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Trump Arrives in France for the 75th Anniversary of Normandy Invasion; No Deal to Stop Tariffs on Mexico; 75 Years Ago Allies Invaded France. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 04:30   ET


[04:30:30] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A solemn ceremony this morning to remember the thousands of troops who died 75 years ago today on D-Day.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've told Mexico, the tariffs go on, and I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump speaking about tariff talks just moments ago as he departed Ireland for Normandy.

BRIGGS: Border security, of course, top of mind for President Trump and migrant arrests there have surged at our southern border, the largest monthly total in more than a decade.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour. We welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world on this really important solemn morning in Normandy where hearts and minds are focused on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Thousands gather to commemorate the allies' huge invasion of France on June 6th, 1944. That's an assault that marked the beginning of the end of World War II. World leaders will join President Trump this morning to remember the triumph and the sacrifices made here.

BRIGGS: But the president is also focused on key tariff negotiations underway with Mexico. This is Vice President Pence meeting yesterday at the White House with Mexico's Foreign minister. The president demanding more action from Mexico to stop the record surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border. Officials say Border Patrol agents encountered more migrants in May than any month in the last 13 years.

We're going to go now to some live pictures here of Normandy, France, 10:31 a.m. Eastern Time, as we await the president of the United States stepping off that plane. And while we do, let's check in with Jim Acosta traveling with the president. He has more on all of the day's events.

Jim, good morning.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, Dave and Christine. That's right. President Trump has just arrived here in France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He'll be appearing with the French president Emmanuel Macron and in just about half an hour from now. He's running a little bit behind, but he should be able to make up some of that lost time as he's now on the ground here in France.

And we should point out, Christine and Dave, we're standing right next to the American Military Cemetery here in Normandy. It is sacred ground. That's right. And right now we should point out as you're watching these live pictures of the president and the first lady coming off of Air Force One, they should be making their way over to the cemetery any moment.

But we're standing in just an amazing impressive sight, some 9,300 burials behind me here in the American Military Cemetery at Normandy. The president will be paying tribute to the fallen here on the beaches of Normandy and World War II on this 75th anniversary of D-Day. And we have some excerpts from the remarks that he's prepared to give later on this morning. We can put some of those up on screen.

We can show that to you. He's going to be saying, "Today we remember those who fell here and we honor all who fought here. They won back this ground for civilization." And he goes on to say in these remarks, "To all our friends and partners, our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable."

So the president there is sounding as if he's talking up the common alliance that the U.S. has with its NATO partners, an alliance that he's criticized in the past. But one thing we should also point out, the president, when he was heading off to France earlier this morning leaving where he was staying overnight in Ireland, spoke briefly with reporters. He was talking about these negotiations going on back in Washington that are aimed at preventing the president's threat of imposing new tariffs on Mexico.

Here's what the president had to say about that.


TRUMP: We've told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it. And a lot of people, senator included, they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs. They have no -- absolutely no idea. We're the piggy bank. The United States is the piggy bank. It has all the money that others want to take from us. But they're not taking it so easy anymore. It's a lot different.


ACOSTA: So the president had some harsh words to say about Mexico, not really exactly sending the most diplomatic tone for these talks that the vice president and his team will have later on today back in Washington.

The president went on to criticize Democrats, accusing Democrats of really blocking any progress on the subject of immigration reform, but we should point out it's many Republicans right now in the Senate who are talking about blocking the president's proposed tariffs on Mexico.

[04:35:05] The other thing we should note, just a short while ago, I had a chance to catch up with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she was arriving on site here in Normandy. She's among the dignitaries who will be taking part in the commemoration of the D-Day 75 anniversary. She made it very clear to me when she was talking to me, Christine and Dave, that she did not want to criticize the president on foreign soil. So she did not engage in any of that, but she did say talking about the 75th anniversary of D-Day, that it does remind her of the importance of U.S. alliances with its partners here in Europe and around the world, something that she hinted that perhaps the president doesn't respect quite as much as she does or others do.

