PBS NewsHour full episode August 2, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: out before he’s
in. President Trump’s much-criticized pick to be director of national intelligence withdraws
from consideration less than a week after he was named. Then: an island in political crisis. The embattled
governor of Puerto Rico steps down, a new one sworn in, but legal challenges to come. Warnings from Greenland. Billions of tons
of ice melt into the ocean, sparking fears of how it will exacerbate the global climate
crisis. Plus: After President Trump’s attacks on members
of Congress who are racial minorities, how are his words heard in the Rust Belt communities
he needs to win? JENNIFER CASSON, Ohio: I’m construed as a
racist, bigot, homophobe, you name it, but, if you knew me, that’s not who I am at all. JUDY WOODRUFF: And it’s Friday. Mark Shields
and David Brooks are here to consider a full week of news and the Democratic primary field
after the second round of debates. All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The revolving door keeps spinning.
Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas is out, no longer in consideration to be the
director of national intelligence, that just five days after President Trump nominated
him to the position. Opponents said Ratcliffe had too little experience
for the top U.S. intelligence post and he had been accused of misrepresenting his experience
as a federal prosecutor. Before leaving the White House for his New
Jersey golf club, Mr. Trump blamed the news media for Ratcliffe’s withdrawing, but also
praised reporters for their vetting of his nominee. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I could see that the press was treating him, I thought very unfairly. You vet for me, I like when you vet. No, no,
you vet. I think the White House has a great vetting process. You vet for me. When I give
a name, I give it out to the press, and you vet for me. JUDY WOODRUFF: We take a deeper look at this
latest about-face with Greg Miller. He’s national security correspondent at The Washington Post. Hello again, Greg. So, what happened here? GREG MILLER, National Security Correspondent,
The Washington Post: What happened here is something actually we have seen happen time
and time again with this White House and even back into the Trump campaign. I mean, Trump has a long record now of selecting
people or putting them forward for jobs that they either aren’t qualified for or have blemishes
on their background that will inevitably surface and make — and disqualify them for, or both.
And that’s what has happened here. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as we heard the president
say today, and he tweeted earlier, he talked about slander and libel that John Ratcliffe
was facing. What was that a reference to? GREG MILLER: Well, that’s a reference to a
lieutenant of critical stories that have surfaced over the past several days showing that Ratcliffe
had embellished or exaggerated key parts of his resume, important parts of his resume,
including claiming to have prosecuted terrorists as a federal prosecutor in Texas, where there
had been no prosecutions of any sort along those lines during his tenure there. And as we reported this week, he was also
regarded as kind of a lightweight on the House Intelligence Committee, not very active, skipping
foreign trips that are important to oversight, and not highly regarded. And that was one of the most important credentials,
one of the few, frankly, credentials he had to become director of national intelligence. And so it all just sort of snowballed. And
they ended his nomination today. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I saw that a number of
Republican senators who, of course, would have been voting on his confirmation, a few
of them said good things about him, but there were a number who were withholding judgment. GREG MILLER: Right, and that again speaks
to a lack of preparation or care taken by this White House, right? I mean, we’re accustomed to seeing White Houses
and presidents of both parties do a series of steps before they put forward somebody
for such a consequential job, including checking to see what kind of support that person would
have in Congress for confirmation hearings. And that’s another thing that this White House
appears not to have done in this case, because the support for Ratcliffe was lukewarm, at
best, and deteriorating amid all of the reporting on his record. JUDY WOODRUFF: So the director of national
intelligence oversees, what is it, 17 different agencies, both military and civilian. Who is under consideration? What do we know
about that? The president said three names? What do we know? GREG MILLER: Yes, well those three names are
anybody’s guess, and it’s unclear whether he has three names. He likes to assert things
that aren’t always true. And we don’t know at this point what their
backup plans are. And there’s a lot of question right now about Trump’s comfort level with
the person who would be the acting director until a new person can be named. Her — the job is now for the time being held
by Dan Coats, although he’s leaving in a couple of weeks. Sue Gordon is the deputy, in line
to be in the acting capacity for some time thereafter, but the White House doesn’t like
her, or Trump has indicated — indicated through his staff that he would like to find somebody
else even in an acting capacity. It’s a huge, important job. It’s important
for the public to understand. It oversees CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the entire intelligence
community. And it’s — and we’re here at a moment where this White House doesn’t seem
to have much of a clue about who should lead it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Greg Miller with The Washington
Post, thank you very much. GREG MILLER: Thanks. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The
U.S. economy turned in another solid month of job creation, despite rising trade tensions.
The Labor Department reported today that employers added a net 164,000 jobs in July. The unemployment
rate remained at 3.7 percent, unchanged from June and near a 50-year low. And average hourly
wages rose 3.2 percent from one year earlier. China and the U.S. traded hard-line jabs today
over tariffs. Beijing warned that it will retaliate if President Trump imposes 10 percent
levies on all of China’s remaining trade with the U.S. That comes to about $300 billion
worth of goods. But Mr. Trump said that China holds the key to whether the tariffs take
effect on September 1, as planned. DONALD TRUMP: China has to do a lot of things
to turn it around, but you will be seeing. They have got to do a lot of things. It goes
on, on September 1. And, frankly, if they don’t do them, I can always increase it very
substantially. JUDY WOODRUFF: White House economic adviser
Larry Kudlow argued today that the new tariffs will have only minimal effects on American
consumers. President Trump is offering fresh praise of
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, despite a string of short-range missile tests. In
a series of tweets today, the president said — quote — “Chairman Kim doesn’t want to
disappoint me with a violation of trust.” North Korea’s latest launch came early today.
