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Inside Emmanuel Macron's Unconventional Love Story; Trump & Putin to Speak Today for Third Time. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired May 2, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I think -- I think he's trying to blend a couple of things. When it comes to North Korea, I do have the impression that he's listening to some degree to those advisers who are saying, look, this is how we want to orchestrate this.
[06:30:08] You have to be careful in your use of language. And that was an instance where I think he was listening.
I think he went too far in saying, "I'd be honored, but if the circumstances were right, I would meet with him," suggesting there could be negotiation down the road, a lot would have to happen. He was trying to signal that. You could see him really singing off a song sheet.
But that level of discipline is what eludes him in so many other matters. He lacks intellectual curiosity and you see this. This whole business and waiting into the civil war the way he did, again, it's not -- he's onto something there in terms of how -- what a fierce unionist Andrew Jackson was.
But he doesn't read. He doesn't -- now, he's now the president. There is so much literature written by other presidents and their contemporaries that could inform the kinds of decisions he's making, the conditions he's operating in. I mean, imagine if General Eisenhower, you know, were to pull back and say, "Oh, my gosh, I had no idea invading France was going to be so complicated and difficult." Of course he didn't say that. He did know how disastrous and difficult it would be. We should and can expect that of our presidents.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So, A.B., why are we bringing this up? The Korean discussion is one matter. Obviously, you have to put different irons in the fire. Nothing else has worked. If anything we've seen during the Clinton era, creative diplomacy did seem to slow things down, not going that direction, try a different way, fine.
That's not what I'm talking about. This penchant for doubling down on error and creating news cycles that are reality checks is something that this president has a particular inclination for. And I don't get it because someone has to have told him, hey, down here, it's a war of attrition. They are trying to kill you every day. Your opponents, the media, based on what mistakes you make. Stop feeding them easy things and yet he continues to do so.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR & COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: I just don't think he cares. I mean, look, I know his advisers tell him please don't talk again about the wiretapping in the certain language. Please don't talk again about, you know, wiretap at Trump Tower.
CUOMO: Russia not being behind the hacking, could have been China. Who told him that?
STODDARD: But, obviously, if he was concerned about it, he would have stopped a long time ago. And again, I heard that reporting on North Korea. I heard him go into his with conditions.
It's the words, I would be honored, that's Trump. He threw that in there. Last week, Maggie Haberman is the best source of anyone in the West Wing, she told you guys that he just threw out major, major conflict in an interview with "Reuters" about -- about North Korea.
I don't think his advisers wanted him to say double major. He just likes to talk this way. His supporters don't care if he's wrong about Andrew Jackson and that's what he cares about.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Panel, thank you very much for all the insight and reporting. Great to talk to you.
We have some other headlines right now to take auto look at.
May Day march is turning violent in several cities around the world. Take a look at this. There's horrifying image from Paris. A police officer engulfed in flames after he was hit with Molotov cocktail. The unidentified officer was rushed to the hospital with as you can imagine severe burns.
In the U.S., more than two dozen people were arrested in downtown Portland. Demonstrators attacking police, setting fires on the streets, and damaging cars and buildings. Same scene playing out in Seattle. One protester arrested after reportedly throwing a rock at a group of Trump supporters.
CUOMO: Distressing May Day.
Campus classes and events resuming today at the University of Texas at Austin, as investigators try to figure out why a 21-year-old student went onto a deadly stabbing spree with hunting knife. One person identified as 19-year-old Harrison Brown was killed, three others injured. Police say the suspect didn't resist when officers arrested him at gunpoint.
CAMEROTA: So, there's this heart pounding video out of Maryland to show you. You're going to see the red car -- my gosh! That red obviously slammed into the gas pump and knocked it over, but it flipped upside down in the process. Special valves on the pump turned the fuel off, thank goodness, preventing a fire. Police are trying to determine what happened to prompt that crash.
The 64-year-old driver is in the hospital this hour with life- threatening injuries.
CUOMO: The concern there is going to be there seemed to be no attempt to slow down. So, was this something where the driver had some type of seizure, had some kind of emergency. Was it a death wish?
