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Biden Meets Zelenskyy in France, Announces New U.S. Aid for Ukraine; Vladimir Putin Speaks at Saint Petersburg Economic Forum; President Biden Speaks at Pointe du Hoc, France to Commemorate Pivotal Battle. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 07, 2024 - 10:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: All right. You`re with us for the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I`m Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where the

time is 6:00 in the evening. It is 4:00 p.m. in Normandy where we are standing by for a major speech from the U.S. president this hour.

Defending democracy from the growing threats posed by autocrats and dictators. That will be the theme of Joe Biden`s speech there in France.

The president will be speaking at Pointe du Hoc, site of one of the most daring American assaults on German forces on D-Day 80 years ago when army

rangers scaled a cliff to destroy German artillery.

Democracy on the mind of Mr. Biden earlier when he sat down in Paris with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a new aid package for

Ukraine, and Biden apologized for Congress taking so long to help send more.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I apologize for the weeks of not knowing was going to pass in terms of funding because we had trouble

getting the bill that we had to pass, that had the money in it, since some of our very conservative members who were holding it up. But we got it done



ANDERSON: We`ve got it done finally, he said.

Melissa Bell is back with us this hour from Paris. We`ve also got Nic Robertson in London and Fred Pleitgen, who is in Berlin.

Nic, let me start with you. Let`s tee up this speech. This is not just any speech. Briefly, what are we expecting to hear?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: To draw on the experience of the veterans, their strength, their bravery, their fortitude,

what they did, what they stood for, the similarities between the threats of World War II that they fought in, and the threats today from Russia`s

President Vladimir Putin, and as well two allies that United States is a reliable ally and partner going forward when people like President

Zelenskyy are worried that a new president, if it were to be Donald Trump again, could be more isolationists, could cut support for Ukraine.

So a number of things. There as well as, of course, trying to sort of land a political message back home as we were just hearing to win over wavering,

if you will, Republicans of the old school Reagan type. And of course President Reagan 40 years ago standing in the same place saying

isolationism doesn`t work. A theme I`m sure we`ll hear again today from President Biden.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. We`ve had a meeting already today. It`s a busy day for Joe Biden, the u U.S. president. He met with the Ukrainian president

earlier on and he apologized for not sending aid sooner and more of it.


We also heard, Melissa, the Ukrainian president speak to the French parliament. What`s his message in France? And what is Zelenskyy looking to


MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we heard for the Ukrainian president when he got in front of the -- from the French

lawmakers, Becky, a standing ovation was a reflection also of what we`ve been hearing President Biden throughout this week. The parallels between

World War II and what`s happening in Ukraine. A very clear comparison made by the Ukrainian president between Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler, both he

says crossed red line after red line.

And at the heart of the message, I think that line that we`ve heard from Biden so eloquently in Normandy yesterday, that unchecked tyranny is paid

with the blood of the young and the brave. That`s what`s been at the heart of all these messages and we`re likely to hear again from the American

president there in Pointe du Hoc.

I think in terms of what Zelenskyy can hope to achieve, of course there are the optics of these meetings, the firm backing, the pledges, as we know

President Biden has announced a sixth aid package for President Zelenskyy, $225 million additionally that will head to Ukraine. But more than that,

when President Zelenskyy has received by the French president tonight at the Elysee Palace, not just for meetings but for dinner, we expect to hear

more about what there`s been murmurs about for several weeks now, the French idea that they want allies to consider sending in trainers.

Not troops on the ground, not boots on the ground in Ukraine, but military trainers that can help to form Ukrainian troops. This is extremely

controversial, definitely considered a red line by Moscow, but something Emmanuel Macron has been pushing firmly for, and I think we`re likely to

hear more once these meetings are finished with President Zelenskyy about what progress has been made and what firm commitments there may be about

that. The French very clear that they want to be able to train up what they described as a French brigade, 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers who`d be trained by

the French military in order to make them more efficient fighters.

But again, the red line that was the use of Western weapons against Russian military targets that target Ukraine had been a red line. That changed. The

next question is whether this red line changes as well -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Well of course, thank you, Melissa.

