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THE SITUATION ROOM

Trump Speaking At Fourth Of July "Salute To America"; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Navy Flyover; U.S. Marine Corps Flyover; U.S. Army Flyover; Trump Salutes America and U.S. Military at July Fourth Event. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 4, 2019 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... in distress know that the help in on their way and our enemies know their time has come. These guardians of our water stand semper paratus. They are always ready. They are the United States Coast Guard, representing the Coast Guard today, you will soon see an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter based at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater along with an HH-65 Dolphin from Air Station Atlantic City and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry from Air Station Miami.

Thank you. Thank you to the Coast Guard. On a cold December morning in 1903, a miracle occurred over the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. When two bicycle makers from Ohio defied gravity with a 12 horse power engine, wings made of cotton and just a few dollars in their pockets.

Just six years later, America was training its first pilots to take these magnificent machines up and over the field of battle. In World War I, our fly boys rushed to the skies of Europe. And aces like Eddie Rickenbacker filled the hearts and headlines with tales of daring duals in the clouds.

General Billy Mitchell saw the promise of the technology and risked court martial in his quest for an independent air force. He was proven right when empires across the ocean tried to carve up the world for themselves and America stood in the way. We wouldn't let it happen.

After Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and his raiders flew B-25 bombers off a carrier deck in the deep pacific in a daring feat of American resolve. And as President Roosevelt said, "The Nazis built a fortress around Europe, but they forgot to put a roof on it."

So we crushed them all from the air, 177 Liberator Bombers flew dangerously low through broad daylight without fighter protection to cripple the Nazi war machine at Ploesti. More than 300 airman gave lives to destroy the enemy oil refineries and five pilots were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions in that single raid.

It was Airman Chuck Yeager who first broke the sound barriers. It was airman like Gus Grissom and Buzz Aldrin who traded their Sabre Jets for rockets to the stars and it is our incredible airman today who wield the most powerful weapon systems on the planet earth. For over 65 years, no enemy air force has managed to kill a single American soldier because the skies belong to the United States of America.

[19:05:13] No enemy has attacked our people without being met by a roar of thunder and the awesome might of those who bid farewell to earth and soar into the wild blue yonder. They are the United States Air Force. Representing the Air Force, you will soon see beautiful brand-new F-22 raptors from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and one magnificent B-2 Stealth Bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

(U.S. AIR FORCE SERVICE SONG)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: That is a B-2 bomber flying over Washington, D.C. and our coverage will continue in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:10:16] KEILAR: We are back with our live coverage of President Trump's Salute to America. The President is getting ready to introduce the U.S. navy flyover. And before we see the planes, I do want to bring in retired Admiral John Kirby to talk about what we have seen so far.

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY & DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes.

KEILAR: The military is very popular.

KIRBY: It is.

KEILAR: The President is - I mean, there's associating oneself with the most popular institution in America especially when you compare it to say his approval ratings, which I mean there's a huge chasm between those two things.

KIRBY: Right.

KEILAR: There's a divide about whether he should be doing this. You think he should not be. You have concerns.

KIRBY: I do. I think each time he gets around military troops or assets, he tends to politicize them. And I think he get drawn more and more into his sort of his appropriation of military virtue for his personal gain. So he's wrapping himself around the flag and around these troops and around these aircrafts, because he knows they are popular with America and because he knows he will get applause lines and I think he's trying to appropriate that popularity for himself.

And, again, I just want to comment, this is not about how we won our independence. The 4th of July is about declaring independence and the founders were suspicious of having a standing army or standing navy to begin with. It should not be about the military. And all of this focus and this fairly eighth grade history on the military bothers me.

KEILAR: All right. Let's watch. This is the Navy Blue Angel flyover. KIRBY: This is the ...

KEILAR: Actually, no, this is ...

KIRBY: It is. It's only four of them, not six.

KEILAR: It's four of the Blue Angels.

KIRBY: Actually, that's not the Blue Angels.

KEILAR: That's not the Blue Angels.

KIRBY: Yes. That's not the Blue Angels. You have two F-18 1910 [00:01:55].

KEILAR: ... back on, because that's not - is that the joint strike fighter? It's two different jets.

KIRBY: It's the ...