But that was about as far as she would go in terms of criticizing the president. Still, within about half an hour from now we will see the president of the United States joined with the president of France to put politics aside and remember a time when some very brave human beings saved the world from the Nazis 75 years ago -- Christine and Dave.

BRIGGS: Jim, it wasn't a straight line the president traveled there. He went over to Ireland to see his golf club, then back over to Normandy. And similarly he's taken an all-about path when it comes to supporting our alliances, Article 5 and NATO. Do you get a sense that he does now fully support our alliances and America first is no longer part of the president's core belief and that he may not make mention of that at all today?

ACOSTA: I think it would be quite surprising and I think it would be pretty startling to the entire world if the president were to raise any questions or doubts about the NATO alliance here in Normandy on hallowed ground at the American Military Cemetery here. And it does sound from those excerpts that he plans to really I guess extol the virtues of the NATO alliance to some extent.

But we should point out, I mean, if past is prologue, the president has raised questions and doubts in the past, and that has really raised questions here on this side of the Atlantic as to how committed the president is to the NATO alliance. He's criticized NATO members for not contributing enough of their GDP to their common defense of this alliance, and one thing I should also point out, you know, some of the president's European partners over here, they are very concerned about this rise of nationalism, this rise of far-right politics over here in Europe.

They see it happening around the world in places like the United States, and they're deeply concerned as to how the president plays a role in all of that, and whether or not he's stoking nationalism to an extent that is just not welcome here in Europe to many people who are leading very important U.S. partners and allies, like Germany, France and Britain. You know, Emmanuel Macron, who the president will be sitting down with

later on this afternoon in a bilateral meeting, he was critical of nationalism when he spoke at the Armistice Day in Paris back in November. And so there are some big disagreements between the president of the United States and some of the -- some very long standing U.S. partners over here in Europe.

I don't think we'll see that play out here in Normandy during this commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, but the day is young, the day is not finished yet, and when the president meets with Emmanuel Macron later on today, we may see some flashes of those disagreements -- Dave.

BRIGGS: The president will focus on the veterans today. We remember those who fell here, well honor all those who fought here, they won back this ground for civilization.

Jim Acosta, live for us. He'll be there all morning for us. Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: Right.

ROMANS: All right. Also top of mind for this administration trade and the president's top trade adviser giving an ultimatum when discussing tariffs on Mexico. Peter Navarro telling CNN the president is prepared to back off his threat if he gets the right deal.


PETER NAVARRO, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE POLICY ADVISER: We believe that these tariffs may not have to go into effect precisely because we have the Mexicans' attention.


ROMANS: "We have the Mexicans' attention." Well, Mexico has already taken steps to beef up its immigration enforcement activities. And Navarro says the number one demand is for Mexico to commit to taking all the asylum seekers and then applying Mexican laws, which he says are much stronger than ours.

BRIGGS: As we mentioned, there's been a stunning rise in migrant crossings at the southern border in May. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 144,000 migrants were apprehended or encountered last month. That is a 32 percent increase over April, 11,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border illegally. Acting CBP commissioner John Sanders telling reporters, we are in a full blown emergency.

ROMANS: So there was no deal yesterday to stop President Trump's threat to put tariffs on all Mexican goods. The president said this in Ireland.


TRUMP: I think Mexico has to step up and if they don't, tariffs will go on. And if they go high, the companies are going to move back into the United States. That's all. It's very simple.


ROMANS: But the supply chains in North America are anything but simple. The U.S. trades back and forth with Mexico.

[04:40:02] It is America's biggest supplier of agricultural products, $26 billion in 2018. And remember, Mexico will not pay these tariffs. American businesses will pass the cost on to consumers.

John Cornyn of Texas laid out the cost clearly on the Senate floor yesterday.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Tariffs on the other hand would be a massive tax. The U.S. Chamber estimates that Texas alone would face $5.35 billion in increased costs as a result of a 5 percent tariffs that could take effect as early as Monday. This translates into about a thousand dollars more on a car.


ROMANS: Deutsche Bank says it's even more than that. It would be about $1300 more per car. And then there's this. A new study found the 5 percent tariff would cost the U.S. more than 400,000 jobs. The president is using tariffs to punish Mexico on illegal immigration, something that Senator Jeff Merkley essentially called hypocritical.


SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): This is not about tariffs for an economic deal. This is saying we're going to use it as a weapon in foreign policy. They also say, and by the way, the instability in Central America, this is coming from the dollars that come from the American drug trade so if Americans, if you quit buying drugs from Central America, we won't have this problem.


ROMANS: Also made this point. He said that the president's threats to close the border might be driving the smugglers to basically attract and lure more people, saying look, the border is going to close, so you got to pay now to get to the U.S. So actually this crisis at the border, in part, fuelled by the president's threats. White House and Mexican officials are scheduled for more talks on the tariff front today.

BRIGGS: Republican senators calling on President Trump to delay implementing these tariffs on Mexico until he makes a case directly to their faces. They want to meet with him next week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't particularly favor the tariffs. I'm afraid that it might endanger some American jobs. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): This is the wrong solution to the crisis.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): We think tariffs in this instance are hurting the chances of getting USMCA.


BRIGGS: Now it's not clear how many Senate Republicans, if any, are willing to break with the president here to override the tariffs if he decides to move forward.

We've heard about a half dozen stand up and say they don't like them, they are opposed to them. But you'd need about 17.


BRIGGS: To unite with Democrats to really overturn the president.

ROMANS: And look, and the president says essentially they don't get it, that all of those people there talking about it they --

BRIGGS: This morning he said that, yes.

ROMANS: He said that they don't get it. He's the one who knows how to do this and that Congress just doesn't get it.

BRIGGS: They have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs earlier this morning.

ROMANS: All right, 42 minutes past the hour. 75 years ago today, 150,000 allied soldiers stormed these five beaches in Normandy, France. Thousands of them would never come home but they changed the course of history. They are being remembered this morning. We'll take you there live.


[04:47:18] BRIGGS: Today of course marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord or D-Day as we now know it. And thousands of people have gathered in Normandy where a 1944 allied troops stormed the beaches. Many of them would not live to see another day. Their sacrifice, key to the defeat of the Nazi rule and creation of lasting peace in Europe. That triumph and those sacrifices commemorate today perhaps the last major remembrance for those who actually fought will be in attendance.

Melissa Bell is live for us in the waters off of Normandy with the latest.

Melissa, good morning.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave. We're just off of Gold Beach. This was where the British troops landed. Omaha Beach is more that way. Of course, every country had its own landing area designated. Now just to show you this harbor, this was one of the places over in

Omaha, but also here at Arromanches Gold Beach where the allied forces built a temporary artificial harbor, and what they did was build those harbors so that they could bring their supplies into the beach.

Now we're speaking to you from one of the amphibious trucks that was used on the 6th of June, 1944. Not so much in the first wave of landings but in the second. That is once the first wave had gone ashore, trucks like this one, carrying some of the supplies that were necessary to the troops already on the beaches followed, making these amphibious landings to bring those many thousands of tons of supplies that were needed until those artificial ports could be built. And once they've been destroyed, since by the end of June there was nothing left but this huge operation, the most ambitious ever launched, ongoing on the shores of Normandy, needed of course to be sustained.

So we're going to give you a little flavor of what happened on that day. It was of course much earlier in the day that it began. These trucks headed towards these beach, headed towards the enemy position because bear in mind, also, Dave, that so many of the things that were meant to have happened, the bombardments that were meant to have weakened their positions simply failed to weaken them as much as they should.

And so you can imagine for the young men and we were talking about 18, 19-year-olds heading on to these beaches, many of them to certain death, I think one of the things that's being remembered so clearly here today is the extraordinary courage and sense of sacrifice that was required.

You can see here on Gold Beach, all of the people that have turned out. There were many thousands earlier on, with their trucks from the period, with their amphibious vehicles like this one. Many of them in costume, many of them wearing the military uniforms of the day, all generations combined. There are veterans here today, of the war, all in their 90s now, but also other men and women who fought.

