Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Set to Announce Iran Nuclear Deal Decision; Melania Trump Unveils Agenda. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired May 7, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Considering her husband's penchant for being on Twitter so much in a negative way. She said she was going to move forward with it. It is an issue that is facing a lot of kids today. And she is going to, you know, go ahead and go with cyber-bullying.
And I think it is an example of doing maybe something not in spite of, but because of her husband. There is an example right here from the White House of perhaps how not to treat others on the Internet or on Twitter in terms of bullying. And she is certainly not afraid to take it on, despite the critics.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: How difficult, Kate, has it been for her, one, with some of her husband's behavior online and also these scandals that we have been seeing, especially the Stormy Daniels scandal? How much has that made it difficult for Melania Trump to execute some of her what would be normal, what would be the perfunctory duties of any first lady?
BENNETT: To be honest, I don't think not much, because she has kept a very low profile anyway. She has been quiet. She hasn't released a statement. She's commented on the scandals. She's sort of put her head down and moved forward.
As a result, we saw some new poll numbers today come out with CNN. She was actually up 10 points to 15 percent favorable rating. And that certainly means, whatever strategy she's chosen about being quiet, is certainly working for her in terms of the public paying attention and, you know, rallying around her.
KEILAR: All right. Kate Bennett, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
We know you had to use your indoor voice there as the music cut out there in the Rose Garden. That is what you have to deal with as you're reporting so close to this event.
This first lady's announcement comes just as those new CNN polls that Kate was talking about show her favorability up again, 10 points since January. You can see it right here. Nearly six in 10 Americans now have a positive view of the first lady. It's her highest mark in CNN polling.
It's higher than any favorability rating for her husband ever.
I want to take -- I want to talk more about this more now with Dana Bash, who is back with us.
And also joining us, Kate Andersen Brower. She's the author of "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies."
So, we are going to be learning more, Kate, about -- Be Best, we see that. So, what does that mean? Melania Trump is going to tell us. We know that this has to do with the well-being of children. We expect that she is going to build on talking out against cyber- bullying, for instance, when it comes to kids.
As soon as she started doing that earlier on in the term, this was something that raised eyebrows. A lot of people said, are you kidding me? I mean, look at some of the things that your husband does. And yet it actually seems now, as we look back on it, that she knew.
She knew that that criticism was coming. She didn't really seem to care. She wanted to proceed with something that is important to her.
KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
One of the things about her announcement today, Stephanie Grisham, her spokesperson, told me it's going to focus on more than just one issue. And that is what makes it unique. It is not just literacy or just cyber-bullying, which is something that Melania Trump was pushing, even when her aides were saying that you can't ignore the elephant in the room here.
But she is -- she reads a lot of what is written about her. She is very smart. She's very engaged. And she is really a bright light in this administration, where there is some negativity and chaos. And I thought it was amazing that President Trump tweeted about the Iran nuclear deal right before this announcement, because there is always tension between the East Wing and the West Wing.
And that is a great sign of like let her have her moment.
KEILAR: So let's just -- can we just recap that? Because we're talking -- oh, all right, here we go. This is the event as it is about to start, President Trump coming out.
He is going to be watching as his wife announces her agenda 16 months into his first term here.
I do want to ask you, Dana Bash, what was going on with that, the idea that there would be the president tweeting that he has a big announcement coming tomorrow, really drawing some of the attention away from his wife?
Actually, you know what? Let's listen in. This program is now beginning.
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Kindness, compassion, and respecting our children. With those values as a solid foundation, our kids will be better
equipped to deal with many of the egos in our world today.
In my year as first lady, I have also learned that it is oftentimes after a tragedy that you see the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
I have been heartened to see children across this country using their voices to speak out and try to create change. They are our future, and they deserve a voice.
I receive many letters from children who have been bullied or feel threatened on social media. I'm here with one goal, helping children and our next generation.
And I believe that if we all come together, we can start to effect positive change for our children.
Much of my focus has been towards understanding the negative effects the opioid epidemic is having on our children and young mothers.
I have seen firsthand both the medical and personal results. And while this crisis has taken hold of our country, the American people have responded.
I'm proud of this administration's commitment to battling this epidemic. I want to nurture and protect the most valuable part of our society and our future, children.
