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Texas School Shooting; Closing Day of Davos; U.S. President Calls for Common Sense Gun Reform; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Outlines China Policy. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 26, 2022 - 10:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was just trying to call the authorities and I guess he just shot her.

How do you look at this girl and just shoot her?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): A father's insurmountable grief after the loss of his daughter and many of her classmates, as the

investigation continues into a horrific shooting in Texas.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I can hope is that she is not just a number.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lexi is one of 19 children that were all gunned down in a 4th grade classroom.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Each of those children leave a void in their family's hearts. Their stories bring them closer to all of us.



NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The bridge has burned but it's across the river there that Russian forces amassed, shelling here


ANDERSON (voice-over): Intense shelling in the battle for Kharkiv as Russia continues its brutal war in Ukraine.



ANDERSON: It's 3 pm in London, I'm Becky Anderson. Hello, welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. We're waiting for the U.S. secretary of state to speak

about the Biden administration's policy on China. We'll bring you his remarks as soon as we have them.

But for millions of children and their families across the United States and indeed around the world, it's time to celebrate the end of the school

year and the start of summer.

But in a small town in Texas, this is a week of vigils and funeral arrangements for 21 people. Most of them are young children that were

killed in a massacre at an elementary. School.

Crosses for each of the victims outside the school today's mass shooting, the latest in an epidemic of gun violence in America. Along with the

inconceivable grief, anger over how and why this keeps happening.

Questions about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The teenage gunman, inside the school for up to an hour before he was confronted and

killed by law enforcement.

We're also learning more about the victims. Most of them are 9- and 10-year olds, their heroic teachers, murdered while trying to save them. Here is

Adrienne Broaddus with some of their stories.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those who have lost their children --

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A community grieving after 19 children and two adults were gunned down at Robb Elementary School


This is the scene at a vigil held last night for the victims as their community grapples with this senseless tragedy. The children who witnessed

it are trying to come to terms with what they saw, one 3rd grader describes the terror.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody was scared. We were all panicking because we didn't know what was really happening. And we were all hiding behind a

stage in the cafeteria when it happened.


BROADDUS (voice-over): This as 21 families are grieving the loss of loved ones.

Ten-year-old Lexi Rubio had just celebrated making the honor roll on Tuesday. Her parents, Felix and Kimberly, were so proud. They attended the

ceremony to celebrate their daughter. They say Lexi was kind, sweet and appreciated life. Felix Rubio is a Uvalde County sheriff's deputy. He hopes

change will come.

FELIX RUBIO, LEXI'S FATHER: All we can hope is that she is not just a number, hopefully something gets resolved, that's all we ask, hope

something gets resolved.

I'm a cop, I'm a deputy here in Uvalde County. This is enough. This is enough. No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through

this but we are.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Jose Flores Jr., also 10 years old, was in the 4th grade and loved baseball and video games. His father tells CNN he was an

amazing big brother, who, quote, "was always full of energy."

Fourth grader Uziyah Garcia was 10 years old. His uncle described him as a great kid, full of life, loved anything with wheels and video games.

Ten-year-old Xavier Lopez has been identified as one of the victims.


BROADDUS (voice-over): His grandmother spoke to ABC News.


AMELIA SANDOVAL, XAVIER LOPEZ'S GRANDMOTHER: It's just so hard. You send your kids to school, thinking they're going to make it back home and then

they're not.


BROADDUS (voice-over): Ten-year-old Tess Marie Mata also lost her life. Her older sister Faith wrote on Twitter, "My precious angel, you are loved

so deeply. May your wings soar higher than you can ever dream."

Nevaeh Bravo was also identified by her family as one of the victims. Her cousin tells "The Washington Post" that Nevaeh "put a smile on everyone's


Amerie Jo Garza was 10 years old. Her father, Angel Garza, tells CNN, "She was trying to call 9-1-1 to protect her classmates." Garza is a med aide,

who arrived on the scene to later learn his daughter was one of the deceased.

ANGEL GARZA, AMERIE'S FATHER: Two of the students in her classroom said she was just trying to call the authorities and I guess he just shot her.

How do you look at this girl and shoot her?

Oh, my baby, I miss you, my baby. Oh.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Two teachers were also killed: 4th grade teachers Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia. Garcia was a wife and mother of four.

A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for her funeral expenses and the needs of the family, writes, "She sacrificed herself, protecting the kids

in her classroom. She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed."

