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Trump Skips Correspondents' Dinner; Climate Protest Takes on Trump's Policies; Fact-checking Trump's Record as President; U.S. Warship Begins Joint Drills with South Korea; Russia's Aeroflot Accused of Discrimination; Endangered Rhino Joins Tinder to Find a Mate. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired April 30, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[03:00:08] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the last 100 days, my administration has been delivering every single day.
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LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump touts his own accomplishments before a friendly crowd marking his 100th day in office. While in Washington, the U.S. president gets a roasting at an event celebrating the First Amendment. And later --
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy cow.
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KINKADE: Dramatic footage of a deadly tornado sweeping through the U.S. state of Texas. And dozens of people are taken to hospital.
Hello, everyone. And thanks for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade live from Atlanta. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
U.S. president Donald Trump says grading a president on the first 100 days is ridiculous. But on reflection, he claims he's done better than any other president in history.
He marked the occasion with the type of event that helped him get elected. A campaign-style rally before a large and supportive crowd in Pennsylvania. The rally was timed to coincide with the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner Washington. Typically the sitting president is the guest of honor, but Mr. Trump decided not to attend.
Well, demonstrators also marked the 100th day with large marches throughout Washington and other cities to protest the environmental policies of the Trump administration.
Well, we begin coverage with CNN's Jeff Zeleny who covered the president's rally in Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump delivering a rerun of his campaign from last year. In a speech on Saturday evening in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, President Trump ran through a litany of grievances with familiar attacks on the media, familiar attacks on the Obama administration, taking little responsibility for any of his own crises and chaos in the West Wing during his first 100 days.
But he was speaking in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to loyal supporters at the same time the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner was going on back in Washington. He made that clear from the very beginning of his speech.
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TRUMP: A large group of Hollywood actors.
TRUMP: And Washington media.
TRUMP: Are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now.
TRUMP: They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents' Dinner without the president.
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ZELENY: The president did not tell his supporters that he in fact has attended this dinner for years, and he will likely attend it next year, he says. He did turn to other issues as well particularly on China. His language on China so different than during the campaign and he explained exactly why he now says China may not be a currency manipulator.
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TRUMP: And I think it's not exactly the right time to call China a currency manipulator right now. Do we agree with that?
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ZELENY: The president also said he will decide within the next two weeks whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. Of course this was the accord reached during the Obama administration about climate change. He's being advised by some of his officials inside the West Wing to withdraw from this. Others say he should stick with it.
Now this is one of the big decisions, as he said, that's facing him going forward in the next chapter of his presidency. So many more decisions, as well, as well as some legislative
accomplishments like health care and other matters he has yet to achieve during his first 100 days.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
JONES: Well, as Jeff mentioned, while the president was rallying his supporters in Pennsylvania, journalists gathered in Washington for the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. Now it's the first time in 36 years that the sitting U.S. president has not taken part. Despite President Trump's absence, journalists still addressed his frequent attacks on the media.
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BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, WASHINGTON POST: The effort today to get this best obtainable version of the truth is largely made in good faith.
Mr. President, the media is not fake news.
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KINKADE: Well, comedian Hasan Minhaj headlined the event joking he was advised not to take on the Trump administration, but, you guessed it, he did.
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[03:05:05] HASAN MINHAJ, COMEDIAN: Oh, my god. You know Donald Trump doesn't drink, right? Does not touch alcohol which is oddly respectable, but think about that. That means --
MINHAJ: Every statement.
MINHAJ: Every interview, every tweet, completely sober.
MINHAJ: How is that possible? We've all had that excuse, haven't we? Like, I said what? No, listen, babe, I swear to you, I was hammered. That's not who I really am. What does Donald Trump tell Melania? "Listen, babe, last year on that bus with Billy Bush, that's exactly who I am."
MINHAJ: He tweets at 3:00 a.m. sober. Who is tweeting at 3:00 a.m. sober? Donald Trump because it's 10:00 a.m. in Russia. Those are business hours. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, the White House Correspondents' Dinner is held every year to celebrate the press and to raise money for journalism scholarships.
Well, thousands of people across the U.S. marched in protest against President Trump's environmental policies.
CNN's Brian Todd was in Washington where celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio joined the demonstrations.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mass of thousands making their way up Pennsylvania Avenue from the United States capitol to the White House. They're here today to mark President Trump's 100th day in office and shine a light on policies they say constitute the biggest assault on the environment from any administration in history.
