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Biden Remembers Victims Of Uvalde Mass Shooting; One Year Since Gunman Killed 19 Children And Two Teachers in Uvalde; Music Legend Tina Turner Dies At 83. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 24, 2023 - 15:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Breaking news now. We're going to go to the White House where President Biden is set to give remarks remembering the victims of the Uvalde mass shooting. That shooting took place a year ago today, if you could believe it. You see the president there at the White House with Dr. Jill Biden as well. Candles there honoring the victims. Let's listen in on the president.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... I realize this is a really tough day for all the families. Remembering is important but it's also painful.

One year ago today, Rob Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, turned into another killing field in America.

A few days later, Jill and I traveled there and stood before those 21 crosses outside the school. On each cross, a name like in these candles behind us -- 19 children, 9, 10, 11 years old. And two devoted educators and 17 more injured.

We spent hours with the grieving families who were broken. And never ever quite be the same. To the families of the children and the educators, we know that one year later, it's still so raw for you. A year of missed birthdays and holidays, school plays, soccer games, just that smile. A year of every day joy is gone forever. The bend in his smile, the perfect pitch of her laugh.

At a vigil a few months later, one of the moms said, when I lay in bed and turn on my side envisioning her staring back at me, I want so badly to be part of an alternative reality that just doesn't exist. This is my reality. Because my 10-year-old daughter was murdered in her 4th grade classroom.

Standing there in Uvalde, Jill and I couldn't help but think that too many schools, too many every day places have become killing fields in communities all across every part of America. And in each place, we hear the same message, do something. For God sake please do something.

We did something afterwards, but not nearly enough. We still need to ban, in my view, AR-15 firearms, assault weapons, once again. You know, they've been used time and again in mass killings of innocent children and people. We need to ban high capacity magazines, with the ability to shoot 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 bullets without reloading. Because today guns remain the number one killer -- the number one killer of children in America. Guns.


And over the last year since Uvalde, our country has experienced a staggering 650 mass shootings and well over -- it's hard to say -- well over 40,000 deaths due to gun violence. We can't end this epidemic until Congress passed some common sense gun safety laws and keeps weapons of war off our streets and out of the hands of dangerous people. Until states do the same thing, how many more parents will live their worst nightmare before we stand up to the gun lobby. To establish universal background checks, establish national red flag laws, require safe storage of firearms and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers. The only major corporate entity that's immune to liability.

Even a majority of responsible gun owners support these common sense actions to save lives and keep our community safe. So, it's time to act. It's time to act. It's time to make our voices heard, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as friends. As neighbors, as parents, as fellow Americans. And I'm being deadly earnest when I say that. You know, I know for a long time, it's been hard to make progress. But there will become a point where our voices so loud, our determination so clear that it can no longer be stopped. We will act.

You know, a year after visiting the school, that same day we attended mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. In the pews family and friends held each other tightly. As the Archbishop spoke he asked the children in attendance to come up on the altar and sit with him as he spoke -- on the altar. There wasn't enough room for everybody to go on the altar. So, a mom and her young son sat next to us -- they had us in the first pew and they sat next to us.

As we left the church, a grandmother -- who just lost her granddaughter -- came up to us and quietly passed us a note, a handwritten letter. And here's what it read.

Erase the invisible line that is dividing our nation. Come up with a solution and fix what's broken and make the changes that are necessary to prevent this from ever happening again.

My fellow Americans, you know, you can almost feel the pain. For we lost -- we've lost children. We have to do this to save our children for the nation we love. To erase that invisible line. Jill and I stand here today -- as earlier this morning we were talking about planning a memorial service this weekend, celebrating the anniversary of the death of our son Beau. Well, guess what, everyone's pain is different. We like many of you have some understanding what it's like to lose a child. On more than one occasion.

For those who have lost a loved one in Uvalde to the moms, the dads, the brothers, the sisters, the grandmoms, the grandpops, this is what I know. One, they'll never be gone from your heart. They'll always be part of you. And I know this as well. As unbelievable as it sounds, I promise you, the day will come when you pass that ice cream store or pass that park, you pass that thing that brings back the memory of your son or daughter, it's going to bring a smile to your lips when you think of them before it brings a tear to your eye. That's when you know you're going to make it.