And Eva's daughter paid tribute to her mother on social media, writing, "Mom, you are a hero. I keep telling myself that this isn't real. I just

want to hear your voice. I want to thank you, Mom, for being such an inspiration to me. I will forever be so proud to be your daughter."


ANDERSON: Adrienne Broaddus reporting there. I want to bring in Rosa Flores, who is on the scene.

Rosa, understandably this is a community traumatized and in grief.

What more can you tell us about what we know?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know the pain is palpable here, Becky. I'm in a city square, where a lot of people have come to this area to have

prayer circles, also to hold signs that say "Uvalde Strong."

One of the women that I talked to said that she had to get out of her house, that she had to feel like she was doing something. She couldn't

watch television news anymore. She felt like she needed to be out in the community with other members of this community as they grieved.

I talked to one of the pastors who organized the vigil that was set up last night. And his eyes were bloodshot, he said he was understandably very

tired and he was hoping to have just a few moments before this vigil started, just imagine being one of the pastors in this very small community

of about 16,000 people and trying to figure out, to find the words to console this community.

To help them find healing and peace in between all of the pain and a lot of anger. Some people that I've talked to said that there is a mix of emotions

here in this town, because, very understandably they are in pain and morning. There is also anger, trying to understand why it was this

community where this happened.

Why it was children who died. If you look at the list of deceased, a lot of them were 10 years old, some of them 9 years old. Of course those teachers

that were just mentioned moments ago. So this community is still trying to figure out how to be in this new reality, where now there is a hashtag that

is #uvaldestrong.

We've seen that in so many places around the United States, so many cities that have gone through this equal pain. Now adding this town, this small

town, in Texas, to that list.

ANDERSON: Rosa Flores, is on the ground there in Texas.

New details and questions about how law enforcement handled the scene. An official with the Texas Department of Public Safety spoke with my

colleague, John Berman, earlier. Have a listen.


LT. CHRIS OLIVAREZ, SPOKESPERSON TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: So when the initial school resource officer arrived on scene, there were

several other police officers from Uvalde that arrived as well immediately.


OLIVAREZ: As that gunman entered the school way, enter that hallway of the school, those police officers also followed right behind that shooter.

At that point, there was gunfire exchange. They were met with gunfire upon entering the school. Those two police officers were shot. At that point,

the gunman was able to barricade himself inside of the classroom, in which he carried out those mass killings, where 19 children were killed as well

as the two teachers.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Again it is still chilling to hear you say that.

But the shots themselves were exchanged inside the school, correct?

OLIVAREZ: Right. So we're also trying to establish also how far were those officers inside the school?

Did this occur right at the doorway or were they able to make entry?

If they did make entry, how far were they inside the school prior to the shots going off?

But we do know for a fact and, I can tell you factually, those officers were shot by the gunman upon entering the school.

BERMAN: The shooter barricaded himself inside of the classroom, barricaded himself, how exactly?

OLIVAREZ: So what we do know is that the gunman was able to make entry into the classroom we, are still trying to establish if there was any kind

of locking mechanisms on the doorway from the inside of the classroom because the gunman was able to barricade himself.

We know there was adjoining classrooms where he was barricaded himself. That's why he was able to carry out that mass shooting, where also there

were 17 injured in that close proximity of that classroom.

Again, trying to establish exactly how he was able to barricade himself in that classroom. We know that the initial -- well, actually, the secondary

response team, the tactical team that was comprised of Border Patrol, local police officers and county deputies, were challenged at that doorway.

They were unable to make initial entry. But again, at that point, they were able to successfully force their way into that doorway, into that

classroom, where they were able to shoot and kill the shooter before he could carry out any other potential killings.

BERMAN: The shooter is now inside the classroom, these two adjoining classrooms.

How long was he in there?

OLIVAREZ: Right. So I understand that's what everyone wants to know, is the timeline. We're trying to establish a timeline from the initial

shooting, with the grandmother, to the point where the shooter was killed.

Also in between that, so we're trying to establish every single timeline as far as how long the shooter was inside the classroom, how long did the

shooting take place. As of right now, we have not been able to establish that.

We want to provide factual information as opposed to just providing timelines that are preliminary. We estimate anywhere from 40 minutes to an

hour, that was a statement that was made by our director, the Texas Department of Public Safety.

But again we're trying to establish was that comprised from initial shooting to when the suspect was killed?

Or from when he arrived at the school?

So again, a lot of information that we're trying to corroborate so that we can provide accurate information to the viewers and to everyone else and

the victims of the families.