(On camera): The administration says that they can drill for resources that they desperately need without hurting the environment. Do you believe them? And what do you say to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one bit. They've had over, what, 800 spills. And it's not going to work out.
TODD (voice-over): These protesters say the Trump administration's policy have prioritized economic growth over environmental concerns, but Trump's tweets suggest a balanced approach, quote, "I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter."
In Trump's first 100 days, his Environmental Protection Agency has moved swiftly to roll back Obama-era regulations on fossil fuels and given the green light to the Keystone XL pipeline which the Obama administration had blocked. And on Friday, the EPA removed most of the information on climate change from its Web site, explaining in a press release it's being updated to, quote, "reflect the approach of new leadership."
Activists here say that under the Obama administration there was steady progress toward clean energy sources and away from fossil fuels.
MAY BOEVE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 350.ORG: That was starting to happen and it was slow, but there were signs of momentum. And if every single one of those decisions is being challenged, is being blocked, and we've got oil tycoons running the government.
GENE KARPINSKI, LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS: This is the 10th day of the Trump administration, the most anti-environmental in our history. And today is a critically important day to send a message to the president that the public is against all that he is doing.
TODD: After arriving at the White House, a sit-in, silent except for the simulated heartbeats to show their unity and conviction.
This protest, held in conjunction with hundreds of similar events across the U.S. and around the world. Participating in the D.C. event like-minded politicians and celebrities, including former Vice President Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: After today, what is the most important step for people on climate change? We need to take the energy here. We need to take these people's energy. We need to go back to our communities. Please run for office. Let's take this people's power until it's right up until we retake control of the building behind us.
TODD (on camera): Two protest leaders stressed to me they don't want an adversarial debate with President Trump over these issues. They point out economic growth doesn't have to come at the cost of the environment. And they say for the past eight years, it didn't. These activists say they are ready to work with the President Trump if he is ready to embrace that idea, but they're also ready to lead more protests if he doesn't.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
KINKADE: Well, President Trump says his first 100 days in office have been full of accomplishments.
CNN's Tom Foreman fact-checks Mr. Trump's record to date.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One hundred days of promises colliding with political reality started with a staggering loss.
TRUMP: On my first day, I'm going to ask Congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace -- repeal and replace -- repeal and replace that horror show called Obamacare.
FOREMAN: That pledge brought surefire applause on the campaign but calamity in office. The president's party even with control of Congress found itself bitterly divided.
[03:10:04] Some saying his plan went too far, some not far enough. And his first attempt at major legislation was yanked without a vote.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I will not sugarcoat this. This is a disappointing day for us.
FOREMAN: Despite continued talk about a pledge to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it --
TRUMP: The wall gets built, 100 percent.
FOREMAN: -- there is no concrete progress on that either. True, this president has signed more legislation than any of the
previous five presidents in the same period, much of it erasing Obama- era regulations. But none of it produced the broad public impact typical of major laws.
For that, he has turned to executive actions, signing more than any other president in the first 100 days since Harry Truman, quickly wiping out the trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
TRUMP: We just officially terminated TPP.
FOREMAN: But his most incendiary idea, banning travel from several majority Muslim nations, has stalled in the courts over the administration's protests.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States is a vital measure for strengthening our national security.
FOREMAN: The legal branch of government is where President Trump has scored by far his biggest victory.
TRUMP: We have to replace Judge Scalia with a conservative, great judge.
NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I Neil M. Gorsuch --
FOREMAN: Despite overwhelming Democratic opposition, Neil Gorsuch was approved and seated on the Supreme Court.
TRUMP: And I got it done in the first 100 days. That's even nice.
FOREMAN: Even as the courts overall challenged other Trump initiatives, including his attempt to cut funding from so-called sanctuary cities for not helping enforce immigration laws.
Meanwhile, on the foreign front, the president reversed on his campaign promise not to intervene in Syria, taking fast action following a Syrian gas attack, unleashing a barrage of missiles and the "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan, raising tensions not merely in the Middle East but also with far-flung allies and adversaries including North Korea.
His meetings with foreign leaders came with the backdrop of a fiscal plan to substantially boost U.S. military spending while cutting budgets for many other agencies.
TRUMP: You know, I tweeted today, @RealDonaldTrump, I tweet. You know, it's awesome. Don't worry, I'll give it up after I'm president. We won't tweet anymore, I don't think.