But Mr. Trump said That short-range weapons were not part of Kim’s commitment to him at
their Singapore summit last year. The United States and Russia formally quit
a landmark Cold War deal today, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. It was signed by President
Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, and it banned mid-range land-based
missiles, both nuclear and conventional. Washington blamed Moscow for violating the
agreement, and, in Brussels today, the NATO secretary-general backed up that claim. JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO Secretary-General:
The new Russian missiles are nuclear-capable, mobile and hard to detect. They can reach
European cities with only minutes of warning time. This decision is supported by all NATO
allies, because no international agreement is effective if it’s only respected by one
side. JUDY WOODRUFF: Russia denied any violations,
and warned That the demise of the treaty is dismantling the existing arms control system. In Syria, the government agreed to a cease-fire
in Idlib province, after three months of intensive bombardment. Idlib is the last rebel stronghold
in Syria, and the government offensive there had killed than 400 civilians. One al-Qaida-linked
group said the regime called the truce because its military drive had stalled. Saudi Arabia loosened a range of restrictions
on women today. The reforms will allow women for the first time to apply to travel freely,
without a male guardian’s permission. The royal decrees also grant women the right to
register a childbirth, marriage or divorce, among other things. The changes take effect
at the end of August. Back in this country, a New York City police
judge recommended firing the officer who was accused of fatally choking Eric Garner in
2014. Daniel Pantaleo denied using a banned choke hold, but Garner’s pleas of “I can’t
breathe” became a rallying cry at protests around the country. His daughter spoke today after hearing the
judge’s recommendation. EMERALD GARNER, Daughter of Eric Garner: I
think I’m feeling the same way my entire family is feeling, which is, it’s been too long.
We have been waiting for five years for someone to say that he did something wrong. And they
finally made that decision today. JUDY WOODRUFF: A state grand jury declined
to indict Pantaleo in December 2014. And just last month, federal prosecutors chose not
to bring civil rights charges. Police Commissioner James O’Neill has the
final say on whether he is terminated. R&B singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty today
to sexual abuse charges in New York. The 52-year-old was denied bail at a federal court hearing.
He is accused of luring young women and girls into illegal sexual activity. Kelly also faces
child pornography charges in a separate case in Chicago. More than half the Democrats in the U.S. House
of Representatives now favor starting the process of impeaching President Trump. The
Associated Press and others reported today that the count has reached 118 out of 235
Democrats overall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said any decision about pursuing impeachment
must wait until various investigations are finished. The only black Republican in the House, Will
Hurd of Texas, will not seek reelection next year. He is the sixth GOP congressman to call
it quits in just over a week and the ninth overall. Last month, Hurd was just — one
of just four Republicans who voted to condemn some of President Trump’s recent remarks as
racist. And on Wall Street, stocks finished their
worst week of the year, amid worries about the trade war with China. The Dow Jones industrial
average lost 98 points to close at 26485. The Nasdaq fell 107 points, and the S&P 500
slipped 21. For the week, the Dow lost 2.5 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 3 percent, and
the Nasdaq fell nearly 4 percent. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a governor
steps down — Puerto Rico’s deepening political crisis; Greenland’s melting ice sheet and
the deadly risks of sea level rise; plus, much more. After weeks of street protests and political
unrest, the leadership in Puerto Rico took the first step toward a transition this evening. Amna Nawaz reports on the fallout after the
resignation of embattled governor Ricardo Rossello. AMNA NAWAZ: At Puerto Rico’s capital today,
political leaders scrambled to decide who should replace Governor Rossello. On Wednesday, he nominated Pedro Pierluisi
to be secretary of state, putting him in a position to become governor under the U.S.
territory’s constitution. Today, the island’s House of Representatives voted to advance
his nomination. And just after Rossello’s departure this afternoon,
Pierluisi took the oath of office to replace him as governor. But at a hearing today, lawmakers in Puerto
Rico’s House of Representatives challenged his legal work for the island’s highly unpopular
financial control board. CARLOS BIANCHI ANGLERO, Puerto Rico Representative
(through translator): It’s not every day the country has before them a lawyer who has advised
the fiscal board being nominated for secretary of state with the possibility of becoming
governor. That is why the country is demanding some transparency. AMNA NAWAZ: Pierluisi depended his independence,
as well as legal work. GOV. PEDRO PIERLUISI (D), Puerto Rico (through
translator): My capacity as member of the legal office and the services I extended to
the group during years is in a legal capacity. You will not find a public servant more committed,
judicious or willing to work than myself. And, as I have always heard and answered to
our people, here I am to hear your worries and answer your questions. AMNA NAWAZ: But some lawmakers argue Pierluisi’s
hold of the governorship may also hinge on approval from the Puerto Rican Senate, where
leader Thomas Rivera Schatz opposes him. THOMAS RIVERA SCHATZ, President, Puerto Rican
Senate (through translator): I do not have confidence in him to govern under these circumstances,
because the lawyer for Puerto Rico’s number one enemy can’t be in charge of Puerto Rico. AMNA NAWAZ: Rivera Schatz had planned to run
for governor himself next year. He pushed a Senate confirmation hearing on Pierluisi
to Monday, casting further doubt over who will lead the island. Without a confirmation
from the Senate, Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez could be next in line to become governor. She too is broadly unpopular and initially
said she didn’t want the job, but now says she would accept it. Rossello announced his resignation last week
after days of protest spurred by a week of offensive chat messages with his top aides.