ANDERSON: That's my colleague, John Berman, getting some details. CNN crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz is on the ground.

As I understand it, there is new video of the gunman at the school.

Shimon, what do you have at this point?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes. This is new video that we are now airing of the gunman entering the school through a back

door. The back door, police say, was unlocked. We don't know why, police have yet to find out or answer that question.

But this is the day of the shooting. In the moments after the gunman arrives here at the school, he crashes the car. And then you see him there,

trying, making his way inside the school. This is a significant piece of video certainly for investigators.

As they say, they're still trying to get more details put together this timeline of exactly how the events here unfolded.

ANDERSON: At this point, how long do they believe it will take before they have more details?

As we've been discussing, this is a community in complete shock, traumatized, so much grief. There will be, I'm sure, very little closure

for a long, long time. But this investigation, it's absolutely imperative that the authorities get their arms around this investigation as quickly as


PROKUPECZ: It is. And they should have more answers by now. This happened on Tuesday; we're here on Thursday. The fact that they don't have some of

these basic details, a timeline of when the gunman arrived, when police first intercepted him, when police, the tactical teams, exactly what time

they entered the building.


PROKUPECZ: How long were they in the building?

How long was it before they decided to breach the door?

All of this is information that, by now, they should have, should be ready to release to the public. One of the things that's happening here is that

we are getting pieces of information. Some of it contradicts earlier information. So that's causing some confusion.

We thought we would get some answers from police officials when they held a press conference here yesterday. But that seemed to also still cause some

confusion. Today we learned more information, the fact this door was unlocked, that the gunman was able to easily, unimpeded enter the school.

These are all questions that authorities are going to need to answer.

How did this happen and why?

ANDERSON: Shimon, thank you.

Shimon Prokupecz is on the ground.

Hospital officials say some of the kids, the injured kids, might be able to go home in the next few days. But tragically, the families of those 19

children and two teachers who died, they will never come home of course.

Like the families of Annabell Rodriguez and Eliahana Cruz Torres, both of them only 10 years old. CNN's Lucy Kafanov has another look at the victims

and their grieving loved ones.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are the faces of the future, lost to a nation's violent present.

Jose Flores Jr., a fourth grader full of energy, his father said, ready to play until the night.

Uziyah Garcia, a 10-year old who loved football and video games.

Lexi Rubio, a little girl who wanted to go to law school, just like her mother. Lexi Rubio's family overcome as they recall her sweetness and to

plea that her life has impact.

RUBIO: All we can hope is that she's just not a number.

KAFANOV: Lexi is one of 19 children that were all gunned down in a fourth grade classroom, whose parents held on to hope that they would hold their

children once gone.

Amerie Jo Garza's father, Angel, wrote on Facebook, "It's been seven hours and I still haven't heard anything on my love. Please, help me find my


This morning, the heartbreaking update.

"She's been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above," Garza wrote. "Please don't take a second for granted. Hug your

family, tell them you love them. I love you, Amerie Jo."

Ten-year-old Javier Lopez had a smile his mother says she'll never forget. He was among the honor roll students who attended an award ceremony the

morning of the shooting.

HAL HARRELL, UVALDE SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: As I look at their pictures, you can just tell by their angelic smile that they were loved, that they

loved coming to school. And they were just precious individuals.

KAFANOV: The community also mourning two teachers. Eva Mireles, 44 years old, loved running, biking and being with her family.

Undoubtedly, her family says, she died protecting others.

AMBER YBARRA, EVA MIRELES' COUSIN: She was a vivacious soul. She spread laughter and joy everywhere she went.

HARRELL: These two teachers, I would say are the corner stone of that campus to some great degree. They are two beautiful souls.

KAFANOV: Mireles' daughter writing an open letter to her mother, "I am so happy that people know your name and that they know what a hero looks like.

I want to thank you, Mom, for being such an inspiration to me. I will forever be proud to be your daughter. My sweet mommy, I will see you



ANDERSON: If you would like to offer support for those involved in that school shooting, please go to, you will find several ways

you can help their community.

Germany's chancellor makes a promise at Davos. Olaf Scholz says that his country will phase out Russian oil by year's end and stop relying on

Russian gas.

But how will his message resonate with other European nations?

Plus, Russian forces move to encircle key cities in Eastern Ukraine. My colleague Nick Paton Walsh takes us to the front lines near Kharkiv in the

midst of what is active shelling.





