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U.S.-Mexico Negotiators Fail to Reach a Deal on Tariffs, Immigration; Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) is Interviewed About U.S.-Mexico Negotiations on Tariffs and Immigration; Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is Interviewed About Trump Not Serving in Vietnam; CNN Poll: 54 Percent Think President Trump Wins Re-Election. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired June 5, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:15] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The meeting between Mexican officials and the vice president over President Trump's tariff threat has just ended and the two sides did not, repeat, not reach any deal. So tariffs are still on the table, if, indeed, the president isn't bluffing. He says he's not.

But keeping them honest, what if he is? What if Republicans don't support him? And what will this do to American consumers, workers and farmers?

John Berman here, in for Anderson.

And let's stipulate from the get-go, there is a real humanitarian crisis on the border. We just learned that more than 144,000 migrants were arrested or detained at the Mexican border in May. That is the highest monthly arrest total in 13 years.

So, there's no doubt, this is a real problem. That's not really in dispute. It's how the president deals with it that it is.

And the president has already tried to address it in any number of days. He's threatened to close the border entirely. He separated families, even locking up children.

And just today, we learned the administration is doing even more. "The Washington Post" reports, I'm quoting here from the lead: The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational programs and legal aide for unaccompanied minors staying in federal migrant shelters nationwide, saying the immigration influx of the southern border has created a critical budget pressures.

And again the very real crisis, the very real problem continues because conditions have not improved in those Northern Triangle countries. A problem that might be even worse since the president cut off aid to them as a punitive measure. Many experts at the time considered that a bad idea given how far a dollar can go in improving the condition and slowing the flow of migrants, compared to what's being spent to detail and house migrants here.

But, now, as you know, the president is threatening another step that could be a far worse economic bargain. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Mexico has to step up, and if they don't, tariffs will go on, if they go high, then companies are going to move back into the United States. It's all very simple.

The people won't have to worry about paying the tax, the companies are going to move back into the United States. There won't be any tariff.


BERMAN: The deadline is Monday. Economists across the board think it's a terrible idea because the tariffs are paid by American importers, manufacturers and especially consumers, also known as voters.

One recent study by the New York branch of the Federal Reserve estimates that American families will pay more than $800 each this year in tariffs. Yet the president and his advisers continue to insist that Mexico will somehow bear the brunt.

In any case, with talks at the U.S. ongoing, one of those advisers today said it might not be all academics, suggesting the president is bluffing.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: We believe that these tariffs may not have to go into effect, precisely because we have the Mexicans' attention.


BERMAN: It certainly has earned the attention of Republican lawmakers, many of whom are now on the record opposing tariffs, which is no small thing considering how often the president's party marches in lockstep with him.

And to that point, there is new reporting tonight that some Republican senators want the president to delay implementing the Mexican tariffs until he made the case directly at them. At the same time, they are urging hi to back down from this threat.

And so, while they may be opposing him, we should point out they're not eager to talk about it. In fact, we called every single Republican senator. All 53 of them, invited them to come on the program tonight. Not one of them would.

Jim Acosta joins us now from Normandy in France, where President Trump will arrive tomorrow for the 75th anniversary of D-Day after staying tonight at his golf club in Ireland.

Jim, the meeting between the delegation and the vice president has just ended. Do you have any details about how it went? JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mainly from the

Mexican side, John. The Mexican foreign minister came out and talked about to supporters and said that they did not even talk about these tariffs that are being proposed by the president during this meeting with the vice president and other senior administration officials, but they did talk about what Mexico is prepared to do to try to clamp down on migration at the southern border.

John, that is interesting because it sounds like they have not made much progress, so far, in terms of averting these tariffs the president will impose next week.

Now, the president did tweet about this a short while ago about 12:42 a.m. local time here in France. He says these talks will continue tomorrow -- John.

BERMAN: And has the president commented, Jim, on the fact that Senate Republicans and a whole lot of people, nearly everyone outside the White House seems to be against him on this tariff threat?

ACOSTA: He hasn't, John. Only to say he thinks it will be foolish for Republicans to go against him.

But at this point, John, they are openly doing that. And the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just yesterday was saying to White House officials that perhaps the president should explain this personally to Republican senators before following through on this threat.