Let me bring in, Fred. Of course, this speech against the backdrop of Russia`s war in Ukraine. And as we await this speech from the U.S.

president, we have already heard from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in St. Petersburg. Today what was his posturing, as the Ukrainian

president, of course, is in France?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Vladimir Putin, Becky, has his own event going on. Today, the St. Petersburg

Economic Forum, which is an extremely important event for the Russian economy, for the Russian president, is every year. And obviously this year

is that exactly the same time as these commemorations that are happening in France. Of course, Vladimir Putin once again not invited to those.

I think the last time that he was actually invited to the commemorations for D-Day was in 2014. So it`s been a while and you`re absolutely right.

It`s quite notable that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, of course, being courted at those commemorations while Vladimir Putin, once again, not invited. As far

as is posturing is concerned that is a really important question. I think one of the things that Vladimir Putin is definitely trying to project is


And for the first part of the speech that we`ve seen from him earlier today, it was Russian economic strength. The big message that we`re seeing

at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum is that Russia`s economy is robust despite the fact that it is under heavy sanctions and it`s been quite

interesting because Vladimir Putin`s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has told us in the past that the Russian simply believed that Russia as a country and

as an economy is too large to be isolated on the world stage.

And of course, one of the things that we`ve been seeing over the past couple of years, really, and the past couple of months specifically is the

Russians trying to build new economic alliances, the most important one of course being with China. And it`s a big headache for the United States

where the U.S. is accusing China of also helping the Russians out with technology that is used to make weapons. The Russians, of course, have

essentially put their economy on a war footing.

They`re putting a lot of money to the side for making weapons, tanks, artillery, and ammunition and other things. Of course, they need modern

technology to be able to do that. And the U.S. believes it`s the Chinese that are providing a lot of that. So economic strength has been the first

thing that Vladimir Putin has projected so far. But at the same time of course it`s also military strength as well.

One of the things that we`ve already seen him say throughout the past couple of days is that of course Russia is not going to back down, but you

can also see that Vladimir Putin is extremely angry about one of the things that Melissa was just talking about.


And that is the use of Western weapons to hit Russian territory near the frontlines. He lashed out at Western leaders in the meeting that he had two

days ago with international media where he said that the Russians might become into direct conflict with Western nations. But he also said that

Russia might provide weapons of the same class as he put it to the adversaries of Western nations that could then hurt their security.

That of course a very direct threat and also shows on the one hand, the anger of Vladimir Putin, but also how the confrontation between Russia and

Ukraine is more and more becoming also a confrontation between Russia and the West. Of course, something that the Russians have been saying for a

long time -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have, Fred. Thank you.

OK. So we`ve laid the table as it were for you. Let me bring in Marc Favreau, who is a -- he`s an historian and author of the book, "Attacked:

Pearl Harbor and the Day War Came to America." He joins me from New York. We are talking as we await Joe Biden, of course, and this speech, and it`s

where it`s being given that being one too steeped in symbolism, of course and this speech we are told will echo one given by Ronald Reagan in the

same spot.

It`s taking place in that --you know, this is a place of great historic significance. What message do you believe Biden and those you`ve helped him

score out this speech? What are they trying to get across in this situation?

MARC FAVREAU, AUTHOR/HISTORIAN: Thank you, Becky. Glad to be here. And I think it is a historic speech. And for any number of reasons, I think first

and foremost, where it`s taken place, when it`s taking place, one of the most sort of high-intensity moments in the allied assault on the Normandy

beaches where number of army rangers scale to 100 foot cliff and overcame the Nazi defenders.

Reminding Americans and our allies that the commemoration of D-Day, which is such an important event for all Americans, is directly connected to our

commitment to an alliance of allies in defense of democracy, reminding us that (INAUDIBLE) is kind inextricably connected to this past. That although

of course the NATO alliance is a product of the post-war era, its roots are on this day. It is written in the blood of thousands of Americans.