I hope you will join me today in my efforts and ask for your support, and I believe, together, we can make a real difference.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the first lady of the United States, Mrs. Melania Trump.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
M. TRUMP: Thank you. Good afternoon. Welcome to the White House.
As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that, in today's fast- paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions, and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior, such as bullying, drug addiction, or even suicide.
I feel strongly that, as adults, we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.
So, today, I'm very excited to announce Be Best, an awareness campaign dedicated to the most valuable and fragile among us, our children.
M. TRUMP: There is one goal to Be Best. And that is to educate children about the many issues they are facing today.
If we truly listen to what our kids have to say, whether it is be their concerns or ideas, adults can provide them the support and tools they need to grow up to be happy and productive adults who contribute positively to society and their global communities.
At the same time, children deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence. Every child should know it is safe to make mistakes and that there are supportive adults and friends nearby to catch them if they fell.
We also need to be mindful that they should learn to trust in themselves and their own emotions. I believe our responsibility lies in the critical time before a child reaches adulthood.
Let us teach children the importance of all aspects of their well- being, which includes social, emotional and physical health. There are too many critical issues facing children today.
So, the three main pillars of Be Best will include well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.
Together, I believe we should strive to provide kids with the tools they need to cultivate their social and emotional health. We can and should teach children the importance of social and self-awareness, positive relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Once a child understands these vital skills, they will be able to communicate openly with one another and instill positive feelings of mutual respect, compassion, and self-esteem.
Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong and encourage them to be best in their individual paths in life.
Take, for example, Christian Bucks, a young man from York, Pennsylvania, who is here with us today. When he was in second grade, Christian introduced the buddy bench at his elementary school to address loneliness and help other kids build new friendships.
The buddy bench allows classmates to connect during recess and helps ensure that no student feels lonely. If a child sits on the bench, it signals other students to come over and ask them to play.
Christian's school and community embraced the buddy bench. And, today, at least one can be found in all 50 states.
Thank you, Christian, for your commitment to kindness. You should be very proud of your work, which has, I know, helped our country's children.
Please stand up. (APPLAUSE)
M. TRUMP: I would also like to talk about Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan.
I visited the school in October as part of National Bullying Prevention Month to speak to its students about the importance of being kind.
While I was there, I visited their Viking Huddle class, which focuses on social-emotional learning and teaches lessons about respecting others, inclusion, and being kind.
As part of Be Best, I plan to highlight ideas and programs such as buddy bench and Viking Huddle class, with the hope that other schools or community groups will be inspired to replace their efforts and take steps to improve the well-being of our children.
We have invited some of the Viking Huddle class here today. Thank you all for being and taking time here with us in the White House.
M. TRUMP: As we all know, social media can be both positively and negatively effect on our children, but too often it's used in negative ways.
When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can effect positive change.
I do believe that children should be both seen and heard. And it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that, when they are using their voices, either verbally or online, they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.
As an example, Kalani Goldberg, an eighth grade student from Arizona, posted a video to her social media account to share the challenges she faced from bullies.
In the video, she said: "Every say, you are hurting me. Every day, you are hurting each other. So, please stop. Stop hurting me."
Kalani and her family have joined us here today. And I'm happy to report that, since posting her video, many have watched it and, most importantly, people have reached out to offer support and kindness.
Thank you, Kalani, for being brave enough to share your story, and also for using your experience to bring positive change.
Please stand up, Kalani.
M. TRUMP: I first learned about the real consequences of our nation's opioid epidemic during my husband's campaign. Since then, I have met with and learned from many people who have been
affected by this true crisis. In October, I traveled to West Virginia to tour Lily's Place, the nation's first nonprofit infant recovery center.
Lily's Place puts a priority on the whole family, so that infants born dependent on drugs are given the best opportunity to thrive. They have been successful in this endeavor because parents are also given the support and tools needed to recover and succeed.
Lily's Place is a testament to the extraordinary work that everyday people can do when they put their mind to it.
I will use Be Best to bring attention to programs such as this in order to encourage conversation and application.
In February, I went to Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio. And the panel of doctors briefed me on the devastating effects that opioids have -- are having, but also their important reference on neonatal abstinence syndrome.
I'm pleased to say that representatives from both Lily's Place and Cincinnati Children's Hospital are here today.
