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Trump Meets With Prince Charles for Tea; Rival Democrats Launch Attacks on Joe Biden; Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Will Not Challenge Trump; CNN Poll: Democratic Support for Impeachment Rises. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired June 3, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:33:43] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're going to show you right now some pictures of Clarence House. This is -- Clarence House is where President Trump, the first lady, and -- oh, I think we're going to be getting those pictures in. When we get them, we'll show them to you. There you are. The magic of television.
The president and first lady, Melania Trump, meeting with Prince Charles and Camilla, meeting at Clarence House.
I still have no confirmation of what was on the floor that the prince had to pick up. I'll get that to you. I know that's a burning question in your minds.
Meeting there and they're going to do a quick photo op before they head into the very proper, formal tea they'll be sitting down for. And the president with the future king.
So, the president is getting the royal treatment, of course. Right now, he's meeting there. And joining the president during the state visit, which has been a long time coming, two years in the making, are his family.
And all the finishing touches are being made, after -- right now for tonight's main event, which is a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
Joining the president, on the state visit, are all of his adult children, making this truly an extraordinary family affair.
CNN's White House reporter, Kate Bennett, is standing by at Buckingham Palace.
Kate, you have been doing great reporting on kind of the pressure that first lady, Melania Trump, has felt ahead of this two-years-in-the- making visit, and everything that we're seeing play out.
[11:35:08] KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. And I mean, she met the queen last summer with the president. They had tea at Windsor. But that's nothing like a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
She's been planning, attending protocol meetings with her staff to make sure she gets everything right.
When you're involved with the royal family and all the pomp and circumstance and titles and orders of things, this is something that Melania Trump pays very close attention to, even if her husband might not.
And certainly, the queen of England has met first ladies going back to Jackie Kennedy. And notoriously, first ladies get a little nervous around the queen.
Michelle Obama, of course, tells the story about putting her arm around her, which is sort of a protocol faux pas. She said they were commiserating about wearing high heels all day.
But Betty Ford found herself calling her "Her Highness" instead of "Her Majesty."
Barbara Bush was worried because she asked the queen a question and wasn't sure if you were supposed to ask the queen a question.
These are certainly moments for first ladies, whose job already is sort of so nebulous. There's no defined job description for the United States first lady. There's nothing definitive she's supposed to do. There's no salary. There's sort of -- it's very what each one makes of it.
For these moments, Melania Trump becomes very by the book. She becomes very -- she brushes up on her facts. She makes sure the gifts that are given are very sentimental and have purpose.
I'm telling you, this hat, this outfit she's wearing today, she's been planning for a long time. That's a custom dress and a custom hat. And I'm sure whatever we see her in tonight at the ball, the banquet, will also be special. These are things she thinks about a couple months in advance at least.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Great to see you, Kate. Great reporting. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
For much more on this, our royal commentator, Victoria Arbiter, is with me, and CNN contributor and author, Sally Bedell Smith.
It's great to have you both here.
Victoria, let's talk about the tea happening right now. What is happening? I was having fun with Max Foster earlier about it because I know I would completely mess this up. Thank goodness, I'm not in the room, even though I would pay a lot of money to be in the room.
What is happening inside Clarence House when the president is sitting down with the Prince of Wales? He sat down with the queen for tea. Is protocol different when you're sitting down with the heir to the throne?
VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: It really isn't any different. And I think the protocol -- there's so much has been made of protocol, and really it's there to offer guidelines. It's there to sort of tell people, to give people an idea of what to expect. But if something goes wrong, it's not going to be a big issue.
It's quite interesting because, last year, on this working visit to the U.K., Trump was much maligned for supposedly breaking protocol because he didn't bow to the queen. Well, foreign heads of state don't bow to each other. It was also suggested he kept the queen waiting. He didn't. So I think --
BOLDUAN: She was early or something.
ARBITER: She was early. I think the fact she glanced at her watch made everyone think, he's late, he's messed up again. He didn't. She was in the right place. He was on time.
In situations like today, I think we can see that Donald Trump clearly wants to do very well by the royal family. It's really the only instance in which I have seen him ever be deferential.
He's had public disputes with the London mayor. He's had public disputes with Theresa May. But as far as the queen goes, and now, by extension, Prince Charles, he seems to be doing reasonably well.
