out?
AMBER GILLEYLEN, SETH'S MOTHER: Without a second thought, Seth jumped out of the car and went over to him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This video Seth's mom, Amber, shot on her cellphone, shows him pushing Gregory to his home up the hill about a quarter mile.
BECK: But it does take me probably 20-25 minutes if I do it by myself. I usually have to stop about 10 times.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Seth's great-grandpa was also a double amputee. But that's not why this 16-year old helped a stranger.
PHILLIPS: We need to be caring for each other and we need to be helping each other out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): He certainly makes Mom and now this man he calls his friend proud.
BECK: The greatest people, just very concerned about other people, which America needs to start doing more of.
ALLEN: Well, said, that young man there.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues right on CNN, right after the break.