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Trump Leaves Door Open for Possible North Korea Summit; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired May 25, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we are waiting for the president to speak, give the commencement address at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While we wait, he also made headlines, just leaving the White House moments ago, saying this that summit with North Korea that he canceled yesterday could go back on as originally planned.
With me now, Matt Viser and Julie Hirshfeld Davis, both are political analysts.
You know, it certainly was striking, Matt, to hear the president walk out of the White House and say, the statement last night from North Korea was very nice. We want to talk to them, maybe the summit will be back on for June 12th. What's your read?
MATT VISER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, it seems very clear all along that President Trump is very eager to have this meeting. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of the groundwork laid for the meeting to be a success, which is why we saw the very public breakup yesterday. So, I mean, he still has not given up that instinct of wanting to have the meeting. So I think that he --
VISER: -- very much wants to pursue this to still meet, without clarity on what we're meeting about or whether it will be a success.
HARLOW: I mean, remember the chants of Nobel, Nobel in those remarks he gave at a rally last week. You know, Nobel Peace Prize, people are indicating if he could get a deal done.
A tweet this morning, Julie, from the president's son, Don Jr., I think we have it, as we pull it up. He tweeted, there you go, "Art of the Deal, baby," tweeting a report about a nice statement from North Korea being ready to meet after the president pulls out of the summit. Dealmaker, deal breaker this president?
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, so far it's been deal breaker. I mean, we saw that he withdrew from the Paris climate accord.
HARLOW: Yes --
HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: He scrapped the Iran deal, and --
HARLOW: And Julie, hold that thought. The president is now walking to the lectern to begin this commencement address. Let's listen in.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you.
Hello midshipmen, hello. Great going. And let me say that to the entire brigade, please be at ease, enjoy yourselves because we are all here to celebrate the amazing class of 2018. Amazing job, thank you.
Really something. Admiral Carter, thank you for that wonderful introduction and for your leadership and the incredible job you've done at this storied academy. And thank you Captain Chadwick for your dedication and service.
Thank you to Undersecretary Modly, Admiral Richardson, General Walters for joining us today. Thanks also to Senator Wicker, Congressman Wittman and Congressman Maledo (ph). I want to recognize the entire brigade for a tremendous year.
This has been a spectacular year for you. I've heard all about your achievements. And a very special recognition for the midshipmen fourth class, you are pleads no more.
To all of the distinguished faculty and staff, to the local sponsor families and most importantly to the parents and grandparents and family members who have helped our graduates reach this joyous hour, today is your incredible achievement also.
TRUMP: They would've never made it without you, you know that. So I want to thank our midshipmen, I want to thank your families and thank you. America thanks you more than anybody, you have done a spectacular job, thank you very much.
Finally to the men and women about to be commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy and Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Let me say on behalf of the entire nation we could not be more proud of the United States Naval Academy Class of 2018, thank you.
Great job. Congratulations to you all. Four years ago, each of you made the most important decision of your lives. You chose the path of hard work, sweat and sacrifice. You chose the life of honor, courage and commitment.
You chose to serve the nation and defend our great American flag. You chose the Navy, blue and gold. From the first moments of Induction Day, through a grueling six weeks of plebe summer, you endured and you persevered. And then the rest of the brigade returned and the real test began. You developed morally, mentally and physically. You poured yourselves into military tactics, seamanship, navigation, ethics and engineering. And when hard work wasn't enough, like generations before you, you've gathered your pennies and sought favor from the all-powerful Tecumseh.
All-powerful, a little bit different. Others worked hard for their demerits at Rigarvies (ph) and the fleet reserved club.
And so today, in keeping with tradition, I declare that all midship on restriction for minor offenses, you are hereby absolved.
That sounds like a lot of people.
The Admiral will define exactly what that means, so Admiral please go easy, please, OK? Please go easy, it's a great group of people here Admiral.
I'm told that this class led Navy athletics to the highest win percentage in your 172 year history. Think of that.
That includes taking the Army, Navy Star Series for the fourth straight year, a remarkable achievement in sport and athletics, remarkable. And because you care about every contest against Army, for the record, this year, Navy beat Army 19 times.
And I will not mention, I promised, who won the football game. I will not mention. I won't mention it. Refuse to say it.
But that is a great achievement. And let me take a guess, you're still not tired of winning. Winning is such a great feeling. Isn't it a great feeling? Winning.
A great feeling. Nothing like winning. Got to win. In every endeavor the class of 2018 ahs shown its medal and its proved it's might. You have earned your place in that ancient league of sailors and shipmates, captains and commanders, warriors and mariners and Marines. You crave adventure. Hello, folks back there. (LAUGHTER)
You chased discovery and you never flinch in the eye of a ranging storm. America is in your heart, the ocean is in your soul. The salt water runs through you veins. You live your life according to the final law of the Navy. The word impossible does not exist because Navy never quits.
You don't give up. You don't give in. You don't back down and you never surrender. Wherever you go, wherever you serve, wherever your mission takes you, you only have one word in mind and that's victory. It's why you're here, victory. Very important word. You are now leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the face of the planet, the United States military and we are respected, again. I can tell you that. We are respected again.
A lot of things have happened. We're respected again. For the last four years you have walked the same paths as Navy's greatest legends, the giants of Midway and Coral Sea and Manila Bay. Here in Annapolis the glorious past is all around you and so are the stories of your great heroes.