TRUMP: It's so great. In November of 1775, the continental congress created two battalions of a new kind of warrior. One who kept and would protect our ships and sailors and be at home both ashore at the mast with musket in hand. Their versatility was proven in the war of independence when 234 continental Marines conducted their first amphibious raid, capturing the British supply of gun powder and canon at Fort Nassau.

Ever since Marines have fought in every American war, their legend has grown, and grown and groan with each passing year. It was Marines who won America's first overseas battle, vanquishing Barbary pirates on the shores of Tripoli. Their high stiff collar which shielded them from the pirates' sword earned them the immortal name leather neck.

It was the Marines who after two long days of battle marched through the Halls of Montezuma. It was the Marines who took heavy casualties to kick the Kaiser's troops out of Belleau Wood in World War I, earning the title 'devil dogs'. And it was the Marines who raised the flag on the black sands of Iwo Jima.

From the Chosin Reservoir to Khe Sanh, from Helmand to Baghdad, Marines have struck fear into the hearts of our enemies and put solace into the hearts of our friends. Marines always lead the way. After the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, which claimed the lives of 241 great U.S. servicemen, Marine Sergeant Jeffrey Nashton lay in bandages so badly wounded, barely alive.

When the commandant of the Marine Corps came to this hospital, Sergeant Nashton had to feel for the collar. He wanted to feel his four stars, he could not see and he could not speak. He signaled for pen and paper and with shaking hand wrote two 'Semper Fi'.

[19:15:02] That motto, semper fidelis, always faithful burns in the soul of every Marine. A sacred promise the corps has kept since the birth of our country. They are the elite masters of air, land and sea on battlefields all across the globe. They are the United States Marines.

Representing the Marine Corps today will be a brand-new VH-92 soon to serve as Marine One. Along with two V-22 Ospreys from the famed HMX-1 helicopter squadron at Quantico, the nighthawks.

(U.S. MARINE CORPS SERVICE SONG)

TRUMP: In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York and named after the great George Washington, Commander in Chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter at Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

Our Army man the airports. It 1915 [00:02:47] the ramparts. It took over the airports. It did everything it had to do and at Fort McHenry under the rocket's red glare, it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star spangled banner waved defiant at Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg, our soldiers gave the last full measure of devotion for the true unity of our nation and the freedom of all Americans.

In the trenches of World War I, an army Sergeant named Alvin York faced an inferno of enemy fire and refused to retreat. He said, "I won't leave. I won't stop." He shot his rifle 18 times killing 18 of the enemy. When they fixed bayonets and charged, he charged seven more. The entire German machinegun battalion surrendered because of one man, Alvin York.

A generation later, the army returned to Europe and embarked upon a great crusade with knives and riffles in hand. The rangers scaled the cliffs of Normandy, the 101st airborne leapt in the danger from above, illuminated only by enemy flares, explosions and burning aircraft. They threw back the Nazi empire with lightning of their own from the turrets of Sherman tanks and the barrels of the M1 rifle.

In the darkness of the Battle of the Bulge with Nazis on every side, one soldier is reported to have said, "They've got us surrounded again, the poor bastards." Outnumbered, American warriors fought through the bunkers of Pork Chop Hill and held the line of civilization in Korea.

[19:20:03] In the elephant grass of Vietnam, the first cavalry made its stand amid a forest consumed in flame with enemies at every turn. The army brought America's righteous fury down to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and cleared the bloodthirsty killers from their caves.

They liberated Fallujah and Mosul and helped deliberate and obliterate the ASIS caliphate just recently in Syria 100 percent gone. Through centuries, our soldiers have always pointed toward home, proclaiming this will defend, they live by the creed of Douglas MacArthur in war. There is no substitute for victory. They are the greatest soldiers on earth.

Nearly 250 years ago, a volunteer army of farmers and shop keepers, blacksmiths, merchants and militiamen risked life and limb to secure American liberty and self-government. This evening, we witnessed the noble might of the warriors who continue that legacy. They guard our birth right with vigilance and fierce devotion to the flag and to our great country.

Now, we must go forward as a nation with that same unity of purpose. As long as we stay true to our course, as long as we remember our great history, as long as we never, ever stop fighting for a better future, then there will be nothing that America cannot do.

Thank you. We will always be the people who defeated a tyrant, crossed a continent, harnessed science, took to the skies and soared into the heavens, because we will never forget that we are Americans and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free. We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny. We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart, and we are all made by the same almighty god.