Now, there's still time, of course. We have the state banquet this evening.
But anything can go wrong for anybody. When Obama attended his state banquet, he started speaking right as the national anthem started playing.
ARBITER: So at the end of the day, everybody is human, mistakes are OK.
But what I think would be most interesting behind closed doors is not whether or not he's stirring his tea in the correct fashion. It's what kind of climate charge conversations are going on.
BOLDUAN: As Victoria stated perfectly.
Sally, on that point, Prince Charles has really been much more front and center on this visit so far. He greeted President Trump when they landed at Buckingham Palace. He walked him through the review of the guard, now the formal tea. What do you think it means that Charles is taking a lot of the lead so far in this visit?
SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think, in many ways, Prince Charles has been really pushed forward more, particularly with the retirement of the Duke of Edinburgh a couple years ago.
But one amusing thing today, which is people probably don't really know this, but back in 1988, when Charles was in Palm Beach for a charity polo event, Donald Trump gave him tea at Mar-a-Lago. And he was very involved in all the events. It was for a conservation charity that meant a lot to Prince Charles. So this is not the first time they have had tea together.
And in fact, the last time they had tea together, it was Donald Trump and his then-wife, Ivana, who were the hosts.
BOLDUAN: That is fascinating, Sally. How the tables have turned slightly or maybe not that much, actually.
BEDELL SMITH: Yes.
[11:40:00] BOLDUAN: So, Victoria, then, the main event, the big event is the state dinner this evening. Can you lay out the importance of it and the ceremony and kind of -- it is a beautiful thing to see in the moments we do see.
ARBITER: It really is. Today, we have seen the finest of pomp and pageantry the British have to offer.
ARBITER: And, yes, it is a big show and, yes, Donald Trump responds to a big show particularly in his honor.
But it goes much further than that. These types of events are laid on to really further Britain's interests, and to solidify, to reaffirm that special relationship.
So tonight, we're going to see the finest in royal hospitality. When they set up these state banquets, they're taking rulers to measure the distance between the chairs and table. Nothing is left to chance. The queen will come in and oversee everything before her guests of honor arrive. She's been known to move the flowers, to mask the microphone. She doesn't miss a beat.
But Donald Trump will have a chance to make a short speech. He'll toast the queen, as she will have done the same beforehand. There will tiaras for the royals present. And we're going to see really the finest in British society, but also a number of Americans that are living in the U.K. that they are considered important enough to invite to this event. So there will be about 150 people there.
It will be a lavish affair. And really, it will be, I think, probably, of this three-day visit, the most lavish of everything.
BOLDUAN: I do want to ask you, before we even get there, Sally, let's talk still about this tea. Victoria touched on it, which there are many -- there may be many differences in views between Prince Charles and President Trump, but maybe no more so than their views on climate change.
BEDELL SMITH: Yes.
BOLDUAN: It's a cause the prince has been fighting for years. But when it comes to climate change, President Trump has called it a hoax. And he kind of often links it to weather patterns. How would Prince Charles bring up an issue like this? How could this go?
BEDELL SMITH: Well, I suppose he could bring it up delicately.
One pattern in the way Charles has behaved in the last few years, as he's approached his time in taking the throne, is that he has been much less controversial in his public statements. He made his views known and has made them known very, very clearly over the years.
He was an early, early -- he offered early, early warnings on climate change, on threats to the environment, such as from plastics, which is, I think, everybody can agree now. Maybe that will even come up in his agenda today with Donald Trump. That the spread of plastics and ruining our oceans, things like that.
There are other things that he could address that may not be any kind of a direct confrontational situation. You know, so I think it will probably be more like that.
I mean, we have to remember that not so long ago, back in 2005 and previously in 2009, he refused to go to two state banquets honoring Chinese presidents. He refused to shake the hand of one Chinese president because of the mistreatment of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans.
He's much more muted. He's getting prepared for the role that he will assume, which in the wonderful phrase, is called the light above politics. He's obviously free to voice his views now. But he's not doing it in so forthright a way.
BOLDUAN: As we all keep saying, oh, to be a fly on the wall.
One thing that is unique about President Trump, though, is things that happen in private quite often, eventually, he does tip his hand publicly, so let's see if any of that comes out after this.