TRUMP: One such hero who appears in the pages of your old yearbook is Bruce Voorhis. You know Bruce Van Voorhis. Well known all over. Bruce hailed from Nevada and was a member of the Naval Academy Class of 1929. Beneath his picture in the 1929 Lucky Bag Bruce's classmates wrote that he spent most of his time teaching the city slickers from the east the correct pronunciation of Nevada. And I had to learn that too to win the state.
Great place. He saw studying as a unnecessary evil and they remembered in three cruises and four years in blue surge (ph), brass buttons. He left a trail of broken hearts extended the full length of both coasts and radiating for miles around Crabtowne (ph). In other words, he was just like you in many ways. Just like you, not a lot of difference.
Just over a decade after his graduation, Lieutenant Commander Van Voorhis found himself at war. 75 years ago this summer, he was in the South Pacific commanding Bomber Squadron 102 during the Battle of the Solomon Islands. That was a rough battle. His only brother had been killed in the Bataan Death March.
On July 6, Bruce volunteered for a mission to destroy a crucial enemy base. It was a rough time. It was a rough, tough situation. He knew full well that he would likely never return. He knew he was going to die, but he also knew his daring action could prevent a surprise attach on large scale American forces.
So his plane took off alone on a 700 mile flight. Bruce flew through the darkness to his target, a tiny speck on the vast, open sea. He braved unrelenting antiaircraft fire like nobody had ever seen at that time, and a trail of enemy planes to single-handedly destroy this large enemy base including multiple fortifications and a critical communications link.
And at this final act of valor Bruce was caught in the blast of one of his own bombs and perished in a remote lagoon very far from here. His life was lost, but his legacy will live forever.
Many of you have seen the start marking Bruce's old room at Bancroft Hall commemorating his congressional Medal of Honor -- our highest honor. Some here today will trace his path to Pensacola to earn your wings. You may even make it all the way out to the legendary combat training school known as Top Gun in Bruce's beloved home town in Fallon, Nevada. There, you will have the honor to take flight from Van Voorhis Field and remember a hero who fought for his country and died for his homeland and saved so many lives with his bravery.
Each of you inherits the legacy of the heroes who came before you. It's a living history passed down from officer to officer and generation to generation. Each of you will make your own mark on the Navy, the Marine Corps, the military, and the history of our great nation. Seize today, and you will shape tomorrow.
In a few moments, you will be commissioned into the mightiest fighting forces of the air, the land, and the sea. Together, you will blast off carriers, of which we're just now finishing the largest aircraft carrier in the world, launch off submarines, of which we have many under construction, and ward off evil.
You will bring comfort to our friends and you will strike fear into the hearts of our enemies. Among our graduates today will be 283 naval aviators, 134 submariners--
-- 256 surface warfare officers--
-- 70 restricted line officers and 15 explosive ordinance disposal officers--
-- 236 United States marines--
-- and 35 very tough, very well-conditioned Navy SEALS.
Together, you are the tip of the spear, the edge of the blade, and the front of the shield defending and protecting our great country. You know, there is no mission our pilots can't handle. There is no hill our Marine's can't take, and there is no stronghold the SEALS can't breech. There is no sea the Navy can't brave, and there is no storm the American sailor can't conquer because you know that together there is nothing Americans can't do. Absolutely nothing.
In recent years and even decades, too many people have forgotten that truth. They've forgotten that our ancestors trounced an empire, tamed a continent, and triumphed over the worst evils in history.
In every generation, there have been cynics and critics who try to tear down America. It's not working too well lately, but in recent years the problem grew worse. A growing number use their platforms to denigrate America's incredible heritage, challenge America's sovereignty, and weaken America's pride.
But we know the truth, we will speak the truth, and we will defend that truth. America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice and freedom in the history of the world.
And in case you haven't noticed, we have become a lot stronger lately.
A lot. We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America. No more apologies. We are going to stand up--
-- for our citizens, we are going to stand up for our values, and we are going to stand up for our men and women in uniform--
-- because we know that a nation must have pride in its history to have confidence in it's future. We are the nation that built the highways, the railroads, the Empire State Building in one year, the Golden Gate Bridge, and we are the nation that built the Panama Canal.
We trekked the mountains, explored the oceans, and settled the fast frontier. We won two world wars, defeated communism and fascism, and put a man on the face of the moon. We cured disease, pioneered science, and produced timeless works of art that inspire the human soul. And on distant islands, far away battle fields, above the skies and beneath the sea, the entire world has borne witness to the unstoppable strength, skill, and courage of the United States Navy and the American Marines.
Each of you enters service at a truly exciting time for our country for we are witnessing the great reawakening of the American spirit and of American mite. We have rediscovered out identity, regained out stride, and we're proud again. Prosperity is booming at home, our economy is the strongest it's every been, and our country has regained the respect that we used to have long ago abroad. Yes, they're respecting us again. Yes, America is back.
We have begun the great rebuilding of the United States military. We have ended the disastrous defense sequester. No money for the military, those days are over.
And we've just secured -- you've read all about it -- a $700 billion, largest ever amount of money to support our great war fighters.
[10:55:10] HARLOW: So you're watching the president of the United States delivering a commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy to the Midshipmen there with the message of "Seize the Day," carpe diem, also talking about American strength, saying we have become a lot stronger lately. We'll continue to monitor this.
Also some breaking news just into us on the other side of the break. News of another meeting that the president's so-called fixer Michael Cohen had with a Russian oligarch just days before the inauguration, up next.