But luckily, they had the safety equipment and when those gas stations go up they burn for many hours. So, we'll find what happens on that, and we'll let you know.
All right. So, he could become next president of France. Emmanuel Macron has quite an improbable love story to tell. It's captivating his country. I guarantee it's worth your hearing about.
CAMEROTA: Can't wait.
CUOMO: You have never heard anything like this.
[06:35:02] CAMEROTA: I'm excited about this.
CAMEROTA: Emmanuel Macron could become France's next president if he wins this Sunday's election. The centrist candidate is proving to be unconventional in many ways, including the way he found the love of his life.
CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Paris with more on Macron's love story.
What is so unusual about this, Melissa?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Alisyn, partly about the age difference. It is also partly about the way that the couple met. The advantage of France's political system where you have the first round that tease off that first series of candidates, leaving just two, is that you then have a couple of weeks to have a long, hard look at the two candidates.
And beyond the very different programs that are being offered by the far right's Marine Le Pen, and the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, there is the question of his private life. If he wins and he is for now leading the polls, he will be bringing to the Elysee Palace a very different sort of first lady. Have a look.
BELL (voice-over): Their relationship has caught the attention of the world.
[06:40:01] The favorite to become the next president of France and his wife, his former teacher. Macron was 15 when he met Brigitte Trogneux. She was a 40-year-old married teacher at his school in northern France.
JEAN-BAPTISTE DE FROMENT, EMMANUEL MACRON'S OLD SCHOOL FRIEND: He was the friend of the teacher's, he had dinner with them.
BELL: Jean-Baptiste de Froment, an old school friend said Emmanuel Macron always did what was expected of him except when it came to Brigitte. At age 18, Macron reluctantly left but not before telling Brigitte that one day he would marry her. By the time he arrived in Paris, said Jean Batiste, he certainly avoided girls of his own age.
DE FROMENT: I think maybe too young to be interesting for him. He needs to learn something from his lover.
BELL (on camera): So maybe slightly older women makes more sense.
DE FROMENT: Of course, especially if they are a teacher.
BELL (voice-over): Fourteen years after his first meeting, they were married, but not before Macron asked three children, one of whom was his message, 29 at a time, for their permission.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's a powerful act. Not everyone would take that precaution to come and ask us for her hand in marriage. It wasn't quite like that. But he did wan to know if this was something we could accept.
BELL: Macron said becoming a family was an important step for him as he turned an improbable relationship into what he calls the commitment of a lifetime. He's now 29 and she's 64 with seven grandchildren.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRANCE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): We do not have a classic family, it's undeniable. But is there less love in this family? I do not think so. Maybe there's even more than in conventional families.
BELL: Trogneux is now at the center of the campaign, unusual in French politics, visible but not voluble for now.
BRIGITTE TROGNEUX (through translator): I'll start speaking in two months and then I'll never be quiet again.
BELL: So what kind of first lady would she be?
MACRON (through translator): She wouldn't be paid for it by taxpayers, but she certainly will have an existence. She will have her own take on things. She will always be by my side, of course.
BELL: Now, Alisyn, if you leave aside the manner of their meeting, the fact they met at school when he was 15 and the relationship was therefore impossible under French law and you just look at the age difference now, it is a quarter of a century. That is a big age difference. It is also the age difference that separates the American president from the American first lady. It's just, Alisyn, we're not used to seeing it this way around.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, Melissa, that is a great story. So fascinating to watch, to hear about their courtship, love story. You're right. You did not oversell this.
CUOMO: Right? I can't oversell. I love, Melissa. You know, I love the idea of leave aside how they met. No. Why would you leave aside how they met? The idea of a student saying I'm going to marry you someday and then it happens.
CAMEROTA: Right. But also, she looks extremely cool, wears leather, so obviously she was a catch.
CUOMO: Yes. But I told you, you never heard anything like that from people running for president. Delivered.