From the banks of the Chesapeake to the cliffs of California, from the humming shores of The Great Lakes to the sand dunes of the Carolinas, from the fields of the heartland to the Everglades of Florida, the spirit of American independence will never fade, never fail, but will reign forever and ever and ever.

So once more, to every citizen throughout our land, have a glorious Independence Day. Have a great 4th of July. I want to thank the Army band, the National Park Service, the Interior Department, the incredible pilots overhead, and those who are making possible the amazing fireworks display later this evening.

[19:25:14] Now, as the band plays, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, I invite the First Lady, Vice President and Mrs. Pence, the Service Secretaries and military leaders to join me onstage for one more solute to America by the famous, incredible, talented Blue Angels, God bless you, God bless the Military and God bless America. Happy 4th of July.

(BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC)

KEILAR: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, the Blue Angels flyover.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:32:25] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We've been watching the president's "Salute to America" here on this July 4th.

I want to bring in our panel to discuss what we have seen so far, starting with you, Retired Rear Admirable John Kirby.

As you've been watching this. You know, in a vacuum, this has been pulled off so far pretty well. The president stuck to script, which is something he doesn't often do. But I think we can't -- we have to underscore that this is an unusual display that we have seen.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, I can't remember in my lifetime ever seeing anything like this. KEILAR: And these are the Blue Angels flying over.

KIRBY: These are the Blue Angels.

KEILAR: You were the spokesperson.

KIRBY: I was. For five years, I was with the Blue Angels. I was wrong earlier when the previous fly over. I thought it was a Blue Angel Diamond.

But this is them performing a breaking maneuver where at the split off to separate directions. And the smoke is actually wax they inject into the engine exhaust that creates the white smoke.

Look, it's very unusual to see something like this. And I -- I still go back to what I said before. I think I'm just troubled about the militaristic tone of the whole thing.

First, we were treated to essentially 8th grade history that was fairly sepia toned and saccharine in its depth and context. In fact, it was lacking a lot of depth and context.

And I heard nothing other than a pledge to put the American flag on Mars, I heard nothing in the speech about where the country should be going. What we should be working on, some of the problems we need to fix.

And that's what we lean on a commander in chief and president for, is to drive us forward. We are a young country. We have the attention span of poodles. We like to look ahead. And we need a president and leader that helps us do that.

I heard none of that in this speech. I could have gotten this off of watching Schoolhouse Rock and frankly didn't need all the militaristic displays of might. I think it's not who we are as a country.

KEILAR: What did you think Ryan Lizza?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's important to point out what he didn't say, right? He read the speech from the teleprompter which he rarely does and didn't go off into a lot of traditional Trumpian bizarre frankly tangents, didn't do as much sort of attacking his enemies, just sort of normal stream of conscious Trump rants. That's what he does at rallies and speeches.

It didn't happen this time. It reminds me of a couple of other speeches where he read the whole thing and didn't do that. State of the Union, made the D-Day speech.

[19:35:01] When he does stick to a speech, you know, maybe just as a writer, I'm a little bit more alert to this, it reminds you that his speechwriters are not in the business. Other presidential speechwriting teams have been better. George W. Bush had a great speech writing team if you read the speeches. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, these speeches are sort of a little low.

KEILAR: They're rudimentary.

LIZZA: They're very basic. And sometimes it seems he is reading a Wikipedia page about historical events. On this date this happened. A lot of jokes on Twitter and elsewhere seems like a Schoolhouse Rock version of history or seventh or 8th grade research report.

But, you know a little bit of credit for not -- for not going off on a lot of sort of lunatic tangents which frankly.

KEILAR: Any. He didn't go off on any tangents.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: There was a "USA, USA" chant, which was, you know, that was sort of symbolic of a rally, but other than that.

I think the nostalgia of the speech you were saying had to do with the history lesson we all just sat through and that very rudimentary as you said way. That made it feel, you know, like we were looking back and not forward. And that -- that felt a little off there.

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it wasn't Beyonce singing the national anthem at Super Bowl. It was Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House in 2009 rapping Alexander Hamilton. But it was fine, Bri. It was a history lesson, like everyone else said, it was a Wikipedia entry.