FOREMAN: And of course, there were tweets. Unproven claims of voter fraud, unproven accusations of President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower, and a relentless stream of attacks on the media about what President Trump calls fake news, especially over the march of stories about possible Russian ties to his circle. (On camera): This president has undeniably pushed forward at a
breakneck pace and perhaps many of his promises will yet come to pass. Faced with a string of protests and a plummeting approval rating, his first 100 days, as he himself has hinted, have been more complicated than expected.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
KINKADE: Well, President Trump is defending how he's handling the North Korean nuclear crisis. He told supporters he hasn't fulfilled his campaign promise of calling China a currency manipulator because he's relying on the Chinese president to pressure Pyongyang.
Our Will Ripley is the only U.S. TV reporter in North Korea and has more from the North Korean capital.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Still unclear what Pyongyang's next move will be now that the USS Carl Vinson, aircraft carrier strike group, is in the waters off the Korean peninsula conducting joint exercises with the South Korean Navy, something that always infuriates North Korea and may be one motivation for the testing of a particular kind of missile that analysts say could be used to try to sink U.S. warships in the region.
Of course that missile test failed as we've been reporting only traveling a short distance before exploding over North Korean territory. But we know that North Korea's rocket scientists learn just as much if not more from their failures as they do from successful tests, even if a successful test would allow them to put out triumphant propaganda message but so far we've seen no official acknowledgement from the North Koreans publicly of this failed missile launch.
On the ground here officials have told me that the world can expect many more missile tests and also can expect more nuclear tests in the very near future.
Now what's interesting, though, President Trump speaking to CBS, talked about his views about this latest test and the possibility of a nuclear test.
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TRUMP: This was a small missile. This was not a big missile. This was not a nuclear test, which he was expected to do three days ago. We'll see what happens.
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RIPLEY: The message President Trump may be sending with those remarks is that the United States is not concerned if North Korea fires off small missiles. They're more concerned about larger missiles like an ICBM that could carry a nuclear warhead to the mainland U.S.
[03:15:05] And of course he continues to draw that red line about a nuclear test, leaning very heavily on Chinese President Xi Jinping, hoping that China will use its economic leverage over this country to rein in the nuclear and missile programs.
Also noteworthy the Pope is talking about North Korea on his trip to Egypt, saying, quote, "The path is the path of negotiations. The path of diplomatic solutions." Going on to warn of what he views as a piecemeal third war, with hot spots around the world, including here on the Korean peninsula, heating up and moving to dangerous levels right now.
Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang.
KINKADE: Well, still to come, a tornado is blamed for deaths and a lot of damage in Texas. We'll have the latest on the severe weather and this dramatic footage up next.
Plus flight attendants who lose their livelihoods because of how they look. We'll hear from the Russian airline accused of discrimination.
KINKADE: Well, a deadly storm system continues to march eastward across the central U.S., spawning tornados, flooding homes, even creating blizzard conditions.
Meteorologist Derek Van Dam Joins us with the latest.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Lynda, unfortunately, there have been five fatalities in the Texas region. This is in Canton about 100 kilometers east of Dallas. That was thanks to a tornado.
There was also a death in Missouri from a flooding incident. And also a death, unfortunately, in Arkansas, one related to that as a tree fell on a mobile home.
Very scary moments going forward with this -- the storm pushing eastward. And here is the Canton tornado. This is the Van Zant County, Canton is the town where this tornado struck. And if you just listen for a second you can hear the ferocity of this storm system. It almost sounds like a train whisking by.
And of course National Weather Service and authorities will be going to that location to assess the damage once we get to daylight hours. But there have been reports of over 55 people injured from that particular tornado.
[03:20:44] KINKADE: Right. Well, hopefully everyone battens down the hatches and takes care.
VAN DAM: Yes. Absolutely.
KINKADE: Derek Van Dam, thank you.
VAN DAM: Thanks, Lynda.
KINKADE: Well, almost 10 years after a little British girl went missing her parents are speaking out to mark the anniversary. Madeleine McCann was just 3 years old when she disappeared during a family vacation in Portugal on May 3rd, 2007. She would be nearly 14 years old now. Her parents say they still have hope that their daughter is alive.
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GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE'S FATHER: I think it's been good for the general public to hear the police say that there's no evidence that she's dead and that it's an active investigation and there's still hope. So certainly from my point of view, you know, somebody knows what's happened.
KATE MCCANN, MADELEINE'S MOTHER: There is progress being made. And, you know -- it might not be as quick as we want, but there's real progress being made. I think we need to take heart from that. And we just have to go with the process and follow it through, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes. You know, but there's still hope that we can find Madeleine.
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KINKADE: The detectives in the case say they are still pursuing some critical leads.
