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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Funeral Services Begin Today For Victims Of Uvalde Shooting; Apparent Dispatch Audio: Child Called 911 From "Room Full Of Victims;" Ukraine Shelling Continues In The Northeast And The South; Report: 70 Percent Of U.S. Baby Formula Products Out Of Stock; Airlines Cancel Thousands Of Flights Over Memorial Day Weekend. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 30, 2022 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And, of course, we want to wish you a very relaxing and peaceful Memorial Day.

And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: A child on the phone with 911 saying they were in a classroom full of victims.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Instead of enjoying the start of summer vacation like 10-year-olds should be doing, two of the Uvalde shooting victims are being laid to rest. This as the investigation into the police response ramps up.

Plus, some relief for desperate parents is supposed to be hitting store shelves, but it's still not clear how parents can actually get this new batch of baby formula.

And then a holiday weekend travel headache. Thousands of flights canceled and things are not any easier if you're driving. Gas prices are ridiculous.


BROWN: Welcome to a special edition of THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper on this Memorial Day.

And we start with our national lead. And the first funeral services for the victims of the horrific massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

Today, the families and communities honored the memory of 10-year-old Amerie Garza and 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez. Services for their classmates and their teachers are planned over the next week.

And amid the grief in Uvalde, a demand for answers as to why police waited out in the hallway for more than an hour before breaking into the classroom where the killing was happening. Now, the Justice Department says it will review the law enforcement response to the shooting. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus starts off our coverage from Uvalde with more

on today's service and new audio dispatch which reportedly details a child's desperate 911 calls from inside the school.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how those who love 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza will remember her. A decade of photos showing a happy girl with a sweet smile, described by family as sassy and funny and a little diva who hated wearing dresses. Memories of happier times as her family, friends, and community say good-bye during visitation and rosary service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It brings me joy to know I had an opportunity to have such a great daughter. I tried to be the best father I could be.

BROADDUS: Just down the road, another grieving family says good-bye to Maite Rodriguez, also ten years old.

UNIDETIFIED FEMALE: I love her, and I miss her, and I'm proud of her. She wanted to be a marine biologist before she could say the word. She loved animals.

BROADDUS: As families bury their children, there are growing questions and outrage about the police response. The Justice Department now says it will review the response which Texas officials say deviated from active shooter protocols.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had they gotten there sooner and somebody would have taken immediate action, we might have more of those children here today, including my daughter.

BROADDUS: Investigators now say 19 officers waited outside the classroom where the gunman was for about 50 minutes. We're now getting a first glimpse at some of the information that was being relayed to officers at the school. ABC News obtained audio which appears to be from one 911 operator relaying information from a child inside the classroom.

CNN has not been able to independently confirm the audio. The source is unclear. As is what point in the incident it was heard. On Friday, Texas Public Safety director said there were at least eight 911 calls from two callers in the school.

DISPATCHER: We have a child on the line. Child is advising he is in the room full of victims.

BROADDUS: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez says President Biden told him that Robb Elementary School would be razed and rebuilt as part of a federal grant process for schools where there have been mass shootings.

STATE SENATOR ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS: What kind of world are we living in that legislation was created for razing these schools?

BROADDUS: For some parents, those questions coming too late. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter who is held responsible, it's not going

to bring my daughter back. She was the perfect daughter to me.


BROADDUS (on camera): And today starts a week really weeks of remembrance for these families, as they face their new reality, life without their children. One mother described her daughter as her heartbeat, and it's the rhythm of this community that's helping these families move forward, as visitation and a rosary are under way today.

Meanwhile, we just spoke with the cousin of Maite. She tells me her little cousin died a hero. Her classmates told her family she was brave, telling the other children in her classroom where to hide before that shooter entered the room -- Pamela.


BROWN: Wow, chills. Adrienne Broaddus, thank you so much. Just so sad.

Well, Texas officials say the decision not to breach the classroom sooner was made by one man. The police chief of the Uvalde school district, and now, CNN is learning the Justice Department will soon select a leader for the, quote, critical incident review into the overall police response.

CNN's Nick Watt spoke with law enforcement experts about what should have happened inside that school last Tuesday.


JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I do believe that this is absolutely one of the worst police failures in modern U.S. history. Those defenseless children in those classrooms had nothing. They were relying on the police.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But the police were waiting outside the classrooms, treating this not as an active shooter but as a barricaded suspect situation.

COL. STEVEN MCCRAW, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: For the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period. There's no excuse for that.

WATT: So the killer was inside a school filled with children for over an hour before he was stopped dead. And not before he murdered Alfredo Garza's daughter, Amerie Jo.

ALFREDO, FATHER OF AMERIE JO GARZA: They needed to act immediately. There's kids involved. You know, there's a gun involved.

WATT: Officials say this man made the decision not to go in. Chief Pedro Pete Arredondo of the Uvalde School District PD. CHIEF PEDRO "PETE" ARREDONDO, UVALDE SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE

DEPARTMENT: Safety measures were taken to make sure that we had a safe release for the rest of the district, throughout our city of Uvalde.

WATT: A pair of brief appearances in the hours after the slaughter, and Chief Arredondo hasn't been seen by the press since.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: As far as his employment status is concerned, that's something beyond my control and I have no knowledge about.

WATT: Could lives have been saved, fewer kids shot, injured kids treated earlier and survived? That remains unclear. There was an initial burst of fire then a lull during which kids inside called 911, pleading for help. Then more shots. Seemingly directed at a door.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There's so much information, so much communication, so much room for error that the only thing we do know is that by eliminating the threat quickly, you will save the most lives.

WATT: A 50-year-old Uvalde native, Arredondo was approved as chief by the school board in 2020. At the time, the super said they were impressed by his experience, knowledge, and community involvement, with, they said, 27 years in law enforcement at another school district in Laredo, Texas, and here in the city of Uvalde police department.

In March, Arredondo posted about active shooter training at the Uvalde High School.

MCCRAW: The doctrine requires officers, every officer who lines up, stacks up, and goes and finds where the rounds are fired at and keeps shooting until the subject is dead, period.

WATT: So, Arredondo's decision went against established active shooter doctrine, and we're told, against the facts on the ground.

MCCRAW: From what we know, and we believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can.


WATT (on camera): Now, Pamela, we just heard Adrienne reported about the harrowing 911 calls from kids inside the classrooms. Interestingly, Chief Arredondo's first job out of the academy was as a 911 dispatcher. He knew the system from pretty much every side. Why he reacted this way we don't know. Of course, we reached out to him for comment and haven't heard back yet.

Now, he was also elected to the Uvalde City Council earlier this month. He was due to be sworn in tomorrow. It's unclear whether that swearing-in is actually going to take place -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Nick. Thanks so much. And joining me now to discuss all this is Anthony Barksdale. He is a

former acting Baltimore Police commissioner.

So, Commissioner, you heard there in Nick's piece that chief Arredondo just posted about active shooter training at the Uvalde high school just a few months ago. So, it seems he should have been aware of the protocol but went against it. Is that how you're seeing this?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that's how I take it. You can have all the training in the world. You can say that you train. But when it's time to implement that training in a real- life situation, that's when it really matters. And we saw in those poor families, those poor children, those teachers, they saw a complete failure. And they're paying a horrible price because of poor decision making.

BROWN: How does that failure happen, though?

BARKSDALE: This is -- it's something, I keep looking at the situation and trying to figure out what went wrong beyond this chief being in charge of the incident.


I mean, we know that the kids are still calling. So they're still alive. They're still calling 911.

You still know there's gunfire inside the school. You go in. And just because there's a lull in action doesn't mean that you stop.

He chose to be violent. He chose to shoot at officers and slaughter little kids and teachers. He chose that. You kill him.

No ifs, ands, and buts about it. I can't dance around it. You have to take him out, and they failed.

BROWN: And I think it's important to emphasize as much as this appears to be a complete police failure, ultimately, the original sin was this 18-year-old who bought these AR-15s and did this. Excuse me.

Local officials say they expect to get a ballistics report. What should that tell us?