ANDERSON: Well, this is the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland. It seems the impact of Russia's war on Ukraine is and has

been center stage there. German chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered the closing address in Davos.

He promised that Germany is working "flat out" to end its reliance on Russian gas, it will completely phase out Russian oil by year's end. He

also warned of consequences like rising energy prices, which many people are already feeling. Julia Chatterley is anchor of "FIRST MOVE," joining us

now from Davos.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised Germany will phase out Russian oil by year's end, suggesting its reliance on Russian gas will be much reduced.

But that is a real sticking point, isn't it?

And it's something that could fracture the unity that we see from these European nations. Just explain what we heard from the chancellor and why

it's important.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: To your point, Becky, it could and it is because Hungary's already trying to extract concessions in order to move in

the director that they want to go, to get this E.U. agreement on energy.

I think it cuts to the heart of the broader discussions here, how long does the unity really hold?

The German chancellor came here and said the pressure will effectively continue on Russia. We are going to continue to move away from their energy

and this is our focus now.

But behind the scenes, this is also very important, we talk about food crisis and the cost of living crisis as you look around the world, perhaps

the threat that we do see with economies start to soften, we're taught through the recession, you and I, that this might ramp up the pressure that

Ukraine is facing perhaps to reach some kind of compromise.

It's an awful question, a morality question that we're asking at this moment. But I tell you those conversations are being had. When the

Ukrainian president spoke at the beginning of this, he said maximum sanctions.

As you and I discussed earlier this week, policy choices have dramatic consequences, not just the ones on the economy but around the world. I

think that's part of the discussion. It was very European-centric, of course, primarily due to logistics about what's happening in Southeast Asia

and China, with the ongoing lockdowns and the challenges of traveling.

But the presence, I think, of China and what role they could play in a future solution to this war in Ukraine, was ever-present, too. If we talk

about a reordering of perhaps the world economy going forward, what an alliance or a closer connection between China and Russia means for all of

these things.

So big, macro policy decisions are being discussed at the same time as heartbreaking crises in Ukraine and the uncertainty over how long this goes

on and what the consequences are.

So it felt like a really important Davos to me, simply because we were talking about issues like sustainability, food crisis and, at the same

time, where do we go from here?

And of course the incentive is huge.

ANDERSON: Yes, and President Zelenskyy, of course, addressed those gathered. He doesn't miss an opportunity to address an audience that he

knows can make a difference.


ANDERSON: With so many important business and finance and agency heads at this meeting, you can understand why it was as important as it was. Thank


Russia's offensive in Ukraine's east is intensifying. Ukrainian police say Moscow is targeting new areas in Donetsk and an official says Russian now

partially controls the railway hub of Lyman. I have the map up here so you can see exactly what I'm speaking to here.

Fierce battles are taking place around Sievierodonetsk, the last major city in the Luhansk region, still under Ukrainian government control. Regional

military leaders are saying there's only about 13,000 people left in that city.

There is a constant onslaught that is forcing many of them to hide in shelters and basements. A familiar story, I'm afraid, this past three

months. Russian forces are also pounding the parts of northern Kharkiv region. A regional official there says Russian shellings killed at least

four people. My colleague, Nick Paton Walsh, takes us right to the front lines.


WALSH (voice-over): The forests around Kharkiv know no peace. We're just 15 minutes Northeast from the city center and the Russians are on the other

side of the hill.

Here, it is a fight on foot, waged with vast, cumbersome guns.

WALSH: You can see here when Kharkiv is being shelled every night, the sheer volume of shells that entails here.

WALSH (voice-over): This must have been beautiful here three months ago, now pillaged. Artillery in the place of birdsong.

WALSH: He's just saying, you can see how they live like pigs and died like pigs. It's the kind of hatred we're seeing a lot of.

WALSH (voice-over): The back and forth of high explosive rattles in the pines. Like so much of the war, the battle for Kharkiv isn't over; it's

just slightly out of sight, yet no less vicious or intense.

WALSH: These kind of forests, it's extremely hard for them to know exactly what these noises are, whether it's them firing at the Russians, 100 meters

away or the Russians firing back.

WALSH (voice-over): Dusk brings escalation again. At all points North of Kharkiv that we saw over three days traveling, the same picture of Russian


Even here, as we get closer to their border, the rumble is constant. The fight for Kharkiv now also one about protecting Russia.

DMYTRO, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: Yesterday and the day before yesterday, we -- we were attacked by tanks, hard artillery and helicopters. We hit one

helicopter and they're afraid of us.