[20:05:08] I will tell you, I talked to a senior Republican official just a short while ago who says that there is no indication at this point that the president plans to stop this threat of imposing these tariffs on Mexico and that the White House ever since that meeting that happened yesterday with those Republican senators that didn't go very well, the White House has not provided much new information besides the, quote, scant information that was offered to senators yesterday, essentially all that was offered to Republican senators today amounted to talking points according to this Republican official.

And, John, there were some big concerns, not just about the economy and the consequences of these tariffs, there are legislative consequence as well. This Republican official said that these tariffs would be imposed on Mexico could, in fact, jeopardize the president's trade deal he's talked so much about, as well as new border money that would be intended toward extending that flow of migrant across the border. So, the president really could be working against his own interest if he follows through on this, according to a lot of Republicans up on Capitol Hill -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Jim Acosta for us in Normandy, we will talk to you tomorrow morning for the ceremony there.

With us now to talk about the concerns about the impact tariffs can have across the economy is Senator Gary Peters, who is also the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. So, he knows about the intricacies of this border issue.

Senator Peters, thanks so much for being with us.

I just want to ask you off the bat. Do you think the president is bluffing? Do you think he is serious about these tariffs?

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): It's hard to know what the president is going to do. And I can't speak for what's in his mind.

I hope he doesn't go forward with it. Certainly, there is a significant impact to folks here in Michigan, workers in Michigan that I'm very concerned about.

BERMAN: And you've heard Senate Republicans say they want to hear from him in person. Do you believe that when push comes to shove, if this president applies pressure, that the Senate Republicans will hold the line?

PETERS: Well, I know a lot of Senate Republicans are very concerned. The conversations that I have, they think this is misguided. I think we all agree the use of tariffs should be related to trade policy, not other types of issues like immigration.

We have to certainly secure the border. We have to make sure we're dealing with the issue down there, and it is a significant issue. But to use tariffs is simply something that's unacceptable, particularly given the impact that it's going to have on workers and residents of Michigan but all of their individual states. All the senators are concerned about the impact to residents in the state.

Ultimately, it's people in America. It's Americans that are going to be paying this price.

BERMAN: Let's talk about your state. Let's talk about car country. Of course there is a big deal of concern about a supply chain to automakers.

You met today with GM CEO Mary Barra. What did she say about the possibility of these tariffs?

PETERS: Well, she's concerned. It's hard to know exactly what the -- how the tariffs will be assessed. And, you know, we basically have a supply chain across three countries, it's Canada, United States and Mexico. Parts move back and forth across the border. You can have U.S. parts going to Mexico and coming back.

So, it's difficult to assess, but if you look at some of the analysis done by independent organizations, if the tariffs get folded out, and you get to 25 percent. You can see an increase of there are $1,300 per automobile. You could see plants shutting down because sales could drop.

In fact, she is -- she is also worried that you could see folks postponing car purchases, buying used cars or postponing them, that would have a big economic impact. Not just for the auto industry, but it would ripple through the whole economy. BERMAN: Is she making that case directly to the White House or asking

you to?

PETERS: We've certainly asked her to make sure the White House knows. I think -- I think the folks from the auto industry had been making that case. I certainly hope they are talking directly to the president.

BERMAN: So are you on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. So you know an awful lot about immigration, and you know these new numbers that came out from Customs and Border Protection today, the highest monthly crossings and apprehensions in 13 years, up 32 percent from April.

And you know there are supporters of the president who will point to this and say these numbers justify any tool available to get Mexico maybe to do more on border security, even tariffs.

What would you say to those people?

PETERS: Well, I say we've got to use a lot of tools. This is a very complex problem. I was just down at the border a few days ago. I saw folks coming across, very large numbers.

And the type of people coming across are different than we are used to seeing. I mean, we often see Mexican individuals, young men normally coming across would be sent back. Now we are seeing families, families with very young children coming across Central America, really, kind of overwhelming the system that that we have right now.

So, we have to deal with that. We are looking at putting additional resources along the border to handle that. But part of what we have to deal with -- and it's comprehensive. We got for more immigration judges. We got to have more people on the border to process the numbers coming in.

We also have to deal with trying to stem the flow from Central America, itself.

