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Report: Mexico Tariffs Could Cost 400,000 American Jobs; Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is Interviewed About Republican Revolt Brewing Over Trump's Mexico Tariffs. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: At this beautiful D-Day celebration and commemoration. You're looking live now at pictures because Emmanuel Macron and the president are about to participate in this bilateral meeting. They are going to turn to policy after we watch them participate in that solemn ceremony at the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. President Trump was in the company of 65 U.S. veterans who landed on Omaha Beach and lived through D-Day. He paid homage to those who risked their lives to stop the Nazis and fight for our freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization to more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today. You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You are the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

(APPLAUSE)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A solemn day. It really was inspiring. The president honoring specific veterans by name including Russell Pickett, the last known survivor of the U.S. Army's 29th Infantry Division Company A. You can see this here as Pickett was trying to rise, he needed the help. And who helped him? The French president, Emmanuel Macron, got up out of his seat to go over to say thank you because Macron knew that he owed Private Pickett a debt of gratitude. And then you can see the president thanking him personally.

CAMEROTA: And hugging him warmly.

BERMAN: Really wonderful.

President Macron thanked American soldiers, specifically assuring them that France has not forgotten their bravery. And the ceremony concluded with this, a flyover both of French and U.S. military aircraft.

CAMEROTA: You called it --

BERMAN: The rouge, blanc, and bleu, as they say there, the same colors as the United States, the tricolor.

CAMEROTA: Very impressive, John Berman. Joining us now, we have Jim Acosta, CNN Chief White House Correspondent. He is on the ground with the president. He was there in Normandy, in fact he's still there as we cemetery, and we can see. We also have David Gregory, CNN political analyst, and Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent. So Jim Acosta, you were there on the ground. Tell us about this remarkable morning that we watched.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, John, it was a remarkable, striking moment here remembering the heroes of D-Day 75 years later. And as you were just talking about a few moments ago, President Trump and Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, they both gave some very stirring tributes to the men who were gathered here, part of a dwindling number of the greatest generation on hand to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

And as John was just saying a few moments ago, that moment when the president paid tribute to Private Pickett I think struck a lot of Americans and a lot of people around the world as just the right kind of tone and the right kind of moment in marking the bravery and courage that was on display here 75 years ago.

We should mention right now, both the president and Emmanuel Macron are on their way to a bilateral meeting away from the beaches of Normandy. And so while we saw these two leaders put their differences aside, put these distractions aside that we've seen from the president over the last several days as he's been on this foreign trip overseas here in Europe, these two men may be getting down to their differences in due time here as they get together and talk about some of the issues that they've been grappling with as two leaders who have had a good relationship in the past, but in recent months we've seen a fraying of that relationship on issues like climate change, migration, and so on.

And speaking of migration, one thing we should mention is that earlier this morning as the president was on his way to the D-Day commemoration here on the beaches of Normandy, he did briefly talk to reporters and mention these high stakes meetings that are taking place back in Washington with the vice president and the secretary of state with leading Mexican officials about this prospect that the president may slap tariffs on Mexican imports starting on June 10. That is coming up in just four days from now on Monday. The president blamed Mexico for the problem down on the border and blamed Democrats for not getting together with him and hammering out some kind of solution when it comes to immigration reform.

The president really neglected to mention the fact that there are so many Republicans up on Capitol Hill, a growing number, who disagree with him on this issue. But for a couple of hours out here at this beautiful site, the American military cemetery here in Normandy, those differences, all of that politics was set to the side as we really witnessed one of the more remarkable remembrances that this world has seen dedicated to the heroes of World War II. This is where the turning of the tide began as we've been saying all morning, and it was a fitting tribute to those heroes. [08:05:10] BERMAN: I don't think there's any question it will be

something of a political sandwich, politics before, politics after. But what was owed to those 65 veterans of D-Day in that audience and all those others, the 160,000 who landed on that day and those days after, it was a moment that deserved respect, and that is what it got, Dana. And it really was a speech from the president, as you've noted, that was very different than any other speech he's given.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So different. First of all, it was beautifully written. And it was -- as you've said, it just wove the narrative of these individuals, a couple of whom who were remarkably there, and you showed that incredibly emotional moment with Mr. Pickett being helped up by Emmanuel Macron and then hugged by Donald Trump, who you don't see a lot of that from him, certainly on America's shores. And there was no improv. He didn't feel the need to make a quip or say anything other than what he was determined and was on his page in that speech.