Puerto Ricans flooded the streets and celebrated his resignation. But now the island faces
a potential crisis over filling the governor’s mansion, with some lawmakers threatening to
take the matter to court. We explore what’s next in Puerto Rico with
Jenniffer Gonzalez. She’s Puerto Rico’s representative in Congress and was herself for a while reportedly
considered to be a potential successor to the governor. Congresswoman, welcome to the “NewsHour.” JENNIFFER GONZALEZ (R), Puerto Rico Resident
Commissioner: Thank you for the opportunity. AMNA NAWAZ: So Pedro Pierluisi has been sworn
in as the new governor. Does this end all the political turmoil in Puerto Rico? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: I don’t think so, at least
not immediately. I think there’s going to be many challenges
about if he was confirmed or not by the Senate side. Our constitution established that you
need to be confirmed in both sides, the House and the Senate. But, again, I think the most important thing
is that we do have a governor at this time. I think that kind of instability should be
put to rest and focus on what’s next for the island. So, in that sense, he was just sworn in a
— a few minutes ago, before we begin here. And we need to work out to restore the credibility,
not just here in D.C., in the financial markets, and down in the island as well. AMNA NAWAZ: But how do you do that? You mentioned
that nomination and the confirmation. He was approved by the House. His Senate confirmation
wasn’t set until next week. There was a potential several-day power vacuum. And there’s still potential instability if
he’s going to be challenged. So where’s the stability? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: I mean, I think that the
constitution established the order. And in that sense, the secretary of justice, local
one, attorney general local, was the one to assume in case of a vacancy for the governorship
of the island. He was sworn in already. So you already have a governor. And there’s
a process there continuing to happen. So, on Monday, the Senate will have their hearing.
On Wednesday, they’re going to vote on that. So let’s see what’s going to happen. I think the most important thing — today
is Friday — is how during this weekend we’re going to begin to see what’s going ahead and
how we can reestablish the needs of the island and the credibility as well. AMNA NAWAZ: But that next vote will be on
Wednesday. Is there a possibility the Senate doesn’t vote to confirm him? And then what? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: I’m not going to speculate
on that. I don’t have any idea. I wasn’t involved in any of the process, any step of this process. I will tell you that, as resident commissioner
in Congress, I know how important it is to reestablish the communication and reestablish
the credibility of the island. There’s a lot of things that are important, like the reconstruction
of the island, the recovery funds that are in many of the federal agencies. At the same time, we’re fighting to get some
more resources for health care. So we do have a very complex agenda for Puerto Rico that
can’t wait until next week. AMNA NAWAZ: You certainly do. But I just want to be clear about this. JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: There’s a very powerful leader
in the Senate, the man we referenced in the piece there, Thomas Rivera Schatz. He wanted
to be governor. He could lead a rule or lead a movement that doesn’t confirm Pierluisi. And then are we right back where we started,
in political crisis? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: I think — I mean, the
last thing I read about him — that he was saying, it was that there’s going to be a
process, that there’s a constitutional process. The Senate is going to do their hearing. They’re
going to see — they’re going to approve or not the nomination on Wednesday. So I think
we should wait until that process. We don’t know. He can be confirmed. He may not be confirmed. So I don’t want to — I don’t want to jump
to a conclusion without — I mean, last — nobody expected during the last three weeks that
something like this could happen in Puerto Rico, nobody. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, the effects have been severe.
And they will be long-lasting. I want to ask you about something that came
out of the Trump administration today. They are using the political unrest as a pretext
to delay more than $8 billion in funds that would be used to prepare for the next natural
disaster. What do you say to that? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: I mean, I was the one
involved in the approval of those funds. We approved more than $43 billion for Puerto
Rico in different areas. And I’m fighting for those funds to be released. And we got a lot of bureaucracy, many of the
federal agencies working with that. But the cases of corruption on the island for many
of the areas that actually manage those funds were put under scrutiny in the last two weeks. So the federal government, what they did,
they have a coordinator or monitor for those funds to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
So I do believe that we need to have those resources to the people who need it. I’m working now with the new governor and
the administration in terms of how we can get those monies to be released, to be outlaid
immediately. And the next available day they say it’s going to be happening is going to
be September 4. AMNA NAWAZ: It is worth mentioning all of
those things that brought all of those people out into the streets, a weak economy, a failure
to respond adequately to Hurricane Maria, corruption scandals, none of those have been
made better, right? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: No. AMNA NAWAZ: In fact, they have just kind of
been on hold over the last few weeks of protests. JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: It’s more than that. It’s the financial crisis, before that, the
two hurricanes, then this. So we have been under the eye of the storm for at least three
years. How we can surpass that, how we can recover from that, I think that’s the importance
of a new leadership on the island. AMNA NAWAZ: Do you see the steps that were
taken tonight as the first steps towards that stability? Will the protesters support this
nomination and this new governor? JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: I’m not going to talk
about the protesters. I think this is a more complex issue. AMNA NAWAZ: But the protesters are the reason
we’re having this conversation. JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: Not necessarily. I think — I think there’s many people. I’m
not protesting there. And I was the first one who asked for the resignation of the governor.
