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Melania Trump Recovering from Kidney Procedure; Trump's Remarks at National Police Officer's Memorial Service. Aired 11:30a-12n ET
Aired May 15, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:31:12] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: First lady, Melania Trump, is still at Walter Reed Medical Center still this morning recovering from a kidney procedure. Her office says her kidney condition is benign, thankfully, but it required medical attention. A short time ago, President Trump tweeted this: "The great first lady is doing really well. We'll be leaving hospital in two or three days. Thank you for so much love and support."
Joining me now with the very latest on this is CNN White House reporter, Kate Bennett.
Kate, you just heard a little bit more on from the first lady's office. What are they telling you today?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I did, Kate. I just got an update from Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communications director. She said the first lady is doing well and resting comfortably. She released a statement to me. I can read it to you here. I pushed for some more information about her condition and this was the response I got. "I'm not going to expand beyond the statement I put out. The first lady is in good spirits and she is resting. There are HIPAA laws to consider, but she also deserves personal privacy."
That's very true. And we wish her a speedy and healthy recovery. However, the length and duration of stay for this procedure, which, again, is a benign kidney procedure, it seemed a little bit long according to medical experts that she would stay for the duration of the week, which sparked more questions. And clearly is not something the first lady's office is going to address. I'm not surprised by that. They are incredibly private. She's very private. Unlike the president, who tweets at will and says whatever is on his mind to a large degree, his wife is very much the opposite. And the fact that they actually pulled off this surgery for the first lady of the United States basically under a cloak of secrecy is pretty amazing when you consider what is happening on the other side of the building there at the White House.
BOLDUAN: Very different approaches. That's for sure.
The president, we know, of course, visited the first lady in the hospital last night. Is he planning another visit, Kate, before she gets out? BENNETT: I imagine that he will visit her again today. We don't know
that for sure, we don't know that as part of his official schedule. But I wouldn't be surprised if the president did make another trip to Walter Reed and probably did so as stealthily as he possibly could. I think this is part of the reason he wasn't there yesterday for the procedure itself. With the president comes more baggage, if you will, a larger security detail, a press pool that needs to travel with him, a Motorcade, Marine One, however he chooses to get there. I think, again, the first lady is trying to keep her privacy, get some rest, and recoup without the hubbub and a lot of the accouterment that come with the president when he visits.
BOLDUAN: Might have even been at the request of the first lady to not bring all of that along. For sure.
Great to see you, Kate. Thanks so much.
BENNETT: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Joining me now to discuss this little bit more is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, the president with his tweet this morning said that the first lady is going to be leaving the hospital in two to three days. What do you think of the fact she is staying in the hospital for the rest of the week?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a little surprising and doesn't gibe with what she's had done. I think everyone said this now. I talk to a lot of different people who perform this procedure and asked them about this. We looked at the data in terms of how long people stay after this type of procedure, which, again, was an embolization procedure to the kidney. People go home the same day, Kate. Sometimes people are worried about pain or something, they may keep patients overnight. Whether this was done out of an abundance of caution -- and admittedly, she's the first lady, so things are maybe a little different with her -- or is there something else still that she's going to have done while in the hospital, we just don't know at this point. But to answer your question, it is unusual. Most patients would go home same day or next day.
[11:35:02] BOLDUAN: Real quick, Sanjay, when the first lady's office just put out that statement to Kate that says there are HIPAA laws to consider, isn't -- correct me if I'm wrong, when it comes to HIPAA, doesn't the patient control the information?
GUPTA: The patient does control the information. Just as the president did before, President Trump authorized his doctors to give out some information about his health. That is then approved and allowed and permitted. Same thing here. If the first lady wanted to do that -- a HIPAA violation would be somebody knows something like one of her doctors and is talking without her permission.
BOLDUAN: With embolization procedure she had, does it often require follow-up? GUPTA: Great question. With the embolization, what you're doing is
trying to block the blood vessels in a certain part of the body, an organ, in this case the kidney. Sometimes, even when you're in the hospital, you can do what is called an angiogram to try and figure out did it work. Did those blood vessels get blocked? If there's concern later on, they may need a follow-up angiogram, where you're not injecting glue or anything, just injecting some dye and making sure that there's no blood flow to that area anymore.
BOLDUAN: Is this often associated with pain ahead of time? I ask because, in the past week, the first lady held a lot of public events, so I was wondering if she was suffering before this procedure.
GUPTA: One thing I guess to just say again is that we don't still know what it is. What exactly it is.
BOLDUAN: OK, right. OK.