All right. So, President Trump's approach to some of the world's most brutal dictators, what's doing on? What is driving his affinity for strong men and some gentle language about what is some really atrocious behavior? Is this diplomacy at work? Something else? We discuss.
[06:47:44] CUOMO: Heavy rain expected to fall in the flood ravaged central U.S. already hard hit by deadly tornadoes over the weekend.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, what do you see?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Chris, two to four inches of rain on top of places already flooded. So, there you go. Here it comes.
This weather is brought to you by Purina, your pet, our passion.
The rain across the country has been relentless from Arkansas through Missouri, Indiana, Illinois. It has just come down in buckets. Six to eight inches on the ground already running off and more weather coming your way.
Now, to the Northeast, we'll see some rain in Boston this morning. Some clouds in New York. Maybe a slowdown at LaGuardia. But other than that, pretty good across the Northeast.
There is the next storm system right there. It's going to run right across the same places that had all of the rain already. And we're going to see two to four inches on top of those flooded rivers and streams and back up even if they were going down, they are coming back up again this week.
Alisyn, a dangerous situation out there. Flooding, one of the biggest killers in the world.
CAMEROTA: OK. Good that you're keeping an eye on it for us. Thank you very much for that reminder, Chad.
MYERS: You bet.
CAMEROTA: So, President Trump is making overtures to rogue world leaders like Kim Jong-un. Why is he doing this? We dig deeper, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[06:52:28] CUOMO: Today, President Trump will have his third call with Russian President Putin. This comes on the heels of Trump saying he would be honored to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if the circumstances were right.
What's the strategy here?
Let's bring in CNN global affairs analyst and former deputy secretary of state, Tony Blinken, and CNN military and diplomatic analyst and former State Department spokesperson, John Kirby.
The operative assumption is that U.S. presidents are usually shy about cottoning to bad guys. But let's talk about it.
Tony Blinken, things haven't worked with Russia. Trump said that again and again during the campaign. Let's try something else. A good relationship couldn't be a bad thing. Worked with Clinton with North Korea, some strategic diplomatic talks.
Why not try it again?
TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, Chris, we've got to embrace working with all sorts of people, but we don't have to embrace them, especially when they are authoritarian.
It's one thing to say we have to work with someone like the president of the Philippines. It's another to invite him to the White House and give him that backdrop and give him that imprimatur. It's one thing to say we may have to engage at some point with Kim Jong-un of North Korea if he does the right thing. It's another thing to say you'd be honored to meet with someone who is running one of the most repressive systems the world has known.
So, that's the line that you have to walk. It seems to me that President Trump has crossed it.
CUOMO: John, give respect to get respect. If that's the operative principle that Trump is following, what's wrong with it?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY & DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, because these -- the people he's doing it with don't look at respect the same way he does. When you're elevating them to a level of legitimacy that they don't deserve, you are probably in the long run having a detrimental affect on our foreign policy. Look, I mean, what the president needs to understand, if he's all about America first, sometimes we protect our national interest best when we protect and defend human rights and democracy, and the ability of others to live free elsewhere. I mean, that's a long-term -- that's a long-term view of global strategy, but it's one I think he's missing.
CUOMO: A lot of bad guys out there, fellas. You're going to wind up doing things with them if you want to get things done. Senator Markey, Democrat, said you have to give North Korea a seat at the table. You got to sit down with Kim Jong-un. Isn't that the advice that Trump is following, Tony?
BLINKEN: Yes. But, again, Chris, I think the difference is when he creates perception that his support for some of these guys is unconditional, that he's wrapping them in his embrace that erodes our own position, it erodes the moral clarity we try to bring, not always successfully, to our engagement in the world.
[06:55:05] That's the danger.
So, it's one thing to have to work and engage with them. It's another to give them unconditional embrace, bring them to the White House, give them that backdrop, saying you're honored to meet someone who is clearly one of the worst leaders the world has known.
CUOMO: Let's play it out as a scenario. Trump says Putin is strong. You've got to say that, stronger than Obama. See how he holds onto power in his own place.
How does that hurt him?
KIRBY: How does that hurt who?