So there’s many people that were not supportive of the actions the governor did, assumed during
the last three weeks. So I think the most important thing now is,
what’s going to be the plan, and what’s going to be the agenda, what’s going to be the priorities
for the reconstruction and the recovery of the island? And that means also the credibility about
who’s the person who’s going to be leading the government of Puerto Rico? When you resolve that, if the Senate approves
him, there’s going to be no issues about how legitimate the governor is. And I think that’s
important, in order to give that stability until the next election. AMNA NAWAZ: We hope better days ahead for
the more than three million people… JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: Yes, we pray for that
as well. AMNA NAWAZ: … on the island. Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez, resident
commissioner of Puerto Rico, thank you for being here. JENNIFFER GONZALEZ: Thank you for the opportunity. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: melting away before our
eyes. As the scorching heat wave that stifled Europe
last week moves north, William Brangham reports on how it is setting records in new and alarming
ways. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s right, Judy. The same weather pattern that set records
in Europe is now over Greenland, where temperatures are running as much as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit
above average. Greenland is home to one of the biggest ice
sheets on Earth, second only in size to Antarctica. And researchers say some 60 percent of it
now showing signs of surface melting of at least one millimeter. That doesn’t sound like
a lot, but that means 10 billion tons of ice is being melted in a single day, sending a
torrent of meltwater into the oceans. To help us understand what’s going on here,
I’m joined by Ted Scambos. He’s the senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute
for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. Ted Scambos, thank you very much for being
here. Can you just give us a sense of how significant
this melting is in Greenland right now? TED SCAMBOS, University of Colorado Boulder:
Well, we haven’t seen melting like this in 150 years, except for the year 2012. And it looks like 2019 is actually going to
break that record in terms to have the amount of melting that is coming off of Greenland.
We’re seeing a lot of runoff from the sides of the ice sheet. And that, of course, adds
to this river flow that goes into the ocean eventually. It’s really quite dramatic and the biggest
that we have seen, as I said, in about seven years. But prior to that, it’s been over 150
years since the very top of Greenland has melted. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This is really sea level
rise happening right before our eyes. And we know that there are two ways that the ocean
warms up, where the warmer climate warms ocean water. That expands. And it rises. But the other is what we’re seeing here in
Greenland, right? TED SCAMBOS: Absolutely. And this is going to add several billion tons
to the ocean. Meltwater from Greenland is going to contribute probably close to a millimeter
of sea level rise in just this summer alone. Twenty years ago, I would have said it’s probably
not contributing anything to the ocean. So you can see that we have really changed things
up there. And, of course, what happens 20 years from now, 50 years from now is a big
question mark. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, if someone is out there
hearing you say this, and they think, well, a millimeter to the ocean, how much is that,
really, like, can you help us understand that in the scale of the things that we worry about
for sea level rise globally? TED SCAMBOS: So, a millimeter per year just
from Greenland. And then you mentioned that the oceans are
getting warmer, so they’re expanding. Antarctica is also in the mix of this contributing another
fraction of a millimeter. All of these things are faster now than they
were just a few decades ago. And the concern is that the rate is going to keep going up
and at a faster and faster rate that will actually accelerate. A millimeter may not sound like much. Small
amounts of sea level rise have a big impact on very low-lying, very flat areas. If you
talk to Miami, New Orleans, Houston, they’re concerned about an inch or two over the coming
decades of sea level rise, because it means higher storm surges, and it means flooding
and changes in groundwater right now. So it is a big deal. And the most important
point is that it wasn’t there 20 or 30 years ago. And we know that the forecasts are showing
that we’re going to see a lot more of this in the future. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And it just so happens that
we have built billions and billions and trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure along those
coasts. TED SCAMBOS: Tremendous amount of infrastructure. And, of course, that requires ensuring. That
requires investment. All of these things are, in a way, at risk if we continue to allow
the Earth to warm up in an unbridled way and change the coastline, basically. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All the climate models have
really predicted what we are seeing now, these increased storms, increased droughts, increased
heat waves. We are seeing this over the past year-and-a-half,
so many of these different signals. Do you think that we’re getting to the point where
this is building a genuine consensus that action is required? TED SCAMBOS: Yes, I think there’s nothing
like reality to convince people. You can talk all you want about models and
about future forecasts, that things are going to happen a long distance away. Having things
happen vividly on TV shows, the news, in the newspapers, all of that helps bring people
to the point that things are really changing. And although we thought we might be able to
wait a while, in fact, we’re probably on the cusp of seeing real changes that would bring
these things home to roost, basically, in terms of weather changes, as I said, coastline
changes, changes in the amount of drought or heavy rains. All those things have a major
and costly impact. And so people, I think, will begin to decide
that a long-term commitment to action is what’s needed. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As I’m sure you have been
hearing, there are — this — the concern over climate change and the urgency for action
has started to bleed even into the presidential race. And there has been talk about, we need to
act by 10 years, 12 years. For people who might not understand what people mean when
they say we have to act in a decade or 12 years or 15 years, help put that into perspective.
What does that really mean? TED SCAMBOS: Well, it really means that we
need to start changing how we produce energy. And I think trying to there to carbon-neutral
within the space of a decade probably a bit too much to ask. But the tools are all there
for us. The technology is there, in terms of solar panels and wind farms, in terms of
conservation, electric cars. We can explore things like biofuels. We need to consider
nuclear, perhaps, in terms of a power source. It’s all in the mix. We know how to do it.
And what’s more is, people are going to make money bringing us this future of energy generation.