WALSH: You smile when say they're afraid.


WALSH (voice-over): But there's no room for grinning further Northeast, where Ukraine is losing ground it won just days earlier.

Russia has moved into the next town up, Rubizhne, in the hours before we arrive, the ruins fresh, still smoldering.

And here, that means the constant bewildering shelling has new, ominous significance.

"We don't know who's shelling," she says. "Maybe here and there and that. It's terrifying."

Not much has been spared here. Moscow hungry to cross the water and eager to punish.

WALSH: The bridge is blown but it is across the river there that Russian forces have amassed, shelling here constantly and now, sensing the

possibility of taking part of the neighboring town, Rubizhne.

WALSH (voice-over): The prospect of a long, exhausting battle of attrition and loathing, haunting Ukraine's second city. Even out here, where calm

should flow free -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Joe Biden is called on to be the consoler in chief.


ANDERSON: He is traveling to Texas following the school shooting. What he can expect when he arrives is coming up.

Also heading to Texas this week is the National Rifle Association. The NRA convention will go ahead, we are told. More on that after this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London. The time here is just half past 3 in the afternoon, wherever you are watching you are,


A small town in Texas is still in shock and disbelief after there was a massacre there on Tuesday. Members of the tight-knit community came

together on Wednesday night for a vigil. There were tears and pain for the 19 children and two teachers who were gunned down at Robb Elementary


The tragedy has once again ignited debate about guns in American society. One side saying owning guns is a constitutional right, the other pleading

for more gun control. Both facing criticism for inaction.

However, U.S. senators are holding bipartisan talks on gun legislation, saying that is the only way that anything will get passed in the U.S.

President Joe Biden plans to travel to Texas in the coming days. He and his wife will meet with the families of the 19 kids and two teachers who lost

their lives in this latest shooting.

Mr. Biden says he hopes the visit will bring comfort to a community still in shock and mourning. Well, Jeremy Diamond joining us from Washington with

more with the U.S. government's reaction to the tragedy.

And we are hearing talk of what common sense gun reform would look like.

So what's that mean, quite frankly, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Listen, there are several different proposals that have passed the House, that are being considered

in the Senate: universal background checks, obviously, continues to be an issue, given that there are so many loopholes in the United States to be

able to purchase a weapon without actually passing a background check.

But that is showing no signs of any real movement in the Senate, where you would need 60 votes. That means 10 Republicans, given the 50-50 makeup of

the Senate, that is not looking likely.

The likeliest piece of legislation right now is one that would create a national red flag system, wherein people who have been diagnosed with a

mental illness or have been recently involuntarily committed to a mental institution would not be able to purchase a weapon.

Several of those laws are already on the books in a slew of states across the U.S.


DIAMOND: But a national effort is something that has seen a little bit of traction. But the harsh reality here, Becky, is that there is little

consensus at all in the United States Senate, in particular, on what kinds of gun safety legislation could actually be passed.

And that has been the sentiment here at the White House where President Biden has made very clear he would like to see universal background checks,

he would like to see an assault weapons ban and several other pieces of legislation come to bear.

But he also knows that the reality of the politics here. He was the person, the president that Barack Obama put in charge of leading a gun safety

reform effort after the Sandy Hook shooting nearly a decade ago that resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six other people.

Now with 19 children dead, two adults dead as a result of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, we heard President Biden in his remarks so far talk about

the importance of passing any laws that would perhaps limit or reduce the number of gun deaths in this country.

And yet also tempered with the reality of the numbers that he faces in the Senate. So as President Biden heads to Texas in a matter of days, he says

he will focus on trying to bring a little bit of comfort to those families.

We also expect him to talk broadly about the steps he would like to see. But it is notable that we haven't seen a new task force established. We

haven't seen those kinds of steps taken, perhaps because the White House understands how difficult this is.

Ultimately, this is about political pressure. It's about those midterm elections and trying to change the numbers that exist here in Washington

that are preventing anything real, concrete from getting done -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Jeremy Diamond is at the White House, where you saw the flag flying at half mast.

In support of a community, which will surely be grieving for months to come, less than a week after the brutal killings, the National Rifle

Association is moving ahead with its annual convention this week in Houston, in Texas. This is just about four hours away from the site of this

latest massacre.