BEDELL SMITH: Yes.
BOLDUAN: Regardless, it's great. Thank you guys for being here.
Really appreciate it, Victoria.
ARBITER: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Sally.
BEDELL SMITH: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the knives come out for former Vice President Joe Biden, but not from President Trump. How Biden's Democratic rivals -- call them rivals rather than competitors now -- how they're sharpening their attacks. That's next.
[11:48:30] BOLDUAN: If you thought this presidential primary season would be all kumbaya, as Democrats link arms to defeat Donald Trump, think again. The knives are starting to come out, at least when it comes to the current frontrunner on the Democratic side, Joe Biden.
The former vice president, he skipped the California Democratic Party convention over the weekend. Instead, headlining a human rights campaign dinner in Ohio. And his opponents, they surely took note, though not calling him out by name. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT) , PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As you all know, there's a debate among presidential candidates who have spoken to you here in this room and those who have chosen, for whatever reason, not to be in this room.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) , PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some say, if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses.
WARREN: But our country is in a time of crisis. The time for small ideas is over.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D), SOUTH BEND MAYOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Democrats can no more keep a promise to take us back to the 2000s and the 1990s than conservatives can keep a promise to take us back to the 1950s. We can only look forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: I want to bring in now CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, for much more on this.
Jeff, there seems to be a trend developing here. Why now?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, there's one reason for that. The first Democratic debate in about three weeks or so, near the end of June. And that's where all of the Democrats are finally going to be on stage together on back-to-back evenings because there's so many of them.
But what they are trying to do now is try out a couple of themes about going after the frontrunner.
[11:50:11] We should say this up front. They would all love to be in Joe Biden's position. They would all love to be the frontrunner. They would all love to be out there, sort of driving the conversation and talking not about Joe Biden.
What they are trying to do is use him as a way to sort of elevate themselves. Like Pete Buttigieg, for example, talking about going forward, you know, a new generation of leadership. Elizabeth Warren talking about, you know, big ideas, not small ideas. And, of course, Bernie Sanders there as well.
Kate, envy and jealousy is also alive in politics. They are trying to get some of Joe Biden's glow, if you will, all leading up to that big debate at the end of June -- Kate? BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.
Great to see you, Jeff.
Let's see whoever starts adding in and calling him by name, he who shall not be named, the Democratic frontrunner.
Great to see you, man.
OK, so that's on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, this morning, the big question is, will there be another challenger to President Trump in 2020 other than former governor, Bill Weld?
Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan announced he would not be one of those. There was a lot of speculation if he would run against the president in a Republican primary and he's definitively said he will not.
Joining me now is former Ohio governor and CNN political commentator, John Kasich.
Good to see you, Governor.
JOHN KASICH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, Kate, before we go, I have to tell you a great story about Prince Charles. My wife and I went to the Bush funeral. Listen, we went to the Bush funeral, it was very cold in the cathedral, and there were a myriad of politicians that wanted to say hi. My wife is having all these people come by.
And when the service ended, she wanted to get out of the cathedral and into the bus so she could be warm. And I said to her on the way out, hey, look, there's -- there's Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister of Canada, and he's with Prince Charles. Come over, we'll meet Prince Charles. And she thought I said Vince Charles. So she went on the bus.
So I go over, say hi to Prince Charles. I walked back on the bus. I said, Wife, Karen, Sweetheart, for a person that loves the royal family so much, you missed out on meeting Prince Charles, what were you thinking? She said, John, I thought you said Vince Charles, not Prince Charles.
BOLDUAN: So we've been laughing about that since it happened. And it was great. My wife, she's the best.
KASICH: And that one is a great story.
BOLDUAN: We know that your wife is the best. And I would like to see how much she loved --
BOLDUAN: -- how much she loved when you decided to tell that story on national television. I'm going to check in with her later on that.
KASICH: I don't know what she's going to say. Hopefully, I can still have dinner tonight.
BOLDUAN: We'll see.
KASICH: But she's wonderful.
BOLDUAN: You call me and tell me.