It’s actually, I think, going to be quite easy, as soon as we say, as a nation, collectively,
individually, city by city, state by state, that we’re going to commit to doing these
things. And I’m really pleased to see how many states
and cities have set a goal for themselves in the future. I’m actually really confident
that, in fact, the U.S. is going to lead the way on all of this, because we have such a
strong entrepreneurial spirit about solving problems once we’re convinced they’re a problem. And that’s what I think the future holds for
us. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Ted Scambos,
University of Colorado Boulder, thank you very much. TED SCAMBOS: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour,” Mark Shields
and David Brooks break down another jam-packed week of political action. But for much of the past week, President Trump
has generated controversy with his comments directed at Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings
and the city he represents, Baltimore. The president continued his attacks on cities
represented by Democrats during a rally last night in Ohio. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
For decades, these communities have been run exclusively by Democrat politicians, and it’s
been total one-party control of the inner cities. For 100 years, it’s been one-party control,
and look at them. We can name one after another, but I won’t do that, because I don’t want
to be controversial. The Democrat record is one of neglect and corruption and decay, total
decay. JUDY WOODRUFF: The president did go on to
call out specific cities during that rally last night. To find out how the language President Trump
uses to describe politicians of color and diverse urban communities is resonating, White
House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor talked to voters in Southwest Ohio ahead of the president’s
rally there. JENNIFER CASSON, Ohio: I’m construed — I’m
construed as a racist, bigot, homophobe, you name it. But, if you knew me, that’s not who
I am at all. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Jennifer Casson supports
President Trump, but is wrestling with his rhetoric. She’s 47, Catholic and grew up here
in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio. In 2016, voters like her helped President
Trump become the first Republican since 1988 to win Montgomery County. Now the president’s
language, which some see as racist, is testing their loyalty. It’s also pitting voters in
largely white conservative suburbs against other residents in the more diverse city of
Dayton. JENNIFER CASSON: We have too many problems
ourselves that we need to fix first before we give the money to someone who isn’t from
our community. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For years, the city has
embraced pro-immigration policies. It provides English classes, legal aid and other resources
to immigrants. Some like Casson resent those efforts. JENNIFER CASSON: It takes away some of our
resources for the people that really need it and deserve it. And we have a lot of people
that are still struggling. I mean, I have two jobs myself. Let’s help our neighbors
first. That’s been my philosophy. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Ahead of 2020, President
Trump is hoping many voters share that sentiment. DONALD TRUMP: Ohio. Oh, I love Ohio. I love
Ohio. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In 2016, longtime Republicans,
along with a surge of new GOP voters, helped President Trump win the state of Ohio by a
solid 8 percent. But he narrowly won Montgomery County by just
1 percent. The Dayton area has long been considered a microcosm of America. Amid decades of deindustrialization
and a growing immigrant population, white residents increasingly fled the city. Casson lives 15 minutes from downtown Dayton
in Kettering, Ohio, which is 91 percent white. She says she’s aware of racial divisions in
the area. But she doesn’t believe that the president is stoking them. What do you think of the president telling
four congresswoman who are all American citizens to go back to their countries? JENNIFER CASSON: That, to me — I have said
it all along. If you don’t like it, we’re a revolving door. You don’t have to stay.
And not just with them, with anyone. Do I think it’s racist what he says? No. I
don’t, because he didn’t say he said, go — he said, you can leave. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: You said racism isn’t about
telling people to go back to their country. What do you think racism is, then, if it’s
not that? JENNIFER CASSON: To me, it’s how you treat
other people of a different race. It’s if you’re a bully to them. I think it’s also
getting in someone’s face and denying them service, denying them the right to live where
they want to live, denying them the right to religious freedom, denying them the right
to rent a house because of a certain race. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Down the road from Casson
in Miamisburg, Republican state Representative Niraj Antani is pushing legislation to ban
so-called sanctuary cities and school districts in the state. Antani says many voters in his district share
the president’s attitude toward immigrants. Would you be offended if someone told you
to go back to your country because they didn’t agree with your politics? NIRAJ ANTANI (R), Ohio State Representative:
No, I think that I would think that they were saying that I should go back to India, which
is where my family came from. But I’m also proud of my country. Right? So if someone is not proud of this country,
they should feel free to leave. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Immigrants in Dayton, though,
fear the president’s rhetoric puts them in danger. AUDRIA ALI MAKI, Ohio: I worry about somebody
who is not very stable taking those comments to heart. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Audria Ali Maki owns a coffee
shop in downtown Dayton. Her husband, Ebi, emigrated from Iran when he was 17. Together,
they are raising three young boys who are biracial and Muslim. EBI ALI MAKI, Ohio: And, obviously, as somebody
who is not — doesn’t speak the language, the culture is absolutely foreign, it was
really, really hard. Right? So you have to find ways to belong again to that group or
that place. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Businesses like Audria and
Ebi’s are continuing to open across Dayton. City officials say immigrants have helped
boost the economy and are helping rebuild the city. But President Trump’s insistence
on putting race at the center of his campaign is complicating progress here. NAN WHALEY, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio: A car goes
by and screams at them, “You need to go home.” YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Nan Whaley, Dayton’s Democratic
mayor, says recently some people used the president’s rhetoric to intimidate an immigrant
family. NAN WHALEY: People feel emboldened to do that
now because of the president’s actions, which is really heartbreaking for me for a community
that’s working so hard on these issues. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: She says people don’t understand
just how much immigrants have helped Dayton. NAN WHALEY: They are misunderstanding what
immigrants and refugees do for our community. This place that we’re sitting in is a great
example. The story of immigrants runs through this place. It was an empty shell before they
got here. And now it’s a beautiful space for people to congregate of all folks here in
Dayton. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But in the more rural Republican
counties surrounding Dayton, some residents believe the opposite. Greene County, just east of Dayton, is holding
its annual county fair. Here at the fair, some voters find the president’s controversial
rhetoric appealing. And it’s crowds like these that the president hopes will turnout and
help reelect him. JOHN CAUPP, Chair, Greene County Republican
Party: His style excites people. I believe that the Republican Party needed a fighter. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: This county is 86 percent
white. In 2016, President Trump won here by 25 percent. DAN RADER, Ohio: All they talk about is racist,
this is racist, that is racist. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Dan Rader grew up here.