The NRA is probably best known as America's most powerful gun lobby, funneling millions of dollars to politicians. In the 2019-2020 election

cycle alone, for example, the NRA spent over $29 million supporting mostly Republican pro-gun candidates and in opposition to candidates that favored

stronger regulations.

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz, governor Greg Abbott and former president Trump are all expected to speak at this year's conference.

Well, the U.S. Congress, in particular the Senate, has said it's been at a stumbling block toward efforts to push through gun control movements as

Jeremy was just there attesting to. That's even though most Americans support at least some sort of restriction. CNN's John Avlon looks at why

Congress has failed to act.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Nineteen children murdered in their classroom. Look at their faces, say their names and know that we do

not have to accept this as normal in America.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. And it's not politicizing a tragedy to ask what we can do to make this heartbreak happen less.

That's the least we could do in a self governing society, right?

Because this is not inevitable. It's a choice. You know that "Onion" headline they reprint after every major mass shooting?

"'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens."

That's the dark truth. After all, we live in a country where guns outnumber people. America has more guns per person than Yemen, which is almost eight

years into a civil war. And all those guns aren't keeping us safe. We are the world leader in mass shootings.

In fact, guns account for 79 percent of all homicides in America in 2020. Compare that to just 4 percent in the U.K., 13 percent in Australia and 37

percent in Canada.

But here's the worst part. Guns are now the leading cause of death among children in America. That's according to "The New England Journal of

Medicine." This isn't pro-life.

This isn't consistent with the vision of the founders, the Second Amendment's call for a well regulated militia or even frontier gun culture,

where you often had to leave your guns at the town line.

It's come about because we've twisted our gun laws to disconnect from any concept of common sense. If you talk about limiting specific weapons these

days, you'll get called a nanny state socialist or worse. So nobody better mention that the machine gun was heavily regulated in the 1930s with the

support of the NRA.

Another new article of gun faith is the right to walk around town carrying a weapon of war.


AVLON: But that definitely wasn't the case when the Black Panthers did it in the late 1960s. Listen to then California governor Ronald Reagan.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is absolutely no reason why, out on the streets, civilians should be carrying a loaded



AVLON: And more recently, our original Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia freely acknowledged the legitimacy of, quote, "longstanding

prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as

schools and government buildings or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

So stop pretending there's nothing we can do in the face of kids getting killed in school, that this is some inevitable byproduct of freedom because

that's BS. Not only is there plenty of room for common sense gun reform, there is much more common ground than you might think.

But check it out. A Pew survey from 2021 shows that 85 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats support preventing people with

mental illness from buying guns.

Common sense, right?

Not only that, 70 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats support background checks for buying weapons at gun shows and private

sales; 66 percent of all Americans support creating a federal gun database to track gun sales; 64 percent of Americans support banning high capacity

ammunition magazines and 63 percent of Americans support banning assault style weapons, a policy that our country had in place from 1994 to 2004 but

was allowed to sunset, after which mass shootings rose dramatically.

There's also broad agreement that allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit is a terrible idea. And we'll see if the Supreme

Court agrees in a few weeks.

Finally, according to the Quinnipiac poll from last year, 74 percent of Americans support red flag laws, which allow police or family members to

petition a judge to remove guns from a person who's been deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.

And some conservatives in Congress have indicated some openness this year.

Now look, I know cynicism passes for wisdom in Washington for a reason.

No bipartisan gun reforms passed after Sandy Hook, so why would this time be different?

Well, maybe because we've had a decade more of mass shootings, because the NRA has been hobbled by self-inflicted scandals and because these stats are

evidence that there is common ground to be found.

Modest actions that could lower the numbers of gun deaths in America, entirely consistent with the Second Amendment. The only question is whether

members of Congress will have the courage to listen to the majority of Americans. It's a test of our decency as well as a test for our democracy.

And that's the reality check.



ANDERSON: U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken in Washington, laying out the Biden administration's China policy. An important speech. Let's have a



ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: -- and secure a sphere of influence in Europe should raise alarm bells for all of us who call the

Indo-Pacific region home. For these reasons and more this is a charged moment for the world.

And at times like these, diplomacy is vital. It's how we make clear our profound concerns and better understand each other's perspective and have

no doubt about each other's intentions.

We stand ready to increase our direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues. And we hope that that can happen. But we cannot rely

on Beijing to change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive

international system.

President Biden believes this decade will be decisive. The actions that we take at home and with countries worldwide will determine whether our shared

vision of the future will be realized.