BERMAN: Do you think --

PETERS: That's why it doesn't make sense to have the president pull out of NGOs that were working to keep people in their country so they don't make that long journey north.

[20:10:02] BERMAN: And we did mention the criticism of that in our open.

Do you, Senator, think that Mexico is doing enough to stop the flow of migration north?

PETERS: Mexico should do more. There's no question about that. They are doing -- they're doing quite a bit, but they've got to do more. Everybody has to do more. This is all hands on deck. And, certainly, the president needs to be focused on this in a

comprehensive way, looking at dealing with a different type of migration flow. And that means the poll factors, which means screening people at the border, if folks are let out too early, you can have more folks perhaps coming.

But you also have to deal with the push factors as I said in the countries, themselves. You've got people who would rather stay home, except they are facing violence, they are facing economic problems, significant economic problems. And they are looking for the well- being of their family, and so, they head north.

We have to look at this at a comprehensive way. Just pointing fingers at one solution is not enough. That's simplistic.

And we need -- we need leadership from the White House that looks at this problem in a comprehensive way, and looks at dealing with it and all of those aspects. And to use tariffs which are really designed for trade policy, not for dealing with immigration policy makes no sense and it sends us down a real slippery slope in terms of our trading relationships, not just with Mexico, but countries all across the world.

BERMAN: Senator Gary Peters from Michigan, I know this is an issue you care deeply about. We appreciate you being with us tonight.

PETERS: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: All right. Just ahead, I'm going to speak with a veteran now serving in Congress about President Trump's comments on his failure to serve in Vietnam.

Also, a new poll about whether voters think President Trump will be reelected. The numbers here might surprise you.


[20:15:59] BERMAN: As the world marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, President Trump's curious attitude towards wars and the men and women who fight them was on display again. No, it wasn't another trashing of John McCain, nor did he insult a Gold Star family or admit as a businessman he made a lot of sacrifices, too -- although that one is closer to the mark.

Today, President Trump seemed to diminish service when asked if he wished he had served in Vietnam or any war generally. The president said that for student deferment plus a questionable bone spur diagnosis later that he actually has reported for duty.


TRUMP: Well, I was never a fan of that war. I'm be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war. I thought it was very far away.

Nobody ever, you are talking about Vietnam. At that time, nobody ever heard of the country. PIERS MORGAN, TV HOST: Would you like to serve generally, perhaps in

another --

TRUMP: I would not have minded that at all. I would have been honored. But I think I make up for it now. Look, $700 billion I gave last year and this year $716 billion, and I think I'm making up for it rapidly, because we're rebuilding our military at a level that's never been seen before.


BERMAN: Earlier, I spoke about the president's comments with someone who did show up for duty during the second war in Iraq, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.


BERMAN: Senator Duckworth, is the president making up for his lack of service in Vietnam right now?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, I don't know he makes up for it if you mean by stealing money from the Department of Defense to build a wall. Money towards things like I don't know firefighting stations in my home state, no, he's not making up for it at all.

BERMAN: He says is $700 billion that I gave last year to the military. That was interesting phrasing. What did you make of that?

DUCKWORTH: Well, it tells me he knows nothing about the United States' form of government. It is actually Congress that decides how much money will be given to the Department of Defense and, in fact, it was the votes of the senators and hopefully later on in a couple of months, the House of Representatives that will send those dollars to the department of defense.

Bottom line, this is a president that tries to convince people that he is a patriot, yet he is stealing money from the Department of Defense to pursue his own political agenda.

BERMAN: He explains his lack of service in Vietnam by saying I was never a fan of the Vietnam War. You are an Iraq War veteran. You are wounded there. Will you call yourself a fan of the Iraq war?

DUCKWORTH: I don't know anyone who has ever served in uniform, especially in combat who would say they're a fan of war. In fact, I opposed the Iraq War but volunteered to go when my unit was deployed, and if anything, you know, I think this president has shown he has done everything he can to not answer his nation's call. If he were a true patriot, he would have answered the nation's call not once but five times when he adopts the draft.

BERMAN: What message do you think his words send to the families of people who lost sons and brothers in Vietnam?

DUCKWORTH: I think it's insulting. I think it is insulting what the commander-in-chief of the United States just said about the Vietnam War. As if it was a choice for most of them. Most of them were drafted and they didn't have a choice to serve. Yet they still went.