He says Democrats are blowing the president’s language way out of proportion. DAN RADER: He’s defending us as Americans.
He’s defending our freedoms. He’s defending our right to free speech. He’s defending our
right to, you know, be able to speak our mind and not get backlash about it. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: After supporting President
Obama in 2008 and 2012, Rader voted for President Trump in 2016. DAN RADER: Because of Obama, that’s why we
have a Trump. You know, people were really turned off by the whole thing. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The father of four works
in I.T. for retail stores and says life has improved since the 2016 election. He credits
the president. DAN RADER: I have got a good-paying job. I
was laid off for a while. I was laid off for a pretty long time. And not only that. When
I got the job, I got a good increase. And I’m making good money. I’m being able to take
care of my family. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump says he
plans to continue his unfiltered style of politics. And here in Ohio, he’s banking on that strategy
carrying him to victory one more time. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Yamiche Alcindor
in Greene County, Ohio. JUDY WOODRUFF: That brings us to the analysis
of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist
David Brooks. Hello to both of you. So let’s pick up on Yamiche’s reporting, David. All this comes after President Trump has been
going after Congressman Elijah Cummings, going after Baltimore, calling it rat-infested,
this just a few days after he went after four congresswomen of color, the Squad. Some people are saying the president’s being
racist. He says, “I’m the least racist person in the world.” How do you see it, and what are the consequences? DAVID BROOKS: I think I disagree with the
president on that one. You just look at who he’s attacking. It’s
one African-American or one person of a color after another. It’s not dog whistle anymore.
It’s just straight-up human whistle. And so it is just pulling at this racial thing
over and over and over again. And I don’t know how it how much it affects people. I
really don’t know. I know people don’t like political correctness. And when he does that,
I think people really get a charge out of that. But going to clearly racist tropes goes well
beyond it. We’re walking into Father Coughlin territory. We’re walking into George Wallace
territory. We’re walking into very ugly territory. And if this is what this election is going
to become about, then it becomes, I would think, hard for people of conscience, whether
they like Trump’s economic policy or not, to wind up with him in however many months
Election Day is. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ugly territory, Mark? MARK SHIELDS: Ugly territory, Judy. It reached the point where, when it was reported
that Congressman Cummings’ house had been broken into, the president tweeted, “Too Bad,”
Elijah Cummings, the crime in Baltimore. This was too much for Nikki Haley, the former
South Carolina governor, former U.N. ambassador, who said, this is — she took the president
to task. JUDY WOODRUFF: Republican. MARK SHIELDS: Republican, as did Congressman
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. No, the president — you think of the founder
of that great party, the Republican Party, words of Lincoln, with malice toward none,
with charity for all, let’s bind up the nation’s wound, the task we’re about. This is just the opposite. This is salting
the wounds. This is sowing division, and all for a very narrow political purpose. I do
think that it reaches a point of diminishing returns, because, at some point, you’re just
not proud to say you’re for Donald Trump. You can say, oh, he’s my guy, or he fights
my fights, or he’s on my side, but Americans want their president to be a comforter in
chief and a consoler in chief, as Ronald Reagan was at the Challenger crisis, or in tragedy,
or Barack Obama was after the Charleston church shooting. That’s what a president — to unite, to comfort
and to bring out — he’s the only voice that can speak to us, all of us, and for all of
us, and he obviously doesn’t want to speak to all of us or for all of us. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, you still have,
as you heard in Yamiche’s reporting from Ohio, people saying that they don’t think it’s racist,
that they like the fact, as you suggested, that he speaks out. DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, they do like that
fact. The one thing I have noticed — I was at two
conservative conferences over the past month. And they were pretty Trumpy, I guess. And
they were 95 and 99 and maybe 100 percent white. And so, if you’re conservative worlds,
you’re just not around minorities anymore. You’re not around people of color. And then you say, well, shouldn’t you get
some people of color on stage just to hear viewpoints? And they say, well, we don’t want
— like, I don’t see color. And if you’re living in this country, with
the culture of this country and the history of this country, you have got to see color.
And you have got to affirmatively try to get different people in the same room. And it’s
just become a habit on the right to not care about that. And this wasn’t always the case. And this
is how Trump is influencing the party, and, frankly, how the party is influencing Trump.
In the world — in the age of the Bushes, in the age of Jack Kemp, there was really
aggressive efforts to try to diversify the party, with some success. And now that’s not even tried. And it’s not
only Trump. It’s up and down the whole apparatus. JUDY WOODRUFF: And last night, Mark, as we
have reported, Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, announced
he’s not running again from Texas. MARK SHIELDS: He did, Judy. I think it’s the seventh this week — sixth
this week, ninth overall. JUDY WOODRUFF: Total of nine, yes. MARK SHIELDS: And I think there’s a couple
of factors at work. I mean, what David mentions is one of them.