The other reason it was striking as we've been thinking about it, John, is because this is not a president who is overtly steeped in history at all. And this was certainly a morning and more broadly a trip, at least to date, where history has been pounded into him of the alliance from 75 years ago, the allies, and then how that morphed into the modern alliance across Europe that everybody from Theresa May, the outgoing prime minister, to the Queen of England who almost never gets into politics but came pretty close to the line in her speech publicly -- who knows what she said privately -- about the need. She lived through it. Winston Churchill was her first prime minister when she was a young queen.

So she was immersed in this history which everybody, who has gone to grade school knows you have to know your history in order to prevent mistakes being made in the future. And he's in Europe where you are seeing the tendencies of nationalism that led to the Nazi regime in Germany. And you have a lot of leaders from Macron to the Queen trying to tamp it down and making it very clear to the U.S. president.

CAMEROTA: And we can only wonder, David Gregory, what the takeaways are for President Trump. So after all these days he has spent with the Queen and with President Macron and with these veterans, what he'll bring back from this trip.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Memory is so important, as we've been saying this morning, because it teaches. It teaches our current leaders. And some of the facts of today are just astounding when you think about what June 6th represented, beginning with D-Day, the liberation of Europe, 338 days is how long the allies advanced, more than 700 miles, liberating tens of millions.

And then think about the survivors, the veterans. According to Rick Atkinson, who wrote a wonderful book, part of his trilogy, this one called "The Guns at Last Light," he talks about there were more than 16 million Americans who were in uniform during the Second World War. By 2024 that number is expected to dip below 100,000. So there aren't that many presidents who are going to be able to see large numbers of veterans of D-Day to understand the lessons of history, to understand the sacrifice to something greater than themselves, and to understand the alliance that it represented with Europe.

So I hope it has a profound effect on this president as I think it would have on any president. And when the president spoke about the unbreakable bond of the western alliance, that matters. That's a level of recognition. He has a counterpart in France today with whom he's had up and down relations, who thanked American veterans, in English, mind you, for liberating France, for liberating Europe. That has an important effect. And I think one of the things that the president is recognizing is that I think he's feeling the trappings of his office, and he's understanding the ebbs and the flows of these relationships. But today was a reminder of how much bigger these relationships are than him, how much bigger they are than even this moment in history, that they're much more sweeping than that.

BERMAN: It's interesting. Let me read you something that Emmanuel Macron said. He said this in French, he said the United States of America, dear Donald Trump, dear president, which is never greater than when it is fighting for the freedom of others. The United States of America that is never greater than when it shows its loyalty to the universal values that the founding fathers defended.

[08:10:03] I think that's one of the messages that Dana was talking about that were being sent subtly, and not at all subtly by some of the leaders of the world there. And Jim Acosta, like we said, this was a sandwich, politics before, politics after. And a lot of that politics led right up until the moment the president gave his speech, because not minutes before he walked on that stage he sat down for an interview with Laura Ingraham, who in the last few weeks on her show has defended an anti-Semite, Paul Nehlen, who spouts anti-Semitic views and white supremacist views all the time.

ACOSTA: That's right, John. And it was almost as if Emmanuel Macron was defining American greatness for the president who likes to talk about making America great again. So that was an interesting moment that you pulled out of that speech.

But you're right, just before -- and we were all wondering this as we were getting on with this program, and wondering where the president was and why was he running behind. He was running about 30 minutes late earlier this morning. And we were not really aware but it became pretty clear because a member of the press here snapped a picture of this, the president sitting down with Laura Ingraham, the FOX News personality, for an interview, a one-on-one interview.

And so while the president left the red meat out of the speech here at Normandy, it's quite possible that that interview will run -- quite likely, we should say, it should run end to end with red meat, and he will likely get some of these messages out that he probably wanted to get out during this speech but thought that it would be a wise move not to do that.