It almost felt at time limit times like the president was sort of like, wow, look at all the things America has done. The pitch has been Make America Great Again. If you listen to that speech, it turns out America was great the whole time. We did a lot of good things. We struggled through a lot of good things as a country.

But, again, he stuck to script process. Content-wise, it was fine. I agree with Admiral Kirby, I'm still not sure why he felt in holiday was the venue for it, but moving on.

KEILAR: Barbara Starr, you cover the Defense Department day in and day out. What was your perspective what you saw here?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think I'm going to be a little bit of a divergent voice from everybody there tonight.

Look, this was an event supposed to be at minimum feel good for the country on a holiday. But what strikes me the most -- and I feel this way as a reporter covering the military about so much of it of what we see here is that service in the United States military over the decades, over the hundreds of years is not a reality TV show.

You know, right now today as we stand here, there are homeless veterans on the street. There are veterans suffering from post traumatic stress dating back to their service in Vietnam. Suicide is at an all-time rate. Military families are struggling on salaries that could definitely be higher. Veterans are struggling for their benefits.

Gold Star families, good for the president that he mentioned them. But if you are a Gold Star family, if you have lost a spouse or child or relative in combat, you are a Gold Star family for the rest of your life. And that stays with you forever.

You know, stuff that people probably don't want to get sad about upon a holiday. But from the president of the United States, any president we see this all the time. They use the military as a political backdrop. President Obama did it. Both President Bushes did it. It's a rally call to the country for loyalty to the military, loyalty to national goals. And that's all fine.

But I think many people in this country have really moved beyond just that. And the reason it's so important and I think Admiral Kirby knows this better than anybody -- today, recruiting into the military of young Americans is very tough. Any don't necessarily have the great numbers that are needed have the affinity necessarily, not all of them -- some of them do for public service. Many young people cannot qualify for military service because of their health.

You know, you got to make the military realistic to young people today. Not a reality TV show and not a computer game.

SWERDLICK: Can I add one thing?

KEILAR: Yes.

SWERDLICK: Barbara said that so well. I think she is right the military deserves a moment of recognition and celebration.

The only thing I would add though is that if there are the military families that are out here that have needs that need the recognition that have lost loved ones, why won't the money for the event be spent on Tricare or base housing or other things military families need and not a moment to center a national holiday around the president? That would be my only criticism.

KEILAR: April Ryan?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's true. Yes, I -- I tend to agree with everyone.

[19:40:01] But I'm taking like Barbara Starr. Take a bit of different take.

I think at the moment the president -- he need add soaring moment needed a soaring speech, as his disapproval numbers are higher than approval numbers, as he goes against Joe Biden. Yes, he was focused, wasn't distracted but what I will say as we went through the Schoolhouse Rock history lesson portion I took notes.

If you didn't know better, you know, it sounds like everything was great. But when he talked about the -- about the Gold Star families, I thought about the Gold Star family, the Khan family. When he talked about the military, who I couldn't help but think about late Senator John McCain who is a POW.

As he saluted the military, I also watched him and heard him talk about women's suffrage, you know, hundred years ago, how women weren't allowed to vote. But there are still calls for him to have free and fair elections, you know, especially after this last midterm where there were calls about not just women but just for minorities as well. Issues of voter suppression.

He talked about Dr. King. He talked about the Greensboro -- the kids February 1st in 1960 who sat in at the Woolworth counter, an integrated -- the Woolworth's counter, the Woolworth's across the country actually for sitting in because they were hungry. When he said that, I thought about the exonerated five.

He is talking about the 18-year-old kids at the time in 1960. I'm thinking about the kids who he took out a full page ad for, for them to have the death penalty and they were exonerated, and he still feels they were guilty when they were exonerated through DNA.

I also heard him invoke the name Harriet Tubman. As Harriet Tubman's on a $20 bill is in jeopardy in this administration. They are trying to delay past 2028 when it should have been 2020.

So, if you didn't know better -- the list goes on. The list goes on. I could go on. But if you didn't know better, this president is trying to recreate his history before he celebrated the military. He needed this moment.

If you didn't know better, if you didn't fact check and go back to what he said or had done about certain issues, it would be a soaring speech. But for someone who covers him day in and day out and understands some of the issues -- I'm still even checking on when he said he said the ISIS caliphate is 100 percent gone. We have to check that one as well.

There are a lot of things in the speech that it may have been Schoolhouse Rock Trump version. But nonetheless we still have to fact check. And it was his attempted at a soaring moment for history.

KEILAR: I do want to get Phil Mudd's perspective on what we just saw -- Phil.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, let's see. Let me be subtle here. At a professional level, 25 years in national security, I hated it. At a personal level, I hated it more.

Let me tell you something, when we are in the midst of July 4th after 9/11 when I was at the CIA, I thought we were celebrating the defense of ideals, the right to live free and fair, the right to live according to the documents that our Founding Fathers established, the right to -- of every person, every citizen in the country to pretend like they can be president, the rate to have economic opportunity. I didn't realize we were fighting the chance to pay for guns, for weapons.

I did national security. I thought this was about ideals and now we made it about the military. That's not what the Founding Fathers gave us. They gave us the gift of ideals. At a personal level, excuse me but now we have the Super Bowl as

invaded by politics, players are kneeling. The women's World Cup is invaded by politics, a dispute about women going to the White House. We have a stupid dispute of politics this week about whether Nike puts a flag on a shoe.

Can we actually have a day with hamburgers, hotdogs and a few beers without a politician? Please, one day. And now, we can't because we now we got politicians saying let's celebrate guns and aircraft and forget about the Founding Fathers who talked about being cautious with the standing military.

KEILAR: I just always wish that Phil Mudd would tell us what he really thinks.

BENNETT: What he really feels.

KEILAR: All right. Stand by, everyone. We have much more to talk about. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:48:17] KEILAR: All right. We're back to discuss what we saw with the president's "Salute to America".

John Kirby, as you -- you were watching this. You -- what would you have liked to have seen? As you have thought about how the military was used in this, which it was unusual. I mean, I think in a vacuum if you look at how the military was treated this was respectful. But this was -- it was odd for the Fourth of July.

What do you think would have been a more fitting situation to see?

KIRBY: Well, in a perfect world, I would have preferred that he do what most presidents in recent memory have done and do something for military families on the South Lawn. Not give a big speech.

But let's assume that wasn't going to happen. We were getting a spectacle out of him. I think a speech much less focused on the past and more on the future and sort of bringing us together, because we are a divided nation. That would have been helpful.

I think a shorter speech would have been helpful. And I don't think it should have been wrapped around jingoism and militaristic virtue, because again, that -- yes, I'm proud of a being a veteran. My whole is -- my son is in the Navy. I'm proud of that, that history that we have in the service.

But that's not the essence of being an American. It's part of it. And not every American serves nor should every have to serve in the military. That's another thing making this a great country.

I think wrapping himself around bigger ideas of what it is to be American, to be something part of larger than yourself and to serve in other ways other than the uniform. And calling -- calling on Americans to find that sense of themselves and going forward and try to heal some of these divides, whether it's, you know, joining the peace corps or volunteering in the local community.

[19:50:00] Those are real stories. And that's what he should have called out.

You know, he almost got there, Brie, just almost, when he called out a couple of local volunteers. And I thought, OK, that I can get around and that would be good to build this speech. That would be good to talk about on a day like today.

KEILAR: Talk about the American spirit more?

KIRBY: Talk about the average, everyday Americans out there, even today in California with this earthquake, checking on their neighbors, making sure people are OK. That's what that's what makes us who we are.

This is not who we are. It's not about fly-overs and it's not about tanks. We're about taking care of one another.

And I still think that if -- certainly you don't get this impression if you look at Twitter. I still think most Americans are like that. Most Americans would like to get beyond the bitterness that divides us right now.

He could have tapped into that spirit that's out there, that goodwill. He didn't do it. He lost that opportunity.

KEILAR: Kate, were you surprised that he stayed on message? The White House had promised he's going to have a message of unity and to talk about the American story. I did think that could have been filled in a little more, talking about the American story.

BENNETT: Sure.

KEILAR: But he -- even though he's in the middle of it so it is about him. But he didn't talk about himself.

BENNETT: He didn't. He stayed on the script, which is something we hardly ever see him do.

It's something I thought about, too, with the president and the first lady. They are very military proud. We've been on a number of trips with the first lady. And the second lady visiting military bases, visiting with troops, visiting with military families, this is something that this White House is focused on quite a bit.