The Republicans are becoming increasingly a white party. And Will Hurd, who is a former
CIA professional and a high-qualified person, but prior to his retirement, or announce that
he wasn’t going to seek reelection, Susan Brooks of Indiana, who’s been tasked for seeking
women candidates for the Republican Party, and Martha Roby of Alabama announced their
retirement. And I think what’s significant about it is
this. Ronald Reagan’s last term, half the members of Congress who were women were Republicans,
12 out of 25. Now there are 102 women in the House of Representatives; 89 of them are Democrats,
13 are Republicans. Two of those 13 have just announced they’re
retiring. JUDY WOODRUFF: Are not running. MARK SHIELDS: I mean, so you see it’s a white
male party. And that has — that’s a finite demographic. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re — I mean, you’re
both talking — what are the consequences of this, David? DAVID BROOKS: Of course, I think electoral
ruin, though people have been saying that for a long time. And there was a book called “The Emerging
Democratic Majority” that was probably 15 to 20 years ago from John Judis and Ruy Teixeira,
who took a look at the demographics that were Republican, and they were all fading. And
they predicted Democratic reign by now. And that hasn’t happened. And that’s because a lot of Latinos, as they
assimilate, they become white. And so — and so they are voting Republicans. And whites
have swung overwhelmingly to the Republican side. It’s a short-term boon, like the country is
76 percent white, but it’s a long-term catastrophe. And that’s just talking politics. It’s a short-term
moral catastrophe for the party. JUDY WOODRUFF: But in the short run, Mark,
this could be good politics for Donald Trump? MARK SHIELDS: It’s hard for me, Judy. They’re
maximizing a minimum, I mean, is what they’re doing. There’s not an inexpensive ceiling on the
Trump coalition. It means getting every possible Trump voter out. There’s no persuasion. It’s
all an organization effort. There’s not — they’re not reaching across the aisle and saying,
we want to get you, come join us, we agree on 80 percent. I mean, this is just mining down, is what
it is. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, there was some diversity
among the Democrats, the Democrats running for president this week. They debated on two
nights. There was diversity, but there’s also some
division, David. We saw, I think, clearly ideological divide between the so-called moderates,
the so-called progressives, the liberals in the party, and, in the eyes of some, a more
critical, personally critical debates than they would have liked to have seen. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. If you want to get your
moment on TV, you got to attack somebody in your own party pretty roughly. And so that
happened. My main takeaway was that Democrats don’t
understand what this election is about. We just spent a few minutes talking about Donald
Trump and racism. That’s what this election is about. This election is about Donald Trump
and what kind of country we’re going to be, what the values of our country are going to
be, what the atmosphere is in which we’re going to raise our kids. And Trump is a culture revolutionary. He’s
not a policy revolutionary. And he will make this election about him every day and day
with his tweets and whatever. And he has a values campaign. And he says
he wants a certain sort of masculinity, a certain sort of country. And, to me, it’s
up to — you can’t beat a values revolution with a policy proposal. And so they need to talk about values, and
they need to tie it to policies, but say, I’m for kindness, I’m for diversity, I’m for
honesty. And the only person who seems to get that
is Marianne Williamson, and because she’s not just trying to run a purely economic campaign.
She at least gets it. She’s got wackadoodle ideas on other things, but I think what she
says about that and what she says in the debates was exactly right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark? MARK SHIELDS: Marianne Williamson? JUDY WOODRUFF: Marianne Williamson. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: OK. I finally knew David would come over to the
Democratic side. I didn’t realize Marianne Williamson would be the catalyst to bring
him. Judy, I would say the debates contributed
to the destruction of overconfidence on the part of Democrats going into 2020. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: They was sobering. They were
unsettling. They took — been — since Franklin Roosevelt
was elected some 76, 80 years ago or more, the.. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I didn’t cover that one. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: I didn’t. I was doing youth
for Roosevelt. There’s been one Democrat who won a popular
majority of the vote in two successive presidential elections, 50 plus one. His name is Barack
Obama. And to see these candidates, especially those
on the liberal side, distancing themselves from Obama and highlighting Obama’s imperfections
— Obama wasn’t perfect. He was a public servant, not a perfect servant. But, I mean, he achieved great things for
the Democrats, in terms of the Democratic objective and the Democratic vision. And the
idea that — David’s right. They’re running against Donald Trump. I think part of the problem that Joe Biden
has is that Joe Biden is remembered for two debate performances, and rightly so, by most
Democrats. In 2008, he crushed, not surprisingly, Governor Sarah Palin, the vice presidential
nominee chosen by John McCain. In 2012, he took on the cover boy of The Wall
Street Journal editorial page, the favorite son of the American right, Paul Ryan, and
he vanquished him. And unfortunately for — I think for Biden,
he’s being compared in some Democrats’ minds to those two sterling performances, which
are now are 12 and 8 years ago. JUDY WOODRUFF: But you think people are focused
on that? MARK SHIELDS: I just think — I think there
is a sense of, is this the same guy who was so good in 2012 and 2008? And he was in both
of those. JUDY WOODRUFF: But where do you see the race
right now? DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I still think Biden is
the front-runner. I don’t know how it’ll be. But if you’re the front-runner, people are
going to take a lot of shots at you. And people took a lot of shots at him. And this time,
he was fine. He was fine. And so, if you’re the front-runner, and you
survive without any change in the race, that’s good for you. And so this was good for Biden.
There were some people who moved up and down. Cory Booker probably moved up, Kamala Harris
probably moved down a little more. Warren probably moved up. And so there’s little ups and downs. But I
wouldn’t say the race has been transformed by these debates. And Biden has a pretty solid
majority, even though Twitter hates him. But he’s still in the lead. And there’s — it’s a fragile lead, but it’s
made stronger by the fact that no alternative moderate has emerged, Amy Klobuchar. (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Alternative to Biden. DAVID BROOKS: None of those haven’t yet taken
that role. And so if people want to be not Elizabeth
Warren and Bernie Sanders, where do you go? JUDY WOODRUFF: But what do these candidates
need to do, Mark? David is saying they need to talk about values.