M. TRUMP: Thank you for being here, and thank you for your heroic work on behalf of children.
I want to thank the many people I have met with and learned from over the past year while researching these vital topics on behalf of children.
This includes the Cabinet secretaries who have joined us here today, as well as representative from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Amazon, National Safety Council, and so many more.
I would like to thank the president, the vice president, Karen Pence, and other members of the administration, as well as the members of Congress who are here today.
I'm honored to have you all with me, and I look forward to working together on the behalf of children in the coming years.
In my time as first lady of the United States, I will make every effort to be best by championing the many successful well-being programs in existence today and teach the tools and skills for emotional, social, and physical well-being.
I will also work to shine a spotlight on the people, organizations, and programs across the country that are helping children overcome the many issues they are facing as they grow up. I will continue speaking with leaders in the technology industry about
children's online habits and raising awareness around the importance of positive behaviors.
I will continue to work with those who are fighting drug addiction. And, most importantly, I will continue to travel and speak to children directly about both their victories and difficult realities they face.
My hope is that, together, we can be best at helping children and families find effective ways to educate themselves and support each other.
I'm asking you all to join me in providing support and guidance to our children, so that we can make a real difference.
How we raise and educate our children on a variety of topics will provide the blueprint for the next generation.
Together, let's encourage children to dream big, think big, and do all they can to be best in everything that they do.
Thank you all for being here today. God bless you, your families, our children, and God bless the United States of America.
M. TRUMP: Now it is my pleasure to call my husband to the stage to sign a proclamation calling today, May 7, Be Best Day.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Melania, thank you very much.
That was truly a beautiful and heartfelt speech. That's the way she feels, very strongly.
America is truly blessed to have a first lady who is so devoted to our country and to our children.
Over the past 15 months, Melania has visited hospitals, schools, families who have suffered from the opioid crisis, and suffered very deeply.
Everywhere she has gone, Americans have been touched by her sincerity, moved by her grace, and lifted by her love.
Melania, your care and compassion for our nation's children -- and I have to say this and I say it to you all the time -- inspires us all.
Today, we pledge to be best, best for our families, best for our communities, and best for our nation. [15:20:04]
And now I am proud to sign the Be Best proclamation. And I think you all know who is going to get the pen. Thank you.
D. TRUMP: Congratulations.
Thank you, everybody, very much. Thank you.
Thank you, Mike.
KEILAR: And a very big day for the first lady at the White House, as she he unveils her agenda, filling in some of the details that we did not know before.
We knew that she had been certainly having an eye trained on children, that she had been wanting to combat cyber-bullying, but today she unveiled a campaign named Be Best and she outlined it as having three pillars, as I bring in Kate Andersen Brower and Dana Bash back with me to talk about this.
So it was well-being was the first pillar and she talked about self- awareness, positive relationships, decision-making. The second one, which, of course, it is just hard to not hear about it without the subtext of her husband online, talked about social media and children having more positive online habits.
And then the third one was opioid use, combating the epidemic. She said she learned a lot about it while she was on the campaign trail with her husband.
What did you think about this agenda, this pretty broad agenda as it was laid out.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is very broad. Not a lot of details, but it is just the beginning.
And you sort of -- and Kate can certainly speak to this more than I, because you have literally written the book on first ladies.
But if I just in my -- in my own time covering first ladies, obviously, we all know that there have been some in recent memory who have had really, really big impacts culturally in terms of American society.
Barbara Bush, who just passed away, we know what she did for AIDS in America and children with AIDS in America. Well, fast-forward to where we are now. The epidemic is the opioid crisis, and these children being brought into the world addicted to opioids. And the fact that she is shining a spotlight on it, we don't know
exactly how she is going to address it or to combat it, but at least the fact that she has had some trips to Ohio and West Virginia, as she said, and now she's made it part of her platform to help take care of and have awareness of these children, it is a huge, huge deal.
And given the fact that she is, according to CNN's new poll that is today, so popular, especially by comparison to other members of the Trump administration, especially her husband, she has a lot of running room. People hang on her words.
She is mysterious. She is intriguing. She is interesting. And she has a big megaphone. And this is the beginning of how she's going to use it.