If you are a true patriot, you respond when your nation calls you to duty. This president did not go. In fact, he used his privilege to come one a story of some kind of bone spurs in order to dodge this draft and frankly for those families who lost loved ones, who were drafted or those who volunteered, I would find I want insulting. My own father served two tours in Vietnam.

BERMAN: You said, you mentioned his bone spurs, student deferment, a medical deferment. You say on Twitter he should have received a medical deferment, not for the burn spurs, they should have been for that yellow streak you say down his back. Are you calling the president a coward?

DUCKWORTH: Yes, he is a coward. He is a coward when it came time to serve in Vietnam. He used his privilege in every way he could to avoid serving five different times and five other young men went to war in his place.

[20:20:03] And how many of them lost their lives.

BERMAN: Obviously, when we're talking about Vietnam, you know that is an issue that is fraught for a generation of Americans. Would you say the same ting to others who declined or found ways to get deferments? Bill Clinton obviously received two deferments from Vietnam. You used the same word to describe him.

DUCKWORTH: Well, let me say one thing about President Trump, in particular. He is someone who is trying to wrap himself up if patriotism. Everything about him is about what a patriot he is. My gosh, he hugs the flag as a photo op. Then he tries to minimize his service in Vietnam by saying he wasn't a fan of that service.

My heroes are the ones who responded when the nation called or stood up and said, you know what, I am a conscientious objector, I'm not going to go, throw me in jail, or those who marched in the streets. I also am respectful of those people because they did the most American thing they can do, speak up, and defy authority. Not what President Trump did which was to use his privilege to get out of service.

BERMAN: Obviously, the president has also had words with the late Senator John McCain. He skipped a military service in Europe last year. Do you feel he knows how to appropriately honor those who have served?

DUCKWORTH: I don't think he cares. I don't think he cares to honor those who have served. They have done something he was too afraid to do himself, I think he finds those threatening to him, he lashes out to them and minimize their service by saying things like that wasn't a real war, it wasn't fighting the Nazis, it was if Vietnam.

I think he is threatened by those who have worn the uniform.

BERMAN: Senator Tammy Duckworth, we thank you so much for your time.

DUCKWORTH: My pleasure. BERMAN: So, do voters think President Trump will keep the White House

in 2020? A new poll has the answer. Not one you might expect. That's next.


[20:25:43] BERMAN: Is President Trump unpopular? Yes. Does he lose in head-to-head polling with most Democratic challengers? Yes. So will he win re-election? Well, yes.

At least that's what 54 percent of respondents to CNN's latest poll said. They believe the president despite everything will win re- election next year. What's more, that number is up, double digits since December.

Joining me now to discuss, "USA Today" columnist and CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and CNN political director, David Chalian.

David, I want to start with you.

This always an interesting number to me because often it does go hand in hand with success. People end up knowing who's going to win beforehand often. What do you attribute this shift to?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And the psychology of the voters, right? People like to be with a winner. It gives that you sense.

If you look at the numbers, John, one of the things you can attribute the increase in that perception it was to Democrats, to people who disapprove of Donald Trump's job performance. They did not think he was going to win re-election, but we should be clear, three-quarters of them still don't think that, now a quarter of Democrats in this poll believe he is going to win re-election. That's up when we tested this in December, that's up from 14 percent.

So, even though they're rooting against it, they seeing Democrats to be a little more of the mind he may actually come up victorious.

BERMAN: Is that -- go ahead.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I was just going to say, John, the other thing I would add is the context that Jen Agiesta, our polling director, put in here for us, which is, if you look at the same time in Barack Obama's first time, the question, would he win a second term? And Donald Trump does better now than Obama did back in May of 2011. And that was after they caught and killed Osama bin Laden.

So that gives you I think a pretty remarkable set of facts to go with this on, you know, where the electorate was with Obama who did go on, of course, pretty easily to win re-election and where Donald Trump is right now.