BARKSDALE: They're gone. These kids are gone. The ballistics reports, maybe they'll try to figure out if there was any -- the ballistics report just would tell me what type of weapon was used. Maybe they want to try to see if the shell casings match up to his grandmother's incident.

But it really is not much in this, maybe if you want to do a study and figure out, hey, if these sort of type of weapons that they're using in these active shooter incidents, just like we saw in Buffalo, these kids are bringing high-powered assault rifles to slaughter innocent people.

So maybe we take a look at what type of ballistic shields police are using for these incidents and equipment. But those kids, those teachers are gone.

BROWN: Yeah. What about this DOJ review? Do you think it will change anything?

BARKSDALE: What didn't we learn from Columbine? We knew the best practices from columbine. Don't wait. Engage, engage. Fight, fight, fight.

What are you going to tell me? You're going to study why they failed? Okay, fine. But we knew what we should do, and no one did it, except for those agents that came and put him down.

They overrode bad orders and did their jobs. Jobs that everyone else there standing stacked up should have been doing.

BROWN: I mean, I think we're all feeling that emotion that you're expressing right now. It's unfathomable.

BARKSDALE: We could have saved their lives. We could have saved some of those kids. That's what I believe.

You go in, engage, even if you draw the fire to you, get him off those kids, get him off those teachers. Shoot at us, don't shoot at them.

BROWN: And there are indications that at least some of the kids did bleed out. It's just such an agonizing thing to even think about.

I want to listen on this note to what Texas State Senator Gutierrez had to say about this. Let's hear what he said.


GUTIERREZ: I sat down with a set of family yesterday, mom told me that her child had been shot by one bullet through the back, through the kidney area. The first responder that they eventually talked to said their child likely bled out. In that span of 30 or 40 minutes extra, that little girl might have lived.


BROWN: Commissioner, what does accountability look like to you? What needs to happen next?

BARKSDALE: Let the DOJ do their investigation, but whoever, it appears clearly this was the chief, but I still think we need to continue the investigation.

This chief should no longer be a chief if he's the one calling the shots. It's clear that the training, the best practices that they all say they know and they understand, it failed. So did they fail or did the best practices fail?

I believe that they failed. Not the best practices. We know what to do. So this department, these departments, because it wasn't just that chief's department there. There were other departments there. They all need to take a look at what they're doing, because they let down those children and those teachers.


BROWN: Anthony, thank you so much.

BARKSDALE: Thank you.

BROWN: And small sign of progress from one Republican senator from Texas on bipartisan gun reform talks. That's next.


BROWN: In our national lead, Memorial Day in the United States. President Biden is honoring the fallen service members who have fought and died for the U.S. despite the holiday gun control remains front and center after the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

And now, as CNN's MJ Lee reports, the president is promising to do something on the matter, even while recognizing there are limits to his presidential power.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can never repay the sacrifice but we will never stop trying.

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden marking Memorial Day with the visit to Arlington National Cemetery, honoring the American men and women killed while serving in the U.S. military.

BIDEN: Freedom is worth the sacrifice.


Democracy is not perfect, but it's worth fighting for; if necessary, worth dying for.

LEE: The solemn commemoration coming as the country continues to grieve the horrific mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and 2 adults dead. Those killings reigniting the fraught national debate on gun control and putting new pressure on the president and lawmakers in Washington alike to take meaningful action.

BIDEN: I know that it makes no sense to be able to purchase something that can fire 300 rounds. The Second Amendment was never absolute.

LEE: The president signaling a hint of optimism about some of his GOP colleagues in Congress.

BIDEN: I think things have gotten so bad that everybody is getting more rational about it. At least that's my hope and prayer. I consider McConnell a rational Republican, and Cornyn is as well. I think there's a recognition on their part that we can't continue like this. We can't do this. LEE: But Biden also indicating that his own hands are largely tied when it comes to major actions pushed by gun reform advocates.

BIDEN: I can't outlaw a weapon. I can't change the background check. I can't do that.

LEE: Over the weekend, the president and the first lady traveling to Uvalde to console a traumatized and broken community. As he left church, Biden confronted with anguished onlookers.

CROWD: Do something! Do something!

BIDEN: We will. We will.

LEE: Back in Washington, some Democratic lawmakers are also sounding cautiously optimistic.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): There are more Republicans talking about finding a path forward this time than I have ever seen since Sandy Hook. We're talking about red flag laws. We're talking about strengthening and expanding the background check system.

LEE: While many Republicans appear eager to focus on strengthening school security systems.

REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): The things that would have the most immediate and succinct effect and tangible effect on these things. That's actual security at a school.


LEE (on camera): Now, a quick update on some of those conversations that are starting to happen on Capitol Hill. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas just told reporters that there's going to be a bipartisan group of lawmakers getting together tomorrow virtually to try to figure out some kind of framework on gun reform, some of the issues that he mentioned include mental health issues, background checks, and potential limitations on who can buy guns and maintain them.

Now, it's important to note that President Biden earlier today said that he hasn't really started in earnest those conversations with Republican lawmakers, that he has been focused so far on trying to console the members of the Uvalde community, but he did promise again he is going to continue pushing those lawmakers for progress -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. MJ Lee, thank you so much.

And meantime, President Biden says no to Ukraine on a request they say is necessary in order to defeat Russia. We'll go live to Kyiv next.



BROWN: In our world lead, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made his first trip outside of Kyiv since the Russian invasion began more than three months ago. And he thanked Ukrainian troops in the eastern region of Kharkiv and vowed to take back Russian controlled territory.

Let's get right to CNN's Matthew Chance live in Kyiv.

Matthew, Russian forces are trying to surround Ukrainian troops in the eastern region of Luhansk. What exactly does that look like?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it doesn't look good for the Ukrainian forces, because I can tell you there's a lot of fierce fighting taking place around the city of Severodonetsk which is the biggest last remaining city really that is under Ukrainian control in that region of Eastern Ukraine.

If the Russians take control of it, as looks likely at the moment, that would mean a big political win for them because it means they have got full control over the Luhansk region which is a significant step toward taking control of the whole Donbas region in the east of Ukraine. There's fighting taking place elsewhere as well.

In fact, as Russia concentrates its troops up there in the northeast of Ukraine, towards the south, Ukrainians say they're making progress in a counteroffense they have launched there, seizing back territory that's been previously conquered by the Russians, killing Russian soldiers and destroying Russian military vehicles.

So there is still very much an ebb and flow in the fierce fighting that's taking place in Eastern Ukraine right now.

BROWN: And today, President Biden said the U.S. would not send the Ukrainians long range rockets, capable of reaching Russia. What are Ukrainian officials saying about that?

CHANCE: Well, they're not taking that first of all as a definitive answer to the request about sending long-range artillery. I mean, it depends what kind of ammunition comes along with that artillery, depending on the range of it. But look, what Ukrainian officials are telling me is that they won't be able to win this war, it's unlikely they'll be able to win the war without the long-range rockets, artillery systems from the United States and other allied countries. They need it, they say, to respond to long-range attacks they're suffering from the Russian side.

And so, there's still some debate under way about what systems, if any, will be delivered as part of the big $40 billion package of assistance including military aid that the United States has agreed to give Ukraine.

BROWN: All right. Matthew Chance in Kyiv, thank you.

Well, much needed baby formula is heading to store shelves but how do parents make sure they can get access to it? That is key. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: Turning to our health lead and the worsening crisis for families as they hunt for baby formula to feed their children.


New data showing almost three-quarters of formula products nationwide, some 70 percent, were out of stock the week of May 27th. That's up from 45 percent the week before. But some relief may soon be on the way. Nestle says tens of thousands of pounds of baby formula from overseas was schedule to be sent over the weekend to stores.

CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us live with this.

So, Elizabeth, this is promising news. Where do things stand right now?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Pam, let's take a look at what hopefully will be coming to store shelves soon. Well, I shouldn't say soon, over the coming weeks none of this is going to happen super, super soon.

So, let's take a look. Tens of thousands of pounds of Nestle formula were supposed to be sent to stores this weekend. We haven't heard from Nestle about whether that actually happened, what stores it went to, none of that.

