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Biden to Speak as He Lands in England for First Overseas Trip; First Lady Jill Biden Speaks as She and President Arrive in England; Biden Speaks to Troops During First Overseas Trip as President. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 9, 2021 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, you are looking at live pictures there at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England. President Biden on his very first international trip. He landed probably, I don't know, I can't remember anymore, 45 minutes ago and he's going to be speaking momentarily.

And obviously, the stakes are very high for this international trip. I mean, not only is he meeting with Erdogan and Putin on this trip, he's trying to shore up alliances that have frayed. And all of this is set against the domestic back drop of his agenda, some of which is stalling.

So let's bring in our foreign policy panel and domestic panel. We have Jeff Zeleny, who is along with the president on this trip. We also have Gloria Borger, chief political analyst, chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward and our global affairs analyst, Aaron David Miller. Jeff, what's his number one -- what's number one on his to-do list?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The number one thing on his to-do list is to prove and say again face-to-face that America is back. We've heard President Biden say that from afar. He's really woven it into most every major speech he's given since taking office. And don't forget, this is something he ran for president on. To change the way the U.S. is viewed by the world, as it was viewed by the world in the Trump era. He ran on restoring those alliances so now it's his opportunity to do that.

Also talking about democracy, the importance of democracy. And he'll talk about the challenges of that as well. But this is also a chance for him to address the troops. Any time the commander-in-chief comes on foreign soil and addresses the troops, it is, indeed, a singular moment.

And, again, for all the times that Joe Biden has spent overseas, around the world, talking to troops, never has he done it as commander-in-chief as he'll do it here in a few moments. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So Gloria, the rule of thumb is, if your

domestic agenda sputters, it's time to head overseas, but is this the right time for President Biden to be overseas, considering all that's in the air for his domestic legislative agenda?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, look, there's no right time, wrong time. I think they would have hoped that their agenda didn't look so stalled as it is right now, but there are things called telephones. As you and I know, he's in touch all the time over the phone with people. What he is trying to do abroad is really tied it into his domestic agenda. He's trying to say that democracies can work. And that is why autocracies should fail. And he has to show that his democracy can work. Yes, he's having problems with it.

But he needs to restore that alliance with these democracies to say, look, because we're democracies, we have trouble sometimes getting things to work as quickly as we would like or in the direction we would like. But in the end, the struggle is worth it in a democracy. That, I think, is the message he is taking abroad. It is the message he is going to take to Vladimir Putin and to say to him, you know, we are not like you, we are very different from you. And to Erdogan as well, I would think.

And as we were talking about before, these are not unknown figures to him. They all know how he feels about them because he's either had a personal relationship or talked about them publicly, as he has about Putin. And I think what this White House wants to do is to say, OK, even though they have no meetings in Helsinki, to say, you know, take a look at Joe Biden. Yes, he's got problems at home, no doubt about it. But take a look at Joe Biden. Take a look at what happened in Helsinki three years ago with Vladimir Putin, there's going to be a big difference.

CAMEROTA: As we await the president to come out and speak to the military. Aaron David Miller, I get the impression that you feel this is not great timing for this trip, based upon your tweet of yesterday.


You say a weakened president, courtesy of members of his own party and the Republicans, with little prospects for serious movement on the big issues, besides there's not a single foreign policy issue out there that's potentially damaging -- more damaging to Biden's presidency or this Republic than the four or five crises we face at home. Should he not be there right now?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: No, I -- that tweet drew a lot of very negative reaction. I think some degree, as with many tweets, it was misinterpreted. I'm not blaming Joe Biden. The reality, as Gloria and Jeff have made it unmistakably clear, creating a sense that America is back was not only a message during campaign, Joe Biden actually believes it. And the reality is the rhetoric over the last four or five months was aspirational.

No, I think he had to go. And in fact I think this trip, frankly, since showing up as the non-Donald Trump is going to be -- the baseline is so low in many respects, that this trip -- this trip with allies and adversaries alike, I suspect, is going to be considered a success. Whether or not there are all kinds of deliverables.

My only point is that this man confronts the greatest challenge of national recovery since any American president since Franklin Roosevelt without the majorities that Roosevelt had to be a transformative president. I think Biden wants to be.