BERMAN: It does get me to my question to Kirsten, which is, you know, David Plouffe was the first person I remember coining the phrase, Democratic bed-wetting. Democrats stereotypically tend to get nervous before other people do? Is that what's going on here, Kirsten? Democrats just are getting nervous that maybe they won't beat this guy they have been after for so long?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know. I mean, I think there are some basic things. First of all, the economy is doing relatively well, Democrat -- I mean, presidents who are, you know, have economy doing well, tends to do pretty well when they're running for re-election.

I think also Democrats really underestimated Donald Trump the last time around. And so, they may be factoring that in a little bit, that they were wrong before. They didn't take him seriously. They thought he was a joke.

And now, they're remembering that and saying, well, I don't want to underestimate him this time because he -- nobody thought he was going to win the primary, let alone win the presidency. So, I think there's a sense of him being very unpredictable and not really being able to know who is going to take him on, and who the nominee is going to be.

BERMAN: Yes, Democrats, you don't make that mistake again.

David Chalian, the Democratic front runner today, Joe Biden in an interesting back and forth. His campaign reaffirmed his support for the Hyde Amendment, which keeps federal dollars from being spent on abortion services, in case of rape, incest, when the life of the mother is at stake. This mostly affects lower income people, Medicaid funding for abortion.

This has caused a great deal of outrage with the liberal wing of the party. Explain what's going on here.

CHALIAN: It has. And it is the third thing we have seen recently on this score. Here he is taking a position where all of his opponents now get an opening because they are for repealing the Hyde Amendment, Joe Biden is sticking to his guns if his previous position.

And, by the way, we should note, it's the previous position that every Democratic nominee has held since 2016, the party platform change and Hillary Clinton change. But the party has moved. And so, the question becomes on this, defending the '94 crime bill, which is clearly not aligned with where the party is at the moment, certainly the progressive wing of the party, even totally, John, on the notion of being the one to reach out to Republicans, work across the aisle, that's something that sort of totally discordant with where the progressive wing is.

Here's my question. How many of these kinds of things where Joe Biden is out of step with the progressive wing, does he get here because they feel, well, he might be the best one to beat Trump? At some point these general election positions he is taking meet the reality of him having to win the nomination first and progressives are involved in that process. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And, Kirsten, if I can to be clear, you actually think this is more consequential, that the Hyde Amendment issue is more consequential among Democratic voters right now than the other things that David brought up?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, because I don't think it's just the progressive base. I think it's a pretty widely held view among Democrats that the Hyde Amendment should be repealed.

There was a poll that was done during the 2016 election that found that 57 percent of Hillary Clinton voters thought it should be repealed. So, I think that he is out of step with the party. And the other thing is, it's true that this was the position for a long time, but abortion rights are under attack right now in a way that they really haven't been in a long time.

I mean, certainly with the Supreme Court the way that it is and also just what's happening at the state level and in the heartbeat bills and these various issues have -- I think made it a much more an issue that's even much more powerful that it normally would be where people feel like, you need to pick aside and you need to be -- we need to know that you're on our side. And when he holds this position, he really puts himself off to the side that I think most Democratic voters aren't on.

BERMAN: Yes. Dana, there are signs in the polling that the fact that Roe v. Wade might be in jeopardy has energized a good part of the Democratic base.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question. And as Kirsten just said and David, too, the base, the Democratic Party has moved over the last four years and even a little bit before that, but Joe Biden hasn't.

I've done some reporting on this today and I am told explicitly that it is Joe Biden, himself who says, "This is my conviction and I'm not changing it. This is how I have felt and this is how I have voted for my four decades in public service and I'm not changing, despite the fact that the party clearly has changed."

And, again, he is playing a long game, perhaps, politically. Could help him, at least according to a Trump source I talked to today, admitted it could help him in key states like Pennsylvania in his quest to pull back, putting back working class Democrats, maybe even disillusioned Republicans.

But he has to get the short game behind him first. And it is an open question just as David said whether or not this plus the other things are going to, you know, maybe bring him down a tick or two or more from that frontrunner status.

BERMAN: I will tell you, the speed and directness with which his Democratic opponents pounced on this indicates they may --

BASH: Remarkable. BERMAN: Very remarkable and have to deal with this for the next several weeks. Kirsten Powers, Dana Bash, David Chalian, thank you all very, very much.

CHALIAN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Next, we've touched on this a bit already tonight, a closer look at the President's tone on this D-Day trip and how it compares with other presidents on similar occasions.