To succeed in this decisive decade, the Biden administration strategy can be summed up in three words: invest, align, compete. We will invest in the

foundations of our strength here at home, our competitiveness, our innovation, our democracy.

We will align our efforts with a network of allies and partners, acting with a common purpose and in common cause. And harnessing these two key

assets, we will compete with China to defend our interests and build our vision for the future.

We take on this challenge with confidence. Our country is endowed with many strengths. We have peaceful neighbors, a diverse and growing population,

abundant of resources, the world's reserve currency, the most powerful military on Earth.


BLINKEN: And a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that, for example, produced multiple effective vaccines now protecting people

worldwide from COVID-19.

And our open society, at its best, attracts flows of talent and investment and has time-tested capacity for reinvention rooted in our democracy,

empowering us to meet whatever challenges we face.

First, on investing in our strength, after the Second World War, as we and our partners were building a rules-based order, our federal government was

also making strategic investments in scientific research, education, infrastructure, our workforce, creating millions of middle class jobs and

decades of prosperity in technology leadership.

But we took those foundations for granted. And so it is time to get back to basics. The Biden administration is making far-reaching investments in our

core sources of national strength, starting a modern industrial strategy to sustain and expand our economic and technological influence, make our

economy supply chains more resilient, sharpen our competitive edge.

Last year President Biden signed into law the largest infrastructure investment in our history to modernize our highways, ports, airports, rails

and bridges, to move goods to markets faster, to boost our productivity, to expand high speed internet to every corner of the country, to draw more

businesses and more jobs to more parts of America.

We're making strategic investments in education and worker training so that American workers, the best in the world, can design, build and operate the

technologies of the future.

Because our industrial strategy centers on technology, we want to invest in research, development, advanced manufacturing. Sixty years ago, our

government spent more than twice as much on research as a percentage of our economy as we do now, investments that in turn catalyze private sector


It's how we won the space race, invented the semiconductor, built the internet. We used to rank first in the world and R&D is a proportion of our

GDP. Now we're 9th. Meanwhile, China has risen from 8th place to 2nd.

With bipartisan congressional support, we will reverse these trends and make historic investments in research and innovation, including in fields

like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum computing.

These are areas that Beijing is determined to lead. But given America's advantages, the competition is ours to lose not only in terms of developing

new technologies but also in shaping how they're used around the world so that they're rooted in democratic values, not authoritarian ones.

The leadership of senator Romney and others in the House and the Senate have passed bills to support this agenda, including billions to produce

semiconductors here and to strengthen other critical supply chains.

Now we need Congress to send the legislation to the president for his signature. We can get this done. And it can't wait. Supply chains are

moving now. And if we don't draw them here, they'll be established somewhere else.

As President Biden has said, the Chinese Communist Party is lobbying against this legislation because there's no better way to enhance our

global standing and influence than to deliver on our domestic renewal.

These investments will not only make America stronger, they'll make us a stronger partner and ally as well. One of the most powerful, even magical

things about the United States, is that we've long been a destination for talented and driven people from every part of the planet.

That includes millions of students from China, who have enriched our communities and forged lifelong bonds with Americans. Last year, despite

the pandemic, we issued more than 100,000 visas to Chinese students in just four months, our highest rate ever.

We're thrilled that they've chosen to study in the United States. We're lucky to have them. And we're lucky when the best global talent not only

studies here but stays here, as more than 80 percent of Chinese students that pursue science and technology PhDs in the United States have done in

recent years.

They help drive innovation here at home and that benefits all of us. We can stay vigilant about our national security without closing our doors.

We also know from our history that, when we're managing and challenging relationships with another government, people from that country or with

that heritage can be made to feel that they don't belong here or that they are adversaries. Nothing could be further from the truth.


BLINKEN: Chinese Americans make invaluable contributions to our country. They've done so for generations. Mistreating someone of Chinese descent

goes against everything we stand for as a country, whether a Chinese national visiting or living here or a Chinese American or any other Asian

American whose claim to this country is equal to anyone else's.

Racism and hate have no place in a nation built by generations of immigrants to fulfill the promise of opportunity for all. We have profound

differences with the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government. But those differences are between governments and systems, not between our


The American people have great respect for the Chinese people. We respect their achievements, their history, their culture. We deeply value the ties

of family and friendship that connect us.

And we sincerely wish for our governments to work together on issues that matter in their lives and in the lives of Americans and, for that matter,

the lives of people around the world.