OK, now back to politics. Less on the monarchy, more on the democracy. I have asked you about Governor Larry Hogan before, and --
BOLDUAN: -- on his decision-making process. Does his decision that he will not be running against Donald Trump in a Republican primary, does it impact your decision-making as you've long said all options are on the table?
KASICH: No. Not in the least. Listen, on Friday, I was on and, right now, I saw no path, but that doesn't mean there won't be a path tomorrow. All my options remain on the table.
And frankly, I have a base out there, a base of people who contact us all the time, wanting me to run. Larry Hogan had no base. He's just out kind of testing the waters. So for me, what he does or what anybody else does doesn't matter. But I've said all along, if there isn't a path, then it doesn't make any sense.
KASICH: There's no path today.
BOLDUAN: But talk me through that.
KASICH: But that couldn't mean there won't be a path tomorrow.
BOLDUAN: If there's not a path today, what opens up a path tomorrow? Like, I hear you when you say right now there's not a path --
KASICH: Kate --
BOLDUAN: -- but you're not telling me definitively you're out. You're a no.
KASICH: No, I'm not saying that. All my options are on the table. And when you're asking me what could change? What, are you kidding me? Every day, there's something that happens that could change. You just don't know what's going to happen with this guy. BOLDUAN: Right. So let me ask you this then. Is it something that
needs to convince you to run, or is it something that would need to convince you not to get in the race?
KASICH: No. I think I've said, you know, what it is that I have to say, and that is I look at the situation. If I can help this country then I want to do it. But right now, as I've said, I don't think that there's a path, but that doesn't mean that tomorrow there won't be a pass. So again, all of my options remain on the table.
BOLDUAN: OK. We're going to keep watching the table.
Let me ask you about something that remains on the table and trying for a transition when it comes to Democrats in Congress. There's a new CNN poll out about the issue of impeachment and the president, and it does show an uptick in Americans saying the president should be impeached. And 41 percent now versus it was at 37 percent last month.
I mean, obviously, can you still see the majority still oppose or are opposed to the idea of impeachment at this point?
And then there's this. I want to play for you, from Congressman Jim Clyburn, who was on CNN just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): We do believe that if we sufficiently, effectively educate the public, then we will have done our job to make a move on an impeachment vote.
[11:55:07] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: It sounds like you think that the president will be impeached or at least proceedings will begin in the House at some point but just not right now.
CLYBURN: Yes, that's exactly what I feel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: I mean, how long do you think Nancy Pelosi can hold off launching impeachment proceedings if that is how the number-three Democrat in the House is putting it?
KASICH: Well, you know, look, she's -- she's in charge there, but it's interesting. There's 41 percent of the country that wants impeachment now. And my crack staff put something together. In September of 2018, 47 percent wanted it. So the number has actually gone down. And it's not something that will help Democrats.
Now, I watched, interestingly enough, the convention out in California.
KASICH: If you're not hard left out there, they boo you. They booed my buddy, John Hickenlooper, because he said he doesn't like Socialism. Those are voices that are loud but I don't think they represent the bulk of the party.
And frankly, why are they attacking Biden? They're attacking Biden because he's way ahead and they are trying to get him to say something or do something that will hurt himself.
The bulk of the Democratic Party, the bulk of America, Republican Party, center right and center left -- and if you go too far left, or you spend your time on impeachment -- the average Joe -- the average man and woman in America, they want to know about their health care and why their costs are going up. They want to know about, am I going to keep my job? They want to know, in this era of all this economic change, am I going to be able to have a job for a significant period of time. They are worried about income inequality.
These are the things they are worried about. You talk about impeachment, their eyes glaze over. They don't care about that. They care about their lives and the meaning of their lives and the things that matter for them and their kids.
BOLDUAN: That's definitely something that you can almost see the struggle in even how Nancy please talks about it, because you know how she's been saying and trying -- it seems difficult for even the Democrats to say -- have said it over and over again, that walking and chewing gum at the same time is even possible when the issue is either the walking or the chewing of the gum is impeachment.
It seems like, no matter what, it seems impossible you'd be able to have any other conversation once that launched. And that's a really big question right now.
Governor, it's good to see you. Thanks for coming in.
I want to check in with his wife though to see if he's having dinner tonight.
Coming up for us, the U.K. is rolling out the red carpet for President Trump and the first lady. Our live coverage continues right after this.