[20:36:52] BERMAN: Tomorrow marks 75 years since allied troops went on a shore in the beaches of Normandy. Tonight on the program, you will hear from the last surviving African-American G.I. to see combat there.

According to National World War II Museum, we lose more than 300 U.S. veterans of the Second World War every single day, which makes every single occasion to honor them and what they fought for and what all American sacrifice for on the home front so very important.

The question then, keeping them honest, is this, how is President Trump meeting the solemn if not sacred obligation? This is how Ronald Reagan did it on the 40th anniversary.


RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions and beliefs. We are bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States and the Americans security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then. We are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes and your destiny is our destiny.


BERMAN: Before we go any further, we should note that these words written by Peggy Noonan were even on the printed page is especially graceful and President Reagan's delivery of them even more so.

However, it's important to recall that at the time they were not seen as dramatically or tonally exceptional, only as a remarkably well delivered expression of an idea nearly everyone shared.

This was what the occasion demanded and this is what any president would deliver, perhaps without the same flare, but certainly the same sentiment and the same focus on shared sacrifice and selfless spirit.

Tonight given the President's behavior, so far the currents president, there are very real questions about whether he holds those same beliefs because apart from egregious toast to the queen the other day, in which allied sacrifice did feature prominently, he's also spent a lot of time focusing on himself. He met Ireland's prime minister at the airport in Shannon today because the prime minister declined to see him at Trump's golf club and here's what he literally said about Normandy before talking about how incredibly he has been treated.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm making a trip tomorrow to Normandy. We had an incredible time today. This was just something that the likes of which few people have seen anything like it. We were with the queen and the royal family and we were with the prime minister and it was something very special. Many of you were there, I think almost all of you were there, but it's been very well covered and it was truly beautiful.


BERMAN: It's been very well covered. In addition to that, in the overnight hours last night, he found time to complain on Twitter about what he calls the totally corrupt media and sleepy Joe Biden. He also lashed out at, and these were his words, "Washed up psycho Bette Midler," and how she is trying to make, "your great president look bad." That's on the eve of D-Day commemoration events. Bette Midler insults.

Now, in fairness, he also tweeted about the D-Day anniversary, "As we approach the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, we proudly commemorate those heroic and honorable patriots who gave their all for the cause of freedom during some of the history's darkest hours."

[20:40:04] And that, of course, is what until now we've come to expect from every president, except as a matter of course not as a lonely exception.

Joining us now is Peter Wehner, "New York Times" opinion writer and Atlantic contributing editor who served in the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations before becoming deputy director speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

And, Peter Wehner, I do want to ask, hearing Ronald Reagan give the point of that (ph) speech, is that a speech you could ever imagine President Trump giving?

PETER WEHNER, SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I couldn't. The banality of Donald Trump's words has been one of the hallmarks of his presidencies. You said those words by Ronald Reagan were particularly elegant and really exceptional. But they also fit the man and it's important when it comes to speeches as well. The words matter, but the person delivering the words matter, too.

And it helps to give a dignified speech if the person who is delivering the speech is himself or herself dignified. And in the case of Donald Trump, that's not possible because he's a man without dignity.

BERMAN: I want to play what the President had to say yesterday about the protests that have taken place over the last couple of days. Listen.


TRUMP: As far as the protests, I have to tell you, because I commented on it yesterday. We left the prime minister, the queen, the royal family, there were thousands of people on the streets cheering. And even coming over today, there were thousands of people cheering. And then I heard that there were protests. I said, where are the protests? I didn't see any protest. I did see a small protest today when I came, very small. So a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say.


BERMAN: Now, you worked for President George W. Bush who also visited London at a time when he was very unpopular there. Yet the way the two presidents faced the criticism and the protests, you feel are very different and very telling. Why?

WEHNER: Well, you know, when George W. Bush went to the United Kingdom, he gave a speech at Whitehall Palace and it was a speech that had self-deprecating humor. There were grace notes in it. He defended the United States, but he did it with a light touch.

When most presidents go overseas, they go over to try and persuade other people to -- if not convince the people of the other country in a position of the United States, to at least further advance the cause and for them to at least respect the person making the case and George W. Bush did that, other president have done that. But Donald Trump doesn't do that.

He doesn't see his job as to represent the United States in a fashion that makes people, you know, look at us well. He is a person who by inclination and by temperament and I think by psychological orientation thrives on conflict and acrimony and animosity. And he's also a narcissist.

He has a narcissistic personality disorder, so he doesn't see himself, I don't think fundamentally, as representative of the country. He only sees himself as representing himself and that's a problem if you're the president.

BERMAN: Well, what message do you think he is trying to deliver? And I guess more importantly, how do you think his message is received as he travels overseas in these countries?

WEHNER: I don't know. He just -- this is a kind of stream of consciousness with him and we see that with his tweets, which is some ways are the most accurate mindset, the most accurate thing into his disordered mind. How is he received? Not well.

I mean, virtually across the world people look at Donald Trump and they see a person they feel like is out of his depth and they look at us and essentially think that the United States is a joke or at least the president is a joke and that hasn't happened before.

There has been a tremendous leakage of prestige and respect for the United States since Donald Trump has been president. And the other thing that's important to know, and this is true of allies as well as adversaries, is the volatility of the man. They just don't know what they're dealing with.

You can say one thing on one day and something fundamentally different on another day. Sometimes he contradicts himself in a single day. And so it's very, very hard for leaders to try and come up with a coherent policy toward us because they're dealing with somebody who himself isn't coherent.

BERMAN: I just want to play one moment from George W. Bush that I know a lot of people like a lot and it gets to the issue of humility. This is when he was overseas. He was trying to walk off the stage and it didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm trying to escape. It didn't work.


BERMAN: Look, I remember that so vividly. And a lot of people did make fun of him at that moment. But on the other hand, you see how he handled it with a sense of humility and humor.

WEHNER: Yes, yes, you know, it's true. He is a person -- he was fundamentally a humble and decent and gracious man.

[20:45:07] And I don't think that those qualities were appreciated as much then as they are now because things are so -- the contrast with Trump is so dramatic.

BERMAN: I'm not sure that the current president would react quite the same way if that door --

WEHNER: I can guarantee you, it wouldn't.

BERMAN: All right, Peter Wehner, thank you very much for being with us tonight.


BERMAN: I appreciate it.


BERMAN: Just ahead, a mystery in paradise. Three Americans dying within days of each other at the same resort in the Dominican Republic, leaving families and authorities searching for answers.


BERMAN: It sounds like something straight out of a mystery novel. Three Americans die at the same resort in the Dominican Republic within days of one another. But it's all too real for the families involved. "360's" Randi Kaye has the latest.


[20:50:00] RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Miranda Schaup-Werner and her husband, Dan, flew to the Dominican Republic to celebrate their anniversary, checking in to Grand Bahia Principe Hotel on May 25th. But their celebration soon turned tragic. After Miranda made a drink from the mini bar, she suddenly couldn't breathe.

JAY MCDONALD, FAMILY SPOKESMAN: She called out to Dan and he came right over and she was unable to breathe. She collapsed. She couldn't communicate.

KAYE: Both her husband and EMTs tried to revive her, but the 41-year- old psychotherapist from Allentown, Pennsylvania could not be saved.

MCDONALD: She was one moment taking pictures. I think she took a selfie, smiling, happy, and then the next moment in extreme pain and collapsing.

KAYE: Soon the mystery surrounding Miranda's death would deepen. Turns out another couple, Edward Holmes and his fiance, Cynthia Ann Day of Maryland, had also checked in to the same resort and would meet the same fate.

Pictures from their social media accounts show they had plenty of fun, including this post captioned, "Boat ride of a lifetime," and this, "Can somebody please loan me $250,000 because I don't want to come home." His family never imagined he wouldn't.

But on the day they were supposed to leave, Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day never checked out. Hotel staff entered their room to find both of them dead. Their deaths on May 30th coming just five days after Miranda had collapsed and died in the hotel.

MCDONALD: What we thought was a freak event, now we don't know.

KAYE (on camera): Police say various medications meant to treat high blood pressure were found in the couple's room and there was no sign of violence. An autopsy showed the couple died from respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, essentially a build up of fluid in the lungs. And according to "The Washington Post," the family spokesman for Miranda Schaup-Werner says she died of the same thing.