And so our commitment to it is tied to that history one way or another. So it`s not something that can be lightly brushed aside. I think also in a

domestic sense, in the United States, reminding us in an election year that our commitment to democracy is at stake. Biden, of course, as many

Americans as well aware of the resurgence of a right-wing populism overseas and at home.

Lastly, I would say that he will doubtlessly focus on the veterans, many of whom are 100 years old or older and the question of age is always present

with Biden of course, and, you know, these veterans are older still. But what comes out for me in 2024 is -- as a historical question is that these

men were 20 years old in 1944. This is really a question of youth, I think, in 2024. This sends a subtle message to young people in the United States,

many of whom are questioning their relationship to electoral politics generally, but also to the president.


FAVREAU: And I think it`s a reminder that the future of our democracy was in the hands of very young people and they made a decision in 1944. So I

think there may be a subtle message there that we should listen out for.

ANDERSON: He is expected to say that voices of D-Day here is not asking us to scale these cliffs. They`re asking us to stay true to democracy. And

he`s also expected to say that democracy is hard fought. This is, this is not easy. Again, you know, speaking to a younger generation who have had,

you know, no real experience of war, what is fought for when freedom and democracy are at stake.

My colleague Stephen Collinson wrote this, this week, and I quote him here, "At no point since June 6th, 1944, has the unshakable U.S. leadership of

the Western support for internationalist values been so in question."


And the U.S. Defense secretary has this to say to CNN, have a listen.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We must rally again to defend the open post-war world of rules, rights, and responsibilities. Those rules

protect us. Those rights define us. And those responsibilities summon us once more. At this hand in history we must again stand firm against

aggression and tyranny, and as I said here last year, if the troops of the world`s democracies could risk their lives for freedom then, surely the

citizens of the world`s democracy can risk our comfort for freedom now.


ANDERSON: And those are stirring words from Lloyd Austin. I wonder whether or how you think a speech like that, and of course today`s speech will land

for a younger generation back home.

FAVREAU: I think it`s difficult to say. I think there are a lot of issues swirling in American politics and on college campuses today that are

difficult to pull apart. But I do think that these issues, these historical, this story of America on June 6th, 1944 resonates deeply with a

great many people of all ages. And I think it will be a reminder that these, that there is an arc of history at work here, and that whatever you

think about this or that policy, if we can agree, as I think we showed that, you know, a phrase that many people have used that democracy on the

ballot is on the ballot in 2024, there is work to be done here.

There is a decision to be made separate and apart from your agreement with or disagreement with any particular point of view. And I think that`s where

Secretary Austin`s comments land heavily and I hope the president`s do as well.

ANDERSON: Of course you`ve written about war and the toll it takes on the people who fight it and the leaders who wagered it.

I`m going to take a very short break. I want you to stay with us. We`ll do more. And let`s get this breaking in first as we await what is expected to

be a very strong speech by President Joe Biden there. The podium is set up for him and we are expecting him to speak about democracy and freedom at

Pointe du Hoc, and the background so symbolic there this afternoon, the day after the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Stay with us.



ANDERSON: You`re back with us here on CNN and what you are looking at is the site of what will be a speech delivered by U.S. President Joe Biden

very soon. He is expected to advocate freedom and democracy at the site of what was a pivotal World War II battle. Pointe du Hoc there in Normandy, in

France, where the time is 4:20 in the afternoon. I have to say what a spectacular day it is there.

This speech and its backdrop steeped in symbolism as we remember those who lost their lives on D-Day this week of course 18 years ago.

Nic Robertson is still with us as is the author and historian Marc Favreau. Couldn`t do this without, you too. Your wisdom and insights so important


Marc, let`s just get your take on a moment that we saw yesterday. President Zelenskyy having a moment with a World War II veteran, the international

ceremony in Normandy, which I think speaks to the reality that we are living in today. Wars raging, not just Russia`s war in Ukraine. Of course

we are in constant sort of rolling coverage here about the conflict in Gaza but back to this sort of, you know, Russia in Ukraine and the expansionist

autocratic leader there. I just want to -- have we failed to learn and remember the lessons of World War II?

FAVREAU: I think some people have. I think the current administration has not. I think the commitment to -- of NATO to the defense of Ukraine

reflects a historical understanding of the need to defend independent nation states, to defend democracy. I think it is very much in the

tradition of the NATO alliance. Obviously the recent delay in defense authorization for Ukraine reflects a kind of historical amnesia or else a

willingness to set aside that history.

So I think the historical awareness is definitely there. The question is, how well can it be maintained and on a day like yesterday and today, that`s

where it really comes to the forefront when it`s so poignant to see Zelenskyy who is wartime leader sitting next to men who fought a very

similar battle beginning on June 6th, 1944.

ANDERSON: Nic, we heard from the president, President Biden, yesterday talking about the risk of isolationism. And as we await his comments today,

let`s just hear some of what he delivered yesterday.


BIDEN: Isolationism was not the answer 80 years ago. And it`s not the answer today.


BIDEN: We know the dark forces that these heroes fought against 80 years ago. They never fade. Aggression and greed, the desire to dominate and

control, to change borders by force. These are perennial. And the struggle between a dictatorship and freedom is unending. Here in Europe, we see one

stark example. Ukraine has been invaded by a tyrant bent on domination.


ANDERSON: Well, those were words of Joe Biden yesterday. These of course are big themes and we are awaiting the U.S. president. You see his

delegation. There is Secretary Blinken, of course. We`ve just seen that the former climate envoy and former secretary of state John Kerry. We continue

to see the delegation now arriving here at Pointe du Hoc.

We saw the choppers fly in with President Biden on Marine One some minutes ago. So we should expect to see him in these images. He, we are told, will

take quite a walk from where that chopper, that helicopter landed to this position.


There is Lloyd Austin, the secretary of Defense, the defense secretary for the United States. This is a big day for this administration. Let`s be

quite frank about it. Joe Biden has an opportunity here and we are told by his team that he will take the opportunity to deliver a very strongly

worded speech about the importance of democracy and freedom.

These are big themes, Nic. The question is how well will this resonate today as Joe Biden delivers a speech.

ROBERTSON: Yes, they are huge issues. They`re weighty issues and they are issues that Joe Biden hopes is going to win the U.S. election and be around

to have an influence on, of course, he came into office and his first big speech here in terms of foreign policy, he talked about being at an

inflection point in history and the importance of democracies. And there being, you know, a challenge from autocracies and he`s lived to witness it.

And the coming electoral season in the United States will tell many of his European listeners as they sit there listening to what is expected to be

this very, very strong speech wondering what -- wondering if he will be the new president again next year, and what the speech might be like if it`s

not him and recognizing that Europe actually may be on a trajectory now to be much more alone in terms of its security than it has been with the

United States. So I think whatever he delivers here, this is going to be a strong message. It`s going to have the right resonance for so many

different audiences.

It`s going to be one that people hope will be the enduring message coming from the United States. But the reality is that it won`t be and you have

presidents like President Macron not there today, of course, for this particular speech, but very present yesterday, who will realize that the

burden for security in Europe, the burden of helping Ukraine can fall squarely on their shoulders. And already hearing the threats from Russia

aimed at France for being too forward-leaning to be -- towards thinking about having troops on the ground if only to train Ukrainian forces and not

to go into combat.

But it will be a very different world in six months` time if President Biden doesn`t win. It will be a world of uncertainty. It will be a world of

potential change. And I think, you know, as much as we`re talking about the here and now today and the importance of the history and how that ripples

through for the future. It`s a very uncertain future at the moment. And the closer we get to the U.S. election, I think that that theme is going to

dominate and until there is a moment of certainty, a new precedent setting out a very clear message that uncertainty right now is probably most keenly

felt by President Zelenskyy.

And certainly when he was talking behind closed doors where President Biden undoubtedly as we saw in publicly, thanking him for the support, thanking

him for the bipartisan support. But he must be also talking about what if, what can be realistically expect?

ANDERSON: There`s been much talk about Joe Biden`s mental acuity, Nic. Many will be watching this speech, not just because they want to hear what he

delivers, but how he delivers it.

ROBERTSON: And he delivers these set peace speeches strongly. It`s his forte. It`s when he steps away from the podium to give some afterthought

sometimes or press conferences when he speaks what goes forward on his position and the White House has to walk it back. You know, I was looking

at his on-camera meeting briefly with President Zelenskyy earlier today, where President Biden had his written notes in his hand and he was

referring to them at times.

And it`s images like this that the electorate will study and watch carefully. And his supporters in Europe, well watch a look at and wonder

about that acuity. But I think what the speech that we will see today will have been carefully crafted, designed to land correctly, and all the right

places, and Biden can and does lift and move and change his cadence, and its meaning and its emphasis as he goes through. These are very -- often

very well-presented set speeches. But of course there`s that -- always that concern that there will be a stumble and that will be jumped upon by his

political opponents.


ANDERSON: Marc, stand by, I`m going to take a very short break. I promise I`m going to come back to you at the other side of that break.

We are looking at images there of one ranger who was there as a youngster. Climbing those cliffs on what such a symbolic day during World War II. The

U.S. president is expected to address not just what happened and how important what happened on June 6th, 1944 was, but how tough it was. He

will address how tough the fight was for men like that one ranger that you see there now. If not, if 100 years old, he must be known. But how tough

democracy and freedom, the fight for both of those is that is at the heart of what Joe Biden will talk about today.

We are going to take a very short break. His team is there, the delegation is gathered. That podium is where you will hear this speech, which is

expected to be historic and made today by U.S. president momentarily. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, any moment now the U.S. President Joe Biden will deliver a speech that is expected to be a strong defense of democracy and freedom.

And he will speak about how the U.S. Rangers, 80 years ago, at Pointe du Hoc, a place of major historical significance. So rolled back that German


This is was a key German defensive position and it was captured by American troops like the one that you saw there just earlier speaking to U.S.

Secretary Antony Blinken and they await the U.S. president, Mr. Biden met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier today in Paris where

he reaffirmed his support for Ukraine and announced a new aid package for Kyiv.


Mr. Biden also apologized for the months-long delay in military assistance that allowed he admitted -- it allowed Russia to make gains on the


Melissa Bell is back with us from Paris. Nic still with us, as is author and historian Marc Favreau. Let me just bring you in, Melissa, because of

course the speech that we are about to hear today will be a rallying cry for freedom and democracy. That speech to be given against the backdrop of

course of this Russian invasion of Ukraine. And we did hear from the Ukrainian president earlier today in Paris. What did he say?

BELL: We heard from Ukrainian president speaking for the first time in the flesh before French filmmakers. Remember that President Zelenskyy has

spoken to them by video conference in the first few months after the war. This time he was there in person and he got a standing ovation. It was a

very clear parallel that he was drawing between animals, Hitler and Vladimir Putin, both he explained had broken, had crossed red line after

red line, and really this has been what`s at heart of President Zelenskyy`s presence is to remind the world why the ongoing support for Ukraine is

rooted in the self-interests of all Europeans.

But he is also here, Becky, beyond the symbolism and the optics of his speaking in front of the national assembly or indeed his standing alongside

the leaders of the allied nations yesterday on Omaha Beach. It is about concretely as ever what he can get back to his home country with remember

that as we speak and even as these commemorations have been going on, Ukrainian troops are struggling to fend off Russian advances on that

northeastern front above Kharkiv, the one that Moscow opened last month.

They`re under huge pressure on their frontlines. They`re under huge pressure for their civilian populations. There have been tens of thousands

of people who`ve had to evacuate from their villages and towns. And it is not very real contexts a part of which of course is down to the fact that

there have been so many delays and the Ukrainians getting the kind of equipment they want that`s what`s allowed these Russian advances that we`re


In that context, he is also here, Becky, very clearly to come and find out what more can be done both in terms of extra pledges of equipment, hence

the extra $225 million that we heard from President Biden announced, we`re likely to hear up fresh measures for France. We understand that it is

Mirage fighter jets that are now being gifted by Paris to Kyiv. And that`s likely to signed today when President Zelenskyy sits down for his bilateral

meeting with President Macron.

But perhaps most importantly it is what comes out after that meeting and what we hear from both presidents and specifically the French president who

you`ll remember has been championing not just what we`ve already seen now acknowledged by a number of Western allies of Ukraine that their weapons

can be used on targets inside Russia that have targeted Ukrainian positions, but also President Macron has been going much further for much

longer ever since February.

He`s been calling for Western allies to be, for instance, present in Ukraine training operations and this is something that we understand France

and Ukraine have been speaking think about behind the scenes. Frace`s defense minister confirming only last week that negotiations were going on

to try and figure out exactly what Kyiv needs would be.

Now, this is for Vladimir Putin, Becky, of course, yet another red line and I expect we`ll hear more tonight, not just on specific extra pledges of

aids of which we`ve heard so many of the last couple of weeks, some 14 or 15 multilateral pledges that were announced. Bilateral pledges, I`m sorry,

from individual countries towards Ukraine. Now, what we expect to hear much more in terms of the way that Europeans or NATO allies like France believe

they can help, not with boots on the ground but certainly with trainers, people who can be there in Ukraine train Ukrainian soldiers.

And that would be an important extra step and something that President Zelenskyy has been quoting for, for a longtime -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Good to have you, Melissa. Stand by.

I want to bring Marc here. And just they panned off. In fact, they are doing me a favor because we`re getting a little closer to the audience

there who are gathered. They`re panning around now. But the audience gathered there are waiting the U.S. president includes very specifically on

the front -- on the front row Private John Waddell, who is a veteran of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day. He is on just the left of Secretary of State Antony

Blinken. We also see Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, and various others from the Biden administration.


It just did occur to me as we have been catching glimpses of Private John Wardell there who is a century old, who was there, of course, on the day,

and I`ve been suggesting, as we are told by sources, that the speech by Joe Biden today will be very specifically about just how hard the task was for

John Wardell.

And as I`m just about to come to you, Marc, but as we do that, I`m just going to bring up these images of Joe Biden, who is now walking across

towards the audience to where that veteran of Pointe du Hoc is seated and he will momentarily deliver this speech. As we look at these images, he

will take a little bit of time to walk over.

Your thoughts, Marc, on the images that we are seeing. The veteran there given such an important position today in all of this.

FAVREAU: Well, I think it personifies the moment. The veteran is John Wardell is a living bridge between past and present. He`s a reminder that

this is still a question of humanity, of real flesh, of people who not only fought that day, but who remember that day, and who understand why they

fought. I think it`s a reminder, too, because you were just speaking about Joe Biden`s age, that Biden himself embodies that ark of past and present,

being the only living current or ex-president who was alive at this time.

I think that there`s an advantage to that. There`s -- he has two feet. He understands what he`s talking about. He understands historical resonances

and putting that private front and center I think just underscores all of that.

ANDERSON: And there is John Wardell. Bless him on his feet, awaiting U.S. President Joe Biden.

Nic, as we just pause momentarily, Joe Biden, of course, is the only leader in attendance this week. He was alive during World War II. The "Wall Street

Journal" reporting, quote, "Biden shows signs of slipping. A report that the White House pushed back on. But there have been concerns, rising

concerns about whether he will rise to the occasion due to his age and mental acuity -- Nic.

ROBERTSON: Yes. I think you know, there`s sort of fodder in that when we look at the schedules of President Biden and compare it perhaps to the

overseas schedule you might have imagined from a President Obama, significantly younger. Of course there seems to be more built -- time built

into his schedule for -- where there are no obvious work demand. Of course President Biden has a huge amount going on in the background, not least

Middle East peace, wrangling with a government in Israel that is not taking the course corrections he wanted to take in Gaza trying to keep Middle East

allies are on-site for that. So he has a lot going on that we may not see, but that`s noticeable, the pace.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Nic.

I`m going to just pause for a moment because President Biden is about to speak. Let`s listen in.


BIDEN: Last, the Arab come. Dawn, 6th of June 1944 win was pounding as it is today. And always has against these cliffs. 225 American rangers arrived

by ship, jumped into the waves and stormed the beach. They could see -- all they could see was the outline of the shore. And the enormity of these


And I`d like to -- I know I`ll get in trouble with the Secret Service if I go to the edges and look over, but taking those cliffs is my hostess that

showed me, that`s what we`re standing on top of. It could hear -- all he could do as a crack of bullets hitting ships, sand, rocks, hitting

everything. All they knew was time was of the essence. And only 30 minutes, 30 minutes to eliminate the Nazi guns. High in this cliff. Guns that could

halt the Allied invasion before it even began.

But these are American rangers. They were ready. They ran toward the cliffs and mines planted on the beach by Field Marshal Ramo (PH), exploded around

them, but still they kept coming.


Gunfire rained above them but still they kept coming. Nazi grenades thrown from above exploded against the cliffs. But still they kept coming. Within

minutes there is the base of this cliff. It launched their ladders, the ropes, some grappling hooks and they began to climb. When the Nazis cut

their ladders, the rangers used the ropes. When the Nazis cut the ropes, the rangers used their hands, and inch by inch, foot by foot, yard by yard

the rangers clawed, literally clawed their way up this mighty precipice, until at last they reached the top.

They breached this Atlantic wall and turned in that one effort the tide of the war that began to save the world. Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday I

paid my respects to the American cemetery just a few miles from here, where many of those rangers died are buried. I spoke on what the fallen had done

to defend freedom. Today as I look out on this battlefield and all of the bunkers and bomb craters that still surround it, one thought comes to mind.

My god, my god, how did they do it?

How are these Americans willing to risk everything, get everything, and give everything? There were Americans like Sergeant Leonard Lomo (PH) from

New Jersey, He`s one of the first rangers who jumped off his ship and run toward the cliff. He almost was shot right above the hip initially and he

wasn`t sure, but he was. He kept going. At one point he was scaling the cliffs, another ranger yelled "I`m not sure I can make it."

And Lomo (PH), yelled back with every ounce of strength he had in him, you`ve got to hold on. and he did, and they did. Americans like Sergeant

Tom (INAUDIBLE) from Massachusetts. The German shell hit his both as he`s approaching the shore. Everything exploded. The sergeant was knocked into

the freezing water, and as he told it, he began to utter a prayer. "Dear God, don`t let me drown. I want to get in and do what I`m here supposed to


Americans like Colonel James Rutter from Texas, when the military asked for a battalion for this daring mission, he raised his hand and said, my

rangers can do the job. He knew their capacity. He knew the strength of their character. A few days after they scaled this clip, he wrote a

condolence letter to a mother of one of the rangers who gave his life here, and that letter said, a country must be great to call for the sacrifice of

such men. A country must be great to call for the sacrifice of such men.

And Americans like John Wardell from New Jersey. John is here. John, we love you, man. Thank you for all you`ve done.


BIDEN: You deserve that and a lot more, John. Just 18 years old, he deployed to these cliffs, to replace the surviving rangers on that D-Day

invasion. He would go on to fight across France and Germany, and early December of 1944 during one of those battles, shrapnel pierced his skull.

By Christmas he was back fighting with his unit. And here`s what he said about -- what the notes he kept at that time.

He said, knowing that my buddies and I always looked out for one another, that`s why he came back, that`s why he fought back to get back. He always

looked out, and his buddies looked out for one another. We talk about democracy, American democracy. We often talk about the ideals of life,

liberty, pursuit of happiness. What we don`t talk about is how hard it is. How many ways we`re asked to walk away, how many instincts are to walk

away. The most natural instinct is to walk away.

To be selfish. To force our will upon others. To seize power, and never give up. American democracy asks the hardest of things. To believe that we

are part of something bigger than ourselves. So democracy begins with each of us. It begins when one person decides there is something more important

than themselves.


When they decide the person they`re serving alongside of is someone to look after. When they decide the mission matters more than their life. When they

to decide that their country matters more than they do. That`s what the rangers on Pointe du Hoc did. That`s what they decided. That`s what every

soldier and every Marine who stormed these beaches decided. A feared dictator that conquered a continent had finally met his match. Because of

them the war turned.

They stood against Hitler`s aggression. Does anyone doubt -- does anyone doubt that they would want America to stand up against Putin`s aggression

here in Europe today? They stormed the beaches alongside their allies. Does anyone believe that these rangers would want America to go it alone today?

They fought to vanquish a hateful ideology in the `30s and `40s. Does anyone doubt they wouldn`t move heaven and earth to vanquish hateful

ideologies of today?

These rangers put mission and country above themselves. Does anyone believe they would exact any less from Americans today? These rangers remembered

with reverence those who gave their lives in battle. Could they or anyone ever imagine that America would do the same -- wouldn`t do the same? They

believed America was a beacon to the world. I`m certain they believed that it would be that way forever.

You know, we stand today where we stand was not sacred ground on June 5th. But that`s what it became on June 6th. The rangers who scaled this cliff

didn`t know they would change the world, but they did. I have long said that history has shown that ordinary Americans can do extraordinary things

when challenged. There is no better example of that in the entire world than right here at Pointe du Hoc.

Rangers from farms and cities, in every part of America. From homes that did not know wealth and power. They came to a shoreline that none of them

would have picked out on a map. They came to a country many of them had never seen, for people they had never met. But they came. They did their

job. They fulfilled their mission. And they did their duty. They`re a part of something greater than themselves. They were Americans.

I stand here today as the first president to come to Pointe du Hoc when none of those 225 brave men who scaled this cliff on D-Day are still alive.

None. But I`m here to tell you, and with them gone, the wind we hear coming off this ocean will not fade. It will grow louder, as we gather here today.

It`s not just to honor those who showed such remarkable bravery on that day, June 6th, 1944. It`s to listen to the echo of their voices. To hear

them. Because they are summoning us.

And they are summoning us now. They ask us, what will we do? They`re not asking us to scale these cliffs. But they are asking us to stay true to

what America stands for. They are not asking us to give or risk our lives. But they are asking us to care for others in our country more than

ourselves. They are not asking us to do their job. They are asking us to do our job. To protect freedom in our time. To defend democracy. To stand up

to aggression abroad and at home. To be part of something bigger than ourselves.

My fellow Americans, I refuse to believe -- I simply refuse to believe that America`s greatness is a thing of the past. I still believe there is

nothing beyond our capacity in America when we act together. We are the fortunate heirs of the legacy of these heroes. those who scaled the cliffs

at Pointe du Hoc must also be the keepers of their mission. The keepers of their mission. that bears the flame of freedom that they kept burning


That, that is the truest testimonial to their lives. our actions every day to ensure that our democracy endures and the soul of our nation endures, to

come here simply to remember the ghosts of Pointe du Hoc isn`t enough.


We need to hear them. We have to listen to them. We need to listen to what they had. You need to make the solemn vow to never let them down.

God bless the fallen. God bless the brave men who scaled these cliffs. May God protect our troops. God bless America.


ANDERSON: Well, that is the U.S. commander-in-chief delivering a speech, a rousing speech on freedom and democracy, very much designed, it has to be

said, for a U.S. domestic audience five months out from that is a U.S. election.

As we gather here he said today it is not just to honor those who showed such remarkable bravery that day, June 6th, 1944, D-Day of course, and he

is alluding to the American rangers, it is to listen to the echoes of their words, to hear them because he said they are summoning us. They are asking

us what we will do. They are not asking us to scale these cliffs, he said. They are asking us to stay true to what America stands for.

The U.S. president there at Pointe du Hoc. Such symbolism for him, for the Americans gathered there, for the 98-year-old veteran ranger John Wardell,

who scaled those cliffs back in June of 1944. A speech that was expected to be rousing and certainly was.

My colleague Rahel Solomon will have a lot more on that and your other headlines after this short break from me and the team working with me here

in Abu Dhabi and those working with us around the world, it is a very good evening. Stay with CNN.