KEILAR: Because if she is going to look to something, to just a very important issue that is impacting so many people negatively that she is trying to have a positive impact on, the opioid crisis, and specifically with a lens towards children, that is someplace where she could really make a difference and we have seen that with Barbara Bush's legacy, as Dana points out.
ANDERSEN BROWER: I think it is a smart idea. I was actually just in Plains, Georgia, over the weekend and Rosalynn Carter and Jimmy Carter.
And Rosalynn Carter did a lot for mental health, and often doesn't get enough credit for that. And then, of course, you look at Michelle Obama's legacy with the Let's Move campaign.
I think that someone like Michelle Obama was dealing with issues that required some congressional role and also coming up against big companies, food companies. It was a very difficult, large issue to combat, obesity in America.
And so I think that she was a little bit -- this is a bit vague. That is the downside to this. There were not any specifics. But opioid abuse is ravaging the country. It makes complete sense for her to take it on. It is an apolitical issue. No one is going to find fault with this.
KEILAR: And Kate Bennett is there in the Rose Garden. She was there watching this event as it happened.
Kate, what did you think about this, as we heard some of the details filled in by the first lady?
BENNETT: I mean, I think it is exactly what she's been doing all along in sort of a disparate way.
We have watched some random trips here and there to a children's hospital, to an opioid treatment center. She has talked about bullying in schools. She invited tech leaders to the White House. So it has sort of been a mash-up that culminated in today's unveiling
of these three different tiers that she plans to focus on as first lady as part of the Be Best program.
I mean, clearly, as Kate said, there were no particular details about how she intends to do that, besides sort of shining a light on them and helping to promote these causes and some of these treatment centers and kindness on the Internet.
So, certainly, it's still a bit of a wait and see, but now that she has a branded platform and more of a succinct profile, I think she can move forward in a more effective way.
It was interesting, though, I will say, the president was sitting front and center. Ivanka Trump was here today, too, as was Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. He was sitting just feet from the first lady as she discussed kindness online, and how not to be negative and learning from example and how adults have to set that example.
So it was sort of an interesting moment to watch him watch her kind of lay down the law about how people should treat one another on social media.
KEILAR: It is just impossible to not think about even some of the things that he will have said in recent days as she makes that announcement, as it always has been. It's such an important issue for her.
And, Kate, can you just speak to the idea that she doesn't seem to shy away from that, that idea that she is taking something on that, of course, is going to make people raise their eyebrows when they say, wait, but what about your husband? That does not deter her.
BENNETT: No, it doesn't.
And I think it is interesting because there are people who say, well, she can't even control her own husband who is doing this. I think that is where the sexes differing in this White House. That's sort of a strange thing to say, to control somebody, and we all know that the president acts on his own and makes his own decisions.
So, she couldn't really do that. And I think her doing it in the face of a husband who is an example of what not to do, here is a 70-year- old man who uses the Internet and social media this way, let me show you another way, is another example of her sort of doing what she wants do, this independence we've watched her put forth at various times during her tenure.
I think she is willing to take on that added extra criticism of picking this because she feels that it is almost doubly important perhaps, in knowing how history might treat her husband and his use of name-calling and other tactics he uses online.
She is certainly not threatened by that. She is certainly not affected by the criticism of that. She addressed the elephant in the room in March by saying: I know you are skeptical that I can do this. I'm going to do it anyway.
There are going to be critics, of course, who say cyber-bullying, are you kidding me, the irony of it. But I think that is not paramount for her. Instead, you know, she is the mother of a tween, a 12-year- old boy. And these issues are quite real, and bullying does happen and suicides happen as a result, et cetera.
And I think my White House sources indicate that this very much compelled her to overlook the issues with her own husband inside her own White House and go forth and take this on.
KEILAR: Maybe it's why she's taking it on, too.
Kate Bennett in the Rose Garden, thank you so much.
And thank you so much to my panel for being with me as well.
Now, moments before Melania Trump began her speech unveiling her agenda there, the president tweeted a very big thing. He said he's going to be announcing his decision on the Iran nuclear deal tomorrow, this as he attacks John Kerry on Twitter, accusing the former secretary of state of illegal shadow diplomacy in an attempt to keep the deal intact.
Plus, the president's new attorney Rudy Giuliani making some headlines, suggesting that Trump may defy a subpoena in the special counsel's investigation. We are going to dissect that strategy, if it even is one.