A Russian airliner is accused of discriminating against women because of their size. Aeroflot denies the claims but flight attendants are complaining they're getting less work because they don't fit the part.
Our Diana Magnay takes a closer look.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Perfect lips and the perfect manicure. The hammer and sickle of Aeroflot, staffed it seems by just the long legged.
(On camera): But what if you don't look like this? Did you do this?
EVGENIA MAGURINA, AEROFLOT FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yes, because my size is more -- so I had to change my --
MAGNAY: But you've done this very well.
(Voice-over): Last summer, Aeroflot flight attendant, Evgenia Magurina, was told she must be photographed head and full body shots. And then her career with Aeroflot changed.
MAGURINA: Fifteenth of August, I didn't fly international flights because they have said that I am fat, ugly, and old.
MAGNAY (on camera): Your boss said that to you?
MAGNAY (voice-over): Here, an internal Aeroflot document, Evgenia let us photographed, showing the salary deductions of up to 100 rubles, or just a little under $2, per flight hour to staff who don't meet Aeroflot's standards, size included. That adds up.
Evgenia and another flight attendant took Aeroflot to court, claiming discrimination, and lost. An Aeroflot union rep tells me there are plenty of other female flight attendants who are too scared to speak out against Russia's national flag carrier.
ILONA BORISOVA, FLIGHT ATTENDANT UNION (Through Translator): Several hundred have been affected by this, but most of them have families or old parents or small children, so they're trying to hold on to their jobs any way they can.
MAGNAY: At a news conference last week, a representative from Aeroflot's public council encouraged larger stewardesses to find another job or to lose weight like he had.
NIKITA KRICHEVSKY, AEROFLOT PUBLIC COUNCIL (through translation): It didn't require any active exercise or expensive supplements or anything that would require spending a lot of money. I just corrected my meal plan. Now I weigh 80 kilograms. I don't understand why the requirement to be within this size range is such a mission impossible.
MAGNAY: Aeroflot says these men don't speak for the company. They also deny discrimination, but stand by their policies, saying, "Cabin crew of a national flag carrier are the calling card of their country. Their deportment and how they serve passengers creates the first impression of and attitude towards Russia."
(On camera): Evgenia and her colleague plan to appeal, but this story with its suggestions of latent chauvinism widely covered in this country, and beyond, creates a nasty tailwind for one of Russia's proudest brands.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Moscow.
[03:25:03] KINKADE: Well, now to the professional boxing ring, where Anthony Joshua in the white trunks there retains his IBF World Heavyweight title and won the World Boxing Association belt by dramatically defeating (INAUDIBLE), in 11 rounds in London. The fight was televised in 140 countries and was billed as perhaps the biggest heavyweight bout since Lennox Lewis beat Mike Tyson in 2002.
Well, and one more story about a heavyweight, one of the world's most eligible bachelors is now on the dating app Tinder. He's literally one of a kind. And if he doesn't find love, we may not see another one like him ever again. Our Michael Holmes explains.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): He's horny and looking for love. Now desperate to find a mate, this endangered animal just joined Tinder.
This is Sudan, posing with Masai tribesmen in their cricket gear. He is something of a celebrity in Kenya. That's because he is the very last male northern white rhino on the planet. Conservationists are trying to change that using the popular dating app, hoping users will swipe right to save the species.
MATHIEU PLASSARD, OGILVY AFRICA: It's going to be broadcasted in 190 countries and in 40 languages, which is really the first time Tinder does something like that.
HOLMES: "I don't mean to be too forward but the fate of my species literally depends on me," Sudan's Tinder profile reads. "I perform well under pressure. I like to eat grass and chill in the mud."
And it seems Sudan needs help. All previous efforts to mate naturally with his two female rhino companions failed. Now the Kenyan Conservancy hopes to raise enough money to pay for a very expensive fertilization treatment.
RICHARD VIGNE, CHIEF EMERITUS, OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY: We've got an awfully long way to go and this is a 10, possibly even a 15, you know, programs to recover the species. And we estimate that it will cost somewhere in the region of $9 million to $10 million.
HOLMES: Tinder could help them get there. Swiping right on Sudan's profile sends users to a donation page. Just hours after it went online, it was so popular it crashed the Conservancy's Web site. But Sudan's handlers are cautious. They say the rhino is getting old and he faces the ever-present threat of poachers. They're hoping Tinder can help the world's most eligible rhino bachelor find a match before it is too late.
Michael Holmes, CNN.
KINKADE: Let's hope so.
Well, thanks so much for watching this edition of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment.