Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

Biden Appeals to Black Voters and Says He`s Working Toward an "Immediate Ceasefire" in Gaza During Morehouse Commencement; The U.S. Keeps Breaking This Record and it Could Make Your Loans More Expensive. Aired 4- 4:10a ET

Aired May 20, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: What`s up party people? Hope you`re starting your week off right. I`m Coy Wire. This is CNN 10. This Monday kicks off our

final week of the show before summer break. So let`s make the most of these last five episodes of the season.

All right, let`s get started today. First up, we head to Atlanta, Georgia, where President Joe Biden delivered a commencement speech at the graduation

ceremony for Morehouse College, one of the more than 100 historically black colleges and universities or HBCUs in the United States.

The first HBCUs were founded before the Civil War when slavery was still legal in parts of the U.S., which meant that racial discrimination made it

difficult or depending where you lived, illegal for black people to get an education.

We have seen many prominent African-Americans attend HBCUs over the years, including Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Martin Luther King, and current U.S. Vice

President Kamala Harris.

President Biden`s visit to Morehouse, which is an all-male campus, comes at a time when polls show that his support among young people and black men,

among other groups, is lagging. And it comes at a time when student protests over the U.S.` policies toward the war in Gaza have made headlines

on several college campuses.

On Sunday, a small number of Morehouse students in the audience turned their chairs so they were facing away from the president in silent protest

as he delivered his commencement address.

In his speech, President Biden cited a number of his policies that he said have supported black Americans, and he restated a call for an immediate

ceasefire in Gaza.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: It`s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That`s why I`ve called for an immediate ceasefire. An immediate ceasefire to stop

the fighting, bring the hostages home. And I`ve been working on a deal as we speak, working around the clock to lead an international effort to get

more aid into Gaza.


WIRE: CNN`s Nick Valencia was at Morehouse College talking to students ahead of a graduation ceremony that had students divided about the choice

of commencement speaker.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you talk to Aylon Gipson about his upcoming college graduation, you can see he`s excited.

COVID canceled his high school commencement in 2020, so this one is extra special.

AYLON GIPSON, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE, GRADUATING SENIOR: I think most are like me that are a little bit enthusiastic, but most just want a peaceful

graduation without protest.

VALENCIA: For the 21-year-old Morehouse senior, getting President Joe Biden as the commencement speaker is his words, pretty cool, even if he does see

why some of his peers think the choice was controversial.

GIPSON: I personally don`t agree with some of the things that the White House has done --

VALENCIA: But you still want him to come here.

GIPSON: I still want him to come, because I agree with his full body of work.

COLIN ROYAL, MANAGING EDITOR MOREHOUSE COLLEGE STUDENT NEWSPAPER: There`s been mixed reactions, some for, some against.

VALENCIA: Morehouse student newspaper managing editor, Colin Royal, says mostly the invitation created confusion on campus.

ROYAL: The fact that we weren`t really in the loop for that was kind of concerning, especially when you have somebody of that magnitude and

somebody that`s been involved in a lot of things that students have protested against.

VALENCIA: Who would you guys much rather have as a commencement speaker?


VALENCIA: They joke, but Mark Riggins and Noah Collier have been on the front lines as two of the most vocal critics at Morehouse to Biden`s


RIGGINGS: I exist as more than a prop for a photo op.

VALENCIA: Draped in Keffiyeh, the pro-Palestinian activists tell us about what they call U.S. imperialism, which they say Biden has amplified by his

arm support for the war in Gaza, while at the same time overlooking their concerns as black men.

NOAH COLLIER, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE, GRADUATING SENIOR: He completely dismissed us by calling us violent, by calling us anti-Semitic.

VALENCIA: Are you?

COLLIER: No, in no way shape or form are any of us anti-Semitic, because if we were we would not be engaging in these protests. The idea of anti-

Semitism does it -- completely contradicts and conflicts with the values that we move with.

DAVID THOMAS, MOREHOUSE PRESIDENT: Was part of my calculus that he would say yes to us because he`s in this presidential race? Absolutely.

VALENCIA: Morehouse President, David Thomas, invited Biden to be the commencement speaker back in September. Today, he defends the decision as

well as the school`s choice to give Biden an honorary degree.

THOMAS: What I want them to walk out thinking is the president of the United States came to give the commencement speech at Morehouse College

because Morehouse College matters in the world. And therefore, what I do with the privilege of having gone to Morehouse means I should matter in the


VALENCIA: In the longstanding tradition of Morehouse`s student-led activism, Thomas says he will give space for protests on Sunday, but will

take a hard line if protests are disruptful.