So, transactional abroad, pushing American values, leading again, but his real agenda that will determine success or failure of his presidency is not in London, it's not in Paris, it's not in Moscow. It's fixing America programs.

BLACKWELL: Live pictures here. We now see the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden. She is speaking. We will of course hear from the president in just a moment.

As we wait for the president to speak, Clarissa, let me come to you. One of the topics we've not discussed that we know that will be on the agenda for the G-7, is climate. I mean this is an American president who returns for the first time in several years, America a part of the Paris Climate Accords. And just how important that is for some of these leaders as we look ahead to this summit coming midweek.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a hugely important part. And, of course, there's always the question, when you're dealing with climate change, how can you bring about meaningful cooperation and change and a positive response when China is not involved?

So, it's really incumbent now upon President Biden and the other G-7 leaders to try to come up with something substantive. You know, there's been a lot of promises in the past about $100 billion a year being given by richer countries to poorer countries, to try to help them build up infrastructure that will allow them to tackle climate change issues. And there have been a lot of accusations levied that those sorts of promises have not really been delivered on.

I think one of the most important things throughout the course of this next week is trying to ensure that there is substance to back up, actual tangible deliverables to back up the rhetoric, which everybody wants to hear, but people need to see that the G-7, the West, democracies can deliver.

CAMEROTA: Let's take a listen right now to the first lady, Jill Biden, addressing our service members.

JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: ... our ambassadors to the world. And thank you for representing us with dignity and pride. Our military families may not wear a uniform, but you are as crucial to our military as radar is to a fighter jet.

In the United States, we have an all-volunteer force. And it continues only because generations of Americans see the honor, dignity and patriotism of military service. When you serve, your families serve, too. That's why supporting the physical, social and emotional health of our military families is a national security imperative. And the leadership here at Mildenhall understands this, too.

In preparation for our visit, Colonel Pananon wrote this about you, and I quote, you may be familiar with the term military dependents, but I will tell you, over the past 15 months, it became abundantly clear just who exactly was depending on whom. Our military families already burst in sacrifice are the true unsung heroes, end quote.



And the colonel is right, you are heroes. And your commander-in-chief and I believe that as well. And that's why supporting you is so personal to us, and one of my top priorities. Through our White House initiative to support military families called Joining Forces, we're going to work on military spouse employment and entrepreneurship, make sure that you can get quality childcare when you need it, and provide the education that your children deserve.


Finally, no one has more strength and grit and resilience than our military families, but you can't do this alone. We have to help you carry this weight by improving access to mental health resources, ensuring everyone can put food on the table and supporting caregiving families and survivors. Joining Forces will expect every government agency to step up and be a part of this effort. We are going to make sure that the families of our service members and veterans, caregivers and survivors have what they need to survive. To thrive.

Our military is a community bound together by love. Love for our country, love for the men and women who serve beside you. Your husbands and wives, your moms and dads. And love for the communities that you build together. And it's our obligation to match that devotion.

May god bless all of you, our troops and their families. And now I'm excited to welcome our next speaker, someone who is so familiar with what it means to be a part of a military family, Sydney Glasscock (ph).


Sydney, I know growing up as a child of two service members comes with challenges, but it's also helped you to become the person you are today. Someone with a broad and beautiful perspective of the world, who is able to weather change and uncertainty. I hope that you know how special you are. And we are so grateful for your and your family's service. So, Sydney --

SYDNEY GLASSCOCK, CHILD OF MILITARY FAMILY: Thank you, Dr. Biden, for the introduction. All the support you've shown for our military families and your amazing words tonight. Let's give her another round of applause.

Good evening, I'm Sydney Glasscock. And as a military child for my whole 14 years I can appreciate what the words of what military family really mean. With both of my parents actively serving in the military. My mom as a command chief and my dad currently deployed, I understand that military family involves more than just my family unit, but rather everyone in this room.

Even if those of us here tonight don't share the same last name or blood line, we always step up for one another at any given time. That's what makes each of you so special. That's what defines us as a military family. And that's what makes me incredibly proud to share this community with our next guest.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us welcome our commander-in-chief, the President of the United States, Joe Biden.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITES STATES: Hello, Mildenhall. Colonel, thank you for that introduction and your service leading this team in such a difficult time, because we know that because the whole family has served. I also want to thank Melissa. I know your next assignment is U.S. Transportation Command it starts soon, so congratulations and thank you, thank you, thank you.