And our prayer for you from the bottom of our heart is that day will come sooner than later. Sooner than later. But God willing it will come. As I said, that's when you know you're going to make it. God bless those 21 blessed souls lost on this day in Uvalde, and may God bless their families. We're thinking of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any update on the debt talks, Mr. President, please?

SCIUTTO: President Biden speaking there as he so often does from a perspective of shared loss. Having lost his son, lost his daughter many years ago. And using these words to describe Uvalde.


Described the school as having become a killing field and then lamenting -- in his words -- that too many schools, too many every day places, have become killing fields since then. The president there speaking from the White House on the one-year anniversary of the Uvalde school shooting.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: President Biden marking a tragic day in our nation's history. 21 people killed there at Rob Elementary School. 19 of them children.

SCIUTTO: Little kids.

SANCHEZ: The majority of them, 9 and 10 years old, mostly fourth graders. The president saying that he is thinking of the families of those who were killed there. Also calling on Congress to take action in banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

We want to take you now live to Uvalde because CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has been following this story essentially since it happened. Shimon, the president saying to the families of those killed, quote, we're thinking of you. Those families have been struggling not only with the loss of their loved ones, but also to get very basic answers about what happened that day.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think what the president there said is something that about the emotions of losing a loved one. Certainly a child. I think is going to really hit home here to many of these families. Because they don't know that they can go on and that is something they have said to me. Parents who are just in some cases, waiting to see their kids again. That means death. And they don't know. They don't know if they'll be able to move on, ever.

And I think what the president there said to them about when you pass by the ice cream store or some place that reminds you of your child, when you can finally smile, then you know that there is hope, I guess, right? And a lot of these family members don't feel that. They don't feel that hope right now.

And part of that, yes, is because Boris, as you said, there's been no accountability here for the failures that have occurred here from the law enforcement side, to the community leaders, to the politicians, elected leaders all across this state and all across this city and across this community have failed them. And that is what is so frustrating for them.

Today for them is about sort of remembering their kids. But also trying to come together. Trying to unite. That's been something that's been very difficult. I've seen some of the family members come out here today and they've laid flowers. But it's a very difficult day for them and also for the survivors.

The parents of the kids who survived were here. Earlier, one of the girls laying a flower with her -- you know, to pay respect to her friends. Her best friends. Some of who died in that classroom. But you could see this little girl, who was here earlier today, you could see she was really distraught today, understandably.

But there's also a sense of anxiety here today because it brings back all of those terrible memories. So, there's still a lot of work that needs to happen here. And I think what the president there said is going to really hit home to this community that is trying to look towards elected leaders for some kind of solution.

And just briefly, you know, we talk about changes in gun laws. This is something that the family members of this community have been fighting for since this really happened. Just simply to ask the state legislators here in Texas to raise the age of -- when someone can purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21. And many of these family members spent weeks, days at the capital in Austin fighting for this. In one situation, they had to wait 13 hours to testify. The committee holding them in the state capital for 13 hours and letting them finally testify at midnight. And they finally got their chance to speak but it didn't go anywhere. But they're going to keep fighting.

So, I think the community today needed to hear that from the president. As they try to heal, try to get answers and try to get some kind of change to happen here.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yes, I think that's one of the things that is pretty striking here. It was a year ago today where life as they knew it, these families, it stopped. You know? And time just kind of comes stop, but the political timeline moves on so quickly -- unfortunately. And that is what they're dealing with and what they are challenging. They're going to continue to fight here.

SCIUTTO: And that's not just the political timeline. Just the nation's attention, right?

KEILAR: That's right. The will which creates the will to do something politically.

SCIUTTO: Right, but the shooting that follows another shooting, that follows another shooting. And that's got to add to the pain for those families.

KEILAR: Unfortunately, it's a nation neuroid to that. [15:45:00]

As we look at these live pictures that we cannot become immune to. This community in Uvalde that is trying to figure out a year later how they do move forward. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back.