WIRE: Ten second trivia, which foreign country owns the most U.S. debt? Japan, China, U.K. or Mexico?

Ding, ding, ding, Japan is your correct answer here. The U.S. owes trillions of dollars in debt to several different countries because the

government spends more than it brings in in taxes. The U.S. borrows money from other countries to cover its expenses.

Becoming financially stable can be a very complicated process, but in the end, it comes down to basic math. Did you earn more than you spent? If so,

then things should be OK. Well, when put into those terms, the U.S. government is not in the best shape. It`s expensive to run the government.

And in order to pay for social services like Medicare, which is healthcare partially paid for by the government for people over the age of 65, the

government needs to collect taxes to cover the cost and the thousands of other costs like it for which the government pays.

For the last several years, for both Democratic and Republican administrations, the U.S. government has been spending more than it

collects in taxes. Our Matt Egan breaks down the financial terms for us and makes sense, if you will, of the country`s current financial predicament.


MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: People sometimes get confused when we talk about the debt and the deficit. Can you explain the difference between

the two and the relationship?

MARK ZANDI, MOODY`S ANALYTICS, CHIEF ECONOMIST: The deficit is the difference between what the government is taking in in revenue and what

it`s spending. You just take the total revenue, subtract the total expenditure, that`s the deficit. If you go back to the year 2000, it was

actually a surplus.

EGAN: Did you say surplus? There was a surplus?

ZANDI: Can you believe it?

EGAN: Can we get another surplus anytime soon?

ZANDI: No, we`re not even close. I laugh, I should be crying. I mean, no, our deficit is large. It`s $1.6, $1.7 trillion. That`s a long way from

zero. And all the trend lines look pretty difficult here.

EGAN (voice-over): And the national debt has reached a record of over $34 trillion. For some perspective, if you took $34 trillion one-dollar bills

and stacked them on top of each other, they`d reach the moon and back almost five times.

(On camera): This can all sound so complicated and massive, right? A trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there. Can you talk about what

ways all of this will impact the average American, right? The college kid that just graduated, or a new home buyer, or a single mom.

ZANDI: It`s not one of those cliff events. It`s more of a corrosive on the economy. Yeah, it results in steadily higher interest rates. It does mean

that we`re going to be paying more for getting a mortgage loan if we want to buy a home, which is already very unaffordable, you know, given the high

rates and the high house prices. It`s going to affect rates on getting a loan to purchase a vehicle. Credit card loans.

Any borrowing we need to do, it`s just going to be more costly to do it. The interest payments on the debt is starting to add up and starting to

crowd out the kind of things we want our government to do. I mean, the interest payments now are over a trillion dollars.

In fact, I think we are now spending more on interest payments on the debt than we are on our own national defense. I don`t think that`s ever happened

in the history for which we have data.

EGAN: And so every billion dollars that we`re spending on interest to our creditors is a billion less that we can maybe spend on things that we care

about, like education or defense or rebuilding roads and bridges. Is that right?

ZANDI: That`s exactly right.

EGAN: Who gets the blame here? Is this a Republican problem? Is this a Democrat problem? Is it really bipartisan?

ZANDI: If you kind of add up deficit-financed initiatives done under Republican presidents and add up the deficit-financed initiatives done

under Democrats, interestingly enough, it comes out to be about the same. So it`s a bipartisan problem. We all are guilty of the rising deficit and

debt that we`re struggling with right now.


WIRE: Today`s story, getting a 10 out of 10. Goal! Workers at Major League Soccer match in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between the Union and the New

York City Football Club went on a raccoonaissanse mission to trap a raccoon storming the pitch.

Look at him go! Dodging defenders like Messi. They tried to trap him with a trash can, then tried and tried again.

Can you believe it? They finally caught it and it was OK. The Philadelphia Union say the star of the show was safely released.

All right, shout out time now to my superstars at St. Margaret`s School in Narberth, Pennsylvania. Rise up!

And we`re showing some love to our friends at Madison No. 1 Middle School in Phoenix, Arizona. Let them hear you roar, Wildcats.

Take some great energy into this week. If you`re off to a great one, keep it going. If you`re off to a rough one, keep going. Remember, it`s not what

we`re going through that matters, it`s how we go through it. Minds right, shine bright.

I`m Coy Wire. And we are CNN 10.