[04:50:02] Those who wanted to bring their children and the younger generations because so much of this is all about explaining to the young precisely what happened here on that day. And that's something that we've heard over and over again. So as you can see, this truck is heading up towards this beach. The wheels come up rather noisily from the bottom of the boat. As we hit the beach, what an extraordinary feat of engineering that this should have existed in the day and lasted 75 years, how sturdy is that? And you can see still successfully capable, 75 years on, Dave, of bringing us up on to the beaches just as they did in 1944.

ROMANS: That is remarkable and you know, Melissa, where you are, you know, you had five different beaches, the Canadians had their beach, the British had their beach, the Americans had theirs, and it was not without all kinds of mistakes and mishaps because of the weather and where they landed but the fact that they could bring so much armament so quickly, so much material so quickly into those beaches at Mulberry Harbor, it's a remarkable engineering feat, quite frankly, isn't it? BELL: That's right. There is the question of the engineering

capability that they needed to have, the communications capability that they needed to have, and I believe that on the day, a huge proportion of their communications capability was simply lost. So coordinating these very many different forces that came from many countries that had had for the couple of years before the landing took place to coordinate what was an --

BRIGGS: And it looks like our ability to communicate was also lost but it does paint an accurate picture of --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- the impenetrable Atlantic wall that they were attacking there, 2,000 miles long and five beaches, the key to the allied invasion.

ROMANS: President Trump arriving any moment -- he's arrived right there. Marine One has just landed at the American Cemetery for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. We have the latest from France. We're going to go there in just a moment.


[04:56:32] BRIGGS: All right, just about 11:00 a.m. in Normandy, France, and the president of the United States and the first lady just arrived at the ceremony, just stepped off of Marine One to loud applause. Looks like Donald Trump Jr., Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff.

ROMANS: Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary.

BRIGGS: Steven Mnuchin.

ROMANS: Yes. There's going to be a full morning of commemoration here of the 75th anniversary of that D-Day landing and some of the remarks the president has prepared that we have seen, he talks about the global alliances that helped to basically save the world.

BRIGGS: That's right. "To all our friends and partners, our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in trials of war, proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable." The president has clearly come a long way from America first. He will focus on the troops, on the veterans that made that brave, bold sacrifice 75 years ago today.

He says, "Today we remember those who fell here. We honor all who fought here. They won back this ground for civilization there." One of the D-Day veterans, most of them in their 90s.

ROMANS: And that's what so many people have been remarking about so far this morning, is that this is one of the last major remembrances of this day, 75, where you will have the men who actually changed the course of history there, you know, and that's what's so poignant, I think, about this morning. Also all those people there at Colleville-sur-Mer, at that American

cemetery. You see all of those crosses and Stars of David, more than 4,000 allied troops died storming those beaches. Just a remarkable moment in history.

BRIGGS: That's it for us. We recommend all of you sit down with your families, teach your children about the sacrifices made by our troops 75 years ago today.

John and Alisyn pick it up right now with "NEW DAY" and we'll see you tomorrow.


ROMANS: This hour, President Trump will speak at the 75th commemoration of D-Day.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leaders are gathered here because they want to take advantage of the living memory of veterans.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The key symbolic moment a reminder of what they went through on behalf of all of us.

TRUMP: We've told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it, too.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Republicans speaking up loud and clear hoping to send the message to President Trump, don't do this.

CRUZ: I understand that the president is frustrated. That being said, this is the wrong solution.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and truly all around the world. This is a special edition of NEW DAY. It's Thursday, June 6th, 5:00 here in the East, 11:00 in Normandy in France.

Seventy-five years ago at this very moment, the beaches of Normandy were filled with allied forces. As General Eisenhower wrote that day, they were carrying the hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere.

By this point on that morning, hundreds if not thousands had already died in battle. Some who landed that day, they are back among these people you're looking at this morning and we honor all of them.

In just moments, President Trump will take the stage at this D-Day commemoration. He will be joined by the French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Twelve thousand people are expected at this solemn ceremony at Normandy. This is the American cemetery and memorial and when you see the crosses, it is just -- well, it takes your breath away. Among the attendees will be 173 American World War II veterans.