There is another core source of national strength that we will be relying on in this decisive decade, our democracy. One hundred years ago, if asked

what constitutes the wealth of the nation, we might list the expanse of our land, the size of our population, the strength of our military, the

abundance of our natural resources. And thankfully, we are still wealthy in all of those attributes.

But more than ever in this 21st century, the true wealth of a nation is found in our people, our human resources, in our ability to unleash their

full potential. We do that with our democratic system.

We debate, we argue, we disagree, we challenge each other, including with our elected leaders. We deal with our deficiencies openly. We don't pretend

they don't exist or sweep them under the rug.

And the progress can feel painfully slow, it can be difficult and ugly. By and large we consistently work toward a society where people from all

backgrounds can flourish, guided by national values that unite and motivate and uplift us.

And we're not perfect but at our best we always strive to be, in the words of our Constitution, a more perfect union. Our democracy is designed to

make that happen. That's what the American people and the American model offer. And it's one of the most powerful assets in this contest (ph).

Now Beijing believes that its model is the better one, that a party-led, centralized system is more efficient, less messy and ultimately superior to

democracy. We do not seek to transform China's political system.

Our task is to prove, once again, that democracy can meet urgent challenges, create opportunity, advance human dignity, that the future

belongs to those who believe in freedom and that all countries will be free to chart their own paths without coercion.

The second piece of our strategy is aligning with our allies and partners to advance a shared vision for the future. From day one, the Biden

administration has worked to re-energize America's unnatural (ph) network of alliances and partnerships and to re-engage in our national


We're in country partners to work with each other and to regional and global organizations. And we're standing up new coalitions to deliver for

our people and meet the test of the century ahead.

Nowhere is this more true than in the Indo-Pacific region, where our relationships, including our treaty alliances, are among our strongest in

the world. The United States shares the vision that countries and people across the region hold one of a free and open Pacific where rules are

developed transparently and applied fairly, where countries are free to make their own sovereign decisions.

Where goods, ideas and people flow freely across land, sky, cyberspace, the open seas and governance is responsive to the people.

ANDERSON: That is U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken, laying out the Biden administration's China policy.

Just to recap, he said that even as Russian president Vladimir Putin wages war on Ukraine, U.S. will, in Blinken's words, "remain focused on the most

serious long-term challenge to the international order," which he says is China.

He went on to say China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and the economic and technological power to do so.

But Blinken stresses the U.S. isn't looking for conflict or a new Cold War. Let's get over to Selina Wang, who's in Beijing. We also have U.S. security

correspondent Kylie Atwood standing by at the State Department in Washington.

I want to start with you, Kylie.

What have we heard today which would be new as far as the U.S. administration's China policy is concerned?


ANDERSON: And we've known that China is front and center but this is quite a substantive narrative that we are hearing here.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. The Biden administration has said over the last year that they are developing this

strategy to compete with China, to invest here at home in the United States, so they are better equipped to actually make that come to fruition.

And what we're hearing from the secretary today is that the Biden administration believes that, as they have developed that strategy over the

last year, they have also been implementing it.

He talked about how they have invested at home and how they plan to do more of that.

But what is significant today is also that he is very clearly saying that he does not believe it is inevitable in any way that the United States and

China are going to have to take one another down in order for both of them to continue growing as international powers here.

He talked about how he believes that diplomacy between the two countries needs to stay open right now. And he also talked about the fact that, as

you said, the United States does not want a Cold War in any way, shape or form here.

ANDERSON: How will this -- thank you -- how will this, Selina, go down in Beijing?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Becky, from Beijing's perspective, this is more of the same. It's essentially a repetition of

what Blinken had said last year, that the relationship with China is going to be competitive, collaborative and adversarial.

Blinken was emphasizing that the U.S. is not trying to block China from being a major world power. Despite those respectful comments, I don't think

it's going to change the growing view in Beijing, which is the conclusion that the U.S. is in fact trying to contain and suppress China's rise.

The media frequently cites the Trump administration's policies, okusabaline deal (ph), the increasing coordination of Quad, the sanctions on Chinese

tech companies as evidence of trying to limit Beijing's influence and power.

Now while Biden, this administration, has been far more professional and nuanced in their China approach, broadly, Beijing sees it as a continuation

of the Trump administration's broad strokes in terms of the hostility toward China.

So Beijing sees this as very much a continuation of the domestic political situation. And both sides makes it hard for any room for maneuvering here -

- Becky.

ANDERSON: That's the story.

We're going to take a very short break, we'll be back with the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD after this.