GUPTA: That doesn't form the answer to the question a little bit. What I will tell you is there's two reasons that this would probably come to surgery. One is that someone is having pain, and the pain is usually because the -- whatever it is may be starting to bleed a bit. And that might require the embolization. Or it could be that they saw this months ago, this abnormality, and have been following it along with serial scans and on one of the scans it changed, it grew or it changed somehow and they said, OK, you know what, now it is time to address this thing. So that would be a much more planned sort of procedure.
BOLDUAN: Yes, and while there are clearly a lot of questions still, one thing not in question is everyone's wish that the first lady have a speedy and healthy recovery.
GUPTA: Absolutely. Absolutely.
BOLDUAN: Sanjay, thank you. Great to see you.
GUPTA: You, too, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Coming up, we'll hear from President Trump during a rare trip to Capitol Hill. We'll bring you his remarks live. You're taking a live look now at the Annual National Police Officer's Memorial Service. It is under way. When President Trump takes the lectern, we will bring you his remarks live.
Plus, new reports that Vice President Mike Pence is stepping out of his lane and Team Trump is not entirely thrilled about that. That's next.
[11:42:02] BOLDUAN: All right, you're taking a live look at the capitol at the 37th Annual National Peace Officer's Memorial Service. Vice President Mike Pence is there. Donald Trump, you see right there on your screen. We're waiting on the introduction right now because Donald Trump is getting set to speak. Let's listen in?
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: -- in blue have felt like a target instead of guardians of the peace. We are targeted by scorn, by disrespect, and by all too often violence. We have come to learn that we cannot always count on elected leadership in our country to have our back.
But, Mr. President, you have never wavered. Your constant support of law enforcement, your deep commitment to keeping our nation safe, our community safe, and our officers safe, is deeply felt, and we could not be more grateful. Your presence here today sets examples we hope others will follow.
The Senate version of our bill has been introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Heitkamp, who both were invited but were unable to attend for the dais. Senator Heitkamp is an escort for the North Dakota officers.
Thank you, Senator, for being with us.
These attacks on law enforcement must stop. Enough is enough. In pledging to protect and serve, they willingly place themselves in harm's way. But now, all too often, harm seeks them out.
Mr. President, on the campaign trail you made many promises to law enforcement and commitments about public safety, and you have delivered on every one of them. You have done what you said, and together we will continue to keep our country safe.
Brothers and sisters, survivor families, distinguished guests, please help me welcome the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, Chuck.
I want to start by saying that Melania is in the hospital doing really well. She's watching us right now. And I want to thank the incredible doctors, Walter Reed Medical Center. They did a fantastic job. So thank you and she sends her love.
TRUMP: I also want to thank Jim Pascell, Linda Haney, Chaplin Wiggins, and everyone at the Fraternal Order of Police in all you could to ensure our brave people that we're so proud of. We are honored to have these cherished officers and we're honored to have all of you with us today.
And it is my great honor to be here for the second time. And I'll see you, I guess, about another six times, and then after that perhaps --
[11:45:13] TRUMP: -- perhaps you'll have had enough. We stand with our police and we stand with you, 100 percent. I think
we have shown that.
Vice President Pence, members of my cabinet, members of Congress, and distinguished guests, thank you for joining us on one of the most important and solemn occasions of the year, the day we pay tribute to law enforcement heroes. And that's what they are, heroes, who gave their lives in the line of duty. They made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live in safety and in peace.
To the families and survivors with us this morning, I know today is filled with sadness and pain. But today is also filled with love, the love of an entire nation, wrapped its arms, and they have wrapped their arms right around you, they love you. They're praying for you. They're grieving with you. And pledging to you that we will never forget our heroes, ever.
TRUMP: And thank you. Thank you.
You know what I mean. You know what I mean.
TRUMP: They're looking down and they're proud of you and they love you so much. Thank you.
This morning, I especially want to speak to the young sons and daughters who join us here today. I want you to know that your moms and dads were among the bravest Americans to ever live. When danger came, when darkness fell, when destruction loomed, they did not flinch. They were not afraid. They did not falter. They stared down danger, raced down alleys, chased down criminals, kicked down doors, and faced down evil. Brave. And they did it all with courage, with dignity, with pride, with love for their nation, and with love for their families. They lived every day of their lives by that most sacred calling, to serve and protect. Their immortal legacy lives on in each and every one of you, their strength lives in your soul, their courage glows in your heart and their blood flows in your veins and today every American heart bleeds blue.
TRUMP: That's for sure.
This morning, I want to share with you the American people, a few stories about the heroes we have gathered to celebrate and remember.