CUOMO: Trump? You know, because when he said that, people jumped on it. You can't talk about Putin like that, he's a strongman, he's done terrible things. How could you give him advantage over President Obama? How does that hurt him around the world?
KIRBY: Because there's a difference between strength and brutality. Yes, Putin is a strong leader, so was President Obama was a strong leader, too, but he wasn't brutal, he wasn't ruthless on his own people, in his system, and Putin is. And so is Duterte. This is a guy who's responsible for some 7,000 deaths in the Philippines in this rabid counter-drug operation that he continues to conduct.
I mean, there's a difference between strength and brutality. All presidents have had to talk to dictators and tyrants. FDR talked to Stalin. Eisenhower invited Khrushchev to the White House.
I mean, President Obama opened up diplomatic relations with Cuba, that meant talking to Raul Castro. I mean, we have to do these things.
But you do it -- you control the timing. You control the circumstances. That's what makes for legitimate diplomatic relations with a strongman you don't necessarily want to deal with, and elevating that strong man to a position of legitimacy they don't deserve. Right now, Duterte does not deserve a meeting in the "people" house, the White House.
CUOMO: Fair point. Ironically, Duterte said he's too busy, doesn't think he'll be able to come, which is an interesting insight into his head.
But, Tony Blinken, this isn't the first time. Trump folk and his supporters will say you guys are getting on Trump for very little reason. This is how we deal with people around the world. To be fair, I was down there in South Africa covering Nelson Mandela's funeral and all eyes on how President Obama would deal with Raul Castro. When he shook his hand we had to talk about it all day and days after, how could you shake Raul Castro's hand?
CUOMO: This isn't something unique to analysis of Trump, Tony.
BLINKEN: No, but what we see here is a little bit of a pattern, where the folks he seems to have given his unconditional support to, whether Mr. Erdogan in Turkey after this referendum that consolidated all power in the presidency, whether it's al-Sisi in Egypt being welcomed to the White House. Again, leading a very authoritarian system now. Whether it's most recently, Duterte or the language about Kim Jong-un, there's a pattern here are really giving unconditional support to strongmen.
And these are people who have another thing in common. Virtually all of them have tried to keep down the press and the judiciary, the most important checks and balances on their own power. And that's not something we want to be giving support to either.
So, again, it comes back to this, Chris. Yes, we have to work with all sorts of people, including people we find distasteful but the way you do it matters.
CUOMO: All right. So, it took me a few rounds but I finally got it out of Tony there, John, and now, I'll bring it to you. Is pushback on this a suspicion that Donald Trump has an affinity to strongmen, that he likes or admires some of these qualities of harshness like what Tony was saying about what we see with the judiciary here, wanting to break down on free press? Do you -- is your concern fueled by a suspicion that maybe he's more like them than he might want to admit?
KIRBY: I think so. Look, I'm not a psychiatrist. I wouldn't begin to try to get inside the president's head.
But, I mean, look what he said about Andrew Jackson. I think he does have, as a corporate CEO, as a guy who was responsible for his own decisions, was able to make decisions quickly without having a lot of bureaucratic nonsense getting in the way -- yes, I think he's naturally drawn to leaders he thinks can pull the strings faster and with a little less resistance than the president of the United States can. But this is -- this is what he ran for. This is the job he's got now.
And he has he to learn to work within that system. He also has to remember, it's not just about protecting national security interest, it's about the example of our values. And our foreign policy is strongest, it's best, it's most sustainable when our interests coincide with our values. And that's the gap I think we're seeing here in the White House.
CUOMO: John Kirby, Tony Blinken, appreciate it. Thank you, fellas.
Thanks to you our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next.
Now, for our U.S. viewers, we have a CNN exclusive. An FBI employee goes rogue and marries the ISIS terrorist she was meant to investigate. How did that happen?
NEW DAY gets after it.
CAMEROTA: The Trump administration, are they on the verge of another health care defeat?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're getting closer and closer every day but we're not there yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The protections simply aren't there for people with pre-existing conditions.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have one plan going through. It's been getting better and better and better.