TINA TURNER, SINGER: I'm stuck on your heart I hang on every word you say Tear us apart Baby, I would rather be dead

In your heart I see the start of every night and every day


SANCHEZ: She was simply the best. If you're just joining us, we've been following the breaks news this afternoon. That music legend Tina Turner has passed away at age 83. That being one of her favorite songs. One of many hits she had in her storied career. Humble beginnings. Overcame a number of obstacles in her personal life, including surviving an abusive relationship with Ike Turner. To not only dominate the charts, but to set a new path for so many artists that came after.

SCIUTTO: How about this quote to NBC.

One of my early career goals was to become the first Black woman to fill stadiums around the world. At the time, it seemed impossible, but I never gave up and I'm so happy I made the dream come true.

She did.

SANCHEZ: She has an incredible personal story. As we take a live look now, because mourners have already started showing their love for Tina Turner. Quite literally giving her, her flowers at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

KEILAR: She was an icon. She was an American icon. She embodied the American dream. She was transformative. I want to bring in Stephanie Elam to talk a little bit about this as we are following her life. As we are following the legend, Tina Turner. And we're following how people are remembering her and how much she meant to so many people. I think we're really seeing the scope of that -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Completely. And I was struck thinking about how positive she remained at the end of her life. Focusing on the good that she had in life. All the good things she had when she really did start out her life with a lot of challenges. Think about this. She was only 17 years old when she became part of Ike Turner's production, right? So she was so young and stuck with him for like a decade long. And when she finally left, and to cover the night disaster, he had

beaten her, she said. She wrote this in her book. And she ran with 36 cents and one gas credit card -- for a gas station -- and ran and got someone to get her a plane ticket to get back from Dallas -- this is 1976 -- back to L.A. She was like no matter what I have to do, I'm not going back to that. That's the kind of life -- I know I keep talking about it -- but that's the kind of life this woman was up against and why she looked at everything after that, is like, yeah, I had rough times, but look at what I have now. and imparting that in that -- in her music, in her performances where she was giving all, all the time. This woman has seen devastating loss. Had seen devastating challenges and still continued on. She was the epitome of strength and grace.

SCIUTTO: I'm just going to quote her again. Because there are so many powerful quotes from her. But to that point, tough life.

But she said: People think my life has been tough but I think it's been a wonderful journey. The older you get, the more you realize it's not what happened, it's how you deal with it.

That's Turner to Maria Claire, South Africa in 2018. Just., of "Variety," you've been with us since the news broke. As we come to the end of the hour here, I wonder what's on your mind.

MARC MALKIN, SENIOR CULTURE AND EVENTS EDITOR, VARIETY: My mind is every time you guys play one of the songs, it brings me back to a memory rather. "Private Dancer" for some reason is bringing me back to a memory of going camping with my dad. My dad was a huge Tina Turner fan. You know, before he passed -- you know, this is an old Jewish guy from Brooklyn. And he was -- he said the greatest concert he ever saw was Tina Turner. You know, this is a guy who loved Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. But Tina Turner, the greatest concert that he ever saw.

I think about back to the days when she was this amazing actor. And what's amazing about Ms. Turner is that, you know, as public as she was about her journey, she was also very private. We can't forget the fact that, you know, she backed away from the industry. She could've had a lot more acting roles. She could have really been out for a lot more. But she knew that she valued her private life because she went through such tough times that she truly, truly loved those moments of private time with her kids, with her family. And again, I know I've said this before. \


We just cannot talk enough about how she was a trail blazer for women standing up and saying enough is enough. I'm taking control of my life. And as we all know, in that divorce from Ike Turner, the only thing she said, I don't want anything except you can't take my name.

KEILAR: And she got it.

MALKIN: How powerful is that?

KEILAR: So powerful. And she got it and look what she did with it. And I just want to read how "The Times" describes her. The earth shaking soul singer whose raspy vocals, sexual magnetism and

explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time.

SCIUTTO: My favorite song?

KEILAR: I wonder how she would think about that.

My favorite song, I don't know, so hard to choose. So hard to choose.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, I was going to say "What's Love Got To Do With It," because that's the first one I remember as a kid. But I think seeing the "Proud Mary" clip there, hard to beat the energy of "Proud Mary."

SANCHEZ: So many great memories with that music. The queen of rock and roll leaving us at 83.

KEILAR: "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a short break.