And again, what we saw over the last several days here across Europe when the president was in Great Britain and even when he was in Ireland yesterday in that interview with Piers Morgan, this is a president who is still very comfortable making waves overseas. And so while, yes, the message for D-Day is that the soldiers here put the war first, not a particular country first, this is a president who still strongly believes in the concept of America first and nationalism. And he made that clear at every stop along the way, and my suspicion is he'll make that clear with Emmanuel Macron. It will be back to politics as usual.

And keep in mind, as soon as he's done with this bilateral relationship that he has with Macron, this bilateral meeting with Macron, he's going to be heading back to Ireland for one more night at his golf resort. But make no mistake, there are going to be phone calls going on behind the scenes between the president with his White House staff, with his White House team and the folks back in Washington and the West Wing who are dealing with this situation regarding tariffs on Mexico and whether or not the president is going to pull that trigger on tariffs on Mexico. That is going to drive a wedge inside the Republican Party, the kind of wedge we have not seen in a very long time.

And so while the president was able to put politics aside, present sort of a unifying theme and a unifying message here, he may go back to a very divided Republican Party back in Washington if he is hell bent on those tariffs, guys.

CAMEROTA: Jim, Dana, David, thank you very much. We are awaiting live pictures of President Trump and President Macron arriving for their bilateral meeting. So obviously we will bring you all the developments as they mention.

BERMAN: And Jim just mentioned the tariffs President Trump is threatening to put on Mexico that could put thousands of Americans out of work. We're live in one Texas town that could be among the hardest hit. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:17:49] CAMEROTA: A new report finds that President Trump's proposed tariffs on Mexico could put 400,000 Americans out of work, and Texas would be hit hardest.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is live in Laredo Texas.

What does the study say?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS REPORTER: Hi. Good morning, Alisyn.

That's right. We are in Laredo, Texas, population: 260,000; but also home to the busiest trading port in the United States. About $20 billion worth of goods come across from Mexico every single month.

And just over my right shoulder you should be able to see the first trucks starting to come in but soon those lanes behind me will be packed with trucks as far as the eye can see. And the success of this port is something that the mayor of Laredo is very excited about, but we asked him what these tariffs would mean for trade here and also the effect on the local economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE SAENZ (D), LAREDO, TEXAS: We're basically hurting ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot, 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent of our local economy is depending on trade, the industry, warehousing, logistics, transportation. So much occurs here not only for our benefit but for the state of Texas, and Mexico is the number one trading partner for Texas. And guess what, of the U.S. as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH: And in that study, we also know that here in the state of Texas, when that 5 percent tariff goes into effect on Monday, that could cost the state of Texas alone 117,000 jobs, and when you look at that nationally, John, you're looking at about a loss of about 400,000 jobs just with those beginning 5 percent tariffs -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich for us in Laredo, Texas -- thank you very much.

Many Republican lawmakers are at odds with President Trump over those proposed tariffs.

Joining me now is Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Congressman, thank you so much for being with us.

[08:20:01] Would you vote to overturn tariffs on Mexico if the president did implement them on Monday?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Yes, in theory, but I have to caveat that with saying that pretty much everything the Democratic majority has put in front of us usually ends up being political somehow. They add provisions or whatever.

But if it's generically -- in generic sense, yes, and I'll tell you why -- two basic reasons. Number one, I represent a lot of farmers. They're taking it on the chin with the tariffs on China and I support what the president is doing and they support what the president's doing on China. They realize this is a war we should have fought 20 years ago and we have to win to make it fair for America.

A lot of flooding in my district right now, and so, I think to open up a second front is the wrong answer at this point and also to link a non-trade issue with a trade hammer I think isn't the right way to go.

But that said, I think this is imperative. We have to recognize there is a crisis on the southern border.

BERMAN: Yes.

KINZINGER: And I hope that every Democrat that comes on this network from here until this is fixed is asked, is this a crisis on the southern border? If they say yes, how are we going to fix it? Because from right now, you can disagree with the Republican solution of fixing some of the asylum laws and building a wall, disagree all you want, but then you need a solution to come back with. And that solution isn't simply to blame President Trump.