With us today is the family of Lieutenant Aaron Alan -- special -- of the South Port Police Department in Indiana. His wife, Stacy, and his two sons, T.J. And Aaron -- where are they? Where are they? Where are they?
Yes. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you.
Lieutenant Alan was an Air Force veteran. After his service, he followed his childhood dream to become a police officer. He served in law enforcement for 20 years. No job was too great. He took extra shifts at night and he was always available. He stopped by to say hello to members of his community. During Christmastime, he took children in need shopping for presents. He was always there for anybody that needed him. In 2015, he was given the Officer of the Year Award after saving two lives. Last year, Lieutenant Alan walked his son to the bus for his first day of kindergarten. Just hours later, Lieutenant Alan was shot and killed in the line of duty. Since then, the whole Southport community has come together to support the Alan family. And I hear that if you go to the police station, you'll find that six-year-old Aaron Jr. And he's up there and he's giving orders, and he is respected and loved by everybody there. And his father was a true hero.
[11:50:53] To Stacy, T.J. and Aaron, today, all of America sends you our love and our support. Alan will live in our hearts forever. Thank you.
TRUMP: Incredible man.
Today, we are also joined by Savannah and Isaiah Hartfield along with their amazing mom, Veronica.
Where are you? Where are you?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
TRUMP: We honor their father and husband, Officer Charles Hartfield, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. As many of you remember, Officer Hartfield was off duty attending a concert with Veronica when that horrible shooting began in Las Vegas last October. Officer Hartfield, an Army veteran, immediately leapt into action, rescuing the wounded and shielding the innocent. You all read about it. I remember it so well. As he did, he was shot and killed by rounds of gunfire. He knew he was right in the path and it made no difference. He gave his life so that countless others could live.
Savannah and Isaiah, your dad was a guardian angel to those in need. Now he is keeping watch on you from heaven. Very special family and a very special man. Thank you. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Also here with us today is the family of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, from El Paso, Texas. Agent Martinez, known as Roger to his friends and family, worked on the dangerous part of the southern border, a part you've been reading about so much lately and a part we're doing a lot with. Agent Martinez took immense pride and joy in serving his country as a border patrol agent. He was extremely proud of what he did. Every day, he would go to work and risk his life to keep America safe. Roger said he wanted to prevent terrorists and drugs from coming into our country. We all do. We're going to get it done. But that's exactly what he did. He bravely confronted the cartels, the smugglers, the human traffickers, the gangs that threaten our communities. One night, last November, Agent Martinez died in the line of duty. It was horrific. It was violent. And he was brave.
To Agent Martinez' mom, Elivah, his son, Sergio, and the entire Martinez family, Roger's profound and unselfish love of country is an inspiration to every American, everybody here, and everybody here, and to me. I can tell you, a great inspiration. Thank you.
[11:55:22] TRUMP: We will always remember Agent Martinez, and we will honor his noble sacrifice by continuing his vital mission.
The first duty of government is to protect our citizens, and the men and women of DHS are on the front lines of this incredible, heroic fight. That is why we are calling on Congress to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities, and shut down policies that release violent criminals back into our communities. We don't want it any longer. We've had it. Enough is enough.
TRUMP: Recently, MS-13 gang members called for the assassination of New York City police officers, so the gang could, quote, "take back the streets." They got it wrong. We are the ones who are taking back the streets. We are getting them out of our country by the thousands.
TRUMP: Every week, we're setting new records on -- we have a catch- and-release program, too. We catch them and release them back in the country they came from. We're getting them out.
TRUMP: Or we're putting them in prison.
The Trump administration has a policy, and it's very clear. We will protect those who protect us, and who do such a great job in protecting us.
TRUMP: That is why, as I promised all along, that we are allowing local police to access the surplus military equipment they need to protect our officers and law enforcement agents and save their lives. And they are taking equipment at a record clip. Millions and millions of dollars of surplus equipment is going to our police departments.
TRUMP: If we want to bring down violent crime, then we must stand up for our police. We must confront and condemn dangerous anti-police prejudice. Can you believe this prejudice with respect to our police? We're not going to let bad things happen to our police.
TRUMP: So we must show appreciation, gratitude and respect for those who police our streets and patrol our communities.
In 2016, an officer was assaulted in America on an average of every 10 minutes. Can you believe that? It's outrageous and it's unacceptable. We must end the attacks on our police, and we must end them right now. We believe criminals --
TRUMP: We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty.
TRUMP: Bring it forth.
TRUMP: One of the most alarming crimes taking place against our police are ambush attacks. Think of that. Ambush attacks. I have directed --