FDA has 11 allowed an Australian company called Bubs to export enough formula for 27.5 million 8 ounce bottles. But that's a lot, but note that they just allowed them to do it, they haven't actually started doing it. Also, half a million cans of formula from Danone is expected to reach U.S. parents in the first half of July.

So, again, note that this is not going to be immediate or much of this won't be immediate for parents. The hope is really that this will happen over the coming weeks and months. But parents will likely still have to struggle to find formula -- Pam.

BROWN: Right. I mean, that's the problem. They are still going to have to struggle in the near term. But when these do hit shelves, I mean, how do -- how can parents find out whether these formulas shipments are headed to a store near them?

COHEN: Yeah, Pam, that's a great question. The answer is we don't know. So, we've asked Nestle folks, all right, so, you know, we've got some of this formula. Not a huge amount, but we've got some formula going to stores.

Which stores? How will we know what is there? How can parents find it? And no answer from them, no answer from the federal government, either.

BROWN: Well, you spoke to a few moms who are pumping their own breast milk to help families desperate to find formula. I think this is incredible because as we both know, pumping is not easy and it is a real drain in many ways, no pun intended. So tell us about this. COHEN: Right, Pam. It's not fun, it's time consuming. I know lots of

moms who would like to nurse, I don't know any moms who like to pump. But these are moms that are pumping for other families. This is amazing.

I want to introduce you to Marie Millen. She's a nurse in Oregon. She is breastfeeding her six month old baby and she is donating some of that frozen milk to a milk bank. She posted on Instagram, in one day, she donated more than a gallon of milk.

Hillary Demmon, who is a filmmaker and professor in Pittsburgh, she's mom to 1-year-old Remy. She is done nursing, she's not nursing anymore but she is going to pump for six more months just so that she can donate that milk to families who can't find formula.

And Cori Callahan, this is actually amazing, a lot of people don't know this is possible, she has three daughters but she stopped nursing her youngest daughter a year and a half ago. So with the help of (INAUDIBLE) she is going to re-lactate, she is going to try to bring that milk supply back after being dormant for a year and a half. And then she will donate that milk to families that need it near her home in Missouri, really just incredible investment of time and so giving of themselves -- Pam.

BROWN: So giving, wow.

Elizabeth Cohen, thank you. Well, the first big weekend of the summer travel season is marked by major flight cancellations and record high gas prices. What's the outlook for the rest of summer? A closer look next.



BROWN: We're turning to our money lead in this special edition of THE LEAD, a disastrous start to the summer for airlines across the U.S. More than 2,000 flights were canceled from Friday through today. Airports in New York and Washington, D.C. were the two most affected after Friday's storms brought a series of delays and cancellations.

CNN's Pete Muntean is live at Reagan national airport to discuss the new action airlines are taking to try to prevent this happening again.

Pete, what caused all these flight cancellations over the weekend, and what are airlines saying?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, airlines are facing a huge test right now. Not only is the first major travel rush since the end of the transportation mask mandate, but airlines got a lot smaller during the pandemic and now they are facing worker shortages and having to cancel these flights.

Look at the latest data from Flight Aware, 395 flight cancellations in the United States today. That means about 2,200 flights in total have been canceled in the United States since Friday, when so many people are coming back to air travel. TSA screened about 2.1 million people in airports across the country just yesterday. It anticipates screening 2.2 million people today.

These numbers are about 90 percent of where we were back in 2019, before the pandemic. And the TSA says as we go deeper into the summer travel season, it's likely we will see levels of air travel higher than pre-pandemic levels. I asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in an interview about this, and I wanted to know whether or not airlines are up to this challenge.

Here's what he said.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We saw a lot of airlines during the pandemic sitting at their schedule something at their workforce, not knowing when demand was going to return.


Now, faster than expected, the demand has come roaring back and they are struggling to keep up. That's true whether we are talking about flight attendant crews, whether we're talking about pilots.

So, we've got to make sure that we have short term and long term approaches.


MUNTEAN: One of those short term solutions, airlines proactively canceling flights and trimming their schedules as we go further into the summer. One of the latest airlines from such an announcement is Delta Air Lines, which says it is slashing about 100 flights a day from its flight schedule during the month of July. We will see as this continues, Pamela, airlines are really facing a crunch right now

BROWN: Yeah, clearly.

All right, Pete, stay with me. I want to bring in Rana Foroohar. She's a global business columnist and associate editor for "The Financial Times", and she is also a CNN global economic analyst.

So, Rana, Americans are not just dealing with airline travel, but also the cost of gas is at a record high. Today, the national average for a gallon of gas is $4.62. That's up 44 cents from last week, and almost a dollar and 50 cents more than last Memorial Day.

But, clearly, it seems people are not letting that stop them from traveling. Do you expect that trend to keep up over the summer?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: You know, it's a great question. I was really surprised, over half of American families are still planning to be traveling this weekend. You know, the thing that we have to wait and see about, though, is that ordinarily, gas prices should be peaking about now. But the projections, given the war in Ukraine, given the supply chain issues, the resurgence of the global economy, it's looking like they are going to be higher in June, July, and August, which is very unusual.

So, I do expect travel to drop off somewhat. What I am already hearing and seeing is families saying, okay, maybe we aren't going to drive eight hours or 12 hours to take a beach vacation. Maybe we're going to stay and do something like a staycation, or maybe stay instate, drive two hours, four hours.

People are making those kinds of calculations right now because it is adding up to many hundreds of dollars for a trip, to make those longer trips.

BROWN: Right, whether you're driving or flying, it's going to cost you, right?

I mean, Pete, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said airline fares increased 18 percent from March to April of this year. That is the highest one month increase since 1963.

If you compare that with the airlines canceling flights and rising gas prices, for Americans with summer plans, what should they be bracing for?

MUNTEAN: They should be bracing for an increase in the cost, that's the biggest thing we've been underscoring to folks. AAA says compared to last Memorial Day weekend, airfare has gone up about 6 percent. Hotels have gone up a whopping 42 percent. Rental cars have actually decreased from the big rental car shortage of early on in the pandemic.

So many things are getting more and more expensive in 2022. We've been hearing from folks who are shuddering their Memorial Day plans, even though the AAA numbers say that many Americans will drive 50 miles or more over the five-day Memorial Day travel period.

Some are saying they simply cannot afford it. Some are saying that flying is cheaper, rather than their regular Memorial Day weekend road trip. That's a pretty incredible confluence of things here, Pamela.

BROWN: Yeah, it certainly is. And one of these price hikes go beyond travel, talk about confluence. You got the cost of groceries, clothes, and rent going up.

Are there any signs that the cost of living could begin to go back down?

FOROOHAR: You know, housing prices could start to soften a little bit. Rents could start to soften a little bit, because of course, you've got the Federal Reserve starting to hike in stressed rates and that tends to bring the cost of housing down. Now, whether that is going to really help offset the pain of those rising gas prices, those food prices, that's 25 percent of the budget of a lot of working people.

So, if those keep going up, I don't think that you are going to have people feeling like they are getting a break. And I am certainly looking politically at how that might affect midterm elections. BROWN: Pete, the tourism industry is just seeing numbers rise back to pre-pandemic levels. Could the drastic rise in prices result Americans staying home be another gut punch to hotels and restaurants?

MUNTEAN: We'll see. You know, the travel industry is so intertwined. The airlines rely on hotels and rental cars, gas. It is also interconnected here and we know that when you adjusted for the cost of inflation, the cost of gas right now, $4.62 gas for a gallon of regular in the United States, that's the highest we have seen since Memorial Day 2012.

What is really interesting to me and so many analysts is that they just think that Americans are so undaunted when it comes to travel. There is this whole notion of pandemic demand, revenge travel. They want to get out because they've been shuttered for a long time, and now, they're simply ready to go.

So they are swallowing this incredibly high cost of travel, not only on the roads, but also by air. They just simply don't care and they are going to do it anyway.


You know, the demand is really not going down all that much, when it comes to the demand for gas. Gas Buddy even put out data today, people are still buying a lot of gas, and we may not see because of that an end into these high prices. We could see July and August being really high as well, too, Pamela.

BROWN: Yeah.

All right. Pete Muntean, Rana Foroohar, thank you both.