BERMAN: Well, look, you talk about the crisis and I think most Democrats say when asked there is a humanitarian crisis. I want to put up some of the numbers about this humanitarian crisis, because they are stark and they are new.

The U.S. government put out the numbers that 144,000 migrants have been apprehended at the southern border. That was in the month of May. That was a 32 percent increase up over April and the highest monthly total in 13 years. So, absolutely numbers that have to be dealt with.

You talked about addressing the issue. Democrats say -- well, we have proposed adding judges to speed up the process. We have proposed addressing asylum. It needs to be done. Clearly and perhaps in apolitical way, get the wall out of it, get the political problems out of it and just deal with the singular issue.

What would you do?

KINZINGER: Well, look, I would put a lot of money to border security because there is a real problem. I would fix the asylum laws. I would make it to where basically if you pass through a safe area, declaring asylum in the United States -- according to international law, you can't just pick the country you want to declare asylum, and it's based on that.

I would actually work in Central America to stabilize those governments. But that's a long term --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: But you know that the president has taken money away from them.

KINZINGER: Right, I agree and I opposed it when he did it. But it's not just adding more money to that and calling it good. It's fixing the inherent corruption in these regimes which have been there for -- you know, almost forever it seems like.

And then it's also a stick to Mexico or a carrot to say, you have to do your best to control that border and not just start escorting people through your territory, most of which is controlled by the cartel simply because it's a problem you don't want to deal with.

So, it's like everything. I disagree with the idea of using tariffs, but I 100 percent agree with the president's recognition of this problem. And, you know, we can build as many beds -- Democrats, by the way, earlier this year tried to reduce the number of detention beds in the omnibus bill. We can build a number of beds -- we could build a million and there's going to be 1.1 coming over.

BERMAN: Congressman, if I can, you are a colonel in the Air National Guard, a pilot, and first of all, thank you for your service, especially on this day. And I wonder if we can put up pictures from Normandy. If you can reflect on what you saw this morning, those 65 veterans of

D-Day who were there and being thanked on behalf of the nation for their service.

KINZINGER: Yes, it was incredible. I got chills, and I think -- I always say the greatest generation is referred to as the World War II generation. I think we're in the next greatest generation. You think about there are dads now of kids -- or kids of dads that are entering into the same war, in the same military that their dads fought in.

This is a generation that stood up against terrorism. So, seeing this history of Americans willing to stand up, I don't care if the dude next to me is a Democrat or a Republican or Green Party or what, I just care that he's an American and he's got my back.

And if you think about just in Normandy, the amount of military members that were involved in the opening stages of Iraq in 2003 was the same number that was in that small square area. It's incredible.

BERMAN: A hundred sixty thousand, it is incredible.

The way the president spoke about them today was deeply moving. He talked about them being the pride of the nation, the glory of the republic.

It is interesting though and you have spoken about this in the last 24 hours which is why I want you to reflect on it, the way the president spoke today is very different than what he said yesterday about Vietnam service where he said he was never a fan of that war and said he's making up for his lack of service in that war for military spending now.

Would you like to see more of today and less of what we saw yesterday? I mean, would you say that a reason not to do service is because you're not a fan of that war?

[08:25:02] KINZINGER: Now, look, I would love to see more of today than what we saw yesterday. I wasn't personally as offended as some on the Vietnam comments. I don't think he meant to equate that.

I think the point is, look, he didn't serve. He admits that, he says that, but he's rebuilding the military which is actually an important role because we need that and it's going to save lives in the future. I wasn't as offended as some people. I think some of it was a bit much.

But, look, yes, I wish he talked more today like he did yesterday. But at the same time, I think he's doing good policies. And we've all know, for three years, the president is not like every other president. He's going to tweet things and say things and make us shake our head sometimes, and sometimes we call him out, and just hope that ultimately this country gets it right.

BERMAN: Congressman Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, as I we said on this day, thank you for being with us and thanks for your service.

KINZINGER: God bless. You bet. Take care.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: All right, John.

2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden facing backlash from his rivals over his position on abortion. The bottom line, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: A new Quinnipiac poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a notable lead over President Trump in a state that has not voted for a Democrat since 1976.

There's something about Harry.

[08:30:00]