And, Sydney, you're 14-years-old. When I was 14 -- please, at ease. I keep forgetting I'm president. When I was 14-years-old, I would have been -- I mean this sincerely -- scared to death to stand up in front of a microphone with a large crowd or small crowd. See when I was a child, I used to stutter badly. For real. I had great difficulty speaking in front of other people. And so, I expect that when you're president, you'll remember me. You'll remember me. You're really quite a polished young woman. Thank you.

I know it's got to be hard to have your dad deployed in Afghanistan, and I also know how proud you are of him, and your mom, chief master sergeant, for being part of the leadership team here.

Our son, Beau, served as U.S. Attorney for a while in Kosovo for a while. As a matter of fact, they erected a war monument to him. And then he went on and joined the National Guard, gave up his job as Attorney General of the State of Delaware so he could go with his unit to Iraq for a year.

And when he got promoted to major, I said, Beau, you're not a field grade officer -- I was in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan about 28 times. And I said, you're now a field grade officer. He said, dad, I have no illusions. I know who runs the military -- chief master sergeants. So I just want you to know we know, OK?

Thank you for your incredible dedication and service. And, you know, I want to thank all of you, all your families for the sacrifices they've made. And congratulations to having just a wonderful child.

There's an awful lot of history at this base. You know, a proud history for the British people. The bravery and heroism of the Royal Air Force pilots, fighting to defend their nation. I'm sure everyone here knows the history. With just six hours after Britain and France declared war on Germany in 1939, three Wilmington bombers took off from Mildenhall and bombed Nazi battle ships.

Over the course of World War II, on this base R.A.F. bombers dropped nearly 28,000 tons of bombs on Nazi Germany. Flying more than 8,000 sorties. This base has been a significant source of British air power, a proud, proud history of a proud nation.

But I also know there's also an awful lot of American Air Force pride in this room tonight. World War II was when the U.S. Army Air Force formed the 100 bombardment crew. And by the way, my -- just so you know, my uncle, who was killed in World War II in New Guinea, was Army. He was the Army Air Corps. He got shot down on a reconnaissance flight. And he would -- he's looking down and thinking all these years, my god, what this Air Force has become. It's incredible.

The 100th also ran more than 8,000 sorties into hostile territory and supported operations from D-day to the Battle of the Bulge where another uncle of mine served.

When they first arrived in U.K. in '43, the unit took such heavy losses that it earned the moniker that's been passed down to this day. The Bloody 100th. The Bloody 100th. So, let me hear it for the 100th Air Refueling Wing a.k.a. known as the Bloody 100th.

And what about 352nd Special Operations Wing? There's Team Reconnaissance. Members of the Air Mobility Command. Do we have any folks from the 48 Fighting Wing over R.A.F. -- by the way leg up.

I think maybe the 501st Combat Support Wing from R.A.F. Alconbury.


This may be an historic first for an Air Force base but I hear there just might be a few members of the United States Army with us here tonight with us.

Come on, man. To all you airmen and soldiers, I want to say thank you. We owe you. We're so damn proud of you. So proud.

And I only wish my major was here to thank you, as well. Thank you for everything you do, for everything you are. There's nothing that Jill and I enjoy more than spending time with our troops and their families wherever we go in the world. I had the great honor of being in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq well over 27, 28 times. I think Jill is the only second lady in American history that's gone into a war zone into Baghdad with me as well.

You're the best, you're the best of our country. That's not hyperbole. You're the ones who sign up and run toward danger when duty calls. Less than one percent of Americans make the choice that you make, that you made, but the rest of us, the other 99 percent of us, we owe you. We owe you big.

I've long said that as a nation we have many obligations but we only have one truly sacred obligation, only one. That's to properly prepare and equip the women and men we send into harm's way and to care for you and your families both while you're deployed and when you come home. And now that I have the incredible honor of serving as your commander-in-chief, I believe that even more strongly. You know, and I want to give an extra special thank you to all the families.