And I don't know how you bring that to translation today and how to make it feel like a story of real -- an American story, Founding Fathers, make us feel good. It felt sort of weird, I think.

But to his credit, the president really spoke for a long time there, and I think even when he does speak off the prompter for speeches, he always goes off, you know, on his own tangents. We didn't see that today. Perhaps it was because Mrs. Trump was there maybe telling him not to. But certainly to that, he stuck to it.

KEILAR: He clear went in with a mission and stuck to it.

BENNETT: He did. He stuck to it.

LIZZA: Look, Trump is an incredibly polarizing figure and all of us bring our knowledge of his history and our own biases about how we feel about him to any event like this and a speech like this. You know, it has to be said there are millions of Americans who watched the speech and probably don't have any criticism, thought it was just a perfectly ordinary 4th of July address.

And that's the nature of our politics right now. You can't -- you're not going to insert Donald Trump into something like the 4th of July and not have a sort of huge diversity of opinions about it.

You know, my test for when Trump does something kind of off the wall is what if Barack Obama had done this or said this, what Trump supporters -- how would they have reacted? A useful exercise, what if Barack Obama had given this speech, how would we have reacted.

SWERDLICK: I think of an example. In 2009, President Obama wanted to give the closed circuit TV address to the nation's school children, to your point. He did give that address. Most of the speech, you can look it up online, is about telling kids to do their homework and not everybody is going to be a professional musician or athlete. Sometimes some people just have to get good grades and go to school and go on with their lives.

And Republicans had a fit that he wanted to address Americans on that subject. It's not an exact parallel, Ryan. But to your point, it is a good test. How would people have reacted if this had been Obama?

KEILAR: I think we saw him swerving away from the 4th of July. It seems to me that this holiday is about the ideals that inspired the birth of the United States and declaring independence, and those are all popular things to talk about.

He seemed to swerve away, I would say, from what the mission is of the 4th of July, but he moved into something very popular, which is the military. And so because of that you have people who will say, well, what's really the matter with that?

SWERDLICK: Right, right.

KIRBY: Because he shoe horned, what he really wanted to do on Vets Day to the 4th of July. He got talked out of doing it on Veterans Day which would have been an appropriate time to honor the military, although I still disagreed with that on ostentatious way. I didn't agree with it.

But Pentagon kind of talked him out of it because the cost which I think was estimated $92 million or something like that. So, he backed off of that. And he's shoe horned it on the 4th of July. He leapfrogged it ahead into July because he couldn't do it last November.

It was always in his mind after seeing Bastille Day in 2017 to do a big military display, and he was just looking for a day to do it. It ended up on the 4th of July which I think is totally the wrong holiday for it.

KEILAR: Is there -- is there -- do you see him sort of co-opting the military, politicizing the military?

KIRBY: Yes, of course. Every time he gets in front of a crowd of troops he does that.

[19:55:02] And what I worry about, Brianna, is that, you know, over time we're just going to become sort of immune to this. That it's just going to be OK to have the commander in chief get up --

LIZZA: Just to play devils advocate a little bit, is what he did today fundamentally worse -- I'm open to not knowing the answer to this and thinking it through. Is what he did any different than George W. Bush landing on that aircraft carrier or any of the other --

KEILAR: He was tremendously criticized for doing that.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: With Trump, because he pushes things so much, I think it's really important to think through, did previous presidents do this and we're just reacting a little differently because it's Trump? Or is this genuinely moving the bar? That's always the key question.

KIRBY: That's a fair question, Ryan. Everything has to be kept in context. He is not like any other prior president or commander in chief. And yes, Bush got beat up for doing the mission accomplished on the carrier, and that was inappropriate.

But it wasn't quite on the level of this. You have to consider the context of this guy and how he wraps himself in the flag. He calls them "my generals." He sort of co-opts military virtues.

And what I worry about is not just the politicization of military, but the militarization of politics in this country.

KIRBY: We're more sensitive with this stuff with Trump because he praises strong men and he doesn't talk about officers abroad. That's why when we see him hugging the military, it worries us a little bit more.

KEILAR: All right, you guys, stand by for me.

RYAN: Brianna --

KEILAR: We have to leave it there, April, I'm sorry.

On this 4th of July. I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you so much for watching. Happy 4th of July to you, and the news continues here on CNN.

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