(voice-over) But late today in yet another bizarre twist, the Bahia Principe Hotel released a statement announcing the Pennsylvania woman had died of a heart attack, saying her husband provided information that she had a heart condition.

The family spokesman told CNN affiliate, WFMZ, Miranda had heart trouble about 15 years ago but doctors had given her a clean bill of health. The hotel is also now saying the Maryland couple's deaths are still under investigation, pending toxicology and pathology tests and there is no definitive cause of death. Three puzzling deaths and now more questions than answers.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: Puzzling to say the least, including two members of the same couple die apparently of the same thing.

I want to check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris, that is really just bizarre.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: No good. I mean, first, your heart has to go out to the families. For them, this isn't a matter of intrigue, it's a tremendous loss and it's horrible.

For the rest of us trying to figure it out, the question becomes this, J.B., is correlation causation here? Is the fact that they died in proximity of place and time relevant to how they died? Neither has been ruled a homicide, which means it's a death that was caused by a person, so we have to wait and see.

I would suggest we go slow, because very often correlation is not causation. You have one story about a heart problem or not some years ago. You have another one where they say they're waiting on toxicology. Let's get the facts.

We're doing the same thing tonight, J.B. Is Biden being raked over the coals for good reason? We're not going to talk about him, we're going to talk to his campaign and have them be tested.

BERMAN: Fantastic. Looking forward to it. Chris, see you in a few minutes.

Next, a D-Day veteran in his unique place in history.


[20:57:25] BERMAN: There are many D-Day stories. Chances are you've never heard this one or met anyone like the D-Day veteran "360's" Gary Tuchman met for this report.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 21-year-old Henry Parham worked as a bus porter in Virginia when he entered the U.S. Army. Today, he's an American hero and living history. That's because Henry Parham is believed to be the last surviving African- American D-Day combat veteran.

(on the camera) You're going to be 98 in November.


TUCHMAN: That's almost a century.

H. PARHAM: Oh, yes.

TUCHMAN: And you've seen a lot. H. PARHAM: Yes, I have.

ETHEL PARHAM, WIFE OF D-DAY VETERAN: No, you don't want to go down the steps.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Henry Parham, who lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Ethel, vividly remembers fellow soldiers drowning off Omaha Beach and the Nazi air bombardments.

H. PARHAM: Of course I was scared for my life, sure.

TUCHMAN: He was part of a most unique army combat unit, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion. The mission, to launch huge hydrogen filled balloons from the beaches of Normandy to protect allied troops on the ground from enemy aircraft above.

And most notably, all the soldiers of the battalion were black, only a relatively small number of black troops were able to be part of the D- Day invasion. The U.S. military, still segregated and discriminatory.

H. PARHAM: We have to (INAUDIBLE). We were separated from white and black, but I was doing my duty.

TUCHMAN: He has always tried to focus on the positive.

(on camera) When you came back home after the war fighting for Americans' liberty, fighting for freedom and realizing when you got back, you still didn't have that same liberty and same freedom that white Americans had, were you disappointed, were you surprised or did you expect that?

H. PARHAM: Well, no, I wasn't disappointed because I grew up under those conditions.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): His wife of 45 years says her husband's optimism has served him well.

E. PARHAM: And I think it's a great honor that he sacrificed to make this world a better place for every one of us.

TUCHMAN: The author of this book about the black soldiers of the 320th says there were 621 troops in the battalion and that Henry Parham is the last surviving member.

After being modestly quiet about his World War II experiences for decades, Henry Parham has now received accolades and medals, including the prestigious French Legion of Honour Award.

E. PARHAM: I thank God that with all the accolades that are going around that he's alive to witness it.

TUCHMAN: Henry Parham knows he was fortunate to survive D-Day.

(on camera) Were you afraid you were going to drown?

H. PARHAM: No, because I prayed to the good Lord to save me. TUCHMAN: Did you know how to swim?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Despite the hardships before, during and after the war, Private First Class Parham is very grateful to have served.

H. PARHAM: I did my duty. I did what I was supposed to as an American.

TUCHMAN: An American hero.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Pittsburg.


BERMAN: Thank you, Henry Parham. The news continues. I will hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Hey, Chris.