They need to talk about what Donald Trump represents and speak… (CROSSTALK) MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think it is — you identify
where you want to go by how you view where America is and how we got here. And I think the Democrats could claim the
American narrative. I mean, we are a people who came from all corners of the earth and
overcame enormous obstacles. And we have forged into one people. And lord knows, I mean, it’s taken the blood,
sweat and tears of all generations of people. I guess where I would perhaps — I do differ
from David is, I think there is a strong spiritual, almost religious chord to the Democratic story. I mean, there is no abolitionist movement
in this country without religion. There is no anti-war movement without religion in its
ranks. There is no civil rights movement. And the Democrats can claim in all three of
those. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you think they’re talking
about that? (CROSSTALK) MARK SHIELDS: I think that you say, this is
who we are. This is what we have done. This is what we have achieved. This is where we
want to go from here, rather than get into Section 11-A of 14-B of your 23rd-point program,
which I think just takes all the music, all the romance and all the spirit out of politics. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, in 30 seconds,
they’re mainly talking about health care and… DAVID BROOKS: Yes, that’s because the two
big idea generators in the party are Sanders and Warren, and they’re very wonky, and they’re
very materialistic, and they’re not particularly spiritual. And there are some people in the party who
they get — they — of course, they detest Donald Trump, but they’re some — you get
the impression their main enemy is the Obama mainstream, and they want to have that fight.
And they want to have that fight as the way to get the nomination. And so that’s why it’s gotten so nasty so
quick. MARK SHIELDS: Listen to Elizabeth Warren’s
speech at the PUSH conference. It was highly religious. It was on Matthew 23, and it was
quite spiritual. JUDY WOODRUFF: Last words. Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you. Every child, of course, should be made to
feel special on his or her birthday. That’s the philosophy behind Sweet Blessings.
It’s a Lexington, Kentucky-based organization that bakes and decorates extraordinary birthday
cakes for children who might need a special treat, made with love just for them. From Kentucky Educational Television, Chelsea
Gorham has the story. ASHLEY GANN, Founder, Sweet Blessings: It
seems so odd to say that we’re changing lives with a cake, but it happens. CHELSEA GORHAM: Ashley Gann founded Sweet
Blessings in 2011 after becoming inspired during a church service focused on inner-city
outreach in Lexington, Kentucky. Gann decided to use her baking skills for a more meaningful
purpose. ASHLEY GANN: I was actually working at a professional
bakery. And God just put it on my heart to spend more time making a difference and less
time making a living. CHELSEA GORHAM: The nonprofit’s mission is
to create unique, elaborate, professional-standard birthday cakes, free of charge, for children
living in poverty, with terminal illnesses, or with special needs in Central Kentucky. LINDA JOHNSON, Sweet Blessings: A lot of these
kids, there is nothing perfect in their lives. This needs to be. CHELSEA GORHAM: Linda Johnson has spent her
Tuesdays perfecting cakes for three years, like the special cake Emily and Michael Banks
received. CHILD: For his birthday cake, he got a pink
pony. CHILD: Grass, a fence, flowers, and that’s
it. CHILD: And a horse. CHILD: And the brown on the horse. CHELSEA GORHAM: Every Tuesday, volunteers
arrive to bake, ice, assemble, and decorate cakes for children who have been referred
to Sweet Blessings by school counselors or social workers. WOMAN: They become like family. They know
what’s going on in each other’s lives. They’re there to support one another, so there’s all
sorts of layers to what we do. CHELSEA GORHAM: Alex Nguyen is an engineering
student at the university of Kentucky and volunteers through a service fraternity. He’s
found decorating cakes a welcome respite from his classwork. ALEX NGUYEN, Sweet Blessings: Something like
this is a way to kind of relax but also be doing something for the community, so I really
enjoy that aspect of it. LINDA JOHNSON: We call it cake therapy. CHELSEA GORHAM: The cakes are designed specifically
for each child depending on their interests. The operation has expanded from making 163
cakes in 2011 to over 2,600 in 2018. The efforts of these volunteers have brought joy into
the lives of kids like Cheyanne Kiskaden (ph), a student at a local elementary. CHILD: I feel really special, and I’m glad
that you all got this for me. And I just love it. CHELSEA GORHAM: Connie Malone has been with
Sweet Blessings serving as a volunteer and on the board since 2011. She discovered Sweet
Blessings shortly after retiring and understands the value of giving a child a special moment. CONNIE MALONE, Sweet Blessings: The stories
just that we hear just will break your heart, kids who were 10 or twelve years old, that
this was their very first birthday cake. And then very early on, we made a birthday cake
for a little girl who was in hospice and it was her last birthday cake. The purpose is to make that kid feel special
and know that somebody loves them CHELSEA GORHAM: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Chelsea Gorham in Lexington, Kentucky. JUDY WOODRUFF: I love that. And tune in later tonight for “Washington
Week.” Robert Costa will discuss the escalating trade war with China, and how some moderate
Democratic presidential candidates are trying to rein in the party’s surge to the left. That’s later tonight on “Washington Week.” For now, that’s the “NewsHour.” I’m Judy Woodruff. Have a great weekend. Thank you, and good
night. END

Maurice Vega

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