As you heard from Jill, we Bidens are a proud military family and we know there's not just the person who wears the uniform, who serves, the whole family has to step up. The whole family makes sacrifices.

There was a famous Irish poet who said, they also serve who only stand and wait. I watched all those months Beau was in Kosovo then I watched all those that year he was in Iraq. She would stand at that sink leaving for school drinking her coffee. I could see her lips moving saying that prayer hoping that car never drove up in front of the house, hoping you never got that phone call.

That's even more true this past year during the lockdowns and safety precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone in this room knows that our military families are essential, essential to our strength. It's the key reason Jill relaunched Joining Forces to make sure we're doing everything we can to support our military spouses and children and their mothers and fathers, as well, just like they support all of you.

You know, you're not only did an amazing job keeping COVID-19 under control on the base, you took care of each other and your mental health throughout the initiatives like your spouse-to-spouse connection and your wellness advocacy team.

Thank you. Thank you.

As you all know, this is a team sport. And my mother would kill me if she were here. She said, Joe, I should have turned around and apologized for my back to you. I apologize. I haven't figured out how to turn in 360 yet.

Folks, thousands of hours spent volunteering to make sure everyone got through this, it was so important. I know that these last 15 months added a lot of new pressure but all of you rose to the task together as one team, Team Mildenhall and you never let up on your mission. I'm so proud to be with all of you to kick off my first overseas trip as president.

I've been in and out of here many, many times. I've visited well over 100 countries as president or chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee or I mean as vice president or chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. This is my first overseas trip as president of the United States. I'm headed to the G-7 then to the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know.



And at every point along the way we're going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future, that we're committed to leading with strength, defending our values and delivering for our people.

America's better positioned to advance our national security and our economic prosperity when we bring together like-minded nations to stand with us. These nations that have shed blood alongside of us in defense of our shared values, our unrivaled network of alliances and partnerships that are the key to American advantage in the world and have been.

They made the world safer for all of us and they are how we are going to meet the challenges of today, which are changing rapidly. We're going to meet it though from a position of strength.

Our alliances weren't built by coercion or maintained by threats. They're grounded on democratic ideals and shared vision of the future and where every voice matters.


Where the rights of all people are protected. It's the same reason some of you signed up to serve. To proudly defend and honor the democratic values that are the wellspring of our national strength.

If our British friends will excuse me quoting the Declaration of Independence.

America is unique in all the world and that we are not formed based on geography or ethnicity or religion but on an idea, an idea, the only nation of the world founded on the notion of an idea.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We mean it. No nation can defeat us as long as we stick to our values. It's our American creed. It's what makes us who we are and it's what draws friends and partners to our side and for hundreds of years American patriots have fought and sometimes died defending those values.

Folks, look, I'm often quoted by the press as saying America leads, not by the example of its power, but by the power of our example.

All of you, our service members stationed around the world, you are the solid steel spine of America. Around which alliances are built and strengthened year after year.

These partnerships have hardened and have been hardened in the fire of war and generations of Americans and service members who fought them. Like the original Bloody 100th and those R.A.F. pilots and their shared mission in World War II flying, fighting, winning, it's done together.

These bonds of history and shared sacrifice run deep and are strong based on values and they endure, the connections and camaraderie between our troops, this community of American citizens stationed in the U.K., U.S. visiting forces and families, 20,000 strong are not only warriors, you're diplomats and you're bridge builders.

You are the essential part of what makes up this special relationship between Great Britain and the United States. Over the next few days I said I'll be participating in meetings with many of our closest partners at the G-7 in Cornwall.

Then on to Brussels and the NATO summit of the EU and the EU Summit, this diplomacy is essential because no single nation acting alone can meet all the challenges we face today.

The world is changing. To quote another Irish poet he said the world has changed utter utterly, a terrible beauty has been born. We're in a different place than we were ten years ago, better position but a different place.

We have to build a shared future we seek. A future where nations are free from coercion or dominance by more powerful states where the global commons, the sea, the air, the space -- and space remain open and accessible for the benefit of all.

To tackle this century's most pressing challenges, we have to do it together. We have to end COVID-19, not just at home which we're doing but everywhere.