And coming up, how Julia Child's legacy is still inspiring chefs around the world decades after her television show went off the air.



BROWN: Turning to our pop lead now. Beloved culinary icon Julia Child has been inspiring at home and professional chefs for decades, with her unmistakable voice and lighthearted approach to cooking.

Well, the new CNN film "JULIA" tells the story of the legendary cook who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and the roles of women in American life.

Jake Tapper spoke with celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso about Julia Child, and the lessons she's learned from her.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And joining us now is celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso. She's also the head judge on the Julia Child challenge on our sister channel, The Food Network. Antonia, Julia Child style of cooking continues to inspire so many

people, including professional chef such as yourself. What has it been like to host your own TV show based on this culinary icon?

ANTONIA LOFASO, HEAD JUDGE, FOOD NETWORK'S "THE JULIA CHILD CHALLENGE": You know, this was the most humbling experience I think I have had in my career to date. Being able to host a competition show and be the lead judge of the competition show that really features this icon, this woman who at a time when cooking on television wasn't necessarily a thing in the United States. We loved canned food and microwave-able food, and she brought this idea of technique and French cooking to the United States. It's a literal dream come true.

TAPPER: So, Julia Child is seen as a trail blazer to show that women belong in the male-dominated world of professional cooking. As someone who grew up watching re-runs of her shows on TVs, what lessons did you learn and have you applied any as a host?

LOFASO: It's this idea of people feeling comfortable with who they are, what they represent in food, and being able to express that openly, and being okay to fail.

Also, what she did was teach fundamental cooking. The foundation, the very, very start, I think so many times, we have come into this idea that everything has to be quick, everything has to be fast and not really taking the time to learn the why and the how, and that long process.

And she was all about that. She was all about teaching someone the basics so that they understand how those building blocks work in food. I do that as a judge when I am judging contestants. I do that as a host for me, the biggest takeaway is that Julia Child was unapologetic about the way she spoke, the fact that she was loud and also gracious.

She said this is who I am, this is where I represent, this is what I want to share with the world. This is a mistake. It's okay. Love your mistakes and I take that into my cooking. It's my judging and it's my hosting.

TAPPER: Yeah, absolutely, unapologetic and unafraid, right? Julia child isn't afraid when it comes to making mistakes in the kitchen. She encourages people to be courageous.

In fact, let's take a look at a clip from the new CNN film, "JULIA".


JULIA CHILD, TV CHEF: I'm going to try to flip this over, which is a daring thing to do. You have to have the courage of your convictions, particularly if it's a loose mess like this. That didn't go very well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she made a mistake, she was not remotely rattled.

CHILD: I didn't have the courage to do it the way I should have. You can always pick it up, and if you're alone in the kitchen, who was going to see?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She felt that making a mistake was a good thing. Just so that she could then show you how to fix it.

CHILD: Anytime than anything like this happens, you haven't lost anything because you can always turn this into something else. We will pretend that this was supposed to be a baked potato dish.


TAPPER: So how do you handle mistakes that you make in your cooking?

LOFASO: You know, I talk about this all the time. Mistakes are -- sometimes mistakes lead you into a direction where you are like, oh my god, this recipe is better. I had no idea that it could be this way, or that it has you thinking critically, right? You are like, okay, well, this is no happened. How do I step in and either repurpose, if it's a soup and it's over salted. You know, how can I break it down or at things to it to absorb the salinity? How can I fix it?

The other part, to, is that cooking is a journey and there's parts where the journey is messy, but the stories behind it and the process of moving through that journey is really what makes you better at what you do so expecting something to be perfect the first time in life, whether it's cooking or anything else, is sort of -- you know, it's not something that's really attainable. And so, this idea that everything has to be perfect doesn't work

TAPPER: Celebrity chief Antonia Lofaso, thank you so much. And be sure to tune into the new film "JULIA" premiers tonight at 8:00 pm Eastern only here on CNN.


BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper for the special edition of THE LEAD.

And on this Memorial Day, we honor the fallen men and women who died serving their country.

Our coverage continues now with Jim Acosta in "THE SITUATION ROOM."